Ken & Sarah Ramsey's International Star capped a trio of 3-year-old prep wins at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots March 28 with a game victory in the $750,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II).
The 5-year-old gelded son of Candy Ride, a former claimer, is now 3-for-3 at the 1 1/8-mile distance on the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots lawn, having aced the $300,000 Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Handicap (gr. IIT) March 28.
WinStar Farm's Commissioner put away stubborn rival Sr. Quisqueyano March 28 at Gulfstream Park, winning the $150,000 Skip Away (gr. III) by a head after a prolonged battle.
The 4-year-old filly Dolniya beat the boys March 28, taking the $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic Presented by Longines (UAE-I) at Meydan over Flintshire while American champion Main Sequence finished seventh.
Secret Circle powered home March 28 in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored by Gulf News (UAE-I), holding off the late-closing Super Jockey after running down a determined Rich Tapestry.
Champion Groupie Doll delivered her first foal on March 5, about a week before her original March 11 due date. The colt was rushed immediately to Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital near Lexington.
Two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan is progressing well since he returned to tack-walking, but the chestnut gelding will require 30 more days in his recovery from a non-displaced fracture before he can go to the track.
Claire Novak and Tom LaMarra handicap two Kentucky Derby prep races this week. The Louisiana Derby featuring International Star and the Besilu Stables Florida Derby featuring Upstart. watch video
WinStar Farm's Commissioner returned in 2015 with his connections hopeful of a trip to Dubai, but after he ran sixth in the Donn Handicap (gr. I), they shifted gears to the March 28 Skip Away (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.
Timothy Snyder, a trainer based at Finger Lakes Race Track and the owner of stakes winner Lisa's Booby Trap, died March 24 at his home near Camillus, N.Y. He was 59 years old.
Ranked second on the leaderboard for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and winner of two local preps, International Star will attempt to ace the $750,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds on March 28.
The transcript for the chat is now available. Read Transcript
A compact but experienced field will go out March 22 in the $100,000 Stymie Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack, as Evening Attire Stakes winner North Slope looks to fend off Micromanage and Vyjack.
Pine Bluff, winner of the 1992 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and a multiple graded stakes winner for breeder Loblolly Stable, has been confirmed dead by his final owner, Danny Fred Duncan of Duncan 21 and Change Farm in Texas.
Zayat Stables' Mr. Z, pointing for the March 28 Louisiana Derby (gr. II), after training March 15 at Oaklawn Park. watch video
- By Claire Novak
Champion American Pharoah March 15 at Oaklawn after winning the Rebel (gr. II) by 6 1/4 lengths. watch video
American Pharoah bobbled at the break but never looked back, galloping gate-to-wire to win the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. II) by 6 1/4 lengths in his season debut March 14 at Oaklawn Park.
Trainer Steve Asmussen said champion Untapable exited her runner-up effort in the $300,000 Azeri Stakes (gr. II) March 14 in good condition and will remain in training at Oaklawn Park until early April.
Untapable wasn't unstoppable in her season debut March 14, missing the victory by half a length to gate-to-wire winner Gold Medal Dancer in the $300,000 Azeri Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park.
A minor operation to place a pin in the right knee of champion 2-year-old filly Take Charge Brandi March 12 was a "textbook procedure," Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas reported March 13 at Oaklawn Park.
The 2-year-old champ walks off the racetrack in Arkansas March 13 after galloping in preparation for the March 14 Rebel Stakes (gr. II). Watch Video
This season Baffert comes in loaded for bear, with Zayat Stables' 2-year-old champion American Pharoah set to make his 2015 debut. American Pharoah has turned in a series of scintillating works at Santa Anita.
Take Charge Brandi will miss the March 14 Rebel Stakes (gr. II) with a non-displaced bone chip in her right knee. The injury will also prevent her from a run in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) or Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Jockey Alan Garcia plans to try his hand at the Woodbine colony when the meet there opens April 11, according to agent Anthony Esposito, who will manage his book.
Carpe Diem made his 2015 debut in style March 7, taking the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) at Tampa Bay Downs by five lengths. The Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up claimed his third win from four starts.
Dortmund preserved his undefeated record March 7, cruising gate-to-wire in the $400,000 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park. The son of Big Brown has won five in a row and looms on the road to the Kentucky Derby.
Zayat Stables' El Kabeir continued his success on the New York circuit March 7, running to a polished victory in the $400,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Ready for Rye became Tom Albertrani's third winner on the day when he upset favored Daredevil by 2 3/4 lengths in the seven-furlong Swale Stakes (gr. II) March 7 at Gulfstream. The trainer entered the card 0-for-60.
Tom LaMarra and Claire Novak preview the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) featuring Shared Belief, and also look at the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II). Watch Video
The would-be spoiler will get a chance at victory sans 'Brandi' March 7, as her more accomplished rival will start against boys March 14. Sarah Sis heads a group of nine sophomore fillies in the $150,000 Honeybee.
Last time out, the son of 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown ran to a brilliant victory in the Feb. 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II), fighting back on the inside after being passed by Firing Line to eke out the score.
- By Claire Novak
Champion Wise Dan walks Charlie LoPresti's shedrow under Amy LoPresti on a rainy morning March 4. watch video
Breeders hope imported stallions will improve stock. Read the full feature in the March 7, 2015 issue of Blood-Horse Magazine. view slideshow
Two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan will begin tack-walking and is expected to undergo further evaluation in two to three weeks as to whether he will return to the races in 2015, trainer Charlie LoPresti said March 2.
Multiple grade I winner Palace Malice continued to prepare for his return to the races with a three-furlong move Feb. 28 at Palm Beach Downs, his first since rejoining the Florida string of trainer Todd Pletcher.
Gulfstream Park canceled the remainder of its Feb. 28 card as a deluge pelted the South Florida area. The $200,000 Swale Stakes (gr. II) and the $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) were among the events lost.
Stronach Stables' Devine Aida splashed home in an off-the-turf edition of the $150,000 Herecomesthebride Stakes (gr. IIIT) Feb. 28, earning her first graded score at soggy Gulfstream Park and building a four-race win streak.
- By Claire Novak
Claire Novak and Tom LaMarra handicap the Fasig-Tipton Swale Stakes this week. The duo discuss Daredevil, Souper Colossal, Senor Grits, and more! watch video
Owner Willis Horton confirmed Feb. 25 that the $750,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park March 14 is under consideration as a target for champion Take Charge Brandi, although a decision has not yet been made.
Sweetest Chant Stakes (gr. IIIT) winner Consumer Credit could build a four-race win streak if she takes home the money in the $150,000 Herecomesthebride Stakes (gr. IIIT) Feb. 28 at Gulfstream Park.
Zayat Stables will continue its chess game of 3-year-old prep racing by shipping Mr. Z to the March 28 Louisiana Derby (gr. II), while American Pharoah runs in the Rebel (gr. II) and El Kabeir starts in the Gotham (gr. II).
Upstart was disqualified after crossing the wire first in the $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 21 at Gulfstream Park, with 5-1 Itsaknockout elevated from second to his first graded win.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's International Star came back for more Feb. 21, punching through on the rail to win the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) after taking the Jan. 17 Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds.
Two-time Eclipse Award winner Main Sequence powered to victory in his season debut Feb. 21, taking the $200,000 Mac Diarmida (gr. IIT) at Gulfstream with an impressive kick in the final furlong.
Jacks or Better Farm's homebred C. Zee picked up the pieces Feb. 21 in the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes (gr. III) and landed his first graded score by 2 3/4 lengths.
Team Valor International's Speechify, winner of his past two races, will make his 2015 debut against solid Florida Sunshine Millions Sprint winner Weekend Hideaway Feb. 21 at Gulfstream Park.
- By Claire Novak
Claire Novak and Tom LaMarra examine the Barbara Fritchie Handicap this weekend at Laurel Park. With a talented field, see who should be included with your wagers. watch video
Ride On Curlin, under regular exercise rider Bryan Beccia, worked an easy half mile in :49 3/5 after the break the morning of Feb. 11 in preparation for the $100,000 Essex Handicap to be run Feb. 14 at Oaklawn Park.
Constitution notched his second grade I victory Feb. 7 at Gulfstream Park and did so impressively, taking the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) wire-to-wire while holding off 2014 Donn victor Lea.
Far From Over recovered from a bad start to upset 1-2 favorite El Kabeir Feb. 7 in the $250,000 Withers Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct Racetrack, closing much ground en route to his first graded score.
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