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10.10.2018:

Concrete Rose Earns Breeders' Cup Berth with Jessamine Victory

Ashbrook Farm and BBN Racing’s Concrete Rose moved to the front inside the eighth pole and powered her way to a 3-length victory over Pakhet to win the 28th running of the $200,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2) for 2-year-old fillies before a Wednesday afternoon crowd of 9,331. Trained by Rusty Arnold and ridden by Jose Lezcano, Concrete Rose covered the 1 1/16 miles on a firm turf course in 1:44.09 in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge race, which earned her a fees-paid berth into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) to be run Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs. City Diva led the field of 13 through fractions of :23.34, :48.04 and 1:13.38 with Monkeys Uncle in closest pursuit as Lezcano hugged the inside rail with Concrete Rose. At the head of the lane, Lezcano swung Concrete Rose to the four path for clear running and by midstretch the decision was no longer in doubt as she seized control and never was threatened in the run to the finish line. The victory was worth $120,000 and improved her earnings to $166,750 with her second victory in two starts. A Keeneland sales graduate, Concrete Rose is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Twirling Candy out of the Powerscourt (GB) mare Solerina. Sent off as the second choice, Concrete Rose returned $7.20, $4.80 and $3.60. Pakhet, ridden by John Velazquez, returned $11.40 and $6.80 and finished a neck in front of Belle Laura who paid $14.20 to show under Corey Lanerie. Favored Fierce Scarlett finished another three-quarters of a length back in fourth and was followed in order by Princesa Carolina, Speedy Solution, Irish Willow, City Diva, Lightscameraaction, Zalia, Monkeys Uncle, Lucky Girasol and Espresso Shot. Racing resumes Thursday with a 10-race program that begins at 1:05 p.m. ET.

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10.10.2018:

Cross-Breed, All-Stakes Pick 4 Set for October 13 at Belmont, Yonkers

ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and Yonkers Raceway at Empire City Casino will partner to offer horseplayers a special all-stakes thoroughbred/standardbred Pick 4 on Saturday, October 13. The latest in NYRA's fall series of special Pick 4 Wagers, the Belmont-Yonkers Pick 4 includes the $1 Million Yonkers International Trot and the $250,000 Harry Harvey Invitational from Empire City Casino along with the $200,000 Pebbles and $100,000 Floral Park Stakes from Belmont Park. "NYRA's continued partnership with Yonkers Raceway results in unique wagering opportunities for New York horseplayers," said Will Alempijevic, NYRA Director of Business Development. "For the second consecutive year, we're thrilled to have successfully paired two great stakes races from Belmont with the best and richest day of harness racing in New York." "Yonkers International Trot Day offers our best racing program of the season, featuring world-class trotters and pacers," Raceway COO Bob Galterio said. "For the International and the Harry Harvey Trot to be included in a special Pick 4 with two of Belmont's stakes races allows us to showcase our events to NYRA's audience, and we encourage them to enjoy the best harness racing anywhere. As always, we couldn't do it without the cooperation of the New York State Gaming Commission and both horsemen's associations." Past performances for the Yonkers International Trot and Harry Harvey Invitational will be included in the Saturday, October 13 Post Parade program, while past performances for the Floral Park and Pebbles Stakes will be found in Yonkers' Saturday program. The Belmont-Yonkers Pick 4, to be hosted by NYRA with a $0.50 minimum wager and 24 percent takeout. The Belmont-Yonkers Pick 4Race 1: $250,000 Harry Harvey Invitational Trot (Yonkers Race 7 at 3:00 p.m.)Race 2: $1 Million Yonkers International Trot  (Yonkers Race 8 at 3:20 p.m.)Race 3: $100,000 Floral Park (Belmont Race 8 at 4:43 p.m.)Race 4: $200,000 Pebbles (Belmont Race 9 at 5:18 p.m.)

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10.7.2018:

Current Gets Up at Wire to Win G3 Bourbon Stakes

Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert LaPenta’s Current prevailed in a three-horse photo in Sunday’s Dixiana Bourbon (G3) despite having the shoe on his left front foot come loose. “I don’t know where it happened in the race,” said Ginny DePasquale, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. “He is good this morning.” Even though there were three noses on the wire, DePasquale thought Current had won. “I was watching on the monitor in the Grandstand and all the commentators (on TVG and NBC) thought he won,” DePasquale said. “I was surprised it took so long to put the result up.” The end result was a fees-paid berth into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2 for Current. DePasquale, who will be with Pletcher’s Churchill string, was uncertain when Current would move on to Louisville but expected the colt would remain at Keeneland for the time being. Current was ridden by Jose Ortiz and was the third winner of the day for the trainer-jockey combination. They won the third with D’ambrosio and the seventh with Into Mystic. It marked the first three-win day for a rider or trainer during the meet. Bloom Racing Stable’s Dixiana Bourbon runner-up, Henley’s Joy, is scheduled to return Tuesday to trainer Mike Maker’s home base at Trackside Training Center in Louisville. Maker said Monday that the Breeders’ Cup remains under consideration. David Carroll, assistant to trainer Mark Casse, said plans are undecided for Gary Barber’s War of Will, who set the pace as the favorite in the Dixiana Bourbon before finishing fourth. “He looked like he had control of the race turning for home,” Carroll said. “He might have lost his momentum when he switched leads but we still think a lot of him and hopefully he has some big days ahead of him.”  

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10.7.2018:

Strike Silver Earns Breeders' Cup Berth in Inaugural Indian Summer Stakes

John C. Oxley’s Strike Silver has the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint on his calendar after clinching a fees-paid slot with his triumph in Sunday’s $200,000 Indian Summer. The inaugural running of the Juvenile Turf Sprint will be at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2. “The game plan is to go for the Breeders’ Cup,” trainer Mark Casse’s assistant David Carroll said. “He will probably stay at Keeneland for a little while before shipping to our barn at Churchill Downs.” The Indian Summer marked the turf debut for Strike Silver, who won his career debut at Churchill in June and was a close second in the Sanford (G3) at Saratoga in July. Trainer Wesley Ward was pleased with the second-place effort by Hat Creek Racing’s Chelsea Cloisters in the Indian Summer. “You look like you’re a winner and then you get nailed at the wire,” Ward said.

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10.7.2018:

Jaywalk Wins G1 Frizette, Secures Spot in Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies

ELMONT, N.Y. - Jaywalk authoritatively answered the questions of handling a stretch out in distance, surging to the front and finishing strong for a 5 ¾-length win in gate to wire fashion in the 71st running of the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette for 2-year-old fillies on Sunday at Belmont Park. One of three "Win and You're In" qualifiers for the Breeders' Cup on Sunday's card, the Frizette earned Jaywalk a berth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on November 2 at Churchill Downs. The Cross Traffic filly, owned by Leonard Green and Cash is King Stable, registered her third consecutive win and second against stakes company while garnering 10 points towards the 2019 Kentucky Oaks.  Out of the gate, jockey Joel Rosario sent Jaywalk to the front, where she led the seven-horse field through the opening quarter-mile in 22.63 seconds and the half in 45.65 on the fast main track. Out of the turn, 3-5 favorite Covfefe made a strong bid from the outside, but Jaywalk, who went three-quarters of a mile in 1:09.71, kept the advantage and gained separation in the stretch. After winning at both five and 5 ½ furlongs, Jaywalk outkicked Brucia La Terra, completing one mile in a final time of 1:34.57. "I told Joel the speed is there if you need it, but there's plenty of speed in here, if you let her fall out of there, play it by ear," trainer John Servis said. "If the other horses go, sit behind them, she'll do that that's not an issue with her and if they don't go, then put her where you're comfortable. "I want to see what kind of numbers she ran, and how she comes out of this," he added. "It's obviously a huge effort for her. I don't want to see a huge improvement and wheel her right back in four weeks. We'll see. We'll see how it shapes up." Off at 6-1, Jaywalk returned $15.20 on a $2 win bet. Purchased for $190,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, she improved her career bankroll to $284,200. "She wanted to go to the front," Rosario said. "I thought there was a lot of speed on paper and then John told me just let her break and let her run however she wanted. I just let her go ahead and be happy and she really handled it. She looked like she would keep going at the quarter-pole and her long stride she really handled the trip well. "I think she'll handle two-turns [going forward] she certainly has the speed to," he added. Jaywalk, the winner of the White Clay Creek last out on August 22, has already won at three different tracks in Belmont, Delaware Park and Parx. Brucia La Terra, one of two entries for trainer Barclay Tagg, rallied for second in her stakes debut after winning her first start on August 12 at Saratoga, finishing three-quarters of a length ahead of stablemate Cassies Dreamer for second. "I was very pleased with how they both ran," Tagg said. "Not bad for 18-1 with Brucia La Terra. We liked them both. They weren't expensive horses or anything like that, but they've certainly been training well. We wanted to run them and we were pleased with the outcome. It costs so much to go to the Breeders' Cup now. I would've love if one of them would've been able to [catch] it, but if you can't you can't. The winner was much the best." Covfefe, trained by Brad Cox, finished fourth. Nonna Madeline, Sue's Fortune and Take Me to Hardoon completed the order of finish. Graceful Princess was scratched.

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10.7.2018:

Uncle Benny Wins Futurity, Punches Breeders' Cup Ticket

ELMONT, N.Y. - Ara Aprahamian's Uncle Benny launched from last to first to win the 127th running of the $150,000 Futurity on Sunday at Belmont Park by a half-length in 1:11.26 for the six furlongs on the Widener turf listed as good. As part of the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" Challenge, the Futurity victory will send Uncle Benny to the gate for the all-new $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint Division at Churchill Downs on November 2, known as "Future Stars Friday," as one of five races for 2-year-olds. Now perfect through two starts for trainer Jason Servis, the Declaration of War colt has a victory on both dirt and turf. "Around Monmouth time, I told people he was one of my best 2-year-olds, so we're high on him," Servis said. "We think he's a nice horse, and he looks the part too. He's a big, good-looking horse. He's massive. He's got Storm Cat on the dam's side and his stallion won a couple of Grade 1s I think in Europe on the grass, so I wasn't worried about the turf." From the gate, the early pacesetter was Joyful Heart, who found himself on the lead for the fourth straight time in his career, continuing his streak through a first quarter in 22.46 seconds down the backside while Veterans Beach and Bizzee Channel kept him company early. Soon, Real Money stalked from a length behind as the field situated itself behind as Fayette Warrior held third with Dragic, the lone filly in the field, to his outside. Uncle Benny was last among the strung-out field of 10 ahead of him after nearly clipping heels at the break after Swamp Rat, to his inside, veered outward at the start. Rounding the turn, Real Money made a move for the lead outside the tiring Joyful Heart to his inside, as Dragic began to find her best stride after a half-mile run in 46.30. Dragic and Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez took command after five-eighths was clocked in 58.71, but to her outside was a challenge from longshot Backtohisroots, who was charging late alongside Uncle Benny, who made a strong move from last in the middle of the track. Down the stretch, Dragic was in an all-out drive, but Uncle Benny continued his progress under Irad Ortiz, Jr. who held off Backtohisroots by a half-length at the wire. Dragic held third 1 ½ lengths behind the top two and four lengths over Fayette Warrior, who finished fourth. "Irad said the 10 horse broke out so bad that if he hadn't taken a hold of him, he would've clipped heels and fell, said Servis. "He said he had to snatch him up into a standstill. Irad said, 'Man, after all that and he still wins,' so Irad really liked him a lot. The quick action of Ortiz, Jr. and his patience through the early run down the backstretch certainly helped Uncle Benny in the late stages of the race. "It's always exciting with a "Win and You're In" [for the Breeders' Cup]," Ortiz, Jr. said. "I'm just so happy for [trainer] Jason Servis, it's been such a good year for him. He's a nice horse. It was the first time I rode him. We had the outside post and he broke a step slow. I didn't want to rush him out of there, he's a baby. They ran away from and I just dropped in. I didn't panic. I waited and when I made the run on the outside, he took off. "It's different. It was his first time on the grass. I was confident on him and didn't panic. I just let him be happy and ride him from there." With the next destination set at Churchill Downs for the colt's third career start Servis and his connections have a decision to make as to which race he will start during the first weekend in November. "I don't know if we'll do the long race or the sprint," Servis said. "I don't know if he'll get in the long one, but I think he'll run further. I don't know if he'll get up five eighths, but I know he'll get a mile. He'll go in one of those races." Sent off at odds of 5-1, Uncle Benny returned $12.40 to win.

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10.7.2018:

Fourstar Crook Breaks Free to Win G1 Flower Bowl

ELMONT, N.Y. - The fourth time was the charm for Fourstar Crook on Saturday at Belmont Park, finally nabbing the Grade 1 that has eluded her with a last-to-first victory over stablemate Onthemoonagain in the $500,000 Flower Bowl to punch her ticket to the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf. It was the first Grade 1 for the 6-year-old Freud mare following three near misses in the last 12 months, with a third in the E.P. Taylor last fall, and a pair of seconds to fellow Brown trainee Sistercharlie in the Jenny Wiley and Beverly D. this spring and summer. Fourstar Crook got away from the gate under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. and settled at the back of the pack as Feeling Bossy led the field of seven through an opening quarter-mile in 25.71. The leader began to pull away after an easy half in 51.72, while Onthemoonagain began to advance through the field up the backstretch, moving into second as six furlongs went in 1:15.80. Onthemoonagain, ridden by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, grabbed the lead with a three-wide move at the top of the stretch, but all eyes were on Fourstar Crook, beginning her rally from the back. Ortiz directed his charge into the clear and Fourstar Crook responded with a sustained rally to sweep past her stablemate at the sixteenth pole for a two-length win. Grade 2 Glens Falls winner Lady Montdore was another 4 ¾ lengths back in third. Danceland, Feeling Bossy, Tricky Escape, and Holy Helena completed the order of finish. The final time for 1 ¼ miles on the inner turf course listed as good was 2:03.28. Fourstar Crook, favored at 4-5, returned $3.60 for a $2 win wager. "She flew home," said Ortiz. "She was going so comfortable and when I asked, she just exploded." Winner of the Grade 2 New York and Grade 2 Hillsborough at Tampa Bay Downs this spring, Fourstar Crook improved her record to 12-4-1 from 19 starts and boosted her lifetime earnings to $1,604,566. It was the fifth Flower Bowl win for trainer Chad Brown, who campaigns Fourstar Crook for Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stable, and Gary Aisquith. "This horse ran super," said Brown. "We expected a short field and that the pace wouldn't be that strong, and it wasn't, but she was able to overcome it. She's a really consistent horse and she particularly likes Belmont. She ran to her odds. She seemed very deserving to finally win a Grade 1. When you look at who she's beaten when she's not in Grade 1s, and who she's lost to by short margins, this filly is very deserving to finally achieve that and remarkable at age six."

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10.7.2018:

Blue Prize Ducks Out, Still Wins G1 Juddmonte Spinster at Keeneland

Merriebelle Stable’s Blue Prize (ARG) overcame an adventurous run in the stretch to turn back Champagne Problems by three-quarters of a length to win the 63rd running of the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1) for fillies and mares before a Sunday afternoon crowd of 14,223. Trained by Ignacio Correas IV and ridden by Joe Bravo, Blue Prize won her second Breeders’ Cup Challenge race that provides the winner a fees-paid berth into the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) to be run Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs. Previously she won the Fleur de Lis (G2) at Churchill Downs. Also earning Breeders’ Cup berths Sunday were Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert LaPenta’s Current, winner of the $250,000 Dixiana Bourbon (G3) and John Oxley’s Strike Silver, winner of the inaugural $200,000 Indian Summer, both races for 2-year-olds. In the Juddmonte Spinster, longshot Southernperfection led the field of 11 through fractions of :23.79, :47.62 and 1:12.27. On the far turn, Bravo moved to the far outside, circling the leaders and striking the front turning for home. Blue Prize quickly opened a daylight advantage, but twice before the eighth pole ducked out sharply beyond the middle of the track, allowing Champagne Problems, who was skimming the rail, to reach near even terms. Bravo got Blue Prize straightened out inside the sixteenth pole and drew clear for the victory in 1:50.02. A 5-year-old Argentine-bred daughter of Pure Prize out of the Not For Sale mare Blues for Sale (ARG), Blue Prize won her fourth graded stakes in North America and first Grade 1. A Group 1 winner in Argentina, Blue Prize elevated her career earnings to $964,753 with Sunday’s $300,000 check. Blue Prize returned $11, $5 and $3.80. Champagne Problems, ridden by Calvin Borel, returned $7.80 and $5.20 and finished 1½ lengths in front of Pacific Wind who, paid $5.20 to show under Luis Saez. It was another 3¼ lengths back to Fuhriously Kissed who was followed in order by Chocolate Martini, Talk Veuve to Me, favored Eskimo Kisses, Skeptic, Southernperfection, Tiger Moth and Sassy Sienna.

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