Albertus Maximus powered past longshots Two Step Salsa and My Pal Charlie inside the final furlong to win the $1-million TVG Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (VIDEO) by 1 1/4 lengths over the late-closing Rebellion.
Brandon and Marianne Chase’s Albert Maximus was ridden by Garrett Gomez. Vladimir Cerin trains the Dirt Mile winner, a 4-year-old son of Albert the Great.
Two Step Salsa, the pacesetter, held for third, a half-length behind Rebellion. My Pal Charlie was fourth in the 12-horse field.
The final time was 1:33.41 over the Pro-Ride surface.
In his prep for the Dirt Mile, Albertus Maximus finished third in the Sept. 27 Goodwood (gr. I) at Santa Anita. Goodwood winner Well Armed finished ninth as the 6-5 favorite in the Dirt Mile.
Gomez said Albert Maximus wasn’t at first comfortable with the crowd of horses he encountered going into the first turn.
“He wanted to get out a bit on the first turn,” Gomez said. “He’s just a horse who hasn’t been back in traffic much. He’s almost like riding a green horse back in the pack. Once I lined up down the backstretch, and got him into a kind of rhythm, he was traveling really well for me.
“Actually, I had to move before I wanted to at the three-eighths pole,” he said. “I was waiting to see what was happening with Well Armed, hoping he’d get shoved down inside and I could swoop around him. Johnny Murtagh (on Lord Admiral) started making a run on my hip. When he started making his run, I had to go with him and he had me down inside. I had to wait on (My Pal Charlie). He found a hole and I followed him in there and it worked out perfectly.”
Well Armed, who was ridden by Aaron Gryder, didn’t get the perfect trip.
“He needed a clear trip and he didn't get it,” Gryder said. “Going into that first turn, the horse outside me (Slew's Tiznow) leaned on me and put me in tight and that set the tone. I couldn't get clear with him. I had a little bit of an opening on the backstretch, but that was it. The big advantage with this horse is his long stride. That's what you want to use; you want to sit back and let him reach out. He needed a clear trip today and I didn't give it to him."
It was the first Breeders’ Cup win for Albert Maximus’ trainer and owner. Cerin, a native of Crotia, took over the training of Albert Maximus in September. In his first start for Cerin, Albert Maximus won the ungraded Windy Sands Handicap at Del Mar Sept. 1.
“Garrett (Gomez) had him in a perfect position on the first turn,” Cerin said. “I was a little concerned when he went inside, but the red sea parted. It was a superlative performance by a superlative athlete. It feels great; unbelievable to win my first Breeders’ Cup.”
It was the second year that the Dirt Mile was run. Its inaugural running last year at Monmouth Park was won by Corinthian at Monmouth Park.
Albert Maximus was bred by his owners in Kentucky. His dam, Chasethewildwind, is by Forty Niner. Albert Maximus is Chasethewildwind’s fourth foal and her first stakes winner. With his win in the Dirt Mile, Albert Maximus has earnings of $968,230 from a record of 5-3-2 in 15 starts.
Albert the Great, a grade I-winning son of Go for Gin, began his stud career at Three Chimneys Farm near Midway, Ky. He now stands at Pin Oak Lane Farm near New Freedom, Pa. His 2009 stud fee is listed at $2,500.
|Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile|
|1.Albertus Maximus||$ 14.60||$ 7.40||$ 5.40|
|3.Two Step Salsa||$12.80|