UPI Horse Racing Roundup
Oscar Nominated and Miss Temple City were among the big names winning during the weekend on the Kentucky Downs turf, sharing the thoroughbred racing spotlight with Irish Champion weekend and Arc preview day.
The weekend also included a spate of events for 2-year-olds, including turf events and races for state-breds, some of which could produce significant results.
As usual, with a lot to cover, we jump right in with:
Oscar Nominated rallied five-wide down the long Kentucky Downs stretch and was along in time to win Saturday's $600,000 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup by a head over Postulation. Postulation, who held a brief lead in the lane, finished second with Muqtaser third, 1/2 length farther back. Oscar Nominated, a 4-year-old Kitten's Joy ridgling, ran 1 1/2 miles on firm turf in 2:31.37 with Julien Leparoux up. It was his first win since last summer's Dueling Grounds Derby over the same course. In the interim, Oscar Nominated posted three seconds and two thirds, all but one of those in graded stakes. He finished eighth in the Arlington Million before Saturday's race.
"We saved ground around the first turn, which going that far is a big key," Leparoux said. "You have to have your horse very relaxed during the race. And you also have to be able to handle up and down the hill. He won last year, so I was confident he was going to handle it. But he actually really loved it."
Big Bend took the point in Sunday's $350,000 Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs and turned back a couple of challenges before winning by 3/4 length over the favorite, Parlor. Bronson was third. Big Bend, a Union Rags colt, ran 1 5/16 miles on the firm going in 2:11.57. Winning rider Drayden Van Dyke said he took what was given to him when no one else wanted the lead. He said he didn't want to ask Big Bend for run up the hill on the European-style course but, "once I got over that hill and started going down, I got to ask him and he really kicked in. And he stayed kicked in. He kept going. He really fought hard once that horse came next to him." Winning trainer Tom Proctor did not discuss his plans for the colt.
At Louisiana Downs on Saturday, Mr. Misunderstood tracked the pace in the $200,000 Super Derby, raced three-wide into the stretch and pulled away to win by 3 lengths over Phat Man. Sonneteer was third. Mr. Misunderstood, an Archarcharch gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:42.91 with Chris Rosier up. The Brad Cox trainee finished seventh in the Grade III Illinois Derby at Hawthorne, then turned to the green course and won the Super Derby Prelude after a three-months layoff.
Miss Temple City got back in the win column in Saturday's $350,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf. After stalking the pace set by Zipessa, the 5-year-old Temple City mare finally put a neck in front under the wire after a long drive. Linda was 3 lengths farther back in third. Miss Temple City, with Edgar Prado riding for trainer Graham Motion, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:36.91. After finishing fifth in a tough edition of the Breeders' Cup Mile last year, her 2017 campaign was compromised by weather-related scratches during the spring and early summer and a 13th-place finish in the Group 1 Queen Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot. She was third in the Grade III WinStar Matchmaker at Monmouth Park in her previous start. Her owners announced Sunday she will be offered at the Fasig-Tipton sale in Lexington Nov. 6, presumably after another try in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Del Mar.
In the meantime, Motion said, Miss Temple City will be pointed to the Keeneland's fall meet, with a decision still to come between a try at repeating in the Shadwell Turf Mile against males or the First Lady against fillies and mares. Both are Grade I events on Oct. 7.
"What an incredible ride it has been with Miss Temple City," said the 5-year-old Temple City mare's breeder and part-owner, Bob Feld. "From the day she was born she was truly a star, but to watch her amazing career unfold into such a remarkable racehorse is incredible."
Hogy took a while to get cranked up in Saturday's $400,000 Grade III Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint but once in gear, he took the lead late and win by 1/2 length over Commend with Undrafted just a nose farther back in third. Hogy, an 8-year-old Offlee Wild gelding, got 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:16.88 with Florent Geroux up for trainer Mike Maker, who claimed Hogy for $80,000 at Saratoga on Aug. 3. He finished second to Successful Native in last year's edition of this race and second in the Grade III Woodford at Keeneland's fall meet. Saturday's win was his first since February at Fair Grounds.
"I'm a novice and I rely on Mike," said owner Michael Hui of Little Rock, Ark. "I asked him if anyone claims an 8-year-old horse for 80 (thousand dollars) and Mike's a man of few words but he just said, 'I like him,' and that was really all I needed to hear. I have a lot of faith in my trainer."
Lull tracked the pace in Saturday's $350,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint, drew even with the leaders early in the long stretch run and then edged away to a 2-lengths victory. Happy Mesa was third at a big price, a neck in front of Morticia. Lull, a 3-year-old War Front filly, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on firm going in 1:17.22 with Brian Hernandez Jr. up. Fourth in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, she came to Kentucky Downs off a second-place finish in the Grade II San Clemente Handicap at Del Mar.
Claiborne president Walker Hancock, whose farm owns the filly with Adele Dilschneider, said it's up to trainer Christophe Clement where the filly runs next. "We got her stakes win this year now, so maybe we'll get a little more aggressive and see if we can shoot for something big," he said.
Filly & Mare Turf
Daddys Lil Darling waited patiently under Julien Leparoux through the early furlongs of Sunday's $200,000 Dueling Grounds Oaks at Kentucky Downs, quickly took the lead when given her cue and drew off down the lane to win by 4 1/2 lengths. Summer Luck was second, 3/4 length to the good of La Manta Gris. Daddys Lil Darling, a Scat Daddy filly, ran 1 5/16 miles on firm turf in course-record time of 2:10.96.
When I got her outside, she just cruised to the leaders, did it very easy and kept on going very nicely," said winning rider Julien Leparoux. "She did it very impressive today … She finished fourth in the Belmont Oaks on the grass so she's a nice filly and today she did it very impressive."
Filly & Mare Sprint
Rubilinda came six-wide from last of nine to take Friday's $100,000 Christicat Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park, catching pacesetter Smiling Causeway in the final strides. Adorable Miss was third. Rubilinda ran 6 furlongs on firm turf in 1:08.69 with Jose Ortiz up for trainer Chad Brown. The victory is doubly notable as Rubilinda is by Frankel out of the Invincible Spirit mare Rubina. The filly now has two wins and a second from three starts.
Barry Lee, last seen at Saratoga, won Saturday's $75,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity at Arlington Park with a nice move around the turn and through the stretch run. Captivating Moon and Ghaaleb's Winner were both off slowly but rallied late to finish second and third. Barry Lee, a Violence colt trained by Horacio DePaz, ran 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:25.27 for jockey Horacio Karamanos.
Bet She Wins proved a prophetic -- and profitable --name in Saturday's $75,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie. The First Samurai filly's 13-1 odds seemed justified early as she hit the gate and was off slowly. But after progressing through the field, she took the lead in the lane and shot off to a 9 1/2-lengths victory. Southampton Way was best of the rest with Espressa third. The favorite, Red Dread, finished last. Bet She Wins, with Jose Lopez up, ran 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:24.43 and paid $28.80 to win.
Shamrock Rose, a first-time starter, survived a slow start in Saturday's $100,000 (Canadian) Ontario Debutante Stakes, swung four-wide into the stretch and was up to win by 1 1/4 lengths from Glamanation. It was another 1/2 length to Honey Graeme in third. Shamrock Rose, a Pennsylvania-bred First Dude filly, got 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:10.97 with Eurico Da Silva in the irons.
Sunday's program at Kentucky Downs included two races that served as automatic entries to the Claming Crown Championship program at Gulfstream Park. Kentucky Downs also agreed to provide the winners a $1,000 travel allowance and entry fee for the associated Claiming Crown race.
Special Ops went quickly to the lead in the qualifier for the Claiming Crown Emerald and held on to win by a neck over Spring Up with Neoclassic third. Special Ops, a 6-year-old Big Brown gelding, ran 1 mile and 70 yards in 1:41.98 with Jose Ortiz aboard for trainer Mike Maker.
Kasuga led all the way in a qualifying race for the Claiming Crown Distaff Turf Dash, winning by 1 3/4 lengths from Marquee Cal Gal. Kasuga, a 5-year-old Temple City mare, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on firm going in 1:17.03. Jose Lezcano had the mount for trainer Bill Mott.
Irish Champion weekend was a good one, with a few exceptions and surprises, for trainer Aidan O'Brien and the Coolmore owners partnerships. Five Breeders' Cup berths were on the line during the Saturday races at Leopardstown and Sunday's tilts at the Curragh.
Decorated Knight pulled the surprise of Saturday's card, sweeping by the entire field in the stretch run to land the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes by 1/2 length over Poet's Word. Eminent made most of the going and hung tough to finish third. O'Brien's hopes for a rebound by dual Guineas winner Churchill were dashed as that Galileo colt was caught on the rail in the late going and couldn't muster the punch to get through, finishing seventh. Decorated Knight, a winner on both turf and the all-weather, in England and Dubai, earned a spot in the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf through the Challenge program but trainer Roger Charlton said he might be more interested in running the 5-year-old son of Galileo in the Breeders' Cup Mile on the grass.
O'Brien's runners pulled off a 1-2 finish in Saturday's Group 1 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron but in the inverse order he might have expected. Hydrangea outgamed the heavy favorite, Winter, to win by a head with Persuasive finishing third. Despite a huge disparity in the odds for this race, Hydrangea had defeated Winter once before, in the Leopardstown 1,000 Guineas. Winter had gone on to a spectacular 2017, winning the English and Irish 1000 Guineas, the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot Group 1 Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood. The race is a Breeders' Cup Challenge race with an entry into the Filly & Mare Turf but O'Brien was more interested in talking about the year-end events in France than about Del Mar.
Another O'Brien runner, Nelson, earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf with a 3-lengths victory over Kew Garden in Saturday's Group 3 Willis Towers Watson Juvenile Championship. Delano Roosevelt gave the O'Brien team a 1-2-3 finish in this one. Nelson, a Frankel colt, scored his second straight win in his first try at the Group level.
Sunday at the Curragh, O'Brien pulled off another 1-2-3 finish in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. But, again, the order of finish might not have been as he or his riders envisioned as Happily edged Magical by a short head for the win with September another 3 3/4 lengths back in third. With the late scratch of Clemmie due to soft ground, jockey Ryan Moore opted for the favorite, Magical, only to see Happily avenge her loss to her stablemate three weeks earlier over the same course. The race is a Breeders' Cup Challenge event for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Perhaps the most satisfying race of the weekend for O'Brien, Coolmore and Moore was the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes. In that, Caravaggio bounced back from two straight defeats to win with an impressive move through the final two furlongs, winning by 1 length from Alphabet, another O'Brien charge. Caravaggio at one point earlier in the year was seen as a candidate for the rich Everest Stakes in Australia in October. But that was before he was handily defeated in the Group 1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket and finished sixth in the Group 1 Prix Maurice du Gheest at Deauville. O'Brien blamed the French loss on a shoeing issue and predicted Caravaggio would run well in the Flying Five, which is a Breeders' Cup Challenge race for the Turf Sprint.
Sunday's climactic race was a bit of an anticlimax. With his arch nemesis, Big Orange, out of the race due to the going concerns, Order of St George swept to the easiest of victories in the Group 1 Comer Group International Irish St. Leger, winning by 9 lengths over Torcedor. Order of St George, a 5-year-old son of Galileo, is of course trained by O'Brien and Moore had only to stay aboard to land the prestigious win.
Harry Angel made it two straight Group 1 victories with an impressive, front-running victory in Saturday's Group 1 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock. The 3-year-old Dark Angel colt, trained by Clive Cox for Godolphin Racing, got home a comfortable 4 lengths ahead of Tasleet with The Tin Man third. Harry Angel was second to Caravaggio in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, then won the Group 1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket.
Sunday's Arc preview day at Chantilly featured some potential contenders for Europe's biggest race, the Oct. 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. But the results seemed far from definitive and some of the main contenders were elsewhere, keeping their powder dry.
Cracksman, a 3-year-old Frankel colt trained by John Gosden, won the Group 2 Qatar Prix Niel over four clearly outclassed opponents, running the Arc distance of 1 1/2 miles. Bateel, a 5-year-old daughter of Dubawi, took the Group 1 Qatar Prix Vermeille for fillies and mares over the same distance, defeating the favorite, Journey, by 2 1/2 lengths.
A German interloper, Dschingis Secret, upset the Group Qatar Prix Foy at the same distance, defeating the favorite, Cloth of Stars, by 1 1/2 lengths. In the Prix Foy, Japan's latest Arc hope, Satono Diamond, faded to finish fourth after leading in the late going.
The 1-mile Qatar Prix du Moulin du Longchamp went to the heavy favorite, Ribchester, a Godolphin runner trained by Richard Fahey. The 4-year-old son of Iffraaj scored his third win from his last four starts -- all Group 1 affairs.
Graceful Leap, representing Japan, took Sunday's Korea Sprint by 3/4 length over local runner Power Blade. The American hope, The Truth Or Else, finished fourth for jockey Dylan Davis and trainer Kenny McPeek. The favorite, Hong Kong-trained Lucky Year, beat only one horse in the field of 15.
Japan landed a 1-2 blow in the Korea Cup with London Town home first, 4 lengths to the good of Chrysolite. The Linda Rice-trained Papa Shot finished third with Davis up. Hong Kong was swamped in this race, too, with Circuit Land finishing ninth, beating only two runners.
Around the ovals:
Chief Know It All stalked the pace in Saturday's $150,000 (Canadian) British Columbia Derby, took the inside path home and outfinished Trooper John by a nose and Riser by another neck for the win. Chief Know It All, a Kentucky-bred son of Flashy Bull, ran 9 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:51.95 with Rico Walcott up.
Daz Lin Dawn worked her way to a 1-length lead in the stretch run of Saturday's $100,000 (Canadian) British Columbia Oaks, then was all out to preserve the victory by a neck over Yukon Belle. Top Quality was third. Daz Lin Dawn, a daughter of Popular, got the sloppy 9 furlongs in 1:51.77 under Richard Hamel.
Wise Market was on the lead and under pressure all the way in Saturday's $100,000 (Canadian) Jack Diamond Futurity for Canadian-bred 2-year-old colts and geldings, then just inched away at the end to win by 1/2 length from Pan Handle. European pressed the pace and finished third. Wise Market, a Mass Market colt, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on the sloppy track in 1:18.02 with Amadeo Perez in the irons.
Here's Hannah had a bit easier time of it on the lead in Saturday's $100,000 (Canadian) Sadie Diamond Futurity for Canadian-bred juvenile fillies. Alone all the way, she coasted home first by 3 lengths with Raider and Sonoma in her vanguard. Here's Hannah, a Numaany filly, ran 6 1/2 sloppy furlongs in 1:18.13 with Hamel aboard.
Highway Boss, with Aaron Gryder up, dominated the stretch run in the $50,000 (Canadian) S.W. Randall Plate Handicap, winning by 5 3/4 lengths over Crazy Prophet. And Notis the Jewell rallied from next-last to win the $50,000 (Canadian) Delta Colleen by 1/2 length over another closer, Victress.
White Flag seems a rather unfortunate name for the winner of Sunday's $100,000 Allied Forces Stakes for 3-year-olds but that, nonetheless was the case. The War Front colt rallied five-wide into the stretch and did everything but surrender, winning a long stretch battle by a neck over the favorite, Big Handsome. Proforma was another 3 lengths in arrears while earning show money. White Flag, with Joel Rosario up, ran 6 furlongs on the firm inner turf course in 1:07.14.
Securitiz and Backsideofthemoon hooked up in a stretch battle in Saturday's $100,000 Seattle Slew Stakes with Securitiz prevailing by a neck. Doyouknowsomething and Conquest Windycity completed the order of finish. Securitiz, a 5-year-old son of Tiznow, ran 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:50.19 with Manny Franco at the controls.
It's the Journey rallied four wide to take the lead in Saturday's $75,000 Challedon Stakes and ran on to a 4 1/4-lengths victory. Rockinn On Bye was second, 4 lengths ahead of Red Dragon Tattoo. It's the Journey, a 4-year-old Mineshaft gelding, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:22.86 for jockey Alex Cintron.
Line of Best Fit was up just in time to catch Summer House and win Saturday's $75,000 Shine Again Stakes for fillies and mares by 1/2 length. Lake Ponchatrain was third. Line of Best Fit, a 7-year-old Trajectory mare, ran 7 furlongs in 1:23.90.
Princess Karen was quickly on the lead in Saturday's $75,000 Beverly J. Lewis Stakes for 3-year-old fillies and the favorite, Faypien, was unable to run her down in the final furlong. Princess Karen, a Stay Thirsty filly, won by 1 1/14 lengths with Chalon a head behind Faypien in third. Princess Karen, with Kent Desormeaux in the irons, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.11.
Saturday's $75,000 E.B. Johnston Stakes for California-bred 3-year-olds evolved into a scramble with the lead changing hands several times before Soi Phet inched clear to win by 1/2 length over he will. El Huerfano was third. Soi Phet, a 9-year-old Tizbud gelding, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:35.71 with Desormeaux riding.
Silent Sonet stalked the pace in Sunday's $125,000 (Canadian) La Prevoyante for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies, took the lead at the top of the stretch and quickly drew off, winning by 6 1/4 lengths. Red Cabernet was best of the rest with Deesse Nike third. Silent Sonet, a Silent Name filly, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:34.37 with Eurico Da Silva riding.
Chestnut Johnny stalked the pace in Friday's $50,000 Remington Park Turf Sprint, then outfinished Drowningindiamonds to win by 1/2 length. Okie Jazz rallied from far back to get show money. Chestnut Johnny, a 4-year-old gelding by Mr. Nightlinger, ran 5 furlongs on firm turf in 55.35 seconds with Alex Birzer up.
Mom's Choice also was the people's choice in Saturday's $65,000 Avers Wexler Memorial for fillies and mares and ran to her notices. The 4-year-old Kitten's Joy filly led from the start and reported first, 4 lengths ahead of Princess Erindelle. Majestic Angel was third. Mom's Choice, with Santo Sanjur in the irons, ran 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:45.38.
Midnight Mikey came five-wide to take the lead in the lane in Saturday's $75,000 Loyalty Stakes for Ohio-bred 2-year-olds and finished well, winning by 2 1/2 lengths over the 1-5 favorite and pacesetter, Play Ball. Mobil Solution was another 1 length back in third. Midnight Mikey, a Dark Kestrel colt, got 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:12.49 under Ronald Allen Jr.
Mr. Pete took over in the stretch run of Saturday's $117,000 Aspirant Stakes for New York-bred 2-year-old colts and geldings and drew off to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Lover's Leap was second and Collective Effort got show money. The favorite, Looking Ready, led most of the way and faded to get home fourth. Mr. Pete, a Shanghai Bobby colt, negotiated 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.94 with Harry Hernandez aboard.
Indy's Lady, a first-time starter, turned some heads with an impressive victory in Saturday's $116,000 Lady Finger Stakes for state-bred 2-year-old fillies. The daughter of Take Charge Indy quickly took charge and kicked away to win by 8 lengths over One Last Cast. Salty Smile was third, a neck in front of the favorite, Drosselmeyer's Smile. Indy's Lady, with John Davilla Jr. up, finished 6 furlongs in 1:12.04.
Quinta Verde battled for the lead in Saturday's $50,000 River Cities Stakes before the Irish-bred 5-year-old finally got clear to win by 3 1/4 lengths over Smiley Briley, finishing 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:43.32.
Eden Grey's Kitten put a neck in front of pacesetting Wings Locked up at the end of Saturday's $50,000 Need for Speed Stakes. The 5-year-old Kitten's Joy gelding ran about 5 furlongs on the turf in 56.36 seconds.
Budro Talking started slowly in Saturday's $60,000 Sunday Silence for 2-year-olds, made steady progress and cleared in the stretch, winning by 1 1/2 lengths over High Providence. The Tale of Ekati colt ran 1 mile on the grass in 1:37.82.
Justa Lady was along in the final yards to win Saturday's $50,000 Tellike Stakes for fillies and mares by 3/4 length over Our Valor, running about 5 grassy furlongs in 56.13 seconds.
Lady O'Toole asserted herself in the final furlong of Saturday's $60,000 Happy Ticket Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, kicking away to a 3 1/2-lengths victory over Caroline the Great. The daughter of Colonel John ran 1 mile on the turf in 1:37.03.
Net Gain gained the lead entering the stretch in Saturday's $60,000 Unbridled Stakes and ran on to win by 3 1/2 lengths over Big Changes. Net Gain, a 5-year-old Include gelding, got 1 1/16 miles on the turf in 1:41.76.