Enable defended her title in the Prix de l'Arc de Tromphe and Winx scored her 28th straight win in Australia while more than a dozen Breeders' Cup berths were filled in a massive weekend of Thoroughbred racing.
For Winx, it's on to the Cox Plate, which she's already won the past three years. Enable, meanwhile, was crushed by British bookmakers to win the Breeders' Cup Turf Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs -- a race she's not even certain to contest.
The Breeders' Cup qualifying races in the United States franked the form of some favorites and also opened the door to some massive long shots.
Starting at the plush new ParisLongchamp:
The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
Enable, the Nathaniel filly who dominated the 2017 Arc, came into this year's contest as a short horse. Her season was disrupted by an early injury and the only prep given her by trainer John Gosden was on the all-weather course at Kempton, where she defeated Crystal Ocean easily.
Facing Europe's stars in the continent's signature race, however, was another question -- one she and jockey Frankie Dettori answered emphatically. After breaking alertly, Enable took station in fourth place until the field hit the straight. Dettori sent her to the lead inside the 200-meters mark and she seemed clear. But then came Sea of Class, winner of the Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks, barreling up like a freight train from the back of the 19-horse field, only to fall one jump short of catching Enable. Those were followed by Cloth of Stars, Waldgeist and Capri.
Adding a bit of post-race intrigue, trainer John Gosden revealed after the race Enable's progression even after the Kempton race had been interrupted by an ill-timed fever.
After the race, Gosden deflected all praise from himself and even jockey Frankie Dettori, who won his sixth Arc. Instead, he gave all the credit to Enable and her owner/breeder, Prince Khalid Abdullah.
Gosden also was more immersed in the moment than the future. But before the race, he had told Racing Post, "If Enable runs well and is in good order after the Arc, strong consideration would be given to the Breeders' Cup Turf. She began her season only in September, so it makes sense to take a fresh horse out there if she's in good shape."
May it be so.
Winx made it 28 straight wins with a victory in Saturday's Group 1 TAB Turnbull Stakes at Flemington -- but only after putting a few gray hairs on the heads of her backers. Turning for home in the 1 1/2-miles tilt, the 7-year-old Street Cry mare was second-last and behind the proverbial wall of horses. Things were getting a little dicey and by the time jockey Hugh Bowman found an opening and Winx shot through, the Flemington race-caller exclaimed, "She'll have to explode!" And so she did, suddenly looking Winx-like again, winning by 1 length. Stablemate Youngstar, a top prospect for the Caulfield Cup, finished second and Kings Will Dream was third.
Trainer Chris Waller was happy with the ride.
"You get a few flutters but once you get clear running, well, what will be will be," he said in the post-race interview. "There will be a day when she's not as dominant but today all she had to do was repeat her form and she did that."
The result was satisfying enough. But Bowman is unlikely to leave Winx that much to do in her next outing -- a shot at a fourth straight Cox Plate in three weeks' time -- against much classier rivals.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming:
Wow Cat finally got her first U.S. win on the third try, taking Saturday's $400,000 Grade I Beldame at Belmont Park with aplomb. After racing in mid-pack to the turn, the Chilean-bred filly challenged for the lead entering the stretch and quickly drew clear, winning by 3 1/4 lengths. Divine Miss Grey ran evenly to finish second; ditto Verve's Tale for show money. Wow Cat, a 4-year-old daughter of Lookin At Lucky, ran 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:47.75 with Jose Ortiz riding. She won all eight starts in Chile, then finished second in the Grade III Shuvee at Saratoga in her first start for trainer Chad Brown. She then was third, beaten 10 lengths by Abel Tasman and Elate, in the Grade I Personal Ensign.
"I don't think she really cared much for Saratoga, in hindsight," said Wow Cat's trainer, Chad Brown. "She's really a top-class horse. She came to us undefeated. She's legit." He said he will discuss with the owners whether to move on to the Breeders' Cup Distaff. "If she goes to Churchill (Downs) and likes it, who knows?"
Blue Prize surged to the lead in the stretch run in Sunday's $500,000 Grade I Juddmonte Spinster at Keeneland, a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In," then had to hold on while running erratically in the final sixteenth to win by 3/4 length from Champagne Problems. Pacific Wind was third and Eskimo Kisses disappointed as the favorite, finishing seventh in a dull effort. Blue Prize, a 5-year-old, Argentine-bred daughter of Pure Prize, finished 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:50.02 with Joe Bravo up.
Blue Prize finished third in the 2017 Spinster but came into this year's edition riding a three-race winning streak. This was her first U.S. Grade I win and the first for her trainer Ignacio Correas IV.
"She's a phenomenal mare so my job is easy," said Correas, a leading South American trainer before moving north. Will she be in the Breeders' Cup? "Well, I hope so ... Most likely, if everything goes good, I don't see why not."
Of his first U.S. Grade I, Correas added, "It means a lot. Been a tough road, for me and my family. But we all believed in ourselves and thank this great country that gives us opportunities to thrive if you work hard and try. It's hard to put into words."
Defending Breeders' Cup champ Roy H had a lovely spin around the Santa Anita oval Saturday, ending in victory in the $300,000 Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship. The 6-year-old More Than Ready gelding let stablemate Distinctive B set the pace, rallied outside him into the stretch and won by a comfortable 2 3/4 lengths. Ransom the Moon, who beat Roy H in the Grade I Bing Crosby at Del Mar July 28, was another 1/2 length back in third. The Crosby was Roy H's comeback race after running third in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen on World Cup night. Roy H completed Saturday's 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.09 with Paco Lopez riding.
"This is the Roy H I've been waiting to see all year," said trainer Peter Miller. "He's a great horse and I hope we springboard to the Breeders' Cup."
Promises Fulfilled led all the way under pressure in Friday's $250,000 Grade II Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix at Keeneland and held on in the final strides to defeat Whitmore by a head. Limousine Liberal switched in, out and in again in the stretch run, all to no avail, and finished an unlucky third. Promises Fulfilled, a 3-year-old Shackleford colt, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.05, earning a "Win and You're In" spot in the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint.
Since he was sent sprinting after finishing 15th in the Kentucky Derby, Promises Fulfilled has racked up a third and now three straight wins, all in graded stakes. Trainer Dale Romans noted the colt will have to be nominated to the Breeders' Cup but said that's doable, especially after Friday's win, with both the Sprint and the Dirt Mile possible targets. "We've got a little time to think about it, talk about it," Romans said. "I don't think he's restricted to going three-quarters of a mile. I think he'll be good at any distance. We'll talk about it. We're just happy to get this big win. This is a good enough win in its own right. Not worrying about the next one yet."
Filly & Mare Sprint
Golden Mischief, never far back, outfinished Chalon in the final strides of Saturday's $250,000 Grade II Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland, winning by a head. Vertical Oak was third, another 1 length back. Golden Mischief, a 4-year-old Into Mischief filly, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.39 with Florent Geroux in the irons. It was her third straight win, fourth in her last five starts, and worth a "Win and You're In" berth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. Trainer Brad Cox reported Sunday Golden Mischief exited the TCA in good order and noted the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs "is on our home field this year so my vote would be to run."
Skye Diamonds took the lead away from the favorite, Anonymity, in the stretch drive in Sunday's $100,000 Grade III L.A. Woman at Santa Anita and sparkled on to win by 1 1/4 lengths over that one. It was another 4 1/2 lengths to Show It N Moe It in third. Skye Diamonds, a 5-year-old First Dude mare, traveled 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:16.56 with Tiago Periera in the irons. She finished fourth in last year's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint but part-owner Jon Lindo said plans for this year are more complex. "We've got her entered in the Fasig-Tipton Sale right after the Breeders' Cup," he said. "So we'll have to talk to everyone and see what we're going to do."
Have At It had at it in the stretch run in Saturday's $500,000 Grade II Hill Prince for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park. After stalking the pace, the Kitten's Joy colt came three-wide to challenge and was up late to win by 1 length over pacesetting Sand Dancer. Prioritize completed an all-long shot trifecta as the odds-on favorite, Raging Bull, finished fifth. Have At It, under David Cohen, ran 9 furlongs on good turf in 1:50.52, notching his third career win.
"This is a great win, a Grade 2 with some of the best turf 3-year-olds here in New York," said Have At It's trainer, Christophe Clement. "He belongs in that league as he proved today. I'll have to talk to (owner/breeder Robert) Evans about the next step but as for now we'll hope he comes out of it well and keep all options open."
Filly & Mare Turf
A Raving Beauty showed the way in Saturday's $400,000 Grade I First Lady for fillies and mares at Keeneland and persevered, holding off the late bid of Dona Bruja by a head. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to Indian Blessing in third. The favorite, Quidura, ran evenly through the stretch and finished seventh, 3 1/2 lengths back of the winner. A Raving Beauty, a 5-year-old German-bred mare by Mastercraftsman, ran 1 mile on the good turf course in 1:37.78. The race is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" for the Makers Mark Filly & Mare Turf.
Fourstar Crook rallied from last of seven to win Sunday's $500,000 Grade I Flower Bowl at Belmont Park with a dandy stretch move. Onthemoonagain was on the lead until the final sixteenth and held second, 4 3/4 lengths better than Lady Montdore. Fourstar Crook, a 6-year-old Freud mare, was the odds-on favorite and ran 1 1/4 miles on the good inner turf course in 2:03.28 under Irad Ortiz Jr. The ultraconsistent mare has missed a top-three finish only twice in 19 career starts, finished second in the Grade I Beverly D. in her previous outing and notched her first Grade I score with the Flower Bowl triumph.
Next Shares, let go at odds of 23-1, found room on the rail in the stretch run of Saturday's $1 million Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland, shot through and won by 3 1/4 lengths over 82-1 chance Great Wide Open. Qurbaan was third and the favorite, Analyze It, finished fourth. Next Shares, a 5-year-old Archarcharch gelding, ran 1 mile on good turf in 1:36.97 with Tyler Gaffalione up, earning a spot in the Breeders' Cup Mile through the "Win and You're In" scheme. Next Shares and Great Wide Open were both coming off excellent efforts at Kentucky Downs.
Winning trainer Richard Baltas said Next Shares' victory in the Old Friends Stakes in his last outing was "a breakthrough" for Next Shares. "He's had a lot of seconds and beats by a nose, but he won pretty easy last time. We took a shot here," he said. Asked whether he will ship back to Southern California to train for the Breeders' Cup, Baltas said he'd have to consult with the owners. "I'd like to stay here," he added.
Sharp Samurai tracked Fly to Mars into the stretch run in Saturday's $200,000 Grade II City of Hope Mile at Santa Anita, then outgamed that rival in the final strides, winning by a nose. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to Ohio in third. Sharp Samurai, a 4-year-old First Samurai gelding, finished the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:32.47 with Gary Stevens up. In his previous start, Sharp Samurai finished third but was moved up to second when Fly to Mars was disqualified for stretch interference.
Asked about the Breeders' Cup Mile for Sharp Samurai, trainer Mark Glatt said, "We certainly had to have a good run today and we did. We'll hope to be able to get in it. He deserves it."
Bucchero was sent to the post as the favorite in Saturday's $200,000 Grade II Woodford at Keeneland despite not having won in seven starts since his victory in last year's Woodford. Of course, he did it again, surviving a bumping start and making up a bit of ground in the final furlong to score by 1/2 length over Will Call. Extravagant Kid was third. Bucchero, a 6-year-old, Indiana-bred horse by Kantharos, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:04.04 for Fernando De La Cruz. In 2017, he used this race as a springboard to the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, where he finished fourth.
"He's just an iron horse. He's very special to us," said Bucchero's trainer, Tim Glyshaw. "To have an Indiana-bred come in here for the second year in a row and win on the national stage, that's something we are very proud of. He just became the all-time money-earner in Indiana history -- something that's important to me as well." As for the Breeders' Cup, he said, "We'll definitely be there."
Disco Partner found an extra gear in the lane in Saturday's $150,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational, emerged from a pace-stalking trip and won off by 4 1/2 lengths. Blind Ambition and Pure Sensation finished second and third. Disco Partner, a 6-year-old entire son of Disco Rico, ran 6 furlongs on the good inner turf course in 1:08.50 with Irad Ortiz Jr. up. Disco Partner won this race last year en route to a third-place finish, beaten only 1/2 length, in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. Pure Sensation was the pacesetter in the 2017 Breeders' Cup race, fading to get home fifth, only 1 1/2 lengths back of the winner, Stormy Liberal.
Christophe Clement trains both Disco Partner and Pure Sensation. Of Disco Partner, he said, "As long as he comes back in good shape, we'll get him ready for the Breeders' Cup. I don't like to have too hard of a race before the Breeders' Cup so I was very happy with the performance today." Pure Sensation, he said, "could be a possible as well ... It's a good position to be in."
Knicks Go, at odds of 70-1, led virtually gate to wire in Saturday's $500,000 Grade I Claiborne Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland and was drawing off at the end of the 1 1/16 miles. Signalman gave futile chase, finishing second, 5 1/2 lengths back and 3/4 length ahead of Standard Deviation. The favorite in a wide-open affair, Dream Maker, had a nightmare trip and beat only one rival. Knicks Go, a Paynter colt running for the KRA Stud Farm, won at first asking at Ellis Park, then was a distant fifth in the Grade III Sanford at Saratoga. He returned in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, finishing third and now holds a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" entry to the Juvenile.
"Just got lucky," said Knicks Go's trainer, Ben Colebrook. "The horse trains real well here so that's kind of why we took a shot. He's always breezed like a good horse. His first race was good and then he never got in a rhythm in his next two."
As Korea slowly improves its standing in the world of Thoroughbred racing, the KRA Stud Farm had its first Breeders' Cup starter in 2016 in J.S. Choice, who finished 13th in the 2016 Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita after running second in the Grade III Pilgrim at Belmont Park. He remains in training, also with Colebrook, but has not won since his maiden-breaker in September 2016.
Complexity jumped right out to the lead in Saturday's $500,000 Grade I Champagne at Belmont Park, set a brisk pace and kept on going, winning the one-turn mile by 3 lengths in 1:34.63 under Jose Ortiz. Code of Honor stumbled badly at the start but recovered to finish second with a late run. Call Paul was third. Complexity, a Maclean's Music colt, won at first asking at Saratoga and now is 2-for-2.
"The horse ran outstanding -- just a remarkable talent," said Complexity's trainer, Chad Brown. "Obviously, we're going to the Breeders' Cup if he comes back sound and healthy. We'll try and run two turns, which will be another question mark." Complexity earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile through the "Win and You're In" program.
It's Gonna Hurt led gate to wire in Saturday's $100,000 Speakeasy Stakes at Santa Anita, winning by 3/4 length over Whooping Jay. Mae Never No, the favorite, was just a neck farther back in third. It's Gonna Hurt, a Louisiana-bred colt by Violence, ran 5 furlongs on firm turf in 56.00 -- just 0.04 second shy of the course record -- with Tiago Periera up. The race is a "Win and You're In" for the new Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint but trainer Brian Kornier said, "I don't know. We'll see. It wasn't really my intention to run in this race. It was the only place to run for a horse that broke his maiden for 80 (thousand dollars)." That was on the Del Mar dirt.
Uncle Benny was last through the early furlongs of Sunday's $150,000 Futurity Stakes at Belmont Park, swung eight-wide into the stretch and ran 'em down, winning by 1/2 length over Backtohisroots. The favorite, Dragic, held a brief lead in the lane and finished third. Uncle Benny, a Declaration of War colt, ran 6 furlongs on good turf in 1:11.26 while toting Irad Ortiz Jr. He now is 2-for-2 after starting his career with a win at Monmouth Park. The race is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" for the Juvenile Turf Sprint.
Current came out atop a four-way scramble to the wire in Sunday's $250,000 Grade III Dixiana Bourbon at Keeneland, a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In". With Jose Ortiz up, the Curlin colt started well back, then led a trio of rallying contenders, beating Henley's Joy and Salvator Mundi by a pair of noses. It was another 3/4 length back to the pacesetting favorite, War of Will. Current ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:45.10, picking up his second win from three starts.
Strike Silver could see all 11 rivals turning for home in Sunday's $200,000 Indian Summer at Keeneland, a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" for the Juvenile Turf Sprint. But the Violence colt, with Julien Leparoux up, circled them all and was up just in time to win by a neck over Chelsea Cloisters. Reward the Miracle was a long shot third and the favorite, All About It, checked in fourth. Jo Jo Air bobbled at the start, rushed up to contest the pace and tired to finish last as Strike Silver crossed the line in 1:05.00. Strike Silver now is 2-for-3 with a second in the Grade III Sanford at Saratoga the sole loss.
Restless Rider was much the best in Friday's $400,000 Grade I Alcibiadies at Keeneland, a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In". The Distorted Humor filly raced just behind the early pace, took command at the top of the lane and drew off to win by 2 1/2 lengths without being asked for her best. Reflect was up for second and Meadow Dance tired from the lead but salvaged show money. Restless Rider, with Brian Hernandez Jr. in the irons, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.23. She was second in the Spinaway at Saratoga -- her only loss in four starts.
"She took us," trainer Kenny McPeek said of Restless Rider. "She is really, really special. It hasn't been as easy as it might look on paper and what she did today. It wasn't an exact straight line since the Spinaway but we got through it."
Tiz Breathtaking came from last of seven to win Saturday's $125,000 (Canadian) Grade III Mazarine Stakes on the Woodbine all-weather, defeating Carnival Colors by a head. Comic Kitten was only a nose behind that one in third. Tiz Breathtaking, a Tiznow filly, ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.28 with Eurico Da Silva up for trainer Michael Doyle. She has three wins and a second from four career starts.
Doyle said the Princess Elizabeth, a race for Canadian-breds Nov. 4 at Woodbine, is a logical next race. But, he added, "We might maybe talk about the Breeders' Cup for two minutes, just in case. She got a few points, just in case it made any sense. It probably doesn't. But it may do some other time."
Jaywalk walked away from Sunday's $400,000 Grade I Frizette at Belmont Park with a front-running victory and a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In". The Cross Traffic filly, with Joel Rosario at the controls, was quickly on the lead and extended the advantage through the stretch, winning by 5 3/4 lengths. Brucia La Terra was second, Cassies Dreamer third and the favorite, Covfefe, fourth. Jaywalk ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:34.57.
Jaywalk finished second in her first start at Monmouth Park, won next time out at Parx and then won the White Clay Creek Stakes at Delaware Park before the Frizette tour de force.
Taking the worldwide view:
The Arc itself was only the centerpiece of two days of top-shelf racing at Longchamp, including three Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" events.
On Sunday at Longchamp:
Lily's Candle, under Pierre-Charles Boudot, overcame some traffic issues to win the Group 1 Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac for 2-year-old fillies, putting a nose in front of Matematica at the line. Star Terms was third. Lily's Candle, a daughter of Style Vendome, scored her third win from her last four starts. The victory earned a berth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Royal Marine saw off pacesetting Broome by a neck at the end of the Group 1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere for 2-year-olds. The favorite, Anodor, was third. Royal Marine, a Raven's Pass colt racing for Godolphin, notched his second straight win and earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf which apparently will not be accepted. Bin Suroor, saying the colt "could be anything," said he is ticketed for Dubai in preparation for the 2018-19 Carnival at Meydan. Aidan O'Brien and Freddie Head said Broome and Anodor, respectively, will be put away to mature for a 3-year-old season.
Wild Illusion surged to the lead inside the 200-meters mark in the Prix de l'Opera Longines for fillies and mares and coasted home first by 1 length with Magic Wand in her wake. Homerique was best of the rest. Wild Illusion, a 3-year-old Dubawi filly, backed up her win in the Group 1 Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood Aug. 2 and earned a "Win and You're In" spot in the Breeders' Cup Maker's Mark Filly & Mare Turf. She won the Marcel Boussac on Arc day last year. Charlie Appleby trains for Godolphin.
Mabs Cross outfinished Gold Vibe in the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye Longchamp Longines, winning by a head over that rival. Soldier's Call took the lead late and held it until the final strides and finished third, a short head behind Gold Vibe. The favorite, Battaash, led early and held fourth. Mabs Cross, a 4-year-old daughter of Dutch Art, achieved her second win of the year and first-ever in a Pattern race.
One Master, a massive long shot, battled Inns of Court through the final 100 meters of the Group 1 Qatar Prix de la Foret before winning by a short head. Dutch Connection finished third, a head farther back, after some traffic issues. One Master, a 4-year-old Fastnet Rock filly, came to the race off a win in the Group 3 Coolmore Stud Fairy Bridge Stakes at Tipperary for trainer William Haggis.
On Saturday at Longchamp:
Call the Wind led in the final furlong of the Group 1 Qatar Prix du Cadran at 2 1/2 miles and held on doggedly to win by 1 1/4 lengths from the favorire, Holdthasigreen. Morgan Le Faye was third, just a short head farther back. Call the Wind, a 4-year-old Frankel gelding trained by Freddie Head, scored his third straight win while going a quarter mile than he'd ever assayed previously.
Godolphin landed 1-2 in the Group 2 Qatar Prix Chaudenay at 1 7/8 miles. Brundtland, under William Buick, dictated a sensible pace and held to win by 1/2 length from Lillian Russell. Brundtland, a Dubawi colt trained by Charlie Appleby, came off a win in the Group 2 Prix Niel and remains undefeated after four starts.
Alignement caught pacesetting Godolpin-owned co-favorite Loxley in the closing meters to upset the Group 2 Qatar Prix Dollar at 1 1/2 miles. The 5-year-old Pivotal gelding, racing for the Wertheimer family, won by 1/2 length, scoring his third win of the season but first in a Pattern race.
Osilio was well to the fore late in the Group 2 Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein at 1 mile and kept running to a 1 3/4-lengths victory over Oh This Is Us. Hey Gaman was third. Osilio, a 3-year-old New Approach colt from Simon Crisford's barn, now has four wins and three seconds from seven starts this year.
Princess Yaiza outfinished the favorite, Palombe, and Shahnaza, winning the Group 2 Qatar Prix Royallieu for fillies and mares at an extended 1 1/4 miles by a neck and a short head. Princess Yaiza, a 3-year-old filly by Casamento, scored three thirds and two seconds coming into Saturday's race..
Laurens made the going in Saturday's Group 1 Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket, then had to see off a late rally by Happily to hold on to victory by a head. Altyn Orda was third, another 2 1/4 lengths back. Wind Chimes, second-favorite after Laurens, was done early and eased through the straight. Laurens, a Siyouni filly trained by Karl Burke, scored her fourth win from six starts and fifth at the Group 1 level. She is a hot candidate for the Queen Elizabeth on British Champions Day at Ascot or for the Breeders' Cup Mile.
Gran Alegra was the favorite but still turned some heads with his performance in Saturday's Grade 3 Saudi Arabia Royal Cup for 2-year-olds. The 1 mile, left-handed race around the Tokyo Racecourse turf is an early test of potential 2-year-old stars. Last year's winner, Danon Premium, went on to win the Grade 1 Asahi Hai Futurity and returned to take the Grade III Hochi Hai Yayoi Sho in his 2018 debut before finishing sixth in the Japanese Derby. Gran Alegra looks to have the potential to live up to that standard.
After starting a step slowly, jockey Christophe Lemaire hustled Gran Alegra quickly into contention. Turning for home and heading up the stretch incline, she quickly shook free and went on to win by 3 1/2 lengths over De Gaulle. Amati was third. Gran Alegra, trained by Kazuo Fujisawa, now is 2-for-2. She is from the Tapit mare Tapitsfly, a multiple Grade I winner in the United States and winner of the 2009 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. De Gaul is out of the Black Tie Affair mare Gaillard.
Back in North America, around the ovals:
Avie's Flatter fought for the lead in Sunday's $225,000 (Canadian) Cup and Saucer Stakes for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies, then finally put some daylight between herself and the field, winning off by 5 1/4 lengths. Bold Script was second, 3/4 length to the good of Moon Swings. Avie's Flatter, an Ontario-bred daughter of Flatter, ran 1 1/16 miles on yielding turf in 1:45.20 with Eurico Da Silva riding.
Bold Fantasy was up late to win Saturday's $100,000 Harris Farms Stakes for state-breds by a head over Fashionably Fast. It was a long way back to Isa Firecracker in third and Masochistic, given a second life after retirement earlier in the year, tired to finish next-last of six. Bold Fantasy, a 7-year-old Bertrando gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.67 with Irving Orozco in the irons.
Imply made steady progress into the stretch in Saturday's $100,000 Plum Pretty Stakes for Pennsylvania-bred fillies and mares, then showed her heels to the other seven, winning off by 4 lengths over pacesetter Disco Rose. Taste of Grace was third. Imply, a 5-year-old E Dubai mare, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:47.64 with Julio Hernandez in the irons.
Fahan Mura led all the way to a 3/4-length victory over Quebec in Sunday's $75,000 Swingtime Stakes for fillies and mares. Way to Versailles was third. Fahan Mura, a 4-year-old English Channel filly, got 1 mile on firm turf in 1:32.77 with Edwin Maldonado up.