Shortly after Bill Mott trainees Iftiraas and Dream Supreme won their respective stakes races Saturday at Churchill Downs, another of his charges led at every call to win the $112,900 Fort Marcy Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Aqueduct. Under Richard Migliore, Strategic Mission completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.62 on a firm turf course.
Breeders' Cup Distaff runner-up Surfside will face males, including Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes runner-up Aptitude, in the $400,000-added Clark Handicap (gr. II) Friday at Churchill Downs.
Kiss A Native won the $250,000 Pegasus Handicap on Friday night, beating Cool N Collective by five lengths in the race for 3-year-olds at the Meadowlands. Pine Dance finished third.
Pine Dance rallied from next-to-last to win the $300,000 Pennsylvania Derby (gr. III) by three lengths while making his dirt track racing debut on a sloppy track Monday at Philadelphia Park.
Despite the presence of graded stakes winners Hal's Hope, Mass Market, and Pine Bluff, Robert Meyerhoff's Vincent Moscarelli Stakes winner Include was installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite for Monday's $300,000 Pennsylvania Derby (gr. III) at Philadelphia Park.
Midway through the stretch, jockey Jerry Bailey looked to be en route to his third grade I win on the day at Arlington International aboard 3-5 favorite King Cugat before Ciro, under Mick Kinane, rallied on the outside for a length victory in the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) Saturday at the Chicago area track.
European shippers Pine Dance and Hymn, both racing on Lasix for the first time, swept the top two spots of the $194,000 American Derby (gr. IIT) at Arlington International Sunday.
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