Hosted by Lenny Shulman and Steve Haskin, "And They're Off" is a bi-monthly online video series sponsored by Darby Dan Farm. This week, Shulman and Haskin review Thanksgiving week racing (who was the most impressive), continue the Eclipse Awards discussions, evaluate the grading of stakes races and more! Plus, Stable Boy is back from vacation.
The Cigar Mile cast a dark shadow on the racing world with the tragic death of Wanderin Boy, who shattered the sesamoids in his left-front leg shortly after turning into the stretch.
Charles Fipke's Tale of Ekati finished a nose behind Stronach Stables' Harlem Rocker when the horses hit the wire in the Nov. 29 Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile (gr. I) at Aqueduct, but was placed first after stewards disqualified Harlem Rocker for interference in the stretch. Wanderin Boy was euthanized after fracturing the sesamoids in his left front leg.
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.
Talk about a hair-trigger decision. Following Curlin's victory in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), majority owner Jess Jackson said over he phone that the colt likely would ship to Santa Anita "in about a week" to test out the Pro-Ride surface. The next morning, Curlin was on a plane to California.
All eyes will be on reigning Horse of the Year Curlin as he takes aim at Cigar's all-time earnings record in the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (gr. I) Sept. 27 at Belmont Park.
Defending Horse of the Year Curlin made his return to dirt racing in the $500,000 Woodward Stakes (gr. I) a successful one at Saratoga Aug. 30, but he had to work to get the job done.
Curlin has been installed as the 3-5 favorite for the 2008 Woodward Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 30.
Nine older horses, including 5-2 morning-line favorite A.P. Arrow, have been entered for the $250,000 Pimlico Special (gr. I) May 16 at Pimlico Race Course. The 1 3/16-mile Special is contested at the same distance as the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), which will be held the following day.
Steady rain and sloppy track conditions did nothing to dampen the fortunes of Stronach Stables and trainer Bobby Frankel when the 4-year-old homebred Giant Gizmo scored a come-from-behind victory in the $166,050 Alysheba Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs, giving them their second graded stakes win on the May 2 card.
Noonmark, who dropped down to allowance-optional claiming as late as September of 2007, looks for his second graded stakes score of the year when he takes on eight older horses in the $250,000 Churchill Downs Stakes (gr. II) May 3.
Centennial Farms' Chelokee, on the Triple Crown trail a year ago, makes his return to graded stakes action May 2 when he faces six older horses in the $150,000 Alysheba Stakes (gr. III) on the dirt at Churchill Downs.
Todd Pletcher is not expecting another Saratoga track record, but the nation's leading trainer is looking forward to another big effort from Lawyer Ron in the $500,000 Woodward Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 1 at Saratoga.
Hines Racing's Lawyer Ron overcame an outside post position to set a track record while defeating a formidable field in winning the $810,000 Whitney Stakes (gr. I) Saturday at Saratoga.
Following his win with Rags to Riches in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), trainer Todd Pletcher has reloaded and sends out two horses, Master Command and Magna Graduate, who have big shots to take down Saturday's $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
Arthur B. Hancock III's Wanderin Boy made a successful return to the races Friday by scoring a 4 1/4-length gate-to-wire victory over Half Ours in the $112,300 Alysheba Stakes (gr. III) on a sloppy track at rainy Churchill Downs.
A winner of 11 races and more than $4.6 million in his stellar career, Stonecrest Farm's 8-year-old gelding Perfect Drift will nonetheless be trying to end a 12-race losing streak when he faces seven rivals in Friday's $100,000 Alysheba Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.
George Kline, Peter Alevizos and David Whelihan's Premium Tap, third to Invasor in the Breeders' Cup Classic powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4, returns to the historic Louisville track on Friday in search of a season-ending grade I victory when he faces 10 rivals in the 132nd running of the $500,000-added Clark Handicap presented by Norton Healthcare.
Premium Tap, winner of the Woodward (gr. I) at Saratoga and third to Invasor in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), has been assigned top weight of 122 pounds for next week's 132nd running of the $500,000-added Clark Handicap presented by Norton Healthcare (gr. I).
Premium Tap, third to Invasor in the Breeders' Cup Classic powered by Dodge (gr. I), and defending winner Magna Graduate head a roster of 24 older horses nominated to the 132nd running of the $500,000-added Clark Handicap presented by Norton Healthcare (gr. I), which will run on Nov. 24.
Tracy Farmer's Sun King, runner-up in the Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga, breezed a strong five furlongs Saturday at Churchill Downs in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), which will be run at the Louisville track on Nov. 4.
Bernardini once again effortlessly won a grade I race, galloping home over three opponents Saturday in Belmont Park's Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I).
The 88th running of the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) is a key match up between one of America's best 3-year-olds, Bernardini, and arguably Europe's best 3-year-old, Dylan Thomas.
Arthur B. Hancock III's even-money choice Wanderin Boy exploited his early speed to trounce the field in the $158,500 Brooklyn Breeders's Cup Handicap (gr. II) Saturday at Belmont Park.
Top-weighted Wanderin Boy could prove dangerous on the front end of the $250,000 Brooklyn Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II), where he takes on six rivals in the 1 1/8-mile dirt test at Belmont Park Saturday.
The running of the $500,000 Woodward (gr. I) Saturday at Saratoga could turn out to be the most crucial start of the year for 2005 Travers (gr. I) champion Flower Alley. It will be the colt's first race since the death of his breeder, George Brunacini, one of 49 people who perished Sunday morning in the crash of Comair Flight 5191 in Lexington.
It's hard to imagine this year's Whitney Handicap (gr. I) could top the 2005 running when the speedy Commentator held off a surging future Horse of the Year in Saint Liam.
Brass Hat, winner of the Donn Handicap (gr. I) and runner-up in the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), and Buzzards Bay, winner of the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II), were assigned high weight of 121 pounds apiece for Saturday's $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
Making his first start in North America, Shadwell Stable's Invasor pulled off a mild upset over favorite Wanderin Boy in the $500,000 Pimlico Special (gr. I) May 19 before 24,429 at Old Hilltop. Invasor got the 1 3/16 miles in 1:54.40.
Trainer Nick Zito shoots for an unprecedented third win in the reinstated $500,000 Pimlico Special (gr. I) when he saddles Wanderin Boy for the 40th running at Pimlico Race Course Friday.
Arthur Hancock III's Wanderin Boy shot to the lead and never relinquished it en route to a commanding 5 1/4-length win in Keeneland's Thursday feature, the $150,000 Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III).
Alumni Hall returns to his favorite racetrack for a repeat score in Thursday's Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III) at 1 1/8 miles.
There was plenty of pre-race action at Keeneland Race Course Tuesday morning as a handful of potential Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) runners, including a possible Marker's Mark Mile (gr. IT) and Ashland Stakes (gr. I) starter hit the oval. Opening day at Keeneland is April 8.
Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's odds-on favorite Badge of Silver returned to his favorite track, Fair Grounds, to register a resurgent victory in the $500,000 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) Saturday.
The lightly raced Wanderin Boy passed his first stakes test with flying colors, leading every step of the way to take the $100,000 Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Race Course Saturday.
Pollard's Vision makes his 4-year-old debut Saturday as the morning line favorite in the $100,000 Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III), part of a four-stakes card at Fair Grounds.
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