LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Ouija Board staked her claim as one of the great racehorses in the 23-year history of the Breeders' Cup, winning the Filly and Mare Turf for the second time in three years, with a second-place finish last season sandwiched between triumphs in 2004 and this year.
Just as she did in 2004 at Lone Star Park, Ouija Board beat tough-luck Film Maker - a bridesmaid yet again - to take home the $1,188,000 winner's share of a $2.2 million purse. Beaten 2 1/2 lengths by Ouija Board, Film Maker was a neck better than Honey Ryder, with Wait a While, the strong second choice, coming home fourth. Satwa Queen was fifth, and five longshots rounded out the order of finish. Ouija Board, who paid $4.80 as the favorite, was timed in 2:14.55 for 1 3/8 miles on firm turf. A daughter of Cape Cross out of the mare Selection Board, Ouija Board won the seventh Grade or Group 1 race of her career, and has earned almost $5.7 million.
No one was in Ouija Board's league on this day. She became the seventh horse to win multiple Breeders' Cup races, but only Da Hoss had won races separated by more than a year.
"I don't have that many horses in training," said Ouija Board's owner and breeder, Lord Derby. "I've never had a horse like this in training, and God knows I'll never again have a horse like this in training."
Ouija Board looked calm and composed all week at Churchill, and that is how she ran in the Filly and Mare Turf, settling in midpack as longshot Dancing Edie went out for an easy early lead. The pace was slow - 25.14 seconds for the first quarter-mile, 49.77 to the half - but no one was eager to force the tempo around the second turn and down the backstretch, and jockey Frankie Dettori kept Ouija Board settled along the inside while racing in seventh position.
"It was the best she's ever felt," said Dettori. "I just tried not to make any mistakes, because I knew I had the horse."
Dettori said he was clocking Wait a While, who was under heavy restraint while racing wide in fifth.
"I didn't want her getting away from me," Dettori said.
Garrett Gomez let Wait a While make her move before the quarter pole, but by then, Dettori had extricated himself from traffic, and Ouija Board was gearing up on the outside for a flying finish.
"When I straightened away, she found another gear," Dettori said. "From the furlong pole to the wire, it was just a time to enjoy the moment - and that doesn't happen very much."
"There really weren't too many concerns the whole race," said trainer Ed Dunlop, who confirmed that Ouija Board would make the last two starts of her career in the Japan Cup and the Hong Kong Vase. "We're in a privileged position with this horse."
Besides her seconds in 2004 and on Saturday, Film Maker finished third behind Intercontinental and Ouija Board in this race last year. Said trainer Graham Motion, "Maybe we'll come back next year when Ouija Board's not around."
But Saturday, with thronged fans cheering this wonderful mare and a flying Dettori dismount, most of Churchill Downs was glad Ouija Board was here.