It was a big weekend of racing for the youngsters eyeing next year's Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, with even more action on the grass.
Among the juveniles, I Spent It shot to the top, at least for now, among the East Coast contingent while Cavorting did the same among the East Coast juvenile fillies.
The Turf Mile division, already contentious, got another top-shelf competitor as Seek Again overcame traffic issues to win the Fourstardave at Saratoga.
In Canada, Queen's Plate winner Lexie Lou proved she's even better on the grass, making her a potential force in that division down the road.
And there were a couple of minor upset in France and Ireland.
Onward, starting with the young 'uns.
I Spent It found room along the rail from behind a wall of horses in the stretch run of Sunday's $200,000, Grade II Toyota Saratoga Special, slipped through and got away to win by 2 3/4 lengths. Mr. Z gave chase to no avail, finishing second, and W V Jetsetter put a nose in front of Cleveland Sound to get show money. I Spent It, a Super Saver colt, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:16.79 with Javier Castellano aboard. He was coming off a hard-fought victory in his first start, July 2 at Belmont Park. "Bad horses can't do that," said winning trainer Tony Dutrow. "He tries to get out a couple of paths, and there's nothing there, so he stays where he's at. He needs somewhere to go, he's waiting, waiting, and when there's a little hole there, he goes for it like he's done it a million times ... That's just wonderful." He said he leans toward waiting for the $500,000, Grade I Champagne Stakes at Belmont on Oct. 4 as the next start for I Spent It. Jockey Corey Lanerie said Mr. Z is "still figuring it out" and may need a target to run at. "He has the talent."
Private Prospect won a battle of invaders -- barely -- in Saturday's $100,000 Prairie Meadows Juvenile Mile. After tracking the pace, the Discreet Cat colt hooked up with Churchill Downs-trained Lucky Player down the stretch and prevailed by a neck with Arlington Park-based Recount third. Private Prospect, with Alex Birzer up, finished in 1:38.77 over a fast track. Private Prospect, also trained at Arlington, visited last month to take down the Prairie Gold Juvenile after winning at first asking in Chicago for trainer Mike Campbell.
Sing Praises opened a big lead in Saturday's $100,000 Dr. Fager Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes at Gulfstream Park, then coasted home first by 1 3/4 lengths over Of Course. Jaiden's Best finshed third. Sing Praises, a Hear No Evil colt, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.38 with Ramsey Zimmerman up.
Truely Quick pressed the pace in Sunday's $50,000 Cavonnier Juvenile at Santa Rosa, then hooked up in a stretch battle with Stand and Salute before edging clear to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Naomi's Gift finished third. Truely Quick, a Yes It's True colt, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:12.12 with Ricardo Gonzalez in the irons.
Dick Whittington outgamed Kool Kompany to the line in Sunday's Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh in Ireland, winning by 1/2 length. The winner then had to survive an inquiry into some bumping between the top two as they jockeyed for position while the field fanned out for the stretch run. Cappella Sansevero finished third in a field reduced to just six after heavy thunderstorms drenched the course. Dick Whittington, a Rip Van Winkle colt, posted his second straight win over the course and now is 3-for-6 for trainer Aidan O'Brien and the Coolmore combine. Joseph O'Brien took over the ride on the winner after other O'Brien runners scratched. "The way he won today, you'd have to think he'd get a mile," O'Brien said. But he said he will be in no rush to make a plan.
Cavorting came wide around the turn an into the stretch in Sunday's $200,000, Grade II Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga and worked clear late to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Angela Renee. Wonder Gal finished third. Cavorting, a Bernardini filly, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:16.49 with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons. She won at first asking at Belmont Park on July 3. "It would seem that she would go further," said winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. He said the Grade I Spinaway at the Spa "is a back a little quick" and suggested the Grade I Frizette at Belmont Park on Oct. 4 might be a more likely spot. "The Breeders' Cup is obviously what we hope for." Angela Renee's trainer, Todd Pletcher, said he "learned a few things about her and hopefully she'll improve as we move forward."
Sunset Glow had the glow of victory after cruising home first in Wednesday's $200,000, Grade II Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar. Racing on the lead, the Exchange Rate filly scored by 3 1/4 lengths with La Grange and Heart of Paradise in her wake. Sunset Glow ran 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:16.61 with Victor Espinoza in the irons. The filly was bouncing back from a second-place finish in the Group 3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, when she made the lead and was caught late over a deep track. Overall, she now has two wins and two seconds from four starts for trainer Wesley Ward. Assistant trainer Blake Heap said Sunset Glow is a likely participant in the $300,000, Grade I Del Mar Debutante on Aug. 30, going 7 furlongs.
Dixie Twist got the lead turning for home in Saturday's $125,000 (Canadian) Ontario Debutante at Woodbine, came again and outfinished Roaming to win by a head. Sweet Dreams finished third and the favorite, Starless Night, had a fruitless day, finishing last. Dixie Twist, an Ontario-bred Indian Charlie filly, ran 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:11.14 with Gary Boulanger aboard. She was making just her second career start, following a second-place finish in the Shady Well Stakes. "We didn't expect to be that close," Boulanger said. "But she broke hard today and was doing it easy. I just went with the flow of the race. I knew I had quite a lot of horse and I didn't want to move any sooner than I had to."
Leap Year Luck forged to the front turning for home in Saturday's $100,000 Desert Vixen Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes -- transplanted this year from Calder to Gulfstream Park -- and kicked clear to win by 4 3/4 lengths. Standard Deal was second and Katie's Kiss finished third. Leap Year Luck, with Jesus Rios up, was a 13-1 chance and finished 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.74. She picked up her first win in three career starts.
Seduire was quickly on the lead in Friday's $50,000 Wine Country Debutante at Santa Rosa and held off Can Can Baby to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Wedding Blush finished third. Seduire, an Ontario-bred filly by Elusive Quality, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.05 under Russell Baze.
Juvenile Fillies Turf
Harlan's Honor led from the break in Sunday's $60,000 Colleen Stakes at Monmouth Park on the Jersey shore and went on to win by 4 lengths over Perpetual Novena. Nicky's Brown Miss finished third. Harlan's Honor, a daughter of Harlan's Holiday, ran 5 furlongs on firm turf in 56.03 with Frankie Pennington aboard.
Seek Again finished second a nose to Wise Dan two races back. Last time out, he faded from the front in the 1 1/4-miles Manhattan but still finished third. Saturday, in the Grade II Fourstardave at Saratoga, in his third race over from England, he cut back to a straight mile and broke through, winning by a neck over Grand Arch. Jack Milton finished third and the favorite, Silver Max, faded from his accustomed lead to finish last of sixth. Seek Again, with Joel Rosario up for trainer Bill Mott, finished the mile in course-record time of 1:33.42 despite having to alter course twice during the stretch run. "The pace scenario was good," Mott said. "The only tense moment was when our horse was trying to find his room at the eighth pole. I'm hoping he just finds his room." Mott said he knows Seek Again can go longer but wanted to test him again at a mile. "I wouldn't have passed up the Arlington Million if I didn't think he could" win at the shorter distance, Mott said. The Grade I Arlington Million, a 1 1/4-miles event, is run next Saturday. The 4-year-old Speightstown colt was trained in England by John Gosden.
Wallyanna snuck by pacesetting favorite Bobby's Kitten to win Friday's $200,000, Grade II National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga by 1 length. Give No Quarter and Long on Value were a pair of necks farther back in third and fourth. Wallyanna, who went off at odds of 23-1, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:40.66 with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons. It was his fourth win from six career starts, including a stakes victory at Pimlico in May. "He was long odds, and I don't like to run long-odds horses," said winning trainer Michael Pino. "But I just felt like he deserved a shot and we'd step up and see what happens, and it worked out." He said he has no immediate plans for the horse.
Enterprising came from last of six to win Saturday's $150,000, Grade III La Jolla Handicap for 3-year-olds at Del Mar, splitting rivals at mid stretch before taking the rail route to a 1 1/4-lengths victory. I'll Wrap It Up finished second and Sammy Mandeville was third. Enterprising, a Florida-bred colt by Elusive Quality, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:41.31 with Mike Smith in the irons. He was coming off a last-to-first victory in the Oceanside Stakes over the same course and, since he struggled through a learning experience in his first start, he has not been out of the money in eight straight outings. "Looks like he's even a little better than we might have thought," said winning trainer Tom Proctor. "I thought it might not be his day, but he ran like a freight train the last eighth of a mile." He said the $300,000, Grade II Del Mar Derby on Aug. 31 "is a possibility."
Tricky Hat was along in the final jumps to win Wednesday's $100,000 John's Call Stakes at Saratoga by a nose over Holiday Star and another neck over Manchurian High. The favorite, Winning Cause, finished fourth. Tricky Hat, a Chilean-bred son of Japanese-bred sire Hat Trick, ran 1 5/8 miles on firm turf in 2:41.87 with Rosie Napravnik in the irons.
Filly & Mare Turf
Trainer Mark Casse said he had been looking forward to a grass start for Woodbine Oaks and Queen's Plate winner Lexie Lou. He finally got her on the turf in Sunday's $250,000 Wonder Where Stakes for Canadian-foaled 3-year-old fillies and was rewarded with just the commanding performance he anticipated. With Patrick Husbands at the controls, Lexie Lou waited patiently, quickly got by the leader, Skylander Girl, and went on to win by 3 lengths, ridden out. Skylander Girl held second, 6 1/2 lengths ahead of Lapsang. Lexie Lou, a daughter of Sligo Bay, ran 1 1/4 miles on firm turf in 2:00.90. "When I worked her 12 days ago, I told Mark she's a different horse on the turf," Husbands said. "She's probably 20 lengths better, but the only problem is I didn't know how I was going to get her to shut off."
Moulin de Mougin rallied by pacesetting Wishing Gate in the late going of Sunday's $250,000, Grade II John C. Mabee Stakes for fillies and mares at Del Mar and won by 1/2 length over that rival. Cozze Up Lady was third and the favorite, Miss Serendipity, finished last. Moulin de Mougin, a 4-year-old Curlin filly, ran 9 furlongs on firm turf in 1:47.96 with Mike Smith up. She posted her first graded stakes win, coming one race after a third-place finish in the Grade II Royal Heroine Stakes at Santa Anita. "This is a filly that keeps getting better as she goes," said winning trainer Richard Mandella. "It's a real honor to win the John Mabee. He was very good to me with some horses and I'll never forget him and his wife Betty. And it's a big day for Mike Smith. It's his birthday. I think he's 75 now." Smith celebrated his 49th birthday Sunday.
Kaigun rallied from near the back of a 10-horse field to win Sunday's Grade II Play the King Stakes at Woodbine by 3/4 length over Lockout. Dimension finished third and the favorite, Winning Prize, finished sixth. Kaigun, a 4-year-old Northern Afleet gelding, ran 7 furlongs on firm turf in 1:20.71 with Patrick Husbands in the irons. Kaigun had been having little fortune going longer on the turf before Sunday's win, finishing up the track in the Grade I Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, Grade I Manhattan at Belmont and the Grade I United Nations at Monmouth. "Looking at the form, there was definitely a lot speed in the race," Husbands said. "Leaving the gate, I wanted to get down to the rail and then at the eighth pole, get out. It worked out perfectly."
Garswood, under Gerald Mosse, found enough late to land Sunday's Group 1 Prix Maurice du Gheest at Deauville on the French coast, besting Thawaany by 1/2 length. Fiesolana finished third in the 6 1/2-furlongs struggle, which saw 14 face the starter. Garswood, trained by Richard Fahey, finished third in the Group 1 Prix du Foret at Longchamp last fall and appears a good prospect to cross the Channel again for this fall's Arc meeting.
Joya Real rallied for a 1-length victory over Allaboutcaroline in Sunday's $60,000 Fort Monmouth Stakes for fillies and mares at Monmouth Park. Wellingtons Appeal finished third. Joya Real, a 5-year-old Eddington mare, ran about 5 1/2 furlongs on firm going in 1:01.68 with Kendrick Carmouche up. The odds-on favorite, Ju Ju Eyballs, was on the lead at the top of the stretch but tired badly to finish last of seven.
Cassatt broke slowly in Saturday's $105,000, Grade III Monmouth Oaks but quickly assumed command and finally kicked clear to win by 3 3/4 lengths. Aqua Regia finished second but was set down to third for interfering with Saintly Joan, who was promoted to third. The favorite, Ria Antonia, put in a mild late bid to finish fourth. Cassatt, a Tapit filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.34 with Kerwin Clark riding. It was her fourth start and third straight win. "We might be a little too late getting her to the Breeders' Cup, but you never know," said winning trainer Larry Jones. He said the Grade I Cotillion at Parx Racing on Sept 20 " is a possibility (to) see if she can put herself in the Breeders' Cup picture. But we'll see how she comes out and let her tell us."
Molly Morgan won a long, three-way stretch battle in Saturday's $100,000, Grade III Gardenia Stakes at Ellis Park, scoring by a head over Tapit's World. Livi Makenzie weakened late to get home third. Molly Morgan, a 5-year-old Ghostzapper mare, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:36.72 for jockey Jesus Castanon. She won the Grade II Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs in June before finishing fifth in the Grade I Delaware Handicap in her last previous start.
There's no more Breeders' Cup Marathon but there still are long races on the dirt. Among those was Friday's $100,000 Birdstone Stakes at Saratoga, where Micromanage let Irsaal make the early going, then took over when asked by jockey Javier Castellano and won by 8 1/2 lengths. Irsaal held second, 15 1/2 lengths better than Slim Shadey. Micromanage, a 4-year-old Medaglia d'Oro colt, finished 1 3/4 miles on a fast track in 2:58.13. Noting the shortage of long-distance races, winning trainer Todd Pletcher said, "One thing we've kicked around is trying him on the grass at some point. There's a lot more opportunities on the turf at these type of distances."
Master the Blues was up in the final yards to edge Kinz Funky Monkey in Friday's $90,000 Daiseycutter Handicap for fillies and mares. Uzziel was third and the favorite, Tribal Spy, got home fourth. Master the Blues, a 5-year-old Master Command mare, ran 5 furlongs on the all-weather track in 57.10 seconds with Kent Desormeaux up.
Mister Pollard bided his time in Wednesday's $150,000 Governor's Stakes for Indiana-bred 3-year-olds, took over turning for home and won off by 7 3/4 lengths over Notionofmine. Huntstown finished third. Mister Pollard, a Pollard's Vision colt, finished 1 mile and 70 yards on a fast track in 1:41.64 with Ricardo Santana Jr. riding.
Mary n' Eileen dueled down the lane in Wednesday's $150,000 Indiana First Lady Stakes for state-bred 3-year-old fillies before prevailing by 1/2 length over Cactus Joe. Elegant Model finished third. Mary n' Eileen, a daughter of Indy King, ran 1 mile and 70 yards on a fast track in 1:41.52 with Paco Lopez up.
Wild Swava prompted the pace in Wednesday's $85,000 Florence Henderson Stakes for state-bred fillies and mares, took a big lead in the lane and coasted home first by 3 3/4 lengths. Franky and Jane was best of the rest and Dreamin Big finished third. Wild Swava, a 4-year-old Offlee Wild filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:41.45 with Francisco Torres riding.
Proud Azteca rallied by pacesetter I'mboundtoscore in the late going to win Wednesday' $85,000 A.J. Foyt Stakes for Indiana-breds by 1 1/2 lengths. Unreachable Star finished third. Proud Azteca, a 4-year-old Kitten's Joy colt, negotiated 1 1/6 miles on the grass in 1:42.50 with Torres in the irons.
Presque Isle Downs
Dame Dorothy asserted herself in the stretch run in Sunday's $75,000 Malvern Rose Stakes for Pennsylvania-bred 3-year-old fillies, drawing clear to win by 4 lengths. Bound was second, 2 lengths better than Je Suis Enchantee. Dame Dorothy, a Bernardini filly, finished 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:46.03 under Willie Martinez.
Justalittlesmoke smoked 10 rivals in Saturday's $50,000 Cleveland Kindergarten Stakes, winning by 6 lengths. Unbridled Graduate was second and Alliseeisgold finished third. Justalittlesmoke, a Smoke Glacken filly taking on males, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.48 despite being dispatched at 17-1 odds. Jeffrey Skerrett had the winning ride.
Champagne Ruby got clear in the lane to win Saturday's $50,000 Niagara Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies by 2 3/4 lengths over Miss Narcissist. Aspree finished third. Champagne Ruby, a daughter of Utopia, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.94 under Oscar Gomez.
Dancing Roy stalked the pace in Saturday's $50,000 Robert G. Leavitt Memorial Stakes for West Virginia-bred 3-year-olds by 2 1/2 lengths over Pin High. Little Big Sime finished third. Dancing Roy, a Dance With Ravens gelding, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:26.01 with Oscar Flores up.
Capitalism dominated Saturday's $50,000 Sales Stakes for Canadian-bred, 2-year-old colts and geldings, winning by 6 lengths over Artie in the Park. Xtreme Denigray finished third. Capitalism, a Cape Canaveral gelding, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:20.04 with Rico Walcott up.
In the companion event for 2-year-old fillies, Shanali battled her way to the lead in the edged clear to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Queenoftheforest. Ginger Smash was third. Shanali, an Alydeed filly, got home in 1:20.79 with Ismael Mosqueira in the irons.
Mebossman got by pacesetting Del Rio Harbor in the final strides to win Sunday's $65,000 Emerald Downs Derby by a neck. Noosito contested the pace until the final yards and finished third. Mebossman, a Petionville gelding, ran 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:47.23 with Juan Gutierrez up.
Lady Fifty Two pressed the pace in Saturday's $65,000 Washington Oaks, then slowly took command and won off by 1 1/2 lengths. The early leader, Mylast Sweet Pea, held second, 4 3/4 lengths ahead of Champagne Gal. Lady Fifty Two, a daughter of Kodiak Kowboy, ran 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:48.21 with Leslie Mawing in the irons.
Belleofthebeach rallied to the lead in the stretch in Saturday's $50,000 Aspen Cup for 3-year-old fillies and went on to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Awesome Dama. Stormquility got show money. Belleofthebeach, a daughter of Master Command, ran 6 furlongs on a muddy track in 1:12.46 with Irwin Rosendo up.
Gallant Son put a head in front of Ain't No Other at wire in Saturday's $50,000 Jess Jackson Owners' Handicap. Moonshine Bay was 1 1/4 lengths farther back in third. Gallant Son, an 8-year-old son of Malabar Gold, ran 5 furlongs on firm turf in 56.85 seconds with Cristobal Herrera up.
Speed Is Life sped out to a huge lead in Saturday night's $75,000 Minnesota Derby for state-breds and held on sufficiently to win by 3 1/4 lengths over Vanderbilt Beach. A P Is Loose finished third. Speed Is Life, with Ry Eikleberry up, got 1 mile and 70 yards on a fast track in 1:45.52 over a fast track.
Sky and Sea left from the rail in the companion $75,000 Minnesota Oaks and never looked back, winning by 3 1/4 lengths as the prohibitive favorite. Thunder and Honey was best of the rest with Stellabrini third. Sky and Sea, a Latent Heat filly, ran 1 mile and 70 yards in 1:46.50 with Dean Butler up.
Jac's Fact jetted off in the stretch run to win Sunday's $50,000 Horizon Stakes for Ohio-bred 3-year-olds by 9 3/4 length over the odds-on favorite, Kelly's Pride. Geppetto finished third. Jac's Fact, a Kentucky Dane colt, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:47.04 with Edgar Paucar aboard.
Caviar N Champagne opened a big lead late in Sunday's $50,000 Vivacious Stakes for state-bred fillies and mares and coasted home first by 3 1/2 lengths. Isadella finished second and Startin Something was third. Caviar N Champagne, a 5-year-old Formal Dinner mare, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:46.65 under Scott Spieth.