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.
William S. Farish's homebred Student Council blazed to a 3 1/4-length victory in Saturday night's $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston Race Park.
Front-running Connor's Call, owned by Valene Farms, won the $91,485 colts and geldings division, while Marcia LaMarche's Anything But Quiet came from off the pace to win the $93,685 fillies division of the Louisiana Futurity Friday at Fair Grounds.
- By Claire Novak
With just one week remaining until the end of Churchill Downs' fall meet, members of the Louisville jockey colony are making plans for the upcoming winter months.
Smitty's Sunshine, with Robby Albarado aboard, pulled clear following a three-way duel for the early lead and then held off a late charge by Beautiful Bets for a three-quarter length victory in Sunday's $116,400 Pent Up Kiss Stakes for fillies and mares at Churchill Downs.
Stan Fulton's It's No Joke settled just off the pace and took charge in the stretch to win the $232,800 Emirates Airline Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) by a neck at Churchill Downs Saturday.
He was reluctant to load, but once John C. Oxley's Strong Contender got rolling, there was no stopping him. The 3-year-old son of Maria's Mon swept past the 4-5 favorite Lawyer Ron to win the $486,500 Super Derby (gr. II) at Harrah's Louisiana Downs Saturday.
Cryptoquip, whose 11 3/4-length victory in the Queen City Oaks at River Downs was wiped out when the race was declared no contest because of a starting gate malfunction, officially earned black type for the first time by winning the $144,500 Arlington Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. III) by a half-length.
Kingship, a son of the 2000 Arlington Classic (gr. IIIT) victor King Cugat, gamely held on to win the 2006 edition by a nose over the fast-closing Proudinsky.
My Typhoon, ridden by Robby Albarado, rallied from third to grab the lead in the final furlong and score a 1 ¾-length victory in the $115,000 Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares on the Churchill Downs turf Saturday.
Mill House's homebred Brilliant, the 4-5 favorite, kicked his way to the front at the sixteenth pole and stayed unbeaten on the turf in three starts with a half-length victory in the Jefferson Cup (gr. IIT) for 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs Saturday.
Changing Weather, with Robby Albarado aboard, rallied from sixth and held off Court Folly in a duel of stretch runners to score a head victory in Saturday's $109,800 Matt Winn for 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs.
E. J. Sukley's Purim, a multiple graded stakes winner on turf and dirt, pouncedd on the leader in the stretch en route to a 3 ¼-length victory in the inaugural $100,000 Avers Wexler Illinois Owners Stakes on Sunday at Arlington Park.
"I worked his daddy out of that barn," jockey Robby Albarado said the morning of April 29, pointing to barn 43 on the Churchill Downs backside.
Arthur Hancock III's Wanderin Boy shot to the lead and never relinquished it en route to a commanding 5 1/4-length win in Keeneland's Thursday feature, the $150,000 Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III).
Ermine and Press Camp both turned in Thursday works for a start in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) May 5. Ermine worked at Churchill Downs while Press Camp worked at her Bay Meadows base.
Fort Prado lived up to his 4-5 favoritism in Saturday night's $193,000 Connally Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IIIT) at Sam Houston Race Park by winning his third consecutive stakes and second graded stakes of the year for owners Patricia, Ryan, and David Block.
While there will be no rematch between Round Pond and Happy Ticket in Saturday's $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I), the 1 1/16-mile race will not lack for excitement, with a field of six older fillies and mares scheduled to run.
Canadian invader Top Notch Lady brought the snow with her Saturday at Turfway Park and came away with an upset victory in the $150,000 Bourbonette Breeders' Cup (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies.
Edward Sukley's homebred Purim tracked the pressed pacesetter Rockport Harbor and 80-1 shot Chippewa Trail coming off the far turn and assumed command in upper stretch, rolling to victory in the $150,000 Razorback Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park Sunday.
Team Block's always-tough Fort Prado ran closer to the pacesetter Onthedeanslist this time around and registered a neck victory over his rival in the $189,800 Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Harrah's Louisiana Downs turf Saturday.
The combination of trainer Neil Howard and jockey Robby Albarado reunited in the winner's circle with Private Gift in the $75,000 Truly Bound Breeders' Cup Handicap, the Christmas Eve feature of the Fair Grounds meet at Harrah's Louisiana Downs.
Mill House's favored America Alive, last of a tightly bunched field at the head of the stretch, rallied on the outside to get up in the final stride, nosing G P Fleet to win the $167,700 River City Handicap (gr. IIIT) Sunday on the Churchill Downs turf course.
Except for many of the faces, very little is "usual" about Fair Grounds' 134th season of Thoroughbred racing that opens Saturday.
Favored My Typhoon overcame a sluggish start to open up a two-length lead in the stretch but was all out to hold off the furious charge of Isla Cozzene by a nose to win the $166,950 Mrs. Revere (gr. IIT) for 3-year-old fillies on the Churchill Downs turf Saturday.
Stalking favorite Bending Strings disposed of Prospective Saint in upper stretch and won the $169,350 Chilukki Stakes (gr. II) for fillies and mares as she pleased Sunday at Churchill Downs, snapping a nine-race losing streak in the process.
A competitive field of nine entrants was taken by Racing Secretary Ben Huffman for Saturday's $150,000 Fayette Stakes (gr. III) scheduled to be run at a 1 1/8 miles on the Keeneland main track. Eight of the nine horses entered are already stakes winners, six of which were graded wins.
William S. Farish's homebred filly Reunited, teamed again with Robby Albarado, overtook the faltering pacesetter Forest Music in the final 100 yards and staved off the charging outsider Miss Terrible by a head to win the $300,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland Sunday.
Stony Oak Farm's Elusive Jazz, making his graded stakes debut, rolled to victory with a well-timed ride from Robby Albarado in the $266,500 Phoenix Breeders' Cup (gr. III) at Keeneland.
Keeneland announced Oct. 4 that the first 5,000 patrons attending each Thursday of the fall and spring meets would receive special jockey prints, with proceeds going to benefit charity.
Fourth choice Flying Glitter broke sharply from the gate and wired the field on her way to a comfortable victory in the $405,100 Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. III) Friday night at Hoosier Park.
Five jockeys named as un-indicted co-conspirators will have their fate decided by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.
- By Tom Precious
Two senior New York Racing Association officials, including a onetime top jockey, were indicted Sept. 21 in state court on fraud and other charges as part of a scheme in which jockey weights were fabricated at NYRA tracks.
Patricia Bozano's Ay Caramba easily won the $194,000 Caesar Rodney Handicap on the turf at Delaware Park Saturday over three rivals.
Brookdale Farm owner-turned-trainer Fred Seitz recorded his first win as trainer of record when his 2-year-old filly May Night scored a length win in Friday's P.G. Johnson Stakes at Saratoga.
There was a big shadow cast at Saratoga Friday, and it was Shadow Cast who was responsible as the 4-year-old Smart Strike filly upset heavily favored Ashado in the $400,000 Personal Ensign (gr. I) at Saratoga.
Effectual, with Robby Albarado aboard, took control soon after the opening eighth of a mile and then drew off down the stretch to hold off the late closing Joint Effort in Saturday's $112,600 Debutante (gr. III) for 2-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs.
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