Noble Bird wins the Stephen Foster Handicap
Noble Bird secured the biggest win of his career on Saturday night under the bright lights of Churchill Downs as he won the $500,000 Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap. Sent off at odds of 9/2, Noble Bird (BetPTC.com Longshot) sat in second early on as long shot Paganol controlled the early tempo which was solid. Noble Bird pulled jockey Shaun Bridgmohan to the lead though on the far turn and took command and was quickly greeted by a fresh challenge from favored Lea (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) who came up on the outside. But Noble Bird still had enough left in the tank, and even though Lea kept narrowing the margin with each stride, Noble Bird held on to win by a neck over Lea. It was over five lengths back to Hoppertunity who finished up in third.
Island Town turned in a very gutsy performance as he had to re-rally in late stretch to beat favored Fame and Power in the Matt Winn Stakes. Island Town went right to the lead early on with mild pressure from Private Prospect through very moderate fractions. Island Town and Julien Leparoux turned for home in front but Fame and Power (BetPTC.com Top Selection) came up and grabbed the lead in mid-stretch. But Island Town had something up his sleeve after those early fractions as he dug back in and edged clear late to win by a half length over Fame and Power. Private Prospect held on for third. In the Grade 2 Fleur De Lis it was Frivolous who scored a spectacular upset, winning the nine furlong event as a 32/1 bomb. Frivolous was second early on as Yahilwa set the pace in the Fleur De Lis. Frivolous took command at the top of the lane and slowly edged away from her competition, winning by a length and a half in the end over Sheer Drama (BetPtC.com 2nd Selection) and Tiz Windy (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) who finished second and third respectively. Prado’s Sweet Ride (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) turned in a furious late kick to win the Grade 3 Regret. Lady Zuzu (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) took the lead early and opened up a near four length margin in mid-stretch. But she started to falter late just as Prado’s Sweet Ride and Julien Leparoux got going and Prado’s Sweet Ride got up in the last jump, winning by a head.
Talco upsets the Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita
Talco pulled off a big upset on Saturday as he scored a win in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita. Sent off at odds of 13/1, Talco (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) was last early on as long shot Winning Prize set the fractions which were honest. Midnight Storm was stalking in second throughout and Midnight Storm pounced on Winning Prize turning for home and grabbed the lead. But Talco and Rafael Bejarano had all the momentum as they got up inside the final sixteenth to win by half a length over Midnight Storm. Seek Again (BetPTC.com Top Selection) finally got going late to get third but never threatened the top two.
Beholder (BetPTC.com Top Selection) dominated the $100,000 Adoration Stakes, scoring with ease on the front end to win by a length and a quarter. Warren’s Veneda (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) rallied from just off the pace to get up into the second spot and while she was seven lengths clear of My Monet who was third, Beholder kept her safely at bay, winning by a length and a half.
King Kreesa all the way in the Poker Stakes
King Kreesa got loose early on and found some courage late to score a big upset win in the $300,000 Poker Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday. King Kreesa didn’t have to go too fast early on and being able to relax throughout the early stage of the race proved to be too much for his competitors to overcome. Race favorite Il Campione (BetPTC.com Top Selection) was in mid-pack early and started to rally at King Kreesa but King Kreesa just had too much left down the lane and won by three quarters of a length. Vyjack got up for second, nosing out Il Campione who finished in third.