Memorial Maniac came from off the pace to score his first graded-stakes win in the $100,000 Stars and Stripes Turf (gr. IIIT), the first of four graded stakes on the Arlington Park turf Aug. 21.
MAHUBAH'S CORNER, by Avalyn Hunter
Three times is impressive in any race; Good Ba Ba's three-peat in the group I Hong Kong Mile was an even greater feat because it came against some of the world's best racehorses.
Odds-on choice Vacare gave trainer Christophe Clement his 1,000th lifetime win in her final career start when she rallied in the homestretch to win the $150,000 Dahlia Handicap (g. IIT) on closing day of the Hollywood Park Autumn Meet Dec. 21.
Good Ba Ba produced a devastating surge to win the Dec. 14 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile (HK-I) at Sha Tin for the second straight year, leaving his jockey Christophe Soumillon to declare that he was the best miler in the world. That's even harder to dispute when it was confirmed the phenomenal winning time of 1:32.71 was a track record.
Lear Fan, who stood at the Beck family's Gainesway Farm near Lexington, died July 7 of natural causes.
Given a patient ride by Corey Nakatani, favored Vacare bounced back from a couple of sub-par efforts this year to win the $200,000 Palomar Handicap (gr. IIT) in a close three-horse finish over the Del Mar turf course Sept. 30.
John Yuen's 6-year-old gelding Good Ba Ba solidified his reputation as the top miler in the Far East Sunday by capturing the HK$1-million Champions Mile (HK-I) at Sha Tin and becomes the first horse to qualify for the 2008 Breeders' Cup World Championships through the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" Challenge series.
Hong Kong's Good Ba Ba won his fourth group I race in a row for trainer Andreas Schutz when he captured the Champions Mile in stunning style for jockey Olivier Doleuze at Sha Tin April 27.
Jon and Sarah Kelly's previously unbeaten Vacare, coming off a third-place finish in the May 28 Gamely Stakes (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park, will stretch out to 1-1/4 miles in her first start on Belmont Park turf when a field of eight fillies and mares goes postward in Saturday's running of the $250,000 New York Stakes (gr. IIT).
Ignored at odds of nearly 7-1, undefeated Vacare got the first challenge of her career while prevailing in the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) for 3-year-old fillies on the Keeneland grass course Saturday.
Making just her third career start, unbeaten Lothenbach Stables' homebred Vacare left the field behind in winning Saturday's $200,000 Pucker Up (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares by four lengths on the Arlington Park turf.
Randleston Farm's Top Of The Bill accelerated over the final two fences to catch rival The Next Man in the stretch and win Saturday's $75,000 Mellon Bank National Hunt Cup (NSA-II) at the Radnor Hunt Races.
Mirabilis had been close in all three of her starts since arriving in the United States from France. On Saturday at Churchill Downs, she did better than get close, winning the $115,100 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIIT) for her first win in a year.
Rob Roy, a disappointment last year in the 3-year-old Classics, returned to action as a winner for Michael Stoute when favored in the Betfred.com Mile (Eng-II) at Sandown Saturday.
Finery, making her first start in more than five months, collared the favorite Changing World in the final strides to win the $112,800 Beaugay Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the turf at fog-shrouded Aqueduct Saturday.
John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) favorite Kitten's Joy probably got some of his competitive toughness from his dam, Kitten's First, who survived a serious injury to become a major producer even though the odds were stacked against her.
Lear Fan, one of the nation's leading turf sires, has been pensioned from stallion duty at Gainesway Farm near Lexington because of declining fertility.
Following two straight runner-up finishes in allowances races, trainer Billy Turner will start Althea Richards' Finery in a stakes for the first time, Saturday's grade III, $150,000 Noble Damsel for fillies and mares at one mile on the turf at Belmont.
Gary A. Tanaka's veteran stakes campaigner Sarafan showed his class Wednesday with a decisive victory in the featured $79,000 Escondido Handicap at the marathon distance of 1 3/8 miles on the grass at Del Mar.
William M. Backer's Art Fan registered an authoritative front-running score in the inaugural running of the $200,000 Virginia Oaks at Colonial Downs on Saturday July 10.
Chopinina, last year's Sovereign Award-winning turf filly, is no longer a bridesmaid after winning Saturday's $219,050 Royal North Handicap (Can-III) on the turf for her first career stakes victory.
Claiborne Farm's Patrol likes a firm turf and when he finally found it Saturday at Lone Star Park, he proved much the best in the $250,000 Dallas Turf Cup.
The little filly Dublino, making her 2003 seasonal debut, unleashed her reliably powerful stretch run to pull away in Sunday's $111,000 Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares on the turf at Hollywood Park.
The Thoroughbred Corporation's homebred Johar, a horse better known for losing close calls, eked out a nose victory in Sunday's Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) over an unlucky Rock Opera.
Sarafan has defeated top-ranked Beat Hollow twice in three meetings, but the Neil Drysdale trainee seems to be getting short shrift from the media.
William Backer's Pillow Talk, who ran seventh in the tough Lake George (gr. III) at Saratoga on July 29, will get another shot at facing stakes company when she meets twelve other 3-year-old fillies in the competitive $100,000 Christiana Stakes at Delaware Park on Saturday.
The trainer of inductee Cigar could also find himself in the winner's circle at Saratoga Monday. He sends out Patrol in the $150,000 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Handicap (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at nine furlongs on the turf.
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