Pete Spanos

Like Father, Like Son: Belmont Winners Who Sired Belmont Winners

Of the 136 past winners of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), an even 12 have gone on to sire a Belmont winner (or winners) while at stud. In the 137th edition to be run this Saturday, 1992 winner A.P. Indy could make it an uneven 13 with two sons entered, and Thunder Gulch, sire of 2001 winner Point Given, could have a second son gain Belmont glory.

Without Smarty, NBC's Preakness Ratings Drop

NBC Sports' television broadcast of the 130th running of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) averaged a 5.1/13 national rating/share, down sharply from last year when Smarty Jones captured the middle leg of the Triple Crown, but up slightly from the same figures for 2003.

Nine Draw In For Pimlico's Sir Barton

A field of nine 3-year-olds passed the entry box for Saturday's Sir Barton Stakes on the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) undercard at Pimlico Race Course. Highweight Killenaule, third in last year's Remsen Stakes (gr. II) behind winner Rockport Harbor, and undefeated Pinpoint, under the second-high impost, lead the field.

Stute Returns With Horse That Has a Chance

In 1967, Churchill Downs, like the rest of the nation, was a different place. Growing tension surrounding the Vietnam War, and race riots that bespoke social division and strife, had the Louisville track looking like something its founders couldn't ever have envisioned.

For Zito, Multi-Tasking Is A Blessing

"Come on six! Stay up three! Get out of there 12! Where's the four? Who's that?" These may sound like the common shouts of an overzealous, exotics-playing railbird, but on Saturday, it just might be something you hear from as esteemed a place as the Churchill Downs box of New York-born trainer Nick Zito.

B. Wayne Hughes Goes To $37,000 for Good Cause

A chilly Tuesday morning on the Churchill Downs backstretch brought out the warmth in the heart of B. Wayne Hughes. The owner of possible dual Kentucky Derby (gr. I) entrants Greeley's Galaxy and Don't Get Mad matched Afleet Alex's majority owner/partner Charles Zacney bid for bid, landing a 2006 no guarantee season right to Afleet Alex's sire Northern Afleet--all in the name of charity.

Pletcher's New Coin of the Realm

Todd Pletcher sent out one of his equine triumvirate Monday morning as expected when Coin Silver breezed five furlongs in 1:01 flat. With morning conditions in Louisville cool, dry, and clear, the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) winner's effort was a relief for last year's Eclipse Award-winning trainer.

Eight Beguiled by Keeneland's Bewitch Stakes

A nicely matched field of eight fillies and mares is set to challenge in the 44th running of the Bewitch Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland Race Course Wednesday. Topped by morning line favorite Angara, and second-choice Cape Town Lass, the field will contest 1-1/2 miles over the Lexington track's turf course.

Madcap Escapade Splashes Home in Vinery Madison

Bruce Lunsford's heavily favored Madcap Escapade stalked the early pace of the seven-furlong Vinery Madison Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland Race Course before sweeping around the turn to grab Wednesday's $200,000 feature. Jerry Bailey was aboard for a muddy trip in 1:23.33 after quick early fractions of :21.59 and :43.75.

Dubleo One To Catch in Keeneland Opener

A group of nine 3-year-olds passed the entry box for the 17th running of Friday's $150,000 Central Bank Transylvania Stakes (gr. IIIT). Set to kick off the stakes calendar of Keeneland's 2005 spring meeting is the speedy, multiple stakes-winning Dubleo, and the lightly raced, but impressive Chattahoochee War. The pair lead a well-matched group postward to battle a mile on the grass.

Woodbine Looks To Commingle With U.S. Pools

Woodbine Entertainment Group, owner of Canada's largest racetrack, has filed applications that would allow its customers to place wagers directly into common pools at two tracks in the United States--The Meadowlands in New Jersey, and Calder Race Course in Florida. Similar applications for New York and California are slated to follow, said Steve Mitchell, WEG senior vice president and chief financial officer.

Cee's Irish Heads Field For WinStar/Sunland Park Oaks

Post positions were drawn for Saturday's $250,000 WinStar/Sunland Park Oaks and a group of eight fillies will test at 1-1/16 miles. The undercard of the $500,000 WinStar Derby for the colts includes California invader Cee's Irish as the most accomplished of the field, but she'll have to get past fellow West Coast shipper Pegasus Rose, and some improving local gals to snare the top prize.

Eleven Vie in Fair Grounds' Signature Muniz

Eleven older horses passed the entry box for the Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT), the premier grass event on the Fair Grounds calendar. Highweighted California shipper A to the Z, second to grade I winner Star Over the Bay in his last start in the Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita, and the red-hot G P Fleet lead a group of horses most familiar with each other postward with half-a-million dollars on the line.

Fencelineneighbor Heads Oaklawn's Azeri BC H.

California shipper Fencelineneighbor moves into Hot Springs to challenge five other older fillies and mares in the $175,000 Azeri Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III). Formerly known as the Oaklawn Breeders' Cup Handicap, the traditional prep for the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) was renamed this year for the three-time winner of the Apple Blossom, thrice an Eclipse champion older mare, and 2002 Horse of the Year.

Gulfstream Park H. Adds Luster to Spectacular Saturday III

Sullivan Lane Stable and Vincent Scuderi's highweighted Classic Endeavor will carry Eclipse Award-winning rider John Velazquez and an impost of 118 pounds against a well-matched and familiar group of older horses in Saturday's Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II). The strong card features the prestigious Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) and Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. III) for the 3-year-old set.

A Dozen Sophomores Vie in Sam F. Davis

A group of 12 3-year-olds has passed the entry box in Saturday's $100,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, a prelude to that track's signature Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) March 19. Trainer Nick Zito sends out two of the top entries in Andromeda's Hero and G P's Black Knight.

MEC Files Countersuit in Oregon

Attorneys for Magna Entertainment Corp. filed countersuit in Multnomah County Circuit Court in Oregon Feb. 18 to formally answer a $1-million breach-of-contract action brought against the company by the Oregon Greyhound Association.

Millennium Dragon Heads Tough Group of Nine in Appleton

A competitive field of nine older horses has passed the entry box for Saturday's one-mile Appleton Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the newly designed turf course at Gulfstream Park. Weighing in with a top impost of 120 pounds is the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Millennium Dragon, stakes winner on two continents including last year's Appleton.

Roses in May, Don of the Donn

A field of six will contest the 47th running of the grade I Donn Handicap, traditionally the opening salvo of the handicap divisional season. This year's edition includes 2004 Eclipse Award finalist Roses in May and last year's Clark Handicap (gr. II) winner St. Liam--both of whom tussled with Horse of the Year Ghostzapper.

Greyhound Group Sues MEC Over Multnomah

The Oregon Greyhound Association filed a $1-million lawsuit against Magna Entertainment Corp. Jan. 20, alleging breach of contract for the company's failure to renew its operating lease for Multnomah Greyhound Park and for canceling the 2005 dog racing season.

2004 Eclipse Turf Female: Ouija Board

Unaided by the occult, and with no hovering, all-seeing orb to guide the way, it was Great Britain's Ouija Board herself who foretold a near-certain future victory in the VO5 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) for all eyes to behold.

New Mexico-breds Tangle in $125,000 Pepsi Cola

A dozen 3-year-olds have passed the entry box for Sunland Park's $125,000 Pepsi Cola Handicap Saturday. Restricted to sophomores bred in the state of New Mexico, the field is co-highweighted by restricted stakes winners Sandias Peppermint and Leon's Bull, a winner in six of his even trips postward.

Dynever, Purge Lead Hopefuls in Hal's Hope

A robust field of 13 is set to head postward at Gulfstream Park for Saturday's 2005 edition of the $100,000 Hal's Hope Handicap (gr. III). Multiple stakes winners Dynever and Purge lead a quality group of entrants drawn for the 1 1/8 mile affair, each looking to start the New Year on a high note

Leading Freshman Sire 2004: Successful Appeal

For the second time in four years, a son of Valid Appeal and a representative of the In Reality male line is the leading first-crop sire in North America. In 2001, Valid Expectations earned the freshman sire title, and in 2004, Successful Appeal joined him in stamping Valid Appeal as a modern sire of sires.

A Full Dozen Vie in Fred W. Hooper

A field of 12 has been drawn to face the starter Saturday in the 1 1/8-mile Fred W. Hooper Handicap (gr. III) at Calder Race Course. Headed by co-highweights A Huevo and Super Frolic, the race is the 12th on the "Grand Slam II" card featuring four stakes and $600,000 in purses.

$150,000 Classic Heads Louisiana Champions Day

With slots approved for Fair Grounds and likely to be in place in 2005, Louisiana breeders already seem to be reaping the rewards. On Saturday, the state's horsemen will vie for a $1 million, 10-race card that features seven Thoroughbred stakes, highlighted by the $150,000 Louisiana Champion's Day Classic.

Original Thinking

By Pete Spanos - With the leaves still falling from Keeneland's splendid 2004 fall meet, it is appropriate, perhaps obligatory, to offer a fan's salute to the old guard's open minds, adventurous spirits, and free-thinking ways. Yes, I said Keeneland. Who would have thought they could be such radicals?

Gwaihir Tops Hawthorne Derby

A group of 10 3-year-olds passed the entry box for Saturday's Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIIT), one of the season's last major stakes races restricted to sophomores. Al and Saundra Kirkwood's European import Gwaihir is the highweighted entry at 117 pounds.

Top Sprinters Collide in Vosburgh

Three of the nation's top sprinters will vie for supremacy in the 65th edition of the Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park Saturday, Oct.2. What looked like a true Breeders' Cup field before the defection of grade I winner Midas Eyes, still has major implications for the Lone Star affair, just over four weeks away.

Live Racing at Charles Town Returns

Live racing at Charles Town Races and Slots in West Virginia returned Saturday, Sept. 25 after a 12-day hiatus in which the track was forced to cancel eight days their live racing program. The facility was open for simulcasting during the respite.

Travelator Highweighted in Belmont's Floral Park

Our Sugar Bear Stable's three-time stakes winner Travelator is the 116-pound highweight in the 10th running of the $100,000 Floral Park Handicap (gr. III) at Belmont Park. Topping a field of five fillies and mares set to travel the 6 furlongs, the Stanley Hough-trained runner comes back only seven days after stepping up in class in an eight-length loss Sept. 11 in the Endine Handicap (gr. III) at Delaware Park

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