Ubiquity was an 18-1 longshot for a reason in Friday's $400,000 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs. The 4-year-old son of Colonial Affair only returned to racing in June after being away for some 18 months. And he had won only three of nine career starts.
Nonetheless, Craig Perret optimistically took the colt to the lead in the Clark and never looked back. At the line, 6-5 favorite Include was coming strong along the rail but fell a neck short of catching Ubiquity. Mr Ross was third, a length farther back.
"When he was sent down here from New York, the idea was to run him in a 'non-winners of three' race," said Ralph Nicks, assistant to trainer Bill Mott. "The race didn't go, so we just kept on training him and he trained great. You don't expect to win a race like this with a horse with so little accomplishments. It was a great effort for the horse."
Added Perret: "I was told before the race that he's as good as you're going to get him right now. We just didn't know if he was good enough to run with this field."
Ubiquity not only won -- he also broke the 42-year-old stakes record by finishing in 1:48.26.
In other weekend racing:
The top prizes stayed at home in the Japan Cup and the Japan Cup dirt.
Last year's winner and this year's favorite, T M Opera O, came up a neck short in Sunday's $4.3 million Japan Cup, losing to Japanese Derby winner Jungle Pocket. Both horses raced from off the pace. T M Opera O got the first run at the leaders turning for home but could not hold off the late run of Jungle Pocket. "I tried to keep him outside where the ground was firmer," explained winning rider Olivier Peslier. Golan, winner of the English 2,000 Guineas, got home sixth. The order of finish also ensures that Fantastic Light, retired after his victory last month in the Breeders' Cup Turf, will win the Emirates World Series for the second straight year. The Japan Cup was the penultimate race in that series, which concludes next month with the Hong Kong Cup.
Saturday's $2 million Japan Cup Dirt also was a home-court win -- in dominating style. Kurofune, a son of French Deputy, moved from the back of the pack at the quarter pole at the urging of top Japanese rider Yutaka Take and quickly took command. At the finish, he was 7 lengths in front of last year's winner, Wing Arrow. Miracle Opera was third. Kurofune finished in course-record time of 2:05.90. The best North American hope, Lido Palace, made a move on the final turn but couldn't sustain it. Lido Palace passed on the Breeders' Cup Turf to run in Japan. Kurofune's connections said they hope to take him to Dubai for the World Cup next March.
Hollywood Turf Festival
Starine, with a dream trip, took the lead at the top of the stretch in Sunday's $500,000 Matriarch Stakes. Lethals Lady was a longshot second and Golden Apples, the favorite, got up for third. Tout Charmant, Tranquility Lake and Starrer were scratched. The South African-bred mare Spook Express, who was second in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare turf in her previous start, suffered broken left sesamoids and was euthanized after the race. Starine, trained by Bobby Frankel and ridden by John Velazquez, ran the 9 furlongs on yielding turf in 1:50.16. Frankel said he told Velazquez not to fight with Starine. "When you run on soft turf, you don't want to strangle one and fight with them because they're going to wear themselves out in the heavier going," he explained. The Matriarch was Frankel's 46th stakes win of the year and 15th Grade I.
Two races later, Frankel scored his 47th and 16th, respectively, as Denon surged past Sligo Bay in the final sixteenth to win the $500,000 Hollywood Derby. Aldebaran was third. Denon, a Kentucky-bred son of Pleasant Colony, got the 9 furlongs in 1:49.28. "He was a really good horse in Europe," Frankel said of Denon, "probably the best of the horses that came in. He's trained very well and I thought he'd run well, especially when it came up soft." Frankel also trains Aldebaran.
Swept Overboard needed every step of the stretch to win the charge to the wire in Friday's $200,000 Hollywood Turf Express. Extreme longshot Rocky Bar led the way through fractions of 21.65 and 43.90 seconds, setting up the closers. Swept Overboard, who rode the rail early, came out for running room and Eddie Delahoussaye had the move timed perfectly. Speak in Passing was second, not quite able to hold on to a mid-stretch lead, and Blu Air Force was third. Texas Glitter put in a bid but faded to finish fourth. "I thought I might not get him," Delahoussaye said of Speak in Passing. "Then my little horse, he found another gear."
In Friday's $200,000 Miesque for 2-year-old fillies, Forty On Line took a quick lead under Corey Nakatani and held on to win by 1 length over Riskaverse. Daisyago was third and the favorite, La Martina, got hom fourth. Forty On Line, a British-bred daughter of Pharly, got the 1 mile in 1:36.38.
Favorite Funtime also led most of the way in winning Friday's $100,000 Cat's Cradle Handicap for state-bred fillies and mares. The 4-year-old daughter of Seeking the Gold, scored by 1 length over Feverish with favorite Queenie Belle finishing third. The 7 ½ furlongs went in 1:28.03.
Saturday, Good Journey got one in the $500,000 Citation Handicap. The 5-year-old son of Nureyev, with Chris McCarron up, saved ground into the final turn, came wide for running room and caught Decarchy in the late going to win by ½ length. Irish Prize was third. Good Journey ran 1 1/16 mile in 1:44.30 on turf rated "good." McCarron said he was closer than he expected to be early, "But I was very happy he was that close because he was going very well....He was able to capitalize perfectly from that position." Breeders' Cup Mile winner Val Royal was a late scratch. "With the rain, the track is too soft," said trainer Julio Canani. "I can't afford to take a chance." He said he still plans to run Val Royal in next month's Hong Kong Cup.
In Saturday's co-featured $200,000 Generous Stakes for 2-year-olds, Mountain Range caught Miesque's Approval in the final yards to win by a head. National Park was third. Mountain Range, a Florida-bred son of Mecke, ran the 1 mile on "good" going in 1:40.31. Said winning trainer Bob Baffert: "We were hoping we had a dirt horse or a Derby horse. But I think we've got a turf horse." Still, he said he might run Mountain Range back in the Hollywood Futurity.
Repent, second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, was second to none in Saturday's $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club, despite traffic troubles. Racing well back in the field, the Louis Quatorze colt was steadied on the backstretch, lacked room at the top of the stretch and had to come out for a clear lane. Still, he got home first, 1 ¼ lengths ahead of Request For Parole, after jockey Joe Judice found him room on the rail. "I knew I had a lot of horse," said Judice. "So when I asked him, he went through that hole, no problem. It really wasn't that much of a hole but he had enough space." Trainer Ken McPeek said Repent now will get some time off. "He won't run again until, more than likely, March."
In Saturday's co-featured Golden Rod Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, Belterra got to the front in mid-stretch and went on to win by 4 ½ lengths over Take Charge Lady. Belterra, by Unbridled, remained undefeated in three career starts, running the 1 1/16 mile on a sloppy track in 1:43.82. Ian Wilkes, assistant to winning trainer Carl Nafzger, said the plan is "going one step at a time and she's taking that step. We hope she can keep taking those steps."
Left Bank took command of Saturday's $350,000 Cigar Mile at the top of the lane and drew off to win by 3 ¼ lengths over stablemate Graeme Hall. Red Bullet was third with a late effort. Left Bank finished fifth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint after a poor start. Saturday, the 4-year-old French Deputy colt was just behind pace-setter Affirmed Success through the early furlongs and finished the mile in 1:33.35. "I thought the mile was perfect for him," said trainer Todd Pletcher. "But sometimes, horses coming out of the Breeders' Cup regress."
Smok'n Frolic opened up a huge lead in the stretch run of Saturday's $200,000 Demoiselle for 2-year-old fillies, then coasted home first, 4 ½ lengths ahead of Lady Shari. Proxy Statement was third. "We'll probably take her down to Florida with the idea of freshening her up," said Pletcher, who also trains the daughter of Smoke Glacken. "The Kentucky Oaks would be the obvious major goal."
Saarland, who never got going in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, got everything right in Saturday's $200,000 Remsen, catching Nokoma in the final strides to win by a neck. Silent Fred was third, well back. Saarland, a son of Unbridled, ran the 9 furlongs in 1:51.28. "I can see Saarland coming back here (from Gulfstream) for the Wood Memorial," said winning trainer Shug McGaughey. "I know he likes this track and he handled the ship over here fine."
Iron Deputy drew off in the stretch to win Sunday's $75,000 Huntington Stakes for 2-year-olds by 4 lengths over Volley Ball. Mr. Kipp was third. Iron Deputy, a son of Silver Deputy, ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.34 for Richard Migliore. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said Iron Deputy will stay in training. "The winter would be a good time to stretch him out," he said. "The fields might be a little easier and the weather could help. We might have something here."
Yonaguska, the 131-pound highweight, won Thursday's Fall Highweight Handicap by ¾ length over Big E E with Voodoo third. Yonaguska, a 3-year-old son of Cherokee Run, sat on the outside, just off the pace, until Jose Santos asked for his best in the stretch. He finished the 6 furlongs in 1:09.60. "I wanted to get him outside," Santos said. "Things fell into place. The last thing he needed was to be down inside with 131 pounds." Mike Marlow, assistant to trainer D. Wayne Lukas, said Yonaguska will be shipped to California. "I think he will go a mile now," Marlow said.
Golden Gate Fields
One holiday early, San Nicholas ran away with Friday's $100,000 Forty Niner Handicap. With Russell Baze calling the shots, the 3-year-old son of Go For Gin led all the way and won by 2 ½ lengths over Moonlight Meeting. Profound Secret was third. San Nicholas ran 1 1/16 mile on a fast track in 1:41.71. "He charged the gate as soon as they sprung it," Baze said. "His timing couldn't have been better."
In Saturday's $55,000 Golden Bear Stakes for 2-year-olds, Twentythreejaybird pressured early leader Wild Calabration, setting things up for his stablemate, Cappuchino, to come from off the pace and win by 1 length. Wild Calabration held second and Vito Corleone was third. The 6 furlongs took 1:10.33. Cappuchino is a Kentucky-bred son of Capote.
Bonapaw won Thursday's Thanksgiving Day Handicap for the second straight year, breaking his own stakes record. Bonapaw took the early lead and cruised home 4 lengths ahead of Robin De Nest. The final time of 1:08 3/5 was only two ticks off the track record for 6 furlongs -- a mark established last March by Hallowed Dreams. "I figured he wanted the lead off the layoff," said winning rider Gerard Melancon. "I knew I had a lot of horse coming down the lane and he just loves this track." Crucible was third.
Lead By Example let others take the lead in Saturday's $60,000 Old Hickory Stakes for 2-year-olds, then took over late to win by a neck over Walk in the Snow. Lead By Example, a son of Birdonthewire, ran 5 ½ furlongs in the slop in 1:05 2/5. "When I asked, he began to pick them up quickly," said winning rider Kirk LeBlanc. "With that response, I was very confident we could get there."
Flick won Sunday's $60,000 Pontalba Stakes for 2-year-old fillies by 2 lengths over Purple Princess after trainer Tom Amoss used "a little old-school horsemanship" to clear up a throat infection. Afraid to use antibiotics so close to a race, Amoss treated his filly with eucalyptus. It worked and he said he learned the technique "back in 1977, hot-walking for Jack Van Berg."
Cashel Castle remained unbeaten with a victory in Saturday's $100,000 Hoosier Juvenile. The grey son of Silver Ghost sat behind the early leaders, went to the lead in the stretch and won with authority in 1:10 3/5. Just Le Facts was second and Handsome Hunk third. "I didn't have to ask anything of him tonight," said winning rider Eddie Razo Jr. "He actually broke better from the gate tonight than he did in his first two starts."
He's A Knockout led all the way in Thursday's $75,000 Sonny Hine Stakes, winning by 1 ¼ length over Giant Gentleman. Jorgie Stover was third. He's A Knockout, with Ramon Dominguez up, ran 6 furlongs in 1:09.17. "I had a lot of horse at the end," said Dominguez. "This horse is getting good." Caroline Hine was among those presenting the trophy for the race named for her husband. Sonny Hine trained Skip Away for his spouse.
Saturday, Saratoga Games took charge as the field straightened out into the stretch in the $75,000 Northern Dancer Stakes and rolled to an 8-length victory over Bada Bam Bada Boom. Loaded Brush was third. Under Mario Pino, Saratoga Games raced in second through the turn before making his move. "We're right on the brink of winning one of those big ones with this colt," Pino said of Saratoga Games, a son of Carnivalay.
Devil Valentine scored his third straight win Saturday, taking the $125,000 Sir Barton Stakes by 2 ¾ lengths over Indian Dan. Emile Ramsammy took the 3-year-old son of Devil Begone right to the lead and dueled with Ruff Tuff Stuff through much of the race before seizing the advantage. He finished in 1:45.08. "He's a tough little horse. He enjoys his job. He's a happy horse right now," Ramsammy said. Devil Valentine went off the 1-5 favorite in a field of just four.
Sunday, What a Breeze seized the lead at the top of the stretch in the $125,000 Ontario Lassie Stakes and held on to win by ¾ length over Gonetofarr. Halo Alfaari was third. What a Breeze, by Dehere, ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:46.34. "We're going to send her to Florida now and winter her there," said trainer Earl Barnett, "then bring her up and hopefully have the Oaks in mind."
Calder Race Course
Tour of the Cat was the tour director in Saturday's $60,000 The Vid Handicap, leading 11 rivals all the way around the course. At the end, the 3-year-old son of Tour d'Or beat Tv Sports Director by ½ length, with Vikadonitis third. The 1 1/16 mile on firm turf took 1:40.46. Winning rider Abad Cabassa Jr. said Tv Sports Director, running wide, might have got by if he hadn't turned Tour of the Cat to see his rival. "That's all she wrote," Cabassa said.
Also Saturday, Vague Memory posted a mild upset in the $60,000 U Can Do It Handicap for fillies and mares, beating favorite Platinum Tiara by 1 ½ lengths. Castlebrook was third. Vague Memory, a 4-year-old daughter of Ward Off Trouble, ran 6 ½ furlongs in 1:18.48 for jockey Julio Garcia. Winning trainer Ross Wolfendale said he will think about running Vague Memory back in the Chaposa Springs on Dec. 29 -- depending on the quality of the competition. "By then," he said, "you're liable to catch the Bill Motts and those kind of horses."
Rare Cure collared Secret Session in deep stretch to win Saturday's $75,000 Governor's Cup by ¾ length. Maysville Slew, the favorite, was third. Rare Cure, by Rare Brick, ran 9 furlongs in 1:49.71.
Also Saturday, It'sallinthechase came running late to win the $75,000 Remington Mec Mile Stakes for 2-year-old by a neck over Expensive Risk. April's Lucky Boy was third. The winner, by Take Me Out, finished in 1:38.95.
Hawthorne Race Course
Cart's Forty Four led almost all the way to win Saturday's $50,000 Sun Power Stakes for 2-year-olds. With Chris Emigh up, Cart's Forty Four ran 6 furlongs in 1:13 1/5. "He'll be tough against state-breds and he's already showed that he could be tough against open company," Emigh said. "He's a big horse and he tries hard."
Adam's Time also went quickly to the lead and rolled home first by 3 ¾ lengths over Magic Motel in the $50,000 Due Bill Stakes for fillies and mares. "There wasn't a whole lot of speed in this field," said winning trainer Charlie Vinci. "I told Randy (jockey Randy Meier) that if he could get an easy lead, to go for it." He did and they did.