The Big Beast won't have to contend with Rock Fall, who beat him by a nose last time out in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (gr. I). But the seven-furlong Forego came up a tough race nonetheless, with a slew of new sprinters.
A quick hello from the Triple Crown champ at Blue Grass Airport en route to NY for the Travers Stakes (gr. I). watch video
Wise Dan was bright-eyed and bushy tailed the morning of Aug. 25, powering his way through a five-furlong bullet in :59 flat on the dirt at Keeneland.
Embellish the Lace turned it around from a ninth-place finish in the June 27 Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) and took the $600,000 Alabama Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 22 at Saratoga on the front end.
William Stiritz's Shogood made his stakes debut in impressive fashion Aug. 22, soaring gate-to-wire to win the $100,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr. III) at Arlington International Racecourse.
Three weeks after his younger half sister beat him to the punch, 3-year-old Jess's Dream will debut in a 1 1/8-mile maiden special weight race Aug. 24 at Saratoga Race Course.
Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone's Middleburg continues his quest for a graded stakes score Aug. 23, when he takes on five others including grade I winner Lochte in the $100,000 Cliff Hanger Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth.
On Aug. 20, tightening the screws for an upcoming run in the Aug. 29 Travers Stakes (gr. I), the 3-year-old son of Tapit got down to business under jockey Joel Rosario with a five-furlong bullet move in :59.59 at Saratoga.
Claire Novak and Tom LaMarra preview the Pacific Classic (gr. I) featuring Beholder, Bayern, Catch a Flight, Hard Aces, and Red Vine. Watch Video
On Aug. 22 the Nobiz Like Shobiz colt returns to stretch out to seven furlongs and step up in company in the $100,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr. III), departing from post 4 in a field of 13 with Chris Emigh up.
Charlie LoPresti said the two-time Horse of the Year moved closer to a likely start in the Sept. 13 Ricoh Woodbine Mile (Can-IT) with his third straight breeze on dirt.
Stryker Phd closed with a huge rally and soared clear to victory in the $200,000 Longacres Mile Handicap (gr. III) Aug. 16 at Emerald Downs, taking his home state's marquee race for a second year in a row.
Big Chief Racing's Exaggerator shipped in from California and put on a brave performance Aug. 16, splitting horses midstretch before surging to victory in the $200,000 Saratoga Special (gr. II) at Saratoga Race Course.
Interpol was the longest shot on the board but the first at the wire in the $200,000 Sky Classic Stakes (Can-IIT) at Woodbine, earning his first graded victory in his second attempt at that level Aug. 16.
Triple Crown champion American Pharoah turned in his first breeze since winning the Aug. 2 William Hill Haskell Invitational (gr. I) when he worked four furlongs in :47 3/5 Aug. 16 at Del Mar.
Sharla Rae rebounded from a disappointing seventh last time out in the Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes (gr. IT), and notched her first graded victory with a win in the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) Aug. 15 at Del Mar.
The 6-year-old English Channel gelding galloped to victory in the $1 million Arlington Million (gr. IT) Aug. 15 at Arlington International Racecourse, scoring the greatest victory of his career.
Highland Reel went gate-to-wire in the $450,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) Aug. 15 at Arlington International Racecourse, quickening away brilliantly after setting the pace to win by 5 1/4 lengths.
Just Wicked was content to let Tonasah set the pace in the $200,000 Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) Aug. 15 at Saratoga Race Course, but when it came down to a stirring stretch duel, the 2-year-old Tapit filly would not be denied.
Claire Novak and Frank Angst preview the Arlington Million (gr. IT) featuring Big Blue Kitten, Slumber, and Up With the Birds. Watch Video
Trainer Chad Brown has a hot hand for the Arlington Million (gr. IT) Aug. 15 at Arlington International Racecourse, which has drawn a motley crew of international contenders among 13 entered for the 2015 edition.
Undefeated Italian Derby winner (Ity-II) Goldstream will make his first start for Australian Bloodstock Aug. 15, when he faces Belmont Derby (gr. IT) victor Force the Pass in the $450,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT).
Terry Hamilton's Heart to Heart was all heart Aug. 2, showing the way throughout and carrying on to victory in the $150,000 Oceanport Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park.
Joseph Sutton's Bradester collected his first grade II victory and continued his success at Monmouth Park, coming off a score in the July 5 Salvator Mile Stakes (gr. III) to win the $200,000 Monmouth Cup Stakes (gr. II).
It took Rachel's Valentina a moment to figure out what this racing thing is all about, but once the 2-year-old filly found her stride, there was no stopping her en route to a sparkling debut victory Aug. 2 at Saratoga.
Those who questioned the class level of Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Texas Red had to eat their words Aug. 1, as the son of Afleet Alex turned back Frosted in the $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II).
Rock Fall continued his dazzling win streak and stepped up to the top level with a game performance in the $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. I) Aug. 1 at Saratoga Race Course, edging grade I winner The Big Beast.
Arnold Zetcher's homebred Smart Transition picked up his first black type victory July 31 at Saratoga Race Course, kicking into gear off the turn and drawing away to win the $100,000 Curlin Stakes.
- By Claire Novak
Claire Novak and Frank Angst handicap the return of the Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah, in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. watch video
Darley America will no longer have a string at the Aiken Training Track near Aiken, S.C., and their operations there will shut down Sept. 1.
Stonestreet Stables' Rock Fall will face the grade I question for the first time Aug. 1 at Saratoga Race Course, when the streaking Todd Pletcher trainee takes on a field of six other accomplished runners.
La Verdad took the lead and never looked back July 29 in the $200,000 Honorable Miss Handicap (gr. II) at Saratoga Race Course, cruising gate to wire under jockey Jose Ortiz to preserve her perfect record this season.
Hard Not to Like came flying and secured her second consecutive grade I victory July 25, edging out Tepin in the final strides of the $500,000 TVG Diana Stakes (gr. IT) at Saratoga while setting a turf course record.
Triton Racing's Uchenna bided her time at the back of the pack and then pounced with a bold rail move July 25 to win the $150,000 Ontario Matron (Can-III), taking her first graded stakes for trainer Roger Attfield.
J. Stables' Off the Tracks went from maiden winner to stakes victress in just her second start July 24, taking the $150,000 Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III) in powerful fashion at Saratoga Race Course.
Claire Novak and Tom LaMarra discuss the Diana Stakes (gr. IT) featuring Tepin, Hard Not to Like, and Stephanie's Kitten. Watch Video
Robert Masterson's Tepin will take on Hard Not to Like July 25 in the $500,000 TVG Diana Stakes (gr. I), both last-out grade I winners looking to add another event of the highest caliber to their resumes.
Grade III winner Went the Day Well, who finished fourth in the 2012 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), has arrived in Uruguay and will stand for Las Zainas Farm, according to bloodstock agent Pablo Nunez.
The $150,000 Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III) kicks off the action at Saratoga Race Course July 24 as part of a loaded opening day card.
A third time might be the charm for Westrock Stables' Sky Kingdom, back for yet another run in the $100,000 Cougar II Handicap (gr. III) at Del Mar after finishing second the past two years in a row.
Tiz Shea D tracked the pace set by Ohio Derby winner Mr. Z and then ran him down with a sweeping outside move to victory in the $500,000 Indiana Derby (gr. II), despite being floated wide around the turn by his erratic rival.
Midnight Cello earned his first graded stakes score and first victory of the season in style July 18, taking the $100,000 Hanshin Cup Stakes (gr. III) at Arlington International Racecourse with a bold early move up the rail.
If Take Charge Brandi aces her comeback in the Aug. 8 Test Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga against her own division, a run against the boys could be possible in the Aug. 29 Travers Stakes (gr. I), said owner Willis Horton.
- By Claire Novak
Claire Novak comments on two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan's breeze at Keeneland on July 17, 2015, while the champion takes a bath in the background. Watch Video
Two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan wasted no time getting back to business after being cleared to resume full training June 30, as trainer Charlie LoPresti sent him out to his first breeze in more than eight months July 17.
- By Claire Novak
Claire Novak and Frank Angst handicap the Eddie Read stakes in the opening weekend for Del Mar. watch video
None of the eight runners entered in the $200,000 Kent Stakes (gr. IIIT) has made it to graded status yet, but the winner will walk away with that distinction July 18 at Delaware Park.
Jockey Rajiv Maragh was released from North Shore Hospital July 13 and is resting at home near Hempstead, N.Y., after sustaining several injuries in a July 10 fall at Belmont Park.
Lady Eli preserved her perfect record and dazzled in the $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational (gr. IT) July 4, collecting the second grade I stakes score of her career in dominant fashion at Belmont Park.
Richard Santulli's Force the Pass delivered a career-best performance July 4 in the $1.25 million Belmont Derby Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park, making a powerful rail-skimming move heading into the far turn.
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