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Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf: Zagora finishes career on top
By Marty McGee
ARCADIA, Calif. – Zagora ended her career at the top of the American female turf division.
Making her final start before she is scheduled to be sold Monday evening at the Fasig-Tipton November sale in Kentucky, Zagora won Friday’s $1,818,000 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita, the richest and most prestigious victory of her career.
With the win, she essentially clinched the Eclipse Award as the nation’s champion turf female of 2012.
Through the season, Zagora won 5 of 8 starts, including four stakes. Prior to the BC Filly and Mare Turf, her most prominent win of the year was the Grade 2 Ballston Spa Stakes at Saratoga in late August. She was second to Nahrain in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Stakes at Belmont Park in late September.
A little luck helped Zagora ($20.40) to the winner’s circle Friday.
She had an ideal trip under jockey Javier Castellano, catching stretch leader Marketing Mix in the final furlong to win by three-quarters of a length. Castellano had Zagora in fourth on the backstretch and moved into third at the top of the stretch.
At that point, jockey Garrett Gomez thought he was aboard the winner with Marketing Mix, the winner of the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes at Santa Anita in September.
“I thought we timed it well,” Gomez said. “The other filly went by us.”
Zagora ran 1 1/4 miles in 1:59.70 on firm turf.
She won 10 of 22 starts and $2,368,589 in her career. The winner’s share of $1,080,000 nearly doubled the career earnings of Zagora, a 5-year-old French-bred mare by Green Tune.
Zagora races for Martin Schwartz and trainer Chad Brown. For Schwartz, Friday’s race was his first Breeders’ Cup win.
“She is all heart,” Schwartz said of Zagora. “I can’t remember. I think she’s has been out of the money just a few times.”
Schwartz played a role in choosing Castellano, who had ridden Zagora in the past. Ramon Dominguez rode Zagora in her last three starts before the BC Filly and Mare Turf.
“I looked at all of Zagora’s tapes, and I felt Javier was a half a length better on her than Ramon,” Schwartz said. “I love Ramon and I told him I would pay part of the jockey’s fee when I took him off, because I had such an extraordinary feeling for him.”
Brown won his first Breeders’ Cup race since Maram won the Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita in 2008.
The unlucky horse in the field was The Fugue, a British import who was the 8-5 favorite. Well-placed behind the leaders throughout, she did not have sufficient running room in the final quarter-mile under jockey William Buick and finished third, 1 1/4 lengths behind Zagora.
“She did not get clear until it was too late,” trainer John Gosden said. ““We’ve seen it time and time before. You’ve got to get room.”
The Fugue was followed by Ridasiyna, Lady of Shamrock, I’m A Dreamer, Up, Star Billing, In Lingerie, Nahrain, and Stormy Lucy in the field of 11.
The Fugue was done as soon as I put my money down on her. Gosden/Buick have killed me all year long.
Nice to see Zagora getting it done in that Filly & Mare Turf. Troubled trips I must say for both The Fuge and Ridasiyna. This time Zagora got a patient ride by Javier Castellano unlike his rider in the Flower Bowl by moving too soon that day but finally got the patient trip.
It is clear that both euros were the better horses, terrible rides on both but good for us handicappers who backed Zagora @ 9-1.
Loved, loved, loved Zagora's win in this race. Javier Castellano gave her an incredible ride. Zagora showed power today, she definitely likes Santa Anita! She hasn't looked this good in awhile. That fact kept her odds riding around 9-1 to 10-1 most of the pre-race. Thrilled she won. Congratulations, Zagora on a fabulous victory in an important race - it's always nice to win a Breeders' Cup race. Congratulations to Zagora's owners and to Chad Brown, her trainer. Nice, nice win for all, all the way around!
A pretty disappointing race as was most on this day.
This result really has me missing Winter Memories, what could have been
I don't know how they race in Europe, but after watching Sky Lantern and The Fugue get rides that look to have been guided buy blind men, I am assuming that when you try to go up the rail with a wall of horses in front of you, your opponents queue up and let you pass by for free. Here is a clue about riding in the US: if you take the best horse into the rail late in the race, three other jocks are going to jump on the opportunity to trap you there until the gallop out. When you have the best, you go five wide and don't sweat it. Have a nice flight home.
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