1 of 2 | Starship Jubilee wins Saturday's $1 million Woodbine Mile, a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In." Photo by Michael Burns, courtesy of Woodbine
Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Starship Jubilee topped a "magic" weekend of turf racing by upsetting her male rivals in the $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile.
The Mile was a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In," as were two juvenile events on the Woodbine turf Sunday.
At Belmont Park, French import Magic Attitude was an impressive Grade I winner.
On the world stage, Alkumait popped up among 2-year-old sprinting prospects in England, Chris Waller saddled the first four finishers in an Australian Group 1 and Joao Moreira rode six winners Sunday at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong.
Moreira, known as "Magic Man," is not to be confused with Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez, known as "El Mago," or the magician. It would be fun to get them together, though.
Until then, there's this:
The Triple Crown
In this oddest of odd years, preparations for the final leg of the Triple Crown -- the $1 million Grade I Preakness Stakes Oct. 3 at Pimlico -- are nearing their final stages.
Kentucky Derby winner Authentic, his stablemate Thousand Words and Blue Grass winner Art Collector worked Saturday at Churchill Downs with an eye on the Preakness. Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law, second to Authentic in the Derby, remains a Preakness question mark.
Authentic turned in a satisfying 5-furlongs work in 59 1/5 seconds with Martin Garcia up. Thousand Words, who was scratched in the paddock on Derby Day, toured the same distance easily in 1:02 2/5 for jockey Florent Geroux.
Trainer Bob Baffert, who remained in Kentucky after the Derby to attend the sales, said he was happy with what he saw.
"Authentic is a big, strong horse and is handling things very well after the Derby," Baffert said. "I think both horses worked really well this morning. ... They'll work once more on Saturday before shipping to Pimlico."
Art Collector, scratched four days before the Derby with a minor injury, also did 5 furlongs, clocked in 59 2/5 seconds.
Turf / Filly & Mare Turf
Starship Jubilee, claimed for $16,000 four years ago, rallied relentlessly down the stretch to win Saturday's $1 million (Canadian) Grade I Ricoh Woodbine Mile by 1 length, earning a "Win and You're In" spot in the FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile. The win was her second Grade I triumph and pushed her career earnings north of $2 million.
Starship Jubilee, a 7-year-old Indy Wind mare, ran 1 mile on firm going in 1:32.06, blowing by 2019 Preakness winner War of Will in the stretch run.
March to the Arch came late to take second, beating War of Will into third. Starship Jubilee won for the 19th time in her 38th start and trainer Kevin Attard said he's eager to showcase her on the Breeders' Cup worldwide stage.
"It's good to know this race has sent so many horses to the Breeders' Cup," Attard said. "It's something we've been looking forward to all year long and we're not changing anything now."
"Just an unbelievable feeling," said Attard, Starship Jubilee's biggest fan. "This mare doesn't get the respect she deserves. I was really disappointed to see her at 6-1 on the board -- just kind of forgotten about. Time after time, she comes up and proves that she's a top horse in North America."
At Belmont Park, Magic Attitude picked up right where she left off in France in July. Making her first U.S. start, the Galileo filly raced last of five in Saturday's $250,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational, came around the rivals at the furlong marker and won off by 2 1/4 lengths.
Antoinette was second, followed by Neige Blanche, Setting the Mood and Key Biscayne. Magic Attitude, with Javier Castellano up, ran 1 1/4 miles on firm turf in 2:01.14.
Magic Attitude was a Group 3 winner at Longchamp in May and ran well to finish fifth in the Group 1 Prix de Diane before heading for the airport.
"Two starts ago (in the Group 1 Prix Saint Alary), they were surprised because she was a little revved up and she never settled, said Magic Attitude's new trainer, Arnaud Delacour.
"They couldn't cover her up and she was pretty aggressive. Ever since, they've been trying to get her to relax. So, we tried to work her in the same way in the morning and put her behind horses and come with a nice run and that's what she duplicated in the afternoon. It was very exciting."
Asked about the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf Nov. 7, Delacour said, "We'll see. One race at a time. The Queen Elizabeth [on Oct.10 at Keeneland] is in 21 days and might be coming back too quick. We'll let her tell us."
Antoinette's trainer, Bill Mott, paid tribute to the winner: "We had the spot we wanted, and Johnny [Velazquez] said she kicked for us. She ran. The other one just rolled on by."
On the Woodbine Mile undercard, Count Again, making his first foray into stakes company, rallied late to take the $125,000 (Canadian) Grade III Singspiel Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths over Sir Sahib. Say the Word was third and the favorite, Standard Deviation, finished sixth.
Count Again, a 5-year-old Awesome Again gelding, ran 1 1/4 miles on firm going in 2:00.67 with Luis Contreras aboard. Count Again and Say the Word are both trained by Gail Cox. Count Again was making just his sixth career start and picked up his third win.
"Last time he ran with first-time blinkers on, so I just got beat really bad at the end, by a neck," said Contreras. "Today they cut the blinkers back and I think that made a lot of difference."
Juvenile Turf / Juvenile Turf Sprint
Gretzky the Great drafted right behind pacesetting Ready to Repeat in Sunday's $300,000 (Canadian) Summer Stakes at Woodbine, shot by that one and then, after ducking in front of his rival, went on to win by 3 1/4 lengths.
Dolder Grand was third. Luis Contreras was forced to take up sharply on Ready to Repeat and claimed foul against Gretzky the Great and rider Kazushi Kimura but the stewards let things stand. Gretzky the Great, a Nyquist colt, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:34.35, winning for the third straight time.
The Summer Stakes was a "Win and You're In' for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, a logical next step for trainer Mark Casse and owners Gary Barber and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.
"He is such an amazing horse," said Kimura, who recorded his first Grade I win. "When I came to the final turn, then come through the final stretch, he had a tremendous explosion."
Credit River, making his first start and sent off at odds of 41-1, closed with a rush to win Saturday's $135,000 Ontario Racing Stakes at Woodbine by 3/4 length. Sky's Not Falling and Souper Classy filled out the trifecta.
Credit River, a More Than Ready colt trained by Breeda Hayes, ran 5 furlongs on firm turf in 57.06 seconds. The favorite, Amsden, an American Pharoah colt trained by Wesley Ward, held a brief lead, then faded to get home last of six.
"It was a tough task and a tall task. I mean, a first-time starter! But he showed his talent today," said winning rider Emma-Jayne Wilson.
"I just let him get his legs, he got away from there okay, but he's not nearly as quick as those guys were early and I didn't expect him to be. So when I gathered him up and asked him to pick it up he didn't even hesitate. He was all business."
Juvenile Fillies Turf
Lady Speightspeare raced second behind a long shot speedster in Sunday's $250,000 (Canadian) Natalma Stakes at Woodbine, swept to the lead midway down the stretch and held off Alda by 3/4 length for the win.
It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to Seasons in third. Lady Speightspeare, a Speightstown filly out of the Theatrical mare Lady Shakespeare, got 1 mile on firm turf in 1:34.61, improving to 2-for-2. Emma-Jayne Wilson had the mount for trainer Roger Attfield.
Lady Speightspeare is owned by her breeder, Charles Fipke and Attfield said a Breeders' Cup bid "would be up to Mr. Fipke, and I would say knowing Mr. Fipke we probably are [going]," he said.
Dirty Dangle outfinished the favorite, Illegal Smile, in Saturday's $135,000 (Canadian) Woodbine Cares Stakes, winning by 1 1/4 lengths over that rival.
Rocket Reload seized a short-lived lead in the lane and settled for third. Dirty Dangle, a daughter of Not This Time, ran 5 furlongs on firm turf in 56.82 seconds with Sheena Ryan riding for trainer Ralph Biamonte. Dirty Dangle was making her second start after winning a tight decision in her career debut Aug. 16.
At Gulfstream Park on Friday, Gladys, a full sister to 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, didn't show much in her career debut. The Medaglia d'Oro filly hit the gate on the way out and never got going, finishing ninth.
That's not necessarily a harbinger of doom. Rachel Alexandra got home sixth in her first start -- then never again finished out of the top two in 18 subsequent starts. Put Gladys on your watch list.
Sprint / Dirt Mile
Pirate's Punch had all the punch jockey Jorge Vargas Jr. needed in the stretch run of Sunday's $155,000 Grade III Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park. After pressing the pace, Pirate's Punch took a three-wide run at the leaders, then drew off to win by 2 lengths.
Top Line Growth was next-best, a head in front of Bal Harbour. Pirate's Punch, a 4-year-old Shanghai Bobby gelding, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:37.19. He was second in the Grade III Philip H. Iselin Stakes in his previous start.
"The Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile is definitely our plan based on these last two races," said winning trainer Grant Forster, who is based at Churchill Downs.
"For us here in Kentucky it's a home game this year. He does have one race at Keeneland when he ran very well as he was just starting to improve last fall. I know the owners and I are on board," Forster said.
"We were treating this as our 'win and you're in.' He won it, so I guess we have to put our money where our mouth is and give a horse the chance to show what he can do on the national stage."
In other action:
Danny California had 'em all the way in Friday's $80,000 Miner's Mark Stakes at 1 1/2 miles on the fast main track. The 5-year-old Afleet Alex gelding went right to the front, shadowed by You're to Blame, held that one safe throughout and edged away down the stretch to win by 1 3/4 lengths.
You're to Blame held second by 12 1/2 lengths with the favorite, Rocketry, third. Danny California finished in 2:33.01, just 9.01 seconds off Secretariat's track record.
Restrainedvengeance, the odds-on favorite, just did get by pacesetting Articulator in the final yards to win Saturday's $200,000 Downs at Albuquerque Handicap by a head.
It was another 4 1/2 lengths to Pendleton in third. Restrainedvengeance, a 5-year-old Hold Me Back gelding, ran 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:49.26 with Ruben Fuentes riding.
The winner shipped in from Del Mar, where he finished second in the Grade II Del Mar Mile Aug. 23. This was his fourth visit to New Mexico. He twice previously and was eased in the other.
Articulator has bounced around in the past 12 months from Monmouth Park to Laurel Park, Sunland Park, Lone Star Park and Arapahoe Park, just about earning gas money.
In Saturday's $50,000 Manzano Stakes for 2-year-olds, Moon Swag took back early, then made steady progress and was along to win by 3/4 length. Jonathan Who led much of the way and saved second, 1 1/2 lengths to the good of Tripple Shake.
Moon Swag, a Kentucky-bred Malibu Moon filly, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.31 with Tracy Hebert in the irons.
Aisle Runner pressed the pace in Sunday's $278,873 New Mexico State Fair Futurity for state-bred 2-year-olds, took control a furlong from home and got there first by 2 3/4 lengths.
The favorite, Delbert Too, was gaining from mid-pack but could only finish second, 1/2 length in front of Ima Saint Too. Aisle Runner, by Attila's Storm, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.75. Luis Fuentes rode.
Happy as You Go battled to the lead in Friday's $75,000 Loyalty Stakes for Ohio-bred 2-year-olds, shook loose from the competition in the late going and won by 1 length over the favorite, Weekend Buzz. First Song was 3 1/2 lengths farther back in third.
Happy as You Go, a Mobil filly, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:15.40 with Christian Pilares in the irons.
Friday was Louisiana Cup with six $50,000 events for state-bred steeds.
Budrow was away next-last in the Turf Classic but made up all the ground to win by 1 1/4 from Nippy Red. Budrow, a 5-year-old gelding by Tale of Ekati, finished 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:41.91.
Is Too built a nice lead midway through the Distaff, then held on gamely to win by 1/2 length from Mariah's Galaxy. The 5-year-old Midshipman mare ran 1 1/16 miles on the grass in 1:43.33.
Snowball rolled from far back in a big field to win the Filly & Mare Sprint by 1 length over Play Unified. The Apriority filly got 6 furlongs in 1:12.02. Saltee Stark, a 5-year-old Calibrachoa gelding, was always close in the Sprint and found just enough to get up for the win by 1/2 length over Bertie's Galaxy in 1:11.19.
Mirabeau stalked the pace in the Juvenile Fillies, took charge when asked and won off by 6 lengths as the odds-on favorite. The daughter of Bind ran 6 furlongs in 1:12.66. In the Juvenile, Chu Chu's Legacy, also by Bind, battled for the lead, then got away to win by 3 1/2 lengths in 1:13.41.
Saturday's program had four events for West Virginia-breds.
Runnin'toluvya tracked the pace in the $50,000 Frank Gall Memorial, was carried out while making a move to the lead but prevailed anyway, winning by 1 length over North Atlantic.
The favorite, Penguin Power, was the early leader but settled for third. Runnin'toluvya, a 6-year-old Fibre Sonde gelding, got 7 furlongs in 1:26.06 for jockey Christian Hiraldo. Runnin'toluvya won the Grade II Charles Town Classic in 2019 and finished third in this year's running of that race.
Bridging the Gap showed the way in the $50,000 Sadie Hawkins Stakes for fillies and mares, turned back a challenge from See Ya Manana and went on to win by 4 1/4 lengths over that one. B's Wild Cork was a long shot third.
Bridging the Gap, an overwhelming favorite, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:26.41 with Reshawn Latchman up.
Theladyistrue rallied from last of four to win the $50,000 Rachel's Turn Stakes for 2-year-old fillies by 1 1/4 lengths over Shutupn'kissme. Gotyournumber was third and the odds-on favorite,
That Kenny Kid, faded to finish last. Theladyistrue, a daughter of Fiber Sonde, ran 4 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 53.85 seconds with Latchman riding. There was no show wagering, but some bridge-jumper money went on That Kenny Kid to place, inflating those payouts.
Hopping Henry stalked the pace in the $50,000 Juvenile, took an outside route to he lead at the eighth pole and won by 1 1/4 lengths over Youthinkthatsfunny.
The favorite, Pilot in Command, was third. Hopping Henry, a Juba gelding, ran 4 1/2 furlongs in 52.89 for jockey Wesley Ho.
Around the world, around the clock:
Alkumait, with Jim Crowley up, worked to the lead a furlong out in Saturday's Group 2 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes for 2-year-olds at Newbury, then held off the favorite,
Fivethousandtoone, for a 3/4-length victory. Rhythm Master, after a tardy departure, was along to finish a clear third. Alkumait, a Showcasing colt, now has won two in a row after finishing fourth in his career debut. Marcus Tregoning trains for Sheik Hamdan Al Maktoum.
Alkumait's pedigree is rife with speed so his potential for the 2021 Classics looks limited. He is not in the Dewhurst, but Sheik Hamdan could afford to supplement him. Or if travel looks attractive, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint could be a target.
Sheik Hamdan and Crowley also teamed up in Saturday's Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Legacy Stakes, formerly the Arc Trial. This time it was the Mark Johnston-trained Elarqam, who led, gave up the lead briefly and came again to win by 1 1/2 lengths.
Desert Encounter was second with the favorite, Extra Elusive, third. Elarqam, 5-year-old by Frankel, has been on the fringes of top-level success for two years now without being asked to tackle absolute top opposition.
Chris Waller saddled four of the seven in Saturday's Group 1 Fujitsu George Main Stakes at Royal Randwick and the quartet duly finished 1-2-3-4.
The order of the sweep, though, probably wasn't totally pleasing as the favorite, Verry Elleegant, reported fourth with Kolding, Star of the Seas and Imaging the first three home.
Kolding, with Tommy Berry in the kip, sat right behind the early speed right into the stretch run. As the field spread across the course, Kolding found the needed extra gear while Winx Stakes winner Verry Elleegant found herself in a box.
Kolding ran on to win by 1/2 length and Verry Elleegant could recover only in time to finish a closing fourth.
Waller said he was thrilled to sweep the placings and said the top three will head to the Epsom Stakes at 1 mile Oct. 3 at Royal Randick while Verry Ellegant will point toward the Turnbull at 2,000 meters the same day at Flemington.
At Caulfield on Saturday, you'd never have picked Behemoth as the winner 250 meters out in the Group 1 Neds Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes. The favorite, a 5-year-old All Too Hard gelding, was well back in the big field, seemingly with nowhere to go.
But when jockey Craig Williams rather forcefully made room for his mount, Behemoth quickly picked it up, hit the front in the final few meters and won by 1 length. Dollar For Dollar and Pretty Brazen were second and third.
Behemoth, whose size fully justifies his name, has won three races in just less than a month, also including the Group 1 Memsie in his last start.
"We've got a few options now," trainer David Jolly told Racing.com. "It's a good position to have in that we could train him to go back in distance or step up." The Sir Rupert Clarke and Memsie both were 1,400 meters. He won at 1,100 meters back in the Southern Hemisphere autumn.
Going into Sunday's Sha Tin meeting, the early-season jockey premiership race was a three-way deadlock among Zac Purton, Joao Moreira and Karis Teetan.
Moreira joined that party with a three-bagger Wednesday a Happy Valley. Sunday, the "Magic Man" doubled that output, winning six races while his rivals were blanked.
One of the Moreira half dozen was the John Size-trained Excellent Proposal, who signaled potential for the upcoming Four Year Old Classic Series culminating in the BMW Hong Kong Derby. "He's the kind of horse who might run the distance," the rider said.
As for his own championship prospects, "I just hope I can keep it up," said Moreira, who now has 959 Hong Kong wins. "It's not going to be an easy season."
Ria Amelia stalked the pace in Sunday's Grade 1 Kansai Telecasting Corp.Sho Rose Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, took charge in the late going for jockey Yuga Kawada and won by 2 lengths. Musical was second at odds of better than 100-1. Oh My Darling was third.
Ria Amelia is a daughter of Deep Impact out of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Ria Antonia. She won her first two starts last year, then was sixth in the Grade 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies.
She was ineffective in the Oka Sho or Japanese 1,000 Guineas, reporting eighth, and the Yushun Himba or Japanese Oaks, finishing sixth.