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Seasons of 2006

By Patricia Ranft - It's been a tumultuous year in Thoroughbred racing, although most years have their share of turmoil in this sport. Emotions changed with the seasons, resulting in a 2006 that won't soon be forgotten.

Brother Derek Tops 13-Horse Malibu Field

Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Brother Derek is the marquee entrant among the 13 horses entered in the 44th running of the grade I Malibu Stakes as Santa Anita Park begins its 70th year of racing at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 26.

Romance Blooms for Flores, Mitchell in Starlet

Romance Is Diane drew away from the field at the head of the stretch to post a major upset in the $459,250 Hollywood Starlet (gr. I), giving jockey David Flores his fifth win Sunday and providing a measure of satisfaction for winning trainer Mike Mitchell.

Mitchell Horses to Run Out of Detention Barn

All horses trained by Mike Mitchell will run out of the detention barn for a period of 45 days that begins with those entered for Dec. 17, Hollywood Park announced, after a horse under his care exceeded the permitted total carbon dioxide level.

Mitchell Makes Quick Return at Emerald Downs

Emerald Downs' all-time leading rider Gallyn Mitchell returned to the saddle on Friday night, less than a day after he was thrown to the track in a dramatic fall during the fourth race on Thursday.

Meeker Presides Over Final Shareholders' Meeting

As the search for his successor continues, Churchill Downs Inc. president and chief executive officer Tom Meeker presided over his 22nd and final shareholders' meeting Thursday, painting a positive picture of the racetrack operating company's future while also accepting plaudits from fellow directors and company employees.

Memories Carry Mitchell into Barrera Stakes

When trainer Mike Mitchell sends out Remembering Star in the $150,000 Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes (gr. II) at Hollywood Park on Saturday, fond memories of both the horse after which the colt is named and the trainer after which the race is named will be rekindled.

Yolanda B. Too to Contest Distaff

West Point Thoroughbreds' 3-year-old filly Yolanda B. Too, who lost a narrow decision to unbeaten Nothing But Fun in the Cotillion Handicap Oct. 1, was proclaimed to be on target for the $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) by trainer Rick Violette Jr. after a workout Monday morning at Aqueduct.

Mitchell Hopes 'Kid Still Lucky in Hirsch

Trainer Mike Mitchell still gets emotional when he speaks of Leprechaun Kid, who runs in Sunday's Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship (gr. IT) at 1 ¼ miles. The gray gelding reminds Mitchell of his best claim, Star Over The Bay, a horse that became a multiple stakes winner after being claimed for $80,000. Unfortunately, Star Over The Bay was euthanized after being injured racing in Singapore.

Original Spin Flawless in Arlington Lassie

Illinois-bred filly Original Spin, who races in the colors of the Russell L. Reineman Stable Inc., rallied four-wide in the stretch to win the $147,000 Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Lassie (gr. III) by 4 ¼ lengths in her second career start.

Kela to Stand at Margaux Farm

Kela, a grade I-winning sprinter who ran second in last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) to champion Speightstown, has been retired and will stand at Margaux Farm near Midway, Ky., in 2006.

Jockey Club Rule Changed; Inspections Possible of Early Foals

The Jockey Club has announced a change in its Stud Book rules that will permit representatives of the organization to physically inspect horses. According to a release, the rule change was made to insure the accurate foaling date of foals listed as born right after the first of the year.

Trainer Mitchell Can't Forget Star Over the Bay

Trainer Mike Mitchell tried to concentrate on work in his Hollywood Park stable office Wednesday but found it impossible to forget about grade I winner Star Over the Bay, whose winner's circle pictures hung on the wall.

Bailey Hopes High Fly Lifts Him Into Winner's Circle

After a one-year hiatus from the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey is back, seeking his third win in the classic. Bailey, 47, who also just released his autobiography "Against the Odds: Riding for My Life," is booked to ride Florida Derby (gr. I) winner High Fly for trainer Nick Zito.

Trainer Uses Unorthodox Methods With Afleet Alex

As a budding athlete in grade school, Tim Ritchey recalls, he did "two-a-day" drills as a member of the football team. Now, Ritchey is applying those lessons learned at a young age, along with lessons learned as a trainer of show horses and a healthy dose of what he calls "common sense," in his training of Afleet Alex, one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).

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