Gary and Mary West's Donn Handicap (gr. I) winner Mongoose drilled five furlongs Sunday morning at Payson Park after which trainer James Bond said the son of Broad Brush is definite for Saturday's 1 1/4-mile Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. I).
New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) runner-up Graeme Hall will likely return to the site of his Arkansas Derby (gr. II) victory for his next start, according to trainer Todd Pletcher. Pletcher, though, hopes the 5-year-old son of Dehere can improve upon his fourth-place finish in last year's renewal of the Oaklawn Park Handicap (gr. I).
Riding a two-race win streak, Western Pride entered the $300,000 Ohio Derby (gr. II) Sept. 29 at Thistledown with his guns blazing. It was to be his biggest battle to date, facing 1-5 favorite and last year's 2-year-old juvenile male champion, Macho Uno, and four other rivals.
Startac came from far back to nip Strut the Stage in a photo finish Saturday to win the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) by a nose at Arlington Park.
Trainer Ken McPeek withdrew Illinois Derby (gr. II) runner-up Saint Damien from consideration for the Kentucky Derby after the son of Saint Ballado bled severely during a workout Monday. McPeek still has Gift of the Eagle, who also worked Monday, under consideration for the May 5 classic.
Santa Anita Derby winner Point Given and Wood Memorial (GII) winner Congaree drew many admiring glances at Churchill Downs Thursday as they galloped over the track's one-mile racing oval. Meanwhile, Champagne winner A P Valentine arrived at Churchill Thursday afternoon to continue his training toward the Derby.
Probable Derby favorite Point Given is scheduled to arrive at Churchill late Wednesday morning after working a quick half-mile at Santa Anita on Tuesday. The work in :46 4/5 was the fastest of the day for 26 horses working at the distance. Meanwhile, working at Churchill Downs on a brisk and windy morning Tuesday was Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner Fifty Stars, who finished second in the Lone Star Derby in his most recent effort. With jockey Donnie Meche aboard for trainer Steve Asmussen, the colt breezed a half-mile in :50.
The road to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) runs through...Cicero, Illinois? That's the untested theory that has Dogwood Stable chief Cot Campbell and trainer Todd Pletcher scratching their heads after their late-developing colt Distilled rolled to a convincing 1 3/4-length victory in the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) on April 7.
Trainer Kenny McPeek was dreaming of a Triple Crown campaign after Saint Damien fought off a late bid from Saved by the Sword to win the colts and geldings division of the $100,000 OBS Championship Stakes. In a steady rain Monday in Ocala, Fla., the 3-year-old son of Saint Ballado -- Wife Begone completed the 1 1/16 miles in the slop in 1:47 3/5. The winning rider was Edgar Prado.
For the second straight year a prep race for an obscure Kentucky Derby prep may have some impact on the Triple Crown series as Futurity Stakes (gr. I) winner Burning Roma emerged victoriously Saturday from his 2001 debut in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. In last year's renewal of the Tampa Bay Derby prep race, Impeachment -- who would subsequently finish third in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes -- finished fourth in the 1 1/16-mile event.
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