Ghostzapper, the powerful winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), led the list of 2004 award winners announced by the New York Turf Writers' Association March 23.
Warning Zone, a group II stakes winner in her native South Africa, made her North American debut a winning one with a one-length tally in the $100,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Handicap Saturday at Fair Grounds Race Course.
A talented group of nine older horses--including seven graded stakes winners--will battle in Saturday's New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) at Fair Grounds with $500,000 on the line. Highweight Pollard's Vision and second-highweighted Badge of Silver will have to contend with Arthur Hancock's Wanderin Boy.
Glencrest Farm LLC's Honey Ryder saved her best running for the final furlong of Sunday's 1 3/8-mile The Very One Handicap (gr. IIIT), running down Briviesca in the final strides for a neck victory on the grass at Gulfstream Park.
Sullivan Lane Stable and Vincent Scuderi's highweighted Classic Endeavor will carry Eclipse Award-winning rider John Velazquez and an impost of 118 pounds against a well-matched and familiar group of older horses in Saturday's Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II). The strong card features the prestigious Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) and Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. III) for the 3-year-old set.
A trip down the Triple Crown Trail could be on the line when Northern California-based Lost in the Fog leads a field of 11 runners to the gate for the March 5 Swale Stakes (gr. II), going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park.
Chilean-bred Isola Piu Bella never let 7-10 favorite Daydreaming out of her sight, pulling away in the stretch for her first North American victory in the $100,000 Sabin Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park.
A competitive field of nine older horses has passed the entry box for Saturday's one-mile Appleton Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the newly designed turf course at Gulfstream Park. Weighing in with a top impost of 120 pounds is the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Millennium Dragon, stakes winner on two continents including last year's Appleton.
Under a cool front end ride from John Velazquez, even-money favorite Sis City hit the stretch six lengths in front and drew way off for an eye-raising 16-length win in the $150,000 Davona Dale (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Padua Stables' Proud Accolade overcame some traffic trouble on the turn before exploding away from the field in the stretch for an impressive 4 1/2-length victory in the $150,000 Hutcheson (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Undefeated Maddalena disposed of her stablemate Portsea on the turn and romped to victory in her stakes debut for trainer Todd Pletcher in the $100,000 Old Hat (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Juddmonte Farms' Burning Sun looks to set the new Gulfstream Park turf course on fire when he takes the gate in Sunday's Mac Diarmida Handicap (gr. IIIT), going 1 1/8-miles.
Favored Savorthetime surged past the pacesetting Cologny at the sixteenth pole and pulled away for a 2 1/2-length victory in the $100,000 First Lady Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
J D Farm's homebred filly Dansetta Light turned in a gritty performance to win a blanket finish in Saturday's $100,000 Tropical Park Oaks by a neck over Dynamite Lass.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, jockey John Velazquez and owner Michael Gill head the individual earnings lists for 2004 in North America, according to final statistics released Jan. 1 by Equibase Company LLC.
A group of newly minted 3-year-old fillies, highlighted by a trio of Florida-breds, will take the gate Jan. 1 for the $100,000 Tropical Park Oaks at Calder Race Course, going 1 1/16-miles on the turf.
Something Ventured got a perfectly timed ride from John Velazquez to collar runaway frontrunner Changing World in the final stages and win the $100,000 My Charmer Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Calder Race Course turf Saturday.
After two worthy but losing efforts in grade I company, Sis City found the competition in Saturday's Demoiselle (gr. II) Stakes to her liking, rolling to a 3-3/4 length front-end victory for Aqueduct's leading trainer, Richard Dutrow Jr.
Jockeys John Velazquez, Edgar Prado and Jerry Bailey, the nation's three leaders in purse earnings this year, will leave their New York base to ride in the Turf Festival at Hollywood Park next weekend.
The Steve Asmussen-trained Megascape, shouldering top weight of 122 pounds, went gate to wire to easily upset odds-on favorite Alfonsina in the $106,500 Valley Stream (gr. III) for 2-year-old fillies Sunday at Aqueduct.
Ashado, a 3-year-old filly by Saint Ballado, added to her impressive resume Oct. 30 with a decisive victory in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff Presented by Nextel (gr. I).
Heavily favored Paddy's Daisy wore down 42-1 outsider Berbatim to win the $112,600 Jessamine County Stakes for 2-year-old fillies Thursday at Keeneland.
Commercante overtook favored Punctilious in deep stretch to win the $607,500 E.P. Taylor (Can-I) for fillies and mares at foggy, showery Woodbine Sunday for her first North American stakes victory.
Kitten's Joy is so good that he "may have mystical qualities," said Ken Ramsey, who races the homebred colt in partnership with his wife, Sarah.
by John Mucciolo - A total of 57 races were contested over the past six racing days, and favorites continue to perform well. With 23 top betting selections crossing the wire first (40 percent), and 12 second choices winning (21 percent), longshot players were once again up against it at Belmont.
by Gary Granade -- With the Breeders' Cup looming on October 30, Pletcher could elect to keep Balto Star on the dirt for the $4 million Classic (G1). The Meadowlands Cup, his first run on the main track in over a year, was a compelling argument for that course of action. On the other hand, Balto Star is a Grade 1 winner on the grass, making the $2 million Turf (G1) a viable option.
The brilliant sprinter Lady Tak, with a confident John Velazquez in the saddle, disposed of pacesetter Molto Vita coming off the turn and cruised to a two-length victory as the heavy favorite in the $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares.
Unbeaten Proud Accolade, ridden confidently in his stakes debut by John Velazquez, dealt heavy favorite Afleet Alex his first loss with a half-length victory in the $500,000 Champagne (gr. I) for 2-year-olds at Belmont Park Saturday.
Three-year-old Kitten's Joy found older horses and the 1 1/2-mile distance to be non issues when registering an authoritative victory over favored Magistretti in the $750,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) on a yielding Belmont Park turf course Saturday.
Daydreaming and jockey John Velazquez surged to the lead in midstretch and survived a stewards' inquiry into the closing stages to win the $406,300 Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. III) at Hoosier Park Friday night.
Spendthrift Farm's big gray Stellar Jayne and So Madcapt Stable's New York-bred Capeside Lady were installed as the co-highweights for the 10th running of the $400,000 Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. III) at Hoosier Park Oct. 1.
Favored Ocean Drive, ridden by John Velazquez, made a sweeping move around the leaders to seize the lead and draw away to win the $150,000 Noble Damsel Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park Saturday, her fourth grade III victory in 2004.
Juddmonte Farms' Sightseek moved to the front on the outside of her rivals at the quarter pole and blasted away from the field for an 11 1/4-length victory in Sunday's $300,000 Ruffian Handicap (gr. I), her fourth grade I win at Belmont Park.
Roses in May could be nicknamed Mr. October, trainer Dale Romans joked prior to the $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic Handicap (gr. II). After he recorded his fifth straight victory this year in the easiest fashion possible Saturday at Turfway Park, the 4-year-old colt has risen to the top of the handicap division for the upcoming Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Lone Star Park Oct. 30.
Favored Taittinger Rose came off the rail in mid-stretch to range up just in time to earn a dead heat with pacesetting Reforest in the $100,000 Pennsylvania Oaks at Philadelphia Park Monday.
The Bobby Frankel-trained Arvada, making her United States stakes debut, went gate-to-wire to tally a half-length victory in the second division of the $109,300 Glens Falls Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares at Saratoga Race Course Sunday.
John Velazquez rode three winners Friday, including two for leading trainer Todd Pletcher, to break the single-season jockey victory total at Saratoga Race Course that he set last year.
Nothing to Lose, guided by John Velazquez through a couple of narrow gaps in the stretch, squeezed through along the hedge close to home and went on to a narrow victory over Silver Tree in the $200,000 Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Saratoga turf Saturday.
Speightstown remained undefeated in four starts in 2004 with a track record-equaling victory in the $200,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. II) Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Purge, gobbled up speed merchant Medallist on the far turn and romped to victory in the $500,000 Jim Dandy (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Saratoga Race Course Sunday.
It was like old times again here at the Spa. Rain on opening day, the largest on-track crowds in America and Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez picking up where they left off last year.
So Sweet a Cat, ridden by leading jockey John Velazquez, disposed of pacesetter South Wing with a furlong to go and drew away to a one-sided victory in the $250,000 Statue of Liberty Division of the New York Stallions Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga Race Course Thursday.
Jockey John Velazquez notched his 3,000th career victory in the second race of Thursday's card at Saratoga Race Course.
Patricia Cooksey has been named the recipient of the 2004 Mike Venezia Memorial Award in a vote of fans, turf writers and jockeys.
Multiple grade I winner Ashado reasserted herself atop the 3-year-old filly division with a 4 1/2-length romp over five rivals in the $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) at muddy Belmont Park Saturday.
Mineshaft, Eclipse Award winner as Horse of the Year and best older male, has been named winner of the New York Turf Writers Association's Secretariat Award as New York's Horse of the Year for 2003.
Jockey John Velazquez got the high-spirited colt Purge to relax while racing on the outside of the pacesetters and the colt responded to the easy handling with a quarter-mile to go to register a sparkling victory in the $200,000 Peter Pan (gr. II) at Belmont Park Saturday.
Patricia Cooksey, Aaron Gryder, Edgar Prado and John Velazquez have been named as the finalists for the 2004 Mike Venezia Memorial Award. The Venezia Award was instituted by the New York Racing Association to honor riders who "exemplify extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship." Venezia was killed in a tragic spill at Belmont Park on Oct. 13, 1988.
Storm Flag Flying returned to her championship form Saturday at Belmont Park, winning the $200,000 Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) by a half-length as the even-money favorite.
Versatile California-bred mare Bear Fan hit the front near the quarter pole and bounded away to an easy five-length victory over Harmony Lodge in the $150,00 Genuine Risk Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park Sunday.
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