Making his first United States start, Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier's Landseer may have landed a spot in the Breeders' Cup Oct. 26 by winning the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland Sunday.
The 3-year-old son of Danehill, ridden by Edgar Prado and trained by Aidan O'Brien, prevailed by a head over Touch of the Blues. Beat Hollow, the 3-5 favorite, was a half-length farther back in third. The winning time was 1:35 2/5.
``He's a serious racehorse,'' said Mick Maloney, O'Brien's assistant trainer.
Beat Hollow, the top-ranked turf horse in the U.S. off his Arlington Million (gr. IT) victory Aug. 17, took the lead at the top of the stretch from 35-1 longshot Grammarian, but did not hold off the late charge of Landseer and Touch of the Blues.
Beat Hollow had won seven of 10 career starts before Sunday.
``I'm disappointed,'' said Bailey, who rode Beat Hollow in the 1 1/4-mile Million. ``Everyone's looking for excuses, but there were none.''
"(Landseer) was able to save all the ground and when we pulled to the top of the stretch you could see what he could do," Prado told TVG. He added that Landseer was the best miler he had ridden this year.
Kent Desormeaux, aboard Touch of the Blues, said that when they hit the stretch, "I thought the race was over. I thought I had it won. We got a good run at the winner. We just couldn't get by."
The result, he added doesn't bode well for U.S. turf horses in the World Thoroughbred Championships Oct. 26 at Arlington Park.
"We got a taste of how good (Rock of Gibraltar) could be," he added. "Landseer beat us and Rock of Gibraltar beat him twice."
Landseer now joins Hawk Wing, High Chaparral and Rock of Gibraltar as leaders in the male turf division owned fully or in part by the O'Brien-trained Magner/Tabor Coolmore connections.
Landseer won for the fourth time in 11 career starts. The $360,000 purse Sunday pushed his career earnings to $981,000.
Sent off at 3-1, Landseer paid $8.80, $7 and $2.10. Touch of the Blues, trained by Neil Drysdale, returned $9.40 and $2.10. Beat Hollow, with Jerry Bailey riding for Bobby Frankel, paid $2.10 for the show.