Trainer John Sadler's Zappa, a 6 1/4-length winner of the 2008 Cougar II Handicap, is back to defend his title against Mike Mitchell's top-weighted duo of Big Booster and Church Service in the $150,000 renewal of the 1 1/2-mile event Aug. 5.
Heavily favored Obrigado ended a 15-race losing streak when he overpowered a small field in the 1 3/4-mile Round Table Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood Park June 13.
Just five horses, including supplemental entry Plug Me In, are set to go in an uninspiring renewal of the $100,000 Round Table Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the turf June 13. At 1 3/4 miles, the Round Table is the longest race of the Hollywood Park meet.
Tracy Farmer's Commentator drew post 6 and the popular 8-year-old gelding will be the likely favorite when he makes his 2009 debut in the inaugural Charles Town Classic, potentially worth $1 million on April 18.
Trainer Mike Mitchell will be looking for the trifecta March 28 when he sends out distance specialist Big Booster and two two others in the $100,000 Tokyo City Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Santa Anita Park.
Racketeer, runner-up to Heatseeker in last year's Native Diver Handicap (gr. III), makes a one-week turnaround for trainer Barry Abrams in this year's $100,000-added renewal of the 1 1/8-mile Cushion Track event Dec. 6 at Hollywood Park.
European invader Sixties Icon, who has won three consecutive group III events in England, was installed as the 2-1 morning-line choice for the inaugural $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon Oct. 25 at Santa Anita Park.
Gary and Cecil Barber arrived at Clocker's Corner Oct. 19 in time to see the sunrise. However, they were paying more attention to Cost of Freedom, their $50,000 claim who has soared into contention for the Oct. 25 Sentient Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I).
Thoroughbreds in this country don't get much of an opportunity to race that far, and most of them aren't bred to cover such a long route of ground.
The Goodwood Stakes (gr. I), as usual, serves as the main prep race in Southern California for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) this season. But for the 11 entered in this year's $500,000 renewal Sept. 24, it's also the first test of Santa Anita's new Pro-Ride synthetic racing surface and will go a long way toward determining which contenders move on.
A day after winning the $1-million Travers Stakes Presented by Shadwell Farm (gr. I) with Colonel John, jockey Garrett Gomez switched coasts to guide favored Go Between to a head victory over Well Armed in the $1-million Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar.
Go Between, the 3-1 morning line favorite, takes on defending champion Student Council in the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar Aug. 24. The rich 1 1/4-mile Polytrack event attracted a closely matched group of 11 older horses.
Controlling the tempo from the outset, Zappa galloped to an easy victory in the $150,000 Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar July 30 and earned a starting slot in the inaugural Breeders' Cup Dirt Marathon at Santa Anita this fall.
Eighty-four horses, representing 17 different U.S. states and one Canadian province, were pre-entered July 23 for the 2008 Claiming Crown, which will take place Aug. 2 at Canterbury Park.
Surf Cat, winner of the 2006 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II) for trainer Bruce Headley, will attempt to do it again on the stretch-out April 26 at Hollywood Park.
Long disappointing on the turf, Niagara Causeway has found a home on synthetic racing surfaces after tallying a game score over Church Service by a nose for his first graded stakes win in the $108,200 Tokyo City Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Santa Anita March 29.
Zappa, off the board in two starts since winning the San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) in January, tries softer company for trainer John Sadler in the $100,000 Tokyo City Cup (gr. III) at 1 1/2 miles on Santa Anita's synthetic racing surface March 29.
Fourteen horses, potentially matching the largest field in the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) in a quarter century, are headed for the $1 million event March 1 in a race that redefines "wide open."
WinStar Farms' homebred Well Armed, thanks to a well-crafted ride from Aaron Gryder on the front end, had just enough to hold off the surging Heatseeker by a head in winning the $250,000 San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Feb. 9.
Synthetic surface standouts Student Council and Awesome Gem, the first two finishers in last summer's $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I), are expected to make their 2008 bow in the $250,000 San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) over Santa Anita's Cushion Track on Super Bowl Sunday Feb. 3.
Zappa, the longest shot in the field, captured his graded stakes debut in the $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) at sizzling Santa Anita Jan. 12.
Arson Squad joins six of the seven original starters for the Jan. 12 San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II). The event was canceled a week earlier at Santa Anita due to track conditions.
The Brazilian-bred Molengao, a two-time grade II winner last year for trainer Paulo Lobo, returns from a six-month layoff in the $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Jan. 5.
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