The hole opened up for Rock Hard Ten near the eighth pole and the strapping colt burst through to win the $250,000 Malibu Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-olds Sunday in front of 31,874, the largest opening-day crowd since 1999 at Santa Anita Park.
Calder Race Course introduced a new temporary safety rail Sunday that extends out of the chute for six, six-and-a-half, and seven-furlong races.
A severe winter storm affecting the Cleveland area this past week has forced Thistledown to cancel its live racing program Sunday and Monday.
Whether you felt this year's 3-year-old crop was a good one or bad one, it certainly inspired a good deal of passion and provided a number of memorable moments. The following is a look back at the tumultuous 3-year-old season and its most notable performers, broken down into categories.
Overbrook Farm homebred Storm Surge took the lead in the top of the stretch and went on to capture the $60,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes for 2-year-olds Friday at Fair Grounds Race Course.
Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) winner Love of Money was delayed in Texas due to inclement weather and will not run in Sunday's $250,000 Malibu Stakes (gr. I), according to the agent for Victor Espinoza, who was slated to ride.
Jockey Victor Espinoza Wednesday lost a final appeal of a seven-day suspension handed down by Santa Anita stewards in March and will begin serving his days starting with the opening day at Santa Anita program on Sunday.
Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor's grade I winner Sense of Style is recovering from surgery to remove a chip from an ankle, trainer Patrick Biancone said Dec. 23, and won't make her sophomore debut until sometime earlier this spring.
Golden Eagle Farm's Yearly Report, who set a Lone Star Park record for seven furlongs in her most recent start, shoots for her first grade I victory in Monday's $250,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Park.
Action This Day, the Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male of 2003, is expected to make his turf debut in an allowance/optional claiming race on Sunday at Santa Anita Park. It would be his first start since finishing sixth in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) May 1.
Second of June, who has not raced since finishing a game second to Read the Footnotes in the Feb. 14 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), has been entered in a 1 1/16-miles optional claiming event at Calder on Monday.
Grade II winners Rock Hard Ten and Love of Money return from layoffs to head up Sunday's $250,000 Malibu Stakes (gr. I), a test for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs that kicks off Santa Anita's 85-day winter meeting.
Superstar filly Sweet Catomine, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and certain to be voted the an Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly of 2004, is slated to launch her 2005 campaign at Santa Anita Park on Jan. 9 in the $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III).
After a five-day break for the Christmas holiday, racing at Golden Gate Fields will pick up Sunday with a Pick Six carryover of $233,306 and the $100,000 Work The Crowd Handicap.
Rene Douglas, coming off his first Southern California riding title at Hollywood Park's autumn meeting, can be counted on for more of the same during the 85-day Santa Anita Park season, his agent says.
Azeri, North America's all-time leading money-earning female, has been retired from racing. Michael Paulson, who heads his father's Allen Paulson Living Trust that raced Azeri, made the decision to retire the 6-year-old daughter of Jade Hunter rather than race her a few more times, as was under consideration.
Mark Guidry, a successful rider on the Chicago, Kentucky, New York and Florida circuits since he began his career in 1973, will compete at Santa Anita beginning on opening day Sunday.
Minister Eric, who ran third in his only race since an eventful 16th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) May 1, will wear blinkers when he tackles a competitive field in the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) Sunday at Santa Anita Park.
America-bound jockey Kieren Fallon, who reached the 200-victory mark for the fifth time in eight years this week, insisted that he would not extend his stay in the states into the spring European flat racing season.
New Zealand trainer John Eagar was in critical condition at a New Plymouth hospital after suffering serious head injuries when struck by a riderless horse at Pukekura Raceway Tuesday.
Making her second start in the U. S., Japanese-bred mare Festival rallied to post a six-length victory in Monday's $150,000 Dahlia Handicap (gr. III), the closing day feature of the Hollywood Park meet.
Merv Griffin's Cee's Irish, the even-money favorite, wore down pacesetter Island Escape in the final sixteenth of a mile for a nose victory in the $60,400 Corte Madera Stakes Sunday at Golden Gate Fields.
Inclement weather led to cancellation of live racing Monday at Pimlico and Thistledown racetracks.
With no Sweet Catomine to be concerned with, Peter Vegso's homebred Splendid Blended was the star of Sunday's $389,000 Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) for 2-year-old fillies.
Patricia A. Generazio's Don Six sped to the front then held off his late challengers to win Sunday's $109,400 Gravesend Handicap (gr. III) by 1 1/4 lengths at Aqueduct.
Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Wilko, who finished a nose behind Giacomo in third in Saturday's Hollywood Futurity (gr. I), will get some time off to allow a quarter crack to heal, according to trainer Craig Dollase.
Jockey Rene Douglas, who returned to Southern California in September after a seven-year absence, found special gratification in his banner autumn meet at Hollywood Park.
Sunny Hollywood Park won't be using its turf course for the remainder of the meet after jockeys Sunday said it was unsafe for the second straight day.
Six-time champion European jockey Kieren Fallon has engaged leading agent Ron Anderson and will compete in Florida this winter.
Defending champion Katdogawn can become the only two-time winner of the $150,000 Dahlia Handicap (gr. IIT) Monday when 10 fillies and mares vie on the grass on closing day of Hollywood Park's autumn meet.
Under jockey Ariel Smith, the 3-5 favorite Aggadan powered through an opening at the top of the lane and outstepped a determined Irish Colony to win the $100,000 Jennings Handicap for Maryland-breds Saturday at Pimlico.
Shadow Cast picked up right where she left off earlier this year at Fair Grounds, returning to capture the $60,000 Pago Hop Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over the Stall-Wilson turf course Saturday.
In spite of skipping the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), undefeated Declan's Moon made an emphatic statement for 2-year-old honors in 2004 with a convincing victory over grade I winners Wilko and Proud Accolade in Saturday's $449,500 Hollywood Futurity (gr. I).
Robert N. Clay's 3-year-old colt Medallist rebounded from a fifth place finish in the Fall Highweight (gr. III) last month to win the $100,000 Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap at Calder Race Course Saturday.
Robert V. LaPenta's Pies Prospect seized control before the eighth pole and pulled away for an easy victory in the $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap (gr. III) at Calder Race Course Saturday.
Trillium Stable's Dreadnaught closed out his 2004 campaign with back-to-back graded stakes victories, coming from off the pace with a dramatic surge to nip Demeteor by a neck with a dramatic surge in the $200,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap at 1 1/2 miles on the Calder Turf Course Saturday.
The Bobby Frankel-trained Arvada held off favored Humaita by a head to win the $200,000 La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares on the turf Saturday at Calder Race Course.
Rare Gift, with Richard Migliore aboard, was never challenged while drawing off to win Saturday's $109,400 Ladies Handicap (gr. III) in gate-to-wire fashion at Aqueduct.
In a field lacking a graded stakes winner, Splendid Blended, whose only setback came to probable 2-year-old filly champion Sweet Catomine, looks best of seven entered in Sunday's $380,000 Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) at Hollywood Park.
Trainer Leo Nechamkin says that win or lose, he'll be getting an early Christmas gift when his Gators N Bears competes in Sunday's $100,000-added Gravesend Handicap (gr. III), the final graded stakes race in New York in 2004.
Leading rider John Velazquez has been named to replace Jeremy Rose aboard Cash is King's Afleet Alex, a candidate for an Eclipse Award as top 2-year-old male, in his quest for the 2005 Kentucky Derby.
Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort will offer a beefed-up stakes schedule in 2005 that includes a purse hike for the West Virginia Derby (gr. III) and the addition of stakes for 2-year-olds.
Beginning Jan. 1, Portland Meadows Racetrack will change its racing schedule by adding Sundays.
Churchill Downs has announced the dates for the three pools of the 2005 Kentucky Derby Future Wager and Kentucky Oaks Future Wager.
Joseph Allen's Roar Emotion should have few excuses in Saturday's $100,000 Ladies Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles when she faces seven opponents. The 4-year-old filly exits tougher races and appears to possess a clear speed advantage.
Trainer Doug O'Neill hopes to cap his second Hollywood Park autumn meet championship Sunday with a victory by Sharp Lisa in the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) for 2-year-old fillies.
Undefeated Declan's Moon, who returned from his smasher in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) to take last month's Hollywood Prevue (gr. III), is expected to be accorded favoritism among eight entrants in the $449,500 Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) Saturday.
HorseRacing TV (HRTV), a subsidiary of Magna Entertainment Corp. (MEC) announced Dec. 16 it had signed a multi-year agreement that provides for HRTV to appear on Comcast systems as part of a digital sports package.
December or no December, the journey to Louisville has officially begun. Just ask any trainer with a promising 2-year-old if the lure of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) hasn't already taken a firm hold. Over the past 10 days we've seen several exciting hopefuls emerge. And there's still that little matter of crowning a champ this weekend.
French group III winner Puppeteer invades Calder Race Course for his new trainer, California-based Jeff Mullins, in the $200,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (gr. IIT), a 1 1/2-mile turf event on Saturday.
Most Popular Stories
- Maiden Trojan Nation Seeks Derby Upset
- Ben's Cat Set for 10-Year-Old Debut
- Lani Works in Perplexing Fashion
- Nyquist Jogs in Advance of Final Derby Work
- First Winner for Caleb's Posse at Gulfstream
- Sherman Seeks California Chrome Stakes Upset
- Mad Flatter Euthanized After Accident
- 3 Kentucky Derby Longshots to Consider
- Horse Caucus Takes Testimony on Drug Bill
- Espinoza Back for More in Kentucky Derby