There was plenty of pre-race action at Keeneland Race Course Tuesday morning as a handful of potential Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) runners, including a possible Marker's Mark Mile (gr. IT) and Ashland Stakes (gr. I) starter hit the oval. Opening day at Keeneland is April 8.
High Fly and Sun King, trained by two-time Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winning trainer Nick Zito, and juvenile filly champion Sweet Catomine are listed among the favorites in a wide open third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2005 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which opens its April 7-10 run Thursday.
Nick Zito's Run For the Roses Regiment continued its assault on Churchill Downs this past weekend, as High Fly and Noble Causeway finished one-two in the $1-million Florida Derby (gr. I) on April 2, giving Zito five top Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contenders for five different owners.
Tracy Farmer's Sun King, winner of both his starts this year including the Tampa Bay Derby, breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:02 4/5 at Churchill Downs Monday in preparation for the April 16 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Blanked with his 16 previous starters, trainer Nick Zito finally won the Florida Derby (gr. I) when his heavily favored High Fly rolled to a confident victory for Jerry Bailey Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Trainer Nick Zito, who has failed to win the Florida Derby (gr. I) in 16 prior attempts, will saddle the top two morning-line favorites in Saturday's $1-million race.
Ghostzapper, the powerful winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), led the list of 2004 award winners announced by the New York Turf Writers' Association March 23.
So, where are the best 3-year-olds based? Florida, Arkansas, California, and New York can all make a case for being the hot spot right now following Saturday's stirring and strange turn of events. With Declan's Moon and now Roman Ruler out of the picture, and Afleet Alex and Wilko facing uphill battles, last year's top 2-year-olds are fading fast.
Ten horses, five jockeys, and five trainers have been nominated for the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame, museum president John von Stade announced Monday. The slate of nominees is the first presented under the revised procedures of Thoroughbred racing's official national Hall of Fame.
Tracy Farmer's Sun King, sent off as the 1-20 wagering favorite in the $250,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) Saturday, showed some true grit while fending off a couple of challenges from the quarter pole to mid-stretch before pulling away to a 3 1/4-length victory.
Live Oak Plantation's High Fly, early favorite for the Florida Derby (gr. I) - Gulfstream's showcase event for 3-year-olds with Kentucky Derby aspirations - breezed five furlongs in 1:02 at the Palm Meadows training center Saturday morning.
Tracy Farmer's homebred Sir Shackleton wore down the surprise pacesetter Clock Stopper in the final sixteenth of a mile after a long drive and drew clear to win the $200,000 Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) in track record time at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Kinsman Stable's Bellamy Road rocketed onto the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) scene Saturday when he ran off to a 15 3/4-length victory in a one-mile allowance race at Gulfstream Park in his first start for new trainer Nick Zito.
When the Todd Pletcher-trained Lion Tamer takes the gate for Saturday's $200,000 Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Sprint Championship Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park he will be doing more than making the first start of his 5-year-old season. He will be looking to duplicate his 1 3/4-length win in the 2004 edition of the seven-furlong sprint.
Nick Zito, who already has four solid Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contenders, will try to add to his roster when he sends out the newly acquired Bellamy Road, winner of the Miller Genuine Draft Cradle Stakes (gr. III), in a one-mile allowance race at Gulfstream Saturday.
Declan's Moon, champion 2-year-old colt last year, and Wilko, winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), are among the 126 nominations for Keeneland's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Thanks to High Fly's victory in the $300,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) and Noble Causeway's stylish win in a $33,000 allowance, trainer Nick Zito is building a stockpile of Kentucky Derby contenders and crystallized his hold on favorite status for the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) April 2.
Making his first start for trainer Nick Zito, High Fly rebounded from a third-place finish in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) to win Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park.
Nick Zito is licking his chops after last weekend's impressive victories by Sun King and Andromeda's Hero. Now, he tries to put the finishing touches on his four-horse feast when he saddles High Fly in the Fountain of Youth (gr. II) and Noble Causeway in an allowance race. All indications are that Zito will be flying high once again.
Trainer Nick Zito, always a threat along the Triple Crown trail, was sitting comfortably Sunday after two of his 3-year-olds posted wins Saturday and a third, High Fly, cruised through his workout and into the picture for the $300,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) on March 5.
The Nick Zito-trained Andromeda's Hero flew past 52-1 shot Summer Legacy in the final furlong and powered home to a convincing 2 ½-length victory in Saturday's $100,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile test for 3-year-olds at Tampa Bay Downs.
A group of 12 3-year-olds has passed the entry box in Saturday's $100,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, a prelude to that track's signature Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) March 19. Trainer Nick Zito sends out two of the top entries in Andromeda's Hero and G P's Black Knight.
The lightly raced Wanderin Boy passed his first stakes test with flying colors, leading every step of the way to take the $100,000 Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Race Course Saturday.
A field of six will contest the 47th running of the grade I Donn Handicap, traditionally the opening salvo of the handicap divisional season. This year's edition includes 2004 Eclipse Award finalist Roses in May and last year's Clark Handicap (gr. II) winner St. Liam--both of whom tussled with Horse of the Year Ghostzapper.
Trainer Nick Zito is preparing for a big weekend at Gulfstream Park, saddling runners in the Donn Handicap (gr. I), Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II), Old Hat Stakes (gr. III), and Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III), as well as celebrating his 57th birthday.
Robert V. LaPenta's Pies Prospect seized control before the eighth pole and pulled away for an easy victory in the $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap (gr. III) at Calder Race Course Saturday.
Broadway View, ridden by John McKee, rallied from last on the far turn and then withstood the hard-charging America Alive by a bare nose in the first running of the $171,150 Commonwealth Turf for 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs.
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone, who was retired earlier the week of Nov. 1 after suffering a chip fracture in his left front ankle, will stand at Gainesway Farm near Lexington, Ky., Whitney's husband, John Hendrickson, said Nov. 5.
- By Steve Haskin
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone, winner of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and Travers Stakes (gr. I) this year, has been retired after a routine radiograph taken Nov. 2 revealed a P-1 medial chip in the colt's left front ankle.
Remembering Ferdinand was the rally call for the National Horse Protection Coalition during Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships weekend Oct. 29-30 at Lone Star Park. The group is attempting to draw attention to the end of horse slaughter for human consumption.
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone had his first gallop over the Lone Star Park track Sunday after arriving Saturday afternoon on a private charter from Albany, N.Y. that also brought three other Nick Zito-trained horses.
The Nick Zito-trained Commentator glided to an easy seven-length win in Thursday's $112,600 Perryville Stakes at Keeneland. Eurosilver was second, with Weigelia a half-length back in third.
Hopeful (gr. I) and Sanford Stakes (gr. II) winner Afleet Alex hopes to keep his record unblemished Saturday as he takes on seven of his fellow 2-year-old brethren in the 133rd running of the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
by Gary Granade - Pies Prospect was never far off the pace in the 1 1/8-mile race. Eddington, the even-money favorite who has contested most of the major three-year-old stakes this year, surged into contention with a dramatic four-wide move on the final turn and looked poised to score his first win since February.
Robert LaPenta's The Cliff's Edge, who suffered a fracture of the right front ankle during the running of the Oct. 2 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), underwent successful surgery the morning of Oct. 4 at the New Jersey Equine Clinic.
Gary Stevens will take over riding duties on The Cliff's Edge in Saturday's $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at Belmont Park, trainer Nick Zito said Sunday.
The last horse in the auction ring Sunday brought the top price of $320,000 during the sixth session of Keeneland's September yearling sale in Central Kentucky. Robert V. LaPenta's Whitehorse Stables purchased the Thunder Gulch colt, with a member of LaPenta's buying team, David Foye, signing the sale ticket.
The $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) Sept. 6 is both a bettor's delight and nightmare, as 12 evenly matched 3-year-olds were entered in the 1 1/8-mile race, with almost every one of them having a legitimate shot to win.
The $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) Sep. 6 may draw as many as 12 to 13 starters, in what promises to be a competitive race. Although the absence of Smarty Jones will be felt by the expected large holiday crowd, the 1 1/8-mile race is expected to draw some of the top 3-year-olds in the country.
Birdstone's 2 1/2-length win Saturday in the Travers (gr. I) at Saratoga, coupled with the colt's upset of Smarty Jones in the Belmont (gr. I), opens up the race for this year's 3-year-old championship, at least in the minds of some.
Marylou Whitney Stable's Belmont-winning Birdstone gave trainer Nick Zito his first victory in the Travers Stakes (gr. I) Saturday at Saratoga Race Course, just moments before an intense rainstorm hit the track.
Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone, owned by Marylou Whitney Stables, breezed six furlongs in 1:16 Sunday over the fast Oklahoma training track at Saratoga with regular exercise rider Maxine Correa up.
Two noses were all that separated the first three finishers in a desperate finish to Sunday's $100,000 Oceanport Handicap (gr. IIIT). Gulch Approval, ridden by Pat Day, eked out a victory over favored Kathir and Stormy Roman on the grass at Monmouth Park.
The $600,000 West Virginia Derby (gr. III) was the major mid-season test for Sir Shackleton, and he passed it with flying colors with a resounding victory over six other foes in the 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds at Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort.
The second season begins in earnest for the 3-year-olds the weekend of Aug. 7-8, with the runnings of the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I), Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II), and West Virginia Derby (gr. III). If there is even the slimmest chance of dethroning Smarty Jones for the title, someone is going to have to run the table.
Marylou Whitney's Birdstone, who denied Smarty Jones the Triple Crown with his victory in the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), will make his first start back in the $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I), trainer Nick Zito said July 23.
Robert N. Clay's homebred Medallist, ridden by Jorge Chavez, romped and stomped at Belmont Park Sunday, winning the $150,000 Dwyer (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park over The Cliff's Edge, flying to the lead and never looking back.
Robert LaPenta's The Cliff's Edge, winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland and fifth in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) despite a rough trip in his last start, is scheduled to begin his second season at Belmont Park July 11 in the $150,000 Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.
Robert LaPenta's Pies Prospect became trainer Nick Zito's fifth 3-year-old colt to win a stakes this year, as he drew off to a 5 1/2-length victory in the $50,000 Floor Show Stakes at Delaware Park Tuesday.
Nick Zito has been busy recently trying to come up with a schedule for his talented arsenal of 3-year-olds. Even with the loss of Eurosilver, Zito is loaded as he sets his sights on a number of major stakes, beginning with the July 11 Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park.
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