Puzzlement, a multiple graded stakes winner as a homebred for Joseph V. Shields Jr., was euthanized June 16 at Palm Beach Equine near West Palm Beach, Fla., because of a tendon infection.
The first major showdown of the 2004 season takes place at Gulfstream Park Saturday as Funny Cide, last year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner, meets Medaglia d'Oro, one of the best older horses in training, in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) at 1 1/8 miles.
The race for 2004's leading older horse gets underway with the Feb. 7 $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park. The Donn Handicap is expected to lure a field of six or seven of the top handicap horses in the nation, led by Sackatoga Stable's classic winning champion Funny Cide.
Ken McPeek could have starters in the Canadian Turf and the Suwanee River Handicaps. Allen Jerkens is pointing both Bowman's Band and Puzzlement toward the Donn.
House Party is scheduled to start next on the Jan. 24 Sunshine Millions Ocala Breeders' Sales Distaff, even though she hasn't won at the mile distance. Proud Man is also scheduled to run that day.
Joseph V. Shields Jr.'s homebred Puzzlement wore down stablemate Bowman's Band in deep stretch to win the $100,000 Hal's Hope Handicap (gr. III) by a neck, giving trainer H. Allen Jerkens his third win on opening day at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Mineshaft, clearly the class of the field, shook off a stubborn Hold That Tiger in the stretch to draw away to an easy 4 1/4-length triumph in the $500,000 Woodward at Belmont Park Saturday.
Joseph V. Shields Jr.'s Puzzlement squeezed through a hole on the rail with jockey Jorge Chavez and went on to post a surprise victory over bridesmaid of the year Volponi in the $300,000 Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II).
Edmund Gann's Medaglia d'Oro withstood a determined rally from his rival Volponi in the stretch and pulled away for a one-length victory in the $750,000 Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga Saturday.
With handicap division leader Harlan's Holiday several thousand miles away in Dubai, John Oxley's favored Hero's Tribute took full advantage to tally an easy victory in Saturday's $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II).
John Oxley's Grade II winner Hero's Tribute has been installed as the lukewarm 5-to-2 morning-line favorite in a wide-open field of nine older horses set to go 1 1/4 miles in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
The conditions were perfect for Starlight Stable's favored Harlan's Holiday in Saturday's $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I), and the world's most famous Ohio-bred responded with a resounding victory.
Starlight Stable's Harlan's Holiday, who won last year's Florida Derby (gr. I), tries to complete a unique parlay at Gulfstream Park Saturday in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I).
Champion Storm Flag Flying breezed a half-mile in 50 3/5 at Gulfstream Park Wednesday...Florida Derby hopeful Senor Swinger also worked.
Boston Common bobbled coming out of the gate but quickly recovered to take control and score a five-length victory in the 133rd running of the one-mile Jerome Handicap (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park Saturday.
Medaglia d'Oro holds off Repent in the Saratoga slop to win the Midsummer Derby by a half-length.
Joseph Shield's Puzzlement breezed three furlongs in :36 1/5 on the main track at Saratoga Racecourse Friday morning in preparation for Saturday's $1-million, grade I Travers Stakes.
Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) winner Medaglia d'Oro has been installed the odds-on 2-5 morning line choice to win Saturday's $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga.
Puzzlement's scheduled final breeze for the Travers (gr. I) ended abruptly near the top of the stretch Tuesday morning when jockey Jean-Luc Samyn was forced to stop the colt quickly to avoid colliding with two horses and a man on the track at Saratoga.
Several horses were out Monday morning in their final works for Saturday's $1 million Travers (gr.I), Saratoga's showpiece event. Both Nothing Flat and Quest breezed for trainer Nick Zito, and each was clocked in 1:03 2/5 on the Oklahoma Training Track in separate moves.
Citing a desire to give his star filly a break, trainer Bobby Frankel said Sunday morning that beaten Alabama favorite You will not race again this year.
Riva Ridge (gr .II) and Dwyer (gr .II) winner Gygistar is a on course for the King's Bishop that is on the Travers Day program on Aug. 24.
<b>Saratoga Notebook: Migliore Eyes Return; Trainer Hess to Ship Kirtle, Dirty Trick; Lukas Turning it Around; Naming Ozzie</b>
After getting on a horse Wednesday morning for the first time since a frightening spill three days earlier, jockey Richard Migliore decided to take an extra day off before returning to competition.
Puzzlement stepped back into 3-year-old stakes picture Wednesday with an allowance victory and is now likely headed directly to the Aug. 24 Travers Stakes.
Bobby Frankel is entering the Saratoga season enthusiastic, optimistic and realistic...Stronach buys majority interest in Carson Hollow...Holiday Runner works...Puzzlement returns.
The white placard hanging outside Barn 30 along the Belmont Park backstretch reads: H. A. Jerkens Racing Stable. The H. stands for Harry, but it is seldom used. Allen Jerkens trains racehorses here. His workers call him, "The Chief."
Sunday Break and Puzzlement, the respective first- and second-place finishers in the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II), worked at Belmont Park on Monday in preparation for Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
On Saturday, Sunday Break will make his first start for Drysdale since finishing third in Aqueduct's Wood Memorial (gr. I) on April 13, when he goes to post in the $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at nine furlongs.
With the countdown on for War Emblem's possible date with history in the June 8 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the New York Racing Association has set up a strong stakes schedule that will keep everyone happy with a parade of top-quality racing until the big day arrives. In all, 13 stakes will be run between Saturday and the Belmont Stakes.
Add two more names to the list of Triple Crown nominees. The connections of recent winners Puzzlement and One Tuff Box both paid the necessary $6,000 to make their horses eligible to the May 4 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), May 18 Preakness (gr. I), and June 8 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
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