Updated on 11/03/2012 10:32PM

Breeders' Cup Juvenile: Shanghai Bobby battles his way to victory

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Barbara D. Livingston
Shanghai Bobby (right) holds off He's Had Enough to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Shanghai Bobby inherited a clear lead at the top of the stretch in Saturday's $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita, yet his jockey, Rose Napravnik was a bit concerned.

"Bobby got a little lost," Napravnik said. "Most jockeys, especially in the Breeders' Cup, aren't hoping the horses will come to them but I sure was, because once he saw another horse he will turn right back on, and he turns on unbelievable."

Shanghai Bobby was confronted by He's Had Enough and sure enough, Shanghai Bobby turned it on, rebroke, and outlasted He's Had Enough to the wire to win the Juvenile by a head. It was 2 1/4 lengths back to Capo Bastone in third.

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: Saturday results and video replays]

The victory capped a strange week and a perfect season for Shanghai Bobby, who clinched the 2-year-old championship. Shanghai Bobby also won the Grade 2 Hopeful and Grade 1 Champagne.

Shanghai Bobby, a son of Harlan's Holiday, had his trip from New York delayed a day by Hurricane Sandy. He also didn't train for three days because of the storm.

"We weren't even sure if we were going to get here," trainer Todd Pletcher said.

For Pletcher, it ended a 0-for-25 skid in Breeders' Cup races run at Santa Anita that included oh-fers in 1993, 2008, and 2009.

For Napravnik, it was her first Breeders' Cup victory, and she joined Julie Krone as the only women riders to win a Breeders' Cup race. Earlier in the year, Napravnik became the first woman to win the Kentucky Oaks.

"This is just as good as the Kentucky Oaks if not better," Napravnik said. "World championships - I'm so thankful to be here and that Todd and Starlight Racing have kept me along for the ride."

Earlier in the week, the Starlight Stable of Jack and Laurie Wolfe and Don and Barbara Lucarelli brought the Coolmore connections of Susan Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor along for the ride, selling them half-interest in the colt.

"We took our chance, when you win the Hopeful and the Champagne you're obviously a good 2-year-old." Tabor said. "I'm not sure he'll get a mile and a quarter, but hopefully he'll go on and do nice things next year," Tabor said.

Shanghai Bobby completed his 2-year-old season with a gritty victory in the Juvenile.
Hustled away from the gate by Napravnik, Shanghai Bobby was three wide entering the first turn while Title Contender set the pace chased by Speak Logistics.

Midway down the backside, Shanghai Bobby moved into second position. Around the turn, he moved toward Title Contender, who was beginning to fade. Shanghai Bobby struck the front leaving the three-eighths pole, but was beginning to idle.

"He went from a big lead to no lead and looked like he might be in trouble," Pletcher said. "In his second start, the Track Baron at Belmont, a similar scenario developed. He dug down and found more, and that's exactly what he did today."

He's Had Enough, who encountered traffic on the turn, rallied in the stretch and fell just short to Shanghai Bobby in his first start on dirt.

"I thought we were going to get there, but Shanghai Bobby definitely dug in and wasn't going to let us by there but we did have a world of trouble," said Doug O'Neill, the trainer of He's Had Enough. "Around the turn, he was water-skiing, he had nowhere to go."

Shanghai Bobby covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.56 and returned $4.60 to win.

"He's the most talented horse I've ever ridden," Napravnik said. "I still don't think we've seen the best of him."

By virtue of his victory in the Juvenile, Shanghai Bobby earned 10 points toward entry into next year's Kentucky Derby under a new points system initiated. Coupled with his victory in the Champagne, Shanghai Bobby now has 20 points.