Hard Not to Like hit the wire first in the $150,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes (gr. IIIT) Jan. 31 but was disqualified, moving favored Testa Rossi into the winner's circle at Tampa Bay Downs.
For every big-name contender expected to arrive at the Breeders' Cup World Championships every season, there are several whose connections agonize over the decision to send them there.
James Covello, winner of the 2011 Central Bank Ashland Stakes (gr. I) with Lilacs and Lace, has another good shot at victory this year with Testa Rossi.
In her first start since finishing second in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IT), Testa Rossi overpowered 11 other 3-year-old fillies in the stretch to post a 3 1/2-length victory in the Florida Oaks.
Trainer John Terranova confirmed April 21 that Falling Sky "is a go" for a start in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 4 at Churchill Downs.
Falling Sky, winner of the Feb. 2 Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III) at Tampa Bay Downs, was scratched from the Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (gr. II) the morning of the race, as was maiden winner Sky Captain.
Surging in the final yards, Swift Warrior prevailed in a tight four-horse finish to the $150,000 Tampa Bay Stakes for his second grade III victory in a row Feb. 16 on the turf at Tampa Bay Downs.
The sky was the limit Feb. 2 at Tampa Bay Downs, with Falling Sky and Dynamic Sky finishing 1-2 in the $202,500 Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III). Falling Sky, a 7-1 upsetter, survived an objection to get the job done.
Swift Warrior made his first-ever start at Sam Houston Race Park a successful one Jan. 26, when he beat nine rivals in the John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT) in a pacesetting effort.
Ashland Stakes (gr. I) winner Lilacs and Lace was sold to a Japanese breeder for an undisclosed amount and was sent to that country shortly after the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), according to former majority owner Jim Covello
There are several special aspects of the story of Lilacs and Lace, a homebred daughter of Flower Alley who burst onto the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) scene with a victory in the April 9 Ashland Stakes (gr. I).
Lightly-regarded Lilacs and Lace shocked many in the crowd of 23,155 racing fans who turned out to watch the $400,000 Central Bank Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland April 9.
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