With Rachel Alexandra shooting for bigger targets, the 3-year-old filly division has been left to its own devices since the Kentucky Oaks -- so much so that the first two finishers in Saturday's $600,000 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga shipped down from Canada.
Not that they weren't worthy contenders. Careless Jewel, who surged to the lead on the turn and won by 11 lengths, had won four straight before hitting the Spa, including an upset win last month in the Delaware Oaks. And Saturday's runner-up, Milwaukee Appeal, finished second against colts in two legs of this year's Canadian Triple Crown.
Careless Jewel, a Kentucky-bred Tapit filly, ran the 1 1/4 miles on a "good" main track in 2:03.24. Robert Landry rode for trainer Josie Carroll. John Velazquez took the mount on Milwaukee Appeal for trainer Scott Fairlie. Casanova Move finished third in the Alabama, 3 3/4 lengths further up the track.
Careless Jewel unseated Landry during the post parade and he noted after the race: "When they can overcome that and win the way she did, she's a pretty special filly. She showed up and did her job when it counted."
Carroll said he doesn't know where Careless Jewel will run next and will consult the owners, who "like to be very involved."
Elsewhere in the Ladies Classic Division:
-- With the big guns down south, Double Malt was left to win Saturday's $125,000 (Canadian) Eternal Search for 3-year-old fillies back up at Woodbine. The Ontario-bred daughter of Whiskey Wisdom stalked the pace, then dominated the stretch run, winning off by 4 3/4 lengths. Lunar Linda, Cataleenda and Dancing Charm completed the short order of finish. Double Malt, with Eurico Da Silva in the irons, ran 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:44.75.
-- Saturday's $70,000 Omnibus Stakes at Monmouth Park came off the turf and Exotic Indy was far and away the best of the three remaining starters after the scratches. The 4-year-old A.P. Indy filly swept past the pace-setter on the turn and splashed off to win by 8 lengths, finishing the 1 1/4 miles in 2:07.14 under Joe Bravo. "We were going to run her in an allowance next week," said winning trainer Grant Forster. "But I entered here in case it came off the turf. She has an excellent pedigree and I always wanted to run her longer. Her breeding suggests she'll run all day."
-- Summer Song sang a sweet tune for her backers as the favorite in Saturday's $75,000 (Canadian) City of Edmonton Distaff at Northlands Park. After trailing into the stretch turn, the 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Sunday Break filly left a half dozen rivals in the dust, drawing off to win by 4 lengths. Tanika finished second with Jasper's Valentine third. Summer Song, with Mario Gutierrez aboard, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:47.4.
Other racing with potential implications for the $25.5 million Breeders' Cup World Championship races Nov. 6-7 at Santa Anita:
$5 million Classic
Chirac took the early lead in Saturday's $300,000 Philip H. Iselin Stakes at Monmouth Park and wasn't caught, posting a 6 3/4-lengths upset victory. You and I Forever finished second with a late run, Pampered Sir was third at long odds and the favorite, Coal Play, had no response in the lane, finishing fourth. Chirac, a 4-year-old, Florida-bred Sligo Bay gelding, ran the 1 1/8 miles on a sloppy track in 1:49.11. "I just wanted to get him on the lead," said winning rider Elvis Trujillo. "When he got to the front, I just let him do his thing. And that's what he did. He ran his race all the way around and was getting better and better at the end." "He beat some nice horses in there," said winning trainer Jane Cibelli. "The Meadowlands Cup is next for him."
Tommy Danzigger had 'em all the way in Saturday's $300,000 (Canadian) Canadian Derby at Northlands Park. The British Columbia-bred High Demand gelding opened up a daylight lead on the backstretch and coasted home first, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Scorewithcater. It Happened Again was third and the favorite, Stylish Citizen, finished fourth. Tommy Danzigger finished the 1 3/8 miles on a fast track in 1:23 under Pedro Alvarado.
$3 million Emirates Airline Turf
This week's action was outside U.S. borders, featuring Tuesday's Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York, won by superstar Sea The Stars. After winning his five previous races, including three Group 1 events, the 3-year-old Cape Cross colt faced only three challengers in the York fixture and, of those, only Mastercraftsman was in his league. Mastercraftsman took the first run at the pace-setting outsiders but with Mick Kinane riding a tactical race, Sea The Stars got the last and deciding run, getting by on the outside to win by 1 length and covering the 1 1/4 miles and 80 yards in 2:05.29. Trainer John Oxx said Sea The Stars will be looking for good to firm going as he races up to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe with the Irish Champion Stakes on Sept. 5 as a potential interim goal. But, reflecting on last year's Euro success at Santa Anita, Oxx has indicated a visit to the Breeders' Cup could be a possibility with either the Turf or the Classic as the goal.
Marchfield rallied to the lead with about a furlong to run in Sunday's $250,000 (Canadian) Sky Classic Stakes at Woodbine and held off Champs Elysees down the stretch, winning by 1/2 length. Medjool was 2 3/4 lengths farther back in third. The favorite, Rahy's Attorney, raced close to the lead and made a bid on the turn but was outfinished and got home sixth. Marchfield, a 5-year-old, Ontario-bred son of A.P. Indy, ran the 11 furlongs on "good" turf in 2:16.56 with Patrick Husbands up for trainer Mark Casse. "It's a great delight to see this horse show his pedigree," said winning owner Eugene Melnyk. "He's an A.P. Indy horse, out of a wonderful mare that I raised," said Melnyk, speaking of Pico Teneriffe, a daughter of Red Ransom. "Coming to Woodbine is an emotional thing because I won the Queen's Plate here. Winning a race of that stature is a huge thrill. I'm looking forward to racing Marchfield back here again." Melnyk won the 1998 Plate with Archers Bay.
$2 million Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf
Saturday's $350,000 Del Mar Derby drew a field of 10 and resulted in an upset as Internallyflawless rallied from a pace-pressing trip to win by 1/2 length over 30-1 longshot Nan. The favorite, Well Monied, settled for third-place money this time after four wins and a second in her five previous starts. Internallyflawless, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Giant's Causeway, ran the 9 furlongs on the firm Jimmy Durante turf course in 1:49.46 under Garrett Gomez. Newly elected Hall of Famer Bob Baffert trains the filly. Internallyflawless picked up only her second career victory but did finish a close fourth in her last start in the San Clemente three weeks earlier. "This filly has always had a lot of talent," Baffert said. Garrett was the difference today. He gave her a perfect ride. He had her in good position all the way and when the rest of the field started to panic at the three-eighths pole, he stayed with the plan and then got the jump on the rest of them." Baffert said Internallyflawless will be pointed to the Breeders' Cup.
Shared Account pressed the pace in Friday's $150,000 Lake Placid Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga, went to the lead at mid-stretch and won by 1 length over Keertana. Katara finished third. Shared Account, a Kentucky-bred Pleasantly Perfect filly, ran the 9 furlongs on soft turf in 1:54.62 for jockey Edgar Prado. "I think she's a really special filly," said winning trainer H. Graham Motion. "But she's a little one-paced." Motion said Shared Account needs "a mile and an eighth, a mile and a quarter." Asked if he will seek loftier goals than the Grade II Lake Placid, the trainer said: "Off this today, sure. One thing about this filly -- she hasn't run on firm turf yet. It will be interesting to see her on firm ground or even Polytrack."
Nehantic Cat rallied from near the back of the field to win Sunday's $100,000 Yaddo Handicap for New York-bred fillies and mares at Saratoga, scoring by 1 1/2 lengths over Vivi's Book. Crazy Catlady finished third. Nehantic Cat, a 6-year-old daughter of Tomorrow's Cat, out of the Thunder Puddles mare Knightly Thunder, ran the 9 furlongs on the "soft" inner turf in 1:53.03 under Rajiv Maragh.
In England, Dar Re Mi upset Sariska in Thursday's Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York, taking the lead when asked by jockey Jimmy Fortune and holding well. Roman Empress finished third. Dar Re Mi, a 4-year-old Singspiel filly, ran the 1 1/2 miles on "good" turf in 2:30.98. In her last outing, Dar Re Me won an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup race by capturing the Audi Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh in Ireland. However, trainer John Gosden said his filly is pointing toward the Qatar Prix Vermeille on Sept. 13 at Longchamp and, should she run well there, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Oct. 4.
$2 million Sentient Jet Sprint
Greeley's Conquest stalked the pace in Saturday night's $200,000 Remington Park Sprint Cup, surged to the clear lead entering the stretch and held on to win by 1/2 length over Sing Baby Sing. Ravalo was third and the favorite, EZ Dreamer, faded from the lead to finish sixth of seven. Greeley's Conquest, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Mr. Greeley, ran the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:08.79. Jamie Theriot had the mount for trainer Thomas Gary. Greeley's Conquest now has won seven of his 21 career starts. "He was a little fresh but if we would have let EZ Dreamer go by himself, he would have been gone," Thomas said. "I knew this horse could do it. He is gutsy."
Secretintelligence was no secret to the punters at Delaware Park on Saturday. The 6-year-old, Pennsylvania-bred Smart Guy gelding went to the post as the favorite in the $75,000 New Castle Stakes, got quickly to the lead and survived by 1/2 length over Wawaset Park. Homecroft finished third. Secretintelligence, with Jose Caraballo aboard for trainer Tim Richey, ran 6 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:11.61.
$1 million Sentient Jet Filly & Mare Sprint
Nadeshiko broke last of six in Saturday night's $100,000 Remington Park Filly and Mare Sprint, rallied through a small opening on the rail around the turn and got away at the end to win by 1 length over the favorite, Classify. Magdalena's Chase led the way and finished third. Nadeshiko, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred daughter of Honour and Glory, ran the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.23 with Jamie Theriot up for trainer Greg Foley. She now has five wins from 18 career starts. "Magdalena's Chase got off the rail around the turn," Theriot said. "I thought trying to get in there was the best opportunity for me to win instead of waiting and having to go around three horses. It was tight but I had a lot of horse underneath me. When you have a lot of horse, it makes going through the hole easier."
Sarah Cataldo swept eight-wide around the leaders in Saturday's $75,000 Tax Free Shopping Distaff at Delaware Park and caught La Danseur in the final sixteenth to post a huge upset win. Christina's World finished third. Sarah Cataldo, a 3-year-old, Maryland-bred daughter of Smarty Jones, ran the 6 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:12.86 under Brian Hernandez Jr. The filly is named for a young girl who has suffered through medical issues, including heart surgery, according to a spokeswoman for Three Chimneys Farm, where Smarty Jones stands.
$1 million Turf Sprint
California Flag battled gamely for the lead in Wednesday's $115,000 Green Flash Handicap at Del Mar, got a clear lead in the stretch and just held on to win by a neck over Delta Storm. Tenga Cat was 1 length farther back in third. California Flag, a 5-year-old, California-bred Avenue of Flags gelding, ran the 5 furlongs on firm turf in 55.22 seconds. Joe Talamo had the mount for trainer Brian Koriner.
Perfect Officer came five-wide around the leaders in Thursday's $70,000 Solomon Northup Stakes for 3-year-olds at Saratoga and won going away, by 1 1/2 lengths over Affirmatif. Wall Street Wonder bailed out after leading at the top of the stretch but hung on to finish third. Perfect Officer, a Kentucky-bred Officer gelding, got the 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:02.32 under Ramon Dominguez.
Starfish Bay struck the lead quickly in Wednesday's $70,000 From New York to Old York Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga and kept on going, winning by 1 1/2 lengths over the favorite, Legally Bianca. Gemswick Park was third. Starfish Bay, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Elusive Quality, got the 5 1/2 furlongs on "good" turf in 1:02.69 with Edgar Prado up for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Borderlescott caught pace-setting Benbaun in the late going to win Friday's Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York by a neck. Radiohead, a 2-year-old, was third in the 5-furlong sprint. Borderlescott, a 7-year-old Compton Place gelding, finished in 57.5 seconds over "good to firm" turf under first-time rider Neil Callan.
Hello Maggie May upset Sunday's $100,000 Belle Geste Stakes for Ontario-bred fillies and mares at Woodbine, dueling for the lead down the stretch before winning by a neck over Mullins Beach. The favorite, Saskawea, settled for third after leading for a time. Hello Maggie May, a 4-year-old Lemon Drop Kid filly, ran the 7 furlongs on the "good" turf in 1:23.41 under Chantal Sutherland.
$2 million TVG Turf Mile
You Lift Me Up came three-wide into the stretch in Sunday's $100,000 Solana Beach Handicap for California-bred fillies and mares and went on to win by 1/2 length over Hot n' Dusty Bootleg Annie finished third. You Lift Me Up, a 4-year-old Lord Carson filly, got the 1 mile on firm going in 1:34.07 with Joel Rosario in the irons for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
$2 million Bessemer Trust Juvenile
D'Funnybone tickled the fancy of his backers in Thursday's $150,000 Saratoga Special, pressing the pace before romping home down the stretch to win by 10 1/2 lengths at odds of better than 4-1. Zip Quick had late speed to finish second, a nose in front of Fearless Cowboy. The favorite, Tiny Woods, was used on the front end and faded to finish seventh of eight. D'Funnybone, a Florida-bred D'wildcat colt, ran the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.58 over a fast track. Edgar Prado rode and Richard Dutrow Jr. trains the D'funnybone. The colt won his career debut by 7 1/4 on May 23 at Calder Race Course, then finished second In the Frank Gomez Memorial Stakes at Calder on July 11. After that race, he was purchased by Paul Pompa Jr., the original owner of Big Brown. Prado indicated there's reason to hope D'Funnybone can continue on in his predecessor's hoofprints. "I brought my horse to the outside and he was very comfortable out there," Prado said. "Then, when he took the lead, he was good. I think there's more in him to go a little further."
Toboggan Slide and Golden Ghost dueled head-and-head from gate to wire in Saturday's $75,000 First State Dash at Delaware Park and, at the wire, there was nothing to separate them. And it was 5 3/4 lengths back from the dead-heating duo to the favorite, Phil's Prospect. Toboggan Slide, a Maryland-bred Rock Slide colt, was ridden by Walter Llagas. Jeremy Rose was up on Golden Ghost, a Kentucky-bred Ghostzapper colt. The 5 furlongs went in 59.07 over a sloppy track.
$2 million Bessemer Trust Juvenile Fillies
Worstcasescenario got a great scenario in Wednesday's $150,000 Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga, pressing a good pace before surging to the lead on the turn and drawing off to win by 4 1/2 lengths. Sassy Image was along for second and Magic Appeal finished third. The odds-on favorite, Dashing Debby, dashed to the lead and then dashed her backers' hopes by fading to finish fifth. Worstcasescenario, a Florida-bred Forbidden Apple miss, got the 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:16.72. Alan Garcia had the mount for trainer Richard Violette Jr. Worstcasescenario came into the race off a maiden-breaking win in an off-the-turf event at Belmont. Violette said the Sept. 6 Spinaway might be "a little quick" for his filly. "If she's kicking the walls down, that's a different story. But I think we might wait until we get back to Belmont," he said. "I love the (Oct. 10) Frizette. It's a great race. If we could end up there, that would be great."
Southern Truth led all the way to a handy, 2 3/4-lengths victory in Saturday's $75,000 Small Wonder Stakes at Delaware Park. Smooth Talking was second, well in front of Royal Camp. Southern Truth, the 1-5 favorite, ran the 5 furlongs on a sloppy track in 58.77 seconds for jockey David Cohen. She is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Yes It's True.
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