VE Day shocks the Travers
VE Day took advantage of a tough battle up on the front end to get up in the final strides to win the Grade 1 $1,250,000 Travers Stakes at Saratoga. Sent off at odds of 19/1, VE Day stayed towards the back of the pack as Bayern (BetPTC.com Top Selection) broke beautifully out of the gate. Bayern had three lengths on the field in the opening strides but both Tonalist (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) and Wicked Strong both came up quickly and pressed the issue. Bayern didn’t get a breather for the next three quarters of a mile as those two continued to press him and they made a line up of three as they turned into the stretch. Wicked Strong grabbed the lead at the top of the lane and looked like he might be home, but the early struggle for the lead started to take it’s toll and VE Day and Javier Castellano came bursting from out of the pack and got up to get the win by a nose in the final stride. Wicked Strong was second and it was two and a half lengths back to Tonalist who ran third.
Artemis Agrotera turned in one of the more impressive wins of the day as she dominated the Ballerina Stakes. Sent off at odds of 4/1, Artemis Agrotera sat second early on behind La Verdad (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) ran out to set the early pace. Artemis Agrotera seized the lead from La Verdad at the top of the lane and quickly poured it on, opening up to win by six and one half lengths over La Verdad who held second. The Big Beast (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) turned in a very good performance in taking home the top honors in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop Stakes. Sent off at odds of 5/2, The Big Beast was third early on as Fast Anna set a strong pace. The Big Beast and Javier Castellano stayed on the far outside for clear sailing and got up to catch Fast Anna in the final sixteenth, winning by a hard fought neck. Abaco closed from last to first to win the Grade 2 Balston Spa. Sent off at odds of 4/1, Abaco flew down the outside to catch Strathnaver who took command in mid-stretch before getting caught.
Shared Belief dominates the Pacific Classic
Shared Belief didn’t just throw his hat into the Horse of the Year debate, he slammed it on the table as he dominated the $1,000,000 Grade 1 Pacific Classic on Sunday afternoon at Del Mar. Sent off as the prohibitive 6/5 favorite in the field of ten, Shared Belief (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) raced mid-pack early on as Game on Dude went and tustled early on with long shot Mystery Train through a very taxing first quarter of 22.49 seconds and a half mile in 45.75 seconds. Game on Dude opened up on the group as they ran to the far turn and Toast of New York was the first to come after him. But Shared Belief and Mike Smith came roaring up on the outside and took command and widened through the stretch and won by two and three quarter lengths. Toast of New York was second but there was a stewards inquiry into the stretch run. The stewards ruled no change and Shared Belief took home the top honors.
In the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien it was Goldencents (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) who went right to the front and cruised to a very easy win. Goldencents was able to get away with a near 23 second opening quarter mile and at that point it was all but over as he careened away in the lane to win by four and a quarter lengths over Fed Biz (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) and Silentio (BetPTC.com Longshot) who ran second and third. Tom’s Tribute (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) scored a slight upset in the $250,000 Del Mar Mile as he rallied from just off the pace to blow by Obviously late and get the win. Obviously (BetPTC.com Top Selection) broke a bit awkwardly but still made the lead and had it until mid-stretch where he finally ran out of steam. Tom’s Tribute got the win while Rock Me Baby (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) finished second.
Stryker PhD from last to first to win the Longacres Mile
Stryker PhD has been the horse of the meet all season long at Emerald Downs and he put an exclamation point on 2014 Sunday when he went from last to first to win the Longacres Mile. Stryker PhD (BetPTC.com Top Selection) was last as Scat Daddybaby set a furious pace of 22.52 seconds for the quarter and a half in a sizzling 44.83 seconds. Scat Daddybaby continued to the quarter pole, but was collared by Boyett (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) who grabbed the lead turning for home. Meanwhile Stryker PhD roared around the entire field and gobbled up the leaders to win by half a length over Boyett. Twistgrips (BetPTC.com Longshot) rallied to finish third at 24/1 to complete a $384 trifecta.
In the Emerald Distaff Stopshoppingdebbie (BetPTC.com Top Selection) ran her record to a perfect 9 for 9 as she held off a very stubborn Goin to The Windows (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) to win the mile and one eighth event.