Ouija Board leaves no doubters
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas -- Neither a long trip, slow pace, or soft course could deter Ouija Board from proving she was the best female turf horse in the world following her 1 1/2-length victory over Film Maker in Saturday's $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
Ouija Board, a 3-year-old daughter of Cape Cross, won both the English and Irish Oaks earlier this year and came to America off a third-place finish against males in the prestigious Arc de Triomphe. As a result of that record, she paid only $3.80 after covering a 1 3/8 miles in 2:18.25 under jockey Kieren Fallon. She was the shortest-priced winner on the Breeders' Cup card.
Moscow Burning set slow fractions of 26.42 seconds, 52.47, and 1:18.50 for the opening six furlongs. Fallon was able to guide Ouija Board into fourth position and get her over to the rail after the field had gone a half-mile, and kept her in perfect striking position until nearing the stretch.
Leaving the final turn, Fallon angled Ouija Board three wide to challenge Film Maker and Moscow Burning for the lead. Ouija Board reached the front at midstretch and surged away under steady urging. Film Maker attended the pace from the outset and engaged for the lead near the quarter pole. While no match for Ouija Board, Film Maker withstood the fast-closing Wonder Again by a neck to finish second.
"I was very concerned about the pace, but Kieren rode a fantastic race," said Dunlop. "I was also worried about the course, it was a lot looser than I'd thought it might be, but fortunately she handled it well. She's a fantastic filly."
Ouija Board is the only horse Lord Derby has in training this season and the first Dunlop has ever trained for Lord Derby, who is the 19th Earl of Derby, with a family tradition in the sport that dates back to the 18th century.
"It's a dream came true," said Lord Derby. "This is absolutely unbelievable. Give all the credit to Ed Dunlop and his crew. They did a great job holding this filly together through a very long year."
Trainer Graham Motion was extremely pleased with the performance of Film Maker.
"I'm very happy. We got beat by the best filly in the world," said Motion. "Give all the credit to the winner and her connections. It was very sporting of them to come all the way over here and compete in this race. I felt very good about running my horse today, and I really felt good at the quarter pole as she moved in on the leader. I just didn't know that was Ouija Board right behind her."