Except for many of the faces, very little is "usual" about Fair Grounds' 134th season of Thoroughbred racing that opens Saturday.
Mike McCarty's stalking Private Vow, making his stakes debut, won the $300,000 Futurity (gr. II) at Belmont Park Saturday in a nine-length romp under Jerry Bailey.
Lady Tak, a millionaire and multiple grade I winner, has been retired from racing with a record of 10 wins from 19 starts.
Curtis C. Green's unbeaten homebred He's Got Grit took command shortly after the start and then ran away from his rivals in the stretch to score an 8 1/4-length victory in the $150,000 Sapling (gr. III) for 2-year-olds at Monmouth Park Saturday.
Real Dandy, who has spent the better part of this year cashing checks against some of the top 3-year-olds in the country, finally broke through--in a $750,000 race--when he went from last to first to win Sunday's grade III West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort.
Trainer Steven Asmussen worked Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Summerly over Saratoga's Oklahoma training track Monday morning as she prepares for the grade I, $750,000 Alabama Stakes, Saratoga's major race for 3-year-old fillies Aug. 20.
Santana Strings and Eibar Coa collared pacesetter Storm Surge in mid-stretch and dug in late to deny Social Probation and 6-5 favorite Silver Train in the $150,000 Amsterdam (gr. II) for 3-year-old sprinters at Saratoga Race Course Sunday.
Victory Lap recorded the most decisive victory of the meeting with a 14 ¼-length score on the turf in the $100,000 Lone Star Oaks in Grand Prairie, Texas, for her fifth win in a row.
A field of eight 3-year-old fillies has been drawn for Saturday's $100,000 Lone Star Oaks at 1 1/16 miles on turf.
Test results on the last three horses remaining in equine herpes virus quarantine at Churchill Downs found that all traces of the virus are gone from their systems and all three have been cleared to rejoin the general horse population at the track.
Carl Pollard's grade I winner My Trusty Cat will return to defend her title in Saturday's $175,000 Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Arlington Park. Trained by David Vance, My Trusty Cat won last year's seven-furlong event by 1
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Summerly, winner of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. I), turned in a strong six-furlong work Tuesday at Churchill Downs in preparation for a planned start in the June 25 Mother Goose (gr. I) on June 25 at Belmont Park.
Horses from the last of three Churchill Downs barns under quarantine because of an equine herpesvirus outbreak resumed regular training hours and racing June 12.
Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Summerly was a surprise no-show when entries were drawn on Thursday for Saturday's $150,000-added Dogwood Breeders' Cup (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.
Horses stabled in the third Churchill Downs barn placed under quarantine by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture because of confirmed cases of equine herpes virus have been cleared to return to the track for limited training.
A procedure that could allow a return to limited training for horses housed in three Churchill Downs barns placed under quarantine because of equine herpes virus was announced May 20 by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
For trainer Ronny Werner, the May 18 quarantine that effectively closed down three barns on the backside of Churchill Downs due to the suspected outbreak of equine herpes virus came exactly one week after a filly under his care went down in her stall and inexplicably lost all mobility.
Razor, ridden by Mike Smith, seized the lead soon after the start and was never seriously threatened en route to a four-length win over Crimson Stag in the $109,700 Matt Winn Stakes for 3-year-olds Saturday at Churchill Downs.
As Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) day draws closer, a number of 3-year-old fillies hit the Churchill Downs oval over the weekend in advance of the May 6 race.
Padua Stables' stakes winner Razor heads a field of five speedy sophomores headed to the gate for Sunday's $100,000 Lafayette Stakes (gr. III), going six furlongs at Keeneland.
After a successful winter in Florida, Sis City is in Kentucky looking for greater glory. Winner of the Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) by 16 lengths, the daughter of Slew City Slew is among seven 3-year-old fillies scheduled to compete in Saturday's Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.
Fair Grounds Race Course concluded its 133rd season of racing, and its first under the ownership of Churchill Downs Inc. Sunday with its first increases in average all-sources and on-track wagering in four years.
Steve Asmussen's record-smashing national success in 2004 carried over to Kentucky as the Texas-born trainer earned his first Kentucky Thoroughbred Media "Trainer of the Year" award.
The Lone Star Park Charitable Foundation for Grand Prairie awarded $60,000 to 18 Grand Prairie, Texas charities March 17 during a ceremony at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie.
Odds-on choice Summerly opened up a daylight lead heading into the first turn and romped to victory in the $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) Saturday, spoiling the return to action this year of Runway Model.
Graded stakes winner Runway Model will make her seasonal debut Saturday when she breaks from post six in the $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II), going 1 1/16 miles at the New Orleans oval.
A pair of top 3-year-old fillies will clash when Summerly and Runway Model hook up in the March 12 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II), going 1 1/16 miles at the New Orleans oval. Runway Model will be making her 3-year-old debut, while Summerly has two wins to her credit this season.
Favored Summerly joined the ranks of graded stakes winners Saturday with an impressive win over eight rivals in the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Fair Grounds.
Stakes veteran Warleigh made short work of nine rivals in the $50,000 Mardi Gras Handicap, the traditional Fat Tuesday feature on the turf at Fair Grounds Race Course.
Favored Savorthetime surged past the pacesetting Cologny at the sixteenth pole and pulled away for a 2 1/2-length victory in the $100,000 First Lady Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Grade II stakes winner Quintons Gold Rush died Jan. 17 while undergoing surgery at San Luis Rey Equine Hospital in California.
Punch Appeal will be seeking her sixth career stakes win when she contests Saturday's $100,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes at Fair Grounds. The Tiffany Lass is the first in a series of three 3-year-old filly stakes leading up to the $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) March 12 at the New Orleans oval.
Robert L. Beck's Megascape got the jump on three rivals Sunday afternoon and took jockey Stewart Elliott to an easy victory over Aqueduct's fast inner dirt track in the $76,450 Ruthless Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs.
With slots approved for Fair Grounds and likely to be in place in 2005, Louisiana breeders already seem to be reaping the rewards. On Saturday, the state's horsemen will vie for a $1 million, 10-race card that features seven Thoroughbred stakes, highlighted by the $150,000 Louisiana Champion's Day Classic.
Front-running Punch Appeal turned back Summer Raven in the stretch run of the $250,000 Boyd Gaming's Delta Princess for 2-year-old fillies and pulled away for a 5 1/2-length victory Saturday at Delta Downs.
Two-year-old filly Punch Appeal, a winner of five races in 2004, will try to cap a successful year with a victory in the rich $250,000 Boyd Gaming's Delta Princess Stakes at Delta Downs Saturday.
The Steve Asmussen-trained Megascape, shouldering top weight of 122 pounds, went gate to wire to easily upset odds-on favorite Alfonsina in the $106,500 Valley Stream (gr. III) for 2-year-old fillies Sunday at Aqueduct.
Trainer Steve Asmussen broke Jack Van Berg's 28-year-old record for wins in a single season when he collected his 497th victory of 2004 on Saturday night at Delta Downs.
Trainer Steve Asmussen is inching closer to the North American single-season record for wins by a trainer. As of Nov. 20, Asmussen has 492 wins on the year. The current single-season record is held by Jack Van Berg, who saddled 496 winners (from 2,362 starters) in 1976.
A dozen 3-year-old colts will take the gate for Sunday's $150,000 Oklahoma Derby (gr. III), going 1 1/8-miles at Remington Park. The field is led by grade II winner Quinton's Gold Rush and grade III winner Mr. Jester.
Favored Punch Appeal didn't have the easiest of trips for jockey Pat Day, but she was not to be denied in winning the $109,500 Pocahontas for 2-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs by a nose.
Midway Road stuck his nose in front at the finish to score a narrow victory in the $161,250 Fayette Stakes (gr. III) Saturday as Keeneland concluded its 17-day fall meeting.
Dubleo, the probable morning-line favorite, will lead a field of 11 two-year-old colts and geldings entered in Friday's featured $100,000 Bourbon County Stakes at Keeneland. Dubleo is conditioned by Todd Pletcher.
Sister Swank charged past Jinny's Gold in the final sixteenth of a mile to win the $116,300 Valley View Stakes (gr. IIIT) Saturday at Keeneland.
The brilliant sprinter Lady Tak, with a confident John Velazquez in the saddle, disposed of pacesetter Molto Vita coming off the turn and cruised to a two-length victory as the heavy favorite in the $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares.
Lady Tak is the obvious class in the field for Sunday's $150,000-added Gallant Bloom Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park.
The fields for the Sept. 18 Kentucky Cup at Turfway Park are beginning to take shape and full fields are expected.
Returning to the scene of her greatest success, Lady Tak won Sunday's Ballerina Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course, barely holding off My Trusty Cat by a head in the final strides.
Heiligbrodt Stable's Bwana Charlie, ridden by Shane Sellers, had favored Pomeroy measured in the stretch, pulling away in the final sixteenth of a mile for a three-quarters of a length victory in the $150,000 Amsterdam (gr. II) for 3-year-old sprinters at Saratoga Race Course.
A group of 11 2-year-olds has been entered for the 91st running of the Sanford Stakes (gr. II) on Thursday at Saratoga's famed Race Course. Known for its annual showcasing of quality youngsters, the Spa's second day of racing has a crack line-up of 2-year-old colts going six furlongs in the Sanford, headed by multiple stakes winner Lunarpal.
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