Proud Spell stamped herself as a top contender for the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) by winning the 8.5-furlong Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) in 1:44.01, a shade faster than the 1:44.44 that Pyro ran in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II). She is the leading runner to date for the second-crop sire Proud Citizen. Considering Proud Citizen ran better at 3, more of his runners are expected to blossom this year. Keep an eye in particular on those horses whose dams have Northern Dancer blood.
Three days ago, trainer Larry Jones said he hoped Proud Spell would pressure Indian Blessing through the early lead in the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II). Although Brereton Jones' homebred Proud Citizen filly didn't exactly do that, she did manage to wear down the Eclipse Award winner and get her own score in the March 8 event in New Orleans.
Proud Citizen, second in last year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and third in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) to champion War Emblem, has been retired and will stand for $12,500 live foal at Brereton and Libby Jones' Airdrie Stud near Midway, Ky.
Baker, Cornstein and Mack's Proud Citizen, a disappointing eighth in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I), turned in a sparkling five-furlong breeze Sunday in his first major training move since that race.
Robert Baker, David Cornstein and William Mack's Proud Citizen, the runner-up to War Emblem in the 2002 Kentucky Derby, breezed five furlongs Monday in a quick :59.20 in his final prep for Saturday's Stephen Foster Handicap.
William S. Farish's homebred Mineshaft, winner of the Pimlico Special (gr. I), and Flaxman Holdings' Aldebaran, winner of the Churchill Downs Handicap (gr. II) and Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) in his last two races, top the list of likely starters from a star-studded group of 32 horses nominated for Churchill Downs' $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I).
Mineshaft, the likely favorite for the $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) on June 14, worked a strong six furlongs over a wet track Tuesday at Churchill Downs. The homebred son of A.P. Indy covered the distance over "sloppy" footing in 1:14 under exercise rider Annie Finney.
As Saturday's deadline for nominations to the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) draws closer, the possible field for the $750,000 race is becoming clearer. Among the horses who could start next in the June 14 race are Aldebaran, Full Mandate, Proud Citizen, and Tenpins.
William S. Farish's Mineshaft, an impressive winner of the Pimlico Special (gr. I) in his most recent start, breezed four furlongs at Churchill Downs on Tuesday as trainer Neil Howard prepares the colt for a run in the $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) on June 14.
Flaxman Holding's homebred Aldebaran swept past the leaders entering the stretch and then held off a determined Saarland for a game victory in the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) on the Memorial Day card at Belmont Park.
The $200,000-added Churchill Downs Handicap (gr. II), like most of Saturday's stakes races at the Louisville track, will feature a Bobby Frankel-trained morning line favorite in Flaxman Holdings' Aldebaran.
Surgery on a fractured shin in Proud Citizen's left front leg has been delayed. Dr. Stephen Selway postponed the operation, which was scheduled for July 1, because of several tiny fractures located near the main injury.
Proud Citizen, who exited the Belmont Stakes with a crack in his left shin, was resting comfortably in his stall Sunday morning. Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said the colt would likely miss 90-120 days of training.
Proud Citizen, runner-up in the Kentucky Derby and third in the Preakness, concluded his serious training for the June 8 Belmont Stakes, breezing five furlongs in 1:00 at Churchill Downs Sunday morning.
Bob Baffert, trainer of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem, said on a national teleconference Thursday he is going to try to enjoy his third attempt at a Triple Crown sweep, and advised Magic Weisner's trainer Nancy Alberts to do the same.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said the two horses he saddled in the Preakness - Proud Citizen, who finished third, and Table Limit, who crossed the wire 11th- would likely run in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on June 8.
Who will challenge War Emblem in the Belmont (gr. I) and try to stop his Triple Crown bid? Wayne Lukas said Sunday morning that Proud Citizen, who was second in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and third in the Preakness (gr. I), will show up for sure.
War Emblem will have shot to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner following his dramatic victory in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico. Following a wire-to-wire score in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) two weeks ago, jockey Victor Espinoza rated War Emblem off a quick pace, got to the lead on the turn, then held off a strong rally by Maryland-bred Magic Weisner to win by three-quarters of a length.
A war zone. That's what posts 8 through 12 are going to be in Saturday's Preakness Stakes, as a five-horse stampede is going to come charging out of the gate and down the Pimlico stretch for the first time. And it's all the result of Bob Baffert and Company choosing post 8, resulting in the connections of the other speed horses to all select outside posts.
On the eve of Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the buzz around Baltimore's Pimlico Racecourse is which horses will be on the lead or pressing the pace so that War Emblem does not get an uncontested victory as he did in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
With Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey aboard, Preakness Stakes favorite Medaglia d'Oro sizzled three furlongs in :35 at New York's Belmont Park as he prepared for Saturday's second leg of the Triple Crown at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland.
What a difference a day makes. With the arrival of two planeloads of horses from Louisville Wednesday morning, the joint is suddenly jumping. Just like that, there are horses everywhere. And Bob Baffert is here, and Wayne Lukas is here, and John Ward and Kenny McPeek are here.
Neil Drysdale arrived in New York Thursday evening to begin Sunday Break's preparation for the the 127th Preakness Stakes. Drysdale said he will not make a decision whether or not to run the son of Forty Niner until he observes him over the next several days and watches him train.
This was certainly not one of the most inspiring Derbys. In addition, we blew it, pure and simple. We were sniffing up the right tree, but lost our scent at the last minute. In the end, however, the best horse did win.
An ecstatic D. Wayne Lukas jumped off his pony and declared, "We are very much in the Derby." Lukas was referring to Lexington Stakes winner Proud Citizen, who had just worked 5 furlongs in a quick :58 4/5 in the pre-dawn darkness of Churchill Downs in preparation for Saturday's 128th Kentucky Derby.
Trainer Juan "Paco" Gonzalez shipped Came Home to Saratoga to avoid running against Officer and the gambit proved successful Saturday when Came Home drew off to a two-length victory in the $200,000 Hopeful Stakes. The winning time of 1:21.94 marks the fastest running of the Hopeful at its present distance of seven furlongs.