Kicking off the championship races for the 2012 World Championships was the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint, a 6 furlong test over the main track restricted to 2-year-olds, and for this year's Championships, all juvenile races were run without race day medications. After Super Ninety Nine and South Floyd were scratched by the veterinarians, a Breeders' Cup record smallest field of just 5 entered the starting gate, with Tim Conway Stakes winner Merit Man sent off as the 1-2 favorite over the two fillies in the race, 7-2 second choice Sweet Shirley Mae off her runner-up finish in the Spinaway (G1), and 11-2 third choice Ceiling Kitty, winner of the Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot but seventh in the Cheveley Park (G1) last out.
Hightail and Merit Man battle down the stretch
Meit Man and Ceiling Kitty battled for the lead down the backstretch and around the turn through fractions of 22.41 and 45.94 while stalked by 9-1 Hazardous. Ceiling Kitty tired at the top of the lane allowing Merit Man to inherit the ead, but 15-1 longest shot Hightail, fourth early, came on late to win by a nose in 1:09.75. It was a long 2 1/4 lengths back to Sweet Shirley Mae third. The lead pair bumped in the stretch leading to an inquiry but the stewards allowed the result to stand.
This win was the 19th Breeders' Cup win for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who last won in 2005 with Folklore in the Juvenile Fillies.
Hightail wins the Juvenile Sprint
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show
1 Hightail Maragh 32.80 7.20 3.40
3 Merit Man Valenzuela 2.40 2.10
7 Sweet Shirley Mae Rosario 2.40
Winning Time: 1:09.75
$1 Exacta 1-3 25.30
$1 Trifecta 1-3-7 60.90
$1 Superfecta 1-3-7-6 161.80
Left: Hightail in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Rajiv Maragh said, "My horse broke and was up close and the speed developed in front of him and the favorite was right in front of me so it kinda worked out good for me to stay on the rail and follow the horse that I thought was going to kick in during the stretch. I had to wait a moment to see what Patrick Valenzuela (aboard Merit Man) was going to do, and I had to go up on the inside. Once I got up on the inside he saw that I got there, but he established the position and he initiated contact with my horse."
Right: Hightail in the post parade. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said of the horse possibly running in the Kentucky Derby, "We will look at this horse seriously because I think he's versatile. A dear friend of mine appointed this horse out, actually bought him as a yearling, John McKay at Little Rock, Arkansas. He pointed that horse out in a sale and we bought him because of that and nothing would please me more to do than what you're saying, and instead we will stretch him out to 1 1/4. He has the pedigree and enough tactical speed, he's a big strong horse, sound and hell, we'll nominate him, you know that!
Left: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Merit Man returns after the race. Trainer Bob Hess Jr. said, "Patrick said (Hightail) came out and bumped him a couple times. He dropped back a neck or so and came back to be beat a nose. It is what it is. This guy needs a target. He had no target. When South Floyd came out of the race (late scratch at gate), it was almost a negative." Jockey Patrick Valenzuela added, "He shot out of there and we were there most of the way. The stewards made the decision, but I still thought I was on the best horse."
Right: Third place finisher Sweet Shirley Mae in the post parade. Jockey Joel Rosario said, "I thought they (Hightail and Merit Man) were going to go the way they did. She ran a good race. They were just a little better. It was a good race for her."
Breeders' Cup Saturday Results - There were 9 races Saturday highlighted by the $5 million Classic where American Pharoah was an impressive winner in his final start before retiring to stud. Also on the card, Found won the Turf, Nyquist won the Juvenile, and Tepin won the Mile. Get the results, charts, and photos for all 9 races here. Get more photos and comments for each race here.
Breeders' Cup Friday Results - There were 4 races Friday highlighted by the Distaff where Stopchargingmaria won by a neck over Stellar Wind and the Dirt Mile won by Liam's Map. Get the results, charts, and photos for all 4 races here.
Thursday Breeders' Cup Photos - Photos and comments for 38 horses out on Thursday morning at Keeneland on both the main and training tracks, including American Pharoah. Beholder was also out, but was found to have bled when scoped and is scratched from the Classic.
Wednesday Breeders' Cup Photos - Photos and comments for 46 horses out on a very rainy Wednesday morning at Keeneland on both the main and training tracks, including Keen Ice, Frosted, and Golden Horn. No American Pharoah yet, hopefully he comes out tomorrow.
2015 Breeders' Cup Entries - Check out the entries, post postitions, and morning line odds for the 13 Breeders' Cup World Championship races to be held at Keeneland on October 30 and 31.
The Breeders' Cup Championship Day - The official page for the Breeders' Cup championship races. Just about anything you need to know about it: results, video clips, and race calls for past years, and eventually nominations, entries, and results.
Free Prep Replays - for major prep races in the Breeders' Cup Challenge. The ones with camera logos have video available.
Breeders' Cup Supplemental Entries - The old official policy on supplemental entries plus all the supplemental entries and how they fared, mostly it was a losing proposition. There are no more supplements now, only late nominations making it impossible to track now.