Racing seems to have its share of ills these days, which is why the first injection of Derby Fever is being given out earlier and earlier each year. Even taken in small doses in November, it can start the blood pumping, and what better way to brace for the long winter than by getting a brief whiff of roses or hearing even the faintest strains of "My Old Kentucky Home?"
Hollywood Gold Cup Handicap (gr. I) winner Lava Man, who will try to give trainer Doug O'Neill his second victory in three years in the Japan Cup Dirt, worked six furlongs in 1:12 1/5 at Hollywood Park Saturday morning and is set to head to Japan on Tuesday.
Stevie Wonderboy, winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Belmont Park on Oct. 29, will be back on the Hollywood Park track next week, trainer Doug O'Neill said Friday.
Doug O'Neill stood in the Belmont trainer's stand Sunday morning trying to figure out when to work his 2-year-olds Stevie Wonderboy and Jealous Profit for their final tuneup for the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
The undefeated Estate Collection, making his stakes debut, set a lively pace for jockey Patrick Valenzuela in the Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at Turfway Park Saturday but refused to give in late, winning by three-quarters of a length over 23-1 Humor At Last.
Merv Griffin's favored Stevie Wonderboy circled the field on the turn for home and overwhelmed a full field under a steady ride from Garrett Gomez in the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) on closing day at the seaside Wednesday.
One year ago trainer Dale Romans saddled 3-year-old Kitten's Joy to an impressive 3 1/4-length win in the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park. This year the Kentucky-based trainer hopes to return to the winner's circle when the son of El Prado takes the gate for the Aug. 13 Arlington Million (gr. IT).
The pacesetter Whilly refused to give in when headed in the stretch by favorite King of Happiness and outlasted his rival to win the $250,000 American Invitational Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Hollywood Park turf Sunday.
Trainer Doug O'Neill and owner J. Paul Reddam are at it again. Earlier at the Hollywood Park meet, Reddam purchased Andujar privately after an impressive allowance victory, transferred her to the O'Neill stable and watched her romp to a seven-length victory in the Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) on June 4.
Former claiming horse Lava Man poked his head in front on the far turn and inched away for his first graded stakes win in the $250,000 Californian (gr. II) at Hollywood Park Saturday.
There seemed a strong likelihood of a speed duel in Saturday's $205,150 Milady Handicap (gr. II) at Hollywood Park, but outsider Andujar never allowed it to happen, simply running the rest of the field into the ground.
Races can hardly come any closer than Monday's featured event in the Texas Million series -- the $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. III) -- where four noses hit the wire together. After the dust had cleared, Supah Blitz was declared the winner and 11-10 favorite Lion Tamer was off the board.
The changing picture of the $350,000 Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) may have been summarized Thursday morning in front of Barn 70, where Hall of Fame trainers Bobby Frankel and Ron McAnally operate adjacent stables.
Storm Surge heads a field of 12 3-year-olds slated for Saturday's Walmac Lone Star Derby (gr. III) at Lone Star Park. Dallas Stewart conditions the Overbrook Farm homebred who won the Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) by a neck at Fair Grounds in his first start this year. The $300,000 Walmac will also be contested at nine furlongs.
California invader Supah Blitz highlights a field of six entered for Saturday's Texas Mile (gr. III) at Lone Star Park. The 5-year-old is looking to improve off his second-place finish in the 2004 edition of the race.
Shadow of Illinois, a 5-year-old California-bred gelding, won the $100,000 San Simeon Handicap (gr. IIIT) under Mark Guidry on the hillside turf course Monday to give trainer Anthony Saavedra his first-ever stakes win at Santa Anita Park and his first graded stakes win in Southern California on the closing day of the meet.
Grade I winner Sharp Lisa, a star in Southern California this spring, heads a talented field of 3-year-old fillies in Friday's $250,000 Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) at 1 1/16 miles.
Sharp Lisa, who was scratched from Saturday's Ashland Stakes (gr. I) because of an injury, is scheduled to run in Friday's Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park, according to her trainer, Doug O'Neill.
Grade I winner Sharp Lisa, expected to be one of the favorites, was forced to scratch from Saturday's Ashland (gr. I) at Keeneland due to a bruised hind hoof.
Stablemate Perfect Moon ensured a blazing pace and late charging Harvard Avenue took care of the rest, winning the $200,000 Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) for sprinters and capping a four-stakes weekend for hot trainer Doug O'Neill.
Merv Griffin's versatile Cee's Irish, ridden by Corey Nakatani, pulled away from her rivals at the head of the stretch in winning the $259,000 WinStar Sunland Oaks Saturday in virtually gate-to-wire fashion.
Favored Supah Blitz won the $106,000 Tokyo City Handicap (gr. III) for older horses Saturday at Santa Anita Park, giving trainer Doug O'Neill his ninth stakes win of the meet and record 49th overall win.
Thor's Echo, who couldn't hold off Southern Africa when the two met the last time, turned the tables on his rival in the $500,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park Saturday.
Less than a week after breaking the Santa Anita record for wins at a meeting with his 48th victory, trainer Doug O'Neill is not resting. He'll saddle two of the six runners in Saturday's Tokyo City Handicap (gr. III) as he looks to extend his record.
Post positions were drawn for Saturday's $250,000 WinStar/Sunland Park Oaks and a group of eight fillies will test at 1-1/16 miles. The undercard of the $500,000 WinStar Derby for the colts includes California invader Cee's Irish as the most accomplished of the field, but she'll have to get past fellow West Coast shipper Pegasus Rose, and some improving local gals to snare the top prize.
A field of eight, highlighted by the first three finishers in the Borderland Derby and stakes winner Sort it Out, will take the gate for Saturday's $500,000 WinStar Derby, going 1 1/8 miles at Sunland Park.
Stanley Park swept past defending champion Meteor Storm in the final furlong and notched a one-length victory in the grade II, $200,000 San Luis Rey Handicap on Easter Sunday at Santa Anita Park.
Tyler Baze, a 22-year-old Seattle native, rode the 1,000th winner of his career Friday, guiding Mashiko to a five-length victory in the fifth race at Santa Anita Park.
Sweet Catomine, last year's champion 2-year-old filly, tops the list of 68 fillies nominated tor Keeneland's $500,000, Ashland Stakes (gr. I). The race will be run at 1 1/16 miles April 9, nearly a month before the Kentucky Oaks.
Leading trainer Doug O'Neill plans to double team champion filly Sweet Catomine in Sunday's Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I).
Undefeated Cajun Pepper will make his 3-year-old debut by leading a dozen sophomores to the gate for Sunday's $100,000 Borderland Derby, going 1 1/16 miles at Sunland Park. The Borderland Derby is the final local prep for the April 2, $500,000 WinStar Sunland Park Derby.
Santa Anita's leading trainer Doug O'Neill won his seventh stakes of the meeting Sunday when Grand Appointment took the $137,875 Sensational Star Handicap for older horses bred in California.
Passed by Memorette in upper stretch, odds-on favorite Sharp Lisa refused to give in, coming back powerfully in the final sixteenth of a mile to tally a three-quarters of a length win in the $250,000 Las Virgenes (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Saturday.
Crafty rider Felipe Martinez milked an easy lead with Irish-bred Whilly and had just enough left to hold off Puppeteer in the $150,000 San Marcos Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 1/4 miles on the Santa Anita Park turf Saturday.
FJ's Pace, a popular campaigner with California fans for many years, has been retired.
Sharp Lisa, a strong second in the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) last month, is the clear standout in Monday's $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park.
Outsider Cee's Irish and odds-on favorite Miss Loren captured Santa Anita's twin $75,000 feature races Friday, the Blue Norther Stakes and the Paseana Handicap, respectively.
Areyoutalkintome was under pressure all the way in the $110,500 El Conejo Handicap (gr. III) on a soupy Santa Anita Park main track, but he refused to give way and pulled off under Tyler Baze in the closing stage to win handily Sunday.
Made the favorite in his turf debut Sunday at Santa Anita Park, 2003 juvenile champion Action This Day failed to fire while finishing ninth. In other stakes on opening day of the winter meeting, Whilly prevailed in the $112,700 Sir Beaufort Stakes and Uncle Denny took the $138,625 California Breeders' Champion Stakes.
Merv Griffin's Cee's Irish, the even-money favorite, wore down pacesetter Island Escape in the final sixteenth of a mile for a nose victory in the $60,400 Corte Madera Stakes Sunday at Golden Gate Fields.
Trainer Doug O'Neill hopes to cap his second Hollywood Park autumn meet championship Sunday with a victory by Sharp Lisa in the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) for 2-year-old fillies.
Four-year-old Supah Blitz, now a California resident, returned to his roots Saturday at Calder Race Course and won the $200,000 Carl Rose Classic, a race for Florida-breds that is part the track's Florida Million program.
Trainer Doug O'Neill set a record for most victories at Fairplex when Blairs Roarin Star won the sixth race on the Pomona oval on Friday.
Supah Blitz, winless in nine starts this year, became a grade II winner in his first start for new trainer Doug O'Neill while all out to hold off Domestic Dispute in the $250,000 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap at one mile Sunday.
Royce S. Jaime's Perfect Moon, who last summer won the Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) and then was third to Siphonizer in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. II), cruised to a decisive 4 1/2-length victory Friday night in the $79,550 El Cajon Stakes for 3-year-olds.
Areyoutalkintome rallied from last place in a five-horse field to win the $100,000 Real Good Deal for California-bred 3-year-olds Friday night at Del Mar.
Favored Pohave, ridden for the first time by Victor Espinoza, rolled to a three-quarters of a length victory in the $300,000 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) Saturday at Hollywood Park for his first grade I triumph.
Odds-on favorite The Dempsey Look lacked a late punch on Sunday when Winendynme delivered the knock-out blow with a late outside rally to win the $79,950 Manhattan Beach for 3-year-old fillies by two lengths at Hollywood Park.
Pohave ended an eight-race losing streak at Hollywood Park, winning his first graded stakes in the $150,000 Los Angeles Times Handicap (gr. III) Saturday.
The defection of Congaree from Saturday's Commonwealth Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland, opens the race up a bit wider for its six entrants. After all, Congaree, who was taken out of consideration after a bout of colic, is a multiple graded stakes winner whose victories include the Carter Handicap (gr. I).
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