Frankel Runners 1-2 in Filly & Mare Turf

Frankel Runners 1-2 in Filly & Mare Turf
Photo: David Snyder
Starine scores longshot win in FM Turf.
Led by longshot Starine, horses trained by Bobby Frankel finished first and second in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

The winner Starine, a French-bred daughter of Mendocino owned by Frankel, ran the 1 1/4 miles over yielding turf in 2:03 2/5. Stablemate Banks Hill, the defending champion in this race recently transferred to Frankel by Juddmonte Farms, was second.

Sent off at 13-1, Starine paid $28.40, $10,00, $8.40. Banks Hill, the slight 5-2 favorite, was 1 1/2 lengths behind the winner and paid $5.60 and $4.40. Islington finished third and paid $4.80.

Giving jockey John Velazquez his second victory on the day's Cup card, Starine rolled to the front as the field entered the stretch and then held off a charge from a barrage of horses that were closing ground at the finish.

"I couldn't have asked for a more perfect trip," said Velazquez. "She broke good and got right into the perfect spot. I was able to just sit on her until we turned for home, and she just did her own thing when I let her go. She likes the soft ground. I can't believe how well it went for her."

Godolphin Racing's German-bred Kazzia jumped to an early lead from the outside 12 post position and led into the second turn before eventually finishing sixth.

The win was the first for Starine since her triumph in the Matriarch (gr. I) over yielding turf at Hollywood Park last November. Previous to Saturday's win, 5-year-old mare had finished fourth, 1 1/2 lengths behind winner Kazzia, in the Flower Bowl Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park.

"(Starine) loves the soft," said Frankel, who supplemented the 5-year-old French-bred daughter of Mendocino to the race last year, when she was 10th. "That's the main thing. You talk about Golden Apples; she killed Golden Apples in the Matriarch last year on the soft ground."

Frankel said Banks Hill could return next year.

"She (Banks Hill) is a good filly," he said. "She'll be a champion next year if she stays in training. I hope she does. Nothing is going to beat her on firm turf."

Jerry Bailey, who rode Banks Hill, agreed.

"She got over the ground OK," Bailey said. "She didn't have that same explosive kick. It was more of a gradual finish. Horses that like the firmer ground don't have near the punch over a soft ground. She wasn't losing ground; she just wasn't gaining ground."

Kieren Fallon, riding Islington, felt his chances were compromised early.

"A horse cut in front of me at the start and it cost me the race," Fallon said. "Turning for home, I'm right on the heels of the winner and the second horse. I'd rather had her just off the pace like I did in France (Arc de Triomphe) because she steers really well. I couldn't do that today."

Golden Apples, with Pat Valenzuela aboard, finished a troubled fourth.

"It was a bad trip from the start," Valenzuela said."I got hammered leaving the gate and about clipped heals. I had to grab her. That's not where I wanted to be. She had too much ground to make up after being shuffled back that far in the first part. She was wide, but she still tried her hardest."

(Chart, Equibase)

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