US Racing - Graded Stakes Race Review
Looking back to last Saturday’s major racing action, the key conclusion was that the market leaders generally prevailed. This was definitely the case in the Vanity Mile where the 1/5 favorite, Beholder won with the minimum of fuss. With Taris rerouted to the Triple Bend, the race did lose some of its lustre but Beholder could only beat what was put in front of her and that she did with ease.
Stellar Wind, the only significant opponent in the race, ran well but she was put in her place and, though she was only beaten 1 ½ lengths, she was flattered as she never looked like running the favorite down.
In the other Grade 1 on the card, the Shoemaker Mile for 3 year olds and up on the turf, Heart to Heart went off a 9/10 favorite on the back of some consistent highly rated performances this year. However, he was never able to get his head in front (he normally likes to front run) and weakened markedly in the home straight.
As predicted, there was a lot of competition for the front spot and Midnight Storm won that competition and was never headed. Tourist kept tabs and tried hard but could never pass the Storm, going down by ½ a length. It was a long way back to the rest. Along with a tasty $240,000 winner’s purse, Midnight Storm now has a guaranteed fees paid entry to the Breeders Cup Mile.
Over at Belmont, the highlight of the card was the Pennine Ridge Stakes, a grade 3 race for three year olds over a mile and an eighth of the inner turf track. The Morning Line favorite among the 10 starters was Camelot Kitten at 19/10 on the back of his brave win in the American Turf. He wore blinkers for the first time that day and these were kept on as they really seemed to have helped the horse stay focused when the chips were down.
This was a very tight affair with less than 2 lengths covering the first eight home. As in the American turf, Camelot Kitten was very brave again as he had to circle the front five coming into the straight and finished with great effect to lead in the last few strides by a neck. Camelot Kitten has obviously been revitalised by the blinkers and it will be interesting to see where he goes from here. He has had two hard races and needs a strong pace so connections will have to choose their battles carefully.
The final race under review was the Penn Mile at Penn National, a turf race for three year olds worth a cool $500,000. Seven horses faced the starter for this valuable grade 3 event.
As suggested, Mark Casse held the key to this race as he saddled the first two home in Catch a Glimpse and Airoforce.
Catch a Glimpse has been carrying all before her this year and came into the race unbeaten in three starts. Any concerns that she may struggle in her first race against the boys were dismissed pretty much from the get-go as she took the lead and led comfortably throughout, breasting the tape some 2 ¼ lengths clear of her rivals at odds of 8/5.
Strangely, the market forced Beach Patrol into favorite at 7/5, which seemed very short although the form of his run behind Camelot Kitten in the American Turf had been upheld in the Penine Ridge. Unfortunately, he was settled out the back early on and was never able to make any sort of challenge, finishing sixth.