An undefeated filly thoroughly whipped a classy field in the Arc de Triomphe and a flurry of upsets stirred the pot for the upcoming Breeders' Cup races.
Those were the high points of a busy weekend in thoroughbred racing with year-end championships hanging in the balance.
Among the losers were U.S. champions Wise Dan and Groupie Doll and top Mile contender Obviously. On the upside, some bright stars shone in the 2-year-old ranks, including My Conquestadory.
But first that marvelous Arc.
Treve, an undefeated French filly, easily kicked clear of the field in the late going to win Sunday's Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomph in a 5-length romp. Japanese runner Orfevre settled for second for the second straight year, followed by Intello and Japanese Derby winner Kizuna.
Treve raced well back through much of the race at Longchamp in the Parisian gardens as Joshua Tree led the way. When jockey Thierry Jarnet got her close on the outside at the top of the lane, she quickly rushed to the lead and drew off in total command.
It was the fifth win without a loss for the 3-year-old, French-bred Motivator filly and none of those wins has been in much question.
"It's like a fairy tale to me," said Jarnet, who took over the mount when scheduled rider Frankie Dettori suffered a broken ankle last week. "I'm lucky to ride this champion."
Christophe Soumillon, who rode Orfevre, said he thought he was in good position entering the stretch run. Then Treve hit another gear and, "I couldn't follow because she did something completely unbelievable," Soumillon said.
The race was widely heralded as one of the best runnings of the Arc in many years. Orfevre was dominating in his Arc trial. Kizuna won the Japanese Triple Crown and a prep at Longchamp. Ruler of the World, who finished seventh Sunday, took the Epsom Derby earlier this year. Al Kazeem, the Coral Eclipse winner, finished sixth and will be retired. The only blow to the quality of the field came during the final week of preparation when King George winner Novellist was ruled out with a fever.
Winning trainer Criquette Head-Maarek, beaming after the race, said, "She's so good. She's the best I've had. I won't be retiring now."
British bookmakers already are listing Treve as short as 2-1 to win the 2014 Arc, so book your Paris visit now.
Thrilling though it was, the Arc was only the centerpiece of a gallery of Louvre-worthy masterpieces on Sunday at Longchamp. In other races:
Moonlight Cloud swept by her rivals in the final furlong to win the Group 1 Qatar Prix de la Foret by 3 lengths over Gordon Lord Byron. Moonlight Cloud, also with Jarnet in the irons, bided her time at the rear until the field was well into the final run before she kicked into gear. Moonlight Cloud, a 5-year-old Invincible Spirit mare, now has won four in a row and 11 of 18 starts. But she will forever be known as the mare who almost ended Black Caviar's unbeaten streak at Royal Ascot in 2012.
Maarek got to the front near the finish in the 5-furlongs, Group 1 Qatar Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp and won by a neck over Catcall. Maarek, a 6-year-old Pivotal mare, won the Group 2 British Champions Sprint last October at Ascot, struggled earlier this year but now has taken two straight wins.
Indonesienne worked her way past Lesstalk In Paris in the final furlong of the Group 1 Total Prix Marcel Boussac for 2-year-old fillies and won by 3/4 of a length over that rival. Queen Catrine finished third. Indonesienne, an Irish-bred daughter of Muhtathir, won for the second time in three career starts.
Karakonte got to the lead just inside the furlong marker in the Group 1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere for 2-year-old colts and fillies and held well to win by 3/4 of a length over Noozhoh Canarias. Karakonte, a Japanese-bred colt by Bernstein, won for the third time in four starts.
Dalkala started slowly in the Group 1 Prix de l'Opera Longines, recovered quickly and raced in contention, then was just up at the finish under urging by Christophe Soumillon to win by a short head from Tasaday. Thistle Bird was a neck farther back in third. Dalkala, a 4-year-old Giant's Causeway filly, won for the first time since taking a Group 2 event on last year's Arc card.
Altano swapped leads with Tac De Boistron in the late going of the Group 1 Qatar Prix du Cadran before finally prevailing by 2 1/2 lengths after traveling 2 miles over the soft turf. Times Up was third. Altano, a 7-year-old, German-bred Galileo gelding, finished in 4:24.38.
Cirrus des Aigles was the world's top-ranked horse at the start of the year but didn't run like it until recently. Sunday, he cruised to victory in the Group 2 Qatar Prix Dollar, running with his old flair. At the wire, the 7-year-old gelding was 1 3/4 lengths to the good of Mandour but could have won by more had he been asked. Cirrus des Aigles now will target the Champion Stakes at Ascot, said trainer Corrine Barande-Barbe. A good run there could propel him to another try in Japan or Hong Kong before the end of the year.
Oklahoma City, trained by Aidan O'Brien and ridden by Joseph O'Brien, had a stern test but won Saturday's 500,000-pounds Tattersalls Millions for 2-year-olds at Newmarket by 1 1/2 lengths over Postponed with Bon Voyage third. Oklahoma City is an Oasis Dream colt. He now has two wins and two seconds from five career races.
In the companion race for 2-year-old fillies, the 300,000-pounds Tattersalls Millions, Wedding Ring got the lead in the final furlong and won by a comfortable 3/4 of a length, ridden out. Manderly was second and Fashion Fund third. Wedding Ring, a Godolphin colt also by Oasis Dream, picked up her third win from six starts and a nice check for Sheik Mohammed.
Meanwhile, back in North America:
The two top contenders in this division went down to defeat within minutes of each other, Wise Dan at Keeneland and Obviously at Santa Anita. In last year's Breeders' Cup, Wise Dan won and Obviously was third with Animal Kingdom between them.
Silver Max shot right to the lead in Saturday's $750,000, Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile, set a tame pace and held off Wise Dan, the reigning Horse of the Year, Breeders' Cup and Eclipse Award-winner, by 1 1/4 lengths. Wise Dan never looked like catching Silver Max at any point in the race. Wilcox Inn came up the rail to snatch third. As a result of a torrential downpour at midday, the race was run neither at 1 mile nor on the turf, but at 1 1/16 miles on the Polytrack, which was so wet, water was squishing up under hooves during the post parade. Silver Max was clocked in 1:42.06 with Robby Albarado up, snapping Wise Dan's nine-race winning streak and potentially ending his bid to repeat as Horse of the Year. It was the second time this year Silver Max has run in an off-the-turf event and he has won both, earlier taking the Opening Verse on a sloppy Churchill Downs dirt track. Since that event, he finished third on the dirt in the Grade III Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows, then won two straight back on the grass. Because the race was moved off the grass, it lost its status as a "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Mile. "He earned his way in, even if we have to pay for it," winning trainer Dale Romans said. He said Silver Max's letdown late last year was due to overracing. "We had a tired horse last fall. This year, we're just peaking." John Velazquez, who rode Wise Dan, said he "couldn't seem to get his footing" on the wet Polytrack. "He kept trying and ran hard."
Wise Dan's loss opened the door for Obviously to take over leadership of the division as the field lined up just a few minutes later at Santa Anita for the $150,000, Grade II City of Hope Stakes at Santa Anita. But Obviously, after chasing the quick early pace, tired in the final sixteenth and faded to finish fourth, slightly inflating the show payoffs. No Jet Lag rallied to the win, a half-length ahead of He Be Fire N Ice, with Barocci checking in third. No Jet Lag, a 3-year-old Johar gelding, finished in 1:31.84, just a few ticks short of the course record, with Mike Smith up. "It wasn't an easy decision to throw him into this race," winning trainer Simon Callaghan said. "But we really believe he's talented and deserved the shot. He's nominated to the Breeders' Cup. That was the whole reason behind running in this race." Jockey Joe Talamo said Obviously "ran a great race but we were outrun today. I think we're all a little disappointed but he's still a nice horse and we still have the Breeders' Cup. He'll bounce back."
Top European trainers Aidan O'Brien and Ed Dunlop sent contenders for Saturday's $400,000, Grade I First Lady at Keeneland. But it was Better Lucky, a Godolphin filly based in New York, who rallied three-wide through a driving rainstorm to spring the upset. Dayatthespa finished second and Daisy Devine was third. The 1 mile went in 1:39.78 over a course officially listed as yielding. Better Lucky ran second to Stephanie's Kitten over yielding turf in the Grade I Just A Gleam Handicap at Belmont Park earlier in the year. The O'Brien runner, Say, made just a little move before fading to finish sixth. Dunlop's starter, Amazonas, never ran a step and finished last of eight. The downpour during the race was so intense that winning jockey Julien Leparoux said he had trouble seeing. "My goggles all fogged up so it was not easy to see on the backside," he said. "I tried to take them off and put them back on to see where I was."
We Miss Artie rallied widest of all in Saturday's $400,000, Grade I Dixiana Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland, caught Smarty's Echo late and went on to win convincingly by 2 3/4 lengths over that rival. Arctic Slope rallied from last of 12 to finish third. We Miss Artie, an Artie Schiller colt, ran 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather course in 1:46.91 under John Velazquez. We Miss Artie, owed by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trained by Todd Pletcher, broke his maiden on the grass at Saratoga but then finished sixth in the Grade II With Anticipation in his last previous start. With My Conquestadory's win Friday in the Grade I Alcibiades, Artie Schiller progeny swept Keeneland's top juvenile races. Velazquez said he had to steady briefly on the first turn, but got position and finally got running room in the lane. "He saw the light and that's when he started running," the jockey added.
Havana surged to a big lead in Saturday's $500,000, Grade I Foxwoods Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park, then just did survive the late run of Honor Code, who rallied from last of nine. At the wire, Havana prevailed by a neck with Ride On Curlin third. Havana, a Dunkirk colt owned by the Coolmore crowd, finished the mile on a fast track in 1:35.81 under Irad Ortiz Jr. Havana was making his second career start after winning at first asking at Saratoga, going just 5 1/2 furlongs. Trainer Todd Pletcher compared that start to the one he orchestrated for Uncle Mo. "I think it takes a pretty special horse to do it," he said. Asked about the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, he said, "I can't imagine the horses we ran against today aren't going to be certainly some of the favorites for it ... . I think he can move forward for his third start." Trainer Shug McGaughey said Honor Code, the beaten favorite, could go either to the Breeders' Cup or to the Grade II Remsen on Nov. 30 at Aqueduct.
Ami's Holiday reeled in pacesetting Big Bazinga, this week's "Name of the Week," in deep stretch to win Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian), Grade III Grey Stakes at Woodbine by a half length. It was another 10 1/4 lengths back to Go Greeley, who flattened out when the real running started. The only other starter, Give No Quarter, was eased and walked off the track. Ami's Holiday, a Harlan's Holiday colt, ran 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:44.80 with Luis Contreras up. For those looking farther into the future, Ami's Holiday earned 10 points toward a start in the 2014 Kentucky Derby.
On the grass:
Bobby's Kitten dominated Sunday's $200,000, Grade III Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park, kicking clear of eight rivals in the stretch run to win by 6 1/4 lengths. Shadow Banking was best of the rest with Captain's Affair third. Bobby's Kitten, a Kitten's Joy colt from the Ramsey herd, ran 1 1/16 miles on the firm inner turf course in 1:42.37 under Javier Castellano. Chad Brown trains the top two and said Bobby's Kitten is named for the late Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel. Asked about the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, he said, "I'm taking them both if they're healthy."
Sunday's $150,000 Bourbon Stakes came off the turf at Keeneland and, while it lost its status as a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" race, it didn't lose any of the 13 starters. Poker Player, after saving all the ground into the stretch turn, came out for daylight and surged past the leaders, going on to win by a length over Bashard. It was another nose back to Bon Accord in third. The favorite, Boji Moon, finished sixth, beaten less than 3 lengths. Poker Player, a gray Harlan's Holiday colt, ran 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather course in 1:43.46 with Channing Hill up for trainer Wayne Catalano. Poker Player was dispatched at odds of 23-1 despite coming off a maiden-breaking win at Kentucky Downs in his second career start. "He really matured, even from the last race at Kentucky Downs," Hill said. "He was absolutely professional getting to the wire." Catalano said he is sure owner Gary West will want to go on to the Breeders' Cup.
Aotearoa caught pacesetting favorite Diamond Bachelor in a tight stretch drive to win Sunday's $100,000 Zuma Beach Stakes at Santa Anita by 3/4 of a length. Got Shades finished third. Aotearoa, a California-bred Good Journey gelding, ran the mile on firm turf in 1:34.42 with Corey Nakatani up. He went to the post at 13-1 odds -- the longest chance in the field of six -- after winning his first start at Del Mar, then finishing fourth in the I'm Smokin Stakes. The Zuma Beach was his first race on turf. "The breeding was there," trainer Leonard Powell said of the surface choice. He said Aotearoa is not nominated to the Breeders' Cup so, "It would be expensive. We'll see how he comes out first."
My Conquestadory was shuffled back to last at the start in Friday's $400,000, Grade I Darley Alcibiades at Keeneland, steadied several times while caught in traffic on the rail, then still rallied in the final sixteenth to win by 1 3/4 lengths in 1:45.31. Rosalind had every chance at mid-stretch but couldn't go with the winner and settled for place money. Battlefield Angel finished third at long odds. My Conquestadory now is 2-for-2 after opening her career with a victory against colts in the Grade II Summer Stakes on the grass at Woodbine. Both the Summer and the Alcibiades are Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" races so trainer Mark Casse now has the option to send the Artie Schiller filly to any of three Breeders' Cup races. Casse said he was very concerned before jockey Eurico Da Silva found running room for his filly. "I said, 'Just give her somewhere to go ... She's a good horse." He added, "We came here because I said I wanted to get her some experience. I just didn't know we were going to get that much experience."
Artemis Agrotera took over in the stretch run in Saturday's $500,000, Grade I Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park, winning off by 1 1/4 lengths over a closing Sweet Reason. Stopchargingmaria was a non-threatening third. Artemis Agrotera, a New York-bred Roman Ruler filly, ran the mile on a fast track in 1:36.25 with Jose Lezcano up. The Frizette was her second career start following a win at first asking at Saratoga. Winning trainer Mike Hushion said he knew Sweet Reason was coming, "but watching as many races as I have over this track, I knew at the sixteenth pole she had her work cut out for her and we were in good position." As to a trip to California, he said, "I hope so."
Madly Truly got by pacesetting Morant Bay late in Saturday's $150,000, Grade III Mazarine Stakes at Woodbine and outfinished Unspurned, winning by a length. Morant Bay held on for third. Madly Truly, a Kentucky-bred Malibu Moon filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:44.89 with Patrick Husbands up. It was her second career win and came after a fourth-place showing in the Grade II Natalma. In that race, Husbands, said, he was sandwiched between two entrymates and never got a chance to run.
On the grass:
Testa Rossi, fresh off the plane from France, rallied from last of 11 to get the lead in the lane in Sunday's $200,000, Grade III Miss Grillo at Belmont Park, then held off Sky Painter in the final yards to score by a nose. Dancing House, running as an entry with Sky Painter, finished third. Granny Mc's Kitten filled the trifecta. Testa Rossi, a French-bred Dr Fong filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on the firm inner turf course in 1:41.73 under Jose Lezcano. She won her last three starts in France before shipping to trainer Chad Brown. "She's a good-looking horse, she's got good form and every week she seems to be improving," Brown said. All four top finishers could meet again in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Out west, Clenor rallied four-wide into the stretch in Sunday's $100,000 Surfer Girl Stakes at Santa Anita and outfinished Nesso for a 3/4 length victory. Colonel Joan was another 3/4 of a length in arrears for show money. Clenor, an Irish-bred Oratorio filly, ran the mile on firm going in 1:34.38 for Rafael Bejarano. She now has won all three of her U.S. starts since arriving from Ireland in July. "We're real excited about her," winning trainer Doug O'Neill said. "Breeders' Cup, here we come."
Points Offthebench outfinished Goldencents in the lane to win Saturday's $250,000, Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship by a half length. Distinctiv Passion led early, opened a big lead and faded to get home third. Last year's Breeders' Cup winner, Trinniberg, retreated steadily and finished last of seven. Points Offthebench, a 4-year-old Benchmark gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:08.00 for jockey Mike Smith. Points Offthebench has climbed quickly up the class ladder and was making just his eighth career start. Last time out, he won the Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar, also going 6 furlongs and also narrowly beating Goldencents. He now has won six of his last seven starts. Winning trainer Tim Yakteen said Points Offthebench has a tendency to wait on horses if he gets to the lead too soon and Rafael Bejerano, who rode Goldencents, "is very well aware of that. He came wide with Goldencents, who was coming late, but we had inherited the lead." The race was a "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Sprint and Yakteen said Points Offthebench will be there. Goldencents is being aimed to the Breeders' Cup Mile, said Leandro Mora, assistant to trainer Doug O'Neill.
Sum of the Parts jumped right to the lead in Friday's $200,000, Grade III Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland and wasn't caught, winning by 1 1/4 lengths with something left at the end. Clocked in 1:09.56, Sum of the Parts captured the Phoenix for the second straight year. Last year, he went on to finish fourth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Laugh Track threw in a mild rally in the stretch to finish second, followed by Go Blue Or Go Home and Gentlemen's Bet. "This is the fastest horse I've ever trained out of the gate," winning trainer Tom Amoss said. Asked about another try in the Breeders' Cup after taking Friday's "Win and You're In" race, he added, "From my point of view, I say, 'Let's rock!'"
Up With the Birds was up in the final jumps to win Saturday's $500,000, Grade I Jamaica Handicap for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park, beating the favorite, Admiral Kitten, by a half length. It was just another half length to Jack Milton in third as all the top finishers rallied from far back. Up With the Birds, an Ontario-bred colt by Stormy Atlantic, ran 9 furlongs on firm going in 1:48.74 with Cornelio Velasquez in the irons for trainer Malcolm Pierce. Up With the Birds has never finished off the board in nine career starts. He ran second in the Queen's Plate, then won the Breeders' Stakes before Saturday's impressive performance. Admiral Kitten won the Grade I Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park in his last previous race. "We just wanted to keep him against straight 3-year-olds and this looked like a nice race to try," winning trainer Malcolm Pierce said. "We're sure happy to be here and happy with the outcome."
Havelock didn't run a lick during a two-race visit to England this summer. But he obviously loved his return to Keeneland on Saturday, rallying way wide from last place to win the Group III Woodford Stakes going away, by 2 lengths. Expecting Cash ran second in his first try on the all-weather course and Spring to the Sky was third after contesting the pace. Havelock, with Garret Gomez up, ran 5 1/2 furlongs over firm turf in 1:03.17. "That's typical Havelock at Keeneland," trainer Darrin Miller said of the 6-year-old Great Notion gelding. He now has won four of his five starts at the scenic Lexington oval. Miller said a decision about the Breeders' Cup will be up to the owners.
Filly & Mare Sprint
In Saturday's $200,000, Grade II Thoroughbred Club of America at Keeneland, Judy the Beauty swung three wide around pacesetting Gypsy Robin and outside the odds-on favorite, Groupie Doll, and prevailed by a length. Gypsy Robin held off the favorite to finish second by 3/4 of a length. The 6 furlongs on the all-weather course went in 1:09.23. Judy the Beauty, a 4-year-old Ghostzapper filly, picked up her second win of the year and first in a graded stakes. Groupie Doll, defending Breeders' Cup champion, now has come up short in two of her three starts this year as she heads for the November sale at Keeneland. "She didn't like the track a whole lot," said Groupie Doll's trainer, Buff Bradley. Asked if she will go on to a defense of her Breeders' Cup title, he said, "Absolutely." Winning trainer Wesley Ward said Judy the Beauty had home-track advantage. "She's trained here since she was a baby," Ward said. "That's an advantage in any sport." About the Breeders' Cup, he, too, said, "Absolutely."
Teddy's Promise took back early in Saturday's $100,000 L.A. Woman Stakes at Santa Anita but soon regained control and won off by lengths over Great Hot. Sister Kate finished third. Teddy's Promise, a 5-year-old, California-bred Salt Lake mare, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:15.28 under Victor Espinoza. Teddy's Promise has not run out of the money since finishing eighth in last year's Breeders' Cup. In that span, she has four wins, two seconds and one third. Espinoza said he won without taxing Teddy's Promise because he has an eye on the big race. "I want to win but I don't want to hurt her. She's a filly, so she's more sensitive," he said. "Everything worked out well and it was a good race." Trainer A.C. Avila said Great Hot is prepping for the Breeders' Cup Mile.
Power Broker rallied to a drifting Bradester in the stretch run of Saturday's $500,000, Grade III Indiana Derby, steadied briefly behind that one but then went on and won by 1 3/4 lengths. Bradester held second by a half length over Holy Lute. Power Broker, a Pulpit colt, ran 1 1/16 miles on a sloppy, sealed track in a quick 1:41.96 with Martin Garcia in for the ride. Power Broker, who bypassed the Kentucky Derby, was coming off a second-place finish behind Verrazano in the Grade I Haskell at Monmouth Park. The win was No. 4 in 10 starts. "He's a nice horse. We've always known it," said Jimmy Barnes, assistant to winning trainer Bob Baffert. "It just took Bob time to find the right spot for him. He does run good fresh and he certainly showed up today." It was Baffert's third win in the Indiana Derby.
Kid Dreams got to the lead with a three-wide move at the top of the lane in Saturday night's $200,000, Grade III Hawthorne Derby at Hawthorne Race Course and quickly shook loose, winning by 7 3/4 lengths over Charming Kitten. The favorite, Five Iron, settled for third. Kid Dreams, a Lemon Drop Kid colt, ran 9 furlongs on soft turf in a glacially slow 2:01.49 -- a time that wouldn't win many top-level 1 1/4-mile races run on fast or firm footing. Kid Dreams came to the race off a fourth-place finish in the Grade II Del Mar Derby and picked up his third career win. "My horse really appreciated the soft course today," winning rider Francisco Torres said. "Up the backside, he had me right where I wanted to be and I was just waiting to push the button on him. That's how much horse I had."
James Street outfinished Alpha Bettor in Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian), Grade III Durham Cup at Woodbine, winning by 1 1/4 lengths. Awesome Overture was third while the favorite, Delegation, stopped in the stretch run, fading from first to last of six at the end. James Street, a 6-year-old son of El Prado, ran 1 1/8 miles on the all-weather track in 1:50.14 with Patrick Husbands in the irons. "I was delighted with where I was sitting today," trainer Josie Carroll said. "When I saw that Alpha Bettor went with Delegation and softened him up a little bit, I was smiling."
Emollient rallied five-wide around the field into the stretch in Sunday's $500,000, Grade I Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland and swooped on by to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Summer Applause was second and Wine Princess completed the trifecta. Emollient, a 3-year-old daughter of Empire Maker running against elders, got the 9 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:47.75 with Mike Smith aboard. She seems to have established a pattern of one winning race, followed by one poor one and repeat. He last previous start resulted in an eighth-place finish in the Grade I Garden City Stakes at Belmont Park and trainer Bill Mott said Sunday's plan was to go to the front -- until Emollient didn't break well. "They don't always do what you think they're going to do," Mott said. "But the good thing was, she came with a big run ... . I guess we've got to do it their way once in a while." About the Breeders' Cup Distaff, he said, "We'll have to talk to the bosses and see."
Pure Fun splashed her way from last to first in Saturday's $200,000, Grade II Indiana Oaks at Indiana Downs, scoring by 1 3/4 lengths over Oscar Party. Fiftyshadesofhay led the field into the stretch, then held on for show money. Pure Fun, a Pure Prize filly, got 1 1/16 sloppy miles in 1:43.70 with Victor Lebron up. Pure Fun won the Grade I Hollywood Starlet last season but had not won since. She finished sixth in the Kentucky Oaks in her last previous start. "Our game plan was to take her back and make that big run she always makes," Lebron said. "I know how much kick she can give me. I used it to my advantage when the others were running out of horse."
Bernie the Maestro advanced four-wide from the back of the pack to win Saturday's $100,000 Michael G. Schaefer Memorial at Indiana Downs by a length over the favorite, Taptowne. Neck 'n Neck came from last to finish third. Bernie the Maestro, a 6-year-old Bernstein gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles on a sloppy track in 1:41.22 with David Flores up for trainer Mike Maker.
Remember Sr. Quisqueyano? The Exclusive Quality colt finished second behind Itsmyluckyday in the Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year's Day, then faded off the map with also-ran finishes in the Grade III Holy Bull and Grade II Fountain of Youth. Then on Saturday, he led from the early stages to win the $100,000 Quality Road Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at Gulfstream Park by 2 1/4 lengths over a couple warriors -- Csaba and Joshua's Compromise. Sr. Quisqueyano, with Carlos Olivero in the irons, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.95.
Miss Pippa got through between rivals in deep stretch to take Saturday's $70,000 Swingtime Stakes for fillies and mares by a half length over Customer Base, who looked like a winner after getting through along the paint. Charm the Maker ran evenly to finish third. Miss Pippa, a 4-year-old Master Command filly, ran the mile on firm turf in 1:34.11 with Mike Smith riding.
Magic Hour led the way in Saturday's $100,000 Mari Hulman George Stakes for fillies and mares at Indiana Downs and held on to beat Don't Tell Sophia by a half length. Sharp Sally finished third. Magic Hour, a 4-year-old Awesome Again filly, ran 1 1/16 sloppy miles in 1:43.88 with Leandro Goncalves up. Ian Wilkes trains the winner.
Always Kitten caught My Special J's in the final strides to win Saturday's $65,000 Ta Wee Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by a head. Femme Fatale was well back in third. Always Kitten, part of the Ken and Sarah Ramsey herd, is by Kitten's Joy out of the Dynaformer mare Misinformer. She ran the mile on soft turf in 1:37.76 -- a little more than 4 seconds off the course record set by Silver Max last year.
Needmore Cash rallied from far back to win Saturday's $85,000 Gus Grissom Stakes for state-bred colts and geldings by 3 lengths over Unreachable Star. Pass the Crown was third. Needmore Cash, a Saintly Look gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles in the slop in 1:45.55 with Lori Wydick up.
Thank You Kisses also rallied from well back to take the $85,000 Hoosier Breeders' Sophomore Stakes for state-bred 3-year-olds by 3 lengths over Speed Rail. Success Is Racing succeeded in racing to a third-place finish. Thank You Kisses, a Nobiz Like Shobiz gelding, finished 1 1/16 sloppy miles in 1:44.57 with Rodney Prescott in the irons.
Rivertown Belle stalked the pace in Saturday's $85,000 Hoosier Breeders' Sophomore Stakes for Indiana-bred 3-year-old fillies, then ran on to win by 3 1/4 lengths over Higher Logic. Dingalingaling finished third. Rivertown Belle, a daughter of Bellamy Road, was clocked in 1:34.20 under Fernando De La Cruz.
Ain't She a Saint briefly tracked the lead in Saturday's $85,000 Richmond Stakes for Indiana-bred distaffers, then quickly asserted herself, drawing off to win by 8 3/4 lengths over Allie Earpp. Show Me Class finished third. Ain't She a Saint, a 4-year-old Saintly Look filly, ran 1 1/16 miles through the sloppy going in 1:46.04 with Malcolm Franklin at the controls.
Caixa Eletronica proved again he's all he's "quacked up" to be, winning Sunday's $100,000 Duck Dance Stakes by 3/4 length over Praetereo. Star Harbour ran third. Caixa Eletronica, a 7-year-old, entire son of Arromanches, rallied from near the back of the eight-horse field to win by 3/4 of a length in 1:21.67 under Javier Castellano.
Baby J ran down pacesetting favorite Maracuya in the final few yards to win Wednesday's $100,000 Catinca Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by a neck. Profetiza was third and last in the 6-furlong event, timed in 1:11.03 on a fast track. Javier Castellano had the winning ride.
Goldstryke Glory led all the way to a 1 1/4-length victory over Youcan'tcatchme in Wednesday's $100,000 (Canadian) Apelia Stakes for fillies and mares. Nikkis Smartypants finished third. Goldstryke Glory, a 3-year-old Second In Command filly, ran 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:09.19. "She's quick but she's not rapid," winning rider Jesse Campbell said. "It's very kind. It doesn't seem right to say when you go 44 [seconds] and change. But it's a kind 44 and change." In her last previous race, Goldstryke Glory won the appropriately named Inglorious Stakes by 7 1/2 lengths.
Hawthorne Race Course
Saturday night's $75,000 Indian Maid Handicap for fillies and mares came off the turf, with five resulting scratches. Of those left, Twist of Silver proved best with a late run that found her a neck in front at the wire. Goldway led briefly but gave way and finished second. Soft Whisper was third and Katie the Ladie, the favorite, finished last of six. Twist of Silver, a 5-year-old Silver Train mare, ran 1 1/16 miles on the sloppy main track in 1:45.65 under Eddie Perez.
Ize in Trouble put a neck in front of Koko Loca at the end of Monday's $50,000 Chaves County Stakes for fillies and mares. Paloma Mesa rallied from last to finish third. Ize in Trouble, a 4-year-old daughter of Proud Citizen, finished the mile on a fast track in 1:37.67 with Casey Lambert in the irons.
Diva Spirit stalked the pace in Saturday's $50,000 Polly's Jet Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, then took over and won by 3 lengths over Mr. Hall's Opus. The favorite, Pearl Turn, got home third. Diva Spirit, a daughter of A.P. Indy, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.75 with Abel Castellano Jr. up.
Chamois, the odds-on choice, caught pacesetting Smash and Grab in the end of Monday's $50,000 Stanton Stakes for 3-year-olds, winning by a neck. Cerro and Fredericksburg completed the order of finish. Chamois, a Smart Strike colt, got 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:41.41 for jockey Joe Bravo.
Life Is a Joy led all the way to a 6-length victory in Saturday's $50,000 Charlie Palmer Futurity. Hirschy chased in second all the way home and El Sacrificio was a long shot third. Life Is a Joy is a California-bred Globalize gelding. He ran the mile on a fast track in 1:36.88 with Leslie Mawing up.
Flay Mignon, running against males in Saturday's $60,000 Jersey Juvenile for state-breds, led all the way to a 5 3/4-length victory over Charleymillionaire. She's Hot Wired finished third. Flay Mignon, not owned by Bobby Flay but by her breeder, Laurie Plesa, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.17 with Paco Lopez aboard. Three of the five starters were fillies.