I don’t know if it was a Guardian thing or a Virgin Net thing but my connection went AGAIN just as they were leaving the stalls. Apologies.
But Knicks Go went straight into the lead for Joel Rosario and he set steady fractions from there before staying on well in the stretch. Essential Quality was being niggled a long way out, and it was Medina Spirit that kept on for second with Essential Quality third.
They are heading into the stalls, Essential Quality still just favourite but Hot Rod Charlie is getting plenty of support too.
Five minutes to post for the Classic and they are out on the track. A special moment in the racing year.
But it does come down to Medina Spirit in many ways, because he’s – probably – going to be the first horse to be disqualified from the Kentucky Derby for a failed dope test since Dancer’s Image in 1968. The NBC feed just suggested that “there are two sides” to the debate, but from where I’m sitting, there’s just the simple fact that the horse tested positive for a banned substance on raceday and it *still* hasn’t been DQd.
There is one more big hitter in the Classic field: Knicks Go. He won the Lukas Classic last time:
Hot Rod Charlie is another big runner, he finished third at Churchill and then went down by one-and-a-quarter lengths to Essential Quality in the Belmont:
Essential Quality is the narrow 9-5 favourite to continue the incredible run of the Godolphin colours. This is going to be his last race and he’s only lost one – the Kentucky Derby – in his entire career.
Here’s the Run For The Roses, with Medina Spirit* first past the post and Essential Quality back in fourth. Consider how much more ground Essential Quality covers from a wide draw.
That was some run through the field by Yibir, who kicked off his season finishing third in the Sandown Classic Trial. The winner there was Alenquer, a Group Two winner at Royal Ascot next time, and the runner-up was Adayar, the Derby winner. LoneEagle, who was touched off in the Irish Derby, was fourth. A classic Classic Trial, for sure.
For the Godolphin operation, meanwhile, it could yet get even better, as Essential Quality is a huge runner for the royal blue colours in the Breeders’ Cup Classic – up next!
What a Breeders’ Cup for Charlie Appleby and Wlliam Buick, and what a year too. That’s their third winner at the meeting, and Yibir came with an irresistible run to collar the outsider Broome a few strides from the line.
Tarnawa is a long way back, Broome goes clear in the stretch but now here comes Yibir and William Buick, they are getting up!
The field is stretched, the pace is strong, but bunching more as they turn out. of the back
Yibir is rhid, Bolshoi Ballet fourth, Channel Maker prominent in the chasing pack too
Level break, Tribhuvan and Acclimate go several lengths clear turning in first time
A great stat after the Mile was that Charlie Appleby has had runners in 10 races in the US this year, and won six of those. Walton Street and Yibir could make it seven from 11. Won’t be long now, the last ones are going in …
Gufo, third in the Joe Hirsch at Belmont last time, is also on the backers’ minds, at 7-1. Teona, who skipped the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe after the ground went soft, is 9-1 for Roger Varian’s Newmarket stable.
Ten minutes to post time for the Turf, and the runners are heading out to the track. Tarnawa is now 3-2, Charlie Appleby’s Walton Street is 7-1 and his other runner Yibir is 11-1.
The Turf is up next, Tarnawa is 6-5 favourite to repeat last year’s success.
The pace in that race was crazy and Letruska was beaten before the home turn. But what a result, and a first win for Japan in the Distaff with their first runner in the race. Yoshito Yahagi, whose purple titfer is a sight to behold, is the big story of this year’s Breeders’ Cup.
Oisin Murphy is being interviewed on the track:
I try very hard to get on the best horses I can around the world. I’m only 26 years old and these are the opportunities I crave.”
It’s Marche Lorraine for Japan, the biggest price on the board at 45-1!
It’s on the nod after a great run to the line, and it could be another for Japan. Marche Lorraine and Dunbar Road flashed past together.
Another strong quarter, Private Mission still leads turning in, Letruska has dropped away
Private Mission leads, a very strong pace, Letruska is just behind in second and As Time Goes By is third
Letruska is 6-5 on the tote, Malthaat is 7-2 and Shedaresthedevil is 6-1. Here’s Malathaat in her last race in the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga: