Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Colonial Turf Cup

Battle of Hastings wins the Grade 2, $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup for 3-year-olds at Colonial Downs on June 20, 2009.

Battle of Hastings got a terrific trip from just off the pace and was pushed to the limit when holding off a game Straight Story to post a head victory Saturday in the Grade 2, $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va.

With Tyler Baze aboard for owner Mike House and trainer Jeff Mullins, Battle of Hastings returned $7.40 as the favorite after finishing 1 3/16 miles in 1:57.79 over a firm turf.

Al Khali took the lead from Straight Story entering the backstretch run of the Colonial Cup, and they showed the way to the top of the stretch, where Al Khali drifted wide, floating Straight Story and jockey Chuck Lopez even farther out onto the course. Baze capitalized by urging Battle of Hastings through a huge opening along the rail, and they got to the wire with just enough to outlast a furious re-rally by Straight Story. Lime Rickey finished third, another 1 1/4 lengths back. Dover Street Art was an early scratch, leaving a field of nine 3-year-olds.

Battle of Hastings, a British-bred gelding by Royal Applause, has now won 5 of 10 starts, including 3 of 5 since being sent to Mullins in Southern California last fall. He earned easily his biggest paycheck, $288,000, more than doubling his bankroll to $474,592. His previous triumphs included the Baldwin and La Puente stakes over the Santa Anita turf.

The Colonial Cup is the first leg in the sixth annual Grand Slam of Grass bonus series. Subsequent legs are the July 18 Virginia Derby, the Aug. 8 Secretariat, and the Nov. 7 Breeders' Cup Turf.

The Colonial Cup was one of four stakes run Saturday on the expansive Colonial turf course.

All Along: Three in row for Winter View

Winter View ($9.80), last of nine for much of the way, launched a searing outside run under Julien Leparoux to defeat Tejida by a head in the Grade 3, $150,000 All Along Stakes for fillies and mares. Dyna's Lassie was third, Astrologie was fourth, and Indescribable, the 7-5 favorite, was eighth.

Notching her third straight victory for breeder-owner Augustin Stable, trainer Jonathan Sheppard, and Leparoux, Winter View finished the 1 1/8-mile race in 1:49.56. The 5-year-old Thunder Gulch mare has now won 5 of 21 starts.

Longshots led early, but after straightening for home, the field became well-bunched behind the tiring front-runner, Julia Tuttle, with several taking their best shot. Tejida, ridden by Corey Nakatani, emerged as the horse to catch in the desperate final yards, but it was the same sort of furious rally that Winter View used in winning her two prior starts at Keeneland, capped by the Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes on April 23, that denied her.

* Leparoux, the leading jockey at the current Churchill Downs meet, also was the winning rider in the $48,500 Buckland Stakes when booting home Twiceasbeautiful ($12.80) to a 3 1/4-length score as the longest shot in a scratch-laden field of four fillies and mares.

Twiceasbeautiful, trained by Michelle Sharp for breeder-owner Linda Rosenblatt, rallied from last to take the 5 1/2-furlong race for her fifth victory from 17 career starts. Ten horses were scratched from an original cast of 14.

* Drivingmaxandmitzi ($3.80) took over with ease with a four-wide move entering the far turn and proceeded to a 3 1/2-length triumph under Rosemary Homeister Jr. in the $30,000 Old Nelson, a 1 3/16-mile starter-allowance for older horses. Hector Magana trains 7-year-old Drivingmaxandmitzi, now a winner in 19 of 40 starts, at Arlington Park for the Midwest Thoroughbreds ownership group.

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