With just two weeks to go before the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, few of the weekend's races are expected to have much of an impact on the "big show." The exceptions might be in the 2-year-old ranks.
In Calder's "Festival of the Sun" in south Florida, Trust N Luck scored a mild upset in Saturday's $400,000 In Reality Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes. The Montbrook filly got home 4 ¾ lengths ahead of The Name's Bond. The favorite, Lawbook, was caught in traffic and never reached serious contention, finishing sixth.
"I wouldn't be against running him in the Breeders' Cup if that was what he (owner E. Paul Robsham) wanted," said Trust N Luck's trainer, Ralph Ziadie. "Although I don't know whether we could get in." The colt has won three of six starts but may not have enough earnings to crack the $1 million Bessemer Trust Juvenile field.
Some other action among the 2-year-old colts and geldings:
--Boston Bull romped to a 4-length victory in Sunday's $100,000 Cowdin Stakes at Belmont Park, running 6 ½ furlongs in 1:16.37 under John Velazquez. The son of Boston Harbor is trained by Todd Pletcher. "We weren't planning on using this as a prep for the Juvenile," Pletcher said. "But I don't want to rule anything out until I talk to Mr. (Cot) Campbell." And how about a Bull Market-Boston Bull exacta?
--At Woodbine, Mobil, a bay son of Langfuhr, was impressive in winning Saturday's $250,000 Cup and Saucer Stakes by ½ length over Shoal Water. Jockey Todd Kabel kept the colt off the lead until the turn for home, hooked Shoal Water and dueled to the line. However, trainer Mike Keogh said Mobil likely is headed for the Nov. 2 Coronation Futurity, rather than the Breeders' Cup.
$1 million Long John Silver's Juvenile Fillies
Ivanavinalot continued to live up to her name in Saturday's $400,000 My Dear Girl Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes at Calder. The West Acre filly started in front and quickly gave the brush to seven rivals, winning by 13 ¾ lengths. Stars Go Blue was a well-eclipsed second, with Dakota Light a dim third.
Ivanavinalot won the final two legs of the Stallion Series filly competition, with her only career loss coming in the first leg in a troubled trip. Still, trainer Kathleen O'Connell said the Breeders' Cup is questionable. "You never say 'no' to anything," she said. "The possibility is slim, though. The horse will have to tell us. We don't have to go. We have her 3-year-old campaign to look forward to and we can meet the big ones next year."
In other 2-year-old filly action:
--Kabeeb was supposed to be the third-stringer from the barn of Roger Attfield for Sunday's $250,000 Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Woodbine. But with Jim McAleney calling the shots, the filly worked he way through most of her rivals and found clear sailing turning for home. Reaching the front, she then held off a challenge from Mountain Dawn to win by ½ length. "She's still a little green," said McAleney. "But I think she'll really improve off this race." Kabeeb finished in 1:49.49 over a fast track.
--Humorous Lady got a clear lead in the stretch in Sunday's $150,000 Astarita Stakes at Belmont Park, then just held on to beat Fast Cookie by a nose under the wire. Chimichurri, the favorite, was 1 length farther back in third. The 6 ½ furlongs took 1:17.76. Winning rider Jerry Bailey -- who has been on a few fast ones -- said Humorous Lady "is one of the fastest horses I've ever been on." However, trainer Michael Smith said Humorous Lady's connections "don't have anything picked out next."
In other weekend racing:
Riskaverse, often a bridesmaid, got the bouquet Saturday in the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup for 3-year-old fillies. With Mark Guidry providing an energetic ride down the stretch, Riskaverse closed relentlessly to catch Zenda and win by a neck. Lush Soldier was a longshot third. The favorite, Wonder Again, was fifth with an even effort. Riskaverse, a Dynaformer filly, ran the 1 1/8 mile on "good" turf in 1:49.84. "I don't know about the Breeders' Cup," said winning trainer Patrick Kelly. "This was sort of the Breeders' Cup for 3-year-old fillies."
Lapuma rallied from mid-pack to win Sunday's $100,000 Dowager Stakes by ½ length over San Dare. The favorite, Volga, was another head back in third, spoiling Pat Day's 49th birthday. Lapuma, a 5-year-old Lord at War mare, ran the 1 ½ mile on yielding turf in 2:35.17. "We won't be going to the Breeders' Cup," said winning trainer Alton Quanbeck. "There are a lot of mile-and-a-half races in New York we'll look at."
Calder Race Course
Just as the days are getting darker for most of us in the northern climes, Saturday was Festival of the Sun Day at Calder, with good horses enjoying the rays at a variety of distances on both surfaces.
Union Place, with Eibar Coa up, came from a nice pace-stalking position to win the $200,000 Calder Derby by a head over Miesque's Approval. The Judge Sez Who was third. Union Place, a son of Out of Place, picked up his first win since a conditioned allowance at Gulfstream Park in January. "I think it's just a case of his growing up," Scotty Schulhofer, father of trainer Randy Schulhofer.
In the $200,000 Calder Oaks, Cellars Shiraz fought off Something Ventured near the top of the stretch and drew off to win by 2 ½ lengths. Maliziosa finished second and Something Ventured got home third. The 9 furlongs on firm turf went in 1:48.85. "She doesn't need to be on the lead, just close to it," said winning rider Cornelio Velasquez, explaining why he let his rival go by briefly. Trainer William Cesare said he is considering the Mrs. Revere at Churchill Downs on Nov. 16.
Castlebrook took charge in the stretch run in the $100,000 Shocker T. Handicap for fillies and mares, beating Banderia to the wire by 3 ¾ lengths. Coolbythepool was third. Castlebrook, a 5-year-old Montbrook mare, ran 1 1/16 mile in 1:45.97. Trainer Bill Kaplan said he is pointing Castlebrook to a rich statebred race on Nov. 16.
Pay The Preacher led all the way in the $100,000 Spend A Buck Handicap, holding off a belated rally by Best of the Rest to win by 1 length. Built Up was third. Pay The Preacher, a 4-year-old son of Groomstick, ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:44.91. Trainer Robert Hale said the colt will remain in Florida.
Texas Glitter tied the world record for 5 furlongs on the turf in the $100,000 Calder Turf Sprint Handicap, beating Ghostly Number to the wire by 1 ¾ lengths in 54.98 seconds (54 4/5). The mark was set at Calder in 1998 by Heckofaralph and has been tied at Hollywood and Monmouth. "This is his game," said winning trainer Mike McCarthy. "He can do it anywhere. And you could see how versatile he is." Jockey Jerry Bailey, who rode the 6-year-old son of Glitterman for the first time in four years, noted the horse has learned to rate. "It makes him multidimensional," Bailey said. Too bad there isn't a turf sprint in the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships program.
Johar put a nose in front of Rock Opera at the wire to win Sunday's $150,000 Oak Tree Derby by a nose. Mananan McLir was third. Johar, a Kentucky-bred son of Gone West, ran the 1 1/8 mile on firm turf in 1:46.00 for Alex Solis. "Thank God he finally got one today," Solis said. "I was worried because the seconds were starting to pile up a little bit for him" Winning trainer Richard Mandella said he thinks Johar "will really prosper when they go a mile and a quarter. And I think he will be a good, old horse."
Saturday, Rolly Polly rallied in the final sixteenth to score a nose win over I'm the Business in the $100,000 Senator Ken Maddy Handicap. Nanogram was third. Rolly Polly, an Irish-bred, 4-year-old daughter of Mukaddamah, got the about 6 1/2-furlong distance on the downhill turf course in 1:12.86. "My plan," said winning rider Patrick Valanzuela, "was to let her relax and finish strong. And that's exactly what she did."
Fisher Pond wasn't cutting much bait in Saturday's $150,000 Lawrence Realization Handicap for 3-year-old. The A.P. Indy colt rolled quickly to the front and set sail down the sloppy track for the finish line, getting there 4 ¼ lengths ahead of Irish Colonial. Extra Check got a small one for finishing third. Fisher Pond ran the 1 ½ mile in 2:30.34 on the sloppy main track after the race was moved from the greensward. "It looks like he's getting better with age," said winning trainer Todd Pletcher. "He likes these longer distances."
Certantee came along behind the pace-setting duo of Elberton and Polish Miner to win Saturday's $150,000 John D. Schapiro Memorial Breeders' Cup Handicap by 1 length. Polish Miner held second and Full Brush rushed from the back to get third. The 9 furlongs on the main track -- the race was moved from the turf -- took 1:49. Winning rider Horatio Karamanos said Certantee had raced on the main track before but only sprinting. "I was concerned about the distance on this surface today," Karamanos confided.
Third time was the charm for Zydeco Affair in Saturday's $75,000 Manila Stakes. The Tony Richey trainee broke well enough to take the early lead but then his rider, Earlie Fires, let Del Diablo go to the point. Turning for home, Zydeco Affair again relinquished the lead, this time to Larry B. Again, he came back on the inside to win by a neck. The grassy mile took 1:38.53. Dr. Phil was third.
Sunday, My Girl Lisa helped Arlington celebrate its 75th birthday by winning the $50,000 Lazer Show Stakes. With Corey Lanerie up, My Girl Lisa covered the 5 furlongs on firm turf in 57.88 seconds and wouldn't a turf sprint be a super addition to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship races? Feminine Fury was second in the 11-horse field.
Golden Rhythm stalked the early pace in Saturday's $30,000 Old South Handicap, collared the leaders and then battled Cocoa Creek to the wire before winning by a head. Chula finished third. The 1 1/16 mile on "good" turf took 1:44.95. "The trip was perfect," said winning jockey Don Simington.
The favorites won both ends of Saturday's $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes events, restricted to the progeny of stallions standing in the Lone Star State. In the colts and geldings division, Leo's Last Hurrahy worked through the field from 11th position to win by 1 length over Call Me Lefty. Screen Pass was third. Leo's Last Hurrahy, by Leo Castilli, ran the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.58. In the filly division, Parting raced closer to the pace, then took charge as the field turned for home, winning by 2 ½ lengths over Lady Mallory. The winner, by Hay Halo, was clocked in 1:10.93.
Also Saturday, Desert Darby rallied from a striking position to win the $100,000 Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame Stakes by 1 length over Rare Cure. D C Storm was third in the 1 1/16-mile turf event, clocked in 1:42.48. Desert Darby is a 5-year-old son of Sheikh Albadou, winner of the 1991 Breeders' Cup Sprint, which is not run on the grass.
Confucius Say said a lot in Saturday's $225,000 West Virginia Breeders' Classic Stakes, winning off by 11 ¾ lengths. Social Mix was second and Neal's Rodeo finished third. Confucius Say, a 4-year-old son of Eastover Court, was dispatched as the heavy favorite and ran the 9 furlongs on a muddy track in 1:50.93.
In Saturday's $135,000 BB&T "Cavada" West Virginia Breeders' Classic Stakes for fillies and mares, Sweet Music was all that to her few backers, paying $111.80 for a $2 win ticket. The 4-year-old Melodisk filly rallied through the lane to win by ¾ length over Longfield Star. The favorite, Sweet Annuity, faded to finish fifth.