Tracy Farmer's Sun King, sent off as the 1-20 wagering favorite in the $250,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) Saturday, showed some true grit while fending off a couple of challenges from the quarter pole to mid-stretch before pulling away to a 3 1/4-length victory.
The March 19 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) drew a field of eight, but the race for all intents and purposes comes down to Sun King vs. Sun King. The Nick Zito-trained colt is the class of the field, and the race his to lose. Only two others in the field have even been nominated to the Triple Crown.
Tracy Farmer's homebred Sir Shackleton wore down the surprise pacesetter Clock Stopper in the final sixteenth of a mile after a long drive and drew clear to win the $200,000 Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) in track record time at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Tracy Farmer's Sun King, impressive winner of his 3-year-old debut, worked five furlongs in :59 2/5 at Palm Meadows training center Saturday in preparation for the March 19 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III).
The Nick Zito-trained Commentator glided to an easy seven-length win in Thursday's $112,600 Perryville Stakes at Keeneland. Eurosilver was second, with Weigelia a half-length back in third.
The $600,000 West Virginia Derby (gr. III) was the major mid-season test for Sir Shackleton, and he passed it with flying colors with a resounding victory over six other foes in the 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds at Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort.
Royal Assault, content to lope along near the back of the pack early under a patient Pat Day, unleashed a strong run in the stretch to win the Sir Barton Stakes for 3-year-olds Saturday at Pimlico.
Trainer Nick Zito, who saddled two horses in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), could have two or even three in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). Zito said owner Tracy Farmer and racing manager Lincoln Collins are seriously considering the second leg of the Triple Crown for Sir Shackleton and/or Royal Assault.
Favored Sir Shackleton, making his stakes debut, repelled the challenge of Courageous Act in the stretch and went on to post a convincing victory in Saturday's $110,800 Derby Trial (gr. III) on opening day at Churchill Downs.
A colt from the second-crop of Forestry brought a final bid of $950,000 from Bob and Beverly Lewis to get the fourth day of the Keeneland September yearling sale off to another strong start Thursday.
Comments from buyers, sellers, and Keeneland on the decline in average and gross prices during the unofficial "selected" sessions of the Keeneland September yearling sale:
Albert the Great, who ran a strong third in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) is scheduled to arrive Nov. 1 at Robert N. Clay's Three Chimneys Farm near Lexington, where he will enter stud for $10,000 live foal
Coolmore principal John Magnier and fellow Thoroughbred owner Michael Tabor are following the lead of fellow owner Tracy Farmer with a pledge to contribute a percentage of any of their horses' winnings from the Oct. 27 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at New York's Belmont Park to the NTRA Charities -- New York Heroes Fund. The fund will assist the spouses and children of the New York City firefighters, police, emergency service personnel, and other victims of the World Trade Center disaster on Sept. 11.
racing and breeding news and information
Irish farm owner Paul Collins paid $625,000 for the top selling colt in Fasig-Tipton Kentucky's selected yearling sale in Lexington, Ky. The sale began strong with the average price jumping 34% to $97,402 compared with the opening session of 2000.
The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's June 2-year-olds in training sale concluded Wednesday with increases in overall gross and average price.
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