June 24, 2024

Nobals posts biggest Breeders’ Cup Saturday surprise in Turf Sprint

Nobals wins the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1) against Big Invasion in Santa Anita (Photo by Horsephoto.com)

For the second time this season, Nobals rose to the challenge on one of American racing’s biggest stages when posting a 12-1 upset of the $920,000 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita on Saturday.

The victory was the fourth in seven starts this season for Nobals, who notably prevailed as a 38-1 outsider in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day. In that race he defeated Motorious, who was sent off as the 2.90-1 choice in Saturday’s five-furlong rematch.

Usually a front runner himself, Nobals was outrun to the lead down the backside, but crucially made his way toward the rail after breaking from post 6. When a path opened up in upper stretch, jockey Gerardo Corrales sent Nobals through it to seize command from pacesetter Live in the Dream. Nobals opened up briefly and reached the line in time as Big Invasion came flying to get within a neck of Nobals at the finish.

“Absolutely not (how I drew it up),” said trainer Larry Rivelli, who trains Nobals for Patricia’s Hope. “Stuff happens in these types of races and I think the jock made the difference today. He rode the horse perfect and stayed inside and the gap came and he was gone.”

Nobals finished up in :55.15 on firm ground and returned $26, the biggest-priced winner in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup events. Big Invasion had a half-length on European raider Aesop’s Fables, who had a similar margin on Live in the Dream, who cut early splits of :21.15 and :43.77.

The order of finish was rounded out by Motorious, Arzak, Beer Can Man, Tony Ann, Roses for Debra, Caravel, Gear Jockey, and Jasper Krone.

A three-time stakes winner over synthetic surfaces last season, Nobals has now garnered four on the turf this term. In addition to his two graded wins, Nobals also captured the William Garrett H. at Horseshoe Indianapolis in July and the Da Hoss S. at Colonial Downs in his most recent start on Sept. 9. He’s now won 10 of 18 lifetime starts and earned more than $1.45 million.

A four-year-old gelding in Kentucky by Dr. John Chandler, Nobals is by Noble Mission and out of Pearly Blue, by Empire Maker. He brought a mere $3,500 as a Fasig-Tipton October yearling.