Modern Games comes off the pace with an overdrive gear to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf

November 6, 2021

Double scratch after starting gate mishap leads to unhappy punters 

There was a little more excitement than expected before the start of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Prior to the start of the race, #1 Modern Games (IRE) reared up and hit the back of the gate; #2 Albahr (GB) flipped over and became lodged underneath the starting gate. The scratch of #2 Albahr was relayed to the stewards and he was taken out of the wagering pools. Albahr appears uninjured. 

The veterinary staff then relayed a second scratch of #1 Modern Games (IRE) to the stewards based on initial observation. Upon confirmation that #1 also was to be scratched, the stewards removed the horse from the wagering pools. After further discussion among the regulatory veterinarians at the gate and after further observation of #1 Modern Games, he was declared fit and racing sound, and this fact was relayed to the stewards, who pursuant to CHRB rule 1974 allowed the horse to run for purse money only. All parimutuel wagering placed on Modern Games was returned to bettors. 

Albahar’s jockey Frankie Dettori was uninjured. There is no update.

After a long break awaiting all of that to be straightened out, the gate was loaded again, and they’re off!

Breaking from post #9, Portfolio Company under Flavien Prat took the lead and set the pace of :22.66 for the first 1/4 mile. Coinage was a length back with Florent Geroux up and the favorite Dakota Gold piloted by Luis Saez another half length behind in third. Dubawi Legend (IRE) was also close in the pack in fourth with the pacesetter. Modern Games (IRE) was in fifth six lengths off the leader. 

Prat’s mount held his lead until he weakened at the straight and faded to fourth, eventually finishing eighth. Coinage remained in second giving chase, fell back to third in the straight but faded then finished ninth. Dubawi Legend remained in fourth until the 3/4 pole (1:11.24) fading back to sixth and finishing tenth.

Modern Games would slip back to sixth. It seemed maybe his gate mishap had an effect. But as he swung four-wide around the turn jockey William Buick started to move him up on the outside and Modern Games found a new gear. With about eight furlongs left to go, Buick switched Modern Games to the left lead and the colt found overdrive and sprinted to the finish a neck ahead of Tiz the Bomb. Unfortunately, Modern Games victory was rewarded with boos from disgruntled fans who were precluded from holding a winning ticket.

“(Modern Games) got up on the front, William got him out and got him into a nice position there, and after seeing William, he had plenty of room there, but when he started to make his maneuver, and so we know it’s a great track to slingshot on and that’s what he’s good at. So, he got the job done and in a great fashion,” Appleby remarked.

“We jumped a tad slow from the gate but having the 1 hole you can get a bit more space on the inside and a bit more time. So, we managed to get into a nice position. The pace was even, and look, the race to be honest was very straightforward. This place, the turf track at Del Mar, a lot of luck is involved in the way the race unfolds, but with a horse like him, you’re able to put the luck in your own hands a little bit,” Buick said.

Tiz the Bomb got shuffled early landing in eleventh. Brian Hernandez, Jr., then moved the colt to the inside, urged him along the rail on the far turn. Under Juan Hernandez, Mackinnon bumped leaving the gate, checked when put in tight early, pulled a bit nearing the first turn, traveled outside a rival near the back. 

Tiz the Bomb angled out in the lane moving up to ninth and then gave a game late rally to place. Mackinnon, who was neck-and-neck with Tiz the Bomb in eleventh and twelfth place, went three then four wide around the far turn and also rallied to earn the show. 

Slipstream, Stolen Base, Great Max (IRE), Glounthaune (IRE) and Credibility complete the order of finish.

Because Modern Games could not pay out, second place Tiz the Bomb was the “win” horse for parimutuel players. He paid a tasty $17.60, 7.40 and 5.20 to some happy fans. Mackinnon paid $6.60 and 5.40 for place and Grafton Street paid $9.40 for show. 

Modern Games is a handsome chestnut by Dubawi (IRE) out of Modern Ideals (GB) by New Approach (IRE). 

The Godolphin homebred colt has had six starts in 2021 with a Group 3 win in the Tattersalls Sommerville Stakes on Sept. 23 at Newmarket, where he also broke his maiden July 24. The colt had won a handicap at Doncaster on Sept. 8. 

Jimmy Bell, representative for Godolphin, on how important this win is for the team and the entire Godolphin organization: 

“Very much so. I think one of the things Sheikh Mohammed enjoys the most is international competition and certainly with the Dubai World Cup he always loves to see so many participants from so many different places come to run. And the same here with the Breeders’ Cup, a world championship whereby this is so exciting to bring European horses over here. It just adds such an element to it. And to be a homebred, to be a part of this thing, I know how proud he is of Charlie and how well he brought these horses over here and knows who to bring and so adept at doing that.

“And of course, you have the best in the business in Mr. Buick down there and he showed that today that it took a lot for both the horse and the jockey to refocus himself as well and to make that kind of showing.

But it’s truly a very large, but a very, very great team and a lot of folks to help make this happen, so I know Sheikh Mohammed is particularly proud of the entire team and the horse as well and the breeding, so, yes.”

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Replay
Breeders’ Cup 2021: Juvenile Turf (FULL RACE) | NBC Sports

Maribeth Kalinich, Editor, Past The Wire

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Maribeth Kalinich

Maribeth Kalinich grew up in a family with a love for horses, a passion for Thoroughbred horse racing and a taste for playing the ponies....

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