Visionaire, a Saratoga grade I winner, will enter stud in 2010 at Pope McLean's Crestwood Farm near Lexington.
Grade I winner Visionaire has been retired from racing after being unable to come back following an injury he likely suffered in his victory in the NetJets King's Bishop Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga.
Stone Farm's Wanderin Boy tops the 20th running of the grade I, $300,000 Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile at Aqueduct Nov. 29 as Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito attempts a rare double: winning graded stakes with 7-year-olds on consecutive days.
Tale of Ekati earned his first victory since taking the Wood Memorial (gr. I) on the Triple Crown trail this spring when he captured the $159,500 Jerome Handicap (gr. II) on a sloppy track at Belmont Park Oct. 5.
Da' Tara, who exploited a field lacking speed to the fullest in winning the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), could be in a position to do it again in the $150,000 Jerome Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park Oct. 5.
Visionaire, winner of the Aug. 23 NetJets King's Bishop Stakes (gr. I), won't be pointed for the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park in October because none of the races offers him the opportunity to do "what he does best," according to a recent article on Team Valor International's Web site.
Last coming off the turn, Visionaire circled the field to post an impressive 2 1/4-length win in the $250,000 NetJets King's Bishop Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 23.
No one has been able to touch the swift J Be K in his five prior sprint races, but 10 other 3-year-olds intend to give it a try in the $250,000 NetJets King's Bishop Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 23.
Pyro's form of old returned June 14 at Churchill Downs as the son of Pulpit powered to a 1 3/4-length win over five fellow 3-year-olds in the Northern Dancer Stakes (gr. III). The Steve Asmussen-trained colt covered the 1 1/16 miles of the $190,925 race in 1:43.53.
The last time Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro raced at Churchill Downs, he finished a disappointing eighth, 15 lengths behind Big Brown, in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). In the June 14 Northern Dancer Stakes (gr. III), trainer Steve Asmussen looks for a much-improved effort.
As participants in The Race For Education's Racehorse Nomination Program, a percentage of any earnings by Colonel John, Court Vision, Monba, Visionaire, Z Fortune and Z Humor in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) will go to the non-profit, which funds scholarships and educational grants for young people with significant financial need.
Things are relatively quiet at the barn of trainer Michael Matz and void of the media buzz that surrounded other such barns as Richard Dutrow and Eoin Harty leading up to Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
An interview with Benny Stutts Jr. was the highlight of the annual Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners' and Breeders' Association's Derby trainers' dinner, as the 70-year-old trainer expressed his delight at preparing to saddle his first Kentucky Derby starter - Mount Joy Stables' Smooth Air.
Well, Big Brown finally is here and the racing world had its first look at the likely Kentucky Derby favorite and its first encounter with his colorful trainer Rick Dutrow.
Michael Matz didn't expect Visionaire to sizzle in his final work before the Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I), so the trainer was satisfied when the colt breezed a half-mile in :48.40 Monday morning at Churchill Downs.
The first morning at Churchill Downs brought sunny skies and warm temperatures, as the Kentucky Derby horses began their final stretch to racing's biggest day. From here on, there is no room for error. We'll give a brief rundown of the day's activities and continue with the plusses and minuses of each contender.
Trainer Barclay Tagg sent Tale of Ekati out for a five-furlong work Wednesday morning at Keeneland, and was pleased with the colt's performance.
Team Valor International and Vision Racing LLC's Visionaire returned to the work tab April 22 at Keeneland for the first time since he finished fifth in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Well, should we talk about the vagaries of Polytrack form for the umpteenth time or concentrate on the weekend's racing?
One day after his 3-year-olds ran 1-2 in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), trainer Todd Pletcher said he will take a few days before deciding when Monba and Cowboy Cal will ship to Churchill Downs in preparation for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
For Keeneland regulars, Saturday will be one of those days, with temperatures in the low 50's, wind sweeping through the grandstand left-to-right, and a chance of rain. For the connections of Pyro, the mission is to avoid rain on their parade toward the first Saturday in May.
Pyro may be on fire going into the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland April 12, but 11 other runners will attempt to douse his Derby dreams in the 1 1/8-mile event.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner Pyro turned in his final major prep for Saturday's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) by working a half-mile in :50.60 early Monday morning at Keeneland.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro, winner of the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) and Louisiana Derby (gr. II) in his two starts this year, continued his preparations for the April 12 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) by working six furlongs in 1:14.60 March 31 at Keeneland.
Entries for the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) won't be drawn until March 31, but from the looks of the nominations, the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) prep is shaping into a deep and competitive field with many of the nation's top trainers and horses participating.
Despite three losses to reigning 2-year-old champion War Pass, Winchell Thoroughbreds' homebred Pyro is the 4-1 favorite as Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager closed March 9.
Trainer Michael Matz said that Gotham winner Visionaire appears to have come out of his March 8 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) victory in good shape, and will ship back to Palm Meadows in Florida March 11.
War Pass and Pyro are each at odds of 4-1 heading into the final day of wagering for Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager after conclusion of betting March 8.
The 3-year-old picture in New York was about as foggy as the weather conditions at Aqueduct March 8, but Visionaire helped clear things up a bit with a late burst to capture the $250,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) by a nose over Texas Wildcatter.
Trained by Michael Matz, Visionaire looks to improve upon his third-place finish in the Feb. 9 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III). He will have to beat nine others March 8 at Aqueduct, including undefeated Giant Moon.
Unbeaten 2-year-old champion War Pass, winner of the $2-million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), and Pyro, the runner-up in the Juvenile and winner of the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III), are the early favorites for Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which opens Mar. 6.
Visionaire, third to Pyro in the Risen Star Stakes (gr.III) at the Fair Grounds Feb. 9, will run next in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct March 8, majority owner Barry Irwin said Feb. 28.
The Kentucky Derby trail received the spark it had been looking for when Pyro put on a spectacular exhibition in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III). There is no doubt Pyro is a top-class horse with a powerful closing kick, but before we get too euphoric, let's not forget that this has happened many times at Fair Grounds.
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