09/26/2011 11:22AM

Trip Notes: Recaps, videos of Pennsylvania Derby, Gallant Bloom, more


Saturday, Sept. 24

Belmont -- Gallant Bloom Handicap
Pomeroys Pistol may have punched her ticket to the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint with an impressive performance here. The 3-year-old filly, who won the Grade 2 Forward Gal at Gulfstream in January and ran second in both the Grade 1 Prioress and Grade 1 Test, was facing elders for the first time but it didn’t matter. She dogged pacesetter Moontune Missy from the start, easily wrested command from that rival into the lane and drew off without any anxious moments from there. Tamarind Hall, romping winner of the Grade 3 Bed o’ Roses and then third in the Grade 1 Ballerina, stalked the pace, tried to make a run at the winner into the lane but couldn’t keep up. Lovely Lil lagged back and finished decently. Tar Heel Mom, winner of the Grade 2 Honorable Miss and the heavy favorite, stalked the pace but gave way readily in a disappointing effort.

Parx -- Pennsylvania Derby
To Honor and Serve went a long way toward validating the earlier hoopla surrounding him as the son of 3-year-old champ Bernardini showed he is indeed among the division elite with a smart win here, beating Grade 1 Belmont winner Ruler on Ice in the process. He stalked pacesetter Rush Now, blew the race open with a powerful run into the lane to open up a daylight lead and cruised home from there without any dangers even if the gap narrowed. A date in the BC Classic could be in the cards for him now. Ruler on Ice, winner of the Belmont and third in the Grade 1 Haskell and fourth in the Grade 1 Travers, ran his race. He sat well back and came with a steady but just wasn’t good enough to match the winner while finishing clear of the rest. Rattlesnake Bridge showed he’s legit as he validated his good second in the Travers with another nice effort here, as he sat midpack, came with a threatening run into the lane but couldn’t sustain it. Arthur’s Tale, making his first start since a near-miss in the Grade 1 Wood April 9 and a subsequent injury, sat back and finished decently. Pender Harbour, one of Canada’s top 3-year-olds, was fractious in the gate, got away slowly and was never a factor.

Delaware -- Kent Stakes
Race lost much of its luster when it was washed off the turf. That played right into the hands of I’m Steppin’ It Up who benefitted from the scratches of so many contenders but also the track condition and race shape. Last seen running third in the Smarty Jones the son of Congrats bounced right out to the lead, was able to set dawdling splits, was challenged briefly turning for home but spurted away to win comfortably even if his margin was diminishing at the end. His trainer Pecoraro, who notched his 1,000th win with this victory, said the colt’s long-term goal may be the Sunshine Millions next winter. King Congie was last early and finished well as the heavy favorite but never really scared the winner. Fire With Fire chased the winner from the start, put in his challenge turning for home but was no match for the winner and then gave way to be well beaten for second as well.

Turfway -- Kentucky Cup Sprint
Matthewsburg, making his first start in more than months and his first graded stakes attempt, proved up to the task as the son of top-class Ghostzapper posted the upset. He broke slowly, sat well back early off a hot pace, improved his position steadily to the top of the lane, came with a strong run to take over and draw off to win comfortably. This may not mean he’s ready for the big boys. but obviously he can do some damage in the right spot. Philippe stalked the pace, moved up eagerly into the far turn to challenge Will’s Wildcat for the lead, got the better of that rival into the lane but was at the same time challenged by the winner, couldn’t keep pace with that foe but gamely persevered to hold second. Will’s Wildcat dueled on the hot pace, couldn’t accelerate with the winner into the lane but kept on doggedly in his race-long battle with Philippe to just lose 2nd while well clear of the others. Cal Nation, the favorite, broke poorly and could make only modest headway while never a threat. After a dazzling start to his career earlier this year he just hasn’t quite gone on with it. This was his first start on synthetic footing so maybe his poor outing can be chalked up to that.

Turfway -- Kentucky Cup Distaff
La Gran Bailadora returned to synthetic footing after a dull turf try at Arlington nearly three months ago and returned to her best form. She was devoid of speed early, as usual, to be sitting last. She was content to remain there to the top of the lane, swung out and blasted home to reel in seemingly sure winner Bella Medaglia in the final strides. Her strong synthetic form still says she could be a player in the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland Oct. 9 if they opt to wheel her back quickly. Bella Medaglia did everything right and looked like the upset winner until the final strides. She stalked the pace, took over into the lane, opened up a clear lead but couldn’t fend off the winner’s powerful charge while much the best of the rest. Kiss Mine stalked the pace but couldn’t keep pace in the lane. Upperline, the heavy favorite, sat back but never made a move and in fact faded to finish last in a disappointing effort.

Turfway -- Kentucky Cup Classic
Future Prospect, taking a hefty step up after three straight allowance-caliber victories, proved up to the challenge and posted the upset. As the longest shot in the race he dogged pacesetter Strike Impact from the start, took over going down the backside and gamely rebuffed a challenge from classy General Quarters through the final furlongs to hold sway. He’s now won 14 of 29 and you don’t do that by accident, but this was his first graded stakes win as he appears rejuvenated after being sidelined for 17 months by injury and is proven on synthetic and dirt. General Quarters, a Grade 1 winner who had fallen on hard times, showed some of the old spark as he sat a couple lengths off the pace, came with a smart run on the far turn to hound Future Prospect but try as he might just couldn’t get to that rival the rest of the way while much the best of the rest. Demarcation was well back much of the way, finished decently but was never a threat. Baryshnikov, the favorite, also sat well back but never made a move.