Trainer Michael Matz announced the retirement of graded stakes-winning racemares Batique and Lady Dora.
Slight favorite Veil of Avalon overtook Snow Dance in the final strides to win Friday's $100,000 De La Rose Handicap (gr. IIIT) by a nose in a blanket finish at Gulfstream Park. 30-1 longshot Wander Mom finished third, a neck behind Snow Dance.
John Oxley's Snow Dance, the top filly in trainer's John Ward's strong barn, will make her 2002 debut in Friday's $100,000 De La Rose Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the turf at Gulfstream Park.
Jockey Jorge Chavez guided 6-year-old mare Batique to her second straight grade III turf stakes win in Friday's $100,000 Honey Fox Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Earlier on the card, Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) winner Keats went wire-to-wire to win a 1 1/16-mile "non-winners of three other than" allowance by 10 1/4 lengths.
Gulfstream Park's first Friday program of the 2002 season will be highlighted by two features -- the $100,000 Honey Fox Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares, and an enticing new target for bettors in the Guaranteed Pick 6.
While the public may have deserted him, the man who knows him best never lost faith. Though the highweight among the dozen starters, Band Is Passing, the favorite in 11 of his past 12 starts--each of which came in a stakes--could muster no more support from his home crowd than the 7-1 fourth-betting choice in Calder's Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) on Dec. 8. But his handy win by 3 1/4 lengths validated what his owner and trainer Stanley Ersoff had been saying all along.
Helen Groves' Batique and Jeanne Vance's Chaste will lead a full field of 12 fillies and mares postward in the $100,000 My Charmer Handicap (gr. IIIT) Saturday at Calder Race Course.
Calder Race Course Wednesday released nominations for the four stakes comprising Grand Slam I on Dec. 8. Each race is worth $100,000.
Beverly R. Steinman's homebred Colstar rallied from mid-pack to win Saturday's $150,000 All Along Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT) on firm turf at Colonial Downs. The $90,000 winner's share of the purse takes Colstar past the $1-million mark for career earnings.
Batique employed a front-running style to earn her first stakes win, leading from wire-to-wire to win Saturday's Vinery Matchmaker Handicap (gr. IIIT) by 2 1/2 lengths at Monmouth Park. The 5-year-old mare completed the 1 1/8 miles in course-record time of 1:46.19.
Atelier scored a seven-length victory in Aqueduct's Saturday co-feature, the $113,200 Turnback the Alarm Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares 3 years old and up.
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