The biggest concern for trainer Paula Capestro heading into the $200,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap (gr. III) was how her red-hot filly River's Prayer would handle Del Mar's Polytrack in her first start on a synthetic surface. In spite of drifting out some late, the California-bred proved best while winning her fifth successive race Aug. 17 by a half-length over Strong Faith.
Jockey Cecilio Penalba, ninth in Arlington Park's jockey standings, will be sidelined the rest of the season due to injuries suffered in a spill during the second race Aug. 9.
Silvery Swan, a 1994 foal, beat the odds when she produced a dark bay or brown colt by Mr. Greeley in 1997. Named El Corredor, the fleet colt won the 2000 Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) and three grade II races before siring seven stakes winners to date. Since that flying start to her broodmare career, Silvery Swan has moved from strength to strength.
Bill Mott and Kent Desormeaux have both been red-hot at Saratoga this summer. In the 24th running of the $150,000 Lake Placid (gr. II) Aug. 17, the trainer-jockey tandem teamed up once again to defeat a group of talented 3-year-old fillies on the turf.
Raise the Bluff returns to his favorite track, Emerald Downs, as the 3-1 morning line choice for the $400,000 Longacres Mile Breeders' Cup Handicap Presented by TVG (gr. III) Aug. 19.
Capitol Racing at Les Bois Park wrapped up its 46-day live racing season Aug. 11 with double-digit increases in on-track attendance and handle.
Frank Stronach's Adena Springs Farm, North America's leading breeder by earnings for the fifth consecutive year, will offer a large consignment of in-foal mares at both Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton mixed sales this fall.
A Galileo colt brought 1.4 million euros ($1.88 million) Aug. 17 during the first day of Arqana's Deauville Sale, the initial European yearling auction of the year.
Lucy Burch, 28, a jockey who had been competing at Harrah's Louisiana Downs, has died in a car accident, according to reports. She had been slated to ride in the fourth race at Louisiana Downs Aug. 17.
Among the 12 rivals entered against Lava Man in the $1-million Pacific Classic (gr. I) Aug. 19, several could undoubtedly be considered from barns that are taking a shot, perhaps because their horse has shown an affinity for Del Mar's Polytrack or because they believe the California champion is vulnerable. That's not the case for trainer John Shirreffs, who heads into the 1 1/4-mile event with a one-two punch.
- By Tom LaMarra
Account wagering, one of the more pressing issues facing the pari-mutuel industry, will be front and center Aug. 19 during The Jockey Club Round Table Conference in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Live racing in Japan was canceled this weekend after symptoms of equine influenza were found in 29 horses, the Japanese Racing Association announced Aug. 17.
When first-time starter Cave's Valley burned a :21.79 opening quarter in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint at Saratoga, most figured the 2-year-old colt by Stephen Got Even would have nothing left by the time the field of seven reached the top of the stretch. Instead, he kept getting stronger.
The many outstanding performances by Australian Thoroughbreds, both domestic and abroad, have been officially crowned in Australia. The 2006-2007 ANZ (Australia and New Zealand) Classifications were released, reflecting the best individual performances by Southern Hemisphere-bred horses in the past 12 months.
Sarah A. Chase is joining the staff of the American Horse Council as the new director of communications for the Washington, D.C.-based organization.
Graded stakes winners Purim and Storm Surge will stand in 2008 at Nathan Fox' Richland Hills near Midway. Ky.
- By Claire Novak
Workers come out after the break, when the track is freshly harrowed and smooth as soft brown sugar. Most are ridden by jockeys dressed in trendy casual-wear, shiny helmets, spiffy vests. They stride onto the surface, jog up the wrong way, turn, gallop into it, get set down, and - boom - kick into high gear.
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