The jockeys' allocation for Wednesday night's International Jockeys'
Championship took place at Sha Tin Racecourse Monday morning. Top jockey Zac
Purton, fresh from winning the World Super Jockeys Series in Japan at the end of
November, is hoping his luck can hold for the annual Happy Valley event, which
has again drawn 12 of the world's finest riders.
Leaden skies and rain greeted the international contenders as they headed out
on to Sha Tin Racecourse shortly after 8:30 a.m. local time on Monday, seven
days ahead of their Group 1 engagements in Sunday's Hong Kong International
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber's In Lingerie, the winner of
the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland in October, has been retired from racing and
will be bred to two-time Cartier Horse of the Year Frankel.
Alan Klein and Philip Lebherz's Smiling Tiger put in a game rally down the
center of the track in Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000
Vernon O. Underwood Stakes at Hollywood Park and gutted out a one-length
victory over Private Zone for trainer Jeff Bonde. The chestnut sprinter's most
recent score came seven starts ago when taking the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap
in 2011, but he got back to his winning ways when completing this six-furlong
contest in 1:11 1/5 over the Cushion Track.
Dust and Diamonds was timed in an easy :52 in advance of her debut for new
connections, while Turbulent Descent drilled in a bullet :47, tying for the
fastest of 23 moves at the distance on the fast main track. Both four-year-olds
are kept on edge for their first start since the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare
Sprint at Santa Anita on November 3.
Hyakutaro Kobayashi's homebred Nihonpiro Ours swept from just off the pace to
dominate Sunday's Grade 1 Japan Cup Dirt in stakes-record time. By finishing
nine furlongs at Hanshin in 1:48 4/5, the five-year-old son of White Muzzle
handed jockey Manabu Sakai and trainer Yuki Ohashi their first career Grade 1
Ken and Sarah Ramsey teamed up with trainer Mike Maker to take four of the
seven Claiming Crown events on Gulfstream Park's opening-day card Saturday,
including the richest race of the day, the $194,000
Claiming Crown Jewel.
Game On Dude was outhustled by Nonios leaving the starting gate in Saturday's
Grade 3, $242,500
Native Diver, but would not allow that younger rival to outfinish him in the
1 1/8-mile Cushion Track test at Hollywood Park.
The centerpiece event of the Tropical Meet was
once again the prestigious Festival of the Sun program on October 13 that
featured the final legs of the lucrative Florida Stallion Stakes Series.
Jockey Angel Serpa used the day to show off his riding prowess, taking top
prize in the $300,000 My Dear Girl division with Verso a Verso before returning two races later to claim glory in
the $300,000 In Reality division with the promising colt Speak
Brushwood Stable's homebred Philly Ace bided his time down on the rail during
Friday's Calder's closing-day co-feature -- the Grade 3, $100,000
Handicap -- before running down pacesetting 9-5 favorite Hollinger to post a
Closing Range had engineered a similar theft two starts back in the August 26
Twin Lights over 1 1/8 miles at Monmouth, where she just lasted in a
photo-finish. The daughter of After Market was coming off her worst career
effort, a non-threatening eighth in a division of the Grade 3 Valley View at
Keeneland October 19. That was thoroughly uncharacteristic for the lightly-raced
filly, who had previously won three of four starts and placed second in the
Acclamation has encountered setbacks that have limited his 2012 campaign to
just two starts. The six-year-old son of Unusual Heat has won them both,
however, extending his winning streak to seven. After scoring an unprecedented
three-peat in the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap in his belated
reappearance on June 9, Acclamation successfully defended his title in the Grade
1 Eddie Read on July 21.
The American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders
Association (TOBA) on Friday presented its listing of U.S. Graded and listed
stakes for 2013, the results of its annual grading session conducted November 28
in Lexington, Kentucky.
Bolstered by his homebred Wise Dan, dominating winner of the Breeders' Cup
Mile on November 3, Morton Fink has won the second annual John Deere Award as
outstanding breeder of the 2012 Breeders' Cup Challenge Series and the Breeders'
Cup World Championships.
Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000
Underwood drew a short but salty field of seven at Hollywood Park. Grade 1
winners Comma to the Top and Smiling Tiger are logical win challengers given
their recent form, but Capital Account, Fast Bullet and Private Zone also merit
respect in the six-furlong event.
The Gulfstream VIP Fan Experience will once again be made available to racing
fans during the 2012-2013 Gulfstream Park meeting. The unique
and exclusive experience will provide fans with an all-access and
behind-the-scenes look at Thoroughbred racing from the training of Thoroughbreds
in the morning to presenting a trophy in the winner's circle in the afternoon.
Prolific owners-breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey have emerged as a major players
in Thoroughbred racing with their red and white colors prominent at all levels
of the sport from the Breeders' Cup down to the claiming ranks.
Klaravich Stables' Populist Politics, probably best known as the
hard-knocking runner-up to Brittlyn Stable's Star Guitar on numerous occasions,
is the early favorite to headline next weekend's $150,000 Louisiana Champions
Day Classic when Fair Grounds hosts the 21st renewal of its series of 11 races
restricted to accredited Louisiana-breds on December 8.
The now-retired Star Guitar, of course, became the top Louisiana-bred money
winner of all time last April 1 with a win in the $90,000 Costa Rising Stakes on
Louisiana Derby Day. Populist Politics finished second behind him once again
that day, beaten a head for the victory.
"Hopefully, next weekend, Populist Politics will get the opportunity to show
he's the heir apparent," trainer Tom Amoss said Thursday morning during training
When Krypton Factor took to the track at Meydan Racecourse at the start of last
season, he was a handicapper rated 100.
This season he will embark on the defense of his 2012 Dubai Golden Shaheen
Crown a Group 1 winner rated 123.
In its four runnings, the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic has attracted 32
different runners who have captured a total of 71 graded stakes between them,
with 12 of those coming in races currently a part of the Breeders' Cup's "Win &
You're In" Challenge series.
After finishing a well-beaten seventh as the 6-5 favorite in the Breeders'
Cup Classic, Game on Dude will attempt to end 2012 on a winning note when he
lines up for Saturday's Grade 3, $250,000
Diver at Hollywood Park. The five-year-old gelding faces a couple of nice
rivals in the five-horse field, but none appear quick enough to run with him
early. He could prove difficult to catch from the rail with new jockey Mike
Tampa Bay Downs launches its 87th
season with when the gates open Saturday on Lambholm South Cotillion Festival Day, with a full card of
two-year-old races celebrating the track's heritage of developing future equine
Ramon Dominguez, who has effectively sewn up his fourth straight riding title
on The New York Racing Association (NYRA) circuit, will miss the next three race
weeks after bruising his foot recently at Aqueduct Racetrack, according to his
agent, Steve Rushing.
A dazzling farewell victory by popular classic winner Shackleford and jockey
Jesus Castanon in the 138th running of the Grade 1 Clark Handicap provided an
exclamation point as arguably the brightest moment of Churchill Downs' memorable
21-day fall meet that concluded Sunday.
The Maryland racing community lost one of its most prominent members when
award-winning journalist and racing historian Joseph B. Kelly passed away Monday
at Stella Maris Rehabilitation and Hospice after a short battle with cancer. He
was 94 years old.
Three-year-olds enjoyed a big day in a pair of Grade 3 events at Calder last
weekend, and might do so again Friday as the Tropical meet concludes with the
2012 renewals of the Grade 3, $100,000
Turf Handicap and Grade 3, $100,000
Prevoyante Handicap for fillies and mares.
In a rousing stretch battle between Japanese Triple Crown winners, reigning
Filly Triple heroine Gentildonna outdueled last year's Triple Crown star Orfevre
by a nose in Sunday's Grade 1 Japan Cup at Tokyo. Aside from emulating her sire,
2006 Japan Cup legend Deep Impact, Gentildonna became the first sophomore filly
ever to win her nation's signature international contest. But her place in the
record book was only confirmed after she survived an inquiry, for she bumped
Orfevre in their wrestling match.
Gulfstream Park will kick off its meet Saturday with Breakfast at Gulfstream,
a family-friendly event that once again allows the public to attend Saturday
morning workouts while enjoying a breakfast buffet trackside and meeting special
Jockey Miguel Mena had a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend at
Churchill Downs, piloting the winners of the three graded events taking placing
Saturday and Sunday. He capped off the graded hat trick Sunday aboard 30-1
longshot Keep Up in the Grade 3, $115,700
Godolphin Racing's Better Lucky was no match for leading three-year-old turf
filly Dayatthespa last time out at Keeneland, but after a bizarre mishap to the
8-5 favorite in Sunday's Grade 1, $250,000
Matriarch at Hollywood Park, Better Lucky went on to post a 35-1 upset.
In Saturday's 86th running of the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill
Downs, Uncaptured defeated Frac Daddy by a neck after a thrilling stretch run
and both of those precocious two-year-olds, as well as third-place finisher
Dewey Square, were in good order Sunday morning.
While Saturday's 6TH race at Calder Race Course offered the promise of
juvenile fillies heading to the turf while still in the early stages of their
career, the human narrative of the race centered on longtime trainer Bennie
Stutts Jr., who started recent maiden winner Iwillneversaynever in what would be
the final race of the 74-year-old conditioner's career.
Even as Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap victor Stay Thirsty prepared to depart
Todd Pletcher's barn for his upcoming career at Ashford Stud near Versailles,
Kentucky, the trainer and owner Mike Repole have plenty to look forward to next
year following Unlimited Budget's front-running victory in the Grade 2
Demoiselle for juvenile fillies and Overanalyze's gritty nose triumph in the
Grade 2 Remsen for two-year-olds.
Travesura was overlooked at odds of 11-1 in the circumstances. She was
overshadowed by such rivals as multiple Group 3-placed Premier Steps, the 4-5
favorite in her American debut for Chad Brown, and Surfer Girl romper Flashy
Ways, looking to rebound off a troubled 11th in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. But
the pace scenario appeared soft on paper, and Travesura took full advantage.
Westrock Stables' Den's Legacy sat chilly behind the leading trio for more
than six furlongs, dove through a gap along the inside at the top of the
stretch, and charged home a half-length winner of the Grade 3, $100,000
at Hollywood Park on Saturday. The son of Medaglia d'Oro safely held off a late
bid from Rising Legend and completed one mile on firm turf in 1:36 1/5.