ARCADIA, Calif. — Owner George Strawbridge has never been so happy to have one of his horses prove him wrong.
Strawbridge's filly Informed Decision probably locked up this season's Eclipse Award for champion female sprinter when she held off defending race winner Ventura to capture the $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint Friday by 11/4 lengths Friday.
While Strawbridge said he thought Informed Decision was built to stretch out, trainer Jonathan Sheppard said the 4-year-old daughter of Monarchos was best suited using her high cruising speed in the sprinting ranks.
After rating second just behind long-shot pacesetter Free Flying Soul through fractions of :23.23 and :45.95 under jockey Julien Leparoux, Informed Decision showcased her trainer's wisdom again as she took over for good at the head of the lane for her third Grade I triumph this year and her second win over Ventura.
"She's bred like a middle distance horse, Strawbridge said. "But I don't blame Jonathan at all, because she certainly has all of this speed, so why interrupt success just to prove a silly point? I think it's probably silly to ask her to stretch out just to prove my point. She's doing pretty well right now.
Unlike a year ago, Ventura's late kick was only good enough for second this time as Informed Decision dug in to cover the 7 furlongs at Santa Anita in 1:21.66.
The win gave Sheppard his second career Breeders' Cup win. He saddled Strawbridge's Forever Together when she won the Filly & Mare Turf last year.
Juddmonte Farm's Midday overtook pacesetter Visit along the rail in the lane and drew off under jockey Thomas Queally for a 1-length win over runner-up Pure Clan and defending race winner Forever Together in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
A 3-year-old daughter of Oasis Dream, Midday had defeated champion Rainbow View in the Group I Nassau Stakes at Goodwood in England in August. That form was on display Friday as she gathered her momentum halfway down the backstretch and was in full stride when she hit the head of the lane.
Third-place finisher Forever Together unleashed her classic rally from the back of the eight-horse field, but the 5-year-old mare couldn't overcome a tepid half-mile in :48.83 or her younger rival, who stopped the Teletimer in 1:59.14 for the 11/4-mile race over a firm turf.
Catalano rules again
Even before he brought She Be Wild to the Breeders' Cup, trainer Wayne Catalano was already listening to pundits compare the graded-stakes-winning daughter of Offlee Wild to his former champion Dreaming of Anna. Those analogies aren't about to stop now.
Catalano, who saddled Dreaming of Anna to victory in the 2006 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, scored in the race again when She Be Wild came up the rail to take the 11⁄16-mile contest by three-quarters of length.
As the field swarmed upon pacesetter Always a Princess with a quarter of a mile to go, She Be Wild snuck through the pack on the inside and held off Beautician, who bested Grade I winner Blind Luck by a head for second. The winning time was 1:43.80.
Man of Iron too tough
Man of Iron, a son of 2007 Broodmare of the Year Better Than Honour, outlasted the venerable Cloudy's Knight by a nose in the final stride to capture the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon over 13/4-miles.
As Cloudy's Knight surged up approaching the final turn to take over the lead from Black Astor, Man of Iron — a 3-year-old son of Giant's Causeway — advanced just behind eventual third-place finisher Mastery around the final turn before angling toward the rail and putting in a determined rally under Johnny Murtagh.
Final time for the race was 2:54.11.
Tapitsfly, trained by Dale Romans, challenged pacesetter Rose Catherine with a half mile to go and outlasted her rival through the stretch drive to win the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf by half a length over 1 mile on the firm course in a time of 1:34.25.
With Robby Albarado up, Tapitsfly mounted her charge on the outside but found Rose Catherine still stubborn after setting fractions of :22.95 and :47.02 in the early going. But the gray daughter of Tapit kept kicking on to give Romans his first win in a Breeders' Cup race.