Art Collector pulls away to win Blue Grass at Keeneland

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Art Collector took a big step toward the Kentucky Derby, pulling away from the filly Swiss Skydiver in the stretch in the Blue Grass at Keeneland for his first graded stakes victory.

The Kentucky-bred son of Bernardini and Distorted Legacy by Distorted Humor started the $600,000, Grade 2 event from the No. 3 post and battled Shivaree and Swiss Skydiver to the far turn. Rushie joined the chase at the final turn, but before Art Collector and Swiss Skydiver separated themselves from the 13-horse field. The two ran side by side before Art Collector took control at the 1/8th pole in the 3+-length win.

“He’s a really good horse,” jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. said. “If you go back and watch all his replays, he’s just a very athletic horse. I think one of the most impressive races he ran was the day at Churchill he got shuffled around and almost fell down. I almost pulled him up, but he ran again. From that day on, we always believed he was a really good horse. It’s been a fun ride.”

Art Collector improved to 3-0 this year and has four wins and a second in eight starts. The colt earned 100 points toward the 146th Derby on Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs.

He covered 1 1/8 mile in 1:48.11 and paid $6.60, $4 and $3.20.

Swiss Skydiver, who’s dominating the Kentucky Oaks standings, returned $4.20 and $3.40 and earned 40 points in her first race against males. Rushie paid $4 while Enforceable earned 10 points for fourth.

Stradivarius, 3-time Ascot Gold Cup winner, retired to stud

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LONDON – Stradivarius, one of the most famous racehorses in Britain and Ireland after winning the Gold Cup at Ascot three times, has been retired to stud.

Bjorn Nielsen, the owner of Stradivarius, said he felt it would be unfair to make the horse come back next season as a 9-year-old after time away with a bruised foot.

“It has been a fairytale from start to finish,” Nielsen told British newspaper The Racing Post.

Stradivarius, bred in Ireland and the son of Sea The Stars, won 20 of his 35 races – including seven Group One races – and earned almost 3.5 million pounds (now $3.8 million) in prize money.

Stradivarius won four Goodwood Cups, three Yorkshire Cups and two Doncaster Cups.

Taiba wins $1 million Pennsylvania Derby for Baffert

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BENSALEM, Pa. – Taiba won the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby by three lengths for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.

Ridden by Mike Smith, Taiba ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.67 and paid $4.80, $3 and $2.60.

It was Baffert’s fourth win in the Grade 1 event at Parx Racing. He also won in 2014, 2017 and 2018. Smith won the race for the third time, all aboard Baffert horses.

Zandon returned $3.80 and $2.60. Cyberknife was another 3 3/4 lengths back in third and paid $3 to show.

Taiba was coming off a second-place finish in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth in July. The colt was 12th in the Kentucky Derby under Tim Yakteen, who took over training him while Baffert was serving a 90-day suspension.

“He had a little bit of a rough trip in the Haskell, but we had some time to get him ready for this one,” Baffert said from his base in California. “He proved today he is a good horse. He is getting better and better.”

Baffert Taiba will be pointed toward the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic in November. The colt has three wins in five starts this year.