Empire Maker's smashing victory in the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) Saturday has earned him solid favoritism among the 23 individual horses listed in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
Royal Gem, who captured the Bay Meadows Derby in November, will make his 4-year-old debut Sunday on the grass at Golden Gate Fields in the $150,000 Golden Gate Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT).
On the eve of the biggest race of his career, the public is holding Juddmonte Farms' Empire Maker as the favorite at 9-1 among the 23 individuals listed in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
Bonapaw, a grade I winner sprinting, retreats to his old favorite distance for Sunday's $150,000 Pelleteri Breeders' Cup Handicap at Fair Grounds.
Trainer John Sadler isn't as concerned about Hadl's jump from a claiming race into Sunday's $100,000 Irish O'Brien Stakes at Santa Anita as he is about the racing staying on the grass.
Most of the 10 candidates entered for Sunday's 1 1/16-mile San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) virtually are committed to run, despite a weather forecast that calls for a 70 percent chance of rain on Saturday and the likelihood of an off track.
Headed by Cherokee's Boy, a field of 11 has been entered for Sunday's Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, a traditional prep for the track's grade I Wood Memorial on April 12.
Calumet Farm's Region of Merit is the 5-2 morning line favorite for Sunday's $250,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III). The son of Touch Gold will break from the outside post position in the nine-horse field. In the $150,000 Florida Oaks (gr. III) on the same card, Kinsman Stable's Ebony Breeze is the one to beat.
Trainer Mickey Goldfine was putting the final touches on Senor Swinger Friday morning, just hours before the colt put his undefeated record on the line in Gulfstream Park's grade I Florida Derby. At $1 million, the 1 1/8-mile race is the richest prep in the nation for the Triple Crown.
With the field favored at 7-2 at the completion of the first day of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2, Louisiana Derby (gr. II) runner-up Kafwain attracted the most individual action Thursday.
Adminniestrator, who has won his last two races, including the inaugural $500,000 Barretts/CTBA Turf at 1 1/8 miles in the Sunshine Millions on Jan. 25, will stretch out to 12 furlongs in Saturday's $250,000 San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita.
Lake Lady and Miss Lodi, two of the most talked about 3-year-old fillies at Fair Grounds last season, finally hook up in Saturday's $100,000 Victoria Lass Handicap in New Orleans.
The Toboggan won't be run at Affirmed Success' favorite distance of seven furlongs, but the gelding is still an early favorite for Saturday's sprint.
Fillies take the spotlight at Gulfstream Park Friday when the $200,000 Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. II) and the $100,000 Stonerside Forward Gal Stakes (gr. III) headline a 10-race card.
Midway Cat and Senor Swinger put in their final Florida Derby works Wedneday at Gulfstream Park. Empire Maker, who arrived there Tuesday, took a job around the track.
Despite his "bounce" in the Louisiana Derby, Kafwain remains on top the list of leading Kentucky Derby candidates compiled by Steve Haskin, senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse magazine.
The spring racing season at Aqueduct officially kicks off today, with a 1 p.m. post. One of the highlights of opening weekend is Sunday's Gotham Stakes (gr. III), which will be televised live during ESPN2's 90-minute telecast beginning at 4:30 p.m. Usually run at a mile on the main track, the Gotham will be run at a mile and 70 yards on the inner track.
When Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2003 Kentucky Derby Future Wager open its four-day run Thursday, it will include eight Derby contenders that were not among the individual horses in February's first of three futures pools.
Braun & English's Pippin Stakes winner Red n'Gold and the highly-regarded New York stakes mare Mandy's Gold figure to head the field for Saturday's featured $200,000 Oaklawn Breeders' Cup at Oaklawn Park.
Oaklawn officials have announced that the purse for the Fifth Season Stakes, for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/6 miles on April 9, has been raised to $100,000 guaranteed. The race was originally scheduled at $50,000 guaranteed.
A showdown between four local horses appears likely in Sunday's $100,000 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The 1 1/16-mile test for 4-year-olds and upward is a prep for the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 5.
Trainer Todd Pletcher had a pair of his well-regarded 3-year-olds on the Palm Meadows track Monday morning and confirmed that Indy Dancer will contest Saturday's $1-million, grade I Florida Derby.
Disturbingthepeace, Captain Squire and Avanzado turned in quick works in southern California Friday as they prepare for a possible journey to Dubai later this month for the Golden Shaheen Sprint.
Sightseek is the lone speed in Sunday's $300,000 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap (gr. I), which drew a small but stellar cast of six older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita.
With three straight Eclipse Awards, Brooklyn-born trainer Bobby Frankel has been the master of all he has surveyed. Last year, his runners earned more than $17.7 million and he won 14 grade I races. But one has always eluded him: the Florida Derby.
The Bill Mott-Jerry Bailey combination is a potent force in Gulfstream Park grass stakes, so it will be no surprise if Live Oak Plantation's Miesque's Approval goes off a short price in Sunday's $100,000 Canadian Turf Handicap (gr. III) at 1 1/16 mile.
Ministers Wild Cat can validate his status as a Kentucky Derby contender with a victory Saturday in the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) at Golden Gate Fields.
The Eric Kruljac-trained Grimm will be going for his fifth straight win in the $100,000 Phoenix Gold Cup Saturday at Turf Paradise.
With one win apiece, Composure and Elloluv continue their blossoming rivalry Saturday in the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Park.
Bobby Frankel, who had been planning on running Generous Stakes winner Peace Rules in the El Camino Real Derby, changed his mind at the 11th hour and has opted for the Louisiana Derby instead.
Eight older horses are expected to duel in Saturday's $200,000 Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Sprint Championship (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park. The Michael Gill-owned, Mark Shuman-trained entry of Native Heir and Highway Prospector will likely go off as the favorite in the seven-furlong sprint. The entry is 9/5 on the morning line.
At least one winning streak will come to an end Saturday in the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) when Lady Tak and Atlantic Ocean put their marks on the line in the 1 1/8-mile race.
Trainer Patrick Biancone's Whywhywhy hit the Gulfstream Park track Thursday morning, working a solid five furlongs in 59 seconds. Whywhywhy is pointed toward the March 15 Swale Stakes, on the Florida Derby (gr. I) undercard.
Trainer Shug McGaughey said champion Storm Flag Flying could make her 3-year-old debut in the March 14 Stonerside Forward Gal Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.
Don't bother looking at allowance and maiden races any longer for your Kentucky Derby horse. It is Louisiana Derby time, and that means the beginning of the big stakes run that will keep horses, trainers, jockeys, and fans hopping right up until the Derby.
Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, third all-time in career victories, will be at Golden Gate Fields Saturday to ride Ten Most Wanted in the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III).
Pick Six wagering at New York Racing Association tracks will be conducted on the last six races of the day's program each day beginning March 12.
Michael Tabor's Lion Tamer, the six-length winner of the grade II Hutcheson at Gulfstream on February 15, remains under consideration for the Florida Derby, trainer Todd Pletcher indicated Wednesday.
Kafwain and Badge of Silver, who meet in the Lousiana Derby this weekend, rank first and third, respectively, on the list of leading Kentucky Derby contenders compiled by Steve Haskin, senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse.
San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) hopeful Atswhatimtalknbout, who won his non-winners "other than" condition at 1 1/16 miles in impressive fashion on Feb. 20, was put through his first workout since that victory on Monday, going a half-mile in a bullet :46 2/5, handily, at Santa Anita.
The Thoroughbred Corp.'s early Kentucky Derby (gr. I) favorite Kafwain was put through his final preparations for Sunday's Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds with a six-furlong work in 1:11 2/5, handily, in company with stablemate Requesto, over Santa Anita's fast main track Monday.
Trainer Christophe Clement sends two in Sunday's $100,000 Suwannee River Handicap (gr. IIIT), and that might be enough to get the job done.
Crafty C.T., a consistent sprinter who has finished first, second or third in 11 of 13 career starts, returns to action Sunday in the $200,000 San Carlos Handicap (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park.
Our Bobby V., prepping for Saturday's $200,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at one mile, blew out two furlongs Friday morning on Santa Anita's fast main track in :24 flat, according to trainer Bill Spawr.
Anstu Stables' Balto Star has been pegged as the 5-2 morning line favorite in a surprisingly deep field of 11 older horses for Sunday's $500,000 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) at Fair Grounds.
The $150,000 Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap at Fair Grounds, which drew multiple graded stakes winner Snow Dance, could use a break from Mother Nature. The last two years, the richest turf race for older fillies and mares at the meet has been transferred to the main track due to wet weather.
Alyzig and Night Life, who ran first and second for trainer Kristin Mulhall in the Exceller Handicap on Jan. 25, are among the dozen turf runners entered in the $400,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Saturday.
The Bobby Frankel-trained Peace Rules, twice a stakes winner on turf, and stakes winners Spensive and Sum Trick head a field of nine entered in Saturday's $200,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita.
Allamerican Bertie, a galloping winner of the Grade 3 Sabin Handicap her last start, heads a field of six fillies and mares set to go 1 1/8 miles in the $200,000 Rampart Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Though it won't feature the marquee matchup most race fans had hoped for, Stonerside Stable's homebred Congaree still needs to get past a formidable foe from Bobby Frankel's barn to win Saturday's Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I): defending champion Milwaukee Brew.
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