As of early Friday evening, Casino Drive remains in the 10-horse field for Saturday's Belmont Stakes.
Casino Drive, the second choice in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), did not go to the track Friday because of a problem with his left hind foot. His connections believe it might be a minor stone bruise. He has not been scratched from the race, in which Big Brown will attempt to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner.
Nobutaka Tada, racing manager for owner Hidetoshi Yamamoto, said consideration has been given to Japanese, European, and American riders, but no decision will be made for "four or five days," on who will ride Casino Drive in the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr.I).
Casino Drive came out of his victory in the Peter Pan (gr. II) May 10 at Belmont Park as effortlessly and professionally as raced in his United States debut. Now, he is ready to tackle the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 7.
The Pimlico Special (gr. I), a historically-significant race for older horses, returns after a year off. The 1 3/16-mile race, sponsored by the Maryland Lottery, will be run the day before the Preakness (gr. I) at "Old Hilltop."
On May 10 at Belmont Park, North America got its first look at the colt who could have the best chance at spoiling Big Brown's entry into racing immortality, as Japanese invader Casino Drive blew away eight challengers to win the $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) in sensational fashion.
Robert LaPenta's Cool Coal Man, a major contender for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), prepped for a planned run in the April 12 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland with a sharp half-mile work at Churchill Downs April 3.
With Indian Blessing resting up for a summer-fall campaign in shorter races, a pair of 3-year-old fillies who have tackled the Eclipse Award winner - Backseat Rhythm and Highest Class - are looking for their chance to shine.
Halsey Minor's 3-year-old Fierce Wind drilled a bullet half-mile in 46 4/5 over a fast track at Palm Meadows March 24 for trainer Nick Zito in preparation for the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park March 29.
The $500,000 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) is shaping up just like the Feb. 9 Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) did, and that's fine as far as Neil Howard is concerned. The trainer sends 4-year-old Grasshopper to the March 8 event looking for the same form the colt showed in his Mineshaft victory - and Howard fully expects similar results.
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
Another Triple Crown contender by a son of A.P. Indy is hot on the Derby trail. A couple of weeks ago it was Pyro, a son of Pulpit. Now it is Cool Coal Man, a colt by Mineshaft who recently won the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) against a field of top challengers. He is extending the success already seen when A.P. Indy is crossed with Fappiano-line mares.
A monster from Japan is heading to America. Casino Drive, a half-brother to Rags to Riches and Jazil, is targeting the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) after destroying his opposition in a 1 1/8-mile maiden race at Kyoto Feb. 23. The son of Mineshaft will attempt to become the third straight Belmont winner produced by his dam, Better Than Honour.
The two early Kentucky Derby favorites, one in Lousiana, the other in Florida, are on schedule for their respective trainers.
Grasshopper made an impressive 4-year-old debut and earned his first graded stakes victory when he took the $150,000 Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Feb. 9.
Todd Pletcher trainee Magna Graduate has not scored a win since April 2007 and the Neil Howard-trained Grasshopper has not raced since a second-place finish in the Super Derby Sept. 22. Both are looking for a return to their winning ways in the $150,000 Mineshaft Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Feb. 9.
Eclipse Award winner Indian Blessing will attempt to maintain a perfect record for Hal and Patti Earnhardt when she leads a field of seven in the $200,000 Silverbulletday Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Feb. 9.
- By Ron Mitchell
The parallel lives of stallions Mineshaft and Empire Maker continue at the Keeneland September yearling sale, where they are the top second-crop sires, based on sale average.
Mineshaft, the 2003 Horse of the Year, was represented by his first winner when his daughter, Minewander, won Aug. 3 at Ellis Park.
A record price for a juvenile filly sold at Keeneland was established during the one-day 2-year-old in training sale April 17 when California billionaire B. Wayne Hughes went to $1.75 million for a daughter of Mineshaft.
Offspring of Mineshaft, Grand Slam, and Distorted Humor are generating a buzz before the Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training.
The times were freakishly fast at Keeneland Monday when the first under tack show for a juvenile sale in North America was conducted over Polytrack.
Master Command has been installed as the 8-5 morning line favorite for the Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) at the Fair Grounds Feb.10.
A.P. Indy, the year's leading sire by progeny earnings and sire of leading 3-year-old Bernardini, will stand for the same $300,000 fee in 2007 that he stood for in 2006 at William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Ky.
Ebony Breeze, a millionaire homebred for George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Stable, has arrived at Kinsman Farm near Ocala, Fla., to become a broodmare.
While it was Sheikh Mohammed who drove the market during the two-day select sessions of Keeneland's September yearling sale Monday and Tuesday, it was powered by the sires of those yearlings. The leading sires from Book One are a heady mix of the old guard with a trio of young shooters making some interesting headway.
Monday marks the first time since 1998 that the Japan Race Horse Association (JRHA) has conducted a yearling auction, and breeders in the Land of the Rising Sun are anxious to see whether the organization's second attempt will go over better than its first at the Northern Horse Park.
Four straight. A mind-boggling eight of the last nine. Ten of the last 12. An even dozen. Those overwhelming figures are the number of Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winners tracing in male line to Mr. Prospector.
The 16th annual charity stallion season and art auction conducted by Thoroughbred Charities of America and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association on Dec. 3 at CandyLand Farm in Delaware and audiocast to Cross Gate Gallery in Lexington, Ky. raised $1.9 million.
A.P. Indy, second on this year's leading sires list, will stand once again for $300,000 at William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Ky.
ReRun announced it will celebrate the coming Father's Day by exhibiting various "Moneighs" created by famous sires and their progeny including; A.P. Indy and sons, Mineshaft and Rock Slide, among others.
The first foal for 2003 champion older male and Horse of the Year Mineshaft was delivered Jan. 7 at Indian Creek Farm near Paris, Ky.
Monashee Mountain, a half-brother to Horse of the Year Mineshaft, will move from Coolmore Stud in Ireland to Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky., for 2005.
Kingmambo, sire of one of Europe's best 2-year-olds in the filly Divine Proportions, will stand for the same $300,000 fee belonging to fellow Lane's End Farm stallion A.P. Indy.
The 2003 Horse of the Year, Mineshaft, his trainer, and his regular rider make up three-fourths of the induction class of 2005 for the Fair Grounds Racing Hall of Fame, track officials announced Sept. 21.
Roar of the Tiger, a full brother to European star Giant's Causeway, breezed a half-mile on Thursday at Churchill Downs as the 5-year-old took another positive step in his latest comeback from injury.
Mineshaft, Eclipse Award winner as Horse of the Year and best older male, has been named winner of the New York Turf Writers Association's Secretariat Award as New York's Horse of the Year for 2003.
Mineshaft, the nation's 2003 Horse of the Year and champion older male, and his dam, Prospectors Delite, headlined the award winners honored April 15 at Keeneland by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association/Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders.
It seemed a foregone conclusion once William S. Farish and partners' homebred Mineshaft started gobbling up graded stakes after graded stakes last year.
William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm reported that the first two mares are in foal to 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft.
If Robby Albarado's luck holds, Jake Delhomme and the Carolina Panthers will upset the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII on Sunday.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- For clues as to why the coronation of Mineshaft as Horse of the Year was not unanimous, a call to Sigmund Freud would be necessary. The human mind can be a strange thing.
Mineshaft was named 2003 Horse of the Year at the 33rd annual Eclipse Awards, but it wasn't easy taking the spotlight away from Funny Cide, the New York-bred gelding who generated so much publicity during his memorable Triple Crown run last spring and was voted an Eclipse Award as outstanding 3-year-old male.
In seven races in Europe in 2002, all Mineshaft was able to do was break his maiden in a one-mile turf race at Newmarket in England. The final two starts of his 3-year-old campaign produced victories in allowance company in the United States, and they were much more indicative of things to come. The son of A. P. Indy went on to win 10 of 18 lifetime starts before being retired and on Monday was named Horse of the Year and champion handicap horse for 2003.
Robby Albarado, who was named the winner of the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award on Thursday, reflected on the accomplishment Saturday morning at Fair Grounds. Albarado is currently the leading rider at the New Orleans track.
The Juddmonte Farms juggernaut of owner/breeder Prince Khalid Abdullah and prominently represented by trainer Bobby Frankel and jockey Jerry Bailey is in position to add to its large collection of Eclipse Awards when the annual black-tie dinner is held Jan. 26 at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Fla.
Can it really be just a year ago that the top price for an incoming stallion was only $40,000? That the second-highest price was $30,000? Well, now the top price for a newcomer is back up to six figures, $100,000 to be exact, and the next highest is $50,000.
William S. Farish's Casual Look, winner of the classic Vodaphone Epsom Oaks (Eng-I) in 2003, has been retired from racing and is scheduled to join the broodmare band at Farish's Lane's End Farm in Versailles, Ky.
By Ray Paulick -- The 20th running of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships had everything a racing fan could ask for: heart-pounding finishes; championship performances, boxcar mutuels, and human interest stories.
Even though Pleasantly Perfect's upset win in Saturday's $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) puts trainer Neil Howard's retired colt Mineshaft securely in the driver's seat for Horse of the Year honors, the conditioner wasn't accepting congratulations Sunday morning.
By Lenny Shulman -- Remember the good old days when only injuries kept horses from running in the Breeders' Cup?
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