A four-month layoff and an unfamiliar surface might have given Laity pause early on in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday, but by the end he was zeroed in on the finish line, holding off a blazing late charge to win by half a length.
Additional testing has been ordered on tissue samples from a horse that tested positive for the equineherpes virus (EHV-1) Feb. 24 at Philadelphia Park.
The first graded stakes win for Melnyk Racing Stable's $2.8 million colt Harlington was a long time in coming, but the 4-year-old got the job done while fully extended for John Velazquez to win the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) over a strong field.
California-bred Lava Man, ridden with extreme confidence by Corey Nakatani, shook loose of favored High Limit on the far turn and defeated upset-minded Magnum to win the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) in a spectacular effort in front of nearly 50,000 fans Saturday.
The British-bred Milk It Mick hit the front in the final furlong and held off a furious charge to win the $300,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap (gr. IT) on the Santa Anita turf Saturday for his first win since 2003.
Alfred Corrado's Kentucky homebred 4-year-old filly Dynamite Lass rallied gamely through the stretch to wear down 13-10 favorite Olaya for a three-quarters of a length victory in Saturday's $100,00 The Very Handicap (gr. IIIT) going 1 7/16 miles on turf at Gulfstream Park.
Though beaten in his first try at two turns, the 3-5 favorite First Samurai was awarded victory in the $300,000 Fountain of Youth (gr. II) Saturday at Gulfstream Park when stewards disqualified the inexperienced Corinthian for weaving in the stretch.
It's hardly a leap of faith to make Brother Derek the early favorite for this year's Run for the Roses after his impressive win in the $200,000 Santa Catalina (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita Saturday.
The gritty 13-1 outsider Sharp Humor battled back along the rail to defeat the heavy choice Noonmark in the $150,000 Swale (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Mister Fotis was all out to hold off Sir Greeley in a slight upset in the $189,000 Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Sprint Championship Handicap (gr. II) Saturday at Gulfstream Park as Silver Train, the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) champion, was not a factor.
Claiborne Farm's 5-year-old mare Wend kicked off her 2006 season with an impressive win in the $100,000 Honey Fox Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares on the Gulfstream Park turf Saturday.
The mutuel field remained the favored betting interest at the midway point of Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, but unbeatens Barbaro and Strong Contender gained solid support as well Friday.
Beverly Lewis' Folklore, the 2-year-old filly champion of 2005, and Amerman Racing Stable's Balance, winner of the Las Virgenes (gr. I) at Santa Anita in her most recent start, are 6-1 co-favorites as the four-day second pool of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Oaks Future Wager reached its midway point on Friday.
The first training preview for the 2006 Barretts March Sale of Selected Two-Year-Olds in Training, originally scheduled to be held on March 6, has been re-scheduled for March 5 because of an approaching weather system.
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