Rock Hard Ten

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Rock Hard Ten on Goodwood Trail to Classic

Pleasantly Perfect used the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) to prepare for his victory in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). Tiznow took the same route in 2000. Now trainer Richard Mandella hopes the $500,000 stakes at Oak Tree Saturday can be a springboard to the $4 million Classic for handicap star Rock Hard Ten.

Roman Ruler Staying Home for Goodwood

Fog City Stables' grade I winner Roman Ruler will not make the trip to New York for Saturday's Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), trainer Bob Baffert said, and will instead run in the $500,000 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Oak Tree at Santa Anita on the same day.

'Rock' Flattens Foes in Santa Anita Handicap

Often accused of failing to realize his awesome potential, Rock Hard Ten brought his true knockout punch to Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), pulling away for a decisive 1 3/4-length victory over the strongest field he is yet to face.

Rock Hard Ten Flexes Muscle in Malibu

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.

Analyzing the 3-Year-Old Scene in 2004

Whether you felt this year's 3-year-old crop was a good one or bad one, it certainly inspired a good deal of passion and provided a number of memorable moments. The following is a look back at the tumultuous 3-year-old season and its most notable performers, broken down into categories.

Illness Keeps Rock Hard Ten at Monmouth

Rock Hard Ten, who finished sixth behind Lion Heart as the 4-5 favorite in Sunday's $1-million Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I), was still at Monmouth Park Wednesday morning, and will not ship home to California until he fully recovers from a slight illness that surfaced after the race.

Lion Heart to Roar from Post 4 in Haskell

Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's Lion Heart, the 121-pound starting highweight for the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I), drew post 4 on Thursday for Sunday's race. He was quickly installed the 9-5 favorite for the $1-million Haskell, Monmouth Park's signature race of the season.

Big TV Weekend for Classic Division

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The Breeders' Cup Classic Division Powered by Dodge takes center stage this weekend as 3 year olds and up start serious preparation for the headline event at Lone Star Oct. 30. The action will be televised by the ESPN family of networks.

Lion Heart, Rock Hard Ten Set for Haskell

The second season begins in earnest for the 3-year-olds the weekend of Aug. 7-8, with the runnings of the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I), Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II), and West Virginia Derby (gr. III). If there is even the slimmest chance of dethroning Smarty Jones for the title, someone is going to have to run the table.

Rock Hard Ten Drills Swiftly for Haskell

Mercedes Stable's and Madeleine Paulson's Rock Hard Ten, runner-up to Smarty Jones in the Preakness Stakes, turned a swift and visually impressive five furlongs Saturday morning in a final tuneup for next Saturday's Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.

Rock Hard Ten Freshened, Bound for Swaps

Rock Hard Ten, one of the leading 3-year-olds in the nation, galloped on the main track at Hollywood Park on Thursday with an eye toward the $400,000 Swaps Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr.II) July 10.

Who Can Beat Smarty?

Yes, it is blasphemous to even think that Smarty Jones will be beaten in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). But it is still a horse race, and a mile and a half one to boot. And there will be some people who will try to win money and beat the favorite. Although I hate to even suggest that will happen, this column is for them. To all Smarty Jones fans who think this is a lock, read on at your own risk.

Friday Notes: Hennig Says Eddington Ready to Go

Eddington, the third-place finisher in the Preakness (gr. I) and 10-1 on the morning line for Saturday's 136th running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-olds, galloped a mile and three furlongs over Belmont's main track Friday. "He's ready," trainer Mark Hennig said. "He's doing as well as can be expected."

Eddington Again Shows Speed in Final Belmont Work

Mark Hennig was surprised when Eddington worked a blistering half-mile last week, so for his final Belmont Stakes (gr. I) prep, he equipped the colt with blinkers, put Jerry Bailey up, and worked him in company to see how aggressive he'd be off that last work. He found out when Eddington blazed five furlongs in :59 flat.

Rock Hard Ten Works For Belmont...On Third Try

It took Rock Hard Ten three tries, but he finally worked Tuesday morning for the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) with jockey Pat Valenzuela, who may or may not ride the colt in the Belmont, aboard. Even the distance and time of the work are uncertain, depending on how you look at it.

Rock Hard Ten Goes to Gate School

His connections hope that Rock Hard Ten, who threw a fit prior to being loaded into the starting gate for last week's Preakness (gr. I), could improve on his second-place finish in the race with some improved etiquette in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

Valenzuela Weighs Appeal to Ride in Belmont

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela, who was set to serve out the remaining 30 days for a recent suspension handed to him by the Calng Board during the month of June, is considering filing an appeal that will allow him to ride Mercedes Stables' and Madeleine Paulson's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) runner-up Rock Hard Ten in the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
 

Rock Hard Ten Settles in at Belmont Park

Mercedes Stables' Rock Hard Ten, runner-up to Smarty Jones in the Preakness Stakes (gr. II), has been getting accustomed to his new surroundings at Belmont Park since arriving here Monday. The son of Kris S. is preparing to start in the grade I, $1 million Belmont Stakes June 5 and will attempt to deny Smarty Jones the Visa Triple Crown.

Cinderella Story

By Steve Haskin -- Get the golden coach ready; we're heading to the ball again. After so many failed attempts, maybe this time Smarty Jones can fit into that elusive glass slipper, and Thoroughbred racing and the Visa Triple Crown finally can live happily ever after.

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