Thunder Blitz

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Thunder Blitz Overpowering in Queens County

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. benefited from the spirit of the season when Stronach Stables' Thunder Blitz, conditioned by Bobby Frankel but stabled at Aqueduct for the inner track season, pulled a mild upset in the $108,300 Queens County Handicap (gr. III) Saturday.

Empire Maker Arrives at Churchill Downs

Juddmonte Farm's Empire Maker, the strong favorite for the 129th running of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), arrived at Churchill Downs Sunday afternoon to continue his preparations for the May 3 race. Several other leading contenders have joined the Wood Memorial winner at the historic track.

Thunder Blitz Works at Gulfstream Park

Stronach Stable's Thunder Blitz worked three furlongs at Gulfstream Park Friday morning, a day before stablemate Red Bullet goes to post in the Donn Handicap (gr. I). Also working three furlongs at Gulfstream Park Friday was the $1-million purchase Warners.

Thunder Blitz Headlines Long Branch

Sunday's $100,000 Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes is Monmouth Park's major prep for the $1-million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on Aug. 5, and this year's rendition should again springboard a few runners toward this year's race. The Long Branch, run at 1 1/16 miles, is for 3-year-olds.

Orseno Stars Turn In Solid Works at Belmont

Trainer Joe Orseno, who is looking forward to big second half of the year, sent out Red Bullet, Macho Uno, Thunder Blitz, and Milwaukee Brew for solid works Saturday morning. Red Bullet, last year's Preakness winner who has not run since the Dwyer Stakes due to a cracked cannon bone, worked five furlongs in a sharp 1:00 3/5 with jockey Jerry Bailey aboard. The son of Unbridled came home his final quartter in :23 4/5 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:14 1/5.

Déjà Vu For Point Given As He Draws Outside Post Position

There were no surprises Wednesday when nine 3-year-olds were entered for Saturday's $1-million Belmont Stakes, third leg of Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown. As he did in the previous two legs of the series--the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness--morning line favorite Point Given will start from the outside post position.

A P Valentine in Sharp Work for Belmont

Belmont Stakes works concluded Tuesday morning when A P Valentine breezed a sharp five furlongs in :59 1/5 with regular work rider Jamie Sanders aboard. The son of A.P. Indy looked like he was ready for some serious action as he jogged past the stands with his neck bowed. Approaching the five-furlong pole, he was already leveled off and in high gear.

Monarchos Breezes Half for Belmont Stakes

Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos breezed a half-mile in :49 around the dogs at Belmont Park Sunday morning, galloping out five furlongs in 1:02, with exercise rider Bryan Beccia aboard. The son of Maria's Mon went his first quarter over the sloppy track in :25 1/5, then came home his final quarter in :23 4/5. Trainer John Ward said the colt may have one more work, at six furlongs, before the Belmont Stakes.

Bailey's Belmont Mount in Stronach's Hands

It looks as though Thunder Blitz' connections, trainer Joe Orseno and owner Frank Stronach, control the destiny of who rides not only their own horse in the Belmont Stakes, but Dr Greenfield as well. If Stronach, who will make the final decision, replaces Edgar Prado with Jerry Bailey for the mile and a half classic, then Prado will land the mount on Dr Greenfield. If he decides to stick with Prado, then Bailey will ride Dr Greenfield.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Fleet Four Fly Five Furlongs

Throw 'em in a hat and pick one. Regardless of which one you choose you'll have the work of the day. That's how similar this morning's four Derby works were. In fact, the times of all four horses – Dollar Bill, Balto Star, Thunder Blitz, and Invisible Ink – were within a fifth of a second of each other. For the seventh morning in a row, since we arrived, the dawn brought bright skies and mild to crisp temperatures. More of the same is predicted through the week, with showers arriving, you guessed it, on Friday.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Express Train Roars Through Churchill

We've seen some great works over the past week, but this morning we saw a super work; the best move by a Derby horse so far. Express Tour obviously has several questions surrounding him, such as having only one start this year, having missed several days training with a bruised foot, and a less than classic pedigree. But freaks have a way of overcoming such mundane obstacles, and everyone who was around this horse at Calder last year is convinced he indeed is a freak. After watching today's work, and the past few day's gallops, we're not about to argue with them.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: Monarchos Takes the Spotlight

Sorry, but we've got yet another terrific work to confuse you with. But even with all the top works we've seen this week, we'd have to give this morning's drill by Monarchos the highest marks. There was a great deal of confusion as to what time he actually worked, as the clockers somehow only caught the final three-eighths of his five-furlong work.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: A Wind, a Songandaprayer

It was a tale of two works at Churchill Downs this morning. The formula was something we see many times prior to the Kentucky Derby: two horses with similar running styles come off the same race, have two completely contrasting works, and both their trainers are ecstatic. It was a perfect example how different horses need different types of works. The beaming smiles on the faces of trainers Dave Hofmans and John Dowd told the story following Millennium Wind's five-furlong work in 1:01 3/5 and Songandaprayer's deceiving :59 drill over the same distance.

Steve Haskin's Derby Report: A Shining, Crisp Dollar Bill

It was one of those intoxicating spring mornings that only Churchill Downs in late April can bring: blue skies, crisp temperatures that put an extra jump in your step, and the sight of Kentucky Derby horses, decked out in their striking gold saddlecloths, strutting over the track with adolescent enthusiasm. Although there were no works on tap this morning, we were able to take advantage of the leisurely atmosphere to get excellent close-up studies of many of the contenders as they galloped against the picture-book backdrop of the Twin Spires.

Steve Haskin's Derby Dozen; Point Given Still on Top

Steve Haskin, the award-winning turf writer and senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse, updates his top Kentucky Derby contenders weekly. During his 29 years with the Daily Racing Form, Haskin became known for his insightful coverage of the Triple Crown races. Haskin won the Red Smith Award for Kentucky Derby writing in 1997, 1999, and 2000.and received the David Woods Award for best Preakness story in 1997. In 1999, he co-authored "Baffert: Dirt Road to the Derby" with trainer Bob Baffert and wrote the book, "Dr. Fager" for Eclipse Press' "Thoroughbred Legends" series in 2000.

Steve Haskin's Derby Top 20: Point Given Moves to Head of the Class

Steve Haskin, the award-winning turf writer and senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse, updates his top Kentucky Derby contenders weekly. During his 29 years with the Daily Racing Form, Haskin became known for his insightful coverage of the Triple Crown races. Haskin won the Red Smith Award for Kentucky Derby writing in 1997, 1999, and 2000.and received the David Woods Award for best Preakness story in 1997. In 1999, he co-authored "Baffert: Dirt Road to the Derby" with trainer Bob Baffert and wrote the book, "Dr. Fager" for Eclipse Press' "Thoroughbred Legends" series in 2000.

Hialeah Race Report: As Track Ponders Future, Thunder Blitz Wins Flamingo

Though it is always there, shrouding the grounds like the thick Miami springtime humidity, history is never more omnipresent at Hialeah Park than on the day of the Flamingo Stakes (gr. III). The track proudly displayed the epic runs of heroes of old such as Nashua, Northern Dancer, and Spectacular Bid--the last Flamingo winner, in 1979, to win the Kentucky Derby (gr. I)--and trotted out Citation's trainer Jimmy Jones to adoring fans. However, the focus on the 2001 edition, held April 7, was on Hialeah's future.

Preakness Winner Red Bullet on Comeback Trail

Red Bullet, winner of the Preakness Stakes last year, has started back in light training at owner Frank Stronach's Adena Springs Farm in Ocala, and could be ready to return to the races by August at Saratoga. Farm trainer Danny Vella said the son of Unbridled is coming along great after suffering what was believed to be a hairline fracture last summer.

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