Well beaten in the Pacific Classic last time out, California star Lava Man has an opportunity to prove he's as good as ever when he takes on nine rivals in the $500,000 Goodwood Breeders' Cup (gr. I) at Oak Tree's Santa Anita meeting Sept. 29.
He's saddled starters in several different countries, hoisted trophies at tracks from Santa Anita to Belmont Park, and trained champion horses to victory in the world's top races, but trainer Doug O'Neill came full circle at a bullring track Sept. 9 when he saddled the 1,000th winner of his career during Fairplex Park's 16-day meet.
California shipper Maryfield certainly shines in New York. Returning to the Empire State for the first time since she captured Aqueduct's Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) for trainer Doug O'Neill in March, the late-charging 6-year-old mare won a desperate head bob at odds of 16-1 to nose an unlucky Baroness Thatcher at the wire of the $250,000 Ballerina Breeders' Cup (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 26.
Defending champion Lava Man drew the rail as the 5-2 morning line favorite for the $1-million Pacific Classic Sunday.
Entertainer Merv Griffin, a Hollywood producer and popular California Thoroughbred owner who campaigned 2005 male juvenile champion Stevie Wonderboy, died Aug. 12 from prostate cancer.
Defending Pacific Classic (gr. I) champion Lava Man had his final major prep for the $1 million test on Aug. 19 when he breezed six furlongs before the first race Saturday in 1:14 4/5 over Del Mar's Polytrack surface.
The French-bred Shamdinan, making his United States debut for new trainer Doug O'Neill and owner Triple B Farms, caught a game Red Giant in the final strides to win the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) for 3-year-olds at Arlington Park Aug. 11.
Lava Man moved a step closer to defending his 2006 Pacific Classic (gr. I) title with a five-furlong workout in 1:01 2/5 the morning of Aug. 3 on Del Mar's Polytrack.
Noe Garcia, longtime groom to Lava Man who lost his left arm in a serious automobile accident in the early morning hours July 23, is making progress at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla.
Twenty-year-old Michael Baze became the youngest jockey to win a riding title at Hollywood Park's spring/summer meet since Bill Shoemaker in 1950, riding 73 winners at the 63-day stand.
Lava Man, attempting to match legendary Native Diver with his third consecutive victory in Saturday's $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I), will face eight rivals in the 1 1/4-mile classic at Hollywood Park.
Records were set for gross sales and average price at Barretts 2007 summer sale, held Tuesday at the Hinds Pavilion at Fairplex in Pomona, Calif.
California legend Lava Man will seek to maintain his status as the West Coast's dominant older runner in the $300,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. I) at Hollywood Park on Saturday.
Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense remains a "possible" starter in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Sprint champion Thor's Echo, a California-bred 5-year-old gelding who captured the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) last year, has been returned to the Doug O'Neill stable at Hollywood Park after a disappointing winter in Dubai.
Trainer Doug O'Neill confirmed Tuesday that Merv Griffin's Cobalt Blue would not be entered in Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), opening the door for Teuflesberg to get in the classic.
Trainer Doug O'Neill said Monday night there is a "slight chance" that Merv Griffin's Cobalt Blue would not be entered in Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) contender High Again breezed a strong half-mile in :47 4/5 at Churchill Downs Monday for trainer Bill Mott. Jockey Larry Melancon deputized for Cornelio Velasquez in the saddle.
Saturday's $103,488 San Simeon Handicap at Santa Anita, pared to four starters from an original field of nine when switched from the hillside turf course to the main track at 6 1/2 furlongs, went to Bonfante, the longest shot in the field who won a stirring stretch battle with Battle Won.
Newly relocated apprentice sensation Joseph Talamo registered his first Santa Anita stakes victory aboard talented Try to Fly in Saturday's $83,250 San Pedro for 3-year-olds at 6 1/2 furlongs.
Stalking Super Freaky surged to the lead leaving the eighth pole and dug in gamely under jockey Jon Court for her first graded stakes victory in the $112,600 Providencia Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-old fillies on the Santa Anita grass Saturday.
Looking to punch their tickets to Louisville for next month's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), a field of nine 3-year-olds will meet in Saturday's 50th running of the Illinois Derby (gr. II) at Hawthorne Race Course.
Liquidity, hoping to bounce back from a sixth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) on March 10, has been installed as the 5-2 favorite for Saturday's $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) for 3-year-olds.
Jockey Jorge Chavez returned to Aqueduct Park Saturday to guide West Coast invader Maryfield to a 2 1/4-length win in the $158,000 Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II).
Cobalt Blue could be entertainer Merv Griffin's first Kentucky Derby starter after the inexperienced colt went gate to wire for a sharp two-length win in the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita Saturday.
Show business entrepreneur Merv Griffin, whose Derby hopes were dashed last year, and trainer Bob Baffert, a fixture on the Triple Crown trail since 1996, each reach the crossroads of their aspirations this year in Saturday's $250,000 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
J. Paul Reddam's Mistical Plan emerged from a strong pace battle with the lead and was never headed while leaving the field behind in the stretch run of the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies Saturday.
Only three horses entered to face Smokey Stover, the nation's top-ranked sprinter, for the $100,000 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. III) at six furlongs on Sunday.
The strangest thing happened while in Florida this past week. I came upon a crystal ball that amazingly revealed the winners of all the major Derby preps this year, although some images were clearer than others. To obtain this privileged information, just continue reading.
Trainer Doug O'Neill capped a huge weekend at Santa Anita on Sunday when his Super Freaky captured the the $113,400 La Habra Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the hillside turf course.
J. Paul Reddam's grade I winner Great Hunter unleashed a big move leaving the quarter pole and rolled to an impressive victory in the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita Saturday.
How amazing is Lava Man? Absolutely invincible in California over the past two seasons on turf and dirt, the 6-year-old gelding became the third horse in 70 years to win back-to-back runnings of the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) Saturday.
Grade I winner Great Hunter will be favored to provide trainer Doug O'Neill and jockey Corey Nakatani with their second major stakes victory on Saturday when the colt joins a field of nine 3-year-olds for the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
Lava Man, the most prosperous claiming purchase in racing history, will be out to lay claim to another distinction on Saturday when the 6-year-old gelding will be an overwhelming favorite to win a second $1 million Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manual Indian Bingo & Casino (gr. I).
Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Brother Derek will miss the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) due to a chip in his left ankle.
Merv Griffin's Cobalt Blue may have raced himself back onto the Triple Crown trail Wednesday with an eye-catching victory in a $53,000 allowance event while returning from five months on the sidelines at Santa Anita.
J. Paul Reddam's Southern California shipper Notional turned in an impressive effort in winning Saturday's $300,000 Risen Star (gr. III), a race marred by a fall that spoiled whatever chance the heavy favorite Circular Quay had of winning the 3-year-old test at Fair Grounds.
Lava Man was named the 2006 California-bred Horse of the Year in voting by the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, becoming a back-to-back winner of the honor, which was announced at the CTBA's annual awards dinner Feb. 5.
American champion sprinter Thor's Echo has settled in to his new accommodations at Zabeel Stables in Dubai, where trainer Satish Seemar is developing a plan of attack on the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen on March 31.
Lava Man, who was on the verge of Horse of the Year honors last year, kicked off his 2007 campaign with a sparkling two-length win in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino Turf Saturday at Santa Anita.
J. Paul Reddam's favored Mistical Plan, in spite of lugging in through the lane, got the nod by a nose over outsider Tiz Elemental to win the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Oaks at Santa Anita Saturday.
Friendly Island makes his Santa Anita debut Saturday in his first start since finishing second in the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), heading a small field of four in the $150,000 Palos Verdes Handicap (gr. II) at six furlongs.
Notional, sent off at odds of 3-5, proved a punctual four-length winner of Saturday's $150,000 San Rafael (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at one mile at Santa Anita Park.
J. Paul Reddam's Notional, sixth in the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I), returns in the $150,000 San Rafael (gr. II) Saturday at Santa Anita Park.
Mistical Plan, beaten favorite in Hollywood Park's Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) last month, can make amends in Saturday's $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita.
Ron Crockett's homebred Harvard Avenue finished with a flurry under a perfectly timed move by jockey Garrett Gomez to nose Areyoutalkintome at the wire and give trainer Doug O'Neill the first two finishers of the $110,900 El Conejo Handicap (gr. III) on New Year's Day at Santa Anita Park.
The multifaceted Lava Man, a grade I winner on dirt and turf, could remain on turf after his next start in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita on Jan. 27.
Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, currently fifth in the jockey standings at Hollywood Park, was diagnosed with three cracked ribs after he was kicked by his mount in the paddock prior to the fifth race at Hollywood Nov. 26.
TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) champion Thor's Echo, racing in the Superman silks of Suarez Racing, made his case for a 2006 Eclipse Award, repelling a menacing challenge from the unlucky Diabolical to win the $300,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (gr. I) at Laurel Park Saturday.
Thor's Echo, upset winner of the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) on Nov. 4, is the 8-5 morning line favorite after drawing the outside post among nine entered in the $300,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (gr. I) at Laurel Park Saturday.
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