It was another action-packed weekend as we continue to ramp up to the Breeders' Cup in just a few short weeks.
€ 5,000,000 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
We don't cover international races often, this particular race deserved some attention. ENABLE was on track to win the Arc for a third time, but WALDGEIST had different plans. On soft turf, ENABLE ran her race, leading while the rest of the pack trailed by several lengths until the last 150 yards when WALDGEIST came from the pack and ran her down pulling ahead at the wire to take the win. ENABLE finished second. While heartbreaking for ENABLE and her fans, WALDGEIST was finally able to overcome the mare he's been chasing down for their last three starts together and he earned himself a trip to Santa Anita and a spot in the Breeders' Cup Turf.
$300,351 Santa Anita Sprint Championship
Having only ran in longer races like the Rebel Stakes and the Arkansas Derby, OMAHA BEACH showed he had the speed of a sprinter this weekend. Settling a couple of lengths off the pace and behind the pacesetter, SHANCELOT, OMAHA BEACH waited patiently while assuming his position. As the pair came down the stretch, OMAHA BEACH glided past the frontrunner to win the sprint in 1:08.79. SHANCELOT held on for second followed by FLAGSTAFF.
OMAHA earned himself a spot in the gates at the Breeders' Cup Sprint if his connections so choose. They are also considering the Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile (G1) and the Longines Classic (G1).
$501,000 Flower Bowl Stakes (G1T) at Belmont Park
At the half-mile, it was THAIS ahead of the field by 12 lengths, running the half in :49.17. At the quarter pole, she was still ahead by three lengths. But behind her came SISTERCHARLIE running three-wide and flying by her at the eighth pole overcoming a nearly 13 length gap. She didn't go unchallenged though, as MRS. SIPPY came on strong and did not let her pull away but stuck by with tenacity, finishing second. THAIS hung on for third, 2 1/2 lengths behind MRS. SIPPY.
This was the sixth grade one win for the Chad Brown trainee and her paid ticket to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
$400,000 Frizette Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park
WICKED WHISPER went to the front and stayed there all the way to the wire covering the one-mile Frizette in 1:35.92. The 10-1 MISS MARISSA tried to hold on but the fractions were just a little to fast at :22.91 and :46.49 and eventually ran out of the speed needed to contend. FRANK'S ROCKETTE finished second 3 1/4 lengths ahead of SLAM DUNK in third.
The filly can now try her luck in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita in November.
$490,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (G1)
SHE'S A JULIE went to the front to set fractions of :24.25 and :48.63, followed by a stalking VEXATIOUS. Moving out to the three-wide path, VEXATIOUS made a bid for the lead in the fart turn. Tracking the pace on the backside, ELATE followed and shifted wide in the far turn before making a long drive. DUNBAR ROAD skimmed the rail as they entered the lane and drew even with SHE'S A JULIE. ELATE led by a head in the midstretch and BLUE PRIZE drifted out in the six path, rallying down the center of the track and kicking home just ahead of ELATE by a half-length. BLUE PRIZE took the win on a fast track in 1:50.30. ELATE was second followed by DUNBAR ROAD three-quarters of a length behind.
BLUE PRIZE is only the fourth horse in history to win back to back Spinster Stakes in the 64 years of its existence. BLUE PRIZE earned herself an all-expenses-paid trip to the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1).
$150,000 Futurity Stakes (G3T) at Belmont Park
Out of the gates FOUR WHEEL DRIVE took the lead briefly a few strides ahead until JACK AND NOAH took over to be the pacesetter with fractions of :21.62 and :44.33. Giving chase about three lengths back, FOUR WHEEL DRIVE held on to second followed by ANOTHER MIRACLE three to four lengths back. Around the turn, FOUR WHEEL DRIVE/strong> started to close the gap and run neck and neck with the leader on the outside and pulled away by three lengths to take the win under Jose Ortiz on a firm turf course in 1:08.07.
FREEWHEELER held on for second, a half-length ahead of EMBOLDEN. JACK AND NOAH finished fourth. The win for FOUR WHEEL DRIVE has stamped his ticket to Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2T).
$1 Milion Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (G1T) at Keeneland
It was a full field of 14 in the Shadwell at Keeneland. DIAMOND OOPS went to the front to set the pace, contested by REAL STORY. BOWIE'S HERO lingered in eighth, but jockey Flavien Prat slowly improved their position as the entered the lane. Moving seven wide, they made a long and strong final run to win the mile turf test in 1:34.20. DIAMOND OOPS continued to try for the win, but just couldn't stick with him finishing about a length behind. The longshot SUEDOIS rallied from eleventh to take third.
With his Shadwell win, he also won a spot in the gates at the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1T).
$500,000 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (G1)
AMERICAN BUTTERFLY took the lead on the rail and set fractions of :24.01 and :47.78. She angled off the rail at the top of the lane. TAP IT TO WIN was bumped at the start but tracked in second for the first half mile before drifting back and allowing GOUVERNEUR MORRIS to take control in the far turn. MAXFIELD, however, began making his run, moving out to the four path and ran hard down the stretch before drawing ahead of GOUVERNEUR MORRIS to take the win. The final time was 1:44.21. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS held on for second followed by ENFORCEABLE.
MAXFIELD broke his maiden just 21 days before in a troubled trip at Churchill and now has a chance at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).