Critical Eye swept to the lead in the final strides to win Saturday's $250,000 Hempstead Handicap (gr. I) by a neck over Jostle at Belmont Park. The win marks the second career grade I victory for the New York-bred daughter of Dynaformer.
Beautiful Pleasure, the champion older mare of 1999, will make her first start of the year in Saturday's grade I Hempstead Handicap at Belmont Park where the 6-year-old mare will face seven rivals in the 1 1/16 mile contest, including stablemate Darling My Darling. Beautiful Pleasure races for John Oxley while Darling My Darling races for his wife, Debby Oxley, both are trained by John and Donna Ward.
Darling My Darling, who had not started since finishing sixth in the Churchill Downs Distaff (gr. II) last November, returned victoriously to racing with a 1 1/4-length win in Gulfstream Park's eighth race Monday.
Nominees to the five Fall Meet stakes races scheduled for Breeders' Cup Week at Churchill Downs feature top American runners, plus a strong representation of European-based horses. A total of 245 horses were nominated to the five races in the opening six days of the Fall Meet, Oct. 29-Nov. 25.
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Darling My Darling tracked dueling favorites Surfside and Roxelana and rallied through the stretch to win the $75,000 Raven Run Stakes Wednesday at Keeneland.
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