Europe had its best-ever Breeders’ Cup meeting with six winners at Santa Anita in California, but their efforts were totally eclipsed by America’s darling Zenyatta, who became the first of her sex to win the event’s showpiece, the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The huge five-year-old mare had to come from last to first, overhauling Gio Ponte just before the line to extend her unbeaten record to 14.
Trained at nearby Hollywood Park by John Sherrifs and ridden by Mike Smith, Zenyatta was sent off favourite from the Aidan O’Brien-trained Rip Van Winkle, who in contrast to the Street Cry mare raced near the lead. But he could only finish 10th, beating two horses home.
John Sherriffs said: “Tears are coming to my eyes. I can’t believe it, what a great, great filly. She’s special. She came out on the wrong lead and took some time to get going but she’s all heart.”
Earlier in the day Conduit won a second consecutive Breeders’ Cup Turf for Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore, and French wonderfilly Goldikova repeated her 2008 success in the Mile under Olivier Peslier.
John Gosden and Frankie Dettori teamed up to win the Turf Juvenile with Pounced, and Godolphin took the dirt version with Vale Of York.
On the first day of the two-day meeting Henry Cecil finally won a Breeders’ Cup race when Midday, second in this year’s Oaks, took the Filly & Mare Turf. Johnny Murtagh and Aidan O’Brien were victorious in the first race, the mile and three-quarters Marathon, with the Giant’s Causeway-sired Man Of Iron.
Don’t miss H&H’s full report from the Breeders’ Cup, on sale this Thursday