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Graded Recaps

Bayern romps in Pennsylvania Derby, Cal Chrome sixth

Bayern proved again he's extremely dangerous when left alone on the lead (Bill Denver/Equi-Photo)

In a virtual re-run of his Haskell Invitational victory in July, Bayern was left alone on an uncontested lead over a track that had favored speed most of the day and cruised home the easiest of winners in the Grade 2, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing on Saturday.

Left in his wake, among others, was Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome, who struggled home sixth in the field of eight in his first start since his Triple Crown bid was foiled in the Belmont Stakes on June 7.

Setting a leisurely pace of :24 and :47 4/5 while being chased by longshot C J's Awesome and California Chrome, who raced along the inside, Bayern began to turn up the heat approaching the far turn, expanding his lead to 1 1/2 lengths through six furlongs in 1:10 4/5. Urged along by Victor Espinoza, California Chrome had little to offer passing the quarter pole and Bayern eventually scooted away in the stretch.

Opening up a three-length advantage at the eighth pole, Bayern coasted home by 5 3/4 lengths under Martin Garcia to take the 1 1/8-mile feature in 1:46 4/5, shaving one-fifth of a second off a track record set by Selari Spirit in the 1974 Hessian Handicap during the track's inaugural season.

"That was just a powerful performance," said winning trainer Bob Baffert via telephone from California. "He broke well and they let us go and Martin hustled to get away from California Chrome. When California Chrome was pinned in there I knew it was going be tough for California Chrome. He was the target -- we weren't the target. When Bayern runs like that, nobody's going to beat him.

"If you look at him, he doesn't look like a horse that's going to run a mile and an eighth, a mile and a quarter; he's sort of a compact horse. He must have a big heart and a big set of lungs and he carries his speed."

Tapiture, a three-time graded stakes winner this season including last month's West Virginia Derby over Candy Boy, beat that deep-closing rival again on Saturday, but for second by a head. Longshots Noble Moon and C J's Awesome finished a dead heat for fourth, with 9-10 favorite California Chrome sixth. Protonico and Classic Giacnroll rounded out the order of finish.

Espinoza blamed the riding tactics of other jockeys in part for California Chrome's defeat.

"The other riders, they worried about me, they didn't worry about the one in the front, and I knew I was in trouble in the first turn," Espinoza said. "They were like blocking in front of me, and it was hard to catch the other horse. Sometimes the other ones don't ride to win, they ride to beat horses.

"I was really desperate and behind, but there was nothing I could do at that point. I mean, to see those fractions, and they're walking, and I knew I was in trouble as soon as I hit the first turn. The other horses slowed down in front of me, and everybody slowed down. Some things, you can't do much at that point. Hopefully, he can make it in the end, but I noticed in the first turn I was completely up against it."

California Chrome's trainer Art Sherman also felt his colt's trip compromised his effectiveness.

Connections were non-committal about a possible next start for their Pennsylvania Derby winner (Bill Denver/Equi-Photo)

"I wish he could have gotten him out -- the pace was not that fast," Sherman said. "You know you hate making excuses, but I thought if he could have gone after that horse a little bit earlier, and got out from behind, but the other horse kept him down on the rail which I really didn't want. He is a lot more comfortable if you can ease him out -- it didn't happen. And he hasn't run in a long time. He probably needed the race."

California Chrome will continue on to the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on November 1 at Santa Anita, where a potential showdown for the three-year-old championship looms between him and undefeated champion Shared Belief.

The Pennsylvania Derby was the third graded stakes win of the year for Bayern, who preceded his 7 1/4-length win in the July 27 Haskell Invitational with a 7 1/2-length romp in the Woody Stephens at Belmont Park over seven furlongs. The Grade 1-winning Offlee Wild colt debuted on January 4, winning a maiden at Santa Anita by 3 1/4 lengths, and followed up with an allowance score over the same track by 15 lengths.

Third in the Arkansas Derby in his stakes debut, Bayern was next demoted from first to second in the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs. He's turned in two major clunkers this year, finishing ninth in the Preakness after a rough trip and last of 10 in the August 23 Travers after setting a contested early pace.

"After the Haskell, I was going to wait for this race, but he came back good and it's the Travers and he was going to be the speed," Baffert revealed. "I wasn't going to go and afterward I said, 'Why didn't I stick to my original plans?'"

Bayern, who races for Kaleem Shah, improved his career mark to 9-5-1-1, $1,639,680.

Bred by Helen Alexander in Kentucky, Bayern brought $320,000 as a two-year-old in training at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May. He was sired by Offlee Wild from the Thunder Gulch mare Alittlebitearly, herself a half-sister to Group 3-winning sire Bertolini; stakes winner Alchemilla; and stakes heroine Amelia, who is in turn the dam of Grade 3 scorers Assateague and Kindergarden Kid as well as He's Had Enough, runner-up in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Bayern's second dam, Grade 2 diva Aquilegia, is a full sister to champion and noted broodmare Althea. Aside from producing four stakes winners, led by Japanese champion Yamanin Paradise, Althea ranks as the ancestress of Grade 1-winning sire Arch; Grade 1 heroines Balletto and Acoma; and U.A.E. Horse of the Year Festival of Light, among others. Aquilegia and Althea are also full sisters to Grade 2 winner Aishah, whose offspring include Grade 1 victress Aldiza and Grade 2 scorer Atelier, and another descendant is current multiple Grade 3 victress Aurelia's Belle.

Bayern's third dam is Broodmare of the Year Courtly Dee. Her other progeny include Grade 1 heroes Ali Oop and Ketoh as well as multiple Grade 2 victor Twining and multiple Grade 3 winner Native Courier. Among her many outstanding descendants is Group 1 star and influential sire Green Desert.

Interestingly, Bayern hails from the extended family of Kentucky Derby and Preakness hero California Chrome. Both descend from Judy-Rae, who is Bayern's fifth dam and California Chrome's seventh dam.

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Untapable prevails in Cotillion

Untapable pulled off a length victory in the Cotillion (Barbara Weidl/Equi-Photo)

Winchell Thoroughbreds' homebred Untapable got back on the winning track Saturday with a gutsy one-length victory in the Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion at Parx Racing.

The 1 1/16-mile contest was the co-feature on the card with the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby, which marked the return of Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome. Untapable herself captured the Kentucky Oaks in May and now has a huge lead in the race for champion three-year-old filly honors.

"To me this wins solidifies the Eclipse," Ron Winchell stated. "She dug in and it was good to get it done after the Haskell Invitational. This was a big exhale after the Haskell and glad to get it done."

"She beat very good fillies," trainer Steven Asmussen agreed. "This is her third Grade 1 of the year. We're very proud to have her. The Winchell family bred a tremendous filly.

"She gives you a tremendous amount of confidence. You rather run her than anybody else," the horseman added. "I think this time of year; the fillies have sorted themselves out. This time of year everybody in belongs. Early in the year and in the spring a lot of horses are not up to the task or go wayward.

"Her works the last three weeks have given us a great amount of confidence that it's the Untapable we should expect."

Jockey Rosie Napravnik piloted Untapable in all but one of her nine career starts leading up to the Cotillion, and settled the Tapit filly into a tracking spot behind the pacesetting Jojo Warrior and Cassatt once the gates opened Saturday. Jojo Warrior set splits of :23 2/5, :46 3/5 and 1:10 1/5 while stalked by those two rivals, who ranged up rounding the turn to run in tandem entering the stretch.

Untapable was widest of all circling the turn and was set down by Napravnik in the lane, drifting over near the eighth-pole before being corrected. The bay miss dug in and eked out the length score over a rallying Sweet Reason to complete 1 1/16 miles in 1:42 3/5 over the fast dirt.

"It set up well with the two horses in front (getting) into a little fight on the first turn," Napravnik remarked. "I sat chilly with her and let her move when she was ready. The track is all speedy today so we had to make up some ground. She is all class. She ran great, training great and no reason not for her to go forward."

Untapable is now headed back to Santa Anita, the site of her worse loss to date, for the BC Distaff (Bill Denver/Equi-Photo)

Easily the public's choice at 1-2, Untapable returned $3 for the win. Sweet Reason broke through the gate but was held by the assistant starter had no problems when the gates officially opened. She had a length to spare on Jojo Warrior once hitting the wire, while Little Alexis got up to finish the top four another 2 1/2 lengths back.

Cassatt, Joine Return, Vero Amore and House Rules rounded out the order of finish. Stopchargingmaria, who has yet to face Untapable, was scratched in favor of taking on her elders in the Grade 1, $400,000 Beldame at Belmont Park September 27.

Untapable suffered her first loss this year when taking on the boys in the Haskell Invitational prior to the Cotillion. She was bumped at the start of that contest and round up fifth under the wire, but proved dominate over her own gender in four previous starts.

"I was extremely pleased to have her back in the winner's circle where we feel she belongs," Asmussen said. "I think a lot of little things added up to (the Haskell defeat) to not being her day. I was very proud that she came out of a tough race like that, tough circumstances, to win a Grade 1.

"The filly ought to get a lot out of it. She does fly to California tomorrow. She's got nice timing back to the (Breeders' Cup) Distaff, and now we'll try to prepare for that" he added.

The bay filly romped by 9 1/2 lengths in her season opener, the Rachel Alexandra, before taking the Fair Grounds Oaks by 7 3/4 lengths. She easily proved best in the Kentucky Oaks by 4 1/2 lengths and carried that form forward to the Mother Goose for a 9 1/4-length gambol around the track.

As a juvenile, Untapable captured her initial pair of starts, taking her maiden debut by a length before a half-length score in the Pocahontas, both at Churchill Downs. She shipped to Santa Anita for a try at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, but was checked and eventually eased into a well-beaten eighth spot under the wire. The Kentucky-bred lass stayed in California and visited Hollywood Park next out to wrap up her two-year-old campaign with a third in the Hollywood Starlet.

Now boasting a 7-0-1 mark from 10 career starts, Untapable has banked $1,896,725 in lifetime earnings.

Untapable is out of the Grade 2-winning Prized mare Fun House, making her a half-sister to Grade 1-scoring millionaire and 2010 Kentucky Derby third-placer Paddy O'Prado. Her third dam is Carols Christmas, from whom a whole slew of black-type runners are descended. Among that group are Grade 1-winning millionaires and sires Olympio and Pyro; 2012 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile victor Tapizar; and Grade 1-scoring stallion Cuvee.

Others of note in this female family include Fun House's half-brother Early Flyer, a Grade 2-winning sire, and current Grade 1 vixen On Fire Baby.

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Artemis Agrotera catches La Verdad in Gallant Bloom

Artemis Agrotera has now beaten older fillies and mares twice in graded stakes this year (Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography)

Artemis Agrotera fell behind a wicked pace set by La Verdad, but rallied through the Belmont Park stretch to defeat that older rival by a head in Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap, her final prep before the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita on November 1.

La Verdad, who provided a target for Artemis Agrotera in last month's Ballerina at Saratoga, set a scorching pace of :21 3/5 and :43 3/5. Artemis Agrotera broke a bit tardily from the gate and found herself more than nine lengths behind after a quarter-mile, a scenario much different from the Ballerina where she was within of a length of the speedball most of the way.

"She really didn't enjoy being that far back," jockey Rajiv Maragh said. "Early on, I tried to keep her in her rhythm. I had a lot of confidence in her and tried to be a good passenger and let her finish strong. I assumed they were going that fast because my filly is naturally quick, and if she's 10 lengths off the lead La Verdad had to be going fast to be that far in front of her."

Still holding a commanding lead turning for home, La Verdad had four lengths on her closest pursuer passing the eighth pole, but began showing fatigue after her early exertion. Artemis Agrotera, who was forced five wide entering the straight, closed stoutly to catch the long time leader and won in a photo. The 2-5 favorite completed 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:15 2/5.

"In the stretch, my filly found a second wind and a third wind," Maragh said. "Even if she had run second or third it would have been a good performance. It shows what kind of filly she is to get up and win the race from where she was."

The 2-5 favorite, owned and bred in New York by Chester and Mary Broman, returned $2.60 to win.

La Verdad held second, a length in front of Willet. Merry Meadow was two lengths farther back in fourth and was followed by Classic Point and Bridgehampton.

This was the third graded stakes win for Artemis Agrotera, who scored Grade 1 victories in the Frizette last October and in the August 23 Ballerina by a commanding 6 1/2 lengths. Now with two major wins against older fillies and mares, the sophomore daughter of Roman Ruler will be among the favorites to clinch an Eclipse Award as the nation's leading female sprinter at Santa Anita.

"Now we have six weeks (to the Breeders' Cup). We can take our time," trainer Michael Hushion said. "She has this under her belt. Like Rajiv said, he learned a lot about her today."

Artemis Agrotera has won five of seven starts for earnings of $943,800. Two other victories, a maiden and an allowance, came against New York-breds. She's been unplaced twice, finishing fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita last November and eighth in the Acorn at Belmont in her season debut June 7.

Out of the stakes-winning and multiple Grade 2-placed A.P. Indy mare Indy Glory, the New York-bred filly is a three-quarter sibling to a pair of stakes-placed runners in Submerge and Time Squared. Indy Glory is a full sister to Grade 1 winner Stephen Got Even and stakes queen Grand Merger.

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Favorite Tale continues affinity for Parx in Gallant Bob

King's Bishop near-misser Fast Anna was bet down to 3-5 favoritism in Saturday's Grade 3, $300,000 Gallant Bob at Parx, but locally based speedster Favorite Tale continued to be unbeatable at his home track. After vying with Fast Anna early, the Guadalupe Preciado trainee got the upper hand and kicked 2 1/2 lengths clear to remain perfect from four starts at Parx.

A homebred campaigned by Paul Conaway's PJG Stables, Favorite Tale was also capitalizing on his rail draw on a day that was favoring inside speed. The Tale of the Cat gelding, whose only prior stakes victory came in the May 4 Gold Fever at Belmont, was dispatched as the 7-2 second choice off a trio of stakes placings. He was a neck short when runner-up to Coup de Grace in the July 5 Oh Say at Delaware, and missed by the same margin when third to Pure Sensation in the grassy Quick Call at Saratoga July 24. He was most recently second, beaten three-quarters of a length, by Prudhoe Bay in the August 16 Jersey Shore at Monmouth, and gained revenge on his last two conquerors here.

Although Favorite Tale broke sharply with John Bisono, Fast Anna lived up to his name in the initial stages and zipped to a narrow advantage through a quarter-mile in :21 1/5. But Favorite Tale was glued alongside and soon put his head in front. Beginning to edge ahead through a half in :43 1/5 on a surface that was playing fast, Favorite Tale opened up by daylight down the stretch. He clocked :55 1/5 for the five-furlong split and completed six furlongs in 1:08.

Fast Anna held second by a diminishing neck from Bump Start, who was followed under the line by Pure Sensation, Prudhoe Bay, Good Bye Greg and the eased Camden Street.

Pure Sensation and Prudhoe Bay, however, were soon embroiled in the stewards' room. Paco Lopez, Prudhoe Bay's rider, claimed foul against Joel Rosario on Pure Sensation for an incident at the start. Pure Sensation took a left turn out of the gate, swiping Prudhoe Bay just to his inside. The stewards disallowed the claim and declared the result official as it stood.

Favorite Tale rewarded his fans with a $9 win payout and improved his own line to 10-5-2-1, $369,826. The Pennsylvania-bred began his career with a three-race winning spree at Parx this winter, crowned by a 14-length allowance romp March 24. Favorite Tale then tried New York and dropped two out of three. He bookended his aforementioned Gold Fever win (where he defeated Pure Sensation and Havana) with poor efforts in both the Bay Shore and Woody Stephens. Since then, the bay has been a model of consistency.

Favorite Tale was produced by the Grade 3-placed Tricky Elaine, a Grindstone half-sister to 1997 Horse of the Year and champion two-year-old colt Favorite Trick. Also in the family are Grade 2 queen Tizfiz and current Grade 3 scorer Fury Kapcori.

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Thank You Marylou blows away Dogwood

Thank You Marylou romped in the Dogwood at Churchill (Rickelle Nelson/

Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Thank You Marylou added blinkers and pulled away in the stretch to win her first graded stakes by 6 1/2 lengths in Saturday's Grade 3, $112,000 Dogwood Stakes for three-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs.

"That was perfect," trainer Mike Maker said. "She prefers an outside post position. So she put herself in a good spot and she really ran the way we've been thinking she could run for a while. It's hard to say the impact of the blinkers. She had the inside post last time out and she only got beat a couple lengths, but she was pretty intimidated. So I'm not sure if the blinkers did a whole lot for her here being on the outside."

Thank You Marylou chased the pace on the outside as Mizzen Mast posted opening fractions of :22 4/5 and :45 3/5. Thank You Marylou engaged the leader around the far turn and took over the lead turning for home. The chestnut angled to the inside for her stretch run and continued to widen her lead all the way to the wire.

Thank You Marylou stopped the teletimer in 1:23 for the seven-furlong test over the fast main track with Miguel Mena up. The daughter of Birdstone returned $11.80 for the victory as the 9-2 third choice.

"They put blinkers on her for a reason I guess, because from the get-go she took me in a perfect position," Mena said. "I had a perfect trip on the outside and I called on her a little bit turning for home and she went pretty easy. I had never been on her before but my guess is the blinkers made a big difference. She ran great."

Henny Jenney took runner-up by a half-length over Milam in third, while Birdmaker was a head back in fourth. Fiftyshadesofgold, the 4-5 favorite, had nothing left late and finished fifth. Mizzen Miss, Enjoy the Family and Platinum Lady rounded out the order of finish. Honey's Ryan and Kiss to Remember were scratched.

"I'm aware," stated Maker, when asked about the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint being run at the same distance.

"I don't think I'd have to twist his arm too hard; you never know," added Maker, when asked if he could talk Ramsey into going to the Breeders' Cup.

Thank You Marylou broke her maiden as a juvenile at first asking against stakes competition in the Tippett Stakes on the grass at Colonial Downs in July. She switched over to dirt the following month in the Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga, where she finished third but was placed second due to a disqualification, in her only other start as a two-year-old.

Thank You Marylou would not be seen again until March 9 in the Any Limit Stakes at Gulfstream Park, a race she won by 2 1/2 lengths. She shipped to Keeneland for her next start and held on for third in the Grade 1 Ashland on April 5, to earn a spot in in the Kentucky Oaks the following month.

The chestnut finished fifth in a field of 12 in the Oaks. She was seventh in the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks on June 28 which was run over a sloppy Prairie Meadows track and was exiting a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Test at the Spa on August 2. Thank You Marylou banked $67,357 for her third stakes score to boost her bankroll to $275,457 from a 8-3-1-1 career line.

Bred in Virginia by Mr. and Mrs. C. W. McNeely III, Thank You Marylou is out of the stakes winning Menifee mare Menifeeque. Her third dam is Spring Miss, who produced Grade 2-placed Never Wavering. The chestnuts female family also includes Grade 3 scorers Indyanne and Double Ready.

Thank You Marylou sold as a weanling for $47,000 at the Keeneland November sale.

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Divine Oath rides rail to victory in Kent

Let's Go Stable's Divine Oath was much the best as the 4-5 favorite in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,250 Kent Stakes for three-year-olds at Delaware Park.

The Todd Pletcher charge was content rating off the pace down on the inside as Lafontaine, who was making his first start away from Woodbine, led the field through splits of :23 3/5, :47 3/5 and 1:12 1/5.

Divine Oath started to move in on the leaders coming around the far turn, surged through an opening along the rail turning for home and took control at the top of the stretch. Eventual runner-up, Bashart attempted to challenge the leader in midstretch, but Divine Oath was too much as he pulled clear late to prevail by three-quarters of a length.

Divine Oath covered 1 1/8 miles over the firm turf in 1:47.78, which was .51 off the course record set by Optimzer in September 2012. With Jose Caraballo aboard, the bay colt paid $3.60 to his loyal supporters for his second graded stakes win.

Bashart got up for second by a length over third-place finisher Other Cheek. Lafontaine, Craftsman, Cabo Cat and Gadget Man rounded out the order of finish. 

Divine Oath broke his maiden in his racing debut over the turf at Gulfstream Park on January 18 and captured an allowance race at the same venue the following month. The bay finished runner-up in his stakes bow in the Grade 3 Lexington over the Keeneland Polytrack on April 19 and was fourth back on the grass in the Penn Mile on May 31. He captured his first stakes in the Grade 3 American Derby on July 12 and was exiting a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes on August 16 at Arlington. The son of Broken Vow has a career record that stands at 7-4-1-0 and $335,850 in lifetime earnings.

Bred in Kentucky by Sanford Robertson, Divine Oath is out of the Forestry mare Rejoicing. His grandam is Pennant Champion, who is a full sister to Grade 1 victors Miner's Mark and Traditionally.

The bay's third dam is undefeated Hall of Famer Personal Ensign, the 1988 champion older mare as well as 1996 Broodmare of the Year. Personal Ensign produced multiple Grade 1 scorer My Flag, who in turn produced 2002 champion two-year-old filly, Storm Flag Flying. Divine Oath's fourth dam is 1988 Broodmare of the Year, Grecian Banner. His female family also boasts multiple Grade 1 winner Personal Flag and Grade 1 victor Mr Speaker.

Divine Oath sold as a yearling for $200,000 at the Keeneland September sale.

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Wicked Strong, Moreno among Gold Cup workers

Wicked Strong will face older horses for the first time in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography)

Travers runner-up Wicked Strong breezed six furlongs Saturday morning over the Belmont Park main track in preparation for the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup on September 27, which will mark his first race against older horses.

Under regular exercise rider Kelvin Pahal, the Wood Memorial and Jim Dandy winner went out shortly after the renovation break and covered the distance in 1:13, leaving trainer Jimmy Jerkens smiling.

"I liked it," Jerkens said. "It was fast, but not for (how fast) that track is. It's been a while since he did work over there, but I figured since he's going to be running on it...if he goes in 1:11, he goes in 1:11; what are you going to do?"

In addition to Wicked Strong having matured over the summer, Jerkens attributed much of Wicked Strong's increased ability to relax to two things: utilizing a special three-ring bit called an "elevator bit" to help control him during daily gallops, and being regularly accompanied to the track by outrider Juan Galvez's pony.

"I think going with that big pony of Galvez's every day has helped settle him, and I also think galloping him with an elevator bit helps save his energy," said Jerkens of the Centennial Farms' color-bearer. "He's been pretty steady through the summer."

Jerkens added that Travers winner V. E. Day would likely work on Sunday or Monday in preparation for the Gold Cup.

Chad Brown's pair of Gold Cup contenders, Zivo and Last Gunfighter, breezed five furlongs in company in :59 2/5.

Zivo won the Suburban Handicap over the Gold Cup's course and distance in July before finishing fourth in the 1 1/8-mile Woodward on August 30 at Saratoga. Last Gunfighter, a four-time graded stakes winner, was sixth in the Woodward.

Trainer Eric Guillot is excited Whitney winner Moreno will stretch back out to 1 1/4 miles (Jessie Holmes/EquiSport Photos)

"I thought they breezed terrifically," Brown said. "They went together, were equal. I thought they both breezed great."

Zivo is probable for the Gold Cup, and Brown and Gunther will make a final decision on Last Gunfighter's status later this week, the trainer said.

Trainer Christophe Clement's Gold Cup hopeful, Tonalist, is scheduled to breeze early Sunday morning, according to the trainer.

Whitney winner Moreno put in his lone work for the Jockey Club Gold Cup on Saturday at Saratoga, his first since finishing second in the Woodward

The four-year-old son of Ghostzapper breezed five furlongs in 1:03 1/5 over a deep Oklahoma training track for trainer Eric Guillot and owner Southern Equine Stable.

"It was just an easy maintenance move," Guillot said. "He went in 1:03 and change; it would have been :59 if it was on the main track, but the Oklahoma is tiring. He came out of it good so far; tomorrow morning will be the real test."

Guillot is looking forward to getting Moreno back to the Jockey Club Gold Cup's distance of 1 1/4 miles, as he considers it the gelding's best.

"The Suburban was his best race, and he got beat by inches in the Travers," Guillot said. "Inner fractions make the race, and at 1 1/4 miles he's allowed to set a slower pace. In the Suburban, if you look at the configuration of the starting gate, he had to be used up to get to the lead from post 11, and they still had to come get him in the last sixteenth. (In the Jockey Club Gold Cup), I'm hoping for post 5 and in."

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Brown, Clement stars gear up on Belmont turf

Real Solution (left) and Stephanie's Kitten matched strides ahead of the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic and Flower Bowl, respectively (NYRA/Adam Coglianese/Susie Raisher)
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Real Solution and Stephanie's Kitten together traveled five furlongs on the firm Belmont Park turf in 1:01 4/5 on Saturday, one week ahead of their respective engagements on Super Saturday.

Real Solution is aiming for the Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at 1 1/2 miles, with Stephanie's Kitten pointed toward the Grade 1, $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational for fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles. Both have already posted Grade 1 scores on the Belmont Park turf course, with Real Solution having won the Manhattan in June and Stephanie's Kitten taking the 2013 Just a Game.

Also probable for the Flower Bowl is Alterite, who is owned by Martin Schwartz. Alterite, victorious in the 2013 Garden City at Belmont, breezed five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 in company with Minorette, who is on target for Keeneland's Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on October 11.

Trainer Christophe Clement sent out a pair of turf mares on Saturday morning at Belmont Park to log their final breezes in advance of the Flower Bowl. According to Clement, either Irish Mission or Aigue Marine will enter the Flower Bowl, while the other will be pointed to the Rodeo Drive, also next Saturday, at Santa Anita.

Irish Mission could be bound for Santa Anita's Rodeo Drive, leaving Aigue Marine for the Flower Bowl (NYRA/Adam Coglianese/Susie Raisher)
Irish Mission, winner of the 1 3/8-mile Glens Falls on August 23 at Saratoga in her latest start, went four furlongs in :48 over a very firm Belmont turf course. The daughter of Giant's Causeway was transferred to Clement at the start of her five-year-old campaign, and earned her first victory of 2014 in the Glens Falls after near misses in the Matchmaker at Monmouth Park and the inaugural running of the two-mile Belmont Gold Cup against males.

Aigue Marine breezed five furlongs on the turf in 1:01 1/5 in company with European import Belle de Lawers. Most recently fifth in the Glens Falls, Aigue Marine has one win and two seconds through five starts in 2014, with her lone victory coming in the 1 3/8-mile Robert G. Dick Memorial on July 5 at Delaware Park.

"Irish Mission had a very nice work," Clement said. "We'll see how she comes out of it, but the plan is to run her in the Flower Bowl or the Rodeo Drive. She might go to California; she likes a very fast turf course.

"Aigue Marine also worked well; she will go to the other (race), which in this case is probably the Flower Bowl. We'll see how she comes out of it. I've got two fillies who are training well; one will go (to California) and one will stay here."

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Itsmyluckyday breezes for Kelso, Palace for Vosburgh

Woodward winner Itsmyluckyday likely will not be taking the conventional route to the November 1 Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita. Rather than use the Jockey Club Gold Cup as a stepping stone to the $5 million Classic, the colt's trainer, Eddie Plesa, has opted instead for the $400,000 Kelso on September 27.

"We thought (the Kelso) was the best fit for him right now," Plesa said. "He's very efficient at a mile, and it makes no difference whether it's one turn or two turns."

The son of Lawyer Ron first made a splash on the 2013 Triple Crown trail, when he won the Gulfstream Park Derby and Holy Bull before finishing second in the Florida Derby. The Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa-owned colt went on to finish 15th in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Preakness, but his year ended prematurely after he was injured in Monmouth Park's Pegasus in mid-June.

As a four-year-old, Itsmyluckyday has returned better than ever. The dark bay colt started his year with a fourth-place finish in the Gulfstream Park Handicap, but then rattled off consecutive victories in the Best of the Rest, the Majestic Light and Salvator Mile, all at Monmouth.

After finishing second in the Whitney behind Moreno, Itsmyluckyday turned the tables on that foe with a rousing triumph in the Woodward following a stretch-long duel. The win gave Itsmyluckyday his first Grade 1 score.

On Saturday morning, the Plesa-trained colt put in his final work before the Kelso, going four furlongs in :49 4/5 at his home base of Monmouth Park.

"It was just what we wanted," Plesa said. "He galloped out strongly and finished (his workout) in 11 (seconds) and change. He's coming into the race at 110 percent."

Palace, winner of back-to-back Grade 1s at Saratoga, turned in his final serious move for the $400,000 Vosburgh on September 27, covering five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 on Belmont's training track Saturday morning.

"He's ready," said trainer Linda Rice of the five-year-old New York-bred son of City Zip. "He's in good shape. Everything went well with the breeze, and we're ready for Saturday."

At Saratoga, Palace swept the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap and Forego.

"He's coming off two Grade 1 wins, so obviously we're just trying to hold him at that level so he's up the winning Grade 1s at Belmont," she added. "He's been in great shape, great form and we're hoping to hold that as long as we can.

"It's kind of hard to keep a horse that good that long, so that's why I ran him at Saratoga -- when they're good, run them, because if you sit on them too long, before you know it something goes the wrong way," Rice added.

Palace is 3-2-0 from six starts this year, with his other victory coming in the True North at Belmont on June 6.

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Carve breezes for Homecoming Classic at Churchill

Carve strung together three straight wins, including the Cornhusker and WV Governor's, before finishing second in the Ack Ack (Mountaineer/Coady Photography)

Grade 3 winner Carve posted a half-mile workout in :48 3/5 over Churchill Downs' fast main track on Saturday in preparation for the $125,000 Homecoming Classic on September 27.

The gelded son of First Samurai is exiting a runner-up effort behind Bradester in the September 6 Ack Ack Handicap under the Twin Spires, and delighted trainer Brad Cox with his Saturday move.

"It was an awesome work; I was very pleased," Cox stated.

Cox believes the Homecoming Classic will benefit the dark bay four-year-old, because of the two-turn distance of 1 1/8 miles versus the one-mile distance of the Ack Ack.

"Two turns will help him," Cox said. "I think going two turns is a little bit better than one for him. He won here (at Churchill) in the spring in a one-turn mile in an allowance, but all his other wins have been around two turns."

Cox said he'd wait and see who would show up in the race before they developed a set strategy, but indicated that Carve ideally would be close to the lead.

"We'll wait and see the post positions and see who all is running," the horseman explained. "I'd say he'll be close. I don't know if he'll be right on the lead but at least stalking up there close. He sure is doing well though."

Given the two-turn comment, Cox said if Carve were to win the Homecoming Classic, he would be more likely to point him to the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile versus the 1 1/4-mile Breeders' Cup Classic.

"I don't think he wants to go much further than 1 1/8 miles," Cox said. "So if he runs a big one and we decide to go to the Breeders' Cup, we'd probably point him to the Dirt Mile over the Classic."

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Wigmore Hall photos cause uproar in British racing industry

Two-time Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf winner Wigmore Hall was euthanized September 13 after injuring himself in a Doncaster handicap. The incident has caused an uproar in the British racing industry after the mainstream paper Daily Mirror published photos Saturday of the seven-year-old gelding being euthanized.

"It's a very insensitive thing to publish," said Wigmore Hall's trainer, Michael Bell. "The first thing I picked up on was that the journalist referred to Wigmore Hall as 'it,' and that sums up his lack of understanding of the situation. The love we have for horses, people who work with them day in and day out -- no one ever calls a horse it.'

"Those of us who work in the industry love them the most -- you only need to go into any yard to see that they are loved and adored," Bell added. "The vets did an astounding job, they were on the scene in 30 seconds and they have to make an instant decision. Sometimes it is better for them to deal with it quickly than let the horse suffer. The most important thing is the welfare of the horse."

Bell continued, "Everyone has a mobile phone with a camera on it these days and that appears to be where the photos have come from. I just don't see the plus side of printing them -- it is very distressing for us. After losing one of our favorites we then have to go through this. From my point of view the journalist just shows his lack of understanding of horses throughout the piece."

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has revealed that it will be seeking a meeting with the Daily Mirror to address the issue.

"We are appalled by the Daily Mirror's decision to publish these photos, and also to contextualize the images in the manner that they have," the BHA's Media Manager Robin Mounsey said. "All that the images show is a veterinary surgeon doing his job and carrying out an act of humanity to prevent an animal from suffering. They show the same actions as would be taken by a vet whether the incident was occurring on a racecourse or at home in a field, and we do not understand where the public interest lays in publishing these images or why they should be used to open a debate about horse racing.

"We will be seeking a meeting with the editor of the Daily Mirror in regards to this issue and the use of these photos in such a manner."

In addition to his Woodbine victories, Wigmore Hall won the 2011 Group 2 Jebel Hatta at Meydan prior to finishing third in the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free. He banked £1,334,814 with a 7-6-5 mark from 47 starts.

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Waller earns cross-country Group 1 double with Cox Plate hopefuls Sacred Falls, Foreteller

Sacred Falls established himself as one of Australia's preeminent milers with a victory in the Group 1, A$3 million Doncaster Mile at The Championships at Randwick on April 12, and the dark bay cemented that status with an eye-catching victory in his third outing as a five-year-old on Saturday in the Group 1, A$350,000 George Main.

Breaking sharply from the rail, Sacred Falls dropped back to settle in the second half of the field and saved ground under Zac Purton while Laser Hawk and the fancied three-year-old Panzer Division dictated matters up front. Behind a wall of horses initially at the top of the lane, Purton sat chilly, and when a sliver of daylight appeared between Panzer Division and Sacred Falls' stablemate Royal Descent at the 200-meter mark, Purton sent his mount through and pulled clear to win geared down.

Sacred Falls, who will now be aimed toward the Group 1, A$3 million Cox Plate on October 26, was recording his third Group 1 win in Australia -- and fourth overall -- but his first on a dry surface.

"He's a very good horse and it was good to see him win today on a good track," trainer Chris Waller told "He is not just a wet-tracker. Prior to coming to me he won a Group 1 in New Zealand on a pretty firm track and he showed Australia today that he is not just a wet tracker -- it is as simple as that. That is his fourth Group 1 victory now, all at a mile, so what more can you ask."

Unbeaten in six outings in New Zealand to kick off his career, Sacred Falls earned his first Group 1 in the 2012 NZ Two Thousand Guineas in his initial start for Waller before crossing the Tasman to join the leading Sydney trainer's stable. The son of O'Reilly added his first local Group 1 when upending Pierro in last year's Doncaster, but had failed to find the winner's circle in seven outings prior to defending that title in April.

The dark bay performed admirably to finish second in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth a week after his Doncaster win, and was fourth in a pair of Groups 2s, the Warwick and Chelmsford, this season prior to Saturday's Randwick victory.

At Caulfield on Saturday, Foreteller provided Waller with a cross-country Group 1 double by taking the Group 1, A$400,000 Underwood under jockey Glen Boss.

The Dansili gelding saved ground in fifth about five lengths off the pace in the Underwood, wore down the leaders through the lane and had enough left to hold off the fast-finishing Happy Trails on his outside.

Like stablemate Sacred Falls, Foreteller is now bound for the Cox Plate, in which he finished fourth last year.

Foreteller has been a consistent performer in Australia's middle distance Group 1s since arriving Down Under in 2011, and he rewarded connections with a first win at the highest level in the last March's Group 1 Ranvet. He added the Group 1 Makybe Diva five starts later last September in what would prove his most recent win.

He recorded his best finish last season when third in the Group 1 Australian Cup on March 8 prior to running eighth while attempting to defend his Ranvet title on March 22. Ninth in the Group 1 The BMW to wrap up the season on April 5, Foreteller kicked off his eight-year-old campaign with a fourth-place finish in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence going 1400 meters at Caulfield on August 16 and built on that when third in the Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam at Moonee Valley three weeks later.

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Aqueduct fall meet stakes announced

The New York Racing Association has unveiled the stakes schedule for Aqueduct's fall meet, which commences on October 29 and ends on December 31. In total, more than $4 million in purses will be distributed across 24 stakes races.

The meet will again be anchored by the Grade 1, $500,000 Cigar Mile Handicap on November 29, which will be buttressed by the Grade 2, $400,000 Remsen, Grade 2, $400,000 Demoiselle, and Grade 3, $400,000 Comely. The same bonuses offered for last year's Cigar Mile will remain intact -- the purse jumps to $1 million for a Breeders' Cup winner, and $750,000 for a Grade 1 winner.

Opening weekend at Aqueduct will again feature a trio of stakes, including the Grade 2, $250,000 Nashua and Grade 3, $250,000 Tempted for two-year-olds, and the Grade 3, $200,000 Discovery for three-year-olds.

Other graded stakes during the meet include the Grade 3, $200,000 Long Island on November 8 and the Grade 3, $250,000 Red Smith on November 15, the final two graded stakes on the grass of the New York season. The lucrative Thanksgiving week stakes action kicks off with the Grade 3, $300,000 Fall Highweight Handicap on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, and the Grade 2, $300,000 Go for Wand Handicap the following day.

The $100,000 Alex M. Robb for New York-breds remains the final stakes race of the meet, but will be joined for the first time by the $100,000 Bay Ridge. Other new additions to the stakes lineup include the $100,000 Notebook and Key Cents for New York-bred two-year-olds, to be run on November 16.

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Princess of Sylmar retired

Princess of Sylmar made it four straight Grade 1 wins by dethroning Royal Delta in the 2013 Beldame (NYRA/Adam Coglianese/David Alcosser)
Multiple Grade 1 winner and $2 million-earner Princess of Sylmar has been retired, it was announced Friday night.

A homebred racing for Ed Stanco's King of Prussia Stable, the Todd Pletcher trainee hadn't duplicated her stellar 2013 form this campaign. She was most recently a dull fifth in the August 22 Personal Ensign at Saratoga, and exited the race with a case of the "thumps," an electrolyte imbalance.

The following appeared on Princess of Sylmar's Facebook page:

"I'm hanging up my racing hooves. This has been an amazing ride, and we owe everything to the fans who have shown so much love and support. Retirement isn't an end, but a new beginning. Thank you. We love you."

An announcement was likewise posted on the filly's official Twitter page:

"Retirement is calling, but we will never forget all of the fans and all of the love. This has been a life-changing experience for all of us."

Princess of Sylmar compiled a championship-caliber season in 2013. After springing a 38-1 upset in the Kentucky Oaks, defeating Beholder, the chestnut went on to dominate the Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama. She made it a Grade 1 grand slam next time in the Beldame, where she rolled past three-time Eclipse Award winner and defending Beldame champion Royal Delta.

Stanco sportingly opted to ship his New York-based star out west for the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Santa Anita, where she would face Beholder on her own home track. Unfortunately, Princess of Sylmar threw in a subpar effort and trailed home last of six, while Beholder streaked to a 4 1/4-length victory. That cost Princess of Sylmar a divisional Eclipse Award as champion three-year-old filly, and lifted Beholder to her second Eclipse title.

Princess of Sylmar defeated Beholder in the Kentucky Oaks (Jessie Holmes/EquiSport Photos)
Princess of Sylmar reappeared in the April 6 Cat Cay at Aqueduct and cruised home by 3 1/2 lengths. Although a close second in the June 7 Ogden Phipps, just a head short of Close Hatches, Princess of Sylmar did beat Beholder, who reported home an injured fourth.

The Pennsylvania-bred then shipped near her birthplace for the historic Delaware Handicap, but she couldn't catch front-running Belle Gallantey. Princess of Sylmar, who was spotting her rival eight pounds as the 123-pound highweight, had to settle for second.

Connections opted to try Princess of Sylmar in blinkers in the Personal Ensign, an equipment change that did not have the desired result. Following her 13-length loss, she was discovered to have the thumps, prompting her team to take time before formulating plans.

Hers was a heartwarming story from the beginning. Stanco raced her dam, Storm Dixie, and planned to breed her to Grand Slam. But that well-established stallion was sidelined by injury right before the intended match, and Storm Dixie instead visited the court of a first-season sire -- Majestic Warrior. The serendipitous result was Princess of Sylmar, named after Ron and Betsy Houghton's farm where she was foaled near Christiana, Pennsylvania.

A 19-length maiden conqueror at Penn National as a juvenile in November 2012, Princess of Sylmar kept up her momentum when rising in class at Aqueduct. She thrashed entry-level allowance foes that December, and opened her sophomore season with similar routs in both the Busanda and Busher. Her four-race winning streak was halted by Close Hatches in the 2013 Gazelle, but Princess of Sylmar gained revenge in the Kentucky Oaks, and rose to national prominence.

Ed Stanco hailed his homebred as a "blessing beyond once in a lifetime" (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)
Princess of Sylmar retires with a mark of 15-9-3-0, $2,017,220, just eight days before she may have defended her title in the Beldame.

"Preparing her for her next race was taking longer than I expected," Pletcher said in the release posted on Facebook. "Because she will miss this year's running of the Beldame and the Spinster, Ed and I decided that timing is such that we decided to retire her."

"We were with her from birth and watched her grow up to be one of the finest fillies in the world," Stanco said. "Now she will enter the next phase of her life.

"The Princess was a blessing beyond once in a lifetime and she has provided our partners, families, friends and racing fans with unparalleled joy.

"My partners and I want to personally thank Joe Brocklebank our trusted advisor, Ron and Betsy Houghton who raised the Princess, Mike Smith, Javier Castellano and of course Todd and his team for using their skills to develop her into a classic filly.

"We also want to thank the connections of Beholder, Royal Delta and Close Hatches, because without them we wouldn't have had the world class competition that made racing the Princess so much fun."

Canadian classic heroes Coltimus Prime, Ami's Holiday square off in Ontario Derby

Coltimus Prime has "transformed" into a top competitor (WEG/Michael Burns Photography)

Prince of Wales champ Coltimus Prime will take on Breeders' Stakes winner Ami's Holiday in Sunday's co-featured Grade 3, $150,000 Ontario Derby at Woodbine.

The Justin Nixon-trained dark bay, who is named in honor of the leader of the Autobots from the Transformers series, will look to add graded status to his improving credentials in the 1 1/8-mile Polytrack stake.

Coltimus Prime rose to prominence in November, breaking his maiden by a widening eight lengths before completing his juvenile campaign with a strong second-place finish, defeated just a neck, to Ontario Derby rival Jose Sea View in the Display Stakes.

Nixon targeted the Triple Crown with Coltimus Prime, saddling the colt to a lackluster run in the Tampa Bay Derby in his sophomore debut before shipping him to Keeneland for a fifth-place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes.

Off the Kentucky Derby trail and re-focused on the Canadian classics, Coltimus Prime thrived in his return to Woodbine, finishing second and then first in a pair of allowance events before setting a quick tempo en route to a ninth-place effort in the Queen's Plate.

On July 29, making just his second career start on dirt, the dark bay colt put together the biggest performance of his career to capture the Prince of Wales Stakes, second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, at Fort Erie. Sent to post at odds of 5-1, Coltimus Prime, with Eurico Rosa da Silva in the irons for the first time, made every pole a winning one, covering 1 3/16-miles in 1:54 2/5.

"It was the biggest moment of my career," Nixon stated. "Coming into the stretch, and looking at the fractions, I thought we had a pretty good chance to win it and when he kicked on it was awful special. He was just dynamite."

Following the Prince of Wales coup, Nixon shipped Coltimus Prime to Saratoga with big aspirations.

"We were thinking of running in the Travers," the horseman clarified. "We brought him down there and worked him over the track and he just didn't work as sharp as we would like him to, so we backed away from that plan and came home."

Since his return to Woodbine, Coltimus Prime has breezed twice over the Woodbine Polytrack, including a swift five-panel effort in 1:00 2/5 on September 14 with da Silva aboard. That sharp work matches nicely with a bullet work recorded by Coltimus Prime on July 22, just before his big effort in the Prince of Wales.

Ami's Holiday returns to the Polytrack for the Ontario Derby following his grassy win in the Breeders' (WEG/Michael Burns Photography)

"He hadn't worked on Poly since before the Prince of Wales so I asked Eurico, who worked him last time, to give him a little squeeze at the top of the lane and make sure he gets something out of it," Nixon explained. "I don't need him going in :59 every week. Prior to the Prince of Wales, he worked between races so we knew he'd be a little geared up and put in a pretty fast work. Does he need to work that fast? I 'm not convinced of that. I'm happy with how he completed the most recent work and he's been training very well coming into this race."

Although Coltimus Prime's best efforts have come when more forwardly placed, Nixon isn't convinced his colt needs the lead.

"Arguably, his best races are on the front. But, if the fractions are too quick, he doesn't need to be there," the trainer said. "His best efforts have come when he's comfortable on the front and the fractions are reasonable. I still think he's tactical."

A graded win for Coltimus Prime, bred in Ontario by co-owner Jayson Horner, would be a feather in the cap of the Cabernet Racing group.

"It's a graded stake and one of the better races remaining for straight three-year-olds across North America," Nixon remarked. "It would mean a lot for Mr. Horner to get a big piece of it given that he still owns the mare (Certainly Special) and it would also help his half-sister Crysta's Court in the breeding shed as well."

To earn that special victory, Coltimus Prime will have to fend off the closing kick of Ami's Holiday, who made a breakthrough of his own when taking Woodbine's Breeders' Stakes, the third leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, in his first attempt on turf.

The Ivan Dalos homebred became a graded winner in October with a last-to-first rally to win the Grey Stakes and opened his sophomore campaign with a fourth-place run in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 19. The bay son of Harlan's Holiday then returned to Woodbine, where he narrowly missed in the Marine Stakes when a neck third after lacking racing room in the final strides.

Trained by Josie Carroll, Ami's Holiday put in a peak performance in the Queen's Plate, rallying from 13th position out of the difficult 15 post, to be second behind filly Lexie Lou. He continued his good form in the Prince of Wales, once again rallying while wide for show money as the favorite, before putting forth a sharp turn of foot down the lane to his turf coup in the Breeders'.

Ami's Holiday has posted a trio of quick works following the Breeders', including a September 14 move of 1:00 3/5 for five furlongs. Luis Contreras retains the mount.

Also featured on Sunday's card is the $125,000 La Lorgnette, a 1 1/16-mile Polytrack stakes for three-year-old fillies. The strong eight-horse field is led by Bison City heroine Unspurned and Grade 2 vixen Llanarmon.

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Bullheaded Boy, Temper Mint Patty headline Belmont juvenile stakes

Sunday's card at Belmont Park will be highlighted by a pair of New York-bred juvenile stakes races -- the $150,000 Bertram F. Bongard and $150,000 Joseph A. Gimma -- which will both be contested at seven furlongs on the main track, and serve as a prelude for the Sleepy Hollow and Maid of the Mist, to be run on October 18, Empire Showcase Day.

The Bongard will feature a promising collection of New York-bred two-year-olds, headed by the Todd Pletcher-trained Bullheaded Boy.

Bullheaded Boy, the 9-5 favorite on the morning-line, debuted over a sloppy track on July 31 at Saratoga in a five-furlong dash. The son of Bullsbay prompted the pace that day before edging clear to prevail by a half-length. The Gary Barber colorbearer made his next start in the Funny Cide Stakes for New York-breds at 6 1/2 furlongs, but was no match for the talented pair of Upstart and Bustin It and finished third, beaten 9 1/4 lengths.

Bullheaded Boy drew post 5, and Hall of Famer John Velazquez retains the mount.

Tizquick, trained by John Kimmel for GoldMark Farm, also had the misfortune of encountering Upstart in his first start. The $50,000 yearling purchase debuted on August 15 at the Spa, and was beaten 5 1/4 lengths in a 5 1/2-furlong affair.

Junior Alvarado will be back aboard Tizquick, who is 5-1 on the morning-line and drew post 4.

The addition of blinkers helped Saratoga Heater immensely in his second start, and continued improvement could be possible in the Bongard. Both of the Temple City colt's first two starts came over sloppy tracks at the Spa, but produced starkly different results.

In his debut, Saratoga Heater was beaten 10 lengths by Bullheaded Boy, but won by 2 1/4 lengths at second asking equipped with blinkers for the first time.

Previously trained by Al Stall, the bay colt will go out for Lisa Lewis and be ridden for the first time by Joel Rosario. Saratoga Heater colt sits at 7-2 on the morning-line and drew the rail.

Rounding out the field are Banana Thief, who broke his maiden by 5 1/2 front-running lengths on turf in his latest start; Market Conduct, a 2 1/2-length maiden victor on August 10 at the Spa; and Chloe's Wonderboy, who took a $25,000 maiden claimer on August 30 at Parx Racing.

The Gimma, which is restricted to fillies, is headlined by impressive debut winner Temper Mint Patty. The Congrats filly broke her maiden by a neck on August 29 at Saratoga in a gritty performance for trainer Dale Romans. She tracked a swift pace along the inside that day, was put to a drive rounding the far turn, and overhauled My Super Nova, who will also contest the Gimma, in the final jumps.

"I wish they all were as easy to train as her," Romans said. "She has a lot of talent, and hopefully will improve off (her debut). She was so professional already, and she's just been staying the course since that race. (Seven furlongs) won't be a problem for her. She sat behind horses, took dirt, and came running."

Temper Mint Patty, 4-1 on the morning-line, drew the rail and will be ridden again by Irad Ortiz Jr.

My Super Nova will represent trainer George Weaver in the Gimma. The daughter of Super Saver dueled through strong fractions in her unveiling on August 29, but succumbed late to Temper Mint Patty.

Joel Rosario takes the return call on My Super Nova, 7-2 on the morning-line, and the pair will depart from post 6.

The Gimma also features stakes winner Myfourchix, 3-1 on the morning-line. The Rick Schosberg-trained bay filly commenced her career with a strong second-place finish on July 30 at Saratoga. Rather than enter her back in a maiden race, Schosberg decided to take a shot in the 6 1/2-furlong Seeking the Ante Stakes on August 24 at the Spa and was rewarded with a three-length victory.

Cornelio Velasquez will again ride Myfourchix, and the duo drew the outermost post 7.

The field will also be joined by Hard to Stay Notgo, a sharp maiden winner on August 6 at Saratoga; Evrybdymstgetstonz, runner-up in the Lady Finger Stakes at Finger Lakes in her most recent outing; and Freudie Annie and Majestic Bloom, who broke their maidens on turf at first asking.

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In brief

Kentucky Downs closes out its highly successful 2014 live racing season on Wednesday, and Hall of Fame jockey Ron Turcotte will be at the track meeting fans and signing autographs. The first live race is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. (CDT), but the festivities begin at noon with an autograph session with Hall of Fame jockey Ron Turcotte, the rider of the legendary 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat. Turcotte will be visiting with fans and signing autographs near the finish line from 12-1 p.m., and then continuing in the Clubhouse from 2-4 p.m. There is a $10 suggested donation, with proceeds benefiting the Permanently Disabled Jockeys' Fund (PDJF). Turcotte won 3,032 races during his illustrious career. In addition to his accomplishments aboard the legendary Secretariat, Turcotte also won the 1972 Kentucky Derby riding Riva Ridge. Turcotte's career ended in 1978 following a tumble from a horse at the start of a race at Belmont Park that left him a paraplegic. As a well-known survivor of an on-track accident, Turcotte frequently makes appearances at racetracks to raise funds and awareness of the assistance the PDJF provides to fellow injured riders...

Dubai Sky (Candy Ride), a juvenile full brother to Grade 1 winner Twirling Candy, broke his maiden in Belmont Park's 10TH race on Saturday. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott for Three Chimneys Farm and breeder Besilu Stables, the 2-1 favorite got away with tepid fractions and had enough left to prevail by a length. Under Junior Alvarado, Dubai Sky negotiated 1 1/16 miles on the firm inner turf in 1:43 3/5. The bay had finished third in his debut in an August 9 turf maiden at Saratoga. Twirling Candy was a triple-surface threat in his racing days, capturing the seven-furlong Malibu (G1) in a record 1:19 3/5 on the Santa Anita dirt, the Del Mar Derby (G2) and Oceanside on turf, and the Californian (G2) over Hollywood's Cushion Track. Dubai Sky is also a half-brother to Ethnic Dance (Tribal Rule), who stole the second division of the Del Mar Derby in 2013. They are all out of the Chester House mare House of Danzing...

One race earlier at Belmont, Tom Albertrani unveiled a good-looking Darley homebred in First Down (Street Sense). Making a smart move from midpack on the far turn, the promising two-year-old swept to a three-length lead in midstretch. Entrymate Frosted (Tapit), a Godolphin runner from the Kiaran McLaughlin barn, stayed on gamely to reduce the gap to three-quarters of a length at the wire. But First Down held sway comfortably beneath Chris DeCarlo in a final time of 1:16 for 6 1/2 furlongs on the fast track. A half-brother to English stakes-placed Gold City (Pivotal), he was produced by the Storm Cat mare Storm Lily, and his second dam is multiple Group 1 star Crimplene (Lion Cavern)...

Yvonne Schwabe's homebred Surtsey (Heatseeker) came from last to pull the upset in Saturday's $116,240 Avowal S. at Woodbine. The Kevin Attard pupil was sent off as the 16-1 second longest shot on the board and returned $35.20 to her backers for the score. "She ran a big race in the Nassau (4th in the Can-G2 grass mile on May 25) in the spring time and she's very fond of the turf," Attard said. "I always thought she was an off-the-pace sprint type filly. She ran a good race last year in the Wonder Where going a mile and a quarter. She's very versatile. She gives it all she's got." The four-year-old filly closed four wide as the field was turning for home, got the lead late and held on for a half-length victory. Surtsey stopped the teletimer in 1:22 2/5 going seven furlongs over the firm turf with Luis Contreras up. The chestnut was exiting a last-place finish in the West Virginia Senate President's Cup S. at Mountaineer Park on August 2 in a race that was taken off the turf. She banked $65,693 for her third stakes win and has a career line of 13-4-0-2, $312,652...

In the other stakes race on the Woodbine card, Centennial Farms (Niagra) Inc. and Craig  Racing's Paso Doble (Bold N' Flashy) won his second stakes in a row by holding on to capture the $114,782 Overskate S. The eight-year-old gelding was exiting a victory in the Shepperton S. here last month. With Eurico Da Silva in the irons, Paso Doble dug in late to hold on in the end by a head. The 5-1 third choice went seven furlongs in 1:21 2/5 over the Polytrack and paid $12.50 for the score. "He's a very nice horse," Da Silva said. "He was relaxed from the gate, but he has natural speed and took the lead and got the job done. He fought very hard and showed what he can do. He's on his game right now and he's a happy horse. He feels like he's two-years-old." The chestnut has a career mark of 45-12-11-8 and $961,910 in lifetime earnings...

Newtown Anner Stud's Ol Donyo (Curlin) got through along the rail in the stretch to win Saturday's $75,000 Musical Romance S. at Gulfstream Park as the 3-1 favorite and she returned $8 for the score. The Marty Wolfson trainee stalked the pace on the inside, took over the lead with three furlongs to go and drew clear to win by 3 1/2 lengths. The four-year-old filly covered seven furlongs over the sloppy-sealed main track in 1:23 3/5 with Jilver Chamafi up. She was entering in here off an allowance victory over the track on August 7, in her first start of the year. Ol Donyo grabbed $45,105 for her second stakes win and has a record that stands at 11-4-2-1, $192,533...

Settled in fifth early by a confident Franck Blondel, Evasive's First (Evasive) gave first run in Saturday's 80,000 Prix des Chenes (Fr-G3) at Longchamp to the errant Cherek (Paco Boy) inside the final quarter-mile but built a full head of steam to inhale that rival and the one-paced De Treville (Oasis Dream) with 100 yards remaining en route to a decisive success. "We started quite early with him, as he was showing good signs and we have kept him going as he has not stopped improving," trainer Frederic Rossi explained. "He was impressive against lesser horses at Vichy, quickening twice, which is the sign of a good horse. When I saw that there was a strong pace here, I was confident and I am not surprised to see him win nicely." Educated in the Southern provinces, Evasive's First grew in stature with each task and scored going 5 1/2 furlongs at Marseille-Borely on May 5 before adding two more successes to his tally moving up a furlong each time on the all-weather at Marseille Pont de Vivaux June 9 and July 11. Earning a tilt at black-type in Vichy's listed Prix des Jouvenceaux des Jouvencelles at seven furlongs, the chestnut demonstrated his potent turn of acceleration to provide his freshman sire with a first win in that sphere on August 2, and was even more impressive when upped another level on Saturday. "All being well, he will be aimed at the (October 26) Criterium International ([Fr-G1] at Saint-Cloud," Rossi said...

Mickael Barzalona early on anchored Free Port Lux (Oasis Dream) in the rear of Saturday's 80,000 Prix du Prince d'Orange (Fr-G3). The three-year-old colt moved smoothly into contention in early stretch as Bodhi (Hurricane Cat) was launched to his outside and, despite surrendering first run to that rival, proved the more straightforward of the pair inside the last 100 meters. "He is very consistent and brave and always runs well, but is especially good when there is a little bit of give in the ground," trainer Freddy Head said. "He will probably come back here in two weeks' time for the Prix Dollar (Fr-G2), although it is not out of the question that he could run in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-G1)." Taking a liking to this circuit when breaking his maiden going nine furlongs in October, Free Port Lux was disappointing when ninth in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud (Fr-G1) the following month before returning to be third behind subsequent Prix de la Grotte (Fr-G3) third Bocaiuva (Teofilo) in a one-mile conditions at Compiegne on March 17. Runner-up to Gailo Chop (Deportivo) in the Prix la Force (Fr-G3) at 10 furlongs back at Longchamp on April 6, the bay held subsequent Secretariat (G1) winner Adelaide (Galileo) to second in the 11-furlong Prix Hocquart (Fr-G2) on May 11 before finishing 14th in the June 1 Prix du Jockey Club (Fr-G1) at Chantilly. Fourth behind Hocquart third-placer Gallante (Montjeu) in the 12-furlong Grand Prix de Paris (Fr-G1) returning to Longchamp on July 13, Free Port Lux ran second to Gailo Chop once more in Deauville's Prix Guillaume d'Ornano (Fr-G2) back at Saturday's 10-furlong distance last out on August 15.

Toocoolforschool (Showcasing) was instantly into a length lead under Silvestre de Sousa in Saturday's £75,000 Mill Reef (Eng-G2) at Newbury. The bay juvenile, who sported cheekpieces for the first time, must have appeared a sitting duck to his patiently ridden rivals, but when the question was asked traveling to the furlong pole he responded by pulling farther clear with distance to dominate proceedings. "The key was whether he would handle the ground, and I had concerns about that, but he's out of a Hector Protector mare who has produced a national hunt horse, so we were hanging on to that," trainer Karl Burke said. "He's always been a bit gawky and was gelded before he went to the breeze-ups, as he was a bit of a boy -- he's always been good, but he's got a bit of a streak in him." Third in his July 18 debut when green over Saturday's six-furlong trip at Nottingham, Toocoolforschool made all to open his account at Ripon on August 5 prior to surprising a few by finishing a head second to Dutch Connection (Dutch Art) in a hotly contested renewal of the August 20 Acomb (Eng-G3) over an extra furlong at York. In the interim, the winner of that race had gone on to take third in The Curragh's National (Ire-G1) while Toocoolforschool ran second to Nafaqa (Sir Percy) over the same trip in Doncaster's listed Flying Scotsman eight days ago. "We had a lot of interest in him after the Acomb and my phone hasn't stopped ringing in the half hour since this race," Burke noted. "He was vetted with a view to going to Hong Kong, but there was a very small issue and they turned him down. He wouldn't have blown a candle out in the winner's enclosure."...

Hillstar (Danehill Dancer) was more settled in Saturday's £60,000 Legacy Cup (Eng-G3) at Newbury than in recent starts as he raced in fourth under Ryan Moore. The bay traveled easily to the fore with three furlongs remaining and, despite needing almost a quarter-mile to subdue the filly Tasaday (Nayef), went about his task professionally once in the clear. Hillstar has not hit the heights that his win in the King Edward VII (Eng-G2) and third-placing in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth (Eng-G1) at Ascot suggested he might last summer, and when he was hammered seven lengths by stablemate Telescope (Galileo) in the Hardwicke (Eng-G2) back at the Royal meeting on June 21 he appeared to be stuck on a plateau. Subsequent events when second in a tepid renewal of the Princess of Wales's (Eng-G2), also over 12 furlongs at Newmarket on July 10, and in Haydock's Rose of Lancaster (Eng-G3) over an extended 10-furlong trip last out on August 9 underlined that impression, but the four-year-old eventually found an opening on Saturday to regain the winning thread and gain much-needed confidence. Trainer Sir Michael Stoute is now thinking about heading back to the top level with his charge. "He's done nothing wrong, but things haven't fallen right for him all year," Stoute said. "He's very honest and consistent and I was delighted with that. He's a lot more chilled out these days and he might now go for the (October 19) Canadian International (Can-G1) at Woodbine."...

Close to the early pace before her natural speed carried her to the front before halfway, Mecca's Angel (Dark Angel) had only Justice Day to worry about in the last furlong of Saturday's £60,000 World Trophy (Eng-G3) at Newbury but gradually drew the sting from that challenge and was pulling clear as the line approached under jockey Paul Mulrennan. Very fast at two, the filly may have been undone by soft ground when second in the listed Roses S. over Saturday's five-furlong trip at York in August and in the listed Harry Rosebery S. at Ayr the following month before finishing fourth on good-to-firm in Redcar's listed Two-Year-Old Trophy trying six furlongs in October. After winning her first two handicap starts as a sophomore this term over the trip at Thirsk on April 12 and Hamilton on May 4 by a cumulative 12 1/2 lengths, the gray miss was only fifth in the May 12 listed Prix Texanita on a testing surface at Maisons-Laffitte. Returning with a vengeance to best Reckless Abandon (Exchange Rate) in impressive style in Doncaster's listed Scarbrough S., Mecca's Angel was being asked Saturday to reproduce that effort just 10 days later but proved equal to the task to register a career-best for trainer Michael Dods...

Dark Reckoning (Equiano) was held up initially in Saturday's £60,000 Firth of Clyde (Eng-G3) at Ayr under jockey Graham Lee, stayed on the rail and gradually worked her way from rear to head Parsley (Zebedee) in the dying strides. Off the mark in her third attempt going five furlongs at Pontefract on July 27, the bay juvenile miss followed up with a win in a conditions event at Ripon over Saturday's six-furlong trip on August 16 before finishing fifth in the listed Ripon Champion Two-Yrs-Old Trophy nine days later for trainer Ann Duffield...

Sunday's Premio Federico Tesio (Ity-G2) at the San Siro pits the sophomores against elders, with this year's Derby Italiano (Ity-G2) winner Dylan Mouth (Dylan Thomas) facing elders for the first time as he bids to get back on track after a 20-length defeat at Royal Ascot. Unbeaten in five outings heading into the June 20 King Edward VII (Eng-G2), Dylan Mouth could manage to beat only one of eight rivals that day. He returns home to Italy, where he has made all his other starts. Another Italian star looking to get back on the winning track is defending race winner Biz the Nurse (Oratorio). That four-year-old won last year's Derby Italiano by four lengths before adding the Gran Premio di Milano (Ity-G1) and this event. After closing out his sophomore campaign with a second-place finish in the Gran Premio del Jockey Club (Ity-G1), Biz the Nurse was beaten a head in his May 11 seasonal debut in the Premio Presidente della Repubblica (Ity-G1) and was third in the June 8 Gran Premio di Milano. The veteran Orsino (Mamool) was second in the Milano and comes into this off a September 7 allowance score...

Jockey Corey Lanerie captured his ninth and 10th victories of the Churchill Downs September meet on Friday night when he won on Como Se Llama (City Street) in the 5TH and One More Night (Scat Daddy) in the 10TH. Lanerie has won the last three riding titles at Churchill Downs, taking the inaugural September meet in 2013 by winning 19 races, followed by 36 wins and a riding title at the 2013 fall meet. Most recently, he won 57 races at this year's spring meet, which was 26 more than Julien Leparoux and Rosie Napravnik in second. To no surprise, Lanerie said his September 6 Ack Ack H. (G3) victory on Bradester (Lion Heart) was the most significant mount of the meet so far. "Bradester was definitely the most memorable win of the meet for me thus far," Lanerie remarked. "He ran really big that day in taking the Ack Ack." Trainer Eddie Kenneally has Bradester pointed to the $400,000 Kelso H. (G2) at Belmont Park on September 27. "He's going to run in New York next Saturday," Lanerie said. "I'm going up there to ride him." Lanerie also admitted riding Bradester in New York may hurt his chances of winning a fourth consecutive Churchill riding title. "I think it may hurt my chances a little bit not being here next Saturday," he noted. "But at the end of the day, the goal is to make money. Obviously I'd like to be the leading rider if I can, but if it doesn't happen, it's not the end of the world." Lanerie, who calls Louisville, Kentucky, his home, has been satisfied with the two September race meets under the Twin Spires. "I love the September meet," he added. "It works great for me because I'm home, whereas if it wasn't here I'd be doing a lot more traveling or maybe just not riding as much." Lanerie is booked on seven mounts Saturday and six on Sunday at Churchill...

Multi-New York Times bestselling author Felix Francis is coming to Kentucky to celebrate the publication of the 50th "Dick Francis" book. The publishing legacy began in 1962 when former royal champion British steeplechase jockey-turned-author Dick Francis published his first mystery, "Dead Cert." Dick Francis was widely acclaimed as one of the world's finest thriller writers before his death in 2010. Felix Francis, Dick's younger son, lives and writes in England and is now the author of the "Dick Francis" novels, having written the nine most recent books, including five in conjunction with his father. Felix Francis will be in Lexington, Kentucky, October 9-11, to promote the latest novel, "Damage," including attending the running of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland. He will be speaking and signing at the Farish Theater in aid of the Lexington Public Library and the Carnegie Center at noon (EDT) on October 10, as well as signing books at The Morris Bookstore at 2 p.m. and Joseph Beth Booksellers at 7 p.m. in Lexington on the same day. He will also be signing books at the Keeneland Racetrack Gift Shop on October 11 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. As well as book signings, Felix Francis will speak about his father's riding career (including eight Grand Nationals), and what it was like to grow up in one of the greatest "fiction factories" of the 20th century, including accompanying his father on visits for tea with Agatha Christie. He will also explain how he came to take over the writing after his father's retirement and went on to write New York Times bestsellers. Further information about Felix and Dick Francis may be found at

Carryover Watch

For Sunday or Next Raceday

GULFSTREAM:   Pick 6 -- $50,000
ARLINGTON:   Pick 9 -- $39,163
LAUREL:   Pick 5 -- $19,297

Spot Plays/Highlights/Weather


For Sunday

Arlington Park   (5th) Pirates Vow, 7-2
    (6th) Hey Pretty Boy, 5-1
Belmont Park   (1st) Path to Power, 4-1
    (4th) Temper Mint Patty, 4-1
Belterra Park   (1st) Recovery Girl, 4-1
    (2nd) Here's Decash, 7-2
Churchill Downs   (1st) Lost Kodiak, 7-2
    (4th) Whiskey Runner, 7-2
Emerald Downs   (2nd) Ifsowhynot, 3-1
    (6th) Park That Truck, 7-2
Fort Erie   (4th) Portomaso, 9-2
    (9th) Pegu, 5-1
Gulfstream Park   (2nd) Cosmic Crown, 4-1
    (7th) Quiet Hour, 6-1
Hastings Park   (1st) Little Blossom, 4-1
    (6th) Sedin, 4-1
Los Alamitos   (2nd) Fly High, 4-1
    (7th) Zoom Bag, 8-1
Louisiana Downs   (1st) Brother Day, 4-1
    (4th) Catch This Fish, 4-1
Monmouth Park   (2nd) Pepe, 7-2
    (4th) Gene's Blue Moon, 5-1
Mountaineer   (1st) Lite Up the Stage, 6-1
    (2nd) II Mangia Troppo, 3-1
Presque Isle Downs   (1st) Rage and Ruin, 3-1
    (6th) Pyro City, 7-2
Thistledown   (3rd) Cash Conversion, 4-1
    (8th) Sing the Blues, 3-1
Woodbine   (5th) Drago's Best, 4-1
    (8th) Spin Wild, 8-1


For Sunday

BELMONT PARK (1:05): $150,000 Bertram F. Bongard S., 2yo, 7f (2ND); $150,000 Joseph A. Gimma S., 2yo, f, 7f (4TH).
HASTINGS PARK (4:50): $100,000 Jack Diamond Futurity, 2yo, c&g, 6 1/2f (6TH); $100,000 Sadie Diamond Futurity, 2yo, f, 6 1/2f (7TH).
LOS ALAMITOS (5:00): $75,000 Las Madrinas S., 3&up, f&m, 1 1/16m (5TH).
THISTLEDOWN (12:55): $50,000 Scarlet & Gray H., 3&up, f&m, 6f (7TH).
WOODBINE (1:00): $150,000 Ontario Derby (Can-G3), 3yo, 1 1/8m (9TH); $125,000 La Lorgnette S., 3yo, f, 1 1/16m (6TH).

*all times Eastern

HANDICAPPER'S EDGE is compiled by Bloodstock Research Information Services. This newsletter may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. Copyright 2011, Bloodstock Research Information Services. Information as to the races, race results and earnings was obtained from Equibase Company LLC and is utilized herein with the permission of the copyright owner, Equibase Company LLC.


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