Updated on 09/18/2011 1:28AM

Ouija Board earns place in history


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Ouija Board staked her claim as one of the great racehorses in the 23-year history of the Breeders' Cup, winning the Filly and Mare Turf for the second time in three years, with a second-place finish last season sandwiched between triumphs in 2004 and this year.

Just as she did in 2004 at Lone Star Park, Ouija Board beat tough-luck Film Maker - a bridesmaid yet again - to take home the $1,188,000 winner's share of a $2.2 million purse. That paycheck elevates Ouija Board to a position she richly deserves - the leading female money-earner of all time. Ouija Board now has earned $5,765,646, surpassing the Japanese-bred mare Preeminence, who earned $5,042,956 racing almost entirely for fat Japanese purses. Azeri is the richest North American-based female ever, with $4,079,820 in earnings.

Not that Ouija Board's owner, Lord Derby, a charter member of the English aristocracy, is racing for the cash. Lord Derby races for sport, and if his aim is having great horses, he has achieved it with Ouija Board, who seemed to be in complete command of an excellent field once jockey Frankie Dettori had extricated himself from traffic around the race's last of three turns.

"I don't have that many horses in training," Lord Derby said during postrace festivities. "I've never had a horse like this in training, and God knows I'll never again have a horse like this in training."

Beaten 2 1/2 lengths by Ouija Board, Film Maker was a neck better than Honey Ryder, with Wait a While, the strong second choice, coming home fourth. Satwa Queen was fifth, and five longshots rounded out the order of finish. Ouija Board, who paid $4.80 as the favorite, was timed in 2:14.55 for 1 3/8 miles on firm turf. A daughter of Cape Cross and the mare Selection Board, she won the seventh Grade 1 or Group 1 race of her career.

Ouija Board became the seventh horse to win multiple Breeders' Cup races, but only Da Hoss had won races separated by more than a year.

Ouija Board looked calm and composed all week at Churchill, and that is how she ran in the Filly and Mare Turf, settling in midpack as longshot Dancing Edie went out for an easy early lead. The pace was slow - 25.14 seconds for the first quarter-mile, 49.77 to the half - but no one was eager to force the tempo around the second turn and down the backstretch, and jockey Frankie Dettori kept Ouija Board settled along the inside while racing in seventh position.

"It was the best she's ever felt," said Dettori. "I just tried not to make any mistakes, because I knew I had the horse."

Dettori said he was clocking Wait a While, who was under heavy restraint while racing wide in fifth. "I didn't want her getting away from me," Dettori said. Garrett Gomez let Wait a While make her move before the quarter pole, but by then Dettori had extricated himself from traffic, and Ouija Board was gearing up on the outside for a flying finish.

"When I straightened away, she found another gear," Dettori said. "From the furlong pole to the wire, it was just a time to enjoy the moment - and that doesn't happen very much."

"There really weren't too many concerns the whole race," said trainer Ed Dunlop, who confirmed that Ouija Board would make the last two starts of her career in the Japan Cup and the Hong Kong Vase. "We're in a privileged position with this horse."

Besides her seconds in 2004 and on Saturday, Film Maker finished third behind Intercontinental and Ouija Board in this race last year. Said trainer Graham Motion, "Maybe we'll come back next year when Ouija Board's not around."

Wait a While, previously unbeaten on turf, had thrashed competition on the East and West Coast racing at shorter distances, on firmer turf courses, and in faster-paced races. While trainer Todd Pletcher felt Wait a While adapted to the slower pace, he could see turning for home that she would not be dominating the Filly and Mare Turf the way she had recent starts.

"She didn't open up at the top of the stretch like she had," Pletcher said. "She didn't run badly, but she didn't run as well as she has in the past."

That is another thing that makes Ouija Board exceptional: her consistency. Few and far between have come clunkers in Ouija Board's four-season career. Much more common have been the kind of performance cheering, appreciative fans saw Saturday at Churchill - brilliant, memorable.