Bernardini, who took command of the 3-year-old division starting with an overpowering victory in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), has been retired from racing for stallion duty at Sheikh Mohammed's Darley at Jonabell near Lexington.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin was asked Thursday if he knew the words to the Urugauain national anthem and he smiled but said, "No."
If I had to watch Bernardini get beat, this was the way to go.
Trainer Tom Albetrani said his Bernardini will be facing the most difficult task of his life Saturday in the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
Two days before the Breeders' Cup World Championships, Doug O'Neill, trainer of Lava Man, Sharp Lisa, and Great Hunter; and Tom Albertrani, trainer of Bernardini and Balletto, discussed the chances of their stars leading up to their respective races.
If Lava Man's pedigree is blue-collar and Invasor's is foreign nobility, Bernardini's represents the American aristocracy.
Looking at the post positions for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), one can expect plenty of action up front, with several jockeys having to make a split decision whether or not to commit their horse to the lead, or at least to be a major pace factor. But is it possible a horse can get a clear lead...and actually hold it?
In the words of ESPN senior vice president Len DeLuca, the network is "bullish" on its opportunity to broadcast the Breeders' Cup World Championships for the first time Nov. 4.
Bernardini, leading candidate for Horse of the Year honors, drew the three post position and was installed as the even-money favorite for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic -- Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
Four runners in Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Championships will be donating a portion of their earnings to Lexington-based The Race For Education, a national scholarship program that helps young people in the horse industry afford a college education.
Things were quiet at Barn 17 on the Churchill Downs backstretch the morning of Oct. 31. But Norman Casse knows that is about to change. And, he's glad.
Bernardini had his final workout at Belmont Park Oct. 31 and is ready for his start in the biggest race of the year.
It's not Ali/Frazier but the Breeders' Cup World Championships Nov. 4 in Louisville, Ky., the hometown of former heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali, is being billed as a showdown between Bernardini and Lava Man.
Darley Stable's Bernardini turned in a bullet five-furlong breeze in 1:02 2/5 at Belmont Park Wednesday, much to the satisfaction of trainer Tom Albertrani. His main rival for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Presented by Dodge (gr. I) will be Lava Man, whose trainer, Doug O'Neill, paid tribute to Bernardini.
OK, so Bernardini supposedly is a lock in the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I). And if he doesn't win, how can you look past Lava Man and Invasor? And Sun King, Brother Derek, and Europeans George Washington and David Junior also will get support. After that, good luck. But let's get bold and try to ferret out an early longshot.
The stars will be shining down on Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 4, but many of the brightest ones will not even show up until the middle of Breeders' Cup week. As a result, several New York-based journalists, and one Jerseyite, have changed plans and will inhabit the Big Apple until the big guns complete their serious training.
It is safe to say there has never been more major stakes run and more major stars performing around the country than there were this past weekend. In the end, most of the Breeders' Cup World Championship races were clearly defined, but there was something missing in the aftermath of one of the races.
Trainer Tom Albertrani anticipates that Bernardini, fresh off another authoritative victory in Saturday's Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), will be the one to beat in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic -- Powered by Dodge (gr. I) on Nov. 4.
Bernardini once again effortlessly won a grade I race, galloping home over three opponents Saturday in Belmont Park's Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I).
The 88th running of the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) is a key match up between one of America's best 3-year-olds, Bernardini, and arguably Europe's best 3-year-old, Dylan Thomas.
The NTRA National Pick 4 wager, offered in conjunction with "Emirates Airline Countdown to the Breeders' Cup" series installments airing on ESPN and ESPN2 through Oct. 14 will be available Oct. 7.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association's "Emirates Airline Countdown to the Breeders' Cup" presents six live races Oct. 7 on ESPN2. Highlighting the show are the final Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) tune-up races for Bernardini and Lava Man. They are expected to meet in the $5 million Classic Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.
Darley Stable's Bernardini, who likely will be an overwhelming favorite in Saturday's $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), breezed five furlongs in 1:03 1/5 at Belmont Park Tuesday.
Nominations have been released for the Oct. 7 program at Belmont Park, the biggest day of the Belmont Fall Championship Meet with five grade I races. The card is highlighted by the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup.
The war between Coolmore and the Maktoums that was evident at the recent Keeneland September yearling sale is expected to move north on Oct. 7 when Susan Magnier's Dylan Thomas squares off against Darley Stable's Bernardini and Shadwell Farm's Invasor in the $1-million Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I).
- By Steve Haskin
The main topic of conversation at Belmont Park these days is the much-awaited showdown between Bernardini and Invasor in the Oct. 7 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I).
The main topic of conversation at Belmont Park these days is the much-awaited showdown between Bernardini and Invasor in the Oct. 7 Jockey Club Gold Cup. Both colts are doing extremely well, according to their connections, with Bernardini already on the muscle and itching for a fight. The winner likely will take on the role as favorite for the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
Before Sheikh Mohammed left Kentucky, he took the time to discuss his huge investment in Keeneland September yearlings, his desire to win the Kentucky Derby, and Bernardini.
In his first workout since winning the Travers (gr. I), Bernardini breezed five furlongs over Belmont Park's fast main track Sunday in 1:01 3/5.
Unless something drastic occurs between now and Nov. 4, it looks as if Bernardini, Invasor, and Lava Man, barring injury, will be the top guns, although one of those three - Bernardini or Invasor- will taste defeat in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I).
The 85-year-old "white cap" - which is the term by which red-vested ushers such as Jake Schmidt used to be called - has handled this assignment for several years now. And what he likes best about it is that he gets to be on television so his grandsons in California can see him.
Very few thought any of his five rivals had much of a shot at beating Bernardini at equal weights in Saturday's 137th Travers (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course. But this appeared so effortless that jockey Javier Castellano was clapping the winner on the neck -- with a sixteenth of a mile to go!
One more scrambled eggs and bacon meal is not what the doctor's ordered, but, then, hey, it is Saratoga and the "vittles" were there to be gobbled up.
While most eyes will be on Bernardini and Bluegrass Cat in Saturday's $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I), it might be wise to keep a lookout for Bluegrass Cat's stablemate High Cotton out of the corner of one eye.
Darley Stable's Bernardini, winner of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and Jim Dandy (gr. II), was installed as the even-money favorite when seven 3-year-olds were entered Wednesday for Saturday's $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga.
Tom Albertrani is entering the fourth weekend of August with a huge bull's-eye on his back. The trainer will send out Balletto in the Personal Ensign (gr. I) Friday and the following afternoon will saddle Songster and Bernardini in the King's Bishop (gr. I) and Travers Stakes (gr. I), respectively.
Darley Stable's Bernardini, the expected favorite for the $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 26, turned in a strong five furlong breeze in 1:00 3/5 at Saratoga Thursday, the second fastest of 20 works at the distance.
Saratoga's first three weeks were marked by muggy hot weather followed by splendid cool days and nights, a card cancellation, upsets, an onslaught of New York-bred races, declining attendance, numerous mishaps at the starting gate, and soap opera politics. Will the next 18 days be as rocky as the past 17 days?
Darley Stable's Bernardini, runaway winner of the Preakness (gr. I) and Jim Dandy (gr. II), breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:03 2/5 at Saratoga Friday in preparation for the $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 26.
In any regard, despite a mid-afternoon downpour that disrupted the turf action on some of the scheduled events and made the main track sloppy, racing returned to the Spa at the level we've all come to expect.
Darley Stable's Classic winner Bernardini coasted to victory in nearly gate to wire fashion in the $500,000 Jim Dandy (gr. II) under sloppy conditions Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
The wait is over. Darley Stable's Bernardini, who hasn't run since his brilliant victory in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), finally gets back to the races in Saturday's Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II), in which he will face five opponents.
Darley Stable's Bernardini, winner of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), turned in an eye-catching work at Belmont Monday, breezing five furlongs in a bullet :58 4/5, the fastest of 15 works at the distance. The colt will make his next start in the July 29 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II).
The second season for 3-year-olds promises to be an exciting one, with a talented group of colts made up of seasoned Triple Crown veterans and budding superstars converging on the $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 26 at Saratoga.
If this year's Triple Crown races are any indication, the belief that stamina is being sacrificed for speed in American breeding is not true in the least. A close look at the pedigrees of Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner, Bernardini, the Preakness (gr. I) victor, and Jazil, who captured the Belmont (gr. I) shows how stamina influences are alive and well in American pedigrees.
With the death of Sheikh Maktoum in January, the operation of his Gainsborough Stud near Lexington is now falling under the umbrella of Darley, the racing and breeding entity of his brother, Sheikh Mohammed.
Darley Stable's Bernardini, 5 1/4-length winner of the May 20 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), will not run in the June 10 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), according to a statement released by Darley.
- By Dan Liebman
By Dan Liebman - There has been a great deal of emotion lately at Hilary Boone Jr.'s Wimbledon Farm near Lexington--first with Barbaro, and now with both Barbaro and Bernardini.
Trainers of horses that ran in Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) reflect on the classic and future plans.
Bernardini rolled to victory in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) Saturday before a record crowd of 118,402 at Pimlico Race Course while a serious injury shattered Barbaro's racing career and dreams of a Triple Crown bid.
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