With no Wise Dan in the field this time to defend America’s honor, the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Mile came down to a pair of French trained colts, and in the end it was Karakontie who burst through horses in mid-stretch to get the jump on Anodin on his way to a one-length victory.
Karakontie, sent off at odds of 30-1, settled well off the fast early pace set by Obviously, as that one sped through his first three quarters in :21.95, :45.16 and 1:08.82. The son of Bernstein colt, gave chase on the outside, under jockey Stephane Pasquier. It looked like Obviously had a chance to take them all the way early in the lane, as he shook clear from the bid by race favorite Toronado when the 14-horse field spun out of the far turn, but the French colts were starting to uncoil their impressive runs.
Karakontie nimbly split horses in the lane and quickly grabbed the lead away from Obviously. Anodin, an improving full brother to Goldikova, was in full flight, but his rally never put the winner in danger. Trade Storm and Summer Front completed the top four spots. The final time for the one mile over the Santa Anita was 1:32.88.
“I had a bad draw on the outside but got a good position,” said Pasquier. “It is easier when you are on the best horse in the race and he gave me everything and quickened very well. Emotionally, this is the biggest win of my career, to win a Breeders’ Cup race here in America. The trainer didn’t give me any instructions. I just rode him like the quality horse he is. A mile is his distance.”
The Japanese-bred three-year-old, trained by Jonathan Pease, had been a model of consistency in each of his first six starts, including a pair of Group 1 wins at Longchamp, but had struggled in his latest two efforts, but both came with excuses. Today, there were no excuses needed, after finding room at the right time. The victory was his fifth, and biggest, in nine lifetime starts.
The surprise winner returned $62.00, $33.00 and $19.40 to his happy backers. His victory was the third in only seven Breeder’s Cup starters for Pease, while owners Flaxman Holdings won their second Breeders’ Cup race of the day, having scored earlier with Main Sequence in the Turf.