The hole opened up for Rock Hard Ten near the eighth pole and the strapping colt burst through to win the $250,000 Malibu Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-olds Sunday in front of 31,874, the largest opening-day crowd since 1999 at Santa Anita Park.
Becky Witzman, assistant trainer for Richard Mandella for the past 6 ½ years, has joined HorseRacingTV as an analyst.
Action This Day, the Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male of 2003, is expected to make his turf debut in an allowance/optional claiming race on Sunday at Santa Anita Park. It would be his first start since finishing sixth in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) May 1.
Minister Eric, who ran third in his only race since an eventful 16th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) May 1, will wear blinkers when he tackles a competitive field in the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) Sunday at Santa Anita Park.
Jay Robbins, who made Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) history when he trained the great California-bred Tiznow to back-to-back victories in 2000-01, says Pleasantly Perfect "has an excellent chance" to match the feat Saturday.
Trainer Richard Mandella said defending $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge champion Pleasantly Perfect has "never been better" after a 1 1/8-mile workout in 1:50 3/5 at Santa Anita on Saturday.
Richard Mandella plans at least two more workouts at Santa Anita for Pleasantly Perfect before the defending Breeders' Cup Classic champion moves to Lone Star Park for defense of his crown on Oct. 30.
Multiple graded stakes winner Olmodavor, who had been nominated to the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) later this month, has been retired, trainer Richard Mandella said on Wednesday.
Pleasantly Perfect, rebounding strongly from defeat three weeks ago in the San Diego Handicap (gr. II), convincingly took the centerpiece of the Del Mar meeting, the Pacific Classic (gr. I), with a scintillating turn of foot the last quarter mile.
Roy C. Wood Jr. will retire from his position as executive director of the California Horse Racing Board effective at the end of 2004.
Roy C. Wood Jr. is expected to resign his position as executive director of the California Horse Racing Board at the CHRB's monthly meeting Thursday at Del Mar.
Pleasantly Perfect had trainer Richard Mandella smiling after seeing the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner work a sharp five furlongs in one minute flat Tuesday. Pleasantly Perfect, second in the San Diego Handicap (gr. II), is preparing for Del Mar's $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) Aug. 22.
Even the Score, bothered by foot problems, was dropped from consideration for the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) on Aug. 22 by trainer Vladimir Cerin Sunday. Another prospect for the race, Olmodavor is extremely questionable, according to trainer Richard Mandella.
Pleasantly Perfect always fires when he's fresh and the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner, out of action since winning the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) in March, is training as though he'll be ready for Sunday's $250,000 San Diego Handicap (gr. II) At Del Mar Sunday.
Trainer Dan Hendricks suffered spinal injuries in a motorcycle accident in Riverside County, Calif., on Wednesday.
Chilean-bred Noches De Rosa, who toppled standout mare Megahertz in the Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) on May 31, will take aim at a rare double in Hollywood Park's $200,000 Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles on turf Sunday.
Jockey Mike Smith, bumped from Azeri for Monday's Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I), notched a grade I win on Memorial Day anyway. He guided Noches De Rosa to an upset victory over a furiously closing Megahertz in the $324,250 Gamely Handicap (gr. IT) for fillies and mares at Hollywood Park.
Del Mar Futurity champion Siphonizer, a breathing problem corrected by surgery, continues his comeback Saturday in Hollywood Park's $150,000 Lazaro S. Barrera Memorial Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs.
Siphonizer can breathe normally again, which is bad news for his rivals in the $150,000 Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Hollywood Park on Saturday.
Spring Star, winner of the Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT) in her last start at Hollwood Park on April 25, has been retired, trainer Richard Mandella said Wednesday from his Santa Anita headquarters. Mandella also confirmed that grade I winner Redattore is retired to and will be sent to stud.
Want to stay young? Exercise horses, says Hollywood Park exercise rider Manuel Chirino, who turns 75 on May 20.
Olmodavor, who won the Native Diver Handicap (gr. II) at Hollywood Park in December, returns to that racetrack Saturday for Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II).
Halfbridled, the 2-year-old filly champion of 2003, was scratched from the April 30 Kentucky Oaks (gr. 1) the morning of the race after having tied up. She was scratched from the April 3 Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland for the same reason.
There were plenty of quips and comments from trainers and connections with Kentucky Derby (gr. I) hopefuls Tuesday night at the annual Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders trainers' dinner in Louisville.
Spring Star, a lightly-raced 5-year-old mare, won her 2004 debut over a field that included seven other graded stakes winners, turning in a sharp performance in the $110,900 Wilshire Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Hollywood Park turf Sunday.
Minister Eric prepped for a possible run in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) with a 4 1/2-length victory in an allowance race Wednesday at Keeneland.
With the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) only three weeks away, NBC Sports kicks off coverage of horseracing's 3-year-old picture on Saturday, with the 90-minute telecast of "NTRA Road to the Kentucky Derby."
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.
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