Eleven horses were entered Wednesday for Saturday's $1-million Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park, but the focus clearly was on two: Florida-bred Booklet and Harlan's Holiday.
Fountain of Youth and Holy Bull winner Booklet turned in a bullet 5-furlong work in :59 4/5 at Gulfstream Friday morning in preparation for the March 16 Florida Derby. Also on the work tab was Florida Derby hopeful D'Coach, who breezed 5 furlongs in 1:02.
Several of the top-name 3-year-olds worked over the Gulfstream track Saturday morning, headed by Remsen Stakes winner Saarland, whose five-furlong breeze in 1:02 from the gate may have earned him a berth in next Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes.
Assistant trainer Yvonne Azeff, who has been in a coma since suffering a severe head injury in a spill at Gulfstream on Jan. 27, has begun to show progress over the past 24 hours, trainer John Ward Jr. said.
Holy Bull winner Booklet, breezed a sharp 5 furlongs in 1:00 3/5 Friday at Gulfstream Park in preparation for the Feb. 16 Fountain of Youth Stakes. The smallish son of Notebook, who was purchased by John and Debby Oxley prior to the Holy Bull, has won five of his six career starts.
- By Steve Haskin
Assistant trainer Yvonne Azeff, seriosuly injured after being thrown from her pony at Gulfstream last Saturday, appears from all signs to be making improvement at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, trainer John Ward said Thursday. Azeff has been unconscious since the accident. Although Ward had heard that Azeff's condition had been upgraded, hospital spokesperson Tara Bauer said Thursday afternoon her condition still was listed as serious.
- By Steve Haskin
Assistant trainer Yvonne Azeff, who suffered a serious head injury after being unseated by the stable pony Saturday, remained unconscious Tuesday at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla.
Assistant trainer Yvonne Azeff, who was injured Saturday after being thrown and pinned beneath the stable pony, was still unconscious at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla. as of Monday morning, a spokesperson at trainer John Ward's barn said. All tests have proven negative and all her vital signs are good. "She's getting better, but very slowly," the spokesperson said.
Yvonne Azeff, an assistant to trainer John T. Ward Jr., was injured Saturday morning at Gulfstream Park when she was thrown from the horse she was riding after it became agitated by another horse. Azeff was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital and was listed in "serious" condition as of 1:00 p.m.
John Oxley's Snow Dance, the top filly in trainer's John Ward's strong barn, will make her 2002 debut in Friday's $100,000 De La Rose Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the turf at Gulfstream Park
John Oxley's Monarchos, winner of last year's Kentucky Derby and Florida Derby, will begin his 2002 campaign Saturday in a $40,000 allowance/optional claiming event.
John C. Oxley's Monarchos, who capped a strong winter-spring campaign with victories in the Florida Derby (gr. I) and Kentucky Derby (gr. I) last year, makes his 4-year-old debut here Saturday as he preps for Gulfstream Park's $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) on Feb. 9.
In a move that trainer John Ward described as "perfect," Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos worked four furlongs in :52 at Keeneland on Saturday, Nov. 24.
Trainer John Ward said Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos will ship down to Gulfstream Park a few days after Thanksgiving to begin preparation for his 4-year-old campaign. "God, he looks good," Ward said. "His rear end has really filled out and his coat looks like shining silver. He's come back with gusto."
Churchill Downs' $150,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes (gr. IIIT), the year's final stakes race on turf that is restricted to 3-year-old fillies, has attracted 50 nominations for its renewal on Nov. 17.
Beautiful Pleasure, the champion older mare of 1999 who is winless in four starts this year, has been retired following her sixth-place finish in Saturday's Beldame Stakes (gr. I).
Pompeii, earning her first grade I score, defeated Beautiful Pleasure and six others in the 10-furlong Personal Ensign at Saratoga.
John C. Oxley's Monarchos, winner of this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) who suffered a hairline fracture earlier this summer, will not race for the rest of the year.
Bits and pieces from around the Thoroughbred world.
Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Monarchos will be sidelined for up to 60 days after suffering a subchondral hairline fracture of the third carpal bone of the right knee.
Bits and pieces from the Thoroughbred industry.
Bits and pieces from the Thoroughbred industry.
Beautiful Pleasure, the champion older mare of 1999, will make her first start of the year in Saturday's grade I Hempstead Handicap at Belmont Park where the 6-year-old mare will face seven rivals in the 1 1/16 mile contest, including stablemate Darling My Darling. Beautiful Pleasure races for John Oxley while Darling My Darling races for his wife, Debby Oxley, both are trained by John and Donna Ward.
With the Belmont Stakes just over a week away, the questions persist: will the Test of the Champion live up to its billing as a showdown between Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos and Preakness winner Point Given, or will one of the other horses who have run well in Derby or Preakness, such as A P Valentine, Invisible Ink, Dollar Bill and Thunder Blitz, knock off the big two?
The Derby winner, the speed, and the new arrivals dominated the Preakness scene at Old Hilltop this morning. Richly Blended, the last of the Preakness workers hit the track at 8:30 for an easy half-mile breeze, which was followed by another awesome gallop by Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos. At 10:30, two vans arrived on the backstretch, carrying Bob Baffert's pair of Point Given and Congaree, and Dollar Bill. A fourth Preakness starter, Mr. John, was dropped off at Mary Eppler's barn across the track on the backside. Finally, all the pieces are in place, leading up to tonight's post position draw.
Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos galloped at Pimlico Racecourse Monday morning as he continues preparations for Saturday's Preakness Stakes, second leg of the Triple Crown. Also at Pimlico Monday, A P Valentine worked five furlongs. At Churchill Downs, trainer Bob Baffert worked his two Preakness candidates, Point Given and Congaree, and Dallas Stewart reported Dollar Bill is on track after his workout.
Dogwood Stable's Distilled, winner of the Illinois Derby, will not run in the 126th Preakness Stakes after suffering a small tear in the suspensory ligament in his left front ankle while galloping at Belmont Park Friday morning. In other news, Monarchos' stablemate Hero's Tribute, who was pointing for the Sir Barton Stakes on the Preakness undercard, popped a quarter crack during a jog at Pimlico this morning, and will now wait for the Peter Pan Stakes.
After checking on the horses at his Keeneland-based stable near Lexington, Ky. trainer John Ward arrived at Churchill Downs Sunday morning to reflect on the significance of winning his first Kentuckky Derby with Monarchos on Saturday. "As far as having any euphoria about winning the race, I was happy that we won the race and everything...I guess the feeling is it is a reinforcement that everything you believe isn't just a myth," Ward said.
Sportsman John Oxley reflects on his feelings after Monarchos won the 2001 Kentucky Derby.
Sorry, but we've got yet another terrific work to confuse you with. But even with all the top works we've seen this week, we'd have to give this morning's drill by Monarchos the highest marks. There was a great deal of confusion as to what time he actually worked, as the clockers somehow only caught the final three-eighths of his five-furlong work.
Florida Derby winner Monarchos displayed his readiness for the May 5 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) when he turned in a solid five furlong work in 1:00 4/5 at Churchill Downs on Friday.
John C. Oxley's Monarchos will break from post two as the 4-5 favorite for the Wood Memorial (gr. II), to be contested April 14 over 1 1/8 miles at Aqueduct.
Top trainers from New York to Kentucky to Arkansas are gearing up for this weekend's three big Kentucky Derby preps, after which we should have a good idea who will provide the main challenges to Santa Anita Derby winner Point Given. On the foreign front, the two Godolphin invaders, Street Cry and Express Tour, arrived safe and sound at Churchill Downs today at approximately 1 p.m. after clearing quarantine at Keeneland.
Should consignors be allowed to medicate sale 2-year-olds with clenbuterol right before they breeze in under tack shows? The answers to that question were mixed during a panel discussion that was conducted during a meeting of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club Tuesday night in Lexington.
Trainer John Ward's two Kentucky Derby 127 contenders, John Oxley's Monarchos and Hero's Tribute, arrived on the grounds at Churchill Downs at approximately 10:40 a.m. (EST) Monday.
A field of at least 10 is shaping up for Saturday's grade II spiral Stakes at Turfway Park, and the $600,000 race appears wide open. The draw for post positions will be held Thursday.
Monarchos (Maria's Mon -- Regal Band, by Dixieland Band) posted his first stakes win in the Florida Derby (gr. I) to remain undefeated this year. The March 10 race was his first attempt in stakes company in five lifetime starts.
After lengthy discussions between trainers John and Donna Ward and owner John Oxley, it has been decided Beautiful Pleasure will race another year. Oxley said the year's goal is the Oct. 27 Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Belmont Park. She has not started since the 2000 edition of the race where she finished sixth.
Owner John Oxley and trainer John Ward are still discussing whether to race or retire Beautiful Pleasure. In mid-February, Oxley said March 1 was decision day, but recently he said another discussion is slated for March 8.
Trainer John Ward, Jr. had his highly regarded 3-year-old Monarchos out for a five-furlong workout on Monday. With jockey Jorge Chavez in the saddle, Monarchos had a very easy trial and was clocked in 1:04 1/5 breezing. According to Ward, the colt is right on schedule for his next start, the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) to be run over 1 1/8 miles here on March 10.
And you thought we were just going to flutter into February, with barely a breeze being stirred. It just goes to prove once again that the only sure thing about life on the Derby trail is its unpredictability. Instead of simply gliding along until the Fountain of Youth in two weeks, the 3-year-old picture hurtled into the new month on falcons' wings, thanks to several awesome performances.
Beautiful Pleasure and Heritage of Gold will begin their rematch from neighboring starting gate stalls as the two drew post positions two and three, respectively, for Friday's $400,000 Personal Ensign Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga.
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