12 Graded Stakes, five on turf, three to foreign-breds
As it happened, five of the 12 Graded Stakes races Saturday in the US were carded on turf, each at 1 3/16 miles or above. They were the Grade 1 Man O’ War Stakes at 1 3/8 miles; Grade 2 American Derby at 1 3/16 miles; the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap at 1 1/4 miles; the Grade 3 Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes (for fillies and mares) at 1 3/8 miles; and the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap (for fillies and mares) at 1 3/16 miles.
Two races, the 1 1/4-mile Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup and the 1 1/8-mile Grade 2 Swaps Stakes, were contested on all-weather.
The other five races were on dirt, four at sprint distances with only the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks at 1 1/16 miles.
We don’t breed many turf or dirt distance horses in this country nowadays because of the preponderance of dirt races from sprints to nine furlongs on cards across the country, so the results weren’t surprising for the turf races: Three were taken by horses bred abroad, and one was sired by Dynaformer—perhaps the best living turf and distance sire in the US and a favorite among foreign yearling buyers.
Dynaformer’s six-year-old son Tajaaweed, a Group 3 winner in Europe in 2008 when trained by Sir Michael Stoute, won the Arlington Handicap.
The three foreigners were: Man O’ War winner Cape Blanco, an Irish-bred son of Coolmore’s Galileo—who seems to have a Group 1 winner every weekend; British-bred Cheetah, a daughter of Darley’s Tiger Hill (by Danehill) that won the Robert G. Dick; and British-bred Fantasia, a daughter of Coolmore icon Sadler’s Wells and winner of the Modesty.
Kingfisher Derby Bangalore
The race scheduled for Sunday in India and previewed in a post below by Major Srinivas Nargolkar (Retd.) was canceled and rescheduled. The Major emailed this yesterday: “This week-end’s races postponed to next week-end. The stable hands went on a strike and the Authorities were unable to solve the problem. Hopefully, the Derby will be run on Sunday, 17th.”
Darley’s first-crop sire Hard Spun, the last top-class son of Danzig, got his first stakes winner Saturday when US-bred Red Duke won the Group 2 32Red.Com Superlative Stakes at Newmarket. Bred in Kentucky by Ben P. Walden Jr. and Hargus Sexton—longtime associates—the colt from the Gone West mare Saudia made only $15,000 at the 2010 Keeneland September sale. Purchased by Cara Bloodstock, he was flipped back at the Doncaster April breeze up sale and brought the high price of 140,000gns. He’s now a winner of two races from three starts and is by all reports a progressive colt with plenty of improvement in him.
Hard Spun is the second young son from Danzig’s later crops to show early talent, following Claiborne’s War Front, whose first crop is three. Both are siring turf talent, too, which is the metier of the Danzig line, vibrant in Europe through Green Desert and Danehill. The following blurb about Hard Spun is from a column I wrote for Thoroughbred Times Today a while back:
I’m picking Hard Spun from Group 1 because he was a top runner, a Grade 1 winner at 7 furlongs at 3 and good enough to stay 10 furlongs on class when second in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby. Hard Spun also placed in the Preakness and altogether won 7 of 13 starts. He also was undefeated in three starts, two stakes, against moderate company at 2. His 142 registered 2-year-olds will give him every opportunity; he’s owned by Darley—on fire lately with young sires across the globe; and he’ll have opportunities in Europe, where his progeny, as a son of Danzig, will be extremely well suited. Mind you, the Danzig line has had a mini revival here lately on dirt as well through War Front and Pomeroy. Physically, he’s not in the mold of Danzig as War Front is, but neither was Nijinsky built like Northern Dancer.