Multiple grade II winner Puerto Banus has been retired after suffering an injury to a suspensory in his front leg, trainer Kristin Mulhall revealed Feb. 24.
Eight evenly-matched older turf specialists are set to go postward in Saturday's San Marcos Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita.
The connections for Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) upsetter Better Talk Now are gambling that a victory in Hollywood Park's $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. IT) Saturday will be enough to secure an Eclipse Award as the year's North American male turf champion.
Special Matter, a rags-to-riches gelding that has earned $200,000 since being claimed for $12,500 two years ago by trainer Rafael Becerra, headlines the $100,000 Carleton F. Burke Handicap (gr. IIIT) on Saturday on the Santa Anita turf.
Bayamo, freshened since his runner-up effort in the Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT) at Del Mar more than two months ago, rates an edge in a solid field of seven older horses entered for the $250,000 Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship (gr. IT) at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting Sunday.
Meteor Storm, overlooked at 7-1 in the wagering, burst to the lead in the stretch and held off a late rally by Labirinto and scored a neck victory Saturday in the $200,000 San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT) for older turf runners at Santa Anita Park.
Trainer Dan Hendricks hopes a better trip, more pace and the addition of blinkers will make a major difference for Runaway Dancer, one of 11 entered for the $200,000 San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT) at 12 furlongs on turf at Santa Anita Saturday.
Jockey Victor Espinoza completed a sweep of the President's Day stakes doubleheader at Santa Anita when he guided Puerto Banus through heavy traffic in the stretch for a neck victory in the grade II, $200,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap. Less than one length separated the top five finishers in the turf marathon.
Dan Hendricks is inclined to draw a line through Runaway Dancer's last race, an eighth-place finish in the William L. McKnight Handicap (gr. IIT) at Calder Race Course on Dec. 27.
A classy field of 11 three-year-old fillies and nine turf marathoners head two highly competitive stakes races at Santa Anita Park on a special day of racing Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Puerto Banus, who won the 1 1/2-mile Sunset Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park in June, will not be the first North American-based runner to start in the Victoria Racing Club's Melbourne Cup (Aus-I) on Nov. 4 at Flemington Racecourse.
There could be a traffic jam on the lead in Sunday's $400,000 Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT) at Del Mar, with a field of six speedy horses likely to gun for the front in order to get the best position.
Puerto Banus came from well off the pace to catch Cagney in the final furlong and tally a half-length victory in Sunday's closing day $150,000 Sunset Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park.
Tifonica, a 5-year-old Argentine-bred mare, will run against males in the $150,000 Sunset Handicap, closing-day feature at Hollywood Park next Sunday, trainer and co-owner Bill Currin confirmed.
Medaglia d'Oro wins the San Felipe Stakes, shaking up the West Coast 3-year-old scene.
If you feel there's no value in the Future Wager on the horses running this weekend, then you might want to consider looking for your value now. And D'Coach, High Star, and Puerto Banus are three horses you can have some fun with.
Peter Abruzzo and Barry Thiriot's multiple stakes winner U S S Tinosa blew out three furlongs in :36 3/5 Thursday in preparation for Sunday's San Felipe Stakes (gr. II).
Just like that, we lost two exciting prospects from this weekend's stakes, Sunday Break and Saratoga Blues, with the latter not even on the Derby trail any longer. But now it's time to concentrate on the Florida Derby, San Felipe, Gotham, and Tampa Bay Derby.
"He's leavin' town," was all Gary Stevens' agent Brian Beach told Santa Anita stakes coordinator Rick Hammerle Wednesday afternoon, in regard to Sunday Break's status is Sunday's San Felipe Stakes.
The Thoroughbred Corporation's Puerto Banus, gearing up for Sunday's San Felipe Stakes (gr.II), worked five furlongs in :59 2/5, handily, over Santa Anita's fast main track Tuesday morning.
Trainer John Sadler said San Rafael Stakes fifth-place finisher Pelirrojo will miss two to three months of training after coming out of the race with a "hot knee," rendering the 3-year-old son of Flying Continental off the Kentucky Derby trail.
Trainer Bob Baffert sent out a pair of 3-year-olds Wednesday morning. Mountain Rage went 1:11 2/5 and Puerto Banus went 1:10 4/5.
Trainer Bob Baffert is preparing Mike Pegram's Danthebluegrassman for a start in the March 17 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
Trainer Kenny McPeek said Wednesday that Repent will not be going to Dubai for the UAE Derby on Mar. 23. McPeek had been giving the race serious consideration, but now has decided to point for either the Louisiana Derby, Spiral Stakes, or Illinois Derby.
- By Steve Haskin
Using his vast experience over the field to his advantage, USS Tinosa drew off to a 4 1/2-length victory in Friday's Sham Stakes at Santa Anita. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, USS Tinosa had already won or placed in six stakes, while most of his opponents were coming out of either maiden or allowance races.
U S S Tinosa tracked in third early on before kicking clear in the stretch to win the restricted Sham Stakes by 4 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita Friday.
Friday's Sham Stakes could have more bearing on the Kentucky Derby picture than many of the bigger stakes run this time of year. With Bob Baffert and Wayne Lukas scrambling to find one of the last remaining paths to Louisville, the nine-furlong race could provide that path or just about end any hopes the two past Derby dominators have of making it to Churchill Downs with a leading contender.
In an optional claiming allowance race with possible Triple Crown ramifications at Santa Anita Wednesday, Pelirrojo closed from last to nip Raven Power by a neck in the one-mile, $54,000 race.
True Monarch, who could turn out to be Bob Baffert's top Kentucky Derby contender, gets a chance to stretch out for the first time on Wednesday when he tackles six other 3-year-olds in a one-mile optional claiming allowance race.
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