South Ozone Park, NY--This three-year-old class of 2007 just keeps right on winning.

The hero of yesterdays Cigar Mile wasnt even a blip on the screen when Street Sense and Curlin and the filly Rags to Riches were doing their thing all spring, summer and fall. Daaher spent his summer learning how to become a race horse. He learned so fast that in a matter of three months hes become an A+ student.

The final day of what used to be the end of the New York racing season--when New York had a season with a beginning and an end--dawned brightly. It featured the final Grade 1 of the year in which a horse was bidding for a second Eclipse title in the same year and a pair of demanding distance tests for youngsters of both sexes. What would the future hold for the sophomore class of 2008.

Midnight Lute came to New York seeking a third consecutive Grade 1 and the title of older handicap champion. Certain to be voted sprint champion by virtue of his Forego and Breeders Cup Sprint victories, it was a risky gambit off such an enervating win. But Bob Baffert knows a thing or three about winning previous Cigar Miles.

What Baffert couldnt anticipate is that Kairan McLaughlin was laying in wait with a three-year-old, a sophomore still eligible for preliminary allowance conditions last August 25. But win that condition he did, the following day at Saratoga, by a disdainful 13- lengths.

For an encore, McLaughlin stepped Daaher up to G2 company and turned him back to a mile. Despite stumbling at the start of the Jerome, he comfortably chased a half mile of :44 2/5 and was 2- lengths in front at the end of eight furlongs in 1:34 1/5. From that moment, McLaughlin pointed toward yesterdays race.

After entertaining Xchanger for a quarter mile following a stumbling start, he cleared to reach the half-mile in :46 1/5 and six furlongs in 1:09 4/5. While Mike Luzzi engineered this solid pace while keeping something in reserve, Garrett Gomez was looming up wide with Midnight Lute.

It wasnt GGs finest moment on the strategy scale, but it wasnt going to matter.

Luzzi put his three-year-old in a drive and Daaher sprinted away from the protem sprint champion with yet another sub 24-second quarter, stopping the timer in 1:33 3/5.

In foiling Midnight Lutes bid for a second championship this season, McLaughlin enjoyed a happy unintended consequence.

The leading contenders for handicap champion until yesterday were defending Horse of the Year Invasor, and record setting Spa handicapper Lawyer Ron. The retired defending champ, now back in the hunt for champion handicap horse, is, of course, a former McLaughlin trainee.


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Seven late developing three-year-olds got things under way in the G3 Discovery Handicap, a condition thats something of an oddity for the age group. And it just might be that the connections of lightly raced Now A Victor now have a higher profile four-year-old season to ponder. A neck defeat in the G3 Pegasus is the only thing that stands between the Yankee Victor colt and an undefeated record in a four-race career.

Stalking Shopton Lanes pace comfortably throughout, he was set down by Johnny Velazquez soon after straightening away into the stretch then was driven to a hard fought victory in 1:50 for the Michael Trombetta-trained favorite. Shopton Lane was a very game second, a neck in front of Dr. Vs Magic.

It was baby ladies first in the Demoiselle and it gave Velazquez a natural double. Mushka circled the field from last behind a contentious pace and drew off through the final furlong for Bill Mott.

Argue that Mushka received the perfect set up, but its unusual for a filly to show such sustained power. Her final furlong was a very worthy :12 3/5 and the final time of 1:51 3/5 compared very favorably to the older G3 colts. The Empire Maker filly, up in class and distance, was stretching out off a one-mile maiden win.

To say that she has a promising future would be to understate the case.

In the Remsen, Mott got his natural double: The hard way. With the leaders battling three across the track at the top of the Big A straight, odds-on Court Vision and Eibar Coa were stuck behind the proverbial wall. It took nearly a furlong for Coa to find a seam. Or you might say he created his own, bumping Trust N Dustan out of the way. Once he secured room, the team set sail for Atoned, who appeared home free. Close, but no cigar mile.

Court Vision showed the kind of determination you want in a colt about to celebrate his third birthday. Determination is another way of saying class. A winner of the G3 Iroquois at Churchill Downs Oct. 28, he shipped in for the longer Remsen rather than remain in Kentucky for the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at 1-1/16 miles, won later in the afternoon by Nick Zitos Anak Nakal.

It took the very troubled Court Vision nearly a full second longer to get the job done than it did his female mate. This doesnt disparage him; only elevates her.

Either way, most of the juveniles weve seen this year have some pretty big horseshoes to fill when the first of next year rolls around.