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Saturday Stakes Roundup (6/9)
Galileo dominates in Epsom Derby win
EPSOM, England - Galileo proved he is the best 3-year-old in Europe with a scintillating 3 1/2-length victory over Golan in the $1.4 million Epsom Derby on Saturday.
In providing his sire, Sadler's Wells, with his first Epsom Derby winner, Galileo extended his record to 4 for 4 and gave trainer Aidan O'Brien his second classic victory in two days. On Friday O'Brien won the English Oaks with Imagine.
Galileo's time of 2:33.27 for the 1 1/2 miles over good-to-firm turf was the second-fastest Epsom Derby. At about 3-1, Galileo and Golan were co-favorites in the 12-horse field. Tobougg finished third.
The normally reticent O'Brien was not the least bit shy about declaring the Breeders' Cup Classic as a goal for Galileo. The O'Brien-trained Giant's Causeway finished second in the Classic last year.
The trainer called it "my dream" to see Galileo go next in the Eclipse Stakes, at 1 1/4 miles at Sandown on July 7, "then drop him down to the one-mile Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and then go for the Breeders' Cup Classic.
"I would like to let this horse show his full potential. Even though he's by Sadler's Wells out of an Arc winner [Urban Sea], speed is his forte. He enjoys himself going fast."
And fast is how Galileo ran when Michael Kinane asked him to go when they were third approaching the quarter pole. In a matter of strides, Galileo had the Derby wrapped up.
"This was a race I could enjoy," Kinane said. "I was always in control, and I knew when he quickened that nothing would beat him."
Galileo, owned by Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor, gave Tabor a place in history beside Paul Mellon as the only owners to have both a Kentucky Derby and an Epsom Derby winner. Thunder Gulch won the 1995 Kentucky Derby for Tabor.
- Alan Shuback
Woodbine: Dancethruthedawn in Oaks
ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Favored Dancethruthedawn overcame a speed bias to capture the $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks, formerly the Canadian Oaks, in workmanlike fashion at Woodbine Saturday.
It was a record-tying sixth Oaks victory for Sam-Son Farm, who also campaigned Oaks winner Dance Smartly, the dam of Dancethruthedawn.
Dancethruthedawn raced five lengths off the early pace in the 1 1/8-mile fixture for 3-year-old fillies. Penny Perfect set slow fractions of 23.88 and 48.26 seconds while being tracked by Turner's Hall and Dancen in the Sun. Gary Boulanger swung Dancethruthedawn wide inside the half-mile pole, where she commenced a four-wide rally.
Dancen in the Sun took control at the head of the stretch, but Dancethruthedawn ran her down at the sixteenth pole en route to a 2 1/4-length tally. Quick Blue rallied to finish another 2 3/4 lengths back in third in the 12-horse field of Canadian-breds. The final time was 1:51.74.
"She didn't get away all that well," said Boulanger. "When I got her in the clear, she geared right up and started coming to 'em. She responded when I called on her at the eighth pole, but when she got to the lead, she perked her ears up and swapped leads. There was a lot left in the tank."
Trained by Mark Frostad, Dancethruthedawn ($3.30) earned $300,000, which boosted her bankroll to $543,691.
- Ron Gierkink
Hollywood: Jamaican Rum upset
INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Winston Chi, who won his maiden race on May 24 in a $32,000 claiming race for California-bred maidens, upset Jamaican Rum in Saturday's $100,000 California Sires Stakes at Hollywood Park.
Jamaican Rum, the 2-5 favorite, was making his first start since finishing sixth in the Kentucky Derby.
Winston Chi ($68.60), who was ridden by Garrett Gomez, was making his stakes debut in his fifth career start. The victory was a surprise to owner Paul Reddam, who played golf on Saturday, and trainer Craig Dollase.
"This is kind of a shock to me," Dollase said. "When I worked him on turf, he worked well, so I was quietly confident. He has a nice turn of foot, which he showed the other day."
Winston Chi was at the back of the five-horse field to the top of the stretch, chasing Long Gone Con, who led by as many as 10 lengths on the backstretch through fractions of 23.52 and 46.09 seconds.
Long Gone Con, ridden by Laffit Pincay, was caught in early stretch by Winston Chi, who won by two lengths over Jamaican Rum, finishing 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:41.76. Ridden by Eddie Delahoussaye, Jamaican Rum tracked Long Gone Con but could not keep pace with Winston Chi in the stretch.
"The speed horse was awful," said Jim Cassidy, who trains Jamaican Rum. "It put pressure on Eddie. He had to stay closer than he wanted to."
Cherokee Kim finished third, followed by Long Gone Con and Cool Composure.
- Steve Andersen
Churchill Downs: Indygo shines
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Indygo Shiner, making his turf debut, held off all challengers to capture the $282,500, Grade 3 Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs.
Ridden by Lonnie Meche, Indygo Shiner grabbed a short early lead in the 1 1/8-mile turf race and had to scrap throughout to post a neck victory over Strategic Partner. Indygo Shiner returned $15.80 as fourth choice in a field of nine 3-year-olds.
Fast City, a maiden, finished third at 65-1. Kalu, the 7-5 favorite off three straight victories, faded to fourth after being one of several horses to make a serious run at Indygo Shiner. Then came X Country, Monsieur Cat, Afternoon Pleasure, Bundy Rum, and Tarzan Cry.
Indygo Shiner, an A.P. Indy colt trained by Elliott Walden, was making his sixth career start but first on grass. He also was equipped with blinkers for the first time.
With his mild upset, which was his third career victory and first in a stakes, Indygo Shiner becomes a prime candidate for the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Aug. 18. He finished in 1:48.81 over a firm turf.
Harrisand, scheduled to make his United States debut for trainer Bobby Frankel, was scratched after dumping Jon Court in the post parade and running off.
- Marty McGee
NORTH RANDALL, Ohio - Beatmichiganagain made it back-to-back stakes victories when she slipped through along the rail at the three-sixteenths pole and drew off to a driving two-length tally over Belle of Liberty in the $50,000, 1 1/16-mile Merry Time Stakes here Saturday afternoon. Ms.Quimet finished third three-quarters of a length farther back in the field of 11 Ohio-bred females.
Beatmichiganagain, a 4-year-old owned and bred by Swifty Farms and Larry Smallwood, appears to have made it all the way back from an injury that caused her to miss almost two years of racing. She received a masterful ride from William Troilo, who waited patiently along the rail while being pinned down until early stretch. Troilo shook up his mount right-handed and she came through to make the lead and draw off,getting the distance 1:44.98 over a fast racing surface. She returned $11.60 to win.
Belle of Liberty turned in a very game effort setting the pace and held on stubbornly for second. Ms. Quimet was with the pace all the way while hung three-wide and finished with good courage.
- Chuck Scaravilli
Calder: Honorable Pic right at home
MIAMI - Honorable Pic continued his dominance over the local turf course, registering his fourth victory in as many starts here after rallying to a 1 3/4-length victory over Sejm's Madness in Saturday's $55,950 Linear Handicap.
Honorable Pic finished a troubled seventh when he shipped out of town last month for Churchill Downs's Aegon Turf Stakes, stumbling at the break and failing to handle the turn cleanly after rushing up to head eventual winner Morluc leaving the backstretch. But he had no such problem negotiating the bend in the Linear, hugging the hedge while stalking the early pace of Sam's Concorde before slipping through to take command in early stretch, then edging away to a convincing win.
Sejm's Madness was forced to race extremely wide into the stretch while launching his bid and outfinished the tiring Sam's Concorde by a head to be second.
Honorable Pic paid $5.60 as the favorite after covering five furlongs in 55.78 seconds under jockey Horacio Karamanos.
"He hesitated a bit at the start, I think he might have fallen asleep just a bit because of the delay, but it probably worked to his benefit," said Paradise. "This horse tends to have trouble with the turns when he hits them full throttle so I told Horacio to steady him and take it easy going into the turn then let him go coming out and everything worked out according to plan."
Paradise said Honorable Pic would likely make his next start July 14 in the $100,000 Calder Turf Sprint.
- Mike Welsch
Monmouth: Wittenberg gets a stakes
OCEANPORT, N.J. - Wittenberg parlayed a return to one of her favorite racetracks into her first stakes win with a 5 3/4-length score in the $50,000 Monmouth Beach Stakes at Monmouth Park.
Jockey Dale Beckner, pushed Wittenberg, a 5-year-old mare trained by Vicki Oliver, to the front on the far turn and poured it on through the stretch to get his second win on the card and send Wittenberg ($11.40) to her fourth career victory in 1:41.85 over a fast 1 mile 70 yards course.
"This filly is doing better than ever right now," said Oliver. "If everything works out right now we'll go right back in the Molly Pitcher."
Powerful Package followed the winner's rally into second while former Grade 1 stakes starter Resort rallied too late into third. Pic a Lil, the 9-5 favorite, tired to fourth after pressing the pace.
The co-featured $50,000 Open Mind Handicap went to Anjiz Slew ($18.60) with a sweeping move through the stretch under Roberto Alvarado.
The Manuel Berrios-trained earned her first stakes victory for owner Menotti Lembo when she rolled past 4-5 favorite Eleven North in the final sixteenth, taking her sixth win in 18 lifetime starts by one length.
- Rowland Hoyt