Everything went right for front-running Midships in the $196,000 San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap (gr. IIT) as he held sway over the up-against-it Spring House on a warm closing day afternoon April 19 at Santa Anita Park.
Rafael Bejarano, winner of the last six major Southern California riding titles, has the mount on Backbackbackgone as Hollywood Park's 70th spring/summer meet opens April 22 with the $70,000-added Harry Henson Stakes.
Stuck wide on the backstretch of the $150,000 Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III), jockey Kent Desormeaux took a chance when he encouraged Parading to take control over his pace rivals heading into the final turn. The decision paid off when Parading ran away in upper stretch on the way to his first graded stakes victory April 19 at wet and windy Keeneland.
Updated: April 28, 2009
The field for the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby Saturday, to be run on May 2, 2009 at Churchill Downs, is limited to 20 horses. If more than 20 are entered, preference will be given to entrants based on earnings in graded stakes races.
Unrivaled took command of the $2.3 million Satsuki Sho (Japanese Two Thousand Guineas) at the top of the stretch and held off a late charge from Triumph March to win by 1 1/2 lengths before 71,201 at Nakayama Racecourse April 19.
On April 19, as light rain fell, Friesan Fire posted his final work at Keeneland before he heads to Churchill Downs for the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Bo Hirsch's homebred Papa Clem, winner of the Arkansas Derby (gr. II), breezed an easy five furlongs in the rain April 19 in his first serious training move over the track at Churchill Downs.
In a decision they agonized over for weeks, jockey Garrett Gomez and agent Ron Anderson finally have decided to stick with Pioneerof the Nile as their Kentucky Derby (gr. I) mount.
Trainer Jeff Mullins has been suspended seven days, beginning May 3, and fined $2,500 by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board for an incident in the Aqueduct security barn April 4. The stewards released the ruling April 19, following a telephone hearing with Mullins April 16.
Grade II winner Western Pride sired his first winner when his daughter Straight Western won April 17 at Turf Paradise.
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