By Steve Haskin -- The American racing fan is starving for a hero. Not one of these short-term heroes that are merely a brief flash of light, but one that can keep the fire aglow. Well, guess what? We have been in the presence of such heroes for the past several years and aren't even aware of it.
The pace picked up at the Del Mar yearling sale Monday night, with four horses bringing six-figure prices compared to one in Sunday's opening session. But it was not enough to reverse the Southern California auction's downward trends.
With the Triple Crown heroics of Funny Cide and last weekend's victory by Whitmore's Conn in the grade I Sword Dancer Stakes, Fasig-Tipton officials were hoping the success of New York-breds on the racetrack would spill over into the sales ring.
With trainer Bob Baffert reporting that Vindication's training schedule is just too tight to make the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Classic, Powered by Dodge (gr. I), Satish and Anne Sanan's Padua Stables announced the early retirement of the unbeaten 2-year-old champion male of 2002.
Senor Swinger, a prime candidate for Saturday's 63rd La Jolla Handicap, a prep for the Del Mar Derby on Saturday, September 6, turned in a strong half-mile work in 47.20 Monday morning over the Jimmy Durante Turf Course at Del Mar.
West Coast-based jockey Corey Nakatani, who finished second by a head aboard Gary A. Tanaka's Sarafan in the 2002 Arlington Million, will now get a chance to make amends for that defeat with the mount on Charles E. Fipke's Perfect Soul in Saturday's 21st running of the grade I centerpiece of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season.
A special two-hour "SportsCenter at Saratoga," featuring live coverage of the grade I, $1 million Travers Stakes from Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., will air from 5-7 p.m. (ET) on August 23 on ESPN, the network, the New York Racing Association and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Monday.
Kentucky Derby-winning trainer John Ward has called some of the recent attacks on the embattled New York Racing Association "essentially a political assassination campaign" linked to development of video lottery terminals at racetracks in the state.
Jockey Mike Smith got a great big 38th birthday present from Azeri, the horse he says put him in the Racing Hall of Fame, Sunday in the $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at Del Mar.
Mother Goose (gr. I) and Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) winner Spoken Fur breezed four furlongs in :51 2/5 Sunday morning over the muddy Oklahoma training track in preparation for the Alabama (gr. I) on Saturday.
Ron and Ricki Rashinki's favored Vicki Vallencourt took the lead after a half-mile and pulled away in the stretch under Rafael Bejarano for a 7 1/4-length triumph in the $102,050 Ellis Park Breeders's Cup Handicap Sunday.
Billy R. Tucker's homebred Private Horde sailed over the sloppy stretch run at Saratoga Sunday in winning the $200,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. II) to gain the first graded stakes victory of his career.
Godolphin Racing Inc.'s Sulamani, the international equine star who is the projected favorite in Saturday's Arlington Million (gr. IT), completed a transatlantic journey at 3 a.m. Sunday by bedding down in Arlington Park's quarantine barn hours before first light.
Michael and Lynn Shanley's Whitmore's Conn and jockey Jean-Luc Samyn made a late surge in the stretch to register a major upset in the $500,000 Sword Dancer (gr. IT) before 31,153 at Saratoga Saturday.
Displaying amazing grit and determination in only his second start back from a more than seven-month layoff, Baron George Von Ullman's Soto fought back after a stretch-long duel with Dynever to win the $600,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort on Aug. 9.
Ontario-bred Wando became the first horse in 10 years to sweep Canada's Triple Crown Saturday, overcoming trouble to register a 1 1/2-length victory in the $500,000 Breeders' Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf at Woodbine.
Darley Stud's Tizdubai stalked the pacesetting favorite Dirty Diana into the stretch before blowing past her rival to record an easy four-length triumph in the $150,000 Sorrento Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-old fillies at Del Mar Saturday.
Jockey Rene Douglas unleashed Iron County Farms' homebred Bare Necessities at the head of the stretch and the multiple stakes-winning filly rolled to a convincing 5 1/4-length win in the $200,000 Gardenia Stakes (gr. III) at Ellis Park Saturday.
Desperado Stables' grade I winner Buddy Gil will not be returning to trainer Jeff Mullins' Del Mar base this week as expected after undergoing another surgery to remove a chip from his knee, the conditioner revealed.
Champion sprinter Kona Gold, who was retired after a fifth-place finish in the July 26 Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar, will not be sent to the Kentucky Horse Park to join the Hall of Champions there, trainer Bruce Headley said.
Finally Here, ridden by Patrick Husbands, outfought favored Winter Garden and jockey Chantal Sutherland down the stretch to win the $177,250 Duchess Stakes (Can-III) for 3-year-old fillies Saturday at Woodbine.
King Leatherbury's pursuit to become the third trainer in history to saddle 6,000 winners will have to wait until at least Thursday as none of his three starters on Saturday's 10-race card was able to visit the winners' circle.
Sue's Good News made amends for her sixth-place finish in last month's Delaware Oaks (gr. III) with a come-from-behind 1 1/4-length score in the $100,000 Singapore Plate (gr. III) Saturday at Arlington Park.
A share in Distorted Humor that brought $500,000 was the highlight of the Stallion Access Champagne Sale of selected seasons and shares that was held Friday evening in Fasig-Tipton's Humphrey S. Finney Sales Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Don’t miss a minute of the action...with 8 FREE issues of The Blood-Horse. And if you like them, you can continue with a full year of issues and get the next edition of the Stallion Register, plus complete coverage of the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup World Championships. Click here to learn more.