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Hollywood Derby Day
Miesque's Approval and jockey Eddie Castro in the winner's circle.
The $2 million NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) saw a full field of fourteen older horses go 1 mile around two turns of the turf course at Churchill Downs. European invader Araafa was the lukewarm 3-1 choice off his second place finish in the Queen Elizabeth II last time out, with top American rider John Velazquez getting the mount. Also in the field was the filly Gorella, sent off as the 7-2 second choice off of her three race winning streak including the Just A Game, the Beverly D, and the First Lady, and 4-1 third choice Aragorn, the pride of California having won the Oak Tree Mile, the Del Mar Breeders' Cup, the Eddie Read, and the Shoemaker Breeders' Cup.
The field in the clubhouse turn with eventual winner Miesque's Approval next to last.
32-1 Japanese-bred Silent Name was allowed an uncontested lead first time past the stands and around the clubhouse turn through a quarter in 23.32 and a half in 46.76 while being chased by 14-1 Badge of Silver. Down the backstretch, Badge of Silver moved up alongside the pacesetter but Silent Name stubbornly hung on to the lead through 3/4 in 1:10.98. Through the stretch, Badge of Silver finally shook off Silent Name who faded to sixth, but favorite Aragorn and 24-1 outsider Miesque's Approval were just hitting their best strides having raced near the back early. The longshot got the jump on the favorite, as Miesque's Approval took the lead inside the 1/8 pole and easily held off the onrushing Aragorn to prevail by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:34.75. It was just a head back to Badge of Silver in third, and another neck back to 21-1 Sleeping Indian in fourth in a tight photo for the place and show spots. Favorite Araafa settled in sixth early but failed to fire late, finishing ninth.
Miesque's Approval wins by 2 3/4 lengths at odds of 24-1 in the Mile.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 10 Miesque's Approval Castro 50.60 17.20 10.40 7 Aragorn Nakatani 5.80 4.40 8 Badge of Silver Prado 9.80 Winning Time: 1:34.75 $2 Exacta 10-7 246.00 $2 Trifecta 10-7-8 4,781.60 $2 Superfecta 10-7-8-4 98,585.40Results chart
Jockey Eddie Castro celebrates his first Breeders' Cup win aboard Miesque's Approval. Castro said, "Marty (Wolfson) gave me instructions to ride him the same way as in the Sunshine Millions. I took him back and at the 3/8 pole started to move, and then I took a chance to take him to the outside. He likes to be on the outside."
Owner Charlotte Weber of Live Oak Plantation leads Miesque's Approval to the winner's circle. Weber said, "I would have to say being at a number of these before, for me (this moment is) right up there on the top. I want to thank Eddie and Marty and Johnny Carnes, our farm trainer, who was the one who convinced me to put him back into training, and this team here before you is the team that has gotten the horse where he is. Usually when a horse isn't performing well, we take him home, reevaluate him. Marty came to me and he was interested, and I thought, freshen the horse, see we're he'll go. We sent him down south, and that's how we put the team together."
Miesque's Approval in the post parade. Winning trainer Martin Wolfson said, "I knew he was going to make a real race of it. At the top of the stretch, even though he goes wide, his best races are when he's fanned wide, but once they straighten out, he's got a really terrific turn afoot, and I didn't know if he'd get there, and then at the 1/8 pole I knew he was going win. I didn't know how far he would win by."
Second place finisher Aragorn in the post parade. His jockey Corey Nakatani said, "I was sitting in a real good spot about 4 or 5 lengths behind, but he was struggling with the track. He ran as good as he did strictly on class and because he's got a lot of heart. Normally he just kicks it off and cruises along and when I turn him loose he just blows by them." Trainer Neil Drysdale added, "He tried his heart out but he couldn't handle the ground, it was too soft for him. He wasn't going to get there."
Third place finisher Badge of Silver in the post parade. His jockey Edgar Prado said, "He ran a super race. (Trainer) Bobby (Frankel) had him ready to run against an A-plus field and he did. My horse never gave up." Owner Ken Ramsey added, "I think that's a hell of a success against this kind of field not having run since January. That's a lot of publicity for him as a stud."
Ninth place finisher and beaten favorite Araafa takes off after the post parade. His trainer Jeremy Noseda said, "I'm really disappointed but he had no excuses. He didn't really fire on the day." Jockey John Velazquez added, "We got a good position going into the first turn. I got him running and he just flattened out down the lane. He didn't move on."
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