Neil Drysdale and Gary Stevens celebrate after War Chant's win in the Mile.
The Mile was the most contentious race of the day, with the largest
number of pre-entries and several highly regarded Europeans shipping
over. The betting public sent off War Chant as the lukewarm 7-2
favorite, off just the one career turf start, a win in the Oak Tree
Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita. They were not to be disappointed.
First time past in the Mile with North East Bound out front with Affirmed Success just behind.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 11 War Chant Stevens 9.00 6.80 4.40 14 North East Bound Velez 29.60 7.40 8 Dansili Velazquez 13.80 Winning Time: 1:34.67 $2 Exacta 11-14 486.20 $2 Trifecta 11-14-8 14,007.80Results Chart from Equibase
War Chant rallying on the outside to just get up by a neck. Owner Marjorie Cowan said: "This was an unbelievable training job by Neil. This is the second Breeders' Cup he's won for us and this is the son of Hollywood Wildcat, our first winner. We always knew she was a champion and now we have another one. I think this is the first mother/son combination to win Breeders' Cups."
Gary Stevens gives the thumbs up after the win. He said: "I was further back than I wanted, but I had confidence that he would run them down in the lane. I was flying. I never hit the accelerator button until we hit the furlong pole. I'm in shock just being here today. The confidence shown in me by Mr. Drysdale says a lot and it gave me a lot of confidence. The last eighth of a mile was unbelievable."
War Chant in the winners' circle. His owner Irving Cowan said that they have signed a breeding agreement with Three Chimneys but they are not about to retire him. "You'll see him next year, possibly longer. I think we're going to have a lot of run with him next year. You will see him back on the dirt sometime."
Second place finisher North East Bound in the post parade. His jockey Jose Velez Jr. said: "I thought when I got to the top of the stretch, I had it. I only hit my horse once and I thought I had plenty of horse left. A great horse won. The post position (14) didn't help us,
but we had to deal with what we had."
European third place finisher Dansili being led in the post parade by his groom and trainer. His jockey John Velazquez said: "I didn't have anywhere to go. I had to wait and wait and wait. I asked him to run and he ran but it was just too late. He finished unbelievable. If I could have gotten out just a little bit sooner I would have won. But I just couldn't get out.
King Cugat, the co-favorite at 7-2, in the post parade. His trainer Bill Mott said: "Jerry Bailey wound up clipping heels at the head of the lane. That probably cost us all chance of getting into the money." Jockey Jerry Bailey added, "I didn't get the trip I wanted at all. I was forced out when the race started. Then I was following War Chant into the stretch and he was forced out in front of me. That was it, absolutely eliminated."
Have a comment or question about this topic? Jump on over to the forum!
All photos by Cindy Pierson and Terence Dulay. Logo courtesy of Breeders' Cup Limited.