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Headlines and features from the Thoroughbred industry

License Fee Goes Wire-To-Wire in Sixty Sails

Winstar Farms' License Fee was allowed to set a moderate pace and then drew away to a five-length victory in Sunday's $300,000 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) at Sportsman's Park. Under Larry Melancon, License Fee completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.11 on a fast track. She earned $180,000 for the win, her 14th in 40 career starts, to boost her career earnings past the $1 million mark.

Inky's Return From the Dead

No matter where Invisible Ink finishes in the Kentucky Derby, he will depart Louisville a winner. Just the fact that the son of Thunder Gulch, nicknamed "Inky," is here and considered a legitimate contender is enough of a miracle to those who stood by this colt and never gave up hope when all seemed hopeless. By all rights, Invisible Ink should be nothing more than a tragic memory in the hearts and minds of the people who raised him and broke him and treated him. Instead, he is at Churchill Downs, about to run in America's greatest race. And all because he refused to die, thanks to a handful of people who refused to let him die.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Fleet Four Fly Five Furlongs

Throw 'em in a hat and pick one. Regardless of which one you choose you'll have the work of the day. That's how similar this morning's four Derby works were. In fact, the times of all four horses – Dollar Bill, Balto Star, Thunder Blitz, and Invisible Ink – were within a fifth of a second of each other. For the seventh morning in a row, since we arrived, the dawn brought bright skies and mild to crisp temperatures. More of the same is predicted through the week, with showers arriving, you guessed it, on Friday.

Dubai Millennium's Condition Stable

Sheikh Mohammed's Dubai Millennium, who has been diagnosed with an acute case of equine grass sickness, remains in stable condition at a Newmarket clinic. The 5-year-old stallion was sent there Monday, April 21, from Sheikh Mohammed's Dalham Hall Stud near Newmarket and underwent surgery that day and the following day because of complications.

Startac, Arctic Boy Could Join Derby Fray

Two 3-year-olds being shipped to Churchill Downs for other races on Kentucky Derby (gr. I) week could join the field for the season's first classic. Trainer Tony Richey said Boyce Roberts' Arctic Boy may run in the Derby rather than a conditioned allowance race on Derby Day he is being pointed toward. Richey said a final decision on Derby plans for the son of Maria's Mon will be made following a Monday workout under jockey Calvin Borel. Meanwhile, Churchill officials said trainer Simon Bray could also decide to run Turf Paradise Derby winner Startac in the Derby rather than the Crown Royal American Turf (gr. III), a 1 1/16-mile grass test on Friday's Kentucky Oaks card.

Meetyouathebrig Romps in Derby Trial

Meetyouathebrig stalked the early leaders from mid-pack and blew by the field in the stretch to win Saturday's $100,000 Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III) by 6 1/4 lengths on opening day of the Churchill Downs meet. Under Robby Albarado, the Elliott Walden-trained winner completed the mile in 1:36.44 on a fast track.

Cat's At Home Edges Top Official in Excelsior

Edward Evans' homebred Cat's At Home earned his second consecutive graded stakes victory at Aqueduct Saturday, edging pacesetting longshot Top Official in the stretch to earn a half-length win in the $190,000 Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III). Boston Party came home third, 5 1/4 lengths behind Top Official.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Express Train Roars Through Churchill

We've seen some great works over the past week, but this morning we saw a super work; the best move by a Derby horse so far. Express Tour obviously has several questions surrounding him, such as having only one start this year, having missed several days training with a bruised foot, and a less than classic pedigree. But freaks have a way of overcoming such mundane obstacles, and everyone who was around this horse at Calder last year is convinced he indeed is a freak. After watching today's work, and the past few day's gallops, we're not about to argue with them.

Oaks Update: Flute In, Others Work

While it appeared earlier this week that Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) runner-up Flute might be excluded from the crowded field in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), the situation changed Saturday and the filly is apparently in after the defection of Serena's Tune.

Keeneland Posts Records for Attendance, Betting

A number of factors contributed to record average attendance at Keeneland Racecourse during the 15-day meet that ended Friday. Keeneland reported average attendance for 15 days of racing of 14,649, highest ever for a Keeneland meeting, topping the previous record of 14,521 set during a 16-day meeting in 1988.

Pompeyo Earns Fourth Straight in Sport of Kings

Pompeyo survived an awkward landing at the final hurdle to set a course record and beat All Gong by three lengths Friday in the $185,875 Royal Chase for the Sport of Kings at Keeneland. The Chilean-bred 7-year-old ran 2 1/2 miles over 13 national fences in 4:34 2-5. The previous record was 4:36, set by Lonesome Glory in the 1999 Royal Chase.

Family Matters: Millennium Wind's Pedigree Profile

If the momentum of Millennium Wind's Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) victory can get him to the wire first in the May 5 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), he would be the first horse to win both races since Strike the Gold in 1991. He would also mark the first time one mare produced two winners of the Run for the Roses.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Monarchos Takes the Spotlight

Sorry, but we've got yet another terrific work to confuse you with. But even with all the top works we've seen this week, we'd have to give this morning's drill by Monarchos the highest marks. There was a great deal of confusion as to what time he actually worked, as the clockers somehow only caught the final three-eighths of his five-furlong work.

No Breeders' Cup for Santa Anita? Magna Says Not Surprising

Santa Anita may withdraw as the host for the 2002 Breeders' Cup because of construction plans. The news has frustrated Oak Tree Racing Association officials, who conduct racing at the Arcadia, Calif., track in the fall. An executive with racetrack owner Magna Entertainment said the news should not surprise anyone since construction plans have been discussed for months.

IRB: No Evidence of Mutuels Fraud at Arlington

The Illinois Racing Board said Thursday it has found no evidence of wrongdoing at Arlington Park and its off-track betting operation following an investigation of allegations employees were fraudulently cashing outstanding winning tickets and keeping the money, which totaled $1 million.

OBS Spring Sale Sets Records For Gross And Average

The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's spring auction of 2-year-olds in training established sale records for gross revenue and median price during its four-day run that ended April 26 in Florida. In addition, the auction's record for the highest-priced horse was equaled when a Grindstone filly sold for $550,000 on the final day. The mark first was set in 1998, when Kaaren and Hays Biggs purchased Etbauer, a son of Silver Deputy who won the 1999 Rebel Stakes (gr. IIII).

British Racing Report: Guineas Preps Yield Confusing Results

More than 160 meetings have been canceled in Britain due to foot-and-mouth disease -- the tally now is more than 1,400 cases -- or the desperate weather, but the first significant flat meeting of the season took place at Newmarket April 17-19, with the seven-furlong Shadwell Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes (Eng-III) for 3-year-old fillies, and the Macau Jockey Club Craven Stakes (Eng-III) over the straight Rowley Mile for sophomore colts and geldings. Newbury's spring meeting followed immediately with the Lane's End Greenham Stakes (Eng-III) for 3-year-old colts and geldings and the Fred Darling Stakes (Eng-III) for 3-year-old fillies, both over a straight seven furlongs.

More of the Same at Keeneland's Juvenile Sale

Sale records were established for average and median during Keeneland's April auction of 2-year-olds in training. But those results didn't tell the whole story about what happened on a cold and snowy spring day in Central Kentucky. The buy-back rate inched upward to a sale-record high. The number sold plunged to a sale-record low. And consignors complained often about buyers who were too picky and too few in numbers. In other words, the auction experienced many of the same problems that afflicted earlier juvenile sales this year in Florida and California.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: A Wind, a Songandaprayer

It was a tale of two works at Churchill Downs this morning. The formula was something we see many times prior to the Kentucky Derby: two horses with similar running styles come off the same race, have two completely contrasting works, and both their trainers are ecstatic. It was a perfect example how different horses need different types of works. The beaming smiles on the faces of trainers Dave Hofmans and John Dowd told the story following Millennium Wind's five-furlong work in 1:01 3/5 and Songandaprayer's deceiving :59 drill over the same distance.

Finger Lakes and Western OTB To Open Special Betting District

An agreement has been reached between Finger Lakes Race Track and the Western Regional OTB to open a Finger Lakes Special Betting District in the western New York area. The deal, contingent upon Western Regional OTB obtaining an operating license from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board to re-open Batavia Downs, will aid the expansion of simulcast wagering at Finger Lakes and local OTB parlors. Both sides have been working on a deal since Finger Lakes approached Western with the proposal in March 2000.

Matty G Colt Tops Third Session Of OBS Spring Sale

Matty's Man, a colt from the first crop of Matty G, sold for $210,000 Wednesday to top the third session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. Matty's Man, who worked a quarter-mile in :21 3/5 during the April 20 under tack show, was bought by Robert Scanlon, agent. Consigned by Eisaman Equine, agent, the colt is out of stakes-placed Joy to Raise, by Raise a Man.

Maryland, Virginia Agree on Summer Schedule

Under the plan approved Wednesday by the Maryland Racing Commission, Thoroughbreds will cease racing in the state from July 8 to Aug. 7. During that period, Colonial Downs, the track in Virginia managed by the Maryland Jockey Club, will run its 25-day meet.

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