Almond Eye chalks up another record winning Sunday's Grade 1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) at Tokyo Racecourse. Photo courtesy of Japan Racing Association
Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Almond Eye made another entry in the record books, Furore finally got back to the winner's arch in Hong Kong and some youngsters teed up potential 2021 Classics campaigns in Canada over the weekend.
Del Mar was getting going, while Belmont Park was winding down and the rest of American racing was in the final stages of preparations for next weekend's Breeeders' Cup World Championships at Keeneland.
Much of the rest of the world was watching Australia, where the Melbourne Cup is set for Tuesday.
The fields for those Breeders' Cup races will be announced Monday. Year-end honors are at stake. And we'll have the Melbourne outcome early on Election Day.
Settle back with some leftover Halloween candy and enjoy the doings from the weekend just past:
Almond Eye turned in another professional performance Sunday at Tokyo Racecourse while running her way into the record books with a 1/2-length win in the Grade 1 Tenno Sho (Autumn).
The victory was her eighth on the turf, counting the 2019 Dubai Turf at Meydan, one more than any other Japanese runner. The 5-year-old daughter of Lord Kanaloa raced three back of breakaway leader Danon Premium until the top of the stretch.
As the field began to climb the iconic hill, Christophe Lemaire gave Almond Eye the "go" sign. She responded, getting the lead inside the 200-meters marker.
Fierement was gaining ground late, but could not rival Almond Eye and finished second. Chrono Genesis was third as Almond Eye finished the 2,000 meters in 1:57.8.
"Today, the mare was relaxed before the start and we were able to break well," Lemaire said. "She showed a great turn of foot in the straight, but ran out of steam a bit climbing the hill. The others were gaining on us but she didn't give up."
Her connections have not laid out a plan for Almond Eye going forward and an emotional Lemaire enigmatically commented that "Her future lies in the hands of the owner and trainer. But I would very much like to ride her again."
Almond Eye reeled off seven straight wins from late 2017 through the 2019 Dubai triumph, a streak that included all three legs of the Japanese fillies Triple Crown and the Grade 1 Japan Cup in Association with Longines. Overall, she has 10 wins from 14 starts.
At Kyoto Racecourse, Saturday's Grade II Mainichi Broadcast.com Swan Stakes was billed as the return of Group 1-winning Admire Mars.
It didn't work out that way as 143-1 chance Katsuji was hustled to the lead and got home first, 1 length to the good of second-favorite Stelvio with Admire Mars settling for third. Ten others were bunched less than 2 lengths apart behind Admire Mars.
Katsuji, a 5-year-old son of Deep Impact, deserved every yen of his odds, based on the record. His last win came in April 2018. In 12 intervening starts, none of them graded events, he managed to crack the top three placings only once.
Stelvio, also a Grade 1 winner earlier in his career, was making his first start since finishing second in a Grade II event at Tokyo Racecourse on May 16. Admire Mars is a three-time Grade 1 winner, most recently in last December's Longines Hong Kong Mile.
Entering Sunday's Group 3 Sa Sa Ladies Purse at Sha Tin Racecourse, Furore had gone winless in 12 straight races since his victory in the 2019 BMW Hong Kong Derby.
With Joao Moreira riding for the first time, he put things right with an explosive and well-timed run down the straight to defeat Hong Kong's reigning Horse of the Year, Exultant, by 1 1/4 lengths.
The top two, both trained by Tony Cruz, had very opposite trips. Exultant, with Zac Purton in the irons, raced in perfect placing just behind the early speed while Furore was well back in the field amid traffic.
Rounding the bend into the stretch, Moreira got Furore wide enough to find room and the stablemates both accelerated with Furore just finding more in the final 100 meters.
Both are seeking bigger prizes down the road and Cruz and both riders were happy enough with Sunday's results.
"We know he is a good horse and it was just a matter of time until he won another feature race," Moreira said of Furore's long drought. "He's a nice horse and there is more to come with him."
Cruz noted Exultant "was carrying the top weight and 1,800 meters is definitely not his trip. This is a lead-up to the Jockey Club Cup. He will be perfect by then."
Another from the Cruz barn, Time Warp, was a race-day scratch with lameness in a foreleg. "We'll see what we can do" about the 7-year-old whose last victory came in the Group 1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup in February, the trainer said.
Moreira and Purton each rode a single winner on Sunday's card so Moreira maintained his 10-wins lead in the jockey premiership competition.
While Americans sweat out Tuesday's race that will decide the fate of nation, Australians already will be going about their business, knowing the outcome of the "Race that stops the nation" -- the Group 1 Lexus Melbourne Cup.
As usual, there's a full field for the 2-miles test. In recent years, the foreign raiders have drawn much of the attention, but this year's field also includes some solid locals and hasn't churned up any solid favorites.
Ireland's maestro, Aidan O'Brien, is in with a couple of chances although 2019 Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck apparently used up all the trainer's leprechaun luck while drawing gate 3. Stablemate Tiger Moth then got a scary brush with the flame in the barrier draw, assigned gate 23.
Charlie Ffellowes brings Prince of Arran, who wound up second in last year's Melbourne Cup when the objections and a disqualification were done. He prepped with a fourth in the Stella Artois Caulfield Cup.
There's nothing wrong with the locals, either. Among them is Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet, a local now after being trained in Ireland by O'Brien. Verry Elleegant, Russian Camelot and Surprise Baby all find supporters.
In Saturday's action at Flemington:
Johnny Get Angry got the spoils with a determined stretch run in the Group 1 Victoria Derby, winning by 1 length over Hit the Shot with the favorite, Young Werther, a close-up third. Johnny Get Angry, a New Zealand-bred gelding by Tavistock, entered the race still a maiden.
Yulong Prince, a 7-year-old, South African-bred son of Gimmethegreenlight, outfinished Cascadian to win the Group 1 Kennedy Cantala by 1/4 length.
The favorite, Mr. Quickie, finished 13th. Yulong Prince, initially raced in South Africa, finished 10th in the 2019 Dubai Turf, won by Almond Eye, before heading down under, where he had one win from 14 previous starts. He is entered for the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Mile in December.
Shout the Bar edged Odeum in the Group 1 TAB Empire Rose Stakes at 1,600 meters for fillies and mares with Forbidden Love third and the favorite, seventh. Shout the Bar, a 4-year-old filly by Not a Single Doubt, had disappointed in her first three runs of the season.
September Run, sent off the lukewarm favorite, got the job done with some style in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes for 3-year-olds, a 1,200-meters dash. The Exceed and Excel filly, trained by Chris Waller, made it three straight wins while moving into the top level for the first time.
Meanwhile, back in North America:
There was a lot of action for 2-year-olds, all worth noting at least in passing since the Breeders' Cup events aren't always totally predictive of future success. Here's a brief look:
At Woodbine on Sunday, Stephen hopped at the start of the $250,000 (Canadian) Coronation Futurity for Canadian-foaled 2-year-olds, raced in mid-pack and then got going in the stretch.
The Constitution colt, with Justin Stein in the irons, collared pacesetter Tio Magico midway down the lane and went on to win by 1 1/2 lengths over that rival. Giant Waters was third. Stephen ran 1 1/8 miles on the all-weather track in 1:52.46, recording his first win in his third start.
No horse has completed the Coronation-Queen's Plate double since Norcliffe in 1975. Stephen's trainer, Kevin Attard, noting he was born in 1975, said, "Streaks are made to be broken. The plan is to break this curse next year."
At Remington Park, Game Day Play was away last of seven in Friday's $60,000 Clever Trevor Stakes for 2-year-olds, came running four-wide in the stretch and was just up to win by a head over Red N Wild.
Hulen was third after contesting the early pace and the favorite, Gushing Oil, retreated steadily to finish last. Game Day Play, a Kentucky-bred Violence gelding, ran 7 furlongs on a good track in 1:25.66 with Lindey Wade aboard. The Bret Calhoun trainee now has two wins from four starts.
On the Belmont Park turf, Step Dancer found room along the hedge well down the stretch in Saturday's $80,000 Awad Stakes and got through to win by 3/4 length from Like a Saltshaker.
The favorite, Space Launch, was third. Step Dancer, a New York-bred colt by War Dancer, ran 1 1/16 miles on yielding ground in 1:48.69 for jockey Dylan Davis, winning for the second time in three starts for trainer Barclay Tagg.
At Charles Town, Youthinkthatsfunny ran by pacesetting favorite Juba Did It at mid-stretch and drew off to win Saturday's $68,000 West Virginia Futurity for state-breds by 2 1/4 lengths over that rival.
Just Gets Better was third. Youthinkthatsfunny, a Fiber Sonde gelding, toured 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:28.23 with Reshawn Latchman in the irons.
On "Best of Ohio" day Saturday at Mahoning Valley Race Course, Buckeye Magic came well wide with a late rush to win the $100,000 Juvenile Stakes for state-bred 2-year-olds by 1 3/4 lengths.
The favorite, Morestride, was second. Buckeye Magic, a Trappe Shot colt, ran 1 1/16 miles on a muddy track in 1:47.70 with John McKee aboard.
And the 2-year-old fillies, thus:
Dreaming of Drew, the odds-on favorite, led all the way to a 3 3/4-lengths victory Saturday at Woodbine in the $250,000 (Canadian) Princess Elizabeth Stakes for Canadian-bred fillies, a harbinger of the 2021 Woobine Oaks and/or the Queen's Plate.
Il Malocchio was best of the rest, 3 lengths in front of Emmeline. Dreaming of Drew, a Speightster filly, got 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:44.07 with Patrick Husbands up. She now has two wins and two seconds from five starts and was fourth in the Grade I Natalma Stakes.
"She's a dream," trainer Barb Minshall said of Dreaming of Drew. "Hopefully, she'll be an Oaks contender next year."
On the Belmont Park turf, Ingrassia and Fluffy Socks -- both trained by Chad Brown -- engaged in a late stretch duel in the $80,000 Chelsea Flower Stakes with the former prevailing by a nose.
Tic Tac Boom finished third, 7 1/4 lengths farther back. Ingrassia, a Medaglia d'Oro filly owned and bred by Don Alberto Corporation/Stable, finished 1 1/16 miles on soft turf in 1:52.01. She has two wins from three starts and a third place in the Grade II JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland.
I'm So Anna Jumped out to an early lead in Saturday's $75,000 Pike Place Dancer Stakes on the Golden Gate Fields turf, showed the way slowly and had enough left late to win by 1/2 length from late-running Consternation. I'm So Anna, a Fast Anna filly, ran 1 mile on firm going in 1:39.79 with Frank Alvarado riding.
At Mahoning Valley, Alexandria went to the post as the prohibitive favorite in Saturday's $100,000 John W. Galbreath Stakes for Ohio-breds and ran to her notices, winning by 6 3/4 lengths.
Shez Shacked Up led for the first few furlongs and held on for second, 1 length to the good of Ballroom Blitz. Alexandria, a Constitution filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on a muddy track in 1:47.83 with Gerardo Corrales up.
Majestic Dunhill hooked up with pacesetting favorite Share the Ride in the final sixteenth of Saturday's $100,000 Grade III Bold Ruler Handicap and gamely prevailed by a head.
Arch Cat and Mihos completed the order of finish. Majestic Dunhill, a 5-year-old Majesticperfection gelding, ran 7 furlongs on a muddy track in 1:22.48 with Joel Rosario riding for trainer GeorgeWeaver. It was his first win since November of 2018.
Luck Money rallied to the lead in the lane in Saturday's $80,000 Zagora Stakes for fillies and mares, then held on to win by a neck over Hungry Kitten and a similar margin from the favorite, Mutamakina.
Luck Money, a 3-year-old filly by Lookin at Lucky out of the Rahy mare Flagrant, finished 1 1/2 miles on yielding turf in 2:36.02 for jockey Javier Castellano.
Sunday, Honor Way took over in the stretch run of the $80,000 Pumpkin Pie Stakes for fillies and mares, kicking away to a 4 1/2-lengths victory.
Pacific Gale was second and the favorite, Never Enough Time, finished third after leading early. Honor Way, a 6-year-old Caleb's Posse mare, finished 7 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:22.98 with Jose Ortiz at the controls.
Never Be Enough came wide around most of the field in Saturday's restricted $75,000 Kathryn Crosby Stakes for fillies and mares and made up all the ground to win by 1 length.
Colonial Creed was second with Cordiality third. Never Be Enough, a 5-year-old, British-bred mare by Sir Percy, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:33.87. Tiago Periera rode for trainer Manuel Badilla.
Strongconstitution got to the lead along the rail at midstretch in Sunday's $100,000 Let It Ride Stakes for 3-year-olds, then just survived the late run of Heywoods Beach to win by a head.
Lane Way was third in the 1-mile event, run on firm turf. Strongconstitution, a Constitution colt, reported in 1:34.09 with Abel Cedillo up.
Not So Quiet led, gave up the lead, then came again to win Saturday's $100,000 (Canadian) Overskate Stakes for Canadian-breds by 3/4 length over Royal Laser. Red Cabernet was third. Not So Quiet, a 5-year-old Silent Name gelding, toured 7 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:31.03 with Rafael Hernandez up.
Golden Gate Fields
Baja Sur raced last of five early in Sunday's $75,000 El Dorado Shooter Stakes for California-breds, split rivals to gain the lead and won off by 4 lengths. Bettor Trip Nick was best of the rest, 1/2 length in front of Ultimate Bango.
Baja Sur, a 4-year-old Smiling Tiger gelding, ran 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:08.76 with Catalino Martinez up.
The rest of the "Best of Ohio" results other than the juvenile races noted above:
Chief Randel came running late outside rivals to take the $100,000 Sprint by 1 length over Mo Don't No. Buckeye Bullet was third. Chief Randel, a 3-year-old Fiber Sonde colt, ran 6 furlongs on the muddy track in 1:11.77 with Fernando Becerra up.
Drillit got first run on the leaders in the final furlong of the $100,000 Distaff and outfinished the odds-on favorite, Moonlight Mission, winning by 2 1/4 lengths. Circus Rings was third. Drillit, a 4-year-old filly by Drill, ran 1 1/8 miles in the mud in 1:55.86 for Christian Pilares.
The punters obviously were forewarned about Forewarned, who went off at even-money in the $100,000 Endurance and won a duel with Wicked Warrior by 1/2 length.
It was another 12 3/4 lengths back to Golden Money in third. Forewarned, a 5-year-old son of Flat Out, got the muddy 1 1/4 miles in 2:06.78 under Sonny Leon.