Please enjoy the fourth installment of my “2013 Breeders’
Cup Highlights” series, which features the greatest personal moments of my Breeders’ Cup experience.
Highlight Four: The Juvenile Turf
The second race of the 2013 Breeders’
Cup, the Juvenile Turf proved itself as one of the most exciting races for
me personally. The first three finishers were my top three selections, crossing the wire in the same order in which
I had predicted.
Sent off as the third choice in a field of thirteen, the British-bred Outstrip carried the royal blue silks
of Godolphin Racing to post with Mike Smith aboard, his gray frame
capturing my attention in the post parade just as it had done during his morning outings leading up to race
day. Tucking into a position near the rear of the field, Outstrip remained
several lengths behind the leaders as the two-year-olds entered the first turn
of Santa Anita’s turf course.
The gray/roan son of Exceed and Excel maintained his far-back position down the
backstretch, loping along comfortably beneath Smith. Around the final bend,
Outstrip inched closer to the vanguard, advancing along the rail. Swinging to
the outside at the top of the stretch, the Charles
Appleby trainee displayed a spectacular turn of foot as he closed the gap
between him and the frontrunners, running down top choices Giovanni Boldini and
Bobby’s Kitten in the final stages to score by a half-length.
Outstrip’s victory served as Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith’s second of three
victories on the weekend, as well as the first in a dominant string of turf
triumphs by European-based horses on the Santa Anita turf at the 2013
championships. His win in the Juvenile Turf marked the third consecutive
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf victory for a European-based two-year-old.
Unfortunately, the Juvenile Turf has not yet produced a star in its seven
runnings. The first two winners, Nownownow and Donativum, only won once in a
plethora of starts after their Breeders’ Cup triumph. The victor of the third
edition, Pounced, never raced again and none of the past three winners have won
since taking the Juvenile Turf.
However, Outstrip could be the one to change this trend. In his four starts
before the Breeders’ Cup, the colt garnered two wins, a second, and a third.
After winning his debut at Newmarket in June, he finished a good second in a
group two event at Goodwood prior to running away with the Champagne Stakes
(gr. II) at Doncaster. Taking on group one company in the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes
(gr. I) at Newmarket in his last start before traveling to Santa Anita,
Outstrip finished less than three lengths behind one of Europe’s best
two-year-olds, War Command.
His Juvenile Turf victory resulted in the fastest time ever recorded in the
race, as he completed the mile in 1:33.20 – a time that was .52 seconds faster
than that of Chriselliam in the Juvenile Fillies Turf later on the card and only
.73 seconds slower than that of 2012 Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the following day’s Breeders’ Cup Mile.
One of the most impressive Juvenile Turf winners to date, Outstrip is certainly
royally bred, being a son of one of Australia’s top sires – Exceed and Excel –
and the grade one-winning mare Asi Siempre. Sharing his sire with six other
grade/group one winners, including the outstanding miler Excelebration, Outstrip is a fine example of Exceed and Excel's success with two-year-olds.
Whether Outstrip faces the same fate as the past Juvenile Turf winners or not remains
to be seen, but he certainly offers hope that he could put an end to the
unsuccessful pattern of the winners of this race. Could racing fans have
witnessed a star in the making when Outstrip powered across the finish line at