Turallure overcame traffic problems to win Sunday's $1 million Woodbine Mile, besting the favorite, Courageous Cat, in the final yards.
The race was the richest on a weekend full of important turf events, many pointing directly toward the upcoming Breeders' Cup World Championships Nov. 4-5 at Churchill Downs.
Turallure, a 4-year-old son of former Canadian champ Wando, found his sire's home court to his liking. With Julien Leparoux up, the gray colt saved ground early, then found himself blocked on the inside as the field rounded the stretch turn.
Leparoux, however, was able to weave through rivals to the outside, then ran by Courageous Cat and challenger Right One, who finished third. The margins were a neck and a nose, with another length back to Side Glance in fourth.
Turallure ran the mile on firm turf in 1:34.92, earning an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Mile.
"He broke good, but a little bit on the outside, so I just took him back, saved a little bit of ground around the turn," Leparoux said. Before finding a seam, he added, "There was a lot of traffic and I couldn't get out. He ran big today."
Turallure now has six wins from 15 starts. It was his first Grade I win.
On the filly/mare side of the turf mile, odds-on favorite Unbridled Humor made a laugher of Sunday's $100,000, Grade III Noble Damsel Stakes at Belmont Park. The 4-year-old, Florida-bred Distorted Humor filly moved to the lead entering the turn and quickly opened a big advantage, then coasted home under a hand ride, winning by a safe 1 3/4 lengths over Thai Haiku. Aquitane was third. Unbridled Humor, with Ramon Dominguez up, ran the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:34.09. She now has five wins from six starts but the Noble Damsel was her first graded stakes victory. She was rebounding from a seventh-place finish in the Grade I Diana at Saratoga when she was eager on the lead. "I just took a long hold," Dominguez said of Sunday's ride. "She was eager, but within reason. Turning for home, she switched leads on her own and she picked it up pretty nicely. I'm very happy with her."
Other races with potential Breeders' Cup implications:
Strike the Moon struck the lead with a quick, three-wide move into the stretch in Saturday night's $400,000 Charles Town Oaks, opened a daylight lead and held on to beat Groupie Doll by 3/4 of a length. It was another 3 3/4 lengths back to My Sunshine Gal, the longshot early leader, in third. Strike the Moon, a Kentucky-bred Malibu Moon filly, negotiated the 7 furlongs in 1:24.97 with Julien Pimental in the irons for trainer Michael Trombetta. It was her third win in eight starts but first in a stakes, following a disappointing second in the Delaware Oaks after leading much of the way. Trombetta added blinkers for the Charles Town race and Pimental said it made a difference. "The blinkers may have helped keep her more focused," he said.
Wigmore Hall, coming off a fourth-place finish in the soggy Arlington Million, found running room along the rail in Sunday's $500,000 (Canadian), Grade I Northern Dancer Turf Stakes at Woodbine and outdueled Simmard in the final furlong to win by a neck. Al Khali was third and the early leader, Bourbon Bay, faded to finish last of eight. With Jamie Spencer up, Wigmore Hall ran the 1 1/2 miles on firm turf in 2:30.67. He is a 4-year-old, Irish-bred gelding by High Chaparral. "It was a slow pace and an extremely messy race," Spencer said. "I was a bit worried, but he beat a Group 1 winner [Poet's Voice] over a mile in his first start of the year, so he's got a good turn of foot." Asked about dropping to the rail for the stretch run, Spencer said, "I had no choice."
Stormy Lord raced outside and behind the leaders through the early stages of Saturday's $250,000 PTHA President's Cup at Parx Racing, made a move into the stretch and was up at the end to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Citrus Kid. Lubash finished third and the favorite, Smart Bid, was not a smart bet, finishing eighth. Stormy Lord, a 4-year-old, Ontario-bred Stormy Atlantic gelding, ran the 9 furlongs on yielding turf in 1:54.24 with Justin Stein in the irons for trainer Ian Black.
Filly & Mare Turf
Winter Memories erased the bad memories of her last start with a courageous and emphatic victory in Saturday's $250,000, Grade I Garden City Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park. After a tough, traffic-plagued loss in the Lake Placid over yielding Saratoga turf -- her only off-the-board finish in her seven previous races -- Winter Memories again found herself stuck behind horses early in the stretch run in Saturday's heat. But with Javier Castellano at the controls, she bided her time, swung out and finished full of run, winning by a neck. Theyskens' Theory, shipped in from England, rallied from far back to lead early in the stretch run but could do no better than second under the wire. More Than Real made the going, setting a relaxed pace, into the lane and held third, 1 1/2 lengths farther back. Winter Memories, a Kentucky-bred El Prado filly, ran the 9 furlongs on firm going in 1:51.06. She now has six wins from eight starts. Winning trainer Jimmy Toner said he feared he was watching a rerun. "She had no place to go. I knew there was no chance to get inside or split horses. They were all bunched. I didn't think she had a chance. I can't believe the way she accelerated and exploded, in three strides. Phenomenal. Javier said to me, 'I knew she was going to win.' I said, 'I'm glad you did!'" He said Sunday Winter Memories will be pointed to the Grade I Queen Elizabeth II at Keeneland Oct. 15 and will not contest the Breeders' Cup.
Never Retreat pressed the early pace in Sunday's $300,000 (Canadian), Grade II Canadian Stakes for fillies and mares at Woodbine, worked her way to the lead at the top of the lane and survived the late run of Perfect Shirl to win by a half length. Stars to Shine was third and the favorite, Zagora, finished seventh. Never Retreat, a 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred Smart Strike mare, ran the "about" 9 furlongs on firm going in 1:45.13 with Julien Leparoux in the irons. Never Retreat, a Team Block runner, came into the Canadian off a seventh-place finish in the Beverly D. at Arlington Park over a yielding course. Before that, she won the Grade II Dance Smartly over the Woodbine grass. "That was one of the reasons for bringing her back here," said assistant trainer Drew Coontz. Leparoux said Never Retreat "relaxed beautifully for me. She got to the lead very early but she kept on going. She's a nice filly."
Marketing Mix, the favorite, had no trouble winning Saturday's $100,000, Grade III Pucker Up Stakes at Arlington Park. But after that, it was a wide-open affair for the 13 other 3-year-old fillies. Marketing Mix, with Junior Alvarado up, stalked the pace, took charge turning for home and drew off confidently to win by 3 1/4 lengths. Sea Level Drive, at 25-1, waited for room after racing in mid-pack, then surged late to take second. Maid of Heaven, at 46-1, battled for the lead early in the stretch run and settled for third. Marketing Mix, an Ontario-bred Medaglia d'Oro filly, got the 9 furlongs on firm turf in 1:49.24. "They were expecting a big race out of her and she didn't disappoint," Alvarado said. "I just wanted to make her relax and be comfortable. She broke well and relaxed right away behind the speed. At the quarter pole, I asked her and she responded. The rest was kind of easy."
Quebrada Shiner always looked in control in Wednesday's $60,000 Jazzy Stakes for fillies and mares at Belmont Park, prompting a sharp pace into the stretch, then drawing away in the final furlong to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Vanishing Grey followed the winner and got second while Legally Bianca staged a late rally to take third. Quebrada Shiner, a 6-year-old, Argentine-bred mare by Indygo Shiner, got the 6 furlongs on firm turf in 1:08.44 with Ramon Dominguez in the irons. Quebrada Shiner had won the Caress Stakes at the end of the Belmont spring meeting, then finished a close fifth in a minor stakes at Saratoga. Robert Barbara trains.
Burning Time rallied to the lead midway down the stretch in Saturday's $100,000 Foolish Pleasure Stakes at Calder Race Course and drew clear to win by 2 1/2 lengths over the pacesetter, Personal Interest. Bartolome finished third and the favorite, Midnight Serenade, clunked home fourth. Burning Time, a Florida-bred Burning Roma colt out of the Gilded Time mare Lil's Time, ran the 1 mile and 70 yards on a fast track in 1:45.20 with Luis Saez in the irons. Burning Time had finished second in his last Florida Stallion Stakes race and trainer David Fawkes said in that event, "He broke awful and never had a chance." The colt now will go on to the $300,000 In Reality Division of the FSS Oct. 15, he said.
Lemon Juice launched a four-wide rally down the stretch in Saturday's $100,000 Charles Town Juvenile, caught pacesetter Doe and went on to win by a nose. Doe held second by a nose over the favorite, Bling's Express. Lemon Juice is a Kentucky-bred son of Johannesburg, the 2001 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner, out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Lemon Lady. He got the 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:27.06 under Alberto Delgado.
Unhitchthetrailor uncoupled from the rest of the field turning for home in Sunday's $100,000 Barrett's Juvenile at Fairplex, opened up a big lead and coasted home first by 3 lengths over Taylor Marini. Tio Vic was third. Unhitchthetrailor, a California-bred Kafwain colt out of the Ide mare Robotica, ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:21.18 under Christian Santiago Reyes.
Finale saved the best for last in Saturday's $250,000 (Canadian), Grade III Summer Stakes, Presented by TVG, at Woodbine, rallying from a pace-stalking spot to win by 3/4 of a length. Early leaders Excaper held second, 3 1/4 lengths better than Daddy Nose Best. Finale, a Kentucky-bred Scat Daddy colt out of the Lively One mare Twinkle, ran the mile on firm turf in 1:35.51 with John Velazquez in for the ride. It was his third win in a row and carried an automatic spot in the Breeders' Cup through the "Win and You're In" program. "He's a much better horse on the grass by far," said Velazquez. "He seemed to struggle on the dirt and not get a good grip on it. He was spinning his wheels on it, and once he got to the grass he's been
incredible, so why change it."
Conway Two Step got to the lead in Saturday's $100,000 Brave Raj Stakes at Calder Race Course and refused to give it up. At the wire, the Florida-bred filly was holding safe the odds-on favorite, Frolic's Revenge, by 2 1/2 lengths. Sinister Brew was a non-threatening third. Conway Two Step, a Spanish Steps filly out of the Glitterman mare Nancy's Glitter, ran the 1 mile and 70 yards on a fast track in 1:45.32 under Daniel Centeno. She was coming off a maiden win at 6 furlongs. Celia Fawkes, wife and assistant to trainer David Fawkes, said, "In her first couple of races we were dealing with some respiratory issues. She really was never sick. But finally it all came together for her when she won last time and we were pretty sure she'd like the additional distance."
Dancing Anna was squeezed at the start in Saturday's $100,000 Miss Shenandoah at Charles Town, had some trouble with traffic but still was able to get up for the win by a head over the favorite, Swift Artist. Good Looking Girl rallied for third. Dancing Anna, a Pennsylvania-bred Cuvee filly out of the Fred Astaire mare Mesabu, finished the 4 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 52.44 seconds with Antonio Lopez riding.
In Saturday's $100,000 Barretts Debutante Stakes at Fairplex Park, Willa B Awesome dueled into the stretch with odds-on favorite Heleonor Rugby, put that one away and went on to win by 2 3/4 lengths. Heleonor Rugby held second by 2 1/4 lengths over Raesunbridledfaith. Willa B Awesome, a California-bred Awesome Gambler filly out of the Nineeleven mare I'm Tricky, got the 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:19.16 with Martin Pedroza riding.
Juvenile Fillies Turf
Northern Passion was last of 12 after a half mile of Saturday's $200,000 (Canadian), Grade III Natalma Stakes, moved up along the rail through the turn and got through to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Dayatthespa. Stephanie's Kitten finished third and the favorite, Hard Not To Like, burned some affection with a fifth-place finish. Northern Passion, an Ontario-bred First Samurai filly out of the Golden Gear mare A Touch of Glory, ran the mile on firm turf in 1:35.00 for jockey Luis Contreras. "All I ever heard from dad is that we had a very, very talented filly," said Norm Casse, assistant trainer to his father, Mark. "She proved that today. Obviously, the Breeders' Cup is a goal."
Other weekend racing:
Hermosillo led from gate to wire in Saturday's $100,000 Charles Hess III Handicap for New Jersey-breds, getting home first by 1 1/4 lengths over Goombada Guska. Gunfighter finished third. Hermosillo, a 7-year-old Sea of Secrets gelding out of the Black Tie Affair mare Exquisite affair, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.64 with Charles Lopez at the controls.
Voodoo Charm came four-wide around the leaders to win Saturday's $60,000 New Jersey Breeders Handicap for state-breds by 3/4 of a length over Arctic Air. Hop Skip and Away finished third. Voodoo Charm, a 3-year-old Devil His Due colt running against older foes, ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.71 under Christopher DeCarlo.
Karmageddon stumbled at the start, saved ground and then unleashed a powerful move in the stretch to win Saturday's $60,000 Jersey Girl Handicap for state-bred distaffers by 2 3/4 lengths over Little Stitch. Emily Allstar finished third. Karmageddon, a 4-year-old Wildcat Heir filly, finished 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.36 with Angel Serpa up.
Stormy Dixie got a neck in front of Nefertiti under the wire in Sunday's $60,000 Politely Stakes for fillies and mares. Marquet Madness finished third. Stormy Dixie, a 5-year-old, Florida-bred Stormy Atlantic mare, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:39.74 with Charles Lopez riding.
In Step drew off late in Sunday's $60,000 Queen Tutta Stakes for 3-year-old fillies to win by 3 1/4 lengths. Button Girl finished second and Decennial was third. The favorite, Cascadilla Falls, got home sixth. In Step, a Kentucky-bred Unbridled's Song filly, ran 7 furlongs on firm turf in 1:21.34 with Jose Lezcano in the irons.
Top Surprize rallied from last of six to win Friday's $60,000 Summing Stakes for 3-year-olds by 3 1/4 lengths over the favorite, Adirondack Summer. Wilkinson finished third. Top Surprize, a Kentucky-bred Pure Prize colt, ran the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:35.89 with Javier Castellano riding.
Odds-on favorite Rail Trip led through much of Thursday's $60,000 Pot O'Luck Stakes, setting a moderate pace with some pressure, but then yielded when long shot Pleasant Prince rallied along the outside. In the final furlong, Pleasant Prince drew away rather easily to win by 4 1/2 lengths. Rail Trip held off Colizeo to finish third. Pleasant Prince, a 4-year-old, Florida-bred Indy King colt, ran the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:45.01 with Elvis Trujillo up.
Calder Race Course
Callmethesqueeze rallied from last of six to win Saturday's $75,000 Judy's Red Shoes Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by a length over Blue Angel Express. The early leader, Prize Informant, came home third. Callmethesqueeze, a Florida-bred daughter of Awesome Again, got the 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:43.99 with Jose Alvarez aboard.
Manicero got to the lead in the stretch run of Saturday's $75,000 Needles Stakes for 3-year-olds and held off Star of Sarava late to win by 1/2 length. Oligarch finished third. Manicero, a Florida-bred Mass Media colt, finished the 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:43.14 under Juan Leyva.
Don'tgetsuspicious dueled her way to the lead in Saturday's $75,000 Pink Ribbon Stakes for fillies and mares, drew off and held on to win by 3/4 of a length over Staged Affair. Shefoggedmyglasses finished third. Don'tgetsuspicious, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred E Dubai mare, ran the 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:26.29 with Travis Dunkelberger up.
Lucy's Bob Boy won a long stretch battle with Paco Smart in Saturday's $50,000 Henry Mercer Memorial for 2-year-old West Virginia-breds, getting the nod by a neck. Elder John finishedthird. Lucy's Bob Boy, a Flatter gelding out of the Not For Love mare Love For Lucy, ran 4 1/2 furlongs in 52.72 seconds with Gustavo Larrosa riding.
Navy Chapel separated herself from eight rivals in the stretch run of Saturday's $50,000 Rachel's Turn Stakes for West Virginia-breds at Charles Town, winning by 5 1/4 lengths over She's a Grand Show. Miss Gold Buckle was third. Navy Chapel, a Chapel Royal filly out of the Pentelicus mare A Penny Saved, ran the 4 1/2 furlongs in 52.66 seconds for jockey J. Acosta.
Cozy Kitten rallied six-wide down the long, undulating stretch in Saturday's $50,000 Franklin-Simpson Mile and caught pacesetting Bergerac, winning by 3/4 of a length. Karama finished third. Cozy Kitten, a 3-year-old Kitten's Joy gelding running against older horses, finished in 1:40.70 with Julio Garcia up.
Seven races on Saturday's card were limited to Alberta-breds and worth $50,000 (Canadian) each.
Silver Baubles won the Alberta Premier's Futurity for 2-year-olds going away, by 5 1/4 lengths, after avoiding a spill that involved three rivals. Ruckus Time drew off easily in the stretch to upset the Sturgeon River Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, winning by 9 1/4 lengths over entrymate Folly With Molly.
Wild Crush came from last of seven to take the Beaufort Stakes for 3-year-olds by 3/4 lengths over Southview Invader. Lynnwood also rallied from last to win the Alberta Oaks by a neck over Caliente Roja.
Hollywood Dreams kicked clear in the stretch to win the Red Diamond Express by 2 1/2 lengths over Mr. Shaddar. Two Horn Unicorn battled to the lead in the Fall Classic Distaff and edged clear late to win by a length over Sunhaven. Major Temper overhauled pacesetting favorite My Lucky Thirteen in the late going of the Alberta Breeders' Handicap, posting the upset by 1 1/4 lengths.
C.C. Ride, the odds-on favorite, was just along in time to win Saturday's $50,000 J.W. Swifton Stakes for 3-year-old Manitoba-breds by a neck over Tannat. Sir J Windsor finished third. C.C. Ride, a Candy Ride gelding, got the 9 furlongs in 1:44.40 under Gerry Olguin.
News and Notes
Rapid Redux had no trouble winning the $20,000 feature starter allowance Friday night at Charles Town -- an unremarkable feat except that it was the 5-year-old Pleasantly Perfect gelding's 17th straight victory. That puts him just two win shy of the record streaks posted by Zenyatta and Pepper's Pride. "I started thinking about the record in the 10-12 range when I'd say we were about 15 percent," owner Robert Cole said this Saturday at Laurel Park. "With each win that percentage has gone up. I'd say we are a little better than 50 percent to make it right now." Cole claimed Rapid Redux last October at Penn National for $6,250. He since has won 18 of 19 starts with earnings of $210,609 -- a nice return for any investment. Where next? "We have a couple races for him," said Maryland Jockey Club racing secretary Georganne Hale. "Everybody wants the horse."