Greg's Gold, who returned earlier this year from a 17-month layoff after bowing a tendon, completed his comeback for trainer David Hofmans Aug. 19 with a 1 1/2-length victory in the $300,000 Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) over seven furlongs on the Del Mar Polytrack.
Bob Baffert is not the only successful veteran trainer who is having difficulty winning on synthetic surfaces. Count Bruce Headley among those who have been unable to conquer Cushion Track at Hollywood Park or Polytrack at Del Mar.
Trying Hollywood Park's Cushion Track for the first time, favored El Roblar gained the lead at the top of the stretch for jockey Victor Espinoza and rolled to a two-length win over grade I winner Siren Lure Saturday in the $109,700 Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) at 7 1/2 furlongs.
Grade I winner Siren Lure goes after his seventh stakes victory since being claimed by his current owners for $50,000 in 2005 in Saturday's $150,000 San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
Multi-millionaire Giacomo, winner of the 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), takes the spotlight in Saturday's co-featured grade II, $300,000 San Diego Handicap in a field of older horses going 1 1/16 miles on the main track at Del Mar.
Favored Siren Lure, ridden by Alex Solis, came flying off the turn to collar the pacesetters Battle Won and Unfurl the Flag, taking command approaching the sixteenth pole to win the $300,000 Triple Bend invitational Handicap (gr. I) by 1 1/2 lengths.
Unfurl the Flag seeks to become the first horse in 50 years to successfully defend honors in the $300,000 Triple Bend Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at Hollywood Park Sunday.
Defending champion Hombre Rapido will attempt to join legendary Native Diver as the only two-time winner of the $150,000 Los Angeles Times Handicap (gr. III) Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Brazilian-bred Pico Central, ignored at odds of 43-1, led every step of the way and posted a two-length victory over Publication in the $150,000 San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) for sprinters Sunday at Santa Anita Park.
Multiple stakes winner Bluesthestandard comes into Sunday's $150,000 San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park riding high after a victory in the Palos Verdes Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita and a second place finish in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I).
Trainer Vladimir Cerin is hoping his trainee Publication will indicate to him just how good he is when the 4-year-old son of Petionville tackles 10 other runners in Sunday's grade II San Diego Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
A field that could number as many as nine or 10 is beginning to take shape for the 62nd running of the grade II, $250,000 San Diego Handicap Sunday at 1 1/16 miles on Del Mar's main track.
The Jerry Frankel homebred Joey Franco took advantage of a perfect trip to capture the $300,000 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I) by a head over a fast-closing Publication Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Joey Franco moved to the lead with authority on the far turn and went on to post a one-length victory under jockey Patrick Valenzuela in Saturday's $91,325 Ack Ack Handicap at Hollywood Park.
In spite of fractions that were quicker than rapid, Hombre Rapido had plenty left to capture Saturday's $200,000 Los Angeles Times Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park by a length over fast-closing Publication.
California trainer David La Croix verbalized what most of the entrants were thinking in the days leading up to the April 6 Illinois Derby (gr. II) when he said he was looking for a "back door" to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) for Fonz's.
Headed by Repent and Changeintheweather, at least nine 3-year-olds are expected to be entered for Saturday's grade II, $500,000 Illinois Derby at Sportsman's Park.
Mercedes Stable's Publication put in a six-furlong work at Hawthorne Friday in preparation for a start in the April 6 Illinois Derby (gr. II) at Sportsman's Park. Repent, the likely favorite for the race, will work Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Repent's self-inflicted problems in the Louisiana Derby brings us to the inevitable question: can Repent continue with these follies and still win the Kentucky Derby?
A field of eight was entered Friday for Sunday's Louisiana Derby, with Risen Star winner Repent heading one of the race's strongest and deepest fields in years. The 1 1/16-mile event also attracted some of the nation's top riders, including Jerry Bailey, Pat Day, Jorge Chavez, and Russell Baze.
Trainer Bob Baffert's Officer, the 2-year-old colt who won his first five races so effortlessly he was promoted as racing's latest wunderkind, will seek redemption from two dramatic setbacks in Saturday's $460,750 Hollywood Futurity at Hollywood Park. Siphonic, who overcame obstacles that compromised odds-on favorite Officer and finished third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, is expected to be a slight favorite in the grade I event at 1 1/16 miles
Ending weeks of speculation, trainer Bob Baffert confirmed Wednesday that he would enter Officer and Mountain Rage in the $360,000-estimated Hollywood Futurity Saturday. "They're the two that are doing the best," said Baffert Wednesday from his Santa Anita stable office. Baffert also had Popular and Hawk's Top Gun under consideration for the Grade I test at 1 1/16 miles.
He was 75 cents to the dollar in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and could be as high as 3-1 in the Hollywood Futurity. A victory by Officer on Saturday would no doubt make him a major candidate for Overlay of the Year. Although it will be no easy task knocking off Siphonic, Officer still looks to be one of the most appetizing propositions we've seen in a while.
A baker's dozen were pre-entered for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), but it will be an upside-down cake if anyone other than Officer enters the winner's circle following the 8 1/2 furlong match.
Triple Crown Bloodstock's Publication raced up close through slow opening fractions, inherited the lead when pacesetter Lunar Bounty tired, then held on to win Saturday's $150,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr. II) by a neck at Arlington Park.
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