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Big Evs won the 2023 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Santa Anita Park, proving to be too tough up front en route to victory.
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RP Racing LTD.’s Big Evs (IRE) ($8.40) took command in the upper stretch and then held off a late bid from Valiant Force by a half-length to win the sixth running of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) for 2-year-olds to kick off Future Stars Friday at the 40th World Championships at Santa Anita.
Trained by Michael Appleby and ridden by Tom Marquand, Big Evs covered the 5 furlongs on a firm turf course in :55.31. It is the first Breeders’ Cup victory for Appleby and Marquand.
Big Evs was involved in a three-horse scramble with Crimson Advocate and Tiger Belle (IRE) in the run down the backside and continued on into the turn with Crimson Advocate. In the stretch, Big Evs took over, opened a daylight margin and was well clear to hold off the challenge from Valiant Force.
The victory was worth $520,000 and increased Big Evs’ earnings to $748,283 with a record of 6-4-1-0.
Big Evs is a son of Blue Point (IRE) out of the Oasis Dream (GB) mare Hana Lina (GB).
Winning trainer Michael Appleby, Big Evs (IRE) – “I can’t believe it. He’s been an absolutesuperstar all year and to come here and put in a performance like that is unreal. Going into therace I thought he had an outstanding chance, and when Tom (Marquand) rode him in a breezeearlier in the week he couldn’t have been more bullish. We’ll enjoy it as it’s a dream to be herenever mind go and win. Hopefully he comes out the race in good order then we’ll make a planfor next season. He really is a horse of a lifetime for us. I can’t thank the team at home enoughfor all their hard work.”
Winning jockey Tom Marquand, Big Evs (IRE) – “Just amazing. Once he got out the gatesand we got in an early position, I knew we wouldn’t be far away. Turning for home nothing wasgoing to catch him. He put his head down and galloped all the way to the line. To ride aBreeders’ Cup winner is a dream come true. He’s just an exceptional horse.”“Just amazing. Once he got out the gates and we got in an early position I knew wewouldn’t be far away. Turning for home nothing was going to catch him. He put his headdown and galloped all the way to the line. To ride a Breeders’ Cup winner is a dreamcome true. He’s just an exceptional horse.”
Trainer Adrian Murray, second with Valiant Force – “He ran brilliant I’m very, very happy.We had always wanted to bring him here, but we had a hard time fitting a race in betweenbecause the weather had been so bad in Ireland. It was soft ground last time and he’s a fastground horse. It’s no surprise for him to prove he was this class. He had a run before ascot andthings didn’t go his way, so I suppose people turned off on him, but we have always thought a lotabout this horse.”
Jockey William Buick, second with Valiant Force – “He broke well, but the pace was superhot. I don’t know the horse well, but they told me he had been training really, really well. I thinkthe connections are really happy with that.”
Trainer Ralph Beckett, third with Starlust (GB) – “He ran a huge race. I thought everythingwent to plan. He was never going to be able to break fast enough, that’s just not him to sit upwith the early pace. We got the breaks in the straight and weren’t good enough to finish second,but we were third, so it was all good.”
Trainer George Weaver, beaten favorite No Nay Mets, fourth – “He wasn’t good enoughtoday. We wanted to be forward. All three of his wins, he was on the lead or close to it. It’s allfine if you want the lead, but you have to be fast enough to get there. They were smoking upthere. I am not complaining about what happened today. I brought three very solid horses hereand didn’t hit the board with any of them. It’s a disappointment, but we move on.”
Jockey Irad Ortiz, beaten favorite No Nay Mets, fourth – “He ran great. I thought I was thespeed of the race but he didn’t mind sitting there. He listened to me and relaxed. When I askedhim, he cut the corner, was in the clear and made a good run. Unfortunately we couldn’t getthere.”
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