To hear trainer James Bond tell it, the muddled handicap division suddenly is clear and his horse, Tizway, is on the road to winning the Breeders' Cup Classic.
After all, Tizway's sire, Tiznow, won the Classic twice. And after cruising to victory in Saturday's $750,000, Grade I Whitney Handicap at Saratoga, there's no reason the son can't follow in the sire's hoofprints.
Tizway sat just off the early pace set by Friend Or Foe in a race rated to be wide open. But when the running started in the stretch, it was Tizway who opened up and drew clear to win by 3 lengths. Flat Out came along late to be second, 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Giant Oak.
With Rajiv Maragh up, the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred got the 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.43 over a fast track.
"He's the best miler in the country and he is the best older horse in the country," Bond said after the Whitney. "I'm as confident going 1 1/4 miles as I was going 1 1/8 miles coming here today. I think it was a pretty strong training effort."
Asked about going on to the Breeders' Cup Classic, which Tiznow won in 2000 and 2001, Bond said, "You know it. He will run in the Jockey Club Gold Cup [on Oct. 1 at Belmont Park] and then in the Breeders' Cup Classic."
Of course, it won't be that easy. Tizway so far has enjoyed his greatest success at 1-mile races. In last year's 1 1/4-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup, he faded to finish third over a sloppy track, albeit over a sloppy surface. And while Saturday's field was accomplished, there are many others lurking in the weeds waiting for a chance at the $5 million Classic purse.
In the other weekend race that could impact the Breeders' Cup Classic, Prayer for Relief stalked the pace in Saturday night's $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer, came out for running room in the stretch and got by pacesetter Rush Now in the final yards to win by a half length. Sheriff Cogburn finished third.
Prayer for Relief, a Kentucky-bred Jump Start colt, ran the 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:50.68 with Rafael Bejarano up for trainer Bob Baffert. He now has won three straight races since undergoing minor surgery on an ankle.
Baffert, from Saratoga, said it's possible Prayer for Relief could join another of his stable stars, Haskell winner Coil, in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. But, he added, "I'll have to wait and see how he comes out of the Mountaineer race and see how he trains at Saratoga before we make any decisions on the Travers."
Other races with potential implications for the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs Nov. 4 and 5:
Ultra Blend rallied by all four opponents in the late going of Saturday's $300,000, Grade I Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar, winning by a neck over Zazu. The odds-on favorite, Switch, pressed the pace but then settled for third. St Trinians and Freedom Star completed the order of finish. Ultra Blend, a 5-year-old, California-bred Richly Blended mare, ran 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:42.28 with Tyler Baze handling the reins. He was her 11th win from 23 starts. In her last outing, the Grade II A Gleam Handicap at Hollywood Park on July 16, she lost by a nose to Irish Gypsy. "I had to go home and have two martinis after that photo," winning trainer Art Sherman said. "She's just one of those, game, tryin' fillies. She doesn't get a lot of respect being a Cal-bred running against open company. But she should get some Cal-bred award this year, don't you think?
Sean Avery set a hot pace in Sunday's $250,000, Grade I Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga and the odds-on favorite, Trappe Shot, couldn't quite catch him. At the wire, it was Sean Avery by a nose with Calibrachoa another 1 3/4 lengths back in third. Sean Avery, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred Cherokee Run gelding, got the 6 furlongs on a "good" main track in 1:09.71 after a half mile in 44.56 seconds. It was the fourth win in five starts this year for Sean Avery, who had been out for 15 months after a 2009 injury. "He kind of relaxed out there and he was all by himself," winning rider Joe Bravo said. "Really, honestly, I thought Trappe Shot beat us. I really did. At the wire he had the nose, but Sean knew he was there and stuck his head out and didn't want to let him get by. He tries so hard."
Filly & Mare Sprint
Turbulent Descent ran to her notices in Saturday's $250,000, Grade I Test Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga. After stalking the pace under David Flores, the Congrats filly rallied four-wide into the stretch, got to front with 3/16ths to go and worked clear to win by 3 3/4 lengths under a hand ride. Pomeroy's Pistol finished second and the early leader, Roman Treasure, held third. Turbulent Descent ran the 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:24.17. "She'll take on any horse out there at this distance," winning trainer Mike Puype said. "She's in deceleration at the finish. Huge. It puts her right to the top of the division. She's the favorite to win the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint." But Puype said he hasn't laid plans yet for Turbulent Descent's next race.
On Sunday, Tar Heel Mom led all the way to a 5 3/4-length romp in the $150,000, Grade II Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga. Beat the Blues beat the rest of them with Champagne d'Oro third. Tar Heel Mom, a 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred Flatter mare, covered the 6 furlongs on a "good" track in 1:10.42 with Alex Solis up. Trainer Stanley Hough said he has not decided whether to run Tar Heel Mom back in the Grade 1, 7-furlong Ballerina on Travers Day, Aug. 27. "I'd kind of like to keep her at three-quarters if I could. But we'll have to see," Hough said. "Maybe. I just wanted to get by this one and see."
Sadly, Canford Cliffs has been retired to stud as a result of an injury to his left front ankle -- damage that may have been responsible for a sub-par performance in his loss to Frankel in the Sussex Stakes. In that race, Canford Cliffs drifted left badly in the final furlong, unable to keep pace with the super 3-year-old, who went on to win by 5 lengths. Both trainer Richard Hughes and jockey Richard Hannon said Canford Cliffs, a 4-year-old son of Tagula, was not himself in that effort. His retirement to stud at Coolmore in County Tipperary precludes a rematch in the Oct. 15 Queen Elizabeth Stakes or another showdown with Goldikova in the Breeders' Cup Mile. Goldikova is slated to try to win the latter race for the fourth straight time. Canford Cliffs defeated the super mare in the Queen Anne Stakes and recently was made eligible for the Breeders' Cup.
Caleb's Posse swept around most of the field turning for home in Monday's $150,000, Grade II Amsterdam Stakes for 3-year-olds at Saratoga and quickly got clear to win by 4 lengths. Redeemed and Wine Police completed the trifecta. Caleb's Posse, a Posse colt, got the 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:15.88 with Rajiv Maragh in the irons. The winner was the longest shot on the mutuel board as he was turning back after several route trips. "If you looked at his races last year, he was a capable sprinter that we were stretching out because of the opportunities the 3-year-olds have through the spring," winning trainer Donnie Von Hemel said. "It turned out that maybe we should have been sprinting before now." He said Caleb's Posse may try the 7-furlong King's Bishop next. Some other former Triple Crown pretenders also were in the Amsterdam. Arch Traveler got home fifth; To Honor and Serve, sixth; and Travelin Man, seventh.
Creative Cause got a bit of a slow break in Sunday's $150,000, Grade II Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar, saved ground until the turn, moved up and out entering the stretch and went on to win by 1 3/4 lengths over pacesetter I'll Have Another. Mighty Monsoon finished third. Creative Cause, a Kentucky-bred Giant's Causeway colt out of the Siberian Summer mare Dream of Summer, ran the 6 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:15.62 with Rafael Bejarano in the irons. Creative Cause posted a 98 Beyer Speed Figure in his maiden win but trainer Mike Harrington said, "He had a lot of background before I ran him the first time, so I wasn't worried about him bouncing … . If all goes well, we'll run him in the [Del Mar] Futurity. It's a 'Win and You're In' race [for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile], so why wouldn't you run him in it?"
Ruler of Dubai tracked the pace in Wednesday's $100,000 Graduation Stakes for California-bred 2-year-olds at Del Mar, then got a nose in front under the wire. Three Vases, in a first start, had the lead in the stretch and held second. Rousing Sermon built to a tempo after racing ninth and finished third. The even-money favorite, Sherman Bartlebort, was fractious at the gate, had some traffic issues and finished sixth. Ruler of Dubai, a Tribal Rule gelding out of the Old Topper mare O K Topless, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:04.48 with Garrett Gomez up. Ruler of Dubai, fourth in an allowance race a week earlier, won for the second time in four starts. "This is the first stakes victory of my career," trainer George Papaprodromou said. "I don't know how I'm going to celebrate but it's going to be a long night."
Fort Loudon led a trio of upsetters across the line in Saturday's $75,000 Dr. Fager Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes at Calder Race Course, winning by 1 1/4 lengths with a nifty outside move down the stretch. Argentine Tango waltzed from the back of the field to take second, 1 1/2 lengths in front of For Oby. The favorite, Boltzapper, dueled with For Oby for the lead, then faded to finish fourth. Fort Loudon, an Awesome of Course colt out of the Talc mare Lottsa Talc, ran the 6 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:13.55 with Luis Jurado up. The colt broke his maiden on the third try in his last start -- winning that race by 10 lengths. Stanley Gold, who trains Fort Loudon, Argentine Tango and the winner of the filly division, was counting his embarrassment of riches. "Now we can look ahead to Juvenile Showcase day [Aug. 27 at Calder] and we'll be represented in both of the Stallion Stakes races. But there are other options so all four that we ran today won't necessarily come back in the Stallion Stakes," he said.
Three parts of a five-horse entry comprised the trifecta after Saturday's $50,000 Cleveland Kindergarten Stakes for Ohio-breds at Thistledown. Private Cause led most of the way to a 1-length victory over Monetary Reward. Operation Bling was third. Mr. Sox finished fourth with yet another entrymate, License to Bling, fifth. Not an Altar Boy finished sixth to complete the trifecta. Private Cause, a Noble Causeway filly, ran the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:13.36 for jockey Hector Rosario Jr. and busy trainer Timothy Hamm. "We had her in at Calder for a tag for her first race [finishing fourth], but we had this race in mind for her," Hamm said. "We knew she had talent, and she's quick, and we kind of thought there'd be a lot of maidens in this race."
Tequila Factor moved on the leaders in the stretch in Saturday's $50,000 Sunny's Halo Stakes at Louisiana Downs, got there in time and won by a half length over Easton Jack. Quiet Acceleration finished third. Tequila Factor, dispatched at nearly 30-1 odds, ran the 7 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:31.18 with Trey Agilar riding.
Backdoor Kenny led all the way to upset Saturday's $85,000 Mountaineer Juvenile for West Virginia-breds, winning by 5 1/4 lengths over the odds-on favorite, Next Right Thing. Pryce's Posse was third. Backdoor Kenny, a Half Ours colt, ran the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.92 with Joe Talamo riding.
Peaks of Legend drew off smartly in the stretch to win Saturday's $85,000 Iowa Cradle Stakes for state-breds at Prairie Meadows by 5 lengths over Voodooville. A Little Edgy finished third. Peaks of Legend, a Peaks and Valleys gelding out of the Gold Legend mare Lovesme Legend, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.24 with Glenn Corbett up.
Normally the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh in Ireland would be under the "Juvenile" section. Not this year after La Colina, an Irish-bred filly by Strategic Prince out of the Galileo mare Starfish, upset the boys despite having to weave through traffic in the final furlongs. At the wire, La Colina nipped Aidan O'Brien's top hope, Power, by a neck. Tough as Nails finished third and Frederick Engles, who also had traffic issues, reported home sixth. La Colina, with only a maiden win to her credit, went to the post at odds of 33-1 and had to alter course three times in the final furlong before getting through inside Power to nail down the win, finishing 7 furlongs over good to yielding going in 1:30.30. Winning ride Declan McDonogh said trainer Kevin Prendergast told him "the fillies might be better than the colts this year and I think he might be right." Despite the traffic, he said, "I was never stopped …. She's a very good 2-year-old and that was a true test against the colts." Power had been unbeaten in three previous starts, including the Conventry Stakes at Ascot.
Notacloudinthesky had not a straw in her path in Sunday's $125,000 Nandi Stakes for Ontario-sired juvenile fillies at Woodbine. After easily disposing of Kardashian, the chestnut Weather Warning filly kicked loose and won off by 7 lengths. I Am In Front never was and finished second, 5 3/4 lengths ahead of Bear's Wit. Notacloudinthesky, with Luis Contreras in the irons, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.22.
Mighty Caroline tracked pacesetting River Kiss through the early furlongs of Friday's $150,000, Grade III Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar, went by with a furlong to go and won by 1 1/4 lengths. River Kiss held second, a head in front of Heleonor Rugby. The favorite, Killer Graces, finished sixth. Mighty Caroline, a Kentucky-bred Stormy Atlantic filly out of the Maria's Mon mare Mighty Renee, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:16.75 under Joel Rosario. Mighty Caroline suffered a narrow loss to Killer Grades in last month's Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood Park and now has two wins from three starts. Winning trainer Melody Conlon said the Del Mar Debutante is "the goal. But we'll see how it goes from here … . This is my biggest win. My first stakes, my first graded stakes and first stakes at Del Mar."
Redbud Road waited behind a contested pace in Saturday's $75,000 Desert Vixen Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes at Calder Race Course, got by the leaders on the outside and edged clear to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Queen Drama. Montessa G finished third. Redbud Road, by Awesome of Course out of the Tactical Advantage mare Ladyinareddress, got the 6 furlongs over the sloppy surface in 1:14.46 with Luis Saez in the irons. The stewards looked at the stretch run because the winner drifted in but let the result stand. "She kept running hard all the way to the wire," winning trainer Stanley Gold said. "She didn't come in. The other horse, the jock was hitting her left-handed and she came out."
Say a Novena opened a daylight lead early in the stretch run in Sunday's $70,000 Colleen Stakes at Monmouth Park, then just held on late to win by a neck over the favorite, Grateful Heir. Baffle Me was third. Say a Novena, a Kentucky-bred Songandaprayer filly out of the Dynaformer mare Rabiadella, got the 5 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:04.29. "She's a very fast filly, but she's not uncontrollably fast," winning jockey Mike Luzzi said. "She gallops out impressively as well because it's the same as her running, which leads me to believe she wants to do more. She's willing to do more."
Exchanted dueled to the lead in Saturday's $50,000 Donnie Wilhite Memorial at Louisiana Downs, kicked clear in the stretch and won by a length over Little Ms Protocol. Cape Town Bride finished third. Exchanted, a Kentucky-bred Exchange Rate filly, ran the 7 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:31.03 with Justin Shepherd up.
Power of Nine pressed the pace in Saturday's $50,000 Wine Country Debutante at Santa Rosa, came three-wide to the lead in the stretch and won by a length over Roll Your Eyes. Munnings Sister led early and finished third. The favorite, City Route, was fourth. Power of Nine, a California-bred Capsized filly, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.63 with Abel Cedillo riding.
Culotte outfinished Flashy Lassie to win Saturday's $85,000 Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies by 1 1/4 lengths. Plus One got home third. Culotte, a Kentucky-bred Sky Mesa filly, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.94 with James Graham in the irons.
Here Comes Polly survived a wide trip to win Saturday's $85,000 Iowa Sorority Stakes at Prairie Meadows by 3 1/4 lengths over Dazzling Pioneer. Jokes N Jazz got home third as the favorite. Here Comes Polly, with Ken Tohill up, ran the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:12.24. The winner is a daughter of Evansville Slew out of the Allen's Prospect mare High Speed Ali.
Pender Harbour put a nose in front of Celtic Conviction on the wire in Sunday's $500,000 (Canadian) Breeders' Stakes to claim the final jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown. Celtic Conviction then was demoted to third for stretch interference with Crown's Path, who was promoted to the place position. Pender Harbour, with Luis Contreras up, raced in the second flight behind a pace duel, came quite wide into the stretch and was all out for the win. The Philanthropist gelding, trained by Michael De Paulo, finished the 1 1/2 miles on soft turf in 2:36.31. Pender Harbour also won the second leg of the Canadian Triple, the Prince of Wales Stakes, at Fort Erie last month. Inglorious won the Queen's Plate but her connections elected to try the Alabama at Saratoga rather than pursue glory north of the border. Contreras, however, rode the winner in each of the three races. "He was comfortable the whole way," Contreras said. "I just tried to keep him in the race. I was in a good position and I tried to keep my position. Turning for home, when I put my horse outside and really asked him, he gave me everything. He was a little tired at the end, but I was tired, too."
James Street got to the lead in the stretch run of Saturday's $150,000 (Canadian) Seagram Cup Stakes, then held on at the end to win by a head over Stunning Stag. San Cove was third and the favorite, Court of the Realm, faded to get home next-last of seven. James Street, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred El Prado colt, ran the 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:44.01 with Patrick Husbands riding. It was the fifth straight win for James Street. "We had a pretty slow half," Husbands said. "I didn't want [Running Stag] to come and catch me sleeping, so I tried to get him going before he got there and he gave me 110 percent down the lane."
Jenny's So Great was last of 11 after a half mile of Monday's $150,000 (Canadian) True North Stakes for fillies and mares sprint on the lawn. But when jockey Jesse Campbell kicked her into gear, the 4-year-old, Ontario-bred Greatness filly responded with a kick, running by the field and drawing off to win by 2 lengths over Supreme. Sea Road finished third. Jenny's So Great finished 6 furlongs on firm going in 1:08.76.
Moonlight Cloud, a filly running against males, upset Sunday's Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest in Deauville. With Thierry Jarnet up, Moonlight Cloud rallied from near the back of the 13-horse field and won by 4 lengths over Society Rock. Marchand d'Or, who won three previous runnings of the race, finished third. The favorite, Dream Ahead, who shared 2-year-old honors in England last year with Frankel, finished seventh. Moonlight Cloud, a 3-year-old Invincible Spirit filly, is trained by Freddy Head for George Strawbridge.
Epsom Oaks winner Dancing Rain showed her heels to the local competition in the final furlong of Sunday's Group 1 Preis der Diana or German Oaks at Dusseldorf. After making most of the going in a relaxed pace under Kieren Fallon, the Danehill Dancer filly got away late to win by 3 lengths. "It was easy in the end," Fallon told Racing Post. "Once I was in the lead and going easily, I knew nobody could catch me. She must be one of the top 3-year-old fillies over this trip in Europe." Between her triumph at Epsom and Sunday's race, Dancing Rain finished fifth in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh.
Trix in the City led all the way to an upset victory in Saturday's $80,000 De La Rose Stakes for fillies and mares, scoring by 2 1/4 lengths over Tapitsfly. The favorite, Evading Tempede, ran evenly to finish third. Trix in the City, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred Friends Lake mare, got the mile on the firm inner turf course in 1:34.27 with Shaun Bridgmohan aboard.
Kid Kate made her bid nearing the stretch in Monday's $78,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes for fillies and mares, then got clear in the final 1/16th to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Belle of the Hall. Katy Now finished third. Kid Kate, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Lemon Drop Kid filly, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:24.00 with Eddie Castro up.
Ahvee's Destiny pressed the pace in Monday's $78,000 Smart and Fancy Stakes for distaffers sprint on the grass, got to the front late and held off Legally Blanca to win by 3/4 of length. Strike the Bell and Out Post were a pair of noses back in third and fourth. Ahvee's Destiny, a 7-year-old, New York-bred Rizzi mare, finished 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.17 with John Velazquez riding.
Ibboyee nailed favorite Be Bullish at the wire in Wednesday's $75,000 John Morrissey States for New York-breds, winning by a neck. Six Flings finished third. Ibboyee, a 4-year-old Medalist colt, covered 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:17.00 with John Velazquez up for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Rule dogged pacesetter Sangaree through much of Thursday's $75,000 Birdstone Stakes, then finally prevailed by a neck after a long drive down the stretch. Gautier came from last of five to finish third. Rule, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Roman Ruler colt, ran 9 furlongs on the fast main track in 1:50.60 with Javier Castellano up. Rule carried the colors of WinStar Farm; Sangaree, Godolphin Racing.
Arena Elvira tracked the pace in Friday's $77,000 Madame Jumel Stakes for fillies and mares, worked into contention entering the stretch and finally edged clear in the final furlong, winning by 1 1/4 lengths under a strong hand ride by Jose Lezcano. Acronym was second and Sweet N Sour Nina got home third. Arena Elvira, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Ghostzapper filly, ran the 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:51.48.
Sanagas rallied wide into the stretch in Friday's $81,000 John's Call Stakes, advanced under a confident ride by Rajiv Maragh and won off by 2 1/4 lengths over Center Divider. Bold Hawk was a nose farther back in third. Sanagas, a German-bred, 5-year-old Lomitas gelding, got the 1 5/8 miles on firm turf in 2.41.45.
Trubs stuck close to the leaders early in Saturday's $100,000 Super Derby Prelude, got through on the rail to challenge the favorite, Populist Politics, in the late going and prevailed by 3/4 length over that rival. Get in Da House finished third. Trubs, a Kentucky-bred First Samurai gelding, ran the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:46.60 with Shane Sellers up.
Go Tiger Jack rallied late between horses and was there late to upset Saturday's $50,000 Barksdale Stakes by a length over Heavenville. Brentwood Bullet led into the stretch and salvaged third. Go Tiger Jack, a 4-year-old, New York-bred Victory Gallop gelding, ran the mile on firm turf in 1:35.80 with Alex Beitia in the irons.
Immortal Eyes dueled around the turn and down the stretch with Heliopsis before winning the $85,000 West Virginia Legislature Chairman's Cup by a nose. The 6-year-old, Florida-bred Greatness gelding got the 4 1/2 furlongs on the main track in 51.29 seconds.
D'Wild Ride had the best kick in the stretch in the $85,000 Secretary of State Handicap for distaffers, winning by 1 1/4 lengths over Rattlin Gypsy. D'Wild Ride, a 6-year-old, Ontario-bred D'wildcat mare, got the 6 furlongs in 1:10.24.
Kiss Mine found room on the rail in the stretch run of the $85,000 Senate President's Cup, got through and went on to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Revelstoke. Kiss Mine, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred Mineshaft mare, ran the 1 mile and 70 yards on firm turf in 1:39.71.
Tend dueled to the lead in Saturday's $85,000 Senator Robert C. Byrd Memorial, got clear and hung on to win by 1 1/2 lengths over the favorite, Native Ruler. Tend, a 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred Dynaformer gelding, got the 6 furlongs in 1:10.33.
Modern Cowboy split rivals into the stretch in Saturday's $85,000 Governor's Handicap and won the dash home by a half length over Demarcation. The winner, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Tiznow colt, ran the 1 1/16 miles on the main track in 1:45.40.
Mystic dueled down the stretch with favorite Strike Impact in Saturday's $85,000 House of Delegates Speaker's Cup before getting up in the final jumps to win by a neck. Mystic, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Unbridled's Song colt, ran the 1 mile and 70 yards on firm turf in 1:38.90.
Making her last career start, L D's Shes Special rallied from last of 11 to win Saturday's $85,000 Donna Reed Stakes for fillies and mares -- a highlight of Iowa Classic Night. L D's Shes Special, owned and trained by Larry Dunbar and ridden by Glenn Corbett, came six-wide around the leaders and drew off at the end to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Rico's Posse and Love That Poni completed the bountiful trifecta. The 1 mile and 70 yards on a fast track went in 1:45.19. "This was her last race and I guess she put it all in," Dunbar said. The 8-year-old Evansville Slew mare retires with six wins in 33 starts.
Also on the Iowa-bred showcase card:
Someplace Else dominated the stretch run in the $75,000 Iowa Oaks, winning off by 5 1/4 lengths over Jeffell. Ginger Added led early and held on for third. Someplace Else, a Harlan's Holiday filly, got the 1 mile and 70 yards in 1:43.28 under Glen Murphy.
One Hundred Proof led the field through most of the $75,000 Iowa Breeders' Derby, then held off Runaway Walkaway at the end to win by a neck. Dynamic Within finished third. One Hundred Proof, a Friends Lake gelding, ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.51 with Terry Thompson in the irons.
Mutti Blues outfinished Cresco Direct Hit in the $60,000 Sprint, winning by a neck. Launch Light finished third. Mutti Blues, a 5-year-old Mutakddim gelding, got the 6 furlongs in 1:09.72 for jockey Israel Ocampo.
Cainam rallied wide from well back to capture the $85,000 Ralph Hayes Stakes by a length over Ice Hockey, with Scat Dancer third. Cainam, a 4-year-old Is It True gelding, finished the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.96 with Corbett up.
You Need Me got to the lead in the stretch in Friday's $75,000 Russian Rhythm Stakes for Pennsylvania-bred distaffers and held on to win by a neck over Look At Me Dance. Amnesian finished third. You Need Me, a 4-year-old Indian Charlie filly, ran the 5 furlongs on firm turf in 56.06 seconds with Josean Ramirez up.
Deal Making outfinished Roadhog to win Friday's $75,000 Robellino Stakes for Pennsylvania-breds by a half length. Saco River finished third. Deal Making, a 6-year-old Empire Maker gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:41.83 with Jeremy Rose in the irons.
Calder Race Course
Musical Romance overhauled pacesetting Don'ttalktome in the late going in Sunday's $50,000 Barb's Dancer Stakes for fillies and mares, winning by a half length. Indulgence finished third. Musical Romance, a 4-year-old, Florida-bred Concorde's Tune filly, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:18.28 with Juan Leyva in the irons.
Black Diamond Cat dueled for the lead in Saturday's $55,000 Major Moran Stakes, then got clear in the final furlong to win by 4 1/2 lengths. Peace at Dawn ran with the winner early and held second. Accredit was third. Black Diamond Cat, a 4-year-old, Florida-bred Wildcat Heir gelding, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:18.42 with Leyva up.
Aaron's Way had things all his own way in Saturday's $50,000 Robert G. Leavitt Stakes for 3-year-old West Virginia-breds, leading at every call en route to a 3/4-length victory over the favorite, Fred High. Golden Set finished third. Aaron's Way, a Yes It's True colt, ran the 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:26.26 with Matthew McGowan riding.
Chipshot took command in the stretch in Saturday's $75,000 Select Stakes for 3-year-olds, edging clear late to win by 2 3/5 lengths over Cal Nation. Royal was third and the favorite, Zero Rate Policy, finished fourth. Chipshot, a Florida-bred colt by Peace Rules, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:08.72 with Corey Nakatani up.
Ju Jitsu Jax led all the way to a big upset in Saturday's $65,000 My Frenchman Stakes, winning by a neck over Wicked Tune with the favorite, Regally Ready, another head in arrears. Perfect Officer and Super Chunky were a pair of noses farther back in fourth and fifth. Jud Jitsu Jax, a 5-year-old, Florida-bred son of Tiger Ridge, completed the "about" 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:02.13 with Forest Boyce in the irons.
Hammers Bullet stalked the pace in Monday's $75,000 (Canadian) Manitoba Derby, edged by pacesetting Big Blue Caboose in the lane and won by 3/4 of a length. Gotatigerbythetail finished third and the favorite, El Grayling, struggled home eighth. Hammers Bullet, a Kentucky-bred Bernardini gelding, ran the 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:55 2/5 with Mark Anderson aboard.
Tourmaline turned in a sparkler of a performance in the late going of Monday's $50,000 (Canadian) Assiniboia Oaks, drawing off to win by 7 lengths over Finally Flying despite a slow final furlong. Jilleah finished third. Tourmaline, a Florida-bred Kafwain filly, ran the mile on a fast track in 1:41 2/5 with Dean Butler up.
Footprint was quickly in front in Saturday's $50,000 (Canadian) Northlands Handicap and coasted home first, 2 lengths in front of the favorite, Professor Pollard. Against the Tide rallied from last to finish third. Footprint, a 7-year-old, Kentucky-bred Gold Case gelding, ran the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44 under Anthony Salgado.
Ain't No Other finished first in Saturday's $50,000 Jess Jackson Owners' Handicap but was set down to third for stretch interference. The ruling promoted Goggles McCoy to the win and Starbordlights to show money. Goggles McCoy is a 4-year-old, California-bred In Excess gelding. Juan Hernandez got the riding win. The 5 furlongs on firm turf took 57.52 seconds.
Our Nautique came to the lead in the stretch in Sunday's $50,000 Joseph T. Grace Handicap, then held nicely to win by 2 lengths over Bold Chieftain. Whatsthescript got home third. Our Nautique, a 6-year-old, New Zealand-bred Pins gelding, ran the 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:44.10 with Kevin Krigger in the irons.
Tallys Sundance came from the clouds to win Saturday's $50,000 Last Dance Stakes for Massachusetts-breds by 3 1/2 lengths. Wheely was second with Double Devilish third. Tallys Sundance, a 5-year-old Sundance Ridge mare, ran the 1 mile and 70 yards on a fast track in 1:46.66 for jockey Taylor Hole.
News and Notes:
Happily, the Kentucky Cup Day of Champions is back, thanks to WinStar Farm. "When we read that the Kentucky Cup had to be canceled due to the economic conditions in our state last year, we were deeply saddened," said Elliott Walden, head of WinStar Farm. "The Kentucky Cup has been an integral part of Kentucky's racing calendar for the last 15 years. We are committed to helping this industry that gives Kentuckians so much and felt like we wanted to get involved with this spectacular day. We also have some creative ideas that you will hear about in the coming weeks." All five races -- the Classic, Distaff, Sprint, Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies, will be run Sept. 24. The Classic will carry a $200,000 purse; the others, $100,000 each. "We deeply appreciate WinStar's willingness to sponsor this outstanding day of racing," Turfway Park president Robert N. Elliston said. "This isn't the first time WinStar has stepped up to support our racing, but it is critical at this juncture. We likewise appreciate the horsemen's willingness to work with us to return this day to our calendar."