Ah, youngsters. They can be hard to figure out.
Just ask the people who bet the feature race Friday on the first day of the Breeders’ Cup championships at Santa Anita Park.
Dennis’ Moment, the blue-blooded, odds-on favorite, stumbled out of the gate and finished last in the eight-horse field. Eight Rings, the Bob Baffert-trained 3-2 second favorite, was never a factor and finished sixth.
The winner of the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile championship was Storm the Court, a 45-1 shot that had finished more than eight lengths behind Eight Rings in a September race at the same 1 1/16-mile distance over the same track.
Storm the Court, trained by Peter Eurton and ridden by Flavien Pratt, led most of the race, but was challenged for the entire stretch run by Anneau d’Or, who finished a neck behind.
Anneau d’Or’s odds: 28-1. Third was Wrecking Crew, who went off at 39-1.
Storm the Court paid $93.80 for a $2 win bet, $24.80 to place and $12.00 to show. Anneau d’Or paid $17.60 and $10.40. Wrecking Crew, who finished 3 1/4 lengths behind the leaders, paid $12.20 to show.
A $1 bet picking Storm the Court to win and Anneau d’Or to finish second paid $488.20.
Storm the Court, a 2-year-old colt making his fourth start, won in his debut at Del Mar in August but did not fare well in his next two starts.
In the Del Mar Futurity in August, he lost jockey Pratt when he was bumped early in the race. In his last race before Friday, the American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita in September, he was in contention very early but fell back quickly after that.
One difference, between that race at Friday, his connections put blinkers on him.
Juvenile Fillies Turf
Sharing, a 2-year-old bred in the modest environs of Maryland, became the first winner of a Breeders’ Cup race this year to go off a double-digit odds.
Off at 13-1, she won the $1-million Juvenile Fillies Turf championship by 1 1/4 lengths, covering one mile in 1 minute 34.59 seconds.
Trained by Graham Motion and ridden by Manuel Franco, Sharing raced just off the lead until mounting a challenge at the top of the stretch and blowing past Daahyeh, the 7-2 favorite from Great Britain.
Sharing finished third in her July debut, a sprint at Saratoga, but this was her third consecutive win.
She won at seven furlongs at Saratoga in August, then 1 1/16 miles at Laurel in Maryland in September.
Sharing paid $29.60 to win, $10.60 to place and $8.40 to show. Daahyeh paid $5.60 and $3.80. Third-place Sweet Melania, who was the second favorite at 9-2, paid $4.60 to show.
So far in the Breeders’ Cup races at Santa Anita, it’s a good day to bet on 2-year-olds who have won their first two career starts.
British Idiom, the 5-2 second favorite, won the $2-million Juvenile Fillies championship, covering 1 1/16 miles in 1 minute 47.07 seconds to finish a neck ahead of the favorite, Donna Veloce.
British Idiom easily won his first two races, at Saratoga in August and Keenland in October, but he had to catch Donna Veloce in a driving stretch run.
Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Javier Castellano, British Idiom paid $7.40 to win, $3.80 to place and $2.80 to show. Donna Veloce, who won her only other start — by 9¼ lengths at Santa Anita in September — paid $4.00 and $3.00. Bast paid $3.40 to show.
Jockey Jose Ortiz, whose brother, Irad, was aboard for Friday’s first Breeders’ Cup winner, won the day’s second big race with Structor.
Structor, a 2-year-old colt, won his third race in as many starts by catching longshot Billy Bates near the end of the $1-million Juvenile Turf championship over one mile Friday at Santa Anita Park.
Structor was the third choice in the 14-horse field, going off at odds of 5-1 and paying $12.60, $7.20 and $5.20. He won by three-quarters of a length in a time of 1 minute 35.11 seconds.
Billy Bates, which had won once in six previous races, went off at 50-1 and paid $33.40 and $18.20. Another longshot, Gear Jockey, at 60-1, paid $20.20 to show.
Jose Ortiz kept Structor safe down the stretch while others got into trouble.
Deviant, a late addition to the field, was clipped by Decorated Invader and nearly went down, but jockey Drayden Van Dyke was able to steady him.
Juvenile Turf Sprint
Four Wheel Drive, a 3-2 favorite, became the first winner of a 2019 Breeders’ Cup race Friday at Santa Anita Park.
The 2-year-old colt, sired by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, won the $1-million Juvenile Turf Sprint, covering five furlongs in 55.66 seconds.
Four Wheel Drive led comfortably around the final turn, held off a mild challenge by 12-1 shot Chimney Rock, and won by three-quarters of a length.
Four Wheel Drive has won all three of his career races, debuting with a 3¼-length win in August at Colonial Downs in Virginia, and following that with a three-length win in a Grade 3 stakes over six furlongs at Belmont Park in New York.
Four Wheel Drive, trained by Wesley A. Ward and ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., paid $5 to win, $3.40 to place and $3 show. Chimney Rock paid $8.20 and $5.40. Another Miracle, which went off at odds of 19 to 1, paid $7.80 for third.
“He’s a very, very talented colt,” Ward said of the winner. “He’s done nothing wrong so far, he’s three for three. He’s got a big, big future next year as a 3-year-old. We’re all real excited.”
Four Wheel Drive is among the first crop of horses sired by American Pharoah, who in 2015 became the only horse to win the Triple Crown and Breeders Cup Classic — a Grand Slam of top races.