Godolphin’s Wuheida has had her share of misfortune this campaign, but circumstances finally smiled upon her as the 11-1 chance produced a new career high in Saturday’s $1,840,000 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1). Favored Lady Eli, in contrast, was out of luck when finishing seventh in her likely career finale.
Unbeaten from two starts at two, including the 2016 Prix Marcel Boussac (G1) on Arc Day, Wuheida had an early-season setback that cost her a chance at the spring classics. More recently, the Charlie Appleby trainee was twice compromised by soft ground, and she had to scratch from the October 14 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland after developing a corn.
Wuheida’s fortunes took a turn for the better when she drew post 5 in the Filly & Mare Turf, and jockey William Buick was able to work out a textbook, ground-saving stalk-and-pounce trip. Sharpened up with the addition of cheekpieces, the Dubawi filly occupied the box seat behind pacesetter Zipessa through splits of :23.86, :46.50 and 1:11.42. Meanwhile, Lady Eli was buffeted between horses in the scramble out of the nine-furlong chute at Del Mar, and regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr. had to wrestle her back.
Turning for home, Wuheida got off the fence, and surged to the front in the stretch. Aidan O’Brien’s Rhododendron, who dropped far back from her brutal 14 post, speared through on the inside late, but Wuheida had a length to spare at the wire. The chestnut negotiated 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.91 and sparked a $24.40 win mutuel.
Cambodia, always in the hunt, fared best of the Americans to prevail in a three-way photo for third. Dacita flashed home from last for fourth, edging defending champion Queen’s Trust, who likewise finished strong but really wanted another go at 1 1/4 miles. War Flag checked in sixth.
Another half-length back came the troubled Lady Eli. Daily Racing Form’s David Grening reported that Lady Eli was struck into in the melee, coming back with a “large scrape down the back of her left hind leg.” That same foot also lost its shoe.
Next came Senga, Grand Jete, Nezwaah, Zipessa, Birdie Gold, Goodyearforroses, and Avenge.
Wuheida’s scorecard now stands at 7-3-1-1, $1,457,040. A Darley homebred, Wuheida is out of Grade/Group 1 heroine Hibaayeb, by Singspiel. For more details on her career, see her international contender profile on TwinSpires.com.
BREEDERS’ CUP FILLY & MARE TURF QUOTES
Winning trainer Charlie Appleby (Wuheida)
“She deserves this. This ground suited her.”
Winning jockey William Buick (Wueheida)
“She is incredibly professional. She has lots of ability and the trip really suited her. I was happy with her position throughout the race and she quickened down the straight really well.”
Second-place trainer Aidan O’Brien (Rhododendron)
“It’s always tougher from a wide draw, but she ran well and I’m delighted with her.”
Second-place jockey Ryan Moore (Rhododendron)
“They didn’t go quick enough. She rolled a bit in the straight, but she is very brave.”
Third-place jockey Drayden Van Dyke (Cambodia)
“I had a perfect trip. No excuses. She ran great.”
Trainer Chad Brown (Dacita, 4th, Lady Eli, 7th as favorite & Grand Jete, 9th)
“Irad (Ortiz) said he got bumped pretty hard on the first turn and he dropped in. Then he got a little cover and then it seemed like she got him from behind again but she did have some clear run. She had a rough trip and did have clear spots to run and she just didn’t have it today. I don’t know if all the bumping discouraged her or she just didn’t have from some reason today. She’s never done that before obviously. It’s quite a surprise to me, it’s unfortunate but that’s horse racing.”
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr (Lady Eli, 7th as favorite)
“Going into the first turn out of the chute she got a little bump and got rank. She was a little keen and I had to fight a little bit with her. After that I had a good trip. She didn’t give me that same kick in the end.”
Trainer Sir Michael Stoute (Queen’s Trust, 5th)
“She ran well, but it didn’t go quite right for her in the race. Although, she was running on at the finish. She may just lack instant acceleration and maybe needs a little further.”
Jockey Andrea Atzeni (Nezwaah, 10th)
“She was in a good position behind ht ewinner, but she just flattened out in the stretch. She’s had two runs on soft ground and they’ve taken their toll a little. And, her travel schedule from Canada was tough on her. She has not had a lucky year.”