Cat Thief put the final damper on what was supposed to be a glorious Breeders' Cup day for trainer Bob Baffert, winning the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic for rival D. Wayne Lukas.
The victory by the 19-1 shot was Lukas' second of the day, first in the Classic, and 15th in Breeders' Cup history.
Baffert saddled favorites in four Cup races Saturday at Gulfstream Park, none of them won and he finished the day by watching his two Classic challengers run poorly. The 3-year-old General Challenge finished 10th and stablemate River Keen was right behind him.
Lukas also won the Juvenile Fillies with Cash Run, beating Chilukki, the Baffert-trained favorite who had been unbeaten in six starts.
Cat Thief had a reputation of never quite getting the job done, winning only one of his first 11 starts while finishing second three times and third four times. In the Classic, he was in contention from the start and, this time, he was in first place at the wire.
"We agonized a little bit about running him, but I felt optimistic," Lukas said. "The fact that we could get Pat to ride him, was a big part of the equation."
Pat Day, winning his 11th Breeders' Cup race and his fourth Classic, put Cat Thief into the lead with about one-half mile to go. Cat Thief went on to win by 1 1/4 lengths over former claimer Budroyale, with Golden Missile another head back.
Cat Thief, owned by W. T. Young, paid $41.20 and earned $2,080,000 after completing the distance in 1:59 2-5.
Also having a big day was Jorge Chavez, who poured two wins into what had been an empty Breeders' Cup.
After going 0-for-19 in his previous Cup rides, Chavez opened the program by guiding Beautiful Pleasure to a front-running victory in the Distaff as trainer Bob Baffert's favored Silverbulletday lost a second straight race for the first time in her career.
Chavez's second win came when Artax won the six-furlong Sprint, equaling a Gulfstream Park track record of 1:07 4-5.
"I'm living the American Dream right now," said the 37-year-old Chavez, a native of Peru, who finished last on Quiet Resolve in the Mile on the grass. His only other mount was on Behrens in the $4 million Classic, the eighth and final Breeders' Cup race of the day.
Jerry Bailey boosted his number of winning Breeders' Cup rides to nine with Cash Run in the Juvenile Fillies and Soaring Softly in the Filly & Mare Turf.
Chilukki finished second 1 1-4 lengths behind Cash Run, who paid $67, a Juvenile Fillies record. Cash Run, considered the weaker of Lukas' two starters in the Juvenile Fillies, completed the 1 1-16-mile in 1:43 1-5. Chilukki finished a half-length ahead of the Lukas-trained Surfside.
Forest Camp took the lead entering the final turn, but faded and finished sixth in the Juvenile won by Anees, who paid $62.60, also the biggest price ever for a Juvenile winner. The winner was clocked at 1:42 1-5 over 1 116 miles and was trained by Alex Hassinger Jr., a nephew of John Gaines, a creator of the Breeders' Cup.
Forestry also failed Baffert in the Sprint, finishing fourth. The colt was only a narrow favorite over Artax.
Baffert got another second when Tuzla, a 13-1 shot finished a neck behind Silic in the Mile on the grass.
In perhaps the most impressive performance of the day, Britain-based Daylami, an Irish-bred 5-year-old, won the 1 1/2 mile Turf much to the delight of jockey Frankie Dettori.
Dettori, a leading rider in Europe, was roundly criticized for the way he rode third-place finisher Swain in the Classic last year.
"It took me six months to get over Swain," Dettori said. "I'd like to say thank you to Daylami. He was a machine today."
Daylami, who runs in the silks of the Godolphin Racing stables of Sheiks Maktoum and Mohammed al Maktoum, began to move in the final turn and took charge in the stretch, winning by 2 1/2 lengths over Royal Anthem. Defending champion Buck's Boy was third.
Daylami raced the distance on a good turf course in 2:24 3-5 and paid $5.20.
Beautiful Pleasure ($8) clinched the older filly and mare championship by beating Banshee Breeze by 3 lengths in the 1 1-8-mile Distaff in 1:47 2-5 for her third straight win. Heritage of Gold was third.
Banshee Breeze needed to be hosed down after the race when she suffered what trainer Carl Nafzger called a slight heat stroke. Nafzger said she was OK after she got back to her barn.
Silverbulletday, ridden by Bailey, who had clinched the 3-year-old filly title, was second with three-eighths-mile remaining, then faded.
Anees, ridden by Gary Stevens, was far back on the final turn, but came flying down the stretch to pass Chief Seattle and High Yield, He beat Chief Seattle by 2 1-2 lengths, with High Yield another three-quarters lengths back.
Asked if Anees would now be the Kentucky Derby favorite, the California-based colt's owner, Prince Ahmed Salman of Saudi Arabia, said: "Absolutely."
Artax ($9.40) took the lead on the turn and held off Kona Gold by a half-length, with Big Jag another length back in the Sprint.
The Mile was a real cavalry charge, with the first five finishers bunched within a length. Silic ($16.40), ridden by Corey Nakatani, was four wide entering the stretch, then charged into the lead inside the sixteenth pole and beat Tuzla by a neck. Docksider was another head back.
Silic is a French-bred colt, trained by Julio Canari, a native of Peru based in California, and has been racing in the United States since last November.
Soaring Softly ($9.20), trained by Jimmy Toner, who lost three horses in a barn fire at Belmont Park in June, took the lead from Coretta nearing the wire and beat her by three-quarters. Zomaradah was another head back.
"It's been a trying year, but today makes it all worthwhile," Toner said. "She's kepus going. Thank God for her."
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