One major upset and the matching of two career records headlined the 18th edition of Louisiana Champions Day Dec. 13 at Fair Grounds.
Team USA beat Team World by the slimmest of margins, 10 points to 9 1/2, in the Nov. 15 inaugural "Rider Cup" for charity at Churchill Downs.
Fair Grounds continues its increasingly exciting growth pattern when the 137th live Thoroughbred meeting at the nation's third-oldest racetrack gets underway Nov. 14.
Shut off along the hedge in the final furlong, Nistle's Crunch altered his path sharply for jockey Robby Albarado and caught favored Seaspeak in the final yards to win the $112,900 Commonwealth Turf (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs Nov. 9.
America once ruled the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). But "quoth the raven, 'Nevermore.' " With a synthetic surface introduced for the first time this year, leveling the playing field for the Europeans, Raven's Pass, like Edgar Allen Poe's mysterious bird, came tapping at our chamber door...then busted it down.
Zayat Stables' Thorn Song broke to an early lead and never relinquished it, wiring a full field in the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) Oct. 4 on the Keeneland turf. The victory earned the 5-year-old son of Unbridled's Song an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Mile later this month at Santa Anita.
In her last start, David and Jill Heerensperger's Indyanne lunged at the start and missed winning Saratoga's Victory Ride Stakes (gr. III) by just half a length. At Keeneland Oct. 4, she got the perfect break and trip, and returned to her winning ways in the $300,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (gr. III) on the Keeneland Polytrack.
Curlin made racing history by winning the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (gr.I) at Belmont Park in New York Sept. 27. Curlin's victory, which was worth $450,000, made the colt the richest North American-based Thoroughbred of all-time and the first to vault past the $10-million mark.
Eight-year-old gelding Silverfoot headlines a field of 10 in the $200,000 Kentucky Cup Turf (gr. IIIT), the highlight of Kentucky Downs' six-day turf meet which begins Sept. 13.
Defending Horse of the Year Curlin made his return to dirt racing in the $500,000 Woodward Stakes (gr. I) a successful one at Saratoga Aug. 30, but he had to work to get the job done.
In what amounted to a little more than a workout, Hystericalady defended her title in the $300,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes (gr. II) with ease Aug. 24, romping to an eight-length victory on the Monmouth Park dirt at odds of 1-9.
In one of the most thrilling finishes in the race's 139-year history, WinStar Farm's Colonel John nosed out Mambo in Seattle to win the $1-million Travers Stakes Presented by Shadwell Farm (gr. I) Aug. 23 at Saratoga.
Run Away and Hide stayed unbeaten in three starts and earned the second graded stakes victory of his young career, edging clear of Break Water Edison in mid-stretch to win the $150,000 Saratoga Special (gr. II) by 1 1/4 lengths Aug. 14.
In an effort to raise money for The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, the Race Track Chaplaincy of New York has organized a basketball game between members of the Saratoga jockey colony and the Texas Titans, a 6th grade Texas-based AAU team.
The $112,900 Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III) was both good and bad for trainer Steve Asmussen, who saddled the overlooked Jardin to victory over the sloppy Saratoga main track even as favored Ocean Colors faded to last in the test of 2-year-old fillies July 23.
Einstein, with a pair of grade I wins on the turf and a gallant second to reigning Horse of the Year Curlin under his belt so far this year, will be a short price Friday in the one-mile Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs.
Runner-up when racing against colts in her last start, Garden District used that experience to her advantage in the $122,500 Debutante (gr. III), as she put away Simplify after a brief duel and went on to win by a half-length June 28 at Churchill Downs.
Acoma went from maiden to graded stakes winner in less than six weeks, as the 3-year-old Empire Maker filly took over inside the sixteenth-pole in the $100,000 Dogwood Stakes (gr. III) May 31 at Churchill Downs and went on to win by a half-length under Robby Albarado.
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) contender Denis of Cork tuned up for a run at unbeaten Triple Crown challenger Big Brown on June 7 with a strong five-furlong workout May 26 at Churchill Downs.
Lantana Mob equaled the six-furlong track record at Pimlico May 17 when he ran down Silver Edition for a neck victory in the $100,000 Hirsch Jacobs Stakes (gr. III) on the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) undercard.
The Helen Pitts-trained Einstein went to the head of the class in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT), one race before the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 3 at Churchill Downs.
Run Away and Hide stalked the early pace, took over just at the top of the lane, and drew clear to post a 2 1/2-length victory in the Kentucky Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) May 1 at Churchill Downs.
Despite entering the May 2 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at 20-1 on the morning line, Awesome Chic is a filly that should not be overlooked. She has the class and the pedigree to pull an upset in the 1 1/8-mile race for the lilies at Churchill Downs.
Through the support of many in the horseracing industry, jockey Justin Vitek will have $60,000 to help defray costs stemming from his battle with acute myelogenous leukemia. About 250 horsemen and racing fans gathered at the Kentucky Derby Museum April 21 for dinner, drinks, and live and silent auctions.
Kinsman Stable's Majestic Warrior, winner of the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga last summer in his second career start, heads a field of 10 3-year-olds entered in the 84th running of the $100,000-added Derby Trial at Churchill Downs April 26.
Back on a fast dirt track for the first time since last summer, the grade I winner Hystericalady left her rivals in the Oaklawn Park dust while winning the $171,500 Azeri Breeders' Cup (gr. III) on March 9.
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's Magic Sunset pressed the pace, stuck a head in front at the top of the stretch, and went on to win by 1 Â¾ lengths in the $200,000 Premier Night Championship Stakes, the featured event of an all Louisiana-bred stakes program at Delta Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel Feb. 2.
Royal Strand colt destroys the field by 15 1/4 lengths in the Louisiana Champions Day Classic Dec. 8 at Fair Grounds.
Millennium Farms' Rolling Sea won for the sixth time this year, stalking the pace and then taking a clear lead in the stretch before holding on to win the $200,000 Chilukki Stakes (gr. II) by a half-length at Churchill Downs Nov. 3.
With Curlin around, Zanjero will never be the star of Steve Asmussen's highly successful stable, but the Winchell Thoroughbreds' 3-year-old colt has enjoyed a tremendously productive sophomore season. He punctuated his year by exceeding the $1 million mark in earnings with a convincing victory in the $510,600 Indiana Derby (gr. II) at Hoosier Park on the night of Oct. 6.
In a race reminiscent of Rags to Riches beating Curlin by a head in this year's Belmont Stakes, the Sept. 30 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (gr. I) at Belmont Park featured Curlin catching favored Lawyer Ron in the final yards for a neck win.
Wicked Style may have been light on experience heading into the $198,500 Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr. III) but the 2-year-old showed plenty of grit, fighting back after being overtaken in the stretch to defeat Riley Tucker by a head at Arlington Park Sept. 1.
Lattice rallied in the middle of the course to get the lead in the final strides, winning the $250,000 American Derby (gr. IIT) presented by Jack Daniel's by three-quarters of a length over Going Ballistic on the turf Saturday at Arlington Park.
Calvin Borel, winner of this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Bands (gr. I) aboard Street Sense, won the Inaugural "Cajun Jockey Challenge" at Evangeline Downs on Friday night.
Calvin Borel and Robby Albarado, the winning jockeys in this year's first two legs of the Triple Crown, are set to renew their rivalry in the inaugural Cajun Jockey Challenge at Evangeline Downs Racetrack July 13.
Robert E. Masterson's homebred Sheets struck the front for jockey Robby Albarado at the quarter pole and drew away in the stretch for a 4 1/4-length upset of favored Sindy With an S in the $291,750 Azalea Breeders' Cup (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies on Summit of Speed card at sloppy Calder Race Course Saturday.
Merriefield Farm's favored Always First, second in his last two starts, fought pacesetter Cloudy's Knight in a long drive to the wire, prevailing in the final stride by a nose in the $200,000 Stars and Stripes Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT), the traditional Fourth of July headliner at Arlington Park.
Calvin Borel, regular rider of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Street Sense, and Robby Albarado, rider of Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Curlin, head up this year's list of nominees for ESPN's ESPY Awards in the top jockey category.
West Point Thoroughbreds' Flashy Bull left the field behind leaving the far turn, then dug deep in the final sixteenth to hold off the fast closing Magna Graduate and Diamond Stripes to win the $829,500 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) in a surprise at Churchill Downs Saturday.
Quite a Bride made every pole a winning one while scoring a 2 1/4-length win in course record time in the $164,100 Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) for fillies and mares on the Churchill Downs turf course Saturday.
- By Steve Haskin
Call it fate. Call it kismet. Whatever title you prefer, Rags to Riches seemed destined to give trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez their first classic winner.
Joseph Lacombe Stable's Slew's Tizzy used a perfect stalking trip under Robby Albarado to capture the $300,000 Lone Star Derby (gr. III) for 3-year-olds as a slight favorite on a sloppy track Saturday in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Slew's Tizzy, a hard luck colt on the Fair Grounds Triple Crown path this spring, woke up when returned to Polytrack Saturday, going virtually gate to wire to spring a 40-1 upset in the $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland.
Undefeated Curlin made like Smarty Jones in winning Saturday's $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) and heads into next month's Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) as the potential favorite following his record 10 1/2-length demolition job at Oaklawn Park.
After completing a sensational Fair Grounds meet March 25 by running away with the riding title, 17-year-old Joseph Talamo hopes to make a name for himself on the top New York circuit.
Curlin, coming off a dazzling maiden debut victory by nearly 13 lengths six weeks ago, was equally impressive Saturday, leaving his field behind while capturing the $300,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park in his first start for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Midnight Cry Stable's grade I winner Einstein came from the parking lot to capture the $500,000 Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Fair Grounds turf course Saturday.
Brittlyn Stable's Brother Bean set a track record when he covered 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.09 in Thursday's first race at Fair Grounds Race Course.
Lawrence Goichman's odds-on choice J'ray, knocking on the door since November, earned her first graded stakes win in a romp over eight rivals in the $118,000 Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares on the Fair Grounds turf Saturday.
J. Paul Reddam's Southern California shipper Notional turned in an impressive effort in winning Saturday's $300,000 Risen Star (gr. III), a race marred by a fall that spoiled whatever chance the heavy favorite Circular Quay had of winning the 3-year-old test at Fair Grounds.
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