If you spent your Saturday wagering on horses trained by Steve Asmussen at Fair Grounds, you had reason to smile at the end of the day. Last year's leading trainer nationally by wins saddled starters in seven races on the 10-race card and won six, twice ran one-two, and captured the day's stakes race.
In what amounted to a little more than a workout, Hystericalady defended her title in the $300,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes (gr. II) with ease Aug. 24, romping to an eight-length victory on the Monmouth Park dirt at odds of 1-9.
One of the great charms of Thoroughbred racing is that it has always been possible for a good horse to emerge from almost anywhere. The diminishing gap between the best and rest, however, will probably make this an increasingly likely occurence. One example is Rolling Sea, who won the Chilukki Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3. She is by a sire who stands for $2,500 and is out of mare who finished fourth in a $6,500 claimer in her final race.
Millennium Farms' Rolling Sea won for the sixth time this year, stalking the pace and then taking a clear lead in the stretch before holding on to win the $200,000 Chilukki Stakes (gr. II) by a half-length at Churchill Downs Nov. 3.
After finishing seventh and ninth respectively in the Spinster Stakes (gr. I) over the Polytrack at Keeneland Oct. 7, Rolling Sea and High Heels will drop down in company, shorten up to the one-mile distance, and tackle each other again in the Nov. 3 Chilukki Stakes (gr. II) on the dirt at Churchill Downs.
If Asi Siempre is to defend her $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (gr. I) title Oct. 7 at Keeneland, the El Prado mare will have to do it against a loaded field of 11, including three rivals with grade I wins this year.
The Fleur de Lis (gr. II) is hard to call an undercard race with a solid field headed by Asi Siempre and Ermine.
Millennium Farms' Rolling Sea rolled to the lead on the far turn and drew off down the stretch to win the Allaire duPont Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. II) at Pimlico Friday.
Fast fractions and a well timed ride by veteran jockey Calvin Borel, enabled Kettleoneup to roll through the stretch en route to a widening 2 1/2-length victory in the $250,000 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III), for fillies and mares competing at Hawthorne Saturday.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Mo Cuishle, a grade III winner, is a slight 2-1 favorite in a small field of five entered for Saturday's $250,000 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at Hawthorne.
James Conway's Dash of Humor, ridden patiently by Brian Hernandez Jr., captured the $75,000 Furl Sail Handicap for fillies and mares by a head Sunday in a tight three-way finish at Fair Grounds Race Course.
Cryptoquip, whose 11 3/4-length victory in the Queen City Oaks at River Downs was wiped out when the race was declared no contest because of a starting gate malfunction, officially earned black type for the first time by winning the $144,500 Arlington Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. III) by a half-length.
Jockey Larry Sterling Jr. scored a double in the seventh annual Prairie State Festival, Arlington Park's six-race showcase for Illinois-bred Thoroughbreds. Both of the the veteran local rider's victories came on horses he was not originally slated to ride.
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