10/15/2011 10:31AM



A horse that doesn't get his due on this side of the pond is FAME AND GLORY.  Trained by Aidan O'Brien, the 5-year-old son of Montjeu continued a long run of excellence with a victory earlier this morning at Ascot in the Group 3 British Champions Long Distance Cup at 16 furlongs. 

Fame and Glory, a winner in 13 of 21 races, won the first four starts of his career, including the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud going 1 1/4 miles at two. 

At three, he won the Group 1 Irish Derby going 12 furlongs at the Curragh, but was overshadowed that season by the superb Sea the Stars. 

Last year, Fame and Glory reeled off four victories in a row, including the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at 1 1/4 miles and the Group 1 Coronation Cup going 12 furlongs at Epsom. 

He's shown no signs of slowing down this season at five, now with four wins from six outings.  On June 16, he took the Group 1 Gold Cup at 20 furlongs.  Still, he won't land the front page once again, considering FRANKEL's performance later on the card.

*An up-and-coming European sprinter is DEACON BLUES, who made it five in a row in the Group 2 British Champions Sprint Stakes.  Trained by James Fanshawe, Deacon Blues was always traveling smartly and he collared pacesetting Hooray with two furlongs to run.  Deacon Blues finished things off nicely to post the popular score under Johnny Murtagh. 

*Murtagh struck again, this time with DANCING RAIN in the Group 2 British Champions' Fillies' and Mares' Stakes. Fifth behind Blue Bunting in the Irish Oaks on July 17 after winning the English Oaks at Epsom, Dancing Rain received a confidence-booster in her start on August 7, taking the Group 1 German Oaks with ease.  Dancing Rain handled her elders earlier this morning in her seventh lifetime start and seems a progressive sort for a potential international journey later this season, perhaps to Japan. 

*The fantastic FRANKEL was never losing the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II over a flat mile.  Now 9 for 9, Frankel walked into the machine as smooth as butter as the deserving odds-on favorite.  As is his habit, he raced a bit keenly in the opening furlong, but soon settled in midpack as his pacesetter, BULLET TRAIN, cut out some honest fractions.  Frankel took command with a minimum of fuss at the two-furlong mark and held the solid Prix du Moulin (Group 1) winner EXCELEBRATION safe.  IMMORTAL VERSE, the sophomore filly that conquered the mighty Goldikova in the Prix Jacques le Marois (Group 1), failed to make an impact. 
Frankel is likely done for the season, but he is a heroic miler, indeed.

*It was going to be hard to follow Frankel's performance, no matter what, but CIRRUS DES AIGLES gave a fine effort in winning the Group 1 Champions Stakes.  A multiple Group 2 winner in France that had previously been a bridesmaid at the uppermost echelon, Cirrus des Aigles ran down the classy multiple Group 1 winner So You Think in the final yards.  There was no excuse for So You Think, who had a candy trip tracking the pacesetters.  His rider, Ryan Moore, was sitting chilly until the two, but So You Think could never quicken clear.  He was game, but second-best on this day.


I don't have strong opinions for this weekend's races although I do like SILVER HEART in the seventh race at Charles Town on their big night for statebreds. 

The Europeans dominate the entries at Woodbine on Sunday so I'll take tepid selections of BATED BREATH in the Nearctic, I'M A DREAMER in the E.P. Taylor and QUEST FOR PEACE in the Canadian International.

The Queen Elizabeth II at Keeneland looks like a fabulous race with the likes of WINTER MEMORIES, SUMMER SOIREE, STAR BILLING and TOGETHER.  I'll take a chance with NEREID, Star Billing's uncoupled stablemate for trainer John Shirreffs.

For a detailed video analysis of some of the weekend's big events, check out the videos that Mike Beer and I filmed earlier in the week.  Just click on the link below and scroll down to the second video player.



Ron Zuercher asked about the trainer statistics for Aidan O'Brien concerning Together in today's QE II at Keeneland.  Those numbers are for North America only.


More importantly, who do you like this weekend?  I want to know.