The unbeaten 3-year-old colt raised his connections' optimism several notches Feb. 11 at Tampa Bay Downs, where he won the $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) by 1 1/2 lengths.
The built up to McCraken's seasonal bow ended with results to match. Under some left-handed urging from jockey Brian Hernandez Jr., the unbeaten colt unleashed a wicked turn of foot down the middle of the track to win the $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3).
- By Alicia Wincze Hughes
- Thoroughbred Racing, Triple Crown, Southeast Region, Southwest Region, Kentucky
As the regular rider for McCraken, the 2-1 morning-line favorite for Saturday's Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3), jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. could find his current groundswell of momentum dwarfed by what could come his way should his mount prevail.
One of the more highly regarded classic prospects for 2017, McCraken gets his first chance to make good on his buildup when he makes his seasonal bow against eight others in the 1 1/16-mile Sam F. Davis (G3).
The first sophomore step for McCraken will come when he makes his seasonal bow in the 1 1/16-mile Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs Feb. 11, trainer Ian Wilkes said after the colt worked five furlongs in 1:00.45 Jan. 25.
Just as he was rounding into top form, the bay son of Macho Uno emerged from that race with a knee chip that required surgery and kept him away from the races for eight months.
Janice Whitham's homebred grade 2 winner McCraken, undefeated in three career starts, continues to train forwardly at Palm Meadows Training Center for his 3-year-old debut, trainer Ian Wilkes said.
What better way to bring color to winter than to envision roses in bloom on the first Saturday in May, scented green leaves adorning glasses of mint juleps, and the famed Twin Spires piercing a bright cerulean sky.
The build up around McCraken live up to the billing in the 1 1/16 miles Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes as Janis Whitham's homebred used his big turn of foot to edge clear late under Brian Hernandez Jr. and remain unbeaten in three career starts.
After dueling in early stretch with grade I winner Harmonize, Linda found another gear in the final furlong to register a clear win in the $200,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs.
Thatcher Street capped a big day at Churchill Downs for Australian-born trainer Ian Wilkes when his 5-year-old gelding came back to beat chief rival Pleuven by a half-length to win the $100,000 River City Handicap (gr. IIIT) Nov. 24.
Eleven challengers will provide a litmus test on the quality of undefeated McCraken as a dozen juveniles have passed the entry box for the 1 1/16 miles Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II).
Trainer Ian Wilkes thought Marylou Whitney Stable's 4-year-old colt Gorgeous Bird had considerable talent but just wasn't quite getting it all together.
Multiple graded stakes winner Commissioner headlines a field of eight for the 79th running of the $250,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) Nov. 28 at Hawthorne Racecourse.
Neck 'n Neck and Majestic Harbor head the Oct. 30 Marathon Stakes (gr. II) at 1 3/4 miles, the longest race that will be run over Breeders' Cup weekend at Keeneland.
Ted Mitzlaff's Neck 'n Neck just got up in the final strides to take the $200,000 Greenwood Cup (gr. III) from Parx Racing on Monday afternoon.
Island Town sat just off the pace and pounced at the quarter pole to claim his second graded stakes score in the $300,000 Smarty Jones Stakes (gr. III) Aug. 29 at Parx Racing.
Twice grade III-placed Uncle Sigh breezed four furlongs in :49.54 on the Oklahoma training track Tuesday, July 21, at Saratoga Race Course as the son of Indian Charlie prepares for his first start in more than a year.
Fresh off a win in the $500,000 Ohio Derby, Calumet Farm's Mr. Z has been selected as the morning-line favorite for the $500,000-added Indiana Derby (gr. II) July 18 at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.
Tonalist will find himself in easier company July 4 than he did last time out, with only five to tackle and not another grade I winner in the bunch in the $500,000 Suburban Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park.
Michael Langford's Carve, a determined neck winner of the 2014 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (gr. III), is back in the 2015 edition and looking for his second score of the season June 27 at Prairie Meadows.
Island Town led out of the gate and prevailed in a bumpy finish in the Matt Winn Stakes (gr. III) June 13 at Churchill Downs.
A. Stevens Miles Jr., a retired Kentucky banker, civic leader, and Thoroughbred owner, died April 25 in Louisville. He was 85.
Now in its eighth year, the Breeders' Cup Challenge provides automatic bids to horses that win top stakes in the U.S. and throughout the world that correspond with one of the 13 Breeders' Cup World Championships races.
Tiz Windy made her second attempt in graded stakes company a successful one when she ran down the leaders late to take the $200,000 Indiana Oaks (gr. II) at Indiana Grand Race Course the evening of Oct. 4.
Mr Speaker, winner of the Belmont Derby Invitational (gr. IT) on turf in his most recent start, has been confirmed for the $1.25 million Travers (gr. I) on the dirt after breezing Aug. 17 at Saratoga Race Course.
Fresh off a victory over the Tampa Bay Downs turf course, Nicklaus Way goes in search of his first graded stakes win for trainer Ian Wilkes Feb. 1 in the $150,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Stakes (gr. IIIT).
Bourbon Courage, fourth in the Clark Handicap (gr. I), takes on Csaba and Neck 'n Neck in the $100,000 Harlan's Holiday Stakes Dec. 22 prep for the Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park.
Janis Whitham's Fort Larned completed serious preparation for this week's bid for consecutive victories in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park with a five-furlong workout Oct. 28 at Churchill Downs.
Defending Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Fort Larned worked at Churchill Downs on Oct. 22 while fellow Classic contender Game On Dude and Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) runner Beholder breezed at Santa Anita Park.
Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) contenders livened up the worktabs at Santa Anita Park and Churchill Downs Oct. 8, as Game On Dude cruised around his California base and Fort Larned and Will Take Charge drilled in Kentucky.
Owner/breeder Janis Whitham's Fort Larned, winner of the 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), prepped for another shot at the race with a wire-to-wire score in the inaugural $191,275 Homecoming Classic at Churchill Sept. 28.
On the final Saturday of Churchill Downs' "Homecoming" meet, the Louisville track will offer up a competitive field of nine 3-year-olds in the Jefferson Cup (gr. IIIT) and the first edition of the Homecoming Classic Stakes.
One of the gems on Churchill Downs' new September meet schedule will serve as a well-timed prep for Fort Larned as he prepares for a defense of his 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) victory.
Trainer Ian Wilkes said Sept. 17 that Fort Larned, winner of last year's Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), will have his final prep for this year's Classic in the newly established Homecoming Classic at Churchill Downs.
Janis Whitham's defending Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Fort Larned returned to the track Sept. 7 at Churchill Downs to resume preparations for a bid at consecutive victories in the Classic.
Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Fort Larned will be scratched out of the $750,000 Woodward Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 31 because he is not 100%, trainer Ian Wilkes said the morning of Aug. 29.
Janis Whitham's homebred Fort Larned and Morton Fink's homebred Successful Dan both worked Aug. 20 at Saratoga Race Course in preparation for the $750,000 Woodward (gr. I) on Aug. 31.
Janis Whitham's homebred Fort Larned remains on track for the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) after a half-mile breeze Aug. 15 at Saratoga Race Course.
Janis Whitham's 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Fort Larned was assigned post 3 and installed as the 7-5 morning-line favorite over seven others for the Aug. 3 Whitney Invitational (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course.
Trainer Ian Wilkes hopes to use the Whitney as a springboard to a championship for last year's Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Fort Larned.
Trying to become the second horse to win the Whitney Handicap Invitational (gr. I) in back-to-back years, Fort Larned showed his readiness with a bullet five-furlong breeze July 29 at Saratoga Race Course.
On a rainy day at Saratoga Race Course, 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Fort Larned breezed five furlongs in 1:01.19 over the sloppy main track.
Fort Larned breezed five furlongs in 1:03.81 over the main track at Saratoga on July 20, while Mucho Macho Man went in 1:01.61. The two continue to prepare for the Aug. 3 Whitney Invitational, won by Fort Larned in 2012.
Dominating Stephen Foster Handicap Presented by Abu Dhabi (gr. I) winner Fort Larned will be pointed to the Whitney Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course, trainer Ian Wilkes said on the morning of June 16.
Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Fort Larned put his early season problems behind him June 15 as he scored a front-running victory in the $536,300 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs.
In his final serious preparation for the June 15 Stephen Foster Handicap Presented by Abu Dhabi (gr. I), Fort Larned breezed five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 over Churchill Downs' muddy main track June 10.
Trainer Ian Wilkes sent 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Fort Larned through a five-furlong breeze in :59 4/5 May 24 at Churchill Downs, continuing preparations for the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I).
An unfortunate stumble at the start of the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) last month cost Fort Larned his seasonal debut, but the 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner is back in the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II).
Trainer Ian Wilkes said he is leaning toward the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) for Fort Larned after last fall's Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner breezed an easy half-mile at Palm Meadows Training Center March 21.
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