Jockey Julie Krone became the first female winner of a non-steeplechase Breeders' Cup race when she booted home favored Halfbridled to a 2 1/2-length victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Santa Anita on Saturday.
Krone and Halfbridled survived the extreme outside post 14 and a four-wide trip for most of the 1 1/16-mile trip, yet pulled away from a game Ashado, who saved ground into the stretch. Ashado came on to beat Victory U.S.A. by a neck. It was 9 1/4 lengths back to Hollywood Story.
"This mare was so great," Krone said. "I can't say enough about her. I did more pulling than pushing on her. She's just a phenomenal filly."
With Forest Music jumping out to an early lead while being tracked by Victory U.S.A., Halfbridled moved up to midpack on the first turn after breaking cleanly. With the leaders getting the first half mile in :22 4/5 and the half in :46 4/5, Krone had Halfbridled advancing on the leaders on the far outside as the field moved down the backside.
After three-quarters of a mile was completed in 1:10 4/5, Halfbridled was running third entering the far turn. The 2-year-old filly then turned on the momentum and moved to the front, continuing on to the finish line. The final time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:42 3/5.
Halfbridled paid surprisingly well, owing no doubt to the starting post, at $6.60, $4.80, and $3.40. Ashado, ridden by John Velazquez, was second, paying $11.60 and $7.20. Victory U.S.A., Jerry Bailey aboard, showed for $4.80.
"We were right behind Halfbridled and around the quarter-pole I came up along side her and I thought I had a chance," Velazquez said. "But that filly, she just had a bit more today. My filly has a future."
Trained by Richard Mandella for breeder Wertheimer Farm, Halfbridled is a daughter of Unbridled -- Half Queen (by Deputy Minister). The filly has now won all four career starts while increasing her career earnings to $849,400 with Saturday's $520,000 winning purse.
Mandella gave full credit to Krone.
"Julie did a great job of finessing her around the turn," he said. "That's why she is in the Hall of Fame. She was ready to go on the backstretch, and all Julie had to do was move her hands a little bit and she would have taken off. But Julie stayed patient and that takes real cool. I could see that when she finally asked her, she had a lot of confidence. It was just a great ride."
Todd Pletcher, who trains Ashado, was pleased with the effort of the Spinaway (gr. I) winner at Saratoga two months ago.
"I thought she ran super," he said. "We had a good trip but we needed the favorite to have a little bad luck for us to win. The winner had a good trip. I'm very proud. She ran a good race and she was the second best filly today."
Bob Baffert, who saddled Victory U.S.A., said, "She chased a ridiculously fast pace. I was worried about all the speed in there, but this is the Breeders' Cup, so what are you going to do? She hung in there pretty good."
Zosima was fifth, followed by Dixie High, Class Above, Vino Tinto, Tarlow, Society Selection, Be Gentle, Shadow of Mine, Renaissance Lady and pacesetting Forest Music.