Canadian classic winner Golden Moka's story involves a crippled jockey who sees something in a cheap Panamanian 2yo; a stallion that has struggled to meet expectations; and a female family with a long and proud tradition.
Brother Derek came out of his victory in Saturday's Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park with a minor scrape but trainer Dan Hendricks said it won't impede his schedule en route to the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) April 8.
It's hardly a leap of faith to make Brother Derek the early favorite for this year's Run for the Roses after his impressive win in the $200,000 Santa Catalina (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita Saturday.
Brother Derek is the consensus top-rated 3-year-old based in California. Yet, there are eight others of varying aptitude taking aim at him in Saturday's grade II Santa Catalina Stakes, including one shipping in from Louisiana via Texas. We deduce that connections of these rivals aren't taking it for granted that Brother Derek will win this race.
With convincing victories in the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) and San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) to remain unbeaten around two turns, Brother Derek is expected to take another long stride on the Triple Crown trail as the 6-5 favorite in the $200,000 Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park.
Brother Derek will take another step toward the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) Saturday when trainer Dan Henricks sends him out in the Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
Brother Derek, California's leading contender for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on May 6, worked six furlongs Thursday at Santa Anita in a bullet 1:12 1/5 under regular rider Alex Solis.
San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) winner Brother Derek, preparing for a rematch with 2-year-old champion Stevie Wonderboy and new face Bob and John in the Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) on March 4, breezed four furlongs early Sunday morning in :49 2/5.
A day after Brother Derek squared his record with Stevie Wonderboy at one win apiece with a gate-to-wire victory in Saturday's San Rafael Stakes (gr. II), the 3-year-old colts were on course to meet once more in the Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita on March 4.
Last year's juvenile champion Declan's Moon makes his long-awaited 2005 debut in Saturday's $200,000 Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park.
San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) winner Spanish Chestnut remains on schedule for his next start in the March 5 Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) and the Florida-bred tuned up for the 1 1/16-mile event with a six-furlong work in 1:14 from the gate on Wednesday morning over a fast track Santa Anita.
Two undefeated colts, Declan's Moon and Rockport Harbor, worked Thursday morning at Santa Anita and Oaklawn Park, respectively, in preparation for their 3-year-old debuts. Declan's Moon turned in a sharp five furlongs in :59 4/5, while Rockport Harbor went the same distance in 1:02 1/5.
Jay Em Ess Stable's Declan's Moon, the leading candidate to collect an Eclipse Award as the country's top juvenile of 2004 on Monday, worked a half-mile in a bullet :48 1/5 over Hollywood Park's fast main track.
Undefeated Declan's Moon, the probable leader of the male 2-year-old division of 2004, is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in the $200,000 Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) at 1 1/16 miles on March 5, said trainer Ron Ellis Thursday.
Stan E. Fulton's St Averil inched past Lucky Pulpit in mid-stretch and edged away to a 1 1/2-length victory in Saturday's $150,000 Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita.
Master David, a distant second to Read the Footnotes in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) Nov. 30, heads a field of nine entered for Saturday's $150,000 Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II), a 1 1/16-mile test for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita.
Action This Day, looking to launch his 2004 campaign, will pass on Saturday's Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) and point to the Sham Stakes on Feb. 8, trainer Richard Mandella said Sunday morning.
Diamond A Racing Corporation's Pleasantly Perfect, last seen winning the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), continues down the road to his first start since winning on the World Thoroughbred Championship card by working six furlongs in 1:12 1/5 with jockey Alex Solis aboard at Santa Anita Tuesday morning.
Headed by Hollywood Futurity winner Siphonic, six 3-year-olds have been entered for Saturday's $150,000 Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) going 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita Park.
Eclipse Award finalist Siphonic will make his first start as a 3-year-old in the Jan. 19 Santa Catalina Stakes as trainer David Hofmans tries to win the $150,000 race for the second straight year. As of Jan. 9, Siphonic is Bally's 5-1 future-book favorite for the Kentucky Derby.
Millennium Wind, a $1.2 million son of Crytoclearance, took a major step towards the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7 with a hard-earned half-length victory over 31-1 outsider Palmeiro in Sunday's $107,700 Santa Catalina Stakes at Santa Anita Park. Ridden by Chris McCarron, who won three stakes races at Santa Anita over the weekend, Millennium Wind covered 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.38. The 3-year-old Kentucky-bred colt paid $3.20 as the favorite in the field of six and earned $64,620 for owners David and Jill Heerensperger of Seattle, Washington.
Turnberry Isle will be looking to recapture his European form when he faces off against Millennium Wind in the grade III, $100,000 Santa Catalina Stakes Sunday. The Santa Catalina is the first major prep race for aspiring 3-year-olds on the road leading into the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby. Turnberry Isle and Millennium Wind will break alongside each other as they have drawn post positions No. 5 and No. 6 respectively.
Grade I winner Golden Missile will retire to stud at Frank Stronach's Adena Springs following expected starts in the Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (gr. III) and the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). Golden Missile (A.P. Indy--Santa Catalina, by Cure the Blues) has won seven of 22 career races and $2,139,510 while racing for Stronach Stable.
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