Breeders' Cup News & Notes
California Chrome posts 'unbelievable' move for BC Classic
The son of and assistant to trainer Art Sherman said California Chrome is scheduled to leave Los Alamitos around 5 a.m. (PDT) Sunday and arrive at Santa Anita about an hour later.
"The Classic should be a great race," he added.
California Chrome is one of four three-year-olds who are grabbing all the headlines in the Breeders' Cup Classic, along with Shared Belief, Tonalist, and Bayern.
Jerry Hollendorfer is pleased with Shared Belief as the undefeated male two-year-old champion of 2013 awaits the Classic, with potential Horse of the Year and champion three-year-old honors on the line for the Candy Ride gelding.
"It's been a long journey, but we're right on our schedule, so we'll just see if we can follow through," the Hall of Fame trainer said.
Candy Boy usually gains ground in the homestretch, so the 1 1/4 miles of the Classic should be to his liking.
"He had a terrible trip in the Kentucky Derby (finishing 13th of 19 after taking up sharply at the seven-eighths marker)," Sadler said. "He was essentially eliminated on the first turn. But otherwise, he's been remarkably consistent.
"We're running on his home track at a mile and a quarter and he's doing well, so we're looking forward to the race."
In other Breeders' Cup news:
Fed Biz (Dirt Mile) worked four furlongs in company for Bob Baffert in :46 4/5 with Martin Garcia up. Workmate Declassify was caught in the same time.
Also for Baffert, Tiz Midnight (Distaff) drilled five-eighths in :59.
The Kelly Breen-trained Stonetastic (Filly & Mare Sprint) sizzled in a bullet :46, tying for the fastest of 59 moves at the half-mile trip.
Prayer for Relief (Classic) went four furlongs for Dale Romans in :47 2/5; Texas Red (Juvenile) covered the same ground in :50 for Keith Desormeaux; Daddy D T (Juvenile Turf) worked five furlongs for Sadler in 1:02; Golden Ticket (Dirt Mile) went five furlongs for Ken McPeek in :59; Cristina's Journey (Juvenile Fillies), five furlongs in 1:00 for Romans; Valiant Emilia (Distaff) also went in 1:00 for Gary Mandella; and Home Run Kitten (Turf Sprint) five furlongs in :59 2/5 for David Hofmans with Joe Talamo in the irons.
On Santa Anita's firm turf course, Obviously (Mile) went five furlongs in a bullet :58 2/5 for Phil D'Amato, who also sent Big John B (Turf) the same distance in 1:02 2/5; Danny Boy (Juvenile Turf) went five furlongs in :59 3/5 for Romans, while Mark Casse sent Conquest Harlanate (Juvenile Fillies Turf) and Conquest Typhoon (Juvenile Turf) five furlongs in the identical time of 1:00 3/5; Lawn Ranger (Juvenile Turf) went five furlongs in 1:03 1/5 for McPeek and the Marty Jones-trained Ambitious Brew (Turf Sprint) was caught in 1:00 1/5; Luck of the Kitten (Juvenile Turf) toured four furlongs in :51 2/5 for Wesley Ward and Marchman (Turf Sprint) posted :50 for Desormeaux.
Classic contender Tonalist breezes at Belmont
Three Breeders' Cup pre-entrants took to Belmont's good training track.
Filly & Mare Sprint contender Artemis Agrotera, coming off scores in the Ballerina and Gallant Bloom, negotiated five panels in 1:00 4/5.
Distaff hopeful Stanwyck, a distant fourth in the Beldame last out, also clocked 1:00 4/5.
Juvenile Fillies Turf contender Isabella Sings, a valiant runner-up in the Natalma, toured four furlongs in :48 3/5.
Over at Aqueduct, Distaff runner Belle Gallantey covered five-eighths in 1:02 4/5 on the fast track.
Grand Arch, Southern Honey get in final works at Keeneland
Grand Arch finished second to reigning two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile on October 4. He worked an easy half-mile in :52 1/5 last Saturday.
A five-year-old gelding by Arch, Grand Arch will represent the first Breeders' Cup starter for Lynch, who said John Velazquez would have the mount next week.
"He will jog Wednesday, gallop Thursday and jog again Friday," Lynch said of the game plan for the Breeders' Cup. "I will probably take him to the paddock once, but not the gate. He doesn't need that; he is the ultimate professional."
Southern Honey, second in the Thoroughbred Club of America on October 4 in her most recent start, worked a half-mile in :49 under exercise rider Jose Cortez after the renovation break.
"That was much better," trainer Rusty Arnold said. "I didn't need to do too much with her today after last week."
The three-year-old Colonel John filly worked a best-of-88 half-mile in :46 4/5 last Saturday as she began her major work for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita.
Clockers caught Southern Honey's first quarter-mile in :25 and had her galloping out five furlongs in 1:03 3/5.
"She will go back to the track here to gallop Monday and Tuesday," Arnold said. "She doesn't leave from Louisville until Tuesday afternoon on a late flight that gets in out there around 6:30 p.m. (PDT).
"I like to take my horses out to jog the day after they ship and then she would gallop Thursday and Friday and I may take her out Saturday morning."
Julien Leparoux, who has ridden Southern Honey in her past seven races, will have the mount in the Breeders' Cup.
Arnold has a paddock schooling session slated for Thursday for the filly at Santa Anita.
Work All Week posts final local move for Sprint
Work All Week is nine-for-nine on dirt, including a victory in the Grade 3 Phoenix at Keeneland last out that earned him an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
All systems go for Maker's BC trio
Trainer Mike Maker's trio of Breeders' Cup hopefuls -- International Star (Juvenile Turf), Thank You Marylou (Filly & Mare Sprint) and Vicar's In Trouble (Dirt Mile) -- were scheduled to depart Louisville, Kentucky, for Southern California on Saturday. All owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey.
Maker has secured Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez to ride all three mounts.
International Star is coming off a victory in the Grade 3 Grey on October 5 over Woodbine's synthetic Polytrack, and Maker thinks going back to turf should be no problem for the Fusaichi Pegasus juvenile.
"I'm not concerned about the turf," Maker said. "It should be a harder turf course so no worries there. He's shown up in every race and I look forward to him doing that next weekend, too."
International Star took his maiden debut on turf at Belmont and finished second on grass in the Grade 2 With Anticipation on August 22 at Saratoga.
Thank You Marylou, third in the Grade 3 Raven Run at Keeneland on October 18, will face older fillies and mares for the first time in the Filly & Mare Sprint, and Maker thinks she needs an outside post position to be at her best. She broke from the inside post 1 in the Raven Run.
"She came out of the last race fine," Maker said. "She got stuck on the inside in that last one and she runs a lot better with an outside post position, so hopefully we can get lucky with the draw and be in good shape."
Thank You Marylou was a 6 1/2-length winner in the Grade 3 Dogwood at Churchill Downs prior to the Raven Run, where she broke from the 6-hole in the seven-horse field.
Vicar's In Trouble is coming off a runner-up effort in the Grade 2 Indiana Derby in his last outing on October 4 , and also will face older horses for the first time in the Dirt Mile.
"It's always tough taking on older horses for the first time," Maker said. "But then again, he runs his race every time so we figured we'd give him a shot."
Vicar's In Trouble has won four of 10 starts, including the Grade 2 Super Derby prior to the Indiana Derby, and has banked $1,228,292 lifetime.
Breeders' Cup modifies Convicted Trainer Rule
The Board of Directors of Breeders' Cup Limited has unanimously voted to modify its Convicted Trainer Rule to prohibit the pre-entry or entry of any horse found to have tested positive for any substance listed under Class One or Class Two, Penalty Category A, in the twelve month period preceding the Championships.
As part of the Board revision of the Convicted Trainer Rule, Breeders' Cup will also implement rule modifications prohibiting the participation in the Breeders' Cup World Championships by assistant trainers or other employees that affected trainers may transfer horses to following the imposition of sanctions under the rule.
The rule modifications will be implemented for the 2015 Breeders' Cup and all subsequent Championships.
In announcing the rule changes, William S. Farish Jr., Chairman of the Breeders' Cup, stated that, "Our Board is strongly committed to the principle that the most important asset of the Breeders' Cup is integrity, and there is no place in the Championships for those who are unable to comport with the rules prohibiting the administration of prohibited substances."
While the contemplated changes will not be applicable for the 2014 event, Craig Fravel, Breeders' Cup President and CEO, indicated that the goal of the rule changes is to put owners and trainers on notice that serious medication violations will have consequences at the highest level of the sport.
"We are hopeful that in selecting a trainer, owners will exercise the utmost care to assure themselves that a horse in that trainer's care will not be treated improperly. A commitment to playing by the rules is vital to the future of the sport," Fravel said.
BREEDERS' CUP FEATURE
OCTOBER 26, 2014
Sophomores lead the way in Classic
by James Scully
Three-year-olds have won nine of the previous 30 runnings of the Breeders' Cup Classic and the sophomore division could easily dominate in 2014, with Shared Belief, California Chrome, Tonalist and Bayern expected to be the top four betting favorites.
All four will be vying for Horse of the Year honors with a victory.
In Classic history, three-year-olds have gone favored nine times previously, with Street Sense (5-2) the most recent example in 2007. His classmate Any Given Saturday left the starting gate as the 7-2 co-second favorite that year at Monmouth Park and three-year-olds also accounted for the top two betting choices twice before: Easy Goer (1-2) and Sunday Silence (2-1) in 1989, and Medaglia d'Oro (5-2) and War Emblem (4-1) in 2002.
On two previous occasions, three-year-olds swept the top four finishing positions: Concern-Tabasco Cat-Dramatic Gold-Soul of the Matter in 1994; and Tiznow-Giant's Causeway-Captain Steve-Albert the Great in 2000.
The Classic promises to be an exciting race and I'll take a look at the pros and cons for the leading contenders:
Pros: Don't underestimate the accomplishments of this budding superstar -- if Shared Belief captures the Breeders' Cup Classic, he will have won more major stakes races open to older horses in the U.S. than any three-year-old champion since Secretariat, the greatest American racehorse of modern times. The champion two-year-old male of 2013, Shared Belief is unbeaten from seven career starts, earning BRIS Speed ratings as high as 111 (top figure in this year's Classic field) with his dynamic turn of foot. And the gelding's stalk-and-pounce run style could prove favorable given the speed-laden complexion of the race. The possibility exists that he's far superior to his rivals.
Cons: Two concerns, however minor, can be identified. A) Distance -- Needs to prove the Polytrack at Del Mar didn't help carry him 1 1/4 miles in Pacific Classic (he relishes synthetic tracks) and doubters will suggest 10 furlongs on dirt is beyond his scope; and B) Fear of a regression -- Shared Belief was essentially on his belly the final half-mile last time, posting a narrow victory in the September 27 Awesome Again, a hard race in which he was forced to travel wide throughout, and supporters hope that doesn't flatten him out given his light frame (small and athletic) and limited racing experience.
Pros: Belmont Stakes winner rebounded from a pair of setbacks at Saratoga with a convincing score in the 1 1/4-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup, a strong performance that bodes well for his Classic chances. Trainer Christophe Clement removed blinkers last time and Tonalist displayed a new dimension relaxing well off the pace, netting a 105 BRIS Speed following a bold rally. Ran well outside of New York in a pair of starts at Gulfstream Park earlier this year and looks capable of a serious challenge if he takes to Santa Anita's track.
Cons: Late bloomer has recorded all three stakes wins over a deeper track at Belmont Park and New York shippers do not possess a good record in Breeders' Cup main track races at Santa Anita. And Tonalist dropped back to last during the early stages of the Jockey Club Gold Cup, rating a dozen lengths off the early action. He could get away with that at Belmont but those tactics may not work at Santa Anita. Tonalist has also shown a propensity to travel wide; no guarantee he'll take to the track or receive a favorable trip at Santa Anita.
Pros: The first California-bred Kentucky Derby winner since 1962, California Chrome established himself as a fan favorite over the winter/spring with a trio of impressive stakes triumphs at Santa Anita and carried his outstanding form forward with victories in the first two legs of the Triple Crown. Probably needed his last start -- a troubled sixth in the Pennsylvania Derby -- following a lengthy freshening and is eligible to move forward significantly off the tightener. California Chrome can be a major player if he shows up with his best.
Cons: After winning six straight races, he's posted consecutive unplaced finishes and may not be sharp enough presently to deliver his best -- the Triple Crown (three races in a five-week period) can exact an extreme toll upon horses. California Chrome won't be the first to be over the top for the remainder of his three-year-old season after a strenuous early-season schedule and Santa Anita has resurfaced its main track since his eye-catching performances last spring, so that advantage is potentially minimalized.
Pros: Spectacular when on his game, winning the Woody Stephens by 7 1/2 lengths, the Haskell Invitational by 7 1/4 lengths and the Pennsylvania Derby by 5 3/4 lengths, Bayern earned outstanding BRIS Speed numbers for those efforts and is the speed of the speed in the Classic field. And Santa Anita can play extremely favorable to front-running types in late fall. If he gets the trip -- a comfortable lead where he's not running head-to-head with another rival(s) the blossoming colt rates as a serious threat to give them the slip.
Cons: Ten furlongs is a legitimate concern. Faltered badly to last when stretching out to 1 1/4 miles in the Travers and Bayern was under consideration for both the Sprint and Dirt Mile before his Pennsylvania Derby tour-de-force. May be the quickest but certainly not lone speed; the other front-runners will be looking to strike before he reaches the top of the stretch. Could be softened up by the latter stages.
Pick of the Litter catches Departing in Fayette
The 7-1 fourth choice in a field of eight, Pick of the Litter paid $16.60 to win. He is owned by Crossed Sabres Farm and is trained by Dale Romans.
"I had a great trip," Lanerie said. "My horse broke really good. My plan was to try to get behind Departing; I thought he was the horse to beat and to try not to let him get out of my sights. I wanted to stay kinda close to him and see what I had turning for home, see if I had enough to go by him or not."
Departing, the 2-1 favorite, finished second by a length over Long River, who was a neck ahead of Code West. Mister Marti Gras, Call Me George, Coltimus Prime, and Stephanoatsee completed the order of finish.
This was the third career stakes appearance for Pick of the Litter, a four-year-old colt by Kitten's Joy. He finished fourth earlier this year in both the July 27 Monmouth Cup and the September 27 Homecoming Classic at Churchill Downs. In between those two outings, he was half-length allowance winner at Saratoga over Breeders' Cup Classic-bound Cigar Street, who turned the tables on Pick of the Litter in the Homecoming Classic. Pick of the Litter's record now stands at 18-5-4-2, $392,662.
"This horse has always shown in the past that he had the potential to be a really good horse," Lanerie said. "For some reason, it wouldn't just all click at one time. Dale and I kept talking, 'We know he's a good horse.' We didn't know why he's just not getting there, but we knew he could do it. Today he put it all together."
A $150,000 Keeneland September purchase, Pick of the Litter was produced by the Fusaichi Pegasus mare Eagle Sound, a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Wild Syn, who famously upset the 1995 Blue Grass at Keeneland. Also hailing from this extended family are the Grade 1-winning juveniles Competitive Edge, All Fired Up, and Awesome Humor; Grade 1 scorer Awesome Humor, and Group 2 winner Spring Party.
Pick of the Litter was bred in Kentucky by Gabriel Duignan, Crosshaven Bloodstock, and Vision Thoroughbreds.
Salutos Amigos scores first stakes in Bold Ruler
Salutos Amigos stalked the frontrunners in behind a wall of horses before losing ground around the far turn. As the field turned for home, the four-year-old gelding briefly found himself in last and had to angle out wide for his stretch run. Once he had clear running room, the 7-2 second choice grabbed the lead with about a sixteenth to go and kicked away in the final yards to prevail by 3 1/4 lengths.
"I broke good and stayed in good position," Velasquez said. "I stayed behind the speed and I waited, waited, waited. At the three-sixteenths pole, I had a chance to put him into gear, and I had a lot of horse. He won easy today."
Salutos Amigos covered seven furlongs in 1:21 4/5 over the good main track and returned $9.10 to his supporters for the victory.
Confrontation got up by a neck over Romansh in third. River Rocks, Cease, Sage Valley and Joe Tess completed the order under the wire.
Salutos Amigos raced once as a juvenile, finishing runner-up on the grass at Hollywood Park and broke his maiden over the dirt at Santa Anita in his third career start. The bay came in fifth in his stakes debut in the San Felipe and finished off the board against graded company in his next five starts.
The son of Salute the Sarge captured back-to-back allowance races at Aqueduct in April and then scored in an optional claiming race the following month at Belmont. He closed to finish third in both the True North in June and Belmont Sprint in July. The bay was exiting a a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Vosburgh Invitational last month at Belmont. Salutos Amigos banked $120,000 for the win to increase his bankroll to $447,406 from a 22-5-2-4 career line.
Bred in Kentucky by Joan Hadley Thoroughbreds, Salutos Amigos is out of the Argentinean Group 2 winning Luhuk mare Sarasota. The bay is a half-brother to Grade 2 scorer Sarah's Secret and his third dam is Argentinean Group 3 winner Sarawak. His female family also includes Argentinean Group 2 scorer Sardinia.
Lexie Lou takes Autumn Miss in U.S. debut
"There were some questions going into this race. They felt she might not have handled the softer turf up in Canada as well as she would handle this turf. They felt the tighter turf course here could help her and it sure did. I knew (jockey) Mike (Smith) was coming (on second-place Diversy Harbor) but when I reminded her to keep her mind on business, she did it."
"Mr. Barber handled all the (pre-race) instructions and he was 100 percent right," assistant trainer Randi Melton noted. "He said don't fight her, at the quarter-pole, just make 'em chase you."
Diversy Harbor trailed near the rear of the field early but put in a furious rally in the lane. The Curlin filly ran out of room, though, and was forced to settle for second, a half-length in front of a game Zindaya, who held third by a three parts of a length over Sheza Smoke Show.
"Corey had a better trip than us today. That was the difference, the trip," said Diversy Harbor's rider, Mike Smith. "I was forwardly placed. My mare can get rank sometimes, so if you don't get the jump on everyone you have to be careful of asking her. She can give you too much in those situations. You're at the mercy of the break; you can't move much leaving there because she'll go from 'whoa' to 'go' and she'll flat run off.
"I didn't get into any traffic trouble but Corey got the better trip. I was behind Corey the whole way so he had the run, he was where I would have liked to have been. I knew I wasn't going to get there, not today. Not with the rail out and him having the better trip. His filly was never going to cave. With a better trip, and the rail down, I'll have a much bigger chance."
Thegirlinthatsong came next and was followed under the wire by Tiz Kissable, Famous Alice, Alexis Tangier, On the Backstreets and Wonderfully. Burning Arch, Kool Kat, Gender Agenda and Maibaby were all on the also-eligible list and did not draw in.
The much-anticipated match up didn't materialize, though, as We Miss Artie reared at the break and found himself in the back of the Queen's Plate field. Lexie Lou took up position in midpack before coming wide around the turn and rallying to take command, eventually drawing off to score by 1 1/2 lengths.
Instead of continuing on in the Canadian Triple Crown, the sophomore lass romped by three lengths next out against fillies in the Wonder Where, her first try on turf, but entered Saturday's Autumn Miss off a disappointing last-of-10 run in the Grade 2 Canadian on September 14, also on grass. This return to the winner's circle improved her career mark to 7-2-2 from 15 starts and she's now banked $1,369,714 lifetime.
"Last time (in the Canadian), she didn't like to soft going," Barber asserted. "We actually thought about not running because of it. We got a firm course today and she loved it. She proved she can win in open company and I'll put her against open three-year-olds right now on grass.
"With the exception of Untapable, I think she can run with anyone. We don't have her schedule planned out yet, but we'll keep her here for the winter and take her back to Woodbine in April."
"That's what it seemed to be (that she didn't fancy the good turf in the Canadian)," Melton agreed. "It was surprising for her to run that way. We took our time and David (Adams, Casse's assistant in Toronto) did a good job getting her back to where she needed to be."
Bred in Ontario by Paradox Farm, Lexie Lou was purchased by her original owner for $5,610 as an Ontario September yearling. She is out of the winning In Excess mare Oneexcessivenite and counts as her second dam Grade 2 victress Favored One. Farther back, Lexie Lou's female family is also responsible for champions Bayou and Smart Deb as well as Broodmares of the Year Levee and Delta.
Beholder withdrawn from Fasig-Tipton sale
Average attendance, handle down for Keeneland fall meet
Keeneland's 2014 Fall Meet, highlighted by the debut of a new dirt surface, the track's first $1 million race and world-class racing that produced a large contingent of Breeders' Cup-bound horses, closed Saturday with the third-highest Fall season attendance in Keeneland history.
On-track attendance for the 17-day Fall Meet, held October 3-25, totaled 251,574, third behind the fall records of 266,466 and 259,710 recorded in 2013 and 2012, respectively. Average daily attendance was 14,798, down 5.59 percent from last fall's 15,674.
Attendance was impacted by consistent rain and cooler than normal temperatures on seven of the meet's opening 10 race days. Average daily attendance rebounded, however, to exceed comparable 2013 figures each of the final six days of the meet, which had sunny, dry weather.
"Mother Nature challenged us during the opening weeks of the meet, and we thank the legions of loyal fans who came to the races on those less than ideal weather days," Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. "We strive to offer every one of our guests the best experience possible. Keeneland is a very special place to go racing in both good and bad weather."
On-track wagering totaled $17,625,834, dipping 3 percent from last Fall's $18,173,355. Average daily on-track wagering was $1,036,814, down 3 percent from $1,069,021 in 2013. All-sources wagering on Keeneland totaled $122,844,887, down 12 percent from last year's $139,660,179.
Keeneland's new dirt surface, which was installed this summer on the main track, performed exceptionally well despite the trials posed by October's inclement weather.
"The new drainage system was tested from the outset of the meet, but we are very pleased with its ability to handle all the rain," Keeneland Vice President of Racing Rogers Beasley said. "The track played very fair throughout the season, and winners were balanced between speed-favoring and come-from-behind horses, favorites and longshots."
Average daily purses of $651,558 for the Fall Meet continued to rank among the nation's highest. Field size averaged 8.42 starters per race compared to 9.85 in the 2013 Fall Meet.
Todd Pletcher and Graham Motion shared leading trainer honors with eight wins each. Rosie Napravnik won 16 races to capture her second consecutive Fall Meet riding title.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey won nine races during the meet to collect their 14th leading owner title and tie with T.A. Grissom for most overall titles won by an owner at Keeneland.
Elm Park proves best in Racing Post Trophy
In Sheikh Fahad's Qatar silks, Elm Park managed to subdue the listed winner Nafaqa in the Royal Lodge at Newmarket on lively ground that would have compromised him, and had conditions to fully suit for the first time since his Newbury maiden score as he brought up the distinguished Royal Lodge-Racing Post Trophy double on Saturday in the latter Group 1 feature at Doncaster.
Never troubled on the front end as Andrea Atzeni kept him rolling, he was able to stretch his rivals and turn the screw without fully extending himself from the three to the furlong pole. With his greatest threat Celestial Path cracking in the last furlong, he was pushed out with hands and heels to cruise to the line by 2 3/4 lengths with his laboring rivals strung out behind.
On his first three starts, Elm Park wore the black-and-gold silks of the late Paul Mellon, which were given to the Baldings for their homebreds to sport, and he proved more than worthy of the honor without suggesting he could hit these heights. Third behind Godolphin's potentially smart Latharnach over seven furlongs on debut at Sandown July 30, he put up the type of green but honest first performance typical of a hybrid middle-distance colt and built on that to score with authority at that distance at Newbury August 15.
A fortnight later, the bay -- who looks to be the pick of all those bred at Kingsclere Stud so far -- showed a professional manner that was to become a trademark quality by making all in the Stonehenge Stakes stepped up to this trip at Salisbury August 29.
"He is very straightforward and traveled beautifully, so I kept it simple and it was like a piece of work," his rider explained. "He has a great attitude and will get better with age."
Sheikh Fahad added, "We just needed time as an operation, but we have plenty of nice two-year-olds this year and the emphasis is on quality rather than quantity. We have a great team and this is a great day.
"We have the best two-year-olds going forward of any operation and this horse is definitely a Derby horse," Sheikh Fahad added. "His calmness and mental ability as a two-year-old are his great assets and he just glides through that ground."
Introduced in the Flame of Tara Stakes over a mile at The Curragh at the end of August, Steip Amach was not disgraced when fourth behind Jack Naylor and the subsequent Fillies' Mile winner Together Forever before filling the same spot behind the latter and Cocoon in the Staffordstown Stud Stakes October 12. Only third when favored for a maiden at Navan 10 days later, the homebred responded to a three-day turnaround to overhaul Ballydoyle's red-hot market-leader Royal Navy Ship in a weak renewal of Saturday's Group 3 Killavullan Stakes at Leopardstown.
Settled at the back of the quartet early by Kevin Manning as Seamie Heffernan made the running on the 1-6 pick, the bay -- who was the outsider of the field -- was delivered wide to edge ahead of that rival with 150 yards remaining and stay on to secure the upset.
"She got bogged down in Navan and the ground was a bit better here," Bolger told Irish Racing Online. "Seven furlongs or a mile doesn't really matter to her. She'll probably start off next year in a Classic trial back here."
Running out of stamina when third behind Racing Post Trophy third Celestial Path in the Ascendant Stakes over a mile at Haydock in September, Smaih showed the benefit of a drop to seven furlongs for Saturday's Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes at Newbury to secure a first black-type win in a below-par renewal of the race, which has enjoyed varying degrees of prestige down the years.
Staying close to the early pace set by King of Normandy, Smaih was committed by Frankie Dettori approaching the furlong pole and asserted to hold Fox Trotter comfortably.
"When he went to Deauville we realized he loves soft ground," Al Shaqab's racing advisor Harry Herbert said. "It's a big thrill for all concerned with Paco Boy, who was a real favorite of the Hannons and he stands at Highclere. Frankie said he was loving the ground and is a very willing and honest horse with a huge heart.
"That's it for this year and if conditions are right, we might have a go at the Greenham in April and stay away from quick ground. At this stage, everything is on the table and he's bred to be at least a miler with stout German blood in his pedigree."
Starting out over five furlongs at Windsor June 2, Smaih was second in a decent conditions test there before getting off the mark upped a panel at Chepstow 11 days later. Last of eight in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket July 12, the bay was reverting to six when third in a conditions event back there a fortnight later before making all in a 6 1/2-furlong contest at Deauville August 19.
Adelaide gives O'Brien historic win in Cox Plate
Coolmore's globetrotting sophomore Adelaide arrived in Australia for Saturday's Group 1 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley with an aura of intrigue on the back of a victory in the Secretariat at Arlington Park and a troubled but fast-finishing third in the Prix Niel at Longchamp, but a sense of doubt settled in after Tuesday's barrier draw, when the Irish invader landed in post 13 of 14. Adelaide shrugged that off as a minor inconvenience, however, charging from dead last to hand jockey Ryan Moore and trainer Aidan O'Brien their first Australian Group 1 wins.
Off a half-step slow from the barriers, Adelaide was immediately eased back and taken over to the rail by Moore on the short run into the first turn, settling last while the beloved Tasmanian invader The Cleaner -- the lone horse to break outside him -- rushed up to vie for the lead while four-wide around the turn.
The Cleaner established a clear lead passing the 1200-meter mark, and shortly thereafter Adelaide and Moore began picking off rivals. They sat about third, about five wide, as the field swung into the straight, with favored Fawkner holding a slender advantage. That lead would be short-lived, however, as Adelaide and Moore, storming down the middle of the short straight, grabbed the lead approaching the 50-meter mark and won by a lengthening head from the Caulfield Stakes winner, with the multiple Group 1-winning mare Silent Achiever also closing resolutely to be third.
The final time of 2:03.76 was just a shade off Might and Power's stakes record set in 1998.
"He did it the hard way, but he's a high-quality colt and I believed that if he brought his best form, he was probably the best horse in the race," Moore said. "He's had to go around the whole field and come from last. But he still won."
Moore, who was fresh off another major overseas victory on Hillstar in the Canadian International last weekend, added, "It's quite an atmosphere. We've got some tracks like this back home, but not as many people. It's a lovely race to win."
Debuting a year ago, Adelaide was a cozy 2 1/2-length winner at Leopardstown. His first overseas voyage came in his second start and sophomore bow when he was second to Free Port Lux in the Prix Hocquart May 11, and it was back to Ireland two weeks later, where Adelaide scored his first black-type victory in The Curragh's Gallinule Stakes.
Second as the favorite in Royal Ascot's King Edward VII Stakes after a wide trip, Adelaide finished a gallant second, beaten just a head, after stalking the pace in Adelaide's stateside debut in the Belmont Derby July 5. Reunited with Moore for the Secretariat six weeks later, Adelaide would reverse his fortunes, coming wide off the turn to win by 1 1/2 lengths.
The dark bay was the victim of a horrid trip in the Prix Niel four weeks later. Bottled up on the rail until the very late stages of that Longchamp feature, Adelaide and Moore came flying when at last finding daylight to be an unlucky third.
Despite being a three-year-old, Adelaide did not enjoy the benefit of the weight-for-age scale; given his Northern Hemisphere birthdate he was considered a four-year-old, and therefore shouldered 14 pounds more than the three Australian-bred sophomores in the race, and just seven pounds less than his elder heavyweights. That mattered little, however, after he handed trainer Aidan O'Brien his first win Down Under in the trainer's first venture to the country since 2008.
The victory was a true feat for O'Brien, who has been pioneering Adelaide's Australian voyage from afar. O'Brien was not on hand to witness the victory, and Coolmore Australia's Tom Magnier remarked, "To Aidan O'Brien and all the team at Ballydoyle, I'm thrilled for them. I'm sure Aidan would be really enjoying this one."
Coolmore's Australian Racing Manager James Bester told Racing and Sports, "It has been a wonderful feat. He has been trained from Ireland with Aidan directing everything to the minutest detail. He had the best trainer in the world and the best jockey in the world."
Adelaide is expected to remain in Australia and switch to the care of Sydney's leading trainer Chris Waller. Bester added that Adelaide's travels are not finished, however.
"We have a plan in place," Bester said. "He will have a spell and then be aimed at the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at The Championships in the Sydney autumn. Then we would like to take him to Royal Ascot. He is a wonderful traveler. This is the fifth country he has raced in."
It was also a monumental win for part owner John Ingham, who bought into Adelaide's new Australian partnership. Ingham is the former owner of the famed Woodlands Stud, purchased in its entirety by Darley for a reported $415 million in 2008, and his father, Bob Ingham, campaigned Octagonal to win the Cox Plate in 1995.
Ingham told Racing and Sports, "We won a Cox Plate with Octagonal but and it's been a long time for another one."
Adelaide becomes the fifth Australian Group 1 winner for his unparalleled sire, Galileo. Adelaide is the first foal out of the Queen Mary Stakes winner Elletelle, who died last year. Elletelle is also represented by a two-year-old full-brother to Adelaide, Puissant, who broke his maiden at Redcar last week for Puissant Stable and trainer Marco Botti.
Prominent Australian owner Lloyd Williams' quest for the Cox Plate continues after his stable star Fawkner could manage only second as the favorite, but Williams' son, Nick, was not downbeat about the seven-year-old gelding's effort.
"As you can see by the time, they were only two-tenths outside the record," Nick Williams told Racenet.com.au. "The field has all finished so close together and that's why it's the great race it is.
"(Fawkner) is a marvelous horse and we couldn't be happier with him. He's run his heart out and he's met a better one on the day. If they meet again I'm sure it will be close again."
Trainer Roger James was also pleased with the third-place effort of his mare Silent Achiever, who won three Group 1s last season but has taken time to find her best form this season.
"I'm proud of her," the New Zealand-based conditioner told Racing and Sports. "It was a great ride by Nash Rawiller. She was just beaten by two better horses and barrier 11 didn't help her."
Tac de Boistron seeks repeat in Prix Royal-Oak
Breaking through into the big time when successful in Longchamp's Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak 12 months ago, Tac de Boistron returns to the Bois de Boulogne on Sunday to re-launch his truncated season.
Despite having won the 2012 Prix Maurice de Nieuil here, it was not until he beat the dual subsequent St Simon Stakes and John Porter Stakes scorer Cubanita by eight lengths in Chester's Stand Cup over an extended 12-furlong trip in September that the gray was taken seriously. Second in the Prix du Cadran over 2 1/2 miles on Arc day here, he was imperious when annexing this prize by five lengths later in October and looked a potential star stayer when returning to defy a seven-pound penalty in the two-mile Sagaro Stakes at Ascot in April.
Not seen since finishing runner-up in the Yorkshire Cup at York May 16, trainer Marco Botti is hoping he has him back at a peak.
"He had a fall earlier in the year and bruised his ribs, which can be very painful. We had to stop with him and give him plenty of time to recover," he told PA Sport. "We had to push him a little bit harder than normal to get him ready for this weekend, but he's an older horse, he has taken his work well and I'm very pleased with him. As it worked out, we would not have run him much this summer anyway because the ground would have been against him.
"He seems happy and in good form, his fitness is nearly 100 percent and the ground should suit him on Sunday, so we are looking forward to the race."
Tac de Boistron's compatriot High Jinx returns to the scene of his career-best win in the October Prix du Cadran and trainer James Fanshawe is hoping that performance has not taken its toll.
"He seems in good form at home. He's been well and bright since the Cadran," he told PA Sport. "You never know with horses at this time of year quite how they are, but he seems well and we're looking forward to running him. The ground will be softer than it was at Longchamp, but he has good form in softer ground. That said, it's a tough race and I think there is probably more strength in depth than there was in the Cadran."
His Highness The Aga Khan enjoyed success with the three-year-old filly Ebadiyla in 1997 and looks to Zarkava's half-sister Zarshana to emulate that achievement. After a brace of wins in the Prix de Thiberville at Longchamp and the Prix Minerve at Deauville, she looked in need of this kind of trip when third in the Prix de Royallieu over 12 1/2 furlongs on October 4. On that occasion, she was a short neck and a head behind Frine, and that rival is on six-pounds better terms here.
Another with major claims is Lonsdale Cup heroine Pale Mimosa, who did not stay the 2 1/2 miles of the Cadran when third behind High Jinx last time and finally gets the testing ground she relishes here.
Conquest Tsunami, Far Right face off in Street Sense; Rags to Riches draws 11
The son of Stormy Atlantic finished 14 lengths behind the winner in that 12-horse field, but assistant trainer Norman Casse said Conquest Tsunami has trained well since that setback.
"We really thought he ran a solid race in the Breeders' Futurity," Casse said. "We figured he was going to get a little tired; being his first start on the dirt going two-turns. But we think we'll get a truer gauge on what he really is by running him in the Street Sense."
Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan will ride Conquest Tsunami, who shoulders the high weight of 122 pounds, from post 6.
The Ron Moquett-trained Far Right brings a 1-2-0 record from four races into the Street Sense, including a fourth-place run in the Grade 2 Futurity on October 5 at Belmont Park. Moquett said his colt was the victim of a moderate pace in the Futurity, but he expects better from son of Notional at Churchill Downs, where Far Right was a maiden winner on September 13.
"You can't give those types of horses 23-second quarters and think that you can catch them at the end," Moquett said. "He made a mental move to try and make up some of it and he was able to make up about five lengths toward the end, but it just wasn't enough to punch on through after giving those guys that kind of easy first half."
Others that figure to attract solid backing in the Street Sense include Handy Candy and Instant Replay.
Handy Candy, a dark bay son of Candy Ride, recorded two runs during the September meet for trainer Ian Wilkes comprising a 33-1 upset win in his career debut and a fourth-place effort in a one-mile allowance race. Instant Replay, a Lemon Drop Kid bay colt, won at first asking for trainer Wayne Catalano on September 23 at Parx Racing.
The Street Sense field is completed by Nun the Less, a Candy Ride colt who broke his maiden on Arlington's Polytrack by six lengths prior to a half-length score over Keeneland's dirt on October 3; Risetotheoccasion, a 6 1/2-length maiden scorer at Indiana Grand last out on September 23; and Jumps for Bucks, who will be making his first start for trainer Ben Delong after breaking his maiden under Derrick Bright's tutelage at Indiana Grand on October 7.
Catalano, who earned his first leading trainer title at Churchill when he tied for that honor in the recent September meet, trains three -- West Coast Belle, Movie Mystery and Four Inch Heels -- of the 11 fillies entered in the Rags to Riches.
The members of the Catalano-trained trio in the Rags to Riches are each coming off a victory in their lone career start. Two of the fillies -- West Coast Belle and Four Inch Heels -- were winners at Monmouth Park, while Movie Mystery was victorious at first asking at Parx Racing. The trainer said there was a chance that one of his trio could be scratched, though all could be competitive.
"West Coast Belle is a nice filly," Catalano said. "She only went five-and-a-half furlongs in her first start but I think she's ready to handle going a little further. But I like her a lot and she's been training great. Four Inch Heels is a similar story. She's been doing everything right."
Channing Hill was named as the rider for both West Coast Belle and Movie Mystery, and Florent Geroux will ride Four Inch Heels. If both West Coast Belle and Movie Mystery run, they will compete as a coupled entry.
While Catalano has strength in numbers, a filly from the high-powered stable of trainer Todd Pletcher could attract strong support in the Rags to Riches. Hopefaithjoy comes into the race off a 3 3/4-length maiden romp going 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland after a solid third-place run in the mud in her racing debut at Saratoga. The daughter of Lookin at Lucky will break from the outside post as she turns back to a one-turn mile distance. Jockey Rosie Napravnik will ride.
Another contender could be Silver Allure, who was an easy winner at Indiana Grand in July before she finishing a good second to Paige in a roughly run allowance at Churchill in September.
"She did really well in that last allowance race here," trainer Steve Hobby said. "The filly that beat her, Paige, came back and ran third in the (Grade 1) Alcibiades at Keeneland, so that kind of made us feel better about getting beat there. She seems to like Churchill; her works since the last race have been excellent and we're looking forward to seeing what she can do here Sunday."
Streetheart finished in a dead-heat for the victory in a seven-furlong maiden race on September 27 under the Twin Spires, and could be among the fans' choices in Sunday's race. The daughter of Street Sense is trained by Eddie Kenneally and keeps Julien Leparoux in the irons.
Another possible contender in the Rags to Riches is Winding Bay, an unbeaten Malibu Moon filly co-owned by trainer Wesley Ward and Kent Spillman. She was a 7 1/2-length winner at Indiana Grand in her only career start but is cross-entered in the Chelsea Flower at Belmont Park on Saturday.
Tiz Sexy Now, Taylor S, Simply Confection and Flexible Ethics -- all maiden winners -- complete the field.
The 2014 Churchill Downs fall meet consists of 26 days of racing through its conclusion on November 30. Post time for Sunday's "Stars of Tomorrow I" opening day is set for 12:45 p.m. (EDT) and admission gates are scheduled to open at 11:30 a.m. The track will operate on a Wednesday through Sunday schedule during the last of its three 2014 racing sessions.
Brown, Pletcher each enter pair in Turnback the Alarm
Joel Rosario will be aboard Endless Chatter, who is 7-2 on the morning line, when they leave from post position 6.
Should Brown elect to run her, Catch My Drift would be going for her fourth victory in five starts in the Turnback the Alarm. Her only loss came when she was seventh in the Grade 1 Alabama at 1 1/4 miles in her lone stakes appearance.
"I don't think the 1 1/4 miles was too far a distance; I think it was too high of a jump (in class) for her," Brown said of the Pioneerof the Nile filly. "She really couldn't handle that. We backed up and regrouped with her and she won a nice allowance race at Parx Racing. She really did well. She's run well there; she needs to translate that form to here.
"I do believe she's a horse that could get to the (Grade 3, $400,000) Comely (on November 29 at Aqueduct) if she continues to develop the way she has been."
Hall of Famer John Velazquez has been named to ride Catch My Drift, 6-1 on the morning line. The pair will leave from the far outside post 8.
Todd Pletcher will be well-represented in the Turnback the Alarm with 3-1 morning-line favorite Teen Pauline and Dame Dorothy, who sits at 4-1.
Tapit's World, the co-second choice at 7-2, will be making her Belmont bow in the Turnback the Alarm for new trainer Michelle Nevin. The four-year-old Tapit filly, who drew the rail under Jose Ortiz, was headed in the Grade 3 Gardenia at Ellis Park during the summer, and before that was 12th in the Grade 3 Robert G. Dick Memorial on the turf at Delaware Park.
Rounding out the field are Grade 1-placed multiple stakes winner Toasting, who was sixth in the Beldame last out; Grade 3 runner-up Moment in Dixie, third in the West Virginia President's Cup two back; and Flores Island, second most recently in the Musical Romance.
Earlier on Belmont's Sunday card, 10 juveniles will go a mile on the Widener Turf in the $100,000 Awad, including Vision Perfect and Offering Plan, the respective second and third in the Grade 3 Pilgrim on September 28.
Churchill Downs opens doors on 125th fall meet
Cooler temperatures and the leaves changing colors signify the return of live horse racing to the Louisville, Kentucky, area as Churchill Downs, the historic home of the Kentucky Derby, readies to open its 125th fall meet on Sunday.
The popular 26-day stand, which covers a five-week stretch through November 30, kicks off in style Sunday with the 10th annual "Stars of Tomorrow I" program, which is entirely devoted to hopeful two-year-old stars who have aspirations of trail-blazing their way to next year's Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks.
The 11-race opening day program is headlined by a pair of one-mile $58,000 overnight stakes -- the Street Sense and Rags to Riches for fillies. Both races serve as local steppingstones to the Kentucky Jockey Club and Golden Rod for fillies, a pair of $200,000, 1 1/16-mile contests scheduled for the "Stars of Tomorrow II" program on November 29. The Kentucky Jockey Club and Golden Rod are part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks series which award points to the top four finishers.
The successful Stars of Tomorrow events have helped launch the careers of numerous graded winners, including 33 Grade 1 winners and 19 millionaires led by 2010 Kentucky Derby victor Super Saver; 2011 Preakness and 2012 Met Mile and Clark Handicap winner Shackleford; 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra; 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic and 2013 Stephen Foster Handicap hero Fort Larned; 2012 Kentucky Oaks vixen Believe You Can; and 2013 champion three-year-old male Will Take Charge.
Last year's renewals included future stakes stars such as Grade 2 winners Tapiture, Stonetastic and Tiz Windy; Grade 3 scorers Albano and Southenr Honey; Kentucky Derby runner-up Commanding Curve; Preakness second Ride On Curlin; Grade 1-placed stakes winners General a Rod and Unbridled Forever.
First post Sunday, as is the case for most of the meeting, is 12:40 p.m. (ET). The National Weather Service forecast for Louisville calls for ideal fall conditions on Sunday, sunny skies with a high near 68.
There's a special treat for the kids, too, on Sunday as track mascot "Churchill Charlie" will lead a Halloween "Trick or Treat" Costume Parade around the facility starting at Gate 17 at 2:30 p.m.
Over the course of the meet, horsemen will have ample opportunities to uncork promising juveniles or seek year-end graded glory. All told, 13 stakes races cumulatively worth $2.032 million -- which includes a quartet of overnight stakes -- will be run during the fall stand. Meanwhile, bettors are certain to be challenged by the competitive fall meet racing that typically pits the fastest and battle-tested horses against the recently freshened year-end bloomers.
With a compact 26-day schedule and not as many competing race meets at year's end, the fall meet traditionally offers larger fields. Last fall, the average field size was 8.84 horses per race compared to the 7.29 and 7.70 at this year's spring and September meets, respectively.
The anchor of the lucrative stakes program comes on "Black Friday," November 28, with the 140th running of the Grade 1, $500,000 Clark Handicap. The 1 1/8-mile test for three-year-olds and up annually lures some of the top older horses in North America and is one of five stakes events to be contested over Thanksgiving weekend.
After Sunday's opener, live racing will be conducted on a Wednesday through Sunday schedule with dark days on Mondays and Tuesdays. Most race days will begin at 12:40 p.m. and feature 10 live races. Eleven-race programs are scheduled for opening day and November 14. Twelve-race cards are scheduled for November 27-29.
Churchill Downs will have special post times for October 31 (Halloween) and November 1 so the races coincide, but don't overlap, with a simulcast of the Breeders' Cup World Championships from Santa Anita Park. The October 31 card will begin at 2 p.m. while the November 1 action will commence at 2:15 p.m. All Breeders' Cup races will be shown between live races on Churchill Downs' Big Board, the world's largest 4K ultra-high definition video board, and $2 Bud/Bud Light and $3 Stella Artois drink specials will be offered throughout most of the facility on both days.
The November 14 program is "Downs After Dark" -- the lone night racing program of the fall meet with a first post of 4:30 p.m. and nod to James Bond films.
The only other special post time is an 11:30 a.m. early start for Thanksgiving Day at Churchill Downs -- a Louisville tradition since 1969 where more than 7,000 turkey dinners are served with all the trimmings, making it the largest number anywhere in the region.
Other special events throughout the fall meet include Pigskins and Ponies every Saturday (except November 1) in the Plaza with college football games on the Plaza video board, drink specials ($2 Bud/Bud Light, $3 Stella Artois and $1 Pepsi products and bottled water) and tailgate-style food from the Plaza Grill. Churchill Downs will offer free admission to college students every Saturday with a current student I.D.
Family Adventure Day, which was a hit for families during the spring and September meets, returns November 9 with plenty of games and activities for children while the adults enjoy an exciting day of horse racing.
The "Who's the Champ? Betting Challenge" returns for the final three Sundays of the fall meet (November 16, 23 and 30) with lucrative prizes being awarded to the top three entrants with the most profitable $2 win/place mythical wagers on the 3RD-8TH races. The challenge is $35 to enter ($30 for TSC Elite members).
Lastly, Churchill Downs will conclude its meet on November 30 with Fan Appreciation Day featuring $1 draft Bud/Bud Light, $1 22-ounce Pepsi products, $1 bottled water and $1 hot dogs. Also, the first 5,000 fans through admission gates will receive a voucher that can be redeemed for a free 2015 calendar that features classic Churchill Downs and Kentucky Derby imagery.
Jockey Julien Leparoux could enter the fall meet with a chance to collect his 2,000th career win (he began Thursday's action at Keeneland with 1,995 victories). Also, Robby Albarado is just five wins shy of becoming only the third rider to win 1,000 races at Churchill Downs. He has 995 local wins and only trails Pat Day (2,482) and Calvin Borel (1,167) in the all-time standings.
Meanwhile, record-breaking owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who collected their 22nd Churchill Downs leading owners' title in September, are two wins away from their 400th local victory.
The defending fall meet champs are jockey Corey Lanerie (36 wins), trainer Mike Maker (16) and the Ramseys (18).
Larry Collmus will describe action in what will be his final meet as track announcer at Churchill Downs (in addition to being the voice of Gulfstream Park's winter meet he'll be the NYRA announcer starting in April 2015). While Collmus is attending to Breeders' Cup duties for NBC, Mike Battaglia, the voice of Churchill Downs from 1978-96, will substitute October 29 through November 2.
General admission to Churchill Downs is $3 ($1 for senior citizens age 60 and up; $10 for Downs After Dark). Children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking is free in the Longfield Avenue lot (Gates 10 & 12) and $3 in all other lots. Valet parking is $5.
Free seating is available daily on a first-come, first-serve basis in sections 113-118. Premium reserved seats in the Matt Winn Dining Room, Third Floor Box Seats, Millionaires Row, Jockey Club Suites, Finish Line Suites and Skye Terrace may be purchased online at ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets, in person at the Gate 1 box office (open most race days from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) or by calling 502-636-4400.
For more information, call 502-636-4400 or visit churchilldowns.com.
Highland Yard LLC's Miss Chatelaine (Pulpit) was much the best as the 8-5 favorite in Saturday's $100,000 Chelsea Flower S. for two-year-old fillies at Belmont. The Christophe Clement charge came from the back of the pack, swung four wide into the stretch, angled back in and surged to split the leaders with a sixteenth to go. With Joel Rosario in the irons, Miss Chatelaine crossed the wire in 1:40 4/5 going one mile over the yielding turf and paid $5.30 for her 1 1/4-length victory. She captured her racing debut over this course just last month and is undefeated from two starts. The bay grabbed $60,000 for her first stakes score to increase her bank account to $105,000...
Debmar Stables' Savvy Hester (Heatseeker) got up by a head in the $98,968 River Memories S. at Woodbine on Saturday to capture her first stakes. "She's got good tactical speed," trainer Ricky Griffith said. She's won on the lead before. I was happy to see her on the front end when the opening quarter went in :24 and change. That worked out good for us." The four-year-old filly battled in the stretch and prevailed in a head bob at the wire. Savvy Hester stopped the teletimer in 1:36 3/5 going one mile over the firm turf as the 4-1third choice and paid $10.50 for the win. "She's always been that kind of filly," jockey Justin Stein said. "She likes to fight and she tries very hard. I was a little surprised to be on the lead. She broke sharp. Ricky gave her some time off and that made all the difference." The dark bay was entering in here off a seventh-place finish in the Canadian S. (Can-G2) on September 14. "The turf was a little bit soft that day and she prefers a firm, fast course so we throw that one out," Griffith explained. "She ran her race today." She has a career mark of 23-4-8-4, $290,219...
Ripplewood farm's homebred Mellow Fellow (The Cliff's Edge) pulled off the upset by a nose for his first stakes win in Saturday's $90,000 Gin Rummy Champ S. at Gulfstream Park. The four-year-old gelding was sent off as the 18-1 third longest shot on the board and returned $38 for the victory. The Tim Richardson trainee circled the field under urging from jockey Rodney Soodeen and got up just in time for the score. The bay covered five furlongs in :57 on the good turf and was exiting a fourth-place finish over this course against allowance foes earlier this month. Mellow Fellow has a career line which reads 26-6-1-2 and $198,314 in lifetime earnings...
Delta Downs hosted the ninth running of the $100,000 My Trusty Cat on Friday night and it was JRita Young Thoroughbred LLC's Vivian Da Bling (Too Much Bling) who dominated her competition. The Bret Calhoun trainee recorded an eight-length, front-running victory while earning an automatic berth into the $400,000 Delta Downs Princess (G3) on November 22. Under jockey Chris Rosier, Vivian Da Bling broke very alertly before clearing the field and moving over to the rail where she set all the pace and was never threatened. As the field reached the homestretch, the gray lass pulled away and hit the finish line well in front to finish seven furlongs in 1:27 4/5 over the fast track. Vivian Da Bling is now 4-3-0-0 and has banked $140,740 lifetime. She began her career with an easy maiden win at Lone Star Park before taking the TTA Sales Futurity at the same venue. A trip to Saratoga resulted in a fourth-place run in the Adirondack (G2) last out, but she got back on the winning track in the My Trusty Cat to return $3.40 as the 3-5 favorite...
Sunday's $75,000 Lure at Santa Anita Park has turned into a blast from the past as nine runners line up in the one-mile turf contest. Drill (Lawyer Ron), Old Time Hockey (Smarty Jones) and Starspangled Heat (Unusual Heat) are all veteran stakes performers but haven't visited the winner's circle in some time. Grade 1 scorer Drill hasn't captured a race since taking the 2012 Lazaro Barrera Memorial (G3) and returns to the grass for the a third time this season. Jockey Elvis Trujillo has the call on the Bob Baffert-trained five-year-old. Grade 3 victor Old Time Hockey hasn't placed since adding the Florida Cup Turf Classic in April and looks to improve off a sixth-placing in the Rolling Green on Golden Gate Fields' turf last out in early September. Trainer Tom Proctor has tabbed Drayden Van Dyke to ride the five-year-old gelding. Starspangled Heat put forth his best stakes effort to date when third in the San Juan Capistrano (G2) on June 29 and enters the Lure off nice fourth-placings in the Del Mar H. (G2) and John Henry Turf Championship (G2). Corey Nakatani will be holding the reins on the Barry Abrams-conditioned six-year-old gelding. The three veterans will be facing off against Grade 2-placed Smart Ellis (Smarty Jones), Grade/Group 3 runner-ups Hay Dude (Dubawi) and Boyett (Sharp Humor), stakes winners Pure Tactics (Pure Prize) and Artest (Hard Spun), and stakes debuter Power Ped (Powerscourt)...
Multiple Grade 3 scorer River Seven (Johannesburg) is seeking the first win of his four-year-old campaign in Sunday's co-featured C$100,000 Labeeb at Woodbine. the Nick Gonzalez trainee has made six starts thus far this season, all against graded company, but could only garner a third in the Nijinsky (Can-G2) on July 19. However, his effort last time out when fourth, defeated just 2 1/4 lengths in the Woodbine Mile (Can-G1), was a deceptively good effort when traveling 30 feet farther than the winner, Breeders' Cup bound Trade Storm (Trade Fair), according to Trakus charts. "In the Mile, he gave us a big thrill when he struck the lead (in the stretch)," assistant trainer Martha Gonzalez said. "He was only beat a length and a half. He can never disappoint us, he tries every time." A more forgiving E.P. Taylor Turf Course, rated as good on Mile day, may have helped River Seven. "This summer we were plagued with firm turf courses and it's just not as forgiving," Gonzalez explained. "I don't think he relishes it as much as he does when it has a little give to it." A move way from graded company should benefit River Seven on Sunday. "It's lighter company and he's enjoyed the break," Gonzalez noted. "He's better with time between his races and it's looking like it could rain again on Saturday so he could get a nice forgiving turf. He really seems to blossom in the fall. He's doing well right now." To defend his Labeeb title, River Seven will take on a field of seven that includes Connaught Cup (Can-G2) winner Excaper (Exchange Rate), who is wheeling back just one week after his fourth-place run in the Nearctic (Can-G2). Excaper entered the Nearctic from a 10-week layoff after skipping the Woodbine Mile. One race earlier on Woodbine's Sunday card, the C$150,000 Fanfreluche features a half-dozen Ontario-bred juvenile fillies going six furlongs on the Polytrack, including Starless Night (Grand Slam) and Pohdi Pohdi (Old Forester). The former miss makes her return following a troubled 11th-place finish in the Natalma (Can-G2). "She got hit with something and came back with a gash on the side of her face," trainer Gonzalez explained. "(Jockey) Emma(-Jayne Wilson) thought she bled which is why she pulled her up, but she was probably hit with a shoe or something." Pohdi Pohdi brings a perfect two-for-two mark into the race, including a five-length romp in the Victorian Queen two weeks ago...
Sunday's Premio Lydia Tesio (Ity-G1) provides the sophomore fillies an opportunity to prove themselves against elders, and one who could certainly live up to expectations is the lightly raced French filly Mayhem (Whipper). The Philip Sogorb charge didn't see a racetrack until July 23, when she was second in a 12 furlong Vichy conditions race, and she got off the mark a month later over the same track and trip. Following up in the Prix Joubert over the same distance at Saint-Cloud September 15, Mayhem was beaten just a short neck when second in the Prix de Royallieu (Fr-G2) at Longchamp October 4, and could be the class of this bunch. The race boasts a few handy German invaders, one of those being Calyxa (Pivotal). The four-year-old opened her 2014 account with a Listed win at Cologne going a mile, and two starts later stepped up to add the Franz-Gunther von Gedachtnisrennen (Ger-G3) over the same trip. Third when stretched out to 10 furlongs for the Grosser Dallmayr Preis (Ger-G1) July 27 and seventh at that distance in Deauville's Prix Jean Romanet (Fr-G1) August 24, she enters this off a third the mile Premio Vittorio di Capua (Ity-G1), and has distance queries to answer. The shippers will have to see off a strong team of locals that is headed by Oaks d'Italia (Ity-G2) winner Final Score (Dylan Thomas), who is unbeaten in Italy and prepped for this with a San Siro allowance victory September 24. The Stefano Botti-trained So Many Shots (Duke of Marmalade) has yet to finish off the board in five outings. She was third in the Oaks d'Italia prior to taking the Premio Mario Incisa Della Rochetta (Ity-G3) by four lengths, and was a last-out second in the Premio Verziere (Ity-G3) off the layoff October 12...
Taris (Flatter), recent runaway winner of Keeneland's Raven Run S. (G2), has been supplemented to the Fasig-Tipton November sale on November 3 in Lexington, Kentucky, where she'll be offered by Darby Dan Sales. Taris is fresh off her nine-length romp in the $250,000 Raven Run, where she earned a 115 BRIS Speed rating for the performance. Trained by Todd Beattie for Commonwealth New Era Racing, Taris began her career last year at two with an impressive 11 3/4-length debut win at Aqueduct. In 2014, she's undefeated and untested around one turn. Taris won the Wide Country S. at Laurel by 5 1/2 lengths in a hand ride before scoring a 7 3/4-length romp at Presque Isle Downs last month where she zipped six furlongs in 1:08 1/5. Her average margin of victory is 8 1/2 lengths. Taris has earned $275,700 to date with her four-for-five record. She hails from the Theatrical mare Comedy, and her second dam is the graded stakes-winning Lord at War mare Don't Be Silly. Bred by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, Taris's family goes back to leading sire War Front...
Sunday's ¥259,240,000 Kikuka Sho (Jpn-G1) at Kyoto Racecourse marks the final Japanese classic of the season, and with Satsuki Sho (Japanese Two Thousand Guineas) (Jpn-G1) hero Isla Bonita (Fuji Kiseki) sitting this one out in preference for the November 2 Tenno Sho Autumn (Jpn-G1), only Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) (Jpn-G1) winner One and Only (Heart's Cry) stands a chance to become a dual classic winner this year. Off for three months after his classic score, One and Only picked up right where he left off, besting the re-opposing Sounds of Earth (Neo Universe) in the 2400-meter Kobe Shimbun Hai (Jpn-G2) on September 28. That rival could manage only 11th in the Japanese Derby, but was reportedly suffering a physical issue, and is reported to be improved now. One and Only's greatest challenge could perhaps come from To the World (King Kamehameha), who had a four-race win streak snapped when second as the favorite in the Japanese Two Thousand Guineas. Fifth in the Japanese Derby, he was most recently second, again behind Isla Bonita, off the layoff in the September 21 St. Lite Kinen (Jpn-G2). Tagano Grandpa (King Kamehameha) looks to hand trainer Hiroyoshi Matsuda -- known for his handling of classic fillies like Buena Vista, Harp Star and Marcellina -- his first colt's classic win. Tagano Grandpa searches for his first win at the highest level, having taken the Chunch Sprint (Jpn-G3) going 6 1/2 furlongs on March 22, but he showed his ability to handled added distance when fourth in the Japanese Derby and third, beaten 1 1/2 lengths, in the St. Lite Kinen...
Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) announced the successful completion of the Horses Offering People Encouragement (HOPE) pilot project. "We are thrilled to see the inspiring outcomes of this program," says Nick Eaves, WEG president and CEO. "WEG is committed to supporting racehorse adoption and placement programs to ensure the welfare, safety and dignity of horses continues in their retirement. The HOPE program is an excellent example of how retired racehorses can continue to have a positive impact on society long after their racing careers are over." HOPE, a therapeutic horsemanship program brings together retired racehorses with the community's most vulnerable citizens. Participants receive hands on training in basic horsemanship skills like grooming, haltering, tacking, herd dynamics and horse anatomy from experienced horse caretakers from Woodbine's backstretch. The five-week pilot was launched in partnership with Halton Regional Police Service's COMMANDE (Community, Mobilization and Engagement), LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society and WEG. It was hosted at Emerald Lane Farm, a long time LongRun foster farm near Thornton, Ontario. "LongRun has a number of horses who, due to age or infirmities, are not the first choice for the average adopter. We are committed to finding these horses a permanent home and a dignified retirement for as long as they are happy and healthy," said Vicki Pappas, executive director of LongRun. "The HOPE pilot gives these horses a chance to receive individual attention and affection from the program participants." A generous donation from Sam-Son Farms helped to fund this pilot project which was supported by two of the stable's former race horses Symphony of Fire (Symphony) and Ice Bridge (Reggy), who are enjoying their time as therapy horses while they wait for a permanent home. A training facility in the Halton region is now being sought to expand the HOPE program for a planned spring session.
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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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