Mr Speaker posted a promising win on the grass and Frosted was impressive on the dirt in highlights of weekend Thoroughbred racing.
With little more than a month to go to the Breeders' Cup World Championship races at Keeneland, stakes results take on added importance. The coming two weeks will see a series of Breeders' Cup "semifinals" at the major U.S. racing jurisdictions.
On the international front, things were quiet as owners and trainers made final preparation for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe meeting at Longchamp in two weeks' time and British Champions Day on Oct. 17 at Ascot.
Here's the scoop:
Mr Speaker saved ground just behind the leaders in Saturday's $250,000 Commonwealth Cup at Laurel Park, came off the rail to make his bid with 2 furlongs to go and prevailed through a nice drive by 1 1/4 lengths over Legendary. El Jeffe Grande was up for third and the favorite, Up With the Birds, was another length back in fourth. Mr Speaker, a 4-year-old son of Pulpit, ran 9 furlongs on firm turf in 1:47.47 with Jose Ortiz up. The horse has been a puzzle for trainer Shug McGaughey, occasionally jumping up to win a big race -- including the $1.25 million Belmont Derby in 2014 -- but lacking consistency. In his last start, he finished fourth as the favorite in the Grade 2 Sky Classic at Woodbine. "Going into the first turn, I could see he was in a perfect spot," said McGaughey assistant Robbie Medina. "He had plenty of horse going down the backside. When he eased him out at the top of the lane, he gave him a big run." Medina said Mr Speaker's last few races were not as bad as they look in the past performances, adding, "He's been training well. We expected a good effort today." He said McGaughey will look for the best option, likely in New York, for the horse's next race. "He wants to run a little farther than this," Medina said.
One Go All Go set a relaxed pace, then sprinted clear to a 35-1 upset victory in Saturday's $400,000 Commonwealth Derby at Laurel Park. Fundamental rallied from last of seven to edge the odds-on favorite, Force the Pass, for second. Great Dancer was another head back in fourth. One Go All Go, a Virginia-bred Fairbanks colt, ran 9 furlongs on firm going in 1:48.35 with Ronald Hisby up. It was only his sixth career start and he had not won since the first of those -- a $62,500 maiden claimer on the Arlington Park all-weather track Aug. 22, 2014. He entered Saturday's race after finishing second in an allowance event at Indiana Grand. "We knew he had huge ability, but he didn't show it on the dirt," winning trainer Pavel Matejka said. "We were looking at a Triple Crown career and tried him on the dirt twice and it didn't work out." Hisby added: "My horse broke well and I just kept going. No one was there, so we kept going and going. He just kept going and never stopped." The race formerly was the Virginia Derby, run at Colonial Downs. Virginia racing has been shut down because of internal industry disputes.
Kharafa came four-wide to the lead in Sunday's $125,000 Ashley T. Cole Stakes for New York-breds at Belmont Park, then kicked away to a 2-lengths victory. Runaway Posse rallied from last of five to finish second, 2 lengths ahead of Iron Power. The favorite, Lubash, finished fourth. Kharafa, a 6-year-old Kitalpha gelding, ran 9 furlongs on the firm inner turf course in 1:49.13 with Javier Castellano at the controls.
On Wednesday at Kentucky Downs, Kalamos -- at 50-1 odds -- stalked the pace in the $150,000 Old Friends Stakes, moved forcefully to the lead and won off by 2 lengths. Thatcher Street and Fredericksburg filled out the trifecta. Kalamos, a 6-year-old son of Empire Maker, ran 1 mile and 70 yards on firm turf in 1:43.18 under Abel Lezcano. He came from England after the 2012 season, won his first U.S. start at Keeneland the following October and had not won in 12 intervening races.
Frosted has been through the wars this season, mostly suffering at the hands of American Pharoah. But, out from the shadow of that rival, the Tapit colt had more than enough to land Saturday's $1 million, Grade II Pennsylvania Derby at Parx, drawing off late to win by 2 lengths. Joel Rosario saved ground aboard the Godolphin runner into the stretch turn before coming out for racing room. Frosted responded without much encouragement, quickly spurting to the lead. Iron Fist was second, trailed by Tommy Macho, Mr. Z, Upstart, Madefromlucky, Island Town and Battle Midway. Frosted finished 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:50.04. Earlier this year, Frosted finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Belmont, both times behind American Pharoah. He then was second to the now-sidelined Texas Red in the Grade II Jim Dandy. And in the dramatic Travers, he pushed Americh Pharoah through more than a mile before Keen Ice ran by them both to win, leaving Frosted third -- behind American Pharoah. "We're happy he wasn't here," winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said of the Triple Crown champ. But McLaughlin said Frosted is pointed to the Breeders' Cup Classic where, all things being equal, he will meet that rival again.
Lucky Lindy flew home in Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian) Ontario Derby at Woodbine, winning by 3 3/4 lengths over the favorite, Billy's Star. Breaking Lucky was third with a belated effort. Lucky Lindy, by Harlan's Holiday out of the Rahy mare Celebrate, ran 9 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:50.64 with Robby Albarado in the irons. He earlier was second in the Toronto Cup and third in the Breeders' Stakes. "It was only his fifth start," said winning trainer Mark Frostad. "He had some 2-year-old issues, so it took him a little longer. He's coming along beautifully and I think his best racing days are ahead of him."
I'm a Chatterbox rolled by pacesetting long shot Calamity Kate in the stretch run to win Saturday's $1 million, Grade I Cotillion for 3-year-old fillies at Parx Racing by 2 lengths. Calamity Kate held second by 2 1/2 lengths over Peace and War. Eskenformoney was fourth and Embellish the Lace, who narrowly defeated I'm a Chatterbox in the Grade I Alabama, got home fifth. Last year's Breeders' Cup and Eclipse Award winner, Take Charge Brandi, was eased in her second straight failure after a long layoff. I'm a Chatterbox, a Munnings filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.48 with Florent Geroux in the irons. The Fair Grounds Oaks winner finished third in this year's Kentucky Oaks.
Midnight Miley battled to the lead in the stretch run in Sunday's $125,000 (Canadian) La Lorgnette Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Woodbine, then held off the odds-on favorite, Don't Leave Me, by a head. Dyna's Recoleta was gaining quickly but settled for third, 1/2 length farther back. Midnight Miley, a daughter of Midnight Lute, got 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:44.96 with Jesse Campbell up. It was her first win in four tries since coming from California. "She was a little aggressive going into the first turn, but she settled pretty good for me," said Campbell. "We were going pretty slow, she was in my hands, but I was impressed with the way she fought down the lane. She really fought hard."
Filly & Mare Turf
Kiss Moon battled down the stretch with pacesetting favorite I'm Already Sexy in Saturday's $300,000 Fasig-Tipton Ladies Turf at Kentucky Downs, finally winning by a neck over that rival. Sunset Glow emerged late to take third. Kiss Moon, a 4-year-old Malibu Moon filly, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:36.18 with Corey Laniere up. She won the Grade III Mint Julep at Churchill Downs in June, then struggled in her only intervening start at Mountaineer, fading to finish fifth.
Modernstone ranged up outside her rivals in deep stretch in Saturday's $300,000 Fasig-Tipton Ladies Marathon at Kentucky Downs and got by, winning by 3/4 length at 30-1 odds. Courtesan had caught early leader Naples Gold earlier in the stretch run and those two filled out the trifecta. The favorite, Dido, didn't and finished last of eight. Modernstone, a 5-year-old, British-bred Duke of Marmalade mare, ran 1 5/16 miles on firm going in 2:13.12 with Rafael Hernandez riding. Modernstone's last win was ancient history. She was victorious only once in 11 tries last year and had been winless in four previous starts in 2015.
Return to Grace rallied to the lead five-wide in Saturday's $200,000 Dueling Grounds Oaks at Kentucky Downs and edged clear to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Queen of Scat. The favorite, Heath, reached contention late but faltered and finished third. Return to Grace, an English Channel filly, ran 1 5/16 miles on firm turf in 2:12.75 with Joe Rocco Jr. up. She was coming off a nose loss to Mizz Money in the Grade III Pucker Up on the Arlington Million undercard.
Recepta came five-wide into the stretch in Saturday's $200,000, Grade III Noble Damsel Stakes at Belmont Park, worked her way to the lead and held off Lady Lara in the closing strides to win by 1/2 length. Crowley's Law finished with a rush to edge the favorite, Coffee Clique, for show. Recepta, a 4-year-old Speightstown filly, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:33.32 with Elvis Trujillo up. It was her third win from five starts this year and first in a graded stakes. "I think the key to her development this year is more maturity than anything," said winning trainer Jimmy Toner. "She was kind of washy and sort of flighty last year and couldn't take too much. We gave her the winter off and brought her back in the spring, and she's taken every step that we've wanted her to take." He suggested the Grade III Athena on Oct. 27 as a next race.
Old Harbor tracked the pace in Sunday's $125,000 John Hettinger Stakes for New York-bred distaffers at Belmont Park, took over in the stretch and won off by 3 1/2 lengths over The Tea Cups. Selenite finished third. Old Harbor, a 4-year-old Raffie's Majesty filly, toured 9 firm furlongs on the inner turf course in 1:47.95 with Elvis Trujillo up.
Trouble Kid, in his first stakes try, led from the start in Saturday's $300,000, Grade III Gallant Bob for 3-year-olds at Parx Racing and held off the favorite, Limousine Liberal, by a neck at the end. Bayerd came from well back to get show money. Trouble Kid, a Harlan's Holiday gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.56 under Joshua Navarro. He now has won three straight races since being claimed for $15,000 on July 5. Saturday's win was worth $180,000 for owner Barbara Hopkins.
Pants On Fire was along in the final strides to win Saturday's $100,000 Wild and Wonderful Stakes at Charles Town by 1/2 length from pacesetter Hidden Canyon. Rockinn On Bye finished third. Pants On Fire, a 7-year-old son of Jump Start, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:23.55 for jockey Paco Lopez.
Goodoldhockeygame outfinished Ultimate Destiny in Saturday's $125,000 (Canadian) Overskate Stakes for Ontario-sired horses at Woodbine, winning by 1 length over that one. Sniper was third and Kingsport, the favorite, finished sixth after leading late. Goodoldhockeygame, a 3-year-old Old Forester gelding, ran 7 furlongs on the all-weather course in 1:22.72 with Eurico Da Silva in the irons.
Filly & Mare Sprint
Hot City Girl set a hot pace in Saturday's $350,000, Grade III Charles Town Oaks in West Virginia, then shook clear late, winning by 2 1/2 lengths. Temper Mint Patty put a nose in front of long shot Toutsie Rules for second. The favorite, Sarah Sis, faded badly and finished last of six. Hot City Girl, a New York-bred City Zip filly, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:23.80 with Jose Ortiz up. It was her third career win and followed a brief break after a fifth-place showing in the Grade I Mother Goose at Belmont in June. "We're absolutely thrilled," said winning trainer Linda Rice. "I'd scratched her out of the Prioress when she drew the 1 (post position) in a large field and I didn't like the way the race set up for her. She was 6-to-1 in here, so it wasn't like she was a big favorite or something, but Jose rode a beautiful race." Rice said the effort encourages her to try Hot City Girl in the $250,000, Grade II Lexus Raven Run at Keeneland Oct. 17.
Super Majesty showed the way in Saturday's $100,000, Grade III Dogwood Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs and went on to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Chide made a late move and edged Sweet Swingin for second. Super Majesty, a Super Saver filly, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:23.02 with Alex Solis in the irons for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Raced earlier in California, she now has three wins and a second from four career starts. "I talked to Jerry this morning and we didn't think anybody had the speed that she has. They didn't," Solis said. "I still think she can route. She's lightly raced and still maturing. Also, the way she moves gives me the idea that she can route, too." Owners Larry, Nancy and Jamie Roth scored their first graded stakes win.
Walk of Stars set the pace in the $100,000 Pink Ribbon Stakes for fillies and mares at Charles Town, opened a daylight lead and had just enough in reserve to win by a neck from Julie's Jewelry. The favorite, Flattering Bea, was third, another 5 1/2 lengths in arrears. Walk of Stars, a 4-year-old Street Sense filly, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:23.92 with Travis Dunkelberger in the irons.
Don't get too excited, Chicago Blackhawks fans (yes, you, Joe Kristufek!) but it appears Toews On Ice is a promising 2-year-old. The Archarcharch colt ran eight rivals out of their shoes Sunday in the $100,000 Barretts Juvenile at Los Alamitos, skating off to a 7 1/2-lengths victory under Martin Garcia. Annie's Candy beat the others with Night of Drama third and the favorite, Good for It, fifth with a flat effort. Toews On Ice, owned by the premier Baffert group of Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.31. The colt finished third in each of his two previous races, both at Del Mar. "A lot of horses didn't like Del Mar because the track was a little sticky," Garcia said. Baffert assistant Mike Marlow added, "He's always shown some speed. But today he was really sharp. He was really on it." Jonathan Toews, of course, is one of the stars of the Stanley Cup champion Chicago hockey team.
Love That Jazz led from the start in Friday's $100,000 Aspirant Stakes for New York-breds at Finger Lakes and got home first by 1 3/4 lengths. Dr. Shane was second and the favorite, Inside Straight, went outside in the straight but ultimately showed the third-best hand. Love That Jazz, a Not For Love colt, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.56, notching his first win in his fourth start.
Just Google Me took the lead with a furlong and a half left in Saturday's $100,000 Barretts Debutante Stakes at Los Alamitos and drew off easily, winning by 9 1/2 lengths. Sambamzajammin led the way and held second, a neck in front of Miss Injustice. Just Google Me, a daughter of Stormin Fever, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:17.51 with Edwin Maldonado up. "We figured there was plenty of speed and she's always come from off the pace," said winning trainer Scott Rollins. "We thought the distance would suit her and it set up the right way." She has two wins, a second and a third from four starts. The race was restricted to fillies offered at a Barretts sale.
Gregorian Gold shot quickly to the lead in Friday's $100,000 Lady Finger Stakes for New York-breds at Finger Lakes and kept on going, winning by 4 1/4 lengths. Celestial Sighting was second with Pont de l'Alma third. Gregorian Gold, a Touch Gold filly, touched home in 1:12.51 over a fast track. She finished second in her career bow at Saratoga.
Kermadec, the heavy favorite, got home 1/2 length ahead of Royal Descent in Saturday's Group 1 George Main Stakes at Randwick. Pornichet finished third in 1-mile event, run over soft turf. Kermadec, a 4-year-old, New Zealand-bred colt by Teofilo, won the Group 1 Doncaster Mile in April but finished fifth and third in his first two starts in the Southern Hemisphere spring.
Around the circuit:
Encryption pressed the pace in Saturday's $100,000 Bayern Stakes, took the lead when asked and cleared easily, winning by 6 1/4 lengths over Classic Giacnroll. Gasshoppin finished third. Encryption, a 4-year-old Exchange Rate colt, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.34 with Paco Lopez up. He had been working up a storm at Monmouth Park after a short break for trainer Kelly Breen.
Uncle Dave battled with Beyond Smart through most of Saturday's $100,000 Alphabet Soup Stakes for Pennsylvania-breds, surrendered the lead to that one entering the stretch, then surged again to win by a head. Meanwhile, Forward Thinker was closing on both of them, finishing third just a nose farther back. Uncle Dave, a 5-year-old Langfuhr gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:44.13 with Jorge Vargas Jr. in the irons.
Rusty Slipper slipped through between horses in the stretch drive to win Saturday's $100,000 Glen Hill Farm One Dreamer Stakes by a head over A Little Bit Sassy. Annulment finished third. Rusty Slipper, a 5-year-old Lemon Drop Kid mare, got 1 mile and 70 yards on firm turf in course-record time of 1:41.70 with James Graham at the controls.
Stoweshoe took the lead heading for home in Saturday's $50,000 Henry Mercer Memorial for West Virginia-bred 2-year-olds and won off by 2 1/4 lengths over Imaflashyfellow. I'm a Spot was third. Stoweshoe, a Flatter filly, ran furlongs on firm turf in 52.41 seconds with Arnaldo Bocachica up.
In the $50,000 Rachel's Turn Stakes for state-bred juvenile fillies, Aye a Song showed the way, then held on for a 1-length victory over odds-on favorite R C's Daisyduke. Carita was third. Aye a Song, a daughter of Fiber Sonde, got home in 51.70 with Christian Heraldo riding.
Greenway Court made all the going in Saturday's $50,000 It's Only Money Stakes for West Virginia-breds and went on to win by 1 length over Just Fuhr Real. Montague Bay finished third Greenway Court, a 6-year-old Windsor Castle gelding, ran 4 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 50.92 seconds under Antonio Lopez.
Pacific Pink stalked the pace in Saturday's restricted $75,000 Elge Raspberry Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, then took over when asked by jockey Alfredo Contreras and won off by 5 lengths over Fab Fox. Good Gator was third. Pacific Pink, a Private Vow filly, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:34.36.
Cajun Spirit came from off the pace to win the similarly restricted $75,000 A.L. (Red) Erwin Stakes for 3-year-olds by 1 1/2 lengths. Sir Tiz mounted a late rally that earned second, a neck in front of Sand Pit Road. Cajun Spirit, a Bernstein gelding, ran 1 mile on the grass in 1:35.96 with Gerardo Mora in the irons.
Needmore Flattery put a nose in front of Justalittlesmoke at the end of Saturday's $75,000 Scarlet and Grey Handicap for Ohio-bred fillies and mares -- a victory as narrow as Ohio State's over Northern Illinois. Morant Bay was 7 1/2 lengths farther back in third. Needmore Flattery, a 4-year-old Flatter filly, ran 6 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:11.22 with Luis Colon up.
Amaranth led most of the way in Saturday's $50,000 Asparagus Stakes for fillies and mares at the San Joaquin Fair meeting and extended the advantage through the stretch, winning by 3 1/2 lengths over Mystery Strike. Sweet Boss was 1/2 length farther back in third. Amaranth, a 4-year-old daughter of Mr. Greeley, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.67 with Catalino Martinez up.
It was a whole bunch of $50,000 (Canadian) stakes for Alberta-bred horses over a fast track on Saturday.
Kilohana led all the way to a 4-lengths victory over odds-on favorite Tiny Giant in the Red Diamond Express at 6 1/2 furlongs with Bond James Bond promoted to third via disqualification. Kilohana, a 6-year-old Deal Breaker gelding, got home in 1:17.28 under Shannon Beauregard.
Brady's Tomboy tracked the pace in the Fall Classic Distaff, then won going away by 2 1/2 lengths over Smile Again Theta. Brady's Tomboy, a 7-year-old daughter of Crafty Shaw, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.51 with Scott Williams up.
Blameitontheknight shot clear of her eight rivals in the Alberta Oaks, winning by 8 lengths. Wild Deuces was second and the odds-on favorite, Queenoftheforest, checked in a fading sixth after rearing at the start. Blameitontheknight, a Sharp Humor filly, ran 1 mile in 1:40.10 with Beauregard in the irons.
Onestaratatime drew off in the stretch to win the Sturgeon River Stakes for 2-year-old fillies by 5 1/4 lengths over Leena. The winner, a daughter of Cape Canaveral, got 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:20.02 with Rico Walcott up.
Wild Legend won a stretch duel with the favorite, For Cash, and went on to win the Alberta Breeders' Handicap by 1 1/2 lengths over that rival. Wild Crush was third. Wild Legend, a 4-year-old Gold Legend gelding, was guided over 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.42 by Williams.
Timeless Tales took the lead in the stretch in the Beaufort Stakes for 3-year-olds and held off Water Wagon to win by 3/4 length. Timeless Tales, a Gilded Time gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:47.21 with Ismael Mosqueira in the irons.
Victory Day was quickly out front in the Alberta Premier's Futurity for 2-year-olds and went on with it, winning by 1 1/2 lengths over Go Wild. Victory Day, an Exhi gelding, was clocked in 1:20.25 with Walcott riding.
Presque Isle Downs
Imply led most of the way in Sunday's $75,000 Mrs. Henry D. Paxson Memorial for Pennsylvania-bred 2-year-old fillies and survived a late bid by the odds-on favorite, Bella Flor, by a mere nose. Hey Monba finished 6 1/4 lengths back in third. Imply, a daughter of E Dubai, ran 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:10.16 with Julio Hernandez up.
Power Corrupt stalked the pace in Sunday's $100,000 (Canadian) Jack Diamond Futurity for Canadian-foaled 2-year-olds, took over late and held off the favorite, Stanz In Command, winning by 2 1/2 lengths. Groot was a nose farther back in third. Power Corrupt, a Storm Victory gelding, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:18.39 with Jeffery Burningham up.
C U At Eau Claire worked her way to the lead in Sunday's $100,000 (Canadian) Sadie Diamond Futurity for juvenile fillies foaled in Canada, opened a daylight lead and just held on to win by a neck over Snuggles. Donttellmyhusband rallied to take third at a big price. C U At Eau Claire, a Haynesfield filly, got home in 1:18.30 with Richard Hamel in the irons.
News and notes:
Laurel Park on Nov. 1 will host nine "Win and You're In" races for the Claiming Crown program set for Dec. 5 at Gulfstream Park. The Maryland races will mirror the nine Claiming Crown races and will offer purses worth approximately 40 percent of the Florida events. The Claiming Crown races are restricted to horses which have been entered for specific claiming prices during the past year and offer a chance for "blue collar" steeds and connections to reap some attention and cash. The program is a joint venture of TOBA and the National HBPA. It has been run annually since 1999.