Upset-minded Lovely Rafaela would not be denied in a grueling stretch duel, nosing rival Western Hemisphere in the $184,925 Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies at Hollywood Park.
A record crowd of more than 120,000 went from a roar to silence today at Belmont Park as Birdstone upset Smarty Jones in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and denied racing its 12th Triple Crown winner.
Jockey Todd Kabel and Inish Glora stole the featured $322,250 Nassau Stakes (Can-III) with a cleverly planned pace strategy Saturday at Woodbine.
In Hand, a 4-year-old son of Belong To Me, made a strong rally to catch rival Host near the eighth pole and then won a battle to the wire for a neck victory in the 1 1/2-mile $100,000 Greenwood Cup Handicap Saturday at Philadelphia Park.
Water Cannon may have been the best 3-year-old among the six in the $75,000 Deputed Testimony, but fortune smiled on front-running Jane's Luck when the favorite's saddle slipped forward under Ryan Fogelsonger as the field ran down the backstretch.
Stellar Jayne, ridden by Robby Albarado, took the lead in the upper stretch and cruised to a 3 1/4-length win over Dynaville in Saturday's co-featured $161,400 Dogwood Breeders' Cup (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs.
Heavily favored Lunarpal, ridden by Shane Sellers, led from start to finish and held off a stretch charge by Consolidator to take a neck victory in Saturday's co-featured $132,088 Kentucky Breeders' Cup (gr. III) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs.
Even though Smarty Jones just failed to win the Visa Triple Crown Challenge June 5 at Belmont Park, the Philly faithful were down, but not out. In fact, many of them said the colt based at Philly Park remains a champion even in defeat.
A strong five-furlong work on Saturday by Stonecrest Farm's Perfect Drift has trainer Murray Johnson looking forward to the $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) June 12, his gelding's bid for a second consecutive victory in Churchill Downs' premier race for older horses.
Ema Bovary's nine-race winning streak came to end when she was unable to catch a game Coconut Girl in the $106,000 Desert Stormer Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park Saturday.
Pat Day sent Fire Slam through a narrow opening on the rail and Fire Slam edged out Teton Forest by a head to win the Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup (gr. II) today at Belmont Park.
Intercontinental broke poorly and had to check down the backside, but once Jerry Bailey found racing room, she spurted to the lead and won the $250,000 Just a Game Breeders' Cup (gr. IIT) Saturday at Belmont Park.
John Velazquez was on some speedballs Saturday at Belmont. A race after he guided Bear Fan to a track record going 6 1/2 furlongs, he took Speightstown on a tour-de-force at six furlongs.
Smarty Jones will have to do a lot to win as impressively as Bear Fan. The 5-year-old mare set a track record in taking the Vagrancy (gr. II) by nine lengths in the first of six consecutive graded stakes today at Belmont Park that will culminate with a run for the Triple Crown.
James L. Osborne's Island Sand rallied in the stretch under jockey Terry Thompson to win Friday's $250,000 Acorn Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park by 1 3/4 lengths.
The early money wagered on the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) has made Smarty Jones an overwhelming 1-5 choice over his eight rivals as he attempts to become racing's first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
An early morning meeting between Smarty Jones' trainer John Servis and Secretariat's jockey Ron Turcotte provided a touch of history as Belmont Stakes (gr. I) day dawned Saturday.
Moderate rain didn't dampen the enthusiasm of fans at Philadelphia Park, the home of Smarty Jones, the morning of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). People began gathering at the gates to the picnic area at the Bensalem, Pa., racetrack at 5:30 a.m. EDT -- and remember, they can only watch the third leg of the Visa Triple Crown Challenge on television.
Two former jockeys who traveled to Belmont Park for the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) are fast becoming the talk of Philadelphia Park and quite popular with some members of the general public in the Delaware Valley, thanks to "The Legend of Smarty Jones."
Despite the strong likelihood of rain for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the skies over Long Island, New York were cloudy early Saturday morning as preparations continued for the classic race later in the day.
Yes, it is blasphemous to even think that Smarty Jones will be beaten in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). But it is still a horse race, and a mile and a half one to boot. And there will be some people who will try to win money and beat the favorite. Although I hate to even suggest that will happen, this column is for them. To all Smarty Jones fans who think this is a lock, read on at your own risk.
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