Officer Rocket, a graded stakes winner at 2, has been retired from racing for stallion duty at Bybee Road Farm near Charles Town, W. Va.
MAHUBAH'S CORNER, by Avalyn Hunter
From a field of 4 maiden winners in the grade I Hopeful Stakes, Boys At Tosconova left little doubt which was the best runner with a dominating performance.
Millionaire grade I winner Brass Hat returns to racing Feb. 14 in the $50,000 Dust Commander Stakes at Turfway Park, his first start in eight months.
Cowtown Cat, winner of the Illinois Derby (gr. II) and Gotham Stakes (gr. III) this season, drew the No. 6 post position and has been installed the 5-2 morning line favorite for Saturday's $300,000 Ohio Derby (gr. II) at Thistledown.
Undefeated Curlin made like Smarty Jones in winning Saturday's $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) and heads into next month's Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) as the potential favorite following his record 10 1/2-length demolition job at Oaklawn Park.
Well, this is it, the final major Derby prep weekend. After this, there is only the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) for horses hoping to hop aboard at the last minute. All eyes now turn to Street Sense, who can emerge from the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) as a solid Derby favorite. But he has to get by Great Hunter first.
Undefeated Curlin will try to join some select company when he goes postward in the $1-million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) Saturday at Oaklawn Park.
Trainers Darrin Miller, who has Dominican in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), and Bob Holthus, who has Officer Rocket in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II), discuss their chances as the Triple Crown trail continues.
Curlin, coming off a dazzling maiden debut victory by nearly 13 lengths six weeks ago, was equally impressive Saturday, leaving his field behind while capturing the $300,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park in his first start for trainer Steve Asmussen.
The Derby trail hits four fronts this weekend, with all eyes on Tampa Bay Downs, Oaklawn Park, Santa Anita, and Sunland Park. Although the races in general are more about potential stars than proven stars, that certainly doesn't apply to the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) which features the match-up of the year, so far.
In this Rebel Stakes, will the two horses with big numbers and few races prevail? Or will the more veteran starters teach them a thing or two? Our money goes on Bob Holthus and Officer Rocket in a race set up for late runners.
Teuflesberg and Officer Rocket, the first two finishers in the Southwest Stakes last month, return to Oaklawn Park Saturday for the $300,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds where they will meet spectacular maiden winners Curlin and Flying First Class.
In one of the first hurdles of the Triple Crown campaign, Teuflesberg wins the $250,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park, paying $48.80. The heavy 1-2 favorite, previously unbeaten Hard Spun, finishes fourth.
Fox Hill Farm's Hard Spun, a son of Danzig who has won all four of his career starts for trainer J. Larry Jones, heads a cast of nine for the $250,000 Southwest Stakes for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park, a fertile ground for grooming contenders for the $2 million Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Irish Dreamer, a $1,500 Ocala Breeders' Sale colt, stormed to a decisive upset victory in the $50,000 Dixieland Stakes on opening day at Oaklawn Park Friday before a crowd of 20,070.
First Regent will make his first start for trainer Randy Morse and main client Mike Langford in the $50,000 Dixieland Stakes, the headliner on Oaklawn Park's 2007 opening day program Friday.
Ten graded or group stakes winners are among 107 "early bird" nominations for the 94th running of the $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) March 10 at Fair Grounds Race Course.
A full field of 10 juveniles was entered Tuesday for Friday's running of the $1-million Boyd Gaming Delta Jackpot Stakes at Delta Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel in Vinton, La.
Odds-on choice Tiz Wonderful, ridden by Garrett Gomez in his second start, emerged from a speed duel to romp to a 6 ¾-length victory in the $110,900 Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs Sunday.
Frank Fletcher's Officer Rocket will put a three-race winning streak on the line when he takes on six rivals in the $100,000-added Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.
Freshman sire Officer has been relocated to Taylor Made Farm for the 2007 breeding season after the Nicholasville, Ky.,-based farm acquired an interest in the stallion.
Officer Rocket and Got the Last Laugh hooked up inside the sixteenth pole and finished dead even in the $200,000 Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Futurity (gr. I) for 2-year-olds at rainy Arlington Park Sunday.
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