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.
By Evan Hammonds - Major League Baseball just celebrated its All-Star Game last month in Pittsburgh, representing the traditional midpoint as "America's Pastime" heads into its second season and hits the turn on its run to the World Series in October. So, too, is Thoroughbred racing entering its second season.
Scat Daddy pushed his backers to the brink but delivered an impressive performance late to run down Teuflesberg in the final strides of the $147,000 Sanford Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga July 27. Scat Daddy was the 3-10 favorite in the five-horse field of 2-year-olds while Teuflesberg went off at 13-1 odds.
Peter Thomas Chew, an author, journalist and former correspondent for The Blood-Horse died July 16 at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., of complications from a heart attack. He was 82.
By Evan I. Hammonds - I don't recall the meeting when it was first discussed, but I remember volunteering. Looking for new avenues of coverage for racing's big events--the Triple Crown, the Breeders' Cup--on bloodhorse.com, the idea of a "blog" came up. "Blog," short for "Web log," is a relatively new concept and is still subject to debate for its actual purpose and application.
Juddmonte Farms' Cacique, who just missed by a half-length in his last start in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT), held off a hard-charging Relaxed Gesture to earn a head-bobbing victory in the $400,000 Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) Saturday at Belmont Park.
Bushfire, who had the early lead and then was passed by Hello Liberty in the stretch, fought back gamely down the lane to capture the $250,000 Acorn Stakes (gr. I) by a neck Saturday at Belmont Park.
Outperformance came wide with a big rush to win the $115,400 Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT) on a soft turf course at Belmont Park Friday afternoon.
Without classic winners Barbaro and Bernardini in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the race appears to be wide open. Like in any race, one horse has to be the longest shot on the board. That honor will likely fall to Double Galore.
The Maryland Jockey Club reported Saturday night that a record crowd of 118,402 was on hand for the 131st Preakness Stakes (gr. I) in Baltimore.
Friendly Island attended the early pace, then took over in the stretch to win the $190,000 Emirates Airline Maryland Breeders' Cup Sprint Handicap (gr. III) at Pimlico Saturday by three-quarters of a length. It was the second stakes win in a row for trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Garrett Gomez.
High Cotton rebounded off a dull effort in last month's Arkansas Derby (gr. II) to draw away to the easiest kind of win in the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico May 20.
As of 4:30 p.m. and with more than $5 million in the mutuel pool, Barbaro was 3-5 at Pimlico Race Course for today's Preakness Stakes (gr. I). Post time for the race is approximately 6:14 p.m.
Making his first start in North America, Shadwell Stable's Invasor pulled off a mild upset over favorite Wanderin Boy in the $500,000 Pimlico Special (gr. I) May 19 before 24,429 at Old Hilltop. Invasor got the 1 3/16 miles in 1:54.40.
Pool Land, the 3-2 favorite, pulled away from Josh's Madelyn in the lane at Pimilco to win the Allaire DuPont Breeders' Cup Distaff Handicap (gr. III). Grade I winner In the Gold was a distant third.
In an attempt to dress up the post position selection program for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), the event was taken downtown this year.
On Monday, did anybody wish Derby contender Seaside Retreat happy birthday? Someone should have, because May 1 was his foaling date. While all horses foaled in the Northern Hemisphere have the universal birth date of Jan. 1 as their official age of racing, not all of this year's contenders are actually 3-year-olds.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is no stranger to Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. The 45-year-old Lexington native was a long-time assistant to five-time Derby winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas and last year sent out 71-1 Closing Argument, a surprise runner-up behind Giacomo. This year, the laid-back Kentuckian hopefully has two horses for this year's Run for the Roses in Jazil and Flashy Bull.
Beacon Shine, a 3-year-old son of Montbrook owned by Kinsman Stable, died April 8 after a bout of colic. The colt, trained by Hall of Famer Nick Zito, was based at Churchill Downs and was entered to run in last Sunday's $100,000 Lafayette Stakes at Keeneland.
B. Giles Brophy, who raced 1991 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Strike the Gold in partnership, died April 9 following a lengthy battle with leukemia. He was 68.
The Racing Commissioners International (RCI) is taking an industry leading position with their subsidiary RCI Integrity Services. The push forward was made during the 72nd annual convention of the RCI that is taking place at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort near Albuquerque, N.M.
Making sure there are qualified paramedics on hand at racetracks became a touchstone issue during a panel discussion Thursday afternoon during the Association for Racing Commissioners International conference.
Model rules for race day medications, along with withdraw times and threshold levels for therapeutic drugs were a lively topic both Thursday morning and afternoon at the Association of Racing Commissioners International convention.
In order to help racing jurisdictions get a better grip on just exactly who is betting into their pools, a call was made out at the Association or Racing Commissioners International convention for the RCI to take the lead in forming a "wagering clearinghouse" for secondary betting entities.
Chuck Champion, president and CEO of Youbet.com discussed the launch of a new Web site, Youbet.net, Wednesday afternoon during the annual convention of the Association of Racing Commissioners International. Youbet.net will be a learning site for new players to learn more about pari-mutuel wagering.
Racing is in need of some forms of additional federal regulation according to a panel of experts at the 72nd annual convention of the Association of Racing Commissioners International. The general consensus was reached Wednesday morning during a panel discussion titled, "Is Federal Regulation Necessary for Racing?"
Dr. Curtis Barrett was awarded the William H. May Award Wednesday afternoon during an awards luncheon at the Association of Racing Commissioners International's annual convention. The convention is being held at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort near Albuquerque, N.M.
Unity was the buzzword during the opening session of the 72nd convention of the Association of Racing Commissioners International Tuesday. The conference, which unites the RCI with the North American Pari-Mutuel Regulators Association (NAPRA), is being held at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort near Albuquerque, N.M.
Comments from officials from the United States Trotting Association, the American Quarter Horse Association, and the Greyhound industries mirrored concerns facing the Thoroughbred industry during a panel discussion at the opening session of the Association of Racing Commissioners International convention.
John Oxley's Strong Contender, one of what is shaping up to be a full field of contenders for the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park, has had plenty of experience with Polytrack and trainer John T. Ward Jr. figures that to be a plus for Saturday afternoon's race.
Breeder/owner Mahmoud Fustok, owner of Buckram Oak Farm, was killed in an auto accident Wednesday afternoon in Pompano Beach, Fla.
If ever there was a trainer with an eye for a 2-year-old, it's D. Wayne Lukas. On a trip to Kentucky in 2004, the Hall of Fame trainer was asked to check up on some of Bob and Beverly Lewises' yearlings at Taylor Made Farm that had been nominated for the yearling sales. One particular yearling caught his eye, and Lukas phoned the Lewises and requested they take the filly out of the mix.
By Evan Hammonds - Against my mother's "if you can't say something nice" advice, I'd like to rip into my own personal list of the seven most annoying things about 2005--some serious, some with tongue planted firmly in cheek.
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