Fox Hill Farms' Eight Belles, who made the $250,000 Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park her fourth consecutive victory, emerged as a narrow favorite as the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager concluded April 6.
Unbeaten Big Brown, the dominating winner of last week's Florida Derby (gr. I), took on the look of the ultimate favorite for the $2-million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) when he finished as a solid 3-1 choice in the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2008 Derby Future Wager.
Favored Tiz Elemental made a successful graded stakes debut in the $150,000 Las Flores Handicap (gr. III) at Santa Anita April 6. One race later, her full sister, Tiz a Blend, also won a stakes for the same connections -- owner/breeder Warren Williamson and red-hot trainer Carla Gaines. Gaines has won with 11 of her last 15 starters.
It's a year of big changes for the Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training, which will be conducted Tuesday and Wednesday in Central Kentucky.
Eight Belles continued her quest to become the best 3-year-old filly in the nation, as the daughter of Unbridled's Song overcame a poor start to win by three-quarters of a length in the $250,000 Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) April 6 at Oaklawn Park, her third consecutive stakes triumph.
Participants in the Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training have a lot to talk about prior to the auction's two-night run, which is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday in Central Kentucky.
Undefeated Big Brown is a big deal on this year's Triple Crown trail following his March 29 Florida Derby (gr. I) triumph. But when he was younger, the strapping bay colt was overshadowed by horses with fancier pedigrees that sold for higher prices.
Vision Racing's Keep Laughing made a successful leap from the maiden ranks to stakes winner, holding off Hatta Fort by a nose to take the $110,300 Lafayette April 6 at Keeneland, and in the process may have stamped his ticket to the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Colonel John was all set to run for the roses the morning after his late-running victory in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), but the trainer for the runner-up, the persevering Bob Black Jack, plans to weigh his options.
Trainer Todd Pletcher was at Keeneland April 6 for the first time during the spring meet to oversee his horses stabled here, including the 3-year-olds Cowboy Cal and Monba. Both colts worked before sunrise, Monba in company with Ready's Image at about 6:15 a.m., and Cowboy Cal some 45 minutes later.
Texas bred Scrappy Roo held off the rallying Going Ballistic by a head in the $168,500 John B. Connally Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) on closing night at Sam Houston State Park April 5, earning his fifth consecutive victory.
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