Le Grand Cru took advantage of a short field and a savvy ride by Jose Lezcano, rolling to a 1 1/2-length win in the off-the-turf $250,000 Kelso Handicap (gr. III) Oct. 4 at Belmont Park.
Cutting back to one mile for the first time in nearly two years, IEAH Stables' and Resolute Group Stables' Court Vision looks to turn a disappointing season around in the $250,000 Kelso Handicap (gr. IIT) Oct. 4 at Belmont Park.
Presious Passion scored a repeat victory in the $750,000 United Nations Stakes (gr. IT), smashing the course record in the process July 4 at Monmouth Park.
An accomplished group of older horses that includes four grade I winners is set to go in the $750,000 United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) July 4 on the Monmouth Park turf.
Cowboy Cal and Champs Elysees, both narrowly beaten by tough-as-nails Einstein in separate grade I races this year, will see if his absence will be enough to get them over the top this time, as they headline a strong field of 14, including five grade I winners, for the $400,000 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) June 6 at Belmont Park.
Remarkable 7-year-old Einstein continued his amazing run on May 2 at Churchill Downs, outdueling Cowboy Cal in the stretch to win the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) under Julien Leparoux. The Helen Pitts-Blasi trainee became the first horse to repeat in the prestigious event.
Remarkable 7-year-old horse Einstein, a graded stakes winner on dirt, turf and synthetics, will attempt to make history by becoming the first repeat winner of the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. I) on May 2 at Churchill Downs.
Colonel John, winner of the Travers Sakes (gr. I) last summer, makes his 2009 debut as the slight choice in a diverse 14-horse field for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) March 7.
Weekend Storm, dam of Central Kentucky stallion Kipling and four stakes winners, died Feb. 12 of foaling complications.
Kip Deville set aside a question of his stamina capability for nine furlongs when he put away a quality field in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT) at the Hallandale Beach track Feb. 1.
Kip Deville, one of the nation's leading grass milers, will be asked to go a little farther when he makes his seasonal debut in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT) Feb. 1 for trainer Rick Dutrow Jr.
IEAH Stables is back on the Kentucky Derby trail after purchasing majority interest in LeComte Stakes (gr. III) runner-up Patena from John and Glen Sikura and Dominic Dilalla.
Court Vision surged from last in the stretch to win the $500,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT), giving jockey Ramon Dominguez a sweep of both grade I stakes on the Hollywood Park turf course Nov. 30.
Jockey Mike Smith, trainer John Shirreffs, and owners/breeders Jerry and Ann Moss have one trip to the Hollywood Park winner's circle guaranteed. They are hoping for a second with Madeo following the $500,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) Nov. 30.
IEAH Stables and WinStar Farm's Court Vision, who lost to Gio Ponti by a nose in the July 19 Virginia Derby (gr. IIT), turned the tables on his rival Oct. 4 in the $250,000 Jamaica Handicap (gr. IIT), as the son of Gulch edged in front in mid-stretch and went on win by a three parts of a length on the Belmont turf.
Castleton Lyons' Gio Ponti, who has established himself as one of the top 3-year-old turf runners in the nation this year, looks to return to his winning ways when he takes on six sophomores in the $250,000 Jamaica Handicap (gr. IIT) Oct. 4 at Belmont Park.
Other than Big Brown, no 3-year-old has separated itself from the rest of the pack in 2008. That could all change Aug. 23 at Saratoga, as a full field of 12 will go to post in the $1 million Travers Stakes Presented by Shadwell Farm (gr. I), each horse seeking its place in history by attempting to win one of the oldest and most prestigious Thoroughbred races in North America.
A field of 12 was entered Aug. 20 for the $1-million Travers Presented by Shadwell Farm at Saratoga Aug. 23.
Big Brown continues to step it up in the mornings, working five furlongs in :59 1/5 at Aqueduct Sunday in company with True Dancer. It was the colt's fourth work since the Belmont Stakes, with each one a big improvement over the previous one.
Gio Ponti got the nose decision over Court Vision in the $772,500 Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) in a tremendous stretch run over the Colonial Downs turf course July 19, spoiling favored Sailor's Cap's shot at a $5 million bonus.
Many racing officials at Colonial Downs, weary of Central Virginia downpours, may have to pardon trainer James Toner if he does a rain dance Saturday morning before the $750,000 Virginia Derby (gr. IIT). His trainee, Sailor's Cap, will attempt to defeat eight others in the 1 1/4-mile contest for 3-year-olds on the turf.
When everyone at Colonial Downs was looking for shelter or an umbrella they should have been looking for a Sailor's Cap in the $600,000 Colonial Turf Cup (gr. IIIT).
Ten colts hope to make it to "first base" June 21 at Colonial Downs with the fourth running of the $600,000 Colonial Turf Cup (gr. IIIT). The 1 1/16-race is the first leg of the $5-million Jacobs Investments Grand Slam of Grass.
As participants in The Race For Education's Racehorse Nomination Program, a percentage of any earnings by Colonel John, Court Vision, Monba, Visionaire, Z Fortune and Z Humor in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) will go to the non-profit, which funds scholarships and educational grants for young people with significant financial need.
This space will not focus too much on Big Brown or Colonel John. The comments and observations that follow are designed to help ferret out some elusive price horses, based on looks, works, and gallops.
In our quest to discover the origins of names belonging to Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contenders, we discovered a diamond mine, picked up some basketball lingo, learned Indonesian, and found out what brown can do for us. Here are the stories behind the names of a few runners going into this year's first Saturday in May.
With each day, more and more questions are being answered. We now know Colonel John at least can work like the dickens on dirt; we know that Proud Spell will run in the Oaks, letting Bob Black Jack in the Derby; we know that Smooth Air is feeling fine again; and we know that Gayego is looking and training awesome.
Concerned about forecasts for rain in upcoming days, trainer Bill Mott worked his two contenders for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on Sunday, April 27.
With a nationwide network of top clients and an agent who keeps him on the country's best horses, Garrett "Go-Go" Gomez used up enough frequent flier miles last year to earn him plenty of free trips to Louisville. Now the key is finding a winner in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Another Kentucky Derby is upon us, and most of the talk has been about the inconsistencies and slow speed figures of this year's crop of 3-year-olds. Before we get into all the observations and analyses, and attempt to figure out this daffy Derby there is one point that must be addressed first.
With the Derby getting closer, we're doubling up this week to take a look at the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) and mostly to discuss what may turn out to be one of the most important works on this year's Derby trail.
Well, we're down to our final two major preps, the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) and Arkansas Derby (gr. II), with the Coolmore Lexington (gr. II) and Holy Bull (gr. III) thrown in for good measure. The question right now is: what did we learn from last Saturday's preps?
Charles Fipke's homebred Tale of Ekati may have turned in a sub-par effort in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II), but he sparkled at Aqueduct when he ran down War Pass in the final strides of the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I) April 5.
Nick Zito has not lost faith in War Pass. True, the colt has questions to answer after finishing last as the 1-20 choice in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III). But the trainer saw his 2007 juvenile champ at his best during a five-race winning streak that carried over into this season, and he's hoping that side is revealed again when the son of Cherokee Run heads a field of 10 in Aqueduct's $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I).
- By Claire Novak
Robert LaPenta's War Pass has drawn post position number five in the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I), an April 5 prep for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) that has drawn a field of 10 3-year-old contenders.
With the final Derby preps approaching, there is no more room for error. It's time to earn your way into the Run for the Roses or pack up and go home. The three graded stakes this weekend, the grade I Santa Anita Derby and Wood Memorial and grade II Illinois Derby, offer intriguing plot lines that will make or break aspiring Derby hopefuls.
Entries for the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) won't be drawn until March 31, but from the looks of the nominations, the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) prep is shaping into a deep and competitive field with many of the nation's top trainers and horses participating.
Despite being ranked No. 1 or 2 on just about every Derby poll, Pyro, for some reason, has been branded by many a slow horse and simply the best of a bad lot. Yes, the pace in his two starts this year has been slow, and his final times have not exactly set the Fair Grounds teletimer aflame, but is this horse really as slow as many of the experts say he is?
Despite three losses to reigning 2-year-old champion War Pass, Winchell Thoroughbreds' homebred Pyro is the 4-1 favorite as Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager closed March 9.
War Pass and Pyro are each at odds of 4-1 heading into the final day of wagering for Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager after conclusion of betting March 8.
War Pass, who kicked off his 2008 Triple Crown campaign with an allowance victory at Gulfstream Feb. 24, stood as the solid 5-2 favorite as the first day of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2 drew to a close March 6.
There's just no escaping it. You can question his pedigree and his running style all you want, but War Pass is simply in a class by himself right now, and until someone figures out how to beat him or his pedigree catches up to him, he has to be the top dog.
Cool Coal Man took over at the top of the stretch and then held off a stubborn Elysium Fields by a half-length to take the $350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 24 at Gulfstream Park.
A star-studded field of 12 3-year-olds, highlighted by a pair of starters for trainers Bill Mott and Nick Zito, will contest the $350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 24 at Gulfstream Park.
Four runners trained by Nick Zito, all potential contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), lead the list of 52 3-year-olds nominated for the $350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 24.
The field, at odds of 6-5, continued to show the way at the conclusion of the second day of the 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager's opening pool Dec. 8.
This year's Future Wager field includes some interesting morning line odds, withy only five of the 23 horses higher than 20-1 and only three less than 15-1. That means that 15 horses are either 15-1 or 20-1. That all seems to imply that no one -- not even the oddsmaker -- has a clue what to make of this year's classic crop so far.
Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia has installed the "all others" bet as the strong 5-2 favorite in his morning-line odds for Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which begins its four-day run at noon Feb. 7 at racetracks and satellite wagering outlets across the United States and Canada.
It used to be so simple. Every step horses took on the Kentucky Derby trail was on good old Mother Earth. Now, we have no idea what some horses are putting their feet into.
IEAH Stables has acquired an interest in multiple graded-stakes winner Court Vision, one of the leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
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