Better Talk Now stays up for upset in Turf
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas -- Better Talk Now, an unheralded gelding based in northern Maryland, ran past the front-runners with surprising ease and survived a subsequent stewards' inquiry Saturday to pull the third-biggest upset in the history of the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf.
Kitten's Joy, the 7-10 favorite under John Velazquez, finished second, 1 3/4 lengths behind the winner, while Powerscourt, the 5-2 second choice, was another length back in third.
As expected, the California speedster Star Over the Bay opened a long early lead, but by the second and last time down the backstretch, the others were hard on his heels. Powerscourt, who had gotten away poorly from the gate, was the first to go past, with Kitten's Joy tagging along to his inside. By late on the far turn, Magistretti also had raced himself into contention, while Better Talk Now was making up serious ground.
Down the stretch, racing farthest outside, Better Talk Now drew off quickly after his brief encounter with the horses to his inside, finishing in 2:29.70 over a yielding turf course.
"I said, 'If he is going to win, today is going to be the day,' " said Dominguez.
Better Talk Now is owned by the Bushwood Stables of Brent Johnson of Oakton, Va. A 5-year-old gelding by Talkin Man, Better Talk Now was bred in Kentucky by the Wimborne Farm of Diane Perkins. His most notable previous victory came two starts beforehand in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga.
The Breeders' Cup victory was the first for the owner, trainer, and jockey. Motion, a 40-year-old native of England and a longtime Maryland resident who formerly worked for trainers Jonathan Sheppard and the late Bernie Bond, said Saturday was by far the biggest day of his career. Motion, whose primary training base is at Fair Hill, Md., also sent out Film Maker to a runner-up finish behind Ouija Board in the Filly and Mare Turf on Saturday.
Motion said he and Johnson had talked about not bringing Better Talk Now to the Turf, saying the gelding's final prerace workout on Oct. 22 at Fair Hill was "subpar."
"We were this close to not running," Motion said, holding his finger and thumb barely apart. "But he really had been doing good, and we talked it over, and now here we are."
The biggest upsets in Turf history came with Lashkari, 53-1 in 1984, and Miss Alleged, 42-1 in 1991.
Kitten's Joy, the heaviest favorite of the day, "looked like he struggled the whole way," said trainer Dale Romans. "But he tried. He showed the heart of a champion."