Larry Jones is back and racing is the better for it. The 56-year-old trainer,
who retired at the top of his game on November 7, 2009, returned in early 2011
with the same fervor as the day he left. Anyone talking with the personable
Kentuckian could recognize that in a heartbeat.
Trainer Todd Pletcher shoots for a Grade 2 double with his team of juveniles
at Belmont Park on Sunday. Unbeaten Grade 2 Adirondack heroine Kauai Katie looms
large in the $200,000
Stakes for fillies, and debut maiden winner Unabashed gives the barn a
promising second string. But the Pletcher duo in the $200,000
-- Overanalyze and Drum Roll -- must step up their game while meeting hot-shot
maiden winner Carried Interest, speedy New York-bred Weekend Hideaway and Grade
2 Sanford runner-up Handsome Jack.
Due to anticipated heavy rain, Friday's live racing card at Belmont Park has
been canceled to ensure the track surfaces are in optimal condition for
Saturday's card, which features six graded stakes, all part of the Breeders' Cup
"Win and You're In" Challenge Series. The winners of those races qualify for an
automatic starting position in the corresponding Breeders' Cup Championship race
with pre-entry and entry fees paid.
Two of the top contenders in Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000
Turf Championship Stakes (formerly the Clement Hirsch) at Santa Anita,
Bourbon Bay and Slim Shadey, will return to races following a stint on the
sidelines. Bourbon Bay makes his first appearance since capturing the Grade 2
San Juan Capistrano Handicap in April, and Slim Shadey has been freshened since
a fifth in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes on Del Mar's opening weekend.
You missed the worst million-dollar race I have ever seen (the Pennsylvania Derby), and one of the best races with a four-horse field that I can remember (Questing vs. My Miss Aurelia in the Cotillion).
Over 50 years after his initial performance of the song at Carnegie Hall,
Grammy-award winner Tony Bennett will perform his classic hit "The Best is Yet
to Come" at the 2012 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park in
Arcadia, California, Breeders' Cup announced Thursday at a media event featuring
Tony Bennett at Siro's Restaurant in Manhattan.
Nagging foot issues have limited Jersey Town's schedule in recent years, but
trainer Barclay Tagg said the six-year-old is entering Saturday's Grade 2,
$400,000 Kelso Handicap in the best shape since he won the 2010 Grade 1 Cigar
Mrs. Calvin Houghland's Pierrot Lunaire, the longest shot on the board at
48-1, took the lead over the final jump and held off a furious late charge from
Spy in the Sky to win Thursday's Grade 1, $150,000
Lonesome Glory steeplechase at Belmont Park.
Swifty Farms' Pataky Kid, three-length winner of the Grade 3
Arlington-Washington Futurity on September 8, breezed a bullet five furlongs in
1:00 Monday morning at Chicago's northwest suburban oval in preparation for
Keeneland's upcoming Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity on October 6.
Game on Dude, a leading contender for Horse of the Year, heads a field of
nine in Saturday's $250,000
Again Stakes at Santa Anita. The 1 1/8-mile event is one of five Grade 1
stakes on a dynamite program that serves as a precursor to the Breeders' Cup at
Santa Anita on November 2-3.
Ostensibly a prep for the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, Saturday's Grade
Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park might serve as a launching pad to the Grade 1
Breeders' Cup Classic if the Bill Mott-trained To Honor and Serve pulls off a
win in the one-turn mile. The Hall of Fame conditioner left some wiggle room
earlier this week when asked which Breeders' Cup race his Grade 1 Woodward
winner would ultimately target.
The legendary Zenyatta, winner of the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa
Anita and Horse of the Year in 2010, will be honored for all-time by Santa Anita
Park as a life-sized statue of the great mare will be unveiled in Santa Anita's
Paddock Gardens area at noon (PDT) this Saturday.
Point of Entry can solidify his present status as the nation's leading
long-distance turf performer with a victory in Saturday's Grade 1, $600,000
Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational. The 1 1/2-mile fixture over Belmont Park's
Widener course came up light compared to other stakes on Super Saturday with
only six names dropped in the entry box.
The top three from the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap on August 4 are in the
spotlight Saturday when they headline a surprisingly robust field in the Grade
1, $1 million
Jockey Club Gold Cup. The historic 1 1/4-mile test tops a bumper card of
Breeders' Cup preps on Belmont Park's "Super Saturday" program.
Undefeated two-year-old filly So Many Ways, winner of the Grade 1 Spinaway
Stakes and Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes, will not travel to California to run in
the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, it was announced Wednesday.
Canary Row, trained in Ireland by Patrick Prendergast, is among eight runners
for the Group 3, £40,000 Somerville Tattersall over seven furlongs at Newmarket
on Thursday, the first day of the Cambridgeshire Festival.
On Saturday, she wrapped up her gifted history at the local oval with a victory
by almost seven lengths, and that led to the ice cream celebration that had been
publicly promised to the racing fans on hand by the acknowledged dean of Chicago
Gary and Mary West's homebred Book Review rolled to a convincing victory as
the 7-5 favorite in Saturday night's $400,000
Town Oaks. Making her two-turn debut in this seven-furlong scramble around
Charles Town's tight oval, the Chad Brown trainee circled the field on the final
turn and kicked 1 3/4 lengths clear.
At Belmont Park on Sunday, Grade 1 Whitney Invitational Handicap winner Fort
Larned turned in his final serious work for Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million
Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational, covering five furlongs in 1:01 shortly after
6:30 a.m. (EDT).
Trainer Dale Romans, who has already has established a personal record for
single-season North American earnings in 2012, has confirmed Little Mike and
Finnegans Wake for Saturday's Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic
Invitational and Dullahan primed for the Grade 1, $400,000 Jamaica Handicap on
Classic winner Shackleford breezed five furlongs in a bullet 1:00 4/5 at his
Churchill Downs base on Sunday, pleasing trainer Dale Romans in his last major
move ahead of Saturday's Grade 2 Kelso Handicap at Belmont.
J. Paul Reddam's Handsome Mike parlayed a front-running trip into a
two-length upset in Saturday's Grade 2, $1 million
Pennsylvania Derby, winning as the 19-1 longest shot at Parx Racing. The
Scat Daddy colt proved resilient after setting a moderate pace beneath Irad
Ortiz Jr., withstanding challenges from Alpha and Stephanoatsee before
re-asserting command in deep stretch, and snapped a seven-race losing skein in
In a race that included reigning champion female sprinter Musical Romance and
multiple Grade 1 queen Turbulent Descent, it was Padua Stable's homebred Dust
and Diamonds who proved superior in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000
Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont Park.
Last year's unbeaten champion two-year-old filly My Miss Aurelia outdueled
pro tem divisional leader Questing by a head in Saturday's $971,200
Cotillion Stakes, in a climactic finish to the first Grade 1 event ever
staged in Pennsylvania. The 1 1/16-mile test served up a clash worthy of the
occasion -- a virtual match race, with Eclipse Award implications -- and it
lived up to the advance billing.
After an unsuccessful Triple Crown campaign, Optimizer looks to have found
his home back on the turf. The D. Wayne Lukas-trained colt captured his first
graded stakes win in record fashion on Saturday in the Grade 3, $200,000
at Delaware Park.
Multiple Grade 1 winner The Factor has been retired from racing and will
enter stud at William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Kentucky, for
the 2013 breeding season. Raced by George Bolton and David Shimmon's Fog City
Stable, The Factor won six races, five of them graded, including the Grade 1
Malibu and Grade 1 Pat O'Brien.
Godolphin aims for a third consecutive victory in the Group 1, £163,500
Fillies' Mile with Certify going for the highlight of the second day of the
Cambridgeshire Festival at Newmarket this upcoming Friday. The Mahmood Al
Zarooni-trained filly is one of the ante-post favorites for next year's Group 1
One Thousand Guineas, back at Newmarket, following three impressive victories
that included a cozy neck success in the Group 2 May Hill over a mile at
Doncaster on September 14.
West Point Thoroughbreds announced the retirement of its nine-year-old
Awesome Gem on Friday. A well-traveled Grade 1 winner, all-surface
performer, and earner of more than $2.8 million, the Awesome Again gelding
remarkably won or placed in at least one graded stakes in each of his seven
seasons of racing.
Demand for quality yearlings from an exceptionally deep global buying bench
drove strong commerce throughout Keeneland's September Yearling Sale, producing
double-digit increases in average and median prices.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said he wants to survey weekend workouts before he
plots paths for many of his Belmont graded stakes contenders, but did confirm
four-year-olds San Pablo and Stay Thirsty for the Grade 1, $1 million Jockey
Club Gold Cup at 1 1/4 miles on September 29.
Japanracing.jp reports that the Yasutoshi Ikee-trained Trailblazer is
currently in Southern California in preparation for his scheduled run in the
Grade 2 Arroyo Seco Mile (formerly known as the Oak Tree Mile) on October 6.
Trailblazer, a son of Zenno Rob Roy, is aimed ultimately for the November 3
Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita.
The Grade 1, $750,000 CashCall Futurity, an annual stop for future Triple
Crown contenders, will once again be the most lucrative event on the stakes
calendar for the 2012 Autumn meet at Hollywood Park.
The Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational on September 29 at
Belmont Park is the centerpiece of Super Saturday, which features four
additional Grade 1s and the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap, each a "Win and You're In"
event for the Breeders' Cup on November 2 and 3 at Santa Anita Park.
Gutierrez, 25, and Puhich, an agent since 1944, will receive the Mr. Fitz
Award, named for the late Hall of Fame trainer James "Sunny Jim" Fitzsimmons,
for typifying the spirit of racing. Gutierrez rose from the relative obscurity
of Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver to sweep the opening two legs of the Triple
Crown aboard I'll Have Another.
"You never can predict something like that," trainer Chad Brown said of the
blowout. "She's been very strong in her gallops. Six weeks out from the
Breeders' Cup, I think she needed a race, so I'm not at all upset about winning
by that many and having a strong final time. I think she needed the race and we
got the race we needed."
The Breeders' Cup has announced the launch of Blazing Silks, Breeders' Cup
Edition, an interactive social network game that allows horse racing fans and
social gamers to train and care for Thoroughbred horses. Fans can then race
their horses against friends and past Breeders' Cup Champions in photorealistic
3D races at some of the most famous racetracks in the world. Blazing Silks
combines the thrill of racing with immersive role-playing gameplay, allowing the
ownership, training and caring for your own Thoroughbred with the interactive
elements that have helped propel social gaming into the mainstream.
Spurious Precision, the undefeated winner of the Grade 2 Saratoga Special on
August 12, was euthanized Tuesday morning. The two-year-old, who was preparing
for the Grade 1 Champagne on October 6, suffered a fractured left knee during a
workout at Aqueduct Monday. The preliminary diagnosis indicated the injury might
be repaired surgically, and he was sent to the Hogan Equine Clinic in Cream
Ridge, New Jersey, but additional X-rays revealed extensive damage to the bone
structure of the knee.