American Pharoah headed to Haskell
"The horse comes first and we intend to run him as many times this year as he tells us he can," Zayat stated. "The hope is that he does in the Haskell what he loves to do, and that is winning."
Main Sequence returns to defend United Nations title
"He is a very professional horse and is always straightforward," Motion said. "He's had no problems since coming back from Dubai.
"Both workouts have looked good. I could've ran him a few weeks ago, but wanted to put him in the best spot possible."
Regular rider Rajiv Maragh will be back aboard as Main Sequence breaks from post 6 in this 1 3/8-mile "Win & You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Turf. Should he repeat, Main Sequence would join an honor roll of two-time UN winners including Round Table (1957, 1959), Mongo (1962-63), Noble Dancer (1978-79), Manila (1986-87), Sandpit (1995-96), English Channel (2006-07) and Presious Passion (2008-09).
Since getting away from Main Sequence, turf veterans Twilight Eclipse and Imagining have had mixed results. Imagining left Twilight Eclipse back in third when taking the March 28 Pan American (G2), but was only fifth to that same rival in the May 9 Man o' War (G1). Twilight Eclipse scored a deserved Grade 1 breakthrough on that occasion, only to retreat to seventh last time in the Manhattan.
Ashleyluvssugar, in contrast, is an upwardly mobile four-year-old. Improved markedly since stretching out on the Santa Anita turf, the Peter Eurton trainee brings a three-race win skein including the March 21 San Luis Rey (G2) and May 24 Charles Whittingham (G2). This represents a much stiffer class test, but his gaudy 108 BRIS Speed figure from the San Luis Rey suggests that he could be up to it. Hall of Famer Gary Stevens comes in to maintain the partnership.
Rounding out the field are the Todd Pletcher-trained Divine Oath (Broken Vow), who's got a bit to find on form with these; Sycamore Lane (Artie Schiller), who makes an audacious stakes debut off a pair of allowance wins for Hall of Famer Bill Mott; and recent Ramsey claim Shining Copper (Aragorn), who has the look of a pacemaker for Big Blue Kitten.
Summit of Speed boasts Work All Week, competitive fields
"We weren't looking for him to work that fast, but he did it all on his own," Richard Papiese said. "We hope it's an indication that he is going to run a big race this weekend."
Also of note in the Smile Sprint is Alsvid (Officer), who defeated Work All Week when taking the Aristides by two lengths. The Chris Hartman-trained gelding brings a three-race win streak into the event after taking an allowance/optional claimer in March prior to a three-quarter length score in the Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3) about two weeks later.
Chris Landeros has been aboard for Alsvid's current win streak and retains the mount.
Grande Shores will be competing over his home track in the Smile Sprint, having recorded 13 in-the-money finishes from 16 career tries at Gulfstream. The seven-year-old Jacks or Better homebred seemingly has gotten better with age after his career had been compromised by a chronic digestive disorder that is under control but still demands constant monitoring.
"I know he's going to run his heart out," trainer Stanley Gold said. "There's going to be plenty of speed in it and he'll be coming. I'd rather see it be seven (furlongs) instead of six. He's going to have to be coming faster and start sooner. He's earned the shot. You hate to possibly get overmatched, but I can't say he is overmatched."
Eddie Castro, who rode Grande Shores to a three-quarter length victory in the Parrot Key S. last out, has the call.
"She's always held her form," the conditioner added. "She's never really ever needed any one set track. She's traveled well and run on all kinds of surfaces. She's always been a pretty consistent runner. We were able to give her a little breather after (the Inside Information), and she's always run well fresh."
Earlier on the Summit of Speed program, 10 sophomore colts and geldings will go seven furlongs in the $150,000 Carry Back S. (G3) while nine three-year-old fillies take part in the $150,000 Azalea S. (G3) at the same distance.
Barbados (Speightstown) enters the Carry Back off a more than five-money break, having last been seen recording his third straight win in the Hutcheson S. (G3) over track and distance. The Azalea features the respective top three -- Huasca (Tiz Wonderful), Dogwood Trail (Awescome of Course) and Fond of Sarah (With Distinction) -- from the track and distance Tangelo H. on June 6, as well as Jostle S. vixen Warriorscmoutoplay (Warrior's Reward).
Five other stakes are carded for the day as well. Eight juveniles have been entered in the $75,000 Birdonthewire S. going 5 1/2 furlongs to kick off the stakes action, followed one race later by the fillies equivalent, the $75,000 Cassidy S., which drew nine runners.
The $75,000 Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint attracted a field of nine to go five furlongs on the turf, while the $75,000 Miesque's Approval S. and sister race $75,000 Spook Express S. will each send contestants 1 1/16 miles on the green. The former will see 10 line up while the Spook Express boasts 15, including one main-track only entrant.
Danish Dynaformer aims to give Attfield record ninth Queen's Plate
"He's a really nice horse, no question about it," Attfield said. "He's got a big turn of foot and a huge cruising speed. He's a very versatile horse."
Attfield is currently tied with Harry Giddings Jr. for most Plate wins. His previous winners were Not Bourbon (for Fipke) in 2008, Regal Discovery (1995), Peteski (1993), Alydeed (1992), Izvestia (1990), With Approval (1989), Market Control (1987) and Norcliffe (1976). Peteski, Izvestia and With Approval all went on to win the Canadian Triple Crown.
Danish Dynaformer will be ridden by Patrick Husbands for the first time, since Luis Contreras, aboard for the Trial, was previously committed to Ami's Flatter (Flatter). Husbands has won the Plate twice, in 2003 with eventual Triple Crown winner Wando, then last year with filly Lexie Lou (Sligo Bay). The last jockey to win back-to-back Plates was Eurico Rosa da Silva in 2009-10, with Eye of the Leopard and Big Red Mike, respectively.
Billy's Star (15-1), with the aforementioned Rosa da Silva, currently Woodbine's leading rider aboard, finished a troubled sixth in the Trial, yet only five lengths behind his stablemate, after breaking his maiden in May at Woodbine over 1 1/16 miles. Also bred by Fipke but now owned by Perfect Timber Partnership, he was a $161,177 Canadian Select yearling purchase.
Bear Stables' Academic (5-1), with Justin Stein aboard, scored a 66-1 shocker three weeks ago when wiring her rivals in the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks. It was just the second start of the year for the filly. Her 1 1/8-mile time of 1.48.86 was a track record and almost one second faster than it took Danish Dynaformer to win the Trial a race before. Her connections drew the first post selection and picked post 4.
Academic, the field's leading money winner with $293,141 after being bought for $54,000 at the Ocala Two-Year-Olds In training Sale, will try to become the 36th filly to win the Plate since 1860, the eighth since 1956 and the seventh to sweep both the Oaks and the Plate, joining Flaming Page (1962), La Lorgnette (1985), Dance Smartly (1991), Dancethruthedawn (2001), Inglorious (2011) and Lexie Lou (2014).
Stein rode Strait of Dover to victory in the 2012 Plate, while Bear Stables and trainer Reade Baker, who will also saddle Bear At Last (Marchfield) and Breaking Lucky (Lookin at Lucky), finished third last year with Asserting Bear.
Breaking Lucky (20-1), owned by Gunpowder Farms, broke his maiden at Woodbine in April, then was second and seventh in two subsequent route allowance races. The son of 2010 Preakness (G1) winner Lookin At Lucky will be ridden by Jim McAleney, who has twice finished second in the Plate, aboard I And I in 2000 and Anglian Prince in 2002. Bear Stables' Bear At Last (30-1), a one-time winner in 11 outings to be ridden by Rico Walcott, was most recently seventh in the Plate Trial.
Conquest Boogaloo (8-1), a $190,000 Keeneland yearling buy, finished a closing troubled third in the Plate Trial, just two lengths behind Danish Dynaformer. He also encountered a difficult trip in the Marine, when eighth to Shaman Ghost. He's won two of seven, including last year's Swynford S., and will be handled by Alan Garcia. Oakton (20-1), a one-time winner in six starts, will be ridden for the first time by Tyler Pizarro, who finished second for Casse in the 2011 Plate aboard Hippolytus.
Chiefswood Stable's homebred Portree (Niigon) (12-1), trained by Stuart Simon and ridden by Gerry Olguin, finished an excellent fourth in the Plate Trial, just 2 1/2 lengths behind winner Danish Dynaformer, after leading in midstretch. It was just his third career start after winning his first two outings earlier this year. He'll try to become the eighth Plate winner since 1956 to be sired/foaled by a Plate winner. Chiefswood won the 2004 Plate with their homebred Niigon.
Trainer Mike Keogh will send out Gus Schickedanz's homebred Sweet Grass Creek (Wando) (20-1), a one-time winner in five starts. Keogh and Schickedanz teamed to win the 1999 Plate with Woodcarver, then captured the Triple Crown with Hall of Famer Wando in 2003. Jesse Campbell, who took the 2013 Plate aboard front-running Midnight Aria, has the mount.
Of the 14 starters in this year's Plate, 12 have connections (owner, trainer and/or jockey) who have previously won the Plate. Four horses in the field - Breaking Lucky, Milwaukee Mist, Oakton and Portree -- did not start at two. Eye of the Leopard (2009), Scatter The Gold (2000) and Awesome Again (1997) are the latest Plate winners who did not race as two-year-olds.
The Queen's Plate is the first leg in the Canadian Triple Crown. The second leg is the C$500,000 Prince of Wales S., at 1 3/16 miles on Tuesday, July 28, at Fort Erie, while the C$500,000 Breeders' S., at 1 1/2 miles on the grass, August 16 at Woodbine, comprises the third and final leg. There have been seven Triple Crown winners since the concept was inaugurated in 1959, the first being New Providence in 1959, the latest being Wando in 2003.
Since 1956, the stakes record for the Plate is 2:01 4/5, set by Izvestia in 1990, when he also won by the largest margin, 13 lengths. Strait of Dover, the 2012 winner, owns the fastest Polytrack time since 2007 of 2:01.99. The longest-priced winner in the modern era (since 1956) is T J's Lucky Moon ($166) in 2002 while Maternal Pride is the highest-priced winner of all time, paying $193.35 in 1924. Since 1956, favorites have won 22 of 59 runnings (37.2 percent). However, Wando in 2003, and Eye of the Leopard in 2009, are the only Plate favorites to win in the last 20 editions.
Three other stakes, all of them on the grass, will be part of the Queen's Plate Day undercard -- the C$200,000 Dance Smartly (Can-G2), at 1 1/8 miles at 3:02 p.m., the C$150,000 Singspiel (Can-G3) at 1 1/2 miles at 4:18 p.m. and the C$200,000 Highlander (Can-G2) at six furlongs at 4:53 p.m. First race post time is noon.
Belmont Oaks comes up tough for Lady Eli
The dark bay miss enters the Belmont Oaks Invitational off a half-length score in the nine-furlong Wonder Again S. at Belmont and will be trying 10 furlongs for the first time. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. has been aboard for all of Lady Eli's starts and retains the mount on Saturday.
Completing the Belmont Oaks Invitational field are Lady Zuzu (Dynaformer), who just missed by a head in the Regret S. (G3) most recently at Churchill Downs, and last-out allowance scorers Sentiero Italia (Medaglia d'Oro) and Daring Duchess (Arch), who are both making their stakes debuts in the race.
Bolo brings turf game to Belmont Derby
Rafael Bejarano retains the mount in the nine-horse field.
Closing Bell (Tapit), a last-out maiden winner for Bill Mott, rounds out the U.S. contingent.
Canndal (Medicean), Group 2-placed in France, and Irish stakes winner Postulation (Harlan's Holiday) are international raiders for trainer Mikel Delzangles and Dermot Weld, respectively. And based on BRIS Class ratings, both colts merit serious respect on Saturday. Regular riders Christophe Soumillon (Canndal) and Patrick Smullen (Postulation) have also made the overseas journey.
Tonalist, Texas Red, Private Zone top Belmont dirt stakes
Tonalist, who will race without blinkers for the first time this season, will face five others in the 1 1/4-mile test. Trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle the uncoupled pair of Coach Inge (Big Brown), who took the 1 1/2-mile Brooklyn (G2) by a neck in his stakes debut, and the classic-placed Mylute (Midnight Lute), who won first out for the trainer in a one-mile allowance May 29. Coach Inge could be the controlling speed in the Suburban.
Effinex (Mineshaft) was a game winner of the Excelsior (G3) at Aqueduct in April, but was pulled up in the June 6 Brooklyn after getting out on both turns of the one-lap event around Belmont's oval. Street Babe (Street Sense), unplaced twice since taking the Mineshaft H. (G3) at Fair Grounds in only his third career start, might show speed from post 1, while Brooklyn fifth-place finisher Neck 'n Neck (Flower Alley) seeks his first win since the Ack Ack H. (G3) at Churchill Downs in October 2012.
The $500,000 Dwyer (G3), a one-mile event for three-year-olds, marks the return to action of Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Texas Red (Afleet Alex), who was sidelined with foot problems following a second-place effort in the February 1 San Vicente (G2) at Santa Anita and missed the classics.
Private Zone (Macho Uno), a two-time winner of the Vosburgh (G1) as well as last year's Cigar Mile (G1), shortens up to seven furlongs for the $400,000 Belmont Sprint Championship (G3). Third last out in the Met Mile, the Jorge Navarro charge was narrowly beat by Honor Code in the Gulfstream Park H. (G2) over a mile in his season debut before taking the seven-furlong Churchill Downs (G2) by more than four lengths.
Among his primary rivals are 2014 Belmont Sprint Championship winner Clearly Now (Horse Greeley), unplaced in three of four subsequent outings; last year's King's Bishop (G1) hero The Big Beast (Yes It's True), fourth in the Carter H. (G1) when last seen in April; and the stakes-winning Stallwalkin' Dude (City Place), runner-up in the True North (G2) and Donald LeVine Memorial last month.
The Grade 3-winning Texas-bred Promise Me Silver (Silver City), who saw her perfect eight-for-eight record end with a 10th-place finish in last month's Acorn (G1), hopes to get back on the winning track in the $150,000 Victory Ride (G3), a 6 1/2-furlong dash for three-year-old fillies.
Multiple stakes winner Enchanting Lady (Tale of the Cat), runner-up in the $150,000 Jersey Girl June 5, figures to attract support as will Beaumont S. (G2) vixen Miss Ella (Exchange Rate) and Miss Preakness (G3) winner Irish Jasper (First Defence).
Gimme Da Lute, Kentuckian highlight five-horse Los Alamitos Derby
Kentuckian won his career debut by 11 lengths at Golden Gate Fields in early March and after finishing third as the odds-on favorite in the San Pedro at Santa Anita a month later, the $610,000 yearling purchase strode to an impressive 6 1/4-length tally in the seven-furlong Laz Barrerra. The Jerry Hollendorfer-trained gray colt will make his two-turn debut and return from a 55-day layoff with Mike Smith.
After a fourth in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), Prospect Park was being readied for a Kentucky Derby (G1) bid before an illness derailed those plans. He was redirected to the June 7 Affirmed, finishing second as the 3-5 choice, and the dark bay colt is eligible to show more Saturday for Cliff Sise Jr. Tyler Baze picks up the mount.
Runner-up in the Pat Day Mile two back, Pain and Misery (Bob and John) returns to graded company after a wire-to-wire victory in the June 6 Charles Taylor Derby at Albuquerque. Flavien Prat rides the likely front-runner. Rounding out the field is Follow Me Crev (Quality Road), who was claimed for $50,000 from a third-place effort last time and will make his stakes debut for new trainer Vladimir Cerin.
Coffee Clique, Testa Rossi headline Penny Memorial
Others likely to attract support are the multiple Grade 3-placed Photo Call (Galileo), who was cross-entered to the $100,000 Perfect Sting at Belmont on Friday; Baffle Me (First Samurai), who has won multiple stakes at Gulfstream and Belmont in recent seasons; and Distorted Beauty (Invasor), who's placed in the Pebbles and Intercontinental at Belmont.
For many who are still celebrating American Pharoah's (Pioneerof the Nile) Triple Crown sweep, jockey Victor Espinoza will be the biggest attraction in the Smile Sprint S. (G2) and other races during Gulfstream Park's Summit of Speed program on Sunday. Espinoza, who has had a whirlwind public appearance schedule since guiding American Pharoah to a commanding and historic victory in the Belmont S. (G1) on June 6, has six mounts on the day at Gulfstream and is scheduled to sign commemorative posters prior to Sunday's card...
Grade 3 winner Legendary (Exceed and Excel), who was originally aimed toward the $100,000 Arlington H. (G3) for trainer Niall Seville, will now skip that July 11 race, according to his conditioner. Exiting a nice third in the $1 million Manhattan S. (G1) at Belmont Park on June 6, the six-year-old gelding will now target the $1 million Arlington Million (G1) on August 15. According to Seville, Legendary may or may not train up to the Million...
The Jockey Club Tour on FOX Sports 1 will make a return visit to Monmouth Park on Sunday on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports GO (Digital) with a unique telecast highlighted by live coverage of the $500,000 United Nations S. (G1) and a 30-minute segment devoted exclusively to Thoroughbred racing's 12th Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile). The telecast, which will air 4:30-6 p.m. (EDT), will open with a segment entitled, "American Pharoah: Finally the One." It will include a live remote interview with trainer Bob Baffert and a feature on American Pharoah's jockey, Victor Espinoza. That section of the show will also include a feature on the 2015 Triple Crown. As a "Win & You're In" race, the winner of the United Nations will be guaranteed an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) at Keeneland as part of the October 30-31 Breeders' Cup World Championships. The United Nations will be contested at 1 3/8 miles on the turf, and the field is expected to include defending champion Main Sequence (Aldebaran). In addition to coverage of the United Nations, the Salvator Mile (G3) will be shown live from Monmouth Park. The on-air duties will be handled by Greg Wolf, Richard Migliore, Andy Serling and Alyssa Ali. The broadcast will also highlight The Square Peg Foundation, a farm in Northern California that retrains racehorses to help challenged kids. Following the United Nations, The Jockey Club Tour on FOX Sports 1 will continue on September 7 with live coverage of the Hopeful S. (G1) at Saratoga...
Friday's $150,000 Molly Pitcher (G3) at Monmouth Park, for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles, features a rematch between Stiffed (Stephen Got Even) and Got Lucky (A.P. Indy), the one-two finishers in the $97,000 Monmouth Beach on May 24. On that day, Stiffed rallied from 10 lengths back to post a 34-1 upset by a half-length over Got Lucky, a multiple Grade 2-placed four-year-old who was among the betting favorites. Also among the field of seven is Shayjolie (Indian Charlie), a stakes winner at Aqueduct in March who has gone unplaced in two starts since finishing a narrowly-beaten third in the Top Flight H. (G3)...
Trainer Christophe Clement will send out a pair of top contenders, Zindaya (More Than Ready) and Marbre Rose (Smart Strike), in Friday's $100,000 Perfect Sting at Belmont Park. The four-year-old fillies finished one-two in the June 4 Intercontinental, with Zindaya improving her mark to three-for-three on Belmont's turf with the 2 1/4-length decision over her favored stablemate. Daring Kathy (Wildcat Heir), last seen winning the My Charmer (G3) at Gulfstream Park West in late November, will make her first appearance for trainer Chad Brown in the one-mile turf affair and Grade 2 heroine Emotional Kitten (Kitten's Joy), most recently second in the Gallorette H. (G3), is also part of the 10-horse field...
Laurel will kick off its first live July racing program in five years Friday with a special twilight card and a weekend of activities for families and bettors. Parking and admission will be free at Laurel Park. The track will continue offering its 10-cent Rainbow 6, a Pick 5 with an industry-low 12 percent takeout, and the new Super Hi 5 wager with a 15-percent takeout. Post time on Friday is 3:40 p.m. (EDT) while post time on Saturday and Sunday will be 1:30 p.m. Friday's eight race twilight program, including four scheduled turf races run over Laurel's 142-foot wide turf course, will include a Happy Hour between 3-7 p.m. in Tycoons and TIPS featuring half-price appetizers, $4 domestic and 16-ounce domestic drafts. There will also be live music, a $20 buffet, and half-price drinks for ladies. There will be $4 concession specials throughout the weekend at the Track Grill, Pizza Stand, Long Shots and Stone Bar. On Saturday, Tycoon and TIPS restaurant will feature half-price appetizers and drink specials. Laurel will welcome families during its Sunday Family Fun program with a first race post time of 1:30 p.m. Weekend activities could include pony rides, petting zoos, carnival rides, games, a rock wall and moon bounce. There will also be a Sunday brunch in the Terrace Dining Room from noon to 4 p.m. with a cost of $22 for adults, $11 for children aged three to 11. Laurel will also offer $10 bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys. Reservations, recommended for Sunday brunch, can be made at 301-725-0700...
Charity partners who worked with Churchill Downs during this spring's 141st annual celebrations of the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1) were presented with donation checks for their Derby and Oaks Week activities that totaled $222,705. Kentucky Oaks women's health partners Bright Pink and Horses and Hope and two participants in the Derby and Oaks Week "Taste of Derby" celebration -- Louisville food bank Dare to Care and Sullivan University's Center for Hospitality Studies Culinary Arts Program -- received their donation checks during ceremonies in the G.H. MUMM Winner's Circle during the June 27 "Downs After Dark" night racing program that concluded the track's 38-day spring meet. A donation of $117,705 was presented to Chicago-based Bright Pink, which is now in its second year as the Kentucky Oaks' primary health care partner. Bright Pink is the only national non-profit organization focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women, along with support for high-risk individuals. A donation of $30,000 was presented to Horses and Hope, the cancer outreach initiative in Kentucky's horse industry launched by Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear. The donation represents $1 from each on-track sale of the "Oaks Lily," the signature drink of the Kentucky Oaks, and supports Horses and Hope's programs and outreach at racetracks and farms in Kentucky's horse industry. Two donations grew from the fifth annual "Taste of Derby" celebration on Thursday, April 30. Louisville-based food bank Dare to Care received a donation of $50,000 as a partner charity in "Taste of Derby" since 2010. During that period Dare to Care's proceeds from the partnership will generate more than 200,000 meals in Louisville Metro and the region. Also receiving a "Taste of Derby" donation was the Sullivan University National Center for Hospitality Studies Culinary Arts Program, which was presented a check for $25,000. The award for the program on Louisville's Sullivan campus recognized "Taste of Derby" support by the Culinary Arts Program, which opens its kitchens to visiting chefs who participate in the annual Derby and Oaks Week event, and the program's students gain significant experience while assisting in the event...
Terms have been agreed between Tattersalls Ltd. and Brightwells Ltd. for the purchase by Tattersalls of the bloodstock sales conducted by Brightwells, which has been holding bloodstock sales at Cheltenham Racecourse since 2009 and Ascot Racecourse since 1990. In 2014 Brightwells held six sales at Cheltenham for a total sale ring turnover of almost £12.3 million (2013: £11.6 million) and nine sales at Ascot for a total sale ring turnover of more than £2.2 million (2013: £1.5 million). Brightwells bloodstock sales have focused on the National Hunt sector of the bloodstock market, a sector in which Tattersalls in the United Kingdom has no presence, and the proposed acquisition will enable Tattersalls to serve a wider range of breeders, racehorse owners and trainers, as well as adding two further auction sites to the Tattersalls headquarters in Newmarket. It is expected that members of the bloodstock team at Brightwells will be transferring to Tattersalls on completion of the transaction.
JULY 3, 2015
by Dick Powell
The second annual Stars and Stripes Festival is this Saturday at Belmont Park and the fireworks begin in race six on the Fourth of July racecard. Luckily, the heavy rain that hit the New York metropolitan area is over and the races should be conducted under Fast and Firm conditions.
Race six is the Victory Ride Stakes (G3) going 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track for three-year-old fillies. Next comes the $500,000 Dwyer Stakes (G2) for three-year-olds going a mile on the main track.
The marquee event of the day, the $1.25 million Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes (G1) for three-year-olds at a mile and a quarter, is race eight. Despite the large purse and efforts to entice international shippers, this year's Derby only drew nine entrants with just two coming in from overseas.
CANNDAL (Medicean) is from the powerful stable of the Aga Khan and won his first race the second time out this year, traveling Saturday's distance on good turf at Longchamp in Paris. He came back with a good third going 11 furlongs on soft turf in a Group 2, setting the pace from the start and leading to deep stretch. The second-place horse that day came back to run seventh and 10th in his next two starts. Canndal exits a troubled second versus listed rivals, elevated one spot by the stewards after being sawed off in the stretch, and will not use the diuretic Lasix.
POSTULATION (Harlan's Holiday) ships in for Juddmonte Farms with decent form in Ireland. He won his last race going this distance at The Curragh and his best race might have been his career debut when beaten only four lengths by Gleneagles (Galileo), the highest rated miler in Europe.
Trainer Dermot Weld is a legend in Ireland but familiar to race fans all over the world. In 1990, he won the Belmont Stakes (G1) with Go and Go (Be My Guest). He's won the Melbourne Cup (Aus-G1), Australia's most important race, twice, sending out Vintage Crop (Rousillon) in 1993 and Media Puzzle (Theatrical) in 2002. When Weld ships, as Woody Stephens used to say, he's here for a reason, not the season.
In the $1 million Belmont Oaks (G1), 14 three-year-old fillies are entered for the 1 1/4-mile race on the inner turf course but only two international shippers made the trip. OLORDA (Lord of England) is from the powerful international stable of Martin Schwartz, who has won major stakes in America with Euro shippers Stacelita (Monsun), heroine of the Beverly D. Stakes (G1) and Flower Bowl (G1); Alterite (Literato), who won the Garden City Stakes (G1); Zagora (Green Tune), winner of the Diana Stakes (G1) and the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1); and Samitar (Rock of Gibraltar), who won the Garden City.
All were trained over here by Chad Brown and Olorda has similar credentials, with the above fillies all improving once in America. She won a Group 3 two starts back going nine furlongs on soft turf at Longchamp, her first start out of Germany, and came back to finish third in a Group 1 last time, going Saturday's distance on good turf. The winner came back to run 11th in the Prix Diane (Fr-G1) next out but had an excuse after breaking impossibly from post 17.
The other international runner in the Oaks is OUTSTANDING (Galileo), who appears to be rounding into form for Aidan O'Brien. After running poorly in two starts last year, she's captured both attempts in 2015. Even though she missed the Classics in Europe this year, Outstanding has the look of a filly that will continue to improve.
She broke her maiden going a mile on yielding turf in a 20-horse field at Naas in Ireland, returning off a six-month layoff in her seasonal bow, and Outstanding came back at Saturday's distance to win by almost three lengths last time, making all the running on a good turf course. She adds Lasix and should get ground that she favors.
O'Brien not only dominates European racing but is equally dangerous when he ships to North America. He almost won the Belmont Derby last year with Adelaide (Galileo), who went on to win the Secretariat Stakes (G1) at Arlington Park; Cape Blanco (Galileo), winner of the Joe Hirsch Invitational Stakes (G1), the Man o' War Stakes (G1) and Arlington Million (G1); George Vancouver (Henrythenavigator), who won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1); and Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) winners St. Nicholas Abbey (Montjeu) and Magician (Galileo).
Outstanding is a full-sister to Magician and looks ready to take another move up the class ladder. She draws outside and if the race is run slowly, she will be losing ground every step of the way.
One interesting point in the Belmont Oaks is that all but one filly is nominated for the Breeders' Cup. The one that is not, Spanish Queen (Tribal Rule), is also the only starter to win going 10 furlongs at the Grade 1 level, capturing the American Oaks (G1) last out. The $535,000 winner's purse could go a long way to get her supplemented.
Finally, the one to beat in the Oaks is Lady Eli (Divine Park) who is undefeated in five starts. Last year, I was not that strong on her in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Filly Turf (G1) after a pair of rather slow wins beforehand. She looked great with her explosive kick in the stretch at Santa Anita and has come back this year with two easy wins, but neither was very fast.
In the Oaks, against 13 other rivals, Lady Eli draws inside with Irad Ortiz Jr. and the question facing her surrounds her finishing kick; will she have the same explosion going 10 furlongs as she's displayed at middle distances? At a short price I am betting she doesn't.
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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