In the lull before the Breeders' Cup World Championships, Calder's "Festival of the Sun" and Laurel's Maryland Million took center stage in weekend racing.
Calder Race Course
Soldier's Dancer became the first horse to win both the Tropical Park Derby and the Calder Derby, taking the latter race as part of Saturday's "Festival of the Sun" stakes extravaganza. After racing in the middle of the pack through the early stages, Soldier's Dancer came four-wide to win. Imawildandcrazyguy came from far back to take third. Soldier's Dancer finished the 9 furlongs on yielding turf in 1:52.21 under Cornelio Velasquez. "One race we'll think about down the line is the Sunshine Millions (Turf)," said winning trainer David Vivian. "I'm not sure what might be next."
Cozzi Capital outfinished Snow Cone in the stretch drive to win Saturday's $200,000 Calder Oaks by 1/2 length. Casa Mimaty, the early leader, finished third. With Eibar Coa up, Cozzi Capital ran the 9 furlongs on yielding turf in 1:53.10 The winner is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Cozzene. "Hope it doesn't end here," said winning owner/breeder/trainer Herman Wilensky. "We'll take it one race at a time."
Yes He's the Man led from gate to wire in Saturday's $100,000 Spend A Buck Handicap. Under Julio Garcia, the 4-year-old ran 1 1/16 miles on a "good" main track in 1:45.14, beating Electrify by 4 3/4 lengths. A Summer Book finished third. Winning trainer/owner/breeder Dave Braddy said the victory "opens up a whole new world for him in the future." He added, "His sire says sprinter. But on the distaff side he's got Wild Again, which says long."
Amazing Speed sped to her second consecutive Calder stakes victory, winning Saturday's $100,000 Shocker T. Handicap by a neck over Gadolinium. Saffronista was third. Amazing Speed, with Carlos Olivero up, ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:47.11. "She’s always been a good filly and now she’s back in form. I’m one to wait until I see how they come back before I think about what might be next," said winning trainer Jose Garoffalo.
Calico Bay, last during the run down the backstretch, rallied through the lane to win Saturday's $400,000 My Dear Girl Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes by 4 lengths over Silk Ridge – the rival who had beaten her in the two earlier divisions of the FSS. Awesome Dreamer finished third. Calico Bay finished the 1 1/16 mile on a good track in 1:48.49 under Manoel Cruz. "I wasn’t too happy when she didn’t break and ended up last but sometimes things work out for the best. She was able to relax back there while most of the others were kind of bunched up front," said winning trainer Bill Kaplan. Asked about the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, he added, "We won’t do anything that drastic with her from here (Breeders’ Cup), just see how she comes back and then make a decision.”
Wise Answer, with Eibar Coa up for the first time, won Saturday's $400,000 In Reality Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes by a stakes-record 10 lengths. After tracking the pace, Coa sent Wise Answer to the rail and to the lead with three-eighths of a mile to go and the colt scooted off to the easy victory. Cigar Man was second and Inner Light was third. The final time was 1:45.51. Wise Answer missed a series sweep when he finished second in the first event. "We'll give him a breather now," said winning trainer David Brownlee. "He's had five tough races so he'll get about a month off and come back in the fall."
Evil Storm unleashed a powerful stretch run to win Saturday's $300,000 Maryland Million Classic by 3 lengths over the favorite, Five Steps. Diamond David, the early leader, held on to finish third. Evil Storm, third in the same race last year, finished the 1 3/16 miles on a fast track in 1:58.19 under Jeremy Rose. It was the first win of the year for the 6-year-old son of Storm Broker.
In the $200,000 Maryland Million Turf, Forty Crowns set a quick pace under Luis Garcia, then held on well to win by 4 lengths over Dr. Rico. Broadway Producer took the show. The fast early fractions helped Forty Crowns to a track-record finish of 1:46.03, then rolled to a resounding victory in the $200,000 Maryland Million Turf for 3-year-olds and up. Garcia said, “I wanted to let my horse break, then see how everyone else broke."
Maddy's Heart needed every jump of the 9 furlongs to catch pace-setting Beau's Tip and win Saturday's $200,000 Maryland Million Ladies. With Ramon Dominguez up, the daughter of Lion Hearted, scored by a neck, with Lexi Star third. "That was a very impressive performance today, closing a gap that big with so little room," said winning trainer Timothy Hills. "I think now we’ll have to look at some of the last 3-year-old filly races in Florida. You don’t want to waste that age condition."
Akronism got out to a clear lead in Saturday's $150,000 Maryland Million Distaff and the heavy favorite, Silmaril, was unable to catch her at the end. Under the wire, Akronism held on to win by 3/4 length, with For Kisses third. Silmaril won the Distaff last year and would have passed the $1 million mark in earnings with a victory. Akronism, by Not For Love, was ridden by Tony Black for trainer Tim Ritchey.
Moon Catcher shot out to the early lead in Saturday's $150,000 Maryland Million Oaks and coasted home a 4 1/2-length winner over Paying Off. Loveyasister was third. With Tony Black up again for trainer Tim Ritchey, Moon Catcher ran the 1 mile in 1:37.47. " She is going to get some time off now and we hope to have a good 4-year-old campaign starting at Oaklawn," Ritchey said.
Grand Champion and Lemons of Love both had to make up ground after bad starts in the $150,000 Maryland Million Sprint. But at the end, it came down to those two, with Grand Champion, under Ramon Dominguez, prevailing by a head in 1:10.27. Cayman Condo finished third. Grand Champion is a Two Punch gelding.
Regal Solo won a three-way photo in Saturday's $150,000 Maryland Million Nursery, just holding on to be at Smooth It Over by a nose. Izzy Speaking was another head back in third. Regal Solo, a son of Louis Quatorze, was ridden by Ryan Fogelsonger and keyed an $888.60 trifecta payout.
Love For Not drew off to a 4 1/4-length victory in Saturday's $150,000 Maryland Million Lassie for 2-year-old fillies. With Stewart Elliott in the irons, the daughter of Not for Love finished the 7 furlongs in 1:26.11. All Attitude was second with pace-setting Kosmo's Buddy holding on for third.
Happy Surprise won Saturday's $150,000 Maryland Million Turf Sprint by a nose over Whata Monster, then survived two claims of foul before the result was made official. Mr. Mutter was third. Horacio Karamonos rode the Crowd Pleaser gelding to victory in 1:01.62, marking his first win on the green course.
Bit of Whimsy took well back in Saturday's $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, rallied along the rail around the turn and then came out into the stretch to stage a winning rally. At the wire, the daughter of Distorted Humor was 2 1/4 lengths in front, with the favorite, Dreaming of Anna, second. Coquerelle was third. Bit of Whimsy finished the 1 1/8 mile on firm turf in 1:48.73. "The first thing he (trainer Barclay Tagg) said was he wanted me to take a hold of her today," said winning rider Javier Castellano. "We handicapped the race together and saw a lot of speed. We wanted to take her back a little bit and let her finish."
Steve's Double caught front-running Shrewd Operator midway down the stretch in Saturday's $200,000 Perryville Stakes and went on to win by 1/2 length over Les Grands Trois. Shrewd Operator finished third. Steve's Double, a son of Stephen Got Even, ran the 7 furlongs, 184 feet in 1:25.36 with Jamie Theriot up, winning for the third time in seven starts. "I had a good trip today,” said Theriot. “We were in a stalking position. When I called on him, he was there for us.”
Inca King jumped to a big lead at the top of the stretch in Sunday's $150,000 Bryan
Station Stakes for 3-year-olds and won easily, beating even-money favorite Distorted Reality by 3 3/4 lengths. Admiral Bird finished third. Inca King, a son of Sir Cat, pressed the pace before being sent to the lead by jockey Shaun Bridgmohan at the quarter pole. "I managed to keep him a little bit off the rail and he settled pretty nicely," Bridgmohan said. "When I asked him to pick it up at the top of the stretch, he went ahead and punched on home."
Criminologist used a stalking trip and a stretch run to win Saturday's $100,000 Athena Handicap for fillies and mares. With John Velazquez up, Criminologist sat behind the pace of Beautiful Daniele, drew even with a quarter mile to go and drew off to win by 4 1/2 lengths. The 4-year-old Maria's Mon filly finished the 1 1/16 mile on yielding turf in 1:45.09. I'm in Love was second and Dance Away Capote finished third. It was the third straight win for Criminologist. "We’re not done with her," said winning trainer Shug McGaughey. "The Cardinal at Louisville (9 furlongs on the turf, Nov. 17 at Churchill Downs) could be a possibility. If Mr. Janney wants to take a big shot, maybe we’ll look somewhere else.”
Leonnatus Anteas won Saturday's $150,000 (Canadian) Durham Cup by 1 1/4 lengths over Eccentric, establishing a Polytrack course record of 1:49.55. Arch Hall was third, another neck back. Leonnatus Anteas, a late scratch from the Queen's Plate this spring, posted his second win from five starts after winning 2-year-old honors last year in Canada. "It was unfortunate that we had to scratch him so late (from contesting the Plate), when he had taken so many huge steps to get there," said winning trainer Kevin Attard. "We're on to the next phase of his career now and it's nice to see him back to his winning ways."
Not Bourbon, with Jono Jones up, also set a track record in Saturday's $125,000 (Canadian) Bull Page Stakes for 2-year-olds, finishing the 6-furlong event for Ontario-sired juveniles in 1:08.84. A son of Not Impossible, caught pace-setting Stuck in Traffic with a furlong to run and edged clear to win. Lady's First Cat finished third. "I think this horse will go two turns if he relaxes," said winning trainer Roger Attfield. "I really like this horse and I'm looking forward to running him longer."
Despite a bad break, Deputiformer came on in the final strides to win Sunday's
$250,000 Cup and Saucer Stakes for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds by a neck over Cryptonite Kid. Seattle Hill was third. The race went in 1:44.47 on firm turf. Jono Jones completed a stellar weekend, capping Saturday's two stakes victories with the winning ride in the Cup and Saucer. Deputiformer, in his fourth start, also broke his maiden. Jones said he had "specific instructions" from trainer Mike DePaulo -- "Take him back, put him on the rail, save ground and make a run. I did that and it worked out great," he said. The colt is a son of Silver Deputy from the Dynaformer mare Barney's Mistress.
Hawthorne Race Course
Bold Hawk saved ground through the early furlongs of Saturday's $250,000 Hawthorne Derby, split rivals during the stretch run and won by a head-bob over Twilight Meteor. Western Prize finished third but broke down after the wire and was euthanized. The final time was 1:47.55 on firm turf. "I walked the course this morning and I knew what spot I wanted to be in," said winning jockey Jean-Luc Samyn. "I knew that the inside appeared to be the best place." He added the gelding "should definitely be back as a 4-year-old … Just look at him. He's a big horse, really immature. He sure looks like he has only one way to go -- up."
Daytona revved up to an upset victory in Saturday's $150,000 Oak Tree Derby, romping home by 4 1/4 lengths over Ten a Penny. With Mike Smith riding for the first time, Daytona finished the 9 furlongs over a damp but officially firm turf course in 1:46.40. The favorite, Stoneside, finished third. An Irish-bred, Daytona had struggled on synthetic surfaces. "His turf races were great," said winning trainer Dan Hendricks. "The strategy was just to be comfortable." Smith said Hendricks told him "to just keep him happy and, if he's happy, he's got some turn of foot. Believe me, he's got some turn of foot!"
Also Saturday, Meetingwithdestiny made a nice run down the hillside turf course to finish a respectable fourth in a maiden event for 2-year-olds. The Belong To Me colt, ninth on the artificial surface in his career debut, showed much more interest Saturday under Tyler Baze and is likely to improve with added distance for Bongo Racing Stable.
Gotta Have Her led most of the way around in Sunday's $100,000 Harold C. Ramser Sr. Handicap for 3-year-old fillies and had enough left in the tank to hold off a fast-closing Silky Smooth by 3/4 length at the end of the grassy mile. Runway Rosie was third. Trained by Jenine Sahadi and ridden by Richard Migliore, Gotta Have Her finished in 1:34.16. "I didn't intend to be on the lead today," Migliore said. "My filly got comfortable, though, and when I asked her, she gave me a big spurt past the quarter pole. She got just a little bit late with me inside the sixteenth but her courage sustained her."