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Oct 07, 2011

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


               With the Breeders’ Cup less than a month away many tracks are hosting the Breeders’ Cup Preview day. On October 1st at Belmont they hosted their “Super Saturday” with five Grade I races and a Grade II.

               The first Grade I of the day was the Flower Bowl Stakes for fillies and mares three years old and upward run over the turf at 1 and ¼ miles with a purse of $500,000. The field was scratched down to six with STACELITA going off as the heavy 1-2 favorite. DYNASLEW came out running and set the pace through some very slow fractions over a yielding course with second choice DELUXE tracking that rival from second. As they entered the top of the stretch, Ramon Dominguez started to move with STACELITA and took over into the lane drawing away to score by an easy two lengths. Longest shot in the race at 42-1 DISTORTED LEGACY angled out into the drive to finish up well for second over the pacesetting DYNASLEW. DELUXE, second choice and well bred filly tired badly to finish sixth and last over a boggy course. STACELITA should move on to the Breeders’ Cup filly and mare turf and will be the one to beat in her current form.

               The next race was the Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic for three year olds and upward run at 1 and ½ miles over the turf with a purse of $500,000. The heavy favorite in the race was CAPE BLANCO who shipped to the United States in July and took down two Grade I’s, in the Man O’War at Belmont and the Arlington Million at Arlington. Sent off at 3-5 he got a good spot early on behind the speedy MISSION APPROVED through very moderate splits. As they moved to the top of the lane, CAPE BLANCO took over from MISSION APPROVED, opened a clear lead into the lane with DEAN’S KITTEN in hot pursuit. CAPE BLANCO dug deep and held off DEAN’S KITTEN by a nose while more than eight lengths clear of the show horse, GRASSY. After the race it was found that CAPE BLANCO was discovered to have come out of the race with a slab fracture in his knee and was retired. The 4-year-old Galileo colt’s stud plans haven’t been announced yet.

               The Grade I Vosburgh was next, a six furlong race with a purse of $350,000, a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Over a muddy/sealed track eight horses went postward with TRAPPE SHOT going off as the even money favorite. Second choice EUROEARS got off to a bad start and then had some traffic trouble losing all chance as he is a need the lead type. GIANT RYAN, a New York bred who was riding a five race winning streak, made the lead while setting fast fractions, held the lead into the lane and stayed on well for the half length win over FORCE FREEZE who was on the chase throughout. CAIXA ELETRONICA  closed from well back to finish third with the favorite TRAPPE SHOT checking in a disappointing fourth.

               The next race, the Grade II Kelso run over a mile on the dirt might have been the most anticipated race of the day even though it was only a four horse field. UNCLE MO was making just his second start back since returning from a liver ailment that sidelined him through the Triple Crown. He came out of the gate running, set decent fractions of 23:2, 46 flat with JERSEY TOWN in pursuit second, GOLDDIGGER’S BOY tracked in third and JACKSON BEND, the second choice in the race was trailing the field in fourth. AS they moved around the far turn, JACKSON BEND made a big move from last to challenge UNCLE MO for the lead in a solid third quarter of 23:1. John Velazquez asked UNCLE MO for some acceleration and he did just that, edging away from JACKSON BEND who moved to his outside but was no threat to UNCLE MO who went on to score by three lengths in a very impressive final time of 1:33:4. It looks like he will move on the Breeders’ Cup Classic which should make Breeders’ Cup day even more exciting.

               The next race,  the Grade I Beldame, another short field of five with heavy favorite HAVRE DE GRACE going post at 2-5. After stalking the pace of LIFE AT TEN, HAVRE DE GRACE moved to the lead into the lane, with ROYAL DELTA on the chase in second. HAVRE DE GRACE went on to win by more than eight lengths in a solid time of 1:49:1, it looks like her connections are also pointing to the Breeders’ Cup Classic. ROYAL DELTA, top three year old filly ran well for second and would be a major contender for the Ladies Classic.

               The final Grade I of the day was the Jockey Club Gold Cup, run over 1 and ¼ miles with a purse of $750,000 had a field of seven going postward. RODMAN was sent to the lead right from the start and set moderate splits with BIRDRUN in pursuit second. As they started to move to the final turn, RODMAN still held that advantage with second choice FLAT OUT beginning to move and STAY THIRSTY, slight favorite right there in third. Into the lane FLAT OUT edged away late to score by more than two lengths over the fast closing DROSSELMEYER who got up for second over STAY THIRSTY. FLAT OUT really came into his own these last few months and he will be another top contender in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

              

 



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