We have an interesting assortment of 3-year-old stakes this weekend, even though the Whirlaway and WEBN Stakes came up pretty thin. Will the Derby winner be in the Robert Lewis (gr. III) or Risen Star (gr. III)? We could have a much better idea once certain questions are answered.
CashCall Futurity (gr. I) winner Pioneerof the Nile makes his eagerly-awaited 3-year-old debut and attempts to establish himself as one of the West Coast's top Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contenders, as he faces eight sophomore rivals in the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 7 at Santa Anita Park.
Bob Baffert, an old hand at getting horses ready for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), starts heading down the Triple Crown path once again when he saddles Pioneerof the Nile for the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita on Feb. 7.
No prominent 3-year-old races this weekend, but plenty of action on the worktab. Triple Crown Talk blog, with host Jason Shandler, looks at this week's works for Derby contenders.
Triple Crown Talk blog, with host Jason Shandler, looks at recent works for some Derby Hopefuls.
CashCall Futurity (gr. I) winner Pioneerof the Nile remains on target for his 3-year-old debut on Feb. 7 after turning in a bullet five-furlong drill of :57 3/5 over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride track Jan. 11.
Two rocket ships will be launched at Gulfstream Park on Thursday, and don't be surprised if a few of the passengers wind up landing in Louisville on the first Saturday in May.
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
Pioneerof the Nile, winner of the CashCall Futurity (gr. I), is one of three Empire Maker sons whose recent performances have helped grow their sire's reputation among breeders. The others are Daiwa Prevail (JPN) and Summer's Empire.
It looks as though the upcoming crop of Derby contenders will be the most stamina-laden in years, with powerful pedigrees, especially on the female side, in abundance.
Heavily favored Pioneerof the Nile, who took over the stall of Midshipman when the Breeder's Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner departed trainer Bob Baffert's barn for Dubai this fall, proved he earned it when he narrowly held off I Want Revenge in an exhilarating renewal of the $750,000 CashCall Futurity (gr. I) at Hollywood Park Dec. 20.
Jason and Tom analyze the CashCall Futurity (gr. I) at Hollywood Park on Dec 20. Also The Wizard's Spotlight Play is Fair Grounds Race 3 on Saturday, Dec. 20.
Bob Baffert will aim for a record-tying fourth CashCall Futurity (gr. I) victory when he saddles Pioneerof the Nile and Ventana in the 28th running of the $750,000 event Dec. 20 at Hollywood Park.
Martin Smith, assistant and exercise rider for English trainer John Best, hopes the stable enjoys as much success in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity (gr. I) Dec. 20 at Hollywood Park with Axel Foley as it did with Square Eddie in the Breeders Futurity (gr. I) at Keeneland in October.
Trainer Bob Baffert gave the green light to Pioneerof the Nile and Ventana for the $750,000 CashCall Futurity (gr. I) after the pair worked Dec. 14 at Santa Anita.
Yes, it is early to start thinking about Kentucky Derby future bets, but this is the time of year when you can find the megabombs if you're willing to put your money on a wing and a prayer.
Champagne Stakes (gr. I) runner-up Munnings was installed as the lukewarm 7-2 favorite when 13 horses were entered in the Oct. 25 Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
Square Eddie looks to continue winning ways in the Juvenile
J. Paul Reddam's Square Eddie moved into striking position rounding the far turn and drew off in the stretch for an easy win under Rafael Bejarano in the $500,000 Lane's End Futurity (gr. I) Oct. 4 on the Keeneland Polytrack. The victory earned the 2-year-old Smart Strike colt an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile later this month at Santa Anita.
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