Zenyatta will likely return to the work tab in a couple of weeks, toward late February or early March, said trainer John Shirreffs Feb. 15. He could not speculate on when she would make her 2009 racing debut.
The mutuel field, or "all others," was the solid 9-5 favorite among 24 wagering interests at the conclusion of betting in four-day pool. But Fox Hill Farm's Old Fashioned was a clear choice among the 23 individual horses in the Derby Future pool that ended on the eve of the colt's 3-year-old racing debut.
Favored Life Is Sweet hardly had an ideal set-up in the $200,000 La Canada Stakes (gr. II), racing at the back of the pack behind extremely slow fractions. But the full sister to champion 2-year-old filly Sweet Catomine refused to be denied, swinging to the outside under Garrett Gomez in the homestretch to overtake Magical Fantasy in the final strides at Santa Anita Feb. 15.
If you saw Desert Code's dramatic come-from-behind win in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint last fall, this victory was nothing like that one. Instead, Desert Code took the lead shortly after the start of the $100,000 Daytona Handicap (gr. IIIT) Feb. 15 on the same hillside turf course at Santa Anita and was never threatened.
After generating a grim series of results for breeding stock and weanlings, the Thoroughbred marketplace switches its focus to racing prospects beginning with the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. February select sale of 2-year-olds in training in Central Florida. Auction firm officials and consignors are hoping buyers will be more enthusiastic about acquiring young horses nearly ready for competition even though the global economy continues to struggle.
The selling season for select 2-year-olds in training kicks off Feb. 17 in Central Florida. Following are lists of some of the more interesting horses in the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. February auction based on yearling purchase prices, pedigrees, and workout times.
Trainer Wesley Ward, who described the Feb. 14 breeze by Ken and Sarah Ramsey's 3-year-old colt Notonthesamepage as "perfect," said he is excited to take the next step in the $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 28. Early signs indicate the race will attract a deep and talented field of 3-year-olds.
Joseph Fields Jr.'s homebred Any Limit turned the tables on her rival Game Face and won the Hurricane Bertie (gr. III) for the second time in three years, taking a short field of fillies and mares gate-to-wire in the $122,500 event Feb. 15 at Gulfstream Park.
Peace Chant, a 6-year-old whose parents are Breeders' Cup winners War Chant and Safely Kept, scored the first stakes triumph of his career when he rallied from far back to capture the $100,000 Phoenix Gold Cup Handicap at Turf Paradise Feb. 14.
Silver City's time in the 5 1/2-furlong Dixieland Stakes, 1:04.12, was the fastest since 1994, and he was able to relax early in the race. Now we'll see if he can get a mile in the Grade III Southwest Stakes.
The traditional status of the mutuel field, or "all others," as the favorite in the opening pool of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager seems secure for another year, but unbeaten Old Fashioned has strengthened his position as the leading individual contender for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with one day of wagering remaining in the first of three 2009 Derby Future pools.
Multiple grade I winner Dream Rush has been retired from racing to become a broodmare.
Howard Belvoir's 2008 Longacres Mile Handicap (gr. III) winner Wasserman took home honors as Washington horse of the year, champion handicap male, and sprinter at the Washington Thoroughbred Champions Breeders and Owners Annual Awards Banquet held at Emerald Downs Feb. 14.
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