Organizers of the Claiming Crown hope its 2007 edition at Ellis Park Aug. 4 goes a long way toward strengthening the foundation of the event that was inaugurated in 1999.
Perch on a picnic table near a small barn in Clare Court and take a long look at this year's Kentucky Derby winner...
The Super Derby at Harrah's Louisiana Downs will double in value to $1 million if Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Street Sense, Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Curlin, or Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Rags to Riches participate in the Sept. 22 race.
Street Sense, winner of this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Barnds (gr. I), worked four fulongs in :51.59 July 26 at Saratoga Race Course.
Curlin, the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner, breezed six furlongs Tuesday over Saratoga's fast Oklahoma Training Track in 1:14.27. The lightly-raced son of Smart Strike who has won four of six starts is preparing for the second half of 2007.
Any number of horses -- Lava Man, Street Sense, Rags to Riches, Papi Chullo, Sun King, Any Given Saturday, and Curlin -- could fill the void left by the recent departures of some of racing's biggest stars.
The 2007 running of Monmouth Park's $1-million Haskell Invitational Presented by Vonage (gr. I) promises to be one of the best ever, with Preakness (gr. I) winner Curlin, Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) runner-up Hard Spun, and the undefeated Cable Boy heading the field.
Trainer Steve Asmussen had his corps of 3-year-old colts ready for action, working Curlin, Tiz Wonderful, Zanjero, and Forty Grams over the Oklahoma training track Tuesday for their upcoming stakes engagements.
James Tafel's Street Sense, winner of the 2007 Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), continued to train toward his summer and fall campaign with a five furlong workout July 13 at Churchill Downs.
The second season for 3-year-olds began on July 4, with the emphatic victory by Any Given Saturday in the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II), and judging from the works turned in by Curlin and Hard Spun on Monday, as well as Street Sense's work on Sunday, the heavy hitters from the Triple Crown are all primed and ready for their respective returns.
The winners of this spring's memorable first two Triple Crown races were in action at Churchill Downs July 1 as Street Sense, winner of the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), and Curlin, who edged the Derby winner to take a memorable renewal of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), each worked five furlongs under the historic Twin Spires.
William J. Gallion and Shirley Cunningham Jr., the suspended lawyers and 20% owners of Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Curlin, along with suspended attorney Melbourne Mills Jr. pled not guilty June 21 in U.S. District Court to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud against more than 400 plaintiffs in a lawsuit over the diet drug fen-phen.
Calvin Borel, regular rider of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Street Sense, and Robby Albarado, rider of Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Curlin, head up this year's list of nominees for ESPN's ESPY Awards in the top jockey category.
All the superlatives and accolades have been written. The 139th Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and the performance of Rags to Riches will forever be a part of Triple Crown lore, and will go down as one of the sport's greatest moments. But it was not all about one horse. There is another who deserves near-equal billing for his remarkable accomplishments.
- By Steve Haskin
Call it fate. Call it kismet. Whatever title you prefer, Rags to Riches seemed destined to give trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez their first classic winner.
Rags to Riches, who became the queen of racing after she outfought the imposing Curlin in Saturday's 139th Belmont Stakes (gr. I), came out of the race no worse for wear in spite of a bad stumble at the start.
A.P. Indy, the sire of Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Rags to Riches, and Smart Strike, the sire of runner-up Curlin, both stand at Lane's End Farm along with Pleasant Tap, the sire of third finisher Tiago, and Came Home, the sire of fifth finisher C P West.
- By Dan Liebman
Rags to Riches becomes the first filly to win the Belmont (gr. I) since 1905, beating Curlin in a thrilling stretch duel.
- By Dan Liebman
First race goes off at Belmont Park; crowd begins counting down until the last leg of the Triple Crown.
It's been a wild and crazy Triple Crown (no tip intended) with lots of twist and curves, and it all comes to a rousing conclusion in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Will Curlin finally regress, and if so, how much? How special is Rags to Riches? Will Hard Spun be able to slow down the pace? Stay tuned for the answers to these and other questions.
Fans are trickling into Belmont Park through the grandstand entrance. Out back by the picnic area, there are a few spots still available, but there won't be for long.
Trainer Steve Asmussen is confident that his Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Curlin will show up and finish strong in the final leg of the Triple Crown, the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
On the third row of Section G on the third floor of the clubhouse sit two yellow plastic bags. Labeled Adelman's Deli, the bags are stuffed with pastrami sandwiches, knishes, latkes, and pickles.
When all is said and done, the 139th Belmont Stakes (gr. I) has turned out to be a heck of a good race after all, Street Sense or no Street Sense. We have seven legitimate horses, with none of the usual no-hopers that seem to pop out of the woodwork for the third leg of the Triple Crown, and a classic male vs. female showdown.
Jerry Bailey, known as an astute handicapper when he was carving out his Hall of Fame riding career, gave his thoughts on Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) while standing on the track's apron Thursday morning.
Slew's Tizzy and Hard Spun, who figure to be the pacesetters in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), drew next to each other at the post position draw Wednesday morning at Belmont Park. Curlin, the classic-winning morning line favorite in the seven-horse field, drew post three.
While Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Curlin put in his final preparations for Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I), Monday was a quiet day for other contenders for the $1-million classic.
Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Curlin completed his serious preparation for Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) with a four-furlong work at Churchill Downs on Monday, June 4.
With the additions of Digger and Time Squared, there are seven probable starters in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) contenders Hard Spun, Imawildandcrazyguy, and Tiago, as well as Todd Pletcher-trained candidates Rags to Riches and Circular Quay, all hit the Belmont main track for work-outs Sunday morning.
Slew's Tizzy had his final major pre-Belmont Stakes workout Saturday morning at The Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington, Ky. The colt breezed a half mile over the facility's conventional dirt track for trainer Gregory Fox.
With the racing world still rocking from the bombshell dropped by Carl Nafzger Thursday morning, all thoughts immediately turned to the two big horses who will remain on their Triple Crown journey and the two trainers who elected to see it through to its conclusion.
With the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) fast approaching, trainers of the expected contenders were making plans for travel and pre-race works May 31.
Street Sense, winner of the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), worked a half-mile May 30 at Churchill Downs as his owner, Jim Tafel, and trainer, Carl Nafzger, consider a possible start in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the final jewel of racing's Triple Crown.
Five days after the Preakness (gr. I) and people are still talking about the race, asking the same questions. How did Street Sense lose? How remarkable was Curlin's performance? Did Mario Pino make a blunder or did he make the right move that just didn't turn out right? Why was Calvin Borel looking behind him in deep stretch?
Fresh off his nose victory over Derby winner Street Sense in the Preakness (gr. I) on May 19, Curlin tuned up for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 9 with an easy five-furlong work on Monday at Churchill Downs.
Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense remains a "possible" starter in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Curlin, winner of the May 19 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), is gearing for a start in the Belmont and returned to the racetrack May 23 at Churchill Downs for the first time since his victory over Street Sense, winner of this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I)
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - The fighting spirit shown by both Curlin and Street Sense in this terrific stretch battle epitomizes what breeding and racing Thoroughbreds is all about.
- By Dan Liebman
By Dan Liebman - Never having been in such a position, Gallion had trouble putting a value on Curlin...
Thoroughbred racing is a sport of contrasting emotions, ranging from euphoria to despair and laced with a heavy dose of what might have beens. It often takes a special horse to bring all those emotions to the surface, and after watching the 132nd Preakness Stakes (gr. I), there is no doubt that Curlin is that kind of horse.
Though the net result was slightly less than last year's effort, Pimlico Race Course still realized its fourth-highest wagering day ever May 19 for its card highlighted by the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Curlin, who suffered his first defeat in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), kept gaining down the stretch and got past Street Sense in the final strides to win the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) Saturday at Pimlico.
There were few surprises in Friday's early wagering on Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico Racecourse, with Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense the predictable favorite.
Unlike the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), the Preakness (gr. I) cannot be assessed through observations, as the horses shipped in to Pimlico just days before the race and have not been visible enough to be judged off works or even gallops.
After a terrible journey chasing roses May 5, inexperienced Curlin has every right to improve in Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I), says assistant Scott Blasi, who is handling the colt for trainer Steve Asmussen this week.
Street Sense and Hard Spun, the one-two finishers in the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, drew outside post positions for Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I), which attracted a field of nine.
Hard Spun completed his preparations for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) with a quarter-mile blowout under jockey Mario Pino May 16 at Delaware Park.
Circular Quay is now headed for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). It wasn't so much a question of why the colt should run in the Preakness, but why shouldn't he run? He's obviously sound, fit, and ready, and this is the perfect spot for him.
Steve Asmussen trainee Curlin, who finished third in the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), tuned up for Saturday's 132nd running of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) with an easy half-mile work on Monday at Churchill Downs.
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