Challengers for the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic can come from just about anywhere -- including Hawthorne Race Course. Pencil in Super Frolic as another.
The 5-year-old son of Pine Bluff raced close up through the early stages of Saturday's $750,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup, shifted to the outside when asked by jockey Victor Espinoza, and just got up to beat Lord of the Game by a head. Desert Boom was third and the favorite, Perfect Drift, finished fourth, lacking a rally.
Super Frolic finished the 1 1/4 mile in 2:04.66 on a sloppy track.
"We came here because we secretly still had hopes for the Breeders' Cup," said winning trainer Vladimir Cerin. "We thought we had a much better horse than the one who finished fifth in the Pacific Classic. ... I only got him 18 days before the Pacific Classic, so I still don't have him totally figured out."
Super Frolic has 11 wins from 31 starts, with 3-of-6 this year. Until Saturday, he had not been successful in graded stakes company.
In 1998, Awesome Again came from a victory in the Hawthorne Gold Cup to win the Breeders' Cup Classic. Black Tie Affair won the Gold Cup in 1990 and the Classic in 1991.
In other potential weekend preps for the Classic:
-- Dover Dere let Chummin set the pace in Saturday's $100,000 Pomona Derby at Fairplex Park in California, then eased past in the stretch to win by 1 length. Chummin held second and Ninety Five raced evenly to be third. Dover Dere, a Florida-bred son of Cherokee Run, ran "about" 1 1/8 mile in1:49.96.
In other weekend races with potential implications for the Oct. 29 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Belmont Park in New York:
$2 million John Deere Turf
Silverfoot easily outfooted seven rivals in Saturday's $200,000 Kentucky Cup Turf Handicap at Kentucky Downs, rallying from well back and then easily drawing clear to score by 6 3/4 lengths. Rochester was second and Gallo Del Bar finished third. Silverfoot, with Rafael Bejarano in the irons, ran 1 1/2 miles in 2:30.30.
$1 million Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf
-- Noble Stella, a German-bred, 4-year-old filly by Monsun, rallied from mid-pack and took complete charge in the stretch to win Sunday's $100,000 (Canadian) Flaming Page Stakes at Woodbine by 9 1/4 lengths. Nomistakeaboutit was second and Sheer Enchantment third. Noble Stella, with Emile Ramsammy in the irons, ran 1 1/2 on "good" turf in 2:27.29.
-- Sweet Talker stalked the pace in Saturday's $150,000 Martha Washington Breeders' Cup Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Laurel Park, went to the lead at the top of the stretch and won by 1 1/4 lengths over Lucrezia. Dynamite Lass was third and the favorite, Victory Lap, finished fourth. Sweet Talker is a Kentucky-bred filly by Stormin Fever. Ryan Fogelsonger guided her over 1 1/16 mile of firm turf in1:41.63.
-- Bright Abundance stayed close to the leaders on the inside in Saturday's $150,000 Noble Damsel Handicap at Belmont Park, surged to the lead in the stretch and held on to win by 1/2 length over My Lordship. Asti finished third. Bright Abundance is a 4-year-old daughter of Quiet American. With Richard Migliore up, she ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:33.93.
-- At Kentucky Downs, Miss Wellspring led most of the way to a 1/2-length upset victory in Saturday's $100,000 Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf. The 4-year-old daughter of Afternoon Deelites, with Rafael Bejarano up, raced four-wide, opened up a lead and then turned back repeated challenges. She finished the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:39.25 (all races are hand-timed at the old Dueling Grounds track). The favorite, Spring Season, finished fourth with a late rush.
$1.5 million NetJets Mile (turf)
-- Starcraft got the best of favorite Dubawi in Saturday's Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Newmarket in England. While Frankie Dettori sent Dubawi out to the middle of the track, Christophe Lemaire kept Starcraft on the inside. When the running started, it was Starcraft who had the most stuffing left, beating Dubawi by 3/4 length. A 100-1 chance, Blatant, finished third. "I was on the best horse and I got beat," Dettori said of Dubawi, who remains a possible starter in the Mile. Rakti, who finished fourth in the QEII, also could ship to Belmont for the race but would need to be supplemented.
-- Spruce Run outran favorite Fort Prado in the final 16th to win Saturday's $150,000 Robert F. Carey Memorial at Hawthorne Race Course by a neck. Remind was third. Spruce Run, a 7-year-old Repriced gelding, ran the 1 mile on "good" turf in 1:39.97.
$1.5 million Bessemer Trust Juvenile
-- Bear Character ran up to the leaders on the turn in Sunday's $125,000 (Canadian) Swynford Stakes at Woodbine and got home first, 1/2 length ahead of Ballado Dancer. Bright N Golden, the odds-on chalk, was third and Run Justin Run completed the order of finish. Bear Character, a Kentucky-bred son of Dixie Union, ran the 7 furlongs in 1:23.83.
-- What's Your Edge kicked clear in the lane in Saturday's $200,000 Monmouth Park NATC Futurity and went on to win by 2 3/4 lengths over odds-on favorite Diabolical. Rock Creek Pass finished third. What's Your Edge, a New York-bred son of Stormy Atlantic, ran the 6 furlongs under Joe Bravo in 1:08.99.
-- Blazing Rate rated off the pace in Saturday's $150,000 Foolish Pleasure Breeders' Cup Stakes, then edged clear in deep stretch to win by 2 lengths over D'broken Speed. Tizzys No Saint was third. Blazing Rate, a Florida-bred colt by Exchange Rate, ran 1 mile and 70 yards in 1:45.76.
$1 million Alberto VO5 Juvenile Fillies
Mia's Reflection survived a rough start and some traffic problems and still went on to win Saturday's $150,000 Brave Raj Stakes at Calder Race Course by 2 lengths over A Sea Trippi. Prospect of Love was third and the favorite, Frolicing, finished sixth. Mia's Reflection is a Florida-bred daughter of Halo's Image. She got 1 mile and 70 yards on a fast track in 1:47.79.
In other weekend racing:
Hawthorne Race Course
Noisette split the leaders in the stretch run of Saturday's $150,000 Indian Maid Breeders' Cup Handicap and got clear to win by 1 length over Sister Swank. Samantha B. finished third in the 1 1/16-mile turf test for fillies and mares. Noisette, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred mare by Broad Brush, finished in 1:48.79 under Brice Blanc.
Durban Thunder dueled Atticus Kitty into submission in Saturday's $100,000 Kentucky Cup Turf Dash, putting a head in front at the wire. Super Fuse rallied from near the back of the pack to finish third. Durban Thunder is a 4-year-old, Brazilian-bred son of Royal Academy. Calvin Borel rode him over 6furlongs of firm turf in 1:10.30 (hand-timed).
Sharp Humor led throughout Sunday's $100,000 Bertram F. Bongard Stakes for New York-bred 2-year-olds, and posted a 3/4-length upset victory over Trading Pro. The odds-on favorite, Parkhimonbroadway, got parked four-wide on the turn and closed to finish third. Sharp Humor, a son of Distorted Humor, ran the 7 furlongs with Edgar Prado up in 1:24.20.
Also Sunday, Artistic Express set the pace and coasted home at the front of a parade of long shots in the $100,000 Joseph A. Gimma Stakes for state-bred, 2-year-old fillies. The Western Express filly, also toting Prado, shook off a persistent challenge from Fly to Me for a 1 1/2-length victory. Zippy Missy completed the $8,911 trifecta while the favorite, Wampum, finished seventh. The time was 1:26.29.
Spaghetti Mouse sat off the early pace in Saturday's $250,000 (Canadian) British Columbia Dery, rallied four-wide into the stretch and won off by 3 1/2 lengths over Bull Ranch. Timeless Passion completed an all-long shot triactor worth $22,191.80. The favorite, Alabama Rain, was fourth with a late run.
Exceeding hustled to the lead in Saturday's $100,000 California Turf Sprint Championship, dueled for the advantage and finally got loose to win by 2 lengths. Bonfante came from last to pick up second and McManus finished third. Exceeding, a 5-year-old, California-bred son of In Excess, ran 5 furlongs on firm turf in 56.84 seconds.
Level Playingfield was last of eight after a half-mile of Saturday's $75,000 Marfa Stakes for 3-year-olds. But when Jon McKee sent the Level Sands colt to running, he came with a rush, catching pace-setter Korbyn Gold in the final strides to win by 3/4 length. With Distinction was third. Level Playingfield ran 6 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:17.08.
Mingo Mohawk dawdled at the rear of a five-horse field in Saturday night's $75,000 Prairie Meadows Derby, then split horses in the stretch and went on to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Bisquik. Yak the Desert Rat was third. Mingo Mohawk, an Iowa-bred son of Mercedes Won running against open company, ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:44.92.
Calder Race Course
Dream on Dream On was hardly asleep in Saturday's $75,000 Needles Stakes for 3-year-olds. Rather, the Untuttable colt jumped right to the front and held the advantage to the wire, winning by 3/4 length over Looks Good Junic. Lord Robyn was home third. Dream On Dream On ran 1 1/16 mile on firm turf in 1:43.37.
Also Saturday, Aclassysassylassy rallied nicely on the turn and went on to win the $75,000 Judy's Red Shoes Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 3 lengths over Ragtime Hope. Flying Circle finished third. Aclassysassylassy, with Manny Aguilar up, ran the 1 1/16 mile on the green course in 1:43.60.