Jockey Mark Guidry took the overland route to get back to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Forget about going seven-wide on the final turn, Guidry went about 2,000 miles out of his way to find the mount that would bring him back to Louisville the first Saturday in May.
Team Block's Mystery Giver continued his mastery over the Fair Grounds' turf, coming from far back to win Sunday's $500,000 Mervin Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) Sunday, setting a course record while going over the $1 million mark in career earnings.
Team Block's Mystery Giver is the 120-pound highweight in a wide-open field of ten turf specialists entered in the $500,000 Mervin G. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) at Fair Grounds Sunday.
Darley Stud Management's Millennium Dragon registered his first United States stakes triumph in Sunday's $150,000 Appleton Handicap (gr. III), turning back a relentless challenge from Political Attack for a 1 1/4-length victory at Gulfstream Park.
Sunday's $150,000 Appleton Handicap (gr. III) could prove to be a preview of the $500,000 Franks Farms Sunshine Millions Turf to be run at Gulfstream Jan. 24 since top contenders Proud Man and Miesque's Approval are slated to square off in both events.
Erdenheim Farm's Political Attack, a 4-year-old gelding trained by Michael Matz, turned in an impressive performance at Calder on Saturday to win the $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) by 1 1/2 lengths over Millennium Dragon.
Allen Paulson Living Trust's Del Mar Show and Double S Stable, Ken Avanzino and Joe Sullivan's French Charmer will likely vie for favoritism in Saturday's $100,000 Tropical Turf (gr. IIIT) at Calder.
Favored Trademark captured his second graded stakes race in the United States this year as jockey Richard Migliore guided the South African runner through a seam between horses in the stretch en route to an easy win in Saturday's $200,000 Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT) at Saratoga.
Tour of the Cat defeats Burning Roma following a protracted stretch duel in the Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Handicap.
F. Eugene Dixon's Political Attack held off even-money favorite Miesque's Approval to win Sunday's $100,000 Canadian Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park, breaking an eight-race losing streak.
The Bill Mott-Jerry Bailey combination is a potent force in Gulfstream Park grass stakes, so it will be no surprise if Live Oak Plantation's Miesque's Approval goes off a short price in Sunday's $100,000 Canadian Turf Handicap (gr. III) at 1 1/16 mile.
Swift Replica, at 17-1, tried to make every pole a winning one in Saturday's $100,000 Pete Axthelm Stakes at Calder Race Course, but was nabbed just before the wire by Stormy Roman, himself an even longer shot at 30-to-1 odds.
German-bred Flying Dash balked entering the gate in the $100,000 Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland Friday, but was full steam ahead at the wire. Attendance of 14,879 at the Lexington, Ky. track was the largest for a spring opening day since 1985. Attendance last year on opening day was 11,646.
Fourth choice Equality, bred and owned by Josephine Abercrombie's Pin Oak Stud, won the Tampa Bay Derby.
Sunday's $200,000 Tampa Bay Derby drew a competitive field of 10, with Sam F. Davis winner Bunk N Ted taking on Hutcheson winner Showmeitall, Tropical Park Derby winner Political Attack, Sam Davis runner-up Tails of the Crypt, as well as several up-and-comers on the 3-year-old scene.
A field of up to 10 is expected for the $200,000 Tampa Bay Derby, a grade III event for 3-year-olds set for March 17. Several horses are expected to ship across the state from Gulfstream Park on Florida's eastern coast.
Brereton C. Jones' Political Attack will continue running on the main track for now, with the March 17 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) a likely next start for the son of Hawk Attack.
The blurry Kentucky Derby picture should begin clearing up Saturday, as a number of Triple Crown hopefuls meet to determine who makes that all-important leap forward. The grade I Fountain of Youth Stakes, which drew a field of eight, is split right down the middle, with four stakes winners facing off against four up-and-coming stars. And in supporting allowance races, two promising colts lock horns in a prep for the Florida Derby, and a former Coolmore colt makes his U.S. debut.
Several of the top-name 3-year-olds worked over the Gulfstream track Saturday morning, headed by Remsen Stakes winner Saarland, whose five-furlong breeze in 1:02 from the gate may have earned him a berth in next Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes.
- By Scott Davis
Political Attack, a 3-year-old colt owned and bred by a former governor of Kentucky, posted a front-running 4 1/2-length victory in Tuesday's $100,000 Tropical Park Derby at Calder Racecourse.
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