Listen to Robert LaPenta discuss Ice Box, Nick Zito, advice for new owners, and more. Listen to Podcast!
MAHUBAH'S CORNER, by Avalyn Hunter
By one of the hottest sires in American and out of a stamina-oriented mare, Ice Box has bloodlines that indicate he's a smart pedigree pick for the Triple Crown races.
Ice Box, the less fancied of two runners trained by Nick Zito for owner Robert LaPenta, ground out a nose victory over another outsider, Pleasant Prince, in the $750,000 Florida Derby (gr. I) March 20.
Ice Box drilled a bullet half-mile in :47 1/5 at Palm Meadows for trainer Nick Zito on the morning of March 13 as he tunes up for the $750,000 Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park.
Graded stakes winners Cool Coal Man and Grasshopper drew the top weight assignments as part of a contentious field for the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) March 13.
Calvin Borel has been named to ride Jackson Bend in the Wood Memorial, replacing Jeremy Rose.
Time to reevaluate some of the horses and races, and a look at the Sham Stakes and several classy maiden and allowance races.
The 3-year-old is one of the favorites for the Fountain of Youth (gr. II).
Lookin At Lucky and She Be Wild, the champion 2-year-old male and female, respectively, of 2009, top the list of 366 early nominees to the 2010 Triple Crown races.
Robert LaPenta's Jackson Bend worked a bullet five furlongs in :59.30 on Jan. 16 at Palm Meadows for trainer Nick Zito. He is preparing for his highly-anticipated 3-year-old debut in the $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III).
Robert LaPenta, a leading owner and pinhooker, will sponsor the 2010 Derby Trial (gr. III) at Churchill Downs April 24, the track announced Jan. 8.
Steve Haskin ranks the greatest training achievements for the years 2000 - 2009, both for a trainer with an individual horse and overall. Who's #1?
Jacks or Better Farm's co-owner Fred Brei said Oct. 26 he has sold a majority interest in his homebred 2-year-old star Jackson Bend to Robert LaPenta for an undisclosed sum.
Tracy and Carol Farmer have chosen Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm in Georgetown, Ky., as the permanent home for two-time Whitney Handicap (gr. I) winner Commentator, it was announced Oct. 2.
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) paid tribute to Commentator Sept. 6, at Saratoga Race Course. The 8-year-old chestnut gelding, owned by Tracy Farmer and trained by Hall of Famer Nick Zito, was retired from racing Aug. 9, a day after finishing third in the Whitney Handicap (gr. I). He was attempting to join Discovery and Kelso as the only three-time winners of the race in its 82-year history.
Robert LaPenta Coal Play, best known for nearly shocking Big Brown in last year's Haskell Invitational (gr. I), will look for his fourth win over the Monmouth Park main track when he takes on six rivals in the $300,000 Philip H. Iselin Stakes (gr. III) on Aug. 22.
The New York Racing Association will pay tribute to one of the most popular horses in racing when the recently-retired Commentator is honored on Sept. 6 at Saratoga.
Tracy Farmer's two-time Whitney Handicap (gr. I) winner Commentator has been retired after finishing third in his quest for a record-tying third win in the Saratoga event, trainer Nick Zito announced on the morning of Aug. 9.
The longest shot in a field of six, 18-1 Bullsbay pulled a shocking upset in the $750,000 Whitney Handicap (gr. I) Aug. 8 at Saratoga, splitting horses on the turn and pulling away for a 1 1/2-length score under Jeremy Rose.
The ageless Commentator will try to stand alongside the great Kelso as the oldest horse ever to win the prestigious Whitney Handicap (gr. I), a race he will also attempt to capture for a record-tying third time.
Commentator, the 8-year-old who Aug. 8 will attempt to become only the third horse in history to win the $750,000 Whitney Handicap (gr. I) three times, turned in another excellent work Aug. 1 at Saratoga, covering a half-mile in :47.85, handily.
Rock Hard Ten, the multiple grade I-winning son of Kris S., got his inital winner and first stakes winner June 26 when Long Lashes won the Ballygallon Stud Stakes for juvenile fillies at the Curragh in Ireland.
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Summer Bird obviously loves New York. He loves it so much that he could return this summer to run at Saratoga Race Course in the Aug. 1 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) and the Aug. 29 Shadwell Travers Stakes (gr. I).
There were so many good stories being told, and re-told, in memory of Joe Hirsch June 5 at Belmont Park, it is hard to know which one Joe would have liked most. Well, Hirsch always saw the positive in everything, so he would have liked all the stories, equally.
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.
With the recent spell of wet weather having finally moved on, three contenders for the 141st running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) turned in their final serious moves this morning at Belmont Park in preparation for the June 6 race.
It was a busy May 23 morning at Belmont Park for contenders of the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) with Charitable Man, Summer Bird, and Dunkirk all breezing on the main track.
Robert V. LaPenta's Brave Victory and Miner's Escape breezed a half-mile in company on the main track at Belmont Park May 21 as they prepped for a start in the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on June 6.
This Ones for Phil, Mr. Fantasy and Just a Coincidence - all on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) trail earlier this season - top a field of seven 3-year-olds in the $150,000 Withers (gr. III) April 25 at Aqueduct. The $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I) is now the primary goal for each of them.
The field for the $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) was reduced by one on March 12 as Fair Grounds officials learned that My Meadowview Farm's Nowhere to Hide will be scratched.
If his last race is any indication, Mount Joy Stables' Smooth Air should be set up for a big run in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) on March 14 at Gulfstream Park, a race that has been shortened from 1 3/16 miles to one mile this season.
Legends Racing, which was 2008's biggest-spending new shopper at Thoroughbred yearling sales, is preparing for its inaugural season at the racetrack. According to Olin Gentry, one of the venture's founders, the stable's 39 horses have been divided equally among Legends' three trainers--Bob Baffert, D. Wayne Lukas, and Nick Zito--and are in Florida being prepared for competition.
The Cigar Mile cast a dark shadow on the racing world with the tragic death of Wanderin Boy, who shattered the sesamoids in his left-front leg shortly after turning into the stretch.
This week, Jason and Tom analyze the Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs on November 28. Also Brisnet's handicapping expert "The Wizard" gives his "Spotlight Play" for Fair Grounds Race 8 on November 28.
Like a fine wine, Commentator seems to get better with age. And on Nov. 28 at Churchill Downs, Tracy Farmer's remarkable 7-year-old gelding will try to cap off a terrific season when he takes on seven rivals in the $400,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (gr. II).
Michael Amo's innovative idea for Thoroughbred racing's first organization dedicated solely to fans started innocently enough.
Frank Calabrese's Casey's On Call puts his undefeated record on the line Nov. 1 when he faces seven juveniles in the $100,000 Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.
Two-time Whitney Handicap (gr. I) winner Commentator could end his successful racing season at Churchill Downs with a bid for the 134th running of the $500,000 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (gr. II) Nov. 28.
Vineyard Haven, Cribnote, Munnings and Break Water Edison, the top four finishers, respectively, in the Hopeful Stakes (gr.I) last month at Saratoga, meet again in the $400,000 Champagne Stakes (gr.I) at Belmont Park Oct. 4.
The Nick Zito-trained duo of Da'Tara and Anak Nakal heads the field for the $350,000 grade II Meadowlands Cup Oct. 3 at Meadowlands.
Why should this year's incarnation of the MassCap be any different than the other 65 events contested beneath the deafening roar of overhead planes from nearby Logan Airport?
Commentator, a two-time grade I winner for Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito, leads a field of seven for the $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap Sept. 20 at Suffolk Downs.
A year ago, Larry Jones saddled Proud Spell to victory in the Matron Stakes (gr. II). Jones can only hope his entry in this year's Matron, On the Menu, is destined for the same kind of success. On Sept. 13, she tries stakes company for the first time in the prestigious $250,000 event for 2-year-old fillies at Belmont.
When the second session of the Keeneland September yearling sale ended Sept. 9, Olin Gentry and trainer Bob Baffert of Legends Racing rushed to the barn area to look at more horses and get ready for the next day's selling. It's been a busy auction, so far, for the new racing venture, whose formation was announced just prior to the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in June when a presentation was made to potential investors in New York.
Some leading New York trainers said a ban on toe grabs will help level the playing field, but they're not all convinced the shoes are responsible for catastrophic breakdowns.
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Da' Tara fired a bullet work Aug. 15, and along with Jim Dandy (gr. II) winner Macho Again, head the likely field for the Aug. 23 Travers (gr. I).
Legends Racing made a powerful debut as a Thoroughbred buyer at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling auction, which ended its two-night run Aug. 5 in New York.
Long Branch (gr. III) winner Truth Rules will miss the $1-million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) Aug. 3 due to a fever, and will be replaced by Coal Play, trainer Nick Zito said Wednesday
Da' Tara, who shocked the nation when he wired the field at odds of 38-1 in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and denied Big Brown the Triple Crown, returns to the racetrack July 27 in the $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga.
Champion War Pass is continuing to heal from a fracture to a sesamoid suffered in the Wood Memorial (gr. I). Plans for return to racetrack still up in the air.
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