The Louisiana invader Happy Ticket made short work of the field in Sunday's $250,000 Ballerina (gr. I) for fillies and mares at muddy Saratoga Race Course, pulling away in the final furlong for her 10th win in 11 career starts.
Flower Alley overtook a sharp Bellamy Road approaching the eighth pole and edged away to win Saturday's $1 million Travers (gr. I) and give the dominating duo of trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez a first victory in the Midsummer Derby.
Pacesetting Leroidesanimaux had things all his own way with John Velazquez in the irons Saturday to win the $200,000 Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Saratoga turf for the Brazilian bred's seventh straight victory.
A cast of seven fillies will line up for distinction Friday in the 114th running of the Spinaway Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-olds at Saratoga. Last month's Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) winner over the track, Folklore, looks to join 2004 Spinaway winner Society Selection and 2003 star Ashado, both of whom used this race as a springboard to grade I Spa glory.
Jay Em Ess Stable's homebred Suave overcame a stumbling start to give trainer Paul McGee his first Saratoga graded stakes victory, carrying jockey John Velazquez to a 2 ¾-length victory in the $245,000 Saratoga Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at 10 furlongs before a crowd of 55,503.
With four wins on Friday's program, Edgar Prado passed John Velazquez at the midway point of a spirited fight for the 2005 Saratoga riding title.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has a host of Saratoga stakes wins to his credit and hopes to add one more to the list when he saddles Vicarage in Sunday's $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II), going six furlongs.
A bad step just yards from the wire by pacesetter Avery Hall proved costly Thursday at Saratoga Race Course as favored Karakorum Splendor rallied in the final strides to win the $250,000 Statue of Liberty Division of the New York Stallion Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by a nose.
A field of eight older horses is set to line up for Saturday's 78th running of the prestigious Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga. Won by Roses in May in thrilling fashion over Perfect Drift in 2004, this year's edition includes division leader Saint Liam--with trainers Nick Zito and Todd Pletcher entering two starters each.
Jockey John Velazquez turned Ashado loose in the upper stretch, and the champion filly demolished the field in Sunday's $245,000 Go for Wand Handicap (gr. I) before a crowd of 51,982 at Saratoga Race Course.
The only graded stakes winner in Saturday's $500,000 Jim Dandy (gr. II), budding Flower Alley outclassed his 3-year-old foes at Saratoga Race Course to establish himself as one of the favorites for the upcoming Travers (gr. I).
Favored Sand Springs, with John Velazquez aboard, dictated the pace into the stretch before pulling away to an easy victory in the $500,000 Diana Handicap (gr. IT) on the inner Saratoga turf course Saturday.
John Velazquez mirrored tactics used in his Colonial Turf Cup win three weeks ago in Saturday's $750,000 Virginia Derby (gr. IIIT) and produced the same result. With a 3 1/4-length romp, trainer Todd Pletcher's turf standout now has captured two legs of the $5 million Grand Slam of Grass.
A dawdling pace in Saturday's $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup couldn't stop prohibitive favorite English Channel, whose devastating late kick produced an easy 3 1/2-length at Colonial Downs.
A field of six fillies passed the entry box for Saturday's Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park. The 1 1/8-mile contest features a who's who of 3-year-olds and marks the grade I debut of Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) winner Spun Sugar. She'll need to get by Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) star Summerly, though, if she is to take home top prize.
The champion filly Ashado, the focus of concern after she lost her first two starts in 2005, looked like her old self in the Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park Saturday, defeating her four rivals with ease.
A small but talented field of five will vie for a share of the $300,000 purse in Saturday's Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park. The 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares features grade I winners Ashado and Society Selection, along with grade II stars Bending Strings and Daydreaming--each looking for their first grade I score.
A new jockey, weight break and aluminum pads for her sore feet helped make favored Sensibly Chic a winner in the $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares Sunday at Belmont Park.
Undefeated Melhor Ainda made her first graded stakes appearance look easy, winning as the prohibitive favorite in the $111,200 Sands Point (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-old fillies Sunday on the Belmont Park turf.
A field of nine 3-year-olds passed the entry box for Saturday's Sir Barton Stakes on the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) undercard at Pimlico Race Course. Highweight Killenaule, third in last year's Remsen Stakes (gr. II) behind winner Rockport Harbor, and undefeated Pinpoint, under the second-high impost, lead the field.
Jockey Gary Stevens will be the only rider attempting his fourth Kentucky Derby (gr. I) victory this year as he takes the mount on Florida Derby (gr. I) runner-up Noble Causeway, trained by Nick Zito. If Stevens succeeds he will join the rank of Hall of Fame jockey Bill Shoemaker who had four victories from a record 26 Derby mounts.
Keeneland's spring meet ended April 29 with record total attendance and the second highest on-track mutuel handle in history but a decline in total handle and total daily average handle.
When horses from the Todd Pletcher barn go to the track at Churchill Downs for morning workouts, one exercise rider attracts more attention than the others. Observers know his face but often ask themselves, "Is that Angel?" The answer is yes, Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr. is exercising horses for Pletcher,
Heavily favored Melhor Ainda rallied to a decisive victory in the $112,800 Appalachian Stakes for 3-year-old fillies Sunday at Keeneland, giving jockey John Velazquez his eighth straight victory over a three-day period.
Chilean-bred Isola Piu Bella notched her second North American graded stakes victory this year when she drew off for a two-length win in Saturday's $250,000 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne.
Multiple graded stakes-winning Pollard's Vision, ridden by John Velazquez, challenged the 1-2 favorite Badge of Silver and Jerry Bailey in the stretch and drew away to a 1 1/4-length victory under a brisk hand ride in Saturday's $242,500 National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne.
Trainer Tim Ritchey announced Tuesday that Jeremy Rose will ride Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Afleet Alex in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) May 7. Rose has ridden Afleet Alex in every race but one, winning six of his eight starts aboard the colt.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Bandini stepped into the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) spotlight with a brilliant performance in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland Saturday.
Bruce Lunsford's heavily favored Madcap Escapade stalked the early pace of the seven-furlong Vinery Madison Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland Race Course before sweeping around the turn to grab Wednesday's $200,000 feature. Jerry Bailey was aboard for a muddy trip in 1:23.33 after quick early fractions of :21.59 and :43.75.
Champion 3-year-old filly Ashado, who won the 2004 Breeders' Cup Distaff – Presented by Nextel (gr. I) in her last outing, will make her 4-year-old debut in Saturday's Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park.
A group of nine 3-year-olds passed the entry box for the 17th running of Friday's $150,000 Central Bank Transylvania Stakes (gr. IIIT). Set to kick off the stakes calendar of Keeneland's 2005 spring meeting is the speedy, multiple stakes-winning Dubleo, and the lightly raced, but impressive Chattahoochee War. The pair lead a well-matched group postward to battle a mile on the grass.
Value Plus, ridden by John Velazquez, surged to the front coming out of the turn and romped to a four-length victory over 6-5 favorite Gygistar in Saturday's $100,000 Artax Handicap at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez teamed for their third straight stakes victory Saturday at Gulfstream Park when Char-Mari Stable's Navesink River prevailed in the $150,000 Pan American Handicap (gr. II) on the grass.
The fast-improving Honey Rider slid off the rail in upper stretch to reach the front, then outfought the late charging Ellieonthemarch for a half-length victory in the $150,000 Orchid Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares on the Gulfstream Park turf Saturday.
The 10th edition of the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) may not have been the best quality race ever staged at Nad Al Sheba but, as predicted, the Dale Romans-trained Roses in May scored a fifth win in the race for America.
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.
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