Coming from off the pace, Action This Day delivered a longshot blow to the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) with shocking last-to-first score at 26-1. Trainer Richard Mandella ran 1-2 as Minister Eric also rallied to run second.
Action This Day defeated Minister Eric by 2 1/4 lengths. Chapel Royal was third, 7 1/4 lengths behind the winner.
It was Mandella's second win on World Thoroughbred Championship day.
"I can't believe this can happen again (winning two Breeders' Cup races at Santa Anita)," Mandella said. "They both ran their hearts out. Minister Eric ran a great race. The winner had the right style because of the hot pace. Like I said all week, he's the man. He was the 'ugly duckling' this spring and now he is the 'swan.'"
It was a scramble for the early lead in the 1 1/16-miles race as Race for Glory, on the rail, Mambo Train, Capitano, and favored Cuvee all battled for the early lead, making for a mad dash into the first turn. Race for Glory and Mambo Train won the early battle as they straightened away on the backstretch. The early fractions of :22.31 and :45.17 help set the table for the closing Action This Day who was dead last.
Mambo Train held the advantage in deep backstretch, as Chapel Royal made a bid for the lead after six furlongs in 1:09.80. Race for Glory beat a hasty retreat along the rail. Chapel Royal, under John Velazquez, took the advantage turning for home, but Action This Day, under David Flores began bobbing and weaving between traffic to get clear. Coming with an outside move, Action This Day hit the wire in 1:43.62. Chapel Royal held for third.
"At the three-eighths pole, he started picking up horses and I was just hoping no one got in my way," Flores said. "It just worked out perfect. It was a great trip."
It was only the third career start for the fast-developing Action This Day, who broke his maiden at 1 1/16 mile by a nose Sept. 28 at Santa Anita.
Action This Day, a bay colt by Kris S. out of the Trempolino mare Najecam, was bred in Kentucky by Jaime S. Carrion. He was a $150,000 Keeneland July sale purchase by B. Wayne Hughes. The victory was worth $780,000.
Minister Eric, a son of Old Trieste, out of the Deputy Minister mare Musical Minister, was second for Diamond A Racing Corp.
"Around the five-sixteenths pole, I thought I had it won," said Alex Solis, who rode Minister Eric. "I got to the lead at the top of the stretch and I saw the other horse coming. Then, I saw it was Action This Day, the stablemate. I'm happy for the barn. It's a team effort. In fact, I took off the winner to ride this one. I think my horse has a future. He's going to keep improving."
Chapel Royal was one of several horses treated after the race with a Hydroweave, which is a blanket used to treat human burn victims. The blankets are soaked in water and retain cold, according to Dr. Celeste Kunz, chief examining veterinarian for the New York Racing Association and a member of the Breeders' Cup veterinary team. As the temperature continued to soar Saturday afternoon, many horses – including Filly & Mare turf winner Islington – were given these blankets as soon as they returned be unsaddled.
Pletcher, who trains Chapel Royal, complained about his colt's treatment in the starting gate.
"(The starters) grabbed his ear at the start," he said. "I don't know why they have to do that. He got off a little slow, but he got into the race and he ran a big race."
Favored Cuvee (8-5), an 8 1/4-length winner of the Belmont Futurity (gr. I) in his last start, faded to last after getting caught extremely wide battling for the lead going into the first turn from his extreme outside post position.
"Four-wide on the first turn, pushing a half in 45 3/5, it's not where you want to be," said trainer Steve Asmussen. "But it happens, and its over."
Action This Day paid $55.60, $19.20, and $11. Minister Eric returned $8.80 and $7.20. Chapel Royal paid $5.60 to show. The all Mandella exacta returned $188.40 for $1.
Tiger Hunt, Consecrate, Capitano, That's an Outrage, Relaxed Gesture, Race for Glory, Siphonizer, Mambo Train and Cuvee completed the order of finish.