Fiery Pursuit shot to the lead and kept on rolling, holding off a hard-charging Asi Siempre by a head in the $328,200 Louisville Breeders' Cup Stakes Friday over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs.
Stronach Stable's homebred Sugar Shake brings a three-race winning streak, including a Santa Maria Handicap (gr. I) victory in her most recent start for trainer Bobby Frankel, into the $300,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup (gr. II) for fillies and mares at Churchill Downs Friday.
Arthur and Stephanie Preston's Ermine rallied four wide under Eddie Castro to win the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) going away by 1 1/4 lengths before a crowd of 26,003 on Saturday afternoon at Oaklawn Park.
Fox Hill Farm's Round Pond, winner of last year's Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) and five of six career starts at Oaklawn Park, will return with her "home court advantage" as she heads a tough field of eight older mares in the 42nd running of the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) April 7.
Owners Clinton and Susan Atkins had hoped to watch their 3-year-old filly Baghdaria race under Churchill Downs' famed twin spires on the first Friday in May. The filly didn't compete in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), but they have a second chance to compete at Churchill with a berth in the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
Along with Classic contenders Sun King and Flower Alley putting in their final drills for Saturday's World Championships at Churchill Downs, several other runners stretched their legs under the Twin Spires.
A field of 10 sophomore fillies will contest the $400,000-added Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. III) Friday evening at Hoosier Park. Puglisi Stables and Steve Klesaris' Miraculous Miss has been selected as the 5-2 favorite for the 1 1/16 miles event.
Javier Castellano did not have an easy time choosing between Pine Island and Sugar Shake -- two fillies he had ridden to victories at the meet -- in Saturday's 90th running of the grade I Coaching Club American Oaks, the closing day feature of Belmont Park's spring/summer meet.
Baghdaria made up a 2 1/2-length disadvantage in the stretch to collar the co-favorite Maggie Slew in the final stages to win the $200,000 Iowa Oaks (gr. III) at Prairie Meadows Friday night.
Smart N Pretty got under the wire first, but Regal Engagement was awarded victory in the $250,000 Woodford Reserve Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) Friday afternoon at Pimlico.
She's An Eleven is among the likely favorites for Friday's $250,000 Woodford Reserve Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) at Pimlico.
Baghdaria kept battling after being passed by the heavily favored French Park and won the $269,200 Silverbulletday (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs by a head Saturday.