Better Talk Now Speaks Loudly in the Breeders' Cup Turf

Better Talk Now Speaks Loudly in the Breeders' Cup Turf
Photo: Skip Dickstein
Better Talk Now finds his own joy in Breeders' Cup Turf upset.
Bushwood Stable's Better Talk Now stormed to the lead in mid-stretch and rolled on to an upset victory over favored Kitten's Joy in the $2 million John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT).

Ridden by Ramon Dominguez for trainer Graham Motion, Better Talk Now won by 1 3/4 lengths. Kitten's Joy came back after being passed by Powerscourt down the backstretch the second time to finish second, a length in front of Powerscourt. The winner had to withstand a steward's inquiry and an objection, neither of which altered the order of finish.

Better Talk Now's stunning win thrilled Motion, who won his fist Breeders' Cup race. Earlier, his Film Maker finished second in the Filly & Mare Turf and Dance Away Capote ran fifth in the Juvenile Fillies.

"This has turned out to be an amazing day, to have three horses run this well and all of them longshots. It makes it even more special when you have a long shot and you get a win."

The winning time for the 12 furlongs on a yielding turf was 2:29.70.

The winner had to survive a steward's review into the stretch run after John Velazquez, aboard 7-10 favorite Kitten's Joy, lodged a foul complaint. Edgar Prado, aboard fourth-place finisher Magistretti, also claimed foul in the stretch against the first two finishers.

Better Talk Now drifted inward after getting the lead despite left-handed urging from Dominguez. Stewards decided the order of finish was correct, however, and declined to make any change in the order of finish.

"It felt like an hour before they made it official, but it was more exciting after he went through all of that," Dominguez said.

Star Over the Bay jumped out to a big early advantage, setting fractions of :24.90, :49.16, and 1:01.22, that he maintained until he came back deep in the backstretch second time around.

Powerscourt, who broke last for Jamie Spencer, made a big middle move on the backstretch while four wide and pushed to the lead, opening a clear advantage on the turn and into the stretch. He maintained a slight edge over the winner, but bumped with the Better Talk Now while drifting outward and tired in the late stages. Kitten's Joy, who challenged for the lead in the stretch and fell back a bit, outfinised Powerscourt for second.

The 3-year-old Kitten's Joy, who was ridden by John Velazquez, was looking for his fourth consecutive graded stakes win. His last two – the Secretariat and Turf Classic – were grade I triumphs.

"The whole time around he looked like he struggled," trainer Dale Romans said of Kitten's Joy. "He tried the whole way. He showed the heart of a champion. The turf was too wet. I didn't think it would make a difference but it obviously did."

But he said the defeat won't affect Kitten's Joy status as America's leading turf runner.

"He definitely is the turf champion (of 2004)," Romans said. "I don't see how anyone could vote any other way."

Velazquez said Kitten's Joy all but stopped after being bumped by the winner. But he admitted Kitten's Joy was making hard work of it.

"I slapped him a couple of times and he never quickened the way he usually does," Velazquez said. "When I got after him around the quarter-pole and I finally got him running, then he had to stop. It completely stopped our momentum. If we had a clean trip, we would have won it."

Better Talk Now paid $57.80, $12.40, and $5.20. Kitten's Joy was worth $2.80 and $2.20 and Powerscourt returned $3.00.

A 5-year-old son of Talkin Man produced from the Baldski mare Bendita.

Bred in Kentucky by Wimborne Farm, Better Talk Now won the Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) before finishing fourth in the Man o' War (gr. IT) in his last start. Both prep races were contested on yielding courses.

"That was kind of the move he made in the Sword Dancer," Dominguez noted. "I didn't know how it was going to develop, but when I got to the five-eighths pole, I felt so good. I said, if he is going to win, today is going to be the day."

The victory, worth $1,040,000, was his eighth in 24 starts and increased his overall earnings to $1,744437.

(Chart, Equibase)

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