Congratulations to a couple of Saturday Afternoon horses.
Winner of the Gr. 2 American Derby, Wilcox Inn absolutely ran away and hid from the field yesterday and did it with style and ease. Running the mile and 3/8ths in stakes record time, the son of Harlan’s Holiday has come into his own, maybe with the help of blinkers, and definitely with patient handling from trainer Michael Stidham. The colt has now won 2 legs of Arlington’s Mid America Triple and will be on target for the third leg, the Gr. 1 Secretariat on August 13th.
Another Saturday Afternoon horse, First Dude, turned in an amazing run to win the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup. He has matured in his 4 year old year, and thus has changed his running style. More of a stalker now, he is content to wait, and as a result can better utilize his enormous stride to mow them down in the lane. As a “Win & You’re In” race, First Dude has earned himself a berth in the Breeder’s Cup Classic this year.
Other notable performances yesterday worth mentioning:
Fantasia’s Gr. 3 Modesty win was a very nice effort over a good group. The daughter of Sadler’s Wells will be on her way to the Gr. 1 Beverly D on August 13, Arlington Million Day.
St. John’s River finally got herself an Oaks win. Second in both the Fair Ground Oaks and Kentucky Oaks, this fast closing daughter of Include was up in time to win by a neck over pacesetter Strike the Moon.
It is on to the Gr. 1 Alabama for St. John’s River.
And in a “Zen” like performance, Sassy Image came from last, looking like she lost contact with the field, and unleashed a furious stretch run to just get up at the wire in the Gr 1 Princess Rooney, at the Calder Summit of Speed. Mike Smith, in for the ride , said the daughter of Broken Vow did not handle the “good” going at all and though he didn’t want to be in the middle of the track, she found it more comfortable there and got down to business. And that she did. The highweight in the 8 horse field, this was her 3rd Graded Stakes win in a row.