Headlined by Calder's "Summit of Speed," sprinters were on display during the weekend and two of the biggest races produced the biggest upsets.
And, as a sub-plot, last year's Eclipse Award winner, Lost in the Fog, was one of the upset victims while the horse who beat him in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, Silver Train, won his Sunday race.
In the weekend's biggest upset, Saturday's $500,000 Princess Rooney Handicap at Calder, odds-on favorite Dubai Escapade faded badly in the stretch run to finish sixth, producing huge payoffs. With "bridge-jumper" money on her in the show pool, the show payoffs were $79.40, $65.80 and $32 as longshots Malibu Mint, Prospective Saint and Hot Storm finished 1-2-3.
Malibu Mint, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred filly by Malibu Moon, advanced from mid-pack at the top of the stretch, got the lead a furlong from home and easily drew away, winning by 3 3/4 lengths. She finished the 6 furlongs in 1:10.02 with Josue' Arce riding.
Malibu Mint was coming off a close loss to Ever Elusive in the Winning Colors at Churchill Downs on May 27. Before that, she grabbed a quarter and lost her rider at the start of the Human Distaff on Derby Day. Saturday's victory was her fifth in 18 career starts. Dubai Escapade had won five straight, including the Grade II Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont Park in her last start.
"I'm very disappointed," said Dubai Escapade's trainer, Eoin Harty. "I can't see anything wrong with her. But I'm going back to the barn and see."
Malibu Mint's trainer, James Chapman, said after the Humana Distaff mishap, he lost "10 or 12 days training, which didn't help her when she just got beat in the Winning Colors. But she's trained great since then." He said he has not picked out a next race.
Nightmare Affair continued the upset trend in the $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder as defending sprint Eclipse Award winner Lost in the Fog got lost in the shuffle. Nightmare Affair stayed well back, swung wide around rivals on the turn and finished 2 lengths up on Pomeroy, with Weigelia third. Nightmare Affair, a 5-year-old, Florida-bred son of Out of Place, ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.56 with Jeffrey Sanchez up.
Lost in the Fog, meanwhile, stayed close to the early leaders through the turn, then shifted into reverse and finished ninth.
"It's disappointing," said Lost in the Fog's trainer, Greg Gilchrist, pointing to the 125-pound impost on his star. "To run like this, we'll have to talk about his future. We'll get him back home and see if there is anything physical that comes out to explain this performance."
A day later and several hundred miles up the coast, Silver Train got his express back on the rails, rallying from a pace-pressing position to win Sunday's $150,000 Tom Fool Handicap at Belmont Park by a neck over War Front. Big Apple Daddy finished third.
Silver Train, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Old Trieste, ran the 7 furlongs in 1:21.66 with Edgar Prado aboard.
Silver Train's victory in last fall's Breeders' Cup Sprint wasn't enough to overcome Lost in the Fog's long winning streak in the minds of Eclipse Award voters - despite an aggressive lobbying effort by his connections. After this weekend's results, the relative merits of the two steeds seem to have flip-flopped as Silver Train now has won two in a row, including the Met Mile in his last start.
There was plenty more sprint action during the weekend. In other events on the innovative "Summit of Speed" card at Calder:
--Too Much Bling sat just behind the pace in the $300,000 Carry Back Stakes for 3-year-olds, came wide to catch the leaders on the turn and drew off in the stretch run to win by 2 lengths. Mach Pride was third. Too Much Bling, who has been spotted carefully by trainer Bob Baffert all year, ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.48 with Edgar Prado up. "My agent talked to the trainer and he told me to ride him like he's the best horse in the race," said Prado. "And he was."
--In the $300,000 Azalea Breeders' Cup Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, Victorina sat three-wide just behind the pace while jockey Russell Baze bided his time. With a furlong to go, Victorina rallied inside pace-setting Frolicing and edged clear to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Frolicing finished second but was set down to third for interference with G City Gal in the stretch. Victorina, a Florida-bred daughter of Delaware Township, ran 6 furlongs in 1:11.51. "I don't usually make decisions about what might be next for a horse for at least two or three days," said winning trainer Greg Gilchrist. "But the Test at Saratoga will be one of the options we'll consider. She's a really nice filly."
--Running Bobcats rallied from near the back of a nine-horse field and got up along the rail to win the $100,000 Distaff Turf Sprint by 1/2 length over Jewels N Gems. The favorite, Unbridled Sidney, led most of the way and settled for third. Running Bobcats, a 4-year-old, Florida-bred filly by Running Stag, got 5 furlongs of yielding turf in 57.31 seconds with Julio Garcia up.
--Gin Rummy Champ saved ground on the hedge early in the $100,000 Calder Turf Sprint Handicap, came out into the stretch and drew clear to win by 2 lengths over Sgt. Bert. Whata Soldier was third. Gin Rummy Champ, a 5-year-old, Florida-bred son of Jeblar, ran 5 furlongs on yielding turf in 57.58 seconds.
At Delaware Park on Sunday, Miss Elsie pulled another upset, winning the $100,000 Light Hearted Stakes for fillies and mares by 2 lengths over Thats Our Song, with Baldomera third. The odds-on favorite, Trickle of Gold, led early but stopped badly in the stretch and was vanned off. Miss Elsie, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred mare by Golden Gear, ran 6 furlongs in 1:09.97 for Mario Pino.
--Les Arcs, a late-blooming 6-year-old, seems to have found his niche sprinting. Once asked to contest a 1 1/4-mile maiden event and later sent over the jumps, the son of Arch won his second straight Group 1 sprint on Friday at Newmarket, taking the Darley July Cup by a head over Iffraaj, with Ashdown Express third. Last month, Les Arcs jumped up to win the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. Trainer Tim Pitt said the horse has proved his mettle at 6 furlongs and he is looking internationally, including the Global Sprint Challenge in Japan and a possible stop in Australia.
In other weekend racing with potential implications for the Nov. 4 Breeders'
Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Churchill Downs:
$5 million Classic, Powered by Dodge
--A trio of one-time Triple Crown hopefuls turned out for Saturday's $350,000 Ohio Derby at Thistledown and they finished 1-2-3 in the field of six starters. At the wire, it was Deputy Glitters holding off High Cotton by a neck after a long stretch battle, with Flashy Bull third, another 1 1/2 lengths back. Deputy Glitters, a Kentucky-bred son of
Deputy Commander, got the 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:50.32 for jockey Rene Douglas. He finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby. Flashy Bull finished 14th in the Run for the Roses.
--Praying for Cash battled favorite Latent Heat head-to-head for most of a mile in Saturday's $150,000 Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes for 3-year-olds at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, then finally got clear in the stretch to win by 11/4 lengths. Latent Heat held on for second by a neck over Victory Lake. Praying for Cash, a Florida-bred colt by Songandaprayer, got the 1 1/16 mile in 1:45.43 for Jose Velez Jr.
--Survivalist, a regally bred Phipps Stable product, rallied smartly when he found room entering the stretch in Saturday's $100,000 R.M. Carpenter Jr. Memorial Handicap at Delaware Park and won off by 2 1/2 lengths over M B Sea. Whos Crying Now finished third. Survivalist, with Ramon Dominguez aboard, ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:43.37. The 4-year-old colt is by Danzig out of the Mr. Prospector mare Miner's Game. Shug McGaughey trains him for Phipps. The colt now has five wins from 13 starts.
--Casino Evil hooked up in a pace duel with Barely Union Scale early in Saturday's $150,000 Round Table Stakes for 3-year-olds at Arlington Park. Both horses dug in entering the stretch and it was Casino Evil a nose in front at the wire. High Blues was well back in third place and the favorite, Admiral's Arch, finished fifth with a wide trip. Casino Evil, a Kentucky-bred colt by Salt Lake, ran 9 furlongs in 1:50.12 with Francisco Torrez in the irons for trainer Michael Tomlinson.
--Awfully Smart came from last in a field of six to win Sunday's $300,000 Leonard Richard Stakes for 3-year-olds at Delaware Park by 5 1/2 lengths. Ah Day was second and Little Cliff third. Awfully Smart, a Kentucky-bred colt by Anees, ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:43.23 under Ramon Dominguez.
$2 million Emirates Airline Distaff
--Fleet Indian started on the rail in Sunday's $1 million Delaware Handicap, went right out to the lead and was never headed, winning off by 5 1/2 lengths over Dynamic Deputy. Take a Check was third. Fleet Indian, a 5-year-old, New York-bred mare by Indian Charlie, ran the 1 1/4 mile in 2:02.08 with Jose Santos riding for trainer Todd Pletcher. "She had a pretty good race record before we got her," said Pletcher. "She had won her last two starts before we got her. Jose has come along with this mare very well. He knows her well."
--Adieu waited patiently behind a moderate pace in Saturday's $500,000 Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park, ranged up on the outside of the leaders on the turn and drove clear to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Amandatude. Gasia was third and the favorite, Hystericalady, faded badly to finish fifth after leading the way. Adieu, a Kentucky-bred filly by El Corredor, ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:43.72 with John Velazquez in the irons for trainer Todd Pletcher. Picking up her first victory of the year, Adieu now has five wins from nine starts. "She did not run a bad race in her first start back," said Pletcher. "She did finish second. She was fourth in a Grade I last time, so that was not bad. But, I think the third race back is a lot of times the best in a return cycle."
$3 million John Deere Turf
--Go Between saved ground through the final turn in Saturday's $1 million Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs, came out for running room when asked by jockey Garrett Gomez and drove clear, winning by 1 3/4 lengths over Seaside Retreat. Spider Power was third and the favorite, Kip Deville, faded from the pace to finish sixth. Go Between, a Florida-bred son of Point Given, ran 1 1/4 mile on the firm outer turf course in a course-record time of 1:59.74. Steppenwolfer was a late scratch. "It was a good trip and the horse gave me 100 percent today," said Gomez. "When I asked for him, he was right there. When I turned for home and found my horse somewhere to go, I couldn't believe he made the lead as easily as he did." Asked about the course record, winning trainer Bill Mott said simply, "Good."
--Go Deputy pushed the pace in Saturday's $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont Park in New York, went to the fore entering the stretch and won by 1/2 length over a late-closing Crown Point. Leadwithyourchin finished third. Go Deputy, a 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred horse by Deputy Minister, ran 1 3/8 mile on a firm inner turf course in 2:17.49. Fernando Jara rode for trainer Todd Pletcher.
--Fishy Advice was quickly on the lead in Sunday's $200,000 Caesar Rodney Stakes at Delaware Park and just as quickly put the issue to rest, running off to win by 3 lengths over Capitano. Foufa's Warrior was third and the favorite, Icy Atlantic, finished fourth. Fishy Advice, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Woodman, ran 9 furlongs on "good" turf in 1:50.72 with Mario Pino in the irons.
--Rail Link won his third straight race in taking Friday's Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris for 3-year-olds at Longchamp. The son of Dansili was home 2 lengths better than Red Rocks, with Sudan third. The British-bred colt ran the 2400 meters in 2:26 2/5 over a "good" course. Jockey Christophe Soumillion told Britain's Press Association Rail Link "is still very green....I thought he would win easily but he started to look around him. He's a progressive horse and he's a very good horse and he can only improve from this."
--French Beret stalked the early pace in Saturday's $150,000 (Canadian) Toronto Cup Stakes for 3-year-olds at Woodbine, advanced through the field to the lead on the turn and held on to win by 1/2 length over Moka Jumbie. Head Chopper was third. French Beret, an Ontario-bred gelding by Broad Brush, got the 9 furlongs on "good" turf in 1:51.03 for jockey Todd Kabel. "He gets a little unfocused when he gets to the lead," said winning trainer Mark Frostad. "Todd has a big job, I can tell you."
$2 million Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf
--Honey Ryder needed the whole length of the stretch to run down pace-setting Olaya in Saturday's $300,000 Robert G. Dick Memorial Breeders' Cup Handicap at Delaware Park. But, with John Velazquez applying the well-timed ride, the 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred daughter of Lasting Approval got the job done, winning by a head in the final jumps. Latice finished third, 2 1/4 lengths back of Olaya. Honey Ryder, who has turned into one of the most dependable runners at the top of the distaff division, ran the 1 3/8 mile on firm turf in 2:20.81, picking up her third straight win. She is named for the heroine in the James Bond movie, "Dr. No."
--Ambitious Cat stayed within striking distance of the pace until the final turn of Saturday's $300,000 (Canadian) Dance Smartly Stakes for fillies and mares at Woodbine, moved up as the stretch run loomed and then drove clear, winning by 2 1/4 lengths over Elle Runway. Kabul was third. Ambitious Cat is a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred mare by Storm Cat. She ran the 9 furlongs on "good" turf in 1:49.81 with Todd Kabel up. "We'll see how she comes out of this," said Robert Krembil, of winning owner Chiefswood Stable. "The Canadian (Sept. 17) is probably next."
--Aunt Henny, the even-money favorite, got a daylight lead midway through the stretch run in Saturday's $200,000 Virginia Oaks at Colonial Downs but then was all-out to hold on and beat May Night by a nose at the wire. Art Show finished third. Aunt Henny, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Hennessy, ran 9 furlongs on the firm outer turf course in 1:47.11 under Rafael Bejarano. She was making her first start since winning the Herecomesthebride Stakes at Gulfstream Park in March.
--In Saturday's $150,000 Locust Grove Handicap at Churchill Downs, Rich in Spirit tracked pace-setter Cape Hope until the final furlong, then went by when asked by jockey Mark Guidry and won by 1 1/2 lengths. Cape Hope held on for second and Pyrana finished third. Rich in Spirit, a 4-year-old, Florida-bred daughter of Repriced, ran 9 furlongs on "good" turf in 1:50 flat.
$2 million NetJets Mile (turf)
--Ashkal Way and Hotstuffandthensome surged to the front of the pack entering the stretch run in Saturday's $60,000 Elkwood Stakes at Monmouth Park. In the final sixteenth, Ashkal Way got the better of the match, winning by 1/2 length. Pulpit Talk was well back in third. Ashkal Way, a 4-year-old, Irish-bred gelding by Ashkalani, is owned by Godolphin Racing and trained by Saeed bin Suroor. He ran the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:32.50 for jockey Jose Velez Jr.
$2 million Bessemer Trust Juvenile
--Straight Faced sat behind the pace in the $80,000 Birdonthewire Stakes for 2-year-olds Saturday at Calder, got the lead midway around the turn and drew off to win by 5 1/2 lengths over Drums of Thunder. Green Vegas was third. Straight Faced, a Florida-bred colt by Straight Man, ran the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:05.17 for jockey Manoel Cruz.
--Ohio Smile led all the way to a 2 1/4-length victory in Sunday's $40,000 Hoover Stakes at River Downs and a potential start in the $200,000 Miller Lite Cradle Stakes. "The hardest part of the race was trying to pull him up after the race," said winning jockey Greg Schaefere. Ohio Smile ran the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:05.80. Trainer Jeff Greenhill said he expects the Ohio-bred to stretch out to a distance of ground but hasn't yet committed to the Cradle.
$2 million Juvenile Fillies
--Midnight Shadow opened a clear lead at the top of the stretch in Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian) Shady Well Stakes at Woodbine, then just held on to win by a neck over Lucas Street. On the Podium was home third. Midnight Shadow, an Ontario-bred daughter of Trajectory, ran 5 furlongs in 57.65 seconds under jockey Raymond Sabourin.
--Post Invader was bumped at the start of the $80,000 Cassidy Stakes for 2-year-old fillies on Saturday at Calder and got off last of eight. But under a patient ride by jockey Carlos Olivero, the Kentucky-bred Salt Lake filly circled rivals on the turn and was along in plenty of time to win by 4 1/2 lengths over Yesshecandance. Banda Victoria finished third. Post Invader ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:06.53.
In other weekend racing:
Saturday's card included the Claiming Crown events but also the $50,000 lady Canterbury Breeders' Cup, won by Radiant Avie, who led from gate to wire. Rue des Reves was second and Stretching third. Radiant Avie, a 4-year-old, Florida-bred filly by Lord Avie, got the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:35.69 for jockey Derek Bell.
In the Claiming Crown:
Distinct Vision easily won the $50,000 Iron Horse at 1 1/16 mile, extending trainer Scott Lake's lead in this series with his seventh win....Lake then picked up his eighth Claiming Crown win in the very next race, sending out Funny Woman to victory in the $75,000 Glass Slipper for distaffers at 6 furlongs....Crafty Schemer gave new meaning to the name of the $75,000 Rapid Transit, completing the 6 furlongs in 1:08.74 and winning easily....
Tens Holy Spirit came from off the pace to upset the $100,000 Tiara for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 mile on the turf....Castella d'Oro rallied from a rough start and came from near the back of an 11-horse field to post a 30-1 upset in the $50,000 Express....9-year-old Al's Dearly Bred rallied from far back to win the $100,000 Emerald at 1 1/16 mile on the grass....and Me My Mine led from the git-go and held on to win the $150,000 Jewel by a head over Sinners N Saints. My My Mine, a 6-year-old, Florida-bred gelding by Belong to Me, ran 1 1/16 mile in 1:43.37 for jockey Roberto Gonzalez and trainer John Martin.
Malakoff crossed the wire first in Sunday's $500,000 (Canadian) Prince of Wales Stakes but was disqualified and placed fifth after the stewards ruled he came in during the stretch run, impeding several rivals. The DQ put Shillelagh Slew up to the win, with Pipers Thunder second and Royal Challenger third. Shillelagh Slew, a son of Chief Seattle, is trained by Brian Lynch for Stronach Stables. The 1 3/16 mile event went in 1:55.87.
Ferocious War pressed the pace early in Saturday's $150,000 New York Derby for state-breds, got the advantage midway through the stretch turn and held well to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Shuffling Maddnes. Fire One Up finished third. Ferocious War, a son of Lite the Fuse finished the 1 1/16 mile in 1:44.92 under John Grabowski.
Nicole's Dream blasted through the 5 furlongs of Sunday's $47,550 J J'sdream Stakes in a course-record time of 55.90 seconds, easily winning the event for the third time in four years. "She's pretty awesome," said winning jockey E.T. Baird. "She's been great to me. She's getting older but it seems to me she's getting more impressive."
Starry Pie rallied from well back to win Saturday's $50,000 Dixie Miss Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 2 lengths over My Silver Charm, with Elliecat third. Starry Pie, an Oklahoma-bred daughter of Pioneering, ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.11 for Luis Quinonez.