Lido Palace let the competition compete through the early stages of Saturday's $500,000 Woodward Stakes at Belmont Park, then closed stoutly on the outside to pick up the pieces, winning by ¾ length over Gander.
Express Tour, who dueled with Gander through most of the first mile, finished third. None of the other starters was a factor.
Lido Palace, a 5-year-old Chilean-bred, became only the sixth horse to win the Woodward in consecutive years. The others are superstars: Sword Dancer, Kelso, Forego, Slew o' Gold and Cigar. However, Lido Palace hadn't won a race since last year's Woodward.
"I wanted him to get to the outside at the top of the stretch," said winning trainer Bobby Frankel. "He's a bit of a lazy horse but when I saw Jorge (Chavez) get him to the outside, I was confident. He likes to wear down his rivals."
The Chilean-bred is not nominated to the Breeders' Cup and last year went to the Japan Cup instead. Frankel told Daily Racing Form before the Woodward that if Lido Palace ran well in that race and the Jockey Club Gold Cup on Sept. 28, owner Robert Amerman might put up the $800,000 to supplement him to the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 26 at Arlington Park.
In other weekend races with potential implications for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship races at Arlington:
$2 million John Deere Turf
Jockey Pat Day kept With Anticipation right behind Balto Star's dawdling pace in Saturday's $500,000 Man o' War Stakes at Belmont Park until the pair hit the stretch. Then, when Day asked him for run, the 7-year-old Relaunch gelding dug in and got home first, 1 length ahead of Balto Star. Man From Wicklow completed the trifecta. The 1 3/8 mile went in 2:15.05. With Anticipation also won the Man o' War last year. He then passed up Belmont's Turf Classic and went right into the Breeders' Cup Turf, where he finished seventh. "We'll come back in the Turf Classic" this year, said winning trainer Jonathan Sheppard. "I think sometimes a race is easier than a layoff, especially with older horses. There are two ways of looking at it. We tried the other way last year and it didn't work."
$1 million Mile (turf)
Good Journey came off a three-month layoff to win Sunday's $1 million Atto Mile at Woodbine, getting a trip that justified his name under "Patient" Pat Day. The 6-year-old son of Nureyev settled just off the rail in striking position, angled wide into the stretch and came home first by 1 length over longshot pace-setter Chopinina. Nuclear Debate was third and the favorite, Noverre, could do no better than sixth from the outside post position. Good Journey now has won all three of his starts this year and four straight. "He runs good fresh," said winning trainer Wally Dollase. "There was no mile race between the last one (the Firecracker Breeders' Cup Handicap at Churchill Downs) and this one. So I thought, what the heck, let's just train him up to the race." Other disappointments in the race included Del Mar Show (10th) and Quiet Resolve (11th).
Inesperado rallied from far back in the pack to win Saturday's $300,000 Del Mar Derby by 1 length. With Corey Nakatani at the controls, the French-bred 3-year-old launched his rally as the field entered the final turn of the 9-furlong turf race. Moving on the outside, he reached the lead at mid-stretch and held off Johar for the victory. Rock Opera, who set a fast pace, held on for third. The final time was 1:47.49. Humberto Ascanio, assistant to trainer Bobby Frankel, said, "Bobby told me to tell Corey to take his time and make one run, and that's what he did. This is a nice horse. He's getting better every race and we'll have some fun with him."
$1 million Filly & Mare Turf
Calista and Diadella both closed from well back in the field in the stretch run of Sunday's $250,000 Canadian Handicap at Woodbine but it was Calista with a nose in front at the wire. The British-bred, 4-year-old Caerleon filly, with Corey Nakatani up, finished the "about" 9 furlongs on the turf in 1:45.04. Lush Soldier was 3 lengths farther back in third.
At Del Mar, Voodoo Dancer won Sunday's $150,000 Palomar Handicap by 2 lengths over longshot I'm The Business. Noches de Rosa was third and Janet struggled home sixth. Voodoo Dancer, with Kent Desormeaux in the irons, ran 1 1/16 mile in 1:41.56 on firm turf. She is a 4-year-old daughter of Kingmambo. "She put me in a perfect spot going into the first turn," said Desormeaux. "Then it was just a matter of biding my time from there."
$1 million Sprint
Xtra Heat didn't get a whole lot of respect before last year's Sprint at Belmont Park, going off at a juicy 17-1. The super filly proceeded to just miss a gate-to-wire victory, giving way to Squirtle Squirt by ½ length. This year, she won't be 17-1. Since running third in Dubai in March, the 4-year-old daughter of Dixieland Heat has won four of five starts, including a 5-length romp in Saturday's $150,000 Endine Stakes at Delaware Park. After shaking off a challenge from Bruanna, Xtra Heat won as she pleased, finishing 6 furlongs in 1:10.91, ridden out. Trainer John Salzman Sr. said Xtra Heat may go directly to the Breeders' Cup. "I want to look at the rerun and see how much she got out of it," he said of Saturday's race. "She went head-to-head with a horse, so I think she got something out of it."
$2 million Distaff
Imperial Gesture went quickly to the lead in Saturday's $250,000 Gazelle Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park and never gave up the advantage. At the wire, she was in front, 2 ½ lengths ahead of Take Charge Lady with the favorite, Bella Bellucci, third. Imperial Gesture, a Godolphin Racing filly by Langfuhr, finished the 9 furlongs in 1:47.12. She was aided by several factors: a 4-pound weight break from Take Charge Lady; Take Charge' Lady's 3 ½-month layoff, and Bella Bellucci missing the break. Still, Tom Albertrani, assistant to winning trainer Saeed bin Suroor, said the win was impressive. "She never looked like she was stopping. She just extended herself. She's a very good filly," he said. Trainer Kenny McPeek said Take Charge Lady will move along to the Spinster on Oct. 6 at Keeneland.
$1 million Juvenile
Sharp Impact collared pace-setting Bold America at the top of the lane in Saturday's $75,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes at Arlington Park, then held off Wiggins to win by ¾ length. Sharp Impact, a son of Siphon, is owned by Godolphin Racing and trained by Eoin Harty. He now has won both of his starts. "He's trained nicely up to this race and we thought he'd run well," said assistant trainer Dave Duggan. "I'm going to continue to train him like he's going in the (Sept. 28 Arlington-Washington) Futurity and after a few days we'll take a look at it and decide what we're going to do with him." Godolphin also has Anasheed training at Arlington for the Futurity.
At Woodbine, Lismore Knight was just up at the wire to win Sunday's $250,000 Summer Stakes on the turf. The son of Woodman, with Pat Day aboard, rated nicely on the inside and won a stretch duel on the inside of Wando, who finished second. Walls of Jericho was third. The 1 mile on firm turf took 1:35.33.
$1 million Long John Silver's Juvenile Fillies
Fortuitous rallied from near the back of an 11-horse field to win Saturday's $150,000 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine by 1 length over Sweet Storm Creek. Wawota was third. Fortuitous, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Dynaformer, ran 1 mile on the turf in 1:36.54. She is trained by H. James Bond.
In other racing:
Wonder Again found running room at the top of the stretch in Sunday's $250,000 Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap for 3-year-old fillies and went on through to win by ½ length over a late-closing Riskaverse. Pertuisane, bottled up on the hedge until the final yards, salvaged third. Wonder Again, a daughter of Silver Hawk, finished the 9 furlongs over the inner turf in 1:47.33 but trainer Jimmy Toner said the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf is not in the picture. "The Queen Elizabeth has been our objective all along," he said, referring to the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland. "At least now she'll get four weeks to that race."
Elana d'Amour rallied into the stretch and edged clear to win Saturday's $175,000 British Columbia Breeders' Cup Oaks by 1 ½ lengths over Sweet Monarch. Grace for You was third and the odds-on favorite, Lady Shari, was a well-beaten fifth.Elana d'Amour, a daughter of Vying Victor, ran 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:51.67.
Bien Nicole tracked the leaders through the early going in Saturday's $150,000 River Cities Breeders' Cup, went to the front at the top of the stretch and then held on to beat favorite Due To Win Again by neck. Wild Squaw was third. The about 1 1/16 mile went in 1:43.65 on a "good" turf course. "I think she's got some big things in front of her," trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel said of Bien Nicole, a daughter of Bien Bien. She now has six wins and five seconds from 13 starts.
Runspastum lived up to his name in Saturday's $100,000 DTHA Owners' Day Handicap. The 5-year-old son of Woodman raced seventh of eight starters early, then worked through traffic until he was clear and raced off to score by 3 lengths. American Prince was second and Confucius Say was third. Runspastum, with Mike McCarthy in the irons, ran 9 furlongs in 1:51.37.
Also Saturday, High Lady came from off the pace to win the $100,000 George Rosenberger Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares. The Lord Avie mare, giving McCarthy a stakes double, fanned four wide entering the stretch to get room and won by 1 length over Bloomy. She ran 1 1/16 mile on the turf in 1:42.50.
Bubblegum Kid drew off in the stretch run of Saturday's $100,000 Speed to Spare Stakes, winning by 3 lengths over Miki Bleu Eyes. Scotman was third. Bubblegum Kid, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred by Othello, ran 11 furlongs on a fast track in 2:17 4/5.
Don't Countess Out struggled out of the gate in Saturday's $75,000 Weekend Delight Stakes, recovered and came along in the stretch to win by 3 lengths over Silent Stream. Nasty Storm was third as the favorite. Don't Countess Out finished the 6 furlongs under Terry Thompson in 1:10.44. She is a 3-year-old daughter of Take Me Out.
Hackendiffy shook free from eight rivals early in Sunday's $75,000 Juvenile Stakes and rolled home a 12 ½-length winner. The son of Willowy Ambassador ran 1 1/16 mile in 1:45.80. Forest Picnic was second and Clever Jimmy C was third. Ifufeelfroggyleap, probably burdened down by his name, was a late scratch.
Top Bracket raced at the back of the pack in Sunday's $60,000 Belle Roberts Handicap, then shifted into passing gear as the field turned for home and won by 1 ¼ lengths over Graceful Cat. Latter Day Paula was third. "There's only one way to ride this filly," said winning jockey Gallyn Mitchell. "You have to be patient on her and don't let her get away from you." Top Bracket, a 5-year-old Cal-bred, is scheduled for the Cal Cup Matron.
Even though it was only a five-horse field, Profound Secret had to work through traffic to get the lead in Sunday's $60,000 Big Jag Handicap. Once he did, the 8-year-old son of Gate Dancer took command, passed El Dorado Shooter and won by 1 ½ lengths. Sirpa was third. Profound Secret, with Joey Castro up, finished the 6 furlongs in 1:08.72. "He doesn't care if it gets tight," said Castro. "He just bursts through and becomes more aggressive."
Calder Race Course
Redoubled Miss and Stormy Frolic turned Saturday's $50,000 Judy's Red Shoes into a match race. Stormy Frolic held a short lead until the top of the stretch when Manoel Cruz sent Redoubled Miss up to challenge. The pair raced together to the wire, with Redoubled Miss scoring by a head. TassoRun was 11 ¼ lengths farther back in third. The 1 1/16 mile took 1:45.66. "I controlled my horse and had luck. I drove hard and I won the race," said Cruz.
Buenos Dias dueled for the lead throughout Saturday's $50,000 Lure Stakes before taking charge for good in the stretch run. At the line, Buenos Dias was 1 ¾ lengths ahead of Controls Free. Broadway Snowman finished third. Buenos Dias, with Frank Alvarado up, ran 1 mile in 1:36 1/5. Winning trainer Larry Murray said the 8-year-old, Maryland-bred gelding "just keeps getting better with age."
Supreme Discovery edged clear in the stretch to win Sunday's $30,000 Adena Springs Matchmaker Turf Sprint by 1 ¾ lengths over Darlin Dixie. Idadidit was third. Supreme Discovery, a 3-year-old daughter of Supremo, ran 5 furlongs on a firm track in 58.12 seconds.
Padlock had a pressured lead through most of Sunday's $30,000 Jim Bowie Stakes for 3-year-olds, then inched out to win by 1 length over Royal Win. S'more Smoke was third and Wishingitwas finished last in the four-horse field. Padlock, a Kentucky-bred son of Boundary, ran 1 1/16 mile in 1:46.47.