ARCADIA, Calif. — Storm the Court won the $2 million Juvenile by a neck at 45-1 odds on opening day of the Breeders’ Cup on Friday, scoring the biggest upset in the race’s 35-year history.
All of the day’s 10 races – led by five Cup races for 2-year-olds – went off safely at Santa Anita, where 36 horses have died since December.
A handful of protesters calling for the end of racing in California toted signs outside one of the track’s entrances, while industry workers championed their own cause in a gathering a short distance away.
“We’re all trying our best to make this the safest sport that we can,” winning Juvenile trainer Peter Eurton said. “It’s unfortunate when any horse passes and zero tolerance is what we’re looking for.”
Dennis’ Moment, the 4-5 favorite, stumbled out of the starting gate and trailed the field.
Storm the Court set the pace and with a furlong to go, Anneau d’Or came even but wasn’t able to overtake his rival.
“I knew he would fight,” trainer Peter Eurton said. “Just didn’t know how much. Once he did put his head out in front, I knew it might be kind of interesting all the way to the wire.”
Ridden by Flavien Prat, Storm the Court paid $93.80 to win. He ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.93. The victory put the colt into the conversation as the winter favorite for next year’s Kentucky Derby.
Racing resumes Saturday with nine Cup races, topped by the $6 million Classic airing in prime time on NBC.
Not since Vale of York won the 2009 Juvenile at 30-1 odds, paying $63.20, had there been a bigger upset in the Juvenile.
Storm the Court followed in his sire’s hoof prints.
Court Vision was a 64-1 shot when he stunned Goldikova to win the BC Mile in 2011, paying $131.60 – third-highest in Cup history.
Anneau d’Or finished second and Wrecking Crew was third.
Dennis’ Moment wound up last.
“Out of the gate, I said to myself, `Oh man,”‘ Irad Ortiz Jr said. “I asked him for run early, he gave it to me and put a good effort into the turn but then at the quarter pole he slowed down.”
Eight Rings, trained by Bob Baffert, was sixth.
“When they turned for home, my horse was completely out of it,” Baffert said.
European horses were shut out on Future Stars Friday, when five different jockeys and trainers won. Brothers Irad Ortiz Jr. and Jose Ortiz each earned victories.
Four Wheel Drive was the day’s only favorite to win, taking the $1 million Juvenile Turf Sprint by three-quarters of a length under Irad Ortiz Jr. Sent off at 3-2 odds, the 2-year-old colt paid $5 to win.
Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien went 0 for 5 on the day.
In other races:
– Structor won the $1 million Juvenile Turf by three-quarters of a length under Jose Ortiz. He paid $12.60 at 5-1 odds.
– British Idiom earned a neck victory in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies for jockey Jose Castellano and trainer Brad Cox. She paid $7.40 at 5-2 odds.
– Sharing scored a 1 1/4-length win in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf for jockey Manny Franco and trainer Graham Motion.