'The One We All Want To See': Auguste Rodin Delivers Epic Turf Win

Auguste Rodin storms to victory in the Breeders' Cup Turf | Benoit Photo


ARCADIA, USA — They got what they came for. Breeders' Cup Saturday delivered two storybook results right off the bat: victory for the fabled Cody's Wish (Curlin) and a 15th win at the championships for Frankie Dettori, whose thoughts of retirement are now firmly consigned to the past. And that was just in the first two races.

Amid a huddle of reporters by the tunnel entrance as the runners went to post for the GI Breeders' Cup Turf, one of the most seasoned of American racing writers muttered, “The suspense is officially killing me. This is the one we all want to see.”

As it transpired, in the race with true world championship claims, we weren't far off seeing an American winner in the race traditionally dominated by visitors from Europe. Todd Pletcher's Up To The Mark (Not This Time) posted a valiant best-of-the-rest effort but there was no pegging back Auguste Rodin (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), who became the first Derby winner since his fellow Coolmore campaigner High Chaparral (Ire) to go on to win the Turf.

With two duck eggs in the 2,000 Guineas and King George, Auguste Rodin had something of a will-he-won't-he reputation coming into this, but there is no denying the significant body of work he has compiled since winning the G1 Futurity Trophy a year ago. The Derby, Irish Derby, Irish Champion S., and now a Breeders' Cup, on three occasions beating King Of Steel (Wootton Bassett {GB}), who had created such a buzz on Champions' Day at Ascot only a fortnight earlier and who finished best of the other European-trained horses in fifth.

At the post-race press conference, Coolmore's MV Magnier referred to the ease with which Auguste Rodin had handled the dirt in training this week, as outlined in TDN on Friday, and he dangled the tantalising prospect of the colt staying in training next year to return for the Breeders' Cup Classic at Del Mar.

“He's a remarkable racehorse and he's very well bred,” Magnier said. “We could stand him in Ashford [Kentucky]. We could stand him in Europe. Or we could keep him in training next year.

“I have this lovely romantic idea about maybe bringing him back for the Classic next year. Like Aidan said on Thursday, he was floating over the dirt. So there's a lot of options open. We'll have to decide in the next week or so.”

Aidan O'Brien, whose record seven wins in the Turf began with the aforementioned dual winner of the race, High Chaparral, lauded Ryan Moore's “incredible ride” and he wasn't the only one. In fact the only person playing it down was Moore himself, who hopped on third-placed Aesop's Fables (Ire) in the Turf Sprint after his victory and then hotfooted it to the airport for a 16-hour flight to Australia, where he will ride Melbourne Cup favourite Vauban (Fr) (Galiway {GB}) on Tuesday.

“I'm just delighted that a horse like him, he's vindicated himself now,” he said of Auguste Rodin. “Ending up on the rail was Plan F really. I just had to make the best of the opportunities as they came. He was getting a bad trip and I think he won because he's so good. I made the right call but it could have been the wrong call as well, but because I had so much horse he was able to overcome things. To me, he won despite things not going as smoothly as they should have done, and I think that marks him out to be a good horse.”

Moore had earlier been only inches away from another victory when thwarted by a dazzling stretch run by Inspiral (GB) (Frankel {GB}) in the Filly & Mare Turf. Any lingering doubts as to whether the four-year-old would see out the 10 furlongs were quashed as she tanked on round the bend after catching Warm Heart (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in the shadow of the post. The lady was not for stopping after gathering her sixth Group/Grade 1 win, but she will be stopping at the Gosdens' Clarehaven Stables, with her owner/breeder Richard Thompson of Cheveley Park Stud swiftly declaring that Inspiral would remain in training at five.

That's great news for racing fans, who, if Inspiral makes it back to Royal Ascot, will almost certainly see Dettori back there too. He may not have confirmed it himself in the aftermath but it is clear that he is the one whom connections will want back in the saddle next year. 

A champion at two, a champion at three and surely this year's champion older filly, Inspiral's defection from Ascot on Champions Day was very much Santa Anita's gain.

“She was pointing for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot but the rain arrived and we didn't even declare her to run,” said her co-trainer John Gosden. “She's very opinionated and very strong-minded. You go with the flow with her, there's no point getting in an argument.”

He added, “I think what is particularly fulfilling is that she's owner-bred.”

Indeed, it was a good day for homebreds, especially those in the royal blue. After Godolphin America's early triumph with Cody's Wish, its two Newmarket stables delivered the closest finish of the day when Mawj (Ire) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}) was cruelly denied on the line by Master Of The Seas (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) in the Breeders' Cup Mile. Saeed Bin Suroor had got Godolphin's European campaign off to a great start in 2023 when saddling Mawj to win the 1,000 Guineas. After her Grade I win at Keeneland three weeks ago, she failed by the flimsiest of margins to emulate her half-brother Modern Games (Ire) in winning at the Breeders' Cup, with Master Of The Seas completing a rallying late charge from Charlie Appleby's stable, which also won last weekend's G1 Kameko Futurity Trophy with Ancient Wisdom (Fr) (Dubawi {Ire}). 

Appleby's Breeders' Cup record is quite extraordinary: he recorded his first ever Grade I winner here a decade ago when Outstrip (GB) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}) won the Juvenile Turf, and he maintained his 50% strike-rate by notching his tenth victory with Master Of The Seas. And, who knows, we could yet see Master Of The Seas and Mawj back again in 12 months' time as both are remaining in training and heading next to Dubai.

It was perhaps too much to hope that Live In The Dream (Ire) (Prince Of Lir {Ire}) could offer up the perfect finale and clean sweep for Europe in the turf races on Saturday. The bonny little chestnut has been a pleasure to watch in the mornings, sauntering around Santa Anita as if he's been there all his life. He has already perhaps surpassed the wildest dreams of owners Steve and Jolene De'Lemos and trainer Adam West by winning the G1 Nunthorpe S. in August, and he has brought them all on the journey of a lifetime to California. The bullet-fast four-year-old broke as sharply as ever but just couldn't sustain his early exertions, finishing an honourable fourth, a length and a quarter off the winner Nobals, a gelded (obviously) son of Frankel's brother Noble Mission (GB).

There was no Hollywood ending for the most enthusiastic set of connections to arrive in LA this week, but the dream lives on.



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