Trainer D. Wayne Lukas brought former champion Azeri all the way back Saturday to capture the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) in smart front-running fashion over a strong field at Oaklawn Park.
The Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park Saturday promises to be one of the more intriguing matchups of the year as six older fillies and mares have been entered, including grade I winners Azeri, Wild Spirit, Island Fashion, and Star Parade.
Everest Stable's multiple grade I winner Island Fashion will make her next start in Saturday's $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park, trainer Marcelo Polanco said.
Allen E. Paulson Living Trust's two-time champion Azeri heads a list of twelve fillies and mares nominated for the 39th running of the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park April 3.
Island Fashion, who has won consecutive grade I races at seven furlongs, hopes to make history Saturday by becoming the first filly to win the grade I, 1 1/4-mile Santa Anita Handicap.
Southern Image worked five furlongs Sunday on Santa Anita's fast main track in :58 3/5 in his final major prep for Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I). Afterward, trainer Mike Machowsky pronounced the winner of the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) and the Sunshine Millions Classic ready to go.
No filly has ever won the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), but Island Fashion could become the first in 67 runnings of the 10-furlong race on March 6.
Everest Stables' homebred Island Fashion, who has two consecutive grade I victories to her credit, was scratched out of Monday's $250,000 Santa Maria Handicap (gr. I) at Santa Anita in favor of another grade I with a bigger purse.
Island Fashion will vie for her third straight Grade I win in the $250,000 Santa Maria Handicap, part of a loaded Presidents' Day race card at Santa Anita Park on Monday. The $200,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIt), a 1 1/2-mile tilt for older turf horses, also headlines the program.
Island Fashion seeks her third consecutive grade I victory in Monday's $250,000 Santa Maria Handicap (gr. I) for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.
Citing budgetary constraints, the New York Racing Association has cancelled the $2 million "Triple Tiara" bonus after one season.
Trainer Marcelo Polanco was quite unhappy that Island Fashion wasn't given more consideration for the Eclipse Award for 3-year-old fillies in 2003 after winning a pair of grade I races and two other stakes. After beating a powerful field that included top mares Sightseek and Got Koko in Sunday's $250,000 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) at Santa Anita, Polanco may have proved his point.
Juddmonte Farms, Bobby Frankel, Jerry Bailey and Sightseek, each on the verge of winning an Eclipse Award Monday night in Florida, are set to tackle six rivals Sunday in the $250,000 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park.
Sightseek hasn't run since finishing a disappointing fourth, beaten 10 ½ lengths as the 3-5 favorite, in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) last Oct. 25, but Bobby Frankel is unconcerned about her going seven furlongs in a tough field after a three-month layoff.
Taking advantage of a swift early pace, Victory Encounter circled the field on the turn for home and rumbled home to register her fourth consecutive triumph in Sunday's $150,000 El Encino Stakes (gr. II) for 4-year-old fillies at Santa Anita.
Island Fashion was scratched from Sunday's El Encino Stakes (gr. II) and will point to next Sunday's Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) instead, trainer Marcelo Polanco said Sunday.
Island Fashion, smashing six-length winner of the La Brea Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park on Dec. 27, will be a heavy favorite in Sunday's $150,000 El Encino Stakes (gr. II), second leg of the La Canada series for 4-year-old fillies.
Everest Stable Inc.'s overlooked homebred Island Fashion dominated a solid group of 3-year-old fillies Saturday at Santa Anita, romping to a six-length victory in the $250,000 La Brea Stakes (gr. I).
Elloluv, second to 40-1 outsider Adoration in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 25, "is geared up and ready to go" for Saturday's $250,000 La Brea Stakes (gr. I), first leg of the three-race La Canada Series won last season by Got Koko.
With her usual late charge, Juddmonte Farm's Heat Haze gave trainer Bobby Frankel his 25th grade I victory in a scorching finish of the $500,000 Matriarch (gr. IT) for fillies and mares at Hollywood Park Sunday.
Bobby Frankel loves the position he is in with Juddmonte Farms' multiple grade 1 winner Sightseek. After 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri had her 11-race win streak snapped last weekend in California, the case could be made that Sightseek is better.
Jeffrey Nielson's Island Fashion, winner of the Alabama Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 16, will head the field for Saturday's running of the $250,000 Cotillion Handicap (gr. II) at Philadelphia Park.
Buy the Sport, sent off at 48-1 with jockey Pat Day, stormed home through the stretch to defeat tiring favorite Lady Tak in the $250,000 Gazelle Handicap (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park Saturday.
The grade I, $250,000 Gazelle Handicap at 1 1/8 miles features a rematch between Island Fashion and Spoken Fur, the 1-3 finishers in the Alabama Stakes (gr. I), and has also attracted Test Stakes (gr. I) winner Lady Tak.
John Velazquez didn't waste any time Sunday breaking Manny Ycaza's 44-year-old Saratoga record of 41 winners in a span of 24 days. All it took was one race.
Jeffrey L. Nielsen's Island Fashion, a lights-out winner of her last start, proved it wasn't a fluke Saturday at Saratoga Race Course, romping home in the $750,000 Alabama Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies, denying Spoken Fur's bid to sweep the New York Triple Tiara.
When Spoken Fur takes the gate for Saturday's Alabama Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga, the Bobby Frankel-trainee will be looking for more than her sixth consecutive win. She'll be looking to sweep the inaugural edition of the Triple Tiara and receive a $2-million bonus for owners John and Jerry Amerman.
Saratoga Notebook: Funny Cide 'Feeling Good'; Jetsetter Bobby Frankel; Odds On at Spa; During Stays in New York
Trainer Barclay Tagg was smiling Wednesday when he talked about Funny Cide. "He's feeling good today," Tagg said. "He's still on some medication, but he's acting real good, bouncing around, pretty happy."
It didn't take long for trainer Nick Canani to win his first race in Maryland for owner Michael Gill. In Wednesday's fourth race at Laurel, Expect The Best scored as the third mount the trainer saddled in the state.
Everest Stable's Island Fashion easily won the $500,000 Delaware Oaks (gr. III) at Delaware Park Saturday.
Jockey Patrick Valenzuela will ride Everest Stables' Island Fashion in the May 2 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), his agent, Nick Cosato, said Wednesday.
While the Kentucky Derby attracts most of the attention on the backside of Churchill Downs this week, 3-year-olds fillies continue to work toward the May 2 Kentucky Oaks.
Everest Stables' homebred Island Fashion picked a nice spot to break her maiden Saturday, winning the inaugural $250,000 WinStar Sunland Park Oaks in New Mexico with a powerful stretch run.
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