Pegasus Winner Goes For Virginia's First 'Million'

Atone wins the GI Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational | Coglianese

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In the absence of Godolphin standout and GI Longines Breeders' Cup Turf winner Rebel's Romance (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), the role of morning-line favorite for Saturday's feature at Virginia's Colonial Downs fell to GI Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational winner Atone (Into Mischief). A Godolphin-bred gelded son of leading sire Into Mischief, the Michael Maker trainee, owned by Three Diamonds Farm, put a career best 103 Beyer Speed Figure to take down Brazilian standout Ivar (Brz) (Agnes Gold {Jpn}) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 28. He'll stretch out to 1 1/4 miles for the first time off a quartet of 1 1/8 mile races including a last-out fifth after just giving up the lead close to home in the GIII Dinner Party S. on the Preakness undercard May 20.

And while their bigger name might be out, Godolphin is still going for the repeat here with last year's Arlington Million winner Santin (Distorted Humor). In the Churchill Downs edition held at 1 1/8 miles, the 5-year-old led nearly gate-to-wire and soundly defeated GISW Smooth Like Strait (Midnight Lute). Racing for trainer Brendan Walsh, Santin will have to overcome the widest draw of the field from gate 11 and gets back on the turf after a pair of main-track races at Churchill and Ellis respectively resulting in back-to-back off-the-board finishes.

Never far from Grade I turf action, trainer Chad Brown brings a pair of entries in last year's GI United Nations S. winner Adhamo (Ire) (Intello {Ger}) and GISW Rockemperor (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}).

And while Brad Cox may be more well known for his dirt horses, Set Piece (GB) (Dansili {GB}) will look to give his trainer another Grade I coming off a win in the GIII Arlington S. at Churchill two back June 3 and a narrow third in the GII Wise Dan S. last time out at Ellis July 1.

THE GIRLS GO FOR BREEDERS' CUP SLOT IN BEVERLY D.

With an all-expenses paid trip to the GI Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf on the line, a field of seven fillies and mares duel on the Virginia turf in the 1 3/16-mile GI Beverly D. S.

This field was also affected by a late scratch as Argentinian import Didia (Brz) (Orpen {Brz}) was withdrawn from contention Friday night by trainer Ignacio Correas.

Mark Casse's Fev Rover (Ire) (Gutaifan {Ire}) leads the field from the rail draw and will look to continue her run of trifecta finishes since coming stateside last year. A two-time graded stakes winner at Woodbine, the 5-year-old trailed Whitebeam (GB) (Caravaggio) and MGISW In Italian (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) by just a half-length on the line in Saratoga's GI Diana S. July 15.

Peter Brant's Gina Romantica (Into Mischief) brought just over $1,000,000 at auction as a yearling at Keeneland September and her value increased exponentially after wining last season's GI Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland. A winner of two of her four turf starts for Chad Brown, she enters off a fourth–beaten just 1 1/4 lengths–in her seasonal debut in the GIII Eatontown at Monmouth Park June 17.

Silver Knott trains at Saratoga | Sarah Andrew

GODOLPHIN'S SILVER KNOTT TAKES ON NAGIRROC IN SECRETARIAT

While Rebel's Romance may not have made the trip, Godolphin is still well-represented in Saturday's action with Silver Knott (GB) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) who will contest the first of the three graded stakes at Colonial in the GII Secretariat S. A Group 3 winner in England, the Charlie Appleby trainee missed Grade I glory by just a nose to Victoria Road (Ire) (Saxon Warrior {Jpn}) in last year's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.

A further 2 1/4 lengths behind that pair, Nagirroc (Lea) has never been off the board in his eight career starts for Graham Motion and owners Little Red Feather Racing, Madaket Stables LLC and William Strauss. A winner two back in the James W. Murphy S. at Pimlico on Preakness Day, the colt was a narrow third last time out in Belmont's GIII Manila S. July 7.

Another Manila starter and an early-season Triple Crown trail colt, Spendthrift's Major Dude (Bolt d'Oro) has seen much success since switching to the turf for nearly all of his 3-year-old season. A three-time graded stakes winner, he finished second behind the recently-retired Two Phil's (Hard Spun) in the GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks S. at Turfway Mar. 25 and came right back to win the GII Penn Mile two starts back June 2.

SARATOGA'S FOURSTARDAVE IS 'WAYI' OPPORTUNITY

Keeping to the grass but moving north to New York, a field of seven accomplished older horses vie for a slot in the GI FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile with Saturday's GI Fourstardave H.

Already the earner of over $2 million, Casa Creed (Jimmy Creed) took last year's rendition of this race and started this year off strong with a loss by a just a head in Saudi Arabia's G3 1351 Turf Sprint Feb. 25. Third in the GI Jaipur S., a race he also won last year, the Bill Mott trainee took the GIII Kelso S. at Saratoga in preparation for this spot. A true war horse, this is his fourth straight attempt at the Fourstardave.

Todd Pletcher's 'TDN Rising Star' Annapolis (War Front), a Grade I winner as a 3-year-old, has missed the trifecta only once his entire career and began his season with a win in the Opening Verse S. at Churchill before just failing to reel in Casa Creed (Jimmy Creed) in the GIII Kelso S. last month at Saratoga.

Another Pletcher runner, 'Rising Star' Emmanuel (More Than Ready) races for Siena Farm and WinStar Farm and posted a victory last time out in the GIII Poker S. at Belmont Park June 10. He's raced exclusively on the turf since a third in last year's GI Toyota Blue Grass S. The 100 Beyer Speed Figure he put up in the Poker S. is a career best.

2-YEAR-OLDS TACKLE THE SARATOGA SPECIAL

A plethora of maiden winners make the jump into graded-stakes company Saturday in the 6 1/2-furlong GII Herb Moelis Memorial Saratoga Special S.

Courtlandt Farms has 'TDN Rising Star' Edified (Tapit) here for trainer Steve Asmussen. The Summer Wind Equine-bred, the $650,000 Keeneland September yearling, rolled by 3 1/2 lengths in his Ellis Park debut July 1 under Joel Rosario, who retains the ride here.

Norm Casse jumps Rhyme Schemes (Ghostzapper) up in class after he broke his maiden in dominating fashion in his second career start, wiring an Ellis field by 9 1/2 lengths June 15 as an 8-1 shot. With Ricardo Santana Jr. still aboard, the chestnut keeps the blinkers on and looks to improve upon the impressive 94 Beyer Speed Figure he put up in that maiden race.

Haul (Army Mule), racing for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and St. Elias Stables, went for $260,000 at this year's OBS April sale and immediately rewarded his connections with a three-length debut win as the favorite at Belmont July 9.

Rhyme Schemes (outside) | Sarah Andrew

WEST COAST FILLIES GO IN THE SORRENTO

2-year-old fillies make the grade at Del Mar Saturday in the GIII Sorrento S. Bob Baffert saddles Dua (Arrogate) for Zedan Racing Stables, the same connections who picked up the sale-topping son of Curlin at Tuesday's Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale. The $400,000 Fasig-Tipton July yearling won her Del Mar debut by a half-length July 22.

City of Light picked up his first 'TDN Rising Star' with Benedetta who flew home by three lengths for trainer Simon Callaghan and owner Kaleem Shah at Los Alamitos July 8. The bay brought $750,000 at the OBS March sale and put in a near-bullet work at Del Mar Aug. 5 going four furlongs in :47 1/5 (3/82).

Already a stakes winner in her first start, Dreamfyre (Flameaway) has helped put her freshman sire (by Scat Daddy) on the map with a near gate-to-wire performance in Pleasanton's Everett Nevin S.

YELLOW RIBBON HOSTS ON THE TURF

Finishing out the evening on the West Coast, fillies and mares tackle the GII Yellow Ribbon S. at Del Mar going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. The race is led by the Harris Farm-homebred Closing Remarks (Vronsky) who breaks from the rail and has contested exclusively graded-stakes company since a third in last year's GII Buena Vista S. Grade I-placed in the 2021 GI Del Mar Oaks, the 5-year-old mare was sixth last time out in the GI Gamely S. at Santa Anita May 29.

Also in that Gamely S., School Dance (Animal Kingdom) checked in just behind Closing Remarks in last year's GII Royal Heroine S. and just missed by a head in the GI American Oaks.

Bob Baffert can never be counted out, even on the turf, and he brings in Ganadora (Quality Road) here. The 4-year-old sold for $1,000,000 as a yearling at Keeneland in 2020 and was tabbed a 'TDN Rising Star' for her 6 1/2-length debut win at Santa Anita last year. She did her best running in last year's Dark Mirage S. but also just missed by a nose in this season's GIII La Canada S. Jan. 15.

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