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Forever Unbridled scores upset in Distaff

DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) Forever Unbridled swept to the lead coming off the far turn and held off late-charging Abel Tasman to win the $2 million Distaff by a half-length Friday at Del Mar, capping a day of upsets at the Breeders' Cup.


The 5-year-old mare was coming in off a 73-day layoff. She showed no rust, though, in bettering her third-place finish in the race a year ago at Santa Anita.

Ridden by John Velazquez, Forever Unbridled ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.25 and paid $9.40 to win at 7-2 odds.

Abel Tasman, a winner of three Grade 1 races this year, was second for trainer Bob Baffert. Paradise Woods finished third.

''She just got beat by a really good horse,'' Baffert said.

Saturday's card features nine Cup races, including the $6 million Classic in which Baffert will saddle four starters in pursuit of a record fourth straight victory.

In the Distaff, 2-1 favorite Elate was fourth in the eight-horse field.

Trainer Dallas Stewart earned his second Cup victory, 16 years after Unbridled Elaine's upset win in the same race at Belmont Park. Velazquez collected his 14th career Cup win in the $2 million race.

Velazquez earned $110,000 for his winning ride. Joel Rosario will get the same amount for sitting in the jockeys' room after Forever Unbridled's owner Charles Fipke made a late change to Velazquez that prevented Rosario from securing another mount.

''For timing and consistency, Johnny's the best,'' said Fipke, the Canadian gemologist and prospector who discovered diamonds in the Northwest Territories.

Forever Unbridled was sixth early on, with Velazquez moving her to the outside for clear running room. She kicked into gear approaching the far turn and quickly joined the two leaders before charging past them.

''He edged that horse right up close, and just at the right time he bounced right out in front of them all,'' Fipke said.

Velazquez had ridden Forever Unbridled twice before, but that was 1 + years ago.

''I've been watching her all year when she's been running with somebody else, so I kind of knew her very well from the first time I rode her,'' he said.

Fipke, who also bred Forever Unbridled, said winning a Breeders' Cup race is harder than discovering a diamond mine.

''You don't realize how many other horses that we pay the oats and the bills and the training bills and everything just to get the one,'' he said. ''And the odds are pretty stacked against you.''

Stellar Wind, a six-time Grade 1 winner, finished last in her final race before retirement. Her trainer, John Sadler, extended his Cup skid to 41 races.

The only favorite to win among the day's four Cup races was 9-2 shot Mendelssohn in the $1 million Juvenile Turf for Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien.

Ridden by Ryan Moore, Mendelssohn ran one mile on turf in 1:35.97 to beat Untamed Domain by a length.

The bay colt paid $11.60 to win.

The other $1 million races produced upsets: 3-1 shot Rushing Fall in the Juvenile Fillies Turf and 14-1 shot Battle of Midway in the Dirt Mile.

In the Juvenile Fillies Turf, Rushing Fall survived a wide trip to win by three-quarters of a length under Javier Castellano. The bay filly ran a mile on turf in 1:36.09 and paid $8 to win for trainer Chad Brown.

In the Dirt Mile, Battle of Midway rallied to hold off Sharp Azteca by a half-length under Flavien Prat.

Trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, Battle of Midway ran a mile in 1:35.20 and paid $30.40 to win.

The announced crowd of 32,278 on a cloudy, 68-degree day was 5,222 below the attendance cap of 37,500 for the first Cup to be run at the seaside track near San Diego.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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Mike Dempsey Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders' Cup.
The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes.

Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick.

Mike also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively.

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Jerry Sessa Jerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins.
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In the 2015 Belmont Stakes Jerry dominated races 8-11 by hitting a $4,400 Pick 4, 3 Daily Doubles, 2 Pick 3's and calling American Pharoah as the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.

Jerry is always looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.

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