Woodbine's 133-day Thoroughbred meet will feature 102 stakes races worth nearly $20 million in purses.
Wigmore Hall, winless since last year's Northern Dancer Stakes Presented by Vtech (Can-IT), successfully defended his crown when he outfought favored Al Khali in the homestretch over Woodbine's turf course Sept. 16.
Defending victor Wigmore Hall, recent grade II winner Forte Dei Marmi, and Woodbine Oaks heroine Irish Mission top a field of eight for the $500,000 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes Presented by Vtech at Woodbine Sept. 16.
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's homebred Crider ran a good second in the May 8 Lone Star Derby (gr. III) last out, which should set him up well for the $125,000 Northern Dancer Stakes (gr. III) June 12 at Churchill Downs.
With the connections of Rachel Alexandra undecided on which of four stakes in which she will run June 12, eight horses are probable and three are possible for the 29th running of the $600,000 Stephen Foster Handicap.
Warrior's Reward, who scored a strong allowance victory last month, looks like the one to beat in the $100,000 Northern Dancer Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds June 13 at Churchill Downs.
The last time Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro raced at Churchill Downs, he finished a disappointing eighth, 15 lengths behind Big Brown, in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). In the June 14 Northern Dancer Stakes (gr. III), trainer Steve Asmussen looks for a much-improved effort.
Favored Play Bingo had something to prove and he did it emphatically in Saturday's $100,000 Northern Dancer Stakes at Pimlico.
Suave, ridden by Rafael Bejarano for red-hot trainer Paul McGee, came to life in the slop to register his first stakes triumph, drawing away in the $232,400 Northern Dancer (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs Saturday.
Tim Cunningham's Ironton wrested the lead down the backstretch in the $75,000 Northern Dancer Stakes for 3-year-old Maryland breds and held it with a nose victory at the wire.
Lloyd Madison Farm's Champali, named in honor of legendary heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, will be looking to score a knockout of his own when he returns from an illness to head a field of eight 3-year-olds in the $100,000 Northern Dancer Stakes on Saturday at Churchill Downs.
Two major contenders for Saturday's $100,000-added Northern Dancer Stakes -- Lloyd Madison Farm's Champali and James McIngvale's During -- turned in sharp works on Sunday in preparation for the one-mile race.
Grade II winner Domestic Dispute, who was purchased by David Bienstock and Chuck Winner for an undisclosed sum from breeder Gary Garber just days before finishing 10th in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), will remain at Churchill Downs for the next several weeks, trainer Paddy Gallagher said.
Not to be outdone by the boys in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on June 15, a quality-laden field including four grade I-winning fillies and mares take a shot at $300,000 in the 1 1/8-mile Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) earlier on the card. Also on tap is the Regret Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on the turf and the $100,000 Northern Dancer Stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile.
Perfect Drift is scheduled to work Saturday morning at Churchill Downs in preparation for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes. Stonecrest Farm's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) third-place finisher will work every Saturday ahead of the June 8 race, according to trainer Murray Johnson.
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