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HARAS SANTA LUZIA DA ÁGUA BRANCA
HARAS SANTA LUZIA DA ÁGUA BRANCA: VENCEDORES INTERNACIONAIS EM TRÊS CONTINENTES
Although he encountered trouble at the start, once in the clear the Kitten's Joyridgling was never seriously threatened the rest of the way en route to a two-length, front-running victory in the 1 1/4-mile test.
French import Called To the Bar, who set the pace in his Prix du Lys (G3) victory last time out, stalked the pace in fourth and kicked home best of the rest to finish second. Homesman, an Irish grade 3 winner, came in third.
Oscar Performance—who won the Pennine Ridge Stakes (G3T) last time out to collect his first victory since the 2016 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1T) in November—hit the side of the gate at the start, but rushed up under jockey Jose Ortiz on the inside to set fractions of :23.96, :49.48, and 1:14.37 through six furlongs, with Big Score and Yoshida just off the pace.
"He broke slow and I had to chase him the first quarter of a mile, but then in the backside he relaxed real well," Ortiz said. "I backed the pace down a little and he was full of run when I asked him to go."
The mile went in 1:37.35 and the Brian Lynch trainee finished off the distance in 2:00.25 under Ortiz, who piloted Keen Ice to the upset in the Suburban Stakes (G2) one race earlier.
"When he broke a tad slow and (Ortiz) urged him a little bit to run up there and I saw the :23 and change, I thought, 'I hope it doesn't turn into one of these sort of deals,'" Lynch said. "When the :49 and change came up, I started to grin a little bit, and when I saw the 1:14 and change come up, I broke into a big smile."
Bred in Kentucky out of the Theatrical mare Devine Actress, Oscar Performance now has five wins from eight starts and $1,497,632 in earnings.
"When he inched away from them in the lane, I could see they were all throwing leather behind him," Lynch said. "I thought, 'He's going to be tough to catch from here.' He proved he can get the mile and a quarter, and I think he beat a quality field of horses today."
The New York-bred son of Possereturned July 8 for his first run on American soil after a March 25 victory in the Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored by Gulf News (G1), took jockey Joel Rosario on a spin around Big Sandy, and cruised to an easy $350,000 payday in the Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes (G2). Watch Video
In the window between that July 4 allowance win of 2016 and the Saturday victory 369 days later, Mind Your Biscuits won the Amsterdam Stakes (G2) at Saratoga Race Course, bobbled in the Ketel One King's Bishop Stakes (G1) there and wound up fifth, rebounded with a runner-up effort in the Gallant Bob Stakes (G3) at Parx Racing, and was elevated from third to second in the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) due to the disqualification of runner-up Masochistic. He punched through in the Malibu Stakes (G1) to pick up his first-top-level score at the end of the season for trainer Robert Falcone, Jr., was moved to the barn of co-owner and fledgling trainer Chad Summers, and, after missing by just a neck to Unified in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes (G2) to start his 4-year-old campaign, wowed the world in Dubai with his three-length tour de force.
"He just gives you 100% all the time," said Rosario, who has been in the irons for five of Mind Your Biscuits' six wins. "He does his job."
When Green Gratto jumped to the lead in the seven-furlong Belmont Sprint Championship, Mind Your Biscuits was content to settle in fourth behind a flight that included Unified and Stallwalkin' Dude. A quarter-mile went in :22.67 with Mind Your Biscuits about six lengths off the pace, but he began to make up ground on the outside as the half-mile went in :45.64.
When Green Gratto tired turning for home, Mind Your Biscuits was in perfect striking position to inherit the lead—and he did just that. With a right-handed tap on the shoulder from Rosario, the fleet chestnut soared 3 1/2 lengths clear of his rallying challenger, Awesome Slew. The final time after three-quarters in 1:09.90 was 1:21.84 on a fast track.
"I took the lead a little early, but the 'Biscuit' got it done," Rosario said. "Turning for home, I got his attention just to keep that speed, to hold it together at that point. He knows exactly where the money is."
That money has been racking up for Mind Your Biscuits, who now has earnings of $2,207,166. He was Summers' first grade 1 winner, and Saturday gave Summers his first victory at Belmont Park. Summers noted that the $600,000 Forego Stakes (G1) Aug. 26 at Saratoga will be his stable star's next target.
"We know how good he was training going into this," he said. "There were still some doubters who said it was a subpar Dubai. We didn't think so. We know what he's capable of and we're ready for the rest of the year. It makes me think a mile won't be a problem for him, maybe a little bit further. He kept going and going and kicked away.
"We'll go to the Forego right now and then look at all options," Summers added. "But the Forego is our next goal and hopefully (win) an Eclipse Award as well." Sent off as the 7-5 choice in a field of seven older horses, Mind Your Biscuits returned $4.80, $3.30, and $2.10. Awesome Slew paid $4.90 and $3.40 at odds of 5-1, and Tommy Macho ($3.80) completed the trifecta. Stallwalkin' Dude, Green Gratto, Fellowship, and Unified completed the order of finish.
Picking up a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" ticket to the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Del Mar, Mind Your Biscuits improved his record to 6-6-2 from 16 starts. He was bred by Jumping Jack Racing out of the Toccet mare Jazzmane, and races for a partnership that includes J Stables, Head of Plains Partners, Daniel Summers, Chad Summers, and Michael Kisber.
On paper, the July 8 edition of the $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes (G1T) was expected to conclude with a Chad Brown-trained runner being led to the winner's circle. Far be it for the Eclipse Award-winning conditioner to deviate from what has become the norm for his barn. Watch Video
The answer to the question of which distaffer would extend Brown's streak of dominance in the 1 1/4-mile turf test at Belmont Park ended up being "all of the above." Under heady handling from jockey Javier Castellano, New Money Honey took command in midstetch and held off stablemates Sistercharlie and Uni to lead a sweep of the top three positions for Brown, who has owned the Belmont Oaks in recent years.
Brown has now won five of the last six editions of the race, including 2012-13, the last two years the test was contested under its former name—the Garden City Stakes.
With three of the 11 runners in the field, Saturday's edition figured to be another showcase of Brown's astute handling of turf fillies. After rating fourth through fractions of :23.50 and :47.54, New Money Honey ranged up on the final turn and wore down Grizzel en route to besting Sistercharlie by a neck to earn her second grade 1 score.
"They all ran terrific. I have to watch it again to see all three trips," said Brown, who actually had four entered but scratched Fifty Five. "Obviously, this filly (New Money Honey) ran terrific, got position early, and they were moving along pretty good. Javier just backed off a little bit and had first run, and she kept great.
"My other two horses were two first-time Euros, they broke a little slow and were pretty far back. Both of them ran terrific, they look like they're going to have outstanding careers as well. I haven't really planned beyond this race, actually they'll probably all go in different directions."
Owned by e Five Racing Thoroughbreds, New Money Honey has emphatically gotten her form back on point after an early-season bobble. The big-bodied daughter of Medaglia d'Oro capped off her 2-year-old campaign with a win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1T) last November, but was a disappointing sixth as the favorite during her seasonal bow in the April 13 Appalachian Stakes Presented by Japan Racing Association (G3T) at Keeneland.
Her next outing in the June 8 Wonder Again Stakes (G3T) at Belmont was a return to her usual self, complete with a new wrinkle to her game as she won that day in gate-to-wire fashion. Sent off with 5-2 odds in the Belmont Oaks, New Money Honey reverted back to her stalking style, sitting in the second flight as Key To My Heart and Dynatail were heads apart up front down the backstretch.
"I think she is very straightforward and today she broke well out of the gate and got a good spot in the race," Castellano said. "Chad and I talked about our strategy before the race and I tried to follow procedure. It worked out great. It was a beautiful spot in the beginning of the race. When it was time to go, she responded and finished really well today."
New Money Honey paid $7.00, $3.30, and $2.90 across the board in earning her fourth win from six career starts. Bred by WinStar Farm, the bay filly is out of the Distorted Humor mare Weekend Whim and was purchased by Mike Ryan, agent for $450,000 out of the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale. She improved her career earnings to $1,342,017.
Uni got up for third, 1 3/4 lengths behind Sistercharlie while Daddys Lil Darling and Grizzel rounded out the top five. The final time for the 10 furlongs over a course rated firm was 1:59.89.
Sistercharlie was well-regarded off her runner-up finish in the June 18 Prix de Diane Longines (G1) at Chantilly, where she fought through traffic and had to navigate around a horse who stumble and unseated its rider. Sent off as the favorite, the Irish-bred daughter of Myboycharlie similarly fell just short in her stateside debut after rating at the back of the 11-horse field through the half-mile mark.
"I tried to make a little move and get a little bit closer to the horses in front," jockey John Velazquez said. "I saw Javier was third or fourth on the horse to beat so I tried not to make a premature move. When I pulled out at the quarter pole she ran, but she couldn't catch up."
The 3-year-old son of Into Mischiefbested longshot Tale of Silence by two lengths and covered the one-turn mile in 1:35.16 under jockey Joel Rosario.
A two-time grade 1 winner as a juvenile, Practical Joke returned to the winner's circle for the first time since October's Champagne Stakes (G1). He is owned by Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence, and is trained by Chad Brown. The connections were classic winners in May, when Cloud Computing scored in the Preakness Stakes (G1).
In the Dwyer, which drew five sophomores, True Timber broke on top, but it was Battalion Runner who assumed command early and set a moderate pace of :23.12 and :47.15. He was tracked by True Timber and grade 2-placed Giuseppe the Great, with Practical Joke several lengths off the lead while hugging the rail. Charles Fipke's homebred Tale of Silence, at 43-1, trailed early but moved to the front in the stretch after six furlongs in 1:11.55.
Rosario bided his time on the rail, as Battalion Runner, the second choice, attempted to keep Tale of Silence at bay. Rosario then swung Practical Joke out to the four path and quickly engaged the leaders. In a matter of strides he was in front and his advantage grew to the wire. Tale of Silence edged Battalion Runner by a neck for second. The final quarter was run in a good :23.61.
"I had a good trip," Rosario said. "There weren't a lot of horses in the race, so I stayed inside for a bit. ... He was the best horse in the race. He looked good and finished really strongly. That's what we were hoping for."
The winner, out of the Distorted Humor mare Halo Humor, was bred by Keith and Allen Krupper's Whispering Oaks Farm near Paris, Ky., and ran through Keeneland's sale ring twice as a yearling. As part of Vinery Sales, agent, he sold to Clear Ridge Stables for $135,000 at the 2015 January sale. That September, consigned by Gainesway, he was purchased by Aquinnah Ventures for $240,000.
Practical Joke returned $3.50, $2.80, and $2.10. Tale of Silence paid $12 and $4.10, while Battalion Runner paid $2.10.
Practical Joke earned his first victory of the year in the Dwyer, which was run for the 100th time Saturday. A winner of the grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at seven furlongs, he polished off his 2-year-old season with a third-place finish behind champion Classic Empire and Not This Time in the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1). Practical Joke began his 2017 campaign with a second-place finish behind Gunnevera in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2). He then was a close second to Irap in Keeneland's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) before a fifth-place effort in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1).
Practical Joke is now 4-2-1 in eight starts and has earned $1,295,800.
"The pace wasn't that strong," Brown said of the Dwyer. "On top of that, the horse was giving six to eight pounds to every horse in the race. He really ran well today. I certainly think it's the best race he's ever won."
Somewhere in the back of his mind, trainer Todd Pletcher could have had a mantra from his Hall of Fame mentor playing in his head every time he walked past grade 1 winner Keen Ice's stall.
"We don't give up on them," D. Wayne Lukas has been known to say, especially of runners who take a less-than-straightforward road to the winner's circle.
So when Travers Stakes (G1) winner Keen Ice—yes, that Travers, where Triple Crown winner American Pharoah was handed a stinging defeat—dropped not only his first start for Pletcher after he was moved from the barn of Dale Romans, but his second, third, fourth, and fifth tries as well, Pletcher regrouped, got his big bay runner together, and won the $750,000 Suburban Stakes (G2). Watch Video
Keen Ice, racing for Donegal Racing and Calumet Farm the first time since his seventh-place finish in the March 25 Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1)—that loss on the heels of a fourth in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1)—found the perfect trip and perfect distance for his steadfast closing style in the 1 1/4-mile Suburban at Belmont ParkJuly 8.
"We were hoping he'd be able to run fresh coming from Dubai and we gave him a little freshening at Calumet following that race, and he was coming into this race training well," Pletcher said. "That was a great effort, he really ran a huge race."
The winner was bred in Kentucky by Glencrest Farm out of the Awesome Again mare Medomak, and was a $120,000 purchase by Donegal from Three Chimneys Sales at the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale. He was previously sold for $48,000 to Chesapeake Bloodstock from Four Star Sales' consignment to the 2012 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.
Sent off at odds of 5-1 in a short field of five led by 1-2 choice Shaman Ghost, the 5-year-old son of Curlin raced fifth behind a tepid :25.28 quarter set by frontrunner Matt King Coal, moved to fourth along the rail as the half went in :50.01, and advanced to third behind three-quarters in 1:13.81 and a 1:37.89 mile.
"Coming into it, we were a bit concerned with the lack of pace on paper," Pletcher said. "We thought he might have to be a little bit more forwardly placed and (jockey) Jose (Ortiz) gave him a great ride to position him towards to the rail. The fractions weren't fast up front, but Jose had him in a perfect position and when he was able to swing out, you really saw him extend to the wire."
Shaman Ghost, who chased Matt King Coal throughout, issued a successful takeover at the head of the lane after he was strongly asked for run around the far turn, but Ortiz shifted Keen Ice outside and the big bay kept plugging along to take over in the final furlong. The final time was 2:02.02 on a fast track.
Keen Ice returned $12, $3.90, and $2.80, while Shaman Ghost brought $2.30 and $2.10. Follow Me Crev finished third, worth $3.70, and was followed home by Watershed and Matt King Coal. Keen Ice improved his record to 3-2-5 from 22 starts, for earnings of $3,037,245. According to Pletcher, the Oct. 7 Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) could be his next goal.
"I know that Shaman Ghost is a really good horse but how the race developed, my horse pulled me really close to him," Ortiz said. "I thought I was going to be a little farther (behind). When we hit the three-eighths pole, I was right next to (Shaman Ghost), on his heels, without asking, so I was in a very good position. Keen Ice gave me everything he had. He was full of run today."