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Horse Racing News, Recaps, Replays August 1-2 2015

Horse Racing News, Recaps, Replays August 1-2 2015: 

Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap – Grade I – Six Furlongs – Three-Year-Olds and Up – Saratoga

Fan favorite The Big Beast was taken down in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (GI) by a relative newcomer in graded sprints, Rock Fall (Speightstown – Renda, by Medaglia d’Oro). The speedy four-year-old colt has collected six victories in seven starts, his last of which came in the Grade II True North Stakes in his first attempt in graded stakes company. His success there prompted trainer Todd Pletcher to enter his rising star into the Vanderbilt, a race that turned into a match between Rock Fall and the looming The Big Beast. Rock Fall ran in third three-wide in the early stages of the race before being forced four-wide, but his trip would not be his downfall. With a furlong left, Rock Fall and The Big Beast hooked up and gallantly battled it out to the wire, but it was Rock Fall who prevailed by a nose.

Jim Dandy Stakes – Grade II – 1-1/8 Miles – Three-Year-Olds – Saratoga

Texas Red (Afleet Alex – Ramatuelle, by Jeune Homme) looks to be back in winning form after claiming a brave victory over Belmont runner-up Frosted in the Jim Dandy Stakes (GII). The gorgeous bay son of Afleet Alex took the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) last year, but an injury kept him off the racetrack for a few months. He returned with runner-up performances in the San Vicente Stakes (GII) and Dwyer Stakes (GII), and he returned to the winner’s circle in this third try. In a four-horse field, Texas Red had a bit of a rough beginning when Frosted came into him at the start, but he got out fine and settled quite close to the pace. By the eighth pole Texas Red had overtaken Japan and had enough fight left to hold off a closing Frosted by a neck.

West Virginia Derby – Grade II – 1-1/8 Miles – Three-Year-Olds – Mountaineer

Madefromlucky (Lookin At Lucky – Home From Oz, by Pulpit) claimed his second graded stakes win thanks to an impressive performance in the West Virginia Derby (GII). The runner-up to American Pharoah in the Rebel Stakes (GII) opted to bypass the Kentucky Derby (GI) and instead took the Peter Pan Stakes (GIII) in preparation for a start in the Belmont Stakes (GI). Although he finished sixth in the Belmont, Madefromlucky put it all together to get a win for Todd Pletcher in the West Virginia Derby. Under jockey Joe Bravo, Madefromlucky ran easily in the five-path, and down the homestretch he began to make his move. He battled with rival Souper Colossal for a moment, but by the wire he had cleared that foe by 1-1/2 lengths.

Clement L. Hirsch Stakes – Grade I – 1-1/16 Miles – Three-Year-Old and Up Fillies and Mares – Del Mar

There was little doubt that Beholder (Henny Hughes – Leslie’s Lady, by Tricky Creek) would fail in the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (GI). Now a five-year-old mare, the dual champion has found victory 13 times in 18 lifetime starts and is unbeaten on the year with wins in the Santa Lucia Stakes, Adoration Stakes (GIII), and now the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes. Among a field of eight, Beholder was the overwhelming favorite with the good mare Warren’s Veneda claiming the second favorite status. Guided by regular jockey Gary Stevens, Beholder was reined back into third to stalk the pacesetters, but by the final turn she was in the lead. Under mild urging, Beholder surged to the finish line seven lengths in front of closest challenger Yahilwa.

William Hill Haskell Invitational – Grade I – 1-1/8 Miles – Three-Year-Olds – Monmouth

As if there were ever any doubts, American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile – Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman) made a successful return to racing after his historic Triple Crown championship with a dominating win in the William Hill Haskell Invitational (GI).The bay colt is almost certainly the best three-year-old in the country after his Triple Crown campaign, and his ensuing victory in the Haskell just reiterated his superiority. Competitive Edge set the pace of the Haskell while American Pharoah patiently waited in second. Jockey Victor Espinoza let American Pharoah go around the last turn, and the phenomenal colt responded with an easy run to the finish line that saw him beat a closing Keen Ice by an unhurried 2-1/4 lengths.

Shuvee Handicap – Grade III – 1-1/8 Miles – Three-Year-Old and Up Fillies and Mares – Saratoga

Stopchargingmaria (Tale of the Cat – Exotic Bloom, by Montbrook) topped champion Untapable in an exciting rendition of the Shuvee Handicap (GIII) at Saratoga. The four-year-old dark bay filly was far from a longshot in the race since she claims multiple graded stakes victories, including wins in the Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes (GIII), Alabama Stakes (GI), and Coaching Club American Oaks (GI), among others. From the start of the Shuvee, Stopchargingmaria challenged Untapable and only backed off for a moment on the backstretch. She went back to work at wearing down her tough opponent in the homestretch, and under good handling by jockey Javier Castellano, Stopchargingmaria managed to put that rival away to win by a length.