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Saturday stakes recaps (05/21/05)
Cool Conductor noses Artie Schiller
Trainer Ralph Nicks earned his first graded stakes win when Cool Conductor outfinished odds-on choice Artie Schiller by a nose to win the Grade 2, $200,000 Dixie Handicap at Pimlico. The Dixie was one of six undercard stakes on the Preakness card.
It was 2 1/4 lengths back to Good Reward in third. Defending Breeders' Cup Turf champion Better Talk Now and Grato Recuerdo completed the order of finish.
Grato Recuerdo, a 14-1 shot, set pedestrian fractions of 26.33 seconds, 51.99, and 1:16.82 for six furlongs, with Artie Schiller chasing in second. Artie Schiller, under Edgar Prado, made the front around the turn, but was soon tackled by Cool Conductor, under Cornelio Velasquez.
The two were head-and-head through the stretch, with Cool Conductor outside of Artie Schiller. Artie Schiller, carrying six pounds more than Cool Conductor, bobbled in deep stretch as Cool Conductor prevailed.
Cool Conductor covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.79 over a good turf and returned $24.
- David Grening
Maryland BC: Willy o' the Valley rallies
Willy o' the Valley, a 4-year-old gelding whom trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. claimed for $100,000 on April 13, prevailed at first asking for his new connections when he surged to victory in the $189,000 Maryland Breeders' Cup Handicap.
Willy o' the Valley, owned by IEAH Stables, got a great stalking trip under Edgar Prado. As three horses, including favored Gators N Bears, converged on the lead with a quarter-mile left in the six-furlong Maryland BC, Willy o' the Valley angled to the middle of the track, then passed that front-running pack, and finished a length ahead of With Distinction. Take Achance on Me was another neck back in third, while Gators N Bears finished another 3 1/4 lengths back in fourth in a field of eight older horses.
Willy o' the Valley returned $9.80 as the third choice after finishing in 1:09.95 over a fast track.
- Marty McGee
Gallorette: Film Maker shows no rust
Trainer Graham Motion had Film Maker ready to fire off a six-month layoff. After having some difficulty negotiating the tight turns on the Pimlico turf course, Film Maker exploded through the stretch Saturday to win the Grade 3, $100,000 Gallorette Handicap by a neck over Briviesca. It was three-quarters of a length back to Humoristic in third.
Jockey Jerry Bailey tucked Film Maker in behind Art Fan until upper stretch before taking her out for the final furlong. Film Maker outkicked Briviesca and covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.29 over a good turf course. She returned $6.40 as the favorite.
- David Grening
Schaefer: Zakocity sets slow pace
Zakocity took advantage of a slow pace and glided away to a 2 1/2-length triumph in the $100,000 William Donald Schaefer Handicap.
Clays Awesome, an 11-1 shot, gave chase for most of the way before settling for second, another 2 3/4 lengths before the late-running Royal Assault. Alumni Hall, the 2-1 favorite, finished last in a field of eight older horses.
Zakocity, with Bailey aboard, returned $6.80 after finishing 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.19 over a fast track.
- Marty McGee
* Making his stakes debut, heavy favorite English Channel ($3) unleashed a powerful turn of foot that carried him to a four-length victory in the $100,000 Woodlawn Stakes. English Channel completed 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:45.55.
* Trainer Nick Zito produced a runner for the June 11 Belmont Stakes when Pinpoint ($10.80) led from start to finish in the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes. Pinpoint completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.43.
Society Selection revitalized in Shuvee
Society Selection bounced back from a disastrous race in her last start and overcame a 111-day layoff with a professional-looking win in Saturday's Grade 2 Shuvee Handicap at Belmont Park.
Society Selection, who hadn't raced since finishing last in the Grade 2 Shirley Jones at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 19, won the Shuvee by 2 3/4 lengths over Daydreaming. Bohemian Lady checked in third, a neck behind Daydreaming. Traci Girl and Saintliness completed the order of finish in the mile dirt race.
Daydreaming at 8-5 was a slight favorite over Society Selection.
Society Selection ($5.80) was last down the backstretch under Eibar Coa, who moved the filly to the outside around the turn. With a furlong remaining, Society Selection drew away from Bohemian Lady, who had contested the pace with Traci Girl.
Society Selection covered the distance in 1:34.23, which equaled the stakes record set by Catinca in 1999.
Coa, who won Friday's Grade 1 Pimlico Special aboard Eddington, said he and Society Selection enjoyed an uneventful trip. "The only concern was whether she was going to show up today or not," he said.
Society Selection's win in the $196,000 Shuvee gave trainer Allen Jerkens his fourth victory in the race.
"I wasn't planning on running in this race until she worked too fast one day when a horse [broke] off in front of her," Jerkens said. "We figured she must have been pretty fit."
Jerkens said he would target the Grade 1, $300,000 Ogden Phipps here on June 18 for Society Selection's next start.
- Karen M. Johnson
Hollywood: Storm Wolf is Solis's 5th
Storm Wolf overcame a slow start to win his stakes debut in the $150,000 Laz Barrera Memorial Stakes, giving jockey Alex Solis his fifth win of the day.
Storm Wolf ($2.80) won the Grade 2 Barrera by six lengths, covering the seven furlongs in 1:22.26. Storm Wolf broke last but quickly reached the front. He set fractions of 21.96 and 44.80 seconds before pulling away on the final turn. Solis tapped Storm Wolf once with a whip in early stretch, but mostly hand rode him to the finish.
"He was a little freaked out at the start," Solis said. "He has so much talent, he won easy."
Dover Dere, a minor stakes winner at Golden Gate Fields in December, rallied from fourth to finish second, a half-length in front of Ransom Demanded in the field of six 3-year-olds.
Since finishing fourth in a maiden race last December, Storm Wolf has won three races by 20 1/2 lengths.
- Steve Andersen
Golden Gate Fields: Pickle perfect
Favored Pickle ($4.80) rallied to win her second straight Grade 3 race, beating Marla Bay by a half-length in the $80,625 Yerba Buena Breeders' Cup Handicap.
A 4-year-old British-bred filly, Pickle improved her American record to 3 wins in 4 starts.
She sat off the early pace set by Midwife and was wide entering the backstretch of the 1 1/16-mile turf race. She quickly moved into contention after leaving the quarter pole, shifted out in the lane, and outkicked Marla Bay home, running the final three-sixteenths of a mile in 28.83 seconds to win the race in 1:41.72. Pacesetting Midwife was third, three lengths behind the winner.
Winning jockey Russell Baze said of Pickle: "She was relaxed in the early part and eased up to within striking distance without any problem. At the five-sixteenths pole, I asked her, and she went right on."
- Chuck Dybdal
Woodbine: Shipper gets money
Kentucky shipper Unbridled Energy overtook Wholelottabourbon in the final strides to win his first stakes in the Grade 3, $166,700 Marine.
Unbridled Energy assumed a stalking position under Todd Kabel, as Wholelottabourbon set moderate fractions in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds. Wholelottabourbon had a one-length lead at the eighth pole, but Unbridled Energy dug in through the final furlong to win by a neck.
Palladio finished another neck back in third in the seven-horse field. Lakeville Rush was scratched. The time was 1:46.
"The horse ran a very gritty race," said Kabel. "He was very determined to get there."
Unbridled Energy, who is eligible to the June 11 Belmont Stakes, returned $5.50.
- Ron Gierkink
Calder: Sir Ray wins wild one
Sir Ray turned the $50,000 Maryland My Maryland into a memorable race. Sir Ray bolted around the clubhouse turn of the 1 3/16-mile race, dropped to the rear of the eight-horse field, and raced along the outside fence for nearly the entire length of the backstretch. He reasserted himself approaching the second turn, overtook Perspicacious in early stretch, then edged away to an amazing 2 1/2-length victory.
Jockey Manoel Cruz, who had to call off an outrider when it appeared he was about to be pulled up in the run down the backstretch, gave a courageous ride to the winner for trainer Bill White.
Sir Ray paid $6.20 and covered the distance in 2:04.12 over a fast but cuppy racetrack.
"He's got a very sensitive mouth, and if the bit shifts into the wrong spot he really resents it," White explained. "When he bolted around the first turn and was up against the outside fence down the backstretch, I was just waiting for him to be pulled up. But I guess Manoel still felt comfortable with him, because he yelled at the outrider to leave him alone, allowed the horse to gallop along for a while, and somehow was able to get back into the race. In 20 years of training I've never seen anything like it."
Cruz said he never lost confidence in Sir Ray despite the unconventional trip.
"When we were going around the first turn on the outside fence, I was confident I could get back in the race," said Cruz. "The outrider was going to try and pick me up on the backside, but even then I felt like we were still in it. When we reached the three-eighths pole he straightened out and re-broke."
- Mike Welsch
Delaware: Annika Lass gets up
Annika Lass and jockey Daniel Velazquez took advantage of a speed duel in the $76,200 Sweet and Sassy Handicap, rallying along the rail for a nose victory over the 6-5 favorite, Fortress Hill.
The victory was the first in a stakes for Annika Lass, who returned $12.60 and brought her record to 6 for 10.
- Ira Kaplan
Monmouth: More Smoke all the way
More Smoke, the 2-5 favorite, made short work of his four rivals in the $60,000 Select Stakes, jumping out the lead at the start and cruising to a five-length victory under Clinton Potts.
Lieutenant Danz rallied for second in the six-furlong race for 3-year-olds, with 3-1 second choice Miracle Man taking third.
More Smoke zipped the six furlongs in 1:10.04 for his second straight stakes score. He was coming off a 14 1/2-length victory in the Grade 3 Lafayette at Keeneland. A Smoke Glacken colt, More Smoke has won 5 of his 8 starts.
- Ira Kaplan
River Downs: Flip Side upsets
Longshots dominated the first stakes of the River Downs meet, with 8-1 shot Flip Side scoring a one-length victory over the 13-1 Marketable in the $45,000 Tomboy for Ohio-bred 3-year-old fillies.
Noon Win, the 2-1 favorite, was never a factor and was last across the wire. Jockey Jose Calo was unseated by Leah's Dolly passing the stands for the first time, but appeared unhurt.
The Tomboy was the first stakes try for Flip Side, who also raced without blinkers for the first time Saturday. Flip Side paid $19.40 and ran the 1 1/16 miles over a yielding turf in 1:45.
- Vance Hanson
Louisiana Downs: No surprise
The heavily favored Ketchme-whereyoucan ($3.80) ran to her price, capturing the $50,000 Dixie Miss Stakes at Louisiana Downs by 1 1/4 lengths. Risen Empress, at 21-1 the longest shot in the field, rallied from last to finish second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of by Kera's Kitty Cat.
The win was Ketchmewhereyou-can's fourth from 11 starts and her first in stakes company. She picked up $30,000 and has now earned just over $102,000.
"The race set up perfectly," Jacinto said. "It went just as we planned. She made her move at the three-eighths pole and responded well. She was ready. I had confidence in her."
- Jeff Taylor
Canterbury: Vazandar wins as favorite
Vazandar rallied in the lane to win the 10,000 Lakes Stakes, a $40,000 race for Minnesota-breds at Canterbury Park. The 7-5 favorite, Vazandar ran the six furlongs in 1:09.56. Adroitly Superb held second by a neck over Timberwolf Power.
- David M. Miller
Lincoln: Lukfata Louis holds on
Lukfata Louis overcame traffic problems on the turn and held off the late charge of Tonight Rainbow for a neck victory in the Speed Handicap at Lincoln, his fourth win this year.
Lukfata Louis ran the 4 1/2 furlongs in 51 seconds over a fast track. He paid $3.20.
- Bill Hodtwalker