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Horse Racing News and Replays Sept. 26, 2015

Horse Racing News and Replays Sept. 26, 2015:

Beldame – Grade I – 1-1/8 Miles – Three-Year-Olds and Up Fillies and Mares – Belmont

Wedding Toast (Street Sense – Golden Sheba, by Coronado’s Quest) extended her win streak to three with her dominating win in Belmont’s Beldame (GI). After starting the year off relatively slowly with losses in the Rampart Stakes (GIII) and Madison Stakes (GI), the five-year-old mare garnered victories in the Ruffian Stakes (GII) and Ogden Phipps Stakes (GI) before taking on the Beldame. In a small field of six, Wedding Toast went straight to the lead, and she and jockey Jose Lezcano never looked back, taking the classic race by 2-3/4 lengths over fellow graded stakes winner Curalina.

FrontRunner Stakes – Grade I – 1-1/16 Miles – Two-Year-Olds – Santa Anita

Nyquist (Uncle Mo – Seeking Gabrielle, by Forestry) remained undefeated with his victory in the Grade I FrontRunner Stakes and further cemented his status as one of the top two-year-olds of the year. Trained by Doug O’Neill, the bay colt broke his maiden on first asking and proceeded to claim wins in the Best Pal Stakes (GII) and Del Mar Futurity (GI). For his second Grade I victory, Nyquist stayed close to pacesetter Go Long and took over in the stretch, but Swipe made a bold move to truly challenge him. Although an inquiry involving the stretch run delayed the official result, Nyquist was announced the winner by three-quarters of a length.

Chandelier Stakes – Grade I – 1-1/16 Miles – Two-Year-Old Fillies – Santa Anita

Another juvenile remained undefeated when Songbird (Medaglia d’Oro – Ivanavinalot, by West Acre) took the Chandelier Stakes (GI) at Santa Anita. Much like Nyquist, Songbird is undefeated in her now three starts with prior impressive victories in her debut and in the Del Mar Debutante Stakes (GI), and she has since been highly regarded. In the Chandelier, Songbird ran like the heavy favorite she was as she immediately shot to the front of the pack at the start of the race. Mike Smith was simply a willing passenger as the filly easily cleared the field to win her second Grade I by 4-1/2 lengths.

Joe Hirsch Turf Classic – Grade I Turf – 1-1/2 Miles – Three-Year-Olds and Up – Belmont

Kitten’s Joy progeny are hard to beat on the grass, and Big Blue Kitten (Kitten’s Joy – Spent Gold, by Unaccounted For) is certainly no exception. As a seven-year-old veteran, Big Blue Kitten has rarely finished worse than second in his 29 lifetime starts and has collected a resume that includes five graded stakes victories. In the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (GI) hosted by Belmont, Big Blue Kitten sat reserved in sixth under jockey Joe Bravo in the early stages of the race before picking up the pace after 1-1/4 miles. Into the stretch, Big Blue Kitten had a three-length lead that lessened to three-quarters of a length at the finish line, taking the race in new course record time.

Rodeo Drive Stakes – Grade I Turf – 1-1/4 Miles – Three-Year-Olds and Up Fillies and Mares – Santa Anita

Over the Santa Anita turf, the Irish-bred Photo Call (Galileo – Theann, by Rock of Gibraltar) captured her first Grade I event. The four-year-old filly began her career in her home country but really began to blossom in the United States as she managed top three finishes in a duo of graded stakes events before claiming the Violet Stakes (GIII) at Monmouth in August. In the Rodeo Drive (GI), Photo Call saved some ground as she stalked the pace back in fourth. Into the stretch, the game filly waited to make her move, and after splitting foes, Photo Call drew off under urging to win by 2-1/4 lengths.

Vosburgh – Grade I – 6 Furlongs – Three-Year-Olds and Up – Belmont

The speedy Rock Fall (Speightstown – Renda, by Medaglia d’Oro) seems to be impossible to beat since breaking his maiden. After finishing eighth in his debut, Rock Fall won six races prior to the Vosburgh, including victories in the True North Stakes (GII) and Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (GI). Facing a field of seven that included Salutos Amigos and Palace, Rock Fall broke well from post position 6 and settled back in third. By the eighth pole, Rock Fall was battling Stallwalkin’ Dude for the lead, and after putting that foe away, he hurried to the finish line to hold off a late rush by Salutos Amigos to win by a neck.

Zenyatta Stakes – Grade I – 1-1/16 Miles – Three-Year-Olds and Up Fillies and Mares – Santa Anita

Beholder (Henny Hughes – Leslie’s Lady, by Tricky Creek) simply continued her romp of a season with her easy victory in the Zenyatta Stakes (GI). The dual champion and multiple graded stakes winner has had praises piled upon her lately, and for good reason. Returning to female company after her historic win against the boys in the Pacific Classic (GI), Beholder was content to run wide under regular partner Gary Stevens in the early stages of the race. By the time the field rounded the far turn, the result of the race was clear as Beholder simply bounded to the finish line to win by 3-1/4 lengths over closest challenger My Sweet Addiction.

Awesome Again Stakes – Grade I – 1-1/8 Miles – Three-Year-Olds and Up – Santa Anita

Certainly a surprise to many was Smooth Roller‘s (Hard Spun – Catch the Moment, by Unbridled) victory in the Awesome Again Stakes (GI). The four-year-old colt only boasts of three prior starts to his graded stakes debut with two victories and a fourth-place result in Del Mar’s Harry F. Brubaker Stakes, but he was certainly primed to run well in the Awesome Again. Sitting in second behind the heavily favored Bayern until the final turn, Smooth Roller took over and simply breezed to the finish line to win by 5-1/4 lengths over nearest threat Hoppertunity.