The Florida Legislature passed a gaming bill May 8 that includes several changes sought by the state's Thoroughbred industry, and a compromise on the contentious issue of table games at the Seminole Tribe of Florida's casinos.
Dunkirk, runner-up in the Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park March 28, worked a solid five furlongs in :59.9 April 18 at Palm Meadows.
The durable and talented Finallymadeit will be making the 42nd start of his racing career and his sixth during the current Gulfstream Park meeting in Florida when he takes on six challengers in the $100,000 Skip Away Stakes (gr. III) April 4. He will break from the No. 2 post with Eduardo Nunez, his regular rider, aboard.
Ruben Munoz, agent for jockey Gabriel Saez, will also handle the book for leading rider John Velazquez at the Keeneland meet that begins April 3.
An almost five-year-old lawsuit over how Florida voters were allowed to decide if slot machines could be legal at certain state pari-mutuel facilities has been jointly dismissed, according to court records.
Livin the Dream Racing's Dream Empress, winner of the Darley Alcibiades (gr. I) and runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), will make her 3-year-old debut in the $150,000 Herecomesthebride Stakes (gr. IIT) March 15 on the Gulfstream Park turf. But trainer Ken McPeek said the Bernstein filly is not a candidate for the May 1 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
WinStar Farm's 3-year-old Al Khali rallied through the stretch for a three-quarter length victory under John Velazquez in a 1 1/8 mile allowance test March 6 at Gulfstream Park, moving him up in trainer Todd Pletcher's arsenal of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) candidates.
West Point Thoroughbreds and partners' Justwhistledixie stalked the pace, took over leaving the turn, and cruised to a 3 3/4-length victory in the $150,000 Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies at Gulfstream Park March 1.
Despite making just the third start of his career and facing stakes company for the first time, Edward Evans' homebred Quality Road romped to a resounding 4 1/4-length victory in the $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 28 at Gulfstream Park.
The son of Tiznow will attempt to win for the first time since the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in the eighth race allowance going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park Feb. 28.
Since scoring in the Forward Gal (gr. II) less than a month ago, Frolic's Dream was purchased privately and has changed barns, but that won't keep the promising filly from trying to win for the fifth time in six starts in the $150,000 Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) March 1 at Gulfstream Park.
Hobeau Farm's homebred Delightful Kiss will make his first start on grass since May 2007 and use the $150,000 Canadian Turf (gr. IIIT) as a prep for his trip to Dubai next month. The 5-year-old gelding will face 10 older rivals in the one-mile contest Feb. 28 at Gulfstream Park.
A deep and talented field has been entered for the $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II),and when the dust finally settles on the Gulfstream Park oval Feb. 28, the still muddled Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) picture should become a little bit clearer.
Apparently, English-bred Criticism has found the footing on American soil to her liking. The Darley homebred mare, who made her North American debut this past fall, wrapped up her second consecutive graded stakes when taking the $100,000 The Very One Stakes (gr. IIIT) in front-running fashion Feb. 22 at Gulfstream Park.
Presious Passion proved he might just be in the top form of his career as a 6-year-old, scoring his second graded stakes victory in a nine-week span when taking the $150,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (gr. IIT) by a half length Feb. 21 on the turf at Gulfstream Park.
G. Watts Humphrey Jr.'s talented filly One Caroline wasn't fazed the least bit when facing graded stakes winners for the first time, as she took command shortly after first call and disposed of six rivals to win the $100,000 Sabin Stakes (gr. III) by a length Feb. 20 at Gulfstream Park.
Bentley Smith's homebred Lady Carlock may have a small edge in the $100,000 Very One Stakes (gr. IIIT) Feb. 22 at Gulfstream Park based on her victory in the Suwannee River (gr. IIIT) three weeks ago, but the wide-open turf event for fillies and mares is anyone's for the taking.
G. Watts Humphrey Jr.'s good-looking filly One Caroline, undefeated in three starts and a runaway winner in optional claiming company last month, dives into stakes competition for the first time when taking on eight fillies and mares in the $100,000 Sabin Stakes (gr. III) Feb. 20 at Gulfstream Park.
Joseph Fields Jr.'s homebred Any Limit turned the tables on her rival Game Face and won the Hurricane Bertie (gr. III) for the second time in three years, taking a short field of fillies and mares gate-to-wire in the $122,500 event Feb. 15 at Gulfstream Park.
Zabeel Racing International's 4-year-old filly Game Face won the First Lady Stakes (gr. III) by three parts of a length over Joseph V. Shields Jr.'s 6-year-old mare Any Limit on Jan. 18, and the two talented sprinters meet once again Feb. 15 on the $125,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes (gr. III) going 6 1/2 furlongs on Gulfstream's main track.
Fasig-Tipton is teaming with Gulfstream Park to sponsor the $250,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II). The 63rd running of the race, which will called the "Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes," is scheduled for Feb. 28 in South Florida. The Fasig-Tipton Florida select sale of 2-year-olds in training will be held March 3.
Just over a year after Game Face earned her first graded stakes victory at Gulfstream, the Menifee filly collected another blacktype win at the South Florida racetrack, as she rallied under John Velazquez to score by 2 3/4 lengths in the First Lady Handicap (gr. III).
Midnight Cry Stables' Einstein, a two-time winner of the Gulfstream Park Turf (gr. IT), won't go for the three-peat in that race, but will challenge the other grade I race that weekend, the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) on Gulfstream main track Jan. 31.
Edmund Gann's Ikigai scored for the fifth time in eight starts and captured his first graded stakes, as he drew away for an easy 2 1/4-length victory in the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes (gr. III) Jan. 17 at Gulfstream Park.
A total of 126 horses were pre-entered for the Sunshine Millions, which will be run Jan. 24 at Santa Anita Park and Gulfstream Park, both owned by Magna Entertainment. The eight races feature Florida-breds against California-breds, with purses of $3.6 million.
In a step some racing industry officials expected, Gulfstream Park has told Florida regulators that it plans to hold races during 2009's last five weeks--a lucrative set of dates on which Calder Race Course has raced exclusively in South Florida for more than a decade.
Trainer Wesley Ward gave a 'thumbs up' sign Jan. 4 at Gulfstream Park the morning after Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Notonthesamepage rolled to a near-record setting victory in the $100,000 Spectacular Bid for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park.
Hobeau Farm's homebred Delightful Kiss continued his terrific recent form, as he opened his 2009 campaign with an eye-catching, last-to-first victory in the $100,000 Hal's Hope Handicap (gr. III) Jan. 3 at Gulfstream Park. It was the third graded stakes score in the past five months for the 5-year-old gelding.
Frolic's Dream leaves the friendly confines of Calder Race Course for the first time when she puts her undefeated record on the line against six rivals in the $100,000 Old Hat Stakes (gr. III) Jan. 4 at Gulfstream Park.
The Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering has ordered jockey Pascacio "Paco" Lopez to serve 27 days of stewards' suspensions, including seven days at Gulfstream Park's 2009 meet that begins Jan. 3.
John Brunetti, the owner of Hialeah Park, said he has spoken "briefly" to Halsey Minor about the technology entrepreneur's dream to buy and reopen the South Florida track. But even though the two men have agreed to talk again in early August, Brunetti told Minor he "isn't really interested in selling yet" because he still hopes to resurrect Hialeah himself.
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.
As the Florida legislature prepares to end its annual session May 2, chances appear very slim that it will pass either of two slot machine bills being sought by the Thoroughbred industry.
Jockey Eric Camacho was in Louisville April 23 to work Cloverleaf Farm's Bsharpsonata, from the Tim Salzman stable, one of the favorites in the May 2 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. The daughter of Pulpit was sharp in her five-furlong breeze, stopping the clock in :59.80, the third fastest drill of the morning at the famed Kentucky oval.
Separate rivalries will continue - this time combined - when a field of eight older fillies and mares goes postward in the $200,000 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne Race Course April 19.
If Gold Mark Farm's Elusive Lady can continue the forward progress she demonstrated with a runner-up effort in the March 15 Florida Oaks (gr. III), the $150,000 Comely Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct should be all hers April 12.
Robert LaPenta's Cool Coal Man, a major contender for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), prepped for a planned run in the April 12 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland with a sharp half-mile work at Churchill Downs April 3.
With Indian Blessing resting up for a summer-fall campaign in shorter races, a pair of 3-year-old fillies who have tackled the Eclipse Award winner - Backseat Rhythm and Highest Class - are looking for their chance to shine.
A daylong deluge in South Florida March 22 led to the cancellation of the remainder of the program at Gulfstream Park after the day's sixth race.
It might not be a gathering of young runners, but the $150,000 Mac Diarmida Handicap (gr. IIT) has attracted 12 solid turf horses to go 1 3/8 miles at Gulfstream Park March 16.
Stuart Janney's homebred Hunting has not raced since a third-place finish behind Evening Attire in the Dec. 8 Queens County Handicap (gr. III), but the 5-year-old son of Coronado's Quest could return to winning form in the $150,000 Skip Away Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park. He'll tackle Gottcha Gold, Dr. Pleasure, Better Than Bonds, and others in the March 15 event.
Robert Scarborough's 5-year-old Mauralakana dove through a narrow gap between horses to score trainer Christophe Clement a sixth career victory in the $100,000 The Very One Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park March 8.
Cloverleaf Farm's homebred Bsharpsonata, winner of the Feb. 9 Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, heads a field of six talented fillies in the $150,000 Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) there March 1. Other runners include Game Face, American County, Robbie's Gal, and J Z Warrior.
Robert LaPenta's Eclipse Award-winning War Pass, champion 2-year-old in 2007, will make his first start since an emphatic victory in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) when he runs in a $60,000 allowance event at Gulfstream Park Feb. 24.
Frank Calabrese's homebred Dreaming of Anna kicked off her 4-year-old campaign with a photo finish that was almost too close to call when she outbobbed 6-5 favorite Lear's Princess in the $150,000 Endeavour Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Tampa Bay Downs Feb. 16.
2006 Eclipse Award Champion Dreaming of Anna will make her 4-year-old debut Feb. 16, when a field of 11 older fillies and mares takes to the turf in the $150,000 Endeavour Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Tampa Bay Downs.
Spring At Last had only one start under his belt after winning the Godolphin Mile (UAE-II) last March, and that was a Dec. 26 allowance race over the Santa Anita turf. But Doug O'Neill had no qualms about sending the Silver Deputy colt into the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I), and the trainer's faith was rewarded when his 4-year-old runner returned with a solid victory at Gulfstream Park Feb. 2.
Robert LaPenta's undefeated Eclipse champion War Pass continued to prep for his seasonal debut when he worked a bullet half-mile in :46.80 at Palm Meadows training center Feb. 2. Anak Nakal and Tale of Ekati also worked.
Brass Hat, A.P. Arrow, Fairbanks, Spring At Last, Einstein all pack into talented field for the 50th running of the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 2.
Trainer Nick Zito has a barn loaded with potential Kentucky Derby contenders, and four of those 3-year-olds made impressive moves this weekend.
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