Kentucky Derby Report
Kentucky Derby Report
SANTA ANITA NOTEBOOK
The connections of Joha are comfortable switching to Plan B with their grade I winner, who was withdrawn from the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale and will be pointed to a summer-fall racing campaign.
Saul and Max Kupferberg's Sunny Desert continued her winning ways in the Jan. 6 $67,500 Cat Cay Stakes at Aqueduct. The victory was marred by the breakdown of Wildcat's Smile.
"No plans right now," trainer Doug O'Neill said Sunday morning. "But he ate up great and his legs are ice cold. We'll meet up with the owners over lunch in 10 days and map out an agenda."
There was a quartet of graded races over the opening week of the Santa Anita winter/spring meeting.
It's a long way from the first Saturday in January to the first Saturday in May, but for eight newly minted three-year-olds, Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Jerome
Action Andy and Indiano look like the horses to beat in a field of six drawn for Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes.
Wilkinson, who pulled off a stunning upset of the Grade 2 American Handicap in his most recent appearance, will make his first start since that race in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Daytona at Santa Anita.
TAMPA BAY DOWNS NOTEBOOK
Saginaw, the winningest horse on the New York Racing Association circuit this year, looks to notch win no. 11 become the winningest horse in North America on December 26.
The four-year-old filly Daisy Devine has proven hard to beat at Fair Grounds, compiling a five-for-six mark at the New Orleans course including two scores in a pair of grass stakes at last year's meet.
Normandy Invasion established himself as a promising Kentucky Derby contender with a nose second in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct on November 24.
Mark Valeski, absent from active competition since winning the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park, accomplished a bullet three-furlong move in :36 1/5 Thursday morning at Fair Grounds in his first official work since that May 12 contest, and was a perfect picture of health Friday morning when trainer Larry Jones proudly showed him off in his stall.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced Friday the formation of an Eclipse Awards Host Committee that will actively promote participation in Eclipse Awards week events and highlight Gulfstream Park and its surrounding community.
Notacatbutallama, a winner of two turf stakes, will make his first start on dirt in the Damon Runyon, one of two $80,000 stakes for New York-bred juveniles on Sunday at Aqueduct.
Two races new to the Fair Grounds stakes schedule this season now have names -- the Battle of New Orleans and the Van Berg Stakes -- thanks to a contest that garnered more than 300 entries from fans and employees.
Connections, guests and media gathered at the Sha Tin Racecourse parade ring for Thursday morning's Hong Kong International Races (HKIR) barrier draw ceremony and the event, never short of drama, produced the usual delight, resignation and stoic disappointment.
Top sire Pulpit died in his paddock at Claiborne Farm earlier Thursday, according to an announcement made by farm manager Bradley Purcell. The 18-year-old stallion had shown no signs of ill health in the weeks and days prior to his death.
After the soaking rain of the past week, Sha Tin stood radiant beneath sun drenched blue skies Thursday morning as the candidates for Sunday's Hong Kong International Races (HKIR) stepped out for exercise.
Populist Politics and Get in Da House are set to match strides in the 22nd running of Fair Grounds' $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic, the main event of eight Thoroughbred stakes races restricted to accredited Louisiana-breds Saturday in the Crescent City.
Bullet Train, a Group 3-winning, three-quarter brother to the sensational and undefeated Frankel, will enter stud in 2013 at Wintergreen Stallion Station near Midway, Kentucky for a fee of $7,500 it was announced Thursday.
Todd Pletcher finds himself in familiar territory as the 2013 season fast approaches, juggling training and racing schedules to optimize the Triple Crown prospects of his most promising two-year-olds. Gulfstream Park's defending nine-time training champion has a deep arsenal at his disposal, saddling the winners of a staggering 57 races for juveniles (33 percent win) so far this year.
Castleton Lyons will again be sponsoring the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, a competition recognizing excellence in writing in the Thoroughbred industry, and entries are now being taken for the seventh annual award. The award, which comes with a $10,000 winner's prize and a Tipperary Crystal trophy, is named for the late Castleton Lyons owner Dr. Tony Ryan, whose twin passions for great writing and quality horse racing led to his launch of the competition in 2006.
Dust and Diamonds, who emerged as one of the leading female sprinters in the country in her past two starts, will make her debut for new owner Stud TNT and trainer Todd Pletcher in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Sugar Swirl at Gulfstream Park. The six-furlong dash, the first graded event of the 2012-13 Gulfstream season, has attracted a field of seven fillies and mares.
Executiveprivilege will try for her third Grade 1 win of 2012 when she takes on seven other two-year-old fillies in the $500,000 Hollywood Starlet on Saturday at Hollywood Park.
The Turf Publicists of America (TPA) has elected Mandy Minger of Daily Racing Form to serve as the organization's president for 2013-14, outgoing TPA President Bill Knauf announced Tuesday at the TPA's Mark Kaufman Workshop at the University of Arizona Symposium on Racing and Gaming.
Team Valor International on Tuesday honored a New York Times story on the role of veterinarians in the use of drugs in horse racing as the first winner of the Stan Bergstein Writing Award.
A series of special events leading up to the 42nd annual Eclipse Awards will benefit the Gulfstream Thoroughbred Aftercare Program, the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF), The Race for Education and the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced Tuesday. The Eclipse Awards will be held January 19 at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida.
Online voting is now open for the third annual Secretariat Vox Populi Award. Created by Secretariat's owner Penny Chenery, the Vox Populi, or "Voice of the People," Award recognizes the racehorse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the public and gained recognition for the sport during the past year.
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 Races.
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.
The Grade 1, $500,000 Hollywood Starlet, which will be run Saturday at 1 1/16 miles over Hollywood Park's Cushion Track, could have as many as seven participants.
"I thought he was impressive," said Marlow, who is a longtime assistant to Bob Baffert. "He was tested all the way. Mike Smith's move on the first turn was a key factor in the race."
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 victory.
On Saturday, Charles Town announced the eight new members of the Charles Town Racing Hall of Fame to be inducted at the track on December 15.
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 Logistics.
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 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.