Week of July 4, 2011
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder
There was plenty of racing action over the long holiday weekend and we certainly hope you were able to make it to the track. And we hope you had one or more of the many longshots that were on tap!
Juvenile racing started to swing into high gear with the Bashford Manor, Futurity Stakes and Matron Stakes, all three won by upset winners. Exfactor gave Calvin Borel his fifth win on the card Saturday at Churchill Downs. The duo sat well off a hot pace and swung wide around the tiring field. Exfactor’s next stop will be in Saratoga en route to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill in November. The Futurity and Matron at Belmont Park were comprised mostly of shippers, or horses shipping in from out of town. Both Jack’s in the Deck in the Futurity and Millionreasonswhy in the Matron looked professional in their wins despite being longshots. Millionreasonswhy will definitely be pointed towards Saratoga with no word on what’s next for Jack’s in the Deck.
Dominus injected some much-needed life into the ailing 3-year-old male division by winning the Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday. Added to the divisions growing injury list this past week were Derby Trial winner Machen and Fountain of Youth winner Soldat. Dominus was plagued with issues in the fall of last year that kept him from the Triple Crown but seems to have put it all behind him. His next stop might be the Jim Dandy at Saratoga or the Haskell at Monmouth Park. The 3-year-old sprinters are doing much better than their routing counter parts as Flashpoint, who finished 14th in the Preakness (replay) after dominating at sprint distances, cut back to six furlongs in the Jersey Shore Stakes and got back to business. No word yet on what’s next but hopefully he’ll point to the King’s Bishop at Saratoga. Uncle Mo is slated to resume training this week and owner Mike Repole has mentioned the King Bishop as a possible target for the Juvenile champ.
Also leaping onto the scene on Saturday was Flat Out, who regrouped after running 6th in the Stephen Foster (replay) and surprised even his connections with his performance in Suburban Handicap at Belmont. If Flat Out wasn’t a fluke he certainly could make noise in a somewhat wide open handicap division. His next stop is likely to be the Whitney at Saratoga.
In the United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park, horse for the course Teaks North denied French classic winner Stacelita and last year’s UN winner Chincon bringing his Monmouth turf record to 4-4. The United Nations is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Race giving Teaks North an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Turf in November at Churchill Downs. Also winning at Breeders’ Cup Challenge race was Courageous Cat in the Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park, one of the only favorites to win this weekend! He held off a game Caracortado and prompted his jockey, Patrick Valenzuela, to proclaim “I can almost guarantee heâ€™ll win the Breedersâ€™ Cup Mile, even if they bring that filly (Goldikova) over.” After second to Goldikova in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Mile (replay), his owner is also noted that he’s “looking for revenge” against Goldikova. No word on what’s next for Courageous Cat other than shipping back east (and attempting to exact revenge on Goldikova in the fall!).
On July 4th Her Smile and Pomeroy’s Pistol provided the fireworks in the Prioress Stakes for 3-year-old sprinting fillies, sitting far off a speed duel up front and pouncing when the time was right. In the Royal Heroine at Hollywood Park Celtic Princess was one of the few winning favorites and In the Firecracker at Churchill Downs Wise Dan pulled a Pool Play and made his turf debut a winning one. You may remember a few weeks ago when Pool Play won the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs in making his dirt debut.
Churchill Downs ended it spring meet with jockey Julien Leparoux scoring the meeting riding title for the eighth time. Look for many of the Churchill jocks to migrate north to Saratoga later in the month.
There’s plenty of great racing on tap for upcoming weekend, the Hollywood Gold Cup is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, find out more about this prestigious race in our Ten Things You Should Know: Hollywood Gold Cup. If you like sprinting you’re in luck as the Calder Summit of Speed will looks to be particularly strong this year. We’ll also have a Ten Things You Should for the Summit of Speed later in the week. Also in store, reigning Turf Champion Gio Ponti will go for his third win in the Man o’War at Belmont Park
Keep with racing commentary and news at Raceday 360 Wire!
Check probable starters at Horse Racing Nation’s Stakes Tracker
See you at the track!