In his first California start for new trainer Jeff Mullins, Wilkinson scored
a 44-1 upset in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000
Handicap at Hollywood Park. The four-year-old colt stalked a couple of
lengths off the early leaders, advanced to challenge on the far turn and then
surged to a clear lead in midstretch. Mr. Commons, the overwhelming 3-5
favorite, came charging late from far off the pace in the final furlongs to grab
second while never seriously threatening the winner, who cruised to a
comfortable 1 1/4-length decision under the wire.
In search of firm turf, Wilkinson wound up in the Southern California barn of Jeff Mullins, who sent the 4-year-old colt out to spring a 44-1 shocker in the $150,000 American Handicap (gr. IIT) at Betfair Hollywood Park.
The unforgettable rivalry between 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed and
archrival Alydar came alive again at Belmont Park on Saturday afternoon as
hundreds of fans lined up for a special autograph session with Hall of Fame
jockeys Steve Cauthen and
Much like his recent wins in the Grade 3 Transylvania and Grade 2 American
Turf, Mark Bacon and Dana Wells' Silver Max proved too difficult to beat on the
front end in Saturday's $125,000
Arlington Classic, the first leg of Arlington
Park's Mid-America Triple for three-year-olds on the turf.
Stone Farm, John H. Adger, Oakcrest Farm and trainer Michael Stidham's
Upperline was content to stalk the early pace set by Hooh Why in Saturday's
Grade 3, $150,000
Arlington Matron over the Polytrack at Arlington Park, but asserted her
authority in the lane to take over and draw off for a four-length win. Jockey
James Graham had piloting duties aboard the Maria's Mon mare, and the duo
completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:51 3/5 to return $5.80, $3.80 and $2.60.
Flaxman Holdings homebred Aruna took charge at the five-sixteenths pole and held off Hit It Rich to win the Sheepshead Bay, a race that was impacted by a troubled start for Mystical Star and Magical Cat.
Mowed down after taking a lead in his prior two starts, the seven-year-old
Simmard hit the front three furlongs from home in Saturday's Grade 3, $115,200
Louisville Handicap on the Churchill Downs turf, but did not relinquish control
this time. Under Gabriel Saez, the veteran held off a late charge from Joinem to
win by 1 1/4 lengths in a time of 2:27, the fastest edition of the Louisville
Handicap since the race was extended to 1 1/2 miles in 2007.
Flaxman Holdings' homebred Aruna made an impressive move on the
far turn en route to victory in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000
Sheepshead Bay Stakes, but the Belmont Park race will be better remembered for a wild
start that derailed the chances of two horses.
Dullahan turned in one last workout on Saturday at his Churchill Downs home
base prior to his departure for the Belmont Stakes in New York, traveling one
mile over the fast main track in 1:43 with Tammy Fox aboard.
Trainer Gary Hartlage knew On Fire Baby was special from the moment last
spring when she walked off the van into his Churchill Downs barn. The gray
daughter of Smoke Glacken validated that early opinion later in the year with
wins in the Pocahontas and Golden Rod, both Grade 2s, at Churchill Downs and a
victory this spring in the Grade 3 Honeybee at Oaklawn Park.
Under bright and sunny skies, Triple Crown hopeful
I'll Have Another had a second energetic gallop over Belmont Park's main
track Saturday morning as he continues preparations for the June 9 Belmont
She may not have been an obvious leading lady a few weeks ago, but Homecoming
Queen put herself firmly in the spotlight with a sensational victory at
Newmarket in the Group 1 English One Thousand Guineas and is poised to complete
the double in Sunday's Group 1 Irish One Thousand Guineas at The Curragh.
Rapid Redux, the extraordinary racehorse who holds the modern North American
record of 22 consecutive wins, will be permanently pensioned at
Old Friends, the
Thoroughbred Retirement Center near Georgetown, Kentucky.
Unbridled Humor will be looking for her first win of the year and her first graded stakes victory since last September when she goes postward in the $100,000 Violet Stakes (gr. IIIT) over the Monmouth Park turf May 28.
Awesome Gem, lifetime winner of more than $2.7 million, and San Francisco Mile (gr. IIIT) victor Hudson Landing head the field for the $100,000 Berkeley Handicap (gr. III) at Golden Gate Fields May 28.
The Mahmood al Zarooni-trained Kailani was supplemented to the Group 1 Oaks
at a cost of £20,000, making 14 three-year-old fillies still eligible to contest
Friday's classic at Epsom Downs. Kailani is out of the 2002 Oaks heroine Kazzia
and like her dam is owned by Godolphin, which has also enjoyed Oaks success with
Balanchine (1994) and Moonshell (1995).
J. Paul Reddam's Quiet Oasis, an upset winner in her first start of 2012, will seek to keep it going when she returns to grade I stakes company in the $250,000 Gamely Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park May 28.