Robert S. Evans' Irish Mission and Stronach Stables' River Rush barged into
the Queen's Plate picture by upsetting their respective stakes at Woodbine on
Sunday. Stakes debutante Irish Mission handed trainer Mark Frostad his fourth
Woodbine Oaks, dealing a blow to Dixie Strike's Queen Plate ambitions. In
Plate Trial, the 21-1 maiden River Rush vaulted from last to first in a
track-record romp for trainer Reade Baker.
Connections of the top performers in Saturday night's "Downs After Dark"
Grade 3 tripleheader of the Aristides, Winning Colors and Mint Julep Handicap at
Churchill Downs confirmed Sunday that their horses came out of those races well.
The legacy of Affirmed, the last horse to sweep the Triple Crown, is very
much in the spotlight these days, as I'll Have Another seeks to follow in his
hoofsteps and end the 34-year drought. So it was an appropriate kickoff to
Belmont Stakes Week that Hollywood Park hosted the $100,000
Handicap in his honor on Sunday, and even more poignant that a descendant of
Affirmed, Green B. Smith Jr.'s Nonios, scored a smart win in his stakes debut.
Nonios, making his stakes debut for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, overcame some early trouble to post a 15-1 upset by a half-length over Liaison in the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park June 3.
Champion Acclamation emerged from his June 3 workout "fine," according to trainer Don Warren and will enter the $250,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) at Betfair Hollywood Park in California June 9.
Triple Crown contender I'll Have Another visited the paddock at Belmont Park
Sunday morning, standing briefly in the saddling enclosure and walking several
times around the paddock before heading to the track for his customary energetic
morning gallop. Click here to view the
While firefighters work to contain a massive wildfire in New Mexico, the blaze has forced few horse evacuations, according to agricultural authorities in that state. But national authorities believe 2012 could see an increase in wildfire frequency and have cautioned horse owners to prepare for fires before they occur.