A potential field of eight is taking shape for Louisiana Downs' Super Derby XXIII (gr. II), to be run Sept. 21. For the first time the race will be run at 1 1/8 miles instead of the traditional classic distance of 1 1/4 miles.
Owner/breeder Edward Evans, trainer Mark Hennig, and jockey John Velazquez nearly sweep Saratoga's other grade I races.
This is the time of the year to keep close tabs on 2-year-old maiden races. Whether trainers admit it or not, they are well aware that no Kentucky Derby winner has failed to start as a 2-year-old since Apollo in 1882. Recently, we've seen several intriguing prospects break their maiden, and now is as good a time as any to start planting the seed.
After doing more about-faces than a soldier in boot camp, trainer Bob Baffert has decided that Officer, the leading juvenile in the universe right now, will make his next appearance in the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park Oct. 6 at 8 1/2 furlongs. Officer, by Bertrando, is perfect in four starts, including wins by six, eight, and seven lengths in his first three races. In his most recent effort, the Sept. 5 Del Mar Futurity (gr. II), Officer won, geared down, by 1 1/2 lengths.
Trainer Juan "Paco" Gonzalez shipped Came Home to Saratoga to avoid running against Officer and the gambit proved successful Saturday when Came Home drew off to a two-length victory in the $200,000 Hopeful Stakes. The winning time of 1:21.94 marks the fastest running of the Hopeful at its present distance of seven furlongs.
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