Rapid Proof brings the best form into Monday's $100,000-added Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs. But he must answer a major distance question if he is to defeat six rivals in the 1 3/8-mile event on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
With an eye-catching move in mid-stretch, 3-year-old Mustanfar defeated older horses for the first time in his career, capturing the $150,000-added Sycamore Breeders' Cup (gr. IIIT) in fine style Saturday on the Keeneland turf course.
Favored Ballingarry capped a dream weekend in Chicago for trainer Laura de Seroux when he angled out in the stretch and drew away to a 1 3/4-length win in the $$200,000 Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) on a soft Arlington Park turf course Sunday.
Peter Vegso's homebred Orchard Park rallied through the stretch to defeat Mr. Mellon by a length in Saturday's $277,500 Jefferson Cup Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.
Three horses who ran in Triple Crown prep races this spring will experiment with turf racing in Saturday's $250,000 Jefferson Cup (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs.
In a surprise move, Classic Contenders Stable on Thursday plunked down the $3,000 fee to nominate Puck, a 3-year-old colt who has won or placed in all four career starts, to the March 16, $1-million Florida Derby.
High Star, third in last year's Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, turned in a sharp 5-furlong work in 1:00 4/5 at Gulfstream Park Monday in preparation for the March 16 Florida Derby.
The blurry Kentucky Derby picture should begin clearing up Saturday, as a number of Triple Crown hopefuls meet to determine who makes that all-important leap forward. The grade I Fountain of Youth Stakes, which drew a field of eight, is split right down the middle, with four stakes winners facing off against four up-and-coming stars. And in supporting allowance races, two promising colts lock horns in a prep for the Florida Derby, and a former Coolmore colt makes his U.S. debut.
With jockey Edgar Prado aboard, Graham Motion-trained Grey Beard worked five furlongs Monday in 1:02 4/5 over a Gulfstream Park track labeled "good."
Trainer Shug McGaughey said Sunday that Maybry's Boy, a beaten favorite Hutcheson in Saturday's Hutcheson Stakes (gr. III), is still on track for the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. I) despite his fourth-place finish in the seven-furlong sprint. Meanwhile, the Hutcheson one-two finishers are less likely to start in the Feb. 16 Fountain of Youth as their respective trainers don't particularly like the two-week spacing between races.
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