Wertheimer and Frere's impressive homebred Interactif will be the likely favorite for the $1-million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT) Nov. 7 at Santa Anita, but the son of Broken Vow will have to defeat what is expected to be a full field in the one-mile event.
At 3, Quality Road is among the elder statesmen of Todd Pletcher's Breeders' Cup contingent, much of which is comprised of talented 2-year-olds.
With Anticipation (gr. IIIT) winner Interactif, scratched out of Belmont's off-the-turf Pilgrim Stakes a week ago, will instead try the $125,000 Bourbon Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 2-year-olds Oct. 11 at Keeneland. He is one of three starters entered for Todd Pletcher.
Eskendereya gave Todd Pletcher a clean sweep of the 2-year-old stakes at Belmont Park Oct. 3 when he split horses coming off the turn and bounded home to an impressive 7 1/4length win in the $154,500 Pilgrim Stakes.
Impressive 2-year-old Interactif, fresh off his commanding victory in the With Anticipation Stakes (gr. IIIT), returns as the one to beat in the $150,000 Pilgrim Stakes (gr. IIIT) Oct. 4 at Belmont Park.
There was a time not too long ago that a meeting among the nation's best fillies and mares in the $600,000 Beldame (gr. I) was a distinct possibility. But with Rachel Alexandra on the sideline, Zenyatta staying in California for the Lady's Secret (gr. I), and Icon Project now heading to Keeneland's Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I), the Beldame has lost some of its appeal.
GoldMark Farm's undefeated Backtalk will try to remain perfect in four lifetime starts, but will have to overcome post 13 when he meets a dozen rivals in the $300,000 Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes (gr. I), Saratoga's final major race for 2-year-olds on Labor Day.
The Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT) Aug. 2 at Saratoga will bring together a diverse field of nine, including accomplished older turf horses such as Cosmonaut and Kip Deville and rising younger stars ready to go in the $150,000-added test.
Game Face rebounded from a disappointing effort last out by romping to a 6 3/4-length score in the $350,000 Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I) July 11 at Calder Race Course. As part of the Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" series, the victory earned the filly an automatic berth in the Sentient Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint Nov. 6 at Santa Anita Park.
Lawyer Ron, the 2007 champion older male, was euthanized July 10 at Stonewall Farm Stallions near Versailles, Ky., due to complications from a recent colic surgery.
Everything went Munning's way in the $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park July 5. First, top sprinter Fabulous Strike, the heavy favorite, was scratched by trainer Todd Beattie. Then came a perfect trip for jockey John Velazquez, who drove the sharp 3-year-old colt through an inside gap at the top of the stretch on their way to a comfortable win.
Team Valor Stables' Unbridled Belle scored in the $125,700 Obeah Stakes (gr. III) for the second straight season, getting out to an early lead and running her six rivals off their feet to win by 11 lengths June 20 in the slop at Delaware Park.
Munnings ran the race his connections always thought he was capable of, impressively winning the Woody Stephens (gr. II) June 6 at Belmont Park.
A reoccurring theme in this year's Triple Crown has been the game of musical chairs among jockeys. It couldn't have worked out more beautifully for Calvin Borel.
Game Face and Any Limit have developed a nice little rivalry, and the two foes will meet for the fourth time this year when they do battle in the $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) on May 24 at Belmont Park.
Darley Stable's tandem of Sea Chanter and Skylighter look best in a seven-horse field entered for the $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes (gr. II) at Pimlico May 16. The options could narrow, though, if Sea Chanter and another well-regarded entry, Striking Tomisue, run instead in the Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park the same day.
Graded stakes winner Twilight Meteor has been retired from racing for stallion duty.
Graded stakes winner Twilight Meteor has been retired from racing, it was announced May 5 by John Fort of Peachtree Stable.
Whether Hollywood Park's cancellation of its April 30 card due to insufficient entries will require a move to a four-day week is something track officials aren't ready to discuss. The cancellation resulted when attempts on both April 26 and April 28 to fill the Thursday card failed to yield enough entries to conduct racing.
Hall of Fame trainers D. Wayne Lukas and Bob Baffert kicked off the annual Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders' trainers' dinner April 28 with humor and vivacity, and that attitude lasted throughout the evening.
- By Dan Liebman
Take the Points will not run in the Derby but Atomic Rain and Advice will.
- By Dan Liebman
Trainer Todd Pletcher said the morning of April 28 that two of the horses in his care, Dunkirk and Join in the Dance, are definite for the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Decisions have not been made on two others he trains, Advice and Take the Points.
Six weeks ago, WinStar Farm looked as though it would be without a starter in the upcoming Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Now, the powerful outfit could have three, the final potential starter coming thanks to a eye-catching, last-to-first victory by Advice in the $300,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) April 18 on the Keeneland Polytrack.
With a light, cold drizzle falling, Patena put in his final major preparation for Saturday's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) by working five furlongs in 1:00 on April 6, with jockey Robby Albarado up.
It's been three up and three down this year at Aqueduct for Barrier Reef headed into Saturday's Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at the New York track.
Dunkirk and Quality Road, the two likely favorites for the $750,000 Florida Derby (gr. I) on March 28 at Gulfstream Park, posted impressive workouts on a fast track on the morning of March 21 at Palm Meadows.
Kinsella, the 2007 Saratoga sale topper whose price was more than double the second-highest-priced yearling, won March 14 at Gulfstream Park in his first start.
Odds-on choice Game Face won the Gulfstream Park rubber match when she overpowered her rival Any Limit in the homestretch to win the $150,000 Inside Information Stakes (gr. II) by 2 1/2 lengths on March 15.
The dust wasn't completely settled from the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 28 when trainer Todd Pletcher threw another 3-year-old on to the stage in a big way as the Wertheimer Brothers' Affirmatif rolled to a nine-length victory in his career debut.
Dunkirk, who made headlines before he ever started as a $3.7 million Keeneland September yearling buy, figures to be making many more on the track following his impressive 4 3/4-length win in an important 3-year-old allowance race at Gulfstream Park Feb. 19.
Cowboy Cal is headed to the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) in one month following his hard-fought win in the $250,000 Strub Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Feb. 7.
Monba and Yankee Bravo, both prominent on last year's Triple Crown trail, will make their returns to the racetrack in the $100,000 Thunder Road Handicap (gr. IIIT) Feb. 7 at Santa Anita. However, Irish-bred Ferneley, a near-winner in consecutive graded stakes, could loom the largest in the one-mile turf event.
The stalking favorite Leah's Secret pulled clear of her rivals in the final furlong to impressively win the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff, the last of four rich stakes races at Santa Anita Jan. 24, for her third consecutive stakes win.
Dunkirk, a $3.7 million yearling purchase owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, made that price look like a potential bargain when he overcame traffic problems and blew his opposition away in his career debut.
Just over a year after Game Face earned her first graded stakes victory at Gulfstream, the Menifee filly collected another blacktype win at the South Florida racetrack, as she rallied under John Velazquez to score by 2 3/4 lengths in the First Lady Handicap (gr. III).
Any Limit and Game Face may have graded stakes victories on their resumes, but both will have all they can handle when facing a talented group of fillies and mares in the $100,000 First Lady Handicap (gr. III) Jan. 18 at Gulfstream Park.
Front-running Cowboy Cal, one of the few horses that Robert and Janice McNair kept after they sold Stonerside Stable to Darley last year, nipped 28-1 shot Informed by a nose to win the $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Jan. 10.
You Luckie Mann and Silent Valor figure to attract most of the attention in the $100,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes, the six-furlong event which kicks off Gulfstream Park's 2009 series for 3-year-olds on opening day Jan. 3.
J'ray, a stakes winner all four years she raced, has been retired from racing and will be bred to Medaglia d'Oro.
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.
WinStar Farm's favored Leah's Secret backed off of an early speed duel and came late to pick up the pieces at Aqueduct Nov. 28, rallying past Slewfoundmoney for a three-quarter-length victory in the 69th running of the grade II, $150,000 Top Fight Handicap for fillies and mares at a mile.
Thoroughbred Charities of America will conduct its 19th Annual Stallion Season and Art Auction Friday, Dec. 5 at the Keeneland Entertainment Center in Lexington.
Leah's Secret, up against an easier field than she faced in two starts this summer, drew clear in the stretch and held off the late charge of Unforgotten to win the $170,400 Chilukki Stakes (gr. II) by a half-length at Churchill Downs Nov. 2.
Ready's Image, a triple stakes winner by More Than Ready who won the Tremont and Sanford (gr. II) at 2, will stand at Walmac Farm in 2009.
Horsemen making their regular morning stops at Santa Anita's Clocker's Corner Oct. 26 were abuzz over the success of the two-day Breeders' Cup World Championships, the first ever run on an artificial surface.
Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA), has selected Todd Pletcher, the North American leader in purse earnings from 2004-2007, to receive this year's TCA "Charity Leadership Award" Dec. 5 at Keeneland, during their 19th Annual TCA Stallion Season and Art auction.
Favored Cowboy Cal gained victory in the $150,000 Bryan Station Stakes (gr. IIIT) when Keeneland stewards disqualified the original winner, Seaspeak, for interference in the stretch Oct. 12.
Cowboy Cal, who has not started since finishing 9th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), makes his return to the racetrack Oct. 12 when he faces a full field of 3-year-olds in the $150,000 Bryan Station Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Keeneland turf.
Trainer Todd Pletcher sends out stakes winner Bittel Road as the likely favorite in a field of nine for the $150,000 Pilgrim Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Belmont Park inner turf Oct. 1, a race that carries implications for the upcoming Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.
Jockey John Velazquez reached a major milestone at Belmont Park Sept. 28 with his 4,000th career victory when he guided Rogue Agent to a six-length victory in the muddy first race.
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