The craziness continued in the three-year-old division in weekend horse racing as Math Wizard, at odds of 31-1, won the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby and Street Band, a 7-1 chance, took the $1 million companion race for three-year-old fillies.
There also were some early looks at potential Breeders' Cup sprint candidates and a few promising juveniles.
Internationally, things starting lining up for Australia's richest race, the Everest, and Hong Kong ran Saturday's races at Sha Tin without incident but before a diminished crowd.
There's nothing diminished about this:
The way things have gone with the 3-year-olds this year, it should have been no surprise that a 31-1 shot, defeated more than 11 lengths in his previous start, won Saturday's $1 million Grade I Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing. Not only that, he edged the horse who won that last race.
The field was not without talent, either. Improbable was the beaten favorite in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and coming off a win at Del Mar. War of Will, the Preakness winner, was there. And so was Mr. Money, who led them home by 6 lengths in the West Virgina Derby in his last start, with Math Wizard the thoroughly beaten sixth.
Not Saturday. Mr. Money again took the lead. But this time, Math Wizard found an abundance of new courage, rallied from last of six and caught Mr. Money just before the wire, winning by a neck. War of Will dueled between rivals but settled for third. 1 length back of Mr. Money and a nose in front of Improbable. Math Wizard, an Algorithms colt trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., finished 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:50.94 with Irad Ortiz Jr. up.
Math Wizard had not won since Jan. 31 at Gulfstream Park -- a race in which he was claimed for $25,000 for owner John Fenelli. Since then, he had two seconds and a third in six starts without facing the best in the division -- if this division can be said to have any "best". He earned $600,000 for the win and Joseph is dreaming Breeders' Cup and beyond.
"If he comes out good … John, the owner, is ambitious, He's adventurous," Joseph said. "I think when I report to him that he's doing good, I think that's where he's going to want to go. There are so many options, we don't have to push for the Breeders' Cup. There's so many races for older horses next year, like the Pegasus and the new race in Saudi Arabia and the Dubai World Cup. There are so many options that if the horse tells us, 'No,' we'll listen to the horse."
"Obviously disappointing," trainer Calhoun said after Mr. Money's four-race winning streak ended. "No excuses. We just got outrun. Kind of surprising to be outrun by a horse we beat pretty handily a couple times."
Improbable's trainer, Bob Baffert, noted by phone from California the colt acted up in the starting gate and was away slowly. "I don't know why he does it," Baffert said. "It's just frustrating when you go that far and he pulls that stuff."
Math Wizard looks back over his shoulder after upsetting Saturday's $1 million Pennsylvania Derby, Bill Denver, Equiphoto, courtesy Parx Racing
And, speaking of upsets, Street Band rallied wide from near the back of the pack in Saturday's $1 million Grade I Cotillion at Parx Racing, took the lead in the lane and held off the favorite, previously undefeated Guarana, to win by 2 1/4 lengths. The Istan filly, with Sophie Doyle riding for trainer and part-owner Larry Jones, finished 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.20, earning a "Win and You're In" spot in the Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff.
Horologist was third in the Cotillion, snapping a four-race win skein. Santa Anita Oaks winner Bellafina was fourth. Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress was sixth and last year's Breeders' Cup and division Eclipse Award winner Jaywalk finished seventh. The 11 runners were strung out over 37 1/4 lengths at the finish.
Street Band won the Fair Grounds Oaks in March, then reported seventh in the Kentucky Oaks. She returned to win the Indiana Oaks in July and finished third in the Grade I Alabama -- all with Doyle in the irons. Saturday's victory was the first at the Grade I level for Doyle, who spent most of the summer at Arlington Park. "I couldn't be more proud of this filly," she said. "I'm so thankful for Larry Jones to have the faith in us to get to the top. Now, it's on to the Breeders' Cup."
Pat On the Back rallied to challenge for the lead entering the stretch in Saturday's $300,000 Grade II Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park, dueled with the favorite, Prince Lucky, and won by a hard-fought 1/2 length. True Timber was 3 lengths farther in arrears, third. Pat On the Back, a 5-year-old son of Congrats, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:33.97 with Dylan Davis in the irons for trainer Jeremiah Englehart. Seen more frequently in the state-bred ranks, Pat On the Back scored his first graded stakes win.
Pat On the Back's co-owner, Harold Lerner, said he will have to pick between the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita and the $300,000 Empire Classic Oct. 19. "We've never shipped this horse 3,000 miles," he said.
King Jack came up aces in Saturday's $300,000 Grade II Gallant Bob for 3-year-olds at Parx. The Jimmy Creed colt, second to Improbable in his previous start in California, tracked fellow West Coast shipper Landeskog into the stretch, surged past that one and went on to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Landeskog was second, 12 lengths in front of Trophy Chaser. King Jack ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:08.89 with Joel Rosario up for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
The 2017 Gallant Bob winner, Coal Front, dueled with Diamond King all the way around in Saturday's $150,000 Parx Dirt Mile, then finally eked out a 3/4-length victory over that one -- his first win since taking the Group 2 Godolphin Mile at Meydan on World Cup night in March. Forewarned was gaining late and got show money. Coal Front, a Stay Thirsty ridgling, completed the mile in 1:37.53 with Mike Smith at the controls. Since his return from Dubai, he had been seventh in the Grade I Met Mile and third in the Grade III Monmouth Cup.
Killybegs Captain got first run to the lead in the stretch in Saturday's $250,000 Grade III Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park and held the edge to the wire, scoring by 3/4 length over Altissimo. The favorite, He Hate Me, was another 3 1/4 lengths back in third. Killybegs Captain, a 5-year-old son of Mizzen Mast, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:08.10 with Eric Cancel riding. He had not won since February in Florida but was coming off a good third in the Grade I Forego at Saratoga.
Filly & Mare Sprint
Covfefe was the heaviest of favorites and the easiest of winners in Saturday's $125,000 Dogwood Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs. Racing second into the turn, Covfefe easily went to the front and showed her heels to five rivals, winning by 8 lengths. Bell's the One and Free Cover got the minor awards. Covfefe, an Into Mischief filly trained by Brad Cox, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:20.51. That time missed the track record set in 2012 by Groupie Doll by just 0.07 second and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan said the record easily could have fallen, "but why push her when she was doing it so easily?"
"At the beginning of the year, the Test was always the goal (for Covfefe)," trainer Brad Cox said, referring to the Grade I at Saratoga Aug. 3. "After we accomplished that goal, we set our sights on the Breeders' Cup and how to get there. We figured the Dogwood was the best place to get her ready since it is in our own backyard and we didn't have to ship anywhere. I think she's ready for the Breeders' Cup after that."
The weekend of upsets made a stop in West Virginia as Lady T N T, at odds of better than 37-1, led all the way to a handy 2-lengths win over the favorite, Irish Mischief, in Saturday's $300,000 Grade III Charles Town Oaks. Taylor's Spirit was third as Lady T N T got home in 1:25.23 over a muddy track with Juan Acosta in the irons. The Justin Phillip filly, trained by Joe Sharp, had been competitive in most of her previous nine starts, save two where traffic issues came into play, and was last seen finishing second at Ellis Park.
Meadow Dance jumped right to the lead in Saturday's $100,000 Weathervane Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Laurel Park and wasn't caught, winning by 1 length over Needs Supervision. Talkthetalk was 4 lengths farther back in third. Meadow Dance, a Jimmy Creed filly, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.37 with Sheldon Russell at the controls. She now is 3-for-3 this season for trainer Brad Cox after earlier wins at Churchill Downs and Ellis Park.
He's No Lemon, the favorite, was awarded the win in Saturday's $150,000 Bald Eagle Derby at Laurel Park as the first finisher, Jais's Solitude, was set down to sixth for bad behavior in the stretch run. The ruling also promoted Another Mystery and Changi to second and third. He's No Lemon, stepping into stakes company for the first time, was last of nine with a quarter mile to run in the 1 1/2-miles event, came wide down the stretch, staying clear of the interference. The race was clocked in 2:29.09 over firm going. The adjudged winner is a Lemon Drop Kid gelding from the Dynaformer mare Tea Time. Another Mystery was sired by Temple City, by Dynaformer.
Significant Form tracked the early leaders in Saturday's $200,000 Grade III Noble Damsel Stakes for fillies and mares at Belmont Park, came wide into the stretch to reel them in and drew off late for a 2 3/4-lengths victory. Stella di Camelot was along for second and the early leader, Valedictorian, faded to finish third. Significant Form, a 4-year-old Creative Cause filly, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:33.48 with John Velazquez in the irons. Chad Brown trains both Significant Form and Stella di Camelot.
Caribou Club won a three-horse charge from the back of the field in Saturday's $200,000 Grade III Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup at Laurel Park, edging Frontier Market by a head. Cullom Road was another 1/2 length in arrears in third. Caribou Club, a 5-year-old City Zip gelding, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:33.35 with Feargal Lynch up. He won the Grade II Seabiscuit and the Grade III Hernandez in California during the winter past. After finishing 13th in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai, he returned to finish fifth in the Grade I Highlander at Woodbine, then won the West Virginia Speaker's Cup in his most recent start.
Rocky Policy chased down pacesetting long shot Stetson Gold in the final sixteenth to win Saturday's $150,000 Turf Amazon Stakes for fillies and mares at Parx by 3/4 length. Stetson Gold was second, 1/2 length in front of Boos, and the favorite, Miss Gossip, settled for fourth. Rocky Policy, a 7-year-old mare by Rock Slide, ran 5 furlongs on good turf in 56.62 seconds with Paco Lopez up. She was a $40,000 claim for trainer Bob Hess at Del Mar Aug. 1 and earned $90,000 for the win.
Dubini closed smartly from the back of the field to win Saturday's $100,000 Laurel Dash by 3/4 length over Fielder. The favorite, Dirty, was third. Dubini, a 6-year-old Gio Ponti gelding, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:01.71 with Daniel Centeno in the irons. He had been winless throughout 2018 and his first three starts of 2019 but finished second in the 2018 Laurel Dash, beaten just 1/2 length.
Goldwood prompted the pace in Saturday's $100,000 Sensible Lady Turf Dash at Laurel Park, worked to the lead with a sixteenth to run and outfinished Fire Key to win by 1/2 length. The pacesetter, Escapade, finished a head farther back in third. Goldwood, a 5-year-old Medaglia d'Oro mare out of the Rahy mare Crimson Maple, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on firm going in 1:01.69 for jockey Jose Ferrer. It was her fifth straight win after running the table at Monmouth Park this summer.
Raging Whiskey left his rivals in the dusty stretch in Saturday's $75,000 Capote Stakes at Los Alamitos, kicking away to win by 8 lengths. Dapper and Georgian Road picked up the minor awards and the favorite, Hydrogen, retreated through the stretch to finish last of seven. Raging Whiskey, a Maryland-bred colt by Bourbon Courage, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:15.61 with Rafael Bejarano in the irons. Trainer Doug O'Neill said putting blinkers back on the colt made the difference.
Meru led early and won easily in Saturday's $75,000 Smoke Glacken Stakes at Monmouth Park, scoring by 3 1/4 lengths. As Seen On Tv was second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of All Eyes West. Meru, a Sky Mesa colt, got 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:08.93 with Jevian Toledo at the controls. He improved to 2-for-2.
Cleon Jones rallied outside rivals in deep stretch and was up in time to win Friday's $150,000 Bertram F. Bongard Stakes for 2-year-old New York-breds by a head over Three Jokers and another nose from City Man. Cleon Jones, a Tale of the Cat colt trained by Jeremiah Englehart, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:22.88 for jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.
Irish Mias, after a pair of runner-up showings in maiden races, got the job done Saturday while jumping up in class and distance to the $200,000 Laurel Futurity. With Manny Franco up, the Sky Mesa colt rallied from mid-pack, found room on the inside when he needed it and outfinished stablemate Torres Del Paine by a head. Doc Boy was third as Irish Mias completed 1 1/16 miles on firm going in 1:44.03. The stewards dismissed multiple objections alleging interference in the stretch run.
Colby was up in the final strides to win Saturday's $100,000 Dickie Moore Stakes at Charles Town by 3/4 length. Gifted Heart held the lead briefly and finished second, a nose in front of the original pacesetter, Majesticedge. Colby, by 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, ran 7 furlongs on a muddy track in 1:27.52. He's now 2-for-3 for trainer John Servis.
Vast took control of Sunday's $75,000 Hollywood Wildcat Stakes at Monmouth Park in the stretch run and went on to win by 2 3/4 lengths. Campy Cash was second with Groovy Surprise checking in third. Vast, a daughter of Lea, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.35 with Joe Bravo at the controls.
Juvenile Fillies Turf
Sharing bided her time in Saturday's $200,000 Selima Stakes at Laurel Park, moved past the dueling leaders when asked by jockey Manny Franco and got clear, notching her second straight win by 2 1/2 lengths. Sunset Promise and Love Beach were second and third. Sharing, a Speightstown filly, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:42.61. Graham Motion trains the $350,000 yearling purchase for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gainesway Stable.
On the international scene:
Only five faced the starter in Saturday's Group 2 Bowermans Office Furniture Shorts with Pierata running down Redzel in the final 100 meters to win by 1/2 length. Classique Legend nosed out Redzel for second with Graff and Home of the Brave completing the order of finish. Pierata, a 5-year-old son of Pierro, got the 1,100 meters in 1:03.93 with Tommy Berry up.
Pierata now is a prime contender for the Oct. 19 Everest, Australia's richest race, which was won last year by Redzel. Saturday's win franks the decision of his owners to delay a planned retirement for a swing at the Everest. Trainer Greg Hickman said he hasn't decided whether Pierata will have another run before the big race. "We'll just wait and see how he is at home," the trainer said.
Saturday's races at Sha Tin in the New Territories came off without problem, just three days after the threat of protest demonstrations forced cancellation of Wednesday night's program at the in-town Happy Valley track. Attendance and handle dipped at Sha Tin, however.
Hong Kong Jockey Club CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said the sparsely filled stands -- only about 15,000 showed up -- could be attributed in part to the unrest throughout the Special Administrative Region, including demonstrators violent action against mass transit stations. "We expect that attendance will be down as long as we have this situation, because a lot of people are cautious to take public transport," the South China Morning Post quoted the CEO.
Engelbrecht-Bresges said the HKJC expects racing to resume normally at Happy Valley Wednesday.
Around the ovals:
Trace of Grace pressed the pace in Saturday's $100,000 Plum Pretty Stakes for Pennyslvania-bred fillies and mares at Parx, took the lead in the stretch and got home first by 1/2 length over late-running Trolley Ride. Mill and Gloria was third. Trace of Grace, a 6-year-old Petionville mare, ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:47.54 with Inoel Beato up.
Pumpkin Rumble journeyed down from Woodbine for Saturday's $100,000 Alphabet Soup Stakes for Pennsylvania-breds, weaved through traffic to get the late lead and won by 1/2 length over Saratoga Jack. Taxable Goods was another 2 lengths in arrears while third. Pumpkin Rumble, an 8-year-old English Channel gelding with Luis Saez up, ran 1 1/16 miles on good turf in 1:40.21 -- a course record. It's appropriate the winner is based at Woodbine, the track where Pennsylvania-bred Alphabet Soup's career peaked with a victory in the 1996 Breeders' Cup Classic.
Red Giveaway went quickly to the lead in Sunday's $100,000 (Canadian) Bull Page Stakes for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds and won off by 4 1/4 lengths, ridden out by Luis Contreras. The favorite, Rockcrest, settled for second, 1/2 length in front of Red Fiction. Red Giveaway, a Signature Red colt, ran 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:09.10. Watch for signs he can stretch out for the 2020 Queen's Plate.
Amalfi Coast surged to the lead a furlong out in Sunday's $125,000 (Canadian) Ontario Damsel Stakes for Ontario-bred 3-year-old fillies and kicked clear to a 2 1/2-lengths victory. Intanga Rose followed from even farther back to finish second, 3/4 lengths in front of pacesetter Miss Ariel. Amalfi Coast, a Tapizar filly, got 1 mile on firm turf in 1:34.67 with Eurico Da Silva up.
Owlette overcame a somewhat wonky start to take an early lead in Saturday's $100,000 (Canadian) Victorian Queen Stakes for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies and rolled home first by 2 1/2 lengths. Wake Up Maggie and She's a Dream trailed in second and third. Owlette, a Frac Daddy filly, ran 6 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:10.10 with Patrick Husbands riding.
Jean Elizabeth set a pressured pace in Saturday's $100,000 (Canadian) Sweet Briar Too Stakes for fillies and mares and cleared at the end, winning by 2 lengths. Sister Peacock was second, a head in front of Special Relativity. Jean Elizabeth, a 4-year-old, Illinois-bred filly by Adios Charlie, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:15.64 with Patrick Husbands up. Larry Rivelli trains Jean Elizabeth at Arlington Park, where she won the Isaac Murphy Handicap this summer.
Dot Matrix waited patiently while Voodoo Song opened a daylight lead in Sunday's $125,000 Ashley T. Cole Stakes for state-breds, dueled that one into submission in deep stretch and won by 1/2 length. Offering Plan was third, another 1/2 length back. Dot Matrix, a 6-year-old Freud gelding, finished 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:46.57 with Luis Saez riding.
Fifty Five persevered after a mid-race duel to win Sunday's $125,000 John Hettinger Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares by 3/4 length over War Canoe. Wegetsdamunnys was third. Fifty Five, a 5-year-old daughter of Get Stormy, ran 1 1/8 miles on firm going in 1:47.67 with Javier Castellano up.
Infinite Patience wasn't waiting around in Saturday's $100,000 (Canadian) Sadie Diamond Futurity for 2-year-old fillies. With Antonio Reyes up, the Sungold filly got going midway through and raced off to a 6-lengths victory. Fully Lent was second, 5 1/4 lengths ahead of Sophie Soleil. Infinite Patience got 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:17.30. The British Columbia-bred filly remains undefeated in four starts, all at Hastings.
Yorkiepoo Princess challenged pacesetting Classy Act a furlong out in Saturday's $75,000 Misty Bennett Pink Ribbon Stakes for fillies and mares, got by and won by 2 lengths. Classy Act just did salvage place money by a nose from Mess'n Around. Yorkiepoo Princess, a 5-year-old Kantharos mare, ran 7 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:25.21 with Jose Ortiz in the irons.
Penguin Power took a daylight lead into the stretch in Saturday's $50,000 Frank Gall Stakes for West Virginia-breds and the odds-on favorite, Grade II Charles Town Classic winner Runnin'toluvya, couldn't gain, settling for second, 3 1/4 lengths back. North Atlantic was 4 more lengths behind in third. Penguin Power, a 4-year-old Fiber Sonde gelding, ran 7 furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:24.75 with Arnaldo Bocachica up.
Anna's Bandit rallied to the lead at the sixteenth pole in Saturday's $50,000 Sadie Hawkins Stakes for state-bred fillies and mares and scooted away to a 2 1/4-lengths victory over the early leader, T Rex Express. Lies and Scandals was third. Anna's Bandit, a 5-year-old Great Notion mare, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track -- before the rain came -- in 1:26.04 with Xavier Perez up.
Hypothesis took advantage of a hot pace duel in front of him, surged late and won Saturday's $50,000 Henry Mercer Memorial for state-bred 2-year-olds by 4 lengths. Nico and Bold Valor, the engaged early combatants, reported second and third. Hypothesis, an Algorithms gelding, ran 4 1/2 furlongs in 52.51 seconds for jockey Gerald Almodovar.
Twirling Owen held a comfortable lead throughout Saturday's $50,000 Rachel's Turn for West Virginia-bred 2-year-old fillies and got home first by 5 1/4 lengths. Virginia Peach was second, 1/2 length in front of Coach Rube. Twirling Owen, a daughter of Twirling Candy, finished 4 1/2 furlongs in 52.72 with Bocachica up.
Scraps found good late foot in Saturday's $75,000 Bear's Den Stakes for year-olds, shooting past rivals with a wide move and drawing off to win by 3 1/4 lengths. Timmy M. was second, a neck in front of Lahinch. Scraps, a Bretheren colt, ran about 7 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:28.23 under Jairo Rendon.
True Cinder outfinished Ali Blue and Katalust by a pair of heads to take Saturday's $75,000 Scarlet and Gray Stakes for Ohio-bred fillies and mares. Katalust was part of a three-horse entry that went favorite. True Cinder, a 5-year-old daughter of Alcindor, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:12.68 with Gerardo Corrales up.
Evacuee came running from the back of the field to win Sunday's $196,000 New Mexico State Fair Futurity for state-bred 2-year-olds by a neck over Attiliano. Indy Way also was closing from far back in deep stretch but could do no better than third. Evacuee, an Abstraction gelding, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.96 with Alfredo Juarez Jr. up.
Black Ops was no secret in Saturday's $55,000 Budweiser Special, leading all the way to a 3 3/4-lengths victory. Flashaway was second, a neck to the good of Bokeelia Island. Black Ops, a 6-year-old Hard Spun gelding, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:15.12 with Frank Reyes up.
Betchaiwill reeled in pacesetter Sweetnessncharm late in Sunday's $75,000 Loyalty Stakes for Ohio-bred 2-year-olds and quickly ran on to win by 3 lengths over that rival. Authentic Cowtown was just a head farther back in third. Betchaiwill, a William's Kitten colt, ran 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:13.41 with John McKee riding.
Synergy was awarded victory in Sunday's $100,000 (Canadian) Jack Diamond Futurity for British Columbia-bred 2-year-olds when Baktura, first across the wire, was set down to last for an incident heading into the first turn. The DQ also moved Capilano Canyon and Above the Moon into second and third. Synergy, a Sungold gelding, was ridden by Antonio Reyes. The 6 1/2 furlongs on a sloppy track went in 1:18.67.UPI