Trainer Al Stall Jr. couldn't make the trip to Houston from Louisiana, but he liked what he saw via simulcast as Middleweight captured the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup Handicap Saturday night at Sam Houston Race Park.
Cappuchino, with Jon Court in the irons, overtook Pass Rush at the quarter pole and went on to post a two-length triumph in Sunday's $165,450 Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) over a sloppy track on opening day of the fall meet at Churchill Downs.
Trainer Neil Howard hopes that he will be able to dub Saturday as "Brothers Day" as he sends the regally bred Rock Slide out in search of his first graded stakes victory in the $250,000-added Firecracker Breeders' Cup (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs.
Saturday's $100,000-added Aristides Handicap (gr. III) shapes up like an old-fashioned shootout, with the lightning fast Louisiana-based gunslinger Beau's Town invading Churchill Downs to take on a strong group of determined local stars.
As Saturday's deadline for nominations to the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) draws closer, the possible field for the $750,000 race is becoming clearer. Among the horses who could start next in the June 14 race are Aldebaran, Full Mandate, Proud Citizen, and Tenpins.
Aldeberan, known for his many second-place finishes, did not finish second Saturday in the Churchill Downs Handicap (gr. II). Under Jerry Bailey, he won the seven-furlong stakes as the 6-5 favorite, withstanding an objection from Tony Farina, who rode second-place finisher Pass Rush.
The $200,000-added Churchill Downs Handicap (gr. II), like most of Saturday's stakes races at the Louisville track, will feature a Bobby Frankel-trained morning line favorite in Flaxman Holdings' Aldebaran.
Medaglia d'Oro, away from action since running second in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Arlington Park on Oct. 26, returns to competition Saturday as the favorite among six entrants in the $400,000 Strub Stakes (gr. II) for 4-year-olds at Santa Anita Park.
Jockey Alex Solis likes what he sees in Rushin' To Altar, a $485,000 Kentucky-bred son of Pulpit he'll be riding in Saturday's $200,000 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) for 4-year-olds at 1 1/16 mile at Santa Anita.
An extra $100,000 added to the purse and graded status has attracted more than 40 nominations to the $400,000 Indiana Derby (gr. III) on Oct. 5 at Hoosier Park. The Oct. 4 Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks was boosted to grade III status last year and received a $100,000 purse increase this year. The $300,000 Oaks attracted more than 20 nominations.