It was a big, big weekend for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Not only did Asmussen's Preakness-winning superstar filly, Rachel Alexandra, whip males for the second time in Sunday's $1 million Haskell, but he also saddled the upset winner of Saturday's $750,000 West Virginia Derby -- beating no less than Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird.
Asmussen also won Saturday's $500,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga with the rapidly improving Kensei, giving him at least three shots at next month's Travers Stakes.
And, for good measure, he saddled the winners of the Mountaineer Juvenile and the Louisiana Cup Oaks.
After Sunday's Haskell at Monmouth Park, there's not much left to be said about Rachel
Alexandra. After stalking the pace, regular rider Calvin Borel sent her toward the lead on the stretch turn and no one could go with her. Under mild urging, the Medaglia d'Oro filly drew off to win by 6 lengths and the margin could have been more.
She finished in 1:47.21, just over 2/5 of a second off the track record despite the sloppy conditions. Belmont winner Summer Bird was second, 1 length ahead of Munnings. Papa Clem finished fourth.
"This filly is just unbelievable," Borel said. "I can't say how good she is. I don't know."
Asmussen said he was "very confident" Rachel Alexandra would handle the off track. "The Haskell was our major goal and we were happy with the way she ran today."
Since her connections have nixed a trip to this year's Breeders' Cup, they are trying to put together a "Horse of the Year" campaign that will settle the issue before the first weekend of November. Sunday's race was a big step down that road.
Perhaps Asmussen's lowest expectations of the weekend might have been for Soul Warrior, part of a two-horse entry in Saturday's $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer. The Lion Heart colt finished second in the Iowa Derby in late June, 5 lengths back of Duke of Mischief, who came back to finish fifth in Sunday's Haskell. So his chances against Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and the promising Big Drama appeared slight.
No one told Soul Warrior, though. He sat nicely behind a stout pace, came to challenge pace-setting Big Drama at mid-stretch and put his neck in front at the wire. Mine That Bird put in his patented late run from the back of the pack but hung in the final sixteenth and settled for third in his first start since finishing third in the Belmont Stakes June 6.
Soul Warrior, with Dale Beckner picking up the mount, got the 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:51.46.
Mike Smith, who rode Mine That Bird, said the track was playing to speed, forcing him to keep his mount closer than the would have liked. "Mine That Bird doesn't like to run that way and I had to use him too much on the backside," Smith said.
Asmussen, who spent the day watching monitors and live racing at Saratoga, noted Soul Warrior had to look for running room around the turn, then had to deal with both catching the leader and fending off the Kentucky Derby winner for more than a quarter mile.
"What a very good effort for that horse," he said.
In Saturday's $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes for 3-year-olds at Saratoga, Kensei pressed the pace set by Warrior's Reward, got by turning for home and drew off to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Warrior's Reward held second and Charitable Man, the favorite in a field of six, finished third with a late run. Kensei, a Kentucky-bred colt by Mr. Greeley, ran the 9 fulongs in 1:47.9 with Edgar Prado handling the reins for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Kensei won the Dwyer at Belmont in his last previous start and becomes one of those to be factored into handicapping the $1 million Shadwell Travers Stakes at Saratoga Aug. 29. The issue there is where Rachel Alexandra will start next. Since her owner has nixed a Breeders' Cup appearance, she may need a Travers win to ice a Horse of the Year bid. Would he start someone else alongside his star filly? "That would be very improbable," Asmussen said. "But I'm speaking out of turn."
The second- and third-place finishers also could resurface in the Travers. "I was pleased," said Warrior's Reward's trainer, Ian Wilkes. "This horse could have folded. He could have finished third or fourth. The other two had a chance to beat him and he fought them off. He noted Kensei beat his horse 5 1/2 lengths last time they met. "We might have been beaten 2 lengths this time. We'll catch him."
And trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Charitable Man "had kind of a rough trip. "It's a prep for the Travers. We'll see how he comes out of it.
In the other major weekend prep for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, Informed posted a minor upset in Sunday's $250,000 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar, rallying in the final yards to beat Mast Track by a nose. Song of Navarone was third and Dubai World Cup winner Well Armed faded from a stalking position to finish last of eight.
Informed, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Tiznow, was claimed for $25,000 at Hollywood Park in June 2008. He ran the 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:41.91 under Tyler Baze.
"He'd been training really good down here and he loves this racetrack," said winning trainer Doug O'Neill. "Tyler rode him with a lot of confidence." Asked if he's considering the $1 million Pacific Classic on Sept. 6 for Informed, O'Neill said, "Yes. I think this horse can make a mile and a quarter so we should try."
In other races with potential implications for the $25.5 million Breeders' Cup World Championships, Nov. 6-7 at Santa Anita:
$2 million Ladies Classic
Seventh Street stalked the pace in Sunday's $300,000 Go For Wand Handicap at Saratoga, got to the front entering the stretch and drew off at the end to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Miss Isella. Spritely, who led briefly early in the stretch run, finished third. Seventh Street, a 4-year-old Street Cry filly, owned by Godolphin and trained by Saeed bin Suroor, ran the 9 furlongs on a sloppy main track in 1:51.01 with Rajiv Maragh aboard. "We thought if she had something to stalk and sit off, that would help," said Rick Mettee, Godolphin's North American racing manager. "Whoever would head her, Rajiv knew wouldn't be as good as her." Mettee said Godolphin has the option of dialing Seventh Street back to 7 furlongs for the Ballerina on Aug. 29 but after Sunday's victory might opt instead for the 1 1/4-mile Personal Ensign on Aug. 30. "We've got a lot of options," he said.
$2 million Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf
Forever Together circled most of the field on the turn in Saturday's $500,000 Diana Stakes for fillies and mares at Saratoga, came into the stretch four wide and just wore down Carribean Sunset in the final strides to win by a head. Rutherienne was third. Forever Together, the odds-on favorite in a field of 10, ran the 9 furlongs on "good" turf in 1:48.21 under Julien Leparoux. Jonathan Sheppard trains the 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred Belong to Me mare. Forever Together had posted three straight wins, including last fall's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, before being beaten on yielding ground June 6 in the Just A Game at Belmont Park. "It's just fantastic," Sheppard said. "She's a pleasure to train and Julien did a great job. Keeping in mind she hadn't run in a while and giving weight to the other horses, it was an outstanding performance."
Midday got the lead with a quarter mile to run in Saturday's Nassau Stakes at Goodwood in England and went on to beat the favorite, Rainbow View, by 2 1/4 lengths. Running in fog and over soft ground, Midday finished in 2:09.42 with Tim Queally up. Trainer Henry Cecil said the Oasis Dream filly likely will be kept to distances no greater than 1 1/4 miles, making the Prix de l'Opera at Longchamp her most likely fall target. Michael Bell, who trains third-place finisher Moneycantbuymelove, said his filly may ship to Woodbine for the Oct. 17 E.P. Taylor, which in turn could be a springboard to the Breeders' Cup.
Be Fair led throughout in Friday's $150,000 Lake George Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga, drawing off easily in the stretch to win by 4 lengths over the favorite, Mary's Follies. The Best Day Ever and Consequence completed the order of finish. Be Fair, a Florida-bred Exchange Rate filly, ran the 9 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:50.61 under Rajiv Maragh. Six of the original starters came out when the race came off the turf. Be Fair had never run on the turf and winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas said her future may be on the main track, anyway. "Now I might have to look at the Alabama if Rachel Alexandra stays in Alaska or someplace," he quipped. "You know me. I'm an eternal optimist."
Tizfiz pressed the pace in Saturday's $110,000 West Virginia Senate President's Stakes, took the lead at the quarter pole and drew off to win by 2 lengths. Hungry Tigress rallied from far back to finish second with Dreaming of Liz third. The favorite, Beautiful Venue, finished fifth. Tizfiz, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred Tiznow mare, ran the 1 mile and 70 yards on firm turf in 1:41.86. Corey Lanerie was up for trainer John Good.
$2 million TVG Turf Mile
Defending Breeders' Cup Mile champion Goldikova made it two wins in a row with an easy, 1 1/2-lengths victory in Sunday's Group 1 Prix Rothschild at Deauville in France. With Olivier Peslier up, the Anabaa mare let stablemate Only Green set the early pace, then took over with about 2 furlongs to run and was unchallenged thereafter, finishing in 1:35.7 over soft going. She was upset in her first race of the year at Longchamp but came back to win the Falmouth Stakes July 8. "Goldikova will be back at Deauville in a fortnight's time for the Jacques Le Marois," trainer Freddie Head told the Racing Post, "and her ultimate target will be another attempt to win the Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita. We have not decided the program in between these two races." But he mentioned the Moulin de Longchamp, the Queen Elizabeth II and the Sun Chariot, giving his camp a choice of courses -- and continents.
Justenuffhumor came from off the pace in Sunday's $150,000 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga, split horses with a furlong to run and drew clear quickly to win by 2 1/2 lengths over Mambo Meister. Cowboy Cal, the favorite, finished third and Kip Deville faded in the stretch to finish next-last of nine. Justenuffhumor, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred colt by Distorted Humor, got the 1 1/16 miles on "good" turf in 1:42.83 under Alan Garcia. Kiaran McLaughlin trains for Darley Stable. "He's run that way every time," Mclaughlin said. "We have to keep stepping up. We'll obviously look at the Bernard Baruch" at 9 furlongs on Aug. 28.
Colonel John, idle since last December, returned to the races with a smart victory in Friday's $90,000 Wickerr Stakes at Del Mar, prompting trainer Eoin Harty to consider a shift in the horse's targeting. With Garrett Gomez up, Colonel John surged to the lead entering the stretch and went on to win by 2 lengths over Becrux. Ferneley was third. The 1 mile over firm turf took 1:32.77. "I always felt he could run on the turf. He has a terrific turn of foot in the morning," Harty said. I've been thinking about running him in the Woodward Stakes (at 9 furlongs at Saratoga on Sept. 5). But this win might make me change my mind."
Starlarks rallied from last into a very hot pace and won Saturday's $150,000 San Clemente Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Del Mar by a nose over Strawberry Tart. Hameildame was third. The favorite, Carlsbad, sped through fractions of 21.57, 45.14 and 1:09.6 before fading to finish fifth. Starlarks, an Irish-bred daughter of Mujahid, got the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:33.82 under Alex Solis. She picked up her fourth win from 14 career starts. "She's eligible for the (Del Mar) Oaks" on Aug. 22, said trainer Patrick Gallagher. "It would be quite a step up for her but maybe she can do it."
$3 million Emirates Airline Turf
Perfect Shower rallied to a shocking upset victory in Sunday's $500,000 (Canadian) Breeders' Stakes at Woodbine, beating fellow late-running longshot Guipago by 3/4 length. Reservoir was third and the favorite, Queen's Plate winner Eye of the Leopard, faded badly late in the 1 1/2-mile turf battle, finishing 11th of 13. Perfect Shower, a son of Perfect Soul, finished in 2:29.39 under Jono Jones, keying $2 payouts of $2,170.50 for the exactor and $32,715.50 for the triactor. In his last start, Perfect Shower broke his maiden in his seventh lifetime start -- a $25,000 claimer over Woodbine's all-weather surface on July 17. "Obviously, we took a big shot here," said winning trainer Roger Attfield. "We ran him for $25,000 because I knew nobody would take him for 25 anyway off his past form. A win picks a horse up big time. Then to step up to a $500,000 Triple Crown race is a big step. But he'd been training so very, very well."
$2 million Sentient Jet Sprint
Gold Trippi rallied five-wide around the turn in Wednesday's $80,000 James Marvin Stakes at Saratoga, engaged in some bumping a furlong from home but still managed to get by Pyro to win by 1/2 length. Finallymadeit was third and the odds-on favorite, Riley Tucker, faded from first to finish fifth. Gold Trippi, a 5-year-old, Florida-bred Trippi gelding out of the Slew o' Gold mare Christmas Gold, ran 7 furlongs on a "good" main track in 1:23.75 with Cornelio Velasquez up.
Ravalo dueled with John's Burger in the stretch run in Saturday's $110,000 Harvey Arneault Memorial at Mountaineer, finally got the upper hand in the late going and won by 1 length. Sir Silver Fox finished third. Ravalo, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred Mutakddim gelding, ran the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.99 for jockey Mike Smith.
$1 million Turf Sprint
Cardashi stalked the pace in Saturday's $200,000 Pennsylvania Governor's Cup at Penn National, got to the lead inside the sixteenth pole and drew clear to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Blue Sailor. Chamberlain Bridge finished third and the favorite, Smart Enough, was only fast enough to finish fifth. Cardashi, a 7-year-old, Ontario-bred gelding by Kiridashi, went to the post at odds of nearly 30-1 and ran the 5 furlongs on yielding turf in 56.23 seconds with David Cora in the irons.
Glitter Rox rallied from well back to win Saturday's $150,000 (Canadian) Royal North Stakes for fillies and mares at Woodbine by 3/4 length over Canadian Ballet. Mommie Whiz was third and the odds-on favorite, Saskawea, was fourth. Glitter Rox, a 5-year-old, Ontario-bred Glitterman mare, ran the 6 furlongs on firm turf in 1:09.03 with Gerry Olguin in the irons for trainer Ian Black.
In Thursday's $70,000 Quick Call Stakes at Saratoga, Awakino Cat rallied from mid-pack to catch pace-setter True to Tradition in the final sixteenth, winning by 1 length. True to Tradition held second, 1/2 length better than Redefined. Awakino Cat, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Stormy Atlantic gelding, ran the 5 1/2 furlongs on "good" turf in 1:01.87. Alan Garcia rode for trainer Linda Rice.
$1 million Sentient Jet Filly & Mare Sprint
Casanova Killer missed the break in Friday's $100,000 Jenny Wade Handicap at Philadelphia Park, but quickly sped to the lead and drew off to win by 6 3/4 lengths. Fancy Diamond was second and Mikeslittlegirl finished third. Casanova Killer, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Storm Boot filly, ran the 5 furlongs on a "good" track in 56.56 seconds with David Cohen up for trainer Steve Klesaris.
Tequilas Dayjur pressed the pace in Saturday's $85,000 West Virginia Secretary of State Stakes for fillies and mares, then took over in the stretch to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Nadeshiko ran well late to finish second and Mayomast, the early leader, finished third. Tequilas Dayjur, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Dayjur filly, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.34.
$2 million Grey Goose Juvenile
Backtalk rallied from behind a quick pace in Thursday's $150,000 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga and outfinished Enumerate to win by a neck. It was only a neck more back to Louisvilleluminary. Backtalk, a Kentucky-bred colt by 2004 Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones, finished the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.07 and remained undefeated in three starts. In his last previous outing, he captured the Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs, providing his sire his first graded stakes win. "I knew the pace was going to be fast and they had to come back," said winning rider Miguel Mena. "I was a little nervous because this is my first meet at Saratoga. But I got a great horse with a bright future. He never quit." Winning trainer Tom Amoss said he hasn't decided on the colt's next start, adding, "These don't come around in my barn often."
Prince Rooney, the odds-on favorite, took charge when asked by jockey Corey Lanerie in Saturday's $85,000 Mountaineer Juvenile at Mountaineer Park, distancing a half dozen rivals in the stretch. At the end, the Kentucky-bred Tale of the Cat colt was 15 lengths in front of runner-up Kid Kearney Gabe, with Tuffy Cottrell third. Prince Rooney ran the 6 furlongs in 1:10.67. Steve Asmussen is the trainer.
Wolf Tail outfinished favorite Grace Upon Grace to win Wednesday's $100,000 Graduations Stakes for California-bred juveniles at Del Mar. At the wire, Wolf Tail was a neck better, with Daylight Storm well back in third. Wolf Tail, a Strive colt out of the Dynaformer mare Bright Sunday, finished 5 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:05.15 with Joel Rosario in the irons for trainer Doug O'Neill.
Bailey's Charm, the favorite, battled head-to-head with longshot Wando Redd through the stretch in Saturday's $100,000 John Franks Memorial Sales Stakes at Evangeline Downs, finally prevailing by a neck. Even Steven was third, just another neck back. Bailey's Charm, a gelded son of Soto, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:05.9 for Diego Saenz.
King of the Bayou rallied from last of nine to win Saturday's $75,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile at Louisiana Downs by 1 1/4 lengths over the favorite, Heavenville, with Royal Production third. King of the Bayou, a chestnut colt by K One King, ran the 6 furlongs in 1:12.8 on a sloppy track with Richard Eramia in the irons.
Our Minesweeper set a pressured pace in Saturday's $50,000 Cavonnier Juvenile at Santa Rosa, got a clear lead at the top of the stretch and held on to win by 1/2 length over Time for Atonement. Oonga Boonga was third. Our Minesweeper, an Idaho-bred Cause Ur Mine gelding, ran the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.27 under William Antongeorgi III.
Toccet'sCharm dueled for the lead in Tuesday's $50,000 Jamestown Stakes for Virginia-bred 2-year-olds at Colonial Downs, then drew clear in the stretch, winning by 2 1/2 lengths over Argent Affair. Toccet's Charm, by Toccet, ran the 6 furlongs in 1:10.81 on a "good" main track with Malcolm Franklin at the reins.
$2 million Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies
Hot Dixie Chick got the Saratoga meet off to a rousing start with a pace-pressing victory in Wednesday's Schuylerville Stakes. After waiting under Robby Albarado, the Dixie Union filly came out around the turn and drew off, winning by 6 1/4 lengths over Beautician. Cowgirl Mally was third. Hot Dixie Chick finished in 1:10.18 over a track rated "good" after opening-day rain. "She was running so fast last time," said winning trainer Steve Asmussen, "that it was good to see Robby have the confidence to let (the pace-setter) go. We had high hopes coming off what she did last time (breaking her maiden at Churchill Downs on June 13). But I need to see her do it." He said the Spinaway on Sept. 6 "will be a target for her." It was the second straight year Asmussen has saddled the Schuylerville winner in the rain. "If it's sunny next year, I'll get a hose," he quipped.
Oistins got to the lead early in Sunday's $125,000 (Canadian) Nandi Stakes for Ontario-sired juvenile fillies at Woodbine, galloped along smartly and held on at the end to win by a neck over Shesadozer. Peploe finished third. Oistins, an Ontario-bred daughter of Peaks and Valleys, ran 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:12.22 under James McAleney. She now has two wins from three starts but hadn't raced since the end of June. "We thought (the rest) would help her out," said winning trainer Terry Jordan.
The Rumor's True closed determinedly through the stretch in Friday's $100,000 John Franks Memorial Stakes at Evangeline Downs and was up in time to win by a neck over odds-on favorite Rebel Queen, who stumbled at the break. Addy Annie, who led down the stretch, finished another neck back in third. The Rumor's True, a Louisiana-bred daughter of Kafwain, ran the 5 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:08.7 with Richard Eramia up.
For Royalty pressed the pace in Saturday's $85,000 Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies Stakes, collared pace-setting Bronx City Girl entering the stretch and dueled that one into submission, winning by 1 length. Di Colas Ex was third, 11 lengths farther behind. For Royalty, a Maryland-bred Not For Love filly, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.58 under Mike Smith.
Deltalicious romped to a 3-lengths victory in Saturday's $75,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies at Louisiana Downs, leading from the start. Daphne Angela was second and the favorite, Happyfromthegitgo, was third. Deltalicious, a daughter of Teton Forest, ran the 6 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:11.9 with Donald Simington up.
$1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf
Letter of the Law led from the start in Saturday's $75,000 Turf Starlet at Penn National, holding well in the final sixteenth to win by 1 1/2 lengths over the favorite, Greely's Rocket. Mis Pardner Rules finished third. Letter of the Law, a Kentucky-bred Stormy Atlantic Filly, got the 5 furlongs on yielding turf in 57.87 seconds under Harry Vega.
In other weekend racing:
Rain washed the grass races onto the main track and prompted massive scratches in many of the stakes races on the Haskell undercard, calling into question their importance for future stakes battles.
Get Serious was the best of just three left to contest the $200,000 Oceanport Stakes when it came off the turf. Under Pablo Fragoso, the 5-year-old, New York-bred City Zip gelding got the 1 1/16 miles in the slop in 1:43.02, beating Kiss the Kid by a neck. Pleasant Strike ran last all the way.
Captain's Lover came from off the pace to beat four rivals in the off-the-turf $200,000 Taylor Made Matchmaker, defeating Princess Haya by 7 lengths. With John Velazquez up, Captain's Lover, a South African-bred Captain Al mare, ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.6.
The $100,000 Jersey Derby also came off the grass and was reduced to four starters with Endymion rallying through the stretch to prove best of those. Odds-on favorite Despite the Odds finished second and Code of Honor beat Algeiba for third. Endymion, a Kentucky-bred Tapit colt, ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.22 for jockey Joe Bravo.
Devil House led from gate to wire in the $100,000 Lady's Secret, winning by 3 lengths over Talkin About Love. Jasmine Gardens finished third. Devil House, a 5-year-old Chester House mare, got the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.47 with Charles Lopez up.
Fleet Valid got to the front on the turn in the $100,000 Teddy Drone, opened up a lead and staved off a late bid by Keep Laughing to win by 3/4 length. He's So Chic finished third. Fleet Valid, a 6-year-old, Florida-bred Montbrook gelding, ran 6 furlongs in 1:08.77 with Pablo Morales up.
D'wild Ride came from last of just three starters to win the $100,000 Regret Stakes for fillies and mares by a head over Fearless Leader. Sunday Geisha, the early leader, faded to finish third and last. D'wild Ride, a 4-year-old, Ontario-bred daughter of D'wildcat, got the 6 furlongs in 1:09.52 with Carlos Marquez Jr. in the irons.
And, Actin Good fought off several foes to win the $100,000 Majestic Light Stakes by a nose over Acting Zippy, with Famous Patriot third. Actin Good, a 5-year-old, Florida-bred Yes It's True gelding, ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.76 for Kent Desormeaux.
Milwaukee Miracle rallied from last of seven to win Saturday's $100,000 Louisiana Cup Derby by 3 lengths over Smoothcideup. Takin' the Bullet was third. Milwaukee Miracle, a Milwaukee Brew colt, ran the 1 1/16 miles in the slop in 1:45.45 with Curt Bourque aboard.
Lightlightlight got through along the rail at the top of the stretch in Saturday's $100,000 Louisiana Cup Oaks and went on to a 1 1/4-lengths victory over Tensas Palmyra, who then was disqualified to fifth for stretch interference. Cajun Conference and Seven Seventythree were promoted to second and third. Lightlightlight, a daughter of Whywhywhy, ran the 1 1/16 miles on a sloppy track in 1:47.10 with Shane Sellers up for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Star Guitar broke last of 11 in Saturday's $100,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic, saved ground, got through on the rail on the second turn and romped home, winning by 8 1/4 lengths. Classy Deelites was the best of the rest with Lee's Spirit third. Star Guitar, a 4-year-old Quiet American colt, ran the 1 1/16 miles on the sloppy main track in 1:43.62 with Curt Bourque riding.
Superior Storm jumped to the lead shortly after the start in the $100,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff, made all the way and survived by a head at the wire. Miss Bean Wah just missed and Cigar Starter was a distant third. Superior Storm, a 4-year-old Stormy Atlantic filly, got the sloppy 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.52 under Luis Quinonez.
Brother Bean shot to the lead in Saturday's $100,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint and drew clear at the end, winning by 3 1/2 lengths over Foreign Production with Myoldmansam third. Brother Bean, a 6-year-old My Friend Max gelding, got the 6 sloppy furlongs in 1:09.66 under Billy Patin.
Master Link prompted the pace in the $100,000 Louisiana Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, took over at the top of the stretch and won by 1 1/2 lengths over Sparkling Diamond. Sax Appeal finished third. Master Link, a 3-year-old daughter of Dance Master, ran 6 furlongs in 1:11.92 for Patrick Valenzuela.
Blame got to the lead a furlong out in Sunday's $78,000 Curlin Stakes for 3-year-olds and got home first, 3/4 length ahead of Gone Astray. Guam Typhoon led into the stretch and held third. Blame, a Kentucky-bred Arch colt, ran 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:49.05 for Jamie Theriot.
Yate's Black Cat rallied from far back to win Saturday's $85,000 West Virginia House of Delegates Speakers' Cup by 1 length over Cryptolight. Jet Propulsion finished third. Yate's Black Cat, a 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Black Minnaloushe, ran the 1 mile and 70 yards of firm turf in 1:41.36 under Corey Lanerie.
Shadowbdancing waltzed to the lead in Saturday's $125,000 West Virginia Governor's Stakes, drew off and was unchallenged in the stretch, winning by 8 lengths over Encaustic. Wise Answer finished third. Shadowbdancing, a 4-year-old, Florida-bred colt by Montbrook, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.10 with Randall Meier up.
Piratesonthelake led from the start in Saturday's $85,000 West Virginia Legislature Chairman's Cup, winning by 1 1/2 lengths over the favorite, Bernie Blue. E Z Warrior finished third. Piratesonthelake, a 5-year-old, Florida-bred Lake Austin gelding, ran 4 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 51.61 seconds with Mike Smith riding.
Rumor Has It opened up a huge lead in Saturday's $50,000 Rossi Gold Stakes, then just held on to win by a neck over Major Rhythm. Public Speaker was third and the favorite, Demarcation, settled for fifth, lacking a late rally. Rumor Has It, an 8-year-old, Kentucky-bred Awesome Again gelding, ran 1 3/16 miles on firm turf in 1:59.56. Eduardo Perez rode for trainer David Hinsley.