Jockey Corey Nakatani rode with guts and a sure touch in winning two Breeders' Cup races Saturday, but he said he was really guided by "an angel on my shoulder" -- his murdered sister.
Nakatani, who had been 0-12 in Breeders' Cup races, won the Sprint aboard Lit de Justice and the Distaff with Jewel Princess.
"I was thinking about my sister," said a happy but somewhat subdued Nakatani. "All of this was for Dawn. She does a lot of things for me. I just hope she is in a better place and that she is in peace now."
Nakatani's 21-year-old sister Dawn was found Oct. 1 near death in her apartment, apparently after being strangled. She died later that day in the hospital.
In the Sprint, Nakatani was 13th at the quarter-pole and moved up to 10th at the half-mile mark as Lord Carson set the pace with early speed.
By the top of the stretch, Nakatani had Lit de Justice fourth as a tiring Lord Carson tried to hang on to the lead.
As Lord Carson faded, Nakatani had Lit de Justice skimming along the rail like a gray ghost.
Then he veered to his right, splitting Paying Dues and Honour and Glory for the victory, tying the 23-year-old record at Woodbine Racetrack for 6 furlongs with a time of 1:08 3/5 .
In the 1 1/8 -mile Distaff, Nakatani had Jewel Princess comfortably within striking distance throughout the race.
Serena's Song was stalking Top Secret, the leader from the quarter pole to the stretch. That's when Serena's Song made her move to take the lead as they made the final turn.
But Jewel Princess kept coming on and sneaked by on the inside to win, giving Nakatani his second consecutive victory.
Different was third.
In the Juvenile Fillies race, the first event of the $11 million, seven-race extravaganza, Storm Song came from mid-pack at the quarter pole to chase down and roar past Love That Jazz to win the 1 1/1 6-mile race.
Storm Song, an 8-5 favorite in the race for 2-year olds, had plenty of run left at the finish line, winning by four lengths going away.
Critical Factor was third and Minister's Melody was fourth.
Storm Song, bought for $100,000 dollars earlier this year, won $520,000. Second place was worth $200,000 and third $120,000.
"This is a terrific filly. She put her last two races behind her and got it all together," said winning jockey Craig Perret, referring to Storm Song's recent losses. "She's the queen."
Love That Jazz broke quickly to take the lead going into the first turn and opened up a two-length lead by the quarter-mile pole. That margin became three lengths at half mile as Love That Jazz attempted to become the first to win the juvenile filly wire to wire.
But Storm Song, fifth at the three-quarter pole, made her move at the top of the stretch and breezed past Love That Jazz, giving veteran trainer Nick Zito his first Breeders' Cup victory.
Boston Harbor led wire to wire to win the Juvenile by a neck ahead of a rapidly closing Acceptable. Ordway, the favorite, was third.
It seemed Boston Harbor would easily win, until Acceptable made a tremendous run down the stretch but ran out of track.
In the 1 1/2 -mile Turf, Pilsudski came on with a great stretch run to beat Singspiel with Swain finishing third.
Pilsudski's jockey Walter Swinburn, who won his first Breeders' Cup race in 14 attempts, was wiping tears from his face while jogging Pilsudski to the winner's circle.
"I just kicked his butt home," Swinburn said.
In the Mile, Da Hoss began moving up patiently at the quarter, was third at the stretch and chased down Kiridashi to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Spinning World was second and Same Old Wish third.
Kiridashi, who had led the race for three-quarters of a mile, finished fourth.