Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Addeybb and jockey Hollie Doyle sparkled on Champions Day in England, while Verry Eellegant in Australia, Golden Sixty in Hong Kong and Silent Poet in Canada all enlivened weekend horse racing.
Keeneland's weekend produced at least one more contender for the Breeders' Cup set for the same venue in three weeks' time and both Belmont Park and Santa Anita contributed to the festivities.
Shall we proceed directly to Ascot?
Saturday's 10th edition of QIPCO British Champions Day produced a series of upsets, fueled in part by the soft going, and an historic performance by jockey Hollie Doyle.
Doyle not only became the first female to ride a Champions Day winner, but also partnered two winners and two seconds on the card over a course she said was "testing. It's wet, heavy ground and it's hard work."
The equine star of the day was globetrotter Addeybb, who twice defeated Saturday's Group 1 Caulfield Stakes winner Verry Elleegant in Australia early this year and now reigns the hero of the QIPCO Champion Stakes.
Doyle wasted no time making her historic mark as she partnered Trueshan to victory in the day's first race, the Group 2 Long Distance Cup. Trueshan blasted loose from the field in the final furlong and won by a convincing 7 1/2 furlongs with the hot favorite, Stradivarius, done early and finishing next-last.
Search for a Song was second at the end of 2 miles with Fujaira Prince third. Trueshan, a 4-year-old, French-bred gelding by Planteur, was having his first go in a Group race and his first beyond 1 3/4 miles. Even Doyle admitted his resume did not scream success on the day.
"This is a proper horse," Doyle said. "I rode him on his first two wins and have always liked him, but I am not going to lie, I didn't realize he would be up to Group 2 level like today." She said Trueshan "went through the ground like a tractor."
Frankie Dettori said Stradivarius, as he had not in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe two weeks earlier, didn't handle the difficult conditions.
Doyle returned in the next race, the Group 1 Sprint Stakes, to become the first woman jockey to post back-to-back wins on Champions Day as 16-1 chance Glen Shiel led early, was headed, and then came back to win by a nose over Brando.
One Master was third in the 6-furlongs dash. The favorite, Dream of Dreams, tired in the final furlong to finish eighth.
Glen Shiel, a 6-year-old Pivotal gelding, came to Ascot on the back of a runner-up showing to Dream of Dreams in the Group 1 Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock, also run over soft turf.
Before that, he had won two in a row a bit down the class ladder and Doyle again said she couldn't have imagined the outcome -- even after passing the finish.
"We got him out of Andre Fabre's (yard) and we ran him over 10 furlongs. [Trainer Archie Watson] kept stepping him back and back in trip and I am not going to lie, even I doubted it, but this is obviously the key to him.
"My heart sunk when I got joined on the line, I thought Tom Eaves [on Brando] had just nabbed me, so I didn't know if I had won. I honestly thought I hadn't won to be honest."
About her double, she said, "It is a dream come true, a massive dream come true, especially on this horse. Everyone in the yard adores him."
Wonderful Tonight was the rare favorite winning on the day. The 3-year-old French invader, a daughter of Le Havre, won the Group 1 Qatar Prix de Royallieu over heavy going on Arc day and obviously enjoyed similar going in Saturday's Fillies & Mares Stakes.
With William Buick up, Wonderful Tonight always looked in charge and won by 2 1/2 lengths. Dame Malliot duked it out with a couple rivals before finishing second, 1 length in front of Passion.
"She has beaten some really good fillies very well," Buick said. "When conditions are there to suit her, I can't see why she shouldn't scale further heights. She is very effective on soft ground and maybe other horses aren't as effective as her. But she is by Le Havre, so she might be bred to go on that ground."
In the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes down the straight mile, The Revenant challenged pacesetter Roseman 2 furlongs out and that pair battled to the finish with The Revenant prevailing by a head.
The favorite, previously undefeated Palace Pier, mounted a late challenge after an awkward start but flattened out to be a clear third. The Revenant, a 5-year-old Dubawi gelding, was another visitor from across the Channel who had proved his affinity for the off going with a victory in the Prix Daniel Wildenstein on Arc day. He was second in last year's QE II, run on heavy turf.
"He loved the ground, and the trip has been perfect behind Circus Maximus," said The Revenant's rider, Pierre-Charles Boudot. "My horse was very relaxed behind him and when I asked him, he gave me a nice and long turn of foot. He was courageous in the last furlong."
Palace Pier, one of Dettori's top hopes on the day, lost a shoe and wouldn't change leads after the mishap. "Obviously, you can't win a race with three wheels," Dettori said. "You need four."
The day's feature, the Champion Stakes, had an all-star cast with Magical the favorite, attended by the likes of Investec Derby winner Serpentine, Mishrif and Nord North.
But it was Sheik Ahamed Al Maktoum's Addeybb who ran them all into defeat. After fighting it out with Serpentine for the lead, Addeybb, a 6-year-old Pivotal gelding, shook clear in the final 2 furlongs and ran on to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Skalleti, yet another French raider who excelled on Arc day, finished second with Magical third and Serpentine fourth.
Addeybb has been nothing short of stellar for trainer William Haggas. While "down under," he defeated Veery Eellegant in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes in March and again in the Group 1 Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes in April, and then returned to finish second in the Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
He was second to Magical in last year's Champion Stakes. For all that, though, he had not won a Group 1 in England before Saturday.
"I was frightened that the ground had dried a bit too much today," Haggas said. "But it's pretty horrible and he loves it when it's horrible. He is at his best when there's a ground inspection in the morning and it passes. He is pretty versatile, but he's deadly on this ground."
The trainer said he has no idea yet what's next for Addeybb, although another swing to Australia might be in the cards.
"If we can get there, we will obviously consider it," Haggas said. "We also might consider Saudi Arabia as well, which is dirt but that dirt track is terrific. I was there last year and I thought it was terrific and possibly worth a shot."
Japanese racing is halfway to a potentially momentous late-season showdown as Daring Tact Sunday nailed down a sweep of the Fillies Triple Crown with a win in the Grade 1 Shuka Sho at Kyoto Racetrack.
Contrail will shoot for a similar sweep of the colts' Triple Crown next Sunday and, should he win, the duo would make a magical combination in the Grade 1 Japan Cup in November.
Daring Tact raced mid-pack and off the rail in the Shuka Sho, always out of trouble. She joined a line of fillies across the track as the field turned for home, asserted herself through the final 100 meters and won by 1 1/4 lengths, becoming the first undefeated Japanese filly Triple Crown winner.
The Epiphaneia filly is just the sixth filly to sweep the series. The last to do so, Almond Eye, went on to win the Japan Cup.
"The filly seemed a bit nervous at the paddock," Matsuyama said. "But she broke well and we were able to race in good position and in good rhythm. There was some pressure as we were aiming for the first undefeated Triple Crown filly in JRA history but I'm delighted to be able to accomplish this remarkable feat."
"Even from her debut, she stood out," Matsuyama said before the Shuka Sho win. "But it was after the Oka Sho that I realized just how much she had improved since then. And then, her limberness in her work before the Oaks struck me and her improvement stood out."
Golden Sixty staked a firm claim to leadership among Hong Kong's top runners with a determined, if narrow, score in Sunday's Group 2 Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy at Sha Tin Racecourse.
The 5-year-old, who defeated two-time Horse of the Year Beauty Generation in their first start of the season last month, had to contend this time with Ka Ying Star.
Ka Ying Star made all the early going but when Golden Sixty passed him at mid-stretch, it appeared the latter would go on to win by open lengths. Instead, Ka Ying Star found new life, battled back and fell only 1/2 length short of the winner.
Beauty Generation, showing every day of his 8 years of age, had every chance, but could not find the needed gear in the final 200 meters, finishing sixth.
Jockey Vincent Ho said the relatively narrow margin of victory was deceptive.
"He does switch off. Two, maybe three strides after he hits the front, he always does. That's why he never wins by huge margins," the rider said. "When the other horse accelerated a bit I just gave him a reminder. He's a very smart horse."
Trainer Francis Liu said he has put to rest his earlier indecision about which event to target on Longines Hong Kong International Races day Dec. 13.
After Sunday's effort, he said, he will keep Golden Sixty at the mile -- a race that also could feature Ka Ying Star and Southern Legend, who finished third in the Sha Tin Trophy. At this point, Beauty Generation will need to mount a comeback to figure in that race, which he has won twice in past campaigns.
Verry Elleegant emerged from the middle of the pack on the final turn of Saturday's Group 1 Stella Artois Caulfield Cup, came around rivals to vie for the lead and then had to contend with a late run by Irish invader Anthony Van Dyck before winning by a neck.
The Chosen One, who wasn't chosen by many at 61-1 odds, finished third, just seeing off English raider Prince of Arran.
The field was tightly bunched as they turned for home with both Verry Elleegant and Anthony Van Dyck far out in the middle of the course and things were very much up in the air until the final 100 meters.
Trainer Chris Waller, who watched from Sydney, told Racing.com: "You think of all the negatives when you've got good horses around you and I thought that weight, 55 kilos, might not sound a lot to those at home.
But I can assure you, Caulfield Cup history would suggest mares with 55 kilos, they don't win very often. That just tells you how good she is." Fifty-five kilos equates to about 121.25 pounds.
The 5-year-old, New Zealand-bred mare, who won for the sixth time at the Group 1 level, and 2019 Investec Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck both remain near the top of the futures wagering for the Melbourne Cup.
Meanwhile, back in North America:
Woodbine (all money in Canadian $$$)
Etoile stalked the pace in Sunday's $600,000 Grade I E.P. Taylor Stakes for fillies and mares, surged to a daylight lead in the stretch and held off 42-1 shot Court Return in the closing strides to win by a neck.
Secret Message was third and the favorite, Rideforthecause, was fourth. Etoile, a 4-year-old, French-bred daughter of Siyouni, got 1 1/4 miles on a course rated "good" in 2:03.12 for jockey Rafael Hernandez.
A Group 3 winner in France last year, Etoile finished eighth in the Grade I Gamely Stakes at Santa Anita in her U.S. debut for trainer Chad Brown but was beaten only 4 1/2 lengths.
She came back east to finish second in the Grade II Dance Smartly at Woodbine, 3/4 length behind Theodora B., who finished fifth Sunday after making the early pace.
"It was a good trip," Hernandez said. "I called Chad this morning and he told me, 'Raffi, try to get a good trip like last time. Just make sure you clear down the stretch.' He told me he'd been working the horse a few times and he put her outside of other horses, and she'd be finishing great."
In Sunday's $300,000 Grade II Nearctic Stakes, Silent Poet continued his domination of the local grass sprinters, leading all the way and defeating runner-up City Boy by 1/2 length. Kanthaka, last seen running third in the Grade III Turf Sprint at Kentucky Downs, finished third again.
Silent Poet, a 5-year-old Silent Name gelding, got 6 furlongs on good turf in 1:08.57 with Justin Stein in the irons.
"He just leaves the gate so quick," Stein said of Silent Poet, who now has won nine of 14 starts on the Woodbine turf with three seconds and a third. "He hits his stride right away. With a horse like that, you get position and just slow him down, save as much horse as you can, and he does the rest.
"He loves his job, and when you ask him to run, he just gives you everything. He tows you down the lane."
Say the Word, stretching out to 1 1/2 miles for the first time in more than two years, needed almost all of that ground in capturing Sunday's $300,000 Grade I Northern Dancer Turf Stakes.
The 5-year-old More Than Ready gelding, with Emma-Jayne Wilson up, could see all seven rivals through the first 1 1/4 miles of the race, kicked it into gear in the stretch and got by them all to win by 1 length. Sir Sahib was second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of Admiralty Pier. Say the Word was clocked in 2:29.87.
Say the Word, trained by Gail Cox for owner-breeder Sam-Son Farm, last attempted the 12 furlongs in the Breeders' Stakes in August of 2018, finishing second. He had never won a graded stakes before Sunday, let alone a Grade I.
"He settled for me beautifully," Wilson said. "I literally just held the mane for pretty much the first mile and a quarter. Then as I gathered him up, I knew. I just knew. He was gaining on them last time and I just knew when he straightened, he was already in flight and it was going to be tough to beat him."
The rest of the weekend stakes schedule was given over to the juveniles.
Helium, an Ironicus colt, ran his record to 2-for-2 with a late-running 4 1/4-lengths victory in Sunday's $120,000 Display Stakes.
The colt, trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Wilson, tracked the early leaders into the stretch and willingly closed the gap to lead a furlong from the finish. He covered 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:22.62.
"When I pulled the trigger -- you've heard this said time and time again when you're standing in this winner's enclosure -- when you pull the trigger and they go, they're good horses," Wilson said. Well, that's what got me here today."
Souper Sensational, the odds-on favorite, took control in the stretch run of Saturday's $120,000 Glorious Song Stakes for 2-year-old fillies and won off by 4 lengths.
Javanica was best of the rest, 1 length in front of Right to Freedom. Souper Sensational, a Curlin filly out of the Indian Charlie mare Kateri, ran 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:21.84 with Patrick Husbands in the kip. She now is 2-for-2 for trainer Mark Casse and Live Oak Plantation.
"I don't want to be smart, but she's one of the best so far I've got on as a 2-year-old," Husbands said of Souper Sensational. "All this horse has got is 'green light.' You could do anything with her. She's just a 3-year-old in a 2-year-old body."
Devamani and Olympico, a pair of French-breds got home first and second in Sunday's $150,000 Grade II Knickerbocker Stakes, giving Chad Brown yet another exacta finish in a New York graded turf stakes.
Devamani, a 6-year-old Dubawi gelding, raced slightly closer to the pace made by En Wye Cee and got first run to the lead in the stretch. Olympico came along behind the stablemate but fell 2 lengths short while En Wye Cee settled for third. Devamani, with Joel Rosario riding, got 1 1/8 miles on yielding turf in 1:51.78.
Devamani toiled in the allowance ranks last year before taking on sterner tests this season, finishing second in the Grade III Tampa Bay Stakes and the Grade II Fort Marcy at Belmont. Brown said he may just now be coming into his own.
"This horse has a pedigree to get better when he gets older," Brown said. "I'm not shy to run 6, 7 or 8-year-olds on the turf. Sometimes, they find their feet there.
"I'll talk to the ownership group and see, but this horse is running super. We may run him one more time [this year] or we may not. But I'm looking to run him as a 7-year-old.
In Sunday's $150,000 Grade II Hill Prince Stakes for 3-year-olds, Get Smokin' got goin' right away, led throughout and won by a head over the late-charging odds-on favorite Decorated Invader.
It was 2 more lengths to Bodecream in third. Get Smokin', a Get Stormy gelding, ran 1 mile on yielding turf in 1:36.95 for jockey Javier Castellano.
Get Stormy scored just his second win although he did report second in the Grade II National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes this summer at Saratoga.
"I've thrown this horse to the wolves," winning trainer Tom Bush said. "He's one of these rare horses that you'll see horses that run very out of their condition and they don't get discouraged and keep being a top runner and that's the type of horse he is. You're not breaking his spirit."
Lead Guitar raced in mid-pack in Saturday's $80,000 Floral Park Stakes for fillies and mares, chased down the early leader a furlong out and continued with enthusiasm, winning by 3/4 length.
Bohemian Bourbon was along to finish second, 2 1/4 length to the good of I'llhandlethecash. Lead Guitar, a 4-year-old Maclean's Music filly, ran 6 furlongs on the soft inner turf course in 1:11.45 with Luis Saez riding.
Blame Debbie seized the early lead in Sunday's $125,000 Grade III Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes at 1 1/2 miles on the grass, and then battled through the final furlongs with Always Shopping before defeating that one by a head.
With Dignity was 2 1/4 lengths farther back in third. Blame Debbie, a 3-year-old daughter of Blame running against older rivals, finished in 2:34.74 over firm turf with Manny Franco riding for trainer Graham Motion. She made it two in a row following an allowance victory over the same grass two weeks earlier.
"She was so nice and so game in the lead," Franco said of Blame Debbie. "I think she felt that other horse coming by the five-sixteenths pole to the wire. She never let that one pass her. I was really pleased. I was riding to the wire, and she responded to me the whole way."
Venetian Harbor was quickly out front in Saturday's $200,000 Grade II Lexus Raven Run Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, showed the way and then hung on to win by a neck over Finite. Grand Cru Classe was third.
Venetian Harbor, a Munnings filly, got 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:23.03 with Manny Franco in the irons. The win broke a string of three straight second-place finishes, two of those in Grade I events.
Part-owner Joseph Ciaglia said the intent was to make the Raven Run a prep for a shot at the Breeders' Cup. Asked if that's still the plan, he said, "Absolutely," then turned to his partners and said, "Are you ready to go?" They are.
Stunning Sky was caught wide around both turns in Friday's $150,000 Grade III Pin Oak Valley View Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, but rallied determinedly from next-last to win by 1/2 length over Princess Grace.
How Ironic was third with a late charge. Stunning Sky, a Declaration of War filly trained by Mike Maker, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:41.33. She was second in both the Grade II Lake Placid at Saratoga and the Saratoga Oaks Invitational before a fourth-place showing in the Dueling Grounds Oaks at Kentucky Downs before Friday's win.
"She ran some game races, unlucky to lose, at Saratoga," Maker said. "Very deserving. Such a big, classy filly. ... As big as she is, as she gets older, we'll go marathon distances. No doubt about it."
Smooth Like Strait pressed the pace in Sunday's $200,000 Grade II Twilight Derby, took the lead when turned loose by jockey Umberto Rispoli and drew away to win by 1 1/2 lengths.
Field Pass was third, another 3/4 length behind. Smooth Like Strait, a Midnight Lute colt, ran 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:46.89. He now has three wins and a second from five starts this year for trainer Michael McCarthy.
"All the stars aligned today," McCarthy said. "He brought his A-game. Umberto rode him like the leading rider he is."
Kalypso led gate to wire in Sunday's $75,000 Anoakia Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, winning by 2 1/4 lengths. Queengol was second, 1/2 length in front of Illumination. Kalypso, a Brody's Cause filly, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.30 with Abel Cedillo in the irons.
Warren's Showtime, under a perfectly timed ride by Flavien Prat, was up at the wire to win Saturday's $100,000 Grade III Autumn Miss Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by a neck.
Going to Vegas also rallied late and just missed. Nasty ran evenly to finish third, another 1/2 length in arrears. Warren's Showtime, a daughter of Clubhouse Ride, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:33.77.
Friday night was Oklahoma Classics night for the state-bred steeds. The track was fast, the turf was firm.
Don't Tell Noobody rallied from well back in the field under Sophie Doyle to post a 40-1 upset win in the $175,000 Oklahoma Classics Cup, defeating Fast Breakin Cash by 1 length.
The favorite, Rowdy Yates, was fourth after making the early pace. Don't Tell Noobody, a 3-year-old Cyber Secret gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.68.
She's All Wolfe outfinished the favorite, Lady Orchid, to land the $145,000 Distaff, winning by a head over that rival. It was another 1 1/4 lengths to Okie Queen in third. She's All Wolfe, a 3-year-old filly by Magna Graduate, stopped the timer in 1:42.81 with Richard Eramia in the irons.
Alternative Slew ran second behind breakaway leader Hawaiian Typhoon in the $130,000 Distaff Turf and then came and got that one to win by 1 3/4 lengths.
Quality Rocket pressed the early pace in the $130,000 Turf Classic, then won a four-way scramble to the wire, scoring by a head over Half Ours to Keep.
Welder, one of the evening's biggest favorites, rolled to a 4-lengths victory in the $130,000 Sprint. In the $130,000 Distaff Sprint, Three Chords sprinted away from the field in the stretch to post a mild upset, winning by 5 1/4 lengths.
Number One Dude had to battle for the lead in the $100,000 Juvenile, surrendered it briefly and came back to win by 1 length as the odds-on favorite. Gotta See Red came from well back in the field to take the $100,000 Lassie for 2-year-old fillies by 3/4 length, also as the favorite.
Hidden Grace was no secret from the investors in Friday's restricted $50,000 (Canadian) CTHS Sales Stakes for 3- and 4-year-old fillies. The daughter of Going Commando was sent off as a prohibitive favorite, led all the way and won by 7 lengths.
Nu Legacy and Pearl of Knowledge were second and third as the winner got 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:22.68 with Enrique Gomez aboard. It was her 12th win from 16 starts with two seconds and two thirds into the bargain.