Guided by Breeders' Cup master Mike Smith, Caledonia Road rallied past Alluring Star in the stretch to score a 17-1 upset in the $2 million 14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) Nov. 4 at Del Mar.
Entered off a runner-up finish in the Frizette Stakes (G1) Oct. 8 at Belmont Park for trainer Ralph Nicks, Caledonia Road closed strongly to secure her first grade 1 score, drawing off to a 3 1/4-length victory over Alluring Star. Longshot Blonde Bomber followed home in third.
The outcome of the first of nine Breeders' Cup races Saturday gave Nicks his first Breeders' Cup win while Smith improved his record Breeders' Cup win total to 26 and added to his record Breeders' Cup purse earnings, now in excess of $35 million.
Zoom and Fish Stable, Charlie Spiring, and Newtown Anner Stud's Caledonia Road completed the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:45.05 on a fast track.
"This filly has come into her own this fall and her timing was impeccable," Nicks said. "This run down the stretch is kind of her style. This is my first win and it's on my third try. It's just amazing."
Caledonia Road, a daughter of Quality Road , started from post 12 in the field of 13, with Frizette winner Separationofpowers as the lone horse to her outside. Caledonia Road and Smith rated in ninth through a half-mile as 2-1 favorite Moonshine Memories and Alluring Star dueled through :46.72. In the far turn, Chandelier Stakes (G1) runner-up Alluring Star put away the favorite and soon opened a two-length lead in the stretch under Joe Talamo.
While Alluring Star was building her advantage, Caledonia Road was rolling through the far turn and sustained that move to the finish, catching Alluring Star in midstretch and drawing off to the decisive victory.
"She was dynamite. She was much more forwardly placed than I expected her to be, to be honest," Smith said. "She was up there intent on getting into the game and running good. She was in a good rhythm, breathing well. I gave her a breather from the half-mile pole to the three-and-a half because she kind of wanted one. When I stepped on the accelerator again, man, she jumped back on it and I knew I was going to be live from that point on."
Bred in Florida by Vegso Racing Stable, Caledonia Road is the second starter and winner, out of the winning Dixie Union mare Come a Callin. Zoom and Fish Stable went to $140,000 to purchase Caledonia Road at the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale, where she was consigned by Eaton Sales.
Baoma Corporation's Alluring Star finished second in a grade 1 stakes for a second straight race.
"She ran her heart out and I'm proud of her, but these second-place finishes are piling up and are tough," said Alluring Star's trainer Bob Baffert. "We try to win these things. But, all you can hope for is that your horse shows up and she ran well."
Arindel Farm homebred Blonde Bomber, entered off a win in the Our Dear Peggy Stakes at Gulfstream Park, earned a placing in her first graded stakes start.
"She ran amazing and I am so, so pleased with her," said Jocelyne Kenny, assistant to trainer Stanley Gold. "It was such a hot pace up front and we really didn't want her that far back, but honestly, I have no complaints."
Moonshine Memories faded to seventh. Trainer Simon Callaghan said being pressured throughout by Alluring Star proved too tough on this day.
Caledonia Road paid $36.60, $15.40, and $9.80 across the board, while Alluring Star returned $10.40 and $7.20 to placed and show. Blonde Bomber paid $15.20 to show.