Desert Code looked hopelessly beaten on the dirt portion of the turn for home while racing 11th in the 14-horse field and inside a tangle of horses. But jockey Richard Migliore urged the Kentucky-bred 4-year-old son of E Dubai between rivals a couple of times to reach contention at the furlong pole.
In the final couple strides, the relentless Desert Code ran down Diabolical to post a half-length victory in an outstanding time of 1:11.60 for the about 6 1/2-furlong race. The big finish was set up by blazing early fractions. Mr. Nightlinger, breaking from the extreme outside, bounced away to quarter-mile of splits of :20.73 and :41.81with California Flag right with him.
"I just dropped my hands early and let him relax because I knew they were going fast up front," Migliore said. "I didn’t want to start to move until we crossed over the dirt, which is where a little bit of my experience riding out here helped. When we turned for home, I thought we had a chance of getting something. But when we got to the sixteenth pole, I thought ‘shoot, we’re going to win this thing.'
“This is so overwhelming. I can’t express myself on how I feel. I always had faith in this colt.”
Diabolical, ridden by Frankie Dettori, had surged past 4-1 favorite Fleeting Spirit and Heros Reward on his inside mid-stretch, but could not hold off the winner. He finished one length in front of the closing Storm Treasure and Shaun Bridgmohan, with the 3-year-old Irish-bred filly Fleeting Spirit, a dual group II winner in Great Britain, settling for fourth.
David Hofmans trains Desert Code for Tarabilla Farms. ClassicStar is the winning breeder. The $645,3000 winner's share pushed Desert Code's lifetime earninings to $1,028,939.
Desert Code earned his fourth victory in seven starts on the hillside turf course. He improved his career mark to 6-4-2 in 19 lifetime starts. He had previously won Hollywood Park's Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) and the Baldwin Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the hillside as a 3-year-old.
David Hofmans trains Desert Code for Tarabilla Farms. Classic Star is the winning breeder. The winner's share of $645,300 pushed the chestnut colt's earnings to $1,028,939. Desert Code had previously won Hollywood Park's Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) and the Baldwin Stakes (gr. IIIT) down the hillside as a 3-year-old.
Desert Code earned his fourth victory in six starts on the hillside turf course. He improved his career record to 6-4-2 in 19 lifetime starts. He gave no indication of what was to come after his last start, when he finished a well-beaten seventh in the Morvich Handicap (gr. IIIT) Sept. 24.
“I thought we’d be closer but when I saw a 41-and-change half, I knew we had a chance," Hofmans said. "He was so far back, but Richie did a great job. He deserves all the credit. The horse really bounced out of his last race. He’s never been better, and he loves this course.”
Fleeting Spirit was followed by Heros Reward, Salute the Count, True to Tradition, One Union, Get Funky, California Flag, Rouse the Cat, Idiot Proof and Only Answer.
Desert Code is by E Dubai, a son of Mr. Prospector, out of the 17-year-old Lost Code mare Chatta Code, a stakes winner who captured six of 44 starts and $170,133. She has had six named foals, including a pair of stakes winners before Desert Code: Soul Onarazorsedge and Forest Code.
|Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint|
|1. Desert Code||$75.00||$30.80||$21.00|
|2. Diabolical||$ 7.60||$5.20|
|3. Storm Treasure||$9.20|