Tepin’s eight race winning run came abruptly to an end as Photo Call was given too much advantage and came home clear in the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland this evening.
All eyes were on the undisputed mile champion of the world, Tepin, ahead of this fillies-only contest, on firm ground.
Tepin broke well but Celestine went on with Photo Call also prominent heading into the first bend.
Photo Call quickly pulled three lengths clear and extended that advantage entering the back stretch, with Celestine second and then Now Or Never and Tepin, while Nemoralia was further back.
Turning into the home stretch, Photo Call was clear by perhaps ten lengths and began to eat into the lead, however, Photo Call was gone beyond recall and Kent Desormeaux timed his fractions to perfection, leaving Tepin unable to sufficiently breach the gap, as the Todd Pletcher trained 5 year old sauntered home maybe three lengths clear for a shock victory.
Celestine came third, ahead of Nemoralia.
Mongolian Saturday makes a winning return to Keeneland
Last year’s Breeders’ Cup hero Mongolian Saturday has travelled around the world in the intervening twelve months but returned to Keeneland victories in the Grade 3 Woodford this evening.
Enebish Ganbat (winning trainer of Mongolian Saturday) commented:
“He loves Keeneland. Lexington is his home town. This summer, we were in England and a doctor found (he had) a big ulcer. It took two months (for the horse to fully recover) but it seems everything is all right. We’re going to take him to the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.”
Carlos Montalvo (winning rider) added:
“Oh my god, what a wonderful trip. When he drew that hole, the 12 hole, he (trainer Ganbat) was very happy. He said, ‘Don’t mess it up. The horse knows what to do, just don’t mess it up.’
On whether Mongolian Saturday was tiring near the finish
“No, not at all. He was coming off that layoff, and (Ganbat) had him ready. He trained him just enough to win this one, and you know what the goal is.”
Shaun Bridgmohan (rider of runner-up Hogy)
“He ran good. He’s a late runner and had to get his feet under him but once he did he came rolling. I thought he gave me a nice kick down at the end. I thought I was going to get there at one point. He was finishing really, really well. The wire just came up too soon.”
Ricardo Santana Jr. (rider of dead-heat third-place finisher Front Pocket Money)
“He tried hard. He was in a perfect spot, no excuse, just not the winner. It was a tough race for him, but he tried pretty hard.”
Paco Lopez (rider of dead-heat third-place finisher Galton)
“(My horse) ran his last race from (the back of the field). Today he showed me a little speed and when I came up in the middle of the group he came running pretty good. The winner is a tough horse, a Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup winner, but my horse came running great.”
Over at Belmont Park the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup went to Hoppertunity.
Just five went to post for this 10 furlong contest and Protonico went on early doors from Mubtaahij and Effinex.
Racing down the back, Protonico held a narrow advantage with Effinex moving up on the outside, with the other three close up.
Racing towards the top of the stretch, Effinex joined Protonico, with Mubtaahij and Hoppertunity next.
Into the home stretch and Protonico on the inside fought on, with Effinex under pressure and Hoppertunity coming to join the battle.
It was Hoppertunity and John Velasquez who got up on the outside to beat Effinex in the final 50 yards, with Protonico fading on the rail in third.