As the sun rose over Churchill Downs April 26, WinStar Farm's Hold Me Back posted a solid workout as he continues to prepare for the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
WinStar Farm's Hold Me Back, winner of the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) and second in the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I), is scheduled to leave Keeneland on April 24 for Churchill Downs in preparation for his next start in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
This final Derby Trail column before departing for Louisville is more of a potpourri of thoughts, scenarios, angles, trivia, and a touch of nonsense.
The connections of favored Hold Me Back were gracious in defeat following the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland April 11 and looking forward to running their colt next in the Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) in three weeks. The 3-year-old son of Giant's Causeway finished second, 1 1/2 lengths behind the winning longshot, General Quarters, while carrying the colors of Bill Casner's and Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm, which bred the colt in partnership with Haras Santa Maria de Araras.
A day after his smashing victory March 28, record-breaking Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner Well Armed was in "fantastic" condition, according to his assistant trainer.
Front-running Well Armed, under a snug hold by jockey Aaron Gryder, cut loose at the head of the straight and romped to a record 14-length victory in the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) March 28, the final race to be run at Nad al Sheba.
WinStar Farm's homebred Hold Me Back overcame a poor break to win the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park in his first start of 2009 for trainer Bill Mott March 21.
WinStar Farm's 3-year-old Al Khali rallied through the stretch for a three-quarter length victory under John Velazquez in a 1 1/8 mile allowance test March 6 at Gulfstream Park, moving him up in trainer Todd Pletcher's arsenal of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) candidates.
Storm Cat has been a titan among North America's commercial sires, and he added to his considerable reputation in 2008, leading all stallions based on the average price of their yearlings sold at public auction for the sixth time in his breeding career. He returned to the top following a two-year break during which he fell to second behind Danzig in 2006 and ranked third behind A.P. Indy and Kingmambo in 2007.
Court Vision surged from last in the stretch to win the $500,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT), giving jockey Ramon Dominguez a sweep of both grade I stakes on the Hollywood Park turf course Nov. 30.
Distorted Humor, who currently ranks No. 2 by North American progeny earnings, will stand for an adjusted fee of $150,000 live foal in 2009, WinStar Farm announced Nov. 25. Previously, it had been announced that Distorted Humor would stand for a fee of $225,000.
A soggy, grey Veteran's Day greeted buyers and sellers at Keeneland Tuesday, and the day's business at the breeding stock sale, while down, was actually a tad brighter than most during the 15-day auction.
Illinois Derby (gr. II) and Gotham Stakes (gr. III) winner Cowtown Cat has been retired from racing and will stand at Brent Fernung's Journeyman Stud in Florida for a 2009 fee of $8,000.
Leah's Secret, up against an easier field than she faced in two starts this summer, drew clear in the stretch and held off the late charge of Unforgotten to win the $170,400 Chilukki Stakes (gr. II) by a half-length at Churchill Downs Nov. 2.
The Keeneland November breeding stock sale traditionally has been a market primarily for broodmares and weanlings, but a growing segment of the auction in recent years has been horses in training.
Stablemates Colonel John and Well Armed, both pre-entered for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), turned in final works at Santa Anita Oct. 20 for trainer Eoin Harty, who reported he was pleased with both efforts.
Rick Porter of Fox Hill Farms has hired Jeff Barkley as his private trainer, beginning a transition resulting from trainer Larry Jones' recent announcement that he will wind down his operation and retire.
With the prices for sale yearlings falling and world economic problems rising, many breeders are hoping to save money on stud fees in 2009. Stallion managers in Central Kentucky are expected to begin announcing the amounts they will charge soon, and several of them told The Blood-Horse they would be more likely to keep their fees the same than go down. They also plan to raise the fees for some stallions whose progeny have been performing well on the racetrack.
On Sept. 27, Honest Man will tell trainer Larry Jones if he is ready for prime time, as he makes what could be his final Breeders' Cup prep in the $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park. He will take on five rivals in the 1 1/8-mile test on Polytrack.
WinStar Farm's Colonel John, winner of the $1 million Travers Stakes (gr. I) by a nose at Saratoga, worked four furlongs Sept. 14 on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface in :48 4/5 for trainer Eoin Harty. The colt is headed for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) Oct. 25 at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meet.
After three days of the Keeneland September yearling sale, pensioned Overbrook Farm stallion Storm Cat was the leading sire of yearlings by average, among those with three or more sold.
In one of the most thrilling finishes in the race's 139-year history, WinStar Farm's Colonel John nosed out Mambo in Seattle to win the $1-million Travers Stakes Presented by Shadwell Farm (gr. I) Aug. 23 at Saratoga.
An honest pace helped the stalking Honest Man register victory over a heavily favored Grasshopper in the $300,000 Philip H. Iselin Beeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) at Monmouth Park Aug. 16.
In an effort to raise money for The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, the Race Track Chaplaincy of New York has organized a basketball game between members of the Saratoga jockey colony and the Texas Titans, a 6th grade Texas-based AAU team.
Da' Tara, who shocked the nation when he wired the field at odds of 38-1 in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and denied Big Brown the Triple Crown, returns to the racetrack July 27 in the $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga.
Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Colonel John worked four furlongs in :49 on Santa Anita's synthetic track June 1 for trainer Eoin Harty. It was the colt's first recorded workout since the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Courtlandt Farm's homebred filly Indescribable continued to exhibit her affinity for synthetic surfaces, this time doing it on the Arlington Park Polytrack, as she wore down Leah's Secret in mid-stretch to take the Arlington Matron Handicap (gr. III) by a half-length on Memorial Day.
Eight evenly-matched older fillies and mares seek their first graded stakes victory of the season, as they face off in the $150,000 Arlington Matron Handicap (gr. III) on Memorial Day.
When Tony Lacy was signing sale tickets for yearlings last year, the Kentucky-based bloodstock agent and Four Star Sales consultant didn't know that two of the horses would distinguish themselves by having siblings running in this year's Kentucky Presented By Yum Brands (gr. I).
A Storm Cat colt sold for $400,000 Wednesday to top the third session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. spring sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Connections of Spring At Last, a convincing winner of the Feb. 2 Donn Handicap (gr. I), have decided to bypass the $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) March 29 and aim instead for the $300,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct April 5.
Odds-on choice El Gato Malo fell from the ranks of the unbeaten when Colonel John held the closer off in the final furlong to win the $200,000 Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita March 1.
WinStar is trying to exercise restraint in the size of its stallions' books.
IEAH Stables has acquired an interest in multiple graded-stakes winner Court Vision, one of the leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
The first foal by Distorted Humor's grade II winner Sharp Humor is a colt born Jan. 21 at Woodford Thoroughbreds near Versailles, Ky.
Youthful runners and experienced contenders will go head-to-head at Sam Houston Race Park Jan. 26, when 7-year-old horses and 4-year-old colts mix it up in the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup Handicap.
Palais Versailles' $625,000 price kicks off Keeneland January sale's second session.
Bill Mott figured that the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) would be a good test for his promising 2-year-old colt Court Vision, one that would give the trainer an idea of whether the son of Gulch was a legitimate, early Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) candidate.
The Keeneland November breeding stock sale's gross reached an all-time high Tuesday. The total soared to $321,774,400 Tuesday in Lexington during the ninth of the sale's 15 sessions, surpassing the former mark of $317,666,000 that had been set in 1999.
Buyers at the eighth session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale kept things rolling Nov. 12, pushing the gross, average, and median towards positive gains in a session-to-session comparison over 2006.
Any Given Saturday, who won the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) by 4 1/2 lengths, has been retired and will stand at Darley for $40,000 in 2008, it was announced Nov. 7.
WinStar Farm's Court Vision made an eye-opening run down the middle of the racetrack, passing four rivals in deep stretch en route to a half-length victory in the $150,000 Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) opening day at Churchill Downs Oct. 28.
There were some anxious moments for Any Given Saturday in the $150,000 Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) Sept. 22 at Belmont Park. But the 1-5 favorite eventually took over at the sixteenth pole and then pulled away for a 2 1/2-length victory in his final prep before the Oct. 27 $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
Live Oak Plantation's She's Indy Money recorded her first graded stakes win Sept. 8 at Woodbine, capturing the CAN$168,500 Seaway Stakes (Can-III) by a comfortable two lengths over odds-on choice Financingavailable.
Last night, the Jockeys got off to an aggressive start and left no doubt as to their agility, rattling the usually unflappable Texas Titans as they took control in the first quarter of the Aug. 9 New York Race Track Chaplaincy's Basketball Fundraiser for jockey Andrew Lakeman, who was paralyzed in a racing accident earlier this year.
In an effort to raise money for injured jockey Andrew Lakeman, who was paralyzed in a catastrophic spill at Belmont Park May 25, the Race Track Chaplaincy of New York has organized a charity event with a bit of a twist.
Sackatoga Stable's Funny Cide, winner of the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness (both gr. I) and one of the most popular horses in recent years, has been retired, trainer Barclay Tagg said Friday.
Freshened by trainer Todd Pletcher since an eighth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Any Given Saturday repelled his rival Nobiz Like Shobiz at the top of the stretch and rolled to a convincing victory in the $147,000 Dwyer (gr. II) for 3-year-olds Wednesday at Belmont Park.
WinStar Farm announced that Robert Hammond has joined their staff in their stallion nominations, sales, and bloodstock division.
Paul Saylor's 2006 Eclipse Award winner Fleet Indian was named 2006 New York-bred Horse of the Year and Champion Older Female by the New York Thoroughbred Breeders at its annual awards banquet held May 14 at the Desmond Hotel in Albany, NY.
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