Keeneland closed its 2007 spring season on Friday with record total wagering exceeding $158 million for the 15-day race meet held April 6 -27, but on-track attendance declined following a record-breaking season in 2006.
Asi Siempre returned from a 5 1/2-month layoff to post a come-from-behind victory in the $108,600 Doubledogdare Stakes (gr. III) for fillies and mares Wednesday at Keeneland.
Julien Leparoux, the Eclipse Award-winning apprentice jockey of 2006, spent some time out of town during the Turfway Park winter/spring meet but still won the riding title by one victory in the next-to-last race of the meet.
If you don't recognize Julien Leparoux from the photo, that might be because you best remember the French-born jockey with his face down flying over the rail after being thrown during the Keeneland spring meeting.
Zayat Stables' Baroness Thatcher, running Saturday for the first time for trainer Patrick Biancone, took advantage of a stalking trip under Garrett Gomez to win the $108,200 Santa Ysabel (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Park.
Ball Four, described as a sparring partner for many of his stablemates by trainer Patrick Biancone, will try to deliver a knockout punch of his own in Sunday's $100,000 Native Diver Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park.
Belgravia, a $2 million juvenile purchase earlier this year by Michael Tabor, John Magnier and Zayat Stables, tries graded stakes company in just his second start, Saturday's $100,000 Hollywood Prevue (gr. III) at Hollywood Park.
Patrick Biancone is among five Eastern trainers planning to stable at Hollywood Park for the track's autumn meet when a division of 16 horses arrived Nov. 2.
Keeneland reported record attendance and a 12.3% increase in total wagering at the 17-day fall race meeting that ended Oct. 28, its first with a new Polytrack surface.
Favored Louve Royale, equipped with earplugs to help her relax, prevailed in the $150,000 Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes Sunday on the Keeneland lawn after a prolonged rally.
Martin Schwartz's odds-on favorite Gorella continued to impress with a gutsy effort in Saturday's $400,000 First Lady (gr. II) to win a nose decision over a resolute Karen's Caper on the Keeneland turf course.
Slew Peg, a 3-year-old filly by 2000 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Fusaichi Pegasus, set a track record for the mile on the all-weather track at Turfway Park Wednesday night.
From a distance, it looks like dirt--a little on the tan side. Up close, it looks like fake dirt. But it's really just modified Polytrack, complete with Spandex, cabling material, and more sand.
Racing surface projects continued Aug. 24 at two Kentucky tracks, with a new mix of materials being placed on top of the Polytrack at Turfway Park, and construction crews laying the asphalt layer for the new Polytrack that will debut at Keeneland in October.
Martin S. Schwartz's favored Gorella, last of a compact field at the top of the lane, surged past her rivals on the far outside to win the $750,000 Beverly D. (gr. IT) by 1 3/4 lengths Saturday on the Arlington Park lawn.
Trainer Patrick Biancone could have entered his improving 3-year-old filly Lady of Venice in Friday's restricted Lake George (gr. IIIT) at Saratoga but opted instead to put her in a much tougher spot -- Saturday's $500,000 Diana Handicap (gr. IT) for older fillies and mares.
Allowed to establish an easy pace on a soft Arlington Park turf course, Cosmonaut turned it on in the stretch to register an easy front-running victory in the $200,000 Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) Saturday.
Favored Lady of Venice bulled her way to the front in the stretch and drew off to a four-length victory in the $229,000 Regret (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies battling on the Churchill Downs turf Saturday.
With a thrilling late run through the final furlong, heavy favorite Gorella ran down pacesetter Pommes Frites to win the $300,000 Just A Game Handicap (gr. IIT) over Belmont Park's yielding turf course.
Gorella, beaten less than two lengths by English Channel and Cacique five weeks ago in Churchill's Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT), will be the one to beat Saturday in the $300,000 Just a Game Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Belmont Park Widener Turf course.
Patrick Biancone has been a big supporter of Polytrack and Stream Cat, who trained on the surface at Turfway Park, won the $114,300 Crown Royal American Turf (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs Friday.
Six older fillies and mares are matched in Keeneland's Wednesday feature, the 1 1/2-mile, $100,000 Bewitch Stakes (gr. IIIT). The Patrick Biancone-trained Angara won last year's event, spring-boarding off an explosive allowance win to open the meet. The conditioner looks to repeat the tactic with Louve Royale, a driving April 9 allowance winner over the course.
Lady of Venice, a French-bred filly who was making her American debut, scored an authoritative win in the $109,100 Appalachian Stakes for 3-year-old fillies Sunday at Keeneland.
Despite selling fewer horses and having a large number withdrawn from the ring, the gross, average, and median increased during the Keeneland April 2-year-olds in training sale April 18 at the Central Kentucky auction house.
Trainer Patrick Biancone said Wild Fit is out of consideration for the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) May 5 at Churchill Downs due to a lung infection.
Likely, ridden by young jockey sensation Julien Leparoux, made the jump from debut maiden winner to stakes victor with a nine-length dismantling of the field in Sunday's $107,800 Lafayette for 3-year-olds at Keeneland.
Martin S. Schwartz's fighting Silver Cup registered her third consecutive grade II win on the Santa Anita turf this meeting, turning back favored Argentina in Sunday's $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares.
Cosmonaut, the longest shot in the five-horse Golden Gate Fields Handicap, launched a huge bid on the far turn and drew away to an easy 4 1/4-length win in the off-the-turf stakes race worth $150,000 at the Albany, Calif., track Saturday.
On Sunday at Santa Anita, a Mexican-born jockey will jet back from Dubai to ride an Irish-bred filly imported from Italy for a trainer who hails from France.
Overlooked Silver Cup got a good a stalking trip before kicking home impressively in the final sixteenth of a mile to defeat an evenly matched field in the $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares on the Santa Anita turf course Monday.
Wild Fit figures to be a solid choice in the $250,000 Las Virgenes (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies, one of two grade I races on Santa Anita's Saturday program.
He may have been one race away from ending his riding career, but Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens found a way to the Churchill Downs winners' circle before his last mount, Louve Royale, drove to a second-place near miss in the twelfth race on Saturday.
So far, Darley Stable's Henny Hughes has been the best man to First Samurai's groom. But Henny Hughes' new trainer, Kiaran McLauglin, thinks it's possible to move his colt into the No. 1 spot in Saturday's Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
While the works for Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships were a washout at Belmont Park Tuesday, four horses breezed in Kentucky before shipping to New York.
Heavily favored Asi Siempre rallied from far back Friday at Keeneland to win the $125,000 Valley View Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-old fillies by a nose.
A nicely matched cast of 11 3-year-old fillies has passed the entry box to contest Keeneland's $125,000 Valley View Stakes (gr. IIIT) Friday. Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens stays aboard Martin Schwartz' French stakes winner Asi Siempre, grade I-placed already in this country and coming in off an impressive score over the course earlier in the meet.
This may sound like an outrageous question in October, but could it be that we finally are going to see a Triple Crown winner next year? It just very well may be that the stars finally are aligned for it to happen.
Trainer Patrick Biancone said today he was informed by Darley Stable on Monday that they are transferring Champagne (gr. I) and Hopeful (gr. I) runner-up Henny Hughes to the barn of Kiaran McLaughlin.
Top juveniles First Samurai and Henny Hughes will go at it again, this time in Saturday's $500,000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at a mile at Belmont Park against six others.
A field of 14 is set for Saturday's Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) at Keeneland. The 92nd running of the 1 1/16 mile test for 2-year-olds features Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes (gr. III) winner Stream Cat, whose devastating closing kick has already earned him two stakes wins.
A field of 10 horses has been drawn for Saturday's 66th running of the Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I). The Patrick Biancone-trained Pomeroy, winner of the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. II) at Saratoga, looks to add his name to a list of recent Vosburgh stars that includes Pico Central and Ghostzapper.
Trainer Patrick Biancone will stable 24 of his charges at Turfway Park through October to train over the track's Polytrack surface. The horses are expected on the grounds Oct. 2. Among them are Stream Cat, Angara, Henny Hughes, Luas Line, Pomeroy, Ball Four, and Asi Siempre.
Stream Cat went from last to first under jockey Gary Stevens to register an impressive 1 3/4-length win in the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) at Turfway Park Saturday.
Trainer Patrick Biancone, who will saddle likely $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) favorite Stream Cat, says he's excited about running the colt on Turfway Park's Polytrack.
Angara's great closing kick served her well in the $750,000 Beverly D. (gr. IT) Saturday as she defeated another great superb runner in Megahertz on a yielding Arlington Park turf.
Dazzling Pomeroy, ridden by Eibar Coa, scorched the field in the $200,000 Alfred. G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. II) on a hot day at Saratoga, the track where he won the King's Bishop (gr. I) last summer.
Pomeroy and Smokume will seek to continue their climb up the sprint division ladder when they lead a field of seven into the gate for Saturday's $200,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. II) at Saratoga Race Course.
Trainer John Morrison is hoping to win his first Saratoga stakes with Acey Deucey in Saturday's Test Stakes (gr. I) at seven furlongs. Judging from Acey Deucey's credentials going in the $250,000 race for 3-year-old fillies, the conditioner stands a good chance.
There was plenty of news Wednesday as Saratoga Race Course opened for the 2005 season, both in the racing secretary's office and on the backstretch.
Henny Hughes, the 3-5 favorite, buried his rivals in the $107,700 Tremont for 2-year-olds at 5 1/2 furlongs by 15 lengths Monday at Belmont Park.
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