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Mile winner Val Royal with a jubilant Jose Valdivia up

Breeders' Cup Mile

Dateline: 10/27/01

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Due to a recent drought the course was be much harder than it usually is this time of year and lightning fast for this year's grass events. Speedster City Zip went straight for the front and held the lead almost to the top of the stretch, setting swift early fractions of 22.79, 45.49, and 1:08.65. Forbidden Apple had tracked the early leaders and saved ground on the turn, and he finally gained the lead in mid-stretch. But City Zip's early speed had set things up perfectly for the closers, as he weakened late and finished ninth. Val Royal, a 9% supplement, came from next to last early on, angled out and accelerated through the stretch for a length win in stakes-record time of 1:32.05 by 1 3/4 over Forbidden Apple. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to Bach, who had been as far back as 6th early on, launched a rally between horses on the turn and got up for third inside the 1/8 pole. Favorite Noverre finished seventh, having raced in 7th or 8th place the entire distance and never able to challenge.

Pgm  Horse              Jockey            Win   Place  Show
12   Val Royal          Valdivia        12.20    6.40  5.10
 1   Forbidden Apple    Nakatani                 8.60  6.20
 4   Bach               Kinane                        12.40

Winning Time:  1:32.05

$2 Exacta 12-1              105.50
$2 Trifecta 12-1-4        2,445.00
Results Chart from Equibase


Val Royal shoots past Forbidden Apple to take the lead in the stretch.


Jockey Jose Valdivia celebrates his first Breeders' Cup victory on Val Royal in the Mile. Interestingly, Valdivia's uncle Fernando Toro was a winning jockey in the very first Breeders' Cup at Hollywood Park in 1984.


Val Royal and Jose Valdivia take their walk down Victory Lane. Valdivia said: "He's just an awesome horse. Julio Canani did an amazing job. Unbelievable horse. Julio told me to try not to move too soon, and that's what I did. I didn't want to be cute and weave my way through traffic. When he switched leads he gave me a powerful kick and I knew nobody could beat him."


Val Royal was quite nervous in the winner's circle and didn't want to pose for the camera.


Trainer Julio Canani was all smiles after winning his second career Breeders' Cup race. He said: "Well, he runs like a Mercedes. Only thing I can tell you. He was doing amazing things when we worked him in the morning. He's an amazing animal, so much talent. I love the number 12." Both of Canani's winners, the other was Silic in the 1999 Mile, wore saddlecloth number 12.


Val Royal in the post parade.


Second place finisher Forbidden Apple in the post parade. Jockey Corey Nakatani said: "My horse was running a big race. It was a record, what can I say? They all ran a big race. My horse ran a track record too. He (Val Royal) went by me. My horse ran a big race and it took a special horse to get by me." Trainer Christophe Clement added: "It was a great race and a great ride. We just got beat by the best horse, which means we have the second best (turf miler) in the world."


Third place finisher Bach in the post parade. Jockey Michael Kinane said: "We had a very good trip. He traveled real sweet. This was his best race of the year. This was his kind of turf."


Lukewarm 4-1 favorite Noverre finished seventh. Jockey Frankie Dettori said: "Something went wrong. I got out there on the turn and he didn't feel right. I think something happened beneath. Something might come up (physical problem) tomorrow. When I asked him, there was just nothing there and that's not him. Something probably will come up tomorrow."

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Photos ©2001, Cindy Pierson Dulay and Terence Dulay