Somali Lemonade gets first Grade 1 win in the Diana
Somali Lemonade sat a very good trip and finally broke through with her first Grade 1 win as she took home the top honors in the $500,000 Diana Stakes. Sent off at odds of 11/1, Somali Lemonade and Luis Saez sat back in third down on the rail for much of the trip early on as Discreet Marq (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) went out to set the early pace and only received mild pressure from Alterite (BetPTC.com Top Selection) through a moderate half mile in 49.84 seconds. Discreet Marq brought the lead into the stretch and Somali Lemonade switched out to the outside and slowly wore down Discreet Marq and took over inside the sixteenth pole. Meanwhile Stephanie’s Kitten came roaring from the back and tried to make it close, but Somali Lemonade hit the wire a neck in front of Stephanie’s Kitten at the finish. Discreet Marq did hold on for the third spot.
In the $250,000 Sanford Stakes it was Big Trouble who had to overcome a rough stretch run with Mr. Z to get the win. Both Big Trouble and Mr. Z rallied from off the pace as Cinco Charlie (BetPTC.com Top Selection) and Nonna’s Boy (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) came into the stretch with the lead. It looked like it might be a battle between those two at the eighth pole, but Mr. Z came up to put a nose in front, but Big Trouble, who had been bumped hard by Mr. Z in mid-stretch, ended up having more late and got the win by a neck. Mr. Z was second and finished almost two lengths ahead of Cinco Charlie.
Sunday’s feature was the Grade 1 Coaching Club of America Oaks and it was Stopchargingmaria who turned in one of the most impressive performances of her career, drawing off to a five length win. Stopchargingmaria got a beautiful trip just in behind Miss Besilu and Taketheodds who battled early on through a half in 48 seconds flat. Stopchargingmaria came with a furious move three wide at the top of the lane and blew by those rivals and kicked away late to win by five. Unbridled Forever who was last early got going late and ran into the second spot while Miss Besilu finished in third.
Istanford goes all the way to win the San Clemente
Istanford went right to the front and never looked back as she galloped to a huge two and one half length win in the $200,000 Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap at Del Mar. Istanford was actually away last but quickly rebounded and got up to grab the early lead under jockey Rafael Bejarano who was looking for his first stakes win in his comeback from an injury. Istanford was beautifully rationed on the lead and set strong fractions, but did it very comfortably. Istanford came into the stretch and started to kick away and with Tepin the only one running on from the back, Istanford cruised to a facile two and one half length win. Tepin was second ahead of My Conquistadory (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) who finally got going to grab third late. In the Osunitas Stakes it was Cozze Up Lady and Kent Desormeaux who sprung an 11/1 upset. Cozze Up Lady was second throughout the race and pounced on early leader Yahilwa as they came into the stretch and held off a late rally from Warren’s Veneda to get the win.
On Sunday in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes it was Tom’s Tribute who held off a late rally from race favorite Summer Front to win the $300,000 event. Tom’s Tribute was second early on as Horizontalyspeakin opened up a big three length lead going down the backstretch. Tom’s Tribute sat just behind him and took command into the stretch and eased away to win by a length and a quarter over Summer Front.
Up With the Birds from last to first to win the Nijinsky
Up With the Birds took off down the stretch as he blew by all of his six rivals in the stretch to win the $200,000 Nijinsky Stakes at Woodbine. Sent off at odds of 7/2, Up With the Birds (BetPTC.com Top Selection) was last for the first three quarters of a mile until they got to the top of the stretch. But Eurico Rosa De Silva came roaring by all the runners in the stretch and eventually kicked clear to win by four emphatic lengths over long shot Dynamic Sky. River Seven finished up in third. In the Ontario Damsel Stakes it was Regal Conquerer (BetPTC.com Longshot) who scored a 7/1 upset as odds on favorite Llanarmon failed to hit the board, resulting in some juicy show prices.
Aurelia’s Belle wins a hard fought Arlington Oaks
Aurelia’s Belle sat off the pace and grabbed command late to win a hard fought edition of the $150,000 Arlington Oaks. Aurelia’s Belle was third early on as Phaniebdancing went and opened up a huge six length lead down the backstretch in the nine furlong event. Phaniebdancing started coming back to the field at the top of the lane and Aurelia’s Belle blew by her and opened up a big lead in mid-stretch. Jockey Channing Hill was not done though as Stellaris came bursting out the pack, but still came 3/4 of a length short at the wire as Aurelia’s Belle held on for the win.