It was Chad Brown weekend in Thoroughbred racing as the trainer sent out the winners in all four graded stakes at Arlington Park, including the Grade I Arlington Million, and just missed a fourth top-level victory at Saratoga.
Along the way, Brown's horses obliterated a course record at Arlington and gave him five straight wins in the Grade I Beverly D. Million winner Bricks and Mortar, bound for a stud career in Japan, moved squarely into the Horse of the Year picture.
Two of the Arlington stakes were Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" events, likely to produce runners for the Nov. 1-2 renewal at Santa Anita. So, too, Sunday's feature at Deauville in France, with the winner there also expressing interest in the Breeders' Cup.
Here's how things went on the second weekend of the final month of summer:
Bricks and Mortar raced well off the pace down the backstretch in Saturday's Grade I Arlington Million, quickly kicked into gear between horses as they straightened into the lane and roared by Irish filly Magic Wand, winning by 3/4 length. It was his sixth straight win since returning from a career-threatening condition that cost him more than a year on the sidelines. Four of the six have been at the Grade I level, leading to talk of Horse of the Year honors. The 5-year-old earned a "Win and You're In" trip to the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf with the Million win.
Bandua, winner of the Grade III Arlington Handicap in his last start, held on for third after leading most of the way with last year's Million winner, Robert Bruce, reporting fourth. Bricks and Mortar, under Irad Ortiz Jr., ran 1 1/4 miles on firm turf in 1:59.44.
Bricks and Mortar's career nearly ended late in 2017 with a hock problem. After more than a year of care on the farm in Florida, he returned last December and has not lost since.
"He's an amazing horse," said Seth Klarman of co-owner Klaravich Stables. "Chad got him ready off a long layoff to do what he's done. Chad and his staff have just done a remarkable job."
Bricks and Mortar's breeding rights have been sold to Teruya Yoshida's Shadai Farm in Japan, as first reported last week by The Blood-Horse. Both Yoshida and bloodstock agent Eugenio Colombo, who brokered the deal, were at Arlington to see Bricks and Mortar in person.
"Mr. Yoshida had not seen the horse," Colombo said. "He wanted to have a look at him in person."
The deal calls for Bricks and Mortar to run through the Breeders' Cup before heading to his new duties in Japan. Klarman said it's up to Brown whether the horse has an intervening start and Brown said no decision has been made.
Yoshida, however, said he is very happy with the decision he made to plug Bricks and Mortar into a breeding operation still reeling from the recent death of Japan's top stallion, Deep Impact.
"He will help, yes," Yoshida said of Bricks and Mortar. "We are very anxious to have him in Japan."
The Million was another in a string of tough beats for Magic Wand and trainer Aidan O'Brien. The 4-year-old Galileo filly started her year finishing second to Bricks and Mortar in the Grade I Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational at Gulfstream Park and since then has been third, beaten less than 1 length, in the Grade I Man o' War at Belmont Park and second in both the Grade II Wolferton Stakes at Acot and the Grade I Pretty Polly at The Curragh in Ireland.
The Million occasioned Brown's third winner's circle appearance of the afternoon. One race earlier, he posed with Valid Point, who swept from last to first to capture the Grade I Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds. With Javier Castellano at the controls, the Scat Daddy colt came four-wide into the lane, circling rivals, and closed stoutly to dominate the final furlong. Another O'Brien charge had to settle for second as Van Beethoven, at long odds, also found good late speed to finish 1 length behind Valid Point and 3/4 length to the good of The Last Zip. The favorite, Fog of War, another Brown charge, didn't have any late kick and finished sixth.
"I really liked the way he felt today," Castellano said. "I let the horse be himself and relax going into the first turn and get into a nice rhythm. The way he finished was impressive to me. When I picked him up he responded right away and I think he's going to be a really nice horse."
Valid Point remains undefeated after three starts. He won at first asking at Gulfstream Park Feb. 10, then was put away until June 7 when he won again at Belmont Park.
Got Stormy spoiled Brown's perfect record on the day, storming down the Saratoga stretch to win Saturday's Grade I Fourstardave Handicap by 2 1/2 lengths. Two Brown trainees, Raging Bull and the favorite, Uni, finished second and third. Got Stormy, a 4-year-old filly by Get Stormy, became the first female winner of the event, first run in 1985, as she came home in course-record time of 1:32.00 under Ricardo Santana Jr.
It was the second win of the Saratoga meeting for Got Stormy, following the Fasig-Tipton De La Rose on Aug. 3. The Fourstardave was her first foray into Group 1 company.
"I was fortunate," said Mark Casse, who trains Got Stormy for Gary Barber, "to train another filly years ago in Tepin, who won the Breeders' Cup (Mile) and then was second. I told Gary early in the year that she was our next Tepin. It's nice sometimes when you're right. She's amazing."
Casse said the decision to tackle a Grade I against Brown's formidable forces on just a week's rest was "all about Gary Barber. I told him why we shouldn't run her. He said, 'That's good, but are you happy with how she is training?' I said 'Honestly, I've never seen her train so good,' and he said, 'We're running.'
The Fourstardave was a "Win and You're In" for the TVG Breeders' Cup Mile on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.
Filly & Mare Turf
Sistercharlie piled up the records in winning the Grade I Beverly D. for Brown and owner Peter Brant. The 5-year-old, Irish-bred daughter of Myboycharlie took full command of the 1 3/16-miles race in the final furlong, cruising by the leaders and winning by 3 lengths, ridden out by John Velazquez. In the process, she eclipsed the course record, finishing in 1:52.43 and became the only two-time winner of the Beverly D., which was first run in 1987. She also gave Brown a fifth straight victory in the race, another record, and earned a "Win and You're In" spot for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, which she won last year.
Awesome Tank was the first of three European invaders to fill the runner-up role in the day's Grade I events. The 4-year-old daughter of Intense Focus, trained by William Haggas, finished 2 lengths ahead of Competitionofideas, another of Brown's runners.
Since being imported from France, where she was a Group 3 winner, Sistercharlie has posted six wins and two seconds. The defeats were by a head and a neck and in both cases she got a slow start. Saturday's win was her fifth straight, all Grade I's including the Breeders' Cup.
"She's the horse of a lifetime," Brown said. "It is such an honor to be associated with her." Owner Peter Brant echoed the thought. "It's such an honor. She tries her heart out," Brant said.
And, depending on how things shake out, it's not inconceivable Sistercharlie's name could be in the Horse of the Year conversation, too.
Brown's four-stakes day at Arlington was capped in the final race as Café Americano rallied from next-last in a field of 11 to win the Grade III Pucker Up Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths. Princess Carolina and Art of Almost also made up ground in the stretch but were no match for the winner, settling for second and third. Café Americano, a Medaglia d'Oro filly, with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons, finished 9 furlongs in 1:47.72, missing the 49-year-old course record by 0.32 second. After winning her first two starts, she finished sixth in the Grade I Belmont Oaks Invitational in her previous start.
Eyeinthesky closed sharply through the stretch to land Sunday's $100,000 Galway Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga, outfinishing Abyssinian by a head and pacesetter Sister Peacock by another neck. Eyeinthesky, a Sky Mesa filly, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:01.39 with Joel Rosario riding. She scored her fourth win from 14 starts for trainer Mark Casse.
Go Google Me pressed the pace made by Divine Queen through the first half mile of Sunday's $125,000 Groupie Doll Stakes for fillies and mares at Ellis Park, scooted by that rival and drew off to win by 3 lengths. Divine Queen held second, 6 1/2 lengths in front of odds-on favorite Moonlit Garden in third. Go Google Me, a 4-year-old Into Mischief filly, finished 1 mile on a fast track in 1:36.43. Brian Hernandez Jr. had the mount for trainer Paul McGee.
Mr Ritz worked quickly to the lead in Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian) Seagram Cup at Woodbine, opened a daylight advantage and won by 1 1/4 lengths, ridden out by Patrick Husbands. Thor's Rocket was second at long odds, 1 length in front of Special Forces. The favorite, Mr Havercamp, reported fourth. Mr Ritz, a 4-year-old, British-bred colt by Oasis Dream, ran 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:42.75. It was his first win in four starts this season and first in a graded stakes.
Gray Magician slotted in behind pacesetter Knicks Go into the stretch drive of Sunday's $100,000 Ellis Park Derby, challenged in the lane and prevailed by 1/2 length. Night Ops made up ground to finish third, 5 lengths behind Knicks Go. Gray Magician, a Graydar colt out of the Johannesburg mare Burg Berg, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:36.19 with Corey Lanerie in the irons.
Law Abidin Citizen tracked pacesetter Anyportinastorm through most of Sunday's $200,000 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs, caught that rival late and won by a neck. Restrainedvengeance came running through the lane to finish third, another neck in arrears. Law Abidin Citizen, a 5-year-old Twirling Candy gelding, was clocked in 1:34.08 over a fast strip with Abel Cedillo up. It was the first start outside Southern California for the Mark Glatt trainee.
Filly & Mare Sprint
Danuska's My Girl went straight to the lead in Sunday's $100,000 Grade III Rancho Bernardo Handicap for fillies and mares at Del Mar and made the early lead stand, winning by 1/2 length over the favorite, Anonymity, who bobbled at the start. Lady Ninja was another 2 3/4 lengths back in third. Danuska's My Girl, a 5-year-old Shackleford mare, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:17.13 for jockey Geovanni Franco.
Green Light Go got the green light from jockey Junior Alvarado exiting the turn in Saturday's $200,000 Grade II Saratoga Special and quickly responded, rallying to win by 3 3/4 lengths, ridden out through the final sixteenth. Noose was best of the rest, 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Tuggle. Green Light Go, a Hard Spun colt, finished 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:15.68 under Junior Alvarado. The Frank Stronach homebred, trained by Jimmy Jerkens, advanced his record to 2-for-2 with the earlier win coming at Belmont Park.
"He's got a body like a 4-year-old and his mind is like an old-horse's mind," Alvarado said of Green Light Go. "He's very focused. There's nothing like a 2-year-old about him."
Jerkens said he will talk with Stronach "and maybe we'll skip the ($350,000 Grade I) Hopeful. The Champagne ($500,000 Grade I) seems a little more appealing than the Hopeful at the moment, but we'll see." The Champagne is Oct. 5 at Belmont Park.
Out West at Del Mar, Collusion Illusion started next-last of six in Saturday's $200,000 Grade II Best Pal, rallied four-wide into the stretch and got there first by 1 1/4 lengths. Wrecking Crew, after an even tardier start, was along to nip the favorite, Fore Left, for place money. The morning-line favorite, Schrodinger, was a late scratch. Collusion Illusion, a Twirling Candy colt, finished 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.34 with Joe Talamo at the controls. He now is 2-for-2 with the earlier win coming July 21 at Del Mar.
Trainer Mark Glatt said scheduling Collusion Illusion is a bit of a challenge. "This race came up a little bit quick," Glatt said. "I usually like to give a horse more time after his debut, but he's such a classy horse and he never missed a bite of grain. I thought about running him back in the Futurity ($300,000 Grade I, Sept. 2) but who knows what will happen between now and September and he was ready to run now. I wouldn't rule out the Futurity. That might be a little too aggressive with him, but we'll keep it as an option."
Mike Smith, who rode Wrecking Crew, decried his colt's erratic start. "I don't want to take anything away from the winner," Smith said, "but I sure would have like to have seen what would have happened."
At Prairie Meadows in Iowa, first-time starter Talkin Malice ran by the embattled early leaders in the stretch to win Friday's $66,000 Prairie Meadows Juvenile by 3 lengths despite drifting out late. Southgate was second by a neck after chasing the odds-on favorite, King Snake, though most of the race. Prismatic trailed by a wide margin throughout and completed the order of finish. Talkin Malice, a Palace Malice colt, ran 1 mile and 70 yards on a fast track in 1:44.31 with Alex Canchari in the irons.
And in New Mexico, Count Them Again went quickly to the fore in Saturday's $50,000 Manzano Stakes and held on gamely late to win by a neck over Snow Man. The odds-on favorite, Bubba Bling, chased the pace and tired to finish third, another 7 1/2 lengths in arrears. Count Them Again, a Premeditation filly, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.31 with Frank Reyes riding.
On the international beat:
Romanised drove to the lead in the final 200 meters in Sunday's Group 1 Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques Le Marois at Deaville and powered home first by 1 1/4 lengths, earning a "Win and You're In" spot in the TVG Breeders' Cup Mile Nov. 2. Shaman and Line of Duty filled out the minor placings with the favorite, Watch Me, settling for fourth in the 1-mile event.
Romanised, a 4-year-old, Irish-bred colt by Holy Roman Emperor, scored his second straight win, following the Group 2 Minstrel Stakes at The Curragh. And those were his first victories since he won the Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas in May of 2018.
"He's an improving horse and you could see it today," Romanised's County Kildare-based trainer, Ken Condon, told Racing Post. "I think you'll maybe see him in the Foret (Group 1, Oct. 6) or he may go for the Breeders' Cup Mile. If he goes (to the) Breeders' Cup Mile, he may just stay home at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend."
French King seized the lead from Communique inside the 300 meters in Sunday's Group 1 Longines Grosser Preis von Berlin at Hoppegarten and sailed home first by 1 length over that rival. The favorite, Godolphin's Old Persian, winner of the Group 1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic in March, ran well but could not get through between the leaders and settled for third.
French King, a 4-year-old colt by French Fifteen out of the Halling mare Marina Piccola, ran his 2019 record to 4-for-4, including the H.H. The Emir Trophy in Doha in February. He won a pair of Group 2 events and Hamburg and Cologne since the victory in the Middle East for owner Sheik Abdulla Bin Khalifa al Thani. He was bred at the Sheik's plush Umm Qarn Farm outside Doha.
Olivier Peslier had the mount for trainer Henri-Alex Pantall, who said he has not yet mapped out the rest of the year for French King.
Addeybb drove to the lead a furlong from home in Saturday's Group 3 Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock and prevailed by 2 1/4 lengths as the heavy favorite. Pondus and Raise You got the minor shares. Wissahickon was a non-running due to heavy ground. Addeybb, a 5-year-old Pivotal gelding, was punching a bit below his weight after winning the Wolferton Stakes over Magic Wand at Royal Ascot and finishing second in the Group 2 York Stakes in his two previous outings.
Back in North America, around the ovals:
The only stakes race Chad Brown did not win Saturday at Arlington was the $75,000 Bruce D. Memorial for 3-year-olds at 1 mile on the all-weather track. Brown didn't have a runner in the event, which was won by the favorite, Dabo, who rallied from last of 10 to score by 2 1/4 lengths over Can't Hide From Me. Dabo, trained by Dale Romans and ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., finished in 1:38.16, backing up his victory in the Springfield Stakes for Illinois-bred in his previous outing.
Bon Raison started last of six in Friday's $100,000 Tale of the Cat Stakes, came six-wide late and was up in time to win by 3/4 length from He Hate Me. It was another 2 3/4 lengths to Pat On the Back in third. Bon Raison, a 4-year-old colt by Raison d'Etat, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.34 under Irad Ortiz Jr. The race was restricted to non-winners of a graded stakes this year.
Out of Orbit led the way in Thursday's $100,000 Saratoga Dew Stakes for state-bred fillies and mares and cruised home first by 2 1/4 lengths. Held Accountable was second, a head in front of the late-running favorite, Lucky Move. Out of Orbit, a 4-year-old Malibu Moon filly, was clocked in 1:54.09 for 9 furlongs over a fast track. Luis Saez rode.
Lynne's Legacy rallied from last of seven to win Friday's $150,000 Solana Beach Stakes for California-bred fillies and mares by a neck. Pulpit Rider finished second but was demoted to sixth for being naughty at mid-stretch, promoting Don't Sell and Mo See Cal to second and third. Lynne's Legacy, a 6-year-old Unusual Heat mare, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:33.92 with Rafael Bejarano in the irons.
Woodbine Oaks winner Desert Ride was along in the final strides to win Saturday's $225,000 (Canadian) Wonder Where Stakes for Canada-bred year-old fillies. Preferred Guest came from well back to take a narrow lead in the stretch but settled for second, 1 3/4 lengths better than Niigon's Spin. Desert Ride, an Ontario-bred daughter of Candy Ride, ran 1 1/4 miles on firm turf in 2:02.01 under Stephen Bahen. After the Oaks win, Desert Ride took on males in the Queen's Plate but settled for fifth there, beaten 10 1/2 lengths by One Bad Boy.
First Deal rallied five-wide to collar the early leaders in Sunday's $76,500 Jersey Shore Stakes for 3-year-olds and pulled away to win by 3 1/2 lengths. Bronzed and Admiral Lynch completed the trifecta. First Deal, a Florida-bred colt by Turbo Compressor, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.05 with Hector Diaz in the irons.
Goldwood led much of the way in Saturday's $78,000 Incredible Revenge Stakes for fillies and mares and prevailed by 1/2 length over a fast-closing Auldwood Lane. Fear No Evil was only a neck farther back in third. Goldwood, a 5-year-old Medaglia d'Oro mare, ran about 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:04.06 with Jose Ferrer up.
Toss of Fate surged to the lead in the stretch run of Wednesday's $150,000 Governor's Stakes for Indiana-bred 3-year-olds and got there first, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Flowerpecker. Cap de Fuego was third. Toss of Fate, a Shanghai Bobby gelding, finished 1 mile and 70 yards on a fast track in 1:43.11 under Malcolm Franklin.
In the companion Indiana First Lady, Moves Like Magic stalked the pace, too over when prompted by jockey Jon McKee and won off by 2 1/4 lengths. Drinkatthecreek was second with Fireball Baby along for third. Moves Like Magic, a Maclean's Music filly, was clocked in 1:42.81.
The Virginia track celebrated its first weekend of racing since 2013 with four turf stakes restricted to Virginia-breds. The weather gods cooperated, producing firm going.
What the Beep, the favorite, reeled in pacesetting English Heiress in the final sixteenth, winning the $100,000 M. Tyson Gilpin Stakes for fillies and mares by 1 length over that rival. Pink Pearl was third. What the Beep, a 4-year-old Great Notion filly, ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.80 with Forest Boyce in the irons.
Elusive Mischief, the odds-on favorite, waited back of the early speed in the $100,000 Meadow Stable Stakes, took over the lead near the furlong marker and won by 1 length from Braxton. Ready to Run showed the way and finished third. Elusive Mischief, a 5-year-old Into Mischief colt, ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.72 with Sheldon Russell at the controls.
Tryon Summer was quickly on the lead in the $100,000 Nellie Mae Cox Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 mile, led the rest of the way and won by 1/2 length from Durven. River Gal checked in third. Tryon Summer, a 3-year-old Discreetly Mine filly, finished in 1:38.05 with J. Acosta up.
River Deep was awarded the win in the $100,000 Edward P. Evans Stakes when the stewards ruled Speed Gracer fouled another rival while taking the lead in deep stretch and finishing first by 3/4 length. The disqualification to fourth place moved up River Deep, Black Prong and K D's Cat Bird to first, second and third. The adjudged winner, River Deep, is a 5-year-old Arch gelding.
Killarney Lass got her Irish up in Sunday's $50,000 Washington Oaks. Dispatched at 4-1 odds, the Eskendereya filly went right to the lead and extended the advantage to a 9 1/4-lengths victory after 9 furlongs. Twirling Devon was second, 1 3/4 lengths to the good of Two Shakes, and Mucho Amor, the odds-on favorite finished last after a troubled start. Killarney Lass, with Javier Matias up, finished in 1:48.55.
My Grandpa and Alittlelesstalk battled it out into the stretch run in Sunday's $50,000 Muckleshoot Derby with My Grandpa edging in front in the final yards to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Time 'n Time Again was third, 5 lengths back of Alittlelesstalk. My Grandpa, a Grazen gelding, ran 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:49.71 with Jorge Carreno in the irons.
No Talking Back was along late to get the better of pacesetting favorite in Sunday's $50,000 Emerald Distaff, winning by 1 length over that rival. Blazinbeauty was third. No Talking Back, a 5-year-old Flatter mare, got 9 furlongs in 1:49.56 for jockey Scott Stevens.
Saturday was Minnesota Derby Day, featuring state-breds at the Twin Cities-area track, where sports fans were seeking relief from the Twins' fade in the American League Central Division. Sadly, the weather didn't cooperate. The turf races were off the green track and the main track was sloppy by the time Thoroughbreds took over from the American Quarterhorses. Still, it was a good day for jockey Orlando Mojica.
Mister Banjoman pressed the pace early in the $100,000 Minnesota Derby, took charge when asked by Mojica and quickly opened a daylight lead. At the line, the Mclean's Music gelding was 1 1/2 lengths ahead of the favorite, Dame Plata, coasting the final yards. Minnesota Miracle was third. Mister Banjoman finished 1 mile and 70 yards in 1:43.13.
Ready to Runaway was all of that in the $100,000 Minnesota Oaks. After tracking the pace, the First Dude filly hit the gas when jockey Jareth Loveberry showed her daylight in the stretch and won off by 4 lengths over Grand Prize. Ready to Runaway, the odds-on favorite, ran 1 mile and 70 yards in 1:43.33.
Honey's Sox Appeal led all the way to win by a neck over Maywood Hope in the $50,000, off-the-turf Princess Elaine Stakes for fillies and mares. Honey's Sox Appeal, a 6-year-old Successful Appeal mare, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.34 with Mojica riding. In the $55,000 Blair's Cove Stakes at the same conditions for colts and geldings, Hot Shot Kid battled several rivals for the lead before winning by 1/2 length over Fireman Oscar in 1:43.09, also toting Mojica.
Brown Buckeye prompted the pace made by Altissimo in Saturday's $75,000 Honey Jay Stakes for Ohio-breds, worked by that rival and went on to win by 1/2 length. Over Icce was third. Brown Buckeye, a 5-year-old Big Brown gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.02 with Jose Bracho riding.
Verissimo set a pressured pace in Sunday's $75,000 Horizon Stakes for Ohio-bred 3-year-olds, shook off two rivals and won by a neck from Sammy Da Bull. Magna Man was third. Verissimo, a Vertiformer gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:44.66 with Luis Rivera in the irons.