In what was the biggest weekend of the year for Derby preps, we saw a wide variety of top-class performances.
Zayat Stable's 3-year-old Eskendereya led a host of potential Florida Derby (gr. I) contestants when he worked an easy five furlongs in 1:02 2/5 March 14 at Palm Meadows.
Buddy's Saint, winner of the Remsen (gr. II) and Nashua (gr. II) stakes, is off the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) trail after suffering an ankle chip at Gulfstream Park March 14, trainer Bruce Levine told The Blood-Horse.
Favored Lookin at Lucky, trying blinkers and dirt for the first time in his 2010 debut, won the $300,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park when his late bid produced a neck victory over the stubborn Noble's Promise.
Front-running Sidney's Candy, making his first start around two turns, led all the way in winning the $150,000 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita March 13.
Padua Stables' Odysseus, who looked like a beaten horse turning for home, re-rallied during an incredible stretch run and nosed Schoolyard Dreams in the final jump to win a thrilling edition of the $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby
Ice Box drilled a bullet half-mile in :47 1/5 at Palm Meadows for trainer Nick Zito on the morning of March 13 as he tunes up for the $750,000 Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park.
Despite losing by less than two lengths in his first stakes try, Drosselmeyer seems to have fallen off the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) radar of many. Winstar Farm's racing manager Elliott Walden thinks it could be a mistake.
The pace scenario in the grade II Rebel is neatly arranged. From seven entries, we have one with early speed, one that lags back, and five that can be expected to press or stalk. The stalker that finishes best should win.
The 2010 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) logo features a galloping horse before the Brooklyn Bridge, the New York City skyline, and the Empire State Building. The 142nd Belmont is set for June 5.
Only seven are entered in the Tampa Bay Derby, but boy, what a tough race--unless Super Saver runs the way he did in his last race--or Odysseus.
There isn't a grade I stakes to be found March 13-14, but it is by far the most important weekend of the year so far for 3-year-old males.
MAHUBAH'S CORNER, by Avalyn Hunter
From a separate branch of the Almahmoud family than fellow Triple Crown hopeful Eskendereya comes Awesome Act, who powered into consideration with an easy Gotham Stakes win.
Zayat Stable's Eskendereya, 8 1/2-length winner of the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), is among 92 3-year-olds nominated for the $750,000 Florida Derby (gr. I) to be run March 20 at Gulfstream Park,
HRRN will broadcast live the Tampa Bay Derby March 13 from Tampa Bay Downs. Coverage will also include the New Orleans Ladies and the Santa Margarita, featuring Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta, respectively
Caracortado's trainer Mike Machowsky remains loyal to his rider, Paul Atkinson, who rides the gelding in the $150,000 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) March 13.
Last year's champion juvenile male, Lookin At Lucky, is on schedule for his first start of the year, the March 13 Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park, after a workout at Santa Anita March 8.
Awesome Act's impressive score in the Gotham earned him a place in this week's Kentucky Derby Dozen. Presented by Darby Dan Farm. View Top 12
The "mutuel field" was again installed as the 3-1 wagering choice when Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager closed Sunday, March 7.
Triple Crown winners during the 'Golden Age' all began their 3-year-old campaigns in sprints.
Calvin Borel has been named to ride Jackson Bend in the Wood Memorial, replacing Jeremy Rose.
Schoolyard Dreams and Uptowncharlybrown turned in strong works at Tampa Bay Downs March 7 while preparing for the $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III).
Todd Pletcher's powerful stable of 3-year-old stars were prominent on the work tab March 6 in South Florida and the trainer set a temporary schedule for many of them.
Terese McWilliams' California homebred Alphie's Bet pulled clear at the top of the stretch and raced home a 2 1/4-length winner in the $150,000 Sham Stakes (gr. III), a 3-year-old race rescheduled from last weekend.
Donegal Racing's Paddy O'Prado, a maiden facing eight winners in the $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT), seemed unfazed by his competition as he rolled to a 2 1/2-length score March 6 on the Gulfstream Park turf.
Susan Roy and Vinery Stables' Awesome Act turned in an impressive performance in his first start on dirt, accelerating past rivals at the top of the stretch en route to a 1 1/4-length victory in the $250,000 Gotham Stakes.
Noble's Promise worked a sharp five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 March 5 at Gulfstream Park for trainer Ken McPeek as he gets closer to his season debut expected to come in the $300,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. III) next weekend
I really hope it doesn't rain too hard at Santa Anita on Saturday because I am getting tired of these postponements.
Eight of the original 10 entrants for Santa Anita's Sham Stakes (gr. III), a useful prep for next month's Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), remained part of the lineup when the entries were taken for the March 6 makeup date.
Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Vale of York made a disappointing 3-year-old debut March 4 in Dubai, as he was rank in the early part of the Al Bastakiya Stakes and then flattened out to finish fifth.
Eskendereya and Lookin At Lucky are the co-morning line favorites among individual wagering interests for Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2010 Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
Because he hasn't yet raced in 2010, Noble's Promise has been a somewhat forgotten Kentucky Derby contender. Read Blog
Vale of York, longshot winner of the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), will make his 3-year-old debut in the $250,000 Al Bastikiya Stakes March 4 at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.
With a lull in the stakes action, this is a good time to complete a Top 20 list in what has been a wide-open year.
Time to reevaluate some of the horses and races, and a look at the Sham Stakes and several classy maiden and allowance races.
Following Conveyance's game win in the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park, Sheikh Rashid has decided to keep the colt in the United States.
Trainer Henry Dominguez was the only one not sweating out the inquiry following the $100,000 Borderland Derby since he saddled both Storming Saint, the eventual winner, and Raise the Bridle, whose neck victory was overturned.
Donegal Racing's 23-1 longshot Vow to Wager was awarded the win in an eventful running of the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes Feb. 27 at Turfway Park after Codoy was disqualified for interference.
Radiohead, in his first start since finishing seventh in last fall's Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), coasted to a 3 1/2-length win over Homeboykris in a $44,000 allowance race at Gulfstream Park Feb. 27.
When Bob Hutt formed Fantasy Lane Stable in honor of his late father he never thought it would result in four stakes performers in four consecutive years.
The first Kentucky Derby Graded Earnings list to be released this year has 47 horses listed.
The grade III Sham Stakes brings together a mixture of local horses looking to break out of maiden and allowance company in a big way.
The John Battaglia Memorial Stakes, the last of three preps on the way to the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II), drew a field of eight 3-year-olds led by Kera's Kitten and graded stakes placed Codoy.
Gulfstream Park's third race Feb. 27 features grade I winner Homeboykris, grade I competitor Radiohead, and impressive winners General Maximus and Thomas Got Even.
MAHUBAH'S CORNER, by Avalyn Hunter
Restoring new hope to a branch of the Almahmoud family of Northern Dancer, Eskendereya established himself as a legitimate Triple Crown contender with his Fountain of Youth win.
California shipper Tango Tango is the morning line favorite among nine 3-year-olds for Sunland Park's $100,000 Borderland Derby Feb. 27, a race that takes on added significance as a prep for the $800,000 Sunland Derby.
Despite an average six-furlong work on Feb. 22, trainer Bob Baffert said champion Lookin At Lucky is doing very well.
Todd Pletcher has been one of racing's leading trainers the past decade, though the sport's biggest prize, the Derby, has eluded him. This could be his year. Read Blog
Todd Pletcher has no less that nine horses on the Derby trail, with Eskendereya shooting up to the #1 spot.
WinStar Farms, owner of last year's Lane's End winner Hold Me Back, have nominated 10 to the 39th running of the Lane's End. Todd Pletcher is the leading trainer by nominations for the second straight year with 13.
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