Two races for the ages highlighted weekend action.
At Del Mar, Zenyatta remained undefeated in 18 career starts with a victory in the Clement L. Hirsch. And at Saratoga, Blame caught heavily favored Quality Road in the late going to win the Whitney Invitational.
With any luck, those three will meet again in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs. After that … well, Zenyatta might conceivably see one or both of her rivals again under different circumstances.
The Clement Hirsch
Zenyatta just continues to roll and Saturday's $300,000 Hirsch was a typical example. As usual, the 6-year-old Street Cry mare lagged along near the back of the field down the backstretch, tracking a pedestrian pace. And, as usual, when jockey Mike Smith let her know it was time to go, she immediately started to pick up horses.
With only four rivals in front of her, though, it started to look like Smith had moved too early. Zenyatta, fanned four-wide and floated out even farther by her rivals, was on the lead at the top of the stretch. Then, by Smith's own account, she started celebrating a little early.
Rinterval, who had led the way, wasn't ready to go away. With Zenyatta just in front and outside of her, Rinterval dug in and lost only by a neck as the 1 1/16 miles went in 1:45.03.
In the past performances, that will look like a close race. But it wasn't, really. Smith provided only the most mild encouragement and Zenyatta appeared to have a couple gears in reserve, had she needed them.
"I think I hit the front too soon with her," Smith said. "She started looking around. She does that sometimes in her works. She'll make the front and then start to shut down a little bit. That mare that hooked her today (Rinterval) was game. Good for her. But we got it done. She was Zenyatta. She's something to believe in."
Winning trainer John Shirreffs agreed about Zenyatta's stretch effort.
"She always does that," the conditioner said. "When she passes the last horse she thinks it's over."
Now, owners Jerry and Ann Moss must pick one more race before Zenyatta defends her title in the Classic. They could go to New York for a potential showdown with Rachel Alexandra, who incredibly beat out Zenyatta for 2009 Horse of the Year honors. Or Zenyatta could stay at home and run at Santa Anita in the race renamed in her honor when the Mosses briefly retired her last fall.
If she were to win the Zenyatta, she would tie the 19 straight victories posted by Peppers Pride in far more modest competition in New Mexico. Another win in the Classic then would leave her alone at the pinnacle of the sport -- 20 for 20.
"If we can pull two more off," Smith said, "to me she might go down as the greatest horse of all time."
Moss wasn't saying after the race what will come next. He did, in a TVG interview, nix the idea of trying the $1 million Pacific Classic against males.
Blame is the late-bloomer in the handicap division. Quality Road was among the favorites for the Classic that Zenyatta won last fall at Santa Anita until he pitched a fit at the starting gate and was scratched. But Saturday's $750,000 Whitney also had last year's Kentucky Derby winner, Mine That Bird, always-close Musket Man and Haynesfield, winner of eight of his 11 previous starts.
There wasn't much subtlety to the running of the race. Odds-on favorite Quality Road went out to the lead and dared his five rivals to come and get him -- a technique that worked perfectly in his first three races this year.
But this time, he ran into Blame.
With Garrett Gomez in the irons, Blame saved ground behind the pacesetting trio of Quality Road, Musket Man and Haynesfield until the stretch turn beckoned. Then the 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Arch colt swung around the leaders, took aim at Quality Road and just did nail him at the end, winning by a head for his fifth straight victory and seventh in his last eight.
Musket Man was third, followed by Haynesfield, Mine That Bird and hopeless long shot Jardim. The 9 furlongs on a fast track went in 1:48.88 after quick opening splits.
"I was just biding my time until we turned for home," Gomez said. "I just didn't want to sit too long because he's got a long, consistent run and just keeps coming. I just wanted to make sure that when we turned for home, I did have him in a good place. He kept staying on and in that last eighth of a mile, when I finally got right to (Quality Road), I said , 'I got him.'"
Jockey John Velazquez said Quality Road did not have his usual spark. "I tried to put him in the bridle but he was just going through the motions, which is strange for him," Velazquez said.
The race was a "Win And You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Classic and that's just where Blame's trainer, Al Stall Jr., is looking. "There will be one race between this and the Breeders' Cup Classic," Stall said. On Sunday, he narrowed down the prep race choices to the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup on Oct. 2 at Belmont Park. "We wanted to go 10 furlongs, and basically that's it," Stall said. "Obviously, it's a Grade 1. It's a famous race. It was fairly simple." He also considered the $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup on the same date.
Blame is owned and bred by Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm.
In other action that might affect the Breeders' Cup Classic Nov. 6 under the Churchill Downs lights:
-- Concord Point jumped to the lead in Saturday night's $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer, held Exhi at bay all the way around and won by 1 length over that rival. It was another 8 1/2 lengths back to Nacho Friend. Concord Point, a Kentucky-bred Tapit colt out of the Boston Harbor mare Harve de Grace, ran the 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:51.12 with Martin Garcia up for trainer Bob Baffert. "Bob has been patient with this horse," owner Kaleen Shah told Daily Racing Form. "Martin knows him well. Bob told me to book my flight. I'm glad I came here." The colt now has won four of six starts, including the Iowa Derby in his last previous start.
-- Sand Cove led all the way to a handy, 1-length victory over Stunning Stag in Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian) Seagram Cup Stakes at Woodbine. Field Commission and Pool Play completed the order of finish. Sand Cove, a 5-year-old, Ontario-bred son of Bold Executive, ran the 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:43.57. Richard Dos Ramos rode for trainer Roger Attfield. "He's a lovely horse," Attfield said. "He's a real competitor. He's an interesting horse to train. He can be very aggressive in his stall. When he comes out, he's relaxed."
Other races with potential implications for the Breeders' Cup World Championships Nov. 5-6 at Churchill Downs:
Majesticperfection had things all his own way in Sunday's $250,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga, racing right to the lead under Shaun Bridgmohan and never looking back. With a big lead at the top of the lane, the 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Harlan's Holiday colt got home first by 2 3/4 lengths in a hand ride. Big Drama chased all the way in second and finished in that spot, 1/2 length in front of Bribon. Gayego finished fourth. Majesticperfection ran the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:08.63 -- just 0.63 second off the 38-year-old track record. The colt stepped up to stakes competition by winning the Iowa Sprint Handicap at Prairie Meadows June 25. Sunday's race was his first graded stakes effort. "We could all read how well he'd run in the other spots, but for him to bring it up against this level of competition, it puts him exactly where we want him to be ... ," winning trainer Steve Asmussen said. "I think he beat a very good group, but we've got to reproduce that performance again." Asked about his plans for Majesticperfection, Asmussen cautioned, "I would be very tentative and it's just one of the suggestions, but it would most likely be the Vosburgh (Oct. 2 at Belmont Park) and the Breeders' Cup."
Discreetly Mine demolished eight rivals in Monday's $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes for 3-year-olds at Saratoga. Just off the early pace of Essence Hit Man, Discreetly Mine easily swept by into the stretch and exploded toward the line, winning by 8 3/5 lengths. Essence Hit Man held second, 1 1/2 lengths better than In Jack's Memory. Discreetly Mine, the odds-on favorite, ran the 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:14.27 with John Velazquez up. The Kentucky-bred son of Mineshaft was a Kentucky Derby starter for trainer Todd Pletcher but after finishing a distant 13th in the Run for the Roses, he was shifted to shorter distances. "The King's Bishop is an obvious possible next start. We'll see how he comes out of it," Pletcher said. "We'd certainly be thinking about the Breeders' Cup Sprint at this point but that's a ways away so we'll see how he bounces out of this and go from there."
Filly & Mare Sprint
Champagne d'Oro continued her progress to stardom with a 4 1/2-length victory in Saturday's $250,000 Test Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga. After pressing the pace, jockey Miguel Mena let the Kentucky-bred Medaglia d'Oro filly run at the top of the lane and she shook clear easily, finishing the 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:22.71. Bonnie Blue Flag was second with Belle of the Hall third. Champagne d'Oro won the Acorn at Belmont on June 5 at long odds, then finished a close second to Fanny Freud in the Prioress. The two appeared set for a rematch until a tendon injury forced the retirement of Fanny Freud earlier in the week. Said winning trainer Eric Guilot, "I think she's going to be a really good filly as a 4-year-old if she stays sound -- a really good filly at a mile to a mile and a sixteenth. I want to keep her at seven-eighths and stretch her out after the Breeders' Cup."
Secret Gypsy stalked the pace in Sunday's $150,000 Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga, hit the front as she straightened out into the stretch and drew off to win by 2 lengths. Hour Glass and the favorite, Warbling, completed the trifecta. Secret Gypsy, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred Sea of Secrets mare out of the Rahy mare Miss Utada, got the 6 furlongs in 1:09.82 under Jamie Theriot. Secret Gypsy came into the race off a 4 3/4-lengths victory in the Saylorville at Prairie Meadows on June 25. "Her races and her confidence have been getting better," said winning trainer Ronny Werner. "Sometimes it's hard to get fillies back. She's had some problems in the past and we were working through that, mentally and physically. She's done well here. I wish it was a longer meet!"
Harbinger, undefeated in four starts this year and one of the world's top-ranked horses, suffered an apparently career-ending injury Saturday in a routine training work at Newmarket. After coming up lame, X-rays discovered a fracture in the left front cannon bone and surgery was scheduled to insert a plate and screws. The 4-year-old Dansili colt won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot by 11 lengths in his last start and was being primed by trainer Sir Michael Stoute for Juddmonte International at York later this month and potentially the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October.
Another international turf star, Gloria de Campeo, winner of the $10 million Dubai World Cup and a candidate for Australia's Cox Plate, has been retired after suffering a tendon tear during a workout Tuesday at Chantilly in France.
Regal Parade rallied from mid-pack to take the lead in Sunday's Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville in France and held on to win by a neck over the favored filly, Joanna. High Standing finished third. With Adrian Nicholls up, the 6-year-old Pivotal gelding ran the 6 1/2 furlongs on "good to soft" going in 1:16.80.
Unzip Me stalked the pace set by Mother Russia in Monday's $150,000 (Canadian) Royal North Stakes for fillies and mares at Woodbine, then zipped to the lead and buttoned up the race in the lane, winning by 2 lengths. Mother Russia held second, beating Mullins Beach by another 2 lengths. Unzip Me, a 4-year-old, California-bred City Zip filly, ran the 6 furlongs on firm turf in 1:08.05 under Joe Talamo. She had won five straight before finishing third in her last race in California. "When we put her on the grass, she seemed to turn on," said winning Trainer Marty Jones. "I think she can go further, too, at some point. She has trouble running on turns and that was one of the reasons we came up here because it has the big, wide turn. She really seemed to enjoy it."
A Unique Treasure made all the going in Saturday's $100,000 My Frenchman Stakes at Monmouth Park, holding well at the end to win by 1 3/4 lengths over True to Tradition. General Perfect finished third and the favorite, Barge, faded to get home sixth. A Unique Treasure, a 5-year-old, Florida-bred Snow Ridge gelding, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:01.41 under Elvis Trujillo. "I was a little worried going into the race that there wasn't that much speed," winning trainer Jane Cibelli said. "Usually he likes a target to run at. But he broke so sharply and it wouldn't have made any sense to wrangle him back after that. Elvis did a great job nursing him along."
Bridgetown caught pacesetting long shot Red Rally at the top of the stretch in Thursday's $70,000 Latham Stakes for 3-year-olds at Saratoga, edged clear and held off the late run of Flamin' Hot to win by 1 length. Red Rally held on for third. Bridgetown, a Florida-bred Speightstown colt, covered the 5 1/2 furlongs on yielding turf in 1:03.65. Julien Leparoux rode for trainer Kenny McPeek.
Miss Keller waited behind much of the field in Wednesday's $70,000 De La Rose Stakes until the field was rounding the turn into the stretch. Then, fanned out five-wide, the 4-year-old, Irish-bred Montjeu filly quickly accelerated to the lead and had enough left to hold off the favorite, Keertana, by 1 length. Dremt was third. Miss Keller, with Javier Castellano up for trainer Roger Attfield, ran the 1 mile on "good" turf in 1:34.88. It was the second win of the year for Miss Keller, who came into the De La Rose off a near-miss in the Grade 2 Nassau Stakes on the grass at Woodbine. She now has four wins from 14 starts. "That was an impressive turn of foot," said Robert Clay, owner of Three Chimneys Farm, which owns the winner. "She has been close, but this is perhaps her best race. We were trying to find a mile race." Joe Miller, assistant racing manager for Three Chimneys, said the Grade II Ballston Spa on Aug. 28 at 1 1/16 miles "is certainly a possibility" for Miss Keller. Three Chimneys later reported the filly had taken a clod of dirt to the eye last time out, so she was outfitted with what looked like blinker-goggles for the De La Rose.
J P's Gusto, under Patrick Valenzuela, led virtually all the way to a 1/2-length victory over Sway Away in Sunday's $150,000 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar. Western Mood was third. J P's Gusto, a Kentucky-bred Successful Appeal ridgling, ran the 6 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:16.61. Valenzuela, back racing in California after a long ban for various issues, was moved by the victory. "I won the Best Pal (then Balboa Stakes) on Best Pal 20 years ago (1990) and here I am winning this race again. I hope it is a good sign." Winning trainer David Hofmans said the win puts J P's Gusto "right on schedule" for the Del Mar Futurity. "We'll go to the Futurity unless this horse kills me first," he added. "He's a very tough horse to handle all the time. Patrick said that when he felt the others coming to him, he kicked into another gear."
Bench Points came between rivals in the stretch run of Wednesday's $100,000 Graduation Stakes for California-breds at Del Mar, quickly seized the lead and went on to win by 2 3/4 lengths. Joy Boy and Blingboy led the way into the stretch and held on for second and third, respectively. Bench Points, a Benchmark gelding, ran the 5 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:04.79 with Rafael Bejarano in the irons. "He's been very professional and he's always done things right," said winning trainer Tim Yakteen. "We're looking at the Del Mar Futurity as an option. We know it gets tougher when you go into open company."
Gourmet Dinner bided his time in Saturday's $75,000 Dr. Fager Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes, came out into the stretch and ran by the leaders to win by 1/2 length over Grande Shores. Vee's Accolade finished third but was set down to fifth for stretch interference, promoting Decisive Moment to show money. The odds-on favorite, Little Drama, faded to finish sixth, burning some bridge-jumpers. Gourmet Dinner, a Trippi colt, got the 6 furlongs in 1:12.97 on a sloppy track with Sebastian Madrid up for trainer Peter Gulyas. "I think the options are the race here ($100,000 Affirmed Division on Aug. 28) or possibly a race at Saratoga," assistant trainer Steve Standridge said. "We'll see."
Mr. Proud Allen rallied from far back to score a mild upset in Saturday's $85,000 Mountaineer Juvenile at Mountaineer Park, beating Congo by a head. Unleash the Humor finished third and the favorite, Storm in the Lake, finished sixth. Mr. Proud Allen, a West Virginia-bred My Boy Adam colt, ran the 6 furlongs in 1:13.42 on a fast track with Kristy Petty in the irons.
Dynamic Within led all the way to an 8-lengths victory in Saturday's $75,000 Iowa Cradle Stakes for state-breds at Prairie Meadows. Cash at Night was the best of the rest with Why Be Blue third. Dynamic Within, a Dehere colt out of the Mining mare Rich Seam, ran the 6 furlongs in 1:10.21 with Alex Birzer up.
Sherriff Cogburn laid down the law to five rivals in Friday night's $60,000 Prairie Meadows Juvenile Mile. After stalking the pace, the Kentucky-bred Vindication colt vamoosed in the stretch, winning by 9 1/4 lengths without being asked for his best run. Larue Lovelake was best of the rest with Check It Out third. Sherriff Cogburn, under Tanner Riggs, finished in 1:37.67 over a fast track. The colt now is 2-for-2 with the initial win coming by 7 lengths at Arlington. Trainer Donnie Von Hemel said the Arlington Washington Futurity on Sept. 11 may be the next target.
Winter Warlock led from gate to wire in Sunday's $50,000 Premio Esmeralda Stakes at Emerald Downs, winning by 3/4 length over Seattle Sniper. Gdanz Xpress finished third. Winter Warlock, a Washington-bred Demon Warlock gelding, ran the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09 4/5 under Kevin Krigger.
Ranger Bob was quickly out front in Saturday's $50,000 Cleveland Kindergarten Stakes for Ohio-bred juveniles and drew off smartly to win by 5 lengths. Wild Bling was second, 8 1/2 lengths in front of No Garlic. Ranger Bob, a Bold Truth colt, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:12.76 with Ernesto Oro up.
Zoffany rallied from near the back of the pack to take Sunday's Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh in Ireland, beating Glor Na Mara by 1/2 length. Previously undefeated and heavily favored Strong Suit was third, a nose farther in arrears. Zoffany, a British-bred Dansili colt, went the 6 furlongs of yielding ground in 1:11.29 and gave trainer Aidan O'Brien his 11th win in the last 13 runnings of the Phoenix, sponsored this year by Keeneland. He came into the race off a pair of wins at Leopardstown. O'Brien said the National Stakes back at the Curragh on Sept. 11 "looks a likely option" but said he will take Zoffany's future plans "one step at a time."
Wickedly Perfect hit the lead at the top of the stretch in Friday's $150,000 Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar, worked out a narrow lead and held on gamely to win by 1 length over the late-running A Z Warrior. Izshelegal was third and the favorite, previously undefeated Final Mesa, faded from the lead at the top of the lane and finished next-last of seven. Wickedly Perfect, a Florida-bred Congrats miss, negotiated the 6 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather surface in 1:17.18 under Rafael Bejarano, remaining perfect in two trips to the races. Commented winning trainer Doug O'Neill: "Rafael was up pretty close early and when I saw the fast fractions I figured Rafael must feel like he's really loaded. He's a world-class rider so you go with that. He knew he had a lot of horse."
Twelve Pack dueled for the lead in Saturday's $100,000 Colleen Stakes at Monmouth Park, shook clear to a big lead and held on to win by 1 length over R Heat Lightning. Sleepless Dixie finished third. Twelve Pack, a Pennsylvania-bred Deputy Storm filly, ran the 5 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:05.16. It was her third win from five starts. "She had a perfect trip, not too fast," winning jockey Harry Vega said. "I always thought she was a good horse since I first got on her. She's shown me that she wants to win -- just has that winning attitude."
Awesome Feather stayed close to the pace in Saturday's $75,000 Desert Vixen Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes, got around the leader to the lead with a furlong to run and won off by 4 3/4 lengths. Blue Eyed Sweetie finished second with a late run and My Sunshine Gal finished third after leading briefly at the top of the lane. Awesome Feather, a daughter of Awesome of Course, ran the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:14.06 under Jeffrey Sanchez. She now is 3-for-3. "We'll go on to the seven-eighths ($100,000 Susan's girl Division on Aug. 28)," said winning trainer Stanley Gold. "I think she'll go longer with her pedigree."
Tree Pose showed the way in Sunday's $125,000 (Canadian) Nandi Stakes at Woodbine, finishing well to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Shadowsinthenight. Lucky Be Me was third. Tree Pose, an Ontario-bred Old Forester filly out of the Alphabet Soup mare Alpha Angel, ran the 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:09.64 under Jono Jones. She now has two wins from three starts.
Fastation caught pacesetting favorite Surmount in the late going to win Saturday's $85,000 Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies by 3/4 length. It was another 9 1/2 lengths back to Ruth and Neva in third. Fastation, a Texas-bred Valid Expectations filly, covered the 6 furlongs in 1:11.89 with Shaun Bridgmohan up for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Perfect Curls stalked the pace established by Rockin Heather in Saturday's $50,000 Wine Country Debutante Stakes at Santa Rosa, shot to the lead in the stretch and won by 3 lengths, going away. Rockin Heather held second, 3/4 length in front of Bad Girl Bad Girl. Perfect Curls, a California-bred daughter of Perfect Mandate, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.47 with Michael Martinez up.
Lucky Daz battled to the lead in Saturday's $75,000 Iowa Sorority Stakes for state-breds at Prairie Meadows, held safe favorite Launch Light Lady and got home first by 2 3/4 lengths over that rival. Secrets N Lies finished third. Lucky Daz, a chestnut daughter of Lucky Lionel, finished the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.18 for jockey David Mello.
Carrabelle Harbor led from go to whoa in Sunday's $50,000 Angie C. Stakes at Emerald Downs, drawing off dramatically at the end to win by 9 1/4 lengths. The Gang and I led the rest, finishing a neck ahead of Wings of Pegasus. Carrabelle Harbor, an Oregon-bred Harbor the Gold filly, got the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10 2/5 with Ricky Frazier aboard.
In other weekend racing:
Sea Road raced in mid-pack until the stretch turn in Saturday's $70,000 Hattie Moseley Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, then swung out for room and surged to the lead. In the final sixteenth, the Kentucky-bred Tale of the Cat filly held off Snow Top Mountain to win by a neck. Baracks Road was another nose back in third after making the early going. Sea Road, with Cornelio Velasquez aboard, ran 1 mile on the inner turf in 1:35.17.
Lisa's Booby Trap started poorly in Friday's $70,000 Loudonville Stakes for 3-year-old fillies but overcame the handicap brilliantly, drawing clear in the stretch to win by 6 lengths. Nona Mia was second, 3 1/4 lengths ahead of Stormandaprayer. Lisa's Booby Trap, a Florida-bred daughter of Drewman, got the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.64 with Kent Desormeaux in the irons. She now has four straight wins. The first three came at Finger Lakes.
Always First certainly wasn't in Friday's $70,000 John's Call Stakes, racing well back in the early stages. But with Robby Albarado calling the shots, the 9-year-old, British-bred Barathea gelding came around the first group into the stretch and passed them all, winning by 1 length. Perfect Shower ran from the back of the pack to grab second by a head from pacesetting Coolcullen Times. Dry Martini finished seventh and Solitare was eighth. Always First finished the 15/8 miles on "good" turf in 2:41.47.
Endless Circle took the lead early in Thursday's $70,000 John Morrissey Stakes for New York-breds and rolled home first, 4 lengths ahead of the odds-on favorite, Driven by Success. Legal Consent finished third. Endless Circle, a 6-year-old son of Precise End, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a sloppy, sealed track in 1:16.66 with Edgar Prado in the irons. Endless Circle was claimed for $14,000 during the Aqueduct meeting.
Sharp Secretary sat comfortably behind a breakaway leader in Saturday's $150,000 (Canadian) Duchess Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, rallied quickly to the lead entering the stretch and won off by 1 1/4 lengths. Kitty in a Tizzy and Chantilly Nayla finished second and third. Sharp Secretary, a New York-bred Cactus Ridge filly, got the 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:23.45 under Eurico Da Silva. It was her fourth win from eight starts.
Grazettes Landing stalked the pace in Wednesday's $125,000 (Canadian) Shepperton Stakes for Ontario-breds, gained the lead at the top of the lane and went on to win by 3/4 length over Gypsy Ring. Dancer's Bajan finished third. Grazettes Landing, with Corey Fraser up, ran the 6 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:16.16. He is a 5-year-old Paynes Bay gelding.
Out of Respect pressed the pace in Sunday's $100,000 Select Stakes for 3-year-olds, finally edged clear of Comedero late in the stretch run and won by 1 1/4 lengths over that rival. Catalan was third. Out of Respect, a New York-bred Read the Footnotes gelding, ran the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.07 with Paco Lopez handling the reins.
Fugitive Angel rallied late in Friday's $75,000 Russian Rhythm Stakes for Pennsylvania-bred distaffers and drew off to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Lovelier. Domestic Bliss completed the angelic, lovely and blissful trifecta and My Marigold continued the theme in the superfecta. Fugitive Angel, a 3-year-old daughter of Alphabet Soup, got the 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:40.57 with Rosie Napravnik in the irons.
Crow's Nest stalked the pace in Friday's $75,000 Robellino Stakes for state-breds, took the lead in the stretch and won off by 1 1/2 lengths over Pocket Patch. The favorite, Auction Watch, rallied late to complete another "themed" tri. Crow's Nest, a 7-year-old Mizzen Mast gelding, ran the 1 1/16 miles on the grass in 1:41.43 under William Antongeorgi III.
Deadly Dealer led all the way to a 1 1/2-lengths victory over Sok Sok in the $85,000 West Virginia Legislature Chairman's Cup, running the 4 1/2 furlongs in 51.84 seconds with Dana Whitney up. Go Go Shoot was third.
Down Town Allen made all the going in the $85,000 Secretary of State Stakes for fillies and mares and held on to win by a neck over Our Khrysty. Down Town Allen, with Kristy Petty in the irons, ran 6 furlongs in 1:11.44.
Kiss Mine, coming off a win just two weeks ago at Ellis Park, stalked the pace in the $110,000 Senate President's Stakes for fillies and mares, got through at the end and won by 1 1/4 lengths over Mimi's Special Six. Meadow Saffron was third. Kiss Mine, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Mineshaft filly, ran the 1 mile and 70 yards on firm turf in 1:39.09 under Robby Albarado.
Native Ruler rallied from far back to win the $110,000 Harvey Arneault Memorial by 3/4 length over Captain Cherokee. Super Robusto finished third. Native Ruler, a 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Elusive Quality, ran the 6 furlongs in 1:11.08 with Jamie Theriot in the irons.
Demarcation raced last of seven early in the $125,000 Governor's Stakes, came four-wide into the stretch and ran by Cryptolight in the final sixteenth to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Z Humor finished third. Demarcation, a 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred Gulch gelding, finished the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.37. Joel Rosario had the mount for trainer Paul McGee.
Vanquisher lived up to his name in the $85,000 House of Delegates Speakers' Cup, surging down the stretch from off the pace to win by 1/2 length over Timeless Fashion. Pickapocket finished third. Vanquisher, a 6-year-old, Florida-bred Gulch gelding, got the 1 mile and 70 yards on firm turf in 1:39.56 under Rosemary Homeister Jr.
Iowa Champions night for state-breds:
Abydos upset the $75,000 Breeders' Oaks, rallying to the lead late and holding off Heister Cat by 1 length. Abydos, a daughter of Saarland, ran 1 mile and 70 yards on a fast track in 1:44.27 with Alex Birzer up.
Cainam came on late to run down pace-setting Wings of War and win the $75,000 Breeders' Derby by 2 lengths. Launch Light finished third. Cainam, an Is It True gelding, got the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.51 under Glenn Corbett.
Wild L took command in the stretch run of the $60,000 Iowa Classic Sprint, sprinting off to score by 5 lengths over Mutti Blues. Little Chief was third. Wild L, a 7-year-old Vicar gelding, finished the 6 furlongs in 1:09.14 for Corbett.
Kate's Main Man pressed the pace in the $85,000 Ralph Hayes Stakes, battled to the lead and then held off Spirit of Winter by 1 length. Tiger Lake was third. Kate's Main Man, a 5-year-old Bernstein gelding, ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.40 with Birzer in the irons.
Go Milan Go did just that, leading all the way to a 11/4-lengths victory over Tak a Joke in the $85,000 Donna Reed Stakes for fillies and mares. Courtney J finished third. Go Milan Go, with Terry Thompson up, ran 1 mile and 70 yards in 1:43.70.
Helen's Rowdy Boy won Friday night's $30,000 Smo' The Red Chicken Dash Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths -- which doesn't sound like much until you realize the race was only 2 furlongs and took just 20.82 seconds. Sherriff Hotdog was the runner-up and Margie Marie was third. The winner is an entire, 7-year-old, Texas-bred son of Rowdy Rowdy. In the wake of the winner's dominance, "no factor" was the default running-line comment for most of the others.
Heza Wild Guy led throughout Sunday's $60,000 John Bullit Stakes, survived pressure from Kaddish and eventually prevailed by 1/2 length over that rival. Pursue a Dream finished third. Heza Wild Guy, a 9-year-old, Indiana-bred Wild Event gelding out of the Sunny's Halo mare Hebe's Halo, got the "about" 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:44.36 with Ry Eikleberry up.
Andiotis rallied wide from the back of the field in Saturday's $50,000 (Canadian) Westerner Handicap and dominated the stretch run, winning off by 4 1/2 lengths over Mr. Shadar. Cool Ventura finished third. Andiotis, a 4-year-old, British Columbia-bred Stephanotis gelding, got 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44 4/5.