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France's Val Royal sets record, wins Mile

ELMONT, N.Y. -- Val Royal came from France to run in the Breeders' Cup. That was almost as far as he came to win the $1.14 million Mile.

Val Royal
Jockey Jose Valdivia, Jr. reacts aboard Val Royal after winning the Breeders Cup Mile.
Val Royal motored from way back in the field and caught Forbidden Apple in the final 100 yards to win in record fashion on the turf at Belmont Park.

Owned by "NYPD Blue" producer David Milch, Val Royal was 11th in the 12-horse field on the backstretch. But Jose Valdivia prompted the 5-year-old horse and he responded, charging into contention as the leaders entered the stretch.

Forbidden Apple pulled away from fading Balto Star at the eighth pole and appeared to have the victory wrapped up. But on his right, Val Royal raced past him and won by two lengths.

"When I turned him for home, I had the utmost confidence he would run him down," said Valdivia, who celebrated his first Breeders' Cup victory.

A 6-1 choice, Val Royal clocked 1:32.05, breaking the mark of 1:32.60 set by Royal Heroine in 1984. He paid $12.20, $6.40 and $5.10.

Forbidden Apple was second under Corey Nakatani and returned $8.60 and $6.20. Bach, with Michael Kinane aboard, showed for $12.40.

Val Royal went unraced in 2000 but came back to win the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita after placing in his return to the track in the Kilroe Handicap. He has been first or second in all but one of his 10 starts, with seven wins.



Mile results