Horse Racing

Xigera, Star Fortress Top Thanksgiving Stakes Results

Rigney Racing’s Xigera  continued her march through the female dirt stakes ranks, romping by 6 1/2 lengths in the $400,000 Falls City Stakes (G3) on Thanksgiving Day at Churchill Downs for her third consecutive stakes victory.

The heavily favored 3-year-old daughter of Nyquist   delivered when cut loose from a stalking position in third on the second turn by jockey Julien Leparoux. Xigera took command and pulled away to complete 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.75 on a fast main track. She paid $2.30 for a $2 win wager.

Music Street  won a three-way photo for the minor awards, grabbing the runner-up spot by a head over front-running Jag Warrior . Misty Veil  was another nose back in fourth. 

Rigney Racing and trainer Phil Bauer won a second consecutive Falls City after success in 2022 with the now-retired Played Hard .

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Video: Falls City S. (G3)

Star Fortress By 10 Lengths in Cardinal Stakes

A blowout victory also took place in the $267,500 Cardinal Stakes (G3T) at Churchill when Star Fortress , making her first start in the United States, rallied from last and drew away by 10 lengths over favored Saffron Moon . Lovely Moon  was third.

Star Fortress wins the 2023 Cardinal Stakes at Churchill Downs
Photo: Coady Photography/John Gallagher

Star Fortress wins the Cardinal Stakes at Churchill Downs

Luis Saez rode the Cherie DeVaux-trained winner, a 4-year-old Sea the Stars  filly for owners John D. Gunther and Eurowest Bloodstock Services. She ran 1 1/8 miles over “good” turf in 1:51.10 to record her first stakes win. Star Fortress ($14.68) had been stakes placed in Europe with a 1-1-2 record in seven starts.

The Cardinal was the only one of three scheduled grass races to remain on the Churchill Downs turf course Nov. 23. Just two races— both graded stakes—have been run on the troubled course since Nov. 10.

Video: Cardinal S. (G3T)

Linda’s Gift Lulls Them to Sleep in Red Carpet

The 4-year-old filly Linda’s Gift —wheeling back on 12 days of rest—went gate-to-wire for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella in notching her first graded-stakes victory in the 1 3/8-mile, $101,000 Red Carpet Stakes (G3T) Thursday at Del Mar.

Linda’s Gift quickly established a 1 1/2-length lead early under Tiago Periera and managed to carve out pedestrian fractions of :26.00, :51.62 and 1.17.30 through an opening uncontested six furlongs.

From there, it was clear sailing for the Calumet Farm-bred filly, who went on to an easy, measured three-quarter length victory. She was never seriously challenged during the marathon stake turf event.

Owned by John Cronin, Anthony DiMarco, Michael Mandara, Fred Nicotra and Vincent Varvaro, the daughter of Arrogate finished the turf race in 2:17.80.

Linda&#39;s Gift and jockey Tiago Pereira win the Grade III $100,000 Red Carpet Stakes Thursday, November 23, 2023 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar, CA.<br>
Benoit Photo
Photo: Benoit Photo

Linda’s Gift scores in the Red Carpet Stakes at Del Mar

Linda’s Gift returned $7.80 to win. The Phil D’Amato-trained longshot Musical Rhapsody  finished second, while 8-5 favorite Sister Otoole  rallied belatedly to finish third.

Linda’s Gift is now 3-2-2 from 11 starts with earnings of $194,196.

Video: Red Carpet S. (G3T)

Miles Ahead Dominant in ThanksGiving Stakes

Jay Em Ess Stable’s 6-year-old gelding Miles Ahead  collected career win number 13 and his fifth stakes victory by easily defeating six other rivals in the six-furlong, $194,000 Thanksgiving Classic Stakes Thursday at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

Ridden by jockey Joe Talamo and trained by Paul McGee, Miles Ahead broke last but was quickly rushed into a perfect stalking fourth position while approaching the first quarter mile through an opening in :21.73 in the six-furlong race. He then made a steady, sustained three-wide rally afterpacesetter Super Ocho  past the half-mile marker in :44.56. At the top of the lane, he surged to the front, changed leads on command mid-stretch, and quickly powered past the front-runner Super Ocho by 4 1/2 widening lengths at the wire.

11/23/2023 - Joe Talamo aboard Miles Ahead outduels Super Ocho to win the $200,000 Guaranteed Thanksgiving Classic at Fair Grounds.  Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir
Photo: Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir

Miles Ahead powers to victory in the Thanksgiving Classic at Fair Grounds

The Competitive Edge   gelding completed the distance in a snappy 1:08.49.

Miles Ahead paid $4.60 to win. Super Ocho filled out the chalky exacta as the 8-5 second choice, and Kavod  rounded out the trifecta.

The winner, bred by Nicholas M. Lotz and Betsy Kelley, is now 13-7-3 from 32 career starts with earnings of $932,313.  

Video: Thanksgiving Classic S. (BT)


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