In a sign of the times, a Midwest also-ran with a liking for Polytrack came west to win the $1-million Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar Aug. 19. Student Council, purchased recently by Ro Parra's Millennium Farms to run in the 1 1/4-mile test, vanquished Lava Man and upset a large field at odds of 23-1 at Del Mar.
Crossing The Line came into the $400,000 Del Mar Mile (gr. IIT) with only two races under his belt on American soil, both of them allowance victories at Hollywood Park. But in his first career graded stakes try, the 5-year-old gelding showed a finishing kick that would make even the best American-turfer envious, blowing by a host of rivals in the stretch to steal a victory in near record-breaking fashion.
Greg's Gold, who returned earlier this year from a 17-month layoff after bowing a tendon, completed his comeback for trainer David Hofmans Aug. 19 with a 1 1/2-length victory in the $300,000 Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) over seven furlongs on the Del Mar Polytrack.
For the second time in three weeks, a Christophe Clement trainee shipped into Del Mar from New York to win a grade I event when Virginia Kraft-Payson's Rutherienne left favored Valbenny behind in the stretch for a two-length win in the Del Mar Oaks Aug. 18.
Entering the 127th running of the Alabama (gr. I), all the talk was about Octave, who had won consecutive grade I races in New York this summer, one of them over Lady Joanne. This time, Lady Joanne was not to be denied.
Back on June 23, Gottcha Gold defeated Lawyer Ron by a neck in the Salvator Mile Handicap (gr. III) at Monmouth Park. Bettors apparently considered that a fluke, as they let the son of Coronado's Quest go off at odds of 15-1 in the $300,000 Philip H. Iselin Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Monmouth Aug. 18. But the 4-year-old colt blew past his seven rivals to take the 1 1/8-mile route in convincing fashion.
With one week remaining until the $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course, top trainers in New York are aiming for a single target in the stalwart form of Street Sense, who will head up the field of the Aug. 25 "midsummer Derby" with a solid bullseye on his back.
The biggest concern for trainer Paula Capestro heading into the $200,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap (gr. III) was how her red-hot filly River's Prayer would handle Del Mar's Polytrack in her first start on a synthetic surface. In spite of drifting out some late, the California-bred proved best while winning her fifth successive race Aug. 17 by a half-length over Strong Faith.
There was the rubber match between Street Sense and Curlin in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Didn't Happen. There was the showdown between the two in the Travers Stakes (gr. I). Not going to happen. There was Rags to Riches headlining Lady's Day at Belmont for the CCA Oaks (gr. I). Didn't Happen. There was Rags in the Saratoga limelight for the Alabama. Not going to happen.
It was exactly noon when the Brook Ledge van came to a stop at the loading ramp on the Oklahoma training track, a short distance from Todd Pletcher's barn. Arriving from Belmont Park following the four-hour ride was the queen of American racing, Rags to Riches. This was a scene many thought would never be played out.
Ogden Mills "Dinny" Phipps, a member of the original National Thoroughbred Racing Association board of directors, recently offered his views on the organization after stepping down from the board.
Street Sense is back and so is Rags to Riches. All is once again right with the racing world. If Curlin emerges victorious from next week's Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I), then the Breeders' Cup World Championships will have the star power it so desperately needs.
It may be a foregone conclusion that many of the horses that win Breeders' Cup Challenge races would qualify for the World Championships anyway, but the first of six "Win and You're In" programs is said to have done much for recognition of Breeders' Cup and racetrack business.
Breeders' Cup president and chief executive officer Greg Avioli said the organization hopes to achieve a number of goals with the newly created Breeders' Cup Challenge.
The 10-cent superfectas that have become popular at North American racetracks will make their Breeders' Cup World Championships debut at Monmouth Park Oct. 26-27.
Any number of horses -- Lava Man, Street Sense, Rags to Riches, Papi Chullo, Sun King, Any Given Saturday, and Curlin -- could fill the void left by the recent departures of some of racing's biggest stars.
The economic impact of Monmouth Park hosting the Oct. 26-27 Breeders' Cup World Championships is estimated to be $57.6 million, according to a study released by the Center for Urban Policy Research at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.
Though Breeders' Cup this year will add a second championship day of racing, post positions for all 11 Breeders' Cup World Championships races will be drawn on one day.
Officials of Breeders' Cup Limited and six of the nation's premier racetracks launched the Breeders' Cup Challenge, a series of 24 officially sanctioned qualifying stakes races for the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
Rags to Riches appeared to be sound and in good condition after being examined by Dr. Steve Allday July 23 at Belmont Park.
Breeders' Cup president and chief executive officer Greg Avioli will be the guest for the July 26 edition of bloodhorse.com "Talkin' Horses," sponsored by AIRshod.
Having the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs a record sixth time and a hike in nomination fees for some stallion owners resulted in a financial boon for Breeders' Cup Ltd. during fiscal 2006.
Thirteen individuals have been elected to the Breeders' Cup board of members and trustees from a field of 25 candidates, the organization announced June 27.
Breeders' Cup will get some major-league media exposure June 22 when two racing industry participants address attendees at the Associated Press Sports Editors Convention in St. Louis, Mo.
Ticket applications for the 2007 Breeders' Cup World Championships must be received at Monmouth Park by June 6 to be included in a random drawing that will determine the order in which tickets applications will be processed.
The board of directors of Breeders' Cup Limited named Gregory Avioli as the organization's president and chief executive officer at a Lexington meeting Thursday, April 19. Avioli, 42, had been serving as the interim president and CEO since June of last year.
Breeders' Cup Limited has released logos for the 24th Breeders' Cup World Championships--which will be held Oct. 26-27 at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.--and for the Breeders' Cup Challenge, which will be used in conjunction with 25 sanctioned major stakes races, whose winners automatically qualify for the Championships.
A record number of foals were nominated to the Breeders' Cup program in 2006, and now a record 52% of the eligible North American foal crop can participate in the program.
The group I Hong Kong Jockey Club Champions Mile will become the first race held outside the United States in the new Breeders' Cup Challenge, a series of official qualifying races for the Breeders' Cup World Championships, officials of Breeders' Cup Limited announced Feb. 23 in conjunction with the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Grey Goose Vodka has signed on as the name-in-title sponsor of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) under a multi-year agreement.
Round Pond, winner of the 2006 Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I), could return to competition in March at Gulfstream Park.
The Breeders' Cup board of directors plans to explore the possibility of seeking a title sponsor for the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
The Breeders' Cup World Championships will have a new look at first-time host Monmouth Park this year--an expanded two-day event that will inaugurate three $1-million stakes designed to accommodate owners and breeders.
A Jan. 6 dinner will honor the breeders of winners of 2006 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships races.
As predicted, all-source wagering exceeded $140 million for the Breeders' Cup World Championships held Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs, according to official figures released Nov. 9.
In one swift, bold stroke coming off the turn for home, in the brief stitch of time that it took Frankie Dettori to swing her outside and set her down for her inexorable drive to victory in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT), the dark bay mare who answers to the name of Ouija Board thus became the uncontested queen of the Breeders' Cup.
The coronation was nearly complete. The crowd of 75,132 prepared to give Bernardini a thunderous ovation worthy of the greatness they were witnessing.
Final U.S. national household television ratings confirmed a severe dip in the number of Americans tuned to the Breeders' Cup World Championships this year.
Though Breeders' Cup officials believe Churchill Downs is a premier host site for the World Championships, the rebuilt clubhouse at the Kentucky racetrack has created a problem providing quality seating for guests of Breeders' Cup.
Pine Island, who was euthanized after breaking down in the Nov. 4 Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, was buried at the Hancock family's Claiborne Farm near Paris, Ky., Monday afternoon.
Bernardini, who took command of the 3-year-old division starting with an overpowering victory in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), has been retired from racing for stallion duty at Sheikh Mohammed's Darley at Jonabell near Lexington.
Shadwell Farm's Invasor (Candy Stripes-Quendom, by Interprete), winner of Saturday's $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic Powered by Dodge (gr. I), will remain in training and looks to the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) on March 31, 2007, as his next major objective.
Television ratings were down but Web traffic was up for ESPN's maiden voyage covering the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
An equine ambulance was delayed in getting to Fleet Indian after the mare injured her left front suspensory ligament during the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) because Churchill Downs personnel were following state regulations regarding ambulances on the track.
The owners and trainers of the 2006 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships winners turned out in full force to share their thoughts and plans for the future at the annual press breakfast Nov. 5.
Jockey Lanfranco "Frankie" Dettori, who rode Ouija Board and Red Rocks to victory during the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup Thoroughbred Championships, was named recipient of the annual Bill Shoemaker Award during a press breakfast the following morning at Churchill Downs.
Trainer Tom Albertrani said Sunday morning that he was "disappointed" by the second place finish by Bernardini, the 11-10 favorite in the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, but that the 3-year-old colt did not disgrace himself.
Fans and bettors made the Breeders' Cup World Championships' first appearance at Churchill Downs in six years a big one with record numbers for all-sources and on-track handle.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin was asked Thursday if he knew the words to the Urugauain national anthem and he smiled but said, "No."
While trainer Todd Pletcher had a record number of Breeders' Cup World Championship runners, none of them were able to bring home the victory as his stable went 0-17 at Churchill Downs Nov. 4.
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