Arlington Million day
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Jockey Rafael Bejarano gives the victory sign while owner Frank Stronach leads Ginger Punch to the winner's circle.
A field of twelve older fillies and mares went to the gate in the $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1), contested at 1 1/8 miles on the main track at Monmouth Park. Gazelle (G1) winner Lear's Princess was sent off as the lukewarm 4-1 favorite over 9-2 second choice Ginger Punch, winner of the Go For Wand and Ruffian, but 3rd in the Beldame (all G1) in her final prep. Beldame winner Unbridled Belle was the 6-1 third choice on the board.
First time by with Bear Now leading over Hystericalady, Indian Vale, and Lady Joanne.
Ginger Punch wins the Distaff over Hysterical Lady and Octave
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 4 Ginger Punch Bejarano 11.00 6.20 4.40 12 Hystericalady Castro 9.60 7.20 8 Octave Gomez 5.00 Winning Time: 1:50.11 $2 Exacta 4-12 141.60 $1 Trifecta 4-12-8 534.70 $1 Superfecta 4-12-8-5 3,418.50Results chart
Owner Frank Stronach holds Ginger Punch in the winner's circle. Her jockey Rafael Bejarano said, "I was trying to go with the speed and try to come in outside and follow the speed. But she was different in the race. So when I'm through the other horse, you know, staying next to me on the upside, I have no choice but to keep going. But if I can be on the outside, she can win really easy because the last couple three times, she won like that."
Ginger Punch in the paddock. Chad Brown, assistant to her trainer Bobby Frankel said, "She came down a couple days ago from Belmont. Bobby said 'leave it up to Rafael (Bejarano). He's ridden the horse so well.' This filly has come a long way. Bobby never lost confidence in her. I'm so happy for the filly. We've had her since she was two. She's a real tough filly. At one point of the race it looked like she went into the rail. She's tough and has always been a fighter."
Left: Ginger Punch gets her winner's blanket.
Righte: Owner and breeder Frank Stronach waves to the photographers. Stronach said, “Most times if you produce products, you can weigh it, scale it, engineer it, so there's no comparison. There's no comparison if you make a motor or a dashboard. This just gives you much more of a high. any time you win a great win or especially the Breeders' Cup, you don't care what it wins by. But if you know you own the sire and you own the mare, then it's great. Now we have to be thinking on what we need to put in our Ginger Punch to make it more spicy.”
Second place finisher Hystericalady heads out for the post parade. Her jockey Eddie Castro said, "She tried the whole way. I lost position a little on the first turn and then coming into the stretch, I had to get around (Bear Now). I didn't know whether to go inside or outside. We bumped a little in the stretch."
Her trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said, "We
lost. I wanted to win. That's why we're here. I'm not going to get into
that (the post), I don't have any excuses.
Third place finisher Octave returns after the race covered in mud. Her jockey Garrett Gomez said, "It was a good run from her. When I came off the turn, I actually thought I had them, but she kind of idled on me a little. I got within about two lengths and she just flattened out on me. I had to fight my way through some spots and take what was given to me. Every time I needed her to hit a hole, she did it."
Her trainer Todd Pletcher said, "I thought we had a
big chance to run them down and she was trying at the end. She just
couldn't quite get there. It took her a while to get going. She was
really climbing the first part, and that little bit of position probably
hurt her from that initial onslaught of slop hitting her in the face.
She got a beautiful trip from that point on. She was working her way up
and down the first three-eighths. Once she leveled off, she ran great."
Tenth place finisher and beaten favorite Lear's Princess in the post parade. Her jockey Eibar Coa said, "She just hated this track today. She was never comfortable."
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