A dramatic end to the world’s richest race, the $20 million Saudi Cup, was the excessive level of a world horse racing weekend that additionally noticed historical past within the making as far afield as Japan and Hong Kong, the place 13 was a fortunate quantity.
Even the Kentucky Derby doings had been abroad on the second-to-last weekend of the shortest month with simply 10 weeks left till Louisville’s largest day.
Laurel Park lastly received out from below the brutal winter climate sufficiently to run a pair of wealthy graded stakes figures and the longshot payouts had been eye-popping. And there was much more graded stakes motion at Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park.
There is just one place to start out:
The European observers of Saturday’s $20 million Saudi Cup all the time noticed the possibility that the American favorites, Charlatan and Knicks Go, would hook up in a pace duel, burn one another out and open the way in which for somebody — possible Mishriff — to grab the W. That evaluation arrived on the proper consequence, though the premise proved barely defective.
Charlatan and Knicks Go battled it out on the entrance finish within the 1 1/8-miles occasion. And, actually, Knicks Go may go no farther as he labored down the King Abdulaziz Racecourse stretch, ultimately ending fourth, overwhelmed greater than 8 lengths.
The soothsayers had been mistaken although, of their evaluation of Charlatan. He by no means gave up, and it took each little bit of effort from Mishriff (and, because it turned out, an additional stroke or two from jockey David Egan’s whip) to tug off the victory. Charlatan may not wish to go a lot farther than these 9 furlongs, not less than at this level in his profession. However he actually didn’t throw within the towel, leaving another top-shelf expertise effectively in his wake.
Full credit score, although, to Mishriff, the 4-year-old son of Make Imagine, bred and owned by Saudi Prince Faisal and skilled by John Gosden. The colt, winner of final yr’s Group 1 Prix du Jockey Membership or French Derby, is a long-term product of the prince’s breeding operation and has a vast future.
Gosden would not decide to any plan for the colt and indicated he’ll return to England. The following logical goal can be the $12 million Dubai World Cup on March 27, additionally on the grime. However together with his kind additionally effectively confirmed on the turf, his connections would possibly wish to save Mishriff for the large races in the UK and Europe, maybe aiming even for the 1 1/2 miles of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris within the fall.
Coach Bob Baffert additionally has loads of choices for Charlatan, a few of which could toughen him up for the 1 1/4 miles of the Breeders’ Cup Basic at Del Mar within the fall.
The opposite Individuals within the Saudi Cup carried out with relative distinction, too. Sleepy Eyes Todd, who was squeezed by Charlatan at the beginning, costing jockey Mike Smith a two-day suspension, completed fifth. Tacitus was seventh.
A sidenote: For the second yr in a row, overuse of the whip value a Saudi Cup jockey an enormous fantastic. This yr, it was Egan, hit for some $100,000 for exceeding the 10-stroke restrict whereas urging Mishriff previous Charlatan. Final yr, it was Smith, fined greater than $200,000 on an identical cost.
America additionally was represented with a single horse in two undercard races Saturday in Riyadh and every of them additionally completed second. Cowan missed the break fairly badly within the Saudi Derby, got here with an enormous late run however could not catch Japanese lengthy shot Pink Kamehameha, who received by a diminishing 3/4 size. And Channel Maker, the reigning U.S. male turf champ, couldn’t maintain off True Self and jockey Hollie Doyle within the closing yards of the Neom Turf Cup, settling for second, 1 3/4 lengths again of that rival.
In any other case, Godolphin runner House Blues hoisted the blue flag as a premier worldwide sprinter with a victory within the stc 1351 Turf Dash; Godolphin struck once more as longshot Items of Gold received the Crimson Sea Turf Handicap at 1 7/8 miles; and Japanese runners Copano Kicking and Matea Sky completed 1-2 within the Saudi Arabian Airways Grime Dash.
13 was the fortunate quantity Sunday at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong’s New Territories. The undisputed native star attraction, Golden Sixty, notched his thirteenth straight win within the Group 1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup. And coach John Measurement celebrated his 1,three hundredth Hong Kong win as Waikuku took down the Group 1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup.
In the meantime, the third massive race of the day did nothing to assist kind out this yr’s muddled image for subsequent month’s BMW Hong Kong Derby.
Golden Sixty simply did preserve his streak intact within the Gold Cup. Trailing early, as ordinary, the 5-year-old Medaglia d’Oro gelding made his trademark late sprint outdoors rivals down the stretch, blowing by reigning Hong Kong Horse of the 12 months Exultant some 100 meters out. However then he needed to take care of Furore, who wasn’t about giving up. It was all jockey Vincent Ho may do to get Golden Sixty house a brief head to the nice.
“As soon as he went previous Exultant he needed to put in,” Ho mentioned. “It made it tough for me however it’s nonetheless a victory. I used to be fairly assured that I’d keep forward of them however we fought laborious. It wasn’t straightforward. It was a bit sudden to be that shut.”
Golden Sixty now has 16 wins from 17 begins and is 4 shy of Silent Witness’s document 17 consecutive wins. He additionally is just two wins again of Magnificence Technology’s single-season document of eight victories.
Within the Silver Jubilee Cup, Waikuku additionally relied on a late-stretch run however jockey Joao Moreira discovered the late levels a bit simpler and kicked away to a transparent win, 1 1/4 lengths to the nice of Southern Legend. It was the primary win for Waikuku because the Group 1 Stewards’ Cup in January of 2020.
Measurement, who relocated to Hong Kong from Australia 20 years in the past, humbly shrugged off the 1,300-win mark, saying, “It in all probability means I have been right here a very long time and I am doing my job effectively.”
The 2 Group 1 occasions demonstrated the significance of the BMW Hong Kong Derby for churning up future stars. Golden Sixty received the 2020 Derby, Furore and Waikuku completed first and second in 2019 and Exultant was third within the 2018 renewal.
This yr’s Derby image remained muddled as Wholesome Completely satisfied, Russian Emperor and Shadow Hero — all at lengthy odds — completed as the highest three in Sunday’s Hong Kong Basic Cup, the second leg of the Derby collection.
Wholesome Completely satisfied’s coach, Frankie Lor, admitted he “wasn’t certain he may win” and added jockey Alexis Badel managed to steal the race on the entrance finish. Russian Emperor’s coach, Douglas Whyte, mentioned the son of Galileo is rounding into Derby kind and might be a menace.
Panfield, a Chilean-bred colt by Lookin at Fortunate, might be a Derby menace after successful the Class 2 Bold Dragon Handicap on the Derby distance of two,000 meters on Sunday’s card. He’s a Group 1 winner in his homeland of Chile.
Café Pharoah turned in probably the most skilled effort of his younger profession Sunday at Tokyo Racecourse, successful the Grade 1 February Stakes and giving his sire, 2015 U.S. Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, his first top-level win in Japan.
With Japan’s main rider, Christophe Lemaire, within the irons, Café Pharoah received away cleanly, raced simply behind the leaders till the sector hit mid-stretch within the 1,600-meters race over the grime course, then received via and ran easily to win by 3/4 size over a fast-closing Air Spinel. Marvel Lider (JPN) was third.
Café Pharoah completed the 1,600 meters on a quick observe in 1:33.4.
Café Pharoah received his first three begins, a run that come to an finish when he reported seventh within the Japan Grime Derby July 8. After a win within the Grade 3 Sirius Stakes, coach Noriyuki Hori despatched him to the Grade 1 Champions Cup on Dec. 6, the place he completed sixth. Hori then added cheek items to the colt’s gear for Sunday’s begin.
“His situation was tremendous and I had confidence already on the paddock,” Lemaire mentioned. “We determined to make use of cheek items, hoping for a extra aggressive efficiency. His begin was good, we had been positioned effectively and he responded fantastically.”
American Pharoah has top-level winners in three international locations together with his second crop simply now racing. Harvey’s Lil Goil received the Grade I Queen Elizabeth II Problem Cup at Keeneland final Oct. 10 and, precisely two weeks later, Van Gogh received the Group 1 Criterium Worldwide at Saint-Cloud in France.
The February Stakes was a “Win and You are In” occasion providing a spot within the beginning gate for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Basic in November at Del Mar however Hori didn’t present any clue whether or not that race can be inside Café Pharoah’s scope or on his radar.
Noor Al Hawa, below Alberto Sanna, continued his undefeated season with a useful, stretch-running win in Saturday’ $1 million H.H. The Amir Trophy in Doha. The 8-year-old tracked pacesetting Off He Goes, received by that one about 350 meters from the end and was not additional troubled. British rival Berkshire Rocco did his finest for jockey Jason Watson however settled for second, 2 3/4 lengths again. Hellenistique completed third.
Noor Al Hawa, a French-bred gelding by Makfi, completed the two,400 meters in 2:30.65. He completed fourth within the 2020 Trophy, eighth in 2019.
The Trophy is the Thoroughbred counterpart to the H.H. The Amir Sword for Purebred Arabians. Collectively, they’re the crown jewels of Qatar’s largest day of the racing season. Though the Saudi Cup this yr eclipsed the Sword Pageant, the races nonetheless drew a good pattern of worldwide expertise. One other schedule shuffle may add to the luster.
Wally, a 4-year-old gelding by Siyouni, made up an enormous quantity of floor within the stretch run to win Saturday’s Prix Saonois at Cagnes-sur-Mer on the French coast — the second of three French races included in England’s All-Climate Championship program. The victory ensured Wally a spot within the Bombardier All-Climate Mile Championship at Lingfield Park on Finals Day, Good Friday.
Wally was greater than 10 lengths behind early chief Canagat on the high of the stretch, rallied outdoors the sector and surged clear to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Kenway was second and Canagat held third.
Wally, skilled by Jean-Claude Roget, has now received 5 of his final six begins, together with each tries on all-weather surfaces.
Highway to the Roses
There was no motion on the U.S. Triple Crown entrance throughout the weekend, leaving Sunday’s Hyacinth Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse as the only focus of consideration. In that, La Perouse jumped to the lead within the “Japan Highway to the Kentucky Derby” with a late-running victory.
The win earned 30 factors on the Churchill Downs leaderboard, vaulting the colt forward of the winners of the primary two races within the collection, Alain Barows and Lemon Pop, neither of whom contested the Hyacinth. All three are, nevertheless, Triple Crown nominees.
La Perouse was away slowly within the Hyacinth and trailed many of the area across the sweeping flip into the stretch. Saving floor all the way in which, jockey Christophe Lemaire discovered daylight some 300 meters out and his mount responded willingly, hitting the entrance outdoors the 100-meters marker and successful by 1 1/2 lengths. Probatio, a 100-1 lengthy shot, held on for second with Ladybug, certainly one of three fillies within the race, ending third.
La Perouse, skilled by Kazuo Fujisawa for his owner-breeder Nobutaka Tada, is out of the Empire Maker mare Hat Shite Good. He received three of his final 4 begins as a 2-year-old.
Fujisawa didn’t tip whether or not the colt might be headed for america ought to he emerge on high within the collection. The winner of an automated Kentucky Derby invitation shall be determined within the final of 4 legs, the Fukuryu Stakes on March 27 at Nakayama Racecourse. That occasion awards 40 factors to the winner with 16, 8 and 4 factors to the minor place-getters.
Whereas there was no official “Highway to the Roses” motion in america, Saturday’s $100,000 Miracle Wooden Stakes at Laurel Park may be seen as an early pointer to the Preakness Stakes, if not the Kentucky Derby. If that is the case in 2021, Maythehorsebwithu is the one to observe after the Pennsylvania-bred Bullsbay gelding led all the way in which to win by 4 lengths with Sheldon Russell driving for coach Brittany Russell. Maythehorsebwithu ran 1 mile on a quick observe in 1:37.02.
Maythehorsebwithu, owned by Michael Dubb and Bethelehem Stables, was second final trip within the 7-furlongs Spectacular Bid Stakes.
“He is the type of horse within the morning that all the time trains very forwardly,” Brittany Russell mentioned. “You possibly can’t get this horse drained and he all the time has massive, large gallop-outs after his breezes, so we had been fairly assured that he would admire added distance. Seeing what occurred within the Spectacular Bid within the stretch run, I used to be assured that if he received the fitting journey he may positively get the mile.”
Subsequent weekend’s program contains three races on the “Highway to the Kentucky Derby.”
The twice delayed Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park expects a number of of the highest contenders for the Run for the Roses, together with 2020 juvenile champion and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Important High quality. Saturday’s historic Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park and John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park flesh out the agenda.
Each the Southwest and the Battaglia provide factors on the 10-4-2-1 scale. The Fountain of Youth awards 50 factors to the winner with 20, 10 and 5 for the minor placings.
Highway to the Oaks
Because the Miracle Wooden may level to the Preakness, the Vast Nation Stakes may presage the Black-Eyed Susan on Preakness weekend. Saturday’s renewal of the Miracle Wooden went to Road Lute, a Road Magician filly. She tracked the tempo, led into the stretch and cruised house 1 size in entrance of Fraudulent Cost. With Xavier Perez aboard, Road Lute received 7 furlongs on the quick observe in 1:23.59.
“Seven-eighths at the moment, in nice style,” mentioned assistant coach Gina Robb. “I believe it was even higher than the day she received the Maryland Juvenile [Filly Championship going] seven-eighths. I believe she type of proved a degree at the moment.”
In any other case, in North America:
Saturday’s $250,000 Grade III Runhappy Barbara Fritchie Stakes for fillies and mares led to a parade of longshots, as Hibiscus Punch, at odds of almost 42-1, emerged from a pace-stalking spot to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Estilo Talentoso and Membership Automotive, each at double-digit odds, had been second and third with Wants Supervision fourth at 35-1. The favourite, Hiya Stunning, pressed the tempo, light and completed fifth. You do not wish to know what the $1 superfecta paid ($27,875.40).
Hibiscus Punch, a 6-year-old Into Mischief mare, ran 7 furlongs on a quick observe in 1:23.16 for jockey Horacio Karamanos. Though she was taking a category soar, her lengthy odds had been somewhat out of whack as Hibiscus Punch got here into the race with a document of 2-2-2 from seven earlier begins. A kind of seconds was within the Willa On the Transfer Stakes over the identical course.
“I used to be cautiously optimistic,” coach Justin Nixon mentioned Sunday. “Clearly, Hiya Stunning is an terrible good mare, and Dontletsweetfoolya, they usually had been each coming into the race sturdy and with sturdy resumes. We’d have simply been proud of a graded inserting for the filly. To win it was simply excessive.”
Issues had been solely a bit saner within the co-featured $250,000 Grade III Common George. Though the favourite, Humorous Man, failed to fireplace and completed final, Share the Journey stalked the tempo, burst via within the lane and received by 2 lengths as a 4-1 likelihood. Tattooed was second at 22-1 odds with Laki third and a successful superfecta ticket returned a paltry $2,088.10.
Share the Journey, a 6-year-old Sweet Journey gelding, completed in 1:22.85 with jockey Victor Carrasco incomes his first graded stakes win. It was his eighth straight in-the-money end for coach Miguel Penaloza.
“Every thing got here out just like the plan we made. We’re actually pleased,” mentioned proprietor Silvino Ramirez. “He is a quick horse. He likes to run in entrance. He was somewhat behind final time. He did not prefer it a lot, so this time we had been in entrance. That is the way in which he likes it.”
Bankit began on the surface of a area of eight in Saturday’s $100,000 John B. Campbell Stakes, trailed most of area early after which needed to take the huge route across the stretch flip. However when jockey Sheldon Russell lit the fuse, the 5-year-old Central Banker gelding responded rapidly, getting away to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Galerio and Cordmaker accomplished the trifecta as Bankit completed 1 1/16 miles on a quick observe in 1:42.07. He had been competing with fellow New York-breds lately and received his first graded stakes.
Fortunate Stride raced simply again of the leaders in Saturday’s $100,000 Nellie Morse Stakes for fillies and mares, got here four-wide across the bend to imagine the lead coming into the stretch and went on to win by 1 1/4 lengths because the odds-on favourite. Touchdown Zone was second, 3 lengths to the nice of Suave Splatter. Fortunate Stride, a 5-year-old mare by Declaration of Battle, coated 1 1/16 miles on a quick observe in 1:43.38 below Julian Pimentel.
Coach Michel Trombetta shipped Fortunate Stride again to Laurel for the Nellie Morse after she received the Wayward Lass Stakes on Jan. 16 in a quick Florida sojourn.
Queen Nekia took the shortest route in Saturday’s $100,000 Grade III Royal Delta, saving floor after which rallying inside rivals to win by 1 3/4 lengths at odds of almost 30-1. Eres Tu took a quick lead turning into the stretch and held second with Bajan Lady one other 4 3/4 lengths again in third. Queen Nekia, a 6-year-old Harlington mare, completed 1 1/16 miles on a quick observe in 1:43.62 with Corey Lanerie driving.
Queen Nekia, skilled by Saffie Joseph Jr., received her first win since January of 2020 and her first-ever stakes win.
Charmaine’s Mia pressed the tempo in Saturday’s $200,000 Grade II Buena Vista Stakes for fillies and mares, was on the lead on the quarter pole and ran on to win by 1 size. Mucho Uncommon was second, 3/4 size in entrance of Warren’s Showtime. Charmaine’s Mia, a 5-year-old mare by The Issue, ran 1 mile on agency turf in 1:33.93 with Flavien Prat driving for coach Phil D’Amato.
Charmaine’s Mia break up her first 25 begins between Woodbine and Gulfstream Park. She received her first California warmth, the Grade III Las Cienegas, Jan. 9 and now’s 2-for-2 in her new digs.
“It is large,” D’Amato mentioned. “Flavien mentioned there’s extra within the tank. She rated good. If she wanted to go somewhat additional, it wasn’t an issue. In order that positively broadens her horizons and possibly has us beginning to have a look at Grade I’s.”
Sunday, Bella Vita surged to an enormous lead within the stretch run of the $100,000 Spring Fever Stakes for California-bred fillies and mares and rolled house first by 4 1/2 lengths because the odds-on favourite. She’s a Dime was second with Dr Wysong third. Bella Vita, a 4-year-old daughter of Bayern, received 6 furlongs on a quick observe in 1:10.33 for jockey Flavien Prat.
Make Mischief stalked the tempo in Saturday’s $100,000 Maddie Could Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies, squeezed via inside pacesetter Brattle Home in deep stretch and defeated that rival by a neck. Vacay was 2 1/4 lengths farther again in third. Make Mischief, an Into Mischief filly, ran 1 mile on a muddy observe in 1:40.55 with Eric Cancel aboard.