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.
The Green Monkey, the most expensive sales purchase in racing history, arrived at trainer Todd Pletcher's Churchill Downs' barn Friday.
Bandini quickly took the lead and never looked back to win the $100,000 Skip Away Handicap (gr. III) comfortably as the 2-5 favorite at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
The $16-million record-priced Forestry colt that was bought by Demi O'Byrne for John Magnier and partners' Coolmore Stud at the Fasig-Tipton Calder 2-year-old sale has been named The Green Monkey.
Magistretti, a grade I winner and English champion for Michael Tabor, has been purchased to stand at stud in India.
Hurricane Run, impressive winner of France's biggest race, the Lucien Barriere Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I), has been ruled out of the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Belmont Park Oct. 29.
Favored Adieu showed her credentials as one of the leaders in the juvenile filly division with a game two-length victory in the Frizette (gr. I) over a sloppy Belmont Park track Saturday.
Hurricane Run left little doubt as to who the best 3-year-old colt in Europe was with an emphatic two-length victory in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) on Sunday at Longchamp.
Dazzling Pomeroy, ridden by Eibar Coa, scorched the field in the $200,000 Alfred. G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. II) on a hot day at Saratoga, the track where he won the King's Bishop (gr. I) last summer.
Sense of Style, a grade I winner as a 2-year-old last year, has been retired from racing following a last-place finish in the Aug. 6 Test Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga.
A colt by by one of the world's hottest sires, Giant's Causeway, sold for $650,000 around lunchtime Tuesday at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July select yearling auction.
Favored Adieu dueled with Folklore from the break and drew away for a 1 ¼-length victory Sunday afternoon in the $109,500 Astoria for 2-year-old fillies at 5 1/2 furlongs at Belmont Park.
George Washington led a one-two finish for trainer Aidan O'Brien in Sunday's Railway Stakes (Ire-II) for 2-year-olds at The Curragh.
Nine days after winning the Prix du Jockey-Club (Fr-I), Shamardal turned in a powerful performance in Royal Ascot's St. James's Palace Stakes (Eng-I).
Middle to outside places were in vogue Wednesday when the connections of 20 starters selected post positions for Saturday's $2-million Kentucky Derby (gr. I), for which Bellamy Road was installed as the 5-2 favorite.
Kieren Fallon and Aidan O'Brien became the first jockey-trainer partnership for 38 years to complete the Guineas double Sunday at Newmarket when Virginia Waters won the fillies' Classic, the One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I).
Trainer Patrick Biancone confirmed Sunday morning at Churchill Downs that Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor's Spanish Chestnut is bound for the May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr. I). The French-born trainer said jockey Joe Bravo would ride the speedy son of Horse Chestnut.
Trainer Todd Pletcher was all smiles at Churchill Downs Sunday morning after watching two of his three Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contenders record their final works for the May 7 Run for the Roses.
Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's Bandini, preparing for his engagement in Saturday's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I), worked five furlongs at Keeneland Monday morning, in the company of stablemate Confederate.
The front-running Grand Reward, ridden by John McKee, bolted to the early lead and held on for a neck victory over Second of June in Saturday's $490,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II).
Kieren Fallon, who cut short his recent riding stint in Florida, could be appearing more in American races following his decision to sign up as retained jockey to owners John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith on Feb. 25.
Undefeated Maddalena disposed of her stablemate Portsea on the turn and romped to victory in her stakes debut for trainer Todd Pletcher in the $100,000 Old Hat (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Spanish Chestnut took a big step forward Saturday at Santa Anita Park by winning the $150,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds -- his graded stakes debut -- in determined style.
A 639-strong entry has been received for the 2006 Vodafone Derby at the initial yearling entry stage, just nine short of the record 648 entries made for the 2005 classic at Epsom Downs.
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