Benny the Bull, the "now horse" of the sprinting world, will face a blast from the past in the $250,000 True North Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park June 7, when 2006 Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Thor's Echo returns to competiton for the first time in a year.
William K. (Bill) Warren Jr., has a unique perspective of this year's Belmont Stakes (gr. I). He knows what it's like to have a top horse trained by Rick Dutrow. Not only that, but to have a top horse trained by Dutrow that has foot problems.
Insight into the pedigrees of this year's Belmont contenders (including surprise entry Guadalcanal) is only a click away. Pedigree analyses done by Alan Porter and Avalyn Hunter have been compiled into one easy-to-read report.
There is a chance Big Brown may have to do something he has never done before if he is to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner.
Big Brown won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) from the outside post position. If he is to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner, he will have to win the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) from the inside post position.
Kent Desormeaux showed Sunday night that his ability to get the most out of a racehorse is not the only talent he has retained from his youth. The jockey displayed good form when throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at New York's Shea Stadium prior to the June 1 night game between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers.
It's never especially exciting when all other entries in a race carry 117 pounds and your filly is given 121, but trainer Kiaran McLaughlin considers extra weight a fair assignment considering the last performance of his Alwejeeha, and he expects good things from the Shadwell homebred in the $150,000 Sands Point Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont May 31.
The field for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) could increase by one after trainer Todd Pletcher said it is "probably" that Let's Go Stable's Ready's Echo would be tossed into the mix of starters for the 1 1/2-mile race June 7 at Belmont Park.
The jury is still out on Tomcito, but following throat surgery to correct a breathing problem, he might get another shot at stardom - and Big Brown - in the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I)
Although top jockeys from across the country were clamoring for a chance to ride Casino Drive in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), one rider's prior experience at shooting down Triple Crown contenders made him the perfect man for the job. On May 28, it was announced that Edgar Prado would become the colt's pilot, adding more intrigue to the highly-anticipated June 7 event.
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) contender Casino Drive went to the track for a scheduled work Wednesday, May 28, but in the end it was decided by the clockers that the time was too slow to be published as an official workout.
Behindatthebar comes into the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) a fresh horse, having scratched from the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) due to a bruised left front foot.
As of May 26, New York Racing Association Stakes Coordination Andrew Byrnes expects the Belmont Stakes field to be: Big Brown, Anak Nakal, Casino Drive, Denis of Cork, Icabad Crane, Macho Again, Tale of Ekati, and Tomcito.
Making her first start in seven months, multiple graded stakes winner Dream Rush broke on top, showed her typical blazing speed and seemingly had the $147,000 Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) put away halfway through the 6 1/2-furlong test. But Looky Yonder recovered from her poor break and came flying up the rail under Garrett Gomez to catch the odds-on favorite in the final strides to win by a length May 25 on the Belmont Park dirt.
Robert Scarborough's Mauralakana continued her outstanding season May 24 at Belmont Park when she burst to the lead in upper stretch in the $150,000 Sheepshead Bay Handicap (gr. IIT) and pulled away for a convincing three-length victory on the inner turf.
In January, Tracy Farmer's Commentator blistered to a new track record at Gulfstream Park as he trounced an outclassed field of five allowance competitors by 14 lengths. In March, he demolished six Richter Scale Sprint Handicap (gr. II) contenders while drawing off to win by 13 3/4 lengths. But the 7-year-old Distorted Humor gelding faces his steepest test of the season this Memorial Day, when he heads a field of nine in the $600,000 Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
Four-time graded stakes winner Dream Rush has proven she is the one to beat in the $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) May 25 at Belmont Park, but the 4-year-old Wild Rush filly must answer one major question: how will she respond to a nearly seven-month layoff?
Just our opinion, but all extrinsic factors aside for the time being, it doesn't seem fair to dismiss Big Brown's accomplishments, however brief they may be, by saying his competition is weak.
Todd Pletcher seeks his unprecedented third consecutive victory in the $150,000 Sheepshead Bay Handicap (gr. IIT) May 24 at Belmont Park, and despite the loss of his top contender, the nation's leading trainer still has a pair of chances to make it happen.
Tale of Ekati turned in a super-sharp work for the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr.I) when he sped four furlongs in 46.84 seconds over Belmont Park's main track May 20. The move was the fastest of 37 works at the distance, on a track listed as fast before a steady rain began falling later in the morning.
Big Brown arrived in style at Belmont Park May 19. With a police escort in front and a UPS truck behind, a Brook Ledge van delivered the winner of the first two legs of the Triple Crown to a loading ramp near Barn 2 at 2:25 p.m.
With his huge Preakness Stakes (gr. I) win in his rear-view mirror, Big Brown left Baltimore Monday morning right at 10 a.m. to head to New York and his date with destiny in the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Big Brown takes aim at Triple Crown, will ship to Belmont Park May 19.
With the chance for a Triple Crown on the line, the field for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 7 at Belmont Park is beginning to take shape. In addition to Crown hopeful Big Brown, six rivals are gearing up at their chance to stop him.
Jeff Singer's Cowgirl's Don't Cry went straight to the front and never looked back, scoring the $150,000 Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) by 2 1/4 lengths under Mike Luzzi to earn the biggest win of her career May 17 at Belmont Park.
Ginger Punch, last year's champion older female, had her first work since winning the Louisville Stakes (gr.II) on the morning of May 16 at Belmont Park.
There will be racing at other locations besides Pimlico on May 17, although most of the nation will be prone to forget it. At Belmont Park in the $150,000 Shuvee Handicap (gr. II), older fillies and mares head out a mile on the New York dirt just one hour before the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) goes off in Maryland.
Shadwell Stable's Lucky Island wore down the front-running Man of Danger and got his third consecutive victory when he took the $109,100 Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. III) at Belmont Park May 10.
Of the seven horses headed postward in the $100,000 Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. III) at Belmont Park May 10 - from the lightly-raced Lucky Island to the hard-knocking Callmetony - every one looks like a legitimate contender.
A major commercial real estate developer said April 28 it has combined forces with the Hard Rock Entertainment hotel and restaurant chain in a bid with New York state to operate a video lottery terminal casino at Aqueduct.
Fresh off his impressive victory in the March 29 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin shipped into Belmont Park April 2 to begin his quarantine period after spending the past several weeks in Dubai.
By Donna Chenkin - Transformation of a dream often begins with acts of imagination that elevate a starting vision of change above the intimidating presence of things as they are.
In a financial statement released by the New York Racing Association March 28, the non-profit organization reported total net operating losses of $34.28 million in 2007. That figure is nearly double from 2006, when total net losses reached $17.83 million.
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum's Shadwell Farm has become the presenting sponsor for the New York Racing Association's Travers Stakes (gr. I) and Suburban Handicap (gr. I) through 2009.
Louis Olah, the longtime "colors man" in the jockeys' rooms at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga, died the evening of March 8 following a brief illness. He was 79.
Legislation giving the New York Racing Association a 25-year extension of its exclusive Thoroughbred franchise was signed Feb. 19, Gov. Eliot Spitzer said. Meanwhile, the mayor of New York City reiterated that New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. can't continue under its current arrangement with the state.
- By Dan Liebman
By Dan Liebman - The franchise extension is only the beginning. NYRA has many hurdles to return to profitability.
The New York Racing Association has unveiled its logo for the 140th running of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the 1 1/2-mile final leg of Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown.
- By Tom Precious
The New York Racing Association, written off as dead a year ago by its competitors, has won the rights to a 25-year exclusive franchise to continue operating Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga racetracks.
Hall of Fame jockey Jose Santos has settled his libel lawsuit against The Miami Herald over an article raising questions about his actions aboard 2003 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Funny Cide.
The New York Racing Association, in control of Thoroughbred racing in the state since 1955, will continue to run racing under a deal that came together Feb. 12 at the state Capitol in Albany, government and industry sources say.
Due to an oversight on the part of Triple Crown Productions, there is an addition of one early nominee for this year's Triple Crown. The addition increases the nomination total to 449, just one below the record of 450 posted in 2007.
A Republican-dominated state panel overseeing Thoroughbred racing in New York has curbed the ability of its new chairman to broker deals with the New York Racing Association. The chairman was appointed by Democrat Gov. Eliot Spitzer. The move came the same day Spitzer released his 2008 state budget plan, which includes revenue from a proposed casino at Belmont Park.
A release from the New York Racing Association highlighted strong growth in key areas with the on-track handle increasing, but all-sources wagers and average starters per race reflected a slight dip when the organization reported its final 2007 figures Jan. 18.
- By Tom Precious
Negotiators trying to reach a deal on a new Thoroughbred franchise in New York are still at an impasse, and now the talks have turned to approving another extension to permit the New York Racing Association to temporarily continue running racing.
Alfredo Callejas, who trained horses in New York from 1977 until his retirement in 2004, died at his home in Beverly Hills, Fla. on Jan. 12, according to his son, Bernardo Callejas.
- By Tom Precious
State racing regulators failed to approve a temporary license for the New York Racing Association to continue racing in January while talks about a permanent franchise deal continue.
- By Esther Marr
More than 200 racing trophies of the late Ethel D. Jacobs, North America's leading owner for three years, and her husband, Hirsch Jacobs, a Hall of Fame trainer, are being auctioned at Christie's in New York Jan. 17, 2008.
The New York Racing Association released its 2008 stakes schedule Dec. 12, following approval by NYRA's board of trustees at its monthly meeting. The New York State Racing and Wagering Board still must give its approval, a standard procedure.
- By Tom Precious
The New York Racing Association, whose annual deficits are "not reflective of operating in a sound and economical manner," underpaid the state of New York by $10.9 million in franchise fees from 2004 to 2005, according to a new audit by state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
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