07/05/2009 10:40PM



There wasn't much in the way of parimutuel fireworks in the holiday weekend's graded stakes -- 11 of the 14 winners were 5-2 or less -- but there were plenty of sparkling performances:

*Presious Passion, a personal favorite and perhaps the most dramatic Grade 1 horse around, made things awfully interesting again en route to victory in the G1 United Nations. His running line tells the story:

1-12    1-20    1-20    1-13    1-8    1-2 

Yes, that's 12 in front after an opening quarter in 22.20 (in an 11-furlong race); 20 in front through a half in 45.20 and six furlongs in 1:09.81; 13 in front after a mile in 1:34.67, 8 in front after 10 furlongs in 1:59.07 and two in front at the wire in 2:10.97. Lauro was second behind him at every call, making up 18 lengths in the final five furlongs, six of them into the winner's final furlong of 11.90. Presious Passion, who let rivals catch all the way up to him before digging in and rerallying in two previous victories this year was winning the U.N. for the second straight year.

*Gozzip Girl established herself as the clear leader of the nation's 3-year-old grass fillies with a 3 1/4-length runaway in the G1 $700k American Oaks at Hollywood Sunday. Eleventh early and fifth after a mile, she showed a top-class turn of foot suddenly blowing the race open just inside the eighth pole. Steve Anderson reports she might stick to 10 furlongs but try dirt next time out, in the Alabama at Saratoga.

*Two expensive and exciting 3-year-old sprinters beat their elders on separate coasts Sunday. First, Munnings won the four-horse Tom Fool at Belmont, beating Riley Tucker by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:21.08. Munnings (Coolmore/Pletcher/Speightstown/$1.7m 2yo) was coming off a 5 1/4-length score over 3-year-olds in the Woody Stephens, where he covered the same distance in 1:20.63. Then at Hollywood, Zensational (Zayat/Baffert/Unbridled's Song/$700k 2yo) led all the way to score by a length in the G1 Triple Bend in 1:21.34.

*Kensei, third to Munnings in the Woody Stephens, blossomed in his first start at a mile or more, winning the G2 Dwyer at Belmont Saturday by 3 1/4 lengths in 1:40.47 for 8.5f, good for a Beyer of 107. Warrior's Reward, pounded to 4-5, stumbled badly at the start, was 18 lengths back after half a mile, and finished well to be third, beaten 5 1/2 lengths.

*Informed Decision, the 4-year-old Mondarchos filly who won the G1 Madison and the G1 Humana Distaff in her last two starts, ran her career record to 8 for 10 with an easy 4 3/4-length score in the G3 Chicago Handicap at Arlington Saturday. Informed Decision has won five straight, all stakes, dating back to last fall. Drymartinijanetkruskamp

*The weekend's only graded stakes winner at more than 6-1 came in the G2 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Saturday and was especially popular with one member of my family: My mother, a holiday weekend houseguest.

She hadn't been to Belmont in a decade ("I remember more people being here in the past," she correctly noted) but wanted to come out for the Saturday stakes races. She didn't play the Dwyer or the Prioress, but she likes dry martinis and gray horses, so she sprung for $2 across on Dry Martini ($23.60, $8.30, $5.10).

The victory made Dry Martini, a 6-year-old Slew Gin Fizz gelding, a millionaire in his 26th career start. Finallymadeit, who led to the stretch and held on for fourth, also topped the $1 million mark while making his 47th career start.

--Thanks to all for the 148 comments in 48 hours on the medication thread in the two previous posts, and please feel free to continue contributing. Comments are still open on the post below.