The Bob Baffert-trained Preachinatthebar took command on the final turn in Saturday's $300,000 Texas Mile (gr. III) at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, and held on to beat Stockholder by a neck in front of 14,437 fans.
Second-choice Heavenly Ransom rallied under jockey Jon Court en route to her fourth win in five starts, establishing a stakes record on the newly installed Hollywood Park turf course in Wednesday's $100,000 Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT). The program opened the 67th spring/summer meet in Inglewood.
Preachinatthebar, a Triple Crown hopeful for trainer Bob Baffert and owner/breeder Mike Pegram two years ago before being sidelined by knee problems, won his first graded stakes race since the 2004 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) on Saturday when victorious in Santa Anita's $110,600 Tokyo City Cup (gr. III).
Front-running Cambiocorsa extended her winning streak to five in Friday's $134,125 Irish O'Brien on Santa Anita's hillside turf course, but the gray 4-year-old filly was fully extended to repel Somethinaboutlaura by a head in the St. Patrick's Day feature for California-breds.
Overlooked Healthy Addiction went gate to wire on a sealed track for jockey Jon Court to win her first grade I race in the $300,000 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap under rainy skies Saturday at Santa Anita Park.
Folklore, the presumptive champion 2-year-old filly in 2005, proved vulnerable Monday at Santa Anita in her first start since capturing the Alberto VO5 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) Oct. 29. But owners Robert and Beverly Lewis still had reason to celebrate when entry mate Dance Daily held on to win the $150,000 Santa Ynez (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies during the Martin Luther King Day program.
Capitano, a colt that habitually runs second, came from last to win Saturday's $95,625 Rolling Green Breeders' Cup Handicap at Golden Gate Fields.
Races can hardly come any closer than Monday's featured event in the Texas Million series -- the $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. III) -- where four noses hit the wire together. After the dust had cleared, Supah Blitz was declared the winner and 11-10 favorite Lion Tamer was off the board.
Al and Saundra Kirkwood's Southern Africa took the overland route with Jon Court but proved to be much the best in winning the $300,000 Walmac Lone Star Derby (gr. III) for 3-year-olds Saturday in Grand Prairie, Texas. Trainer Mike Puhich says the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) could be next for the well-bred son of Cape Town.
Northern California invader Pickle was in deep trouble with jockey Jon Court when graded stakes winner Makeup Artist found room to rally in deep stretch, but the British-bred filly made it to the wire just in time to win the $109,600 Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood Park Saturday.
Jockey Jon Court got his 3,000th career win in Thursday's final race at Santa Anita Park aboard 10-1 shot Brite Lorelei.
Uraib came from off the pace to nip front-running Resplendency by a nose in the $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at sloppy Santa Anita on Presidents' Day Monday.
A muddy track was just what General John B ordered as he ground to a front-running six-length victory in the $100,000 Turf Paradise Derby for 3-year-olds Saturday in Phoenix.
The wire came just in time for Valentine Dancer, who defended her title in the Cloverleaf Farms Filly & Mare Turf with an all-out effort in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions event at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
The Brazilian-bred Leroidesanimaux, who set a track record at Saturday's 1 1/16-mile distance on the Hollywood Park turf May 1, proved it was no fluke with a determined victory in the $400,000 Citation Handicap (gr. IT).
Trainer Bobby Frankel provided an encore for his Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) victory Saturday when Leroidesanimaux took over from pacesetter De Valmont in the stretch to win the Morvich Handicap.
Two perfect tickets in Wednesday's Pick Six at Hollywood Park were each worth a record payout of $1,312,808.60. The previous Hollywood Park Pick Six record payout was $928,127.40, paid to one winner on July 21, 2002.
Pohave ended an eight-race losing streak at Hollywood Park, winning his first graded stakes in the $150,000 Los Angeles Times Handicap (gr. III) Saturday.
Leroidesanimaux won for the third consecutive time and broke a course record in the process when he went gate-to-wire Saturday to win the $110,900 Inglewood Handicap (gr. IIIT) by two lengths at Hollywood Park.
Jockey Jon Court, perennially one of the midwest's top riders, has moved his tack to Southern California to ride full time and will be represented by veteran agent Nick Cosato.
Under a patient ride from substitute jockey Jon Court, Valentine Dancer split horses at the head of the stretch and stormed to a three-quarters of a length victory in the $500,000 John Deere Filly and Mare Turf on Sunshine Millions Day Saturday on the Santa Anita turf course.
Fleetstreet Dancer, winless for the past year, fought back like a champion in the shadow of the finish line, coming back under jockey Jon Court at odds of 48-1 to shock odds-on favorite Admire Don and win the $2-million Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I) by a nose at a drenched Tokyo race course on Saturday.
Cappuchino, with Jon Court in the irons, overtook Pass Rush at the quarter pole and went on to post a two-length triumph in Sunday's $165,450 Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) over a sloppy track on opening day of the fall meet at Churchill Downs.
A 10.4% drop in on-track wagering was more than offset by a rise in off-track simulcast betting at Ellis Park. The Henderson, Ky. track reported a 26.9% increase in all-source handle during the 41-day meet that concluded with the Labor Day card Monday.
Excessivepleasure, ridden by Jon Court, upset 1-2 favorite Champali with a gate-to-wire track-record romp in the $250,000 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows Saturday night.
Janis R. Whitman's homebred Fiscally Speaking sprung a 47-1 upset in the $115,300 Aegon Turf Sprint (gr. IIIT) after surging past 2001 winner Morluc in the final strides at Churchill Downs Friday.
Jockey Jon Court, trainer Bernie Flint, and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey continued remarkable runs of success on the Kentucky racing circuit in 2002 and all have been named repeat winners of 13th Kentucky Thoroughbred Media awards that honor the jockey, trainer, and owner who collected the highest total of victories at Kentucky racetracks each year.
Jockey Lonnie Meche and 15-1 Indy Fire won Friday night's $70,000 Miss Indiana Stakes at Hoosier Park in just a head bob over Jon Court and Miss Dakota.
A full field of ten has been assembled for the third running of the $100,000 Michael Schaefer Mile Saturday at Hoosier Park.
Trainer Steve Asmussen notched his third winner on Wednesday's Churchill Downs card when Full Mandate, with Donnie Meche aboard, seized the lead near the eighth pole and powered to a one-length victory over longshot Irish Legacy in the featured $43,400 allowance for 3-year-olds and up.
Apprentice jockey John McKee rode Jenny's Prospector to an impressive win in the $100,000 Hoosier Debutante Stakes on Ladies Night Saturday at Hoosier Park.
Stonecrest Farm's Perfect Drift, who was making his first start since the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on June 8, took command at the head of the stretch and held off the fast-closing Easyfromthegitgo to win the eighth running of the $400,000 Indiana Derby (gr. III) by 3/4 of a length at Hoosier Park Saturday.
Bits and pieces from around the Thoroughbred industry...
Ellis Park concluded its 41-day race meet with increased attendance and slightly lower total wagering. The totals for the meet, which ended with a Labor Day program on Sept. 2, shohwed a 3.1% increase in on-track attendance and a 2.1% decline in on-track betting. Overall wagering declined 3.6%, when compared to the 2001 meet.
Trainer Carl Nafzger's pair of contenders for the Kentucky Oaks--Robert Manfuso's Belterra and Elizabeth Valando's Take The Cake--each worked five furlongs on Tuesday over a "fast" track at Churchill Downs.
Robert T. Manfuso's unbeaten Belterra, a graded stakes winner as a 2-year-old last year, makes her 2002 debut against five rivals in Friday's $250,000 Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. II).
Jon Court, who parlayed a chance trip to Hoosier Park in the mid-1990s into a successful career as one of the top riders in Kentucky, has been named Kentucky Thoroughbred Media's jockey of the year for 2001. Court won 183 races in Kentucky last year.
Churchill Downs-owned Ellis Park reported solid gains in key business categories for the meet that ended over the Labor Day weekend.
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