09/19/2011 4:39PM

Trip Notes: Garden City, Woodbine Mile, Northern Dancer recaps, more


Saturday, Sept. 17

Belmont – Garden City Stakes
WINTER MEMORIES suffered her third straight awful trip, but as she did when she won the Lake George in late July, she overcame it with rare style. In the process, she proved she is indeed a very special 3-year-old grass filly, one of the best seen in years. Hard held in the Garden City off a very slow pace (26.40, 51.60, 116.12), Winter Memories was still last in upper stretch, blocked behind a wall of horses. She was finally able to angle to the extreme outside for racing room in upper stretch, and once she did ... wow! Winter Memories inhaled her seven opponents, some of them very capable performers, with an incredible burst of speed to be up in plenty of time. How fast did Winter Memories finish? The final furlong of the nine furlong Garden City was run in 11.29 seconds, which was excellent considering that while the going was labeled "firm," it was nowhere near the sort of rock hard turf courses found during the peak of summer. Winter Memories somehow managed to make up 3 1-2 lengths into that fast final split, and she really did it all on her own courage. THEYSKENS’ THEORY, in her first start back in what is to be her new U.S. home after winning two of three starts this year in England, rated comfortably off the pace, moved up four wide to bid late on the far turn, and seemed a likely winner with less than a furlong to go, especially considering what was happening with Winter Memories. However, she was no match whatsoever, while being clearly second best. MORE THAN REAL barely held on to be third, and it is hard to make an excuse for her as she is the one who set that crawling pace under very little pressure. She should have been much tougher in the late stages, but is not in the same class with the top two. HUNGRY ISLAND sat comfortably well off the early pace, went five wide on the far turn, but lacked the same late punch she had when she won last month’s Lake Placid, capitalizing on Winter Memories’s bad trip. ARCH SUPPORT was an early pace factor, but was outclassed when the real running began. SALARY DRIVE saved every inch of ground, but was in way over her head, and it showed. PINCH PIE showed at least a little initiative moving up to be forwardly placed after the first quarter, but could not kick on. KATHMANBLU, three wide on the first turn, was rank as she went up to prompt the pace on the backstretch, but tired in the final furlong and seems well below her best form.

Sunday, Sept. 18

Woodbine Mile
TURALLURE followed up his impressive victory in the Baruch at Saratoga with an even more eye-opening victory in the Woodbine Mile, which earned him a fees-paid berth in the Breeders' Cup Mile. As he did in the Baruch, jockey Leparoux positioned Turallure back in the pack during the early going. Forced to steady in and among horses around the turn, Turallure came into the stretch buried deep on the inside with nowhere to run. With less than three-sixteenths to go, Leparoux found a seam, angled Turallure severely to the far outside for running room and ran down nearly every horse in the field to get up in the shadow of the wire. He could be the top American contender for the Mile. COURAGEOUS CAT sat just off the early leader, engaged for command late down the backstretch run, took on a phalanx of contenders into the stretch run, started to inch away when challenged by Right One inside the final eighth, valiantly staved off that one’s challenge but couldn’t hold off the charge of the winner. RIGHT ONE  was settled patiently in midpack, had to steady a bit while awaiting room in the stretch, knifed through an opening to gain a brief advantage in deep stretch but was outgamed by the top two late. SIDE GLANCE brushed into contention from the outside into the stretch but couldn’t sustain his rally.

Northern Dancer
WIGMORE HALL, coming off a troubled fourth in the Arlington Million, had his top form on display in the Northern Dancer. Reserved off an excruciatingly slow pace, jockey Jamie Spencer kept his mount along the fence during the early going. Sensing the pokey fractions, Spencer tried to edge Wigmore Hall off the fence late down the backstretch, but was caught in a blindswitch, leaving the jockey no choice but to dart back to the inside, where he found clear sailing. Under a steady right hand stick, Wigmore Hall rallied strongly along the inside, collaring Simmard in deep stretch and grinding out a narrow victory. Patrick Husbands aboard SIMMARD also sensed the false pace and sent his mount wide to the lead along the backstretch. Simmard then opened on the field turning for home, looking home free, but was hooked by the winner leaving the furlong pole and despite staying well under a right-hand urging gave ground grudgingly late. AL KHALI, often a victim of tough trips, had no real excuse here. He was content to lag along early, was swung wide into the stretch, and came charging down the middle of the course looking like a winner but hung just a bit in the closing yards. BOURBON BAY coasted along for five-eighths on an easy lead at a dawdling clip, but had no answer once challenged down the backstretch.

Dance Smartly winner NEVER RETREAT returned to her preferred course and distance in the Canadian and produced her best effort. In close attendance to the lead, she was roused to the lead turning for home and under energetic handling held off a furious late charge from the runner-up. PERFECT SHIRL navigated her way through the crowded field, angled wide for the stretch drive, bumped solidly with Zagora in upper stretch, and closed resolutely through the final furlong only to run out of ground late. STARS TO SHINE was always close to the pace, set her sights on the winner in upper stretch but lacked the necessary punch when it counted. FANTASIA was stuffed down along the inside much of the way, had to steady in upper stretch while awaiting running room, and finished with good energy once clear. MISS KELLER threaded her way through traffic after being well back early and finished with a rush late. Breeders’ Cup FM Turf winner SHARED ACCOUNT, perhaps showing some rust in her first start in four months, raced between rivals for a good part of the way and showed little. ZAGORA angled wide from the back of the pack into the stretch, came in and bumped with Perfect Shirl in upper stretch, but did have have much in the final eighth in a disappointing effort as the favorite.