Giant Expectations Lands Breeders’ Cup Berth In Pat O’Brien Victory

Exline-Border Racing and Gato Racing’s Giant Expectations earned a spot in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile with a win in Saturday’s G2 Pat O’Brien Stakes at Del Mar. The 4-year-old New York-bred son of Frost Giant, ridden by Gary Stevens, came flying late to win going away by about two lengths. Trained by Peter Eurton, Giant Expectations covered seven furlongs over the fast main track in 1:21.08.

“He broke sharp and he was right in it,” Stevens said. “I used one of his gears a little earlier than I wanted to to get position. There was some “jockeying” going on out there, especially between (Kent) Desormeaux (on Silent Bird) and me. We were going in and out, but my horse loved it (the competition). He’s a bulldog. I rode him last time and he ran great. I thought he was sitting on something big. He showed it today. And I think he’ll actually be better off if they run him a mile. (The win gave him automatic entrance into the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.) He’ll have more time to settle going into that first turn and I expect he’ll run big.”

Breaking from the second-widest stall in the 10-horse field, Giant Expectations was a part of the early rush for the lead as the field raced out of the chute. Joining up with the main track, Moe Candy, who’d broken a bit slowly, rushed up the rail to take the lead by a length. Mr. Hinx tracked from second as Calculator also shot up the rail, taking third. Giant Expectations kept on, gaining fourth position on the outside just ahead of Silent Bird, following fractions of :22.69 and :45.14.

Calculator then angled out to join a three-way battle for the lead with Moe Candy and Mr. Hinx, but Moe Candy quickly tired and dropped back. It was just Calculator and Mr. Hinx at the head of the lane, and Calculator put away that rival quickly. Giant Expectations found his best stride in the final eighth, flying down the center of the course, passing Calculator and drawing away late to win by about two lengths. Calculator was relegated to second, and Silent Bird was third.

“He showed up today and I’m really proud of him,” said Eurton. “Gary (Stevens) chose him over Kobe’s Back basically because of the youth, this horse is four. I didn’t think he would run this big, but I’m glad he did. We’re pretty happy right now.”

Bred in New York by Sunrise Stables, Giant Expectations was an $85,000 weanling at the Keeneland January Sale. He was flipped through the OBS March 2-year-old in training sale, bringing $135,000 from Ryan Exline. It took him seven starts to break his maiden, and the Pat O’Brien was his first foray into stakes company. Giant Expectations has won three of 10 starts for earnings of over $250,000.

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