Martin Schwartz's Zagora took the lead leaving the second turn and held off a tenacious Marketing Mix for a game victory in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park Nov. 2 (VIDEO).
Favored The Fugue was third after being bottled up on the inside for much of the trip .
The final time for the distance of 1 1/4 miles on firm grass was 1:59.70. The striking chestnut French-bred mare trained by Chad Brown improved her bankroll to $2,368,589 from a record of 10 wins, five seconds, and three third-place finishes.
Longshot Stormy Lucy was the early leader, with Zagora loping along in second, followed by Marketing Mix. Another longshot, Star Billing, assumed the lead rounding the first turn, and held it until the field negotiated the second turn and headed into the stretch.
Meanwhile, Javier Castellano took Zagora back and she raced along in fourth along the rail before the jockey maneuvered her to the outside for the stretch run. Aggressively ridden from the middle of the track, Zagora took over while pursued by an equally game Marketing Mix. The final margin was three-quarters of a length, with The Fugue a half-length back.
The winner paid $20.40, $7.80, and $5.80. Marketing Mix returned $6 and $3.80 and The Fugue paid $2.80. Fourth was Ridasiyna, followed by Lady of Shamrock, I'm A Dreamer, Up, Star Billing, In Lingerie, Nahrain, and Stormy Lucy.
Zagora, a daughter of Green Tune bred in France by E. Puerari and Oceanic Bloodstock, has been the model of consistency this year. Her other four wins from eight total 2012 starts came in the Ballston Spa (gr. IIT), the Gallorette Handicap (gr. IIIT), Hillsborough Handicap (gr. IIIT), and Endeavor Stakes (gr. IIIT).
Previous to the Filly & Mare Turf, Zagora was caught at the wire by Nahrain to be second in the Flower Bowl Invitational Handicap (gr. IT) over yielding ground at Belmont Park Sept. 29.
"She had everything go her way today," said Brown, who was winning his second Breeders' Cup. "She got the turf she likes, she got a great trip, and she's been training great. I've never seen her look better health wise. Everything came together for her today and it couldn't happen to a horse that deserved it more.
"She's been a model of consistency since she came into my barn," Brown said of Zagora, who raced in France previous to coming to the U.S. "She's a very reliable horse in the mornings and afternoons, and she gave me my first grade I win last year (in the Diana). She's a special horse to me."
"This is thrilling," Schwartz said. "Chad (Brown) is a remarkable young man and I'm very lucky idea to be associated with him."
"I had a beautiful trip," Castellano said. "I was just where I wanted to be behind the speed. Turning for home, I went to the outside and she gave me a good kick. It's a pleasure to a part of this."
"The filly that won has been a good filly all year," said Tom Proctor, who trains Marketing Mix. "Take nothing away from her. Our filly ran good; the other filly just ran better. This is an exceptional filly, and we're proud of her. She will be going to Florida in a day or two to spend some time on the farm and she will be back in training next year."