Two newcomers makes serious impact in their divisions as Tempest steps up in the Classic division and Confederacy (IRE) mops up a lesser field of long distance runners. Filet Cheval may be a serious Distaff contender and three year old filly Ascendancy looks like a filly capable of running with the boys in the Mile.
Race: 2986.0414 Bob Woodward Memorial - Grade I - $500,000
Track: New York
Restrictions: All horses, 3 years old and up
Distance: A mile and one eighth on the Dirt
Tempest is bucking the trend of successful three year olds having success as four year olds. While he was not hugely successful he won two grade II races last year as a three year old and ran a very good second in the California Derby. He regrouped after a mid pack finish in the Bluegrass Derby and a back of the pack finish in the Middle Jewel to win his second grade II. He tried grade I company again at the Breeder’s Bowl and was soundly beaten. He regrouped at four competing in a couple of listed stakes but mostly grade II and grade III stakes prior to this race. He had won three graded races already this year and had a renewed confidence.
Tempest was much the best today in his first grade I attempt in nearly a year. He had to chase down Hemisphere (IRE) who shook loose on the lead in the early stages. Tempest was over eleven lengths off the early pace. He moved up a bit around the turn for home but in the stretch he made the rest look like they were going backwards and he closed seven lengths on the leader and put three more lengths between himself and the leader before reaching the wire. This was an emphatic three length win where he faced some really good competition.
Tempest now finds himself in an interesting position. Go to the Breeder’s Bowl Classic at a mile and a quarter where he has run horribly in two attempts. I think he will handle the distance fine and this win really stamps him as a horse to watch if he indeed goes that route.
Hemisphere (IRE) shook loose early from the field and was clear by two lengths at the half way point. He increased that lead to over three lengths by the top of the stretch with only one runner in the field looking capable of catching him. Hemisphere (IRE) was two lengths clear of third place finisher Unprecedented. Unprecedented ran pretty well after a couple of subpar finishes for him.
Race: 2986.0415 Superfilly Handicap - Grade I - $400,000
Track: New York
Restrictions: Fillies and mares, 3 years old and up
Distance: A mile and one sixteenth on the Dirt
Filet Cheval passed her class check in a big way earning a trip to the Breeder’s Bowl Distaff if she wishes. When the gates opened for this one Empire Reef jumped out and showed the way. She edged away by a length but several horses were keeping her honest and one of those was stalking in third, Filet Cheval. The race favorite, K’s Joan Bach was near the back in the early stages just over nine lengths behind the pace.
As the field reached the half mile pole Filet Cheval moved up to put the pressure on Empire Reef. Around the turn they went with Filet Cheval managing to get her head in front at the top of the stretch. Meanwhile Stormy Meagan who had stalked in second most of the way was still with the top two, Quiet Glory was coming from her stalking position and K’s Joan Bach had closed to within six lengths of the front runners.
Into the stretch Filet Cheval began to pull away a bit. Empire Reef gave a great effort but was giving up ground in deep stretch. Quiet Glory was wearing on Stormy Meagan and K’s Joan Bach was making up the most ground. Filet Cheval dug in and held off K’s Joan Bach who simply ran out of ground. Filet Cheval won by a half length over K’s Joan Bach. It was another half length to third place Quiet Glory who won the nose bob for the show with Stormy Meagan.
Race: 2986.5515 Sun State Cup - Grade I - $500,000
Restrictions: Fillies and mares, 3 years old
Distance: One mile on the Turf
Ascendancy is blossoming into a top filly miler in the late stages of the year. She was showing talent at the beginning of the year but has scored her two graded stakes wins in her last five races. Her closing style makes for an exciting finish and she did not disappoint this week.
The pace was strong up front with Prabha (AUS) a head in front of co pace setter Chop Never Stops. These two darted more than four lengths ahead of the rest of the field and Ascendancy was sitting dead last nearly twelve lengths off that quick pace. The quick pace took it’s toll on Prabha (AUS) who was backing up before they entered the stretch.
As they entered the stretch Chop Never Stops was making great use of the early cushion as Cosmo Girl and Dance Seeker were picking up ground. It was Ascendancy however that was flying through the stretch making up a ton of ground with each long stride. Chop Never Stops was still going on the lead Cosmo Girl and Dance Seeker were stalling a bit in the stretch and Ascendancy just mowed them all down in deep stretch to win by a length and a quarter.
You might think that on almost any other day Chop Never Stops would have won this race but she did manage to hold second after pushing a quick pace. Cosmo Girl out dueled Dance Seeker for third both finishing two and a half lengths behind the winner.
Race: 2986.1416 The Long Walk - Grade I - $500,000
Track: New Mexico
Restrictions: All horses, 4 years old and up
Distance: A mile and three quarters on the Turf
Confederacy (IRE) makes a mockery of this field. With the longer distance many of the top long distance runners did not run here. That became very apparent from the start as Confederacy (IRE) got the right from the gates and was never so much as threatened the rest of the race. By the half way point he appeared much the best letting it out a little at a time.
The rest of the field just lost ground the entire way as Confederacy (IRE) won by seven lengths under wraps. He only got a 94 speed figure for this grade I win. Surgeon Tubes was the only runner to gain any ground on the winner and that was very insignificant. He moved from the back of the pack to second. The only interesting part of the race was when Neon Swan who had run second almost all of the way was caught in the final jumps to the wire by Surgeon Tubes.