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ARCADIA, CA – The final race of the day ended in fireworks when the 45/1 longshot Storm the Court re-rallied late to defeat Anneau d’Or and typhoon Friday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita Park.
Breaking well from post 4 under Flavien Prat while wearing blinkers for the first time, Storm the Court took command heading into the clubhouse turn while Eight Rings kept closest watch. Running comfortably along the inside, Storm the Court posted fractions of :23.49, :47.07, and 1:11.60.
Still holding a slim lead as he hit the top of the stretch, Storm the Court came under pressure when Anneau d’Or made a strong three-wide bid and momentarily took control. Eight Rings gave way while sandwiched between them, but Storm the Court fought back gamely.
The two ran inches apart in the stretch, but Storm the Court surged forward in the shadow of the wire. The Peter Eurton trainee crossed a neck ahead in a final time of 1:44.93 for the 1 1/16-mile event over the fast main track.
“I got to ride him the entire race today,” said Prat, a perennial leading rider on the southern California circuit. “I wanted to be on the lead today. He relaxed for me nicely. I think the blinkers helped him a lot. He really battled all through the stretch. I always thought he was going to win.”
Though he was denied at the wire, Anneau d’Or was 3 1/4 lengths clear of Wrecking Crew in third. It was another 4 1/2 lengths back to Scabbard, who necked out Full Flat for fourth. A tired Eight Rings, a non-threatening Shoplifted, and the 4/5 favorite Dennis’ Moment completed the order of finish.
Dennis’ Moment lost all chance at the start when he stumbled and fell to his knees out of the gate. After spotting the field several lengths, jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., put him back into contention, but he fell back off in the far turn before finishing under wraps.
“Out of the gate, I said to myself, ‘Oh, man,'” said Ortiz, Jr. “You don’t see too many horses like that stumble that badly out of the gate and come back to win the race. I asked him for run early, he gave it to me and put a good effort into the turn, but then at the 1/4 pole, he slowed down.”
Storm the Court’s win improved his record to 4-2-0-1, with his lone off-the-board finish coming in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) after losing Prat in an early collision with Eight Rings. The 2-year-old son of Court Vision – who won the 2011 TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile at 64/1 odds – has now earned $1,172,951 for Exline-Border Racing, David Bernsen, Susanna Wilson, and Dan Hudock.
“It’s just so special to do this,” Eurton said. “I still felt a little uneasy about what happened, so we decided to put the blinkers on him on Flavien’s recommendation. It just seemed like it got him a little more focused and he probably would have been able to do it without them – but it did help out a lot.”
Storm the Court returned $93.80 to win, $24.80 to place, and $12 to show. Anneau d’Or brought back $17.60 to place and $10.40 to show, while Wrecking Crew paid $12.20 to show.
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