10/15/2012 9:53AM

Trip Notes: Canadian International, Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, and more

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Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012

Belmont
Athenia (race 7)

Race complexion changed when morning-line favorite Dealbata scratched. La Cloche, a daughter of  Ghostzapper and Grade 1 turf winner Memories of Silver, made the family proud with her first graded stakes win. Sixth in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel here last month, she was slow into stride as is her custom. She bided her time while remaining inside, found room into the lane so she could swing out for clear sailing, still had a lot of work to do by the eighth pole but then blasted home to win smartly. Embarr, who won 3 straight before finishing just behind La Cloche in the Noble Damsel, flattered that form further as she was last early, started her run earlier than the winner but couldn’t keep pace with that foe late. Laughing stalked, loomed a threat into the lane but lacked the needed oomph. Ruthenia, the favorite, sat back with the top 2 but could keep pace with them in the lane.

Belmont
Knickerbocker (race 9)

Boisterous may be a cut below the elite turfers in the land, but he showed again here that in the right spot he can do some damage. Coming off a 9th in the Grade 1 Arlington Million he returned to New York to defend his title in this race. He bided his time early while saving ground, remained there down the backside, swung out for room into the lane and lost some ground to the leaders but then hit high gear late to surge to the lead and clear. See Tobe was last from the start, was content to remain there, was still there to midstretch when he surged late to just get up for 2nd, though he was never a threat to the winner. Tune Me In stalked the pace, was no match for the winner and just lost 2nd in the final strides. Stormy Lord set the pace, battled back to midstretch but then weakened.

Keeneland
Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (race 9)

In a wonderfully contentious renewal, Dayatthespa showed again the importance of speed as the New York-bred made it 6 wins in 8 starts and notched her first Grade 1 tally. She bounced right out to the lead, was able to be clear while setting dawdling splits, saw Centre Court get close to her into the lane but had more than enough left to rebuff that foe and edge clear again. Centre Court was content to stalk while staying wide, came at the winner into the lane to look briefly threatening, but couldn’t get to her. Better Lucky chased the winner from the start, kept after her gamely but was unable to close the gap and just lost 2nd in the final strides. Samitar, a Grade 1 winner in the U.S. and Group 1 winner in Europe, sat back, but with this pace scenario and race-shape had no chance to make up ground. Ditto favorite Stephanie’s Kitten.

Calder
Spend a Buck Handicap (race 9)

Cash Rules continued his love affair with the Calder track, winning for the 7th time in 12 local starts and notching his 3rd straight win, all stakes. This wasn’t exactly a surprise, however. Sent off the heavy 2-5 favorite, the son of Peace Rules stalked the pace in 3rd, made a strong wide run to the lead into the lane, looked as though he might win easily but then had to dig deep to keep hard-charging Ducduc at bay. The latter sat 5th early, chased the winner into the lane with a nice run and kept after him gamely, closing the gap in the final half-furlong while 11 lengths the best of the rest. Flatter This was last early and plugged along for 3rd, though he was no factor as this was strictly a 2-horse race.

Hawthorne
Hawthorne Derby (race 8)

Two Months Rent relished the difficult conditions (heavy rain, very soft turf), posting a big 20-1 upset. The son of Purim bided his time early while Finale and All Stormy set a decent pace considering the condition of the turf, steadily advanced while staying inside, reach contention into the lane, moved off the rail, came through between rivals and kept on doggedly to wear down a stubborn Film Shot. The latter, whose dam Film Maker was a Grade 1 grass winner, stalked the pace, moved up to challenge into the lane, looked like the winner in deep stretch but just couldn’t quite fend off Two Months Rent while well clear of the rest. Lea, the favorite, sat well back and finished with good energy but was never really a threat. Finale, who set the pace under pressure, still had the lead at the eighth pole before giving way.

Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012

Woodbine
Nearctic (race 5)

New Question looked like a new horse when romping to victory at Belmont last month, and he showed he may indeed have turned the corner as he earned a shot at the Grade 1 BC Turf Sprint with an upset tally here. Again he used his speed, going right out to set the pace. He was under constant pressure from Bear Tough Tiger, finally got the better of that foe in deep stretch and was game enough to fend off the hard-trying filly from England, Night Carnation. The filly sat midpack, came with a run into the lane, was inching closer to the winner with every stride but just couldn’t quite get there. Bear Tough Tiger dogged the winner from the start, kept to his task gamely and only succumbed in the final half-furlong. Big Band Sound, the favorite, was well back early and finished with good energy, though he never looked the winner.

Woodbine
E. P. Taylor (race 8)

Hardly a shock that the Euros dominated here as Group 1 winner Siyouma led the charge. The 4-year-old filly was much the best. She sat 5th early, moved closer on the far turn, surged to the lead when asked and cruised home. Pagera, who beat Siyouma in France in May and looked back on form with a big Group 3 win in Germany last time, proved she’s indeed back to her best as she was just in front of the winner early, still there turning for home while to the inside, couldn’t accelerate with that rival but gamely kept on to outduel Dream Peace for 2nd. Dream Peace, a former Euro now based in the U.S. and a superb 3rd in this last year, filled that spot again as she lagged back, came with a threatening run into the lane but couldn’t sustain it. Kissable sat well back and finished decently. Barefoot Lady, who invaded from England to win the Grade 2 Canadian here last month, lagged back while saving ground, made a decent run into the lane but couldn’t maintain it. Race had a rough start as Kapitale came over from her outside post to grab the early lead, crowding the field and forcing a number of rivals to steady.

Woodbine
Canadian International (race 10)

Joshua Tree, who won this race in 2010 and was 2nd in it last year, found his way back to the winner’s circle leading another Euro-dominated event. Joshua Tree got a brilliant ride from Frankie Dettori. He was put right on the lead, never really had much of an advantage but was able to set dawdling splits, was asked for run into the lane, kicked clear enough to give himself a buffer and he got to the line as the late-runners closed in. Dandino, another Euro, lagged back, came with a strong run through the lane, was getting to the winner but ran out of ground. Forte Dei Marmi was with Dandino, moved earlier than that foe to loom a threat into the lane but couldn’t sustain his bid. Imperial Monarch, the favorite, seemed in a good spot stalking in 4th but never mustered a run. Reliable Man was well back from the start and never got involved.

chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Internatonal day at Woodbine is far and above anything offered in this Hemisphere. The best!