Mike Smith and Zenyatta have been an unbeatable team so far, and they're the heavy favorites to add yet another victory to their sizzling streak in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) Oct. 24 at Santa Anita.
Dearest Trickski's road to the Sentient Flight Group Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint began late last year, when the Kalookan Queen Stakes at Santa Anita failed to fill. That pushed the filly into the grade I La Brea Stakes Dec. 29, and a victory there gave owner Tom Mankiewicz and trainer John Sadler grander ideas.
Favored Tasha's Miracle nipped Gorgeous Goose by a nose in Oak Tree's $106,100 Harold C. Ramser Sr. Handicap (gr. IIIT), snapping a seven-race losing streak in game fashion at Santa Anita turf Park Oct. 11.
Queen Ofthe Catsle earned her first win in a graded stakes race when she ran down pacesetter La Tee in deep stretch to capture Oak Tree's $111,600 Senator Ken Maddy Handicap (gr. IIIT) over Santa Anita's downhill turf course Oct. 4.
Stardom Bound put on a dazzling performance in the $250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 27 during the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita Park. The 2-year-old Tapit filly rallied from last, came eight-wide into the stretch, and mowed down her rivals to win going away under Mike Smith.
Undefeated Zenyatta unwound her patented stretch drive once again to sweep by Hystericalady in the final furlong to win the $245,000 Lady's Secret (gr. IT)during the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita Park Sept. 27.
The aptly named maiden Stardom Bound, far behind the leaders on the final turn, unleashed a monstrous move through the home stretch to turn the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) into a 4 1/4-length stunner Sept. 1.
Madeo, justifying the faith trainer John Shirreffs has shown in him, overtook pacesetter Tangled Tango in deep stretch to post a handy upset in the $350,000 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) Aug. 31.
The nay-sayers who thought Zenyatta might have been vulnerable after her comparatively plodding win in the Vanity (gr. I) last time out were left with little left to criticize when the statuesque filly blew by her rivals to capture the $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch (gr. II) under wraps at Del Mar Aug. 2. Zenyatta, the top-ranked older female in the nation, remains perfect in seven lifetime races.
Warning Zone put an exclamation point on trainer John Sadler's first spring/summer title at Hollywood Park with a rail-skimming victory in the $156,000 Sunset Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) on closing day July 13.
Unbeaten Zenyatta's effort was a cut below her best on a hot day at Hollywood Park, but that was good enough to win the $300,000 Vanity Handicap (gr. I) July 5.
Dearest Trickski handed trainer John Sadler his third stakes win at Hollywood Park June 28 when she led all the way in the $150,000 A Gleam Handicap (gr. II) on the Hollywood Park Cushion Track.
Undefeated Zenyatta overcame a bump at the start to record her fifth consecutive victory, winning the $183,300 Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) the way a 3-10 shot should May 31 at Hollywood Park.
Team Valor International's Fairbanks has not won in more than a year, but is still the horse to beat April 19 when he takes on four geldings in the inaugural $200,000 Bill Hartack Memorial Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne Race Course.
Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Gayego is to be flown to Louisville, Ky., on April 14, to prepare for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). He will be joined on the flight by second and third-place finishers, Z Fortune and Tres Borrachos.
After doing all of his running on Southern California's synthetic tracks, favored Gayego proved he has no problem with a conventional dirt surface, either. The Paulo Lobo-trained invader repelled Z Fortune in the stretch run for a three-quarter-length victory in the $1-million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park.
Inside Information features Mike Smith, Bruce Headley and Reckless.
Tiago nipped favored Heatseeker by a head after a stirring stretch battle in the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II), capping a $1 million stakes day at the Arkansas track for owners Jerry and Ann Moss, trainer John Shirreffs and jockey Mike Smith.
Zenyatta extended her unbeaten streak to four races and defeated a champion in doing so when she took the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park April 5.
Former claiming filly Dearest Trickski, hustled to the front by jockey Mike Smith, never looked back in rolling to an easy win in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita Jan. 26, her fifth consecutive victory.
Gayego figured to need a suicidal pace in order to catch the speedy Sea of Pleasure in the $79,700 San Pedro Stakes, and that's exactly what the Gilded Time colt received in setting a track record at Santa Anita Jan. 20.
A $32,000 claim at Del Mar this summer, Dearest Trickski became a grade I winner when she ran away from the field in the $250,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Park Dec. 29.
Front-running Daytona wasn't supposed to be able to take the field all the way in the 1 1/4-mile Hollywood Derby, but nobody told jockey Mike Smith. They controlled the pace to win the $500,000 turf test for 3-year-olds, defeating Medici Code by a half-length at Hollywood Park Nov. 25.
Favored Sea Chanter fought her way between horses to get the lead in the final strides, capturing the $113,200 Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 2-year-old fillies at one mile on the Hollywood Park turf on Nov. 24.
Odds-on favorite Foxy Danseur shook loose of pace rival Champagne Eyes mid-stretch and drew off to a 2 3/4-length win in the $107,100 Sharp Cat for 2-year-old fillies at Hollywood Park Nov. 17.
The improving Daytona put it all together for trainer Dan Hendricks on the Santa Anita turf course Oct. 13, kicking clear of the field in upper stretch to register an easy 4 1/4-length win in the $150,000 Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT).
Bruce Lunsford's Tessa Blue blew off the final turn more than four lengths in front and kept rolling to the easiest of victories for her first graded stakes win in the $406,500 Indiana Breeders Cup Oaks (gr. III) the night of Oct. 5 at Hoosier Park.
Tiago loves Santa Anita, no matter the surface. In his first start at the Arcadia, Calif., track since winning the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on the old dirt track April 7, the 3-year-old colt delivered a desperate nose victory over the unlucky Awesome Gem in the $520,000 Goodwood Breeders' Cup (gr. I) on the new Cushion Track Sept. 29.
Favored Cry and Catch Me gave trainer Bob Baffert his seventh win in the $244,000 Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) in the past 11 years with a game nose victory over Izarra at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meet Sept. 29.
Showing an ability to rate, Passified angled off the fence mid-stretch and ran down pacesetting Fleet Caroline close to home to win the $150,000 San Clemente Handicap (gr. IIT) for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on the Del Mar turf course Saturday.
Jerry and Ann Moss' Tiago, guided through a narrow opening at the rail mid-stretch by jockey Mike Smith, went to victory as the even-money choice in the $368,250 Swaps Breeders' Cup (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Hollywood Park Saturday.
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) contenders Hard Spun, Imawildandcrazyguy, and Tiago, as well as Todd Pletcher-trained candidates Rags to Riches and Circular Quay, all hit the Belmont main track for work-outs Sunday morning.
Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Tiago and Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) victor Stormello gave their connections encouragement for an anticipated date in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 5 with strong works at Hollywood Park Sunday.
Making his first start in more than a year, Chinese Dragon rallied along the inside for jockey Mike Smith to nose the outsider Vega's Lord while capturing the $300,000 San Francisco Mile (gr. IIT) on the Golden Gate Fields turf course Saturday.
Phipps Stable's Boca Grande kept her cool and pulled away for a 1 1/2-length victory in the $150,000 Comely (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies at Aqueduct Saturday.
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith plans to ride on the Southern California circuit beginning with the final week of the current Santa Anita racing season, agent Brad Pegram confirmed Friday.
It was all in the genes for Tiago, the half-brother to 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo who registered a timely come-from-behind victory in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) Saturday.
A field of seven 3-year-old fillies is set for the seven-furlong Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II) March 10 at Gulfstream Park. Heading the group is Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) winner Boca Grande.
New York shipper Oprah Winney fought off all comers to record her first graded stakes win, a front-running three-quarters of a length victory over Silmaril in the $285,000 Barbara Fritchie Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at Laurel Park Saturday.
Trainer Anthony Reinstedler saddled the first and second place finishers in the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) at Turfway Park Saturday, with U D Ghetto besting stablemate Shermanesque by 1 1/4 lengths.
Going into the final day of the Saratoga meet on Monday, Labor Day, jockey Mike Smith found himself in the rare position of having no stakes victories and only three wins overall during the meet, but Smith redeemed himself when he rode Gary A. Tanaka's Noble Stella to a two-length victory in the grade III, $112,100 Glens Falls Handicap.
Giacomo tallied his first victory since capturing the 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) at odds of 50-1, closing from far back under regular rider Mike Smith to defeat Preachinatthebar by a head in a rousing finish to the $300,000 San Diego Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar Saturday.
Desire to Excel, making her first start since breaking her maiden at first asking back in April, blew away her six rival 2-year-old fillies Sunday to win the $109,500 Astoria by five lengths.
Gary A. Tanaka's Noble Stella led at all calls over a soft turf course Saturday afternoon then dug in to hold off late-charging Angara to win the $182,000 New York Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Belmont Park inner turf course by a neck.
Back in January, before Barbaro had ever run on the dirt, Michael Matz was asked if he knew where the name Barbaro came from. He called to assistant trainer Peter Brette: "Hey, Peter, what does the name Barbaro mean?" Brette didn't hesitate with his answer: "Kentucky Derby winner."
Giacomo, who stunned the racing world with a 50-1 victory in last year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I), could make his first start in nearly eight months in Saturday's Strub Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park, trainer John Shirreffs said Sunday morning.
Bob Ford, sports columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, has won the Media Eclipse Award for writing in the news/commentary.
Ten jockeys, including 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winning jockey Mike Smith, are set to ride to benefit Louisiana horsemen in the Katrina Invitational Jockey Challenge Nov. 10 at the Meadowlands Racetrack.
Keeneland announced Oct. 4 that the first 5,000 patrons attending each Thursday of the fall and spring meets would receive special jockey prints, with proceeds going to benefit charity.
A field of 10 horses has been drawn for Saturday's 66th running of the Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I). The Patrick Biancone-trained Pomeroy, winner of the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. II) at Saratoga, looks to add his name to a list of recent Vosburgh stars that includes Pico Central and Ghostzapper.
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