Six horses coming out of the April 25 Sumter Stakes will make up the field for the $100,000 Memorial Day Handicap (gr. III), a 1 1/16-mile route on the dirt May 25 at Calder Race Course.
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.
Hobeau Farm's homebred Delightful Kiss has been in top form for more than five months and all things being equal, the 5-year-old gelding would be the one to beat in the $1-milllion OBS Sunshine Millions Classic Jan. 24 at Gulfstream Park. But the son of Kissin Kris drew unenviable post 12 in the 1 1/8-mile main track event, severely compromising his chances of besting the other 11 rivals who will go to post.
Grade I winner Presious Passion has not been in the best of form lately, but the 5-year-old gelding will try to get back to his winning ways in an event he scored in last year, the $150,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (gr. IIT). The 1 1/2-mile turf event is one of four graded stakes on Calder Race Course's $500,000 Grand Slam program Dec. 13 in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Undefeated Big Brown will break from post position 7 as the 1-2 favorite in Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) as the colt will attempt to duplicate his impressive victory in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Behindatthebar, Giant Moon, Riley Tucker, Stevil, and Tres Borrachos turn in their final workouts before the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico.
As recently as May 4, Eddie Plesa Jr. announced that Hey Byrn would be headed to the $300,000 Ohio Derby (gr. II) at Thistledown.
Well, should we talk about the vagaries of Polytrack form for the umpteenth time or concentrate on the weekend's racing?
Mt. Joy Stables' Smooth Air, runner-up in the March 29 Florida Derby (gr. I), continued his preparation for the 134th "Run for the Roses" April 13 with a sharp mile workout at Calder timed in 1:41, an impressive move over that surface.
Bea Oxenberg's Hey Byrn kept his Kentucky Derby hopes alive with a workmanlike 2 1/4-length win in the slowly run $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park April 12.
Bea Oxenberg's Hey Byrn returns just two weeks after a well-beaten fourth-place finish in the $1-million Florida Derby (gr. I). He's the choice in the $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) April 12 at Gulfstream Park.
Jose Lezcano took a test drive on Bea Oxenberg's 3-year-old Hey Byrn, expected to be one of the favorites in the Florida Derby (gr. I), during a five-furlong work at Calder Race Course the morning of March 22.
On Saturday, in one corner of the country, the mighty Pyro once again crushed his foes, winning the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) in grand style. On the same day, in the opposite corner of the country, a humbly-bred colt who sold for meager $1,000 as a yearling, Autism Awareness, mowed down his field to win the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III).
So, did Saturday's Sham Stakes (gr. III) showcase two exceptional 3-year-olds or was it simply about two top horses running agonizingly slow early and coming home fast late over a synthetic surface? We'll know the answer when they hit the quarter pole at Churchill Downs on May 3.
Bea Oxenberg's 3-year-old Hey Byrn reaffirmed his credentials as a potential Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contender March 2 at Gulfstream Park when he drew off to win a 1 1/8-mile allowance race by six lengths under jockey Edgar Prado.
The Kentucky Derby trail received the spark it had been looking for when Pyro put on a spectacular exhibition in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III). There is no doubt Pyro is a top-class horse with a powerful closing kick, but before we get too euphoric, let's not forget that this has happened many times at Fair Grounds.
The juveniles Silk Ridge and Wise Answer were romping winners of their respective divisions in the 2007 Florida Stallions Stakes at Calder Race Course Sept. 1.
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