Steve Asmussen has eight potential starters for the year-end championships Nov. 5-6. If they all start, it will be his largest Breeders' Cup contingent.
These days, much of Steve Asmussen's focus is on his pair of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contenders, Pyro and Z Fortune. But on March 16, Asmussen has an opportunity to score some serious earnings with another pair of 3-year-olds, as he will enter Poni Colada and Ablaze With Spirit in the $600,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park.
Odds-on choice Real Dandy, ridden patiently by Luis Quinonez, swept past his rivals while five wide in the stretch to record a 2 3/4-length victory in the $107,600 Zia Park Derby Saturday in Hobbs, N.M.
Real Dandy, who has spent the better part of this year cashing checks against some of the top 3-year-olds in the country, finally broke through--in a $750,000 race--when he went from last to first to win Sunday's grade III West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort.
Private Emblem shook off a victory draught of nearly 11 months to post a 1 1/4-length triumph in Saturday's $100,000 Essex Handicap (gr. III), keeping his record perfect in four starts at Oaklawn Park.
Easyfromthegitgo, a stakes winner of nearly $700,000, will enter stud in 2004 at Le Mesa Stallions in Carenero, Louisiana. His stud fee will be $3,500.
Easyfromthegitgo, a heart-breaking runner-up in March's Louisiana Derby (gr. II), is scheduled to make his first start at Fair Grounds since that defeat in Thursday's $75,000 Louisiana Handicap.
Two years ago, trainer Bob Baffert sent Mike Pegram's Captain Steve to the Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows to "make a man of him." While he doesn't have quite the credentials of Captain Steve, Baffert has entered Pegram's Danthebluegrassman for the $250,000 Iowa Derby at 1 1/16 miles on July 5.