On Florida Derby (gr. I) day at Gulfstream Park, horsemen hoped to gain some insight for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) picture. Before the 3-year-old colts took the spotlight, however, 3-year-old fillies tackled the $150,000 Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. II), and Denholtz Stables' Shes All Eltish made one thing crystal clear - she's all class.
Making his second start in the U.S. and stretching out to 1 1/8 miles after missing by a neck in his last outing, Jon and Sarah Kelly's Sporting Art was sitting on a win in the $100,000 Bulleit Bourbon Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT).
As 12 horses headed to the post in the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), trainer Steve Asmussen stood in the paddock at Nad Al Sheba racecourse. "I'm just wanting the real Curlin to show up," he said. Moments later, the Smart Strike colt more than obliged, rolling to a 7 3/4-length win and convincing viewers of one sure thing - right now "the real Curlin" is the best horse in the world.
In an eventful stretch drive that saw his jockey survive a slipping saddle, South Africa's 50-1 shot Jay Peg set a new course record as he fought back challenges from two top fillies to win the $5 million Dubai Duty Free (UAE-IT) during Nad Al Sheba racecourse's March 29 Dubai World Cup day.
Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farm has purchased 51% interest in Richard Brand's Biker Boy, the 3-year-old Nick Zito trainee whose March 16 debut resulted in a 93 Beyer and a 3 Ragozin number.
Jockey Tracy Hebert has been granted a license to ride by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority and will be allowed to accept mounts at Churchill Downs, it was reported March 28.
Barry Abrams' and Madeline Auerbach's Lethal Heat is making her first start in graded stakes company, will be running off the turf for the first time, and is coming back in 10 days from a 1 3/4-length allowance win. But Abrams fully expects the 3-year-old daughter of Unusual Heat to handle those factors in the $100,000 Santa Paula Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita March 30.
No horse has ever won the $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) from post position number 12, but Curlin could change that fact when he tackles 13 runners in the March 29 event.
They finished one-two in a Feb. 20 allowance race, separated by just a neck, and on March 29, Run Sully Run and Sporting Art will have a rematch in the $150,000 Bulleit Bourbon Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park.
With Indian Blessing resting up for a summer-fall campaign in shorter races, a pair of 3-year-old fillies who have tackled the Eclipse Award winner - Backseat Rhythm and Highest Class - are looking for their chance to shine.
Seth Benzel, Todd Pletcher's New York assistant, will open a public racing stable of his own starting May 1.
One day before flying to Dubai in pursuit of the world's richest race, jockey Robby Albarado spoke of the newly-formed non-profit bearing his name that will help underprivileged individuals living in the Louisville, Ky. area.
Robby Albarado will have a definite target on his back when he rides Curlin in the $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse March 29. But the Cajun jockey is confident in his mount's ability and the way the 2007 Horse of the Year is going to handle his 4-year-old campaign.
Rick Dutrow may be staying in the United States this weekend, but his runners in Dubai are not to be discounted. On March 29, Benny the Bull tackles the Golden Shaheen while Diamond Stripes aims for the Godolphin Mile.
Adriano gave trainer Graham Motion plenty to think about with an impressive win in the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park March 22.
Maren's Meadow, the victim of a sponging incident at Delaware Park last fall, proved she's over the misfortunate episode and back in top form when she won the $150,000 Bourbonette Oaks Stakes (gr. III) for trainer Larry Jones at Turfway Park March 22.
Rite Moment benefited from a clean start in Aqueduct's $150,000 Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) March 22, wrapping up her fourth win from five starts over the inner track.
Grade III winner Danthebluegrassman, a 9-year-old son of Pioneering who campaigned on the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) trail for trainer Bob Baffert in 2002 before scratching from the race early Derby morning, has been retired and is headed to Old Friends equine retirement center near Georgetown, Ky. He will serve as the official mascot of the Festival of the Bluegrass at the Kentucky Horse Park June 12-15.
Zayat Stables' Halo Najib looks to the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) with a chance to punch his ticket to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Trainer Mark Casse will enter the $150,000 Bourbonette Oaks (gr. III) at Turfway Park as the defending champion, having won the 2006 and 2007 editions with Top Notch Lady and Sealy Hill, respectively, and owning a total five victories in the race. This year he saddles the lightly-raced Clearly Foxy, whose last start was a solid sixth-place effort in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).
Trainer Barclay Tagg had prophetic words of wisdom for jockey Eibar Coa before he sent Eric Fein's Big Truck to the $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III). He told Coa to ride for second, remarking that they'd win if 1-9 favorite War Pass did not. And that's exactly what happened.
Gottcha Gold often likes to set the pace, but the Centaur Farms Florida homebred stalked his way straight to the winner's circle March 15 in the $150,000 Skip Away Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.
Wayne Catalano met with some resistance when he told owner Frank Calabrese that he wanted to run Kentucky homebred Dreaming of Anna in the $175,000 Hillsborough Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Tampa Bay Downs. But the 4-year-old filly proved that her trainer knew best when she rolled to a 6 3/4-length victory over Tampa's yielding turf March 15.
Jockey Ramon Dominguez set a single-season record for wins on Aqueduct's inner track when he rode Winning Move Stable's Oedipus O'Neal to victory for trainer Gary Contessa in the fourth race on Aqueduct's March 15 card.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano, the leading rider during Santa Anita's current meet, sustained compressed fractures to the T-5 and T-6 vertebra in a March 13 spill and has been replaced by Michael Baze as the rider for George Schwary's 3-year-old Georgie Boy in the March 15 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II).
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin will serve as the grand marshal of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Lexington March 15.
It might not be a gathering of young runners, but the $150,000 Mac Diarmida Handicap (gr. IIT) has attracted 12 solid turf horses to go 1 3/8 miles at Gulfstream Park March 16.
Handicappers who take on the $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) will probably find their challenge not in choosing a winner, but in selecting the order of finish behind Robert LaPenta's prohibitive favorite War Pass.
Steve Asmussen's 3-year-old colts have been in full view on the trail to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The trainer's fillies have been less visible, but his 3-year-old Sky Mom may get her chance to shine in the $200,000 WinStar Sunland Park Oaks March 16.
Stuart Janney's homebred Hunting has not raced since a third-place finish behind Evening Attire in the Dec. 8 Queens County Handicap (gr. III), but the 5-year-old son of Coronado's Quest could return to winning form in the $150,000 Skip Away Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park. He'll tackle Gottcha Gold, Dr. Pleasure, Better Than Bonds, and others in the March 15 event.
Rags to Riches, champion 3-year-old filly of 2007, returned to the work tab March 11 when she breezed three furlongs for trainer Todd Pletcher in :38.40.
Jockey Joe Patin Jr., arrested earlier this month on 11 criminal counts including possession of crack cocaine, has been suspended indefinitely by the Louisiana Racing Commission.
Autism Awareness, 62-1 winner of Bay Meadows' El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) March 8, is off the Triple Crown trail with an injured left foreleg, owner Johnny Taboada said March 11.
Robert Scarborough's 5-year-old Mauralakana dove through a narrow gap between horses to score trainer Christophe Clement a sixth career victory in the $100,000 The Very One Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park March 8.
Last December, Gary Tanaka's Proudinsky lost the San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) to the Dan Hendricks-trained Daytona by just three-quarters of a length. But roles were reversed March 8, as Proudinsky nipped Daytona in the stretch of the $600,000 Mervyn Munitz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT).
Lewis Pell and Michael Eigner's Imawildandcrazyguy, fourth-place finisher in the 2007 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), seeks his first win since July of last year when he tackles eight other horses in the $65,000 Challenger Stakes March 8 at Tampa Bay Downs.
In his last start, Denise Walsh's Sir Greeley finished well back in the Nov. 24 Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile (gr. I). Now trainer Jimmy Jerkens is dropping the son of Mr. Greeley down in class and shooting for a third stakes win in the $100,000-added Toboggan Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct March 8.
Hall of Fame jockeys Angel Cordero Jr., Pat Day, Chris McCarron and Laffit Pincay have signed on to participate in an international promotion of the horse racing industry known as "Legends on Tour." The tour kicks off May 2, the night before the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with a gala at the Executive West Hotel in Louisville, Ky.
Lawrence Goichman's homebred J'ray and Robert Scarborough's Mauralakana head a field of older fillies and mares in the $100,000 The Very One Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park March 8.
Dan Hendricks saddled Daytona to four consecutive stakes victories in the past five months, his most recent being the Feb. 9 Fair Grounds Handicap (gr. IIIT). In the March 8 Mervyn Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) at Fair Grounds, the trainer looks to extend that streak and add another graded win to his runner's resume.
The $500,000 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) is shaping up just like the Feb. 9 Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) did, and that's fine as far as Neil Howard is concerned. The trainer sends 4-year-old Grasshopper to the March 8 event looking for the same form the colt showed in his Mineshaft victory - and Howard fully expects similar results.
You could take nothing away from the top three finishers in the $350,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap, but Turtle Bird Stable's Sir Whimsey got the job done and drew away in the final furlongs to win by a half-length.
Cloverleaf Farm's homebred Bsharpsonata, winner of the Feb. 9 Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, heads a field of six talented fillies in the $150,000 Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) there March 1. Other runners include Game Face, American County, Robbie's Gal, and J Z Warrior.
Amy Tarrant's 5-year-old Kiss the Kid may have gone off at odds of 46-1 in the Feb. 2 Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream, but a strong third-place finish in that race has him looking like the favorite for the March 1 Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II).
Compared to the troubled trip he got in last year's edition of the $350,000 Gulfstream Park Turf (gr. IT), Einstein's victory in the Feb. 23 event was a relative romp.
Trainer Carl Nafzger and jockey Edgar Prado topped the list of 12 finalists for election to the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame in 2008 when the museum announced nominees Feb. 22. Notably missing from the list was California conditioner Bob Baffert, who has been eligible for election for the past two years.
Three top contenders from the West Point Thoroughbreds string prepared for starts in graded stakes while breezing for their respective trainers Feb. 21. Led by 4-year-old Awesome Gem, the worktab also included potential Derby contenders El Gato Malo and Saratoga Russell.
Midnight Cry Stables' Einstein won the 2006 edition of the Gulfstream Park Turf (gr. IT) and was a close-up third to Jambalaya last year. In this year's $350,000 edition, the son of Spend a Buck returns to the grass after a sixth-place finish over dirt and faces the likes of Dave, Shamdinan, and Zann.
Jockey Jose Santos will return to the limelight Feb. 23 when he joins athletes from various other sports at the 17th Sports Legends Awards dinner at The Omni Hotel in Los Angeles, Calif. The event benefits spinal cord research through the Paralysis Project of America.
Stonewall Farm Stallions' A.P. Warrior sired his first foal Jan. 27 when a bay filly out of the Storm Cat mare Full Moon Tonight was born at Stonewall Farm in Versailles, Ky.
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