Brief racing and breeding news.
Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Secret Status will go to post as the 121-pound highweight when she faces seven other 3-year-old fillies in the $200,000 Gazelle Handicap (gr. I) Saturday at Belmont Park.
Godolphin Racing's Muhtathir turned in a sharp five-furlong drill on Woodbine's inner turf course Thursday morning and then drew post position 11 for the track's $1-million Atto Mile (gr. IT) on Sunday.
Friday at Belmont Park
Trillium Stable's 9-year-old gelding John's Call will take on seven 4-year-olds, including the filly Ela Athena, in Saturday's $500,000 Man O' War Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park. Jean Luc-Samyn, who rode John's Call to a 9 1/4-length victory in the Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap (gr. IT) last month at Saratoga, will guide the Thomas Voss trainee from post position four.
Ben P. Walden Jr. and his wife, Elaine, founders and former owners of Vinery, have a new venture. The couple purchased one of three tracts of land previously comprising Castleton Farm near Lexington, and plan to raise yearlings owned by them in partnership with Jim and Pat Bohanon on the 192-acre property.
Jockey Jerry Bailey will venture west to ride Gary Garber's Flame Thrower in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) next Wednesday for trainer Bob Baffert.
Stephen G. Herold's Abby Girl lost her graded stakes-winning black type and trainer Craig Dollase has been suspended 15 days and fined $2,500 as a result of a positive test for the Class III drug Albuterol.
When the 50th Florida Derby (gr. I) is run at Gulfstream Park next March 10, the Triple Crown prep will have a purse of $1-million, making it the first non-Breeders' Cup race in the Sunshine State to reach the seven-figure level. The 2001 purse reflects a $250,000 increase over the $750,000 purse this year when the race was won by Hal's Hope.
It's no secret that breeders will be paying higher stud fees in 2001, and one stallion whose fee is expected to rise into the stratosphere is William T. Young's Storm Cat, who stood the 2000 season for $300,000 at his owner's Overbrook Farm near Lexington, Ky.
Khalid Abdullah's homebred Distant Music ended a three-month layoff in fine fashion Thursday, rallying in the final eighth of a mile to win the GNER White Rose Park Stakes (Eng-III) at Doncaster, England.
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