Verrazano's victory in the $1 million Haskell at Monmouth Park, coupled with Palace Malice's win in the $600,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga set up a likely showdown for division leadership in the Travers Stakes -- the "Midsummer Derby" highlight of the Saratoga meeting.
Novellist's victory in the King George at Ascot puts the German trainee on course for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe this fall in Paris.
There were some breakthroughs by older horses, too, as Richard's Kid and Kettle Corn posted rare victories on the West Coast.
And scattered throughout the weekend were pointers toward monumental clashes to come as the season winds down to its autumnal climaxes.
Peruse, as the epic continues.
The only race Verrazano has ever lost was the Kentucky Derby -- a 14th place debacle that casts new doubt on the ability of the Run for the Roses to actually turn up the best of the 3-year-olds. The More Than Ready colt abandoned the Triple Crown trail after the Derby and made his comeback June 16 in the Grade III Pegasus, winning by 9 1/4 lengths. In Saturday's $1 million, Grade I William Hill Haskell Invitational, against a field that included Preakness winner and Belmont runner-up Oxbow, Verrazano did it again. Attending the pace into the stretch turn, he responded immediately when called upon by jockey John Velazquez, quickly shot to the lead and vanished off the radar screens of the competition. Trainer Todd Pletcher was cheerleading as his star crossed the wire 9 3/4 lengths in front with Power Broker second and Micromanage third. Oxbow finished fourth and Kentucky Derby runner-up Golden Soul was never better than last of seven. Verrazano finished the 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:50.68. "He made a huge statement today," Pletcher said. "This was one of the most impressive, if not the most impressive, races by any 3-year-old this year. I would say this was his most impressive race for a horse that's near perfect minus the sloppy race in the Kentucky Derby." Still, he said, the race was a bit of a test. "The plan all along was to run in the Haskell and, if he showed he could handle the distances of a mile and an eighth plus, the Travers would be a logical next spot." The Grade I Travers is Aug. 24 at Saratoga.
Speaking of Saratoga, Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice attended the pace in Saturday's $600,000, Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes, worked hard to get the lead at mid-stretch and rolled home first by a length. Will Take Charge, running well late, looked like he needed a little more ground and settled for second. Moreno did all the early work and held on for third. Palace Malice, a Curlin colt, ran 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:47.37 with Mike Smith up. "Everything went absolutely as we talked about it this morning when Mike and I went over the race," winning trainer Todd Pletcher said. "He relaxed nicely and finished up pretty well in a very, very good time. We got the race over the track. The horse keeps getting better and better and today was arguably his best performance yet. Hopefully, on to the Travers." Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said to watch out for Will Take Charge for the remainder of the year. "He's a little bit light, and he's just getting his growth," Lukas said. "The next 30 days should make a difference. I can see him being very effective in the Travers. I think he'll even get better late in the fall."
Speaking of the Travers, trainer Shug McGaughey has his Kentucky Derby winner, Orb, back in training for that race, adding to the potential drama. Orb finished fourth in the Preakness and has not raced since getting home third in the Belmont Stakes.
A bit down the class ladder, Darley Stable runners finished 1-2 in Friday's $100,000 Curlin Stakes at Saratoga, a conditioned event for 3-year-olds. But the first finisher, Transparent, was set down to fifth for coming out in the stretch run and causing trouble. That left the 1A, Romansh, to take home the winner's share despite finishing 2 lengths in arrears to his entry mate. Bad Hombre was awarded second and Edge of Reality was promoted to third. Proud Strike, the victim, settled for fourth-place money. The 9 furlongs on a fast track went in 1:49.56. Romansh is a Bernardini colt trained by Tom Albertrani and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. Asked whether Romansh could jump all the way to the Grade I Travers for his next outing, Albertrani said, "I think we could entertain that a little bit. Jimmy Bell, president of Darley, said for a fourth career start, Romansh's effort was a "big step forward and shows he belongs with these upper division 3-year-olds. That was a promising effort for sure."
At Thistledown, Title Contender shadowed the pace in Saturday's $100,000, Grade III Ohio
Derby, advanced determinedly through the stretch to take the lead and then held off the late run of Braveman to win by a length. Handsome Tiger finished well to get show money. Title Contender, a Pulpit gelding trained by Wayne Catalano, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:43.80. It was the second win of his career, although he always has been ambitiously placed, running in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, the Grade I Cash Call Futurity and the Grade II Rebel Stakes previously, all without much success.
German-trained Novellist stormed to a 5-length thrashing of seven rivals in Saturday's Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. Among the vanquished were Irish Derby winner Trading Leather, who finished second, and French-based Cirrus des Aigles, who couldn't quicken when needed and settled for fourth, behind Hillstar. With Johnny Murtagh up, Novellist was never in danger after taking the lead 2 furlongs out and traveled 1 1/2 miles on good to firm going in a sparkling, course-record 1:24.60. Novellist is Irish-bred but by the German-bred sire Monsun and out of a German-bred mare, Night Lagoon. Trained by Andreas Wohler, Novellist now has four straight wins in four different countries. He finished his 3-year-old campaign with a victory in the Group 1 Gran Premio Del Jockey Club Italiano. This year he has reeled off wins in the Group II Grosser Preis von Badischen Unternehmer, the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and Saturday's star-studded affair. Wohler, looking squarely at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, noted the King George is "the first big comparison between the best older horses and 3-year-olds and he's beaten the best 3-year-olds ... . His main target now is the Arc and he will have one race beforehand. The two options are the Prix Foy and Grosser Preis von Baden and it's more likely we'd go for the Grosser Preis." Jim Bolger, trainer of Trading Leather, said he will aim for the Juddmonte International at York and then the Irish Champion Stakes. Corine Barande-Barbe, trainer of Cirrus des Aigles, said her horse needed the work and ran well despite suffering his second straight loss. "But I am not disappointed," she said. "Competition always improves him. Even if we do work at home, it is not the same and he knows a lot as well."
Elusive Kate was near the front throughout in Sunday's Group 1 Prix Rothschild at Deauville, then went clear with 2 furlongs to run and showed her heels to the rest, winning by 2 1/2 lengths over Duntle. Kenhope was third and Giofra, among the favorites, was eased at the end and finished last. Elusive Kate, a 4-year-old, American-bred daughter of Elusive Quality, also won this race last year. She was coming off a win in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket -- a win still under appeal as a result of her drifting out through the straight, impeding Sky Lantern's late run. Trainer John Gosden said Elusive Kate is ticketed for the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown but did not rule out a return to Deauville for the Prix Jacques le Marois. She has four wins and one third at the Normandy course.
Neatico won a deep-stretch battle with the favorite, Opposite, to capture Sunday's Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis Bayerisches Zuchtrennen by 1 1/4 lengths. The duo swapped leads in the final furlong before Neatico, trained by Peter Schiergen and ridden by Andreas Wohler, got clear of the French runner by 1 1/4 lengths at the finish. Hunter's Light was third while making his first start since finishing sixth at Kranji in the Singapore Airlines International Cup. Neatico, a 6-year-old son of Medicean, ran the 1 1/4 miles on good turf in 2:04.07, picking up his third straight win.
Back in the States:
Kettle Corn popped up at the right time Saturday -- in the final yards of Saturday's $200,000, Grade II San Diego Handicap at Del Mar, nipping Paynter by a half-length for the win. Batti Man, the pacesetter, held on for third. Kettle Corn, with Victor Espinoza up, ran 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather course in 1:41.83. Although he has been competitive at the highest level for 2 1/2 years, the 6-year-old Candy Ride horse posted a rare win -- only his second since December of 2011. "He always runs well in the big races," winning trainer John Sadler said. "He's been a very good, honest, blue-collar horse. We're really happy. He deserves to win a big one." Sadler said he will bring Kettle Corn back for another try in the Grade I Pacific Classic next month. Paynter, meanwhile, was not disgraced as he continued his comeback from near-fatal illnesses that struck after he won last year's Grade I Haskell. "He never seemed comfortable out there," jockey Rafael Bejarano said. "I felt like I had plenty of horse, but he just wasn't liking what he was doing."
Saturday's $100,000 Prairie Meadows Handicap was easy pickings for Golden Ticket and trainer Kenny McPeek. Coming off a second-place finish behind Breeders' Cup Classic winner Fort Larned in his last race, Golden Ticket was the prohibitive favorite in Saturday's run and performed up to his notices. With Terry Thompson up, the 4-year-old Speightstown colt loped along comfortably until called upon, then opened up and won by 8 lengths. Kentucky-based Worldly, whose last win came in this race two years ago, was the best of the rest with Red Lead another 8 lengths back in third.
Joyful Victory posted an easy victory Sunday in the $200,000, Grade II Molly Pitcher Stakes at Monmouth Park. With Rosie Napravnik up, the 5-year-old Tapit mare was out in front early and rolled home down the stretch to win by 7 lengths, well in hand. Wine Princess was second in a strung-out finish, with Lady Samurai third. Joyful Victory ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:46.09, winning for the third time in her last four starts. "I told Rosie that we didn't need the lead," said trainer Larry Jones, "but just not to take her out of her game. This horse has such an amazing cruising speed that she forces the other horses to run harder to keep up."
Filly & Mare Sprint
Lighthouse Bay scored a 21-1 upset win in Saturday's $300,000, Grade I Prioress Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga, tracking the pace, surging to the lead at the sixteenth pole and edging clear for a half-length victory. Early leader Wildcat Lily held second and Irish Lute finished third. The odds-on favorite, Kauai Katie, was bumped at the start, raced wide around the turn and finished last of six. Lighthouse Bay, a Speightstown filly, finished 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.29 with Joe Rocco Jr. aboard. "I thought she'd be capable of maybe doing this at some point, and when this race came up with a short field, we decided with the owner to go ahead and go in this race," said winning trainer George Weaver, who picked up his first Grade I victory. Kauai Katie "just didn't really fire today," said trainer Todd Pletcher. He said jockey John Velazquez reported "she warmed up beautiful, left there a little flat and never really picked it up."
Sweet Marini ran away with Saturday's $200,000 Fleet Treat Stakes for California-bred 3-year-old fillies at Del Mar. At the end, the Marino Marini filly was 4 3/4 lengths ahead of her closest rival, Qiaona. Warren's Vendetta was up for third and the odds-on favorite, Doinghardtimeagain, faded to finish fourth after pressing the early pace. Sweet Marini, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Martin Garcia, ran 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:22.25.
Geeky Gorgeous upset Sunday's $100,000 Regret Stakes for fillies and mares at Monmouth Park, rallying from well back, then getting clear in the stretch to win by 2 1/2 lengths over She's Ordained. Same Cross was third and the favorite, Glamour Puss, crossed the line fifth. Geeky Gorgeous, a 4-year-old Devil His Due filly, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.04 under Joe Bravo.
Filly & Mare Turf
Laughing dueled Centre Court into submission in Saturday's $600,000, Grade I Diana Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga, then held off the late run of Dream Peace to win by a head. Stephanie's Kitten also ran well late to finish third, just another half-length back. Samitar and Centre Court completed the order of finish. Laughing, an Irish-bred filly by Dansili, ran 9 furlongs on the firm inner turf in 1:47.24 with Jose Lezcano in the irons. It was her first Grade I win but followed a triumph last month in the Grade III Eatontown Handicap at Monmouth Park. "She had the winter off and she came back well," trainer Alan Goldbert said. "She ran a pretty good race last time, first time out of the box. She came out of the race just great, so (owner Richard Santulli) said, 'Let's take a shot.'" Goldberg suggested the Grade II Balston Spa Aug. 24 or the Grade I Flower Bowl at Belmont Park Sept. 28 might be on Laughing's dance card.
Starstruck joined the battle for the lead turning for home in Sunday's $150,000, Grade III Matchmaker Stakes at Monmouth Park, edged clear late and won by 1 1/4 lengths over late-running Naples Bay. Minakshi finished third and the favorite, Channel Lady, faded late to finish next-last of seven. Laughing was scratched to run at Saratoga. Starstruck, a 4-year-old, Irish-bred daughter of Galileo, ran 9 furlongs on firm going in 1:49.27 with Rosie Napravnik up. It was her first graded stakes try but since arriving from Ireland in the spring, Starstruck has posted two wins, a second and a third from four starts. "She's finally putting it all together both physically and mentally," winning trainer Larry Jones said. "I'm looking forward to finding other stakes for her."
Silver Max is back on the grass and back in form after a short detour to the main track. The 4-year-old Badge of Silver colt, almost invincible last summer, showed his old spark in a front-running victory in Sunday's $150,000, Grade III Oceanport Stakes at Monmouth Park. With Robby Albarado up, Silver Max set a torrid pace, shadowed by Howe Great into the stretch run. At that point, he continued, Howe Great did not and no one else came along to challenge. At the wire, it was Silver Max by 5 3/4 lengths, followed by Howe Great and Hudson Steele. The 1 1/16 miles on firm turf went in 1:40.02. Last summer, Silver Max won six straight, including stakes races at four different tracks. Then he won an off-the-turf stakes at Churchill Downs in early June and trainer Dale Romans decided to give him a chance in the Grade III Prairie Meadows Cornhusker last month, only to collect show money.
Five Iron went right to the front in Saturday's $125,000 (Canadian) Toronto Cup Stakes for 3-year-olds, cutting in front of some of his rivals, then wasn't challenged, winning by 1 3/4 lengths. Are You Kidding Me finished second and Comes the Dream was third. Five Iron, a Sharp Humor colt, finished 9 furlongs on firm turf in 1:47.41 with Luis Contreras in the irons. The stewards dismissed objections by two rival jockeys involving the start. Five Iron also won the Victoria Park Stakes over the Woodbine all-weather course last month, giving his connections some options.
Nate's Mineshaft, one of the saltier horses around early in 2012, seems on a comeback after winning a tough allowance event Saturday over the Arlington Park green. The 6-year-old Mineshaft ridgling led all the way and won by a head over Trend, running the mile on yielding going in 1:39.93. His new trainer, Anne Smith, said the owners hope to get Nate's Mineshaft to the Grade I Arlington Million on Aug. 17 or, failing that, to the Washington Park Handicap on the main track two weeks later.
Winning Cause came from near the back of the field to win Sunday's $100,000 Sir Cat Stakes for 3-year-olds at Saratoga by 3/4 of a length over pacesetter Joha. One More Cat finished third. Winning Cause, a Giant's Causeway colt, ran the mile on the firm inner turf course in 1:35.18 under Joel Rosario. Winning Cause, trained by Todd Pletcher, won the Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland this spring, then detoured to Woodbine, where he finished second in a pair of 3-year-old stakes. It was only his third start on the turf, following two unsuccessful heats at the Spa last summer in his career debut.
Points Offthebench got to the lead four-wide early in the stretch run in Sunday's $300,000, Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar and held off Goldencents in the final yards to win by a head. Jimmy Creed was well back in third. Points Offthebench, a 4-year-old Benchmark gelding, ran 6 furlongs on the all-weather course in 1:09.04 under Mike Smith and earned an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint through the "Win and You're In" program. He was stepping up in class after winning two straight allowance events at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park. He now has five wins from seven starts for trainer Tim Yakteen, who picked up his first Grade I victory. "He was training great, we drew a great post and he was ready for the task, so I felt confident going into the race," Yakteen said. "He ran huge and Mike gave him a great ride."
Forty Tales took advantage of a fast early clip in Sunday's $200,000, Grade II Amsterdam Stakes for 3-year-olds at Saratoga, swept by in deep stretch and won by 3/4 of a length over Mico Margarita. Salutos Amigos added some pesos to the trifecta by getting up for third. Forty Tales, a Tale of the Cat colt, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:15.64 with Joel Rosario in the irons. "He likes this distance," said Tristan Barry, assistant to winning trainer Todd Pletcher. "He does his thing. He comes from off the pace and runs them down. He seems comfortable doing that, and we're happy he likes it."
Immortal Eyes took a daylight lead in the stretch run in Sunday's $100,000 Teddy Drone Stakes at Monmouth Park and held on to win by a neck over Javerre. He Can Run finished third. Immortal Eyes, an 8-year-old Greatness gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.82 under Paco Lopez. He had never run at Monmouth until this spring and now has won all three of his starts at the Jersey Shore track.
Central Banker, making his first start since finishing fifth in the Grade III Delta Downs Jackpot last November, swept by the early leaders in the stretch run of Thursday's $100,000 Smirnoff Sorbet Quick Call Stakes at Saratoga and went on to win by 3 3/4 lengths. No Distinction was second and The Brothers War finished third. The favorite, Weekend Hideaway, faded to finish seventh. Central Banker is a Speightstown colt out of the Go For Gin mare Rhum. He ran 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:02.56 with Joel Rosario riding for trainer Al Stall Jr. The race was restricted to 3-year-olds.
Nikkis Smartypants pressed the pace in Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian), Grade III Royal North Stakes for fillies and mares at Woodbine, drove clear in deep stretch and won by 1 1/2 lengths over fellow long shot Why Katherine. The early leader, Early River, held on for third and the favorite, Sensible Lady, checked in last of seven. Nikkis Smartypants, a 4-year-old, Ontario-bred daughter of Smarty Jones, ran 6 furlongs on a good turf course in 1:09.49 with Eurico Da Silva steering.
Richard's Kid was winless in 10 starts since last year's Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar. Obviously, this was the race he needed as 8-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid gamely battled the favorite, Sky Kingdom, into submission in the late going of Friday's $100,000 renewal. The early leader, Blueskiesnrainbows, held third. Richard's Kid, with Joe Talamo up, ran 1 1/2 miles on the all-weather track in 2:30.93. Although he has struggled since an extended tour in Dubai, the old warrier has been competitive in the past year, posting five thirds from the 10 races, all graded stakes.
Pants On Fire rallied through the stretch to win Sunday's $200,000, Grade II Monmouth Cup by 1 3/4 lengths over Hymn Book as the favorite, Take Charge Indy, was pulled up, vanned off and headed for surgery. Pants On Fire, a 5-year-old son of Jump Start, ran 1 1/16 miles on the fast Monmouth Park main track in 1:45.86. Rosie Napravnik, who rode Pants On Fire to a ninth-place finish in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, finished third aboard Ponzi Scheme. Pants On Fire now has two wins and three thirds from his last five starts. "I just tried to keep him on the outside because he doesn't like dirt in his face," Lopez said. "I had to go inside Gary [Stevens, aboard Take Charge Indy] a bit when he pulled up. But my horse just kept doing and tried hard to the wire."
Le Gris stalked the pace in Saturday's $100,000 D.S. "Shine" Young Memorial for Louisiana-breds, took the lead into the stretch and easily held off the favorite, Pioneer's Era, winning by 2 1/4 lengths. Le Gris, a Half Ours gelding, finished 5 1/2 muddy furlongs in 1:04.04 under Richard Eramia.
Roll Out the Band led all the way and won by a neck over Mays or Mantle in Sunday's $200,000 Rio Grande Senor Futurity for New Mexico-breds at Ruidoso Downs. Roll Out the Band, a Roll Hennessey Roll gelding, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:05.40 with Alfredo Juarez Jr. up. Mays or Mantle is the "name of the week" and depends on whether you're an American League or National League fan.
Del Rio Harbor led from the early stages in Sunday's $50,000 Emerald Express at Emerald Downs and survived the late bid of first-timer Illumination Road to win by 3/4 of a length. Del Rio Harbor, a Washington-bred Harbor the Gold gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.75 under Rocco Bowen. He now has two straight wins.
Among the first-time starters, Corfu led from the start in a Thurdsay maiden event at Saratoga and won by a half-length. John Velazquez was up for Todd Pletcher aboard the Coolmore-owned Malibu Moon colt.
Station House, a Rock Hard Ten colt trained by Richard Mandella, won at first asking going a mile on the turf at Del Mar on Wednesday.
Solid Sender went to the far outside in the stretch run of Saturday's $100,000 D.S. "Shine" Young Memorial Futurity for state-breds at Evangeline Downs, breezed by pacesetting Whata Friend and won by 2 1/2 lengths over that rival. The Early Flyer filly ran 5 1/2 furlongs on a muddy track in 1:04.15 with Gerard Melancon up.
That's the Idea cleared from the No. 10 post position to take the early lead in Sunday's $200,000 Rio Grande Senorita Futurity for state-bred juvenile fillies at Ruidoso Downs and held sway, winning by 1 1/4 lengths over Lady Genius. That's the Idea, a daughter of Diabolical, finished 5 1/2 sloppy furlongs in 1:03.97 under Enrique Gomez.
Watch out for Our Amazing Rose, a Yes It's True filly owned by Repole Stables and conditioned by Todd Pletcher. The filly won at first asking Thursday at Saratoga, easily kicking clear at the end to score by 7 3/4 lengths with John Velazquez hand-riding her to the wire, finishing 5 furlongs in 57.68 seconds.
Cadron, a Broken Vow filly, was a first-out winner Thursday at Del Mar for trainer Bob Baffert, winning by a neck as at the favorite over a late-closing long shot.
Clear Pasaj led from the start in Thursday's $100,000 Lotsa Talc Stakes for New York-bred distaffers and held on to win by a nose over the favorite, Willet, and another nose over Miss Valentine. Clear Pasaj, a 4-year-old Smoke Glacken filly, was timed in 1:24.10 for 7 furlongs on a fast track. Jose Ortiz rode.
Madrilena led from the start in Saturday's $75,000 Power by Far Handicap for Pennsylvania-bred fillies and mares and just did hold on, winning by a nose over Chulula. Estrada's Girl finished third. Madrilena, a 6-year-old Stormy Atlantic mare, about 5 furlongs on firm turf in 58.80 seconds under Kendrick Carmouche.
Big Feat led from the git-go in Saturday's $75,000 Crowd Pleaser Handicap for state-bred 3-year-olds and won off by 1 1/2 lengths over A Fleet Attitude. Fessed Up finished third. Big Feat, a Mutakddim gelding, ran about 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:48.64 under Josean Ramirez.
Street Gem surged to a big lead early in the stretch run in Saturday's $60,000 Desert Vixen Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, then held off Jean's Surprise to win by 1 1/4 lengths. The odds-on favorite, Goarsegold, got show money with a mild late bid. Street Gem, a Street Boss filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:42.08 with Daniel Coa in the irons.
Smart Promotion pressed the pace in Saturday's $50,000 (Canadian) Count Latham Handicap for 3-year-olds, went by and posted an upset win by 2 lengths over For Cash. The Kentucky-bred Smart Strike colt ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:45 3/5 with Fernando Perez riding.
Canaveral Leader rocketed away from her rivals in the stretch to win Saturday's $50,000 (Canadian) Northlands Oaks by 6 1/4 lengths over the favorite, Silkworm. Canaveral Leader, an Alberta-bred daughter of Cape Canaveral, ran the mile on a fast track in 1:39 4/5 for jockey Shannon Beauregard.
True Thought made the stretch run all his own in Saturday's $50,000 (Canadian) Edmonton Juvenile, winning off by 5 1/2 lengths over Go Max. True Thought, a Louisiana-bred gelding by Yes It's True, finished 6 furlongs in 1:12 2/5 with Rico Walcott aboard.
Holiday Babe set a pressured pace in the $50,000 (Canadian) Princess Margaret Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, then worked clear to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Pay to Go Home. Holiday Babe, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Harlan's Holiday, finished in 1:13 2/4 with Walcott up.
Only three went to the post in Saturday's $50,000 Miss Ohio Stakes for state-bred 2-year-old fillies. Of those, only Needmore Flattery got much attention from the bettors and they were right. The Flatter filly drew off easily to win by 8 1/4 lengths over Crafty Blue Kat. It was another 12 1/4 lengths back to Abslewtly Devine in third. Needmore Flattery got the 5 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:06.06 with Irwin Rosendo up.
Uptown Gal stalked the pace in Sunday's $75,000 Norm Barron Queen City Oaks for Ohio-bred fillies, then kicked into gear in the stretch run to win by 5 1/4 lengths. Deniro's Saint came from the clouds to finish second and pacesetting Blazing Bling got home third. Uptown Gal, a daughter of Don't Get Mad, ran 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:53.37 with Gabriel Lagunes up.
Good Karma led most of the way in Sunday's $50,000 Luther Burbank Handicap for fillies and mares, gave up the lead and then came again to win by a head over Lady Aspen with Halo Dolly third. Good Karma, a 5-year-old, Italian-bred mare by Toubogg, ran 1 1/16 miles on good turf in 1:47.32 with Juan Hernandez in the irons.
Catrageous came from near the back of the field to win Saturday's $50,000 Wine Country Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 2 1/4 lengths over Life Is a Stone. Sassy Brunette finished third. Catrageous, a daughter of Tale of the Cat out of the Dynaformer mare Frozen Treat, ran 1 1/16 miles on good turf in 1:48.81 with Juan Hernandez in the irons.
News and notes
Unbridled's Song, winner of the 1995 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and a rousing success as a stallion, has died in Kentucky. Officials at Taylor Made said Unbridled's Song had an invasive mass in his sinus cavities that had produced acute neurological symptoms. He was euthanized Thursday. The son of 1990 Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled won the Florida Derby but, running on a sore foot, could do no better than fifth in his own Run for the Roses. He suffered a career-ending injury while training for the 1997 Donn Handicap. At stud, he has a remarkable 730 winners from slightly more than 1,000 starters, including Unrivaled Belle, Unrivaled Elaine, Midshipman and Embur's Song.