Trainers taking on California Chrome in the Winter Challenge Dec. 17 at Los Alamitos Race Course, are doing so for various reasons.
The Del Mar crowd roared as California Chrome put a head in front of Dortmund in the final turn of the $200,000 San Diego Handicap (gr. II) July 23, but little did they know the battle they were in store for in the stretch.
Follow Me Crev's connections were disappointed when a severe quarter crack knocked him out of the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), but he's made his way back and will seek his first graded stakes score May 22 in the Californian (gr. II).
Echoing crowds of yesteryear and making one last memory, fans flocked into Betfair Hollywood Park for a final time Dec. 22. They were there until the lights went out on the Track of Lakes and Flowers.
Evening Jewel, a finalist for 2010 champion 3-year-old filly, faces seven Cal- and Fla-breds in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff Jan. 25. The 1 1/16-mile race will be run over the new dirt surface at Santa Anita Park.
Albertus Maximus, who won the 2008 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and 2009 Donn Handicap (gr. I) in consecutive starts but has been sidelined for the better part of two years, could be returned to training in 2011 when he is 7.
Briecat led all the way for jockey Patrick Valenzuela to score a 13-1 upset by a neck in the $150,000 Las Palmas Handicap (gr. IIT) on closing day of the Oak Tree meet Oct. 31 over the Hollywood Park turf.
The Pamplemousse, who was a major player on the 2009 Triple Crown trail before being injured, started jogging earlier this month and will begin galloping in July, his trainer Julio Canani said June 17.
Ronald Waranch, who raced Southern California grade II winners Northern Afleet and Saint Afleet, died Jan. 6 at age 78.
Briecat is back to defend her title in the $150,000 Bayakoa Handicap (gr. II) at Hollywood Park Dec. 5, part of a field that swelled to 11 with the absence of Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) winner Life Is Sweet, who was not entered.
With limited training hours at Santa Anita on Breeders' Cup Day, Friday, Nov. 6, most of the major horses scheduled to run on Day 2 went to the track early under cool and partly cloudy skies.
Afleet Eagle sprinted away from the field behind at the top of the stretch and scored an easy 2 1/2-length win in the $112,800 Oceanside Stakes, the opening-day feature at Del Mar July 22.
Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Albertus Maximus will be aimed at the Dubai World Cup program after recently being acquired by Sheikh Hamdan's American-based Shadwell Stable.
Albertus Maximus powered past longshots Two Step Salsa and My Pal Charlie inside the final furlong to win the $1-million TVG Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile by 1 1/4 lengths over the late-closing Rebellion.
Millennium Farms' Student Council will try the turf--a surface he's never won over--for the first time since December of 2006 when he tackles seven other starters in the $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Sam Houston April 5, but trainer Donnie von Hemel expects Going Ballistic to put up a fight.
Southern California trainer Vladimir Cerin was handed a $7,500 fine and a 15-day suspension by stewards at Hollywood Park after two horses in his care tested positive in post-race urine samples for substances that are considered Class 3 medication violations.
Millennium Farms' Student Council, preparing for a start in the Nov. 24 Japan Cup Dirt at Tokyo Racecourse, worked a half-mile in :49 on the training track at the Quarantine Center at Shiroi, Japan, Nov. 17.
A release from Millennium Farm owner Ro Parra said a decision will be made as to whether Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) and Pacific Classic (gr. I) winner Student Council, by Kingmambo, will run next in the $2.4 million Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I) Nov. 24 or the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic Powered by Dodge (gr. I) Oct. 27.
In a sign of the times, a Midwest also-ran with a liking for Polytrack came west to win the $1-million Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar Aug. 19. Student Council, purchased recently by Ro Parra's Millennium Farms to run in the 1 1/4-mile test, vanquished Lava Man and upset a large field at odds of 23-1 at Del Mar.
According to the California Horse Racing Board's weekly update, the board has filed complaints against trainers John Sadler and Vladimir Cerin.
California horsemen, who have been nearly unanimous in their praise of the new Hollywood surface in recent weeks of training, continued to give Cushion Track a thumbs up after the first day of racing at the fall meeting.
The owners of the Sacramento Kings and the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas - the Maloof brothers - have a new claim to fame: King Palm, who has run second in his last nine races.
Lava Man and Super Frolic, first and third in July 8's Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) finished their work for Sunday's $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) with solid six-furlong drills Sunday morning over Del Mar's main track.
Stalking Bettarun Fast swung four wide in the stretch to grab the lead under Aaron Gryder and went on to a three-quarters of a length win over Mystery Gal in the $100,000 Railbird (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Hollywood Park Saturday.
Bettarun Fast will attempt to win her second straight graded stakes in Hollywood Park's co-feature Saturday, the $100,000 Railbird (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs.
Favored Willow O Wisp broke on top and was never headed while cruising to a 1 1/4-length victory over Artiste Royal under jockey Victor Espinoza in Saturday's $100,000 Inglewood Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood Park.
Bettarun Fast slipped through along the rail in upper stretch under jockey Aaron Gryder and held off El Mirage Queen and Acceleration in the final strides to spring a 31-1 upset in the $105,650 Santa Paula (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Saturday.
The connections of United States-based runners seemed no less satisfied after the post-position draw for the Dec. 11 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin racecourse. In all, the four group I grass races, worth a total of HK$64 million, lured 49 horses from around the world.
Super Frolic, who outran his 69-1 odds while finishing an eventful fourth in the Breeders' Cup Classic Powered by Dodge (gr. I), was injured and will need some time to recover.
With leading rider Garrett Gomez aboard, Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) winner Willow O Wisp is a deserving favorite in a field of eight entered for the $150,000 Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) at 1 1/8 miles on the turf at Santa Anita Park Saturday.
Millennium Farms' Super Frolic, making his second start for Southern California trainer Vladimir Cerin, wore down Lord of the Game in the final furlong to win the $750,000 Hawthone Gold Cup (gr. II) on a slick course in Chicago Saturday.
Robert A. Alexander's favored Willow O Wisp led from start to finish to win the $400,000 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) on the lawn Monday in track-record time, earning his third straight graded stakes victory.
Favored Willow O Wisp wore down Juliesugardaddy in the final strides to win the $150,000 La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT) for 3-year-olds on the Del Mar turf Saturday.
Trainer Jeff Mullins said Friday that Puppeteer, found to have an excessive level of bicarbonate in his bloodstream following his second-place finish in the Jan. 22 San Marcos Handicap (gr. IIT), was subject to an accidental contamination of alkalizing agents.
Trainer Vladimir Cerin said Sunday that his recent winner She's a Jewel is headed to the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Oaks on Jan. 29.
Even the Score, bothered by foot problems, was dropped from consideration for the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) on Aug. 22 by trainer Vladimir Cerin Sunday. Another prospect for the race, Olmodavor is extremely questionable, according to trainer Richard Mandella.
Grade III winner Boomzeeboom was euthanized on Saturday morning after suffering a catastrophic injury to a cannon bone in a workout a Del Mar.
Even the Score, a 6-year-old roan gelding who has soared to national prominence during Hollywood Park's spring/summer meet, is the 6-5 favorite in Saturday's 65th running of the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I).
Twice as Bad, a 3-year-old gray colt whose West Coast debut in last month's Lazaro S. Barrera Memorial Stakes (gr. II) at seven furlongs resulted in a resounding three-length victory, will seek his first route win in Hollywood Park's $100,000 Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) Saturday.
Ro Parra's Even the Score established himself as one of the favorites in next month's Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) with a sharp 3 1/2-length score in Saturday's $250,000 Californian (gr. II) at Hollywood Park.
Even the Score, a two-length winner of the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II) on May 8, figures to be favored among nine entrants in the 1 1/8-mile Californian (gr. II) Saturday at Hollywood Park.
The gutty gelding Designed for Luck, who returned to competition last year after missing nearly 17 months with a fractured left rear hock, capped his improbable comeback with the first grade I stakes victory of his career in Monday's $456,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park.
Mercedes Stable's Twice as Bad, stakes-placed in Florida but on the sidelines since December, showed no effect from the layoff with a three-length win in the $150,000 Lazaro Barrera Memorial (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Hollywood Park Saturday.
Even the Score overcame an eventful stretch run with jockey David Flores to pull away for a two-length victory in the $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II) Saturday at Hollywood Park.
A group of California Horse Racing Board investigators made a surprise visit to trainer Vladimir Cerin's Santa Anita barn Friday morning.
- By Jack Shinar
California racing regulators hope they can head off a widely-held suspicion on the backside that some trainers are cheating before that perception becomes the assumption on the front side.
Wertheimer Farm's homebred Halfbridled, one of the leading contenders for the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), breezed six furlongs in 1:16 3/5 at Santa Anita Saturday morning.
Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IIT) winner Designed For Luck emerged from Sunday's race in good order, trainer Vladimir Cerin said, and later this week will begin preparations for his next start in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT). Meanwhile, Breeders' Cup plans were undecided for Ruler's Court and Baffert ruled out the Cup for his three juveniles.
David and Holly Wilson's Designed for Luck, who returned to action in August after missing nearly 17 months with a fractured left rear hock, held off a digging Sarafan by a half-length to win Sunday's $300,000 Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita.
The Jerry Frankel homebred Joey Franco took advantage of a perfect trip to capture the $300,000 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I) by a head over a fast-closing Publication Saturday at Hollywood Park.
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