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An epic closing weekend for both Del Mar and Saratoga’s summer meets made narrowing down the top performers incredibly difficult. With honorable mentions to Pinehurst, Echo Zulu, Grace Adler, Going to Vegas, and Public Sector, here’s our latest Three Stars of the Week:
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This filly’s turn of foot on turf is something special. We’ve watched War Like Goddess sweep past her rivals like they’re maiden claimers in race after race while continuously stepping up in class, and the Bill Mott trainee is now a Grade 1 champion after winning Saturday’s Flower Bowl Stakes at Saratoga for fun. Though she went unraced at age 2 and barely made the races at 3, Mott’s patient handling and excellent spotting skills have made this 4-year-old victorious in 6 of 7 career starts. She’ll target the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) next.
It might not have been the toughest edition we’ve ever seen, but Saturday’s Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1) was a million-dollar race that allowed Max Player the chance to prove that his last-out Suburban Stakes (G2) score in the slop was no fluke. The Steve Asmussen trainee sat just off the pace on the fast dirt, then took over when asked and was much the best. His running style will serve him well in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), where multiple speed horses will try tackling the grueling 1 1/4-mile distance that Max Player has already proven to handle.
Though it came down to the wire, Gunite’s runaway Hopeful Stakes (G1) win Monday at Saratoga was simply too impressive to leave off. The Gun Runner baby boy was bumped at the break and fell behind briefly, but Ricardo Santana Jr. remained engaged and surged up the rail to challenge the pace. Gunite began opening up in the far turn and took off strongly in the stretch, giving Gun Runner a sweep of the weekend’s juvenile Grade 1s at The Spa. This was certainly an outstanding way to end the meet. Until next time!
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