Updated on 09/15/2011 12:37PM

Sunday's Stakes recaps (7/15/01)


Sharp Performance wins in stakes debut

ELMONT, N.Y. - In the days leading up to Sunday's $150,000 Lexington, trainer Dave Donk said he was using the race to see where Sharp Performance stood among stakes winners.

On a beautiful summer afternoon at Belmont Park, Donk discovered he has a stakes winner on his hands in Sharp Performance, the one-length Lexington winner.

Sharp Performance was making his stakes debut in the Grade 3 Lexington for 3-year-old grass runners.

Under jockey John Velazquez, Sharp Performance parked himself behind the early pacesetters, Package Store and Judge Spada, in third position in the 1 1/4-mile race.

Package Store widened his advantage around the far turn and still had something left in the tank after honest fractions of 24.41 seconds, 47.75, 1:11.27, and 1:34.79. But Sharp Performance was on the move from the outside and motored past the pacesetter with less than a sixteenth remaining.

Whitmore's Conn finished third, 4 1/4 lengths behind Package Store, and was followed under the wire by Volponi, Kalu, Strategic Partner, Epic Pursuit, and Judge Spada.

Strategic Partner was the slight favorite over Sharp Performance ($7.60). The final time over a firm course was 1:58.93, a stakes record.

Sharp Performance, a son of Kris S., is now undefeated in three grass races at Belmont. Before the Lexington, Sharp Performance won a maiden race in May and a month later, a first-level allowance on Belmont Stakes Day.

Donk said he has a couple of options for Sharp Performance. One of them is the Grade 1 $400,000 Secretariat at Arlington Park on Aug. 18. "My ambitious plan for him was the Secretariat; now that he's won this one, I guess we'll have to consider that a little," Donk said.

- Karen M. Johnson

Monmouth Park: Burning Roma impresses

OCEANPORT, N.J. - In the $100,000 Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes at Monmouth Park, Burning Roma made a case that he should be considered at the top of the 3-year-old division. With the convincing victory, he could now face Point Given in three weeks in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational.

Burning Roma, trained by Anthony Dutrow, added another stakes win to his impressive season, defeating This Fleet Is Due and Thunder Blitz to capture the 1 1/16-mile Long Branch, the main prep for the Haskell, before a crowd of 15,596 in 1:43.28.

"Right now the Haskell is our number-one race," said trainer Anthony Dutrow. "We'll look at some others, like the West Virginia Derby and the Jim Dandy, but the Haskell is a lot of money and that's the race we're focusing on."

Ridden confidently by regular rider Rick Wilson, Burning Roma broke near the back of the pack, but quickly raced to the front of the field. From there, he pounced on leader Max Jones before the far turn, and opened up a clear lead to sprint home by 1 1/4 lengths over a quick-running This Fleet Is Due, who came from last to take second. Second choice Thunder Blitz, fourth in the Kentucky Derby and sixth in the Belmont Stakes, finished 1 1/2 lengths back in third along the rail. The remaining finishers were Dayton Flyer, Game Effort, Junior Deputy, and Max Jones.

- Ryan Goldberg

Woodbine: Rum Splasher upsets

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Longshot Rum Splasher closed from last to upset 1-2 favorite Expected Hour at Woodbine in the $110,800 Colin Stakes for 2-year-olds.

Rum Splasher ($40.80), trained by Sean Hall, earned $66,480..

With Dino Luciani up, Rum Splasher came four-wide through the final furlong to prevail by a half-length. Expected Hour was another half-length clear of Square Cut Diamond, the third-place finisher in the six-horse field. Jealous Forum and Forum Search were scratched. The final time was 1:12.07.

- Ron Gierkink

Lone Star: Miss Ritz captures Silver Spurs

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Miss Ritz, the lone supplement in the $100,000 Silver Spur Stakes, drove to a 1 1/4-length win over Wild Gear in the 5 1/2-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies, the closing-day feature at Lone Star Park. It was another three-quarters of a length back in third to Sea Bag with favorite Point Gained, a half-sister to Preakness and Belmont winner Point Given, fading to seventh after stalking the pace early.

Miss Ritz, a $5,000 supplement, raced about a half-length behind Smoke Buster, who jumped out to the lead at the start and ran the opening four furlongs in 44.22 seconds. Miss Ritz drew even with Smoke Buster at the quarter pole, kicked clear afterward, then held off Wild Gear to win the race in a time of 1:04.56. She paid $22.40.

Jockey Casey Lambert was aboard for trainer Bob Young. Miss Ritz races for Kenneth Murphy, who won two races on the closing day card to secure the leading owner title by two wins over Tom Durant.

In the $75,000 Bob Johnson Memorial, Captain Countdown ($10.20) overtook pacesetter T.B. Track Star to win by three-quarters of a length in a time of 1:36.33. It was a length back to third-place finisher and favorite Unrullah Bull. Glen Murphy was aboard Captain Countdown for trainer Steve Asmussen.

- Mary Rampellini

The Curragh: Lailani takes Oaks

Lailani extended her winning streak to five with a neck victory over stablemate Mot Juste in a weak running of the Irish Oaks at The Curragh.

Supplemented for $30,000 by Maktoum al Maktoum, Lailani (5-1) and Mot Juste comprised an exacta for trainer Ed Dunlop, whose only previous classic winner had been Ta Rib in the 1996 French 1000 Guineas.

Group 2 winners Time Away and Rebelline were sixth and seventh, while the 9-2 favorite, Relish the Thought, was a dull 10th. The race was depleted by the absence of Imagine, Flight of Fancy, and Sahara Slew.

Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Lailani covered the 1 1/2 miles in 2:30.50. She could go next in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood on Aug. 4.

- Alan Shuback