He was somewhat shadowed on Belmont Day last year by his stablemate Big Brown. But Benny the Bull may play a starring role this time around for trainer Rick Dutrow and the IEAH Stables, as the 6-year-old makes his long-awaited, somewhat surprising return in the $250,000 True North Stakes (gr. II) on June 6.
Silver City's time in the 5 1/2-furlong Dixieland Stakes, 1:04.12, was the fastest since 1994, and he was able to relax early in the race. Now we'll see if he can get a mile in the Grade III Southwest Stakes.
Fabulous Strike, coming off a front-running victory in the Fall Highweight Handicap, heads an 8-horse field in the $100,000 Gravesend Handicap (gr. III) Dec. 27 at Aqueduct.
Connections of Racecar Rhapsody are thinking ahead. There's no other explanation for choosing Churchill Downs as the site of his final workout ahead of Keeneland's grade II Coolmore Lexington Stakes.
Before I looked twice at the past performances, I was concerned that trainer Nick Zito ordered the final Wood Memorial workout for War Pass nine days before the grade I race. But then I realized the trainer was following a pattern familiar to him and his horse.
War Pass has never raced behind another horse, so an intriguing aspect of the Grade III Tampa Bay Derby will be to see whether something jumps out in front of him early, and how War Pass reacts in such case. There's one in this field that just might do that.
On Jan. 19, after Eoin Harty sent Colonel John out for his first recorded workout of the year, he said he'd crank him up from there for the Grade III Sham Stakes. Now it's time to see how hard the crank's been turned.
On paper, Z Humor tops the field in the Sam F. Davis Stakes, and his running style and jockey Garrett Gomez should get him into position to win. The question will be whether he can relax in the opening stages of the race.
Last year, trainer Steve Asmussen finished third in the grade III Risen Star Stakes, beaten by shippers from California and Florida. This year, he appears to have the upper hand with Pyro.
We have one horse in mind for the top spot in Saturday's Grade II Robert B. Lewis, and that is the aptly-named Crown of Thorns, a son of Repent trained by Richard Mandella.
The best of the East will meet the best of the West in the $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II) on Summit of Speed day at Calder Race Course July 7.
Hard to believe the Santa Anita Derby looks like the best betting race of the big three Triple Crown preps on Saturday. Or is it?
The first reported foal by millionaire Say Florida Sandy is a filly born Jan. 26 at Amy Boll's Buckridge Farm near Stuyvesant, N.Y.
I got hooked on Smarty Jones just off his name--then really got interested off his run in the Count Fleet when he stumbled out of the gate, swept three wide around the field and cleared by five.
While we haven't been covering Saratoga County as a potential Kentucky Derby contender on
TheDowneyProfile.com, he is nominated to the Triple Crown, and there are several angles going for him in the Gotham.
In our last story, we demonstrated that splits close to 12 seconds per furlong are usually employed to win the Kentucky Derby. In this installment, we examine pre-Derby splits of the last 10 winners.
What do War Emblem and Fusaichi Pegasus have in common? Yes, they each won the Kentucky Derby. And they each did it in a similar way.
By Dick Downey
The last Kentucky Derby won by a Dual Qualifier ("DQ")--a three year old with a dosage index of 4.00 or less that's within 10 pounds of the highweight in the Experimental Free Handicap--was Silver Charm in 1997.
TheDowneyProfile.com's guest picker for the Risen Star is Ryan Driscoll.
Will the Breeders' Cup Juvenile jinx be broken in 2004? We won't know until May 1--unless none of the Juvenile starters is entered in the Kentucky Derby--but this is as good a time as any to see what the starters from last year's edition of the race are doing now.
Nine Irish-based, Aiden O'Brien-trained colts, led by ONE COOL CAT and GRAND REWARD, were nominated to the 2004 VISA Triple Crown Challenge. Only one of them, TUMBLEBRUTUS, has raced in the United States.
Multi-millionaire and New York champion Say Florida Sandy has been purchased privately by Walter Downey from John Rotella and will enter stud at Amy Boll's Buckridge Farm near Stuyvesant, N.Y.
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