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2017 Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" Day at Santa Anita

Trainer Bob Baffert congratulates Drayden Van Dyke aboard Mubtaahij after winning the 2017 Awesome Again Stakes
Date: 09/30/2017

With the Breeders' Cup World Championships just 5 weeks away, horses hoping to compete in the main event are running their final prep races over the next 2 weeks, preferably in Breeders' Cup Challenge Series "Win and You're In" events, where the winner earns a guaranteed spot in the corresponding Championship race with travel expenses covered. Santa Anita Park's major preps were run on Saturday, under sunny skies and tamperatures in the mid 80's, with 16,592 fans in attendance at the historic Arcadia oval.

Mubtaahij returns after winning the Awesome Again Stakes (G1)

The $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes (G1) is a Challenge Series race in the Classic division, with a field of 7 older horses going 1 1/8 miles on the main track. Santa Anita Gold Cup (G1) winner Cupid was the 6-5 favorite over 3-1 Mubtaahij, unraced since 4th in the Dubai World Cup (G1), and 7-2 Breaking Lucky, 3rd in both the Stephen Foster (G1) and the Whitney (G1). 8-1 Midnight Storm set the pace of 23.20, 47.06, and 1:11.56 over the fast main track while pressed by 18-1 Donworth and stalked by 13-1 Curlin Rules. Turning for home, Mubtaahij, 6th early, swept 3 wide to lead through 1 mile in 1:37.75, and drew off to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Midnight Storm in 1:51.32. It was a head back to 25-1 longest shot Win the Space third, and 1/2 a length more to favorite Cupid fourth.

Results Chart

Winning trainer Bob Baffert said, "His last two works really impressed us. I just threw him in here and he has the class. He's proven. Even last year, those last few races in New York were pretty strong. He needed today. He got a little tired there at the end. He's good to have in the barn. It looks like he'll be in the Breeders' Cup Classic." Jockey Drayden Van Dyke added, "The trip was great. I was really keeping my eye on Cupid and taking my cue from him. I was placed where I wanted to be and didn't start asking him until late. But when I asked him, he responded."

Avenge after winning the Rodeo Drive (G1)

The $300,00 Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1) featured a field of 9 older fillies and mares going 1 1/4 miles on the turf, looking for automatic entry in the Filly and Mare Turf. John C. Mabee (G2) runner-up Goodyearforroses was the 11-10 favorite over 2-1 Avenge, 6th in the Yellow Ribbon (G2) and 6-1 Decked Out, 5th in the John C. Mabee. 13-1 Goldy Espony set the pace of 23.72, 47.50, and 1:11.34 while pressed by Avenge and Goodyearforroses and stalked by Avenge. Entering the lane, Avenge moved up to lead through 1 mile in 1:34.52. She opened up a 2 1/2 length lead midstretch, and was all out to hold off Goldy Espony by 3/4 length at the line in 1:58.74 over the firm course. It was a nose back to 11-1 Responsibleforlove third, while Goodyearforroses checked in 8th.

Results Chart

Trophy presentation for the Rodeo Drive in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Richard Mandella said, " I was impressed that she settled off the leader and that she had such a good finish. I felt better about it at the 1/4 pole. When she exploded away from there, you could tell it was working. But she's run so well on the lead, I wasn't looking to change it, but Baffert's horse took the place we were thinking of." Jockey Flavien Prat added, "Three Grade 1's, that's the first time for me. My filly was nice and relaxed. When Nakatani (Corey, aboard Goodyearforroses)) came to me at the 3/8, my filly grabbed the bit, but she stayed relaxed. I was a little surprised the other filly stopped like she did, but it worked out good for us. My filly kept running."

Bolt d'Oro wins the FrontRunner Stakes (G1)

The $300,000 FrontRunner Stakes (G1) is a Challenge Series race in the Juvenile division, with 9 two-year-old males going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Del Mar Futurity (G1) winner Bolt d'Oro was the 9-10 favorite over 3-1 Zatter, runner up in that race, and 7-2 Solomini, a debut winner last out. 72-1 Take the One O One set the pace of 23.17, 47.23, and 1:11.88 while pressed by Bolt d'Oro and stalked by 13-1 Texas Wedge. Turning for home Bolt d'Oro swept to the front, opening up a 3 length lead midstretch through 1 mile in 1:36.96. Kept to task by Corey Natakani, Bolt d'Oro drew off to win by 7 3/4 lengths over late-running Solomini in 1:43.54. It was another 2 1/2 lengths back to pacesetter Take the One O One third.

Results Chart

Bolt d'Oro heads to the winner's circle. Winning owner-trainer Mick Ruis said, "I just didn't want to rush him out in his 6 1/2 furlong debut or his 7 furlong race. Our goal was this race and the Breeders' Cup, and then give him a chance to grow up. Hopefully what dreams are made of is what this guy might be able to get us to. That's why we tried to stay on course and not get too excited about the Grade I at Del Mar. That was all on his natural talent." Jockey Corey Nakatani added, "I was more impressed when I watched the replay. I really liked the way he did it. He's confident wherever he is at, he is a special animal. Mick gave me the instructions and the horse did the rest. I'm looking forward to the Breeders' Cup as well as the first Saturday in May in Kentucky."

Moonshine Memories wins the Chandelier Stakes (G1)

The $300,000 Chandelier Stakes (G1) featured 8 two-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles looking for automatic entry in the Juvenile Fillies. Debut winner Alluring Star was the 9-5 favorite over 2-1 Moonshine Memories, winner of the Del Mar Debutante (G1), and 4-1 Piedi Bianchi, runner-up in that race. Alluring Star was quickest away through fractions of 23.03, 46.75, and 1:12.06 while pressed by Moonshine Memories and stalked by 32-1 Terra's Angel. Entering the lane Moonshine Memories moved up to lead through 1 mile in 1:38.87, and drew off to win by 2 3/4 lengths ovr Alluring Star in 1:46.32. It was a neck back to Piedi Bianchi third.

Results Chart

Winning trainer Simon Callaghan said, "I just like the way she sat off horses and relaxed really well. That's the key to getting these longer distances. We know she's got speed, and she's proven it in these two other races, but today she showed she relaxes, and that makes everyone's job easier." Jockey Flavien Prat added, "She's learned to relax, so that's great. She broke well, she sat off the pace, dropped the bit and relaxed well today. When I made my move, she was all there. Simon told me to break and just wait and see what the other speed was going to do but I kind of rode her the same as I did in the Debutante."

Paradise Woods wins the Zenyatta Stakes (G1)

Kicking off the stakes action on Saturday was the $300,000 Zenyatta Stakes (G1), with a field of 4 older fillies and mares (after 2 scratches) going 1 1/16 miles looking for a ticket to the Distaff. Santa Anita Oaks (G1) winner but Torrey Pines (G3) 6th place finisher Paradise Woods was the 1-2 favorite over 7-5 Faithfully, 3rd in the Clement Hirsch (G1), 8-1 Motown Lady, 3rd in the Tranquility Lake, and 32-1 Midnight Toast, 6th in the Santa Maria (G2). Paradise Woods was loose on the lead through fractions of 23.13, 46.89, and 1:11.50, 4 lengths clear of Motown Lady second. Turning for home Paradise Woods opened up a 6 length lead through 1 mile in 1:37.33, and cruised to a 5 1/4 length win over Faithfully in 1:44.34. It was a long 13 1/4 lengths back to Motown Lady third, and 9 1/4 more to Midnight Toast last.

Results Chart

Owner Martin Wygod and trainer Richard Mandella in the winner's circle. Wygod said, "It sure does feel good (to have her back in form), but she had good excuses in her last two races. I never lost confidence in her, and Richard never lost confidence in her, either. It always makes you feel good going into whatever we decide we want to do with her. It didn't take much out of her she was hardly blowing, and you could see he was having difficulty pulling her up." Trainer Richard Mandella added, "She's kind of gone south, mentally, on us. We had to get through some hard times, and we did. She responded. It was a lot of schooling. This was a relief. I was worried something would go wrong again, but it went right. The Distaff is the goal. I couldn't ask for more than what we had today."

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