Trainer Doug O'Neill watched his retired star Lava Man lead the post parade for Oak Tree's $250,000 California Cup Classic, then saw his newest stable standout Mr. Chairman dig in to defeat the favored filly Romance Is Diane by a head Oct. 5 at Santa Anita.
Tucked between a weekend of Breeders' Cup prep races and the California Cup showcasing the local product, California's fall select yearling sale offers a slimmer but more select catalog than in years past.
Look in the winner's circle after any offspring of Unusual Heat wins a race and you'll likely see a petite, brown-haired woman hugging the jockey, high-fiving the trainer, or congratulating the owner.
Lethal Heat gained the lead in the final sixteenth of a mile and scored a head victory over Smooth Performer in a three-horse blanket finish to the $157,600 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. II) on the Hollywood Park Cushion Track June 8.
Undefeated Lethal Heat won her third straight race in the space of a month and became a grade III winner when she burned past the pacesetters mid-stretch en route to a 1 3/4-length victory in the $108,500 Santa Paula Stakes on the Santa Anita synthetic track March 30.
Favored Golden Doc A proved her big effort against 2007 Juvenile Filly champion Indian Blessing last time out was no fluke, coming from off the pace to become a grade I winner in the $250,000 Las Virgenes at Santa Anita.
Outsider Unusual Suspect found a gaping hole mid-stretch and exploited it for his first graded stakes win in the $150,000 Hollywood Turf Express Handicap (gr. IIIT) Nov. 24.
A colt by Benchmark selling for $72,000 topped Tuesday's 2006 Northern California Yearling Sale, which showed an increase in average sale price of 8.6% from last year.
Tucked Away, a mare with many more nibbles than bites, surprised the field in the $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar Sunday when she nipped a surging Hollywood Story by a nose at the wire.
Scrofa, ridden patiently by Patrick Valenzuela, rallied between horses and prevailed by a half-length Thursday in the $140,625 Irish O'Brien Stakes for California-bred fillies and mares at Santa Anita Park.
Scrofa, in her fourth start since being claimed for $62,500, posted a convincing victory in the $100,000 Work The Crowd Handicap for California-bred fillies and mares at Golden Gate Fields Sunday.
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