ARCADIA, Calif. — Trainer Bob Baffert was in the midst of an ugly stretch of Breeders’ Cup luck.

One of his more unsung contenders ended up providing the first salve of the day as 10-1 choice New Year’s Day shot up the rail under Martin Garcia to best favored Havana by 1.25 lengths in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita Park.

Baffert came into Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup lineup sporting a 1-for-25 record in the World Championships since 2009 with Secret Circle (2011 Juvenile Sprint) his only winner during that period. Then in Saturday’s first Breeders’ Cup race, the Juvenile Fillies, Baffert-trainee and Grade I winner Secret Compass suffered a fatal condylar fracture on the far turn and had to be euthanized.

Owned by Gary and Mary West, New Year’s Day was jumping into the Juvenile having just broken his maiden second time out while going a mile at Del Mar on Aug. 31. Stablemate Tap It Rich had more buzz in his favor in advance of the 11/16-mile test, but New Year’s Day showed raw talent that will get him winterbook play as a Kentucky Derby contender when he rallied after sitting seventh down the backstretch to leave Havana and Grade I winner Strong Mandate in his wake.

“This business is so tough. Here just a little bit ago I lost (Secret Compass) and now here I am winning a race like this,” said Baffert, who followed up his Juvenile triumph by saddling Secret Circle to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

The win gave jockey Martin Garcia his first career Breeders’ Cup win.


Sprint marks second Cup win for Secret Circle: Few mentioned Secret Circle’s name when talking of past Breeders’ Cup winners returning for 2013, but the 4-year-old joined the ranks of horses with multiple wins in the World Championships when he held off Laugh Track to take the 6-furlong Sprint.

Secret Circle won the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint and was a multiple graded stakes winner at 3 before being sidelined with a sesamoid injury.Defending race winner Trinniberg was ninth and appeared to be bleeding from the mouth after the race.


Ria Antonia elevated to Juvenile Fillies win: Dismissed at odds of 32-1, Ria Antonia crossed the wire in second but was elevated to first in the Juvenile Fillies because of interference in the stretch from She’s a Tiger.The race was marred by the fatal breakdown of Secret Compass while on the far turn. The daughter of Discreet Cat sustained a lateral condylar fracture with dislocation and was euthanized.

Jockey John Velazquez, who was on Secret Compass, was taken to a Pasadena hospital where he had his spleen removed.


Magician adds to Euro dominance in Turf: The number of European entrants for this year’s Breeders’ Cup may have been down compared to past years. But the crew that did come over served notice to U.S. runners, highlighted by Magician’s upset win over the top race filly The Fugue in the $3 million Turf.

Having finished an unlucky third in the Filly & Mare Turf one year ago, The Fugue appeared set to redeem herself with even bigger stakes on the line in the 1.5-mile Turf.


Mizdirection defends in Turf Sprint: The queen of the downhill turf course at Santa Anita Park made subjects of her competition in the 6.5-furlong Turf Sprint for a second straight season. Mizdirection joined champion Groupie Doll in defending her 2012 race win at the World Championships when she prevailed by a half-length.


Dank reigns in Filly & Mare Turf: Duplicating the form that brought her top-level glory in her North American debut, British-bred Dank made her second trip across the ocean count when she held off Romantica to win the 1.25-mile Filly & Mare Turf.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.