Attendance was up but overall wagering declined during the first week of the Saratoga meet. Meanwhile, Bobby Frankel reports on his stars, Todd Pletcher says Harlan's Holiday is not a definite for the Whitney, and John Velazquez gets the mount on Saarland.
Michael Bello's John C. Mabee Handicap (gr. IT) winner Megahertz, as well as Juddmonte Farms' co-runner-up Tates Creek, will likely remain in California and be pointed toward the Southern California grass stakes, according to trainer Bobby Frankel's assistant.
Fearing a wet track for Monday's scheduled breeze, trainer Barclay Tagg worked Kentucky Derby (gr.I) and Preakness (gr.I) winner Funny Cide early Sunday morning at Saratoga Race Course.
Juddmonte Farms' prohibitive favorite Sightseek cruised to her third straight grade I victory Sunday for jockey Jerry Bailey and trainer Bobby Frankel, dusting her five opponents by 11 1/2 lengths in the Go for Wand at Saratoga.
Green Hills Farm's Voodoo Dancer, widest of five pressing for the lead in deep stretch, pulled away from the others while edging favored Heat Haze for a neck victory in Saturday's $500,000 Diana Handicap (gr. IT) at Saratoga Race Course.
Michael Bello's Megahertz, overlooked in the wagering at a generous 8-1, rallied from last place under Alex Solis to win the featured $400,000 John C. Mabee Handicap (gr. IT) Sunday, taking a four-horse blanket finish that resulted in a triple dead-heat for second place.
Empire Maker, Peace Rules and Sky Mesa all worked Saturday morning on the main track at Saratoga Race Course in preparation for their scheduled starts in stakes races on Aug. 3.
There could be a traffic jam on the lead in Sunday's $400,000 Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT) at Del Mar, with a field of six speedy horses likely to gun for the front in order to get the best position.
One week after winning Belmont's Mother Goose (gr. I) with Spoken Fur and the Delaware Handicap (gr. II) with Wild Spirit, the Hall of Fame combination of trainer Bobby Frankel and jockey Jerry Bailey join forces for Sunday's $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap (gr. I) with the immensely talented Sightseek.
Trainer John Ward said Thursday that he is leaning toward running Sky Mesa in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park on Aug. 3 instead of the Jim Dandy (gr. II) at Saratoga. "I'd say I'm 60-40," Ward said.
With recent reports of an injury forcing Dollar Bill out of training for at least two months, the horse was removed from the Breeders' Cup Future Wager as a betting interest.
Some six weeks after his bid for the Triple Crown ended in the Belmont Stakes (gr.I), the Funny Cide merchandising bandwagon has started rolling into his hometown, Saratoga Springs.
Wild Spirit, ridden by Jerry Bailey, romped to a six-length triumph in Sunday's $750,000 Delaware Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at Delaware Park.
Spoken Fur and jockey Jerry Bailey turned in a dominating performance to easily capture the $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) at Belmont Park Saturday, collecting the second jewel in New York's Triple Tiara for owner Amerman Racing Stables.
Trainer Neil Howard looks forward to Saratoga later this month, but he still has business at Belmont Park with his up-and-coming 3-year-old turf standout Hidden Truth in Sunday's Lexington Stakes (gr. IIIT).
On farewell day to Laffit Pincay Jr., a competitive Gold Cup (gr. I), worth $750,000, tops a three-stakes card at Hollywood Park Sunday that includes the $400,000 Swaps (gr. II) and the $250,000 A Gleam Invitational (gr. II).
Juddmonte Farms' favored War Zone closed gamely on the outside with Javier Castellano aboard to nip South African Trademark by a half length in Saturday's $116,200 Poker Handicap (gr. IIIT) at one mile on the Belmont Park turf.
Juddmonte Farms' homebred millionaire Tates Creek, who was withdrawn from last week's Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park, will likely make her next start in the John C. Mabee Handicap (gr. IT) at Del Mar on July 26, according to Humberto Ascanio, trainer Bobby Frankel's California-based assistant.
Running at his favorite distance of seven furlongs, Flaxman Stable homebred Aldebaran weaved through the field and drew off for an easy two-length victory in the grade II Tom Fool Handicap on the Independence Day card at Belmont Park.
John Oxley's Snow Dance, winless since April 2002, scored an upset victory over a New York Handicap (gr. II) field that included a three-horse entry from the Bobby Frankel barn on the July 4 holiday card at Belmont Park.
Saturday's 50th running of the $750,000 United Nations Handicap (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park could materialize as a repeat of last year's edition, won by the old pro With Anticipation, who defeated Denon by a neck in a thrilling finish to the 11-furlong classic.
Trainer Bob Baffert's Santa Catarina is the 7-2 favorite among fourteen 3-year-old fillies in Saturday's second running of the $750,000 American Oaks at 1 1/4 mile over Hollywood Park's Lakeside Turf Course. The Oaks tops a bill that includes the $300,000 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap at seven furlongs and the $100,000-added Royal Heroine Stakes (gr. IIIT).
Edmund Gann's Peace Rules, like stablemate Empire Maker, turned in his second consecutive fast work, breezing a quick half in :45 3/5 Thursday. The work came eight days after the son of Jules breezed a half in :45 2/5.
Between the two of them, Christophe Clement and Bobby Frankel train five of the nine entrants in Friday's New York Handicap (gr. IIT).
Spoken Fur, making her first start for owner Amerman Racing Stables and trainer Bobby Frankel, stepped into stakes company for the first time Saturday and registered a smashing victory in the prestigious $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park.
Tates Creek, victorious in the Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) last month, will seek her fifth straight graded stakes win Saturday in Hollywood Park's $200,000 Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles on turf.
Sightseek shows her class over a wet surface with a runaway win in the Ogden Phipps Handicap.
Juddmonte Farms' Sightseek, a filly who always fires, is the likely favorite in Saturday's $300,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park, but she'll have to beat an extremely tough if compact field.
South African champion Ipi Tombe and 2002 winner Voodoo Dancer head a list of 41 older turf fillies and mares nominated to Churchill Downs' $150,000-added Locust Grove (gr. IIIT) on June 28.
Edmund Gann's Peace Rules, winner of the Blue Grass Stakes and Louisiana Derby, demonstrated his sharpness Tuesday morning, breezing a half-mile in :46 2/5 with Rudy Rodriguez aboard, galloping out 5 furlongs in :59 2/5.
A vastly improved Denon, runaway winner of the Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) on Belmont Stakes Day, and Moon Ballad, winner of the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) earlier this spring, head a group of 109 Thoroughbreds nominated to this summer's Arlington Million (gr. IT) at Arlington Park.
Edmund Gann's 1-2 favorite You erased some doubts about her recent form with a convincing win in Saturday's $327,900 Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at Churchill Downs.
Golden Marlin, winner of the Dogwood Stakes (gr. III) on the dirt in her most recent race, switches to the grass against favored Edgewood Stakes winner Forest Shadows and 10 other promising 3-year-old turf fillies in Saturday's $200,000-added Regret Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.
Edmund Gann's You, the star of the $300,000-added Louisville Breeders' Cup (gr. II) on Kentucky Oaks Day and a winner of five grade I events in her stellar career, looms as a strong favorite in Saturday's $300,000-added Fleur De Lis Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.
Bobby Frankel has almost done it all as a trainer. He's won the last three Eclipse Awards as North America's top trainer to go with the one he earned in 1993. He joined the pantheon of greats while being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995. He now has a classic win in his back pocket as the result of Juddmonte Farms' Empire Maker's win in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
The Belmont Stakes crowd came to see history, but once again they left disappointed, as Juddmonte Farms' Empire Maker captured the third leg of the Triple Crown over Ten Most Wanted, with Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide a fading third.
Empire Maker and Dynever, two of the leading candidates for the June 7 Belmont Stakes, were on the track at Belmont Park Saturday morning, May 31, with each working to the satisfaction of their respective trainers.
A cheery Bobby Frankel said Friday morning that Empire Maker covered his usual mile and quarter gallop and went to the starting gate for schooling as the son of Unbridled moved one day closer to Saturday's Belmont Stakes.
Trainer Bobby Frankel has informed Churchill Downs racing officials that Humana Distaff (gr. I) winner Sightseek will run in the $300,000-added Fleur De Lis (gr. II) on June 14.
Atlantic Ocean, The Thoroughbred Corporation's $1.9-million filly, returns to to the grass in Saturday's $200,000-added Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park.
Select Stable's Take Charge Lady, a narrow loser to reigning "Horse of the Year" Azeri in her only start of 2003, and a trio of major stakes winners from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel head the list of 28 fillies and mares nominated to the $300,000-added Fleur De Lis (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.
William S. Farish's homebred Mineshaft, winner of the Pimlico Special (gr. I), and Flaxman Holdings' Aldebaran, winner of the Churchill Downs Handicap (gr. II) and Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) in his last two races, top the list of likely starters from a star-studded group of 32 horses nominated for Churchill Downs' $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I).
Edmund Gann's Peace Rules, breezed a half mile over Belmont's main track in :48 Friday morning in his first workout since finishing a distant fourth behind Visa Triple Crown hopeful Funny Cide in the May 17 Preakness (gr. I). NYRA clockers caught the colt galloping out five furlongs in 1:00 4/5.
Lilac Queen, unbeaten in three starts since joining trainer Bobby Frankel, should be the solid favorite Saturday at Belmont in the grade II Sheepshead Bay. The turf stakes is over 1 3/8 miles.
Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, often paired with some of racing's leading female turf horses in recent years, finds himself aboard another immensely talented grass runner in Lilac Queen for Saturday's $150,000 Sheepshead Bay Handicap (gr. IIT) at Belmont Park.
Flaxman Holding's homebred Aldebaran swept past the leaders entering the stretch and then held off a determined Saarland for a game victory in the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) on the Memorial Day card at Belmont Park.
Trainer Bobby Frankel can't win a Triple Crown race, it seems, but he owns nearly everything else. Less than two hours after his Aldebaran won the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park, Tates Creek captured the Gamely (gr. IT) on the Hollywood Park turf.
Congaree, who can join an elite group to win both the Carter and Metropolitan handicaps in the same year, is hard to ignore in Monday's Memorial Day feature at Belmont Park.
Bobby Frankel's plans to run Kentucky Derby runner-up Empire Maker in Monday's Jersey Derby were canceled Sunday morning when the colt breezed 5 furlongs in 1:02 3/5 over Belmont's yielding inner turf course.
Castleton Lyons' Irish-bred Chiming, winner of just two of 22 races, captured Saturday's $107,500 Yerba Buena Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares at Bay Meadows.