Weekend Recap: Lady Speightspeare Wins, Japan Buys Up Keeneland, and More

This weekend saw three thrilling graded stakes races at Woodbine Racetrack in Ontario, Canada. In the Grade III Maple Leaf Stakes, Skygaze and Sister Otoole, both horses I picked in the top three, finished 1-2 with Skygaze returning to her winning ways after slipping up last time out at the Ontario Matron Stakes. Meanwhile, in the headlining race, the Grade II Bessarabian Stakes, Lady Speightspeare, my pick to win, did just that as she sat in a perfect stalking position and pulled away down the stretch. The story of Lady Speightspeare’s return to the winner’s circle after nearly a year of inactivity following a two-year-old campaign that looked like it would culminate with a Breeders’ Cup appearance is really one of the better stories in the sport. She looked to be much the best in the race and from a betting standpoint provided a wonderful return on investment as she went off at 6-1 and a $2 win bet paid off over $13.00. On Sunday, the reigning Canadian Horse of the Year, Mighty Heart, showed a lot of heart and wired the field at the Grade II Autumn Stakes with Sir Winston, Special Forces, and Halo Again right behind.

In addition to recapping those races, I cover other things I got right and wrong from the previous weekend and then spend time discussing the big stories from the last week. The fallout from the Modern Games debacle continued as leadership at the Breeders’ Cup failed to recognize the significance of not allowing the horse to run for parimutuel bets, which is a slap in the face to the bettors of the sport. Additionally, I cover the breaking news that the state-of-the-art timing devices used at the Breeders’ Cup malfunctioned or just didn’t work since Equibase has had to change the official times of three races. It’s one thing for this to happen on a weekly basis in New York and New Jersey, but for it to happen on the sport’s biggest stage is simply unacceptable. Finally, I talk about the splash Japanese interests made at the Keeneland sales this past week which saw household names like Swiss Skydiver, Estilo Talentoso, and Aunt Pearl all purchased by Japanese buyers in their quest to find the best Kentucky broodmares. The internationalization of the sport is in full effect.

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