Wooden Phone, who beat two-time Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Tiznow in the Strub Stakes (gr. II) last February, heads a field of eight entered in Saturday's $200,000 San Pasqual Handicap at Santa Anita.
Team Valor's Bella Bella Bella has bent sent off favored in both her career starts and that trend will likely continue in Sunday's $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III). Golden Ballet Stakes winner Bella Bella Bella will face just three rivals -- one per Bella -- in the 1 1/16-mile Santa Ysabel, two maiden winners and the maiden Gaslamp Girl.
An overflow field of 14 turf runners has been entered for the one-mile, $150,000 Appleton Handicap (gr. IIT) at Gulfstream Park Saturday. The field includes two horses owned and bred by Arthur Appleton, for whom the race is named.
A minor injury to Outofthebox will preclude the 4-year-old from running in the Feb. 9 Donn Handicap (gr. I) and trainer Steve Flint will now try to prepare the Florida-bred colt for the March 30 Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. I).
The voyage to the Triple Crown is a long, demanding trip that starts in New York Saturday with the $75,000 Count Fleet for 3-year-olds going 1 mile and 70 yards at Aqueduct.
Nelson Bunker Hunt's Seinne will attempt to become the fourth surface switching stakes winner of the young Santa Anita meet when trainer Ron McAnally sends out the Chilean-bred in Saturday's $200,000 San Pasqual Handicap (gr. III).
Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier's Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Johannesburg begins 2002 as the future-book favorite for both the Sagitta Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) and the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Both races will be run on May 4.
Gulfstream Park's first Friday program of the 2002 season will be highlighted by two features -- the $100,000 Honey Fox Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares, and an enticing new target for bettors in the Guaranteed Pick 6.
As the masses congregate at the start of the Kentucky Derby trail, there will, as usual, be lots of pushing and shoving until late February and early March when the contenders begin to separate themselves from the pack. But disappointment and frustration can be prevelant just getting to the Derby trail, as evidenced by the number of highly promising juveniles who stumbled along the way last week.
Four stakes races highlight the opening week of Thoroughbred racing at Gulfstream Park. The South Florida racetrack opens a 90-day meeting on Thursday, Jan. 3 that extends through April 24.
How does a trainer go about snatching away the money title from someone who captured 48 stakes, 36 graded stakes, 18 grade I stakes, and earned a whopping $14,715,944? For Bob Baffert, who somehow managed to stay one step ahead of Bobby Frankel all year, all he had to do was win a $6-million stakes in Dubai in March, then unleash a powerhouse of a colt to become the first horse in history to capture four consecutive $1-million stakes.
In 1999 and again in 2000, Jerry Bailey lost photo finishes to Pat Day for leading rider by North American earnings. In 2001, however, Bailey made sure the camera was not necessary by finishing a furlong ahead of his competition. By the time his 12-month rampage across the continent (plus the Dubai World Cup, UAE-I) was in the books, Bailey had absolutely shattered Gary Stevens' three-year-old record for earnings, his $22,597,720 besting the old mark by better than $4 million.
Kenneth Taylor's Xtra Heat will make her first start as a 4-year-old on New Year's Day at Aqueduct when she goes to post as the 125-pound high weight in the $75,000 Interborough Handicap. The $5,000 auction purchase will concede from 11 to 14 pounds to her seven rivals in the six-furlong race and has been installed as the 2-5 favorite on the morning line.
Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Monarchos continued working toward the Feb. 9 Donn Handicap (gr. I) Sunday, working five furlongs at Gulfstream Park. The John Ward trainee, who won the Florida Derby (gr. I) at the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Donn, will likely have to face 2000 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Red Bullet in the $500,000 Donn.
Friday's 30th running of the $75,000 Furl Sail Handicap drew an overflow field of 14 starters for the about one-mile race on the Stall-Wilson turf course.
Trainer Bobby Frankel has 35 graded stakes to his credit in 2001 (48 stakes wins in all, and one more shot at a grade I win when he sends out Rolly Polly in Saturday's La Brea Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park.
Edward P. Evans' 3-year-old filly Gold Mover appears to be the class among 10 fillies and mares entered in the $100,000 Chaposa Springs Handicap (gr. III) at seven furlongs on the main track at Calder on Saturday. Jockey Eibar Coa will be aboard the daughter of Gold Fever for trainer Mark Hennig.
Gerald Robbins and Jay Weiss' Queue, Roger Attfield and partners' Sweetest Thing, and F. Eugene Dixon's Lady Dora finished one-two-three, respectively, last out in the 12-furlong Long Island Handicap (gr. IIT) at Aqueduct on Nov. 10.
The final days of the Tropical-at-Calder meet should yield some of the most memorable racing of the year, beginning with Saturday's Grand Slam II program featuring four stakes races worth a total of $500,000.
With four graded stakes on the card, Saturday's Grand Slam II at Calder Racecourse has drawn solid fields for each race that highlights the final weekend of the South Florida track's 2001 meet. The races and their fields are:
Multiple grade 1-winner and millionaire Jostle, who was purchased by Pete Whittman at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale for $1.7 million, has been placed back in training at Churchill Downs under Elliott Walden's care.
While many are preparing to open their Christmas presents Tuesday morning, Kenny McPeek is already playing with his new toys. Even though the Kentucky Derby is still over four months away, McPeek is thinking more of mint juleps than egg nog.
A field of 13 3-year-olds will assemble on Wednesday for the seven-furlong, $200,000 Malibu Stakes on opening day of the Santa Anita meeting. Should all 13 run, it would be the largest Malibu field since 1988.
Edward Evans' homebred Gold Mover, one of 12 horses nominated to the Dec. 29 Chaposa Springs Handicap (gr. III) at Calder Race Course, worked four furlongs at that track Sunday.
Like its filly counterpart last weekend, the $100,000 Woodchopper Handicap had horsemen pounding down the racing office Thursday as Saturday's feature race drew a full field of 14 with two exclusions. Fan Club's Mister drew post 14 and will run as the 120-pound highweight under Craig Perret.
The largest field in nearly a decade is expected for the 50th running of the Grade I Malibu Stakes, opening day feature of Santa Anita's prestigious 85-day winter/spring meet on Wednesday, Dec. 26.
Gerald Robins and Jay Weiss' 4-year-old filly Queue will attempt to add another grade II stakes victory to her growing resume when she goes to the post among the choices in the $150,000 La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. II) as part of "Grand Slam II" at Calder on Sat., Dec. 29.
Multiple grade I winner Astra, who has not started since developing a foot abscess shortly after her last-place finish in the Aug. 19 Beverly D Stakes (gr. I) at Arlington Park, is back in serious training and being prepared for a 2002 campaign.
World Racing Championships chairman James E "Ted" Bassett III announced Saturday that the series will undertake Phase II that includes the addition of the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup and the Singapore Airlines International Cup to the championships in 2002.
You, whose disappointing effort as the odds-on favorite in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies serves as one of the few minuses on trainer Bobby Frankel's resume this year, will be out to rebound against two other grade I winners Sunday in Hollywood Park's grade I, $365,000 Hollywood Starlet for 2-year-old fillies.
Trainer Bob Baffert's Officer, the 2-year-old colt who won his first five races so effortlessly he was promoted as racing's latest wunderkind, will seek redemption from two dramatic setbacks in Saturday's $460,750 Hollywood Futurity at Hollywood Park. Siphonic, who overcame obstacles that compromised odds-on favorite Officer and finished third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, is expected to be a slight favorite in the grade I event at 1 1/16 miles
Renaissance Woman worked four furlongs in :49.40 Wednesday at Hollywood Park to earn a probable start in the $345,000 Hollywood Starlet for 2-year-old fillies on Sunday. Also working at Hollywood Park on Wednesday, was Feverish, the defending champion in the Bayakoa Handicap who breezed four furlongs in :50.20.
Arlington Million winner Silvano was installed the 9-2 third choice when he drew the outside post position 14 for Sunday's Hong Kong Cup that highlights and international card of four graded races at Sha Tin Racecourse. Jim and Tonic will break from post five as the 3-1 favorite in the 1 1/4-mile race.
Ending weeks of speculation, trainer Bob Baffert confirmed Wednesday that he would enter Officer and Mountain Rage in the $360,000-estimated Hollywood Futurity Saturday. "They're the two that are doing the best," said Baffert Wednesday from his Santa Anita stable office. Baffert also had Popular and Hawk's Top Gun under consideration for the Grade I test at 1 1/16 miles.
He was 75 cents to the dollar in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and could be as high as 3-1 in the Hollywood Futurity. A victory by Officer on Saturday would no doubt make him a major candidate for Overlay of the Year. Although it will be no easy task knocking off Siphonic, Officer still looks to be one of the most appetizing propositions we've seen in a while.
While Argentina finds itself in a political and economic crisis, its racing industry, which sees itself seriously affected by the general situation, awaits to close the year with a bang this next Saturday at Hipodromo San Isidro with the running of the 113th edition of the Gran Premio Internacional Carlos Pellegrini (Arg-I), over the turf course at the distance of 2400 meters .
When Morluc finished second to Falvelon in the 2000 edition of the Hong Kong Sprint, he did so while running on tender feet. "That's not going to be the case this year," said trainer Randy Morse. "We've had Morluc on bar shoes ever since he arrived in Hong Kong. The shoes provide him with just the elevation he needs. Morluc's in much better condition for this year's race."
The one trainer who seems to be establishing his niche in this year's Derby picture is Shug McGaughey. With Saarland, Maybry's Boy, and D'Coach, it's as if McGaughey is standing at the quarter pole with a slingshot and launching some speeding projectiles down the Aqueduct stretch.
Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Monarchos put in a quick four-furlong drill at Gulfstream Park Sunday morning for trainer John Ward Jr.
Tampa Bay Downs will begin a customer reward program called "The Club" when the Oldsmar, Fl, track's 93-day meet begins Dec. 16.
Days after the defection of Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner Val Royal from the Hong Kong Mile (HK-I), the race at Sha Tin Racecourse lost another prospective entrant Friday when it was announced that Sagitta Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) runner-up Tamburlaine will also miss the Dec.16 race.
Florida's Calder Race Course will again close the National Steeplechase Association season, with two races carded as part of Sunday's racing program. The jumpers will compete in a $25,000 allowance hurdle and the $50,000 Tropical Park Steeplechase Stakes (NSA-III).
Crash Course, Tijiyr, and Slew Valley head the 12-horse field for Saturday's $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Calder Race Course.
Helen Groves' Batique and Jeanne Vance's Chaste will lead a full field of 12 fillies and mares postward in the $100,000 My Charmer Handicap (gr. IIIT) Saturday at Calder Race Course.
The fields are set for the four $100,000 stakes races to be run on Saturday's Grand Slam I program at Calder Race Course -- the biggest afternoon of racing on the national calendar that day.
Before the early (and we stress early) list of classic hopefuls gets too long, we're going to sort out the growing number of promising 2-year-olds and take a crack at where they might fit in the 2002 Kentucky Derby picture. We're sure there will be omissions, but this at least will provide an idea who might be some of the major players next spring. Horses are listed in alphabetical order:
Trainers on both coasts unwrapped some exciting early Christmas presents last week, and all the gifts appear to come with batteries packed with enough charge to last well past next May. This is the time of year when the colts with Derby pedigrees make their appearance, and if you like to see brilliance and a big closing kick to go along with a very low dosage index, then you're going to love Pelirrojo, Charioteer, Axis, and Iwin.
No favorites won during Hollywood Park's nine-race card Sunday setting up a pick six carryover for Wednesday's program.
With no grade I races scheduled for next weekend, trainer Bobby Frankel will have to wait before attempting to earn his 18th grade I win of the year. He will, though, have a big shot at picking up stakes win 49 of the year when he sends out Euchre in the $100,000 Native Diver Handicap (gr. III) Dec. 9.
Remember Tincin, whose connections threatened to enter the maiden in this year's Kentucky Derby before a cough forced his withdrawal? Those who look back on that debacle fondly will want to tune in for the Dec. 15 Hollywood Futurity, when Iowa-bred Warp Speed Scottie will ship in to take on Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) third-place finisher Siphonic in the 1 1/16-mile grade I race.
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