Last weekend was another busy one with seven major stakes across the country. Here is a recap of them all courtesy of the NTRA and Breeders' Cup Limited.
Race: $100,000 Long Branch Breeders' Cup (G3), 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles
Road to the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge - Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's Kentucky Derby runner-up LION HEART was the 3-10 favorite in Saturday's Long Branch Breeders' Cup at Monmouth Park in his first start since finishing fourth in the Preakness at Pimlico on May 15. The $1.4 million Fasig-Tipton February 2 - year-old purchase won by a desperate head after a long stretch duel with Preferred Pals Stable's MY SNOOKIE'S BOY , a $50,000 claim at Gulfstream Park for trainer Allen Iwinski. Winning trainer Patrick Biancone pointed out that Lion Heart had lost a shoe during the race and that he had gambled that just four works since the Preakness would be enough to get him through the Long Branch. The chestnut colt by Tale of the Cat remains on schedule for his next start in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on Aug. 8 and the Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. Aug. 28. Finishing third in the field of six 3-year-olds in the Long Branch was Tracy Farmer's ROYAL ASSAULT , 5 1 /2 lengths back of the top two. The Nick Zito-trained son of Kris S. was making his first start since finishing third behind Birdstone and Smarty Jones in the Belmont Stakes on June 5.
Race: $250,600 Leonard Richards Handicap (G3). 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles
Road to the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge - Edgewood Farm's Illinois Derby winner POLLARD'S VISION was the even-money favorite in Sunday's Leonard Richards Stakes at Delaware Park and splashed past Southern Equine Stable's 13-1 BRITT'S JULES to win by two lengths in the 'sloppy' going under jockey Jerry Bailey. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Pollard's Vision finished second last out in the Ohio Derby on June 12, his first start since checking in 17th after showing some early speed in the Kentucky Derby. The dark bay colt by Carson City will likely be pointed for either the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug. 8 or the Jim Dandy Stakes the same day at Saratoga.
Race: $750,900 Delaware Handicap (G2), fillies & mares, 1 1/4 miles
Track: Delaware Park
Finishing Order: 1 - SUMMER WIND DANCER, 2 - ROAR EMOTION, 3 - MISTY SIXES
Margins: 1 1/4, 5 3/4, 3/4
Also ran: Cloak Of Vagueness, Shiny Sheet, Redoubled Miss, Gelli, Go On Baby
Owner: Linda Vetter and Richard and Yvette Wira
Trainer: Jeff Mullins
Jockey: Victor Espinoza
Time: 2:03 3/5 (sloppy)
Road to the Breeders' Cup Distaff - Presented by Nextel - Linda Vetter and Richard and Yvette Wira's California homebred filly SUMMER WIND DANCER was entered in last Sunday's Milady Breeders' Cup at Hollywood Park. Trainer Jeff Mullins scratched the 4-year-old daughter of Siberian Summer in favor of a start in Sunday's richer Delaware Handicap. Shipping cross country with jockey Victor Espinoza along for the ride, Summer Wind Dancer edged past Joe Allen's pace-setting ROAR EMOTION and Jerry Bailey to win by a length in the 'sloppy' going as the even-money favorite in the field of eight fillies and mares. Roar Emotion ran a big race for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin after undergoing a 'myectomy' procedure for a breathing problem since her last race. Summer Wind Dancer won the Wilshire Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 6 in her last start.
Race: $500,000 Delaware Oaks (G2), 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles
Road to the Breeders' Cup Distaff - Presented by Nextel - Golden Eagle Farm's California homebred 3-year-old filly YEARLY REPORT was the 2-5 favorite in Saturday's Delaware Oaks under Jerry Bailey and sporting a near perfect record. Shipping in from California for trainer Bob Baffert, the daughter of General Meeting won her richest prize yet as she held Green Lantern Stable's ENDER'S SISTER safe in the final sixteenth to win by a length in the field of eight 3-year-old fillies. Yearly Report was flown east for her last start as well, capturing the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico the day before the Preakness. The Delaware Oaks was her fifth victory in six career starts, her only defeat a second-place effort behind Silent Sighs in the California Breeders' Championship at Hollywood Park in December. Plans call for Yearly Report to join Baffert's New York division with a possible start next in the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 21. Ender's Sister ran very well to be second for trainer Rusty Arnold. The homebred daughter of A.P. Indy hasn't missed the board in her last nine career starts after finishing fourth in her career debut last summer at Saratoga.
Race: $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap (G2), 3yos & up, 1 3/8 miles turf)
Road to the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf - Trainer Michael Matz has felt for some time that Brushwood Stable's 4-year-old KICKEN KRIS was a good horse. However, he was at a loss to explain his dull performances when sixth in the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs and ninth in the Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park in his last two starts. Matz may still not be able to find an excuse for those defeats, but can feel a lot better about his talented charge after the 4-year-old son of Kris S. edged clear to win Saturday's Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont by 1 1/2 lengths under jockey Edgar Prado. Bushwood Stable's BETTER TALK NOW was a clear second in the field of 10 in the 1 3/8 mile test. Kicken Kris, a $400,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase for Betty Moran's Brushwood Stable, emerged as a major player in the turf division last summer when he captured the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park and the Lawrence Realization in the fall at Belmont. The Turf Classic at Churchill on Derby Day was his first start since a good third-place effort in the Gulfstream Breeders' Cup in February, beaten only a half-length for it all. Kicken Kris may be seen next in the Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga on Aug. 14.
Race: $150,000 Sunset Handicap (G2), 3-year-olds & up, 1 1/2 miles (turf)
Track: Hollywood Park
Finishing Order: 1 - STAR OVER THE BAY, 2 - CONTINUOUSLY, 3 - LEPRACHAUN KID
Margins: Nose, 1, 9
Also ran: Runaway Dancer, Freddy (ARG), Gallant (GB), Gulchie (GB)
Owner: Van Burger & Vaughn
Trainer: Mike Mitchell
Jockey: Tyler Baze
Time: 2:26 2/5 (firm)
Road to the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf - Van Burger and Vaughn's 6-year-old gelding STAR OVER THE BAY gamely held off Saud bin Khaled's 4-5 CONTINUOUSLY after setting all the pace in the 12-furlong Sunset Handicap on closing day at Hollywood Park Sunday. Claimed for $80,000 out of a winning race at Hollywood on May 16 by trainer Mike Mitchell, Star Over the Bay finished second in the Dallas Turf Cup at Lone Star Park in June in his only previous start for new connections. The Florida-bred roan/gray by Cozzene was a mid-level claiming performer in the east before finding a home in California this winter.
Race: $500,000 Darley Irish Oaks (G1). 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/2 miles (turf)
Track: The Curragh (Ireland)
Finishing Order: 1 - OUIJA BOARD (GB), 2 - PUNCTILIOUS (GB), 3 - HAZARISTA (IRE)
Margins: 1, 3/4, 7
Also ran: All Too Beautiful (IRE), Merienette (IRE), Danelissima (IRE)
Owner: Lord Derby
Trainer: Ed Dunlop
Jockey: Kieren Fallon
Time: Time: 2:28 2/5 (good/firm)
Road to the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf - Lord Derby's 3-year-old filly OIUJA BOARD (GB) won the Epsom Oaks by seven lengths in early June. Sunday at The Curragh, the daughter of Cape Cross completed the 'English-Irish double' with a one-length victory over Godophin's highly regarded PUNCTILIOUS (GB) in the Darley Irish Oaks. Winning trainer Ed Dunlop suggested after the race that the Yorkshire Oaks, open to older fillies and mares on Aug. 18 at York, was the next likely target for Ouija Board.
Previous weekend recaps:
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