Juddmonte Farms' Ventura overtook favored Indian Blessing in the stretch Oct. 24 and drew off to win the $1-million Sentient Flight Group Filly & Mare Sprint (VIDEO), the first Breeders’ Cup race on the two-day World Championships card at Santa Anita.
Ridden by Garrett Gomez for trainer Bobby Frankel, Ventura was sent off as the 5-2 second choice while Indian Blessing was at 9-5.
Longshot Dearest Trickski set the early pace, while being stalked by Indian Blessing, with those two getting the first quarter mile in :22.26 and the half in :44.02. After six furlongs had been completed in 1:07.91, Indian Blessing took the lead coming out of the turn and was full of run. Her lead was short-lived, however, as Ventura steadily made up ground on the outside. Ventura drew off in the stretch to win by four lengths, turning in a final time of 1:19.90, just :01 slower than the Pro-Ride surface track record for seven furlongs. Zaftig finished third, two lengths behind Indian Blessing.
Ventura paid $7.60, $3.40, and $3.00.
The victory was the seventh in 15 career starts for Ventura, the 4-year-old Juddmonte homebred daughter of Chester House. Prior to the Filly & Mare Turf, the filly had consecutive runner-up finishes in the Cash CashCall Mile (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park and the Woodbine Mile (Can-I) at Woodbine. The filly has won the Just a Gleam (gr. IT) at Belmont Park and Madison Stakes (gr. IIT) at Keeneland.
“She ran effortlessly,” Gomez said. “She’s the kind of filly that, once she makes the lead, will kind of pull up a little. When we went by those horses, she was just cruising. She’s very tactical. Around the three-eighths I had edged her out a little and she got into another gear. Down the stretch, I got into her a little (with the whip) to keep her focused on the race.”
“When I heard that she broke slow, I was a little worried, but when she was running on the turn, I felt a lot better,” Frankel said. “She showed a great, great turn of foot and she really likes the synthetic track. We didn’t want to move too soon into a very quick pace. He (Garrett Gomez) said he just waited until he felt she was ready to give it to him. When he let her run, she just exploded.”
The victory was the third in a Breeders’ Cup race for Juddmonte as both owner and breeder and the sixth for Frankel.
Produced from the multiple stakes-placed Be My Guest mare Estala, Ventura is a full sister to stakes winner Halkin and a half-sister to multiple stakes-placed Talarive.
|Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint|
|2. Indian Blessing||$3.40||$2.40|