Del Mar begins its 70th season of racing July 22 with the traditional opening-day feature, the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes, headlining the 10-race card.
Prominent names are expected for the June 20 Charles Town Races & Slots Sprint Festival, which will feature five stakes worth a total of $750,000.
Seven graded stakes winners, including grade I winner Square Eddie, lead the list of 93 early-bird nominations to the $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II), the headline event of Fair Grounds' 137th season March 14, 2009.
Jason and Tom analyze the CashCall Futurity (gr. I) at Hollywood Park on Dec 20. Also The Wizard's Spotlight Play is Fair Grounds Race 3 on Saturday, Dec. 20.
Bob Baffert will aim for a record-tying fourth CashCall Futurity (gr. I) victory when he saddles Pioneerof the Nile and Ventana in the 28th running of the $750,000 event Dec. 20 at Hollywood Park.
Martin Smith, assistant and exercise rider for English trainer John Best, hopes the stable enjoys as much success in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity (gr. I) Dec. 20 at Hollywood Park with Axel Foley as it did with Square Eddie in the Breeders Futurity (gr. I) at Keeneland in October.
Jack o' Lantern, the longest shot in the field at 19-1, enjoyed a dream run along the inside for jockey Isaias Enriquez to post a half-length upset over favored Azul Leon in the Hollywood Prevue (gr. III) at Hollywood Park Nov. 23.
Unbeaten Backbackbackgone puts his three-race winning streak on the line against a field that includes two-time graded stakes winner Azul Leon in the $100,000 Hollywood Prevue (gr. III) Nov. 23.
Champagne Stakes (gr. I) runner-up Munnings was installed as the lukewarm 7-2 favorite when 13 horses were entered in the Oct. 25 Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
Square Eddie looks to continue winning ways in the Juvenile
Midshipman, unbeaten in two starts for trainer Bob Baffert after his gritty victory in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I), heads a field of 10 in the $250,000 Norfolk Breeders Cup Stakes (gr. I) at Oak Tree's Santa Anita meet Sept. 28.
Jockey Omar Berrio was suspended for six months by Del Mar stewards Aug. 13 after he tested positive for cocaine.
Azul Leon remained unbeaten with an assist from the Del Mar stewards, who disqualified the first-place finisher Kelly Leak from victory in the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) Aug. 10.
Unbeaten Azul Leon became the first graded winner for leading 2008 first-crop sire Lion Heart when he scored by four lengths in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship (gr. III) last month. He heads an inexperienced field of 10 in the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) Aug. 10 at Del Mar.
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
Lion Heart, currently the freshman sire leader, and Friends Lake, who is ranked eighth, got big boosts from their recent graded stakes winners Azul Leon and Screen Your Friends, respectively. The talent both of these sires showed as juveniles appears to be passing along to their offspring.
Azul Leon became the first graded winner and the second added-money winner overall for North America's leading first crop sire, Lion Heart, with a four-length triumph in the $106,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (gr. III) July 5.
The July 5 Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (gr. III) at Hollywood Park is shaping up as a wide-open race, as 10 California-based 2-year-olds are all traveling six furlongs for the first time and looking for the first major victory of their careers.
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