Quality racing was back in full force last weekend with Grade 1 events at Aqueduct and Del Mar. The Southern California racing circuit turning to Los Alamitos this coming weekend. The Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks trails kept rolling at Aqueduct, where also contested was the Grade 1 Cigar Mile. Let’s see how it all played out and who made our Three Stars of the Week:
Last time out, Patternrecognition won his first graded stakes in the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park, then he upped the ante last Saturday when winning his first Grade 1 event. On paper, the Grade 1 Cigar Mile looked like it would be a pace meltdown because several speed horses had entered in the race. In the end, however, that never materialized, as the Chad Brown-trained Patternrecognition made the lead all by his lonesome, and once that happened, he never looked back, rolling to a wire-to-wire win by 3/4 of a length. There will be many options for this horse heading into 2019. He truly is improving with each start that he makes.
2. Raging Bull
The bull is back! Raging Bull got hot over the summer at Saratoga; however, he struggled in the Grade 2 Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park leading up to this race. Like normal, Raging Bull sat near the back of the field in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby, the made a giant move on the turn and down the stretch to win the race by a 1/2-length. The Chad Brown-trained colt is now 5-for-7 in his career with earnings of $584,500. The sky could be the limit for this colt heading into 2019. Brown will likely point him to some major races at either Gulfstream or on the NYRA circuit.
After winning the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby on Saturday, Chad Brown was back Sunday for the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes, winning this one with the late-closing Uni. Much like Raging Bull the day before, Uni dropped tremendously far back down the backstretch before coming with a massive run down the lane to win the race over Daddy Is a Legend by a 1/2-length. Uni finished 2018 with a perfect 4-for-4 record while pushing her career earnings to nearly $900,000. One other important thing to note: it was a great weekend for Joel Rosario, who was the rider of both stakes winners Uni and Raging Bull, as well as Sauce On Side‘s thrilling victory.