Week of May 30, 2011
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder
It was a turf-tastic long holiday weekend with the majority of stakes races on the grass as we transition into summer racing. Keertana made history at Churchill Downs on Saturday by being the first female to win the Louisville Handicap. No word yet on what’s next for the 5-year-old mare but the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf is her goal.
Former European runners did well with Hibaayeb winning the Sheepshead Bay at Belmont Park, Denomination winning the Violet Stakes at Monmouth Park, and at Hollywood Park Ryehill Dreamer winning the American and Dubawi Heights winning the Gamely. Hibaayeb went off as the favorite but Ryehill Dreamer was more of a surprise, nosing out favorite Sidney’s Candy and paying $19.60. Dubawi Heights scored her first Grade 1 win and her fourth consecutive win, no word on what’s next for her but the win also marked the first Grade 1 win for her trainer, 28-year-old Simon Callaghan. Also scoring his first Grade 1 was Tizway in the Met Mile. The 6-year-old found another gear in the stretch and ran a hair off the record time, missing by .09 seconds. The Met Mile saw the rematch of Soaring Empire and Tackleberry but neither of them were able to hit the board.
Winter Memories in the Sand’s Point at Belmont Park, Packattach in the Arlington Matron, Wasted Tears in the Ouija Board at Lone Star Park (replay) all turned in dominant wins over the weekend. Winter Memories scored her second consecutive win with her next race likely to be at Saratoga. Packattach used the Arlington Matron as a prep for the Beverly D and Wasted Tears has won the Ouija Board three years in a row. And champion mare Ouija Board kicked off her breeding career with a bang as her first foal, Voodoo Prince, won on Friday in England.
Late bloomer Awesome Gem notched his fourth stakes win in the Lone Star Handicap bringing his career earnings to $2.5 million. Also at Lone Star Park, longshot Thirtyfirststreet won the Lone Star Derby (replay). Other winners this weekend included Sassy Image continuing her stakes domination at Churchill in the Winning Colors and former Derby hopeful Wilcox Inn in the Arlington Classic (replay).
With just under two weeks to go to the Belmont Stakes the potential starters are preparing for the 1 1/2 mile “test of champions” on June 11. Preakness winner Shackleford has already arrived at Belmont Park while the arrival plans for Derby winner Animal Kingdom have not been set yet. Second place Derby finisher Nehro posted what was characterized as a “sharp” workout at Churchill Downs while sixth place Derby finisher Santiva also put in a work at Churchill. Peter Pan winner, Alternation, will take a pass on the Belmont and point towards the Jim Dandy and Travers and fifth place Derby finisher Master of Hounds is scheduled to arrive at Belmont on June 7. Also of note, Mucho Macho Man, who lost a shoe in both the Louisiana Derby and Preakness, now has new shoes and a new blacksmith!
Keep up with all the Belmont Stakes news & commentary at Raceday 360 Wire!
Check probable starters at Horse Racing Nation’s Stakes Tracker
See you at the track!