Space Blues signs off with Breeders’ Cup Mile win
Space Blues provided Charlie Appleby and William Buick with a second winner of the weekend as he bowed out with victory in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Del Mar.
Incredibly, after the drama before Friday’s Juvenile Turf which saw the Appleby-trained Albahr scratched after becoming upset in the stalls and stablemate Modern Games claim the prize, something similar happened again.
His 2000 Guineas runner-up Master Of The Seas reared and hit his head on the stalls and protocol in America meant that he was immediately backed out and withdrawn. Thankfully the horse appeared fine on jogging back and James Doyle escaped injury.
That meant Appleby was down to just one runner in Space Blues, the Prix de la Foret winner, who was stepping up in trip for the first time since 2019.
Once Buick was able to break well and sit in third through the first half of the race, everything else went to plan with the pace only steady.
As Space Blues again displayed a potent turn of foot which he has been showing off in Europe all year, he might not have been going away at the finish but it was the perfect way to end a prolific career.
Appleby said: “The leader set nice, sensible fractions and I knew that would play to his attributes and that he could use his gear change.
“He’s not a natural mile horse back at home, but over seven (furlongs) and now in a Grade One over a mile here, he’s shown himself to be a true champion.
“He’s been a great servant and I’m delighted he’s retired on the world’s biggest stage.”
Regarding the incident before the race, Appleby added: “I am pleased to say that Master Of The Seas and James are both all right. The horse jogged past me after being scratched and the rules are there to abide by.
“We’ve never had any issues with him before, but it just shows what happened now and yesterday what a big test it is for the horses on this stage.”
Buick said: “He’s a real pro, this horse. He’s been round the block and knows the game.
“I had a plan in my head how I thought it would work out and in fact it worked out a little better.
“The leader set reasonable fractions and I got the perfect trip. Today was all about getting the trip.”