Claire Novak and Frank Angst are on location at Keeneland this week to handicap the Blue Grass Stakes and Arkansas Derby. watch video
The focus has shifted at Keeneland, as it usually does during the second week of April, to the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) and the Kentucky Derby hopefuls who will emerge from that event. read blog
The $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) drew an overflow field for its 90th renewal to be run April 12 at Keeneland, with Ken and Sarah Ramsey's homebred Bobby's Kitten favored at 3-1 from post 5.
Will Take Charge won the 3-year-old championship, but speedster Moreno was surprisingly right there with him in the summer months before going to the sidelines after the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).
Reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan will get his 2014 campaign started April 11, when he takes on six foes in the $300,000 Maker's 46 Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland in his first start of the year.
From maiden winner to latest addition to the field for the May 3 Kentucky Derby, Centennial Farms' Wicked Strong soared past tiring 8-5 favorite Social Inclusion and runner-up Samraat to win the April 5 Wood Memorial (gr. I).
Hard-knocking Dads Caps had been three times the bridesmaid in recent starts, but he broke through at the highest level April 5 at Aqueduct Racetrack when stealing the Carter Handicap (gr. I) at odds of 10-1.
Remarkable old-timer Ben's Cat did not disappoint in his season debut April 5, taking the $75,000 Mister Diz Stakes for the fifth year in a row at Pimlico Race Course.
Mathis Stable's My Miss Sophia rolled to a decisive victory April 5 in the $300,000 Gazelle Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct Racetrack, stamping her ticket to the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
Top-of-the-stretch antics cost Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) winner Ring Weekend a possible victory in the $250,000 Calder Derby April 5 at Calder Casino & Race Course, as 5-1 Our Caravan drew off to win by 9 3/4 lengths.
On a chilly morning at Keeneland, trainer Chad Brown sent Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) contender Bobby's Kitten through his final pre-race drill.
Trainer Dale Romans has liked Medal Count from early on, and Spendthrift Farm's Dynaformer colt rewarded his faith April 4 in the $100,000 Transylvania Stakes on opening day of the Keeneland spring meet.
Claire Novak and Frank Angst handicap two big Kentucky Derby prep races this weekend in the Wood Memorial and Santa Anita Derby. watch video
- By Claire Novak
"Enchanting Lisa, I'm excited to get back to the races," trainer Charlie LoPresti said, running down a list of siblings to Horse of the Year Wise Dan who are expected to start at Keeneland's spring meeting. read blog
Grade I winner Sweet Reason and grade II-placed Got Lucky are the class of the $300,000 Gazelle Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct April 5, an event for sophomore fillies on the road to the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
Runner-up in the 2013 Carter Handicap (gr. I) and lightly raced since then, California-based Sahara Sky will get another crack at the seven-furlong sprint April 5 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Two New York-breds have claimed the prep series in their native state as part of a gutsy rivalry, but here comes this lightly raced Florida shipper with enough hype to overshadow all others in the April 5 Aqueduct test.
Two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan continued to progress toward his season debut, turning in an easy five-furlong breeze in 1:00 3/5 under regular rider Damien Rock April 1 at Keeneland.
If horseplayers had a question of which runner to bet in the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park March 29, the one Javier Castellano was named on seemed as sure a shot as any.
Repole Stable's Micromanage seemed to have forgotten the way to the winner's circle, but he found it again March 29 in South Florida when galloping clear in the $100,000 Skip Away Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.
Trainer Tom Albertrani did a masterful job getting Godolphin's Anjaz ready to roll off more than a seven-month gap between races, and the daughter of Street Cry finally got her first U.S. victory.
Devil's Cave did all her running from the start as the 1-2 favorite in the $150,000 Rampart Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream March 29, so stablemate Gamay Noir picked up the pieces in deep stretch to win at odds of 49-1.
Sterling City (AUS) won the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) in just his third start of 2014 on March 29 at Meydan, powering home in late stretch to claim the 1,200 meter (about six-furlong) event for Hong Kong.
Keeneland is throwing its hat into the ring as a potential host site for the Breeders' Cup World Championships, track president and chief executive officer Bill Thomason confirmed March 27.
Nikki's Sandcastle and Csaba, both seeking a return to winning ways, share co-high weight of 123 pounds in the $100,000 Skip Away Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park March 29.
Devil's Cave, winner of the Feb. 16 Sabin Stakes (gr. II), heads a field of eight including multiple graded stakes winner Unlimited Budget in the $150,000 Rampart Stakes (gr. III) March 29 at Gulfstream Park.
Claire Novak and Frank Angst analyze two Kentucky Derby prep races this weekend. Watch to see Claire and Frank predict how the Florida Derby and Louisiana Derby fields will unfold. watch video
Kiaran McLaughlin knew he was taking a risk when he decided to bypass the Feb. 22 Fountain of Youth with Holy Bull winner Cairo Prince; now the colt has little margin for error on the road to the Kentucky Derby.
- By Claire Novak
When you cover racing 24-7 and this sport is all you see, the good and bad plays out before your eyes. read blog
Charging hard down the center of the track at Turfway Park, We Miss Artie had his sights set on dueling leaders Coastline and Harry's Holiday. A jump past the wire and no one knew who got it.
Godolphin entrymates Romansh and Long River ran one-two, respectivley, in the $150,000 Excelsior Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct Racetrack March 22.
Susan Moulton's John Battaglia Memorial winner Solitary Ranger will attempt to become just the second horse to win that prep and the Spiral Stakes when he takes on 3-1 favorite Tamarando March 22 at Turfway Park.
Claire Novak and Tom LaMarra take a look at the talented field in the Spiral Stakes, a Kentucky Derby prep race. watch video
Jockey Stewart Elliott, winner of the 2004 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) aboard Smarty Jones, is moving his tack to Kentucky, he confirmed March 19.
Hoppertunity might not know much about racing yet, but his pure talent was enough to get the job done in the $600,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park March 15.
Favored at odds of 3-5 and making her first start of the season, Juddmonte's 4-year-old First Defence filly galloped wire to wire in the 1 1/16-mile test, taking rider Joel Rosario straight to the winner's circle March 15.
Owner John Greathouse of Glencrest Farm confirmed multiple grade II winner Onlyforyou was euthanized March 15 after breezing at Palm Meadows. The 3-year-old Malibu Moon filly was injured on the gallop-out.
Every morning D. Wayne Lukas sends the first set out over the Arkansas oval, their hooves sinking softly in the freshly harrowed ground. On March 14, he supervised Rebel contender Strong Mandate and champion Will Take Charge.
Rebel Stakes (gr.II) contender Hoppertunity gets a bath at Oaklawn with Baffert assistant Jimmy Barnes on the shank after training March 14. Watch Video
Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer confirmed March 13 that 2-year-old champion male Shared Belief will not contest the Blue Grass Stakes in one month and is off the Kentucky Derby trail.
Claire Novak and Frank Angst preview the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park featuring Tapiture and Strong Mandate. Watch Video
Homebred Tapiture looks to continue his journey to the Kentucky Derby when he takes on two he beat in the Southwest Stakes along with California invaders, among others, in the March 15 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn.
Don't Tell Sophia has sailed through the early part of 2014, but faces a stout test March 15 in the $200,000 Azeri Stakes (gr. II) against multiple grade I winner Close Hatches, On Fire Baby, and Flashy American.
Remsen Stakes winner Honor Code was defeated by Social Inclusion March 12 at Gulfstream Park as the speedster drew away to a 10-length victory in track record fashion.
Sign, winner of the 2012 Pocahontas Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs, was distanced March 12 in her return to the races at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots after a lengthy layoff.
Stallion business growing at Leigh Ann and Kerry Hopper's RichWine Farm. read blog
Argentinian import Winning Prize streaked gate-to-wire in the $350,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park March 8, securing his first grade I score in the U.S.
St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds' Ring Weekend sprang a 14-1 upset of the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) March 8 at Tampa Bay Downs, well clear of Vinceremos in an impressively speedy gate-to-wire score.
Pin Oak Stud's homebred Cloud Scapes carried on in the $150,000 Hillsborough Stakes (gr. IIIT) March 8 at Tampa Bay Downs, edging Waterway Run to earn her third straight victory at the Florida oval.
Juddmonte Farms' homebred Riposte heads a field of nine in pursuit of her first graded stakes victory stateside in the $150,000 Hillsborough Stakes (gr. IIIT) March 8 at Tampa Bay Downs.
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