The stars came out in full force for the York Dante race
meeting this week, with many runners being prepped for runs in either the
Investec Derby (Eng-I) or Investec Oaks (Eng-I) in June. Older horses were also
in the spotlight during the three-day meet, which ran from Tuesday through
The highlight of the meet was the Totesport Dante Stakes (Eng-II), a 10-furlong contest for
3-year-old colts that serves as a top prep for the Derby.
Several previous Dante winners have gone on to capture the Investec Derby,
including Authorized, Motivator, and last year’s winner, Workforce.
In something that certainly is befitting a year with a royal
wedding, it appears that the Queen may have the Derby
favorite. Carlton House (Street Cry-Talented, by Bustino) pulled away from Seville
in the final furlong to win the Dante Stakes by 1 ½-lengths. Trained by Sir
Michael Stoute and ridden by Ryan Moore, the bay colt sat just behind the early
pace set by Pisco Sour (Lemon Drop Kid) and Seville
(Galileo). As the field of six entered the home straight, Carlton House powered
his way between rivals and galloped home strongly for the victory.
The first three finishers look as though they will lock
horns once again in next month’s Derby.
One runner who won’t line up is World Domination, who finished a disappointing
fourth as the favorite. Making just his second career start in the Dante, World
Domination (Empire Maker) showed his inexperience as he raced keenly under Tom
Queally throughout much of the race. When the colt was set down for the drive
he had nothing left in the tank and finished fourth.
The connections of the Juddmonte colt are leaning toward
skipping the Derby and going in the
King Edward VII Stakes (Eng-II) at Royal Ascot.
Juddmonte Farm had better results in the Totesport.com Middleton Stakes
(Eng-II), run 30 minutes prior to the Dante. Making a successful return to the
races was Midday, a dual champion and
the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) winner.
Ridden as always by Tom Queally, the daughter of Oasis Dream
sat just behind the early leader, Sajjhaa (King’s Best), for much of the race,
until taking the lead and drawing off in the final furlong. It was the first
time that the 5-year-old mare won her seasonal debut, and her connections are
eagerly looking forward to her 2011 campaign, which will hopefully lead to
another attempt at the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Finishing third in the Middleton was Midday’s stablemate Timepiece (Zamindar), a half-sister to
stakes winners Passage of Time and Father Time. A multiple listed winner in England,
it would seem that Timepiece might benefit from a switch to the U.S.
in order to capture that elusive graded stakes victory.
of Lockinge Stakes on Tap
A top-notch field will face the starter at Newbury on
Saturday when 10 runners will contest the JLT Lockinge Stakes (Eng-I). Group I
winners (and stablemates) Canford Cliffs and Dick Turpin will square off once
again in the eight-furlong contest. The Richard Hannon trainees faced each
other twice last year, with each colt earning a victory. This will be the second
start of the year for Dick Turpin, who captured the bet365 Mile (Eng-II) last
month, while it will mark the seasonal debut of Canford Cliffs.
Juddmonte Farm will send out a pair in Twice Over and
Cityscape. Twice Over enters the Lockinge off of a subpar effort in the Dubai
World Cup (UAE-I). Prior to that, the son of Observatory was impressive in the
Al Maktoum Challenge-R3 (UAE-II) at Meydan. A multiple group I winner over 10
furlongs, this will be the first time that Twice Over will be shortening up to
the eight furlong distance.
Making the jump into group I company will be Cityscape, who
is trained by Roger Charlton for Juddmonte Farm. The chestnut son of Selkirk
most recently finished a strong second to Dick Turpin in the bet365 Mile.
Other contenders include Premio Loco, Red Jazz, and Shakespearean.