Updated on 09/18/2011 2:28AM

Late run does it for Miesque's Approval


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Marty Wolfson had watched Miesque's Approval beat his horses enough times that the opportunity to train the horse intrigued him. So even though Miesque's Approval had been beaten twice in claiming races near the end of his 6-year-old season, Wolfson asked owner Charlotte Weber for a chance to train the horse.

Weber, the head of Live Oak Plantation, had just hired Wolfson to become one of her trainers. Weber had Bill Mott, the previous trainer of Miesque's Approval, send the horse to her Florida farm to be reevaluated. Two weeks later, Weber sent the horse to Wolfson at his Calder stable.

Last Saturday, 366 days after Miesque's Approval could not win a $50,000 claiming race at Aqueduct, he uncorked a powerful stretch drive under Eddie Castro that carried him past many of the best turf milers in the world to win the $2.17 million Breeders Cup Mile by 2 3/4 lengths. Aragorn, Southern California's best miler, got up for second at the wire by a head over Badge of Silver.

Araafa, one of seven European-based horses in this year's Mile field, finished ninth as the 3-1 favorite in his last race before being retired.

At age 7, Miesque's Approval became the oldest horse to win the Mile. He also joined previous BC Sprint winners Cardmania and Elmhurst - who were also 7 - as the oldest horses to win a Breeders' Cup race.

It was the first Breeders' Cup victory for Live Oak Plantation, Wolfson, and jockey Eddie Castro, who at 21 was the youngest rider to win a Breeders' Cup race until 18-year-old Fernando Jara won the Classic later on the card.

Wolfson, 55, said Miesque's Approval had beaten him on several occasions, most notably in a minor stakes races at Calder in November 2002, when Wolfson trained the multiple-stakes-winning mare Stay Forever.

Wolfson had kept close tabs on Miesque's Approval and thought the horse would be better served by conserving his energy until the last three furlongs of a race.

Weber shipped Miesque's Approval to Wolfson just before Thanksgiving. Wolfson wanted to run him in the Sunshine Millions Turf, a $500,000 race restricted to Florida-breds and California-breds, with a prep race one month prior.

Two weeks before that prep, Miesque's Approval developed a case of colic and was sent to a hospital. But Miesque's Approval did not require surgery, and he was shortly returned to Wolfson, who ran the horse in the Our Dear Peg, where he finished fourth.

When it looked like Miesque's Approval was not going to get into the oversubscribed Sunshine Millions Turf, Wolfson talked to Weber about purchasing the horse privately for himself and another client. But Live Oak kept the horse when he got into the Sunshine Millions Turf, a race he won at 48-1, spoiling Jerry Bailey's final ride aboard the Mott-trained Silver Tree.

"I'm sure the course of history would have totally changed," Wolfson said, referring to the fact Live Oak kept the horse. "I would have had him with my client. I wouldn't have been able to fly him all around the country. We probably would have had him around Calder and run him in the stakes there."

After the Sunshine Millions, Miesque's Approval ran a close second to English Channel in the Canadian Turf Handicap at Gulfstream Park before reeling off graded stakes wins in the Maker's Mark at Keeneland, the Firecracker at Churchill, and the Red Bank Handicap at Monmouth Park. Miesque's Approval finished fourth in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile after plane problems turned a routine four-hour ship into a 20-hour ordeal.

For the Breeders' Cup, Wolfson instructed Castro to ride Miesque's Approval just as he had in the Sunshine Millions Turf.

With Silent Name setting a strong pace of 23.32 seconds, 46.76, and 1:10.98 for the opening six furlongs, Castro was able to keep Miesque's Approval well off the pace while in the three path down the backside.

Miesque's Approval was fanned eight wide turning for home and he took charge just outside the sixteenth pole en route to the victory. Miesque's Approval, a son of Miesque's Son and Win Approval, covered the mile in 1:34.75 and returned $50.60 to win.

"My opinion, he should get the Eclipse Award," Wolfson said. "I know they'll probably go for The Tin Man. This horse beat the best horses in the world."

One of those horses was Aragorn, who jockey Corey Nakatani said struggled with the Churchill Downs turf course and was able to get second "on class alone." Aragorn, who had a four-race winning streak snapped, has been retired to stud at Lane's End.

Badge of Silver, making his first start in 307 days, ran well to be third. His owner, Ken Ramsey, said he wants Badge of Silver to run against Discreet Cat in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 25.

Though Weber has not yet committed to running Miesque's Approval at age 8, Wolfson would like to run the horse against the California-bred Lava Man in the Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita on Jan. 27 at Santa Anita.