Trained by Michael Matz, Visionaire looks to improve upon his third-place finish in the Feb. 9 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III). He will have to beat nine others March 8 at Aqueduct, including undefeated Giant Moon.
Zayat Stables' Massive Drama, third in two graded stakes in California this year, will detour off the traditional Triple Crown trail to take on a tough group of older Southern Hemisphere-breds in the $2-million UAE Derby (UAE-II) on the March 29 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) program.
We've all heard it said. It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game. That will be our focus when Pyro runs in Saturday's Grade II Louisiana Derby.
With less than two months until the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), it is time that some of the highly-touted 3-year-olds begin to answer our questions. Many of those answers will be provided March 8 at Fair Grounds, when nine top challengers will do battle in the $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II).
With some important Triple Crown prep races on tap for the weekend of March 8, many trainers are looking for victories that could bring them closer to stamping their contenders' tickets for the first Saturday in May.
Trainer Richard Schosberg, who has been preparing his New York-bred Giant Moon for the March 8 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, is anxious to see if the colt will continue to show an affinity for long distances as he looks toward the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Unbeaten 2-year-old champion War Pass, winner of the $2-million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), and Pyro, the runner-up in the Juvenile and winner of the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III), are the early favorites for Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which opens Mar. 6.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro, who stamped himself as a leading Triple Crown contender after his win in last month's Risen Star Stakes (gr. III), is the 7-5 morning-line choice in a field of nine 3-year-olds entered in the March 8 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds.
So, did Saturday's Sham Stakes (gr. III) showcase two exceptional 3-year-olds or was it simply about two top horses running agonizingly slow early and coming home fast late over a synthetic surface? We'll know the answer when they hit the quarter pole at Churchill Downs on May 3.
"Target Louisville " the weekly HRTV show that previews the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), will make its debut Thursday, March 6.
Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) winner Pyro and Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) winner Cool Coal Man headline a talented roster of 167 3-year-olds nominated to Keeneland's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), to be held Saturday, April 12.
Bea Oxenberg's 3-year-old Hey Byrn reaffirmed his credentials as a potential Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contender March 2 at Gulfstream Park when he drew off to win a 1 1/8-mile allowance race by six lengths under jockey Edgar Prado.
Odds-on choice El Gato Malo fell from the ranks of the unbeaten when Colonel John held the closer off in the final furlong to win the $200,000 Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita March 1.
Absolutely Cindy, the lone filly in a field of 11, made a jaw-dropping seven-wide move coming out of the final turn and caught Your Round inside the sixteenth-pole to score an impressive victory in the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes March 1 at Turfway Park.
Tim Tullock trained Gattopardo took another step towards the Preakness by winning at Laurel Park March 1.
For the second consecutive year, Churchill Downs and UPS will team up to bring the horsepower of the Kentucky Derby to NASCAR, as the two companies unveiled a special Kentucky Derby 134 paint scheme Feb. 29 that will be featured on the #44 UPS Toyota Camry during the Aaron's 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway April 27.
Visionaire, third to Pyro in the Risen Star Stakes (gr.III) at the Fair Grounds Feb. 9, will run next in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct March 8, majority owner Barry Irwin said Feb. 28.
After a promising start to his career, Cave's Valley seeks a return to the winner's circle in the $70,000 Miracle Wood Stakes for 3-year-olds at Laurel Park March 1.
Cash Call Futurity (gr. I) winner Into Mischief, a leading West Coast Triple Crown candidate, continues to nurse a hind left foot ailment and will miss the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita March 15, trainer Richard Mandella said Feb. 28.
On Jan. 19, after Eoin Harty sent Colonel John out for his first recorded workout of the year, he said he'd crank him up from there for the Grade III Sham Stakes. Now it's time to see how hard the crank's been turned.
Derby hopeful returns for $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway March 1.
West Point Thoroughbreds' El Gato Malo puts his unbeaten record on the line against Colonel John and five others in the $200,000 Sham Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita March 1. Another entrant, Coast Guard, will be scratched due to a minor ankle injury.
A monster from Japan is heading to America. Casino Drive, a half-brother to Rags to Riches and Jazil, is targeting the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) after destroying his opposition in a 1 1/8-mile maiden race at Kyoto Feb. 23. The son of Mineshaft will attempt to become the third straight Belmont winner produced by his dam, Better Than Honour.
The fractions and final time for the Feb. 24 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) have been adjusted, with Gulfstream Park's official final time for the 1 1/8-mile race now to be listed as 1:50.07.
There's just no escaping it. You can question his pedigree and his running style all you want, but War Pass is simply in a class by himself right now, and until someone figures out how to beat him or his pedigree catches up to him, he has to be the top dog.
Juvenile champion War Pass was impressive in his 3-year-old debut Feb. 24 at Gulfstream Park, looking sharp in a one-mile allowance race against four overmatched foes.
Cool Coal Man took over at the top of the stretch and then held off a stubborn Elysium Fields by a half-length to take the $350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 24 at Gulfstream Park.
A total of 156 horses were nominated for the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) March 22 at Turfway Park.
The 3-year-old Dixie Union colt will either run in the WinStar Derby or Lane's End Stakes.
The old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times," ably describes the many odd goings-on in Sunday's running of the Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes. While there is intent and purpose to everything we're seeing, and there is nothing new under the sun, this race has some odd features.
Three top contenders from the West Point Thoroughbreds string prepared for starts in graded stakes while breezing for their respective trainers Feb. 21. Led by 4-year-old Awesome Gem, the worktab also included potential Derby contenders El Gato Malo and Saratoga Russell.
A star-studded field of 12 3-year-olds, highlighted by a pair of starters for trainers Bill Mott and Nick Zito, will contest the $350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 24 at Gulfstream Park.
Robert LaPenta's Eclipse Award-winning War Pass, champion 2-year-old in 2007, will make his first start since an emphatic victory in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) when he runs in a $60,000 allowance event at Gulfstream Park Feb. 24.
Triple Crown hopeful Crown of Thorns, winner of the Feb. 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita, is off the Derby trail after suffering a shin injury on his left front leg, trainer Dick Mandella said Tuesday.
Three-year-olds around the country continue to get "zapped" by the Derby trail's three-headed monster. You know, zap, as in Nick Zito, Steve Asmussen, and Todd Pletcher.
Denis of Cork came with a three-wide move into the stretch and ran away with the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) to score a 2 1/4 length win Feb. 18 at Oaklawn. The $250,000 mile race for 3-year-olds was run in 1:37.59.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro, impressive winner of the Feb. 9 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds, worked Feb. 18 at the New Orleans track and had to avoid a loose horse in the process.
Denis of Cork, at 8-1 in the morning line, is the Southwest pick.
Poni Colada remained unbeaten in New Mexico with an eight-length laugher in the $100,000 Borderland Derby for 3-year-olds at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino on Feb. 16.
The Nick Zito trainee won his stakes debut Feb. 16 at Tampa Bay Downs.
Why Tonto, not favored Cowboy Cal, won the Feb. 16 Hallandale Beach Stakes at Gulfstream.
Coming off his Delta Jackpot win, the Dixie Union colt looks to solidify Derby position Feb. 18 at Oaklawn Park.
Champion 2-year-old War Pass drilled six furlongs in 1:13 1/5 at Palm Meadows Saturday in preparation for his 3-year-old debut, which could come in an allowance race at Gulfstream Feb. 23.
Undefeated Triple Crown contender El Gato Malo worked six furlongs at Hollywood Park Feb. 15 in a bullet 1:11 4/5, while across town at Santa Anita, Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) winner Crown of Thorns turned in a leisurely drill. The pair is headed for a showdown in the 1 1/8-mile Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita on March 1.
With exercise rider Cesar Correa in the saddle, Giant Moon, a son of Giant's Causeway, worked in company with New York-bred maiden Mighty Morris. The workmates finished on even terms. Giant Moon's final time on the fast track was the third-fastest of 27 at the distance.
On paper, Z Humor tops the field in the Sam F. Davis Stakes, and his running style and jockey Garrett Gomez should get him into position to win. The question will be whether he can relax in the opening stages of the race.
Z Humor and Smooth Air look to take another step toward the Kentucky Derby Feb. 16 at Tampa Bay Downs.
Derby prospect Cowboy Cal will start in the Feb. 16 Hallandale Beach at Gulfstream Park instead of taking a traditional route.
Four runners trained by Nick Zito, all potential contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), lead the list of 52 3-year-olds nominated for the $350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 24.
The Kentucky Derby trail received the spark it had been looking for when Pyro put on a spectacular exhibition in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III). There is no doubt Pyro is a top-class horse with a powerful closing kick, but before we get too euphoric, let's not forget that this has happened many times at Fair Grounds.
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