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Friday, November 6, 2009
Informed Decision beats Ventura

By Brad Free
Daily Racing Form



ARCADIA, Calf. -- Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard hit for the cycle Friday at Santa Anita, where the 68-year-old started three runners in the Breeders' Cup, and saved the best for last.

Informed Decision took advantage of a perfect trip to win the $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, Sheppard's first victory Friday after Forever Together finished third in the Filly and Mare Turf, and Cloudy's Knight finished second in the Marathon.

Julien Leparoux, who earlier won the Juvenile Fillies with She Be Wild, gave Informed Decision ($8.80) a perfect ride and the result was 1 1/4-length win over 2008 Filly and Mare Sprint winner Ventura. Longshot pacesetter Free Flying Soul held third.

The tepid early pace -- 23.23 and 45.95 seconds -- contributed to the modest final time of 1:21.66 for seven furlongs over a surface that played fast. The slow pace worked against closer Ventura, who was next-to-last early, blocked with run on the turn, rallied four-wide into the lane, and closed fast but never looked like she would get there.

Leparoux sat chilly on Informed Decision, who raced in second position, just off the flank of the pacesetter. Informed Decision made the lead without being asked turning for home, broke open the race, and was never in danger.

Considering her trip, 4-5 favorite Ventura ran super. She lost ground with her wide rally into the lane, finished fast, but fell short, illustrating the difficulty in winning back-to-back Breeders' Cup races. Ventura was the third BC winner from 2008 to fall short in 2009, joining Forever Together (Filly and Mare Turf) and Muhannak (Marathon).

George Strawbridge owns Informed Decision, who is now 7 for 7 on synthetics. A 4-year-old daughter of Monarchos, Informed Decision has won 11 of 14; her $540,000 winner's share increased her career bankroll to $1,771,617.

"She's not a one-dimensional type sprinter," Sheppard said, and added Strawbridge will keep her in training next year as a 5-year-old. "We'll give her a break now like last year, and probably bring her back in Keeneland in the spring."

Sheppard, who watched the race surrounded by fans in front of the grandstand, said he admitted that he was watching two fillies in the race - Ventura, and Informed Decision.

"[Ventura] was a little farther back than I expected," Sheppard said.

After fourth-place Sara Louise, the order of finish was completed by Only Green, Silver Swallow, Evita Argentina, Seventh Street, and Game Face.