11/04/2017 8:44PM

Talismanic powers to Breeders' Cup Turf triumph

Susie Raisher
Talismanic paid $30.20 in winning the Breeders' Cup Turf at Del Mar on Saturday.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Talismanic was in fifth place with a quarter-mile remaining in Saturday’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar when jockey Mickael Barzalona found a target to pursue.

Highland Reel, the winner of the 2016 BC Turf, was in front of Talismanic, and was the runner Barazalona feared.

“I knew if I could pass him, we’d have a chance to win the race,” Barzalona said.

Talismanic ranged alongside Highland Reel and went straight by that rival as well as Beach Patrol, who led in the stretch of the $4 million race. After that, there was no one else to contend with. Talismanic had won the richest turf race in the United States by a half-length.

“He kicked home very well, and he stayed until the line,” Barzalona said.

Talismanic ($30.20) ran 1 1/2 miles in 2:26.19. He earned a 108 Beyer Speed Figure for his effort.

Beach Patrol, a 3-1 shot and the leading turf marathon runner in the United States this year, finished second, a neck in front of Highland Reel, the 7-5 favorite.

Talismanic was the first ride in the United States for Barzalona, 26, who won the 2011 English Derby on Pour Moi. Talismanic is trained by Andre Fabre for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin Racing, and was Fabre’s third win in the race and first since Shirocco at Belmont Park in 2005. Fabre did not attend Saturday’s race.

Sadler’s Joy finished fourth, followed by Seventh Heaven, Bullards Alley, Itsinthepost, Cliffs of Moher, Oscar Performance, Decorated Knight, Fanciful Angel, Bigger Picture, and Hunt.

Ulysses, the winner of two Group 1 races in England earlier this year and the 7-2 morning-line favorite, was scratched Friday evening because of swelling in a foreleg.

Highland Reel inherited the role of favorite. From the start, Highland Reel raced prominently with Beach Patrol in stalking positions behind Oscar Performance, who led through early fractions of 23.69 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 48.33 for a half-mile.

Oscar Performance was in front to the turn when he was overtaken by Beach Patrol, who led by a half-length with a furlong to go. The advantage was short-lived after Talismanic took the lead in the last sixteenth.

Beach Patrol had won the Arlington Million and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic in his two preceding starts for trainer Chad Brown.

“He gave a good try,” Brown said of Saturday’s race. “He only got beat a half-length.

“The first half-mile was a little strong before they slowed it down. It might have caught up with him in the shadow of the wire.”

Highland Reel won two Group 1 races in England in June and could have given trainer Aidan O’Brien a record seventh win in the BC Turf.

“I thought he ran very well,” O’Brien said. “He was tough.”

Talismanic, a 4-year-old British-bred colt by Medaglia d’Oro, won his first Grade 1 race in the BC Turf. He was 11th in the 2016 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly, but did not start in that prestigious race this year.

Talismanic won the Group 3 Prix Maurice de Nieuil at 1 3/4 miles at Saint-Cloud outside of Paris on July 14 and was third as the 7-5 favorite in the Group 2 Prix Foy at Chantilly on Sept. 10. Barzalona said the BC Turf became a goal after the Saint-Cloud win.

“It was a target since he won a race at Saint-Cloud,” he said. “We know when Andre Fabre has a target.”

Talismanic has won 6 of 16 starts and earned $2,601,004. He earned $2.2 million from Saturday’s race and gave Barzalona a memorable trip to the United States.

“This is my first time in America,” he said. “It’s a huge honor to win this.”