'Icing On The Cake': Yibir Completes Appleby's Del Mar Trifecta In Breeders' Cup Turf - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘Icing On The Cake’: Yibir Completes Appleby’s Del Mar Trifecta In Breeders’ Cup Turf

Jockey William Buick celebrates Yibir’s victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf

Trainer Charlie Appleby has experienced the entire rollercoaster of emotions that horse racing has to offer within the microcosm of a single weekend where the turf meets the surf. On Friday, one of his Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf entrants was scratched at the gate, while the other was mistakenly scratched, then reinstated to run for purse money only before winning convincingly. Again on Saturday in the Mile, one entrant was scratched at the gate while the other, Space Blues, galloped to victory.

The trainer's trifecta was completed on Saturday evening with a strong victory in the Breeders' Cup Turf by the quirky sophomore gelding Yibir.

“A fantastic weekend, though I'll be taking a couple of them home fresh,” Appleby said. “I don't know quite how to describe it, really… Today, obviously standing there again to see potentially what was unfolding in front of us, it took a little bit of stepping back and having to take a breath again. But I just knew the right horse was left in the gate in Space Blues, so he was always going to be the main player. And then that in the last, that was the icing on the cake, really. We felt this horse had a lot of talent, he was galloping really good with all our 3-year-old middle distance horses and he's gone and finished it off today.”

The Goldolphin homebred by Dubawi had just one horse beat around the far turn, so jockey William Buick had to be patient before unleashing his rally down the center of the course. That well-timed ride saw 8-1 chance Yibir run down Broome (9-1) to win by a half-length, completing 1 1/2 miles over Del Mar's firm turf course in 2:25.90, a new course record.

“It's been unbelievable,” Buick said. “An amazing weekend. I've been coming to Breeders' Cup for many years and many times things have not gone my way. I understand how hard it is to have winners here so I appreciate every bit of success. The luck has gone my way this year. I couldn't pull him up after the line as he finished that strong. He's a very special horse.”

Yibir was not particularly quick into stride when all 14 entrants broke from the starting gate, and labored at the back of the field in the early going. He seemed to settle in after the first half-mile, and Buick said he started to get confident in his chances from that point.

Up front, Tribhuvan and Acclimate pulled away from the rest of the pack by five lengths to set all the early fractions: :24.04, :48.38, 1:12.41. Closest to the frontrunning pair was Channel Maker, with Bolshoi Ballet and Walton Street also near the front. Meanwhile, defending Breeders' Cup Turf winner Tarnawa traveled just ahead of Yibir at the back of the field.

The field took closer order after a mile in 1:36.76, and Ryan Moore set about moving Broome up from the rear of the field. Buick tracked that move, and followed Moore's path to build up Yibir's momentum with a wide move around the far turn.

In the stretch run, Broome got away from the field by about two lengths, but Yibir switched to his right lead and mowed her down with a powerful late rally. At the line, Yibir was a half-length ahead of the Aidan O'Brien-trained mare, while 3-year-old filly Teona ran a bang-up race to finish third. Japan checked in fourth, while Channel Maker hung around to finish fifth.

The remaining order of finish was: Bolshoi Ballet, Sisfahan, Rockemperor, Walton Street, Gufo, Tarnawa, Astronaut, Tribhuvan, and Acclimate.

“It was the one race this weekend that I didn't know how to assess it,” Buick said of the Turf. “There was a lot of pace in the race but I didn't know what my horse, how he would be able to react. He's a bit of a complex character and you saw him at Belmont last time where he dropped himself out and I had that scenario in my head that he might be a bit rank, and anyway, he broke well, and he pulled hard.

“To be honest with you, I thought he was doing too much. But then once we turned into the back he dropped and he was in a good mile and a half steady rhythm and I was just hoping that he stayed there for the finish because he's got an amazingly strong finish, and halfway around the home turn I could see Broome had gone, but I was always confident of picking him up. He has an amazing turn of foot and I couldn't pull him up after the line. Amazing horse, and I think he did something that not many horses can do, so all credit to him and great weekend. Well done to Charlie and everyone at Godolphin, all the team at home, everyone. It's fantastic.”

Bred in Great Britain by Godolphin, Yibir is out of the winning German-bred Monsun mare Rumh. That mare, a $502,236 yearling purchase at the 2009 Tattersalls sale, is also the dam of multiple Group 1 winner and 2018 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf runner-up Wild Illusion.

Yibir has had an up-and-down career for Appleby, though his final two runs ahead of the Breeders' Cup were both convincing victories, including the $1 million Jockye Club Derby Invitational at Belmont Park. Overall, the gelding has compiled a record of six wins from 12 starts with earnings of $2,895,580.

“It's just a tribute to the job that Charlie does with his horses with the team he's got behind him, and certainly what William does on the afternoon,” said Godolphin's Jimmy Bell. “So it's been, I'm sure, a big team effort and a lot of credit goes to Charlie and his team for being able to present him on a day like today.”

Quotes from other connections:

Trainer Aiden O'Brien (Broome (IRE), second and Japan, fourth) – “They've all run well, but just not quite good enough today. The winner has done it well and is very smart.”

Trainer Roger Varian (Teona (IRE), third) – “As she angled for home I thought we had a big chance. Watching the race again I don't think it's an ideal track for her. Hopefully she's fine after the race. She'll be aimed at all the big races next year and it's very exciting. If having runners at Breeders' Cup doesn't get your blood up nothing will!”

Trainer Bill Mott (Channel Maker, fifth) – “He ran a super race. Luis (Saez) rode him great. There were two very fast horses in there, so we just laid in behind them. He ran hard. He ran is heart out. We were fifth, but if they give you a good effort you can't complain.”

Jockey Luis Saez (Channel Maker, fifth) – “He did everything right and I did everything they asked for. I just got beat. When I got to the quarter pole, he responded really well and I had some horse and thought I can win this race. I kept trying but the winner just kept coming.”

Jockey Colin Keane (defending winner Tarnawa, 11th) – “She ran flat. I think France last time on very soft ground took plenty out of her. She seemed fine after the race.”

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