Flotilla flows to Juvenile Fillies Turf victory

Sheikh Mohammed al Thani's Flotilla was sent off at 11-1 to continue the double-digit winners on Breeders' Cup Friday, taking the Grade 1, $909,000 Juvenile Fillies Turf by 1 1/4 lengths after coming with furious late rally down the middle of the lawn at Santa Anita. With Christophe Lemaire aboard, the dark bay daughter of Mizzen Mast was forced to swing wide around the turn but kicked into gear to get up and finish a mile on the firm turf in 1:34 3/5.

"This is great. Absolutely great. It was a good preliminary for Australia," said trainer Mikel Delzangles, who is readying Dunaden for a title defense run in Tuesday's Group 1 Melbourne Cup.

Tara From the Cape tried to lead all the way to the wire, setting the pace through splits of :23, :47 1/5 and 1:11 while closely tracked by Waterway Run, Moonwalk and Flashy Ways. Flotilla, meanwhile, settled in midpack just off the rail on the backstretch.

As the field began overtaking Tara From the Cape, Flotilla found herself blocked rounding the turn and had to take up slightly. Lemaire didn't panic, allowing his mount to settle back into stride, before sending her to split horses and power home to pay $24.80, $10.80 and $7.80 as the sixth pick in the field of 14.

"For me, it is a big achievement," Lemaire said. "The Breeders' Cup is so very important in the horse racing season. I'm very glad to win a race like that. It was something that was missing in my career.

"She broke well. I was a bit worried by the pace which was not very swift, but when I asked, she reacted very well and won brilliantly."

Watsdachances put in her own late run to briefly threaten in the stretch, but Flotilla effortlessly sailed on past to take the win. The Diamond Green filly, who captured the Grade 3 Miss Grillo prior to this one, had a half-length to spare on Summer of Fun when crossing under the wire.

"We had a great trip. She ran really hard," said Javier Castellano, who had piloting duties aboard Watsdachanches. "She was tracking behind the leaders, and when I asked her to go, she put in her run. There are no excuses. She was second-best today. Sometimes that's just the way it is."

Tara From the Cape just withstood the late rush of The Gold Cheongsam, who came flying down the center of the track, to take fourth while Waterway Run, Moonwalk, 5-2 favorite Sky Lantern, Nancy O, Infanta Branca, Flashy Ways, Kitten's Point, Spring Venture and Oscar Party completed the order of finish. Sustained was scratched early Friday morning and Moulin de Mougin didn't draw in from the also-eligible list.

"I had plenty of horse. Just nowhere to go," explained Sky Lantern's rider, Richard Hughes. "Usually in these kind of races, something will open up, but today there was no hole at all."

Flotilla owned only a maiden win heading into the Juvenile Fillies Turf, but was fifth by just 2 3/4 lengths in the Group 2 Prix d'Aumale and fourth by 1 1/2 lengths in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac in her two races prior to Friday's run. Now boasting a 2-0-0 mark from five starts, the dark bay miss has banked $582,232 in lifetime earnings.

Bred in France by Eric Puerari, Oceanic Bloodstock and Ariane Gravereaux, Flotilla brought $172,536 as an Arqana August yearling. She is out of the Grade 3-winning Sinndar mare Louvain, making her a half-sister to stakes heroine Louvakhova.

Louvain is herself a daughter of multiple Group 2-placed listed victress Flanders, and this female family has also produced last year's dual Group 2 star Family One, this season's Group 2 Hungerford scorer Lethal Force and multiple Group 1-placed listed winner Gain.

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