Homeracing

Who Is the most impressive summer winner?

Profile Picture: Nicolle Neulist

September 8th, 2021

With the summer meets at Saratoga and Del Mar over, it's a good time to look back.

Let's check out some of the most eye-catching performances of the summer at these two meets, and then let us know — which winner was the most impressive?

Flightline

Flightline turned heads in an allowance dirt sprint Sept. 5 at Del Mar.

His return was eagerly awaited, as he debuted April 24 with a frontrunning, 13 1/4-length victory.

In his first race against winners, he proved he could rate, raced just off of Notre Dame, took the lead on the turn, and then jetted clear to win by 12 3/4 lengths.

The waters only get deeper from here, but he now has two impressive victories, as well a pedigree that should serve him well as he stretches out.

Grace Adler

Bet down to 2-5 in her debut July 31 at Del Mar, Grace Adler had to work for her debut win.

In the Del Mar Debutante (G1) Sept. 5, she was not as well fancied and slipped away at 9-2. That day, she could easily have been mistaken for a 2-5 shot.

Well settled, as a group of her foes disputed the pace, she got rolling around the turn. She circled the leading line five wide, rolled clear in upper stretch, and kept on going to win by 11 1/4 lengths.

Over the course where the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) will be run later this year, she has marked herself a filly to watch.

Jackie's Warrior

After a long rain delay, Jackie's Warrior and Drain the Clock threw down early in the Amsterdam S. (G2) on Aug. 1. They battled through fractions of 21.46 and 43.85, but Jackie's Warrior pulled ahead by 2 1/2 lengths.

However, he went so fast that one had to wonder who was going to make a race of it down the lane. It turned out, no one did.

Jackie's Warrior only needed the lightest hand ride to keep bounding clear of his foes and crossed the wire 7 1/4 lengths ahead.

Though Jackie's Warrior doesn't need to win in a blowout — he returned to win the H. Allen Jerkens S. (G1) by a gritty neck over Life Is Good — he looked dominant in the Amsterdam.

Knicks Go

In the Whitney S. (G1) on Aug. 7, Knicks Go hit the gas pedal into the first turn. Down the backstretch of 1 1/8-mile race, he opened up a yawning lead and set fast fractions for the distance — 23.42 for the quarter and 46.76 for the half.

The rest of the field took their shots. Swiss Skydiver tipped out for her bid approaching the quarter pole. Silver State took aim up the rail into the lane. Maxfield split horses in upper stretch.

Knicks Go kept finding. He not only held his pursuers at bay but drew away under a hand ride to win by 4 1/4 lengths.

Yaupon

Off as the 2-1 favorite, Yaupon was expected to win the Forego S. (G1) on Aug. 28. However, no one expected him to win the race in quite the way he did.

Firenze Fire kept coming from the outside and ran as good a race as he has ever run away from Belmont Park. Then, near the sixteenth pole, Firenze Fire began to bite at Yaupon. He kept biting. Yaupon kept on, shockingly unperturbed, his mind more focused on winning the race than on acknowledging the mayhem on the right side of his head.

Firenze Fire finally stopped biting near 40 yards out and began to get his momentum back, but it was too late. Yaupon crossed the wire a head in front.

Who was the most impressive winner at Saratoga or Del Mar in the summer of 2021?


Last week, we asked you to pick the greatest Flower Bowl S. winner, and we had a tie that might surprise you. With 38% of the vote apiece, it was a dead heat between 1991 winner Lady Shirl and 2014-2015 winner Stephanie's Kitten!

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