Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Songbird's unbeaten run ends in Distaff

ARCADIA, Calif. — For the last quarter-mile, Songbird and Beholder refused to yield. They ran neck-and-neck, with their Hall of Fame jockeys looking for the tiniest edge.

Gary Stevens, aboard Beholder, called it "just a street fight."

The 6-year-old mare landed the final blow, with Beholder edging Songbird by a nose in the $2 million Distaff on opening day of the Breeders' Cup on Friday at Santa Anita.

Even jockey Mike Smith agreed it was "an amazing, amazing race" after his 3-year-old filly, Songbird, lost for the first time in 12 races.

"It was fun to be part of a battle," Stevens said. "The show that those two just put on is worth the price of admission for everybody that showed up. This was horse racing at its best."

It was a thrilling finish to the four Cup races on the first of the two-day world championships. The announced crowd of 45,673 was the largest for a Friday session since the Breeders' Cup added a second day in 2007. It was a 1 percent increase over last year's Friday crowd of 44,497 at Keeneland in Kentucky.

Nine Cup races will be run today, capped by the $6 million Classic, in which California Chrome is the early favorite.

Beholder ran 11/8 miles in 1:49.20 and paid $8.60, $3.60 and $3 as the 3-1 third choice. It was Beholder's third Cup victory, having won the Distaff in 2013 and the Juvenile Fillies in 2012. The Distaff was Beholder's final career race. She finished with 18 career victories. The 6-year-old mare is a three-time Eclipse Award winner.

The day's biggest upset belonged to Smith aboard 11-1 shot Tamarkuz, who won the $1 million Dirt Mile by 31/2 lengths for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. It was Smith's 23rd career Cup victory; he leads all jockeys in Cup victories and money won.

In the $1 million Juvenile Turf, 6-1 shot Oscar Performance won by 11/4 lengths, giving jockey Jose Ortiz and trainer Brian Lynch their first Cup victories.

Trained by Chad Brown, 6-1 shot New Money Honey won the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf by a half-length under Javier Castellano.

Songbird's unbeaten run ends in Distaff 11/04/16 [Last modified: Friday, November 4, 2016 10:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  2. Rays journal: Kevin Kiermaier returns, Mallex Smith sent to Triple A

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It didn't take CF Kevin Kiermaier long to make his presence felt during his return Friday to the Rays lineup. Kiermaier pretended to have Mariners DH Nelson Cruz's first-inning line drive lined up even as the ball went past him to his right and to the wall.

    Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) flies out in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  3. Rays vs. Mariners, 6:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    6:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    This is a 2017 photo of Jake Odorizzi of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  4. Bucs journal: Starting defense disappointed holding Jags to 1 rushing yard

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — The Bucs' starting defense held the Jaguars to a total of 1 rushing yard on seven carries in the first half of Thursday's 12-8 preseason win.

    And its members were disappointed.

    Jacksonville Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon (24) is thrown for a 1-yard loss as he is stopped by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David (54) and defensive end Robert Ayers (91) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) JVS102
  5. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.