Under blue skies with wispy clouds, the Breeders' Cup World Championships got off to a formful start at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., when favorite Dreaming of Anna led gate to wire to take the $1,832,000 Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).
Dreaming of Anna (Rahy
-Justenuffheart, by Broad Brush) is now undefeated in four starts. She has also won on four different tracks for owner/breeder Frank Calabrese, who celebrated his 78th birthday Saturday, and trainer Wayne Catalano, who are based in Chicago. Her previous victories came at Arlington Park, Colonial Downs, and Woodbine, the last two on turf.
"Mr. Calabrese turned down a lot of money for this horse," trainer Wayne Catalano said. "He said to me, 'Wayne, I want to take her to the big dance.' She was placed very well from the one hole. We had to use her a little more than we wanted early, but after that it went the way I thought it would. She drew the rail. She's got speed. From there, I just thought they'd be chasing us and that's how it went. It's nice when it works out the way you figure it."
Dreaming of Anna took the bulk of the wagering throughout and ended up paying $7.20, $4.60 and $3.40. Octave raced close up throughout and finished well enough to be second, 1 1/4 lengths back, with Cotton Blossom along for third, another 1 1/2 lengths back.
Under rider Rene Douglas, Dreaming of Anna broke alertly from the inside gate and immediately assumed command of the 8 1/2-furlong contest. Appealing Zophie prompted the pace from the 12 hole, crossing over to run second in front of Lilly Carson and Octave. Dreaming of Anna cut out fractions of :23.72, :47.96, 1:12.34, 1:37.23, and 1:43.81. Octave and Cotton Blossom, both trained by Todd Pletcher, both took shots at the leader down the Churchill Downs stretch, but neither could reach even terms.
"The filly (winner) ran a big race on the lead, but the fractions didn't help anyone behind her," Pletcher said. "Both mine got their trips but it looked like a race where four or five fillies would show speed, but basically one filly walked the dog on the lead. A quality filly running soft fractions is hard to run down."
Dreaming of Anna won Wodbine's Summer Stakes (Can-III) on the turf at one mile by more than three lengths in her last start Sept. 17. Saturday's winning pot of $1,080,000 pushed her career earnings to $1,266,240.
"This is a special moment," Douglas said. "She's the best filly I've ever ridden and it wouldn't surprise me if she was good enough to go for the Kentucky Derby rather than Kentucky Oaks next year."
Octave, ridden by Garrett Gomez, returned $5.80 and $4.40, with Cotton Blossom and John Velazquez good for $9 to show. The $2 exacta returned $50.80.
Cash Included, the narrow second choice who had two wins in three career starts, never was a factor.
Appealing Zophie finished fourth, followed by Cash Included, She's Included, Adrhythm, Bel Air Beauty, Sutra, Quick Little Miss, Satulagi, Gatorize, Her Majesty and Lilly Carson.