On a slow weekend of racing, some of the more important events were for the youngsters eyeing next year's classic events in Europe, Canada and the United States.
Active Duty rallied from a pace-stalking position to upset Sunday's $250,000 (Canadian) Coronation Futurity for Ontario-bred 2-year-olds, winning by 2 1/4 lengths over the odds-on favorite, El Brujo. Khabibulin finished third. Active Duty, a gelded son of Deputy Commander out of the Two Punch mare Punchbowl, ran the 9 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:52.01. Corey Frasier rode for trainer Mark Casse. Active Duty, making his first start on the Polytrack surface, broke his maiden with the stakes win. "It just worked out that way. I looked at having him ready for the Cup & Saucer," said Casse, referring to the 1 1/16-mile turf event Oct. 26, in which Active Duty finished sixth. "When I worked him on the Polytrack, he worked quite well. He's a beautiful horse."
Selva pressed the pace in Saturday's $150,000 (Canadian) Glorious Song Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, then quickly surged to the lead early in the stretch run and won off by 2 lengths. Holiday Girl was second and Hooh Why finished third. Selva, a Kentucky-bred Forest Wildcat filly, got the 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:22.94 with Emma-Jayne Wilson up for trainer David Carroll. Selva broke her maiden over a sloppy main strip at Saratoga by 1 1/2 lengths in her first try Aug. 7. She then captured the 6-furlong Sorority Stakes Aug. 31. "She showed a lot of heart and guts in the Sorority and had to battle hard for the win," Carroll said. "She had a couple of works on the Polytrack at Keeneland and indicated that she would handle the surface no problem."
Indescribable closed ground quickly in the stretch run to win Saturday's $100,000 Cardinal Handicap for fillies and mares by a head over Long Approach. Kiss With a Twist was third after leading briefly at the top of the lane and the favorite, Callwood Dancer, faded from the early lead to finish fourth. Indescribable, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred daughter of Pleasant Tap, ran the 9 furlongs on yielding turf in 1:55.77. Kent Desormeaux rode for trainer Bill Mott. Mott assistant Kenny McCarthy said the stable's only question about Indescribable was "whether she could handle the yielding turf. It looks like she handled it fine."
Dry Martini came from last to win Saturday's $100,000 Stuyvesant Handicap by 3 1/4 lengths over Stud Muffin. The early leader, Temporary Saint, held on to take third by a nose over Ravel. Dry Martini, a 5-year-old, Florida-bred gelding by Slew Gin Fizz, ran the 9 furlongs on a muddy track in 1:51.18. Channing Hill rode for trainer William Turner Jr. "This horse has been coming along steadily," Turner said. "The race set up just as we had hoped. He had to make up ground, quite a bit of ground, but the jockey was easing up on him at the wire."
Nobody was crying for Evita Argentina after Sunday's $100,000 Moccasin Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Candy Ride came from last in a field of 11 to win by 1 1/2 lengths over the favorite, Mi Chiamano Mimi. Palacio de Amor completed the foreign-themed trifecta. Evita Argentina, with Tyler Baze riding for trainer John Sadler, was last after a half mile and came around rivals on the turn to take up the chase. She got the lead in the final sixteenth and was clearly best. "Stardom Bound kind of sucked the air out of all of us so now we're getting back," Sadler said. "We don't know if she has distance limitations at this point, so we wanted to drop her back around one turn. We're going to look at the Hollywood Starlet and see how she comes out of this."
You Lift Me Up got quickly to the front in Saturday's $65,000 Audrey Skirball-Kenis Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, and led all the way to an upset victory in a six-filly blanket finish. The camera found You Lift Me Up, a California-bred daughter of Lord Carson, a head in front of Solar Miss, who was a nose better than Fire n' Brimstone. Another nose back was Miss Singhsix. She, in turn, was a head to the good of Sensational Love, who was a head in front of Mohaka. The other two were well back. You Lift Me Up, with Mike Smith riding for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, ran the 9 furlongs on firm turf in 1:50.09. "That's the way I thought I'd have to ride her," Smith said. "I figured I'd be on the lead and it was just a matter of me getting away with what I wanted to get away with, pulling the trigger and hoping I can hang on."
Desert Wheat rallied from far back to win Saturday's $60,000 Mr. Sulu Stakes for Louisiana-bred by 1 3/4 lengths over Snug. Grand Minit finished third. Desert Wheat, a 5-year-old son of Wheaton, ran the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:45.74 with Patrick Valenzuela in the irons for trainer Bill Mott. "Whenever you run for Bill Mott, you have a lot of confidence," Valenzuela said. "I elected to go outside because he is such a big horse." Valenzuela and Mott also combined to win Friday's Blushing K. D. Handicap on opening day of the Fair Grounds season. Both days' features were taken off the turf.
Calder Race Course
Jeux de Dance circled four-wide to take the lead in Saturday's $55,000 Copano Stakes for fillies and mares, opened a big lead and coasted home first, 2 lengths ahead of Cozzi Capital. Silver Envoy finished third. Jeux de Dance, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred mare by Grand Slam, ran the 7 1/2 furlongs on "good" turf in 1:28.69 with Jermaine Bridgmohan riding for trainer Marty Wolfson.
Bingham came from a pace-stalking position to win Saturday's $50,000 Jack Coady Sr. Stakes for 3-year-olds by 6 3/4 lengths over Manningtoharrison. Rule by Force was third. Bingham, a Kentucky-bred Monarchos gelding, ran the "about" 1 mile on firm turf in 1:34.24 under Glenn Corbett.
Briecat seized a daylight lead at the top of the stretch in Saturday's $50,00 Chandler Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, then held on gamely to win by 3/4 length over Profitability. Czechers was third. Briecat, a Florida-bred filly to Adcat, ran the "about" 1 mile on firm turf in 1:34.73 with Clinton Potts in the irons.
Lee's Spirit came five-wide into the stretch to take the lead in Saturday's $50,000 No Le Hace Stakes, then drew clear to win by 2 1/2 lengths over Acting Zippy. Windy Lou finished third. Lee's Spirit, a 3-year-old, Louisiana-bred gelding by Leestown, ran the 1 mile on a fast track in 1:40.34. Donald Simington had the mount.
Nice Inheritance rallied between the leaders in the stretch run of Sunday's $50,000 Lady's Secret Stakes for fillies and mares and was up in time to win by 3/4 length over Comely Grace. Courier was third. Nice Inheritance, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred filly by Pure Prize, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:38.29 under Luis Quinonez.
Semaphore sat close behind the pace in Sunday's $50,000 Chuck Taliaferro Memorial Stakes, got to the fore at mid-stretch and went on to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Wind Water set the early pace and held second while Celluloid Hero finished third but was disqualified, moving up Roll On Roll On to show money. Semaphore is a 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred gelding by Formal Gold. He ran the 6 furlongs in 1:09.32.
Megan's Tough led virtually all the way to a 1 1/4-lengths win in Sunday's $50,000 Cimarron Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. Peach Brew rallied from mid-pack to take second and Lil Pink Cadillac was an even third. Megan's Tough, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Rahy, ran the 7 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:31.8.
Cashinmywranglers rallied three-wide around the leaders in Sunday's $50,000 Centennial Stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings and got home first, 3/4 length ahead of Marquee. Art Thief finished third. Cashinmywranglers, a Texas-bred Proud Halo gelding, ran the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:38.48 for Glen Murphy.
Loves Bonus was quickly on the lead in Sunday's $50,000 Charlie Iles Handicap and held well to post a 2 1/2-lengths upset over the favorite, Nosir. Santaquin finished third. Loves Bonus, a 6-year-old, Oklahoma-bred gelding by Bonus Time, ran the 7 furlongs in 1:22.12 with Miguel Fuentes in the irons.
Viva Pataca made his case as the local favorite for the Dec. 14 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup with a workmanlike victory Sunday in the Cup Trial at Sha Tin. With Darren Beadman handling the reins, Viva Pataca got to the front with a furlong to run and finished first, 1 1/4 lengths to the good of Hawkes Bay. Jackpot Delight ran from the back of the field to take third. Viva Pataca was fourth in the 2006 running of the Hong Kong Cup and second last year. Trainer John Moore said he hopes for better in four weeks' time as the horse is "in the form of his life … I'm hoping he can hold it all together until next month. If he does, he will have a great chance of winning the Cup for Hong Kong," Moore said.
Fame And Glory defeated stablemate Drumbeat by 1/2 length in Wednesday's Criterium de Saint-Cloud in France, preserving a perfect record through two starts and marking himself as trainer Aidan O'Brien's top hope for next year's Epsom Derby. With John Murtagh in the irons, Fame And Glory came from behind a slow pace and had the best of the final furlong. The Montjeu colt finished in 2:19.9 over "heavy" turf.