She was second in her last start, the Aug. 23 Baslton Spa Handicap (gr. IIT) at Saratoga, but Vacare would not be denied victory Oct. 6, when she wore down Precious Kitten in the $400,000 First Lady Stakes (gr. IIT) at Keeneland.
In his last two efforts, at Arlington and Turfway Park, 4-year-old colt Off Duty proved an affinity for synthetic surfaces. In the 155th running of the $250,000 Phoenix Stakes (gr. III), the son of Yes It's True used that footing to his benefit again, taking the six-furlong event by a half-length over Keeneland's Polytrack.
Swinging wide on the outside as part of a cavalry charge at the head of the stretch, 3-1 shot Wild Gams made a huge move under jockey Ramon Dominguez to win the $300,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland Oct. 6.
Based on the company he had been keeping, it was going to be difficult to deny favored Diamond Stripes in the $500,000 Meadowlands Breeders' Cup (gr. II). Magna Graduate did everything he could in a stretch-long duel with the 11-10 choice, but came up a half-length short the night of Oct. 5 in New Jersey.
Stonerside Stable's Country Star entered the $500,000 Darley Alcibiades (gr. I) as one of only two juveniles without a win to her credit. It did not matter, as the Empire Maker filly showed a finishing kick that was plenty good enough to earn a one-length victory on Keeneland's Polytrack in the opening day feature Oct. 5.
Trainer Pat Parente saw big improvement from his 2-year-old Storm Code in the gelding's second start when a game second in his stakes debut three weeks ago. The son of High Yield can take another step forward with his first try around two turns in the $250,000 Grey Breeders' Cup (Can-III) at Woodbine Oct. 8.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is high on the "new" Daaher, who won an allowance race in a romp at Saratoga with the addition of blinkers. Daaher looks to repeat his Aug. 26 performance in the Oct. 7 Jerome Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park. He will meet seven other 3-year-olds in the one-mile dirt race, which has a purse of $150,000.
Multiple grade II winner Surf Cat makes his turf racing debut Oct. 7 for trainer Bruce Headley when he tackles Lava Man and four others in the $250,000 Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita.
The $300,000 Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. I) Oct. 7 carries with it an automatic spot in the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) for the winner, but just five trainers opted to run in Oak Tree's six-furlong test over the new Santa Anita Cushion Track.
Three-time graded stakes winner Hystericalady will try to beat four rivals Oct. 7 in the $250,000 Lady's Secret Handicap (gr. I) at Oak Tree at Santa Anita, in what should be a springboard to the $2-million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff later this month at Monmouth Park.
The grade I Lane's End Breeders' Futurity is one of several "Win and You're In" Breeders' Cup preps. Unlike many of these Challenge Races, the Lane's End might truly be described as "Lose and You're Out."
The classy 9-year-old The Tin Man will attempt to join another remarkable old-timer, John Henry, as the only three-time winner of Oak Tree's $250,000 Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship (gr. IT) Oct. 6 at Santa Anita.
In a race like the Oct. 6 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland, it is only fitting that the likely favorite is bred and owned by Shadwell Stable, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, and coming off an impressive victory in a major stakes race.
After futilely chasing Lawyer Ron in his past two starts at Saratoga, Diamond Stripes lands in a softer spot when he takes on six rivals as the expected favorite in the $500,000 Meadowlands Cup (gr. II) on the night of Oct. 5 in New Jersey.
Although never having officially raced at Keeneland, Wicked Style has done the majority of his training on the Lexington Polytrack. Trainer Rusty Arnold is hoping that will give the talented Macho Uno colt an edge on his 11 contenders in the $500,000 Lane's End Breeders' Cup Futurity (gr. I) Oct. 6.
Teuflesberg is only three, but he does not lack experience, having started 20 times in his young career. He will try older horses for the first time Oct. 6.
He may not have a Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner or a Horse of the Year in his barn at this point, but Kiaran McLaughlin has secured the position every trainer would like to hold leading up to the Oct. 26-27 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Monmouth Park.
Now, that was a super weekend of racing. Whether it was Turfway Park's Polytrack, Santa Anita's Cushion track, or the dirt track at Belmont, this was racing at its best. The races were thrilling, formful, and showcased a good number of the sport's top stars.
Rosinka, a game runner-up to Lahudood in the Sept. 30 Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park, is under serious consideration for the Breeders' Cup Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park Oct. 27.
Friday's grade I Darley Alcibiades looks to be a solid prep for the Breeders' Cup Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). Doug O'Neill, who's shipped in Grace Anatomy from California to face a dozen other 2-year-old fillies, might even say it's "fantastic".
Peter Land, former global managing director of the international public relations firm Edelman, has been named chief marketing officer of Breeders' Cup, officials announced Oct. 1.
Monmouth Park will offer 12 stakes in addition to 11 Breeders' Cup World Championships events during its four-day Breeders' Cup meet Oct. 24-27.
Dixie Chatter, slowed this season by treatment for a throat ulcer, produced the strongest effort of his career in winning the $250,000 Norfolk Stakes (gr. I) on the Santa Anita Cushion Track for trainer Richard Mandella.
English Channel won the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) on Sept. 30 at Belmont Park.
The $400,000 Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) was billed as the return of multiple graded stakes winner Discreet Cat. Instead, it became Fabulous Strike's coming out party.
Undefeated Smarty Deb could be headed to the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) after she defeated her male rivals in the $90,000 Gottstein Futurity at Emerald Downs Sept. 29 for her fourth consecutive victory.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin enjoyed a big upset in winning the Sept. 29 Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park against a stellar field with Lahudood. McLaughlin's less surprising winner earlier on the card, Etched, could be bound for the $2-million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Monmouth Park Oct. 27.
Favored Cry and Catch Me gave trainer Bob Baffert his seventh win in the $244,000 Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) in the past 11 years with a game nose victory over Izarra at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meet Sept. 29.
Apparently, Student Council's victory over Lava Man last month was not a fluke after all. A decisive win in the $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (gr. II) Sept. 29 proved that without a shadow of a doubt.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin told the family to stay home, so he had to celebrate by himself in the winner's circle after winning the Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park Sept. 29 with Lahudood.
Though just a $25,000 2-year-old purchase, Piratesonthelake has proven himself a consistent sprinter at both Hawthorne and Arlington Park, winning four races during the year.
She's the queen of the California breds. Nashoba's Key takes an unblemished record into the Breeders' Cup next month after she turned back odds-on choice Citronnade in the $400,000 Yellow Ribbon (gr. IT) on the turf during the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita Sept. 29.
Todd Pletcher was not overly impressed with The Leopard's first three races, so he decided to change things up for the $2.5-million son of Storm Cat, and the Leopard went gate-to-wire in the $75,000 Pilgrim Stakes over the Belmont Park turf Sept. 29
Saturday's Grade I Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes at Belmont drew nine fillies and mares, almost all of which have a good chance to win the race.
One month from now, English Channel's connections will be taking dead aim at the elusive $3-million John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) for a third time. But first, owner James Scatuorchio and trainer Todd Pletcher have to get the 5-year-old son of Smart Strike back on the winning track, as they must tackle six challengers in the one-mile Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park Sept. 30.
The spectacular Sept. 30 card at Belmont Park includes four Grade I events, each with Breeders' Cup implications. One of the more anticipated is the $400,000 Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I), which includes the return of 4-year-old superstar Discreet Cat, who will be making his first start in nearly six months.
A few horses making their final Breeders' Cup preps this weekend have landed in rather soft fields. That cannot be said for the nine fillies and mares entered in the $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park Sept. 29, as an all-star cast has been assembled for the 10-furlong test on the turf.
Ever since she came into his barn, John Sadler has been waiting for the chance to see Tasha's Miracle go two turns. The Southern California trainer will finally have that opportunity Sept. 29, as his talented 2-year-old filly headlines a field of 11 in the $250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita.
Roshani has done very little wrong in five starts this year, winning four times, while taking money in every effort. In the $150,000 Violet Stakes (gr. IIIT) Sept. 28 at Meadowlands, the 4-year-old daughter of Fantastic Light-Sahibah will face five challengers, three that she beat handily last month. It all could add up to another victory and a soft prep for the $2-million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr.IT) at Monmouth Park Oct. 27.
Of the 10 colts entered in the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes (gr. III) at Turfway Park Sept. 29, only T.J.'s Posse owns multiple wins on his resume. But the son of Posse-T.J.'s Turn struggled a bit on his first synthetic surface effort earlier this month, so even he cannot be considered a solid favorite in the wide-open 1 1/16-test for 2-year-olds on Polytrack.
Carl Nafzger, trainer of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Street Sense, discussed his reasoning for racing against grade I winner Hard Spun in the Sept. 29 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park during a National Thoroughbred Racing Association media teleconference Sept. 25.
Saturday, Sept. 22 was a holiday of sorts for trainer Todd Pletcher. He was all prepared to celebrate the end of a two-month slump that has seen his normally lofty winning percentage of around 25% drop to 11%.
Discussions are under way on whether to supplement Gallant Bloom Stakes (gr. II) winner Jazzy to the $1-million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Dirt Sprint.
More racetracks have expressed an interest in being part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" program next year.
With the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Monmouth Park only a month away, the New Jersey State Police has reassigned four detectives that have made up its "horse racing investigative unit" and replaced them with two retired detectives.
Twice this summer, Cloudy's Knight just missed winning a pair of graded stakes. Those experiences must have helped the 7-year-old, as he was not to be denied a third time, taking the $300,000 Sky Classic Stakes (Can-IIT) Sept. 23 at Woodbine by a length.
There were some anxious moments for Any Given Saturday in the $150,000 Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) Sept. 22 at Belmont Park. But the 1-5 favorite eventually took over at the sixteenth pole and then pulled away for a 2 1/2-length victory in his final prep before the Oct. 27 $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
After trailing the field of eight through a half-mile, Thomas Conway's General Jumbo rallied four-wide and then held off a determined Fri Guy to win the Kentucky Cup Turf (gr. III) by a half-length in Kentucky Downs' 1 1/2-mile feature event Sept. 22.
Entering the $500,000 Super Derby Stakes (gr. II) Sept. 22 at Louisiana Downs, Going Ballistic had not won since May. With help from jockey Clifton Berry, Mike and Mary Kindred's 3-year-old colt soared through the middle of the racetrack to overtake heavy favorite Grasshopper to win by a length.
Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Street Sense and Derby runner-up Hard Spun will meet for the third time in next Saturday's $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park, it was announced Sept. 22.
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