September 26, 2023

Principe Guilherme impresses while stakes favorites upended on Santa Super Saturday

Principe Guilherme dominated his allowance rivals by more than 11 lengths (Hodges Photography)

He didn’t compete in any of the features on Fair Grounds’ Santa Super Saturday program, but Three Chimneys Farm’s homebred juvenile Principe Guilherme was arguably the most promising participant on the card and the most reliable on a day where favorites took it on the chin in all six stakes races.

The 2-5 favorite against six rivals in a $43,000 first-level allowance, Principe Guilherme seized the early lead, set comfortable fractions, and walloped his competition through the stretch to win by 11 3/4 lengths under Florent Geroux. The final time was 1:42.94 for one mile and 70 yards on a fast track.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, the son of Tapit had won on debut at Churchill Downs November 10, scoring by more than six lengths in a seven-furlong maiden. With two open-lengths scores, Principe Guilherme is likely to aim for Fair Grounds’ Kentucky Derby preps: the Lecomte (G3), Risen Star (G2), and Louisiana Derby (G2).

Dimension ended a long drought in the Buddy Diliberto Memorial (Hodges Photography/Amanda Hodges Weir)

The biggest upset of the day occurred in the $75,000 Buddy Diliberto Memorial when the nine-year-old Dimension returned $81.80 after capturing the about 1 1/16-mile turf race by 1 1/4 lengths from Sir Dudley Digges. Up With the Birds was a neck farther back in third, while the runner-up’s entrymate, 3-1 favorite Tizzarunner, trailed the field of nine.

Owned by Riverside Bloodstock, trained by Conor Murphy, and ridden by James Graham, Dimension had not placed in seven starts since capturing the King Edward (G2) and Connaught Cup (G2) in back-to-back starts at Woodbine in the summer of 2016.

Cooptado, a champion in Argentina and a former mainstay in Singapore and Dubai, captured the $75,000 Tenacious in a photo over Shut the Box, with Leofric third and 7-5 favorite Money Flows unplaced. Ridden by Declan Cannon for trainer Tom Morley, Cooptado covered one mile and 70 yards on main track in 1:42.78 and paid $36.40.

Owned by Valentin Bukhtoyarov and Evgeny Kappushev, Cooptado had finished third in turf allowances at Keeneland and Fair Grounds in his first two tries stateside.

Giada Vegas captured her stakes debut in the Blushing K. D. (Hodges Photography/Amanda Hodges Weir)

Earlier, Giada Vegas rallied from last under Corey Lanerie to win the $74,250 Blushing K. D. for fillies and mres by a length from Joyous Thunder, with 6-5 favorite Prado’s Sweet Ride a neck behind in third. Time for about 1 1/16 miles on the turf was 1:46.62.

Making her stakes debut following three straight allowance wins on Woodbine’s Tapeta surface, Giada Vegas paid $12.80. She’s owned by Dixiana Farms and is trained by Mark Casse.

Fresh off the claim for $25,000 by trainer Karl Broberg, Imma Bling pulled the upset in the $74,250 Bonapaw at about 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf. Ridden by Joe Bravo, Imma Bling won by a length from 23-1 chance Balandeen, with 37-1 chance Show Bound third.

Owned by Flurry Racing Stables, Imma Bling returned $24.60 after completing the course in 1:04.67.

Land Battle won the three-horse war in the Sugar Bowl (Hodges Photography/Amanda Hodges Weir)

The field for the $50,000 Sugar Bowl for two-year-olds was reduced to three following scratches, and it was second choice Land Battle who led wire-to-wire over 1-5 favorite Steel Shot to take the six-furlong dash by 1 1/4 lengths under Jose Valdivia Jr. The winner paid $7.20.

A veteran of six starts going in, including stakes placings at Prairie Meadows, Evangeline Downs, and Remington Park, Land Battle is owned by Norman Stables and trained by Scott Gelner.

In the $50,000 Letellier Memorial for two-year-old fillies, She’s Pretty Lucky rebounded from a fourth-place effort in the $82,000 Rags to Riches at Churchill on October 29 to score by a nose over Upset Brewing, with narrow favorite Vision of Justice third.

A homebred racing for Kari Will and trained by Eddie Kenneally, She’s Pretty Lucky returned $8 after completing six furlongs in 1:11.06, slightly quicker than the Sugar Bowl time of 1:11.61.