The field for the 137th Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on June 11 is slowly taking shape, with at least nine 3-year-olds pointing for the third leg of the Triple Crown. The 1 1/2-mile "Test of the Champion" will be headed by Preakness (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex and Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo.
The field for the 137th running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 11 continues taking shape.
A suspected case of strangles will prevent Preakness (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex, the leader of the 3-year-old division and likely favorite for the 137th Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on June 11, from arriving at Belmont Park on Saturday as was previously scheduled.
The largest Preakness Stakes (gr. I) crowd in history helped Alex's Lemonade Stand raise $18,000 in donations at its two locations at Pimlico Race Course last Saturday. The Pennsylvania-based charity collected almost $11,000 earlier this month at the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
NBC Sports' television broadcast of the 130th running of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) averaged a 5.1/13 national rating/share, down sharply from last year when Smarty Jones captured the middle leg of the Triple Crown, but up slightly from the same figures for 2003.
The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic juvenile auction ended its sizzling two-day run Tuesday at Timonium with all-time highs for gross revenue, average price, and median price. In addition, the hot market generated a high price for a horse of $450,000, which equaled the Maryland-based sale's record.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - Only a handful of people were watching on the morning of April 26 when Afleet Alex recorded his first workout over the Churchill Downs strip in preparation for this year's Kentucky Derby.
The day before the 130th Preakness Stakes (gr. I), jockey Jeremy Rose said of Afleet Alex, "This horse will run over broken glass if I ask him to."
Tim Ritchey, the trainer of Afleet Alex, was active Monday at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training, the same auction where the Preakness (gr. I) winner was sold last year.
The day after they won the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) with Afleet Alex, his connections were back in the winner's circle...twice.
Although the race is still three weeks away and the picture could change, the 137th renewal of the Belmont Stakes June 11 could serve as a rubber match between longshot Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo and the courageous Preakness (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex.
Perfect Timing: Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale Starts Two Days After Graduate Afleet Alex Wins Preakness
They say timing is everything. And the timing couldn't be more perfect for the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic juvenile auction, which starts Monday at Timonium in Maryland.
Trainer Tim Ritchey reported Sunday morning that Afleet Alex appeared to have emerged from his eventful 4 3/4-length victory in Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) in fine physical condition.
Preakness records for handle and attendance were shattered Saturday, according to figures released by the Maryland Jockey Club.
After nearly going down when bumped by Scrappy T entering the stretch, a gutsy Afleet Alex recovered and went on to win the $1-million Preakness (gr. I) in impressive fashion Saturday at Pimlico.
With about 75 minutes to the post for the 130th running of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), Afleet Alex is the solid 5-2 favorite, with about $750,000 in the win pool.
What a difference a day makes. On Friday in Baltimore, the morning began with rain, wind, and chilliness. Patrons heading to Pimlico Saturday for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) awoke to bright, sunny skies and temperatures so pleasant jackets and sweaters were not necessary.
Waiting for the 11th hour, here finally are the final Preakness (gr. I) wagers. Even with Greeley's Galaxy's 1950's-style blowout Friday morning, he is going to be the key betting horse
If logic and the science of handicapping confuse you, if you're more comfortable guessing than analyzing, then Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) is right up your alley. Regardless of what the experts say, there are no experts when it comes to this race. It's a pure guess, period.
Handicappers aren't the only ones who have questions prior to a race. Trainers do, too.
When the field crossed the finish line in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), it already was clear who my Preakness (gr. I) selection would be. In fact, it was at the quarter pole, as Greeley's Galaxy closed to within four lengths of the leaders, that I started thinking, 'There's the Preakness winner.'
As 14 horses were entered Wednesday for Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I), Scrappy T turned his final workout, getting three furlongs in :37 3/5 in what was described as a "maintenance work."
In Tuesday developments leading up to Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I), High Fly joined trainer Nick Zito's contingent of contenders after breezing at Churchill Downs. Also putting in final works at Churchill before shipping to Pimlico were Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo and Wilko.
Complete daily report on contenders for Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico Racecourse.
Afleet Alex, the only contender for the May 21 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) currently at Pimlico, went out onto the main track twice Saturday morning.
Jockeys Edgar Prado and David Flores have picked up mounts in the May 21 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico Race Course. Prado gets the call aboard High Limit and Flores will ride Greeley's Galaxy.
Fourteen horses, the absolute limit, have not started in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) since 1992, but as events continue to unfold, it appears the starting gate could be filled to capacity for the middle jewel of the Triple Crown.
After three days of mild exercise in the barn, Jerry and Ann Moss' Giacomo, the surprise winner of the 131st Kentucky Derby (gr. I), returned to the Churchill Downs track Wednesday for the first time since his stunning victory.
The field for the May 21 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) continues to grow, as one horse was reported to be on his way to Baltimore, a second became a surprise supplement to the race, and trainer Nick Zito gave some indication as to which of his horses may still be in play.
Trainer Tim Ritchey confirmed Wednesday that Afleet Alex will be the first Preakness (gr. I) shipper to arrive at the Pimlico stakes barn. The third place finisher in Saturday's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is to get on a van Wednesday morning at Churchill and is expected at Old Hilltop in the late afternoon.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority is reviewing the wearing of advertising by some jockeys in the May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) that wasn't approved by the regulatory agency or Churchill Downs. Included is jockey Jeremy Rose, who finished third aboard Afleet Alex.
With Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo scheduled to ship to Pimlico on Wednesday, May 18, the field the Holy Bull colt will face in the May 21 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) is taking shape.
One day after riding Giacomo to an upset victory in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) at 50-1 odds, jockey Mike Smith was in the limelight Sunday morning in the Churchill Downs barn area.
Giacomo, the second biggest upset winner in the 131-year history of the Kentucky Derby, runner-up Closing Argument and third place finisher Afleet Alex could all start in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) May 21 although winning trainer John Shirreffs hasn't committed his son of Holy Bull.
The crowd at Churchill Downs has settled on Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Bellamy Road as the favorite for this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
My latest rankings have Afleet Alex number one, followed by Bellamy Road and Bandini. But, let's face it, we're talking the three favorites, and anyone can come up with the same three horses. There are question marks surrounding most of the horses in what looks to be as strong and deep a Derby field as we've had in a long while.
- By Dan Liebman
Granted, the pool is still small, but the bettors on Kentucky Oaks day pushed more than $380,000 into the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) win pool on Friday. And they made Afleet Alex the favorite over program pick Bellamy Road.
There isn't much more to say about Afleet Alex that hasn't been said before. Well, come to think of it, maybe there is. Alex was the star of the morning, being the only worker. He also was the center of attention at an informal auction to benefit cancer research.
A chilly Tuesday morning on the Churchill Downs backstretch brought out the warmth in the heart of B. Wayne Hughes. The owner of possible dual Kentucky Derby (gr. I) entrants Greeley's Galaxy and Don't Get Mad matched Afleet Alex's majority owner/partner Charles Zacney bid for bid, landing a 2006 no guarantee season right to Afleet Alex's sire Northern Afleet--all in the name of charity.
Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Afleet Alex was the only contender for Saturday's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) to put in his final workout Tuesday, and the son of Northern Afleet again showed his fitness by breezing a half-mile in :48 2/5 at Churchill Downs.
All horses foaled in the Northern Hemisphere have the universal birth date of Jan. 1 as their official age of racing, but not all of this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contenders are actually 3-year-olds as of yet. Who's the oldest? Who's the youngest? Whose birth date is actually Derby day, May 7?
The Northern Afleet syndicate and its manager Taylor Made/WinStar venture has agreed to donate the proceeds of a live auction of a 2006 Northern Afleet no guarantee season to benefit "Alex's Lemonade Stand." The auction of this season will be held Tuesday, May 3 at 10:30 a.m. on the backstretch of Churchill Downs adjacent the clocker's stand.
An ugly, rainy morning, and no Kentucky Derby (gr. I) works made for a funky Friday. The Derby lost one prospective starter when it was announced General John B will not run due to a tendon injury to his left front leg. On the jockey front was the announcement that Pat Valenzuela will ride Coolmore Lexington (gr. II) winner Coin Silver.
It's that time of the week when things briefly quiet down before the second wave of workouts. With only Consolidator working under the cover of darkness, this is a good time to reflect on how the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is shaping up so far.
By Evan I. Hammonds - There have been some gaudy numbers put up over the last couple of weekends by horses and humans alike. Some add spice to the coming Kentucky Derby (gr. I); some show a renewed vigor in the sport of Thoroughbred racing.
Tuesday's activity can be pretty much summed up in two words: Afleet Alex -- with the emphasis on Afleet. Working over a loose track that was playing on the slow side, Alex blazed his five furlongs in :59, with several others getting him in :58 3/5.
Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Afleet Alex displayed his affinity for the track at Churchill Downs when he zipped five furlongs in :59 Tuesday morning in preparation for the May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
As a budding athlete in grade school, Tim Ritchey recalls, he did "two-a-day" drills as a member of the football team. Now, Ritchey is applying those lessons learned at a young age, along with lessons learned as a trainer of show horses and a healthy dose of what he calls "common sense," in his training of Afleet Alex, one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
As a road trip to Louisville, Ky. for the Kentucky Derby rekindles memories of Smarty Jones' 2004 journey, there are also omens pointing to Afleet Alex as another Triple Crown Trail success story out of Philadelphia Park.
Boy, has this Kentucky Derby (gr. I) picture changed. Suddenly, it's the year of the routs. So, what do you do when you have final Derby preps won by 17 1/2, 9 1/2, 8, and 6 lengths?
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