11/07/2009 12:00AM

Cecil celebrates first BC victory


He was never going to high-five jockey Tom Queally on the racetrack or start screaming into the grandstand, but the win by Midday in Friday's left the popular British trainer Henry Cecil elated.

Cecil, the winner of nine training titles in Britain, four English Derbies, and eight English Oaks, to name a few of his accomplishments, had finally conquered a Breeders' Cup race with his seventh starter.

Earlier this decade, such a feat would have seemed impossible. Cecil, who has trained as many as 200 horses at a time, won just 12 races in 2005, a season in which he said his stable was plagued by a virus. The stable began to rebound in 2007, the year of his most recent win in the English Oaks, and has had a solid season this year.

Midday has been his leading 3-year-old filly, a point driven home by her one-length victory in the Filly and Mare Turf. It lifted the spirits of the 66-year-old trainer who has battled stomach cancer in recent years.

"We went through a bad patch for four or five years when things were going wrong in every way," Cecil said. "I didn't have the horses, and probably my health hasn't been terribly good, but I was determined to get back.

"Probably, I'll never get back to what I was because I don't want to train more than 100 to 120 horses now, where I used to train 200.

"I feel everything is on the up - it has been for the last two years - and long may it continue."

Midday is part of that revival. After Friday's race, owner Khalid Abdullah said Midday will stay in training at 4 in 2010. Racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe said Midday will be sent back to England, with the long-term goal being a start in the BC Filly and Mare Turf at Churchill Downs next fall.

* Magical Fantasy, fifth in the Filly and Mare Turf, will be sold at Tuesday's Fasig-Tipton November sale in Kentucky, trainer Paddy Gallagher confirmed.

The winner of four consecutive graded stakes in California from April to October, Magical Fantasy finished 2 1/2 lengths behind Midday. Magical Fantasy was a neck and a nose from finishing third.

"I thought she ran good," Gallagher said. "She made a move, and I don't think she had any excuse. The winner was very impressive."

Magical Fantasy has won 6 of 18 starts and $1,099,231 for David Bienstock, Paul Mandabach, and Chuck Winner.