Triple B Farms' Whilly, who won a pair of grade II races in front-running fashion in 2005 for trainer Doug O'Neill and jockey Felipe Martinez, can start the new year in the same way in the San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Santa Anita Park grass Sunday.
Lael Stable's brilliant prospect Barbaro should be a solid favorite in the $100,000 Tropical Park Derby (gr. IIIT) as a new crop of 3-year-olds makes its 2006 debut on the turf at Calder Race Course.
- By Tom Precious
New York Governor George Pataki and state officials agreed Dec. 30 to a $30 million bailout plan for the New York Racing Association to help stabilize its finances and keep racing going uninterrupted.
Citing "overwhelming demand from New York breeders," Ramsey Farm-owned Catienus will stand again in the Empire State for the 2006 breeding season. The son of Storm Cat out of Diamond City (by Mr. Prospector) will stand at Highcliff Farm for $6,500 live foal.
James Scatuorchio's Ready's Gal, a two-time stakes winner on turf for trainer Todd Pletcher, is likely to be the favorite in the $100,000 Frances A. Genter (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-old fillies on the Calder turf course Saturday. The Genter anchors a four-stakes line-up for Grand Slam III worth $400,000.
The Jan. 2 closing-day Thoroughbred program at Hawthorne Race Course may be the last live racing action of any kind in the Chicago area for a while. A dispute over purses has resulted in cancellation of harness racing at Balmoral Park and Maywood Park on the first two days of the New Year.
Jeremy Rose, who burst onto the racing scene this spring with wins in a pair of Triple Crown races aboard Afleet Alex, makes his debut at Santa Anita Park Saturday when he rides streaking Trickle of Gold in the $250,000 La Brea Stakes (gr. I).
Elusive Diva, unbeaten on the downhill turf course at Santa Anita Park, seeks her fourth win over the unique layout for trainer Mark Glatt in the $100,000 Monrovia Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares Saturday.
- By Jack Shinar
Bay Meadows Race Course supporters said Thursday they'll likely challenge the San Mateo County Registrar of Voters in court after the referendum drive to save the aging track was deemed 136 signatures shy of the number needed to qualify for the June 2006 ballot.
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