05/06/2012 1:35PM

Newmarket: Homecoming Queen upsets English 1000 Guineas in romp


Homecoming Queen, who finished last of 14 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs last November, pulled a shock upset in Sunday’s English 1000 Guineas at Newmarket Racecourse, leading throughout the one-mile race.

Homecoming Queen gave Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien a sweep of the English 1000 and 2000 Guineas. He won Saturday’s 2000 Guineas with Camelot, the future-book favorite for the English Derby in June.

Homecoming Queen won the Group 3 Leopardstown 1000 Guineas Trial Stakes in Ireland last month, but was a 25-1 outsider in Sunday’s field of 17 3-year-old fillies.

Ridden by Ryan Moore, Homecoming Queen won by nine lengths over 33-1 Starscope. The O’Brien-trained Maybe, the 13-8 favorite, finished third, beaten 10 lengths. From a standing start, Homecoming Queen set fractions of 26.30 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 49.89 for the first half-mile and finished a mile in an uphill finish in 1:40.45 on a turf course rated good to soft.

“I thought I was going a stride too quick, but she just kept going,” Moore said after the race.

The race was delayed approximately 30 minutes after a tragic incident in which Gray Pearl suffered a spinal cord injury after being stuck under the starting gate. Gray Pearl, third in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket last fall, was later euthanized, track officials said.

Homecoming Queen races for Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor, and Sue Magnier. By Holy Roman Emperor, Homecoming Queen has won 4 of 14 starts. She is a half-sister to Dylan Thomas, winner of the 2006 Irish Derby and 2007 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Homecoming Queen gave O’Brien his second win in the 1000 Guineas, seven years after Virginia Waters.