Beholder swept to victory in the $2 million Distaff, ending Royal Delta's reign on an opening day of Breeders' Cup action dominated by European raiders.
Gary Stevens celebrates with Beholder after winning the Distaff during the 2013 Breeders' Cup World Championships, at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, on November 1, 2013
Royal Delta, trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Mike Smith, was trying to become the first horse to win the Distaff -- formerly known as the Ladies' Classic -- three straight times.
Instead it was Beholder, who on Friday stepped up to the Distaff after winning last year's Juvenile Fillies and became the first to complete that double.
"I've been lucky enough to have many good mares in my years of training, but this mare might have to be the best of all," said Beholder trainer Richard Mandella after veteran jockey Gary Stevens brought his horse from off the pace to triumph by 4 1/4-lengths over Close Hatches.
Early pace-setter Authenticity was third and Royal Delta, fourth.
Princess of Sylmar, thought by many to be the biggest threat to Royal Delta's treble bid, stumbled out of the gate and finished last in the six-horse field.
The 1 1/8-mile Distaff capped the five-race Breeders' Cup slate on Friday at Santa Anita Park, the scenic circuit nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles.
The 14-race, $27 million flat racing extravaganza continues Saturday with nine more races, including the $5 million Classic.
The first day was a tour de force for European invaders, who took three of the five races.
Smith, already the winningest jockey in Breeders' Cup history, was aboard for two of those wins, piloting Outstrip to victory in the $1 million Juvenile Turf and patiently urging London Bridge to a triumph on an unfamiliar dirt surface in the $500,000 Marathon.
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 -- aboard London Bridge in the 1 3/4-mile Marathon.
Trained by Jo Hughes, London Bridge overcame his inexperience on the dirt 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.
Chriselliam, trained by Charlie Hills and ridden by Richard Hughes, gave Europe a third win of the day, coming from just off the pace to win the $1 million, one-mile Juvenile Fillies Turf going away.
Chriselliam notched her third win in six starts, Hughes moving her closer to the leaders in the field of 14 as they rounded the final turn then surging home to win by 2 1/2 lengths.
"She was sensational today," Hills said of Chriselliam. "She travelled like a true professional and flew across the line."
Chriselliam, part-owned by former champion jockey Willie Carson, set a new Breeders' Cup record for a mile of 1:33.72 over the firm turf course.
Vorda, trained in France by Philippe Sogorb, went off as the favorite but finished seventh.
Jockey Olivier Peslier said the firm turf might not have been to her liking.
"She was more comfortable last time at Newmarket on softer turf and the competition was tougher today," he said.
The $1 million Dirt Mile went to Goldencents, who broke sharply from the 12th post and streamed to the front under Rafael Bejarano, then held off all challengers for the win.
Golden Ticket was second and Brujo de Olleros finished third in the 12-horse field with 2-1 favorite Verrazano relegated to fourth.
Latest stories in this category:
- Swann catch ensures honours even in 2nd Ashes Test
- Jimenez struggles, Guan collapses at Hong Kong Open
- FIFA readies for World Cup draw, puts delays aside
- Bayern's Robben out for six weeks
- S.Korea to push for F1 return, says organiser
- PSG's long unbeaten run brought to an end
- His Majesty is king of sports
- England strike early in rain-hit second Test