The $2 million Emirates Airline Filly and Mare Turf (G1) is for older fillies and mares going 1 1/4 miles on the Santa Anita turf course. 2008 winner Forever Together was sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the field of 8, exiting a third place finish in the First Lady at Keeneland after finishing 2nd by a nose in the Canadian Stakes at Woodbine. In to challenge her included 5-2 second choice Midday, third in the Prix de l'Opera at Longchamp after winning the Nassau at Goodwood, and 9-2 third choice Magical Fantasy, the top local hope, winner of the Gamely, the John Mabee, and the Yellow Ribbon.
Midday has the lead in mid-stretch while Forever Together is still last.
11-1 Visit was sent to the front first time past the stands by jockey John Velazquez, and she set slow early fractions of 24.14, 48.83, and 1:12.95 over the firm going while as many as 2 lengths in front of 14-1 Dynaforce and Midday who stalked her second and third respectively. Jockey Julien Leparoux kept Forever Together at the back of the field, 9 lengths off the pace. Visit continued to lead to the 1/8 pole through a mile in 1:36.08, but Midday, hugging the rail the whole way, came through a small opening to the inside to get to the front, holding off the late charge of 8-1 Pure Clan in the final strides to get the 1 length victory in 1:59.14. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to favorite Forever Together who had too much ground to make up in the lane.
Midday wins the Filly and Mare Turf
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show
6 Midday Queally 6.60 4.80 3.00
5 Pure Clan Gomez 7.80 4.00
2 Forever Together Leparouxz 2.40
Winning Time: 1:59.14
$1 Exacta 6-5 26.80
$1 Trifecta 6-5-2 96.00
$1 Superfecta 6-5-2-1 536.50
Left: Midday in the winner's circle with owner Prince Khalid Abdullah of Juddmonte Farm on the right. Her trainer Henry Cecil said, "It was lovely. I did fancy Father Time in the Marathon, but he just didn't seem to let himself go at all, so I was wondering what was going to happen here. It's a relief. It's great for the Prince. He has been a great supporter of mine. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here now. I was quite happy. They suddenly quickened up a bit, and when he asked her, she moved through nicely. She finishes well, and she gets the trip well. When she hit the front, I think she thought she had just enough for the end, and she had."
Right: The trophy presentation for the Filly and Mare Turf with owner Prince Khalid Abdullah and jockey Thomas Queally.
Left: Midday in the paddock before the race.
Right: Midday crosses over to the turf course before the race. Her jockey Thomas Queally, who got his first Breeders' Cup win in this race, said, "The biggest win of my career undoubtedly. She hit a flat spot over on the backside, and I had to get after her. She has a top gear that is really something, but we had to find it. When she quickens, it's just a dream. I saw lots of rails all the way around. It was a dream run. Nine times out of ten it won't work out that way for you, but today was the day. I am over the moon."
Second place finisher Pure Clan returns after the race. Her jockey Garrett Gomez said, "She came home great. She actually surprised me that she was coming home as well as she was because the last 1/16 mile it was like I'd put some new gas in the machine. I actually just accelerated, and it's been a while since I've seen one do that after going a mile. She really kicked it into a nice over-gear for us and she ran good, too bad I couldn't get her going sooner." Her trainer Bob Holthus added, "I'm really proud of her. Obviously she finished a lot better than she did in the race last year (10th). If the race had been a mile and three-eighths, she would have won it. Garrett (Gomez) gave her a really good ride."
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Forever Together in the post parade. Her trainer Jonathan Sheppard said, "I warned him (jockey Julien Leparoux) in the paddock that I didn't see much pace here, and told him you might want to be a little closer. I was very concerned after a quarter-mile that she was too far back. She made her run, she always does, but from an almost impossible position." Her jockey Julien Leparoux added, "She ran a good race; she ran her race. On the backside, I asked her a little bit just to stay with them. She made a good move from the 3/8 to the wire. I don't know, maybe she has lost a step, but not much. She just wasn't good enough today."
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