News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled by NTRA Communications.
WOODBINE HOSTS THREE “WIN AND YOU’RE IN” EVENTS SATURDAY
The 2009 road to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships takes a Saturday detour north of the border to Canada where Woodbine in suburban Toronto will present three big-money grass races, with each guaranteeing the winner a starting berth in the November 7 Breeders’ Cup.
The $2 million Pattison Canadian International, run at 1 ½ miles, will be a rematch of the top four official finishers in the Grade I Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine last month: Just as Well, who won the Northern Dancer via disqualification of first-place finisher Marsh Side (who was placed fourth); Quijano (placed second) and third-place finisher Champs Elysees.
The International will also feature a strong contingent of foreign-based horses, including the 5-2 morning line favorite Jukebox Jury, the winner of Germany’s group III Prix Von Europa. Whoever wins will have a spot waiting for him, pending the payment of entry fees, for the November 7 Breeders’ Cup Turf.
The Grade I E.P. Taylor Stakes offer its fillies and mares a $1 million purse and a berth in the November 6 Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. The morning line favorite is European invader Rainbow View, whose trainer, John Gosden, is actually using the race as a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic. For this grass event, Rainbow View will face strong challenges from Princess Haya, who upset champion Forever Together in the Grade I Canadian Stakes last month, and the European based Look Here, who won the Irish Oaks last year.
The Grade II, $500,000 Nearctic Stakes is a turf sprint run at six furlongs, with the winner able to move on to the November 7 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Top contenders include Hero’s Reward, who won the 2007 renewal of this race, Jungle King, who won the Play the King Stakes earlier this year over the Woodbine grass course, and Field Commission who faded to sixth in the $1 million Woodbine Mile.
ESPN2 will televise all three races live in a two-hour telecast that begins at 4:00 p.m. (ET).
GRADE I WINNERS GOZZIP GIRL, MISS WORLD TOP QE II CHALLENGE CUP FIELD
Farnsworth Stables’ Gozzip Girl and Waratah Thoroughbreds’ Miss World head a field of seven 3-year-old fillies entered Wednesday for Saturday’s 26th running of the Grade I, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup to be run at 1 1/8 miles on the turf at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky.
A winner of three graded stakes this year highlighted by a Grade I score in the American Oaks Invitational, Gozzip Girl will break from post position four and be ridden by Kent Desormeaux.
Trained by Tom Albertrani, Gozzip Girl ran second at Keeneland this spring in the Grade I Ashland Stakes on the main track and enters the QE II off a troubled fourth-place finish in the Garden City Stakes at Belmont Park last month.
Miss World has won her past three starts and captured the Garden City in her most recent outing. Trained by Christophe Clement, Miss World will be ridden Saturday by Rajiv Maragh and break from post position two.
The field for the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, from the hedge out, is: Hameildaeme (GB) (jockey: Alex Solis), Miss World (Rajiv Maragh), Hot Cha Cha (James Graham), Gozzip Girl (Kent Desormeaux), Shared Account (Edgar Prado), Lady Shakespeare (Emma-Jayne Wilson) and Blind Date (Robby Albarado). All starters will carry 121 pounds.
DUTROW AIMS FOR HAT TRICK IN MEADOWLANDS CUP
Trainer Rick Dutrow bids for his third straight Meadowlands Cup trophy on Friday night as he sends out the entry of Anak Nakal and Great Debater in the Grade II event at Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J.
The $300,000 Meadowlands Cup has drawn a solid field of nine contenders, including recent upstart Etched, whose only loss in five career starts came in Dubai last February. The field also includes It’s A Bird, winner of the Oaklawn and Lone Star handicaps, and local favorite Kiss The Kid, who will make his last career start in the 1 1/8-mile race. The Nick Zito-trained Cool Coal Man, runner-up in two Grade III events this season, received the slight nod as the 5-2 morning line favorite.
Dutrow won the 2007 Meadowlands Cup with Diamond Stripes and took home a second trophy last year with Arson Squad, who ended a seven-race losing streak in the race. Like Arson Squad, 4-year-old Anak Nakal will make his debut for Dutrow in the Meadowlands Cup. The son of Victory Gallop began his career with Nick Zito and reached top form last fall, winning the Pennsylvania Derby and rallying late to finish second behind Arson Squad in the Meadowlands Cup. He finished last in the $6 million Dubai World Cup on March 28 before being freshened up and transferred to Dutrow’s barn.
“He certainly came to us in the right way and he’s training very good right now,” Dutrow said this morning. “I know he is going to run good tomorrow night. He may need a race, but he is not training that way.”
With earnings of nearly $1 million and a string of bullet works at Aqueduct leading up to the race, Anak Nakal is Dutrow’s best shot at a Meadowlands Cup hat trick. His stablemate Great Debater will set the tempo the stone closer needs in the race.
“The only reason I entered him was to make sure the pace is real in the race,” Dutrow said.
After the Meadowlands Cup, the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs will be the next target for Anak Nakal.
LIKE BROTHER, LIKE SISTER
Full siblings Mount Wilton and East Coaster won consecutive races at Suffolk Downs in East Boston, Mass., yesterday. Both horses are by Graeme Hall out of the Our Emblem mare Eastlynne and were bred in Florida by Eugene Melnyk.
In the sixth race, Mount Wilton earned his first local victory with a two-and-three-quarter length triumph. Ridden by Carlos Quinones and trained by John Rigattieri, the five-year-old gelding returned $9.80 to win.
East Coaster followed that up in the seventh race with a two-length score under Yamil Rosario. It was the four-year-old filly’s seventh local victory for New England Hall of Fame trainer George Handy. Like his big brother, East Coaster also went off at odds of 7-2 and paid $9.40 to win.