Harmonize, Time and Motion impress on both coasts
We saw two of the best horses in training appear on opposite coasts on Saturday and neither disappointed. Champion California Chrome roared home a sublime winner of the Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar, while the otherworldly Songbird strolled home to yet another daylight win to run her perfect mark to 10 in the Alabama S. (G1) at Saratoga Race Course. While I will take nothing away from this dynamic duo, much of my focus was on a pair of turf races for sophomore fillies over the weekend.
At Del Mar, HARMONIZE shipped west for the Del Mar Oaks (G1) for conditioner Bill Mott and was game in victory, turning in a strong late rally. The steadily improving sophomore daughter of Scat Daddy showed a lot of heart inside the final furlong after being headed by the runner that was eventually second. I love her stride, love her connections and also the fact that she seemingly always fires.
A bargain $80,000 purchase, Harmonize is still improving, earning a career-best 94 BRIS Speed number in this turf affair, and should be a mainstay in the Grade 1 ranks this season and beyond.
TIME AND MOTION is trained by one of my all-time favorites in Jimmy Toner and the Tapit filly raced closer to the pace in the Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga than previous starts. The new tactic paid off as she turned the tables on the exquisite Catch A Glimpse, who was previously unbeaten on the lawn.
Now a three-time stakes winner, Time and Motion has won four of five races in 2016, her lone loss coming in the Belmont Oaks (G1) by a diminishing half-length, and the bay has posted sturdy BRIS Speed figures of 95, 96 and 95 in her last trio. The surging filly showed excellent versatility last time and looks to have even more room for improvement.
Harmonize and Time and Motion have faced off on a trio of occasions, with the latter finishing ahead of her fellow turf standout on each occasion, but I think the gap is closing (as the recent BRIS Speed figs indicate) and it would be great to see them face off at Keeneland in the Queen Elizabeth II S. (G1) this fall, followed by a run in the Filly and Mare Turf (G1) on Breeders’ Cup weekend where I think both will be live.