Trainer Tim Ritchey's decision to skip Saratoga's Honorable Miss Handicap (gr. II) with Akronism in favor of the $159,085 Royal North Stakes (Can-III) at Woodbine Aug. 2 proved to be a smart one when the Robert S. Evans homebred bolted to a 3 3/4-length win on the grass.
Moon Catcher, a winner at Delaware Park in her last start, came right back to go gate-to-wire in the $505,600 Delaware Oaks (gr. II) Saturday, desperately holding off the surging Winning Point by a head at the wire.
Eight items connected with 3-year-old champion Afleet Alex are to be auctioned off in an e-bay fundraiser for Hurricane Katrina victims on Thursday.
Along with the connections of 3-year-old champion Afleet Alex, the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association has announced a fundraising plan to benefit hurricane relief efforts.
Cash Is King's Afleet Alex, dramatic winner of the Preakness and runaway winner of the Belmont Stakes (both gr. I), was operated on Wednesday at the New Jersey Equine Clinic after suffering a condylar fracture. The 3-year-old son of Northern Afleet is now out of consideration for the upcoming Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) and Travers Stakes (gr. I) but could return for a fall campaign.
The following is a potpourri of impressions, observations, afterthoughts, and memorable quotes from this year's Triple Crown, which proved to be a pretty wild ride. There was nothing ordinary about the cast of characters and the unusual paths they took to get to Churchill Downs and beyond.
Under the new raceday security protocol in effect at Belmont Park, all starters for the 137th Belmont Stakes (gr. I) must be on the Belmont backstretch no later than noon Friday. At that time, security officers will be in place to watch each entrant.
Preakness (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex, the likely favorite for the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 11, arrived without incident at Belmont Park Saturday at approximately 4:30 p.m.
A suspected case of strangles will prevent Preakness (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex, the leader of the 3-year-old division and likely favorite for the 137th Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on June 11, from arriving at Belmont Park on Saturday as was previously scheduled.
Trainer Tim Ritchey reported Sunday morning that Afleet Alex appeared to have emerged from his eventful 4 3/4-length victory in Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) in fine physical condition.
Tim Ritchey and Jeremy Rose, who hope to win the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) with Afleet Alex, won a stakes on the undercard Saturday, taking the $50,000 Murmur Farm Starter Handicap with Testy Guy.
Handicappers aren't the only ones who have questions prior to a race. Trainers do, too.
Afleet Alex, the only contender for the May 21 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) currently at Pimlico, went out onto the main track twice Saturday morning.
After three days of mild exercise in the barn, Jerry and Ann Moss' Giacomo, the surprise winner of the 131st Kentucky Derby (gr. I), returned to the Churchill Downs track Wednesday for the first time since his stunning victory.
Trainer Tim Ritchey confirmed Wednesday that Afleet Alex will be the first Preakness (gr. I) shipper to arrive at the Pimlico stakes barn. The third place finisher in Saturday's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is to get on a van Wednesday morning at Churchill and is expected at Old Hilltop in the late afternoon.
As a budding athlete in grade school, Tim Ritchey recalls, he did "two-a-day" drills as a member of the football team. Now, Ritchey is applying those lessons learned at a young age, along with lessons learned as a trainer of show horses and a healthy dose of what he calls "common sense," in his training of Afleet Alex, one of the favorites for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Afleet Alex gave Oaklawn Park its second major contender for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) in as many years with his smashing win Saturday in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II).
Favored Afleet Alex bounced back from the worst race of his career, a last-place finish in the Rebel (gr. III) a month ago, to win the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) as much the best Saturday before 71,010 at Oaklawn Park.
Afleet Alex, who finished last as the 3-5 favorite in Saturday's Rebel (gr. III), was scoped following the race and found to be suffering from a lung infection. Trainer Tim Ritchey said the colt is still being pointed for the April 16 Arkansas Derby (gr. II).
Cash Is King Stable's Afleet Alex, winner of the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) and runner-up in the voting for 2-year-old champion, had his first work of the year at Oaklawn Park Wednesday, drilling a sharp half in :47 flat with jockey Jeremy Rose aboard. It was the second fastest of 40 works at the distance.
Trainer Tim Ritchey confirmed Monday morning that Afleet Alex, runner-up for the 2-year-old championship, will have his first work of his 3-year-old season later this week at Oaklawn Park.
Leading rider John Velazquez has been named to replace Jeremy Rose aboard Cash is King's Afleet Alex, a candidate for an Eclipse Award as top 2-year-old male, in his quest for the 2005 Kentucky Derby.
Afleet Alex, the 2-year-old colt who amuses himself by playing with a blue rubber ball suspended in his stall at Lone Star Park, showed his affinity for the Grand Prairie track Monday when he zipped five furlongs in :58 2/5.
Trainer Todd Pletcher confirmed that Champagne (gr. I) winner Proud Accolade would make his next start in the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Lone Star Park.
The unbeaten Afleet Alex, who demolished a deep field in Saratoga's Sanford (gr. II) on the second day of the meet, breezed a 'bullet' half-mile over a muddy track at Delaware Park this morning in :46 2/5.
Separato swept from last to first with a dazzling closing kick to post a convincing five-length win Saturday in the $100,000 Larry Riviello Presidents Cup, Philadelphia Park's major prep for the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II).
Gimmeawink earned his first stakes win and fourth victory in seven career starts, taking Saturday's $50,000 Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel Park. The 3-year-old son of Elusive Quality completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.07 to notch his first win in a two-turn race.
Together Mark Shuman and Tim Ritchey train 50% of the entrants for Saturday's R.R.M. Carpenter Jr. Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park.
Win More Stable's Marciano, who was entered by trainer Tim Ritchey in Sunday's Jock La Belle Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park, was scratched from the race and is now considered likely to start in the Preakness on Saturday at Pimlico.
Win More Stable's Marciano rallied in the stretch at Pimlico Saturday to catch pacesetter Talk Is Money en route to a 1 1/4-length victory in the $145,500 Federico Tesio Stakes. Buring Roma came home another 1 3/4 lengths back in third. Polar Ray was last in the four-horse field.
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