Front-running Lion Heart spurted away from his four opponents with three furlongs to go in the $376,000 Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) and romped to an easy 3 1/2-length victory.
Jockey Mike Smith completed a sweep of Hollywood Park's rich co-features Saturday when he brought Katdogawn from well back in the stretch to hold off Personal Legend by a nose in a furious finish of the $150,000 Dahlia Handicap (gr. IIT) on the grass Saturday.
Frank Manganero's Mambo Slew gained a clear advantage in the stretch and held off a late charge from Ticker Tape for a 1 1/2-length victory in the $100,000 Miesque (gr. IIIT) for 2-year-old fillies battling on the Hollywood Park turf Friday.
Pesci had the lead role Thanksgiving Day at Hollywood Park. That is Pesci, the 3-year-old filly namesake of the Oscar Award-winning actor, Joe Pesci. Pesci, making her first start, cruised to an 8 1/2-length victory in the second race Thursday, leaving the actor in a jovial mood.
Academy Award-winning actor Joe Pesci was at Santa Anita Sunday morning to watch the 2-year-old filly Pesci work 1:00 2/5 over a fast track under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.
Lion Heart, a $1.4-million purchase, toyed with four rivals en route to a six-length victory in stakes record time under jockey Mike Smith in Saturday's $100,000 Hollywood Prevue Stakes (gr. III) for 2-year-olds.
RL Stables' Runaway Dancer closed from far back to score a 38-1 stunner by a neck over European invader Labirinto in Friday's $139,250 Carleton F. Burke Handicap (gr. IIIT) at 1 1/2 mile on the Santa Anita turf course.
Bobby Frankel and Jerry Bailey each established new North American single season records over the weekend and are on track to set other marks before the racing year is over, according to Equibase Company, the Thoroughbred industry's official database for racing information.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas won his first stakes at Oak Tree since 1997 when Race for Glory captured the $80,850 Cavonnier Stakes for 2-year-old colts Wednesday by seven lengths at Santa Anita.
Azeri's 11-race winning streak came to a surprising halt Sunday – 27 days before the Breeders' Cup – when Got Koko rallied past the reigning Horse of the Year and went on to a half-length win in the $300,000 Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
His mother's not thrilled, but California native Stan Ning wasn't bluffing five years ago when he gave up a career as a respiratory therapist to try his luck as a jockey.
Reigning Horse of the Year Azeri will carry 128 pounds, the highest impost of her storied career, and spot her rivals at least 10 pounds apiece in the $300,000 Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) Sunday at Santa Anita.
Wertheimer Farm's Halfbridled showed why she's likely to be heard from later this year when she recorded a scintillating five-length victory in the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) for 2-year-old fillies at Del Mar Saturday.
If there were betting on who will have the early lead in Saturday's Arlington Million (gr. IT), the Richard Mandella-trained The Tin Man, owned by Ralph E. & Aury Todd, would be a prohibitive 1-5 favorite. However, the Hall of Fame conditioner says that his charge is comfortable coming from just off the lead should such a scenario develop.
Jockey Mike Smith got a great big 38th birthday present from Azeri, the horse he says put him in the Racing Hall of Fame, Sunday in the $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at Del Mar.
A respectful foursome joined racing's Hall of Fame Aug. 4 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., just blocks from the historic racetrack. In the cool of Fasig-Tipton's air-conditioned Humphrey S. Finney sale pavilion, the tears and raw emotion of the entrants were as thick as the unseasonable humidity outside.
Jockey Mike Smith's career is like a football game with two phenomenal halves and a halftime from hell. But with the final gun nowhere in sight, Smith has managed to march the ball straight down the field and into the Hall of Fame.
Standing on the threshold of racing's Hall of Fame, jockey Mike Smith is still waiting for the fact to sink in. He knows that on Monday, when his moment of induction comes, he will be stunned. He just hopes he'll be able to speak.
The public is invited to attend the National Museum of Racing's annual Hall of Fame Ceremony, held on Monday, Aug. 4th at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion.
Watson and Weitman Performances' Dirty Diana, another 2-year-old speedster from the talent-rich barn of perennial Del Mar champion trainer Bob Baffert, turned in an impressive triumph in the $125,000 CTBA Stakes. A $2.4 million Pick Six carryover was split among 152 tickets.
Bits and pieces from around the industry...
Bits and pieces from around the industry...
Azeri pushes her winning streak to double figures with a two-length score in the Vanity Handicap.
Azeri, the magnificent 5-year old mare who ruled racing last year, will attempt to extend her victory string to ten on Saturday when carrying an imposing 127 pounds in Hollywood Park's $250,000 Vanity Handicap (gr. I).
Jorge Chavez received an invitation to the NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship after he won an online vote at ntra.com.
Sanford Robertson's Blazonry took advantage of a hotly contested pace with a six-wide move from near the rear of the pack to win the $150,000 Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old sprinters at Hollywood Park Monday.
Reigning Horse of the Year Azeri toyed with her opposition in Saturday's $211,800 Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I) at Hollywood Park, easily winning her ninth consecutive graded stakes with Mike Smith in the irons.
Chilean-bred Total Impact rolled to his first United States stakes win in convincing style Saturday at Hollywood Park, winning the $150,00 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II) at 1 1/16 mile by two lengths.
A tearful Carolyn Hine, wife of the late Hubert "Sonny" Hine, graciously accepted the announcement of her husband's induction into the Racing Hall of Fame at a press conference at Churchill Downs the morning of April 29. Hine, who trained Horse of the Year Skip Away, joins jockey Mike Smith, Precisionist, and Dance Smartly in the Hall of Fame class of 2003.
Reigning Horse of the Year Azeri will make her next start in the $200,000-added Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I) at Hollywood Park on May 24, trainer Laura de Seroux said from her training base at San Luis Rey Downs on Sunday.
Bob Meldahl, agent for jockey Mike Smith, breathed a sigh of relief in the Hollywood Park stable area Sunday morning while relating that the veteran jockey was only sore after an ugly spill here Saturday.
Star Vega rallied through an opening on the rail to defeat Makeup Artist by a neck Sunday in the $150,000 Providencia Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Park.
Jockey Mike Smith received a three-day suspension from Santa Anita stewards for his ride aboard Ulloa in Saturday's second race.
Ten Cents A Shine, who finished eighth in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) earlier this month, will make his next start in the $500,000 Arkansas Derby (gr. II) on April 12, owner Ken Ramsey said. The son of Devil His Due worked one mile in 1:38 2/5 at Santa Anita Sunday morning for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
Jeffrey Sengara's Bluesthestandard, claimed Dec. 31 at Santa Anita for $50,000, won for a meet-best fourth time Saturday, capturing the $200,000 Portrero Grande Handicap (gr. II).
Diamond A Racing Stable's Noches de Rosa notched the biggest win of her career Saturday, upsetting Garden in the Rain and even-money favorite Megahertz with a front-running effort in the $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap (gr. IIT) on the turf at Santa Anita.
Retired riders Eddie Maple and Randy Romero, plus Mike Smith, rider of 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri, have been nominated to the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame. The results will be announced during Kentucky Derby Week, on April 29, at Churchill Downs. Hall of Fame induction ceremonies are scheduled for Aug. 4, at the Fasig-Tipton Sale Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Irish-bred Champion Lodge took advantage of Santa Anita's yielding turf course Saturday, coming from off the pace to deliver a sharp six-length upset in the $250,000 San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT).
Trainer Bob Hess Jr. said Kent Desormeaux will ride undefeated El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) winner Ocean Terrace in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 5.
Jockey Mike Smith, regular rider for 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri, has switched agents, going from Brian Beach to Bob Meldahl.
Ocean Terrace stamped himself as a leading Kentucky Derby contender when he scored an impressive victory in the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) Saturday at Golden Gate Fields.
English-bred Luvah Girl wore down Himalayan in the stretch run and held off a flying Katdogawn by a head to capture Friday's $110,800 La Habra Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by a head at Santa Anita Park.
Omega Code faces his most serious test Saturday, trying two turns for the first time in the one-mile San Rafael Stakes (Gr. III) at Santa Anita.
Trainer Rafael Becerra sent out his two Triple Crown hopefuls, Crackup and Sum Trick, for works over a fast Santa Anita main track Friday morning.
Ralph and Aury Todd's homebred The Tin Man carved up the field in Saturday's $200,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT), romping to an easy front-running victory on a yielding Santa Anita turf course.
Mirroring the wide-open nature of this year's hunt for the Kentucky Derby, a field of 13 will assemble Sunday to contest the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds.
San Miguel (gr. III) winner Omega Code posted his first breeze for new owners Team Valor Sunday, zipping a bullet five furlongs in :58 2/5 breezing at Santa Anita while in company with the John Dolan-trained Alices Silver Lady, who was given the same time as her workmate. The moves were easily the fastest of the 56 who worked at the distance.
Padua Stables' Vindication met new jockey Jerry Bailey for the first time Saturday and the pair teamed up for a bullet five-furlong work over Santa Anita's fast main track.
Jerry Bailey has been named as the rider of Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Vindication, replacing Mike Smith, trainer Bob Baffert said Friday.
Jockey Jerry Bailey met an old acquaintance, the Calder winner's circle, on the final day of 2002, capturing Tuesday's $38,955 Auld Lang Syne Handicap aboard the filly Slews Final Answer.
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