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Las Vegas, NV - The 2012 racing season is coming to a close and for one North American track; Sunday marked the end of yet another exhilarating year of graded stakes action at Woodbine while the last graded stakes race of the year went down at Betfair Hollywood Park. Hollywood Park hosted two huge races on Saturday including one of the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" points races - the CashCall Futurity and Woodbine saw its last action of 2012 with the Valedictory on Sunday. Let's break down all of the weekend stakes action starting at Hollywood Park.
The uber-important and very lucrative Grade 1 $750,000 Cash Call Futurity headlined last weekend's graded stakes racing and represented yet another chance for us to get a glimpse into the talent that we may be looking at in next year's Kentucky Derby. Favored 6-5 Todd Pletcher pupil Violence remained unbeaten in three starts when he ran down front-running Fury Kapcori for victory by 1 1/4 lengths. Fury Kapcori led most of the way, fell back in the end but was able to hold off one of Bob Baffert's four entries Den's Legacy who finished third another 2 1/2 lengths behind. The stalking Oxbow was fourth at 60-1, followed by Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up He's Had Enough, Carving, Dirty Swagg, Little Jerry, Really Mr Greely, Simon Eyes, and Title Contender.
Also at Betfair Hollywood Park on Sunday the Grade 2 $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup was on the line for a rather large field of 10. It was 8-5 favorite, Irish bred Grandeur that improved upon his North American debut - a runner finish in the Hollywood Derby with a three quarters of a length win. Former Argentinean Horse of the Year Interaction finally showed some good form on North American soil and got up for second despite going off at 29-1 odds while D Wayne Lukas's Optimizer finished third in his fourteenth start of 2012. Fourth place Slim Shadey and fifth place Fire With Fire were followed by Bourbon Bay, who was second in the Turf Cup last year, Tiz Gianni, Grassy, Kindergarden Kid, and the Peruvian mare Private Affair.
In the Grade 3 nine horse Valedictory Stakes at Woodbine on Sunday, late developing Ontario homebred Heathcote led all the way and posted an upset win at 6-1 odds in his stakes debut by a whopping 12 1/4 lengths. Second choice Peyton finished a distant second while Quaesitor finished another 1 3/4 lengths back in third. Juddmonte Farms' filly Imperial Pippin, the 2-1 favorite shipped in from New York by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, stalked the leaders before giving way and finishing eighth in the nine-horse field.
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