THE two-year-old picture looks a bit clearer after last weekend with three Grade 1s and the Grade 2 Chandelier sorting out the order.

Star performance came on the west coast and it was business as usual in the Grade 1 American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita over a mile and half a furlong when Bob Baffert trained the impressive winner.

Cave Rock, a son of Arrogate, went away to a five-and-a-quarter-length success. Baffert dominated the race, training the first four home of the eight runners.

Cave Rock is now unbeaten in three and looks likely to start favourite for the Breeders’ Cup in the Mike Pegram colours. He galloped home in a winning time of 1m 43.05, which was the fastest time in the race since American Pharoah himself won in 1m 41.95 in 2014.


After a narrow win in the Grade 1 Debutante Stakes, And Tell Me Nolies added another big two-year-old prize with another strong finish to take the Grade 2 Chandelier Stakes at Santa Anita.

The Peter Miller-trained filly took the lead at the top of the straight to outlast Uncontrollable at the wire with the favourite Justique a never nearer third. The winner is another star from the only crop of Arrogate.

At Keeneland, the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity over a mile and half a furlong produced a fine battle up the straight with victory going to Forte, a son of Violence in the Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable ownership.

He won by a neck after being straighten up to get the better of Loggins, adding to his win in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes.

The fractions were fast and furious early as the 14 juveniles went round the Keeneland oval through a 22.94secs opening quarter and 46.36secs half-mile.

Winning rider Irad Ortiz Jr. said: “At the turn, he was still figuring it out. He started doing it little by little, but by the time I got there and hit the lead he started acting a little green and laying in a little bit.

“The whole time I had to hold him and, that horse inside of me, take care of him at the same time as I win the race.”

There was a stewards inquiry but no alteration even though Florent Geroux on Loggins said he thought it cost him the win.

On the Friday night, Mark Casse’s Wonder Wheel, an Into Mischief filly took advantage of her inside post position to gain the early advantage and then held off late charges to win the Grade 1 $500,000 Darley Alcibiades for two-year-old fillies.

Keeneland Sunday

Spinster Stakes (Grade 1)

THE distinctive large white star on Malathaat’s head has contributed to her becoming a popular filly and though the star has been covered up by blinkers this season, that piece of equipment seems to have had a desirable effect.

She was up against last year’s top older mare Leturska in the Grade 1 Spinster but put up one of her best performances, winning by five and a quarter lengths. Todd Pletcher was making it three Grade 1s on the weekend and said: “She’s always had a tendency that when she makes the lead to kind of idle a little bit.” Since adding blinkers, her last win over a top class field in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Handicap was a performance as good as she showed last year.

Malathaat cruised in fourth as Letruska battled it out with Played Hard and Princess of Cairo through a 47.90 sec half-mile. Letruska’s hopes of reclaiming her former glory vanished when Malathaat loomed up and she opened daylight between herself and the field in a matter of strides.