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Median Rises at F-T Texas Sale; Gross Plunges

Median Rises at F-T Texas Sale; Gross Plunges

Reduced to a one-day sale, the Fasig-Tipton Texas summer yearling auction posted a gross that was down significantly Aug. 31 at Lone Star Park. Under last year's two-day format, 443 horses were cataloged, but only 319 were offered this year, contributing to a 43.9% decline in the gross, from $3,369,700 to $1,889,400. The buy-back rate rose from 36.6% in 2008 to 42%, with only 185 head selling. While the median increased to $5,000 from $4,500, the average dipped from $11,992 to $10,213, a 14.8% decline.

Purge to Stand for $20,000

Purge, who won the Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) in his farewell race, will begin his stallion career for a fee of $20,000 at Dr. Tom Simon's Vinery near Lexington, Ky.

Pletcher, Purge Continue Surge in Cigar Mile

There's no denying Todd Pletcher these days, no matter the odds. A day after setting the North American record for earnings by a trainer and winning the rich Clark Handicap (gr. II) with Magna Graduate, Pletcher hit again with 25-1 shot Purge in the $350,000 Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile (gr. I) at Aqueduct Saturday.

Pletcher Has Three-Pronged Attack in Cigar Mile

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who entered this week with earnings of $18,831,602, just by just $315,527 behind Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel's single season record of $19,147,129, has a three-pronged attack in Saturday's $350,000 Hill `n' Dale Cigar Mile (gr. I) at Aqueduct.

West Virginia Survives Objection to Win Iselin

West Virginia surged to the lead with less than a furlong to go and held on to defeat 65-1 outsider Zoffinger in the $190,000 Philip H. Iselin Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) Sunday at Monmouth Park. The winner, ridden by Jose Velez Jr., survived an objection for drifting out into the path of the runner-up.

Field of 10 Shoots for Iselin Score

An evenly matched field of 10 will take the gate for Sunday's $250,000 Phillip H. Iselin Handicap (gr. III) at Monmouth Park. The field is led by co-highweights Cherokee's Boy and Purge, both carrying 118 pounds.

Cherokee's Boy, Purge Likely to Top Iselin Field

Cherokee's Boy, winner of the Salvator Mile (gr. III) at Monmouth last out, and Purge, who romped in an allowance race the Haskell Invitational Day card, look set to top a field of six in Sunday's 70th running of the $250,000 Philip H. Iselin Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III).

Purge Can End Bad Streak in Razorback

The Todd Pletcher-trained Purge makes his first start at Oaklawn Park since his fifth-place finish in last spring's Arkansas Derby (gr. II) when he faces nine rivals in the $125,000 Razorback Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) Sunday.

Dynever, Purge Lead Hopefuls in Hal's Hope

A robust field of 13 is set to head postward at Gulfstream Park for Saturday's 2005 edition of the $100,000 Hal's Hope Handicap (gr. III). Multiple stakes winners Dynever and Purge lead a quality group of entrants drawn for the 1 1/8 mile affair, each looking to start the New Year on a high note

Pico Central, Kela Battle in Cigar Mile

Pico Central and Kela, the two best sprinters based in California, have traveled across the country to meet at Aqueduct in New York's final grade I race of 2004, Saturday's $350,000 Cigar Mile. The Cigar Mile will be the featured event on a 10-race card that includes a pair of grade II juvenile stakes, the Remsen and Demoiselle.

Just Who is The Best 3-Year-Old of 2004?

Patrick Biancone, who will saddle Haskell Invitational (gr. I) winner Lion Heart in the $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 28, and Todd Pletcher, trainer of Jim Dandy (gr. II) winner Purge, have different opinions about the 3-year-old championship picture.

Who Can Beat Smarty?

Yes, it is blasphemous to even think that Smarty Jones will be beaten in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). But it is still a horse race, and a mile and a half one to boot. And there will be some people who will try to win money and beat the favorite. Although I hate to even suggest that will happen, this column is for them. To all Smarty Jones fans who think this is a lock, read on at your own risk.

Friday Notes: Hennig Says Eddington Ready to Go

Eddington, the third-place finisher in the Preakness (gr. I) and 10-1 on the morning line for Saturday's 136th running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-olds, galloped a mile and three furlongs over Belmont's main track Friday. "He's ready," trainer Mark Hennig said. "He's doing as well as can be expected."

Tapit, Cliff Out of Belmont; Purge, Master David May Join Field

Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Tapit will not run in the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr.I), it was reported on trainer Michael Dickinson's Tapeta Farm web site Saturday. With Tapit's defection, as well as the defection of The Cliff's Edge, the connections of Purge and Master David are considering entering, although both are still doubtful starters.

With the Flyers Gone, It's All Smarty; Eddington Sharp in Work

John Servis is a longtime Philadelphia Flyers fan, and he "wasn't happy" to see his hockey team eliminated in the Stanley Cup playoffs Saturday night. Although he now has Philly's number one sports franchise in Smarty Jones, and the almost-fanatical support of the city and all of Pennsylvania, Servis said he's still not feeling any added pressure.

Pletcher's Purge Powers to Peter Pan Win

Jockey John Velazquez got the high-spirited colt Purge to relax while racing on the outside of the pacesetters and the colt responded to the easy handling with a quarter-mile to go to register a sparkling victory in the $200,000 Peter Pan (gr. II) at Belmont Park Saturday.

Peter Pan May Produce More Rivals For Smarty

Yes, believe it or not, there are other 3-year-olds who inhabit the wild and wacky world of Smarty Jones, and several of them will be using Saturday's $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) as a dress rehearsal for their big showdown with America's wonder horse in the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

Peter Pan Could Produce Rivals for Smarty

Saturday's $200,000 Peter Pan (gr. II) at Belmont Park brings together a group of 3-year-olds taking their last shot to show they could possibly spoil Smarty Jones' quest to become racing's 12th Triple Crown champion.

Smarty Jones Moves to Head of Class

Undefeated Smarty Jones showed an impressive turn of foot coming out of the final turn and held the closing Borrego off through the stretch for a comfortable 1 1/2-length win in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park Saturday.

Call Me <i>Mister</i> Jones

The grade II Arkansas Derby runs this Saturday at Oaklawn. SMARTY JONES will win and up his record to six for six. He will win by multiple lengths. His time for the 1 1/8 mile race will be under 1:49, and he will quiet all doubts as to his status as a serious Derby contender.

Kentucky Derby Trail: Amazing Grays, How Sweet the Sound

Never before has there been a long gray line of 3-year-olds like the one that is heading for Churchill Downs this year. The question is, is there some mysterious force being emitted from the Twin Spires that is drawing all these grays to Louisville? There just might be.

Blue Grass Contenders Work at Keeneland

Dogwood Stable's Limehouse, the recent winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III), breezed an easy five furlongs just after the track renovation on Sunday morning, his final work for the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) to be run Saturday.

Hooked on Smarty

I got hooked on Smarty Jones just off his name--then really got interested off his run in the Count Fleet when he stumbled out of the gate, swept three wide around the field and cleared by five.

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