Cowboy Cal and Champs Elysees, both narrowly beaten by tough-as-nails Einstein in separate grade I races this year, will see if his absence will be enough to get them over the top this time, as they headline a strong field of 14, including five grade I winners, for the $400,000 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) June 6 at Belmont Park.
George Strawbridge Jr.'s Informed Decision split horses in deep stretch and ran down 2-5 favorite Ventura to win the $300,000 Vinery Madison (gr. I) by a head in thrilling fashion April 9 at Keeneland.
Bobby Frankel and John Sadler will each send out a pair of fillies and mares in the 42nd edition of the $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap (gr. IIT), a nine-furlong turf test March 22 at Santa Anita.
On March 1, Brother Keith will make his grass debut against seven rivals in the $100,000 Baldwin Stakes (gr. IIIT) on Santa Anita's downhill turf course. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint is the feature on Santa Anita's nine-race program.
Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) winner and Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) runner-up Square Eddie makes his highly-anticipated 3-year-old debut Jan. 17 at Santa Anita when he takes on seven rivals in the $100,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita.
Multiple graded-stakes winner Vacare will try to add to her impressive resume Dec. 21 when she tops a full field of 12 fillies and mares in the Dahlia Handicap (gr. IIT) on closing day at Hollywood Park.
Hosted by Lenny Shulman and Steve Haskin, "And They're Off" is a bi-monthly online video series sponsored by Darby Dan Farm. This week, Lenny and Steve present highlights from the 2008 season of "And They're Off."
Vineyard Haven, winner of the grade I Champagne and Hopeful Stakes, has been sold to Godolphin for an undisclosed price by Bobby Frankel, who was majority owner of the colt, in partnership with Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre and Louis Lazzinnaro.
Transduction Gold, who won the Sycamore (gr. IIIT) last year but is winless since, will attempt to defend his title Oct. 18 against 10 rivals in the $150,000 event at Keeneland.
In an awesome-looking performance, Vineyard Haven won the $400,000 Champagne (gr.I) Oct. 4 at Belmont Park. The victory would likely stamp him as an early favorite for the $2-million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr.I) Oct. 25, if he was being pointed to the Oct. 25 race at Santa Anita.
Vineyard Haven, Cribnote, Munnings and Break Water Edison, the top four finishers, respectively, in the Hopeful Stakes (gr.I) last month at Saratoga, meet again in the $400,000 Champagne Stakes (gr.I) at Belmont Park Oct. 4.
Godolphin Stable's Cocoa Beach has raced in her native Chile and in the Middle East, but apparently, she has found a home in New York.
After battling dual-classic winner Big Brown down the stretch in the Sept. 13 Monmouth Stakes only to fall a neck short, Gary Tanaka's Proudinsky will try to get back to his winning ways when he takes on eight turfers in the $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) Sept. 27 at Belmont Park.
Defending older filly and mare champion Ginger Punch will take another step toward defending her honors Sept. 27 when she takes on four rivals in the $600,000 Beldame (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
Hal and Patti Earnhardt's homebred Indian Blessing, who was scratched from the 1 1/16-mile Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) two weeks ago, returns to the racetrack as a sprinter and faces older horses for the first time. Last year's champion juvenile filly will try for her fifth graded stakes victory of the season Sept. 20 when she takes on a short but talented field in the $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park.
After being scratched at the gate of last Saturday's Gazelle Handicap, trainer Bobby Frankel is still trying to make Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I) with his 3-year-old Country Star.
Being a dual-classic winner sure has its share of privileges. One of them is being able to have a new stakes written for you, one with a very large purse and on the exact day of your choosing.
Juddmonte Farms' Ventura has a good chance at becoming the first filly to win the $1-million Woodbine Mile (Can-IT) Sept. 7, but standing in her way is IEAH Stables' Kip Deville, widely regarded as the best turf miler in North America.
IEAH Stables' grade I winners Ariege and Pure Clan are the headliners in a contentious field of eight 3-year-old fillies vying for the $250,000 Garden City Stakes (gr. IT) Sept. 6 on the Belmont turf, but there is plenty of tough competition in the nine-furlong test.
Step aside, Allen Jerkens. Bobby Frankel may string up his own slingshot and take on the role of Giant Killer. Frankel said he is considering going up against racing's two-headed monster, Curlin and Big Brown, in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 30 and Monmouth Stakes Sept. 13, respectively.
There were many who questioned whether champion mare Ginger Punch would be able to stretch out to 10 furlongs, something she had never done before. In the $400,000 Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 22 at Saratoga, the 5-year-old daughter of Awesome Again was grateful for the added distance, as she needed every last stride to pass Lemon Drop Mom.
On Aug. 22, Ginger Punch will try something she has never done -- go 10 furlongs for the first time in the $400,000 Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. She will take on six rivals in the main track event.
Clearly Foxy, the third-place finisher in the American Oaks (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park July 5, has been sidelined with a hind ankle injury and will not race again this year, according to Overbrook Farm racing manager Chris Young.
Archipenko, who has won stakes events in four different countries in the past 15 months, has been installed as the 2-1 favorite and is one of three formidable European invaders vying for top honors in the 26th running of the Arlington Million (gr. IT) Aug. 9.
Hall of Fame trainer Robert Frankel was still amazed with the way Ginger Punch managed to defend her Go for Wand Handicap (gr. I) July 26 at Saratoga title by muscling her way between horses after being boxed in at the top of the stretch.
Bottled up on the inside and running at a slow pace, Ginger Punch showed her grit as a true champion by splitting horses just outside the eighth-pole and finally taking over at the top of the stretch to earn a hard-fought 1 1/4-length victory in the $250,000 Go For Wand Handicap (gr. I) July 26 at Saratoga.
Eaton's Gift, winner of the Swale Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park in February, takes on an inexperienced field in the $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old sprinters at Saratoga July 28.
Last year, Stronach Stables' Ginger Punch romped to a six-length victory in the Go For Wand (gr. I) en route to her Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) win and being named champion older female. The scary part for her competition is that trainer Bobby Frankel says the daughter of Awesome Again is vastly improved as a 5-year-old.
Stronach Stables' Giant Gizmo, winner of his last three starts, will be sidelined for the remainder of the year with a non-displaced condylar fracture in his right front leg, trainer Bobby Frankel said July 22.
Stronach Stables' Ginger Punch, keen on defending her champion older female title of 2007, made it look easy in the $300,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap with a commanding victory in the Belmont Park fixture June 14.
A well-matched group of turf sprinters will each seek their first graded stakes score June 15 at Belmont Park, as 10 go to post in the $150,000 Jaipur Stakes (gr. IIIT). The six-furlong contest will be held on the inner turf.
Since her tough luck loss in last year's Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I), all Ginger Punch has done is reel off five grade I or II victories and collect the Eclipse Award for top older female. On June 14 the Awesome Again mare will return to Belmont for some unfinished business as the overwhelming favorite in the $300,000 Ogden Phipps.
A group I winner in Italy and group placed on several occasions in France, Gary Tanaka's Sudan will tackle seven rivals in the $100,000 Golden Gate Fields Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT) May 31. All of the older horses will carry 123 pounds.
Frank Stronach's Giant Gizmo landed a third consecutive score and proved his affinity for the 1 1/16-mile distance when he took control of the $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. III) and rolled home a solid winner in Texas May 26.
Trainer Larry Jones said it is still up in the air whether his filly Eight Belles will challenge the boys in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) or if she will battle the fillies the day before in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
IEAH Stables and Pegasus Holding Group Stables' Ariege benefitted from a ground-saving trip under Garrett Gomez, took over in mid-stretch and held off Golden Doc A by a length to win the $250,000 Stonerside Beaumont (gr. IIT) April 10 on the turf at Keeneland.
Storm Military, last year's champion miler in Argentina, looks to get his first graded stakes victory on American soil, as the 6-year-old lines up against nine rivals in the $400,000 Commonwealth Stakes (gr. II) April 12 at Keeneland.
Fresh off her Breeders' Cup Distaff and Eclipse Award victories, the 5-year-old mare is the one to beat Jan. 26 at Gulfstream in the Sunshine Millions Distaff.
Frank Stronach's Sugar Shake seeks her fourth graded stakes victory of the year Dec. 1, as she leads a field of seven in the $150,000 Bayakoa Handicap (gr. II), a 1 1/16-mile test for fillies and mares on the Hollywood Cushion Track.
Sugar Shake looks to regain the form she had earlier this year when she won the Santa Maria Handicap (gr. I) in the Turnback the Alarm Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct Nov. 4.
The main reason trainer Bobby Frankel is able to attend to his ill dog back in California and not make it to the Breeders' Cup is his fantastic staff of assistants who are able to step in and run the show.
- By Esther Marr
Argentina may only have one overseas black-type score under her girth, but the 5-year-old mare's multiple on-the-board efforts have spoken volumes of her potential as she heads toward the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT).
Live Oak Plantation's Les Grands Trois has been the victor in all but one of his four career starts despite an on-again off-again training regimen due to physical issues. The son of Officer looks for his first graded stakes win in the $200,000 Perryville (gr. III) at Keeneland Oct. 13.
She was second in her last start, the Aug. 23 Baslton Spa Handicap (gr. IIT) at Saratoga, but Vacare would not be denied victory Oct. 6, when she wore down Precious Kitten in the $400,000 First Lady Stakes (gr. IIT) at Keeneland.
Trainer Bobby Frankel said he isn't thinking about the Breeders' Cup Championships as much as the Sept. 30 Beldame (gr. I) at Belmont Park. The Frankel-trained Ginger Punch, a 4-year-old, will be the favorite in the Beldame, a 1 1/8-mile dirt race for fillies and mares.
Art Master, the second choice at 9-2 in the morning line for the Sept. 29 Kelso (gr. IIT) at Belmont Park, will not run, according to his trainer. Bobby Frankel said Sept. 28 that graded winner Art Master suffered from a quarter crack that was discovered after he was entered on Sept. 27 to run in the $250,000 Kelso.
Lawyer Ron, winner of the Whitney (gr. I) and Woodward (gr. I) in his last two starts at Saratoga, worked a half-mile in 48.40 seconds over Belmont Park's main track Sept. 17.
Grade I winner Ermine will be looking to rebound from a disappointing effort in her last start when she leads a field of six fillies and mares into the Go For Wand Handicap (gr. I) at 1 1/8 miles Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
Juddmonte Farm's Art Master, returning to the turf for the first time in 2007, rallied under jockey Garrett Gomez to win the $112,600 Poker Handicap (gr. IIIT) at a mile on the Widener Turf Course at Belmont Park on Saturday afternoon by 1 1/4 lengths.
T N T Stud's Out of Control made his United States stakes debut a winning one, outfighting the grand gelding The Tin Man in deep stretch to win the $250,000 American Invitational Handicap (gr. IIT) by a head on the Hollywood Park turf Saturday.
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