Upsets reign in weekend horse racing; Magic Wand gets first Group 1 win

By Robert Kieckhefer, UPI Racing Writer
Mr Dumas springs the upset in Saturday's Commonwealth Cup on the Churchill Downs turf. Photo courtesy of Churchill Downs
Mr Dumas springs the upset in Saturday's Commonwealth Cup on the Churchill Downs turf. Photo courtesy of Churchill Downs

Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Favorites didn't fare so well in weekend horse racing, with Mr Dumas holding off favored Tracksmith in the lone graded stakes, the Commonwealth Turf at Churchill Downs, to headline the upsetters.

Gulfstream Park had a big day Saturday with 2-year-olds contesting four stakes and five races previewing January's Sunshine Millions card.


Del Mar was back in action and here's a challenge: Nominations are open for any stakes race with a more strangely named exacta outcome than Sunday's Desi Arnaz. See below.

On the international scene, regally bred Lucky Lilac finally got back to winning ways in Japan, Magic Wand finally got a Group 1 win and, in Hong Kong, Beauty Generation's course record for 1,400 meters at Sha Tin was erased.

RELATED Melbourne Cup back in Australian hands in weekend horse racing

Step right up. Read all about it.

Churchill Downs

Mr Dumas raced in mid-pack to the turn in Saturday's $175,000 Grade III Commonwealth Turf for 3-year-olds, charged to the lead in the lane and held off the favorite, Tracksmith, for the 1/2-length win. Marquee Prince was gaining ground in the final strides but settled for third, 1 1/4 lengths farther back. Mr Dumas, a Majesticperfection colt, got the 1 1/16 miles on good turf in 1:45.51 with Joe Rocco Jr. up for trainer John Ortiz.


Mr Dumas was making his first stakes start and now has three wins from his last four trips.

"At the beginning of his career I thought he was a two-turn dirt horse," Ortiz said. "I was originally thinking a Kentucky Derby-type horse but then with the turf in his pedigree we tried him on the grass. When he ran at Kentucky Downs sprinting I never saw a horse with that fast of a closing kick. It's been a very special journey so far and I'm very thankful for everyone involved."


Curlin's Honor rallied from last of nine in Saturday's $150,000 Artie Schiller Stakes, got the lead late in the stretch run and held off Caribou Club to win by a neck. The favorite, Frontier Market, was third. Curlin's Honor, a 4-year-old Curlin colt, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:35.11 with Joel Rosario up for trainer Mark Casse.

"We thought maybe a flat mile on the grass was his cup of tea," said Casse assistant Jamie Begg. "It seemed to work out and Joel knew how the race was going to set up for him. He made a good plan and executed it perfectly."


Saguaro Row started last of seven in Saturday's $100,000 Pumpkin Pie Stakes for fillies and mares, came four-wide to take the lead a sixteenth from the finish and won by 4 1/4 lengths from the pacesetting favorite, Philanthropic. Pink Sands, another late runner, was along for third. Saguaro Row, a 4-year-old Union Rags filly, got 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:25.36 with Rosario scoring the stakes double.

Our Super Nova rallied four-wide into the stretch in Sunday's $150,000 Staten Island Division of the New York Stallion Stakes for state-bred fillies and mares and drew off smartly to win by 4 1/2 lengths. Fair Regis was second as the favorite, a nose in front of Roxy Girl. Our Super Nova, a 4-year-old filly by Boys At Toscanova, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:25.91. Junior Alvarado rode.

Fly So Pretty outfinished the favorite, Miss J McKay, in Sunday's $100,000 Stewart Manor Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, prevailing by 1/2 length. Karak was third, 2 1/4 lenghs farther up the track. Fly So Pretty, a Sky Mesa filly, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.16 for jockey Joel Rosario. She posted her second win from four starts.


Del Mar

Leucothea bobbled out of the gate in Sunday's $100,000 Desi Arnaz Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, moved up to press the pace and then took over, drawing off to a 3 1/2-lengths victory as the odds-on favorite. Orquidias Biz completed one of the most strangely named exactas in racing history with Sellar Sound third. Leucothea, a daughter of Midshipman, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:17.42 with Abel Cedillo riding for trainer and part-owner Peter Miller. She now has three wins from six starts, one of those a DNF when she stumbled at the start and lost her rider.

"It wasn't exactly the way we drew it up," Miller said. "We thought we'd be on the lead ... But she showed she could rate, so at the end of the day it's probably a good thing."

Leucothea, in Greek mythology, was a sea goddess who aided sailors in distress, although the story is complicated. Orquidias apparently refers somehow to orchids in Latin and in Spanish.

Wicked Old Fashion rallied five-wide from the back of the field to win a four-horse blanket finish to Friday's restricted $100,000 Kathryn Crosby Stakes for fillies and mares. The camera caught the 5-year-old Colonel John mare a nose in front of Super Patriot who, in turn, was a head in front of the favorite, Excellent Sunset. And that one was only another head to the good of Curlin's Journey. Nothing like starting the meeting with some thrills. Wicked Old Fashion, with Evin Roman in the irons, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:35.12.


By the way, we seldom explain this because most readers already know, but terms like "restricted" or "conditioned" mean a race is open only to specific horses. The Kathryn Crosby, for example, was for "fillies and mares three years old and upward, non-winners of a sweepstakes of $50,000 other than state-bred at one mile or over since April 1." Such races can be written to attract specific horses so, when handicapping, it pays to check which horses best fit the conditions. In this case, Wicked Old Fashioned had three wins since April 1 but none in stakes races.

Bob and Jackie pressed the pace in Saturday's feature, the similarly restricted $100,000 Let It Ride Stakes for 3-year-olds, took over when asked by jockey Heriberto Figueroa and held on by a nose over Proud Pedro. Ocean Fury was third. Bob and Jackie, a Twirling Candy colt, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:34.97.

Gulfstream Park West

Saturday was a big day at Gulfstream Park West with the Sunshine Millions preview races and a four-pack of stakes for 2-year-olds. The turf was firm, the dirt track fast. Here, favorites won six of 11 races, including the first five.

Galleon Mast needed every bit of 1 1/16 miles to get by pacesetting Freedom Matters for the win in the $75,000 Millions Turf Preview, scoring by a head. Second Mate was only a neck farther back in third, Galleon Mast, a 6-year-old Mizzen Mast gelding, went off the favorite and finished in 1:44.31 with Paco Lopez riding.


Wildwood's Beauty, the even-money favorite, stalked the pace in the $75,000 Millions Distaff Preview, then went about her business and rallied for the 1 3/4-lengths victory. Heiressall was second and Liza Star third. Wildwood's Beauty, a 3-year-old Kantharos filly, got 7 furlongs on the main track in 1:22.33 with Samy Camacho in the irons.

Red Crescent was along late to win the $75,000 Millions Classic Preview by 1 1/4 lengths over Art G Is Back. Hy Riverside was third as the 1 1/16 miles went in 1:44.61. Camacho rode Red Crescent, a 5-year-old gelding by Overdriven.

Travy Boy posted the day's big upset in the $75,000 Millions Sprint Preview, prevailing by a front-running 2 3/4 lengths at odds of almost 22-1. Front Loaded was best of the rest, 1 length to the good of the favorite, He Hate Me. Travy Boy, a 4-year-old Gemologist gelding, ran 6 furlongs on the main track in 1:09.70 with Lopez up.

Picara moved to the lead in the lane in the $75,000 Millions Filly & Mare Turf Preview, then held on to win by 3/4 length over onrushing Una Luna. Souper Escape was third and the favorite, Daddy's Boo, faded to finish seventh. Picara, a 4-year-old Turbo Compressor filly, ran 7 1/2 turfy furlongs in 1:29.66 with Rajiv Maragh in the irons.


In the juvenile action:

Captain D, the odds-on favorite, took control of the $75,000 Juvenile Turf in the final furlongs, kicking away to win by 5 1/4 lengths as the odds-on favorite. Rebelde came late from far back to get place money with Genghis third. Captain D, a Gary D gelding, toured 1 mile on the green course in 1:37.96. Edgard Zayas had the ride.

American Giant rated kindly early in the $75,000 Juvenile Fillies Turf, then got going in time to win by 2 lengths over the favorite, Our Little Jewel. Song River led early, then faded to finish third. American Giant, a More Than Ready filly, ran 1 mile in 1:37.03 with Camacho at the controls.

Ceci Valentina had only one rival beaten at the first call in the $75,000 Juvenile Fillies but circled the leaders into the stretch and ran on to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Mandamus gave up a daylight lead in the final furlong but held second, 5 3/4 lengths better than Go Gator Girl Go. Ceci Valentina, a daughter of Prospective, ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:18.02 with Marcos Meneses riding.

As Seen On Tv dueled with Smash Factor through the early stages of the $75,000 Juvenile Sprint, then edged clear to win by 1 1/2 lengths over that rival. It was another 6 1/2 lengths back to Poe in third. As Seen On Tv, a Lookin At Lucky gelding, finished 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.36 under Lopez.



Sav stalked pacesetting Ciuri in Sunday's $100,000 (Canadian) La Prevoyante Stakes for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies, eased by that rival near the furlong marker and edged away, winning by 1 1/4 lengths. Cirui salvaged second by just a head over Golden Vision. Sav, a daughter of Big Screen, ran 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:45.79 with Justin Sein up.

Dotted Line, at odds of nearly 50-1, snuck through a narrow gap along the rail turning for home in Saturday's $100,000 (Canadian) Frost King Stakes for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds, assumed a narrow lead and dueled the rest of the way with Artie's Princess before prevailing by a neck. It was another 6 1/4 lengths back to Torpedo Max in third. Dotted Line, a Signature Red gelding, finished the 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:22.25 with Stein in the irons. Dotted Line was coming off a maiden win four weeks earlier.

Mahoning Valley

Mo Dont No got by the early leaders with a rail move into the stretch in Saturday's $75,000 Cardinal Handicap for Ohio-breds and kicked away, winning by 3 1/2 lengths. Diamond Dust was second, 2 1/2 lengths ahead of King Creed. Mo Dont No, a 6-year-old Uncle Mo gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.17 with Scott Speith in the kip.


Leona's Reward went right to the lead in Saturday's $75,000 Ohio Debutane for state-bred distaffers and won off by 7 1/2 lengths, ridden out by Geraldo Corrales. Grizabella was second, another 10 3/4 lengths ahead of Mobil Lady in third. Leona's Reward, a 6-year-old mare by Parents Reward, ran 1 mile and 70 yards on a fast track in 1:44.64.

Golden Gate Fields

Bettor Trip Nick couldn't have asked for a better trip in Saturday's $65,000 Golden Nugget for 2-year-olds. The Boat Trip gelding broke on top, led all the way and won by 1/2 length from the rallying Doc Tommy. Fore Left was third. Bettor Trip, with Catalino Martinez in the irons, negotiated 6 furlongs on the all-weather course in 1:09.35.

Charles Town

Penguin Power powered to the lead in Saturday's $50,000 A Huevo Sakes for West Virginia-breds and never looked back. After 9 furlongs over the fast track, the 4-year-old Fibre Sonde gelding was still out front, 1 1/2 lengths to the good of Opera Nite. North Atlantic was third. Penguin Power, with Arnaldo Bocachica handling the reins, finished in 1:55.36.

On the international scene:


Lucky Lilac, Japan's top 2-year-old filly in 2017, made up for more than a year's worth of disappointment with a late-running victory Sunday in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Kyoto.


Christophe Soumillon, riding on a short-term license, took Lucky Lilac back after a clean break and saved ground into the final turn of the 2,200-meters race. Soumillon then opted for the inside route, Lucky Lilac found a handy new gear and the Orfevre filly quickened to win by 1 1/4 lengths over pacesetting Crocosmia, who finished second in this event for the third straight year. The favorite, Loves Only You, just missed catching Crocosmia with a belated burst of speed.

"I was very confident when I saw how good she was in training," Soumillon said. "But today she was even better. She was really concentrating and I saw she was reacting very fast ... At the 200-meter marker when I saw the gap was still open I was confident that I had won."

Lucky Lilac's sire was a six-time Grade/Group 1 winner who twice finished second in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Her dam, Kentucky-bred Lilacs and Lace, won the 2011 Grade I Central Bank Ashland Stakes at Keeneland in 2011.

Lucky Lilac won all three starts as a 2-year-old and her first outing in 2018, then failed to live up to the promise during the balance of her 3-year-old season -- finishing finished second in the Grade 1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas), third in the Grade I Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) and ninth in the Grade I Shuka Sho -- all won by Almond Eye.


Three more defeats started her 4-year-old season but she showed enough promise to be sent off third-favorite as 50,150 fans turned out to watch the 44th running of the Queen Elizabeth II.


Magic Wand finally, after six seconds at the top level around the world, got her inaugural Group 1 win Saturday in the Seppelt Mackinnon Stakes -- just four days after finishing 10th in the Melbourne Cup. The Galileo filly, trained by Aidan O'Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore, rallied by Hartnell 200 meters out and went on to win by 1 length. New Zealand's well-fancied mare Melody Bell was up late to edge Hartnell for second.

Magic Wand had started 16 times in Group 1 or Grade I events without a win, often victimized by undesirable off going. While it was her first win at the top level, she became to 84th individual Group 1 winner for her sire, tying the record held by Danehill. She is expected to remain in training next year and O'Brien said a return to the Antipodes may be part of that season's agenda.

The 9-year-old Hartnell, however, is headed for retirement and a second career in the show horse ranks.


In Saturday's other Group 1 at Flemington, Nature Strip outstripped eight rivals in the Darley Sprint Classic, striding out to win by 3 1/4 lengths. Loving Gaby and In Her Time were second and third in the 1,200-meters sprint with the favorite, Santa Ana Lane fifth. Nature Strip, a 5-year-old Nicconi gelding trained by Chris Waller, finished in 1:09.23 with James McDonald riding. It was his second Group 1 win of the season, folloing the Moir Stakes at Mooney Valley in September.

Hong Kong

Trainer John Moore was gobsmacked but happy after saddling Encouraging not only to victory in Saturday's 1,400-meters Panasonic Handicap at Sha Tin, but also to a new course record, lowering the old mark of 1:20.05 to 1:19.92. And the old mark was set by non other than two-time and reigning Hong Kong Horse of the Year Beauty Generation.

"I'm taken aback by that and the way he did it, breaking the track record, but I have a nice horse on my hands," Moore said of the 6-year-old Redoute's Choice gelding who has won five of 11 starts since transferring to his stable round about a year ago.

"He's like a real good bottle of Pétrus: Leave it in the cellar for a few years and it really improves," Moore said. "He's just improved with age."


The trainer said he had penciled Encouraging in for the Chevalier Cup later in November but now is at he mercy of the handicapper, potentially moving into Group 3 company on Jan. 1.

News and notes:

No one could be surprised at the nominations announced his week for Cartier Horse Of The Year. Tick off the names as we go along: Enable; Magical; Star Catcher; Blue Point; Waldgeist; Stradivarius.

Enable could have made it a moot issue if she'd held off Waldgeist in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. But since she didn't, it's an interesting equation. None of them would be an embarrassment to the sport, eh?

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