The fourth time was the charm for Gold Mover against Xtra Heat. And a bit of additional weight didn't hurt, either, as the two hooked up in Saturday's $400,000 Princess Rooney Handicap in Calder's "Summit of Speed."
Bargain-basement filly Xtra Heat wrested the lead from longshot Vague Memory -- who was just that at the end -- and jetted into the clear at the top of the lane. But Gold Mover, under Jerry Bailey, then put on another round of pressure and had enough to get the job done.
At the end, it was Gold Mover by ½ length, with Xtra Heat 7 ½ lengths clear of Fly Me Crazy in third. The 6 furlongs on a fast track took 1:10.21.
"The filly who beat her is a real nice filly," said Xtra Heat's trainer and part-owner, John Salzman. "We ran against her three times and won all of them...It was her turn. They'll meet again somewhere. If they had been at equal weights, we may have seen a different turnout."
Gold Mover carried 115 pounds Saturday; Xtra Heat, 127. Were they to meet again, say in the Penske Auto Center Breeders' Cup Sprint on Oct. 26 at Arlington Park, they would each tote 123 pounds.
Winning trainer Mark Hennig also noted the weights made a difference.
"After the last race, with the weights the same, we figured, why not take a shot? The race was $80,000 to second, which would have been enough to make the trip worthwhile anyhow."
Hennig said he may run both Gold Mover and Raging Fever in the Ballerina at Saratoga on Aug. 25. Salzman didn't indicate where Xtra Heat will go. She ran a game second in last year's Sprint, beaten only ½ length by Squirtle Squirt.
In the companion $400,000 Smile Sprint Handicap, Orientate got out to an early lead and cruised home first, 6 lengths ahead of Echo Eddie. The favorite, Crafty C.T., was another head back in third.
Orientate finished the 6 furlongs in 1:09.98 with jockey Mike Smith keeping him to task despite the large margin.
"I didn't want him to get late," Smith explained. "I probably didn't need to stay as busy as I did but I wasn't going to look back and see him (Crafty C.T.) coming. I just kept riding."
Mike Maker, assistant to winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas, did not map out a schedule for Orientate but said he believes the 4-year-old son of Mt. Livermore will continue sprinting.
Three-year-olds do get a weight break in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, which may be a consideration for Royal Lad, winner of Saturday's $250,000 Carry Back Stakes at the "Summit of Speed." With Jerry Bailey calling the shots, the son of Montbrook led all the way, getting to the wire 1 ½ lengths ahead of the favorite, Captain Squire. Friendly Frolic was third. The race went in 1:10.73.
"He breaks like a Quarter Horse and had me in a good spot at every point in the race," Bailey said. Trainer Ralph Ziadie said he "look at races at Saratoga and Del Mar. I'd love to take him to Del Mar."
The 3-year-old filly event at the "Summit" -- the $250,000 Azalea Breeders's Cup Stakes -- went to Bold World. The daughter of Fortunate Prospect tracked the leaders, then left them behind in the stretch, winning by 8 ½ lengths over favorite Willa On the Move.
"We spent an awful lot of time this year teaching her to relax," said winning trainer Ron Taylor. He said he may run in the Test Stakes at Saratoga and would "love to get an invitation" to the Hong Kong Sprint in December. But Bold World is not Breeders' Cup nominated.
A downer: Caller One injured a sesamoid while training at Belmont Park for the Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder. Trainer James Chapman said the 5-year-old son of Phone Trick, third in last year's Sprint and fourth a year earlier, likely will be retired. He won half his 20 lifetime starts and earned more than $3 million. He had been ranked No. 1 in the Sprint division.
In other weekend racing with potential implications for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships to be run Oct. 26 at beautiful Arlington Park near Chicago:
Sky Jack put away Macaneo early on in Sunday's $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup, then battled with Momentum throughout the second half of the race before winning by a nose. The favorite, Milwaukee Brew, made a belated run to take third. Sky Jack, a 6-year-old, Cal-bred son of Jaklin Klugman, finished the 1 ¼ mile in 2:01.73 under Laffit Pincay Jr. "I was very scared at the head of the lane," said winning trainer Doug O'Neil. "In a photo finish, who do you want? Pincay." Sky Jack now has won eight of his 14 lifetime starts with the only blot a last-place toss-out in the Santa Anita Handicap in March. Bobby Frankel, trainer of Milwaukee Brew, told the blame for his colt's loss. "I cost him the race. Bad instructions," said Frankel, who had jockey Kent Desormeaux take back. Pincay now has won the Gold Cup nine times.
Sakhee, runner-up to Tiznow in last year's Classic, is training at Sandown Park in preparation for the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot on July 27. Simon Crisford, racing manager for Godolphin, said this week the 5-year-old son of Bahri is working well and expected to rebound from a disappointing effort in the Dubai World Cup in March -- his last start. Going into this weekend's action, Sakhee was rated No. 1 in both the Classic division and the Turf division.
Came Home reminded everyone at Hollywood Park on Sunday why he was one of the favorites in this year's Kentucky Derby. The colt led through middling fractions in the $500,000 Swaps Stakes without much opposition, then coasted home to win by 1 ¼ length over Like a Hero. Fonz's was third. "He was looking around a lot more than I remember him doing," said winning jockey Mike Smith. He has won eight of his 10 starts and passed the $1 million mark in career earnings. This year's victories include the Santa Anita Derby, Affirmed Handicap, San Vicente and San Rafael.
Among the 3-year-olds, add Puck to the list of late-bloomers. The son of Mr. Greeley, detoured from the big time after finishing 35 lengths up the track in the Florida Derby, found the right gear in the stretch run of Saturday's $100,000 Long Branch Breeders' Cup at Monmouth Park. Running from well back, Puck roared past the leaders and won by 2 ¼ lengths over ever-promising Shah Jehan. Stephentown, the even-money favorite, was third. Puck's victory backed up his comeback added-money score in the Unbridled Stakes at Calder on June 22 and points him toward the $1 million Haskell on Aug. 4. "We had a van ready to take him back home tomorrow," said trainer Bill White. "I think we'll cancel it after the way he ran today."
John Deere Turf
Orchard Park was wide on both turns in Saturday's $500,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs, overcame a slow pace and still won by 1 ½ lengths, holding off a late run by Flying Dash in the final sixteenth. Orchard Park, with Edgar Prado up, ran the 1 ¼ mile in 2:03.10. The Hennessycolt, bred in Florida, won the Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs in his last outing and, but for a third-place finish in the Crown Royal American Turf during Derby week, now would have a seven-race win streak for trainer Bill Mott. He has been off the board only once in 10 lifetime starts. Flying Dash came into the race as the winner of three straight, although his last win in the Hawthorne Derby remains up in the air as a result of a drug-positive sample result. Owner Peter Vegso said Orchard Park is ticketed for the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds at Arlington Park on Aug. 17. "A lot of trainers of 3-year-olds are kind of heading toward that," he said.
At Belmont Park on Saturday, Whitmore's Conn outfinished favorite Staging Post to upset the $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap. Whitmore's Conn, a 4-year-old son of Kris S., finished the 1 3/8 mile over the inner turf in 2:13.43 under Shaun Bridgmohan. Moon Solitare finished third after leading most of the way. "He's a pretty nice New York-bred," said winning trainer Randy Schulhofer. "It would be real nice to get invited to something like the Sword Dancer" -- Aug. 10 at Saratoga.
And on Sunday at Belmont, Chiselling did everything wrong until the $150,000 Lexington Stakes was about half-run, then made up for all the bad behavior. The son of Woodman, shipped in from California by trainer Bobby Frankel, finished the 1 ¼-mile event for 3-year-olds in 2:00 2/5. Before the race, Chiselling balked at the gate. Finally loaded, he was last out and dawdled through the early furlongs. "I thought it was just a matter of time until he got up," said Frankel assistant Jose Cuevas. "He has a very big turn of foot."
Happily Unbridled saved ground early in Saturday's $100,000 HBPA Handicap at Ellis Park "bean patch" in Kentucky, got the lead in deep stretch and just held off Gal On the Go in the final strides to win by a head. Red n'Gold was third. Happily Unbridled, a 4-year-old daughter of Unbridled, got the 1 mile in 1:38.19 under Larry Melancon. (For an entertaining explanation of the "bean patch," check Billy Reed's feature at ellisparkracing.com).
Filly & Mare Turf
Secret River battled head-and-head with heavily favored Golden Corona in the final furlong of Saturday's $150,000 All Along Breeders' Cup Stakes at Colonial Downs, with Secret River winning by a head. Golden Coronoa's rider, Victor Espinoza, lost his whip near the sixteenth pole. Secret River, a 5-year-old Maryland-bred by Secret Odds, finished the 9 furlongs on the firm turf in 1:50.76.
On Sunday at the Curragh in Ireland, Margarula used a late run to upset heavy favorite Quarter Moon in the Irish Oaks. Margarula, a daughter of Douyon, scored her first group win.
Bessemer Trust Juvenile
Rights Reserved kicked in during the final furlong in Sunday's $125,000 Colin Stakes at Woodbine and won off by 3 ¼ lengths over Tackling Stress. The son of 1989 Canadian Triple Crown winner With Approval ran 6 furlongs in 1:11.51. "He got away well, had a good trip and kicked on at the end," said winning rider Robert Landry.
Long John Silvers Juvenile Fillies
Memo to the high rollers heading for Keeneland: You can't always tell the winners by the price tag. As a case in point, consider Saturday's second race at Hollywood Park. The $56,000 Maiden Special Weight event featured the debuts Ashraaf, a Deputy Minister filly who cost Godolphin Racing $2.3 million at the September sale at Keeneland and Servaline, a Storm Cat filly that Bob Baffert bought for Brushwood Stable at the Keeland July sale for $2 million. Neither hit the board as Miss Houdini came from off the pace to win handily. Ashraaf actually got the lead briefly but faded to finish fourth. Servaline didn't show much and beat only one rival. Well, maybe they'll be better with experience. Or more distance.
In other weekend racing:
Full Moon Madness, the heavy favorite against just three Cal-bred rivals, worked clear in the late going of Saturday's $75,000 Answer Do Stakes to win by 1 length over McCordnskuba. Flying Rudolph was third. Full Moon Madness, a 7-year-old gelding by Half a Year, ran 5 ½ furlongs on the grass in 1:02.22. "The only thing I had to do," said winning rider Alex Solis, "was hold on and make sure I saved enough to the end." Trainer Robert Marshall said the gelding will come back in the Pat O'Brien at Del Mar on Aug. 18. "It's not like he's coming off a tough race," Marshall added.
Sunday, Irguns Angel caught pace-setting Secret Liaison in the final yards to win the $200,000 A Gleem Handicap by a head. Kalookan Queen was third. Irguns Angel, a 4-year-old Irgun filly, ran 7 furlongs in 1:22.50 under Eddie Delahoussaye. "She was just grinding it down, but we got there," said Eddie D.
During the "Summit of Speed," Calder staged Saturday's $50,000 Rocket Man Stakes, an unusual, 2-furlong event for Thoroughbreds 2-years-old and up. The winner, 4-year-old Baby Shark, came from off the pace to score by 4 lengths over Kelly's Hero, with Roy's Ruckus third. The chart caller, in theory, named all eight runners three times within 20.81 seconds. "The best way to describe that trip," said winning rider Ramon Dominguez, "is that it was fast."
K's Patton easily ran down pace-setting favorite Bold America to win Saturday's $50,000 Canterbury Park Juvenile by 6 lengths. Bold American held second and Giant Slam was third. The 5 ½ furlongs went in 1:04 3/5. "When he changed leads in the stretch, he said, 'See you,'" said winning rider Marco Ccamaque. It'sallinthechase ran fifth in this race last year.
Fuse It tracked the leaders through the early furlongs of Saturday's $50,000 Suthern Accent, swung wide to gain the advantage turning for home and stuck around to score by a neck over Princess Jen. Raymond's Dream was third. Fuse It, a 4-year-old Lite the Fuse filly, ran 6 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:11. "We wanted to lay off and make a run," said winning rider Kirk LeBlanc. "I had tons of horse the whole way around there."
News and Notes
The Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships officially will be run in 2004 at Lone Star Park. The races had been set to touch home base at Churchill Downs that year, but CD is working out a renovation project that might have interfered. So the schedule now is: 2002 at Arlington Park, 2003 at Santa Anita, 2004 at Lone Star and 2005 under the Twin Spires.