Johannesburg

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Steve Haskin's Derby Report (2/25): Deja Vu-saichi

Yes, we have been here before. Two years ago, Japanese-owned Fusaichi Pegasus, trained by Neil Drysdale, broke his maiden sprinting in January, then won a 1 1/16-mile allowance race in February as a springboard to victories in the San Felipe, Wood Memorial, and the Kentucky Derby. Now, we have Japanese- owned Sunday Break, trained by Neil Drysdale, breaking his maiden sprinting in January, then winning a 1 1/16-mile allowance race in February.

Johannesburg Conquered the World in Championship Campaign

Johannesburg proved to be a citizen of the world in 2001. The bay colt raced twice in England, once in France, three times in Ireland, and once in the United States. One other thing--he won all seven times. Perfect on the racetrack, Johannesburg easily outdistanced his rivals and was named the 2-year-old male Eclipse Award winner.

The Envelope, Please...Eclipse Awards Announced Tonight

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The wait is almost over and tonight we will find out if Tiznow successfully defended his Horse of the Year title when he won the Breeders' Cup Classic or if he will be dethroned by either Point Given or Johannesburg, the other two finalists as racing's best for 2001.

Johannesburg Cantering; No Decisions Until Spring

For all you Johannesburg fans who have been picturing the son of Hennessy hibernating for the winter in a den somewhere in the bowels of Ballydoyle, fear not. Last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner and likely 2-year-old champion has been cantering and doing as well as can be expected at this time of the year.

Johannesburg Propels Hennessy to Top of Juvenile Sire List

Johannesburg was the "big horse" for Hennessy prior to last year's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, having won all six of his races in Europe, three of them in group I company. His 1 1/4-length triumph in the Bessemer Trust Juvenile (gr. I) put Hennessy on top of the list of leading sires of 2-year-olds in 2001 and convinced management of Irish-based Coolmore to jump the son of Storm Cat's 2002 stud fee from a previously announced $20,000 to $45,000 live foal.

It's a Slam Dunk for Point Given in Eclipse Voting

In a year without a lot of clear-cut favorites, Point Given is the lone unanimous choice in 2001 Eclipse Award balloting. The dual classic winner received top honors as champion 3-year-old male and is a finalist, along with Tiznow and Johannesburg, for Horse of the Year honors. Finalists in each of the Eclipse categories were announced Thursday.

Fever Pitch

By Steve Haskin -- There are 2,904 hours until the Kentucky Derby. By the time I finish writing this, there will be 2,903. I figure approximately 650 of those hours will be spent sleeping, leaving 2,253 hours to think about the Derby.

Tip of the Derby to Coolmore Team

Trainer Aidan O'Brien, owners Michael Tabor and Sue Magnier, and jockey Michael Kinane, who combined together to have such a great flat season for the Coolmore team, dominated the 2001 Derby Awards, organized by the Horserace Writers and Photographers Association, The winners were announced Dec. 10 before 600 people in London, England.

Fantastic Light Named Cartier Horse of the Year

Breeders' Cup Turf winner Fantastic Light was honored Wednesday night with the Cartier "Horse of the Year" award during a ceremony at London's Four Seasons Hotel. Fantastic Light was also honored with the Older Horse Award, beating out his Godolphin stablemate Sakhee, runner-up in the Breeders Cup Classic.

2002 Kentucky Derby: Steve Haskin Looks Ahead

Derby fever, in November? Heck, why not. The Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner is tucked away somewhere in Ireland, and until word surfaces from the usually tight-lipped Coolmore people, he will remain out of sight in winter hibernation. Whether or not a full-grown grizzly bear is going to emerge next year, and whether he's going to come back here looking for more easy pickins we won't know for a while.

Officer Displaced Palate in Juvenile Loss to Johannesburg

Say what's the word? Well at Belmont Park on Saturday, it was Johannesburg, who remained unbeaten when he won the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). Down to defeat went the Bob Baffert-trained Officer, who was on the rail in striking position but could not handle the pressure. Later, Baffert said Officer shut down after displacing his palate.

Johannesburg Romps in Phoenix Stakes

Michael Tabor's Johannesburg remained undefeated by beating Miss Beabea by five lengths to win the Independent Waterford Wedgwood Phoenix Stakes (Ire-I) on Sunday at Leopardstown. Also on Sunday, American-bred Bahamian Pirate held off fellow American-bred One Won One to win the Phoenix Sprint Stakes (Ire-III) by a short head.

Murtagh Lands Three Ascot Winners

One day after learning he will be suspended for five days, Irish jockey Johnny Murtagh rode three winners on the Royal Ascot card, including an all-out triumph on Royal Rebel in the featured Ascot Gold Cup (Eng-I).

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