By any account, Doctor Dino's summer visit from France to the United States has been a success. But, even after his impressive victory in Saturday's $500,000 Man o' War at Belmont Park his American tour apparently won't be extended to include the Breeders' Cup.
Doctor Dino, French-bred and based in Chantilly, raced inside and behind the leaders through much of the 1 3/8-miles Man o'War. When asked by jockey Olivier Peslier, the 5-year-old son of Muhtathir came between rivals and got to the wire a head before pace-setter Sunriver. Grand Couturier made a good outside run to take third.
The race went in 2:12.26 over firm turf.
In his previous U.S. start, Doctor Dino finished third, just 3/4 length behind Jambalaya, in the Arlington Million. Overall, he now has six wins from 21 starts.
"He's been on two big podiums this year," said winning trainer Richard Gibson. "And he really did get to the top of the podium today. He's a model of consistency. It gets your guts going a bit when you see how many good horses have won this race."
But he said Doctor Dino is not nominated to the Breeders' Cup and is unlikely to contest the $3 million John Deere Turf on Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park.
"We always thought we would give him a break and prep him for the big Group 1's in Hong Kong (in December)," Gibson said.
Doctor Dino was third in the Singapore Airlines International Cup in May in Singapore.
In other weekend racing with potential implications for the Oct. 26-27 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Monmouth Park in New Jersey:
$2 million Emirates Airline Distaff
-- Ginger Punch took the lead entering the stretch in Saturday's $300,000 Ruffian Handicap at Belmont Park and prevailed after a long drive, winning by 3/4 length over Miss Shop. Teammate was third and Take D' Tour completed the order of finish. Ginger Punch, a 4-year-old, Florida-bred filly by Awesome Again, ran the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:40.25. Rafael Bejarano rode for trainer Bobby Frankel. "She's a nice filly. She's the kind of filly that does everything right." But he said it's not certain she'll get a chance in the Distaff, since she's not nominated to the Breeders' Cup program. "Maybe we'll run in the Beldame (Sept. 30 at Belmont)," he said. "Look at her record. She could come back in three weeks. The Beldame is 22 days from today and $600,000 is nothing to sneeze at."
-- Solo Survivor rallied along the rail in the stretch drive of Saturday's $150,000 Arlington Matron Handicap at Arlington Park, passed all five rivals and went on to post a major upset, winning by 1 length. Ms. Lydonia finished second and the favorite, Round Heels, was third. Solo Survivor, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred daughter of Pleasant Tap, ran the 1 1/8 miles on the all-weather track in 1:49.94 under Mark Guidry. She went to the post at 16-1 -- the longest chance on the board.
$3 million John Deere Turf
Dylan Thomas Saturday won the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes for the second straight year, catching Duke of Marmalade late in the race to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Red Rock Canyon was third. Winning jockey Kieren Fallon said Dylan Thomas is "the best horse I've ever ridden" and trainer Aidan O'Brien said the colt is headed to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Oct. 7. Red Rocks, likely prepping for a return to the Breeders' Cup Turf, finished fourth.
$2 million Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf
-- Alexander Tango, an Irish invader, won Saturday's $250,000 Garden City Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park with a five-wide move into the stretch and a stout drive to the finish. At the line, the daughter of Danehill Dancer was 3/4 length to the good of Bit of Whimsey, with Sharp Susan another nose behind in third. The favorite, Rutherienne, finished last. "We thought she would be well-suited for American racing because she runs best with a good pace in front of her," said James Stack, assistant to and son of winning trainer Tommy Stack. "I thought we were done on the backstretch. The pace was slow and she was farther back than I thought she wanted to be." He said Alexander Tango's next start likely will be the Flower Bowl Invitational at 10 furlongs at Belmont on Sept. 29.
-- Dreaming of Anna, last year's Juvenile Fillies champ, had a tough time early in the year trying to maintain her form on the main course. But she has found new life since trainer Wayne Catalano put her back on the grass and proved it again in Saturday's $200,000 Pucker Up Stakes at Arlington Park. Breaking sharply, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Rahy went right to the lead and drew clear in the stretch to win by 4 1/4 lengths over Touch My Soul. Bel Air Beauty ran third. Dreaming of Anna, with E.T. Baird in the irons, ran the 9 furlongs on firm turf in 1:48.2. She and stablemate Dreaming of Liz, who won the Arlington-Washington Lassie a race later, are both owned by Frank Calabrese. "She's a free-running filly," Baird said. "They were legitimate fractions. She's a real race horse. It was all her. I didn't rate her. I let her run free, run her own race."
$2 million NetJets Mile (turf)
Darjina defeated eight male rivals in Sunday's Qatar Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, extending her record to five wins from six starts. The 3-year-old daughter of Zamindar, owned and bred by Princess Zahra Aga Khan, drew clear in the late going to beat the favorite, Ramonti, by 2 lengths. George Washington ran well late to take third. Darjina ran the 1,600 meters in 1:36.8 on "good" going. She is trained by Christophe Soumillon.
$2 million Bessemer Trust Juvenile
-- Georgie Boy, a California-bred son of Tribal Rule, looked like he'd been voted off the island early in Tuesday's $250,000 Del Mar Futurity. Running 12th of 13 down the backstretch, jockey Garrett Gomez kicked Georgie Boy into contention on the outside on the turn, found clear sailing and got home first, 1/2 length ahead of Salute the Sarge. The favorite, Drill Down, finished third, just another nose back. Georgie Boy, second to Salute the Sarge in the Best Pal Stakes, won for the second time in five starts. "We had the good trip and he did what he had to do," Gomez said. "He's a 2-year-old and he's still a little green. But aren't they all? Today he did just fine." Kathy Walsh trains the gelding. The riders of Salute the Sarge, Drill Down and the fourth- and fifth-place horses, Leonides and E Z's Gentleman, all said their steeds will do better at longer distances.
-- West Coast Coach rallied from just off the pace to take Saturday's $45,000 Prairie Meadows Freshman by 1/2 length over the early leader and odds-on favorite, Maya's Storm. Kate's Main Man finished third. West Coast Coach, a California-bred gelding by Crafty Prospector, ran 6 furlongs in 1:09.21 for jockey Diego Sanchez.
$2 million Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies
-- In Saturday's $150,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie at Arlington Park, Dreaming of Liz broke from the outside post in a field of 11, jumped right to the lead and was never seriously challenged, winning by 2 1/2 lengths. Rasierra was second and Minewander finished third. Dreaming of Liz, a Kentucky-bred daughter of El Prado, covered the 1 mile on Arlington's all-weather track in 1:37.08 with E.T. Baird up for trainer Wayne Catalano and owner Frank Calabrese. The same group won Arlington's Pucker Up Stakes a race earlier with last year's Juvenile Fillies champion, Dreaming of Anna. Baird said Dreaming of Liz "just ends up on the lead because she's there. I think I could place her anywhere. She's just so comfortable." Asked about the Breeders' Cup, Calabrese said, "We don't know yet. Probably. I'm hoping."
-- Clearly Foxy led a trio of Mark Casse trainees to a sweep of Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian) Natalma Stakes at Woodbine. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Volponi stalked the pace, surged to the lead at the top of the stretch and held stablemate Nite in Rome safe by 3 1/2 lengths. The favorite, Lickety Lemon, rallied late to take third. Clearly Foxy, with Jono Jones in the irons, ran the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:36.12. "Clearly Foxy could be any kind," Casse said. "So we'll see what happens. They've written a new race now for the Breeders' Cup at a mile on the turf (for 2-year-olds). But, oddly enough, I thought all along she's better on the Polytrack."
-- Indyanne led virtually all the way to a 6-lengths victory in Saturday's $60,000 Bay Meadows Debutante Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. At prohibitive odds, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Indian Charlie felt only one crack of the whip from jockey David Lopez as she dominated the race. This Side Up finished second and Lady Railrider was third. Indyanne ran the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.41. Greg Gilchrist trains.
-- Bathed in Blue -- owned by Bongo Racing Stable -- came five-wide into the stretch in Saturday's $45,000 Prairie Meadows Debutante for 2-year-old fillies and ran down pace-setting Big Lou to win by 3/4 length. The favorite, Judy Faye, finished third, lacking a rally. Bathed in Blue, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Yes It's True, ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.70. Terry Thompson rode for trainer Lyn Chleborad.
$1 million Filly & Mare Sprint (new race)
-- Silmaril rallied from last of seven to win Saturday's $200,000 Endine Handicap for fillies and mares at Delaware Park by 1 1/2 lengths over Ticket to Seattle. Sugar Swirl finished third. Silmaril, a 6-year-old, Maryland-bred mare by Diamond, ran the 6 furlongs in 1:09.52 with Jeremy Rose in the irons for trainer Christopher Grove. Rose said Silmaril reminded him of Afleet Alex "in the way she just sits back and then makes one quarter-mile kick and then runs them down." He said 7 furlongs is Silmaril's ideal distance but, "The fast early fractions helped her win at three-quarters today."
-- She's Indy Money came from last of five to win Saturday's $200,000 (Canadian) Seaway Stakes for fillies and mares at Woodbine, drawing clear at mid-stretch. At the wire, the 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred daughter of A.P. Indy was 2 lengths clear of Financingavailable, with Count to Three appropriately finishing third. She's Indy Money, with Patrick Husbands riding for trainer Malcolm Pierce, ran 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:22.54. The filly won the Ontario Matron in her last start and Pierce said he is looking around now. "Maybe there will be something at Keeneland for her or even here. We haven't decided."
-- Oprah Winfrey is coming to New York to kick off her new season and could have had no better harbinger than Oprah Winney -- easy winner of Sunday's $100,000 Schenectady Handicap for New York-bred fillies and mares at Belmont Park. Sent off as the prohibitive favorite, the 4-year-old Royal Academy filly went to the front easily when asked by jockey Garrett Gomez and coasted home a 3 1/4-length winner over Scatkey. Karakorum Starlet finished third. Oprah Winney ran the 6 furlongs in 1:09.6. Richard Dutrow Jr. trains the filly.
In other weekend racing:
Islan stalked the pace in Saturday's $100,000 Turfway Park Fall Championship, went to the lead on the turn and easily drew off to win by 3 1/2 lengths, ridden out. Spotsgone was second and Gouldings Green was third. Teuflesberg was a late scratch. Islan, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Gone West, ran 1 mile on the all-weather track in 1:38.81. Larry Melancon rode for trainer Bill Mott. "I didn't have very much to do with it," Melancon said of the victory. "I just laid second, didn't want to get too far out of it." The horse now has eight wins from 18 starts. He began his career in France.
I'm in Love rallied from mid-pack to win Saturday's $100,000 George Rosenberger Memorial for fillies and mares by 1 1/2 lengths over Debbie Sue. Shytoe Lafeet made a big run from well back to finish third. I'm In Love, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred filly by Zafonic, ran the 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:41.67 under Eddie Castro. The favorite, Miracle Moment, battled for the early lead, stopped and finished last of 10.
Awfully Smart took the early lead in Saturday's $100,000 DTHA Owners' Day Handicap, set a good pace and held on at the end to win by 3/4 length over Better Than Bonds. Easy Red finished third. Awfully Smart, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred gelding by Anees, ran the 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:48.92 with Ramon Dominguez up.
Rolling Sea rolled to a 10 3/4-lengths victory in Saturday's $45,000 Central Iowa Stakes for fillies and mares. Thekatcamehome was second and Texas Rush third. Rolling Sea, a 4-year-old, Illinois-bred daughter of Sefapiano, went to the post at odds of 1-10 and ran to her notices, finishing 1 1/16 miles under Joel Campbell in 1:42.12. Steve Asmussen trains the chestnut filly.
True Metropolitan led from gate to wire in Saturday's $100,000 (Canadian) Speed to Spare Stakes, winning by 10 lengths over Test Boy. Trick of the North was third. True Metropolitan, the 2-10 favorite, ran the 1 3/8 miles on a fast track in 2:17 with Quincy Welch riding. The 5-year-old, Florida-bred gelding is by Proud and True.
Beautiful Daniele got the jump on five rivals in Saturday's $60,000 Navajo Princess Stakes for fillies and mares and held on, winning by 1/2 length over the favorite, Naissance Royale. Rasta Farian was third. Beautiful Daniele, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred daughter of A.P. Indy, ran the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:35.52. Kent Desormeaux rode the filly for trainer Bill Mott.
Appealing Spring came from last of five to capture Saturdays' $60,000 Bergen County Stakes for 3-year-olds by 3/4 length over Forefathers. Leonardo finished third as the favorite. Appealing Spring, a Florida-bred gelding by Successful Appeal, finished the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.46 with Eddie Castro up.
Bravo Maestro got through a narrow opening between rivals at the top of the stretch in Saturday's $65,000 Phil D. Shepherd Stakes and went on to win by 3/4 length over Black Spot. Sensational Score finished third. Bravo Maestro, a 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred gelding by Stravinsky, got the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.21. Martin Pedroza rode for trainer Ben Cecil.
Sunday, Velvet Moonlite went to the front in the $65,000 E.B. Johnston Stakes for fillies and mares, then held on at the end to win by a neck over Quiet Kim and another nose over Debie Ginsburg. Velvet Moonlite, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred daughter of Malibu Moon, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:45.34.
Mystery Classic was no mystery to the bettors, who made the 4-year-old Texas-bred the favorite in Sunday's $50,000 Chuck Talaferro Memorial. The Mystery Storm gelding went quickly to the fore, opened up a comfortable lead and sailed home first, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Wheaton Home. Gyrovagi was third. Mystery Classic ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.74 under Bobby Walker Jr.