Five other contenders line up for their shot at a $1 million purse, joining the Bob Baffert trainee in trying to bring excitement to a summer season lacking major 3-year-old stars.
Zagora won the Diana Stakes (gr. IT) in 2011, but the 5-year-old mare faces a steep challenge this time around at Saratoga Race Course as Tapitsfly, Winter Memories, Hungry Island, and two European invaders join the fray.
Blue Grass winner will attempt to land his first grade I stakes victory on dirt
It didn't go as smoothly as planned but odds-on choice Silver Max got the job done anyway in the $600,000 Virginia Derby (gr. IIT), registering his sixth consecutive turf win on yielding ground at Colonial Downs July 21.
Trainer Dale Romans says Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) winner Dullahan remains right on schedule to make his next start in the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) July 29.
Among Todd Pletcher's top 2-year-olds this year are Rose Junction and Onetwentyeight, who headline the $200,000 Sanford Stakes (gr. II) going six furlongs July 22 at Saratoga.
Silver Max puts a five-race winning streak on the line as the 123-pound high weight July 21 in the $600,000 Virginia Derby (gr. IIT), the showcase event of the summer meet at Colonial Downs.
Seven 2-year-old fillies line up July 20 for the $150,000 Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III) on opening day at Saratoga Race Course, and five are eligible for a $100,000 bonus.
Cozzetti made the best of an inside trip along the rail as he got up to nip pacesetter All Stormy by a neck in a four-horse blanket finish in the American Derby (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park.
Shackleford is scheduled to enter stud at Darby Dan Farm near Lexington following the 2012 racing season. But before he becomes a stallion, the 4-year-old son of Forestry still has plenty of work to do.
Silver Max, who is riding a five-race win streak, returns to Arlington Park for the American Derby (gr. IIIT) Saturday, July 14.
After posting record wagering on this year's Kentucky Derby and Oaks, the 38-day spring meet at Churchill Downs ended with a 3.31% decline in total and average daily handle.
Guys Reward, stalking three wide into the stretch on a soggy Churchill Downs turf course, drew clear approaching the furlong pole to win the closing night Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT) by two lengths July 1.
Four D Stable's homebred Turallure seeks his first win of 2012 in the $150,000 Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT) July 1 at Churchill Downs, taking on five other older turf contenders as the 122-pound highweight.
Little Mike will try to make it consecutive grade I victories on turf when he makes his California debut in the $300,000 Shoemaker Mile June 30 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Dullahan and Shackleford were among the stars from trainer Dale Romans' barn that posted published workouts at Churchill Downs June 23.
Besilu's Stable's Royal Delta looks to rebound off a disappointing run in the $10 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) when she takes on five others in the $150,000 Fleur de Lis Stakes June 16 at Churchill Downs.
The 5-year-old Tapit mare holds off even-money favorite Winter Memories.
Donegal Racing's Belmont contender is now the 9-5 favorite in Saturday's classic. Dullahan finished third in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness Stakes.
- By Steve Haskin
What do Bobby Frankel, Max Hirsch, and John Sabini, chairman of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, have in common? read blog
A day after the dozen Belmont Stakes (gr. I) horses were relocated to a designated barn, some trainers still expressed dissatisfaction with the arrangement and questioned why it wasn't handled differently.
Doug O'Neill, Mario Gutierrez and Dale Romans discuss the Belmont Stakes. watch video
Jockey Mario Gutierrez appeared calm and collected at a June 7 press briefing, noting that he had galloped horses around Belmont Park that morning and would ride in the Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) the day before the Belmont.
Steve Haskin talks with Dale Romans about his Belmont contender Dullahan. watch video
With the main track listed as sloppy following overnight rain, no Belmont Stakes (gr. I) contender worked out at Belmont Park June 2. Instead, the majority of the field will have their final breezes the following morning.
Trainer Dale Romans criticized the New York State Racing and Wagering Board's decision to establish a detention barn to house Belmont Stakes (gr. I) starters, saying regulators "think we're all crooks."
Frank L. Jones Jr's Tapitsfly, who has started four times this year in graded events and has won or placed in all of them, will carry top weight of 121 pounds in the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap at Churchill Downs.
Trainer Dale Romans said May 29 that Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) winner Shackleford could run in the Whitney Handicap or Woodward Stakes en route to the ultimate goal of winning the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I).
Front-running Silver Max, staked to an uncontested lead by Shaun Bridgmohan, cruised to a two-length victory in the $125,000 Arlington Classic May 26 at Arlington Park for his fourth consecutive win.
Donegal Racing's Dullahan, the Kentucky Derby third-place finisher who will be seeking to block I'll Have Another's Triple Crown bid, breezed a mile at Churchill Downs the morning of May 26.
Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) winner Dullahan, most recently third in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), worked five furlongs at Churchill Downs in 1:00 1/5 on a fast track May 19.
Dale Romans got his first taste of classic success when he saddled Shackleford to win the 2011 edition of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). The trainer is back at Maryland's Pimlico Race Couse again this year with Cozzetti.
Stakes-placed colt will represent trainer Dale Romans in second leg of Triple Crown
One year later, look back at Shackleford's Preakness win. View Slideshow
Donegal Racing's Dullahan, a fast-closing third in the Kentucky Derby, will not run in the Preakness Stakes and will be pointed for the Belmont Stakes.
After recording his first win since last spring's Preakness (gr. I), Shackleford is being groomed for a start in the $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park May 28.
Little Mike caught a tough group of competitors by surprise with a wire-to-wire upset victory in the $561,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs May 5.
After a thrilling stretch duel with champion Amazombie, Mike Lauffer and Bill Cubbedge's Shackleford inched clear in deep stretch to win the $441,600 Churchill Downs Stakes (gr. II) May 5.
Silver Max took the lead soon after the start and was never headed as he staved off a couple of late challengers to win the American Turf Stakes (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs May 4.
Trainer Dale Romans and owner Jim Culver discussed Thoroughbred ownership and the relationship between owners and trainers during a seminar hosted by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association May 3.
Sassy Image will attempt to become the first repeat winner of the $300,000 Humana Distaff (gr. I) when she faces a strong lineup in the 26th renewal of the seven-furlong test May 5 at Churchill Downs.
Contested, a lightly raced daughter of Ghostzapper from the Bob Baffert barn is the 2-1 morning-line favorite for the May 4 Eight Belles Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.
Silver Max and Howe Great, two of the expected favorites for the $200,000 American Turf (gr. IIT), drew the outside posts in an overflow field May 4 at Churchill Downs.
Donegal Racing's Dullahan turned in what trainer Dale Romans called a maintenance work at Churchill Downs April 28, going five furlongs in 1:01 1/5.
Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) winner Dullahan should have no problem racing on dirt in the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), trainer Dale Romans said April 17.
Jerry Crawford, head of Donegal Racing, is excited about Dullahan's chances in Ky.
Evan recaps the Arkansas Derby and Blue Grass Stakes. watch video
Following their efforts in the Toyota Blue Grass, winner Dullahan returned to Churchill Downs and Hansen and Gung Ho, who ran second and third, returned to trainer Mike Maker's barn at Trackside Training Center.
Dullahan, with big strides down the center of the racetrack, ran down champion Hansen in the late stages to win the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) April 14 at Keeneland.
Zagora, who ran third in last year's Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. IIT) at Keeneland, is back for this year running, but this time she's coming off two straight graded stakes wins.
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