A group of eight 3-year-old colts passed the entry box for the 21st running of the Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) on Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) undercard.
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.
In an NTRA "Pre-Belmont" teleconference Thursday, trainers of the first three Preakness Stakes (gr. I) finishers--Afleet Alex, Scrappy T, and Giacomo--spoke to national media about that battle at Pimlico and the grueling 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes (gr. I) that awaits June 11.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin got almost what he wanted Monday morning from his Kentucky Derby (gr. I) charge Closing Argument.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- By Pete Spanos
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.
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 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.
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.
A talented group of nine older horses--including seven graded stakes winners--will battle in Saturday's New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) at Fair Grounds with $500,000 on the line. Highweight Pollard's Vision and second-highweighted Badge of Silver will have to contend with Arthur Hancock's Wanderin Boy.
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 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.
- By Pete Spanos
Magna Entertainment Corp. is banking on legislation that would loosen state simulcasting laws and allow Portland Meadows to remain viable.
- By Pete Spanos
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.
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.
Seven 3-year-old fillies, led by co-highweights Sis City and Leona's Knight, will face the starter in Gulfstream's grade II Davona Dale Stakes Saturday, each assigned an impost of 121 pounds.
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.
- By Pete Spanos
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.
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.
- By Pete Spanos
Magna Entertainment Corp. has threatened to discontinue operations at Portland Meadows in Oregon unless it receives concessions from the state legislature.
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.
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
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.
With the 2004 season winding to a close this weekend, Marylanders will crown champions for both 2-year-old divisions with eight state-bred fillies having been drawn for Thursday's 1 1/16-mile Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship Stakes at Pimilico.
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.
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.
An overflow field of 16 passed the entry box for the 12th running of the Pete Axthelm Stakes Saturday to be contested over 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf at Calder Race Course. Only 12 3-year-olds will be allowed to start.
- By Pete Spanos
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?
Hoxsey, a 5-year-old daughter of Deputy Minister produced from the graded stakes-winning Easy Goer mare Jetto, brought the top price of $65,000 during Thursday's session of the Keeneland's November breeding stock sale.
Thoroughbred Racing Collectibles (TRC), an Internet auction and sales company run by Lake Worth, Fla. resident Jim Setembre, is offering fans of the sport the chance to bid on 60 items used in the making of the movie "Seabiscuit: An American Legend."
The fourth session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale saw the prices of first three days come down slightly from the stratosphere. However the final figures show a market strength that continues to impress industry insiders.
Magna Entertainment Corp. chief executive officer Jim McAlpine Nov. 3 acknowledged the company's substantial third-quarter loss and said it would re-examine its strategy and direction moving forward.
Fresh on the heels of a world-record setting Keeneland September yearling sale in Lexington, Fasig-Tipton officials are gearing up for their Kentucky Fall yearling sale Oct. 25-26.
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.
Hopeful (gr. I) and Sanford Stakes (gr. II) winner Afleet Alex hopes to keep his record unblemished Saturday as he takes on seven of his fellow 2-year-old brethren in the 133rd running of the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
The Fund for Horses, a Texas-based group dedicated to the protection of the country's equine population, will have an informational table at Lone Star Park on Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships Day, Saturday, Oct. 30, as well as on the previous two days.
Charles Town Races and Slots in West Virginia has announced the cancellation of its live racing program scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 30, after stopping its Sept. 29 card short after just four recorded races.
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.
Spendthrift Farm's big gray Stellar Jayne and So Madcapt Stable's New York-bred Capeside Lady were installed as the co-highweights for the 10th running of the $400,000 Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. III) at Hoosier Park Oct. 1.
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.
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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