Costume Designer, a consistent daughter of Capote, is ready for her first race in nearly seven months in the $100,000-added Monrovia Handicap (gr. IIIT) at about 6 1⁄2 furlongs on the Santa Anita turf on New Year's Day.
Steve "Cowboy" Hamilton, who made a successful return to the saddle in October after nearly a year off, will be sidelined four to six weeks after cracking his vertebrae and breaking ribs on both sides of his body in an automobile accident Dec. 22.
Multiple grade I stakes winner Balance, sidelined since May while undergoing ankle surgery, returns to action at her favorite racetrack on Saturday in Santa Anita's $250,000 La Brea Stakes (gr. I) at seven furlongs.
Toll Taker, a game second last out behind grade I winner Splendid Blended in an overnight stakes on Dec. 3, returns in the $100,000 Chaposa Springs Handicap Saturday at Calder Race Course with a big chance in a field of only six fillies and mares going seven furlongs.
Alice Muller's 5-year-old Florida homebred mare Take D'Tour completes a highly successful 2006 campaign for Calder-based trainer David Fawkes as the horse to beat in the $100,000 Stage Door Betty Handicap (gr. III), where she faces six rival fillies and mares Saturday.
Lawrence Goichman's homebred 3-year-old filly J'ray, coming off a closing second-place finish at Churchill Downs, appears to be rounding into top form for Saturday's $100,000 Frances A. Genter (gr. IIIT) at Calder Race Course.
Graded stakes winners Can't Beat It and Outperformance will likely vie for the favorite's role in an overflow field of 16 entered for the Pete Axthelm Stakes at Calder Race course Saturday.
Eleven 2-year-old fillies are set to go to the post Friday in Santa Anita's $125,000 California Breeders' Champion Stakes, a seven-furlong event for California-breds that seems to be wide open.
A dramatic photo of apprentice jockey Julien Leparoux hanging over the head of Sanibel Storm during a race at Keeneland has been selected for an Eclipse Award for photographer Matt Goins.
WBAL Radio in Baltimore has won the 2006 Media Eclipse Award in the audio/multimedia Internet category for its live coverage of the 131st Preakness Stakes (gr. I) from Pimlico Race Course.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - The gap between purses in Thoroughbred races in the United States and money spent in the American Thoroughbred auction market widened in 2006. While total purses for the year aren't yet known, the projection is that they will be up by a couple of percentage points to just north of $1.1 billion, which would be an all-time record.
By Patricia Ranft - It's been a tumultuous year in Thoroughbred racing, although most years have their share of turmoil in this sport. Emotions changed with the seasons, resulting in a 2006 that won't soon be forgotten.
A Jan. 6 dinner will honor the breeders of winners of 2006 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships races.
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