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Vino Rosso beats out McKinzie in stretch to win Breeders' Cup Classic

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Vino Rosso won the $6 million Classic at the Breeders' Cup by 4¼ lengths, upsetting 5-2 favorite McKinzie in a race overshadowed by a fatal injury to 15-1 long shot Mongolian Groom on Saturday night.

Vino Rosso went off at 9-2 odds for trainer Todd Pletcher, who won his first Classic to cap the two-day world championships at Santa Anita.

"It's one thing that was missing,'' Pletcher said. "It feels great.''

McKinzie, the 5-2 favorite, finished second for trainer Bob Baffert. Higher Power was third and Elate, a 5-year-old mare taking on the boys, finished fourth.

Vino Rosso covered the distance in 2:02.80 and paid $11.20, $5.80 and $4. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. earned a leading fourth Cup victory in a weekend that featured just three victories by favorites.

Mongolian Groom was euthanized after veterinarians identified a serious fracture to his left hind leg.

Before the euthanization, winning co-owner Mike Repole called Mongolian Groom's injury "the worst part of this game."

"For us, horse safety is very, very important. Prayers for the horse. Prayers for the connections of the horse. It's got to be really, really tough. It's very sad," Repole said.

Pletcher said he was concerned about horse safety at Santa Anita coming into the season-ending world championships.

"We were anxious, not only for running in huge races like this, but hoping everything would go smoothly and safely,'' he said. "Everyone took every precautionary measure they possibly could.''

Saturday's biggest upset belonged to 14-1 long shot Belvoir Bay in the $1 million Turf Sprint. The 6-year-old mare beat the boys for a 1¼-length victory. She paid $31.60 to win.

Trainer Chad Brown won a leading three Cup races over the two days to move into a second-place tie for career victories with Baffert at 15.

Ireland's Joseph O'Brien made history. At 26, he became the youngest trainer to win a Cup race with Iridessa's neck victory in the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf. He beat his father, Aidan, who saddled Just Wonderful to a fifth-place finish.

Iridessa was the day's second-longest priced winner at 13-1 odds, paying $28.40 to win.

Joseph O'Brien also joined Freddie Head as the only people to train and ride a Cup winner. O'Brien won the 2011 Turf with St Nicholas Abbey before eventually growing too tall to remain a jockey.

Iridessa earned the only European victory of the weekend.

The weekend's biggest shocker occurred in the $2 million Juvenile on Friday. Storm the Court won by a neck. He paid $93.80 at 45-1 odds, the highest payout in the race's 35-year history.

In other races Saturday:

  • Bricks and Mortar won the $4 million Turf by a head to complete a perfect season and move solidly into contention for Horse of the Year honors. He's 6-for-6 this season and has won seven in a row dating to last year.

  • Covfefe won the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint by three-quarters of a length as the 3-2 favorite.

  • Spun to Run won the $1 million Dirt Mile by 2¾ lengths at 9-1 odds, upsetting even-money favorite Omaha Beach.

  • 9-5 shot Mitole won the $2 million Sprint by 1¼ lengths for his sixth win in seven starts this year.

  • Uni won the $2 million Mile on the turf by 1¼ lengths over 3-1 favorite Get Stormy.

  • Blue Prize rallied from second to last on the backstretch to win the $2 million Distaff by 1½ lengths, upsetting even-money favorite Midnight Bisou, who lost for the first time in eight races this year.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.