Robert P. Donaldson's Parx-based Spun To Run grabbed the lead at the start and never relinquished it on Saturday, winning the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at odds of 9-1. Fan-favorite Omaha Beach, the even-money choice in the race, rallied from well of the pace but couldn't catch the winner, finishing second by 2 3/4 lengths on the wire.
Spun to Run, a 3-year-old son of Hard Spun, is the first Breeders' Cup winner for trainer Juan Carlos Guerrero. Ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., the colt completed a mile over Santa Anita's fast main track in 1:36.58.
“This is a dream come true for me, this means everything to me. Everything,” said Guerrero. “Since the minute we got him he's been a special horse to us. He's so good about everything. He's a colt, but he's not mean. He loves to run. He's a dream horse. When I put the full cup blinkers on him (before the Haskell, third), the next day he galloped so perfect I thought 'wow, this is going to be a fun road with him.' He was a different horse after I put the blinkers on. I really expected him to go wire-to-wire today. I just wanted my rider to let him run and show how he can run. A horse who can do what he can do, you've just got to let him run. This means so much to me. So much. It puts me at a different level as a trainer.”
Very sharp out of the gate for Ortiz, Spun to Run went straight to the lead over his rival speedsters Coal Front and Mr. Money. With a one-length advantage into the clubhouse turn, Spun to Run raced the first quarter-mile in 23.05 seconds while looking very comfortable on the front end. Blue Chipper, the first South Korean horse to compete in a Breeders' Cup race, moved up on the outside to be second down the backstretch ahead of Mr. Money.
After a half in 46.51 seconds, Spun to Run still had a comfortable 1 1/2-length advantage over Blue Chipper. Meanwhile, favorite Omaha Beach was a half-step slow at the start and found himself back in sixth early on, at least seven lengths off the leader.
Omaha Beach started to advance on the turn, going five wide around rivals to be third heading into the stretch. Though the pre-race favorite for the Kentucky Derby made a good run down the lane, he was unable to catch Spun to Run as that colt cruised under the wire a 2 3/4-length winner.
“Very proud, very much so,” said Omaha Beach's trainer Richard Mandella. “Just had a little bad luck at the start. But, throughout this whole summer, if we didn't have bad luck we wouldn't have had any luck at all. You could see he didn't get out of there running and in a good momentum. Mike (Smith) did the right thing, he let him get it together, didn't try to rush him off his feet. And, he came on and ran a great race. The winner ran a great race also. In the Breeders' Cup, you don't get much second chances in these races. These are champions going in.”
Blue Chipper held on to be third, while Snapper Sinclair finished fourth.
“That was a great job,” said Ryu Seungho Ho, representative of Blue Chipper's trainer Kim Young-Kwan. “We had really hoped at best to finish third and we did. We're really, really pleased.”
The full order of finish was: Spun to Run, Omaha Beach, Blue Chipper, Snapper Sinclair, Improbable, Coal Front, Mr. Money, Diamond Oops, Ambassadorial, and Giant Expectations.
Bred in Kentucky by Sabana Farm, Spun to Run is out of the stakes-winning Grand Slam mare Yawkey Way. A $64,000 juvenile purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale, the colt required five starts to break his maiden. Two races later Spun to Run finished third in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational, then rebounded to win the G3 Smarty Jones at his home base. Though he could do no better than fifth in the G1 Pennsylvania Derby, Spun to Run came back to win a listed stakes over a mile on the dirt in his final prep for the Breeders' Cup. Overall, the colt has won five of his 11 lifetime starts to earn just over $1 million.
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