Groupie Doll dazzles at Breeders' Cup
ARCADIA, California (Reuters) - Top sprinter Groupie Doll stretched her unbeaten run to five races while heavily fancied Shackleford disappointed after a stumbling start at the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park on Saturday.
Odds-on favorite Groupie Doll obliterated the field to win the $1 million Filly and Mare Sprint by four and one-half lengths from Dust and Diamonds.
Unbeaten in her four previous races, the William Bradley-trained filly stayed wide throughout and pulled away from the pack with a blistering finish after moving ahead soon after the final turn.
"You're the big favorite and expected to win, but you still have to get there," said jockey Rajiv Maragh, who has ridden Groupie Doll to all five of her consecutive wins. "It's never easy until you pass the wire.
"I thought it was most crucial to get her clear and into her comfort zone. She is consistent. I trust her a lot and she trusts me. We make a great team and that has worked out so far."
Tapizar pulled off an upset victory in the Dirt Mile where pre-race favorite Shackleford, winner of the 2011 Preakness Stakes, faded into seventh place after moving into an early lead following a poor start.
"He stumbled at the break and that was it," said Shackleford's jockey, Ramon Dominguez. "There is no two ways about it, he's a front-runner."
Corey Nakatini piloted the four-year-old Tapizar past the pack with a powerful surge around the final turn to finish two and one-quarter lengths ahead of Rail Trip.
Also on the glorious, sun-soaked afternoon, Mike Smith, who won Friday's Ladies' Classic on Royal Delta, extended his record career total of Breeders' Cup wins to 17 with victory in the Turf Sprint on board Mizdirection.
Smith skillfully piloted Mizdirection through a tightly bunched pack to power home down the stretch, finishing a half-length ahead of Unbridled's Note in the fourth race of nine on Saturday's card.
George Vancouver, with Ryan Moore on board, upset the fancied Noble Tune with a strong late burst in the $1 million Juvenile Turf.
Noble Tune, the 7-2 favorite, finished second a length and a quarter behind, having to go wide down the stretch after being boxed in. Balance the Books was third.
"We were in a nice position the entire way," said Moore, the George Vancouver jockey. "He traveled very well and quickened when he needed to. Everything worked out."
Saturday's card is highlighted by the $5 million Classic, featuring heavily fancied Game On Dude, last year's beaten favorite Flat Out and Fort Larned, winner of the graded Skip Away Stakes.
(Editing by Gene Cherry)
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