June 19, 2024

Unquestionable wins Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf for familiar team of O’Brien, Moore

Unquestionable wins Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Santa Anita (Photo by Horsephotos.com)
Unquestionable wins Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Santa Anita (Photo by Horsephotos.com)

For the sixth time since 2011, trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore teamed up to win the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), taking Friday’s renewal at Santa Anita with Unquestionable.

Coming off a runner-up finish in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (G1) in France, Unquestionable was unquestionably the favorite to beat 10 rivals racing one mile over the Santa Anita turf course. The son of Wootton Bassett started as the 3-2 favorite following the veterinarian scratch of his stablemate River Tiber, who was Moore’s original mount.

The scratch of River Tiber allowed Moore to take the ride on Unquestionable, and the result—like so many times before—was victory. Breaking from post 7, Moore guided Unquestionable to the inside and saved ground behind rivals, as longshot Air Recruit set fast fractions of :22.26, 46.72, and 1:10.25 while tracked by My Boy Prince. Mountain Bear, another O’Brien trainee, was content to rate in 10th position.

Turning for home, Moore steered Unquestionable outside for racing room, and the bay colt responded with a sharp burst of acceleration that carried him to victory by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:33.65. Mountain Bear rallied boldly to edge My Boy Prince by a head for second place, giving O’Brien a 1-2 sweep. Can Group, Agate Road, Tok Tok, Air Recruit, Endlessly, Carson’s Run, Stay Hot, and Fulmineo completed the order of finish, while Grand Mo the First and Liam’s Journey joined River Tiber as veterinarian scratches.

“He’s a very tough horse who we’ve always had a lot of faith in,” said O’Brien of the winner. “Ryan gave him an unbelievable ride in a great position from an early stage from a tough draw. He won very well in the end and I’m delighted. He did everything right in the preparations going into the race so for him to go and win is brilliant.”

Shortly after the conclusion of the Juvenile Turf, Mountain Bear was vanned off with an injury. The Breeders’ Cup later issued an update on Mountain Bear, stating he “sustained a non-displaced lateral condylar fracture to his left front leg. He has been returned to the barn in the care of his connections. A full recovery is expected.”

Owned by the partnership of Al Shaqab Racing, Westerberg, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith, and Michael B. Tabor, Unquestionable was bred in France by C. Vitse, A. Vitse, V. Vitse, and G. Vitse. Two wins, two seconds, and a third from six starts have allowed Unquestionable to bankroll $671,394.