Bar of Gold springs monster upset in Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint

Saturday, November 4th, 2017

Bar of Gold © Eclipse Sportswire

By Sarah Mace

Bar of Gold, a second generation homebred for Chester and Mary Broman, took her 66-1 post-time odds and ground them into the dust at the finish line when she got up just in time to earn Breeders’ Cup glory in the $1 million Filly and Mare Sprint at Del Mar on Saturday.

The 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro paid $135.40 for a $2 win bet, which was the second-biggest upset in Breeders’ Cup history, and became the third New York-bred to win a Breeders’ Cup race, joining 2013 Marathon winner London Bridge and Dayatthespa, winner of the 2014 Filly and Mare Turf.

Making her 25th lifetime start for trainer John Kimmel at Del Mar, Bar of Gold has spent her career in quality company after galloping through her New York-bred conditions in her first three starts. Kept on a steady diet of graded and top-level New York-bred stakes for the last three seasons, Bar of Gold had won three state-bred stakes: the 2016 Critical Eye Stakes, last year’s Empire Distaff by 18 lengths and this year’s Yaddo at Saratoga on turf. She has also constantly nibbled at the edges of a graded victory but never quite got there.

In 2015 she finished second in the Grade 1 Test, Grade 2 Prioress and Grade 2 Raven Run. In 2016, she ran third in the Grade 2 Presque Isle Downs Masters, Grade 3 Distaff Handicap and Grade 3 Bed of Roses Handicap. In sharp form this year and even branching out to turf, Bar of Gold finished second in the Grade 2 Ruffian and Grade 2 Presque Isle Downs Masters.

Needless to say, the Broman’s mare could not have chosen a better time for her breakthrough first graded victory, not to mention her first win over a dry dirt racing surface.

Bar of Gold broke alertly and took back to near the back of the pack, with only two horses beaten, where she raced on the rail through sizzling opening splits of 21.84 and 44.35 set by odds-on favorite Unique Bella.

Picking up steam in the approach to the far turn, the big mare advanced to fourth at the top of the stretch as she worked her way toward the outside.

Four wide at the head of the lane and in the clear for the drive, Bar of Gold dug in under a vigorous ride, eroded the advantage of new leader Ami’s Mesa and got up in the shadow of the wire to win by a nose. Ami’s Mesa finished a length ahead of Carina Mia, while favored Unique Bella faded to seventh. Bar of Gold covered the seven furlongs on a fast main track in 1:22.63.

Ortiz, Jr., said, “I got a perfect trip. She broke good, put me in good position and I just saved her. She made a good run on the inside and when I took her to the outside, she responded pretty good.”

Said John Kimmel, with palpable pride in Bar of Gold’s breakthrough achievement, “We knew it was in there somewhere. She pulled it out at the right moment. She’s brushed on greatness a few times, and she’s gotten better as the years have gone on. Her last race [Juddmonte Spinster at Keeneland where she finished a well-beaten sixth] was weird. At the track it had been raining all day and she really didn’t break sharp and was wide. It was really just a throw-out. We were all confused about whether we were going to come out here, but then we got her back to New York (from Kentucky) and she had a couple of breezes that were really impressive. Irad (Ortiz, Jr.) said she felt great.”

Kimmel added, “I wouldn’t have come out here if Irad couldn’t ride the horse, so when he told me he was open, I said ‘Let’s go. Let’s give it a shot.’ She is getting to the end of her career and here we are. I’ve always liked horses cutting back in distance, especially in a sprint, and a seven-eighths sprint. I’ve won the Test a couple of times with that tactic. She showed up today, and Irad gave her a great, great trip.”

When she donned the Breeders’ Cup blanket of yellow and purple flowers, Bar Of Gold’s career record stood at seven wins, six seconds and four thirds in 25 starts. She also improved her position on the New York-bred millionaire’s club roster with $1,551,000 in earnings.

The filly and mare sprint coup was Kimmel’s first Breeders’ Cup victory, and Ortiz’s third. The Bromans have made four prior starts in the Championship races, including three by Artemis Agrotera, who raced twice in the Filly and Mare Sprint and once in the Juvenile Fillies. Hook and Ladder ran in the 2001 Sprint. The Bromans’ best previous finish was a fifth by Artemis Agrotera in 2013.

Bar of Gold is the first foal and one of two winning offspring of Khancord Kid, a Broman homebred by Lemon Drop Kid. Also trained by Kimmel, Khancord Kid captured the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes on turf at Gulfstream Park turf in 2010. Chester Broman purchased Khancord Kid’s dam Confidently, an unraced daughter of Storm Cat, at Keeneland’s 2000 January sale of horses of all ages for $1 million.

Khancord Kid has a yearling colt by Giant’s Causeway and a weanling colt by American Pharoah. She was bred back to Medaglia d’Oro this spring.

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