Connections of the four other graded stakes winners on Saturday’s card reported their horses were doing well Sunday morning.
G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Centre Court
got her first Grade 1 win and fifth graded stakes victory with her
two-length score in the Jenny Wiley Stakes. She defeated six graded
stakes winners on Saturday.
“Most of the top horses on the East Coast were here with the exception of Marketing Mix and Dayatthespa
and my guess is we may have to deal with (Dayatthespa) the next time,”
trainer Rusty Arnold said. “Dayatthespa is the only three-year-old filly
from last year to beat her that she did not come back and beat.”
Saturday’s victory improved Centre Court’s record on grass to six
wins and four seconds in 10 starts. Her lone off-the-board finish in her
career came in her debut, a 4½-furlong sprint on dirt.
“She was doing well and we wanted to get a race in her before we went
to Saratoga and we didn’t know how she’d turn out on the grass,” Arnold
said. “Then she came out of the race with a little chip and didn’t run
for eight months.”
In the Jenny Wiley, Centre Court rated off the pace set by Daisy Devine before taking charge in midstretch.
“We thought she might be better at four than she was at three,”
Arnold said. “She is a lot more manageable this year. Two steps out of
the gate yesterday, she just dropped in right behind the leaders. I was
worried at the three-eighths pole because Daisy Devine had such an easy
lead and I have a lot of respect for her.”
Arnold said the $500,000 Just a Game Stakes (G1) at a mile at Belmont
Park on June 8 is the next likely spot for Centre Court with the
$600,000 Diana Stakes (G1 at Saratoga on July 27) or the $750,000
Beverly D. Stakes (G1 at Arlington Park on August 17) on the radar after
that. The Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) at Santa Anita on
November 1 is the ultimate objective for 2013.
“We had targeted the Jenny Wiley,” Arnold said. “Ninety percent of
the time, you make plans and they don’t work out. When they do, it is
“She probably will ship to Belmont the week before the Just a Game
and then come back here, because I normally do not ship to Saratoga
until the Churchill Downs meet ends.”
The biggest surprise for trainer Phil Oliver was not that Last Full Measure won the Madison Stakes, but that she went off as the second-longest shot in the field of 10 at 17-1.
“I didn’t think she’d be that price,” Oliver said of Last Full
Measure, who is owned by St. George Farm Racing. “The last two horses to
beat her were Old Tune (BRZ)
and Daisy Devine who were in the Jenny Wiley. In her last race at
Tampa, the jock took her back and she had a tough trip but before that
had run well.”
Oliver was not sure what would be next for Last Full Measure, who
never has raced on dirt in her 11-race career. “There are not a lot of
races out there for her,” Oliver said, adding with a laugh, “I may just
wait for the fall here.”
Reddam Racing’s Handsome Mike, winner of the Commonwealth Stakes (G3), may have earned a trip to Churchill Downs to keep stablemate Goldencents company during Kentucky Derby Week.
“He is nominated to the ($400,000) Churchill Downs (G2 on May 4) and
he might possibly go there,” said Jack Sisterson, assistant to trainer
Doug O’Neill. “But that will be up to Mr. (Paul) Reddam. Our horses here
are going to Churchill on the 26th and Goldencents is scheduled to come in the next day.”
The Commonwealth victory was the first for Handsome Mike since
winning the 2012 Pennsylvania Derby (G2). It was his first race on an
all-weather track since the 2012 Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (G3) at
“He had trained well on it all week,” Sisterson said. “There must have been something about it that he liked.”
Trainer Darrin Miller has the seven-furlong, $150,000 Jaipur (G3) at Belmont Park on June 7 next on tap for Silverton Hill’s Havelock following his victory in the 5½-furlong Shakertown Stakes (G3).
Now six, Havelock has won a graded stakes in each of the past three
years, a fact that is pretty good for a horse that did not turn heads
when he first arrived in the barn.
“When we first got him, none of the grooms wanted him because he was a
lazy, fat colt,” Miller said. “But once we put him on the grass, he
really stepped it up.”
Miller ruled out running Havelock back in three weeks in the Twin
Spires Turf Sprint Presented by Ram (G3) at Churchill Downs. “Too
short,” Miller said of the five-furlong race, “and I won’t run him on
The long-term goal for Havelock this year is the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita on November 2.