By BETH HARRIS
AP Racing Writer
DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) — Japan snapped an 0-for-13 skid in the Breeders’ Cup on Saturday, when Loves Only You won the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf by a half-length.
Trained by Yoshito Yahagi and ridden by Yuga Kawada, the 5-year-old mare came flying between horses in deep stretch and finished 1 3/8 miles in 2:13.87 at Del Mar.
She paid $10.60 to win. War Like Goddess, the 2-1 favorite, finished third. Defending champion Audarya was fifth.
“I’d like to say thank you to my horse. She did a great job,” Yahagi said through a translator. “It’s a dream come true for the Japanese horse racing industry. I’d love to come back Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland next year and do the same thing.”
Knicks Go and Belmont Stakes winner Essential Quality were the favorites for the $6 million Classic later Saturday. The field was reduced to eight when Express Train was scratched in the morning with swelling in his right hock, similar to an ankle.
Sun finally broke through the fog that blanketed the seaside track north of San Diego a day earlier.
In other races:
— Aloha West scored the biggest upset of the weeknd, winning the $2 million Sprint by the smallest possible margin, a nose. The 4-year-old colt, who began his racing career this year, was sixth at the top of the stretch and edged Dr. Schivel at the wire under Jose Ortiz, who won his second Cup race of the weekend. Trained by Wayne Catalano, Aloha West ran six furlongs in 1:08.49 and paid $24.60 to win. Jackie’s Warrior, the 1-2 favorite, was sixth.
“I knew there was a lot of speed in the race and I had none, so I knew I was going to come from the back,” Ortiz said. “He was giving me a great run, but I didn’t know if I was going to get there. Finally, we did.”
— Ce Ce won the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint by 2 1/2 lengths in an upset. The 6-1 shot paid $14.40 to win. Defending champion Gamine, the 2-5 favorite trained by Bob Baffert, finished third, ending her five-race winning streak. Victor Espinoza, who is 49, rode Ce Ce to his first Cup win since 2015. She ran seven furlongs in 1:21.
— Ireland-bred Space Blues won the $2 million Mile by a half-length for trainer Charlie Appleby. He ran 1 mile on the turf in 1:34.01 and paid $6.20 to win as the 2-1 favorite in his last race before retiring. Appleby’s other horse, Master of the Seas, was scratched at the starting gate after acting up in the No. 1 post. Neither horse nor jockey James Doyle was hurt. It was similar to what occurred Friday, when Appleby’s Modern Games was mistakenly scratched by the veterinarians before being reinstated to run in the $1 million Juvenile Turf for purse money only. Modern Games won. “I’m getting used to this sort of speech now,” Appleby joked. William Buick rode both winners for owner Godolphin Stables, the racing outfit for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai.
— Life Is Good cruised to a 5 3/4-length victory in the $1 million Dirt Mile, giving jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. his third Cup victory of the two-day world championships. The 3-year-old colt ran the distance in 1:34.12 and paid $3.40 to win as the 3-5 favorite.
Todd Pletcher trains Life Is Good and earned his 12th Cup win. Ortiz has 14 career Cup victories.
“He took it to them,” Pletcher said. “Just too much horse.”
— Golden Pal rocketed to the front in the $1 million Turf Sprint and won by 1 1/4 lengths under Irad Ortiz Jr. The 5-2 favorite ran 1 1/4 miles in 54.75 seconds and paid $7 to win. Ortiz and trainer Wesley Ward combined to take the Juvenile Turf on Friday with Twilight Gleaming. Golden Pal won that race last year, making him a two-time Cup winner among his five career victories.
AP freelance writer Mike Farrell contributed to this report.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.