In today’s RaceBrief, here’s what we watched over the weekend:
- 3:02 p.m. GQ’s longshot play of the day and his best bet were in consecutive races. Best bet Raven Alexa cleared off to an early lead, kicked clear in the stretch, and just held on for a dead-heat for the win, paying $3.80 to win. Longshot play of the day Bulaga was bet down to 3.40-1, also cleared off to an early lead, but could not contain favored Tori’s Guy and settled for second.
- 3:28 p.m. Lady Sabelia took aim at her, and trainer Robin Graham’s, first Grade 1 score on Saturday in the Madison Stakes at Keeneland, but it was not to be. The five-year-old Majestic Warrior mare, based at Laurel Park, sprinted to a clear early lead in rapid fractions — 22 2/5 for the opening quarter, 44 3/5 for the half — before emptying out in the lane and finishing sixth. Princess Violet — a horse Lady Sabelia had defeated in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie at Laurel in February — earned the win, holding off Stopchargingmaria by a half-length. Lady Sabelia’s early exertions — the first half-mile of the race was run more than a second faster than the Grade 3 Commonwealth, at the same seven furlong distance, for boys, one race later — were the apparent culprit.
- 3:58 p.m. Gabby Gaudet got a 5-1 runner home in the first leg of her late Pick 3 and a 3-1 horse home in the final leg. In between, however, her preferred horses — Going to Market and A.P. Cino in Pimlico’s feature — were up close early but could not keep pace with River Rush who paid $9.00 to win in posting an eight-length score.
- 6:00 p.m. Univaled found the competition in the Grade 1 Bluegrass a little rougher than the maiden and allowance foes he’d thrashed in his prior two starts. The Marya Montoya trainee received the dreaded “never a threat” comment after finishing seventh of eight in the Kentucky Derby prep. He was beaten by 13 1/2 lengths.
- 6:04 p.m. Maryland-bred The Big Beast, winner of last year’s Grade 1 King’s Bishop, saw his four-race win streak snapped Saturday when he ran fourth in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct. The Tony Dutrow trainee was sent off as the favorite and ran willingly late but could do no better than a rally into fourth place. He was beaten 2 1/2 lengths for the win, which went to Big A-lover Dads Caps.
- 6:08 p.m. Stellar Wind continued to dazzle when she obliterated the field in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks by more than five lengths. The Virginia-bred has now won three straight races overall, the last two in graded company.
- 8:16 p.m. Pennsylvania-bred Triple Crown nominee Ruby’s Love ran a middling fourth of six in a maiden special weight event at Penn National. He was beaten by 10 1/2 lengths.
- 10:18 p.m. Fan favorite Immortal Eyes made a solid late run to earn second in a $25,000 optional claiming event at Charles Town Saturday night — perhaps his best effort in a year. After being in fourth early and finding himself a half-dozen lengths behind the leader, he angled out under Jevian Toledo and made a strong run to grab second, just three-quarters of a length behind winner and favorite War and Thunder.