Front-running Ellafitz demonstrated her gritty determination when she turned back several challenges to capture Santa Anita's $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 18.
Daddy Nose Best, getting a great ground-saving trip from Julien Leparoux, won an all-out duel with Lucky Chappy to capture the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) by a nostril at Golden Gate Fields Feb. 18.
The first division of the grade III Southwest Stakes looks like the stronger of the two, so we may have to work that much harder to find the winner. Let's get right down to it for both divisions.
After losing a couple of tough grade I races at the end of last season, Force Freeze served notice that he will be one of the top sprinters in 2012 with a dominating performance in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship.
Making her graded stakes debut, Magical Feeling split the two favorites in deep stretch to pull off a 27-1 stunner in the $200,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap (gr. II) Feb. 18 at Laurel Park.
With 21 3-year-old entrants for the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) Jan. 20, Oaklawn Park has split the race into two divisions worth $250,000 apiece.
The live racing program at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots was canceled after the fifth race Feb. 18 due to torrential rain.
Rapid Redux, the winner of 22 consecutive races, was honored at Laurel Park Feb. 18 with a winner's circle presentation.
Team Valor International's Animal Kingdom made a successful return after being off for nearly nine months, as he kicked away from rivals in the stretch to win an optional claimer by two lengths Feb. 18 at Gulfstream Park.
Black Caviar tied the record for consecutive victories in Australasia and almost set a course standard in the process when she won the group I Lightning Stakes at Flemington Feb. 18 on six days' rest.
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