Handicapping

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Nihonpiro Ours conquers Japan Cup Dirt in record time

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 victory.

Calabrese, Dwoskin and Saez top the standings at Calder's Tropical meet

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 Logistics.

Philly 'aces' Tropical Turf

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 Tropical Turf Handicap -- before running down pacesetting 9-5 favorite Hollinger to post a half-length victory.

Closing Range steals La Prevoyante at 19-1

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 other.

Acclamation to enter stud at Old English Rancho in 2013

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.

Fink honored with second annual John Deere Award

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.

Gulfstream offers fans the chance to give and receive

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.

Populist Politics aims to be Star Guitar's heir

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 hours.

Charles Town Classic purse increased to $1.5 million

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.

Game on Dude looks tough to catch in Native Diver

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 Native 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 Smith.

Dominguez sidelined a month with bruised foot

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.

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.

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