Often accused of failing to realize his awesome potential, Rock Hard Ten brought his true knockout punch to Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), pulling away for a decisive 1 3/4-length victory over the strongest field he is yet to face.
An old-fashioned East vs. West match-up between Saint Liam and Rock Hard Ten looms in Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I).
Rock Hard Ten and Congrats, two contenders for Saturday's Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) trained by Richard Mandella, worked at Santa Anita Tuesday.
Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) candidate Borrego should be nicknamed "The Rainmaker."
Laura's Lucky Boy, who has lost three in a row since winning the Will Rogers (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood Park in May, is part of a contentious field in Sunday's $150,000 Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) on the Santa Anita turf.
Outsider Fantasticat held off perennial bridesmaid Borrego to grind out victory in the $500,000 Super Derby (gr. II) by a half-length at muddy Louisiana Downs Saturday.
Imperialism, third-place finisher in this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I), drew post seven Wednesday and has been installed as the 8-5 morning line favorite in Saturday's $500,000 Super Derby XXV (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Harrah's Louisiana Downs.
Imperialism, the third-place finisher in this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I), heads the list of 3-year-olds who remain eligible for the Sept. 25 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs.
Royce S. Jaime's Perfect Moon, who last summer won the Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) and then was third to Siphonizer in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. II), cruised to a decisive 4 1/2-length victory Friday night in the $79,550 El Cajon Stakes for 3-year-olds.
C. Beau Greely's Borrego, who was last seen in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) May 15, returns to the races Friday in Del Mar's $75,000-added El Cajon Stakes for 3-year-olds. Seven will go to the post in the one-mile event.
On the morning following Smarty Jones' record performance in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), trainer John Servis appeared on national television and prepared to move his colt out of Pimlico. Meanwhile, the trainers of Rock Hard Ten and Eddington, the second- and third-place finishers, said they will attempt to upset a Triple Crown bid by going on to the June Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
It's not easy to bet against Smarty Jones in Saturday's Preakness Stakes. You're trying to beat perfection, as well as forces that may very well be guiding the colt into a special place in history. Can anyone hope to derail one of the greatest feel-good stories ever? As sacrilegious as it may seem, let's at least give it a try.
Major stakes winners are usually considered top Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contenders, regardless of their pedigrees.
Kentucky Derby (gr. I) runner-up Lion Heart made his first appearance on the Pimlico track Thursday morning, and if looks mean anything, the colt is ready for a peak performance in Saturday's Preakness Stakes gr. I).
Trainer John Servis hopes that seven continues to be his lucky number as he selected that post position for Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Smarty Jones in Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Mark it down...12:48 p.m. That's when Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Smarty Jones stepped off the van at Pimlico following his two and a half-hour trip from Philadelphia Park, where has been treated like royalty for the past week. Oh, yes, 20 minutes earlier, Rock Hard Ten and Borrego arrived from Louisville.
Two horses that are expected to take on Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Smarty Jones in Saturday's Preakness (gr. I) tuned up for the second jewel of the Visa Triple Crown with sharp works at Churchill Downs on Monday.
The Cliff's Edge, who finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) after losing both his front shoes, turned in a solid half-mile breeze in :48 2/5 at Churchill Downs Saturday.
Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones is expected to ship to Baltimore either next Wednesday or Thursday for the 129th Preakness Stakes. The undefeated colt paid his first visit to the racetrack since his victory when he jogged at Philadelphia Park Wednesday morning.
The rain arrived at Churchill Downs as predicted. About 4:10 p.m., nearly two hours before post time to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) it began raining hard at Churchill Downs. The track turned sloppy in a matter of minutes
So, we're suddenly down to 18, and Eddington's and Rock Hard Ten's connections can only wonder what if. Now, finally comes the question: how do you make sense of one of the wildest and most perplexing Kentucky Derby's (gr I) ever.
The crowd at Churchill Downs has established Smarty Jones as the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) favorite. In the advance wagering at 2:30 p.m.--with post time at 6:04--Smarty Jones is the 4-1 choice.
The works have all but wound down, there's one more day of anxiety left for Bob Baffert before he and Jerry Bailey are officially united, and only Tapit remains of those missing in action. Starting tomorrow, the focus will be on gallops, as well as a pair of blowouts, to see just who's looking super out there.
They came one right after the other; first Lion Heart, then The Cliff's Edge, then Rock Hard Ten, then Read the Footnotes. Three of the faces were familiar, but the chestnut wearing the figure-8 and martingale was a stranger in town. Just when everyone had gotten used to seeing Lion Heart, poof, he was gone.
This year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) can be broken up into three categories -– Favorites, live longshots, and potential overlays. The favorites are obvious and the longshots will be dealt with at a later date. But if there is one horse who can have bettors pulling their hair out for not having him, it's Wimbledon.
Sunday morning's heavy downpour subsided just in time for James McIngvale's Wimbledon to work shortly after the renovation break with regular exercise rider Dana Barnes aboard. The big gray son of Wild Rush posted a bullet five furlongs in :59 2/5 over a sloppy main track at Churchill Downs.
The moment of truth is at hand, as several Kentucky Derby (gr. I) scenarios are played out over the next couple of days. At Churchill Downs, the biggest activity Friday morning was trying to dodge the rain. But the miserable weather was brightened momentarily by the presence of the unbeaten Smarty Jones.
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).
Live from Churchill Downs, it's the countdown to the 130th Run for the Roses, which can best be described as Derby Daze. If you thought it was an adventure finding Nemo, good luck trying to find this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner. After three months of confusion, the final leg of the journey starts today.
Borrego, the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) and Louisiana Derby (gr. II) runner-up, took to the track Monday at Churchill Downs for his first serious exercise at the Louisville, Ky. track as he worked three furlongs in :37 4/5.
OK, so who's in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), and who's out? Who will be the favorite? Who really are the fast horses and who are the slow horses? Who's going to ride whom? Oh, yes, who's going to win? The answer to all these questions: Who knows?
Stan Fulton's Fire Slam and Padua Stable's Quintons Gold Rush turned in sharp efforts in their final tune-ups at Churchill Downs for Saturday's $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland.
Undefeated Smarty Jones showed an impressive turn of foot coming out of the final turn and held the closing Borrego off through the stretch for a comfortable 1 1/2-length win in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park Saturday.
The grade II Arkansas Derby runs this Saturday at Oaklawn. SMARTY JONES will win and up his record to six for six. He will win by multiple lengths. His time for the 1 1/8 mile race will be under 1:49, and he will quiet all doubts as to his status as a serious Derby contender.
Undefeated Smarty Jones, who is expected to go off a solid favorite in Saturday's $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II), will break from the outside post position in the 11-horse field that was drawn Wednesday.
Team Valor's Tiger Hunt, who has not started since his fourth-place finish in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), will make his 3-year-old debut in Saturday's one-mile Northern Spur Stakes at Oaklawn Park, and if he should run a big race, he may still be pointed for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
An unsettling wave of upsets in this year's prep races left fans without an individual favorite in the final pool of the 2004 Kentucky Derby Future Wager. They opted instead for the field at odds of 6-1 as wagering closed Sunday.
With the Pool 3 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) Future Wager bets locked in before the big April 10 preps, this is when you can actually get good value for your money. Just find a Funny Cide-type of horse and get past one more hurdle next weekend..
Mr. and Mrs. Larry Williams' Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) candidate Lucky Pulpit, eighth in the San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) in his last start after displacing his palate, worked a half-mile in an easy :50 3/5 over Santa Anita's fast main track Tuesday morning.
The $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 3 is shaping up as one of the most competitive races of the year, with Wimbledon, Lion Heart, St Averil, and Imperialism all battling for West Coast supremacy among the 3-year-olds.
Here we are a week into March and the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) picture is still pretty muddled, with many of the leading contenders either lightly raced and lightly tested this year or uncertain to get the mile and a quarter. But at least the San Rafael (gr. II) and Louisiana Derby (gr. II) provided some stimulating performances.
Though slow to develop, Wimbledon justified trainer Bob Baffert's supreme confidence Sunday, winning the $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds with a superb finishing kick.
A field of 11, including shippers from Florida and California, was entered for Sunday's $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II), with the William S. Farish entry of Gradepoint and Breakaway heading a strong local contingent.
Trainer Bob Baffert sent out a slew of his top sophomores for workouts Monday over Santa Anita's fast main track and leading the parade was San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) candidate Consecrate, who worked five furlongs in 1:00 2/5.
With Tuesday's break in the recent rainy weather hitting California, several top horses were out on the track at Santa Anita getting workouts in before the next wave of wet weather is scheduled to pass through the area on Wednesday.
With two fairly uneventful weekends coming up, this is the perfect time to see how the big March Madness stakes are shaping up across the country. While many of the big-name horses will be running in smaller fields in Florida and California, look for large, competitive fields down south.
Favored Master David won a game stretch battle in the $81,400 Sham Stakes for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita Sunday by a length as 2003 juvenile champion Action This Day ran a close fourth.
Action This Day, last year's 2-year-old champion, makes his long-awaited return in Sunday's nine-furlong Sham Stakes. Trained by Richard Mandella, Action This Day will face six opponents, including promising Derby hopefuls trained by Bob Baffert and Bobby Frankel.
If someone told you right now, the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner will come out of Sunday's Sham Stakes, you'd obviously run to the windows and put down a bundle on Action This Day. But it might not be wise to rush to any hasty conclusions.
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