Bell's the One and Sconsin finish 1-2 in the Roxelana Stakes at Churchill Downs on June 19, and the old rivals face off again in Saturday' $300,000 Dream Supreme Stakes over the same track. Photo courtesy of Churchill Downs)
Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Graded stakes action heats up north of the border this weekend, with three competitive offerings at Woodbine while some promising 2-year-olds are on display from coast to coast.
Churchill Downs presents the sixth round of "Sconsin vs. Bell's the One," a battle of fillies and mares, while New York racing shifts venue from Belmont Park to its winter home at Aqueduct.
On the international scene, fillies and mares look to make a mark as Grade 1 racing returns to Japan after a week's absence. And the British All-Weather Championships are set to provide a competitive prep race for the next month's Longines Hong Kong International Races.
And the Cartier Horse of the Year is ... revealed in "News and Notes" below.
Bob Baffert will saddle three of the five entries for Sunday's $100,000 Grade III Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar. All three colts -- Messier, by Empire Maker, Winning Map, by Liam's Map, and Kamui, a son of Quality Road colt -- exit maiden wins.
They face the more accomplished Rock N Rye, who already has compiled two wins, two seconds and a third, and Forbidden Kingdom, third in the Speakeasy Stakes in his last outing.
Run to Daylight tops a cast of eight for Saturday's $100,000 James F. Lewis III Stakes at Laurel Park. The Runhappy gelding is undefeated after three starts, all at Charles Town. No Sabe Nada, a Jersey Town gelding, has run well at Delaware Park including a victory in the First State Dash.
Nine signed on for Friday's $75,000 Don C. McNeill Stakes for Oklahoma-breds at Remington Park. Rowdy Rascal and Cuatro Madres are the favorites after finishing first and third in the Oklahoma Classics Juvenile.
Saturday' $50,000 Golden Nugget Stakes on the Golden Gate Fields all-weather has a field of five. Stanford Bay, a Stanford colt starting from the outside gate, looks likely in a field of limited accomplishments.
Eda is the odds-on favorite on the morning line for Saturday's $100,000 Desi Arnaz Stakes at Del Mar. The Munnings filly, from the Bob Baffert barn, faces just four rivals as she tries to back up a victory in the Anoakia Stakes at Santa Anita in her last start.
One race earlier, she was a fading fifth, victim of a pace duel, in the Grade I Del Mar Debutante. Watch out for stablemate Under the Stars, a Coolmore-owned Pioneerof the Nile filly who finished third in her only previous outing in a promising effort. Lady T returns after finishing second in the Anoakia.
The eight fillies entered for Saturday's $100,000 Smart Halo Stakes at Laurel Park appear pretty well matched with six at single-digit odds on the morning line. Trade Secret, a Goldencents filly trained by Steve Asmussen, is the 3-1 favorite.
Asmussen trainee Morning Twilight is the morning-line favorite among seven in for Friday's $75,000 Slide Show Stakes for Oklahoma-breds at Remington Park. She won the Oklahoma Classics Lassie and the runner-up in that, Hits Pricey Legacy, also is well regarded here.
In other action:
Mark Casse saddles four of the 10 fillies and mares set to go 10 furlongs on the all-weather track in Saturday's $100,000 (Canadian) Grade III Maple Leaf Stakes.
Of those, Broadway Lady, a Constitution filly, and Skygaze, by American Pharoah, looks most likely. Broadway Lady steps up from allowance company while Skygaze and the morning line favorite, Merveilleux, goes the other direction, getting a little class relief.
Merveilleux finished fourth in the Grade II Canadian Stakes and 10th in the Grade I E.P. Taylor in her last two races. Skygaze comes off a second in the Grade III Ontario Matron. Godolphin homebred Lake Lucerne must be considered on her New York form.
Casse only has two in Saturday's $175,000 (Canadian) Grade II Bessarabian Stakes for fillies and mares, 7 furlongs on the all-weather, but one is the 2-1 favorite, Our Secret Agent.
The 4-year-old Secret Circle filly was third in this last year and has been in the mix in graded stakes ever since. She exits a win in last month's Grade III Hendrie Stakes. Gidgetta, Lady Speightspeare and Tuned also draw early support.
Eight are in for Sunday's $175,000 (Canadian) Grade II Autumn Stakes, 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather. Among them are 2020 Queen's Plate and Prince of Wales winner Mighty Heart and last year's Autumn Stakes winner Special Forces.
Saturday's $300,000 Dream Supreme Stakes for fillies and mares, at 6 furlongs on the main track, has a field of six.
Attention focuses on Bell's the One, a 5-year-old Majestic Perfection mare, and Sconsin, a 4-year-old Include filly, who square off for the sixth time with Sconsin holding the edge 3-2.
In their most recent meeting, Sconsin and Bell's the One finished 1-2 in that order in the Open Mind Stakes in September over the same track. In last year's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Keeneland, Bell's the One reported third, Sconsin fourth.
The Big A starts the long winter run Friday and the first stakes event is Saturday's $150,000 Artie Schiller Stakes at 1 mile on the grass. There are 12 entries, two of them "main track only" prospects.
Tell Your Daddy, whose trip to the Breeders' Cup was interrupted when he finished third in the "Win and You're In" Keeneland Turf Mile, is one to watch. So is Flavius, who defeated Tell Your Daddy in the Lure Stakes at Saratoga in August.
Sunday, 3-year-old fillies go 1 1/18 miles on the lawn in the Winter Memories Stakes.
Becca's Rocket heads a field of six for Friday's $100,000 Treasure Chest for fillies and mares, 1 mile on the dirt. The Orb filly won her last two starts at Evangeline Downs.
Saturday's $100,000 Delta Mile has a field of 10. Pirate's Punch, Mocito Rojo and Fighting Seabee top the morning line although none has been setting the world afire recently.
Josie is the 9-5 morning line favorite among nine set for Saturday's $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.
The 4-year-old daughter of Race Day was third in the local Twixt Stakes after previously toiling in the nation's midsection, from Iowa and Indiana down to Arkansas and Louisiana for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Around the world, around the clock:
Loves Only You isn't available after winning the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf last weekend so the likely favorite role for Sunday's Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Hanshin Racecourse falls to Akaitorino Musume.
The 3-year-old Deep Impact filly stands on the precipice of stardom after finishing second in the Grade 1 Yushun Himba or Japanese Oaks in May, then returning last month to capture the Grade 1 Shuka Sho.
The QE II rivals include Win Marilyn and Lei Papale. The former, a 4-year-old Screen Hero filly, was second in the 2020 Yushun Himba and has five wins from 11 lifetime starts. She still seeks her first Grade 1 win.
Lei Papale, a 4-year-old daughter of Deep Impact, won her first six starts, including the Grade 1 Osaka Hai in April. But she reported third and fourth in her last two starts -- the most recent of which was won by Win Marilyn.
Restricted to fillies and mares, the race is contested at 2,200 meters.
Also note: Three quality overseas entries are confirmed for the Japan Cup -- Broome and Japan from the Aidan O'Brien yard and French hopeful Grand Glory, trained by Gianluca Bietolini.
Grand Glory won the Group 1 Darley Prix Jean Romanet two starts back with Audarya second, and then finished second by a nose to Rougir in the Group 1 Prix de l'Opera Longines in her most recent effort. Broome finished second and Japan fourth in the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf at Del Mar on Nov. 6.
The All-Weather Championships program, in addition to being an attractive proposition in its own right, has developed a reputation as an adjunct the Dubai Carnival and big Saudi Arabian races. Now, add Hong Kong to that list.
Saturday at Lingfield, Pyledriver is among 14 to line up in the Betway Churchill Stakes, a Fast-Track Qualifier for the Betway Easter Classic on Finals Day. In the interim, though, Pyledriver is using the 10-furlongs event for an appearance at the Longines Hong Kong International Races next month at Sha Tin Racecourse.
That's on the grass, which seems no problem as Pyledriver was impressive enough in winning the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom in June. He also has handled the all-weather, finishing second last year in the Group 3 Classic Trial at Kempton Park before winning the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He won't have it easy as the field also includes Felix, second in the 2021 Winter Derby before moving on to Dubai where he finished third in the Group 1 Dubai Turf at Meydan on World Cup night.
The race is one of two Fast-Track qualifiers on the program, joined by the Betway Golden Rose Stakes at 6 furlongs, with the winner getting the Annie Oakley for the Betway All-Weather Sprint Championship on Finals Day at Newcastle.
News and Notes
St Mark's Basilica on Wednesday evening was named Cartier Horse Of The Year in fancy ceremonies at the Dorchester Hotel in London.
The Siyouni colt, who races for Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, is the sixth horse owned by a member of a Coolmore partnership to receive the award, following Giant's Causeway, Rock of Gibraltar, Hurricane Run, Dylan Thomas and Minding.
St Mark's Basilica was undefeated this year with victories in four Group 1 events -- the Emirates Poule d'Essai des Poulains, the Qatar Prix du Jockey Club, the Coral-Eclipse and the Irish Champion Stakes.
Trained by Aidan O'Brien, St Mark's Basilica also was named 3-year-old champion. The other awards went to Palace Pier in the older horse category, Snowfall as top 3-year-old filly, Starman as best sprinter and Trueshan as champion stayer.
The 2-year-old kudos went to the Godolphin colt Native Trail and Cheveley Park Stud's filly Inspiral.
Winners are determined by combining points earned by horses in Pattern races (30%), combined with the opinions of a panel of racing journalists/handicappers (35%) and votes from readers of Racing Post and The Daily Telegraph (35%).