Jockey John Velazquez's hot streak continued on the West Coast Sunday, when he picked up his fifth graded stakes win in succession aboard Starine in the $500,000 Matriarch Stakes (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park.
Next-to-last three furlongs from the wire, Cynthia Phipps' homebred Saarland rallied through the stretch to earn a narrow win over Nokoma in the $200,000 Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct Saturday.
Dogwood Stable's Smok'n Frolic romped to a front-running 4 1/2-length win in Saturday's $200,000 Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct. Under John Velazquez, Smok'n Frolic completed the 1 1/8-mile test for 2-year-old fillies in 1:50.57, much faster than her male counterparts one race later.
If you were looking for some sense of normalcy in New York following the wild and woolly Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, you were in for a rude awakening.
Dogwood Stable's Smok'n Frolic, a 2-year-old daughter of first-crop sire Smoke Glacken, rallied from next-to-last to win the $111,500 Tempted Stakes (gr. III) Sunday on closing day of the Belmont Park meet.
Brazilian-bred Verruma tracked the early pacesetters, then rallied through the stretch to win her division of the $137,875 Athenia Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park Friday. Chilean-bred Babae, who Verruma beat in a June allowance race at Belmont, won the second division.
Ogden Phipps' homebred filly Finder's Fee, second to Dream Supreme in last year's Gallant Bloom Handicap (then a grade III but now a grade II), earned the win in Saturday's $129,225 renewal at Belmont Park after the defending champion was scratched.
Left Bank beat Squirtle Squirt by a half-length to win Saturday's $300,000 Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park, giving trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez their second stakes wins on the card.
Godolphin's Express Tour alternately pressed and set the early pace en route to winning Saturday's $150,000 Jerome Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park. Under John Velazquez, Express Tour completed the one-mile race in 1:34.57 on a fast track.
Erdenheim Farm's Dr. Kashnikow earned his first stakes win Saturday's at Saratoga, taking the $200,000 Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT) by three-quarters of a length.
Jockey John Velazquez booted home Starine to win the eighth race at Saratoga Sunday, giving the rider his fifth winner on the day. The five wins equals the record for wins on one card by a jockey at the upstate New York track.
After 4-5 favorite Starrer unseated jockey Chris McCarron just after the start, 11-1 Tweedside went on to win Saturday's $350,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I), giving sire Thunder Gulch a sweep of Belmont Park's 1 1/2-mile main track stakes races for 3-year-olds. McCarron was uninjured in the mishap.
Sharp Performance, rising to the stakes ranks after winning an allowance and maiden race in consecutive starts, scored a one-length victory Sunday in the $150,000 Lexington Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park.
Ashland Stakes (gr. I) winner Fleet Renee, who subsequently disappointed as the favorite in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), made amends for her Oaks performance with a 5 1/2-length victory in Saturday's $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park.
S.J. Bee Stable's Buster's Daydream reprised his success in the Flash Stakes (gr. III) with a 1 1/2-length victory in Saturday's $106,300 Tremont Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont Park.
Dat You Miz Blue dueled outside of Dream Supreme through the early going and then drew away to a 6 3/4-length victory in Saturday's $106,800 Vagrancy Handicap (gr. III) at Belmont Park.
Tom's Thunder and Lady Katie won divisions of the $100,000 New York Stallion Stakes at Aqueduct on Sunday. Jockey John Velazquez recorded his 2,000th career victory aboard Tomn's Thunder. It was the second straight year and the fourth time in the race's eight runnings that he rode the Times Square winner.
Country Hideaway rallied from next-to-last in the seven-horse field and held off a resurgent Critical Eye to win the $157,700 Bed O' Roses Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) Saturday at Aqueduct. Under John Velazquez, the 5-year-old daughter of Seeking the Gold, out of the Pleasant Colony mare Our Country Place, stopped the timer after running a mile in 1:34.98 on a fast track.
Michael Dickinson surprised us in 1996, when Da Hoss conquered the heavy favorite, Mark of Esteem, in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I). He surprised us again in 1998, when Da Hoss won the same race after a long layoff and just one prep. But this time the trainer surprised even himself. After he saddled Fleet Renee to upset the formidable Golden Ballet in the April 7 Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, Dickinson looked a little bit stunned.
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's Latour earned a hard-fought victory over 7-10 favorite Gold Mover after dueling with that rival since leaving the backstretch, notching her third consecutive victory in Sunday's $103,000 Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park. Under jockey John Velazquez, the 3-year-old filly stopped the timer in 1:45.51 after 1 1/16 miles on a fast track.
England's Rose rallied from last to win the seven-furlong $100,000 Chaposa Springs Handicap (gr. III) by 1 1/2 lengths over heavy favorite Swept Away Saturday at Calder Race Course. The longest shot on the board at nearly 17-1, England's Rose paid $35, $6.60, and $2.10 and stopped the timer in 1:24.82.
Michael Tabor's Left Bank led throughout Wedenesday's $103,499 Discovery Handicap (gr. III) to easily win the 1 1/8 mile race for 3-year-olds by 2 1/4 lengths over Perfect Cat on opening day at Aqueduct.
Robert Spiegel's homebred Ruff rallied from the back of the field of eight 2-year-old fillies to win the $111,300 Miss Grillo Stakes (gr. IIIT) by three lengths Sunday at Belmont Park.
Riviera took a short lead in the stretch and held off the late charge of Arkadian Hero to win the $1-million Atto Mile (Can-IT) by a nose Sunday at Woodbine. With John Velazquez in the irons, the 6-year-old Bobby Frankel trainee completed the mile in 1:33.18 over a firm turf course.
Godolphin's Curule will make his next start in a Belmont Park allowance race Friday.
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