Will Take Charge catches Game on Dude to win the Clark Handicap
Game on Dude led for most of the homestretch in the $500,000 Clark Handicap, but he didn’t lead when it mattered most as Will Take Charge took charge late to get the win in the Grade 1 event. Our Double Play went out to set the early pace, which was reasonably strong for the nine furlong event. Game on Dude (BetPTC.com Top Selection) and Mike Smith came up on the first turn and provided some pressure out in the clear for Our Double Play. Game on Dude finally let loose at the five-sixteenths pole and at that same time Will Take Charge (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) came under a ride and looked like he might be in trouble. Will Take Charge and Luis Saez just kept on grinding and as they came to the final sixteenth, Game on Dude was all out to hold off Will Take Charge. But Will Take Charge just kept on coming and got up to win by a head over Game on Dude. They were two lengths clear of Easter Gift (BetPTC.com Longshot) who finished up in third.
Vexed takes home the Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs
Saturday was closing day at Churchill Downs and a pair of Grade 2 events for two year olds were the big ticket races. Vexed (BetPTC.com Top Selection) sat back in third early on as Daddy’s Memory and Stonetastic went out to set the early pace. Jockey Shawn Bridghmohan positioned the filly on the outside as they went to the turn and she came with a three wide burst after the leaders, grabbing the lead in late stretch from Stonetastic and pulling away to win by a length. Bird Maker (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) rallied from off the pace to grab second while Stonetastic stayed on for third.
In the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes it was Tapiture (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) who was fifth early on but took the lead on the second turn before pulling clear late to win by four and a quarter. Laddie Boy went out to set the pace at odds of 19/1. Laddie Boy had the lead going to the final turn, but Tapiture and Ricardo Santana were quick to pounce and drew off. Laddie Boy gamely stayed on for second while Awesome Sky finished up in third.
Last Gunfighter scores in the Hawthorne Gold Cup
Last Gunfighter had to rally off the pace and beat a stubborn long shot in Mister Marti Gras to win the Grade 2 $350,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup on Saturday. Sent off as the 4/5 favorite, Last Gunfighter (BetPTC.com Top Selection) was sixth early on and was kept towards the outside by jockey Joe Bravo. Alpha was the pacesetter and was able to set a very relaxed pace up front, getting the opening half in 51.14 seconds. Alpha got pressed coming to the stretch by 29/1 shot Street Spice (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) who took the lead at the eighth pole. By this time Last Gunfighter had gotten into his best stride and reeled in the leader. But he had to hold off Mister Mardi Gras who came running hard on the outside. Last Gunfighter had enough left in the tank though and held off Mister Marti Gras to win by a length.
Seek Again rolls late to win the Hollywood Derby
Seek Again was making his North American debut and flew down the track to capture the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at Hollywood Park on Sunday. Sent off at odds of 5/1, Seek Again was seventh early on as Rookie Sensation went out and set the early pace. Rookie Sensation was able to bring that lead into the stretch but couldn’t hold off the closers, as Seek Again, Admiral Kitten and Amen Kitten, who were the last three runners early on, came roaring by to finish 1-2-3. In the $250,000 Grade 1 Matriarch it was Egg Drop who turned in a determined performance to get the win. Egg Drop and Martin Garcia went right to the front and set the pace in the one mile event. Discreet Marq stalked her from second the entire way and when they came into the stretch, Discreet Marq actually moved by pretty easily. Egg Drop looked beaten, but she dug back in and re-rallied to get up and win by a nose at 10/1. Discreet Marq was second with Better Lucky finishing up in third.
Saturday in the Generous Stakes it was Global View and Joe Talamo who rallied from fourth early on to get up and get the win. Ontology (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) opened up a big lead in mid-race at 10/1 and came to the stretch with a two length lead. But it evaporated in mid-stretch when Global View rolled on by. Aotearoa (BetPTC.com Top Selection) rallied to get up for second while Royal Banker (BetPTC.com Longshot) closed from last to get third. In the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes it was Full Ransom (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) who came from off the pace to win at 12/1. Full Ransom was last down the backstretch as Love In the Desert set the pace. Sushi Empire (BetPTC.com Longshot) grabbed the lead at 21/1 into the stretch, but Full Ransom had all the late momentum and got up to win by a head, holding off Savings Account in the process who ran second.