D. Wayne Lukas, the leading trainer in Breeders' Cup history with 16 victories, worked four horses scheduled to start in the World Thoroughbred Championships on October 27. With overnight rains, the Belmont Park track was labeled muddy with the dogs up.
Delaware Township won Belmont Park's $250,000 Forest Hills Handicap (gr. II) for the second straight year on Sunday to earn a spot in the Breeder's Cup Sprint (gr. I).
If you had watched Griffinite before the Layfayette Stakes (gr. III) Wednesday at Keeneland, you would have thought he had no shot. You would have been wrong.
Fog City Stable's D'Wildcat settled behind the early pace, moved outside approaching the stretch, and drew off to win the $150,000 Swale Stakes (gr. III) by 10 1/2 lengths in a dominating performance Saturday at Gulfstream Park. Under jockey Corey Nakatani, the 3-year-old colt completed the seven furlongs in 1:22.25 on a fast track.
Fountain of Youth Stakes winner Songandaprayer was on the track for a serious seven-furlong trial on Thursday. With jockey Edgar Prado in the saddle, Songandaprayer was clocked in 1:23 4/5 handily and is on schedule for his appearance in the $1 million Florida Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles here on March 10. Songandaprayer went in fractions of :36 1/5 for three furlongs, :47 4/5 for the half-mile, :59 4/5 for five furlongs, 1:23 4/5 for seven furlongs and galloped out a mile in 1:38 3/5.
Word Puzzle, sixth in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride in her first start of the year, is being pointed toward Friday's $52,000-added Via Borghese Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass. Free the Magic, a winner of her last two in a row on grass but a distant seventh in the grade III Herecomesthebride when that race was taken off the turf, is also pointing to Friday's race.
The cry of "Go, Big Blue" resounded throughout the New York area on Super Bowl Sunday. Although it was silenced following the New York Giants' defeat to the Baltimore Ravens, don't be surprised if it is resurrected by Gang Godolphin around the first Saturday in May. That's when Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum and his faithful followers will invade Churchill Downs bearing gifts and exuding confidence. Boxloads of Godolphin jackets, shirts, and caps will turn Churchill Downs into a sea of blue. Over the past two years, three members of Maktoum's Marauders made it to the starting gate on Derby Day, their coats shining like burnished copper. But there really wasn't a Derby horse beneath those glistening exteriors.
A field of 11, led by City Zip and Yonaguska, has been entered for Saturday's Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park. The seven-furlong, $150,000 race is the third leg in the series of races leading up to the Florida Derby. City Zip, a multiple grade II winner, is the 122-pound topweight in the Hutcheson. Yonaguska, who finished in dead heat with City Zip for first in the Hopeful Stakes, will tote 119.
Making his first start outside of races restricted to California-bred horses, Proud Tower was an impressive winner of the Hollywood Prevue Stakes at Hollywood Park.
Michael Tabor's Yonaguska will start from post position seven under highweight of 122 pounds in the $100,000 Hollywood Prevue Stakes (gr. III) Sunday at Hollywood Park.
Michael Tabor's Yonaguska, who finished 11th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) in his most recent start, will be a $5,000 supplemental entry to Sunday's $100,000 Hollywood Prevue Stakes (gr. III) at Hollywood Park, according to assistant trainer Randy Bradshaw.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas won't saddle one of the favorites in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4, but he likes the chances of two of his colts after they worked five furlongs over the Louisville track on Monday.
Jorge (Chop Chop) Chavez moved Celtic Pride Stable's A P Valentine through on the rail and gamely outdueled Point Given for a 1 3/4-length triumph in the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I).
Notes from Belmont Park for Staurday's Breeders' Cup Preview card.
Michael Tabor's Yonaguska earned his first graded stakes win and City Zip became the first horse since Dehere in 1993 to sweep Saratoga's three major juvenile stakes when the two finished on even terms in the $200,000 Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) Saturday.
City Zip will attempt to become the first horse since Dehere in 1993 to sweep Saratoga's juvenile stakes when he faces 11 rivals in Saturday's $200,000 Hopeful Stakes (gr. I). The Hopeful is also the first leg in a new bonus series offered by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
Should City Zip be entered into Saturday's $200,000 Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) as expected, he will attempt to become the first horse since Dehere in 1993 to sweep Saratoga’s three major stakes races for juveniles.
The 2-year-old Carson City colt City Zip led early, dropped back off the pace on the backstretch, saved ground on the turn, and came on again in the stretch outside of a tiring Yonaguska to win Thursday's $108,700 Sanford Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga.
Michael Tabor-owned, D. Wayne Lukas-trained Yonaguska heads the field for Thursday's Sanford Stakes at Saratoga.
Yonaguska, purchased earlier this year at a 2-year-old auction for $1,950,000, ran his record to two-for-two with an easy win in The Flash Stakes Friday at Belmont Park.
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