Upsets were the order of the weekend in racing as two Breeders' Cup champs were beaten and Canada's signature race ended in a surprise.
But some big names won, too. Among them, Game on Dude and Flat Out posted victories that could put them on track for the Breeders' Cup Classic this fall. Big Blue Kitten and Bahamian Squall, the conquerors of the champs, also look like potential emerging forces in the Turf and Sprint divisions.
It was a great weekend for offspring of 2004 Horse of the Year and Breeders' Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper, who won three graded stakes.
And, in England, Al Kazeem handily won the Group 1 Coral Eclipse, his third straight Group 1 victory, and is poised to make even more noise in the big fall races in Europe.
We have a lot to cover, so let's get going.
Game On Dude made all the going in Saturday's $500,000, Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup and held off Kettle Corn at the end to win by a length. Sky Kingdom was far back in third, followed by Clubhouse Ride and Oilisblackgold. Game On Dude, a 6-year-old Awesome Again gelding, ran 1 1/4 miles on the all-weather track in 2:01.88 with Mike Smith in the irons. He now has five straight graded stakes wins since finishing seventh in the Breeders' Cup Classic last fall. He also now has two wins and a second in the Hollywood Gold Cup. "I was really confident," Smith said. "I hand-rode him. He's a fighter and if you're going to try and beat him, you've got to flat run by him. He's not the type of horse you can creep up to and try to run by. He's just a warrior." Winning trainer Bob Baffert said Game On Dude "had that look today ... . There's added pressure when you train a horse like him. He has a fan base now. You don't want to see him get beat because of the fans. I can hear them cheering him on." The winning ownership team includes Major League Baseball executive Joe Torre.
Flat Out tracked pacesetting Percussion in Saturday's $350,000, Grade II Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park, went to the lead when called upon by jockey Junior Alvarado and easily held off Last Gunfighter to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Fast Falcon was third, Alpha fourth and Percussion faded to finish fifth and last. Flat Out, a 7-year-old son of Flatter, ran 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:46.87. Flat Out was third in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic but had an unproductive winter in Florida and New Orleans. He returned to New York to win the Grade III Westchester Stakes in April, then finished third in the Grade I Met Mile. "This obviously was an easier race than the last two," winning trainer Bill Mott said. "He ran hard today, but he ran real hard to win [the Westchester] and then he got jostled around a little bit in the Met Mile, which may have cost him something. It's nice to see him bounce back ... . If he would be doing extremely well, I would say we might take a shot at the Whitney. I suppose that makes some sense, and then try to get him back here for the Gold Cup this fall."
Moreno led most of the way in Saturday's $200,000, Grade II Dwyer Stakes for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park, gave up the lead to Saint Vigeur but came again to beat that one by 7 lengths. For Greater Glory was third and the favorite, Battier, faded to finish sixth and last. Moreno, a Ghostzapper gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:41.07 with Jose Ortiz riding. Moreno was coming off his maiden win, which followed nine straight career-starting losses in California. "This horse has done amazing since we have been here," said John Daley, assistant to winning trainer Eric Guillot. "He just really seems to have blossomed. All of his works have been fantastic. He's put on weight. With the way he ran in his maiden race, we figured that while we are here, why not take a shot?" The Grade II Jim Dandy at Saratoga may be the next step, he added.
Micromanage was caught wide into the first turn in Sunday's $100,000 Long Branch Stakes for 3-year-olds at Monmouth Park, stayed on the outside into the stretch turn, then advanced steadily and went on to win by 4 1/2 lengths. Forever Thing was along for second and Carve finished third. Micromanage, a Medaglia d'Oro colt, got the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.31 with Joe Bravo up. "I'm not sure what really happened around the first turn," Bravo said. "We were sitting off horses and then we just ended up getting fanned out into the parking lot. After that, I thought the race was over ... . That was a pretty impressive performance considering the trouble he got in." Todd Pletcher trains Micromanage.
The Queen's Plate
It's Canada's signature race and the $1 million Queen's Plate, restricted to Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, means a lot to the nation's racing community. So Sunday's front-running upset win by Midnight Aria in the 154th running of the setpiece was a bit of a shocker as the favorite, Up With the Birds, was up a little too late with his bid and missed catching the winner by a half length. Dynamic Sky finished third. The 1 1/4-miles contest went in 2:04.72 over the all-weather track. While it was only the second career win for Midnight Aria, a son of two-time Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Midnight Lute, the colt had not run badly in any of his eight previous starts. Those included third-place finishes in the Plate Trial and the Wando Stakes after his return from a winter at Gulfstream Park in Florida. Trained by Nicholas Gonzalez, the winner had Jesse Campbell up. "He was the speed on paper," Campbell said. "The thing is, he can go to the half in 48 or 50 (seconds). If I had to go 48, I would. I didn't see the clock, but I'm pretty sure we did. I could see [Up With the Birds] coming and I could feel him. I was praying for the wire." The first half-mile actually went in 48.58 seconds. Co-owner Lou Tucci said, "My uncle and I have been chasing this dream for over 40 years and it's hard to express what you feel when a dream comes true. It's like the seventh game final of the Stanley Cup and scoring the winning goal times a thousand." The Queen's Plate is the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, followed by the 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie on July 30 and the 1 1/2-mile Breeders' Stakes on the Woodbine turf on Aug. 18. The last Triple Crown winner was Wando in 2003.
Big Blue Kitten saved all the ground in Saturday's $500,000, Grade I United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park, found room along the rail in the stretch run and got home first by 1 1/4 lengths over Teak's North. Hangover Kid was third at 47-1 odds, edging Little Mike, the defending Breeders' Cup Turf champ, by a length for show money. Wilcox Inn was fifth and Skyring sixth. Little Mike was a little better than he showed in Dubai as he made all the early going in the United Nations. While in the Middle East, Little Mike showed little, finishing eighth in a prep race and then 11th in the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free. Big Blue Kitten, a 5-year-old son of Kitten's Joy, bred and owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, ran 1 3/8 miles on firm turf in 2:11.98 with Joe Bravo at the controls. He won for the third time in five starts this year and notched his first Grade I score. "Another memorable ride from Joe Bravo," winning trainer Chad Brown said. "This was one for his highlight reel." Bravo rode Big Blue Kitten to a second-place finish in the Monmouth Stakes, the local prep for the United Nations and said, "It's amazing how much you can learn from one race. Looking back, we could have won that last one. But I took what I learned there and used it today. Little Mike came off the rail a little in the stretch and we were able to get through."
Forte Dei Marmi surged to the lead entering the stretch in Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian), Grade III Singspiel Stakes at Woodbine, then drew off to win by 6 1/4 lengths as the favorite. Perfect Timber was second with Patrioticandproud filling the triactor. Forte Dei Marmi, a 7-year-old, British-bred Selkirk gelding, ran 1 1/2 miles on yielding turf in 2:41.85 with Joel Rosario in the irons for trainer Roger Attfield. It was a big turnaround for the winner, who had struggled mightily through the winter and spring in Florida and Kentucky after showing great promise in Woodbine's big turf races last fall.
Filly & Mare Turf
Solid Appeal stalked the pace in Sunday's $200,000 (Canadian), Grade II Dance Smartly Stakes at Woodbine, went to the lead with a furlong to run and won off by 2 lengths under steady handling by Jesse Campbell. Julie's Love was second and No Explaining finished third. Solid Appeal, a 4-year-old Successful Appeal filly, got the "about" 1 1/8 miles on good turf in 1:46.19. She now has won all three starts this year -- one at Keeneland and two at Woodbine.
Bahamian Squall reached the lead inside the final furlong in Saturday's $350,000, Grade II Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder Race Course and held off defending Breeders' Cup Sprint champ Trinniberg to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Jackson Bend finished third. Bahamian Squall, a 4-year-old colt by Gone West, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.21 with Luis Saez aboard. It was the first graded stakes win for Bahamian Squall and only his fourth in 12 starts and resulted from a revised game plan that called for the colt to sit off the pace. "Luis did a great job," Fawkes said. "He took him back a little today and just sat there. He doesn't want to be moved too early. No fault of the last rider. I gave him instructions to be closer and he wants to sit just off the pace." The race is a "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Sprint but Fawkes wasn't counting any chickens. He said he will ship Bahamian Squall to Saratoga next, then added, "It's tough to keep them healthy for a long time ... . Every horse is different but we'll follow a similar path. Fortunately, good horses stay good for a long time."
Mico Margarita was reserved off the early pace in Saturday's $150,000, Grade III Carry Back Stakes for 3-year-olds, moved to the front near the furlong pole and quickly got clear to win by 4 1/2 lengths. Red Rocket Express was the best of the rest with Sr. Quisqueyano third. Mico Margarita, a Run Away and Hide colt, got the 6 furlongs on the fast main track in 1:10.97 with Ricardo Santana Jr. in the irons. He was coming off an allowance win at Churchill Downs which, in turn, followed a long drought. "Ricardo got into good position and our horse is improving," assistant trainer Scott Blasi said. "It set up perfectly for him. He's a rapidly improving horse. There will be exciting races in his future."
Immortal Eyes sprinted right to the front in Sunday's $75,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes at Monmouth Park, then piled it on at the end, winning by 7 1/4 lengths. Mass Destruction finished best of the rest with Diski Dance another neck back in third. Immortal Eyes, an 8-year-old Greatness gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.42 with Paco Lopez in the irons. "He's got so much speed," Lopez said. "At the quarter pole I asked him a little bit and he opened up on his own."
Filly & Mare Sprint
Starship Truffles moved to the lead at the quarter pole in Saturday's $350,000, Grade I Princess Rooney Handicap at Calder and the favorite, Judy the Beauty, couldn't overcome a bad start, finishing in second, 3 3/4 lengths back. My Pal Chrisy completed the lucrative trifecta. Starship Truffles, a 4-year-old Ghostzapper filly, ran 6 furlongs on a fast strip in 1:10.57 with Edgard Zayas up. "I laid in third like planned," Zayas said. "I was very confident in my horse. She is doing very, very good." Trainer Marty Wolfson noted Starship Truffles is "a late closer and always makes a move at the three-eighths pole."
Wildcat Lily came to challenge pacesetting favorite Dreaming of Susie in the stretch run of Saturday's $150,000, Grade III Azalea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Calder and then won the duel to the wire by a neck. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to Speedinthruthecity in third. Wildcat Lily, a daughter of D'Wildcat out of the French Deputy mare French Jubilee, finished in 1:10.76 with Jose Alvarez up. Winning trainer Manny Azpura said he was not surprised with the win but a little disappointed with the effort. "She ran good, but not as good as I had hoped," he said. Asked what's next for the filly, he said, "I have to wait and see. We have to take our time."
Owner, trainer and breeder King Leatherbury has dreamed of getting Ben's Cat to the Breeders' Cup and the horse just keeps making the case for himself. In his latest argument to be supplemented, the 7-year-old Parker's Storm Cat gelding rallied briskly through the stretch to win Friday's $200,000, Grade III Parx Dash by 1 1/4 lengths over the odds-on favorite, Tightend Touchdown, who saw a three-race winning streak snapped. Bridgetown, a three-time participant in Breeders' Cup turf races, finished third. With Julian Pimental in the irons, Ben's Cat completed 5 furlongs on good turf in 59.42 seconds. He now has won six of his last eight and 22 of 23 career starts.
Sunday's $200,000 (Canadian), Grade III Highlander Stakes at Woodbine was rained off the turf and onto the all-weather track but that didn't seem to bother Go Blue Or Go Home, who led virtually all the way to a 5 1/4-length win. Super Chunky and Dan the Tin Man both rallied from far back to finish second and third but Go Blue Or Go Home was long gone before they could get going. The 6 furlongs went in 1:10.46 with Luis Contreras riding the winner. It was the third straight win for Go Blue Or Go Home, a 4-year-old son of Bluegrass Cat who has made a rapid climb up the class ladder.
Saint Leon, belying his 8 years of age, led the way through a brisk pace in Saturday's $100,000 Arlington Sprint and held on to win by a head over Hogy. Global Power finished third but was demoted for interference, elevating Chamberlain Bridge to show money. Saint Leon, a Stravinsky gelding, got the 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:03.00 with E.T. Baird up. "His speed is just natural," Baird said. "There are no secrets about it. He just breaks out of there fast and likes to go fast. If you leave him alone, he's the type of horse who can show a rider how to ride if you pay attention to him. He'll give you the cues." The one-time $5,000 claimer now has won back-to-back races this year.
Silver Cloud and Tripski both rallied to the front in the late going in Saturday's $100,000 Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint at Calder but it was Silver Cloud a head in front at the line. The early leader, Determinato, remained determined, finishing just another neck back in third. Silver Cloud, with Fernando Jara up, ran 5 furlongs on good turf in 56.08 seconds. He is a 5-year-old Rahy gelding. "The plan was to go to the lead and that didn't work out," Jara said. "When the gate opened he broke a little slow. I wasn't expecting that but he recovered right away from that and he put himself in a good position for me. They were going really fast the first part and I just waited until the stretch and he kept coming."
And in the finale of Calder's "Summit of Speed" program, Sweet Little Lion posted a 16-1 upset in the $100,000 Hollywood Wildcat Stakes for fillies and mares going 7 1/2 furlongs on the lawn. The 5-year-old Red Bullet mare, out of the Rahy mare Perfect Catch, pressed the pace before winning a close, four-way finish. Miss Montreal was second, a neck back of the winner. Angelica Zapata was a head farther back in third and it was another nose to Ann of the Dance in fourth to get you home with a slice of the $2 superfecta payout of $61,929.60. Jesus Rios steered Sweet Little Lion and finished in 1:30.26. "She really likes this course," winning training Gregory Griffith said. "Last time we made a mistake and ran her on the dirt. I should have never done that."
Filly & Mare Sprint
Villanesca, with Joel Rosario up for Kiaran McLaughlin and Darley, kicked home smartly to win Friday's $100,000 Magnolia Jackson Stakes at Belmont Park by a half length over Expression. Promise Me a Cat finished third. Villanesca, a 4-year-old Distorted Humor filly, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:16.45. It was her fourth win from seven starts.
Schiaparelli led all the way in Saturday's $150,000, Grade II Royal Heroine Mile for fillies and mares and won by a half length over Egg Drop. My Gi Gi finished third. Schiaparelli, a 5-year-old Ghostzapper mare, got home in 1:34.11 over firm turf with Joe Talamo handling the reins. A consistent performer, Schiaparelli picked up her first graded stakes win. "She did what she was supposed to do, and I think with a legitimate pace," winning trainer Mike Puype said. "Maybe the last sixteenth wasn't quite as good as the rest of the race, but it didn't matter. She did what she needed to do. I don't know what we're going to do next, but we'll probably keep her long on turf."
Sky Commander was elevated to the win in Saturday's $125,000 (Canadian) Charlie Barley Stakes for 3-year-olds at Woodbine when Golden Sabre, first across the wire, was set down to fourth for interference late in the stretch run while making a striking run along the outside. That stewards' ruling also promoted Clearly Now to second and Kid Dreams, the victim of the bumping, to third. Sky Commander, a Sky Mesa gelding out of the Wild Again mare Mighty Mags, had advanced from mid-pack to the lead in the stretch run but was outfinished by Sky Commander. The race went in 1:34.34. Sky Commander, trained by Mark Casse, was awarded his fourth win from 11 starts after recently stepping up from the claiming ranks.
Raging Daoist nipped pacesetting Big Sur by a nose on the wire in Saturday's $100,000, Grade III Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park. Csaba was third and the favorite, Discreet Dancer, finished a flat fourth. Raging Daoist, dispatched at 33-1 odds, got home in 1:36.96 under Victor Santiago. The 4-year-old Kafwain gelding won his first stakes race of any kind. "I was pointing him for this race since we go here," winning trainer Buddy Carlisimo Jr said. "I think he's a perfect miler."
Spin the King got a nose in front of odds-on favorite Go Greeley at the finish of Sunday's $150,000 Clarendon Stakes over the Woodbine all-weather course. Maritime Pulpit led the way and saved third. Spin the King, a Giant Gizmo colt, ran 5 1/2 furlongs under Luis Contreras in 1:04.76.
Skylander Girl took command in the stretch run of Saturday's $150,000 (Canadian) My Dear Stakes at Woodbine and kicked clear, winning by 3 lengths over Alovelybunch. The favorite, Sky America, came from well back to finish third, a neck farther in arrears. Skylander Girl, an Ontario-bred Stroll filly, covered 5 furlongs on the all-weather course in 58.24 seconds with James McAleney up.
Look Quickly advanced quickly in the late going in Saturday's $50,000 Juan Gonzalez Memorial at Pleasanton in California, then drove clear to win by 1 1/4 lengths over the favorite, Side Letter. Purims Faith was third. Look Quickly, a California-bred daughter of Run Away and Hide, got 5 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:03.51 with Pedro Terrero up.
El Kazeem scored his third Group 1 win in just under six weeks while landing Saturday's Coral Eclipse at Sandown. The win earned him a break -- then a likely shot at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe this fall in Paris. Mukhadram took the lead in the Eclipse with Mars tracking him. But when James Doyle hit the gas on El Kazeem, he quickly advanced to second, took the lead with a furlong left and won by 2 lengths. Declaration of War was along for second and Mukhadram held third. El Kazeem, a 5-year-old son of Dubawi, ran 1 1/4 miles on good to firm turf in 2:04.35. He came into the race off a victory in the Group 1 Prince of Wales' Stakes at Royal Ascot and, before that, the Group 1 Gold Cup at the Curragh. Since finishing fifth in his career debut, El Kazeem has posted seven wins and four seconds in 11 starts despite missing most of last year with a fracture in his pelvis. Now, trainer Roger Charlton said he will bypass the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot and use the Juddmonte International at York or the Irish Champion Stakes as a prep for the Arc.
Lucky Speed, outrun early, came with a late burst of speed to capture Sunday's Group 1 Deutches Derby at Hamburg, beating French invader Tres Bleu by 3/4 of a length. Nordvulkan was just a neck farther back in third at the wire. Lucky Speed, ridden by Andrasch Starke and trained by Peter Schiergen, was caught in quarters last year by the quarantine that essentially shut down German racing. But Schiergen said he has improved steadily this season and will target the big German races, possibly including the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden in September. International competition, the trainer said, likely will wait until the 2014 season.
Military Attack Sunday was named Hong Kong's Horse of the Year for the 2012-13 season, ending the two-year reign of Ambitious Dragon. Military Attack, a 5-year-old Oratorio gelding trained by John Moore, earned the honor thanks to victories in the Group 1 Audemars Piguet QE II Cup in April and the Group 1 Singapore Airlines Cup the following month. He also won the Citibank Hong Kong Gold Cup and the Premier Plate. Ambitious Dragon wasn't shut out at the awards ceremony. The 6-year-old won the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Mile as well as the Sha Tin Trophy and the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup and was named Champion Miler.
Effie Trinket, with Rosie Napravnik up, pressed the pace in Sunday's $100,000 Diamondrella Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, went to the fore in the stretch and won off by 1 1/4 lengths over the favorite, Bella Castani, finished second and Fab Flowers was third. Effie Trinket, a daughter of Freud, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:21.23.
Need You Now tracked the pace early in Sunday's $70,000 Le Cle Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, went by the leader at mid-stretch and went on to win by 2 3/4 lengths. Redressthebalance and Judy In Disguise also ran best late to fill the trifecta. Need You Now, an Irish-bred Kheleyf filly, ran a mile on firm turf in 1:34.76 for jockey Julien Leparoux.
Customer Base was reserved behind a breakaway leader in Friday's $70,000 Lucie Manet Stakes for fillies and mares, advanced three-wide when the time came and won by 1 1/2 lengths. Midnight Music ran well late to take second and Miss Pippa finished third. Customer Base, a 4-year-old Lemon Drop Kid filly, toured 1 1/4 miles of firm turf in 2:01.97 under Mike Smith.
Change of Command and Sleepless Knight both rallied from off the pace in Friday's $75,000 Elkwood Stakes with the former getting the better of the resulting stretch duel by a neck. Tune Me In finished third. Change of Command, a 6-year-old Gators N Bears gelding, ran a mile on firm turf in 1:33.33 with Joe Bravo in the irons.
Acting Naughty came from a pace-stalking trip to win Saturday's $125,000 (Canadian) Sweet Briar Too Stakes for fillies and mares by a nose over Dixie Strike and another neck over the favorite, Heavenly Pride. Acting Naughty, a 4-year-old Offlee Wild filly, got 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:23.10 under Tyler Pizarro.
Gosailgo sailed right to the lead in Sunday's $50,000 Boeing Handicap for fillies and mares and wasn't caught. At the wire, the 4-year-old Finality filly was 5 lengths in front of runner-up Exclusive Diva. E Z Kitty and Champagneandcaviar completed the order of finish. Gosailgo, with Deborah Hoonan handling the reins, traveled 1 mile on a fast track in 1:35.08.
Silver Tongued rallied from last of nine to win Sunday's $75,000 Daniel Searns Cleveland Gold Cup for Ohio-bred 3-year-olds by 1/2 length over Pyrite Green. The favorite, Plain Ol' Willard, settled for third. Silver Tongued, a Flatter colt, ran 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:52.24 with Lori Wydick in the irons.
Broadway Empire dueled his way to the lead in Saturday's $50,000 (Canadian) Ky Alta Stakes for 3-year-olds, then quickly kicked clear to win by 7 1/4 lengths. Just Win Baby was second, 7 lengths ahead of For Cash. Broadway Empire, an Empire Maker gelding, ran a mile on a fast track in 1:38 1/5 with Rico Walcott up. He finished sixth in the Grade III Affirmed Handicap at Hollywood Park in his previous start and Just Win Baby was fifth in that heat.
Ten Thirty led from the early going in Friday's $50,000 (Canadian) R.K. (Red) Smith Handicap for 3-year-old fillies and cruised home first by 6 lengths over Portofappeal. I Raffaella finished third. Ten Thirty, a Corinthian filly, ran a mile on a fast track in 1:40, also with Walcott up.
Mama's Mad Money blew right by odds-on favorite Bet Your Socks early in Friday's $60,000 Iowa Stallion Futurity for 2-year-olds and gave her 10 rivals the slip, winning by 3 1/4 lengths. Bet Your Socks held second and Holy Missile was third. Mama's Mad Money, an Oklahoma-bred Save Big Money filly, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:07.03 under Sasha Risenhoover.
Bigsugarush led from the start in Saturday's $60,000 Iowa Stallion Stakes for 3-year-olds and sweetened the advantage at the end to win by 4 1/4 lengths. Rushin' Rubietta was second and Bet Your Life finished third. Bigsugarush, a Kipling gelding, ran 1 mile and 70 yards on a fast track in 1:45.09 with David Mello in the irons.
My Perfect Ten kicked clear at the end of Saturday's $50,000 Ellis Park Turf Stakes for fillies and mares, winning off by 3 1/4 lengths over Run a Risk. The favorite, Soft Whisper, was another neck back in third. My Perfect Ten, a 5-year-old Perfect Soul mare, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:40.89 under Roberto Morales.
Saturday was Louisiana Legends night at Evangeline, with seven $100,000 stakes for state-bred steeds.
Sunbean, once a fringe Kentucky Derby contender, easily drew off late to win the Mile Colts and Geldings Stakes by 5 3/4 lengths over Skip the Pinot. Mischievous Mama won the Mile Fillies Stakes by an even more emphatic 8 lengths. Sittin At the Bar scored by 4 lengths in the Ladies Sprint. Unitas passed most of his rivals late to take the Sprint by 1/2 length.
String King stalked, then drew clear late to win the Turf by 3 3/4 lengths. Little Ms. Protocol accounted for the Distaff, winning by a polite 2 1/4 lengths. And Populist Politics ran well late to take the Classic by a half length over Hud's Rebellion with the favorite, Heavy On Themister, chugging in fifth.
Five $50,000 stakes, all on the grass and all for Virginia-breds bejeweled the Saturday card.
Long On Value won the Jamestown Stakes for 2-year-olds by 2 1/2 lengths over the favorite, Gallivanting, finishing 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:05.02. Lion Down by Me came from well back to win the Oakley Stakes for fillies and mares at 5 1/2 furlongs by 3/4 lengths over pacesetter Heaven Knows What. The 1 1/16-miles Bookmeade Stakes for fillies and mares went to Lady Olivia by a neck over Leda's Swan.
Dannhauser pressed the pace before splitting rivals to win the 1 1/16-mile Bert Allen Stakes by 2 lengths over Powder Mountain. And Boltin' Out won the 5-furlongs Punch Line Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths over Jake Rattle N Roll.
Lone Star Park
Circustown pounced late to win Saturday's $100,000 TTA Sales Futurity for 2-year-old colts and geldings by 1 1/4 lengths over Time Iz Flyin. Check Ride finished third. Circustown, an Early Flyer colt, ran 5 furlongs on a fast track in 58.30 seconds with Cliff Berry up.
Berry also steered Closing Report to a 3-lengths win over Scooter's Choice in the $100,000 TTA Sales Futurity for juvenile fillies. The Closing Argument miss scooted 5 furlongs in 58.27 seconds.
Coyote Legend, the even-money favorite, dueled down the lane with Ojos de Hielo in Saturday's $50,000 Assault Stakes for Texas-breds before prevailing by a neck. Cat's Classy Rider finished third. Coyote Legend, a 6-year-old Gold Legend gelding, ran the mile on a fast track in 1:37.59, also with Berry aboard.
Lasting Bubbles dominated in the lane in the $50,000 Valor Farm Stakes for state-bred fillies and mares, winning by 7 1/4 lengths over Molly's Honour. Wimbledon Star, the logical hunch bet on the final days of Wimbledon, was a good hunch if you bet her to show. Lasting Bubbles, a 5-year-old Pulling Punches mare, finished 6 furlongs in 1:09.63 under Fabio Arguello Jr. Berry finished fifth on Tastefullyexcessive.