Blue Grass, Ashland, Madison, Carter Handicap, Santa Anita Derby, Santa Anita Oaks, Queen Elizabeth, Oka Sho, Gazelle, Royal Heroine, Shakertown, Wood Memorial, Transylvania, Providencia, Excelsior, Disftaff H., Commonwealth, Bay Shore and more.
Consider this your weekly guide to the best stakes in North America. This week we have massive stakes cards at Aqueduct Racetrack, Keeneland, and Santa Anita Park built around three top Triple Crown preps.
After winning four of his first five starts, Centennial Farms' Unified will try grade 1 company for the first time in the $400,000 Carter Handicap (G1) April 8 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Rallying from last of eight in the slop, Salutos Amigos grabbed his first career grade I win April 9 in the $400,000 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Salutos Amigos and Calculator, who both spent the winter in California but didn't meet up out there, will hook up back in New York as two late runners who should benefit from a hot early pace in the Carter.
Swagger Jack, a grade I-winning son of leading sire Smart Strike, has relocated to Dana Point Farm near Lenhartsville, Pa., for the 2016 breeding season. His fee will be $3,500.
The Big Beast, a ginormous long-striding runner with a penchant for peppermints, will return to the big leagues April 4 in the $400,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Grade I King's Bishop winner The Big Beast and defending Carter Handicap winner Dads Caps turned in final preparations March 28 for the April 4 Carter, while 3-year-olds tuning up for the Wood Memorial were also on the tab.
Grade I winner Swagger Jack, a son of two-time leading sire Smart Strike, will stand the 2015 season for $2,500 at Nicks Farm in Sellersburg, Ind.
Dads Caps, a front-running sprint specialist who won the April 5 Carter Handicap (gr. I), tops the nine-horse field of 4-year-olds and up entered for the $250,000 True North Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park June 6.
Hard-knocking Dads Caps had been three times the bridesmaid in recent starts, but he broke through at the highest level April 5 at Aqueduct Racetrack when stealing the Carter Handicap (gr. I) at odds of 10-1.
TimeformUS Saturday Stakes and Derby Prep Plays read blog
Runner-up in the 2013 Carter Handicap (gr. I) and lightly raced since then, California-based Sahara Sky will get another crack at the seven-furlong sprint April 5 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Grade I winner Swagger Jack has been retired from racing and will stand at Millennium Farms in Kentucky in 2014 as part of a partnership, farm owner Ro Parra said Nov. 25.
Morning Line, a grade I-winning son of Tiznow, will stand at Lane's End Farm in Kentucky for 2014. The Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) runner-up will stand for $10,000.
Silverton Hill's Swagger Jack rallies to win the seven-furlong Carter Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct. The son of Smart Strike gets the trip in 1:21.44.
Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer threatens to have grade I winners on both coasts April 6 as he ships Sahara Sky to Aqueduct Racetrack for the $400,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I).
- By Claire Novak
'The little horse that could,' as Jackson Bend has affectionately come to be known, will start July 20 in the $100,000 James Marvin Stakes (gr. III) at Saratoga Race Course read blog
Defending winner Jackson Bend looks for a repeat July 20 in the $100,000 James Marvin Stakes (gr. III) at Saratoga Race Course. As usual, he'll have to tangle with a giant to get the job done.
Jackson Bend, the longest shot in the field, held off a flying even-money choice Caleb's Posse in the final strides to prevail in the $400,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct April 7.
Calibrachoa, one of the favorites for $400,000 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack, has been scratched.
Nearly unbeatable at Aqueduct Racetrack, Calibrachoa will attempt to extend his dominance when he takes on a field that includes Caleb's Posse, Shackleford, and Jackson Bend in the $400,000 Carter Handicap April 7.
Caleb's Posse worked March 27 for a run in Aqueduct's Carter Handicap (gr. I) April 7; Scatman goes a half in :49 in first move since running third in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II).
Grade I winner Jackson Bend is to join what is shaping up as a powerful lineup for the $400,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct April 7.
Morning Line collared favored Apriority inside the sixteenth pole to win the $250,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I) April 9 at Aqueduct. It was the first grade I win for the 4-year-old son of Tiznow.
Warrior's Reward, with Julien Leparoux aboard, caught Musket Man in deep stretch and nosed out his rival during a head-bobbing finish in the $250,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I) April 3 at Aqueduct.
Munnings and Musket Man will square off in the grade I, $250,000 Carter Handicap April 3 at Aqueduct.
Kodiak Kowboy scored the first grade I victory of his career and became a millionaire in dramatic fashion, rallying late to edge the front-running Fabulous Strike by a head in the $300,000 Carter Handicap April 4 at Aqueduct in New York. It was the eighth win in 17 career races for Kodiak Kowboy, who was Canada's champion 2-year-old male in 2007.
A field of eight accomplished sprinters, led by multiple graded stakes winner Tale of Ekati, Kodiak Kowboy, and Fabulous Strike, will line up in the starting gate in the $300,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I) April 4 at Aqueduct.
Of the seven horses headed postward in the $100,000 Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. III) at Belmont Park May 10 - from the lightly-raced Lucky Island to the hard-knocking Callmetony - every one looks like a legitimate contender.
Coming off a seventh-place finish in Aqueduct's seven furlong Carter Handicap (gr. I) April 5, Ryan's for Real benefited from a drop in class and an extension of distance and won the $200,000 Bill Hartack Memorial Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne Race Course April 19.
Bustin Stones took his sixth race in a row when he proved victorious in the Carter Handicap (gr. I).
Bustin Stones and Spring at Last, two horses at the top of their game, meet in an East vs. West showdown in the $300,000 Carter Handicap (gr.I) at Aqueduct April 5.
Trainer Todd Pletcher sent out two of his charges for works March 30 on the fast training track at Belmont Park. Both Stonerside Stable's Texas Wildcatter and Peachtree Stable's Spurrier are nominated to the April 5 Wood Memorial (gr. I) for 3-year-olds at nine furlongs on Aqueduct's main track.
Bustin Stones worked March 22 in preparation for his grade I debut in the Carter Handicap on April 5. Trainer Bruce Levine said the undefeated colt will run on Lasix.
Connections of Spring At Last, a convincing winner of the Feb. 2 Donn Handicap (gr. I), have decided to bypass the $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) March 29 and aim instead for the $300,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct April 5.
The day after undefeated Bustin Stones won the Feb. 18 General George Handicap at Laurel Park by a head, trainer Bruce Levine said the New York-bred will make his grade I debut in the $300,000 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct April 5.
Four Roses Thoroughbreds' Silver Wagon became the beneficiary of a wicked speed duel and won the $300,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I) by 1 1/4 lengths with a late rally on the far outside Saturday.
Less than two weeks after celebrating his 74th birthday, legendary Maryland trainer King T. Leatherbury will be at Aqueduct on Saturday with a realistic chance at winning the $300,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct, where he sends out the honest Ah Day.
Attila's Storm, winless in seven starts since taking the 2005 Fall Highweight Handicap, can wake up when he faces five rivals in Saturday's $100,000-added Toboggan Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct.
Bishop Court Hill led all the way and held off Sir Greeley for a neck victory in the 106th running of the grade I, $300,000 Carter Handicap before 6,636 rain-soaked fans at Aqueduct Saturday.
Silver Train, the surprise winner of last year's TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), heads a field of eight in Saturday's Carter Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct in pursuit of his first win of the year.
Forest Danger hadn't dropped off the early pace since rallying from sixth to win his debut race 14 months ago. Saturday he became a grade I winner for the first time when he closed into a scorching pace to win the $350,000 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct in only his sixth lifetime start.
NBC Sports will kick off coverage of the 2005 Visa Triple Crown season Saturday with a two-hour telecast of "NTRA Road to the Kentucky Derby." The broadcast begins 4 p.m. ET and will feature live coverage of the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) from Santa Anita Park; Wood Memorial (gr. I) from Aqueduct.; and the Illinois Derby (gr. II) from Hawthorne Race Course.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association will offer a national pick three wager "the NTRA Spring Pick 3" on three of the nationally televised races airing live April 9 on NBC from 4-6 p.m.
NBC will kick off coverage of the 2005 Visa Triple Crown season April 9, with the two-hour telecast of "NTRA Road to the Kentucky Derby." The show will air from 4-6 p.m. (ET) and will feature live coverage of the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), Wood Memorial (gr. I), and the Illinois Derby (gr. II).
Gary A. Tanaka's Brazilian-bred Pico Central drew away from heavily favored Strong Hope in a grueling stretch drive Saturday to win the $350,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I) Saturday at Aqueduct by 1 1/4 length.
Strong Hope, upset winner over Empire Maker in last year's Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II), has been installed as the favorite and 119-pound highweight in Saturday's 104th running of the grade I, $350,000 Carter Handicap over seven furlongs at Aqueduct.
Grade I winner Sarava will not be in the gate for Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) because of his weight assignment, trainer Bob Baffert said.
Aqueduct is gearing up for its 2004 Winter/Spring meeting, which opens Jan. 1. The 49-day Winter Meet will run through March 7, followed by the 38-day Spring Meet from March 10-May 2.
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