Mondialiste, an international runner with previous North American success, won the big one at Arlington Park's International Festival of Racing after some "almost" efforts earlier on a card dominated by trainer Chad Brown and jockey Florent Geroux.
Klimt and Gunnevera showed promise in early 2-year-old tests at Del Mar and Saratoga.
And on the actual international front, Ribchester and Protectionist won Group 1 events while The Gurkha, one of Europe's most promising 3-year-olds, is done for the year after colon surgery.
Starting right at the top at beautiful Arlington Park:
Mondialiste rallied on the outside in the stretch run of Saturday's Grade I Arlington Million, took the lead close to home and held on to win by a neck over Kasaqui, who got through on the rail just a jump too late. Deauville led briefly in the lane and held third as the first nine finishers in Million XXXIV were separated by less than 3 lengths. The favorite, World Approval, attended the early pace, then faded to finish seventh as Mondialiste ran 1 1/4 miles on firm turf in 2:01.87. Trained by David O'Meara and ridden by Daniel Tudhope, the 6-year-old son of Galileo came to Arlington after finishing second to Time Test in the Group 2 Sky Bet York Stakes in his previous start. The horse won last year's Grade I Woodbine Mile and went on from that to finish second to Tepin in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Keeneland. Saturday's victory earned him a spot in the Breeders' Cup Turf in November at Keeneland through the "Win and You're In" program.
"We stepped him up to a mile and a quarter at York and he ran a really good race," said winning trainer David O'Meara. "Once we saw that he handled the trip okay, we had this race in the back of our mind. We thought we'd bring him over because he performed so well this side of the water last year."
Tudhope added he and O'Meara "went over the race so many times beforehand. You just don't know how it's going to go but we couldn't have asked for a better run, really. It was perfect."
The local preps for the Arlington Million, generally regarded as light compared with the international contingent, proved more that. Kasaqui, winner of the Grade III Arlington Handicap, nearly pulled off the upset in the Million at 12-1 odds and Greengrassofyoming, winner of the Grade III Stars and Stripes, finished fourth at 47-1.
Saturday's $450,000 Grade I Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds at Arlington boiled down to a stretch dash between Beach Patrol and Long Island Sound, third and sixth respectively in the Grade I Belmont Derby. Beach Patrol, with Florent Geroux in the irons, got the outside position in the final furlong and got home first by a head. Long Island Sound held second by 3/4 length over an onrushing American Patriot. Beach Patrol, a Lemon Drop Kid colt, ran 1 1/4 miles on firm turf in 2:01.95, scoring his third career win and first in a graded stakes.
"Broke good there from the gate," Geroux said. "I was able to stalk and when I asked him to go he was very brave. (Long Island Sound) didn't give it up and (Beach Patrol) showed a lot of heart."
Da Big Hoss was da big favorite in Saturday's $300,000 Grade III American St. Leger at Arlington Park and ran to his notices. After idling in midfield through most of the 1 11/16-miles marathon, Geroux kicked the 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid into gear in the lane and he quickly accelerated to a 1 3/4-lengths victory. Clondaw Warrior, whose last race was a victory over hurdles in Galway, Ireland, ran bravely from well back in the field to finish a closing second and German-bred Wasir finished third. Da Big Hoss finished in 2:49.47.
"He just loves to win," Geroux said. "He always finds a way to find the wire and it doesn't matter where he is. When you ask him to go, he goes." Trainer Mike Maker claimed Da Big Horse 14 months ago at Churchill Downs for $50,000. He has six wins since then, all in marathons and four of the victories in graded stakes. He also won the $300,000 Belmont Gold Cup in his previous start.
Saturday's $500,000, Grade I Fourstardave at Saratoga was canceled because of severe weather and will be run Saturday next.
Filly & Mare Turf
Sea Calisi outfinished long shot Al's Gal in Saturday's $700,000 Grade I Beverly D. at Arlington Park, winning by a diminishing 1/2 length. Zipessa, who opened a big lead turning for home, held on to get show money. Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien's ambitiously named but underperforming pair -- Coolmore and Ballydoyle -- finished 10th and 12th after chasing the early pace. Sea Calsi, a 4-year-old, French-bred filly by Youmzain, ran 1 3/16 miles on firm turf in 1:54.93 with Geroux scoring the third of his three straight graded stakes wins. How did the jockey get so lucky? Geroux said he went to trainer Chad Brown at Saratoga and pleaded the case that the trainer was red hot, especially with turf runners, and so was he and so they should get together.
"We agreed to come here together and he gave me those very nice horses to ride," Geroux said. Of Sea Calisi, he added, "She's a very nice filly, definitely no distance problem at all. She can win at longer if we have to."
She earned a spot in the 1 1/4-miles Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf with the Beverly D. victory. Sea Calisi raced with some success at high levels in France and England. Sent to trainer Brown in New York, she won the Grade II Sheepshead Bay in her first U.S. start in May and finished second, 3/4 length behind Dacita, in the Grade II New York Stakes in June. Again, it paid to give weight to local preps as Al's Gal finished second in the Grade III Modesty Handicap over the course last month.
Saturday's $100,000 (Canadian) Flaming Page Stakes came off the Woodbine turf but the field remained intact and the favorite, Goodyearforroses, kicked away down the stretch of the all-weather course, winning by 3 lengths. Dyna's Recoleta was second, 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Interject. Goodyearforroses, a 4-year-old, Irish-bred daughter of Azamour, covered 1 1/2 miles in 2:32.61 with Alan Garcia up. She's won three of four starts since coming north this spring.
Why Two came four-wide into the stretch in Friday's $75,000 Green Flash Handicap at Del Mar and won by 1 1/4 lengths over pacesetting Richard's Boy. Horse Laugh was third with a late run. Why Two, a 4-year-old Bob and John gelding, ran 5 furlongs on firm turf in 56.01 seconds with Norberto Arroyo Jr. riding.
Pool Winner dueled to the lead in Saturday's $60,000 My Frenchman Stakes at Monmouth Park, then edged clear to win by 2 3/4 lengths. Sylvan Park made a late run to finish second, 1 1/2 lengths to the good of Run for Logistics. Pool Winner, a 4-year-old Broken Vow gelding, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on firm going in 1:01.72 with Nik Juarez up.
Joya Real shadowed the leaders in Sunday's $60,000 Blue Sparkler Stakes for fillies and mares at Monmouth Park, slipped by in the lane and won by a head over the favorite, Nite Delite. Cali Thirty Seven was third. Joya Real, a 7-year-old Eddington mare, ran about 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:02.89 with Frankie Pennington in the irons.
Majestic Heat pressed the pace in Sunday's $150,000 Solana Beach Stakes for California-bred fillies and mares at Del Mar and outfinished Tiz a Kiss, winning by a nose over that rival. Singing Kitty was third with a mild late move. Majestic Heat, a 4-year-old daughter of Unusual Heat, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:34.98 with Flavien Prat riding.
Stallwalkin' Dude stumbled at the start of Friday's $100,000 Tale of the Cat Stakes at Saratoga, putting himself in an unaccustomed trailing position. But jockey Joe Bravo picked up the pieces and the 6-year-old City Place gelding got by the favorite, Chief Lion, in the final sixteenth to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Easy to Say finished third. Stallwalkin' Dude ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.05, winning the even for the second straight year.
Perhaps a Pie led all the way in Sunday's $65,000 Emerald Distaff at Emerald Downs and just held on to win by a neck over Chronologic'sghost. All Star Bub was third. Perhaps a Pie, a 4-year-old, Florida-bred daughter of Tale of Ekati, ran 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:47.59 with Eswan Flores in the irons. It was her fourth win from 14 starts.
Point Piper raced behind the pace in Sunday's $200,000, Grade III Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs, swung three-wide into the lane and quickly got the job done, winning by 4 3/4 lengths over Cyrus Alexander. O B Harbor made the early going and finished third. Point Piper, a 6-year-old son of Giant's Causeway, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:32.90 with Mario Gutierrez in for the ride. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer trains Point Piper in Southern California but has shipped the horse extensively, running him from Fair Grounds in New Orleans to Santa Anita, to Oaklawn Park in Arkansas and back to California before the Seattle trip.
Gunnevera got by odds-on favorite Recruiting Ready in the stretch run of Sunday's $200,000 Grade II Saratoga Special and went on to win by 1 length. Recruiting Ready then was set down to fourth for interference at the half-mile pole described by the Equibase chart footnote as "clobbered " Tip Tap Tapizar. The latter finished third and was promoted to second. Sonic Mule, collateral damage from the incident, was moved up to the show position. Gunnevera, a Dialed In colt, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:17.00 with Javier Castellano aboard. The colt took three tries to get to the winner's circle in Florida earlier in the year.
"I liked the race," said winning trainer Antonio Sano. "But I told Castellano, 'He's slow but the last three furlongs are strong.' I liked this horse at a longer distance. We'll see you Sept. 5 here," he added, referring to the $350,000 Grade I hopeful.
Klimt pressed the pace in Saturday's $200,000 Grade II Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar, took charge entering the stretch and drew off with some authority to win by 2 3/4 lengths. Big League made the early going and held second, 3 1/4 lengths to the good of Thirstforlife. Klimt, a Quality Road colt, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:16.11 for jockey Rafael Bejarano. The win was his second straight following a fourth-place finish in his career debut. Trainer Bob Baffert, who scored his eighth Best Pal victory, said he was disappointed with Klimt's first race "and thought that maybe he's just a grass horse. But he came back, won his next one, and he's worked really well here. He's always shown that he's a horse that's going to go farther. It was a good race, they didn't go too fast. The kind of race you want to see. The Futurity is next."
Prado's Way got clear in the lane in Saturday's $50,000 Manzano Stakes at Albuquerque and jetted off to a 4 3/4-lengths win. El Tule led most of the way and held second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Stem the Tide. Prado's Way, a Kentucky-bred Tizway colt, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.09 with Alfredo Juarez Jr. in the irons. It was his second start, following a similar victory at Lone Star Park last month.
Han Sense, making his first start, won Saturday's $90,000 Iowa Cradle Stakes for state-bred 2-year-olds at Prairie Meadows by 1 1/2 lengths despite a slow start. The gray colt saved ground into the stretch, got through inside pacesetting Dreamin the Dream, and drew off. Major Mingo was up for third. Han Sense ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:12.07. He is by Hansen, winner of the 2011 Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the 2012 Iowa Derby. The nearly white son of Tapit stood one season in the United States, then was sold to stand in Korea.
Saturday's $200,000, Grade II Adirondack at Saratoga was canceled because of a severe thunderstorm and will be run Friday.
Theperfectvow set a pressured pace in Saturday's $90,000 Iowa Sorority Stakes for state-breds at Prairie Meadows, opened a lead in the lane and held on to win by 1 length over Win Winney. First-time starter Channel's Legacy finished third and the odds-on favorite, Bossy Em, was a dull fifth. Theperfectvow, a daughter of Majesticperfection, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.90 with Scott Stevens up.
Bling On the Music battled to the lead in Sunday's $100,000 Gold Rush Futurity at Arapahoe Park, then left the field well in his wake through the stretch, winning by 13 lengths and remaining undefeated in three starts. Crosscheck Carlos was second, a nose in front of Galactic Princess. Bling On the Music, a Texas-bred filly by Too Much Bling, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.30 while running against males with Luis Quinonez up. Trainer J.R. Caldwell shipped in from Remington Park for the race.
On the Woodbine turf, Hopping Not Hoping coped just fine with yielding conditions, rallying late to catch Nerve Line and win by 1/2 length. Reverse was just a neck farther back in third and the favorite, Financial Recovery, finished fourth. Hopping Not Hoping, a daughter of Silent Name, ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:20.44 with Jeffrey Alderson in the irons for the first stakes win of his young career. She broke her maiden last time out over the all-weather course.
Trainer Barb Minshall said of the wet turf, "Being a Silent Name, we thought she might like it. It seemed like a good opportunity and the timing was right. She's a really good filly and an unbelievably good mover so we thought we'd take a shot."
Channel Maker dueled to the lead in Sunday's $150,000 Vandal Stakes for Ontario-bred juveniles at Woodbine, moved to a comfortable lead and cruised home first, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of the favorite, first-timer Malibu Secret. Woodbridge finished third. Channel Maker, an English Channel colt out of the Horse Chestnut mare In Return, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on yielding turf in 1:17.50 with Luis Contreras riding. He was coming off a third-place finish in his career bow.
Over the waves:
Ribchester and Vadamos emerged as the only remaining contenders in the final furlong of Sunday's Group 1 Jacques le Marois at Deauville and it was Ribchester the winner by 1/2 length. Ervedya finished third while the earlier contenders, Arod and Galileo Gold, were nowhere to be found at the finish with Arod 10th and Galileo Gold eighth. Ribchester, a 3-year-old by Mujarah, won the Group 3 Jersey Stakes at Ascot in June, then was third behind The Gurkha and Galileo Gold in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes last month at Goodwood. William Buick, who was disappointed with Tryster's eighth-place effort in Saturday's Arlington Million, made the quick eastbound trans-Atlantic trip worthwhile with the Deauville win. Tryster and Ribchester are both owed by Godolphin. Ribchester ran 1 mile on good turf in 1:36.16. Trainer Richard Fahey said he's not sure what the colt's best distance will be but looks forward to finding out in 2017.
"Next year he could be the real deal," the trainer said.
Protectionist, the 2014 Melbourne Cup winner, was in firm control in Sunday's Group 1 Longines Grosser Pris von Berlin, leading all the way and easily holding off Nightflower for a 2 1/2-lengths victory. Guignol was third in the six-horse field. Protectionist, a 6-year-old, German-bred son of Monsun, struggled down under after the Melbourne Cup victory over Red Cadeaux, finishing out of the frame in all eight subsequent Australian starts. Moved back to his homeland, he won a comeback race at Dusseldorf in June and a Group 2 event at Hamburg before Sunday's return to Group 1 glory. He has never finished worse than third in European races. Owned by Australian Bloodstock Stable, the horse now is trained by Andreas Wohler, who gave no indication a return to Australia is in the cards for Protectionist. For the short term, Wohler said, the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden is the target.
The Gurkha, winner of the Group 1 Sussex Stakes in his last start and one of the most promising European 3-year-olds, is done for the season after surgery for a displaced colon, Racing Post reports. The operation was successful but a decision about the Galileo colt's future will await news of his recovery, RP quoted Richard Henry, a spokesman for Coolmore.
In other action:
Noble Beauty was awarded first-place money in Saturday's $100,000, Grade III Pucker Up Stakes for 3-year-old fillies as Try Your Luck was set down from first to third for drifting out in the lane, interfering with Auntie Joy. Auntie Joy was promoted to second; Try Your Luck demoted to third. The adjudged winner, a Kitten's Joy filly, ran 9 furlongs on firm turf in 1:50.09 with Corey Lanerie up.
Yo Carm rolled by pacesetter Runningfromthefeds in the stretch run of Saturday's $75,000 Bruce D. Memorial for 3-year-olds and went on to win by 1/2 length over that rival. Pilot House finished third and the favorite, Two Step Time, settled for sixth with a belated rally. Yo Carm, an Illinois-bred colt by Flatter, ran 1 mile on the all-weather track in 1:36.47 with Jose Lezcano in the irons.
Rivers Run Deep easily ran by pacesetting Mo Dont Know in the stretch drive of Saturday's $75,000 Honey Jay Stakes for Ohio-breds, winning by 1 1/2 lengths over that one. Lime and Tequila ran evenly to finish third. Rivers Run Deep, a 5-year-old son of Ready's Image, ran 6 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:10.52 under Albin Jimenez.
Matchlock led all the way in Saturday's $100,000 Governor Terry E. Branstad Stakes for Iowa-bred colts and geldings and held on gamely in the final furlong to beat Excessive by a neck. The odds-on favorite, Net Gain, came up flat in the stretch and finished third, 12 lengths farther behind. Matchlock, a 4-year-old gelding by Matt's Broken Vow, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.97 with Shane Laviolette riding.
Foxy Fleda came six-wide into the stretch in Saturday's $100,000 Donna Reed Stakes for Iowa-bred fillies and mares and rallied by the leaders to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Stelawithanattitude was second, 2 lengths ahead of Kera Kera. Foxy Fleda, a 5-year-old mare by Added Edge, ran 1 mile and 70 yards in 1:42.69 with Ty Kennedy in the irons.
Mywomanfromtokyo took command in the stretch run in Saturday's $100,000 Iowa Breeders' Oaks, winning off by 5 3/4 lengths. It's the Swede beat the others with Native Princess a further 6 3/4 lengths back in third. Mywomanfromtokyo, a Neko Bay filly, got 1 mile and 70 yards in 1:41.68 with Glenn Corbett up.
One Fine Dream was easily best in the $100,000 Iowa Breeders' Derby, maintaining a narrow lead throughout, then kicking away to a 4 3/4-lengths victory. No Holds Barred contested the pace and held on for place money, 1 3/4 lengths better than Rocket Joe Copper. One Fine Dream, a Woke Up Dreamin gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.39 for Laviolette.
You Funny Man took the overland route around the turn in Saturday's $85,000 Dan Johnson Sprint for state-breds and outfinished Dixie Surge by 1 1/2 lengths for the win. The pacesetter, Shock Hazard, preserved third. You Funny Man, a 7-year-old gelding by Humming, ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.54 with Alex Birzer up.
Mom Genes led the way in Sunday's $75,000 Horizon Stakes for Ohio-bred 3-year-olds and won by 4 1/4 lengths over 73-1 chance Carroll. Bold Johnnie was third. Mom Genes, a Kentucky Dane filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:40.06 under Megan Fadlovich.