In honor of (and caused by) an 8:00 a.m. deadline, Hall of Fame inductions, an upcoming afternoon of racing coverage, and an evening of sales assignments, we defer to a smattering of quotes and scenes witnessed by your faithful correspondent, who peruses the backside of Saratoga (almost) every morning.
Juddmonte Farms' First Defence punched his ticket for the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) Saturday, leading every step to win the $150,000 Long Branch Breeders' Cup for 3-year-olds by 2 1/4 lengths at Monmouth Park.
- By Claire Novak
First Defence will tackle the field when six horses go postward in Saturday's Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes at Monmouth Park.
Juddmonte Farms' favored Indian Flare found a little bit extra when she needed it most Sunday to beat Oprah Winney by a half-length in the 150,000 Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at Belmont Park.
Joseph Allen's homebred Ecclesiastic ended a two-year graded stakes drought when he swept to a 24-1 shocker for trainer H. Allen Jerkens in Sunday's $113,800 Jaipur (gr. IIIT) at six furlongs on the Belmont Park inner turf course.
William Sorokolit's Sky Conqueror caught Brilliant in the final jumps of the May 5 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs to take the $500,000-added turf contest for 3-year-olds and up by head.
Jockey Javier Castellano notched his 2,000th North American victory at Calder Race Course on Saturday in the fourth race aboard Sarah Lyn Stables' Brazilian bred Nombre de Dios for trainer Mark Hennig.
Gulfstream Park closes its 2007 racing season Sunday with Eclipse-winning trainer Todd Pletcher capturing his fourth consecutive title at the South Florida track. Jockey Cornelio Velasquez has sealed his first riding title.
Four Roses Thoroughbreds' Silver Wagon became the beneficiary of a wicked speed duel and won the $300,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I) by 1 1/4 lengths with a late rally on the far outside Saturday.
Kingfield Racing Stable's 5-year-old gelding Jambalaya made it back-to-back graded stakes victories on the Gulfstream Park grass Saturday, prevailing with a sustained stretch drive in the $150,000 Bulleit Bourbon Pan American Handicap (gr. IIIT).
Centennial Farms' Corinthian, disqualified from victory in the Fountain of Youth (gr. II) one year ago, tallied his first graded stakes win in Saturday's $350,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II), holding off the relentless closer Hesanoldsalt by a neck as the even-money favorite.
Jambalaya angled to the outside in the stretch and then won a mad dash to the wire by a neck over favored Honey Ryder and Einstein, attaining grade I glory for his Canadian connections in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Turf at 1 3/8 miles Saturday in south Florida.
Hobeau Farm homebred Swap Fliparoo swept past the leaders on the outside approaching the eighth pole and drew away effortlessly to win the $140,000 Sabin Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Centennial Farm's 4-year-old Corinthian signaled he's back on the beam with an impressive 9 1/2-length win over Shadwell Stable's Jazil, winner of the 2006 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), in a Gulfstream Park allowance race Thursday.
Pacemaker Giant Wrecker stubbornly refused to give way in the lane under Javier Castellano to win the $100,000 Canadian Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) by a head over the relentless closer Host on the Gulfstream Park grass course Saturday. Miesque's Approval, the 2006 Eclipse Award winner as the nation's top turf runner, never fired and finished fifth as the 4-5 favorite.
Hobeau Farm's 4-year-old filly Swap Fliparoo signaled her readiness for Saturday's $300,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint with a three-furlong :35 2/5 blowout Wednesday morning at Gulfstream Park under jockey Javier Castellano.
Olivier Peslier of France took his second title in the Cathay Pacific International Jockeys' Championship Wednesday night at Happy Valley racecourse in Hong Kong.
Edgar Prado and Javier Castellano are to represent the United States in the 20th World Super Jockeys Series to be held Dec. 2-3 at Hanshin Racecourse.
Barry K. Schwartz's Great Intentions skewered Win McCool in a speed duel, then kicked on for four-length victory in the $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares over 6 1/2 furlongs at Belmont Park Sunday.
Bernardini once again effortlessly won a grade I race, galloping home over three opponents Saturday in Belmont Park's Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I).
Arthur B. Hancock III's even-money choice Wanderin Boy exploited his early speed to trounce the field in the $158,500 Brooklyn Breeders's Cup Handicap (gr. II) Saturday at Belmont Park.
Even-money favorite Pine Island edged past Teammate in the final sixteenth of a mile and went on to post a measured one-length win in the $250,000 Gazelle (gr. IT) for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park Saturday.
Very few thought any of his five rivals had much of a shot at beating Bernardini at equal weights in Saturday's 137th Travers (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course. But this appeared so effortless that jockey Javier Castellano was clapping the winner on the neck -- with a sixteenth of a mile to go!
The fast improving Pine Island, second in grade I company in back-to-back starts, put it all together Saturday to win the $600,000 Alabama (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga Race Course.
Holly Rincon's Remarkable News took the lead at the start of the $150,000 Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT) and never looked back, notching a convincing victory while leaving the 3-5 favorite Artie Schiller a well-beaten fourth at Saratoga Sunday.
Lael Stable's Stormy Kiss overcame a stumble at the start to earn a front-running victory under Javier Castellano in Friday's $150,000 Honorable Miss Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at six furlongs. She held off the fast closing Malibu Mint by a neck at Saratoga.
Darley Stable's Classic winner Bernardini coasted to victory in nearly gate to wire fashion in the $500,000 Jim Dandy (gr. II) under sloppy conditions Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
Odds-on choice Remarkable News, Javier Castellano in the irons, fought off two stubborn rivals to capture the $150,000 Connaught Cup Stakes (Can-IIIT) by a nose in dramatic fashion Sunday at Woodbine.
Bernardini rolled to victory in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) Saturday before a record crowd of 118,402 at Pimlico Race Course while a serious injury shattered Barbaro's racing career and dreams of a Triple Crown bid.
Ozone Bere made her United States debut a winning one when she shot through at the fence to win the $100,000 Gallorette Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares by a head Saturday on the Pimlico Race Course turf.
Even-money choice Gilded Gold won for the eighth time in 16 starts with a front-running score in the $75,000 The Very One Stakes for fillies and mares at five furlongs on the turf Friday at Pimlico Race Course.
Darley Stable's Bernardini quickly drew away from favored Luxembourg at the head of the stretch to win the $142,500 Withers (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at a mile Saturday on Aqueduct's fast main track.
Javier Castellano became the second rider to receive a five-day suspension during Keeneland's 2006 spring meet when the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority ruled on an incident involving the 28-year-old jockey on Friday.
Arthur Hancock III's Wanderin Boy shot to the lead and never relinquished it en route to a commanding 5 1/4-length win in Keeneland's Thursday feature, the $150,000 Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III).
Abel Castellano Jr., a regular in the Maryland jockey colony for three years, will move his tack to South Florida next month in preparation for the Calder Race Course meetings.
Susan and John Moore's prohibitive favorite Smokey Glacken overcame an eventful race for regular jockey Javier Castellano to hold off a surging Magnolia Jackson by a head to win the $154,500 Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares on the Aqueduct inner dirt track Saturday.
J'ray, expected to be the prohibitive favorite in the $100,000 Herecomesthebride (gr. IIIT), was scratched instead and Aunt Henny took full advantage, overcoming some early rankness to win the 3-year-old filly stakes Sunday on the Gulfstream Park turf.
Favored Smokey Glacken toyed with her nine rivals in Saturday's $100,000 Hurricane Bertie Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park, drawing away to a front running 3 1/2-length victory.
Susan and John Moore's Smokey Glacken collared favorite Trickle of Gold near the quarter pole and drew away in the stretch to capture Saturday's $100,000 First Lady Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares by 4 1/4 lengths at Gulfstream Park.
The grade I winner Meteor Storm, knocking on the door against top-caliber stakes company since March, gained his first victory of 2005 while fully extended in Saturday's $200,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Calder Race Course turf.
Lee Lewis' homebred Better Now saved ground behind a lively pace, then angled out to draw clear of Capote's Crown for a 3 ½-length victory in the $110,000 Tempted (gr. III) for 2-year-old fillies at a mile Sunday at Belmont Park.
Rain ruined what looked to be a competitive Jamaica Handicap, a grade II event for 3-year-olds at nine furlongs on the turf. The race was switched to the sloppy main track and all but three of the nine entered were scratched. That worked out well for trainer Patrick Reynolds, whose mud-loving Watchmon posted a 1 3/4-length win.
A field of 10 horses has been drawn for Saturday's 66th running of the Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I). The Patrick Biancone-trained Pomeroy, winner of the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. II) at Saratoga, looks to add his name to a list of recent Vosburgh stars that includes Pico Central and Ghostzapper.
Jockey Javier Castellano dropped the left rein briefly aboard Love Match at the start of the $150,000 Taylor Made Matchmaker (gr. IIIT), but it wasn't enough to keep the 5-year-old mare from registering a 27-1 surprise Sunday on the Monmouth Park turf.
A field of eight has been drawn for Friday's feature at Saratoga Race Course. Molto Vita looks to add to her fine resume in the six-furlong Honorable Miss Handicap (gr. II) for older fillies and mares with $150,000 on the line, but highweight Bank Audit and multiple grade III winner Ebony Breeze may have their say.
The 137th racing season at Saratoga Race Course got under way Wednesday with 2-year-old fillies taking to the historic oval. In the end it was the Robert and Beverly Lewis homebred Folklore who captured the opening day feature, the six-furlong, $150,000 Adirondack Stakes (gr. II).
Watchmon, a son of Maria's Mon who is expected to be one of the longest prices on the board in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I), breezed five furlongs over the main track at Belmont Park Tuesday morning in 1:00.09.
Jockey Javier Castellano will ride Ready and Alluring in Sunday's $500,000 Labatt Woodbine Oaks, the premier event for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies at Woodbine. Ready and Alluring could face as many as 10 challengers in the 1 1/8-mile race.
Sauvage, a French-bred filly making her second start in New York, found room at the rail to rally to an upset Sunday in the $150,000 Sheepshead Bay Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares at 11 furlongs on the turf.
Edward P. Evan's hard-knocking Gygistar got the pace he was looking for Wednesday and rallied to win the 77th running of the $109,500 Westchester Handicap (gr. III), the opening-day feature at Belmont Park's spring/summer meeting.
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