With the Keeneland main track favoring speed, Cornelio Velasquez guided Diplomat Lady to a front-running 2 1/4-length victory Thursday in the $250,000 Stonerside Beaumont (gr. II).
Stonecrest Farm's 7-year-old Perfect Drift will make his season debut in a 1 1/8-mile allowance race over the turf Thursday at Keeneland.
Artie Schiller, winner of the 2005 NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), and Better Talk Now, winner of the 2004 John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), are among 128 nominees to the 20th running of the $400,000-added Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs.
On a day that Todd Pletcher set the North American earnings record for trainers, an ultra-game Magna Graduate proved to be his cherry on top, winning the $573,500 Clark Handicap (gr. II) at chilly Churchill Downs Friday by a head over Suave.
Grade I winners Perfect Drift and Total Impact will face rising star Suave and a strong group of 3-year-olds in Friday's 131st running of the $500,000-added Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.
Not to take anything away from the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, or Saint Liam's grade I victories in the winter, summer, and fall, or Giacomo's stunning upset in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), or Lost in the Fog's remarkable cross-country odyssey, but 2005 will be remembered for the heroic deeds of Afleet Alex.
Stonecrest Farm's Perfect Drift, winner of the 2003 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I), has been assigned high weight of 122 pounds for Friday's Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs. Martin L. Cherry's Pampered Princess was assigned 123 pounds for the Falls City Handicap (gr. II) on Thursday.
Hurricane Run, winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe – Lucien Barriere (Fr-I), continues to head the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) rankings of the top racehorses of 2005 after a very extensive month of International racing that included the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships in America, Melbourne Cup in Australia, and major events in Europe and Canada.
William K. and Suzanne Warren's Saint Liam, sent off at 2-1 odds, won a stretch duel with Flower Alley to win Saturday's $4,680,000 Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
If it's the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, you can bet (literally) that there will be several longshot winners. With so many of the grade I races this year appearing to be wide-open, with full fields, there is no reason to think this year will be any different from past Breeders' Cups.
Perfect Drift, pre-entered in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic, Powered by Dodge (gr. I), breezed five furlongs at the 'sloppy' Churchill Downs Training Center in 1:01 1/5 Saturday morning.
It is still too early to make final selections for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. Most of the important works are finished, and the majority of the mounts have been assigned. So, basically there is nothing much to do but wait for the shippers to arrive and concoct lists that may or not prove helpful.
With his disappointing fourth-place finish in Saturday's Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II), Perfect Drift has now become a longshot special for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I). And that makes him even more enticing, as he tries to emulate Volponi, another versatile, hard-knocking warrior who saved his best performance for the Classic.
Millennium Farms' Super Frolic, making his second start for Southern California trainer Vladimir Cerin, wore down Lord of the Game in the final furlong to win the $750,000 Hawthone Gold Cup (gr. II) on a slick course in Chicago Saturday.
Hawthorne isn't wasting any time presenting its premier event. Just two days into the meeting, the Chicago track will host the $750,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (gr. II), and those ready to battle it out in Saturday's 1 1/4-mile race include the past two winners.
Lava Man, who was vanned off the track following a third-place finish in Sunday's Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar, was reported in good shape Monday morning.
The infinite patience of trainer Beau Greely and jockey Garrett Gomez paid off Sunday when Borrego thundered down the center of the lane to capture the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) before 30,741 at Del Mar.
At an age when older stakes horses usually head downhill, 6-year-old gelding Perfect Drift stands out because he just might be better than ever.
Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) winner Lava Man and outstanding 3-year-old Surf Cat head a field of 12 assigned post positions Wednesday night for Sunday's 15th running of the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I).
Perfect Drift, who shipped in from Kentucky on Monday, met the Del Mar track for the first time since last year by jogging and galloping with a pony over the strip Wednesday morning in preparation for Sunday's Pacific Classic (gr. I).
The $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) Sunday expanded to 12 prospects when outsiders Oceanus and Polish Times joined 10 others as entries closed at mid-morning Wednesday.
Borrego, multiple graded-stakes performer and runner-up to Lava Man in the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I), wound up his preparations for Sunday's $1-million, grade I Pacific Classic with a solid five furlong work in 1:01.40 at Santa Anita.
Hollywood Gold Cup winner Lava Man heads a list of 14 nominations to Del Mar's $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) on Aug. 21. Of those, a field of 10 seems likely for the 1 1/4-mile test.
Preachinatthebar, Musique Toujours, and Super Frolic turned in sharp workouts Monday morning as they moved a step closer to running in Del Mar's grade I, $1-million Pacific Classic Sunday, Aug. 21.
Surf Cat and Bruce Headley will pass on the $1-million Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Sunday to stay home and run in the $1-million Pacific Classic (gr. I) on Sunday, Aug. 21.
Perfect Drift, a millionaire three times over, hadn't won a stakes in 22 months. But thanks to an aggressive move by jockey Mark Guidry, the 6-year-old gelding brought his drought to an end in the $300,000 Washington Park Handicap (gr. II) Saturday.
Stonecrest Farm's Perfect Drift, a grade I winner with earnings in excess of $3 million, looms as the overwhelming favorite over six rivals in the $300,000 Washington Park Handicap (gr. II) Saturday at Arlington Park.
Third in the 2002 Kentucky Derby (gr. I). A thrilling win over 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft in that year's Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I). Ten wins--six in graded stakes--and earnings of more than $3 million. On the board in 22 of 30 trips to the post. Strong credentials, to be sure.
With a trip to California for Saturday's Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) scrubbed because of a minor eye problem, trainer Murray Johnson has listed the $300,000-added Washington Park Handicap (gr. II) at Arlington Park as the next start for veteran star Perfect Drift.
Musique Toujours, upset winner of the Sunshine Millions Classic in January, worked six furlongs in 1:12 1/5 Monday for Saturday's $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup Handicap (gr. I).
Trainer Bobby Frankel couldn't have drawn up the running of Saturday's $828,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) any better for Saint Liam in his first start for the Hall of Fame conditioner. Saint Liam shook off pacesetter Presidentialaffair coming off the far turn and romped to a 2 3/4-length victory.
It's been a rough week for trainer Bobby Frankel. On Monday his 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper was retired due to injury, but things could improve dramatically by the weekend when he sends out Saint Liam and Badge of Silver in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I), going 1 1/8 miles at Churchill Downs.
Barbara Cesare's Second of June, runner-up in the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II), has been knocked out of Saturday's Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs an ailment in the colt's left hind ankle.
Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren's Saint Liam, winner of the Donn Handicap (gr. I) and Clark Handicap (gr. II), has been assigned high weight of 121 pounds for next Saturday's $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
An impressive group of handicap runners headed by Saint Liam, Eddington, and Perfect Drift is included on a roster of 24 older horses nominated for the $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs June 18.
Grade I stakes winners Meteor Storm, Sweet Return, and Perfect Drift head a field of ten accomplished turf runners entered for Saturday's $400,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs.
Heavily favored Saint Liam repelled the challenges of Perfect Drift and Seek Gold in the stretch and pulled away to victory in the $558,000 Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs Friday.
Ten horses will vie in the elite race of Churchill Downs' fall schedule, the $500,000 Clark Handicap (gr. II) Friday in Louisville. The Brazilian-bred Lundy's Liability will carry high weight of 120 pounds over the nine furlongs.
The $1.2 million "Big Four Weekend" stakes races at Churchill Downs Nov. 25-27 have attracted an outstanding group of nominees that includes Perfect Drift and Colonial Colony, the last two winners of Churchill Downs' Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I); 2002 "Horse of the Year" Azeri; and some of the most promising 2-year-olds in racing.
Trainer Neil Howard listed William S. Farish's Fayette (gr. III) winner and Pimlico Special (gr. I) runner-up Midway Road as 50-50 for the Nov. 26, $500,000-added Clark Handicap (gr. II) after a six-furlong breeze at Churchill Downs Monday.
Stonecrest Farm's Perfect Drift, fourth in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I)) Saturday at Lone Star Park, returned to the track on Thursday at Churchill Downs' Trackside Louisville training center to prepare for the $500,000-added Clark Handicap (gr. II) on Nov. 26.
Several trainers immediately began plotting strategy following Wednesday's post position draw for the $4 milllion Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), which likely will affect the two likely favorites, Pleasantly Perfect and Ghostzapper.
Diamond A Racing's Pleasantly Perfect was installed as the 5-2 favorite and drew the 12 post position as he attempts to defend his title in the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Texas' Lone Star Park Saturday.
Tomiro Fukami's Personal Rush, who will run in the $4-million Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), paid his first visit to the track Tuesday morning, and it was almost an hour before he finally made his way back to his barn.
Diamond A Racing Corporation's Pleasantly Perfect, who will attempt to defend his title in the $4-million Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), arrived at Dallas' Love Field at 10:15 (CT) Monday morning from California, and was loaded for bear after arriving at the barn.
The action was hot and heavy going into Breeders' Cup week, with 26 pre-entered horses working on Oct. 24, an influx of horses arriving from all parts of the country and Europe, and a serious injury to Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) contender Ready's Gal.
And you thought all the important preps for the Breeders' Cup Classic -- Powered by Dodge (gr. I) had been run. Well, sitting out there all by itself, virtually unnoticed among the morass of major stakes this past weekend was the $500,0000 Meadowlands Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II), just waiting to conjure up another live Classic longshot.
The $750,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) figured to be the remedy for Perfect Drift and trainer Murray Johnson, both winless in 2004. Perfect Drift looked the best on paper and was sent off at odds of 1-2. But after being part of the pace duel early, Perfect Drift didn't offer much response when Freefourinternet, at 27-1, came from far out of it to swoop by the field for a 1 3/4-length victory.
Perfect Drift, winner of last year's Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (gr. II), appears ready to return to the winner's circle for this year's edition of the 1 1/4-mile race.
Stonecrest Farm's Perfect Drift and Select Stable's Take Charge Lady have been chosen as the Kentucky-based "Horses of the Year" by members of Kentucky Thoroughbred Media, with the latter selected for her honor for an unprecedented third consecutive year.
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