Live Oak Plantation's Miesque's Approval, a winner in his only previous turf start at Churchill Downs, made it two-for-two with a sharp come-from-behind score in the $1,987,720 NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT).
With Eddie Castro riding to his first Breeders' Cup win for trainer Marty Wolfson, Miesque's Approval, a 7-year-old horse by Miesque's Son out of the With Approval mare Win Approval, went from 13th at the half-mile mark to first by 2 3/4 lengths at the wire. Aragorn rallied for second by a head while Badge of Silver, an early factor, held third.
The fractions for the Mile, with Silent Name leading the pack by two lengths, were :23.32 for the quarter-mile, :46.76 for the half-mile, and 1:10.98 for six furlongs. Miesque's Approval, who swept past the field on the far outside, finished in 1:34.75 on a firm course.
"I took him back and at the three-eighths pole started to move, and then I took a chance to take him to the outside," said the 21-year-old Panamanian Castro, who became the youngest jockey to win a Breeders' Cup race. "He likes the outside. I'm very happy."
Miesque's Approval, bred in Florida by Live Oak Stud, paid $50.60 to win, $17.20 to place, and $10.40 to show. Aragorn, ridden by Corey Nakatani, paid $5.80 and $4.40, while Badge of Silver, with Edgar Prado aboard, returned $9.80. Favored Araafa (3-1) checked in ninth in the 14-horse field.
"I was sitting in a real good spot about four or five lengths behind, but he was struggling with the track," Nakatani said of Aragorn, who dominated the Southern California grass handicap division this year with four graded stakes victories in succession. "He ran as good as he did strictly on class and because he's got a lot of heart. The turf course was really sandy and loose."
Miesque's Approval, who competed for a $50,000 claiming tag last November and almost was retired, won four stakes earlier this year after Wolfson took over training chores from Bill Mott. One of them was the Firecracker Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) on the grass at Churchill.
Instead of retiring the bay, a former stakes winner who was in poor form in 2005, Wolfson asked owner Charlotte Weber to let him train the horse.
"I had run against him through the years," said Wolfson. "He was a very good young horse and his form just went off. I asked her to give me a chance."
Weber agreed and Wolfson was able to bring Miesque's Approval all the way back for easily the biggest victory of his career.
The winner's share, $1,171,800, pushed Miesque's Approval's total earnings to $2,645,879. In 39 starts, he has a record of 12-10-5.
Sleeping Indian, Rob Roy, Silent Name, Gorella, Aussie Rules, Araafa, Librettist, Free Thinking, Super Frolic, Ad Valorem and Echo of Light completed the order Saturday.
"I'm really disappointed but he had no excuses," said trainer Jeremy Noseda of Araafa, the Irish-bred favorite making his first U.S. start. "He didn't really fire on the day. I can't say any more."
"The winner was right next to me and I was hoping to come when he made his move, but she couldn't," said Julien Leparoux, who rode Gorella.