Swift Temper rallied stoutly past odds-on favorite Seventh Street in the stretch run of Saturday's $300,000 Ruffian Handicap, winning by 1 3/4 lengths and earning an automatic berth in a Breeders' Cup race that probably will lack some of its top eligibles.
Back to work only 13 days after finishing second in the Personal Ensign at Saratoga, Swift Temper raced back of the leaders in the Ruffian, came out for room around the turn and wore down multiple graded stakes-winner Seventh Street to get home first. Luna Vega was a distant third as Swift Temper covered the 1 1/16 miles on a muddy track in 1:40.59.
Asked about the short turnaround, winning trainer Dale Romans said he "didn't like it. But she came out of her last race better than any race I've had her for. I was a little more concerned about the shortening up of the distance, if she'd be fresh enough to be close like she was. But it worked out well."
The race was a "Win and You're In" for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic -- a race that could be missing the two best eligible distaffers. Zenyatta could be pointed to the $5 million Classic while Rachel Alexandra's connections say they won't run her on the Santa Anita artificial surface and she currently is not scheduled to run again this year.
"We'll talk about the Breeders' Cup," Romans, who earlier this year saddled Swift Temper to win the Delaware Handicap and the Sixty Sails at Hawthorne. "I think outside of the top two or three, she's as good as anybody. She's really gotten good this year."
Godolphin indicated Sunday Seventh Street likely will be pointed to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint
In other weekend racing with potential implications for the $25.5 million Breeders' Cup World Championships Nov. 6-7 at Santa Anita:
$3 million Emirates Airline Turf
Grand Couturier came into Sunday's $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont Park off a disappointing fifth in the Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga. But trainer Robert Ribaudo said an analysis of that event showed his 6-year-old, British-bred gelding actually ran well enough to win, so he was not surprised when the son of Grand Lodge did just that Sunday, rallying from last to win by 2 lengths. Winchester was second with Thabazimbi a distant third. Grand Couturier, with Alan Garcia riding, covered the 11 furlongs on the yielding inner turf course in 2:15.86. Ribaudo said the plan now will be to bring Grand Couturier back in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational on Oct. 3. The Bowling Green, originally scheduled for Belmont's opening day card, was postponed to Sunday because of uncertain weather in the New York area.
Alandi got to the front a furlong out in Saturday's Group 1 Irish St. Leger at the Curragh and went on to win by 1/2 length over Clowance. Schiaparelli was well back in third as Yeats struggled home eighth over soft going. Alandi, a 4-year-old Galileo colt, owned by the Aga Khan and trained by John Oxx, finished the 1 3/4 miles in 3:14.82 under Mick Kinane.
Mastery prevailed by 3/4 length over stablemate Kite Wood after a spirited stretch battle in Saturday's Group 1 St. Leger at Doncaster, winning for the first time in four starts since his springtime victory in the Italian Derby in Rome. The Godolphin colt, with Ted Durcan up, finally parted company with Kite Wood shortly before the finish, completing the "about" 1 13/16 miles on "good to firm" turf in 3:04.81. Godolphin now boasts five wins in the St. Leger, which was run for the first time while the ink was still drying on the U.S. Declaration of Independence in 1776.
In Sunday's Qatar Prix Niel for 3-year-olds at Longchamp, Cavalryman picked up his third win in five starts this season, backing up his victory in the Grand Prix de Paris on Bastille Day. And in the Qatar Prix Foy for 4-year-olds and up, Spanish Moon defeated Vision d'Etat by 3/4 length.
$2 million Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf
Miss World moved to the leaders in the stretch run in Saturday's $300,000 Garden City Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park, got by with a furlong to run and went on to post the upset, beating Shared Account by 1 3/4 lengths. Keertana was third and the odds-on favorite, Gozzip Girl, who clipped heels and stumbled on the first turn, had to rally to save fourth. Miss World, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Bernstein, got the 9 furlongs on the soft inner turf in 1:53.55 with Cornelio Velasquez up for trainer Christophe Clement. "It took me a while to understand the filly," Clement said. "I ran her too short and on dirt last year and she's obviously a turf filly. Because she trained well, I thought she had more speed than she had and, in fact, she stays. Today was the first time we stretched her and she ran well." Since Clement put her on the grass in June, Miss World has three wins and a second from four starts. He said he now will consider taking her to Keeneland for the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on Oct. 17.
Banrock saved ground through the turn in Sunday's $100,000 Ashley T. Cole Stakes for New York-breds at Belmont Park, then stayed on the paint and got to the front, winning by 3/4 length over Straight Story. Pennington was third. Banrock, a 6-year-old Go for Gin mare, covered the 9 furlongs on the yielding inner turf course in 1:51.01 for jockey Kent Desormeaux. Thomas Bush trains.
In France, a controversial disqualification marred Sunday's Group 1 Qatar Prix Vermeille at Longchamp as Dar Re Mi crossed the line first only to be set down to fifth by the stewards. The beef elevated Stacelita, winner of the Prix de Diane, to the victory with Plumania moved up to second and Board Meeting to third. Stacelita remains undefeated. The foul occurred as first Stacelita and then Dar Re Mi moved through an opening during the stretch run. The stewards ruled Dar Re Mi's move imperiled Soberania, who finished fifth. Winning trainer Jean-Claude Rouget said Stacelita will move on to the Oct. 4 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
$2 million TVG Turf Mile
Double Malt got the lead a furlong from home in Saturday's $125,000 (Canadian) La Prevoyante Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Woodbine, then held off Lunar Linda to win by a neck. Venganza finished third. Double Malt, an Ontario-bred Whiskey Wisdom filly, covered the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:34.35 under Eurico Da Silva. She now has won three straight stakes events. "She tries hard and gives you 100 per cent every time we bring her over," said winning trainer Malcolm Pierce. "She's got her confidence up so good now, she doesn't think she can be beat … She's so game, she'll run over any surface. She had to work hard for the win today. They made it tight."
$1 million Sentient Jet Filly & Mare Sprint
Informed Decision stalked the pace in Saturday's $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes for fillies and mares, took the lead at the top of the stretch and drew clear to win by 2 1/2 lengths over Sweet Lorena. Flashing was third. Informed Decision, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Monarchos filly, ran the 6 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:15.1 under Julien Leparoux. Jonathan Sheppard, who trains for Augustin Stable, said he plans to take Informed Decision to the Breeders' Cup but isn't sure about whether she will start in the Oct. 10 Thoroughbred Club of America at Keeneland along the way. "She has had two races back-to-back," he said. "We may just keep her on ice" until the Breeders' Cup. Earlier in 2009, Informed Decision won the Madison at Keeneland and the Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs and the Chicago Handicap at Arlington Park. She was third in the Ballerina at Saratoga in her last outing. With Saturday's victory, she is 5-for-5 on artificial surfaces.
Bold Union sprinted out to the lead in Saturday's $150,000 Endine Stakes at Delaware Park and had things her own way, finding another gear in the stretch to win by 1 length over Pious Ashley. Fearless Leader finished third. Bold Union, a 3-year-old, Kentucky-bred daughter of Dixie Union, got the 6 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:10.41. Jose Velez Jr. had the mount for trainer Kelly Breen. Bold Union now has five wins from 10 career starts.
$2 million Grey Goose Juvenile
Ghost Fleet sailed to the lead at the top of the lane in Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian) Swynford Stakes at Woodbine and gamely held on to win by a neck over the filly, Jenny's So Great. Turf Melody finished third. Ghost Fleet, an Ontario-bred Arch colt out of the Housebuster mare Destroy, ran the 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:23.2. Todd Kabel had the mount for trainer Sid Attard. It was Ghost Fleet's third win in four starts and second stakes score, after winning the Vandal on Aug. 9. In the interim, he misfired in a start on the grass. "He did the job today, that's for sure," said Jim Lawson, son of owner Mel Lawson. "I talked to Todd after the race and he said when that other horse came at him, he pricked his ears and dug in in the stretch. Nice to see him run that well." Attard said he still thinks the colt will do well on the grass.
Our Minesweeper stalked the pace in Saturday's $50,000 Bart Heller Stakes at Golden Gate Fields, started a bid around the turn and then slowly wore down pace-setting favorite Court Mischief to win by 3/4 length. Montauban finished third. Our Minesweeper, an Idaho-bred Cause Ur Mine gelding, ran the 1 mile on the all-weather track in 1:38.51 with William Antongeorgi up.
$1 million Dirt Mile
Cherokee Artist moved on the leaders three-wide in the stretch run of Sunday's $250,000 Presque Isle Mile Stakes and got clear at the end to win by 2 3/4 lengths. J's Sundance Halo made the early going and held on for second while The Roundhouse came from well back to be third. Cherokee Artist, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Cherokee Run colt, ran the 1 mile on the all-weather track in 1:35.82. Jeremy Rose had the mount for trainer H. Graham Motion.
Nite Light went to the lead in Saturday's $100,000 Turfway Park Fall Championship, set a dawdling pace and had plenty in reserve at the end, coasting home a 5 3/4-lengths winner. Alaazo was second, 1 length better than Dominican. Nite Light, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Thunder Gulch, completed the 1 1/2 miles in his first try on the all-weather surface in 2:31.55 with Jon Court up for trainer Todd Pletcher. "I was able to get out and dictate the pace, and it worked favorably," said Court. "Rarely do you see them going that slow, but nobody was challenging him. I initiated a little quicker pace to keep a length or two in front of them, and we were uncontested until we turned for home." Pletcher assistant Mike McCarthy said he expects Nite Light to use his ticket to the Breeders' Cup.
In other weekend racing:
Yummy With Butter and Stray Cat Stride hit the wire virtually together after 7 furlongs of Sunday's $125,000 (Canadian) Overskate Stakes but it was Yummy With Butter who got the nose on the wire first. Stuck in Traffic, who set the pace and didn't have to worry about traffic, nonetheless finished third, 3/4 length farther back. Yummy With Butter, a 5-year-old, Ontario-bred Silvador gelding, finished in 1:22.15 with Tyler Pizarro aboard for trainer Mark Fournier.
Ez Dreamer stalked the pace in Sunday's $100,000 Premier Handicap at Zia Park in New Mexico, got the lead at the top of the stretch and drew off to win by 3 1/2 lengths over late-running favorite Native Ruler. Ducky Drake finished third. Ez Dreamer, a 4-year-old, Arizona-bred In Excess colt, ran the 6 furlongs in 1:09 under Ken Tohill.
Stonehouse rallied four-wide into the stretch in Saturday's $75,000 Prairie Meadows Handicap and went on to win by 3/4 length over Sebastian County. Shadowbdancing led early and finished third. Stonehouse, a 5-year-old, Illinois-bred son of Chester House, ran the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.73 under Perry Compton.
Talkin About Love came from far back to win Saturday's $70,000 Revidere Stakes for fillies and mares by 3/4 length over Cape Cod Girl. Ask the Moon finished third. Talkin About Love, a 5-year-old, New Jersey-bred mare by Not For Love, got the 1 1/16 miles on a sloppy, sealed track in 1:45.72 under Carlos Marquez Jr.
Sunday Geisha wore down pace-setting Love That Dance in the stretch run in Sunday's $70,000 Trenton Stakes for fillies and mares, winning by 1/2 length. All of Her Twist rallied from last to finish third. Sunday Geisha, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Sunday Break filly, got the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.82 with Joe Bravo riding.
Fancy Runner stayed near the leaders through the early furlongs of Saturday's $75,000 DTHA Governors Day Stakes, got to the front along the inside turning for home and drew clear to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Rhythm Master. Jane's Kid finished third. Fancy Runner, a 6-year-old, Florida-bred son of Robyn Dancer, ran the 1 1/8 miles on a sloppy track in 1:50.78 for jockey Jeremy Rose.
Saturday's $75,000 George Rosenberger Memorial for fillies and mares came off the grass, inciting eight scratchs. All Night Labor was the best of the remaining contestants, leading all the way to score by 3 1/4 lengths over Sea Wind. Musical Slew finished third. All Night Labor, a 5-year-old, Florida-bred mare by Double Honor, ran the 1 1/16 miles on a sloppy track in 1:45.3 under Justin Shepherd.
Rock'n U S A led from gate to wire in Saturday's $75,000 (Canadian) Gold Cup Stakes, coasting home a 1 1/2-lengths winner over No Reply. Brinello was third after disputing the pace. Rock'n U S A, a 6-year-old, California-bred Suggest gelding, ran the 9 furlongs on a "good" main track in 1:52.2 under Alan Cuthbertson.
Ruby's Big Band made it all the way in Saturday's $50,000 Winnipeg Futurity and got home first, 1 1/2 lengths to the good of Honorable Lady. Mankato Strike was third. Ruby's Big Band, a Texas-bred Bowman's Band filly, ran 6 furlongs on a "good" track in 1:12.8 with Mark Anderson in the irons.