Raven's Pass pips Henrythenavigator to win Breeders’ Cup Classic

John Gosden’s Raven’s Pass created history at Santa Anita by becoming the first horse trained in Britain to win the €6.25m Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Only Andre Fabre’s Arcangues in 1993 had won this race for Europe, but Frankie Dettori’s mount put the record straight in spectacular style.

Last year’s winner Curlin made an early bid for home turning into the straight but Dettori was always tracking the favourite.

Ballydoyle’s Henrythenavigator emerged as a serious threat in the final furlong but Raven’s Pass showed real class to win going away. Tiago stayed on to beat Curlin for third.

Japanese challenger Casino Drive set the early pace but the challengers were queuing up three furlongs out.

Duke Of Marmalade was one of the first under pressure as Curlin swept by him and it looked as if Steve Asmussen’s charge was booked for back-to-back victories.

However, Dettori, who had earlier won the Juvenile Turf on Donativum for the same connections, looked poised to pounce.

Behind him was Henrythenavigator and both three-year-olds, attempting the trip for the first time, showed their exceptional speed to fight out the finish.

It was Raven’s Pass, winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on his previous start, who came out on top again in another thrilling duel with the dual 2000 Guineas winner, this time by a length and three-quarters.

Dettori, who had suffered heartache in this race with Swain (1998) and Sakhee (2001), said: “I followed Curlin. The further we raced the more relaxed he was and he came on the bridle.

“When I pressed the button I was hoping he would go to the end and he did. What a good racehorse he is.

“I was following every move of Curlin and it paid off. I wasn’t sure if he would stay until I pressed the button.”

Gosden added: “He’s improved a lot through the year. He’s got better and better in the fall of the year, got stronger and weighed more than he was before. He has trained beautifully and been more relaxed. I felt the trip wouldn’t be a problem.”

John Velazquez said of Henrythenavigator: “He ran awesome. I just feel I could have been closer if I’d made my move earlier but I was thinking of his first run over the trip. He stayed on and got it well and I had a great run throughout.”

Aidan O’Brien said of his pair, who will both now be retired to stud: “Johnny (Murtagh) said he thought it was the end of a long hard season for The Duke and he will now be retired to stud.

“I was delighted with Henry, he got the trip well as I thought he would and he will now take up stud duties at Ashford Stud in Kentucky.”

Robby Albarado, rider of Curlin, said: “He put in a big run and tried his hardest. There is no excuse for him.

“I was always where I needed to be I thought. Down the backside I was content where I was, he was a little wider than I wanted but that’s Curlin. It’s hard to say if the synthetic surface affected his performance. He ran his heart out.”

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