Five-time graded stakes winner Mystic Lady leads a field of six postward in the 1 1/16 mile, $200,000 Honey Bee Handicap at The Meadowlands Friday night. The Thunder Gulch filly annexed the Cotillion (gr. II) in her last start and the Jersey Derby (gr. III) earlier this year at Monmouth. Mystic Lady will carry Eibar Coa and 122 pounds for conditioner Mark Hennig.
Belmont Park's Triple Tiara series for 3-year-old fillies begins Friday with the 71st running of the one-mile, $200,000 Acorn Stakes (gr. I), which will likely feature Carl F. Pollard's champion Caressing. Caressing completed her major preparation for the Acorn with a five-furlong work over a fast track at Churchill Downs on Sunday.
Latour and Tap Dance both worked Friday morning in preparation for the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. Latour breezed five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 while Tap Dance covered the same distance in a more leisurely time of 1:01 3/5.
Michael Dickinson surprised us in 1996, when Da Hoss conquered the heavy favorite, Mark of Esteem, in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I). He surprised us again in 1998, when Da Hoss won the same race after a long layoff and just one prep. But this time the trainer surprised even himself. After he saddled Fleet Renee to upset the formidable Golden Ballet in the April 7 Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, Dickinson looked a little bit stunned.
In the moments after Inexplicable's very explicable win in the Canadian Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) on Feb. 24, trainer Christophe Clement was once and for all going to explain his secret for getting optimum performances from horses returning from layoffs. "My secret with layoff runners," he began straight-faced, with a crowd of reporters moving in closer to hear his pearl of wisdom, "is to be stabled next to Bill Mott."
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