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Tourist finally gets his trip in Breeders’ Cup Mile

By Kellie Reilly

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).