Brown on Bricks and Mortar: ‘You’ll hear more from this horse’
Bob Kieckhefer’s stakes round-up, always with an eye toward the Breeders’ Cup Nov. 3-4 at Del Mar:
Bricks and Mortar found a handy spot behind the leaders in Friday’s $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga, shifted outside those at mid-stretch and rallied to win by 3/4 length. Japanese-bred Yoshida was along late to edge Big Handsome for second. Bricks and Mortar, a Giant’s Causeway colt, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in a quick 1:39.47 with Joel Rosario calling the shots. “He handled the mile and sixteenth well but at some point we’re going to have to address how far this horse wants to run,” said winning trainer Chad Brown. Brown added it’s unlikely Bricks and Mortar will compete again at the Spa. “But he’s undefeated, he’s done nothing wrong and you’ll hear more from this horse,” he said.
Sharp Samurai came five-wide to take the lead in the stretch run in Sunday’s $150,000 Grade III La Jolla Handicap for 3-year-olds at Del Mar and held off Fashion Business by a head for the victory. Colonist was third, 3/4 length farther back. Sharp Samurai, a First Samurai gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm going in 1:41.51 with Gary Stevens taking the mount for trainer Mark Glatt. He’s won three of his last four starts. Stevens said the La Jolla was, “as they say in Europe, a messy race,” with none of the other horses doing what he expected. Glatt said he’s glad he passed up the Oceanside Stakes earlier in the meeting to give Sharp Samurai more of a breather. “Hopefully he’ll come out of it good and it looks like we’ve got a legit shot in the Del Mar Derby,” the trainer added.
Zennor tracked the pace through the early furlongs of Saturday’s $100,000 Fasig-Tipton Lure Stakes at Saratoga, took the lead in the lane and won by 1 length from the favorite, Projected. Takeover Target was another 1 length back in third. Zennor, a 5-year-old Medaglia d’Oro gelding, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm going in 1:39.23 with Joe Bravo handling the reins. It was his third straight victory and first try in a stakes race.
Filly & Mare Turf
Cambodia rallied four-wide into the stretch in Saturday’s $200,000 Grade II Yellow Ribbon at Del Mar, took the lead inside the furlong marker and held off Pretty Girl‘s late advance to win by 3/4 length. Amboseli was third and the favorite, Avenge, beat only one rival. Cambodia, a 5-year-old War Front mare, ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:40.86 with Drayden Van Dyke in the irons. She was making her first West Coast start after winning the Grade III Gallorette Stakes at Pimlico and finishing third in the Dr. James Penny Memorial at Parx. Van Dyke said the key to the mare is getting her to relax during her races. “Could she run on? If she relaxes, I think she can do anything,” he said.
Estrechada worked past the pacesetting duo a furlong from home in Saturday’s $200,000 Grade III Fasig-Tipton Waya for fillies and mares at Saratoga and persevered, winning by 1/2 length over late-running Lottie. Summersault was third. Estrechada, a 6-year-old, Argentine-bred mare by Offlee Wild, ran 1 1/2 miles on the firm inner turf course in 2:27.49 with Javier Castellano at the controls. It was her first U.S. win after a promising career in her native land. “Everything went well,” the rider said. “I had a great position in the race with the way it unfolded. It’s a mile and a half race and the way she did it, I was impressed. She can run all day.”
Thundering Sky had to wait for a seam between the leaders in the stretch run of Saturday’s $100,000 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose Stakes at Saratoga. When a sliver of daylight opened, Rajiv Maragh steered the Sky Mesa filly through it and on to a neck victory over the onrushing favorite, On Leave. Bar of Gold was third. Thundering Sky ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:35.42, scoring her third win in her 15th start. “I tried to keep her focused,” said Maragh, who rode the filly for the first time. “I think she was loafing a little bit but, now that I have a feel for her, I think I can do even better next time.”
Green Mask swung four-wide into the stretch in Sunday’s $200,000 Troy Stakes at Saratoga and edged away to a 1 3/4-lengths victory. Holding Gold and Long On Value filled the trifecta slots with Undrafted fourth and Mongolian Saturday, the 2015 Breeders’ Cup winner, fifth. Pure Sensation and early leader Bold Thunder completed the order of finish. Green Mask, a 6-year-old Mizzen Mast gelding, ran 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:00.49 — just 0.03 second off the course record — with Javier Castellano riding. He hasn’t missed the exacta since finishing fifth in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita. Trainer Brad Cox said he will “definitely want him sharp on Breeders’ Cup Day” this fall. “So we’ll let him tell us where he’s at. But it’s possible he could make another start before the Breeders’ Cup.” He mentioned the Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational and the Grade II Woodford at Keeneland, both on Oct. 7.
Long Hot Summer had the best kick in the final furlong of Friday’s $75,000 Daisycutter Handicap at Del Mar, easing past the pacesetting favorite, Watch This Cat for a 1-length victory. Watch That Cat preserved place money by a neck over Bad Ju Ju. Long Hot Summer, a 5-year-old Street Boss mare, covered 5 furlongs on firm going in 56.31 seconds with Joe Talamo up for trainer Phil D’Amato.
Brando was a dominating, if narrow, winner in Sunday’s Group 1 LARC Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville as Caravaggio, who until two months ago seemed destined for international superstardom, fell to his second straight defeat.
Brando, a 5-year-old gelding by Pivotal, raced behind last year’s winner, Signs of Blessing, until jockey Tom Eaves found a seam between the leaders. Brando quickened immediately, shot through and went on to win by 1/2 length, improving on his third-place finish in the Group 1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket — the race in which Caravaggio suffered his first career loss. Trainer Kevin Ryan said Brando now may target the Group 1 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock on Sept. 9. That could be a rematch with July Cup winner Harry Angel.
For his part, Caravaggio missed the break for the second straight race, starting next-last from the inside gate. Jockey Ryan Moore was never able to get the Scat Daddy colt involved. Trainer Aidan O’Brien said plans to take Caravaggio to Australia for the new Group 1 Everest Stakes in the fall now are under review.
The minor placings in the Prix Gheest were the province of longshots Acclaim, Tupi and Magical Memory. Signs of Blessing finished fifth and Caravaggio was 4 1/2 lengths behind the winner. Bound For Nowhere, trained by Wesley Ward and ridden by Frankie Dettori, finished 10th in the Prix Gheest, beaten 7 1/2 lengths, a step backward from his fourth-place finish in the Commonwealth Cup.
Lacazar used a powerful laste kick to win Sunday’s Group 1 159th Henkel-Preis der Diana, or German Oaks (G1), by 3/4 length over Megera. The favorite, Wuheida, was well beaten into third.
Wuheida, a Dubawi filly who finished second to Roly Poly in the Group 1 Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes (G1) in her last outing, was the heavy favorite in the German Oaks despite soft going. She went from a stalking spot at the top of the stretch to quickly challenge for the lead under William Buick. Almost immediately, Lacazar ran by inside the favorite and battled through the final 100 meters before besting Megera by 3/4 length. Wuheida was a clear third but 4 3/4 lengths behind Megera.
Lacazar, an Adlerflug filly trained by Peter Schiergen, was making only her second career start following a first-up Group 3 win at Hamburg July 1.Wuheida, representing Godolphin, was scratched from the Group 1 Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood Aug. 3 because of concerns about the going.Bricks