Updated on 09/17/2011 6:52PM

Better Talk Now surprises at 27-1 odds

Better Talk Now (5) and Ramon Dominguez push on to victory in the Breeders' Cup Turf after getting into tight quarters with Kitten's Joy (right of center), who finished second.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Better Talk Now, an unheralded gelding based in northern Maryland, ran past the front-runners with surprising ease and survived a subsequent stewards' inquiry Saturday to pull the third-biggest upset in the history of the $2 million .

Better Talk Now raced far behind through the early stages of the 1 1/2-mile Turf before sweeping past three battling leaders at the furlong pole. With Ramon Dominguez aboard, Better Talk Now leaned in slightly, appearing to squeeze back a tiring Magistretti while also forcing heavily favored Kitten's Joy to slightly alter course. But the Lone Star Park stewards decided that the incident was not sufficient to warrant a disqualification, and Better Talk Now was declared the winner at a $57.80 mutuel.

Kitten's Joy, the heaviest favorite of the day at 3-5, finished second under John Velazquez, 1 3/4 lengths behind the winner, while Powerscourt, the 5-2 second choice, was another length back in third.

As expected, the California speedster Star Over the Bay opened a long early lead, but by the second and last time down the backstretch, the others were hard on his heels. Powerscourt, who had gotten away poorly from the gate, was the first to go past, with Kitten's Joy soon to tag along to his inside. By late in the far turn, Magistretti also had raced himself into contention while Better Talk Now was making up serious ground.

Down the stretch, racing farthest outside, Better Talk Now steadily drew off after his brief encounter with the horses to his inside, finishing in 2:29.70 over a yielding turf course.

"I said, 'If he is going to win, today is going to be the day,' " said Dominguez.

Better Talk Now is owned by the Bushwood Stables of Brent Johnson of Oakton, Va. A 5-year-old gelding by Talkin Man, Better Talk Now was bred in Kentucky by the Wimborne Farm of Diane Perkins. His most notable previous victory came two starts beforehand in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga.

The Breeders' Cup victory was the first for the owner, trainer, and jockey. Motion, a 40-year-old native of England and a longtime Maryland resident who formerly worked for trainers Jonathan Sheppard and the late Bernie Bond, said Saturday was "by far" the biggest day of his career. Motion, whose primary training base is at Fair Hill, Md., also sent out Film Maker to a runner-up finish behind Ouija Board in the BC Filly and Mare Turf.

Motion said he and Johnson actually talked about not bringing Better Talk Now to the Turf, saying the horse's final pre-race workout on Oct. 22 at Fair Hill was "sub-par. We were this close to not running," holding his finger and thumb barely apart. "But he really had been doing good, and we talked it over, and now here we are."

Monday, Motion said he has been inundated with congratulatory phone calls and e-mails. "Getting through the airport [Sunday] with my coffee in one hand and my phone in the other was quite a chore," he said. "It's been unbelievable."

Motion said Better Talk Now will now be "put away for the rest of year and start off next year with the idea of having him best for the big races in the fall."

Just four starts before the Turf, Better Talk Now was beaten by Megantic in the $60,000 Battlefield Stakes at Monmouth Park. Asked how a runner-up for $60,000 could later win a $2 million race, Motion said: "He should have won that day at Monmouth. He's just a difficult horse to ride, and that's been the turnaround point. When he's ridden right, he's actually a very good, very consistent horse. Ramon rode him absolutely perfect Saturday."

The biggest upsets in Turf history came with Lashkari, 53-1 in 1984, and Miss Alleged, 42-1 in 1991.