Sunshine Forever, the heavy favorite in Sunday’s $750,000 Budweiser International at Laurel, Md., appeared to be beaten in the midstretch, but came on to defeat two French horses by a neck.
Ridden by Angel Cordero, Sunshine Forever took command and led most of the way around the far turn, but was overtaken by Squill.
Squill extended his advantage to a length inside the final 1/16th of a mile before Sunshine Forever challenged.
“I thought I was beat at the eighth pole when two horses went by me,” Cordero said. “I was hoping they wouldn’t know where the wire was and stop riding at the normal finish line.”
Frankly Perfect, a French colt ridden by Walter Swinburn, rallied inside the winner and finished second by a half-length over Squill.
Sunshine Forever, a winner of back-to-back Grade I stakes in his two previous starts, made it three straight by covering 1 miles over a firm turf course in 2 minutes 3 seconds.
The 3-year-old son of Roberto, owned by Darby Dan Farms and trained by John Veitch, won for the eighth time in 11 starts this year and boosted his 1988 earnings to $1,583,636 with the International’s $450,000 winner’s purse.
Sent off the 4-5 favorite in the field of 14 international turf runners, Sunshine Forever paid $3.60, $3 and $2.80. Frankly Perfect returned $10.40 and $6.40 and Squill paid $6.
Dancing All Night drew away through the final furlong and won by 8 lengths in the $187,200 Long Island Handicap for fillies and mares 3 years old and up at Aqueduct in New York.
Dancing All Night raced coupled in the wagering with Dutchess Best and carried Julian Vazquez for 1 1/2 miles on the turf course in 2:34 1-5. Casey was second, a length ahead of Gaily Gaily.
With the victory, her third in nine starts this year, Dancing All Night earned $112,320 for Ogden Phipps. The entry returned $27.60, $8.60 and $4.80. Casey paid $5 and $4.80 and Gaily Gaily was $4.40.
Gary Stevens rode favored Mohamed Abdu to a neck victory over Mazilier in the $110,550 Col. F.W. Koester Handicap at Santa Anita.
Stevens, chasing leading jockey Pat Valenzuela for the Oak Tree meeting riding championship, had the 4-year-old Irish-bred on the lead from a few strides out of the gate, and the winner withstood a strong bid from Mazilier to earn $65,550 for his victory.
Mohamed Abdu paid $6.20, $3.20 and $2.40 after running in 1:34 2/5, just one-fifth slower than the track record. Mazilier paid $3 and $2.40. Deputy Governor, ridden by Eddie Delahoussaye, was 2 3/4 lengths back in third and paid $2.40.
A crowd of 33,406 saw Stevens earlier win the third race on Bright and Right, the fourth on Walking Flower, and the sixth on Pete’s Pocketful. Valenzuela was 10 winners ahead in the jockey race going into Sunday’s card.