Brad Cox

Essential Quality Leads Runhappy Travers Breezers

It was a busy morning at Saratoga for 3-year-olds headed towards next Saturday's $1.25-million GI Runhappy Travers S. at Saratoga, headed by GI Belmont S. hero and reigning champion juvenile Essential Quality (Tapit). The 'TDN Rising Star,' ridden by leading jockey Luis Saez, worked outside of stablemate Bonny South (Munnings) and the duo covered five furlongs in 1:01.58 (10/18). The Godolphin homebred was caught in fractions of :11.40, :23.22 and :47.81 before galloping out three-quarters of a mile in 1:15 flat. Juddmonte's enigmatic Bonny South is also scheduled to race...

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Pioneerof the Nile Filly Impressive at Ellis

6th-Ellis, $51,000, Msw, 8-20, 2yo, f, 6 1/2f, 1:15.87, ft, 4 1/2 lengths. MATAREYA (f, 2, Pioneerof the Nile--Innovative Idea {GSW, $229,343}, by Bernardini), whose dam's signature win came in the 2016 GIII Groupie Doll S. here, was coupled in the wagering at 9-5 with Brendan Walsh-trained fellow Godolphin homebred  Dreamalot (Ghostzapper). Straight to the front, the bay doled out splits of :22.09 and :45.07 and turned for home in command. Dreamalot came with a fence run and briefly looked like she'd give Matareya a challenge, but the front-runner shut...

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Mandaloun Sidelined With Sore Foot, Will Point to Saudi Cup

Juddmonte Farms' leading 3-year-old Mandaloun (Into Mischief), most recently seen capturing the GI TVG.com Haskell S. via disqualification, has a sore foot and will likely miss the remainder of the season's major races, Juddmonte racing manager Garrett O'Rourke confirmed to TDN. The homebred will now target the 2022 Saudi Cup. "It's nothing serious, the horse just needs six weeks off, but unfortunately six weeks off at this time of year rules out some important races," O'Rourke said. The story was first reported by Daily Racing Form. O'Rourke added that the...

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Sunday's Insights: $1M Into Mischief Colt Debuts at Ellis

2nd-SAR, $100K, Msw, 2yo, f, 1 1/16mT, 1:41 p.m. LOVE TO RUN (Connect) debuts for Breeze Easy LLC and trainer Mark Casse, who enjoyed is year-delayed induction into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Friday. Piloted by Tyler Gaffalione, who is striking at a 19% clip at the current meet, the half to MSP Thanks Mr. Edison realized a $640,000 final bid from agent Tom McGreevy following a 10 2/5 breeze at the OBSAPR Sale. The price represented the top price for a 2-year-old filly and the second-highest...

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Bourbonic Gets Class Relief in West Virginia Derby

Calumet Farm's Bourbonic (Bernardini), overmatched in two legs of the Triple Crown after scoring a Grade II upset this spring, will step a few rungs down the class ladder Saturday when invading Mountaineer Park for the track's signature race on the calendar, the GIII West Virginia Derby. Breaking his maiden by open lengths for a $50,000 tag Dec. 6 at Aqueduct, the homebred repeated in a starter/optional claiming spot there Jan. 17 and was runner-up in a sloppy Parx allowance/optional claimer Feb. 23. Ambitiously spotted by Todd Pletcher off that...

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Knicks Go Meets Maxfield in Star-Studded Whitney

For a race that offers just a five-horse field, Saturday's GI Whitney S. at Saratoga will nevertheless feature plenty of intrigue, as two of the handicap division's top stars will meet the one-two finishers from the GI Metropolitan H. and a certain champion filly whose trainer called an audible to enter her in the meet centerpiece for older horses, a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the GI Longines Breeders' Cup Classic. Given the morning-line at 6-5 is the Korea Racing Authority's enigmatic star speedball Knicks Go (Paynter). A shocking...

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Maker Barn Sprints to Early Spa Lead

Mike Maker, with 42 training titles at Kentucky's five racetracks, is very much a contender this summer for the coveted prize at Saratoga Race Course. A remarkable stretch of nine wins from 25 starters last week pushed Maker to the top of the table with 14 wins in the first 14 days of the 40-day season. He had at least one winner in each of the five racing days of the week and his stable hit the board at a 72% rate. That run of success enabled Maker to finish...

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Fantastic Five For Whitney

A compact, but talented field of five will face the starter for Saturday's GI Whitney S., a 'Win and You're In' qualifier for the GI Breeders' Cup Classic at Del Mar Nov. 6. Korean Racing Authority's Knicks Go (Paynter) has been pegged as the 6-5 morning-line favorite for trainer Brad Cox and jockey Joel Rosario. The 5-year-old is perfect in his last five starts around two turns, including a latest blow-out, big-figure success in the GIII Cornhusker H. at Prairie Meadows July 2. Cox attributes his losses in the Saudi...

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Shedaresthedevil Distaff-Bound With Convincing Hirsch Triumph

Shedaresthedevil (Daredevil) sat off a quick early pace, pounced at the five-sixteenths pole and edged clear in the lane to capture the GI Clement L. Hirsch S. Sunday at Del Mar, punching her ticket to the GI Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff in the "Win and You're In" qualifier with her third Grade I victory. Bought into by Qatar Racing out of a debut victory for Norm Casse in June of 2019 and transferred to Simon Callaghan, the bay went winless in three subsequent starts as a juvenile, but still hammered...

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Essential Quality Outslugs Keepmeinmind in Jim Dandy

Intangibles make good horses great horses. Consigned to the widest trip of any of the five runners left for Saturday's GII Jim Dandy S. at Saratoga, Godolphin's 'TDN Rising Star' and reigning 2-year-old male Eclipse Award winner Essential Quality (Tapit) was under the pump fully a half-mile from home, but--as he has demonstrated on more than one occasion during a season that appears again to be on a championship trajectory--the gunmetal gray colt looked a rival straight in the eye, wagged his finger Dikembe Mutumbo-style and willed himself to the...

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Essential Quality Lays Over Rivals in Jim Dandy

As the leader in a contentious 3-year-old division, all eyes will be on Godolphin's champion Essential Quality (Tapit) Saturday at Saratoga, but the race itself may lack for drama, as the gray lays over his five rivals in the GII Jim Dandy S., the Spa's traditional prep for the Aug. 28 GI Runhappy Travers S. Then again, stranger things have happened at the "Graveyard of Favorites". Sewing up his Eclipse Award as the top 2-year-old male via a three-for-three campaign that culminated with a score in the GI TVG Breeders'...

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Another First-Time Starter Winner for Practical Joke

6th-Ellis, $45,968, Msw, 7-24, 2yo, f, 5f, :57.06, ft, 6 3/4 lengths. GIRL WITH A DREAM (f, 2, Practical Joke--Henley, by Corinthian) was sent off the 6-5 chalk to open her account at first asking and turned it on through the Ellis stretch to graduate by an imposing margin Saturday afternoon. The $115,000 Keeneland September yearling graduate jumped alertly from an outside gate and pressed the pace through an opening quarter-mile in :22.24. Allowed to stride into the lead with about 2 1/2 furlongs to travel, the chestnut was shaken...

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