Highlights of Labor Day racing which could impact the Breeder's Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Santa Anita on Oct. 25:
$4 million Classic
--Dynever and Toccet were the "big names" in Monday's $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park. But neither hit the board as Grand Hombre led a parade of longshots past the finish line. Grand Hombre, nearly 6-1 despite a 3-for-3 record, took charge in the stretch, winning by 5 1/4 lengths over Gimmeawink. Ashmore was third and Christine's Outlaw completed a superfecta that returned $38,661.70 for a $1 investment. Grand Hombre, a son of Grand Slam, ran 9 furlongs over a sloppy track in 1:49.03. Trainer Dennis Manning said he hasn't yet made further plans for the colt.
--On the other side of the nation, Joey Franco rebounded from a disappointing performance in his last race to win Monday's $250,000 Del Mar Breeders' Cup by 2 lengths over Reba's Gold. Grey Memo was third. The 1 mile went in 1:35 3/5. Joey Franco, a 4-year-old son of Avenue of Flags, won for the eighth time in 16 career starts. "He's really been training well coming up to this," said winning trainer Darrell Vienna. "I felt if we didn't have any bad racing luck and maybe some good racing luck today, we'd be pretty tough."
$1.5 million Bessemer Trust Juvenile
Tiger Hunt rallied from eighth in a field of 10 to win Monday's $200,000 Miller Genuine Draft Cradle Stakes at River Downs in Ohio by 1 1/4 lengths over Lightnin N Thunder. Tiger Hunt. Texas Deputy was third. Tiger Hunt ran 1 1/16 mile in 1:49, remaining undefeated after two starts. "He ran his first race like a veteran," said winning rider Larry Melancon. "That's why I liked his chances here so well." Both Tiger Hunt and Lightnin N Thunder are trained by Elliott Walden.
$2 million Distaff
Take Charge Lady, who just missed busting Azeri's winning streak the spring in the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park, set a course for a rematch with an easy win in Monday's $150,000 Arlington Matron Handicap. After relaxing early under jockey Shane Sellers, Take Charge Lady ... well ... took charge and jetted off to win by 10 1/2 lengths. She ran 9 furlongs over a muddy track in 1:50.19. "I think at some point we want to take her (Azeri) on again," said Take Charge Lady's trainer, Ken McPeek. "This filly is a top filly. I think we could have beaten her at Oaklawn with a little bit more luck. We're going to be in the thick of it with her for the Breeders' Cup." Lakenheath was second on Monday, with To the Queen third.
$2 million John Deere Turf
Shoal Water sat just behind pace-setting Sharp Impact through most of Monday's $100,000 Saranac Handicap for 3-year-olds at Saratoga, then took over in the stretch to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Urban King was up for second and Sharp Impact held third. Shoal Water, a Canadian-bred Smart Strike gelding, ran the 1 3/16 mile on "good" turf in 1:55.43. "We're going to take him back to Canada and take a look at the Jamaica Handicap" on Sept. 21 at Belmont Park, said winning trainer Mark Frostad.
$1.5 million NetJets Mile (turf)
Tour of the Cat led virtually all the way to a 2 1/2-length victory over Last Stand in Monday's $150,000 Miami Mile Breeders' Cup. Even though the event came off the turf, winning trainer Myra Mora said, "I would have run him on the turf but I wouldn't have been happy if it was soft turf, thought." Mora added, "I don't plan ahead too much. I just wait for him to tell me when he's ready and then I look for a spot."
News and notes
Six more Asian Racing Federation nations announced Sunday they have signed the "Good Neighbor Policy" first adopted last year by Japan and Hong Kong. The document pledges that signatory racing jurisdictions will not provide wagering to residents of other signatory jurisdictions without the permission of those jurisdictions. They also agree not to solicit, market or advertise wagering without prior authorization from other signatories. Ronald Arculli, Chairman of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, called the signing "an important step in the fight against unauthorized offshore and illegal gambling and the danger it poses to our societies, to government revenue and to racing livelihoods." The new signatories are racing authorities from Australia, India, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and Turkey.