Trainer Mark Casse will invade Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday with a trio of three-year-olds looking to take the next step on the road to Churchill Downs. Sovereign Award finalist Prospective, a son of Malibu Moon, will go in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes while Northern Passion and Dixie Strike will line up in the $150,000 Florida Oaks for three-year-old fillies on turf.
Broadway's Alibi ran lights out in the slop at Gulfstream Park on Sunday when dominating the Grade 2, $200,000 Forward Gal Stakes under jockey John Velazquez. The dark bay daughter of Vindication was making her stakes bow in the seven-furlong contest and frolicked home a 16 3/4 length winner over the sealed dirt for trainer Todd Pletcher.
"She's fast," Pletcher stated. "I don't know about distance. I guess we'll have to find out at some point."
Phil Daniels et al's Willa B Awesome lived up to her name on Saturday with a nice front-running win in the Grade 3, $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes at Santa Anita. The Walther Solis trainee headed straight to the front when the gates opened and had more than enough in reserve to withstand the late run of 3-1 second favorite Killer Graces in the lane.
Despite owning just one prior start, Lanni Family Trust's Reneesgotzip ran away with the Grade 2, $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes at Santa Anita on Sunday. Ridden by Corey Nakatani, the Peter Miller trainee finished 6 1/2 furlongs on the fast dirt in 1:15 1/5, returning $4, $2.80 and $2.60 as the even-money favorite.
Peachtree Stable's Sacristy, a smashing Churchill Downs maiden winner in her first opportunity on dirt, followed up promptly in her stakes debut in Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000 Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Trained by Wayne Catalano and ridden by Kent Desormeaux, the 6-5 choice unleashed a powerful rally down the stretch and drew off by 1 3/4 lengths. The newly-minted sophomore took 1:10 4/5 to complete six furlongs on the fast track, returning $4.60, $2.80 and $2.40.
Borislow et al's Killer Graces fanned three-wide rounding the turn of Saturday's Grade 1, $402,000 Hollywood Starlet Stakes and rallied in the lane to be a half-length in front of Charm the Maker on the wire of the 8 1/2-furlong affair. Jockey Joe Talamo piloted the Jerry Hollendorfer pupil to finish in 1:44 on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track.
Anita Cauley's homebred On Fire Baby crushed her rivals in Saturday's Grade 2, $169,350 Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs, winning off by 6 1/4 lengths, and became only the seventh filly to sweep Churchill Downs' fall stakes for two-year-old fillies with the gate-to-wire decision.
The Gary Hartlage-trained filly captured the Grade 2 Pocahontas Stakes on the opening weekend of the fall meet.
Glencrest Farm's Disposablepleasure recovered from a bad stumble at the start, and survived an objection, to prevail as the 6-5 favorite in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Demoiselle Stakes at Aqueduct.
With the scratch of morning-line favorite Assateague, fellow East Coast shipper More Than Love was bet down to even-money in Friday's Grade 3, $100,000 Miesque Stakes at Hollywood Park. The John Terranova II juvenile gave her backers fits as she engaged in an all-out stretch duel with Starship Flare, the 29-1 longest shot on the board, but ultimately averted the upset. Under Ramon Dominguez, More Than Love forced her nose in front at the wire, completing one mile on the firm turf in 1:36 1/5.
Don Von Hemel and Wayne Stockseth's homebred Now I Know turned the Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Downs Princess Stakes into a veritable procession on Saturday afternoon. Assuming command at the start and under no pressure throughout, Now I Know galloped with ease around the six-furlong oval and opened up late to win by four lengths to remain undefeated in five career starts.
My Miss Aurelia gave owners George Bolton and Stonestreet Stables a reason to celebrate on Friday when running away with the $1,818,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs. Powering down the center of the track, the Smart Strike filly easily moved her record to a perfect four-for-four when crossing under the wire in 1:46 for 1 1/16 miles on the good dirt with Corey Nakatani aboard.
Stephanie's Kitten came flying late to collar pacesetter Stopshoppingmaria in deep stretch and surged to a three-quarter length victory in Friday's $909,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs. Winner of the Grade 1 Alcibiades Stakes on Keeneland's Polytrack in her previous start, the Ken and Sarah Ramsey homebred was ridden by John Velazquez.
Anita Cauley's homebred On Fire Baby rallied from just off a frenetic pace to capture Sunday's Grade 2, $173,400 Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs. Fifth in the Grade 1 Alcibiades on Keeneland's Polytrack last time out, the 9-1 chance thrived on the return to dirt, and the cut-back to one turn. Joe Johnson launched a well-timed move aboard the Gary Hartlage pupil, who held off the late charge of And Why Not by three-quarters of a length.
Stonestreet Stable and George Bolton's My Miss Aurelia moved her record to a perfect three-for-three on Saturday when capturing the Grade 1, $300,000 Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park. The Steve Asmussen trainee ran one mile on the Polytrack in a swift 1:35 1/5 and gave jockey Corey Nakatani his sixth victory on the card, tying the single-day win record at Big Sandy.
Flying Zee Stables' Pure Gossip has a knack for making headlines at big odds. The Philip Serpe trainee scored at 37-1 in her career debut at Saratoga, in the New York-bred fillies' maiden named in honor of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Again overlooked at 23-1 when trying turf for the first time in Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000 Miss Grillo at Belmont Park, Pure Gossip rocketed from just off the pace to win impressively by 6 1/2 lengths.
Weemissfrankie continued the fairytale ride for her connections on Sunday when gutting out a half-length victory in the Grade 1, $250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita Park. Campaigned by Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stables, Ciaglia Racing, Rob Dyrdek and Nick Cosato, the juvenile miss was named after Sharon's late husband, Frank Alesia, the entertainment personality and longtime horse owner.
Brereton C. Jones' homebred Believe You Can tracked the early pace in Sunday's $98,000 Tempted Stakes at Belmont Park before moving up to take command in the stretch and pulling out the 2 1/2-length score. This win allowed trainer Larry Jones to visit the winner's circle for the second day in a row after saddling Havre de Grace to victory in Saturday's Grade 1 Beldame Stakes.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's homebred Stephanie's Kitten came motoring down the middle of the track to take Friday's Grade 1, $400,000 Alcibiades Stakes on Keeneland's opening day. The bay lass was sent off at 9-1 in the full field and completed 1 1/16 miles on the Polytrack in 1:43 under jockey John Velazquez.
From a purely mathematical standpoint, owner John Oxley and trainer Mark Casse had a one-in-four chance of winning Saturday's $240,345 Natalma S. (Can-G3) for juvenile fillies at Woodbine as three of the 12 entrants adorned Oxley's classic-winning gray and yellow silks.
Frank Fletcher's ROCKET TWENTYONE (Indian Charlie) rallied past pacesetter Essence of Bubbles (Essence of Dubai) in deep stretch and recorded a half-length victory in Saturday's $100,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie S. (G3), posting a 16-1 upset in the one-mile event for two-year-old fillies.
A 6 1/2-length debut winner at Prairie Meadows on August 12, the dark bay filly went dirt-to-Polytrack successfully for trainer W.T. Howard, stopping the teletimer in 1:39 with jockey Eusebio Razo Jr.