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Battle of Midway takes Breeders’ Cup Dirt victory in an upset

The 2017 Breeders’ Cup is underway in Del Mar, and opened to a packed house.

A look at the other three Breeders’ Cup races on Friday at Del Mar:

DIRT MILE

Winner: Battle Of Midway has raced on the lead before, but jockey Flavian Prat ceded the pace and saved some ground with deft maneuvering, which allowed the 14-1 shot to enter the stretch in second place and run down front-running Sharp Azteca to score by a half-length. Battle of Midway topped his previous best effort two races back in his Del Mar debut.

Scoop: Prat urged trainer Jerry Hollendorfer to consider using blinkers to keep Battle Of Midway focused. Hollendorfer obliged, adding small blinkers prior to the triumph at Del Mar by 61/4 lengths in the Shared Belief.

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Quote: “When Prat [first] came around, [trainer] Richard Mandella started riding him, and I think that perked a few people up. If Richard would use him, then everybody else thought they should give him a chance too.”

—Jerry Hollendorfer

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JUVENILE TURF

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Winner: Mendelssohn went off as a 9-2 favorite and rewarded his backers with a one-length win as trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore partnered for their fourth win in this race, all since 2011. A late foal who is still green, Mendelssohn finished 331/2 lengths behind two efforts ago and placed eighth, 16 lengths back, in his inaugural race five starts back.

Scoop: Though O’Brien’s horses have not hit the board in the Kentucky Derby in five attempts, he might give it another go with Mendelssohn, whose pedigree hints that he could excel on dirt courses. “We had it in our head that if everything went well today, he could be a horse we could train for the Kentucky Derby,” he said.

Quote: “I think one or two people quibbled about his yearling price, which was $3 million, but I don’t think they’re quibbling now.”

—Co-owner Michael Tabor

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JUVENILE FILLIES TURF

Winner: Trainer Chad Brown and jockey Javier Castellano, who teamed last year with the winning New Money Honey, repeated with Rushing Fall. The second betting choice at 3-1 broke fast from the No. 11 post. Castellano got the filly in front early in the stretch and held on by three-quarters of a length to stay unbeaten in three outings.

Scoop: Seven months ago, Brown told the horse’s co-owner, Bob Edwards, “Look, if you give her to me, I’ll take you to the Breeders’ Cup.” The master of grass racing earned his fourth Juvenile Fillies Turf victory.

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Quote: “He’s very dedicated. He picks the spot with the horse. ... He takes his time. ... He tries to pay attention to the little details. You put that together, and you always have a better result.”

—Castellano, on Brown’s turf success


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