DEL MAR, California (Reuters) - Long-shot Talismanic charged ahead of its more celebrated competition to win the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club racetrack on Saturday.
The 15-1 colt saved the best for last, accelerating down the stretch to defeat Beach Patrol (4-1) by half a length in the 1 1/2 mile (2.4 km) race on firm, fast turf.
Favorite Highland Reel (6-5) was unable to repeat after winning the Turf last year and finished third.
Jockey Mickael Barzalona surprised even himself by piloting the four-year-old Talismanic past the wire in 2:26.19, breaking the Breeders’ Cup record of 2:27.35 set by Finnegans Wake in 2014.
“I can’t believe it,” Barzalona said. “I am thrilled to have won my first Breeders’ Cup race. I expected the horse to run well, but I’m not sure I thought I would win.”
The win marks the first Grade One victory for the white faced four-year-old colt, who is trained by Andre Fabre and owned by Godolphin Racing.
Godolphin chief executive Joe Osborne praised Fabre after Talismanic’s impressive win.
“The man is a living legend,” Osborne told reporters.
“He’s got Breeders’ Cups, Classics, Group 1s. He’s just a master trainer and trained this horse perfectly,” he said.
“It’s just a great result for us by our stallion, and bred by us and everything. So it just ticks all the boxes.”
The 7-2 morning line favorite Ulysses was scratched from the race on Saturday due to inflammation in the four-year-old colt’s left front fetlock.
”I don’t think it’s a life-threatening issue whatsoever,” on-course vet Scott Palmer said in a statement.
“It’s just a bit of a concern and they wish to do the right thing by the horse and protect him, so they decided to withdraw from the competition.”
The Irish-bred, British-trained thoroughbred is scheduled to return to England on Sunday.
Reporting by Rory Carroll, editing by Nick Mulvenney