When Fox Hill Farms' Rick Porter acquired promising Argentine-bred Solar Flare last winter and sent him to trainer Larry Jones at Fair Grounds, there were high expectations. But as talented as the 4-year-old was, the son of Salt Lake arrived with issues to be worked out.
The Turf Publicists of America announced Nov. 12 that Larry Jones, trainer of the 3-year-old fillies Proud Spell and Eight Belles, has been chosen as the 2008 winner of the organization's Big Sport of Turfdom award.
After several months, members of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission have upheld the decision of Delaware Park stewards to suspend and fine trainer Larry Jones because of an incident this spring in which his horse, Stones River, tested positive for clenbuterol.
When Vinery Stables transferred a handful of horses in-training from Steve Asmussen into the barn of Larry Jones earlier this summer, graded stakes winner Kodiak Kowboy grabbed much of the attention as the highest profile colt changing hands. But when Jones received his new shipment of horses Kodiak Kowboy wasn't necessarily the one he was most excited about. It was 2-year-old colt Friesan Fire.
For artist Merritt Finnell, painting horses was never his thing. Horses were his twin brother Michael's territory, and like many twins Merritt was different from Michael.
Rick Porter of Fox Hill Farms has hired Jeff Barkley as his private trainer, beginning a transition resulting from trainer Larry Jones' recent announcement that he will wind down his operation and retire.
A star-studded cast of seven talented sprinters led by grade I winners Fabulous Strike and First Defence will do battle in the $400,000 Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 27 at Belmont Park.
On Sept. 27, Honest Man will tell trainer Larry Jones if he is ready for prime time, as he makes what could be his final Breeders' Cup prep in the $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park. He will take on five rivals in the 1 1/8-mile test on Polytrack.
Before trainer Larry Jones saddles Honest Man in the Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park Saturday, he will send out multiple graded stakes winner Maren's Meadow in the Kentucky Cup Distaff (gr. III).
Trainer Larry Jones, who earlier this year saddled Proud Spell to win the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and the following day had ill-fated Eight Belles finish second in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), said he plans to retire by the end of 2009.
Six horses, including Philip Iselin Handicap (gr. II) winner Honest Man, are considered probable for the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park Sept. 27.
Trainer Larry Jones has appealed a seven-day suspension and $500 fine levied by the stewards at Delaware Park in connection with the highly-publicized case in which the horse Stones River tested positive for the prohibited substance Clenbuterol.
On Sept. 20, Proud Spell will shoot for her biggest payday to date, as she takes on six rivals in the $750,000 Fitz Dixon Cotillion (gr. II) at Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack. On paper, the 1 1/16-mile dirt event is a significant step down in class for the Proud Citizen filly, who has won four times this season, including the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and Alabama Stakes (gr. I).
Not long after Curlin's majority owner Jess Jackson indicated the reigning Horse of the Year might show up at Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup after all, trainer Larry Jones stated that Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Proud Spell could be headed to California too. Jones, who previously said Proud Spell was unlikely for the Breeders' Cup, made the comments during a national media teleconference Sept. 16.
A year ago, Larry Jones saddled Proud Spell to victory in the Matron Stakes (gr. II). Jones can only hope his entry in this year's Matron, On the Menu, is destined for the same kind of success. On Sept. 13, she tries stakes company for the first time in the prestigious $250,000 event for 2-year-old fillies at Belmont.
With more than 200 people in attendance, this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) runner-up Eight Belles was memorialized in a public ceremony in the garden of the Kentucky Derby Museum Sept. 7.
Eight Belles, who had to be euthanized on the Churchill Downs racetrack shortly after finishing second in this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), will be memorialized in a ceremony Sept. 7 at 2 p.m. in the Kentucky Derby Museum's gardens.
Graeme Six is the only graded stakes winner entered in the $200,000 Endine Stakes (gr. III), but she will have to deal with eight capable fillies and mares, including High Bank Syndicate's Sweet Hope, who was runner-up to Indian Blessing last out.
With Curlin all but ruled out as a potential starter for the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) by majority owner Jess Jackson due to the synthetic surface, it looks as though another division leader, Proud Spell, also will bypass the Breeders' Cup, according to trainer Larry Jones.
Proud Spell reasserted her position as the best 3-year-old filly in the land when she bettered Music Note in a stirring stretch drive to win the $600,000 Alabama Stakes (gr. I) by a head at Saratoga Aug. 16.
An honest pace helped the stalking Honest Man register victory over a heavily favored Grasshopper in the $300,000 Philip H. Iselin Beeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) at Monmouth Park Aug. 16.
This year's second-place Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) finisher Eight Belles will be memorialized in a ceremony open to the public Sept. 7 at 2 p.m. in the Kentucky Derby Museum's gardens.
River Ridge Ranch's Maren's Meadow, dismissed at odds of 11-1 in a field of five 3-year-old fillies, broke on top and never trailed, pulling away in the stretch to win the $150,000 Monmouth Oaks (gr. III) by 4 1/2 lengths Aug. 9.
When last seen, J. Mack Robinson's homebred African Violet was dueling in the stretch with Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Proud Spell in the July 12 Delaware Oaks (gr. II). Although coming up three-quarters of a length short that day, the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid proved she can run with the best 3-year-old fillies in the nation.
Indian Blessing, who rebounded from consecutive defeats with a resounding victory in the July 5 Prioress (gr. I), returns to Saratoga for the first time since breaking her maiden when she takes on five 3-year-old fillies in the $250,000 Darley Test (gr. I) Aug. 2.
Kodiak Kowboy overtook favorite Desert Key in the deep stretch, powering to a head victory in the Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Saratoga Race Course July 28.
The horsemen at Delaware Park are well aware that trainer Larry Jones has an arsenal of stakes competitors in his barn. And on Aug. 2, Jones plans to bring a vanload of his top horses to Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort for the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (gr. III) program.
Eaton's Gift, winner of the Swale Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park in February, takes on an inexperienced field in the $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old sprinters at Saratoga July 28.
A quality field of 11 fillies and mares will do battle in the $1-million Delaware Handicap (gr. II) July 13, but the 10-furlong event may come down to a superstars Hystericalady and Unbridled Belle, who have a combined eight graded stakes victories between them.
Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Proud Spell tosses name into field for Delaware Oaks (gr. II) July 12 at Delaware Park.
Two horses in the care of Larry Jones at Delaware Park were mysteriously found turned out from their stalls on consecutive recent nights, leading to the firing of an employee of the trainer and an investigation by track officials.
Two-time graded stakes winner A.P. Arrow will make his first start since finishing fourth to Curlin in the March 29 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), as he takes on seven intriguing rivals in the $400,000 Suburban Handicap (gr. I) June 28 at Belmont Park.
A three-time graded stakes winner, including a dominating five-length triumph in the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) last month, Brereton Jones' Proud Spell will face just three fillies in the $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) June 28 at Belmont Park none of them with any more than an allowance win to their credit.
Jim Squires, the owner of Two Bucks Stable, has issued a statement that he will fight a positive test for Clenbuterol at Delaware Park.
State prosecutors in Jefferson County, Ky., said they can't investigate the death of the filly Eight Belles despite a request from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
On May 17, the jockeys at Pimlico wore patches on their boots to honor Eight Belles. Each time the television networks showed a replay of Big Brown's latest performance, the late runner's image filled the frame. And when Buy the Barrel took the $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff Handicap (gr. II) for trainer Larry Jones and jockey Gabriel Saez, we were reminded of Eight Belles once again.
The Kentucky Equine Humane Center has established the Eight Belles Memorial Fund with the blessing and cooperation of Eight Belles' trainer Larry Jones and his wife Cindy.
Eight Belles, who finished second in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), tested negative for banned substances and steroids, according to test results from the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority's official laboratory at Iowa State University.
Trainer Larry Jones doesn't have a horse in the May 17 Preakness (gr. I), but he is at the track to run horses in stakes Friday and Saturday. Not surprisingly, he is still being asked questions about the tragic breakdown of Eight Belles.
A necropsy of Eight Belles, ordered by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, found no pre-existing bone abnormalities that contributed to compound fractures she suffered in both front legs after finishing second in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on May 3.
Multiple-graded stakes winner Bshapsonata will look to continue her outstanding sophomore season May 17 in the $200,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) at Pimlico Race Course, as she takes on eight 3-year-old fillies.
Three days after his brilliant filly Eight Belles broke down in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Rick Porter was still searching for answers. But they aren't easy to come by.
A spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which staged a peaceful demonstration May 6 in front of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority office near Lexington, said similar demonstrations are planned for upcoming Triple Crown events. Meanwhile, the organization said it may attempt to get cruelty charges filed against the connections of Eight Belles, who was euthanized after the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Thoroughbred racing treads a fine line between its loftiest peak and its deepest abyss. Once again, celebration and sorrow clashed in the Kentucky Derby.
In the wake of the death of the filly Eight Belles as she galloped out after the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), animal-rights organizations are publicly calling for changes -- some of them drastic -- for the horseracing industry.
A tearful Larry Jones, the trainer of Eight Belles, who broke down in the gallop-out after finishing second in the Run for the Roses, said there would be no second-guessing in what he called an "unfortunate" outcome that couldn't be foreseen.
Trainer Larry Jones scratched the filly Eight Belles from the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), and then proceeded to win the race with Proud Spell.
Should Eight Belles run on Saturday, she will provide trainer Larry Jones with his second Kentucky Derby (gr. I) starter. Last year he conditioned Hard Spun, who ran a credible second behind Street Sense and was also owned by Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farms.
Trainer Larry Jones took it as a sign of better things to come when his Eight Belles drew the outside 12 post for the May 2 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), but all was not lost for the Kentucky-born trainer when his Proud Spell drew post 8 in the 1 1/8-mile race for the lilies on the first Friday in May.
Trainer Larry Jones and his wife and assistant, Cindy, may have found a lucky charm for one of racing's biggest weeks. It's a nine-month-old African grey parrot named Buddy.
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