Jockey Omar Berrio was suspended for six months by Del Mar stewards Aug. 13 after he tested positive for cocaine.
- By Ray Paulick
Hollywood Park planned to conduct a full card of racing on its Cushion Track Sunday, one day after jockeys complained late in the day about "waves," or clumps of synthetic material, that a track official said were caused by problems with the equipment used to maintain the new surface.
Horse Greeley, a homebred son of Mr. Greeley, charged to the lead coming out of the turn and won the Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) on closing day Wednesday at the seaside Southern California track.
Victor Espinoza finished with 60 winners to clinch his second Hollywood Park spring/summer meeting title as the Inglewood track closed its 61-day meet on Sunday.
Of the 13 horses entered for Sunday's Queen's Plate at Woodbine, 11 have previously run at the Ontario track. But one of the two that hasn't started at Woodbine was made the morning line favorite, and for good reason.
Stonerside Stable's Bob and John, winner of the Sham Stakes (gr. III) and third in the recent San Felipe (gr. II), will run next in the April 8 Wood Memorial (gr. I), trainer Bob Baffert confirmed Tuesday.
Jockey Victor Espinoza Wednesday lost a final appeal of a seven-day suspension handed down by Santa Anita stewards in March and will begin serving his days starting with the opening day at Santa Anita program on Sunday.
Multiple grade II winner Imperialism will get a new jockey for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), owner Steve Taub said Monday. The gray son of Langfuhr, who had been ridden by Victor Espinoza in all of his three starts since being purchased privately by Taub in early January, will now be ridden by Hall of Fame candidate Kent Desormeaux.
Jockey Victor Espinoza completed a sweep of the President's Day stakes doubleheader at Santa Anita when he guided Puerto Banus through heavy traffic in the stretch for a neck victory in the grade II, $200,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap. Less than one length separated the top five finishers in the turf marathon.
Star Parade took the early lead and held off Bare Necessities by a head to capture Monday's grade I, $250,000 Santa Maria Handicap for fillies and mares at Santa Anita Park.
It took a photo-finish...for fifth-place...in the third and last race of the International Jockeys' Championship at Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong Wednesday night, and by the slimmest of margins, Australian Damien Oliver earned the award.
Some of the top international jockeys, including Frankie Dettori, Kieren Fallon, Mick Kinane, Christophe Soumillon, and Victor Espinoza will square off Wednesday evening at Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong for the International Jockey Championship.
Jockey Victor Espinoza and former International Jockeys' Championship champion Olivier Peslier have been added to the line-up for the sixth International Jockeys' Championship at Happy Valley in Hong Kong on Dec. 10.
Wednesday's ESPY Awards include the "Outstanding Jockey of the Year" honor.
Youbet.com broke its single-day handle record of $1 million following the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) on May 18.
Flying Dash rallied along the inside to win Saturday's $250,000 Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIIT) on a rain-softened turf course at Hawthorne, giving jockey Victor Espinoza his second derby win in as many weekends.
Jockey Victor Espinoza returns to Southern California to win the Inglewood aboard Night Patrol.
Mountain Rage kicked clear of Doc Holiday in the stretch to win Sunday's $82,050 La Puente Stakes at Santa Anita. Under Victor Espinoza, the Bob Baffert-trained son of Mecke completed the mile in 1:34.84 on firm turf.
Following Officer's six-length romp in the restricted Zany Tactics Stakes at Santa Anita Sunday, trainer Bob Baffert is considering the 1 1/16-mile Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland for the colt's next start.
Jockey Pat Day will ride D. Wayne Lukas-trained Spain for the first time since winning the Turfway Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) in September of 2000 in the $500,000 Apple Blossom (gr. I) on April 6 at Oaklawn Park.
The Allen E. Paulson Living Trust's Azeri earned her first grade I stakes win in her fifth career start at Santa Anita Sunday, when the 4-year-old daughter of Jade Hunter won the $300,000 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap.
Heavy show pool wagering on 2-5 favorite Love At Noon in Santa Anita's feature race Wednesday resulted in exorbitant show payouts for the top three finishers in the six-furlong sprint when Mike Pegram's filly finished off the board.
The Thoroughbred Corporation's homebred Popular was headed in the stretch by 13-10 favorite Roman Dancer, then fought back to the lead under jockey Victor Espinoza to win Sunday's $107,900 San Miguel Stakes (gr. III) by a nose at Santa Anita.
The Thoroughbred Corp.'s Habibti edged 4-5 favorite You in the $358,000 Hollywood Starlet Stakes to earn her second career grade I victory in Hollywood Park's Sunday feature race.
The saga of musical jockey agents in Southern California continued Saturday as top journeyman Corey Nakatani revealed he would retain veteran agent Tony Matos effective for the upcoming Santa Anita season. Earlier in the week, Hall of Famer Gary Stevens announced he would be ending his professional relationship with Matos at the conclusion of the current Hollywood Park season and that he had retained the services of Brian Beach.
The Big Top has been taken down and racing's "Greatest Show on Earth" has moved on. But that doesn't mean there aren't any talented entertainers left in New York to provide thrills and chills for fans of all ages.
Hal Earnhardt's El Corredor willed his way in front of Performing Magic in deep stretch then held off Figlio Mio to win Sunday's $250,000 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) for the second consecutive year.
On Sunday at Del Mar, The Thoroughbred Corporation scored another grade I win with an impressive looking chestnut. One day after Point Given romped home in the Travers Stakes (gr. I), Habibti won the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante by two lengths.
The Thoroughbred Corporation's Officer remained undefeated from three starts with a stakes-record setting victory over two rivals in the $138,000 Best Pal Stakes (gr. III) and Double Cat, a half-sister to War Chant, earned her first win on Wednesday at Del Mar.
Hal J. Earnhardt's El Corredor returned from a lengthy layoff to win the $150,000 Pat O'Brien Handicap (gr. II) on Sunday at Del Mar.
If there were any doubts about who's queen of the hill out West these days, Lazy Slusan put 'em on ice on June 3, running away with the $254,300 Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I) at 1 1/16 miles.
Trainer Nick Zito announced this afternoon that Victor Espinoza, who was replaced on Congaree by Jerry Bailey, has been named to ride A P Valentine in this Saturday's Preakness Stakes.
Cutting back to a one-turn sprint after running sixth in Point Given's San Felipe (gr. II), Greystone Stable and Vincenzo LoVerso's Skip to the Stone pressed the pace before drawing away to win Saturday's $150,000 Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at Aqueduct.
Go ahead, tell Congaree he doesn't have the experience or seasoning to win the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). He'll laugh in your face, just as he did to those who questioned his ability to defeat the mighty Monarchos in the April 17 Wood Memorial (gr. II) off only three career starts. We're talking about a colt who literally was born a fighter, and who has been defying the odds ever since. When you have to fight to get born, there isn't a challenge life has to offer that you back away from. To Congaree, the $750,000 Wood was just another race at just another track against just another horse. And the result was just another of his resounding victories.
Three Plus U Stable's Northern Quest, taking advantage of a soft turf course he seems to prefer, split horses at the top of the stretch en route to a 1 1/2-length victory in the $242,500 Golden Gate Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) on Sunday at Golden Gate Fields. Under Victor Espinoza, the 6-year-old French-bred completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:58.58.
Spain made a case for herself for 3-year-old filly Eclipse Award honors with an upset win in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) only to be trumped three weeks later when Surfside convincingly defeated males in the Clark Handicap (gr. II). Spain put in some last-minute campaigning Saturday, defeating reigning 2-year-old champion Chilukki in the $200,000 La Brea Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita.
Follow the Money earned her second graded stakes win on the year in the $150,000 Dahlia Handicap (gr. IIT), Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Kentucky Derby (gr. I) runner-up Aptitude returned to the races at Churchill Downs Sunday, winning a 1 1/4-mile allowance race by 2 3/4 lengths.
Juddmonte Farms' Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) runner-up Aptitude will return to the races at Churchill Downs Sunday, opening day of the track's fall meet.
Augustin Stable's No Matter What split horses to surge to the lead and then held off Theoretically in deep stretch as horses making their North American racing debuts filled the top three finishing positions in the $250,000 Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) Sunday at Del Mar.
David and Holly Wilson's Early Pioneer posted the biggest win of his career when the 5-year-old gelding overtook 7-5 favorite General Challenge in the stretch to win the $1-million Sempra Energy Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park on Sunday.
Jockey Victor Espinoza posted his second graded win on Sunday's Hollywood Park card.
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