Breeders’ Cup Roundup: Rebel’s Romance Sets Course Record in Turf Win, Modern Games Rolls in Mile

Rebel’s Romance has bounced from dirt to turf, from Dubai to Germany with stops in England in a three-year odyssey that brought him to triumph Nov. 5 in the $4 million, Grade 1 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland Race Course.

Now, as a gelding with his future on the track, his options are wide open and worldwide.

After a tardy start, James Doyle piloted the Godolphin homebred son of Dubawi to the front of a tough international field of turf specialists in the stretch run of the Turf as the wind howled over the Keeneland course.

Once in front, he ran on strongly to win by 2 ¼ lengths from Irish raider Stone Age as the European contingent continued to dominate the weekend’s Breeders’ Cup grass events.

U.S.-based mare War Like Goddess finished third, salvaging a smidgen of pride for the North American contingent.

Rebel’s Romance, the 5.96-1 third betting choice, finished the 1 ½ miles on firm turf in course-record time of 2:26.35, but Doyle said it was not all clear sailing for the gelding, who can be a handful both before and during a race.

“We ended up in a nice position” after the slow break. “I was keen to get him off the inside rail and get him out to the middle of the track. It was a little raw on the turns,” said Doyle, who celebrated his first Breeders’ Cup win with his mother, Jacqui, on hand. “There were a couple of hairy moments until I got him some more room.

“He can be (difficult) but he was pretty good today.”

Rebel’s Romance improved his career record to nine wins from 12 starts and $2,934,610 in earnings. His win and Stone Age’s runner-up finish capped a stellar weekend for Godolphin, which won four Breeders’ Cup races, three with Appleby as trainer. Appleby and Godolphin also won three Breeders’ Cup races in 2021.

“It’s always good to be here at the Breeders’ Cup,” Appleby said. “It would be good to be here even if we left without a winner.”

Not likely.–Bob Kieckhefer

Breeders’ Cup Return a Success for Mile Victor Modern Games

Modern Games, a controversial winner of the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, cemented his place in Breeders’ Cup lore by winning this year’s $2 million, Grade 1 FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile Presented by PDJF Nov. 5 at Keeneland, becoming the first horse to complete the Juvenile Turf-Mile double.

“He’s beginning to get some fanfare around the world but it’s great to see him get the recognition today that he didn’t get 12 months ago from no fault of his own,” trainer Charlie Appleby said. “I’d love to bring him back here again and let the American crowd enjoy him.”

The last time Modern Games was led into the Breeders’ Cup winner’s circle, there was a less than enthusiastic ovation that greeted the colt from the Del Mar crowd when an erroneous scratch meant that he competed for purse money only. American bettors were hopeful this time around, however, that the colt would reward them back after last year’ mishap and he was bet down as the 1.38-1 favorite by post time.

After settling off the pace in between horses through the backstretch in the Mile, Modern Games angled out seven-wide entering the lane under William Buick and rallied strongly to score by a three-quarters of a length over 55.67-1 longshot Shirl’s Speight. He covered one mile in 1:33.96.

“From where I was, the opportunity sort of presented itself at the time and I didn’t need to do anything too brave,” Buick said. “It was just all about getting him into clear saving and giving him every chance to run.”

Modern Games, a Godolphin homebred Dubawi colt, improved his career record to seven wins, three seconds, and one third from 13 starts with $3,176,716.–Molly Rollins

Elite Power Rallies Late to Score in Sprint

Patience paid off for owner Juddmonte, trainer Bill Mott, and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., as lightly raced Elite Power stormed home to take the $2 million 1 Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint by 1 ¼ lengths Nov. 5 at Keeneland, earning a Grade 1 stakes victory in his first attempt at that level.

Jackie’s Warrior, the champion male sprinter for 2021 and the 0.77-1 favorite, never accelerated in the stretch and finished an even third in his final career start.

Elite Power broke sharply but was kept in hand by Ortiz and stalked the early pace while improving his position through the turn in the six-furlong Sprint. He then moved out five-wide at the top of the stretch and kicked clear in the final furlong. C Z Rocket, a 31.45-1 longshot, bested Jackie’s Warrior by a half-length for second. The final time was 1:09.11.

“I let him sit and he relaxed well,” Ortiz said. “There was a strong pace in front of me. I bided my time and then, on the turn, I split horses inside and got in the clear. He deserves all the credit.”

Elite Power never started as a 2-year-old and finished off the board in two starts at 3 before he put things together earlier this year with four consecutive wins. He entered the Sprint off of a 5 ¾-length score in the Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont in the Big A on Oct. 8, his first stakes appearance.

“He had baby issues,” Mott said. “And we didn’t get him until his 3-year-old year. But he had typical stuff like shins that many horses have. And it was just a matter of waiting for him to get right.”

Elite Power, sent off as the 5.55-1 third betting choice in the Sprint, improved his career record to five wins and one third from eight starts with $1,405,711 in earnings.–Jim Mulvihill

Tuesday Takes Filly and Mare Turf, Gives Connections Third BC Win of the Weekend

Already a young English classic winner, Tuesday is now a young Breeders’ Cup winner.

Campaigned by the Coolmore-affiliated Westerberg, Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith, Tuesday rallied from seventh – surging past recent two-time Grade 1 winner In Italian – to post a one-length victory in the $2 million, Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf Nov. 5 at Keeneland.

A 3-year-old daughter of Galileo, Tuesday set a course record in completing the 1 3/16-mile test for fillies and mares in 1:51.88 on firm ground.

“She did everything beautifully today,” said winning jockey Ryan Moore. “I thought she would have won a couple of more this year, but she won the (Cazoo Oaks at Epsom) and a Breeders’ Cup. So it’s a fantastic double for any racehorse to achieve.”

The victory marked the third Breeders’ Cup win of the weekend for Coolmore, trainer Aidan O’Brien, and Moore after they teamed on Friday to win the Juvenile Turf with Victoria Road and the Juvenile Fillies Turf with Meditate. Tuesday improved her career record to three wins, nine seconds and one third from nine starts with $1,825,086 in earnings.–Frank Angst

Dream Story Continues for Cody’s Wish, His Namesake, and Connections in Dirt Mile

Racing history is filled with racehorses named after individuals who fell short of noteworthy achievements, a reality in a sport in which fewer than half of Thoroughbreds ever win a race.

But there are exceptions when it almost seems that fate steps in to propel such horses to glory, and Godolphin’s homebred Cody’s Wish now is the poster boy for such accomplishments.

In the feel-good story of the Breeders’ Cup, the 4-year-old Curlin colt – named after Cody Dorman, a teenager who has a rare genetic disorder known as Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome – won before his namesake by grittily outfinishing Cyberknife by a head in the $1 million, Grade 1 Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on the Nov. 5 card at Keeneland.

Cody’s Wish covered the two-turn mile in 1:35.33 under Junior Alvarado as the 2.16-1 favorite. He improved his career record to seven wins, one second, and three thirds and $1,332,130 in earnings for Godolphin and trainer Bill Mott.

Dorman, who sat trackside in his wheelchair alongside his family, was embraced after the race by his father, Kelly, who spoke in his son’s ear. Cody’s mother Leslie and sister Kylie quickly joined the celebration of the moment, with barely a dry eye to be found.

“This is top of the world, and anything past that,” Kelly said.–Byron King

Caravel Leads Gate to Wire in Turf Sprint Shocker

The expectations from Caravel might have been muted when Qatar Racing bought her out of Fasig-Tipton’s 2021 The November Sale, considering Sheikh Fahad Al Thani’s racing operation acquired her as a replacement for its multiple Grade 1 winner Shedaresthedevil, who sold out of the same sale for $5 million.

They knew Caravel was a good racehorse with the potential to improve, but she far exceeded all expectations Nov. 5 at Keeneland when she rocked the $1 million, Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint with a front-running victory at odds of 42.89-1.

The 5-year-old daughter of Mizzen Mast defeated an exceptionally deep field that included two-time Breeders’ Cup winner and 1.32-1 favorite Golden Pal, who broke slowly and was taken out of his usual forwardly placed running style.

“She was running back in 20 days, but had a race over the course. She was doing extremely, extremely well,” said trainer Brad Cox. “She’s filly that has had a hard time keeping on weight and since the end of the summer, she’s really blossomed. We decided to take a swing and it worked out.”

Caravel defeated European shipper Emaraaty Ana by a half-length under Tyler Gaffalione, covering 5 ½ furlongs in 1.01.79. Golden Pal never threatened and finished 10th of 14.

Qatar Racing owns Caravel with Marc Detampel and Madaket Stables. She improved her career record to 12 wins, 0 seconds, and three thirds in 20 starts with $1,331,152 in earnings.–Frank Mitchell

Goodnight Olive Overpowers Foes in Filly and Mare Sprint

Patience lies at the center of trainer Chad Brown’s operation – an attribute of his stable that has paid off over the years and especially with Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Goodnight Olive.

The Ghostzapper filly, under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., moved swiftly to the lead in early stretch and rolled to a 2 ½-length win over Echo Zulu in the $1 million, Grade 1 Filly and Mare Sprint, finishing seven furlongs in 1:21.61 as the 1.85-1 favorite.

Goodnight Olive improved her record to six wins and one second in seven career starts with $1,019,950 in earnings for owners First Row Partners and Team Hanley. She has had several breaks in her training, but fulfilled her potential on the sport’s biggest stage.

“(I’m) so pleased with her race and appreciative of the owners and their patience,” Brown said. “There’s been more bad phone calls than good ones with this horse, I can promise you that.”–Corrie McCrosky