WONDER GADOT (third from right) chased Monomoy Girl (inside) and Midnight Bisou in the Grade 1 Cotillion on Saturday at Parx – VANESSA NG PHOTO – HORSE-RACES.NET

Wonder Gadot, Melmich: stars don’t have much left to prove

The weekend’s racing in North American was a bit light as horses ready for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in November and Canadian horses prepare for the big fall events such as the major 2-year-old races and the Canadian International/EP Taylor Stakes.

But two major stars of Canadian racing were in action in both the USA and at Woodbine.

WONDER GADOT, the Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales winner and already with the Champion Three-Old Filly Sovereign award wrapped up and most likely Horse of the Year too, floundered in the Cotillion (worth a million) at Parx on Saturday. Cutting back from the 10 furlong Travers Stakes against the boys in which she finished last, Wonder Gadot stalked the pace in the 1 1/16 mile Cotillion against fillies but she was never a factor as the top 2 fillies in the US – Monomoy Girl and Midnight Bisou battled to the wire. She finished third beaten 10 lengths.

Yes, Wonder Gadot (Medaglia D’oro) has come close to beating Monomoy Girl this year, running that one to a close finish in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks before she added blinkers and beat up on modest males in the Plate and ‘Wales.

Her hard work this season (and last year at 2) has been beyond admirable and she has earned $1.4 million in her career. She cost $325,000 as a 2yo in training.

Gary Barber’s filly is described as a tough miss who enjoys her racing work though she has not had any kind of vacation since she made her career debut in August 2017.

Other than a Grade 1 victory, there is not much left for Wonder Gadot to prove, at least this season. She will be over-matched in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff against fellow 3yos and older mares so perhaps she will be put away now and come back to try for the Grade 1 as a 4-year-old.

At Woodbine on Sunday, the Grade 3 Durham Cup Stakes at 1 1/8 miles went with a field of just 4 (multiple champion ARE YOU KIDDING ME had a bout of colic and was scratched) and it seemed like a good spot for old timer MELMICH to get back on track.

The Cory Hoffman and Stephen Chesney 7-year-old, winless since the Durham Cup a year ago, has been 2nd 6 times since then while not having the best of luck with slow, paceless races to run in. The situation was the same on Sunday. Trainer Kevin Attard worked the gelding fast before the race but that didn’t work out as the son of Wilko stalked longshot LOOKIN FOR EIGHT and then stayed on to be 3rd behind the latter who led all the way.

Melmich has won 16 of 40 races and about $992,000.

The win by Lookin at Eight was hard to compute for bettors, he was 12 to 1 in the 4 horse race.

The 4yo gelding by Lookin at Lucky lured co-owners John Oxley and Gary Barber after the fellow won his maiden in Jan. 2017 with an 88 Beyer Figure at Gulfstream. But the gelding was then put in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth off the maiden win and he was well beaten and went off form.

His only other win in his brief career was  a dirt win in an allowance race at Churchill Downs.

The gelding was sent back to Woodbine in May and he was 6th, 3rd and 4th in optional claiming races.

In fact, the 4yo was entered in a 10 furlong grass race on Saturday but in a brilliant move, was scratched by the Casse team to run in the Durham. Once he got the lead and went slow on the pace, the race was over.

Bred by co-owners Ralph Kinder and  Erv Woolsey, who bought the horse back for $40,000 and $27,00 at auction, Lookin for Eight is now 3 for 12 in his career with $164,000 in earnings.


Bite Me

Viral video and image from the weekend was the unsportsmanlike conduct by Whereshetoldmetogo (9) on Firenze Fire in the Gallant Bob Stakes at Parx on Saturday.


Thundering Blue wins Stockholm Cup; fairytale grey coming to Woodbine next

As reported in Thoroughblog on Friday, THUNDERING BLUE, who won a Group 3 in Sweden yesterday, is headed to Woodbine for the Canadian International. His is a pretty cool story of the claiming type horse rising to stardom.

His pedigree is fascinating too. He is by Exchange Rate (sprinting stakes winner) from a Forestry mare (more sprint influence) but loves 12 furlongs on grass.

His dam Relampago Azul never raced but her sister Champagne Gal is owned by BC’s Glen Todd and her 2yo of this year, Vintage Man, is a stakes calibre runner.

From Racing Post:

Gathering storm clouds proved more apt than ominous at Bro Park on Sunday as Thundering Blue and Fran Berry unleashed their classic hold-up tactics to land the Group 3 Stockholm Cup International – chased home by fellow British runner Crowned Eagle.

The two-length win earned David Menuisier’s stable star quotes of 9-2 for the Canadian International at Woodbine and 25-1 for the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot.

Keeneland Wraps up Marathon Sale

The $2.4 million given by Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier for a colt by leading sire War Front is the highest price paid for a yearling in the world so far this year.

Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale concluded Sunday with commerce described as “electric” at every level of the market during the 13-day auction, held Sept. 10-23. The bellwether sale produced gross receipts of $377,130,400, which was the fourth highest in September Sale history and approached the record heights of the mid-2000s. Average price bested last year’s record. Twenty-seven horses sold for $1 million or more, including three for $2 million-plus, to be the most since 2007. The $2.4 million given by Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier for a colt by leading sire War Front is the highest price paid for a yearling in the world so far this year.

The vibrant pace resulted in 2018 gross sales exceeding last year’s 12-day auction total of $307,845,400 on the seventh day of selling. Final receipts of $377,130,400 rose 22.51 percent over last year and represent the highest gross since the 14-day September Sale in 2005 when 3,545 yearlings sold for $384,349,900. This year 2,916 horses sold compared to 2,555 in 2017.

Cumulative average established a record, increasing 7.34 percent from $120,487 to $129,331. The median of $50,000 was 12.28 percent below $57,000 in 2017.

The number of yearlings sold for seven figures more than doubled from last year, increasing from 13 in 2017 to 27 this year. Three of those yearlings brought more than $2 million each, led by the sale-topping War Front colt sold to M. V. Magnier for $2.4 million and consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent.
Exemplifying the sire power of the September Sale was the fact that 11 sires were represented by million-dollar yearlings: American Pharoah, Curlin, Empire Maker (with his first yearlings since returning to the U.S.), Ghostzapper, Into Mischief, Medaglia d’Oro, Pioneerof the Nile, Quality Road, Tapit, Uncle Mo and War Front.