While Presious Passion’s dominating victory in the G1 United Nations on Saturday was ultimately the most impressive visually and in terms of setting a new course record (eclipsing the outstanding English Channel by nearly two seconds), the most surprising for me was Cat Moves winning the G1 Prioress over stablemate Light Green. As the most lightly-raced horse in the field, the Virginia-bred miss won a G1 in only her third outing, and surely would have gone off at much higher odds had she been uncoupled from the more seasoned Light Green. Looking deeper into her family though, there are plenty of quality sprinters including two-time Princess Rooney victress Gold Mover, as well as Rated Fiesty and Casanova Move. Still, I don’t think Indian Blessing has anything to worry about...yet.
On the other hand, Informed Decision recorded another facile victory, this time in the G3 Chicago Handicap, and looks a major threat for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint over the Santa Anita plastic. Thankfully, Indian Blessing is switching to dirt for her next start, next weekend’s G1 Princess Rooney at Calder.
Speaking of speedy fillies, great to hear that Stardom Bound is back in training; she’s due to ship to New York on Monday.
Last seen running dead last over a sloppy Churchill track in November (and beaten by the likes of Miss Isella, Game Face, and Awesome Ashley, now six-year-old mare Fleetheart makes her 2009 debut on Wednesday (July 8) in an allowance race at Indiana Downs (race 8).
Sunday’s marquee race appears to be the G1 American Oaks at Hollywood, with a full field of 14 expected. While Gozzip Girl is the “buzz” horse (and rightly so), I’m certainly intrigued by Dermot Weld’s Rare Ransom (interestingly, her dam Rapid Ransom is a half-sister to Warrior Queen, dam of Santa Anita Derby-placed A.P. Warrior). With the California heat, I’m also thinking a more acclimatized selection might be wise, like Third Dawn. I’d likewise be thrilled if Aussie jock Glen Boss could boot home New Zealand filly Puttanesca for a win.
The G1 Triple Bend follows about one hour later, again with a full complement. I’m a big fan of Graham Motion’s Rebellion, and would love to see a victory by him here. Considering how well lightly-raced horses did on Saturday, I might take a couple looks at Bob Baffert’s Zensational who’s thrown a string of blazing works since his last start.
In Sunday’s other major sprint race, the G2 Tom Fool, I would just love to see Fabulous Strike win again, but the 7f is a real concern—not his optimum distance. However, he gets the rail, and Ramon Dominguez pulled a nice shocker with Cat Moves...can he pull this off? Baffert sends out Riley Tucker who, along with Driven By Success, may challenge Fabulous Strike early, but, considering Kensei’s upset in the G2 Dwyer, Munnings’ win last out looks even more impressive. I suspect it will be a battle royal between Fabulous Strike and Munnings that will go all the way to the wire—can’t wait to see it!