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).
HorseRacing TV will provide live coverage of Thoroughbred racing's richest day when it presents Dubai World Cup Day from Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates on March 29.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro, early favorite for the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I), worked five furlongs in 1:02 2/5 the morning of March 24 over Keeneland's main Polytrack surface.
It's been said that special Thoroughbreds have a certain look and feel about them that is different than your average horse. Pyro is proof.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro, likely favorite for Keeneland's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) April 12, stretched his legs in an easy mile gallop March 20 over the main Polytrack.
Jockey Julien Leparoux and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey were repeat winners as leading jockey and owner, while Steve Asmussen moved back atop the trainer rankings in the 18th Kentucky Thoroughbred Media Awards, which are presented annually to Kentucky's statistical leaders in racing.
With some important Triple Crown prep races on tap for the weekend of March 8, many trainers are looking for victories that could bring them closer to stamping their contenders' tickets for the first Saturday in May.
Eclipse Award winner Indian Blessing and archrival Proud Spell match strides for a third time in the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) at Fair Grounds March 8.
Hal and Patti Earnhardt's unbeaten Indian Blessing, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2007, and winner of the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), tops a roster of 165 3-year-old fillies nominated to compete in the 134th running of the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on Friday, May 2.
BloodHorse staff writer/blogger Jason Shandler takes to the Triple Crown Trail with a look at the "Derby Drought" that has followed three of the best trainers in the world - Bill Mott, Todd Pletcher and Steve Asmussen. Though between them they have more than $420 million in purse money and nearly 10,000 wins, the dynamic trio is a combined 0-for-30 on Derby day.
Horse of the Year Curlin looked in great shape Feb. 20 when he took his first look at the main dirt track of Nad Al Sheba, home to his main target, the $6million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), sponsored by Emirates Airline.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro, impressive winner of the Feb. 9 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds, worked Feb. 18 at the New Orleans track and had to avoid a loose horse in the process.
Horse of the Year Curlin arrived in Dubai the evening of Feb. 17 with "pep in his step," in the words of assistant trainer Scott Blasi, and seems eager to begin an assault on Cigar's all-time earnings record with two starts at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse topped by the $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) March 29.
Trainer Steve Asmussen will have a division at Woodbine for the first time when the Toronto-area track opens its 167-day meet April 5.
Horse of the Year Curlin is being pointed to the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) March 29 at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse to make his first start of 2008, majority owner Jess Jackson said.
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable has seven horses entered on Louisiana Premier Night Feb. 2 at Delta Downs.
The 4-year-old colt scores consecutive stakes wins with a victory in the Maxxam Gold Cup Jan. 26 at Sam Houston Race Park.
The 2007 Horse of the Year breezed five furlongs with stablemate Pyro Jan. 24 at Fair Grounds.
- By Tracy Gantz
With nearly every category a foregone conclusion, the 37th Eclipse Awards night appeared to hold few, if any, surprises -- until Jess Jackson in accepting Horse of the Year for Curlin announced the champion would continue racing in 2008.
The inaugural "Santa Sprint Saturday" package at Fair Grounds turned into a two-man show Dec. 22, as trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan combined to win all four $100,000 dirt stakes and racked up a whopping six victories on the 10-race card.
A winner of five of seven starts this year, Midnight Cry Stable's homebred Stormin Baghdad headlines a field of 13 for the Dec. 22 Bonapaw Stakes, the last of four $100,000 stakes on the inaugural "Santa Sprint Saturday" card at Fair Grounds.
Curlin, the leading candidate for 2007 Horse of the Year, arrived at Fair Grounds Nov. 27 following a van ride from Churchill Downs, but his racing future is still undecided.
Observing its traditional holiday start, Fair Grounds will open its doors Thanksgiving Day, beginning an 81-day meet highlighted by Louisiana Derby day, the richest day in Louisiana racing history, which will feature six stakes worth $2.2 million.
Millennium Farms' Will He Shine, a grade II stakes winner by Silver Deputy, will run next in the $300,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (gr. I) Nov. 24 at Laurel Park in Maryland.
Heiligbrodt Racing Stables' Inca King stalked the pace, took the lead around the far turn and then inched away for a 1 -length victory in the $150,000 Commonwealth Turf Nov. 11 at Churchill Downs.
Millennium Farms' Rolling Sea won for the sixth time this year, stalking the pace and then taking a clear lead in the stretch before holding on to win the $200,000 Chilukki Stakes (gr. II) by a half-length at Churchill Downs Nov. 3.
The high probability of rain for Breeders' Cup weekend has led trainers to make some decisions on shoeing.
Steve Asmussen discusses his Breeders' Cup Classic preparations for Curlin with BloodHorseNOW.com reporter Leslie Deckard.
A release from Millennium Farm owner Ro Parra said a decision will be made as to whether Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) and Pacific Classic (gr. I) winner Student Council, by Kingmambo, will run next in the $2.4 million Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I) Nov. 24 or the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic Powered by Dodge (gr. I) Oct. 27.
Steve Asmussen trainee Curlin, winner of this year's Preakness Stakes (gr. I), began his serious preparations for an expected engagement in the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) by working a half-mile on Keeneland's Polytrack surface in :51.80 Oct. 9.
The $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (gr.I) at Belmont Park Sept. 30 should help answer questions about leading older handicap horse Lawyer Ron and 2007 Preakness (gr. I) winner Curlin.
Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Curlin, whose next race could be the Sept. 30 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at Belmont Park, worked the fastest five furlongs of the Saratoga work tab Aug. 27.
- By Claire Novak
Today's feature is the Adirondack - $150,000 for 2-year-old fillies. As with all "baby" races, there's not much to go on as far as past performances are concerned.
- By Esther Marr
Organizers of the Claiming Crown hope its 2007 edition at Ellis Park Aug. 4 goes a long way toward strengthening the foundation of the event that was inaugurated in 1999.
Despite enduring an extremely wet spring/summer meet, Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie concluded its 2007 Thoroughbred season July 29 with modest increases in total and average daily attendance, as well as on-track total handle. Wagering on the live product, however, declined both on and off track.
Nine colts and geldings are entered in the 93rd running of the $150,000 Sanford Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-olds at Saratoga July 26. The most experienced entrant is Ready's Image, the only stakes winner in the field.
Trainer Steve Asmussen had his corps of 3-year-old colts ready for action, working Curlin, Tiz Wonderful, Zanjero, and Forty Grams over the Oklahoma training track Tuesday for their upcoming stakes engagements.
The second season for 3-year-olds began on July 4, with the emphatic victory by Any Given Saturday in the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II), and judging from the works turned in by Curlin and Hard Spun on Monday, as well as Street Sense's work on Sunday, the heavy hitters from the Triple Crown are all primed and ready for their respective returns.
Kodiak Kowboy earned a third career win when he took Saturday's $150,000 Bashford Manor (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.
Rated Fiesty smoked the field in 1:09.27 and remained unbeaten in three starts when she wired the field in Satuday's $100,000 Debutante (gr. III) for 2-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs, during the Louisville track's final weekend of spring racing.
Trainer Steve Asmussen will send out five 2-year-olds in two stakes races as Churchill Downs wraps up the spring meet in Louisville this weekend.
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