-- Bobby Frankel had a simple explanation for Ghostzapper's record-setting win in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic.
"He's just faster," the trainer said after Ghostzapper cruised to victory over a stellar field that included defending champion Pleasantly Perfect, Belmont winner Birdstone and the great mare Azeri.
Frankel, who had just two wins with 62 Breeders' Cup starters before the Classic, saddled the beaten favorite the past three years -- Medaglia d'Oro in 2002-03 and Aptitude in 2001.
This time, his favorite didn't fail at Lone Star Park. Ridden by Javier Castellano, the 4-year-old colt sprung from the gate and was in control all the way, winning by three lengths over Roses in May.
Ghostzapper, a sprinter when he began his career, covered the 11/4 miles in 1 minute 59.02 seconds, bettering the Classic record of 1:59.16 set by Skip Away in 1997 at Hollywood Park.
Azeri was a non-threatening fifth in a 13-horse field considered the deepest in the 21-year history of the Breeders' Cup. Pleasantly Perfect was third, Birdstone was seventh and Funny Cide was 10th.
Ghostzapper was moved to longer distances this year, and Frankel's decision paid off. The lightly raced son of Awesome Again won the Iselin Handicap and the Woodward Stakes, both at 11/8 miles, and the trainer was confident his colt could go even farther.
The buildup to the race took on even more intrigue when Azeri was entered by trainer D. Wayne Lukas. A few days before the race, Frankel dismissed Azeri, saying the only way she could win is if the gate didn't open for the other 12 horses.
Ghostzapper is owned by Magna Entertainment Corp. chairman Frank Stronach, who owns Pimlico and Laurel as well as Lone Star Park, Santa Anita and Gulfstream.
The winner paid $7, $4 and $3.60. Roses in May, ridden by John Velazquez, paid $8.20 and $5.20, and Pleasantly Perfect returned $3 to show.
Ghostzapper earned $2,080,000 and boosted his earnings to $2,996,120.
In the other Breeders' Cup races:
* DISTAFF: Ashado, the 2-1 favorite, gave trainer Todd Pletcher his first Breeders' Cup victory and likely earned the Eclipse Award as 3-year-old female champion.
In winning for the fifth time in eight starts this year, Ashado grabbed the lead in the stretch and beat Storm Flag Flying by 11/4 lengths. Stellar Jayne was third in the 11-horse field.
* JUVENILE FILLIES: Sweet Catomine clinched the 2-year-old female championship by overcoming traffic problems on the turn for home and posting a 33/4-length win over Balletto.
* MILE: Singletary bulled his way into the lead and held off Antonius Pius by a half-length for an upset at odds of 17-1.
Named for former Chicago Bears linebacker Mike Singletary, the 4-year-old colt gave jockey David Flores a win in his only Breeders' Cup mount of the day. Purchased for only $3,200, Singletary earned $873,600 to boost his career earnings to $1,439,732 for the 15 partners of Little Red Feather Racing.
"It doesn't get any better than this," winning trainer Don Chatlos said. "Here I am, just a poor kid from the South Side of Chicago where there aren't any horses, on top of the world!"
* SPRINT: Pletcher won his second race of the day with Speightstown ($9.40), who took control in the stretch and beat Kela by 11/4 lengths in the six-furlong dash.
However, the champion sprinter will likely be Pico Central, who beat Speightstown in the Vosburgh at Belmont Park earlier in the month and did not run in the Breeders' Cup.
* FILLY & MARE TURF: Ouija Board skipped the tougher Turf in favor of racing against her own sex and the move paid off with a 11/2-length victory over Film Maker.
Winner of the Irish and English Oaks, the 3-year-old filly owned by Lord Derby was third against the boys in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in her previous start.
* JUVENILE: European invader Wilko stole the show from Derby-driven trainers Bob Baffert, Lukas and Nick Zito: The colt upset Baffert's 2-1 favorite Roman Ruler, Zito's Sun King and Lukas's Consolidator in the race that usually determines the early Kentucky Derby favorite.
* TURF: Another huge upset, with 28-1 long shot Better Talk Now ($57.80) surviving a foul claim for a 13/4-length win over odds-on favorite Kitten's Joy.