Careless Jewel has taken Vern and Donna Dubinsky to winner's circles they never thought possible, especially for a horse who cost only $40,000.
Cocoa Beach and Music Note have been here before. In 2008, at the end of long campaigns, they were still able to finish second and third, respectively, to Zenyatta in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita.
California Flag has an opportunity that few horses ever get -- a do-over at the Breeders' Cup. A diabolically fast pace cooked him in last year's inaugural Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, but the improved version of California Flag may be much tougher in this year's running.
Zenyatta gave trainer John Shirreffs and jockey Mike Smith precisely what they asked for Oct. 31 in her final work before the Breeders' Cup. With regular workmate Green Cat providing a target, she worked six furlongs in 1:12 2/5 at Hollywood Park at about 9 a.m.
Rachel Alexandra isn't coming and Zenyatta is leaning to the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). However, anyone who believes that doesn't leave much for the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I) needs to think again.
What could be more specialized than horses that like to sprint on the turf? Yet all manner of runners make up the 22 pre-entries in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, which drew the largest field of all 14 Breeders' Cup races.
Zenyatta worked six furlongs in 1:11.20 at Hollywood Park Oct. 23 in her first work since winning the Oct. 10 Lady's Secret Stakes (gr. I). Jockey Mike Smith was aboard, and the mare worked in company with Green Day and Sabina Fay.
California-bred Tiznow proved a drawing card at the Barretts California Cup Yearling Sale Oct. 5. The stallion's only offspring in the catalog, a California-bred daughter of the Lion Hearted mare Storm Hearted, topped the sale at $120,000.
With a catalog consisting of nearly 90% California-breds, this year's Barretts yearling sale is well-positioned for Oct. 5, two days after California Cup XX at Oak Tree. Renamed the inaugural California Cup yearling sale, the auction will begin at 11 a.m. (PDT) at the Hinds Pavilion on the Barretts sale grounds in Pomona, Calif.
Even-money morning-line favorite Grazen drew post position 3 for the $200,000 California Cup Classic presented by City National Bank at the draw breakfast Sept. 30.
Lava Man, the former claimer who earned more than $5 million, has returned to training at Doug O'Neill's Hollywood Park barn. The 8-year-old gelding worked three furlongs in :36 flat Sept. 23 at Hollywood, his first official work.
Six horses have died from catastrophic breakdowns at Del Mar during a 10-day span that includes the first week of racing. Three occurred during morning training on Polytrack, two happened during races on Polytrack, and one was in a turf race.
A treatment of procaine penicillin for an infected hind foot more than two weeks ago will keep Hal and Patti Earnhardt's Indian Blessing out of the July 11 Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I) during Summit of Speed Saturday at Calder Race Course.
Big City Man, who defeated champion Indian Blessing in this year's Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I), died July 5 of a strangulated cecum, several hours after a six-furlong work in 1:13.40 at Hollywood Park.
The Inglewood City Council approved a final environmental impact report and a significant land use revision June 3 that would allow the conversion of the 238-acre Hollywood Park racetrack site to a mixed use development.
A son of Tiznow sold for $300,000 topped the Barretts 2-year-old sale May 11, as the average fell along the lines of most juvenile sales this winter and spring. Buy-backs and withdrawals of some of the most buzz-worthy horses contributed to the 30.25% decline in average to $37,087.
While some Florida consignors bypassed this year's Barretts March select sale of 2-year-olds in training, most of the major players have returned in force for the company's May juvenile auction.
Whether Hollywood Park's cancellation of its April 30 card due to insufficient entries will require a move to a four-day week is something track officials aren't ready to discuss. The cancellation resulted when attempts on both April 26 and April 28 to fill the Thursday card failed to yield enough entries to conduct racing.
Mike Pegram is quick with a joke when his horses win, but the owner said he felt very humbled when the Southern California racing industry turned out to honor him and his wife, Mary Ellen.
CARMA invited representatives from several California rescue organizations to a roundtable April 8 at Santa Anita to discuss ways the groups could work together to save Thoroughbreds and rehabilitate them for second careers.
Harvesting a horse's stem cells at birth through the umbilical cord or as a young horse may give it an advantage later if it develops health problems. Researchers from the University of California-Davis spoke to a group of owners and breeders March 22 at the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association office about stem-cell research they are performing, and the future of stem-cell therapy.
A son of Horse of the Year Tiznow brought $650,000 to top the Barretts sale March 10 at the Hinds Pavilion in Pomona, Calif. Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stables purchased the colt on a telephone bid from the Wavertree Stables consignment
Barretts is offering a trimmer catalog for its 2009 March select sale of 2-year-olds in training, which is in line with the belt-tightening mood throughout the country. The Southern California auction company has cataloged 124 horses for its March 10 auction, down from 191 in the 2008 book.
A Distant View filly zipped a furlong in :09 4/5 for the fastest time of those cataloged for the Barretts March sale.
Richard Shapiro, former chairman of the California Horse Racing Board, has been hired as a consultant by the newly-formed California Horse Racing Alliance. Craig Fravel, the alliance's president and the executive vice-president of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, confirmed the hiring of Shapiro shortly after the group's formation in recent weeks.
Because of the owners, trainers and jockeys who frequent The Pamplemousse restaurant near Del Mar in Southern California, co-owner and chef Jeffrey Strauss gets more than his share of tips.
Two $50,000 fillies of racing age highlighted the Barretts January mixed sale, which saw the average decline slightly from last year and the median improve. With other sales around the country experiencing double-digit decreases, sales officials expressed pleasure at the final figures.
England's Triple Crown finale, the Ladbrokes St. Leger (Eng-I), isn't considered a normal route to the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT). But Michael Stoute hasn't ruled England's training ranks for years by playing it safe.
Exercise riders have a special trash talk all their own, usually along the lines of how the horse they are aboard can trounce anything on four legs in this century or last. That's why few people paid any attention in 2007 when Steve Willard, riding a huge unraced filly from John Shirreffs' barn, told a Hollywood Park outrider, "This is the second coming of Ruffian."
With five breakdowns, including three fatalities, in the first five days of racing, Santa Anita's synthetic surface has again come under the microscope.
Santa Anita Park dodged the rain, which hit Southern California Christmas day but left skies sunny for the traditional Dec. 26 opening day. A crowd of 33,112 attended, an increase of 9.8% over the 30,156 fans at the 2007 opener.
The stallion Unusual Heat broke the California record for progeny earnings in one year Dec. 11.
With the economy affecting all aspects of the racing industry, Santa Anita has adjusted its overnight purses downward about 10% for the upcoming winter-spring meeting that begins Dec. 26.
J. Paul Reddam's Square Eddie has returned to trainer Doug O'Neill's Hollywood Park barn following a couple weeks' rest at Magali Farms near Santa Ynez, Calif.
Unbeaten Zenyatta is getting a bit of a break at trainer John Shirreffs' barn before a 2009 campaign, but she may parade at Hollywood Park Nov. 30 as part of a special day in her honor.
A Tapit weanling colt brought a session-topping $60,000 at the second day of the Barretts October mixed sale Oct. 28. Broodmares and weanlings made up most of the sale's second half, which saw 100 horses gross $379,500 and average $3,795.
With no major dispersals in the mix and working against an ailing economy, the two-day 2008 Barretts October mixed sale began Oct. 27 facing an uphill battle. The first day saw 143 horses sell for $536,600, yielding an average of $3,752 that was 69% last year's event.
Dearest Trickski's road to the Sentient Flight Group Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint began late last year, when the Kalookan Queen Stakes at Santa Anita failed to fill. That pushed the filly into the grade I La Brea Stakes Dec. 29, and a victory there gave owner Tom Mankiewicz and trainer John Sadler grander ideas.
Todd Beattie is happy to be in California with Fabulous Strike for the Sentient Flight Group Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I). He had hoped to be at last year's Sprint, but instead had to battle a lung infection that could have ended the gelding's racing career.
Champion Indian Blessing drew post position 5 and was installed the 2-1 morning-line favorite in a full field for the Sentient Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita Oct. 21. That puts the front-running filly three outside another speedster, 12-1 Indyanne, in the seven-furlong event.
As the media descend daily on barn 27 of the Santa Anita backstretch to get a glimpse of Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) favorite Curlin Oct. 20, trainer Juan Reviriego quietly goes about his business next door at barn 28. He also has a Breeders' Cup contender, though Lady Sprinter doesn't have nearly as high a profile as her neighbor.
Midnight Lute, the defending Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner, worked a half-mile at Santa Anita Oct. 20. The official clockers timed him in :46.80 on the Pro-Ride surface, while trainer Bob Baffert clocked him in :47.07.
When it comes to the Sentient Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, the Oak Tree Racing Association board members can be forgiven a little partisanship. The hosts of the 2008 Breeders' Cup Oct. 24-25 should be impartial, but fellow board member Warren Williamson bred and owns Filly & Mare Sprint contender Tiz Elemental.
Fatal Bullet, the Canadian invader for the Sentient Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 over the Santa Anita Pro-Ride surface Oct. 19. Trainer Reade Baker and his wife, Janis, watched the work from the grandstand, as regular jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva was in the saddle.
Sandy Hawley may have won the Living Legends race on Tribal Chief against seven fellow Hall of Fame former riders, but nobody had more fun than Julie Krone and Chris McCarron.
Gary and Cecil Barber arrived at Clocker's Corner Oct. 19 in time to see the sunrise. However, they were paying more attention to Cost of Freedom, their $50,000 claim who has soared into contention for the Oct. 25 Sentient Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I).
As if they had never left the racetrack, 10 Hall of Fame jockeys spoke knowingly of tactics in the Oct. 18 "Living Legends" competition at Santa Anita -- mostly about how Angel Cordero Jr. will be herding the field from his outside post position.
Trainer Bob Baffert will be trying to accomplish something in the Sentient Flight Group Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) never done before-win the race twice with the same horse.
A race still searching for its identity, the Sentient Flight Group Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint has the potential to be many things.
Curlin took another step closer to the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) when he executed a flawless workout between races at Santa Anita Oct. 13. With regular exercise rider Carlos Rosas aboard and in company with Hawaii Calls, Curlin traveled five furlongs in :59.11, galloping out in 1:12.14.
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