Little Matth Man began the year with an inner track stakes victory in the Feb. 7 Whirlaway. Friday, he'll look to close out 2004 with another inner track stakes win in the 1 1/16-mile Alex M. Robb at Aqueduct.
Under jockey Ariel Smith, the 3-5 favorite Aggadan powered through an opening at the top of the lane and outstepped a determined Irish Colony to win the $100,000 Jennings Handicap for Maryland-breds Saturday at Pimlico.
Vincent Papandrea's Little Matth Man, eighth in the May 15 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), came out of the race with a chip fracture of his left front knee and could be out for at least six months.
On the morning following Smarty Jones' record performance in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), trainer John Servis appeared on national television and prepared to move his colt out of Pimlico. Meanwhile, the trainers of Rock Hard Ten and Eddington, the second- and third-place finishers, said they will attempt to upset a Triple Crown bid by going on to the June Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Drew Mollica, agent for jockey Richard Migliore, said he was "cautiously optimistic" his rider would be able to ride Saturday at Pimlico after he was hurt in the Belmont Park starting gate Friday afternoon.
It's not easy to bet against Smarty Jones in Saturday's Preakness Stakes. You're trying to beat perfection, as well as forces that may very well be guiding the colt into a special place in history. Can anyone hope to derail one of the greatest feel-good stories ever? As sacrilegious as it may seem, let's at least give it a try.
Trainer John Servis hopes that seven continues to be his lucky number as he selected that post position for Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Smarty Jones in Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Little Matth Man, a New York-bred colt by Matty G. who has not run since finishing seventh in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) on April 10, breezed a half-mile in :47 flat Monday morning at Philadelphia Park.
Imperialism, third in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), joined the list of probable starters in Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I), which is expected to feature four of the top five finishers from the May 1 Derby.
Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Smarty Jones had his first solo gallop at Philadelphia Park Friday morning, and from all indications, the colt has bounced out of the Derby in great shape and is ready for another big effort in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Saturday's big afternoon of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) preps will kick off with the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I), as 11 3-year-olds, headed by Value Plus, Master David, and Eddington, try to earn a starting berth in the 130th Run for the Roses.
The Wood Memorial (gr. I) gained a probable starter when trainer Bob Baffert announced Friday it is likely that James McIngvale's Consecrate will ship east for next Saturday's $750,000 feature at a mile and an eighth.
The first course is over. It is time to take a deep breath and digest the odd smorgasbord of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) preps that has been laid out so far. Racing fans are starving for something more substantial, and they should get it beginning with the April 3 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and Illinois Derby (gr. II).
Under a steady rain, top Kentucky Derby prospect Birdstone never got going in Saturday's $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II), clunking home fifth as 16-1 frontrunner Sinister G scored a major surprise at Turfway Park.
Marylou Whitney Stables' homebred Birdstone, winner of the grade I Champagne Stakes at Belmont last year, is the talk of Turfway leading up to their signature Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prep, Saturday's Lane's End Stakes (gr. II). However, the diminutive son of Grindstone hasn't exactly scared anyone off from the $500,000 race with as many as 14 others considering the race.
Lloyd Madison Farms' favored Silver Minister drew away from the field to post an impressive victory over a strong group of invaders in the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial for 3-year-olds Saturday, his fourth consecutive victory at Turfway Park.
Three East Coast-based colts are scheduled to tackle the local contingent of 3-year-olds Feb. 28 in the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes--final local prep for the March 20 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II)--at Turfway Park.
Vincent Papandrea's Little Matth Man, last most of the way, gobbled up the muddy inner dirt track at Aqueduct on Saturday afternoon, and rallied for an upset victory in the $82,875 Whirlaway for 3-year-olds at a mile and a sixteenth.
One of the more important starts of the year for trainer D. Wayne Lukas racing stable will take place on the first Saturday in February at Aqueduct as Overbrook Farm's Quick Action faces his first test around two turns. The $75,000 Whirlaway for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles will help determine whether or not the son of Carson City continues on the Triple Crown trail.
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