Wilko, the 2004 Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner making his first start since the Preakness (gr. I) May 21, finished a game third in a three-horse photo finish to Saturday's $60,800 Larkspur Stakes for 3-year-olds at Golden Gate Fields.
Sun Coast racing fans 5,459 strong turned out for opening day at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday, making it the largest opening day crowd in the track's history, up 6 ½% over last year's opener. On-track wagering was a healthy $558,242, up 25%, out of a total all source handle of $3,759,918, a jump of approximately 19% over last season's opening day handle, according to track officials.
Records were matched, streaks continued, and favorites ruled the 15th annual Louisiana Champions Day Saturday at the Fair Grounds meet at Harrah's Louisiana Downs. Badtotheboneandrew, at odds of 4-1, posted the day's biggest payoff in the $150,000 Classic.
Chilean-bred Trotamondo, making just his second start after 11 months off for trainer Laura de Seroux, bulled his way to the lead in the final stages to win the $100,000 Native Diver Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park Saturday.
Christmas Stocking beat Sprightly by three-quarters of a length in the $100,000 Cherokee Frolic Stakes, one of two turf stakes races for 2-year-olds at Calder Race Course on Saturday. In the other, the $100,000 Kris S. Stakes, Up an Octave closed with a rush and beat favorite Yankee Master by a head.
Are You Serious made his first added-money appearance a winning one, taking Saturday's $142,125 Kennedy Road Stakes at Woodbine.
Pacesetting Philanthropist, passed in the stretch by two rivals, surged onward under strong left-handed urging from Eibar Coa to win the $105,400 Queen's County Handicap (gr. III) in his stakes debut at Aqueduct Saturday.
Todd Pletcher, who two weeks ago set a North American record for earnings in a year by a trainer, submitted the names of 17 horses for early-bird nomination to the April 1 Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park.
- By Tom Precious
A deal is in the works to provide up to $5 million to the cash-starved New York Racing Association from the sale of land near Aqueduct to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
- By Tom LaMarra
A 2-year-old colt by Danehill sold for HK$3 million ($386,847) to top the Dec. 10 Hong Kong International Sale, an auction held for the purpose of getting well-bred racing prospects into the hands of Hong Kong-based owners.
- By Tom LaMarra
As Thoroughbreds from around the world made their final preparations for the Dec. 11 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Races, international eyes also were focused on the World Trade Organization ministerial conference set to begin in downtown Hong Kong two days later.
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