Handicapping

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Sign spells out talent in debut romp

Al Stall Jr. continued his strong 2012 Saratoga Race Course meeting by sending out Sign to a 11 3/4-length debut victory on Sunday, the trainer's sixth win from 21 starts since racing commenced here on July 20.

Romans leaning to turf for Dullahan's next start

On the morning after Dullahan ran down Game on Dude to win Del Mar's Grade 1 Pacific Classic by a half-length Sunday, trainer Dale Romans discussed the numerous options he has with the three-year-old Donegal Racing color-bearer.

Past the Point making his mark in TAKE2 program

Four years ago, 40-1 shot Past the Point battled his way to a second-place finish behind two-time Horse of the Year Curlin in the Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga. It was the pinnacle of a solid racing career for the bay, who was on the board in 12 of his 22 starts and earned $418,025.

Love and Pride upsets Personal Ensign

Green Hills Farm's Love and Pride has been knocking heads with some of the best in her division for a while now, and just two months ago finally broke through with a first graded victory. On Sunday, the A.P. Indy filly trumped all her rivals with a half-length score in the Grade 1, $600,000 Personal Ensign Invitational at Saratoga.

Obviously hangs on to set course record in Del Mar Mile

Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino's Obviously made no secret stratagems for Sunday's Grade 2, $200,000 Del Mar Mile Handicap. A front-running conqueror of an optional claimer in his first try at a mile on August 2, the Mike Mitchell charge was obviously going to tear off once again, and the wagering public sent him off as the even-money favorite in expectation of another wire job. Obviously just succeeded, barely hanging on by a desperate nose from the flying Mr. Commons, in a course-record time of 1:32.10.

Capital Account tops Baffert exacta in Pat O'Brien

"One-two (finish), we'll take it either way," said Baffert, who has now trained a total of six Pat O'Brien winners. Love That Red (2000) and El Corredor (2001) were his first two, and his current sequence includes Zensational (2009), El Brujo (2010) and The Factor (2011).

Street Life 'happy and comfortable'

Trainer Chad Brown was pleased to report that Street Life, who ran last of 11 and was vanned off the track following Saturday's Grade 1 Travers, was "happy and comfortable" the morning after suffering a soft tissue injury to his left front pastern during the race.

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.

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