Following the retirements of Sarava and Peace Rules Tuesday, there were four probable starters and two questionable runners for Saturday's $1-million Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
European horsemen, like the vast majority of Americans, will be Texas strangers this year, as the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships comes to Lone Star Park for the first time. The question is, will they be willing to journey into the unknown to run at a track that has never hosted a grade I stakes? Preliminary indications say yes.
The NTRA National Pick 4 wager, offered in conjunction with the "NTRA Super Saturday" telecasts airing on ABC and ESPN, makes its fifth and final appearance of the year Saturday. Three grade I stakes from Belmont Park: the Jockey Club Gold Cup, the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, and the Vosburgh Stakes; along with the Yellow Ribbon Stakes from Oak Tree at Santa Anita make up the wager.
Grade II winner Roman Ruler, second by a neck to Declan's Moon in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) in his last start, was put through his final drill in preparation for Sunday's Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita, posting a bullet six furlongs in 1:11 3/5 under regular exercise rider Dana Barnes over the Southern California oval's main track Monday morning.
Strub Stakes (gr. II) winner Domestic Dispute, getting ready to start next in Saturday's Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at Belmont Park, worked six furlongs in 1:13 over Santa Anita's main track Monday in a move that pleased trainer Paddy Gallagher.
Jay Em Ess Stable's Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) winner Declan's Moon will skip the Oct. 30 Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Lone Star Park, trainer Ron Ellis said, and will instead be prepared for next year's Triple Crown trail.
Sarava, who is winless in eight starts since winning the 2002 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), breezed five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 over a fast main track at Belmont Park Monday morning as the 5-year-old son of Wild Again continued preparations for Saturday's grade I, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at 1 1/4 miles.
Padua Stables' Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Cajun Beat breezed five furlongs over the fast main track in 1:00 2/5 this morning as trainer Bobby Frankel points the four-year-old gelding to Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 Vosburgh (gr. I)at six furlongs.
Gary Stevens will take over riding duties on The Cliff's Edge in Saturday's $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at Belmont Park, trainer Nick Zito said Sunday.
Diamond A. Racing Corp.'s Pleasantly Perfect, getting ready to defend his title in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) – Powered by Dodge at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30, worked seven furlongs in 1:26 4/5 on Sunday morning at Santa Anita.
United Arab Emirates Derby (UAE-II) winner Lundy's Liability is expected to make his United States debut in the $500,000 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) on Oct. 2, opening day of the Oak Tree Racing Association's 26-day meet at Santa Anita.
The top three finishers of the recent Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) – Jay em Ess Stable's Love Of Money, Pollard's Vision and Swingforthefences – are among 32 top 3-year-olds nominated to the $500,000-added Indiana Derby (gr. II) at Hoosier Park.
Jockey Richard Migliore says Artie Schiller, a top 3-year-old turf horse he will ride in Sunday's $200,000 Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park (gr. IIT), is one of only two horses he has ridden who have "no chinks in the armor."
Soviet Song attempts to bridge a 17-year gap by becoming the first filly since Milligram in 1987 to win the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes- Sponsored by Netjets (Eng-I) at Britain's Ascot Racecourse Saturday.
Western Ransom and Art Fan, the first two finishers in last spring's Hilltop Stakes, return to Pimlico on Saturday as favorites for the $150,000 Martha Washington Breeders' Cup (gr. IIIT). Twelve are entered to start in the grassy 1-1/16th mile test for 3-year-old fillies.
The first three from last year's Kentucky Cup Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Kentucky Downs are back for this year's running, and track officials hope that things go more smoothly in the 1 1/2-mile Sept. 25 race than they did in 2003.
Following two straight runner-up finishes in allowances races, trainer Billy Turner will start Althea Richards' Finery in a stakes for the first time, Saturday's grade III, $150,000 Noble Damsel for fillies and mares at one mile on the turf at Belmont.
Evening Attire, Peace Rules, and Funny Cide were among the horses working at Belmont Park on Thursday.
J. Paul Reddam's Natalma Stakes (Can-III) winner Fearless Flyer has been transferred to trainer Ben Cecil in California where she will be prepared for a start in the Oct. 2 Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
Imperialism, third-place finisher in this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I), drew post seven Wednesday and has been installed as the 8-5 morning line favorite in Saturday's $500,000 Super Derby XXV (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Harrah's Louisiana Downs.
Artie Schiller, arguably the second best 3-year-old turf horse in the nation behind Kitten's Joy, breezed five furlongs in 1:00 over Belmont Park's main track Tuesday in preparation for Sunday's grade II, $200,000 Jamaica at nine furlongs on turf.
Keeneland will request approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority Sept. 27 to offer a new wager whereby patrons can invest money in a group of predetermined selections during each racing program at the meet that begins Oct. 8.
Oak Tree Racing Association, which will hold its meet beginning Sept. 29 at Santa Anita Park, will offer a $1 pick five wager. It is believed to be a first, the racing association said.
Roses in May could be nicknamed Mr. October, trainer Dale Romans joked prior to the $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic Handicap (gr. II). After he recorded his fifth straight victory this year in the easiest fashion possible Saturday at Turfway Park, the 4-year-old colt has risen to the top of the handicap division for the upcoming Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Lone Star Park Oct. 30.
Sightseek, undefeated in four starts at Belmont Park, is the heavy favorite against four rivals when she returns in the $300,000 Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) Sunday.
Sam-Son Farm's Soaring Free has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite in a field of 11 for Sunday's $1 million Atto Mile (Can-I) at Woodbine.
The one-two-three finishers in Monmouth's Sapling Stakes (gr. III) will line up against each other again Sunday in the Belmont Futurity (gr. II).
Sense of Style, a convincing winner of the seven-furlong Spinaway Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga last month, figures to be a very short price against five rivals in Sunday's Matron Stakes (gr. I) at a mile at Belmont Park.
A pair of grade III stakes for 2-year-olds--the $200,000 Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Futurity and the $100,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie--will bring the curtain down on the Arlington Park meet Sept. 19. Six colts are entered in the Futurity, and nine fillies in the Lassie.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Roses in May, winner of last month's Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga, was installed the 1-2 favorite for Saturday's Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park. The 118-pound starting highweight will break from post five and face just five rivals in the 1 1/8-mile race that carries a purse of $350,000.
Cuvee, a grade I winner last year who is making his second start since undergoing knee surgery late last year, is the 8-5 morning line favorite in the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III) at Turfway Park Saturday.
If weights are any indication, the Sept. 18 Jerome Handicap (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park figures to be wide open.
Claiborne Farm's homebred Stroll tops a field of five for the 19th running of the $200,000 Belmont Breeders' Cup (gr. II), one of three stakes set for the track's "Super Saturday" card.
So contentious is Saturday's Turfway Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) that the morning line has five of the seven entrants at odds of between 5-2 and 5-1. The 1 1/16 miles Turfway Breeders' Cup is one of five stakes on the Kentucky Cup card at the northern Kentucky track.
Our Sugar Bear Stable's three-time stakes winner Travelator is the 116-pound highweight in the 10th running of the $100,000 Floral Park Handicap (gr. III) at Belmont Park. Topping a field of five fillies and mares set to travel the 6 furlongs, the Stanley Hough-trained runner comes back only seven days after stepping up in class in an eight-length loss Sept. 11 in the Endine Handicap (gr. III) at Delaware Park
The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Storied Cat may have drawn the outside post for Saturday's Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III), but the son of Tale of the Cat was made the even-money morning line favorite against six rivals.
Ticker Tape, a grade I stakes winner on the West Coast, and Green Hills Farm's Spotlight, a grade II winner in the East, converge in the Midwest at Arlington Park as they headline an overflow field of 13 entered for Saturday's $200,000 Pucker Up Stakes (gr. IIIT).
Although there are still several major preps remaining for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), the leading players are pretty well set, with Pleasantly Perfect, Ghostzapper, and Birdstone all heading straight for Texas. But there is still one player – former Horse of the Year Azeri -- who could add a whole new dimension to the race.
Alumni Hall will take a pass at Saturday's Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) and will instead go in an allowance race according to trainer Neil Howard in a press release from Turfway Park. The 5-year-old son of A.P. Indy out of the Alydar mare Private Status worked five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 Wednesday morning at Belmont Park.
Pie N Burger is being aimed for his first graded stakes victory in more than a year in Saturday's Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park. The 6-year-old gelding by Twining won't find the going easy in the 1 1/8-mile race.
Perfect Drift, winner of last year's Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II), will not be back to defend his title this Saturday at Turfway Park according to trainer Murray Johnson. Johnson made the announcement Monday morning after Perfect Drift finished a five-furlong work in 1:03 3/5 at Trackside in Louisville.
Edmund Gann's Peace Rules, a career earner of more than $3 million, will not compete in the upcoming Atto Mile (Can-I) Sept. 19 at Woodbine, trainer Bobby Frankel said Sunday.
Saturday's $500,000 Man o'War Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park drew a field of eight runners who may have to contend with soft going after steady rain in New York earlier this week.
Trainer Christophe Clement takes aim at New York's top prize for 3-year-old turf fillies when he sends out Torrestrella and Spotlight in the $300,000 Garden City Breeders' Cup (gr. IT).
The $150,000 Miami Mile Breeders' Cup (gr. IIIT), rescheduled from Labor Day because of Hurricane Frances, drew a full field for Saturday on the turf at Calder Race Course.
Kinsman Stable's Ebony Breeze tops a field of seven entered in the $200,000 Endine Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at Delaware Park Saturday.
While he's well known to those who follow speed figures, impressive Ghostzapper takes the national stage for the first time Saturday as the horse to beat in the $500,000 Woodward (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
Stellar Jayne, whose biggest win came in the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park in June, returns to the track of her greatest triumph for Saturday's Gazelle Handicap (gr. I),
by Brian P. Turner -- Veteran Brisnet handicapper reviews events of the recently-concluded meet at Del Mar and files one last report on horses who rose to the occasion during the past weeks.
by Dick Powell -- Veteran Brisnet handicapper reviews the recently-concluded 2004 meet at Saratoga and showcases the accomplishments of his final group of "horses to watch."
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