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Jockey Garrett Gomez celebrates aboard Life is Sweet after winning the Ladies' Classic with trainer John Shirreffs on the right.
The highlight race on Friday is the $2 million Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (G1), formerly known as the Distaff until 2007. A field of 8 older fillies and mares went 1 1/8 miles on the Pro-Ride synthetic surface, with Cotillion and Alabama Stakes winner Careless Jewel sent off as the 8-5 favorite. In to challenge her included 5-2 second choice Music Note, winner of the Ballerina and the Beldame Stakes, and 7-1 third choice Proviso, winner of the Prix du Pin and the Spinster.
Life Is Sweet (outside) starts to draw away on in the stretch.
First time past the stands, Careless Jewel and jockey Robert Landry sprinted away and set a very fast pace uncontested through fractions of 23.50, 45.78, and 1:09.74 while as many as 9 lengths in front of 16-1 Lethal Heat, in turn 2 lengths in front of the rest of the field. On the far turn, Careless Jewel tired and was easily passed by the whole field entering the homestretch. Proviso, who was 5th early, came on to take the lead at the 1/8 pole through 1 mile in 1:35.88, but 8-1 Life is Sweet and 7-1 Mushka, who trained the field for the first 3/4 mile, closed down the center of the track to pass tiring horses. Life is Sweet hit the line 2 1/2 lengths in front of Mushka in a time of 1:48.58. It was a length back to Music Note third. Favorite Careless Jewel finished 8th beaten 18 1/2 lengths.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 2 Life Is Sweet Gomex 18.20 8.00 5.00 3 Mushka Desormeaux 12.80 6.40 7 Music Note Maragh 3.20 Winning Time: 1:48.58 $1 Exacta 2-3 85.80 $1 Trifecta 2-3-7 523.60 $1 Superfecta 2-3-7-5 2,533.40 $2 Pick 6 $155,819.80Results chart
Left: Owner Martin Wygod leads Life Is Sweet into the winner's circle. Her jockey Garrett Gomez said, "I got her in gear about the 5/16th pole. I started to make my move on the outside, and I went around Kent Desormeaux (Mushka), and me and him kind of moved together a little bit. All of a sudden just as we turned for home they started to backup, and she was finding her best stride. Before I knew it, she had reached the front in quick fashion, and kept on well with her task."
Right: Owners Martin and Pam Wygod and trainer John Shirreffs celebrate with the Ladies' Classic trophies. Mr. Wygod said, "I knew that Life is Sweet was going to really put in a tremendous run. I told that to Garrett right before he got up on her. She was going to be a different filly. When I saw those fractions I realized we had a good shot. She did it easily. She really did. Right before the 1/4 pole. I could just see that she was doing it the right way, and plus in front was already getting a little late. We knew we had a hell of a shot."
Left: Life Is Sweet in the paddock with the crowd of fans watching.
Right: Life Is Sweet heads back to the barn after the race. Her trainer John Shirreffs said, "I've been waiting for Life is Sweet to do that (come from off the pace) for a couple of races now. She just looked great. She swung wide. She made a great run down the stretch. Just looked like her old self again. Over the summer she just wasn't getting into her races. Her last workout she had before her last workout was really good because she responded to what the rider asked. Then our last workout the rider didn't have to ask her to do anything, and she just did it as she did earlier in the year. So that was great. We always felt that she was going to run a big race today if the opportunity presented itself."
Left: Second place finisher Mushka returns after the race. Her jockey Kent Desormeaux said, "At the 1/4 pole, she felt like a winner. She cornered like she couldn't lose, but the winner came and got me." Leanna Willaford, assistant to trainer Bill Mott added "The pace really helped her and she just ran her race."
Right: Third place finisher Music Note comes backs to be unsaddled by trainer Saeed bin Suroor. Suroor said, "She was stuck behind with nowhere to go, but when the rider took a chance and moved her, she flew. But the winner was too far ahead by then." Her jockey Rajiv Maragh added, "She had a little bit of trouble in the stretch, but I don't think that cost her the race. The pace was fast, and I thought that she would get to it, but she just didn't have it."
Left: 8th place finisher and beaten favorite Careless Jewel was very fractious in the post parade and left it early. Her trainer Josie Carroll said, "Naturally I am a little disappointed. She's a young filly and she's had a tough season. She got tired at the end. The important thing is that she came back okay, and that was our main concern. She's a nice filly. And she's only 3 and has her whole career ahead of her."
Right: Careless Jewel leads first time by. She led through 6 furlongs in 1:09.74 before fading to finish last. Her jockey Robert Landry said, "She broke well. At the first 1/4 she was going okay, but then she locked on to the bridle and went as far as she could as fast as she could. That's not her. Normally she'll just relax. It's disappointing because she is a much better filly than she showed today. That's for sure. She's a great filly. She'll be back and she'll be bigger and stronger."
The horses break from the gate for the Ladies' Classic. Life Is Sweet (#2) broke slowly and was bumped and squeezed back at the start by eventual second place finisher Mushka.
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