Wishing Gate and Bad Debt figure prominently in the two Florida Sunshine Millions races on turf Jan. 18 at Gulfstream Park, a pair of intriguing grass tests as Florida-breds get the spotlight.
Mordi's Miracle posted an upset in the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Classic Preview at Gulfstream Park Nov. 9, but his three-length triumph could hardly be termed a miracle.
Making his stakes debut, career claimer Jimanator outdueled odds-on favorite Mambo Meister to win the $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap (gr. III) Nov. 26 at Calder Casino & Race Course.
Strike the Moon, who just missed winning the Delaware Oaks (gr. II) last month, heads a field of 11 sophomore fillies in the $150,000 Monmouth Oaks (gr. I) Aug. 13 at Monmouth Park.
Trainer Michael Trombetta aims for a repeat victory April 10 in Keeneland's Commonwealth Stakes (gr. II) with a pair of entrants in the $250,000 event, Congressional Page and Not for Silver.
Andrew Rosen's First Passage won her third in a row and became a graded stakes winner in the process as she took over from pacesetter Kays and Jays in the stretch and went on to win the $200,000 Azalea (gr. III) by three-quarters of a length July 11 at Calder Race Course.
Despite the Odds became a graded stakes winner June 5 at Belmont Park, as he put away Affirmatif and romped to a 7 1/2-length victory in the $109,000 Hill Prince (gr. IIIT), which was taken off the turf course because of heavy rain in New York.
Mercedes Stables' Seattle Smooth, who took down eventual 3-year-old champion filly Proud Spell in the Fitz Dixon Cotillion Stakes (gr. II) last out, will return from a seven-month layoff and make her seasonal debut in the $150,000 Bed o' Roses Handicap (gr. II) at Aqueduct April 18.
Maryland-based trainer Michael Trombetta will start a pair of 4-year-old fillies in the $150,000 Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) March 22 at Aqueduct, including probable favorite Control System, the only graded stakes winner in the field of six.
Silmaril, a 7-year-old Maryland-bred mare, will attempt to reach the $1-million mark in earnings Jan. 12 at Laurel Park.
- By Jason Shandler
- News, Racing, Northeast Region, Midwest Region, Southeast Region, Southwest Region, West Region
Last year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) favorite Sweetnorthernsaint returns from a seven month layoff Dec. 29, taking on 10 rivals in the $50,000 Holiday Cheer Stakes at Turfway Park.
Now a Victor stalked the pace under John Velazquez and then wore down longtime leader Shopton Lane in the final sixteenth of a mile to take the $100,000 Discovery Handicap (gr. III) by a length on the main track at Aqueduct on Nov. 24.
Though making just his second start since February, Ontario-bred Buffalo Man could be the one to beat in the $100,000 Discovery Handicap (gr. III) Nov. 24 at Aqueduct.
Joseph J. Balsamo's Weigelia went immediately to the front and sprinted away from his rivals in the stretch for a 3 1/2-length victory in the $100,000 Ponche Handicap at Calder Race Course Saturday.
Sweetnorthernsaint went to the front and was never threatened as the 10 cents on the dollar favorite in Saturday's $63,000 Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Handicap at muddy Laurel Park.
Trainer Michael Trombetta was sore but joking Jan. 25 after his 4-year-old gelding Sweetnorthernsaint, the favorite for the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park, kicked him in the chest two days earlier.
Calder specialist Weigelia wrestled the early lead from How's Your Halo and was never challenged through the stretch en route to an easy victory in the $100,000 Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap (gr. III) over a sloppy track at seven furlongs Saturday.
Sweetnorthernsaint, in his second start since finishing second in the Preakness Stakes (gr. IT), defeated two opponents en route to victory in the $51,233 Odessa Stakes at Delaware Park Saturday.
Heavy favorite Sweetnorthernsaint, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, continued his fast development with an eye-catching 9 1/4-length win in the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) at Hawthorne Saturday.
R.D.M. Racing Stable's Your Bluffing was the easiest kind of winner as the 1-5 favorite in Saturday's $80,000 John B. Campbell Breeders' Cup Handicap at Laurel Park.
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