01/05/2018 12:16PM

2017 Eclipse Awards: Wuheida (GB)


There were always a few better than Wuheida in major stakes in Europe last summer and fall. That was not the case in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on Nov. 4 at Del Mar.

Wuheida, 3, recorded an 11-1 upset in the $2 million race at 1 1/8 miles and is on the list of finalists for the Eclipse Award as the nation’s outstanding turf female of 2017.

Wuheida was expected to make her American debut in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland in mid-October, but was withdrawn because of a foot problem. She was redirected to the Filly and Mare Turf.

While favored Lady Eli had a troubled trip in the 14-horse Filly and Mare Turf and emerged from the race with cuts on a leg, Wuheida had a clean journey under jockey William Buick, who won the first Breeders’ Cup race of his career. Third for the first seven furlongs, Wuheida took the lead in early stretch and won by a length over Rhododendron.

“William has given Wuheida a peach of a ride,” trainer Charlie Appleby said after the race. “His only instructions were to let Wuheida spin around.”

Bred by Darley and owned by Godolphin, Wuheida is by Dubawi and out of the Singspiel mare Hibaayeb.

The victory in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf made Wuheida a millionaire. Through 2017, she had won 3 of 7 starts and earned $1,456,941.

“We are very proud of the filly,” Joe Osborne, Godolphin’s chief executive, said at the Breeders’ Cup. “It is a huge, huge win for us all.”

The Filly and Mare Turf reversed what had been a frustrating year for Wuheida in Europe. After she won her only two starts as a 2-year-old in 2016, including the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac at Chantilly, there were high hopes for Wuheida in 2017.

Plans for a spring campaign were abandoned when Wuheida was diagnosed with a stress fracture, Appleby announced in April. Wuheida did not have her first start of the year until the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes for fillies and mares at Newmarket in July, finishing second to Roly Poly.

Wuheida was the even-money favorite in the German Derby at Dusseldorf in August, but could only finish third behind the local filly Lacazar.

The assignments were not easier in September and early October. In the Group 1 Matron Stakes at Leopardstown in Ireland, Wuheida was fourth behind Hydrangea on yielding turf Sept. 9. In the Group 1 Prix de l’Opera at Chantilly on Oct. 1, Wuheida was fourth on soft turf, but this time beaten only a half-length.

The ground was firm at Del Mar, and Wuheida put in the finest performance of her career.