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Kentucky Derby weekend had lots of top-quality action

By Robert Kieckhefer, UPI Racing Writer
Kentucky Derby weekend had lots of top-quality action
Bricks and Mortar wins Saturday's Grade I Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, part of a spectacular weekend for trainer Chad Brown. (Photo courtesy of Churchill Downs

May 6 (UPI) -- As usual, the Kentucky Derby overshadowed a lot of other top-shelf racing action around the United States during the weekend.

McKinzie won on the Derby undercard. She's a Julie took the Grade I Troienne for fillies and mares. Mitole and Mia Mischief won the weekend's top sprints. Bricks and Mortar got the job done in the Grade I Turf Classic, headlining a spectacular week on the grass for trainer Chad Brown.

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There were a few failures, including Newspaperofrecord, who suffered her first-ever defeat, and Jaywalk, whose season-long slide continued in the Longines Kentucky Oaks.

We'll run down all of that and more. And please see "News and Notes," this week noting the passing of Philip Teinowitz, whose name will be remembered in the racing game at least as long as the genes of Cryptoclearance appear in the sport's top pedigrees.

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Classic

McKinzie led, gave up the lead and then came back for an easy victory in Friday's $400,000 Grade II Alysheba at Churchill Downs. Tom's d'Etat, after running by McKinzie midway down the backstretch, yielded easily to the winner's second effort but held on for place money, 4 3/4 lengths adrift of McKinzie but 3 3/4 lengths ahead of Seeking the Soul. The 1 1/16 miles went in 1:41.10 with Mike Smith riding for trainer Bob Baffert. The track condition was upgraded from good to fast after the race.

"He just wasn't ready to go at that point," Smith said of giving up the lead. "Once I got him back, he just filled up with air and went. Bob had him double-ready today."

McKinzie, a 4-year-old Street Sense colt, won the Grade I Malibu last Boxing Day at Santa Anita, then finished a narrow second in both the Grade II San Pasqual and the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap after trainer Bob Baffert decided against sending him to the Dubai World Cup. Seeking the Soul did make the Dubai trip, finishing eight behind Thunder Snow.

"We've been so high on this horse since last year," Baffert said of McKinzie. "Unfortunately, he missed the Triple Crown. He's got beat this year but all his races have been pretty tough ... We're looking at the Met Mile or something like that."

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At Sunland Park in New Mexico, Runaway Ghost ran away with Saturday's $150,000 Sunland Park Handicap, drawing off from a stalking trip to post a 5 1/4-lengths victory. Lookin At Lee was second, a neck in front of the early leader, American Dubai. Runaway Ghost, a 4-year-old Ghostzapper colt, ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.10 with Santiago Gonzalez riding. Runaway Ghost, winner of last year's Sunland Derby, was last seen finishing 12th in the Grade III Commonwealth Stakes at Keeneland in his first visit east.

Distaff

She's a Julie chased down pacesetting Secret Spice in the stretch run to land Friday's $500,000 Grade I La Troienne at Churchill Downs by 1/2 length. It was another 3 1/2 lengths back to the favorite, Blue Prize, in third. She's a Julie, a 4-year-old Elusive Quality filly out of the Dubai Millennium mare Kydd Gloves, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:43.54 with Ricardo Santana Jr. up for trainer Steve Asmussen.

"I got concerned going into the second turn," Asmussen said. "It seemed that she had to wait for traffic a bit. But she showed her heart. She's a monster physically, and it just shows that time helped her come together."

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She's a Julie won the Grade III Iowa Oaks and the Grade III Remington Park Oaks last year and was second in the Grade I Alabama at Saratoga. The La Troienne was her first victory at the top level.

Turf

The weekend's top turf races were all about trainer Chad Brown.

As noted here Thursday, Bricks and Mortar looked as solid as his namesake in Saturday's $1 million Grade I Old Forester Turf Classic at Churchill Downs. He got the job done, using the full 9 furlongs to do so. After a bit of a tardy break, the 5-year-old son of Giant's Causeway rallied four-wide into the stretch, bumped with a rival a furlong out and still managed to outfinish Qurbaan, winning by 1/2 length. Clyde's Image held a brief advantage at the held of the stretch and finished third, 2 lengths to the good of Raging Bull. Bricks and Mortar, with Irad Ortiz Jr. up for trainer Brown, ran 9 furlongs on good turf in 1:51.80.

Bricks and Mortar returned to the races last Dec. 22 after being away for more than a year and has reeled off four consecutive wins, including the Grade I Pegasus World Cup Turf at Gulfstream Park in January.

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"He has a tremendous heart," Brown said of Bricks and Mortar. "I'm just so proud of him. He had to work for it today. He might not win by a lot, but he knows where the wire is. He's a super-talented colt." He said the $1 million Grade I Manhattan at Belmont Park on June 8 is the next race.

Digital Age took the overland route around the stretch turn in Saturday's $400,000 Grade II American Turf for 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs, swinging seven-wide, but then kept closing and got by pacesetter A Thread of Blue in the closing yards, winning by 3/4 length. A Thread of Blue held second by a head over the favorite, Social Paranoia. Digital Age, an Irish-bred colt by Invincible Spirit, was making just his third start and remains undefeated. With Irad Ortiz Jr. riding for Brown, Digital Age covered 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:44.63. His earlier win both came at Tampa Bay Downs.

Brown, whose barn obviously is full of top-shelf turf horses with European connections, said he is high on Digital Age.

"You've got to respect this horse," Brown said. "He knows where the wire is. He knows when to kick and he can get there in time. We bought him as a yearling at Newmarket. We just took our time getting him to the races. He had a few baby issues, but the owners were real patient. His time is now."

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It also apparently is time for Olympico. Making his first U.S. start and first for Brown, the 4-year-old, French-bred colt by Rajsaman was off a step slowly in Saturday's $150,000 Grade III Fort Marcy Stakes at Belmont Park, rallied by the field in the stretch and drew off to win by 3 lengths. Despite the Brown connection, the colt was dispatched at odds of better than 18-1, which some would call "free money". Dr. Edgar was second, a nose in front of Cullom Road. He, in turn, was a nose in front of Channel Cat. The odds-on favorite, 2018 Arlington Million winner Robert Bruce, finished fifth. Robert Bruce also is trained by Brown.

Olympico was to have made her domestic debut at Keeneland but was scratched when the race was rained off the turf. "This is déjà vu," said co-owner Michael Dubb. "Last year we had A Raving Beauty win the Beaugay in her first start in North America. We tried to enter A Raving Beauty in an allowance race and the race didn't go, so we had no choice but to run in a stakes."

Filly and Mare Turf

Concrete Rose handed Breeders' Cup winner Newspaperofrecord her first defeat in Friday's $250,000 Grade III Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs. Concrete Rose, a Twirling Candy filly last seen winning the Grade III Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs, allowed an eager Newspaperofrecord to take a big early lead while under restraint in the 1 1/16-miles Edgewood, then reeled her in midway down the stretch and went on to win by 3 3/4 lengths. Newspaperofrecord held second by 2 1/2 lengths over Winter Sunset. The race went in 1:43.34 over good turf with Julien Leparoux riding the winner for trainer Rusty Arnold.

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Newspaperofrecord was making her first start since an easy victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs in November. Concrete Rose finished eighth in that heat, beaten 11 lengths, a defeat Arnold attributed to timing. "We had to run her back a little quicker than we'd have wanted after we won the last 'Win and You're In'," Arnold said. "She was just a dull horse that day."

Newspaperofrecord's trainer, that guy Chad Brown, said his filly "just wasn't fit enough today" off the six months' layoff. "She just ran out of gas the last part of it. Hopefully, she gets a lot out of this race."

But it was Brown again at Belmont Park as Santa Monica rallied from last of five to win Saturday's $200,000 Grade II Sheepshead Bay Stakes for fillies and mares by 1 1/4 lengths over Semper Sententiae. Giant Zinger was another 5 lengths back in third. Santa Monica, a 6-year-old, British-bred mare by Mastercraftsman, got 1 3/8 miles over soft turf in 2:26.70 with Joe Bravo up. She has finished out of the top three only once in nine U.S. starts -- that a 10th-place showing in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf last fall.

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"She did it very, very professionally," said Brown assistant Whit Beckman. "She was able to settle nicely over the soft going and made a nice little early move. Nobody could come and get her when she moved away in the stretch. I was impressed."

In Saturday's $400,000 Grade II Longines Churchill Distaff Turf Mile, Beau Recall came running from last of 10 to win by 1 1/4 lengths, disposing of Get Stormy in the final sixteenth. Daddy Is a Legend was third and the favorite, the Brown-trained Precieuse, settled for fifth with a dull run. Beau Recall, a 5-year-old, Irish-bred mare by Sir Prancealot, finished in 1:37.12 on firm turf with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons.

Beau Recall, previously trained in California, had two wins and a second from three starts this winter in New Orleans. "She got class relief this winter at the Fair Grounds," said winning trainer Brad Cox. "It picked her head back and she has figured out how to win again. I think ultimately that's what got her going in the right direction again."

At Santa Anita, Maxim Rate pressed the pace in Saturday's $100,000 Grade III Senorita Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, assumed the led near the top of the stretch and battled on to win by 1/2 length over late-running Lady Prancealot. The early leader, Ladymidtown, held on to finish third. Maxim Rate, an Exchange Rate filly, ran 1 mile on firm going in 1:36.31 with Kent Desormeaux up.

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Turf Sprint

World of Trouble, the odds-on favorite, never had a moment's trouble in Friday's $250,000 Grade II TwinSpires Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs. With Manny Franco along for the ride, the 4-year-old Kantharos colt spurted right to the lead, steadily extended his advantage and cruised home in front by 3 3/4 lengths. Smart Remark and Chaos Theory were second and third as World of Trouble finished 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:03.97.

"That's the kind of horse you want to ride," Franco said. "He does everything you ask him to. He always runs for me."

It was the fourth straight win for the Jason Servis trainee. The streak would be seven in a row but for a neck loss to Stormy Liberal in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint last fall. His wins have come on the dirt and on the turf, on dry and wet tracks. Asked by Churchill Downs analyst Joe Kristufek how he decides where to place World of Trouble, Servis said, "I just ask Mr. Dubb (owner Michael) which way we're going and I do it."

Bound for Nowhere and Mr. Crow were late scratches from the Turf Sprint.

Turf Mile

Hawkish saved ground into the stretch in Saturday's $100,000 Cliff Hanger Stakes at Monmouth Park, found room between horses just in time and was along to win by a head over Projected. The pacesetter, Mo Maverick, settled for third. Hawkish, a 4-year-old Artie Schiller gelding, got home in 1:35.11 over firm turf with Trevor McCarthy in the irons. Hawkish won the Grade II Penn Mile last summer and returned from a long layoff to finish second in the Grade III Appleton Stakes at Gulfstream Park March 29 for trainer Jim Toner.

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Sprint/Dirt Mile

Mitole sat just off the early pace in Saturday's $500,000 Grade I Churchill Downs Stakes, rallied boldly outside the leaders through the lane and drew clear at the end to win by 3 1/2 lengths. Bobby's Wicked One was best of the rest with Promises Fulfilled another 1/2 length back in third. Mitole, a 4-year-old Eskendereya colt, finished 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:21.21 under Ricardo Santana Jr. It was his sixth straight win and seventh from 10 lifetime starts.

"He's for real," trainer Steve Asmussen said of Mitole. "Everyone has always been beaming about his potential and he met his potential today and is now a Grade 1 winner ... Yes, I think we all know what would be next off what he did today. As long as he's telling us he is as ready as he was today, we will gladly be there," Asmussen said, referring to the Met Mile in New York.

Exulting moved out for running room in the lane in Friday's $250,000 Oaklawn Mile, found another gear and ran on to win by 1 length. Exclamation Point was second, a head in front of Pioneer Spirit. Exulting, a 6-year-old Tapit gelding, finished in 1:36.74 over a fast track with Richard Eramia riding. Exulting toiled on the New York circuit throughout his career, winning four of 16 starts, and was claimed in April for $62,5000 from a race at Aqueduct. Trainer Mike Maker took the gelding for Michael Hui, a Little Rock resident, and Saturday's race was his first outside the Empire State.

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"You claim a horse. You have faith and trust in your trainer," Hui said.

In Saturday's $400,000 Grade III Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs, Mr. Money raced close to the lead, split rivals into the stretch and drove home first by 5 1/4 lengths. Hog Creek Hustle and Dream Maker, both long shots, filled the trifecta. The favorite, California invader Instagrand, finished eighth. Mr. Money, a 4-year-old Goldencents colt with only one previous win, finished the one-turn mile on a fast track in 1:35.21 with Gabriel Saez in the irons. The dream of a Mr. Money-Mr Money Bags exacta went up in smoke when the latter's rein broke shortly after the start and jockey Chris Landeros eased him home last.

Mr. Money finished fifth in the Louisiana Derby before cutting back to the Pat Day Mile and trainer Bret Calhoun said it might be him, rather than By My Standards, who finished 12th in the Kentucky Derby, going on to the Preakness. "I don't know how far he wants to go," Calhoun said. "But, based on the way he ran today, I don't think a little farther is going to stop him."

At Belmont Park, Nicodemus stalked the pace, came four-wide into contention and dueled with Stan the Man through the final furlong before prevailing by a neck in the $200,000 Grade III Westchester Stakes. Sunny Ridge was third and the favorite, Prince Lucky, beat only one rival. Nicodemus, a 4-year-old Candy Ride colt, ran 1 mile on a sloppy track in 1:35.07 with Mike Luzzi in the irons. The Linda Rice trainee landed his first stakes win.

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"I was telling the owners that I thought he'd be better at one turn and that turned out to be the case today," Rice said. "We'll certainly enjoy this win before planning where we'll want to run next."

At Woodbine, outside Toronto, Pink Lloyd launched a winning rally in the final furlong to win the $125,000 (Canadian) Jacques Cartier Stakes by 1 length over Extravagant Kid. It was the third straight year the Old Forester gelding has won this race -- an event which started an 11-race winning streak for him in 2017. Pink Lloyd finished the 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:08.55 -- just 0.5 second off the course record -- with Eurico Da Silva riding.

"We're really excited," said owner Frank Di Giulio Jr. "As you know, he didn't end the year off on the greatest note last year. But it's just fantastic for him to come back like this. And to win this race for the third time, it's just wonderful."

Filly & Mare Sprint/Dirt Mile

Mia Mischief prompted the pace in Saturday's $500,000 Grade I Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs, drew alongside the speed a furlong out and swept on to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Marley's Freedom, the odds-on favorite, got going late and could do no better than second, 4 lengths in front of the early leader, Amy's Challenge. Mia Mischief, a 4-year-old Into Mischief filly, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:21.78 with Ricardo Santana Jr. in the irons. A year ago this weekend, Mia Mischief won the Grade II Eight Belles Stakes over the same track on Derby weekend.

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"I think the filly looks great right now," trainer Steve Asmussen said of Mia Mischief. "She's doing really well and this was our first major target of the year with her. And she came through."

Break Even extended her undefeated streak to four with an easy, front-running score in Friday's $250,000 Grade II Eight Belles for 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs. With Shaun Bridgmohan in the irons, the daughter of Country Day set a brisk pace and was never threatened at any point, finishing the 7 furlongs in 1:22.13 over a muddy track. Bell's the One and Queen of Beas filled the trifecta slots.

Break Even, trained by Brad Cox, won at first asking at Fair Grounds on New Year's Day, won again over the same track three weeks later and then won the Purple Martin Stakes at Oaklawn Park. "She'll go as fast as you want her to go," Cox said. "But she can control it." He said he will see if Break Even can stretch out in distance in a race like the Acorn or the Prioress.

On Sunday at Belmont Park, odds-on favorite Come Dancing sashayed away from four rivals in the stretch to win the $250,000 Grade II Ruffian Stakes by 6 3/4 lengths. Pacific Wind was second, another 5 3/4 lengths to the good of Pink Sands in third. Come Dancing, a 5-year-old Malibu Moon mare, finished 1 mile on a sloppy, sealed track in 1:36.54 with Manny Franco riding. The score backed up her April 5 victory in the Grade III Distaff Handicap.

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"She just keeps getting better and better," trainer Carlos Martin said of Come Dancing. "She's more mature and professional. She has the high cruising speed, which is so dangerous."

Juvenile

Shame On Read was right out front in Saturday's $110,000 Copper Top Futurity for New Mexico-bred 2-year-olds at Sunland Park and extended the advantage to win by 3 lengths at the end of 4 1/2 furlongs. Dancinstardustlady was second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of Stormin Fast. Shame On Read, a Shame on Charlie gelding, got home in 52.20 seconds over a fast track with Elvin Golzalez up.

In other action:

Oaklawn Park

Hoonani Road set a pressured pace in Saturday's $200,000 Arkansas Breeders' Championship Stakes for state-breds, then held on stubbornly through the stretch run, winning by 1/2 length. K J's Nobility was second, a neck in front of Bandit Point. Hoonani Road, a 4-year-old Jonesboro gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:48.82 with Channing Hill in the irons.

Santa Anita

Miss My Rose was elevated to victory by the stewards after finishing second to Sneaking Out in Saturday's $75,000 Angels Flight Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. The favorite, Hard Not to Love, finished third. Aaron Gryder rode Miss My Rose, a daughter of Magician. Sneaking Out, with Rafael Bejarano up, finished 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:24.30.

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Gulfstream Park

Vow Me Now split rivals in the stretch drive of Saturday's $75,000 English Channel Stakes for 3-year-olds, then got a nose in front of Art G Is Back under the wire. Sterling Drive contested the early pace and held on to get show money. Vow Me Now, a Kentucky-bred colt by Broken Vow, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:44.22 with Jairo Rendon in the irons.

Vow to Recover took advantage of an opening along the rail turning for home in Saturday's $75,000 Honey Ryder Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, quickly got into contention and edged clear, winning by 2 3/4 lengths. Scat Mommy was second as the favorite, 1 1/2 lengths to the good of Indicia. Vow to Recover, also by Broken Vow, finished in 1:44.53, also with Rendon up.

Tampa Bay Downs

Jackson, the odds-on favorite, was the easiest of winners in Saturday's $100,000 FTBOA Silver Charm Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-olds, kicking off to a 9 1/2-length score. Lyrical Note and Gran Greyfrost filled the trifecta slots. Jackson, a Kantharos colt, ran 1 mile and 40 yards on a fast track in 1:38.86 with Pablo Morales up.

The companion $100,000 FTBOA Ivanavinalot FSS, for 3-year-old fillies, went to Wildwood's Beauty -- also the odds-on favorite, also by Kantharos and also an impressive winner. With Morales riding, Wildwood's Beauty finished 3 3/4 lengths in front of runner-up Jolie Bay in 1:39.70.

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Evangeline Downs

Fortune Got Even raced at the back of the field early in Friday's $75,000 Equine Sales Oaks, came running four wide and outfinished Snowball to win by a neck. It was another 7 3/4 lengths back to Flat Out Flirty in third. Fortune Got Even, a Stephen Got Even filly, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:40.31 with Ashley Broussard in the irons.

Saturday, Power Jet started last of 10 in the $75,000 Equine Sales Derby, powered by all nine rivals and jetted clear to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Paynt Battle was second, a head in front of Fat Clemenza. The winner, a Power Broker colt, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:38.96 with Chris Rosier riding.

Belterra Park

Diamond Dust ground down the pacesetter, Sister's Creed, midway through Saturday's $75,000 Tall Stack Stakes for Ohio-bred 3-year-olds, took the lead and held off I Wanna Win for a 1 1/2-length victory. Sister's Creed salvaged third. Diamond Dust, a Paynter gelding, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a muddy track in 1:18.15 for jockey Luis Colon.

Thistledown

Leona's Reward was along in the final strides to catch pacesetting odds-on favorite True Cinder and win Saturday's $75,000 Dr. T.F. Classen Memorial for Ohio-bred fillies and mares by 1/2 length. Edge of Pleasure was another 3/4 length back in third. Leona's Reward, a 6-year-old mare by Parents' Reward, got 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.22 under Scott Spieth.

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Hastings Racecourse (Canadian dollar)

Good Luck to You took charge in the stretch run in Saturday's $50,000 Brighouse Belles Stakes for fillies and mares and won by 2 1/4 lengths from Under Park. Good Luck to You, a 5-year-old Bellamy Road mare, got 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:17.68. Enrique Gonzalez had the ride.

Pan Handle battled for the lead in Saturday's $50,000 Swift Thoroughbreds Inaugural, then edged clear and won by 1 1/4 lengths from Apalachee Bay. Pan Handle, a 4-year-old Texas Wildcatter gelding, finished 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.97 with Scott Williams aboard.

Dr John H turned back challenges from three different rivals before claiming Saturday's $50,000 Jim Coleman Province Stakes for 3-year-olds by 3/4 length over Explode. Dr John H, a Washington-bred Harbor the Gold gelding, ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:18.13 with Denny Velazquez up.

Summerland was in command all the way in Saturday's $50,000 Ross McLeod Stakes for 3-year-old fillies and won by 1 1/2 lengths over Warrior's Promise. Summerland, a daughter of He's Tops, went to the post as the odds-on favorite and finished in 1:17.36 with Gonzales in the irons.

SunRay Park

Hennessy Express was up just in time to win Sunday's $50,000 Russell & Helen Foutz Distaff Handicap for New Mexico-breds by a neck over McGoldie. The early leader, Sofia's Gift, settled for third. Hennessy Express, a 4-year-old Roll Hennessy Roll filly, got 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:18.72 with Roimes Chirinos up.

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Pendleton stalked the pace in Saturday's $50,000 Inaugural Stakes, challenged five-wide and took command in the final furlong, winning by 2 1/2 lengths over Flashaway. Pendleton, a 5-year-old Giant's Causeway gelding, ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.55 for jockey Irwin Rosendro.

News and notes

Philip Teinowitz, who campaigned three Kentucky Derby starters, notably Cryptoclearance, died Sunday at the age of 92, his family announced.

Teinowitz owned, raced and bred horses starting in 1956. He owned the entry of Royal Leverage and On the Money in the 1971 Kentucky Derby; Illinois Derby winner Flag Officer, who contested Seattle Slew's 1977 Derby; and multiple Grade I stakes winner Cryptoclearance in the 1987 Run for the Roses.

Cryptoclearance finished third in the Preakness Stakes and second in the Belmont Stakes. He retired with career earnings of more than $3.3 million.

Teinowitz retained sole ownership of Cryptoclearance for his entire stallion career. He sired Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop and Breeders' Cup Classic winner Volponi and continues to have a major impact on the breed as the grandsire of Candy Ride and the great-grandsire of 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner.

Teinowitz also owned Blue Chip Dan, who was one of three horses to compete against Secretariat in the 1973 Arlington Invitational.

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A U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, Teinowitz was a graduate of the University of Illinois and earned a law degree from John Marshall School of Law. He became one of Chicago's pioneering real estate developers of the second half of the 20th Century.

He is survived by his wife, Donna, and his children Nancy, Harry, Danny, Billy, and Matthew.

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