SUMMER SUNDAY BACK IN ACTION SUNDAY
Just days before the 2019 Canadian premier Yearling Sale, graduate SUMMER SUNDAY seeks to continue her stellar season in Sunday’s Seaway Stakes (Grade 3) at Woodbine.
A four-year-old Ontario-bred daughter of Silent Name owned by William and Anne Scott, Summer Sunday rolls into the seven-furlong feature on the second three-race win streak of her career.
The Stuart Simon trainee kick-started her natural hat trick with a victory in the Ballade Stakes on May 11, and followed it up with a pair of graded triumphs, the Grade 3 Hendrie on June 9, and most recently, the Grade 2 Royal North on July 21.
Bred by Trinity West Stables Ltd., Summer Sunday now has seven wins – all at Woodbine – from nine career starts.
The fast filly is on the short list for current leaders for the Horse of the Year title with Tiz a Slam, Pink Lloyd and Tone Broke.
Her jockey, RAFAEL HERNDANDEZ, is having a super season too and currently leads the jockeys race over perennial leader Eurico Rosa da Silva. Da Silva surprisingly announced his plan to retire from riding at this end of this season last week to the Toronto Sun newspaper.
TRAVERS STAKES – The MidSummer Derby
Will Tacitus have better luck and break through to get to top of US 3yo ranks?
R. A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable’s former claimer Tax and Juddmonte Farms regally bred Tacitus, the one-two finishers of the Grade 2 Jim Dandy presented by NYRA Bets, renew their rivalry on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course in the 150th running of Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers.
The familiar foes – the 5-2 favorite Tacitus and the 6-1 Tax – will be meeting for the fifth time this year, headlining an august group of 12 sophomores entered Tuesday for the 1 ¼-mile race, including multiple graded-stakes winners Code of Honor, Mucho Gusto and Owendale and a pair of formidable contenders from Saratoga leading trainer Chad Brown in Highest Honors and Looking At Bikinis.
The “Mid-Summer Derby” will be televised live on FOX from 5-6 p.m. Eastern.
The Travers is the centerpiece of a card featuring seven stakes and six Grade 1s, including the, $850,000 Sword Dancer; $700,000 Personal Ensign presented by Lia Infiniti; $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina; $600,000 Forego presented by Encore Boston Harbor; and $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial presented by Runhappy. Rounding out the blockbuster card is the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa.
Tacitus, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, struck the first blow between the rugged rivals in capturing the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets on April 6 at Aqueduct Racetrack when 1 ¼-lengths the better of Tax.
The grey son of Tapit, out of 2014 Eclipse Award winner Close Hatches, followed up with a strong rally to be placed third in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby with Tax placed 14th after a troubled trip.
Garrett O’Rourke, General Manager of Juddmonte Farms, said a win in the Travers would be a huge boost to Tacitus’ stallion credentials.
“He couldn’t be bred any better,” said O’Rourke. “I think everyone appreciates that when they look at a pedigree and see that you’re the first foal out of a champion mare, inbred to Unbridled and by the best dirt stallion around. He physically resembles Unbridled, but is also same color as Tapit and has a lot of Tapit traits in him.”
Both Tacitus and Tax, conditioned by Danny Gargan, skipped the middle leg of the Triple Crown and continued their battle in the final jewel, the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, where Tax dueled pacesetter Joevia as Tacitus rallied from seventh to finish second behind Sir Winston, with Tax settling for fourth.
Last out, in a dramatic edition of the Jim Dandy, Tacitus stumbled badly at the start of the nine-furlong route as Tax tracked Grade 1 Preakness winner War of Will through swift splits. Although Tacitus gamely made up ground down the backstretch, and surged strongly the final 70 yards, Tax got first jump turning for home and held on strong for a three-quarter length score.
With one win apiece, the Travers will serve as a lucrative tie-breaker as both rivals arrive in search of a first Grade 1 victory.
Tacitus, winner of the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby in March, will add blinkers for the first time as he departs from post 6 under Jose Ortiz.
O’Rourke said Tacitus should continue to improve as he matures.
“I think, at the end of the day, good horses will overcome things and a big horse like him, he ran tremendously well in the Derby and the Belmont and again in the Jim Dandy,” said O’Rourke. “He’s gradually getting there, but he’s not a horse that was fully mature in May. He’s gradually getting to that point. When he does get there, he’ll be able to work around his bad luck events and get himself in the race early and use that big, long stride effectively.”
Tax, claimed for $50,000 out of a winning effort at Keeneland on October 21, finished third in the Grade 2 Remsen in his first start for new connections ahead of a narrow head score in the Grade 3 Withers, both at the Big A.
Gargan said he relishes the underdog role with Tax, a dark bay son of Arch.
“Well, I haven’t taught him how to read yet, so he doesn’t know he’s an underdog,” said Gargan, with a laugh. “Nobody wrote about us going into the Jim Dandy and we did just fine and nobody’s really written about us now, but I think he’s in his best form today.
“Tacitus has beaten us once [Wood Memorial], but I think that was a misjudgment by me not to train him up for that race from Florida,” added Gargan. “We stayed with him in New York and missed some time. In the Derby, he didn’t really go over the track well and that race took a lot out of him. I don’t think I had him 100 percent fit for the Belmont, but if I did, I think we would have won that race as well. Since then, he’s been doing great and training forwardly. We’re excited and ready to run.”
Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the call aboard Tax from the outside post.
W.S. Farish’s Code of Honor, a chestnut son of Noble Mission, won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park in February. Following a good third in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, Code of Honor rallied strongly along the rail in the Kentucky Derby in which he was placed second. Code of Honor will have the benefit of two Hall of Fame connections, with trainer Shug McGaughey seeking his fourth Travers win and jockey John Velazquez.
“I think he’s come a long way in the last two or three months and I don’t think the distance will be a problem,” said McGaughey. “He’s a laid-back, one-run type of horse and that’s what we’ll try to do with him. Hopefully, at the quarter pole, we’re in a decent position where he can go on and make his run and see what happens.”
Saturday, Saratoga, post time: 5:44 p.m. EDT
RUNHAPPY TRAVERS S.-GI, $1,250,000, 3yo, 1 1/4m
PP HORSE SIRE OWNER TRAINER JOCKEY WT
1 Owendale Into Mischief Rupp Racing Cox Geroux 126
2 Code of Honor Noble Mission (GB) W.S. Farish McGaughey III Velazquez 126
3 Highest Honors Tapit W.S. Farish Brown Saez 126
4 Laughing Fox Union Rags Lieblong, Alex and JoAnn Asmussen Santana, Jr. 126
5 Everfast Take Charge Indy Calumet Farm Romans Chuan 126
6 Tacitus Tapit Juddmonte Farms, Inc. Mott Ortiz 126
7 Mucho Gusto Mucho Macho Man Michael Lund Petersen Baffert Talamo 126
8 Chess Chief Into Mischief Estate of James J. Coleman, Jr. Stewart Smith 126
9 Looking At Bikinis Lookin At Lucky Long Lake Stable LLC, Madaket Stables LLC, Brown Castellano 126
Coleman, Thomas and Doheny Racing Stable
10 Scars Are Cool Malibu Moon Sagamore Farm LLC Hough Gaffalione 126
11 Endorsed Medaglia d’Oro Godolphin, LLC McLaughlin Rosario 126
12 Tax Arch R. A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Gargan Ortiz, Jr. 126
THE REMARKABLE ENABLE – 10 Group 1 wins, ‘Arc’ next
Frankie Dettori has seen plenty in his long and illustrious career – but even he was reduced to tears after Enable won her 10th Group One in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York.
The undoubted star of the last three Flat seasons, John Gosden’s five-year-old has proven her versatility over 10 furlongs and 12 and won in England, Ireland, France and America.
BRITISH COLUMBIA: IMMIGRATION RAIDS AT HASTINGS RACECOURSE
Revelations that the investigation into an inspector at B.C.’s gaming policy and enforcement branch began last fall is raising troubling questions about the timing of Monday’s immigration raids at Hastings Racecourse.
HILL ‘N’ DALE CANADA YEARLING SHOW
Canadian Premier Yearling Sale Aug. 29
Prospective yearling buyers got a sneak peek at some of the offerings from Hill ‘n’ Dale Canada this week at the King City, ON farm.
Armed with catalogues for the Aug. 29 Canadian Premier Yearling Sale, visitors inspected many youngsters for the sale plus a couple of youngsters entered in the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.