Beach Patrol, Dacita, World Approval and Oscar Performance all produced star turns on the turf in weekend Thoroughbred racing.
There also was significant action in sprint races and some of the top 2-year-olds were on display at Saratoga and Del Mar.
The Arlington Million, Beverly D. and France's top weekend race all offered "Win and You're In" credentials for separate turf events at this fall's Breeders' Cup World Championships at Del Mar.
No need to win anything to be "in" on this recap:
Beach Patrol, winless since last year's Secretariat Stakes victory, set things right with a pace-stalking, 1/2-length victory over extreme longshot Euro invader Fanciful Angel in Saturday's 35th running of the Grade I Arlington Million.
With Joel Rosario in the irons, the Lemon Drop Kid colt tracked right behind pacesetting Oak Brook, saw the favorite, Deauville, take a narrow lead at the top of the stretch, then edged to the front and away. Fanciful Angel, under Daniel Muscutt, finished a neck better than Deauville with Enterprising only a head farther back.
Beach Patrol ran 1 1/4 miles on firm turf in 2:02.39 after an unhurried early pace.
Although he went winless for a year, the Chad Brown trainee has not been disgraced in the interim, finishing second in four Grade I races and a close third in another. "This was the spot and the race we've been waiting for for a year," said part-owner Sol Kumin. "He loves it here, Joel gave us a great ride. Obviously Chad and his team had the horse ready and we're super happy."
Beach Patrol earned a spot in the starting gate for the Breeders' Cup Classic this fall at Del Mar through the "Win and You're In" program.
Kumin said Brown has "always talked about this as the best trophy in horse racing. It's always been on the bucket list and I'm super-fortunate to be here with my kids and dad. It doesn't get much better than this."
Muscutt was full of praise for Fanciful Angel, who was stepping up significantly in class for the Million. "We had a good spot on the rail and he cruised around," Muscutt said of the Marco Botti trainee. "Got space at the right time, but they were just one better at the end. I'm delighted."
Deauville's rider, Ryan Moore, never one to say much, win or lose, commented his mount "had his chance. Maybe the trip stretched him."
Otherwise in the Turf division:
Oscar Performance cemented his position atop the list of American 3-year-old turf runners with an impressive, off-the-pace victory as the favorite in Saturday's $400,000 Grade I Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park. The Kitten's Joy colt, trained by Brian Lynch, tracked pacesetting long shot Sonic Boom, took over when asked by jockey Jose Ortiz and cruised home first by 2 1/4 lengths. The least-respected of the three foreign starters, Taj Mahal, closed sharply down the stretch to take second, 1 1/2 lengths to the good of Afandem. The third overseas entry, Permian, finished last of six and fell after the wire, dumping jockey William Buick. Permian's injury was fatal. Buick was examined at a local hospital but his injuries did not appear to be serious.
Oscar Performance, winner of the 2016 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, won the Grade III Pennine Ridge at Belmont Park and the Grade I Belmont Derby in preparation for the Secretariat. "You're never confident until the finish line," said winning owner John Amerman. "But they were very good horses and so we're delighted Jose could ride so well and beat them. I said good luck because he knows the horse and has ridden him ever since his first race."
Postulation stuck close to the pace in Saturday's $250,000 Grade III American St. Leger at 1 11/16 miles over the Arlington Park turf, moved to the lead a half mile out and kept rolling down the lane to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Taghleeb was second-best with the favorite, Keystoneforvictory, third. Postulation, a 5-year-old Harlan's Holiday gelding, finished in 2:49.45. "I wanted to relax him," said winning rider Jorge Vargas Jr. "That was the plan, since it was such a long race, but he wanted to be on the pace. When I asked him, he just took off." Formerly raced in Ireland, he scored his second straight American win after a long dry spell.
Filly & Mare Turf
One race before the Arlington Million, Dacita rallied from well off the pace in the $600,000 Grade I Beverly D. for fillies and mares and was along in the final strides to win by 1/2 length. The favorite, Dona Bruja, dead-heated with Grand Jete for second and third in a race that appeared wide open both on paper and at the mutuels. Dacita, a 6-year-old, Chilean-bred mare by Scat Daddy, entered the fray off a sixth-place finish in the Grade II New York at Belmont, behind several of her Beverly D. opponents. Before that, she had two wins and two very close seconds, all in graded stakes. Dona Bruja was an impressive winner in the local prep, the Grade III Modesty Handicap, and Grand Jete was stepping up after three straight wins against easier rivals.
The foreign contingent did not figure in the outcome in the Beverly D. German raider Sarandia reported sixth and Rain Goddess, second in the Group 1 Irish Oaks in her last start, was never a factor and finished eighth.
"We were waiting for her to be right and praying for some firm ground and we got it today and got super lucky," said owner Sol Kumin, who also combined with trainer Chad Brown to win the Arlington Million one race later. "This filly is something special. The way she finished, we knew she had it in her. Thanks to Mr. Brown. We'll have to regroup and talk to Chad with the Breeders' Cup being the goal."
Dacita earned a guaranteed spot in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf through the "Win and You're In" program.
World Approval took over the lead in the stretch run in Saturday's $500,000 Grade I Fourstardave at Saratoga and edged away to win by 2 1/2 lengths over the favorite, Time Test. Ballagh Rocks was third. World Approval, a 5-year-old Northern Afleet gelding, finished the 1 mile over yielding turf in 1:37.65 with Manny Franco up. The Mark Casse trainee had been running longer and finished seventh in last year's Arlington Million. Casse said he has learned World Approval runs best with a target. "That was one of the reasons we cut him back to a mile, because we thought if we could win the Breeders' Cup Mile or have a shot anywhere, it would be a mile," he said. "When you run him farther, he doesn't get a target. Shorter, there's more speed, and he got a target and it looked like he loved it."
Blind Ambition chased down the front-runners by the sixteenth pole in Wednesday's $100,000 Quick Call Stakes for 3-year-olds at Saratoga and battled to the wire, winning by 1/2 length from pacesetter Expedited Vision. The Money Monster was another 6 lengths back in third. Blind Ambition, a Gainesway Thoroughbreds homebred Tapit colt, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on firm going in 1:01.51 with Javier Castellano in the irons. "The way he finished and galloped out, he looked real strong," said winning trainer Todd Pletcher. "Javier came back and told me the same thing. I think he can go further. He's won at seven and a half (furlongs) so it looks like we have some options going forward."
Gold Rush Dancer dominated Sunday's $200,000 Grade III Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs, opening up a daylight lead after 6 furlongs, then drawing off to win by 4 3/4 lengths. The favorite, Mach One Rules, beat the others with Dedicated to You third at a big price. Gold Rush Dancer, a 4-year-old Private Gold colt, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:33.85 with Evin Roman in the irons. Based in Southern California with trainer Vann Belvoir, Gold Rush Dancer won a couple minor stakes last year at Del Mar and Santa Anita but was winless in two previous starts this season.
Melmich, the odds-on favorite, came from last of seven to take Sunday's $125,000 (Canadian) Seagram Cup at Woodbine by a nose over Are You Kidding Me. Gigantic Breeze was only 1/2 length farther back in third. Melmich, a 6-year-old Wilko gelding, finished 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:43.43 with Eurico Da Silva riding.
Teresa Z started last of nine in Saturday's $100,000 Grade III Monmouth Oaks, advanced steadily under jockey Nik Juarez and was up late with a wide move to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Sine Wave was second, pacesetter Overture was third and the favorite, My Miss Tapit, finished a dull fifth. Teresa Z, a Smart Strike filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:43.43. She has seven straight in-the-money finishes since her first win at Tampa Bay Downs last December.
Tiger Moth had only one rival beaten early in Sunday's $100,000 Grade III Groupie Doll Stakes at Ellis Park. But when jockey Corey Laniere got the 5-year-old Street Sense mare in gear, she passed 'em all going seven-wide and was along late to win by 3/4 length. Walkabout, last at the start, also found good late foot and finished second, 2 lengths ahead of Danzatrice. Tiger Moth, trained by Brad Cox, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:36.30.
Stallwalkin Dude was along just in time to nip Loose On the Town by a head in Friday's $100,000 Tale of the Cat Stakes at Saratoga. Weekend Hideaway was 3 1/4 lengths farther back in third. Stallwalkin Dude, a 7-year-old City Place gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.75 with Joe Bravo in the irons. It was his third straight win in the race. He's a special horse and he makes it exciting and he seems to get there every time," said winning trainer David Jacobson. "He's just figuring it out now. He's got a lot more races left."
Filly & Mare Sprint
Skye Diamonds stalked the pace in Sunday's $100,000 Grade III Rancho Bernardo Handicap for fillies and mares at Del Mar, split rivals early in the stretch run and went on to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Constellation. Bendable bobbled at the start, then came from last of five to finish third. Skye Diamonds, a 4-year-old First Dude filly, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:15.95 with Tiago Periera riding for trainer Bill Spawr. In her last nine starts, Skye Diamonds has seven wins and two seconds and she now has back-to-back graded stakes wins. She was claimed for $40,000 a year ago at Del Mar. "She just wants to win. Wants to beat you," Spawr said. "She overcomes things. And these are good fillies she's running against."
Copper Bullet fired things up in the final furlongs of Sunday's $200,000 Grade II Saratoga Special, shooting by the leading duo and off to a 4-lengths victory. Hollywood Star was along for second, 2 lengths ahead of Tempestad. The favorite, Barry Lee, contested the pace and faded to finish next-last of nine. Copper Bullet, with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons for trainer Steve Asmussen, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:16.45. The More Than Ready colt finished second in the Grade III Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs in his previous start. He broke very sharply, (they went) 21 and three down the backside, so I was a little concerned with how fast they were going," Asmussen said. "But I think the racing experience that he's had showed up." Ortiz said he feels Copper Bullet is capable of stretching out beyond the sprint level.
Run Away stalked the pace in Saturday's $200,000 Grade II Best Pal at Saratoga, shot to the lead turning for home and extended his advantage through the stretch run to win by 3 1/2 lengths. Dia de Pago was second at long odds. Fleetwood finished third and the favorite, Serengeti, faded in the final furlong after an awkward start and finished sixth. Run Away, by Run Away and Hide out of the Pulpit mare Cabales, got 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:17.91 with Flavien Prat up for trainer Simon Callaghan. The colt now is 3-for-3 and a logical early favorite for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile should owner Kaleem Shah opt to go that route. "Can he run farther?" Prat asked after the race. "We don't know. We know he can run six and a half furlongs, so we'll enjoy that for a while." Callaghan said the next step for Run Away will be the Grade I Del Mar Futurity at 7 furlongs on Sept. 4.
Pure Silver, the solid favorite, dominated seven rivals in Saturday's $200,000 Grade II Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga, leaving the others well in her wake through the stretch and winning by 9 1/2 lengths. Southampton Way and long shot Wall of Compassion filled out the trifecta slots. Sly Roxy, the second-favorite, ran evenly to finish fifth. Pure Silver, a New York-bred Mission Impazible filly out of the Forest Wildcat mare Jehan, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on the fast main track -- well before a heavy thunderstorm engulfed the Spa -- in 1:17.22 with John Velazquez up. The Todd Pletcher trainee now is 3-for-3. "She won pretty convincingly," said winning trainer Todd Pletcher. "She's pretty fast. She didn't actually get away quite as easily as she normally does, but she made up for it quickly and got to the lead the right way. She kind of ran them off their feet from there." He said he will look at the Grade I Spinaway on Sept. 2.
Al Wukair, tightly sandwiched between two rivals, got up in a final surge to win Sunday's Group 1 Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard - Jacques Le Marois at Deauville by a nose. Inns of Court, also making a late bid, finished second with Thunder Snow only a neck farther back in third. Thunder Snow made all the going before the two rivals came calling in the final yards. Al Wukair, a 3-year-old colt by Dream Ahead, finished in 1:38.51 over soft going. It was his second win of the season and followed a third-place finish behind Churchill and Barney Roy in the Qipco 2000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket and a second to Taareef in the Prix Messidor (G3) at Maisons-Laffitte. By dint of his win Sunday, he earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Mile this fall at Del Mar through the "Challenge" program. The Jacques Le Marois is one of Europe's key mile events with past winners including some of the greats of recent racing history -- Miesque, Goldikova, Excelebration, Moonlight Cloud, Kingman and Ribchester among them. Frankie Dettori, arriving overnight after his engagements at Arlington Park near Chicago, rode the winner.
Sioux Nation took the lead in the late going of Sunday's Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix at the Curragh and held off a belated run by the favorite, Beckford, by 1/2 length for the victory. Actress was along for third in the important early test for 2-year-olds, won last year by Caravaggio. Sioux Nation was a bit slow to start for jockey Ryan Moore but the Scat Daddy colt closed quickly on the far side of the eight-horse field as stablemate U S Navy Flag made the early going under Donnacha O'Brien. As Sioux Nation took over, it beame apparent Beckford had mounted his challenge too late and was left with too much to do at the end. The Bated Breath colt, winner of his two previous starts, was gaining but fell 1/2 length short. Sioux Nation won for the first time in his third start at Cork May 19. He was sixth over yielding turf at the Curragh just eight days later but returned to win the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot over firm going. Trainer Aidan O'Brien, who notched his 16th win and fourth straight in the Phoenix, said Sioux Nation next could tackle the Grade I National Stakes over the same Curragh ground Sept. 10 or try the Grade I Middle Park at Newmarket Sept. 30.
Dschingis Secret tracked the leaders in Sunday's Group 1 Longines Grosser Preis Von Berlin, hit the front with a furlong to run and held off the favorite, Hawkbill, to win by 1 length. Racing History was third, 3 1/2 lengths farther in arrears, giving Godolphin both minor placings. Dschingis Secret, a 4-year-old Soldier Hollow colt, scored his third win of the season following Group 2 victories at Hamburg and Cologne. He was a Group 3 winner last season in Italy for trainer Markus Klug. With Adrie de Vries in the irons, Dschingis Secret negotiated Sunday's 1 1/2 miles of good turf in 2:32.89.
Around the ovals:
Lover's Key led all the way to a minor upset win in Thursday's $100,000 Statue of Liberty Division of the New York Stallion Stakes for state-bred 3-year-old fillies. Lady Joan was second all the way and came up 2 1/4 lengths short. Hollywood Cat got show money while the favorite, Paz the Bourbon, settled for fourth. Lover's Key, a Frost Giant filly, finished 1 mile over the firm inner turf course in 1:34.97 under Junior Alvarado.
Majestic Heat dueled to the lead in Friday's $150,000 Solana Beach Stakes for California-bred fillies and mares, edged clear and held on gamely to win by a nose over the late-running Moonless Sky. It was 3 1/4 lenghts back to How Unusual in third. Majestic Heat, a 5-year-old Unusual Heat mare, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:42.38 with Flavien Prat up for trainer Richard Mandella.
Fault came rolling down the stretch in Saturday's $100,000 Pucker Up Stakes for 3-year-old fillies and outfinished Journey Home, winning by a neck over that one. Lovely Bernadette was a lovely third. Fault, a Blame filly out of the Horse Chestnut mare Charming N Loveable, ran about 9 furlongs on firm turf in 1:50.08 with Miguel Mena in the irons.
Harmac and jockey Miguel Mena had to wait and wait some more to find running room in Saturday's $100,000 Bruce D. Memorial for 3-year-olds. When the Langfur gelding did see daylight, he ran to it and went on to win by 1 3/4 lengths -- at odds of better than 27-1. Smoke 'N' Gloat led most of the way and held on for second, 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Kitten's Cat. Harmac handled the one-turn mile on the all-weather track in 1:37.10.
Pink Lloyd, the odds-on favorite, rallied to challenge for the lead in the stretch run in Saturday's $125,000 (Canadian) Shepperton Stakes for Ontario-sired horses and edged clear in the final sixteenth, winning by 1 1/4 lengths. San Nicola Thunder was second, 3/4 length to the good of Boreal Spirit. Pink Lloyd, a 5-year-old Old Forester gelding, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:15.03 under Eurico Da Silva.
Divining Rod kicked away in the stretch to win Saturday's $75,000 Polynesian Stakes by 6 1/4 lengths over Vorticity. Rockinn On Bye was third. Divining Rod, a 5-year-old son of Tapit, ran 7 furlongs on a muddy, sealed track in 1:22.07 with Daniel Centeno in the irons.
Shimmering Aspen also dominated in the lane in Saturday's $75,000 Twixt Stakes for fillies and mares, winning by 5 1/2 lengths from Mayla. Sweet On Smokey was third in the 7-furlong event run over a muddy track. Shimmering Aspen, a 3-year-old Malibu Moon filly, finished in 1:22.72 under Steve Hamilton.
Retrospection dueled with Wing and Wheel early in the stretch run in Wednesday's $150,000 Governor's Stakes for Indiana-bred 3-year-olds, put that one away and went on to win by 2 lengths. Wing and Wheel held second, another 2 lengths to the good of Plainfield. Retrospection, a Daaher gelding, ran 1 mile and 70 yards on a fast track in 1:42.66 for jockey Robby Albarado.
Marina's Legacy battled to the lead in Wednedsay's $150,0a00 Indiana First Lady Stakes for state-bred 3-year-old fillies, then kicked away to win by 7 1/4 lengths over the favorite, Midnight Blvd. Whistle Stop finished third. Marina's Legacy, a daughter of Divine Park, finished in 1:41.42 with Deshawn Parker in the irons.
Storm the Beach stormed down the stretch in Saturdays' $50,000 Manzano Stakes for 2-year-olds and snatched the win by a neck over pacesetting One Key. Just Call Me Ken was third. Storm the Beach, a New Mexico-bred gelding by Attila's Storm, finished 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:12.82 with Enrique Gomez up.
Little Doe was on the lead from the go in Sunday's $65,000 Wine Country Debutante for 2-year-old fillies and made her advantage stand up, winning by 1 length over Song From Above. Assemble was third. Little Doe, a Kodiak Kowboy filly, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.18 for jockey Catalino Martinez.
Artie Be Good was good enough to come from last of six to win Sunday's $50,000 Jess Jackson Juvenile, outfinishing Mesa Jones by 1 length. The early pacemaker, Walk On Water, reported third, a further 3 1/4 lengths back. Artie Be Good, an Artie Schiller colt, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.81 with Frank Alvarado riding.
Street Lad was right on the lead in Saturday's $50,000 Joseph T. Grace Handicap and held on at the end, winning by a nose over Camino Del Paraiso. G.G. Ryder was third. Street Lad, a 4-year-old Street Cry gelding, got 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:42.26 with William Antongeorgi III in the irons.
Rivers Run Deep, the prohibitive favorite, ran to his notices in Saturday's $75,000 Honey Jay Stakes for Ohio-breds, coming from off the pace to score by 2 1/4 lengths over pacesetting Alliseeisgold. Hijo de Sheltowee was third, a head farther back. Rivers Run Deep, a 6-year-old son of Ready's Image, got 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.82 with Eduardo Perez up. It was his fourth straight victory in the Honey Jay, justifying the 1-5 favorite's role.
Flatlined found new life late in Sunday's $50,000 Cliff Guilliams Handicap, rallying from next-last of eight to win by 1/2 length over One Mean Man. The early leader, One Go All Go, faded to finish third, a neck in front of the favorite, Pleuven. Flatlined, a 5-year-old Flatter gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:41.67 with Joe Rocco Jr. in the irons. It was his first win since the Grade II Fort Lauderdale at Gulfstream Park in January. The race is named for the late racing writer and chart caller for Daily Racing Form and Equibase, who died in 2008 at age 52.
Seven stakes races for Iowa-breds and a fast track graced Saturday's card.
Theperfectvow led all the way to win the $100,000 Iowa Breeders' Oaks. The Majesticperfection filly ran 1 mile and 70 yards in 1:41.88, defeating My Miss Kallie by 2 1/2 lengths. Wonderful Dancer dominated the Iowa Breeders' Derby, kicking away in the lane to win by 11 1/2 lengths over Han Sense. The Tiz Wonderful gelding ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.08 with Glenn Corbett in the irons.
Msbrooklynbrawler, the odds-on favorite and a daughter of Into Mischief, won the $93,000 Iowa Sorority for 2-year-old fillies by 12 1/4 lengths with Marlon St. Julien in a hand ride at the end. Tin Badge, a bay gelding by The Deputy, led from gate to wire in the $93,000 Iowa Cradle for juvenile colts and geldings, winning by 5 lengths from Lucky Perfection.
The Governor Terry E. Brandstad Stakes went to One Fine Dream, a 4-year-old Woke Up Dreamin gelding who reeled in pacesetting Spring d'Oro in the waning yards. And the Donna Reed Stakes for fillies and mares was won by Mywomanfrom Tokyo, a 4-year-old Neko Bay filly who took a big lead in the stretch and held on to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Foxy Fleda.
Regal Max raced away from five rivals in the final furlong of Saturday's $50,000 (Canadian) Two Year Old Stakes Stakes for Canadian-foaled colts and geldings, winning by 8 lengths. Stipling Warrior, the odds-on favorite, was second, another 7 lengths ahead of Chisum G. Regal Max, a Max Forever gelding, covered 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:20.16 with Shamaree Muir in the irons.
In the companion Two Year Old Filly Stakes, Raider overhauled pacesetting Bitters and went on to win by 3 lengths over that foe. Big River was 4 more lengths back in third. Raider, a Stephanotis filly, was clocked in 1:19.04 with Rico Walcott calling the shots.
Thermistor dueled with Fortified Effort through the middle furlongs of Sunday's $100,000 Gold Rush Futurity for 2-year-olds, then finally inched clear and won by 3/4 length over that rival. Wild West Ranger was third. Thermistor, a New York-bred colt by Frost Giant, ran 6 furlongs on a wet-fast track in 1:11.31 with Danny Sorenson in the irons. He now is 2-for-2 with his previous win coming at Lone Star Park.
True Cinder wasted no time getting to the fore in Sunday's $75,000 Horizon Stakes for Ohio-bred 3-year-olds, then didn't wait around to be challenged, drawing off to a 5 3/4-lengths victory. Grizabella was second with Sugar Lane third. True Cinder, an Alcindor filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:41.32 with Ricardo Feliciano in the irons.
Puntsville quickly opened a big lead in Sunday's $50,000 Hoist Her Flag Stakes for fillies and mares and coasted home a winner by 3 1/4 lengths over Thoughtless. Malibu Princess filled out the trifecta. Puntsville, a 5-year-old Illinois-bred mare byCashel Castle, got 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.87 with Victor Santiago up.
Citizen Kitty was along late to win Sunday's $65,000 Emerald Distaff Handicap by 1 1/2 lengths over Little Dancer. Top Quality was third and the favorite, Plastered, settled for fourth. Citizen Kitty, a 5-year-old Proud Citizen mare, got 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:47.88 with Julien Couton riding.