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Updated: 22 hours 43 min ago

Baffert Unveils Another Flashy Into Mischief Filly

Sun, 2020-06-21 21:08

11th-Santa Anita, $52,000, Msw, 6-21, 3yo/up, f/m, 6 1/2f, 1:16.93, ft.

PROVOCATION (f, 3, Into Mischief–Meadow Breeze {GISW, $301,301}, by Meadowlake), fresh off a jaw-dropping win in Saturday’s GI Acorn S. by stablemate Gamine, became the latest Bob Baffert-trained daughter of Into Mischief to watch out for as she led start to finish Sunday evening at Santa Anita. The $350,000 OBS April pick-up (:20 3/5) was bet early and often as if the race had already been run off of a strong series of local works (see May 29, via XBTV). Away at 3-5, the bay zipped away to take command while a bit off the rail through splits of :23.05 and :45.99. Second time-starting stablemate and $1-million weanling Himiko (American Pharoah) gave game chase into the lane, but Provocation was still in cruise control as she reported home some two lengths to the good. Out of the Grade I-winning juvenile Meadow Breeze, Provocation is a half to ‘TDN Rising Star’ Magic Star (Scat Daddy), GSW, $180,670; and Royal Copy (Bodemeister), GISP, $138,725. Meadow Breeze was acquired for $150,000 at the 2013 Keeneland November sale while carrying Royal Copy–the same year her half-brother Overanalyze (Dixie Union) annexed the GI Arkansas Derby. Meadow Breeze’s now 2-year-old colt by Runhappy was a $475,000 KEESEP yearling. She produced an Uncle Mo filly Feb. 17. Sales History: $160,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP; $350,000 2yo ’19 OBSAPR. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $30,000. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

O-Speedway Stable LLC; B-Betz/D.J. Stables/CoCo/Burns/Magers (KY); T-Bob Baffert.

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Hit it a Bomb’s First Winner Blows Up the Tote at Santa Anita

Sun, 2020-06-21 16:59

Dismissed at 21-1 despite a flashy local tab, Chris Drakos and Ryan Hanson’s Weston (Hit it a Bomb) blasted out of the gate and never looked back to become the first winner for his freshman sire (by War Front) at Santa Anita Sunday. Scrubbed along to seize a narrow advantage on the fence, the $7,000 KEESEP bargain buy headed for home with a clear advantage as only $550,000 OBSMAR purchase Ambivalent (Constitution) seemed to have any shot to catch him. Weston had no thoughts of stopping, however, and streaked home 1 1/4 lengths in front, stopping the clock in :52.27.

A winner of both of his Irish starts at two for Aidan O’Brien and owner/breeder Evelyn Stockwell, Hit It a Bomb overcame the 14 hole to take the 2015 GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland. He was twice Group-placed back overseas as a sophomore, and the year-older full-brother to Europe’s champion 2-year-old filly Brave Anna subsequently took up stud duties at Spendthrift Farm.

Weston’s precocious dam Elke (Dixie Union), meanwhile, just missed in her debut as a May juvenile before taking her next two starts and hitting the board in three stakes after that. She produced a Tapiture filly in 2018 and a Speightster colt this season. Weston’s third dam is Grade I-winning juvenile Trumpet’s Blare (Vice Regent).

3rd-Santa Anita, $51,500, Msw, 6-21, 2yo, 4 1/2f, :52.27, ft.
WESTON (g, 2, Hit It a Bomb–Elke {MSP, $122,970}, by Dixie Union) Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $30,000. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton. O-Chris Drakos & Ryan Hanson; B-EVADI Farm Team (KY); T-Ryan Hanson. *$7,000 Ylg ’19 KEEJAN; $7,000 Ylg ’19 KEESEP.

 

 

 

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Travers Up Next for Tiz the Law

Sun, 2020-06-21 15:25

Sackatoga Stable’s Tiz the Law (Constitution) exited his win in Saturday’s GI Belmont S. in fine shape and will now be pointed towards the Aug. 8 GI Runhappy Travers S.

“He came out of the race great,” said Robin Smullen, assistant to trainer Barclay Tagg. “He ate up and then he came out and grazed for an hour. His legs are good, his attitude and energy are good.”

Mapping out the next few days for the Belmont winner, Tagg said, “He’ll walk for three days and we’ll graze him every afternoon like we do. The fourth day we’ll take him out and jog him once around backwards to see how he moves and how he is and if he eats up that night, we’ll go to galloping. And 10 days after that we’ll give him an easy breeze, a half-mile.”

Tagg added, “I’ve never won the Travers and I want to win it. It’s very important to me.”

Trainer Todd Pletcher is considering the Travers and the July 18 GI Haskell S. at Monmouth Park as possible next targets for Belmont runner-up Dr Post (Quality Road).

“Both of those races are in play. It just depends on how he bounces out of the race,” Pletcher said. “We were always confident that a route of ground will not be an issue for him. He finished up well. It was a very encouraging effort.”

Dr Post was making just his fourth start in the Belmont, following a maiden win at Gulfstream Mar. 29 with a win in the 1 1/16-mile Unbridled S. in Hallandale Apr. 25.

“Considering he broke his maiden the day after Tiz the Law won the Florida Derby, that’s a lot of progress to make in a short period of time,” Pletcher said. “Hopefully he keeps improving.”

Trainer Linda Rice was satisfied with Max Player (Honor Code)’s third-place finish in the Belmont.

“Coming off a 4 1/2-month break, I thought it was a very creditable effort,” Rice said. “You can build on this going forward. Going a mile and a quarter shouldn’t be a problem as well.”

As for what could be next for the GIII Withers S. winner, Rice said, “We’ll keep all the options open for now and sort it out when we get him back to the track in a week to 10 days.”

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Baffert Will Point to Oaks with Gamine, Doesn’t Rule Out Preakness

Sun, 2020-06-21 14:48

Coming off one of the most talked about performances of the year, Gamine (Into Mischief) is headed back to the barn of Bob Baffert, who will wait a few weeks before deciding what’s next for the 3-year-old filly.

Nothing could have overshadowed the win in the GI Belmont S. by Tiz the Law (Constitution), but Gamine came close in the GI Acorn S. With John Velazquez aboard, she won by 18 3/4 lengths and her time for the mile, 1:32.55, shattered the stakes record (video). Her effort earned a 110 Beyer figure, 10 points higher than the 100 assigned to Tiz the Law in the Belmont.

“I knew she could win, but I didn’t know she would put in that kind of performance. That was just insane,” Baffert said.

Baffert said the main goal for Gamine is the Sept. 4 GI Kentucky Oaks, but he’s not sure what route he will take to get her there. Gamine will likely have one start between now and the Oaks and possibilities include the GI Ashland S. at Keeneland July 11 and the GI Coaching Club American Oaks July 18 at Saratoga.

If Gamine is to face males the most likely spot for that would be in the Oct. 3 GI Preakness S. Owner Michael Lund lives in the Baltimore area.

“I didn’t nominate her to the Triple Crown because I didn’t want to be tempted,” Baffert said. “But things change and we’re not ruling anything out. Maybe the Preakness. If we take a shot that would be the most likely race. First I have to get her home and go from there.”

Gamine made headlines before her first race. She was the $1.8-million sale topper at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale last year. It didn’t take her long to impress Baffert.

“She always did things just like the super 3-year-old colts I had,” Baffert said. “She showed me brilliance from day one. Just like Charlatan, Uncle Chuck, Nadal, Authentic, horses who show you early on that they are something special.”

Gamine debuted Mar. 7, breaking her maiden at Santa Anita. Baffert then sent her to Oaklawn, where she had to fight to beat Speech (Mr. Speaker) by a neck.

“She was doing so well for the Acorn,” Baffert said. “I thought this was going to be her breakout race and it was. That was a pretty decent field she beat. With the timing, the Acorn was a perfect spot for her. I had been working her easy, sitting behind horses. She had been relaxing really well. Then she drew the one. I told Johnny that she is fast and just let her run. You can’t take too much of a hold on her because then she’ll try to get out and she is a little headstrong. We’ll get her back here, freshen her up, give her a couple of weeks without breezing her. When they run like that, that fast, I like to give them a couple of weeks off.”

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Into Mischief Colt Runs to the Money for Ward

Sun, 2020-06-21 14:10

Facing just three foes after his seemingly most formidable competition scratched in the paddock, Breeze Easy LLC’s RODERICK (c, 2, Into Mischief–Cayala, by Cherokee Run) dueled and drew off to a dominant near double-digit debut score at Belmont Sunday. The $550,000 KEESEP yearling, backed down to 2-5 for the Wesley Ward barn, stopped the clock in :57.86. Lone second timer Zippy Baby (Cairo Prince) picked up the pieces to be second. The winner is a full-brother to two-turn GSW One Liner. Sales history: $550,000 ylg ’19 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0.
Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $35,200. O-Breeze Easy, LLC; B-Kingswood Farm & David Egan (KY); T-Wesley A. Ward.

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Belmont Generates Over $67.7M in Handle

Sat, 2020-06-20 20:25

Saturday’s 12-race GI Belmont S. day card, featuring six graded stakes, generated all-sources handle of $67,753,336. All-sources handle on the Belmont itself, carded as Race 10, was $34,088,475. The 2019 all-sources handle was $102,163,280, a NYRA record for a non-Triple Crown year.

To align with required health and safety measures implemented in New York to mitigate risk and combat the spread of COVID-19, the Belmont card was held without spectators in attendance.

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Twirling Candy’s Collusion Illusion Takes Laz Barrera

Sat, 2020-06-20 19:49

Those who backed him into 2-5 would have had a few nervous moments late, but Collusion Illusion kicked it in for the final furlong and rolled past pacesetting Ragtime Blues en route to an ultimately convincing victory in the GIII Laz Barrera S. at Santa Anita.

Ragtime Blues won the break and dictated terms early, while Collusion Illusion, last of the five in the opening exchanges, tugged Flavien Prat into a share of second after a quarter in :21.90. The front-runner pinched a break without really being asked by Mike Smith, and entering the final two furlongs, the race appeared his to win or lose, as Collusion Illusion looked to be scuffling back on the fence. Ragtime Blues was still clear and hand-ridden into the final eighth of a mile, but the chalk was equal to the task, taking over a sixteenth out before skipping clear.

A debut winner at Del Mar last July, Collusion Illusion belied odds of 7-1 to land the GII Best Pal S. the following month before pulling up and out of the GI American Pharoah S. in September. In his lone appearance this season, the bay was the fast-finishing winner of a May 17 allowance, defeating next-out stakes winner Tiger Dad (Smiling Tiger) by three good-looking lengths.

Pedigree Notes:

Collusion Illusion is the lone produce for his dam, who passed away in 2018, and who was a half-sister to GSW & GISP Bahamian Squall (Gone West), GSW/GISP Apriority (Grand Slam) and SW Squall City (Carson City), the dam of SW & GSP Lady Chace (Tiznow), SW Vindy City (Vindication) and GISP Big Tiz (Tiznow). Collusion Illusion is one of his sire’s 24 black-type winners and nine graded winners.

Saturday, Santa Anita
LAZARO BARRERA S.-GIII, $100,000, Santa Anita, 6-20, 3yo, 6 1/2f, 1:16.03, ft.
1–COLLUSION ILLUSION, 124, c, 3, by Twirling Candy
                1st Dam: Natalie Grace, by First Dude
                2nd Dam: Midway Squall, by Storm Bird
                3rd Dam: Oh So Precious, by Best Turn
($50,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP; $300,000 2yo ’19 OBSAPR). O-Dan J.
Agnew, Rodney E. Orr, Jerry Schneider & John V. Xitco;
B-Donald R. Dizney, LLC (FL); T-Mark Glatt; J-Flavien Prat.
$60,000. Lifetime Record: 5-4-0-0, $248,751.
Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Ragtime Blues, 122, c, 3, Union Rags–Home of the Blues, by
Street Cry (Ire). ($500,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP). O-SF Racing LLC,
Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Stonestreet Stables LLC,
Frederick Hertrich, III, John D. Fielding & Golconda Stables;
B-Mike Pietrangelo (KY); T-Bob Baffert. $20,000.
3–Howbeit, 120, c, 3, Secret Circle–Emerlaude, by El Corredor.
($15,000 Ylg ’18 FTKOCT; $32,000 RNA 2yo ’19 OBSAPR). O-C T
R Stables LLC (Calvert); B-Animal Science Dept / U of K (KY);
T-Doug F. O’Neill. $12,000.
Margins: 3 1/4, 3 1/4, 3/4. Odds: 0.40, 2.10, 43.30.
Also Ran: Phantom Boss, Alcools. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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Law and Order

Sat, 2020-06-20 18:30

ELMONT, NY — Manny Franco let out a yell in celebration that echoed through the massive empty grandstand as Tiz the Law (Constitution) came streaking under the line a dominating 3 3/4-length winner of a most unique renewal of Saturday’s GI Belmont Stakes.

Dr Post (Quality Road), a last out winner of Gulfstream’s Unbridled S. Apr. 25, and GIII Withers S. hero Max Player (Honor Code) rallied from the back to collect second and third honors, respectively.

Although positioned as the first leg of this year’s upside down Triple Crown and shortened to a one-turn distance of 1 1/8 miles due to the coronavirus pandemic, the win still provided a sweep of sorts in the series for Jack Knowlton’s Sackatoga Stable and trainer Barclay Tagg, who fell just short of a Triple Crown with fellow New York-bred Funny Cide in 2003.

“Barclay doesn’t get a lot of big horses, big opportunities, but when he does, he knows what to do,” Knowlton said from Sackatoga’s viewing party at Pennell’s restaurant in Saratoga Springs. “He’s got his and Sackatoga’s got theirs. Triple Crown, two different horses, two different years, and not a lot of people can say that.”

Tagg added, “For a lot longer before that [2003], I was hoping to win the Belmont. Funny Cide got us close anyway and we topped it off with Tiz the Law here today.”

The white carnations looked like they were Tiz the Law’s for the taking as the traditional Belmont prelude, Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York,” fittingly welcomed the hulking Empire-bred and field of 10 on the track for the post parade, and the 4-5 favorite made good on the promise working out a dream trip under his 25-year-old budding superstar jockey.

The $110,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling jumped beautifully from his outside draw and sat loaded in third as expected pacesetter Tap It to Win (Tapit), returning off a sharp allowance victory here June 4, showed the way through fractions of :23.11 and :46.16.

Tiz the Law, always traveling like the winner, began to set his sights on the top two while three wide midway on the far turn.

Franco, riding in his first Belmont, took two looks back nearing the quarter pole and had to like what he saw as Tiz the Law’s big white blaze and shadowroll took him to the front without even being asked yet.

Two taps on his right shoulder to switch to his proper lead as they cornered for home, and Tiz the Law was long gone. Franco set him down and gave him a couple of reminders down the lane to keep his mind on business and his charge kept to task to report home a much-the-best winner.

Tiz the Law becomes just the fourth New York-bred, and first in 138 years, to win the Belmont.

“It means a lot to me,” said Franco, who won his first Breeders’ Cup race aboard Sharing last fall. “This is my home track. I’ve been riding here for about six years already. One leg of the Triple Crown is the dream of any jockey. I’m happy with the opportunity that I have right now. I got the horse for the [Kentucky Derby].”

Tiz the Law was a dominating victor of both of his previous starts at three at Gulfstream this winter, the GIII Holy Bull S. Feb. 1 and the GI Curlin Florida Derby last time Mar. 28.

After winning his first two career starts by a combined margin of 8 1/4 lengths, headed by the GI Champagne going a one-turn mile at Belmont, Tiz the Law endured a less-than-ideal trip to finish a close third in a sloppy renewal of Churchill’s GII Kentucky Jockey Club S.

Tagg said the plan for Tiz the Law would be to start next in the GI Runhappy Travers S. at Saratoga Aug. 8, then aim for the next two legs of the Triple Crown, the GI Kentucky Derby Sept. 5 and GI Preakness S. Oct. 3.

“It looked to me like everything just went like clockwork,” Tagg said. “That’s the way the horse likes to run and that’s the position the horse likes to be in. Manny [Franco] knows the horse very well. We discussed it quickly before I put him up on the horse and I felt very confident Manny would ride him that way. I felt pretty solid about halfway down the lane. It’s a good feeling.”

Held without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Saturday’s Belmont was contested as the Triple Crown’s first leg for the first time in history and run at a distance other than 1 1/2 miles for the first time since 1925. The Belmont offered 150-60-30-15 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.

Pedigree Notes:

Tiz the Law is one of five graded/black-type winners from the first crop of rising star stallion Constitution and remains his lone Grade I winner. Twin Creeks Farm purchased his Grade II-winning dam Tizfiz, a full-sister to GSW & GISP Fury Kapcori, for $125,000 in foal to Mineshaft at the 2014 Keeneland November Sale. Her 2014 Tapit filly summoned $525,000 at the following year’s Keeneland September sale and went on to place in multiple stakes. The 16-year-old mare is also responsible for the unraced juvenile filly Angel Oak (Mission Impazible) and a yearling colt by Mission Impazible. She was bred back to Constitution for the 2020 season. Tiz the Law also hails from the family of Horse of the Year Favorite Trick (Phone Trick).

Saturday, Belmont Park
BELMONT S. PRESENTED BY NYRA BETS-GI, $1,000,000, Belmont, 6-20, 3yo, 1 1/8m, 1:46.53, ft.
1–TIZ THE LAW, 126, c, 3, by Constitution
                1st Dam: Tizfiz (GSW, $410,944), by Tiznow
                2nd Dam: Gin Running, by Go for Gin
                3rd Dam: Crafty and Evil, by Crafty Prospector
($110,000 Ylg ’18 SARAUG). O-Sackatoga Stable; B-Twin Creeks
Farm (NY); T-Barclay Tagg; J-Manuel Franco. $535,000.
Lifetime Record: 6-5-0-1, $1,480,300. *1/2 to Awestruck
(Tapit), MSP, $357,116. Werk Nick Rating: A.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Dr Post, 126, c, 3, Quality Road–Mary Delaney, by Hennessy.
($200,000 Wlg ’17 KEENOV; $400,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP). O-St.
Elias Stable; B-Cloyce C Clark (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher.
$185,000.
3–Max Player, 126, c, 3, Honor Code–Fools in Love, by Not For
Love. ($150,000 RNA Ylg ’18 KEESEP). O-George E. Hall &
SportBLX Thoroughbreds Corp.; B-K & G Stables (KY); T-Linda
Rice. $100,000.
Margins: 3 3/4, 1HF, 2HF. Odds: 0.80, 7.90, 14.20.
Also Ran: Pneumatic, Tap It to Win, Sole Volante, Modernist, Farmington Road, Fore Left, Jungle Runner. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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Oleksandra Mows Down the Boys in the Jaipur

Sat, 2020-06-20 17:15

Oleksandra (Aus) (Animal Kingdom) got the best of the boys and secured a spot in the gate at the Breeders’ Cup with a late-rallying victory in the GI Jaipur S. at Belmont. Trailing the field early, the 9-4 chalk bided her time as Pure Sensation (Zensational) battled Hidden Scroll (Hard Spun) through swift opening splits of :21.33 and :43.52. Swung out three wide, the dark bay picked it up approaching the far turn and charged down the lane, inhaling her competitors to nail new leader Kanthaka (Jimmy Creed) on the line.

“She had been training really well into this race,” said trainer Neil Drysdale, winning his first New York Grade I since A.P. Indy won the 1992 Belmont S. It was his first graded winner since sending out Sunday Break (Jpn) (Forty Niner) to win the 2002 GII Peter Pan S. “She is so much fun to watch race,” he said. “She makes life very exciting. At Santa Anita, going five and a half furlongs, it’s very difficult to run down speed. We were pleased with the way she ran and that’s why we sent her to Belmont.”

He continued, “The speed up front helped her, but on the other hand I’ve seen her do well with slower fractions. The main thing is the turn of foot she had and she really put that on display.”

Capturing the Smart N Fancy S. at Saratoga in August, Oleksandra finished third in the GIII Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint S. Sept. 7. Returning to winning ways in Keeneland’s GIII Buffalo Trace Franklin County S. Oct. 11, she rallied to be second to the speedy Jolie Olimpica (Brz) (Drosselmeyer) in Santa Anita’s GII Monrovia S. May 25, a race her dam annexed back in 2008. Though she has earned a fees-paid berth to the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, Oleksandra is not yet nominated to the series and would have to be supplemented as a horse of racing age.

Pedigree Notes:

Oleksandra is the second Grade I winner for Animal Kingdom and his first in the Northern Hemisphere, the other being G1 Australian Derby winner Angel of Truth (Aus). She is also one of five graded winners and 12 stakes winner for the stallion. Her dam Alexandra Rose was a graded winner in both America and South Africa and is a half to three other South African stakes winners. The winner has a yearling full-brother, bred on Southern Hemisphere time, named Prince Alexander (Aus).

Saturday, Belmont Park
JAIPUR S.-GI, $250,000, Belmont, 6-20, 3yo/up, 6fT, 1:06.80, fm.
1–OLEKSANDRA (AUS), 119, m, 6, by Animal Kingdom
1st Dam: Alexandra Rose (SAf) (GSW & MG1SP-SAf, GSW-USA, SP-UAE, $169,923), by Caesour
                2nd Dam: Alexandra Bi (Ire), by Darshaan (GB)
                3rd Dam: Miss Habit (Fr), by Habitat
1ST GRADE I WIN. O-Team Valor International; B-Team Valor
Pty Ltd (AUS); T-Neil D. Drysdale; J-Joel Rosario. $137,500.
Lifetime Record: 15-7-3-3, $537,353. Werk Nick Rating: B+.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Kanthaka, 120, g, 5, Jimmy Creed–Sliced Bread, by
Noonmark. ($38,000 RNA Ylg ’16 FTKJUL; $140,000 2yo ’17
BARMAR). O-West Point Thoroughbreds; B-Spendthrift Farm
LLC (KY); T-H. Graham Motion. $50,000.
3–Texas Wedge, 124, g, 5, Colonel John–Callmenancy, by
Political Force. ($27,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP; $30,000 2yo ’17
OBSMAR). O-Peter Miller, Rafter JR Ranch LLC, STD Racing
Stable & Andy Miller; B-Nancy Shuford (KY); T-Peter Miller.
$30,000.
Margins: NK, 1 1/4, 3/4. Odds: 2.25, 16.20, 7.40.
Also Ran: Stubbins, White Flag, Lonhtwist, Pure Sensation, Hidden Scroll. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

 

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Into Mischief’s Gamine Dominates Acorn

Sat, 2020-06-20 16:51

ELMONT, NY — Unbeaten ‘TDN Rising Star’ Gamine (Into Mischief) put on the ‘wow’ performance of the day while making her stakes debut for Hall of Famer Bob Baffert on the GI Belmont S. undercard, airing by 18 3/4 lengths as the 3-5 favorite in the GI Longines Acorn S.

The Barclay Tagg-trained Pleasant Orb (Orb) completed the exacta at 39-1. Water White (Conveyance) was third. Returning GISW Perfect Alibi (Sky Mesa) was far back in fifth for her sophomore debut.

The $1.8-million Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale topper blasted out to the front from her inside draw and never gave them a chance from there.

She sped through an opening quarter of :22.48, and began to hit the gas as they rounded the far turn. Racing in hand as they reached the quarter pole with her ears up just waiting for a cue, John Velazquez shook his Hall of Fame reins as they straightened for home and the response was devastating. Gamine raced a bit greenly wandering around some while clear by daylight in the stretch, but it didn’t matter one bit, as she still gave Najran’s 2003 track record of 1:32.24 a good run for its money.

The final time of 1:32.55 was the fastest of 90 editions of the Acorn.

Owner Michael Lund Petersen’s beige-and-green silks were carried to another memorable performance on this same card three years ago when the Baffert-trained Mor Spirit (Eskendereya) crushed in the GI Metropolitan H.

“It was an amazing race out of her,” Jimmy Barnes, longtime assistant trainer to Baffert, said.

“Especially coming into a Grade I and for it being only her third start. Johnny rode her right to the way we told him to go. We told him to take advantage of her position and he certainly did.”

Barnes added, “We’ll go home, give her a little time and see what’s next for her. I can imagine something at Saratoga.”

Gamine lived up to the buzz with the easiest of victories as the 1-9 favorite sprinting on debut at Santa Anita Mar. 7, then gamely held off the hard-knocking subsequent GII Santa Anita Oaks runner-up Speech (Mr Speaker) by a neck in front-running fashion in her two-turn debut in an optional claimer at Oaklawn May 2.

She was cutting back to a one-turn mile in the Acorn.

“By the quarter-pole she opened up so quickly I had to look back,” Velazquez said. “She’s very nice and professional. I wish they were all that easy.

Velazquez continued, “I didn’t want to fight her. On the backstretch she wanted to lean out a little bit so I was just going to let her do what she wanted, she was going comfortably. When I let her run I think she was going so fast that she drifted out anyway.”

Pedigree Notes:

Gamine is the sixth Grade I winner, 70th black-type winner and 29th graded winner for leading sire Into Mischief.

The flashy bay topped last year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale, bringing $1.8 million from Michael Lund Petersen. Purchased by Brad Grady’s Grand Oaks for $220,000 at Keeneland September as a yearling, she blossomed into a seven-figure juvenile after breezing in :10 flat for Bobby Dodd in Timonium.

Gamine is out of the stakes-placed mare Peggy Jane (Kafwain) and hails from the family of Canadian champion Dynamic Sky (Sky Mesa). Peggy Jane is also responsible for the unraced 2-year-old colt Splashtown (Speightstown) ($300,000 FTKOCT yearling purchase by Frankie Brothers), a yearling filly by Ghostzapper and a colt by Kantharos of this year.

Peggy Jane, a two-time winner, was a $200,000 OBS April 2-year-old purchase by Barbara Banke’s Grace Stables in 2011.

Saturday, Belmont Park
LONGINES ACORN S.-GI, $300,000, Belmont, 6-20, 3yo, f, 1m, 1:32.55, ft.
1–GAMINE, 120, f, 3, by Into Mischief
                1st Dam: Peggy Jane (SP, $102,050), by Kafwain
                2nd Dam: Seattle Splash, by Chief Seattle
                3rd Dam: Grand Splash, by Bucksplasher
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN, 1ST GRADE I
WIN. TDN Rising Star ($220,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP; $1,800,000
2yo ’19 EASMAY). O-Michael Lund Petersen; B-Grace
Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY); T-Bob Baffert; J-John R.
Velazquez. $165,000. Lifetime Record: 3-3-0-0, $234,600.
Werk Nick Rating: A+. 
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Pleasant Orb, 120, f, 3, by Orb
                1st Dam: Pleasant Home, by Seeking the Gold
                2nd Dam: Our Country Place, by Pleasant Colony
                3rd Dam: Maplejinsky, by Nijinsky II
O/B-Charles Fipke (KY); T-Barclay Tagg. $60,000.
3–Water White, 120, f, 3, by Conveyance
                1st Dam: Uzume, by Unbridled’s Song
                2nd Dam: Passion Flower, by Deputy Minister
                3rd Dam: L’Amour Toujours, by Blushing Groom (Fr)
($50,000 Ylg ’18 FTKJUL). O-E.V. Racing Stable; B-Richard
Forbush (KY); T-Rudy R. Rodriguez. $36,000.
Margins: 18 3/4, HF, 7 3/4. Odds: 0.70, 39.75, 33.50.
Also Ran: Lucrezia, Perfect Alibi, Casual, Glass Ceiling.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

 

 

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American Pharoah Filly Scores Sweet Win in Wonder Again

Sat, 2020-06-20 15:20

Sweet Melania delivered the performance everyone expected, dominating the GIII Wonder Again S. from start to finish. Seizing the early advantage, the 6-5 chalk put up a half-mile in :47.62 with Antoinette (Hard Spun) hounding her from a close second. Showing the way into the lane, the chestnut charged clear in the lane to win as she pleased with Highland Glory (Sky Mesa) in second.

“Analyzing the race beforehand, it looked as though she had a pace advantage,” said Todd Pletcher. “We weren’t going to put her on the lead, we felt that she would naturally get herself there. Jose [Ortiz] did a nice job of hashing it out and she responded well.”

Graduating at third asking when trying turf and a route of ground for the first time at Saratoga July 14, Sweet Melania missed by a neck in that venue’s P.G. Johnson S. Aug. 29, but redeemed herself with a dominant win in Keeneland’s GII Jessamine S. Oct. 9. She was last seen finishing third in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf S. Nov. 1.

Pedigree Notes:

Sweet Melania is one of seven stakes winners and three graded winners from the first crop of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. Sweet N Discreet did not produce a foal in 2018 and her 2019 Carpe Diem filly died, but she had a Liam’s Map colt in April after being acquired by Mt. Brilliant Farm for $1.6 million at Fasig-Tipton November shortly after her daughter’s Breeders’ Cup effort. Sweet N Discreet is a full to GSW and GISP Discreet Dancer and a half to GSW Travelin Man (Trippi).

Saturday, Belmont Park
WONDER AGAIN S.-GIII, $145,500, Belmont, 6-20, 3yo, f, 1mT, 1:34.23, fm.
1–SWEET MELANIA, 122, f, 3, by American Pharoah
1st Dam: Sweet N Discreet (SW & GSP, $366,447), by Discreet Cat
                2nd Dam: West Side Dancer, by Gone West
                3rd Dam: Bering Cruise, by Danzig
($600,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP). O-Robert E. & Lawana L. Low; B-St.
Elias Stables, LLC (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher; J-Jose L. Ortiz.
$82,500. Lifetime Record: 7-3-1-3, $376,500.
Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Highland Glory, 122, f, 3, Sky Mesa–Kristi With a K, by
Petionville. O-Steadfast Stable; B-Bonner Young (KY); T-Barclay
Tagg. $30,000.
3–Antoinette, 122, f, 3, Hard Spun–Shuruq, by Elusive Quality.
O/B-Godolphin (KY); T-William I. Mott. $18,000.
Margins: 1HF, HF, 3 1/4. Odds: 1.30, 3.20, 6.20.
Also Ran: Speaktomeofsummer, Selflessly. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

 

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Decorated Invader Runs to the Money in Pennine Ridge

Sat, 2020-06-20 13:59

DECORATED INVADER (c, 3, Declaration of War–Gamely Girl, by Arch) was hammered down to 3-5 favoritism for the GII Pennine Ridge S. and ran to the money, charging through late for a dominant score. Stalking from third as Proven Strategies (Sky Mesa) set opening splits of :23.86 and :47.50, the bay pushed through on the fence entering the lane and powered clear to win as he pleased. Following his second-out graduation with a win in the GI Summer S. at Woodbine in September, the bay rallied to be fourth in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Nov. 1 and kicked off this year with a win in Gulfstream’s Cutler Bay S. Lifetime Record: 6-4-1-0.

O-West Point Thoroughbreds; William Freeman, William Sandbrook and Cheryl Manning; B-Redmon Farm LLC (KY); T-Christophe Clement.

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Violence Colt Takes No Prisoners in Woody Stephens

Sat, 2020-06-20 12:44

ELMONT, NY — ‘TDN Rising Star’ No Parole (Violence) exited his rail draw with his mind on business, and ran four quality rivals off their feet to collect a first top-level score in Saturday’s GI Woody Stephens S. at Belmont Park.

The Louisiana-bred cruised on the front end through an opening quarter in :22.31 with slightly favored Meru (Sky Mesa) and GIII Gotham S. winner Mischevious Alex (Into Mischief) giving chase in second and third.

Mischevious Alex made his move into second and the turning- back ‘TDN Rising Star’ Shoplifted (Into Mischief) began to wind up with a flashy move from the back with a three-wide bid as they hit the quarter pole.

But No Parole was still going easy up front, however, and despite racing on his left lead down the stretch, reported home a dominating winner by 3 3/4 lengths.

Fellow ‘Rising Star’ and Bachelor S. runner-up Echo Town (Speightstown), racing a bit further back than expected in the early going perhaps, came along late after saving ground throughout to complete the exacta without threatening the winner.

Shoplifted, fifth in the Oaklawn S. going 1 1/8 miles last time Apr. 11, was third.

No Parole won his first three career starts, all against state-breds, by a combined margin of 34 lengths, including the La-Bred Premier Night Prince S. going a two-turn mile at Delta Downs Feb. 8.

Little went right in his next attempt around two turns, however, facing open company for the first time in Oaklawn’s GII Rebel S. Mar. 14. No Parole flashed early speed that day and tired badly to report home a distant last of eight in the sloppy going. He bounced back in style with a sharp optional claiming tally going six furlongs at Oaklawn last time Apr. 24.

“I think No Parole’s game is his speed,” winning trainer Tom Amoss said. “He’s shown that in all his races. To be able to draw the inside and take advantage of that with a good rider like [Luis] Saez, everything played out as we hoped.

Amoss continued, “No Parole is a one-turn horse for sure. We’ll get together with the ownership and we’ll sit down and map out a plan. We’re very excited about his future and we’re already thinking about the first weekend in November [for the Breeders’ Cup].”

Saez added, “He came out of the gate perfect and he put me in a perfect spot. We came to the half-mile and I had a lot of horse. When we hit the stretch, he took off. I was sitting chilly and I knew I had a lot of horse. When everyone got close to him [turning for home], he took off again.”

Pedigree Notes:

No Parole becomes the first North American Grade I winner for promising young sire Violence, and his seventh overall at the graded level.

The winner’s dam Plus One was a stakes-winning turf sprinter at Penn National and hails from the extended female family of graded winners License Fee (Black Tie Affair {Ire}) and Greeley’s Galaxy (Mr. Greeley).

Plus One brought $67,000 from Coteau Grove Farms in foal to Violence at the 2014 KEENOV sale. Her most recent produce is a yearling filly by Connect. She was not bred for 2020.

Saturday, Belmont Park
WOODY STEPHENS S. PRESENTED BY CLAIBORNE FARM-GI, $242,500, Belmont, 6-20, 3yo, 7f, 1:21.41, ft.
1–NO PAROLE, 120, c, 3, by Violence
                1st Dam: Plus One (SW, $168,847), by Bluegrass Cat
                2nd Dam: License Free, by Miswaki
                3rd Dam: Star Deputy, by Deputy Minister
   1ST GRADED STAKES WIN, 1ST GRADE I WIN. ($75,000 Ylg ’18
KEESEP). ‘TDN Rising Star’ O-Moss, Maggi and Tramontin,
Greg; B-Coteau Grove Farms (LA); T-Thomas M. Amoss; J-Luis
Saez. $137,500. Lifetime Record: 6-5-0-0, $295,366. Werk Nick
Rating: D. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Echo Town, 120, c, 3, Speightstown–Letgomyecho, by
Menifee. ($100,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP). ‘TDN Rising Star’ O-L and
N Racing LLC; B-Betz, J. Betz, Burns, CHNNHK Thoroughbreds,
Magers, CoCo Equine & R (KY); T-Steven M. Asmussen.
$50,000.
3–Shoplifted, 120, c, 3, Into Mischief–Shopit, by Yes It’s True.
TDN Rising Star ($525,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP; $800,000 2yo ’19
FTFMAR). O-Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stables, LLC and LNJ
Foxwoods; B-Machmer Hall and Carrie & Craig Brogden (KY);
T-Steven M. Asmussen. $30,000.
Margins: 3 3/4, 1 3/4, NK. Odds: 3.10, 4.30, 3.95.
Also Ran: Mischevious Alex, Meru. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
 

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Yet Another Blown Arlington Deadline as Chaos Consumes Last-Ditch Negotiations

Fri, 2020-06-19 19:42

For the second consecutive day–and for the fourth time in two weeks–the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) on Friday had to put off voting on the fate of the nearly two-month overdue 2020 season at Arlington International Race Course.

That’s because the track and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (ITHA) still can’t come to terms on a signed contract for the meet, which is a requirement before the commission can award race dates.

What has been a tense negotiating process for the better part of nine months (with four blown IRB-mandated deadlines this June alone) devolved into a new realm of chaos during the June 19 teleconference: Arlington sent its version of a final, signed contract to the ITHA during–not before–Friday’s IRB meeting to approve the deal.

Then when the ITHA’s legal team scrambled to get a first read of that document during a hastily called recess, they realized that sometime during frenzied back-and-forth rounds of editing over the last 24 hours, different versions of the deal had gotten mixed up, making it difficult to know whether issues important to both sides got incorporated into the near-final version.

“So now we’re totally at odds, like, ‘Holy cow, what’s going on here?'” Kerry Lavelle, an attorney for the ITHA, told the IRB after discovering the botched documents. “You can see while scratching your head [how] the veracity of the whole process starts to break down, because we don’t know what’s going on.”

IRB chairman Daniel Beiser didn’t want to hear the details about the mix-up. He again recessed the meeting–which technically began on Thursday and had already been carried over to Friday–until Monday at 9 a.m. Central, at which time he vowed that the board would “one way or another come to conclusion on this item.”

But will the new Monday deadline be for real? Beiser had used nearly verbatim language on Thursday when the gave the ultimatum that Friday would be the absolute latest that the IRB would “finally dispose of this matter one way or the other.”

Arlington and the horsemen’s group two sides have been sparring since last October over crafting this deal. By contrast, the ITHA claimed back in January that its 2020 race-meet contract negotiations with nearby Hawthorne Racecourse took only one hour to complete.

Talks lagged through early spring, then the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the world. Arlington’s previously scheduled May 1 opening date came and went without any horses being allowed to stable at suburban Chicago’s premier track.

As Illinois emerged from the health lockdown, both parties realized time was running out on the prospects for a 2020 racing season. An IRB meeting to award dates on June 5 resulted in mandated weekend-long negotiations mediated by the IRB. But when that meeting resumed June 8, the two sides could still not come to terms on a contract.

On June 17 there appeared to be a breakthrough just in time for the IRB’s meeting the next day, at which the Arlington dates were again on the agenda: The track issued a notice on Twitter Wednesday afternoon announcing that the two sides had reached a “tentative” deal for both 2020 and 2021 racing. According to the post, the 30-date 2020 meet would run July 23-Sep. 30. Additional reports said the two parties had agreed there would be no stakes program in 2020, including the track’s signature race, the GI Arlington Million.

But the deal did not materialize in time for Thursday’s IRB meeting, so a recess was granted until Friday in yet another last-ditch attempt to break the deadlock. There appeared to be two remaining issues—purse projections and a contingency for what would happen if Arlington didn’t (or couldn’t) race in 2021.

When the IRB reconvened at 1 p.m. Friday, IRB commissioner Thomas McCauley, who has been the board’s lead mediator, explained that he believed both sides had agreed to resolve purse projections similar to the way salary arbitration hearings are conducted in pro baseball. Bu the two sides still had to agree on what would happen in the event that out-of-control circumstances (like a pandemic) kept Arlington from racing in 2021.

Arlington president Tony Petrillo then told commissioners that “We had sent a final, signed agreement over to the ITHA that addressed the reconciliation payment, which we feel is a final offer and should close this issue, and that’s our current status.”

David McCaffrey, the ITHA’s executive director, then was granted the floor. Appearing taken aback, he said he had no idea what Petrillo was talking about, because the ITHA had not received any such signed contract from Arlington before the meeting.

Yet as McCaffrey was speaking, the contract popped up in his email. He said it was time-stamped eight minutes after the meeting had begun.

“Does anyone see the unfairness in sending us a contract at 1:08 p.m. on a call that started at 1 p.m. and have me say yes or no?” an exasperated McCaffrey asked.

His words were met with silence by everyone else on the conference call.

“I don’t know what to say, other than at one o’clock when I called into this meeting, despite all the feverish attempts that have been made over the last two or three weeks, we had a deal that we would agree to sign that was submitted this morning to the racing board. We will stand behind that. But I can’t respond to something that was sent to me 10 minutes ago,” McCaffrey said.

Beiser called for a recess to allow the ITHA time to examine Arlington’s latest offer. The break lasted 2 1/2 hours.

Upon resumption is when Lavelle notified the commissioners of the discrepancies between the contract drafts, explaining that the red-lining process had gone awry. He said his legal team did a comparison of what they believed to be the correct versions from each party to reach the “true version.”

But when the ITHA team did that, Lavelle said, it revealed that Arlington had included new blocks of language about force majeure that he had never seen before.

He emailed Petrillo before the meeting came back in session, who essentially told him “take it or leave it,” according to Lavelle.

“Our team needs some time to go through line by line to know what we’re going to do, and we do intend to come through, probably like Monday, [with] improvements,” Lavelle said.

Beiser granted the two sides time for another weekend-long work session, and then gave Petrillo the opportunity to respond before recessing the meeting.

“In order to help the ITHA move forward in a more expeditious manner, the agreement that I signed is the agreement that they should be working off of,” Petrillo said. “We notified them of that at the time that that was sent. [Just for clarification, there are] no other documents.”

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Maclean’s Music Firster Professional on Churchill Debut

Fri, 2020-06-19 15:05

3rd-Churchill Downs, $77,248, Msw, 6-19, 2yo, 5f, :57.49, ft.
JACKIE’S WARRIOR (c, 2, Maclean’s Music–Unicorn Girl, by A. P. Five Hundred) topped off a concise worktab with a bullet half-mile from the gate in :47 1/5 (1/35) at Keeneland June 9 and was made the 21-10 second favorite on debut. Hustled along early to contest the pace from the inside, Jackie’s Warrior was taken hold of by Ricardo Santana, Jr. at the 3 1/2-furlong pole and switched out into the two path. Despite having lost some momentum in so doing, the $95,000 Keeneland September graduate had dead aim turning for home, struck to the front with a furlong and a half to race and pulled away to graduate by 2 1/2 lengths. Therideofalifetime (Candy Ride {Arg}) closed off well for second. Cousteau (Into Mischief), favored at 11-10, was off slowly, made a menacing move on the turn, but raced greenly late and crossed the line fifth. Produced by a 19-time winning half-sister to MSW Bernie the Maestro (Bernstein), Jackie’s Warrior has a yearling half-sister by Candy Ride and a foal half-brother by American Pharoah. Sales history: $95,000 Ylg ’19 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $45,064. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-J Kirk Robison; B-J & J Stables (KY); T-Steven M Asmussen.

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Indiana Has Best Wagering Week

Fri, 2020-06-19 13:57

Indiana Grand Racing & Casino recorded its best wagering week ever in handle. Over the first four days of racing, a total of $9,867,445 was wagered on 35 Thoroughbred and 10 Quarter Horse races.

The previous best week of handle was recorded during Indiana Derby Week in 2019. A total of $8,673,496 was wagered over four days to establish a new record for most handle recorded in one week of racing.

“The reception of our racing program on a national level has been outstanding,” said Eric Halstrom, vice president and general manager of racing at Indiana Grand. “The entire team has worked through some very difficult times to ensure operations are meeting all requirements set by the state due to Covid-19 protocols. It’s really rewarding to all of us to have racing fans be so invested inour racing product. It sure sets the tone for our entire season and we are working hard to keep that momentum going.”

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Saratoga Stakes Added to Derby & Oaks Prep

Fri, 2020-06-19 13:51

With the GI Kentucky Derby moved to Sept. 5 and the GI Kentucky Oaks pushed to Sept. 4, a quartet of Saratoga stakes will be added to the qualifying prep races. The GIII Peter Pan S. July 16 and the GI Traver S. Aug., 8 will be part of the Road to the Derby at 100 and 50 points, respectively. Added to the Oaks trail are the GI CCA Oaks July 18 and the GI Alabama S. Aug. 15, both 100 points.

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Derby Points on the Line at Toyko

Fri, 2020-06-19 13:27

The postponement of the GI Kentucky Derby from May to September forced a reworking of the Road to the Kentucky Derby points races, both at home and abroad. The Japanese component of the series, which offers the highest points-getter an automatic berth in the gate at Churchill Downs, has been extended by two races, and the first of those, the G3 Unicorn S. (1600m), is set for Sunday afternoon at Tokyo Racecourse.

A pair of American-bred imports, each undefeated in two career appearances, figure to dominate the market. Cafe Pharoah (American Pharoah) walloped a group of newcomers by 10 lengths going a mile and an eighth at first asking at Nakayama in December. The $475,000 OBS March acquisition returned in the Listed Hyacinth S. over Sunday’s course and distance Feb. 23 and rallied from off the pace to best Tagano Beauty (Jpn) (Henny Hughes) by 1 1/4 lengths, earning 30 Kentucky Derby points in the process (see below, gate 3). Boom Australian jockey Damian Lane has the call, but will have to work some magic from the widest berth in the field of 16.

Lecce Baroque (Uncle Mo) gets four pounds from her male rivals and has yet to face a challenge in her young career. A 10-length debut winner over seven panels Feb. 8, the $410,000 Keeneland September purchase turned $525,000 OBSMAR breezer made light work of an allowance field Apr. 25, rolling home by nine lengths untouched (video, gate 10). Christophe Lemaire rides from gate five.

American-conceived Dieu du Vin (Jpn) (Declaration of War) defeated the talented Danon Pharaoh (Jpn) (American Pharoah) on debut over track and distance in October and followed up with a rallying success in the Nov. 23 Cattleya Sho (allowance), the first of the Kentucky Derby points races. Well-beaten in a lone turf start in Group 3 company in April, the son of Jealous Cat (Tapit) overcame a high draw to take a 1600-meter allowance at headquarters May 17. Mirco Demuro is at the controls.

Aurora Tesoro (Malibu Moon) was a close fourth in the Cattleya Sho and was a winner of a seven-furlong test at Hanshin Apr. 4. He was most recently eighth, but not beaten far, behind Satono Rafale (Jpn) (Gold Allure {Jpn}) in a similar heat at Kyoto May 3.

The Unicorn offers the top four finishers points on a 40-16-8-4 scale. The final leg of the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby is the Japan Dirt Derby (2000m) at Ohi Racecourse July 8.

 

WATCH: Cafe Pharoah overcomes a slow start to win the Hyacinth S.

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Travers Moved to Aug. 8 in Newly Released Saratoga Stakes Schedule

Fri, 2020-06-19 10:40

The GI Runhappy Travers S. Has been moved up to Aug. 8 as one of the headliners of the 2020 Saratoga stakes schedule released Friday morning. Originally slated for Aug. 29, the Midsummer Derby was moved due to the rescheduled GI Kentucky Derby which is now Sept. 5.

The 2020 Saratoga meet will feature 71 stakes worth $14.45 million, encompassing 39 graded stakes and 18 Grade Is from Thursday, July 16 through Monday, Sept. 7.

“We’re thrilled to be racing at Saratoga this summer, and we thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for his support and the support of horsemen who have worked with us to navigate the many challenges,” NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke said. “While this will be anything but a traditional Saratoga season, we hope to provide a semblance of normalcy for both the local community as well as racing fans across the country.”

Under current New York state guidelines, Saratoga Race Course will open on July 16 without spectators in attendance. The 40-day meet will feature at least one stakes race every live racing day, highlighted by the Travers and the GI Whitney Aug. 1.

The Whitney card will also feature the GI Personal Ensign S. and GI H. Allen Jerkens S., as well as the GII Bowling Green S. The Travers undercard will include the GI Ballerina S., GI Test S., GIII Troy S. and GIII Waya S.

The opening day card will feature the GIII Schuylerville S. for juvenile fillies and the GIII Peter Pan S., traditionally held at Belmont Park in May as a local prep for the GI Belmont S. The first Grade I will be the CCA Oaks on Saturday, July 18, and the GII National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame S. is also that day. The following Saturday July 25 will be highlighted by the GI Alfred G. Vanderbilt S. and GII Ballston Spa S.

New to the Saratoga stakes schedule are a pair of New York-bred races for older grass horses with the Lubash set for July 22 and the Dayatthespa for fillies and mares July 29, both offering a purse of $85,000 for the 1 1/16-mile turf tests. The $100,000 Perfect Sting, a 1 1/16-mile turf test for older fillies and mares, moves from Belmont to Aug. 14 at the Spa.

The GI Alabama S. will be held Aug. 15, which is the same day as the $500,000 Saratoga Derby. The female counterpart, the Saratoga Oaks, is Aug. 16. The GI Fourstardave S. is slated for Aug. 22 and the GI Diana S. is the following day.

A pair of stakes for sophomore state-breds originally scheduled at Aqueduct, the NYSSS Times Square and NYSSS Park Avenue, will now be contested at Saratoga Aug. 27 and Sept. 3 respectively, both offering a purse of $100,000 for the 6 1/2-furlong main-track sprints.

The GI Forego S. remains on what was supposed to be Travers day Aug. 29, as does the GI Sword Dancer S. The final Saturday of the meet, Sept. 5, will feature the GI Woodward S., the GII Jim Dandy S. (traditionally a Travers prep run in July), the GII Prioress S. and the GII Glens Falls S.

The GI Spinaway S. headlines the Sept. 6 card, which includes the GII Honorable Miss H., and the GI Runhappy Hopeful S. keeps its traditional spot on Labor Day Sept. 7, which, as always, is closing day of the meet.

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Maryland Purse Structure to Remain Unchanged

Thu, 2020-06-18 17:41

Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen Association, after conferring with the Maryland Jockey Club, announced operations will resume at a similar purse structure for overnight races through the rest of the summer, while staging live racing two days a week. Moving forward, as revenues increase, plans call for the addition of days to the calendar. With Casinos scheduled to re-open June 19, the MJC is expected to begin relaxing restrictions of owner’s access to the backstretch as well as allowing all licensed personal access to the backstretch beginning June 20.

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