Breeders' Cup News & Notes
Beholder spikes fever, will miss BC Distaff
"By about 9 a.m. her fever had risen significantly and was serious," Blea continued. "We conferred again and made the decision to treat her symptoms aggressively. We did blood work and gave her penicillin. She is what matters most and we decided to treat her as we normally would, no matter the race.
"I saw her myself at about noon and she was already brighter and more alert than she had been earlier."
Beholder was going for her third Breeders' Cup victory, having captured the Juvenile Fillies in 2012 and last year's Distaff. Those wins helped her earn Eclipse Awards as champion two-year-old filly and champion three-year-old filly.
The bay four-year-old would have entered the Distaff off just three starts this season. She made her 2014 debut at Santa Anita in the April 20 Santa Lucia, scoring by 5 1/4 lengths that day, then showed up on June 7 at Belmont Park to finish fourth, just missing by a length, in the Ogden Phipps.
Beholder suffered a bad cut on her left hind pastern in the Phipps and didn't return to training in early August, forcing her to miss the entire Del Mar meet. However, that wasn't the end of her troubles.
"In her big work at Del Mar before the end of the meet she split that injury open," Mandella explained at the time. "We had to put five stitches in it again to try and heal it a second time. She missed a week's training and was just able to get ready in time for (the Zenyatta). Most horses could not have gotten ready."
Beholder defended her title in the September 27 Zenyatta back at Santa Anita by three parts of a length, and Saturday's work was one of her final major moves before going for a second straight Distaff win.
Spendthrift Farm has entered Beholder -- who currently sports a 15-10-3-0, $3,368,300, career record -- in the Fasig-Tipton November Sale on November 3 in Lexington, Kentucky.
"As disappointed and sad as we are about the fact that we aren't going to get to run, we can't have any negative feelings about Beholder because she's been so good to us," Mandella added. "We'll monitor her and give her the proper care until plans are made to fly her to Kentucky to go through the November sale at Fasig-Tipton."
"The Breeders' Cup is too close," Blea agreed. "It is too much to ask her to work in a week and then run with a situation like this, even if she does rebound quickly."
Untapable, Big Macher sizzle ahead of BC targets
Big Macher disappointed in the Pat O'Brien on August 24, finishing sixth, but trainer Richard Baltas feels the California-bred son of Beau Genius can make amends in the Sprint.
Under regular rider Tyler Baze, Big Macher broke off two lengths outside of work mate Unusual Fleet this morning, drew closer turning for home, then inhaled his pacesetter at the eighth pole and was five lengths clear at the wire.
"He finished in (one) 10 and four (fifths) for the last eighth, :23 flat for the last quarter and galloped out (six furlongs) in (one) 11 and change," Baltas said. "He couldn't be working any better coming up to this race. I'm real happy.
"I'm confident in the horse, but it is the Breeders' Cup, obviously. He'll be running against the best horses in the world so even though he's a Grade 1 winner he still has to step it up. I'm confident he's going to run his race."
Baltas has been down the Breeders' Cup road before, but pretty much ruled out any chance of winning after the post position draws.
"In 2001 I was in the Classic with Freedom Crest going a mile and a quarter at Belmont, and in 2012 I was in the Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita with Flashy Ways. We drew the 13 hole both races. As soon as we got the draw, I knew it was over with. We were finished."
Freedom Crest "was never a factor while racing wide," finishing 13th and last at 68-1, beaten some 33 lengths. Flashy Ways prompted the pace in third before fading in a wide trip and crossed the wire 11th at 7-1.
In other Breeders' Cup works at Santa Anita:
Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, gearing up toward a comeback from total knee replacement surgery, was aboard Sprint candidate Fast Anna in a five-furlong workout timed in 1:01 for Kathy Ritvo.
Dirt Mile hopeful Tonito M. went five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 for Jerry Hollendorfer, while Dirt Mile contender Fed Biz worked six furlongs for Bob Baffert in 1:12 4/5. Distaff candidate Tiz Midnight also went six furlongs for Baffert in 1:12 2/5.
Filly & Mare Sprint hopeful Little Alexis went five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 for trainer Carlo Vaccarezza.
Sweet Swap, reportedly training up to the Turf Sprint for John Sadler, covered six panels in 1:13 2/5.
On a firm turf course, Eddie Read winner Tom's Tribute (Mile) worked six furlongs for James Cassidy in 1:14, while Del Mar Handicap winner Big John B (Turf) went the same distance in 1:12 1/5 for Phil D'Amato.
Daddy D T (Juvenile Turf) went six furlongs for Sadler in 1:12, while Silentio (Turf Sprint) worked seven furlongs in 1:25 for Gary Mandella.
"Big work for Silentio," his trainer tweeted. "7/8 on turf around dogs in 1:25. One of the best breezes of his career."
Rusty Slipper, third behind Emollient in the Rodeo Drive, worked five furlongs in 1:03 2/5 for Graham Motion.
In Breeders' Cup works at Belmont Park:
There was a flurry of activity among New York-based Breeders' Cup hopefuls Sunday morning.
Among those prominent on the fast main track were Tonalist (Classic), five furlongs in 1:00 2/5, and rival Cigar Street, who earned the bullet in :59 3/5; Close Hatches (Distaff), half in :48 4/5; Better Lucky (Mile or Filly & Mare Sprint), :50 4/5; Sweet Reason (Filly & Mare Sprint), three furlongs in :34 3/5.
Carpe Diem and Daredevil sped respective half-miles in :48 1/5 and :48 4/5 on the training track for the Juvenile, while Feathered clocked :50 1/5 for the Juvenile Fillies.
Notable five-furlong works on the good inner turf were posted by Stephanie's Kitten (Filly & Mare Turf), who recorded the bullet in 1:02, and her likely rival Emollient, who went in 1:04; Imagining (Turf), 1:05; Seek Again (Mile), 1:03 4/5; Bobby's Kitten (Turf Sprint), 1:02 1/5; Juvenile Turf candidates Startup Nation and Offering Plan, who were timed in an identical 1:03 2/5; and Juvenile Fillies Turf hopefuls Isabella Sings (1:02), Lady Eli and Tammy the Torpedo (identical 1:03), Partisan Politics and Sivoliere (identical 1:03 3/5).
Mile contender Summer Front zipped four furlongs on the grass in a bullet :48 1/5. Filly & Mare Turf candidates Abaco (:50 4/5), Dayatthespa (:49) and Irish Mission (:53) also covered the same ground.
Undrafted drills bullet at Keeneland for BC Turf Sprint
Ashbrook Farm's Southern Honey worked a best-of-86 half-mile in :46 4/5 Saturday morning over Keeneland's fast main track.
Winner of the Winning Colors at Churchill Downs earlier this year, the Colonel John sophomore miss will be pre-entered Monday in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint to be run November 1 at Santa Anita.
"We're going," trainer Rusty Arnold said. "I met with the owners (Glenn Bromagen, his wife, Sandy, and son Bo, who is the racing manager for Ashbrook) this morning. The filly is doing good and she came out of her work yesterday great."
Arnold said the filly -- who was last seen running second in the October 4 Thoroughbred Club of America at the Lexington, Kentucky, track -- would work again on October 26 and leave for Southern California two days later.
Southern Honey will represent the second Breeders' Cup starter for Ashbrook. The farm's Wicked Style finished 10th in the mud at Monmouth Park in the 2007 Juvenile.
Hillstar strikes in Canadian International
In the opening strides, The Pizza Man went forward accompanied by War Dancer through a quarter in :25 1/5 on the good turf. The latter eased back to stalk, however, and Reporting Star moved up alongside The Pizza Man. On the backstretch, Reporting Star took over and established fractions of :50 1/5, 1:15 1/5 and 1:40, tracked by The Pizza Man.
All the while, Moore had Hillstar perfectly spotted in fifth, and asked him to improve his position on the far turn. When The Pizza Man dismissed Reporting Star at the top of the stretch, Hillstar was already on the premises to launch his challenge. The favorite swept by decisively to put the race away. Big Blue Kitten rallied, but too late, and Hillstar held him at bay by three-quarters of a length. After negotiating 1 1/2 miles in 2:29, Hillstar returned $4.50 to win.
Dynamic Sky closed from last to nip The Pizza Man for third. Next came Suntracer, Reporting Star, War Dancer, Pyrite Mountain and the tailed-off O'Prado Ole.
"I was out a little bit too early," Moore said, "but he was fine and plenty and it was going to take a good horse to get by him. Like Brown Panther, he (Hillstar) was the best horse in the race and just felt we would keep it as simple as we could.
"I am sure the boss (Stoute) had this race as a target from a long way out and it was always something we had in the backs of our minds if things were going well. I moved a bit too early today but he was the best horse, and we kept it straightforward again."
Moore also commented about losing his main opponent, Brown Panther.
"Coming here we thought we could beat him," the champion rider said. "He beat us at Chester (in the May 9 Ormonde) but there's always a horse race. It was just very sad for the connections. You bring the horse all the way over here and unfortunately something like that happened. Fortunately the horse looks like he's OK though."
Brown Panther, and Kingscote, were none the worse for wear.
"Just before the break, the horse got wound up and unfortunately he got me off," Kingscote said. "When I got back on, I tried to keep him relaxed and as soon as I let go he bolted. There wasn't much I could do after that. He's never done that before. He sometimes dances about and gets on his toes, but he's never been that extreme."
"It's very disappointing," said Tom Dascombe, trainer of Brown Panther. "Well done to the winner (Hillstar) and the connections of Caspar Netscher (another British raider who won the Nearctic Stakes later on the card). It wasn't our day today."
Hillstar's first top-level victory improved his record to 15-4-6-1 and made him a millionaire with $1,192,134 in earnings. Successful in his stakes debut in last summer's King Edward VII at Royal Ascot, he was third to course record-breaker Novellist in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Hillstar was not as effective cutting back in trip for the Juddmonte International and Champion Stakes, checking in fourth and sixth, respectively.
Making his 2014 bow in the March 29 Dubai World Cup, Hillstar never got involved and trudged home 14th of 16 on the Tapeta. He has been a model of consistency since returning to the British turf. Hillstar reeled off four straight second-place efforts in the May 9 Ormonde (to Brown Panther), the June 21 Hardwicke (to Telescope), the July 10 Princess of Wales's and the August 9 Rose of Lancaster. He scored his first win of the season last time out in the September 20 Arc Trial at Newbury, and made it two in a row here.
Hillstar was bred by Southcourt Stud in Great Britain. He is the second major winner produced by his dam, stakes heroine Crystal Star, who is also responsible for multiple Group 2-winning English highweight older mare Crystal Capella. Crystal Star, a Mark of Esteem mare, is herself a half-sister to Group 3-placed stakes scorer Waila. This is the further family of French classic victress Rose Gypsy, Group 1 hero Sasuru and Grade 1-winning millionaire Tuscan Evening.
Just the Judge overrules foes, completes British sweep in E.P. Taylor
Turning for home, Deceptive Vision threw down her challenge to Wall of Sound, and Meri Shika briefly loomed wider out. Just the Judge was full of run behind them, but needed a seam. The favorite made one for herself by barging Meri Shika out of the way and struck the front.
Just the Judge wasn't home free yet, for Odeliz, still another of the British party, was producing a terrific charge down the center of the course. With Spencer craftily changing his whip hand late, Just the Judge denied Odeliz by a half-length and finished 1 1/4 miles in 2:03 2/5.
"Obviously the race was very unsatisfactory because I had to go to 'Plan B' from the start because she kind of jumped awkwardly from the gate," Spencer said. "You can't panic then, you have to take a different route. (I) was in amongst horses from probably five (furlongs) out to about the three-(eighths) pole and it was very, very tight where I was. Then she had to make a little bit of room for herself early in the stretch.
"I was trying to not give her too hard of a race because obviously this is basically a stepping stone to the Breeders' Cup. So the plan was just to win here and ship on down. She's won but I'd prefer if it had gone a little bit smoother."
Locally-based Deceptive Vision reported home third, a neck up on the one-paced Wall of Sound, and thereby prevented an all-British trifecta. Eyeful, flying the flag for France, wound up fifth. Angel Terrace, Royal Fury and Meri Shika completed the order under the wire.
Just the Judge, who paid $5.20 to win, now sports a mark of 13-5-1-4, $893,486. Undefeated as a juvenile, the Lawman filly beat the boys in the Washington Singer Stakes and concluded her 2012 campaign with a score in the Rockfel. She lost her perfect record by a mere half-length to Sky Lantern when reappearing in the 2013 One Thousand Guineas, and earned a deserved classic victory next time in the Irish One Thousand Guineas. No match for Sky Lantern when third in the Coronation at Royal Ascot, Just the Judge was well below her best in the Nassau and Sun Chariot.
Resurfacing in the April 17 Earl of Sefton, Just the Judge was a useful fifth versus males. She went on to post a trio of thirds, in the June 6 Princess Elizabeth, June 29 Pretty Polly and the aforementioned Beverly D., before her appearance at Woodbine.
Just the Judge was bred by Mrs. J. Dempsey in Ireland and sold for $67,270 as a Goffs September yearling. The dark bay is a half-sister to current stakes-placed sophomore Obliterator. Both are out of the Rainbow Quest mare Faraday Light, who is a half-sister to Group 3 winner and classic-placed High Heeled. Just the Judge's second dam is multiple Grade 2 victress Uncharted Haven, and she hails from the family of Grade/Group 2 scorers Ferneley and Chancellor.
Caspar Netscher rallies for Nearctic win; 'Bombshell struts her stuff in Ontario Fashion
Caspar Netscher, meanwhile, was coming strong down the center of the course. The David Simcock-trained English shipper caught Black Hornet in the final jumps with fellow closers Calgary Cat and Excaper not far behind.
"He was on his toes good at the start, but Mr. Simcock has done a brilliant job with him, primed him perfect and he's come here the best he's felt," Mullen said. "I rode him in a work about three weeks ago and I knew he would need the run at Ascot (a Group 3 on October 4) so coming here he was 100 percent.
"I jumped well and they were going hard in front so I just slotted him in. I gave myself an option to go in or out and when I switched him in, I got a nice run and he picked up well all the way to the line."
Sent off the 9-2 third choice, Caspar Netscher paid $11.60 for finishing six furlongs on the good turf in 1:08 4/5. Black Hornet was three parts of a length back while holding Calgary Cat to third by a neck. Excaper followed in fourth by another length, while completing the order under the wire were Paso Doble, Lockout, Big Blue Spirit, Dreamsgonewild, Langstaff and Upgraded.
Caspar Netscher was successful in a trio of Group 2 contests as well as a Group 3 event overseas, including the German Two Thousand Guineas, prior to his retirement. He ran fourth in what was supposed to be his finale, a French Group 1, and showed promise when returning to competition on July 30 last year with a neck second in the Hungerford Stakes at Goodwood. He proceeded to finish fourth in a pair of Group 2s, second in a listed contest and 10th in Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October.
The Queen Elizabeth II capped off the 2014 season for the son of Dutch Art, but he was unable to duplicate any sort of success in four 2014 starts heading into the Nearctic. Getting back on track, the David Simcock-trained five-year-old improved his career record to 26-6-4-2, $706,762 with Sunday's victory.
Bred in Great Britain by Meon Valley Stud, Caspar Netscher sold twice at public auction, bringing $41,916 as a Tattersalls October yearling and $110,933 as a Tattersalls April two-year-old.
The bay is out of the unraced Stravinsky mare Bella Cantata, who is a half-sister to highweights Stagecraft and Balalaika, and counts as his dual Group 3 heroine Reprocolor. That mare is the dam of multiple highweight Cezanne and Irish Oaks queen Colorspin, as well as the grandam of multiple Group 1 winner and sire Opera House and his full brother, two-time St Leger conqueror Kayf Tara.
One race later in the Grade 3, $139,006 Ontario Fashion, Native Bombshell came with a powerful late run to post a neck decision in her graded, and seasonal, debut for trainer Chad Brown. Campaigned by Michael Dubb et al, the War Front filly ran six furlongs on the Polytrack in 1:09 2/5 under jockey Patrick Husbands.
Native Bombshell bided her time in midpack as Cryptic Message led the way through splits of :22, 44 2/5 and :56 2/5. Husbands gave the four-year-old her cue and she took off, closing along the rail before angling out leaving the turn. Disco Barbie was also closing strongly and just missed the win as Native Bombshell hit the wire first.
Native Bombshell was the 3-1 second favorite to near 9-5 public choice Disco Barbie and returned $8.50 for the win. Cryptic Message followed in third by 1 1/4 lengths while Cat Lore, Goldstryke Glory, Strike the Moon, Casablanca Kiss, Youcan'tcatchme, Thats Our Princess and Silent Treat completed the order of finish.
Native Bombshell began her career under Tony Dutrow's tutelage at Gulfstream Park at the start of 2013, finishing third in her debut before breaking her maiden next out by 3 1/4 lengths. Both of those starts came on sloppy, sealed surfaces in off-the-turf events.
The dark bay filly was switched to Brown and showed up at Aqueduct in April, taking a turf optional claimer, prior to sitting out the rest of the summer. She returned for a well-beaten ninth in the grassy Riskaverse at Saratoga and closed out her sophomore season with a nose victory in the Ruling Angel while trying Woodbine's synthetic Polytrack.
Native Bombshell got a late start to her four-year-old campaign in the Ontario Fashion but boosted her resume to 6-4-0-1, $207,293. Bred in Kentucky by B.D. Gibbs Farm LLC and Fleetwood Bloodstock LLC, she initially sold for $20,000 as a Keeneland November weanling before bringing $150,000 as a Keeneland September yearling.
The dark bay miss is the first registered stakes winner out of the Pulpit mare Flat Screen, and comes from the same female family as 1986 Broodmare of the Year Too Bald and top sires Capote and Broad Brush.
White Rose noses out competition in Dowager
White Rose started to advance between horses to improve her position before shifting out six wide leaving the far turn. The gray continued to gain ground on the outside in the stretch, while Caroline Thomas made her way from the back of the pack into contention late. Caroline Thomas looked to be bottled up near the quarter pole, found a seam in the final yards and surged through horses on the inside, but White Rose was all out to the wire to get up for her second career stakes victory.
"I had a good trip from the 14 hole," jockey Shaun Bridgmohan said. "Kenny and I had spoken about it; we needed to let her run a little bit early. I ended up having a good trip with her. She was trying hard the whole way. I never gave up on her. The more I asked her, the more she dug in for me."
Caroline Thomas had to settle for second and was a half-length clear of third-place finisher Appealing Cat, who got up by a neck over Cat's Claw in fourth. Frivolous, Ann of the Dance, Inimitable Romanee, Sky High Lady, Charlie Em, Left a Message, La Malaguena, Topic, I O Ireland and First Romance rounded out the order of finish. Gathering and Maid On a Mission were on the also-eligible list and did not draw in.
White Rose stopped the teletimer in 2:31 1/5 for the 1 1/2-mile test over the firm turf. Sent off as the 8-1 fifth choice she rewarded her supporters with $18.60 for the score.
"We did the best we could, but we had to get around 13 (other horses)," said Joe Rocco Jr., rider of runner-up Caroline Thomas. "With a large field, coming from last, I had to snake my way through them and I had to wait a little bit. With a clean trip I think we win, but all we could do was the best we could. She always settles in the back, and every time I've ridden her she's made a really big run. It's just the circumstances of grass racing that you have to get lucky snaking your way through, and today it didn't quite work out."
White Rose broke her maiden as a three-year-old on the grass at Gulfstream Park in her fourth career start. She finished runner-up in her stakes debut in the Glen Falls over a muddy Saratoga track in a race that was taken off the turf last September. White Rose returned to the turf and was off the board in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont and Grade 3 Long Island Handicap at Saratoga to close out the year.
The daughter of Tapit was third in an allowance at this distance over the course in April and finished sixth in the Keertana Stakes at Churchill Downs the following month. She was seen coming in 13th in the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap two starts back at Arlington and was exiting her first stakes victory in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon Stakes last month. White Rose banked $75,000 for the win to boost her bank account to $392,899 from a 17-5-4-2 career line.
Bred in Kentucky by J. S. McDonald, White Rose is out of the stakes-placed El Prado mare Garden Dance, who is a half-sister to stakes scorer All Dolled Up. The gray's third dam is multiple stakes winner Music Queen and her fourth dam is multiple Canadian champion Royal Tara.
White Rose sold as a weanling for $210,000 at the Keeneland November sale and was purchased for $160,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. The gray returned to the ring as a two-year-old in training and was bought for $225,000 at the Keeneland April sale.
Taris well after Raven Run romp, but skipping BC
While immediate plans are unclear for Taris -- "We'll keep looking at the condition books and see what's out there, but there are not a lot of obvious spots," Beattie said -- Keeneland's Madison Stakes in April looms large on the horizon.
"Absolutely. Oh yeah; we'll be there," Beattie nodded.
Also looking forward to 2015 at Keeneland was trainer Phil Schoenthal, whose Miss Behaviour finished sixth Saturday after chasing Taris early in the race.
"The winner ran awesome and I am happy for Todd, (jockey) Clinton (Potts) and the connections," Schoenthal said. "I just don't feel like my filly ran her 'A' race and that is disappointing to me.
"We got the opportunity to scout out Keeneland and now we can plan a campaign for next year to have a fresh horse in the fall."
Cirrus des Aigles exits British Champions Day in good shape, headed to Hong Kong
Veteran globetrotter Cirrus des Aigles, fifth as the favorite in Saturday's Group 1 Champion Stakes on British Champions Day at Ascot, emerged from that turnover in good shape and will now target Hong Kong's December 13 International Meeting for the fifth time, trainer Corine Barande-Barbe told Racing Post.
Despite the eight-year-old's favorable record on soft surfaces, Barande-Barbe noted that Saturday's going may not have been to his liking.
"He's in good shape and feeling very happy with himself," she told the trade daily. "He didn't seem to want to engage fifth gear (in the Champion). Perhaps something will come to light, but I think it is more likely that the race just didn't go his away.
"He was stuck wide the whole way and I also wonder if the holding ground didn't really suit him," she added. "He loves it heavy but, given the problems he has had in the past, it was perhaps a bit greasy for him and I think that he maybe saved himself a bit on it. When the vets took him to be sampled after the race, he wasn't sweating or blowing like the rest. He is entered in Hong Kong and if he seems well he will go."
Cirrus des Aigles made his first voyage to Hong Kong in 2009, finishing fifth in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase, and has contested the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup in 2010 (seventh), 2011 (fifth) and 2013 (third).
Jockey James Doyle, who picked up a seven-day ban and a £10,000 fine for using the whip above the permitted level while riding Noble Mission to victory in the Champion Stakes on Saturday, is unlikely to appeal the stewards' decision, the rider said on Sunday.
"I haven't spoken to anyone about it yet and hadn't really thought about it," Doyle said. "I would say the chances (of an appeal) would be pretty slim. The rules are there and you have to take the consequences at the end of the day. There are no qualms there."
Doyle said he hoped the race would be remembered for Noble Mission's gallant performance, rather than the ban. The five-year-old was winning the race for trainer Lady Jane Cecil two years after his famed elder brother, Frankel, ended his unbeaten career there for the late Sir Henry Cecil.
"Hopefully the suspension and the fine won't overshadow what happened," Doyle said. "I don't want such a great race marred by people saying, 'He got a ban and a fine.' That would be upsetting. Hopefully people will just remember the battle the two horses (Noble Mission and runner-up Al Kazeem) had. The race produced a fairytale ending."
The ban runs November 1 and 3-8, meaning Doyle would miss the Breeders' Cup and Group 1 Melbourne Cup.
In other British Champions Day news, Leading Light is unlikely to race again after suffering suspensory injuries while running seventh of nine as the favorite in Saturday's Group 2 British Champions Long Distance Cup.
Campaigned by Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor, the Montjeu four-year-old was returning to the scene of his Group 1 Gold Cup victory at Royal Ascot in June. He was one of a handful of horses hampered in the early straight by eventual winner Forgotten Rules. Forgotten Rules' rider, Pat Smullen, received a three-day ban.
"It was an unfortunate incident and the unfortunate part was the horse came out of it the wrong side," trainer Aidan O'Brien said. "He has two very bad injuries to both his front legs and there's a chance he might never race again. It's very disappointing."
In addition to his defeat of defending winner Estimate in the Gold Cup, Leading Light won last year's Group 1 St Leger as well as the Group 3 Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot. He has won eight of 12 outings, including six group stakes.
Dylan Mouth defeats elders in Gran Premio del Jockey Club
Dylan Mouth, who suffered his lone defeat when eighth in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 20 but rebounded to take the Federico Tesio Stakes by three lengths on September 21, stretched his unbeaten string in Italy to seven on Sunday.
The Derby Italiano winner recorded his first Group 1 success at San Siro in the 209,000 Gran Premio del Jockey Club against elders in his first outing at that level. In the last 10 editions of this event, just two sophomores have emerged victorious -- Shirocco, who landed the Breeders' Cup Turf at four, and Novellist, who recorded a Group 1 hat trick the following year topped by his triumph in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.
Dylan Mouth hit the front 800 meters from home when his pacemaker Wild Wolf got tired, and stayed on gamely when challenged by the mud-lover Duca Di Mantova.
"You need a very good three-year-old to win in these conditions, and Dylan Mouth is very good," jockey Fabio Branca praised his mount, who became the first Italian Derby scorer to win the race since Ruysdael in 1967.
Japan Racing Association representative Fumitaka Tsuruoka attended the race and extended Dylan Mouth an invitation to the Group 1 Japan Cup.
"It's a big honor to run in a big race like the Japan Cup," trainer Stefano Botti said. "We will have a look at Dylan Mouth in the next few days, and if he comes out of the race well we can try our chance in Japan."
Two races earlier, Fontanelice put her unbeaten record on the line in the Group 3, 99,000 Premio Dormello, the Italian championship event for juvenile fillies, and despite some concerns about her stamina, emerged with her reputation intact.
The bay jumped quickly in this spot and was allowed to set a slow pace by jockey Cristian Demuro. She was challenged in the stretch by the German raider, Marabea, but responded with courage and stayed on.
"The plan was to stalk the pace, but she was so brilliant and nobody wanted to lead," Demuro said. "She relaxed well in front and was so game in the last 200 meters."
Fontanelice was a nine-length debut winner over the San Siro surface on May 1 and, after adding the listed Alessandro Perrone a month later, dead-heated for the win in the Group 3 Premio Passi on June 29.
Fontanelice was a gift to owner/trainer Stefano Botti from his father, Alduino, and the elder Botti added, "She proved that she can stay. We were not sure (she could stay) before the race, but her sire, Vale of York, won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and the female line is the same as Grade 1 Japanese Derby winner Deep Brillante."
Kicking off the stakes action at San Siro on Sunday was the Group 3, 61,600 Premio Omenoni, which saw Harlem Shake continue his forward progression.
"He is a fast, nice horse," trainer Marco Gasparini said. "We will have a look at the pattern race book, but I think there is nothing for him this season, except the Group 3 Premio Aloisi at Rome."
Harlem Shake came to Italy at the end of 2013 as a maiden, with four places in seven starts at two in Ireland. He opened his Italian account with a six-length maiden win at the Capannelle on March 28 and improved start-by-start this spring. He ran third, 2 1/2 lengths off subsequent Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp runner-up Rangali, in the May 12 listed Texanita at Maisons-Laffitte in his lone voyage to France. The Moss Vale gelding landed his first stakes win two weeks ago in the listed Premio Cancelli over the course.
Veteran French stakes performer Spoil the Fun had not visited the winner's circle since collecting his first black-type victory in the Montretoute at Longchamp last May, and that losing streak included two off-the-board efforts in Dubai earlier this year, but got back on the winning track Sunday in the Group 3, 61,600 Premio del Piazzale. He relished Sunday's soft turf conditions and kicked for home with ease under jockey Julien Auge.
Third in allowance company to kick off his European campaign on April 11, the Rock of Gibraltar five-year-old was beaten just a head when second in Chantilly's Group 3 Prix Bertrand du Breuil Longines on June 15, and was third in Vichy's listed Prix Jacques de Bremond on July 25 prior to filling the runner-up spot again in the Group 3 Prix Quincey Lucien Barriere at Deauville on August 31.
"We can say, mission accomplished," trainer Christophe Ferland said. "Our target was to win a group race with him, and he did it. Now he will have a rest and will come back next season in Europe -- we won't go to Dubai this (winter)."
Already successful a record seven times in Sunday's Group 2, 130,000 Prix du Conseil, Andre Fabre extended his record with Manatee as that unexposed three-year-old denied Norse King back-to-back renewals in the end-of-term Longchamp contest.
In front from the break, the dark bay was quickly handed a lead from last year's winner and battled to close the gap in the straight. Eventually managing to subdue the long-time leader with 50 meters remaining, he was pushed out by jockey Maxime Guyon for an ultimately decisive score.
Restricted to three starts so far, the homebred son of Monsun was not seen for five months following his debut success going 12 furlongs at Chantilly on April 26, but built on a return second at Chateaubriant on September 5 to record an impressive 4 1/2-length success in a 15-furlong conditions event at Maisons-Laffitte last out on September 29.
"We were absolutely delighted with Manatee's performance today," Lisa-Jane Graffard of Godolphin said. "He is a very late-maturing horse and is now really coming into his own. Regardless of what he did this year, we have always been looking at next year for him.
"Andre Fabre has been very patient with the horse. He is very straightforward and easy to place in his races. He has shown a lot of class today to get past Norse King, who is a very seasoned campaigner and won this race last year. Hopefully, Manatee can continue to progress and confirm his class next year."
Making all on his racecourse bow going a mile at Longchamp at the start of September, Epicuris was again dominant from the front to justify favoritism two races earlier in the Group 3, 80,000 Prix de Conde in his first major test.
Happy on an uncontested lead under Thierry Thulliez, the imposing homebred started to stretch his rivals at the top of the straight and only the conservatively ridden Big Blue was able to give meaningful pursuit. Kicking clear inside the final furlong, the Rail Link juvenile was comfortably clear of that Godolphin representative to book a ticket to the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud on November 8.
"He is a nice colt with a lovely action and my instructions were to go to the front, as he has a huge stride and relaxes very well," trainer Criquette Head-Maarek said. "He has a tendency to be keen between horses too. We will enter him in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud and I will discuss it with his owner and Lord Grimthorpe, but if all is well we might take our chance."
Epicuris might face a rematch with runner-up Big Blue there, according to Graffard.
"Big Blue has run very well today and come up against what looks to be a good horse in the winner," she said. "He remains open to improvement. No decision has been made about whether he will run again this year, but the Criterium de Saint-Cloud could be a possible target. We will see how he comes out of this race and it will be up to H H Sheikh Mohammed and (trainer) Andre Fabre to decide."
Bourree finished down the field in 11th when pitched into a valuable sales-related event going six panels at Baden-Baden in her August 30 debut, improved to finish second when upped a quarter-mile at Cologne last out on September 28, and occupied a forward role in Sunday's Group 3, 105,000 Preis der Winterkonigin, Germany's premier prize for juvenile distaffers.
Stoked up to seize control fanning wide off the home turn, the Andreas Lowe-trained daughter of Siyouni repelled all threats in the straight and kept on strongly under continued urging from jockey Jozef Bojko to hold the late thrust of Desiree Clary for a first win of any kind.
Later on Baden-Baden's Sunday card, jockey Adrie de Vries settled Ever Strong in a slipstreaming second after the initial strides in the Group 3, 55,000 Baden-Wurttemberg-Trophy. The Lomitas six-year-old gelding bounded to the front turning into the straight and was driven out inside the final furlong to hold on for a career high.
Ever Strong has enjoyed a fruitful time at handicap level, winning two such events at Hannover on April 21 and May 18, but has not fared as well when tried in black-type company. Seventh in the June 14 listed Sachsen-Preis at Dresden, the bay ran fifth in the Preis der Sparkassen Finanzgruppe at this track on August 30, and occupied the same berth in a course-and-distance handicap last out on September 7.
Shonan Pandora slid over to the rail shortly after the break in Sunday's Grade 1, ¥174,300,000 Shuka Sho at Kyoto and found herself leading the second flight of runners coming off the first turn, at which point the field was split nearly evenly into two groups. The Deep Impact sophomore miss closed the gap on the leading group rounding the turn, and found herself two lengths off the lead, still on the rail, at the top of the lane.
Bursting through an opening shortly thereafter, she had to hold off a late charge from the Grade 1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) winner Nuovo Record to claim the spoils.
"She broke well and was able to sit in an ideal position taking an economic route," jockey Suguru Hamanaka explained. "We all had high hopes for her from the beginning, and I could feel her strength during recent workouts. I saw Nuovo Record coming from the outside, and just prayed that we could hold her off."
Shonan Pandora experienced a rather nondescript beginning to her career, breaking her maiden at second asking in January prior to four straight losses. Second in a Tokyo allowance on May 24, the bay returned refreshed from a summer holiday, taking a Niigata allowance by 2 1/4 lengths as the even-money choice. She prepped for Sunday's classic with a second-place finish, once again as the favorite, in the Shion Sho Stakes on September 13, and her believers enjoyed longer odds in the race.
Shonan Pandora's dam, Cutie Gold, is a half-sister to Group 1 Hong Kong Vase and Group 2 Dubai Sheema Classic winner Stay Gold, the sire of Japanese Horse of the Year and Triple Crown winner Orfevre.
Daley Stable's homebred Northslope (Elusive Quality) captured his first stakes in Sunday's $100,000 Bowl Game S. at Belmont and set a track record in the process. The four-year-old gelding covered about 1 1/4 miles over the good inner turf in 2:05.81 with Irad Ortiz Jr. up. "There wasn't much speed in the race so everyone was trying to slow it down," Ortiz said. "From my post I was able to get perfect position, and he did the rest." The Kiaran McLaughlin pupil tracked the pacesetter on the outside from the start, claimed the lead with about a sixteenth to go and held on at the wire by a neck. North Slope was exiting an optional claiming victory over this course last month. "He's training up at Greentree and he loves it up there," said Art Magnuson, assistant to McLaughlin. "It's quiet and he has his own special open stall. He's improving, even (though) the distance was a question mark. I wonder whether (they will decide if) he'll go to Palm Meadows and get freshened up; because there's still some racing at Aqueduct in the fall, and he loves the cooler weather." The bay has a career mark of 18-4-4-3, $309,707...
Blinkers On Racing Stable et al's Red Outlaw (Tribal Rule) continued his domination by wiring Sunday's $93,250 Uniformity S. at Santa Anita to remain undefeated from six starts. The three-year-old gelding captured his fourth stakes in a row and has now wired the field in his last three starts. With Edwin Maldonado in the irons, the Peter Miller charge stopped the teletimer in 1:11 4/5 going about 6 1/2 furlongs over the firm downhill turf. The 4-5 favorite drew clear from his competition in the stretch to win by 2 1/2 lengths. The chestnut has a bank account which totals $346,100...
Dual Grade 2 hero Departing (War Front), the likely favorite for the $200,000 Fayette (G2) going 1 1/8 miles on Keeneland's main track on closing day, October 25, completed his major preparation for the race with a half-mile work in :48 4/5 over the fast dirt at Churchill Downs Sunday morning. "We wanted him to go in :48 or :49ish and he hit it right on the button with a good gallop out," explained trainer Al Stall Jr., who won the 2009 renewal of the race with Blame. "He got a lot out of his last race at Churchill (a runner-up finish in the Homecoming Classic in his first race in eight weeks)." Stall said Departing would ship to Keeneland for the race on Saturday. Entries for the Fayette will be taken Wednesday. Among the horses considered as probable for the race is Grade 2-placed stakes winner Stephanoatsee (A.P. Indy), who worked a half-mile in :48 2/5 on Keeneland's fast dirt Saturday for trainer Nick Zito. Other probables for the race are Homecoming Classic third-placer Call Me George (Point Given), who worked five-eighths in 1:03 3/5 on Saturday at Churchill; Canadian classic victor Coltimus Prime (Milwaukee Brew), who logged five panels in 1:01 3/5 at Keeneland on Saturday; multiple stakes hero Long River (A.P. Indy), third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) last out; and Grade 3-placed Pick of the Litter (Kitten's Joy). Grade 3 scorer Code West (Lemon Drop Kid), Grade 3-placed multiple stakes winner Ground Transport (Big Brown) and dual Grade 2 conqueror Mr. Commons (Artie Schiller) are considered possible starters...
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy, who rode Rubick (Encosta de Lago) to victory in the Schillaci (Aus-G2) at Caulfield on October 11, has chosen that mount over last season's Blue Diamond (Aus-G1) heroine Earthquake (Exceed and Excel) for the November 1 Coolmore Stud (Aus-G1), according to Racing and Sports. McEvoy, who recently ended his retainer with Earthquake's owner, Godolphin, has ridden the filly in her last five outings, including a victory in the Thoroughbred Club (Aus-G3) on the same day of Rubick's Schillaci win. McEvoy was riding the Gerald Ryan-trained Rubick for the first time in the Schillaci, replacing Brenton Avdulla. In their only prior meeting, Rubick was fourth behind Earthquake in the Blue Diamond. Jockey James McDonald will pick up the mount on Earthquake...
A deal brokered between Qatar Bloodstock and the Aga Khan's Studs will see Saturday's Queen Elizabeth II (Eng-G1) winner Charm Spirit (Invincible Spirit) and freshman sire Makfi (Dubawi) trade places in France and the United Kingdom over the next two seasons. Charm Spirit, who retires with three straight Group 1 victories including the Prix Jean Prat and Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, will stand his initial season at Tweenhills Stud in the United Kingdom next year before rerouting to Haras de Bonneval in France for 2016. Makfi, who has stood at Tweenhills through this year, will stand at Haras de Bonneval next year. "We are very excited at the prospect of working with the Aga Khan Studs," said David Redvers, managing director of Tweenhills. "Makfi's progeny have already enjoyed a lot of success in France and we are delighted that under this new arrangement he will stand in Normandy and be more accessible to French breeders. We are committed to standing our best stallions in France at the Aga Khan Studs, as well as in Britain at Tweenhills. Next season Makfi will stand at Haras de Bonneval and in 2016 it will be Charm Spirit's turn." Georges Rimaud, manager of the Aga Khan Studs in France, remarked, "We are delighted to be entering into a partnership with Qatar Bloodstock, which will be a source of great opportunities in the long term and we are very much looking forward to standing Makfi next season and Charm Spirit in 2016."
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