Two horses who missed the Triple Crown races emerged during the weekend at the head of their class and candidates for the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Shared Belief, with a resounding victory in Sunday's Pacific Classic, showed he's all the way back from the injury that kept him out of the Triple Crown wars while another non-starter in the early Classics, V. E. Day, won the Travers at Saratoga on Saturday.
Close Hatches raised a hoof to be considered a contender for year-end honors with a big win at Saratoga.
Wise Dan, reigning U.S. Horse of the Year, Sunday put in his best work since undergoing colic surgery in May and is primed for a start on Saturday.
Meanwhile, in Japan, two of that nation's three promising competitors for the upcoming Prix de l'Arc de Triomph faced off Sunday and got home first and second. In France, The Wow Signal caught Hootenanny in the late going to deny trainer Wesley Ward a second straight win in the Prix Morny.
Hootenanny? Let's start singing.
Shared Belief looked for a time like the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby this May. But an injury kept him out of the Triple Crown and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer subsequently nursed him along conservatively. Sunday, the Candy Ride gelding showed that patience has paid off as he rallied three-wide from the middle of the pack in the $1 million, Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar, got by pacesetting Game On Dude and kicked off to win by 2 3/4 lengths. Another 3-year-old, UAE Derby winner Toast of New York, stayed closer to the pace and was a clear second while Imperative passed Game On Dude late to finish third. Shared Belief, with Mike Smith up, ran 1 1/4 miles on the all-weather track in 2:00.28. He remains undefeated in six career starts and Sunday's was his smallest margin of victory. Toast of New York, a Kentucky-bred colt by Thewayyouare, was coming off a dull sixth-place finish in the Grade I Belmont Derby Invitational in New York and needs a good performance on the dirt to confirm he's for real -- especially with the Breeders' Cup Classic set for the Santa Anita dirt track. "Just another really good turn of foot by this horse and it's really extraordinary the way that he does that," Hollendorfer said. "When you have horses run in these big races, everybody wants to dissect them and be critical. What people were wondering was could he come down to Del Mar and handle the mile and a quarter? He answered that question. There'll be other horses and other races in the future and we'll all be under the microscope again."
V. E. Day and Wicked Strong landed a 1-2 punch for trainer Jimmy Jerkens in Saturday's $1.25 million, Grade I Travers at Sarataoga, with the former just up at the line to win by nose. Tonalist finished third, 2 1/2 lengths farther back. But it was back to the drawing board for some other trainers as the speedy Bayern, winner of two straight graded races, faded from the lead to finish last and Mr Speaker showed for the second time in two tries that the main track may not be his forte, finishing an even fifth on class alone. Wicked Strong, who finished fourth in both the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes, looked to have the Travers in the bag midway down the stretch after wresting the lead from a tiring Bayern and a stubborn Tonalist. With a sixteenth left, he had a clear lead but Javier Castellano had V. E. Day in full stride and the English Channel colt had just enough grit to get the job done. He finished 1 1/4 miles in the "Midsummer Derby" in 2:02.93. The colt took four tries to get his first win but hasn't lost in four races since then. The Travers, however, was a big class jump as his first non-restricted stakes race. "I wasn't absolutely sure it was V. E. Day because he had so much mud on him," Jerkens said, "until they got a little closer and I saw the silks and then I knew it was him. I said, 'Man, what a feeling. I know I'm going to win the Travers. I just don't know with who.'" Bob Baffert, who trains Bayern, said, "We were hoping to steal it but the secret was out." Jerkens said he has not mapped out a campaign for the rest of the year for his two stars. "I always like to take it one at a time and then start looking, you know?" he said. "I would rather do that than have all these big expectations, map everything out months and months ahead and then -- so, I don't know, to be honest with you." But, he added, V. E. Day is "a little bit of a throwback to the horses from -- from what my dad tells me -- from years ago. He keeps on eatin' and keeps on feeling good and loves to train. You just don't see horses like that anymore."
Close Hatches took the lead when no one else wanted it in Friday's $500,000, Grade I Personal Ensign at Saratoga, didn't seem to mind the mud and went on to win by 5 lengths, virtually eased at the end. Fiftyshadesofhay and Stanwyck rallied late to take second and third, followed by Antipathy, Princess of Sylmar, Belle Gallanety and Majestic River. Close Hatches, a 4-year-old daughter of First Defence, ran 9 furlongs in 1:50.62 for Joel Rosario after setting a good clip over the muddy track. She now has four straight wins and six wins from her last seven starts. "She was doing it nice and easy and it was a good race for her," Rosario said. "She's a nice filly with a long stride. I'm not surprised she went that fast." Winning trainer Bill Mott said he told Rosario to put Close Hatches ... wherever he was comfortable ... We didn't know who might go to the lead." He said he plan is to take advantage of Keeneland's new dirt track, replacing the all-weather surface, and contest the Grade I Spinster there on Oct. 5.
At age 7, Sole Power has spent much of his career traveling around the world, chasing great ones to the wire, often losing gallantly. He wound up last year finishing second to Lord Kanaloa in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint, then finished in arrears of Shea Shea and Amber Sky at Meydan in Dubai. Since trainer Edward Lynam brought him back to England this spring, things have been different. First, the Kyllachy gelding took down the Group 3 Palace House at Newmarket. Then he stepped up at Royal Ascot to win the Group 1 King's Stand, beating a field of good ones including old nemesis Shea Shea. And Friday, he tripled down, winning the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York, defeating a dozen rivals again including Shea Shea, who finished next-last. Stepper Point and Extortionist were second and third at long prices in the 5-furlongs dash. It appeared until the crucial final yards that Richard Hughes wouldn't get Sole Power a chance to shine. But when a seam opened in the late going, Hughes got his mount through it and powered on to win by 1/2 length. Lynam said he hopes to right some wrongs now that Sole Power is going well, heading to Ireland, then the Prix de la Abbaye at Longchamp and finally back to Sha Tin. "We finished second there to an exceptional sprinter and I'd love to win that one," he said.
Big John B surged to the lead three-deep entering the stretch run in Saturday's $200,000, Grade II Del Mar Handicap and quickly kicked clear to win by 5 1/4 lengths. Bench Strength was second, a neck in front of Bright Thought, who completed the all-B trifecta. Big John B, a 5-year-old Hard Spun gelding, ran 1 3/8 miles on firm turf in 2:12.81 with Mike Smith up for owner Michael House and trainer Philip D'Amato. The workhorse was making his ninth start of the year but first ever in a stakes, never mind a graded stakes. Nonetheless, he went to the post as the favorite after posting four wins in his last five starts against presumably lesser competition. The race was a "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Turf and Smith said Big John B is running well enough to fit there. "I think he can run with any of the horses in this country right now," Smith said. "Those Euros? We'll just have to see who they send." D'Amato added, "He's a veteran and he's peaking." As to the Breeders' Cup, he said, "That's the plan."
Winning Cause got first run to the lead in the stretch drive of Sunday's $100,000, Grade III Cliff Hanger Stakes at Monmouth Park and held off the belated run of the favorite, Big Blue Kitten, to post a 1/2 length win. Plainview filled the trifecta. Winning Cause, a 4-year-old Giant's Causeway colt, ran 9 furlongs on firm turf in 1:46.16. "I just sat back and got my horse relaxed," said winning jockey Eddie Castro. "Around the turn, I started to make my move and I looked back and saw that I had the jump on Big Blue Kitten and just rode hard to the wire."
Filly & Mare Turf
Abaco, after five straight near-misses against graded stakes competition, finally got the job done in Saturday's $250,000, Grade II Ballston Spa at Saratoga. With Jose Ortiz riding for the second time, Abaco made her normal late appearance, rallying from last of six in the stretch to get up in time for a neck win over Strathnaver. Nellie Cashman was third as all three top finishers came from off the pace. Centre Court and Night Song battled for the lead and finished fourth and fifth. The odds-on favorite, Filimbi, tracked the pace and had every chance but faded in the final furlong to finish last. Abaco, a 6-year-old mare by Giant's Causeway, ran 1 1/16 miles on good turf in 1:42.64. "I'm excited," said winning trainer Shug McGaughey who usually doesn't seem to be. "In her last three races, she's really had some good moves and been unlucky to lose. Jose rode a great race today and got her in good position. She's a funny kind of filly; if you allow her to lay too close she won't finish as well."
Rusty Slipper drafted right behind pacesetter Why Katherine in Saturday's $100,000, Grade III Violet Stakes at Monmouth Park, moved to the lead on the turn and got home first by 1 1/4 lengths. Overheard came from last to finish second, a neck in front of Fasnacloich with four others in close attendance. Rusty Slipper, a 4-year-old Lemon Drop Kid filly, ran 9 furlongs on good turf in 1:49.07 with Alex Cintron up. It was only her second start of the year, following a very respectable fourth in the Grade III Eatontown Stakes over the course. "She took a good position early in the race," said winning jockey Alex Cintron. "Last time she was a little far back. She finished good. I had a lot of horse and when I called on her and she took off."
Meri Shika rallied by pacesetting favorite Savvy Hester in the late going of Saturday's $100,000 Flaming Page Handicap at Woodbine and shook clear to win by 1 1/4 lengths over that rival. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to Auld Alliance in third. Meri Shika, a 4-year-old, French-bred filly by Spirit One, went to the post at odds of nearly 25-1 and finished 1 1/2 miles on good turf in 2:30.22 with Emma-Jayne Wilson at the controls.
Tom's Tribute scored his second straight graded stakes win in Sunday's $250,000, Grade II Del Mar Mile, getting by the odds-on favorite, Obviously, at mid-stretch for the win. Rock Me Baby and Handsome Mike also passed the tiring favorite late to finish second and third. Obviously, winner of both his previous 2014 starts, got away a step slow from the inside post position and jockey Joe Talamo had to use him in the first few hundred yards to secure his normal out-front running position. The initial effort seemed to cost him in the final sixteenth. Tom's Tribute, a 4-year-old Lion Heart colt, finished in 1:33.75 over firm going with Mike Smith up. Smith also rode the colt to victory in the Grade I Eddie Read at 9 furlongs on the Del Mar turf in his previous start. "I like going back from a mile and an eighth to a mile," said winning trainer Tom Cassidy. "I thought that was the one advantage I had. When I saw the first fractions I thought, 'Oh, man, this is sweet.' Obviously, this is no bum." Obviously's trainer, Phil D'Amato, said the bad break was responsible for the loss. "Our plan was aiming for the Breeder's Cup and we got beat here in the plan. But that's still our goal."
Speed Seeker bided her time in Saturday's $150,000, Grade III Ontario Colleen Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Woodbine, got through between rivals at the top of the lane and won off by 4 3/4 lengths, ridden out. Executive Allure and Daring Kathy filled the Triactor. Speed Seeker, a Florida-bred Heatseekeer filly, got 1 mile on good going in 1:34.91 under Luis Contreras. "The first time I rode her, she showed a lot of speed," said Contreras. "Today, I tried to do the same thing but I got in a lot of trouble. So I just tried to relax her."
Meanwhile, at Saratoga Springs, two-time and reigning Horse of the Year and two-time and reigning Breeders' Cup Mile champ Wise Dan turned in a half-mile work that had trainer trainer Charlie LoPresti smiling. The Wiseman's Ferry gelding has not raced since undergoing colic surgery May 16 but LoPresti said the work showed he's back on his game. LoPresti said he hopes to have Wise Dan in the starting gate for Saturday's $250,000, Grade II Bernard Baruch Handicap at the Spa. That's 1 1/16 miles on the grass.
The Big Beast ran down Fast Anna in the closing yards of Saturday's $500,000, Grade I Ketel One King's Bishop Stakes for 3-year-olds at Saratoga, winning by a neck over that rival while posting his third straight win. Coup de Grace, the lukewarm favorite, finished third and the enigmatic Wildcat Red struggled home fifth. The Big Beast is a Yes It's True colt, who has been brought along slowly by trainer Tony Dutrow who took over after the colt's first start in March at Oaklawn Park, where he finished second by a neck. After a third at Belmont in May he caught on, demolishing his rivals in another maiden affair at Belmont. He followed that with another tour de force in a conditioned allowance at the Spa. In both those wins, he led all the way. But Saturday, jockey Javier Castellano let speedball Fast Anna carve out the early fractions with Wildcat Red chasing in second. It wasn't until the field straighted out into the stretch than Castellano asked The Big Beast and he was up to the task, finishing 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:22.35. Quoth Dutrow: "I learned from my days with Bobby Frankel, when your horse is really, really good not to waste a race. You need to make these races count when your horse is really good. Our horse was really good today, and we saw no reason not to take a crack at the very best."
Goldencents stole a march on six rivals in Sunday's $250,000, Grade II Pat O'Brien Stakes at Del Mar and wasn't caught despite setting a brisk pace. The favorite, Fed Biz, gave futile chase and finished second, 4 1/4 lengths in arrears. Silentio finished third. Goldencents, a 4-year-old Into Mischief colt, ran 7 furlongs on the all-weather course in course-record time of 1:20.99 with Rafael Bejarano up. He scored his first win since taking the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile last fall, though he had finished second in the Grade I Met Mile and the Grade I Bing Crosby in his two previous starts. "That was the plan," said winning trainer Doug O'Neill, "to be aggressive with him. Rafael gave him a brilliant ride. There was some talk that Fed Biz would be on the lead but we took it to 'em. The first quarter went twenty-two and four and we were on the lead. He knows the horse well and this is a brilliant horse as shown by this performance." Fed Biz's trainer, Bob Baffert, said he will stretch his horse out in his next race "and he'll show us if he's okay to go to the Breeders' Cup."
Bern Identity led from the start in Friday's $100,000 Tale of the Cat Stakes at Saratoga and kept on well to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Mewannarose. Bahamian Squall finished third. Bern Identity, a 4-year-old Bernstein colt, ran 6 furlongs on a muddy track in 1:10.05 under Paco Lopez. The Kelly Breen trainee was away from the races for some 18 months after finishing last year's Grade III Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park. He returned with a win in the My Frenchman Stakes at Monmouth in June. "I didn't ride him last time at Monmouth," Lopez said. "But he ran great and he's been training unbelievably. This was a really, really nice horse last year, and to win this race is great. He was really comfortable over the track today." Breen said she and owner George Hall will discuss the next race for Bern Identity.
Filly & Mare Sprint
Artemis Agroterra sat just off the lead through the early stages of Saturday's $500,000, Grade I Ballerina for fillies and mares at Saratoga, hit the stretch in the three path and found another gear for jockey Rajiv Maragh. At the wire, the Roman Ruler filly was first by 6 1/2 lengths. My Miss Aurelia beat the other six, followed by Willet and Better Lucky. The 7 furlongs on a fast track went in 1:21.89 with Maragh gearing her down in the final yards. Artemis Agroterra, a 3-year-old running against elders, scored her second straight win and fourth from six starts. She won her first two races as a juvenile, then was soundly beaten in the Breeders' Cup and came back with a tiring, eighth-place showing in the Grade I Acorn at Belmont Park before winning a Saratoga allowance by 10 1/4 lengths in her last previous start. "You know, this filly has always acted like a special filly every day I've had her," said winning trainer Mike Hushion. "So I was more confused by the couple of times she didn't run well and never surprised when she shows up big." He said easing up on Artemis Agroterra's training might have helped her on race day. And, he added he expects the filly to show up in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
Leigh Court opened a big lead in Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian), Grade III Seaway Stakes at Woodbine and coasted home first by 2 1/2 lengths. Toasting ran well late to take second and Spring in the Air was third. Leigh Court, a 4-year-old Grand Slam filly out of the French Deputy mare Padmore, ran 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:22.27 with Gary Boulanger in the irons. She was coming back from a 10-month vacation following a good fourth-place finish in the Grade I Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Keeneland. "She's filled out a lot," said winning trainer Josie Carroll. "Last year, she looked like a baby, a 3-year-old. This year, she's got a big rear end on her and she's really gotten stronger. We thought we'd get her first start out of the way, then play it from there."
Harp Star and Gold Ship, two-thirds of the Japanese squad expected to visit Longchamp for the Arc, showed their dominance over local competition Sunday in the $1.35 million, Group 2 Sapporo Kinen. Harp Star, a Deep Impact filly, went to the front as the field hit the short stretch at Sapporo and Gold Ship could do no better than get 3/4 from the winner at the finish. Whale Capture was 5 lengths farther back in third. Gold Ship was giving weight to the winner, who benefited from the short sprint home and both trainers expressed pleasure with the prep for the big target in France. Japanese runners have come close to winning the Arc repeatedly but never quite got there. Harp Star, Gold Ship and Just A Way, the latter topping the Longines World's Best Racehorse Rankings, will try to rectify that.
On the Normandy coast, the trainer John Quinn's The Wow Signal flagged down Hootennany in the final furlong to win Sunday's Group 1 Prix Morny by 1/2 length, denying trainer Wesley Ward a second straight win in the race, following No Nay Never's triumph last year. The best of the French 2-year-olds in the field, Ervedya, finished 1 length farther back in third. The win makes The Wow Signal, a Starspangledbanner colt, an automatic contender for next year's English 2,000 Guineas. Hootenanny, who broke his maiden at first asking at Keeneland's spring meeting, finished third in the Rollicking Stakes at Pimlico in his only other start.
Also Sunday, Ribbons came roaring down the middle of the track late to grab victory in the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet for fillies and mares, scoring by 2 lengths over Princess Loulou. Secret Gesture was third. Ribbons, a 4-year-old filly by the German sire Manduro, went to the post as a middling long shot in her first group stakes but found plenty to like with Frankie Dettori in the irons. She now has four wins from six starts.
In Ireland, Leading Light warmed up for the bigger things with a comfortable win in Sunday's Group 3 Irish St Leger Trial. The 4-year-old Montjeu colt, winner of seven of his previous eight starts, got to the lead inside 2 furlongs and, with Joseph O'Brien riding, gradually edged clear to score by 1 1/2 lengths. Royal Diamond and Shu Lewis were second and third in the 1 3/4-miles test, run over good to firm ground. Leading Light's only two losses came in his first start and in last year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe over soft going.
Kingsbarns continued to have trouble locating the winners' enclosure, surrendering the lead late in Sunday's Group 3 Royal Whip Stakes. His stablemate, Hall of Mirrors, got by in the final 100 yards to win by 1/2 length with Parish Hall and Magnolia Beach completing the order of finish. Hall of Mirrors, a 4-year-old Duke of Marmalade gelding, picked up just his second career win in his ninth start. Meanwhile, Kingsbarns now has not lived up to the promise she showed in winning his first two starts, including the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy in October of 2012. He remains winless in four subsequent starts.
Pale Mimosa held off Estimate in the final furlong to win Friday's Group 2 Lonsdale Cup by 1/2 length. Times Up was third in the marathon, run at 2 miles and 1/2 furlong. Cavalryman finished fourth. Pale Mimosa, a 5-year-old Singspiel mare, scored her fifth win from 10 starts.
Al Kazeem took over the lead from True Story a furlong out in Saturday's Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes and held that one safe to win by 1/2 length. It was 7 lengths back to complicit in third. Al Kazeem, a 6-year-old son of Dubawi, proved "subfertile" at stud this spring and the multiple Group 1 winner returned to active duty with a fourth-place finish at Newbury in July. Trainer Roger Charleton said the Qipco Champion Stakes in October is a potential target.
Back in North America:
Stryker Phd could see all 11 rivals early in Sunday's $200,000, Grade III Longacres Mile Handicap, then passed them all before reporting home first by 1/2 length. Boyett was second and Twistgrips finished third in the Emerald Downs setpiece, transplanted from the late, lamented Longacres race track. Stryker Phd, a 5-year-old Bertrando gelding, ran 1 mile on a fast track in a good 1:33.67 with Leslie Mawing up.
Stopshoppingdebbie was a short-priced favorite in Sunday's $65,000 Emerald Distaff Handicap and the 4-year-old Curlin filly ran to her notices. Leading from the early jumps, Stopshoppingdebbie won by 3/4 length over Goin to the Window, with Blueberry Smoothie third. The 9 furlongs on a fast track took 1:47.45 with Rocco Bowen guiding the winner.
Uncle Southern led from the start in Thursday's $100,000 Union Avenue Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares and splashed home first by 3/4 length over Sunny Desert. Make the Moment finished third and the favorite, Risky Rachel, faded to finish last. Uncle Southern, a 4-year-old filly by Uncle Camie, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:17.46 with Luis Saez in the irons.
Sunday was a day for New York-breds to shine at the Spa.
Upstart caught pacesetting Bustin It late to win the $200,000 Funny Cide Stakes for 2-year-olds by 1 length over that one with Bullheaded Boy a long way back in third. Upstart, a Flatter ridgling, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:16.23 with Jose Ortiz in the irons.
Myfourchix got off to a bit of a confused start in the $200,000 Seeking the Ante Stakes for 2-year-old fillies but had plenty in reserve, recovered and went on to win by 3 lengths over the odds-on favorite, Hard to Stay Notgo. It was 10 1/4 lengths back to Nonna Jo in third. Myfourchix, by Henny Hughes, ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:20.34 with Cornelio Velasquez riding.
King Kreesa made his first start of the year a winning one, taking the $150,000 West Point Stakes by a head over the late-challenging Lubash. Notacatbutallama was but 1 length farther back in third. King Kreesa, a 5-year-old King Cougat gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles on good turf in 1:42.07 under Irad Ortiz Jr.
Dayatthespa, who scratched out of Saturday's Ballston Spa, led from the start in Sunday's $150,000 Yaddo Stakes for fillies and mares and won by 2 1/2 lengths over Discreet Marq. Effie Trinket was 1 1/2 lengths farther back in third. Dayatthespa, with Javier Castellano in the irons, ran 1 1/16 miles on good turf in 1:41.93.
Star Gazing came from off the pace to capture the $200,000 Fleet Indian Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, finishing 3/4 length to the good of Flipcup. Canal Six finished third. Star Gazing, a Sky Mesa filly, finished 9 furlongs on the main track in 1:53.40 with Angel Arroyo up.
So Lonesome led from the early yards in the $200,000 Albany Stakes for 3-year-olds and prevailed by 4 lengths with Effinex second. Eye Luv Lulu finished third. So Lonesome, an Awesome Again gelding, ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.17 with Jose Lezcano aboard.
Ann of the Dance rallied from last of nine to win Friday's $90,000 CCT and Thoroughbred Owners of California Stakes for fillies and mares, putting her nose on the wire just in front of Scarlet Strike. The favorite, Customer Base, finished 1/2 length farther back in third. Ann of the Dance, a 5-year-old English Channel mare, ran 1 3/8 miles on firm turf in 2:14.73 with Drayden Van Dyke up.
Sooner Superstar shot straight to the lead in Friday's $50,000 Red Earth Stakes for Oklahoma-breds and repulsed the late bit of favorite Polka Joke, winning by 3/4 length over that one. Perfect to Please finished third. Sooner Superstar, a 5-year-old mare by Ra Ra Superstar, ran 7 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:28.76 with Ken Tohill up.
Bim Bam prevailed as the favorite in Saturday's $75,000 Edward J. DeBartolo Memorial Handicap, tracking down the early leaders to score by 1/2 length. Gaelico took over the lead in the stretch but could only on on for second. Dreams Cut Short was up for third. Bim Bam, a 7-year-old son of Deputy Wild Cat, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:42.25 with Jareth Loveberry in the irons.
Best Plan Yet rallied from the back of the pack to take Saturday's $90,000 Forty Niner Stakes for 3-year-olds by 1 1/2 lengths from the pacesetting favorite, Breitline Flyer. Ex Pirate finished third. Best Plan Yet, a Hear No Evil colt, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:41.23 with Jesus Rios in the irons. Best Plan Yet was a force in the Florida 2-year-old ranks but didn't make much impression previously this year. With Saturday's victory, however, seven of the 10 also-rans in this January's Grade II Holy Bull Stakes have now come back to notch later victories. Those who followed Cairo Prince across the finish line in the Holy Bull include the likes of Mr Speaker (seventh), Wicked Strong (ninth) and Coup de Grace (10). Best Plan Yet finished fifth in the Holy Bull.
Slice of Red pressed the pace in Friday's $50,000 (Canadian) Richmond Derby Trial, move to the lead turning for home and kicked clear, winning by 2 1/4 lengths over Koffee Grinder. The early leader, Distillery, settled for third. Slice of Red, a Rosberg gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:43.99 under Keishan Balgobin.
Dawselina battled for the lead in Friday's $30,000 (Canadian) Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, got to the fore and went on to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Ole's Miss. Flatter You finished third. Dawselina, a Skimming filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.05 with Richard Hamel up.
Lady Genius stalked the pace in Saturday's $60,000 Bank of Albuquerque Stakes for state-bred 3-year-old fillies, then took command in the lane and won off by 3 1/2 lengths. The odds-on favorite, That's the Ideal led early but settled for second. Ilikewinnin finished third. Lady Genius, a Quinton's Gold filly, got 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.95 with Carlos Madeira in the irons.
Lakehouse Fun came from last in Saturday's $60,000 Carlos Salazar Stakes for state-bred fillies and mares and won a stretch duel over pacesetter Funnyoushouldask by 1 length. Strawberry Bling finished third. Lakehouse Fun, a 4-year-old daughter of Roll Hennessey Roll, rolled 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.71 under Ry Eikleberry.
Roll Out the Band was quickly on the lead in Saturday's $60,000 Albuquerque Journal Stakes for New Mexico-bred 3-year-olds and went on to win by 4 lengths over Mays or Mantle. D E Lover finished third. Roll Out the Band, another by Roll Hennessey Roll, got 6 furlongs in 1:09.94 with Alfredo Juarez Jr. riding.
Thunder Agard won a three-horse battle to the wire in Saturday's $60,000 Lineage Classic Stakes for state-breds, scoring by a nose over On Down the Road and another head over E Bar Way. Thunder Agard, a 5-year-old To Teras gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:45.24 with Enrique Gomez up.
Midnightlowdown led all the way to an 18-1 upset win in Saturday's $60,000 Casey Darnell Pony Express Stakes for state-breds. Chica's Minister finished 5 lengths back in second and 3/4 length ahead of Thermal Midnightlowdown, a 5-year-old Stormin' Lyon gelding, got 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.71 for jockey Elvin Gonzalez.
Lucy's Bob Boy led from the start in Saturday's $50,000 Frank Gall Memorial for West Virginia-breds and went on to win by 3 lengths over Russell Road. Allegheny Jack was third. Lucy's Bob Boy, a 5-year-old gelding by Flatter, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:24.97 with Arnaldo Bocachica handling the reins.
Page McKenney battled through the early stretch run in Saturday's $75,000, off-the-turf Robellino Stakes for Pennsylvania-breds before putting away a pair of rivals and clearing to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Van Perise was second and Starry Moon finished third. Page McKenney, a 4-year-old Eavesdropper gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles on a good track under Horacio Karamanos in "time not available due to a Teletimer malfunction," according to Equibase.
Saturday's $75,000 Turning For Home Stakes came off the turf and six of the original eight starters came out of the field. When the gate opened for the two remaining, only one of them left running -- and it was not the favorite, Change of Command, who stumbled badly at the start and never reached contention. That left Hobo Ridge alone on the lead and he went on to win by 24 lengths, paying $5.20 to win. The 1 1/16 miles on a muddy, sealed track took 1:47.49.