Buyers from regional markets were active during Saturday's session of Keeneland's January Horses of All Ages Sale, contributing to strong growth for the day.
The classy sprinter Commentator was able to stretch his speed all the way to the wire under Gary Stevens in Saturday's $750,000 Whitney Handicap (gr. I), digging in to hold off Saint Liam by a neck at Saratoga Race Course.
AZ Azalea Stable's Offlee Wild was on the Saratoga main track Friday morning for a workout for trainer Juan Rodriguez, who has been taking over the training responsibilities of Richard Dutrow Jr. Dutrow will return to Saratoga on Monday after serving a 60-day suspension handed down in New York.
Hobeau Farm's homebred Smokume overcame his difficult rail post to win the $150,000 Tom Fool Handicap (gr. II) on a sealed Belmont Park main track Sunday.
Hobeau Farm's Smokume, a four-time stakes winner in search of his first graded-stakes win, is among the leading contenders in the $150,000 Tom Fool Handicap (gr. II) over seven furlongs at Belmont Park Sunday.
Edward P. Evan's hard-knocking Gygistar got the pace he was looking for Wednesday and rallied to win the 77th running of the $109,500 Westchester Handicap (gr. III), the opening-day feature at Belmont Park's spring/summer meeting.
Wednesday's $100,000-added Westchester Handicap (gr. III), the opening day feature on Belmont Park's 100th birthday and spring/summer meeting, presents a curious field of eight older horses.
Willmott Stables' Eddington, third in the Travers (gr. I) in his last start, drew post six for Friday's $300,000 Pegasus Handicap (gr. III) for 3-year-olds on opening night at the Meadowlands.
The top three finishers of the recent Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) – Jay em Ess Stable's Love Of Money, Pollard's Vision and Swingforthefences – are among 32 top 3-year-olds nominated to the $500,000-added Indiana Derby (gr. II) at Hoosier Park.
Imperialism, the third-place finisher in this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I), heads the list of 3-year-olds who remain eligible for the Sept. 25 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs.
Making his stakes debut, little known Love of Money put Pollard's Vision away in the stretch and romped to a smashing 8 1/2-length victory in the $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) at Philadelphia Park Monday.
Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's Lion Heart, the 121-pound starting highweight for the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I), drew post 4 on Thursday for Sunday's race. He was quickly installed the 9-5 favorite for the $1-million Haskell, Monmouth Park's signature race of the season.
New York shipper Swingforthefences dug deep to prevail in a tough stretch battle by a half-length in Friday's $250,000 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows.
Jockey John Velazquez got the high-spirited colt Purge to relax while racing on the outside of the pacesetters and the colt responded to the easy handling with a quarter-mile to go to register a sparkling victory in the $200,000 Peter Pan (gr. II) at Belmont Park Saturday.
Yes, believe it or not, there are other 3-year-olds who inhabit the wild and wacky world of Smarty Jones, and several of them will be using Saturday's $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) as a dress rehearsal for their big showdown with America's wonder horse in the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
TVG will present live coverage of the $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) from New York's Belmont Park on Saturday. The Peter Pan is the final major prep race for the June 5 Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Scheduled post time is 4:45 p.m.
Saturday's $200,000 Peter Pan (gr. II) at Belmont Park brings together a group of 3-year-olds taking their last shot to show they could possibly spoil Smarty Jones' quest to become racing's 12th Triple Crown champion.
In spite of a lung infection that caused him to lose training time, Ronald Winchell's Tapit rallied powerfully in the stretch to get up in the closing yards of the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I) at Aqueduct Saturday.
You can go over Value Plus, Eddington, Master David, Tapit, Lion Heart, Preachinatthebar, The Cliff's Edge, Action This Day, Smarty Jones, Borrego, and Purge all you want and you'll still likely come away confused. So, why not follow the trend this year and start looking at some bombs this weekend.
Our choice to win the Grade I Wood Memorial is VALUE PLUS. This strapping, gray colt is versatile, fast and has the breeding to get the 1 1/8 mile distance. In last year's Wood, Funny Cide and Empire Maker were prominent throughout the race. We believe that early prominence will dominate this year's running as well.
Saturday's big afternoon of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) preps will kick off with the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I), as 11 3-year-olds, headed by Value Plus, Master David, and Eddington, try to earn a starting berth in the 130th Run for the Roses.
Undefeated Smarty Jones, the likely favorite for next Saturday's $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II), worked five furlongs Saturday in a bullet :58 3/5, almost two seconds quicker than the second fastest time (1:00 2/5) at the distance.
The Wood Memorial (gr. I) gained a probable starter when trainer Bob Baffert announced Friday it is likely that James McIngvale's Consecrate will ship east for next Saturday's $750,000 feature at a mile and an eighth.
The first course is over. It is time to take a deep breath and digest the odd smorgasbord of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) preps that has been laid out so far. Racing fans are starving for something more substantial, and they should get it beginning with the April 3 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and Illinois Derby (gr. II).
With Bob Baffert pairing up over the past two weekends, and Nick Zito still sitting with three of a kind, it should be quite a game of cat and mouse if the two born again Kentuckians meet at Churchill Downs with their hands intact.
Dogwood Stable's favored Limehouse answered a major question about his distance capabilities, catching the leaders late to register a neck victory over Mustanfar in the $250,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) Sunday.
Several strong invaders currently based on Florida's Atlantic Coast will travel to the state's Gulf Coast to face the local contingent March 14 in what should prove a contentious 24th edition of the $250,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) at Tampa Bay Downs.
Our guest picker, Mike Pearson, loves speed, and sometimes the cheaper the better. But there's nothing cheap about his preferences in the Tampa Bay Derby. Pearson's day job is prosecuting felons, and he never takes the easy way out. He's been on a handicapping roll of late, prompting TheDowneyProfile.com to ask him to apply his talents here.
Trainer Rick Violette feels he has the best horse in Saturday's $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) in sure favorite Read the Footnotes, but admits a pace scenario with Value Plus loose on the lead scares him.
Dogwood Stable's Limehouse, winner of the Feb. 14 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, will make his next start in the March 14 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) at Tampa Bay Downs in Florida.
Even with the injury to Second of June, it's refreshing to finally have a weekend that held true to form and helped put several pieces of the puzzle together rather than creating more confusion, as has often been the case in recent years.
Second of June, a game runner-up in Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) suffered a condylar fracture of the cannon bone, and was scheduled to undergo Sunday afternoon surgery at Dr. Stephen Selway's clinic near Gulfstream Park.
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