European raiders win first two Breeders' Cup races
Jockey Mike Smith celebrates atop Outstrip after winning the Juvenile Turf during the 2013 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park on November 1, 2013 in Arcadia, California
On an opening day of Breeders' Cup action highlighted by the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff, trans-Atlantic contenders quickly made their presence felt at Santa Anita Park -- with a little help from the winningest jockey in Breeders' Cup history, Mike Smith.
Outstrip, trained in England by Charlie Appleby, was eight lengths off the lead as they turned for home in the one mile race for two-year-old colts on Santa Anita's turf track.
Smith found room on the inside, however, and powered past the Aidan O'Brien-trained Giovanni Boldini and early pace-setter Bobby's Kitten.
Giovanni Boldini, ridden by Ryan Moore, had just made his move past Bobby's Kitten when Smith brought Outstrip storming through to beat Giovanni Boldini by half a length, with Bobby's Kitten third.
"I never got to ride a race for Godolphin before, so to win a Breeders' Cup for Godolphin is so exciting," said Smith, who stretched his record tally of Breeders' Cup wins to 19.
That came hot on the heels of number 18 -- a grinding triumph aboard London Bridge in the 1 3/4-mile Marathon.
Trained by Jo Hughes, London Bridge overcame his inexperience on the US-style dirt track and powered past a tiring leading trio at the top of the final straight to seize the victory by a length from Blueskiesnrainbows, with Worldly third.
"I'd like to thank the owners for pursuing their dream, with this horse," Smith said. "I had doubts on dirt, but they didn't."
Five Breeders' Cup races were on the slate Friday, with the day's action to be capped by Royal Delta's bid for a third straight Distaff crown.
She won on the same Santa Anita track under Smith last year, when the race was known as the Ladies' Classic.
The field of six is small but offers plenty to imperil her quest, including last year's Juvenile Fillies winner Beholder and rising star Princess of Sylmar, the Kentucky Oaks winner who has emerged as the United States' top three-year-old filly.
The 14-race Breeders' Cup will continue on Saturday with nine races, culminating with the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic.