LOUISVILLE, Ky. - For owner Bobby Flay, Friday's $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf proved to be the ultimate throw-down.
Flay is the owner of More Than Real, who registered a decisive two-length victory over even-money favorite Winter Memories in the one-mile Juvenile Fillies Turf. Kathmanblu rallied to finish a head farther back in third.
Flay purchased More Than Real, a daughter of More Than Ready, privately shortly after she captured her career debut at Saratoga on Aug. 14. The victory was the first for Flay in a Breeders' Cup race and the fourth Breeders' Cup win for More Than Real's trainer, Todd Pletcher.
More Than Real, who rallied to finish second in Woodbine's Grade 3 Natalma Stakes in her only previous start for Flay, and her connections had to survive a claim of foul by jockey Jose Lezcano aboard Winter Memories who alleged interference in early stretch.
More Than Real raced well placed about six lengths off the lead while kept outside horses by jockey Garrett Gomez for the first five furlongs of the Juvenile Fillies Turf. She launched her bid with a quick move nearing the stretch, gained the advantage from the tiring pacesetter, Dos Lunas, while lugging in briefly approaching the eighth pole, quickly drew well clear, then readily held safe the favorite.
Winter Memories saved ground while just behind the winner in the run down the backstretch, split rivals with her bid leaving the final turn, steadied briefly near the three-sixteenths marker and offered only a mild rally once in the clear.
Kathmanblu had an eventful trip before swinging six wide into the stretch and finishing best of all.
More Than Real completed the distance in 1:36.61 over a firm turf course and paid $29.20
"This is my biggest win in horse racing by a magnitude of 1,000," said Flay who was accompanied by his wife, actress Stephanie March.
"We gave her some time off after the Natalma, and I think that made all the difference," said Pletcher. "Even though she lost the race at Woodbine, she got a world of experience from it and helped us teach her the correct way to run a turf race, to settle and make a run. I thought her breeze here on the turf indicated to us she really got over the ground well and gave us that vibe that we had a horse in the zone and doing well."
James Toner, who trains the previously unbeaten Winter Memories, made no excuses in defeat.
"I can't take anything away from the winner, she was first and we were second," said Toner. "We got bothered a bit but she didn't have any excuse once clear."