Grand Couturier, winner of the 2008 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes (gr. IT), has been retired from racing.
Al Khali finally got loose in mid-stretch and ran down odds-on favorite Winchester in the final yards to win the $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT) Sept. 11 at Belmont Park.
Millionaire 7-year-old Grand Couturier has not been a factor in four starts this season, but his connections are hoping he will return to form in a race he won a year ago, the Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT) at Belmont.
Winless since scoring an upset in last year's Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT), Telling received a brilliant ride from Garrett Gomez to win the $500,000 race for the second straight year Aug. 14 at Saratoga.
Despite the return of the last three winners of the race, the 2010 edition of the Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) lacks a true standout. That was made possible after the defection of probable favorite Take the Points.
Champion Gio Ponti will attempt to break a five-race losing streak and defend his title in the $600,000 Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT) July 10 at Belmont.
All eyes will be on Churchill Downs May 1 for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and its supporting stakes card, but Belmont Park offers an attractive program as well with a pair of grade III turf events.
Seven-year-old turf specialist Presious Passion will look to defend his Mac Diarmida title Feb. 28 at Gulfstream Park. Presious Passion was second in last year's Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park.
Elliot Mavorah's Interpatation pulled a shocker in the $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) and did it in sensational fashion. The 7-year-old gelding was passed by Gio Ponti with a furlong remaining, then re-rallied on the heavy favorite to score a 43-1 upset Oct. 3 at Belmont Park.
Christophe Clement has had many talented stakes winners during his years as one of the nation's leading turf conditioners, but the French-born trainer now admits Gio Ponti may be at the top of that list. On Oct. 3, the 4-year-old son of Tale of the Cat seeks his fifth consecutive grade I grass victory when he lines up for the $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont Park.
Favored Grand Couturier got the soft going he appreciates and a solid pace to chase, helping him to his first win of the year in the $158,500 Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT) at Belmont Park Sept. 13.
Grand Couturier heads into the $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap (gr. IIT) at Belmont Park Sept. 13 as the morning line favorite in spite of a fifth-place finish in Saratoga's Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) last month that left trainer Robert Ribaudo a bit perplexed.
A day of upsets at Saratoga was punctuated by the most shocking surprise of all in the $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT), as the 33-1 longshot Telling took over approaching the top of the stretch and held off Better Talk Now for his first stakes win.
Jason, Tom, and, Tim Holland from twinspires preview the Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) at Saratoga on August 15.
Marc Keller's Grand Couturier has only won three of the 14 stakes he has attempted in this country, but the 6-year-old horse sure knows how to pick his spots. All three of the scores have been in grade I races, including two in the prestigious Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes (gr. IT) at Saratoga.
With two previous winners of the Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap (gr. IT) slated to contest this year's running at Saratoga Aug. 15, it's safe to say the day will not be lacking in excitement.
Castleton Lyons' Gio Ponti, fresh off victories in the Frank Kilroe Mile (gr. IT) and Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT), will shoot for his third consecutive grade I score July 11 in the $500,000 Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park.
The second running of the $200,000 Monmouth Stakes June 13, a 1 1/8-mile turf event that has the look of a graded event, figures to serve as a solid prep for the $750,000 United Nations Stakes (gr. IT), the New Jersey track's top grass offering of the season on July 4.
Most of the leading contenders for the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic to be run at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 24 are already stabled in South Florida for the winter season, but a few will be flying in for the 1 1/8 miles test, including West Point Thoroughbreds' 4-year-old Macho Again from Fair Grounds in New Orleans.
Robert Ribaudo, the small-stable trainer of Grand Couturier, considers himself lucky in a sport of declining fortunes. One of his former owner got back into the racing game and now they have a solid contender in the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT).
As it often does, the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) has produced the morning-line favorite for the the $3-million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) as Aidan O'Brien's Irish raider Soldier of Fortune leads a packed field of 11 at Santa Anita Oct. 25.
HRTV's weekly series analyzing each division of the Breeders' Cup. This week's episode looks at the pre-entries.
Marc Keller's Grand Couturier scored his second consecutive grade I win, coming from off the pace to post a resounding victory in the $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (gr. IT) Sept. 27 at Belmont Park.
After battling dual-classic winner Big Brown down the stretch in the Sept. 13 Monmouth Stakes only to fall a neck short, Gary Tanaka's Proudinsky will try to get back to his winning ways when he takes on eight turfers in the $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) Sept. 27 at Belmont Park.
Marc Keller's Grand Couturier had to check under Alan Garcia at the top of the lane, but re-rallied, split horses in mid-stretch, and drew clear to win the $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) for the second consecutive year Aug. 16 at Saratoga. Better Talk Now finished second, followed by Interpatation.
Red Rocks and Dancing Forever, both fresh off grade I turf victories at Belmont, will square off in the star-studded Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) Aug. 16 at Saratoga, a field that also includes three other grade I winners, including Grand Couturier, who won the event a year ago.
Trainer Steve Asmussen said he wanted a true measure of champion Curlin's potential to compete against the best grass runners in the world, and that's what he's likely to get in the $500,000 Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park July 12.
- By Claire Novak
In his last victory, the Aug. 11 Sword Dancer (gr. IT) at Saratoga, Grand Couturier hardly got the respect he deserved. That may change Oct. 27 in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT).
Doctor Dino had not won since last October, but reuniting with jockey Olivier Peslier may have been the key to getting him over the top, as the 5-year-old French-bred courageously outfought Sunriver to win by a head in the $500,000 Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT) Sept. 8 at Belmont Park.
For the connections of the seven horses entered in the $500,000 Man o' War (gr. IT) at Belmont Park Sept. 8, decision time is drawing near for the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT).
- By Claire Novak
Trying to catch Calvin Borel for an interview during his last day of racing at Saratoga was like attempting to pin down a darting dragonfly, and the Cajun jockey looked the part in Bill Farish's brilliant green and yellow silks as he scurried back to the private courtyard behind the jockeys' room before the fourth race of the day.
The $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) was setting up perfectly for heavy favorite English Channel. After coming from well off the pace, the 5-year-old son of Smart Strike made his usual late kick, rallying under jockey John Velazquez to take the lead as they headed for home. The only problem was, Grand Couturier had a finishing kick that was too much even for one of America's top turf horses, as the 4-year-old English-bred colt came flying along the rail to take Saratoga's feature in dramatic fashion.
Woodlander put the final touch on a successful Aqueduct season for leading owner Winning Move Stable Sunday when the 5-year-old edged Golden Commander by a neck in capturing the $114,100 Fort Marcy Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the grass at 1 1/16 miles.
Marc Keller's Grand Couturier, third-place finisher in Saratoga's Sword Dancer (gr. IT) last summer as a 3-year-old, makes his season debut in Sunday's $100,000-added Fort Marcy Handicap (gr. IIIT) at 1 1/16 miles on the turf at Aqueduct.
Marc Keller's Grand Couturier, a 3-year-old who was only beaten 2 ¼ lengths in Longchamp's Grand Prix de Paris (Fr-I), is one to watch in the overflow field entered for Saturday's $150,000 Red Smith Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Aqueduct turf course.
When Bushwood Stable's Better Talk Now wins, it's usually close. Under Ramon Dominguez, the late closer gutted out a three-horse photo by a head to win Sunday's $269,156 Sky Classic Stakes (Can-II) on a yielding turf at Woodbine.
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