Three of Smart Strike's best sons-who retired to stud in the space of four years-are shaping up as if they have the potential to make their way to the upper echelons of the North American stallion colony.
A 4.3% uptick in total sales was offset by a 25% drop in median and a rise in the RNA rate.
Former philosophy professor J. Paul Reddam keeps his Kentucky Derby dreams in perspective with Santa Anita Derby winner I'll Have Another.
Six-year-old Great Hunter, one of the leading juveniles of his year, has been purchased privately to stand at Haras Los Samanes in Venezuela.
Three-time grade I winner Einstein drew the outside post for his 2009 debut in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I), when he attempts to add a grade I victory on dirt to his impressive record Jan. 31 at Gulfstream Park.
In his final timed tune-up for the March 29 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), Horse of the Year Curlin dazzled onlookers at Nad Al Sheba with a show of contained power March 24.
Fourteen horses, potentially matching the largest field in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) in a quarter century, are headed for the $1 million event March 1 in a race that redefines "wide open."
Monterey Jazz made the transition from graded turf winner to Cushion Track with aplomb, going gate to wire to sneak away with the $300,000 Strub (gr. II) at Santa Anita Feb. 2.
Chances are Air Commander, who won the San Fernando Stakes (gr. II) by a nose at odds of 52-1 three weeks ago, won't slip under the radar again in the $300,000 Strub Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 2 on the Santa Anita Cushion Track.
Tiago, a two-time grade I winner last year making his first start since a fifth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic Powered by Dodge (gr. I), takes on Malibu (gr. I) victor Johnny Eves in the $200,000 San Fernando Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Jan. 12.
James Barry's Divine Park looks to make it a perfect 4-for-4 in his young career, but will have overcome post 14 and defeat a full field of challengers in the $250,000 Malibu Stakes (gr. I) Dec. 26 on opening day at Santa Anita Park.
Great Hunter and Spring at Last, two runners for Doug O'Neill that were sidelined by ankle chips, could make their next starts before the end of the year, according to O'Neill. Great Hunter could be headed for the Strub Series, while Spring at Last may earn other trip to Dubai.
Running notes of the highlights of the Keeneland November sale, which began Nov. 5 and included 17 horses selling in excess of $1 million.
Paul Reddam's Great Hunter, who finished 13th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) will miss the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) after suffering a chipped ankle in his right front leg, trainer Doug O'Neill said Saturday.
Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense remains a "possible" starter in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Almost a week has gone by since the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and all the analyses have been written. While it's time to look ahead to the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), there still are some Derby points that are worth discussing.
Arriving in Kentucky two weeks ago, the feeling here was that there were two horses in particular to concentrate on who looked to be coming into the Derby with enough angles to make them live at a decent price. After watching most of the Derby horses work and gallop at Keeneland and Churchill, things have changed a bit, as has track condition.
The post position draw is history, and it is time for racing's greatest minds to start planning strategy. Will there be a fast pace or a slow pace? Do you send or take back and see what others do? Will the outside horses break sharply and try to get to the inside or take back and hope to get lucky to find the holes? The wheels are turning.
It was 11:15, and the 11 a.m. post position selection draw at the racing office still had not begun, as owners and trainers of Kentucky Derby horses paced back and forth or just stood anxiously waiting to see if all their hard work was about to be nullified by some random, ominous-sounding number.
Although trainer Doug O'Neill has played a significant role in some of racing's biggest days, on May 5 he will experience saddling a Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contender for the first time. After the defection of his trainee Cobalt Blue, O'Neill will be saddling two horses in the Derby, Great Hunter and Liquidity
Welcome to Derby Week, or week 11 of the "Starting Gate," one person's look at this year's Kentucky Derby lineup. As we approach Wednesday, entry day, this how we would handicap the top 20 contenders for the May 5 Run for the Roses. Actual entry into America's greatest race is reliant on graded stakes earnings -- this lineup is based on some speculation, past performances, and potential performance on Saturday.
Doug O'Neill ruled the Derby roost Friday morning, sending out seven workers at Keeneland, including his three starters for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). When it was over, O'Neill and exercise rider Tony Romero were all smiles.
Great Hunter, Liquidity, and Cobalt Blue all worked sharply at Keeneland Friday in their last major preps for the May 5 Run for the Roses.
With speed the primary ingredient in the Thoroughbred, and true stamina being pushed deeper and deeper into a horse's pedigree, we have to try to find staying power wherever we can. Although old-fashioned stamina on the sire's side no longer is necessary to win the Derby, it still has been a main factor on the dam's side.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - This year brings us to a couple of tried and tested chapters from the unwritten trainers' manual regarding the Kentucky Derby: the "two-prep" and "unraced juvenile" rules.
Liquidity and Cobalt Blue, two Doug O'Neill horses that are being pointed toward the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), breezed Friday over the Polytrack surface at Keeneland.
The death of Buddy Holly on Feb. 3, 1959 was "the day the music died." April 14, 2007 was the day dirt racing in America died. That may sound harsh and premature, but if races like the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) are what we have to look forward to in the future, then we have indeed seen the beginning of the end of dirt racing as we know it.
A dispute over the ownership of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands contender Great Hunter has been settled by J. Paul Reddam and Fifth Third Bank.
Unbeaten Curlin, a dazzling winner of the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) on Saturday, emerged as a strong favorite over such accomplished rivals as 2006 2-year-old champion Street Sense and Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Nobiz Like Shobiz when betting drew to a close in the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2007 Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
The first five finishers in yesterday's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) -- Dominican, Street Sense, Zanjero, Teuflesberg and Great Hunter -- are all, according to their connections, pointing toward a start in the May 5 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Four of those five were separated by only a neck at the wire in yesterday's race.
Silverton Hill's Dominican moved into the Triple Crown picture when he came from well behind to nose Street Sense, last year's 2-year-old champion, on the wire of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) Saturday on the all-weather track at Keeneland.
Unbeaten Curlin, the morning line favorite for Saturday's $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park, is a slight favorite over juvenile champion Street Sense and Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Scat Daddy as betting on the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2007 Kentucky Derby Future Wager reached its midway point.
Fifth Third Bank faces a possible contempt order in California on May 10 over an allegation that it violated a court-ordered agreement by asking Keeneland to withhold any purse money Great Hunter might earn in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I). The financial institution made the request to the track due to its claim of an interest in the colt.
Well, this is it, the final major Derby prep weekend. After this, there is only the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) for horses hoping to hop aboard at the last minute. All eyes now turn to Street Sense, who can emerge from the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) as a solid Derby favorite. But he has to get by Great Hunter first.
Great Hunter and Street Sense face each other for the third time in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes. Which one will come out on top? Or will either?
Street Sense drew post four for Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland. James Tafel's homebred champion was also made the 4-5 morning line favorite for the nine-furlong race. Great Hunter, the 9-5 second choice, will break from the outside seven post.
Juvenile champion Street Sense and grade I winner Nobiz Like Shobiz loom as the strong morning-line favorites heading into third and final Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool.
After the defection of Hard Spun, five horses remain as "probable" contenders for Saturday's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I), including Street Sense, Great Hunter, Zanjero, Dominican, and Teuflesberg. Starbase, from the stable of trainer D. Wayne Lukas, is also possible for the field.
The principal parties involved in a legal dispute over star runner Great Hunter have agreed on terms that could prevent controversy over the colt's scheduled start in the April 14 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), an attorney involved in the matter said.
Attorneys for J. Paul Reddam have filed a lawsuit in California that seeks protection for star colt Great Hunter, who is the subject of a lien by a Kentucky bank.
Great Hunter is a hot property on this year's Triple Crown trail, but who has right to claim the grade I winner as legal property looms as a big question.
The second of three pools of Churchill Downs' 2007 Kentucky Derby Future Wager ended on Sunday with 'all others' a narrow favorite in a scramble with reigning 2-year-old champion Street Sense, Remsen (gr. II) and Holy Bull (gr. III) winner Nobiz Like Shobiz, and Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner Circular Quay.
James Tafel's reigning 2-year-old champion Street Sense, winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), and Elizabeth Valando's Nobiz Like Shobiz, winner of the Remsen (gr. II) and the Holy Bull (gr. III), continued to share the role of favorite as pool 2 of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager reached its midway point.
The "all others" bet remains the morning line favorite for the second of three pools of Churchill Downs' 2007 Kentucky Derby Future Wager ("KDFW"), which launches its four-day run March 8.
With three major Triple Crown prep races run over the March 3-4 weekend, the respective winners were elevated in the rankings of TC nominees based on earnings in graded stakes races.
J. Paul Reddam's grade I winner Great Hunter unleashed a big move leaving the quarter pole and rolled to an impressive victory in the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita Saturday.
In one of the best weekend's for 3-year-olds seen in quite a while, racing fans in Florida and Southern California will be treated to an array of top-class 3-year-olds and a number of budding stars in allowance and maiden races.
Grade I winner Great Hunter will be favored to provide trainer Doug O'Neill and jockey Corey Nakatani with their second major stakes victory on Saturday when the colt joins a field of nine 3-year-olds for the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
With several major prep races for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) rapidly approaching this weekend, three prominent trainers discussed Tuesday how their contenders are progressing toward their next start and the first Saturday in May.
The mutuel field completed the opening four-day pool of Churchill Downs' 2007 Kentucky Derby Future Wager as a strong favorite at odds of 5-2.
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