FAIR HILL -- An hour after Jimmy Frost won the Breeders' Cup Steeplechase with Morley Street, the 33-year-old jockey was on the phone to England, promising his son he'd bring him a cowboy hat.
"But a saddle is going to have to wait until Christmas," he said.
Morley Street had just won the $250,000 race in the easiest kind of way, clipping nearly two seconds off the course record under a hand ride by Frost.
The 4-5 favorite in the 12-horse field, Morley Street was never touched by the whip, completing the 2 5/8 -mile course over 19 jumps in 5 minutes, 10 3/5 seconds. He won by 9 3/4 lengths after taking the lead from runner-up Declare Your Wish at the 18th fence.
"I never really asked him to run," Frost said.
Morley Street paid the shortest price of any winner in the six renewals of the Breeders' Cup Steeplechase. He paid $3.20, $3.60, $3. Declare Your Wish returned $6 and $5.20. The show price for third-place Cheering News was $3.80. The exacta of 7-4 paid $26.20.
Jimmy Lorenzo, who finished ninth yesterday, had set the previous record of 5:12 2/5 when he won the
race in 1988.
Winning trainer Toby Balding said the victory was "comparable" to winning the English Grand National, which he and Frost did in 1989 with a long shot, Little Polveir.
Yesterday, they felt a different kind of pressure. They were running an odds-on favorite and had come to America to defend the Breeders' Cup title.
Morley Street won the race last year at Belmont Park, and in March, won England's premier hurdle race, the Champion Hurdle, at the Cheltenham Racing Festival. He was voted the season's best jumper in both America and Britain.
After yesterday's victory, Balding, 55, said he regards Morley Street "as the best horse I've ever trained, and I've had a lot of good ones."
The Breeders' Cup finish was a clean sweep for the English jockeys. Steve Smith-Eccles was aboard Declare Your Wish and Richard Dunwoody finished a distant third on Cheering News. All three jockeys are among England's top 10 jump riders.
Jonathan Sheppard, the dean of America's steeplechase trainers, started four horses in the race, and three of them shared the lead. "That's not how I planned it," he said afterward.
Double Bill set the early pace over the first three fences until he was overtaken by Yaw and Moonstruck, two other Sheppard trainees.
Moonstruck assumed command after the fourth fence, stalked by Yaw, a son of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew who was ridden by Craig Thornton, New Zealand's champion rider.
After opening a daylight lead, Moonstruck stumbled and almost fell at the 11th fence.
After Moonstruck's mistake, Yaw took the lead and stayed there until the final turn. During most of the race, Morley Street cantered along in fourth but looked like he might be too far back three fences from home.
At the 17th fence, Declare Your Wish caught Yaw and then was passed by Morley Street at the 18th.