Marsh Side is a two-time Grade I winner in Canada. Neil Drysdale trains Marsh Ride and chose to withdraw his trainee from the Sword Dancer at Saratoga ten days ago. Marsh Side was taken out of the Arlington Million on Saturday. On Sunday, Marsh Side was asked to tackle five adversaries in the Grade II Sky Classic, a 2000-metre turf race, at Woodbine racecourse in Canada. Edgar Prado was aboard the 65/100 favorite and Marsh Side came home a five-length winner. The time was 2 08.99 seconds. The Sky Classic carried a $238,375 purse. Spice Route was a late scratch because of soft underfoot conditions.
Gone West is Marsh Side’s sire. Gone West is by Mr Prospector. Colonial Play is the dam of Marsh Side and she’s by Pleasant Colony. Jockey Edgar Prado does not say much. “He (Marsh Side) is an old pro. He knows this track and was having a lot of fun out there.”
Take The Points has been retired. The son of Even The Score suffered an injury to his right foreleg. Trainer Todd Pletcher confirmed that Take The Points has a fractured splint in the right front. The Arlington Million was a target. Take The Points won the (turf) Secretariat at Arlington and the Grade I Jamaica Stakes at Belmont Park. In 2010, Take The Points won the Grade I Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap but was disqualified and placed second. With four wins from 16 starts, Take The Points earned $943,590.
I will be remiss if I do not write about the Group races at York’s Ebor meeting. York is left-handed. There is a convenient train connection from London King’s Cross. It is a journey that takes close to two hours. There is a bus service from the station to the course. In 2005, York hosted the Royal Ascot meeting when Ascot was being renovated. I stayed at a bed-breakfast place at York for the Royal meeting.
Last Tuesday, the Great Voltigeur ( Grade II ) was run. Rewilding, Frankie Dettori up, was the 6/4 favorite in the 10-runner field. Mahmood Al Zarooni, who made a name for himself at the Meydan early this year, trains Rewilding. Jockey Dettori was in range of the leaders and went in chase of Midas Touch who had taken up midstretch. Rewilding ran past the leader to win by four lengths in a time of 2 28.93 for the 2400-metre Great Voltigeur. By Tiger Hill out of Darara by Topville, Rewilding is a sophomore colt. The St Leger is coming up in early September at Doncaster and Rewilding was made a warm favorite for England’s oldest Classic.
Also on Tuesday, there was a Group I event. It was the 2100-metre Juddmonte International that was worth 393,699 pounds to the winner. Rip Van Winkle, from Aidan O’Brien’s stable, was the 7/4 favorite. Khalid Abdullah’s Twice Over and Byword tracked the pacesetter. Byword drew first blood. Twice Over was alerted to the task by Tom Queally and made his bid. Rip Van Winkle had to make up considerable ground as John Murtagh called on the Galileo colt. Twice Over was winning the argument with Byword. Rip Van Winkle was closing. As the line came up, Rip Van Winkle had enough momentum to get the verdict. The margin was one half length and Twice Over and Byword were separated by three parts of a length. The time was 2 8.58 seconds.
John Murtagh reacted. “Good horses do what you expect of them. He (Rip The Van Winkle) ran well in the Sussex Stakes and he was ready today.”
A four year-old colt by Galileo, Rip Van Winkle’s dam is Looking Back who is by Stravinsky. A disappointing 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on the pro ride at Santa Anita last November, Rip Van Winkle had another dull effort in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot. He raised his game in the Sussex at Glorious Goodwood when in front until collared by Canford Cliffs close home.
Wednesday’s Group II Gimcrack Stakes at the Ebor meeting was won by Approve. The 8-1 chance, trained by William Haggas, was ridden by Eddie Ahern. The 1200-metre Gimcrack was run in 1 11.67 on good turf. Approve won by three parts of a length. The Highclere Thoroughbred Racing Foundation owns the freshman colt. Approve is by Oasis Dream out of Wyola who’s by Saddler’s Wells.
The other important race on Wednesday was the Group II Lonsdale Cup. Opinion Poll, from the yard of M A Jarvis, was ridden to victory by Frankie Dettori. Eight went postward in the 3300-metre Lonsdale Cup. A 5/2 chance, Opinion Poll clocked three minutes and 34.84 seconds. A four year-old colt, Opinion Poll is by Halling out of Ahead who is by Shirley Heights.
Thursday’s Darley Yorkshire Oaks did not provide a surprise result but generated a hot controversy. Sariska, dual Oaks heroine in 2009, was the 85/40 chalk. Snow Fairy, double Oaks winner this year, was the 5/2 second choice. Midday was held at 11/4 and was 3/1 at places. Eight distaffers answered the starter’s call in the 2400-metre Group I race.
The gates opened and everyone got away smartly except Sariska. The Pivotal filly stood still. Jamie Spencer’s goading yielded no result. Spencer led the filly out and plucked some grass to feed her. Midday took charge with three furlongs left and easily held Snow Fairy’s challenge. The Henry Cecil-trained Midday won by three lengths in 2 30.53 seconds. Tom Queally was aboard Midday. Midday is a four year-old filly. She had been beaten by Sariska in three past meetings. The Oasis Dream filly was coming off a successful defense of the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood. Midsummer by Kingmambo is Midday’s dam.
Irish bookmakers, Paddy Power and Boylesports refunded the wagers on Sariska. The three British companies, Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral, argued that Sariska had come under starter’s orders and they were complying with the rules of racing.
I caught up with Michael Bell, Sariska’s trainer, at Arlington Park on Saturday. “The fact is that she was in season but that, I believe, had nothing to do with what happened. I cannot understand why she would do what she did. She is temperamental and again that does not explain the incident.”
“I remember talking to you in 2005 when Motivator won the Derby. Here is what I have planned for Sariska. I will let her race in the Prix Vermeille in mid-September at Longchamp, “ trainer Bell said.
The Yorkshire Oaks was at 3 25 P M. The next race was at 4 05 PM. Jamie Spencer was riding Zarebiya, the 11/8 favorite. The field was let go and there was one horse who refused to leave the stall. It was Zarebiya. So much ground was lost that Zarebiya expended considerable energy catching up. When he realized the futility of the task, jockey Spencer eased Zarebiya up. Talk of frustration and there you have it. However, Spencer had the winner in the last race of the Ebor meeting on Friday. He was at Arlington in Chicago on Saturday. Brushing, a 20/1 chance, won the race with Kieren Fallon who ended with four wins to become champion jockey at the Ebor meeting.
We will see what happened in the Group I Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York on Friday. Starspangledbanner, John Murtagh up and trained by Aidan O’Brien, was the 3/2 public choice. The 1000-metre Nunthorpe was a fast-run race. The favorite had every chance to win but Sole Power, an invader from Ireland and a 100/1 chance, staged a smooth rally to give the bookmakers a good reason to have a post-Nunthorpe celebration. Starspangledbanner stayed on for the runner-up berth and Piccadilly Filly, another 100/1 outsider, took third. Twelve ran and the race was run in 57.14 seconds. Wayne Lordan rode for trainer Edward Lynam. Equiano had poor position from an unfavorable draw and finished last.
Sole Power is a four year-old gelding by Kyllachy out of Demerger by Distant View. The Nunthorpe was Sole Power’s third career win. The other two wins came at Dundalk’s (Ireland) all weather course and that explained the high odds.
Chicago, Tuesday, August 24, 2010