1 of 2 | White Abarrio, seen winning the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park, is among the Kentucky Derby contenders returning to action in Saturday's Ohio Derby at Thistledown. Photo courtesy of Gulfstream Park
June 24 (UPI) -- Derby contenders from Louisville and Epsom Downs return to action in weekend horse racing and "Win and You're In" spots for Breeders' Cup turf races are on the line in Japan, Peru and Brazil.
Three-year-old fillies contest the Mother Goose at Belmont Park. And we have some mid-week results from a big day at Canterbury Park in Minnesota.
In the "news and notes" department, Bill Nader is headed back across the big ocean. And NYRA modifies its suspension of Bob Baffert.
Why wait? Let's roll.
Saturday's $500,000 Grade III Ohio Derby at Thistledown drew a nice field of eight, including several colts on the rebound from the Kentucky Derby.
White Abarrio won the Grade III Holy Bull and the Grade I Florida Derby but had little chance with a wide trip in the Run for the Roses, fading late to finish 16th.
Tawny Port finished second in the Grade III Jeff Ruby Stakes on the Turfway Park all-weather, and then won the Grade III Lexington at Keeneland. At Churchill Downs, he showed some interest at the top of the stretch, improving position before flattening out to finish seventh, beaten just 4 3/4 lengths.
Ethereal Road finished second in the Grade II Rebel at Oaklawn Park and fourth in the Lexington before skipping the Kentucky Derby. He won the Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico in his latest.
Classic Causeway needs to prove he can succeed outside the Florida Gulf Coast. He won the Grade III Sam F. Davis and the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs, but then was 11th in both the Florida Derby and the Kentucky Derby.
Mike Maker has entered two New York-breds -- Wood Memorial fifth-place finisher Barese and Pineapple Man. Brigadier General and Droppin' Gs round out the field for the 1 1/8-mile race.
Juju's Map and Shahama are the morning-line favorites in a field of five for Saturday's $250,000 Grade II Mother Goose Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park.
Juju's Map, a daughter of Liam's Map, won the Grade I Alcibiades last fall at Keeneland, then was second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar. She returned with an easy win in a Churchill Downs allowance race May 6.
Shahama, a Kentucky-bred Munnings filly, won her first four starts at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, finishing that string in the Group III UAE Oaks. She finished sixth in the Kentucky Oaks in her most recent start, making up ground late, but no threat to the winner, Secret Oath.
Ten are in for Saturday's $250,000 Lady Jacqueline Stakes at Thistledown with Army Wife, Crazy Beautiful and Maracuja topping the morning line.
Army Wife last visited the winner's circle after the Grade III Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows last July but is a consistent in-the-money performer.
Crazy Beautiful won the Latonia Stakes on the Turfway Park all-weather two starts back and Maracuja was last seen finishing fourth in the Grade I Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park on April 23.
Filly & Mare Sprint
Saturday's $200,000 Grade III Chicago Stakes at Churchill Downs has a field of seven set to go 7 furlongs out of the backstretch chute. Familiar rivals Sconsin and Bell's the One meet again, joined Lady's Rocket among the morning-line picks in this one.
Turf / Turf Mile
Sunday's $100,000 Tale of the Cat Stakes at Monmouth Park attracted eight 3-year-olds to go 1 1/16 miles.
Fort Washington, trained by Shug McGaughey, and Portfolio Company, from the Chad Brown operation, have been ambitiously placed and find a softer spot. But none of these is setting the world on fire, so why not have some fun with the Maryland-bred Crabs and Beer?
Already in the books:
Stitched stalked the pace in Wednesday's $150,000 Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury Park, advanced three-wide to take the lead and open a daylight advantage in the stretch, and then held off the late, from-the-clouds run of local hope Bens Malice to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Heaven Street was third.
Stitched, a Mizzen Mast colt trained at Churchill Downs by Greg Foley, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:34.76. Jockey Florent Gerouz enjoyed the visit to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Stitched has won three straight with the Caesar's Stakes at Horseshoe Indianapolis also in his victory column.
Mr Dumas blew by pacesetting long shot Agent Peter Graves in the stretch run of Wednesday's $100,000 Mystic Lake Mile at Canterbury Park and spurted free to win by 3 1/4 lengths over that foe. Dyn O Mite was third.
Mr Dumas, a 6-year-old son of Majesticperfection, was home in 1:33.11 with Reylu Gutierrez in the irons. Trained by John Ortiz, Mr Dumas has finished in the money in 17 of 23 starts while racing as far afield as Saratoga and Del Mar.
Filly & Mare Turf
Saturday's $100,000 Wild Applause Stakes at Belmont Park drew five 3-year-old fillies to tackle 1 mile on the lawn. It's a real "you pick 'em" affair with little to separate them. Trainer Chad Brown has three of the five -- Oakhurst, Lakota Spirit and Eminent Victor.
Already in the books:
She Can't Sing dueled through the early stretch run in Wednesday's $100,000 Lady Canterbury Stakes, slowly drew off and went on to win by 1 length over Amalfi Princess. It was another 1 length to Joy of Painting in third.
She Can't Sing, a Lothenbach Stables homebred mare by Bernardini, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:33.82. Jareth Loveberry had the mount for trainer Chris Block. She Can't Sing has won three of her last four starts and finished fifth in the Grade III Modesty at Churchill Downs.
Schlofmitz came five-wide to take a late lead in Wednesday's $100,000 Curtis Sampson Oaks at Canterbury Park and held off Whenthedawnbreaks through the final strides to win by a head. Latin Nikkita was third.
Schlofmitz, a Blame filly, ran 1 mile on firm going in 1:35.86. Javier Castellano visited to ride for trainer Mike Maker. She now has three wins from six starts.
Twelve plus two also-eligibles are set to tackle 5 1/2 furlongs in Saturday's $100,000 Goldwood Stakes for fillies and mares at Monmouth Park. Honey Pants, Bay Storm and Bout Time are lukewarm favorites in a very competitive field.
Already in the books:
Spycraft waited patiently behind pacesetting Planetalk through the early furlongs of Wednesday's $100,000 Dark Star Turf Sprint at Canterbury Park, gradually closed the gap and took over to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Planetalk held second by just a head over Mark of the Z.
Spycraft, a 5-year-old Discreet Cat gelding, ran 5 furlongs on firm turf in 55.00 seconds with Adam Beschizza up for trainer Joe Sharp.
Around the ovals:
Mowins pressed the pace though the early furlongs of Wednesday's $100,000 Hoosier Breeders' Sophomore Stakes for state-bred 3-year-olds, took the lead when prompted by jockey Jon Court and kicked away to a 5 1/4-lengths victory. Mr Chaos was second, 4 1/4 lengths better than Latigo in third.
Mowins, a Mohaymen colt, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:45.65.
In the companion race for Hoosier-bred 3-year-old fillies, Climber stayed close to the pace, asserted herself through the stretch and won off by 5 1/2 lengths over the favorite, Louder Than Words. It was another 3 1/2 lengths to Holy Justice in third.
Climber, a Divining Rod filly, reported in 1:46.25 with Emmanuel Esquivel in the irons.
Mama G's Wish rallied from just behind the early leaders in Wednesday's $50,000 Lewes Stakes for state-bred 3-year-old fillies and won a three-way sprint to the wire by a neck over Cashing Big Checks. Bandits Warrior was another neck back in third.
Mama G's Wish, an Outflanker filly, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.74 with Carol Cedeno up.
Around the world, around the clock:
Sunday's Grade 1 Takarazuka Kinen June 26 at Hanshin Racecourse puts paid to top-level Japanese racing for the season with a fittingly classy field set to tackle the 2,200 meters.
Among the contenders are three who make their first start since doing their part in Japanese dominance of the rich, early-season races in Saudi Arabia and Dubai.
Titleholder, Efforia and Deep Bond all should be well-backed in the Takarazuka Kinen, which awards the winner an automatic entry to the Group 1 Cox Plate in Australia and the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf at Keeneland.
Titleholder and Deep Bond finished first and second in the Grade 1 Tenno Sho (Spring) in their last start. Efforia was virually unbeatable in 2021 but tossed in a clunker in his 2022 debut in April and hasn't raced since.
Daring Tact could be the fourth straight female winner. The 5-year-old mare returned from a 13-month absence to finish a respectable sixth in the Victoria Mile (G1) on May 15.
The overseas travelers in the field are Authority, winner of the Group 3 Neom Turf Cup in Saudi Arabia and third in the Grade I Dubai Sheema Classic; Panthalassa, dead-heat winner with Lord North of the Group 1 Dubai Turf and Stay Foolish, who won both the Group 3 Red Sea Turf Handicap in Riyadh and the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan.
After the Takarazuka Kinen., the next top-level event on the Japanese racing calendar is the Sprinters Stakes (G1) at Nakayama Racecourse on Oct. 2.
Tuesday's owners have put up the money to supplement the Cazoo Oaks winner to Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby in her first run against colts. Trainer Aidan O'Brien left her as his only entry, removing from consideration Changingoftheguard, Stone Age, Temple of Artemis and Anchorage.
he confidence shown by the Coolmore lads and the Ballydoyle master was enough to propel Tuesday, by Galileo, into the antepost favorite's role for the Classic at the Curragh.
Westover, perhaps unlucky not to have been better than third in the Cazoo Derby, also is well-backed for the Irish equivalent with six others at much longer odds. Although Tuesday is Aidan O'Brien's only starter, sons Joseph Patrick and Donnacha have Hannibal Baraca and Piz Badile, respectively.
Sunday's Pretty Polly Stakes had 14 entries pending final declarations with support spread pretty widely among six or more of the fillies and mares.
Trueshan, a non-runner in his last two planned engagements because of unsuitable firm going, is on the roster again for Saturday's Northumberland Plate at Newcastle.
Should he give it a go on the Newcastle all-weather surface, the outcome could determine the makeup of the Goodwood Cup on July 26, at which Trueshan and Stradivarius might renew acquaintance.
The two outstanding stayers finished first and third, respectively, in the British Champions long-distance cup last autumn with good-to-soft going favoring Trueshan.
The boiling question in the U.K. is who might ride Stradivarius wherever he next appears. Trainer John Gosden was highly critical of the ride applied by regular jockey Frankie Dettori, as Stradivarius finished third in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and, without further explanation, replaced Dettori on several mounts this weekend.
Peru and Brazil each host a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" race Sunday.
The Group 1 Grande Premio Brasil at Hipodromo da Gavea in Rio de Janeiro offers a guaranteed spot in the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf. The Group 1 Gran Premio Pamplona at Hipodromo Monterrico in Peru provides the winner an Annie Oakley for the Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
News and notes:
Bill Nader, a top executive of the Hong Kong Jockey Club dating to 2007, is leaving that position to become president and CEO of the Thoroughbred Owners of California. Nader also is a former official of the New York Racing Association.
Nader held multiple roles in Hong Kong, including from 2018 to 2021 as chairman of the board and legal representative of Guangzhou Hong Kong Jockey Club Race Horse Training, where he was responsible for the HKJC's new HK$3.7 billion racecourse in Conghua, China -- a key project for the HKJC.
He was named director of racing product, marketing and sponsorship in August 2021 and handled numerous other weighty responsibilities.
"On behalf of the club, I would like to express my deep appreciation for Bill's excellent contributions and wish him all the best in his future career," HKJC CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said.
Back in the States, NYRA has modified its suspension of trainer Bob Baffert from two years to one. With "time served," Baffert will be allowed back in the Empire State's tracks in January.
His official suspension by Kentucky racing officials expires early next week, and he will be eligible at that point to resume operations anywhere other than Kentucky or New York.