Creative Cause , an unlucky loser in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) last time out, turned the tables on favored Drill in the $250,000 Norfolk Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Oct. 1 (VIDEO).
The 3 1/4-length victory earned a slot in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs for Creative Cause, a nicely bred son of Giant's Causeway out of the grade I-winning mare Dream of Summer, by the recently deceased sire Siberian Summer. Heinz Steinman, who paid $135,000 for Creative Cause as a Keeneland September yearling, owns the gray/roan colt. He is trained by Mike Harrington.
James Weigel bred Creative Cause in Kentucky.
Joel Rosario rode Creative Cause to victory while completing the 1 1/16-mile test for 2-year-olds in 1:42.66. Creative Cause previously won Del Mar's Best Pal Stakes (gr. II).
Harrington said Creative Cause would be pointed for the BC Juvenile.
“He raced in a perfect position, when Joel asked him, he ran by them and drew off by many," Harrington said. "So I’d have to think he’s the best horse on the West Coast, the best 2-year-old.”
Drill, from the Bob Baffert barn, finished second with pacesetter Ruler of Dubai holding on for third.
Six were entered in the Norfolk with Drill made the 3-5 favorite over Creative Cause at odds of 19-10. Both colts were making their initial attempts at two turns and were also performing on a dirt surface for the first time.
In the Del Mar Futurity, at seven furlongs on Polytrack Sept. 7, Drill prevailed by neck in spite of being bumped in deep stretch by a drifting rival, Majestic City, who also cut off the rallying Creative Cause. The latter, who was driving between horses, was elevated to second on the disqualification of Majestic City.
In the Norfolk, Creative Cause got away smoothly on the outside of Ruler of Dubai, who tugged along under Mike Smith through fractions of :23.69, :48.50, and 1:12.69. Basmati and Drill, racing at the rail, followed the leaders.
Creative Cause took the lead from Ruler of Dubai and was in control in upper stretch. Drill, angled off the rail by Martin Garcia, threatened briefly but was no match for the winner, who drew off impressively.
“The race set up good and he did everything easy," Rosario said. "He showed me that he was the best horse in the race. This was his first time going long. The horse on the front had an easy lead and I was just tracking him. When I asked him to go, he just took off. I don’t know how good he is, but he ran his best race today.”
Drill finished 3 1/4 lengths in front of Ruler of Dubai, with Basmati, Loukas, and Super Candy completing the order.
“The horse that won, he’s a really good horse," said Baffert, who was not happy with ride Garcia gave Drill. "We just gave him the race. When you’re going long for the first time, I think he (Garcia) just rode him with too much confidence and had him back there . . . he rode him like it was a synthetic race."
A first-out maiden winner at Del Mar July 16, Creative Cause has now won three of four starts while banking $323,000.
Under equal weights of 122 pounds, Creative Cause paid $5.80, $2.40, $2.10. Drill, who jumped out of a maiden special weight win for trainer Bob Baffert to take the Del Mar Futurity, returned $2.20 and $2.10. The exacta was $9.20. Ruler of Dubai paid $2.60 to show.