Updated on 09/15/2011 1:21PM

European runners rule the day at Breeders' Cup


ELMONT, N.Y. - Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships were exactly that, with European-owned horses winning four of the eight races and narrowly missing a fifth when Sakhee was beaten a nose by Tiznow in the Classic.

Godolphin Stable led the Europe's domination of this year's Breeders' Cup, winning the Juvenile Fillies with Tempera and the Turf with Fantastic Light before narrowly missing an unprecedented hat trick with Sakhee.

Banks Hill turned in the day's most dominating performance, drawing off to a sensational 5 1/2-length victory in the Filly and Mare Turf.

Johannesburg was the catalyst for the day's most raucous celebration. A large contingent of European supporters broke in joyous song more reminiscent of a World Cup soccer match than a Breeders' Cup race after Johannesburg kept his unblemished record intact with his come-from-behind win over the odds-on Officer and 10 others in the Juvenile.

In additional to the four European winners and Sakhee's near miss in the Classic, Fantastic Light keyed a one-two Euro finish with Milan in the Turf, and Tempera and Godolphin stablemate Imperial Gesture finished first and second in the Juvenile Fillies. Spring Oak was also third in the Filly and Mare Turf and the French-bred Val Royal won the Mile.

Godolphin, which pledged to donate all of its purse winnings on the Breeders' Cup card to the NTRA Charities/N.Y. Heroes fund, wound up contributing $2.5 million as a result of its success on Saturday.

"We were one inch away from having the ultimate day," said Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford. "I just talked to the boss [Sheikh Mohammed] and he said now the picture is clear as to why the decision was made to run Sakhee in the Classic, not the Turf. Today was a marvelous day for all the Europeans. It's been a brilliant day for all of us."