Diamond A Racing's Tiz West withstood a determined bid by favored Afleet Ruler to prevail by three-quarters of a length in Santa Anita's $109,900 La Puente Stakes for 3-year-olds on the grass, denying 18-year-old jockey Joe Talamo his fifth victory on the 11-race program.
After doing all of his running on Southern California's synthetic tracks, favored Gayego proved he has no problem with a conventional dirt surface, either. The Paulo Lobo-trained invader repelled Z Fortune in the stretch run for a three-quarter-length victory in the $1-million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park.
Bea Oxenberg's Hey Byrn kept his Kentucky Derby hopes alive with a workmanlike 2 1/4-length win in the slowly run $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park April 12.
Sebastian County, a clear leader a furlong from home, held off Poni Colada by a head to win the $75,000 Northern Spur for 3-year-olds on the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) program at Oaklawn Park April 12.
Hickory Tree Stables' Rebellion, idle since running eighth in the Oct. 27 NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), stormed down the lane April 12 to catch longshot Elite Squadron by a head in the final strides in the $400,000 Commonwealth Stakes (gr. II) on the Keeneland Polytrack.
Sherine, the longest price on the board at 13-1 in a five-horse field, took them all on a merry chase in the $147,000 Comely Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct April 12. Ridden by Alan Garcia, the 3-year-old filly covered the one mile on dirt in 1:37.25.
Trainer Todd Pletcher had won just a single race at Keeneland going into the April 12 card. But he won again where it counted, and with Monba and Cowboy Cal finishing 1-2 in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), it looks like North America's leading trainer of 2007 will be headed to the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) after all.
Virginia Kraft Payson homebred Rutherienne rallied from off the pace under Garrett Gomez, split horses turning for home and took the lead in deep stretch to win by a neck in the $200,000 Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. IIT) April 12 on the Keeneland turf.
Live racing in Maryland shifts to Pimlico Race Course April 17 for the eight-week spring meeting. The headline event of the stand is the 133rd running of the $1-million Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, on May 17.
Trainer Brian Koriner was fined $5,000 and will serve a five-day suspension beginning April 14 as part of a stipulated agreement with the California Horse Racing Board after a horse in his care exceeded the allowable threshold for the local anesthetic procaine following a race at Hollywood Park nearly a year ago.
Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Big Brown drilled five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 under regular exercise rider Michelle Nevin Saturday morning at Palm Meadows Training Center.
The Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has given the new national Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group authority to negotiate terms with advance deposit wagering companies for betting on races at South Florida Thoroughbred racetracks. Also, Florida horsemen want an agreement on slots revenue with Calder before any contracts are signed.
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine signed legislation April 11 that allows a $90-million purse supplement for New Jersey racetracks to move forward. Now, the racing industry must decide how the money will be divvied up for purses at perhaps four racetracks.
Australia witnessed a new staying star emerge when the lightly raced Dealer Principal (Flying Spur-Volte) came with a powerful well-timed run to win the Dubai Rosehill Guineas (Aust-I) April 12 over 10 furlongs at Rosehill Gardens in Sydney.
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