Last year's champion grass mare Forever Together will attempt to add some more black-type to her already stellar resume when facing six other fillies and mares, including the highly regarded Points of Grace, in the $300,000 Canadian Stakes (Can-IIT) Sept. 20 at Woodbine.
Odds-on choice Informed Decision improved to five-for-five on synthetic tracks and cemented her position as a leading candidate for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint when she sailed to a 2 1/2-length victory in the $398,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters (gr. III) in Erie, Pa., on the evening of Sept. 12.
This time last year, Indian Blessing was the front-runner in the female sprint division and on her way to a year-end Eclipse Award. Now, the Indian Charlie filly will have to take the division's leadership role from Informed Decision, who has won five straight stakes and enters the $300,000 Ballerina (gr. I) as the one to beat.
Janet Elliot's horses have led the National Steeplechase Association's annual earnings list six times. Through 2008 Elliot ranked third on the all-time earnings list, with $7,580,234. Her lifetime total of 355 NSA wins through April 17 this year ranks among the best.
Stonestreet Stables and Gulf Coast Farms' Kensei, who powered home to a 2 1/4-length victory over Warrior's Reward in the Aug. 1 Jim Dandy (gr. II) came out of the race in good shape, according to trainer Steven Asmussen's assistant Larry Ulrich.
On Aug. 1, Forever Together seeks to become only the fifth horse to put together back-to-back victories in the $500,000 Diana Stakes (gr. IT), a feat that only Glowing Honor (1988-89), Shuvee (1970-71), Tempted (1959-60) and Miss Grillo (1946-47) have been able to accomplish in the 71 previous editions of the 1 1/8- mile turf race.
The cutback in distance didn't seem to bother George Strawbridge Jr.'s homebred Winter View, as the daughter of Thunder Gulch came from last at the top of the stretch to run them all down in the $150,000 All Along Stakes (gr. IIIT) June 20 on the Colonial Downs turf.
Augustin Stable's homebred Winter View went from last to first in her graded stakes debut, charging through the lane under Julien Leparoux to score the Grey Goose Bewitch Stakes (gr. IIIT) by two lengths April 23 on the Keeneland turf.
George Strawbridge Jr.'s Informed Decision split horses in deep stretch and ran down 2-5 favorite Ventura to win the $300,000 Vinery Madison (gr. I) by a head in thrilling fashion April 9 at Keeneland.
Considering she won the event last year and is coming off a nose defeat against the boys five weeks ago, Ventura would seem to be a cinch for the $300,000 Vinery Madison (gr. I) April 9 at Keeneland. But that is not the case, as the Chester House filly will face six capable fillies on the Polytrack, including multiple stakes winners Informed Decision and Bsharpsonata.
George Strawbridge Jr.'s Forever Together came with a furious rally in the center of the course and got up in the final strides to take the $2-million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) by three-quarters of a length Oct. 24 at Santa Anita Park.
Trainer Jonathan Sheppard and owner George Strawbridge Jr. have been together, well, forever. Forty-two years strong, they will try to win their first Breeders' Cup race as a team with the aptly named Forever Together in the $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Oct. 24.
George Strawbridge Jr.'s Informed Decision took advantage of blazing fractions in the $300,000 Lexus Raven Run Stakes (gr. II), as the 3-year-old Monarchos filly came from off the pace, took control in mid-stretch and drew away to win by 4 1/4 lengths under John Velazquez while setting a new course record on the Keeneland Polytrack Oct. 18.
George Strawbridge Jr.'s Palmilla, the only graded stakes winner in an overflow field of 12 older fillies and mares, tops the wide open $150,000 Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes at Keeneland Oct. 19.
Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard said Augustin Stables' Forever Together came out of the Diana Handicap (gr. IT) in good shape after defeating Dynaforce by three-quarters of a length. It was the first graded-stakes turf win for the 4-year-old roan filly, who has dramatically improved since she switched surfaces.
George Strawbridge Jr.'s homebred Palmilla pulled off a shocker in the $300,000 Robert G. Dick Memorial Handicap (gr. IIIT) July 12 on the Delaware Park turf, as she soared past 1-5 favorite Rosinka in mid-stretch to win by 3 1/2 lengths under Rosemary Homeister Jr.
Jockey Enrique Jurado suffered shoulder and knee injuries the evening of Sept. 20 when Risk Assessment, a 3-year-old filly he was riding in the fourth race at Presque Isle Downs, broke down after crossing the finish line.
Every Thursday afternoon before the first race, the mood in the press box is decidedly grim. Each card leads off with a steeplechase event, and the handicappers – some of which have not picked a steeplechase winner since before the Kennedy administration - have no idea where to begin.
The A.P. Smithwick Memorial Steeplechase (NSA-II) Thursday at Saratoga came down to the final 20 yards of the flat run when when a determined Mixed Up outfought the front-running Preemptive Strike to win by a half-length.
William L. Pape's hurdler Mixed Up caught Paradise's Boss with less than a sixteenth of a mile remaining and then held off fast-closing Good Night Shirt to win the $159,125 Royal Chase for the Sport of Kings (NSA-I) in a three-horse photo finish Friday at Keeneland.
Alumni Hall, a multiple graded stakes winner of more than $740,000 on the flat, will give steeplechasing a try this season for trainer Jonathan Sheppard.
Augustin Stable's Forever Together kept her perfect record intact Saturday at Gulfstream Park, drawing clear to a two-length victory over Elk Manor Farm's favored Silver Knockers in the $150,000 Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs.
The venerable 10-year-old gelding Rochester and the 2004 French Oaks (Fr-I) winner Latice, both owned by Augustin Stable, have been retired, according to trainer Jonathan Sheppard.
Michael Moran's McDynamo clinched his third steeplechase Eclipse Award with a determined victory in the $150,000 Colonial Cup (NSA-I) at Springdale Race Course Sunday.
Trainer Jonathan Sheppard bagged his record 12th victory in the New York Turf Writers Cup (NSA-I) as William L. Pape's Mixed Up carried jockey Danielle Hodsdon to a one-length victory over Top of the Bill in the steeplechase event at Saratoga Race Course.
Augustin Stable's Smart Growth rallied from the back of the pack along the inside to edge Cherokee's Boy in the $100,000 Brandywine Stakes at Delaware Park Saturday.
An impressive field of 12 older males have been entered on Friday's running of the Fifth Third Elkhorn Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland. Topping the list in the $200,000 race appears to be Pellegrino, a Brazilian-bred gelding who captured the 2004 Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes (gr. IT).
With the big names headed to Keeneland for the Royal Chase later this month, second-level stakes horses tangle in the $75,000 Georgia Cup Hurdle (NSA-II) at the Atlanta Steeplechase at Kingston, Ga. Saturday. The 2-mile open stakes draws a good group that includes Mixed Up, Mauritania, and Niello.
Betsy Wells, who galloped such stars as Storm Cat, died Feb. 13.
Marablue Farm's Bon Fleur took the lead with an inside move on the final run down the backstretch and stayed there to win the $100,000 AFLAC U.S. Championship Novice hurdle stakes (NSA-I) at the Callaway Gardens Steeplechase Saturday.
Augustin Stable's Latice has traveled all over in her 10-race career. The Irish bred's world tour takes a stop at Aqueduct on Saturday for the $150,000 Long Island Handicap (gr. IIT).
Eclipse Award candidates Hirapour, McDynamo and Preemptive
Strike lead a group of eight Thoroughbreds nominated to the Breeders' Cup Steeplechase (NSA-I) Oct. 12.
Ageless Rochester won the $161,000 Sycamore Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT) for an unprecedented third time, carrying veteran jockey Gary Stevens to a 3 3/4-length victory in the 1 1/2-mile turf race.
Firing the opening stakes salvo of the fall meet, an experienced cast of eight is set to load onto Keeneland's turf course to contest the $150,000 Sycamore Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT) over 1 1/2 miles Friday.
Two steeplechase races scheduled for Wednesday's card at Saratoga Race Course, including the 64th running of the $150,000-added New York Turf Writers Cup, were scratched as the remnants of Hurricane Katrina unloaded 1.3 inches of rain overnight.
Friends of New York Racing, the horseracing planning and advocacy group, announced Tuesday additions to its Business Advisory Council.
An explosive move from Augustin Stable's Spring Season resulted in a three-length victory in Saturday's $100,000 Dr. James Penny Memorial Handicap on the turf at Philadelphia Park.
The top three finishers from last year's Elkhorn Stakes (gr. IIIT) are back to renew their rivalry Friday when the $200,000 race is contested at Keeneland on closing day.
Headed by defending champ Balto Star, a total of 27 older horses have been nominated to the $750,000 United Nations Handicap (gr. IT) to be run on July 3 at Monmouth Park.
The most widely anticipated week of racing this season at Belmont Park begins on Thursday with $100,000-added Meadow Brook Steeplechase (NSA-I) for older horses at 2 1/2 miles over National Fences.
With Anticipation, who has started in 17 grade I events in his seven-year career, has been retired.
With Anticipation, winner of three consecutive grade I contests in 2002, has re-aggravated a tendon injury and could be retired.
Veterans Pat Day and the 9-year-old gelding With Anticipation were back in tandem for their 2004 debut at Gulfstream Park on Thursday afternoon, and although they didn't reach the winner's circle, it was a successful return.
Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, who has not ridden since late November, is scheduled to return to competition at Florida's Gulfstream Park on Thursday . Among the three horses on which Day has been named for Thursday's card is Augustin Stables' With Anticipation, who is also returning from a hiatus.
Jonathan Sheppard has taken over for George Strawbridge as president of the National Steeplechase Association. Sheppard, who lives in Pennsylvania, was elected Jan. 16 to head a 15-member board of directors.
Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard was elected president of the National Steeplechase Association. He succeeds George Strawbridge, who ends a five-year stint in the unpaid position.
Augustin Stable's Rochester, who returned to form in the Kentucky Cup Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Kentucky Downs, securing the victory after the disqualification of Art Variety, will try to repeat last year's win in the $150,000 Sycamore Breeders' Cup (gr. IIIT) Saturday at Keeneland.
In the featured event on a four-stakes card at Kentucky Downs, Augustin Stable's Rochester earned a repeat victory in the $200,000 Kentucky Cup Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) when Art Variety was disqualified for a bumping finish while making his winning move Saturday at Kentucky Downs.
Il Capitano, a 6-year-old gelding who has spent most of his career in England, is the highweight and highly unknown factor in Thursday's 62nd running of the $100,000-added New York Turf Writers Cup, the major steeplechase stakes race of the Saratoga Race Course season and a National Steeplechase Association grade I race.
Saratoga Notebook: No Luck for Day, Sheppard; Volponi Moves; Funny Cide Gallops; Frankel Sorts Options
With Anticipation's bid to become the first horse to win the Sword Dancer (gr.IT) three straight times ended before it began.
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