Six weeks after the thrilling victory by Smarty Jones in the 130th running of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), owners Pat and Roy Chapman and trainer John Servis make a triumphant return to Churchill Downs on Saturday to be honored for their Derby win and their exciting run at the Visa Triple Crown.
Jockey Chance Rollins, who was unseated in the second race at Bay Meadows Wednesday when his mount, Reds Pal propped suddenly on the clubhouse turn, escaped his fall with a sprained right wrist.
Mineshaft, Eclipse Award winner as Horse of the Year and best older male, has been named winner of the New York Turf Writers Association's Secretariat Award as New York's Horse of the Year for 2003.
Stonecrest Farm's Perfect Drift, an upset winner over eventual Horse of the Year Mineshaft in last year's running of the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I), will face some of the toughest handicap rivals in American racing when he bids for a second consecutive victory in Saturday's $750,000-added event at Churchill Downs.
The Puerto Rican government has granted approval for up to 6,000 video lottery terminals to be placed at El Comandante Racetrack in San Juan and its approximately 700 off-track betting outlets on the island.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out grade II stakes winners Limehouse and Pollard's Vision in Saturday's $350,000 Ohio Derby (gr. II), going 1 1/8 miles at Thistledown. Limehouse is listed as the 5-2 morning line favorite while Pollard's Vision will go off at 3-1.
Azeri's lackluster performance in her first test against males in the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) apparently has not dulled her enthusiasm for morning training. The champion older mare in 2002 and 2003 breezed five furlongs at Churchill Downs Wednesday in 1:00.
Last year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Funny Cide is one of six grade I winners among the 35 nominees for the grade II, $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap to be held Saturday, June 19 at Suffolk Downs.
The New Jersey Senate Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee recently approved legislation that would award New Jersey breeders award money following out of state wins. The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
The historic Twin Spires of Churchill Downs and the image of Thoroughbreds racing toward the finish line will adorn a Kentucky-based NASCAR Busch Series car that is scheduled to compete in the Meijer 300 on Saturday, June 19 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky.
Godolphin's Sulamani has been nominated to defend his title in the Arlington Million (gr. IT), it was announced today by the Arlington Park racing office. He headlines a group of 97 international runners nominated the signature event of the Chicago racing season. This year's Million will be run Aug. 14.
Smarty Jones' breeder/owners Roy and Patricia Chapman and trainer John Servis will not only celebrate their Kentucky Derby (gr. I) victory at Churchill Downs on Saturday, they'll also be supporting a good cause as they attend the third annual "Out to Pasture" Party.
The first "Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships on TVG/Fox Sports Net" show of the season will air Saturday from Hollywood Park in Los Angeles.
"NTRA Super Saturday," five shows of horse racing coverage airing on ABC and ESPN, will make its debut Saturday on ESPN with a two-hour telecast (4:00-6:00 p.m. ET) featuring five graded stakes from four different race tracks with reporters stationed at each venue.
- By Tom Keyser
The Maryland Racing Commission June 8 narrowly gave the go-ahead to Magna Entertainment Corp., parent company of the Maryland Jockey Club, to begin rebuilding the turf and dirt tracks at Laurel Park despite strong objections by horsemen.
- By Jack Shinar
Small crowds, slots and rebate shops; those woes top the list. Horse racing representatives were given the opportunity June 8 to tell a California Senate Governmental Organization sub-committee what's troubling the sport and they had plenty to say.
John Casper Howe, a former trainer and jockey, died May 14 in Chicago.
Buoyed by record-handle on the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) program, all-sources handle for the Pimlico spring meet totaled $266.2 million, which was a slight increase over last year's total handle of $265 million.
William S. Farish's Midway Road will remain at Churchill Downs to participate in Saturday's 23rd running of the $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I). The field is also expected to include Southern Image, Peace Rules, and Perfect Drift.
Five-year-old Runaway Valentino (Spectacular Bid--Lil Runaway Juliet, by Runaway Groom) will enter stud next year at Candice De Stefano's Bid Farms near Tivoli, N.Y.
NBC Sports' coverage of last Saturday's 136th Belmont Stakes was the week's No. 1 rated show on network television while generating the event's highest national rating since 1981.
Florida stallion Tiger Ridge was represented by his first winner June 6
By Steve Haskin -- Birdstone wins the Belmont, denies Smarty Jones the Triple Crown.
West Point Thoroughbreds' Seattle Fitz, the handy winner of the (gr. III) Schaefer Handicap at Pimlico on Preakness Day, will be entered in Saturday's $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park, according to West Point president Terry Finley.
Colonial Downs in Virginia opens June 11 for a 34-day meet that again will feature extensive use of the facility's turf course.
The New Jersey Senate Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee on June 7 approved a bill that would permit the state to lease Monmouth Park and Meadowlands, two racetracks operated by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.
The second and final day of the select part of Melbourne's Inglis premier yearling sale told us all one thing--Encosta de Lago is something very rare and special.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- Haven't we been here before? A horse, one that by the first Saturday in June is carrying too heavy an impost--an entire industry--for any Thoroughbred, is caught and passed in the cruel stretch of New York's Belmont Park.
By William Nack -- Of the many images that kept resurfacing in the mind's eye in the wake of Saturday's Belmont Stakes, none was more vividly or repeatedly recalled than the two scenes played out in and around Penny Chenery's set of box seats near the finish line.
In a move that has raised some eyebrows, Coolmore has sold one of its group I producing stallions, Foxhound.
Successful stallion Clever Trick, who sired 67 stakes winners, died June 5 at Glencrest Farm near Midway, Ky., where he had stood his entire stallion career.
Notes on Belmont Stakes (gr. I) runners other than the Nick Zito-trainer Birdstone and Royal Assault and Smarty Jones, which have been reported in other stories.
- By Tom Precious
The court-appointed monitor that oversees New York Racing Association operations has moved into NYRA racetracks and conducted briefing sessions with everyone from board members to hot walkers.
Equibase Co. hosted a record 562,582 total visitors on equibase.com on the three days that comprised the 2004 VISA Triple Crown, a 35.9% increase over 2003.
A decision is expected June 8 on whether William S. Farish's Midway Road will run in the $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I), the main event on Churchill Downs' $1.85-million "Stephen Foster Super Saturday" scheduled for June 12, or in the $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park the same afternoon.
Records in attendance and handle for Belmont Park and the New York Racing Association (NYRA) were set Saturday as Birdstone upset heavily-favored Smarty Jones in the 136th running of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) before a crowd of 120,139. The previous attendance record was 103,222 during the Belmont Stakes two years ago.
- By Tom LaMarra
The Kentucky Equine Education Project received another vote of confidence June 4 when the board of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association/Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders contributed $100,000 to KEEP, which was launched in early May.
One of New Zealand's most famous studs, Trelawney, brought off a classic coup when fillies bred at the historic Waikato establishment finished one-two in the Queensland Oaks (Aust-I) June 5.
A. Stevens Miles' Lead Story, a winner of three major stakes races at Churchill Downs and a leading contender for Saturday's $400,000-added Fleur de Lis (gr. II), has been retired from racing after suffering a fractured ankle in her final work for the race.
Leading jockey Russell Baze, who bruised his lower back Saturday at Bay Meadows in an accident behind the starting gate, tried to ride Sunday but quit after one race.
Summer Wind Dancer, knocking on the door for trainer Jeff Mullins, picked up her first win since November 2, 2002, catching even-money favorite Pesci in mid-stretch and blowing away from her six rivals for an easy victory in the $108,600-added Hawthorne Handicap (gr. III) Sunday at Hollywood Park.
Displaying a tremendous kick coming off the far turn, favored A Bit O'Gold and jockey Jono Jones drew away from seven rivals in the $166,500 Plate Trial Stakes Sunday at Woodbine.
Bago, France's leading 2-year-old in 2003, kept his perfect record intact Sunday in his season debut with an impressive victory in the Prix Jean Prat (Fr-I) at Chantilly.
Japanese-bred Tsurumaru Boy, ending an 11-race losing streak, won the $1.6 million Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo Racecourse Sunday, as multiple grade I winner Island Fashion faded to finish 16th.
Roberto Alvarado Jr., the leading rider at Delaware Park, will be out of action for approximately a week to ten days with a knee bruise.
Ridden by Norberto Arroyo Jr., Steven Peskoff's Coined For Success made every pole a winning one on his way to posting an upset victory in the $75,000 Nick Shuk Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park today.
Although he has trained winners of nearly every major race in North America, including the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) twice, trainer Nick Zito said Saturday's victory by Birdstone in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) was the highlight of his career.
Trainer John Servis said he was "disappointed" for owners Roy and Patricia Chapman that Smarty Jones' bid for the Visa Triple Crown Challenge came up short when he finished a gutsy second to Birdstone in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) but that he was proud of the effort given by the colt Saturday.
Artie Schiller, ridden confidently by Richard Migliore, cruised to his first graded stakes victory in Sunday's $110,000 Hill Prince (gr. III) for 3-year-olds on the Belmont Park inner turf course.
Blue Canari, a 33-1 outsider, handed trainer Pascal Bary's his fifth triumph in the Prix du Jockey Club (Fr-I) Sunday at Chantilly, overcoming favored Prospect Park in the final strides by a head.
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