Pick Six bettor hits for $773,000
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP)
Somebody got a golden ticket. It won't get them into Willie Wonka's factory, but it's nearly as rare and worth a lot more dough.
A single ticket claimed the entire prize of $773,865 in the notoriously difficult Breeders' Cup Pick Six on Friday's Day 1, made all the more difficult with several long-shot winners.
The ticket was bought through online account wagering company Xpress Bet for $288. Its owner and location were unknown.
Questing, expected to contend in the Ladies' Classic, was last out of the gate and eased down the stretch by jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., but an initial examination found no injury.
The British-bred filly trained by Kiaran McLaughlin scored a pair of US Grade 1 stakes wins earlier in the year and is among the favorites to win an Eclipse Award as the nation's top 3-year-old female.
There was no indication of trouble during the training week, and McLaughlin said Thursday that he planned to have the filly speed straight to the lead in the Ladies' Classic.
A veterinarian examined Questing after the race, but found nothing physically wrong. Santa Anita's stewards ordered a precautionary blood test.
Trainer circles globe
Hundreds of horses have run thousands of furlongs in preparation for the Breeders' Cup. But nobody this week is moving more than French trainer Mikel Delzangles, whose heavy travel schedule paid off with a chance to saddle Flotilla in her victory Friday in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf.
After training his defending champion Dunaden in preparation for next week's Melbourne Cup, Delzangeles flew from Australia to Southern California on Wednesday to supervise the final few workouts then saddle two Breeders' Cup starters on Friday.
Flotilla, a 2-year-old bred in France, used an outside rally under jockey Christophe Lemaire to beat Ireland-bred Watsdachances by 1-1/4 lengths in the mile-long Juvenile Fillies Turf.
The trainer's other filly, Ridasiyna, was fourth behind winner and fellow French-bred Zagora in the $2 million Filly and Mare Turf.
Delzangles was slated to immediately get back on a plane and fly back to Australia to saddle Dunaden in the Melbourne Cup.
That's nearly 16,000 air miles in just a few days, but the jet lag doesn't hurt so much with a world title in your baggage.
''It's a world tour, but when things happen like today, it's quite easy,'' Delzangles said through a translator.
Scratches for Brees, Pitino
Stars from non-horse sports had their Breeders' Cup hopes dashed before the starting gate.
Worth Repeating, whose owners include New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, and South Floyd, co-owned by Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino were scratched before their respective Breeders' Cup races.
Worth Repeating missed the Marathon, with trainer Mike Machowsky saying the 6-year-old wasn't 100 percent after a Thursday workout and Friday vet check.
Brees is part of the Donkey Island Racing LLC group that owns Worth Repeating.
Pitino, a longtime thoroughbred fan and owner who has named horses after his Cardinal players, had his colt South Floyd, trained by reigning Kentucky Derby winner Doug O'Neill, scratched moments before the gate in the $500,000 Juvenile when the veterinarian saw what appeared to be a front leg problem during the post parade.
Trainer Bob Baffert's Super Ninety Nine had scratched from the same race earlier Friday when he got tangled in his stall and sustained scrapes.
''It is really too bad,'' said Baffert, whose Breeders' Cup entries were reduced from 10 to nine. ''He was going to win that race, and it was his owner's first horse - her very first horse and her very first Breeders' Cup.''
The on-track attendance at Santa Anita for Friday's first day of the Breeders' Cup was 34,619.
That's down from the first days of 2010 and 2011 when the event was held at Churchill Downs and drew more than 40,000, but very close to the average Friday since the event was expanded to two days in 2007.
The wagering total was $47,586,765, a 5 percent decline from Friday's total of $50,053,505 bet last year, and also down from the 2009 card at Santa Anita.
''Considering the effects of Hurricane Sandy and difficult circumstances for much of the East Coast, to be within 5 percent of last year's total handle is a success,'' said Ken Kirchner, senior wagering consultant for the event.