Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's undefeated grade I winner Lion Heart got his final major prep for his March 6 sophomore debut, breezing six furlongs from the gate under regular jockey Mike Smith in 1:12 4/5 at Santa Anita on Wednesday.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Tapit, winner of the Laurel Futurity (gr. III), shipped to Laurel Wednesday afternoon where he worked seven furlongs between races in 1:29 3/5 in company with two other horses trained by Michael Dickinson.
Feb. 25, 1956
Needles in the Flamingo Stakes
With Tuesday's break in the recent rainy weather hitting California, several top horses were out on the track at Santa Anita getting workouts in before the next wave of wet weather is scheduled to pass through the area on Wednesday.
The Nick Zito-trained pair of Birdstone and Eurosilver lead Action This Day in the latest installment of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contender analysis by Steve Haskin, senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse.
Feb. 24, 1964
Northern Dancer at Hialeah
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone, winner of his 3-year-old debut in allowance company, may skip the March 13 Florida Derby and run in the following week's $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park instead, trainer Nick Zito said Monday.
Pro Prado and Wildcat Shoes, the one-two finishers in the Mountain Valley Stakes on Jan. 24, and the undefeated New York invader Smarty Jones, head the field for Saturday's $100,000 Southwest Stakes at one mile at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
What do War Emblem and Fusaichi Pegasus have in common? Yes, they each won the Kentucky Derby. And they each did it in a similar way.
Feb. 23, 1963
Chateaugay at Hialeah
Trainer Michael Dickinson has notified Laurel Park officials that he plans to work his Triple Crown candidate Tapit between races on Wednesday.
Each year at this time, new stars are spotted in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) galaxy for the first time. But there is always a question whether they have come along too late to shine brightly on the first Saturday in May. Such is the case with Redskin Warrior, Odds On, Purge, Rock Hard Ten, and Quintons Gold Rush.
Team Valor's pair of Tiger Hunt and Shadowland worked sharply Sunday morning for their respective engagements in the Rebel Stakes (gr. III) and Louisiana Derby (gr. II).
Feb. 22, 1966
Kauai King at Hialeah
Paraneck Stable's Redskin Warrior was a comfortable five-length winner of the $81,825 Best Turn for 3-year-olds at six furlongs at Aqueduct Saturday.
Kaufy Mate tallied a stunning upset at odds of 34-1 over grade II winner The Cliff's Edge in the $100,000 Sam F. Davis for 3-year-olds at Tampa Bay Downs Saturday.
By Dick Downey
The last Kentucky Derby won by a Dual Qualifier ("DQ")--a three year old with a dosage index of 4.00 or less that's within 10 pounds of the highweight in the Experimental Free Handicap--was Silver Charm in 1997.
Feb. 21, 1962
Sir Gaylord at Hialeah
Feb. 20, 1988
Winning Colors in the Las Virgenes Stakes
Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) and Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) winner The Cliff's Edge drew the outside post position when a full field of a dozen 3-year-olds were entered Thursday for Saturday's $100,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in Florida.
Read the Footnotes, Minister Eric, and Tapit top a record roster of 140 Early Bird nominees for the Rebel and Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park. The Rebel and Arkansas Derby are the first two legs of Oaklawn's $5-million three race bonus with the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) being the final leg.
Feb. 19, 1955
Swaps in the Santa Anita Derby
With two fairly uneventful weekends coming up, this is the perfect time to see how the big March Madness stakes are shaping up across the country. While many of the big-name horses will be running in smaller fields in Florida and California, look for large, competitive fields down south.
Owner and breeder Oscar Novo has moved stakes winner Sir Oscar to Marty Wolfson's barn. The colt is still on target for the Florida Derby (gr. I).
Birdstone's easy victory in his 2004 debut moved him above stablemate Eurosilver as the Nick Zito-trained pair remained atop the list of leading contenders for this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) compiled by Steve Haskin, senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse.
Feb. 18, 1995
Thunder Gulch at Gulfstream Park
B. Wayne Hughes' champion Action This Day, who will make his next start in the March 13 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), worked three furlongs in :36 4/5 over Santa Anita's fast main track Tuesday morning.
Feb. 17, 1975
Master Derby at Fair Grounds
Even with the injury to Second of June, it's refreshing to finally have a weekend that held true to form and helped put several pieces of the puzzle together rather than creating more confusion, as has often been the case in recent years.
Second of June, a game runner-up in Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) suffered a condylar fracture of the cannon bone, and was scheduled to undergo Sunday afternoon surgery at Dr. Stephen Selway's clinic near Gulfstream Park.
Feb. 16, 1957
A Special Day at Hialeah
Wertheimer Farm's Halfbridled, the unbeaten champion 2-year-old filly of 2003, is the favorite in the initial pool of Churchill Downs' 2004 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, closing as the 7-2 choice when four days of wagering concluded Sunday.
Kentucky Derby fans backed such promising young stars as Eurosilver, Lion Heart, Action This Day and Read the Footnotes, but the heavy favorite at the end of four days of wagering in Pool 1 of Churchill Downs' 2004 Kentucky Derby Future Wager was the "mutuel field."
The connections of 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft may have a prime Triple Crown candidate this year with lightly-raced Gradepoint, who posted a resilient come-from-behind win over odds-on favorite Mr. Jester in the $150,000 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at Fair Grounds Sunday.
Adhering to the belief that timing is everything, Richard Mandella said Sunday morning that Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) runner-up Minister Eric could make his 3-year-old debut on the Santa Anita turf in the $100,000 Baldwin Stakes (gr. IIIT) at about 6 ½ furlongs on Feb. 28.
Feb. 15, 1958
Tim Tam at Hialeah
Future wager odds on both Fountain of Youth (gr. II) winner Read the Footnotes and runner-up Second of June for the May 1 Kentucky Derby dropped significantly following the Gulfstream Park prep race Saturday.
An all-out Read the Footnotes prevailed over Second of June by a neck in a gut-wrenching finish to Saturday's $250,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park.
Dogwood Stable's Limehouse, making his first start in more than four months, came off the rail in the stretch to collar stablemate Deputy Storm and drew off to a 2 1/4-length victory in $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Santa Catalina Stakes winner St Averil worked five furlongs in an easy 1:02 over Santa Anita's fast main track Sunday morning, after which trainer Rafael Becerra confirmed that the son of Saint Ballado's next start would be the March 13 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II).
TheDowneyProfile.com's guest picker for the Risen Star is Ryan Driscoll.
Feb. 14, 1976
Bold Forbes at Santa Anita
Caifornia-based colts Lion Heart and Master David emerged from the second day of wagering in pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager as the most fancied of 23 individual horses listed for the May 1 Derby.
Mr. Jester, winner of the $1 million Delta Jackpot last December, makes his 3-year-old debut in Sunday's $150,000 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III). Among his six opponents will be the Neil Howard-trained Gradepoint, winner of his last two starts.
Feb. 13, 1999
Excellent Meeting at Santa Anita
A $30,000 wager on the mutuel field – all 3-year-olds other than the 23 assigned to the pool – by an unidentified patron enlivened the early minutes of the first of four days of betting in Pool 1 of Churchill Downs' 2004 Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
Graded stakes winner Wynn Dot Comma will get a sharp challenge from a couple of Todd Pletcher-trained rivals, Deputy Storm and Limehouse, in the 51st running of the $150,000 Hutcheson (gr. II) Saturday, a seven-furlong test for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park.
Saturday's Fountain of Youth (gr. I) and Hutcheson Stakes (gr. III) and Sunday's Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) are only some of important 3-year-old races this weekend, along with allowance races featuring Birdstone, Value Plus, and Shaniko.
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