Val Royal Flies Home in Mile

Val Royal Flies Home in Mile
Photo: Mike Corrado
Val Royal comes from far back to win the Mile.
Val Royal came flying down the lane to win the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) in 1:32.05, the course record at Belmont Park being 1:31.60.

City Zip and Balto Star made the lead down the backside, with Express Tour and Forbidden Apple well within close striking range. Val Royal sat patiently under Jose Valdivia Jr.

When the field flew through the turn after fractions of :22.39 and :45.49, Forbidden Apple and Corey Nakatani made the lead as they went the six furlongs in 1:08.65. In the stretch turn, Val Royal had only one horse beat. He was on the outside and began chewing up ground. He won by 1 3/4 lengths and paid $12.20, $6.40 and $5.10.

Forbidden Apple ran a big race considering the fractions and when he took the lead. He returned $8.60 and $6.20. Bach got third and returned $12.40. The exacta was $105.50 and the trifecta $2,445.

European miler Noverre was the favorite -- at 9-2 -- and never was in the running, finishing seventh.

Val Royal was bred in France by Jean Luc Legardere. He is owned by David Milch and trained by Julio Canani.

Canani also won the Mile in 1999, with Silic. It was the first Breeders' Cup win for Valdivia, who has only had two mounts. He finished third on Big Jag in 1999.

"He's something else," said Valdivia. "He's just an awesome horse. I'm ecastatic. This horse is amazing. I got lucky and started getting on this horse about 1 ½ years ago. I was on him for his first 3/8th's work and Julio (Canani) told me if I stuck with this horse, I would get a shot on him. He ran huge when he came back in the Kilroe Mile, running a great second."

"My horse ran a big race and it took a special horse to get by me," Nakatani said of Forbidden Apple.

"Neither handled the course," trainer Neil Drysdale said of Irish Prize and Sarafan. "It was too loose, dry and hard. Irish Prize is such a good horse, he ran anyway. The 13 post didn't help him either."

Mile Chart, From Equibase

Breeders' Cup Mile notes from the Breeders' Cup site

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