Found saves European pride as American Pharoah steals show

Aidan O’Brien team claims Turf while Pharoah completes Triple Crown in style

The Aidan O'Brien-Ryan Moore team saved European blushes at the 2015 Breeders Cup with a victory for Found in the $3 million Turf over the Derby and Arc winner Golden Horn on Saturday night.

Less than an hour later the US Triple Crown hero American Pharoah put a memorable seal on his racing career after a resounding Classic success which had home fans at Keeneland acclaiming Coolmore Stud’s new stallion recruit as one of the great horses of modern times.

However after a relatively unspectacular Breeders Cup for the European team, the fact that Found, and Friday night’s Juvenile Turf winner Hit It A Bomb, raced on lasix whereas many of the other visitors didn’t, means post-mortems of American racing’s biggest meeting will undoubtedly again feature debate over medication.

The raceday application of lasix has long been a contentious issue in world racing with the majority of runners in the US using the anti-bleeding drug, out of step with most other racing jurisdictions.


That some of the fancied European runners, including Golden Horn, were not given lasix, and appeared to perform below expectations, is likely to add to arguments over the drug’s use.

American Pharoah ran on lasix, as did the O'Brien trained Gleneagles, who failed to adapt to dirt and finished a long last in the Classic. However significantly there were two US trained winners on Saturday night who ran medication free, including the Sprint victor, Runhappy, whose trainer Maria Borell was keen to emphasise the point.

Stronger horses

“I want to say we won lasix-free, drug free. You guys don’t need to run on lasix . . ..I want us to have stronger horses that can run 30, 40 times in the future, like they used to be able to, and not be masked by drugs,” she said.

Borell was backed up by Runhappy’s owner, James McIngvale, who added: “I think if we’re going to talk the talk and walk the walk, we’ve got to do it. No lasix for us: no drugs: just hay, oats and lots of water.”

Found was Moore's eighth Breeders Cup winner overall and contributed to him landing the Bill Shoemaker award as the meeting's leading rider.

The filly was O’Brien’s tenth Breeders Cup winner and could be back to defend her title in 2016.

“She’s a very special filly, when you think she has run in two Champion Stakes and an Arc, and now this. To do it all in a month is remarkable,” said O’Brien.

The Golden Horn camp blamed ground conditions with Frankie Dettori reporting: "He couldn't pick up on it and was labouring from the top of the stretch."

David Wachman’s Legatissimo is another Coolmore-owned filly likely to race on in 2016 but the hot favourite came up short in the Filly & Mare Turf behind Stephanie’s Kitten.

“”It’s just been a long year,” Wachman said. “She has run well, but there are no excuses.”

The star of the show however was undoubtedly American Pharoah who dominated his rivals. Aidan O'Brien confirmed Gleneagles will also go to stud but was left hugely impressed by the US star, stating: "Let's take our hat off to the winner – you won't see many things in your life to rival what he has achieved."

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column