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Thrills from coast to coast turned the final three-day weekend of prep races for the 2021 Breeders’ Cup, scheduled for November 5 and 6 at Del Mar. Keeneland was the sight of most of the action and thus produced our latest Three Stars of the Week:
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What a legendary season she’s put together so far. Sunday’s Spinster (G1) became her fifth straight victory, with 4 of those coming in Grade 1s and with a different set of 4 all offering Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” berths for the Distaff. She’s defeated every division runner in the eastern and central regions, so all that’s left is a date with destiny against the best from the west and beyond next month. No matter what happens next, she deserves to be a Horse of the Year finalist as much as anyone.
Nothing is more deadly than lone speed on turf, and Blowout proved that in spades with an ultra-gutsy gate-to-wire effort in Saturday’s First Lady (G1). Not only did she hold off her late-running Chad Brown stablemate (and fellow Peter Brant ownee) Regal Glory, but she also defeated a field that included five Grade 1 champions and three additional graded stakes winners. Her only off-the-board effort in 14 starts came immediately prior to the First Lady, so it was nice to see the consistent mare turn things around. If nothing else, she’ll play a major pace presence in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf after taking this “Win and You’re In” event.
Ignore the paltry 88 Beyer Speed Figure that he was assigned for his efforts in Saturday’s Woodford (G2) because that was perhaps the superstar turf sprinter’s most impressive victory yet. After setting a moderately quick opening tempo in his first test versus older horses in America, 3-year-old Golden Pal came under pressure from Firecrow, a 5-year-old whose May turf stakes win set a new course record covering 5 furlongs at historic Pimlico. Golden Pal, however, was less than impressed, and despite Firecrow taking a narrow lead at the top of the stretch, he fought back and quickly cleared away to win. Firecrow, meanwhile, was devastated and finished next-to-last. Rumor has it the turf course is still littered with pieces of his broken heart, courtesy of Golden Pal’s turn of foot.
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