Rivals and racing fans may view top trainer Todd Pletcher as reserved and unemotional, but there is more to the dedicated horseman than meets the eye. A competitive nature, sly wit, and drive to succeed have carried him to the top of the game.
Savoy Stomp, an $875,000 purchase from the 2013 Saratoga Fasig-Tipton select yearling sale, could be the one to beat for Team Valor International and Southern Equine Stable in a group of 11 entered for the Lecomte.
Al Shaqab Racing's Mshawish earned his first graded victory on North American soil Jan. 10, spinning wide off the final turn but still managing a neck decision in the $200,000 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes (gr. IIT) at Gulfstream.
The son of Medaglia d'Oro has demonstrated a distinct fondness for the firmer going of the Gulfstream course in the past and is scheduled to seek a return to winning form in the $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (gr. IIT).
Lea looked like he would be a major player in 2014, when he began a promising campaign with victories in the $100,000 Hal's Hope Stakes (gr. III) and the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park.
Facing older horses for the first time in his career proved no problem for Divine Oath as he held on to top the field in the $100,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the turf at Gulfstream Park Dec. 27.
Capping an extraordinary career as one of North America's premier race track announcers and one of the most popular personalities in Thoroughbred racing, Tom Durkin will be honored with the Eclipse Award of Merit.
Achievement and retirement. Shame and success. Low points and comebacks. 2014 offered a taste of just about everything. Here are a dozen people who stood out this year for leaving their mark on the industry.
Repole Stable's Micromanage returned to the dirt Dec. 13 and overpowered Vyjack in the $100,000 Queens County Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack, rallying five wide before securing the victory by 1 1/4 lengths.
Harness trainer Ron Burke's record-setting year continued the evening of Dec. 12 when he broke Todd Pletcher's North American record for purses won by a trainer. Pletcher held the mark of $28,116,097 set in 2007.
There will be a sense of normalcy, with no neighborhood competition from Calder Casino & Race Course, and a scent of some still-fresh paint Dec. 6 when Gulfstream Park opens its 2014-15 "Championship Meet."
WinStar Farm's Commissioner, runner-up to Tonalist in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), is back in training in South Florida with Todd Pletcher after undergoing surgery to have a small chip removed from his left front ankle.
Protonico powered past favorite Bay of Plenty in early stretch and kicked on for a clear win in the $200,000 Discovery Handicap (gr. III) Nov. 1 at Aqueduct Racetrack, completing an easy last-to-first rally.
Bobby Flay's Dame Dorothy remained undefeated in four starts when she held off a late run from Catch My Drift to take the $200,000 Turnback the Alarm Handicap (gr. III) by a half length on closing day at Belmont Oct. 26.
The Keeneland 2014 fall meet, highlighted by a new dirt surface and the Lexington track's first $1 million race, closed Saturday, Oct. 25 with the third-highest seasonal attendance in Keeneland history.
Todd Pletcher appears to hold a strong hand in the $200,000 Turnback the Alarm Handicap (gr. III) at Belmont Park Oct. 26 with the duo of Teen Pauline and Dame Dorothy, who are both riding three-racing winning streaks.
Fifteen juveniles have been pre-entered with first preference in the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile, as headliners and grade I winners American Pharoah, Carpe Diem, and Daredevil lead the battle for 2-year-old supremacy.
Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) winner Euro Charline will return to trainer Marco Botti in England for a 4-year-old campaign that will include a bid for the $6-million Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) at Meydan, it was announced Oct. 14.
Eased just off the pace in the turn by red-hot jockey John Velazquez, Blofeld then rallied along the rail to win the $200,000 Futurity Stakes (gr. II) by three-quarters of a length Oct. 5 at Belmont Park.
WinStar Farm and Stonestreet Stables' Carpe Diem seized control from front-runner Conquest Tsunami and rolled away to a powerful victory in the $500,000 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) Oct. 4 at Keeneland,
Siena Farm's Angela Renee, beaten more than 19 lengths in the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) in her last start, rebounded in a big way with a victory in the $300,000 Chandelier Stakes (gr. I) for 2-year-old fillies at Santa Anita.
Sophomore Stopchargingmaria, winner of the C.C.A. Oaks and Alabama Stakes (both gr. I) at Saratoga, steps up against older fillies and mares in the $400,000 Beldame Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 27 at Belmont Park.
Let's Go Stable's Divine Oath looks to get back on track Sept. 20 in the $150,000 Kent Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Delaware Park, coming off a sixth-place finish in the Aug. 16 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington International.
Euro Charline will have the services of Racing Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez when she pursues a second straight grade I victory Oct. 11 in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes at Keeneland.
Carpe Diem, whose $1.6 million sale price was the co-highest at the Ocala Breeders' Sale Co. March sale of selected 2-year-olds in training, led all the way to win his career debut Sept. 1 at Saratoga Race Course.