A mild upset in the weekend's biggest race in New York and a classy win in southeast Germany's set-piece event highlighted weekend racing.
Sandwiched in between was a buffet of tasty racing treats, many of them likely to flavor the rapidly approaching year-end races.
And Labor Day desserts were yet to come.
Here's the menu, starting with the international dish:
Danedream will defend her crown in next month's Prix de l'Arc de Triomph off a home-court victory. The German-bred mare won Sunday's Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden by a deceptive half length over Ovambo Queen, holding that rival safe at all times. German Derby winner Pastorius finished third and may find his next task even harder if he is sent after Frankel in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot. Danedream, with Andrasch Starke in the irons, raced behind the expected slow pace in Sunday's race. She crossed to the stands side in the stretch and took a daylight lead, then was kept about her business to secure the win. She finished the 1 1/2 mile race over good turf 2:36.23. She now has eight wins from 17 starts. In her last eight races, her only losses were a sixth-place showing in the Japan Cup and a fourth in the Prix de Saint-Cloud behind Meandre, Shareta and Galikova. Trainer Peter Schiergen said the "original plan was the Arc and the Japan Cup. That is still the plan."
Back with the Breeders' Cup divisions:
To Honor and Serve and Mucho Macho Man hooked up in a stretch battle in Saturday's $750,000, Grade I Woodward at Saratoga and it was To Honor and Serve posting the mild upset with a neck advantage under the wire. Cease also ran well late to take third over the tiring pacesetters, Rule and Trickmeister. To Honor and Serve, a 4-year-old Bernardini colt, finished the 1 1/8 miles on the fast main track in 1:48.56 with John Velazquez up. He now has won eight of 15 career starts. In the last race for both the top two, Mucho Macho Man easily won the Suburban Handicap at Belmont as To Honor and Serve faded to finish a distant fourth. Winning trainer Bill Mott noted To Honor and Serve and Mucho Macho Man have been running against one another through three seasons. "You always wonder how he's going to do in a dogfight, and that horse ran up to his neck and he held him," Mott said. "He ran well, although Johnny said he was kind of loafing a little on the lead when he turned for home, but he said finally the other horse ran to him and got him back in gear." Asked whether he might steer To Honor and Serve to the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile to avoid a confrontation in the Classic with another of his stars, Ron the Greek, Mott said, "We want to run him whatever race has the biggest gain in it ... . I'm not going to make that decision right now." Mucho Macho Man's trainer, Kathy Ritvo, said her runner missed the break but "ran a good race."
Middie rallied to a huge lead early in the stretch run in Saturday's $150,000, Grade III Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park and went on to post a big upset win by 3 1/4 lengths over Mister Mardi Gras. The favorite, Prayer for Relief, beat only one horse, that one eased. Middie, a 4-year-old Officer gelding, ran the 9 furlongs on the all-weather track in course-record time of 1:49.27 with Francisco Torres up. Torres credited his horse and Arlington's Polytrack. "When it rains, it tightens up the racetrack and you'll see faster times," he said. "Around the three-eighths pole, I had so much horse. Everybody looked like they were just waiting for someone to move. When I found a seam between the horse in front of me and the horse outside of me, I went ahead and stole it." It was the second win in seven starts this year for Middie.
Friday's $100,000 El Cajon at Del Mar turned into one of the better 3-year-old races of the year. Fed Biz, once a Kentucky Derby hope for trainer Bob Baffert, came off a long layoff, led much of the way, gave up the lead to Jimmy Creed and then rallied along the rail to win by a neck. Another up-and-coming sophomore, Unusual Heatwave, came from the back of the short field to finish third after being floated wide on the stretch turn. Fed Biz, a Giant's Causeway colt out of the Wild Again mare Spunoutacontrol, finished the 1 mile on the all-weather track in 1:35.58 with Joe Talamo up. That was just 0.30 second off the track record. "That was quite a horse race," Baffert said. "Two really nice horses going at it." He said he had been thinking of bringing Fed Biz back sprinting in the Pirate's Bounty next Wednesday. "But I really didn't want to sprint him because I have some bigger things in mind."
Back on the "we can dream" front: Frankel's connections announced this week the next race for the world's top-rated horse will be the Champion Stakes at Ascot on Oct. 20 and not the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Oct. 7. As this is sure to be the undefeated 4-year-old's swan song season, the Champion Stakes therefore is seen as his last race. And it's probably an oversight, but what Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Khalid Abdullah, actually said was, "Frankel's next race will be the Group 1 Champion Stakes ... ." He did not say "Frankel's last race will be ... ." If he doesn't have to work too hard at Ascot, why not give him a try at Santa Anita two weeks later?
Emcee waited behind a blazing early pace in Saturday's $500,000, Grade I Forego Stakes at Saratoga, shot by the leaders with less than a furlong to run and quickly kicked clear to win by 4 1/2 lengths. Hamazing Destiny was up for second and Jersey Town finished third. Shackleford was a race-day scratch, reportedly with a cough. Emcee, a 4-year-old Unbridled's Song colt, ran the 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:21.00 with Alan Garcia up. The 34-year-old track record is 1:20.48. "It was a very impressive race," said Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains Emcee for Godolphin.
Filly & Mare Sprint
Tu Endie Wei battled her way to the lead in Saturday's $150,000 (Canadian), Grade III Seaway Stakes for fillies and mares at Woodbine, got an edge in the stretch and held on to win by a length over the odds-on favorite, Roxy Gap. Jenny's So Great completed the triactor. Tu Endie Wie, a 3-year-old Johar filly, ran the 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:24.12 under James McAleney. "She was just brilliant," McAleney said. "All the way down the backside, even though they were moderate splits, she was very comfortable."
My Best Brother led from the start in Sunday's $300,000, Grade II Del Mar Derby and went on to post a mild upset, winning by 3/4 of a length over the favorite, Howe Great. Brother Francis was third, followed by Power Foot and Old Time Hockey. My Best Brother, a Stormy Atlantic colt, ran the 9 furlongs on firm turf in 1:46.83 with Martin Garcia up for trainer Julio Canani. My Best Brother had a three-race win streak snapped in his last outing when he finished second to Howe Great in the Grade II La Jolla. "This is a nice horse," Canani said. "After the La Jolla he was training unbelievable. He was keeping his weight up good, he eats every day. If after the La Jolla he would have been acting different, I might worry. But everything was good, all the time." Asked about his plans for the colt, Canani said, "I play everything by ear."
Unbridled Command reeled in runaway leader Skyring in the late going to win Sunday's $150,000, Grade III Saranac Stakes for 3-year-olds at Saratoga. At the wire, Unbridled Command was a half length the best with the favorite, globetrotting Lucky Chappy, 1 length further back in third with a good but belated run. Unbridled Command ran the 9 furlongs on the firm inner turf course in 1:46.54 with Ramon Dominguez riding. Stepping up from the allowance ranks for the first time, Unbridled Command now has won three straight races. "The horse has done wonderfully up here," winning trainer Tom Bush said. "He came out of his last race really good and had two really good works. His last work was sensational. It was as good as a horse can work. I was just hoping he had enough class to run good, and he did."
Dominus jumped out to a big lead in Saturday's $250,000, Grade II Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga and wasn't caught, winning by 1 1/4 lengths over Data Link. Sky Blazer rallied from last to finish third. Dominus, a 4-year-old Smart Strike ridgling, ran the 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:40.32 under Julien Leparoux. "Things went just like we hoped," winning trainer Todd Pletcher said. "I would have been disappointed if he'd gotten beat" off the comfortable pace. "There are tons of options. He's still obviously a very nice dirt horse. It puts us in a position to pursue a lot of options." Dominus was off for more than 11 months after finishing fourth in last year's King's Bishop at the Spa. He won a main-track allowance race a month ago in his comeback effort and now has won half his eight lifetime starts.
Tune Me In pressed the pace in Saturday's $100,000, Grade III Cliff Hanger Stakes at Monmouth Park, took the lead at the top of the lane and held off the favorite, Salto, to win by a length. The early leader, Get Serious, finished third. Tune Me In, a 5-year-old Concorde's Tune gelding, got the mile on firm turf in 1:33.96 with Paco Lopez aboard. "When you don't expect it, it's especially nice to win," Tune Me In's trainer, Bruce Alexander, said. "Even though he was a nice, useful horse, he's moved up to another level now."
Seen It All Before battled to the lead in the stretch run in Sunday's $125,000 (Canadian) Vice Regent Stakes for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds at Woodbine, then edged clear late to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Ultimate Destiny was second and Jenna's Wabbit weally didn't wun fast enough to do better than third. Seen It All Before, a Niigon gelding, ran the mile on firm turf in 1:35.17 with Luis Contreras up.
Potesta led from the start in Sunday's $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Del Mar and drew off in the end to win by 7 1/2 lengths over Viva Carina. Starlight Magic finished third. Potesta, a Macho Uno filly, ran the mile on the all-weather track in course-record time of 1:34.86 with Joe Talamo in the irons. The course wasn't playing that fast, as older fillies and mares took 1:36.52 for the same trip two races later. Winning trainer Mike Mitchell said his "ultimate goal" for Potesta is the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic. But he said he will try the Sept. 29 Zenyatta at Santa Anita "and see how she does. I think she's that good." The Zenyatta is a $350,000, Grade I "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup.
Another Pletcher trainee to watch: Archwarrior, who finally got into a race Thursday at the Spa and made the most of it, winning by 3 1/4 lengths under John Velazquez. The Arch colt had been training up a storm but scratched once because of a wet track, then didn't get into a race on Travers day. "We've run a lot of first-time starters over the years," Pletcher told Daily Racing Form. "But I've never had so many questions about one beforehand. It wasn't exactly like the Kentucky Derby, but we were hoping he'd run as well as he was training."
Brave Dave stumbled out of the gate but quickly recovered and hustled to the lead in Sunday's $100,000 Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park and held his advantage through to the wire. Special Jo finished second, 3/4 of a length back, and then it was a distance to Drum Roll in third. Brave Dave, a Put It Back colt, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.44. "He took a really bad stumble out of the gate, but I know this horse and how fast he is," winning jockey Paco Lopez said. "He rebounded pretty quickly and was in front quickly. I was just sitting and waiting, and sitting and waiting, until the quarter pole when I asked my horse. I saw the other horse coming with his run and my horse responded nicely." It was his first stakes win.
Hollywood Drama provided some in Saturday's $50,000 (Canadian) Birdcatcher Stakes at Northlands Park, rallying from last to win by 3/4 of a length over Just Gone. Saintly Aura was another half length back in third. Hollywood Drama, a Ministers Wild Cat gelding out of the Seattle Slew mare Modern Drama, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:20 with Kyle Carter up.
At Canterbury Park, Sugar Business was all about business winning Sunday's $65,000 Northern Lights Futurity for Minnesota-bred 2-year-old colts and geldings by 8 lengths over Bet Your Life. Sugar Business, a son of Stormy Business, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.32 with Derek Bell up.
So Many Ways came into the stretch run in Sunday's $300,000, Grade I Spinaway at Saratoga locked in a battle with Teen Pauline. So Many Ways quickly shook free and roared home to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Sweet Shirley Mae was up for second and Teen Pauline held third. So Many Ways, a Pennsylvania-bred Sightseeing filly, finished the 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:23.74 with Javier Castellano riding. So Many Ways remains undefeated in three starts. She broke her maiden at Parx Racing on June 9, then won the Schuylerville early in the Saratoga meeting, "I knew she was talented," winning trainer Tony Dutrow said. "But I didn't know how good. I'm not surprised, but I sure am happy. She came out of there with running on her mind ... . I think I said in the paper that our filly would finish up."
Executiveprivilege extended her unbeaten streak to four with a nose victory in Saturday's $300,000, Grade I Del Mar Debutante. With Rafael Bejarano up for trainer Bob Baffert, the First Samurai filly sat comfortably off the early pace, swung wide into the stretch and, despite drifting wide in the final furlong, was just up in the final jumps to nip pacesetting longshot Beholder by a nose. Mechaya finished third. Executiveprivilege finished the 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:23.43. "She ran hard, very hard," Bejarano said. "She's a good filly and she did her best today. I thought that filly on the lead was going to come back to us. I didn't think she'd hold on like that. I got busy on my filly. I think she got out because she was running so hard. It's not that she's green." Executiveprivilege won at first asking at Hollywood Park on June 28, then took the Landluce Stakes at Hollywood and the Grade III Sorrento earlier in the Del Mar meeting.
Doubled scored a big upset in Sunday's $100,000 Sorority Stakes at Monmouth Park, outfinishing the odds-on favorite, I'mclassyandsassy, to win by 1 3/4 lengths. The longest shot in the field, Back to Class, completed the nicely inflated trifecta. Doubled, an Exchange Rate filly out of the Menifee mare Mayan Milagra, got the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.88. "I just sat on the rail most of the way," winning jockey Angel Arroyo said. "There was plenty of room for her around the turn so I just went with her. The instructions were to just sit and come with one run and that's what I did. She finished up real strong." It was her first stakes win and second victory in four starts.
Blazing Bling blazed her way to a 9 3/4-length victory in Friday's $50,000 Miss Ohio Stakes for state-breds. Rachel Lynn B C set the early pace, couldn't contain the winner but held second over Autumn Fling. Blazing Bling, a daughter of Too Much Bling, ran the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:12.46 with Deshawn Parker riding. She has won three straight following a pair of seconds, all within the past two months.
Ten Thirty was far gone at the end of Friday's $50,000 (Canadian) Bird of Pay Stakes at Northlands Park, winning by 8 3/4 lengths over Canaveral Leader. With Rico Walcott aboard, Ten Thirty ran the 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:18 3/5. The Corinthian filly out of the Touch Gold mare Julie's Touch has two seconds and two wins from four starts.
At Canterbury Park, Badge of Glory led from the early going in Sunday's $65,000 Northern Lights Debutante for Minnesota-bred 2-year-old fillies and worked clear at the end to win by 2 lengths over Adorkable. Badge of Glory, a Badge of Silver filly, got the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:12.02 with Scott Stevens riding.
Dayatthespa had a good day at the Spa, winning Friday's $100,000 Riskaverse Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 1 1/4 lengths over Peace Preserver. Alaura Michele finished third. Dayatthespa, a City Zip filly, ran the 1 mile on the firm inner turf course in 1:34.20 with Javier Castellano at the controls.
Mildly Offensive held off a mild late bid by Kid Kate to win Friday's $100,000 Big Bambu Stakes for fillies and mares by a half length. Dancinginherdreams finished third. Mildly Offensive, a Sharp Humor filly, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:15.94 for jockey John Velazquez.
John Scott seized the lead early in the stretch run in Saturday's $85,000 Harry F. Brubaker Stakes while Kettle Corn was stuck on the inside behind him. That made the difference as Kettle Corn, finally free to run, came up a half length short. Holladay Road finished third. John Scott, a 5-year-old Bertrando gelding, ran the mile on the all-weather track in 1:36.52 with Victor Espinoza up.
Cathy's Crunches rallied from far back in Sunday's $85,000 Adoration Stakes for fillies and mares, worked through some traffic issues and finished best to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Graser. Great Hot finished third. Cathy's Crunches, a 4-year-old West Acre filly, got the 1 mile on the all-weather track in 1:36.52.
Say a Novena battled around the track with Singlet in Saturday's $60,000 Miss Woodford Stakes for 3-year-old fillies before the former inched clear late to win by a half length. Klondike Kate finished third. Say a Novena, a Songandaprayer filly, got the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.04 with Paco Lopez up.
Calder Race Course
Cash Rules worked to a narrow lead early in the stretch run in Saturday's $75,000 Darn That Alarm Handicap and gritted out a narrow win, beating Liberty Cap and Flatter This by a pair of heads. Cash Rules, a 5-year-old Peace Rules gelding, ran the 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track in 1:46.88 with Luis Saez in the irons.
Tripski was up in the final strides to nip pacesetter Uno Caliente and win Saturday's $55,000 Eillo Stakes by a half length. Classic Brook finished third. Tripski, a Trippi gelding, finished 5 furlongs over firm turf in 56.20 seconds with Jesus Rios riding.
In the Rough had her backers in the green after a stretch-running upset win in Saturday's $60,000 Forever Together Stakes for fillies and mares. The 5-year-old Stormy Atlantic mare outfinished Bryan's Jewel to win by 1 1/4 lengths with Unbridled Humor third. In the Rough ran the "about" 1 mile on firm turf in 1:37.58 under Alex Cintron.
Patty's Pride rallied wide from well back in a big field to win Friday's $50,000 Ricks Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares by 1 3/4 lengths over Gorgeous Melody. Someplace Else finished third. Patty's Pride, a 4-year-old Special Rate filly, ran the mile on firm turf in 1:35.89 under Glen Murphy.
Startin Something put up a moderate upset win in Saturday's $50,000 Rose DeBartolo Memorial for Ohio-bred distaffers at Thistledown, outfinishing Willa Wando to score by 1 1/2 lengths. Night of Roma was third and the favorite, Muir Woods, settled for sixth. Startin Something, a Musical Dreamer filly, got the 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:53.44 under Deshawn Parker.
Ready Racer ran off and hid from the favorite, Gone in a Flash, in the final furlong of Saturday's $50,000 (Canadian) Sun Sprint Championship. At the wire, it was Ready Racer by 9 1/4 lengths over Gone in a Flash, with Tiny Giant third. Ready Racer, a 6-year-old More Than Ready gelding out of the French Deputy mare Freefourracing, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:16 4/5 with Fernando Perez in the irons.
Isn't He Clever, winner of last year's Riley Allison Futurity and this year's Borderland Derby at Sunland Park, was far superior in Saturday's $50,000 Ruidoso Thoroughbred Derby, jetting off to win by 13 1/4 lengths. Ol Winedrinker Who finished second, 6 1/2 lengths in front of Worthington. Isn't He Clever, a Smarty Jones gelding out of the Deputy Minister mare Sharp Minister, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:45.65 with Enrique Gomez up. He had been on this year's Triple Crown trail until he checked in eighth in the Arkansas Derby.