The action was at Woodbine this weekend where horses battled to win berths for the Breeders' Cup which is just a few more weeks away! Meanwhile, the Road to the Kentucky Derby also started at Churchill Downs.
Woodbine Mile (G1T)
Breaking from the one hole, EL TORMENTA saved ground racing in sixth while SILENT POET set fast fractions of :22.84 and :44.43. ADMIRALTY PIER pressed the pacesetter along with AWESOMETANK. Meanwhile, GOT STORMY went to the front at the six furlong mark after racing just off the early leaders. At the top of the stretch, it was all EL TORMENTA as he found a hole and drove for home edging GOT STORMY at the wire. The final time was 1:32.60 on good turf.
The win gave trainer Gail Cox her first grade one win of her career and is now headed to the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1T) with EL TORMENTA'S impressive upset.
Natalma Stakes (G1T) at Woodbine
ABSCOND broke first but closely stalked the pacesetter, WALK IN MARRAKESH, allowing her to take the lead on the inside, but literally breathing down her neck. The fill set opening fractions of :23.99 and :48.24. WALK IN MARRAKESH continued to be challenged by ABSCOND but was able to finally get some distance when she was challenged again by FAIR MAIDEN.
Turning for home, the three fillies charged down the stretch together, but FAIR MAIDEN didn't have the stamina and gave in first while ABSCOND found another burst of energy to surge past WALK IN MARRAKESH to take the win in the 1 mile Natalma Stakes in 1:36.51 on yielding turf. WALK IN MARRAKESH was able to hold on for second while FAIR MAIDEN finished third.
ABSCOND earned herself an automatic berth in the Breeder's Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Summer Stakes (G1T) at Woodbine
It was a pretty easy start in the Summer Stakes, despite DECORATED INVADER having a bit of a stumble. KEEP ON TRUCKIN went to the front to set the pace, but dramatically lost position in the backstretch allowing MYSTIC LANCEALOT and CADET CONNELLY to come up on the outside. Taking over the lead, CADET CONNELLY went on to post fractions of :24.26 and:48.43. DECORATED INVADER sat back in the pack in seventh, but began to make progress from the outside at the top of the turn.
Coming down the stretch, CADET CONNELLY led the way, but DECORATED INVADER was rolling and took over within a furlong of the finish line, completing the mile in 1:36.34 to win by a 1 3/4 lengths. CADET CONNELLY finished second with VITALOGY coming in to close for third.
DECORATED INVADER earned an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1T) and trainer Christophe Clement said the colt will make his way to Santa Anita for the test.
Iroquois Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs
All eyes were on DENNIS' MOMENT as he strolled to victory by a 1 3/4 lengths for Dale Romans at Churchill Downs on Saturday. The colt set a stakes record time of 1:43.58 for the 1 1/16 miles with plenty of steam after crossing the wire. SCABBARD came in second but didn't have enough to catch the leader after challenging late. LEBDA finished third 5 3/4 lengths behind the second-place runner.
The victory earned DENNIS' MOMENT 10 points for the Kentucky Derby and earned a berth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1). The Run for the Roses is clearly on Roman's mind for this colt as he asked jockey Jose Ortiz in the winner's circle, "Mile and a quarter?"
Pocahontas (G2) at Churchill Downs
It was a battle between LAZY DAISY and the long-shot, HIS GLORY as they took turns in the lead. They ran the opening quarter in :24 flat. LAZY DAISY maintained her lead with HIS GLORY taking over for a brief moment, but LAZY DAISY kept battling.
LAZY DAISY emerged the victor by 1 1/4 lengths in the 1 1/16 mile. HIS GLORY held on for second while PORTRAIT finished third 3 1/2 lengths back. The win stamped her ticket to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) and gave her points towards the Kentucky Oaks (G1).
$200,000 Locust Grove Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs
Setting the pace on the inside was SKEPTIC, leading the field of nine in fractions of :24.44 and :49.17. ESCAPE CLAUSE pressed the pacesetter in second and GO GOOGLE YOURSELF tracked in third. At the top of the stretch, GO GOOGLE YOURSELF made the first move and took the lead while MOONLIT GARDEN and MYLADY CURLIN waited. The pair got clear and made up ground in the stretch, but GO GOOGLE YOURSELF was well ahead and held them at bay. MOONLIT GARDEN completed the test in second with MYLADY CURLIN finishing third.