Silver Train likely would have been a shoo-in for the Eclipse were it not for Lost in the Fog's remarkable winning streak -- which he halted in the big race. But trainer Dick Dutrow had to wonder what was happening when his colt finished seventh in his seasonal debut at Gulfstream Park and then a disappointing second in an optional claimer last month at Aqueduct.
Monday, Silver Train was his old self. After chasing Mass Media during the early stages of the race, then got to the front at the top of the stretch and held on to win by a head over the furiously rallying Sun King. Mass Media held on for third, followed by Bandini, Wilko, Sir Greeley and New York Hero. With Edgar Prado in the irons, Silver Train chugged the mile in 1:34.77.
Dutrow said the Belmont racing surface had something to do with the turnaround.
"There were a lot of question marks about this horse out there," Dutrow said. "But he just loves this track. That's why we got the job done today. If this race were run at Aqueduct or anywhere else in the world, I'm sure he would have gotten beat."
That's worth remembering since Silver Train's victory in last year's Breeders' Cup came at Belmont. This year's race is at Churchill Downs.
In other weekend racing:
-- Viva Pataca chased Super Kid past the tiring leaders in the stretch run of Sunday's Hong Kong Champions & Chater Cup at Sha Tin, then went past to the lead with 150 meters to run. The 4-year-old son of Marju the held off Best Gift, ranging up on the inside, and Super Combined, putting in his bid on the outside. His final margin was 3/4 lengths. The Champions & Chater Cup was run at 2400 meters. But, said rider Mick Kinane, who flew in from Ireland specifically for the mount, "I think a mile and two furlongs would be his best distance -- the extra two furlongs on the soft ground today might have sapped his energy just a little bit. His class got him through in the end."
-- Araafa had the best run at the leaders after a slow early pace in Saturday's Irish Two Thousand Guineas at the Curragh and romped home a 2-length winner over George Washington, the winner of the English Two Thousand Guineas three weeks earlier. Decado was third in Saturday's race. Winning trainer Jeremy Nosada said he suspected his colt would like the soft going and that it might give him an advantage over George Washington. Araafa finished fourth behind George Washington in the British Guineas. Kieren Fallon, who rode George Washington, said his mount "did plug on" in the late going but had too much to do on the soft going. The winner is an Irish-bred son of Mull of Kintyre.
In Sunday's Irish One Thousand Guineas at the Curragh, Nightime broke free from a scrum with a furlong to run and drew off to win by 6 lengths over Ardbrae Lady. Queen Cleopatra finished third. Nightime, a daughter of Galileo, picked up her second victory in three starts and now is a candidate for the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.
In Sunday's Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh, Hurricane Run made his 2006 debut a winning on, drawing off to win by 7 lengths. The 4-year-old son of Montjeu, winner of the 2005 Prix de l'Arc de Trimphe, survived a lost shoe in finishing the 1 1/4 mile in 2:26.42 under Kieren Fallon. Alexander Goldrun was well back in second. Trainer Andre Fabre said Hurricane Run is pointed now to the Grand Prix de Saint Cloud on June 25, with the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes and the Arc as longer-range goals.
Lone Star Park
Magnum, with Patrick Valenzuela up, sat behind a quick early pace in Monday's $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap, went to the front four-wide as the field turned for home and was 1 1/4 lengths better than fellow California import Texcess at the wire. Real Dandy was a distant third. "I knew I had a lot of horse in hand at the three-eighths pole," said Valenzuela. "So I did ask him to pick it up a little bit. Through the stretch, he didn't want to change leads. But he did the last part and getting to the wire, he continued to accelerate." Trainer Darrell Vienna gave much of the credit for the victory to Valenzuela. But, Magnum, he said, "is a horse that's developing. I don't think we've seen the top end of him now. He's going to be catching some tough fields we've got planned for him and this was a step along the way. Magnum finished in 1:42.88 over a track posted as muddy.
Sweet Talker got past traffic at the top of the stretch and went on to win Monday's $200,000 WinStar Distaff Handicap by a head over Joint Aspiration, with Stretching third. Sweet Talker, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred filly by Stormin Fever, ran the 1 mile on yielding turf in 1:38.66 for Ramon Dominguez.
Brownie Points also had to overcome some traffic issues as she came from near the back of an 11-horse field to win Monday's $100,000 Stonerside Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by a head over Sweet Idea. Kalyrra was third. Brownie Points, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Forest Wildcat, ran the 7 furlongs on the sloppy track in 1:24.49 under Luis Quinonez.
Red Lifesaver came from well back in Monday's $100,000 Valid Expectations Stakes for fillies and mares and also had to weave among rivals before getting up to win by a neck over True Tails. Cookin's Cast was a long-shot third. Red Lifesaver, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred mare by Victory Gallop, ran the 6 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:11.85 under Luis Quinonez.
Sweepingly, with Alfredo Juarez Jr. in the irons, led most of the way to a 1/2-length upset victory over Man Of Illusion in Monday's $100,000 Beck Auto Group Turf Sprint Handicap. Sweepingly, a 7-year-old, Florida-bred gelding by End Sweep, dueled for the lead before getting clear and finished 5 furlongs on the yielding turf in 57.83 seconds.
Stream Cat rallied four-wide around the turn in the $150,000 Pin Oak Stud USA Stakes for 3-year-olds and worked clear in the stretch drive to win by 1 1/2 length over Wait in Line. Aver finished third but was DQ'ed to sixth, putting More Than Regal up for show money. Stream Cat is a Kentucky-bred son of Black Minnaloushe. He got the 1 1/16 mile on yielding turf in 1:46.8 under Julian Leparoux.
Honey Ryder, in her sixth try, finally got a win on the Belmont lawn in Saturday's $150,000 Sheepshead Bay Handicap. After saving ground under Garrett Gomez down the backstretch, the 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred daughter of Lasting Approval angled out for the stretch run and tracked down pace-setter Noble Stella to win by 1 length. Angara was third. Honey Ryder, named for the heroine in the first James Bond movie, "Dr. No," ran 1 3/8 file on firm turf in 2:12.98. In five previous starts on the Belmont Park turf, Honey Rider had only three thirds to show. "The difference between this year and last year is that she was covered up and inside this time," said winning trainer Todd Pletcher. "Last year, she was never able to relax." Pletcher said he has "kicked around" the idea of trying Honey Ryder in the 11-furlong United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park on July 8. "We'll keep all of our options open," he added.
In Sunday's $100,000 Jaipur Handicap, Around the Cape came three-wide around the turn, battled through the stretch and won by 3/4 length over Bold Decision in course-record time. But trainer Bill Mott and jockey Cornelio Velazquez then had to sweat out a foul claim by Kent Desormeaux, rider of third-place finisher Summer Service, before the result was made official. The stewards judged the bumping in the stretch run didn't affect the outcome. Around the Cape, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Carson City, ran the 6 furlongs on the inner turf course in 1:07.31. "That was a terrific performance," Mott said. "I don't know what our long-range plans are. He might get a mile."
Aragorn stalked the pace in Monday's $300,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile, got to the front turning for home and went on to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Charmo. Silent Name was third, completing an Ireland-to-France-to-Japan trifecta. Aragorn, a 4-year-old, Irish-bred son of Giant's Causeway, ran the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:32.95 under Corey Nakatani. Aragorn now has two wins and three seconds from five starts since coming to the United States from England. "The race actually came up just as we expected," said winning trainer Neil Drysdale. "Justs track him. We thought it would be fairly soft speed."
In Monday's $300,000 Gamely Breeders' Cup, Shining Energy rallied from last of seven to win by 1 3/4 length over Dancing Edie. Argentina was third. Shining Energy, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred filly by Rahy, came five-wide into the lane to get to the lead and finished in 1:46.86. She was unbelievable turning for home," said winning rider Victor Espinoza.
Time to start looking over the California-based 2-year-olds. In Saturday's $65,000 Willard L. Proctor Memorial Stakes, Genuine Talent showed some talent, rallying past pace-setting favorite Sequoia King entering the stretch run and winning off by 2 1/2 lengths. Gran Tenor rallied from well back to be second and Stella's Posada was third while Sequoia King faded to finish last of six. Genuine Talent is a Florida-bred colt by Gibson County, trained by Danny Velasquez.
In the companion $65,000 Cinderella Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, Richwoman came three-wide in to the stretch after a pace-stalking trip and went on to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Sharoana. Lost On Champagne was third and the favorite, Maria's Quest, finished seventh, never in serious contention. Richwoman, a Florida-bred daughter of Successful Appeal, is trained by Steve Asmussen.
In Sunday's $65,000 Desert Stormer Handicap for fillies and mares, My Miss Storm Cat rallied past the early pace-setter, Maryfield, leaving the turn and went on to beat that rival by 1 1/4 length. Alllswellthatnswell finished third. My Miss Storm Cat, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred filly by Sea of Secrets, ran the 6 furlongs in 1:09.44 for Victor Espinoza and trainer Bob Baffert.
Ever Elusive had to go five-wide around the turn in Saturday's $100,000 Winning Colors Stakes for fillies and mares, then won a three-way battle to the wire in the final sixteenth, beating Malibu Mint by a neck and Ebony Breeze by another nose. Ever Elusive, with Rafael Bejarano up, finished the 6 furlongs in 1:09.14. The 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred filly is by Forestry. "She rated kindly," said Mike McCarthy, assistant to winning trainer Todd Pletcher. "Rafael gave her a beautiful ride."
Monday, Silverfoot win the $100,000 Louisville Handicap for the third straight year, fighting through traffic and closing nicely to win by a neck over Ramazutti. Quest Star finished third. Silverfoot, a 6-year-old With Approval gelding, ran the 1 3/8 mile on firm turf in 2:16.90 under Mark Guidry. "We're looking at the time from last year," said winning trainer Dallas Stewart, "and it looks like he ran two seconds faster this year than last year. It just says everything about him."
Calder Race Course
Siphon City got right to the lead in Monday's $100,000 Memorial Day Handicap, fought off a challenge from Congrats and went on to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Bob's Proud Moment was third. Siphon City, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Siphon, ran the 1 1/16 mile on a fast track in 1:45.87 with Elvis Trujillo in the irons. "I just let my horse ease over to the rail to save ground and we were running easy on the front end," said Trujillo.
Gouldings Glen was moved up to the win in Saturday's $100,000 Hanshin Cup Handicap when the stewards ruled that first-place finisher Fifteen Rounds came in and interfered in the stretch run. Three Hour Nap finished third. Gouldings Glen is a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Charismatic. The 1-mile event was run in 1:34.05 on a fast track. Corey Lanerie rode Gouldings Glen for trainer Tony Reinstedler. "When I started in that hole, there was room for three or four horses in there," said Lanerie. "It just kept getting tighter and tighter. But he said Chris Emigh on Fifteen Rounds is "a good rider and he was just 'race riding.' But I think he crossed the line a little bit." Emigh, to the surprise of none, disagreed. "I was clear," he said. "You can change paths of you're clear." In his last start, Gouldings Green won the Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Unbridled Belle rallied through horses nearing the stretch in Saturday's $100,000 Go for Wand Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, then just got up in time to nip Amandatude by a head at the wire. Diamond Spirit was third. Unbridled Belle, a Kentucky-bred filly by Broken Vow, ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:43.58 for Ramon Dominguez. "In the late stages of the race," said Dominguez, "we were either ahead of (Amandatude) or on even terms. At that point I was a little afraid she may get intimidated and back out of it. But she just kept on fighting and really showed a lot of courage to get the victory." She now has three wins, a second and a third from six career starts.
Remarkable News, a 4-year-old, Venezuelan-bred colt, broke on top in Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian) Connaught Cup Stakes and pulled out a hard-fought victory in a four-way photo finish. At the wire, jockey Javier Castellano got Remarkable News's nose in front of Le Cinquieme Essai, with Sky Conquerer another head back and Jambalaya just a head farther back in fourth. The 1 1/16 mile on firm turf went in 1:39.67. "He was a competitor today," said Castellano. "I was scared at the top of the stretch. It's a long stretch. But everything worked out pretty good."
London Snow stalked the pace in Saturday's $125,000 (Canadian) Lady Angela Stakes for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, then went to the lead when asked and drew clear to win by 2 1/2 lengths over San Diego Nights. Executive Flight finished third. London Snow, with Steven Bahen up, ran the 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:24.61. "Hopefully, everything is okay and we're going to shoot for the Oaks," said winning trainer John Charalambous, referring to the Labatt Woodbine Oaks, June 11. "She was really good today."
Big Apple Daddy rallied three-wide on the turn in Saturday's $100,000 Donald LeVine Memorial Handicap, and strode out to a 2 1/2-length victory over P. Kerney. Little Thunder was third under the wire. Big Apple Daddy, a 4-year-old, New York-bred son of Precise End, got the 7 furlongs in 1:20.79 for jockey Richard Migliore.
Monday, Max West battled for the lead in the $100,000 Turf Monster Handicap, got it and drew clear to win by 1 3/4 length over Yankee Wildcat. Pisgah was third. Max West, a 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred gelding by West by West, got the 5 furlongs on firm turf in 56.63 seconds with Jose Flores up.
Mountaineer Race Track
Lady Grace pressed the pace in Monday's $75,000 Decoration Day Handicap for fillies and mares, then went to the front, opened a daylight lead and held on to win by 3/4 length over Solid Platinum. Kaylan's Rose finished third as the favorite. Lady Grace is an 8-year-old, Kentucky-bred mare by With Approval. Rex Stokes III rode her over 1 mile of firm turf in 1:35.37.
In Monday's $75,000 Memorial Day Handicap, Solo Cat rallied from well back to win by 1 3/4 length over Touched by Madness. Spruce Run was third home. Solo Cat, a 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred gelding by Tabasco Cat, ran the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:34.46 under Oswald Pereira.
Sol Mi Fa came from well off the pace to win Monday's $75,000 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Oaks by 3/4 length over Soothsay. Make a Pass was third. Sol Mi Fa, an Irish-bred daughter of Distant Music, came four-wide into the lane to overtake the leaders and ran the 1 1/16 mile over firm turf in 1:44.20. David Lopez applied the winning ride.
El Don fought his way to the lead in Saturday's $60,000 San Matean Handicap, then had to hold off a series of challenges before winning by a head over Sharp Writer. Place Cowboy took the show. El Don, a 5-year-old, California-bred gelding by Cee's Tizzy, ran the 1 1/16 mile on firm turf in 1:43.71 with Russell Baze riding.
Dynamic Deputy sat behind the pace-setters in Saturday's $50,000 Shine Again Stakes for fillies and mares, got to the lead midway through the stretch run and went on to win by 3 3/4 lengths over Unbridled Grace. Take a Check got the third-place check. Dynamic Deputy and Take a Check ran coupled for trainer Richard Small. Dynamic Deputy, a 4-year-old, Maryland-bred daughter of Deputy Minister, ran 1 1/16 mile on a fast track in 1:45.74 for Luis Garcia.
Imahoneytoo ran a honey of a race in Saturday's $50,000 Dr. T.F. Classen Memorial for Ohio-bred fillies and mares, pressing the pace three-wide, taking the lead at the quarter pole and edging clear to score by 1 3/4 lengths over the odds-on favorite, Just Michel. Runaway Julie rallied to take third. I'mahoneytoo, a 5-year-old daughter of Latvia, ran 6 furlongs in 1:11.28.
Seekingtherainbow, the overwhelming favorite, jumped right to the lead in Saturday's $55,000 Bob Bryant Stakes for Iowa-bred, 3-year-old fillies, and easily won off by 3 1/4 lengths, ridden out. Queens Point was the best of the rest and Thekatcamehome came home third. Seekingtherainbow, a daughter of Mutakddim, ran the 6 furlongs in 1:10.50 with Perry Compton riding for trainer Kelly Von Hemel. "She's done everything right," said Von Hemel. "She may be a little too gung-ho. We're still trying to get her to relax a little bit."
Sunday, Wild L came from mid-pack to win the $55,000 Gray's Lady Stakes for 3-year-old Iowa-breds. At the wire, the Vicar gelding was 3/4 length to the good of Hesluckytoo, with Timetobook third. Wild L, with Glenn Corbett up, ran the 6 furlongs in 1:10.41. "It's not a 1:08," said winning owner-breeder Linda Juckett. "But you don't want a 1:08. I think he will go a mile. He's got the breeding to do that." She mentioned the Iowa Cyclones Stakes against older horses on June 17 or the $250,000 Iowa Derby on June 30 as potential races for Wild L.
And on Memorial Day, Wayzata Bay came from mid-pack to upset the $50,000 Jim Rasmussen Memorial, beating Courthouse by 3/4 length. Sur Sandpit was third and the favorite, Wally's Choice, finished fourth. Wayzata Bay, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred colt by Roar, ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:44.52 under Carlos Montalvo.
Charles Town Races & Slots
Riproarious got to the lead early in Saturday's $50,000, 4 1/2-furlong Jiva Coolit Stakes for 3-year-olds and extended the lead to a 3-length victory over Nittygritydirtbear. Logan's Rally was third. Riproarious, a Kentucky-bred colt by High Yield, finished the dash in 52.22 seconds with Travis Dunkelberger aboard.
Northern Scene, with Lonnie Meche aboard, pushed to the front in the final strides of Monday's $50,000 Barksdale Handicap, winning by 1/2 length. Dreamsandvisions dead-heated with Commander Buck for second. Northern Scene, a 5-year-old, Texas-bred son of Northern Baby, ran the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:34.87.