Before the running of last year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Keeneland Race Course was overrun with trainers whose potential contenders were squeezing in final works prior to shipping up to Churchill Downs. This year, Todd Pletcher cut a lonely figure along the rail at the Lexington oval as he sent Behindatthebar to gallop and then watched Monba and Cowboy Cal complete their final preparations April 26.
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
Monba's success could be tied to an intensifying of the influences of La Troienne. The Derby contender's pedigree is rich in the blood of Raise a Native and Buckpasser.
Some shoppers at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. March select sale of 2-year-olds in training think the top fillies outnumber the top colts this year.
Favored Sky Mom overcame a stewards' inquiry and jockey objection to win the $200,000 WinStar Sunland Park Oaks in come-from-behind fashion by 4 3/4 lengths in New Mexico March 16.
Arindel Farm's Wait a While didn't get the easiest of trips despite a five-horse field, but she found room when it counted and spurted away to a relatively easy victory in the $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) Jan. 14 at Santa Anita Park.
The 2008 edition of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s winter mixed sale will look to rebound from the across-the-board declines it suffered last year when the three-day auction kicks off Jan. 16. Sessions begin daily at 11 a.m.
Robert E. Courtney sold his final horse as a consignor at Keeneland Wednesday.
Trainer Richard Schosberg's Derby dreams didn't come to fruition with Maria's Mon, the champion 2-year-old male of 1995, after an injury kept the colt on the sidelines for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Thirteen years later, however, Schosberg can start dreaming again with the undefeated Giant Moon.
Continuing to display her turf dominance, Criminologist came from off the pace to shed seven rivals Nov. 17 at Churchill Downs, scoring by 2 1/2 lengths in the $150,000 Cardinal Handicap (gr. IIIT) to earn her fourth consecutive victory.
Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable homebred Criminologist searches for her sixth victory of the campaign and fourth in a row as she battles seven contenders in the $150,000 Cardinal Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Churchill Downs turf Nov. 17.
Keeneland's Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell termed the Nov. 9 session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale "a very good day at the office" as a slight drop in gross was untainted by a rising average and a strong middle market.
Latent Heat, a grade I-winning son of Maria's Mon bred and raced by Juddmonte Farm, will stand his first season at stud in 2008 at Woods Edge Farm in Kentucky, it was announced Oct. 18.
With the Breeders' Cup only days away, the American racing front has been relatively quiet. Still, this does give us the opportunity to turn the spotlight on a filly that appears to be a rising star, and in doing so, pay tribute to her recently deceased sire, Maria's Mon.
The improving Criminologist got the soft going she relishes and rolled to her third consecutive victory Oct. 13 in the $109,100 Athenia Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Belmont Park Widener Turf Course.
Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Monarchos will stand the 2008 breeding season at Nuckols Farm near Midway, Ky., it was announced Oct. 12 by owner John Oxley.
A son of Maria's Mon topped the opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale Oct. 1 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Md.
Maria's Mon, who achieved star status by siring a Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner from his first crop of foals, was euthanized the morning of Sept. 14.
Bill Heiligbrodt's Gaff overcame a yielding turf course to register a win in Friday's $150,000 Aegon Turf Sprint (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs.
Arindel Farm's Wait a While, last year's Eclipse Award winner as the nation's top 3-year-old filly, started her 2007 season in fine style, going virtually gate to wire to win the $100,000 Honey Fox Handicap (gr. IIIT) as the prohibitive favorite on the Gulfstream Park turf Sunday.
A pair of grade I winning sprint standouts dueled throughout Saturday's seven-furlong San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) before the Bobby Frankel-trained 4-year-old Latent Heat prevailed in the final strides by a neck over an equally determined Proud Tower Too at Santa Anita.
Wait a While made a real name for herself in 2006 by winning graded stakes races on both dirt and turf, but it was on the grass where she really excelled. Her accomplishments on both surfaces earned Wait a While an Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly for 2006.
Victory by Latent Heat in the Dec. 26 Malibu Stakes (gr. I) topped off a banner year for Pin Oak Stud stallion Maria's Mon.
Arindel Farm's heavily favored Wait a While forged to the lead coming off the turn and left her field behind in the stretch to win the $400,000 Yellow Ribbon (gr. IT) on the Santa Anita turf Saturday, winning her fourth consecutive race impressively.
He was reluctant to load, but once John C. Oxley's Strong Contender got rolling, there was no stopping him. The 3-year-old son of Maria's Mon swept past the 4-5 favorite Lawyer Ron to win the $486,500 Super Derby (gr. II) at Harrah's Louisiana Downs Saturday.
Arindel Farm's Wait a While ran her winning streak to three with an easy 4 3/4-length in the $150,000 Lake Placid (gr. IIT) on the inner turf course at Saratoga Friday.
Only five sophomore fillies--plus one entered for main track only--passed the entry box for Friday's Lake Placid Stakes (gr. IIT) at Saratoga, but boy, oh boy, what a crew.
Thanks in large part to the $58,000 celebrity chef Bobby Flay spent on options to breed to two of the sport's top stallions, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation raised in excess of $500,000 Aug. 7 at its annual gala at the Saratoga Golf and Polo Club.
One thing the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) has taught us over the years is that the winner can come from anywhere. And the same goes for the winner's sire.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said racing fans will not have to "Wait a While" for his grey filly to be loaded in to the starting gate for Friday's Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) after undergoing gate-schooling sessions.
Thanks to what trainer John Ward terms "unfortunate circumstances," John Oxley's Strong Contender has but one pressure-packed race left for a potential trip to the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), and he'll need a top finish in the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland April 15.
John Oxley's Strong Contender, who would have been the heavy favorite for Saturday's $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II), did not make the starting field when 12 others with higher earnings were entered.
Gaff is looking to increase his win streak from three to four with a win in Saturday's $2-million Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse.
John Oxley's Strong Contender, one of what is shaping up to be a full field of contenders for the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park, has had plenty of experience with Polytrack and trainer John T. Ward Jr. figures that to be a plus for Saturday afternoon's race.
Launching an impressive bid on the turn for home, odds-on choice Cause to Believe rallied from last to register an easy victory over his four rivals in Saturday's $100,000 California Derby for 3-year-olds at Golden Gate Fields.
Though he has had only one previous start, John Oxley's 3-year-old Strong Contender could merit serious consideration on the road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with his 4 3/4-length triumph over a strong field of sophomores in his first start of the year Wednesday at Gulfstream Park.
The Bobby Frankel-trained High Limit spoiled the return to the races of 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo with an authoritative win in the $300,000 Strub Stakes (gr. II) for 4-year-olds at Santa Anita Park Saturday.
Arindel Farm's Wait a While, running for the Eclipse Award-winning duo of trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez, demolished her six rivals in Saturday's $150,000 Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies at sloppy Gulfstream Park.
Cause to Believe lived up to his name with a come-from-behind victory in Sunday's $250,000 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at Bay Meadows.
Favored High Limit and Buckland Manor hooked up shortly after the start and battled all the way to the wire before High Limit prevailed by a nose in a dramatic edition of the $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park Saturday.
Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan enjoyed a spectacular start to the opening weekend of Gulfstream Park's 2006 season, completing a sweep of the track's three features when Gaff won the $100,000 Mr. Prospector (gr. III) Saturday in track-record time.
Rain ruined what looked to be a competitive Jamaica Handicap, a grade II event for 3-year-olds at nine furlongs on the turf. The race was switched to the sloppy main track and all but three of the nine entered were scratched. That worked out well for trainer Patrick Reynolds, whose mud-loving Watchmon posted a 1 3/4-length win.
Keep the Faith, a 5-year-old horse from Australia, set a North American record and shattered the Widener Turf Course record by winning the 6-furlong seventh race in 1:06.82 on closing day of the Belmont Park spring meeting Sunday.
Pin Oak Stable's Whimsy used a ground-saving trip to stay close to the leaders, then angled out at the head of the stretch before pulling away for a 2 3/4-length victory over prohibitive favorite Cee's Irish in Friday night's $122,500 Iowa Oaks (gr. III) at Prairie Meadows.
A colt by Maria's Mon consigned by Gabriel Dixon, agent, was sold for $135,000 to Buzz Chace, Agent, to top Tuesday's opening session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's 2005 June Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training and Horses of Racing Age.
Working in company with Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner High Limit zipped six furlongs in 1:13 4/5 at Churchill Downs Thursday morning.
The hopeful expectations of both Keeneland Association officials and consignors did not materialize at the company's annual 2-year-olds in training sale Tuesday as all key numbers declined from one year ago.
To bring high prices, 2-year-olds in training have to jump through a lot of hoops. They need to work fast, look good physically, and pass veterinary exams. Following are some of the horses that were generating positive buzz prior to Tuesday's Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training:
A colt by Yes It's True posted the fastest work for a quarter-mile under beautiful conditions during the March 19 Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Selected 2-year-olds in training sale under tack show opener.
High Limit became the first gate to wire winner of the $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) in 15 years when he rolled to an easy victory in his initial start for trainer Bobby Frankel Saturday at Fair Grounds.
Dearest Mon, the highly regarded sophomore owned by Beverly Green and trained by Rick Violette Jr., worked four furlongs handily at Palm Meadows Feb. 28 in :48.60 in preparation for Saturday's $300,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes, one of five grade II events on tap for the Spectacular Saturday III program at Gulfstream Park.
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