Einstein, with a pair of grade I wins on the turf and a gallant second to reigning Horse of the Year Curlin under his belt so far this year, will be a short price Friday in the one-mile Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs.
It's not surprising that S J Stables' Cloudy's Knight, a grade I winner who towers over his competitors with earnings of more than $2 million, will be the starting highweight in the July 4 Stars and Stripes Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park.
- By Tom LaMarra
A horseman barred from the grounds of Charles Town Races & Slots is running for state office in West Virginia, and his opponent is a former Miss West Virginia who works for the company that excluded him.
Well beaten in the Pacific Classic last time out, California star Lava Man has an opportunity to prove he's as good as ever when he takes on nine rivals in the $500,000 Goodwood Breeders' Cup (gr. I) at Oak Tree's Santa Anita meeting Sept. 29.
The rejuvenated 7-year-old Silver Tree brings a three-race winning streak into the $150,000 Cliff Hanger (gr. IIIT) on the Meadowlands turf course the night of Sept. 21.
After undergoing minor surgery to correct a breathing problem, the New York-bred Gimme Credit appears ready to go for trainer Tim Hills in the $150,000 Red Bank Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Monmouth Park turf Sept. 1.
Among the 12 rivals entered against Lava Man in the $1-million Pacific Classic (gr. I) Aug. 19, several could undoubtedly be considered from barns that are taking a shot, perhaps because their horse has shown an affinity for Del Mar's Polytrack or because they believe the California champion is vulnerable. That's not the case for trainer John Shirreffs, who heads into the 1 1/4-mile event with a one-two punch.
Lava Man and A.P. Xcellent, who staged a dramatic Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) stretch duel won by the California star by a nose on June 30, are among 13 horses entered in the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar Aug. 19.
Twenty-three horses were nominated -- with 13 considered likely -- for the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) at 1 1/4 miles on the Del Mar Polytrack Aug. 19, including defending champion Lava Man.
Summer Doldrums will have more than a rubber match with Strike a Deal when the two meet in the $1-million Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) July 21 at Colonial Downs. Not only will Summer Doldrums' trainer Rick Violette see his archrival, he will see the faces of past race victors.
Favored Lava Man joined the legendary Native Diver as the only horse to win the prestigious Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) in three consecutive years when he prevailed by a nose over the gritty A. P. Xcellent in a heart-pounding stretch duel Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Always First and Ramazutti, the second and third-place finishers in the Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT) May 26 at Churchill Downs, top a competitive field of nine grass course specialists entered in Wednesday's $200,000 Stars and Stripes Turf Handicap (gr. IIT).
Lava Man, who can match legendary Native Diver with a third consecutive victory in the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup Handicap (gr. I) June 30, has been assigned high weight of 124 pounds for the 1 1/4-mile classic.
Favorite Buzzards Bay, under strong urging from jockey Jose Valdivia Jr., gamely held off the late charging 25-1 shot Sun Boat to win the $250,000 Californian (gr. II) by a nose on the Cushion Track Saturday at Hollywood Park.
An even dozen, including seven graded winners, are entered Saturday for the $250,0000 Californian (gr. II) at Hollywood Park, led by 8-year-old Perfect Drift, a winner of $4.6 million in his lengthy career.
Journeyman Brice Blanc, building a reputation as a premier turf rider in Southern California, could find himself on the favorite, One Off, for trainer Neil Drysdale Saturday in the $200,000 San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT).
Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale holds a heavy hand in Santa Anita's $150,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT) on Sunday when he saddles co-high weights Obrigado and One Off in the 1 1/2-mile early season turf distance test.
Likely favorites Brother Derek and Arson Squad will switch riders for Saturday's $200,000 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) for 4-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.
Specifically, the dam of this year's One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) winner Speciosa, topped the third session of the Tattersalls December mare sale Nov. 29, bringing a session high price of 1.85 million guineas (about $3.8 million) from John Warren Bloodstock as trade continued in record-breaking fashion.
Chrysalis Stables' Silverfoot returns to defend his title Saturday in the $200,000 Kentucky Cup Turf (gr. IIIT), highlighting a stakes-filled card from Kentucky Downs.
Well-traveled Dontbotherknocking successfully defended his title in the $150,000 Edward J. DeBartolo Memorial Breeders' Cup at Remington Park Monday with a well-timed rally for jockey Quincy Hamilton.
James Scatuorchio's English Channel and Juddmonte Farms Inc.'s Cacique, never more than a half-length apart in three previous meetings, renew their rivalry in Saturday's 24th Arlington Million (gr. IT).
No jockey has won more races at Arlington Park than Hall of Fame rider Earlie Fires, and the veteran added to his total with a well-timed come-from-behind upset victory by a head aboard Major Rhythm in Sunday's $195,500 Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IIIT).
Stronach Stables' Silver Whistle, most recently fifth in the Grade I Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park June 10, looks to return to his winning ways in Sunday's $200,000 Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IIIT), Arlington's traditional Fourth of July weekend headliner.
E. J. Sukley's Purim, a multiple graded stakes winner on turf and dirt, pouncedd on the leader in the stretch en route to a 3 ¼-length victory in the inaugural $100,000 Avers Wexler Illinois Owners Stakes on Sunday at Arlington Park.
|Horse||Trainer||Breeder / Owner|
|A. P. Xcellent||Niall M. O'Callaghan||
|Bairds Village||James T. White||
|Buckeye Buddy||William R. Connelly||
|Chief Thief||Anthony J. Granitz||
|Diamond Lure||Judy Primiano||
|Jungle Fighter||Justin J. Nixon||
|Major Rhythm||Doug Matthews||
|Medigating (FR)||F. Dewaine Loy||
|Puppeteer (GB)||Duane Knipe||
|Salinja||Sanna N. Hendriks||
|Western Skyline||Wayne D. Mogge||
|Yes He's Best||William Don Bennett||
Upcoming Stakes Entries
|Downthedustyroad Breeders' S.||OP|
|Colonel Power Overnight S.||FG|
|Daisy Devine S.||FG|
|Mineshaft H. (G3)||FG|