Dave Feldman, a colorful Turf writer for Chicago newspapers and a veteran Thoroughbred trainer, died Monday at Weiss Hospital. He was 85. The cause of death was heart failure, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, where Feldman last plied his trade.
Bobby Frankel can be brash, and he can be gruff. But when the Hall-of-Fame trainer talks about his Kentucky Oaks candidate, Flute, he gets downright mushy.
Kentucky Derby favorite Point Given and stablemate Congaree had their last workouts before Saturday's race, each posting fast times for their five furlong efforts. Point Given was timed in :58.50 seconds, as clocked by trainer Bob Baffert, who caught Congaree in :58.75 for five furlongs. Also Monday, Churchill officials announced that Tincin, winless in seven starts, was no longer being considered for the Derby after developing a cough.
Tranquility Lake set easy fractions on the Hollywood Park turf course and edged away from Dianehill in the stretch to win the $108,600 Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT) in her 2001 debut Sunday.
Jockey Pat Day won four straight races at Churchill Downs Sunday capped by a winning ride on Royal Strand in the 1 1/16-mile feature race.
Winstar Farms' License Fee was allowed to set a moderate pace and then drew away to a five-length victory in Sunday's $300,000 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) at Sportsman's Park. Under Larry Melancon, License Fee completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.11 on a fast track. She earned $180,000 for the win, her 14th in 40 career starts, to boost her career earnings past the $1 million mark.
John Dunlop-trained Golden Snake made his seasonal debut a winning one Sunday at Longchamp, taking the 10 1/2 furlong Prix Ganay (Fr-I) by three lengths over 4-year-old filly Egyptband. With the Flow was another three lengths back, with Little Rock fourth in the nine-horse field.
While the focus at Churchill Downs Sunday morning continued to be on the major contenders for the Kentucky Derby, there was more than normal attention devoted to the 3-year-old fillies that will compete in the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
The Todd Pletcher-trained duo of Balto Star and Invisible Ink turned in workouts Sunday morning that their trainer labeled "excellent" as the two continued to progress toward next Saturday's Kentucky Derby. In other Sunday workouts, Thunder Blitz worked five furlongs in :59 4/5 and Dollar Bill was timed in 1:00 flat for the same distance.
Two 3-year-olds being shipped to Churchill Downs for other races on Kentucky Derby (gr. I) week could join the field for the season's first classic. Trainer Tony Richey said Boyce Roberts' Arctic Boy may run in the Derby rather than a conditioned allowance race on Derby Day he is being pointed toward. Richey said a final decision on Derby plans for the son of Maria's Mon will be made following a Monday workout under jockey Calvin Borel. Meanwhile, Churchill officials said trainer Simon Bray could also decide to run Turf Paradise Derby winner Startac in the Derby rather than the Crown Royal American Turf (gr. III), a 1 1/16-mile grass test on Friday's Kentucky Oaks card.
Redattore held off Hawksley Hill in the stretch to earn a 3/4-length victory in Saturday's $263,750 San Francisco Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IIT) at Bay Meadows. Under Jason Lumpkins, Redattore completed the mile in 1:35.14 on a firm turf course.
Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron became the seventh jockey to reach the 7,000 win plateau, guiding 3-1 third betting choice Spinelessjellyfish to victory in the $175,000 Khaled Stakes Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Dixie Dot Com raced up close early en route to a 6 1/2-length win over Mr Ross in the $300,000 Texas Mile Stakes (gr. III) Saturday on a fast track at Lone Star Park.
Meetyouathebrig stalked the early leaders from mid-pack and blew by the field in the stretch to win Saturday's $100,000 Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III) by 6 1/4 lengths on opening day of the Churchill Downs meet. Under Robby Albarado, the Elliott Walden-trained winner completed the mile in 1:36.44 on a fast track.
Edward Evans' homebred Cat's At Home earned his second consecutive graded stakes victory at Aqueduct Saturday, edging pacesetting longshot Top Official in the stretch to earn a half-length win in the $190,000 Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III). Boston Party came home third, 5 1/4 lengths behind Top Official.
A number of factors contributed to record average attendance at Keeneland Racecourse during the 15-day meet that ended Friday. Keeneland reported average attendance for 15 days of racing of 14,649, highest ever for a Keeneland meeting, topping the previous record of 14,521 set during a 16-day meeting in 1988.
Godolphin Racing's Express Tour worked seven furlongs in 1:29 on Saturday as he prepared for the May 5 Kentucky Derby. In the only other work Saturday by a Derby hopeful, the maiden Tincin went a half-mile in :48 2/5. Derby horses scheduled to work Sunday include Balto Star, Invisible Ink, Dollar Bill, and Thunder Blitz.
Broken Vow beat Perfect Cat by 4 3/4 lengths Friday in the $106,800 Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III) as Keeneland wrapped up its spring meeting.
Pompeyo survived an awkward landing at the final hurdle to set a course record and beat All Gong by three lengths Friday in the $185,875 Royal Chase for the Sport of Kings at Keeneland. The Chilean-bred 7-year-old ran 2 1/2 miles over 13 national fences in 4:34 2-5. The previous record was 4:36, set by Lonesome Glory in the 1999 Royal Chase.
Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron finished second on his first two mounts Saturday, remaining one victory shy of 7,000. He is scheduled to ride in four more races on the card.
Keyed by a $109.80 winner, a record-shattering superfecta of $103,595.60 was paid out on Keeneland's closing day.
The Churchill Downs spring meet begins Saturday with the $100,000-added Derby Trial (gr. III), the final prep for the May 5 Derby. The race is being used by trainer Ken McPeek to determine whether Gift Of The Eagle will be sent back in the classic one week later.
Las Vegas casino company Boyd Gaming has agreed to buy Delta Downs in Louisiana for $115 million to $125 million.
Latour and Tap Dance both worked Friday morning in preparation for the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. Latour breezed five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 while Tap Dance covered the same distance in a more leisurely time of 1:01 3/5.
While it appeared earlier this week that Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) runner-up Flute might be excluded from the crowded field in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), the situation changed Saturday and the filly is apparently in after the defection of Serena's Tune.
Santa Anita may withdraw as the host for the 2002 Breeders' Cup because of construction plans. The news has frustrated Oak Tree Racing Association officials, who conduct racing at the Arcadia, Calif., track in the fall. An executive with racetrack owner Magna Entertainment said the news should not surprise anyone since construction plans have been discussed for months.
Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone will come out of retirement May 20 to ride in The Blood-Horse Sportsman's Challenge during the 35th High Hope Steeplechase at the Kentucky Horse Park near Lexington.
She's A Devil Due, winner of last year's Walmac International Alcibiades Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland, has been retired due to nagging minor injuries, according to her trainer, Ken McPeek.
In what will be the biggest handicap race in New York so far this year, eight runners will race once around Aqueduct's 1 1/8 mile track in Saturday's grade III $200,000 Excelsior Breeders' Cup.
More than 160 meetings have been canceled in Britain due to foot-and-mouth disease -- the tally now is more than 1,400 cases -- or the desperate weather, but the first significant flat meeting of the season took place at Newmarket April 17-19, with the seven-furlong Shadwell Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes (Eng-III) for 3-year-old fillies, and the Macau Jockey Club Craven Stakes (Eng-III) over the straight Rowley Mile for sophomore colts and geldings. Newbury's spring meeting followed immediately with the Lane's End Greenham Stakes (Eng-III) for 3-year-old colts and geldings and the Fred Darling Stakes (Eng-III) for 3-year-old fillies, both over a straight seven furlongs.
The song says the "sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home." But, the long range forecast from the National Weather Service is calling for showers in Louisville, Ky., on Kentucky Derby Day.
Canterbury Park, the Minnesota racetrack that hit rock-bottom in the early 1990s, could have its best meet since its "second coming." Officials report heightened interest in the Shakopee track's racing program, which this year will offer $120,000 per day in purses.
With none of the horses being pointed toward the May 5 Kentucky Derby working out, it was a routine day on the backside of Churchill Downs on Wednesday. Trainer David Hofmans added Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) winner Millennium Wind to the list of horses scheduled to work Thursday.
Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner Captain Steve worked five furlongs in 1:02 4/5 at Churchill Downs on Wednesday, with trainer Bob Baffert saying he does not know when the horse will make his next start. "It was an easy work because he hadn't worked in a while," Baffert said.
With the defection of Godolphin Racing's Street Cry from the Kentucky Derby due to an injury, jockey Frankie Dettori has opted to remain in England to ride Tobougg in the Sagitta Two Thousand Guineas at Newmarket the same day. Tobougg is also owned by Street Cry's owner, Sheikh Mohammend.
Ashland Stakes (gr. I) winner Fleet Renee, among the favorites for the May 3 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), worked five furlongs in 1:01 under exercise rider Lisa Tenney at Churchill Downs on Wednesday.
Flute, the runner-up in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I), breezed six furlongs in 1:14 4/5 on Monday (April 23) at Churchill Downs in preparation for the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). Jockey Joe Deegan was up for trainer Bobby Frankel.
Purse supplements recently signed into law by acting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco will fuel the $300,000 per day average in overnight purses at Monmouth. Including stakes, the daily average will be $350,000.
Faced with the possibility of the lights going dark this summer, management planned ahead and purchased four back-up generators to ensure rolling blackouts don't affect operations. But the energy crisis has already come at a cost...The power crisis also prompted Hollywood to bump up its start time on Fridays from 7:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Running lights at night would be too costly considering electricity prices will be increased up to 46% by this summer. The move could result in a drop in on-track attendance.
Daily Kentucky Derby Notes From Churchill Downs
2000 Horse of the Year Tiznow sustained an injury during a workout last Friday, and a nuclear-imaging test conducted Monday revealed a problem with his lumbar vertebrae. "The prognosis is good, but we're going to have to walk him for 60 days before resuming training with him," said conditioner Jay Robbins Tuesday morning from his Santa Anita barn. The injury knocks Tiznow out of the May 12 Pimlico Special (gr. I).
Kent Desormeaux got off to a good start, with three wins, two seconds, and two third-place finishes in 11 rides his first weekend in Japan.
Kentucky Derby notes from Churchill Downs.
For some, it may be Mach-speed roller coasters or bungee jumping. Others run with the bulls in Pamplona or go crowd surfing at a punk rock concert. There are precious few experiences, however, that can match the rush of riding a hot-blooded Thoroughbred. Just imagine...you're alone on the lead at speeds beyond belief, riding low with your hair on fire. And then, without warning, your horse shifts direction. Ouch.
Serena's Tune breezed four furlongs Sunday at Churchill Downs in preparation for her start in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). The La Habra Stakes winner won't have to face Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) third-place finisher She's a Devil Due in the 1 1/8-mile Oaks, as trainer Ken McPeek says she is no longer under consideration for that race.
The National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III) was a puzzle just waiting to be assembled by Guided Tour at Sportsman's Park on April 22. The out-of-town star was supposed to ship in, overcome the challenge of invading speedster Duckhorn, add another $120,000 to his earnings, and leave everybody else in the field of five to cash their checks. Puzzle solved. All the pieces were in place -- until a stout-hearted Illinois-bred named Chicago Six scattered the preordained solution all over the drying-out racetrack.
Godolphin's Street Cry, winner of the UAE Two Thousand Guineas and runner-up in the UAE Derby, will not run in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) after suffering an ankle injury Sunday morning. "He went out for a jog this morning," assistant trainer Tom Albertrani said, "and when he came back we noticed some filling in the right front ankle."
Xtra Heat set a quick pace under pressure from Raging Fever and drew off approaching the stretch to lead a strung-out field to the wire in Sunday's $250,000 Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (gr. II). Undefeated in sprints, Xtra Heat has now won 12 of 13 career races, with her lone defeat coming in the 1 1/16-mile Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). The Beaumont marks her 11th stakes win and third in a graded stakes.
Tom's Thunder and Lady Katie won divisions of the $100,000 New York Stallion Stakes at Aqueduct on Sunday. Jockey John Velazquez recorded his 2,000th career victory aboard Tomn's Thunder. It was the second straight year and the fourth time in the race's eight runnings that he rode the Times Square winner.
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