Week of October 3, 2011
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder

As expected, Super Saturday turned out to be a largely a chalkfest of epic proportions. The only big surprises were Giant Ryan in the Vosburgh and Blind Luck throwing a clunker to finish last in the Lady’s Secret.

Older turf fillies and mares were the bookends of Super Saturday with Stacelita kicking things off in the Flower Bowl and Dubawi Heights wrapping them up in the Yellow Ribbon. The pair ran 1-2 in the Beverly D (replay) last out and are likely to meet again the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Cape Blanco seemed to struggle to hold of a fast closing Dean’s Kitten in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic but remained undefeated in the U.S. According to jockey Jaimie Spencer he won despite not liking the soft turf, and according to his connections he’ll ship home and come back for the Breeders’ Cup if everything goes well. Dean’s Kitten’s trainer Mike Maker confirmed that his colt, who he characterized as getting better all the time, will definitely go on to Churchill for the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Saturday’s chalkfest took a brief hiatus in the Vosburgh (like we thought it might!), when New York-bred Giant Ryan made it six wins a row and his first Grade 1. According to trainer Bisnath Parboo, Giant Ryan will be supplemented to Breeders’ Cup Sprint and ship to Churchill three weeks prior the Breeders’ Cup. Force Freeze, who ran an impressive second, will also likely be looking at the Breeders’ Cup Sprint according to trainer Peter Walder. Uncle Mo easily generated the most buzz with his strong showing the Grade 2 Kelso against older horses. He used the time honored tradition of setting a controlled pace and pulling away. Mike Repole was quick to say that the Breeders’ Cup Classic would be Uncle Mo’s next start, even before Stay Thirsty ran third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, noting that he wanted two shots to win the Classic.

Havre de Grace made short work of a short field in the Beldame, looking like an absolute monster while her arch-rival, Blind Luck, threw a total clunker in the Lady’s Secret. Nothing appeared to be physically wrong and trainer Jerry Hollender took a refreshing stance saying that he “didn’t train her right”, but she’ll undergo tests. For now it looks like she’s out for the rest of the year. Zazu took the Lady’s Secret in thrilling stretch-drive, dueing with Ultra Blend, who beat her last out in the Clement L. Hirsch (replay). At Parx Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty annihilated the field, much like she did in her prep for the Oaks, but this time the field included two Grade 1 winners: It’s Tricky and Buster’s Ready. Zazu and Plum Pretty will meet again at Churchill in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic.

Flat Out gave his veteran 70 year old trainer his first Grade 1 win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and will be making his next start in the Classic. Game on Dude punched his ticket to the Classic in the Goodwood, by holding off an old veteran, 8-year-old Awesome Gem. Haskell winner Coil, who was favored in the Goodwood, will bypass the Breeders’ Cup and come back in the Strub Series early next year.

Sunday kicked off with Goldikova coming in a close second to Dream Ahead in the Prix de la Foret and a filly trifecta in Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. For now it seems Goldikova is still on target to run the last race of her career in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, where she will attempt to be the only horse to win four consecutive Breeder’s Cup races (currently she’s the only horse to win three!). Longshot Arc winner Danedream seems to be pointing to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf and vanquished Arc favorite So You Think is now possible for the Breeders’ Cup Classic!

Juveniles ruled Sunday but there was some Juvenile action on Super Saturday. Creative Cause turned the tables Drill in the Norfolk with a very strong showing and will head to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Grace Hall, winner of the Grade 1 Spinaway (replay), got a paid two-turn workout in the Blue Hen at Delaware Park in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Sunday wasn’t nearly as chalky as Saturday with 17-1 Vexor taking the Grade 3 Nashua and 23-1 Pure Gossip winning the Grade 3 Miss Grillo in her first turf debut. Vexor will go on to the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint and Pure Gossip, will go to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Fillies. Shkspeare Shaliyah stamped his ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and gave trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal his first graded win. And finished up in dramatic fashion with Weemissfrankie digging down to nip a stubbornly game Candrea on the wire in the Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies will be the next stop for Weemissfrankie.

Life At Ten, who finished last in the Beldame, a race she won last year (replay) has finally been retired. And Banned, who was recently injured during a workout, was euthanized over the weekend. On a bright note, reigning Juvenile Champion Filly Awesome Feather is making her long awaited comeback this Wednesday in a stakes race at Belmont Park. Here’s hoping the champ can eventually regain her form!

This week Keeneland opens for it’s brief, yet high profile fall meet. NBC will resume it’s racing coverage using the format established at Saratoga with Autumn at Keeneland.

NBC Sports scheduled coverage of Keeneland:
Fri Oct 7: Alcibiades & Phoenix – 5-6pm ET – Versus
Sat Oct 8: Shadwell Turf Mile & Breeders’ Futurity – 5-6pm ET – Versus
Sun Oct 9: Spinster & Bourbon Stakes – 5-6pm ET – Versus
Sat Oct 15: Queen Elizabeth II & Keeneland Anniversary Stakes – 5-6pm ET – NBC

Yes, you read that right. Versus will be broadcasting racing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of next weekend! Also next weekend are the Champagne and Frizette for juveniles and the Jamaica for 3-year-old turfers at Belmont Park. Check out our Ten Things on the Frizette!

Keep with all the racing commentary and news at Raceday 360 Wire!

Last Week’s Races

2011 Flower Bowl Invitational Replay
Stacelita takes the Flower Bowl with ease.

2011 Joe Hirsch Memorial Turf Classic Replay
Cape Blanco narrowly hold off a charging Dean’s Kitten.

2011 Vosburgh Handicap Replay
Giant Ryan springs a giant upset.

2011 Kelso Handicap Replay
Uncle Mo ensures he’ll take a lot of money come Breeders’ Cup day!

2011 Beldame Invitational Replay
Havre de Grace phones it in.

2011 Jockey Club Gold Cup Replay
Flat Out is triumphant.

2011 Indiana Derby Replay
Wilburn stepped up.

2011 Cotillion Stakes Replay
Plum Pretty breaks the stakes record and crushes the field.

2011 Norfolk Stakes Replay
Creative Cause made a strong showing.

2011 Lady’s Secret Stakes Replay
Zazu gets the best of Ultra Blend while Blind Luck is a no show.

2011 Goodwood Stakes Replay
Game on Dude takes it over a fast closing Awesome Gem.

2011 Yellow Ribbon Stakes Replay
Dubawi Heights cuts the ribbon.

2011 Tempted Stakes Replay
Believe You Can makes it look easy.

2011 Pilgrim Stakes Replay
Skspeare Shaliyah finishes strong.

2011 Miss Grillo Stakes Replay
Pure Gossip takes to the turf.

2011 Nashua Stakes Replay
Vexor pulls the upset.

2011 Clement Hirsch Turf Championship Replay
Acclamation repels Champ Pegasus with ease.

2011 Oak Leaf Stakes Replay
Weemissfrankie leaves wee room for error, winning in the final strides.

Upcoming Graded Stakes Races

Check probable starters at Horse Racing Nation’s Stakes Tracker

See you at the track!

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