Gun Runner easily won the Woodward at Saratoga, setting up a likely confrontation with Arrogate in the Breeders' Cup Classic, while in Australia, Winx tied Zenyatta's record of 19 straight wins with a last-gasp victory at Randwick.
And those were just the highlights of a super weekend of racing, lengthened by the U.S. Labor Day holiday.
In Germany, Guignol and Ashiana earned Breeders' Cup berths with victories at Baden Baden. And they're back at the races in Hong Kong after what seemed a very short off-season.
No off-season for us, so let's keep going ...
Gun Runner was as impressive as any horse on the planet in winning Saturday's $750,000 Grade I Woodward at Saratoga. After letting Neolithic show the way early, the 4-year-old Candy Ride colt easily seized the lead a furlong from the finish and spurted away to win by 10 1/4 lengths. Rally Cry edged stablemate Neolithic for second, followed by War Story and Discreet Lover. Gun Runner ran 9 furlongs in 1:47.43 without much urging from jockey Florent Geroux.
Gun Runner now has won three straight Grade I races, all impressively, since finishing second to Arrogate in the Dubai World Cup March 25 at Meydan. Coupled with Arrogate's two straight losses, he easily could be the favorite for the Breeders' Cup Classic at Del Mar Nov. 4.
"I think everything culminates with the Breeders' Cup Classic," said winning trainer Steve Asmussen, refusing to be pulled in to a debate about whether Gun Runner should be rated above Arrogate. "That is why he is in training this year and that has been the goal and continues to be the goal."
Asmussen said he wants to get Gun Runner out of Saratoga "before we grow a winter coat" but doesn't want to send him directly in to California's heat wave. "Two or three weeks at Churchill (Downs) is becoming a strong possibility," he said.
If Gun Runner's 10 1/4 lengths was impressive, how about the 12 1/4-lengths beating Madefromlucky put on his rivals in Monday's $200,000 Grade III Greenwood Cup at Parx Racing? The 5-year-old son of Lookin at Lucky tracked pacesetting favorite Scuba, took the lead at the quarter pole and was all alone the rest of the way. Testosterone edged Let Me Go First for second while Scuba faded to finish next-last. With Javier Castellano up, Madefromlucky ran 1 1/2 miles on a fast track in 2:32.72.
Lest we get too excited, the 1 1/2 miles makes it a significantly different race than the 1 1/4 miles of the Woodward -- or the Breeders' Cup Classic, for the matter of that. And Testosterone is not to be confused with Rally Cry or Neolithic. And the Greenwood Cup was Madefromlucky's first win since the 2015 West Virginia Derby -- a drought of nearly 25 months.
In another smart stretch performance, Pavel showed his heels to five rivals in the stretch run of Monday's $300,000 Grade III Smarty Jones for 3-year-olds at Parx. Talk Logistics was up for second, Colonelsdarktemper finished third and the favorite, Battalion Runner, faded to get home fifth. Pavel, a Creative Cause colt, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.27 with Mario Gutierrez up for trainer Doug O'Neill. The performance was a big improvement on his fourth-place finish in the Grade II Jim Dandy at Saratoga. On the other hand, he was facing the likes of Good Samaritan and Always Dreaming at the Spa.
Moving right along ...
Voodoo Song wired the field in Saturday's $300,000 Grade III Sarnac Stakes for 3-year-olds at Saratoga, leading by daylight most of the way and hanging on gamely to win by a neck over Yoshida. The favorite, Bricks and Mortar, was a solid third after a rough start. Voodoo Song, an English Channel colt, ran 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:46.18 for jockey Jose Lezcano, scoring his fourth straight win while moving out of state-bred company. "Jose put him to sleep in the turn and they were making a fast move toward him," said winning trainer Linda Rice. "I thought, 'Oh geez, I hope he isn't empty,' and then he spurted off. What a thrill."
Sharp Samurai rallied from well back in Sunday's $250,000 Grade II Del Mar Derby, came five-wide into the lane and put his nine rivals to the sword, winning by 1/2 length over Big Score and the same margin from Bowies Hero in third. Sharp Samurai, a First Samurai gelding, ran 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:48.03. He has won three in a row and four of his last five. "Lot of progress with this horse," said winning rider Gary Stevens, who has been showing up to ride him in the morning for trainer Mark Glatt. "His confidence level has gone sky high and he's really liking what he's doing."
Filly & Mare Turf
Cambodia waited behind rivals into the stretch in Saturday's $200,000 Grade II John C. Mabee Stakes at Del Mar, advanced three-wide to take the lead and won by 3/4 length over Goodyearforroses. Madame Stripes was third. Cambodia, a 5-year-old War Front mare, got 9 furlongs of firm turf in 1:47.79 with Drayden Van Dyke in the irons. The Tom Proctor trainee also won the Grade II Yellow Ribbon early in the Del Mar meet. She has missed the frame only twice in 13 career starts. "We thought she might be close to the lead, but she was just going so easy I was happy with where I was," Van Dyke said. "When it came time, she fired. I was just a passenger today."
Harmonize hooked up with pacesetting Grateful in the stretch drive of Saturday's $200,000 Grade III Glens Falls Stakes at Saratoga, dueled to the wire and prevailed by a neck. It was 1 1/2 lengths farther back to War Cry in third. Harmonize, a 4-year-old Scat Daddy filly, ran 1 3/8 miles on firm turf in 2:15.59 with John Velazquez in the irons. Harmonize had not won since taking the Grade I Del Mar Oaks last August but had been competing at the highest level in six intervening races. "I wasn't liking our position," said winning trainer Bill Mott. "You hate to be three turns and be three-wide. Everybody in the race probably ran less ground than she did. I'm glad she wasn't three-and-a-half wide or she wouldn't have won by that nose."
The $150,000 One Dreamer Stakes scheduled for Saturday at Kentucky Downs will be run instead on Wednesday as the remnants of Hurricane Sandy pounded the Kentucky-Tennessee border area with drenching rains.
Heart to Heart led virtually gate to wire in Monday's $250,000 Grade II Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga, winning by 1 1/4 lengths over Forge. Delta Prince was third. Heart to Heart, a 6-year-old son of English Channel, ran 1 1/16 miles over yielding turf in 1:42.45 with Irad Ortiz Jr. up. He has been a consistent performer throughout his career, finishing in the money in 20 of 30 starts, most often at or around 1 mile. His last victory came at that distance in the Grade III Canadian Turf at Gulfstream Park in March. "We will go the Shadwell Mile," said winning trainer Brian Lynch. "That's a 'Win and You're In' (for the Breeders' Cup Mile) and if he runs well then I think this horse will be very effective at Del Mar with those tight turns. I have always said that I think one of his biggest assets is how he runs the turns."
The $400,000 Tourist Mile carded for Saturday at Kentucky Downs instead will run on Wednesday as a result of the weather and track conditions. The entire card will be moved and not re-drawn.
Pure Sensation and Mongolian Saturday dueled down the stretch in Monday's $300,000 Grade III Turf Monster Stakes at Parx Racing with Pure Sensation prevailing over the 2015 Breeders' Cup winner by 1/2 length. Snowday, Rainbow Heir and pacesetter Bold Thunder all were within 1/2 length of Mongolian Saturday under the wire. Pure Sensation, a 6-year-old Zensational gelding, ran 5 furlongs on good turf in 57.13 seconds with Kendrick Carmouche riding. Pure Sensation, third in last year's Breeders' Cup, won the Grade III Parx Dash in July but was sixth in the Troy Handicap at Saratoga last month.
We Deer You was off last in Friday's $100,000 Lucky Coin Stakes at Saratoga, moved up on the inside rounding the turn and got through to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Loose On the Town. Big Rock was another 1/2 length back in third. We Deer You, a 4-year-old Hat Trick gelding, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:01.86 with Irad Ortiz Jr. up. We Deer You now has three wins and a second from his last four starts. The second came in the Grade III Vigil Stakes at Woodbine. "To win this, he put it all together," said trainer Michael Trombetta. We supplemented into this race. It was a last-minute thought, to be honest."
Gamble's Ghost was last of six midway through Saturday's $100,000 (Canadian) Belle Mahoney Stakes at Woodbine but never gave up the ghost and was along to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Silver Sidney. The favorite, Ice Festival, settled for third. Gamble's Ghost, a 4-year-old Ghostzapper filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:44.83 with Luis Contreras up.
Imperial Hint, a heavy favorite, took the lead midway around the turn in Monday's $100,000 Donald Levine Memorial at Parx Racing and shook clear, winning by 6 3/4 lengths. Life In Shambles was second, 3/4 length to the good of Fast Friar. Lewys Vaporizer set the early pace and finished fourth and last. Imperial Hint, a 4-year-old Imperialism colt, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:07.55 -- just 0.04 second off the track record. It was his fifth straight win -- a string that includes a pair of Grade III victories.
Yorkton sprinted to the start in Monday's $100,000 (Canadian) King Corrie Stakes for 3-year-olds at Woodbine and extended the advantage late, winning by 4 1/2 lengths over Bet On Mike. Bugle Barry was third. Yorkton, a Speightstown colt, finished 6 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:15.24 with Jesse Campbell up.
Filly & Mare Sprint
Vertical Oak pressed the pace made by Student Body in Sunday's $250,000 Grade II Prioress for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga, took over in the stretch and kicked away to win by 5 1/4 lengths. Nonna Mela was along for second, followed by the favorite, Dawn the Destroyer. Vertical Oak, a Giant Oak filly, ran 6 furlongs on a sloppy, sealed track in 1:10.00 with John Velazquez up. It was her first win since back-to-back victories in the spring at Prairie Meadows and Pimlico. She was fifth in the Grade I Test Stakes in her previous outing. "This race suited us better than the Test, and we took a bit of a shot in the Test," said winning trainer Steve Asmussen.
Miss Sunset came from just behind the pace to win Monday's $75,000 C.E.R.F Stakes for fillies and mares at Del Mar by 1 3/4 lengths over Bad Ju Ju with Classy Tune third. Miss Sunset, a 3-year-old Into Mischief filly, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.82 with Mike Smith up for trainer Jeff Bonde.
Moonshine Memories was quickly in front in Saturday's $300,000 Grade I Del Mar Debutante, opened a 2-length advantage and held on to win by 1/2 length over Piedi Bianchi. Spectator had a good view of the winner, finishing third, 5 1/4 lengths farther back, and the favorite, Just a Smidge, got home fifth. Moonshine Memories, a Malibu Moon filly, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:23.61. She won at first asking earlier in the Del Mar meeting. "She was cruising out there today," said winning rider Flavien Prat. "Just cruising. She's a nice filly and I think she'll definitely run on."
Lady Ivanka took advantage of an early speed duel in front of her to come around rivals and win Saturday's $350,000 Grade I Spinaway at Saratora by 3/4 length. Maya Malibu was second while the front-runners, Pure Silver and odds-on favorite Separationofpowers, faded to finish third and fourth. Obvious Two was fifth and last. Lady Ivanka, an Oklahoma-bred Tiz Wonderful filly, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:24.97 with Irad Ortiz Jr. up. She scored her second win from as many starts, both at Saratoga. The Spinaway is a "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Asked about that, trainer Rudy Rodriguez said, "I don't know, I have to talk to the owners and then make a plan and see what we have to do. But it's very good to be in this position."
Starship Bonita fought her way to the lead in the final sixteenth of Saturday's $200,000 Susan's Girl Division of the Florida Sire Stakes at Gulfstream Park, then had to withstand a final challenge from Dessert Honeys, winning by a head. Pacesetting Go Astray was third. Starship Bonita, a Gone Astray filly, got 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:25.43 with Carlos Montalvo up. She was fourth in the earlier division of the FSS.
Pacific Gale rallied by pacesetting Little Dipper in the stretch run of Saturday's $50,000 Sorority at Monmouth Park and went on to win by 3 1/4 lengths over that rival. The favorite, was third, another 6 1/4 lengths back. Pacific Gale, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Flat Out, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.54 with Christopher DeCarlo at the controls. She was coming off a sixth-place finish in the Grade III Schuylerville at Saratoga.
Shes Our Fastest was indeed the fastest of eight in Saturday's $50,000 Evangeline Downs Princess, rallying from well back to win by 3 1/2 lenghts. Andthebandplayedon finished second, 1 1/2 lengths to the good of Girls Life. Shes Our Fastest, a Texas-bred Oratory filly, got 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:12.03 with Shane Laviolette riding.
Juvenile Fillies Turf
Terra's Angel stayed close to the pace in Monday's $100,000 Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf, then outfinished One Fast Broad, winning by 1/2 length. Multiplayer came running late to take third, completing a 50-cent trifecta worth $4,699. Terra's Angel, a Drosselmeyer filly, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:37.57 with Sasha Risenhoover in the irons for trainer Dallas Keen, scoring her first-ever win at Del Mar. Terra's Angel started her career with a win at Lone Star Park, then finished third in the Grade II Sorrento. "This is so special," Risenhoover said. "Words can't begin to tell."
The $350,000 Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies scheduled to run Saturday at Kentucky Downs was put over to Wednesday because of drenching rains.
Sporting Chance seemed to have Monday's $350,000 Grade I Hopeful well in hand Monday at Saratoga but then suddenly took a dramatic right turn just yards before the wire and barely held on to win by a neck over Free Drop Billy. Givemeamint was third. Robby Albarado, rider of Free Drop Billy, lodged an objection as Sporting Chance crossed in front of his mount but the claim was not allowed. Sporting Chance, a Tiznow colt trained by D. Wayne Lukas, ran 7 furlongs on a good track in 1:23.71 with Luis Saez up. After finishing second in his career debut at Churchill Downs, the colt now has racked up two straight wins.
Saez explained the antics near the wire: "I was going to win the race anyways so I wanted to teach him a little bit to the left because I had never hit him with the left. So when I hit him a little he got scared and came out ... But Jesus, when he came out like that I almost fell."
Lukas said he's mulling the options for Sporting Chance. "I might try to go straight to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile but I'm not real fond of Del Mar," he said. "I know that sounds crazy but I'm going to weigh all our chances. Another logical spot would be the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland and go two-turns, another Grade 1. There's all kinds of options now."
At Del Mar, Bolt d'Oro and Zatter hooked up in a stretch battle in Monday's $300,000 Grade I Del Mar Futurity with Bolt d'Oro inching ahead through the final sixteenth to win by 3/4 length. Run Away contested the lead and held on for third, a nose in front of late-running long shot Dia de Pago. Bolt d'Oro, a Medaglia d'Oro colt out of the A.P. Indy mare Globe Trot, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:22.91. Corey Nakatani had the mount for trainer Mick Ruis. Bolt d'Oro now is 2-for-2.
"I had this horse maybe 70 percent cranked," Ruis said of Bolt d'Oro. "I'll have him a little bit tighter for the Front Runner, so we're real excited about that. Then we'll see about the big race here (Breeders' Cup Juvenile). What does the sign say up front -- Fifty Nine Days away?"
Soutache worked by pacesetting World of Trouble in the late going to take Saturday's $200,000 Affirmed Division of the Florida Sire Stakes at Gulfstream Park by 1/2 length over that foe. Phantom Ro, the favorite, was 6 1/4 lengths farther adrift while picking up show money. Soutache, a Backtalk colt, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:22.46 with Eric Cancel in the irons. He finished second in the first of the series races, won by Phantom Ro.
Like What I See led from the start to post an upset victory in Saturday's $100,000 (Canadian) Colin Stakes at Woodbine. The New Jersey-bred Bold Warrior gelding carried a daylight lead into the stretch and held on gamely to win by 1/2 length over Piven. The odds-on favorite, previously undefeated Be Vewy Vewy Quiet, rallied from last of four to finish third, just a head behind Piven. It was 7 more lengths to Tenacity Zip in fourth and last. Like What I See ran 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:11.04 with Emma-Jayne Wilson aboard. He was coming off his maiden win Aug. 20.
Bal Harbour got first run to the lead in the stretch run of Saturday's $50,000 Sapling at Monmouth Park and held off the odds-on favorite, Kowboy Karma, for a 1 1/4-lengths victory. Awaken was only a neck farther back in third. Bal Harbour, a First Samurai colt, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:38.48 with Christopher DeCarlo in the irons. The Todd Pletcher trainee finished fifth in the Grade III Sanford at Saratoga and followed that with a third-place showing in the Grade II Saratoga Special before the Sapling win.
Ready Prospector was away well in Saturday's $50,000 Evangeline Downs Prince, took the lead and extended his advantage to win by 2 1/2 lengths over Land Battle. Hardworkcleanlivin was third. Ready Prospector, a Custom for Carlos gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.41 with Gerard Melancon up.
Encumbered tracked the pace in Sunday's $100,000 Del Mar Juvenile Turf, came wide into the stretch and rolled on to win by 1/2 length from the favorite, My Boy Jack. Kazan closed strongly to take third. Encumbered, a Violence colt out of the Street Cry mare Dying to Dance, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:35.90 with Mario Gutierrez in the irons. "He broke well and Mario did a super good job of getting him over," said winning trainer Simon Callaghan. "Sometimes you can get hung out wide in these sort of big field turf races. But Mario got him over, got him relaxed and the race worked out for us."
The $350,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile has been rescheduled from Saturday to Wednesday because of the weather conditions in southeastern Kentucky.
On the international front:
As the field turned for home in Saturday's Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes at Randwick, Winx still had plenty to do. The same was true with 300 meters to go and with 200 meters left. As pacesetting Red Excitement hit the 100-meter marker, Winx still was some 2 lengths adrift. But she was not to be defeated and, with a final burst of effort, got by to win by 1 length, going away, for her 19th straight win. The frantic stretch run was a repeat of her last race, when she missed the start. But jockey Hugh Bowman said Saturday's contest was more worrisome. "Really good horses would have certainly been beaten today," he said. "But she is something else. I don't know how she did it."
Trainer Chris Waller said Winx will point for the George Main Stakes as her next step on a road he hopes will lead to her third straight win in the Group 1 Cox Plate. Last year, she posted wins in the George Main and Group 1 Caulfield Stakes before her Cox Plate repeat.
Note: Winx and Zenyatta are both by Street Cry.
Also Saturday, Vega Magic landed the season's first Group 1 race at Caulfield, the New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes, by 1 3/4 lengths over Black Heart Bart. Tosen Stardom was another 1/4 length back in third. Vega Magic, a 5-year-old Lope De Vega gelding, scored his fourth straight win, dating back to last December.
Weekend races at Baden Baden in the Black Forest spa city offered guaranteed Breeders' Cup Spots via the Challenge program and Guignol and Ashiana took advantage of the opportunity. It remains to be seen, of course, whether either will venture to Del Mar in two month's time but both do have international experience.
In the big race, Guignol for the second time this year got the better of Iquitos in the Group 1 Grosser Preis Von Baden, earning a spot in the Nov. 4 Longines Breeders' Cup Turf. The 5-year-old son of Cape Cross, owned and bred by Stall Ullmann, produced a steady run from gate to finish, holding off Iquitos easily by 2 1/2 lengths. Guignol also defeated Iquitos in the Group 2 Grosser Preis der Badischen Wirtshaft (G2) at the spa track in May. Guignol has races in Italy and France but with less satisfactory results. Iquitos ran well, finishing seventh, in last year's Group 1 Japan Cup after winning the Grosser Preis Von Baden.
A day earlier at Baden Baden, jockey Andrasch Starke got Ashiana into top gear with 2 furlongs left in the T Von Zastrow Stutenpreis (G2) for fillies and mares and the 3-year-old Mastercraftsman filly rallied by rivals to win by 1/2 length over Diana Storm. The win earned Ashiana a fees-paid spot in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf and a travel allowance. But once jockey Andrasch Starke got the 3-year-old Mastercraftsman filly into gear, she swept by rivals and went on to win by 1/2 length over Diana Storm. Her owner sounded an optimistic note.
"We were hoping for a place but she won," said owner Eckhard Sauren, an investment advisor and president of the Racing Club at Cologne. "We'll see what we do next but a start in the Breeders' Cup is a possibility." Ashiana has won three of her last four starts but finished fifth in the 159th Henkel-Preis der Diana (G1) or German Oaks along the way.
They're off and running in Hong Kong and the season's opening session Sunday at Sha Tin produced another tour de force by jockey Joao Moreira and a potential preview of both the upcoming Group 1 Sprinters Stakes in Japan and December's Longines Hong Kong International Races.
Seasons Bloom was last turning for home in the day's feature, a Class 1 handicap. But Moreira quickly had him in full stride, hit the front 50 meters from the line and won easing up. "That tells you why I've been thinking about him for the internationals," Moreira said. Trainer Danny Shum said he will point Seasons Bloom to the Group 3 Celebration Cup on Oct. 1 with an eye on the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Mile Dec. 10. "He's a miler and that's where we're aiming, the international Mile in December," Shum said.
Blizzard was second behind Seasons Bloom in his warm up for the Sprinters Stakes Oct. 1 at Nakayama Racecourse.
Moreira won the first five races on Sunday's card but was blanked on the final five.
Secret Number returned from a long layoff following last year's trip to Australia that found him second in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup to win Sunday's Group 2 Bosphorus Cup in the Longines International Festival of Racing at Veliefendi. With Gerald Mosse up, Secret Number came around rivals into the stretch and won by 2-lengths over the Andrew Balding-trained Elbereth. The four Turkish-bred rivals trailed with Victory Is Ours only 1/2 length back of Elbereth in third. Secret Number, a 7-year-old Raven's Pass gelding, has racked up some frequent flyer miles for Godolphin and trainer Saeed bin Suroor with two trips to Australia and a stint in Dubai to his credit. Bin Suroor did not reveal any plans for the veteran.
Around the ovals:
Saturday's card included five $100,000 stakes for Pennsylvania-breds as rain fell and the track went from fast to wet-fast to good to sloppy during the program.
The Man had to battle for the lead in the 6-furlongs Banjo Picker Stakes but, once he edged clear of Favorite Tale, the 5-year-old Ecclesiastic gelding went on to win by 1/2 length over that rival. Grand Prix led most of the way to take the Dr. Teresa Garafalo Memorial for fillies and mares, also at 6 furlongs, by 1 1/2 lengths over Mama Jones.
By the time the field took the track for the Roanoke Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, the strip was wet-fast. But that didn't prevent the odds-on favorite, Page McKenney, from rallying to win by a neck over Spring Quality with Grasshoppin third.
The Marshall Jenny Stakes came off the turf and Winning the Medal came from off the pace to win the race by 2 1/2 lengths over Late Breaking News. And the track officially was sloppy by the time Great Soul rallied from a stalking position to win the off-the-turf Mrs. Penny Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.
Puca bided her time in Saturday's $75,000 Steve Pini Memorial, took the lead at mid-stretch and went on to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Queen Caroline. Princess Gibraltar was third. Puca, a 5-year-old mare by Big Brown, ran about 1 mile and 70 yards on firm turf in 1:43.63 with Abel Lezcano in the irons for trainer Bill Mott.
Saint Alfred came three-wide into the lane in Sunday's $50,000 John Kirby Stakes for Massachusetts-bred 3-year-olds, gained the edge late and won by 2 lengths over Charlie Riffic. The early leader, Frosty Nurse, weakened to finish third. Saint Alfred, a Dublin gelding, negotiated 1 mile and 70 yards over the wet-fast track in 1:46.85 under Tammi Piermarini.
Jeb prompted the pace early in Sunday's $50,000 MA Stallion Stakes, took over when asked and rolled on to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Spectacularsociano. Brokers Prize was third. Jeb, a 5-year-old mare by Zong, ran 6 furlongs on a wet-fast track in 1:12.93 with Luis Perez in the irons.
Killin Me Smalls faced only two rivals in Saturday's $75,000 (Canadian) Speed to Spare Stakes so jockey Keishan Balgobin took the 7-year-old gelding right out to the lead. And then he was 9 lengths in front. And then ... he just did hold on to win by a neck over Royal Warrior with Ready Intaglio somewhere way up the stretch to complete the order of finish. Killin Me Smalls ran 1 3/8 miles on a fast track in 2:21.45.
Shimshine stalked the pace in Saturday's $60,000 Birdcatcher Stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings, then eased by the speed and went on to win by 2 1/2 lengths. The favorite, Regal Max, was second. Shimshine, an Alberta-bred Wilko gelding, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:20.78 with Rico Walcott in the irons.
Wheredoesthecashgo put some cash in his backers' pockets after Monday's $135,000 Rio Grande Senor Thoroughbred Futurity for qualified state-breds. The Southwestern Heat gelding got home first by 2 1/4 lengths over the favorite, On the Low Down, with Hermano third. Wheredoesthecashgo ran 5 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:04.99 with Miguel Fuentes Jr. in the irons.
Fast Gator set a pressured pace in Saturday's $135,000 Rio Grande Senorita Thoroughbred Futurity for New Mexico-bred 2-year-old fillies, edged clear and held well, winning by 1 length from Orogrande. The favorite, Gone Shoppin, was up for third. Fast Gator, a Diabolical filly, got 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:05.85 with Ry Eikleberry up.
For the fans of "don't blink or you'll miss it" racing, Fly Baby Fly drew off from a battle with the favorite, Bigg Daddy, to land Sunday's $3 million All-American Quarter Horse Futurity by 1 1/2 lengths. Hotstepper was third. Until the Arlington Million came along, this was the only seven-figure purse in American racing.
My Mirage dueled to the lead in Sunday's $75,000 Casino at the Downs Derby for New Mexico-breds, fought off a challenge by the favorite, Go For a Stroll, and went on to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Go For a Stroll held second, 3 lengths ahead of Expect a Storm. My Mirage, a Diabolical colt out of the Forestry mare Iron Butterfly, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:15.01 with Jorge Bourdieu up.
Presque Isle Downs
Oldzfourfortytwo came three wide into the stretch in Sunday's $100,000 Mark McDermott Stakes for 2-year-old Pennsylvania-breds, took off when jockey Pablo Morales put the pedal to the metal and won by 3/4 length over Afterburner. The favorite, Kitchen Fire, ran well late to get show money. Oldzforfortytwo, an Offlee Wild colt out of the Omega Code mare Salander, ran 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:10.49.
Fireman Oscar drove by pacesetting Sooner Heat at the quarter pole in Monday's $60,000 MTA Auction Stakes for eligible 3-year-olds and went on to win by 3 3/4 lengths over that rival. Formidable Force finished third. Fireman Oscar, a Law Enforcement gelding, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a wet-fast track in 1:20.13 with Jareth Loveberry in the irons.
It's football season in Ohio and the favorite is the favorite for a reason. So, the odds-on entry of Proper Discretion and Katalust finished 1-2, just a neck apart, in Monday's $75,000 Scarlet and Gray Handicap for state-bred fillies and mares. It was another 4 1/2 lengths back to Orientate to Love in third. Proper Discretion ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.46 with Luis Colon up.