Aaron and Marie Jones' Master Command made short work of three overmatched rivals when he drew off to win the $250,000 National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne by a convincing 3 3/4 lengths Saturday, helping him to eclipse $1 million dollars in earnings.
Gulfstream Park closes its 2007 racing season Sunday with Eclipse-winning trainer Todd Pletcher capturing his fourth consecutive title at the South Florida track. Jockey Cornelio Velasquez has sealed his first riding title.
Illinois Derby (gr. II) winner Cowtown Cat, one of trainer Todd Pletcher's horses currently being pointed toward the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), worked five furlongs in :58 2/5 at Keeneland on the Polytrack surface Saturday.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Mo Cuishle, a grade III winner, is a slight 2-1 favorite in a small field of five entered for Saturday's $250,000 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at Hawthorne.
Graded stakes winners Sweetnorthernsaint and Master Command will do battle on Saturday, when Hawthorne hosts the 52nd running of the National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III), a 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds and up.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has assigned jockeys to all of his potential starters for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Meanwhile, with 15 days remaining until the running of the 133rd Derby, top agents are ironing out plans for their riders' May 5 mounts.
Trainer Todd Pletcher worked top 3-year-olds Circular Quay and Rags to Riches in company early Sunday at Keeneland, each going six furlongs in 1:13 2/5.
Undefeated Curlin will try to join some select company when he goes postward in the $1-million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) Saturday at Oaklawn Park.
Under confident handling by reigning Eclipse Award winner Edgar Prado, Lawyer Ron completed a happy homecoming Saturday afternoon at Oaklawn Park when he charged from off the pace to win the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) by four lengths over Brother Bobby.
James Scatuorchio's Icy Atlantic rallied from last to get up by a head on the outside for Ramon Dominguez in Saturday's $150,000 Arcadia Handicap (gr. IIT) at one mile on the Santa Anita turf.
WinStar Farm's Cowtown Cat had the benefit of the front end on the speed-favoring Hawthorne Race Course main track and the Todd Pletcher trainee took full advantage, drawing off in the final furlong for a 2 1/4-length triumph in the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) Saturday.
Corinthian, after jumping in the air at the start, never reached contention, leaving the Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) for second choice Magna Graduate under a picture perfect ride from John Velazquez for trainer Todd Pletcher.
One year after dominating Oaklawn Park's 3-year-old stakes program, Lawyer Ron returns with a new trainer and rider for Saturday's $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II).
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.
Dogwood Stable's Cotton Blossom, winner of the recent Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs, will clash with Honeybee Stakes winner Time's Mistress and six others in Friday's $250,000 Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies, the opening feature event of Oaklawn Park's "Racing Festival of the South."
Favored Scat Daddy put away his rival Stormello soon after they reached the stretch and finished strongly to hold off the grinding Notional, capturing the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park in an impressive effort Saturday.
Able to avoid the stumbling start that cost him any chance in his most recent race, Team Valor's Fairbanks easily toppled his five opponents with a smooth, gate-to-wire triumph by 6 3/4 lengths in Saturday's $107,200 Tokyo City Handicap (gr. III) at Santa Anita.
Allen Paulson Living Trust's 5-year-old homebred A.P. Arrow may have been the 1-to-2 favorite in Saturday's $114,500 Skip Away Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park, but the chestnut horse was all out to hold on for his first stakes victory by a head over the hard-charging Rehoboth.
Melnyk Racing Stable's Indian Vale, who endured several false starts to begin her 5-year-old year, finally got back to the races Saturday afternoon and delivered a 5 1/2-length victory in the $104,800 Next Move Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at nine furlongs on the Aqueduct inner track.
Trainer Todd Pletcher was half a world away in Dubai when the Gulfstream stakes races began Saturday afternoon, but his powerful stable came out strong with heavily favored Safari Queen and Almonsoon posting a one-two finish in the $150,000 Orchid Handicap (gr. IIIT), the first of five stakes on the Florida Derby Day program.
Allen Paulson Living Trust's 5-year-old homebred A.P. Arrow should be a solid choice when he takes on eight challengers in the $150,000 Skip Away Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Trainer Todd Pletcher holds a strong hand in the $150,000 Orchid Handicap (gr. IIIT) for older fillies and mares on turf Saturday at Gulfstream Park, sending out Almonsoon and Safari Queen.
Foiled twice before, Melnyk Racing Stables' Indian Vale looks like she will finally make her comeback in Saturday's $100,000 Next Move Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles at Aqueduct.
Santa Anita Oaks winner Rags to Riches, who would have been only the fourth filly to start in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) in 70 runnings, will instead go "straight to the Kentucky Oaks," trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday morning.
With the withdrawal of Ravel from the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) due to an injury, Todd Pletcher and co-owner Jack Wolf have decided to run Robert B. Lewis (gr. II) runner-up Sam P. at Santa Anita, instead of the Illinois Derby (gr. II), as originally planned.
A full field of 12 fillies is slated to compete in the Bourbonette Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) at Turfway Park March 24. Led by the stakes-winning trio of Sealy Hill, Our Dancing Babe, and Olivine, each filly is seeking her first graded stakes victory.
Not even a change to green silks on St. Patrick's Day for Any Given Saturday could deny 2-year-old champ Street Sense a hard-earned victory in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III). Also on Saturday, rapidly emerging stars Cobalt Blue and Curlin burst on the Derby scene with impressive scores in their two-turn debuts.
Jockey John Velazquez and trainer Todd Pletcher teamed for back-to-back stakes victories at Tampa Bay Downs Saturday when Green Hills Farm's favored Cassydora made every pole a winning one in the $150,000 Hillsborough Stakes (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares on the turf.
Making her first start since a third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), Dogwood Stable's Cotton Blossom was too much to handle in the $200,000 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs Saturday.
The Green Monkey, the unraced colt who was sold as a 2-year-old for a record $16 million, is expected to return to leading trainer Todd Pletcher's barn soon.
Todd Pletcher is dominating the Derby trail. Todd Pletcher is dominating the Derby trail. Todd Pletcher is dominating the Derby trail. Remember the kid in school who is forced by the teacher to write something over and over on the blackboard? Well, sorry, folks, but Mr. Pletcher is making us all write the same column over and over every week.
Sent along by jockey Garrett Gomez near the quarter pole while racing third on the outside, the 2-5 choice Rags to Riches quickly assumed command of Sunday's $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I), striding out to an impressive win.
Completing a sweep of the weekend stakes for three-time Eclipse Award trainer Todd Pletcher, India won the Azeri Breeders' Cup (gr. III) by a diminishing head over Kettleoneup before a crowd of 20,533 on Saturday afternoon at Oaklawn Park.
If trainer Todd Pletcher doesn't manage to win a spring 3-year-old Classic this year, it won't be for lack of trying. On the day he saddled Circular Quay for a convincing victory in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II), he was also taking the $200,000 Gotham (gr. III) with Cowtown Cat at Aqueduct Saturday.
Favored Circular Quay, able to avoid the traffic issues he encountered in the Risen Star (gr. III) one month ago, circled the field five wide coming off the far turn under John Velazquez and rallied impressively to win the $594,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds Saturday.
The multiple graded stakes winner Master Command drew away like a a 3-10 shot should to record an easy win in the $500,000 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) at Fair Grounds Saturday.
Magna Graduate, trained by two-time Eclipse trainer Todd Pletcher and ridden by two-time Eclipse jockey John Velazquez, challenged the pacesetting Jonesboro at the head of the stretch, and drew off in the final furlong for a 1 3/4- length victory in the $150,000 Razorback Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park.
Rags to Riches, who went from a maiden victory to grade I success in the Las Virgenes Stakes, will attempt to further enhance her reputation in Sunday's $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.
Magna Graduate and Student Council plan to take their Oaklawn-based rivals to school in Friday's $150,000 Razorback Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) for older horses going 1 1/16 miles.
Todd Pletcher, coming off a record-smashing year in North America that earned him his third consecutive Eclipse Award as outstanding trainer, plans to send five horses to the United Arab Emirates for Dubai World Cup day, March 31.
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.
Arindel Farm's Wait a While, last year's Eclipse Award winner as the nation's top 3-year-old filly, started her 2007 season in fine style, going virtually gate to wire to win the $100,000 Honey Fox Handicap (gr. IIIT) as the prohibitive favorite on the Gulfstream Park turf Sunday.
Scat Daddy, somewhat overlooked in trainer Todd Pletcher's rich stable for this year's Triple Crown trail, stormed from far back to tag the tough-luck loser Stormello by a nose in the final stride of Saturday's $350,000 Fountain of Youth (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park.
Favored Half Ours remained unbeaten in five starts when he staved off the hard-charging Park Avenue Ball in the closing strides to take the $225,000 Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Sprint Championship Handicap (gr. II) by a half-length at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Team Valor Stables' King of the Roxy swept up on the outside coming off the turn and rallied smartly through the lane to win Saturday's $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park.
Arindel Farm's 2006 Eclipse champion 3-year-old filly Wait a While makes her anticipated return to competition as a heavy favorite in a field of eight older fillies and mares entered in Sunday's $100,000 Honey Fox Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Gulfstream Park turf.
Trainer Todd Pletcher sends out 'live' contenders in all four of Saturday's stakes at Gulfstream Park. That includes the $225,000 Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Sprint Championship Handicap (gr. II) when he saddles Marie and Aaron Jones' undefeated 4-year-old Half Ours with John Velazquez aboard.
Audacious Chloe handed Dreaming of Anna her first defeat on the turf Sunday in the $76,500 Gaily Gaily Stakes, outfighting the champion 2-year-old filly of 2006 over the final furlong by a half-length at Gulfstream Park.
Lawrence Goichman's odds-on choice J'ray, knocking on the door since November, earned her first graded stakes win in a romp over eight rivals in the $118,000 Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares on the Fair Grounds turf Saturday.
Peachtree Stable's Twilight Meteor rallied through the stretch for a hard-fought half-length victory over Sedgefield in Saturday's $77,250 Hallandale Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park, a 1 1/16-mile turf test for 3-year-olds.
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