Gary Barber’s 6-year-old mare Belvoir Bay dominated the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint from gate to wire, setting a Santa Anita Park course record and becoming just the second female to win the Turf Sprint since its inception in 2008.
Trained by Peter Miller and ridden by Javier Castellano, Belvoir Bay covered the 5 furlongs on a firm turf course in :54.83, defeated 11 male rivals. Miller, who also saddled Om to complete the exacta, won the race for the third consecutive year as Stormy Liberal had prevailed at Del Mar in 2017 and Churchill Downs in 2018. It was Miller’s fifth Breeders’ Cup victory and the 12th for Castellano and first in the Turf Sprint. Stormy Liberal finished eighth in the 2019 renewal.
Making the victory more impressive was that Belvoir Bay had not started in nearly four months, since she finished fourth in the Jaipur Invitational at Belmont Park on June 8. Belvoir had won two ungraded stakes at Santa Anita at the beginning of the year, and was sent to Dubai, where she finished second in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan.
Belvoir Bay, a 6-year-old British-bred daughter of Equiano (FR) out of the Rock of Gibraltar mare Path of Peace, increased her earnings to $1,699,787, winning $550,000 for her connections and improving her record to 12 wins in 28 starts.
“This horse just rocketed out of the gate, and the break is so important in these races,” said winning jockey Castellano. “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. I’m very lucky and happy to be part of this horse.”
Commenting afterward, Miller said, “I was looking at Stormy (Liberal), Om and Belvoir Bay and all three broke sharp, so that was key. I wanted them all to break sharp and they did. All three jockeys followed instructions to perfection. She’s just a tough filly. I was telling everyone all week that she ran second to Blue Point (in the Al Quoz) 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.