Pleasant Hill may have been 20-1 on the morning line for the $150,000 Gardenia Handicap (gr. III) at muggy Ellis Park Aug. 18, but the bettors weren't having it. The 4-year-old daughter of Pleasant Tap led all the way in her stakes debut at odds of 7-2 to win by one length over High Heels.
Union Avenue opened up a clear advantage in the stretch and was able to hold off an unlucky Can't Beat It by a half-length to capture the $250,000 American Derby (gr. IIT) at odds of 23-1 for trainer Bill Mott on the Arlington Park turf course Saturday.
Lyon Stables' Miss Fortunate closed strongest of all to defeat Sheer Luck and Whoopi Cat in an exciting finish to the $175,000 Turfway Breeders' Cup (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares at Turfway Park Saturday.
Breaking quickly from the inside post, Molto Vita led every step of the way, holding off 4-5 favorite Tina Bull by a neck to win the $100,000 Ellis Park Breeders' Cup Handicap for fillies and mares Saturday.
Anna Em, ridden by Larry Melancon, jumped out to a quick lead and drew off for an impressive 6 1/2-length victory over stablemate Movant in the first running of the $112,300 Open Mind for 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs.
Team Valor Stable's Tiger Hunt overcame a bad start in his second career outing to post a 1 1/4-length win in Monday's $200,000 Miller Genuine Draft Cradle Stakes for 2-year-olds at Cincinnati's River Downs.
Ridden by Larry Melancon, Forest Shadows charged through the stretch to win the $113,500 Edgewood Stakes, the first stake on Friday's Kentucky Oaks card at Churchill Downs. The 3-year-old Woodman filly defeated Unbridled Femme and Ebony Breeze as she stopped the timer in 1:35.35 for the one mile on turf.
Roxelana, with Larry Melancon up, took the early lead and turned back a prolonged challenge by Freefourracing for a length victory in Friday's featured $58,200 allowance race for fillies and mares at Churchill Downs.
Bill Landes' Roxelana, an easy winner at Turfway Park in her return to competition in September, will continue her comeback on Friday in a six-furlong allowance race over her home track at Churchill Downs.
Mapp Hill took advantage of a fast early pace to close resolutely down the stretch and take the $75,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes easily at Fair Grounds on Monday, defeating Lead by Example and Cojet in the six-furlong race for 2-year-olds.
Morton Fink's Guided Tour, shipped into Southern California from Louisiana by trainer Niall O'Callaghan, posted a mild upset in the $300,000 San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park on Sunday, defeating Lethal Instrument by a length and a half under jockey Larry Melancon. Moonlight Charger finished third, with ex-claimer Freedom Crest, the odds-on favorite, bringing up the rear in the eight-horse field.