December 11, 2018

Horsemen blueblood captures Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Races

Mendelssohn will try the Kentucky Derby trail after capturing the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf (Lauren Pomeroy/Horsephotos.com)

Familiar faces were in the winner’s circle for the Breeders’ Cup juvenile turf races on Friday at Del Mar, as Chad Brown legged up Javier Castellano to win the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) aboard Rushing Fall, and Aidan O’Brien trained Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Mendelssohn with Ryan Moore up.

It was the 9th Breeders’ Cup win for Brown, 8th for Castellano, 12th for O’Brien (third all time), and 9th for Moore. Of those 36 combined wins only 5 have come on dirt with Brown and Moore winning all their Breeders’ Cup races on the grass.

“Javier rode a great race,” Brown said of Rushing Fall’s winning trip. “The key was going out of post [11] and getting a spot in the first half of the field, which he accomplished. [Rushing Fall] has a devastating move when you turn her loose.”

Rushing Fall went on to win by a measured ¾ lengths with Best Performance second, a length ahead of September, whose O’Brien stablemate Happily was last of 14 at 2.4-to-1.

“She’s a very professional filly,” Castellano said. “I love the way she does things. She’s a very special filly.”

The Breeders’ Cup was Rushing Fall’s third win in as many starts, and she’s done it at three different tracks on both soft and firm turf. The More Than Ready filly covered a mile on Del Mar’s firm turn in 1:36.09.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf Quotes & Transcript

Mendelssohn had come into the Breeders’ Cup with a slightly different form line, having lost three of her first four career starts, including a pair by more than 15 lengths each. O’Brien had even considered him for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, a race he won in 2001 with Johannesburg. He ultimately decided on the Turf this time but said after the race that the Scat Daddy half-brother to champion Beholder could target the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1).

“He’s progressed with every race,” O’Brien said. “We were afraid to change him up, so we kept him on grass, and he’s stepped up every time; it’s been a big team effort this year.”

Moore had to work out a trip from the rail post position going a mile on the Del Mar turf, and got the best of it with clear run late to finish clear of Untamed Domain.

“We made the best of the draw in number one,” Moore said. “He ran a good race [last time], and he quickened well today.”

Mendelssohn was a length ahead of Untamed Domain, who closed from near last and passed 6 horses in the stretch to narrowly miss the major spoils. Voting Control was third. Owner West Point Thoroughbreds finished second in both the Juvenile Fillies and Juvenile Turfs.

O’Brien will be represented in the Juvenile by U S Navy Flag, who defeated Mendelssohn last out in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes (G1). O’Brien is 2 wins behind Bob Baffert (14 wins) for second at the Breeders’ Cup all time and 8 behind D. Wayne Lukas (20).

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Quotes & Transcript