David Copperfield Uses Some Bay Meadows Magic

(From Track Report)
A little like his magician namesake, David Copperfield used his "you-can't-get-by-me" trick to win the $200,000 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) Saturday.

David Copperfield and jockey Jason Lumpkins boldly held off Ninebanks and Little Ghazi in a thrilling stretch battle to win the 1 1/8-mile turf race by a neck in 1:48.95. Ninebanks took second by a head over Little Ghazi.

Dance Dreamer, the heavy 3-5 favorite, would have needed some magic to get out of the box he was in down the stretch. Ridden by Russell Baze, Dance Dreamer was trapped behind David Copperfield throughout the stretch run.

"He was probably the best horse," said Baze. "If I could have got him to the outside he probably would have won. He would have been right there but we didn't have any room the final eighth of a mile."

Little Ghazi and Dance Dreamer raced in the rear of the five-horse field during the first six furlongs of the race and began their moves simultaneously approaching the far turn. Little Ghazi, with Ricky Frazier aboard, raced just outside of Dance Dreamer.

"Ricky dogged me the whole way," said Baze. "When I tried to take back, he took back."

David Copperfield allowed longshot Prodigious to set the early pace before moving up to challenge him with four furlongs remaining. David Copperfield disposed of Prodigious entering the stretch and opened up a two-length lead one furlong from the finish.

Ninebanks, ridden by Ron Warren Jr., and Little Ghazi both kicked powerfully to draw alongside David Copperfield but neither could get by the 5-year-old.

"I was pretty confident and he was playing around a bit in the late stages," said Lumpkins. "He heard Ronnie (Warren) hollering in deep stretch and dug in well."

David Copperfield, who was purchased for $2.6 million during his 3-year-old season by The Thoroughbred Corporation, is trained by John Shirreffs.

"He's really a determined horse," said Shirreffs. "If he can get head and head with another horse, he'll just battle. If he can look another horse in the eye, he'll run with him."

Saturday's win marked the second consecutive game victory by David Copperfield, who returned from a 14-month layoff – caused by an ankle injury – to win an allowance race at Del Mar by a nose on Aug. 15.

David Copperfield, who defeated Fusaichi Pegasus (the 2000 Kentucky Derby winner) by a neck when he broke his maiden at Hollywood Park in 1999, has six wins in 17 career starts. The Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Handicap victory was worth $110,000 and pushed his earnings to $531,983.

David Copperfield was the 5-2 second choice in the betting and paid $7.00.

(Chart, Equibase)