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UPI Thoroughbred Racing Roundup

By ROBERT KIECKHEFER, UPI Racing Writer   |   July 24, 2006 at 8:01 AM   |   Comments

Giacomo hadn't won a race since last year's 50-1 upset of the Kentucky Derby - until he showed up "where the surf meets the turf" on Saturday.

Settled well back in the field early in the $300,000 San Diego Handicap, Giacomo rallied outside the leaders on the turn, four-wide, and was just up in time to catch pace-setting Preachinatthebar and win by a head. Papi Chullo finished third was disqualified to last, promoting Southern Africa to show money.

Giacomo, with Mike Smith riding, covered the 1 1/16 mile on a fast track in 1:42.15, providing a huge sigh of relief for trainer John Shirreffs. The colt is a son of Holy Bull.

"We've been planning a four-race series in order to get ready for the Breeders' Cup," said Sherreffs, referring to the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs. "This is just one step. But it was a big step today. We are looking at the Pacific Classic."

Smith said his main concern was to make sure his mount had a clear path. "He's such a big horse and you don't want to get that kind stopped," he said. "I flashed back on the Derby when he made that move. That felt good. He got there, then galloped out strong."

Preachinatthebar's trainer, Bob Baffert, was gracious after a tough loss. "If you're gonna get beat, you got to get beat by a Derby winner," he said.


In other weekend racing that may have implications for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Churchill Downs:


$2 million Filly & Mare Turf

-- Dancing Edie got out to the lead in Saturday's $400,000 John C. Mabee Handicap at Del Mar and held on gamely through a long stretch drive between two rivals, finally winning by a nose. Moscow Burning was second, a neck in front of Island Fashion, who saved third by a head over Amorama. Dancing Edie, a 4-year-old, California-bred filly by Moscow Ballet, got the 1 1/8 mile on firm turf in 1:48.26 with Corey Nakatani riding for trainer Craig Dollase. "This filly is a fighter," Dollase said. "She was headed at the top of the lane but she fought back in between horses. It was a very gutty win for her." It was her first stakes win and only her third in 14 lifetime starts.

-- Chic Dancer got racing room on the inside at the critical point in Saturday's $150,000 Modesty Handicap at Arlington Park, grabbed the lead and held on to beat the favorite, Louve Royale, by 1/2 length. Minge Cove was third. Chic Dancer, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred mare by Joyeaux Danseur, got the 1 3/16 mile on "soft" turf in 1:57.48 with Chris Emigh riding for local trainer Christine Janks. "She's been sick since her last start," Janks said of Chic Dancer. "I was just hoping she would relax and be fit enough to carry it all the way."


$3 million John Deere Turf

-- Aragorn not only demolished the opposition in Sunday's $400,000 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar, but he did it in course-record time. Sent off as the 3-2 favorite, the Irish-bred son of Giant's Causeway moved powerfully down the stretch to win by 4 lengths over Sweet Return. Silent Name was third. The time of 1:44.79 bettered the mark of 1:45.80 set by Willow O Wisp in the 2005 Del Mar Derby and was less than 1 second off the world mark. Aragorn, owned by Ballygallon Stud, is trained by Neil Drysdale. "It was an awesome performance," Drysdale said. "Of course, they were going very fast early, and then I think Corey (Nakatani) realized they were going too fast and he got the horse to settle and then he came with a huge run. I didn't think the distance would affect him." Asked about a next race, he said: "We'll discuss the Arlington Million or to stay here for the mile (Grade II Del Mar Breeders' Cup Mile, Aug. 26)."

-- Sky Conquerer rallied smartly down the stretch in Sunday's $700,000 (Canadian) Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup Turf to catch runaway leader Last Answer and win by 1/2 length. Sky Conquerer, a 4-year-old son of Sky Classic and a grandson of Northern Dancer, ran the 1 1/2 mile over "soft" turf in 2:34.36. Jambalaya finished third. "I was really concerned," said winning jockey Todd Kabel. "I wasn't willing to spot any horse that much ground, especially on this turf course. My horse came up big." Trainer Darwin Banach said it was the first time the colt has gone 1 1/2 mile. "There are always concerns when you try something new," he admitted.

-- Cosmonaut went to the lead a half-mile into Saturday's $200,000 Arlington Handicap, survived pressure from several rivals and drew clear at the end to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Load a Chronic. Artiste Royale was third while the favorite, Red Fort, faded to finish fourth. Cosmonaut is a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Lemon Drop Kid. He ran the 1 1/4 mile on "soft" turf in 2:03.10 under Julien Leparoux. "He went to the front easily," said Leparoux. "He was very relaxed and when I asked him at the three-eighths, he gave a good answer."

-- Union Avenue pulled off the huge upset in Saturday's $250,000 American Derby at Arlington Park, a prep for the Arlington Million and the Breeders' Cup. After racing right behind the early leader, the Virginia-bred son of Gone West charged to a clear lead early in the stretch run and held off Can't Beat It to win by 1/2 length. Amigoni was third and the favorite, Stream Cat, struggled home eighth. Union Avenue ran the 1 3/16 mile on "soft" turf in 1:57.20 for jockey Larry Melancon and trainer Bill Mott. Union Avenue now is 3-for-6 lifetime. "He broke good and he has stalking speed," said Melancon. After tracking the pace, he said, he "stole off around the turn and they didn't catch me."


$2 million Distaff

-- Wonder Lady Anne L pressed the pace early in Saturday's $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont Park, jumped out to a big lead early in the stretch run and then held on to win by a diminishing 3/4 length over Pine Island. Miss Shop was third and the Kentucky Oaks winner, Lemons Forever, finished fourth. Wonder Lady Anne L, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Real Quiet, ran the 1 1/4 mile on a muddy track in 2:04.63 with Edgar Prado in the irons. Wonder Lady Anne L hadn't won since the Demoiselle at Aqueduct back last November The victory was only her third in 12 starts. She was fifth in the Kentucky Oaks.

-- Saturday's $100,000 Queen City Oaks at River Downs shaped up as a nice race until a starting gate malfunction left several of the fillies standing in the gate a beat too long and the stewards ruled the event "no contest." On the track, Cryptoquip broke quickly and maintained a pressured lead around the turn, then drew off easily and won by 11 3/4 convincing lengths. Stone Lakes was second and Sybles Angel third. Cryptoquip, an Ohio-bred daughter of Cryptoclearance, ran the 9 furlongs on a "good" track in 1:52.40 with William Troilo up.


$2 million Bessemer Trust Juvenile

-- Bariko jumped right to the front in Saturday's $125,000 (Canadian) Colin Stakes at Woodbine and was never challenged. At the wire, the Kentucky-bred gelding by E Dubai won by 4 lengths over Magical Fortune with Datrick, the odds-on favorite, third. Bariko, with Constant Montpelilier at the controls, ran the 5 furlongs on a sloppy, sealed track in 57.11 seconds.

-- Tie Rod wired the field in Saturday's Brian Barenscheer Juvenile Stakes at Canterbury Park. Sul Lago was second and Before the Storm third. Tie Rod, now 2-for-3 in his short career, finished the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:05 4/5. "I don't know where the next race will come for this horse but we are just thrilled he was able to win today," said trainer Joe Johnson.


$2 million Emirates Airline Juvenile Fillies

-- Miss Mary Pat, the odds-on favorite in a field of 10, came from mid-pack with a determined stretch run to win Saturday's $65,000 Silver Spur Breeders' Cup Stakes by 1/2 length over Waterloo Slew. Gallant Dreamer finished third. Quincy Hamilton rode Miss Mary Pat, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Service Stripe, over 6 furlongs in 1:11.43.

-- Unbridled Ambiance shipped in from Churchill Downs to win Saturday's Canterbury Park Lassie Stakes edging away to win by 1 length over Cousin Sue. Miss Cady was third. Unbridled Ambiance now is perfect in two trips to the trck. "She is a great horse and she was well prepared by her trainers," said winning rider Dean Butler. He steered the filly over 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:05 2/5.


In other weekend racing:


Calder Race Course

A marathon, a 2-furlong sprint, a race for grays, a race for "oldsters" and a wrong-way race highlighted a day of "extreme" racing in South Florida on Saturday.

Tacit Agreement, a 6-year-old Unbridled gelding, survived the 2 miles of the $250,000 Bob Umphrey Turf Marathon, winning by 7 lengths after leading most of the way. India Halo and Supervisor were second and third. Two of the seven starters were eased before the wire. Carlos Olivero rode for 3:37.94 before claiming victory. "He's a big, long-striding horse that needs to be left alone to run his race, which is the way it went today," said winning trainer Marty Wolfson. "I think at some point down the line, he could make a good jumper."

Rain Song took a long trip -- from Philadelphia -- to make a short trip on the Calder track. Breaking sharply, the 5-year-old mare spent 21.17 seconds winning the $50,000 Rocket Man Stakes, finishing the 2 furlongs 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Bermuda Triange. Hot and Cold ran third.

Texas Red came from mid-pack to win the $50,000 King George's Wrong Way Stakes, having no trouble turning right instead of left through the two turns. At the wire, the 5-year-old son of Explosive Red was 1 3/4 lengths better than Joey Blueeyes, with Mean Kisser third. The 1 1/4 mile took 2:06.90, clockwise.

The $50,000 Methuselah Stakes, for horses 5 and up, went to a 5-year-old -- El Segundo Joe, who rallied in the final strides to beat Bellichick by a neck. Sami's Majic was third. The old guys ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:19.23 on the sloppy track.

And the $50,000 Gray Pride Stakes went to Slider, who led all the way and didn't need to slide at the end, winning by a comfortable 14 1/2 lengths. Barnacle Steve was best of the rest with Proud Diligence third.


Belmont Park

Spite the Devil rallied from far back, coming five-wide around the turn, and got up in time to beat Organizer by 1 length in Saturday's $100,000 Evan Shipman Handicap for New York-breds. Rouge Agent finished third. Spite the Devil, a 6-year-old gelding by Devil His Due, finished the 1 1/16 mile on a muddy track in 1:43.79 under Javier Castellano.


Woodbine

Are You Serious upset Saturday's $125,000 (Canadian) Bold Venture Stakes, coming from just behind the pace with a rail move on the turn and holding off Judiths Wild Rush to win by 1 length. Lakeville Rush was third after leading the way. Are You Serious, a 4-year-old, Ontario-bred gelding by You and I, ran 7 1/2 furlongs in 1:29.81 for jockey Corey Fraser.


Northlands Park

Starlite Strike rallied four-wide at the top of the stretch in Saturday's $100,000 (Canadian) Northlands Oaks and went on to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Gabe's Prospect. Tartan Star finished third. Starlite Strike is a British Columbia-bred daughter of Smart Strike. She ran the 1 1/16 mile on a fast track in 1:46.20 for jockey Richard Hamel.


Louisiana Downs

High Strike Zone fought for the lead in Saturday's $75,000 Ark-La-Tex Handicap, got it and ran off to win by 3 3/4 lengths over Pressed. Mr. Pursuit finished third. High Strike Zone, a 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred gelding by Smart Strike, ran 1 1/16 mile on a fast track in 1:42.89 with Ricky Faul aboard.


Ellis Park

Dash of Humor rallied seven-wide into the stretch in Saturday's $50,000 HBPA Handicap and drew off to win by 3 lengths over May Gator. Merry Me in Spring finished third. Dash of Humor, a 6-year-old mare by Distorted Humor, ran 1 mile on "good" turf in 1:37.59 under jockey Calvin Borel.


Monmouth Park

Pretty Imposing lived up to her odds-on favorite status in Saturday's $55,000 Klassy Briefcase Stakes for fillies and mares, running off to win by 11 lengths over Miss Victory. Pennyrile was third. Pretty Imposing, a 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred mare by Defrere, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on a muddy, sealed track in 1:03.30. The race came off the turf, resulting in four scratches.

Also Saturday, Love Locket rallied from the middle of the pack to win the $65,000 Serena's Song Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 3/4 length over Zooming By, with Julie B finishing third. Love Locket, a Kentucky-bred filly by Thunder Gulch, got the 1 mile and 70 yards on a muddy track in 1:41.85 under Christopher DeCarlo.


Lone Star Park

Nobodywantmetilnow settled at the rear of the field in Saturday's $40,000 Bob Johnson Memorial Stakes, was forced wide the whole way around and still found enough stuffing to get up and win by 1 length over Cajole, with Waupaca third as the favorite. Nobodywantmetilnow, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred gelding by American Chance, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:34.90. Glen Murphy was up.

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