French-based Domedriver held off a stiff challenge from 4-5 favorite Rock of Gibraltar to post a three-quarter length victory in the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I). The race was marred by the breakdown of Landseer, who broke a cannon bone shortly after the field entered the stretch.
The winner, trained by Pascal Bary for Flaxman Holdings, has won six of 16 career starts. The Irish-bred 4-year-old son of Indian Ridge completed the mile in 1:36 4/5.
According to Dr. Larry Bramlage, Landseer, the 3-year-old stablemate of Rock of Gibraltar, was euthanized after breaking a cannon bone.
Jockey Edgar Prado was uninjured in the accident.
"I'm fine thank God," said Prado. "My horse was making a nice move but I feel terrible for the horse. It happened so quickly. I heard a crack. I don't know if he stepped in a hole or what. I tried to pull him up but he was in a full run. It's hard to explain; it happened so fast."
Rock of Gibraltar, expected to be one of Europe's best hopes for victory on the Breeders' Cup card, broke last and was near the back of the field most of the way before unleashing a stirring stretch drive on the outside. The rally was powerful enough for the runner-up to nip Good Journey for second, but The Rock was unable to catch the game winner, who was ridden by Thierry Thulliez.
"It was a very good run," said Thulliez. "This horse likes soft ground and likes a speed race. I had a good start. I just followed Beat Hollow and just rated and finished well.
"Before the race, I knew there was a chance that Rock of Gibraltar would not have a good start, but the 'Rock' just didn't have a good race today."
The winning purse was worth $556,400 increased Domedriver's career bankroll to $821,721.
"He's a very nice horse," said Pascal Bary, trainer of Domedriver. "I think he loves this kind of ground. The course today was much like it is in France. I told (Thulliez) to save as much as ground as possible because I think he can win by doing that and it worked out for us today. On this course, if you can save the maximum amount of ground, it is a tremendous advantage."
Bary said Domedriver would probably return to France, and could also race in Hong Kong next month.
"He was a bit fractious in the gate and I missed the break," Michael Kinane, aboard Rock of Gibraltar, said. "I just had to bide my time after that. The horse who broke down (Landseer) came over when I wanted to make my move, and I lost my momentum."
The winner paid $54.00, $18.20, $5.80. Rock of Gibraltar was worth $3.40 and $2.60 and Good Journey paid $3.60 for third.
"He (Rock of Gibraltar) ran a great race" said trainer Aidan O'Brien, who also conditioned Landseer.
"He just ran into the back of Landseer when he (Landseer) broke his leg. It's stopped him at a bad time of the race. You saw what he did down the outside (stretch). When he got his momentum back, there you go."
Good Journey was leading in the stretch, but racing away from the rail, allowing Domedriver to find room on the inside in the stretch.
"I think this horse is a little better when he settles off of horses," said Pat Day, who rode Good Journey. "There was no pace in the race and he found himself close to the lead. He actually took the lead at the three-eighths pole. He got a nice breather into the stretch, and when I asked him, he punched, but weakened in the late stages. I think it was because of his early efforts. It was a gallant effort."