A record-smashing victory in the Florida Derby (gr. I) by Juddmonte Farm homebred Empire Maker made a strong impression on Kentucky Derby (gr. 1) fans across the nation. The mutuel field still emerged as a narrow favorite as wagering in Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2003 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) ended its four-day run on Sunday.
Irish Acres Farm's front-running Colorful Tour won his fifth straight Sunday, holding off 6-5 favorite Crafty Shaw and Windward Passage in the $100,000 Razorback Handicap (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park.
Ninebanks and Surprise Halo turned the $150,000 Golden Gate Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) into their own match race Sunday at Golden Gate Fields, battling from start to finish in the 1 1/8-miles turf race for 4-year-olds and up.
Gold Mover won her second straight $100,000 Hurricane Bertie Handicap on Sunday, beating favorite Harmony Lodge by 3 1/2 lengths at Gulfstream Park.
Beau's Town did not disappoint as the favorite, winning the $150,000 Pelleteri Breeders' Cup Handicap at six furlongs at Fair Grounds Sunday.
Kinsman Stable's heavy favorite Ebony Breeze battled Crimson and Roses for the lead early and Dakota Light late to tally a half-length victory in Sunday's $150,000 Florida Oaks (gr. III) at Tampa Bay Downs.
It took a L-O-N-G time for spring weather to finally get to Aqueduct Racetrack, and it took Snake Mountain a long time to catch Classic Endeavor. But he got the job done in Sunday's $80,975 Stymie Handicap, his fifth straight win.
Unheralded Buddy Gil and jockey Gary Stevens came out of nowhere to hold off a flying Atswhatimtalknbout by a nostril in Sunday's $250,000 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita.
A Storm Boot filly and a Crafty Friend colt shared the honors for the fastest work at an eighth of a mile Sunday, covering the distance in :10 1/5 during the second session of the final under tack show for the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's March select auction of 2-year-olds in training. The weather in Central Florida was cloudy and warm, with a light wind.
Calumet Farm's favored Region Of Merit wore down front-running Hear No Evil in deep stretch and held off a determined late run from Aristocat to take Sunday's $250,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III).
Alysweep led every step of the way, drawing away in the stretch to capture Sunday's $200,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct Park.
All purses at Gulfstream Park will be increased by $2,000 each, effective March 22 and continuing through April 6, announced David F. Bailey, director of racing and racing secretary.
Trainer Bobby Frankel says Strub Stakes winner Medaglia d'Oro won't be traveling to the Middle East for the $6 million Dubai World Cup, but the pending war in that region was not the main reason.
Buffythecenterfold returns to the races in Sunday's $75,000 Santa Paula Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita.
After thinking things over Saturday night, trainer Bobby Frankel said he's decided to send Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Empire Maker to New York's Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) after all.
Santa Anita stewards suspended leading rider Patrick Valenzuela for five days, Mar. 19-23, "for crossing over without sufficient clearance going into the clubhouse turn" on Que Facil Corazon in Friday's second race.
Lonhro is likely to have taken a step closer to a confrontation with Australia's leading Thoroughbred, Northerly, with a facile win in the $250,000 (Australian funds) Chipping Norton Stakes (Aust-I) at Sydney's Warwick Farm March 15.
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