Trainer Peter Miller registered a personal three-peat in Saturday’s $920,000 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita, not with two-time defending champion Stormy Liberal but with Belvoir Bay, the only mare among the field of 12.
Making her first start since early June, Belvoir Bay showed little signs of rust breaking on top and was gunned out to the lead from post 12 under Javier Castellano. She was never truly pressured while being pursued by stablemates Stormy Liberal and Om, as well as Shekky Shebaz.
“This horse just rocketed out of the gate, and the break is so important in these races,” Castellano said. “She relaxed for me around the turn and it gave me confidence that we were going to win. Peter told me the horse was training great and he had confidence in me.
Setting fractions of :21.47 and :43.43, Belvoir Bay kept on well to win by 1 1/4 lengths at odds of 14-1. Om, the runner-up in the 2016 Turf Sprint, edged Shekky Shabaz by a nose for second after a stretch-long duel. Pure Sensation, the lukewarm 7-2 favorite, finished fifth, while Stormy Liberal ran eighth.
Owned by Gary Barber, Belvoir Bay covered five furlongs in a course-record :54.83 on firm ground. She paid $31.60.
“She’s just a tough filly. She’s just so tough,” Miller said. “I was telling everyone all week that she ran second to Blue Point (in the Al Quoz Sprint [G1] in March) and Blue Point would be even money in this race. She got no respect. I don’t know what they were thinking, but Mr. Barber had confidence and he bet with both hands.”
This was the second time Miller trained the one-two finishers in the Turf Sprint, following the 2017 edition at Del Mar when Stormy Liberal edged Richard’s Boy.
This was the 10th career stakes win and first Grade 1 for the six-year-old Belvoir Boy, who also counts the 2018 Monrovia (G2) and San Simeon (G3), 2017 Senator Ken Maddy (G3), and 2016 Torrey Pines (G3) on the main track among her other graded triumphs. Her career mark now stands at 28-12-6-2, $1,699,787.
Bred in Great Britain by Mrs. R. D. Peacock, Belvoir Bay is by Equiano and out of the Path of Peace, by Rock of Gibraltar. Interestingly, this is the family of English raider Bold Arrangement, runner-up to Ferdinand in the 1986 Kentucky Derby (G1).