UPI Horse Racing Roundup: Quip, Bolt d'Oro, Enticed post wins on Kentucky Derby trail

Robert Kieckhefer, UPI Racing Writer
Enticed strides out to victory in Saturday's Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct, furthering his Kentucky Derby credentials. Photo courtesy of Robert Mauhar/NYRA
Enticed strides out to victory in Saturday's Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct, furthering his Kentucky Derby credentials. Photo courtesy of Robert Mauhar/NYRA

Weekend Kentucky Derby preps produced more clouds than clarity as Quip won the Tampa Bay Derby at 19-1 odds, the San Felipe was decided on a disqualification and Enticed had to run down a persistent long shot to win the Gotham.

And that's not even taking into account a mild upset in the big 3-year-old race in Dubai and continued turmoil in the "European Road to the Kentucky Derby."


Meanwhile, Accelerate won the Santa Anita Handicap, Whitmore was victorious in Arkansas and North America, the horse, emerged as a contender for the Dubai World Cup. And, if we may say two words, they would be: Justify. Gidu.

Take notes. There will be a short quiz in the mutuels line next weekend.

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The Road to the Roses

In Florida:

Quip, at 19-1 odds, pressed the pace in Saturday's $400,000 Grade II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, took the lead in the stretch and held on gamely, winning by 1 length over Flameaway. The favorites, World of Trouble and Vino Rosso, finished third and fourth. Quip, a Distorted Humor colt owned by the WinStar Farm-China Horse Club axis with SF Racing LLC, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.72 with Florent Geroux in the irons.

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Quip, trained by former Bill Mott assistant Rodolphe Brisset, won his first two starts last fall in Kentucky but then finished a fading seventh in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs Nov. 25 and had not raced since. "It was just a matter of him being fit enough," Brisset said. "I'm not sure if we had him 100 percent, but he was fit enough to win today and that's the main thing." WinStar's Elliott Walden said the 50 Kentucky Derby points Quip earned with the victory give them flexibility to plan his next race.

Flameaway, a Scat Daddy colt trained by Mark Casse, was coming off a victory in the Grade III Sam F. Davis over the same track.

In New York:

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Enticed took the overland route home in Saturday's $300,000 Grade III Gotham at Aqueduct, rallying five-wide around the turn to chase down front-running long shot Old Time Revival. Passing that one at the sixteenth pole, jockey Junior Alvarado eased on Enticed through the final yards and he won by 2 3/4 lengths. The favorite, Free Drop Billy, was 4 lengths behind Old Time Revival in third and it was another 2 1/2 lengths to Firenze Fire in fourth. Enticed, a Medaglia d'Oro colt racing for Godolphin, finished 1 mile on a fast track in a comfortable 1:38.24.


Enticed ended his 2-year-old campaign with a victory in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs but finished fourth, beaten 14 3/4 lengths in the Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park in his 2018 debut. Free Drop Billy was second in that heat, 5 1/2 lengths behind Audible. After the Gotham, Godolphin's Jimmy Bell said, "That's the Enticed we thought we had last year, ending up on such a high note with the Jockey Club at Churchill last year ... Very professional and we're very pleased."

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said he and Bell will discuss Enticed's next start. "He certainly enjoys New York," Bell said.

Free Drop Billy's trainer, Dale Romans, said he was satisfied his colt did enough to move along, probably to the Grade 1 Blue Grass at Keeneland April 7.

In California:

The racing gods -- you know, the stewards -- giveth and the racing gods taketh away. And so it was for McKinzie in Saturday's $400,000 Grade II San Felipe at Santa Anita. The Street Sense colt, who inherited a win by disqualification in last year's Grade I Los Alamitos Futurity, finished first in the San Felipe, a head in front of Bolt d'Oro. But he then was set down to second for interference in the stretch run. Kanthaka finished third, 6 1/2 lengths farther in arrears. The adjudged victory put Bolt d'Oro, by Medaglia d'Oro, back in the win column. He suffered his first defeat in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, finishing third, and had not raced since after some training issues. For McKinzie, it was his first official defeat.


The jockeys involved in the San Felipe deliberations saw things two different ways. "They say he tried to intimidate my horse and that is why I couldn't get past him," said Javier Castellano, aboard Bolt d'Oro. "I wish it would've just been the two horses running straight in the race. We were the best two horses in the race. I just want to see who the better horse is." McKinzie's rider, Mike Smith, said, "I was just trying to ride my own race and he was on top of me ... I didn't feel that I did anything. I was forced out. He hit me hard behind and it took me out. It turns you out. Well, you win some that way and I guess you lose some that way."

When the dust had cleared, both colts still were well on the road to the Kentucky Derby.

In England and Ireland:

The "European Road to the Derby" was muddled first by postponements due to nasty weather, then by decisions to reroute some of the leading horses in the series to Dubai or directly to the United States. The result could be that two or even as many as four European horses could make it to the Run for the Roses.


Things started off with Gronkowski winning the Kentucky Derby Conditions Stakes on Wednesday at Kempton Park. That earned him 20 points and boosted him into a tie for the lead with Saxon Warrior, who is pursuing the British and Irish Classics and not nominated to the U.S. Triple Crown. Then, Gronkowski's trainer, Jeremy Noseda, announced the Lonhro colt will have his final Kentucky Derby prep somewhere in the United States, not in the final race in the European series.

Next, Aidan O'Brien sent out the first three finishers in Friday's Patton Stakes at Dundalk in Ireland, with Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Mendelssohn returning first and earning 20 points in the series. O'Brien promptly indicated all of his colts are targeted for Dubai and the Group 2 UAE Derby on World Cup night, March 31. That race is part of the main U.S. Road to the Kentucky Derby series and the top two finishers at Meydan almost certainly would have enough points to get into the Louisville starting gate.

Finally, the last race in the European series is the Burradon Stakes at Newcastle March 30, with 30 points to the winner. With Gronkowski and the O'Brien steeds apparently out of that one, a "new shooter" will win and finish as the series champion.


To summarize: Gronkowski can qualify in a U.S. prep. Mendelssohn and/or either of O'Brien's other two could qualify in Dubai. And an as-yet unidentified contender will qualify in the Burradon. And, there's still a slot open for the winner of the "Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby."

In Dubai:

Yulong Warrior, a Street Cry colt trained by Satish Seemar, easily won the final prep for the Group 2 UAE Derby, leading all the way and strolling home first by 11 1/2 lengths on the Super Saturday card. It was only his second win although he showed promise in Ireland as a 2-year-old and his dominance confirmed the dearth of competition among 3-year-old males on the grounds at Meydan. In the UAE Derby, O'Brien's trio may have to contend with a local filly or two as well as Yulong Warrior. And Godolphin's Masar, the well-beaten favorite on Super Saturday, still could return for that.

One to keep in mind: Justify. The Bob Baffert trainee made just his second career start Sunday at Santa Anita, winning by 6 1/2 lengths as the prohibitive favorite despite a muddy track. The Scat Daddy colt, out of the Ghostzapper mare Stage Magic, won at first asking Feb. 18 and Baffert already is touting him as a Derby prospect -- despite the fact no horse has won the Kentucky Derby without racing as a 2-year-old since Apollo in 1882. Baffert counters by citing Bodemeister, who finished second in 2012 without a start as a juvenile. Guess who trained him. Justify, a $500,000 purchase at the September 2016 Keeneland yearling sale, is owned by China Horse Club, WinStar Farm, Head of Plains Partners and Starlight Racing.


The "big three" U.S. Derby preps all offered qualifying points for the Run for the Roses. After those are added to previous earnings, the Top Ten for the Kentucky Derby are: Bolt d'Oro, Enticed, Rizen Star Stakes winner Bravazo, Fountain of Youth winner Promises Fulfilled, McKinzie, Breeders' Cup Juvenile victor Good Magic, Flameaway, Firenze Fire and Free Drop Billy.

Next weekend: The $900,000 Grade II Rebel at Oaklawn Park and the $200,000 Grade III Jeff Ruby Steaks on the Turfway Park all-weather surface. "Steaks" is correct. Make mine rare.

Oaks preps

Cosmic Burst reeled in breakaway leader Amy's Challenge turning into the stretch in Saturday's $200,000 Grade III Honeybee at Oaklawn Park and worked by that rival to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Sassy Sienna finished third, 1 1/4 lengths behind Amy's Challenge, with the favorite, Red Ruby, reporting fourth. Cosmic Burst, a Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Violence, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.19 with Richard Eramia riding for trainer Donnie Von Hemel.

"I saw a lot of speed on paper," Eramia said. "I was waiting until the last quarter and she responded really well. I really like this filly. She has a lot of talent."



Accelerate didn't seem to mind the rain and the off track in Saturday's $600,000 Grade I Santa Anita Handicap, tracking pacesetting Mubtaahij through the first mile, then drawing off in the lane to win by 5 1/2 furlongs over that rival. Fear the Cowboy finished third, 7 lengths farther back. Accelerate, a 5-year-old by Lookin At Lucky, ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.83 with Victor Espinoza up over a track rated wet-fast after a showery day turned rainy at The Great Race Place. Hoppertunity was a late scratch. Accelerate, a John Sadler trainee, now has six wins, four seconds and five thirds from 17 lifetime starts.

Trainer John Sadler said the victory was gratifying. "He's had some big races. He beat Arrogate twice last year, so for him to win a Group I here at Santa Anita at a mile and a quarter is huge. We passed up the Pegasus and Dubai to run here at home," Sadler said.

Harlan Punch, wheeling back on just six days' rest after an easy win, ran away from a half dozen rivals in Saturday's $150,000 Stymie Stakes at Aqueduct, winning by 7 lengths in his third straight victory. Backsideofthemoon was second, 3 lengths to the good of Hit It Once More. Harlan Punch, a 5-year-old Harlan's Holiday gelding, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:38.03 with Dylan Davis up. In his previous victory, Harlan Punch won by 4 lengths, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 100.


Trainer David Jacobson said these races aren't taking much out of his charge. "We might not have seen the real Harlan's Punch yet," he said.

It was hardly a skirmish for War Story in Saturday's $100,000 Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. The 6-year-old Northern Afleet gelding emerged from behind the leading pair at the quarter pole and quickly put the matter to rest, drawing off to win by 5 3/4 lengths. Rafting was second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of You're to Blame. War Story, trained by Jorge Navarro, had been butting heads with big guys -- mainly Gun Runner -- for months and obviously enjoyed the class break. He finished 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:43.43 with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons.

Co-owners Ellis and John Guarnere of Imaginary Stables said War Story will be pointed to the $1.2 million Grade II Charles Town Classic April 21, a race in which he finished third last year. "We wanted to get a race before then and this seemed like a good opportunity," Ellis Guarnere said.


Divine Miss Grey led all the way to a 6 3/4-lengths triumph in Saturday's $150,000 Heavenly Prize Invitational at Belmont Park. Holiday Disguise was second, another 9 3/4 lengths in front of Frost Wise in an easy one for the placing judges. Divine Miss Grey, a 4-year-old daughter of Divine Park, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:38.13 with Kendrick Carmouche up. It was her eighth win from 14 starts in a career with only one flop -- a seventh-place finish in the Grade I Test at Saratoga last summer.



City of Light continued his quick march toward the top of this division with a handy win in Saturday's $400,000 Grade I Triple Bend Stakes at Santa Anita. The 4-year-old Quality Road colt, with Drayden Van Dyke up, staked pacesetting Bobby Abu Dhabi into the stretch, mounted his challenge and cleared in the final sixteenth to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Bobby Abu Dhabi held second easily, 4 1/2 lengths ahead of Edwards Going Left. City of Light ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:21.35 while making his first start since a victory in the Grade I Malibu over course and distance Dec. 26.

Trainer Michael McCarthy said he originally planned to send City of Light to Arkansas for the Feb. 19 Razorback. "It's not always easy keeping a horse at the top of his game for an extended period of time and going to Plan B," McCarthy said. "But the horse was good enough today to overcome that."

Sprint fans should get used to the name Skyler's Scramjet. The 4-year-old Creative Cause gelding confirmed earlier signs he's getting pretty good with a pace-stalking, 1-length win in Saturday's $200,000 Grade III Tom Fool at Aqueduct. The oppo wasn't the strongest although stakes winner Do Share was second, Great Stuff, winner of the Grade III Toboggan, was third and Green Gratto made the early pace. Skyler's Scramjet, making his first stakes start since the Mucho Macho Man last winter at Gulfstream Park, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.38 with Trevor McCarthy up.


Trainer Michelle Nevin said, "We'll see how he comes out of this race and from there decide where we go next. He certainly ran huge today so that's encouraging."

Whitmore pressed the pace in Saturday's $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes at Oaklawn Park, moved to the lead in the stretch and then was all out to win by a neck over late-running long shot Wynn Time. Ivan Fallunovalot made the early pace and finished third. Whitmore, a 5-year-old Pleasantly Perfect gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:08.57 with Ricardo Santana Jr. on his back. The multiple graded stakes winner also won this race last year. He was making his first start since finishing eighth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Del Mar last fall.

Whitmore's trainer, Ron Moquett, said he was confident -- quietly. "You never know exactly how fit you have them because good horses train themselves. I knew he would be fit enough to run a race, but I didn't know he would be fit enough for this kind of competition. Don't put any more pressure on your horse by running your mouth," Moquett said.

And by the way, Oaklawn Sunday announced the second purse increase of the season -- despite some weather issues and with the top-shelf Racing Festival of the South still to come. Hot Springs also has great barbecue. And mud baths, right downtown.



Bowies Hero chased the early leaders in Saturday's $400,000 Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita, split rivals in the stretch run and rolled home first, 1/2 length to the good of deep closer Next Shares. Channel Maker was third and the heavy favorite, World Approval, was never a factor, finishing fifth. Bowies Hero, a 4-year-old colt by Artie Schiller, finished the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:33.61 with Corey Nakatani riding. Bowies Hero scored his first Grade I win while World Approval ended a four-race winning streak that included the Breeders' Cup Mile and two others at the top level.

Nakatani said, "This horse, when he makes the lead, he kinda grinds a little bit, so I just wanted to make sure he stayed focused." Flavien Prat said of World Approval, "I had a good trip, I had a great pace in front of me but he just didn't fire. That's it."

One to keep in mind: Gidu, a Frankel colt trained by Todd Pletcher, pressed the pace in Saturday's $75,000 Columbia Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf at Tampa Bay Downs, went by the early leader easily when asked by jockey John Velazquez and went on about his business, winning by 1 3/4 lengths as the odds-on favorite. He was second to Speed Franco in his previous start, the Grade III Dania Beach on the Gulfstream Park turf.


Filly & Mare Turf

Saturday's $225,000 Grade II Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs proved as good as promised as Fourstar Crook rallied strongly through the stretch and was up just in time to post a head victory over Proctor's Ledge. La Coronel was another 3/4 length back and just a nose in front of Daddys Lil Darlin. The favorite, Off Limits, had nowhere to go in the stretch run and settled for fifth. Fourstar Crook, a 6-year-old Freud mare, ran 9 furlongs on firm turf in 1:48.43 with Irad Ortiz Jr. at the controls.

Fourstar Crook, trained by Chad Brown, had not raced since finishing third in the Grade I E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine last Oct. 15. "She broke so good and I just stayed on the rail to save all the ground I could, because I knew I had to have a good trip to beat this field," Ortiz said.

Andina Del Sur came with a late rush in Saturday's $200,000 Grade III Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs and won a three-way photo. Goodthingstaketime, also a late runner, appeared to have the race in the bag until the final strides, losing by a head. And she was just a nose in front of another closer, Altea. The favorite, Salsa Bella, finished fifth. Andina Del Sur, a Giant's Causeway filly trained by Tom Albertrani, ran 1 1/16 miles on the grass in 1:42.37 for jockey Julien Leparoux.


"She's been knocking at the door her last couple of races and we noticed that she has really been galloping out strong," Albertrani said of Andina Del Sur.

Ms Bad Behavior stalked the pace in Saturday's $75,000 China Doll Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita, got to the front in the lane and ran on to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Treasuring. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to Lexington Grace in third. Ms Bad Behavior, a Blame filly ran 1 mile on firm going in 1:35.37 with Kent Desormeaux up, securing her third career win.

The international scene:


On Super Saturday at Meydan, the local prep for the $10 million Group 1 Dubai World Cup went to North America, about as un-North American a horse as you could find. Bred in England, trained by Satish Seemar and owned by Chechan leader Ramzan Kadyrov, the 6-year-old son of Dubawi went right to the lead in the Grade I Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 and kept running, winning by 5 1/4 lengths over the usually dependable Thunder Snow. Chilean-bred Furia Cruzada was 3 3/4 lengths farther back in third.


North America worked his way up through the rounds of the Maktoum Challenge, finishing third in Round 1 and second, just a neck behind Thunder Snow, in Round 2. Jockey Richard Mullen admitted he wasn't sure what to expect in Round 3.

"You don't know. You think he has probably run the best race of his life last time," Mullen said. "The important thing was to get him out and into his rhythm. He was probably 2 lengths in front at the first bend. It was just a dominant display by a horse we always had faith in."

That setback was a rare one for Godolphin on a night when the blue silks dominated race after race.

The Group 2 Dubai City of Gold saw Godolphin finish 1-2-3 with Hawkbill edging his old rival Frontiersman with Gold third, albeit well back. That race leads to the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic on World Cup night. Jockey William Buick said victory despite a wide gate, wide trip and long layoff will sharpen Hawkbill for the main event. "It was a great race and will stand him in good stead in the Sheema Classic," Buick said.

The Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint returned another Godolphin tour de force as trainers Charlie Appleby and Saeed bin Suroor between them sent out six of the first seven finishers including the winner, Jungle Cat. Ertijaal, the heavy favorite, could only manage second, finishing 2 1/4 lengths back of Jungle Cat. The Nad Al Sheba leads to the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint on World Cup night.


Godolphin -- sensing a theme here? --had four of the first six home in the Jebel Hatta at 1,800 meters on the turf. Blair House, under James Doyle, led through the final furlong and denied the favorite, Benbatl, by 3/4 length. South African product Janoobi showed promise for trainer Mike de Kock, leading early in the stretch run and holding on for fourth.

Sheik Mohammed's forces did take a knock or two besides Thunder Snow's defeat. Perhaps their best chance of the night, Comicas, never got going in the Mahab Al Shimaal and finished ninth. Jordan Sport, a 5-year-old son of Dubawi making his fifth start of the World Cup Carnival for owner and trainer Fawzi Abdulla Nass, notched the upset win. Jordan Sport, under Adrie De Vries, sprinted clear in the lane to win by 7 1/4 lengths over Yalta with Wild Dude third. Comicas was second behind Mind Your Biscuits in last year's Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen on World Cup night. Better things are expected of him in that race this year although the field again will be dramatically tough.

The Group 3 Burj Nahaar, a prep for the Grouup 2 Godolphin Mile on the big night, also produced an upset as local champion trainer Doug Watson saddled Kimbear to a front-running win by 1 1/4 lengths from fellow long shot Secret Ambition. Musawaat was third and the favorite, Heavy Metal finished fourth, albeit beaten less than 2 lengths.


All-Weather Championships

As the Good Friday finale of the All-Weather Championships draws ever closer, Dundalk on Friday and Wolverhampton and Chelmsford City on Saturday hosted the final Fast-Track Qualifiers of the season.

Nivvo, with Pat Smullen up for trainer Tracey Collins, earned a spot in the 32Red Fillies' and Mares' All-Weather Championships with a win Friday night at Dundalk. Nivvo and Flawlessly slugged it out in the final yards of the 7-furlongs contest with Smullen just getting the head bob at the right time for the win. Poetic Choice was third.

"She is now qualified for Good Friday and it is not too often you get one for that, so I would say she will probably go to Lingfield," Collins said. "I will speak to her owners but it is a rare opportunity to run for that money."

Second Thought came into Saturday's Lady Wulfruna Stakes at Wolverhampton with a perfect record on the all-weather and left with that mark unblemished. The 4-year-old Kodiac colt already was qualified for the Sun Bets All-Weather Mile Championship on Good Friday with a November win at Kempton Park but confirmed that form with a late-running win. Assistant trainer Maureen Haggas said Second Thought will head to Lingfield but also is targeted for a turf campaign later in the season.


At Chelmsford City, Dal Harraild made all in winning the 2-miles totetrifecta Pick the 1-2-3 Conditions Stakes, a qualifier for the Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships on finals day. The 5-year-old Champs Elysees gelding maintained a huge lead throughout the race and won by 4 lengths over Curbyourenthusiasm in his all-weather debut for trainer William Haggas.


Liberty Heights scored a major upset in Sunday's edition of the 1000 Guineas Trial, edging second-favorite Encore Plus by 1/2 length in the Grade 2 Hochi Hai Fillies Review at Hanshin. Liberty Heights, a Shadai Farm homebred filly by King Kamehameha out of the Dubawi mare Dubawi Heights, scored her second win from four starts while stepping up in class.

Back in the States and around the ovals:

Santa Anita

It was a tough Sunday -- indeed, a tough weekend -- at the Great Race Place because of unseasonable rainy weather that produced a muddy, sealed track. That, however, didn't seem to bother Tough Sunday, who ignored the switch from the downhill turf to the muddy main and came from just off the pace to win the $100,000 Sensational Star for California-breds by 1 length over Solid Wager. Smokey Image was a neck farther back in third and the favorite, Richard's Boy, faded from the lead to finish seventh. Tough Sunday, a 5-year-old son of Grazen, ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.68 with Joe Talamo in the irons.


Fair Grounds

Triple Chelsea tracked the pace in Saturday's $60,000 Nelson J. Menard Memorial, blew by the leaders and went on to win by 1 3/4 lengths. The early leader, There'syourtrouble, held second with a late-running Miss Gossip up for show money. Triple Chelsea, a 5-year-old Hat Trick mare, ran about 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:04.55 with Adam Beschizza in the irons.

Kabella rallied from last of 11 to take Saturday's $60,000 Allen "Black Cat" LaCombe Memorial for 3-year-old fillies by 1 length over the favorite, Beyond Blame. Starving Artist was third. Kabella, a Kitten's Joy filly out of the Ghostzapper mare Zapper Belle, ran about 1 mile on firm turf in 1:39.98 with Shaun Bridgmohan riding.

Gulfstream Park

Vision Perfect took charge in the stretch run of Saturday's $75,000 Silks Run Stakes, kicking away to win by 4 3/4 lengths. Pay Any Price and Buccero filled the trifecta slots. Vision Perfect, a 6-year-old son of Pollard's Vision, ran 5 furlongs on firm turf in 55.20 seconds for jockey Paco Lopez.

In the filly-mare companion, the $75,000 Captiva Island, Blue Bahia squeezed through a narrow opening on the fence at the top of the stretch and went on to win by 3/4 length over the favorite, Morticia. Just Talkin was third. Blue Bahia, a 5-year-old daughter of Wildcat Heir, got home in 55.68 seconds, also with Lopez aboard. Jason Servis also trains both winners.


Delta Downs

Bitsy's Afleet came running from mid-pack to score a 2 1/2-lengths victory in Saturday's $80,000 Pelican Stakes for Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds. Grand Luwegee led much of the way and held second over Double Star. Bitsy's Afleet, a Northern Afleet gelding, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:19.69 with Marcelino Pedroza riding.

Midnight Ruler, at 30-1 odds, led gate to wire in Saturday's $80,000 Owner Appreciation Cup. Bellarmine chased but could do no better than second, 3 lengths in arrears. Midnight Ruler, a 5-year-old gelding by Sonny Dom's Day, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:38.97 under Rico Flores.

La Mistake made her way quickly to the lead in Friday's $80,000 Azalea Stakes for state-bred 3-year-old fillies, then won without further ado, 3 3/4 lengths ahead of Yes Gorgeous. Fame Feather was well back of that one in third. La Mistake, a Bind filly, toured 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:20.13 with Gerard Melancon up.

Inspeightofyou stalked the pace in Friday's $80,000 Owner Appreciation Distaff Stakes, moved to a big lead in the lane and won by 3 1/4 lengths over Babybluesbdancing. Hyper Piper was third. Inspeightofyou, a 4-year-old Speightstown filly, ran 1 mile in 1:40.07 with Melancon up.


The Owner Appreciation races were for horses which had started at Delta Downs since Oct. 18, excluding stakes.

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