Dogwood Stable's Distilled, one of the leading candidates for this Saturday's $500,000 Illinois Derby, worked five-eighths of a mile on a fast track Monday morning at his Hialeah Park homebase. The chestnut son of Hennessy covered the distance in 1:02 1/5 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15. The drill was one-fifth of a second quicker than that of A. P. Valentine, who prepped Monday for the Grade III Flamingo in 1:02 2/5: The connections of Secret Romeo will decide Monday afternoon whether or not to start in the Illinois Derby. Entries for the Grade II, mile and an eighth race will be drawn Tuesday.
Red Bullet, winner of the Preakness Stakes last year, has started back in light training at owner Frank Stronach's Adena Springs Farm in Ocala, and could be ready to return to the races by August at Saratoga. Farm trainer Danny Vella said the son of Unbridled is coming along great after suffering what was believed to be a hairline fracture last summer.
Resurgent A P Valentine and morning line favorite Point Given are listed as the close first and second betting choices after the opening day of the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
Steve Haskin, the award-winning turf writer and senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse, updates his top Kentucky Derby contenders weekly. During his 29 years with the Daily Racing Form, Haskin became known for his insightful coverage of the Triple Crown races. Haskin won the Red Smith Award for Kentucky Derby writing in 1997, 1999, and 2000.and received the David Woods Award for best Preakness story in 1997. In 1999, he co-authored "Baffert: Dirt Road to the Derby" with trainer Bob Baffert and wrote the book, "Dr. Fager" for Eclipse Press' "Thoroughbred Legends" series in 2000.
Breeders' Cup announced on April 2 the addition of six members to its board of directors. They are E.K. Gaylord II, R.D. Hubbard, Robert T. Manfuso, Robert C. McNair, John C. Oxley, and John W. Phillips.
Fairmount Park's live meet, delayed more than a month by a crippling purse dispute, is finally under way. But the future of the track, located just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Mo., is in the hands of the Illinois legislature.
Rich Decker has resigned his position as president of WinStar Farm, the Versailles, Ky., operation owned by telecommunications executives Kenny Troutt and Bill Casner, who purchased the former Prestonwood Farm from Jack, Art, and the recently deceased J.R. Preston in January 2000. Decker was manager of Prestonwood since 1988.
While pushing to take over the New York City Off Track Betting Corp., Barry Schwartz has been busily pressing top state lawmakers at the Capitol in Albany to back him on what has become his other chief lobbying mission this year: lowering the takeout at New York racetracks.
Woodbine opened for its 2001 season Saturday with a resurfaced dirt track and witnessed an increase in handle compared to opening day of the 2000 meet.
The 7-year-old gelding Kona Gold had plenty to contend with when the $200,900 Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) got underway on April 1. But in the end, the champ prevailed by a desperate neck. Hollycombe and Explicit finished in a dead heat.
Saturday at Keeneland
Frank Adams' Al Skywalker upset Campanile, winning Saturday's $100,000 Bank of America Carolina Cup (NSA-I) by 12 lengths in a strung out finish in front of about 70,000 spectators at Camden, South Carolina. Campanile came home second, 69 lengths ahead Assurance. Addinson was another 60 1/4 lengths back in fourth.
With the annual last weekend in March lull, the only news on the racing front was the impressive 3-year-old debut by Ommadon in an Aqueduct allowance race on March 28. This gives us an opportunity to sit back, take a deep breath, and reflect on...well, anything that will keep the Derby electrodes charged during this unwelcomed break in the action. With most of the horses here pretty much embedded in our minds already, we're going to concentrate a good deal on the two Godolphin horses, whom we feel will be legitimate threats, despite the questions surrounding them.
Turf Paradise Derby winner Startac, two-time grade II stakes runner-up Palmeiro, and San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) runner-up I Love Silver each worked at Santa Anita Sunday morning. All three are listed by the track as probable for Saturday's Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).
Outofthebox, preparing for $250,000 Flamingo Stakes (gr. III), worked five furlongs over a sloppy Gulfstream Park strip Sunday in 1:00 flat, handily. Gotham Stakes (gr. III) third-place finisher Voodoo worked three furlongs in :36 2/5 while breezing on a Belmont Park training track listed as "good."
Three of the leading Triple Crown hopefuls –- Monarchos, Dollar Bill, and Hero's Tribute -- worked over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs Sunday, with Hero's Tribute earning a bullet for his five furlong work. Hero's Tribute completed his five furlongs in 1:01 1/5, the co-fastest of nine works at the distance.
William T. Young's homebred champion filly Surfside, who was retired the last week in March, might be bred to prominent sire Unbridled.
The British Horseracing Board ruled Sunday that the rescheduled Cheltenham Festival cannot take place April 17-19 because the Gloucestershire, England course falls within a foot and mouth infected area. According to Racenews, a foot and mouth outbreak has been confirmed at Woolstone, about five miles from the course.
The show opens with a drumbeat, a horse running, and the words: "In the world of the thoroughbred, one thing you can count on is the unexpected." The show is "Thoroughbred," a 13-part series about life at Bonita Farm, the Boniface family's pride and joy in Maryland -- home to Deputed Testamony, winner of the 1983 Preakness. The first 30-minute episode begins at 8 p.m. (ET) Tuesday (April 3) on the cable channel Animal Planet. Subsequent episodes will be televised Tuesdays at that hour through June 19 (and also at 7 p.m. Saturdays).
Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel saddled the winners of both stakes races Saturday at Santa Anita Park. Frankel sent out Juddmonte Farms' Marine for a half-length victory in the $83,475 La Puente Stakes for 3-year-olds. And in the $81,975 Providencia Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, Frankel-trained horses ran one-two as Dr. John Chandler's Dynamous held off stable mate and 4-to-5 favorite Heads Will Roll for a half-length victory.
Sunday at Pimlico
Raza Stable's Blade Prospector set the early fractions and drew away in the stretch when challenged by favored Dixie Dot Com to win the $100,000 Berkeley Handicap (gr. III) by 2 1/2 lengths on Saturday at Golden Gate Fields. Under Omar Berrio, the Brazilian-bred completed the one-mile race in 1:34.18 on a fast track.
Despite a somewhat troubled trip, Moyglare Stud Farm's Make No Mistake rallied in the stretch to win Saturday's $100,000 Bougainvillea Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Hialeah Park. Under jockey Jose Santos, Make No Mistake completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.10 on the turf course listed as "good."
Shug McGaughey sure loves these dead weekends in early spring to showcase his fillies. Last year, on April 1, the trainer grabbed what little headlines there were available by sending out Finder's Fee to win the seven-furlong Cicada Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Aqueduct. This year, on March 31, the Next Move Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, was one of only four $100,000 races run over the weekend. And once again, it was McGaughey stealing the headlines, saddling the 4-year-old Atelier to a thrilling nose victory for owners Helen C. and Helen K. Groves and Dorothy Matz.
Crafty C.T. and Early Flyer, possible entrants for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April seventh, put in works over the main track at Santa Anita on Saturday.
Stable area workers and their dependents will be eligible for extended health care under changes supported Friday by the California Horse Racing Board. The Board voted to begin the regulatory process for changes to rules governing operations of the California Thoroughbred Horsemen's Foundation, a benevolent organization for backstretch employees who care for horses, such as grooms and hot walkers, providing them with medical and dental benefits.
After the Maryland Jockey Club agreed to drop its opposition, the Maryland Racing Commission granted preliminary approval March 30 to William Rickman Jr.'s bid to build a horse track in Western Maryland. Representatives of the MJC stopped fighting the proposal after Rickman, owner of Delaware Park and Ocean Downs, secured a $20 million line of credit for Allegany Racing Association. That is the entity composed of Rickman and his father, William Rickman, that proposes to construct the track at the eastern edge of Allegany County.
Saturday at Golden Gate Fields
Bob and Beverly Lewis' Global Gait, winner of three of five career starts, is one of five Visa Triple Crown nominees set to run in Saturday's La Puente Stakes at Santa Anita. Trained by Bob Baffert, the Maryland-bred son of Concern was fourth in the Fountain of Youth in his 2001 debut.
Multiple grade I winner Royal Anthem has gotten off to a promising start as a stallion. The first-year sire has had 29 mares pronounced in foal, 28 of those on only one cover.
Multiple stakes winner Lucky Lady Lauren was killed by a toppled tree when a thunderstorm and tornado blasted through the Ocala, Fla., area March 29, according to the Ocala Star-Banner. Four other horses were reported killed by the twister.
Rubbing his eyes, Randy Hartley tried to stop the tears from flowing. His voice cracked with emotion as he described what it was like to sell a son of Dehere for $1,050,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's March select auction of 2-year-olds in training.
Slot machines and card tables had an undeniable influence on the 8% growth seen in North American purses in 2000. Out of the top 10 racetracks in the United States and Canada, ranked by growth in total purses, seven offer slot and/or video poker machines and one offers card games. Leading the list is Sunland Park, the New Mexico racetrack nestled against the Texas border town of El Paso. Gross purses at Sunland Park grew 160%, from $1.69 million in 1999 to $4.4 million last year.
Calling a backstretch unionization bill filed in the state Assembly a "very real threat to the viability of California's entire Thoroughbred racing industry," the California Thoroughbred Trainers organization is urging its members to actively oppose AB 856 as it works its way through the legislative process this year.
With a Saturday deadline to land a seat on the National Thoroughbred Racing Association board of directors fast approaching, the Maryland Jockey Club has rejoined the NTRA, and its president, Joe De Francis, will take a seat on the NTRA board.
For the second time in three years, Frank Stronach's Adena Springs Farm near Midway, Ky., will host the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association National Awards Dinner. TOBA announced that the 2001 edition will take place on Friday, Sept. 7.
Three Chimneys Farm announced it will sponsor a stakes race at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day. The $100,000 race, a five-furlong dash for 2-year-olds, will be called the Three Chimneys Juvenile.
A bill that would pump $11.7 million into the New Jersey Thoroughbred racing industry passed the state Assembly Thursday by a vote of 70-3 and has gone to ccting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco's desk to be signed into law. The money would be used for purses at Monmouth Park and Meadowlands this year.
Unshaded, winner of last year's Travers Stakes, had his first breeze since being sidelined with a strained tendon last August. The son of Unbridled breezed a half-mile in :50 4/5 at Churchill Downs Friday.
Though the signals are mixed, on the face of pedigree alone it is hard to see many reasons why Street Cry should be able to handle 1 1/4 miles on the first Saturday in May. His sire was a sprinter on grass, albeit a good one; his dam, though a group I winner in Ireland going 12 furlongs, has yet to pass that distance ability on to her offspring; he has a Dosage Index and profile slanted toward speed; and he has yet to win around two turns.
Efforts by Indiana riverboat casino interests to get approval of dockside gambling fell short when the Senate Rules Committee voted 5-3 against the legislation. According to published reports, one factor in the bill's failure was an amendment that deleted authorization for pull-tab gaming at Churchill Downs-managed Hoosier Park and off-track betting sites in the state. The amendment also did away with a proposed OTB site in the resort area of French Lick.
For those who want to get their information straight from the horse's mouth, Dollar Bill has started his own website. Well, maybe there was human intervention somewhere in there, but Mary and Gary West's 3-year-old classic contender writes in the first-person on the site, which is aimed at his fans, known as 'Billsters.'
The Ohio Senate has begun research to see whether the question of racetrack video lottery terminals can be put on the ballot in the seven counties that have tracks. The state needs money to fund its education program and, as the newspaper reported Thursday, also needs revenue to offset a decline in tax receipts. Income from taxes is expected to be $850 million short of projections through early 2003.
The Maryland Racing Commission on Thursday abruptly cut off testimony concerning construction of a racetrack in the western part of the state so opposing sides could work on an agreement to expedite the tedious process. William Rickman Jr., who wants to build the track in remote Allegany County, offered to write a letter of credit to guarantee its financial viability and stability. Rickman, who owns and Delaware Park and Ocean Downs, a Maryland harness track, is the only applicant for the license to construct the track.
Hollywood Park plans to move its Friday night racing to the afternoons to cope with the state's ongoing power crisis. Post time for the first Friday night, April 20, will start at its traditional 7:15 p.m. But the post time for the remaining 12 Fridays during the track's spring meet will begin at 3:30 p.m.
Aly's Alley and Stokosky look like the horses to beat in a full field of 12 older horses entered in the Bougainvillea Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Hialeah Park.
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