Midnight Lute, the only horse to win the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) twice, has been retired from racing and will stand at John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale Farms near Lexington in 2009.
An otherwise sluggish Oak Tree at Santa Anita meet got turned around by hosting the Breeders' Cup World Championships, Oct. 24-25. Excluding the Breeders' Cup, the Oak Tree handle was down 14%.
Horsemen making their regular morning stops at Santa Anita's Clocker's Corner Oct. 26 were abuzz over the success of the two-day Breeders' Cup World Championships, the first ever run on an artificial surface.
Despite being 10 lengths back with a half mile to go, Zenyatta gobbled ground easily to win the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I). She is now undefeated in nine career starts. Cocoa Beach was second with Music Note in third.
Mike de Kock, the internationally renowned trainer of Eagle Mountain, breaks new ground for the Breeders' Cup World Championships when he becomes the first South African to compete in the event. Eagle Mountain runs in the $3 million Emirates Airline Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Oct. 25.
European trainers discussed the strengths of their Breeders' Cup contenders, the largest number from overseas since 1994. Several said they would not have made the trip if the main track had a dirt instead of a synthetic surface.
Robert Ribaudo, the small-stable trainer of Grand Couturier, considers himself lucky in a sport of declining fortunes. One of his former owner got back into the racing game and now they have a solid contender in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT).
Lev Fanning Jr., who managed several successful California horse farms, died Sept. 10.
Wait a While, undefeated in three starts over Santa Anita's turf course, will be among the favorites in the $2-million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT) Oct. 24. It will be the second time the daughter of Maria's Mon out of the A.P. Indy mare Flirtatious has started in the Filly and Mare Turf.
As the media descend daily on barn 27 of the Santa Anita backstretch to get a glimpse of Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) favorite Curlin Oct. 20, trainer Juan Reviriego quietly goes about his business next door at barn 28. He also has a Breeders' Cup contender, though Lady Sprinter doesn't have nearly as high a profile as her neighbor.
Midnight Lute, the defending Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner, worked a half-mile at Santa Anita Oct. 20. The official clockers timed him in :46.80 on the Pro-Ride surface, while trainer Bob Baffert clocked him in :47.07.
Stablemates Colonel John and Well Armed, both pre-entered for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), turned in final works at Santa Anita Oct. 20 for trainer Eoin Harty, who reported he was pleased with both efforts.
Communique will not run in the $2-million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Oct. 24 due to a foot abscess in her right front leg.
In his final workout prior to the Breeders' Cup, Emerald Downs' prodigy Gallant Son smoked six furlongs in 1:12 on the Pro-Ride synthetic surface Oct. 19 at Santa Anita Park.
Fatal Bullet, the Canadian invader for the Sentient Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 over the Santa Anita Pro-Ride surface Oct. 19. Trainer Reade Baker and his wife, Janis, watched the work from the grandstand, as regular jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva was in the saddle.
Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) winner Fairbanks worked five furlongs in 1:00 over the main track at Santa Anita Oct. 19 in preparation for the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
Sandy Hawley may have won the Living Legends race on Tribal Chief against seven fellow Hall of Fame former riders, but nobody had more fun than Julie Krone and Chris McCarron.
Gary and Cecil Barber arrived at Clocker's Corner Oct. 19 in time to see the sunrise. However, they were paying more attention to Cost of Freedom, their $50,000 claim who has soared into contention for the Oct. 25 Sentient Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I).
The California Horse Racing Board entered into a stipulated agreement with trainer Doug O'Neill, who agreed to pay a fine of $7,500 and to serve a 30-day suspension, which shall be stayed pending a one-year probation.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced he will attend the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 25, and he will become the first California governor to ever present the winner's trophy for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).
As if they had never left the racetrack, 10 Hall of Fame jockeys spoke knowingly of tactics in the Oct. 18 "Living Legends" competition at Santa Anita -- mostly about how Angel Cordero Jr. will be herding the field from his outside post position.
California Horse Racing Board chairman Richard B. Shapiro has been reappointed to the regulatory agency by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
After more than a year of discussion, the California Horse Racing Board has deferred any action on a proposed rule that would prohibit advance deposit wagering companies from making exclusive wagering agreements with Thoroughbred racetracks in the state.
Industry stakeholders received a tongue-lashing from Richard Shapiro, chairman of the California Horse Racing Board, as the agency took its first swipe at a race dates calendar for 2009.
According to the Oak Tree Racing Association's morning line odds, retired Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey will record one more victory, the 5,894th of his career, in the Oct. 18 unprecedented "Living Legends Race" at Santa Anita Park.
Casino Drive came out of his three-quarter length victory at Santa Anita Oct. 12 in good order and is on course for the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) Oct. 25.
Curlin took another step closer to the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) when he executed a flawless workout between races at Santa Anita Oct. 13. With regular exercise rider Carlos Rosas aboard and in company with Hawaii Calls, Curlin traveled five furlongs in :59.11, galloping out in 1:12.14.
A memorial tribute to long-time racing executive and publicist Bob Benoit has been set for Thursday, Oct. 16, at Santa Anita Park.
Casino Drive, the Japan-based half-brother to two Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winners, cruised to an easy victory in a Santa Anita allowance race Oct. 12 to prepare for the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).
Longtime Southern California broadcaster Gil Stratton has died at the age of 86, his Web site reported Oct. 12.
Favored Tasha's Miracle nipped Gorgeous Goose by a nose in Oak Tree's $106,100 Harold C. Ramser Sr. Handicap (gr. IIIT), snapping a seven-race losing streak in game fashion at Santa Anita turf Park Oct. 11.
California horsemen and Hollywood Park reached a tentative agreement Oct. 10 that allows the track to operate its 40-day autumn race meet, but a stalemate over host fees to be paid by account wagering companies for interstate bets remains unresolved.
Undefeated Casino Drive has been entered to run at Santa Anita on Oct. 12 in what his connections hope will lead to a start in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).
Sweeter Still, a filly that packs a big wallop into a small frame, takes on a pair of well-regarded John Sadler trainees in Oak Tree's $100,000 Harold C. Ramser Sr. Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Santa Anita turf Oct. 11.
The California Horse Racing Board announced Oct. 7 that in conjunction with Breeders' Cup, it will be conducting random out-of-competition testing for horses pre-entered in the World Championships.
With trainer Steve Asmussen looking on, Curlin worked over the Pro-Ride synthetic surface at Santa Anita early the morning of Oct. 6. The trainer, who has made no secret of the fact that he prefers dirt over synthetic surfaces, said that he could not make any decision about Santa Anita's new surface on the basis of just one work.
Trainer Doug O'Neill watched his retired star Lava Man lead the post parade for Oak Tree's $250,000 California Cup Classic, then saw his newest stable standout Mr. Chairman dig in to defeat the favored filly Romance Is Diane by a head Oct. 5 at Santa Anita.
Undefeated Peppers Pride put herself in the record books when she defeated an allowance field at Zia Park in Hobbs, N.M., by two lengths for her 17th consecutive victory Oct. 4.
Queen Ofthe Catsle earned her first win in a graded stakes race when she ran down pacesetter La Tee in deep stretch to capture Oak Tree's $111,600 Senator Ken Maddy Handicap (gr. IIIT) over Santa Anita's downhill turf course Oct. 4.
Lava Man, one of the all-time great California breds who was retired in July with earnings of $5,268,706, will lead the parade to the post for the $250,000 California Cup Classic at Oak Tree on Oct. 5.
Amanda McKaughan collected her first Santa Anita Park victory as a trainer when Double Dip, a 13-1 outsider making her first start at Santa Anita, won the optional claiming feature, a $51,082 event for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles Oct. 2.
Four-year-old filly Romance Is Diane, a grade I stakes winner, is the 5-2 favorite among eight entrants in the $250,000 California Cup Classic presented by City National Bank, the centerpiece of Oak Tree's 10-stakes series of races exclusively for state-breds at Santa Anita Oct. 5.
Irish-bred Bahama Mama, a steady speedster still seeking recompense for a flawed graded stakes debut in the United States, and the ultra consistent Victorina, who has never before raced on grass, will be the co-high weights at 118 pounds in Oak Tree's $100,000 Senator Ken Maddy Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Santa Anita Oct. 4.
The maiden Street Hero squeezed between horses to challenge for the lead and outfought Believe in Hope and Midshipman in deep stretch to win Oak Tree's $250,000 Norfolk Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Sept. 28, securing a berth in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
Jockey Garrett Gomez guided favorite Hyperbaric to victory in the $200,000 Oak Tree Mile (gr. IIT) to collect his 3,000th career win in impressive style at Santa Anita Sept. 28.
Dr. Jock Jocoy, veterinarian to several of the greatest horses in Thoroughbred racing history, including champions Swaps, Ack Ack, Cougar II and Buckpasser, died Sept. 27 at his home in Del Mar after a lengthy illness. The native of New London, Conn., was 82.
Tucked between a weekend of Breeders' Cup prep races and the California Cup showcasing the local product, California's fall select yearling sale offers a slimmer but more select catalog than in years past.
Favored Well Armed, under strong urging from jockey Aaron Gryder, responded to open up a clear advantage in the homestretch, then held off the late-closing Tiago to win the $500,000 Goodwood (gr. I) at Oak Tree's Santa Anita meet Sept. 27. Because the race is part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series, Well Armed gained a slot in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).
Wait a While, undefeated in three starts on the Santa Anita turf course, earned her way back to the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) by winning Oak Tree's $400,000 Yellow Ribbon (gr. IT) by one length Sept. 27.
Stardom Bound put on a dazzling performance in the $250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 27 during the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita Park. The 2-year-old Tapit filly rallied from last, came eight-wide into the stretch, and mowed down her rivals to win going away under Mike Smith.
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