BREEDERS' CUP NOTES
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Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships Newsletter
CONGAREE TOPS FIELD FOR SWAPS STAKES, SUNDAY AT HOLLYWOOD PARK; RACE TO BE TELEVISED LIVE ON ESPN2
Stonerside Stable's CONGAREE embarks on the second half of his three-year-old campaign Sunday as the solid favorite in the $500,000 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park. The 1 1/8-mile test for three-year-olds will be showcased on a one-hour live broadcast on ESPN2 from 6:00-7:00 p.m. ET. Official Equibase Past Performances for CONGAREE
The telecast of the Swaps will launch a series of 16 programs featured on the "Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships" on ESPN and ESPN2. The second program will feature the $250,000 Test Stakes for three-year-old fillies at Saratoga on Saturday, July 28.
Congaree will be making his first start since finishing a game third in the Preakness at Pimlico on May 19 behind Bob Baffert-trained stablemate Point Given. A homebred chestnut by 1991 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Arazi, Congaree will be making only his seventh career start in the Swaps.
Prior to his effort in the Preakness, Congaree had easily won the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and finished third to Monarchos in the Kentucky Derby, in which he held the lead at the eighth pole. Jockey Gary Stevens will have the mount.
Congaree's rivals are expected in include UNTIL SUNDOWN, TOP HIT and BAYOU THE MOON, first, second and third, respectively, last out in the Affirmed Handicap at Hollywood on June 17, and JAMAICAN RUM, HOOVERGETTHEKEYS and SPEEDY PICK. San Gabriel Investments' and Sidney Port Trust's Until Sundown, trained by Laura de Seroux, is a lightly raced son of Smart Strike and shows three victories and two seconds in five starts. Jockey Chris McCarron will have the mount. Official Equibase Past Performances for UNTIL SUNDOWN; TOP HIT; BAYOU THE MOON; JAMAICAN RUM; HOOVERGETTHEKEYS; SPEEDY PICK
The Swaps marks the unofficial beginning of the 'second half' of the season for three-year-olds after the Triple Crown and before they begin to take on older rivals in late summer and early fall. Last summer's renewal was particularly significant with Captain Steve defeating emerging star Tiznow, who went on to win the last fall's Breeders' Cup Classic at and was later crowned Horse of the Year. In 1999, Cat Thief captured the Swaps over General Challenge in second and went on to an upset victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Gulfstream Park.
ROAD TO THE WORLD THOROUGHBRED CHAMPIONSHIPS
A listing of the upcoming major stakes races this weekend:
Road to the Breeders' Cup Classic
July 15 - $500,000 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park. Run at 1 1/8 miles for three-year-olds (see preview above).
Road to the Breeders' Cup Turf
July 15 - $250,000 Sunset Handicap at Hollywood Park. Run at 1½ miles on turf for three-year-olds and up.
July 15 - $100,000 Lexington Stakes at Belmont Park. Run at 1¼ miles on turf for three-year-olds.
Road to the Breeders' Cup Distaff
July 14 - $150,000 Hollywood Oaks at Hollywood Park. Run at 1 1/8 miles for three-year-old fillies.
Road to The Breeders' Cup Sprint
July 14 - $400,000 Princess Rooney Handicap at Calder. Run at six furlongs for fillies and mares.
July 14 - $250,000 Azalea Breeders' Cup Stakes at Calder. Run at six furlongs for 3-year-old fillies.
July 14 - $250,000 Carry Back Stakes at Calder. Run at six furlongs for 3-year-old fillies.
Road to the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile
July 15 - $100,000 Hollywood Juvenile at Hollywood Park. Run at six furlongs for two-year-olds.
MAJOR STAKES RECAP - JULY 1-8
Race: $500,000 Suburban Handicap (G2), 3yo & up, 1¼ miles
Finishing Order: 1-ALBERT THE GREAT, 2-LIDO PALACE (Chi), 3-INCLUDE
Racing to the Breeders' Cup Classic - The Suburban provided the setting for a much-anticipated rematch between Tracy Farmer's 4-year-old ALBERT THE GREAT and Robert Meyerhoff's 4-year-old INCLUDE in a field of six. Include had won a hard-fought neck victory over Albert the Great in the Pimlico Special on May 12, in receipt of seven pounds. Since the Pimlico race, Albert the Great posted an easy score in the Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont for trainer Nick Zito, and Include, trained by Bud Delp, romped to victory in the Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs. For the Suburban, Include, under Jerry Bailey, would get only a one-pound advantage in the weights (122 versus 123) from Albert the Great with regular rider Jorge Chavez aboard. A son of Zito-trained Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin, Albert the Great went easily to the front at the start of the historic 1¼-mile test and was never serious threatened as he won by a comfortable 2¼ lengths over John Amerman's Chilean-bred LIDO PALACE. Include appeared to make a bold bid nearing the stretch, but Albert the Great was just beginning to run as Include finished third, a head behind the runner-up. Albert the Great ran well to be fourth in the Breeders' Cup Classic last year, beaten 3½ lengths by Tiznow at Churchill Downs. Albert the Great has now won six of seven at Belmont during a career of only 18 starts that has yielded more than $2 million in earnings. He is expected to run next in the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on July 28. Official Equibase Past Performances for ALBERT THE GREAT; INCLUDE; LIDO PALACE (CHI)
Race: $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (G1), 3yos & up, 1¼ miles
Finishing Order: 1-APTITUDE, 2-SKIMMING, 3-FUTURAL (dq from first)
By the time Juddmonte Farms' entry of APTITUDE and SKIMMING had loaded into the gate for the Hollywood Gold Cup, trainer Bobby Frankel already was having a roller coaster afternoon (see below), but he was in store for yet another emotional experience. As the field turned for home in the 1¼-mile test, Skimming, ridden by jockey Garrett Gomez, was in a duel with Mike Pegram's favored CAPTAIN STEVE on the inside under Gary Stevens. Jockey Chris McCarron and Miller Trust's five-year-old gelding FUTURAL rallied strongly on the outside to run past both to finish 1½ lengths in front of Aptitude, who edged stablemate Skimming by a length as Captain Steve tired to fourth in the field of five. The action wasn't over as the stewards posted the inquiry sign. After about 10 minutes that seemed much longer, Futural, trained by Craig Dollase, was disqualified and placed third for coming over on Skimming when he went by. There was little doubt that Futural had committed a foul, and may have been best, but he will have to await another day as Aptitude was declared the winner, giving jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. an eighth victory in the Gold Cup, to tie him with Bill Shoemaker. Frankel has indicated that Aptitude is likely to be seen next in the East while Skimming will be pointed to the Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 19. Futural, a chestnut son of Future Storm, also is expected to continue his campaign at Del Mar. He finished second to Skimming in the Californian Stakes prior to the Gold Cup. Official Equibase Past Performances for APTITUDE; SKIMMING; CAPTAIN STEVE; FUTURAL
Race: $1.3 million (appr.) Budweiser Irish Derby (Group 1), 3yos, 1½ m. turf
Finishing Order: 1-GALILEO (Ire), 2-MORSHDI (GB), 3-GOLAN (Ire)
Mrs. Susan Magnier and Michael Tabor's 3-year-old GALILEO has taken European racing by storm this year and his reputation continued to grow after his breathtaking, four-length victory in the Budweiser Irish Derby at The Curragh on July 1. Jockey Michael Kinane rode the colt with supreme confidence along the fence behind horses until the field of 12 hit the straight of the 12-furlong classic, swinging out with 2 ½ furlongs to go and drawing away with little urging. The beautifully bred son of Sadler's Wells is out of Arc de Triomphe winner Urban Sea and remained undefeated in five career starts. He became 31-year-old trainer Aidan O'Brien's second Irish Derby winner and was the 14th colt in history to win the Irish classic after victory in the Epsom Derby as well. The usually reserved and conservative O'Brien proclaims Galileo the best horse he has trained, which says a lot in that last year he guided Tabor and Magnier's Giant's Causeway to five Group 1 victories in Europe before his game photo-finish defeat in the Breeders' Cup Classic behind Tiznow. O'Brien said after the Irish Derby, "The end-of-season plan for him was always the Breeders' Cup Classic. He has so much class. Everywhere is open to him [races in Europe]-but we'll wait and see what's next." Official Equibase Past Performances for GALILEO (IRE)
Race: $150,000 Dwyer Stakes (G2), 3yos, 1 1/16 miles
Finishing Order: 1-E DUBAI, 2-WINDSOR CASTLE, 3-HERO'S TRIBUTE
Godolphin's lightly raced Mr. Prospector colt E DUBAI served notice that he is likely to be a force in the three-year-old division after an easy score in Sunday's Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park. E Dubai made two starts as a two-year-old at Del Mar last summer for Godolphin's California juvenile trainer Eoin Harty, winning first out but finishing unplaced in the Best Pal Stakes. The beautifully bred colt appeared next in Dubai in April where he won a nine-furlong race by nine lengths, an effort difficult to assess. However, a month later at Belmont with Bailey aboard for the first time, E Dubai romped to a 12½-length allowance victory. He was so impressive he was made an odds-on choice for the Peter Pan at the end of May but finished second to John Oxley's HERO'S TRIBUTE after lunging at the start. Hero's Tribute was no match for E Dubai in the Dwyer and tired to third after chasing the winner into the stretch. E Dubai is expected to be seen next in the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 4. Official Equibase Past Performances for E DUBAI; HERO'S TRIBUTE
Race: $500,000 United Nations Handicap (G1), 3yo & up, 1 3/8 m. (turf)
Finishing Order: 1-SENURE, 2-WITH ANTICIPATION (dq from 1st), 3-GRITTY SANDIE
Racing to the Breeders' Cup Turf - For a time on Sunday, July 1, Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel had to think he was not having one of his best days. Frankel was in California to send out Aptitude and Skimming in the Hollywood Gold Cup (see above) as two of his other stable stars finished second in Grade I stakes at Belmont Park and Monmouth Park. Frankel-trained Chilean-bred Lido Palace ran well but was no match for Albert the Great in the Suburban Handicap at Belmont. Not long after, Frankel-trained five-year-old SENURE rallied strongly into the stretch of the United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park but was beaten by a head by Augustin Stables' pacesetting WITH ANITICIPATION. However, the stewards called for an inquiry into the stretch run. With Anticipation was determined to have come out into Senure's path and impeded the five-year-old Nureyev horse under jockey Robbie Davis. After lengthy deliberation, the order of finish was reversed. Owned and bred by Juddmonte Farms, Senure was a moderate campaigner in England through 1999. He won a pair of modest stakes last year in four starts for Frankel. In his only previous start this year, Senure finished second in the Grade I Charles Whittingham Handicap at Hollywood Park to Bienamado, widely regarded as the best turf runner in California and perhaps in North America this year. Official Equibase Past Performances for WITH ANTICIPATION
Race: $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap (G2), 3yo&up, 1 3/8 m. (turf)
Finishing Order: 1-KING CUGAT, 2-SLEW VALLEY, 3-MAN FROM WICKLOW
Centennial Farms' four-year-old KING CUGAT showed a new dimension Sunday when he rallied strongly from off the pace to capture Sunday's Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont Park going 11 furlongs at Belmont Park. Trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Jerry Bailey, the Kingmambo colt won by a half-length over the game pacesetter, Alan Burkhard's SLEW VALLEY, trained by Michael Dickinson. It was the first time King Cugat had raced at a distance of more than 1¼ miles and the time was just two-fifths off the course record. Mott indicated that he may try him at a mile and a half at some point later this year, but the immediate goal will be the 10-furlong Arlington Million on Aug. 18. Now a millionaire after the Bowling Green, King Cugat had finished second to Arthur Appleton's FORBIDDEN APPLE last out in the Manhattan Stakes on Belmont Day. Last summer, he won the Arlington Classic and finished a game second in the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park. Forbidden Apple finished fifth in the Bowling Green in a dull effort by his own standards. Official Equibase Past Performances for KING CUGAT; SLEW VALLEY; FORBIDDEN APPLE
Race: $276,000 Firecracker Breeders' Cup Handicap (G2); 3yos and up, one mile (turf)
Finishing Order: 1-IRISH PRIZE, 2-ALY'S ALLEY, 3-WHERE'S TAYLOR (dq)
Racing to the Breeders' Cup Mile - Trainer Neil Drysdale sent out Marjorie and Irving Cowan's three-year-old War Chant for a thrilling come-from-behind victory in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Churchill Downs last fall. The Hall of Fame horseman appears to have a solid candidate for this year's Mile at Belmont in Gainsborough Farm's five-year-old gelding IRISH PRIZE, a nose winner of the Firecracker Breeders' Cup Handicap going a mile at Churchill Downs on July 4. The Kentucky homebred son of Irish River campaigned in France with Criquette Head through his three-year-old season and showed promise in some of his races with Drysdale in California last year. However, the chestnut gelding seems to have reached a higher level this year as the Firecracker Breeders' Cup was his third consecutive graded stakes tally. In his two previous starts he had won the Fastness Handicap and Grade I Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile at Hollywood Park. Barry Golden's WHERE'S TAYLOR finished only a nose behind Irish Prize, but was disqualified to third for bothering Eaglestone Farm's ALY'S ALLEY in the stretch. Official Equibase Past Performances for IRISH PRIZE; WHERE'S TAYLOR; ALY'S ALLEY
Race: $110,400 Poker Handicap (G3), 3yo & up, one mile (turf)
Finishing Order: 1-AFFIRMED SUCCESS, 2-IN FRANK'S HONOR, 3-UNION ONE
Age doesn't seem to be slowing down Albert Fried Jr.'s seven-year-old gelding AFFIRMED SUCCESS, who won his second graded stakes in as many starts this year, going wire-to-wire under Jerry Bailey in the Poker Handicap at Belmont Park on the Fourth of July. The homebred son of Affirmed won the Poker last year in his first career start on grass. Affirmed Success ran an outstanding race to finish fourth in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Churchill Downs, beaten only a half-length for it all by War Chant. Schosberg has indicated that the next target for Affirmed Success would be the Atto Mile at Woodbine on Sept. 9, a race in which he finished third last year. He is being pointed for another chance in the Mile, which would be his fourth start in a Breeders' Cup Championship race. Prior to last year, Affirmed Success finished sixth as the favorite in the 1998 Sprint at Churchill Downs and 12th in the 1999 Sprint at Gulfstream Park. Official Equibase Past Performances for AFFIRMED SUCCESS
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