DRAKENSTEIN Stud’s leading sire Trippi’s top class grandson Liam’s Map vindicated the decision to run in the $1 million Gr1 Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile rather than the $5 million Classic as the 4-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song rallied from fourth for what turned out to be an easy win.
Pinched a bit at the start the speedy Liam’s Map, who entered off a gate-to-wire victory in the Gr1 Woodward Stakes raced an uncharacteristic fourth early in the Dirt Mile as Bradester set the pace.
In the far turn, Gr1 winner Lea moved first for jockey Jose Lezcano and opened a clear lead into the stretch as Liam’s Map was moved into the clear. Liam’s Map surged past Lea before mid-stretch on his way to the clear victory, his second straight Gr1 win. Liam’s Map completed the mile test in 1:34.54, as one might expect a track record on the relatively new track and rarely run Keeneland distance.
Liam’s Map. (bloodhorse.com/Anne M. Eberhardt)
The race will be the final career start Liam’s Map, who will stand at Lane’s End Farm near Versailles, Kentucky, in 2016. Before the race Lane’s End announced it had bought into the colt.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who secured his eighth Breeders’ Cup win said:
“I was very concerned. The one thing Javier talked about is that he’s a horse with a lot of speed, but he’s not always quick away from there on the first step. We were hoping he’d get a clean break, but he didn’t and was behind horses,” Pletcher said. “I was very concerned at that point.”
Pletcher liked how Liam’s Map handled the early challenges.
“What was so impressive is that he recovered a couple times. He got steadied about the five-eighths pole and didn’t have anywhere to go,” Pletcher said. “But every time Javier had to tap on the brakes a little bit, you could see Liam’s Map jump back into the bridle. I kept hoping. I kind of lost him at the five-sixteenths pole, but when I saw him turning for home I could see he had some momentum.”
Liam’s Map was followed home by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Lea and Jon and Sarah Kelly and Don and Joan Cimpi’s Red Vine. The winner started the biggest favourite in the history of the Dirt Mile.