Nest romps to victory in Saturday's Grade I Alabama at Saratoga. Photo courtesy of New York Racing Association
Aug. 22 (UPI) -- With weekend victories in the East and the West, Nest and Spendarella set themselves apart as the top 3-year-old fillies in the nation on dirt and on turf.
Nest's Grade I Alabama at Saratoga and Spendarella's Grade I Del Mar Oaks in California were the cherries atop a nice summer weekend of racing from coast to coast. Along the way, some of the more talented 2-year-olds have begun to assert themselves on both turf and dirt.
On the global stage, Anamoe turned the rare trick of winning Group 1 races in three straight seasons as Australia's spring racing gears up, the Aidan O'Brien machine displayed dominance on the 2-year-old scene in both Ireland and France.
Australia's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe hope fizzled in a prep race at Deauville. And ... watch out for the progressive Jack d'Or in Japan.
After Saturday's $600,000 Grade I Alabama at Saratoga, there's not much doubt who's the queen of the U.S. 3-year-olds.
That would be Nest, who was bumped around a bit at the start, took up a stalking position into the stretch turn, then drew off to win by 4 1/4 lengths.
The win backed up her victory in the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks in July and avenged her second-place finish to Secret Oath in the Kentucky Oaks.
Secret Oath finished second in the Alabama, 2 lengths better than Goddess of Fire. Nest, with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons, ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:03.14. The Curlin filly, out of the A.P. Indy mare Marion Ravenwood, now has six wins, three of them Grade I's, from nine starts.
"It was a little hairy for the first couple of strides, but after that it was all her," said Nest's trainer, Todd Pletcher.
"She overcome that, put herself in a good spot and then once she got in a comfortable rhythm, they were going an honest pace, but not real fast, and it looked like she was in hand throughout.
"Obviously," Pletcher added, "the Breeders' Cup is the main target so now we have to figure out if we want to run once in between now and then or how we'll do it."
At Woodbine, Moira completed the Woodbine Oaks-Queen's Plate double in style Sunday, kicking clear of 10 rivals in the stretch to lift the Plate by 7 lengths, lowering the all-weather track record for 1 1/4 miles to 2:01.48 in the process.
It was her third straight win and followed a 10 3/4-lengths thrashing of her fellow fillies in the Oaks.
In the Plate, the Ghostzapper filly rallied from the second half of the field, advancing through the turn to reach the front with a furlong and a half left, then was long gone. Hall of Dreams was second with a late run and Sir For Sure was third.
Rafael Hernandez applied the winning ride for trainer Kevin Attard and the winning ownership of X-Men Racing, Madaket Stables and SF Racing.
Moira, bred by Adena Springs, is the eighth filly to notch the Oaks-Plate double, joining such greats as Dance Smartly, Flaming Page, Holy Helena, Inglorious, and Lexie Lou.
Leader of the Band led home a talented field in Friday's $135,000 Summer Colony Stakes at Saratoga.
The 4-year-old Bandbox filly raced close to the pace, took the lead at the eighth pole and outfinished First to Act by 3/4 length. The favorite, Envoutante, led much of the way and held third.
Leader of the Band ran 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:49.65 with John Velazquez riding for trainer John Servis. Based at Monmouth Park, she won the Grade III Monmouth Oaks last summer and in her previous start was second in the Grade III Molly Pitcher Stakes.
Rattle N Roll, the first Grade I winner to grace the old Fairmount Park track in a long time, rolled home an easy winner in Saturday' $250,000 St. Louis Derby at the track now known as FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing.
The Connect colt, trained by Kenny McPeek, tracked well back of the leaders, came to take the lead at the top of the lane and drew off to win by 4 1/2 lengths. War Campaign and Brigadier General completed the trifecta.
Rattle N Roll, with Brian Hernandez Jr. up, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:45.12. He earned his Grade I credential in the Claiborne Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland last October.
At Monmouth Park, Informative came five-wide past most of the field in Saturday's $250,000 Grade Philip H. Iselin Stakes and got home first, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of the favorite, Highly Motivated. It was another 1 3/4 lengths to Promise Keeper in third.
Informative, a 5-year-old son of Bodemeister, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.22. Dexter Haddock had the mount for trainer Uriah St. Lewis.
Filly & Mare Sprint
Hazelbrook launched her rally in the final furlongs of Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian) Sweet Briar Too Stakes at Woodbine and finished best to win by 3/4 length over Beyond Mybudget. Golden Vision was best of the rest.
Hazelbrook, a 4-year-old Bayern filly, got 6 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:16.14 with Jason Hoyte in the irons.
Filly & Mare Turf
While Nest rules on the dirt, some competition for the 3-year-old filly title came on the West Coast as Spendaralla improved to four wins from five starts with a victory in Saturday's $300,000 Grade I Del Mar Oaks. Her loss was a second in the Grade I Coronation Cup at Royal Ascot, behind only the brilliant Inspiral.
On Saturday, jockey Tyler Gaffalione kept the Karakontie filly close enough to the front, took the lead entering the stretch and quickly cleared, winning by 4 1/2 lengths. Bellabell was second and Cairo Memories third. Spendarella ran 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:47.09.
"I had a terrific trip," said Gaffalione, who rode for trainer Graham Motion. "She broke alertly and we took up a good spot behind the speed. When we cleared the chute, she dropped the bit and relaxed. She's special. ... I don't get to ride too many like her."
Haughty led from the start in Saturday's $200,000 Grade II Lake Placid Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga and finished well to win by 3/4 length over the favorite, With the Moonlight, winner of the Saratoga Oaks Invitational in her last outing. Dolce Zelle was third in the Lake Placid.
Haughty, an Empire Maker filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:41.16 with Jose Ortiz up for trainer Chad Brown. Haughty was third in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, beaten just 3/4 length.
She won the Penn Oaks in her first start of 2022, but finished ninth in the Grade I Belmont Oaks Invitational last month.
Brown said Haughty had excuses for the defeats, adding, "We have her at a distance that she's comfortable with today, and she delivered."
On Sunday at Woodbine, Fev Rover and Crystal Cliffs hooked up in a tight stretch duel in the $200,000 (Canadian) Grade II Canadian Stakes presented by Japan Racing Association. The two swapped the lead before Fev Rover prevailed by a head bob. Flirting Bridge ran evenly to finish third, 3/4 length farther back.
Fev Rover, a 4-year-old Irish-bred filly by Gutaifan, ran 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:47.33 with Patrick Husbands up for trainer Mark Casse.
Sister Otoole raced behind the leading pair in Friday's $130,000 CTT and TOC Stakes at Del Mar, worked to the lead inside the sixteenth pole and held on to win by 1/2 length over Scarabea. Bellamore was third and the favorite, Neige Blanche, finished fourth.
Sister Otoole, a 5-year-old mare by Amira's Prince, ran 1 3/8 miles on firm turf in 2:15.27 with Umberto Rispoli up, amply justifying trainer Graham Motion's decision to ship her from the East Coast for the race. She was second in the Grade III Robert G. Dick at Delaware Park in her previous start July 9.
Filo Di Arianna took the lead in Sunday's $200,000 (Canadian) Grade II King Edward Stakes at Woodbine, shook off early pressure and got clear in the stretch to win by 2 lengths. Harlan Estate ran by rivals to get second, 1 3/4 lengths in front of Haddassah.
Filo Di Arianaa, a Brazilian-bred son of Drosselmeyer, ran 1 mile on firm going in 1:34.69 with Kazushi Kimura up. Mark Casse trains the winner who now has three straight wins, all at Woodbine.
Caravel caught the early speed at the 3/16th pole in Saturday's $150,000 Smart N Fancy Stakes for fillies and mares at Saratoga, battled on and held off Change of Control through the final strides to win by 1/2 length.
Illegal Smile was second and the favorite, Miss J McKay, rallied late to take fourth.
Caravel, a 5-year-old Mizzen Mast mare, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on firm going in 1:01.92 with Luis Saez up. It was her 10th win from 17 starts.
Echo Again, another of those Gun Runner-Winchell Thoroughbreds-Steve Asmussen colts, made a statement in his career debut Saturday at Saratoga. The gray colt jumped smartly, led all the way and won by 6 3/4 lengths. He finished 6 1/2 furlongs, unhurried at any point, in 1:15.89.
Vedareo went quickly to the lead in Sunday's $200,000 Sorority Stakes at Monmouth Park, extended the advantage as she went along and got home first by 6 lengths as a moderate long shot. Alma Rose was second, 2 3/4 lengths in front of Outofnothingatall.
Vedareo, a Daredevil filly, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:38.43 with Frankie Pennington up. She won at first asking at Parx Racing and came to Monmouth off a fifth-place finish in the Grade III Schuylerville at Saratoga.
Showgirl Lynne B took the lead in the lane and repelled a second-effort try from pacesetter Le Boiana to win Saturday's $65,0000 Sharp Susan Stakes at Gulfstream Park by 1 length. Jellybean and Fast Kimmie completed the order of finish.
Showgirl Lynne B, a Constitution filly trained by Robert Hess Jr., ran 5 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:05.70 for jockey David Lopez.
Juvenile Turf Sprint
Love Reigns stalked the pace in Sunday's $150,000 Bolton Landing Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Saratoga, took over the lead a furlong and a half out and cruised home first by 2 1/2 lengths. Danse Macabre was second, 3/4 length better than Redifined.
Love Reigns, a U S Navy Flag filly trained by Wesley Ward for Stonestreet Stables, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on firm going in 1:02.03 with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons. The Irish-bred filly was last seen finishing fourth in the Grade 2 Queen Mary at Royal Ascot.
"I'm looking forward to the Breeders' Cup at her home track at Keeneland, I'll tell you that," Ward said.
Oxymore took an early lead in Friday's $150,000 Skidmore Stakes at Saratoga, surrendered the advantage briefly to No Nay Hudson and came back to beat that rival by 1 1/4 lengths. It was another 3/4 length to Private Creed in third.
Oxymore, a gelded son of the Australian-bred sire Astern, out of the Empire Maker mare Rainbow Dreams, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:02.74. Jose Ortiz rode for trainer Chad Brown.
Oxymore won his only previous start, on the Belmont Park turf, by 6 1/2 lengths.
Philip My Dear, the big favorite, had to tally through traffic to get the job done in Saturday's $150,000 (Canadian) Soaring Free Stakes for 2-year-olds at Woodbine.
But, at the end of the 6 1/2 furlongs, the Silent Name colt and jockey Kazushi Kimura were 3/4 length out front with Smoke Lightning and Stayhonor Goodside completing the trifecta. Philip My Dear, trained by Kevin Attard, was timed in 1:16.31.
Cairo Consort rallied to the front in the stretch run in Saturday's $150,000 (Canadian) Catch a Glimpse Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Woodbine and opened up to win by 2 1/2 lengths over Adora. Collecting Flatter pressed the early pace and finished third.
Cairo Consort, a daughter of Cairo Prince, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:16.00 with Antonio Gallardo in the irons.
Around the world, around the clock
The air went out of Friday's Group 2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup at York with the scratches of Stradivarius (bruised foot) and Trueshan (unsuitable ground).
The proceedings then were reinflated quite nicely by Quickthorn, who sprinted to the lead in the 2-miles marathon and never stopped, winning by 14 lengths for his third straight victory. The question on many spectators' lips was, could either of the favorites caught him?
We'll never know. But, regardless, the connections of the 5-year-old Nathaniel gelding were elated and ready to move their horse into the top level of the world's stayers, at least pending potential late-season meetings with the ranking heavyweights.
"I was really impressed," Racing Post quoted victorious jockey Tom Marquand as saying. "You almost wish the big guns had run today just to see what might have happened."
Meanwhile, for about four-fifths of Friday's Group 1 Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes, it appeared star 2-year-old filly The Platinum Queen was going to stunningly defeat older rivals of both genders.
It took a furious, final-furlong rally by 5-year-old Highfield Princess to catch the feather-weighted youngster and run on to a 2 1/2-lengths victory. The Platinum Queen did hold second, nearly tripling the 40,000-pound supplemental entry fee, while the favorite, Royal Acclaim, settled for sixth.
The Platinum Queen could go to the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp but it sounds as if the Breeders' Cup program, whose "Win and You're In" campaign probably otherwise came up dry at York, might be landing Highfield Princess.
"It's a huge lift," jockey Jason Hart said, according to Racing Post. "The end-of-season target has always been to go to the Breeders' Cup, and I can't wait to be on her out there now."
On Saturday, Trawlerman got a brilliant ride from Frankie Dettori and battled through the final furlong to win the Sky Bet Ebor Handicap by a head bob over Alfred Boucher.
That was two straight for the 4-year-old son of Golden Horn and an interesting outcome for Dettori, given a recent stormy history with winning trainer John Gosden and a longer-ago dustup with owner-breeder Godolphin.
One race earlier, Dettori landed the Sky Bet City of York Stakes aboard the Ralph Beckett-trained Kinross, defeating the likes of Pogo, Sandrine and the favorite, Sacred.
All in all, the Ebor meeting was quite a turnaround for Dettori from the disappointing Royal Ascot affair that prompted his temporary split with Gosden.
Coolmore, trainer Aidan O'Brien and jockey Ryan Moore swept all four 2-year-old races Saturday at the Curragh including the Group 2 events with Aesop's Fables in the Galileo Irish EBF Futurity and Meditate in the Alpha Centauri Debutante.
Aesop's Fables had to chase down stablemate Hans Anderson in the final furlong of the Futurity but once he was in gear, the No Nay Never colt did so easily, stretching out to win by 2 1/4 lengths, going away.
The favorite, Proud and Regal, another Coolmore colt but trained by Donnacha O'Brien, was third. Lakota Seven and Apache Outlaw, both trained by Joseph Patrick O'Brien, finished fourth and fifth.
Meditate was impressive, leading all the way to her fourth win without a loss. Another by No Nay Never, she was under pressure a good part of the 7 furlongs, shook clear to take a daylight lead and wasn't asked for everything in the final strides, finishing 3/4 lengths in front of Olivia Maralda with Thornbook third.
Meditate was the heavy favorite off her victory in the Group 3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Coolmore, O'Brien and Moore won the program's maiden-race openers with Hiawatha and Continuous, both favorites. It's remarkable to see how these young horses, trained at O'Brien's Ballydoyle yard, jump so professionally at the start of their races.
After the Irish sweep, the same connections hopped two channels to Deauville, where they sent out Blackbeard to land Sunday's Group 1 Darley Prix Morny.
The No Nay Never colt took the lead in the 1,200-meters event and ran on strongly through the closing stages to deny familiar rival Persian Force and jockey Frankie Dettori, by 1/2 length. Another Coolmore runner, The Antarctic, was third.
Blackbeard now has five wins from seven starts. He was withdrawn from the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh July 17 -- a race won by the connections' top 2-year-old, Little Big Bear.
The Prix Morny was a "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.
The co-featured Group 1 Darley Prix Jean Romanet was a long-delayed Arc prep for Australian star Verry Elleegant, the reigning Melbourne Cup champion, but the mare didn't respond in her first European start, finishing last of five, albeit beaten less than 5 lengths.
Arista, ridden by Sean Leavy, led the way and held through the final 200 yards under pressure to win by a neck from Rosscarbery with Ebaiyra third.
Arista, a 4-year-old Starspangledbanner filly trained by Richard Hannon, went one up on her second-place finish in the Group 1 Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood in her previous start.
Anamoe had more than enough to handle a quality field of rivals in Saturday's Group 1 Winx Stakes at Royal Randwick. Bottled up behind horses at mid-stretch, jockey James McDonald calmly switched to the inside, regained the momentum and ran on to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Fangirl.
Anamoe, a Godolphin homebred 4-year-old colt by Street Boss, was special at 2, finishing second in the Group 1 Longines Golden Slipper and winning the Group 1 Ingalls Sires Stakes.
He was better yet at 3, first in the Caulfield Guineas and Rosehill Guineas and second in the Randwick Guineas and in the Group 1 Cox Plate. For those not keeping score at home, Saturday's win makes him a Group 1 winner at ages 2, 3 and 4 -- not something often seen.
"Dare I say it, I think he's definitely gotten better from three to four," McDonald said. "Obviously, some can, some don't. But this is a different horse. He's more alert, he's putting it all together. It was great to show a performance of a horse who is obviously improving."
Trainer James Cummings said avenging the Cox Plate loss is high on the list for this season but the rest of the campaign hasn't yet been blocked out. "We're spoilt for choice," he said, noting Anamoe's ability to handle a variety of distances.
Jack d'Or rallied smartly through the stretch to defeat a star-studded field including international winners in Sunday's Grade 2 Sapporo Kinen at Sapporo Racecourse.
The 4-year-old Maurice colt stuck close to the early pace, gradually closed on the leader, Panthalassa, and just got by that rival in the closing yards to win by a neck. Win Marilyn was third.
Panthalassa was the dead-heat winner of the Group 1 Dubai Turf at Meydan on World Cup night in March. Sunday's field also included the popular white filly, Sodashi, a three-time Grade 1 winner in Japan, and Glory Vase, who has won the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Vase twice.
Jack d'Or won the Grade 2 Kinko Sho at Chukyo Racecourse March 13 in record time of 1:57.2. He went off to a five-months break after a close fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Osaka Hai April 3, a race in which he led almost all the way at breakneck speed.
Meanwhile, back in North America:
Warrens Candy Girl was along in the closing yards to win Sunday's $150,000 Solana Beach Stakes for California-bred fillies and mares by a head over the even-money favorite, Eddie's New Dream. Barrister's Ride was up for third.
Warren's Candy Girl, a 4-year-old Clubhouse ride filly, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:35.23 for jockey Umberto Rispoli.
Nine-year-old Rated R Superstar showed he can still get the job done, winning Friday's $175,000 Governor's Cup with a late move that took him from next-last to a 1 1/2-length victory. The favorite, Flash of Mischief, led and held second by 2 1/2 lengths with Catdaddy third.
Rater R Superstar, a Kodiak Cowboy gelding, ran 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:51.20 for jockey David Cabrera. His 63-start career includes three graded stakes wins and, now, two editions of the Governor's Cup.
Cuban Cobra dominated seven rivals in Friday's $50,000 (Canadian) Canadian Juvenile, drawing off in the final furlong to win by 3 3/4 lengths over Readytotapnsing. Cuban Cobra, a Florida-bred colt by Flat Out, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.73 with Enrique Gonzalez up.
Big Hug swept to the lead in the stretch drive of Friday's $50,000 Princess Margaret Stakes for 2-year-old fillies and scooted clear to win by 3 1/4 lengths over Bootiful Rose. Big Hug, an Alberta-bred filly by Mr. Big, reported in 1:11.53 with Rafael Zenteno Jr. aboard.
Dollarization found room along to rail to get the late lead in Friday's $50,000 Fabulous Strike Stakes and ran on to post the 19-1 upset victory by 1 1/4 lengths over Marvalous Mike. Dollarization, a 4-year-old Last Gunfighter gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.62.
Deco Strong won the $50,000 Penn Ladies Dash, outfinishing My Beautiful Belle by 1/2 length. Deco Strong, a 5-year-old daughter of Strong Mandate, was clocked in 1:10.49. Julio Hernandez rode both winners.
On the turf, Midnight Hustler swung six-wide to get to the lead in Friday's $50,000 Lebanon Valley Stakes and outfinished You Must Chill by 1 3/4 lengths.
Midnight Hustler, a 6-year-old gelding by the German-bred sire Seville, got 1 1/16 miles on firm going in 1:39.14 under David Cora.
My Thoughts was up in the final strides to take the filly and mare equivalent, the Indiantown Gap Stakes, by a nose over Swan Point. The 4-year-old Editorial filly stopped the timer at 1:39.94 with Ricardo Chiappe up.
Great Escape chased down pacesetting favorite Red Knobs nearing the quarter pole in Saturday's $200,000 (Canadian) Grade III Canadian Derby and ran on to win by 3 1/2 lengths over that one.
Regal Riot was along for third as Great Escape, a Kentucky-bred colt by Midnight Storm, finished 1 1/4 miles on a fast track in course-record time of 2:01.35. Rico Walcott rode for trainer Robertino Diodoro.
Tone It Up came from last of nine to win the $100,000 (Canadian) Century Casino Oaks by a neck over U Did It. The winner, a Tonalist filly, ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.33.
At Attention was up in the final yards to take the $100,000 (Canadian) Century Mile by a neck over Chase the Sun. And Infinite Patience, the massive favorite, justified the odds with a 7-length victory, also in track-record time of 1:33.65, in the $100,000 (Canadian) Northlands Distaff Handicap.
No Pasa Nada seized control at the furlong marker in Sunday's $100,000 Casey Darnell Stakes for New Mexico-breds and held on to win by 1/2 length over Delbert Too. On a Warpath was third.
No Pasa Nada, a 6-year-old Attila's Storm gelding, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:03.96 with Joree Scriver up.