Dubyuhnell won Aqueduct’s 1 1/8- mile Remsen Stakes in game fashion by a hard-fought half-length at the end of a stretch battle with runner-up Arctic Arrogance last Saturday (Dec. 3), 22 weeks before the 2023 Kentucky Derby.
Tuskegee Airmen, backed down to 6-5 favoritism in the Grade II affair, finished far behind the top pair on the sloppy track. In contention through the early furlongs, Tuskegee Airmen lost by 16 3/4 lengths. Seven started.
Trained by Danny Gargan, Dubyuhnell went off at odds of 4-1. Arctic Arrogance was the 2-1 second choice with the bettors.
Jose Ortiz rode $400,000 auction purchase Dubyuhnell, who has managed to put together back-to-back victories after a defeat at first asking.
When unveiled in a seven-furlong maiden contest at Saratoga on Sept. 3, Dubyuhnell finished fourth. The winner was Instant Coffee, who then perked up to win the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 26.
After Dubyuhnell’s debut, he rallied from sixth to win a one-turn one-mile maiden race going away by 3 1/2 lengths in the slop when blinkers were added to his equipment on Oct. 2. The Kentucky-bred colt is now two for two when competing on a sloppy track and likewise two for two with blinkers.
Dubyuhnell’s sire is Good Magic, who probably is best known for his victory in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in 2017 at Del Mar. Below is the first part of what I wrote in my 2017 BC Juvenile race recap for Xpressbet.com:
“Good Magic made history. He became the first maiden to ever win this race.
“Good Magic lurked within close range of the lead in the early going, came on to take command entering the stretch and widened in the last furlong to win by 4 1/4 lengths. Solomini, a pace factor from the start, finished second in the field of 12. Bolt d’Oro, the 3-5 favorite, came in third, one length behind Solomini.
“This was Good Magic’s third career start. It was his first race around two turns. Good Magic had finished second in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden sprint at Saratoga on Aug. 26, then ran second to Firenze Fire in the one-mile Champagne at Belmont on Oct. 7.
“Yes, Good Magic was a maiden going into this race. But he was not your typical maiden. He is listed as having been purchased for $1 million as a yearling at Keeneland. Good Magic sold for more as a yearling than Solomini ($270,000) and Bolt d’Oro ($630,000) combined.
“Good Magic is a Kentucky-bred son of Curlin and the Hard Spun mare Glinda the Good. With that pedigree, it should come as no surprise to see Good Magic win a Breeders’ Cup race. Curlin and Hard Spun finished one-two in the 2007 BC Classic on a sloppy track at Monmouth Park.”
WILL REMSEN DROUGHT CONTINUE?
Last year’s Remsen, like this year’s, had a fierce two-horse battle down to the wire. Mo Donegal eked out a nose victory over Zandon, with a gap of 9 3/4 lengths back to Midnight Chrome in third.
It’s indisputable that the top two finishers in the 2021 Remsen went on to be quality 3-year-olds. Mo Donegal won the Grade I Belmont Stakes. Zandon won the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes and ran third in the Grade I Kentucky Derby.
However, the Remsen has not been a harbinger of Kentucky Derby success in a very long time. Thunder Gulch won the Remsen in 1994. He’s the last Remsen victor to win the Run for the Roses. The long drought would not seem to bode well for Dubyuhnell vis-a-vis the 2023 Kentucky Derby. Hence, he does not crack my current Kentucky Derby Top 10, which is listed below:
1. Extra Anejo
2. Arabian Knight
4. Arabian Lion
5. Cave Rock
7. Giant Mischief
8. National Treasure
9. Echo Again
10. Instant Coffee
I predicted last week that Extra Anejo would win the Triple Crown next year. Now I’m concerned that something might possibly be amiss.
Daily Racing Form’s Marcus Hersh reported on Nov. 30 that “Extra Anejo, among the most exciting 2-year-old maiden winners of 2022, is expected to soon have his first workout since shipping into Fair Grounds from Kentucky in mid-November and could start Dec. 26 in the Gun Runner Stakes at Fair Grounds.”
According to Hersh, Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen termed the 1 1/16-mile Gun Runner the “most likely” spot for Extra Anejo’s second race.
However, as of Dec. 7, Extra Anejo had yet to have a published workout in New Orleans. His most recent workout listed by Equibase is a five-furlong bullet drill in :59.40 on Nov. 15 at Churchill Downs.
The lack of a published work since Nov. 15 makes me wonder just how “likely” it is that Extra Anejo will be running in a 1 1/16-mile race on Dec. 26.
SOLID BEYER SPEED FIGURE
Dubyuhnell splashed home to a final Remsen time of 1:50.88. He was credited with a solid Beyer Speed Figure, a career-best 90 after recording a 70 in his Sept. 3 debut and a 66 in his Oct. 20 maiden win.
Below are the Beyers for winners of the Remsen going back to 1991 (the first year the figures were listed in the American Racing Manual):
2022 Dubyuhnell (90)
2021 Mo Donegal (90)
2020 Brooklyn Strong (93)
2019 Shotski (86)
2018 Maximus Mischief (97)
2017 Catholic Boy (91)
2016 Mo Town (86)
2015 Mohaymen (95)
2014 Leave the Light On (90)
2013 Honor Code (88)
2012 Overanalyze (99)
2011 O’Prado Again (80)
2010 To Honor and Serve (102)
2009 Buddy’s Saint (82)
2008 Old Fashioned (100)
2007 Court Vision (76)
2006 Nobiz Like Shobiz (97)
2005 Bluegrass Cat (95)
2004 Rockport Harbor (102)
2003 Read the Footnotes (105)
2002 Toccet (101)
2001 Saarland (87)
2000 Windsor Castle (92)
1999 Greenwood Lake (91)
1998 Comeonmom (94)
1997 Coronado’s Quest (91)
1996 The Silver Move (91)
1995 Tropicool (94)
1994 Thunder Gulch (89)
1993 Go for Gin (95)
1992 Silver of Silver (96)
1991 Pine Bluff (93)
JULIA SHINING WINS DEMOISELLE
While Dubyuhnell is a grandson of Curlin, full sisters Malathaat and Julia Shining are by the 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year, who ranks high at No. 6 on my list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 21st Century so far to have won in North America. The five above Curlin are No. 1 Flightline, No. 2 American Pharoah, No. 3 Zenyatta, No. 4 Arrogate and No. 5 Ghostzapper.
When Julia Shining won Aqueduct’s Grade II Demoiselle Stakes last Saturday (Dec. 3), her performance was eerily similar to Malathaat’s when she took the 2020 edition.
Below is the first part of what I wrote in my 2020 BC Demoiselle recap for Xpressbet.com:
“Despite giving her numerous backers concern when seeming to struggle somewhat on the sloppy track as an overwhelming 2-5 favorite, Malathaat won last Saturday’s Grade II Demoiselle Stakes by three-quarters of a length at the Big A.
“Malathaat made it three wins in as many career starts by running down 3-1 second favorite Millefeuille in the last sixteenth. Malibu Curl finished third in the field of six 2-year-old fillies.”
In last Saturday’s Demoiselle, despite giving her numerous backers concern when seeming to struggle somewhat on the sloppy track as the overwhelming 1-2 favorite, Julia Shining won by a neck.
Julia Shining made it two wins in as many starts by running down 8-1 Affirmative Lady in the last sixteenth. Gambling Girl finished third in the field of seven 2-year-old fillies.
Luis Saez rode Julia Shining for Todd Pletcher. Hall of Famer Pletcher also conditioned Malathaat, who was retired after winning this year’s Grade I BC Distaff at Keeneland on Nov. 5.
Malathaat was the Eclipse Award-winning champion 3-year-old filly of 2021.
TOP PERFORMANCE OF 2013 RECALLED
Dreaming of Julia is the dam of both Malathaat and Julia Shining. I ranked Dreaming of Julia’s 21 3/4-length tour de force in the 1 1/8-mile Gulfstream Oaks as the best performance by a Thoroughbred in this country during 2013.
In addition to Dreaming of Julia’s huge margin of victory, her Gulfstream Oaks ranked as the top performance of 2013 because of the time of the race and her Beyer Speed Figure.
Dreaming of Julia’s final time was 1:48.97. On that same Gulfstream card, Orb won the Florida Derby at the same distance in 1:50.87. Orb subsequently won the Kentucky Derby as the favorite.
Dreaming of Julia was assigned a 114 Beyer Speed Figure for her Gulfstream Oaks victory. Orb recorded a 97 Beyer for his Florida Derby win. Dreaming of Julia’s 114 was the highest Beyer Speed Figure by a 3-year-old filly in 2013.
Below are my top performances of the year going back to 2004:
2022 (To be revealed during the first week of 2023)
2021 Flightline in the Grade I Malibu Stakes
2020 Swiss Skydiver in the Grade I Preakness Stakes
2019 City of Light in the Grade I Pegasus World Cup
2018 Justify in the Grade I Kentucky Derby
2017 Gun Runner in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic
2016 Arrogate in the Grade I Travers Stakes
2015 American Pharoah in the Grade I Belmont Stakes
2014 Wise Dan in the Grade II Bernard Baruch Handicap
2013 Dreaming of Julia in the Grade II Gulfstream Park Oaks
2012 I’ll Have Another in the Grade I Preakness
2011 Animal Kingdom in the Grade I Kentucky Derby
2010 Blame in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic
2009 Zenyatta in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic
2008 Big Brown in the Grade I Kentucky Derby
2007 Rags to Riches in the Grade I Belmont Stakes
2006 Barbaro in the Grade I Kentucky Derby
2005 Afleet Alex in the Grade I Preakness Stakes
2004 Ghostzapper in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic
MIND CONTROL CAPTURES CIGAR MILE
In the final start of Mind Control’s career, the Pletcher-trained 6-year-old son of Stay Thirsty won last Saturday’s Grade I Cigar Mile in a dramatic photo finish at odds of 3-1.
Despite having a reputation as a runner who does not care for a wet racing surface, Mind Control prevailed by a head on a sloppy track over 8-1 California invader Get Her Number. White Abarrio, off at 7-2, came in third, a half-length behind Get Her Number.
Zandon lacked early speed and failed to seriously threaten as the 3-5 favorite. He finished fourth, two lengths behind White Abarrio.
Mind Control exits the racing stage having won 12 of 29 lifetime starts and $2,185,334. To his credit, he was a graded stakes winner at ages 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Mind Control’s two previous Grade I victories came at 2 in the Hopeful Stakes and at 3 in the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes.
For his Cigar Mile performance, Mind Control posted a 100 Beyer Speed Figure. Interestingly, he did not get a triple-digit Beyer in the first 22 career starts. He then recorded a triple-digit figure in four of his final seven races.
Meanwhile, it wasn’t surprising how more than one headline writer characterized the outcome of last Sunday’s Grade I Matriarch Stakes at Del Mar, saying that the winner went out in a blaze of glory.
The winner was Regal Glory, who was making the final start of her stellar career.
One of six winners on Del Mar’s Sunday card ridden by Flavien Prat, Regal Glory was patiently handled in fourth early while the speedy Hamwood Flier opened a large lead on the backstretch. Passing the three-eighths pole, Hamwood Flier was eight lengths in front of her nearest pursuer.
However, by the time that Hamwood Flier reached the eighth pole, her advantage had shrunk to 2 1/2 lengths. Regal Glory was closing rapidly.
Regal Glory blew past the pacesetter in the final furlong and won by an emphatic 5 1/4 lengths as the 3-5 favorite. England’s Rose, off at odds of 17-1, nosed out 13-1 Pizza Bianca for second in the field of eight. Pizza Bianca, a 3-year-old taking on older rivals, won the Grade I BC Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar in 2021.
Hamwood Flier paid the price for going so fast through the first six furlongs (:23.58, :46.12, 1:09.81). She ended up fourth, a head behind Pizza Bianca.
Trained by Chad Brown, Regal Glory retires from racing with 13 victories from 23 lifetime starts and a bankroll of $2,619,134.
Similar to Mind Control, Regal Glory did not record a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure in her first 14 career starts. She then got a triple-digit Beyer in seven of her final nine races.
When Regal Glory won the 2022 Matriarch, she was assigned a 100 Beyer, slightly lower than her 101 when victorious in last year’s renewal.
Regal Glory is only the second multiple winner of the Matriarch. Flawlessly was a three-time winner (1991, 1992 and 1993) while on her way to induction into the Hall of Fame in 2004.
BIG-TIME SHOWDOWN IN 1984 MATRIARCH
I was in attendance when Kilijaro, trained by Charlie Whittingham and ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr., won the first Matriarch in 1981 at Hollywood Park. In the early 1980s, I was a writer for the Daily Racing Form on the Southern California circuit.
I also was on hand for the 1984 Matriarch, which featured a showdown for an Eclipse Award between the Woody Stephens-trained Sabin and the John Gosden-trained Royal Heroine.
Going into the Matriarch, Sabin was the leading candidate for the Eclipse as 1984 champion female turf horse. She had won eight of nine that year and was a perfect eight for eight vs. females in 1984 prior to the Matriarch. Sabin’s lone defeat during that nine-race sequence came when she ran seventh while facing males in the Grade I Man o’ War Stakes.
As Joe Hirsch noted in the American Racing Manual, Sabin “was not eligible for the Breeders’ Cup races, and her people decided against a supplementary nomination.”
Thus, after Sabin won the Grade I Yellow Ribbon Handicap at Santa Anita, she did not run in in a Breeders’ Cup race. Instead, she started as a 1-2 favorite in the Allez France Handicap on Hollywood Park’s grass course the day before the first Breeders’ Cup. Sabin won the one-mile Allez France in 1:33 2/5 to break the course record.
When I interviewed Stephens shortly after the Allez France, Sabin’s record-breaking final time had her Hall of Fame trainer beaming with pride.
“We’ll just see what that other filly does tomorrow,” Stephens crowed in an obvious reference to Royal Heroine.
Well, all that “other filly” did the next day was to win the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Mile against male foes while registering a sensational final time of 1:32 3/5, smashing Sabin’s course mark that had been set the day before. Royal Heroine’s 1:32 3/5 clocking also broke the American record for 1 1/8 miles on turf.
And so it was that an Eclipse Award was at stake after the Breeders’ Cup when Royal Heroine and Sabin clashed in the Matriarch.
Royal Heroine and jockey Fernando Toro won the Matriarch by one length. Finishing second was Reine Mathilde. The only time I have been at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, I witnessed Reine Mathilde’s triumph in the then-Group II Prix de l’Opera on the undercard. Reine Mathilde went on to win the E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine and a division of the Hollywood Derby vs. the boys prior to her runner-up effort in the Matriarch.
Sabin had to settle for third in the Matriarch. She finished three lengths behind Royal Heroine.
Stephens blamed Sabin’s Matriarch defeat on a yielding turf course, while Royal Heroine did indeed go on to be voted champion female grass horse of 1984.