Van Minister trailed the field as pacesetter Smoked Em set slow early fractions, then rallied through the stretch to nip even-money favorite Miesque's Approval at the wire to win Saturday's Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park.
Wiseman's Ferry set a fast pace, then safely held off the late charge of California Derby winner Tracemark to win the $500,000 Lone Star Derby (gr. III) by 2 3/4 lengths on Saturday at Lone Star Park.
Nine stakes winners were entered Wednesday for Saturday's $500,000 Lone Star Derby (gr. III), including Rebel Stakes (gr. III) winner Windward Passage.
Mike Pegram's Danthebluegrassman, a surprise entrant in Saturday's Kentucky Derby who was scratched on the morning of the race because of a muscle problem, showed no ill effects from the problem when he worked a half-mile in :50 3/5 at Churchill Downs on Tuesday.
G Three Stable's Smoked Em set unpressured fractions en route to a two-length win over Magic Weisner in Saturday's $107,250 Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico. Smoked Em's victory snapped 9-10 favorite Magic Weisner's five-race winning streak.
Maryland's major prep race for the Triple Crown takes place Saturday at Pimlico as a field of six 3-year-olds, headed by Magic Weisner, meet in the $125,000 Federico Tesio Stakes.
Saratoga Blues stalked pacesetter Flo's Bo through the early going before driving clear in the stretch to win the $82,525 Whirlaway Stakes by two lengths on Saturday at Aqueduct.
Normally, the Whirlaway Stakes over Aqueduct's inner track receives very little fanfare, as only a moderate group of winter residents and Maryland shippers bother showing up. But this year, the winter residents appear much stronger than usual, as do the Maryland shippers. Add a pair of invaders from England who have already won a couple of races each on the dirt, and Saturday's Whirlaway takes on a whole different look.
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