Brody's Cause cruises to victory in Saturday's Blue Grass at Keeneland, one of four $1 million weekend preps for the May 7 Kentucky Derby. Photo courtesy Keeneland
Brody's Cause, Exaggerator and Outwork won the weekend's three $1 million Kentucky Derby preps but Songbird continued to look like the year's best 3-year-old with a romping win in the Santa Anita Oaks.
Keeneland opened with a stakes-filled card replete with Breeders' Cup winners. Woodbine returned to action. Laurel Park got in on the Triple Crown preparations -- largely for the Preakness, but you never know. Trainer Wesley Ward got a couple of his string ready for another Royal Ascot invasion.
Internationally, it appears there is a lively rivalry brewing among Japanese 3-year-old fillies. Royal Randwick rolled on "down under" with a clutch of Group 1 events, including the rich Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
And, for the record, we'll note the winner of the Grand National at Aintree in England, even though the race involves jumping over things and three of the first six under the wire finished minus their riders.
Hang on as we head over these jumps:
The Road to the Roses}
Brody's Cause just kept coming in the stretch run in Saturday's $1 million Grade I Toyota Blue Grass at Keeneland and got clear to win by 1 3/4 lengths over a late-running My Man Sam. Cherry Wine was third and Laoban, who led to mid-stretch, held on for fourth. The favorite, Zulu, faded badly in the late going and beat only two rivals in the 14-horse field. Brody's Cause, a Giant's Causeway colt, ran 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:50.20 with Luis Saez aboard for trainer Dale Romans. He was among the top Kentucky Derby prospects last fall after winning the Grade I Breeders' Futurity in the mud at Keeneland and finishing third, only 2 3/4 lengths behind Nyquist, in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. But he faltered badly in the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby in his first start as a 3-year-old, finishing a well-beaten seventh.
"I think he he's a horse that needs a race (to get fully fit)," Romans said. "He got that race. It's a great track to get a race over ... This is the second-biggest race in Kentucky, in my opinion, and its great to come here and get your picture taken. It's on to the Kentucky Derby with a real chance ... This is a prototype Derby horse in my opinion. He has the pedigree and he has the look."
Romans said his plan was "to come in with a fresh horse, the third race in his rotation." Romans also trains Cherry Wine. "It's nice to have a 1-2 punch going in," he said.
Outwork was under pressure all the way in Saturday's $1 million Grade I Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, finally dispatched early antagonist Matt King Coal, then was all out to prevail by a head over 81-1 long shot Trojan Nation. Adventist finished third and the favorite, previously undefeated Gotham Stakes winner Shagaf, struggled home fifth.
Outwork, an Uncle Mo colt, won his first two career starts, then finished second to Destin in the Grade I Tampa Bay Derby in his most recent effort. The Wood was his first try over an off track and he finished 9 furlongs in the mud in 1:52.92 under John Velazquez.
"Forget the Derby, forget everything other than the fact it was a huge win for him in only his fourth lifetime start," said trainer Todd Pletcher. "To win a Grade I in only his fourth start is extra gratifying for our team, because five years ago Uncle Mo didn't win the Wood Memorial. It's sort of vindication in some ways for him, and to win it with a son of Uncle Mo is a pretty cool story."
Uncle Mo, like Outwork, was owned by Mike Repole. He finished third in the 2011 Wood, beaten a neck and a length as the 1-10 favorite. "To come back here five years later, with a son of Uncle Mo ... that was one of my toughest racing days, and this is one of my best racing days," Repole said.
Exaggerator rallied from well back in the field in Saturday's $1 million Grade I Santa Anita Derby, made the lead at the top of the stretch and kicked away to a 6 1/4-lengths victory over the favorite, Mor Spirit. Uncle Lino was a long shot third, 4 3/4 lengths better than early pacesetter Danzing Candy. Obviously enjoying the sloppy track, Exaggerator finished 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.66 with Kent Desormeaux riding for his trainer/brother, Keith.
Kent Desormeaux has won the Kentucky Derby three times, Keith has not won the Run for the Roses. Earlier in the season, Exaggerator finished second in the Grade I San Vicente behind Nyquist, who went on to defeat Mohaymen in the Grade I Florida Derby. Asked if he thinks Exaggerator can handle Nyquist in the Kentucky Derby, Kent Desormeaux said, "I don't know. We'll find out on Derby Day. I heard two people say that Nyquist couldn't handle Mohaymen. When I tried to run with him (Nyquist) in the San Vicente, he went 22 and change. I thought I was going to go by him like he was tied to a pole but he wouldn't let me by. That is a very good horse."
Keith Desormeaux said he has no worries about Exaggerator getting another furlong at Churchill Downs.
"The way he finished today and the way he galloped out ... If we get a fast pace, and we should, yes, I don't think there's any problem with it." Jockey Gary Stevens said Mor Spirit had all kinds of trouble early handling the mud and the splashback. "The first thing I said was, "This is going to be a long race ... I'm real proud of him to run second," Stevens said. Mike Smith said Danzing Candy felt like he "was on roller skates" trying to negotiate the wet surface.
At Laurel Park in Maryland, Awesome Speed, who scratched out of the Bay Shore at Aqueduct, led from the start in Saturday's $100,000 Federico Tesio Stakes for 3-year-olds but then needed a stewards' ruling to get the official win. Governor Malibu rallied outside Awesome Speed entering the stretch run and the two ran together to a photo finish. Governor Malibu got the nod but was ruled to have come in on his rival and the order of finish was reversed. I Came To Party finished third. The 9 furlongs on a fast track went in 1:53.31.
Awesome Speed posted two victories at Laurel as a 2-year-old, then won the Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park in his 2016 debut. But he faded badly in the Grade II Fountain of Youth, finishing fourth, in his intervening start. The Tesio has been designated a "Win and You're In" for the Preakness for horses nominated to the Triple Crown and trainer Alan Goldberg said that race is a possibility for his colt.
"It's pretty good spacing, that's the main thing," he said. "We'll have to see how the Kentucky Derby shakes out and all that and see what's what. It was great and I'm glad we won it."
Songbird overwhelmed a half-dozen rivals in Saturday's $400,000 Grade I Santa Anita Oaks, leading from the first jumps, never challenged or asked and winning by 3 3/4 lengths. She remains undefeated in seven starts, including last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. She finished Saturday's 1 1/16 miles on a sloppy, sealed track in 1:44.14 and jockey Mike Smith never asked her for run at any point in the race. Mokat was second, followed by She's a Warrior and Forever Darling.
"She's just incredible," Smith said, adding Songbird slipped a little on the sloppy track around the first turn. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer added, "She's always been well thought of and she's done everything we've asked her and we thought she would do that today. We have the point race coming up (the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 6), so if we have good fortune and she stays sound, we'll try to go to Kentucky and win that one."
Owner Rick Porter said he has never considered trying Songbird in the Kentucky Derby despite her domination of the filly ranks.
"There's a lot of good races, and there will be a time, if she's good enough, to take on the boys," Porter said. "I think she's too young to take on the boys with that 20-horse stampede (in the Kentucky Derby)." He added he thinks even the Breeders' Cup Classic this fall on her home track "would be too tough for her as a 3-year-old."
Weep No More came jetting up the short stretch at Keeneland to post a 30-1 upset victory in Saturday's $500,000 Grade I Ashland at Keenland, leaving Rachel's Valentina and previously undefeated Cathryn Sophia to fill out the trifecta slots. Weep No More, a Mineshaft filly named for the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs, raced well behind her four rivals down the backstretch. She cut the corner, switched to the outside and was up just in time. She finished 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:43.57 under Corey Lanerie. Rachel's Valentina was a neck back in second and a neck in front of the odds-on favorite, Cathryn Sophia.
It was Weep No More's third straight win but the two previous triumphs came in significantly lower-level events at Tampa Bay Downs.
"At the top of the lane, to be honest, I didn't think I could get up," Lanerie said. "She just kept going and they backed up a little bit," added winning trainer Rusty Arnold. "Did we expect this? Not quite. But she's just a step ahead of us."
He said the two-turn distance helped and he looks forward to the 1 1/8 miles of the Kentucky Oaks. Trainer John Servis said Cathryn Sophia will be pointed to shorter races, possibly the Grade II Eight Belles on Oaks Day at Churchill Downs.
Terra Promessa took a clear lead in the stretch in Saturday's $400,000 Grade III Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park, then held off a late run by stablemate Taxable, winning by a neck. Ready to Confess was 5 3/4 lengths back in third. Terra Promessa, a Curlin filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:45.06 with Ricardo Santana Jr. in the irons. It was her fourth straight win and followed a thrashing of Nickname in the Grade III Honeybee over the same course. Terra Promessa also has a victory at Churchill Downs.
"Obviously very proud of both of the fillies," said Steve Asmussen, who trains both Terra Promessa and Taxable. "Running them against each other here, I just felt that they had both run so well here over the race track their last start. We're definitely trying to get to the Oaks with both fillies. I thought this was the best opportunity for them."
Lewis Bay emerged from the muddy scrum turning into the stretch in Saturday's $300,000 Grade II Gazelle at Aqueduct, hit another gear and won off by 1 1/2 lengths, coasting at the end. Royal Obsession was second, 7 lengths ahead of Mo d'Amour.
Claire de Lune, previously undefeated in three starts, led early but tired and finished last of seven. Lewis Bay, a Bernardini filly, ran 9 furlongs on a muddy, sealed track in 1:52.60 with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard. She now has three wins and two seconds from four starts. One of the seconds was to Cathryn Sophia in the Grade II Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park back in February.
"Lewis Bay ran great," said trainer Chad Brown. "It was her day today. We set this plan up after the Demoiselle to give her one start in the Davona Dale and then the Gazelle. Very rarely when you make a plan with horses long term does it work out. With her it has, because she's such an honest, consistent, sound filly. When you have a horse like that in your barn you can keep a schedule. She'll have a couple of works before the (Kentucky) Oaks."
A P Majestic won Saturday's $100,000 Weber City Miss Stakes at Laurel Park on a disqualification. After she finished second by 1 length to odds-on favorite In the Navy Now, a court martial determined the latter repeatedly drifted out through the stretch, impeding A P Majestic. Its a Journey finished well back in third, well out of trouble. A P Majestic, a Majestic Warrior filly, was ridden by Jevian Toledo. The about 1 1/16 miles went in 1:47.51.
Quick Casablanca rallied from last of seven with a late run to win Sunday's $100,000 Grade III San Juan Capistrano at Santa Anita by 2 3/4 lengths over Generosidade. Life's Journey was third. Quick Casablanca, an 8-year-old Chilean-bred, ran 1 7/8 miles on yielding turf in 3:19.58 with Tyler Baze riding. The race was taken off the hillside course and run entirely on the main turf track.
"The race set up well," said winning trainer Ron McAnally, who is 83. "I just told Tyler to let him gallop past the finish line first time around. I was a little afraid going twice around on soft ground ... He's an old horse, he's a pro. He's been around a long time. He's been to Chile, he's been to New York, he's been to Florida. He's one professional horse, and he's old, like me."
Shakhimat got away to a clean lead in Friday's $100,000 Transylvania Stakes for 3-year-olds at Keeneland and made the advantage stand, winning by 3 1/4 lengths over J R's Holiday. Inspector Lynley finished third and the favorite, Catapault, was fifth. Shakhimat, an Ontario-bred colt by the Australian-bred sire Lonhro, ran 1 1/16 miles on good turf in 1:42.65.
"I don't know if I thought the win was going to be that easy, but I thought getting the lead was definitely going to be in our wheelhouse," said jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson. "Looking through the Form, we were the only legitimate pace. The last time he ran, he put up a quick opening quarter and was on the lead. But he settled back and was in my hands. I knew if I had the same kind of trip today, it would be a similar kind of effort."
Filly & Mare Turf
Decked Out rallied from last of eight to take Saturday's $150,000 Grade III Providencia Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita over unusual yielding turf. Jeremy's Legacy finished second after holding a brief lead and Nodiac was third. The favorite, Lady Valeur, finished fifth. Decked Out, a daughter of Street Boss, ran 9 furlongs in 1:52.72 under Kent Desormeaux.
"I wish I could say that I've done something different with her," said winning trainer Keith Desormeaux. "But really, it's just been the switch to turf that's turned her around. It only took us about eight races to figure out that we should try the grass, and really, that's been the biggest reason."
Macagone was on the lead right out of the gate in Sunday's $100,000 Danger's Hour Stakes at Aqueduct and built an invincible lead, finally winning by 3 1/2 lengths over the favorite, Takeover Target. Fredericksburg was third. Macagone, a 5-year-old Artie Schiller gelding, ran 1 mile on yielding turf in 1:36.96 with Jose Ortiz at the controls.
What a View raced in mid-pack through the early furlongs of Saturday's $100,000 Thunder Road Stakes at Santa Anita, advanced between rivals at the quarter pole and prevailed by 1 length over Twentytwentyvision. Soul Driver was another neck back in third. What a View, a 5-year-old Vronsky gelding, ran 1 mile on yielding turf in 1:39.01 with Kent Desormeaux in the irons.
Kid Cruz came four-wide into the lane in Saturday's $200,000 Grade III Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct and got there first, beating pacesetter Madefromlucky by 1/2 length. Turco Bravo was 6 3/4 lengths further back in third. Kid Cruz, 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid, ran 1 1/4 miles on a fast track in 2:04.52 with Jose Ortiz up for trainer Linda Rice. He came into the race off a win in the John B. Campbell at Laurel Park after a 2015 campaign that included four seconds and one third from six starts.
"We kind of expected the race to unfold the way it did," Rice said. "There was such a lack of speed on paper. I didn't think we'd be on the lead but we had an inside post and Jose's gotten to know the horse pretty well."
Sheer Drama upstaged a pair of Breeders' Cup winners in Saturday's $300,000 Grade I Madison at Keeneland, edging by Stopchargingmaria in deep stretch to win by a neck. Wavell Avenue finished third. Sheer Drama, a 6-year-old daughter of Burning Roma, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:22.07. Stopchargingmaria won last fall's Breeders' Cup Distaff, where Sheer Drama finished fourth. Wavell Avenue was victorious in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint over the same Keeneland course.
"You never know how they're going to come back," said winning rider Joe Bravo. "She had so much heart. Pletcher's horse (Stopchargingmaria) came to us at the top of the lane and she went by us."
Winning trainer David Fawkes said he "never expected it to come up this tough. But she ran her race. She brought her A game. She worked so good last week, I thought she could do anything."
Sheer Drama had not run as short as 7 furlongs since finishing second to Dame Dorothy in the Sunshine Millions Distaff in January of 2015. Sheer Drama is headed to the Grade I La Troienne at Churchill Downs on Oaks Day. Trainer Todd Pletcher said he is pointing Stopchargingmaria to the Grade I Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes Day.
Carrumba stalked the pace in Sunday's $200,000 Grade III Top Flight Invitational at Aqueduct, hooked up with frontrunner Mei Ling at the three-sixteenths pole and finally edged clear in the final sixteenth, winning by 1/2 length. America was third and Noble and a Beauty completed the order of finish. Carrumba, a 4-year-old Bernardini filly, ran 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:50.16 with Jose Ortiz up.
Salutos Amigos rallied from last of eight to take Saturday's $400,000 Grade I Carter Handicap at Aqueduct, winning by a head over Calculator. Dads Caps held a daylight lead at the top of the lane but settled for third. Salutos Amigos, a 6-year-old Salute the Sarge gelding, ran 7 furlongs on a muddy track in 1:23.15 with Cornelio Velasquez at the controls. The consistent performer doubled down on his win last time out in the Grade III Tom Fool over the Big A's inner track, going a furlong shorter and picking up his first victory at the highest level.
"Even though he is a gelding, he deserves a Grade 1 under his belt," said winning trainer David Jacobson. "I don't think we got the best trip. He's such a good horse. I think he overcame going wide, getting bumped."
Subtle Indian jumped into the top ranks of sprinters with Sunday's front-running win in the $400,000 Grade III Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park. The 4-year-old Indian Charlie gelding opened a quick lead, extended the advantage and carried on to win by 3 3/4 lengths, scoring his fourth win from as many starts this season, all at Oaklawn. Alsvid was second, 2 1/4 lengths to the good of Cinco Charlie. Subtle Indian, with Ramon Vazquez aboard, finished 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:08.80.
"He's lighting fast," Vazquez said. "The plan was to go to the front and never look back. It worked in a big way today."
Trainer Robertino Diodoro said there are no immediate plans for Subtle Indian, adding "Just one step at a time."
Ami's Flatter stalked the pace in Saturday's $250,000 Grade III Commonwealth at Keeneland, moved to the leaders on the turn and took charge late, winning by 2 3/4 lengths over Ready for Rye. Holy Boss, the early leader, finished third and Barbados was fourth. Ami's Flatter finished in 2:21.66 with Martin Garcia in the irons. The 4-year-old Flatter colt has spent most of his young career contesting high-quality, two-turn races but had won both of his previous starts at Saturday's 7-furlongs distance. The Commonwealth was his first stakes win.
Ruth Schmidt, assistant to winning trainer Josie Carrol, said, "He got a great trip, a wonderful ride." Garcia added, "The instructions were to just make one run and that's how it turned out."
Unified went quickly to the front in Saturday's $300,000, Grade III Bay Shore for 3-year-olds at Aqueduct and shook clear in the stretch run to post a 3-lenths victory. King Kranz was second, 8 lengths to the good of Cocked and Loaded. The field was shortened by the scratches of Awesome Speed and Never Gone South, who were redirected to the Federico Tesio at Laurel Park. Unified, a Candy Ride colt, ran 7 furlongs on a muddy, sealed track in 1:22.86 under Jose Ortiz. It was only his second start, following a front-running victory in a Gulfstream Park maiden event Feb. 21. Asked about longer distances, trainer Jimmy Jerkens said, "We never shy away. But we don't believe in going from six furlongs to two-turn races, unless it's a special circumstance you don't run into too often. It's always good to develop them in increments."
Undrafted flashed by Something Extra in the final yards to take Saturday's $200,000, Grade II Shakertown at Keeneland by 1 1/2 lengths over that rival. Commute was third and Summation Time finished fourth. After a blistering early pace, Undrafted, under Joe Bravo, came with a big, late run down the middle of the track to get the winner's share. He completed the 5 1/2 furlongs over good turf in 1:02.96.
Undrafted finished third in last year's Shakertown, then went on to win the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. Trainer Wesley Ward said he expects to return Undrafted to England to defend that crown.
Bravo, who inherited Saturday's mount when John Velazquez didn't make the trip, said, "Don't you guys know? All pickup mounts, they win ... He knows what he's doing. The best thing is just for me to get out of his way."
Ward said Undrafted "loves it here at Keeneland. Last year we came into this race a little bit compromised. He was here all winter. This year we had a really good winter."
Manhattan Dan, the prohibitive favorite, stamped his ticket for Royal Ascot with a handy win in Friday's $60,000 Fisher Island Handicap for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park. The Big Brown colt led from the start and went on to a comfortable, 3 1/4-lengths victory over Final Encore. I'm No Secret was a longshot third. Manhattan Dan ran 5 furlongs on firm turf in 55.03 seconds with Elvis Trujillo up.
"I was a passenger today. He's a very nice horse," Trujillo said. Manhattan Dan finished seventh in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, then opened his 3-year-old campaign with a win in the Texas Glitter Stakes going short and green. Trainer Gary Contessa said the colt now will head to New York and prep for the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot in June. "It will be fun if nothing else," he said.
Passion for Action got by Hootenanny in the stretch run to take Saturday's $125,000 (Canadian) Jacques Cartier Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths over that rival. Sorry About That was another 1/2 length back in third. Passion For Action, a 4-year-old Speightstown colt, got 6 furlongs on the all-weather course in 1:09.75 with Eurico Da Silva in the irons. He was coming off a pair of sixth-place finishes at Gulfstream Park, including the Grade III Canadian Turf at 1 mile on the lawn.
Hootenanny, a 4-year-old Quality Road colt, had not raced since a sub-par effort in last year's Commonwealth Cup at Ascot. In 2014, he won the Windsor Castle Stakes at the same meeting and finished a close second behind The Wow Signal in the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville. Trainer Wesley Ward said taking him back to Royal Ascot "is all we think about."
Leigh Court was quickly on the lead in Sunday's $125,000 (Canadian) Group III Whimsical Stakes for fillies and mares at Woodbine, cruised along unchallenged and won by 2 lengths in a hand ride by Florent Geroux. Galena Point, Skylander, Ida Bambina and Sweetsoutherndame finished second through fifth in that order, with less than 1/2 length covering the lot of 'em. Leigh Court, a 5-year-old Grand Slam mare, got 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:08.88. It was her second start of the year and second win, following the Mardi Gras Stakes in New Orleans.
Dreamologist won Sunday's $100,000 Las Cienegas Stakes for fillies and mares at Santa Anita, defeating Off the Road by 1 3/4 lengths. Fanticola was third in the event, which came off the downhill turf course and was run at 6 1/2 furlongs on the fast main track. Dreamologist, a 4-year-old Tapit filly, finished in 1:15.56 with Flavien Pratt riding.
Jeweler was just up in the final jump to win Sunday's Grade I Oka Sho, or Japanese 1,000 Guineas, catching Sinhalite by a nose on the wire. At the Seaside finished third. Jeweler, a daughter of Dubai World Cup winner Victoire Pisa, finished the 1,600 meters on fine turf in 1:33.4 with Mirco Demuro timing the ride perfectly. Jeweler had finished second to Sinhalite in the Grade III Tulip Sho in their last outing.
"Her conformation tells us that she should suit longer distances so I have high hopes for her to do well in the remaining two legs of the Fillies' Triple Crown," Demuro said. Demuro also rode Victoire Pisa in his 2011 World Cup triumph. The Oka Sho represented the first Grade I win for the sire.
Lucia Valentina took the featured Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes, rallying from dead last with 600 meters to go and besting the lukewarm favorite, The United States, by nearly 2 1/2 lengths with a strong stretch move. Happy Clapper finished third and Preferment, a close second-choice in the wagering, finished 12th, beating only two rivals. The outcome was well in doubt as the field turned for home and jockey Damien Oliver found himself behind horses.
"Coming to the turn, I had a lot of horse and not much room to go anywhere," he said. "I went up between a couple and got shut out of that. But she picked herself up after that and just went, 'Woosh'."
Lucia Valentina, a 6-year-old, New Zealand-bred mare, finished 2,000 meters in 2:04.82. Trainer Kris Lees said he now will try to change the owners' minds about breeding her this southern hemisphere spring.
Sofia Rosa scored a minor upset win in Saturday's Group 1 Australian Oaks at Royal Randwick, beating Ambiance by 1/2 length at the end of 2,400 meters. Believe was third, 1/2 length in front of the favorite, Jameka. Sofia Rosa, with Hugh Bowman up, finished in 2:34.27. The Makfi filly now is 3-for-4 on the season with the only loss coming in the New Zealand Oaks, to Fanatic, who was not involved in Saturday's event.
Gallante chugged home first in the 3,200-meters Sydney Cup, a Group 1 event for stayers. The favorite, Libran, settled for second, with Grand Marshall and Who Shot thebarman third and fourth. Gallante, a 5-year-old, Irish-bred gelding by Montjeu, finished in 3:24.53 with Kerrin McEvoy riding.
Azkadellia, with Oliver at the controls, was a 2-lengths winner in the Group 1 Coolmore Legacy Stakes for fillies and mares at 1,600 meters. Heavens Above and Noble Protector were second and third. Azkadellia, a 5-year-old mare by Shinko King, ran 1,600 meters in 1:35.98.
Japonisme was a narrow winner over Counterattack in the Group 2 Arrowfield 3-year-old sprint. The Choisir gelding, with Bowman up, traveled 1,200 meters in 1:10.37 while scoring his first victory of the season in his third start.
Rule the World, at 33-1 odds, ruled Saturday's Grand National at Aintree, winning by 6 lengths over an unlucky The Last Samuri. Vic's Canvas was third officially while three horses who had lost their riders during the marathon crossed the line among the top six. In all, six riders were unseated and 12 were pulled up during the race. Thirty nine started. Rule the World, a 9-year-old Sulamani gelding, finished the four miles 2 1/2 furlongs in 9:29. He's owned by Ryanair honcho Michael O'Leary, trained by Mouse Morris and David Mullins had the winning ride.
"It is unbelievable," Mullins said. "I could not have expected things to go better. There was one little mishap at the fourth last (jump) and I said thank God that came now. Everything went to plan really."
Tough It Out rallied five-wide into the stretch in Saturday's $200,000 Echo Eddie Stakes for Cal-bred 3-year-olds and got away to a 4 1/2-length victory over Gold Rush Dancer. Xingontothebone finished third. Tough It Out, a Grazen gelding, ran 6 1/2 sloppy furlongs in 1:17.60 with Joe Talamo up.
Pacific Heat dueled for the lead in Saturday's $200,000 Evening Jewel Stakes for state-bred 3-year-old fillies, took over on the turn and went on to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Run for Retts. Roo's Valentine finished third. Flavien Pratt rode the winner, a daughter of Unusual Heat, 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.38.
Blip n' Th Bye, the odds-on favorite, drew off late in Friday's $50,000 Cajun Miss for 3-year-old fillies and reported home first by 5 1/4 lengths. Above Fashion and Aunt Nellie completed the trifecta. Blip n' Th Bye, a Tale of Ekati filly, scampered 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:25.44 under Colby Hernandez.
Lone Star Park
My Master Plan surged to the lead four-wide in Sunday's $50,000 Wayne Hanks Memorial for Texas-bred distaffers and drew off to a 2 1/2-lengths victory over Infectious. Expect to Fly was well back in third. My Master Plan, a 3-year-old filly by Oratory, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:19.00 with Luis Quinonez up.