Belmont Derby Day
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Jockey John Velazquez and English Channel after the race.
A field of just eight went to post in the $3 million John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf, contested at 1 1/2 miles around three turns of the soft turf course at Monmouth Park. Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1) and Irish Champion Stakes (G1) winner Dylan Thomas was sent off at 9-10 favorite over top American hope English Channel at 3-1, winner of the United Nations (G1) and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1). Last year's winner Red Rocks was back to defend his title, and was the 6-1 third choice despite only winning once this year, in the Gordon Richards (G3).
English Channel starts to draw off in the stretch with Shamdinan, Fri Guy, and Dylan Thomas behind him.
English Channel wins the Turf.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 6 English Channel Velazquez 8.00 4.40 3.00 4 Shamdinan Leparoux 17.60 9.40 2 Red Rocks Dettori 4.60 Winning Time: 2:36.96 $2 Exacta 6-4 152.00 $1 Trifecta 6-4-2 282.70 $1 Superfecta 6-4-2-3 1,234.60Results chart
Trainer Todd Pletcher helps put the winner's blanket on English Channel in the winner's circle. Pletcher said, "He delivered big-time today. That was a big performance. He dominated some really good horses. I was concerned (about the course condition). Obviously, it was extremely soft, but he ran an unbelievable race."
English Channel gets his flowers. His jockey John Velazquez said, "We got the perfect trip. Our plan was to save ground and wait as long as possible before we made our move. Everything was perfect. Last year (in the Breeders' Cup), we had an outside post and he never relaxed. This year, he's older and he has learned to relax. That was the key today."
Left: English Channel in the post parade.
Right: Owner James Scatuorchio gives him a kiss as he comes to the winner's circle. Scatuorchio said, “He is a very popular horse and I'm going to miss racing him and he's been tremendous for our family. He's worked hard enough and someone was nice enough to make a deal with me the last week or so, so I'm thrilled for him. I'm not going to divulge it now. I always thought he was a champion and nothing takes away from Dylan Thomas. I would not beat him in France with those courses up and down. He was on my home court today and we caught a track that was not favorable to him so today was our day. That's what racing is about.”
Second place finisher Shamdinan in the paddock. His jockey Julien Leparoux said, "He was very good today. He broke sharp and was very relaxed. I did my best to keep him that way - we just got beat by a better horse."
His trainer Angel Penna Jr. said, "I am very, very happy. He ran a tremendous race. He improved dramatically from his last race, and he got beat today by a very good horse."
Third place finisher Red Rocks and a muddy Frankie Dettori return after the race. His jockey Frankie Dettori said, "He was struggling on the ground on the inside, so I decided to go on the outside for a better turn of foot."
His trainer Brian Meehan said, "He was down on the inside and
(Dettori) said the ground was really bad there. When he
pulled him outside to make his run up the straight, he picked
up really well, but it was too late then. He said he needed to be on
the better ground. I'm really proud of him. He tried all right. He
Fifth place finisher and beaten favorite Dylan Thomas in the post parade. His jockey John Murtagh said, "It was not turf racing - look (as he pointed to his mud-covered silks). He was spinning his wheels out there. He even hated the warm-up, and this is a horse who loves his racing and everything about it. We had no chance."
His trainer Aidan O'Brien said, "He got the trip I
expected, but he just labored in the ground. I'd say the ground beat
him. He's such a lovely actioned horse that he likes firmer ground. But
we were here and I thought (his owners) were very sporting to let him
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