Juddmonte Farms' Ventura sat patiently off the pace, slipped through along the hedge at the head of the lane and pulled clear to win the $400,000 Just a Game Stakes (gr. IT) June 7 at Belmont Park. The victory came by three-quarters of a length over a fast-closing Lady of Venice. Time for the one-mile race over a "firm" Widener Turf Course was 1:32.75.
Jon and Sarah Kelly's Vacare has aced nearly every test thrown at her thus far, from her most recent win in the First Lady Stakes (gr. IIT) last October to a score in the 2006 Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup (gr. IT). But trainer Christophe Clement is asking for a career-best effort from the 5-year-old daughter of Lear Fan when he brings her back for her first start of the season in the $400,000 Just a Game Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park June 7.
Beaten by a nose as the 2-5 favorite in the Jim Murray Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) one month ago, Champs Elysees tries to atone in the $300,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) on the Hollywood Park turf course June 7.
Favored Sudan, a group I winner in Italy last year, got his first U.S. win for trainer Bobby Frankel when he outclassed his six rivals with a front-running victory in the $100,000 Golden Gate Fields Turf (gr. IIIT) at the California track.
Heavy favorite Precious Kitten got her first win in the Lael Stables silks when she collared pacesetting Diamond Diva at the top of the lane and cruised to a 2 1/4-length victory in the $283,000 Gamely (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park May 26.
With his huge Preakness Stakes (gr. I) win in his rear-view mirror, Big Brown left Baltimore Monday morning right at 10 a.m. to head to New York and his date with destiny in the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Ginger Punch, last year's champion older female, had her first work since winning the Louisville Stakes (gr.II) on the morning of May 16 at Belmont Park.
The last time Bel Air Sizzle was entered in a race, it was through error. Less than 72 hours after the 3-year-old filly scored a solid 2 3/4-length allowance win at Hollywood Park, she was placed in the April 27 Melair Stakes, where trainer Barry Abrams intended to enter another starter, Lethal Heat, instead.
Juddmonte Farms' Champs Elysees should attract the most attention in a five-horse field entered for the $250,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap on the Hollywood Park turf May 10. Trainer Bobby Frankel goes for his seventh win in the 14-year history of the grade II event.
Steady rain and sloppy track conditions did nothing to dampen the fortunes of Stronach Stables and trainer Bobby Frankel when the 4-year-old homebred Giant Gizmo scored a come-from-behind victory in the $166,050 Alysheba Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs, giving them their second graded stakes win on the May 2 card.
Trainer Bobby Frankel takes aim at Hollywood Park's $100,000 Inglewood Handicap (gr. III) on May 3 with three entrants: Heroi Do Bafra, Hello Sunday and Storm Military.
Frank Calabrese's homebred Dreaming of Anna, winner of the March 15 Hillsborough Stakes (gr. IIIT) in her last start, will be the one to beat when nine older fillies and mares heads postward in the $150,000-added Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIIT).
Frank Stronach's 5-year-old Ginger Punch heads a field packed with talent in the $300,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) day May 2. Facing the Eclipse Award winner will be grade I winner Lear's Princess, grade II winner Kettleoneup, and blacktype winner Unforgotten.
Brother Derek, winner of the 2006 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and fourth in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), returned from a 14 1/2-month layoff April 20 to run second in as the 9-10 favorite in a one-mile classified allowance race at Santa Anita.
Ventura proved her affinity for Polytrack and American stakes competition when she mowed down a field of experienced contenders at Keeneland in the $200,000 Vinery Madison Stakes (gr. II) April 9.
Ike and Dawn Thrash's Dawn After Dawn was a solid performer in each of her four past starts, registering two wins -- one in the La Canada Stakes (gr. II) -- under jockey Garrett Gomez.
Trainer Bobby Frankel couldn't have been happier that his champion Ginger Punch drew the rail for the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) on April 5 at Oaklawn Park.
Odds-on choice Sugar Swirl completed an unprecedented sweep of Gulfstream Park's sprint series for fillies and mares with yet another dazzling win for trainer Brian Lynch in the $170,000 Shirley Jones Handicap (gr. II) on March 29.
Santa Anita leading jockey Garrett Gomez announced he is leaving for Keeneland next week while Rafael Bejarano, who has been sidelined since cracking two vertebrae in a spill on March 13 is nearing a return.
Barry Abrams' and Madeline Auerbach's Lethal Heat is making her first start in graded stakes company, will be running off the turf for the first time, and is coming back in 10 days from a 1 3/4-length allowance win. But Abrams fully expects the 3-year-old daughter of Unusual Heat to handle those factors in the $100,000 Santa Paula Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita March 30.
Costume, thanks to a little chicanery from jockey Garrett Gomez, gave trainer Bobby Frankel his eighth win in the Santa Ana Handicap (gr. IIT) with an all-out front-running victory on the Santa Anita turf March 23.
After finally breaking through with a victory in the Buena Vista Handicap (gr. IIT) for trainer Bobby Frankel last month, Juddmonte Farms' Costume returns in the $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Santa Anita turf March 23, Easter Sunday.
Indian Blessing's surprising slip from the ranks of the unbeaten in the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) March 8 left Country Star and Proud Spell atop the betting in Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, which closed March 9.
Ariege, racing for the first time on a synthetic track, took the overland route to victory in the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I), holding off favored Golden Doc A by a half-length March 8.
Last December, Gary Tanaka's Proudinsky lost the San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) to the Dan Hendricks-trained Daytona by just three-quarters of a length. But roles were reversed March 8, as Proudinsky nipped Daytona in the stretch of the $600,000 Mervyn Munitz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT).
Dan Hendricks saddled Daytona to four consecutive stakes victories in the past five months, his most recent being the Feb. 9 Fair Grounds Handicap (gr. IIIT). In the March 8 Mervyn Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) at Fair Grounds, the trainer looks to extend that streak and add another graded win to his runner's resume.
Double Trouble attained grade I glory in her first try for trainer Bobby Frankel with a come-from-behind victory in the $245,000 Santa Maria Handicap (gr. I) on Santa Anita's Cushion Track Feb. 9.
Ginger Punch was all action in 2007. Her victory in the 2007 Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Monmouth Park proved powerful enough to propel the daughter of Awesome Again to an Eclipse Award in the older female division
Heavily backed Champs Elysees took the overland route for Garrett Gomez on the turn for home but won the $150,000 San Marcos Stakes (gr. IIT) with plenty left Jan. 19 on the Santa Anita turf.
Champion Wait a While had to, well, wait a while for her seasonal bow, but everything now appears set for the 5-year-old's 2008 debut in the $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) Jan. 14 on the Santa Anita grass course.
The $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita, postponed Jan. 5 due to the unsafe condition of the course's new Cushion Track following a powerful storm, returns with its original field of 3-year-old fillies intact Jan. 13.
Trainer Bobby Frankel brings out another of his Empire Maker youngsters, Juddmonte Farms' homebred Turn Away, in the $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies on the Santa Anita Cushion Track Jan. 5.
When Citronnade makes an easy lead she's nearly impossible to catch, as she demonstrated for her rivals in the $150,000 Dahlia Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares on the Hollywood Park turf course Dec. 16.
Country Star, one of the leading 2-year-old fillies in the nation, is now two-for-two in grade I opportunities after a scintillating 2 3/4-length triumph in the $425,500 Hollywood Starlet Dec. 15.
Country Star and Set Play, both grade I winners on synthetic surfaces, lead a field of nine 2-year-old fillies entered for the $421,500 Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) Dec. 15.
A quintet of newcomers, two of them trained by Bobby Frankel, is among a field of eight contesting the $250,000 Turf Cup (gr. I) on the Hollywood Park grass course Dec. 8.
Precious Kitten provided the best performance of her career when she turned back champion filly Wait a While in the stretch en route to a convincing 1 1/4-length victory in the $500,000 Matriarch (gr. IT) on the Hollywood Park turf Nov. 25.
Lewis Lakin's Pure Clan, unbeaten in three career starts, will stretch out to 1 1/16 miles and aim for grade II status when she heads to the post against eight other 2-year-old fillies in the $250,000 Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs Nov. 24.
If trainer Bobby Frankel could write a perfect scenario for the $400,000 Citation Handicap (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park Nov. 23, it would involve a dry forecast and a one-two finish. Frankel sends out a pair of starters in the 1 1/16-mile turf event -- Silent Name, whose 12th-place finish in the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) was a result of the soft turf, says the trainer, and Proudinsky, whose back-to-back wins in his last two starts have earned him the jump to grade I company for the second time in his career.
Rafael Bejarano, one of the top five leading riders in the nation, is expected to join the Southern California jockey colony on a permanent basis when he begins riding Nov. 21 at Hollywood Park.
Jockeys Rafael Bejarano and Julien Leparoux, currently among the top 12 riders in the nation by purses won this year, will move their tack to Southern California this winter, both riders' agents said Nov. 9.
Bit of Whimsy, upset winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) Oct. 13 at Keeneland, will carry her highest weight ever and take on a field of 13 other 3-year-old fillies, including two previously beaten competitors, in the $150,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes (gr. IIT) Nov. 10 at Churchill Downs.
Sugar Shake proved much the best in the $107,300 Turnback the Alarm Handicap (gr.III) at Aqueduct Nov. 4, but the winner had an assist when the 9-5 favorite, Altesse, was pulled up after her rein broke early in the race.
In the most thrilling stretch duel of the day, Ginger Punch took the worst of it on the rail but still won the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) over Hystericalady.
Juddmonte Farms' Jibboom came into the Lexus Raven Run (gr. II) off two seconds in allowance company, was making just her fourth career start, and had to run down 12 other fillies. But Oct. 20, going seven furlongs over Keeneland's Polytrack, the filly won her first graded stakes event with a bang.
Latent Heat, a grade I-winning son of Maria's Mon bred and raced by Juddmonte Farm, will stand his first season at stud in 2008 at Woods Edge Farm in Kentucky, it was announced Oct. 18.
Trainer Tony Dutrow won his 1,000th career race Oct. 18 in the ninth race at Belmont Park with Zayat Stables' New York-bred La Ransom.
The Brazilian-bred Out of Control stole the spotlight from Lava Man and Surf Cat in Oak Tree's $252,000 Oak Tree Mile (gr. IIT) with a heart-pounding nose victory over Zann at Santa Anita Park Oct. 7.
Trainer Carla Gaines knew from the beginning that she had an extremely talented filly in Warren Williamson's homebred Nashoba's Key, unbeaten in six starts. But even she admits she's a little surprised at the filly's rapid rise in the distaff ranks.
Most of the intrigue surrounding the $222,000 Palomar Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) Sept. 1 involved which of two outstanding fillies trainer Bobby Frankel would scratch, Price Tag or Precious Kitten. Once he withdrew Price Tag, Precious Kitten, with a grade I victory over the Del Mar turf already at the meet, became a prohibitive favorite.
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