Ministers Wild Cat became the third stakes winner produced by champion Hollywood Wildcat and stamped himself as a possible Kentucky Derby threat with a 1 1/4-length win in Sunday's $66,950 Golden State Mile Stakes at Golden Gate Fields.
In modern day racing, there isn't often a major swing in weights. But there is Saturday in the Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. I) at Hollywood Park. Astra carries 124 pounds in the Beverly Hills, spotting her eight rivals from eight to 12 pounds.
If there was anyone who doubted Milwaukee Brew, they'd better think again. Proving his four-length romp in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) in March wasn't a fluke but instead a sign, the brawny bay changed his tactics and still came up big on June 15, running down Bosque Redondo late to win the $500,000 Californian Stakes (gr. II) at nine furlongs.
Monday's $500,000 Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park is shaping up to be a battle between the West Coast's top turf distaffers and two Eastern-based invaders, with Astra and Starine representing the West and grade I winner Voodoo Dancer and John C. Oxley's Snow Dance shipping in from the East.
Juddmonte Farms' homebred Skipping won the $80,175 Jim Murray Handicap on Sunday, beating Startac by two lengths in the 1 1/2-mile turf race at Hollywood Park.
Sham Stakes winner U S S Tinosa worked six furlongs in 1:14 3/5 at Bay Meadows Friday and will ship to Louisville Saturday ahead of a possible start in the Kentucky Derby.
New York-bred Roman Dancer shipped in from California to race in his home state for the first time in the $150,000 Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct Saturday. Sent off as the 3-1 second choice in the wagering, the bay son of Polish Numbers rallied in the stretch under Kent Desormeaux to earn a 1-3/4 length win over Warners in the seven-furlong race.
Amerman Racing Stables' No Slip rallied from last place in a five-horse field to win Saturday's $155,000 Golden Gate Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Golden Gate Fields.
French Assault will miss Sunday's Louisiana Derby (gr. II) due to a gasto-intestinal virus, according to trainer Keith Desormeaux.
Penny Marie beat Twin Set by a nose Thursday in the $82,450 Winter Solstice Handicap to give Kent Desormeaux his fourth win of the day at Santa Anita.
Decarchy rallied from mid-pack to win Saturday's $300,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap (gr. IIT) in a blanket finish at Santa Anita. On the firm turf and under jockey Kent Desormeaux, Decarchy completed the mile in 1:34.04, a neck ahead of Sarafan, with Designed for Luck a head length farther back and a neck ahead of 6-5 favorite Val Royal.
Milwaukee Brew's victory in the Santa Anita Handicap gave trainer Bobby Frankel his third straight million-dollar California stakes win
French Assault, preparing for his 3-year-old debut in Sunday's $150,000 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III), worked five furlongs at Fair Grounds Wednesday for trainer Keith Desormeaux. The son of French Deputy completed the breeze in 1:03 on a fast track.
U S S Tinosa tracked in third early on before kicking clear in the stretch to win the restricted Sham Stakes by 4 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita Friday.
"You're killing me!" Bob Baffert called out to fellow trainer Bobby Frankel, who was posing for pictures in the winner's circle following Juddmonte Farms homebred Mizzen Mast's romping victory in the Feb. 2 Strub Stakes (gr. II). "I may have to go back to Los Alamitos."
Ramon Dominguez rode two winners on Monday to clinch his first national jockey title, ending 2001 with 431 victories. The 25-year old, who finished third in last year's standings with 361 victories, defeated Russell Baze, a six-time national leader by wins.
On Sunday, Astra avenged a defeat to Happyanunoit in last year's Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IT), pulling away in the stretch to a four-length triumph over last year's winner in the $200,000 Hollywood Park feature.
The Allen E. Paulson Living Trust's Astra unleashed a furious stretch run to defeat Beautiful Noise and five other older fillies and mares in Saturday's $250,000 Santa Barbara Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita. Kent Desormeaux booted home the 5-year-old Theatrical mare after running the 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.33 on a firm turf course.
Kent Desormeaux won the Kentucky Derby in 1998 and 2000, but in 2001 his best Derby hope may come on May 27 in the Japanese Derby at Tokyo racecourse. Desormeaux has agreed to ride in Japan on a three-month license from the Japan Racing Association, beginning on April 28, the date of a key trial race for the Japanese classic.
Brief items on racing and breeding.
Olivier Peslier rode a winner on both days of the 14th World Super Jockeys Series en route to winning the four-race series by 13 points over Yutaka Take Sunday in Japan. Peslier was tied for third behind Jerry Bailey and Australian Damien M. Oliver after Saturday's two series races but rallied Sunday to clinch the victory.
Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. moved a victory closer to career win 9,000 Sunday, earning victory 8,995 aboard Free Companion in the third race at Oak Tree at Santa Anita.
Joe Orseno said Friday that Jerry Bailey will ride Golden Missile in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), replacing Kent Desormeaux, who also is the regular rider for Fusaichi Pegasus. Bailey also will ride Perfect Sting in the Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) and Macho Uno in the Juvenile (gr. I) for Orseno.
Stable notes from Oak Tree at Santa Anita on Wednesday works for stakes horses.
Richard Duggan and James R. Vreeland's Evening Promise closed from next-to-last to win the $111,700 Senator Ken Maddy Handicap (gr. IIIT) by a 1/2 length over 82-1 longshot Strawberry Way Wednesday at Santa Anita. The Kathy Walsh trainee was ridden by Kent Desormeaux and completed the about 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:13.05 while racing over firm turf.
Desormeaux' Career Debut; First Queen's Plate
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