Champion Halfbridled will lead a field of eight in Thursday's $250,000 Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland. Halfbridled was entered but scratched from the April 3 Ashland Stakes (gr.I) after tying up after a morning gallop.
Though knocked of the Ashland (gr. I) Saturday by a minor ailment, Wertheimer Farm's Halfbridled did little to shake the confidence of racing fans that made the reigning 2-year-old filly champion the 4-1 favorite in the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2004 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager.
Juvenile champion Action This Day will make his longest excursion when he ships April 5 to Keeneland for the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on April 10, but Richard Mandella does not anticipate any problems with his 3-year-old.
As happy as trainer Dick Mandella was after winning the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), that's how crushed he was moments after the race when he was told on the phone by his son, Gary, in California, that his longtime friend and mentor, V.J. "Lefty" Nickerson, had died in his sleep just hours earlier.
South African trainer Mike de Kock had a 100% record at the Dubai World Cup meeting, after the victories of Ipi Tombe and Victory Moon last year. He maintained that faultless form when his Lundy's Liability won the UAE Derby (UAE-II), following in the hoofprints of stable companion Victory Moon.
Retired New York trainer V.J. "Lefty" Nickerson, a huge influence on the career of Hall of Fame conditioner Richard Mandella, died March 26 in his sleep at his Smithtown, N.Y., home.
Trainer Richard Mandella is sending both champion Halfbridled and Minister Eric to compete at Keeneland. Halfbridled is pointed toward the April 2 Ashland Stakes (gr. I) and Minister Eric is scheduled to run in the April 10 Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Triple Crown candidate Minister Eric mad his long-awaited return to the races Saturday with a third-place finish in a $49,000 allowance/optional claiming event for 3-year-olds on the downhill turf course at Santa Anita.
Juvenile champion Action This Day heads a field of 11 3-year-olds in the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) Sunday at Santa Anita.
Pleasantly Perfect, scheduled to leave Saturday for the $6 million Dubai World Cup March 27, worked seven furlongs in company Thursday at Santa Anita in 1:25 3/5 under Alex Solis.
Eclipse champion Action This Day breezed a half-mile in :47 3/5 Tuesday in preparation for Sunday's San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), in which he will face St Averil and the Bob Baffert pair of Odds On and Preachinatthebar.
Trainer Richard Mandella announced Tuesday that Gary Stevens will be aboard Halfbridled on Saturday when the 2-year-old filly champ makes her long-awaited 3-year-old debut in the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I).
Trainer Richard Mandella, who last year saddled Halfbridled and Action This Day to wins in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), respectively, will look to make history this weekend by scoring a weekend double in Saturday's $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) and Sunday's $250,000 San Felipe Stakes (gr. I) with his pair of juvenile champions.
Pleasantly Perfect, scratched from Saturday's Santa Anita Handicap due to a fever, "is doing good," trainer Richard Mandella reported Sunday morning.
Pleasantly Perfect, the 6-5 morning line favorite for Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), was declared from the race Friday morning due to a fever, trainer Richard Mandella said.
Adhering to the belief that timing is everything, Richard Mandella said Sunday morning that Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) runner-up Minister Eric could make his 3-year-old debut on the Santa Anita turf in the $100,000 Baldwin Stakes (gr. IIIT) at about 6 ½ furlongs on Feb. 28.
Santa Catalina Stakes winner St Averil worked five furlongs in an easy 1:02 over Santa Anita's fast main track Sunday morning, after which trainer Rafael Becerra confirmed that the son of Saint Ballado's next start would be the March 13 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II).
Turf star Johar, unraced since finishing 16th in the Nov. 30 Japan Cup (gr. IT), had his first workout of the new year on Friday, logging three furlongs handily in :36 2/5 over Santa Anita's fast main track.
Undefeated Eclipse Award champion Halfbridled is on course to make her 3-year-old debut in next Sunday's $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at one mile.
Action This Day, the champion 2-year-old male of 2003, faces a likely field of six other 3-year-olds in Sunday's $75,000 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita.
Diamond A Racing's Pleasantly Perfect, with regular rider Alex Solis in the saddle, returned from his Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) victory in October in fine form, posting a four-length victory in the $250,000 San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Saturday.
Red-hot trainer Richard Mandella sent his second-stringer to Fair Grounds for Sunday's $100,000 Whirlaway Handicap (gr. III) and favored Olmodavor responded with a well-timed victory for jockey Corey Lanerie.
Trainer Richard Mandella says Action This Day is progressing nicely toward the juvenile champion's 2004 debut in the $75,000 Sham Stakes Feb. 8 at Santa Anita.
A new, improved version of Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Pleasantly Perfect will make his first start since winning the $4-million race last October when he goes to the gate for Saturday's $250,000 San Antonio Handicap (gr. II), also at Santa Anita.
Undefeated Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies champion Halfbridled worked six furlongs on Santa Anita's fast main track Thursday morning in 1:14 2/5 under jockey Alex Solis as she prepared for her 2004 debut in the $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) at one mile on Feb. 15.
Stonerside Stables' Congaree will defend his title in the $250,000 San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) Saturday at Santa Anita despite being assigned 124 pounds for his 6-year-old seasonal debut. He'll spot three pounds to Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Pleasantly Perfect, who also makes his initial start as a 6-year-old.
Action This Day, looking to launch his 2004 campaign, will pass on Saturday's Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) and point to the Sham Stakes on Feb. 8, trainer Richard Mandella said Sunday morning.
B. Wayne Hughes' Action This Day, winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Santa Anita last Oct. 25, is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in the $150,000 Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) at 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 17.
Undefeated Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies champion Halfbridled breezed six furlongs in 1:17 1/5 on Santa Anita's fast main track Thursday morning in preparation for her 3-year-old debut in the $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) at one mile on Feb. 15.
William Nack, Jay Hovdey, and Frank Anderson will collect media Eclipse awards from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association during the Jan. 26 dinner program in Hollywood, Fla.
Diamond A Racing Corporation's Pleasantly Perfect, last seen winning the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), continues down the road to his first start since winning on the World Thoroughbred Championship card by working six furlongs in 1:12 1/5 with jockey Alex Solis aboard at Santa Anita Tuesday morning.
Olmodavor will be five years old when he runs in Saturday's $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap (Gr. II) for older horses, but the son A.P. Indy will be making only his 10th career start.
A decision on whether to finally retire the classy 8-year-old Redattore certainly became easier for owner Luis Alfredo Tuanay after the Brazilian-bred horse stormed to a two-length victory in the $150,000 San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Santa Anita turf Sunday.
One of the nation's premier turf horses returns to action Sunday when Brazilian-bred Redattore carries high weight of 122 pounds in the $150,000 San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Park.
Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella continued his dominance in the Native Diver Handicap when Olmodavor won the grade III race Saturday. The win by the Wertheimer Farm homebred marked a record seventh Native Diver win for Mandella.
A competitive and well-matched field of eight will contest the 25th edition of the $100,000 Native Diver Handicap (gr. III) Saturday at Hollywood Park.
The gritty 8-year-old Redattore hadn't been himself in his last three starts. But with Julie Krone in the irons on Saturday, the Brazilian-bred bay showed all of his former fight, holding off favored Irish Warrior by three-quarters of a length in the $400,000 Citation Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park Saturday.
If Johar becomes America's first Japan Cup (Jpn-I) winner since Golden Pheasant won the 12-furlong international turf race in 1991, he'll not only have to overcome a top-class field that is headed by Japanese star Symboli Kris S. He will, for the first time in his career, be tested on a racetrack that is anything other than fast or firm.
Irish Warrior, who rallied boldly for fourth in the recent Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), should be a solid candidate to provide trainer Wally Dollase with a record fifth victory in the $400,000 Citation Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park on Saturday. Also on the card: the $100,000 Generous (gr. IIIT) for 2-year-olds.
The Tin Man, the probable favorite for the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. IT) Saturday, will be forced to miss the race after suffering an ankle injury at Santa Anita.
The March 27 Dubai World Cup, worth $6 million, has attracted 84 nominations, including Pleasantly Perfect, Medaglia d'Oro, Funny Cide, and Congaree.
Debuting trainer Leonard Powell, 27, plans to send out his first starter, Labirinto, in the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup, a grade I test at 12 furlongs at Hollywood Park on Nov. 22. "I've got to start somewhere," said Powell with a chuckle.
This is the second in a series of early looks at next year's potential Derby horses. Todd Pletcher and Richard Mandella hold hot hands on opposite ends of the country. The next report will focus on Bob "See me in January" Baffert and the Godolphin/Darley team.
Richard Mandella, who made history by winning four Breeders' Cup races on Oct. 25, closed out the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita in style Sunday by winning the $74,150 Avigaition Stakes with 7-5 favorite Crazy Ensign.
The Tin Man, fourth in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), worked five furlongs Friday in 1:02 4/5 under exercise rider Crystal Brown.
Johar, who made history with High Chaparral as the first to produce a dead-heat in the 20 years of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, will make his next start in the Japan Cup (Jpn-I) at Tokyo Racecourse on Nov. 30, trainer Richard Mandella said Wednesday.
By Ray Paulick -- The 20th running of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships had everything a racing fan could ask for: heart-pounding finishes; championship performances, boxcar mutuels, and human interest stories.
Dick Mandella's remarkable achievement of four Breeders' Cup victories highlighted an unforgettable afternoon of racing. But there were other heroes, and other thoughts to ponder.
Connections of most of the nine winning horses (counting one dead-heat) from Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships were non-committal Sunday about future plans, but there is a possibility one or more of the horses could run again this year.
Trainer Richard Mandella remained non-committal Sunday about plans for his four Breeders' Cup winners, including Pleasantly Perfect, winner of the Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
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