UPI Horse Racing Roundup

By Robert Kieckhefer, UPI Racing Writer
UPI Horse Racing Roundup
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II waves to one of her subjects while riding next to her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, at the Royal Ascot on ladies day near Windsor in 2009. The five day racing event is seen as the pinnacle of Britain's horse racing season. File photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

The ink is barely dry on the Belmont Stakes charts and already Royal Ascot is upon us, with American star Tepin prepared to take on some of the top European milers in Tuesday's first race of the glitzy meeting.

And there's plenty more excitement on the horizon, both as Royal Ascot rolls on through week and in the months to come. Weekend action, chiefly at Belmont Park, set up some juicy competition in many U.S. racing divisions -- notably the Classic, where Frosted iced a good field in the Met Mile; the Distaff, where Cavorting and I'm a Chatterbox sparkled on Saturday; and the Turf, where globetrotter Flintshire made his first start under American management a winning one.


Elsewhere on the international front, it's just three weeks out to the Group 1 Durban July in South Africa and contenders were still sorting themselves out this weekend at Greyville.

Let's start sorting this out with a peek at Ascot, then return to Belmont and the rest of the lot:

RELATED Creator wins the 2016 Belmont Stakes; Exaggerator wilts

Royal Ascot

Her Majesty will barely be out of her carriage and settled in to the Royal Enclosure when the fireworks begin Tuesday at Royal Ascot with the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes. The 1-mile event features American star Tepin against some of the best Europe has to offer -- among them Arod, Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes victor Esoterique, Group 1 Lockinge winner Belardo, Grade I Woodbine Mile winner Mondialiste, Group 2 Topkapi Trophy winner Toormore, Group 1 Prix Rothschild winner Amazing Maria, and Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamps winner Ervedya. Tepin, with Julien Leparoux up for trainer Mark Casse, has won six straight races and nine of her last 11.


The third race on the opening day card is the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes at 5 furlongs. This was to have featured two American runners -- Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner Mongolian Saturday and the Wesley Ward trainee, Acapulco. Ward, however, withdrew Acapulco because of expected soft going and Mongolian Saturday will have his work cut out for him in a big field also including last year's winner, Goldream, Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint fourth-place finisher Jungle Cat and Mecca's Angel, who defeated Acapulco last year in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York -- on soft ground.

RELATED Exaggerator's success make both Desormeaux brothers well known

Acapulco has won two starts this season, at Turfway Park on the all-weather and in a minor stakes at Churchill Downs and Ward said he may contest the 6-furlongs Daimond Jubilee Stakes on closing Day if the course improves. Mongolian Saturday, since the Breeders' Cup victory, finished fifth in the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint and ninth in the Group 1 Chairman's Sprint Prize -- both at Sha Tin.

That's followed by the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 mile, with Awtaad and Galileo Gold, the 1-2 finishers in the Group 1 Irish 2,000 Guineas. Galileo Gold won the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. Also here are the 1-2 finishers from the Poule d'Essai des Poulains, or French 2,000 Guineas -- The Gurkha and First Selection.


Those are just the highlights of the first day of the meeting, which continues through Saturday.

RELATED Exaggerator 9-5 Belmont favorite from No. 11 post

But before we get too cozy with the Queen, let's catch up with the weekend action:

The Belmont

There are all kinds of interesting angles around Creator's dramatic victory over Destin in Saturday's $1.5 million Grade I Belmont Stakes -- a race that resulted in three winners in the three legs of the Triple Crown. Was Preakness winner Exaggerator just worn out from months of hard work, resulting in his 11th-place finish? Or did he not take to the surface at "Big Sandy"? If WinStar Farms had not moved Gettysburg from Todd Pletcher's barn to that of Creator's trainer, Steve Asmussen, would Gettysburg not have been entered in the race, not set a brisk early pace and not paved the way for Creator's come-from-behind win? Which, by the way, cost Pletcher trainee Destin the victory. We will never know.

Another bit of byplay: WinStar officials said Saturday they planned to send Gettysburg back to Pletcher. Pletcher said Sunday, in essence, he doesn't want the colt back.

"I don't think it's a good look if he comes back to us, really. I think it's better if it doesn't happen," he said.


We do know the results of the Triple Crown races set up an exciting summer at Belmont, Saratoga and some other tracks with big purses for 3-year-olds -- and for the Breeders' Cup Classic this fall at Santa Anita.

Asmussen said Sunday that Creator will get a break at WinStar, then point to the $1.25 million, Grade I Travers -- the Midsummer Derby -- on Aug. 27 at the Spa.

"You would love for Creator to be at his best for the Travers," Asmussen said. "But I think we need to do the responsible thing and let him let down a little bit, and then see how he responds. That is respect for the effort he gave us yesterday."

Exaggerator's trainer, Keith Desormeaux, said Sunday morning he walked his colt and found him "a little more subdued than he usually is. But that stands to reason." He said Exaggerator will be pointed to the Travers, too, with a stop in the $600,000 Grade II Jim Dandy on July 30.

"We'll go with that and, if we have to adjust, we will," Desormeaux said.

Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, meanwhile is back in California recovering from a fever that spiked the day after losing the Preakness Stakes, finishing third behind Exaggerator and Cherry Wine. His schedule is not firmed up yet but could include the same Saratoga events targeted by Creator and Exaggerator.


Elsewhere in the Classic Division

Frosted, making his first start since finishing fifth in the Dubai World Cup, had way too much for the others in Saturday's $1.25 million Grade I Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap -- the Met Mile. After rating behind the leaders, the 4-year-old Tapit colt "slithered out into path four," according to the Equibase chart footnote, gathered himself and went on to win by 14 1/4 lengths, geared down in the final 100 yards. Anchor Down and Upstart were second and third.

Frosted, owned by Godolphin and ridden by Joel Rosario, finished in 1:32.73, just over a half-second above the track record. He finished a fast-closing fourth in last year's Kentucky Derby.

"We were just like in shock, speechless, really," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said after watching Frosted demolish the Met Mile field. "It was incredible to watch it unfold. You say to yourself, 'What'd we do different to make him run like that?' But it's hard to say."

McLaughlin said the next spot for Frosted would likely be the Grade 1, $1.25 million Whitney Aug. 6 at Saratoga, where he was second in the Jim Dandy and third in the Travers last summer. Asked about potential plans for the Breeders' Cup, McLaughlin said, "We'll worry about that later. "It might be the Classic instead of the Mile."


Last year's Queen's Plate winner, Shaman Ghost, vanished from his nine rivals in the stretch run in Saturday's $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational for 4-year-olds and up at Belmont Park, jetting off to win by 4 1/4 lengths. Turco Bravo was best of the rest, 1 length to the good of Elnaawi. The favorite, Kid Cruz, finished seventh. Shaman Ghost, a 4-year-old Ghostzapper colt, ran 1 1/2 miles on a fast track in 2:28.40 under Joel Rosario. After the Queen's Plate triumph, he finished second in the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie, his final race of 2015. He returned to finish third in an optional claimer at Belmont three weeks ago.

"In all his races, it looked like he was gaining at the end," said winning trainer Jimmy Jerkens. "I thought, especially after having the mile and a quarter race under his belt, I thought we'd take a shot."

As to Shaman Ghost's next race, he said, "We might look at the handicap races at Saratoga. Just to get this under our belt was great."


Cavorting came running late from the back of the pack in Saturday's $1 million Grade I Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park and shook clear, winning by 2 1/2 lengths. Forever Unbridled, running right behind Cavorting, was along for second, 1/2 length in front of Carrumba. The favorite, Curalina, finished fourth and the 2015 Breeders' Cup Distaff winner, Stopchargingmaria, faded in the final furlong to finish sixth.


Cavorting, a 4-year-old Bernardini filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:40.14 with Florent Geroux up. It was her first time beyond a mile, hinting she could do more, although Geroux said Cavorting gave him just about all she had in the stretch run.

"Sometimes she can be a little tricky," he said. "She can be aggressive in a race. The question was the distance. She ran seven-eighths and the mile, but today was a mile and a sixteenth. It was the first time she went the distance, so it was really exciting."

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said he will look for a race at Saratoga, "something at two turns."

Todd Pletcher, who trains Curalina and Stopchargingmaria, said the result was "disappointing. But it looks like they both came back well. We'll regroup."

Carina Mia dropped back to last in Saturday's $700,000 Grade I Acorn for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park, swung four-wide into the lane and ran right by Kentucky Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia, who had just assumed the lead. Carina Mia then edged away with jockey Julien Leparoux relaxing in the final yards. Off the Tracks got on track late and finished second, 1 1/4 lengths back and 1 length ahead of Cathryn Sophia.


Carina Mia, owned by Three Chimneys Farm and trained by Bill Mott, finished the one-turn mile in 1:34.97. It was her fourth win from six starts.

"We thought there was speed in there," said winning trainer Bill Mott. "It actually turned out to be a little bit more than what we thought. Certainly Cathryn Sophia, it looked like they wanted to send her into the race a little bit."

Theogony waited patiently behind the pace in Friday's $150,000 Rags to Riches Invitational for fillies and mares at Belmont Park, swept aside the long shot pacesetter at the top of the lane and kicked away to an 8-lengths win. The favorite, Mei Ling, was second, 2 3/4 lengths to the good of Sweetgrass.

Theogony, a 5-year-old Curlin mare, finished 1 1/2 miles on a fast track in 2:28.42 with Julien Leparoux riding, picking up her first win since last August.

"I wasn't sure how she would react going a mile and a half. But I thought looking at her and her breeding, well, let's give it a try," said winning trainer Mark Casse. Leparoux added, "We felt comfortable before the race that she would like it. She's a big-stride filly and just kept going."


I'm a Chatterbox, one of best of last year's Oaks crowd, made short work of a short field in Saturday's $100,000 Obeah Handicap at Delaware Park, setting herself up for a run at next month's Grade I $1 million Delaware Handicap. The Munnings filly worked through some traffic on the first turn, easily took the lead and drew off in the lane, winning by 8 1/2 lengths in 1:53.20, ridden out by jockey Gabriel Saez. Genre and Savings Account were second and third.

Last year, I'm a Chatterbox swept the 3-year-old filly series at Fair Grounds, finished second in the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks and the Grade I Alabama, then won the Grade I Cotillion. She was a bit overmatched in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, finishing eighth.

"We are sitting good right now," said trainer J. Larry Jones. "We got a trip over the track which was one advantage of staying here instead of going into the Phipps at New York. Plus, the Phipps is a mile and a sixteenth and this is a mile and an eighth. So we plan on staying home and I am happy with the way this race is going to set her up for the Del 'Cap."


Neshama got to the lead in deep stretch in Sunday's $500,000 (Canadian) Woodbine Oaks and held off the odds-on favorite, Gamble's Ghost, winning by a nose. Caren was third.

Neshama, a Sligo Bay filly, ran 9 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:52.34 with Eurico Da Silva in the irons. Catherine Day Phillips trains the filly, who scored her third career win.

"She's been a nice filly and acted like a racehorse really from the beginning," Phillips said. "In the fall, she really came into her own and this spring she's been very professional. She really enjoys her job."

Asked whether she might take a swing at the Queen's Plate, a race won by fillies six times since 1956, Phillips said, "I think we'll enjoy this and we'll discuss it Monday and Tuesday."


Flintshire easily outclassed a classy field in Saturday's $1 million Grade I Woodford Reserve Manhattan at Belmont Park. The world traveler, earner of more than $7.5 million before the race, was making his first appearance since finishing second to Highland Reel in the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Vase last Dec. 13 at Sha Tin and his first for trainer Chad Brown. With Javier Castellano up, the 6-year-old son of Dansili raced just behind the first flight, came four wide into the stretch and powered past the leaders to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Ironicus followed, 1/2 length better than pacesetting World Approval. Grand Tito finished fourth.


Flintshire was clocked in 1:58.92 over firm turf. The only win in his 2015 campaign came in the Grade I Sword Dancer at Saratoga. He was, however, runner-up in the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic as well as the Hong Kong Vase. Brown said Flintshire came to him in top shape.

"He has an indescribable amount of class. He's so intelligent. He picks things up at light speed, oozes class and is a privilege to work with every day," Brown said.

He said on Sunday that Flintshire looked fine and his team is "trying to work backwards from the Breeders' Cup Turf. That race and the Joe Hirsch in the fall at Belmont are on radar for us."

Brown said the program also could include the 1 1/2-miles Sword Dancer at Saratoga in August or, "the way he cut back to a mile and a quarter yesterday, the Arlington Million wouldn't be out of line." {b: Filly & Mare Turf}

Dacita outfinished Sea Calisi in Friday's $500,000 Grade II New York Stakes for fillies and mares, finishing 3/4 length ahead of that rival. Guapaza pressed the pace and held third, giving trainer Chad Brown a sweep of the first three position.


Dacita, a 5-year-old Scat Daddy mare bred in Chile, ran 1 1/4 miles on firm turf in 2:01.46 with Irad Ortiz Jr. up. It was her second U.S. win.

"All three horses ran terrific, so that makes the trainer happy," Brown said.

Dacita, he said, will be pointed to the Grade 1 Diana at Saratoga on July 23. Sea Calisi likely will be trained up to the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington on Aug. 13, and plans are undecided for Guapaza.

Cash Control and Sweet Acclaim both rallied from off the pace in Saturday's $100,000 Grade III Old Forester Mint Julep at Churchill Downs. The two then dueled down the lane before Cash Control prevailed by a head. Zipessa was third, 2 1/4 lengths farther back.

Cash Control, a 5-year-old Pioneer of the Nile mare, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm going in 1:41.12 with Shaun Bridgmohan in the irons. She finished third in the Grade II Churchill Distaff Turf Mile in her previous start -- Tepin's last victory before shipping to Royal Ascot.

Brad Cox trains both Cash Control and Sweet Acclaim.

"I was very proud of both of them and honestly the way they had been training we had kind of expected it," he said. "They both had been training as well as mares could train and they both showed up and ran great races." He said he has no immediate plans for either.


Turf Marathons

Suffused raced patiently while saving ground through most of Thursday's $200,000 Belmont Coronation Invitational for fillies and mares, engaged the leaders as she straightened out of the turn and drew off, winning by 4 3/4 length. Achnaha rallied from last of six to finish second, 3 lengths to the good of Generosidade.

Suffused, a 4-year-old British-bred filly by Champs Elysees, ran 1 15/16 miles on the good inner turf in 3:23.26 with Jose Ortiz at the controls. The Juddmonte Farms homebred scored her first U.S. win in her third try.

"We've run her over two distances that were not that far," said trainer Bill Mott. "We knew she'd stay, but whether they stay that far, you never know."

Da Big Hoss took over after the third turn in Friday's $300,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational and held off Now We Can, owned by Hong Kong Jockey Club CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresches. The margin was 1 1/2 lengths with Twilight Eclipse third. The winner, a 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid, got home in course-record time of 3:17.29 under Florent Geroux.

Winning trainer Mike Maker claimed Da Big Hoss for $50,000 a year ago at Churchill Downs for Skychai Racing.


"His pedigree suggested he'd like a mile and a half and this just worked out well," the trainer said. "The St. Ledger (at Arlington Park on Arlington Million day) might be his next start. We possibly could have an eye on the Breeders' Cup down the road."

Evo Campo stalked the pace in Sunday's $75,000 Possibly Perfect Stakes at Santa Anita, took over when asked by jockey Rafael Bejarano and got away to a 1 1/4-lengths victory. Hiking was along to finish second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of the favorite, Sharla Rae. Evo Campo, a 4-year-old, Irish-bred filly by Approve, finished 1 1/2 miles on firm going in 2:27.43.

Turf Sprint

Saturday's $300,000 Grade III Jaipur Invitational at Belmont Park looked like a wide-open affair and that's how it played out -- only quicker than expected. Pure Sensation crossed over from an outside post position, took the lead through fast fractions and held on to win by a neck over Disco Partner in course-record time of 1:06.76. Ready for Rye completed the trifecta, worth $7,874 for a very prescient $2 investment. A Lot finished fourth. The top two are both owned by Patricia Generazio. Pure Sensation, a 5-year-old Zensational gelding, was making his second start of the year after finishing eighth in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.


"He's not an easy horse to keep right all the time because he's not the soundest horse," said winning trainer Christophe Clement. "When he's training well, he runs well."

Zindaya rallied from a pace-stalking position at the top of the lane in Thursday's $150,000 Intercontinental Stakes for fillies and mares at Belmont Park and kicked away to a 3 1/2-lengths victory. Rumble Doll outfinished Miss Ella for second.

Zindaya, a 5-year-old More Than Ready mare, ran 7 furlongs on good turf in 1:22.44 with Javier Castellano aboard. She also won this event last year and has missed a top-three finish only twice in a dozen starts.

Miss Katie Mae saved ground into the top of the stretch in Sunday's $100,000 (Canadian) Alywow Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Woodbine, got to the front halfway home and held off Princess Princess to win by 3/4 length. Conquest City Girl held the lead briefly and finished third. Miss Katie Mae, an Irish-bred daughter of Dark Angel, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:16.10 with Javier Castellano up for trainer Graham Motion.

Turf Mile

Celestine pressed the pace in Saturday's $700,000 Grade I Longines Just a Game Stakes for fillies and mares at Belmont Park, got by the long shot leader and went on to win by 3 3/4 lengths over Recepta. The favorite in a well-balanced field, Mrs McDougal, finished third with a mild late gain.


Celesine, a 4-year-old Scat Daddy filly ridden by Junior Alvarado, got home in 1:31.64, just 0.01 second off the course record established in 1998 by Elusive Quality.

"She just drew away from a very good field," said winning trainer Bill Mott. Noting that division stars Tepin and Miss Temple City are in England, preparing for this week's Royal Ascot meeting, Mott said, "They might be lucky they were over there today."


With heavy favorite Private Zone scratched, Joking rallied from last of five to snatch the win in Friday's $250,000 Grade II True North Stakes at Belmont Park. The 7-year-old Distorted Humor gelding, with Manny Franco in the irons, just put a neck in front of pacesetting Dads Caps at the wire. Holy Boss was 3/4 length farther back in third and a neck in front of the favorite, Catalina Red.

Joking ran 6 furlongs in 1:08.04, picking up his second stakes win after spending most of his recent time at the highest claiming ranks on the circuit.

"Saratoga might be the logical spot but he's a very tough shipper. He likes his home. He likes it here," said winning owner and trainer Charlton Baker. "We might run him one more time between now and Saratoga and then wait for Belmont (in the fall)."


Tom's Ready, second in the Louisiana Derby and a fading 12th in the Kentucky Derby, found the 7 furlongs of Saturday's $500,000 Grade II Woody Stephens at Belmont Park much more to his liking. The More Than Ready colt started at the back of the field of 12 3-year-olds, picked up speed around the turn and worked through traffic in the stretch before winning by 1 1/4 lengths. Fish Trappe Road led midway down the lane but ran erratically after that and settled for second, 3/4 length in front of Star Hill. The favorite, Sharp Azteca, finished fourth. Tom's Ready, with Joel Rosario up, finished in 1:21.38.

"I think we'll keep him at one turn," said winning trainer Dallas Stewart. "He won't run a lot more. He's run hard all year. I'm going to freshen him up and point him to maybe the King's Bishop at Saratoga and then the Breeders' Cup (Sprint)."

Filly & Mare Sprint

Kareena had no trouble easing by pacesetting Appealing Maggie entering the stretch in Friday's $150,000 Jersey Girl Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park and went on to win by 6 1/4 lengths. Kareena held second, 1 1/2 lengths better than One True Kiss.


Kareena, a Medaglia d'Oro filly, owned by Godolphin and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:07.83, just 0.14 second off the track record set by Artax 17 years ago. It was only her third career start. After finishing second at Gulfstream Park in her first start in March -- a race in which all three top finishers came back to win their next start -- Kareena broke her maiden by 5 lengths at Keeneland in April.

"She's just an impressive filly," McLaughlin said. "She's got a great disposition. She's a very kind filly and she can really run so it was a great. That was a serious race. We're hoping to do what we did with Cavorting last year."

Cavorting won the 2015 Jersey Girl, then went on to take the Grade I Test and Grade II Prioress at Saratoga before finishing fourth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. She also was a runaway winner against a tough field in the Grade I Ogden Phipps on this card -- see below.


Lady Stardust, the only filly in the field for Friday's $200,000 Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park and the heavy favorite, was scratched after acting up in the gate. That left it to Silver Mission to jump right to the lead and keep running for a 6 1/4-lengths victory. Hey Mike, Pachi Cruze and Saratoga Two Step completed the order of finish. Silver Mission, a New York-bred Mission Impazible colt, ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.78 with John Velazquez up. "These races," said winning trainer Todd Pletcher, "everybody's kind of done the same thing -- run once and most of them have won. Most of them are wire-to-wire, so you sort out who's the quickest. Silver Mission now is 2-for-2 with the earlier score coming at Aqueduct in April.


2-year-old fillies

Bode's Dream was sent from the gate in Thursday's $200,000 Astoria Stakes at Belmont Park and wasn't caught, winning by 2 3/4 lengths over China Grove. Anna' Bandit got going late and was along for third. Bode's Dream, a Bodemeister filly, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in very respectable 1:03.66 with John Velazquez up. The grey filly won at first asking at Gulfstream Park last month. Trainer Todd Pletcher said these early races often pit first-time winners against one another and, "Things have to shake out and you find out who the fastest of the fast is." Velazquez said he "just left her alone" after Bode's Dream broke on top.


South Africa

With only three weeks until Africa's premier race, the Vodacom Durban July, Saturday's Group 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge at Greyville was a final chance for contenders to crack the field. It also proved a warmup for the officals as 20-1 chance Trip To Heaven finished first by a whisker over Mac De Lago, then was sent on a trip to Purgatory, set down to second for repeatedly coming over on Mac De Lago in the final 200 meters.

The co-favorite, French Navy, who was among those compromised by a rough stretch run in last year's Durban July, finished third in Saturday's race with a late run and looks poised to give a good account on the big day. Ironically, Sean Tarry trains both Trip To Heaven and French Navy. Mac De Lago, a 4-year-old gelding by Ecosta De Lago, won for the third time in 13 trips to the track.


In other action:


Amis Gizmo got first run to the lead in the stretch in Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian) Plate Trial and held off the favorite, Shakhimat, winning by 2 1/2 lengths. Sir Dudley Digges finished third. Amis Gizmo, a Giant Gizmo colt, ran 9 furlongs on the all-weather track in the major local prep for next month's Queen's Plate. He won his first four career starts before finishing a fading fifth in the Wando Stakes April 24.

"We found he had a little bit of a problem (after the Wando Stakes) and there was an excuse for him to run as bad as he did," said owner and breeder Ivan Dalos. "So now that we've got it figured out, we're back in business."

Songs and Laughter reeled in pacesetting Beliveau in the stretch run in Saturday's $125,000 (Canadian) Bold Ruckus Stakes for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds and won by 2 lengths over that foe. Beliveau held second, a neck in front of Ultraflame, while the favorite, Aaronic Blessing, faded to finish last of six. Songs and Laughter, a Singing Saint gelding, toured 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:09.62 for jockey Eurico Da Silva.

The Ontario track kicked off its Euro Turf Series on Friday and Merlin Magic had no trouble solving the clockwise rotation. With Luis Contreras up, Merlin Magic tracked the early pace in the 5-furlongs event, split the leaders turning for home and drew off to win handily.


"He gets it," said winning trainer Mike Keogh. "He's a funny horse with his leads in the morning, but he gets which lead to be on here."

The program is designed to make better use of the portions of the sweeping, highly regarded turf course from the finish line to what normally is the first turn. Pause for applause for any positive initiative in the game!

Arlington Park

Puntsville surged to a nice lead in the stretch run in Saturday's $54,000 Isaac Murphy Handicap for Illinois-bred fillies and mares and held on to win by 3/4 length over Dandy Gal. Church Road was third. The favorite, Richies Sweetheart, contested the pace, then faded to finish last. Puntsville, a 4-year-old daughter of Cashel Castle, ran 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:10.87 with Victor Santiago in the irons.

Recount led early in Saturday's $50,000 Addison Cammack Handicap for Illinois-bred, was headed by Sweet Luca early in the stretch run, regrouped, regained the lead and won by 2 lengths. Shanghai Red edged Sweet Luca for place money and the favorite, Lewys Vaporizer, finished a distant last.

Recount, a 4-year-old Limehouse gelding, ran 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:11.01 with Carlos Montalvo up.


Santa Anita

Poshsky rolled from the back of the field in Saturday's $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes for California-breds, then outfinished the favorite, Alert Bay, winning by a neck. Ashleyluvssugar was third. Poshsky, a 6-year-old Vronsky gelding, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:35.77 with Fernando Perez up, after being let go at 21-1 odds.

Penn National

Behrnik's Bank led from the break in Saturday's $100,000 New Start Stakes for Pennsylvania-bred 3-year-old fillies and won by 1 length over Authoritative, who had some traffic problems. Its a Journey came from well back to get show money. Behrnik's Bank, a daughter of Bank Heist, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.12 with John Bisono in the irons.

Rolin With Olin took the early lead in Saturday's $100,000 Danzig Stakes for state-bred 3-year-olds, opened a daylight advantage and held off Jaguar Poz by 1 3/4 lengths under the wire. Bird of Trey was third. Rolin With Olin, a Talent Search gelding, ran 6 furlongs in 1:09.88 for jockey Brian Pedroza.


Full Salute took the lead in the stretch in Sunday's $60,000 Select Stakes for 3-year-old and went on to win by 1 length over Easy River. Henry the King finished third. Full Salute, a Speightstown colt, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:03.02 with Paco Lopez up.


Indian Splendor and Forest Funds hit the wire together in Saturday's $60,000 Honey Bee Stakes with the photo finding Indian Splendor better by a nose. Everything Lovely did everything but win, leading into deep stretch and holding third, 1/2 length farther back. Indian Splendor, a 6-year-old daughter of Indian Ocean, ran about 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:02.35 for jockey Antonio Gallardo.

Canterbury Park

Plot Twist twisted up a lot of tickets in Saturday's $75,000 Dark Star Stakes, rallying from far back to win by 3/4 length at 36-1 odds. He's So Zassy led most of the way and held on for second, 1 1/2 lengths better than Diamond Joe. The favorite, Candy Ruby, finished last. Plot Twist, a 4-year-old gelding by Spring at Last, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:17.08 with Erik McNeil aboard.

Inconclusive bested Princess Erindelle by a neck and Frozen Hanna by the same margin after a tight stretch battle in Saturday's $75,000 Northland Pride Oaks. Inconclusive, an Include filly, ran about 1 mile on firm turf in 1:39.41.

Prairie Meadows

Whateverybodywants tracked the pace in Friday's $65,000 Prairie Mile for 3-year-olds, took over when the pacesetter was pulled up at the three-sixteenths pole, and held on late to win by 3/4 length over Catfish Creek. The rider of the latter lodged an objection, which was not allowed. Cashel Rock finished third. Whaeverybodywants, an Illinois-bred colt by Giant Oak, finished in 1:50.14 with Israel Ocampo up.


Indiana Grand

Easy Doer did it easily in Saturday's $75,000 ITOBA Stallion Season Jim Elliott Memorial for state-bred 3-year-olds, kicking away down the stretch to win by 7 3/4 lengths. Justice for Themob beat the other five with Givemeyourbestshot checking in third. Easy Doer, an Alluvial gelding, got 1 mile on a fast track in 1:38.11 with Rodney Prescott up.

Carmalley Chrome led from the start in Saturday's $75,000 ITOBA Stallion Season Linda Swingley Memorial for Indiana-bred 3-year-old fillies, turned back a bid by the favorite, Peyton's Pass, and went on to win by 3 lengths over that one. It was another 13 1/2 lengths back to Chica Cherry Cola in third. Carmalley Chrome, a daughter of Cat Dreams, ran 1 mile in 1:38.27, also with Prescott riding.


Dubacious led from the start in Saturday's $75,000 Sydney Gendelman Memorial Handicap for Ohio-breds and lasted, winning by 1 1/4 lengths over Silver Tongued. Shakeyogroovething finished third. Dubacious, a 5-year-old E Dubai gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles on yielding turf in 1:43.34 with Jacob Radosevich up.

Golden Gate Fields

Chips All In found the needed extra gear in the stretch run in Saturday's $50,000 Albany Stakes, taking the lead and holding off Moonshine Bay for a 1 3/4-lengths victory Somthings Unusual finished third. Chips All In, a 7-year-old son of North Light, ran 5 furlongs on firm turf in 56.64 seconds with Russell Baze at the controls.



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