Three-year-olds enjoyed a big day in a pair of Grade 3 events at Calder last
weekend, and might do so again Friday as the Tropical meet concludes with the
2012 renewals of the Grade 3, $100,000
Turf Handicap and Grade 3, $100,000
Prevoyante Handicap for fillies and mares.
In a rousing stretch battle between Japanese Triple Crown winners, reigning
Filly Triple heroine Gentildonna outdueled last year's Triple Crown star Orfevre
by a nose in Sunday's Grade 1 Japan Cup at Tokyo. Aside from emulating her sire,
2006 Japan Cup legend Deep Impact, Gentildonna became the first sophomore filly
ever to win her nation's signature international contest. But her place in the
record book was only confirmed after she survived an inquiry, for she bumped
Orfevre in their wrestling match.
Gulfstream Park will kick off its meet Saturday with Breakfast at Gulfstream,
a family-friendly event that once again allows the public to attend Saturday
morning workouts while enjoying a breakfast buffet trackside and meeting special
Jockey Miguel Mena had a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend at
Churchill Downs, piloting the winners of the three graded events taking placing
Saturday and Sunday. He capped off the graded hat trick Sunday aboard 30-1
longshot Keep Up in the Grade 3, $115,700
Godolphin Racing's Better Lucky was no match for leading three-year-old turf
filly Dayatthespa last time out at Keeneland, but after a bizarre mishap to the
8-5 favorite in Sunday's Grade 1, $250,000
Matriarch at Hollywood Park, Better Lucky went on to post a 35-1 upset.
Bear Tough Tiger fought off stablemate Bear No Joke to earn his first stakes
score in Sunday's Grade 3, $127,940
Kennedy Road at Woodbine.
"If at first you don't succeed -- try, try again."
In Saturday's 86th running of the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill
Downs, Uncaptured defeated Frac Daddy by a neck after a thrilling stretch run
and both of those precocious two-year-olds, as well as third-place finisher
Dewey Square, were in good order Sunday morning.
Seaneen Girl's upset victory in Saturday's Grade 2 Golden Rod at Churchill
Downs had trainer Bernie Flint thinking about the first Friday in May on Sunday
While Saturday's 6TH race at Calder Race Course offered the promise of
juvenile fillies heading to the turf while still in the early stages of their
career, the human narrative of the race centered on longtime trainer Bennie
Stutts Jr., who started recent maiden winner Iwillneversaynever in what would be
the final race of the 74-year-old conditioner's career.
Even as Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap victor Stay Thirsty prepared to depart
Todd Pletcher's barn for his upcoming career at Ashford Stud near Versailles,
Kentucky, the trainer and owner Mike Repole have plenty to look forward to next
year following Unlimited Budget's front-running victory in the Grade 2
Demoiselle for juvenile fillies and Overanalyze's gritty nose triumph in the
Grade 2 Remsen for two-year-olds.
Dance Card's victory in Saturday's Grade 1 Gazelle at Aqueduct capped a
high-quality year for Godolphin Racing, becoming the outfit's fifth winner of a
Grade 1 in 2012.
Travesura was overlooked at odds of 11-1 in the circumstances. She was
overshadowed by such rivals as multiple Group 3-placed Premier Steps, the 4-5
favorite in her American debut for Chad Brown, and Surfer Girl romper Flashy
Ways, looking to rebound off a troubled 11th in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. But
the pace scenario appeared soft on paper, and Travesura took full advantage.
Westrock Stables' Den's Legacy sat chilly behind the leading trio for more
than six furlongs, dove through a gap along the inside at the top of the
stretch, and charged home a half-length winner of the Grade 3, $100,000
at Hollywood Park on Saturday. The son of Medaglia d'Oro safely held off a late
bid from Rising Legend and completed one mile on firm turf in 1:36 1/5.
John C. Oxley's Uncaptured rallied to the lead on the far turn and gamely
fought a serious challenge from Frac Daddy through the stretch to prove best in
Saturday's Grade 2, $177,150
Jockey Club at Churchill Downs. The Mark Casse-trained colt confirmed his
status as one of the early favorites for the 2013 Run for the Roses, earning 10
points in the new "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series for the gutsy neck score,
and Uncaptured swept both graded events at Churchill Downs this fall, posting a
5 1/4-length score in the Grade 3 Iroquois on October 28.
Twilight Eclipse, a three-year-old Purim gelding making only his sixth career
start, registered an 11-1 upset of Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000
McKnight Handicap at Calder. His stalk-and-pounce rally under Manoel Cruz
resulted in a 1 3/4-length triumph in a time of 2:26 3/5 for 1 1/2 miles on the
Csaba nearly stole the whole prize and Ducduc just failed to overhaul his
rival in the latter stages. In the end, both horses settled for a dead-heat in
Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000
Hooper, reaching the finish line together in the 1 1/8-mile event at Calder.
Stay Thirsty culminated both a notable career and a sensational week for
owner Mike Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher with a nail-biting victory over the
filly Groupie Doll in Saturday's Grade 1 $343,000
Mile Handicap at Aqueduct.
Godolphin Racing's Dance Card gave jockey Ramon Dominguez his fifth win on
Saturday's card at Aqueduct when posting an easy four-length victory in the Grade
Gazelle as the
Emollient tried to snatch victory away from Repole Stable's Unlimited Budget
in Saturday's Grade 2, $237,500
Demoiselle at Aqueduct, but the Street Sense filly would not be denied,
scoring by 1 1/4 lengths on the wire and improving her mark to a perfect
Naveed Chowhan's Seaneen Girl battled it out with Gal About Town in the
stretch of Saturday's Grade 2, $167,550
Rod at Churchill Downs before just getting up for a half-length score as the
31-1 longest shot in the nine-filly field.
Repole Stable's Overanalyze was confronted by Normandy Invasion down the
stretch in Saturday's Grade 2, $250,000
Stakes at Aqueduct, but the Todd Pletcher trainee fought back resiliently to
reclaim the advantage at the wire.
The day after a fantastic renewal of the Grade 1 Clark Handicap under the
Twin Spires, the top three finishers were in fine order in their stalls at
Churchill Downs, but definite plans for each horse have yet to be decided.
Michael Lauffer and Bill Cubbedge's homebred Shackleford concluded his racing
career in grand style Friday, winning the Grade 1, $447,000
Handicap over his home track at Churchill Downs, and the distinguished colt
now heads to stud at Darby Dan Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.
Repole Stable's Caixa Eletronica turned Thursday's Grade 3, $147,000
Highweight Handicap into a mismatch, winning Aqueduct's traditional Thanksgiving
Day feature by a widening four-length margin. The seven-year-old horse chased in
second as pacesetter and 6-5 favorite This Ones for Phil established opening
splits in :22 2/5 and :44 4/5 on a short lead, drew even after turning into the
stretch and dominated the latter stages, finishing six furlongs in 1:08 3/5 on
the fast track.
Japanese superstar Orfevre suffered an agonizing defeat at the hands of the
unheralded French filly Solemia in the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe last
out, but aims to turn the tables back on his own home turf in Sunday's Grade 1
Japan Cup at Tokyo.
Data Link, hero of the Grade 1 Maker's Mark Mile and Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes
in course-record time earlier this year, was coming off a pair of losses. The
elegant bay couldn't catch Dominus while giving him eight pounds in the Grade 2
Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga September 1, and he was most recently a
troubled fifth to Wise Dan in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland
Nearly seven months after landing the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile on turf at
8-1, Chappell Alpine Farms' Hudson Landing took a Grade 3 event on the Golden
Gate Fields Tapeta surface in Friday's $100,000
Phipps Stable's Boisterous, winner of the Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap and
Grade 3 Knickerbocker in his last two starts, will carry the top weight of 124
pounds when he faces 11 rivals in Sunday's 35th running of the Grade 3, $100,000
Handicap at Churchill Downs. The 1 1/8-mile turf affair highlights the
11-race closing-day program.
Dayatthespa, who has won five in a row at three different tracks, will try to
keep her streak alive in the $250,000
Stakes on Sunday at Hollywood Park. The one mile event for older fillies and
mares is part of a Grade 1 grass doubleheader on the final day of the Turf
Festival. The 10-race program also includes the $250,000
Derby, which drew an overflow of 15 three-year-olds at 1 1/4 miles.
No filly or mare in the 23-year existence of the
has won the one-mile fixture at Aqueduct, though few have tried. Fresh off a
championship clinching win in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint,
Groupie Doll will attempt to make a little history before the year is out when
she faces six male rivals in Saturday's renewal of the $350,000 handicap.
After Mackie Racing's Kya One finished a belated fifth to Naples Bay in her
U.S. debut in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel over a mile at Belmont Park, trainer Chad
Brown explained that his new recruit really needed more ground. That proposition
was tested, and confirmed, in Thursday's Grade 3, $100,000
Charmer Handicap at Calder, where Kya One profited from an extra furlong to
defeat Naples Bay by a cozy 1 1/4 lengths.
Bob Baffert was virtually assured of continuing his stranglehold on
Thursday's Grade 3, $100,000
Prevue Stakes by entering four of the five runners, and the Hall of Famer's
quartet duly gobbled up the top four placings in the Thanksgiving Day feature.
Less predictable, however, was the identity of the Baffert-trained winner --
Really Mr Greely, the 11-1 longest shot on the board, who led throughout to
upset 4-5 favorite Super Ninety Nine.
After posting convincing wins in the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm and Lady's
Secret, Afleeting Lady made it three in a row on the Thanksgiving Day program at
Churchill Downs, scoring by a 2 1/4-length margin in the Grade 2, $162,450
Allowed to settle just off the early pace, Maggi Moss's Delaunay took command
in upper stretch and drew off for a 2 1/2-length tally in the 87th running of
Fair Grounds' $98,000
Thanksgiving Handicap, the New Orleans oval's tradition-rich annual opening
day highlight, giving nine-time Fair Grounds trainer champion Tom Amoss his
first winner in the Turkey Day feature attraction.
Robert Masterson's Nefertini earned the biggest win of her 10-race career
with a game performance in Friday's Grade 2, $196,000
Wand Handicap at Aqueduct.
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) posted an 11.5 percent gain in total
handle during the recently concluded Belmont Park fall meet, with additional
increases in NYRA Rewards account wagering and wagering on NYRA races. Belmont
Park's fall meet ran 36 days from September 8 to October 28, 2012.
The final Saturday of the Tropical meet at Calder features two graded stakes,
the Grade 2, $150,000
McKnight Handicap and the Grade 3, $100,000
Fred W. Hooper
The Hollywood Park Turf Festival continues Saturday with a pair of Grade 3
stakes for two-year-olds, the $100,000
Miesque for fillies, and both races will be contested at a mile on turf.
John Sadler will try to become only the second trainer to win the Generous in
consecutive years when he sends out a pair, Rising Legend and Under Review, and
he is responsible for top contender Pussycat Lips in the Miesque later on the
After posting a 5 1/2-length score in the Iroquois Stakes on October 28,
Uncaptured will look to keep his momentum rolling while
stretching back out to a two-turn distance in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000
Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs. The Lion Heart colt can enhance his reputation as a
leading Kentucky Derby candidate with a strong showing in the 1 1/16-mile event.
Shackleford, whose Grade 1 exploits include the 2011 Preakness and the
Metropolitan Handicap last May, will bow out of the racing scene Friday in the
Grade 1, $400,000
at Churchill Downs. The 1 1/8-mile Clark, which dates to Churchill's founding
year of 1875, anchors the 12-race Black Friday program, with the Clark set to go
off shortly after sunset.
He's won more than $6 million at the Dubai World Cup Carnival over the years
and globe-trotting trainer Mike de Kock is hoping that his current group of new
hopefuls can add to his Dubai spoils.
Ultimate Eagle, who capped a four-race winning streak in the Grade 1
Hollywood Derby at last year's Turf Festival, will kick off the 2012 Festival by
making his comeback in Friday's Grade 2, $250,000
Handicap at Hollywood Park. Sidelined for nine months since weakening to
10th in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, the Michael Pender trainee will clash
with stablemate and defending champion Jeranimo; East Coast shipper Data Link
and his frequent foe Doubles Partner; and former Argentinean Horse of the Year
The 14th edition of the $850,000 Claiming Crown promises to make opening day
at Gulfstream Park an even more special occasion on December 1, judging from the
long and talented list of nominees for the seven-race series that will be
renewed for the first time at the Hallandale Beach, Florida, track.
The North American International Catalogue Standards Committee (NAICSC) on
Monday announced that effective January 1, 2014, additional quality control
requirements will be implemented for races in North America eligible for
non-Listed black-type in SITA catalogues (those compliant with guidelines
required by the Society of International Thoroughbred Auctioneers).
Shoppers searching for ideas for unique holiday gifts have the opportunity to
present family members, friends and business associates with a view of Churchill
Downs' venerable Twin Spires on Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks Days with an
online advance purchase of either general admission tickets to those great
racing and entertainment events, or two-day reserved seats for Derby and Oaks in
the track's new Section 110 venue.
Five fillies and mares will be shopping for a graded victory on Friday at
Aqueduct when they go postward in the Grade 2, $200,000