The Kentucky Derby preps got their first big winner and claimed their first major victim during the weekend.
Read the Footnotes rallied on the outside of Second of June in the final yards of Saturday's $250,000 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park, winning by a neck in the major local prep for the Florida Derby. Read the Footnotes, idle since the end of November, ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:42.71 for Jerry Bailey.
The Smoke Glacken colt, a New York-bred, now has won three straight races and five of six in his short career. His only defeat was a sixth-place finish in the Champagne last October.
The victory was dampened when Second of June, the favorite in the Fountain and a leading Derby contender, was discovered to have a fractured cannon bone, presumably incurred during the race. Trainer Bill Cesare said the colt is expected to recover after surgery but will be sidelined until the end of he year.
Second of June, a son of LouisQuatorze, had won three straight races, including the Holy Bull at Gulfstream last month.
The Fountain of Youth was only the top billing on a long marquee list of weekend races for Kentucky Derby hopefuls. In other action:
-- Gradepoint ran last of six down the backstretch in Sunday's $150,000 Risen Star Stakes at Fairgrounds. But when jockey Robby Albarado gave him the signal, the A.P. Indy colt moved outside and passed them all, winning by 1/2 length over the favorite, Mr. Jester. Nightlifeatbigblue was third. Gradepoint, a Kentucky-bred, ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:45.36 on a fast track. He was making his first stakes start after two straight wins. "I felt like he'd do better than his last effort," said winning trainer Neil Howard. "I thought he would close the ground like he did. A.P. Indys need more time to mature but I believe this horse is beginning to mature." Howard said the March 7 Louisiana Derby is a possibility for Gradepoint. Mr. Jester, who had not raced since early December, tired in the Risen Star, said trainer Steve Wren. "He got what he needed," Wren said.
-- Limehouse caught pace-setting stablemate Deputy Storm at the sixteenth pole in the Grade II Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, then drew clear to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Saratoga County was third and the favorite, Wynn Dot Comma, finished fourth. Limehouse, a Florida-bred son of Grand Slam, ran 7 furlongs in 1:22.23. Todd Pletcher trains the top two finsihers. Limehouse had not won in three tries since capturing the Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs last June. He had not raced since the Keeneland fall meet.
-- Another top Derby contender, Birdstone, won a conditioned allowance race at Gulfstream on Saturday. With Bailey up, the son of Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone stalked the pace and took command at the top of the lane. He won ridden out. Nick Zito trains Birdstone for Mary lou Whitney Stables. "There are so many options," Zito said. "We know he won't race for a month."
-- Bailey won yet another 3-year-old event on the Gulfstream program with Swingforthefences, in a 9-furlong race for non-winners of a race other than maiden. Swingforthefences, a Kentucky-bred son of Boston Harbor, had to shift course at the top of the stretch to get through traffic but then zipped past his rivals and won by 5 3/4 lengths over the favorite, Shaniko. Richard Violette Jr. Trains Swingforthefences.
-- Value Plus led most of the way to win a 7-furlong allowance event on Gulfstream's Saturday card by 5 3/4 lengths, ridden out. The son of Unbridled's Song, with John Velazquez in the irons, got home in 1:21.42. Todd Pletcher trains Value Plus.
-- At Sam Houston Park in Texas, There Goes Rocket rallied from well back in the pack to win Saturday's $75,000 Texas Stallion Stakes colts and geldings division by a neck over Sling Shot. There Goes Rocket, a son of Valid Expectations, got the 1 1/16 mile in 1:47.64 on a muddy track with E.J. Perrodin aboard.
In 3-year-old filly races:
-- Shadow Cast took charge in the stretch run to win Saturday's $250,000 Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Jockey Robby Albarado urged Shadow Cast into contention from fourth position as the field turned for home. At he wire, the Smart Strike filly was 3/4 lengths ahead of Quick Temper, finishing 1 1/16 mile in 1:46.82 on a sloppy track. "I felt like I had horse at every point in the race," Albarado said. Trainer Neil Howard said Shadow Cast will be pointed to the Fair Grounds Oaks on March 6.
-- A.P. Adventure was just up in time to win Sunday's $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita by 1/2 length over Hollywood Story. Friendly Michelle was third. A.P. Adventure, a Kentucky-bred daughter of A.P. Indy, ran 1 mile in 1:36.50. "She's a runner, no doubt about it," said winning rider Alex Solis. "She's just playing with these fillies. She's still got no clue what she's doing out there." Trainer Wally Dollase said he will point A.P. Adventure to the Sanat Anita Oaks.
-- On a day when colts got the most attention at Gulfstream Park, a filly named Madcap Escapade turned in the most eye-catching performance. After stalking the early pace, the daughter of Hennessy took charge leaving the turn and won by 11 3/4 lengths. With Rene Douglas up, the filly ran 6 furlongs in 1:08.85.
-- Among My Souvenirs got to the outside for the stretch run in Saturday's $75,000 Dearly Precious Stakes at Aqueduct and rallied past the leaders to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Bohemian Lady was second and Baldomera was third. Among My Souvenirs, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Souvenir Copy, ran 6 furlongs in 1:11.60.
-- Native Annie, the odds-on favorite, ran away from the competition in the stretch run of Saturday's $75,000 Texas Stallion Stakes filly division at Sam Houston Park on Saturday, winning by 8 3/4 length. The daughter of Manzotti finished the 1 1/16 mile on a muddy track in 1:48.84.
-- In New Mexico, Speedy Falcon was a speedy filly in Saturday's $50,000 El Paso Times Handicap for 3-year-old fillies, drawing clear in the stretch and then holding off Spoiled to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Speedy Falcon, a Florida-bred daughter of Jeblar, ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.07.
In other weekend racing:
-- Tiber held on to win Sunday's Mercedes Benz Hong Kong Classic Mile by 3/4 of a length over the favorite and defending champion Lucky Owners. Both horses are expected to contest next month's Hong Kong Derby and trainer Tony Cruz said he expects the longer distance of that race to suit Lucky Owners better. Also Sunday, Macau-based Crown's Gift shipped in to win the inaugural running of the Hong Kong Macau Trophy. At the line, Crown's Gift beat Gift by 3/4 length with River Dancer third.
-- Victory Moon won Thursday's second round of the Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Challenge by 3/4 length over Inamorato. Tropical Star was third. Victory Moon, a South African star, is pointing to the $6 million Dubai World Cup.
Cat Fighter dueled down the lane with Fencelineneighbor before winning Saturday's $200,000 La Canada Stakes for 4-year-old fillies by a head. Tangle, who contested the early lead, finished third, another neck back. The favorite, Victory Encounter, showed nothing and finished last of eight. Cat Fighter, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Storm Cat, ran 9 furlongs in 1:50.41. "She keeps trying." said winning rider Alex Solis. She never gives up." Trainer Bob Baffert said Cat Fighter is "just green. She's just learning how to run."
Also Saturday, McCann's Mojave rallied between rivals in mid-stretch to win the $100,000 Sensational Star Handicap for Cal-breds by 1/2 length over Lennyfrommalibu. McCann's Mojave, a 4-year-old son of Memo, ran the about 6 1/2 furlongs on the downhill turf course in 1:12.34.
Roar Emotion dueled for the lead in Sunday's $100,000 Sabin Handicap, then drew clear in the stretch to win by 5 1/2 lenghts. Nonsuch Bay was second and Lead Story finsihed third. Roar Emotion, a 4-year-old daughter of Roar, ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:43.32 with John Velazquez up.
Bear Fan, with Ryan Fogelsonger up, worked clear from the pack on the turn in Saturday's $200,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap and won by 1 length over Gazillion. Bronze Abe was third in the opening event of this year's three-day Sprintfest. Bear Fan finished the 7 furlongs in 1:23.55. "They told me not to move on her," said Fogelsonger, newly returned from a stint in Southern California. "When you're ready to go, she'll probably take you there first. I didn't nudge her until we were turning for home, and then she took off."
Also Saturday, Ole Faunty took advantage of some traffic to win the $150,000 John B. Campbell Breeders' Cup Handicap by 1 1/4 lengths. While Ole Faunty, a Quiet American gelding, was winning, Evening Attire found himself trapped on the rail and unable to get by inside Rogue Agent. Rogue Agent finished second with Evening Attire third but the stewards changed that, ruling Rogue Agent improperly closed down on his rival. "I was much the best," said jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, who rode Evening Attire. "Unfortunately, that had to happen."
Paupa came from last to win Sunday's $75,000 Hollie Hughes Handicap by a neck over A One Rocket. The race was marred by the breakdown of Bossanova, who tossed jockey Javier Castellano to the track. Papua, with Mike Luzzi aboard, had to avoid the fallen rider, then regain stride to catch A One Rocket in the final strides. Final time was 1:10 2/5.
Tampa Bay Downs
Burning Roma took back in the early stages of Saturday's $50,000 Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup Stakes, then came running to open up a good margin with a furlong to run. He then held of a late charge by Remind to win by a neck. "We wanted him just off the pace," said winning owner Harold Queen. "The game plan was to lay fourth or fifth and Jesus (Castanon) rode him perfectly." Burning Roma, a 6-year-old son of Rubiano, now has won this race three straight years.
Golden Gate Fields
Pheiffer got the lead with a furlong to go in Saturday's $55,000 Richmond Handicap for fillies and mares and went on to win by 2 lengths over Goldy Rock. Christmas Time was third, 4 lengths farther back. Pheiffer, a 6-year-old Washington-bred, ran 6 furlongs in 1:09.16. The favorite, Brite Betty, checked in fifth.
Drexel Monorail pressed the pace in Saturday's $50,000 Pippin Stakes for fillies and mares, took a clear lead after a half mile and then held on easily to beat There Runs Hattie by 2 3/4 lengths. Due to Win was third and the favorite, Reason to Talk, finished fourth. Drexel Monorail, a 5-year-old Glitterman mare, finished the 1 1/16 mile on a sloppy track in 1:47.20.