In the hiatus between the North American climax of the Breeders' Cup and the year-ending showdowns in the Japan Cup and Hong Kong International Races, state-breds get a chance to shine in some competitive "days" of their own.
The special festivals not only provide breeders and owners incentives but they also foster rivalries among breeders, owners and trainers. And they usually produce big and competitive fields to challenge bettors and pump the handle.
Saturday, Calder Race Course in Florida and Hawthorne Race Course near Chicago put their favorite sons (and daughters) on display.
At Calder, the two marquee events on an eight-stakes card resulted in upsets. In the $200,000 Carl G. Rose Classic, Whos Crying Now rallied through the lane to beat fellow long shot Supervisor by a head, with Dazzling Dr. Cevin finishing third and the favorite, B.B. Best, home sixth. Whos Crying Now, a 5-year-old Concerto gelding, ran 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:52.68 under Manoel Cruz. In the $200,000 Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap, American Miss stalked the pace three-wide, got the lead with a furlong to run and went on to beat Special Report by 1 1/4 length. Appealing Pond was third and the favorite, Tigi, was sixth. American Miss is a 4-year-old Ameri Valay filly. Jose Lezcano rode the 1 1/16 mile in 1:46.43.
Favorites also fared poorly in the juvenile events. Electrify dueled with odds-on choice Cab in the $150,000 Jack Price Juvenile, then drew off to win by 2 1/2 lengths over Big Lover. Cab held third. Electrify, a son of Delaware Township, ran 7 furlongs in 1:23.03 under Eddie Castro. Peach Flambe, at 14-1, caught pace-setting favorite Stolen Prayer at the top of the stretch in the $150,000 Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies and won off by 7 lengths. Stolen Prayer held second and Secret Brook finished third. Peach Flambe, a daughter of Flying Chevron, ran 7 furlongs in 1:24.42 for Tom Turner.
Favorites finished second in each of the three turf stakes. Revved Up came from well back to win the $150,000 Bonnie Heath Turf Cup for 3-year-olds and up by 2 1/2 lengths over favorite Silver Tree, with Gin and Sin third. Revved Up, a 7-year-old Sultry Song gelding, got 9 furlongs on firm turf in 1:45.89 with Brice Blanc in the irons. Mr. Silver got the lead on the backstretch in the $100,000 Arthur L. Appleton Juvenile Turf Stakes and held on nicely to win by 1 1/2 lengths over favorite Gin Rummy King. Full In was third. With Eddie Castro up, Mr. Silver, a son of Concorde's Tune, ran 1 1/16 mile in 1:42.50. And in the $100,000 John Franks Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes, Mia's Reflection finished 1/2 length ahead of favorite Good Intentions and long shot Survicat. But Mia's Reflection then was set down to third for drifting in during the stretch run.
Completing the day of upsets, Weigelia led most of the way to a 9-1 upset of the $150,000 Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap. At the wire, the 4-year-old Safely's Mark colt was 2 3/4 lengths to the good of Mister Fotis, with Qureall third and the favorite, Santana Strings, fourth. The 6 furlongs took 1:09.40.
At Hawthorne, Wiggins pulled off a small upset in winning the $100,000 High Alexander Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 mile. With Chris Emigh up, the 5-year-old gelding rallied from mid-pack, got to the lead at the top of the stretch and was ridden out to beat favorite High Expectations by an easy 4 3/4 lengths in 1:44.96. Beabasque was third. In the $100,000 Lightning Jet, a 6-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up, Knowwhatimean was the upsetter, weaving through traffic from last of 12 to win by 1/2 length over Silver Bid. Out for a Spin, completed a juicy $1,708.40 trifecta. Knowwhatimean, a 4-year-old, finished in 1:11.39 with Seth Martinez aboard.
Denoun N Deverb sentenced seven rivals to defeat in the $100,000 Powerless Handicap for distaffers. Leading by 1 length at the top of the lane, the winner's margin contracted to a nose at depoint of decision. Dharma Girl was second and Lady Riss third in a field of eight. Denoun N Deverb is a 3-year-old daughter of Denouncer. Only five female sprinters turned out for the $100,000 Illini Princess Handicap and Meadow Bride came from off the pace to snatch a head victory over heavy favorite Jaguar City. Mrs. Lydonia was third. Meadow Bride is a 3-year-old daughter of Runaway Groom and Carlos Silva applied the winning ride.
Last Gran Standing was the odds-on favorite winner of the $100,000 Sun Power Stakes for 2-year-old males, stalking the pace and then taking over in the late stages to win by 3 1/2 lengths over Silver Titan. Cartlets was third. Last Gran Standing, a son of Distorted Humor, got 6 furlongs in 1:12.06 for Chris Emigh. And Rich Fantasy, a daughter of Richter Scale, bested eight rivals in the $100,000 Showtime Deb for juvenile fillies. Lovely Love was second, 1/2 length back of the winner, and Unreal Rocket was third. Rich Fantasy was guided by Eusebio Razo Jr. as she traversed 6 furlongs in 1:12.02.
In other weekend racing:
Vengeance of Rain was the favorite in Sunday's $3 million (HK) Cathay Pacific International Cup Trial at Sha Tin in Hong Kong, with his backers expecting the burst of speed that led to victories in three of last season's most important events. But it was a grinding effort for Vengeance of Rain to win the Trial. With 300 meters left in the race, the favorite was a length back of Green Treasure and it took each remaining stride to make up the difference to win by a head. Best Gift was third. "He wasn't 100 percent today," said winning trainer David Ferraris. "He just got tired in the finish and he'll improve for the run. He'll be spot on for the big race in December (the Dec. 11 Hong Kong Cup)." Green Treasure also is expected to take on the invaders from abroad in the big race. "He's looking like a real 2,000-meter horse now and I think he will come on from that run as well," said trainer Derek Cruz.
King's Drama is headed to the Japan Cup on Nov. 27 after a convincing victory in Saturday's $150,000 Red Smith Handicap. The 5-year-old King's Theatre gelding took the lead when asked by jockey Edgar Prado and won as he pleased, finishing 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Rousing Victory. Dreadnaught was third. King's Drama completed the 1 3/8 mile on firm turf in 2:15.37. "That was a free Grade 2," said Prado. "A nice paid workout. ... It worked out beautifully. He had something left in the tank." Prado plans to travel to Tokyo for trainer Bobby Frankel.
In Sunday's $75,000 Huntington Stakes for 2-year-olds, Saint Daimon took the shortest way around, rallying on the rail to win by 3 3/4 lengths over Urban Guy. The favorite, Justawalkinthepark was third. Saint Daimon, a Florida-bred son of Saint Ballado, ran 6 furlongs in 1:11.03 under Andrew Lakeman.
My Typhoon, with Robby Albarado up, took a 2-length lead at the top of the lane in Saturday's $150,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, then held on to beat Isla Cozzene by a nose at the wire. Silver Cup was third. My Typhoon, an Irish-bred daughter of Giant's Causeway, ran the 1 1/16 mile on firm turf in 1:43.36. She is trained by Bill Mott, who also trained Mrs. Revere. "This may cap his year off," said Mott assistant Kenny McCarthy. "He didn't win a Breeders' Cup race but I'm sure this is going to be pretty special for him." My Typoon, a $2.9 million purchase by Live Oak Plantation as a weanling, won her third stakes race and first graded stakes.
Also Saturday, Angel Trumpet, at 42-1, caught odds-on favorite Unbridled Sidney at the wire to win the $70,000 Pent Up Kiss Handicap by a head. Very Vegas was third. Angel Trumpet, a 3-year-old, Kentucky-bred daughter of Cape Canaveral, ran 5 furlongs on the grass in 56.67seconds for Terry Thompson.
Sunday, Therecomesatiger pressed the pace through the first 6 furlongs of the $150,000 Commonwealth Turf Stakes for 3-year-olds, then went by and ran on to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Cosmonaut. Drum Major was third while the favorite, Rebel Rebel, finished a fading seventh. Therecomesatiger, a Florida-bred gelding by Tiger Ridge, ran 1 1/16 mile on "good" footing in 1:43.94 for jockey Mark Guidry.
Ballroom Deputy stuck close to the leaders into the stretch in Saturday's $175,000 (Canadian) Maple Leaf Stakes for fillies and mares, got to the fore with a furlong to go and won by 1 length over Quick Temper. Silver Impulse was third and the favorite, Raylene, was a non-threatening fifth under the wire. Ballroom Deputy, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred daughter of Silver Deputy, ran 1 1/4 mile on a fast track in 2:05.77.
In Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian) Jammed Lovely Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, Charming Ruckus moved up between rivals on the turn and closed through the stretch run to win by 1 length over Simply Lovely. River Nore was third. Charming Ruckus, an Ontario-bred daughter of Silver Charm, ran the 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:23.49 with Todd Kabel up.
Presidential Affair ran away and hid from a trio of would-be rivals in Saturday's $125,000 Mountaineer Mile. Jumping right to the lead and with no urging from jockey Todd Glasser, the 6-year-old, Pennsylvania-bred gelding was in front by 4 lengths at the half-mile, 11 lengths after three-quarters and 16 3/4 lengths under the wire, finishing in 1:40.81. Odds-on favorite Discreet Hero was second, 5 3/4 lengths ahead of Seattle Schifty, who was 8 3/4 lengths ahead of Cherokee Prince, according to the non-stressed Equibase chart-caller. Presidential Affair is by Not For Love.
With no turf racing this season at the LAX annex, Saturday's Bien Bien Stakes for 3-year-olds was run at 1 1/6 mile on the dirt for $70,000 -- and with only four starters. Chips Are Down was the best of the short field, taking the lead with a furlong to go and winning by 1 length over Yes He's A Pistol. Becrux was third and Take a Chance completed the order of finish. Bob Baffert trains the winner, a Distorted Humor colt, for Bob and Beverly Lewis.
Golden Gate Fields
Jill's Sky shot to the lead from post No. 9 in Saturday's $75,000 Moment To Buy Stakes for 3-year-old fillies and was never challenged, holding on nicely to win by 1/2 length over Private Banking. Island Escape was third. Jill's Sky, a daughter of Skywalker, ran the 1 1/16 mile on "good" turf in 1:44.52 with Jose Valdivia Jr. up for trainer Jenine Sahadi.
Gold Casing got the jump on the field in Saturday's $75,000 Northern Dancer Stakes for 3-year-old Maryland-breds and never looked back, coasting home to a 4-length victory over odds-on favorite Promenade Girl. Serious Lightning was third. Gold Casing, a gelded son of Amerrico's Bullet, ran 9 furlongs in 1:53.18.
Mr. Trieste, the odds-on favorite in Saturday's $75,000 Veteran Stakes, had all he could do in the stretch run to catch long shot Don't Strike Out and win by a neck. R. Associate was third. Mr. Trieste, with Ken Tohill aboard, got the 1 1/16 mile in 1:43. The 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred colt is by Old Trieste out of the Silver Deputy mare Angel's Tearlet. Gary Cross trains Mr. Trieste for Richard Lueck.
News and notes
Sheikh Mohammed paid $9 million Monday for Ashado at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. The 4-year-old daughter of Saint Ballado, purchased for $170,000 at the 2002 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, earned $3,931,440 with 12 victories from 21 starts. Last year she won both the Kentucky Oaks and the Breeders' Cup Distaff. In her last race, Ashado was third in this year's Emirates Airlines Distaff. John Ferguson, who signed for Ashado, said Sheikh Mohammed "is especially keen to assemble an outstanding broodmare band in the United States. And she'd fit into the paddock with the best of them."... And, speaking of Emirates, the Dubai Racing Club announced the ritzy airline is sponsoring the opening meet of the 2005-06 season at the Nad Al Sheba race course. Speaking of Thursday's opening night, new DRC Chief Executive Officer Frank Gabriel said, "It looks like being a very exciting night of racing. It's the perfect start to the exhilarating season that lies ahead."