The Duke Weekend Review – Stephen Yarborough remembered

Before we look back upon the weekend’s racing, we must pay tribute to stalls handler Stephen Yarborough, who was tragically killed at Haydock on Friday.

This column’s preview had already been written and published before the full extent of the situation was known. Unfortunately, Stephen was run over by the starting stalls before the fourth race and died as a result of his injuries. An investigation is continuing in to exactly how this could have happened, but it does highlight the dangers that professionals face by working on racecourses.

When we sit and watch races, whether that be in the comfort of our own homes or in the beautifully maintained racecourses up and down the land, it’s easy to forget how many people dedicate their days to providing us with such rich enjoyment.

Racegoers to Newbury on Saturday witnessed Magical Memory making light work of his rivals in the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes. Hopefully you managed to get your money on him, because as we mentioned in the weekend preview, he was “an absolute steal”. Our other two tips for Saturday didn’t do quite so well, but we’ll hastily move on.

And that’s probably exactly what Bob Baffert and team are thinking after Arrogate’s loss in the San Diego Handicap at Del Mar over the weekend.

The world’s current highest rated racehorse ran a stinker. It’s not often you see a 1/20 favourite overturned. Punters at the track must have been rubbing their eyes to see if they were looking at the same horse who had demolished his rivals in the Travers Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Classic, Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup over the past year. Indeed, there was a look of bewilderment among the Arrogate fans. If he runs like that again, he’ll be heading straight to the breeding barn.

One horse who has barely put a foot wrong in her career, if you’ll excuse the phrase, is Lady Eli. In 2015, the Chad Brown-trained Lady Eli overcame a battle with laminitis after she had stepped on a nail, but she has returned to be as wonderful as ever on the track. Her latest win at Saratoga in the Diana Stakes makes it five Grade 1s and I for one, can’t wait to see her in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf later in the season, which will most likely be her final race before retirement.

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