Cynics be damned, it's time to see what the Derby gods might be scheming. With the equine version of March Madness starting next weekened, this is the last opportunity in a while to look at the Derby in an ethereal sense.
Very Vegas sprinted to a clear early lead and held off favored Aspen Gal in the stretch for a neck victory in the $111,350 La Habra Stakes for 3-year-old fillies Sunday at Santa Anita Park.
Maiden Go Kitty Go stormed past weakening 11-10 favorite Rocky Gulch to post a major surprise in Sunday's $105,450 Borderland Derby for 3-year-olds at Sunland Park.
Southern Image worked five furlongs Sunday on Santa Anita's fast main track in :58 3/5 in his final major prep for Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I). Afterward, trainer Mike Machowsky pronounced the winner of the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) and the Sunshine Millions Classic ready to go.
Grade I winner Sarava will not be in the gate for Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) because of his weight assignment, trainer Bob Baffert said.
To sell well, 2-year-olds in training need to perform well. But the horses in Tuesday's Barretts select auction have faced some significant disruptions in their preparation.
Who are the hot horses at Barretts? Because of wet weather, drag racing, and the delays in the under tack shows, it's difficult to tell. But keep an eye on Sequel's Tiger Ridge colt.
Peace Rules proved to be the toughest in Sunday's controversial Fair Grounds rodeo, also known as the $500,000 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II), prevailing by a short head over Saint Liam.
The $4.5-million, world record Fusaichi Pegasus colt is now a California resident, living in the Hollywood Park barn of Hall-of-Fame trainer Neil Drysdale.
Angel Gift, a multiple stakes winner and second to Azeri in the 2002 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (gr. II), has been retired and will become a broodmare this spring in Kentucky.
Trainer Wesley Ward expects Pesci to make a full recovery after being hit in her left eye during the Sunshine Millions Distaff at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 24.
Memorial services for trainer John Russell are scheduled for March 8 at noon at Church of the Ascension on Laurel St. in Sierra Madre, Calif.
Mike Mitchell has been training nearly 30 years but has never run a horse in the Kentucky Derby. If the 55-year-old Bakersfield, Calif. native gets to Churchill Downs on May 1, his hopes rest with Quinton's Gold Rush.
The Magna 5, a $2 pick five wager linking races from four Magna Entertainment racetracks in an hour, paid $205,703 to two winners Saturday. The winning tickets were purchased from the Philadelphia Park hub and Richmond, VA offf-track facility.
The under tack show for the Barretts March Sale select sale of 2-year-olds in training has been postponed from Sunday to Monday. It will begin at 9:30 a.m. (PST).
Feb. 29, 1964
Hill Rise in the Santa Anita Derby
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