There was no unanimity on reactions to the April 2 announcement by Keeneland that the iconic Lexington track would replace its synthetic Polytrack surface with a state-of-the-art dirt track later this year.
Don't Tell Sophia has sailed through the early part of 2014, but faces a stout test March 15 in the $200,000 Azeri Stakes (gr. II) against multiple grade I winner Close Hatches, On Fire Baby, and Flashy American.
Palace Malice and Itsmyluckyday were among the best of the 3-year-old crop in 2013. On March 8, the two return for the first time in 2014 as part of an eight-horse field set to go in the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap.
Owner Ray Struder fell in love with Landaluce back in 1982. He wants to extend her legacy by winning the Dec. 7 Hollywood Starlet Stakes (gr. I) with his Rosalind.
While the finish figures to be more difficult to predict, on paper Almost Famous looks like he will be the early leader in the $150,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) Nov. 30 at Churchill Downs.
A trio of contenders for the Nov. 29 Clark Handicap (gr. I)--Golden Ticket, Bourbon Courage, and Finnegans Wake--turned in their final works Nov. 23 for the premiere race of Churchill's autumn meet.
Trainer had been weighing options for Golden Ticket that included a possible run in the Cigar Mile (gr. I) before he settled on staying home for a Clark bid.
Frac Daddy will race at Churchill Downs for the first time since his off-the-board finish in the Kentucky Debry Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) when he starts in the $100,000 Commonwealth Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT) Nov. 16.
Ray Struder, in racing as owner since 2010, has his first Breeders' Cup starter in Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) hopeful Rosalind. The Broken Vow filly is trained by Ken McPeek.
History was made last year when Alpha and Golden Ticket became the first dead-heat winners of the Travers Stakes (gr. I). The two meet again Nov. 1 in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I).
Magdalena Racing's Pure Fun returned from a five-month layoff in style with an off-the-pace victory in the $202,300 Indiana Oaks (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies at Indiana Downs Oct. 5.
The inaugural Homecoming Classic on Sept. 28 at Churchill Downs still has reigning Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) and Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) winner Fort Larned at the top, but Successful Dan will bypass the race.
Both trainer Ken McPeek and regular rider Alan Garcia were pleased with the way War Dancer performed in his final breeze Aug. 17 prior to the Travers Stakes (gr. I). Frac Daddy was also on the tab.
With most of the big-name 3-year-old fillies on the sidelines or headed elsewhere, King of Prussia Stable's Princess of Sylmar will face only five foes in the $600,000 Alabama Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 17 at Saratoga Race Course.
Todd Pletcher, who could saddle the top two choices in the Travers Stakes, sent star 3-year-olds Palace Maliceand Verrazano out for easy half-mile breezes in :49,02 and :49.05, respectively, Aug. 11.
A top selling filly at Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale by Distorted Humor out of Cascading.
War Dancer got the bob in a three-way photo finish July 13 at Colonial Downs, overpowering hard-running Charming Kitten and staving off the late-flying Jack Milton to get victory in the $500,000 Virginia Derby (gr. IIT).
Grade III winner Rogue Romance, who has not raced since the 2012 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I), registered his first work in more than a year on July 9 when he went three furlongs at Mercury Equine Center near Lexington.
Two months ago, Einstein was awaiting his first starter. He now counts two winners from his first two starters, E Equalsmcsquared and Theoryofrelativity.
Grade I winner Java's War will make his California debut for trainer Ken McPeek in the $150,000 Swaps Stakes (gr. II) July 4 against just three opponents at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Charles Fipke's Java's War, winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) April 13, heads a field of five or six likely starters in the upcoming $150,000 Swaps Stakes (gr. II) at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Our Double Play will try to extend his win streak to three races when the Grand Slam colt faces six other 3-year-olds in the $250,000 Iowa Derby (gr. III) June 29 at Prairie Meadows.
Atigun and Air Support head a solid field of eight older horses, including Swift Warrior, ready to duke it out in the $300,000 Colonial Turf Cup Stakes (gr. IIT) June 22 at Colonial Downs.
Belmont Stakes contender Frac Daddy looks out from his stall at Belmont Park June 4.
Trainer Ken McPeek confirmed Monday June 3 that Magic City Thoroughbred Partners' Frac Daddy will run Saturday in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park in field that could include 15 starters.
Always in a Tiz, most recently ninth in the Wood Memorial (gr. I), breezed five furlongs in 1:01.12 on the morning of June 1 at Belmont Park for a possible start in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in a week.
Golden Soul, runner-up to Orb in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), was scheduled to breeze at Churchill Downs on the morning of May 25 but trainer Dallas Stewart delayed the work for another few days.
Magdalena Racing's Bellarmine, winner of an entry-level allowance race for 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs May 4, won't compete in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), trainer Ken McPeek said May 7.
Take the walkover from the barns to the saddling paddock with Kentucky Derby winner Orb. Cameo by Overanalyze.
Trainer Ken McPeek talks about Derby contenders Frac Daddy and Java's War on April 30, 2013. Watch Video
Trainer Ken McPeek talks about Derby contenders Frac Daddy and Java's War on April 30, 2013.
Ken McPeek talks about Frac Daddy and Java's War at Churchill Downs the morning of April 27. watch video
Frac Daddy and Java's War have five-furlong maintenance works at Churchill Downs April 27.
Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Animal Kingdom and Java's War, who is being pointed to this year's Louisville classic, are among the U.S.-trained horses being considered for Royal Ascot.
Trainer Kenny McPeek shared thoughts on Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) hopeful Pure Fun, who will take on the boys in the April 20 Coolmore Lexington Stakes. read blog
The April 20 Coolmore Lexington (gr. III) offers 20 points and a potential place in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) starting gate, but not all contenders in the last-minute prep will aim for the first Saturday in May.
Trainer Ken McPeek discusses Blue Grass Stakes winner Java's War. Watch Video
Charles Fipke's homebred Java's War overcame a troubled start in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes April 13 at Keeneland, closing from last to first to earn his way into the field for the May 4 Kentucky Derby.
Are You Kidding Me, second in last year's Summer Stakes Presented by TVG (Can-IIT) on turf at Woodbine, will try racing on a dirt surface for the first time in the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I)
Pure Fun, winner of the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) in December, gets her season started in the $100,000 Fathead Bourbonette Oaks (gr. III) as the 8-5 favorite in a field of a dozen 3-year-old fillies March 23 at Turfway Park.
Tampa Bay Derby runner-up will remain in the U.S. and point for the Kentucky Derby.
After sending out Frac Daddy for a five-furlong breeze at Gulfstream Park on the morning of March 16, trainer Ken McPeek reported that the 3-year-old son of Scat Daddy would likely run next in the $1 million Florida Derby.
Trainer Todd Pletcher was keeping his options open on the next start for Verrazano, who became the early favorite for the 2013 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with his March 9 win in the Tampa Bay Derby.
Verrazano lived up to his billing as a top Triple Crown contender March 9 with a solid three-length score in the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) at Tampa Bay Downs.
Three races into his career, Frac Daddy appears to have trainer Ken McPeek back on the Triple Crown trail for 2013.
Pure Fun, the lone shipper in this year's grade I Hollywood Starlet Stakes, turned in an electric performance in rallying from last at the quarter pole to win by one length Dec. 8 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Gulfstream Park will begin its 2012-2013 race meet Dec. 1 and the track's president and general manager Tim Ritvo expects the opening day Claiming Crown to help provide a fast start on the track and in wagering.
A farewell victory by Shackleford in the Nov. 23 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (gr. I) provided an exclamation point near the end of Churchill Downs' 21-day fall meet that concluded Nov. 25.
Ken McPeek talks about Breeders' Cup contender Atigun and plans for Golden Ticket. Watch Video
Golden Ticket, dead-heat winner of the Travers Stakes (gr. I), was not pre-entered in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) and will be out for an undetermined period of time, trainer Ken McPeek said Oct. 23.
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