The ninth running of the world's richest horse race, the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) over ten furlongs at Nad Al Sheba on Saturday, was billed as a match between the American duo of Pleasantly Perfect and Medaglia D'Oro. For once, the main protagonists had read the script as Pleasantly Perfect outran Medaglia d'Oro in the stretch.
As happy as trainer Dick Mandella was after winning the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), that's how crushed he was moments after the race when he was told on the phone by his son, Gary, in California, that his longtime friend and mentor, V.J. "Lefty" Nickerson, had died in his sleep just hours earlier.
Sackatoga Stable's Funny Cide and Mary and Joe Grant and T.J. Kelly's Evening Attire - are scheduled to square off Saturday in the 92nd running of the $200,000 Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at 1 1/8 mile on Aqueduct's main track.
Dynever, the Christophe Clement-trained colt who captured the 2003 Aventura Stakes at Gulfstream, is to make his first start this year in the upcoming Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) April 3.
Jockey Gary Stevens' immense talent was much in evidence Saturday night in the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I) over the 12-furlong turf track at Nad Al Sheba, when the Americam maestro guided Polish Summer to a convincing victory.
On paper it looked the race of the night and the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) at 1 1/8 miles over the Nad Al Sheba grass track certainly lived up to that billing. At the end, German raider Paolini and Right Approach flashed past the post together, and the race declared a dead heat, the first in World Cup history.
Godolphin's Firebreak, a 5-year-old son of Charnwood Forest, ran out a facile winner of the Godolphin Mile (UAE-II) on the Nad Al Sheba dirt Saturday night.
South African trainer Mike de Kock had a 100% record at the Dubai World Cup meeting, after the victories of Ipi Tombe and Victory Moon last year. He maintained that faultless form when his Lundy's Liability won the UAE Derby (UAE-II), following in the hoofprints of stable companion Victory Moon.
The Golden Shaheen (UAE-I), over the straight six furlongs of the Nad Al Sheba track, was expected to be won by an American horse, and so it proved. But very few predicted the winner. Cajun Beat, winner of the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), was a warm favorite but could manage only fourth behind compatriots Our New Recruit and Alke.
Retired New York trainer V.J. "Lefty" Nickerson, a huge influence on the career of Hall of Fame conditioner Richard Mandella, died March 26 in his sleep at his Smithtown, N.Y., home.
March 27, 1993
Trainer Patrick Biancone revealed late Friday that he's considering skipping the April 3 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) with grade I winner Lion Heart in favor of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland a week later.
Stakes-placed Massachusetts stallion Pappy's Halo's first foal was born March 25 in Shapleigh,Maine.
According to representatives from Sunland Park, the Bob Baffert-trained Yearly Report has scratched out of Saturday's $250,000 WinStar/Sunland Park Oaks. The daughter of General Meeting suffered muscle cramps Wednesday following a morning workout.
Pimlico Race Course opens Wednesday for its 10-week spring meet, which is headlined by the $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I), the middle jewel of th Triple Crown, on May 15.
For the first time ever, Keeneland is moving its post position draw for the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) to the paddock and making it open to the public.
Bluesthestandard will have to overcome the inside post position if he is to defend his title in Sunday's $200,000 Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park.
- By Tom LaMarra
The Kentucky Senate March 26 passed three-prong legislation that authorizes creation of an international wagering hub, paves the way for live Quarter Horse racing, and gives Standardbred racetracks a tax break.
Shoes worn by 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat and the legendary Seabiscuit will be auctioned by Illinois-based auction house Mastronet Inc. starting April 5.
- By Victor Ryan
Fair Grounds, which was scheduled to submit a bankruptcy reorganization plan by March 29, has been granted an extension of April 15 by U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Michael "Mickey" Sample has been named interim chief racing steward for the Keeneland spring meet that begins April 2, said LaJuana Wilcher, secretary of the Kentucky Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet.
Rep. Robert Molaro Thursday postponed consideration of an Illinois Senate bill that would ban equine slaughter for human consumption in the state of Illinois. Dekalb, Ill., is the home of Cavel International, one of the remaining equine slaughter facilities, recently rebuilt after a fire destroyed the former facility.
Trainer Nick Zito said Buckram Oak Farm's Eurosilver, one of the leading candidates for the Triple Crown events, is being treated for an infection and will miss the April 10 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.
By Dick Downey -- The $500,000 WinStar Derby sees the sponsor's own VICTORY LIGHT shipping in from Payson Park in Florida, and Pat Day comes along for the ride.
A member of the state Senate committee considering legislation that would allow video lottery terminals at Michigan racetracks predicted the week of March 22 that the bill would be voted out of committee and passed by the Senate this spring.
Someday Farm's Smarty Jones, unbeaten in five career starts, heads a record list of 152 nominations for the $1-million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) April 10 at Oaklawn Park. The 1 1/8-mile stakes is the highlight of the eighth and final day of the Racing Festival of the South, and also closing day of the live meet at the Hot Springs track.
Anyone who attended last year's Dubai World Cup meeting will struggle to forget the uplifting impact of South African trainer Mike de Kock and his merry band of owners.
Such is the strength of the big two –- Pleasantly Perfect and Medaglia d'Oro -- in Saturday's Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) that Leandro Moro, supervising the preparation of Fleetstreet Dancer, has said he would be happy to finish in the first five.
With plenty of down time left before the flood of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) preps begin on April 3, this is a good opportunity to continue looking for new angles, new faces, and a new perspective on the Derby picture.
Keeper Hill, winner of the 1998 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), delivered her first foal Thursday morning. The foal, a colt by Gone West was delivered at Dr. John and Alice Chandler's Mill Ridge Farm near Lexington.
On Saturday, the talking, the waiting, the worrying can stop. At 9.20 p. m. (local time; 12:20 p.m. EST) in the United Arab Emirates, the sun will have set at Nad Al Sheba racecourse, the floodlights will be on, and the stars will come out. A full $6 million worth of stars.
On Saturday, the talking, the waiting, the worrying can stop. At 9.20 p. m. in the United Arab Emirates, the sun will have set at Nad Al Sheba racecourse, the floodlights will be on, and the stars will come out. A full $6 million worth of stars.
Chilean stakes winner Hipocrite has been bought by Triumph Racing Stable and will continue her racing career in the U.S. in the Triumph colors.
If American racegoers loved the true grit Australasian filly Happyanunoit displayed a few years back when she was sent to race in the U.S., they will go crazy when they see Australian sensation Special Harmony.
March 26, 1960
- By Jack Shinar
Bay Meadows, thought to be starting what could have been its final year of operation on April 7, figures to be around for quite a bit longer.
- By Jack Shinar
The California Horse Racing Board is ready to tackle a weighty issue: the scale. After hearing testimony from the Jockeys' Guild, CHRB chairman John Harris directed staff to develop a proposal to increase the minimum weight for riders and set healthier standards.
Two-time race winner Al Skywalker heads a group of six horses entered in the $50,000 Carolina First Carolina Cup (NSA-III), which will be held at Camden, South Carolina this Saturday.
Jets Fan and Gold Ruckus, who finished one-two in the San Carlos Handicap, are among the six horses entered in Saturday's $100,000 Berkeley Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Golden Gate Fields.
Trainer Doug O'Neill has two shots at repeating last year's victory in the inaugural $500,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park Sunday with speedster Hosco and Perfect Moon.
Mike Smith came to a fork in the road with Lion Heart and Azeri and has decided on Lion Heart. Both horses are scheduled to run in grade I stakes on April 3, Lion Heart in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby and Azeri in the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park.
Trainer George Weaver has shipped Gotham Stakes (gr. III) winner Saratoga County to Keeneland, pointing the son of Valid Expectations to the $325,000, Coolmore Lexington (gr. II) to be run on April 17.
Trainer Jeff Mullins said he's leaning toward running Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) winner Castledale in the April 3 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) after the colt worked a bullet six furlongs in 1:11 4/5 over Santa Anita's fast main track on March 25.
The presence of two fillies with near impeccable credentials has kept the entry box light for Saturday's $150,000 Distaff Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at seven furlongs. Storm Flag Flying, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2002, will have her work cut out for her trying to run down Randaroo.
While Cajun Beat has dominated the build up to Saturday's $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen at Nad Al Sheba (UAE-I), California trainer John Sadler issued a confident bulletin about his challenger Our New Recruit.
George Strait, a native Texan and Academy of Country Music five-time vocalist of the year, will be the featured performer at the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships "Not Black Tie" Charity Gala Oct. 29 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Edmund Gann's Peace Rules and Mr. and Mrs. William Warren Jr's Saint Liam, the one-two finishers in the Feb. 29 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) at Fair Grounds, and the past two Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winners--Private Emblem (2002) and Sir Cherokee (2003)--head a list of 17 horses nominated for the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) April 3.
- By Victor Ryan
David Rovine, Gulfstream Park's director of marketing who played an instrumental role in bringing weekend rock and jazz to the South Florida track, was fired this week as part of a corporate restructuring, said track president Scott Savin.
- By Victor Ryan
Delaware, beginning May 11, will join New York and Ontario, Quebec, as jurisdictions with rules to penalize horses that test positive for erythropoietin antibodies.
Brief news and information: Packard nominated to Churchill Downs board of directors...Artwork using horse hair featured at "Horsetails" event.
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