Proud Spell stamped herself as a top contender for the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) by winning the 8.5-furlong Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) in 1:44.01, a shade faster than the 1:44.44 that Pyro ran in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II). She is the leading runner to date for the second-crop sire Proud Citizen. Considering Proud Citizen ran better at 3, more of his runners are expected to blossom this year. Keep an eye in particular on those horses whose dams have Northern Dancer blood.
Undefeated Lewis Lakin homebred Pure Clan makes her 3-year-old debut March 16 in the $100,000 Honeybee Stakes (gr. III), and will have to hold off five rivals, including Eight Belles, who won her stakes debut in impressive fashion last month.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano, the leading rider during Santa Anita's current meet, sustained compressed fractures to the T-5 and T-6 vertebra in a March 13 spill and has been replaced by Michael Baze as the rider for George Schwary's 3-year-old Georgie Boy in the March 15 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II).
In an unprecedented series of events, the $35,000 purse designated for the ninth race at Oaklawn Park March 13, will be paid out evenly to all 11 runners in the race, even though the race was officially declared a no-contest.
HRTV's originally produced weekly show on top Derby prospects and the road to the Triple Crown. This week's episode includes a detailed analysis of the Louisiana Derby, an Into Mischief update, and more on Big Brown, plus previews of the San Felipe, Rebel, and Tampa Bay Derby.
One year ago, Carl Nafzger was the hottest name in horse racing, as Street Sense, starting with his Tampa Bay Derby victory, was just beginning his run towards the Kentucky Derby. In this exclusive Q & A, see what Nafzger remembers most about Street Sense's Derby win, and who the veteran trainer likes in this year's Classic.
Churchill Downs Inc. is asking for patience in seeing financial rewards from what it termed an $80 million investment into the advance deposit wagering industry in 2007, and promises to act on opportunities for the company's progress in 2008.
The Florida Senate approved March 13 two slot-machine bills that would help the state's Thoroughbred racetracks and other pari-mutuel facilities. However, there is considerable opposition to the bills in the Florida House of Representatives, and the influential Seminole Tribe of Florida is expressing concerns about the legislation.
War Pass has never raced behind another horse, so an intriguing aspect of the Grade III Tampa Bay Derby will be to see whether something jumps out in front of him early, and how War Pass reacts in such case. There's one in this field that just might do that.