With the Breeders' Cup only a month away now, the preps are slowing up with only 4 stakes races from North America and England this week. Nest week is the big weekend with a ton of races schedule where most horses will be making their last prep. Here is a recap of all the races from last weekend courtesy of the NTRA and Breeders' Cup Limited.
Race: $500,000 Super Derby (G2), 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles
Track: Louisiana Downs
Finishing Order: 1-FANTASTICAT, 2-BORREGO, 3-BRITT’S JULES
Margins: Half, 1 1/4, 4
Also ran: IMPERIALISM, CABALLERO NEGRO, CRYTOGRAPH, XIRIUS, MR. JESTER, SOUTH AFRICA
Winning Connections: Owner: R Bar S Thoroughbreds; Trainer: Bobby Barnett; Jockey: Gerald Melancon
Time: 1:51 2/5 (muddy)
Road to the Breeders’ Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge – There were high hopes for R Bar S Thoroughbred’s 3-year-old FANTASTICAT as a son of Storm Cat beginning his career in Ireland for owner Michael Tabor and trainer Aidan O’Brien. The bay colt disappointed in his first two races in Ireland and was sold privately and shipped back to the U.S., breaking his maiden at Fair Grounds in late February in his seventh start. Saturday at Louisiana Downs, patience was rewarded when 14-to-1 longshot Fantasticat splashed to a half-length victory over Jon Kelly and partners’ second choice BORREGO in the Super Derby. Placed with veteran horseman Bobby Barnett after breaking his maiden, Fantasticat has improved steadily over the summer and just missed when second in the Prelude Stakes over the track last out. Steve Taub’s favored IMPERIALISM finished fourth in Saturday’s field of nine 3-year-olds in his first start since finishing fifth in the Preakness.
Race: $200,000 Kentucky Cup Turf (G2), 3-year-olds & up, 1 1/2 miles on turf
Road to the John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf – Monty Roberts’ 6-year-old SABIANGO (GER) was impressive winning the 10-furlong Charles Whittingham Handicap at Hollywood Park in his first start this year on June 12. However, the front running chestnut stopped badly after showing early speed last out in the Arlington Million on Aug. 14, retiring to last of 11 in his only his second start this year. Saturday at Kentucky Downs, Sabiango was back on the lead in the 12-furlong Kentucky Cup Turf and went all the way to win by three lengths under jockey Brice Blanc as the favorite. Augustin Stable’s second choice ROCHESTER, winner of the race the last two years, finished second in the field of six. Sabiango was first brought to the U.S. last fall by his German owners and trainer, finishing fourth in the Turf Classic at Belmont Park and fifth in the Canadian International at Woodbine. After an unfortunate foray to Hong Kong in December, he was sold privately to Roberts and placed with trainer Bob Baffert, who credited assistant trainer Tim Yakteen with his preparation of Sabiango for the Charles Whittingham. Roberts is a veteran horseman known as the ‘Horse Whisperer’. Yakteen, a longtime assistant for Whittingham, went out on his own this summer and Sabiango was making his first start for Yakteen in Saturday’s race.
Race: $450,000 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (G1), 3yos & up, one mile on turf
Road to the NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile – Gary Tanaka’s 5-year-old RAKTI (GB) has been a prominent international competitor since winning the Italian Derby in 2002, but his reputation has been earned competing in major events at 10 furlongs for the most part. The son of Polish Precedent won the Champion Stakes at Newmarket last fall and the Prince of Wales’s in June at Royal Ascot. Saturday at Ascot, trainer Michael Jarvis turned Rakti back in distance for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in one of the strongest fields of milers assembled this year in Europe, and the English-bred bay stalked the early pace and drove to a neck victory over Abdulla Buhaleeba’s LUCKY STORY. Godolphin’s REFUSE TO BEND (IRE) finished 2 1/2 lengths back in third with Elite Racing Club’s 4-year-old filly SOVIET SONG (IRE) checking in sixth as the favorite in the field of 11. Rakti’s erratic temper has been a cause for concern in the past and he had not performed to his ability in his last two starts. He had finished eighth to Refuse to Bend in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown in early July and fifth last out behind Azamour (IRE) in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown just two weeks ago. Jarvis said after Saturday’s race that a start in the NetJets Mile at Lone Star Park would be seriously considered for Rakti with the Hong Kong Cup in mid-December to follow.
Race: $200,000 Jamaica Handicap (G2), 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles on turf
Racing to the NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile – Timber Bay Farm and Mrs. Thomas Walsh’s 3-year-old ARTIE SCHILLER was the 3-to-10 favorite to win Sunday’s Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park and ran like it as he cruised to a 5 1/4 lengths victory in the nine-furlong test. Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, the son of El Prado was winning for the fifth time in his last six starts, punctuated by a good second to division leader Kitten’s Joy in the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs. Artie Schiller’s career turf record now stands at seven wins and two seconds in nine starts. Jerkens said after the race that he may run the $67,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase back in the Kelso Breeders’ Cup Mile at Belmont in two weeks on Oct. 9. Artie Schiller’s time of 1:45 2/5 for the 1 1/8 miles on turf lowered the course record by a fifth.
Previous weekend recaps:
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