BREEDERS' CUP JUVENILE TURF | PURSE: $1 MILLION | 2-YEAR-OLDS | GRADE 1 | 1 MILE (TURF)
Aidan O'Brien captured the first Breeders' Cup World Championships race of the Saturday card at Santa Anita Park when George Vancouver made a great kick in midstretch to take the $1 million Juvenile Turf by 1 1/4 lengths. The son of Henrythenavigator was ridden by Ryan Moore and is owned by Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier, and Derrick Smith.
Noble Tune finished second a neck in front of Balance the Books. The final time for the one-mile race was 1:33.78.
"Ryan gave him a superior ride," said O'Brien. "[George Vancouver] has been crying out for fast ground all year."
The pace started off relatively quick with Summit County and jockey Corey Nakatani taking the early lead. The son of Any Given Saturday took the 14-horse field through a :22.48 opening quarter mile. The pace slowed a bit to :46.47 for the half with Summit County still on the lead but stalked closely by Gervinho and I'm Boundtoscore. Going into the second turn, Gervinho moved in front with I'm Boundscore right at his shoulder. Then the calvary charge started.
Moore gave George Vancouver a ground-saving trip through the early going, then artfully guided his mount through the traffic at the top of the stretch. A brief challenge came midstretch from Juddmonte Farms' Dundonnell but George Vancouver repealed him easily and kicked clear. Dundonnell could not maintain the momentum and fell back to fourth place.
"He traveled very well and quickened when he needed to," said Moore. "Everything worked out."
Moore rode Wrote to a Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf victory last year at Churchill Downs. Wrote, an Irish-bred son of High Chaparral, is owned by the same partnership and trained by O'Brien.
George Vancouver paid $20.60, $11, and $7.20. Noble Tune paid $6 and $3.80, while Balance the Books paid $6.00. The $1 exacta paid $62.80, while the $1 trifecta paid $553.10.
The final order of finish was Gervinho in fifth followed by Artigano, Lines of Battle, Joha, Brown Almighty, Fantastic Moon, Dry Summer, Summit County, Know More, and I'm Boundtoscore.