By Evan I. Hammonds - Advance deposit wagering, which most sources agree accounts for about 10% of handle on Thoroughbred racing, is the sport's latest battleground.
Watching the Aug. 18 Alabama (gr. I) on the jumbo monitor on the first floor of the clubhouse at Saratoga, Michael Hernon pumped his fist in the air as Bentley L. Smith's homebred Lady Joanne crossed the wire first in the 1 1/4-mile race for 3-year-old fillies.
The untimely loss of Hennessy will not only leave a void at Coolmore's Ashford Stud, but for breeders in both hemispheres looking for speed and versatility.
Coolmore's talented stallion Hennessy reportedly died of an apparent heart failure Aug. 9 at Haras La Mission in Argentina. The 14-year-old son of Storm Cat had shuttled to South America for the Southern Hemisphere breeding season.
Youbet reported a loss of $357,000, or one cent a share, in its second quarter, down from income of $2.2 million, or six cents per share, in the year-ago period, the company reported Tuesday.
Five of the eight runners in Saturday's Diana Stakes (gr. IT) not only have names that start with the letter "M"; they all have a big chance in the first "Win and You're In" race from Saratoga.
Fans are trickling into Belmont Park through the grandstand entrance. Out back by the picnic area, there are a few spots still available, but there won't be for long.
On the third row of Section G on the third floor of the clubhouse sit two yellow plastic bags. Labeled Adelman's Deli, the bags are stuffed with pastrami sandwiches, knishes, latkes, and pickles.
The paddock opens at 11:30 for schooling. One of the first to arrive is Belmont (gr. I) entrant Tiago. Trainer John Shirreffs, his stepson David Ingordo, and Frankie Herrarte, a member of his crew, follows the Pleasant Tap colt, who is led by Frank Leal.
The streets of New York will be a little less crowded next weekend because Street Sense will not be running in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) but instead will be pointed toward the Travers (gr. I) at Saratoga and a fall campaign. The announcement was made by trainer Carl Nafzger at a press conference Thursday morning.
A movie about the life and times of Secretariat, with the backing of Walt Disney Studios, is in the works. Filming for the major motion picture could begin as soon as the end of the year according to principles tied to the project.
The connections of Storm in May will have first choice when post positions are selected later this evening thanks to pulling the No. 1 pill during the pill pull at the racing office. In all 22 horses were entered. Reporting for Duty and Delightful Kiss did not draw into the body of the field due to lack of enough graded earnings.
Three Kentucky Derby contenders will be a few days shy of their actual third birthday prior to the First Saturday in May.
It wasn't quite like a scene from Noah's Ark, but four of trainer Todd Pletcher's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contenders arrived Tuesday afternoon two by two in separate vans.
Welcome to Derby Week, or week 11 of the "Starting Gate," one person's look at this year's Kentucky Derby lineup. As we approach Wednesday, entry day, this how we would handicap the top 20 contenders for the May 5 Run for the Roses. Actual entry into America's greatest race is reliant on graded stakes earnings -- this lineup is based on some speculation, past performances, and potential performance on Saturday.
Yum! Brands, presenting sponsor for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), announced Monday, April 30, that it will offer a $1-million to the connections of any horse that wins this year's Derby and beats Barbaro's winning margin of 6 1/2 lengths.
The work of the morning at Churchill Downs Monday was Hard Spun's :57 3/5 scorcher, but other Derby hopefuls went through their final paces over the main track just after the renovation break. Trainer Bill Kaplan sent out Storm in May and Imawildandcrazyguy while trainer Darrin Miller worked Silverton Hills' Sedgefield.
Richard Porter's Hard Spun scorched the Churchill Downs main track Monday morning, blazing five furlongs in :57 3/5 under regular rider Mario Pino. Hard Spun worked in company, for a while at least, with graded stakes winner Wildcat Bettie B.
When I hear about the Yumfecta and Yum! Brands, I suddenly have an urge for a Root Beer Float...
Dominican, surprise winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) two weeks ago, worked five furlongs Sunday morning at Churchill Downs in :59 3/5.
The weather today in Louisville couldn't be better. A good-sized crowd has amassed under the Twin Spires.
Street Sounds, making her first start for trainer Michael Matz since winning the Selima Stakes last November on the turf at Laurel, stayed well off the rail at Keeneland Thursday afternoon, scoring a neck victory over favorite Forever Together in the $250,000 Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (gr. II).
Street Sense drew post four for Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland. James Tafel's homebred champion was also made the 4-5 morning line favorite for the nine-furlong race. Great Hunter, the 9-5 second choice, will break from the outside seven post.
Apprentice Joe Talamo, runaway leader in the jockey standings at Fair Grounds, will switch his tack to New York for the start of Aqueduct's main track meet in early April, according to his agent, Ronnie Ebanks.
After running one-two last year, trainer Bob Baffert ships Hal and Patti Earnhardt III's Law Breaker from Santa Anita to the Sunland Park for Sunday's nine-furlong WinStar Derby. With a $600,000 purse, it's worth coming back for more...especially when you'll have the likely favorite.
Trainer Robert J. Durso passed away at his home in Hallandale, Fla., on Wednesday morning following a short illness. The trainer of multiple graded winner Frisk Me Now was 68 years old.
By Evan Hammonds - During this year's Preakness weekend at Pimlico, the "Magna Entertainment Experience" surrounding the second jewel of the Triple Crown will not be nearly as enriching. On Jan. 25, the Maryland Jockey Club stuck a fork in the Pimlico Special (gr. I) for 2007.
Tracking a hotly contested pace early, Street Sense came up the rail and ran away with the $1,832,000 Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) by 10 lengths at Churchill Downs Nov. 4.
Trainer Tom Albetrani said his Bernardini will be facing the most difficult task of his life Saturday in the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
Gorella, a beast on the turf course this year against the girls and a formidable foe against the boys, drew post position 12 of 14 for Saturday's NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs.
By Evan I. Hammonds - We're pretty sure there are no guarantees in Thoroughbred racing. However, let's step out for Breeders' Cup XXIII at Churchill Downs Nov. 4. There are a few "automatics." I guarantee it.
The key to any Thoroughbred trainer's success is the quality of people around them. Trainer Todd Pletcher learned that from his mentor, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Pletcher, the two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer, is working with the same model. Holding down the Churchill Downs barn is assistant Mike McCarthy.
Along with Classic contenders Sun King and Flower Alley putting in their final drills for Saturday's World Championships at Churchill Downs, several other runners stretched their legs under the Twin Spires.
A bronze statue of Hall of Fame Jockey Pat Day, his arms raised in triumph, was unveiled during a noon ceremony Sunday at Churchill Downs. The sculpture, created by Louisville artist Raymond Graf, was inspired by Day's victory in the 1992 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) aboard Lil E. Tee.
A pair of contenders for the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), along with some of their stablemates in other World Championship races, took a tour of Churchill Downs Sunday morning.
The hits just keep on coming for trainer Todd Pletcher. First, he tops his own single-season earnings mark; then he enters a record 18 horses for the upcoming Breeders' Cup World Championships; on Wednesday, he ties D. Wayne Lukas' single season mark for graded wins. It's only Oct. 25, folks.
Trainer Aidan O'Brien spoke out about the chances of his star 3-year-old George Washington in the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), calling him "possibly the best horse we've ever, ever had."
Trainer Aidan O'Brien pre-entered five horses for the Breeders' Cup World Championships. Based at Ballydoyle in Ireland, O'Brien holds a strong pair for the NetJets Mile (gr. IT) despite the fact one of Europe's top milers, George Washington, has been entered to run in the $5-million Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at 10 furlongs.
This year's 3-year-old crop can been dubbed the "Killer Bs" with the likes of Bernardini, Barbaro, Bluegrass Cat, and Brother Derek. After it is over, this year's cast for the Nov. 4 NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) might be called the "Amazing As" with a fearsome foursome of the pre-entered Ad Valorem, Araafa, Aragorn, and Aussie Rules.
Miesque's Approval, who has found a new gear at the ripe old age of 7, headlines a powerhouse nine-horse field for Saturday's $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (gr. IT) at Keeneland.
Keeneland officials held a press briefing Thursday morning to unveil its new Polytrack surface and to also showcase several other improvements that have been made for the fall meeting that gets underway Oct. 6.
While it was Sheikh Mohammed who drove the market during the two-day select sessions of Keeneland's September yearling sale Monday and Tuesday, it was powered by the sires of those yearlings. The leading sires from Book One are a heady mix of the old guard with a trio of young shooters making some interesting headway.
Only five sophomore fillies--plus one entered for main track only--passed the entry box for Friday's Lake Placid Stakes (gr. IIT) at Saratoga, but boy, oh boy, what a crew.
More than two-thirds of respondents to a Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association survey of auction buyers indicated they are less likely to purchase a horse that has undergone a surgical procedure prior to being sold.
Afrashad, unbeaten but untested against stakes company, faces a stern test Saturday at Saratoga in the six-furlong Alfred G. Vanderbilt Breeders' Cup (gr. II). Five battle-tested foes await in the $200,000 race, but jockey Richard Migliore is confident in Godolphin Racing's 4-year-old colt.
With English Channel heading out of Saratoga for a trip to Chicago for the Arlington Million (gr. IT), eight older turf horses have been entered for Saturday's Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT). The 12-furlong Sword Dancer goes as the ninth race and is one of two graded stakes on the Saratoga program.
Hirapour, champion steeplechase horse of 2004, made his long-awaited jump return a winning one Thursday at Saratoga with a victory in the $79,500 A.P. Smithwick Memorial Stakes (NSA-II).
Relative newcomer Ahmed Zayat went to $1.6 million for an Empire Maker filly Wednesday night to top the 86th annual Fasig-Tipton selected yearling sale in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The historic sale, now with a two-day run, had yet another solid performance with the average virtually mirroring last year's figure and the gross increasing significantly.
The opening session of the 86th annual Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale was one for the ladies, as a strong market for fillies led the way Tuesday evening in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Three of the eight highest-priced yearlings that sold for $500,000 or more were fillies, including the session topper -- a $1,150,000 daughter of first-year sire Sky Mesa. A colt by Distorted Humor later sold for $1 million.
On a day when keynote speaker Tom Durkin said that memories are the greatest gift of our game, the memories came flooding back to the newest inductees of racing's Hall of Fame.
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