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Rare DQ, breakdown mar opening Breeders' Cup race

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ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) - The Breeders' Cup got off to a chaotic start on its second day, with a rare disqualification in the opening race and a horse euthanized with a broken leg at Santa Anita.

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The $2 million Juvenile Fillies went from strange to tragic over several minutes Saturday. The DQ was announced after a green screen went up in a spot approaching the final turn to shield injured Secret Compass from the crowd.

''When you lose a horse like that, it just took all the wind out of our sails,'' Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said. ''I've never had something like that happen on a big day. We're all still in shock.''

John Velazquez, who rode Secret Compass, had emergency surgery to remove his spleen after internal bleeding was discovered shortly before he was to be released from a Pasadena hospital.

Ria Antonia finished second but was declared the winner of the 1 1/16-mile race after She's a Tiger was disqualified by the stewards.

They ruled that She's a Tiger and Gary Stevens drifted out late, bumped Ria Antonia and Javier Castellano, slowing her momentum.

''I had gotten by Gary but when he came in to me, he bumped me off-stride,'' Castellano said.

Stevens, who won the $2 million Distaff with Beholder on Friday, said the stewards had a tough call.

''The stewards made their call and I wouldn't disagree with that,'' he said.

It was the first DQ of a winner since the inaugural 1984 Juvenile Fillies race in which Fran's Valentine won and later was placed 10th.

''This is heartbreaking,'' said Jeff Bonde, who trains She's a Tiger.

Sent off at 32-1 odds, Ria Antonia paid $66.60, $29.80 and $17.40. The winning time was 1:43.02 and the margin was a nose.

''If that horse changes course and doesn't make contact, you say, `OK, leave it up,''' said Jeremiah Englehart, who trains Ria Antonia. ''But once you make contact it has to come down.''

She's a Tiger returned $6.40 and $4.80. Rosalind paid $6.80 to show.

Running third at the time, Secret Compass' front legs collapsed, slamming jockey John Velazquez hard into the dirt. Baffert's 2-year-old filly was euthanized after sustaining a lateral condylar fracture, according to on-call veterinarian Dr. Wayne McIlwraith.

''It is the worst type of injury we get, unfortunately,'' he said.

Velazquez was to ride in all nine Breeders' Cup races, but he was replaced by other jockeys.

Baffert was smiling later when 10-1 shot New Year's Day rallied on the rail to win the $2 million Juvenile by 1 1/4 lengths. The colt paid $23 to win, with jockey Martin Garcia earning his first Cup victory.

But the trainer's emotions were raw.

''Just the win is exciting, but in the back of my mind, I'm thinking about that filly,'' he said.

Baffert earned his ninth career Cup win and third in the Juvenile, whose winner is typically tagged as the early Kentucky Derby favorite. His other entry, Tap It Rich, finished fifth.

Havana, the 5-2 favorite trained by Todd Pletcher, was second. Strong Mandate, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, was third.

After the early drama, 3-2 favorite Dank restored order by winning the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf by a half-length over Romantica.

Ridden by Ryan Moore, Dank ran 1 1/4 miles in 1:58.73 and paid $5, $3.40 and $2.80. The Britain-bred filly is trained by Michael Stoute.

''She had everything right today,'' Moore said. ''I didn't have to take too many chances because she was the best filly in the race.''

Another favorite, 3-1 Groupie Doll, won the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint for the second straight year by a half-length.

Ridden by Rajiv Maragh, the 5-year-old mare covered seven furlongs in 1:20.75 and paid $8, $4.60 and $3.40. She's trained by Buff Bradley, who said Groupie Doll will next be sold to support her ownership's other horses.

''She's the best,'' Bradley said. ''I'm so glad she got to show that today.''

Judy the Beauty finished second, with Luis Saez a late replacement for Velazquez.

Mizdirection defended her title in the $1 million Turf Sprint for co-owner Jim Rome, the sports talk host.

She ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:12.25, improving to 7-0 on Santa Anita's downhill turf course and paying $7.40 to win as the 5-2 favorite.

''She loves it here, eh?'' trainer Mike Puype said.

Rome said Mizdirection is headed to the sales ring in Kentucky on Monday. Before the mare's success, he said, ''We got our brains beaten in and we lost a lot of money.''

''It's tearing me up, but from a business standpoint, and this is a business, it's something we need to do,'' Rome said.

Mike Smith guided Mizdirection to a half-length victory, extending his record for most Cup wins by a jockey to 20. He won two races on opening day Friday.

Reneesgotzip and Tightend Touchdown dead-heated for second.

AP NEWS
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The Associated Press
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