Trainer Caspar Fownes was pointing the bay gelding to the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 (G1), a race in which Gun Pit finished second in 2016, with an eye on a Dubai World Cup (G1) return.
Tristan de Meric is making his own way in the Thoroughbred business
Did McCraken's victory in the Sam F. Davis propel him to the number one spot? Are there any new faces among the dozen?
Lucky Pulpit, the sire of two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome, died Feb. 13 of an apparent heart attack while covering the first mare of the breeding season, according to Harris Farms, where he's stood his entire career.
Spendthrift Farm's Hampton Court, the Australian record-breaking group 1-winning son of Redoute's Choice, sired his first reported Northern Hemisphere foal Feb. 2 when a filly was born at Spendthrift's Lexington-based farm.
Graded stakes-winning son of Midnight Lute going to Rising Sun Farm
Son of Candy Ride won three of four starts in 2016, including two graded stakes
Multiple graded stakes winner and sire Albert the Great has been retired from stud duties and is settling into Old Friends Thoroughbred retirement farm in Georgetown, Ky.
A & A Ranch reported Feb. 13 the loss last month of its improving sire Southwestern Heat due to colic.
The addition of the two Arlington stakes races lifted total stakes purses to be offered during the upcoming meet to $8.84 million, an increase of $200,000 from the $8.64 million in stakes purses offered in the 2016 spring meet.
Finally free of Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Gun Runner had his first breeze at Oaklawn Park Feb. 13 in preparation for the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3).
Australia's reigning middle distance champion extended her win streak to 14 straight races with an easy win of nearly three lengths over familiar rival Hartnell Feb. 13 in the (Aus)$250,000 Apollo Stakes (G2) at Royal Randwick.
Trainer Doug O'Neill used the 2016 San Vicente Stakes (G2) to launch Nyquist's 3-year-old campaign toward the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) and could have another Triple Crown contender after the 2017 edition.
The unbeaten 3-year-old colt raised his connections' optimism several notches Feb. 11 at Tampa Bay Downs, where he won the $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) by 1 1/2 lengths.
Shadwell Stud and leading stallion Dubawi secured another grade 1 victory in America Feb. 11 through the British-bred Almanaar in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1T).
Neil Howard and Wayne Catalano both have promising sophomores on the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks trail.
Siena Farm's homebred Isabella Sings took the lead and never looked back, easily winning by three lengths in the $150,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes (G3T) Feb. 11 at Tampa Bay Downs.
Chanel's Legacy kept race favorite Perfect Wife in her sights through the $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park before delivering a knock-out blow around the final turn en route to taking the one-mile test by 2 1/2 lengths.
In his first race since July, Bolo was 2 1/2 lengths off leaders What a View and Conquest Enforcer with a furlong to run, but closed rapidly on the outside and just got a head in front at the wire.
Vale Dori continued her dominance of the older female division in Southern California with another her third straight grade 2 score Feb. 11 in the $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
Sharp Azteca may have been making his season debut Feb. 11 in the $350,000 Hardacre Mile Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2), but the Gelfenstein Farm runner came ready for action.
The built up to McCraken's seasonal bow ended with results to match. Under some left-handed urging from jockey Brian Hernandez Jr., the unbeaten colt unleashed a wicked turn of foot down the middle of the track to win the $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3).
Godolphin's homebred Dickinson notched her first graded score with a ground-saving trip, as she sneaked through on the rail to win the $150,000 Suwannee River Stakes (G3T) Feb. 11 at Gulfstream Park.
Stepped up into grade 1 company for the first time, Almanaar ran straight and true to the Gulfstream Park winner's circle to secure the high-level placing and his first North American score.
Gary Stevens has been cleared to resume his riding career in March after undergoing surgery for the replacement of his right hip Dec. 21.
The two grade 3 stakes on Meydan's Feb. 11 card moved their runners one step closer to the big prizes offered during the March 25 Dubai World Cup Festival.
Each week BloodHorse.com looks forward to the weekend's biggest races. Consider this your weekly guide to the best stakes races in North America. This week Tampa Bay Downs gets the spotlight with three graded stakes Saturday.
Twelve-year-old Hannah Schlenk collected her first win as a Thoroughbred owner Feb. 10, when her 6-year-old gelding, Rous, got the best of a photo finish in Turfway Park's third race.
Retired jockey Nelson Menard died Feb. 9, according to the publicity office at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
It was a bidding slugfest at the Fasig-Tipton winter mixed sale when the mare Cinnamon Spice was offered during the Feb. 7 session, and in the end Oussama Aboughazale's International Equities Holding left with the $700,000 sale topper.
Fox Hill Farms and Siena Farm's Bal a Bali is currently listed on the Calumet Farm online stallion roster, but if all goes as planned, he won't be visiting any mares this year.
- By Alicia Wincze Hughes
- Thoroughbred Racing, Triple Crown, Southeast Region, Southwest Region, Kentucky
As the regular rider for McCraken, the 2-1 morning-line favorite for Saturday's Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3), jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. could find his current groundswell of momentum dwarfed by what could come his way should his mount prevail.
Millennium Farms announced Feb. 10 that the first foal by Chilean-bred Hakassan (Sir Cat—Fusaichi's Angel, by Fusaichi Pegasus) was born Feb. 5 at the farm near Lexington.
Stakes winner and 2016 Preakness Stakes (G1) pacesetter Uncle Lino has been retired from racing to stand stud at Northview PA in Peach Bottom, Pa., according to trainer and co-owner Gary Sherlock.
Grade 1 winner Mind Your Biscuits motored through a powerful half-mile work in a bullet :47.75 Feb. 10 at the Palm Meadows Training Center, his final workout before making his seasonal debut in the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3).
Three-time Eclipse Award winner Royal Delta
Santa Anita Park Feb. 10 announced the stakes schedule for its upcoming spring meeting and the most notable change was a tip of the cap to one of the best mares to ever run at the Southern California track.
Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs each card three graded stakes and Santa Anita Park puts on a pair of Grade 2 events.
If the results of the recent Fasig-Tipton Midlantic winter mixed sale are any indication, the Becky Merkel sale consignments are in good hands with the consignor’s daughter and son-in-law Sarah Estrada-Brok and Carlos Estrada.
West Point Thoroughbreds' Suns Out Guns Out, the only son of Empire Maker standing in Florida, has joined Stonewall's Prestige Stallions roster for 2017. He will stand for $2,500.
Keeneland's Rice Road stable area is completely out of quarantine after the Kentucky Office of State Veterinarian lifted restrictions on a final barn.
Military Angel, a a multiple group-placed daughter of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) winner Big Brown, was purchased by French-based MAB Agency for €210,000 ($224,291 in U.S. Funds) to top the Goffs February sale.
Graded stakes winner and stallion Cool Coal Man will be exported to Iran to stand at Daniel Stud, according to bloodstock agent Marco Bozzi.
Three-time Eclipse Award winner Royal Delta passed away at age nine earlier this week due to complications from foaling a filly by Galileo at Coolmore Ireland.
When trainer Arnaud Delacour saddles No Dozing for the $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) Feb. 11 at Tampa Bay Downs, it could mark an early step toward the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1).
Jockey Mario Gutierrez earned his 1,000th victory Feb. 9 at Santa Anita Park with a neck victory aboard Hot Paris Night in a maiden claiming race.
Trained by Nicholas Bachalard for Sons of the late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the homebred Nashmiah transferred her winning form from King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to win the 1,600-meter event.
Five maiden winners will look to break through for their first graded score Feb. 12 in the $200,000 San Vicente Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.
Graded record on dirt and speed make him a good fit, say new owners
The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues Saturday and Sunday with the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) and Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3).
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