Despite the string of second-place finishes, Awesome Gem, who was bred in Kentucky by Runnymeade Farm Inc., Catesby Clay and Peter Callahan, has shown he can compete with the best. It gives Terry Finley hope he will surprise people in the Classic, even with such a deep field.
The previous successes of Cherokee Run's progeny seem now to have been merely building momentum toward the weekend of Oct. 6-7 that arrived with almost tsunami force. Juvenile War Pass delivered a dominating performance to capture the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) and 3-year-old Zanjero took his earnings past the $1 million mark.
Grade I winner Political Force arrived Oct. 11 at Claiborne Farm, where he will enter stud next year for $15,000 live foal. Political Force made his last start in the Sept. 30 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), in which he finished third to championship contenders Curlin and Lawyer Ron.
Master Command, a record-setting, multiple graded stakes-winning son of A.P. Indy, has been retired to Taylor Made Stallions, in Nicholasville, Ky. Purchased for $650,000 by Aaron and Marie Jones at the 2003 Saratoga Select Yearling sale, the flashy chestnut went on to win five graded stakes and earn $1,137,188.
A weanling colt by El Corredor was the most expensive horse sold Thursday during the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. fall mixed auction.
Grade II winner Teuflesberg, who fractured both sesamoid bones in his left front leg in the Oct. 6 Phoenix Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland, underwent a successful surgery Oct. 11 at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington and is on the way to what co-owner Donnie Kelly hopes will be a full recovery.
Criminologist has four turf victories this year. Dance Away Capote is the lone starter with a graded stakes win to her credit. Those two headline a field of six in the 30th running of the $100,000 Athenia Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares Oct. 13 on the Belmont turf.
- By Tom LaMarra
The New York Racing Association will again raises purses, this time for the 45-day Aqueduct fall meet that begins Oct. 24 and runs through Dec. 30. Projected purses will be the highest in recent memory for the fall meet.
Coolmore's John Magnier bought the top lot in Newmarket on day three of part one of the marathon Tattersalls October yearling sale, spending 750,000 guineas on a son of Galileo (Ire) Oct. 11.
Michael Blowen, president and founder of Old Friends, announced the Thoroughbred retirement facility would partner with Bill Oster and the Kentucky Horse Park to create a privately funded memorial for John Henry, who was euthanized Oct. 8 due to the infirmities of old age. He was 32.
Any starter who makes it to the 2007 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Monmouth Park is an extraordinary story. But with all due respect to the rest of the starters, none makes a better fairy tale than Shakespeare, who has returned from a near career-ending injury to become one of favorites for the $2 million NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) Oct. 27.
After a fifth-place finish in the Oct. 7 Spinster Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, Martin Schwartz's Asi Siempre has been retired and will be sold at the Fasig-Tipton selected fall mixed sale Nov. 4, trainer Patrick Biancone said Oct. 11.
Fabulous Strike, one of the pre-race favorites for the $2 million TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park, will not make the race, trainer Todd Beattie said Oct. 11.
Aidan O'Brien, who has been a dominant force in the Breeders' Cup World Championships, likely will have only two starters in this year's event, but they will be a formidable pair. O'Brien will send out Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fra-I) winner Dylan Thomas in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) and Excellent Art in the NetJets Mile (gr. IT).
- By Tom Precious
A consortium of major horse industry companies vying for the Thoroughbred franchise in new York began falling apart Oct. 10, as Magna Entertainment and Churchill Downs announced their withdrawal from Empire Racing Associates.
- By Jack Shinar
Ingrid Fermin, executive director of the California Horse Racing Board, is undergoing a review of her job performance, according to the chairman of the board.