Spun to Run
OwnerRobert P. Donaldson
TrainerJuan Carlos Guerrero
JockeyIrad Ortiz Jr.
Benefitted by the addition of blinkers, Robert Donaldson’s 3-year-old Spun to Run was fastest out of the gate and never trailed in posting a 2 3/4-length victory over even-money favorite Omaha Beach in the 13th running of the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita on the first day of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
Trained by Juan Carlos Guerrero and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Spun to Run covered the mile on a fast main track in 1:36.58. It is the first Breeders’ Cup victory for Guerrero and seventh for Ortiz and second of this year’s Championships.
“This is a dream come true for me, this means everything to me, everything,” said a jubilant Guerrero. “Since the minute we got him he’s been a special horse to us. He’s a dream horse. When I put the full cup blinkers on him (before the Haskell, third), the next day he galloped so perfect I thought ‘wow, this is going to be a fun road with him.’ He was a different horse after I put the blinkers on. I really expected him to go wire-to-wire today. A horse who can do what he can do, you’ve just got to let him run. This means so much to me. So much. It puts me at a different level as a trainer.”
The 2019 Dirt Mile featured the morning line Kentucky Derby favorite in Omaha Beach (who was scratched prior to the race) and the actual Derby favorite in Improbable. But Spun to Run was easily the best runner in the field. Breaking from post 3 at the 9-1 third choice, Spun to Run was tracked in the early going by Blue Chipper, the first South Korean entrant in the World Championships, and those two ran 1-2 all the way until the eighth pole when Omaha Beach rallied to gain the place spot over Blue Chipper by 1 ¼ lengths.
“I just followed the instructions. He (Guerrero) told me to break running,” said Ortiz. “I broke running, then I thought I broke too hard. On the turn, I knew I was going a little too fast so I tried to slow it down, but he didn’t want to come back to me for a little while. I had to keep it together. I held it as long as I could. He was drifting out a little in the turn and I had to let him pick up it up earlier than I wanted to. He just kept going.”
Spun to Run, a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Hard Spun out of the Grand Slam mare Yawkey Way. The victory was worth $550,000 and improved Spun to Run’s earnings to $1,010,520 with a record of 11-5-1-3. The Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile is his first Grade 1 win.
Racing in the Northeast, Spun to Run finished third in the TVG.com Haskell Invitational in July, won the Smarty Jones at Parx in September, but after a fifth-place finish in the Pennsylvania Derby, Guerrero cut him back to the mile distance. Spun to Run responded with a sharp, six-length victory in the Celebration Stakes at Parx on Oct. 12, prior to his Breeders’ Cup Mile triumph.
Spun to Run won five races in nine starts in 2019 and closed out the season in December with a second-place finish to Maximum Security in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct.