08/23/2016 9:31AM

The week that was in racing, August 15-21, 2016

Shigeki Kikkawa
Victor Espinoza is all smiles aboard California Chrome

Here's a collection of some of the biggest stories in horse racing, all in one place. Unless noted, all of the links here are to free stories on DRF.com.

California Chrome turns race of the summer into one-horse race

On Saturday at Del Mar, California Chrome dominated top-class horses like Beholder and Dortmund in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic, romping over a track that was duller than usual and played to late-runners almost all day. The lone exception was an exceptional horse, California Chrome, who shot to the front, set legitimate fractions, had plenty in reserve when Beholder and Dortmund tried to go after him, and cruised to the wire with jockey Victor Espinoza taking a long hold on the reins. Before the race, it may have looked like the race of the summer, but afterward it was clear who the best horse was, and the true impact of the race may not be felt for months.

Songbird shrugs off challenge, stays perfect

Mike Smith knew he was going fast early aboard Songbird in Saturday’s Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga. Though he had the undefeated champion a few paths outside of pacesetter Go Maggie Go, they were in virtual lockstep through the first six furlongs of the 10-furlong race run in 1:11.13. But every so often, Smith would look down at Songbird and could see – and feel – she had no concerns whatsoever despite the rapid early pace. Around the far turn, Songbird left Go Maggie Go behind and the rest was rather easy as Songbird cruised home a seven-length winner to remain unbeaten in 10 starts.

Tourist survives inquiry to earn first Grade 1 win

Tourist became a much-deserving graded stakes winner for the first time when rallying from off a relatively slow pace to a 1 1/4-length victory over A Lot in Saturday’s Grade 1 Fourstardave at Saratoga.

Belmont Oaks form proven solid in races on both coasts

Runners exiting the Belmont Oaks completed the exacta in two graded stakes for sophomore fillies over the weekend, the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks on Saturday and the Grade 2 Lake Placid at Saratoga on Sunday. At Del Mar, Harmonize beat Decked Out by a head, and at Saratoga Time and Motion got the better of Catch a Glimpse, flipping the order of finish from the result in the Belmont Oaks. A similar result occurred the previous Saturday in the Grade 3 Pucker Up at Arlington Park, when Noble Beauty won via disqualification and Auntie Joy was placed second.

Horses to watch

Del Mar:
Trainer: Tim McCanna
Last race: Aug. 18, 8th
Finish: 5th by 5
Beyer: 36
Shuffled back at the start, shuffled again at the half, this 2-year-old debuting filly finished evenly in an effort that was better than the low figure and margin of defeat.

DRF Plus subscribers can see the rest of Brad Free’s horses to watch from last week by clicking here.

reporting by Steve Andersen, David Grening, Mike Hogan, Marty McGee, and Mike Watchmaker