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– 1st Star: American Pharoah (KY) – The Rebel Stakes was undoubtedly a weak race this year, but the 30,000 people who braved the rain to attend the races on Saturday may have watched the next Kentucky Derby winner. American Pharoah, the 2014 2 year old colt of the year, was ultra impressive in his 3 year old debut winning the Rebel by 8 lengths and running a beyer speed figure of 100. The scary part about those impressive numbers is the horse was barely asked to do much running…he basically galloped a triple digit beyer! The races are certainly going to get tougher from here on out, but the brilliance this horse has displayed is something for all of racing to be excited about.
– 2nd Star: Gold Medal Dancer (KY) – The Azeri Stakes was supposed to be a total walk over for the 2014 Breeders Cup Distaff and Kentucky Oaks winner Untapable, but Gold Medal Dancer had other ideas. After setting reasonable fractions on the front end, Gold Medal Dancer and Untapable were head and head in the stretch, but it was Gold Medal Dancer who surprising put away the champ as Untapable could not match strides and had to settle for second. Untapable is likely to improve off of this performance, but you can’t take away the great race Gold Medal Dancer ran and the great job Donnie K Von Hemel did to get this horse to win at this level.
– 3rd Star: Race Day (KY) – It’s hard to beat Pletcher in the Razorback Handicap! For the second year in the row he sent a shipper into Oaklawn, and for the second year in the row he picked up a victory. This time it was Race Day who got the job done, over an extremely tough Midnight Hawk who battled him all the way to the wire. Those two were well clear of the others in the race, as several of the big horses didn’t fire. With this type of performance, the Oaklawn Handicap could be next.
– Tapiture (KY) – It was a bad day all around for trainer Steve Asmussen as his champion Untapable was beaten by Gold Medal Dancer in the Azeri Stakes, and Tapiture was a total non-factor in the Razorback Handicap. Tapiture could have been bothered by the sloppy track, however he easily captures the spot of flop of the week. Hopefully he can take a step forward next time out.
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