The Breeders’ Cup hangover is a real thing. All of last week seemed to be spent on Breeders’ Cup reflections; however, we still had a few performances worthy of recognition. Del Mar opened up for their winter meeting, while Churchill Downs and Aqueduct carried on with their normal solid racing. Let’s take a look at our latest Three Stars of the Week:
1. Hot Springs
Hot Springs became the latest graded stakes winner from the Steve Asmussen barn on Saturday evening when he took home the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs. Going off at odds of 9/5, the son of Uncle Mo dropped to the back early in the race, while saving ground on the rail throughout the backstretch run. At the eighth pole he shot to the outside, while flying past his rivals to win the race by 1 1/2 lengths. The win gives him 4 victories from 7 starts in his career, with earning near $250,000. The turf stakes series at Fair Grounds could be where we see this horse land next.
2. Spiced Perfection
There was no denying Spiced Perfection in Sunday’s Betty Grable Stakes at Del Mar. After stalking the pace throughout the race, she barreled her way through a small opening in the stretch between horses, while simply dominating down the lane to win by 2 1/4 lengths. This victory gives her 3 stakes wins in her career, while pushing her earnings up to $275,125. This race was visually impressive for a Cal-Bred event, which means they could try this filly in open company next. There will be several options for her next outing, regardless of what they decide.
The richest event of the weekend was the Artie Schiller Stakes at Aqueduct, which had to be taken off the turf, leaving us with a field of just 4 horses. That gave a big advantage to Exulting, who was the horse best equipped to handle the dirt. Going off at odds of 1/2, Exulting sat right off the lead for most of the race, before going to the front on the turn. Once he got the lead it was over, as he cruised to an easy 2 1/2 length victory. The win was the biggest of his career, while serving as his first ever stakes victory.