If Johar becomes America's first Japan Cup (Jpn-I) winner since Golden Pheasant won the 12-furlong international turf race in 1991, he'll not only have to overcome a top-class field that is headed by Japanese star Symboli Kris S. He will, for the first time in his career, be tested on a racetrack that is anything other than fast or firm.
Cornejo Racing Inc.'s consistent King Robyn was not about to get caught in Friday's $150,000 Hollywood Turf Express Handicap (gr. IIIT), rolling to his fourth straight stakes victory in gate-to-wire fashion under a strong hand ride.
Frank Manganero's Mambo Slew gained a clear advantage in the stretch and held off a late charge from Ticker Tape for a 1 1/2-length victory in the $100,000 Miesque (gr. IIIT) for 2-year-old fillies battling on the Hollywood Park turf Friday.
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has already saddled more winners of the $200,000-added Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II) than anyone at Churchill Downs, sends out the imposing duo of Be Gentle and Stellar Jayne in Saturday's 60th renewal of the race for 2-year-old fillies.
A February-born Singspiel colt out of champion racemare Bosra Sham set the Tattersalls sale ring alight in Newmarket Friday night when selling for 525,000 guineas to Sheik Mohammed at the December Foal Sale.
Trainer Nick Zito looks for another big effort by The Cliff's Edge, the odds-on favorite for Saturday's $200,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs
Churchill Downs will mark the progress of its sweeping $121 million renovation next week when it holds a special "Topping Off" ceremony. The track has asked its fans to leave their imprint on the renovated facility by adding their signatures to a steel beam that will be placed at its highest point.
Trainer Mike Tomlinson is eyeing stakes competition for Domino Stud's Sir Cherokee after Thursday's successful return to competition by the winner of the 2003 Arkansas Derby (gr. II).
Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, the leading rider in Churchill Downs' "Fall Festival Of Racing," is ill and has taken off all of mounts on Friday's big holiday racing program.
Tattersalls' December Foal Sale continued to break records in Newmarket Thursday, with the 23,128 guineas average up 34% on the equivalent day last year.
Irish Warrior, who rallied boldly for fourth in the recent Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), should be a solid candidate to provide trainer Wally Dollase with a record fifth victory in the $400,000 Citation Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park on Saturday. Also on the card: the $100,000 Generous (gr. IIIT) for 2-year-olds.
Posse rallied from last place at the top of the stretch to take a 1 1/2-length victory over Aloha Bold in the $60,000 Thanksgiving Handicap Thursday in the slop on opening day at Fair Grounds
Pesci had the lead role Thanksgiving Day at Hollywood Park. That is Pesci, the 3-year-old filly namesake of the Oscar Award-winning actor, Joe Pesci. Pesci, making her first start, cruised to an 8 1/2-length victory in the second race Thursday, leaving the actor in a jovial mood.
Watchem Smokey, ridden by Julie Krone for trainer Bobby Frankel, came from well off the pace to post a one-length victory over Our New Recruit in the $100,000 Vernon O. Underwood Stakes (gr. III) at Hollywood Park Thursday.
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Trainer: Todd A. Pletcher
Owner: Alto Racing, LLC
Jockey: Javier Castellano