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.
Presious Passion had been completely over-matched in graded stakes company in his last two starts, but he turned that around at Meadowlands the night of Sept. 21, capturing the $150,000 Cliff Hanger (gr. IIIT) on the Big M's turf course.
Shadwell Stable's Shakis, cutting back to nine furlongs for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, rode the hedge to victory in the $200,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT), setting a record on the Mellon Turf Course in the process Aug. 25.
Four years removed from making a run at a Triple Crown, even-money choice Funny Cide returned to the winner's circle at Finger Lakes, a track far removed from the majesty of Churchill Downs.
Shadwell Stable's Makderah burst to the lead mid-stretch and left her five rivals behind en route to an easy four-length win in the $190,000 New York Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares battling at 10 furlongs on the inner turf course at Belmont Park Saturday.
Woodlander put the final touch on a successful Aqueduct season for leading owner Winning Move Stable Sunday when the 5-year-old edged Golden Commander by a neck in capturing the $114,100 Fort Marcy Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the grass at 1 1/16 miles.
Barry J. James' undefeated Divine Park simply ran away from his six 3-year-old rivals in the $150,000 Withers (gr. III) in his stakes debut Saturday at Aqueduct.
So, where are the best 3-year-olds based? Florida, Arkansas, California, and New York can all make a case for being the hot spot right now following Saturday's stirring and strange turn of events. With Declan's Moon and now Roman Ruler out of the picture, and Afleet Alex and Wilko facing uphill battles, last year's top 2-year-olds are fading fast.
Skeedattle Stable's Dixie Talking, a Maryland invader dismissed at 27-1, rallied widest of all Saturday afternoon to take Aqueduct's $109,800 Cicada (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs.
Dismissed at odds of 11-1, Marshall E. Dowell's Scrappy T, shook away from an early pace duel and then held off favored Naughty New Yorker by a length to win Saturday's $83,175 Count Fleet for 3-year-olds at a mile and seventy yards.
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