The revamped "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series kicks off Sept. 29 with points awarded to the top four finishers in the Juddmonte Royal Lodge (Eng-II) at Newmarket and the FrontRunner Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park.
David Hofmans, trainer of J P's Gusto, answers questions about California's leading juvenile. Read Blog
TVG, America's Horseracing Network, will provide live coverage of the entire fall season from Oak Tree at Santa Anita, including four grade I stakes on opening weekend, and the year's final "Win and You're In" Breeders' Cup Challenge Series races.
- By Dan Liebman
California, which has the highest number of graded stakes of any racing state, will have four new grade I races in 2007, as a result of a meeting Nov. 30 of the American Graded Stakes Committee.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux returned to Santa Anita Park Sunday to guide William Currin's 11-1 shot Stormello to victory in the $247,000 Norfolk Breeders' Cup (gr. II) for 2-year-olds.
Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) winner Horse Greeley and unbeaten Principle Secret, the West Coast's leading contenders for the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), face off Sunday in Oak Tree's $250,000 Norfolk Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II).
California-bred Brother Derek broke sharply for jockey Alex Solis and never looked back in winning the $200,000 Norfolk (gr. II) for 2-year-olds Sunday by three-quarters of a length over favored A.P. Warrior at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting.
Fog City Stable's Roman Ruler, the 1-20 betting favorite, took the lead on the turn and coasted home for a 4 1/2-length triumph in the grade II, $200,000 Norfolk Stakes for 2-year-olds Sunday at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting.
Just four rivals, none of which have started in a graded stakes, have stepped up to take on California's leading 2-year-old, Roman Ruler, in Sunday's $200,000 Norfolk (gr. II) at Oak Tree's Santa Anita meet.
Grade II winner Roman Ruler, second by a neck to Declan's Moon in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) in his last start, was put through his final drill in preparation for Sunday's Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita, posting a bullet six furlongs in 1:11 3/5 under regular exercise rider Dana Barnes over the Southern California oval's main track Monday morning.
Six graded stakes races worth a combined $1.9 million in purse money and a possible trip to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships will be showcased at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 2-3 as the Oak Tree Racing Association begins its 36th season.
Grade II winner Roman Ruler, who suffered his first career defeat in the Sept. 8 Del Mar Futurity (gr. II), was put through his first workout since then at Santa Anita Wednesday, completing seven furlongs in 1:25 4/5.
Trainer Eoin Harty didn't give up on Ruler's Court and the 2-year-old colt proved Harty's faith to be well placed with a 14-length triumph in Sunday's $250,000 Norfolk (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
While most of the Breeders' Cup attention in his barn has centered on 2-year-old Halfbridled, trainer Richard Mandella is looking for a big effort from his other promising juvenile, Siphonizer, in Sunday's $250,000 Norfolk (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
Russian Valour raced comfortably on the lead under jockey Kevin Darley and held off the late-charge of the highly-touted Kheleyf to win the Norfolk Stakes (Eng-III) for 2-year-olds at Royal Ascot Thursday.
Trainer A.C. Avila indicated Wednesday morning that Manhattan Express would be supplemented to Saturday's $200,000 Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) at a cost of $4,000.
The sky will not be the limit should the 'Sky' exacta hit Saturday at Keeneland in the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. II). The heavy favorite in the race will be Sky Mesa and the second choice will probably be Lone Star Sky.
A new Pick 3 wager--the NTRA Fall Pick 3--will be offered on Oct. 5 in conjunction with the telecast of three 2-year-old races that day.
Trainer Aidan O'Brien wins many group races in Europe, but for the second straight day at Royal Ascot, he was upset in one of the meeting's major stakes.
After doing more about-faces than a soldier in boot camp, trainer Bob Baffert has decided that Officer, the leading juvenile in the universe right now, will make his next appearance in the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park Oct. 6 at 8 1/2 furlongs. Officer, by Bertrando, is perfect in four starts, including wins by six, eight, and seven lengths in his first three races. In his most recent effort, the Sept. 5 Del Mar Futurity (gr. II), Officer won, geared down, by 1 1/2 lengths.
Three weeks later and with an extra furlong to race, the results remain the same as Flame Thrower reprised his wire-to-wire performance from last month's Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) to win the one-mile $200,000 Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) by a neck over the late-charging Street Cry Saturday at Santa Anita. In the seven-furlong Futurity, Flame Thrower just lasted to best Street Cry by a head.
The likely favorites for Saturday's $200,000 Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita put in works at the track on Monday. The one-mile race should help to sort out the West Coast contingent for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
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