After luckless passages in the past two runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), Tourist’s travel nightmare was transformed into a dream at Santa Anita on Saturday. The 12-1 chance parlayed a perfect ground-saving passage into a career-defining win, holding off the furious late charge of defending champion Tepin in stakes-record time.
Under an inspired ride by Joel Rosario, the Bill Mott charge secured a spot on the fence, slightly better than midpack off the scorching tempo dictated by What a View. Midnight Storm chased through fractions of :21.81, :44.61 and 1:08.59, and accosted the spent leader swinging for home.
But Tourist was going great guns as he crept up just behind them. Would he sit and suffer, or would he get a split. His luck didn’t fail this time. The seam instantly appeared, and Tourist shot through.
Tepin, racing a little farther back than customary due to the pace, flew down the stretch and passed several serious rivals – including Ironicus and the Europeans Limato and Alice Springs – as if they were plodders. But she came up just a half-length shy of Tourist, who was fortunate, but at the same time deserves great credit for being good enough to take advantage.
Tourist blitzed the mile in 1:31.71, lowering the Breeders’ Cup Mile stakes record of 1:31.78 set by Wise Dan here in 2012. He barely missed the course mark of 1:31.69 recently established by Vyjack – Tepin’s half-brother – and paid $26.80.
Midnight Storm did well to hang on for third from the fast-finishing Ironicus, who again implied that he needs a few yards more than a mile. Miss Temple City was a creditable fifth, and sixth-placer Limato was best of the Europeans. Few could have expected 10th-placer Alice Springs to finish behind fellow Aidan O’Brien trainees Cougar Mountain and Hit It a Bomb. What a View wound up last of 14.
A WinStar Farm homebred campaigned in partnership with Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber, Tourist will now retire to stud alongside his sire – two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) champion and Hall of Famer Tiznow. His prior Grade 1 victory had come in this summer’s Fourstardave (G1) at Saratoga, and he’d placed in the 2014 Secretariat (G1), the June 4 Shoemaker Mile (G1) to a pace-controlling Midnight Storm, and the past two runnings of the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1).