Memorial Day Weekend racing filled with thrills from coast to coast

By Robert Kieckhefer, UPI Racing Writer
Mr Fisk wins Monday's Hollywood Gold Cup at Santa Anita. Benoit photo, courtesy of Santa Anita
1 of 2 | Mr Fisk wins Monday's Hollywood Gold Cup at Santa Anita. Benoit photo, courtesy of Santa Anita

May 28 (UPI) -- The Memorial Day weekend at Santa Anita proved festive enough for trainer Bob Baffert, who saddled the first two finishers in Monday's Grade II Hollywood Gold Cup and the winner of Sunday's Grade II Santa Margarita.

That was the tip of the racing iceberg, as Johannes won the Grade I Shoemaker Mile and The Chosen Vron won his fifth straight race at Santa Anita, Chad Brown showcased yet another top grass-running filly at Aqueduct, and Godolphin had another New York stakes winner.


And now we look forward to next weekend's Oaks and Derby at Epsom Downs, the Belmont at Saratoga the following week and then back to Jolly Old England for Royal Ascot.

First, Memorial Day in America:


Mr Fisk came after pacesetter Reincarnate a furlong from home in Monday's $200,000 Hollywood Gold Cup at Santa Anita, moved by that rival and went on to win by 2 1/4 lengths. He then was pulled up on the turn by jockey Kazushi Kimura, unsaddled and vanned off.


Mr Fisk and Reincarnate are both trained by Bob Baffert, who said Kimura pulled the winner up as a precaution "when he just felt a little off. Nothing obvious. We're just being cautious. ... I'm proud of them both.

"It's too bad we can't celebrate in the winner's circle, but the horse looks like he is going to be fine. That's the good news."

On Monday at Lone Star Park, E J Won the Cup won the $300,000 Texas Derby with a late move that got the California invader home first by 1 length from Dimatic.


Adare Manor, the 1-5 favorite, easily handled three rivals in Sunday's $200,000 Grade II Santa Margarita Stakes at Santa Anita.

The 5-year-old Uncle Mo mare strode out to the lead, wasn't challenged and coasted home first by 4 1/4 lengths. She ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.86 with Juan Hernandez up for Baffert.

Grand Slam Smile posted her fifth win with a steady progression to a 4 1/2-length score in Saturday's $125,000 Melair Stakes for California-bred 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita. The Smiling Tiger filly ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:45.82 with Frank Alvarado up.


Dirt Mile

Heroic Move came from last of six in Monday's $400,000 Grade III Steve Sexton Mile at Lone Star Park and just nailed frontrunning favorite Touchuponastar by a neck.


Legend of Time bobbled at the start of Saturday's $200,000 Grade II Pennine Ridge Stakes for 3-year-olds at Aqueduct, rallied stoutly through the final sixteenth and was up in the final strides to win by a head.

The Sea the Stars colt, with Joel Rosario up for trainer Charlie Appleby, avenged a fading fifth-place finish in the 1 1/16-mile American Turf Stakes at Keeneland in his first U.S. start.

Also: Win for the Money won Saturday's $95,000 Mr. Steele Stakes at Gulfstream Park, Dataman rallied from last of seven to land Saturday's $102,000 Cliff Hanger Stakes at Monmouth Park and Shady Tiger won Saturday's $125,000 Snow Chief Stakes for California-bred 3-year-olds at Santa Anita.

Filly & Mare Turf

Anisette traveled smoothly behind the leading pack in Monday's $300,000 Grade I Gamely Stakes at Santa Anita, moved into contention by the top of the stretch and outfinished Olivia Maralda by 1/2 length.

Anisette, a British-bred, 4-year-old filly by Awtaad, ran 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:46.90 with Umberto Rispoli up for trainer Leonard Powell. She has five wins and two seconds from seven U.S. starts after a promising start on the British all-weather circuit.


Segesta took the lead in the lane in Monday's $200,000 Grade II Wonder Again Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Aqueduct and gamely held off a late charge by Sy B to win by 1/2 length. Irad Ortiz rode the Juddmonte homebred Ghostzapper filly for Chad Brown.

Also, Dana's Beauty won Monday's $200,000 Ouija Board Distaff at Lone Star Park by a head, Atomic Blonde scored by 1/2 length in Saturday's $250,000 Keertana Stakes at Churchill Downs and Girl Named Charlie led gate to wire in Sunday's $104,000 Miss Liberty Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Turf Mile

Johannes rallied to the lead at the top of the stretch in Monday's $300,000 Grade I Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita, and then had to deal with stubborn Turfway Park invader Funtastic Again before nailing down the victory by 1/2 length.

Du Jour was third, 1 1/4 lengths farther back with a belated late bid.

Johannes, a 4-year-old Nyquist colt from the Tim Yakteen barn, finished in 1:33.00. He was fifth in his previous start, the Grade II American Turf at Churchill Downs.

Also: King's River Knight won Saturday's $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes for California-breds at Santa Anita, Stay and Scam won Saturday's $100,000 Fran's Valentine Stakes for state-bred fillies and mares at Santa Anita by 1 length, .and Mucho del Oro took Sunday's $100,000 Grade III Daytona Stakes on the Santa Anita hillside course.


Turf Sprint

Agent Peter went quickly to the fore in Monday's $100,000 Chamberlain Bridge Stakes at Lone Star Park, opened a daylight lead and held on to win by 1 1/2 length over Prince Lancelot.


The Chosen Vron rolled to his fifth straight win and 13th from his last 14 starts, easily handling four rivals in Saturday's $100,000 Thor's Echo Stakes at Santa Anita.

The race was for California-breds, but his record also includes the Grade 1 Bing Crosby, the Grade III San Carlos and other open-company events.

Also: Octane kicked won Saturday's $100,000 Big Drama Stakes at Gulfstream Park by 6 1/4 lengths, Dean Delivers took Monday's $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes at Monmouth Park by 8 lengths, and Minnesota Ready was up in the final strides to win Monday's $100,000 Speightstown Sprint Stakes at Lone Star Park by 1/2 length.

Filly & Mare Sprint

Clearly Unhinged stalked, pounced and held on to win Monday's $250,000 Grade III Winning Colors Stakes at Churchill Downs. The favorite, Dazzling Blue was gaining, but settled for second, 1 1/2 lengths short of the winner.

Spirit Wind, with Mike Smith up for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr., got away in the stretch run to win Monday's $100,000 Memorial Day Sprint at Lone Star Park by 3 1/2 lengths.


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