Time is getting short for horses with aspirations for the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Churchill Downs. For most, there is time for only one more prep race after this weekend's heavy, international schedule.
In the major divisions, some well-known champions are preparing for another try. Among the youngsters, new would-be stars are starting to make their mark.
In weekend racing pointing toward the championship races:
$2 million Bessemer Trust Juvenile
-- The name may be a joke but the colt isn't. Horse Greeley ran down the pace-setter, Stormello, at the top of the stretch in Friday's $250,000 Del Mar Futurity and then held on to win by 1 3/4 lengths over the favorite, Great Hunter. Stormello held on for third. Horse Greeley, a son of Mr. Greeley, ran the 7 furlongs in 1:22.93 under Victor Espinoza. "I think he's really good," said winning trainer Richard Mandella." He now has won two of three lifetime starts.
-- Sunday's $200,000 Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Futurity at Arlington Park ended in a dead-heat between Officer Rocket and Got the Last Laugh. Street Sense finished third, 1 3/4 lengths back. Got the Last Laugh had the lead in deep stretch before Officer Rocket came calling. The 1 mile on a sloppy track went in 1:36.71. Officer Rocket has three consecutive wins and Got the Last Laugh is 2-for-2.
$2 million Juvenile Fillies
-- Lisa M, at odds of 35-1, rallied from last of eight to win by a nose over Sutra in Sunday's $150,000 Arlington Washington Breeders' Cup Lassie at Arlington Park. Call the Kitty was third. Lisa M., a Kentucky-bred daughter of Banker's Gold, ran 1 mile on the sloppy track in 1:39.90 under Carlos Marquez Jr. "They told me to break out of the gate, ease her back because there was a lot of speed in the race, save a lot of ground and call on her when I was ready," said Marquez. "When I called on her, she gave me everything she had."
-- Ahead of Her Time arrived at the wire ahead of her six rivals at the end of Saturday's $50,000 Princess Stakes at Louisiana Downs. Trailing early, the Louisiana-bred daughter of Leestown swung out sharply at the quarter pole for racing room and drove home to win by 3 1/4 lengths over Ramblin Sally. Mom's Delight was third. The 6 furlongs took 1:11.57.
-- Sprung, making her first start, sprung an upset of classic proportions in Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian) Natalma Stakes at Woodbine near Toronto. After breaking near the back of the 13-filly field, Sprung was ready to make her run at the top of the stretch, only to lack running room. Once an opening appeared on the inside, she drove through and was just up to win by 3/4 length over Quiet Action. A.P. Reality was third. The favorite, Tremendous One, finished a dull 10th. Sprung, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Grand Slam, ran the 1 mile on the "good" turf in 1:35.30 under Emile Ramsammy. "She's had lots of practice," said Rick Griffith, assistant to winning trainer Mark Casse. "She's had lots of schooling in the morning. But she kind of sprung a surprise on everybody" by winning.
$5 million Classic, Powered by Dodge
-- Dylan Thomas won Saturday's Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in Ireland by a neck over Ouija Board and his trainer, Aidan O'Brien, said the victory could catapult the Danehill colt to a spot in the Breeders' Cup Classic. Dylan Thomas took the lead turning for home and seemed ready to take command of the race. But Ouija Board, with Jamie Spencer up, came to challenge and actually took the lead before Dylan Thomas battled back to victory. "This horse just lives fast ground," said winning rider Kieren Fallon. "He's a horse who could go anywhere and I'm convinced he will get better and better. He has everything." Ouija Board's trainer, Ed Dunlop, said the tough beat "is frustrating," but noted Ouija Board has bounced back from similar tough defeats. He said he hopes to get her back to the Filly & Mare Turf at Churchill Downs.
-- Gouldings Green rallied from well back in a field of 12 and wore down It's No Joke in the final yards to win Saturday's $100,000 Turfway Park Fall Championship by 1/2 length. Alumni Hall finished third. Gouldings Green, a 5-year-old son of Charismatic, got the 1 mile on the all-weather track in 1:38.15 for jockey Corey Laniere. "I wasn't concerned about where he was (during the race)," said winning trainer Anthony Reinstedler. "He's a horse that gives you 120 percent every time he runs, so I wasn't concerned about it at all." He said Gouldings Green may be seen next in either the Kentucky Cup Classic or the Hawthorne Gold Cup.
-- Cherokee's Boy, the odds-on favorite, ran to expectations in Saturday's $100,000 Owners' Day Handicap at Delaware Park. Breaking on top, the 6-year-old, Maryland-bred son of Citidancer set the pace under a snug hold then got clear in the stretch and went on to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Tartlet. Smart Growth finished third in the 9-furlong event. Cherokee's Boy was clocked in 1:50.10 with Ramon Dominguez up.
-- Electrocutionist, the winner of this year's Dubai World Cup, died Saturday morning of a suspected heart attack. The 5-year-old son of Red Ransom had been under consideration for either the Classic or the Turf. "He was a champion," said Godolphin Racing's head trainer, Saeed bin Suroor.
$2 million Emirates Airline Distaff
-- Pine Island sat near the back of the field through the early furlongs of Saturday's $250,000 Gazelle Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park, came around the leaders at the top of the stretch and got up in time to beat stablemate Teammate by 1 length. Last Romance was third. The 9 furlongs took 1:48.93. Javier Castellano rode Pine Island, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Arch, for trainer Shug McGaughey. The winner of the Alabama on Aug. 19 at Saratoga, Pine Island was coming back on just three weeks rest. "She hadn't missed a beat since the Alabama," McGaughey said. "I can't say I wasn't nervous bringing her back in three weeks of two mile and a quarter races." He said he may let Pine Island rest until the Breeders' Cup.
-- In Sunday's $300,000 Ruffian Handicap at Belmont, Pool Land tracked pace-setting favorite Take D' Tour until the top of the stretch, then took charge and went on to win by 2 lengths over that rival. Miss Shop finished third. Pool Land, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred daughter of Silver Deputy, ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:41.81 with John Velazquez aboard for trainer Todd Pletcher. Velazquez said he thought he could take the lead when he needed to. "She was going really good. At the eighth pole, I gave her a little bit and she went on."
-- Present Danger bobbled at the start of Saturday's $100,000 George Rosenberger Memorial at Delaware Park, worked back into the mix on the backstretch and was set down to a hard drive in the stretch to get up and win by 1 length over Debbie Sue. Carocita finished third. Present Danger, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred mare by Souvenir Copy, ran 1 1/16 mile in 1:46.12 under Alan Garcia. The favorite, Only in Philly, got an even worse start than the winner and couldn't recover, finishing seventh of eight.
$2 million TVG Sprint
-- Miraculous Miss ran last of eight to the turn in Saturday's $200,000 Endine Handicap at Delaware Park, then came five-wide into the stretch and simply ran by the field, winning off by 1 1/2 lengths. Gilded Gold set the pace and held on for second and Coli Bear finished third. Miraculous Miss, a 3-year-old, Kentucky-bred filly by Mr. Greeley, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.82 for Ramon Dominguez. "She is mainly a dead closer and she has won this way before," said winning trainer Steve Klesaris. "She has been this far out of it before." He said he does not yet know where he will go next with the filly.
$3 million John Deere Turf
-- Cacique found room on the hedge at the top of the stretch in Saturday's $500,000 Man o' War Stakes at Belmont Park and blasted through to a 1 3/4-length victory over Go Deputy. Showing Up finished third. Cacique, a 5-year-old, Irish-bred son of Danehill, ran the 1 3/8 mile on "good" turf in 2:15.68 with Edgar Prado up for trainer Bobby Frankel. "The way he trains in the morning, he never impresses you," Frankel said of Cacique. "So it's hard to get high on him. In the afternoon, when you put him on the grass, he accelerates." Frankel said he "thinking" about the Breeders' Cup for the horse.
-- Shirocco, winner of last year's Turf, beat last year's Arc d'Triomphe winner, Hurricane Run, in Sunday's Prix Foy at Longchamp in Paris. Shirocco, a 5-year-old son of Monsun, got the 1 1/2 mile over turf rated "good" in 2:32.90. Pride was third. Andre Fabre trains both Shirocco and Hurricane Run.
-- Brilliant was all of that in Saturday's $500,000 Kent Breeders Cup Stakes for 3-year-olds at Delaware Park, rallying from a pace-stalking position to win by 6 1/2 lengths over Carnera. Sea of Trees was third at a big price. The favorite, After Market, got home after all nine opponents, showing nothing. Brilliant, a Kentucky-bred colt by War Chant, ran the 9 furlongs on "soft" turf in 1:56.63 with Mark Guidry up for trainer Neil Howard. "He handled the yielding turf well," said Guidry. "He broke good and he put me in a good spot."
-- Sixties Icon rallied in the final furlong to capture Saturday's St. Leger at York, winning easily with a powerful move. The Last Drop finished second and Red Rocks third. Sixties Icon, a son of Galileo, ran the 1 3/4 mile in 2:57.29 with Frankie Dettori aboard. Owner Paul Roy reportedly is considering supplementing him to the Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on Oct. 1.
$2 million Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf
-- Magnificent Song could see all 10 rivals as the field moved down the backstretch in Saturday's $250,000 Garden City Breeders' Cup for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park. But around the sweeping turn, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Unbridled's Song moved up between horses, then swung outside and closed stoutly to win by 2 lengths over Take the Ribbon. Jade Queen also rallied late to take show money. Magnificent Song ran the 9 furlongs on an inner turf course rated "good" in 1:48.48. Todd Pletcher trains both Magnificent Song and Jade Queen and the outcome showed how the successes of his far-flung stable have complicated his planning. "I thought Jade Queen also ran very well," Pletcher said. "This was a big step up for her. But she showed she can compete in Grade 1s. I'm beginning to have some second thoughts about running Wait a While in the Queen Elizabeth, just because it only gives her three weeks to the Breeders' Cup. It opens up the (Oct. 7) Flower Bowl as a possibility for Wait a While. We'll see how everyone comes out of this race and go from there."
-- Vacare stalked the pace set by Walklikeanegyptian in Saturday's $200,000 Pucker Up Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Arlington Park, then went on by in the stretch and opened up to win by 4 lengths. Walklikeanegyptian held on for second and Ballet Pacifica finished third. The favorite, Soothsay, ran out of gas and finished second-last of nine. Vacare, a Kentucky-bred filly by Lear Fan, ran the 1 1/8 mile on firm turf in 1:49.71 with Carlos Marquez Jr. aboard for trainer Chris Block. "When the doors opened, she left there like a Quarter Horse," said Marquez. She now has won three straight races.
-- Mandesha, a 3-year-old daughter of Desert Style, easily won Sunday's Prix Vermeille Lucien Barriere at Longchamp in Paris and may be headed to the Arc d'Triomphe as a supplement. The filly, owned by the daughter of the Aga Khan, won by 1 1/2 lengths under Christophe Soumillon. Montare was second and Royal Highness was third.
-- See Ouija Board's performance in the Irish Champion Stakes under the Classic section.
$2 million NetJets Mile (turf)
-- Miesque's Approval took his time getting into gear in Saturday's $150,000 Red Bank Stakes at Monmouth Park. But when jockey Eddie Castro got the 7-year-old, Florida-bred going, he came six-wide to take the lead leaving the stretch turn and had enough left to win by 1/2 length over Hotstufanthensome. Senor Swinger finished third. Miesque's Approval is by Miesque's Son. He got the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:33.36.
In other weekend racing:
Hide and Chic didn't exactly hide from the opposition in Saturday's $150,000 (Canadian) Seaway Stakes. But the 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred daughter of Seeking the Gold did come from a stalking position and drew off in the stretch to win by a comfortable 2 lengths over the favorite, Maryfield. Beautiful Bets finished third. Hide and Chic ran the 6 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:16.88 with David Clark up.
More Than Regal lived up to his name in Saturday's $75,000 Prairie Meadows Derby, biding his time until jockey Tim Doocy was ready, then rallying outside rivals down the stretch to win by 3/4 length. R's Star finished second and Star by Design was third. More Than Regal is a Kentucky-bred son of More Than Ready. He ran the 1 1/16 mile on a wet-fast track in 1:43.00.
In the companion $75,000 Prairie Meadows Oaks, Dyna Slam stalked the early pace, then fought gamely to the wire to score by 1/2 length over Southern Flu. Thekatcamehome finished third. Dyna Slam, an Illinois-bred daughter of Grand Slam, ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:44.03 over a wet-fast track for Tim Doocy.
Irish Osprey bounced outside and back inside in the stretch run of Saturday's $75,000 Humphrey S. Finney Stakes for Maryland-bred 3-year-olds and got to the wire first, a head in front of the favorite, Ah Day. Two Terms was home third. Irish Osprey, a gelded son of Arch, ran 9 furlongs on firm turf in 1:48.07 with Ryan Fogelsonger in the irons.
Hi Time Scott won Saturday's $100,000 Charles H. Hadry Stakes with a dominating stretch run, finishing 5 lengths to the good of stablemate Hitthegroundrunnin. Sinister G, the favorite, could do no better than third after showing the way through the final turn. Hi Time Scott, a 6-year-old, Florida-bred gelding by Regal Humor, finished the 1 mile on a fast track in 1:35.74 for jockey Joe Rocco Jr. William Downing trained the exacta.
Spanish Lullaby led almost all the way to a 1 3/4-length victory in Saturday's $60,000 Thomas J. Malley Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. The Florida-bred daughter of Lite the Fuse covered the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.45 for Charles Lopez. Lucy Valentine, the favorite, finished second and Acquileia was third.
Revved Up came from off the pace, swung three-wide into the turn and was up just in time to win Saturday's $65,000 Bob Harding Stakes by a neck over Jungle Fighter. Spring House finished third. Revved Up, an 8-year-old, Florida-bred gelding by Sultry Song, ran the 1 3/8 mile on firm turf in 2:12.88 with Eddie Castro in the irons.