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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, September 17, 2023 – An interesting Saturday racing menu from around North America inches the game’s best closer to the big first weekend in November and beyond.

In Queens, New York and in Ontario north of the birder, Charles Appleby continued his domination of North American graded turf stakes with yet another successful invasion of races that guarantee entrée into the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

It was precisely a year ago when Modern Games gave a jaw slackening performance to win the G1 Woodbine Mile for Team Appleby/William Buick.

While the victory might not have been as eye-catching, Master of the Seas showed the kind of late kick that wins the Breeders’ Cup Mile. American turf milers may be a talented lot but their turn of foot is not nearly as compelling as their European collegians.

Godolphin’s Master of The Seas was no less decisive than Modern Games, and his schedule is well timed for a repeat in a Breeders’ Cup event that showcased the best turf miles of either sex in racing history.

Drawn at the rail, Master of the Seas did not get away alertly, was last of six racing against the fence, tipped out entering race’s only turn, launched clear from the far outside and took advantage of every inch of Woodbine’s lone straight.

The dynamics will be different in SoCal six weeks from now, the results? Probably not so much as long as European invaders are among the participants.

At Aqueduct, the workmanlike victory by Eternal Hope earned the winning outfit a sweep of three international turf events offered by the New York Racing Association, the Jockey Club Oaks completing the triad with the Belmont Derby and Oaks run earlier this year.

Can’t Keep a Good Frenchman Down

… Or a nice colt for that matter. In his previous start in Saratoga’s G3 With Anticipation, Carson’s Run made a late rally only to get nailed in the final strides. At Woodbine, he made the last run, thus insuring a different, more favorable result.

Under a patient Dylan Davis, the Cupid colt saved ground throughout until angling out 9-10 wide into the long straight and roared down the center of the course, taking the G1 Summer Stakes and earning a starting berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

The Christophe Clement-trained certainly has talent to get there with his big late engine going a distance of ground, which he has experienced in all three of his career starts.

Take note of filly Go With Gusto who caught the eye with her show finish. In the pack with the winner after being wrangled back sharply, she got first run but also was forced to go 7-8 for room then finished very well through the stretch.

Bet back with her own kind… with the possible exception of She Feels Pretty, who was nothing less than monstrous when she came roaring down the center of the course in only her second start.

Churchill Fall Underway … in a Big Way

Five stakes, four graded, were offered to bluegrass fans on Louisville’s first Saturday of racing.

Bango becoming the winningest horse in the history of Churchill Downs was a special moment for all the family connections in attendance to see refuse to be beaten, extending his nose in the final strides to hold off Gulfstream Way. Eleven for 19 at Churchill. Wow, 19 starts. These days that’s a career.

Odds on Wicked Halo was flat leaving the barrier and was uncomfortably positioned between horses for the first half of the G3 Open Mind. When finally in the clear, she offered very little. Yuugirl was very good going Synth to Dirt, a pocket rocket once Flavien Prat got her off the fence for her fifth win in six starts at three-quarters of a mile.

Ken Mc Peek has an excellent Oaks prospect in V.V’s Dream, a comprehensive winner with authority from off the pace on the stretch-out to a mile. By the miler Mitole from the Tapit mare, Quay, she appears to have more of the latter’s influence than the former’s.

Now 2-for-3 lifetime, she could stop off at Keeneland for the G1 Alcibiades or stay put until it’s time to ship West for the Juvenile Fillies, all expenses paid courtesy of her G3 Pocahontas score.

Not saying that it would have mattered, but what was that run by Patriot Spirit all about? Was he a runoff beneath Jesus Castanon or was he just wound too tightly? Forty-four and change going a flat mile was out of control, be it horse or rider.

West Saratoga came off the All Weather to corral eight rivals in the G3 Iroquois. Runnerup Risk It appears worth following after racing keenly on the stretch-out and class hike following his Spa maiden breaker.

To say that Search Results appreciate the class relief in the G3 Locust Grove would be to understate the case. The five year old mare and Tyler G inherited the lead going into the lower first turn, controlled the moderate tempo, and rebroke strongly soon after straightening away. Next run likely will be a Grade 1

Kentucky Downs Becoming a Must Stopover for Turf Runners

The metrics say it all. Another record was set when purses were increased for the past 12 years; handle increased by 4.3 percent as field size attracted horseplayers who sought value in pools in which field size averaged 10.42 starters per event.

Seventy-six races worth over $25 million, including a $10.5 million supplements from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund, in the aggregate attracted $83.6 million from all sources. What is most interesting is that the purses for those 76 races were paid to 72 disparate ownership groups.

The track is also garnering international interest. Indeed, Charlie Hills crossed the Atlantic with Ancient Rome, ridden by British and Irish champion jockey Jamie Spencer and took the lion’s share of the $2 million G3 Mint Millions, the largest purse for an American turf race not named Breeders’ Cup.

this is a live column and will be updated

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2 Responses

  1. “Wow, 19 starts. These days that’s a career.”

    Taiba. Retired at age 4 after 8 lifetime starts.

    Being a racing fan is getting tougher every day. After 51 years (starting at age 12), my interest is at its lowest point.

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