For Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, winning the New York Turf Writers Cup (NSA-I) never gets old.
- By Vic Zast
Whitney viewing stand unveiled at Oklahoma. read blog
Mr. Hot Stuff, with Paddy Young in the irons, pulled away from early leader Brave Prospect to capture the $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial Steeplechase Stakes (NSA-I) Aug. 1 at Saratoga Race Course.
Jacqueline Ohrstrom's Demonstrative edged past Divine Fortune at the finish line to win the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois Steeplechase (NSA-I) by a head May 11 at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tenn.
Papa Clem's last win came in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) nine months ago, but the son of Smart Strike could be the horse to beat in a wide-open San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Jan. 16.
Ok, I am officially smitten with Mine That Bird. I admit to being one of those misguided souls who paid no attention to him before the Kentucky Derby other than to comment what a beautiful mover he was. After the Preakness and seeing him on the Belmont track Thursday morning, I have to say in simplest of terms this is one cool horse.
Insight into the pedigrees of this year's Belmont contenders is only a click away. This easy-to-read report includes pedigree analyses from Alan Porter and Avalyn Hunter. Order your copy today and separate the contenders from the pretenders.
Mine That Bird will face nine rivals in the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Jockey Calvin Borel will look to become the first jockey to win all three Triple Crown races on two different horses.
Mr. Hot Stuff worked a bullet five furlongs over Polytrack at Keeneland Race Course on May 26 in preparation for a start in the 141st running of the 1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 6 at Belmont Park.
The big day is almost here. No, not the Derby; having to make selections, which will be in Friday's column. These selections are based primarily on observations over the past eight days, and it's going to be particularly difficult this year. In the meantime, he are a few late odds and ends.
Following Monday's flurry of workouts, it was all about I Want Revenge on Tuesday, as the likely Kentucky Derby favorite had the center stage all to himself.
Just as human brothers and sisters can be totally different, the same is true with horses. Eoin Harty has trained full brothers Colonel John and Mr. Hot Stuff, and the two colts are nothing alike.
Quality Road, who figured to be among the top choices for Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) will not start in the Run for the Roses, it was confirmed Monday morning by Chris Baker, farm manager of Edward Evans' Spring Hill Farm. Jockey John Velazquez will now ride Mr. Hot Stuff.
WinStar Farm's Mr. Hot Stuff, third in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), had a West Coast tuneup for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) when he worked five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 at Santa Anita April 26.
General Quarters, the "feel-good" horse of this year's Kentucky Derby, breezed five furlongs in 1:01 4/5 over a fast track at Churchill Downs April 23.
WinStar Farm's Hold Me Back, winner of the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) and second in the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I), is scheduled to leave Keeneland on April 24 for Churchill Downs in preparation for his next start in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Pioneerof the Nile had his final workout at Santa Anita on a blustery but sun-drenched morning April 15, busting four furlongs on the Pro-Ride racing surface in a bullet :46 1/5, the fastest of 39 drills at the distance.
It's not quite the Sunshine Millions, but this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is looking like a regional battle between California- and Florida-based horses, who at this point appear on their way to occupying the top four favorite roles in the Run for the Roses.
A lack of pace changed the game plan for odds-on choice Pioneerof the Nile, but jockey Garrett Gomez improvised, enabling the son of Empire Maker to hold off Chocolate Candy for a one-length win in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on a picture-perfect day in Arcadia, Calif.
Saturday's big three Kentucky Derby preps should be pretty formful, with one or two standouts in each race. But, there's a lot more to these races than who is going to win. While they are all prestigious events, let's not forget the fact that they are indeed preps.
Trainer Julio Canani says The Pamplemousse doesn't need the lead to win the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 4. After a couple of interesting developments when entries were taken, that theory could be put to the test.
See story for startling revelation and other peeks into this year's Kentucky Derby crystal ball.
Florida Derby winner Quality Road headlines a list of 11 late nominees to Thoroughbred racing's 2009 Triple Crown.
The Pamplemousse, prepping for the April 4 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and a showdown with Pioneerof the Nile, worked five furlongs on Pro-Ride March 18 in :59 4/5 under regular rider Alex Solis.
The last Saturday in November is NYRA's farewell to grade I and grade II racing, with the running of the Cigar Mile (gr. I) and the grade II Remsen and Demoiselle Stakes for 2-year-olds. But last year, there was a buzz in the air that had nothing to do with any of those three races.
Trainer Julio Canani insists he doesn't have Derby fever yet. But after the way his The Pamplemousse glided to victory as the 1-2 choice in the $200,000 Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita Feb. 28, that's going to be more difficult to believe as time marches on toward the first Saturday in May.
The Pamplemousse, who knocked off favored Square Eddie by two lengths in winning the San Rafael Stakes (gr. III) last month, heads a dozen 3-year-olds entered for the $200,000 Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita Feb. 28.
Because the Top 30 list took up a great deal of Monday's column, we'll go double duty this week and catch up on some updates and ramblings and look at the Risen Star Stakes.
Either tracks like Gulfstream and Oaklawn are getting noticeably slower or the horses are. From all indications, it is the tracks, which is fine if they keep horses sounder. (See end of text for first official Top 30)
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