INGLEWOOD, CALIF., NOV. 21 -- Groovy had won his six 1987 starts entering the $1 million sprint race in today's Breeders' Cup, but his trainer, Jose Martin, was angry. Despite the colt's undefeated season, Groovy was considered an afterthought for horse of the year.

The burning issue was extinguished today as Groovy broke sluggishly along the rail and, after moving into contention around the turn, faded in the stretch as a 3-year-old filly, Very Subtle, drew out to a four-length victory over Martin's 4-to-5 favorite.

It was the second consecutive Breeders' Cup letdown for Martin and a cadre of bettors; Groovy was fourth in last year's Sprint as 2-to-5 favorite.

"Last year, the jockey {Jose Santos} didn't get him out of gate," Martin said last week. "We'll see if that happens with Angel {Cordero Jr.}."

It did. The slow beginning prompted Groovy's passive ending. Within the first half-furlong, he trailed the fast-breaking mare Pine Tree Lane by two lengths, with Very Subtle flanked to his right. As Cordero hurried Groovy into contention, Very Subtle moved past him with little if any prompting from jockey Pat Valenzuela.

Very Subtle opened up by three lengths turning for home, and Groovy's chance of catching her vanished when he bore out approaching the eighth-mile pole.

"I really believe the outside helped us and hurt Groovy," said trainer Mel Stute, who saddled the winner for Ben Rochelle.

Mile:

Members of the French delegation who accompanied Miesque from Europe found America the land of betting opportunity.

In seven starts abroad this year, Miesque, a 3-year-old filly, had won five -- twice beating males -- and placed second twice. In none of those starts was her odds higher than 9 to 5, but, with 12 betting interests in the $1 million turf race, Miesque went off at 7 to 2.

Jockey Freddy Head found the ticket to success leaving the far turn, when front-running Show Dancer (30 to 1) drifted out slightly under Marco Castaneda. Head, who had Miesque positioned just off the leader, drove the filly through the rail opening and, high off his saddle, pushed the filly to a 3 1/2-length victory over Show Dancer in a course-record 1:32 4/5. Sonic Lady, the 5-to-2 favorite, was third.

"She's the best filly in France on the turf and the best miler in France," said trainer Francois Boutin.

Juvenile Fillies:

After the favorites had engaged in a suicidal battle for the early lead, 30-to-1 Epitome rallied to score an upset in the race for 2-year-old fillies.

The Kentucky-based filly caught California's Jeanne Jones in the final yards to win by a nose, but most observers were left with the impression that the loser was the better horse and was the victim of an ill-judged ride by Bill Shoemaker.

Shoemaker gunned his filly early to fight with Over All, part of Wayne Lukas' favored four-horse entry, and Balquiria as they sped the first half-mile in a sizzling 44 seconds. After covering six furlongs in 1:09, Jeanne Jones opened a six-length lead. By midstretch, she was exhausted.

"At the sixteenth pole," Shoemaker said, "she pinned her ears, switched leads, planted her feet in the ground and pulled right up."

Jockey Pat Day had saved ground with Epitome around the turn, and rallied her as the leader weakened. The two fillies hit the wire together after covering the mile in 1:36 2/5. Dream Team, part of the Lukas entry, was third.

Distaff:

Trainer Wayne Lukas saddled half of the starters in the six-horse field, and Sacahuista led all the way to give him his third straight victory in the 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares.

Ridden by Randy Romero, Sacahuista won by 2 1/4 lengths over her stablemate, Clabber Girl. The winning time was a moderate 2:02 4/5.

Infinidad, the 7-to-10 favorite and the shortest priced on the entire Breeders' Cup program, never got into contention. She trailed the field most of the way and finished a soundly beaten fourth.

Juvenile:

Success Express led all the way to score an impressive victory that should provoke debate about who will be champion 2-year-old.

Wayne Lukas' speedster had only to outrun his own stablemate, Tejano, to take a clear lead, and jockey Jose Santos didn't have to push him hard to do it. The 4-to-1 shot got clear of the field after running the first half-mile in 44 4/5 seconds, and was never seriously challenged as he held on to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Regal Classic. The Canadian colt was caught in traffic on the rail on the turf, but finished well to be second, with Tejano third.

The winner's time of 1:35 1/5 was excellent -- more than a second faster than the 2-year-old fillies ran.