Brazilian import Hard Buck, unbeaten in two races since he arrived in the barn of trainer Ken McPeek, tuned up for his graded stakes debut as he prepped for Sunday's River City Handicap (gr. III) at Churchill Downs with a four-furlong work on Tuesday.
Pleasant Divorce, Halo's Stride, and Two Point Two Mill were all on the Gulfstream Park track prepping for Sunday's $100,000 Mac Diarmida Handicap (gr. IIIT), covering 1 3/8 miles over the turf course.
In the days, hours, and even minutes leading up to the March 24 Spiral Stakes (gr. II), there wasn't a clear-cut favorite -- much less a star -- among the nine 3-year-olds going to the starting gate. Six of the nine starters were between 3-1 and 6-1 in the wagering. But all that changed at 4:42 p.m. EST as a star did emerge coming down Turfway Park's stretch. His name: Balto Star. And the strapping dark bay gelding, in an effortless performance, ran off from his foes to a surprising 12 3/4-length romp in the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prep.
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