Rapper Dragon powers to victory in Lion Rock Trophy at Sha Tin on Sunday, moving to a favorite's role for next season's BMW Hong Kong Derby. (HKJC photo)
Makahiki won the Japanese Derby, Rapper Dragon emerged as a potential star in Hong Kong, the field for South Africa's biggest race took a little firmer shape and four owners paid a big price to supplement their horses to the Investec Derby in England -- all in a very busy weekend of thoroughbred racing.
Lexie Lou, Canada's 2014 Horse of the Year, returned to her Woodbine base and to the winner's circle.
On the U.S. domestic front, it was the Big Apple Showcase in New York this weekend and Gold Rush Day in California. Si Sage pulled off an upset at Santa Anita, where a 3-year-old filly named Enola Grey continued to impress.
And ... while Preakness winner Exaggerator prepares for the Belmont Stakes, might we have 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome for another year? Read on to find the latest.
Preakness winner Exaggerator arrived in New York Sunday afternoon to continue preparations for the third jewel of the Triple Crown, the Grade 1 $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on June 11. Assistant trainer Julie Clark watched the Curlin colt step off the van and take an energetic few laps around the barn-area walking ring, commenting, "That's him. Mellow." Expected later in the week to contest the 1 1/2-miles Belmont Stakes are trainer Dale Romans' charges Brody's Cause and Cherry Wine.
Suddenbreakingnews continues to prepare at Churchill Downs. Already at the Long Island track are Destin, Stradivari, Governor Malibu and Lani. Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, after finishing third in the Preakness, will not contest the Belmont.
Are You Kidding Me was on the lead under pressure throughout Saturday's $200,000 (Canadian) Grade II Eclipse Stakes at Woodbine, lost the advantage briefly and then found another gear and won off by 2 lengths. Breaking Lucky ran well late to take second over Melmich, who applied the early challenges.
A 6-year-old son of Run Away and Hide, Are You Kidding Me ran 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:44.95 with Alan Garcia riding. He also won this race last year but started his 2016 season with an eighth-place finish in the Grade I Maker's 46 Mile on the grass at Keeneland.
"When I was feeling my horse so comfortable after the first quarter, I thought I was home free," Garcia said. "He was so happy to be up there and I only had to wait to the quarter pole to let him run."
Cyrus Alexander stalked the pace in Monday's $200,000 Lone Star Park Handicap, got by in the lane and went on to win by 2 1/2 lengths over the favorite, Shotgun Kowboy. Rocket Time finished third. Cyrus Alexander, a 4-year-old Medaglia d'Oro colt, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:43.12 with Martin Garcia up for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. It was his first stakes win.
California Chrome breezed a half mile Saturday morning at his training base at Los Alamitos and trainer Art Sherman was beaming afterward, according to The Blood-Horse. Not only was the elfin trainer pleased with the work -- "He's getting ready and getting stronger and stronger" -- but he said the horse's owners are talking now about letting him run through his 6-year-old season. He noted California Chrome LLC already has ponied up $1 million for a spot in the inaugural $12 Pegasus World Cup in January at Gulfstream Park -- a no-brainer if the owners hope to realize their goal of making him the all-time top money-winner.
Beyond that, Sherman said, "They were figuring out how much money he could be running for next year. Purse money is almost $37 million," Sherman told The Blood-Horse, referring to the Pegasus, the Dubai World Cup, Breeders' Cup, and other lucrative stakes that could be on his schedule. "They're talking about it. That's what's good."
The added incentive to keep California Chrome in training could be that his own modest pedigree will make him even more than the usual gamble in the breeding shed.
The Oaks crowd
Here's one to watch out for: Enola Gray certainly did not bomb as the 1-9 favorite in Saturday's $200,000 Melair for California-bred 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita. Making her second start -- after a 16-lengths win in her debut -- the Grazen filly went right to the lead, rated nicely for jockey Tyler Baze and coasted home first with the minimum encouragement, 2 lengths in front of Allsquare. Cheekaboo finished third. Enola Gray finished 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.64.
Baze said Enola Gray's first start was "amazing. I looked back at the eighth pole and there wasn't anybody near me. ... Today was about seeing if she could go a mile and a sixteenth, and it was about getting her out there, getting her to relax and take some breaths. She did. She learns so fast and she only continues to get better."
Trainer Phil D'Amato said he will "figure out where we go from here now."
Of the $388,932 wagered in the show pool, $346,016 was on Enola Gray.
Flipcup barely outfinished the favorite, No Fault Of Mine, to win Saturday's $100,000 Grade III Arlington Matron at Arlington Park. The stewards then ruled some crowding in the stretch was no fault of the winner's and denied an objection by losing jockey Carlos Marquez Jr.
Brooklynsway was third, well back of the traffic issues. Flipcup, a 5-year-old Milwaukee Brew mare trained by Bill Mott, ran 9 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:51.32 under Chris Emigh.
"She was drifting out pretty good," Emigh said of the stretch run. "But we didn't ever bump, so I think it was a good call."
It was her first start since last December, when she got home fifth in the Bay Ridge Stakes at Aqueduct. Before that, she won the Grade III Maple Leaf on the Woodbine all-weather course.
Champions Beholder and Stellar Wind are set to face off Saturday in the $400,000 Grade I Vanity Mile at Santa Anita. Stay tuned for one of the top matchups of the year.
Too Discreet was too good for five rivals in Saturday's $100,000 Paradise Creek Stakes for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park, leading from the early stages and kicking away late to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Conquest See Ya was second, John Q. Public third and the favorite, Mighty Mo, fourth.
Too Discreet, a Discreet Cat colt, ran 7 furlongs on firm turf in 1:20.28 with Joel Rosario up. He now has three wins from four starts with the lone defeat coming in his only try around two turns last month at Aqueduct. Trainer Christophe Clement said the colt may not have been 100 percent that day but still has limitations.
"I've got to think about where we'll run him next and at what distance," he said. "You don't have many (turf) races at 6 or 7 furlongs so we might have to go a mile, but I'm pretty sure he'll go a mile."
Ambitious Brew, making his first start in more than seven months, went right to the front in Saturday's $100,000 Lennyfromalibu Stakes for Cal-breds at Santa Anita and the odds-on favorite, Forest Chatter, could do no better than second, 2 1/4 lengths back. Old Man Lake finished third in the 6 1/2-lengths run down the hillside turf -- the same course that will host this November's Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.
Ambitious Brew, a 6-year-old Tizbud gelding, finished in 1:13.78 with Flavien Pratt in the irons. It was his fourth win from eight trips down the hill.
"I keep feeling like I should've gotten more out of this horse," said winning trainer Marty Jones. "He's a really good horse. Hopefully, there's one more chapter in the book for him and he can string together five or six good races. Hopefully, we can finish off the year with something big with him."
A nice field from all points of the compass contested Monday's $75,000 Honor the Hero Stakes at Canterbury Park in Minnesota with Richies Sweetheart leading them all and winning off by 3 1/4 lengths. Mongol Bull was second, 2 1/2 lengths in front of Majestic Pride. The top three last raced at Tampa Bay Downs, Churchill Downs and Fair Grounds, respectively. Richies Sweetheart, a 5-year-old, Illinois-bred mare by Bring the Heat, ran 5 furlongs on firm turf in 56.40 seconds with E.T. Baird up. Larry Rivelli trains the winner at Arlington Park.
Filly & Mare Sprint
Diva Express pressed the pace in Saturday's $100,000, Grade III Winning Colors Stakes for fillies and mares at Churchill Downs, took the lead turning for home and could not hold off I'm a Looker, finishing in a dead heat for first and second with that rival. Spelling Again was gobbling up ground from the back of the pack but finished third, 3/4 length behind the winners. Diva Express is a 4-year-old Afleet Express filly, ridden by Julien Leparoux. I'm a Looker, a 4-year-old Henny Hughes filly, had Robby Albarado in the irons. They finished 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.49.
Flatterywillgetyou came three-wide in upper stretch to take the lead in Monday's $125,000 Bouwerie Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies and held well to win by 1 length over Absatootly. Wonderment was third and the favorite, Bag of Tricks, checked in fifth. Flatterywillgetyou ran 7 furlongs on a track upgraded from muddy to good in 1:23.42 with Cornelio Velasquez riding.
Looking ahead, trainer Mark Casse Sunday put an end to any doubt Tepin will ship to England for the Queen Anne Stakes on June 14 at Royal Ascot. There had been some discussion of a British ban on equine nasal strips but Casse said after discussing it with owner Robert Masterson, the trip is a go. With the formidable Solow ruled out of the race, Tepin rates as a favorite for the 1-mile event.
Bust Another busted loose after turning for home in Monday's $125,000 Mike Lee Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-olds at Belmont Park and went on to win by 3 1/4 lengths over Mind Your Biscuits. The favorite, Championofthenile, faded to finish third after contesting the pace. Bust Another, a Bustin Stones gelding, finished 7 furlongs on a muddy track in 1:23.94 with Eric Cancel up.
Avanti Bello took the lead in the lane in Saturday's $150,000 Tiznow Stakes for state-breds at Santa Anita and held off Soi Phet at the line by a nose. Boozer finished third and the pacesetting favorite, Songforjohnmichael, settled for fourth. Avanti Bello, a 4-year-old Include colt, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:35.30. He scored his fourth win, first in a stakes event.
"I knew Boozer and Songforjohnmichael were coming from shorter distances and were going to show more speed today," said winning rider Rafael Bejarano. "I pretended to go to the lead to make the other horses go, they went and I found my position and waited as long as I could until the right moment."
Weekend Hideaway ran away and hid from four rivals in Monday's $200,000 Commentator Stakes for New York-breds at Belmont Park, winning by 3 3/4 lengths over Royal Posse. Eye Luv Lulu was third. Weekend Hideaway, a 6-year-old son of Speightstown, ran 1 mile on the muddy, sealed main track in 1:35.95 with Luis Saez aboard. Drama King and Ostrolenka were scratched.
"I hate to ruin everyone's Memorial Day," said winning trainer Phil Serpe, "but I was very happy that this rain came along."
Living the Life dueled with Southern Freedom through most of Monday's $100,000 Grade III All American Stakes on the Golden Gate Fields all-weather track, finally prevailing by a neck. Eckersley finished third.
Living the Life, a 6-year-old Irish-bred mare by Footstepsinthesand, ran 1 mile in 1:37.56 with Drayden Van Dyke aboard. She won the Grade II Presque Isle Downs Masters in 2014 and 2015 on the all-weather course but has been less effective on natural surfaces. Trainer Gary Mandella said the All American was the option to next weekend's Vanity at Santa Anita, where Beholder and Stellar Wind are expected to face off.
"As good as the colts were, there was no Beholder, and that's what we would have faced if we ran in the Vanity," Mandella said. "And the fact that this was on synthetic made all the difference."
He said he will find another race for Living the Life before taking a swing at a third straight Presque Isle Masters, joking "If she can win that for the third straight year, they might vote for me for mayor."
Bar of Gold tracked the pace in Monday's $200,000 Critical Eye Stakes for state-bred fillies and mares at Belmont Park, then drew clear in the stretch and won by 1 1/2 lengths over Haveyougoneaway. Liberata finished third. Bar of Gold, a 4-year-old filly by Medaglia d'Oro, ran 1 mile in the mud in 1:36.83 with Junior Alvarado up.
Si Sage led from the start in Sunday's $200,000, Grade II Charles Whittingham Stakes, set a brisk clip and held on well to win by 2 1/2 lengths in a parade of long shots. Patentar and Montego Bay filled out the trifecta, worth $3,812.70 for a $1 investment, while the favorite, Bal a Bali, flattened out in the lane and finished fourth.
Si Sage, a 6-year-old French-bred by Sageburg, finished 1 1/4 miles on firm turf in 1:59.48 in a race that starts on the hillside course. His interesting career has included claiming events in France, a second place in the Prix Pont-Neuf at Longchamp, six losing efforts in the United States and a respectable sixth-place showing in the Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup in 2014 for owner Jed Cohen. He jumped up to win the Grade III Last Tycoon Stakes at Santa Anita 13 months ago in his only previous U.S. victory.
"If he didn't impress anybody today, shame on them," said winning trainer Jim Cassidy. "He certainly impressed me."
Cassidy said he told jockey Mike Smith to get to the lead and "walk the dog" with Si Sage. "I thought it was a pretty fast dog."
Surgical Strike raced inside and behind the leaders in Saturday's $100,000 Grade III Arlington Classic for 3-year-olds, came out in the stretch run and was up in the late going to win by a head over One Mean Man. Swagger Jagger finished third. Surgical Strike, a Red Giant colt, ran 1 1/16 miles on yielding turf in 1:47.51 with James Graham at the controls.
"He put me there in a position I didn't really want to be in, but they were going so slow," said Graham, who also won the Arlington Classic in 2014 aboard Istanford. "He was always going well. He's tough, well-skilled, and he knows his job."
Surgical Strike won the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park on the all-weather track earlier this spring, then finished third in both the Grade III Spiral Stakes at Turfway and the Grade II American Turf on Derby Day at Churchill Downs.
Gold Rush Dancer inched past pacesetting Glory Bound a sixteenth out in Saturday's $200,000 Snow Chief Stakes for California-breds at Santa Anita and powered home first, holding off Ralis by a nose. Tough It Out was third and Glory Bound finished fourth. The stewards looked at the stretch run to see if Gold Rush Dancer had impeded Glory Bound while getting by that one but let the result stand.
"Even though he's run a lot, he's still green, he's still learning," said winning jockey Flavien Pratt. "When I asked him, he picked it up. He came in a little bit in the stretch but I don't think he did anything wrong."
Gold Rush Dancer ran 9 furlongs on firm turf in 1:49.37. He won the Silky Sullivan, also against Cal-breds, at Golden Gate Fields in his previous start. Owner John Parker said he and trainer Vann Belvoir will consider a trip to Del Mar.
Bert's Melody tracked the pace in Saturday's $125,000 Fran's Valentine Stakes for California-bred distaffers at Santa Anita, took the lead between rivals with a sixteenth to run and won by 1 length over Singing Kitty. Lili Kai finished third. Bert's Melody, a 5-year-old Bertrando mare, finished 1 mile over firm turf in 1:35.36 with Brice Blanc up. Last time out, she just failed to last going a furlong farther.
"Sometimes when you run a longer distance before a race like this, it will cause them to settle and relax a little bit, which is exactly what we did today," said winning trainer Sean McCarthy.
Lexie Lou, the 2014 Queen's Plate and Woodbine Oaks winner and 2014 Canadian Horse of the Year, rallied by Mississippi Delta in the final yards of Sunday's $230,000 (Canadian) Nassau Stakes for fillies and mares, winning by 3/4 length. Strut the Course was third and the favorite, Stormy Victoria, settled for fifth with a late rally. Lexie Lou, a Sligo Bay mare, finished 1 mile over firm turf in 1:32.98 with Patrick Husbands at the controls. She went to the post at odds 12-1 after losing her first three starts of the year.
"She's a funny filly," said Husbands. "You've got to play with her mind. You've got to let her do what she wants to do. Last time when I rode her, nobody wanted the lead, and she took the lead and quit. She's happy to be back home. She's a nice filly. She's a little champion."
Isabella Sings closed nicely in the stretch run to win Sunday's $75,000 Miss Liberty Stakes at Monmouth Park by 1 1/2 lengths. Seeking Treasure rallied from well back in the field to finish second with Miss Atomic Bomb exploding from even farther back to take show money.
Isabella Sings, a 4-year-old daughter of Eskendereya, ran 1 mile on firm going in 1:33.61, just 0.28 second off the course record. She won the Grade II Mrs. Revere at Churchill Downs last fall at 1 1/16 miles on the grass and finished second in last summer's Grade 3 Boiling Springs at 1 1/8 miles at Monmouth, just caught at the wire.
"When she broke, I let her decide if she wanted to go to the front," Lopez said. We got in a good spot right behind the lead. ... I had to check once on the turn, but she was good once we got to the outside, and she had a good amount left at the end."
Tapitation rolled from the rear of a nine-horse field to win Monday's $125,000 Kingston Stakes for New York-breds by 1 3/4 lengths over King Kreesa. Kharafa was third. Tapitation, a 5-year-old Tapit gelding, ran 1 mile on yielding turf in 1:35.62 for jockey Joel Rosario. Rarely out of the money, Tapitation has won five of his last six starts.
The Tea Cups rallied from last of 12 to win Monday's $125,000 Mount Vernon Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares by 1/2 length over Invading Humor. Neck of the Moon was just a neck farther back in third. The Tea Cups, a 6-year-old Hard Spun mare, ran 1 mile on yielding turf in 1:36.40 under Luis Saez.
Filly & Mare Turf
Illuminant stalked the pace in Monday's $300,000 Grade I Gamely at Santa Anita, scooted to the lead in the lane and held off the favorite, Wekeela, by 1 length. Elektrum finished third. Illuminant, a 4-year-old Quality Road filly, ran 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:48.34 with Flavien Pratt in the irons. It was her fourth win and followed a third-place finish in the Grade I Coolmore Jenny Wiley at Keeneland.
"I think she improved off her Jenny Wiley third-place finish in her last out," Pratt said. "The turf is a bit softer here and that's maybe better for her, especially going a mile and an eighth."
Al's Gal relaxed for the first mile of Saturday's $65,000 Keertana Stakes for fillies and mares at Churchill Downs, asserted herself when asked by jockey Florent Geroux and blasted off to a 5 1/2-lengths victory, geared down in the final sixteenth. Sequoita beat the other six, with Salama a neck behind her in third. Al's Gal, a 5-year-old English Channel mare, finished 1 1/2 miles on firm going in 2:28.13 as the odds-on favorite.
On the international front:
Makahiki hit the front with just more than 100 meters left in Sunday's Group 1 Tokyo Yushun, or Japanese Derby, and just held off Satono Diamond by a nose for victory in the most popular race in Japan. More than 140,000 fans were in full voice as the field turned into the stretch. The narrow favorite, Dee Majesty, also was flying late but finished third, another 1/2 length in arrears and 2 lengths to the good of Air Spinel. Leontes finished fifth.
Makahiki, by Deep Impact out of the French Deputy mare Wikiwiki, won his first three starts and finished second, 1 1/4 lengths second to Dee Majesty, last time out in the Satsuki Sho or Japanese 2,000 Guineas, going 2,000 meters. He was gaining at the end of that race and finished Sunday's 2,400 meters over the anticlockwise Tokyo turf in 2:24.0 with Yuga Kawada up for trainer Yasou Tomomichi.
"The colt broke smoothly and I was able to race him in good position as planned," Kawada said. "I gradually advanced him while marking Satono Diamond, and he stretched really well after threading through a small opening. The moment we crossed the wire, I felt that we were a margin in front but I was overwhelmed with joy when the photo-finish result came out. I'm just happy to be able to ride in the Derby and feel very fortunate to have been able to achieve the best result."
It was the first Derby win for both trainer and rider. The race is not only a highlight of the Japanese racing season but the list of its winners includes some recent stars and superstars, including Orfevre, Vodka and Duramente.
Four colts were supplemented Monday to the Investec Derby, leaving 18 in for the seemingly wide-open classic. Wings of Desire, listed as the second-favorite, was joined by Red Verdon, Cloth of Stars and Humphrey Bogart on the supplemented list, at a cost of 75,000 pounds each. The cast of 18 is likely to be whittled down some. For instance, Aidan O'Brien still has seven in the prospective field and one of more of those likely will be redirected. O'Brien's Coolmore-owned Galileo colt, US Army Ranger, is the narrow favorite off victories in both his previous starts, including the Chester Vase earlier this month.
There were no surprises at the end of Saturday's pair of Group 1 races although It's My Turn pushed the favorite, Rabada, all the way before the latter scored by less than 1/2 length in Daily News 2000. As expected, Bela-Bela was a confident winner in the Woolavington 2000 for fillies. Rabada, by Brave Tin Soldier, won for the fifth time in a race run slowly early, followed by a dash to the line. The pace clearly did not suit It's My Turn, who also appeared to lug in during the late going, losing a bit of momentum. Nonetheless, both demonstrated they likely could get the extra 2,000 meters of the rapidly approaching Vodacom Durban July over the same Greyville course. Ditto for Bela-Bela, who came from well off the pace, passed rivals as if they were tied to posts and won by a very comfortable 1 3/4 lengths. Jockey Anthony Delpech could have a tough choice going into the July with a choice among Bela-Bela, It's My Turn and others. Two more races on Saturday at Greyville also will impact the makeup of the July field with 18 entrants in the two events.
Put a circle around Rapper Dragon, the winner Sunday of the inaugural Lion Rock Trophy at Sha Tin and, by virtue of that victory, an early favorite for next season's HK Group 1 BMW Hong Kong Derby. With "The Magic Man," Joao Moriera, in the irons, Rapper Dragon got a comfortable trip behind the leaders and into the stretch. When Moreira switched him outside and called on him at the top of the stretch, the John Moore trainee responded quickly and drew off to win by 1 1/4 lengths. He finished in 1:33.87 with Beauty Only and Secret Weapon landing the minor awards. He was Group 1 placed as a juvenile in Australia and now has four wins from seven starts in Hong Kong.
"I think he's going to be a Group 1 winner," Moreira said. "I say that to the trainer and I'm not scared of saying that to the press. He gives me that feeling. Once he goes over longer ground I think he'll show what he really is and I think he's a real racehorse."
Moore acknowledged Rapper Dragon as "the Derby-elect at the present moment. But we have another horse in quarantine at the moment that is supposed to be special, by the name of Montaigne," the veteran trainer added. It was Moreira's 146th win of the season, breaking the record he established last year with 11 programs yet to be run.
Back in North America:
Applicator, at odds of 51-1, led all the way in Saturday's $75,000 Gleaming Stakes and won by 1/2 length over Quiet Force. The favorite, Xaverian, finished third. Applicator, a 3-year-old Henrythenavigator colt, ran 1 1/2 miles on firm turf in 2:28.53 with Leonel Reyes in the irons.
Northlands Park (all $ are Canadian $)
Eustacia, the odds-on favorite, opened a big lead in Saturday's $50,000 Wild Rose Handicap for fillies and mares and just held on, beating Hero's Armor by a head with Lucy Q third.
Blue Dancer tracked the early pace in Saturday's $50,000 Journal Handicap, took over and went on to win by 3/4 length from Red Red Rose. For Cash was third in the four-horse field.
See You at Eau Claire led all the way to a 3-lengths victory over Onestaratatime in the $50,000 Chariot Chaser Handicap for 3-year-old fillies. And Reason for Being also made all in the $50,000 Western Canada Handicap for 3-year-olds and won by 4 1/4 lengths over Law Matter with the favorite, Kristofferson, fading to finish fourth.
Devilwentogeorgia rated behind the speed in Saturday's $100,000 Lyphard Stakes for Pennsylvania-bred fillies and mares, challenged in the stretch and prevailed by a neck over pacesetting Rock Me Again after bumping with that one down the lane. Devilwentogeorgia, a 5-year-old Devil His Due mare, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:41.43 with Dana Whitney up.
Code West was up in the final jump to win Monday's $65,000 Jim Rasmussen Memorial by a neck over Domain's Rap. Jessica's Star, who also held the lead briefly, finished third. Code West, a 6-year-old Lemon Drop Kid ridgling, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.16 with Israel Ocampo up.
Storm Power swept away all competition in the stretch run in Saturday's $65,000 Ed Skinner Memorial, drawing away to a 5-lengths victory. Apprehender was second, 2 3/4 lengths to the good of the favorite, Wings Locked Up. Storm Power, a 6-year-old Tiz Wonderful gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a muddy track in 1:09.61 with Ramon Vazquez in the irons.
Chubilicious rallied by pacesetting favorite Green Gratto in the stretch run to win Saturday's $60,000 John J. Reilly Handicap for New Jersey-breds by 1 1/2 lengths. Fuzzy Muzzle finished third in the 6-furlongs heat. Chubilicious, a 5-year-old gelding by Hey Chub, finished in 1:09.28 under Antonio Gallardo.
Bucket Beat and Linda's Luck found the wire together at the end of Sunday's $75,000 Green Carpet Stakes for Ohio-bred 3-year-olds. My Pardner Cal finished third, 1 length behind the dead-heat duo. Bucket Beat, a Giant Oak gelding ridden by Irwin Rosenda, and Linda's Luck, a Lookin at Lucky colt ridden by Luis Rivera, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:42.27. A small-pool oddity: the 50-cent trifecta paid $85.80 with Linda's Luck on top and $3,503.05 with Bucket Beat in the win slot. This is why we box these!
Princess Katie came out for running room in the stretch in Sunday's $50,000 Irish Day Stakes for 3-year-old fillies and arrived on time, beating the early leader, My Heart Goes On, by a head. Princess Kennedy finished third. Princess Katie, a British Columbia-bred daughter of Finality, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:36.36 with Leslie Mawing up.
She's Hot Wired got the best of a three-horse scramble at the finish of Monday's $65,000 Open Mind Handicap for New Jersey-bred fillies and mares, beating pacesetter Bustin Out by a nose. Love Came to Town was third, only another head back. The favorite, More Than a Party, chased and faded, finishing fifth. She's Hot Wired, a 5-year-old mare by Cable Boy, ran 6 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:10.91 under Trevor McCarthy.
Popalicious, Sky Rant and Untraveled duked it out in Monday's $50,000 First Lady Handicap and finished in that order, separated by a pair of necks. Popalicious, a 6-year-old mare by Ministers Wild Cat, ran 6 furlongs on a fast surface at the scenic southern New Mexico track in 1:12.34 with Ruby Gonzalez riding.