Space Blues heads into retirement with another Grade One success after victory in the Breeders’ Cup Mile for Charlie Appleby and William Buick.
The Godolphin-owned five-year-old got into an excellent early position for stable jockey Buick, and pounced on leader Smooth Like Strait in the final two furlongs to claim victory by half a length, quashing any doubts about his ability over the mile trip.
Like Friday night’s Juvenile Turf, Appleby’s other runner in the race, Master of The Seas, was a late non-runner after playing up in the stalls, with Modern Games getting the job done in that Grade One event.
A trio of American outsiders were further behind, with Ivar, Raging Bull and Got Stormy in third, fourth and fifth.
Appleby confirmed after the race that Space Blues would be retired, saying: “It’s been an interesting couple of races we’ve had to watch in the last 24 hours!
“It was a fantastic ride by William and I’m delighted for the horse. He’s retired now so for him to go out on a high like this – I’m over the moon.
Jockey Buick added: “He’s probably never quite got the recognition he deserves really.
“A mile round here was his game – if he got a low draw, he was going to be in business and they didn’t go a pace which suited him.
“He’s goes to stud now so I’m absolutely delighted that I could do him justice and it worked out nicely. I was a bit nervous because he’s been great to me.”
In the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mares Turf, there was a first Japanese winner of a Breeders’ Cup race as Loves Only You finishes strongest of all to win for Yuga Kawada and Yoshito Yahagi.
It didn’t look likely for most of the race as the Japanese mare was trapped in by Love and Ryan Moore, until Kawada picked a hole and sprinted through to come out on top with half a length to spare from My Sister Nat in second.
Favourite War Like Goddess was back in third, with Love in fourth and 2020 winner Audarya in fifth, after Buick struggled to get a clear run throughout for the James Fanshawe team.
After the race, an emotional trainer Yahagi said: “It’s unbelievable. We thought it was difficult up the stretch but our team believed we could win a Breeders’ Cup race.
“We are making history in Japanese horseracing. We are delighted.”
In the Sprint, it was a nail-biting finish as Wayne Catalano-trained Aloha West and Jose Ortiz came from the clouds to deny Dr. Schivel in dramatic fashion.
Dr. Schivel and Flavien Prat looked to have the race in the bag after seeing off favourite Jackie’s Warrior around the bend, but was reeled in close home by Aloha West and Ortiz after a photo finish that took the stewards over two minutes to call.
Jackie’s Warrior, who went off the odds-on favourite for Steven Asmussen and Joel Rosario, faded tamely in the final furlong after being hassled for the lead and finished only sixth.