Monday, November 29, 2021

Corniche wins Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for Buffalo

DEL MAR, Calif. (NWN) — The Corniche has a bright future as the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Whether it includes the Kentucky Derby next year remains to be seen.

The 2-year-old colt won the $2 million race at Del Mar on Friday by 1 3/4 lengths, considering Mandal as the starting favorite for the derby at Churchill Downs, where his trainer Bob Baffert was banned.

Sent in as the 7-5 favourite, Cornish took the lead and remained under 56-year-old jockey Mike Smith. The 2-year-old Bay Colt ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:42.50.

“There’s something about the Breeders’ Cup, that for whatever reason, it takes me to another level,” said Smith, the event’s career money-winning leader among jockeys. “I turned 18 again and I just have a blast.”

Baffert was allowed to enter horses at the season-ending World Championships, but the event’s money-leading trainer had to meet certain conditions, including rigorous out-of-competition testing of his horses and more at his barn. Security was included. He agreed to the additional investigation and had to pay for it out of his own pocket.

Baffert was banned by Churchill Downs for the 2022 and 2023 Kentucky Derbys after the Medina Spirit finished earlier this year and then failed a post-race drug test. Involved medication is allowed in Kentucky, but not on race day. Baffert’s horses have had five failed drug tests in the past year.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has yet to make a final decision on the medina spirit.

“The Derby has come a long way and so right now my focus was on getting him here,” Baffert said of the Corniche. “We’ll see how it plays out. There’s still a lot of talk going on. A lot can happen between now and then.”

As part of their ban at Churchill, Baffert’s horses are not allowed to earn points in qualifying races that help determine the 20-horse field for the Derby.

Cornish paid $4.80 to win. Pappacap was second and the Giants were 1 1/2 lengths earlier in the game third. Baffert had two other runners in the race: Pinehart dead-hot for fifth and Barosa for seventh.

Jack Christopher, the starting 9-5 favorite, was scratched by the veterinarian because of a left shin problem.

All 10 races of the day – led by five cup races for 2-year-olds – went off safely on a foggy and unusually cold 60-degree (15 °C) day at a seaside track north of San Diego. .

In the last race of the day, Albahr was scratched by juvenile turf after a 2-year-old gelding flipped into the starting gate. Initially the crowd was told that the 2-1 favorite Modern Games had also suffered scratches. After a delay of several minutes, it was announced that Modern Games was running only for purse money; No bets were allowed on him.

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The Modern Games won and those who bet on them got their money back. Fans hooted in a crowd of 20,536 as the horses later returned to the grandstand. Both horses are trained by Charlie Appleby.

For the first time, all 14 races at the two-day world championships are being run without race-day drug permission.

Peter Flor said he and Speedway Stables partner Casey Weiner never considered taking Cornish to a different trainer.

“Bob is doing a great job,” Flor said. “We’re enjoying that moment and down the road we’ll focus on that.”

Some of Baffert’s clients have deserted him because of his legal woes.

“They stuck with me and it meant a lot to me,” he said of Flor and Weiner.

Trainer Christophe Clement fell 0-for-41 in the Breeders’ Cup when 9-2 shot Pizza Bianca went from last to first on the $1 million Juvenile Phillies turf.

Owned and raised by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, Pizza Bianca ran a mile in 1:36.08 and paid $21.80 to win. Jockey Jose Ortiz had a start-and-stop journey spanning the 2-year-old filly through a narrow opening created by traffic from a 14-horse field.

Racing resumed on Saturday with nine Cup races, topping the $6 million Classic.

Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. and trainer Wesley Ward continued to dominate the juvenile turf sprint as Twilight Glaming led every step of the day in the opening cup race.

Ortiz and Ward teamed up for their third straight win in the $1 million race.

Ward had two other runners in the 12-horse field, including the 9-5 favorite and the previously undefeated Everly Jane, who finished fifth.

Instead, it was Twilight Gleaming who took charge and stopped the Go Bears Go by half the length. Ward-trained coffeemaker was also in third place.

The filly, running against the Colts for the third time in a row, improved to three wins in five starts for Barbara Banke of Stonestreet Stables, who was recently named the first female chair of the Breeders’ Cup Board of Directors.

Twilight Glaming paid $12.40 to win and ran five furlongs in 56.24 seconds.

Echo Zulu became an early favorite for the 2022 Kentucky Oaks with a major win over the $2 million Juvenile Phillies.

Iko Zulu took charge from the starting gate and was never threatened. She rolled to a 5 1/4-length victory on the map of JuJu. She ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:42.24 and $3.60 to win as the 4-5 favorite.

Echo Zulu improved to 4 for 4 this year, giving Rosario their 14th Cup win.

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Associated Press freelancer Mike Farrell contributed to this report.

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