Photos of Victoria Road by Courtney Snow for Past The Wire
Breeders’ Cup Press Release
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Westerberg Limited, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Victoria Road (IRE) ($13.14) got his nose down on the wire just ahead of favored Silver Knott (GB) to win the 16th running of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) for 2-year-olds at Keeneland.
Trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore, Victoria Road completed the mile on a firm turf course in 1:35.99. It is the fifth victory in the race for O’Brien and Moore, who teamed to win with Wrote (IRE) in 2011, George Vancouver in 2012, Hit It a Bomb in 2015 and Mendelssohn in 2017.
Longshot Curly Larry and Mo led the field of 14 with an open advantage as Victoria Road raced in mid pack along the inside with Silver Knott just behind him.
As the field hit the stretch in a tight pack, Victoria Road emerged four wide to grab a narrow edge at midstretch while Silver Knott was finding racing room along the rail.
Silver Knott took a brief lead in deep stretch with Victoria Road battling back. It came down to a head bob with Victoria Road winning the photo.
It was another 2 ¼ lengths back to Nagirroc in third and another three-quarters of a length back to Mo Stash in fourth.
The victory was worth $520,000 and increased Victoria Road’s earnings to $663,779 with a record of 8-4-2-0. Victoria Road is a son of Saxon Warrior out of the Invincible Spirit mare Tickled Pink.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Quotes
Winning trainer Aiden O’Brien (Victoria Road): “It’s unbelievable. He’s been progressing always. Ryan (Moore) was very patient on him. He had a nice draw and went fast. He’s a horse that likes to come late which we learned in the last couple of runs. Obviously, he’s Saxon Warrior’s first Group (Grade) 1 winner, he’s from a very fast pedigree. we started him early on over shorter trips and when we started to let him go up in (distance), he just improved and improved. Pace was solid, Ryan had a nice position and knew he was going to be patient. We knew he wasn’t going to try and get there too early with him. He’s a lovely and nimble horse. He handled the bends very well and handled the nice ground. Ryan gave him a great ride. Brilliant.”
Winning jockey Ryan Moore (Victoria Road): “We were in a nice spot when the pace steadied, and we weren’t going mad doing the backside. He managed to thread a gap and when he got there, he just moved out a little to the right and just gave everyone a half a chance. This horse has a lot class and he’s gotten better as he goes longer.
“I thought he was sitting on a big race, especially after the draw. He was stepping up in class in his last four races. Hopefully there is more to come next year when he goes to the Classic races.”
Second-place trainer Charlie Appleby (Silver Knott):“When they crossed the line, I thought Aidan had won it, to be honest, so well done to them. To be fair, he was slow out of the gate and Will dropped him down onto the rail. To be fair, he was lucky enough to get the splits when he needed them. No excuses there. And it was a headbobber. I thought Aidan had got there at first. The more I watched (the replay), the more I got a little hope. He’s run well and lost nothing in defeat. We brought a good team and brought over more horses, at the end of the day. We were confident and they’ve all shipped well and so far they’re running well. Hopefully, we can keep it going for another 24 hours. I’m confident in Modern Games – he got a nice draw and he’s doing very well – and Nations Pride.”
Second-place jockey William Buick (Silver Knott): “He ran a very big race, but things just didn’t quite go his way, which ultimately cost him the race.”
Third-place trainer Graham Motion (Nagirroc): “Manny gave him a great trip. The Europeans are tough in these races. I couldn’t be happier with this little horse.”
Third-place jockey Manny Franco (Nagirroc): “I had a beautiful trip and everything went my way. My horse gave me his all. He came running in the end he was just a little late. He ran a really big race.”
Fourth-place jockey Rafael Bejarano (Mo Stash): “I had a very good position the whole race. Early I was second and I didn’t think I was going to be that close so I was holding my position as much as I could. I knew early that the speed wasn’t holding too much so I didn’t want to ask too early. In the stretch my horse came running. He gave me a good kick, but these European guys were flying. My horse proved today that he can run with these top-level horses.”
Fifth-place trainer Shug McGaughey (Battle of Normandy):“I thought he ran good. We didn’t have the cleanest of trips, but I thought he ran a good race for a horse that is lightly raced and coming to a new place. I think we’re in a good shape. We’ll give him a little time and hopefully he’ll have a big year next year.”