Sing and Swing, the first mare bred to grade I winner Birdstone, has been pronounced in foal at Gainesway Farm.
You could say that So Long Birdie has some awfully big wings to fill. Last year, his half-brother, Birdstone, won the grade I Belmont and Travers, and the year before, his half-sister, Bird Town, captured the grade I Kentucky Oaks and Acorn on her way to an Eclipse Award.
Bird Town, Marylou Whitney's champion 3-year-old filly of 2003, produced her first offspring, an Empire Maker colt.
The Eclipse Award finalists, announced Jan. 5, reveal many familiar names in the human categories, with several big-name horses appearing in more than one category. Although most of the winners look like sure things, there are still some potential drag-out battles in the Sprint and 4-Year-Old and Up Female categories.
Whether you felt this year's 3-year-old crop was a good one or bad one, it certainly inspired a good deal of passion and provided a number of memorable moments. The following is a look back at the tumultuous 3-year-old season and its most notable performers, broken down into categories.
In discussions of the Horse of the Year merits of Smarty Jones and Ghostzapper, it has been stated that Smarty Jones defeated an inferior group of 3-year-olds. But when you look at all the facts, there really is no basis for this.
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone, who was retired earlier the week of Nov. 1 after suffering a chip fracture in his left front ankle, will stand at Gainesway Farm near Lexington, Ky., Whitney's husband, John Hendrickson, said Nov. 5.
- By Steve Haskin
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone, winner of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and Travers Stakes (gr. I) this year, has been retired after a routine radiograph taken Nov. 2 revealed a P-1 medial chip in the colt's left front ankle.
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone, winner of the Belmont (gr. I) and Travers Stakes (gr. I) this year, has been retired after a radiograph taken Nov. 2 revealed a P-1 medial chip in the colt's left front ankle.
Based on the approximately $188,000 wagered at Lone Star Park Friday in advance wagering on the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, joint 9-1 favorites were Pleasantly Perfect, who won the $4-million race one year ago, 2003 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Funny Cide and this year's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Birdstone.
Diamond A Racing's Pleasantly Perfect was installed as the 5-2 favorite and drew the 12 post position as he attempts to defend his title in the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Texas' Lone Star Park Saturday.
Tomiro Fukami's Personal Rush, who will run in the $4-million Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), paid his first visit to the track Tuesday morning, and it was almost an hour before he finally made his way back to his barn.
The action was hot and heavy going into Breeders' Cup week, with 26 pre-entered horses working on Oct. 24, an influx of horses arriving from all parts of the country and Europe, and a serious injury to Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) contender Ready's Gal.
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone had his first gallop over the Lone Star Park track Sunday after arriving Saturday afternoon on a private charter from Albany, N.Y. that also brought three other Nick Zito-trained horses.
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone, winner of the Belmont (gr. I) and Travers (gr. I), breezed six furlongs in 1:16 4/5 over a muddy training track at Saratoga Oct. 22 in preparation for the $4-million Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Lone Star Park Oct. 30.
Although no horse has won the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) coming off a layoff of more than 49 days, Richard Mandella, trainer of Pleasantly Perfect, and Marylou Whitney, owner of Birdstone, are confident taking their respective horses to Lone Star Park for the Oct. 30 World Thoroughbred Championships off layoffs of 69 and 63 days.
No matter how much time one spends studying the past performances and various speed figures for this year's Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), they still won't be able to feel secure picking a winner.
Following this past weekend's stakes extravaganza, the field for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) is pretty much firmed up...America has a budding superstar who can finally end the Europeans' five-year reign in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT)...and the Nextel Distaff (gr. I) has found another gem.
Although there are still several major preps remaining for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), the leading players are pretty well set, with Pleasantly Perfect, Ghostzapper, and Birdstone all heading straight for Texas. But there is still one player – former Horse of the Year Azeri -- who could add a whole new dimension to the race.
Birdstone's 2 1/2-length win Saturday in the Travers (gr. I) at Saratoga, coupled with the colt's upset of Smarty Jones in the Belmont (gr. I), opens up the race for this year's 3-year-old championship, at least in the minds of some.
Marylou Whitney Stable's Belmont-winning Birdstone gave trainer Nick Zito his first victory in the Travers Stakes (gr. I) Saturday at Saratoga Race Course, just moments before an intense rainstorm hit the track.
Saturday's $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I) drew a field of seven Wednesday morning, with some interesting scenarios developing from the post position order.
For longshot lovers, there are two potential overlays in the Aug. 28 Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. Maybe it's time to take the plunge.
- By Steve Haskin
Patrick Biancone, who will saddle Haskell Invitational (gr. I) winner Lion Heart in the $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 28, and Todd Pletcher, trainer of Jim Dandy (gr. II) winner Purge, have different opinions about the 3-year-old championship picture.
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Birdstone breezed six furlongs in 1:13 4/5, with regular exercise rider Maxine Correa aboard, over Saratoga's Oklahoma training track that was rated "good" on Saturday.
Trainer Nick Zito sent two of his three starters for the grade I, $1 million Travers Aug. 28 out for works on the main track at Saratoga Friday morning. Sir Shackleton breezed five furlongs in :59 3/5 while The Cliff's Edge went the same distance in 1:01 1/5.
Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone, owned by Marylou Whitney Stables, breezed six furlongs in 1:16 Sunday over the fast Oklahoma training track at Saratoga with regular exercise rider Maxine Correa up.
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone, who denied Smarty Jones the Triple Crown with his victory in the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), will make his first start back in the $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I), trainer Nick Zito said July 23.
Nick Zito has been busy recently trying to come up with a schedule for his talented arsenal of 3-year-olds. Even with the loss of Eurosilver, Zito is loaded as he sets his sights on a number of major stakes, beginning with the July 11 Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park.
This year's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in the end was not about two jockeys ganging up on Smarty Jones. It wasn't about the ride by Stewart Elliott. It was all about class, as was the entire Triple Crown.
By Steve Haskin -- Birdstone wins the Belmont, denies Smarty Jones the Triple Crown.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- Haven't we been here before? A horse, one that by the first Saturday in June is carrying too heavy an impost--an entire industry--for any Thoroughbred, is caught and passed in the cruel stretch of New York's Belmont Park.
Records in attendance and handle for Belmont Park and the New York Racing Association (NYRA) were set Saturday as Birdstone upset heavily-favored Smarty Jones in the 136th running of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) before a crowd of 120,139. The previous attendance record was 103,222 during the Belmont Stakes two years ago.
Trainer John Servis said he was "disappointed" for owners Roy and Patricia Chapman that Smarty Jones' bid for the Visa Triple Crown Challenge came up short when he finished a gutsy second to Birdstone in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) but that he was proud of the effort given by the colt Saturday.
Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) win by 36-1 shot Birdstone ended previously unbeaten Smarty Jones' Visa Triple Crown hopes and delivered a 13.4 overnight rating and a 27 share, the best Belmont overnight since a 15.4/47 for Seattle Slew's Triple Crown-clinching victory in 1977, according to Nielsen Media Research.
A record crowd of more than 120,000 went from a roar to silence today at Belmont Park as Birdstone upset Smarty Jones in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and denied racing its 12th Triple Crown winner.
Eddington, the third-place finisher in the Preakness (gr. I) and 10-1 on the morning line for Saturday's 136th running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-olds, galloped a mile and three furlongs over Belmont's main track Friday. "He's ready," trainer Mark Hennig said. "He's doing as well as can be expected."
Shortly before he arrived at Belmont Park after a 2 1/2-hour van ride, Someday Farms' Smarty Jones was installed as the 2-5 morning line favorite when he breaks from the outside nine post position in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Trainer Todd Pletcher said Tuesday morning that Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) winner Purge will attempt to disrupt Smarty Jones' Visa Triple Crown Challenge bid in Saturday's $1-million Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Tapit will not run in the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr.I), it was reported on trainer Michael Dickinson's Tapeta Farm web site Saturday. With Tapit's defection, as well as the defection of The Cliff's Edge, the connections of Purge and Master David are considering entering, although both are still doubtful starters.
Trainer Nick Zito says he has until Saturday to get a work into The Cliff's Edge, who suffered a foot bruise before the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), or he will be forced to miss the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). The son of Gulch's problems started when he lost both his front shoes during the running of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Marylou Whitney's Champagne (gr. I) winner Birdstone breezed five furlongs in 1:02 3/5 over Saratoga's Oklahoma training track Saturday morning.
Although the blistering five-furlong works by Smarty Jones and Birdstone dominated the morning activities Saturday, it was the well-conceived plan by Song of the Sword's owner Ernie Paragallo that set several major events in motion.
Smarty Jones and Birdstone, among the 3-year-olds vying for favoritism in the May 1 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), sizzled in Saturday morning workouts at Churchill Downs.
With scattered showers and predictions of heavy rains in the afternoon, what little activity there was on the track this morning came early. In addition to the arrival of Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Friends Lake at 9:40, there was a mini buzz about the possible addition of the top-class filly Ashado to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) field.
Edited notes from Churchill Downs tracking the daily activities of leading contenders for the May 1 Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Marylou Whitney Stable's Birdstone, who was scratched from last week's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, resumed serious preparation for Kentucky Derby 130 (gr. I) May 1 with a five-furlong workout on Thursday at Churchill Downs.
The Nick Zito-trained Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) winner The Cliff's Edge and Champagne (gr. I) winner Birdstone arrived Tuesday afternoon at Churchill Downs after a brief van ride from Keeneland.
Birdstone was declared out of Saturday's Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) after tests showed an elevated white cell count.
With the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) only three weeks away, NBC Sports kicks off coverage of horseracing's 3-year-old picture on Saturday, with the 90-minute telecast of "NTRA Road to the Kentucky Derby."
Most Popular Stories
- Multiple GI Winner Richard's Kid to Magali
- Eight Stakes Elevated in Status for 2014
- What was the Top Race of 2013?
- CHRB to Meet as Hollywood Park Closure Nears
- NY Trainer Hits World Stage in Hong Kong
- BloodHorse.com Has a New Look
- Chasing Landaluce
- Saturday Plays from Betfair Hollywood Park
- Hong Kong Cup Day: John Gosden - The Fugue
- Ultimate Guide To Winning 1 Million Points