"That Zenyatta, I'm tired of looking at her rear end."—Romance Is Diane’s trainer Mike Mitchell on why he may be pointing his 4-year-old filly to run against the boys in the California Cup Classic instead of the California Cup Matron.
I presume that's why only three fillies and mares lined up against her today in the G1 Lady's Secret—to no avail, as the super filly crushed her competitors rather convincingly, among them the highly touted Hystericalady. What an excellent horse Zenyatta is! I understand the Mosses and trainer John Shirreffs loathe running her against the boys, but if ever there was a filly who could take down the BC Classic, it’s Zenyatta on her home track. The older male “dirt” runners aren’t that imposing, and frankly, neither are the 3-year-old males. She’s a big girl physically, and, boy, I’d love to see her challenge in the “top” race. Such a try would surely not impact her winning an Eclipse, and she could very well be the undisputed Horse of the Year.
A good day for Mike Smith, who guided Tiago home for a nice second-place finish to Well Armed in the G1 Goodwood, and rode 2-year-old filly sensation (and Foolish Pleasure descendent) Stardom Bound with her patented off-the-pace rally to win the G1 Oak Leaf.
Another Foolish Pleasure descendent, Grand Couturier provided one of the day's most emphatic wins, overwhelming a talented field in the G1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont. Note to trainer Robert Ribaudo: do not let Alan Garcia off this horse! He definitely knows how to push all the right buttons with him. Next up: BC Turf.
A hardy welcome to TBA’s new sponsor of the Sprint Division standings, TVG.
In the TVG Sprint division:
Fabulous Strike got nosed out by Black Seventeen in the G1 Vosburgh, which shouldn’t have been quite the surprise bettors thought. It was only the second start of the year for Fabulous Strike and arguably Black Seventeen’s best career race was a win on an off-track at Calder in the G2 Carry Back. Plus, early speed held well over the sloppy Belmont dirt today.
John Sadler must be a miracle worker. His 5-year-old gelding Cost of Freedom goes from a $50K claimer two months ago to winner of the G1 Ancient Title at Santa Anita. All without the aid of steroids or other medicinal aids, I’m sure. Favorite Street Boss was second, with In Summation third; Idiot Proof couldn’t defend last year’s victory, finishing well back in fifth, beating only 27-1 shot Esperamos.
All said, the sprinter that impressed me most today was 3-year-old Fatal Bullet who crushed the G3 Kentucky Cup Sprint at Turfway, winning by nearing 8 lengths in a new track record time. His only loss this year was on a fast Belmont dirt track, so this son of Red Bullet (out of the Regal Classic mare Sararegal) appears to thrive on artificial surfaces. Trainer Reade Baker says he is BC bound—he may very well be a nice longshot pick there.
TBA is also pleased Trainer magazine is sponsoring the 3-year-old colt category, which saw Smooth Air regain his winning stride in the non-graded Needles Stakes at Calder.
Oh, and in the Twinspires-sponsored Older Horse category, this horse you might have heard something about—Curlin—won the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup for the second consecutive year, and passed Cigar to become the first North American-based horse to win over $10 million. Ho hum...