Twenty-three horses were nominated -- with 13 considered likely -- for the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) at 1 1/4 miles on the Del Mar Polytrack Aug. 19, including defending champion Lava Man.
Jerry and Ann Moss' Tiago, guided through a narrow opening at the rail mid-stretch by jockey Mike Smith, went to victory as the even-money choice in the $368,250 Swaps Breeders' Cup (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Hollywood Park Saturday.
Tiago, winner of the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and third in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), heads a field of six in Saturday's $350,000 Swaps Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) at Hollywood Park.
Yes, there are 3-year-olds west of the Mississippi this year. Which one, or ones, will earn the right to take on the big guns back east will be decided in Saturday's $350,000 Swaps Stakes (gr. II), where Tiago will make his first start in California since winning the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).
A.P. Indy, the sire of Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Rags to Riches, and Smart Strike, the sire of runner-up Curlin, both stand at Lane's End Farm along with Pleasant Tap, the sire of third finisher Tiago, and Came Home, the sire of fifth finisher C P West.
- By Dan Liebman
Rags to Riches becomes the first filly to win the Belmont (gr. I) since 1905, beating Curlin in a thrilling stretch duel.
It's been a wild and crazy Triple Crown (no tip intended) with lots of twist and curves, and it all comes to a rousing conclusion in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Will Curlin finally regress, and if so, how much? How special is Rags to Riches? Will Hard Spun be able to slow down the pace? Stay tuned for the answers to these and other questions.
Four of the seven horses that will contest Saturday's Belmont Stakes have owners from the New York metropolitan area, giving a distinct local feel to the Big Apple's big race.
When all is said and done, the 139th Belmont Stakes (gr. I) has turned out to be a heck of a good race after all, Street Sense or no Street Sense. We have seven legitimate horses, with none of the usual no-hopers that seem to pop out of the woodwork for the third leg of the Triple Crown, and a classic male vs. female showdown.
The paddock opens at 11:30 for schooling. One of the first to arrive is Belmont (gr. I) entrant Tiago. Trainer John Shirreffs, his stepson David Ingordo, and Frankie Herrarte, a member of his crew, follows the Pleasant Tap colt, who is led by Frank Leal.
Jerry Bailey, known as an astute handicapper when he was carving out his Hall of Fame riding career, gave his thoughts on Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) while standing on the track's apron Thursday morning.
While Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Curlin put in his final preparations for Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I), Monday was a quiet day for other contenders for the $1-million classic.
With the additions of Digger and Time Squared, there are seven probable starters in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) contenders Hard Spun, Imawildandcrazyguy, and Tiago, as well as Todd Pletcher-trained candidates Rags to Riches and Circular Quay, all hit the Belmont main track for work-outs Sunday morning.
Almost a week has gone by since the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and all the analyses have been written. While it's time to look ahead to the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), there still are some Derby points that are worth discussing.
From Aristides in 1875 to Barbaro in 2006, homebred runners have a successful history in the Run for the Roses, with 49 of 132 winners carrying the colors of their breeders into the winner's circle at Churchill Downs.
Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Tiago and Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) victor Stormello gave their connections encouragement for an anticipated date in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 5 with strong works at Hollywood Park Sunday.
Todd Pletcher's stay at Keeneland, for all intents and purposes, is over, and he went out with a bang, with three of his Derby horses - Any Given Saturday, Circular Quay, and Scat Daddy - turning in excellent works before heading over to Churchill Downs on Tuesday.
To aid in unscientific handicapping (and for the entertainment of trivia aficionados), here are the stories behind the titles of this year's contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Trainer Todd Pletcher has assigned jockeys to all of his potential starters for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Meanwhile, with 15 days remaining until the running of the 133rd Derby, top agents are ironing out plans for their riders' May 5 mounts.
Unbeaten Curlin, a dazzling winner of the $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) on Saturday, emerged as a strong favorite over such accomplished rivals as 2006 2-year-old champion Street Sense and Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Nobiz Like Shobiz when betting drew to a close in the third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2007 Kentucky Derby Future Wager.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - Nobiz Like Shobiz and Tiago have a license to make beautiful music together on the first Saturday in May.
We had a little bit of everything this week, with Nobiz Like Shobiz back to his winning ways; the dejaÂ vu-like return of Team Giacomo; and some shifts in the Todd Pletcher power structure. So, with links to Funny Cide and Giacomo providing a sense of recent history, the Kentucky Derby trail heads into its final big weekend of preps.
It was all in the genes for Tiago, the half-brother to 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo who registered a timely come-from-behind victory in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) Saturday.
Liquidity, hoping to bounce back from a sixth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) on March 10, has been installed as the 5-2 favorite for Saturday's $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) for 3-year-olds.
Grade I winner Great Hunter will be favored to provide trainer Doug O'Neill and jockey Corey Nakatani with their second major stakes victory on Saturday when the colt joins a field of nine 3-year-olds for the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
Nobiz Like Shobiz, Great Hunter, Stormello, and Scat Daddy will get most of the headlines in the Fountain of Youth and Robert B. Lewis Stakes (both gr. II), but there is undiscovered talent just waiting to take the Derby trail by storm, including a couple trained by two familiar names
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