Buckle Down Ben

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Kentucky Contingent Arrives for Belmont; Contentious Race Seen

The post position draw is in, Point Given is in, Dollar Bill is in. Not much more to do now but wait. With the arrival of Team Valor's English import Dr Greenfield at approximately 6 p.m. this evening, the cast of nine for the 133rd Belmont Stakes will be in place. Everyone is in agreement that this year's Belmont looks to be one of the most contentious runnings in a long while.

Déjà Vu For Point Given As He Draws Outside Post Position

There were no surprises Wednesday when nine 3-year-olds were entered for Saturday's $1-million Belmont Stakes, third leg of Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown. As he did in the previous two legs of the series--the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness--morning line favorite Point Given will start from the outside post position.

Point Given Works in Slop at Churchill; 'Ben' On Track

Preakness (gr. I) winner Point Given had his final major workout before Saturday's mile and a half Belmont Stakes (gr. I), going five furlongs on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs in company with another 3-year-old from trainer Bob Baffert's stable. The son of Thunder Gulch covered the distance in :59 3/5, according to Baffert.

Point Given, A P Valentine Turn in Sharp Works

Point Given and A P Valentine, the first two finishers in the Preakness Stakes, were on the work tab Tuesday morning, at Churchill Downs and Belmont, respectively. Point Given breezed five furlongs in :59 3/5 with regular rider Dana Barnes aboard, while A P Valentine went the same distance in :59 2/5 under Jamie Sanders.

Turfway Park Racing Report: Balto Star Shines Bright

In the days, hours, and even minutes leading up to the March 24 Spiral Stakes (gr. II), there wasn't a clear-cut favorite -- much less a star -- among the nine 3-year-olds going to the starting gate. Six of the nine starters were between 3-1 and 6-1 in the wagering. But all that changed at 4:42 p.m. EST as a star did emerge coming down Turfway Park's stretch. His name: Balto Star. And the strapping dark bay gelding, in an effortless performance, ran off from his foes to a surprising 12 3/4-length romp in the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prep.

Buckle Down Ben 5-2 Morning Line Choice for Spiral

Michael Tabor's Buckle Down Ben, winless in two starts this year but winner of last year's Laurel Futurity (gr. III), was installed the 5-2 morning line favorite after drawing post 8 for Saturday's $600,000 Spiral Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park. While there is no standout, a well-balanced field of nine 3-year-olds were entered for the 1 1/8-mile race that will be telecast live on ESPN from 4-5 p.m. EST.

Top 3-year-olds to Clash in Wide-Open Fountain of Youth

One of the most intriguing Fountain of Youth Stakes in memory is set for this Saturday, as 11 top-class horses from all over the country converge on Gulfstream Park for the first major 3-year-old prep of the season. Favoritism will be up for grabs in this competitive 1 1/16-mile event, as a case can be made for several of the participants.

Analyzing Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1

Steve Haskin, the award-winning turf writer and senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse, analyzes the horses included in Churchill Downs 2001 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1. During his 29 years with the Daily Racing Form, Haskin became known for his insightful coverage of the Triple Crown races. Haskin won the Red Smith Award for Kentucky Derby writing in 1997, 1999, and 2000 and received the David Woods Award for best Preakness story in 1997.

Probable Field of 10 For Fountain of Youth

Traffic will increase on the road to Gulfstream Park's $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) next week as a field of 10, including some West Coast invaders, assembles for the grade I Fountain of Youth Stakes. The 1 1/16-mile Fountain on Saturday, Feb. 17, serves as the final major prep for the 50th anniversary running of the Florida Derby and the 3-year-old classics beyond.

Florida Derby Likely Next Star for Macho Uno, A P Valentine

After Saturday's seven-furlong Hutcheson Stakes, just one more stakes preview will remain on the Gulfstream Park schedule for the March 10 Florida Derby. Likely to await the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) are the major 3-year-olds in Florida – Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Macho Uno, and Champagne Stakes (gr. I) winner A P Valentine. Another pointing directly to the mile and an eighth Florida Derby is Buckle Down Ben, winner of the Laurel Futurity (gr. III) last season and second in the Holy Bull.

The Road Ahead For Top Holy Bull Finishers

The grade 1 Fountain of Youth, to be run February 17 as the last major prep for the $1 million Florida Derby March 10, is the next scheduled stop on the agenda for grade 3 Holy Bull winner Radical Riley. Runner-up Bukcle Down Ben could also try the Fountain of Youth or may go directly into the Florida Derby off Saturay's effort.

Buckle Down Ben Favored in Holy Bull

Buckle Down Ben, third in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II), has been installed the 5-2 morning-line favorite among eight 3-year-olds entered in Saturday's $100,000 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The 1 1/16 mile Holy Bull is one of the steppingstones to the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) on March 10. All four of Buckle Down Ben's races have been around two turns and he has won two them, including the Laurel Futurity (gr. III) at 1 1/8 miles in Maryland on Nov. 4.

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