With less than two weeks remaining in the Thoroughbred racing season, nearly all of the 2008 leaders have been decided. The lone category without a clear-cut winner is earnings by owner, and it might take until the final few days of the year to determine a victor.
The owners of undefeated Trinity Magic have pledged a portion of the winning purse to the Blessed Trinity Church if the colt wins the $750,000 Delta Jackpot Stakes (gr. III) Dec. 5.
The trainer broke his own record for most wins by a trainer in a single season Nov. 23. He now has with 557 victories with six weeks of racing still remaining in 2008.
Reigning Horse of the Year Curlin will enter stud in 2009 at Mr. and Mrs. William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Ky., it was announced Nov. 21. The son of Smart Strike will stand for $75,000.
When majority owner Jess Jackson released a statement earlier this week announcing Curlin would be retired after this year, he also left the door open that the reigning Horse of the Year would make one final start before his racing career comes to an end.
Fair Grounds continues its increasingly exciting growth pattern when the 137th live Thoroughbred meeting at the nation's third-oldest racetrack gets underway Nov. 14.
Millennium Farms announced Nov. 6 that Zanjero, the leading money-earner by Cherokee Run with over $1.6 million, will join its stallion roster for the 2009 breeding season. Zanjero will stand for a fee of $10,000 live foal.
Millennium Farms' Copper State, a bridesmaid in four consecutive stakes efforts, will finally try to get over the hump Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs when she takes on 10 rivals in the $150,000 Chilukki Stakes (gr. II), a one-mile main track test for fillies and mares.
Reigning Horse of the Year Curlin returned to Churchill Downs Oct. 27 following a flight from southern California and the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Oak Tree at Santa Anita.
Magna Graduate, a multiple graded stakes winner who has amassed nearly $2.2 million in career earnings, will look to snap a losing streak as he faces five rivals in the $100,000-added Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III), the featured event on the opening day of Churchill Downs Oct. 26-Nov. 29 Fall Meet.
Curlin, the heavy favorite at 7-5 in the Breeders' Cup Classic, drew post nine against 11 other rivals. The race will be run Oct. 25.
J Be K is out of the Oct. 25 Sentient Flight Group Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Santa Anita, according to Sobhy Sonbol, racing manager for Ahmed Zayat's Zayat Stables.
On a foggy, overcast morning Oct. 20 at Santa Anita Park, trainer Steve Asmussen worked three of his star stablemates, including Horse of the Year Curlin, who will contend against one another in the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).
Winchell Thoroughbreds has retired grade II winner Zanjero. Plans for the 2009 breeding season have not been finalized.
Tough racing luck has kept Rated Fiesty from maintaining the undefeated streak she enjoyed as a juvenile. The daughter of Exchange Rate, owned by Heiligbrodt Racing Stable and JMJ Racing Stable, tries again to reach the winner's circle for the first time this season Oct. 18 when she faces a dozen 3-year-old fillies in the $300,000 Lexus Raven Run Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland.
Curlin took another step closer to the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) when he executed a flawless workout between races at Santa Anita Oct. 13. With regular exercise rider Carlos Rosas aboard and in company with Hawaii Calls, Curlin traveled five furlongs in :59.11, galloping out in 1:12.14.
Magna Graduate, Elisabeth Alexander's multiple graded stakes-winning son of Honor Grades, will stand at Darby Dan Farm near Lexington upon the completion of his racing career, it was announced Oct. 10.
Now that we're in the eye of the Breeders' Cup storm, with the deluge of preps behind us and the main event only two weeks away, this is the perfect time to recognize a trainer and a horse whose accomplishments may have gone overlooked - Steve Asmussen and Red Giant.
With trainer Steve Asmussen looking on, Curlin worked over the Pro-Ride synthetic surface at Santa Anita early the morning of Oct. 6. The trainer, who has made no secret of the fact that he prefers dirt over synthetic surfaces, said that he could not make any decision about Santa Anita's new surface on the basis of just one work.
Curlin made racing history by winning the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (gr.I) at Belmont Park in New York Sept. 27. Curlin's victory, which was worth $450,000, made the colt the richest North American-based Thoroughbred of all-time and the first to vault past the $10-million mark.
Fairbanks, who enters off a resounding stakes victory at Saratoga last month, heads a field of seven older horses in the $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (gr. II) Sept. 27, all of them hoping to establish themselves as a Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) contender.
Horse of the Year Curlin had a "perfect" workout Sept. 22 in his final move before attempting to become the first American racehorse to break the $10-million mark in the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (gr. I) at Belmont Park Sept. 27.
It was a mellow Sunday morning at trainer Steve Asmussen's barn at Saratoga Race Course following champion Curlin's 1 1/4-length victory over Past the Point in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) on Aug. 31.
The Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society yearling sale is hoping to get a boost from new bonuses offered at Woodbine to Ontario-bred runners. The purse bonuses are attracting new buyers to the sale, like top U.S. trainer Steve Asmussen.
Three of the top four finishers in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. IIT) will meet again Aug. 30, this time in the $500,000 Kent Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Delaware Park.
- By Claire Novak
Former jockey Parker Buckley, an exercise rider for trainer Steve Asmussen, died Aug. 19 at Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y., following an Aug. 18 accident on the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga Race Course.
Parker Buckley, a former jockey who was working as an exercise rider for trainer Steve Asmussen, is in critical condition following an Aug. 18 accident at Saratoga's Oklahoma training track.
Horse of the Year Curlin worked five furlongs in an easy 1:02.72 at Saratoga Aug. 4.
Robert Cole Jr.'s Coyoteshighestcall, a 6-year-old son of Regal Humor who has set two track records in the last 10 months, highlights a field of nine of the $150,000 Claiming Crown Jewel, the feature of the 10th annual Claiming Crown to be held Aug. 2 at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota.
Millennium Farms' Student Council, second in the July 26 Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga, is preparing to defend his title in the $1-million Pacific Classic (gr. I) on Aug. 24 at Del Mar in California.
Lone Star Park said it had a 3.7% decline in all-sources handle for its meet that ended July 27, while reporting increases in attendance.
Nine days after having his first 2-year-old winner in Puerto Rico, Smarty Jones registered his first winner in the United States when Zayat Stables' Keefer broke his maiden in his first start at Monmouth Park July 20.
Horse of the Year Curlin will make his turf debut in the $500,000 Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT) July 12, trainer Steve Asmussen said Tuesday.
Trainer Steve Asmussen was notified June 26 that a horse in his care tested positive for the Class 2 substance lidocaine following a May 10 maiden special weight race at Lone Star Park, and his lawyer said Asmussen would fight the charge.
Pyro's form of old returned June 14 at Churchill Downs as the son of Pulpit powered to a 1 3/4-length win over five fellow 3-year-olds in the Northern Dancer Stakes (gr. III). The Steve Asmussen-trained colt covered the 1 1/16 miles of the $190,925 race in 1:43.53.
Stonestreet Stable and Midnight Cry Stable's Curlin dazzled onlookers with a strong work at Churchill Downs June 2 as the reigning Horse of the Year tuned up for planned run in the $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) June 14.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority announced May 19 that Dr. Mary Scollay has been appointed to the new position of equine medical director.
Millennium Farms' Student Council, who hadn't hit the board in four starts since his victory in the Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) last September, rallied from off the pace in the mud to win the grade I Pimlico Special May 16 at Pimlico Race Course.
Cuvee's first winner in the United States came on May 8 at Lone Star Park when his first-crop 2-year-old colt, Border Cuvee, defeated a maiden field in his racing debut.
Live Thoroughbred racing will return to the Erie, Pa., area May 9 when Presque Isle Downs commences its 2008 meet. Presque Isle's 100-day season will extend through Sept. 27, with a daily post time of 5:30 p.m. EDT.
The Kentucky Stakes (gr. III) for 2-year-olds has been the exclusive property of trainer Steve Asmussen for the past five years. Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's Merkel will attempt to run the string to six May 1, when he faces seven foes in the $150,000, five-furlong race. A son of Forest Wildcat, Merkel will break from the rail under Shaun Bridgmohan. Asmussen scored in this race with Posse (2002), Cuvee (2003), Lunarpal (2004), Datrick (2006), and Rated Fiesty (2007), with all but Cuvee being owned by Heiligbrodt.
Kinsman Stable's Majestic Warrior, winner of the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga last summer in his second career start, heads a field of 10 3-year-olds entered in the 84th running of the $100,000-added Derby Trial at Churchill Downs April 26.
If you were looking for a sign that Pyro has bounced out of his Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) fiasco in top shape and is back to being the Pyro of old, you certainly didn't get it Monday morning when the colt worked six furlongs in fog so thick it wasn't able to be timed by the Keeneland clockers.
Nearly two weeks after returning to the United States following his record victory in the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), reigning Horse of the Year Curlin resumed work April 21 with a short breeze at Keeneland through a thick curtain of fog.
Team Valor International's Fairbanks has not won in more than a year, but is still the horse to beat April 19 when he takes on four geldings in the inaugural $200,000 Bill Hartack Memorial Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne Race Course.
Eight Belles continued her quest to become the best 3-year-old filly in the nation, as the daughter of Unbridled's Song overcame a poor start to win by three-quarters of a length in the $250,000 Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) April 6 at Oaklawn Park, her third consecutive stakes triumph.
Talented sprinter J Be K made it a perfect three-for-three around one turn, as the 3-year-old Silver Deputy colt easily put away six rivals to win the $150,000 Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) by five lengths April 5 at Aqueduct.
Though Larry Jones was tempted to run his ultra-talented 3-year-old filly Eight Belles against the boys in the $1-million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) April 12, the trainer has decided to take the safer route, and instead will line up the daughter of Unbridled's Song in the $250,000 Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) April 6 at Oaklawn Park.
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's 4-year-old filly Ahead of Her Time, who was named Louisiana's 2007 champion 3-year-old filly, recently fractured a sesamoid during a morning training session and was euthanized.
Together, trainer Steve Asmussen, jockey Robby Albarado and owner Jess Jackson have won more than 8,000 races -- but none even remotely like the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I).
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