A busy morning of training at Churchill Downs saw significant moves by 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri and 3-year-old stars Fire Slam and Victory U.S.A.
Lady Tak, ridden by Shane Sellers, surged to the lead on the turn and held off a stretch challenge by Put Me In to score a three-quarters of a length victory in Saturday's first running of the $108,600 Winning Colors Handicap for fillies and mares at Churchill Downs.
Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie's all-time leading trainer Steve Asmussen and 3-year-old filly Everheart traded places Saturday. The result was two stakes wins.
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's Lady Tak, winner of Saratoga's prestigious Test (gr. I), looms as the heavy favorite as she faces six rivals in Saturday's first running of the $100,000-added Winning Colors Handicap at Churchill Downs.
Private Emblem, whose unbeaten streak in the spring of 2002 helped bring national attention to his sire, Our Emblem, was euthanized after fracturing both sesamoid bones in his left front leg.
On-track wagering totaled an all-time record $28,010,988 during Keeneland's 15-day spring meeting, which ended Friday. An all-time record 232,826 people attended Keeneland's meeting.
Rock Hard Ten, the hard-luck 3-year-old on the outside looking in on the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), drew post six in a six-horse field for Saturday's Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.
Quintons Gold Rush paved his way into the 2004 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), turning in an impressive performance in Saturday's $325,000 Coolmore Lexington (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Keeneland.
Sunland Park closed out its 2003-2004 season April 11 on a high note, with across the board increases, including establishing a new record for total amount handled in one day ($2,194,229) on Feb. 3. The track also established a record of 21 days where more than $1 million was handled.
Favored Spanish Empire overtook Crafty Shaw in the stretch and held off a couple of late challenges to win the $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park.
Cash Asmussen's Academic Angel, the overwhelming 3-5 favorite, rolled to an easy 2 1/4-length win in the $105,400 Harry Henson Handicap for fillies and mares at Sunland Park.
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's Bwana Charlie fought off Quick Action after a blistering half-mile to win the $109,500 Lafayette for 3-year-olds going seven furlongs at Keeneland Sunday.
Fair Grounds Race Course concluded its 2004 winter meet Sunday with across-the-board decreases in daily averages.
According to representatives from Sunland Park, the Bob Baffert-trained Yearly Report has scratched out of Saturday's $250,000 WinStar/Sunland Park Oaks. The daughter of General Meeting suffered muscle cramps Wednesday following a morning workout.
Trainer Bob Baffert has two live Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prospects in Wimbeldon and Preachinatthebar, and now the white-haired trainer is searching for his Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) starter. On top of his Oaks list is Yearly Report, who will face nine rivals in Saturday's $250,000 WinStar/Sunland Park Oaks.
An open field of seven sprinters is set to square off in the $125,000 Pelleteri Breeders' Cup Handicap Sunday at Fair Grounds.
An impressive maiden winner at Fair Grounds in Louisiana will take on seasoned New Mexico-based stakes winners in the $100,000 Borderland Derby Feb. 29 at Sunland Park.
Private Emblem shook off a victory draught of nearly 11 months to post a 1 1/4-length triumph in Saturday's $100,000 Essex Handicap (gr. III), keeping his record perfect in four starts at Oaklawn Park.
The Essex Handicap (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park Saturday is expected to feature two previous winners of the 1 1/16-mile contest -- Crafty Shaw and Maysville Slew -- as well as 2002 Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Private Emblem, who is undefeated at Oaklawn Park.
Trainer Steve Asmussen, who is leading the nation's conditioners in victories and purse earnings in 2004, won 10 races on Saturday at five tracks.
Heavily favored Spritely Walker held off a determined Mr. Archibald to win Saturday night's $200,000 Louisiana Premier Night Championship Stakes at Delta Downs.
Wertheimer and Frere's Olmodavor, third last time out against Star Cross and Nose the Trade in the San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita, ships to Fair Grounds and will be the 121-pound highweight in Sunday's Whirlaway Handicap (gr. III).
Sir Cherokee, one of two Arkansas Derby winners in the field, is favored among a classy group of eight entered for the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup Saturday at Sam Houston Race Park.
Spanish Empire won the biggest race of his career when he captured the $60,000 Louisiana Handicap at Fair Grounds on Friday by one length over heavily favored Tenpins.
Easyfromthegitgo, a stakes winner of nearly $700,000, will enter stud in 2004 at Le Mesa Stallions in Carenero, Louisiana. His stud fee will be $3,500.
Even-money favorite Spritely Walker enjoyed a ground-saving trip to register a three-quarter of a length victory in Saturday's $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at the Fair Grounds.
Louisiana's finest will square off Saturday to vie for divisional supremacy in the 13th annual Louisiana Champions Day at Fair Grounds.
Many of the likely top contenders in Saturday's 13th annual Louisiana Champions Day are getting in their final preparations.
Posse rallied from last place at the top of the stretch to take a 1 1/2-length victory over Aloha Bold in the $60,000 Thanksgiving Handicap Thursday in the slop on opening day at Fair Grounds
Robby Albarado sustained a wrist injury that will keep him out of action for several weeks and Corey Lanerie suffered a badly bruised thigh that will keep him out of the saddle for at least Sunday's mounts on a tough day for jockeys at Churchill Downs Saturday.
Trainer Steve Asmussen's powerful trio of contenders for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships --Cuvee, Lady Tak, and Posse -- were all busy with pre-dawn works on Monday at Churchill Downs in preparation for their runs Oct. 25.
Jockey Richard Migliore knew that to defeat favored Shine Again in the Floral Par Handicap (gr. III) Saturday at Belmont Park, he would have to move Bauhauser quickly and decisively. Migliore did just that, guiding Bauhauser to a three-quarter-length victory n the six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares.
Trainer Todd Pletcher seeks to continue his winning ways with 2-year-olds when he saddles Value Plus in Sunday's $200,000 Futurity (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
Buyers, consignors, and Keeneland sales officials comment on the first two days of the Keeneland September yearling sale.
The $200,000 King's Bishop, a seven-furlong stake for three-year-olds, has been a chalk player's delight the last four years. But if the likely favorites Saturday, Zavata and Posse, a pair of multiple graded stakes winners, want to keep that trend going, they better have their "A" game.
Cuvee cruised to an easy 7 1/2-length win over a sloppy going in Wednesday's $150,000 Saratoga Special Stakes (gr. III) at Saratoga. The Steve Asmussen trainee covered the 6 1/2-furlong distance in 1:15.4. Pomeroy was second, followed by Limehouse 2 3/4 lengths back in third.
Private Emblem comes back to Saratoga where he could be facing as many as 14 other NewYork-breds in Friday's $100,000-added West Point Handicap on the grass at nine furlongs.
Michael Tabor's Zavata and jockey Jerry Bailey won a speed duel with Trust N Luck and pulled away in the stretch for a comfortable victory in Saturday's $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Saratoga.
Saratoga Notebook: Howard Watch; Stakes Trifecta Rule Changes; Lady Tak's Breather; Sights Lowered for Wonder Again; Pletcher On Fire
Mineshaft's trainer Neil Howard will be paying close attention Saturday when the Whitney Handicap (gr.I) is run at Saratoga Race Course.
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's Posse will be chasing his fourth straight stakes victory Saturday when he faces six top 3-year-old sprinters in the $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga.
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's Lady Tak hit the stretch in front with jockey Jerry Bailey in the saddle and kicked away from Bird Town for a convincing 4 1/2-length victory in the $250,000 Test Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga Race Course Saturday.
Winchell Thoroughbred's unbeaten Cuvee, a dominating winner of the Kentucky Breeders' Cup (gr. III) at Churchill Downs, is the headliner in a battle of so far perfect 2-year-olds converging on Churchill Downs for $125,000-added Bashford Manor Stakes (gr. III).
Formal Miss, a South Florida stakes winner preparing for the upcoming Saratoga meeting, is the 5-2 favorite for Friday night's $100,000 Walmac Lone Star Oaks.
Cuvee, a romping winner in the Kentucky Breeders' Cup (gr. III), looms as a heavy favorite in Sunday's 102nd running of the six-furlong race for 2-year-olds - but he will be challenged by some new faces.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Cuvee, who looms as a heavy favorite in Sunday's 102nd running of the $125,000-added Bashford Manor Stakes (gr. III) for 2-year-olds, finished his major preparation for the six furlong race with a Monday work at Churchill Downs.
In Tuesday barn notes from Churchill Downs, trainer Steve Asmussen confirmed that Winchell Thoroughbreds has reached an agreement to sell half-interest in Kentucky Breeders' Cup (gr. III) winner Cuvee.
William S. Farish, Temple Webber, Jr. and James Elkins' Mineshaft turned in an easy four furlong breeze on Monday at Churchill Downs, his first work since his narrow loss to Perfect Drift in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) on June 14.
Saturday's victory by Keith Asmussen's Mountain General in the Aristides (gr. III) at Churchill Downs was his first in graded stakes company and a testament to the power of patience in dealing with a young horse.
Jockey Rene Douglas, defending jockey champion at Arlington Park, is somewhat sore and bruised following a spill in Wednesday's last race but will return to riding shortly, according to his agent Dennis Cooper.
Mineshaft, the likely favorite for the $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) on June 14, worked a strong six furlongs over a wet track Tuesday at Churchill Downs. The homebred son of A.P. Indy covered the distance over "sloppy" footing in 1:14 under exercise rider Annie Finney.
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