Sept. 11 (UIP) -- The Breeders' Cup had seven "Win and You're In" spots on offer in weekend racing, and one of them appears to have landed a big prize for the November races: Epsom Derby and Irish Derby winner Auguste Rodin.
The 3-year-old Coolmore runner would headline the two days of racing if he travels to California. And several of the other six races also produced likely runners for the big show.
Most of the American action was on the turf, with some talented, dirt-running 2-year-olds providing variety.
Check out the "Around the world" section for results from Ireland, France, Korea and Hong Kong.
First, back home ...
The prospect of a visit from Auguste Rodin was the big news of the weekend, but there was some movement among domestic contenders, too.
Get Smokin got goin' right away in Saturday's $1.7 million Grade II FanDuel Kentucky Turf Cup at Kentucky Downs, was left alone on the lead and ran on through the long stretch to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Spooky Channel.
Santin was a head behind that one in third and Santin, the favorite in a competitive field, finished fourth.
Get Smokin, a 6-year-old Get Stormy gelding, ran 1 1/2 miles on firm turf in 2:28.66 with Fernando de la Cruz riding for trainer Mark Casse.
Get Smokin had not won a graded event since the Grade III Tampa Bay Stakes in February of 2021. Overall, he now has six wins from 27 starts.
At Colonial Downs, Integration swooped around rivals in deep stretch in Saturday's $500,000 Grade III New Kent County Virginia Derby and was up to defeat the favorite, Program Trading, by 1 1/4 lengths.
With Kendrick Carmouche riding for trainer Shug McGaughey, the Quality Road colt ran 1 1/8 miles on firm going in course-record time of 1:46.41.
The colt was making just his second start after winning over the same course by 6 1/2 lengths Aug. 12. Circle the name.
Palazzi rallied inside rivals in the final sixteenth of Saturday's $150,000 Grade III Pattison Singspiel Stakes and Woodbine and denied invading favorite Rockemperor by 1/2 length.
Malibu Mambo was third as Palazzi, a 5-year-old Pioneerof the Nile gelding, finished 1 1/4 miles on firm turf in 2:02.26 with Sahin Civaci up for trainer Mark Casse.
Starting Over finished well in Saturday's $150,000 Colonial Cup and won by 1 length, going 1 1/2 miles in 2:29.30. The 6-year-old Liam's Map gelding got his fourth win in his 21st start, but is 2-for-2 on the Colonial Downs turf.
Filly & Mare Turf
Closing Remarks closed remarkably well in the stretch run of Saturday's $250,000 Grade II John C. Mabee Stakes at Del Mar, passing all five rivals before roaring home to win by 1 3/4 lengths.
Turnerloose looked like a winner at the top of the lane but settled for second, a neck in front of late-running Paris Peacock.
Closing Remarks, a California-bred, 5-year-old Vronsky mare, ran 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:48.23 with Umberto Rispoli up. She won the Grade II Yellow Ribbon in her previous start.
Sister Lou Ann stalked the pace in Thursday's $500,000 Jeff Ruby One Dreamer Stakes at Kentucky Downs, swung wide around the turn and prevailed through the stretch run for a 1 1/2-length victory.
For the Flag was next-best as Sister Lou Ann, a 4-year-old Frosted filly, ran 1 mile, 70 yards on good turf in 1:44.63 with Jose Ortiz up.
Vergara looked even better than usual in winning Saturday's $1 million Grade III Aristocrat Ladies Marathon at Kentucky Downs.
After racing just back of the long shot pacesetter, the 4-year-old Noble Mission filly took the inside route through the stretch and won by 3/4 length over Transient, finishing 1 5/16 miles on firm turf in 2:10.96.
Joel Rosario rode for trainer Graham Motion as Vergara won for the first time since last year's Dueling Grounds Oaks over the same course.
At Colonial Downs, Thirty Thou Kelvin led, gave up the lead, then came back to defeat late-running Root Cause by a neck in Saturday's $250,000 Virginia Oaks.
Thirty Thou Kelvin, a Bolt d'Oro filly, ran 1 1/8 miles on firm turf in 1:48.04 with Trevor McCarthy up, notching her second straight win. The temperature of a lightning bolt is around 30,000 degrees on the Kelvin scale.
Moira, winless in five starts since taking last year's Woodbine Oaks and Queen's Plate, returned with a bang in Saturday's $240,000 (Canadian) Grade II Canadian Stakes.
Sweeping five-wide from near the back of the field, the Ghostzapper filly dominated the stretch run and won by 6 1/4 lengths. Skims was second and the favorite, Fev Rover, faded to finish fourth.
Moira, with Rafael Hernandez up, ran 1 1/8 miles on good turf in 1:46.04. Fifth in last year's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, she was coming off three straight seconds in graded stakes north of the border.
Regal Realm led all the way to a 1 1/4-length win in Saturday's $1 million Castle Hill Gaming Ladies Turf Stakes at Kentucky Downs.
The 4-year-old Animal Kingdom filly, with Florent Geroux up, won for the fourth time in her last five starts while coming off a third in restricted stakes at Saratoga. Sparkle Blue was second, with White Frost third and the favorite, New Year's Eve, last from start to finish.
Gear Jockey trailed right behind pacesetting Bad Beat Brian until the top of the stretch in Saturday's $1 million Grade II Ainsworth Turf Sprint at Kentucky Downs, surged to the lead and held off a late cavalry charge of rivals.
The favorite, One Timer, missed by just a head with an outside rush.
Early leader Bad Beat Bryan held on for third with four others within 1 length. Gear Jockey, a 6-year-old son of Twirling Candy, ran 6 furlongs on firm going in 1:10.59 with Jose Lezcano up.
He had not won since taking this same race two years ago and went on from that to finish sixth in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint in his next outing.
Bay Storm led most of the way in Saturday's $1 million AGS Ladies Turf Sprint at Kentucky Downs and just did hold on to win by a neck from Wakanaka and another head over Tony Ann.
A 5-year-old mare by Kantharos, Bay Storm ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.06 with Florent Geroux in the irons. Seldom out of the money, She was second in this race a year ago, beaten a nose by the outstanding Campanelle.
Private Creed took charge in the stretch run of Saturday's $1 million Grade II Exacta Systems Franklin-Simpson Stakes for 3-year-olds at Kentucky Downs, kicking away to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Playlist.
It was another 2 1/4 lengths to Sweet Cherry Pie in third.
Private Creed, a Jimmy Creed colt, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:17.03 for jockey Joel Rosario. He scored his fourth win from 11 starts with half of those victories coming at Kentucky Downs.
Trainer Larry Rivelli opted to take his star turf sprinter, Nobals to Saturday's $150,000 Da Hoss Stake at Colonial Downs rather than try Kentucky Downs and was rewarded as the Noble Mission gelding won by a head with a late surge.
The 4-year-old now has nine wins and three seconds from 17 starts.
Prince of Monaco, the overwhelming favorite, battled with stablemate Mirahmadi through the final furlong of Sunday's $300,000 Grade I Del Mar Futurity before prevailing by 3/4 length. Both are trained by Bob Baffert.
Prince of Monaco, a Speightstown colt, now is 3-for-3. He also won the Grade III Best Pal Stakes earlier in the Del Mar meeting.
"Can he run on?" winning rider Flavien Prat asked. "We won't know until it happens, but he's done everything right so far."
Bentornato opened up in the stretch run of Saturday's $100,000 Dr. Fager Division of the Florida Sire Stakes at Gulfstream Park, roaring to a 7 1/2-length victory, ridden out by Emisael Jaramillo.
The Valiant Minister colt got 6 furlongs in 1:11.44 and now is a progressing 3-for-3.
Book'em Danno came with a three-wide stretch rally to win Saturday's $100,000 Smoke Glacken Stakes at Monmouth Park by 2 lengths as the odds-on favorite.
The New Jersey-bred Bucchero gelding ran 6 furlongs in 1:10.86 for jockey Samuel Marin. He's undefeated after two starts.
Aspenite led virtually gate-to-wire in Sunday's $500,000 Juvenile Mile at Kentucky Downs and ran on to win by 3 1/4 lengths over Tough Little Nut.
Aspenite, a Constitution colt trained by Steve Asmussen, finished in 1:38.17 with Cristian Torres up. Tough Little Nut is a Palace Malice colt, trained by Chris Block for Town and Country Racing.
Endlessly kicked away in the stretch to win Sunday's $100,000 Grade III Del Mar Juvenile Turf by 2 1/4 lengths over stablemate Lord Bullingdon. The favorite, Boltage, was third.
Endlessly, an Oscar Performance colt, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:35.28 with Juan Hernandez up for trainer Michael McCarthy.
Tok Tok improved to 2-for-2 with a stretch-running win in Saturday's $125,000 Kitten's Joy Stakes at Colonial Downs.
The Quality Road colt, trained by Graham Motion, got a good stalking trip under Jorge Ruiz and scored by 1 1/4 lengths, going 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:45.11.
Juvenile Turf Sprint
No Nay Mets remained undefeated in the United States with a thumping win in Saturday's $125,000 Exacta Systems Rosie's Stakes at Colonial Downs.
The No Nay Never colt drew off late to win by 3 1/4 lengths. He has won all three U.S. starts, all stakes, but finished ninth in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
Tamara, a daughter of the great race mare Beholder, did her mother proud in Saturday's $300,000 Grade I FanDuel Racing Del Mar Debutante.
Shrugging off a little bump at the break, the Bolt d'Oro filly waited right behind the early leader, moved when asked by jockey Mike Smith and smoothly drew off to win by 6 3/4 lengths.
Laurent was second, and the second pick on the morning line, Dreamfyre, was a late scratch.
Tamara ran 7 furlongs in 1:22.41 and remains undefeated after two starts for owner-breeder Spendthrift Farm and trainer Richard Mandella, the same connections that saw to Beholder.
At Gulfstream Park, odds-on favorite Welcome Back was all out to win Saturday's $100,000 Desert Vixen Division of the Florida Sire Stakes by a nose over Mist. The Aidios Charlie filly now is 2-for-2.
Juvenile Fillies Turf
Flattery found a clean trip heading into the stretch in Saturday's $100,000 Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf while Loterie was blocked and that made the difference as Flattery won by 1 length.
Loterie had to duck to the rail to get through and finished second as the favorite.
Flattery, a daughter of Flatter, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:36.86 with Juan Hernandez up and now is 2-for-2 for trainer Peter Eurton.
Austere stalked the pace in Sunday's $500,000 Global Tote Juvenile Fillies Stakes at Kentucky Downs, shifted out for room in the stretch and won by 3 lengths over Bella Haze.
Austere, a Mendelssohn filly, ran 1 mile on firm turf in 1:35.48. Tyler Gaffalione rode for trainer Brendan Walsh.
Around the world, around the clock
Five Breeders' Cup slots were up for grabs during the weekend on the Emerald Isle, three of them Saturday at Leopardstown.
For the second time in his brief career, dual Derby winner Auguste Rodin returned from the figurative dead -- this time to win Saturday's Group 1 Royal Bahrain Irish Champion Stakes in a superbly classy performance.
With Ryan Moore riding confidently, Auguste Rodin let stablemate Luxembourg, last year's winner, take the lead this time around the Leopardstown course.
Urged forward, Auguste Rodin methodically cut into the leader's margin through the final furlong and edged that one in the final yards, with Nashwa closing quickly on their outside and Epsom Derby second King of Steele a close fourth.
The colt was traveling so poorly in his last start, the Group 1 King George at Ascot, that Moore basically pulled him up early in that race. It was the second time that's happened -- the first coming in the Group 1 2,000 Guineas, which immediately preceded the resurrection on Epsom Downs.
"It's very satisfying for him to come back and prove how good he is," Moore said after the Leopardstown win with O'Brien adding the Breeders' Cup rather than the Arc might be the next target, especially as Auguste Rodin earned a "Win and You're In" spot with the victory.
"You'd say you wouldn't go to the Arc on soft ground, but if it came up nice ground you'd be delighted," he said. "The lads [Coolmore partner owners] love the Breeders' Cup, though, and you know you're going to get fast ground at Santa Anita, so that's a strong possibility."
Tahiyra ran her record to five win from six starts with a dominating victory as the odds-on favorite in the Group 1 Coolmore America Justify Matron Stakes at 1 mile.
With Chris Hayes up, the 3-year-old Aga Khan homebred 3-year-old filly, by Siyouni, lingered mid-field until asked, and then rolled smoothly by rival and drew off to win by 1 1/4 lengths from Rogue Millennium with Just Beautiful third.
It was her fourth Group 1 victory and earned an unlikely "Win and You're In" spot in the Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
"We'll sit down and see whether we'll run her again this year," trainer Dermot Weld said without so much as a nod to the Breeders' Cup. "We'll look at whether to keep her in training next year and then look at the possibility of going 10 furlongs with her next year."
O'Brien and Moore landed another "Win and You're In" victory as Diego Velazquez rallied by stablemate Capulet to win the Group 2 KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes by 1/2 length.
Atlantic Coast, trained by Joseph Patrick O'Brien, was a close third. Diego Velazquez, a Frankel colt, now is 2-for-2 for the Coolmore "lads."
Auguste Rodin won this last year and went on to win the Futurity at Doncaster. O'Brien, noting Diego Velazquez has shown immaturity in his two starts, indicated he might follow the same course rather than try California.
Across the Irish Channel, Saturday's Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup came up a shocker as Regional held off 50-1 chance Shouldhvbeenaring to win by a neck.
The overwhelming favorite, Shaquille, got away on time for a change and led for the first half of the 6-furlongs race, but then chucked it in, fading to get home last, sans explanation.
Regional was the story, then, winning for the first time at the Group level and jacking up hopes for a shot at the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint as trainer Edward Bethnell, fresh from the heat of battle, said, "The owners might want to go to America, but I'll see how the horse is first and then we'll make a decision."
Action shifted to the Curragh Sunday.
Moss Tucker came with a determined bid in the final yards to land the Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Flying Five -- and a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" spot -- by 1/2 length over Get Ahead.
Equality and Ladies Church completed an all-long shot first four with the favorites, with Highfield Princess, Art Power and Bradsell, in that order behind them.
Moss Tucker, a 5-year old Excelebration gelding, was coming off a Group 3 win and scored for the first time at the top level.
Fallen Angel also earned a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" berth with a hard-fought victory in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.
The daughter of Too Darn Hot tracked the early speed, challenged a furlong out and only pulled clear of runner-up Vespertilio in the final yards, winning by 1 1/4 lengths.
The favorite, Ylang Ylang, was in the mix until the final furlong, but then suddenly dropped back and finished last.
Henry Longfellow, the heavy favorite, won the Group 1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes for 2-year-olds by a convincing 5 lengths from Islandsinthestream for Ryan Moore and trainer Aidan O'Brien.
The Dubawi colt from the Galileo mare Minding now is 3-for-3 and looks like something good for the 2024 Classics.
O'Brien withdrew perhaps an even better chance, City of Troy, when the ground was softened by rain. Moore switched to Henry Longfellow from that stablemate -- always a statement.
Elder Elderov came home well in the Group 1 Comer Group International Irish St Leger, winning by 3 1/2 lengths over Kyprios at the end of 1 3/4 miles in a division that still seems to miss Stradivarius.
Ribblesdale Stakes and Yorkshire Oaks winner Warm Heart edged Melo Melo by the slimmest of margins to win Sunday's Group 1 Qatar Prix Vermeille at Longchamp with the favorite, French Guineas and Oaks winner Blue Rose Cen trailing in fifth.
Warm Heart, a 3-year-old Galileo filly, won for the fifth time in seven starts this season. With Ryan Moore occupied at home, James Doyle partnered the filly for trainer Aidan O'Brien.
Will she be back in Paris on Arc weekend, Aidan? "I'd say it will be America," he replied, for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Also Sunday in Paris, Place du Carrousel got the lead late in the Group 2 Qatar Prix Foy and held off the favorite, Irsine, by a neck at the end of 2,400 meters,
And German Derby winner Fantastic Moon found the best late speed to win the Qatar Prix Niel for 3-year-olds by 2 1/2 lengths over favorite Feed the Flame. Don't count him out if his connections take a swing at the Arc.
On the opening day of Hong Kong's new season, Victor the Winner had all the advantages in Sunday's Class 1 HKSAR Chief Executives Cup, and it was enough to win by 2 1/2 lengths from one of Hong Kong's brightest lights, Lucky Sweynesse.
In fairness, Victor the Winner was in receipt of 20 pounds from Lucky Sweynesse and was allowed to get away on an uncontested lead at a slow clip on a wet track.
Trainer Danny Shum said the winner will be pointed to the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong International Sprint in December where he will have to improve under fair conditions.
Luckey Sweynesse's rider, champion Zac Purton, noted, "It wasn't his day today, but I thought he ran very well."
Crown Pride, the overwhelming favorite, and Gloria Mundi finished 1-2 for Japan in Sunday's Grade III Korea Cup in Seoul.
Crown Pride won by 10 lengths with Gloria Mundi 5 lengths ahead of the third-place horse, locally based Winner's Man, in a program clearly still developing.
Winner of the 2022 UAE Derby in Dubai and a pace factor in that year's Kentucky Derby, Crown Pride had posted four seconds from six starts since his effort in Louisville.
Japan also landed Sunday's Group 3 Korea Sprint by 4 lengths although local runner Beolmaui Star finished second ahead of accomplished Japanese runner Bathrat Leon and Hong Kong's Duke Wai.