Owner Godolphin and British trainer Charlie Appleby sent three horses to Woodbine for Grade 1 assignments over the weekend, on Sunday 2-year-olds Albahr and Wild Beauty made it a clean three-for-three sweep with victories in Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” races.
Albahr won the $316,618 Summer Stakes Sunday afternoon at the Toronto track, one race after stablemate Wild Beauty captured the $314,426 Natalma Stakes for fillies. On Saturday, Walton Street won the Pattison Canadian International Stakes, and in addition to the Woodbine victories, Godophin-owned and Appleby-trained Yibir won the Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes Saturday at Belmont Park. Famed international jockey Frankie Dettori rode all three of Godolphin’s Grade 1 winners at Woodbine.
"That's really what it's all about, winning these big races around the world," said assistant trainer Alex Merriam, while paying tribute to the Godolphin patriarch Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. "So just like him it's for Charlie and all the team. It's been a great effort."
In winning the Summer Stakes, Albahr extended his win streak to four and earned a fees-paid berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Nov. 5 at Del Mar. In his most recent start, the Dubawi gelding captured the Aug. 20 Longines Irish Champions Weekend EBF Stonehenge Stakes at Salisbury.
Albahr, the 0.65-1 favorite in the Summer, hopped at the start and was seventh of nine through the first quarter-mile. First Empire showed the way up front and continued to lead the field through a half-mile in :47.93.
Dettori took Albahr two-wide through the turn and swung his mount out as the field entered the stretch. Albahr then rallied past his rivals and won by 2 ¼ lengths under a brisk hand ride. The final time for the mile on turf course rated good was 1:35.77.
Albahr has now won four of five career starts and earned $235,181.
"Albahr had been in decent form, he's tough," said Merriam, adding that the Godolphin runners will be returning to England before decisions on the Breeders' Cup or any other engagements are finalized.
In the Natalma Stakes, Wild Beauty, a daughter of leading young sire Frankel, overcame a troubled start to earn her first graded stakes win. She earned an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, also on Nov. 5 at Del Mar, with the victory.
Leaving from post position 5, the filly was bumped and squeezed from both sides, nearly going down on her haunches and losing all position to trail the field of 10 in the early going of the one-mile race. Japanese-bred Cardio Princess set the pace with the other nine 2-year-olds trailing behind her and Wild Beauty bringing up the rear, some 12 lengths back.
As Cardio Princess reeled off swift quarter-mile fractions of :23.35 and :47.03, Dettori was settling Wild Beauty and commencing a steady, deliberate approach, at first picking off three horses to race in seventh and then swinging her seven-wide coming into the stretch.
Wild Beauty eagerly and willingly ran as soon as Dettori let her, sweeping past her rivals to win by 2 ¼ lengths as the post-time 1.45-1 favorite. The final time was 1:35.08.
"She jumped, and then she was squeezed, and she just dropped back out of the pocket," said Dettori in a post-race interview on NBCSN. "It was my luck they went way too fast. Charlie (Appleby) couldn't emphasize enough her stamina. He said, 'Ride her in the European style. Kick at the quarter pole and let them catch you.' He was right."
Dettori believes that both of Sunday's winners would be suited to the turf course at Del Mar.
"(Wild Beauty is) tough," he said. "She'll take everything at Del Mar, the tight turns.
"(Albahr has) got a tendency to go left as well, so he'll be suited for Del Mar. For the filly, she needs more luck, because as you see she wasn't that fast with those, but they were both great today, and have both earned their shots." –Christine Oser and Teresa Genaro