Handicapping

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McLaughlin delighted with Alpha's dead-heat Travers win

Shared or not, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin remained thrilled and delighted Sunday morning by Alpha's Grade 1, $1 million Travers victory. Godolphin Racing's Bernardini colt finished in a dead-heat for the win with Golden Ticket, trained by Ken McPeek for Magic City Thoroughbred Partners.

Dutrow pleased with wheel-back Willy Beamin

From a traditional viewpoint, Saturday's Grade 1 King's Bishop was an ambitious spot for a New York-bred gelding making his first graded stakes appearance. Add to that the fact that Willy Beamin, who'd been claimed for $25,000 in March, was running back on just three days rest and the word "ambitious" would seem like an understatement.

Top Tier Lass makes stakes debut in P.G. Johnson

Top Tier Lass, a daughter of red-hot freshman sire Street Boss, spread-eagled the field in her unveiling at the Spa on July 30. After chasing the pace through the opening quarter-mile, the chestnut took over and widened her advantage to seven lengths, propelling herself onto the New York Watch list. Top Tier Lass stretches out from 5 1/2 grassy furlongs, but keeps John Velazquez in the irons as she breaks from post 1.

Casino Host holds off Dhaamer in Del Mar 'Cap

Gary and Mary West's Casino Host got first run on 6-5 favorite Dhaamer in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Del Mar Handicap, and that prompt move by jockey Joe Talamo made the crucial difference. Pouncing to the front in the stretch, the 7-2 chance withstood Dhaamer's furious late rally by a neck and returned $9.60, $4.20 and $3.40.

Zagora zips in course-record time in Ballston Spa

Martin S. Schwartz's Zagora bounced right back to her very best in Saturday's Grade 2, $250,000 Ballston Spa Stakes at Saratoga, smashing the course record in the process. By sizzling 1 1/16 miles on the firm inner turf in 1:39.07, the Chad Brown mare eclipsed the old mark of 1:39.92 established by turf champ Leroidesanimaux here in 2005.

Attendance, handle increase on Travers Day 2012

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon that featured a historic dead-heat in the 143rd running of the Grade 1, $1 million Travers, attendance and handle, both on-track and all-sources, were up substantially from 2011 figures.

Contested overcomes 'Test' at Saratoga

Natalie J. Baffert's Contested propped at the break of Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 Test at Saratoga and found herself in the unusual spot of running off the pace, but that didn't stop the bay miss from a rallying two-length win on the wire. With jockey Rafael Bejarano aboard, the Bob Baffert-trained sophomore finished seven furlongs in 1:22 2/5 to return $4, $3.60 and $2.60 as the even-money favorite.

Willy Beamin upsets King's Bishop on three days' rest

Firing for a second time this season on very short rest, Willy Beamin rallied from off the pace to upset Saturday's Grade 1 $500,000 King's Bishop at Saratoga at odds of 11-1 for owner James Riccio and trainer Rick Dutrow. The New York-bred son of Suave returned $24.80, $11.80 and $6.90 as race favorites Currency Swap and Trinniberg both finished out of the money.

Turbulent Descent captures Ballerina in debut for Pletcher barn

Turbulent Descent was making her debut for the Todd Pletcher shedrow on Friday and gave her new barn, and connections, a win in the Grade 1, $500,000 Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga. With John Velazquez taking over riding duties from regular jockey David Flores, the bay miss finished 1 1/4 lengths in front of a game Derwin's Star to stop the clock in 1:22 for seven furlongs over the fast main track.

Game on Dude installed as 5-2 Pacific Classic favorite

Multiple Grade 1 winner and 2011 Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up Game on Dude drew post position 9 Wednesday night and was installed the 5-2 morning line favorite to win the 22nd edition of the Grade 1, $1 million Pacific Classic this Sunday at Del Mar. 

Two T's At Two B seeking to keep record perfect in Affirmed

Two T's At Two B and Candy Coded Kisses, respective winners of the Dr. Fager and Desert Vixen divisions of the Florida Stallion Stakes, will bid for second-leg Stallion Stakes victories at Calder on Saturday when starting in the $125,000 Affirmed and Susan's Girl divisions, part of the 10th annual Juvenile Showcase program, a rich day of racing dedicated entirely to two-year-olds with an estimated $550,000 in stakes purses to be awarded.

Monmouth Park officials, horsemen form Second Call

The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, Monmouth Park officials and a group of dedicated animal welfare advocates have joined forces to form a non-profit association responsible for finding new homes and new careers for the noble and deserving horses who have raced at the track.

Old Friends magazine available Travers Day at Saratoga

Daily Racing Form announced the publication of a special commemorative Old Friends magazine, which is designed to help generate public awareness of the issue of Thoroughbred retirement and aftercare in general and financial support specifically for Old Friends. The nonprofit company operates a farm based near Georgetown, Kentucky, which cares for more than 120 retired racehorses and draws nearly 20,000 visitors a year.

Vaccarezza savors Little Mike's Million

Owner, breeder and restaurateur Carlo Vaccarezza, a resident of Parkland, Florida, and the proprietor of Damiano restaurant in Boca Raton and Frank & Dino's in Deerfield Beach, was still savoring the Grade 1 Arlington Million triumph by his homebred Little Mike five days after the son of Spanish Steps, who made his career debut at Calder in 2009, led every step of the way to capture the internationally prestigious 10-furlong turf race.

Shantaram could still make St Leger

The Group 1, £550,000 St Leger is a little more than three weeks away, and Thought Worthy laid down his credentials for the final British classic of the season, run over an extended 1 3/4 miles at Doncaster on September 15, with a gutsy front-running success in the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes at York.

Frankel receives lofty 140 ranking again

Frankel has confirmed his status as the best horse in the world Wednesday by becoming the first horse in history to run to an official rating of 140 twice in his career thanks to his seven-length victory in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York.

The Fugue faces seven in Yorkshire Oaks

Impressive Goodwood scorer The Fugue heads a select field of seven for Thursday's Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks at York. John Gosden's charge bounced back to winning form in the Group 1 Nassau over 10 furlongs at the Glorious meeting, but will be stepping back up to 1 1/2 miles for Thursday's Ebor meeting fixture.

Dullahan settles in at Del Mar

Grade 1 Blue Grass winner Dullahan shipped in from Kentucky with no problems on Sunday, and has acclimated well to his new surroundings during his first 72 hours at Del Mar.

Alpha favored in 11-horse Travers

Eleven three-year-olds are set for the 143rd edition of the "Midsummer Derby," Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga, and Grade 2 Jim Dandy hero Alpha has been installed the 5-2 favorite on the morning line. The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained colt will break from post 6 in the 1 1/4-mile event with Ramon Dominguez.

Bodemeister retired

Grade 1 winner Bodemeister was diagnosed with an injury to his left shoulder, and upon deliberation among veterinarians and the owners, the decision was made for him to retire to stud at WinStar Farm. Bodemeister has begun treatment and a full recovery is expected in the coming months, but the three-year-old son of Empire Maker would not have been able to return in time for major races at the end of 2012.

Oaklawn to offer record overnight purses in 2013

Stall applications are now available for Oaklawn Park's 2013 live meet, which will be the richest in the track's 109-year history with purses totaling close to $20 million during the 56-day season. Oaklawn, which runs January 11 through April 13, announced a record $5.7 million stakes schedule several weeks ago.

Jockey Club launches interactive games

The Jockey Club on Wednesday announced the launch of "Major League Horse Racing," an interactive game that combines the skill of fantasy sports and the fun of social media with the excitement of horse racing, and "Thoroughbred World," a game focused on the breeding, owning and training aspects of the sport.

Ortensia heads large Nunthorpe field

Aussie star sprinter Ortensia is among a huge field of 20 runners in the Group 1 Nunthorpe at York on Friday. Ortensia blitzed the opposition in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai back in March, and while she failed to find her best form on her first couple of outings in Britain, she came good at Glorious Goodwood last time in the Group 2 King George.

Frankel romps to extend win streak to 13

The awesome Frankel made a seamless transition to the about 1 1/4-mile distance in Wednesday's Grade 1 Juddmonte International Stakes, rolling to a facile seven-length triumph over Farhh and St Nicholas Abbey in the opening-day of the Ebor Festival at York.

Hansen out of Travers

Last year's champion juvenile Hansen has been ruled out of consideration for this Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Travers at Saratoga Race Course.

Colonel John colt brings $220,000 at OBS yearling session

A March 27 colt from the first crop of multiple Grade 1 winner Colonel John brought a final bid of $220,000 from trainer Wesley Ward at Tuesday's selected session of the 2012 Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's August Yearling Sale. The Florida-bred was consigned by Beth Bayer, agent, and toured the ring as Hip No. 114.

HRRN debuts HRRNLive! on XM 209

Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN), the Eclipse Award-winning broadcast organization based in Lexington, Kentucky, announced Tuesday plans to expand their extensive race coverage schedule with the debut of HRRNLive! this Wednesday. The new show will be broadcast nationwide on XM channel 209 and feature live coverage of races from designated tracks across the country. HRRNLive! debuts with a four hour broadcast Wednesday through Monday from 3-7 p.m. (EDT), with analysis, live race calls and exclusive interviews.

Pletcher sends out Turbulent Descent in Ballerina

Leading female sprinter Turbulent Descent will make her first start for new trainer Todd Pletcher in Friday's Grade 1, $500,000 Ballerina at Saratoga. The other top draw in the seven-horse field, multiple Grade 1 queen It's Tricky, appears likely to scratch in favor of Sunday's Grade 1 Personal Ensign at 1 1/8 miles.

Frankel clashes with St Nicholas Abbey in Juddmonte

The Ebor Festival, one of the highlights of the British Flat season, starts on Wednesday, when the world's top-rated horse will be the undoubted headline attraction. The Group 1, £725,000 Juddmonte International is the centerpiece of the opening day, in which Frankel faces just eight rivals as he steps up to 10 furlongs for the first time.

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