11/06/2010 5:37PM

Dangerous Midge upsets in Breeders' Cup Turf

Barbara D. Livingston
Dangerous Midge, with Frankie Dettori up, takes the lead en route to victory in the Breeders' Cup Turf.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Dangerous Midge had at the top of his résumé one lonely Group 3 win as he came to Churchill Downs for the Breeders' Cup Turf. But his trainer, Brian Meehan, had long considered the 4-year-old top-class material, and Dangerous Midge rewarded Meehan's confidence with a 1 1/4-length victory in the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf.

Meehan knew what it would take to win: He trained Red Rocks to victory the last time the BC Turf was held at Churchill Downs, in 2006.

"To come back and do it a second time feels amazing," Meehan said.

Dangerous Midge's task was made easier when the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner, Workforce, was scratched early Saturday because his conditions believed the turf course was too firm. In his absence, Arc fourth-place finisher Behkabad was made a 6-5 favorite, but he proved no match for the improving Dangerous Midge.

"We've always liked this horse, and we've just been developing him all the way through," said Meehan.

Dangerous Midge's regular rider, Martin Dwyer, is injured, but Meehan found a satisfactory replacement in Frankie Dettori, whose 10 Breeders' Cup wins are the second-most in BC history. Dettori's most difficult task on the day might have been avoiding Dangerous Midge's head as the horse threw it wildly about during the warm-up period.

"I was a little upset when he was upset," Meehan said.

Once the gates opened, Dangerous Midge ($19) had no problems, taking up a pressing position behind rail-drawn Champ Pegasus, who moved to the lead in the absence of any real pace horses.
"Everybody in the race realized there was nobody that wanted to do the lead," said Richard Mandella, Champ Pegasus' trainer. "My horse doesn't have a lot of experience, and I thought I didn't want him buried behind a slow pace."

Champ Pegasus went easily through fractions of 24.70 seconds for the first quarter-mile, 50.17 for the half, 1:15.91 for six furlongs, and 1:40.88 for a mile. The pace quickened noticeably on the far turn, with Dettori pumping his arms vigorously at the three-furlong pole, and Dangerous Midge responded. Champ Pegasus came home gamely, but the winner edged up to him at the eighth pole and gained the advantage in the final 100 yards. Behkabad briefly flashed into contention at the top of the stretch, as did Debussy on the rail, but neither could quicken with the top two. Behkabad held third, followed by late-running Winchester, Debussy, Telling, and Al Khali. Winning time for 1 1/2 miles was 2:29.40.

Dangerous Midge, a son of Lion Heart, was bred in Kentucky by Tony Holmes and Dr. Walter Zent. He was purchased as a yearling for $120,000 by owner Iraj Parvizi, who is based in England and Dubai, and who scored his most important win Saturday, Meehan said.

Dangerous Midge might make his next start in the Japan Cup, Meehan said, and will certainly be aimed at the Dubai Sheema Classic on Dubai World Cup night, Meehan said.