Big Brown's victory in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Hard Spun's second in the Derby last year are the latest indicators that the Danzig line is asserting some authority in America's premier dirt races. Want more proof? How about last year's older male champion Lawyer Ron (a son of Danzig's son Langfuhr)and the emerging sire Exchange Rate, who got two grade I winners in his first crop.
Should Eight Belles run on Saturday, she will provide trainer Larry Jones with his second Kentucky Derby (gr. I) starter. Last year he conditioned Hard Spun, who ran a credible second behind Street Sense and was also owned by Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farms.
Eclipse Award winners Bernardini and Street Sense will be headed to Sheikh Mohammed's Darley operation in Australia for the 2008 Southern Hemisphere breeding season once their duties are completed at Darley near Lexington.
Prior to this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Larry Jones, trainer of eventual runner-up Hard Spun, said of the meteoric rise of the then undefeated Curlin, "Six months from now, we could be looking at Curlin as a super horse."
Well, it is now six months later, and Jones' words, unfortunately for him, have become prophetic.
Street Sense, this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner and the previous year's 2-year-old male champion, will enter stud for $75,000 at Sheikh Mohammed's Darley near Lexington.
Start engraving the Eclipse Awards. This year's honors are all but a done deal. Despite the horrible conditions at Monmouth Park, the Breeders' Cup World Championships were surprisingly formful, with several favorites and leading contenders turning in dominating performances.
Two days before the Oct. 26-27 Breeders' Cup World Championships, trainer Todd Pletcher reviewed his 11 starters and shared his thoughts on the upcoming races, including possible scratches should the surfaces turn up wet or yielding due to weekend showers.
A field of nine was drawn Oct. 23 for one of the deepest and most contentious runnings of the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I). The two horses who drew the most attention were Hard Spun and Lawyer Ron, who likely will dictate how the race will be run.
The eyes of the horse racing world are squarely fixed on next week's Breeders' Cup, with a total of 160 pre-entries (141 individual horses, 19 cross-entered) for 11 races. It will be a year of many firsts for the World Championships.
Now, that was a super weekend of racing. Whether it was Turfway Park's Polytrack, Santa Anita's Cushion track, or the dirt track at Belmont, this was racing at its best. The races were thrilling, formful, and showcased a good number of the sport's top stars.
There they were at the head of the stretch, and the Sept. 29 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) had developed into the showdown everyone hoped it would be. On the lead, Hard Spun barreled toward the finish line. Just off his hip, Street Sense dug deep to reel him in. This time, unlike in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Hard Spun would not be denied the victory.
Having the top two finishers in this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) entered in the Sept. 29 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) has led to an increase in local and national coverage of the event.
Making final preparations for the Oct. 27 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Monmouth Park, Jim Tafel's Street Sense and Rick Porter's Hard Spun will have a much-anticipated rematch in the Sept. 29 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) over Turfway Park's Polytrack.
Carl Nafzger, trainer of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Street Sense, discussed his reasoning for racing against grade I winner Hard Spun in the Sept. 29 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park during a National Thoroughbred Racing Association media teleconference Sept. 25.
James Tafel's Street Sense, winner of this year's Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), tuned up for a run in the Sept. 29 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park with a five furlong work Sept. 25 at Churchill Downs.
Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Street Sense and Derby runner-up Hard Spun will meet for the third time in next Saturday's $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park, it was announced Sept. 22.
Rick Porter, whose Hard Spun won the Aug. 25 King's Bishop Stakes (gr. I), is launching a new partnership venture named Turf Club USA. Porter, who races as Fox Hill Farm, has also campaigned grade I winners Jostle and Round Pond.
By Dan Liebman - Thankfully, someone at the time did have an interest in standing Danzig, Storm Cat, and Mr. Prospector, respectively. And, our breed has been changed forever because of their decisions.
Heavily favored Hard Spun, a colt who has made all the major dances for trainer Larry Jones this season, earned his elusive first grade I victory when he turned back a serious challenge from First Defence in the $250,000 King's Bishop (gr. I) for 3-year-olds at Saratoga Aug. 25.
While slightly difficult, it is entirely possible to come to Saratoga without watching a horse race. You can come, for instance, to enter the hot dog eating contest Ã¢â‚¬" and if you are like Crazy Legs Conti from New York City and can consume 21.5 hot dogs as he did yesterday, you can also win.
Hard Spun likely has only three races left in his career. That was conformed when it was recently announced that the Danzig colt would stand for Darley after the Breeders' Cup.
That means, Saturday's $250,000 King's Bishop Stakes (gr. I) may provide Hard Spun with his best chance to finally capture an elusive Grade I race, as he shortens up to seven furlongs in a test for 3-year-olds over Saratoga's main track.
Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Haskell Invitational (gr. I) runner-up Hard Spun worked at Delaware Park Aug. 19 in preparation for the King's Bishop Stakes (gr.I) at Saratoga Aug. 25.
There was the rubber match between Street Sense and Curlin in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Didn't Happen. There was the showdown between the two in the Travers Stakes (gr. I). Not going to happen. There was Rags to Riches headlining Lady's Day at Belmont for the CCA Oaks (gr. I). Didn't Happen. There was Rags in the Saratoga limelight for the Alabama. Not going to happen.
Under a confident ride from Garrett Gomez, Any Given Saturday moved past pace-setting Cable Boy, then caught Hard Spun in mid-stretch and pulled away for a decisive 4 1/2-length victory in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park.
During the post position draw for the Aug. 5 running of the $1-million Haskell Invitational (gr. 1), Steve Asmussen was asked if Curlin was the best horse he has ever trained. A master of understatement, Asmussen flatly replied: "I think that would be very reasonable."
The 2007 running of Monmouth Park's $1-million Haskell Invitational Presented by Vonage (gr. I) promises to be one of the best ever, with Preakness (gr. I) winner Curlin, Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) runner-up Hard Spun, and the undefeated Cable Boy heading the field.
The second season for 3-year-olds began on July 4, with the emphatic victory by Any Given Saturday in the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II), and judging from the works turned in by Curlin and Hard Spun on Monday, as well as Street Sense's work on Sunday, the heavy hitters from the Triple Crown are all primed and ready for their respective returns.
Rags to Riches, who became the queen of racing after she outfought the imposing Curlin in Saturday's 139th Belmont Stakes (gr. I), came out of the race no worse for wear in spite of a bad stumble at the start.
It's been a wild and crazy Triple Crown (no tip intended) with lots of twist and curves, and it all comes to a rousing conclusion in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Will Curlin finally regress, and if so, how much? How special is Rags to Riches? Will Hard Spun be able to slow down the pace? Stay tuned for the answers to these and other questions.
One of the first horses Bob Carver bought a small part of is Belmont (gr. I) hopeful Hard Spun. The auto dealer from Arkansas is enjoying the Triple Crown ride as much as he does his Razorback football.
When all is said and done, the 139th Belmont Stakes (gr. I) has turned out to be a heck of a good race after all, Street Sense or no Street Sense. We have seven legitimate horses, with none of the usual no-hopers that seem to pop out of the woodwork for the third leg of the Triple Crown, and a classic male vs. female showdown.
The paddock opens at 11:30 for schooling. One of the first to arrive is Belmont (gr. I) entrant Tiago. Trainer John Shirreffs, his stepson David Ingordo, and Frankie Herrarte, a member of his crew, follows the Pleasant Tap colt, who is led by Frank Leal.
Jerry Bailey, known as an astute handicapper when he was carving out his Hall of Fame riding career, gave his thoughts on Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) while standing on the track's apron Thursday morning.