Perennial bridesmaid Duke of Marmalade finally broke through for his first stakes victory, capturing the Prix Ganay (Fr-I) at Longchamp April 27 by a determined half-length over Saddex. The race marked the first group I race of the European flat season.
With several of the world's biggest owners present -- including Sheikh Mohammed, Sheikh Hamdan, and Michael Tabor -- Tattersalls' Craven breeze-up sale began Wednesday night in England with its most successful ever session.
Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, owners of recently retired 2007 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Rags to Riches, have agreed to donate their royalties from the sales of the Breyer model horse in the image of their champion filly to the NTRA Charities - Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
It was announced March 24 that 2007 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner and 2007 champion 3-year-old filly Rags to Riches has been retired from racing and will head to Ashford Stud where she will be bred to leading sire Giant's Causeway.
Sometimes change is a good thing. Just ask trainer Todd Pletcher, who not only added blinkers to his struggling 4-year-old colt Circular Quay, but shipped him back to Fair Grounds, the site of his only win in eight previous starts. The moves paid off, as Circular Quay outfought a stubborn Grasshopper in a terrific stretch duel to take the $500,000 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) by a half-length March 8.
Passion, under a determined ride from Rafael Bejarano, outlasted favored Ariege in a fierce stretch duel, taking the $100,000 La Habra Stakes (gr. IIIT) by a nose Feb. 2 on the downhill turf course at Santa Anita.
Odds-on favorite The Leopard got the firm going he wanted, and responded with an overpowering win in the $111,800 Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood Park Nov. 24. With the victory, winning trainer Todd Pletcher broke the single-season record for purse earnings he set last year.
Roy and Gretchen Jackson had not seen George Washington since he was a yearling. Still, when they watched the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) from their Pennsylvania home Oct. 27 and saw the 4-year-old colt tragically break down, they had an overwhelming feeling of sadness.
Dylan Thomas will be trying to become the first Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (gr. I) winner to capture a Breeders' Cup World Championships race.
Kinsman Farm homebred Majestic Warrior will miss the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) because of a minor left foot injury, trainer Bill Mott said Oct. 21.
The anticipation for The Green Monkey's second career start was a little less this time, however the result was the same, as the $16-million colt turned in another disappointing performance at Belmont Park Oct. 13, fizzling out in the stretch to finish a well-beaten fourth in a field of seven maidens.
Trainer Todd Pletcher announced Sept. 16 that Rags to Riches suffered a hairline fracture to her right front pastern during Saturday's Gazelle Stakes (gr. I), but that the injury is not career ending.
All eyes in the racing world will be on Rags to Riches when she runs in the $250,000 Gazelle Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park Sept. 15.
A striking son of Unbridled's Song brought a final bid of $3.7 million from Coolmore and associates to establish a high price for the second session and the first two days of the Keeneland September sale.
Trainer Patrick Biancone has been telling people that his undefeated 3-year-old filly La Traviata is something special. After the way she demolished a field of talented sophomores despite stumbling badly at the start of the $114,700 Victory Ride (gr. III) at steamy Saratoga Aug. 25, many will take notice.
- By Claire Novak
The Green Monkey, a $16-million purchase at auction, is training well at Belmont Park and, said trainer Todd Pletcher, is on course for his career debut at the Spa.
Dylan Thomas silenced his skeptics with an authoritative four length victory in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Eng-I) at Ascot on Saturday.
Pacesetting Pavarotti, a $2.5 million yearling purchase, refused to give way under extreme pressure from Time Squared, fighting back in deep stretch for a head victory in the $100,000 Round Table for 3-year-olds at Arlington Park Saturday.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - What fans got this year were three incredible horse races that ended with three very accomplished and deserving winners, punctuated by the history-making performance of Rags to Riches, the first filly winner of the Belmont since Tanya in 1905.
- By Dan Liebman
By Dan Liebman - Sure, this is no Bobby Riggs versus Billy Jean King but that's what marketing is all about -- taking something people aren't sure they care about and making them realize they should care about it.
- By Steve Haskin
Call it fate. Call it kismet. Whatever title you prefer, Rags to Riches seemed destined to give trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez their first classic winner.
- By Dan Liebman
Rags to Riches becomes the first filly to win the Belmont (gr. I) since 1905, beating Curlin in a thrilling stretch duel.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will make history when he saddles Rags to Riches June 9 in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). The grade I winner will become just the 22nd filly-- and the first since Silverbulletday in 1999-- to challenge the boys in the 1 1/2-mile "Test of a Champion."
The suspense was so thick, you could cut it with a...Well, maybe it wasn't quite that thick, but at least there was a some anticipation to see what Todd Pletcher was going to do regarding Rags to Riches' status in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). After putting off his decision as long as possible, he finally made the announcement at 9:30 Tuesday morning.
Scorpion led home an Aidan O'Brien exacta as the 2005 Ladbrokes St. Leger (Eng-I) winner powered to the wire 1 1/4 lengths clear of stablemate Septimus in the Vodafone Coronation Cup (Eng-I) at Epsom on Friday.
As the eighth largest crowd in the 133-year history of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) watched post-time favorite Rags to Riches romp to a 4 1/4-length victory over a full field of 14 fillies, Churchill Downs set new records for on-track, off-track and all-sources wagering on a competitive 11-race Oaks Day card, as well as the Kentucky Oaks race itself.
Rags to Riches put on a spectacular performance to win the Kentucky Oaks Friday, her third straight grade I win.
Several of the connections of this year's Derby horses have more than one shot of winning the big prize.
Favored Scat Daddy put away his rival Stormello soon after they reached the stretch and finished strongly to hold off the grinding Notional, capturing the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park in an impressive effort Saturday.
Santa Anita Oaks winner Rags to Riches, who would have been only the fourth filly to start in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) in 70 runnings, will instead go "straight to the Kentucky Oaks," trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday morning.
Ravel is off the Triple Crown Trail after an injury to his left front cannon bone was detected March 21.
Sent along by jockey Garrett Gomez near the quarter pole while racing third on the outside, the 2-5 choice Rags to Riches quickly assumed command of Sunday's $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I), striding out to an impressive win.
Favored Circular Quay, able to avoid the traffic issues he encountered in the Risen Star (gr. III) one month ago, circled the field five wide coming off the far turn under John Velazquez and rallied impressively to win the $594,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds Saturday.
The Thoroughbred industry's buying titans -- Coolmore Stud and Sheikh Mohammed's Darley operation -- didn't clash Tuesday during Fasig-Tipton's select sale of 2-year-olds in training, and the lack of a major bidding war was reflected in the final statistics for the South Florida auction.
Scat Daddy, somewhat overlooked in trainer Todd Pletcher's rich stable for this year's Triple Crown trail, stormed from far back to tag the tough-luck loser Stormello by a nose in the final stride of Saturday's $350,000 Fountain of Youth (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park.
The $1.9 million filly Rags to Riches staged a dramatic come-from-behind rally to win the $250,000 Las Virgenes (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Saturday.
Ravel made an auspicious stakes debut in Saturday's $101,500Sham Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds, rallying on the outside of favored Liquidity to register a one-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile event at Santa Anita.
Demi O'Byrne -- acting for Coolmore partners John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith -- set a record price for the Tattersalls December yearling sale in Newmarket, England Monday when paying 700,000 guineas ($1.39 million) for a Dalakhani -- Solo de Lune filly.
Belgravia ran greenly through the stretch but won Saturday's $100,000 Hollywood Prevue (gr. III) in just his second start by a nose over the charging Dilemma on the all-weather track.
Circular Quay and Friendly Island, both second in Breeders' Cup World Championship races Nov. 4, head an 11-horse shipment of Todd Pletcher trainees that arrived at Hollywood Park from New York. The Thursday afternoon flight included six horses from the Christophe Clement stable as well.
English invader Bayeux, ignored at odds of 23-1 in his American debut, unleashed a strong stretch drive to score an upset victory over Lord Admiral in the $168,900 River City Handicap (gr. IIIT) on turf Friday at Churchill Downs.
Scat Daddy gave trainer Todd Pletcher his record 93rd stakes victory in 2006 with a smart win over favored Nobiz Like Shobiz in the 135th running of the $400,000 Champagne (gr. I) for 2-year-olds at Belmont Park Saturday.
Aussie Rules, who broke last in the nine-horse field, was determined under Garrett Gomez and drew away late to win his first start in the United States, the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland Saturday.
Pacesetting Ball Four held off a determined late charge from the veteran Perfect Drift to win the $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) on the Turfway Park all-weather track Saturday.
Several top trainers will be heading down a synthetic path this winter, with Todd Pletcher sending a string of stakes horses to Hollywood Park, Nick Zito opening a winter barn at Keeneland, and Rusty Arnold setting up shop year-round at Keeneland.
Middle-distance specialist Alexandrova completed a group I triple Wednesday when she captured the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I) by 3 1/2 lengths at York.
The Green Monkey, the Forestry colt who was sold for a record $16 million at a 2-year-old in training sale Feb. 28, arrived at trainer Todd Pletcher's barn from Belmont Park Saturday at about 8:30 a.m.
Adieu returned to the winner's circle for the first time since last fall's Frizette (gr. I) when she collared Amandatude inside the sixteenth pole and cruised to victory in the $500,000 Delaware Oaks (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies at Delaware Park.
Unbeaten Circular Quay, the fifth winner of the day ridden by jockey Rafael Bejarano, shot through a narrow gap along the rail in deep stretch and drew off to a 1 ¼-length victory in Saturday's $166,500 Bashford Manor (gr. III) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs.
George Washington won the Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) on Saturday by 2 1/2 lengths from Sir Percy and Olympian Odyssey.
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