TDN Weekend

Shared News

‘Birdie’ Earns BC Berth in Pamplona

Favorite Birdie Gold (Birdstone) continued her ascent and posted a career best victory in the G1 Gran Premio Clasico Pamplona to earn an automatic berth into the $2-million GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf as part of the international Breeders' Cup Challenge series. Nearly unbeaten, the lightly raced daughter of Birdstone closed ground along the rail to gain the advantage in upper stretch en route to a three-length score under Edwin Talaverano. A winner of three dirt allowance starts at six furlongs, seven furlongs and a mile, Birdie Gold was making only her second career start around two turns and on the grass, following a runner-up effort in the Clasico Republica Argentina at 1 1/4 miles on Apr. 20,...

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Letter from Ascot: Up the Stretch Awards

Originally these "Tips of the Top Hat" after the five-day Royal Meeting at Ascot were entitled Down the Stretch Awards, but since the Ascot home stretch is uphill, I have renamed these presentations as the Up the Stretch Awards, also known as the "Stretchies." BEST RACE CALL: On Thursday in the G2 Ribblesdale S., The Sky is Blazing jumped out to a quick six-length lead, then increased the margin to more than 10, isolated from the field. At that point, Simon Holt announced, "I think jockey Silvestre de Sousa is out to catch a bus!" Needless to say, the horse faded to nowhere, and the jock missed the bus. Great race call, Simon. JOHN HENRY AWARD for old timers. God...

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The Week in Review

There were only four graded stakes races on the national calendar this past Saturday. But two of them were 3-year-old races that were likely to spark above-average interest, because out of a combined 13 starters, five of the entrants in the two races had last tangled in the GI Kentucky Derby. Yet despite the light national schedule and all the talk we've been hearing lately about the need for tracks to maximize the bettability of their races, the real baffler was that the GIII Affirmed S. at Santa Anita and the GIII Ohio Derby at Thistledown were both scheduled to go off at the exact same post time of 5:30 p.m. (EDT). The annoying practice of important races at different...

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Spa Next for Finley’sluckycharm

Speedy female sprinter Finley'sluckycharm (Twirling Candy) will take her show on the road for the rest of the summer, trainer Bret Calhoun told the Churchill Downs media team Sunday morning. Having upped her record under the Twin Spires to a perfect six-for-six with a convincing victory in Sunday's GIII Chicago H., the 4-year-old will soon head to Saratoga and be pointed to the GII Honorable Miss H. July 26 and GI Ballerina S. Aug. 26. "It was great to keep her at home for these series of races," Calhoun said. "We originally were going to point her to the [May 6 GI] Humana Distaff for her first start of the year, but we got a little behind in her training....

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Benchmark Euthanized

Top California sire Benchmark (Alydar--Winter's Love, by Danzig) was euthanized June 23 due to the infirmities of old age. The 26-year-old had been pensioned since 2014 and was living out his days at Ballena Vista Farm in Ramona, CA. A $475,000 Keeneland November weanling purchase by Pam and Martin Wygod, Benchmark was conditioned by David Hofmans to wins in the 1997 GII San Bernardino H., GII Del Mar Breeders' Cup H. and GII Goodwood Breeders' Cup H. He earned $636,707 from an overall record of 16-7-2-4. Bred in Kentucky by North Central Bloodstock, Benchmark was out of a MGSP half-sister to GI Belmont S. winner Caveat (Cannonade). He was a half to the Wygods' Grade I winner Tranquility Lake (Rahy),...

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Satono Crowned At Hanshin

A small but select field lined up for the G1 Takarazuka Kinen at Hanshin on Sunday and it was a race that was supposed to revolve around the heavy favourite and 2016 Horse Of The Year Kitasan Black (Jpn) (Black Tide {Jpn}) who was a 2/5 chance to record his sixth Grade 1 victory. However the punters' choice had a rare off day trailing in only ninth behind the cosy winner Satono Crown (Jpn) (Marju {Ire}), who apart from winning also gained an automatic berth for the GI Breeders' Cup Turf at Del Mar in November. Satono Crown, who was registering his first Grade 1 win on home soil was drawn widest of all in stall eleven and jockey Mirco...

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Robin On Grand Prix Trail

Harry Dunlop's stable-star Robin Of Navan (Fr) (American Post {GB}) will return to France for his next mission in the G1 Grand Prix de Saint Cloud on Sunday. Having won the G1 Criterium de Saint Cloud at the same track as a 2-year-old back in 2015, Robin Of Navan only won for the first time since that victory when beating Garlingari (Fr) (Linngari {Ire}) in the G3 La Coupe Longines at Chantilly June 17. "He's come out of his last race well. It was great to see him break the track record at Chantilly and we will go and have a look at the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud," reported Harry Dunlop on Sunday. The 4-year-old has only once run over...

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Horse of Fortune Best In Premier Plate as Pakistan Star Refuses

Those who backed 'TDN Rising Star' Pakistan Star (Ger) (Shamardal) into 1.2 (1-5) favouritism saw their tickets go up in smoke less than 200m into the running of Sunday's G3 Premier Plate H. when the talented, but single-minded 4-year-old decided he wanted to take the afternoon off and pulled himself up despite the urgings of jockey Joao Moreira. "He wanted to stop," said a frustrated Joao Moreira immediately after weighing-in and after Pakistan Star completed the course--a full minute after his rivals. "I urged him and tried hard to get him running but he just didn't want to go!" Thus, it was the hard-knocking Horse of Fortune, bred in South Africa, trained and ridden by a South African, who proved...

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Thewizardofoz Gives Size Record-Breaking Victory

Thewizardofoz rushed past his rivals with a little less than a furlong to run in Sunday's G3 Premier Cup H. at Sha Tin and raced away to an authoritative success, giving trainer John Size a record-breaking 92nd victory on the season. The previous mark was held by Tony Cruz, whose Winner's Way was odds-on Sunday, but proved no match despite getting 13 pounds from the topweight. Dropped out the back early on as Adventurer (Aus) (Nicconi {Aus}) set the pace from Dashing Fellow (Aus) (Duporth {Aus}), the generously priced second favorite was in touch with the field when the tempo slackened in the middle stages and was poised leaving the turn. Switched out widest, Thewizardofoz, winless in five starts dating...

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Possible Stayers Rematch In Store

The possibility of a rematch between Big Orange (GB) (Duke Of Marmalade {Ire}) and Order Of St George (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in the G2 Qatar Goodwood Cup was raised by Aidan O'Brien on Sunday. Following the titanic battle between the pair in the G1 Ascot Gold Cup that saw just a short head separate them after the end of two and half miles, winning trainer Michael Bell indicated Big Orange would target a third successive victory in the two mile contest at Goodwood in August. Subsequently Aidan O'Brien has also nominated the Goodwood Cup as a serious option for Order Of St George who was bidding for a second win in the Ascot Gold Cup. "Order Of St George seems fine and...

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