February 27, 2024

English invader Big Evs stars in Juvenile Turf Sprint

Big Evs stars in Juvenile Turf Sprint in Santa Anita (Photo by Horse Photos)

Big Evs broke prominently and powered his way to a half-length victory in Friday’s $920,00 Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1), striking for the international contingent in the first of 14 Breeders’ Cup races at Santa Anita over two days. Off as the 3.20-1 second choice, Big Evs scored over 11 rivals in the five-furlong turf affair, recording his fourth stakes triumph from six starts.

Tom Marquand was up on the bay colt for Michael Appleby, who won with his first Breeders’ Cup starter, and the English-based son of Blue Point is campaigned by RP Racing. Big Evs was exiting an authoritative win in the Flying Childers (G2) at Doncaster in mid-September.

“I can’t believe it,” Appleby said. “He’s been an absolute superstar all year and to come here and put in a performance like that is unreal. Going into the race I thought he had an outstanding chance, and when Tom rode him in a breeze earlier in the week he couldn’t have been more bullish. We’ll enjoy it as it’s a dream to be here never mind go and win. Hopefully he comes out the race in good order then we’ll make a plan for next season. He really is a horse of a lifetime for us. I can’t thank the team at home enough for all their hard work.”

After prompting pacesetter Crimson Advocate through opening splits in :20.71 and :43.65, Big Evs surged to a clear lead in upper stretch. Valiant Force came charging on the far outside in deep stretch, but it was too late to catch Big Evs, who stopped the teletimer in :55.31.

“Just amazing,” Marquand said. “Once he got out the gates and we got in an early position, I knew we wouldn’t be far away. Turning for home nothing was going to catch him. He put his head down and galloped all the way to the line. To ride a Breeders’ Cup winner is a dream come true. He’s just an exceptional horse.”

The runner-up was off at 23-1, and it was about another length to late-running Starlust in third at 24-1. No Nay Mets, the 2.40-1 favorite, missed the break from an inside post but rallied for fourth. Shards, Crimson Advocate, Committee of One, Cherry Blossom, Slider, Amidst Waves, Asean, and Tiger Belle completed the order of finish.

Big Evs broke his maiden the second time out in the Windsor Castle S. at Royal Ascot and followed with a Group 3 tally at Goodwood six weeks later. His only setback versus stakes competition came against older horses in the Nunthorpe (G1) at York two starts previously. Bred in Ireland by Rabbah Bloodstock Limited, Big Evs sold for $57,600 as a yearling at the Tattersalls October sale last year.