11/06/2006 12:00AM

Red Rocks extends Euro dominance


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Red Rocks gave jockey Frankie Dettori his second Breeders' Cup win of the day and his third career victory in the Turf by gamely holding off Better Talk Now in the final furlong to post yet another win for European connections in the $3 million Turf at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

Red Rocks got a clean trip from far off a solid pace set by longshot Icy Atlantic. He circled the field after launching his bid leaving the backstretch, and was able to finish a half-length clear of Better Talk Now. English Channel, the 7-2 second choice, finished third, 2 1/4 lengths behind Better Talk Now and another

1 1/2 lengths ahead of Rush Bay in a field of 11.

Red Rocks, owned by J. Paul Reddam and based in Ireland with trainer Brian Meehan, returned $23.60 as fifth choice after finishing 1o1/2 miles in 2:27.32 over a course rated firm.

"When I made my move, when I wanted him to go, we moved together," said Dettori.

Better Talk Now, the 2004 Turf winner, made a menacing outside run as the field passed the furlong pole, but the 7-year-old gelding, ridden by Ramon Dominguez, was unable to get past the winner despite being in striking position for the final crucial yards.

The Turf clearly was a disappointment for Hurricane Run, the 5-2 favorite, and Cacique, the 7-2 third choice. They finished sixth and 10th, respectively, both without an apparent excuse.

The victory was the seventh in the last eight years for a European horse in America's richest grass race. That streak also includes a dead heat in 2003 between High Chapparal of Ireland and Johar of Southern California.

Icy Atlantic, a 77-1 shot, set fractions of 24.13 seconds, 47.87, and 1:12.40 in the 23rd running of the Turf, while Rush Bay led the closest pursuers. While stalkers such as English Channel, Scorpion, and Cacique loomed as major dangers, it became apparent in the early stretch that rallies by Red Rocks and Better Talk Now would be the decisive moves.

"That was a crazy pace," said Dettori, who allowed Red Rocks to race in ninth place throughout the opening mile. "I knew they couldn't keep up that pace. I decided to let them fight it out and then come at them."

For Dettori, the third victory in the Turf gives him six overall in the Breeders' Cup, the most for any European-based jockey. Dettori, 35, also won the Turf in 1999 with Daylami and in 2001 with Fantastic Light. Earlier Saturday, he captured the Filly and Mare Turf aboard Ouija Board.

Red Rocks, a 3-year-old Irish-bred from the first crop of Galileo, had won 2 of 9 previous starts. Treated with the bleeder medication Lasix for the first time Saturday, he became the sixth 3-year-old to win the Turf, and the fourth from Europe. The most recent 3-year-old winner was High Chapparal in 2002 at Arlington Park.

"Brian had been very high on this colt all year," said Reddam, the California-based owner with substantial Thoroughbred holdings in North American and Europe.

Red Rocks, a son of Galileo and Pharmacist, was bred by Ballylinch Stud and was privately purchased by Jamie McCalmont on Reddam's behalf while still a maiden, following his third career start.

"All the credit there goes to Jamie, and certainly to Brian Meehan, who was the original trainer on the horse," said Reddam.

Meehan, a 39-year-old native of England, said Red Rocks will run next year as a 4-year-old. The first major goal will be one of the Dubai grass races in late March, said Reddam.

Better Talk Now, said trainer Graham Motion, "is so game. We finally got what we needed. We got pace. We got the distance. We got a great ride."

English Channel, said trainer Todd Pletcher, "ran hard, like he always does."

Rush Bay, who had just the kind of trip behind Icy Atlantic that trainer Tom Amoss had envisioned for him, "just got beat by better horses," said jockey Rafael Bejarano.

Jockey Christophe Soumillon said when he asked Hurricane Run to run, "he did not really respond as he has in the past."

For Hurricane Run, the winner of the 2005 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, the defeat was his fourth straight after he opened his career by winning 8 of 10.

The normally reliable Cacique, said jockey Edgar Prado, "was more keen and pulling me. He never relaxed."