The magnificent French mare Treve put an exclamation point on a brilliant weekend of racing with a dominating win Sunday at Longchamp -- a final tuneup for her effort to make history with a third straight Arc triumph.
Otherwise, there was a good bit of controversy in the top races in England and Ireland. French Derby winner New Bay set himself up for a try (gulp!) against Treve in the Arc. Legatissimo won in Ireland and could be headed for the Breeders' Cup.
In North America, Mondialiste came from England to take the weekend's big prize at Woodbine. And the first qualifying races at Churchill Downs for next year's Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks indicated Winter Is Coming.
But first, this roundup is already here:
Treve was out for a stroll in Bois de Boulogne on Sunday. It just happened that her stroll also was the Group 1 Qatar Prix Vermeille for fillies and mares. Without much effort, the 5-year-old, two-time winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe accelerated away from a not-so-shabby but outclassed field, winning by 4 1/2 lengths. Candarliya, winner of her four previous starts, was second; proven Group competitor Sea Calisi third; and Arabian Queen, conquerer of Golden Horn in her last start, a weakening sixth. The race was run over turf rated "very soft." If she can maintain anything like that form in three weeks' time, it's hard to imagine she won't have a big chance for an historic third straight Arc. Racing Post reported British bookmakers "immediately ducked for cover" on the Arc, cutting the price on Treve to evens or less. But trainer Criquette Head-Maarek wasn't toting up any chickens just yet. "The Arc will be a different matter and it's not won yet," she said. The major competitors appear to be New Bay, the French Derby winner who convincingly took down Sunday's Group 2 Prix Niel; Golden Horn, winner of Saturday's Irish Champion Stakes (see below); and Jack Hobbs, the Irish Derby winner who most recently won on the all-weather at Kempton and would love soft going.
Also Sunday at Longchamp: As noted, New Bay had no trouble winning the Group 2 Prix Niel, coasting home in a hand ride 2 1/2 lengths in front of Silverwave with Migwar third. New Bay, a Dubawi colt trained by Andre Fabre, scored his third straight win and seems to need the stiffer competition he will find in the Arc. Ervedya got to the front inside the furlong marker in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp and won by 1 length over Akatea with Karakontie third. The winner, a Siyouni filly trained by Jean- Claude Rouget, has never finished worse than third in 10 career starts and was second in the Prix Rothschild at Deauville in her previous outing. And Postponed battled through the final furlong of the Group 2 Prix Foy to hold safe Spiritjim, winning by 3/4 length over that rival.
On Wednesday at Deauville, Cloth of Stars looked like a budding star for Godolphin as the colt settled nicely behind a true pace, blasted past the early leader and went on to capture the Group 3 Prix Des Chenes by 1 3/4 lengths over previously undefeated Vedevani. Cloth of Stars, by Sea the Stars, is 2-for-2 and it remains up in the air whether he will run again this season.
Derby winner Golden Horn won Saturday's Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes -- but only after a stewards' inquiry gave him a pass for knocking his chief rival sideways in deep stretch. The ruling left Golden Horn atop the order of finish but the interference cost Free Eagle second as Found rallied up the rail to take that position, just ahead of Free Eagle. Gleneagles was a late scratch -- for the second straight time -- when trainer Aiden O'Brien judged the going too soft for his liking. Pleasach finished fourth, Highland Reel fifth after disputing the pace, the Grey Gatsby sixth and Cirrus Des Aigles was last of seven. Golden Horn, a Cape Cross colt trained by John Gosden, finished 1 1/4 miles on ground rated yielding in 2:05.41 under Frankie Dettori. He rebounded from a major upset in the Juddmonte International at York, where Arabian Queen held on to win by a neck at 50-1 odds. Earlier, Golden Horn accounted for the Group 1 Coral Eclipse and the Group 2 Dante. Gosden said Golden Horn ducked out when he saw the shadow of the grandstand. Free Eagle's rider, Pat Smullen, said the substantial contact knocked the wind out of his mount and cost him the race. The stewards disagreed and the two may meet again in three weeks' time in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Legatissimo may be the one to beat in October at Keeneland in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf if her performance in Saturday's Group 1 Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron at Leopardstown is an indication. The Danehill Dancer Filly, second in the Oaks, had no problems with the Matron field, circling the lot of them in the late going and drawing off to score by 2 1/4 lengths from Cladocera. Ainippe was third. "She is getting better as the year goes on," said winning trainer David Wachman. "We'd like to go to the Breeders' Cup with her now."
Also Saturday at Leopardstown, O'Brien saddled Johannes Vermeer to an easy win in the Group 3 Willis Champions Juvenile Stakes -- his second straight victory. And Fascinating Rock had the most to give in the final furlong of the Group III KPMG Enterprise Stake at 1 1/2 miles, winning off by 6 lengths over Panama Hat, followed by John F Kennedy, Elleval and Answered.
On Sunday at the Curragh, Order of St George easily won the Group 1 Irish St Leger, a race marred by the fatal breakdown of last year's winner and globetrotting campaigner, Brown Panther. Brown Panther, a 7-year-old entire son of Shirroco, sustained a fatal leg injury as he was moving into contention turning for home in the classic. Jockey Richard Kingscote quickly pulled him up but the injury was not sustainable. Order of St George, with Joseph O'Brien up for his father, Aidan, led comfortably for the final few furlongs and won by 11 lengths over Agent Murphy with Wicklow Brave third. It was the third straight win for the 3-year-old Galileo colt, including the St Leger Trial.
Also Sunday at the Curragh, Air Force Blue easily won the Group 1 National Stakes under Joseph O'Brien without being asked for his best and his price for next year's 2,000 Guineas took a nosedive. Sole Power found the winner's enclosure for the first time since taking the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint at Medan on World Cup night, narrowly winning the Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes over Maarek. And Ribbons outfinished Tapestry to win the Group 2 Moyglare "Jewels" Blandford Stakes for fillies and mares.
While the messy stretch run of the Irish Champion Stakes was let stand at Leopardstown, such was not the case in Saturday's Group 1 St Leger at Doncaster. There, the stewards decided a pair of incidents late in the marathon added up to enough wrongdoing to promote Bondi Beach to victory after the filly Simple Verse had crossed the finish 1/2 length in front. Losing trainer Ralph Beckett was outraged and promised to appeal the decision. The officials ruled Simple Verse, under Andrea Atzeni, bumped with Bondi Beach the first time while trying to get clear of a tiring Storm the Stars, and then was at fault for a more serious bump closer to home. "The combination of the two in our opinion improved Simple Verse's position," the stewards said. They also handed Atzeni a three-day suspension. Bondi Beach, a Galileo colt trained by Aidan O'Brien, now has three wins and two seconds from five starts.
Limato rallied to the lead inside the final furong in Saturday's Group 2 Saint Gobain Weber Park Stakes and quickly got clear, winning by 3 1/2 lengths over Markaz with Breton Rock third. Limato, a 3-year-old colt by Tagula, ran 7 furlongs on good ground in 1:24.98. It was his sixth win from eight starts, with two seconds.
Emotionless left his backers with plenty of emotion -- all of it good -- after an impressive performance in Saturday's Group 2 Champagne Stakes for 2-year-olds at Doncaster. Easily catching pacesetter Ibn Malik with 2 furlongs yet to run, jockey William Buick put Emotionless into idle for a while and the two ran together. But when given his cue, Emotionless easily powered clear and won by 3 1/2 lengths. Ibn Malik held second, 7 lengths clear of Palawan. Emotionless, a Shamardal colt bred by Darley and owned by Godolphin, won at first asking at Newmarket last month and has been a buzz for some time. Oddsmakers quickly slashed the price on the Charlie Appleby trainee for next spring's 2,000 Guineas.
On Friday at Doncaster, Gutiafan was a narrow winner of the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes for 2-year-olds, beating Ornate by a head after a long tussle. Log Out Island led for much of the way and battled on finish third. Gutiafan, an Irish-bred Dark Angel colt, was second behind Shalaa in the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville in his previous start and now has four wins from six starts for Al Shaqab Racing and trainer Richard Hannon. Frankie Dettori had the ride. In the Group 2 May Hill Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, Turret Rocks collared pacesetting Marenko with 100 yards left and edged clear to win by 3/4 length over that foe. Opal Tiara was 1 3/4 length farther in arrears in third. The favorite, Pure Diamond, was eased. Turret Rocks, a Fastnet Rock filly trained by Jim Bolger, scored her second win in her fourth start.
Fawkner was the narrow winner in a cavalry charge finish that ended Saturday's Group 1 Makybe Diva at Flemington. After 1,600 meters, Fawkner was a short neck in front of Rising Romance, with another head back to Entirely Platinum. Less than 3 lengths separated the first 13 under the wire. Dandino finished 11th, beaten only 2 1/4 lengths. Fawkner, with Damien Oliver up, was settled in about fourth position as the field turned for home and had just enough room and just enough distance to get up for the victory between horses.
Back in North America:
Turf action was disrupted by the weather, with the Kentucky Downs program postponed and several other tracks forced either to move their stakes off the grass or to run on soft going. Still, there were some bang-up races.
Mondialiste rallied from last of nine to win Sunday's $1 million (Canadian) Ricoh Woodbine Mile by 1/2 length over Lea. Obviously, in from California for the festivities, overcame the yielding turf to finish third after opening a long early lead. Mondialiste, a 5-year-old, Irish-bred son of Galileo, has raced in France and England, winning a Group 3 event at York in his previous start for trainer David O'Meara. He finished Sunday's race in 1:36.66 under Feargal Lynch. "I got a little bit far back early," Lynch said. "I was a little bit concerned as how far back we were. We saved a lot of ground. We stuck to the plan to come late. It was going to be a long run down the stretch. We just took our time and the horse had an awesome turn of foot. He just really galloped over top of them. It made my job easy." The race was a "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Turf but O'Meara did not say whether Mondialiste might take advantage of the opportunity.
Interpol stalked the pace set by Danish Dynaformer in Sunday's $300,000 (Canadian), Grade I Northern Dancer Turf at Woodbine, took over turning for home and held on to win by 1/2 length over Habibi. Triple Threat was third and the favorite, Lucky Speed, finished fourth. Danish Dynaformer faded to finish sixth. Interpol, a 4-year-old English Channel colt, ran 1 1/2 miles on yielding turf in 2:33.56 with Emma-Jayne Wilson at the controls. He was sent to the post at 10-1 odds despite having won the Grade II Sky Classic over the course in his last start.
Cage Fighter shadowed the pace in Saturday's $200,000 PTHA President's Cup at Parx Racing, took over the lead a furlong out and got home first by 1 3/4 length over Divine Oath. Margano and Chamois completed the order of finish. Cage Fighter, a 5-year-old son of Closing Argument, ran 9 furlongs on yielding turf in 1:53.74 with Joshua Navarro in the irons. He had been close in graded states at Monmouth and Pimlico earlier in the season.
Filly & Mare Turf
Sentiero Italia waited patiently behind the early speed in Saturday's $500,000, Grade II Sands Point Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, took over the lead at the top of the lane and went on to win by 3 3/4 length over British invader Blond Me. Miss Temple City finished third. Sentiero Italia, a Medaglia d'Oro filly, ran 9 furlongs over the good inner turf course in 1:48.83 with Joel Rosario up. Bred by Darley and owned by Godolphin, the filly now has won four of her last five starts, including the Grade II Lake Placid at Saratoga. "She had her issues early in her career but she's gotten good," said winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. "Once we got her going she hasn't had any issues. She's run every race we've pointed for. She's top shelf."
Strut the Course came from near the back of the field to take Sunday's $300,000 (Canadian) Canadian Stakes for fillies and mares at Woodbine by 1/2 length over Button Down. Hoop of Colour finished third. Strut the Course, a 5-year-old mare by Strut the Stage, got about 1 1/8 miles on yielding turf in 1:49.56 with Luis Contreras up. She has been a consistent performer on both the turf and the all-weather course for trainer Barbara Minshall, winning the Grade II Dance Smartly on the green course on July 5, then finishing a close second in the Grade III Ontario Matron on the all-weather three weeks later. The race was a qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf. "I have to talk to the owner," Minshall said about that prospect. "I am not sure. The E.P. Taylor looks pretty tempting here, but we'll talk about it. It has just been awesome." Owner John Unger sounded as if he is still getting acclimated to the stratosphere of racing. "It's like winning the lottery over and over and over," he said. "I've never had a horse that actually even won anything more than an allowance race before I had this horse. It is just like a gift from heaven. It's unbelievable."
Interrupted saved ground early in Saturday's $150,000 Lady Baltimore Stakes at Laurel Park, shifted out entering the stretch and got home first by 1 1/4 lengths despite drifting out well into the track. Speed Seeker was second and Pink Poppy third. The favorite, Fasnacloich, finished fourth. Interrupted, a 4-year-old Broken Vow filly out of the Seattle Slew mare Alternate, ran 1 1/16 miles on yielding turf in 1:50.28 with Matthew Rispoli in the irons.
Spring to the Sky sprung right to the lead in Saturday's $100,000 Laurel Dash and held on late to win by 1/2 length over Night Officer. A.P. Elvis was third and the favorite, Oak Bluffs, was fourth. Spring to the Sky, a 6-year-old son of Langfuhr, ran 6 furlongs on yielding turf in 1:13.57 with Mike Luzzi up. It was the first win for Spring to the Sky since he put together a three-race streak last summer. Luzzi recently returned to action after fracturing his leg in two places and his pelvis in five places during a spill at Aqueduct in November. "There was a time I didn't know if I would ride again, so this is satisfying," he said.
Ready for Rye won Sunday's $100,000, off-the-turf Allied Forces Stakes for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park by 4 3/4 lengths over Big Family with First Down far back in third. Ready for Rye, a City Zip gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a muddy track in 1:10.57 under Javier Castellano.
Mobile Bay was unhurried early in Saturday's $400,000, Grade II Super Derby at Louisiana Downs, advanced as the field hit the stretch turn and was along late to win by 2 2 1/2 lengths. Chocopologie was second, 1 length ahead of the favorite, Allied Air Raid. Mobile Bay, a Louisiana-bred colt by Lone Star Special, ran 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:50.83 with Edgar Prado in for the ride. He has yet to race outside Louisiana.
Frivolous was next-last of nine halfway through Saturday's $100,000 Locust Grove Stakes at Churchill Downs but 8 lengths out front of the field at the wire. The 5-year-old Empire Maker mare, with Jon Court riding, came five-wide around rivals into the stretch to take the lead and it was no contest thereafter. Flashy American was second, 1/2 length better than Diva's Diamond. Frivolous ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:43.85. Winning trainer Vickie Oliver said the $500,000, Grade I Spinster on Oct. 4 at Keeneland will be next. "That's why we took so much time with her. We'll see how she comes out tomorrow. That will depend on how much the race took out of her."
Academic stalked the pace in Sunday's $200,000 (Canadian) British Columbia Derby at Hastings Racecourse, then was up just in time to nip pacesetter Bluegrass Angus by a neck. Blue Dancer was 1 1/2 lengths farther back in third. Academic, an Ontario-bred filly by Henny Hughes, ran 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:50.33 for jockey Justin Stein. She won the Woodbine Oaks, failed to complete the Queen's Plate, then won the Grade III Canadian Derby at Northlands Park earlier this season.
With Academic taking on the boys, Hero's Amor seized the lead in the stretch run of Sunday's $100,000 (Canadian) British Columbia Oaks at Hastings and held on to score by 1/2 length over Ambleside Park. The favorite, Morning Coffee, coughed up the lead in the late going and finished third. Hero's Amor, a Kentucky-bred Street Hero filly, got 9 furlongs in 1:52.43 with Rico Walcott up. She has three straight wins.
Cocked and Loaded fired right on schedule in Saturday's $150,000, Grade III Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs, rallying from a stalking position to win by 2 lengths over Rated R Superstar. In the process, the Colonel John colt earned the first 10 points in the 2016 Kentucky Derby standings. Unbridled Outlaw finished third and the favorite, Conquest Windycity, was fourth. Both of those had eventful trips. Cocked and Loaded, with Emmanuel Esquivel up, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.94. He won the Tremont Stakes at Belmont in June but then finished sixth in the Grade III Sanford at Saratoga and fifth in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity at Arlington Park. "I think he's a real special horse," said winning trainer Larry Rivelli. "He handles everything with stride. Manny did a great job. I told him to ride him with confidence and let him do what he needs to do. I'm just really proud of the horse. Hopefully we'll dance the big dance (the Breeders' Cup Juvenile) if he's healthy."
Mt Veeder dueled to the lead in Sunday's $75,000 Contender Stakes at Los Alamitos and kicked away to a 4 3/4-lengths victory over Paynes Prairie. Bully Pulpit finished third. Mt Veeder, a Ghostzapper colt trained by Bob Baffert, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.35 with Martin Garcia up. It was his second win in as many tries. "He's a fast horse and Martin just sat on him and let him do his job," said Baffert assistant Mike Marlow.
Formal Summation battled for the lead in Saturday's off-the-turf, $75,000 Laurel Futurity, then opened up a big lead and coasted home first, 2 3/4 lengths to the good of Captain Alex. The favorite, Thunder Pass, finished third. Formal Summation, an In Summation colt, ran 5 1/2 furlongs in the slop in 1:06.21 under Antonio Gallardo.
Conquest Daddyo pulled off the upset win in Saturday's $200,000 (Canadian), Grade II Summer Stakes at Woodbine, rallying from well back to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Sky Marshal. Manhattan Dan was third and the favorite, The Zip Zip Man, lost his zip in the lane, fading to finish eighth. Conquest Daddyo, a Scat Daddy colt, ran 1 mile on good turf in 1:36.61 for jockey Joe Bravo. He finished a close second in the Vandal Stakes on the all-weather track in his previous start. "It doesn't surprise me at all," said winning trainer Mark Casse from Kentucky. "This horse worked extremely well on the grass the other day. Scat Daddys love the grass and this is a big, long-striding colt that's just going to get better the farther he runs." The race is a Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf "Win and You're In" and Casse said co-owner Ernie Semersky "loves the Breeders' Cup and I'm sure he'll be excited to get there." Bravo was scheduled to ride eight races Saturday at Kentucky Downs but picked up the Woodbine mount when that card was canceled. "You can't make this stuff up," he said. "Thanks, Mark."
Uncle Brennie stalked the pace in Saturday's $75,000 Sunday Silence Stakes at Louisiana Downs, took over when asked by jockey Chris Landeros and prevailed by 1 3/4 lengths over Royal Lion. Better Than Magic pulled a late run out of his hat to take third. Uncle Brennie, an Uncle Mo colt out of the Malibu Moon mare Moon Music, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:36.23 with Christ Landeros up.
Game of Thrones fans chuckled all the way to the windows after Dothraki Queen rallied around most of her rivals late in Saturday's $200,000, Grade II Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs and won by 1/2 length. Bold Quality finished second but was demoted to third behind Dream Dance. The favorite, Just Wicked, finished fourth and Emerald Downs invader Princess Kennedy faded to get home sixth. Dothraki Queen, a Pure Prize filly, went off at odds of more than 7-1 and finished 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:45.80 with Corey Lanerie up. She's 2-for-2 after breaking her maiden at Ellis Park in July. She also scored the first 10 points toward a start in next year's Kentucky Oaks. Winning trainer Kenny McPeek said he left many of his best young horses in Kentucy for the summer rather than ship to Saratoga. "Hopefully it pays off. On the turn, I said to the box, 'She's going to live and die by the rail here. If she gets through, we're good, but if not, we're fifth.'" He said Dothraki Queen will go on to the $400,000, Grade I Alcibiades at Keeneland on Oct. 2.
Ruby Notion gunned right to the lead in Saturday's off-the-turf $75,000 Selima Stakes at Laurel Park and extended the advantage thoughout, winning by 8 lengths, ridden out. Look Who's Talking was best of the rest, 2 lengths ahead of Holiday Wishes. Ruby Notion, a Great Notion filly, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:05.06 with Trevor McCarthy up.
Juvenile Fillies Turf
Catch a glimpse is about all her nine rivals did in Saturday's $200,000 (Canadian), Grade II Natalma Stakes at Woodbine as Gatch a Glimpse led all the way and kicked off to a 5-lengths victory. The favorite, Gamble's Ghost, was up for second, 3/4 length ahead of Caren. Catch a Glimpse, a City Zip filly, ran 1 mile on good turf in 1:35.95 with Florent Geroux up for trainer Mark Casse. She has two wins after finishing fifth in her career bow at Saratoga. Part-owner Jeff Begg noted the race is a "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and, asked if fans might catch a glimpse of his filly there, said, "Well, I would expect so. It's in Kentucky this year, there's a good chance the turf will be similar to today with a little give and she obviously liked it."
Saritta raced well back in Saturday's $75,000 Happy Ticket Stakes at Louisiana Downs, advanced around the turn and prevailed after splitting rivals in mid-stretch. Glitter O'Prado also ran well late but finished second, 1 3/4 lengths back and 1 length ahead of Jazz Song. Saritta, an Indigo Shiner filly out of the Dynaformer mare Hard Lesson, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:37.02 with Richard Eramia in the irons for trainer Brett Calhoun.
Tacticus slowed things down appropriately on the lead in Saturday's $200,000 Temperence Hill Invitational at Belmont Park and got clear late to win by 3 3/4 lengths over the favorite, V.E. Day. Indycott and Slim Shadey completed the order of finish. Tacticus, a 4-year-old A.P. Indy colt ran 1 5/8 miles on a fast track in 2:44.66 with Joel Rosario up. Note: While the Breeders' Cup World Championships no longer include a Marathon, Keeneland is staging a $200,000, Grade II Marathon, at 1 3/4 miles, on Breeders' Cup Friday.