A municipal bond trader by day, Tony Grey knows a thing or two about playing percentages. The Florida-based breeder/owner will take a calculated risk May 19 with his Zetterholm in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Heavily favored Friend Or Foe returned to the winner's circle at Belmont Park with a front-running stakes-record victory in the $200,000 Empire Classic for New York-breds, the centerpiece of New York Showcase Day Oct. 23.
Eleven state-bred Thoroughbreds will vie for the title of "Best of New York" Oct. 23 when they assemble for the $200,000 Empire Classic, the centerpiece of New York Showcase Day at Belmont Park.
After a pair of important grade I wins in New York as a sophomore last year, trainer Barclay Tagg had high expectations for Tale of Ekati in 2009, but so far things have not not panned out. Tagg will try blinkers on the son of Tale of the Cat as Belmont Park opens its 64-day spring/summer meet with the $100,000 Westchester Stakes (gr. III).
Fox Hill Farms' Honest Man, winner of the grade III Mineshaft Handicap in his last start, is the 121-pound highweight and 3-1 morning-line favorite for the $500,000, grade II New Orleans Handicap, which is contested at 1 1/8 miles on the dirt as part of the March 14 Louisiana Derby card at Fair Grounds.
Weather played an unexpected role when turf standout Gio Ponti won the Dec. 26 Sir Beaufort Stakes (gr. III), a race transferred from the grass to Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface. Given a freshening since then, he takes the next step on the main track in the $250,000 Strub (gr. II) Feb. 7.
Fab Oak Stable homebred Nownownow scored a big upset in the $150,000 San Fernando Stakes (gr. II) Jan. 17 at Santa Anita, coming from off the pace to win the 1 1/16-mile event for 4-year-olds by 1 1/2 lengths.
El Gato Malo makes his third start since winning last year's Lone Star Derby (gr. III) in the $150,000 San Fernando Stakes (gr. II) Jan. 17. The beaten favorite in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) is part of a wide open field of a dozen 4-year-olds in the 1 1/16-mile test over the Pro-Ride racing surface.
MAHUBAH'S CORNER, by Avalyn Hunter
Deja vu? It may feel that way for Paul Pompa, Jr. Last year, he sold a 75% interest in Big Brown to IEAH Stables after the colt broke his maiden. Now the phones are ringing with offers again thanks to Well Positioned, who cruised to a 14 ¼-length maiden victory Nov. 22 at Aqueduct.
Ramon Dominguez hustled Wishful Tomcat to the early lead in the Discovery Handicap and they never looked back, the duo leading every step of the way in posting a 1 3/4-length victory on Aqueduct's main track.
Winter Park Partners' Wishful Tomcat, a late-blooming 3-year-old with four wins in his last five starts, tries to notch his first graded stakes score when he takes on seven rivals in the $100,000-added Discovery Handicap (gr. III) Nov. 22 at Aqueduct.
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