ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) – Royal Delta won the $2 million Ladies’ Classic by 1 1/2 lengths on Friday at Santa Anita, making the defending champion the only favorite to win on an upset-filled opening day of the Breeders’ Cup.
Jockey Mike Smith earned his 16th victory in the event’s 29-year history, breaking a tie for most wins with fellow Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey.
Royal Delta gave Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his second consecutive win and fifth overall in the Ladies’ Classic, putting him in position to sweep the weekend’s biggest races, a feat he accomplished last year. He has three runners in the $5 million Classic on Saturday, a race he won last year with Drosselmeyer.
Royal Delta was the 8-5 favorite in the field of eight fillies and mares. She ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.80 and paid $5.40, $3.60 and $2.60.
My Miss Aurelia returned $5.80 and $4, losing for the first time in seven career races. Include Me Out was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third and paid $5.20 to show.
Awesome Feather, the 2-1 second choice, came in undefeated in 10 races but finished sixth.
Questing was eased down the backstretch, but the on-call veterinarian said there was no apparent injury to the 3-year-old filly.
Six different jockeys, trainers and owners won each of the Breeders’ Cup races in front of 34,619 fans on a sunny day.
The biggest upset was Calidoscopio’s 4 1/4-length victory in the $500,000 Marathon. The 17-1 shot from Argentina paid $36.40 to win and at 9 became the oldest Breeders’ Cup champion.
Age also played a part in the second-biggest upset. Sent off at 15-1 odds, Hightail kicked off the two-day world championships with a nose victory in the $500,000 Juvenile Sprint. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas earned his leading 19th Breeders’ Cup victory at 77.
In the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf, 11-1 shot Flotilla rallied to win by 1 1/4 lengths and paid $24.80. Trainer Mikel Delzangles and jockey Christophe Lemaire, both from France, won their first Breeders’ Cup race.
Zagora won the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf by three-quarters of a length at 9-1 odds. She paid $20.40 to win under Javier Castellano.
Beholder led all the way to win the $2 million Juvenile Fillies, holding off 3-2 favorite Executiveprivilege by one length.
It was the 13th Breeders’ Cup victory for jockey Garrett Gomez and the seventh for trainer Richard Mandella.
Beholder paid $9.80 to win, while trainer Bob Baffert’s Executiveprivilege had her five-race winning streak ended.