Coming off an eye-popping victory in July at Belmont, Boys at Tosconova scared off most of the East Coast competition on getaway day at the Spa. And by the time the race was over, absence looked like a good strategy for his potential rivals.
With Ramon Dominguez up, the Kentucky-bred Officer colt rated behind Stay Thirsty and Wine Police until the field was ready to swing into the stretch. At that point, without so much as a tap of the whip, Boys at Tosconova surged to the front outside the early leaders and went on to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Stay Thirsty, Wine Police and an outclassed Settle for Medal completed the order of finish.
Boys at Tosconova ran the 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:23.27 on his own initiative.
"He was good enough to get this job done, the right way," winning trainer Rick Dutrow said. "It seems to us he has no limit. He'll just keep running and running and running."
"It's really exciting for me," Dominguez said, "because it's hard to come across a 2-year-old this nice, especially to ride. Like, every time you give him a chance he will take a deep breath, relax, and look around. He's very, very professional. I didn't have to hit him today, and hopefully, I won't have to. It was that easy."
Other races that might affect the Breeders' Cup Juvenile:
-- Bench Points, the odds-on favorites, wouldn't change leads for jockey Rafael Bejarano in the stretch run of Monday's $100,000 I'm Smokin Stakes for Cal-bred at Del Mar. "But I had so much horse under me," Bejarano said, "I just let him go on and do what he was doing. I didn't push on him or hit him. I just let him run. After the race we saw he'd lost a shoe. Left front. He was running relaxed and I was real comfortable in the first part. Then the last part his talent took over. He's just a nice horse." Bench Points, a Benchmark gelding, caught pacesetting Swiss Tart in the late going to win by a half length, finishing 6 furlongs in 1:10.28. "We'll look at the Norfolk" on Oct. 2 at Santa Anita, said winning trainer Tim Yakteen. "It's time to test open races."
-- Bug Juice led all the way to a handy, 7-length victory in Monday's $140,000 Aspirant Stakes for New York-breds at Finger Lakes. With John Davila Jr. up, the Mingun gelding ran the 6 furlongs in 1:10.40. Pin Number was second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of the odds-on favorite, Hysterical Cat.
-- Invitation Only jumped to a big lead at the top of the stretch in Monday's $125,000 (Canadian) Simcoe Stakes for Canadian-breds at Woodbine, then held on to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Top Pit Boss. Wonder Phil was third in an all-boxcars triactor. Invitation Only, a One Way Love gelding, ran the 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:23.09 with Omar Moreno in the irons.
-- Heza Rainbow led from the start in Monday's $50,000 Razorback Futurity for state-breds at Louisiana Downs, then held on at the end to beat Destinare by 3/4 of a length. First-time starter Codes Diamond finished third but was disqualified to fourth, promoting Aristocrat Rex to show money. Heza Rainbow, an Arkansas-bred Storm and a Half colt, finished the 6 furlongs under Iram Diego in 1:12.96 over a fast track.
Tanzana rallied from a pace-stalking trip to win Monday's $100,000 Budweiser Select Cradle Stakes at River Downs in Ohio, scoring by a half length over Conservative Value. The favorite, Mesonic, got going too late and settled for third. Tanzana, a Florida-bred Freefourinternet colt, completed the 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:44 3/5 with Leandro Goncalves in the irons.
Unbridled Praise stumbled at the start of Monday's $100,000 Sorority at Monmouth Park, but recovered in time to remain in close contact with the early leaders through quick early furlongs. As the front-runners tired, jockey Miguel Mena sent Unbridled Praise after them and she got home first, 3/4 of a length in front of Maple Forest. K.R.'s Jazz was third at a big price. Unbridled Praise, a Kentucky-bred Songandaprayer filly, got the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:12.48.
Lady Vi tracked the pace in Monday's $140,000 Lady Finger Stakes for New York-breds at Finger Lakes, surged to the lead along the outside in the stretch run and drew off to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Letshootpool was second, 1 3/4 lengths better than the favorite, Funky Munky Momma. Lady Vi, a daughter of Tale of the Cat, finished the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:12.91 under Pedro Rodriguez.
Lucky Be Me pressed the pace in the $125,000 (Canadian) Muskoka Stakes at Woodbine, got even with pacesetting favorite Tree Pose turning for home and went on to win by a nose after a long struggle. Bubbles to the Top was third, well back. Lucky Be Me, an Ontario-bred Peaks and Valleys filly, ran 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:23.78 with Richard Dos Ramos up.
All About Allie showed the way in Monday's $50,000 Lady Razorback Futurity for state-breds at Louisiana Downs, then hit the afterburners in the stretch, jetting off to win by 4 1/4 lengths over Calamity Jeanne. Bulindamarie finished third. All About Allie, an Arkansas-bred daughter of Storm and a Half, got the 6-furlongs in 1:12.74 for jockey Shane Laviolette.
Thiskyhasnolimit rallied impressively to win Monday's $300,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Philadelphia Park, passing the leaders in the stretch run to score by 2 lengths. Nacho Friend was second and Pleasant Prince finished third. Thiskyhasnolimit, a Kentucky-bred Sky Mesa colt, ran 1 mile and 70 yards on a fast track in 1:40.49 with Jamie Theriot up for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Chamberlain Bridge rallied six-wide into the lane in Monday's $250,000 Turf Monster Handicap at Philadelphia Park, winning by 1/2 length in the final strides. A Unique Treasure also was running well late to take second, a nose in front of Stradivinsky. It was just another head back to Towzee and another neck to Bogue Chitto. Less than 5 lengths separated all 10 runners. Chamberlain Bridge, a 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred War Chant gelding, ran the 5 furlongs on firm turf in 56.63 seconds with Jamie Theriot up for trainer Bret Calhoun. Chamberlain Bridge already had earned a berth in the Breeders' Cup with a win in the Arlington Sprint back in June.
Bridgetown led from gate to wire in Monday's $100,000 Gilded Time Stakes for 3-year-olds at Monmouth Park, drawing off at the end to finish 2 1/2 lengths ahead of runner-up Partyallnightlong. Westover Wildcat finished third. Bridgetown, a Florida-bred Speightstown colt, ran the "about" 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:00.67 with Elvis Trujillo up.
Awakino Cat was up in the final sixteenth to win Monday's $70,000 Frank Sullivan Stakes at Saratoga by 1/2 length over Ravalo. Yield Bogey finished third and the favorite, Affirmatif, finished third after showing the way. Awakino Cat, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred Stormy Atlantic gelding, ran the 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:00.82 under Alan Garcia.
Pursue a Dream dueled to the lead on the backstretch in Monday's $125,000 Edward J. DeBartolo Memorial at Remington Park, then held off Heza Wild Guy at the end to win by a half length. The favorite, Quite a Handful, finished third. Pursue a Dream, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred Macho Uno gelding, ran the 9 furlongs on firm turf in 1:49.45. under Bobby Walker Jr.
Filly & Mare Turf
Gotta Have Her survived a three-way battle to the wire in Monday's $150,000 Palomar Handicap at Del Mar, beating Go Forth North by a neck and Lilly Fa Pootz by another half length. Gotta Have Her, a 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred Royal Academy mare, ran the 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:52.39 with Mike Smith up. "I was worried about hitting the front too soon," Smith said. "You don't want to do that with her. She'll pull herself up … But it worked out fine. I like riding ones like her. This is my kind of race." Winning trainer Jenine Sahadi added, "As long as she can just gallop along, she's fine. Mike apologized for getting to the front too soon. I'm really proud of her. She's really special."
Keertana stayed on the hedge during Monday's $100,000 Glens Falls Handicap at Saratoga, got through at the right time and went on to win by 3 1/4 lengths over Casablanca Smile. The favorite, Forever Together, dawdled near the back of the field early, came very wide into the stretch and got up for third. Keertana, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Johar filly, ran 1 3/8 miles on the firm inner turf course in 2:12.73. "We were way back, then I had to check, and after that I lost my whip," winning jockey Jose Lezcano said. "I said 'Oh man, I feel so bad. I'm going to lose this race.' I love that my filly was able to win. When I asked her, she kicked it up very well. She had plenty of gas left." Winning trainer Tom Proctor, who was stretching Keertana well beyond her normal distance, said he now will consider the Breeders' Cup.
Dade Babe got off to a huge early lead under Florent Geroux in Monday's $100,000 Pucker Up Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Arlington Park, then had no trouble holding on at the end, winning by 3 3/4 lengths over the even-money favorite, La Cloche. Silent Candy finished third. Dade Babe, a Florida-bred daughter of Cimarron Secret who was claimed in March for $25,000, ran the 1 1/8 miles on "good" turf in 1:51.77. "It was my plan to open up a couple of lengths but I didn't think I'd be that far out in front," Geroux said. "She was going fast but she was real relaxed. She took a breather when I wanted her to and she ran well in the straight. She was just much the best today."
Turallure rallied to the lead in Monday's $50,000 Cliff Guilliams Handicap, edged clear and held safe Brass Hat to win by 1 length. Dr. Smarty Jack was another length back in third. Turallure, with Gretta Kuntzweiler riding, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:39.88. He is a 3-year-old, Kentucky-bred Wando colt. The race is named for the long-time journalist, chart caller and racing fan, familiar to Bluegrass racing aficionados.
Dearest Princess came from next-last to capture Monday's $50,000 (Canadian) Hong Kong Jockey Club Handicap for 3-year-old fillies, winning by a length over Otero. Finality Philly and Jungle Lily dead-heated for third and fourth. Dearest Princess, a British Columbia-bred filly by Stephanotis, ran 1 1/16 miles on a sloppy track in 1:45.16 with Fernando Perez in the irons.
Don'twaitforme proved aptly named in Monday's $50,000 (Canadian) Richmond Derby Trial, spurting straight to the lead and drawing off at the end to win by 3 3/4 lengths. The favorite, Cherokee Notion, led the rest, 1 length ahead of Ain. Don'twaitforme, a British Columbia-bred Vying Victor gelding, got the 1 1/16 miles on a sloppy track in 1:43.99 for jockey Amadeo Perez.
Woodbine's holiday card featured six races for Canadian-breds, each worth 125,000 Loonies.
Don's Folly got by late to win the 6-furlong Kenora Stakes by a neck over pacesetter Drunken Love, finishing in 1:09.39. Guipago negotiated the 1 mile on the turf in the Halton Stakes, winning by a half length over Society's Chairman in a stretch duel.
Secret Wish won the Algoma Stakes for fillies and mares by a length over Selembao with a late move from last, running 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather in 1:45.66. And Mesa Cielo led all the way to a 2 1/2-length victory in the Elgin Stakes for colts and geldings on the main track, getting home in 1:43.98
The other races, for 2-year-olds, were described above.
Dynamic Time set a pressured early pace in Monday's $150,000 A.L. "Red" Erwin Sales Graduate Stakes for Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds, then opened up on the field and went on to win by 4 1/4 lengths. Smitty's Moonshine finished second as the favorite, followed by Leestown Finale. Dynamic Time, with Tracy Hebert in the irons, ran the "about" 1 mile on firm turf in 1:37.06. He is a gelded Gilded Time.
Nana Knows shadowed the pace in Monday's $150,000 Elge Raspberry Sales Graduate Stakes for state-bred, 3-year-old fillies, gained the advantage on the turn and held off Miss Sweet Dreams to win by 3/4 of a length. Tory's Triumph finished third. Nana Knows, a daughter of Gold Tribute, got the "about" 1 mile on firm going in 1:37.30 with Donald Simington up.
Vanquisher battled head-to-head with Timeless Fashion in Monday's $75,000 Labor Day Stakes before prevailing in the final jumps by a head. Cryptolight was third. Vanquisher, a 6-year-old, Florida-bred Gulch gelding, ran the 1 mile and 70 yards on firm turf in 1:38.76 with Rosemary Homeister Jr. in the irons.
Kiss Mine showed hers to the field in the stretch run of Monday's $75,000 Summer Finale Stakes for fillies and mares, drawing clear to win by 3/4 of a length over Royal Sneak. Mimi's Special Six finished third. Kiss Mine, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Mineshaft filly, finished the 1 mile and 70 yards on the firm going in 1:38.51 with Jon Court up.
Mr. Shadar started well back in Monday's $50,000 (Canadian) Sun Sprint Stakes, made steady progress toward the leaders and got home first by a length over Andiotis. The early leader, Inuit Fisher, held third. Mr. Shadar, a 4-year-old, Alberta-bred Alydeed gelding, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:16 2/5 with Heribert Martinez riding.
Slide On Bye rallied to the lead five-wide in Monday's $50,000 Ricks Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares and drew off to win by 2 1/4 lengths over the favorite, Hisse. Joy's Paradise finished third. Slide On Bye, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred Smart Strike mare, ran the mile on firm turf in 1:35.37 under Glen Murphy.
In the race after the Futurity, Quiet Again rallied to the lead in the stretch of Monday's $50,000 Ruidoso Downs Thoroughbred Championship and went on to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Hezamazing. Dunscombe finished third. Quiet Again, a 5-year-old, Texas-bred Real Quiet gelding, ran the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:46.27 with Isaias Enriquez in the irons.
Oh, yeah. Mr. Piloto won the $1.9 million Futurity by a nose over the even-money favorite, Jls Mr Bigtime, who was bumped at the start. The bump was probably the difference between the $1 million winner's share and the $285,000 for place.
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