Racing: Pride after Ouija's fall for Dunlop

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Ouija Board proved she could still fight, but the vital snap seemed to be missing. In the end it was she that was broken by a filly who zipped around the rail. "My immediate reaction was that she could not quicken off the good to soft ground and that she needs a mile and a half," Dunlop said. "She came from a long way back and I'm very proud with the way she has run. The winner has a bit more speed than we have and, considering she was almost retired in the middle of the season, she has put up a phenomenal performance."

It was a cold and inhospitable day on the fringes of the Big Apple and the ground had dried up to be good. These were perfect, excuse-free, conditions for the Europeans. But it proved to be a chill wind which brought no good for Ouija Board.

The filly bearing Lord Derby's black and white colours brought a completely different form line to the Filly & Mare Turf, a race she won 12 months ago in the balmier surroundings of Lone Star Park in Texas, following success in two Oaks and a third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. This time round she had endured an injury-fraught campaign. The result too was rather different.

Ouija Board had the assistance of Jerry Bailey, the most successful jockey in Breeders' Cup history, with 14 victories. However, even his input was not enough. The filly had looked composed, even meek, in the paddock, and the blood appeared to be still lukewarm when the gates opened, Bailey had to rouse his mount after a slothful start from an outside post. There was to be no coasting.

Up front, Bobby Frankel's Intercontintental had slipped into a devastating rhythm after a tardy start of her own. Ouija Board was nudged closer to the lead but she had to be nudged herself to do so. Around the final turn, Bailey put in a move, but it was not one conducted with great authority, Even so, the jockey had not yet conceded. "I thought the winner would stop," Bailey reported, "but she just kept going."

Among the visiting pack there was deflation that their big horse had been defeated. Yet aristocratic grace prevented Lord Derby joining in the disappointment. "To run one and two in a Breeders' Cup is quite something," he said. "We've been beaten by a very, very serious horse.

"We have come back and it was certainly worth doing so. She has run her little heart out. If you take the winner out we have got the same one-two-three from last year."

Another Breeders' Cup record holder, D Wayne Lukas, extended his lead at the top of the series trainers' table when Folklore won the Juvenile Fillies to give him an 18th success at the games.

The male two-year-old equivalent, the Juvenile, went to Steviewonderboy, perhaps the most exotically owned horse at the Breeders' Cup. The colt's bills are paid by the 15-time Emmy Award-winning television mogul, Merv Griffin, the man who created two of the most successful game shows in history, Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy. In a previous life, Griffin was a singer who had a No1 hit in 1950 with "I've Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts".

"I got to see Seabiscuit twice in the mid 1930s and I fell in love with Secretariat," he said. "We got his pedigree on the top and on the bottom [with this horse]. Damn that Secretariat. This race was not as dramatic as he did it. He likes to run in the back and when he sees all those acres in front of him the guy just goes."

The European challengers returned as if they had been hit by coconuts. John Gosden's Leo travelled well for a portion, but faded gradually to finish ninth. Ivan Denisovich did not go at any point. Aidan O'Brien reported that his colt detested the whole dirt experience and would not run on it again.

The race for speed monsters, the Sprint, went, like the Juvenile Fillies, to jockey Edgar Prado. He partnered Silver Train, who came with a late rattle to overhaul a field which included the hot favourite, Lost in The Fog.