Battle Chant Prevails in Schapiro Breeders' Cup

(from Laurel Park release)
Cheveley Park Farm's Battle Chant slipped between horses straightening away for home and bounded to victory Saturday the $150,000 John D. Schapiro Memorial Breeders' Cup on the turf at Laurel Park.

The 5-year-old Battle Chant, who had raced in England during his formative years, was sent to the United States and trainer Graham Motion's barn in 2004, specifically to try racing on the American turf. He has rewarded his connections with two wins, a second, and a third in four starts on this side of the pond.

Ryan Fogelsonger rode the Coronado's Quest gelding for the first time. They broke alertly in the nine furlong test, then settled back in fourth behind three longshot speedsters until the rider called on the bay. Battle Chant won by 4 3/4 lengths over the late-running Dr. Kashnikov, ridden by Steve Hamilton.

"The horse really is perfect for American racing," Motion said. "This horse likes to lay handy. He ran on the firm turf at Saratoga. I really thought he'd be competitive today. The owners have always thought very highly of him. He raced against some pretty good horses in England. I think that - with age - we're just starting to see the best of him. It looks like we're going to have a lot of fun with this horse."

Battle Chant paid $4.80, $3.60, and $3.40 as second choice and topped a $66.80 exacta and $391.80 trifecta. Dr. Kashnikow returned $12.20 and $7 and Proud Man, a neck farther back in third, was $6.20.

Multiple graded winner Mr O'Brien, the 6-5 choice in the field of seven, finished next to last.

The winner completed the distance in 1:46, a new track record for the newly built turf course.

(Chart, Equibase)