Big Brown, last year's 3-year-old champion male, is scheduled to cover a number of prominent mares this year at Three Chimneys Farm near Midway, Ky. Mates beyond this year will include champion Stardom Bound following her retirement from racing.
Calder's $100,000 My Charmer Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles drew an overflow field of 17, with 12 to start in Saturday's race.
When Kentucky Oaks candidate Imperial Gesture galloped into the Churchill Downs backstretch following her five-furlong work Tuesday, her head was hanging low. Some people might have interpreted the posture as a sign of weariness, but that is just the usual way the Godolphin-owned filly carries herself.
While the colts and geldings who will compete in the Kentucky Derby are taking much of the limelight at Churchill Downs in the mornings, about a dozen fillies continue to progress toward the Kentucky Oaks run on Derby eve.
Robert T. Manfuso's unbeaten Belterra, a graded stakes winner as a 2-year-old last year, makes her 2002 debut against five rivals in Friday's $250,000 Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. II).
Girls just want to have fun. So sang Cyndi Lauper, the guest musician in Gulfstream's entertainment complex on Feb. 24, whose presence attracted the third-largest Sunday crowd ever at the track. Rosemary Homeister Jr. and Ms Brookski had fun also, by winning the meet's first two-turn stakes race for 3-year-old fillies on dirt, the Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II).
Frolic is the word in Sunday's $100,000 Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies at Gulfstream Park. Smok'n Frolic, a gray daughter of Smoke Glacken who will be making her debut for 2002, figures to be the favorite. Second choice in the 1 1/16-mile event looks to be Stormy Frolic, a Summer Squall daughter trained by Milt Wolfson.
While the public may have deserted him, the man who knows him best never lost faith. Though the highweight among the dozen starters, Band Is Passing, the favorite in 11 of his past 12 starts--each of which came in a stakes--could muster no more support from his home crowd than the 7-1 fourth-betting choice in Calder's Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) on Dec. 8. But his handy win by 3 1/4 lengths validated what his owner and trainer Stanley Ersoff had been saying all along.
The fall/winter Tropical-at-Calder meet is revving up with the first winter arrivals from the north coming in daily in the weeks ahead. Saturday's features are the $60,000 Lulu's Ransom Stakes and $60,000 Fabulous Frolic Stakes for 2-year-old fillies and colts, respectively, at one mile on turf.
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