Handicapping

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2002 Derby Hopefuls: Early Horse-by-Horse Rundown

2002 Derby Hopefuls: Early Horse-by-Horse Rundown

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:

Kentucky Derby 2002: Some Holiday Gifts

Kentucky Derby 2002: Some Holiday Gifts

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.

Warp Speed Scottie Beaming In for Hollywood Futurity

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.

Men's Exclusive Seeks Underwood Repeat

Men's Exclusive Seeks Underwood Repeat

Men's Exclusive has lost his last four starts since winning the Palos Verdes Handicap at Santa Anita in January, but conditioner Wesley Ward is confident the 8-year-old gelding will run big in defense of his crown in the $100,000 Vernon Underwood Stakes (gr. III) at six furlongs Sunday.

Val Royal on Eclipse Quest in Citation

Val Royal on Eclipse Quest in Citation

Bidding for an Eclipse Award as 2001 Turf Champion, Breeders' Cup Mile winner Val Royal will be a solid favorite to capture Hollywood Park's grade II, $500,000 Citation Handicap on Saturday before shipping to Asia to compete in the $2.3-million Hong Kong Cup on Dec. 16.

Include to Carry High Weight in Clark

Pimlico Special winner Include will be the starting highweight for Friday's 127th running of the $400,000-added Clark Handicap. Meanwhile, two more Churchill Downs-based horses have joined the list of prospective starters for the Clark. Mary and Gary West's Ubiquity, trained by Bill Mott, and Jim and Pat Bohanon's Trion Georgia will contest the race.

Spain Works Well for Falls City

Spain, who won the 2000 edition of the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) and came within a head of repeating that feat this year, worked a sharp :59 4/5 over five furlongs in her final preparation for Thursday's $250,000-added Falls City Handicap (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.

Frankel, Drysdale Point to Turf Festival

Trainer Bobby Frankel, already odds-on to win his second consecutive Eclipse Award, will attempt to draw further away from his peers by starting up to nine horses in Hollywood Park's Turf Festival Nov. 23-25. In fact, he may corner the field in the Grade I Hollywood Derby, run for $500,000 at nine furlongs, by sending four horses to the post. Likely for the Nov. 25 Derby are Juddmonte Farms' Mizzen Mast, Amerman Racing's Blue Steller, Flaxman Holdings' Aldebaran, and the Niarchos Family's Denon.

Santa Anita Prepares for New Season

The $1-million Santa Anita Handicap, to be run March 2, will be the richest of the 61 stakes races offered during the 2001-02 Santa Anita Winter/Spring Meeting that begins Wednesday, Dec. 26. The 85-day meeting, which concludes April 21, features 43 graded races and total stakes purses of over $11-million.

2002 Kentucky Derby: Steve Haskin Looks Ahead

2002 Kentucky Derby: Steve Haskin Looks Ahead

Derby fever, in November? Heck, why not. The Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner is tucked away somewhere in Ireland, and until word surfaces from the usually tight-lipped Coolmore people, he will remain out of sight in winter hibernation. Whether or not a full-grown grizzly bear is going to emerge next year, and whether he's going to come back here looking for more easy pickins we won't know for a while.

Tijiyr Tops Field for River City Handicap

 Tijiyr Tops Field for River City Handicap

Main track stars Guided Tour and Keats have provided much of the firepower for Niall O'Callaghan in the finest season of his training career, but one of the early stars this year, Tijiyr, is set to make a comeback in Sunday's $150,000-added River City Handicap (grade III) at Churchill Downs.

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