Co-owner Michael Tabor told NBC he would enjoy a glass of wine tonight, certainly a well-earned celebration after his Victoria Road just edged favored Silver Knott in the $920,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1T) Nov. 4 at Keeneland.
The victory closed out a big day for a Coolmore operation that claimed two of the three turf races on the Future Stars Friday card as Tabor, Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier and Westerberg’s Meditate captured the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1T) earlier in the day before the same connections’ Victoria Road prevailed by a nose over Godolphin’s Silver Knott after a stretch duel that saw the lead change hands a couple of times.
That final margin provided bragging rights for Coolmore on a day that European-trained horses would sweep the three grass races. Godolphin’s Mischief Magic delivered a stirring run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1T), which opened the day’s World Championships races. Meditate’s score set up the day’s rubber match for bragging rights of the top international racing owners. Neither would receive a quick answer.
Long shot Mo Stash who tracked the early leader Curly Larry and Mo from second through a half-mile in :48.29 and six furlongs in 1:13.04, seized the lead in the stretch but would yield late to the two international runners. Silver Knott, who saved ground throughout under William Buick, would slip through tight quarters along the fence in midstretch to briefly seize the lead. But Victoria Road, under Ryan Moore, had split foes three wide in the upper stretch and surged on the outside to pass Silver Knott.
But Silver Knott fired right back before Victoria Road found something deep down in a final winning surge.
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Ryan Moore, celebrating his fifth Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf win, smiled as he recalled the stretch confrontation.
“There wasn’t much room but there was enough of a gap and my horse showed a really good attitude and he quickened and he got through,” Moore said. “I think when he (made that move to the lead), he shut down a little bit and just drifted out into the middle of the track slightly. He left the door open for the runner-up.
Ryan Moore and Victoria Road return from victory
“But my horse did respond or maybe the other horse peeked on his run slightly. But I thought in the lane he had won.”
Making his first try at two turns after a pair of six-furlong victories in New York, including a score in the Futurity Stakes (G3T), Madaket Stables, Little Red Feather Racing, and William Strauss’s Nagirroc earned a placing in his first grade 1 start and first try at two turns. He is trained by Graham Motion and Manny Franco was aboard. Mo Stash held fourth.
Victoria Road completed the mile test in 1:35.99 on firm turf. He paid $13.14, $5.64, and $4.24 across the board. Silver Knott returned $3.20 and $2.92. Nagirroc didn’t threaten the winners but finished well to secure third. He returned $11.06.
Moore and Aidan O’Brien, a familiar team for Coolmore connections, secured both of Friday’s Breeders’ Cup wins for the owner.
Victoria Road, a son of Saxon Warrior , boasted the most experience with seven starts under his belt. He entered on a three-race win streak that saw him secure the first group stakes win of his career in the Prix de Conde (G3) Sept. 17 at Chantilly. By his standards, Victoria Road received a break off of that effort as he prepared for the Breeders’ Cup.
Victoria Road gets a reward for a job well done
O’Brien said when Victoria Road scored in a seven-furlong race at Gowran Park, the performance put the Breeders’ Cup in the back of his mind and when the colt followed with a score in the about a mile Criterium du Fonds Europeen de l ‘Elevage at Deauville it put the idea at the fore. The Prix De Conde score followed at about 1 1/8 miles.
“When he stepped up in trip, it looked like he would get seven furlongs, when he got seven furlongs, it looked like he was going to get a mile. He won over nine furlongs the last time,” O’Brien said after securing his fifth Juvenile Turf win. “He’s a horse that had pace to run over five and six furlongs no problem. And when you’re that type of horse that relaxes the way he does and gets that type of trip, we thought this was going to suit him well.”
Victoria Road and its connections in the winner’s circle
Both O’Brien and Moore recalled the speed of Saxon Warrior’s dam, two-time group 3 winner Tickled Pink by Invincible Spirit ; and said it appears he’s picked up stamina from sire Saxon Warrior, a son of Deep Impact who captured the 2018 QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas (G1).
Bred in Ireland by Trevor Stewart, Victoria Road is the first stakes winner for Tickled Pink, who claims five winners from as many starters.
MV Magnier went to the equivalent of $164,535 to land Victoria Road at the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.