Keeneland Roundup Continued

Continued. . . .

Tout Sweet
The Oct. 13 WinStar Galaxy (gr. IIIT) was supposed to be a walk in the grass for 1-2 choice Perfect Sting, who'd been perfect in four graded stakes this year. Although the Stronach Stables' 4-year-old daughter of Red Ransom hadn't won any of those stakes by more than three-quarters of a length, she'd been a resolute, determined combatant, making a murderous move past foes down the lane in each victory.

So when Perfect Sting loomed large outside Tout Charmant on the final turn of the $554,000 Galaxy, well, let Tout Charmant's rider, Chris McCarron, tell the story. "When I saw the white bridle come up to me I said, 'The race is on now.' But my filly bellied down." On this day, it was Stonerside Stable's Tout Charmant showing the heart of a warrior, actually increasing her advantage to 1 1/4 lengths as she covered the 1 3/16 miles in 1:54.74. Perfect Sting settled for second, with License Fee third.

There were few words from Perfect Sting's trainer, Joe Orseno, or rider Jerry Bailey afterward. Bailey said he should have moved earlier, at the five-eighths pole, but in truth he had the length of the Keeneland stretch to get to the winner and couldn't. McCarron, in fact, told Stonerside Stable's Janice McNair afterward, "We could have gone around again and they wouldn't have passed me."
Continued from part 1

Stonerside purchased Tout Charmant earlier this year from her breeders, the Walter Family Trust. Besides her Hall of Fame jockey, Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally came along from California to witness. "We got four pounds; that helped her out," McAnally noted.

"The other filly beat her here last year in the Queen Elizabeth at equal weights, but the track was heavy that day; maybe that was the reason. I watched the favorite's last two races and it looked to me like she could be giving up a little bit. Tout Charmant was just a bit unlucky at Del Mar her last two. The course got a little rough, and the Ramona set up for the other Stonerside horse (Caffe Latte). She likes this track so we brought her back here."

Both Tout Charmant, a daughter of Slewvescent out of Charm a Gendarme, and Caffe Latte could go to the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT), according to Stonerside racing manager John Adger.

"Caffe Latte is definite, and if Ron feels Tout Charmant is up to it, we'll run her, too," Adger said. "Normally we wouldn't do that, but Tout Charmant can set the pace or sit just off of it, and Caffe Latte wants to make one big run, so they complement each other."

That pair battling with Perfect Sting nicely dresses up the second running of the Breeders' Cup race for turf ladies.

Stakes Closings
Garrett Gomez's front-running win on Plenty of Light came just one race after the most impressive speed move of the weekend. Once again, it was Gomez calling the signals, this time aboard Five Star Day in the grade III $269,750 Phoenix Breeders' Cup, a six-furlong dash run for the 148th time.

The 4-year-old Carson City colt, owned by Columbine Stable and Kitchwa Stables, tipped his talented hand last winter in California, collecting the Vernon O. Underwood (gr. III) at Hollywood Park over the fine sprinter Son of a Pistol. After a close-up fourth in last December's Malibu Stakes (gr. I) behind Love That Red and Cat Thief, Five Star Day was prepping for a Dubai race when a hairline fracture was discovered in his left hind leg.

"At that point," said California-based trainer Beau Greely, "we began to gear up for the Breeders' Cup Sprint. We gave him time with the goal of running two or three races before the Breeders' Cup. He was short in his first race back (a second to Old Topper in a Del Mar allowance), and I thought today he was going to be better than ever." The conditioner, who also has Manndar ready for the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), was right.

Five Star Day opened daylight on his five opponents mere jumps out of the gate, a lightning bolt through the spring-like Lexington sunshine. At the quarter pole, the margin was a length over Istintaj, with favorite Bet On Sunshine bidding wider out. But Five Star Day was having none of it, and permitted no one to approach even terms. The lead was two lengths straightening for home, and double that at the wire in a natty 1:07.90, Istintaj holding second and Bet On Sunshine, who was a neck short of carrying a seven-race win streak into the Phoenix, third.

"It was like driving a car," Gomez said. "He kept hitting more gears. He's fast, but relaxed. If something ran by him today, they'd have been flying."

Five Star Day has one way of going, according to his conditioner: "Send him." That's what they'll be doing -- straight to the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I).

Overbrook didn't walk away from the long weekend empty-handed. Homebred Katz Me If You Can, a 3-year-old filly by Storm Cat out of the Mr. Prospector mare Cuddles, rated off the speed and swept past them to secure the 20th running of the $108,700 Thoroughbred Club of America (gr. III) on Oct. 15. The D. Wayne Lukas trainee covered the six furlongs in 1:09.42.

"This race set up well for her style," Lukas said. "There was just enough speed. We have no grandiose plans for her. We'll just take her back to Churchill for now." Katz Me If You Can is the favorite horse of W.T. Young's wife, Lucy, who named her after a doctor she likes.

In a fitting, feminine kickoff to Ladies Week at Keeneland Oct. 11, Debby Oxley's Darling My Darling, idle since getting knocked around in the Acorn (gr. I) last June, captured the $82,425 Raven Run Stakes for listed trainer John Ward Jr., who said that his wife, Donna, actually trains the filly. The 3-year-old daughter of Deputy Minister picked up the pieces after notable foes Surfside and Roxelana battled head and head for most of the seven furlongs, roaring past them like a Dennis Miller one-liner down the lane. All three were returning from layoffs.

Darling My Darling, who was an anniversary gift from John Oxley to his wife, clocked in at 1:20.88. The trio of classy sophomores gave the Raven Run a graded feeling. "This easily could have been a grade I," said Ward. "She'd already proven she had speed, but now she's grown and gotten stronger, too. Fillies and mares get better in the fall, and she's following in the footsteps of Beautiful Pleasure."

Ward said Darling My Darling would not run in the Breeder's Cup Distaff (gr. I), being pointed instead to a supporting stakes at Churchill. Conversely, D. Wayne Lukas, whose Surfside was game until relinquishing her lead and finishing second, said his charge is "definite" for the Distaff. "It was a hell of an effort for a comeback -- for all three horses," Lukas said. "Surfside is now ready and waiting, she's on her home course, and she will be tough. Of course, it would help if Mr. Jones runs Riboletta against the boys."

This article appears in the Oct. 21 issue of The Blood-Horse magazine.