Paul Pompa Jr. has retired his grade I winner Backseat Rhythm and plans to send her to one of his former stars, champion and dual classic winner Big Brown.
While 3-year-olds take the spotlight at Gulfstream Park Feb. 20, a pair of grade III turf stakes for older horses, the Canadian Turf and the Honey Fox, shape up as outstanding supporting features with large fields.
A pair of interesting turf stakes, both with full fields, highlight the Gulfstream Park program on Jan. 16.
Jason, Tom, and the Wizard analyze the New York Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park on June 20. Watch Video
Darley Stable's homebred Criticism has been on quite a roll, winning four of her last five, all in graded stakes. Backseat Rhythm and Dynaforce, both grade I winners a year ago, are both coming off unplaced efforts last out. Will the hot horse continue her winning ways, will the proven grade I winners return to form, or will one of the other capable starters break through?
Paul Pompa Jr.'s multiple graded stakes winner Backseat Rhythm will try to bounce back from a troubled fifth-place effort in last month's Jenny Wiley (gr. IIT), as she takes on seven fillies and mares in the $150,000 Sheepshead Bay Stakes (gr. IIT) May 23 on the Belmont Park turf.
A talented group of eight fillies and mares will line up against last year's female turf champion Forever Together when she makes her 5-year-old debut April 11 in the $200,000 Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. IIT) at Keeneland.
Backseat Rhythm rallied in the stretch under Eibar Coa to nip Elusive Lady at the wire for a nose victory in the $175,000 Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on March 14.
The top five finishers from the competitive Suncoast Stakes in February will face each other again in the $200,000 Florida Oaks (gr. III) March 14 at Tampa Bay Downs.
Apparently, English-bred Criticism has found the footing on American soil to her liking. The Darley homebred mare, who made her North American debut this past fall, wrapped up her second consecutive graded stakes when taking the $100,000 The Very One Stakes (gr. IIIT) in front-running fashion Feb. 22 at Gulfstream Park.
Bentley Smith's homebred Lady Carlock may have a small edge in the $100,000 Very One Stakes (gr. IIIT) Feb. 22 at Gulfstream Park based on her victory in the Suwannee River (gr. IIIT) three weeks ago, but the wide-open turf event for fillies and mares is anyone's for the taking.
Shadwell Stable's Alwajeeha stalked the pace under John Velazquez, took over coming out of the turn, and held off a host of rivals to win the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) by 1 1/4 lengths Oct. 11 at Keeneland. The victory was especially sweet for Velazquez, who was involved in a bad spill just eight days before in Lexington.
Jason and Tom discuss the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr.IT). Plus, picks from John Pricci of Equiform for the Harold C. Ramser Sr. Handicap, Oak Tree at Santa Anita.
Ariege, a multiple graded stakes winner who has a victory over the Keeneland Polytrack earlier this season, leads a quality group of 3-year-old fillies that includes grade I winners Backseat Rhythm and Magical Fantasy in the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (gr. IT) Oct. 11 on the turf in Lexington.
Better Than Honour, the 2007 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year, will be the last horse through the ring during the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November select mixed sale, which has 188 lots in its catalog. The auction will be conducted Nov. 2 in Lexington beginning at 3 p.m. (EST).
Paul Pompa Jr.'s Backseat Rhythm came with a five-wide move and rallied from fifth at the top of the stretch, eventually getting up in the final strides under Javier Castellano to win the $250,000 Garden City Stakes (gr. IT) by a half-length on Belmont's yielding turf course Sept. 6.
Backseat Rhythm showed an appreciation for Saratoga's yielding inner turf course Aug. 15 when she powered home from the back of the pack to dominate the $150,000 Lake Placid Stakes (gr. IIT) for her first stakes victory.
Carribean Sunset, a multiple group III winner in Ireland, leads a four-horse European contingent in a field of 12 3-year-old fillies contesting the $750,000 American Oaks Invitational Stakes (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park July 5.
Surely trainer Pat Reynolds will be experiencing the feeling of "what could have been" when he watches the freakishly talented Big Brown run May 3 in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr.I) at Churchill Downs. Reynolds, 57, trained Big Brown early in his 2-year-old season.
With Indian Blessing resting up for a summer-fall campaign in shorter races, a pair of 3-year-old fillies who have tackled the Eclipse Award winner - Backseat Rhythm and Highest Class - are looking for their chance to shine.
Indian Blessing, the 8-5 favorite, led he 13-horse field on a merry chase in the $2-million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Oct. 27, cruising to an easy 3 1/2-length gate-to-wire victory.
After flashing brilliant speed in her debut, Indian Blessing showed she's got some stamina as well with a commanding 4 1/2-length victory in the $400,000 Frizette Stakes (gr. I) for 2-year-old fillies Oct. 6 at Belmont Park.
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