With the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe only weeks away, it's a big scramble in Europe with Treve and Australia both losing on the weekend and Sea the Moon, Germany's top hope, out of the Arc with a recurring injury.
Meanwhile, in a big weekend of racing, Kingston Hill was victorious in the historic St Leger, with France potentially on the horizon. Her Majesty the Queen recorded a popular win at Doncaster, adding to pressure to send her colors to the Melbourne Cup.
Britain's David Simcock had a great weekend in Canada, winning a pair of Grade I races.
It's a girl for Black Caviar. And the Hong Kong season is under way, replete with many dragons portending good fortune during the opening ceremonies at Sha Tin.
First, the headlines from Europe and the British Isles:
Treve, last year's Arc winner, was never a factor in Sunday's Group 1 Prix Vermeille at Longchamp and wasn't pushed in the late going by jockey Thierry Jarnet when it became clear she was beaten. The Motivator filly, who has not won since the 2013 Arc, finished fourth, beaten about 1 1/2 lengths. The winner, German-bred Baltic Baroness, scored for the third straight race but the previous two were against listed stakes company. Pomology led through most of the Vermeille and was just nipped at the end while Dolinya came from the back of the field to take third. Despite another loss, trainer Criquette Head-Maarek said Treve should not be dismissed for another Arc try. "I think she ran a good race and we don't have to rule her out," the trainer said. "She needed the race."
With all the other disappointments, it could be that Ruler of the World is coming to hand at just the right time for trainer Aidan O'Brien. The 4-year-old Galileo colt made all the going in Sunday's Group 1 Qatar Prix Foy and had plenty left after 1 1/2 miles, holding off Flintshire for a 1 1/2-lengths victory. Spiritjim finished third and Kingsbarns was a well-beaten fifth. Ruler of the World won for the first time since taking the Epsom Derby last spring. He was making his first start since finishing 13th in the last Dubai World Cup to be run on the Tapeta all-weather course. He also was second in last year's Prix Niel and seventh behind Treve in the Arc. The win had the added spice of Frankie Dettori in the irons. Dettori was replaced aboard Treve before her loss in the Vermeille. Dettori said he might consider Ruler of the World as his mount for the big race. "It's not every day you sit on an Epsom Derby winner and he is a very nice horse," Dettori said. "Ruler of the World is a nice Arc prospect but I will have to wait and see what everyone else is doing."
Charm Spirit upset Sunday's Group 1 Prix de Moulin, squeezing by Toronado along the rail in the late going finish a head in front of that rival. Night of Thunder was third on the outside, a neck farther back. Charm Spirit was a longer chance than his two cross-Channel rivals but certainly has credentials, with victories in the Group 1 Prix Jean Pratt and the Group 3 Prix Paul du Mussac in his last two outings. Winning trainer Freddy Head said he does not plan to contest the Breeders' Cup this year but rather may go to Ascot for British Champions Day. "We'll have to meet Kingman," Head told Racing Post, "and he will have to fight with this one." Kingman, however, reportedly has a throat infection and could miss the QE II at Ascot, heading instead for the Breeders' Cup Mile.
The Grey Gatsby ran down the overwhelming favorite, dual Derby winner Australia, to take Saturday's Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown in a shocker. Trading Leather was a non-threatening third. It appeared entering the straight that the regally bred Australia was well on his way toward cementing his position at the top of the list. But with Ryan Moore keeping busy on The Grey Gatsby, the long shot steadily ate into the lead and inched by to win by a dramatic neck. After Trading Leather, it was Mukhadram, Al Kazeem, Kingfisher and Alkasser in the Classic first run in 1776. The outcome was a big improvement for The Grey Gatsby, who found himself in a similar position in the straight in the Juddmonte International at York last time out but was unable to catch Australia, finishing 2 lengths back in second. The Grey Gatsby is not a candidate for the Arc but is likely for the Qipco British Champion Stakes in mid-October.
Brown Panther shot out to a big lead in the final furlong of Sunday's Group 1 Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger at the Curragh and the heavy favorite, Leading Light, couldn't do much about it. At the end, it was Brown Panther by 6 1/2 lengths over Leading Light, with Encke only a head back for third. Brown Panther, a 6-year-old son of Shirocco, now has been no worse than fourth in six starts since returning from a trip down under for the Melbourne Cup, where he finished eighth. Leading Light was 12th in last year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe but had three straight wins this year and is in the mix for another try in a wide-open Arc. Brown Panther finished third in the 2012 Irish St Leger and trainer Tom Dascombe said the front-running win encourages him to take the horse on to Champions Day at Ascot.
Sea the Moon, the Sea the Stars colt who dominated the German Derby this summer, apparently paid a heavy price for that victory. He came out of the race with an injury, was defeated in his return last week at Baden Baden and this week was ruled out of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe with a recurrence of that problem. Racing Post quotes a part-owner as saying it's unlikely the colt will run again this year but it's hoped he will return for a 4-year-old season.
Kingston Hill was questionable for the start until the day before Saturday's Group 1 Ladbrokes St Leger as trainer Roger Varian had his doubts about whether the going at Doncaster would be too firm for his runner. But run he did. And win he did, with jockey Andrea Atzeni producing just the needed run in the final furlongs. Romsdal was second, 1 1/4 lengths in arrears, and Snow Sky finished third. The stewards had a look at the final furlong, where Kingston Hill drifted left and carried his rivals. But they let the result stand. Kingston Hill, eighth in the 2,000 Guineas and second to Australia in the Epsom Derby, came to this race with questions to answer after finishing fourth in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown two months ago in his last previous start. In that race, Frankie Dettori left Kingston Hill too much to do after Mukhadram got first run to the lead and made that stand up. Now, the 3-year-old Mastercraftsman colt, is listed as a 12-1 chance for the Arc, with Coral on Sunday offering 16-1.
More from England, Ireland and France later. Meanwhile, back in North America:
Filly & Mare Turf
Ball Dancing and Xcellence charged down the lane in Saturday's $500,000, Grade II Sands Point Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park, got by pacesetting favorite Sea Queen and Ball Dancing got there first by 1/2 length. Ball Dancing was making her first start since finishing fifth in the Grade I Prix de Diane Longines at Chantilly three months ago. Xcellence, still seeking her first U.S. win, finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of the tiring Sea Queen. She ran third in the Diane but had finished fourth and then third in two intervening U.S. starts. Queenofzeenile finished last of nine. Ball Dancing, an Exchange Rate filly, ran 1 1/8 miles on the firm inner turf course in 1:50.18 with Joe Bravo at the controls. Chad Brown trains both the top two and his assistant, Cherie DeVaux, said Ball Dancing "ran great. She settled nicely and made one run. When Joe asked her to run, she quickened ... (Xcellence) also ran great. Ball Dancing was just a little bit better today."
Deceptive Vision rolled to the lead midway down the stretch in Sunday's $300,000 (Canadian), Grade II Canadian Stakes for fillies and mares at Woodbine and went on to win by 2 1/2 lengths, ridden out by Eurico Da Silva. Royal Fury also ran well late to take second by 1 3/4 lengths over pacesetting La Tia. Queen's Plate winner Lexie Lou attended the early lead but folded early and finished last of 10. Deceptive Vision, a 4-year-old A.P. Indy filly, owned and bred by Sam-Son Farm, ran about 1 1/8 miles on good turf in 1:47.80. Rick Balaz of Sam-Son said the owners haven't discussed the Breeders' Cup option after the "Win and You're In" event "because we try to not think that far down the road. We are a little bit superstitious that way. But, obviously, that's something that we definitely are going to be considering. That's why we're here, right?"
Sistas Stroll advanced on the leaders turning for home in Saturday's $150,000, Grade III Pucker Up Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Arlington Park, then gradually edged clear late to win by 1 1/2 lengths. V V Goodnight was second with Maria Maria a long shot third. The favorite, Final Redemption, showed the way but faded to finish fourth. Sistas Stroll, a daughter of Stroll, ran 9 furlongs on turf rated soft in 1:55.13 as apprentice rider Drayden Van Dyke flew in from California to pick up his first graded stakes win. It was the third career win for Sistas Stroll, following victories at Churchill Downs and Del Mar. Tom Proctor trains the top two and commented, "Both of them are nice fillies. They ran like they've been running. I liked the finish."
I'm Already Sexy led from the start in Saturday's $200,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf and had no trouble hanging on late for a 3-lengths victory. Strike Charmer was second and Rosee is Cozee finished third. I'm Already Sexy, a 4-year-old Ready's Image filly, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:35.25 under Florent Geroux. Wayne Catalano trains the filly, who won the Grade III Modesty Handicap at Arlington Park earlier in the year, then finished sixth in the Grade I Beverly D. over the same course in her last start.
Trade Storm broke slowly in Sunday's $1 million (Canadian), Grade I Ricoh Woodbine Mile, shifted to the inside in the stretch running to clear traffic and prevailed by 1/2 length over fellow closer Kaigun. Bobby's Kitten led most of the way and held on for third while the favorite, Jack Milton, struggled home ninth. Trade Storm, a 6-year-old, British-bred son of Trade Fair, finished in 1:36.87 with Jamie Spencer in to ride for trainer David Simcock. Trade Storm, winless since the March, 2013, Zabeel Mile at Meydan, was coming off a second-place finish in the Group 3 Strensall Stakes at York. Simcock said Trade Storm likely will take advantage of the "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Mile, even though it likely will mean going against U.S. Horse of the Year Wise Dan, South African star miler Variety Club and multiple British Group 1 winner Kingman, among others. "He'll get his fast ground, which suits a fairly strong pace," Simcock said. "It will probably be a tougher race, but he is in excellent order and he never disgraces himself. When there's a lot of pace into the race, he travels very strongly into it and he's got a nice pickup. All he needed was the gaps and he maneuvered his way through."
Annecdote took the long way around the field in Saturday's $200,000, Grade III Noble Damsel Stakes at Belmont Park but drew off sharply in the final 50 yards, winning by 2 3/4 lengths over Byrama. Julie's Love finished third and the favorite, Tokyo Time, checked in fifth. Annecdote, a 4-year-old, British-bred daughter of Lucky Story, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:35.08 with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons. She was making her first start off the plane from England, where her best showing was a win in a Group 3 event at Goodwood. She was 10th in the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot in her last previous start. Quoth winning trainer Christophe Clement: "It really was no surprise because she had been training so well in the morning. She always showed a great turn of foot. She had been training with a friend of mine in England. It's easy when people find you with that kind of horse."
Regally Ready sat second, well off the early pace, in Saturday's $200,000 More Than Ready Mile Stakes at Kentucky Downs, took over when asked by jockey Rosie Napravnik and won off by 2 1/4 lengths. The pacesetter, Stormy Going, held second, 3 lengths ahead of R Great Adventure. Regally Ready, a 7 year-old More Than Ready gelding, got the 1 mile on firm going in 1:35.25. It was his fifth win of the year, though he has struggled when pitted against graded stakes company in three other races.
Long On Value outfinished General Jack to win Saturday's $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury Park in Minnesota, scoring by 1 3/4 lengths. Chairman Crooks led the way and held on for third. Long On Value, a Virginia-bred colt by Value Plus, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:34.58 with Christopher DeCarlo riding for trainer Bill Mott. He finished second in the Grade II Arlington Classic this summer, then a close fourth in the Grade II National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga in his previous start.
Sheikhzayedroad made his North American debut a winning one, scoring hard-fought, 1/2-length victory over Dynamic Sky in Sunday's $300,000 (Canadian), Grade I Northern Dancer Turf at Woodbine. Reporting Star led most of the way, yielded grudgingly and finished 3/5 length farther back in third. Villandry was fourth and the favorite, The Pizza Man, settled for fifth in his first race back since defeating Dandino in the American St. Leger at Arlington last month. Sheikhzayedroad, a 5-year-old, British-bred gelding by Dubawi, finished 1 1/2 miles on good turf in 2:32.37 with Martin Lane up for trainer David Simcock. It was his third straight win and followed victory in the Group 2 York Stakes last month in the north of England. "We've got an option of the International on the 19th," Simcock said, referring to the $1 million (Canadian), Grade I Pattison International at Woodbine in October. "He's got an entry the same day at Ascot. I'll speak to his owner and decide where he is going. We'll either come back here or go to Ascot and then he'll go to Dubai and start his travels again."
Suntracer rallied from last to take the lead in the long stretch in Saturday's $600,000, Grade III Kentucky Turf Cup at Kentucky Downs, then just did hold off a last-ditch effort from Pyrite Mountain to win by a nose. The favorite, War Dancer, who narrowly bested Suntracer at Churchill Downs earlier in the year, settled for third, 2 3/4 lengths farther back. Suntracer, a 6-year-old Kitten's Joy horse handled by Team Block, ran 1 1/2 miles on firm turf in 2:27.12 with Florent Geroux in the irons. Suntracer was bouncing back from a disastrous trip in last month's American St Leger at Arlington Park, where he finished next-last of 10 as The Pizza Man edged Dandino for the win. Saturday's win was his first since the Robert F. Carey Memorial at Hawthorne nearly two years ago. It also was his first graded stakes win. "We love this racetrack," said winning trainer David Block, who is based in Illinois, where racing is struggling. "People from Illinois should look down here and see what's going on." Block's reference was to the purse boost -- to an average $1 million per live race day -- provided at Kentucky Downs by Instant Racing terminals. Illinois Racing Board member Kathy Byrne has urged the IRB to authorize a similar revenue enhancer for Illinois tracks.
Lochte came wide in the stretch run to take the lead in Saturday's $90,000 The Vid Stakes at Gulfstream Park and held off the late run of Dreams Cut Short to win by 1/2 length. Grand Tito finished third. Lochte, a 4-year-old gelding by Medaglia d'Oro, ran 1 1/16 miles on good turf in 1:43.83 with Orlando Bocachica up. Lochte started the year auspiciously with a victory in the Grade I Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, a runner-up showing in the Grade I Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita and a third in the Grade I Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneand. He suffered a prolonged slump after that. Winning trainer Marcus Vitali called Lochte "a horse for the course" and said he will look for a spot for him.
Margano pressed the pace in Saturday's $200,000 PTHA President's Cup, then won a stretch duel with Holiday Star to prevail by a nose. The odds-on favorite, Winning Cause, ran evenly to finish third, 3 3/4 lengths farther back. Margano, a 5-year-old Dynaformer gelding, ran 9 furlongs on yielding turf in 1:52.19 with Kendrick Carmouche up.
Saturday's $200,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint always looked wide-open and worked out that way. The favorite, Richies Party Girl, did win with a pace-stalking trip. But she went to the post at better than 4-1 odds before besting Kiama by 1 1/4 lengths. Eden Prairie finished third. Richies Party Girl, a 3-year-old daughter of Any Given Saturday, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:16.51 for jockey Rafael Hernandez.
Calgary Cat rallied by the early leader, Bear No Joke, late in Saturday's $150,000 (Canadian) Bold Venture Stakes at Woodbine, then got home first by 3 lengths. Bear No Joke held second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of the favorite, Black Hornet. Calgary Cat, a 4-year-old Cowtown Cat gelding, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:14.91 under Eurico Da Silva. Claimed from his original owners in November, he was making his first stakes start since his career debut in the 2012 Colin Stakes, where he finished fourth.
Filly & Mare Sprint
Aireofdistinction battled for the lead in Saturday's $100,000 Open Mind Stakes at Churchill Downs, then took over in the lane, winning by 2 1/2 lengths over Interest Free. Janis's Joy was third and the favorite, Flower Spell, faded from the lead to finish fourth. Aireofdistinction, a 4-year-old Songandaprayer filly, got 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.54 for jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. "She ran very well," said Darren Fleming, assistant to winning trainer Steve Asmussen. "She was sharp today and laid a little closer and finished up nice. She pretty much runs her own kind of race every time. She's not always in the same spot."
Conquest Typhoon, after settling for second in his first two starts, rallied to the lead on cue in Saturday's $200,000 (Canadian) Summer Stakes on the Woodbine turf and quickly put matters to rest, winning off by 4 1/2 lengths. Samuel Dechamplain and U S Marshall completed the triactor. Conquest Typhoon, a Stormy Atlantic colt, ran 1 mile on a good surface in 1:41.10 with Patrick Husbands in the irons. Stablemate Conquest Tsunami was scratched shortly before the race with concerns about too much moisture on the course. The race was a "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf and Conquest Typhoon is expected to be there. Husbands said he breezed Conquest Typhoon a half mile in 47 seconds earlier in the week when trainer Mark Casse had asked for an "easy" work. "They said, 'Patrick, what are you doing?' I said, 'Mark doesn't know how good these horses are right now.'"
Cinco Charlie, a disappointment at Saratoga, turned things around 180 degrees in Saturday's $75,000 First State Dash at Delaware Park. The Indian Charlie colt, with Alex Cintron up, dueled with Legal Punch through the first few furlongs, then took charge at the top of the stretch and won by 4 1/2 lengths. Legal Punch held second and Final Prospect was third. Cinco Charlie ran 5 1/2 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:04.79. Trained by Steve Asmussen, the colt won the Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs in June but then finished third in the Grade III Sanford and fifth in the Grade II Saratoga Special at the Spa.
Wake Up Nick woke up halfway through Sunday's $100,000 Barrett's Juvenile at Los Alamitos, split rivals and went on through to win by 2 3/4 lengths. Rowdy Dylan finished second, 1/2 length ahead of Top Drawer. Wake Up Nick, a Cindago colt, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:17.60. Elvis Trujillo rode for trainer Doug O'Neill. "Watching it unfold, I thought we might be in serious trouble because he didn't get a comfortable go of it the first quarter of a mile," O'Neill said. "But Elvis knew what he had and this horse just knows where the wire is." On the Laurel Park turf, Hooligan rallied from a pace-stalking trip to win the $60,000 first division of Saturday's Jamestown Stakes, finishing 5 1/2 furlongs on firm going in 1:03.81 under Trevor McCarthy. Bay Finn was 1 length behind in second and Secret Or Not finished third. Wesley Ward trains the winner. Moon River took the second division with some authority, waiting patiently, then seizing the lead and running on to win by 2 1/2 lengths in his first start. Johns Kitten and Willisville filled the trifecta. Moon River, trained by Jonathan Sheppard and ridden by Victor Carrasco, ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.45. The name is appropriately clever as Moon River is by Bluegrass Cat, out of Hepburn, a Capote mare. For anyone who doesn't love "Breakfast at Tiffany's," the novelette was written by Truman Capote and the movie, featuring the Henry Mancini tune "Moon River," starred Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly.
Kawfee Fa Marfa, a first-timer, drew off to win Saturday's $75,000 Small Wonder Stakes at Delaware Park by 5 3/4 lengths over Wowwhatabrat. Bekki's Dance and Erase the Deficit were in close attendance in third and fourth. Kawfee Fa Marfa, a Hard Spun filly, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:06.30 with Huber Villa-Gomez in the irons for trainer Rick Violette Jr.
Sharla Rae hooked up in a tight stretch duel with odds-on favorite Into Oblivion in Saturday's $100,000 Barrett's Debutante at Los Alamitos with the former finally prevailing by a neck. It was 9 1/2 lengths back to Global Heart in third. Sharla Rae, a daughter of Afleet Alex, got 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:17.32 under Elvis Trujillo. She now is 2-for-3 with the only loss coming on the Del Mar all-weather course in the Grade II Sorrento Stakes. Trainer Doug O'Neill added blinkers for the race and said it "paid dividends because she was a lot closer without Elvis having to ask her."
On the Woodbine turf, Conquest Harlanate rallied from well back in the field to nip Isabella Sings by a neck in the $200,000 (Canadian) Natalma Stakes. Skinner Box ran home third. Conquest Harlanate, a Harlan's Holiday filly, ran 1 mile on good turf in 1:40.61 under Patrick Husbands. She now is 2-for-3 and, after taking the "Win and You're In" event, is headed to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. "We're in," said co-owner Ernie Semersky, about the expenses-paid trip to California. "Hopefully we're going to be in a lot of times. We've got a lot ready to run. We've got a great trainer, a great team."
Alert Bay stalked the pace in Sunday's $150,000, Grade III British Columbia Derby at Hastings, came three-wide to take the lead entering the stretch and carried on to win by 2 lengths. Koffee Grinder was second with the early leader, Del Rio Harbor fading to get home third. Alert Bay, a City Zip gelding, ran 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:49.12 with Rico Walcott up.
Meanwhile, Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome is expected back next weekend in the Pennsylvania Derby -- his first start since the Belmont Stakes disappointment. And Travers Stakes winner V.E. Day and Wood Memorial winner Wicked Strong both worked at Belmont on Saturday in preparation for the Jockey Club Gold Cup, coming up in two weeks.
Heading back across the sometimes-stormy Atlantic (and other oceans):
Otherwise at Doncaster:
Her Majesty's colors returned to the winner's enclosure on Friday as Estimate edged clear in the late going to take the Group 2 Socialites Electric Cigarettes Doncaster Cup, winning by 1 1/4 lengths over Whiplash Charlie. Kalann was third in the 2 1/4-miles marathon. Estimate, a 5-year-old mare by Monsun, won for the first time since last year's Ascot Gold Cup triumph and made amends for a second-place finish last time out at York in the Lonsdale Cup. Jockey Ryan Moore said he had gas left in the tank in the final furlong and the winning trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, admitted the outcome adds to the pressure to try Estimate in the Melbourne Cup. Yet, he said, no decision has been made amid worries about the going at Flemington.
Agnes Stewart ran best late to land Friday's Group 2 John Smith Extra Smooth May Hill Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, besting the favorite, Muraaqaba, by 1 1/4 lengths while stepping up successfully to 1 mile. The victory propels the Edward Lynam-trained Lawman filly into consideration for the 2015 Classics. She has two wins and a second from three starts.
On Thursday's card, Bond's Girl caught Heartbreak Hero in the final 100 yards to win the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Stakes for 2-year-old fillies by 2 lengths. Bond's Girl is a daughter of Monsieur Bond out of Blades Girl. Aficionados will recall that Blades was M's club in London where 007 did battle over the bridge table with Hugo Drax in "Moonraker".
A sad note: World-traveler Wigmore Hall was euthanized after sustaining a catastrophic injury in Saturday's Napoleons Casinos and Restaurants Handicap at Doncaster. The 7-year-old High Chaparral gelding had not been near his best this season but earlier in his career raced with distinction as far afield as Hong Kong, Arlington Park, Dubai, Singapore and Woodbine. A highlight of his career was back-to-back victories in the Grade I Northern Dancer Turf Stakes at Woodbine in 2011 and 2012.
Otherwise at Leopardstown:
John F. Kennedy made it two straight wins with a convincing victory in Saturday's Group 3 John Deere Juvenile Turf Stakes. Joseph O'Brien rode for his trainer/father, getting home 3 1/4 lengths to the good of Tombelaine. John F. Kennedy is a Galileo colt out of Rumplestiltskin, a Danehill mare.
Fiesolana upset Saturday's Group 1 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Stakes for fillies and mares, defeating the favorite, Rizeena, the Group 1 Coronation Stakes winner, by 1/2 length and Tobann by another 3/4. Fiesolana, a 5-year-old daughter of Aussie Rules, finished third in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville last month but had not won in 11 months.
Bow Creek had the early lead in Friday's Group 2 Clipper Boomerang Mile, gave it up and then came again to win by 1/2 length over Mustajeeb. Gordon Lord Byron finished third. Bow Creek now has two straight victories in Group 2 mile events.
Otherwise on Sunday at the Curragh:
Stepper Point, second in a couple big sprints earlier in the summer, broke through against easier competition in the Group 3 Darrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes, winning by 2 3/4 lengths after making all the going. Sir Maximilian was second and Russian Soul finished third. Stepper Point, a 5-year-old Kyllachy gelding, ran second to Sole Power in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes in his last start and also was second behind the same rival in the Group 1 King's Stand at Royal Ascot.
All-O'Briens Dept: Gleneagles rallied from last in the final furlongs to easily land the Group 1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes for fillies and mares, winning by 1 1/2 lengths over Toscanini. Dutch Connection was third, with Hall of Fame and Toscanelli completing the order of finish. Gleneagles, a 3-year-old Galileo filly, won for the fourth straight time while covering 7 furlongs on good to firm going in 1:25.29 with Joseph O'Brien up for his father/trainer and moves up on the chart for next year's 2,000 Guineas and Derby.
Tarfasha took the Group 2 Moyglare "Jewels" Blandford Stakes for fillies and mares, leading late and reporting home 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Chiquita in the 1 1/2-miles race. Tarfasha, a 3-year-old daughter of Teofilo, finished second in the Epsom Oaks but then regressed to finish fifth in the Irish Oaks in her two previous outings.
Cursory Glance seized the lead in the final furlong in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes for 2-year-old fillies and lasted to win by a neck over Lucida. Found was off to a slow start but found speed late to get home third. Cursory Glance, an American-bred daughter of Distorted Humor, now is 3-for-4 with the only loss a second to Tiggy Wiggy in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York last month.
Australia (the continent, not the horse)
Dissident battled Fawkner into submission in a long stretch drive to win Saturday's Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington by a short head. Puissance De Lune closed late to finish third, just 3/4 length farther back. Dissident, a 4-year-old Sebring colt, now has two wins in a row following a season-opener victory at Caulfield on Aug. 30.
Hallowed Crown bested Scissor Kick by a head in Saturday's Group 1 De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose Stakes for 3-year-olds at Rosehill. The favorite, Bring Me the Maid, could do no better than eighth in the field of 15. Hallowed Crown, a Street Sense colt, remains defeated in three starts, all at Rosehill.
In much bigger news, champion mare Black Caviar safely delivered a filly by Exceed and Excel last weekend. Both are reported doing fine. Black Caviar won all 25 of her starts.
In other action:
Lubash came from last of five to catch pacesetting King Kreesa and win Sunday's $125,000 Ashley T. Cole Stakes for New York-breds by a neck. Kharafa finished third. Lubash, a 7-year-old son of Freud, ran 1 1/8 miles on a good inner turf surface in 1:47.83 with Junior Alvarado in the irons.
Invading Humor pressed the pace in Sunday's $125,000 John Hettinger Stakes for state-bred distaffers, then inched off to win by 1 length over the late-running Strike Accord. The odds-on favorite, Effie Trinket, finished third. Invading Humor, a 4-year-old Invasor filly, got 9 furlongs on the inner turf in 1:49.47 for jockey Rajiv Maragh.
Grand Full Moon put his nose on the wire alongside pacesetting Native American to produce a dead heat for win in Saturday's $75,000 Shakopee Juvenile Stakes. Majestic Pride finished third, 4 1/2 lengths behind the embattled winners. Grand Full Moon, a Malibu Moon gelding ridden by Jorge Carreno, and Native American, an Indian Charlie filly ridden by Geovanni Franco, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.85.
Success Is Racing ended a long stretch run with a burst of speed that saw him home first by 1 1/2 lengths in Wednesday's $85,000 Brickyard Stakes for Indiana-breds. Thank You Kisses rallied from last of 10 to finish second, a nose in front of Got Grit. Success Is Racing, a 4-year-old Major Success gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.10 with Ben Creed up.
Cactus Joe kicked away in the final furlong of Wednesday's $85,000 Merrillville Stakes for state-bred fillies and mares and won by 5 3/4 lengths over Dreamin Big. The favorite, Yeardley, was third. Cactus Joe, a 3-year-old Cactus Ridge filly, got 6 furlongs in 1:09.93 under Oriana Rossi.
Okie Ride was just up at the wire to take Friday's $50,000 Remington Park Turf Sprint by 1/2 length over Yukon Run. The pacesetter, fifth date, finished a neck farther back in third. Okie Ride, a 7-year-old Candy Ride gelding, ran 5 furlongs on good turf in 56.35 with Cliff Berry riding.
Belleofthebeach came five-wide into the stretch run in Saturday's $50,000 Casino at the Downs Handicap for 3-year-old fillies and kicked away, winning by 1 3/4 lengths over Stormquility. Divine Way finished third. Belleofthebeach, a daughter of Master Command, got 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:15.11 with Irwin Rosendo in the irons.
Saturday's "Owners Day" card included six restricted events, two of them for juveniles, described above. The track was sloppy.
The entry of Stormin Monarcho and Praetereo got home first, a nose apart, in the $75,000 Governors Day Stakes with the former on top while running 1 mile and 70 yards in 1:41.25 with Alex Cintron up. I'm Steppin It Up and Picko's Pride completed the trifecta.
Galiana drew off with authority to win the $75,000 Tax Free Shopping Distaff by 8 1/2 lengths over Steady N Love. Stormin Wendy finished third. Galiana, a 4-year-old Stonesider filly, ran 6 furlongs in 1:11.03 with Michael Ritvo aboard.
Complete St. pressed the pace in the $75,000 George Rosenberger Memorial for fillies and mares, took over in the stretch and was all out to salvage the win by a nose and a neck over the entry of Daylight Ride and Gathering. Parting Kiss finished fourth after setting the early pace. Complete St., a St Averil filly, got 1 1/16 miles on the yielding turf in 1:44.02 under Jose Caraballo.
Unzapped zipped by pacesetting Awesome Devine in the lane to take the win by 1 3/4 lengths in the $75,000 New Castle Stakes. Always Smiling finished third and the favorite, Debt Ceiling, was last of seven. Unzapped, a 5-year-old Ghostzapper gelding, ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.69 with Jevian Toledo in the irons.
Firm turf greeted the participants in five $60,000 stakes races on Saturday, with the juvenile event recounted earlier in this report. The others:
Embarr won a stretch battle with Misty in Malibu to take the Brookmeade Stakes for fillies and mares by a neck. The favorite, Lawn Party, got home third. Embarr, a 6-year-old Royal Academy mare, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:42.38 with Forest Boyce riding.
Heaven Knows What kicked clear late to win the Oakley Stakes for fillies and mares by 2 lengths over Lion Down By Me with Wardelle another 1/2 length back in third. Heaven Knows What, a 5-year-old Holy Bull mare, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on firm going in 1:02.76 under Victor Carrasco.
Two Notch Road came from off the pace to score by 2 lengths in the Punch Line Stakes. The favorite, Boltin' Out, was second and Joe Tess finished third. Two Notch Road, a 7-year-old Partner's Hero gelding, got 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:01.91 with Julian Pimentel in the irons.
Rose Brier edged clear late to take the Bert Allen Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths over Hard Enough with Dannhauser a nose farther back in third. Rose Brier, a 5-year-old Mizzen Mast gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.97 for Trevor McCarthy.
Mound shot right to the lead from the inside post in Saturday's $50,000 Loyalty Stakes for Ohio-bred 2-year-olds and kept on running. At the wire, the Mercer Mill colt was out front with the odds-on favorite, Dayton Demo, 9 3/4 lengths back in second. Johnny Longshot was third at 11-1 odds. Mound, with Megan Fadlovich up, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.62.
Balooga Bull tracked the pace in Saturday's $50,000 (Canadian) Gold Cup, got by pacesetting Magic D'Oro and went on to win by 3 1/4 lengths over that one. Master Lightning was well back in third. Balooga Bull, a 5-year-old Flashy Bull gelding, ran 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:51 with Paul Nolan riding.
Ole's Miss rallied from far back to take Sunday's $100,000 (Canadian) British Columbia Oaks by a head over Irish Lyric. Dawselina finished third. Ole's Miss, an Officer filly, got 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:50.27 with Amadeo Perez up.
Mr. Bowling rolled by the early leader, Mysterious Soul, in the stretch run in Sunday's $50,000 S.W. Randall Plate Handicap and won by 1 length over that rival. Wilo Cat was third, a nose farther back. Mr. Bowling, a 5-year-old son of Istan, ran 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:50.06 for jockey Mario Gutierrez.
Locket stalked the pace in Sunday's $50,000 Delta Colleen Handicap for fillies and mares, then took charge in the lane, winning by 3 3/4 lengths over Wando Woman. Madeira Park finished third. Locket, a 4-year-old daughter of Rosberg, toured 9 furlongs in 1:49.54. Keishan Balgobin had the winning ride.