Miss Andretti Loses in Major Upset

Two group 1 races in Adelaide March 29 were both for the girls, and one of the greatest upsets in Australian racing history occurred.

Miss Andretti, the undisputed monarch of Australian and probably world sprinting, was beaten--out of a place after dashing away with what appeared to be a winning lead with two furlongs left to travel.

Everyone at the Morphetville course just stood in shock and awe as the one time colossus of speed wilted over the final furlong, finishing fourth in the $300,000 Robert Sangster Stakes over six furlongs.

The pretty looking gray mare Juste Momente (who started at $26 for a $1 outlay) settled well off the speed in the fast-run event--in fact at one stage was last with three furlongs to travel in a field of 14--but came with a withering late burst to run over not only Miss Andretti (the raging $1.40 favorite), but also Zipanese ($51) and the unlucky Serious Speed ($10).

The Giant’s Causeway 4-year-old inflicted Miss Andretti’s first defeat since 2006 on Aussie soil and also tarnished the wonder mare's former sensational six starts when resuming for six wins record. Miss Andretti (by little known stallion Ihtiram) was away well from the gates and her regular partner Craig Newitt had her positioned in her favorite role of stalking the leader, this time the flying filly Bel Mer. It was a cracking pace, there is no denying that, but Miss Andretti would normally be expected to make a meal of this field of females.

Bel Mer got a stitch not long after straightening and Newitt took the reigning Australian Horse of the Year to the front and opened up a two-length lead.

It looked like it was all over, but she just got very tired and was swamped near the line. The 6-year-old has won 19 races and Aus$2,848,991 (about U.S. $2.3 million) to date. Connections are evaluating whether to continue racing her not.

Meanwhile the forgotten winner Juste Momente (Giant's Causeway  --Skates) had failed twice at group I level before but was a stakes winner and now has pocketed $551,000 for her owners.

She has won six of her 19 starts and was racing for the first time since November last year. Zipanese was the first to loom up to Miss Andretti and the crowd gasped when the lesser-performed mare went straight past the champ with a furlong to travel without a fuss. Zipanese (Bellotto--Eastern Charm) held on until the last few strides before being swamped by the Danny O'Brien-trained Juste Momente, who had a full head of steam up with a trouble-free run in the right part of the track. Serious Speed (Royal Academy--Twitter) and an emerging 3-year star from the Leon Macdonald barn, showed that she is in for a big autumn campaign with a fantastic effort after having difficulty getting clear on the home turn and early in the straight.

Serious Speed can stay, too, which makes her a highly valuable piece of horseflesh.

Speaking of staying, also on the card in Adelaide was the running of the 10 furlongs group I $250,000 Schweppes Oaks, a traditional lead up to the group I South Australian Oaks in April for 3-year-old fillies.

This year Zarita, the odds on favorite, was simply too strong, gutsing it out to win by a neck from the ever improving Moment In Time and Queen Of Queens.

Zarita (Pentire--Gin Player) has won $733,000 in stakes now and five of her last seven starts.

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