Queen’s Trust delivered a twelfth Breeders’ Cup victory for Frankie Dettori and a seventh win for Sir Michael Stoute with a dramatic late thrust to win the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita tonight.
Thirteen went to post for this 1 ¼ mile contest on a fast and firm turf course.
As the field started it was Catch A Glimpse who broke fast and went on with Avenge.
Settling down, Avenge moved into the lead from Catch A Glimpse on the inside and these were tracked by Kitcat and Pretty Perfect, with Sea Calisi fifth and then the Japanese horse Nuovo Record.
Racing down the back strajght, Avenge was setting fast fractions with Catch A Glimpse as Pretty Perfect moved closer.
Turning into the home stretch, Avenge held the lead with Catch A Glimpse under pressure as Sea Calisi and Lady Eli coming wide.
But Avenge still held the lead as Lady Eli and Queen’s Trust stormed home down the outside. The pair caught Avenge late inside the final furlong and both carried great momentum towards the wire, with Frankie Dettori thrusting late on to get Queen’s Trust’s nose in front.
At the wire there was little in it but the Sir Michael Stoute trained three year old, who had only ever won a maiden before this race, got up to give Europe its first victory of this meeting.
Lady Eli ran a gutsy race in second, with Avenge a gallant third. Seventh Heaven was a little tapped for toe in fourth.
Dettori, winning at the meeting for the 12th time, said: “Sir Michael Stoute is a genius and he was very sweet on this filly.
“She’d missed the target a few times and been very unlucky, but today everything went perfectly. We had a good trip, she found an extra gear in the last 100 yards and we got it on the line.
“I think the fast pace played to her strengths, she has a good kick. They went very fast up front and she showed her best.
“The pace was crucial, especially with these short straights, and they have absolutely flown round the first turn. She dug very deep and when we flashed across the line I thought I had got there.
“I wanted to get on to the wheels of Lady Eli, but I couldn’t do it until the middle of the turn – thank goodness we had enough yards to go for my filly to get there.
“I wanted to find a spot from where I could put in a challenge. I badly needed that strong early pace that developed. My first reaction turning in was that I could finish a good third, but then she started to motor and when she got into top gear I thought ‘she can do it’.”
Dettori was quick to send his thoughts to fellow rider Freddy Tylicki, who was left paralysed in the lower half of his body following a fall at Kempton on Monday.
He added: “Can I take one minute to say we’re thinking of you, Freddy. We’re praying for you, pal.”
It was a third win in the race for Stoute after Islington (2003) and Dank (2013).
He said: “She has been unfortunate a few times this year. Thank God it went right today.
“She ran a great race in the Nassau against Minding, and then had that unlucky run in the Fillies & Mares race at Ascot in which she could have finished quite a bit closer.
“As we were coming to the end of the year, I weighed up what options were left. This one presented itself, but then I needed Mr and Mrs Thompson to give their blessing and thank goodness they did.”
He added of Dettori: “He was quite good today!”
Chris Richardson, managing director of Cheveley Park, revealed the winner will stay in training next season.
He said: “She is the most beautifully balanced filly with a great temperament and full marks to Mr and Mrs Thompson for bringing her out here. I think she has never been as good as she is right now and hopefully we have a lot to look forward to.
“She is a very talented filly and has been competitive throughout the year at the highest level, while not enjoying the rub of the green a couple of times.
“She will definitely stay in training. Michael has trained for the Thompsons for 35 years, it’s a shame that they were not able to be here.”
Seventh Heaven was fourth for Aidan O’Brien, who said: “I was pleased with the way Seventh Heaven ran, it was a good effort.”