ARCADIA, Calif. -- Donativum, the bad boy of the spring, has become Donativum, the star racehorse of the fall.
Back in June, Donativum was gelded after he displayed unruly behavior at trainer John Gosden's stable in England. Since then, he is unbeaten in three starts, the latest of which was Saturday's $1,130,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita.
Donativum wore down Westphalia in the final sixteenth to win by a half-length.
"In a two-turn mile, you do need luck," Gosden said. "It's never a race you can take for granted."
Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Donativum ($13.60) ran a mile on turf in 1:34.68. Coronet of a Baron finished third in the field of 12. The first three finishers all led in the final furlong.
Donativum was ninth of 12 after a quarter-mile and was still seventh with a quarter-mile remaining. Donativum was far enough back on the final turn that Dettori was concerned about traffic, but he found room at a pivotal time.
"I was concerned just before the straight of finding a way out," Dettori said. "I took no chances and angled him out when I could."
Donativum emerged between Westphalia and Grand Adventure before the eighth pole and began closing steadily.
"It took 100 yards to find top gear," Dettori said. "Once upsides [Westphalia], I knew he was in top flight and the job was done."
Westphalia, the 3-1 favorite, was unlucky on the final turn. Ridden by Johnny Murtagh, Westphalia was stuck behind rivals, needing racing room. Westphalia eventually found room and led briefly, but could not hold off the winner.
"I thought I'd quicken and win," Murtagh said. "Frankie just got me."
Coronet of a Baron, third or fourth through the first six furlongs, was beaten 2 1/4 lengths by Donativum after leading by a head at the eighth pole.
"I got beat by better horses," trainer Eoin Harty said.
Coronet of a Baron was second by a nose to BC Juvenile winner Midshipman in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity last month. The Juvenile Turf was Coronet of a Baron's turf debut.
Donativum has won 3 of 6 starts and $1,581,895 for owners Princess Haya of Jordan and Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Stable. Earlier this month, Donativum won the $1.7 million Tattersalls Timeform Million over seven furlongs at Newmarket, England, against 23 rivals.
Gosden has no second thoughts about gelding Donativum.
"He was a bit of a menace to the other horses," Gosden said. "He would spend a lot of time walking on his hind legs looking for the fillies. He was really a complete hooligan.
"I decided we better geld him. He wasn't going to make a stallion, that's for sure."
Not a stallion, obviously, but quite the outstanding young racehorse.
Oak Tree at Santa Anita, 6th Race - October 25, 2008