Calibrachoa took over from the pacesetters in the stretch and held off a late run from Caleb's Posse to win the $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap (gr. III) by a neck March 3.
Godolphin Racing's two-time grade I winner It's Tricky made her season debut successful in the Top Flight Handicap (gr. II) when she took over from pacesetter Love and Pride at the top of the lane and cruised to victory.
Is Hansen worth trying to beat at short odds? read blog
Mr. Prankster will try for a sweep of the preps leading up to the $500,000 Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (gr. III) when he faces off against five fellow 3-year-olds in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes on March 3.
Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) runner-up It's Tricky will launch her 4-year-old campaign against five rivals in the $200,000 Top Flight Handicap (gr. II) March 3 at Aqueduct.
Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Caleb's Posse will likely draw the most betting attention in the Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct, but he will have to face a pair of multiple graded stakes winners with a fondness for the track.
With the exception of Eclipse Award winner Hansen, a large but rather unaccomplished field of 13 has lined up for the $400,000 Gotham (gr. III) March 3 at Aqueduct.
Creative Cause, one of two Triple Crown prospects for trainer Mike Harrington, worked a quick six furlongs Feb. 28 on the Hollywood Park Cushion Track.
As witnessed time and time again, the trainer pops with 3YOs when least expected read blog
El Padrino, the highly-touted 3-year-old from the barn of Todd Pletcher, proved he was worthy of the hype Feb. 25 at Fair Grounds when he outdueled Mark Valeski by a nose to win the $300,000 Risen Star (gr. II).
Peres International's Yara reclaimed the lead from odds-on favorite Grace Hall at the top of the stretch and held her off to post a shocking 64-1 upset in the $350,000 Davona Dale (gr. II) Feb. 25 at Gulfstream Park.
Taking advantage of a heady rail-skimming trip from Joe Bravo, Brazilian-bred Here to Win outkicked Keertana in the stretch for an 11-1 upset in $100,000 The Very One (gr. IIIT) Feb. 25 at Gulfstream Park.
Classy 6-year-old Smart Bid nailed pacesetter Mr. Vegas on the wire to score as the favorite in the $122,500 Fair Grounds Handicap (gr. IIIT) Feb. 25.
Instead of shipping the mare to Oaklawn Park for her season debut in the $150,000 Azeri (gr. III) on March 17, Horse of the Year Havre de Grace will stay at Fair Grounds for the New Orleans Ladies Stakes on the same day.
The weekend of Feb. 25-26 is loaded with important races, including the Fountain of Youth. Read Blog
A six-time group/graded stakes winner and a veteran of 44 career starts, 10-year-old Musketier returns for yet another season when he opens up his 2012 campaign in the $150,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (gr. IIT) Feb. 26.
The high-anticipated 3-year-old race pits the current Derby favorite, Union Rags, against two undefeated and top-class horses from the barn of leading trainer Todd Pletcher, Algorithms and Discreet Dancer.
More than three months after winning the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) and locking up champion 3-year-old filly honors, Royal Delta will begin her 2012 season in the Sabin Stakes (gr. III) Feb. 25 at Gulfstream.
Grace Hall, the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) runner-up from last year, headlines a field of nine 3-year-old fillies in the $250,000 Davona Dale (gr. II) Feb. 25 at Gulfstream Park.
Steve Asmussen has a trio of intriguing Derby prospects read blog
Winter Memories, who was a dazzling four-time graded stakes winner in 2011, had her first official breeze of the year Feb. 21 at Palm Meadows.
After losing a couple of tough grade I races at the end of last season, Force Freeze served notice that he will be one of the top sprinters in 2012 with a dominating performance in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship.
Making her graded stakes debut, Magical Feeling split the two favorites in deep stretch to pull off a 27-1 stunner in the $200,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap (gr. II) Feb. 18 at Laurel Park.
Team Valor International's Animal Kingdom made a successful return after being off for nearly nine months, as he kicked away from rivals in the stretch to win an optional claimer by two lengths Feb. 18 at Gulfstream Park.
Fed Biz and Bodemeister responded with impressive wins for three-time Derby winner. read blog
Toby's Corner, who when last seen handed champion Uncle Mo his first loss in the Wood Memorial (gr. I), makes his comeback in the $200,000 General George Handicap (gr. II) Feb. 20 at Laurel Park.
Her Smile, third in the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) when last seen, will make her season debut for her new connections Feb. 19 in the $150,000 Hurricane Bertie (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.
Turallure and Wise Dan, a pair of Charles Lopresti trainees expected to play major roles in their respective divisions in 2012, had their first works of the year Feb. 16 at Keeneland.
Led by a trio of in-form New York invaders, a field of nine was drawn for the $200,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap (gr. II) Feb. 18 at Laurel Park.
For as well as he has run in his career, it's easy to forget that Force Freeze is not yet a graded stakes winner. He will try to change that Feb. 18 when he makes his season debut in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship.
In his longest work of the year to date, Animal Kingdom breezed six furlongs on the Palm Meadows Training Center turf Feb. 14.
What went into Javier Castellano's decision to drop Union Rags? read blog
Stuart Janney III's homebred Hymn Book tallied the biggest win of his career Feb. 11 at Gulfstream Park, roaring down the center of the track and outlasting Mission Impazible to take the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I).
After being graded stakes placed four times in her career, Barbara Hunter's homebred mare Snow Top Mountain finally notched her first graded stakes in the Suwannee River (gr. IIIT) Feb. 11 at Gulfstream Park.
Starlight Racing's Thunder Moccasin followed up his impressive maiden win with an even more stirring performance, as he demolished a short field to take the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 11 at Gulfstream Park.
Country music star has talented 3-year-old pointing for Southwest Stakes. read blog
Heavenly Landing, a 19-1 upsetter in last month's Marshua's River (gr. IIIT), will try to keep her perfect turf record intact Feb. 11 when she goes in the $150,000 Suwannee River (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park.
Shackleford and Ruler On Ice might be the headliners for the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) Feb. 11 at Gulfstream, but the smart money could wind up landing on a pair of Rick Dutrow Jr. trainees--Trickmeister and Redeemed.
Everyone, including trainer Jonathan Sheppard, is waiting to see if the speedy Ever So Lucky belongs on the Triple Crown trail. The answer, hopefully, could come Feb. 11 in the Hutchson (gr. II) at Gulfstream.
Jason Shandler looks at Todd Pletcher's Derby hopefuls. read blog
Just as he did when winning the Count Fleet Stakes a month earlier, Alpha easily defeated an overmatched field to take the $200,000 Withers (gr. III) by 3 1/4 lengths Feb. 4 at Aqueduct.
Odds-on favorite Zagora, off for nearly five months, was razor sharp in her return Feb. 4 at Tampa Bay Downs, taking over at the top of the stretch en route to winning the $150,000 Endeavour Stakes (gr. IIIT).
Mike Repole's Calibrachoa made it a perfect 4-for-4 over the Aqueduct inner track, as he ran down longshot Diski Dance at the top of the stretch to win the $150,000 Toboggan (gr. III) for the second consecutive year.
Bernardini colt could be the real deal if he figures out his gate issues. read blog
Keertana, a winner in four of her five starts last year including three in graded ranks, returns from an extended layoff as one of the main contenders in the $150,000 Endeavour Stakes (gr. IIIT) Feb. 4 at Tampa Bay Downs.
Already with a slew of top 3-year-olds taking aim at the Triple Crown, Todd Pletcher will send out yet another prospect in the $250,000 Sam F. Davis (gr. III), a race he has won four of the last six years.
Mike Repole and Michael Dubb, who were in a neck-in-neck owner's title race for most of the 2011 Saratoga meet, square off once again in the Toboggan Stakes (gr. III) Feb. 4, as each will send out a coupled entry.
Alpha is the heavy favorite for the $200,000 Withers (gr. III), which replaces the Whirlaway Stakes as the first of three New York preps leading up to the Triple Crown. The Feb. 4 race is now at two turns on the inner track.
Union Rags, one of the top early season Triple Crown contenders, worked for the fourth time this month, breezing five furlongs in 1:02 3/5 Jan. 31 at Palm Meadows.
Unbelievably, Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard has never saddled a Derby starter read blog
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