Handicapping

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Shackleford caps closing weekend at Churchill Downs

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.

Journalist, historian Kelly dies

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.

Gentildonna outduels Orfevre to make Japan Cup history

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.

Breakfast at Gulfstream scheduled for opening day

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 guests.

Better Lucky stuns eventful Matriarch at 35-1

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.

Kentucky Jockey Club top three heading south for the winter

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.

Stutts calls it a career

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.

Stay Thirsty caps off stellar day, and career, for Repole

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.

Front-running Travesura surprises in Miesque

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.

Den's Legacy a popular winner of Generous

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 Generous 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.

Uncaptured fends off Frac Daddy in Kentucky Jockey Club

John C. Oxley's Uncaptured rallied to the lead on the far turn and gamely fought a serious challenge from Frac Daddy through the stretch to prove best in Saturday's Grade 2, $177,150 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs. The Mark Casse-trained colt confirmed his status as one of the early favorites for the 2013 Run for the Roses, earning 10 points in the new "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series for the gutsy neck score, and Uncaptured swept both graded events at Churchill Downs this fall, posting a 5 1/4-length score in the Grade 3 Iroquois on October 28.

Twilight eclipses his elders in McKnight

Twilight Eclipse, a three-year-old Purim gelding making only his sixth career start, registered an 11-1 upset of Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap at Calder. His stalk-and-pounce rally under Manoel Cruz resulted in a 1 3/4-length triumph in a time of 2:26 3/5 for 1 1/2 miles on the firm turf.

Dance Card drifts to Gazelle victory

Godolphin Racing's Dance Card gave jockey Ramon Dominguez his fifth win on Saturday's card at Aqueduct when posting an easy four-length victory in the Grade 1, $350,000 Gazelle as the wire-to-wire winner.

Unlimited Budget wires Demoiselle

Emollient tried to snatch victory away from Repole Stable's Unlimited Budget in Saturday's Grade 2, $237,500 Demoiselle at Aqueduct, but the Street Sense filly would not be denied, scoring by 1 1/4 lengths on the wire and improving her mark to a perfect two-for-two.

Seaneen Girl upsets Golden Rod at 31-1

Naveed Chowhan's Seaneen Girl battled it out with Gal About Town in the stretch of Saturday's Grade 2, $167,550 Golden Rod at Churchill Downs before just getting up for a half-length score as the 31-1 longest shot in the nine-filly field.

Clark top three in good order following race

The day after a fantastic renewal of the Grade 1 Clark Handicap under the Twin Spires, the top three finishers were in fine order in their stalls at Churchill Downs, but definite plans for each horse have yet to be decided.

Shackleford goes out on top in Clark

Michael Lauffer and Bill Cubbedge's homebred Shackleford concluded his racing career in grand style Friday, winning the Grade 1, $447,000 Clark Handicap over his home track at Churchill Downs, and the distinguished colt now heads to stud at Darby Dan Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.

Caixa Eletronica draws off in Fall Highweight

Repole Stable's Caixa Eletronica turned Thursday's Grade 3, $147,000 Fall Highweight Handicap into a mismatch, winning Aqueduct's traditional Thanksgiving Day feature by a widening four-length margin. The seven-year-old horse chased in second as pacesetter and 6-5 favorite This Ones for Phil established opening splits in :22 2/5 and :44 4/5 on a short lead, drew even after turning into the stretch and dominated the latter stages, finishing six furlongs in 1:08 3/5 on the fast track.

Orfevre bids for vengeance against Solemia in Japan Cup

Japanese superstar Orfevre suffered an agonizing defeat at the hands of the unheralded French filly Solemia in the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe last out, but aims to turn the tables back on his own home turf in Sunday's Grade 1 Japan Cup at Tokyo.

Data Link soars past Eagle in Citation

Data Link, hero of the Grade 1 Maker's Mark Mile and Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes in course-record time earlier this year, was coming off a pair of losses. The elegant bay couldn't catch Dominus while giving him eight pounds in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga September 1, and he was most recently a troubled fifth to Wise Dan in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland October 6.

Boisterous the one to beat in River City

Phipps Stable's Boisterous, winner of the Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap and Grade 3 Knickerbocker in his last two starts, will carry the top weight of 124 pounds when he faces 11 rivals in Sunday's 35th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 River City Handicap at Churchill Downs. The 1 1/8-mile turf affair highlights the 11-race closing-day program.

Dayatthespa heads Matriarch; Hollywood Derby attracts 15

Dayatthespa, who has won five in a row at three different tracks, will try to keep her streak alive in the $250,000 Matriarch Stakes on Sunday at Hollywood Park. The one mile event for older fillies and mares is part of a Grade 1 grass doubleheader on the final day of the Turf Festival. The 10-race program also includes the $250,000 Hollywood Derby, which drew an overflow of 15 three-year-olds at 1 1/4 miles.

Guys and a Doll featured in Cigar Mile

No filly or mare in the 23-year existence of the Cigar Mile has won the one-mile fixture at Aqueduct, though few have tried. Fresh off a championship clinching win in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, Groupie Doll will attempt to make a little history before the year is out when she faces six male rivals in Saturday's renewal of the $350,000 handicap.

Kya One relishes added ground in My Charmer

After Mackie Racing's Kya One finished a belated fifth to Naples Bay in her U.S. debut in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel over a mile at Belmont Park, trainer Chad Brown explained that his new recruit really needed more ground. That proposition was tested, and confirmed, in Thursday's Grade 3, $100,000 My Charmer Handicap at Calder, where Kya One profited from an extra furlong to defeat Naples Bay by a cozy 1 1/4 lengths.

Really Mr Greely tops Baffert sweep in Hollywood Prevue

Bob Baffert was virtually assured of continuing his stranglehold on Thursday's Grade 3, $100,000 Hollywood Prevue Stakes by entering four of the five runners, and the Hall of Famer's quartet duly gobbled up the top four placings in the Thanksgiving Day feature. Less predictable, however, was the identity of the Baffert-trained winner -- Really Mr Greely, the 11-1 longest shot on the board, who led throughout to upset 4-5 favorite Super Ninety Nine.

Delaunay runs away with Thanksgiving Handicap

Allowed to settle just off the early pace, Maggi Moss's Delaunay took command in upper stretch and drew off for a 2 1/2-length tally in the 87th running of Fair Grounds' $98,000 Thanksgiving Handicap, the New Orleans oval's tradition-rich annual opening day highlight, giving nine-time Fair Grounds trainer champion Tom Amoss his first winner in the Turkey Day feature attraction.

Handle increases at Belmont fall meet

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) posted an 11.5 percent gain in total handle during the recently concluded Belmont Park fall meet, with additional increases in NYRA Rewards account wagering and wagering on NYRA races. Belmont Park's fall meet ran 36 days from September 8 to October 28, 2012.

Sadler seeks sweep in Generous and Miesque

The Hollywood Park Turf Festival continues Saturday with a pair of Grade 3 stakes for two-year-olds, the $100,000 Generous and $100,000 Miesque for fillies, and both races will be contested at a mile on turf. John Sadler will try to become only the second trainer to win the Generous in consecutive years when he sends out a pair, Rising Legend and Under Review, and he is responsible for top contender Pussycat Lips in the Miesque later on the program.

Uncaptured tops Jockey Club; Golden Rod draws nine

After posting a 5 1/2-length score in the Iroquois Stakes on October 28, Uncaptured will look to keep his momentum rolling while stretching back out to a two-turn distance in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs. The Lion Heart colt can enhance his reputation as a leading Kentucky Derby candidate with a strong showing in the 1 1/16-mile event.

Shackleford faces nine in Clark in career finale

Shackleford, whose Grade 1 exploits include the 2011 Preakness and the Metropolitan Handicap last May, will bow out of the racing scene Friday in the Grade 1, $400,000 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs. The 1 1/8-mile Clark, which dates to Churchill's founding year of 1875, anchors the 12-race Black Friday program, with the Clark set to go off shortly after sunset.

De Kock stable loaded for Dubai season

He's won more than $6 million at the Dubai World Cup Carnival over the years and globe-trotting trainer Mike de Kock is hoping that his current group of new hopefuls can add to his Dubai spoils.

Ultimate Eagle launches comeback in deep Citation

Ultimate Eagle, who capped a four-race winning streak in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at last year's Turf Festival, will kick off the 2012 Festival by making his comeback in Friday's Grade 2, $250,000 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park. Sidelined for nine months since weakening to 10th in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, the Michael Pender trainee will clash with stablemate and defending champion Jeranimo; East Coast shipper Data Link and his frequent foe Doubles Partner; and former Argentinean Horse of the Year Interaction.

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