ARCADIA, Calif. — Roundup of Friday’s races at the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park:
16-1 Fierceness wins for Pletcher
Mike Repole has been down this path before. A promising colt of his wins the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, goes to the Kentucky Derby as the early favorite and then nothing.
Now, he’s pausing before getting consumed by Derby fever.
Fierceness won the $2 million Juvenile by 6 1/4 lengths at Santa Anita on Friday, a race won by trainer Todd Pletcher and owner-breeder Repole last year with Forte.
“They will all tell you to start thinking about the Derby,” Repole said. “I’m not going to think about the Derby with this race.” Forte came into the Kentucky Derby on a five-race winning streak and was the morning-line favorite only to be scratched hours beforehand because of a bruise in his right front foot. Repole’s Uncle Mo, the early Derby favorite in 2011, had to be scratched the day before the race because of a gastrointestinal infection.
Fierceness made quite the turnaround from a 20-length defeat in the Champagne Stakes nearly a month ago. He won his debut in the mud at Saratoga by 11 lengths before getting trounced.
Pletcher earned his 15th Cup victory, while John Velazquez notched his 20th, second among jockeys on the career list.
Muth, trained by Bob Baffert, was second. Locked, the 2-1 favorite also trained by Pletcher, was third.
No question about it
Unquestionable won the $1 million Juvenile Turf to salvage the day for Irish trainer Aiden O’Brien.
River Tiber, his best prospect, was scratched earlier Friday by the veterinarians. O’Brien said the colt was “a little bit stiff” in the morning.
That left O’Brien with two horses in the field and they went 1-2 as Unquestionable beat Mountain Bear by 1 1/2 lengths.
Mountain Bear was vanned off in an equine ambulance. He sustained a non-displaced condylar fracture to his left front leg. O’Brien said the colt is expected to fully recover and race next year.
JUVENILE TURF SPRINT
Euros sweep top spots
Big Evs kicked off the day’s five races for 2-year-olds with a half-length victory over Valiant Force in the $1 million Juvenile Turf Sprint.
Starlust took third as European runners swept the first three places in the five-furlong dash. The winning time was 55:31 seconds.
The colt improved to 4 for 6 as the first North American starter for both trainer Michael Appleby and jockey Tom Marquand.
Just F Y I a winner
Just F Y I extended her unbeaten streak to three with a 7-1 win in the $2 million Juvenile Fillies, giving Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his 13th Breeders’ Cup win.
Tamara, the 4-5 favorite, grabbed the early lead but faded at the top of the stretch, finishing seventh. Just F Y I and jockey Junior Alvarado were all out to hold off Jody’s Pride by a neck at the wire.
JUVENILE FILLIES TURF
Brown wins another
Trainer Chad Brown continued his dominance of the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf with his sixth win in the race as 9-1 shot Hard to Justify dug in for a half-length victory over Ireland-bred Porta Fortuna.
It was Brown’s 17th Cup win.