Three Rules worked five furlongs in :58.91 and Beasley worked four furlongs in :48.11, both firing the bullet for their respective distances Feb. 24 at Gulfstream Park.
Tom Pedulla of America's Best Racing recently spent some time with Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert to talk about this year's classics.
J. Keeler Johnson handicaps the Risen Star Stakes (GII) at Fair Grounds.
With Foolish Pleasure campaigning in Florida, Louisiana in 1975 offered a haven for other nominees to the Kentucky classic.
The house horse has held a decided advantage in the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) in recent years, with three of the last four winners having prior form or being a regular trainee over the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots surface.
Uncontested will likely make his next start in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 15 at Oaklawn Park, co-owner Harry Rosenblum said Feb. 22.
M M G Stables' multiple grade 3 winner El Areeb will return to Aqueduct Racetrack for his next start in the $300,000 Gotham Stakes (G3) March 4, trainer Cal Lynch confirmed Feb 22.
McCraken (20 first-place votes; 362 points) remains in first place after his win two weeks ago in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.
The battle for the individual favorite in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3 is expected to be tight between reigning 2-year-old champ Classic Empire, unbeaten rising stars McCraken and Mastery, along with Irish War Cry.
In his final move in advance of the Feb. 25 $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2), Guest Suite stated his readiness for his next challenge on the Triple Crown trail, covering four furlongs in a bullet :48 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Feb. 21.
The Southwest provides a new face for the Derby Dozen, and those knocking on the door include a Japanese hopeful, Epicharis
The impressive connections behind One Liner had the undefeated son of Into Mischief ready for his stakes debut Feb. 20 in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park.
Charismatic returned to the United States from the JBBA Shizunai Stallion Station in Japan on Dec. 4 and was pensioned at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, Ky. He died Feb. 19.
Juvenile champion Classic Empire will not start as expected in the Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) March 4 at Gulfstream Park, trainer Mark Casse said Feb. 19.
Epicharis, a grandson of Sunday Silence, earned a guaranteed spot in the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (G1) with a victory in Sunday's Hyacinth Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse.
Firmly landing himself prominently on the charts as a serious contender for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), the $200,000 Keeneland September 2015 purchase now looks to make a hit out of his sophomore debut, the Risen Star (G2).
The odds were against Antone Metaxas' Zakaroff during the El Camino Real Derby (G3), and it wasn't just because of his number on the infield tote board at Golden Gate Fields.
Peacock Racing Stables' Gunnevera breezed five furlongs in 1:01 Feb. 18 at Gulfstream Park West in preparation for a scheduled start in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park March 4.
M M G Stables' multiple grade 3 winner El Areeb returned to the work tab with a sharp half-mile breeze over Laurel Park's main track Feb. 18.
- By BloodHorse Staff
- Thoroughbred Racing, Triple Crown, Northeast Region, Southeast Region, Southwest Region, West Region
Each week BloodHorse.com looks forward to the weekend's biggest races. This week, we have a pair of graded stakes at Laurel Park, a Triple Crown prep at Golden Gate Fields, and more.
Robert LaPenta and Harry Rosenblum's Uncontested will look to score an Oaklawn Park Triple Crown prep double in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3).
With an early draw for the Feb. 25 Louisiana Derby Preview Day card, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots saw 38 horses entered for four graded stakes, including the $400,000 Risen Star (G2).
Fifteen 3-year-olds, including one owned by Sheikh Mohammed, are set for the Hyacinth Stakes Feb. 19 at Tokyo Racecourse, which carries a qualifying opportunity to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1).
Trainer Doug O'Neill and Reddam Racing will look to sweep the two winter derbies at Golden Gate Fields and repeat in the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby (G3) Feb. 18.
Add the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) April 1 at Gulfstream Park to the list of Triple Crown preps being considered for M M G Stables' impressive 3-year-old El Areeb, a winner of his last four races including back-to-back graded stakes.
Did McCraken's victory in the Sam F. Davis propel him to the number one spot? Are there any new faces among the dozen?
This past weekend the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" biggest race ran through Tampa Bay Downs in Florida resulting in some changes in week three of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top 3-Year-Old Poll.
The addition of the two Arlington stakes races lifted total stakes purses to be offered during the upcoming meet to $8.84 million, an increase of $200,000 from the $8.64 million in stakes purses offered in the 2016 spring meet.
The unbeaten 3-year-old colt raised his connections' optimism several notches Feb. 11 at Tampa Bay Downs, where he won the $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) by 1 1/2 lengths.
Neil Howard and Wayne Catalano both have promising sophomores on the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks trail.
The built up to McCraken's seasonal bow ended with results to match. Under some left-handed urging from jockey Brian Hernandez Jr., the unbeaten colt unleashed a wicked turn of foot down the middle of the track to win the $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3).
- By Alicia Wincze Hughes
- Thoroughbred Racing, Triple Crown, Southeast Region, Southwest Region, Kentucky
As the regular rider for McCraken, the 2-1 morning-line favorite for Saturday's Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3), jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. could find his current groundswell of momentum dwarfed by what could come his way should his mount prevail.
When trainer Arnaud Delacour saddles No Dozing for the $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) Feb. 11 at Tampa Bay Downs, it could mark an early step toward the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1).
The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues Saturday and Sunday with the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) and Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3).
Days after John Oxley's champion Classic Empire finished a well-beaten third to Irish War Cry in the Holy Bull Stakes (G2), a foot abscess was discovered in the son of Pioneerof the Nile.
One of the more highly regarded classic prospects for 2017, McCraken gets his first chance to make good on his buildup when he makes his seasonal bow against eight others in the 1 1/16-mile Sam F. Davis (G3).
Third Day successfully stretched out to one mile and picked up his second win in as many starts Feb. 8 when he rallied from fourth to win a $60,000 overnight stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Experimental Free Handicap a great tool, needs a fresh look
The 3-year-old stakes results caused a shake up in the Derby Dozen. Who is the new number 1?
Moving right to the top in first place is the undefeated Irish War Cry (7 first-place votes, 303 points) who posted a mild upset as the 3 3/4-length winner of Saturday's Lambholm South Holy Bull (G2), at Gulfstream Park for trainer Graham Motion.
Trainer Graham Motion reported Feb. 5 that the undefeated Irish War Cry, who posted a mild upset as the 3 3/4-length winner of the Lambholm South Holy Bull (G2), will target Gulfstream Park's Triple Crown preps.
Nearly ten years to the day since his sire signaled his brilliance at Gulfstream Park, Irish War Cry showed he could follow in his father's footsteps as a force on the Triple Crown trail.
It appears Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Shirreffs have another speedy colt ready to hit the Triple Crown trail.
M M G Stables' El Areeb toyed with nine rivals in the $250,000 Withers Stakes (G3), summarily dismissed them down the lane, and cleared his fourth straight victory under a hand ride from jockey Trevor McCarthy Feb. 4 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Century Downs Racetrack and Casino announced Feb. 3 that it reached an agreement with the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association of Alberta to run Thoroughbreds at the racetrack in the fall of 2017.
Battalion Runner won for the second consecutive time, capturing the featured eighth race at Gulfstream Park Feb. 3. Trainer Todd Pletcher said the colt will start next in a stakes race on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) trail.
A second juvenile champion proved Pioneerof the Nile's depth as a sire.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby will continue Saturday with the Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes (G3), Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G2) and Kitten's Joy Stakes.
Classic Empire, winner of the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1), has been assigned the high weight of 126 pounds to top The Jockey Club Experimental Free Handicap for 2016.
When a filly costs $1.9 million as a yearling, expectations run high. Yet Rags to Riches soared beyond those initial hopes by vaulting out of a maiden victory straight into the $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) Feb. 10 at Santa Anita Park.
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