Regally Ready, confidently ridden by Corey Nakatani, streaked home to win the Grade 2 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs by a length and a half over late-running Country Day. Perfect Officer finished third, and Great Attack ran fourth.
Regally Ready, a 4-year-old gelding by More Than Ready, is trained by Steve Asmussen for Vinery Stables. More Than Ready sired two previous Breeders' Cup winners, both last year: More Than Real in the Juvenile Fillies Turf and Pluck in the Juvenile Turf. He currently ranks fifth among all North American sires on the general sire list.
Regally Ready covered the 5 furlongs on the turf in :56.48, tracking Rapport from second through early fractions of :22.45 and :44.81. He returned $6.60, $4.60, and $3.00 as the favorite.
Regally Ready was winning for the ninth time in 17 career starts. He was coming off a hard-fought neck victory in the Grade 1 Nearctic Stakes on a yielding turf course at Woodbine on Oct. 16. Earlier this year, Nakatani guided the Vinery colorbearer to a 1 1/4 length win in the Grade 3 Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day. As Vinery president Tom Ludt pointed out, Regally Ready loves the Santa Anita turf course, where he's won 3-of-4 starts, and the hope is to have him at the Southern California track in November 2012 to defend his title in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Ludt also hinted, without saying which races specifically, that Vinery has international races in mind for Regally Ready.
Asmussen and Nakatani were teaming up for their second victory in the 2012 championships. The jockey-trainer combo won the Juvenile Fillies with My Miss Aurelia on Friday. This was Nakatani's ninth Breeders' Cup victory overall and the third for Asmussen.
This was the first victory for Tommy Simon's Vinery as owner or breeder. The Lexington, Ky., farm stands More Than Ready and bred Regally Ready in the name of Grapestock LLC. Earlier this year, Ludt was elected chairman of the Breeders' Cup board of directors. Simon, a retired corporate attorney, lives in Mallorca, Spain, and at the Kentucky farm's residence.
More Than Ready raced for James Scatuorchio and was trained by Todd Pletcher, winning 7-of-17 starts, including the Grade 1 King's Bishop. He finished fourth behind Fusaichi Pegasus in the 2000 Kentucky Derby and ran fifth to Kona Gold in that year's Breeders' Cup Sprint. He is a leading sire for Vinery in both Australia and North America.
Regally Ready has a heavy dose of Northern Dancer blood, through More Than Ready's sire, Southern Halo, who is out of a mare by the great Canadian-bred champion racehorse and sire; and through the male and female family of Kivi, the dam of Regally Ready. She is by King of Kings, a son of the Northern Dancer stallion Sadler's Wells, and out of Vilikaia, a daughter of Northern Dancer's sire son Nureyev.
Steve Asmussen (trainer, Regally Ready, 1st) – “Today, that was absolutely awesome. Absolutely awesome.”
Corey Nakatani (jockey, Regally Ready, 1st) – “The Asmussen team did a great job with this horse and that race at Woodbine (the Nearctic) set him up perfectly for this race. We got away in good shape and had a perfect trip. He was composed and focused. When he started pulling away down the stretch it just showed how good a horse he is.”
Steve Margolis (trainer, Country Day, 2nd) – “The horse put in a big effort. In the Woodford (3rd), we said if he was doing good we'd take a shot. He had two good works over the turf course with James (jockey Graham). We knew we'd be a longshot but we also knew we had a live horse.”
James Graham (jockey, Country Day, 2nd) – “He ran great, great position and finished well. I just couldn't catch the winner. If you look at the replay you'll say the same thing. I thought when we straightened up that he had a big shot. The other horse (Regally Ready) was getting away from us a little bit, but that was it. He ran the best race he could ever run. I don't ever give up, and he never did.”
Michael Pino (trainer, Perfect Officer, 3rd) – “We were wanting to be a little closer. He kind of got out of the race a little bit, but he showed courage and ran a good race. I'm proud of the horse. We've come a long way and wanted to win, but I'm happy with the effort.”
Kendrick Carmouche (jockey, Perfect Officer, 3rd) – “I wish I could have been more to the front, because on turf that is this soft, you have to be closer to the lead. I'm proud of him. That horse (Hoofit) blew the turn and carried about five horses out with him and that allowed me to get a clear path. He ran a big race.”
Joe Talamo (jockey, Caracortado, 5th as second choice) – “It wasn't a bad effort considering we came from the (13) hole. I just don't think he liked the soft going. It's not like California.”
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