Photo of Modern Games by Courtney Snow for Past The Wire
Race Presented By PDJF
Breeders’ Cup Press Release
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Godolphin’s homebred Modern Games (IRE) ($4.76) rocketed past the leaders with a seven-wide move at midstretch en route to a three-quarters of a length victory in the 39th running of the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) presented by PDJF for 3-year-olds and up Saturday afternoon at Keeneland.
Trained by Charlie Appleby and ridden by William Buick, Modern Games completed the mile on a firm turf course in 1:33.96. The victory represented a repeat in the race for Appleby and Buick, who won last year’s renewal with Space Blues (IRE) at Del Mar.
Modern Games also was a winner at Del Mar last year, taking the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). Appleby now has eight Breeders’ Cup victories and Buick seven.
Smooth Like Strait, runner-up in this race last year, set the pace while under pressure to his inside from Pogo (IRE) as Modern Games raced in midpack toward the inside.
Smooth Like Strait led the field into the stretch, but the pack was closing in. Modern Games shifted off the inside at the top of the stretch and swung seven wide to make his run that carried him to the front in deep stretch.
Shirl’s Speight held on for second by a nose over Kinross (GB) with Ivar (BRZ) another neck back in fourth.
Modern Games is a 3-year-old son of Dubawi out of the New Approach mare Modern Ideals. The victory was worth $1,040,000 and increased the bankroll of Modern Games to $3,176,716 with a record of 13-7-3-1.
FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile Quotes
Winning trainer Charlie Appleby (Modern Games): “I’m delighted. He is what he is. He’s ultra-professional and runs with his heart on his sleeve every time. He’s one horse, as Rishi (Persad) said earlier in the week, you’d love to play poker with him, because he shows his hand every time. He’s just done it again, there. Fantastic ride by William (Buick). Great for the team, great for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and great for Godolphin.
“A great result and another serious ride from Will (Buick). He’s been a fantastic horse to travel. He won the French Guineas when he was very impressive then we stepped him up in trip in the French Derby where he ran so honestly to finish third. He didn’t really stay so I dropped him back to seven furlongs then which was the wrong thing to do. He then ran a blinder in the Sussex behind Baeed before winning in Canada. Later in the season we rolled the dice at Champions Day on soft ground and he probably got me over the line to win me the U.K. trainer’s championship when he was second as obviously in the UK it’s done on prize money. Next year, the Queen Anne is the obvious target. He’s getting a fanfare around world and it was great to see him applauded this year not like last year which was no fault of his own. We’ll look to bring him back here next year. From this July onward he really changed physically and got stronger in all the right places. I thought he looked a picture in the paddock today and I was always quite confident when I saw him look that well.”
Pogo – “He ran a blinder. Just the last furlong is a long one. We couldn’t really dictate it and if we didn’t get taken on around the back, maybe we could have been there. He still did us proud.”
Winning jockey William Buick (Modern Games):“He was really professional last year too (when he won the Juvenile Turf). Today, he was foot perfect. He just came out of the gate a little slow. He missed the break, but I was happy where we were. Once I got him running, he stayed true. He loves this ground. I stayed off the rail. I thought he was the best horse in the race. I didn’t want to take too many chances. When we come over here to the Breeders’ Cup, it is a great privilege. We bring some very good horses and this one if one of them. You always need a little bit of luck on your side.”
Second-place jockey Luis Saez (Shirl’s Speight): “He tried pretty hard, but there were so many horses. I wasn’t in the clear when I wanted to be. Was having a good trip, and saved ground, but when I got to the top of the stretch I couldn’t get in the clear.”
Third-place trainer Ralph Beckett (Kinross): “Huge run. To get on the fence from 13 and then come from there and then go inside and then out… marvelous run. I’m hugely proud of the horse. The fact that he performed as he did at six (furlongs) and seven (furlongs) and now a mile – they don’t come along very often. He galloped out past the winner, maybe he could have (won), but that’s all ‘ifs and maybes’.”
Third-place jockey Frankie Dettori (Kinross):
Fourth-place trainer Paulo Lobo (Ivar): “I think he ran a very good race. I think among the three Breeders’ Cup he has run; this one is the strongest one and I am glad.”
Fourth-place jockey Javier Castellano (Ivar): “I really like the way he did it. He was in a beautiful spot behind the other horses. He was surrounded by horses, and it covered us from the wind. He traveled beautifully every step of the way. I like the way he finished. All the horses spread, and horses were getting tired so I went through my hole that I was looking for and he responded. He tried really hard, but unfortunately the European horses are really good quality. He just got beat by a length. We’re really happy with it.”
Trainer Aiden O’Brien (Order of Australia, the 2020 Mile winner): “He ran very well and really come home very well.”