Lady and The Track | February 26, 2020

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Tourist Travels to Record Breeders’ Cup Mile Victory

By Jordan Sigmon

In two previous Breeders’ Cup attempts, Tourist had been about as unlucky as a horse could get. On Saturday the tides changed in his favor as he burst up the rail and held off the late charge of defending champion Tepin to win the one-mile Breeders’ Cup Mile (GI) by a half-length.

The WinStar Farm homebred, who also races for Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber, broke well and ended up 9 ½ lengths back after What a View led the field through the first half-mile in :21.81 and :44.61. The early leader approached the top of the stretch with a clear lead after going three-quarters in 1:08.59 but was soon after overtaken by third-place finisher Midnight Storm, who rallied from mid-pack and looked on his way to victory until Tourist, who was given a masterful ride by Joel Rosario, slipped up the rail and took the lead. Tepin finished well coming from further out of it than normal to get up for second, 1 ¼ lengths ahead of Midnight Storm, who in turn was a neck ahead of fourth-place finisher Ironicus.

The final time of 1:31.71 is the fastest time in Breeders’ Cup history.

“I thought about getting a little closer, but they were really flying on the lead,” Rosario said. “I just let him be happy where he was and try to save some ground, and just take it from there.”

Trainer Bill Mott, who got his first Breeders’ Cup Mile victory, was impressed with the field his charge was able to defeat.

“I looked at the horses in the field when they were going into the gate, and I said this is one of the most competitive races that they hold on this day,” Mott said. “You always wonder if you’re coming in with a good enough horse and he was good enough. You always have to have the trip and he got the inside trip, saved ground. He opened up out of the turn, and that was it.”

Mark Casse, the trainer of runner-up Tepin, was thrilled with how his mare ran in defeat.

“You know I’m just proud of her, this filly has been good for so long,” Casse said. “Unfortunately, she came up just a touch short.”

When asked if we had seen the last of Tepin yet Casse said, “I wouldn’t bet on it yet. I thought she trained as good the last couple weeks as I’ve ever seen her train. Mr. Masterson is a sportsman, and she could come back next year. It’s been a heck of a year.”