03/28/2016 2:23PM

The week that was in racing, March 21-27, 2016

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Mathea Kelley/Dubai Racing Club
Victor Espinoza adds the Dubai World Cup to his impressive resume

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 much the best in the desert

On Saturday evening in Dubai (and Saturday morning at his home base in Southern California), California Chrome pressed the pace from the outside before pulling clear in the stretch to score an impressive victory in $10 million Dubai World Cup. The win added the world’s richest race to the resume of jockey Victor Espinoza, whose accomplishments in just the past 23 months include winning two Kentucky Derbies, two Preaknesses, one Triple Crown, a Breeders’ Cup Classic, and now the Dubai World Cup. The race made California Chrome the richest racehorse ever in terms of American earnings, but this race may have been the best of his career. The win certainly helped his stud value for next year, and it likely helped the value of his sire, Lucky Pulpit, too.

Déjà vu all over again in the Louisiana Derby

In many ways, the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on Saturday played out like the Risen Star last month for two of the top contenders. For Gun Runner, it was a joyous sequel. For Mo Tom, another Nightmare on Gentilly Blvd. Gun Runner completed a sweep of the two biggest Kentucky Derby preps at Fair Grounds by rolling to a 4 1/2-length victory, while Mo Tom again ran into a roadblock while trying to rally in the stretch with jockey Corey Lanerie and wound up fourth, a result that left his trainer Tom Amoss fuming.

Graded stakes action around the country

There were five graded stakes races in North America this weekend, and Fair Grounds hosted four of them Saturday. The Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks has recently proven to be a key prep for the Kentucky Oaks, a race that looks like it will include Songbird as an overwhelming favorite. Land Over Sea had run behind Songbird in her last five races, but on Saturday she finally found the winner’s circle again, pulling clear late in a decisive score versus seven rivals.

Trainer Bill Mott had a strong weekend, winning three stakes races at three different tracks Saturday. At Fair Grounds, Take the Stand cruised to a front-running victory in Grade 2 Mervin Muniz Memorial, Tuttipaesi threaded the needle to win the Grade 2 Santa Ana Stakes at Santa Anita, and at Gulfstream Park Harmonize made a successful 2016 debut in the Sanibel Island, her first race since last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

S’maverlous, showing more speed than in recent starts, stalked pacesetter Coup de Grace, kicked away in upper stretch, and rolled to a two-length victory in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap. It was the first stakes win for the 6-year-old gelding that was claimed last September by trainer Mike Maker.

Breeding news

Tap Your Heels, a stakes winner and the dam of record-breaking sire Tapit, died Thursday due to foaling complications. She was 20.

Upon his retirement, 1989 Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Sunday Silence attracted surprisingly little attention from American breeders but was sold to Japanese interests for $11 million, at the high end of the market at the time. It was a prudent move, as he went on to make innumerable contributions to that bloodstock industry. Now, more than a decade after his death, he could be adding some international intrigue to this Kentucky Derby.

Horses to watch

Aqueduct:
GREGORIAN GOLD
Trainer: Richard Lugovich
Last race: March 24, 8th
Finish: 5th by 5 1/2
Beyer: 57
Making her first appearance since winning the Lady Fingers last September, this homebred filly flashed early speed pressing the pace from the inside and faded gradually in a useful seasonal debut.

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

reporting by Marcus Hersh, Mike Hogan, Dave Litfin, Marty McGee, Jay Privman, Nicole Russo, and Mike Watchmaker