No Catching Intercontinental in Filly & Mare Turf

The bettors thought Intercontinental would not like the soft turf but she proved them wrong, going nearly wire-to-wire to win the $972,020 Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT).

Trainer Bobby Frankel had said he was unsure how the Danehill mare would take to the soft going, but she took to it quite well. The bettors had no confidence, the 8-1 morning line drifting to 15-1.

Wonder Again, who liked soft going, saw her price drop from a morning line 8-1 to 7-2.

The only recent sub-par performance for Intercontinental was over a yielding turf course at Saratoga last summer. On firm ground, she was four-for-six this year.

Flip Flop went to the lead right out of the gate in the 10-furlong race, followed by Riskaverse, Mona Lisa and Intercontinental. They went a quarter in :24.10 and Rafael Bejarano moved Intercontinental to the lead. She was there through a half in :48.92, six furlongs in 1:13.62, and a mile in 1:38.17.

As the field turned for home, Jerry Bailey urged Ouija Board, last year's Filly & Mare Turf winner, between horses for a run at the leader. Down the lane, Ouija Board was moving well, but Bejarano had opened up too much ground and Ouija Board could not catch her. At the wire, Intercontinental won by 1 1/4 lengths with Film Maker a neck back. Film Maker ran second last year. The final time was 2:02.34.

Intercontinental has a reputation for being headstrong, but she showed a different attitude in her last race, a front-running win in the one-mile WinStar Galaxy (gr. IIT) at Keeneland Oct. 9. Bejarano said he had no problems.

"I tried to take hold and stay comfortable," Bejarano said. "At the quarter pole, I could feel the other horses coming, but I knew she could hold on."

Frankel won his fourth Breeders' Cup race in 65 starts. It was his second win in the Filly & Mare Turf in 12 attempts, with his other victory in 2002 with Starine.

"In her race in the Winstar she broke and relaxed so good, I was very excited about her race," Frankel said. "Listening to Jerry (Bailey) after that race, I figured she could go on in distance."

Intercontinental's 13th win in 21 lifetime starts was worth $551,200 and increased her earnings to $2,052,463 for breeder/owner Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms.

Interestingly, Bailey had ridden Intercontinental many times including her last two races, both wins, but he chose to ride Ouija Board, who when victorious last year was ridden by Kieren Fallon.

"My filly ran well,"Bailey said. "I got a good run early and was only three wide and that was exactly where I wanted to be."

Fallon rode Mona Lisa in this year's race to a 10th place finish.

Intercontinental had been favored in her last six starts but paid $32.20, $13 and $8.40. Ouija Board returned $5.90 and $4.30 while Film Maker was worth $6.40.

Patrick Valenzuela, aboard Film Maker, said he clipped heels with Sundrop going by the stands the first time and was forced to come from far out of it as a result.

"But once I got her clear, she made a good run into the far turn, and she ran a great race," he said. She's going to get one of these some day."

The multiple grade I winner Megahertz, Frankel's other mare in the race, struggled home eighth in probably the final race for the 6-year-old.

"She never got any good footing out there," said jockey Alex Solis. "She didn't like the track out there at all. It was very, very soft."

By Danehill out of the Kahyasi mare Hasili, Intercontinental is a full sister to Banks Hill, who won the Filly & Mare Turf at Belmont in 2001.

The first three Breeders' Cup races were all won by jockeys winning their first ever Breeders' Cup races -- Edgar Prado, Garrett Gomez, and Bejarano.

Bejarano's win was his first in six Breeders' Cup tries.

After the first three, the official order of finish: Wonder Again, Favourable Terms, Wend, Angara, Megahertz, Karen's Caper, Mona Lisa, Luas Line, Flip Flop, Riskaverse and Sundrop.

(Chart, Equibase)