The addition of blinkers and a dawdling pace may have helped, but in any event the consistent 3-year-old Red Giant colt Surgical Strike finally broke through for his first grade stakes victory May 28 at Arlington International Racecourse.
James Graham, who has been riding full-time in Southern California, is set to return to riding full-time at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots starting the week of Jan. 4.
Sharla Rae rebounded from a disappointing seventh last time out in the Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes (gr. IT), and notched her first graded victory with a win in the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) Aug. 15 at Del Mar.
Highland Yard's Walk Close bided her time off the pace in the $100,000 Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT) and then asserted herself in the stretch to win July 11 at Arlington International Racecourse.
Jockey James Graham, trainer Tom Amoss, and owner Maggi Moss topped the standings in their respective categories when the 81-day meet at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots concluded March 29.
Call Me George wore down Albano and favorite Moreno late in the $400,000 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II), engineering a 22-1 upset that provided jockey James Graham a milestone win March 28 at Fair Grounds
Ike Walker took control after a quarter mile and coasted to a dominating victory in the $40,000 South Mississippi Owners and Breeders' Stakes March 6 at Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots.
Mike Luzzi, America's Eclipse Award-winning apprentice jockey in 1989, has been named the winner of the 2015 Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award by a nationwide vote of his peers.
Louisiana-bred String King put away tough pacesetter Gentleman's Kitten and carried on to a well-earned victory Jan. 17 at Fair Grounds, taking the $125,000 Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap (gr. IIIT) to become a graded winner.
Alabama-breds took center stage at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Dec. 12 as 4-5 choice Buggin Out led wire to wire in the $50,000 Magic City Stakes.
Brittlyn Stable's Sunbean will seek his third stakes win in six weeks when he defends his title in the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic Dec. 13 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
Veteran riders James Graham, Mike Luzzi, Leslie Mawing, and Corey Nakatani, along with the recently retired Rosie Napravnik are the 2015 finalists for the Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award.
Jockey James Graham visited the winner's circle five times at Arlington International Racecourse Aug. 9.
Front-running filly Istanford took it to her male rivals early and held on late, carrying home a stylish victory in the $150,000 Arlington Classic Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park.
Shadwell Stables' Najjaar returned to Polytrack for the first time since his 2-year-old season and handled the switch with success Oct. 17, taking an off-the-turf edition of the $100,000 Sycamore Stakes.
Lael Stable and All In Stable's Willcox Inn narrowly defeated front-running Gallant Eagle to capture his third graded stakes win in the $150,000 Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park Aug. 31.
Shadwell Farm's 4-year-old homebred filly Ausus snapped a four-race losing streak and earned her first black-type victory when she charged to the front in the stretch and pulled away to a 2 1/4-length advantage.
Defending Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. IT) winner Daisy Devine is back to protect her title April 13 at Keeneland, but the 5-year-old daughter of Kafwain faces a steep question as she goes up against six stakes winners.
Ive Struck a Nerve, the 135-1 upset winner of the Feb. 23 Risen Star Stakes (gr. II), sustained an ankle injury during a workout the morning of March 9 and is off the Triple Crown trail.
A 135-1 shot took the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Feb. 23, Matthew W. Bryan's Ive Struck a Nerve closing late in the furlong grounds and catapulting himself onto the Derby trail.
Snuggs and Kisses upset Daisy Devine in an off-the-turf edition of the $75,000 Bayou Handicap at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Feb. 23, fighting gamely down the lane to manage a gate-to-wire score by a head.
James Miller's Daisy Devine, already twice an easy winner this winter in New Orleans, has been installed as the looming 2-5 morning line choice in the $75,000 Bayou Handicap at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Feb. 23.
Grade I winner Daisy Devine went wire-to-wire on good turf at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Jan. 26, taking the $72,750 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Handicap at odds of 1-10 for her third straight victory.
James Miller's Daisy Devine will make her 2013 debut in the $75,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Jan. 26, and she's ready to roll despite a one-week postponement of the race.
Bluegrass Hall's Oxbow went wire-to-wire to win the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes by 11 1/2 lengths for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Jan. 19. Earlier, Touch Magic took the Silverbulletday.
In the final start of her career, multiple graded stakes winner Upperline outfought Ciao Bella in the homestretch to prevail in the $125,000 Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes Oct. 21 on the Keeneland turf.
Angel Terrace, rallying from last on the turn for home, and fast-closing Miz Ida scored divisions of the $125,000 Pin Oak Valley View Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Keeneland turf Oct. 19.
The 90-day meeting at Arlington Park ended Sept. 30 with trainer Wayne Catalano, jockey Francisco Torres, and owners Richard and Karen Papiese's Midwest Thoroughbreds all claiming titles.
Favored Upperline collared pacesetter Hooh Why in the final furlong to post a sharp four-length victory in the $150,000 Arlington Matron (gr. III) at Arlington Park May 26.
Upperline, runner-up in her last two stakes tries, found another gear in the late stages to win the $150,000 Grey Goose Bewitch (gr. IIIT) by 1 1/2 lengths April 26 at Keeneland.
James Miller's Daisy Devine, allowed to get away with an easy lead under James Graham, went wire-to-wire in the $300,000 Jenny Wiley (gr. IT) April 14 at Keeneland.
Alex G. Campbell Jr.'s homebred goes wire-to-wire in Keeneland feature April 7.
Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) hopeful Take Charge Indy clocked a bullet five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 at Churchill Downs Oct. 21. With jockey James Graham aboard.
Trainer Larry Rivelli, who had a two-win advantage over conditioner Scott Becker entering the closing day of the 2011 Arlington Park season Sept. 25, officially earned his first trainer championship at the Chicago-area track.
Slight choice Workin for Hops shook free from the leaders in upper stretch and drew away to a three-length victory in the $100,000 Hanshin Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Arlington Park May 21.
Daisy Devine disposed of pacesetter Grandacious leaving the far turn and held sway in the lane to win the $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) by a half-length March 26 at Fair Grounds.
Memorial Maniac came from off the pace to score his first graded-stakes win in the $100,000 Stars and Stripes Turf (gr. IIIT), the first of four graded stakes on the Arlington Park turf Aug. 21.
Check the Label took over from odds-on favorite Rose Catherine approaching the eighth-pole and pulled clear under Julien Leparoux for a three-quarters of a length victory in the $100,000 Appalachian Stakes (gr. IIIT).
Closing from out of the clouds, Ron the Greek ran down favored Maximus Ruler in the final strides to capture the $100,000 Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) by 1 1/2 lengths at Fair Grounds Jan. 23.
Free Fighter, with James Graham aboard, outfought 9-10 favorite Brass Hat through a long stretch battle to produce a half-length victory in the $125,000 Stars and Stripes Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park Sept. 7.
Perhaps no horse on the Derby trail is more aptly named than Giant Oak, who makes many of his opponents look like saplings next to him. A big, long-striding son of Giant's Causeway, his size, stride, and style of running can also be a detriment, as he demonstrated in the Risen Star Stakes.
Giant Oak's breeze on March 7, clocked in 1:00.80 for five furlongs, was a routine move in advance of Fair Grounds' $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) on March 14. However, just past the wire, trainer Chris Block's big horse bobbled briefly, giving the Illinois-based conditioner some moments of concern until he was able to check out his horse back at the barn.
French Beret, with James Graham in the irons, won the $100,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap (gr. IIIT) for the second consecutive year, putting his nose down perfectly at the wire to edge Golden Yank in a thrilling photo finish Jan. 10 at Fair Grounds.
Karelian returned from an 11-month layoff to post an upset score in the $150,000 Sea o'Erin Handicap July 26 at Arlington Park.
Making his first start in more than eight months, Stream Cat split horses in the stretch and put away two-time defending event winner Cosmonaut to take the $194,000 Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) by 3 3/4 lengths July 12 on the Arlington Park turf.
The former business managers for retired riders Laffit Pincay and Chris McCarron lost their bankruptcy case earlier this month, leaving the ex-jockeys closer to receiving millions of dollars in court-awarded judgments.
Jockey James Graham captured a pair of $100,000 stakes at Delta Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel on the night of March 21 with Unforgotten and Good and Lucky.
The 5-year-old gelding won for the first time in nearly 18 months Jan. 12 at Fair Grounds.
Joseph Lacombe Stable's Slew's Tizzy, who clipped heels and lost his jockey James Graham in Fair Grounds' Risen Star Stakes (gr. III), is increasing likely to return for the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) March 10, according to trainer Greg Fox.
Fell The Thunder Stable's Sandburr took command in upper stretch and outran Jonesboro the rest of the way to capture the $75,000 Louisiana Breeders' Cup Handicap by three-quarters of a length Saturday at Fair Grounds Race Course.
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