ARCADIA, California (Reuters) - French-bred mare Zagora has stormed home to win the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf in what will likely be the last start of her career at Santa Anita Park on Friday.
Due to be sold at auction later this month, Martin Schwartz’s five-year-old stormed down the home straight with jockey Javier Castellano aboard to overtake the fancied Marketing Mix and hold off the highly favored The Fugue.
Zagora, at 9-1 odds, claimed her eighth win of her career, and a sixth graded stakes triumph.
Having come to America in the fall of 2010, Zagora was not among the pre-race favorites and was expected to struggle at the mile-and-a-quarter distance.
But she was all business down the stretch coming from third at the final turn to win in 1:59.70.
Zagora prevailed by three-quarters of a length, giving trainer Chad C Brown just his second Breeders Cup win.
”She had everything go her way today,“ Brown said. ”She got the turf she likes, she got a great trip and she’s been training great.
“Everything came together for her today and it couldn’t happen to a horse that deserved it more.”
Marketing Mix, out of the Thomas Proctor stable, started at 9-2 and led into the home straight but could not hold off Zagora’s surge to finish second.
The Fugue started the pick of the bunch at 3-2 but was unable to get a clean run to unleash all of her power and settled for third despite being full of running at the post.
”It’s thrilling,“ Zagora owner Schwartz said. ”We came close in 2005 with Guerrilla and maybe we will get another shot tomorrow with Noble Tune, but this is a special horse.
“I think she has been out of the money just a few times, she is all heart.”
Schwartz was coy when asked if the horse would still be sold.
“She is supposed to be on a plane (to Lexington) one o’clock Sunday morning,” he said. “We’ll see. Maybe she’ll be late for the plane.”
Venezuelan jockey Castellano celebrated just his second Breeders Cup triumph, his first since riding Ghostzapper to victory in the Classic in 2004.
The $2million Filly & Mare Turf was the fifth event of six on the opening day of the two-day Breeder’s Cup carnival.
Editing by Greg Stutchbury