3-year-olds steal weekend horse racing spotlight in France, New Jersey

By Robert Kieckhefer, UPI Racing Writer
Salute the Stars (L) joins the top ranks of U.S. 3-year-olds with an upset win in Saturday's Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park. Photo courtesy of Monmouth Park
1 of 2 | Salute the Stars (L) joins the top ranks of U.S. 3-year-olds with an upset win in Saturday's Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park. Photo courtesy of Monmouth Park

June 19 (UPI) -- A pair of 3-year-olds an ocean apart stole the spotlight in weekend horse racing, while Ascot put the final touches on its course in anticipation of the arrival of the King and Queen for the Royal Meeting commencing Tuesday.

One of those 3-year-olds, Blue Rose Cen, already has put in a claim to "legendary" status in France. The other, Salute the Stars, joined the scrum at the top of a crazy, mixed-up American 3-year-old division with a mild upset at Monmouth Park.


Among the 3-year-old fillies, Hoosier Philly upset Wet Paint at Monmouth. And Goodnight Olive remained atop the ranks of filly-mare sprinters with a victory at Belmont Park -- but just barely.

Another South American earned a Breeders' Cup berth Sunday. We'll also have a brief outline of the big races at Royal Ascot. But first, the weekend results:


The 3-year-olds

Another country heard from in this topsy-turvy division: Salute the Stars. The Candy Ride colt, trained by Brad Cox, rallied strongly through the stretch to win Saturday's $150,000 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park by a neck over the odds-on favorite, Louisiana Derby winner Kingsbarns.

It was another 2 1/4 lengths to Howgreatisnate in third. Salute the Stars, with Joel Rosario up, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:43.87, winning for the third straight time after finishing second in his career debut.

The Pegasus was his first stakes start. Kingsbarns finished 14th in the Kentucky Derby after chasing the pace.

Salute the Stars earned a guaranteed spot in the $1 million Grade I Haskell at Monmouth July 22, a race that figures to play an important role in sorting out primacy among the 3-year-olds.

Cox Assistant Trace Messina said, basically, maybe. "Obviously, that's an option," Messina said. "We have a lot of 3-year-olds in this division. But that's a possibility, for sure."

Classic / Dirt Mile

Petulante came four-wide into the stretch to join the fray in Saturday's $155,000 Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park, dueled with Nimitz Class to the sixteenth pole and wore that one down to score a 1/2-length win. Trademark was third, another 2 lengths up the track.


Petulante, a 4-year-old Arrogate colt, finished in 1:36.88 with Luis Saez up for trainer Victor Barboza Jr. He now has four wins and two seconds from six starts. It was his first stakes start.


Hoosier Philly got away to a big, uncontested early lead in Saturday's $175,000 Monomoy Girl Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Ellis Park, and the odds-on favorite, Wet Paint, couldn't come close to catching her with a late stretch run.

At the wire, it was Hoosier Philly, a daughter of Into Mischief, by 3 1/2 lengths with Wet Paint second. Hoosier Philly and jockey Edgar Morales ran the 1 mile on a fast track in 1:36.39.

It was her first win since the Golden Rod at Churchill Downs last November. Wet Paint finished fourth as the favorite in the Kentucky Oaks after romping through three wins at Oaklawn Park.

Filly & Mare Sprint

Goodnight Olive rallied from last of five in Saturday's $200,000 Grade II Bed o' Roses Stakes at Belmont Park and had just enough momentum to catch Wicked Halo in the final yards and win by a neck as the odds-on favorite. Carmel Swirl finished third.

Goodnight Olive, a 5-year-old mare by Ghostzapper, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:22.39 with Irad Ortiz Jr. up for Chad Brown.


Goodnight Olive won for the eighth time in 10 starts. The victories include the 2022 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and three other graded stakes races.

"She made multiple moves in the race," Brown said. "I thought each time Irad moved with her and used her, it was with good judgment. ... He gave her a great ride like he has every time he's ridden her."


Catnip stalked the pace in Saturday's $150,000 Grade III Monmouth Stakes, was shuffled back in traffic on the turn but came again to win by 1/2 length from Never Explain.

Speaking Scout was third and the favorite, Tribhuvan, faded from the lead to finish fourth.

Catnip, a 4-year-old Kitten's Joy gelding, ran 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:47.40. Trainer Michael Stidham said Catnip has matured mentally and physically after being gelded and given some time off. He said the $600,000 Grade I United Nations over the Monmouth course July 22 is a possibility.

On Saturday at Ellis Park, Vivar, Therapist and Hidden Stash -- long shots all -- hit the wire in a photo at the end of the $175,000 Chorleywood Stakes, with Vivar getting the best of it by a head. Therapist was second, a neck in front of Hidden Stash.


The favorite, Foreign Relations, was never in the mix and finished sixth.

Vivar, a homebred Cairo Prince colt from John Ed Anthony's Shortleaf Stable, ran 1 1/4 miles on firm turf in 2:04.20 with Julien Leparoux up.

Bipartisanship had to catch all six rivals in the final furlongs to win Sunday's $75,000 PTHA President's Cup Stakes at Parx Racing by 2 1/4 lengths. Deciding Vote was second, 3/4 length better than Fuente Ovejuna.

Bipartisanship, a 5-year-old, British-bred mare by Bated Breath ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:42.90 with Jevian Toledo up for trainer Graham Motion. She went to the post as even-money favorite after finishing third in her previous start, the Grade III Galorette Stakes at Pimlico.

Sunday's $100,000 Grade III San Juan Capistrano Stakes at Santa Anita was contested at 1 3/4 length and, in the United States, the question in such races is, who can get the distance?

The answer frequently involves foreign breeding, such as in Sunday's winner, Planetario, a Brazilian-bred 5-year-old who had plenty left in the final furlong to surge out to a 4 1/2-length victory.

The even-money favorite, Offlee Naughty, passed a bunch of tired rivals to finish second as Planetario reported in course-record time of 2:48.08 with Hector Berrios up for trainer Richard Mandella.


It was his first U.S. win after a South American career that included a pair of Group 1 victories.

Filly & Mare Turf

Consumer Spending got rolling in the stretch run in Saturday's $150,000 Grade III Eatontown Stakes at Monmouth Park and outfinished the favorite, Surprisingly, by 3/4 length for the win. Vergara, looking good as usual, led most of the way and just missed holding second.

Consumer Spending, a 4-year-old More Than Ready filly trained by Chad Brown, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm going in 1:42.00 for jockey Samy Camacho. She has missed a top-three finish only twice in her 10 career starts but hadn't won since last June at Belmont Park.

On Sunday at Santa Anita, Neige Blanche was up in the closing strides to win a three-way photo by a neck in the $100,000 Possibly Perfect Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on firm going.

Queen Ofthe Temple was second, a head in front of pacesetting Australia Mia. The favorite, Buzz of New York, faded to finish last of five.

Neige Blanche, a 6-year-old, French-bred mare by Anodin, got home in 2:01.44. Diego Herrera rode for trainer Leonard Powell.

Turf Sprint

Bosserati led from the git-go in Sunday's $100,000 Stormy Blues Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Laurel Park, then held on to win by 1/2 length over the even-money favorite, My Sweet Affair. After Eight was another 1/2 length back in third.


Bosserati, a Maryland-bred daughter of Holy Boss, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:01.44. Sheldon Russell had the mount for trainer Brittany Russell. It was her third straight win while climbing up from the claiming ranks.

On Sunday at Monmouth Park, Grooms All Bizness tracked the pace in the Get Serious Stakes, rallied to the lead with a four-wide move and ran on to win by 3/4 length.

The odds-on favorite, Our Shot, came five-wide from farther back but settled for second, 2 lengths in front of Alogon.

Grooms All Bizness, a 4-year-old colt by Fed Biz, ran 5 furlongs on firm turf in 55.46 seconds with Angel Rodriguez riding for trainer Jorge Duarte Jr. It was his first stakes win, though he was fourth in last year's Grade III Turf Monster at Parx Racing.


Tranche stole a march on four rivals in Saturday's $100,000 Fasig-Tipton Futurity at Santa Anita. The Collected colt blasted right out of the gate and was never challenged, winning by 7 1/4 lengths at odds of 20-1.

The odds-on favorite, Mirahmadi, was best of the rest in his first career outing.

Tranche, trained by Luis Mendez, ran 5 furlongs on a fast track in 57.67 seconds with Edwin Maldonado up. The odds seemed a bit out of whack as Tranch finished a decent third in his previous start, the Kentucky Juvenile at Churchill Downs.


Juvenile Fillies

Grand Slam Smile was along late in Saturday's $100,000 Fasig-Tipton Debutante at Santa Anita, overtaking pacesetter Becky's Dream to win by 1/2 length.

Crazy Hot and Stormy Gal completed the order of finish as Grand Slam Smile, a daughter of Smiling Tiger, got 5 furlongs in 58.41 seconds with Frank Alvarado piloting for trainer Steven Specht.

She improved to 2-for-2 with the maiden win coming on the Golden Gate Fields all-weather course.

Around the world, around the clock:

Royal Ascot preview

Their Majesties the King and Queen reportedly plan to attend all five days of the Royal Meeting, which is good news for the sport.

Neither is likely to match the passion for the sport displayed by the late Queen Elizabeth II during her marathon reign, but a continued involvement from Buckingham Palace will be crucial, especially as racing faces challenges on multiple fronts.

The king and queen inherited the royal colors from his mother and will see them on the course in the first day's action as Saga lines up for the listed Wolferton Stakes.

With Frankie Dettori, in his final Royal Ascot, booked to ride for trainers John and Thady Gosden, the 4-year-old is likely to be massively overbet despite a nice run in his seasonal debut.



The week kicks off with the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at a straight mile. Godolphin has a strong hand with two-time Breeders' Cup winner Modern Games and last year's English 2,000 Guineas winner Native Trail.

Inspiral, with Dettori looking for a good start at the meeting, also has strong backing. This is a "Win and You're In" event for the Breeders' Cup Mile in November at Santa Anita.

The Group 1 King's Stand Stakes is 6 furlongs and brings the first major international clash of the meeting. Highfield Princess defends the local honor as antepost favorite against 19 rivals including Australian star Coolangatta and American hope Twilight Gleaming.

The winner gets a "Win and You're In" berth in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.


The Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes at 1 1/4 miles features Coolmore's multiple Group 1 winner Luxembourg and Godolphin's 2021 Epsom Derby winner Adayar. But it's far from a two-horse race with Bay Bridge and My Prospero to be considered.

And long, long odds are available on the likes of American runner Classic Causeway, trained by Kenny McPeek, and another Coolmore horse, Bolshoi Ballet, who looks to be rounding back into form after missing most of 2022.


Otherwise, there's the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes for 2-year-old fillies and the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge for fillies and mares at 1 mile.


Gold Cup Day is a highlight of the meeting with the test of stayers always a prime target. With Stradivarius gone to glorious retirement, the 2-mile race looks pretty wide open with some cautious support for Coolmore's 4-year-old Dubawi filly, Emily Dickinson.

Godolphin fields Yibir, winner of the 2021 Breeders' Cup Turf. The Group 2 affairs are the Ribblesdale for fillies and mares at 1 1/2 miles and the Norfolk Stakes for 2-year-olds.


The Group 1 Coronation Stakes for 3-year-old fillies and the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup for 3-year-old sprinters top the card for the penultimate day.


Another Royal meeting goes into the books with the featured attraction the newly renamed Group I Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Cup at 6 furlongs. Crack Hong Kong sprinter Wellington adds spice to that one.


Saturday's Group 1 Prix du Diane Longines at Chantilly, the French Oaks, was all about Blue Rose Cen.

The Churchill filly, always prominent on the inner part of the course, took flight quickly when asked in the final 150 meters and drew off under a confident ride by Aurelien Lemaitre to win by 4 lengths.


Never Ending Story, with Ryan Moore up, did well to finish second in a very tough field, but the "buzz" horse, Running Lion, a daughter of Roaring Lion, was eased through the final furlong by Oisin Murphy and cantered home last.

The Diane was the fifth straight win for the Christopher Head-trained filly, and three of those were at the Group 1 level.

She took the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches or French Guineas in her previous outing by 1 3/4 lengths and ended her 2-year-old season win a 5-lengths domination of the Prix Marcel Boussac.

Only the best have won all three of those races, including the likes of Zarkava, Allez France and Divine Proportions. Can you say "legend"? Head can.

"I think the role of a racehorse trainer is to create legends, to be up to the challenge when you come across a horse like her and to construct a career that will make them legendary, so they stay in people's hearts and they remember their names," Racing Post quoted the 36-year-old Head, himself the scion of a legendary family.

Blue Rose Cen is not nominated to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, which would be the logical goal of a legend. But Head said that target is not necessarily off the table forever for her or French Derby runner-up Big Rock because, "there is a good chance Blue Rose Cen and Big Rock will stay in training next year."


That is how legends are made.


Raptor's, a 3-year-old son of Hat Trick, earned a "Win and You're In" spot in November's Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita with a late-running victory in Sunday's Group 1 Grande Premio Brasil at Hipodromo da Gavea in Rio de Janeiro.

Raptor, ridden by Joao Moreira, split rivals on the turn for home and defeated stablemate Online, who then was disqualified for interference and placed 16th.

Raptor's backed up his last-out victory in the Group 1 Cruzeiro do Sul or Brazilian Derby while finishing 1 1/2 miles of soft turf in 2:24.91. His record now includes four wins from seven starts.

Meanwhile, back in the States ...

Belmont Park

Sunday's program had a pair of $150,000 New York Stallion Stakes races for 3-year-old New York-breds, both at 7 furlongs on the firm turf.

Ramblin' Wreck rambled from last of eight to win the Spectacular Bid Division by 1 length over the favorite, Twenty Six Black. Itsallcomintogetha was third.

Ramblin' Wreck, a Redesdale gelding, stopped the timer at 1:21.21. Irad Ortiz Jr. rode for trainer Danny Gargan.

In the Cupecoy's Joy Divison for fillies, Mz Big Bucks went out to an unchallenged lead and rolled home first by 2 lengths. Little Linzee was second, 3/4 length ahead of Red Moon.


Mz Big Bucks, a War Dancer filly, got the 7 furlongs in 1:21.88 with Jose Gomez up for trainer Michelle Nevin.

Gulfstream Park

Flakes took the lead in the stretch run of Saturday's $100,000 Game Face Stakes for 3-year-old fillies and survived the late bid of Charlie's Wish to win by a neck. Pachuca was third.

Flakes, a cleverly named filly by Frosted, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a muddy track in 1:17.26 while toting Edgard Zayas.

Charles Town

Little Roo Roo reeled in pacesetter Golden Key in the final sixteenth of Saturday's $75,000 It's Only Money Stakes for West Virginia-breds and scooted off to win by 2 1/4 lengths over that one.

Little Roo Roo, a 3-year-old Limehouse gelding, got 4 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 51.17 seconds with Marshall Mendez in the irons.

Emerald Downs

Clovisconnection set a pressured pace in Sunday's $50,000 Auburn Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings, then opened up to win by 4 1/4 lengths as the odds-on favorite.

The California-bred Vronsky gelding ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:07.59 with Kevin Radke in the irons.

In the $50,000 Seattle Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, odds-on favorite Aloha Breeze had a similar trip and also drew off in the lane to win by 4 1/2 lengths.


A Kentucky-bred daughter of The Factor, Aloha Breeze reported in 1:08.72 with Carlos Montvaldo up.

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