It's not every day that a horse returns from a year layoff and turns in a stakes record performance. But then again, Bedanken, the winner of Friday's $60,000 Furl Sail Handicap at Fair Grounds, is not your average filly.
Bettors would have done well to heed the aptly-suggestive Don'tsellmeshort's name after the Dan Hendrick-trained 2-year-old colt took the $125,000 California Breeders' Champion Stakes at odds of 13-1 at Santa Anita Friday.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Friday morning he has received no confirmation from Azeri's owner, Michael Paulson, that the 2002 Horse of the Year would resume training under Lukas.
One of the nation's premier turf horses returns to action Sunday when Brazilian-bred Redattore carries high weight of 122 pounds in the $150,000 San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Park.
As of Jan. 12, fans used to watching those grainy images of races from the Web sites of Magna Entertainment Corporation-owned Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park will be unable to do so without paying for streaming video service.
- By Mike Kane
Two weeks after agreeing to pay a $3 million settlement with the federal government, the New York Racing Association has raised the price for some reserved seats at Saratoga Race Course in 2004 by 25%.
Apprentice rider Brandon Whitacre produced the first multiple win day of his career, winning three races on Friday at Laurel Park.
Except for designated races during the first eight days this meet, Patrick Valenzuela won't ride regularly until the 14th day of the 84-day Santa Anita meeting.
The American Graded Stakes Committee, which is administered by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, will implement its plan of stringent drug testing for all graded stakes beginning in July 2004.
Anstu Stable's Balto Star and Dr. John Chandler's Cetewayo are millionaire grade I winners ranking high in the nation's distance turf division and will be among the favorites in Saturday's $200,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (gr. II) at Calder.
Azeri, who has not raced since Sept. 28 due to an injured tendon, could be going back into training and heading to D. Wayne Lukas' barn.
Maryland horseman Hugh J. O'Donovan, a prominent steeplechase patron, died Dec. 12 of heart failure in Baltimore.
Elloluv, second to 40-1 outsider Adoration in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 25, "is geared up and ready to go" for Saturday's $250,000 La Brea Stakes (gr. I), first leg of the three-race La Canada Series won last season by Got Koko.
Woodlands Stud in Australia announced that prominent stallion Grand Lodge was euthanized following a long battle to repair the left knee that was damaged in a paddock accident in September.
The Thoroughbred Corp. will disperse all of its racing stock at the Barretts March 2-year-olds in training sale on March 2. Among the 58 horses to be sold is multiple graded stakes winner Atlantic Ocean.
Riding the crest of the holiday shopping season, the Seabiscuit DVD and VHS burst out of the gate with over $80 million in sales in its first week, making it the year's best-selling drama released on DVD and VHS. Released on December 16, the title sold 5 million units in its first six days of release.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- As legacies go, few people will have one as prodigious as Joe Taylor, the master horseman and farm manager who died in a Dec. 19 automobile accident. Overshadowed by the death of Taylor was the Dec. 14 passing of Jeanne Vance, who with husband Milton J. "Laddie" Dance Jr. raced champion Lemon Drop Kid.
By James B. Keogh -- December 19, 2003, was a cold, wintry day in Central Kentucky, and a very dark day for the horse industry. It marked the death of Joseph L. Taylor, co-owner of Taylor Made Farm and former manager of Gainesway Farm.
The second annual Sunshine Milliions, which will be held Jan. 24 at Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park, drew 309 early bird nominations, down slightly from last year's total of 325.
Churchill Downs Inc. has hired Atiqüe Shah as vice president of customer relations.
Robert S. Evans' 5-year-old homebred mare New Economy won the $200,000 La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. II) last year and goes for a repeat tally Saturday in the 12-furlong turf test at Calder.
Bea Oxenberg's 8-year-old Best of the Rest is expected to make the final start of his standout career in Saturday's $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap (gr. III) at Calder, but faces one his biggest challenges as he concedes plenty of weight to several highly accomplished rivals.
Retired trainer George Mohr, whose role of unofficial Maryland racing historian was a product of his close proximity to Pimlico, died the second week in December at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center after breaking a hip.
The Malibu Stakes (gr. I), which features the return to competition of Buddy Gil and a trio from the Bobby Frankel barn, highlights Friday's opening day card at Santa Anita Park.
Racing Services Inc. was denied a renewal of its North Dakota simulcasting license, amid worries about the future of a business that is facing federal felony charges and the possible seizure of its property.
- By Tom Precious
Licensing problems have delayed, for possibly well into 2004, the opening of Vernon Downs, which was to become the first racetrack in New York with video lottery terminals. That honor will now go to Saratoga Raceway, which is scheduled to open its VLT operation in mid-January.
Three Valleys , winner of the Shadwell Stud Middle Park Stakes (Eng-I) at Newmarket, England, will almost definitely lose the six-furlong race after the British Jockey Club confirmed that the 2-year-old has failed a post-race drug test.
The Stable Lads Associations request for a 15% increase in minimum pay rates for Britain's stable staff was ruled out by trainers who did concede a maximum 6% rise.
- By Tom Keyser
Tough times and uncertainty mark the passing of one year and the beginning of another in Maryland racing. Joe De Francis, president and CEO of the Maryland Jockey Club, calls 2003 "the toughest year we've had in the last decade." And the battle for relief in the form of slot machines has taken more unexpected twists and turns.
Joe Taylor, the legendary Kentucky farm manager who literally wrote the book on how to breed and raise racehorses, was killed in a two-car accident on an ice-slickened Tates Creek Road on the south side of Lexington early Friday evening.
The 30-day autumn meet at Hollywood Park ended Sunday with a moderate increase in attendance and slight declines in wagering numbers.
Patrick Valenzuela became the first jockey in 20 years to sweep all five major Southern California riding titles in the same year when he brought a maiden, 6-1 shot Hollywood Story, from behind to win the $349,500 Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) for 2-year-old fillies. In typical P. Val fashion, he survived a stewards' inquiry to do it.
Maryland-based jockey Greg Hutton scored his 2,000th career win Sunday aboard Captain Chessie in the eighth race at Charles Town.
Due to track conditions, Turfway Park has cancelled races 5 through 10 on Sunday's card. Four races were completed without incident.
Brian Beach, agent for Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone, looks for a January return at Santa Anita for the 40-year-old rider, injured in a spill at Hollywood Park on Dec. 12.
Roger L. Coles Jr.'s Shake You Down had too much class and speed for his six opponents in Saturday's $109,000 Gravesend Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct, and that easily translated to a front-running victory over Way to the Top for the multiple graded stakes winner.
Front-running Lion Heart spurted away from his four opponents with three furlongs to go in the $376,000 Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) and romped to an easy 3 1/2-length victory.
Jockey Mike Smith completed a sweep of Hollywood Park's rich co-features Saturday when he brought Katdogawn from well back in the stretch to hold off Personal Legend by a nose in a furious finish of the $150,000 Dahlia Handicap (gr. IIT) on the grass Saturday.
There was no snow at Fair Grounds on Saturday, but fans saw plenty of Snowdrops, who captured the $75,000 Pago Hop Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
John Wallace and Ron Armstrong's Sir Fidgity edged Persuaggle by a nose in a game stretch run of Saturday's $118,575 Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity.
Magic Mecke won his third consecutive race by taking the$100,000 Pete Axthelm Stakes Saturday at Calder Race Course, breaking the stakes record time in the process.
The owner and trainer were nowhere to be found, but Acrolect showed up and trounced a field of Maryland-breds in today's $60,000 Challedon Stakes at Laurel Park.
Earle I. Mack's Savedbythelight ended a four-race losing streak and became a graded stakes winner in the process Saturday, winning the 134th running of the $112,100 Ladies Handicap (gr. III) by three lengths over Queen's Triomphe.
Samuel H. Rogers' 3-year-old filly Changing World won the $100,000 Frances A. Genter Stakes at Tropical for 3-year-old fillies at Calder Race Course on Saturday, notching her first stakes victory for trainer Barclay Tagg.
Chalk players could receive an early Christmas present from trainer Scott Lake, who entered his sensational sprinter Shake You Down in Sunday's $100,000 Gravesend Handicap (gr. III) at six furlongs.
Jockey Patrick Valenzuela enters the closing weekend of the Hollywood Park Autumn Meet with added motivation. A riding crown at the 30-day session that concludes Sunday would give Valenzuela a rare sweep of the five major meets on the Southern California circuit in the same year.
Owner Arnold Zetcher hopes to close out a memorable year with House of Fortune Sunday in the $355,500 Hollywood Starlet (gr. I), a 1 1/16-mile test for 2-year-old fillies.
The slot machines parlor at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, La., opened Dec. 19 even though the facility won't offer live horse racing until 2005. The 2004 meet will be held at the existing Evangeline Downs in Carencro, about 10 miles south of the new site.
Pin Oak Stud of Versailles, Ky., and Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, have agreed terms on a three-year sponsorship deal to rename the USA Stakes to the Pin Oak Stud USA Stakes.
The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company has catalogued 1,090 lots for its 2004 winter mixed sale.
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