Multiple grade III-placed Racketeer, a gelded son of Awesome Again who won or placed in 26 of 52 career starts, is the newest resident at the Old Friends Thoroughbred retirement facility in Georgetown, Ky.
The top four finishers of Hollywood Park's July 19 Sunset Handicap (gr. IIT), including two-length winner Black Astor, return for the Aug. 30 Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) in Southern California.
Tiago makes his first start since he rallied from far back for a third-place finish in the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) when he takes on 10 rivals in the $200,000 San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Feb. 8.
Grade I winner Well Armed will make his first start since a ninth-place finish as the 6-5 choice in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile more than two months ago when he tackles the $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Jan. 10.
Racketeer, runner-up to Heatseeker in last year's Native Diver Handicap (gr. III), makes a one-week turnaround for trainer Barry Abrams in this year's $100,000-added renewal of the 1 1/8-mile Cushion Track event Dec. 6 at Hollywood Park.
Favored California Flag rebounded from a disappointing effort in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint last month with a front-running romp in the $150,000 Hollywood Turf Express Handicap (gr. IIIT) Nov. 29.
The Hollywood Turf Festival offers something for everyone over the long holiday weekend, and sprinters get their chance Nov. 29 in the $150,000 Turf Express Handicap (gr. IIIT) at six furlongs.
Grade II winner Well Armed makes his first start since running third in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) as one of the favorites in the $300,000 San Diego Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar July 19.
While the focus of the 2008 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) is rightfully on the powerhouse grade I victors Heatseeker and Tiago, there are seven graded winners in the field of 10 for the 1 1/4-mile classic.
Lava Man, who tied Native Diver's record of three straight Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) victories last year, won't be going for a fourth one on June 28.
Zanjero, who won more than $1 million last year as a 3-year-old, makes his 2008 debut for trainer Steve Asmussen as the 118-pound high weight in the $150,000 Razorback Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park March 8.
Synthetic surface standouts Student Council and Awesome Gem, the first two finishers in last summer's $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I), are expected to make their 2008 bow in the $250,000 San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) over Santa Anita's Cushion Track on Super Bowl Sunday Feb. 3.
Arson Squad joins six of the seven original starters for the Jan. 12 San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II). The event was canceled a week earlier at Santa Anita due to track conditions.
The Brazilian-bred Molengao, a two-time grade II winner last year for trainer Paulo Lobo, returns from a six-month layoff in the $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Jan. 5.
The 30-1 shot Heatseeker, group I placed in Ireland as a 2-year-old in 2005, broke through with his first graded victory while registering a giant surprise in the Native Diver Handicap (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Hollywood Park Dec. 8.
Ravel, whose Triple Crown hopes for trainer Todd Pletcher were ended in February by discovery of a hairline fracture, makes his second start on the comeback trail when he faces older horses in the $100,000 Native Diver Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Hollywood Park Cushion Track Dec. 8.
A field of ten 3-year-olds passed the entry box for Saturday's $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) at Hawthorne Race Course. With some serious graded stakes earnings and a May 6 date at Churchill Downs on the line, El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) winner Cause to Believe alights on the Cicero, Ill., track looking for a third straight added-money score.
This year's road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) has only a few more doors left to pass through. But the scene so far at each one has resembled a slapstick comedy routine where everyone tries to go through a door at the same time, and no one gets through.
Making his first start for last year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winning trainer John Shirreffs, overlooked A.P. Warrior came to life Saturday under jockey Corey Nakatani, turning back Point Determined late for a half-length victory in the $250,000 San Felipe (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita.
Never before have three grade III stakes and a grade II stakes come together on one afternoon to showcase so many major players on the Triple Crown trail. With the grade III Rebel, Gotham, and Tampa Bay Derby and grade II San Felipe drawing so many serious Derby horses, this surely will be a make or break weekend.
Bob and John, winner of the Sham Stakes (gr. III) six weeks ago, is one of three entries from trainer Bob Baffert in the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds Saturday at Santa Anita Park.
The California Derby is not known as a spawning ground for Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winners, and if the expected rain hits the San Francisco area and Racketeer is scratched, that likely will leave only Cause to Believe who has a legitimate shot at the Run for the Roses.
Northern California's top 3-year-old, Cause to Believe, heads a field of seven in Saturday's $100,000 California Derby at Golden Gate Fields.
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