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UPI Horse Racing Roundup

By Robert Kieckhefer, UPI Racing Writer   |   June 26, 2014 at 10:08 AM   |   Comments

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Royal Ascot wound up its glittering run with appropriately impressive performances by Telescope and Slade Power while American runners had their share of misfortune.

There was a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" race in Peru for the first time ever. And, back in the States, a heavy smattering of races could impact many of the sport's divisions before the year is done.

Some precocious 2-year-olds showed promise as far afield as Toronto and New Mexico.

The summer solstice has come and gone. The days are getting shorter but our weekend report is not, so best read fast:

Saturday Royal Ascot

Slade Power, racing with the far-side group, had the best late punch in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes, winning by 1 1/2 lengths over Due Diligence, who led the near-side group under the wire. Aljamaaheer was third in the 6-furlong sprint. Slade Power, a 5-year-old son of Dutch Art, finished seventh in this race last year. He came on to win the Group 2 British Champion Sprint in the fall but disappointed with a 10th-place showing in the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint in December. He was an easy winner in his seasonal debut, run over heavy ground at The Curragh. The Ed Lynam trainee, ridden by Wayne Lordan, finished Saturday's 6 furlongs in 1:12.40 over turf rated good to firm. His victory provided a bookend to the Royal meeting for Lynam, who saddled Sole Power to in the King's Stand sprint on opening day. "It's been a great week and there's nowhere I like winning more than here," Lynam said. He added both the "Powers" will contest the July Cup. "Don't ask me to compare them," he said. "I've got three daughters and you'd get an easier answer if you asked me to compare them." The runners are owned by David and Sabrina Power. Trainer Aidan O'Brien said he was pleased with Due Diligence, who also is a candidate for the July Cup. And trainer Roger Varian said Aljamaaheer could head to that race or to Maurice de Gheest at Deauville.

Telescope provided one of the most visually impressive races of the Royal meet, winning the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes by 7 lengths, going away. Hillstar was along late to snatch second from Pether's Moon. Dandino, winner of last year's American St. Leger at Arlington Park, finished sixth in his seasonal debut. In the interim, Dandino had placed second in the Cox Plate and fifth in the Melbourne Cup. Telescope, a 4-year-old Galileo colt, ran 1 1/2 miles in 2:47.45 with Ryan Moore up for trainer Sir Michael Stoute. The Irish-bred now has four wins and four seconds from eight career starts and looks promising for the balance of the season. "Telescope was written up an awful lot last spring after a maiden win and then they said he was a flop," Sir Michael said. "He has not been a flop - he has never been out of the first two ... Telescope has never run a bad race, though he had been a little bit disappointing so far this year, but only because he has been on the wrong ground. He just had to go and do it today so it is a relief." He said he hopes to seek Telescope return for the King George and, if he does as well there, "Telescope would be in the shake-up for any big race."

Crown the Kitten, another in the string brought from America by Wesley Ward, led the way in the listed Chesham Stakes for 2-year-olds but, after finding some traffic issues, faded to finish 10 as Richard Pankhurst came from off the pace to win comfortably for William Buick and John Gosden.

Friday Royal Ascot

Rizeena bounced back from a trouncing in the 1,000 Guineas to win the Group 1 Coronation Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 3/4 length, looking like a winner throughout. Lesstalk in Paris was the best of the rest with Euro Charlie a head farther back in third. American hopeful Rosaland stumbled badly at the start, dropping jockey Kieren Fallon. Fallon took off his later mounts but appeared okay by the end of the day. Trainer Kenny McPeek said Rosaland, winner of the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland, suffered minor cuts. Rizeena, an Irish-bred filly by Iffraajl, ran 1 mile on good-to-firm turf in 1:40.73 with Ryan Moore at the controls. "I wasn't worried about the race," said winning trainer Clive Brittain. "They could have walked -- she is a great walker -- and she still would have won. They could have trotted -- she is a great trotter -- and she still would have won. But they galloped and she still won." Asked how he could be so confident after the 1,000 Guineas thrashing, he said, "I don't know what happened there, maybe it was the undulations. Richard (Hughes) had the perfect position and she just stopped." He said he might bring Rizeena back for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. "Why not? I wouldn't be against taking on the boys again."

Cursory Glance was off slowly in the Group 3 Albany Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, raced near the middle of the 17-horse field, closed ground quickly in the final furlong and won going away, by 2 lengths. American invader Sunset Glow led early, gave way to the winner in the final 100 yards after jockey Victor Espinoza lost his whip and battled on to finish second, a neck in front of Patience Alexander. Cursory Glance, an American-bred filly by Distorted Humor, now is undefeated in two races. Andrea Atzeni, who had the mount for trainer Roger Varian, said, "At one point, I didn't think we'd get to the American horse. But she's stayed on really strongly and she'll definitely get further in time." Wesley Ward, who trains Sunset Glow, said the going was too deep for his filly. "I think if she had run on the first two days when the ground was a bit firmer it would have been better. When I walked the course today I was sinking in. I don't think there was time for the ground to dry out for her," Ward said.

Eagle Top lingered in the back of the field after a slow start in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings, got to even terms a furlong from the finish and kicked clear to win by 3 1/4 length from the Aidan O'Brien-trained favorite, Adelaid. Scotland was third. William Buick rode the winner for trainer John Gosden, covering 1 1/2 miles in 2.27.98 over good to firm ground. "William has given him a great ride," Gosden said, "and I especially liked it when he had to take a pull down the home straight as that's when you know you've got a nice horse." He said he will keep Eagle Top at 1 1/2 miles. "I love the St Leger but there's no way this one is a Leger horse. He's too quick," the trainer said.

Hartnell drifted badly to the left in the final 100 yards of the 2-miles Queen's Vase but had enough forward momentum to hang on for a neck victory over Century. Marzocco finished third. Hartnell, a 3-year-old son of Authorized, owned by Sheik Hamdan al Maktoum, was coming off a second-place showing in the Derby Trial behind Snow Sky. He finished in 3:24.73 with Joe Fanning up and the stewards had a long look at the winner's erratic path before posting the result official. "There is not a lot I could have done" about the Hartnell's left turn, Fanning said. "I tried to get him to go forward and I feel the best horse has won." Trainer Mark Johnston said he feels it was the right decision to pass up the Derby in search of longer distances and now will point Hartnell to the St Leger. "Where he goes next, I'm not too sure," he added.

Elsewhere:

Turf Sprint

Heitai, billed locally as the fastest Louisiana-bred sprinter in training, certainly was the fastest on the course for Saturday evening's $300,000 Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint. The 4-year-old Fusaichi Pegasus gelding, as is his wont, went quickly out to the lead, fired on all cylinders and wasn't challenged, winning by 3 3/4 lengths over long shot Whiskey Bravo. Snappy Girl got show money while the more publicized invaders, Sum of the Parts, Gantry and Berlino De Tiger, finished fourth, fifth and ninth, respectively. Heitai got 5 furlongs on firm going in 56.03 seconds with Diego Saenz aboard. He now has won seven of his last eight starts, a string broken only by a fifth-place finish when stretched out to 6 furlongs in the Grade III Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park in April. "When they first announced this race (in February), I said 'He is going to win it,' and he did," said winning trainer Karl Broberg, who is second-leading U.S. trainer by wins behind only Steve Asmussen. "If they don't get to him early, they don't catch him. My only instruction to Diego before the race was to go to the front."

Filly & Mare Sprint

Hot Stones rallied from just off the pace to post a minor upset in Saturday's $150,000, Grade III Bed o' Roses Handicap at Belmont Park, scoring by a nose over Merry Meadow. Calistoga finished third and the favorite, Street Girl, checked in fourth with a belated run. Hot Stones, a 4-year-old Bustin Stones filly, busted 7 lengths on a fast track in 1:21.98 with Irad Ortiz Jr. up as part of a five-race winning day. She was coming off a victory in the Critical Eye Stakes over the course but making her first graded stakes start. Trainer Bruce Levine said he had considered sending Hot Stones out to a longer, New York-bred event. But after the Bed o' Roses performance, "we may have to rethink it, maybe even point to the Ballerina with something in between." The $500,000, Grade I Ballerina is Aug. 23 at Saratoga.

Filly & Mare Turf

Medea tracked the early speed in Saturday's $100,000, Grade III Eatontown Stakes for fillies and mares at Monmouth Park, got to the lead three-wide entering the stretch and won by 1 length over Triple Arch. Lonesome Town finished third and the favorite, Nashly's Vow, faded from the lead to finish next-last of seven. Medea, a 5-year-old, Irish-bred mare by Danehill Dancer, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:41.89 with Forest Boyce in the irons. "She broke well and we got set up perfectly," Boyce said. "I was confident in her the whole time." It was her first stakes start. Overall, Medea has three wins, four seconds and three thirds from 11 starts.

Turf Mile

Grand Arch rallied by pacesetting favorite Excaper in the final yards of Sunday's $200,000, Grade II King Edward Stakes at Woodbine, winning by 1/2 length. Utley finished third. Grand Arch, a 5-year-old Arch gelding, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:32.49 under David Moran, less than 1 second off the course record held by Wise Dan. It was his first stakes win, although he has finished in the money in earlier graded stakes races on the grass at Woodbine and Churchill Downs. Moran said trainer Brian Lynch "told me to get him settled and ride him like he was the best horse in the race and he won like he was the best horse in the race."

2-year-olds

Bessie's Boy blasted right to the lead in Friday's $100,000 Tremont Stakes for 2-year-olds at Belmont Park and won off by 6 lengths. The odds-on favorite, Chocolate Wildcat, beat the rest, with King Rontos third and Shrewd Move completing the order of finish. Bessie's Boy, a Smoke Glacken gelding, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:03.89. "I just broke and held on," said winning rider John Velazquez. "We were expecting that somebody was going to go to the lead and I tried to put him behind horses. I couldn't put him behind horses, so I just let him do whatever he wanted to do after that. Pretty easy." Bessie's Boy is now 2-for-2 with Wesley Ward calling the shots.

Conquest Tsunami rolled over his competition in Saturday's $125,000 (Canadian) Victoria Stakes at Woodbine, leading all the way to a 7 3/4-lengths victory. Honkeytonk Man was second and R U Watchingbud got show money. Conquest Tsunami, a Stormy Atlantic colt, ran 5 furlongs on the all-weather track in 57.91 seconds with Patrick Husbands handing the reins. He now is 2-for-2 after starting his career with a similarly dominating victory at Keeneland. "We think we've got a lot of Canadian horses that are real special this year," said winning owner Ernie Semersky of Conquest Stables. "You'll see a few of those 2-year-olds running here. We really love it up here."

Wake Up Nick shadowed the pace in Sunday's $125,000 Santa Anita Juvenile, took over when asked by jockey Mario Gutierrez and won by 3/4 length over Story to Tell. Homer Matt was third in his career debut and the favorite, Holiday Camp, finished last of six after being roughed up at the start. Wake Up Nick, a California-bred Cindago colt, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:04.28. He now has two wins from as many starts. In his career bow last month at Santa Anita, he won by 9 1/4 lengths in a 4 1/2-furlongs maiden race for Cal-breds. "That was nice," said trainer Doug O'Neill of the open-company win. "There's nowhere to run when you win early in the meet like that and to try and get him to maintain his sharpness as long as we had, it shows how good this horse is."

Lux rallied nicely from mid-pack to win Saturday's $175,000 Mountain Top Futurity for New Mexico-bred 2-year-olds at Ruidoso Downs by 1 1/2 lengths over Diabolical Dame. The favorite, Liberty Lover, settled for third. Lux, a Quinton's Gold gelding, ran 5 furlongs on a fast track in 58.14 seconds with Ruby Gonzalez up.

2-year-old fillies

Promise Me Silver drew even with pacesetting Unbridled Reward entering the stretch run of Saturday's $100,000 Debutante at Churchill Downs and held sway, winning by 2 lengths despite drifting in late. Unbridled Reward finished second, 11 1/4 lengths clear of the rest of the field. Promise Me Silver is a Texas-bred daughter of Silver City out of the Macho Uno mare Uno Mas Promesa. She ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.49 with Robby Albarado up. Promise Me Silver now is 2-for-2. She won at first asking at Lone Star Park last month by 6 3/4 lengths. "I know coming out of Lone Star sometimes they don't give them quite as much credit," said winning trainer Bret Calhoun. But all those guys have their 2-year-olds ready early on. She broke from the one hole in her first start and manhandled the group. Then she came up here and trained forwardly and I knew she had a lot of talent."

Enchanting Lady easily ran by the early leader, Seduire, entering the stretch run in Sunday's $125,000 Landaluce Stakes at Santa Anita and jetted off to win by 6 1/4 lengths over that one. My Fiona was another 3 1/4 lengths back in third. Enchanting Lady, a Tale of the Cat filly, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:03.94 with Martin Garcia riding for trainer Bob Baffert. She was coming off a second-place finish in her first career start. "Her last race really woke her up and she's been training really well," Baffert said. "She was pretty sharp. She ran like I thought. You're always hoping they do something like that."

Classic

Longview Drive rallied from last to win Saturday's $100,000 Oak Tree Handicap as the Oak Tree meeting was revived for a brief renewal at Pleasanton. Footbridge finished second and Summer Hit was third. Longview Drive, a 5-year-old son of Pulpit, ran 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:50.33 with William Antongeorgi III in the irons for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Longview Drive has had a long run of also-rans on the Southern California circuit but finished a good second in the Grade III All American Stakes at Golden Gate Fields in his last previous start.

Conquest Top Gun led all the way to an impressive, 5 3/4-lengths victory in Sunday's $125,000 (Canadian) Victoria Park Stakes for 3-year-olds at Woodbine. Keen Gizmo was second, another 9 1/2 lengths in front of Tulio's Brew. Genuine Flair faded to finish last of four. Conquest Top Gun, a Pioneerof the Nile colt, ran 9 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:50.96 with Eurico Da Silva up. The colt broke his maiden on his third try this spring at Keeneland and was making his first stakes start for trainer Mark Casse. "If another horse had come faster, he had a little more," Da Silva said. "He's a trier with a big heart."

Distaff

Jojo Warrior led from the start in Saturday's $200,000, Grade II Summertime Oaks at Santa Anita and widened the advantage to 5 1/4 lengths under the wire. Live For Now was second and Front Range got home third. Jojo Warrior, a Pioneerof the Nile filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:43.09 with Martin Garcia up for trainer Bob Baffert. She finished fifth in the Grade III Eight Belles Stakes at Churchill Downs on Oaks Day, then third in the Miss Preakness at Pimlico two weeks later. Saturday's win was her second. Garcia said Jojo Warrior broke sharply from the inside post position and seemed comfortable on the lead, so he went with what he had. "She had blinkers on and drew the rail," added Baffert assistant Jim Barnes. "What's your strategy going to be when you draw the inside? You don't want her to get behind horses."

Awesome Flower rallied to challenge for the lead at the quarter pole in Sunday's $100,000 Windward Stakes for fillies and mares at Presque Isle Downs, then had things her own way in the stretch, winning by 2 1/4 lengths over Stoptalkingmaria. Drama Drama was third and Absolute Crackers finished fourth. Awesome Flower, a 5-year-old Flower Alley mare, got 1 mile on the all-weather track in 1:36.94 with Ronald Allen Jr. up.

Valiant Amelia's victory in Sunday's US$200,000, Group 3 Clasico Cesar Del Rio at Hipodromo de Moterrico in Lima Peru provided a first-time-ever Peruvian entry into the Breeders' Cup World Championships. The first-ever "Win and You're In" race in Peru carried a free pass into the race and a US$40,000 travel allowance for the winner. Valiant Amelia, a 5-year-old mare by Pegasus Wind, won for the fourth time in six starts this year.

Sprint

Falling Sky survived wide trip to post a 1/2-length victory in Saturday's $100,000 Donald LeVine Memorial Handicap at Parx Racing. Mezzano was second and the favorite, Traffic Light, finished third. Falling Sky, a 4-year-old Lion Heart colt out of the Sea Hero mare Sea Dragoness, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:21.91 with Edgar Prado up. Falling Sky won the Grade III Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes in February but then disappointed in two Grade II events in the intervening months.

Elsewhere:

Evangeline Downs

Malibu Yankee came from last of 10 to win Saturday's $100,000 Opelousas Stakes for fillies and mares by a neck over Sister Ginger and another neck over Synapse. The odds-on favorite, Class Included, chased the leaders and then faded to finish seventh. Malibu Yankee, a 5-year-old Malibu Moon mare, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:45.00 with Gerard Melancon in the irons.

Sunbean continued his main-track domination in the bayou country with a pace-stalking, 1 1/2-lengths victory in Saturday's $100,000 Evangeline Mile. The 4-year-old Brahms gelding got by pacesetters Pushingonastring and Grand Contender turning for home and drew off to an easy win. Those rivals held on to finish second and third. Sunbean, with Richard Eramia up, got 1 mile on a fast track in 1:37.33.

Louisiana Flyboy flew by all six of his rivals in the late going to take Saturday's $70,000 Lafayette Stakes for state-bred 3-year-olds by 3 3/4 lengths. Sir Genghis led the way and held on for second, a neck in front of Coteau Ridge. Louisiana Flyboy, a Fusaichi Pegasus colt, got 7 furlongs on the fast main track in 1:23.60 for Eramia.

Off Cycle came from well back to score by 2 3/4 lengths in Saturday's $70,000 Arcadiana Stakes for state-bred 3-year-old fillies. Chaotic Kitty closed sharply to take second at a big price and Another Pinot finished third. The odds-on favorite, Our Quista, got the lead briefly but faded in the lane to finish fourth. Off Cycle, a Harborage filly, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:25.04 with Diego Saenz handling the reins.

Arlington Park

When he wins, you're always tempted to say, "The Pizza Man delivered ...." Well, he did just that in Saturday's $100,000 Black Tie Affair Handicap for Illinois-breds, stalking the pace set by Tazz until he got by that one to score by 1/2 length. Domain's Rap contested the pace early and finished third. The Pizza Man, a 5-year-old English Channel gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles on good turf in 1:42.86 with Sheldon Russell up. He now is 6-for-8 over the lush Arlington turf course.

After a thunderstorm that forced nearly an hour's delay, Kepi prompted the pace in Saturday's $100,000 Lincoln Heritage Handicap for state-bred fillies and mares, then went on to by a comfortable 1 1/4 lengths over Alette. The odds-on favorite, La Tia, made all the early going but then faded to finish third. Kepi, a 6-year-old Strategic Mission mare, ran 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:42.96 for jockey James Graham. The race was shifted from the turf as heavy rainfall continued to plague the Chicago area.

Belmont Park

Mark My Way stumbled at the start of Sunday's $100,000 Spectacular Bid Division of the New York Stallion Stakes for 3-year-olds, waited behind the pace until the field turned for home, then went on to win by 1/2 length, holding off Free Mugatu in the final yards. Social Rebellion finished third, another 1 1/4 lengths in arrears. Mark My Way, a Noonmark gelding, got 7 furlongs on firm turf in 1:22.19 with John Velazquez riding.

Old Harbor kicked clear in the stretch to win Sunday's $100,000 Cupecoy's Joy Division of the NYSS for 3-year-old fillies, scoring by 4 1/2 lengths. Funky Monkey Fever, at 80-1 odds, was best of the rest with the lukewarm favorite, Lady Kreesa, settling for third. Old Harbor, a daughter of Raffie's Majesty, finished 7 furlongs on firm turf in 1:20.97 with Angel Arroyo in the irons.

Walk Close finished close in Saturday's $100,000 Wild Applause Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Coming from off the pace, the Tapit filly outfinished Wave the Flag to win by a nose. The favorite, Sweet Acclaim, claimed the lead briefly in the stretch, then held on for third. Walk Close, with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:35.71.

Monmouth Park

Lady Sabelia came four-wide around the pacemakers to take the lead in Sunday's $70,000 Red Cross Stakes for fillies and mares and shook loose to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Munnings Sister was next-best with Geeky Gorgeous third. Lady Sabelia, 4-year-old Majestic Warrior filly, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.71 under Horacio Karamanos.

SunRay Park

Ole Winedrinker Who put a head in front of pacesetter Isn't He Clever at the finish of Sunday's $75,000 San Juan County Commissioners Handicap. King Coral held third over the favorite, Forest Mouse. Ole Winedrinker Who, a 5-year-old Sligo Bay gelding, ran 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:51.80 with Carlos Madeira in the irons.

Churchill Downs

Speedinthruthecity had nowhere to go at the top of the stretch in Saturday's $65,000 Roxelana Stakes for fillies and mares. But when jockey Julien Leparoux was able to get her clear on the outside, the 4-year-old City Zip filly exploded, winning off by 4 3/4 lengths. Anahauc was second and Devious d'Oro finished third. The 6 furlongs took 1:10.04.

Northlands Park

Via Bendita stalked the pace in Friday's $50,000 (Canadian) R.K. (Red) Smith Handicap for 3-year-old fillies, took charge late in won by 3/4 length over Holiday Babe. Consecrate was along for third while the heavy, odds-on favorite, Candy Baby, faded to finish a not-so-sweet sixth. Via Bendita, a daughter of Borrego, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:40.12 with Heribert Martinez in the irons.

Legend Fortynine dueled to the lead in Saturday's $50,000 (Canadian) Ky Alta Handicap for 3-year-olds, took a commanding advantage in the stretch and held to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Go Max. The early leader, True Thought, finished third. Legend Fortynine, an Alberta-bred gelding by Gold Legend, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:39.07 with Rico Walcott riding.

Charles Town

Amherst Street shadowed the pace set by Aly's Tap in Saturday's $50,000 Coin Collector Stakes for West Virginia-bred 3-year-olds, got by and went on to win by a neck over that one. By His Word came from last to get show money. Amherst Street, a Luftikus gelding, ran 4 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 52.35 seconds under Antonio Lopez.

Emerald Downs

Del Rio Harbor got first run to the lead in Sunday's $50,000 Coca Cola Handicap for 3-year-old colts and geldings and easily held off the odds-on favorite, Noosito, to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Charlie Thomas finished third. Del Rio Harbor, a Harbor the Gold gelding, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:34.73 with Gallyn Mitchell up.

Pleasanton

Amaranth led from the start in Sunday's $50,000 Betamerica.com Oaks and left seven rivals in her dust, winning by 7 lengths. Sprouts was sedond and D'ya Knowhatimean got show money. Amaranth, a Mr. Greeley filly, finished 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.35 with Dennis Carr in the irons.

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