The British contest, in fact, overshadowed what turned out to be largely unpredictable racing in the former colonies as a trio of international stars faced off at Sandown, outside London.
In the end, it was So You Think rebounding from defeat at Royal Ascot to reel in pacesetting Workforce in the final 100 yards of Saturday's Group 1 Coral-Eclipse for a hard-won, 1/2-length victory.
Workforce, the 2010 Investec Derby and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner, got first run on the former Australian superstar and with the testing final furlongs of the Sandown course still to go, it appeared So You Think might have too much left to do. But with Seamie Heffernan providing the encouragement, So You Think gradually whittled down the gap. Drawing even with 100 yards to run, Workforce finally was the one unequal to the task and So You Think edged clear.
Sri Putra was 5 lengths farther back in third and the globetrotting, multiple Group 1-winning filly, Snow Fairy, finished fourth, another 3 3/4 lengths in arrears in her delayed seasonal debut.
The victory avenged So You Think's defeat by Rewilding in the late going of the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot and trainer Aidan O'Brien said a bit more fitness may have made the difference for the 5-year-old son of High Chaparral.
"He has a lot of choices open to him now, like the Irish Champion Stakes, the Juddmonte International, and he could get a break now and be trained for the Cox Plate," O'Brien said. "There is a little bit of a quarantine issue but he could go back to Australia if that got sorted, otherwise he would have so many races open to him. We will have to go home, talk about it and hopefully come up with the right plan."
Mutual Trust, with Maxime Guyon up, won a tight, three-way decision in Sunday's Group 1 Prix Jean Prat for 3-year-olds at Chantilly. The favorite, Zoffany, was a head back at the line and Strong Suit missed by another nose. Mutual Trust, a son of Cacique, now is unbeaten in four starts for trainer Andre Fabre.
Weekend racing that could impact the Breeders' Cup World Championships in November at Churchill Downs:
Flat Out was flat out the best – and at odds of more than 13-1 – in Saturday's $300,000, Grade II Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park. After tracking a quick early pace, jockey Alex Solis sent the 5-year-old son of Flatter out to the lead early in the stretch run and the Florida-bred quickly accelerated to post a 6 1/2-length victory. Hymn Book was along for second and Rodman, the pacesetting favorite, faded to finish third. Flat Out ran the 9 furlongs in 1:46.64 over a fast track. "Today he was laying perfect," said winning trainer Charles Dickey of Flat Out, who finished sixth in the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs two weeks ago. "I've tried to think of several reasons why he didn't run his normal race (last time). He came out of it fine and he's better off running than standing in his stall." It was Flat Out's fourth win from nine starts. Dickey said Sunday, "We still don't know just how good he is. I talked to the owner and we decided we'll find out how good he is in the Breeders' Cup."
None of the "big-name" 3-year-olds turned out for Saturday's $150,000, Grade II Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park but that didn't deter Dominus from starting to make a name for himself. The Virginia-bred Smart Strike ridgeling was quickly on the lead, never headed and home first by 1 3/4 lengths over the favorite, Adios Charlie. Cool Blue Red Hot finished third. Dominus, with Julien Leparoux up, got the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:41.74. Winning trainer Steve Asmussen called Dominus, now with two wins and two second from four starts, "a special horse. Hopefully this is just a steppingstone to big things." He said he now can target the July 30 Jim Dandy at Saratoga or the July 31 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. "Obviously, with the 3-year-old races that are left, we think we are in good shape. It's an extremely wide-open year," Asmussen added.
Teaks North had a ground-saving trip into the stretch bend in Saturday's $750,000, Grade I United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park, got through between rivals and went on to win by 1/2 length over Chinchon. Stacelita, the lukewarm favorite, finished third and Bourbon Bay was fourth. Teaks North, a 4-year-old, Florida-bred Northern Afleet gelding, ran the 1 mile and 3 furlongs on firm turf in 2:13.28 with Eddie Castro in the irons. "It unfolded exactly as I had hoped," said winning trainer Justin Sallusto. "He has a tremendous kick for the last quarter of a mile and you saw that today." Teaks North came into the race off a victory in the local prep for the U.N., the Grade III Monmouth Stakes on June 12. Sallusto said the Breeders' Cup Turf now is in his future. Saturday's race was a "Win and You're In" event for the Turf.
Courageous Cat pressed the pace in Saturday's $300,000, Grade I Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park, moved to a short lead at the top of the stretch and then gamely dueled to the wire to score by a neck over Caracortado. Victor's Cry was well back in third. Courageous Cat, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Storm Cat out of the Rahy mare Tranquility Lake, got the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:33.19 with Patrick Valenzuela handling the reins. Courageous Cat finshed second to Goldikova in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Mile and owner Marty Wygod said he is looking forward to a rematch. "I'm looking for revenge," he said. "If you notice, in all his races, he goes to his left lead right after he takes the lead. When somebody runs up to him, then he'll start to do well again. You could see he wasn't going to give it up today."
Smiling Tiger led all the way to a 3 1/4-lengths win in Saturday's $250,000, Grade I Triple Bend Handicap at Hollywood Park. Camp Victory made up some ground late to finish second, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of the favorite, Amazombie. Smiling Tiger, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Hold That Tiger colt, ran 7 furlongs in 1:21.22 under Joel Rosario. "Every day he seems to be a better animal," said winning trainer Jeff Bonde. "He was like a big, skinny teenager as a young horse and the older he's gotten, he's put on muscle mass and filled out. He's become a professional where before he was kind of a goof off as a young guy. We're trying to win the Breeders' Cup with him."
Flashpoint flashed some serious speed in Sunday's $150,000, Grade III Jersey Shore Stakes at Monmouth Park, dominating in the lane and winning by 7 lengths. C J Russell, Chip Shot and Zero Rate Policy completed the order of finish. Flashpoint, a Florida-bred Pomeroy colt, ran the 6 furlongs in 1:08.73 with Cornelio Velasquez up for trainer Wesley Ward.
Filly & Mare Sprint
Devil By Design, making her first start since last November for trainer Bill Mott, stayed in touch with the leaders early in Sunday's $100,000, Grade III Chicago Handicap at Arlington Park, came three-wide for room in the lane and was up to win by 1 3/4 lengths. La Rocca finished second and the favorite, Tidal Pool, faded to get home third. Devil By Design, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred Medaglia d'Oro mare, ran 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:25.54 with Corey Nakatani in the irons. "This filly had been off a little while but I had a ton of confidence in her," Nakatani said. "Ken (McCarthy, assistant to trainer Bill Mott) told me just to be patient with her and give her a chance to win. She's got class and this is her favorite distance. I felt very confident where I was at. I just bided my time and when I asked her, she kicked on."
Form went the way of the boater hat in Sunday's $150,000, Grade III Bed o' Roses Handicap at Belmont Park as the first three-finishers all sported double-digit odds. Tamarind Hall, a mid-level claimer, stalked the pace and then easily drew off in the stretch to win by 5 1/4 lengths. Kid Kate and Spa City completed the trifecta, worth $3,704 for a $2 plunge. The favorite, Hilda's Passion, pressed the pace and threw in the towel, finishing next-last of seven. Tamarind Hall, a 4-year-old, Florida-bred Graeme Hall filly, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:23.82 with David Cohen in the irons. "Ever since I got her back to Finger Lakes, she's just been a different horse from the winter," said winning trainer Jeremiah Englehart. Still, he said, "I really thought we'd be running for second. I didn't think there was a shot of beating Hilda's Passion."
Kensei stalked the pace in Saturday's $200,000, Grade III Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park, worked his way to a short advantage at the top of the lane and battled to the line to win by 3/4 length over Soaring Empire. Rule was third and the even-money favorite, Morning Line, settled for a fading fifth-place finish. Kensei, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Mr. Greeley, finished in 1:36.83. "He broke sharp and the other horses went for the lead," said winning jockey Edgar Prado. "I was in the garden spot. I was very happy with my position early. He was running pretty easily around there and made his move when I started to ask him. He really dug in."
Jack's in the Deck rallied by early leader Team Six in the stretch run of Sunday's $150,000, Grade II Futurity at Belmont Park and drove clear, winning by 4 lengths. Team Six held second, a nose in front of the favorite, Tarpy's Goal. Jack's in the Deck, a Maryland-bred Love of Money colt out of the Partner's Hero mare Thracian, ran the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:13.36 as the pace slowed to a stroll in the final furlong. "I really didn't know what to expect," winning rider Joe Bravo said. "The horse showed some talent his first time out, but the minute the race started he showed me that he had these horses today and he looks like he's got a good future ahead of him."
Exfactor circled five-wide around the leaders in Saturday's $100,000, Grade III Bashford Manor Stakes at Churchill Downs and charged down the stretch to win by 2 3/4 lengths over Power World. Friscan was third and the even-money favorite, settled for fourth after a troubled start. Exfactor, a Kentucky-bred Exchange Rate colt out of the Prized mare Bright Magic, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.30 with Calvin Borel up. The colt now has two wins and a second from three starts. Winning trainer Bernie Flint said Exfactor's potential is "unlimited, because if I can keep him coming from behind like that, we've got the Breeders' Cup right here. The best 2-year-olds in the country have always come out of Churchill Downs. I don't care what anybody says, whatever price they were or whatever it is, it's the pinnacle of 2-year-old racing."
Mel Beach forced the issue into the stretch in Saturday's $100,000 Frank Gomez Memorial at Calder Race Course, emerged into the stretch with a short lead in some traffic, then got straightened out and drew off to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Argentine Tango. The favorite, Hello Prince, finished third. Mel Beach, a Florida-bred Pomeroy colt out of the Pentelicus mare Stars In Your Eyes, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:07.01. Mel Beach had finished second in each of his first three starts. "Today everything fell into place and he picked the best day to win," said winning rider Orlando Bocachica. Winning trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. said the colt will go on to the Florida Stallion Stakes series.
Making Amends made his career debut a stakes-winning success with a neck victory over pacesetting favorite Jenna's Wabbit in Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian) Clarendon Stakes at Woodbine. Jomelo finished third. Making Amends, an Ontario-bred Repent colt out of the Prime Timber mare Primary Motive, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:04.15 for jockey Patrick Husbands.
My Homey led all the way in Saturday's $85,000 Totah Stakes for New Mexico-bred, 2-year-old colts and geldings at Sunray Park, then held off Speedy Caracal at the end by a comfortable 2 1/4 lengths. Lucky Lester finished third. My Homey, a The Way Home gelding, ran 4 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 51.17 seconds with Jorge Bourdieu in the irons.
Broadway King dueled with odds-on favorite Courtesy Cat through much of Saturday evening's $131,000 D.S. "Shine" Young Memorial Futurity for Louisiana-breds at Evangeline Downs, eventually winning by a tough 1/2 length. Masculino finished third. Broadway King, a K One King gelding out of the Missionary Ridge mare Broadway Miss, ran 5 furlongs in 58.11 seconds with Trey Agilar in the irons.
Millionreasonswhy rallied by the leaders in the stretch run of Sunday's $150,000, Grade II Matron Stakes at Belmont Park and worked clear to win by 2 lengths over early leader Say a Novena. Dancing Anna finished third and the favorite, Defy Gravity, struggled home fifth. Millionreasonswhy, a Kentucky-bred Grand Slam filly out of the A.P. Indy mare In Secure, ran the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:12.68 with John Velazquez in the irons. "She wants longer," said winning trainer Ignacio Correas IV. "We'll look at Saratoga. She'll take us there."
Redbud Road came from mid-pack with a wide move in Saturday's $100,000 JJ'sdream Stakes at Calder Race Course, dueled down the lane with stablemate Awesome Belle and prevailed by 1/2 length. The odds-on favorite, Frolic's Revenge, prompted the pace but hung in the stretch and finished third. Redbud Road, a Florida-bred Awesome of Course filly out of the Tactical Advantage mare Ladyinareddress, got the 5 1/2 furlongs on a fast main strip in 1:07.18 with Luis Saez aboard. "I love it," said winning trainer Stanley Gold. "The only thing better would have been a dead heat." He said both Redbud Road and Awesome Belle will advance to the Florida Stallion Stakes series.
City Route took the most direct route home in Saturday's $50,000 Juan Gonzalez Memorial at Pleasanton, leading all the way and winning by 4 lengths. Heleonor Rugby finished second, 2 1/4 lengths better than Silent Sue. City Route, a California-bred Globalize filly out of the Mud Route mare Mood Route, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:03.34. Kevin Krigger rode for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
Coteau Kitten stalked the pace in Saturday evening's $127,000 D.S. "Shine" Young Memorial Futurity for Louisiana-breds at Evangeline Downs, kicked clear in the stretch and got home first, 3/4 length in front of entrymate Money for Makeup. Magic Appointment finished third. Coteau Kitten, a daughter of Tale of the Cat out of the Boston Harbor mare Ituna, got the 5 furlongs on a fast track in 59.15 seconds with Diego Saenz up for trainer Patrick Devereux Jr.
In other racing during the first days of the holiday weekend:
Distorted Legacy got by the leaders on the inside during the stretch run of Friday's $60,000 Sky Beauty Stakes for fillies and mares and went on to win by 3/4 length despite drifting out late. Satans Quick Chick was second and Ask the Moon finished third. Distorted Legacy, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Distorted Humor filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.26 under Rajiv Maragh.
Hungry Island rallied from last of eight to win Saturday's $60,000 Recording Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 3 lengths over My Redbyrd. Parting Words finished third. Hungry Island, a Kentucky-bred More Than Ready filly, finished the 1 1/16 miles over firm turf in 1:43.59 with Alex Solis up.
Fortune Play outfinished Decelerator in the final yards to win Friday night's $76,000 Roxelana Stakes for fillies and mares by a neck. Stage Magic got home third with the favorite, The Underling, fading from the lead to finish sixth. Fortune Play, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred Five Star Day mare, finished 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:22.19 under Freddie Lenclud.
Don Cavallo pressed the pace through the backstretch in Friday's $200,000 (Canadian) Dominion Day Handicap, moved to the front entering the turn, took a comfortable lead and coasted home first by 3 3/4 lengths over James Street. Stately Victor finished third. Don Cavallo, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred El Prado colt, ran 1 1/4 miles on the all-weather track in 2:03.47 with Luis Contreras up. "I could tell down the backside how easily and strongly he was going," said winning trainer Roger Attfield. "He's a very nice horse. I was very pleased with him and the ride today."
D'Wild Beach, a wild longshot, took the lead in the stretch in Friday's $100,000 (Canadian) Sweet Briar Too Stakes for fillies and mares but couldn't hold off Amiable Grace, who won by a head. Rashnaa was a nose farther back in third and the favorite, Biofuel, was another nose in arrears in fourth with a wide, late bid. Amiable Grace, a 4-year-old, Ontario-bred Alphabet Soup filly, ran 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:24.03 for jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson.
Eternal Rule set the pace in Saturday's $150,000 (Canadian) Achievement Stakes for 3-year-old, Ontario-foaleds, then easily drew clear in the late going to win by 5 1/4 lengths. Bear No Joke was best of the rest with Say No More third. Eternal Rule, a Tribal Rule gelding, ran 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:09.43 for jockey David Clark and remains unbeaten in three career starts.
Bear It's Time just nipped Niigon's Touch by a head at the wire in Sunday's $250,000 Bison City Stakes for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies. The favorite, Spooky Kitten, led the way but faded to finish third. Bear It's Time, an Ontario-bred daughter of Philanthropist, got the 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:44.72 under Luis Contreras.
Gallant Son poked a head in front of pacesetting favorite Streakin' Mohican at just the right moment in Sunday's $100,000 Robert K. Kerlan Memorial. Don Tito ran well late to take third. Gallant Son, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Malabar Gold, finished the 6 furlongs on the firm turf in 1:08.81 with Mike Smith riding.
Calder Race Course
Trip for A.J. stalked the pace in Saturday's $55,000 Liberada Stakes for fillies and mares, surged to the lead turning for home and was all out to prevail by 1 length over Diosa Indian. Tesoro de Amor finished third in the 1 1/16-mile event, which was moved off the turf to the fast main track. Trip for A.J., a 4-year-old, Florida-bred Trippi filly, was clocked in 1:47.88 under Luis Jurado.
Imperial Czar ruled in Saturday's $55,000 American Dreamer Stakes for 3-year-olds, taking charge in the stretch to win by 3 lengths over Too Experience. Chiseled Light finished third. Imperial Czar, a Florida-bred Imperialism colt, colt, ran 1 mile on the main track in 1:40.94 with Orlando Bocachica in the irons.
Trophy Boy, the odds-on favorite, ran to his notices in Saturdays $75,000 Daniel Stearns Cleveland Gold Cup for 3-year-old Ohio-breds. Breaking sharply, the Medalist colt opened a daylight lead with an early burst of speed, turned back a challenge heading into the stretch and drew clear again to win by 3 3/4 lengths over Incantation. Elroy J provided the early pressure and held on for third. Trophy Boy, a Medalist colt, ran the 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:53.68 with Luis Gonzalez riding. "I was concerned when I saw that :22 go up in the beginning," said winning trainer Doug Cowans. "We expected him to relax early, and we didn't really want the lead. But he seemed to relax down the backstretch once he got by himself."
Trade Secret was along in the stretch in Saturday's $75,000 Peppy Addy Stakes for Pennsylvania-bred 3-year-olds to catch pacesetting favorite Bibblesman, draw clear and win by 1 1/2 lengths over that rival. Der Meister and Flybird completed the order of finish. Trade Secret, a Yes It's True colt, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:23.56 with Stewart Elliot up.
Ann's Smart Dancer stalked the pace in Saturday's $75,000 Caught In The Rain Stakes for 3-year-old, state-bred fillies, worked clear turning for home and won by 2 3/4 lengths over Lenape Rim. Prize Winner won the third prize. Ann's Smart Dancer, a Dance With Ravens filly, was clocked in 1:23.95 under Frankie Pennington.
Romacaca swept to daylight lead at the head of the stretch in Sunday's $75,000 Miss Liberty Stakes for fillies and mares, then held off Champagnelifestyle at the end to win by 1/2 length. The favorite, Gypsy's Warning, finished third. Romacaca, a 5-year-old, Florida-bred Running Stag mare, covered 1 1/16 miles on soft turf in 1:42.36 with Paco Lopez riding.
Lunar Mist rallied from far back to win Sunday's $75,000 Firecracker Stakes for fillies and mares by 3/4 length over Revelstoke. Mimi's Special Six finished third. Lunar Mist, a 4-year-old, Virginia-bred Malibu Moon filly, ran the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:35.85.
Kingofthebluegrass was up in the final jumps to win Sunday's $75,000 Independence Day Stakes by a nose over Sneakin Thru. Early leader Crimson Comic faded to finish third, 3 1/2 lengths farther back. Kingofthebluegrass, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Petionville colt, ran the 1 mile on firm going in 1:34.75 with Francisco Torres up.
Hour by Hour led all the way to a 20-1 upset win in Sunday's $75,000 Dale Baird Memorial, beating Russell Road by 1 1/4 lengths. The favorite, Cash Refund, finished third. Hour by Hour, a 4-year-old, Michigan-bred Elusive Hour gelding, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:03.09 with Godofredo Laurente in the irons.
Overvalued was slightly undervalued in Sunday's $50,000 Supernatural Handicap for 3-year-old fillies, leading all the way to a 2 1/2-lengths upset victory over the favorite, Castinette Dancer. Belle Evangeline finished third. Overvalued, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Forest Grove, ran the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:45.14 with David Wilson in the irons.
St Liam's Halo pressed the pace along the outside in Friday's $50,000 (Canadian) Lieutenant Governor's Handicap, got the lead and held off Crew Leader by 1 length under the wire. Almost Time rallied from well back but not in time, finishing third. St Liam's Hero, a 4-year-old, Florida-bred Saint Liam gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:43.70 with Mario Gutierrez up.
Inhisglory surged to the lead in Friday's $50,000 Chris Loseth Handicap for 3-year-olds, turned back multiple challenges and drew clear at the end to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Jump Up and Kissme was second and Arraignment finished third. Inhisglory, a Kentucky-bred Pure Prize gelding, ran the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.52 for jockey Richard Hamel.
Ain't No Other led all the way to a 1 3/4-lengths victory in Friday's $50,000 Livermore Valley Wines Stakes for 3-year-olds. Unbridled Endeavor and Crown Over completed the trifecta. Ain't No Other, a California-bred Old Topper gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.10 with Juan Hernandez up.
Footprint ran right by pacesetting favorite Salt Flat Speed passing the quarter pole in Saturday's $50,000 (Canadian) Spangled Jimmy Handicap and quickly showed his heels, winning by 6 3/4 lengths. Salt Flat Speed held second by a nose over Diamond Doc. Footprint, a 7-year-old, Kentucky-bred Gold Case gelding, finished 1 mile on a fast track in 1:37 4/5 with Anthony Salgado riding.
Saturday's Louisiana Showcase Night, fast and firm:
Lovenotlost edged clear late to win the $75,000 Mile for 3-year-old fillies by 1 3/4 lengths over Cat's Production, finishing in 1:39.08. My Star Runner rallied from well back to win the $100,000 Sprint by 2 1/4 lengths over Tortuga Straits, finishing the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.45. Classic Cascade stalked the pace in the $100,000 Turf and drew clear late to win by 2 lengths over Wild Rally, running the "about" 1 1/16 miles on the grass in 1:42.08.
Also, Populist Politics dominated in the stretch of the $75,000 Mile for 3-year-olds, winning by 4 1/2 lengths over Get In Da House in 1:37.97. Little Polka Dot dueled all the way to a head victory over U Belong to Me in the $100,000 Ladies Sprint, finishing in 1:04.74. Local did her best running in the stretch to take the $100,000 Distaff by a neck over entrymate Military Miss, getting the 1 mile and 70 yards in 1:43.84. And Star Guitar set a slow pace in the $100,000 Classic, edged clear when asked and won by 1 3/4 lengths over Break Up. Star Guitar, the odds-on favorite, finished the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.22.
Immortal Eyes led from the git-go in Sunday's $50,000 Chesapeake Stakes, then held well to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Escrow Kid. The odds-on favorite, Nathan's H Q, finished third. Immortal Eyes, a 6-year-old, Florida-bred Greatness gelding, ran the 6 furlongs on a fast track in track-record time of 1:07.97 under Sheldon Russell.
News and notes:
Canterbury Park lost its Fourth of July weekend racing to the shutdown of Minnesota government in a budget impasse. Ramsey County Chief Judge Kathleen Gearin Saturday denied Canterbury's request that the Minnesota Racing Commission continue to operate during the state shutdown. With no regulatory body in place, Canterbury was forced to cancel racing programs for July 3 and 4. Racing on July 1 and 2 had already been called off, even though the MRC is fully funding by the state's two tracks. "This is potentially devastating to Minnesota's racing industry," said Canterbury President Randy Sampson.