Pleasant Prince, No Such Word outclass foes at Remington
Remington Park's most lucrative stakes on Sunday provided a case study in the proverbial cream rising to the top. Ken and Sarah Ramsey's PLEASANT PRINCE (Indy King) rolled to a four-length decision as the 2-1 favorite in the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby, and Brereton C. Jones' homebred NO SUCH WORD (Canadian Frontier) romped by 6 1/2 lengths as the 4-5 choice in the $200,000 Remington Park Oaks. While No Such Word was expected to get a 45-day vacation after her triumph, Pleasant Prince could have just raced into Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) consideration.
Ridden for the first time by Joel Rosario, Pleasant Prince was kept in the clear on the outside while racing several lengths off the pace. Timely Pursuit (Purge), by far the longest shot on the board at 81-1, seized an inviting opening along the rail into the first turn. Moving through to take charge, Timely Pursuit set fast fractions of :23, :46 4/5 and 1:10 4/5.
Pleasant Prince improved his position on the far turn, and joined the battling pair of Timely Pursuit and Monsignor (Forest Danger) swinging into the stretch. It was no contest from there, as Pleasant Prince asserted his class and drew off. The chestnut stopped the teletimer in a brisk 1:48 4/5 for 1 1/8 miles on the fast track, not far off the track record of 1:48 set by Classic Cat in the 1998 Oklahoma Derby.
The Wesley Ward-trained winner returned $6.40, $3.60 and $2.60. Timely Pursuit proved surprisingly resilient and finished a clear second by 2 1/4 lengths, paying $32 and $9.80 and capping the $329.80 exacta. The 30-1 Stachys (Candy Ride [Arg]) closed for third, a half-length up on the 3-1 No Hesitation (Siberian Summer), and provided $7.20 to show. The trifecta was worth $3,258.60, and the 8-6-9-10 superfecta ballooned to $11,280.20. Monsignor tired to fifth in the nine-horse field.
Pleasant Prince now brandishes a scorecard of 13-3-2-3, $557,398. Pleasant Prince lost his first two starts in maiden claimers before graduating in a maiden special weight at Churchill Downs last November. A distant fourth in the Fountain of Youth S. (G2) three starts later, the chestnut led briefly before bowing to Ice Box (Pulpit) by a nose in the Florida Derby (G1). Pleasant Prince failed to earn sufficient graded earnings to participate in the Kentucky Derby (G1) after running seventh in the Blue Grass S. (G1) and third in the Derby Trial S. (G3) in his next two starts, but contested the May 15 Preakness S. (G1) where he was always far back and finished 11th in a field of 12. Rebounding with a photo-finish victory in the July 15 Ohio Derby (G3), he was most recently a rallying third in the Smarty Jones S. at old Philly Park on Labor Day.
Bred in Florida by Adena Springs, Pleasant Prince was purchased for $30,000 as an OBS August yearling. He is the first registered foal from the unraced Archduchess (Pleasant Tap), a half-sister to multiple Canadian Grade 3 winner Mark One (Alphabet Soup), stakes winner Daiwa Carson (Carson City) and the Grade 2-placed Golden Corona (Gulch). Pleasant Prince counts as half-siblings the unraced juvenile colt Arch's Brew (Milwaukee Brew) and a yearling colt by Run Production.
Pleasant Prince counts as his fourth dam Missy Baba (*My Babu), the dam of leading sire Raja Baba (Bold Ruler), Broodmare of the Year Toll Booth (Buckpasser) and the Grade 1-winning Sauce Boat (Key to the Mint). Other prominent descendants of Missy Baba include Broodmare of the Year Weekend Surprise (Secretariat), 1980 champion sprinter Plugged Nickle (Key to the Mint), French champion Gay Mecene (*Vaguely Noble) and English highweight Wolfhound (Nureyev).
One race earlier, No Such Word inhaled her opponents in no uncertain terms. Held up last of 10 early by regular rider Terry Thompson, the Cindy Jones filly raced far behind the dueling pair of Machorina (Macho Uno) and American Story (Ghostzapper), who alternated for the lead through splits of :21 2/5 and :46 2/5. When Machorina abruptly threw in the towel, Speedacious (Yankee Gentleman) advanced and passed American Story by a half-length through six furlongs in 1:11 1/5.
Most significant, though, was the inexorable headway made by No Such Word at this point. Easily gaining on her own volition, the class of the field overwhelmed Speedacious and American Story leaving the far turn and opened up with each and every stride. With Thompson barely moving his hands, No Such Word was much the best as she negotiated 1 1/16 miles in 1:43 1/5. The bay furnished mutuels of $3.60, $2.20 and $2.10 while spearheading the $9.40 exacta, $38.80 trifecta and $187.20 superfecta (2-9-3-1).
American Story, the 8-5 second choice, suffered her first loss in her stakes debut, but was best of the rest in second. Another two lengths adrift in third came Speedacious, and the remainder of the field was strung out.
According to retired trainer Larry Jones, now serving as wife Cindy's assistant, plans called for No Such Word to enjoy a well-deserved break before gearing up for her four-year-old campaign. He added that the final decision would be made in consultation with owner/breeder Brereton Jones.
No Such Word's record now stands at 14-6-1-2, $503,213. A winner in two of her first five outings, No Such Word next made a successful stakes debut in the March 13 Honeybee S. (G3) at Oaklawn, drawing off to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Third, beaten nine lengths, to Blind Luck (Pollard's Vision) in the Fantasy S. (G2) in her next start, No Such Word was a solid second in the Black-Eyed Susan S. (G2) before reaching the winner's circle again in the June 5 Go for Wand S. at Delaware Park. Fourth to Blind Luck in the July 10 Delaware Oaks (G2), No Such Word was coming off a score in the August 14 Monmouth Oaks (G3).
The Kentucky-bred No Such Word is out of the winning Muskoka Ice (It's Freezing), who has since produced Nemorino, a juvenile full brother to the winner. Muskoka Ice is herself a half-sister to Grade 1 runner-up and multiple stakes scorer Karmani (Run the Gantlet) as well as the granddam of this year's Ben Ali S. (G3) winner Dubious Miss (E Dubai). Another of note in this line is Grade 2 victress Moon Mist (Key to the Moon).
Also at Remington on Sunday, Bobby Joe Hammer's SCHRAMSBERG (Storm Cat) became the fifth stakes winner produced by Hall of Famer Serena's Song (Rahy) when prevailing in a blanket finish in the $150,000 Remington Green S. After rating five lengths off the slow early pace, the Chris Hartman trainee uncorked his rally five wide into the stretch, but jockey Ramsey Zimmerman then tacked inside to dive between rivals. Schramsberg punched through in the last strides and forced his neck down on the wire, finishing the 1 1/16-mile affair on firm turf in 1:43 as a 9-1 shot. The top five finishers were separated by a grand total of a length.
Schramsberg RNA'd for $1.4 million as a Keeneland September yearling in 2007, and sported the colors of his breeder, the Robert and Beverly Lewis Trust, for his first eight starts. The four-year-old chestnut broke his maiden for Todd Pletcher on the Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields in February, but after toiling in allowance/optional claiming company for Craig Dollase, he resurfaced in Hammer's ownership at Prairie Meadows in June. Now three for five since joining Hartman, Schramsberg has compiled an overall mark of 13-4-1-2, $158,493.
Schramsberg is a full brother to Coronation S. (Eng-G1) heroine and graded/group stakes producer Sophisticat, as well as Grade 2-winning sire Grand Reward. They are half-siblings to Grade 2 hero Harlington (Unbridled) and multiple stakes heroine Serena's Tune (Mr. Prospector), herself the dam of multiple Group 3 scorer Vocalised (Vindication).
Serena's Song, the champion three-year-old filly of 1995 and an earner of more than $3.2 million, has produced three registered foals since Schramsberg -- an unraced juvenile colt named Stormberg, also by Storm Cat; a yearling filly named Night and Day (Unbridled's Song); and a weanling filly by Street Cry (Ire).
Sanders Brothers' homebred ALL ABOUT ALLIE (Storm and a Half) remained perfect from three starts after dominating the $50,000 E.L. Gaylord Memorial S. for juvenile fillies at 6 1/2 furlongs. Trained by David Whited and piloted by Shane Laviolette, the robust bay powered to the lead in midstretch and crossed the wire a four-length winner in a final time of 1:17 1/5. All About Allie, who was coming off a 4 1/4-length triumph in the Lady Razorback Futurity at Louisiana Downs, has bankrolled $76,620.
Kicking off the stakes action, Gold Mark Farm's DOUBLE ESPRESSO (Medaglia d'Oro) engineered a last-to-first victory as the 6-5 favorite in the $51,470 Flashy Lady S. With Cliff Berry in the irons, the Tom Amoss filly got up by a half-length to earn her second career stakes success, following the Pan Zareta S. at Fair Grounds in February. Double Espresso blitzed six furlongs in 1:09 1/5, advancing her line to 17-6-1-5, $223,936. The four-year-old was most recently third in the Pink Ribbon S. at Charles Town.
Uncle Mo exits Champagne well; traveling in A Z Warrior's future
It was a happy Sunday in Todd Pletcher's Belmont Park barn following UNCLE MO's (Indian Charlie) impressive 4 3/4-length victory in Saturday's Champagne S. (G1) and the trainer reported that Repole Stable's juvenile star emerged from the race in good shape.
"He came out of it well, looked good this morning and the plan is to go to the Breeders' Cup (Juvenile [G1]) assuming that he trains the way we expect him to between now and then," Pletcher said.
Uncle Mo completed the one-mile Champagne in 1:34.51, virtually tying him with 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew for the second-fastest renewal at the distance, just a fifth of a second slower than Devil's Bag's 1983 stakes record of 1:34 1/5. As impressed as he was by the race itself, Pletcher was also pleased with the way the colt handled himself afterward.
"He was remarkably composed in the winner's circle -- there was quite a commotion going on in there, but he was completely laid back and honestly wasn't even blowing that hard," the trainer noted.
Uncle Mo entered the Champagne off a 14 1/4-length maiden victory at Saratoga on Travers Day, August 28, and so far strikes Pletcher as unlike any other juvenile he's trained.
"We've been blessed with some really good two year olds over the years, but I can't remember one being that impressive," Pletcher recalled. "We've had some that started the year really impressively -- horses like More Than Ready and Chapel Royal -- that were exceptionally early in the year. For him, (going from a maiden win) at Saratoga on Travers day to the Champagne, we've never had a two-year-old to win those types of races as impressively as he has."
More Than Ready broke his maiden at Keeneland in April 1999 and stepped up steadily through the summer, winning the Sanford S. (G2) at Saratoga in late July before finishing third in the Futurity S. (G1) and fifth in the Champagne that fall. Chapel Royal, a 9 1/4-length maiden winner at Belmont in May of 2003, won back-to-back graded stakes in New York after breaking his maiden and finished second in both the Hopeful S. (G1) at Saratoga and the Champagne.
Pletcher added that his quartet of Frizette S. (G1) starters all emerged from the race in good order and that Spinaway S. (G1) victress R HEAT LIGHTNING (Trippi) passed her audition for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) with her determined effort for second, while VALIANT PASSION (Lion Heart), TAP FOR LUCK (Tapit) and MAPLE FOREST (Forestry), the respective fourth-, fifth- and seventh-place finishers, would regroup.
"I thought that R Heat Lightning ran a remarkably good race (Saturday) considering the trip that she encountered," Pletcher said of the filly. "I like the way she finished and galloped out well, so she deserves a chance in the Breeders' Cup as well, assuming that she trains accordingly. The other ones we'll kind of adjust and go in different directions with."
Saturday's Frizette winner, A Z WARRIOR (Bernardini), will be logging many frequent flier miles in the upcoming weeks as she flies back to Southern California Monday morning before making another long trip to Kentucky to compete in the Juvenile Fillies on November 5 at Churchill Downs.
"She's doing great," Tonja Terranova, assistant to Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, said Sunday morning. "She's going back to California tomorrow."
Owned by Zayat Stables, A Z Warrior capped a big day for her freshman sire Bernardini, who was represented by his first Grade 1 or Group 1 winner 6 1/2 hours earlier when Biondetti captured the Gran Criterium in Milan, Italy.
Proviso, Gio Ponti could face off in Breeders' Cup Mile
Juddmonte Farms' homebred PROVISO (GB) (Dansili [GB]) received volumes of praise from her connections, the media and racing fans who watched her score her fourth consecutive Grade 1 victory in Saturday's First Lady S. (G1) in scintillating fashion. Sunday morning at trainer Bill Mott's barn, Proviso might have received the best tribute of all: an apple from seven-year-old Aine O'Rourke.
"She took it from her just like a lady," said O'Rourke's father, Garrett, who manages Juddmonte Farms in Kentucky.
Proviso charged late thanks to perfect timing by jockey Mike Smith and won the First Lady over a crowd of horses at the finish line. The five-year-old bay crossed the finish line a half-length in front of 20-1 longshot C. S. Silk (Medaglia d'Oro), who was a nose in front of Gotta Have Her (Royal Academy), who was a neck in front of Fantasia (GB) (Sadler's Wells).
In another impressive measure of the race, Proviso's time of 1:34.81 over the firm turf course was faster than Gio Ponti's time of 1:35.06 two races later in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1). Her future might include the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1), but the decision regarding her next start awaits.
"I think the prudent thing to do is to wait until about two weeks from now and we can have an idea of where we might go," O'Rourke said.
Proviso is among the numerous accomplished fillies and mares that Juddmonte has raced over the years. O'Rourke named Sightseek, who won seven Grade 1 stakes, and current European star Midday (GB) (Oasis Dream [GB]), last year's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) winner who is on a three-race Group 1 win streak. Proviso earns a spot on that list, according to O'Rourke.
"A filly that wins four Grade 1 races," he said. "That puts you in pretty illustrious company."
Mott was pleased with the third-place finish in the Shadwell Turf Mile by COURAGEOUS CAT (Storm Cat) in the colt's first start since racing in Dubai in late March. Mott said it was a good possibility that Courageous Cat would continue onto the Breeders' Cup. Both Proviso and Courageous Cat will remain at Keeneland for the time being.
If Proviso goes in the Mile, she could face GIO PONTI (Tale of the Cat), who won the Shadwell Turf Mile on Saturday. That five-year-old bay will leave Keeneland on Monday and head back to New York, according to trainer Christophe Clement. The dual champion will continue his preparations for the November 6 Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs in the Empire State, though the race he's to run in has yet to be determined.
"He will enter one of the Breeders' Cup races; I'm not sure which one," Clement said, referring to either the Mile or the Classic (G1).
Gio Ponti ran second in last year's Classic to Zenyatta (Street Cry [Ire]). His length win in the Shadwell Turf Mile under regular rider Ramon Dominguez marked his fourth win in five career starts at a mile. He entered the race, his first start at the distance since March 2009, after running a half-length second in the 1 1/4-mile Arlington Million (G1) on August 21.
"The distance was never an issue for us," Clement said, referring to the Shadwell Turf Mile.
J. B.'s Thunder in good order after Breeders' Futurity score
Andrea Pollack, owner of Columbine Stable, had one last stop to make in Lexington, Kentucky, on Sunday morning before flying home to Denver, Colorado: a visit to Barn 66 to check in on J. B.'S THUNDER (Thunder Gulch).
"It's been quite a ride," Pollack said as she savored her first Grade 1 stakes victory at Keeneland that was provided by J. B.'s Thunder in Saturday's Breeders' Futurity (G1). "We had won the Phoenix (G3) in 2000 with Five Star Day (in partnership with Kitchwa Stables)."
A $42,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase in 2009, J. B.'s Thunder earned a berth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) to be run November 6 at Churchill Downs with his win on Saturday. The question now is whether the undefeated bay will represent Columbine's fourth Breeders' Cup starter or go elsewhere.
"Whatever the big boss says," Pollack said, referring to trainer Al Stall Jr. "He has an idea of what he wants to do and I'm along for the ride."
After the colt's front-running, four-length victory, Stall had mentioned the Delta Jackpot (G3) on November 20 at Delta Downs as a possible target for J. B.'s Thunder.
"Andrea's old school, and the horse comes first," Stall said. "If he goes to Delta, he'd probably go next week. The track is good, the weather is good and we are set up down there. If he goes to the Breeders' Cup, he'd go over in a week or so."
J. B.'s Thunder broke his maiden on the turf at Saratoga August 21 and then won Saturday on Polytrack. Stall was asked about the colt's ability to handle dirt, which he would have to if he runs at Churchill Downs or Delta Downs.
"He trained well on it at Churchill Downs and at Saratoga," Stall said. "But who knows what will happen with the kickback. He is not going to be on the lead in all of his races."
Stall said J. B.'s Thunder came out of the race in good order.
"He looks like his normal self this morning," he said.
Keeneland runners well after Fall Stars weekend
SOCIETY'S CHAIRMAN (Not Impossible [Ire]), a length runner-up to Gio Ponti (Tale of the Cat) in Saturday's Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland, was scheduled to return to his home base at Woodbine on Sunday night, according to Sue Lorimer, assistant to trainer Roger Attfield.
"He came out of the race fine," Lorimer said of Society's Chairman, who has posted a 5-2-1-1 record over the Keeneland turf course. "He loves Keeneland. He's just a different horse down here."
Trainer Tom Bush said Sunday morning that dual Grade 2 hero GET STORMY (Stormy Atlantic), fourth in the Shadwell Turf Mile, would return to New York on Monday.
"He was bouncing me around the barn after the race," Bush said. "I should have put him on the lead; they were walking out there. It was not good strategy on my part. He would have been second, but Gio Ponti was impressive."
Before trainer Jenine Sahadi headed back to California on Sunday morning she looked in on First Lady (G1) third-place finisher GOTTA HAVE HER (Royal Academy), who was just a half-length and a nose back of winner Proviso (GB) (Dansili [GB]).
"She is perfect this morning, but right now plans are uncertain for her," Sahadi said of Gotta Have Her, who was beaten a nose for second. "She was last at the quarter-pole and had a lot to do and she did it but just ran out of ground. Proviso was awesome."
The photo for place was not the only one Sahadi lost on Saturday.
"It was a long day," she admitted. "I got beat a nose in the Oak Tree Mile (G2) with (Grade 1 winner) Karelian's half-brother (Colgan's Chip [Cee's Tizzy])."
Trainer Jonathan Sheppard said that both INFORMED DECISION (Monarchos), third in Saturday's Thoroughbred Club of America S. (G2), and FANTASIA (GB) (Sadler's Wells), fourth in the First Lady, were doing fine Sunday morning.
"We're happy with the way they ran and they both came back well," he said. "Live to fight another day."
WILLCOX INN (Harlan's Holiday) and ROUGH SAILING (Mizzen Mast), the respective third and sixth-place runners in the Breeders' Futurity (G1) will return to the grass for their next starts, according to trainer Mike Stidham.
"We'll look at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G2) for Willcox Inn as a possibility. I don't know that we'd get in the race but we'll look at it," Stidham said. "Rough Sailing will get back to the grass. I'm not sure what race that will be, but we'll definitely go back to the grass with him."
Stidham said that both colts look good since their race.
"With Rough Sailing, I felt like he was a little more aggressive than he has been in the past," Stidham said. "We felt from the beginning that turf was his preferred surface even in his works in the morning. He doesn't finish that well on the Polytrack. That's why we tried to enter him in the (Sunday's) Bourbon (G3) and we wind up on the 'also eligible' (list). So I had no choice but to run him in this race.
"With Willcox Inn, I thought he ran a great race. He made a really big move wide around the turn and the way the bias was playing (Saturday) we had no chance to catch the leader. But I thought overall it was a really big effort from him."
Trainer Chad Brown returned to New York last night after sending out SILVER TIMBER (Prime Timber) to win the Woodford S. (G3) for the second consecutive year. On Sunday, groom Geraldo Ortiz said the seven-year-old gray gelding "came out of the race good. He's walking like a champ this morning."
Silver Timber, whom Brown claimed for $25,000 in 2009, won Keeneland's Shakertown S. (G3) in April at the same 5 1/2-furlong distance as the Woodford.
The gelding, who has earned $677,619 in his career, is expected to remain at Keeneland and continue training toward the five-furlong Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G2) on November 6 at Churchill Downs. Silver Timber set Churchill's five-furlong course record when he won the Churchill Downs Turf Sprint (G3) in late April.
Zenyatta's half-brother keeps turf record perfect at Keeneland
Live Oak Plantation's SOUPER SPECTACULAR (Giant's Causeway), a half-brother to dual champion Zenyatta (Street Cry [Ire]) who sold for $1.15 million at the 2008 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, made his Keeneland debut a winning one in Sunday's 5TH race, an allowance at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.
Tracking the pace three wide, the chestnut grabbed a narrow advantage entering the stretch, pulling off to be 1 1/2 lengths clear on the wire. The three-year-old colt finished up in 1:49 1/5 on the firm turf under John Velazquez.
Souper Spectacular broke his maiden at a mile on the turf in his last start on September 4 at Saratoga, scoring by two lengths on that day. He made his racing debut a fourth-place run at Belmont and then finished sixth in a Monmouth Park maiden special weight on July 17. Like Zenyatta, Souper Spectacular began his racing career at age three.
"I got him in January of this year at Palm Meadows (in Florida) and he was obviously an immediate hit," trainer Seth Benzel said. "But we also knew that we had quite a few things that we had to tackle just to try to get his head in the right place and get him to where he was kind of thinking and acting like a racehorse.
"I think that he needed that experience in Saratoga," Benzel added. "He needed to get a taste of what winning is like because on a couple different notes, even from a training standpoint, he's a different horse (from when we received him). It's exciting, obviously, because this is the kind of plan that we had, that he would come into his own through the experience, and to see it happen in front of you is pretty fun."
Souper Spectacular schooled in the Keeneland paddock Saturday afternoon, remaining calm throughout.
"Back in January he probably wouldn't have acted like that," Benzel said. "He just was kind of a big kid and I can really see why Zenyatta didn't start until late in her three-year-old career because this horse is much the same. We got our start a little earlier than that but at the same time I think he's just coming into himself now."
Benzel, based in New York, has more than 40 horses in training that are split between Saratoga and Belmont. A former assistant to Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, Benzel went on his own in May 2008. This weekend marks his first time at Keeneland.
"This is a new experience for me and I'm just taking it in," Benzel said about training on his own. "It's amazing. It's everything everybody said it was going to be, so it's a pleasure."
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