Veteran campaigners Presious Passion and Cloudy's Knight, a pair of grade I winners who starred in last month's Breeders' Cup races, meet in the $150,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap at Calder.
Multiple graded stakes winner It's a Bird returns to Florida for the first time since taking the Sunshine Millions Classic in January as the 122-pound high weight in the $200,000 Carl G. Rose Classic, the co-main event in the annual Florida Million program for state-breds at Calder Casino & Race Course Nov. 14.
Grade I winner Presious Passion should get the firm ground he likes for his return to Gulfstream Park Feb. 21 in the $150,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (gr. IIT) following a narrow miss in the Sunshine Millions Turf last month.
Lewis Pell and Michael Eigner's Imawildandcrazyguy, fourth-place finisher in the 2007 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), seeks his first win since July of last year when he tackles eight other horses in the $65,000 Challenger Stakes March 8 at Tampa Bay Downs.
Padua Stables' homebred Electrify scored his fourth stakes of the season, taking over at the top of the stretch and then pulling away for a 2-length victory in the $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap (gr. III) Dec. 15 at Calder Race Course.
Actin Good, a lightly raced 3-year-old gelded son of Yes It's True, has the advantage of being the lone graded stakes winner in the $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap (gr. III) Dec. 15 at Calder Race Course, and drew the outside post in the 1 1/8-mile event on the main track.
Nine-year-old gelding Revved Up will be looking for his third consecutive victory on Florida Million day, as Calder Race Course celebrates the Sunshine State's Thoroughbred breeding industry by offering eight stakes worth $1.2 million for registered Florida-breds Nov. 10.
Live Oak Plantatation's 9-year-old Revved Up, Lewis Pell and Michael Eigner's 3-year-old Imawildandcrazyguy and J D Farm's 2-year-old Wise Answer are prominent among the Florida-bred stars young and old nominated for the eight stakes races worth a total of $1.2 million to be run on the Florida Million program at Calder Race Course Nov. 10.
Last month Soldier's Dancer was beaten by three of the same challengers he was facing in the $200,000 Calder Derby (gr. IIIT) Oct. 13. This time, showing a powerful finishing kick, the 3-year-old Lost Soldier colt exacted his revenge, coming from well off the pace to take the 1 1/8-mile feature on the Calder Race Course turf by six lengths. It was his fifth lifetime win in 11 tries at the Florida racetrack.
Fair Weather Stan and Fearless Eagle renew their rivalry as part of a full field entered for the $200,000 Calder Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (gr. IIIT) on the Florida track's turf course Oct. 13.
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."
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.
Four of the seven horses that will contest Saturday's Belmont Stakes have owners from the New York metropolitan area, giving a distinct local feel to the Big Apple's big race.
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.
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.
While Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Curlin put in his final preparations for Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I), Monday was a quiet day for other contenders for the $1-million classic.
With the additions of Digger and Time Squared, there are seven probable starters in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) contenders Hard Spun, Imawildandcrazyguy, and Tiago, as well as Todd Pletcher-trained candidates Rags to Riches and Circular Quay, all hit the Belmont main track for work-outs Sunday morning.
Slew's Tizzy had his final major pre-Belmont Stakes workout Saturday morning at The Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington, Ky. The colt breezed a half mile over the facility's conventional dirt track for trainer Gregory Fox.
Owner Rick Porter and trainer Larry Jones have named Garrett Gomez to ride Hard Spun in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), replacing Mario Pino, who had ridden the colt in all eight of his previous starts. As of now, Hard Spun is considered 98% certain to run, according to Porter.
Circular Quay is now headed for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). It wasn't so much a question of why the colt should run in the Preakness, but why shouldn't he run? He's obviously sound, fit, and ready, and this is the perfect spot for him.
The jinx has been broken. Calvin Borel and Street Sense won the $2.2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) Saturday, the first Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner to return at 3 and win the Derby.
Federico Stakes winner Xchanger will not run in Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), moving Bill Kaplan-trainee Imawildandcrazyguy to 20th on the graded earnings list.
The work of the morning at Churchill Downs Monday was Hard Spun's :57 3/5 scorcher, but other Derby hopefuls went through their final paces over the main track just after the renovation break. Trainer Bill Kaplan sent out Storm in May and Imawildandcrazyguy while trainer Darrin Miller worked Silverton Hills' Sedgefield.
Post positions have been drawn for the next Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) stepping stone race, the March 31 Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park. Grade I winner Scat Daddy currently heads the field at morning line odds of 5-2.
Favored Circular Quay, able to avoid the traffic issues he encountered in the Risen Star (gr. III) one month ago, circled the field five wide coming off the far turn under John Velazquez and rallied impressively to win the $594,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds Saturday.
With two more major stepping stones to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) taking place this weekend, three prominent trainers took a moment to discuss the outlook of their potential stars.
Michael and Doreen Tabor's Circular Quay has been installed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite in a field of eight 3-year-olds for the 94th running of the $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds Race Course March 10.
Although most of the talk surrounding the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) was on the near disastrous spill at the head of the stretch, the bottom line is that we saw the emergence of a classic contender in Notional, who displayed a number of attributes you want to see in a Derby horse.
J. Paul Reddam's Southern California shipper Notional turned in an impressive effort in winning Saturday's $300,000 Risen Star (gr. III), a race marred by a fall that spoiled whatever chance the heavy favorite Circular Quay had of winning the 3-year-old test at Fair Grounds.
Green Vegas, the only horse in Saturday's $400,000 In Reality Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes to have won a stakes race around two turns, benefited from a fast pace to rally to victory while denying Straight Faced a sweep of the lucrative series for juveniles at Calder Race Course.
Luis Olivares' 2-year-old colt Green Vegas turned in an impressive performance to win the $141,375 Foolish Pleasure Breeders' Cup Stakes at Calder on "Festival of the Sun" preview day Saturday. Gal Wonder went nearly wire to wire to win the $138,375 Brave Raj Breeders' Cup Stakes in the filly preview.
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