Coolmore Turf Mile (Grade 1)

A MAMMOTH weekend of top graded action in the US provided the final pieces for the Breeders’ Cup races.

The highlight and the only race with Irish interest came at Keeneland where Aidan O’Brien’s Order Of Australia put up a decent effort in the Grade 1 Coolmore Turf Mile but was no match for a somewhat surprise winner in Todd Pletcher’s War Front colt Annapolis.

Always well placed, the winner quickened well in the straight and won by a length and a half in a time of 1m 33.29s from the fast finishing Ivar and Order Of Australia, ridden by Christope Soumillon, a neck back in third after staying on at the same pace.

Irad Ortiz Jr., winning rider said: “He is very tactical; he can do anything. The pace today was a little different from last time. I ended up where I wanted to, sitting fourth on the rail, saving some ground, and then was able to keep him out in the stretch. He’s only a three-year-old but he’s doing so good right now.”


The feature for fillies at Keeneland on Saturday was the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes Presented By UK Healthcare over a mile and although Chad Brown and Peter Brant won it, it was not with their favourite Regal Glory.

She came with her run in the straight but could never get on terms with the British-bred Dubawi filly In Italian (Joel Rosario) who went away to win by a length in 1m 33.22secs.

Brown said afterwards: “She’s developed – we got her out there on the lead, letting her do what she wants to do. Mr. Brant wanted a fresh horse for the Breeders’ Cup, and that decision proved right.”

On the runner-up, Jose Ortiz reported: “I feel like I had a great trip and I had every opportunity to beat her and I didn’t. I’m just very proud of Regal’s effort today.”


Wesley Ward’s Golden Pal sealed his Breeders’s Cup Turf Sprint favouritism with an impressive win in the Grade 2 Woodford Stakes Presented By Fanduel. Fast away, the son of Uncle Mo was never in danger, winning by a length and a half for Westerberg Limited/ Magnier/Tabor and Smith.

Ward said afterwards: “Every time he runs, I get kind of nervous because he’s so exceptional. We’re real excited now to get on to the Breeders’ Cup.”

Golden Pal will meet tougher opposition in at the Breeders’ Cup and the danger of softer going might be a concern against the incoming Europeans.

War Like Goddess has her eyes on the Breeders’ Cup Turf prize

Belmont, Aqueduct

Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (Grade 1)

EUROPEAN raiders beware if you have your eyes on the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

The bulk of the graded action was for females last weekend and centre stage should be Bill Mott’s highly talented five-year-old mare War Like Goddess.

She beat the males in her Breeders’ Cup prep in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, looking very much at home over the mile and a half when coming through in the last furlong and a half to win well by two and three quarter lengths from Bye Bye Melvin.

The form may be a little suspect however, as Gufo, usually on the premises in the US turf contests, ran no race and finished last of the seven runners.

“I always thought she belonged,” said Mott with regard to running in the Turf that has been won by Found (2015), Enable (2018), and Tarnawa (2020) in recent years. “There’s good horses and she could get outrun, but I think she deserves an opportunity, for sure.”

The other graded race at Aqueduct was the seven-furlong Grade 2 Vosburgh Stakes which saw an impressive performance from the odds-on Elite Power, a son of Curlin, trained by Bill Mott who came home five and three quarter lengths ahead of Eastern Bay and the David Duggan-trained Drafted in 1m 23.98sec.

Mott said. “I’ll speak with (Juddmonte general manager) Garrett O’Rourke. We get a free ticket into the Breeders’ Cup, so I’ll see what he wants to do.” He could be one to note.


To top off a brilliant weekend for Todd Pletcher, his outstanding three-year-old filly Nest registered her third straight victory when defeating older fillies and mares in a performance that was simply a public workout in the Grade 2 Beldame Stakes on Sunday.

“I was a passenger. She’s doing so good right now,” her jockey Irad Ortiz said. “She put herself in the race and I just waited for my time to go. Then I let her do her thing. She’s so nice.”

Her three-year-old season wins also include three Grade 1s – the Central Bank Ashland Stakes, Coaching Club American Oaks and the Alabama Stakes as well as placings in the Kenucky Oaks and Belmont Stakes.

Rougir is right back to her best

Woodbine Saturday

E. P. Taylor Stakes (Grade 1)

THE feature race in Woodbine was the Grade 1 E. P. Taylor Stakes with all eyes on the Queens’ Plate winner Moira.

Unfortunately, she did not receive the best of rides, having to switch late for a run and it was too late to overhaul the Chad Brown-trained Rougir in the 10-furlong contest.

The Territories filly had been disappointing since she changed hands for €3 million at Arqana’s December Mares’ Sale last year. Racing in the Tabor colours, owned jointly with Peter M Brant, she won her first outing in a Belmont Grade 3 in May but was then well beaten on her next three outings.

Moira had shown a good turn of foot to win the Queen’s Plate but here Rafael Manuel Hernandez’s jockeyship aboard the favourite did not meet approval as with nowhere to go two furlongs out, he switched rapidly inside and hampered Lemista.

She stayed on inside the final furlong for second but unsurprinsingly was disqualified and placed eighth. That left two Irish-breds in the placings, Flirting Bridge a daughter of Camelot and Fev Rover (Gutaifan) in third.

Santa Anita

There was another fillies Grade 1 on the west coast and the Rodeo Drive Stakes over a mile and a quarter went to the Phil D’Amato-trained Going to Vegas ,

The five-year-old by Goldencents led all the way to score for the consecutive year and became the third horse to win the race twice, beating Family Way.