Weather played an unexpected role when turf standout Gio Ponti won the Dec. 26 Sir Beaufort Stakes (gr. III), a race transferred from the grass to Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface. Given a freshening since then, he takes the next step on the main track in the $250,000 Strub (gr. II) Feb. 7.
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
Holy Bull winner Saratoga Sinner is the first stakes winner from Harlan's Holiday's 2nd crop.
Triple Crown Talk blog, with host Jason Shandler, asks, 'Where Will This Year's Derby Winner Come Out Of?' Plus, workouts for Derby hopefuls.
Breeders' Cup will fund its stakes program in 2009 and beyond, it announced Feb. 4 following a meeting of its board of members and trustees.
Stardom Bound, the juvenile filly champion of 2008, makes her 3-year-old debut Feb. 7 in the $300,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride racing surface.
Monba and Yankee Bravo, both prominent on last year's Triple Crown trail, will make their returns to the racetrack in the $100,000 Thunder Road Handicap (gr. IIIT) Feb. 7 at Santa Anita. However, Irish-bred Ferneley, a near-winner in consecutive graded stakes, could loom the largest in the one-mile turf event.
The thrills. The spills. The rivalries, rage, and romances. And yes, the flipping, too. It's all there in a new 12-part documentary television series, "Jockeys."
CashCall Futurity (gr. I) winner Pioneerof the Nile makes his eagerly-awaited 3-year-old debut and attempts to establish himself as one of the West Coast's top Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contenders, as he faces eight sophomore rivals in the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 7 at Santa Anita Park.
Magna Entertainment Corp. said Feb. 4 it has arranged to pay a $28.5-million licensing fee for slot machines -- but the money will be placed in an escrow account at a Maryland bank.
Here's a fact: Some domestic advance deposit wagering outlets are openly offering cash rebates to customers that wager on California racing signals.
Pari-mutuel handle was down 1.56% in January compared with the same month in 2008, but the decline wasn't close to the 20.3% slip in handle in December 2008 versus a year earlier.
The Horseplayers Association of North America has introduced this year a rating system for 65 Thoroughbred racetracks in North America. Featured exclusively on BloodHorse.com is a countdown of the top 10 tracks. Oaklawn Park is #9.
Maryland stallion Seeking Daylight was euthanized Feb. 1 following colic surgery.
Magna Entertainment Corp. chairman Frank Stronach is advocating a charter for "horsemen's rights" and said his company, the largest in North America in terms of racetrack holdings, would work with horsemen to accomplish it.
Because the Top 30 list took up a great deal of Monday's column, we'll go double duty this week and catch up on some updates and ramblings and look at the Risen Star Stakes.
Jayne Vaders, the leading trainer at Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack in 2007, lost her appeal Jan. 9 in Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania for an indefinite ban from training due to multiple drug positives.
Christmas Past, a homebred champion filly for the late Cynthia Phipps, was euthanized Dec. 13 at age 29 because of complications from the infirmities of old age.
In a jaw-dropping revision, Maryland received requests for far fewer slot machines in five license proposals than previously thought, and two of the six bidders -- including Laurel Park owner Magna Entertainment Corp. -- failed to pay $22.5 million in required up-front fees, a state official said Feb. 3.
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