Stacked Deck and Passion for Action will renew their intriguing and relatively new rivalry June 5 in the $200,000 Connaught Cup (Can-IIT), but the race provides a different aspect.
Coming off a disappointing 10th-place finish in the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IT), Bruce Lunsford's homebred Stacked Deck was back in his sweet spot Nov. 22, on the Woodbine synthetic main track.
Bruce Lunsford is a Kentuckian to the core. Having served as state commerce secretary and as an integral member of several Kentucky businesses, Lunsford has since turned to the Bluegrass State's equine pastime.
Stacked Deck held off 2014 Bold Venture Stakes (Can-III) winner Calgary Cat with a determined drive and claimed his first graded score Sept. 13, winning this year's edition of the $150,000 test at Woodbine.
A $700,000 Smart Strike filly from champion Heavenly Prize's family was the top-priced horse Sept. 14 as the Keeneland September sale's two-day Book 2 portion concluded with across-the-board gains in its second session.
Three Breeders' Cup board of director seats will be filled following two run-off elections being held July 21-22. The elections will fill a pair of four-year seats and a seat with a one-year term.
Madcap Escapade, a grade I winner whose first foal developed into a grade I winner, died June 2 of colic. She was owned by Bruce Lunsford and John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale Farms.
A daughter of A.P. Indy out of millionaire Madcap Escapade was bought for $900,000 by breeder Bruce Lunsford from Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, agent, at the Sept. 13 select session of the Keeneland September yearling sale.
As a member of the auction firm's inspection team, he helped Keeneland select which horses would be showcased during the September yearling sale.
It was no dream trip for Mi Sueno, but the even-money favorite's talent won out in the $300,000 Darley Debutante (gr. I) at Del Mar Sept. 5.
Drilling for Oil, a graded stakes winner who was sent in July to Peru for stallion duty, was reportedly taken off a farm where he had arrived for stud duty only a few days earlier. The horse was found dead a few miles from the farm, having been butchered for his meat.
The first foal out of millionaire Madcap Escapade won a graded stakes in her third start Aug. 7 in the grade III Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar. The filly by Pulpit was sold as a weanling in 2007 for $1.7 million.
Bel Air Beauty had not won in more than a year. As it turned out, all the 3-year-old filly needed was a return trip to Keeneland to earn her second career victory. Receiving a patient stalking trip from jockey Mark Guidry, Bel Air Beauty hung five-wide throughout the backstretch, followed the leaders, and then made a decisive move in the stretch en route to a two-length victory in the $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View Stakes (gr. IIIT) Oct. 19 on the Keeneland turf.
Bruce Lunsford's Tessa Blue blew off the final turn more than four lengths in front and kept rolling to the easiest of victories for her first graded stakes win in the $406,500 Indiana Breeders Cup Oaks (gr. III) the night of Oct. 5 at Hoosier Park.
Bruce Lunsford has nearly completed a deal with John Sikura of Hill 'n' Dale Farm near Lexington to buy back a half-interest in Madcap Escapade and the Pulpit foal she is carrying.
In her first start, Bel Air Beauty was boxed in at the quarter pole and came flying to finish second. In her second, she angled out, had clear sailing, and won the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (gr. II) to highlight Keeneland's opening day.
Grade I winner First Samurai will stand at the Hancock family's Claiborne Farm near Paris, Ky., following his retirement from racing.
Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park will mark the first time First Samurai has traveled two turns and has gone 1 1/8 miles, but neither factor has trainer Frankie Brothers too concerned.
One of the most exciting horses scheduled to run in the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on Oct. 29 is First Samurai. Undefeated in four races, the son of Giant's Causeway is his division's leader heading into the Bessemer Trust Juvenile (gr. I).
Arravale, a 2-year-old daughter of Arch, is now two for two after gliding to victory in the $152,638 Natalma Stakes (Can-III) Sunday at Woodbine.
An anticipated stretch battle between the unbeaten colts First Samurai and Henny Hughes never materialized when prohibitive choice Henny Hughes offered no response in the $245,000 Hopeful (gr. I) for 2-year-olds Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
A field of five juveniles has drawn in for Saturday's 101st running of the prestigious Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. Annexed last year by dual classic winner Afleet Alex, undefeated Henny Hughes and First Samurai lead this year's cast postward.
First Samurai, an impressive 2-year-old allowance winner Aug. 7, breezed four furlongs in :47 2/5 over the main track Friday morning with Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey aboard. The son of Giant's Causeway will make his next start in the Hopeful (gr. I), going seven furlongs on the Travers (gr. I) undercard Aug. 27.
Bruce Lunsford's millionaire Madcap Escapade, the brilliantly fast winner of the $500,000-added Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. II) in Calder Race Course's "Summit of Speed" in her most recent start, has been retired from racing after suffering a leg injury.
Bruce Lunsford's heavily favored Madcap Escapade stalked the early pace of the seven-furlong Vinery Madison Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland Race Course before sweeping around the turn to grab Wednesday's $200,000 feature. Jerry Bailey was aboard for a muddy trip in 1:23.33 after quick early fractions of :21.59 and :43.75.
Making her first start since April 30, the brilliant filly Madcap Escapade won Saturday's $150,000 Shirley Jones Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park in little more than a canter after overcoming a terrible start.
Bruce Lunsford's Madcap Escapade, winner of the Ashland (gr. I) and third in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), is out for the year following the discovery of a hairline fracture in the 3-year-old filly's hip.
Bruce Lunsord's undefeated Madcap Escapade was able to dictate the pace and hold off a determined Ashado in the stretch for her fourth straight victory in the $485,000 Ashland Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at Keeneland Saturday.
Bruce Lunsford's 3-year-old filly Madcap Escapade turned the $150,000 Forward Gal (gr. II) against four opponents Saturday into a procession, galloping to a 4 3/4-length front-running victory at Gulfstream Park.
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