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.
Singhalese charged home on the grandstand side to reach the wire a half-length in front of favored Three Degrees to win the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) on the grass Saturday.
A field of 10 has been drawn for the Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II), part of Saturday's "Summit of Speed" at Calder Race Course. The six-furlong contest carries a rich $500,000 purse. Veteran Don Six, carrying a high impost of 118 pounds, and True North Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) winner Woke Up Dreamin, under 117, head the field.
Jerry Bailey, Javier Castellano, Jeremy Rose and Mike Smith have been nominated the Top Jockey category for ESPY awards presented by ESPN.
A field of six sprinters has drawn for Saturday's $150,000 Aristides Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Churchill Downs. Run in honor of the first Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner in 1875, graded stakes winners Battle Won, Bwana Charlie, and Gators N Bears head an even half-dozen going six furlongs over the main track.
The rivalry between Shadow Cast and Island Sand will head into its third act Saturday at Churchill Downs when the pair of 4-year-old stakes winning fillies line up for the Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) going 1 1/8 miles at Churchill Downs.
Mike Smith won a stakes race at Belmont Park Saturday aboard a son of Holy Bull. No, not the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) with Giacomo, though he certainly hopes that happens later on the card.
Jockey Mike Smith rode even-money favorite Puxa Saco to a three-length victory over Tucked Away in the $106,400 Desert Stormer Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at six furlongs Sunday at Hollywood Park.
Delta Princess, who won the Endeavor Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in February, tops a field of seven fillies and mares slated for Saturday's Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs.
In an NTRA "Pre-Belmont" teleconference Thursday, trainers of the first three Preakness Stakes (gr. I) finishers--Afleet Alex, Scrappy T, and Giacomo--spoke to national media about that battle at Pimlico and the grueling 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes (gr. I) that awaits June 11.
- By Dan Liebman
By Dan Liebman - A politician wins the primary but is defeated in the general election. A pro football player on a winning Super Bowl team is traded to the worst team in the league. A rider wins the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), and then two weeks later loses the Preakness (gr. I).
Razor, ridden by Mike Smith, seized the lead soon after the start and was never seriously threatened en route to a four-length win over Crimson Stag in the $109,700 Matt Winn Stakes for 3-year-olds Saturday at Churchill Downs.
Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winning rider Mike Smith had to ride a masterful race to get Giacomo to the wire first but the jockey said today the journey was almost exactly as he planned.
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who rode Giacomo to a 50-1 upset victory in Saturday's 131st Kentucky Derby (gr. I), will join The Blood-Horse's senior correspondent Steve Haskin for a special edition of bloodhorse.com's "Talkin' Horses" Wednesday at noon (ET; 9 a.m PT).
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