The Maryland Jockey Club has unveiled the 2006 Pimlico spring stakes schedule after reaching agreements with both the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and Maryland Horse Breeders Association.
- By Steve Haskin
All the human drama that surrounded Afleet Alex -- the charity work through Alex's Lemonade Stand; the colt having to be fed milk from a Coors Lite bottle as a foal by breeder John Martin Silvertand's 9-year-old daughter; Silvertand using Alex's heroics as inspiration in his battle with terminal cancer; and the Afleet Alex marketing items distributed by owners Cash is King Stable and trainer Tim Ritchey at children's hospitals -- will have to wait for the storytellers and book writers.
Jerry Bailey, 48, North America's dominant jockey for more than a decade beginning in the early 1990s, announced his retirement from riding, effective Jan 28 after the Sunshine Millions card at Gulfstream Park.
Cash is King Stable's Afleet Alex, winner of this year's Preakness and Belmont Stakes (both gr. I), has been retired.
William Boniface, a retired racing editor for the Baltimore Sun and patriarch of one of Maryland's most prominent racing families, died Sept. 1 after a short illness. He was 89.
Afleet Alex, the Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner, will pay a visit to Saratoga Race Course on Saturday afternoon, parading on the main track after the second race.
- By Steve Haskin
Trainer Tim Ritchey said Tuesday that Preakness and Belmont (both gr. I) winner Afleet Alex's fracture is healing nicely, but with an extra week of walking prescribed, there is a question whether the colt can make the Oct. 29 Breeders' Cup Classic-Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
Trainer Tim Ritchey confirmed Thursday that Preakness and Belmont, both grade I, winner Afleet Alex was expected leave Belmont Park early this afternoon en route to Barn 24 on the Saratoga backstretch later this evening.
NBC Sports' coverage of the June 11 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) managed a 4.5 national rating/11 share for its 5:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. EDT telecast.
The following is a potpourri of impressions, observations, afterthoughts, and memorable quotes from this year's Triple Crown, which proved to be a pretty wild ride. There was nothing ordinary about the cast of characters and the unusual paths they took to get to Churchill Downs and beyond.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union of New York, division of mutuel employees, Local 3, has overwhelmingly ratified a new contract with the New York Racing Association, averting a possible work stoppage or sickout on Belmont Stakes day June 11.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - Only a handful of people were watching on the morning of April 26 when Afleet Alex recorded his first workout over the Churchill Downs strip in preparation for this year's Kentucky Derby.
- By Dan Liebman
By Dan Liebman - A politician wins the primary but is defeated in the general election. A pro football player on a winning Super Bowl team is traded to the worst team in the league. A rider wins the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), and then two weeks later loses the Preakness (gr. I).
Preakness records for handle and attendance were shattered Saturday, according to figures released by the Maryland Jockey Club.
After nearly going down when bumped by Scrappy T entering the stretch, a gutsy Afleet Alex recovered and went on to win the $1-million Preakness (gr. I) in impressive fashion Saturday at Pimlico.
Cool Conductor finished first in an optional claiming race but was disqualified to third on Kentucky Derby (gr. I) day at Churchill Downs. But on Preakness day,he stepped up and took the $200,000 CompUSA Dixie (gr. IIT), upsetting heavily favored Artie Schiller by a nose in a thrilling stretch duel.
Jerry Bailey took Zakocity wire-to-wire Saturday to win the $100,000 William D. Schaefer Handicap (gr. III) at Pimlico, the race prior to the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
With about 75 minutes to the post for the 130th running of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), Afleet Alex is the solid 5-2 favorite, with about $750,000 in the win pool.
Pinpoint wanted the lead and Rafael Bejarano made sure he got it, controlling the pace and having plenty left for the stretch run in the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes Saturday at Pimlico.
Edgar Prado got a great trip and Willy o'the Valley responded, winning her third straight race Saturday in the Emirates Airline Maryland Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Pimlico.
Tim Ritchey and Jeremy Rose, who hope to win the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) with Afleet Alex, won a stakes on the undercard Saturday, taking the $50,000 Murmur Farm Starter Handicap with Testy Guy.
The stakes program got off to a good start Saturday at Pimlico with odds-on choice English Channel blazing home well clear in the $100,000 Woodlawn Stakes for trainer Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez.
What a difference a day makes. On Friday in Baltimore, the morning began with rain, wind, and chilliness. Patrons heading to Pimlico Saturday for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) awoke to bright, sunny skies and temperatures so pleasant jackets and sweaters were not necessary.
If the rain stops as predicted Friday afternoon, Pimlico track superintendent Jamie Richardson said he expects the track surface to be fast on Saturday.
Friday's Highlights: Greeley's Galaxy Breezes 3 Furlongs In Quick :34.80; Giacomo Walks Under Tack; Afleet Alex Jogs.
Handicappers aren't the only ones who have questions prior to a race. Trainers do, too.
Nick Zito ran five horses in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) -- including the favorite -- and no one has to remind him they finished seventh, eighth, 10th, 14th, and 15th. But the Preakness (gr. I) is a new day, Zito said Friday morning at Pimlico.
Trainer John Shirreffs took some time at the stakes barn at Pimilco on a wet Friday morning to discuss Giacomo and his chances for tomorrow's Preakness Stakes (gr. I). Giacomo won the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) two weeks ago at 50-1 and the colt makes his bid to become the fourth 3-year-old in a row to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown.
With the wind blowing and rain falling, B. Wayne Hughes' Greeley's Galaxy rolled through a three-furlong workout in :34.87 on a sloppy track at Pimlico Race Course Friday morning in preparation for Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
There was only one way Scrappy T would run in the Preakess (gr. I) Saturday at Pimlico...he had to win the April 30 Withers Stakes (gr. III). And, he did.
Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo, who drew Post 13 for the Preakness, got his first look at the Pimlico course in an easy gallop Thursday, the morning after he shipped in from Churchill Downs. Afleet Alex, the 5-2 morning line favorite who will go from Post 12, jogged and galloped Thursday morning.
In the race immediately preceding the Preakness (gr. I) at Pimlico Saturday, eight older horses will contest the $100,000 William Donald Schaefer Handicap (gr. III) over nine furlongs.
Premiere Radio Networks will deliver the exclusive radio call of the 130th Preakness Stakes May 21 live from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md. The one-hour broadcast will begin at 5:30 p.m. (ET) with The Preakness Stakes post time scheduled for 6:05 p.m.
Although High Fly will have to wait until Tuesday morning to earn his way into the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) field during a scheduled half-mile workout at Churchill Downs, stablemates Noble Causeway and Sun King punched their tickets to Pimlico Race Course after pleasing trainer Nick Zito with their respective five-furlong workouts Monday morning
Afleet Alex, the only contender for the May 21 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) currently at Pimlico, went out onto the main track twice Saturday morning.
Greeley's Galaxy, winner of the Illinois Derby (gr. I) and 11th in last week's Kentucky Derby (gr. I), tuned up for an expected run in the Preakness (gr. I) with a sharp five furlong work in the slop on Saturday at Churchill Downs.
After three days of mild exercise in the barn, Jerry and Ann Moss' Giacomo, the surprise winner of the 131st Kentucky Derby (gr. I), returned to the Churchill Downs track Wednesday for the first time since his stunning victory.
Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winning rider Mike Smith had to ride a masterful race to get Giacomo to the wire first but the jockey said today the journey was almost exactly as he planned.
Trainer Jeff Mullins, back at his Santa Anita stable where he'll prepare Buzzards Bay for a probable start in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 11, said he took pleasure in seeing how well the much-criticized California contingent did against the best the East Coast had to offer in Saturday's Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
The racing office of the Maryland Jockey Club Tuesday released the lists of nominees for the thirteen other stakes that make up Preakness (gr. I) weekend, May 20-21.
Trainer Tim Ritchey confirmed Wednesday that Afleet Alex will be the first Preakness (gr. I) shipper to arrive at the Pimlico stakes barn. The third place finisher in Saturday's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is to get on a van Wednesday morning at Churchill and is expected at Old Hilltop in the late afternoon.
Trainer John Shirreffs said he'll give Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo a few days to walk and rest at Churchill Downs before being shipped to Baltimore for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) on May 21.
Giacomo, the second biggest upset winner in the 131-year history of the Kentucky Derby, runner-up Closing Argument and third place finisher Afleet Alex could all start in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) May 21 although winning trainer John Shirreffs hasn't committed his son of Holy Bull.
Continuing a relationship that began in 2001, NBC Sports has reached an agreement with Churchill Downs Inc. and Magna Entertainment/Maryland Jockey Club to telecast the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes an additional five years, from 2006 to 2010.
Internationally recognized equine artist Robert Schaar has created the official poster for the 130th Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
B. Wayne Hughes could easily wind up on the outside looking in with Greeley's Galaxy for the May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) in spite of the colt's $300,000 in graded earnings from his Illinois Derby (gr. II) win April 9.
Live racing on the Maryland circuit shifts to historic Pimlico Race Course April 20 for the spring meet. The headline event of the eight-week stand is the 130th running of the $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the middle jewel of the VISA Triple Crown, on May 21.
A total of 358 3-year-olds have been nominated for the 2005 Visa Triple Crown. Although the figure is down from the 400-plus nominations in each of the previous four years, it will be of little significance once the multitude of talented 3-year-olds start making their way toward the May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
December or no December, the journey to Louisville has officially begun. Just ask any trainer with a promising 2-year-old if the lure of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) hasn't already taken a firm hold. Over the past 10 days we've seen several exciting hopefuls emerge. And there's still that little matter of crowning a champ this weekend.
The TNT television network is said to be developing an original TV movie based on the book "Funny Cide."
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