Another Stunner, Furthest Land Wins Dirt Mile

Another Stunner, Furthest Land Wins Dirt Mile
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Furthest Land flies home in the Dirt Mile to give Julien Leparoux his third win in the Breeders' Cup.
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Another favorite fell in the Breeders' Cup as Furthest Land rolled to the wire at 21-1 in the Dirt Mile (gr. I). Fellow longshot Ready's Echo (24-1) finished second and Midshipman   finished third. Heavy favorite Mastercraftsman ran out of steam at the rail in the stretch (VIDEO).

The Dirt Mile was another blanket finish on the card, with the winner finishing three-quarters of a length in front of Ready’s Echo, with Midshipman another three-quarters back in third.

Midshipman, under Garrett Gomez, assumed an early lead in the mile race that began in front of the grandstand. The 3-year-old colt set early fractions of :23.97 for a quarter-mile and :47.47 through the first half-mile while being trailed by Neko Bay, with Furthest Land laying third. Midshipman held the lead rounding the second turn, with three-quarters of a mile completed in 1:11.08 as Mr. Sidney took second, with Neko Bay dropping back to third. Furthest Land then closed strongly under jockey Julien Leparoux for the victory, stopping the timer in 1:35.50.

Furthest Land, a son of Smart Strike,   paid $44.60, $18.40, and $9.60. Ready’s Echo was worth $18.20 and $9.40, with Midshipman paying $4.20. Mastercraftsman finished fourth, followed by Mambo Meister, Neko Bay, Mr. Sidney, Chocolate Candy, Bullsbay  , and Pyro.

The winner is owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, owners of Ramsey Farm near Lexington.

"That was incredible," said excited trainer Mike Maker. "Honestly, he has trained as well as he ever has. He gave me a lot of confidence, and his (synthetic) record speaks for itself."

"I sat on the rail right behind the leader (Midshipman)," Leparoux explained. "It opened up at the quarter-pole. I found room to strike, and that was it. He always runs big on synthetics. It was not an easy win to have, but he ran big."

Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Ready’s Echo, explained that the runner-up was bumped by Mambo Meister.

"The horse on the inside (Mambo Meister) clearly bumped us the first time, and then we started drifting after that," the trainer said. "I thought the horse ran great. I thought we had a chance there for a half-second."

Manoel Cruz, who rode Mambo Meister, filed an objection against Ready’s Echo. After reviewing the stretch run, the stewards disallowed the objection.

"It was a brilliant try," trainer Saeed bin Suroor said of Midshipman. "He had only the one race this year, so perhaps that had an effect. He had good position all the way, and the rider (Garrett Gomez) rode him perfectly. It was a huge race for him."

"He had been off for a while and came back with a sprint race so he was still probably keyed up from the one sprint race," Gomez said. "I got him to shut off just enough. I would have liked to get him shut off a little better, but I got him to take a couple breathers around the first turn and then from there I thought if it gets a little aggressive now, I snuck away with an easy enough first quarter that I should be able to play with it from there. When I quickened, he started to leave them, but inside the eighth-pole he started to level off and they just kept coming at him. He only had the one race, and for him to perform the way he did, he ran a tremendous race, he really did. The last little bit he started getting a little late on me and he had some really good horses in the race that were running after him. He ran a really good race, and Godolphin has just done a wonderful job with him."

"He ran very well," trainer Aidan O’Brien said of Mastercraftsman. "He maybe just didn’t get a clear run, but he ran well."

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