Robert and Janice McNair's Cowboy Cal, runner-up here last fall in the Hollywood Derby (gr. I), will try to bounce back from a 10th-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) in Hollywood Park's $300,000 Citation Handicap on Nov. 27.
El Gato Malo's owners had entered their Turf Sprint contender in an optional claiming race Nov. 5, fearing they would get shut out of the big dance. But a spot in the Turf Sprint came open and now they feel they have a shot.
West Point Thoroughbreds will be represented by graded stakes winners Macho Again and Awesome Gem in the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), West Point president Terry Finley confirmed Sept. 16.
El Gato Malo makes his third start since winning last year's Lone Star Derby (gr. III) in the $150,000 San Fernando Stakes (gr. II) Jan. 17. The beaten favorite in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) is part of a wide open field of a dozen 4-year-olds in the 1 1/16-mile test over the Pro-Ride racing surface.
The grade III Sir Beaufort Stakes Dec. 26 was downgraded to ungraded status after being switched to the main track, but after being reviewed by the American Graded Stakes Committee, the original status was reinstated.
Favored Gio Ponti waited for room under a patient Garrett Gomez and blasted through the pack mid-stretch to win the $100,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes going away in a race taken off the Santa Anita Park turf course and transferred to the Pro-Ride main surface Dec. 26.
Gio Ponti, attempting to make amends after a troubled trip as the choice in the Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) a month ago, figures to draw considerable attention in a contentious field for the $100,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Santa Anita opening day program Dec. 26.
Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Gayego set a Hollywood Park Cushion Track track record for 6 1/2 furlongs when he won an optional claiming allowance race Nov. 30.
El Gato Malo and Monterey Jazz, both sidelined since stakes victories in Texas this spring, are on the comeback trail, according to trainer Craig Dollase.
IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr.'s Big Brown had his presence announced on the Churchill Downs track shortly before 7 a.m. May 11 with a loud clap of thunder. Unfazed, Big Brown went about his morning activity, jogging one mile with Michelle Nevin up accompanied by a pony.
West Point Thoroughbreds' El Gato Malo, making his first start on traditional dirt, made a dramatic move in late stretch to take the 400,000 Lone Star Derby (gr. III) by a half-length May 10 at Lone Star Park.
El Gato Malo, fifth as the favorite in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) last time out, takes on a dozen 3-year-old rivals in the $400,000 Lone Star Derby (gr. III) May 10 at the Grand Prairie, Texas, racetrack.
The upstart California-bred colt Bob Black Jack, second in the April 5 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) is headed to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) for his next start so long as he has the graded earnings to make the 20-horse field.
Colonel John was all set to run for the roses the morning after his late-running victory in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), but the trainer for the runner-up, the persevering Bob Black Jack, plans to weigh his options.
WinStar Farms' Colonel John emerged as the West Coast's leading Triple Crown contender with a clutch late-running victory before a crowd of 50,358 in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 5.
IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr.'s Big Brown, the unbeaten winner of the Florida Derby (gr. I), remained the top choice of Kentucky Derby fans as the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager reached its midway point April 4.
Colonel John has been installed as a slight favorite over El Gato Malo in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 5. A larger-than-expected field of 11 was entered in the 1 1/8-mile synthetic track test for 3-year-olds.
With the final Derby preps approaching, there is no more room for error. It's time to earn your way into the Run for the Roses or pack up and go home. The three graded stakes this weekend, the grade I Santa Anita Derby and Wood Memorial and grade II Illinois Derby, offer intriguing plot lines that will make or break aspiring Derby hopefuls.
Unbeaten newcomer Big Brown, a dazzling five-length winner in his stakes debut in the $1-million Florida Derby (gr. I), has been installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite for the third and final pool for Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which opens its four-day run April 3.
El Gato Malo and Georgie Boy turned in bullet moves March 29 at Hollywood Park in their final major works for next week's Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).
Craig Dollase thinks grade III winner El Gato Malo will be even tougher in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 5 thanks to his recent defeat.
Despite three losses to reigning 2-year-old champion War Pass, Winchell Thoroughbreds' homebred Pyro is the 4-1 favorite as Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager closed March 9.
War Pass and Pyro are each at odds of 4-1 heading into the final day of wagering for Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager after conclusion of betting March 8.
So, did Saturday's Sham Stakes (gr. III) showcase two exceptional 3-year-olds or was it simply about two top horses running agonizingly slow early and coming home fast late over a synthetic surface? We'll know the answer when they hit the quarter pole at Churchill Downs on May 3.
Odds-on choice El Gato Malo fell from the ranks of the unbeaten when Colonel John held the closer off in the final furlong to win the $200,000 Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita March 1.
West Point Thoroughbreds' El Gato Malo puts his unbeaten record on the line against Colonel John and five others in the $200,000 Sham Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita March 1. Another entrant, Coast Guard, will be scratched due to a minor ankle injury.
Three top contenders from the West Point Thoroughbreds string prepared for starts in graded stakes while breezing for their respective trainers Feb. 21. Led by 4-year-old Awesome Gem, the worktab also included potential Derby contenders El Gato Malo and Saratoga Russell.
Undefeated Triple Crown contender El Gato Malo worked six furlongs at Hollywood Park Feb. 15 in a bullet 1:11 4/5, while across town at Santa Anita, Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) winner Crown of Thorns turned in a leisurely drill. The pair is headed for a showdown in the 1 1/8-mile Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita on March 1.
This year's Future Wager field includes some interesting morning line odds, withy only five of the 23 horses higher than 20-1 and only three less than 15-1. That means that 15 horses are either 15-1 or 20-1. That all seems to imply that no one -- not even the oddsmaker -- has a clue what to make of this year's classic crop so far.
Unbeaten El Gato Malo took advantage of a blistering pace to register a runaway 6 1/4-length victory in the $150,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. III) as the West Coast Triple Crown campaign got underway at Santa Anita Jan. 12.
Massive Drama, who ran third in the CashCall Futurity (gr. I) at Hollywood Park last month, holds the edge in experience against six up-and-coming rivals entered in the $150,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. III), which kicks off the 2008 3-year-old season at Santa Anita Jan. 12.
West Point Thoroughbreds appears to have a good one in the 2-year-old El Gato Malo, who stormed to victory over his Golden Gate Fields' rivals in the $75,000 Gold Rush in just his second start Dec. 15.
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