In what will be the biggest handicap race in New York so far this year, eight runners will race once around Aqueduct's 1 1/8 mile track in Saturday's grade III $200,000 Excelsior Breeders' Cup.
More than 160 meetings have been canceled in Britain due to foot-and-mouth disease -- the tally now is more than 1,400 cases -- or the desperate weather, but the first significant flat meeting of the season took place at Newmarket April 17-19, with the seven-furlong Shadwell Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes (Eng-III) for 3-year-old fillies, and the Macau Jockey Club Craven Stakes (Eng-III) over the straight Rowley Mile for sophomore colts and geldings. Newbury's spring meeting followed immediately with the Lane's End Greenham Stakes (Eng-III) for 3-year-old colts and geldings and the Fred Darling Stakes (Eng-III) for 3-year-old fillies, both over a straight seven furlongs.
Sale records were established for average and median during Keeneland's April auction of 2-year-olds in training. But those results didn't tell the whole story about what happened on a cold and snowy spring day in Central Kentucky. The buy-back rate inched upward to a sale-record high. The number sold plunged to a sale-record low. And consignors complained often about buyers who were too picky and too few in numbers. In other words, the auction experienced many of the same problems that afflicted earlier juvenile sales this year in Florida and California.
It was a tale of two works at Churchill Downs this morning. The formula was something we see many times prior to the Kentucky Derby: two horses with similar running styles come off the same race, have two completely contrasting works, and both their trainers are ecstatic. It was a perfect example how different horses need different types of works. The beaming smiles on the faces of trainers Dave Hofmans and John Dowd told the story following Millennium Wind's five-furlong work in 1:01 3/5 and Songandaprayer's deceiving :59 drill over the same distance.
Irish-based Coolmore Stud announced fees for its stallions shuttling to Australia this summer, and Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Fusaichi Pegasus carries the top fee.
An agreement has been reached between Finger Lakes Race Track and the Western Regional OTB to open a Finger Lakes Special Betting District in the western New York area. The deal, contingent upon Western Regional OTB obtaining an operating license from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board to re-open Batavia Downs, will aid the expansion of simulcast wagering at Finger Lakes and local OTB parlors. Both sides have been working on a deal since Finger Lakes approached Western with the proposal in March 2000.
The song says the "sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home." But, the long range forecast from the National Weather Service is calling for showers in Louisville, Ky., on Kentucky Derby Day.
Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. I) winner Songandaprayer turned in his final workout for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) on Thursday when he worked five-eighths of a mile in :59 at Churchill Downs. Millennium Wind was timed in 1:01 3/5 for his five furlong workout.
Matty's Man, a colt from the first crop of Matty G, sold for $210,000 Wednesday to top the third session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. Matty's Man, who worked a quarter-mile in :21 3/5 during the April 20 under tack show, was bought by Robert Scanlon, agent. Consigned by Eisaman Equine, agent, the colt is out of stakes-placed Joy to Raise, by Raise a Man.
- By Tom Keyser
Under the plan approved Wednesday by the Maryland Racing Commission, Thoroughbreds will cease racing in the state from July 8 to Aug. 7. During that period, Colonial Downs, the track in Virginia managed by the Maryland Jockey Club, will run its 25-day meet.
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