Strong Contender

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Grade II Winner Strong Contender Retired

John Oxley's grade II winner Strong Contender, scratched as the second-choice the morning of the Feb. 3 Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park, has been retired from racing because of an injury.

Invasor, Premium Tap Top Donn Noms

Shadwell Stable's 2006 Horse of the Year Invasor tops the imposing roster of nominations released for the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 3. The 5-year-old Argentine-bred is expected to be the marquee name on the most highly anticipated card offered in the nation this year.

Strong Contender OK for Donn, Ward Says

John Oxley's 4-year-old Strong Contender wasn't seriously injured when clipped from behind in the roughly run Hal's Hope Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 6 and remains on target for the Donn Handicap (gr. I) on Feb. 3.

Chatain Charges to Gulfstream Track Mark

Lazy F Ranch's lightly raced Chatain surged past heavily favored Sweetnorthernsaint in deep stretch to grab the lead and hold off an extremely game Sir Greeley to win the $100,000 Hal's Hope Handicap (gr. III) by a nose in track record time at Gulfstream Park Saturday.

Countdown to the Cup: No Doubting Thomas

The wheels have been turning at Ballydoyle. The decision to send group I Irish Derby and Irish Champion winner Dylan Thomas to Belmont for the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) is a departure from their normal strategy. But they have done it before, and it is understandable why they would want to try a different approach

Lawyer Ron Tops Eight-Horse Super Derby Field

Lawyer Ron, whose only defeat in his last eight starts came in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), was installed the 8-5 morning line favorite when eight 3-year-olds were entered for Saturday's $500,000 Super Derby (gr. II) at Louisiana Downs.

Lawyer Ron Ready to Take Next Step in Super Derby

Before Barbaro and Bernardini began monopolizing the headlines with their heroics on and off the racetrack, Lawyer Ron was one of the dominant forces on the Kentucky Derby trail. On Saturday, he attempts to return to prominence in the 3-year-old division in the $500,000 Super Derby (gr. II).

Ward On Travers Fence With Strong Contender

Despite putting in a strong five-furlong workout over the Belmont Park training track Saturday, John Oxley's Strong Contender is still questionable for the upcoming Travers, according to Donna Ward, the wife and assistant trainer for John Ward.

Bernardini Has Easy Breeze for Travers

Darley Stable's Bernardini, runaway winner of the Preakness (gr. I) and Jim Dandy (gr. II), breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:03 2/5 at Saratoga Friday in preparation for the $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 26.

'Contender's Derby Hopes Down to Bluegrass

Thanks to what trainer John Ward terms "unfortunate circumstances," John Oxley's Strong Contender has but one pressure-packed race left for a potential trip to the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), and he'll need a top finish in the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland April 15.

Polytrack a Plus for Strong Contender

John Oxley's Strong Contender, one of what is shaping up to be a full field of contenders for the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park, has had plenty of experience with Polytrack and trainer John T. Ward Jr. figures that to be a plus for Saturday afternoon's race.

Strong Contender in Final Drill for Lane's End

John Oxley's undefeated 3-year-old Strong Contender worked five furlongs in :59 4/5 at Gulfstream Park on Wednesday morning in his final major tune-up prior to his probable start in the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) March 25 at Turfway Park.

Kentucky Derby Trail: Fountain Blues

You know it's a strange day on the Triple Crown trail when you have four stakes and the two most impressive horses seen are in a maiden race and a workout. Although heavy favorites Brother Derek and First Samurai emerged victorious, the latter on a disqualification, it still left most people wanting more.

Field Stands Alone as New Derby Pool Opens

Racing fans made "all others" the favorite on the opening day of the second pool of Churchill Downs' 2006 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, but had trouble deciding on which of the individual horses deserved backing.

Kentucky Derby Trail: Lawyer Ron Makes His Case

Lawyer Ron took another step forward with his victory in Saturday's Southwest Stakes, extending his winning streak to four. But he still left a major question unanswered. Despite the lack of stakes action last week, there were several horses around the country who stepped up and made people take notice.

Strong Contender Rumbles in Gulf Allowance

Though he has had only one previous start, John Oxley's 3-year-old Strong Contender could merit serious consideration on the road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with his 4 3/4-length triumph over a strong field of sophomores in his first start of the year Wednesday at Gulfstream Park.

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