For the second time in three weeks, a Christophe Clement trainee shipped into Del Mar from New York to win a grade I event when Virginia Kraft-Payson's Rutherienne left favored Valbenny behind in the stretch for a two-length win in the Del Mar Oaks Aug. 18.
Forty Acres took complete control of the $100,000 Super Derby Prelude shortly after the start and cruised to a resounding 2 1/4-length win with Carlos Gonzalez aboard Aug. 18 at Louisiana Downs.
Pleasant Hill may have been 20-1 on the morning line for the $150,000 Gardenia Handicap (gr. III) at muggy Ellis Park Aug. 18, but the bettors weren't having it. The 4-year-old daughter of Pleasant Tap led all the way in her stakes debut at odds of 7-2 to win by one length over High Heels.
It took Marietta five tries to break her maiden. Since then, the 3-year-old filly has figured out that the winner's circle agrees with her, as she has captured a pair of graded stakes in excellent form. In the $100,000 Arlington Oaks (gr. III) Aug. 18, Marietta won for the third time in her last four efforts.
Watching the Aug. 18 Alabama (gr. I) on the jumbo monitor on the first floor of the clubhouse at Saratoga, Michael Hernon pumped his fist in the air as Bentley L. Smith's homebred Lady Joanne crossed the wire first in the 1 1/4-mile race for 3-year-old fillies.
Entering the 127th running of the Alabama (gr. I), all the talk was about Octave, who had won consecutive grade I races in New York this summer, one of them over Lady Joanne. This time, Lady Joanne was not to be denied.
Back on June 23, Gottcha Gold defeated Lawyer Ron by a neck in the Salvator Mile Handicap (gr. III) at Monmouth Park. Bettors apparently considered that a fluke, as they let the son of Coronado's Quest go off at odds of 15-1 in the $300,000 Philip H. Iselin Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Monmouth Aug. 18. But the 4-year-old colt blew past his seven rivals to take the 1 1/8-mile route in convincing fashion.
With one week remaining until the $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course, top trainers in New York are aiming for a single target in the stalwart form of Street Sense, who will head up the field of the Aug. 25 "midsummer Derby" with a solid bullseye on his back.
The Jockey Club is projecting a 2008 North American registered Thoroughbred foal crop of 37,500, equivalent to the forecast for 2007 made at this time last year.
John W. Amerman and Ian D. Highet have been elected to the board of stewards of The Jockey Club.
Jockeys Israel Ocampo and Uriel Lopez sustained multiple injuries from a spill during the second race at Arlington Park Aug. 17.
- By Claire Novak
In the stable yard in front of Todd Pletcher's main shedrow, blacksmith Ray Amato is fitting Octave with a new pair of racing plates in preparation for her start in this afternoon's Alabama (gr. I). The gray filly stands draped in a black blanket, four white bandages encasing her delicate legs. Her ears slump sideways, eyelids droop at half-mast. She yawns and rests, quietly at ease.
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