Fair Grounds shipper Cape Hope heads into Saturday's $100,000 Herecomesthebride (gr. IIIT) as the one to beat in the 3-year-old filly stakes on the Gulfstream Park grass.
Delta Princess, who familiarized herself with the Tampa Bay lawn when winning the Endeavour Stakes in her last start, is the 5-2 morning line favorite in Saturday's $125,000 Hillsborough Stakes (gr. III) for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles.
Scrofa, ridden patiently by Patrick Valenzuela, rallied between horses and prevailed by a half-length Thursday in the $140,625 Irish O'Brien Stakes for California-bred fillies and mares at Santa Anita Park.
The inner dirt track meeting at Aqueduct finally ended Thursday with Richard Dutrow Jr. and Rafael Bejarano winning respective titles for top trainer and jockey.
The March 19 Rebel Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park promises to deliver some major fireworks when Afleet Alex, Rockport Harbor, and Greater Good lock horns in the 1 1/16-mile race, which drew a field of six.
With champion Declan's Moon on the sidelines, the 3-year-old throne in California is up for grabs in Saturday's San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), which has attracted a field of eight, headed by Wilko, Roman Ruler, and Consolidator. But there are at least three others with credentials who will attempt to seize the crown.
The March 19 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) drew a field of eight, but the race for all intents and purposes comes down to Sun King vs. Sun King. The Nick Zito-trained colt is the class of the field, and the race his to lose. Only two others in the field have even been nominated to the Triple Crown.
- By Jack Shinar
With the future of Hollywood Park in doubt, prominent Thoroughbred owner Mike Pegram and Los Alamitos Race Course owner Dr. Edward C. Allred unveiled a $40 million plan March 17 to expand and upgrade the Quarter Horse facility in order to fill an expected void in the Southern California market.
The Lone Star Park Charitable Foundation for Grand Prairie awarded $60,000 to 18 Grand Prairie, Texas charities March 17 during a ceremony at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie.
It will be speed vs. stamina in Saturday's Cicada Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct when 3-year-old fillies Megascape and Acey Deucey hook up against each other under topweight of 122 pounds in the field of eight.
- By Tom Precious
Seeking to prod along negotiations, the New York Senate approved two bills March 17 designed to open long-stalled video lottery terminal casinos at Aqueduct and Yonkers Raceway, believed to be New York's most lucrative racetracks for gaming.
Saturday's $250,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. III) from Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., will be televised on ESPNEWS at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Robert Levine, who saddled Jill Robin L to win the March 5 Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, died March 17 at the age of 86.
The Japan Racing Horse Association (JRHA) will conduct a select yearling auction for the first time in 2006.
Initial test results show that 19 horses have tested positive for possible strangles infection at the Trackside training center in Louisville, Ky., according to information provided by Churchill Downs.
Eleven older horses passed the entry box for the Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT), the premier grass event on the Fair Grounds calendar. Highweighted California shipper A to the Z, second to grade I winner Star Over the Bay in his last start in the Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita, and the red-hot G P Fleet lead a group of horses most familiar with each other postward with half-a-million dollars on the line.
Saturday's $150,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct drew three strong Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contenders in Galloping Grocer, Naughty New Yorker, and Survivalist in the field of nine. While all three would prefer two turns, Galloping Grocer has the brilliance to bounce back off his fourth in the Whirlaway with a big performance.
The Aga Khan, one of Europe's leading breeders and owners, has purchased the Lagardere family's entire bloodstock operation.
Kim Sawyer has been promoted to state steward in Ohio effective April 8. Sawyer replaces Allen Fairbanks who retired at the end of the 2004 live racing season last December after 21 years at Thistledown. Sawyer is the first female state steward in Ohio.
- By Tom LaMarra
Churchill Downs Inc. officials discussed the company's financial picture, alternative gaming initiatives, and the industry's tote system during a March 17 teleconference but shed little light on their intentions for Hollywood Park, the Southern California racetrack that is the subject of sale rumors.
Dynasty, a South African Horse of the Year and widely regarded along with Horse Chestnut as the outstanding South African racehorse of the past 20 years, will stand at Antony Beck's Highlands Stud near Robertson in South Africa.
Johar, who deadheated for first in the 2003 John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), has gotten his first mare in foal.
- By Nick Hahn
Colonial Downs' plan to offer the "Grand Slam of Grass," a major turf series for 3-year-olds that carries the potential for $5 million in total purse awards, was well received by the Virginia Racing Commission March 16. The track has hired a marketing agency to push the series.
Delta Downs Racetrack & Casino recently unveiled its 10-story hotel as part of the finishing touches of a $60-million expansion project. Another project at the Vinton, La., racetrack--conversion of the racing surface to one mile and addition of a turf course--remains on the drawing board but faces some challenges.
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