05/21/2010 11:00PM

Bay to Bay takes American 1,000 Guineas


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. -- The third edition of the was bet like a two-horse race, but only one of the main players fired. That was Bay to Bay, who made short work of her opponents on Saturday at Arlington, beating pacesetting Go Ask Alex by 2 1/2 lengths. Not such good results for favored Queen of the Creek, who was unsettled early, and never really showed much spark, checking in a well-beaten third in the mile turf race.

In from Woodbine for trainer Brian Lynch and owner Robert Smithen, Bay to Bay was coming off a fine 2010 debut, a closing second-place finish in the Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland. She had form at 2 -- a win in the Grade 3 Natalma at Woodbine -- to back up that performance, and progressed nicely on Saturday.

Rated off Go Ask Alex's moderate pace (24.88 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 49.09 to the half on a course listed as "soft," but not all that wet, according to several jockeys), Bay to Bay and jockey Robby Albarado threaded through horses approaching the half-mile pole to get position for a final push. When asked, Bay to Bay picked up nicely, and soon had Go Ask Alex in her sites.

"She broke alertly and she was always there for me," Albarado said. "At every point she was in my hands."

Bay to Bay paid $5.40 to win, and stopped the timer in 1:39.24 for the mile.

Queen of the Creek, so impressive going 2 for 2 in her turf career, fell surprisingly far behind the pace into the first turn.

"She tried to run off at the break," said jockey Jose Lezcano, who added that he didn't believe Queen of the Creek was entirely fond of the footing.

Lynch, Bay to Bay's trainer, said his filly tended to the small and light side, and that she would be given plenty of time between starts. "Hopefully, we'll pick a spot at Saratoga," he said.

Workin for Hops wires in Classic

Albarado made it a clean sweep of the Saturday stakes when he guided Workin for Hops to a front-running, 2 1/4-length victory in the at 1 1/16 miles on grass.

Workin for Hops, an 8-5 favorite who paid $5.40 to win, had been taken out of his game in the April 30 American Turf at Churchill Downs, a stumbling start costing him the front-end position from which the horse seems to do his best. But Saturday, Albarado got Workin for Hops away cleanly, and he set splits of 24.63 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, and a modest 49.14 to the half while racing in the clear. Alfarabi briefly loomed at the inside approaching the quarter pole, but Workin for Hops accelerated nicely into the stretch, and the race was over at the eighth pole. Alfarabi stayed on decently for second, followed home by Gleam of Hope and Mister Marti Gras. The winner, trained by Mike Stidham for Estrorace LLC, was timed in 1:45.43 over a course upgraded from "soft" to "good" late in the card.