There was plenty of news Wednesday as Saratoga Race Course opened for the 2005 season, both in the racing secretary's office and on the backstretch.
A full field of turf specialists, including defending champion Request for Parole and John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) winner, Better Talk Now, is expected for the $750,000 United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park July 2.
Good Reward got a great trip and made the most of it, coming through on the rail to take the $400,000 Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) Saturday at Belmont Park.
Winless since he captured last year's Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) on the Belmont Park turf, Meteor Storm returns to New York Saturday to face a strong group of 10 foes in the latest renewal of the $400,000 event on the Belmont Stakes undercard.
Cool Conductor finished first in an optional claiming race but was disqualified to third on Kentucky Derby (gr. I) day at Churchill Downs. But on Preakness day,he stepped up and took the $200,000 CompUSA Dixie (gr. IIT), upsetting heavily favored Artie Schiller by a nose in a thrilling stretch duel.
Two of the nation's best turf runners in the form of Artie Schiller and Better Talk Now hook up in Saturday's CompUSA Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) at Pimlico when they take on four rivals as each attempts to win their second consecutive race in as many starts this year.
Multiple grade II grass winner Artie Schiller powered his way to the lead as the 10-horse field hit the top of the stretch to register a 2 1/4-length victory in Friday's $250,000 Maker's Mark Mile (gr. IIT) at Keeneland. The 4-year-old stopped the clock in 1:34.09.
Mr. Light proved to be Mr. Fast this year at Gulfstream Park. Now, it's a question if he can live up to that name in Friday's Maker's Mark Mile Stakes (gr. IIT) at Keeneland.
The black filly Six Perfections, last year's NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) heroine, goes for her first win since that triumph Saturday at Lone Star Park.
Despite a Monday afternoon thunderstorm that dumped up to five inches of rain on the Dallas area, the Tuesday morning work tab at Lone Star Park was busy, with workouts by four contenders in Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
Roused in upper stretch by Richard Migliore, Artie Schiller kicked away from pacesetting Icy Atlantic and thundered to victory in the $200,000 Jamaica Handicap (gr. IIT) for 3-year-olds in track-record time Sunday on Belmont Park turf.
Artie Schiller, arguably the second best 3-year-old turf horse in the nation behind Kitten's Joy, breezed five furlongs in 1:00 over Belmont Park's main track Tuesday in preparation for Sunday's grade II, $200,000 Jamaica at nine furlongs on turf.
Even-money favorite Artie Schiller avoided a troubled stretch run and streaked to a 4 1/4-length victory in the $150,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. IIT) for 3-year-olds on the Saratoga turf Monday.
Although he suffered his first turf defeat of the season in last month's Virginia Derby, Artie Schiller will be odds-on to get back in the winners' circle when he starts in Saratoga's $150,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Handicap (gr. IIT) Monday.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Kitten's Joy drew away from favored Artie Schiller in the final sixteenth of a mile to win the $500,000 Virginia Derby (gr. IIIT) at Colonial Downs on Saturday.
Graded stakes winners Kitten's Joy, Artie Schiller, and Prince Arch headline a field of 10 3-year-olds for the seventh running of the $500,000 Virginia Derby (gr. IIIT) at Colonial Downs on Saturday.
Artie Schiller, ridden confidently by Richard Migliore, cruised to his first graded stakes victory in Sunday's $110,000 Hill Prince (gr. III) for 3-year-olds on the Belmont Park inner turf course.
Artie Schiller and Timo, evenly matched foes as 2-year-olds last year who went their separate ways over the winter, resume their rivalry in Sunday's $100,000-added Hill Prince (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park.
Tucked under cover for most of the race, Artie Schiller broke loose from the back to pull away to a 3 ¾-length victory in the $100,000 Woodlawn Stakes on the Preakness undercard.
Drew Mollica, agent for jockey Richard Migliore, said he was "cautiously optimistic" his rider would be able to ride Saturday at Pimlico after he was hurt in the Belmont Park starting gate Friday afternoon.
This is the seventh in a series of early looks at next year's potential Derby horses. Times are changing, and big-name trainers are looking for Derby horses wherever they can find them. Despite his usual abundance of promising colts, Bob Baffert already has added two new horses.
On Sunday at Belmont, Artie Schiller makes his stakes debut when he starts as the favorite in the $75,000-added Pilgrim Stakes (post time 5:12 p.m.).
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