Headlines for Wednesday, February 4, 2009

  • Sir Beaufort Stakes winner Gio Ponti will carry high weight of 123 pounds in the Strub.<br><a target="blank" href="http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/photo-store?ref=http%3A%2F%2Fpictopia.com%2Fperl%2Fgal%3Fprovider_id%3D368%26ptp_photo_id%3D7226458%26ref%3Dstory">Order This Photo</a>

    Gio Ponti Can Build On Success in Strub

    Weather played an unexpected role when turf standout Gio Ponti won the Dec. 26 Sir Beaufort Stakes (gr. III), a race transferred from the grass to Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface. Given a freshening since then, he takes the next step on the main track in the $250,000 Strub (gr. II) Feb. 7.

  • Holy Bull winner Saratoga Sinner

    Porter on Pedigrees: Saratoga Holiday

    PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter <P>Holy Bull winner Saratoga Sinner is the first stakes winner from Harlan's Holiday's 2nd crop.

  • Champion Stardom Bound faces eight rivals in the Las Virgenes Stakes.&lt;br&gt;&lt;a target=&quot;blank&quot; href=&quot;http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/photo-store?ref=http%3A%2F%2Fpictopia.com%2Fperl%2Fgal%3Fprovider_id%3D368%26ptp_photo_id%3D6471289%26ref%3Dstory&quot;&gt;Order This Photo&lt;/a&gt;

    Stardom Bound Faces 8 in Las Virgenes

    Stardom Bound, the juvenile filly champion of 2008, makes her 3-year-old debut Feb. 7 in the $300,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride racing surface.

  • Blue Grass winner Monba is back in action in the Thunder Road Handicap.&lt;br&gt;&lt;a target=&quot;blank&quot; href=&quot;http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/photo-store?ref=http%3A%2F%2Fpictopia.com%2Fperl%2Fgal%3Fprovider_id%3D368%26ptp_photo_id%3D4155539%26ref%3Dstory&quot;&gt;Order This Photo&lt;/a&gt;

    Monba, Yankee Bravo Set to Return

    Monba and Yankee Bravo, both prominent on last year's Triple Crown trail, will make their returns to the racetrack in the $100,000 Thunder Road Handicap (gr. IIIT) Feb. 7 at Santa Anita. However, Irish-bred Ferneley, a near-winner in consecutive graded stakes, could loom the largest in the one-mile turf event.

  • CashCall Futurity winner Pioneerof the Nile makes his 3-year old debut in the Lewis.&lt;br&gt;&lt;a target=&quot;blank&quot; href=&quot;http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/photo-store?ref=http%3A%2F%2Fpictopia.com%2Fperl%2Fgal%3Fprovider_id%3D368%26ptp_photo_id%3D7146565%26ref%3Dstory&quot;&gt;Order This Photo&lt;/a&gt;

    Pioneerof the Nile Makes Sophomore Debut

    CashCall Futurity (gr. I) winner Pioneerof the Nile makes his eagerly-awaited 3-year-old debut and attempts to establish himself as one of the West Coast's top Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contenders, as he faces eight sophomore rivals in the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 7 at Santa Anita Park.

  • MEC Has Slots License Fee--With Caveat

    Magna Entertainment Corp. said Feb. 4 it has arranged to pay a $28.5-million licensing fee for slot machines -- but the money will be placed in an escrow account at a Maryland bank.

  • Handle Declines Slightly in January

    Pari-mutuel handle was down 1.56% in January compared with the same month in 2008, but the decline wasn't close to the 20.3% slip in handle in December 2008 versus a year earlier.

  • HANA's Top 10 Tracks: #9 Oaklawn Park

    The Horseplayers Association of North America has introduced this year a rating system for 65 Thoroughbred racetracks in North America. Featured exclusively on BloodHorse.com is a countdown of the top 10 tracks. Oaklawn Park is #9.

  • Magna Entertainment Corp. chairman Frank Stronach

    National HBPA, Stronach Work on Charter

    Magna Entertainment Corp. chairman Frank Stronach is advocating a charter for "horsemen's rights" and said his company, the largest in North America in terms of racetrack holdings, would work with horsemen to accomplish it.

  • I Want Revenge was a close second in the CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park last December.

    Ky. Derby Trail: Mid-Week Melange

    Because the Top 30 list took up a great deal of Monday's column, we'll go double duty this week and catch up on some updates and ramblings and look at the Risen Star Stakes.

  • Trainer Vaders Loses Appeal in PA Court

    Jayne Vaders, the leading trainer at Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack in 2007, lost her appeal Jan. 9 in Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania for an indefinite ban from training due to multiple drug positives.

  • Christmas Past, shown winning the 1982 Coaching Club American Oaks.

    Champion Christmas Past Dead

    Christmas Past, a homebred champion filly for the late Cynthia Phipps, was euthanized Dec. 13 at age 29 because of complications from the infirmities of old age.

  • Laurel Slots Bid Called Into Question

    In a jaw-dropping revision, Maryland received requests for far fewer slot machines in five license proposals than previously thought, and two of the six bidders -- including Laurel Park owner Magna Entertainment Corp. -- failed to pay $22.5 million in required up-front fees, a state official said Feb. 3.

  • New Stallions Tour

    Click on the videos below to see more about the new stallions for 2009.