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CURLIN STUNNED BY RAVEN’S PASS IN THE $5 MILLION BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC

Raven’s Pass Completed a Stellar Day for the Europeans in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Simulcast Event on Saturday, October 25, 2008

HOUSTON (October 25, 2008)—Sam Houston Race Park (www.shrp.com) celebrated the 25th Running of the Breeders’ Cup, presented by the Houston Chronicle and Woodford Reserve on Saturday, October 25 with top simulcast racing from Santa Anita Park featuring the world’s best Thoroughbreds.

Raven’s Pass won the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic in an upset, shocking the world and defending champion Curlin on the new synthetic surface at Santa Anita. The 3-year-old colt blew by Curlin, the 4-5 favorite, down the homestretch and captured  the 1 ¼ mile Classic in a record time of 1:59.27.  

Defending champion and reigning Horse of the Year Curlin was seven lengths back and running comfortably as the field entered the first turn, and sat eight back on the backstretch.  As he entered the far turn, Curlin made his move and was greeted by a huge roar from the crowd entering the final eighth of a mile, but Raven’s Pass ($29.00), son of Elusive Quality, blew past on Curlin’s right shoulder.  Curlin tried to answer and surged back momentarily, but didn’t have enough left and finished a disappointing fourth out of the 12-horse field. 

Henrythenavigator, another elite European Thoroughbred, came on strong, but could not catch the winner. Raven’s Pass was ridden by Frankie Dettori and trained by John Gosden, both enjoying their second win of the day. The team combined earlier with a win in the Juvenile Turf with Donativum.  This win gave the European-based horses their fifth victory of the day.

Final placement in the Classic featured Henrythenavigator in second, followed by Tiago, Curlin, Go Between, Colonel John, Smooth Air, Champs Elysees, Duke of Marmalade, Fairbanks, Student Council and Casino Drive.
           
In the first Breeders’ Cup race, Irish-bred Muhannak raced to victory in the inaugural $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon.  Muhannak ($26.80) came out of the gates slow, but took the lead quickly at the quarter pole and finished the 1 ½ mile race in a time of 2:28.24.  The 4-year-old gelding was ridden by Pat Smullen for trainer Ralph Beckett and owner Richard Pegum.  This was the first Breeders’ Cup start for Beckett and Pegum, and the first Breeders’ Cup win for jockey Smullen.

Next up was the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint where Desert Code charged from behind in the upper stretch and scored a long-shot half-length victory. Ridden by Richard Migliore for trainer David Hoffmans, Desert Code narrowly held off Diabolical, who briefly appeared to be home free.  Desert Code clinched his first win from six starts this year, finishing the 6 ½ furlong race in a time of 1:11.60, just three-fifths of a second off the course record.  The 4-year-old pleased his betting fans with a win payoff of $75.00.
           
In the third Breeders’ Cup race, the $1 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, Albertus Maximus took top honors in the biggest race of his career.  Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Albertus Maximus ($14.60) stumbled slightly in the final turn, but was able to outrun Rebellion by 1 ¼ lengths.  In the field of 12, favorite Well Armed (6-5) got caught in traffic, drew wide in the final turn and faded to finish ninth.  Another track record was closely missed when Albertus Maximus finished in a time of 1:33.41, just short of El Gato Malo’s record time of 1:33.37 set in January.  Gomez guided the 4-year-old colt with ease, keeping him behind horses in the final turn before taking him to the outside in the early stretch and surging to the lead in the final furlong.  Owned by breeders Brandon and Marianne Chase, Albertus Maximus began his training with Gary Mandella before changing to Vladimir Cerin.  This was the colt’s third start under Cerin.

Goldikova proved to be on top of her game by holding off defending champ Kip DeVille in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile.  The 3-year-old daughter of Anabaa is trained by Freddie Head for owner-breeder duo, the Wertheimer brothers.  The favorite finished the mile with a time of 1:33.40 in a field of 11 horses.  Kip DeVille, winner of the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Monmouth Park, finished second in front of Whatsthescript.
           
In the $2 million Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Midshipman scored a 1 ¼-length victory over co-favorite Square Eddie.  Midshipman ($9.20) was previously owned by Bob McNair’s Stonerside Stables, which was recently purchased by Darley Stable.  Ridden by Garrett Gomez, in his second win of the day, and trained by Bob Baffert, Midshipman took the lead in the backstretch to hold off Square Eddie in a time of 1:40.94.  Midshipman’s success in the Juvenile places him as the early favorite in next year’s Kentucky Derby.  The win also marks Baffert’s sixth Breeders’ Cup victory, second in the Juvenile alone.
           
European imports Donativum and Westphalia finished first and second respectively in the $1 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.  Taking the lead early in the field of 12 was 55-1 longshot Orthodox, but Dettori kept Donativum along the inside on the final turn and angled him outside as the field entered the stretch. The 3-1 favorite Westphalia showed signs of trouble from start to finish under rider John Murtagh, breaking out of the gate slow and being blocked into a lane.  Coronet of a Baron had a clear lead with 200 yards remaining, but Donativum accelerated down the middle of the stretch to win by a neck.  Jockey Frank Dettori, winning his seventh career Breeders’ Cup race, led Donativum ($13.60) to victory in a time of 1:34.68.  This marked Donativum’s first start outside of England for owner Princess Haya of Jordan and trainer John Gosden.

The team of Garrett Gomez and Bob Baffert connected for another win with Midnight Lute claiming the $2 million Sentient Breeders’ Cup Sprint.  Jockey Gomez garnered his third win and Baffert finished the day with two Breeders’ Cup wins. Midnight Lute ($7.40) captured his second straight Breeders’ Cup Sprint with an amazing last-to-first move.  Beginning the race in tandem with Street Boss, Midnight Lute blazed into the stretch from the outside and steadily wore down a game Fatal Bullet, finishing the 1 ¾ length race in a time of 1:07.08.  This was Midnight Lute’s second start since winning the 2007 Sprint.

Conduit contributed to the European-bred victories by taking the crown in the $3 million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf.  The 3-year-old rallied strongly from off the pace to run down Eagle Mountain, crossing the finish line 1 ½ lengths ahead in a time of 2:23.42.  Conduit ($13.60) remained steady in eighth place under rider Ryan Moore, before launching his rally entering the far turn.  He managed to split horses around the turn and ran five wide before catching up and surpassing Eagle Mountain.  Conduit is owned by Ballymacoll Stud Farm and trained by Michael Stoute.  The win marked the fourth victory of the day for European-based horses with Muhannak capturing the Dirt Marathon, Goldikova in the Turf Mile and Donativum winning the Juvenile Turf but a fifth European win came in the Classic with Raven’s Pass. 

Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located 15 minutes from downtown Houston, and offers a variety of attractions including 19 luxury suites overlooking the race track, The Pavilion Centre, and award-winning dining options at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and Jockey Club.  The Park’s newest addition, The Showgrounds, is an all-ages venue that hosts annual Country, Classic Rock and Contemporary concert events throughout the year.  For more information on upcoming shows, events and tickets, please visit www.theshowgrounds.com.  

    



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