The Breeders' Cup is only 4 short weeks away and this weekend was the last prep for many of the top contenders with 16 graded races from North America and Europe 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. This is the last of these recaps they will be doing for this year.
Race: $1 million The Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), 3yos & up, 1 1/4 miles
Road to the Breeders'Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge – A frustrating season for connections and many fans ofSackatoga Stable's 4-year-old gelding FUNNY CIDE got a whole lot better Saturdaywhen the big chestnut drove to a three-quarter length victory in The JockeyGold Cup at Belmont Park. With regular rider Jose Santos back in the saddleafter missing the mount for Funny Cide's last start with a broken wrist, the2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness hero ran a strange race while taking the leadand being wrested back by his regular saddle partner. In fact, it appeared thatthe son of Distorted Humor was dropping back when third nearing the quarterpole, but Funny Cide dug in to split horse and run by Sumaya Us Stable's20-to-1 NEWFOUNDLAND in the final sixteenth. Robert V.LaPenta's 3-year-old THE CLIFF'S EDGE made a bold bid from last of seveninto the stretch, but flattened out to third, a length behind the runner-up.Jay Em Ess Stable's 3-year-old Pennsylvania Derby winner LOVE OF MONEY was made a very slight favoriteover Funny Cide in the 10-furlong test, but tired to sixth after setting thepace for most of the first mile. Funny Cide hadn't won since the ExcelsiorBreeders' Cup at Aqueduct in early April before running well enough to place inthe Massachusetts Handicap, Suburban Handicap and the Saratoga Breeders' Cupfor trainer Barclay Tagg. After the emotional victory Saturday, Tagg confirmedFunny Cide for the Breeders' Cup Classic, noting he would not have gone to LoneStar if his prize charge hadn't won Saturday. Funny Cide goes to the Classic ona distinctly higher note than last year at Santa Anita when he was making hisfirst start since the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park in early August. Hefinished a dull ninth after bearing out badly in the first turn under jockey Julie Krone. Newfoundland also may have earned a trip to Lone Star with trainerTodd Pletcher's powerful contingent. However, it was revealed Sunday morningthat That Cliff's Edge had broken an ankle in the race and was retired.
Race: $750,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup (G2), 3yos & up, 1 1/4 miles
Road to the Breeders'Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge - Stonecrest Farm's homebred 5-year-old gelding PERFECT DRIFT has earned more than $650,000 thisyear without visiting the winners' circle in seven starts for trainer MurrayJohnson. The son of Dynaformer was the 1-to-2 favorite in Saturday's 10-furlongHawthorne Gold Cup in Chicago, but had to settle for second-money for the fifthtime this season. Perfect Drift held the lead in the stretch but Equirase andRon Peitz' 6-year-old FREEFOURINTERNET rallied from last of seven to winby 1 3/4 lengths at odds of 27-to-1. Trained by former D. Wayne Lukas assistantMike Maker, Freefourinternet had earned almost all of his near $600,000 careerbankroll on turf prior to Saturday. The son of Tabasco Cat finished arespectable sixth in the NetJets Mile at Santa Anita for trainer Joan Scott,beaten only 3 1/2 lengths for it all. Freefourinternet was making only his secondstart for Maker after winning the Labor Day Handicap at Mountaineer Park onturf. No definite plans were revealed for the winner or Perfect Drift.
Race: $500,000 Goodwood Breeders' Cup (G2), 3yos & up, 1 1/8 miles
Road to the Breeders'Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge - It appears unlikelythat Saturday's renewal of the Goodwood Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita will havethe impact on the Breeders' Cup Classic as last fall when Pleasantly Perfectwon both races. A field of five older horses went to the post Saturday withStud TNT's 4-year-old LUNDY'SLIABILITY (BRZ) prevailingby a head over Sultan al Kabeer's 6-year-old TOTAL IMPACT(CHI) after the two dueledfrom the start of the nine-furlong test, trading the lead several times.Lundy's Liability was making his North American debut after making his firsttwo career starts in South Africa last year and three starts this year inDubai. The Brazilian-bred son of Candy Stripes was making his first start sincewinning the United Arab Emirates Derby on Dubai World Cup Day, March 27, andfirst since being sent to California with trainer Bobby Frankel. Total Impactwas the even-money favorite after winning the Hollywood Gold Cup and finishinga good third in the Pacific Classic behind Pleasantly Perfect in his last twostarts for trainer Laura DeSeoux. A 20 per cent supplementary fee would berequired for either Lundy's Liability or Total Impact to run in the Breeders'Cup Classic.
Race: $750,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1), 3yos & up, 1 1/2 miles on turf
Road to the John DeereBreeders' Cup Turf– Ken and Sarah Ramsey's homebred KITTEN'S JOY has been well established as thebest 3-year-old on turf in the nation this season with five stakes victories.Trained by Dale Romans, the homebred son of El Prado posted easy scores in theVirginia Derby at Colonial Downs and Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park inhis last two starts. Saturday at Belmont Park, Kitten's Joy stepped up to faceolder horse and try 12 furlongs for the first time in the Joe Hirsch TurfClassic. He handled both nicely, drawing off in the stretch to win by 2 1/2lengths under jockey John Velazquez with Michael Tabor's MAGISTRETTI second, three-quarters of a lengthbefore Mrs. John Magnier's Irish invader TYCOON (GB) third in the field of seven. Romans plans to take Kitten's Joy to LoneStar two weeks before the John Deere Turf along with the Ramseys' Classiccontender Roses in May.
Race: $1.9 million Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1), 3yos & up, 1 1/2 miles (turf)
Road to the John Deere Breeders' CupTurf – NiarchosFamily's homebred 3-year-old BAGO (FR) has been a star from the beginningas champion 2-year-old in France last year. Sunday at Longchamp, the son ofNashwan captured his biggest prize with a determined stretch drive to win thePrix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp by a half-length over Lagardere Family'sCHERRYMIX (FR) in a field of 19.Trained by Jonathan Pease, Bago gave the powerful Niarchos Family stable theirfirst ever Arc victory. Bago won his first six starts through this summer, butfinished third as the favorite in the Juddmonte International at York won bySulamani (IRE) and the Prix Niel, the Arc prep at Longchamp. Pease is a 52-year-old Englishman that has trained in Francefor most of his career. He is best known to American racing fans for Tikkanen'svictory in the 1994 Turf at Churchill Downs for Augustin Stable and SpinningWorld's score in the 1997 Mile at Hollywood Park for Niarchos family. Thestable's defending NetJets Mile champion filly Six Perfections (FR), trained byPascal Bary, will be defending her title at Lone Star. Racing manager Alan Cooper reiterated what Bago'sconnections have said all season that the dark bay's target would be theBreeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge - rather than the John Deere Turf.Finishing a very good third Sunday was Lord Derby's 3-year-old filly OUIJA BOARD (GB), beaten only 1 1/2lengths for it all. Trainer Ed Dunlop said afterward that the English and IrishOaks winner could be a candidate for the Filly & Mare Turf at Lone Star.
Race: $250,000 Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship (G1), 3-year-olds & up, 1 1/4 miles on turf
Star Over the Bay
Road to the John DeereBreeders' Cup Turf– G Racing and partner's 6-year-old gelding STAR OVER THE BAY has been a modelof consistency for trainer Mike Mitchell and his owners since being claimed for$80,000 at Hollywood Park in mid-May from a winning effort. The roan/gray sonof Cozzene won his third consecutive stakes Sunday at Santa Anita with awire-to-wire victory in the Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship.Ridden by Tyler Baze as a 5-to-1 chance, Star Of The Bay led by as much aseight lengths and held Gary Tanaka's 7-year-old SARAFAN safe by three-quartersof a length in the stretch with Cheveley Park Stud's VANGELIS anotherthree-quarters back in third. Prestonwood Farm's BAYAMO (IRE), the 7-to-5favorite was pulled up in the final turn of the 10-furlong test with asuspensory injury. Mitchell confirmed Star Over The Bay as a starter in theJohn Deere Turf. In fact, he made his first start after the claim at Lone Star,losing a neck decision in the Dallas Turf Cup in June. In two starts betweenthen and Sunday, Star Over The Bay won the 12-furlong Sunset Handicap atHollywood Park and 11-furlong Del Mar Handicap.
Race: $250,000 Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup (G2), f & m, 1 1/16 miles
Road to the Breeders'Cup Distaff – Presentedby Nextel - Out of action since and unfortunate trip to Japan for a richturf race in June, Everest Stable's 4-year-old filly ISLAND FASHION got back on her game Sunday atSanta Anita, winning the Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup. Trained by MarceloPolanco, the roan/gray daughter of Petionville scored by a half length overLlers Corp.'s MISS LOREN (ARG) with J. Paul Reddam's 2003Breeders' Cup Distaff runner-up ELLOLUV third, a head behind the runner-up.Island Fashion won the Delaware Oaks and Alabama Stakes at Saratoga as a3-year-old last summer, the latter for trainer Barclay Tagg. Polanco picked herup in California last fall and she had a strong winter and early springcampaign, winning the La Brea and Santa Monica Handicap and finishing second toSouthern Image in the Santa Anita Handicap. In one more start prior to the tripto Japan, Island Fashion finished a disappointing fourth at 9-to-5 behind Azeriin the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park in early April. Both IslandFashion and Elloluv are expected for the Distaff at Lone Star Park.
Race: $250,000 Cotillion Handicap (G2), 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles
Road to the Breeders'Cup Distaff – Presentedby Nextel - By the morning after Starlight Stable's ASHADO finished third in the Alabama Stakesat Saratoga on Aug. 21, trainer Todd Pletcher had checked off Saturday'sCotillion Stakes at Philadelphia Park as her final Breeders' Cup Distafftune-up. Winner of the Kentucky Oaks and the Coaching Club American Oaks atBelmont Park, Ashado stalked the early pace in the Cotillion and the daughterof Saint Ballado easily ran clear to win the 1 1/16 miles test by 2 3/4 lengthsover Richard Masson's ENDER'S SISTER. Pletcher's choice of the Cotillionwas based on the timing four weeks before the Breeders' Cup and a finalopportunity to stay in her age group before the big test.
Race: $400,000 Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks (G2), 3yo fillies, 1 1/16 miles
Road to the Breeders' Cup Distaff – Presented byNextel - A particularly strong field of 3-year-old fillies assembled forFriday night's renewal of the Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks at Hoosier Park,several apparently not anxious to face division leader Ashado in Saturday'sCotillion Handicap at Philadelphia Park. Ogden Mills Phipps' DAYDREAMING drove to a 1 1/2 lengths victory overMadcapt Stable's Monmouth Oaks winner CAPESIDE LADY with Spendthrift Farm's even-moneyfavorite STELLARJAYNE third, a head behindthe runner-up in the field of seven. Daydreaming is a homebred daughter of A.P.Indy and had finished second to D. Wayne Lukas-trainer Stellar Jane in theGazelle Handicap at Belmont in their last meeting on Sept. 11. Winning trainerShug McGaughey said afterward that they would get Daydreaming back home toBelmont for a few days before making any plans for her future.
Race: $150,000 Prix Daniel Wildenstein (G2), 3yo & up, one mile turf
Track: Longchamp (France)
Finishing Order: 1-CACIQUE (IRE), 2-HURRICANE ALAN (IRE), 3-MISTER SACHA (FR)
Margins: Half, head, 1 1/2
Also ran: ASTI (IRE), KELTOS (FR), GRANDES ILLUSIONS (FR), POLAR BEAR (GB), MY RISK (FR), BAQAH (IRE), HOVMAN (DEN), ECLIPSE WEST (ARG)
Winning Connections: Owner: Khalid Abdullah; Trainer: Andre Fabre, Jockey: Christopher Soumillon
Time: 1:37 2/5 (good)
Road to the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile – In Saturday's one-mile Prix Daniel Wildenstein atLongchamp, formerly known as the Prix Rond-Pont, Khalid Abdullah's 3-year-oldhomebred colt CACIQUE (IRE) rallied from off the pace to win bya half-length. Trained by Andre Fabre, Cacique is a son of Danehill andfull-brother to Abdullah's 2001 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mary Turf winnerBanks Hill. Cacique finished fourth last out to Sulamani (IRE) in the 10-furlongJuddmonte International at York. Prior to Saturday's victory, the bay colt hadmade all of his six starts this year with jockey Gary Stevens aboard.Christophe Soumillon got the call Saturday and Fabre said afterward that theNetJets Mile at Lone Star would likely be Cacique's next start.
Race: $750,000 Flower Bowl Invitational (G1), f & m, 1 1/4 miles on turf
Road to the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf – Fox Ridge Farm's 5-year-old homebredmare RISKAVERSEfell a half-length short witha big rally in the stretch when second last out to Crimson Palace (SAF) in theBeverly D Stakes at Arlington Park on Aug. 14. With a sixteenth more realestate to work with in Saturday's Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont Park, thedaughter of Dynaformer rallied down the outside to win by three-quarters of alength over Alain Falourd and partners' 4-year-old filly COMMERCANTE (FR). Michael Nentwig and partners'California shipper MOSCOW BURNING set the pace to the furlong markerand held well for third, beaten a head for second in the 10-furlong fixture.Joan and John Phillips' 5-year-old homebred WONDER AGAIN was the even-money favorite in thefield of nine, but failed to kick on in the stretch after stalking MoscowBurning through the first mile. Trained by Pat Kelly, Riskaverse finished aneven sixth in the Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita last fall and has wonmore than $1.5 million. Kelly expressed some concern that this year's Filly& Mare Turf would be run around three turns at 11 furlongs rather than thetwo turns at 10 furlongs of the last three renewals, but would give the raceserious consideration.
Race: $500,000 Yellow Ribbon Invitational (G1), f & m, 1 1/4 miles in turf
Road to the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf –Juddmonte Farm's 4-year-old filly LIGHT JIG (GB) almost certainly ran herself intothe Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf with an impressive four-length victoryin Saturday's Yellow Ribbon Invitational at Santa Anita. The homebred daughterof Danehill joined trainer Bobby Frankel's stable in California over the winterafter showing moderate form for trainer Pascal Bary in France last year. LightJig obviously took to her new environment winning three of her first fourstarts, including the Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park in late June. Inher last start, Light Jig was the 7-to-5 favorite for the John C. MabeeHandicap at Del Mar, but finished a dull sixth, although beaten only threelengths for it all. J. Paul Reddam's TANGLE (IRE) finished second in the field of 10Saturday going 10 furlongs. Juddmonte may also be represented in the Filly& Mare Turf by 4-year-old Storm Cat filly NEBRASKA TORNADO, who finished third in Saturday'sSun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket for trainer Andre Fabre.
Race: $250,000 Prix de l'Abbaye (G1), 2yos & up, five furlongs on turf
Track: Longchamp (France)
Finishing Order: 1-VAR, 2-THE TATLING (IRE), 3-ROYAL MILLENIUM (IRE)
Margins: Half, 1, neck
Also ran: OSTERCHASE (IRE), AVONBRIDGE (GB), ORIENTATOR (GB), PATAVELLIAN (IRE), RINGMOOR DOWN (GB), BAHAMIAN PIRATE, CONTINENT (GB), RAFFELBERGER (GER), RATIO (GB), LUCKY STRIKE (GB), THE TRADER (IRE), GRAND REWARD
Winning Connections: Owner: Mohammed Rashid; Trainer: Clive Brittain; Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Time: 55 (good/firm)
Road to the Breeders' Cup Sprint – Sunday's renewal of the Prix del'Abbaye at Longchamp may have produced a European contender for the Breeders'Cup Sprint after Mohammed Rashid's 5-year-old Kentucky-bred VAR won the five-furlong turf dash by ahalf-length in a field of 15. The son of Forest Wildcat was making his thirdstart in Europe for trainer Clive Brittain after racing in the U.S., winning anoptional claiming turf sprint on Jan. 2 at Calder. Var broke his maiden in amain track race at Aqueduct in April 2003 when racing for a $30,000 claimingprice. Brittain said after the race, "the Breeders' Cup Sprint could be in thecards as well as the Hong Kong Sprint (Dec. 12)." Var raced for Sheikh Mohammedal Maktoum's Darley Stable in the U.S. and won the l'Abbaye in his son's name.
Race: $500,000 Vosburgh Stakes (G1), 3-year-olds & up, six furlongs
Road to the Breeders' Cup Sprint – Gary Tanaka's 5-year-old PICO CENTRAL(BRZ) lives in Californiaat Hollywood Park, but returned to Belmont Park, where he won the MetropolitanHandicap in late May. The son of Spend A Buck was very impressive again onSaturday winning the six-furlong Vosburgh Stakes by four lengths. Susan andJohn Moore's 23-to-1 longshot VOODOO edged by Eugene and Laura Melnyk's4-to-5 favorite SPEIGHTSTOWN for second in the field of justfive. Padua Stable and John and Joseph Iracane's 2003 Breeders' Cup Sprintwinner CAJUNBEAT finished arespectable fourth in his first start since finishing fourth in the DubaiGolden Shaheen Stakes in late March. Trained by Paulo Lobo, Pico Central firstmade an impression in New York winning the Carter Handicap at Aqueduct inApril. In his only start between the Met Mile and Vosburgh, he finished thirdas the 2-to-5 favorite in the Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup at Del Mar inmid-August. Tanaka and Lobo will take the next week to decide whether tosupplement to the Breeders' Cup for a 20 per cent fee. Cajun Beat won theBreeders' Cup Sprint for trainer Steve Margolis, but was making his first startSaturday for trainer Bobby Frankel. The 4-year-old Grand Slam gelding ran well afterthe lengthy layoff and breaking from post one, beaten only a half-length and ahead for second. Speightstown was undefeated in four starts prior to theVosburgh, but obviously didn't run his best race. Trainer Todd Pletcher will goahead with plans to take him to Lone Star Park for the Sprint.
Race: $200,000 Norfolk Stakes (G1), 2-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles
Road to the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile –Sunday's Norfolk Stakes at SantaAnita proved little more than a public workout for Fog City Stable's 2-year-oldROMAN RULER as the son of freshman sireFusaichi Pegasus likely goes to Texas as the favorite for the Bessemer TrustJuvenile. The $500,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase was sent off the1-to-20 favorite against just three rivals in the Norfolk, cruising home to winby 4 1/2 lengths under jockey Corey Nakatani with Eagle Oak Farm's BOSTON GLORY alone in second. Trained by BobBaffert, Roman Ruler was upset when beaten a neck in the Del Mar Futurity byDeclan's Moon in his last start as the 1-to-10 favorite. Baffert added blinkersfor the Norfolk.
Race: $200,000 Oak Leaf Stakes (G2), 2-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles
Road to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies – Pam and Martin Wygod's homebred2-year-old filly SWEET CATOMINE won the Del Mar Debutante in lateAugust as a maiden in her second start on Aug. 28. Saturday at Santa Anita, thebig daughter of Storm Cat dominated eight rivals in the 1 1/16 miles Oak LeafStakes, scoring by four lengths under jockey Corey Nakatani. Peter Vegso'shomebred SPLENDID BLENDED was made the 7-to-5 favorite afteran impressive debut victory at Del Mar for trainer Neil Drysdale, but was nomatch for the winner, finishing second. Trained by Julio Canani, Sweet Catominewill go to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies as one of the favorites.
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