Jockey Mario Gutierrez aboard Nyquist celebrates after winning the 142nd running of Kentucky Derby Saturday at Churchill Downs. Photo by John Sommers /UPI | License Photo
With the Kentucky Derby under his girth, a vote of confidence from his owner, trainer and jockey and still undefeated, Nyquist heads off to Baltimore and the next leg of the Triple Crown.
Nyquist, a plain-brown colt by Uncle Mo, answered all the questions asked of him in Saturday's $2 million Run for the Roses. He attended a quick pace, accelerated when asked by jockey Mario Gutierrez and lasted the 1 1/4 miles, although Exaggerator was gaining in the final sixteenth of a mile.
"He's just a remarkable athlete," said trainer Doug O'Neill, who collaborated with Guiterrez and owner J. Paul Reddam to win the 2012 Derby with I'll Have Another, went on to win the Peakness that year and then were forced out of the Belmont Stakes with an injury.
"If you work him by himself," O'Neill said of Nyquist, "he will even swish his tail a little bit, like, 'What do you want? What to do you want from me?' You put him in company and he's just a Ferrari."
"He's just a special horse," the trainer continued. "It doesn't seem like we have ever really gotten to the bottom of him. That's very exciting about the future."
The future -- at least the makeup of the Preakness field -- remains a bit cloudy. Trainer Keith Desormeaux said after the Derby he looks forward to a rematch with Nyquist. A few others are likely to move on to Pimlico but none were committed to the Preakness immediately after the Run for the Roses.
As for Nyquist, "He's doing great," O'Neill said Sunday morning. "He had his head out over the webbing, looking bright eyed. He ate it all up last night. Couldn't be doing better. He's just such a special horse."
Moving along: An incredible weekend of racing also included the emergence of a potential star filly in Japan, some American candidates for Royal Ascot and some clear guideposts pointing to the rich races of America's summertime. Among those signs: Beholder is back and as good as ever.
Kentucky Oaks and the Distaff Division
Cathryn Sophia not only avenged her only loss with a dominating victory in Friday's $1 million Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs but also opened up a grand range of options for her future.
Cathryn Sophia, ridden by Javier Castellano, stayed comfortably behind the early pace in the Grade I Oaks, came widest of all into the stretch and quickly put the issue to rest, coasting home 2 3/4 lengths in front of Land Over Sea. Lewis Bay finished third.
The bay filly, a daughter of Street Boss, ran 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:50.43, scoring her fifth win from six starts. Her only loss came four weeks earlier at Keeneland, when she finished third in the Grade I Ashland, behind Weep No More and Rachel's Valentina. Rachel's Valentina finished sixth and Weep No More seventh in the Oaks.
Trainer John Servis said he would not have run Cathryn Sophia in the Oaks were it not for a minor illness that forced pre-race favorite Songbird to bypass the race. He later clarified that, adding, "I don't want to make it sound like we ran from Songbird because, if she would have won the Ashland, we would have certainly run in the Oaks with or without Songbird."
And by Saturday morning, Servis didn't sound like he would be ducking anyone with his star filly.
"I don't know," he said about Cathryn Sophia's next start. "We'll see how she's doing. I'll let her tell me. If she's happy, continues to do as she is or even go forward, then we will probably go to the Acorn. And the reason I say I don't know is that after yesterday, that happened to open up a whole lot of avenues. Now I'm starting to think, wow, do I even want to shorten her back up to a one-turn mile after that race. There's a lot to think about."
Beholder, who missed the Breeders' Cup with an illness, showed no signs of rust Sunday as she raced for the first time since last September and easily won the $100,000 Adoration Stakes at Santa Anita. The 6-year-old Henny Hughes mare, a former Eclipse Award and Breeders' Cup champ, tracked the pace, took command in the lane and won by 2 1/2 lengths in a mild Gary Stevens hand ride. She finished 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.73. Sheer Pleasure and All Star Bub filled the trifecta slots. Beholder now owns seven straight wins and 13 victories from her last 15 starts. Stevens said there were no issues from the layoff.
"The sky's the limit for her," Stevens said. "She didn't take so much as a deep breath when I pulled her up. She's a very happy mare."
Trainer Richard Mandella added, "I couldn't be happier with the way she's come back at 6 years old." He credited owner B. Wayne Hughes for letting Beholder have another year on the track.
Curalina tracked pacesetting favorite Angela Renee through the opening furlongs of Friday's $300,000 Grade I La Troienne Stakes for fillies and mares, moved by that rival near the top of the lane and drew off easily, winning by 7 1/2 lengths. Long shot Engaginglee was up in the final jumps to edge Angela Renee for place money. Curalina, a 4-year-old Curlin filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.45 in her first start since finishing third in the Breeders' Cup Distaff last fall.
"She came back really good," said winning rider John Velazquez. "Once I got my position, I made sure to stay there. I wanted to keep Sheer Drama in the tight spot. When we came into the lane, my horse just took off."
Carina Mia didn't make the cut for the Kentucky Oaks so trainer Bill Mott fell back to Friday's 7-furlong Eight Belles, a $200,000 Grade II event. That didn't look like it was working out when the Malibu Moon filly broke a step slow and was slammed by the filly to her inside. But jockey Julien Leparoux said he and his mount adjusted and, by mid-stretch, Carina Mia was rolling to a decisive victory. Blip n' Th Bye was second and Nickname third.
"She usually breaks pretty sharp and puts me in the race," Leparoux said. "When she didn't break, Plan B, I guess. I had to be patient and see what happened." Mott said he'll ponder the next step. "I guess the Acorn would be the next thing on the docket for her. Who knows, maybe we will run into Songbird in the Acorn."
Majestic Harbor, normally a free-running sort, came from just off the pace in Friday's $400,000, Grade II Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs, hit the front a furlong from home and won by 2 1/2 lengths over Eagle. Majestic Affair was third and the favorite, Noble Bird, finished an ignoble last of eight. Majestic Harbor, an 8-year-old son of Rockport Harbor, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:43.10 with Corey Lanerie up.
"He had a good look all the way around there," said winning trainer Paul McGee. "Corey worked out the trip that he talked about working out which doesn't always happen. But he just ran a game race and Corey's done a great job with him. He's a classy horse, he's a millionaire and he showed his class today."
Divisidero won a stretch battle with World Approval in Saturday's $500,000 Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, scoring by a neck over that rival. Slumber rallied from well back to finish third and Tourist checked in fourth. Kasaqui fell at the top of the stretch after apparently clipping heels and Triple Threat fell over him. Neither horse appeared seriously injured and both jockeys walked off the course. Divisidero, a 4-year-old Kitten's Joy colt, finished 9 furlongs on firm turf in 1:47.37 with Edgar Prado up. He won the Grade II American Turf last year on Derby Day but had not won since.
"We felt really confident coming into this race," said winning trainer Buff Bradley. "We're realistic. We knew this was a good bunch of horses. He's a terrific horse and I think he's going to show what kind of horse he is this year ... Edgar did just a beautiful job. Edgar is our man. Once we get a jock who gets along with a horse and fits a horse, we stick with him."
Trainer Chad Brown said Big Blue Kitten, the reigning division champion, "ran like a horse that needed a race" as he finished fifth with a half-hearted rally.
Ironicus tracked the pace in Saturday's $150,000, Grade III Fort Marcy Stakes at Belmont Park, worked into contention around the stretch turn and gradually eased clear of pacesetter Smooth Daddy to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Messi was third. Ironicus, a 5-year-old son of Distorted Humor, ran 9 furlongs on the yielding inner turf course in 1:50.80 with Jose Ortiz at the controls. He has won four of his last five and hasn't missed the exacta in eight starts dating back to October of 2014.
"We had him really going in the right direction last year, and then he hurt himself, which happens," said winning trainer Shug McGaughey. "But we're glad to have him back."
He said he might try stretching Ironicus out to 1 1/4 miles in the Grade I Manhattan on July 11 at Belmont.
Camelot Kitten found room along the rail turning for home in Saturday's $300,000 Grade II American Turf Stakes for 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs, engaged Beach Patrol in a battle to the wire and prevailed by a head bob over that foe. Surgical Strike used a late kick to finish third, 1/2 length in front of the pacesetting favorite, Airoforce. Camelot Kitten, a Ramsey homebred by Kitten's Joy, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:41.13 with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons. It was only his second win and came with the addition of blinkers by trainer Chad Brown.
"He's a horse that always had trained really well like a top-level stake horse, and then in the afternoons I felt like we weren't really getting everything out of him," Brown said. "We tried to put the blinkers on him, he worked really big here at Churchill last week and combined with Irad's great ride it made the difference."
He said the next step is to see how far Camelot Kitten can go.
Filly & Mare Turf
Catch a Glimpse went right to the lead in Friday's $150,000 Grade III Edgewood Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs and did just enough to get home first with Auntie Joy in hot pursuit. Harmonize, who stumbled at the start, was making up ground quickly in the final furlong but finished third. Catch a Glimpse, a City Zip filly, won her sixth straight race -- a skein that includes last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Filly Turf. She got 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:42.92. Winning rider Florent Geroux said the only issue he sees with Catch a Glimpse is her attitude.
"She doesn't stay focused," he said of the filly's stretch runs, which have produced three unusually close finishes. "I really do think she's one of the best 3-year-olds we have in this country today."
Trainer Mark Casse had a partial explanation.
"She's funny because she makes the lead and then pulls herself up," Casse said. "When she does that she pulls herself from her right lead to her left lead and pulls herself up, but when you watch her gallop out they don't go by her. We just have to try to get her to do that."
He said he has no plans to take Catch a Glimpse to England for Royal Ascot but hopes to run her in the $1 million, Grade I Belmont Oaks in July.
Sea Calisi rallied from last of five to take Saturday's $200,000, Grade II Sheepshead Bay Stakes for fillies and mares by 2 1/2 lengths from Guapaza. Robillard showed the way early and held on for show money. Sea Calisi, a 4-year-old, French-bred filly by Youmzain, ran 1 3/8 miles on yielding turf in 2:18.90 with Jose Ortiz riding. It was her first U.S. start. She completed her 3-year-old campaign with a respectable seventh-place showing in the Group 1 British Champion Filly & Mare Stakes at Ascot and earlier won a Group 2 race at Saint-Cloud in France. Chad Brown trains.
"I told Jose to leave her under cover," said owner Martin Schwartz, "and when he came to the quarter-pole just bring her out to the straight path and she'll gallop by these horses. Fortunately, the plan worked out today." He said Brown will decide the next race "but I think she's got a bright, bright future."
Rocket Heat got an unexpected uncontested lead in Friday's $150,000 Grade III Twin Spires Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs and, lacking any pressure, coasted on home 2 lengths clear of runner-up Alsvid. Power Alert was third and the favorite, Hootenanny, finished a dull eighth. Rocket Heat, a 4-year-old Latent Heat gelding, completed 5 furlongs on firm turf in 56.47 with Flavien Pratt in the irons. In his last start, the Grade II Shakertown at Keeneland, Rocket Heat had to battle for the early lead and wound up fading to finish seventh.
"He ran a huge one," trainer Vann Belvoir said of Rocket Heat's Friday effort. "When we broke out of the gate good and was able to clear, I was real excited about that."
He said Rocket Heat probably will go next in the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint on May 20. Trainer Wesley Ward said Hootenanny's poor showing canceled plans to take him to Royal Ascot.
Tepin is just too good for her competition right now and proved it again by posting her sixth straight win in Saturday's $300,000, Grade II Churchill Distaff Turf Mile. The 5-year-old Bernstein mare, with Julien Leparoux up, sat just off the pace, moved when asked and drew clear late for a 3 1/2-lengths score. Rainha Da Bateria was second, 3/4 length in front of Cash Control. Isabella Sings led early but finished last of seven. Tepin ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:34.36. Her victory skein includes last year's Breeders' Cup Mile and could be 10 in a row but for losses by a nose and a head last summer at Saratoga. After defeating an international field on her home ground at Keeneland in the Breeders' Cup, she's now off to Royal Ascot as part of trainer Mark Casse's initial foray to Jolly Old.
"I guess we better start figuring out how we do this," Casse said. "As long as she is happy and healthy, the next day or two we'll map out a plan. So I guess Royal Ascot here we come ... She's a great shipper. I would say that we would let her go not too early. This is home for her and she likes this racetrack and so we'll try to stay here as long as we can."
Leparoux said a ride at the Royal meeting "would be a dream come true. I want to go there, and I think she deserves a shot there. I think she can be competitive there for sure."
Nancy From Nairobi wasn't quite that far from the early lead in Thursday's $200,000 Grade II Royal Heroine Stakes for fillies and mares at Santa Anita but she was behind about half the field heading into the stretch turn. But once jockey Abel Lezcano got the 5-year-old, British-bred mare in gear, she forged quickly into contention and outfinished the favorite, Faufiler, by 1/2 length. Fanticola was third in a big, competitive field. Nancy From Nairobi ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:37.12. It was her third straight win at Santa Anita but first in a stakes.
"The turf was soft, so it basically fit her. She likes that," Lezcano said. "I just had my hands down on her and I waited and waited. In the stretch I had no traffic. I was on the outside and I was in the clear, no complaints."
Stays in Vegas won a nip-and-tuck stretch duel with the favorite, Be Mine, in Saturday's $100,000 Grade III Senorita Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita, scoring by a head. Sheeza Milky Way was only 1/2 length farther back in third. Stays in Vegas, a City Zip filly, negotiated 1 mile of good turf in 1:37.98 with Alex Solis up.
"We're real happy with the win first time off a freshening," said winning trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. "We had her ready. She's started her campaign now and we're ready to go on with it."
Friday's $100,000 American Stakes came off the Santa Anita turf with three resulting scratches but that didn't preclude an exciting finish. Home Run Kitten and Little Curlin both circled the leaders into the lane with Home Run Kitten showing the most late punch for a 1/2-length win. Little Curlin held off the favorite,Twentytwentyvision, by another 1/2 length. Home Run Kitten, a 5-year-old son of Kitten's Joy, ran 1 mile on a wet-fast track in 1:35.30 under Joe Talamo.
"We were lost and I came into this race like 'who's going to show up today?'" said winning trainer David Hofmans. "Let's hope he's back on track because he's a nice horse, real nice horse."
Anchor Down cast off quickly and never did drop anchor in Saturday's $150,000 Grade III Westchester Stakes at Belmont Park. Rather, the 5-year-old Tapit ridgling led the whole way and left the field in his sloppy wake in the stretch run as he won off by 6 3/4 lengths. Samraat beat the others with Mylute third and the favorite, Red Vine, checking in fourth. Anchor Down ran 1 mile on a sloppy track in 1:35.10 for jockey Jose Ortiz. He had been placed optimistically by trainer Todd Pletcher in his last few races and rewarded the connections with his first stakes win.
"This race has been on our radar for a while," said Pletcher assistant Byron Hughes. "I wasn't surprised he won so convincingly. He's put in some big efforts before against some nice horses. He'd breezed well for this race, and he'd been training well since his last race."
He hinted the Grade I Met Mile could be on the horse's dance card.
Sharp Azteca, making his stakes debut, drew off in the stretch run in Saturday's $250,000 Grade III Pat Day Mile for 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs and coasted home a 2 1/2-lengths winner. Forevamo was second, Star Hill third and the favorite, American Freedom, sixth. Sharp Azteca, a Freud colt, ran 1 mile in 1:34.37 under Edgard Zayas. He took three tries to find the winner's circle in Florida this winter but, after figuring it out, promptly backed up that win in an optional claiming race last month. Trainer Jorge Navarro said Sharp Azteca is one to watch.
"I think this horse is one of the best 3-year-olds in the nation," he said. "The horse had some issues and we gave him some time off. We took a chance in here. He worked in 58 (seconds) last week and the way he did it was just amazing. This horse will run all day."
He said he's eyeing the Preakness.
Great Minds and Shotgun Kowboy hooked up in a stretch duel in Friday night's $200,000 Grade III Texas Mile at Lone Star Park with Great Minds prevailing by 1/2 length. It was another 5 lengths back to Carve in third. The favorite, Jessica's Star, was fifth. Great Minds, a 5-year-old Stroll gelding, finished in 1:37.68 over a fast track with C.J. McMahon in the irons.
King Kranz, never far back, rallied five-wide into the stretch in Friday's $100,000 Gold Fever Stakes for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park and went on to win by 3/4 length. Tale of S'avall was second and the pacesetter, Condo King, faded to get home third. King Kranz, a Munnings colt, ran 6 furlongs on a sloppy, sealed track in 1:11.45 under Kendrick Carmouche. He was coming off a second-place finish in the Grade II Bay Shore in his previous start.
"He likes the mud," said Tonja Terranova, assistant to winning trainer John Terranova. "He's a very, very resilient horse. He thrives on running and training."
She said he will be pointed to the $500,000 Grade II Woody Stephens on July 11.
Catalina Red stalked the pace in Saturday's $500,000 Grade II Churchill Downs Stakes, then circled the leaders and edged clear to win by 1 length at 14-1 odds. Calculator and Kobe's Back completed the trifecta. Catalina Red, a 4-year-old Munnings colt, came off a similar victory over fellow Florida-breds in a Tampa Bay Downs sprint a month earlier but Saturday's effort was his first graded stakes win.
"A very good set-up," said winning rider Javier Castellano. "It worked out perfect for me. Those two horses showed speed early in the race, and it was a good set-up for me."
Despite the long odds, Catalina Red was the pick in Jude Feld's "Pope Jude" Saturday analysis.
Joking and Ready for Rye both came charging from the back of the pack in Sunday's $100,000 Diablo Stakes at Belmont Park with Joking getting the better of the favorite by 3/4 length. Green Gratto was third, Stallwalkin' Dude was fifth and Dads Caps was last in a powerful field of seen. Joking, a 7-year-old gelding by Distorted Humor, ran 6 furlongs on a muddy track in 1:09.44 with Manny Franco up.
Passion for Action surged to the lead three-wide in Saturday's $150,000 (Canadian), Grade III Vigil Stakes at Woodbine and held on to win by 1 length. The favorite, Stacked Deck, and Goodoldhockygame finished second and third. Passion for Action, a 4-year-old Speightstown colt, ran 7 furlongs on the all-weather course in 1:21.65 with Eurico Da Silva in the irons.
"The turf is his best surface," said winning owner Ben Hutzel. "It's a good thing we found out about the synthetic because it seems he can play both of them very easily. It's just a question of how far he can go."
Filly & Mare Sprint
Taris tracked the pace in Saturday's $300,000 Grade I Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs, swept by the leaders three-wide and quickly sprinted off to a 5 3/4-lengths victory. Stonetastic set the pace and finished second. Enchanting Lady was third. Taris, a 5-year-old Flatter mare, ran 7 furlongs under Flavien Pratt on a fast track in 1:21.03, less than a half second off the track record. She now has eight wins from 13 starts and has missed the board only once. It was, however, her first Grade I win.
"We couldn't be happier," said winning trainer Simon Callaghan. "It was a perfect trip. We thought there would be speed up to the inside and we just got a nice, clean trip and it just worked out perfectly."
He said he might try Taris a bit longer but that the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint is the long-range goal.
On Sunday at Woodbine, it was Cactus Kris kicking away in the lane to take the $150,000 (Canadian) Grade III Hendrie Stakes for fillies and mares by 5 lengths over Galina Point. Skylander Girl was third and the odds-on favorite, Leigh Court, faded from the lead to finish last of seven. Cactus Kris, a 5-year-old Cactus Ridge mare, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:15.28 with Huber Villa-Gomez aboard.
Silvertoni had to work for it but kept her undefeated record intact and earned a trip to England with a 2-lengths victory in Thursday's $100,000 Kentucky Juvenile at Churchill Downs. The Tapit filly, trained by Wesley Ward, battled for the lead, was headed at one point and did not draw clear until well into the long stretch. Hey Mike ran evenly to finish second and first-time starter Thirsforlife, made a big run after a tardy start to get show money. Silvertoni, with Jose Valdivia Jr. up, ran 5 furlongs on a fast track in 58.63 seconds. She won her first start last month at Keeneland.
"She's a nice filly and is bred to be nice and we are real excited," Ward said. "She's very talented. I think that she's going to only get better as she goes further."
He said he will consider the Group 3 Albany at 1,200 meters or the Group 2 Queen Mary at 1,000 meters during the Royal Ascot meeting.
Across the waters:
Major Emblem, a Daiwa Major filly, knocked off a promising field in Sunday's Group 1 NHK Mile for 3-year-olds at Tokyo Racecourse, leading from the early jumps and finishing 3/4 length to the good of Lord Quest. Rainbow Line was third. Major Emblem, with Christophe Lemaire in the irons, finished in 1:32.8 over firm going.
"She broke sharply today and I was able to place her in front," Lemaire said. "She has good speed and having already won a Group 1 title last year and another graded race earlier this year, I would say that she has confirmed her position as the top of her class."
Last year's Group 1 win was the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies. Earlier this year, Major Emblem landed the Group 3 Daily Hai Queen Cup. She is the fourth female winner of the NHK Mile and the first since Pink Cameo in 2007. The race has been a springboard for many of Japan's recent stars, including King Kamehameha, Deep Sky, El Condor Pasa and Kurofune.
England and Ireland}
The run-up to the Investec Derby continued with races at Chester and Lingfield in England and at Leopardstown in Ireland. In Friday's Dee Stakes at Chester, Viren's Army pulled off a minor upset, battling through the final furlong to take the Dee Stakes by a short head over the heavy favorite, Linguistic. Housesofparliament finished third, another head back. Viren's Army, trained by Richard Hannon and ridden by Silvestre De Sousa, got 1 mile, 2 1/2 furlongs in 2:11.48. The Twirling Candy colt scored his third win from seven starts and his owners said the race was a "fact-finding mission," not necessarily a Derby prep. On Saturday at Lingfield, it was Humphrey Bogart chasing down favored Carntop in the late going to land the Betfred Derby trial by 1/2 length. Humphrey Bogart, an Irish-bred colt by Tagula, moved up a notch from his second-place finish behind So Mi Dar in an Epsom trial. However, he would have to be supplemented to the Derby at a cost of 75,000 pounds sterling. Carntop is owned by his breeders, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. And on Sunday at Leopardstown, Moonlight Magic worked to the lead in the final furlong of the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial and went on to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Shogun with the favorite, Idaho, third.
On the Oaks front, Ryan Moore piloted the Aidan O'Brien trainee Seventh Heaven to victory in Saturday's Trial at Lingfield, beating Architecture by a neck after dueling with that rival for a furlong. Seventh Heaven is 2-for-2 as a 3-year-old. Nor or Never easily won Sunday's Group 3 Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown, geared down in the final furlong but still 1 3/4 lengths in front at the end.
Globetrotter Cannock Chase, a 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid, chased down the leaders to win the Group 3 Betway Huxley Stakes at Chester on Thursday by 1 length over the favorite, Western Hymn. Cannock Chase won last year's Grade I Canadian International at Woodbine, then finished well up the course in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase last December.
Her Majesty the Queen landed the historic Ormonde Stakes at Chester on Friday with Dartmouth, an improving Sir Michael Stoute trainee. With Ryan Moore up, the 4-year-old Dubawi colt made all in the marathon and held off Wicklow Brave by a neck at the line. Elidor was 3/4 length farther back in third. Dartmouth now is a candidate for the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes on closing day at Royal Ascot.
And we can't pass noticing that Ian Fleming was a minor upset winner in Thursday's Boodles Diamond Handicap at Chester, shaking things up if not stirring them at 9-1 odds. The 3-year-old Makfi gelding scored his second straight win.
Saturday was a day of ups and downs -- literally -- for jockey Luke Nolen at Morphettville. Best known as Black Caviar's regular rider, Nolen steered Abbey Marie to victory in the Group 1 Australasian Oaks -- his first Group 1 win since returning from seven months on the sidelines while nursing a back injury. In the very next race, the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes, Nolen's mount appeared to stumble, throwing him to the course. He was injured as a competitor came over him, sustaining a fractured collarbone, shoulder blade and ribs. He is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
In other action:
Only three remained to face the starter after Saturday's $75,000 Desert Code Stakes came off the hillside turf course and, of those, Mr. Opportunist was best, leading all the way to a 1 1/2-length victory. Eric the Trojan and Boldly True completed the order of finish. Mr. Opportunist ran 6 1/2 furlongs on the fast main track in 1:15.30 under Santiago Gonzalez.
Abiding Star held the lead from gate to wire in Saturday's $100,000 Parx Derby and survived a late run by Discreet Lover to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Let Me Go First went third. Abiding Star was the second Uncle Mo colt winning a Derby on Saturday, finishing 1 mile and 70 yards on a good track in 1:41.22 with J. Acosta in the irons.
Miss Inclusive stalked the pace set by the favorite, Eighth Wonder, in Saturday's $100,000 Parx Oaks, then outfinished that one by 1/2 length. Little Cyclone was third, 4 lengths farther up the track. Miss Inclusive, a daughter of Include, got 1 mile and 70 yards on a good track in 1:42.18 under Joshua Navarro.
Disco Chick was quickly out front in Satuday's $100,000 My Juliet Stakes for fillies and mares and held the advantage to the end, winning by 3/4 length over the favorite, Four Inch Heels. Burn Control finished third. Disco Chick, a 5-year-old Jump Start mare, got 6 furlongs on the good track in 1:09.88 with Hector Caballero riding.
Couche Couche took over in the stretch run in Saturday night's $75,000 Equine Sales Derby and drew off to a 2 1/2-lengths win. Ganges was second and the pacesetter, Drummer Boy, finished third. Couche Couche, a Pulling Punches gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.36 under Colby Hernandez.
Lil Allie Dancer rallied outside the field through the stretch run in Friday night's $75,000 Equine Sales Oaks and got there first, beating Flashy Appeal by 1 3/4 lengths. Gussie's Girl finished third. Lil Allie Dancer, a Good and Tough filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:48.24 with Diego Saenz in the irons.
Ossetra tracked the early leaders in Saturday's $75,000 Tall Stack Stakes for Ohio-bred 3-year-olds, went by in the lane and got home first by 1 length over Buckeye Bullett. Riding in the Wind ran well late to land third. Ossetra, an Into Mischief colt, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:17.12 with Rodney Prescott up.
Sweet Victory swept past the pacesetters in the stretch run in Saturday's $75,000 Honey Ryder Stakes for 3-year-old fillies and outfinished Noble Beauty, winning by 3/4 length over that foe. Rontos Lily finished third. Sweet Victory, a Virginia-bred daughter of Blame, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:40.77 with Eddie Castro in the irons. The race is named for the multiple Grade I winner who, in turn, was named for the James Bond girl in Dr. No.
Copingaway got by the odds-on favorite, Giant Run, in the stretch drive in Saturday's $75,000 English Channel Stakes for 3-year-olds and won by 1 1/2 lengths over that one with Noble Quality third. Copinaway, a Brother Derek colt, ran 1 1/16 miles on the lawn in 1:39.76 with Castro up. The race is named for the multiple Grade I winner who, in turn, was named for a body of water.
Savingtime collared pacesetting My Dear Venezuela in the stretch run in Sunday's $75,000 Miss Gracie Handicap for Florida-bred distaffers, winning by 1 3/4 lengths over that rival. Hows My Gold finished third. Savingtime, a 4-year-old Kantharos filly, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:23.28 with Vincente Gudiel in the irons.
Modern led all the way to a 1 1/2-lengths victory over Hollywood Angel in Saturday's $50,000 (Canadian) George Royal Stakes. Clear the Runway was just a head farther back in third after 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:16.66. Richard Hamel rode the winner.
Arabella's Muse pressed the pace in Saturday's $50,000 (Canadian) Vancouver Sun Handicap for fillies and mares, battled to the wire and prevailed by a nose over Avadiva. Touching Promise finished third, 1/2 length further in arrears. Arabella's Muse, a 5-year-old Finality mare, finished in 1:17.12, also with Hamel up.
Snuggles raced close to early leader, Omi, in Sunday's $50,000 (Canadian) Ross McLeod Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, took command late and won by 1 1/4 lengths. Princess Katie was up for second with Omi third. Snuggles, a Rosberg filly, finished 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:17.39 with Rico Walcott aboard.
Stanz in Command started near the rear of the field in Sunday's $50,000 (Canadian) Jim Coleman Province Stakes for 3-year-olds, then closed with a rush between rivals in deep stretch to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Crazy Prophet finished second with early leader Dashing Don salvaging third. Stanz in Command, a Second in Command gelding, got home in 1:18.37 with Hamel in the irons.