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Best outside-the-box consignment at Fasig-Tipton so far? Distinctive Look [IRE], a broodmare of the utmost quality by Danehill out of a half to G1 winner Siberian Summer. She’s the half sister of Nathaniel and Playful Act among her 8 stakes-winning siblings and comes in foal to Smart Strike. Unf!

Best outside-the-box consignment at Fasig-Tipton so far? Distinctive Look [IRE], a broodmare of the utmost quality by Danehill out of a half to G1 winner Siberian Summer. She’s the half sister of Nathaniel and Playful Act among her 8 stakes-winning siblings and comes in foal to Smart Strike. Unf!

Weekend Stake Tip: Superstitious

I can’t make up my mind (and this has been going on for months) whether or not it’s bad luck for me to actually watch a race I have money on. No, it’s never THAT much, but dabbling in boxed exotics and pouring your heart and soul into certain horses you really, really want to see win can have a draining effect when they don’t do as well as you hoped. I will deliberately, as I did on Saturday, enter my bet in the wager pad then shut down and walk away until I know the race is over. Saturday, I took a walk around the block, showered, and put the Ramen on the stove before coming back to check that my exacta box prevailed. I don’t know if I’m building up some silly superstition by doing this, or if maybe I’m sparing myself a little heartbreak in the cases where my horses aren’t up to task and I’m there to suffer with them.

But YAY, Bourbon Courage won the Super Derby (II). I made my picks without looking at the morning line odds and was a little shocked to see Bourbon Courage at 3-1 when I finally did. I felt a little bad, since I made him the value pick of the litter and seeing the initial responses online, it was looking like Bourbon Courage might actually have been the favorite. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Everyone loves a speedy Baffert colt (and one could argue that the psychology factor was going with him too, as Louisiana native Joe Talamo was in the irons), and then the DRF’s Mike Watchmaker went with Fly Lexis Fly. Bourbon Courage waited in the rear as a speed duel was waged between front lovers Hero of Order and favorite Blueskiesnrainbows. He rallied hard and flew home as predicted, opening up daylight to win by 5 lengths. Fly Lexis Fly managed to nose out a stubborn Master Rick for the place.

Bourbon Courage looks possibly like a horse to watch for in future routes, but will need a sterner test in the future where he isn’t assured a zipper pace. Blueskiesnrainbows, despite his pedigree, might look to cut back to a mile. Fly Lexis Fly had the potential to win here, but did not look up to it after the bottled start and got into gear too late to catch more than just Master Rick. Watch replay here

Also worth watching: Snow Fairy trumps Nathaniel, St. Nicholas Abbey in thrilling edition of the Irish Champion Stakes (IRE-I). Next stop: Breeders’ Cup?

That’s One Gutsy Gelding

Cirrus des Aigles wasn’t seen as much of a contender in comparison to the rest of the field in the QIPCO Champions Stakes (I), the climax race of Champions Day at Ascot, but boy did this gelding fire when it counted.

Breaking cleanly from the gate, Cirrus des Aigles shuffled back from contention early, but managed to turn it on full blast turning for home to pass leaders Nathaniel and Ransom Note. Dueling head-to-head with favorite So You Think, who sat just behind the leaders, all the way down to the wire, the five-year-old gelding edged the multi-G1 winner to take the $2 million-plus race while scoring a major upset and breaking the track record for 10 furlongs (2:02.52).

While the result was stunning, what was even more unbelievable was the aftermath of it all: Cirrus’s jockey Christophe Soumillon was the latest victim of Britain’s whip reform, as he used the stick on the gelding six times in the final furlong. The current limit is seven times total in a race, but no more than five times in the final furlong— which many jockeys argue is frequently the only time they really utilize the whip.

No doubt, the dark cloud of controversy dampened the Champions meet quite a bit and will probably affect current racing reform in Britain concerning the whip.

Third place in the Arc, Snow Fairy repeated for a very close third again in the race after being trapped on the rail.

King George Stakes Ends in Tragedy, Upset

A monumental upset blew the crowd of thousands away as the lone three-year-old Nathaniel [pictured] marched to victory, as did the tragic breakdown of another talented runner.

Dual group 1 winner Rewilding took a misstep two furlongs from the wire, breaking his left front cannon bone. He was euthanized following the race.

As for the other four horses in the field, Arc winner Workforce was the obvious favorite, but could not reach pacemaker Nathaniel, a longshot son of Galileo. Nathaniel raced alongside fellow longshot Debussy at a slow pace for most of the race before being challenged as the two turned for home. Nathaniel fired strongly at the challenge, and won by 2 3/4 lengths over Workforce, who began hanging toward the outer rail when spurred to action. St. Nicholas Abbey finishing third 1 1/4 lengths behind him. The final time for the 12-furlong event was 2:35:07 over soft turf.

With the win, Nathaniel has earned a paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Turf event in November, but has plans to also shoot for the Arc along the way.

Obsessively providing a comprehensive and personal glance at the sport of kings through original photography, handicapping analysis, editorials, and much more.

Tracks visited: Calder, Saratoga, Belmont, Suffolk, Aqueduct.


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