ARCADIA California (Reuters) - Texas Red blitzed down the home straight to blow away the field and claim an upset win in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita Park on Saturday.
Sired by the 2005 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winning Afleet Alex, Texas Red upstaged heavy favorites Carpe Diem and Daredevil to romp home by six and a half lengths clear at 13-1 odds and stamp himself a Kentucky Derby favorite.
Carpe Diem was a distant second while Upstart finished third both no match for the Keith Desormeaux trained colt who claimed his second career win after victory at Del Mar in August.
“There is no doubt (we are thinking of the Derby),” Desormeaux said of the two-year-old.
“That's why we're in the game. The first thing that comes to my mind is that the horse has done above and beyond what we asked of him this year, but yes, he'll be the Derby favorite, at this point, I would think.”
With Desormeaux's younger brother Kent on board it is the first time a sibling trainer/jockey combination claimed a Breeders' Cup victory.
“I hadn’t even asked him yet and the others started coming back to me at the quarter-pole, so that made it real easy,” Kent said of the flash finish. “When I swung him out, he didn't really need much riding.
"Once I presented him, he just bellied down and extended his stride full of power.”
Bob Baffert’s early race favorite American Pharoah was withdrawn from the race Tuesday with a deep left foot bruise leaving Todd Pletcher trained stable mates Carpe Diem (9-5) and Daredevil (3-1) as the bookies bets at the gate.
Both came in undefeated from two previous starts but were left in the dust with Daredevil faltering to last place.
“It was disappointing with Daredevil for sure," Pletcher said. "He got hung very wide in the first turn. That might have accounted for some of it.
"It would have been impossible for him to win from where he was on the first turn but it doesn’t account for the poor performance.
“Carpe Diem got a big education, a lot of dirt and a different scenario than he’s been in. He’s a promising horse for the future.”
Editing by Steve Keating.