Two U.S. horses and one European runner being pointed toward Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Racing Championships have defected for different reasons.
Fog City Stable's 6-5 favorite Blueprint outdueled Kudos in the stretch to win the $200,000 Sunset Handicap (gr. IIT) Sunday at Hollywood Park.
Bienamado leaned against the stall webbing, craning his neck down the shedrow. The sinews beneath his glowing coat were alluring, and there was no mistaking the urgent look cast by his white-rimmed eyes. As the stalwart colt strained for something to chow down on, nowhere were there signs that just an hour earlier he had been stretched to the limits of class and stamina. There was no trace of fatigue, no wrung-out guise you might expect from an animal who had not only pulled down the $400,000 San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap (gr. IT) at about 1 3/4 miles, but did it fast. Faster than Cougar II or Exceller. Faster than John Henry, Kotashaan, or even his very own sire, Bien Bien. The small crowd gathered near his stall was simply awed.
Racing for the first time since a seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Cup Turf Handicap in September, Fog City Stable's Blueprint rallied from off the pace to win Sunday's $250,000 San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita. Under Gary Stevens, the 6-year-old Irish-bred held off a determined late run from Devon Deputy to ensure the victory, completing the 1 ½ miles in 2:28.57 on a good turf course.
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