Johnny V Bags Two Breeders’ Cup Wins

November 8, 2020

Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez picked up a pair of Breeders’ Cup wins, including a formidable score aboard Spendthrift Farm, MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stables and Starlight Racing’s Authentic in the Grade 1, $6 million Longines Classic, as New York-based stars factored significantly throughout the day’s nine events on Saturday from Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky.

The New York-based Velazquez sent the reigning Kentucky Derby winner to the front and never looked back en route to a two-length win in the 10-furlong Classic for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Improbable, who captured the Grade 1 Whitney at Saratoga in August, completed the exacta under New York-based Irad Ortiz, Jr., with Global Campaign, last out winner of the Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga, in third under New York-based Hall of Famer Javier Castellano.

It was the first Classic win for the 48-year-old Velazquez, who was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2012.

“I’ve been chasing this race for quite a while,” said Velazquez. “For him to do it for me is incredible. What a feeling.

“The older I get the more emotional I get. It worked out perfect,” added Velazquez. “Bob said to take him to the lead so he doesn’t wander so much and keep his mind on running. It worked out. He did everything I wanted him to do.”

Tiz the Law, who captured the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes and Grade 1 Runhappy Travers at Saratoga for trainer Barclay Tagg, finished sixth in the Classic for jockey Manny Franco.

The Classic victory marked the 18th Breeders’ Cup win for Velazquez, who kicked off Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup program by piloting Michael Lund Petersen’s Gamine to a track record score in the Grade 1, $1 million Filly and Mare Sprint, covering the seven-furlong distance in 1:20.20. The Into Mischief bay, also trained by Baffert, won a pair of Grade 1 races on the NYRA circuit this year, including the Longines Acorn at Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes Day and the Longines Test at Saratoga Race Course in August.

“She is doing as well as she did when she won the Acorn,” said Baffert. “She is just brilliant. She is the fastest filly going one turn I’ve ever trained. I wanted it bad for her. What she’s gone through. She deserved it. Of all my races, this meant the most to me.”

Bearstone Stud Limited’s Glass Slippers shipped in from Europe to best the boys in the Grade 1, $1 million Turf Sprint. The 4-year-old Dream Ahead filly, piloted by Tom Eaves for trainer Kevin Ryan, held off a late run from Grade 3 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational-winner Wet Your Whistle, who was piloted by the Belmont fall meet’s leading rider Jose Ortiz.

New York-based Joel Rosario made the front with Korea Racing Authority’s Knicks Go and never looked back en route to a powerful score in the Grade 1, $1 million Dirt Mile for trainer Brad Cox. The victory marked the 13th Breeders’ Cup win for Rosario.

Mrs. A. M. Swinburn’s French-bred Audarya arrived in the final stride to best the Chad Brown-trained Rushing Fall to capture the Grade 1, $2 million Filly and Mare Turf. With Pierre-Charles Boudot up for trainer James Fanshawe, Audarya rallied wide for a neck win over favored Rushing Fall, a six-time Grade 1 winner, including the Diana last out at Saratoga. 

Ortiz, Jr. picked up his 11th Breeders’ Cup win by guiding Whitmore to an 18-1 upset score in the Grade 1, $2 million Sprint. Trained and co-owned by Ron Moquett with Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners, the 7-year-old Pleasantly Perfect chestnut surged home from off-the-pace for a 3 ¼-length length win over C Z Rocket in a final time of 1:08.61. Firenze Fire, who captured the Grade 2 Vosburgh Invitational and Grade 2 True North this year at Belmont for trainer Kelly Breen, completed the trifecta under Jose Lezcano.

“We wanted to break and have him relax and that’s what we did,” said Ortiz, Jr. “He relaxed so good. I was able to cut the corner on the turn and when I tipped him out he just exploded. He’s a nice horse. He’s been running for so many years. He’s a warrior.” 

It was the 15th career win and second Grade 1 score for the popular Whitmore, who also captured the 2018 Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga.

European shippers for trainer Aidan O’Brien swept the top-three spots in the Grade 1, $2 million Mile as 73-1 longshot Order of Australia, with Boudot up, took top honors over 11-1 Circus Maximus and 18-1 Lope Y Fernandez. The Irish-bred trifecta returned $4,393 for a $0.50 wager.

Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group, and Bethlehem Stables’ Monomoy Girl improved her record to 13-for-15 with a dominant score in the Grade 1, $2 million Distaff under Florent Geroux for trainer Brad Cox. The 5-year-old Tapizar mare, who won the Grade 2 Ruffian at Belmont in July, topped a trifecta that included the Todd Pletcher-trained Valiance in second and Brown-trained Dunbar Road in third. 

The victory marked the second Distaff win for Monomoy Girl, who took the event in 2018 at Churchill Downs as a 3-year-old. A perfect 4-for-4 on the year, Monomoy Girl started her season with an allowance win at Churchill Downs ahead of her Ruffian score. She entered the Distaff from a win in the Grade 1 La Troienne at Churchill.

“To maintain that level throughout her three-year-old season, Oaks, Breeders’ Cup, and then come back in her five-year-old season and do what she’s done at four [three] different racetracks, is just unbelievable. This is what the really, really special mares are all about,” said Dubb.

His Highness The Aga Khan’s Tarnawa overtook Magical and the pacesetting Channel Maker in deep stretch to capture the Grade 1, $4 million Turf under Colin Keane for trainer Dermot Weld. The 4-year-old Shamardal filly entered the Breeders’ Cup from Group 1 wins in the Prix Vermeille and Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp. Magical won a photo to complete the exacta over Channel Maker, who entered from Grade 1 wins in the Sword Dancer at Saratoga and Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

Live racing resumes Sunday at the Big A with a 10-race card highlighted by the Grade 3, $100,000 Nashua, a one-turn mile for juveniles. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern.

Racing fans can watch and wager on all the action with NYRA Bets, the official wagering platform of Aqueduct Racetrack, and the best way to bet every race of the 18-day fall meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at

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Have to give out Props to @jonathanstettin for yesterday winners sure did help me have a big day 👌🏻$

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