Wild Desert gave jockey Patrick Valenzuela and stand-in trainer Bobby Frankel their first victory in the $1 million Queen's Plate, the first leg of the Triple Crown for 3-year-old Canadian-breds at Woodbine Sunday.
Heavily favored Megahertz added the Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IIT) to her stellar Southern California resume with her usual late rush Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Megahertz, the West Coast's leading female turf runner, will attempt to snare one major grass stake that has eluded her on Saturday when carrying top weight of 124 pounds in Hollywood Park's $200,000 Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 1/4 miles.
Trainer Bobby Frankel couldn't have drawn up the running of Saturday's $828,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) any better for Saint Liam in his first start for the Hall of Fame conditioner. Saint Liam shook off pacesetter Presidentialaffair coming off the far turn and romped to a 2 3/4-length victory.
Saint Liam, the 8-5 morning line favorite for Saturday's $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I), was reacquainted with Churchill Downs' one-mile racing oval during a Friday morning gallop.
Frank Stronach's Ghostzapper, the 2004 Horse of the Year and champion older male, has been retired after the detection of a small hairline fracture of the left front sesamoid. He will stand at Stronach's Adena Springs Farm near Versailles, Ky.
Undefeated Melhor Ainda made her first graded stakes appearance look easy, winning as the prohibitive favorite in the $111,200 Sands Point (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-old fillies Sunday on the Belmont Park turf.
TNT Stud's undefeated three-year-old filly Melhor Ainda takes on seven rivals in Sunday's $100,000-added Sands Point for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on the Belmont Park turf.
Trainer Bobby Frankel said that reigning Horse of the Year and Metropolitan Mile (gr. I) winner Ghostzapper would likely pass on the Suburban Handicap (gr. I) July 2.
Defending Horse of the Year Ghostzapper will make his first start of 2005 Monday when he goes off the favorite in Belmont Park's traditional Memorial Day feature, the $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I).
Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel has three chances Saturday to enhance his record six victories in the Jim Murray Memorial Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood Park, accounting for one-third of the entrants in 1 1/2-mile grass marathon event worth $350,000.
Trainer Bobby Frankel dialed Maryland Wednesday to obtain the services of Ramon Dominguez to replace the injured Patrick Valenzuela aboard Vangelis in the $350,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood Park Saturday.
Amerman Racing's Chattahoochee War, winner of the recent Transylvania (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland, and the Todd Pletcher-trained duo of Dubleo and Guilliame Tell top a field of nine 3-year-olds entered in the Crown Royal American Turf (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs Friday.
A disgruntled Bobby Frankel told reporters Wednesday morning he may reconsider Ramon Dominguez as the jockey for High Limit's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) run Saturday. Frankel said after reading a quote from the rider in a Louisville Courier-Journal, it seemed the jockey may lack confidence in High Limit to go forward Saturday.
Ogden Mills Phipps' Gotham (gr. III) winner Survivalist breezed five furlongs in :59 3/5 at Belmont Park Monday morning, but trainer Shug McGaughey said he has decided not to run the colt in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and will point instead to the Withers Stakes (gr. II).
Heavily favored Melhor Ainda rallied to a decisive victory in the $112,800 Appalachian Stakes for 3-year-old fillies Sunday at Keeneland, giving jockey John Velazquez his eighth straight victory over a three-day period.
Michael Bello's British-bred Megahertz won the $200,000 Santa Barbara Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares for the third straight time much as she pleased Sunday at Santa Anita Park. And increasingly, that means coming from far back.
Grade I winner Intercontinental was a little headstrong in her first start of the year, but she got the job done under Jerry Bailey to register a repeat victory in the $200,000 Jenny Wiley (gr. IIIT) Sunday at Keeneland.
Trainer Bobby Frankel was keeping a close eye Sunday morning on Cajun Beat, who suffered a career threatening ankle injury when he finished last of six horses in Keeneland's Commonwealth Breeders' Cup (gr. II) Saturday.
As many as five colts who raced in Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) may return in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), to be run May 7 at Churchill Downs.
Megahertz, the mighty mare with a dazzling come-from-behind style, seeks to win the $200,000 Santa Barbara Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Park Sunday for an unprecedented third consecutive year.
Amerman Racing Stables' Chattahoochee War won the Central Bank Transylvania Stakes (gr. IIIT) on Keeneland's opening day, but he had to battle hard to do it. The 3-year-old son of War Chant rallied to nip Guillaume Tell by a nose at the wire, then had to wait for the stewards to disallow an objection to secure the victory.
A field of six, minus Badge of Silver, who has now had to miss the race the past two years, will run in Saturday's Carter Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct.
The Bobby Frankel-trained Megahertz took the overland route with jockey Alex Solis to win Sunday's $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap (gr. IIT) for older fillies and mares at Santa Anita Park.
Megahertz, the diminutive 6-year-old chestnut mare with a big kick, may finally have the opportunity to show it Sunday in the $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Santa Anita turf.
High Limit became the first gate to wire winner of the $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) in 15 years when he rolled to an easy victory in his initial start for trainer Bobby Frankel Saturday at Fair Grounds.
Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's odds-on favorite Badge of Silver returned to his favorite track, Fair Grounds, to register a resurgent victory in the $500,000 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) Saturday.
The challengers keep falling by the wayside for Brazilian-bred Leroidesanimaux, who won the $300,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (gr. IT) Saturday on the Santa Anita turf for his sixth straight victory in the United States.
Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, who sent out Frank Stronach's Ghostzapper to win the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), will have a string of Stronach horses at Canada's Woodbine Racecourse this season.
Sweet Catomine, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and the champion 2-year-old filly of 2004, heads a list of 144 3-year-old fillies nominated to the 131st running of the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on May 6.
Given his head by jockey Patrick Valenzuela, Brazilian-bred License To Run spurted away from the field on the final turn and romped to a five-length victory Saturday in the $150,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap Handicap (gr. II).
Stronach Stable's Ghostzapper, Horse of the Year in 2004, continues to progress in his training, working a handy five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 on Monday at the Palm Meadows Training Center in preparation for a possible start in the April 9 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II).
Returning to the scene of his lone United States victory, lightly raced Lundy's Liability registered a smart win over Truly a Judge in the San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park Sunday.
Sweet Lips rallied along the rail under Rene Douglas to tally a 1 1/2-length victory in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff at odds of 12-1 for trainer Bobby Frankel at Santa Anita Park Saturday.
Horse of the Year Ghostzapper breezed an easy half-mile at Palm Meadows Friday morning in :49 3/5 in his first workout since an authorative win in the Breeders' Cup Classic - powered by Dodge (gr. I) Oct. 30.
Smarty Jones grabbed most of the headlines in 2004, but it was Ghostzapper who earned the coveted gold Eclipse Award trophy and was named Horse of the Year for 2004 at the Eclipse Awards ceremony Jan. 24.
Eight evenly-matched older turf specialists are set to go postward in Saturday's San Marcos Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita.
Trainer Bobby Frankel said Jan. 17 Stronach Stable's 2004 Horse of the Year candidate Ghostzapper could make his 2005 debut at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.
Badge of Silver, ridden by Jerry Bailey, held off the steady closer Dynever to win the $100,000 Hal's Hope Handicap (gr. III) by a neck at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Trainer Bobby Frankel, just three wins short of 800 career victories at Santa Anita Park, saddles horses in both the $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) and the $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) Saturday.
Jockey Jordan Charkoudian rides first winner...The Jockey Club deadline for naming foals is Feb. 1.
Edmund Gann's heavily favored Personal Legend got trainer Bobby Frankel's year off to a good start with a win in the $100,000 Stage Door Betty Handicap at Calder Race Course Saturday.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, jockey John Velazquez and owner Michael Gill head the individual earnings lists for 2004 in North America, according to final statistics released Jan. 1 by Equibase Company LLC.
Kinsman Stable's 4-year-old homebred filly Ebony Breeze has won both of her previous starts at Calder Race Course and goes for win number three Friday as one of the choices in a field of seven fillies and mares set for the $100,000 Chaposa Springs Handicap (gr. III).
With less than one week remaining, the 2004 American racing season will conclude with new leaders in earnings for jockeys and trainers.
- By Jack Shinar
Hollywood Park President Rick Baedeker blamed the explosion of the California Indian casino industry for the ongoing drop in attendance and handle during the Inglewood track's 2004 autumn meeting, which ended Dec. 20.
The Bobby Frankel-trained Arvada held off favored Humaita by a head to win the $200,000 La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares on the turf Saturday at Calder Race Course.
Stronach Stables' Ghostzapper and Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Roses in May, the one-two finishers in the $4-million Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), will take different paths in 2005, at least until the summer when they could square off again in the Whitney Handicap (gr. I).
Trainer Bobby Frankel's domination of the Matriarch (gr. IT) is bordering on the ridiculous. His Intercontinental and Etoile Montante not only ran first and second in the $500,000 mile turf event Sunday iat Hollywood Park, but the winner is a half-sister to last year's winner Heat Haze.
The Brazilian-bred Leroidesanimaux, who set a track record at Saturday's 1 1/16-mile distance on the Hollywood Park turf May 1, proved it was no fluke with a determined victory in the $400,000 Citation Handicap (gr. IT).
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