Coltimus Prime wires the field in Prince of Wales
Coltimus Prime, taking advantage of a paceless affair, led throughout in winning Tuesday's $463,000 Prince of Wales at Fort Erie, the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, which is restricted to three-year-olds bred in Canada.
Under Eurico Da Silva, Coltimus Prime set a modest pace of :24, :48, and 1:12 4/5, leading up to a length over Lynx. That rival made a run at the eventual winner in the stretch, but Coltimus Prime found more to pull away and score a 3 1/2-length victory in a time of 1:54 2/5 for 1 3/16 miles on a fast track.
The 5-1 fourth choice in a field of 10, Coltimus Prime paid $12.80 to win. He is owned by Cabernet Racing Stables and is trained by Justin Nixon.
Lynx held on for second, three-quarters of a length in front of 8-5 favorite Ami's Holiday. Smart Spree finished a half-length farther back in fourth and was followed by Rhythm Blues, East Side, Lions Bay, Ascot Martin, Matador, and Money Talks.
A maiden winner by eight lengths over the Woodbine Polytrack in his second career start last November, Coltimus Pride next finished a neck second in the $134,000 Display to conclude his juvenile campaign.
Up the track in both the Tampa Bay Derby and Blue Grass to kick off his sophomore season, the son of Milwaukee Brew returned to Canada, where he finished second and first against allowance company at Woodbine. Last time, he faded to ninth in a field of 15 in the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate. His record now stands at 9-3-2-0, $392,788.
Bred in Ontario by J. Horner, Coltimus Prime is a half-brother to stakes winner Crysta's Court, who was sixth as the beaten favorite in the $69,450 Rainbow Connection earlier on the Prince of Wales card. Both Coltimus Prime and Crysta's Court were reared by Certainly Special, a daughter of Distorted Humor.
Coltimus Prime's fourth dam was the Group 3-placed stakes winner Thaidah, a half-sister to champions Glorious Song and Devil's Bag, as well as noted sire Saint Ballado. Thaidah is also the ancestress of Grade 2 winner Shakis.
Shadwell Turf Mile purse upped to $1 million
The Shadwell Turf Mile, which serves as the cornerstone of Keeneland's signature Fall Stars Weekend, is part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series, with the winner automatically qualifying for the Breeders' Cup Mile. The Shadwell Turf Mile has been won by such champions as Wise Dan, Gio Ponti (twice), Favorite Trick, Itsallgreektome and Steinlen and major stakes winners Court Vision, Thorn Song, Perfect Soul and Landseer. Shadwell Stable (Rick Nichols, lessee) won three editions of the race, with Dumaani in 1995-96 and Altibr in 2000.
"Sheikh Hamdan and all of us at Shadwell have enjoyed working with Keeneland to develop the Shadwell Turf Mile," Nichols said. "A special tribute to the late Howard Battle who, as Keeneland's racing secretary, worked very hard in the early days of sponsorship to elevate the Turf Mile from a Grade 3 to a Grade 1 event. Sheikh Hamdan has always felt that our best breeding stock comes from horses that compete successfully at a mile. Keeneland has provided the opportunity and the stage for him to develop a world-class race at that distance that will draw and test horses from all over the globe."
Es Que Love denies Toormore in Lennox
Trainer Clive Cox is hopeful that Es Que Love could have a productive second half to 2014 after the five-year-old got up by a neck to defeat odds-on favorite Toormore in the Group 2 Lennox Stakes as the five-day Glorious Goodwood meeting commenced on Tuesday.
"I'm delighted to win this because we've missed out a couple of times before with Dunelight and it's a race I've always wanted to win so it's nice to get it in the bag," Cox said. "We've won a Group 2 and he's well-entered now for the rest of the year. I'm not sure where we'll go but he's versatile on trip, he's even run over five furlongs but I think (seven furlongs) is his best distance.
"He is in the Hungerford and the Park Stakes and we will see how we go in between."
The five-year-old had not won since April last year when in the care of Mark Johnston, but today's victory was not a shock to jockey Adam Kirby.
"I'm really pleased with him, but coming here we felt he had a massive chance," Kirby said. "He does travel very strongly, and he came there on the bridle, but it's never easy to time it just right at this track."
Trainer Richard Hannon Jr. remains confident Toormore can make his mark at Group 1 level again following his second-place effort. The three-year-old, who was the champion two-year-old of Europe last season, had not run up to expectations since winning the Craven Stakes at Newmarket in April. He was last seen finishing sixth of seven in the St James's Palace Stakes over a mile at Royal Ascot.
"Toormore has run a good race. It probably suited the winner because he has better turn of foot," Hannon said. "Our horse has run better than he did at Ascot, so we will probably look at something similar.
"Obviously, he was a very good two-year-old but is not as good a three-year-old. That's all there is to it. He is still a very good horse and there are plenty of big days left in him. He will get back to his Group 1 days but we need to win something and then go back up there."
The trainer was also responsible for the third home Anjaal, who was a half-length behind his stablemate. The son of Bahamian Bounty was also coming in on the back of a run at Royal Ascot, where he finished 12th in the Jersey Stakes over seven furlongs.
"That is the first time Anjaal has run a decent race since winning the July Stakes last year," Hannon said. "He has lost his Group 2 penalty now, so we will look at something similar for him at either seven furlongs or a mile."
Trainer Charlie Hills celebrated his first Glorious Goodwood winner when Cotai Glory broke the two-year-old course record in the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes over five furlongs. The son of Exceed and Excel held on gamely inside the final furlong to repel the challenge of the Kevin Ryan-trained Fast Act by a half-length, with Beacon, sent off the 10-11 favorite, a head further back in third.
Cotal Glory recorded a time of :57.30, bettering Requinto's time of :57.51 set in the 2011 Molecomb.
"Cotai Glory has a lot of speed and we knew the track would suit him," Hills said. "We were just slightly worried that his last race was quite recent and today might come too soon. He is quite highly-strung but, with racing, he has certainly got better. He's all about speed -- he's from a very fast family in his pedigree.
"I think we will have a look at Doncaster and possibly the Flying Childers. He is also in the Prix Morny and there is also the Cornwallis Stakes at Ascot. I think he got the six furlongs last time but we will have a look and choose our way with him now."
A stewards' inquiry considered possible interference between runner-up Fast Act and Beacon, but the placings remained unaltered.
Harry Herbert, who heads Highclere Thoroughbred Racing whose Albany Syndicate owns Beacon, said: "He was a bit unlucky, possibly, and (jockey Richard Hughes) said he would have gone very close otherwise -- and is a bit frustrated.
"The ground was plenty quick enough for him, particularly going down the hill. He's run really well and we will have to consider stepping him up to six furlongs on a flatter track."
Kevin Ryan trains one of the best three-year-old sprinters in Hot Streak, but he admitted today's second Fast Act -- a chestnut like his stablemate -- has some way to go before comparisons with that colt can be justified.
"I'm delighted with him (Fast Act). He is starting to grow up and is improving with every run," Ryan said. "He jumped from the stalls and got on the wrong leg today, which meant he was lugging away from the other horses, but Jamie (Spencer) said that once he changed legs and got on an even keel he finished really well. That may have cost him.
"He has loads of options, including a five-furlong race at York and the DBS race over six furlongs at Doncaster. There are also races abroad -- he's improving, and we've learned that like the whole family he needs fast ground. This place can be overpowering for a horse, but he's shown today that he can handle it.
"He's not Hot Streak yet, but he is a very good horse in his own right."
Kingman, Toronado top four-horse Sussex
While it may not have the same resonance as Frankel vs. Canford Cliffs three years ago, Wednesday's match-up between Kingman and Toronado in Goodwood's Group 1 Sussex Stakes offers one of this season's focal points.
Where the eight-pound advantage the former gets due to weight-for-age puts them remains to be seen, but it can only make the task of last year's winner all the more difficult especially as Kingman is hardly immature physically.
The Juddmonte flagbearer's ability to withstand four tough races in just over two months is testament to his maturity and there are very few in training who can withstand his dramatic turn of acceleration which marked the closing stages of the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot June 17. Also apparently impervious to ground conditions, having narrowly lost out in the May 3 Two Thousand Guineas on a quick surface and dominated in the mud in the Irish equivalent at The Curragh three weeks later, Kingman is the deserved favorite of the pair.
Trainer John Gosden is not totally convinced that the current prices are fair, however.
"He's in good form and I'm happy with him, but I think the betting is a little extreme at the moment," he said.
Toronado came to Goodwood 12 months ago with a point to prove and a score to settle with his Two Thousand Guineas and St James's Palace conqueror Dawn Approach and duly turned the tables on that star miler with an impressive surge. Last of six when flopping in the Juddmonte International trying an extended 10-furlong trip on his only subsequent start last term, the four-year-old returned to win what was probably a below-par renewal of Royal Ascot Queen Anne Stakes June 17, but Richard Hannon Jr. is in a confident mood.
"Toronado's last piece of work was exceptional and we could not be happier with him," he said. "He is definitely a stronger horse than he was last year and he has also toughened up mentally. We were delighted he won first time out in the Queen Anne, but we also knew that he wasn't on his A-game. He had been off a long time and was probably a bit rusty, but since Royal Ascot he has thrived and, while we have huge respect for Kingman, Toronado has a course victory on his CV and that counts for a lot as Goodwood is not an easy track."
Heading the small support cast now that War Command is out is last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Outstrip, who was a strong-closing third in the St James's Palace despite meeting trouble in running.
"We always wanted to have a crack at the Sussex provided the ground was good or faster and, hopefully, he will get those conditions," conditioner Charlie Appleby commented. "He's an athletic horse and handled the course at Goodwood well last year. We felt that he hit the front a little too soon (when second) in the Vintage Stakes, but we learned a lot from that run. We know that we have a big task to beat Kingman and Toronado, but Outstrip heads to Goodwood in good order and I hope he can put up a big performance."
It is not often that Ballydoyle supply the outsider, but Darwin, whose latest second in The Curragh's Minstrel Stakes 11 days ago was a disappointing blow to his reputation, needs a major jump forward to shake up the main protagonists.
Where Glorious Goodwood has an edge over Royal Ascot is its ability to earmark the following year's classic contenders and the Group 2 Vintage Stakes is the premier launch pad for the future Guineas players.
Arguably the most impressive maiden winner of all Europe's juveniles so far, Highland Reel, scored by 12 lengths over a mile at Gowran Park at the start of the month in a display of pure ruthless galloping. The third, Hall of Fame, and fourth, Crescent, have since won decent races, and the half-brother to the Australian Group 1 performer Valdemoro is poised to provide Aidan O'Brien with a first winner of this prestigious prize which boasts the likes of Troy, Petoski, Dr Devious, Alhaarth, Shamardal and Sir Percy among its alumni.
Richard Hannon Sr. won the last four of these before his retirement and his son has already shown he has grasped the baton in one of the stable's finest years already. He saddles Coventry Stakes seventh Dr No and Tupi. Richard Hughes opts to ride the latter, who scored on debut over seven furlongs at Sandown June 13.
"Tupi came from a long way back to win first time out at Sandown," Hannon Jr. commented. "He was green, but the penny dropped just in time and he beat another smart colt of ours in Marshall Jennings in what looked a good maiden. He is taking a big jump in class, but we like him a lot.
"Dr No will love the fast ground, was only beaten two lengths in the Coventry at Royal Ascot and he might improve again for going up in trip."
One who is already established at this level is Ahlan Emarati, who was third in the five-furlong Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot and second to Dr No and Tupi's stable companion Kool Kompany in The Curragh's Railway Stakes over an extra panel June 28.
The Group 3 Gordon Stakes is one of the first recognized St Leger preps, with two winners of that Doncaster classic having stopped by successfully here since 2006 in Sixties Icon and Conduit.
Wednesday's renewal features the shock Eclipse Stakes third Somewhat, whose stamina for this 12-furlong test has yet to be taken on trust. Only caught late on by Mukhadram and Trading Leather in that 10-furlong Sandown feature, the bay was returning to the kind of form which saw him win the Washington Singer Stakes and finish runner-up in the Superlative Stakes and Royal Lodge Stakes last term.
One who looks tailor-made for the Leger is Red Galileo, judged on his staying-on fifth in the Epsom Derby, which is also the case regarding Observational. Not seen since putting in a dour staying effort to win the 11-furlong Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood May 23, he has that vital track experience to call on over these tricky contours.
"He's pretty lightly raced and he's stepping up in class, but he has been improving," jockey George Baker said.
Brown Panther, Estimate to clash in Goodwood Cup
A brilliant renewal of the Group 2 Goodwood Cup on Thursday has 10 declared runners including last year's winner Brown Panther. The six-year-old was bred by and is part-owned by former England footballer Michael Owen, for whom victory would be bittersweet following the death of Treble Heights, Brown Panther's dam, on Monday.
Owen had a day to remember last year at Glorious Goodwood, welcoming in his biggest racing victor. Brown Panther finished fourth in the Gold Cup at Ascot in June before coming second on his latest outing in the Prix Maurice de Nieuil in France on July 13.
"Brown Panther's in very good form ahead of the Goodwood Cup," Owen said. "He's very versatile in that he'll go on any ground so he should have perfect conditions to retain his crown. We're very hopeful. Long-term, the Long Distance Cup on British Champions Day is a huge option for us. He seems to relish Ascot, having won at Royal Ascot previously, and there's a big prize available."
Trainer Tom Dascombe is hopeful of a good run.
"We are very happy with Brown Panther and I think that he has produced his best ever set of results this season," Dascombe said. "It was a massive thrill to win the Goodwood Cup last year. It's the oldest group race in the country and a fantastic race to win. I just wish that we had more horses able to compete at this level -- Brown Panther is our flagship.
"Brown Panther was second in France earlier this month but I think that racing over there doesn't really suit him as he doesn't have that turn of foot that the French horses do. His weight is now exactly the same as it was before that run and he seems to be taking his races better than ever these days.
"Everyone seems to think that he wants very soft ground yet every time he runs on it he gets beaten. He actually wants good ground and conditions on Thursday should be fine for him."
The Queen's Estimate, winner of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last year, finished second in this year's renewal although the mare may be disqualified after testing positive to traces of morphine in a post-race test.
Godolphin has won three previous runnings of the Goodwood Cup and has three chances of adding to that record, all trained by Saeed bin Suroor. Eight-year-old Cavalryman won the Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket on his latest start earlier this month, Ahzeemah captured last season's Lonsdale Cup at York, while Excellent Result won a Group 2 at Meydan in March.
The Richard Fahey-trained Angel Gabrial is having his first start in group company after winning the Northumberland Plate on his latest run. Brass Ring, trained by John Gosden, is also having his first group race run having finished third in the marathon Queen Alexandara Stakes on his latest outing at Royal Ascot.
Former hurdler Forgotten Voice won last season's Glorious Stakes at Goodwood, while the Andrew Balding-trained Whiplash Willie is having his first run since finishing third to Brown Panther in the Henry II Stakes on May 29.
The mare Moment in Time was bought by leading Australian stud farm Eliza Park for 350,000 guineas in December, but has yet to subsequently trouble the judge.
Candy Boy hoping to make his own mark in WV Derby
It will not be an easy task. Tapiture has three graded stakes wins to his credit, including a 4 1 /4-length tally in the Southwest at Oaklawn in February. Last time, the Tapit colt rebounded from a poor showing in the Kentucky Derby to claim the Matt Winn at Churchill Downs by two lengths.
Vicar's in Trouble, the Louisiana Derby winner, could be the most dangerous of the three. The Mike Maker trainee did not show his customary foot as the 7-5 favorite in the Iowa Derby last out, and ultimately faded to third over a sloppy track. If able to outbreak the other speed, which have less class, Vicar's in Trouble could replicate the form that produced two graded stakes wins at Fair Grounds last winter.
The big three all raced in the Kentucky Derby, though none were much of a factor. Candy Boy finished 13th and Tapiture 15th after meeting trouble in the first turn, while Vicar's in Trouble also was roughed up en route to trailing the field of 19.
Likely to keep the ex-claimer on his toes is multiple Grade 3 winner Falling Sky, who stretches back out after taking the Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship and Donald LeVine Memorial in two of his last four starts.
A swift pace might aid Carve, last-out winner of the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap, and the classic-placed Mylute, unplaced twice behind Moonshine Mullin at Churchill Downs and in the Suburban Handicap last time.
Noted sprint star Delaunay figures to be an overwhelming favorite in the $100,000 Senator Robert C. Byrd Memorial over six furlongs. The Tom Amoss-trained seven-year-old has won numerous stakes throughout the Midwest and Louisiana, highlighted by graded scores in the Churchill Downs and Aristides in Louisville.
The $100,000 West Virginia House of Delegates, at one mile and 70 yards on turf, features Regally Ready, a past winner of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint who has developed into a capable miler in the region. He earned back-to-back wins at Churchill Downs in May, including the $64,000 Opening Verse.
Free World, hero of the $207,000 Centaur at Indiana Downs last season, was a solid fifth in the Firecracker at Churchill last time and might prove tough to catch. Coalport, a multiple stakes winner campaigned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, is another leading contender in his second start off a layoff.
The top two finishers from Mountaineer's version of the Firecracker, a $75,000 stakes for fillies and mares run on July 2, highlight a contentious renewal of the $100,000 West Virginia Senate President's Cup at one mile and 70 yards on the turf. La Malaguena and Sassy Kitten were separated by a neck in that heat, but will need their running shoes on to cope with graded stakes-placed veterans Moment in Dixie and Queen's Award, as well as Canadian invader Surtsey and the capable pair of Quiet Success and Soft Whisper.
Divine Fortune in search of A.P. Smithwick hat trick
Divine Fortune, co-owned by Sheppard and William Pape, will be part of a heavily favored three-horse entry along with Italian Wedding and Barnstorming, two geldings Sheppard owns outright.
Italian Wedding finished second in last year's Smithwick before taking the New York Turf Writers Cup, but has placed in only two of five starts since then. Barnstorming captured the Michael G. Walsh for novice at Saratoga last year and later finished second in the Colonial Cup. However, the eight-year-old fell in his only previous start this year against allowance company at Stone Mountain, Georgia.
Likely to keep Divine Fortune honest on the front end is Pleasant Woodman, hero of the Imperial Cup and Marcellus Frost earlier this year. Another with early foot is Wanganui, twice stakes-placed in novice company at Saratoga two years ago. Wanganui is trained by Elizabeth Voss, who also saddles English import Makari for his U.S. debut.
Triple Grade 1 winner Demonstrative, winner of the New York Turf Writers Cup in 2012, has been unplaced in four of his last five starts, while Spy in the Sky, winner of the 2012 Smithwick and 2009 Turf Writers Cup, was pulled up in his last two efforts over hurdles.
The Smithwick field is rounded out by All Together, second in the Turf Writers Cup and Lonesome Glory last season, and multiple stakes winner Staying On.
The featured flat event of Saratoga's Thursday program is the $100,000 Evan Shipman, a nine-furlong test for older New York-breds. The likely favorite is Big Business, a multiple allowance winner who just missed to subsequent Suburban Handicap winner Zivo in the Commentator Handicap at Belmont Park two back.
Also in with a shot is Grade 3-placed Escapefromreality, winner of the Albany at Saratoga last year and second by a neck to returning rival Sailmate in an May 23 allowance marking his season debut. Awesome Vision, runner-up by a head in the 2013 Evan Shipman, enters off a photo-finish loss to the returning Fox Rules in a $50,000 state-bred stakes at Finger Lakes on Independence Day.
Classic-placed Social Inclusion (Pioneerof the Nile), seventh following a stumbling start in Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1), has been transferred to trainer Chad Brown, owner Ron Sanchez announced. A 7 1/2-length debut winner at Gulfstream Park on February 22, the three-year-old colt garnered headlines when posting a 10-length allowance win at the Florida track on March 22. He then posted a treble of third-place finishes in the Wood Memorial (G1), Preakness S. (G1) and Woody Stephens (G1) prior to the Haskell. Formerly trained by Manny Azpurua, the Kentucky-bred Social Inclusion has earned $384,400...
Scott Blasi has reportedly returned to work as an assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen nearly five months after being let go from the same position after being the subject of an undercover video released by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Blasi, an 18-year veteran of the Asmussen operation, was let go in March after a heavily-edited video showed him using vulgarities to describe clients and the conditions of horses, the use of shock-wave therapy and suggesting use of a buzzer by jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. Investigations of Blasi by racing authorities in New York and Kentucky, based on complaints brought by PETA, are ongoing...
The unbeaten Taghrooda (Sea the Stars) suffered a few minor cuts and bruises while defeating older males in her brilliant victory in last weekend's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S. (Eng-G1) at Ascot, according to PA Sport. "Her appearance was down to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, who took the brave call to bypass the Irish Oaks (Ire-G1) and take on the colts and older horses, including his Eclipse (Eng-G1) winner Mukhadram," racing manager Angus Gold told Channel 4 Racing. "Sheikh Hamdan was obviously thrilled. It was a big call of his as everybody said and I think he will have gotten a lot of satisfaction from being proved right and she's proved herself well out of the ordinary, so it's lovely for everybody. Sheikh Hamdan's policy has always been, bar the odd one, to retire three-year-old fillies at the end of their year. With a filly like this, you've won a classic, you've won a King George, and in his view she will not have a lot left to prove, so he'd rather she was breeding in the paddocks. As far as I know, (trainer) John (Gosden) is happy with her. She's got a few nicks and bruises, nothing that a bit of time won't heal."...
Eagle Top (Pivotal), hero of Royal Ascot's Kind Edward VII S. (Eng-G2), is set to be given a mid-season break following his respectable fourth-place finish in last weekend's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S. (Eng-G1) at Ascot, according to PA Sport. Hugo Lascelles, bloodstock advisor for Eagle Top's owner Lady Bamford, said, "He's come out of the race well and we were all very proud of his run. The handicapper has put him up three pounds since the race and I think it was a fine effort on just his fourth career start. He certainly didn't let us down. Hopefully it's onwards and upwards from here and he's got a good chance of making it, but we haven't made any definite plans. He's going to have a break now. I don't think you'll be seeing him run in August. We'll be looking towards September and the autumn."...
Grade 1-winning sire Beau Genius (Bold Ruckus) was euthanized on July 25 at Ballena Vista Farm in Ramona, California, due to his recent declining quality of life in the last of his 29 years. He was pensioned from stallion duty in 2009. Beau Genius was a millionaire on the racetrack, winning or placing in 30 of his 42 starts, including victories in the Philip H. Iselin H. (G1) and Michigan Mile and One-Eighth H (G2) for his owner-breeder Dr. Brian Davidson. The final stakes win of all-time jockey great Bill Shoemaker's career was when he was aboard Beau Genius in the 1990 Olympic H. at Gulfstream Park. Beginning his breeding career in 1991 standing in Kentucky at the Vinery, Beau Genius sired a champion juvenile filly, Irish highweight Belle Genius, in his first crop. Acquired by Ballena Vista Farm in the summer of 2000 to stand in 2001, he continued to sire numerous stakes winners while standing in California including Big Macher, winner of last Sunday's Bing Crosby S. (G1) at Del Mar, in his final crop...
The $100,000 Graduation S. at Del Mar was the launching pad to eventual stardom for California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) last summer, and on Wednesday, seven California-bred juveniles hope to follow in his hoofsteps. Undefeated Wake Up Nick (Cindago) is the most accomplished of the group. A 9 1/4-length maiden romper for Doug O'Neill, the Reddam Racing runner went on to take the Santa Anita Juvenile, besting next-out Willard Proctor winner Story to Tell (Bluegrass Cat). Peradventure (Papa Clem) exits a tiring third in the six-furlong Proctor, and the Scott Rollins pupil could benefit from the slight cutback to 5 1/2 furlongs here. Two starts back in his debut, Peradventure wired a five-furlong maiden for state-breds at Santa Anita. Note that he was offered at the July Del Mar Paddock Sale, but did not reach his reserve at a bid of $240,000 and remained in the ownership of C T R Stables. The same connections will be represented by Colorado Strong (Lucky Pulpit), who gamely prevailed in a photo in his first try. Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer sends out 7 3/4-length debut winner Atta' Boy Woody (Atticus), the most dangerous of the stakes newcomers. Rounding out the septet are Global Magician (Globalize) and Local Reason (Olmodavor), respectively a near-miss second and a closing fourth in the Everett Nevin, and London Legacy (Grace Upon Grace), runner-up in all three of his starts...
Stars Above Me (Exceed and Excel) makes her U.S. debut for Graham Motion in Wednesday's $100,000 Coronation Cup, a 5 1/2-furlong turf dash for three-year-old fillies at Saratoga. Formerly in the care of Roger Charlton, the speedy filly was most recently third to the well-regarded colt Extortionist (Dandy Man) in a June 21 handicap at Newmarket. Extortionist has since beaten older sprinters in the July 5 Sprint (aka Coral Charge) at Sandown. Her rivals include Recoupe (Indian Charlie), three-for-three in turf sprints in the Mid-Atlantic region for Mike Trombetta; the Todd Pletcher-trained Elena Strikes (Smart Strike), who tries turf off a wire job in a second-level allowance at Belmont; Hot Squeeze (Latent Heat), a course-and-distance allowance winner over New York-breds just a week ago; Scatcapade (Scat Daddy), who shortens up for Christophe Clement; Burn Control (Bernstein), unbeaten in two starts on the Parx dirt; and Isabelle (Successful Appeal) and Fat Kat (Weigelia), both coming off unplaced efforts in the Victory Ride (G3) on the main track. Wesley Ward has all bases covered, with turf/synthetic performer Ruslana (City Zip) and the main-track-only entrant Sweetmarys Success (Teuflesberg) engaged.
For Wednesday or Next Raceday
DEL MAR NOTEBOOK
JULY 30, 2014
by John Mucciolo
A trio of graded races led the way this week at Del Mar Race Course.
Bing Crosby S. (G1): Tom Mansor's BIG MACHER (Beau Genius) sat a fine trip behind a dueling pair, took a short lead in midstretch and inched clear to to post a fine half-length score under Tyler Baze. The Richard Baltas trainee finished off six panels in a swift 1:08 4/5.
San Diego H. (G2): Kaleem Shah's FED BIZ (Giant's Causeway) went to the lead as the gates opened and never looked back in posting a decisive 5 1/4-length tally with Martin Garcia. The Bob Baffert trainee sped 1 1/16 miles on the Polytrack surface in a stakes record 1:41 under hand urging.
Cougar III H. (G3): Gainesway Stable et al's IRISH SURF (Giant's Causeway) was sent to the lead as the gates opened and romped in the most convincing fashion, leading by a clear margin every step of the way under Elvis Trujillo. The well-bred Dan Hendricks trainee finished 8 1/4 lengths clear and 1 1/2 miles on Polytrack in a stakes-record 2:29.
From a total of 46 races held over at Southern California racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 17 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 34 percent of the wins. From 35 frays contested on the Polytrack oval, nine animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (26 percent), while two of the 11 grassy tussles went all the way on the lead (18 percent).
The main oval was pretty good to speed sorts once again, though we saw more winners rally from well off the pace during the second week of racing. We still prefer horse that can sit in the first, or even second flight, early on and will continue to give those and edge if they make any kind of sense.
Turf sprints are really leaning to speed horse on this very firm oval, but at route races, all types can win as we saw a few very deep closers come through. Both wire jobs came at five furlongs this past week.
However, they canceled turf racing Sunday to improve the surface and will be adding wax soon to alter the main track, so conditions could continue to change in the coming weeks.
We witnessed no winning favorites from Wednesday-through-Friday, proving how hard this meeting is for the bettors right now.
Kent Desormeaux (9) and Mike Smith (5) are both bringing home winners at a rate of 20 percent or more, and they bear following going forward on this quirky surface.
On the trainer's front, Peter Miller went atop the standing after a strong week with nine overall winners, though saddling the second amount of starters here has a little something to do with it. Michael Pender (33 percent), Vann Belvoir (27 percent), Mark Glatt (24 percent) and Bob Baffert (21 percent) have all saddled at least three winners while retaining a good win rate.
HORSES TO WATCH
1ST -- STEALTH DRONE (Smoke Glacken) was awfully game at first asking when battling back in the lane after being passed en route to a nice debut tally. This looks like a heady claim for conditioner Doug O'Neill.
2ND -- Owner/trainer Bobby Wayne Grayson had STYLISH IN BLACK (Street Hero) ready for sure off the 15-month absence as the rolled past this field in a daylight maiden romp under Elvis Trujillo. Keep an eye on this one going forward, as horses who win at this meeting often come back with big efforts.
6TH -- DUBLIN DANCER (Thewayyouare) left little doubt in this claiming run for trainer Andy Mathis after a big score today. The Golden Gate shipper was last early but put in a punishing run and finished more than eight lengths clear under the wire. We'd say this lass appreciated the Polytrack surface in this affair.
8TH -- BENCH LIGHT (Benchmark) turned in one of the better performances of the week when destroying this field late on his way to a 6 1/4-length tally for conditioner Michael Pender. We'd imagine the five-year-old gelding will stay at longer trips going forward after this impressive late kick.
2ND -- NEWFOUND GOLD (Newfoundland) got off of his hanging ways recently with a very sharp run in this well-matched claiming field for Jeff Bonde. The seven-year-old always flashes speed and is well placed turning for home nearly every outing, and he should be a useful claim for Kristin Mulhall.
8TH -- SAM'S SISTER (Brother Derek) overcame a tough rail draw in a sharp debut with a good field to graduate at first asking. The Jerry Hollendorfer charge finished up six panels on the main oval in 1:09 4/5, but it was the professional manner more than the final time we were impressed by. The filly might be a nice one going forward.
3RD -- OLYMPIC LADY (Fusaichi Pegasus) ran about as well as a first timer can without winning, but this Victor Garcia pupil should be graduating before long after this big second-place finish.
5TH -- WINNING RHYTHM (Giant's Causeway) was eased in her latest effort prior to the finish, but the Paddy Gallagher trainee finished this one, and well at that, in reeling in a clear leader in the lane en route to victory. The well-bred four-year-old is a pretty consistent closing type and might even get a stakes chance on this course during the meeting.
6TH -- We tabbed BATTLE OF EVERMORE (Scat Daddy) in here and the Salder first timer fell just shy in a sharp third-place run. We consider this to be another one who should be in the winners' circle before long.
1ST -- The Blake Heap-conditioned TRIBALIST (Tribal Rule) sped to the front early and held a safe edge throughout in posting a maiden tally in this opener. The lightly raced filly has run big in all three lifetime outings and could evolve into a stakes runner for these connections with steady improvement.
5TH -- ROCK ME BABY (Rock Hard Ten) turned his form around in a big way in this spot with a rallying win to pull away late for trainer Craig Dollase. Second in this race last summer, the five-year-old left little doubt on this occasion. We've long admired this hard knocker.
7TH -- Trainer Eoin Harty rarely wins with first-time starters, so when REDSHIRT (Distorted Humor) made a big late run to be third after a slow start, it caught our eye. The Darley homebred will be tough with a bit more experience and likely more ground to work with.
8TH -- GODLENCENTS (Into Mischief) sat a nice trip and rallied well to be a fine second in this race for the second straight season. The Doug O'Neill trainee may have needed the race off the pine and will be tough right back as he is consistently very good.
A Look Ahead
Saturday will play host to the Grade 1, $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes, while the Sunday topper is the Grade 2, $250,000 Best Pal Stakes.
Top Speed/Class ratings
TOP BRIS CLASS RATINGS
(through July 28, 2014)
Note: Figures are for North American-based racing
At a Glance
AT A GLANCE SCHEDULE
*all times Eastern
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