Horses

Breeders' Cup highlights: Lukas puts 61-1 shot in winner's circle

Jockey Victor Espinoza and Take Charge Brandi surprised the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies field by ending a four-race skid which included an eighth-place finish in the Alcibiades at Keeneland.
Jockey Victor Espinoza and Take Charge Brandi surprised the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies field by ending a four-race skid which included an eighth-place finish in the Alcibiades at Keeneland. AP

ARCADIA, Calif. — One would think after decades of D. Wayne Lukas changing how the game is played and won, the days of dismissing a horse from the barn of the Hall of Fame trainer would be over.

Though her form seemed to justify Take Charge Brandi's 61-1 odds in Saturday's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, the filly from the family of Lukas' most recent champion reiterated why the old ball coach is king as she captured the 11⁄16-mile test by half a length.

Owned by Willis Horton, who campaigned champion Will Take Charge, Take Charge Brandi had lost four straight since breaking her maiden first time out and was most recently eighth in the Grade I Alcibiades at Keeneland.

With the track playing into her hands and Victor Espinoza nursing her along in the irons, the daughter of Giant's Causeway gunned to the lead and rolled though a half-mile in 45.99 seconds, never backing down when eventual runner-up Top Decile came with a rally in the stretch.

Take Charge Brandi ignited more than the usual joy as she hit the line in 1:41.95. She is out of the mare Charming, a daughter of 2013 Broodmare of the Year Take Charge Lady, who is the dam of Will Take Charge.

Will Take Charge, the runner-up in the 2013 Breeders' Cup Classic, was also trained by Lukas and recently retired to Three Chimneys Farm.

"We never give up on one, especially if they're bred this brilliantly," said Lukas, who added to his record total by earning his 20th Breeders' Cup win.

Turf: Ten years after earning his first Breeders' Cup win when Better Talk Now shocked the field in the Turf, trainer Graham Motion got a fresh reminder of that moment when his Main Sequence rallied on the far outside to win the $3 million, 11/2-mile test by half a length over Flintshire.

Since coming over from England last winter after suffering 10 straight defeats, Main Sequence has now won four straight Grade I races in as many tries stateside — a résumé that likely earns him champion turf male honors.

John Velazquez patiently urged the Flaxman Holdings homebred along, covering the distance in 2:24.91 over a course rated good.

Filly & Mare Turf: In her final start before being sold at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale this Monday night, New York-bred Dayatthespa made her speed last in her first try going 11/4 miles, winning the Filly & Mare Turf by 11/4 lengths to lead a 1-2 finish for trainer Chad Brown.

In earning her 11th career victory from 18 starts and second straight Grade I triumph, Dayatthespa has positioned herself to possibly give her owners an Eclipse Award champion for turf female as her parting gift.

Under Javier Castellano, the 5-year-old had things all her own way on the front end through a half-mile in :48.37. She kicked away from stablemate and fellow Grade I winner Stephanie's Kitten en route to covering the distance in 2:00.12.

"She ran her race against an exceptional group of fillies, put them to sleep on the front end, and took it home," co-owner Peter Bradley said.

Filly & Mare Sprint: One year after playing bridesmaid to champion Groupie Doll in the Filly & Mare Sprint, Wesley Ward-trainee Judy the Beauty is now in line to score a championship herself after holding off a surge from Better Lucky in deep stretch to win the 7-furlong race by a head.

Judy the Beauty continued a huge Breeders' Cup for Ward. The former jockey also won the Juvenile Turf with Hootenanny on Friday.

A daughter of 2004 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper, Judy the Beauty gave Hall of Fame trainer Mike Smith his 21st victory in a Breeders' Cup race when she hit the line in 1:21.92.

Mile: It was a banner day for Flaxman Holdings. Just more than an hour after their homebred Main Sequence claimed the Turf, their Japanese-bred long shot Karakontie emerged like a rocket between horses en route to winning the $2 million Mile by 1 length over a spirited Anodin.

Karakontie was sent off at odds of 30-1, though he had a Group I win in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains at Longchamp in May and a triumph in the Group I Grand Criterium last October.

Trained by Jonathan Pease, the 3-year-old son of Bernstein thrived over the 8-furlong distance, hitting the wire in 1:32.88.

Sprint: Owners Midwest Thoroughbreds, trainer Roger Brueggemann and jockey Florent Geroux all celebrated their first Breeders' Cup victories as Work All Week won the $1.5 million Sprint by half a length over defending race winner Secret Circle.

The 5-year-old gelding went off at 19-1 despite not having lost in nine tries over a dirt track. He tracked three wide just off pacesetter Fast Anna before taking over.

The duo covered the 6 furlongs in 1:08.28.

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