Claire Novak with news updates on Belmont Stakes day morning on June 10, 2017, at Belmont Park.
Claire Novak sets the scene for the 142nd Preakness Stakes. Current track condition is muddy, but no more rain is forecast.
Claire Novak sets the scene for the 2017 Kentucky Derby, including a brightening on the horizon.
Kentucky Derby day Scenesetter with Claire Novak at Churchill Downs on May 7, 2016.
Claire Novak sets the stage for Kentucky Oaks Day.
Claire Novak gives an update on American Pharoah's arrival at Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky., on Nov. 2, 2015. The Triple Crown winner will be turned out beside Thunder Gulch as he transitions from racehorse to stallion.
Claire Novak sets the scene for Breeders' Cup Saturday on Oct. 31, 2015, at Keeneland.
Claire Novak sets the scene for Belmont Stakes Day, including an update on the weather and the crowd.
Claire Novak updates us from outside of American Pharoah's barn, following his afternoon arrival on June 2, 2015.
Claire Novak recaps the Preakness Stakes Post Position Draw held on May 13, 2015.
Wise Dan gets a bath outside his barn at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., on April 1, 2014.
Wise Dan walks the shedrow after his work at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., on April 1, 2014.
A day after one of the closest first-to-last finishes in the history of the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), connections of the horses that participated in the race won by Drosselmeyer were at the track early Nov. 6.
Fresh from finishing behind Zenyatta, Switch takes aim on the Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I).
Jockey Rafael Bejarano was hospitalized July 23 following a bad spill in the third race on opening day at Del Mar Race Course in Southern California.
Jockey Rene Douglas, who was seriously injured in a May 23 racing accident at Arlington Park, has issued his first statement since the accident occurred. Douglas, who is currently paralyzed from the chest down, sent a letter to the 3,527-member Facebook group 'Rene Douglas Get Well Card,' in which he voiced his appreciation to the racing community.
- By Claire Novak
Jamie Theriot has appealed the 30-day suspension levied on him by the Illinois Racing Board for his involvement in the May 23 racing accident that caused severe injury to Rene Douglas, Theriot's agent, Fred Aime, said May 27.
The Illinois Racing Board has handed jockey Jamie Theriot a 30-day suspension for his involvement in a May 23 racing accident that caused a severe injury to Rene Douglas, the six-time leading rider at Arlington Park who may be permanently paralyzed and is currently recovering at a Chicago hospital.
Jockey Rene Douglas came out of a seven-hour surgery at Northwestern Hospital May 24 without feeling in his lower extremities, and doctors there said the 42-year-old rider may not walk again, agent Dennis Cooper reported.
Jockey Rene Douglas was listed as conscious and alert at Northwest Community Hospital on the evening of May 23, after being thrown from his mount in the Arlington Matron Stakes (gr. III) at Arlington Park.
It has long been the tradition for starters in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) to saddle on the turf course at Pimlico Race Course, but more than half of this year's field -- including morning-line favorite Rachel Alexandra and Pioneerof the Nile -- will be saddled indoors, Maryland Jockey Club paddock judge Mario Verge said May 15.
Rachel Alexandra, the impressive Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner and 8-5 morning-line favorite for the May 16 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), walked the shedrow at Pimlico Race Course the morning of May 14 and was expected to school in the paddock later in the day, according to assistant trainer Scott Blasi.
- By Claire Novak
A quarrel between jockey Eibar Coa and his agent, Matt Muzikar, has been resolved, Muzikar said April 13.
I Want Revenge, winner of the Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) April 4 at Aqueduct, arrived at Churchill Downs April 7 to begin his training up to the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
- By Claire Novak
The Jockeys' Guild will move its annual assembly to Arizona this year, becoming part of the University of Arizona Symposium on Racing & Gaming held in Tucson each December, Guild national manager Terry Meyocks said April 6.
Jockey Alan Garcia, whose most recent stakes win came aboard Godolphin Stables' Regal Ransom in the March 29 UAE Derby (UAE-II), will spend the spring meet at Keeneland in Lexington for the first time in his career, agent Tony Micaleff said March 31.
Jockey Victor Lebron sustained a sprained right ankle after he fell from his mount in the third race at Turfway Park on March 21. The diagnosis, made following a trip St. Luke Hospital in West Florence, Ky., was good news for the leading rider at Turfway, who feared the injury was more serious.
With one week left until the end of Hollywood Park's 2008 fall racing season, jockey Rafael Bejarano is poised to complete a rare riding feat: a sweep of each victory title at every major meet in Southern California in 2008.
Former jockey Gary Boulanger, who rode the Florida circuit before he was injured in a 2005 spill at Gulfstream Park, was recovering from surgery Nov. 8 following a farm accident at a facility in Davie, Fla., where he had been teaching riding lessons and working with young students.
Jockey John Velazquez was resting in good condition at a Lexington hotel Oct. 4 following his release from the University of Kentucky Medical Center. He was hospitalized a day earlier when he suffered a serious concussion in a spill at Keeneland Race Course.
Reigning Horse of the Year Curlin turned in his final serious prep for an upcoming start in the Aug. 30 Woodward Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course when he breezed seven furlongs over the upstate New York oval Aug. 18.
J. Paul Reddam's Red Rocks, the 9-5 favorite for the $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes (gr. IT) at Saratoga Aug. 16, has been declared out of the race by trainer Mark Henning.
Curlin, the 2007 Horse of the Year, worked five furlongs at Saratoga Race Course July 28 in preparation for a start that, according to trainer Steve Asmussen, has yet to be determined.
Virginia Kraft Payson's Rutherienne will top a quality field of turf distaffers including Valbenny, Lady Digby,and J'ray, in the $200,000 All Along Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Colonial Downs June 21.
Jockey Calvin Borel took off his 10 mounts at Churchill Downs on June 14, citing pain in his knee as the cause.
The winner and runner-up from Monmouth Park's May 26 Politely Stakes -- plus the fourth-place finisher -- will meet again at the New Jersey oval June 14, when a field of eight fillies and mares go postward in the $150,000 Eatontown Handicap (gr. IIIT).
Coming off a runner-up finish to Bayou's Lassie in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIIT) May 3, Frank Calabrese's Dreaming of Anna heads a field of 11 older fillies and mares in the $150,000 Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs June 14.
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.
For Steve Asmussen, the perfect scenario in the June 14 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) goes something like this: clean break, good position, powerful move, and a romp home under wraps from Curlin, the 2007 Horse of the Year. But whether the trainer will get that result in the 1 1/8-mile test at Churchill Downs is another question.
Trainer Steve Asmussen was none too pleased with the 128-pound impost assigned to 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin for his expected bid in the June 14 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. Still, after a half-mile breeze in :49 seconds by the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner June 9, Asmussen indicated the horse would start in the 1 1/8-mile event.
True Metropolitan and Sterwins were the class of the field in the $150,000 Eclipse Stakes (gr. III), and those two proved it by finishing one-two in the 1 1/16-mile event at Woodbine June 7.
If Benny the Bull's victory in the True North Handicap (gr. II) is any indication of how trainer Rick Dutrow and owner IEAH Stables will fare with Big Brown later in the day in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), things are looking good for the Triple Crown-chasing team.
Kent Desormeaux will not wear the Hooters patch on his pants when he rides Big Brown postward in the June 7 Belmont Stakes (gr. I). The New York Racing Association refused to approve the endorsement deal June 6, citing a "conflict of interest" between Belmont Park sponsors, which include UPS and NetJets.
Delosvientos loped along on the lead of a $200,000 Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) that was extended to the 1 1/2 mile distance, and the easy fractions he set enabled him to steal home the winner of the June 6 event at Belmont Park. Evening Attire, the Kelly family's hard-knocking 10-year-old contender, finished second.
Trainer Josie Carroll will send out the likely favorite in Woodbine's $150,000 Victoria Park Stakes when Matt's Broken Vow takes on five other 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles June 8.
Jon and Sarah Kelly's Vacare has aced nearly every test thrown at her thus far, from her most recent win in the First Lady Stakes (gr. IIT) last October to a score in the 2006 Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup (gr. IT). But trainer Christophe Clement is asking for a career-best effort from the 5-year-old daughter of Lear Fan when he brings her back for her first start of the season in the $400,000 Just a Game Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park June 7.
Benny the Bull, the "now horse" of the sprinting world, will face a blast from the past in the $250,000 True North Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park June 7, when 2006 Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Thor's Echo returns to competiton for the first time in a year.
Eugene Melnyk's homebred Sterwins, longshot winner of the April 20 Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland last time out, seeks the second graded score of his career when he faces Bahadur Cheema's True Metropolitan and four other runners in the $150,000 Eclipse Stakes (gr. III) at Woodbine June 7.
Trainer Pat Kelly was about to take Evening Attire out of stakes competition, to try the 10-year-old gelding in a few allowance races or to pick spots in turf routes as a main-track-only entry. But the seasoned runner turned in such a solid performance in his last start that NYRA stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes was able to convince Kelly to tackle the $200,000 Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park.
The loss of the 2004 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) by Smarty Jones still plays in Stewart Elliott's mind, especially around this time of year. He thinks of the pressure going into that race, remembering the media frenzy and build-up of public recognition.
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