With the Breeders' Cup less than three months away, the big horses are starting their campaigns to earn a spot in the gate at Lone Star Park. There seven major stakes across the country last weekend with lots of big names on the track. Here is a recap of them all courtesy of the NTRA and Breeders' Cup Limited.
Race: $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1), 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles
Road to the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge - Trainer Patrick Biancone's strategy for Sunday's Haskell Invitational was pretty straightforward. Jockey Joe Bravo would let Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's LION HEART go to the front and have enough to withstand any challenges in the stretch. On cue, the Kentucky Derby runner-up set a solid but reasonable pace and turned back the only serious challenge, which came from Preferred Pals Stable's MY SNOOKIE'S BOY to win by a length with Robert LaPenta's PIES PROSPECT another 2 1/4 lengths back in third. Mercedes Stable and Madeleine Paulson's imposing ROCK HARD TEN was the 9-to-10 favorite in the nine-furlong test, but never mounted a serious challenge after racing closer to usual to the early pace, checking in sixth under jockey Corey Nakatani. A $1.4 million record purchase at the Fasig-Tipton February 2-year-old sales, Lion Heart is a chestnut colt by Tale of the Cat. He has now won five of nine career starts with three seconds, finishing fourth in the Preakness at Pimlico in his only other race. Lion Heart tuned up for the Haskell with a hard-fought head victory at 3-to-10 over former claimer My Snookie's Boy in the Long Branch Breeders' Cup over the track on July 17. Biancone said afterward that he had gambled by not training him very hard for that race with the Haskell and Travers as major goals ahead. Preakness runner-up Rock Hard Ten was impressive winning Hollywood Park's Swaps Stakes prior to the Haskell, but trainer Jason Orman said after Sunday's race that he may have asked too much to bring him back east again so quickly. Trainer Allen Iwinski claimed My Snookie's Boy for $50,000 at Gulfstream Park on April 1 and the son of Crafty Friend showed in the Haskell that his good try in the Long Branch was no fluke.
Race: $750,000 Whitney Handicap (G1), 3-year-olds & up, 1 1/8 miles
Finishing Order: 1-ROSES IN MAY, 2-PERFECT DRIFT, 3-BOWMAN'S BAND
Margins: Nose, 2 1/4, nose
Also ran: SARAVA, GYGISTAR, PEACE RULES, NEWFOUNDLAND, YESSIRGENERALSIR, SEATTLE FITZ (ARG)
Winning Connections: Owner: Ken and Sarah Ramsey; Trainer: Dale Romans; Jockey: Edgar Prado
Time: 1:48 2/5 (fast)
Road to the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge - Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey will no doubt be happy to settle for a big win in Texas in October at Lone Star Park with ROSES IN MAY . The Ramseys' ambitiously named 4-year-old colt Roses in May won the biggest race of his and trainer Dale Romans' career Saturday in the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga with a hard-fought nose victory over Stonecrest Farm's PERFECT DRIFT . It appeared before the race that there was plenty of speed in the deep field of nine lining up for the historic nine-furlong fixture. James Jackson's 50-to-1 YESSIRGENERALSIR set a blazing pace with fractions of 45 1/5 and three-quarters in 1:08 4/5 as jockey Edgar Prado on Roses in May stalked in second with a cluster of other contenders, including Edmund Gann's favorite PEACE RULES , in close attendance. As Yessirgeneralsir began to give it up by the top of the stretch, it was left to Roses in May, who raced close-up to the pace. A son of Devil His Due, Roses in May still had enough in reserve to hold off a stretch charge from Perfect Drift at the wire. Martin Schwartz' BOWMAN'S BAND rallied from last to finish third, 2 1/2 length behind the top two with New Phoenix Stable's 2002 Belmont Stakes winner SARAVA finishing fourth. Peace Rules retired to sixth. Roses in May had won a half-length decision over Perfect Drift when both last raced in the Cornhusker Breeders' Cup at Prairie Meadows on July 3. The Whitney marked Roses in May's fourth consecutive victory as he remains undefeated this year. In fact, the Whitney was his sixth victory in only nine career starts. Ironically, the $115,000 OBS April 2-year-old purchase didn't race as a 2-year-old and didn't debut until a second-place effort on Churchill Downs' Derby Day card in 2003. Romans indicated his emerging star likely will run once or twice prior to the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Race: $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (G2), 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles
Road to the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge - Starlight Stable and partners' PURGE trailed in last of nine when last seen under colors in the Belmont Stakes on June 5. Obviously refreshed and back on his game, the son of Pulpit drew off to win Sunday's Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga by 4 1/2 lengths over Robert V. LaPenta's favored THE CLIFF'S EDGE in this traditional prep for the Travers Stakes at the Spa on Aug. 28. Willmott Stable's EDDINGTON , making his first start since finishing fourth in the Belmont, was third but was disqualified to fourth for interference in the stretch. Robert N. Clay's Withers Mile and Dwyer Stakes winner MEDALLIST was made the second choice, but tired to fifth after setting the pace to near the stretch. A son of Pulpit trained by Todd Pletcher, Purge was given a 9-to-1 chance in the Belmont after capturing the Peter Pan by nearly seven lengths in his previous start. The $180,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase will now join the strong cast led by Belmont winner Birdstone expected to line up for the Travers.
Race: $600,000 West Virginia Derby (G3), 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles
Track: Mountaineer Park
Road to the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge -Tracy Farmer's homebred SIR SHACKLETON may have improved his ranking among 3-year-olds in trainer Nick Zito's arsenal this summer with a solid three-length victory in Saturday's West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park. Ridden by rising star jockey Rafael Bejarano, Sir Shackleton stalked the early pace in the field of seven and drew clear in the stretch to win by three lengths over Edgewood Farm's POLLARD'S VISION in the nine-furlong event. Southern Equine Stable's BRITT'S JULES set the pace before tiring to third, a half-length behind the runner-up. Sir Shackleton was the narrow favorite over Todd Pletcher-trained Pollard's Vision, who had won the Leonard Richards at Delaware Park in his last start. A chestnut colt by Miswaki, Sir Shackleton won the Derby Trial in the spring before a dull sixth-place finish behind Smarty Jones in the Preakness. In his lone start after that, he finished third in the Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park on July 11.
Race: $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (G1), f & m, 1 1/16 miles
Track: Del Mar
Finishing Order: 1-MISS LOREN (ARG), 2-HOUSE OF FORTUNE, 3-ROYALLY CHOSEN
Margins: 3 1/4, 1, 1
Also ran: STAR PARADE (ARG), TUCKED AWAY, ELLOLUV, VICTORY ENCOUNTER, INDY GROOVE
Winning Connections: Owner: Juan Carlos Bago; Trainer: Luis Seglin; Jockey: Jon Court
Time: 1:42 4/5 (fast)
Road to the Breeders' Cup Distaff - Presented by Nextel - Juan Carlos Bago's 6-year-old mare MISS LOREN (ARG) turned a strong field of eight fillies and mares in Sunday's Clement L. Hirsch Handicap at Del Mar upset down with a 34-to-1 upset under jockey Jon Court. Making only her third U.S. start since arriving from her native Argentina earlier this year, Miss Loren didn't just win, but romped home to score by 3 1/4 lengths over Arnold Zetcher's second choice HOUSE OF FORTUNE. Peter Abruzzo and partners' 28-to-1 ROYALLY CHOSEN finished another length back in third. Gary Tanaka's favored STAR PARADE (ARG) finished fourth and J. Paul Reddam's 2003 Breeders' Cup Distaff runner-up ELLOLUV sixth in disappointing efforts. Miss Loren finished a distant third in the Hawthorne Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 6 in her North America debut and ran well to be fourth on turf in the Beverly Hills Handicap in her only other start prior to Sunday's stunning victory. The daughter of Numerous gave her trainer and jockey a first ever stakes victory at Del Mar.
Race: $200,000 Gardenia Handicap (G3), fillies & mares, 1 1/8 miles
Road to the Breeders' Cup Distaff - Presented by Nextel - Trainer Dale Romans had a day to remember Saturday. The veteran Kentucky horseman got his first ever Grade 1 with Roses In May in the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga, and another worthy prize at Ellis Park later when Bill and Vicki Poston's 4-year-old filly ANGELA'S LOVE drew off to win the Gardenia Stakes by nearly five lengths. Lyons Stable's MISS FORTUNATE finished second in the field of six with Iron County Stable's favored BARE NECESSITIES , last year's winner, third in the nine-furlong test. Angela's Love is a 4-year-old daughter of Not For Love and finished fourth last out behind 2003 Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Adoration in the Fleur de Lis Stakes at Churchill Downs n June 12.
Race: $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes (G2), 3-year-olds, six furlongs
Road to the Breeders' Cup Sprint - Reversing the result of the Carry Back Stakes last month at Calder, Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's BWANA CHARLIE won Saturday's Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga with Joseph Balsamo's WEIGELIA third in the six-furlong test for 3-year-olds. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Bwana Charlie finished third in the Carry Back as Calder-based Weigelia won over his home track for trainer Manny Azpurua. Bwana Charlie rallied from last of seven to win the Amsterdam by three-quarters of a length over Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's favorite POMEROY in second. Purchased for $240,000 from a 2-year-olds in training sale in Texas, Bwana Charlie, a son of Indian Charlie, won the Lafayette Stakes at Keeneland before a third-place finish in the Derby Trial behind Sir Shackleton. The first three from the Amsterdam are expected to meet again in the King's Bishop Stakes on Travers Day, Aug. 28.
Previous weekend recaps:
Back to Horse-Races.Net main page
|Want to keep up with what's new on this site?|
Sign up for my weekly newsletter here.
On the Forum: