Werther, with Hugh Bowman celebrating, wins Sunday's Standard Chartered Champions & Chater
Cup at Hong Kong's Sha Tin Racecourse, the final Group 1 event of the Hong Kong season. Photo courtesy Hong Kong Jockey Club
The Memorial Day weekend provided some intense Thoroughbred racing, with heartening, heart-stopping and heart-warming action coast-to-coast and from South Africa to Japan.
Lady Eli returned to the winner's circle in a happy highlight on a weekend that also saw Cupid win some hearts on his return to action. Catch a Glimpse stopped a few hearts with a scary moment and Finley'sluckycharm made all her own luck on the Churchill Downs grass.
On the international front Churchill completed the 2,000 Guineas sweep but had to get by Kentucky Derby bust Thunder Snow to do it. Carry On Alice won her fifth Group 1 race in South Africa and heads for her second career. Rey de Oro was a shaft of golden sunlight on a rich Sunday in Tokyo and Werther again proved his worth in Hong Kong.
Cupid, making his first start since last September, came running late to take Saturday's $500,000 Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita, drawing off in the final furlong to win by 3 1/4 lengths. Follow Me Crev was second with Hard Aces third. The favorite, American Freedom, led briefly and faded to finish fifth. Cupid, a 4-year-old Tapit colt, ran 1 1/4 miles on a fast track in 2:00.09 with Rafael Bejarano up for trainer Bob Baffert, who also saddled American Freedom.
"He's going to get better with age," Baffert said of the Coolmore-owned winner. "We should have some fun with him this summer. The Gold Cup has always been a very important race. We brought two really good horses today and I thought that fast pace might get to American Freedom."
Baffert won the race for the sixth time. Cupid earned more than $1.3 million last year despite what Baffert called taking "the back roads" to victories in the Grade II Indiana Derby and Grade II West Virginia Derby.
Baffert's second string, Danzing Candy, was an even easier winner Sunday in the $200,000 Grade III Lone Star Park Handicap in Texas. The 4-year-old Twirling Candy colt, with Mike Smith in for the ride, went quickly to the lead, shook off a challenge from Shotgun Kowboy and drew off to win by 4 3/4 lengths. Texas Chrome finished second as Shotgun Kowboy faded to finish third. Danzing Candy ran 1 1/16 miles on a muddy, sealed track in 1:43.01. The colt last year won the Grade II San Felipe, finished fourth in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby and was 15th in the Kentucky Derby. He now is 2-for-3 in his 4-year-old campaign.
Up north, Souper Tapit got first run to the lead in the stretch in Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian) Marine Stakes for 3-year-olds at Woodbine and held on to win by 2 lengths over later-running Channel Marker. Malibu Secret was a further 5 3/4 lengths back in third. Souper Tapit, a Florida-bred Tapit colt, ran 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:43.52 with Florent Geroux in for the ride for trainer Mark Casse. It was his second win and followed a seventh-place finish in the Grade III Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. "He's not very easy," Geroux said. "His last race was not very good. Mark and his staff did a great job with him. They put a lot of work and effort into him and I'm glad I was able to deliver the nice win for them today."
Ashleyluvssugar waited behind rivals into the stretch in Sunday's $200,000 Grade II Charles Whittingham Stakes at Santa Anita, waited some more to get running room and finally slipped through a gap to win by 1/2 length. Frank Conversation was second and Syntax finished third. Ashleyluvssugar, a 6-year-old Game Plan gelding, ran 1 1/4 miles on firm turf in 1:58.49 with Gary Stevens riding. Ashleyluvssugar has missed a top-three finish only twice in his last 14 starts, most of those in graded stakes. That skein includes a victory in the 2015 Whittingham.
"They were lined up going down the backside and they were going a fair enough pace for a mile and a quarter," Stevens said. "I was hoping for room and I got the split I needed at the head of the stretch. He just exploded."
Cowboy Culture found the lead a furlong out in Saturday' $100,000 Grade III Arlington Classic for 3-year-olds and drew off easily, winning by 5 3/4 lengths. Gorgeous Kitten, after settling last of six, was the one making up ground in deep stretch, only to finish second, 1/2 length in front of Parlor. Fast and Accurate faded from the lead over the yielding turf and finished fourth. Cowboy Culture, a Quality Road colt, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.81 and winning rider Shaun Bridgmohan said he can go farther.
"I never hit him," Bridgmohan said. "Once he took off, I knew he was okay." Ricky Giannini, assistant to winning trainer Brad Cox, said it would be an "obvious choice" to return to Arlington to pursue the track's 3-year-old turf series -- the Grade III American Derby on July 8 and the Grade I Secretariat on Arlington Million day, Aug. 12. "He obviously relishes this course," Giannini said. The colt won his first three starts, all during the Fair Grounds meeting, then finished up the track in graded stakes at Gulfstream Park and Keeneland before Saturday's win.
Filly & Mare Turf
Lady Eli returned to the winner's circle Saturday after a 1/2-length victory in the $300,000 Grade I Gamely Stakes at Santa Anita. It was her second win, to go with three close seconds, since a near-fatal injury and bout with laminitis -- an improbable recovery and return that won the hearts of racing fans worldwide. With Irad Ortiz Jr. in for the ride, the 5-year-old Divine Park mare attended the pace in the Gamely, took a narrow lead turning for home and held off a late run by Goodyearforroses. The early leader, Avenge, salvaged show money. September Stars was scratched. Lady Eli ran 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:45.29.
Cherie DeVaux, assistant to winning trainer Chad Brown, said Lady Eli is special. "Because of everything she's been through, it's way more emotional when she runs," DeVaux said. "This is the most emotional I've ever gotten with any horse. Her tenacity is what makes her great ... The Breeders' Cup (Filly & Mare Turf) is the ultimate objective, yes."
Daring Duchess seized the lead quickly in Saturday's $65,000 Keertana Stakes at Churchill Downs and ran on to win by 3 lengths over Quiet Business. It was another 3 1/4 lengths back to Yahtzee Queen in third. Daring Duchess finished 1 1/2 miles on firm turf in 2:29.59 with Julien Leparoux in the irons. The result reversed the order of finish in the Grade III Bewitch at Keeneland April 28, when Quiet Business won by 1 length over Daring Duchess.
Stormy Liberal posted his fourth straight win Saturday, taking the $150,000 Grade III Daytona Stakes down the Santa Anita hillside course by a hard-fought neck over Ambitious Brew. Blackjack Cat and Home Run Kitten completed the order of finish. Stormy Liberal, a 5-year-old Stormy Atlantic gelding, got home in 1:12.42 with Norberto Arroyo Jr. in the irons. He was claimed by trainer Peter Miller last October for $40,000. "We've just been rolling on the good times ever since," said owner Gary Hartunian. "He's found his niche coming down the hill. That's for sure."
Illuminant raced well back through the early furlongs of Saturday's $200,000 Grade II Monrovia Stakes for fillies and mares down the Santa Anita hill, got by the leaders along the fence after crossing the dirt course and won by 1/2 length. Coniah was second, 1 1/2 lengths in front of Anita Partner. Illuminant, a 5-year-old Pennsylvania-bred mare by Quality Road, ran about 6 1/2 gravity-aided furlongs in 1:12.13 for jockey Flavien Prat. She won the Grade I Gamely last March going 9 furlongs, then was out of action for 10 months. She faded badly in her last start over the same trip. "This is the first time that she's actually really laid off the pace, going down the hill, so I was a little nervous to say the least," said winning trainer Michael McCarthy. "But once she got going across the dirt, I thought she had it."
Big Handsome took back at the start of Saturday's $100,000 Paradise Creek Stakes for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park, made one big run into the lane and drew off to a 5 1/4-lengths victory. Kitten's Cat was best of the rest, 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Small Bear. Big Handsome, a Street Boss colt, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:21.52 with Javier Castellano in the irons. He took four tries to find the winner's circle but now has put together three straight wins. "I was so impressed with him," said winning trainer Tony Dutrow. "I didn't think I'd see that today. I have to be feeling very good about this horse's future. I'm excited."
Blue Bahia split foes in the lane in Sunday's $65,000 Blue Sparkler for fillies and mares at Monmouth Park and, once clear, accelerated to a 2-lengths victory over Spectacular Me. Daylight Ahead was third. Blue Bahia, a 4-year-old daughter of Wildcat Heir, ran 5 furlongs on firm going in 56.71 seconds for jockey Paco Lopez.
Starship Jubilee stumbled out the gate, then came from last of seven to win Saturday's $175,000 (Canadian) Grade II Nassau Stakes for fillies and mares as the favorite. Catch a Glimpse fell halfway through the mile and later was vanned off. Starship Jubilee came three wide around the fallen foe and took the lead in the lane, drawing off to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Involuntary was second with Stormy Victoria another 2 lengths back in third. Starship Jubilee, a 4-year-old filly by Indy Wind, finished in 1:36.86 over yielding turf with Eurico Da Silva in the irons.
"She broke so hard," said da Silva. "And she had a big stumble. But some bad turned to good. She was perfect and so relaxed. She was really, really waiting for me to turn her loose."
Despite the scare, trainer Mark Casse reported Sunday that Catch a Glimpse was walking and eating normally, apparently having suffered from heat exhaustion and a first-ever episode of bleeding during the Nassau.
Irish Strait led from the break in Saturday's $100,000 Grade III Red Bank Stakes at Monmouth Park and no one came to challenge in the straight, leaving the 5-year-old English Channel gelding to a 2 1/4-lengths upset win. Synchrony was second, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Rose Briar. The favorite, All Included, was never a factor and finished eighth. Irish Strait, with Orlando Bocachica up, ran 1 mile on good turf in 1:35.66.
"I didn't know that's what he was planning," winning trainer Graham Motion said of Bocachica's quick move to the lead. "But it was a smart move that proved right. This horse has really improved this year. I knew he hadn't won yet until today, but those were some very tough races and good ones from him."
Irish Strait is a half-brother to Irish War Cry, both out of the Polish Numbers mare Irish Sovereign.
Filly & Mare Sprint
Finley'sluckycharm didn't need any four-leaf clovers or rabbit's feet to dominate Saturday's $100,000 Grade III Winning Colors at Churchill Downs. The Twirling Candy filly blasted right to the lead under Brian Hernandez Jr. and kept going, winning by 5 1/2 lengths, well in hand. Mayla and Sweet Grass filled the trifecta slots. It was her seventh win from nine starts and her only poor showing was when asked to go around two turns in he Grade II Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds. Brett Calhoun trains the first two finishers.
"That's exactly how you're supposed to do it, right?" he said. "I'm very proud of both of my horses' efforts today. This was a great spot for Finley'sluckycharm to stay home and hopefully finish off the meet with the Chicago Handicap (a Grade III moved down I-65 from Arlington Park). This gives us the opportunity to save her best for some of the Grade I's down the road."
Money or Love returned some serious money to her backers after upsetting Saturday's $100,000 Musical Romance for fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park at odds of 38-1. The 5-year-old J Be K mare, with Ramsey Zimmerman up, dueled down the lane with R Kinsley Doll before prevailing by 3/4 length. Eva London was third. Money or Love ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:22.97.
Shifting our tack across the waters:
Churchill might have been the favorite for next week's Derby. Instead, he completed a sweep of the UK 2,000 Guineas races with a handy win over soggy going in Saturday's Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh. The Galileo colt, with Ryan Moore riding confidently, bided his time behind most of the field while Group 2 UAE Derby winner Thunder Snow first tracked the pace, then got to the lead with less than 200 meters left. But the Godolphin runner had no answer when Churchill swept by and went on to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Irish Correspondent ranged up to finish third, another 2 lengths behind Thunder Snow.
Churchill now has won seven straight races since finishing third in his career debut over the same course almost exactly a year ago. He has yet to contest anything longer than Saturday's 1 mile and O'Brien seems content, for now, to have him chasing Frankel's legacy. Thunder Snow, who reared and bucked at the start of the Kentucky Derby, has performed on both turf and dirt at distances up to 1 1/4 miles.
"Winter is coming," said the early leaders in Sunday's Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas. And they were right as Winter, a Galileo filly, swept by them inside the 2-furlongs marker and got away to a 4 3/4-lengths victory. Roly Poly and Hydrangea made it a 1-2-3 clean sweep for trainer Aidan O'Brien with his son, Joseph, training the fourth-place finisher, Intricately. As with Churchill the previous day, the victory completed the English-Irish Guineas sweep.
Gordon Lord Byron, all 9 years of him, led the way in Saturday's Group 2 Wetherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes and kicked away in the final furlong for an easy win, 1 1/2 lengths in front of Only Mine. Acapulco, an antepost favorite, was a late scratch as continuing rain turned the Curragh course into "soft to yielding" conditions. With Chris Hayes up, Gordon Lord Byron notched his first win nearly a year.
Sunday, Decorated Knight seized the lead a furlong out in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup and powered on to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Somehow. Deauville was third. Decorated Knight, a 5-year-old son of Galileo, was having his first start since finishing sixth in the Group 1 Dubai Turf on World Cup night at Meydan. The Roger Charlton trainee also had success on the all-weather during the winter but was detoured to the UAE rather than pursue the All-Weather Championships at Lingfield.
At Haydock on Saturday, Harry Angel led from the start and won the Group 2 Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes by 4 1/2 lengths over Second Thought in course-record time of 1:08.56. The Dark Angel colt, winner of last year's Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes, now has two wins and two seconds from four starts and a promising future for trainer Clive Cox.
In the co-feature at Haydock, Priceless hit the front inside the final furlong in the Group 2 Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes and just held on to win by 1/2 length from an onrushing Goldream. The favorite, Washington DC, was fifth in the 5-furlongs test. Priceless, a 4-year-old filly by Exceed and Excel, made it two straight for trainer Cox and jockey Adam Kirby while notching her fourth career win.
Mekhtaal caught pacemaker Robin of Navan close to the finish to take Sunday's Group 1 Prix d'Ispahan at Chantilly by a neck. Usherette and Dicton finished third and fourth with the favorite, Zarak, showing no run and not perservered with toward the end of the 11 furlongs. Mekhtaal, a 4-year-old colt by Sea the Stars, notched his third career win and first at the highest level for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget.
Rey de Oro settled behind a tepid pace in Sunday's Group 1 Tokyo Yushun, or Japanese Derby, swung wide into the stretch under jockey Christophe Lemaire and unleashed a powerful run in the final 200 meters to win by 3/4 length over Suave Richard. The favorite, Admirable, was third.
"The pace was slow so I started to move forward in the backstretch," Lemaire said. "He was very relaxed and responding well in the stretch so I knew in the last 100 meters that we would win."
For Rey de Oro, a King Kamehameha colt, the victory was retribution for a fifth-place finish in the Satsuki Sho, or Japanese 2,000 Guineas. For Lemaire and trainer Kazuo Fujisawa, it marked a remarkable Oaks-Derby double as the duo won last week's Yushun Himba with the Frankel filly Soul Stirring. It was the first time in 42 years that a jockey has turned that double and the first time in 13 years for a trainer. A crowd of 123,779 packed Tokyo Racecourse for one of the year's most popular events and wagering on the Derby alone was just under 25 billion Yen, or about US$225 million.
Werther, the reigning Hong Kong Horse of the year, made his case for a repeat of that honor with an emphatic victory in Sunday's Group 1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup. With Hugh Bowman aboard, the 5-year-old Tavistock gelding drew even with his main rival, Blazing Speed, shortly after the field turned into the Sha Tin stretch. Blazing Speed, a two-time winner of the race, put up only brief resistance before Werther kicked off to win by 3 lengths, with Bowman celebrating a few strides before he hit the wire. It was Werther's first time at the 2,400 meters, a rare distance in Hong Kong racing.
"Although my gut feeling was that 2,400 was probably beyond his premium distance, I think he proved today that he's got no drama with it, as long as he can relax within himself, and he was able to do it this afternoon with the blinkers off," Bowman said.
Werther also benefitted from a brisk pace and from being fresher than his rivals from missing the first half of the Hong Kong season with an injury. Winning trainer John Moore said with the 2,400 meters in the bag, he now will nominate Werther to both the 2,000-meters Cup and the 2,400-meters Vase for the Longines Hong Kong International Races Dec. 10. Those Group 1 events normally attract a tougher international lineup.
Ordak Dan earned a return trip to the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf with a rather easy win Thursday in the Group 1 Gran Premio 25 de Mayo at San isidro Racecourse. It was his third win in the event. The 8-year-old gelding by Hidden Truth stalked the pace behind Areco Run and the favorite, Sixties Song. As Sixties Song moved to the lead, Ordak Dan got through inside him and shook clear, finishing the 1 1/2 miles over heavy turf in 2:38.64. Don Archi rallied for second ahead of Sixties Song. Through the Breeders' Cup Challenge program, Ordak Dan used a victory in the 2015 Gran Premio 25 de Mayo as an entrée to that year's Breeders' Cup Turf at Keeneland, where he finished ninth. He also won the race in 2013.
In another Breeders' Cup qualifier -- this for the Mile -- Top Casablanca survived a tight stretch battle to win Sunday's Group 1 Gran Premio Club Hipico Falabella in Santiago. Top Casablanca, a bay son of Seeking the Dia, scored his second win of the year and Breeders' Cup officials said the connections have indicated they will take advantage of the free entry and travel allowance provided through the Breeders' Cup Challenge program.
Carry On Alice romped into retirement scoring her fifth Group 1 victory in Saturday's South African Fillies Sprint at Scottsville. With S'manga Khumalo up for trainer Sean Tarry, the 5-year-old Captain Al mare reported home first, 1 length to the good of Just Sensual. She was sent to the post as the 2-1 favorite. She finished the 6 furlongs in 1:07.81. "It's a privilege to train a horse like this," Tarry said after Carry On Alice's swan song. "She's a very, very special filly." Carry On Alice won 11 of 29 starts and will start the long out-of-South Africa quarantine process to get her to Europe for her breeding career.
Bull Valley, also representing the Tarry-Khumalo team, posted a 6-1 upset win in the Group 1 Tsogo Sun Sprint over the same course. The 4-year-old Toreador colt bested Search Party by 1 1/2 lengths with the favorite, Attenborough, finishing 12th.
In the Group 1 events for 2-year-olds, Sand and Sea took the Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion by 2 1/4 lengths over Verallo and Brave Mary, at 30-1 odds, captured the Allan Robertson Championship for juvenile fillies by 1 3/4 lengths over Green Plains.
Around the ovals:
Monday's holiday program had six stakes, all for state-breds. The turf was yielding and the main track was sloppy.
Fourstar Crook rallied five-wide into the lane and swept to a 3/4-lengths victory over Ack Naughty in the $125,000 Mount Vernon Stakes for fillies and mares. The 5-year-old Freud mare ran 1 mile on the yielding turf in 1:37.33 for jockey Javier Castellano.
Kathryn the Wise was much the best in the $200,000 Critical Eye Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 mile on the main track, drawing off late to win by 8 1/4 lengths over 10 rivals. The 4-year-old Uncle Mo filly finished in 1:38.70 with Irad Ortiz Jr. up.
T Loves a Fight rallied from last of six to take the $125,000 Mike Lee Stakes for 3-year-olds at 7 furlongs on the main track, edging by pacesetter Syndergaard to a 2 1/2-length victory. The Girolamo gelding was clocked in 1:25.06 under Kendrick Carmouche.
Weekend Hideaway led from the early stages in the $200,000 Commentator Stakes at 1 mile on the sloppy main track and held on in the final jumps to win by a nose from Diversify. The 7-year-old son of Speightstown got home in 1:37.34 with Luis Saez up.
Offering Plan ran by early leader King Kreesa in the late going of the $125,000 Kingston Stakes, winning by 1 length. With Javier Castellano at the controls, the 5-year-old son of Spring at Last finished the 1 mile on yielding turf in 1:37.40.
Holiday Disguise had a rough start in the $125,000 Bouwerie Stakes for 3-year-old fillies but made up all the ground in the final furlongs, winning by 1 1/4 lengths over Noble Freud. Holiday Disguise, a Harlan's Holiday filly, got 7 sloppy furlongs in 1:25.19 with Jose Ortiz riding.
S Y Sky stalked the pace set by Miss Sunset in Monday's $200,000 Melair Stakes for California-bred 3-year-old fillies, edged by that one while spinning into the stretch and went on to win by 1/2 length. It was another 8 1/2 lengths back to Queen Bee to You in third. S Y Sky, a Grazen filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.69 with Joe Talamo in the irons.
Marckie's Water came five-wide into the stretch in Monday's $200,000 Snow Chief Stakes for state-bred 3-year-olds and ran by half the field to snatch a 2 1/4-lengths victory. Alsatian was second, 1/2 length in front of Dr. Troutman. The favorite, B Squared, tired and reported home sixth. Marckie's Water, a Tribal Rule colt, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.49 with Talamo scoring a stakes double.
Golden Gate Fields
G. G. Ryder won a four-horse scramble to the finish in Monday's $100,000 Grade III All American Stakes, out-finishing Flamboyant by a head and the favorite, Alert Bay, by another head. The pacesetter, Street Lad, finished only another nose back in fourth. G. G. Ryder, a 6-year-old son of Chhaya Dance, ran 1 mile on the all-weather track in 1:37.48 with Irving Orozco in the irons.
Silver Princess settled in second behind Fresh Princess in Saturday's $125,000 Lady Angela Stakes for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies, took the lead at the top of the stretch and went on to win by 1/2 length from Little Christy. The favorite, Conquest Vivi, rallied to take third. Silver Princess, a daughter of Old Forester, ran 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:22.88 with Rafael Hernandez up.
Susie Bee found running room along the rail at mid-stretch in Saturday's $75,000 Christmas Past Stakes for fillies and mares, got through and dueled to a 1/2-length victory over Inside Out. Something Else led briefly and held on for third. Susie Bee, a 5-year-old English Channel mare, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:41.87 with Tyler Gaffalione in the irons.
Lone Star Park
Rumpole led at every pole in Saturday's $65,000 Texas Stallion Stakes for eligible 3-year-old colts and geldings. At the wire, the Too Much Bling gelding was out front by 1 1/2 lengths with Shaded second and Fast Talkin Man another 2 1/2 lengths adrift in third. Rumpole, with Richard Eramia in the irons, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:39.62.
In the companion event for 3-year-old fillies, Gold Shock was up late to catch pacesetter Celebrity Gift, winning by a head. Mighty Ferrari was another 1/2 length back in third and the odds-on favorite, Kat's Infatuation, weakened to finish fifth. Gold Shock, a daughter of My Golden Song, ran 1 mile in 1:40.75 with Ivan Arellano up.
Strike Your Light struck the front turning for home in Sunday's $75,000 Green Carpet Stakes for Ohio-bred 3-year-olds and kicked away to win by 5 lengths. Tough It Up was second and Cake Pop took third. Strike Your Light, a Majestic Warrior colt, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:42.02 under Malcolm Franklin.
Wings Locked up had to turn back repeated challenges before posting a 1/2-length victory over Apprehender in Saturday's $65,000 Ed Skinner Stakes. Welder finished a nose farther back in third. Wings Locked Up, a 5-year-old Munnings gelding, finished 6 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:09.33 with David Cabrera in the irons.
Thoughtless rallied from last of five to win Thursday's $45,000 Prairie Rose Stakes for fillies and mares by 1 1/4 lengths over pacesetter Vilaro. Donita's Ruler finished third. Thoughtless, a 5-year-old Florida-bred mare by Rockport Harbor, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.43 with Ramon Vazquez up.
Ruby Sioux, Strive and Cleverness battled head-to-head through most of Friday's $45,000 Jack Bishop Stakes for fillies and mares, then finished in that order, separated by a neck and 3/4 length. The favorite, Lunar Gaze, was in the mix early but faded in the stretch to finish fourth. Ruby Sioux, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Wilburn filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:46.28 with Vazquez aboard.
Risque's Legacy pressed the pace in Sunday's $50,000 Kent Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, got to the front in the stretch and won by 1 length over Retreat Yourself. Blazinbeauty finished third. Risque's Legacy, a daughter of Atta Boy Roy, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:16.80 with Rocco Bowen in the irons.
Annie's Candy led from gate to wire in Saturday's $50,000 (Canadian) Journal Handicap and went on to score by 1 3/4 lengths. Hold the Giant was second, 1 1/4 lengths better than Clear the Runway. Annie's Candy, a 4-year-old Twirling Candy gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.25 for jockey Rico Walcott.
Trooper John outfinished Bar No Q by 1/2 length and pacesetter Rock Victor by another nose to take Saturday's $50,000 (Canadian) Western Canada Handicap for 3-year-olds. Trooper John, a Colonel John gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.10 with Keishan Balgobin up.
Ruffenuff opened a big lead in Friday's $50,000 (Canadian) Chariot Chaser Handicap for 3-year-old fillies and hung on to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Saveitforarainyday. Misty Do It was third. Ruffenuff, a daughter of Dialed In, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.48 for jockey Quincy Welch.
Quality Lane engaged the front-running favorite, Classyshadesofgrey, at the top of the stretch in Friday's $50,000 (Canadian) Wild Rose Handicap for fillies and mares and prevailed by a head with Port Protection another 1/2 length back in third. Quality Lane, a 5-year-old Quality Road mare, got 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.70 with Dane Nelson up.