Harris Farms' homebred Lucky J.H. prevailed in a terrific stretch duel with the veteran sprinter Captain Squire to win the $100,000 Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park Saturday, giving the 4-year-old colt his third straight win.
Trainer Doug O'Neill keeps throwing bigger challenges at the multi-dimensional Lava Man, but nothing seems to faze the 5-year-old California-bred gelding. Winner of both the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) and Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) in the last 11 months, Lava Man led gate to wire to register his first grade I win on the turf in the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap at Hollywood Park.
The eight-week Pimlico spring meeting ended June 10 with Rosie Napravnik, Scott Lake and Robert Cole winning individual titles. The same trio took the Laurel Park winter stand earlier this year.
Jockey Fernando Jara, an 18-year-old native of Panama, patiently guided Shadwell Stable's Jazil from the rail to the outside and outdueled Bluegrass Cat to win Saturday's 138th running of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) by 1 1/4 lengths.
Juddmonte Farms' Cacique, who just missed by a half-length in his last start in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT), held off a hard-charging Relaxed Gesture to earn a head-bobbing victory in the $400,000 Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) Saturday at Belmont Park.
Bushfire, who had the early lead and then was passed by Hello Liberty in the stretch, fought back gamely down the lane to capture the $250,000 Acorn Stakes (gr. I) by a neck Saturday at Belmont Park.
Darley Stables' Songster hummed a winning tune while pulling away to register a two-length win in the $250,000 Woody Stephens Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) on the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) undercard Saturday.
With a thrilling late run through the final furlong, heavy favorite Gorella ran down pacesetter Pommes Frites to win the $300,000 Just A Game Handicap (gr. IIT) over Belmont Park's yielding turf course.
Belmont Stakes day stakes action got off to a rousing start in the $200,000 True North Handicap (gr. II) when Anew scorched to the lead from his outside gate and never relinquished that advantage, cruising to the wire in 1:08.10.
- By Dan Johnson
Jockey Cindy Noll Murphy, who suffered a spinal cord injury in a May 11 spill at Prairie Meadows, said Friday that she will not attempt a comeback.
New York Racing Association director of racing surfaces John Passaro is calling for a fast track and yielding turf course for today's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) card.
By the grandstand entrance off the paddock, a crowd gathers. They're flocking around Penny Chenery, the owner of Secretariat, the most famous Belmont winner of them all.