FRANKEL THEY SAID IT
FRANKEL THEY SAID IT
Frankel kicked off the 2012 Royal Ascot meeting in dynamite fashion Tuesday, strolling to an 11-length thrashing in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes. The unbeaten superstar delivered arguably a career-best performance while extending his mark to 11 straight.
Will Royal Delta take on the boys at the Breeders' Cup? Read Blog
The Maryland Racing Commission voted Tuesday afternoon in a special hearing at Laurel Park that 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, who set records that still stand at the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont States, also set the record in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course 39 years ago.
Jockeys' Guild Chairman John Velazquez was released by his doctors at Norton Audubon Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, Tuesday afternoon. Velazquez was transported to the hospital on Saturday after the horse he was riding in the ninth race at Churchill Downs broke down.
HOLLYWOOD PARK NOTEBOOK
On Wednesday at Royal Ascot, the middle distance horses take center stage in the Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes with So You Think looking to go one better than he managed last year against The Queen's Carlton House and French challenger Reliable Man.
Frankel goes for his 11th straight victory as he bids to get Royal Ascot off to the best possible start in Tuesday's Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes. Sir Henry Cecil's superstar colt has carried all before him so far and heads into the first race of five glorious days as the long odds-on favorite.
Jim McAleney, who has captured 2,247 races in a storied career, will try to capture one major Canadian race that has eluded him when he leaves the gate aboard Plate Trial winner River Rush in Sunday's $1 million Queen's Plate at Woodbine.
From the very beginning, it appeared to be written that Jose Santos Jr., son of Hall of Fame jockey Jose Santos, was destined for a life on the racetrack.
Making her first start of 2012, Turbulent Descent remained undefeated at Hollywood Park with a victory in the $72,570 Desert Stormer Handicap on Sunday.
Trainer Roger Attfield, with eight Queen's Plate wins, is tied with Harry Giddings Jr. for most visits to the winner's circle in the "Gallop for the Guineas" and the conditioner is hopeful that Colleen's Sailor can break the deadlock.
Darley Stable's Le Bernardin faltered while making his stakes bow in the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes on May 12, but returned Sunday at Monmouth Park to gut out a neck victory in the Grade 3, $103,000 Pegasus Stakes with jockey Mike Luzzi aboard. The Kiaran McLaughlin pupil ran 1 1/16 miles on the fast dirt in 1:44 2/5 as the 5-1 fourth pick and returned $12, $5.40 and $3.40.
Contested, a five-length winner of the Grade 1 Acorn on Memorial Day, posted her final workout prior to next Saturday's Grade 1 Mother Goose, traveling six furlongs in 1:11 4/5 on Belmont Park's fast main track Sunday.
The connections of the winners of the four graded events that took place on Saturday night's "Downs After Dark" racing program at Churchill Downs confirmed Sunday that their horses exited those races in good order.
Ron the Greek confirmed his championship credentials with a thrilling victory over Wise Dan in the Grade 1, $437,200 Stephen Foster Handicap, rallying up the inside to edge the favorite by a head on the wire. The five-year-old horse capped a big night for trainer Bill Mott, who also saddled champion Royal Delta to an eight-length score in the Grade 2 Fleur des Lis one race earlier on Saturday's Downs after Dark program.
Reverting to the front-running tactics that had propelled him to a smashing turf debut two starts back, 5-2 favorite Turbo Compressor wired Saturday night's $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs.
Besilu Stables' Royal Delta dropped her initial two starts of 2012 but on Saturday returned to the form that saw her earn an Eclipse Award as champion three-year-old filly last year when drawing off under a hand ride to score by eight lengths in the Grade 2, $179,700 Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs.
Louise I. and G. Watts Humphrey Jr. Revocable Trust's homebred Centre Court was sent off the 3-2 favorite in Saturday's Grade 3, $114,200 Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs following a 4 3/4-length maiden victory on May 19 under the Twin Spires, and rewarded her many backers with a one-length win. The Smart Strike filly paid $5, $3.40 and $3 for completing nine furlongs on the firm turf 1:48 1/5 for trainer Rusty Arnold and jockey Javier Castellano.
Myung Kwan Cho's Love Theway Youare pulled off a stunning upset of Saturday's Grade 1, $250,000 Vanity Handicap, wearing down the heavily favored Include Me Out in the final sixteenth and drawing away to win by 2 1/2 lengths under Garrett Gomez. The fifth-longest price in the field of six at 18-1, Love Theway Youare returned $38, $6.20 and $4.20 after completing 1 1/8 miles on the Cushion Track in 1:51.
Barbara Hunter's homebred Snow Top Mountain enjoyed a ground-saving ride throughout by Paco Lopez in Saturday evening's Grade 3, $100,000 All Along Stakes, and that might have been the key to her victory. Running while in foal to champion Blame, the Tom Proctor mare drove through the gap left open by longtime leader Speak Easy Gal, then held on by a neck from the wide-rallying Clare Skies Ahead.
Neck 'N Neck proved much the best in Saturday's Grade 3, $107,100 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs, registering his first stakes success with a 7 1/4-length decision. The Flower Alley colt has now recorded all three of his career wins under the Twin Spires, entering the 1 1/16-mile test for three-year-olds off a dominant 6 1/2-length score over entry-level allowance rivals on May 10.
Jerry Durant's Amarish easily moved his scorecard to a perfect two-for-two on Saturday when pulling away in the lane of the $100,000 Willard L. Proctor Memorial Stakes at Hollywood Park to win by 4 1/2 lengths. The 5 1/2-furlong contest for two-year-olds was the co-undercard feature on the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap program along with the $100,000 Cinderella Stakes restricted to juvenile fillies.
Todd Kabel, a six-time Sovereign Award recipient as Canada's champion jockey and two-time Queen's Plate winner, will ride William Sorokolit's Classic Bryce in next Sunday's "Gallop for the Guineas."
Extricated from behind a wall of horses in the stretch by jockey Ramon Dominguez, Waterford Stable's Summer Front found racing room inside the final sixteenth and under hand encouragement wore down Howe Great to win Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Hill Prince at Belmont Park. The 6-5 favorite paid $4.70, $2.90 and $2.70.
Green Hills Farm Inc.'s Love and Pride added a first graded victory to her resume on Saturday with a 1 3/4-length wire job in the Grade 3, $150,000 Obeah Handicap at Delaware Park. The four-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy used her rail post to good advantage, grabbing command out of the gate and setting splits of :23 2/5, :47 3/5, 1:11 3/5 and 1:37 1/5 before finishing 1 1/8 miles on the fast dirt in 1:49 4/5.
Trainer Robert Gorham, 57, saddled his 1,000th career winner Friday, sending out Banning to a 6 1/2-length win under Jeffrey Skerrett in Thistledown's 4TH race. The gelded son of Stephen Got Even is owned by Gorham's sister, Marion Gorham.
Augustin Stable's homebred Coup arrived at Churchill Downs on Thursday from trainer Graham Motion's base at Fair Hill Training Center to seek her second stakes win in Saturday's 43rd running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Regret.
Canterbury Park's purses have increased by approximately 35 percent following Wednesday's approval by the Minnesota Racing Commission of a cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement between Canterbury Park and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC). The purse structure will be enhanced by $2.6 million this season and approximately $75 million total over the next 10 years according to the terms of the agreement. The agreement also provides $8.5 million in joint marketing funds that will be used to cross-promote Canterbury Park and SMSC's Mystic Lake Casino, located less than four miles from the Shakopee, Minnesota, racetrack.
The Grade 1, $300,000 Mother Goose at Belmont Park on June 23 is shaping up to be a rematch between the top two finishers of the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, with the winner, Believe You Can, and the runner-up, Broadway's Alibi, aiming for the 1 1/16-mile race.
The career of multiple Grade 1 winner and grass specialist Presious Passion, who finished second in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Turf and has been a longtime favorite at Monmouth Park, has come to an end.
Three-time Grade 1 heroine Turbulent Descent will make her first start of 2012 in the $70,000 Desert Stormer Handicap Sunday at Hollywood Park. Named in honor of the 1995 Breeders' Cup Sprint queen, the Desert Stormer is for older fillies and mares and will be run at six furlongs over the Cushion Track.
Grade 1 winner and reigning New York-bred Horse of the Year Giant Ryan was euthanized at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center due to the onset of laminitis, Shivananda Parbhoo confirmed late Thursday afternoon. The 6-year-old son of Freud broke both sesamoid bones in his left front fetlock during the running of Saturday's Grade 2 True North Handicap at Belmont Park.
Wise Dan, an easy winner of last fall's Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs who recently broke a track record at Keeneland in his 10 1/2-length romp in the Grade 3 Ben Ali, was reported to be full of himself Thursday morning and trainer Charlie Lopresti said his star is ready for Saturday's Grade 1, $400,000 Stephen Foster Handicap under the Twin Spires.
Australian trainer Paul Messara revealed there is a chance that the mare Ortensia could line up in both the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes on Tuesday and the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes, against compatriot Black Caviar, four days later at Royal Ascot.
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) and the NBC Sports Group have announced the schedule for this year's "Summer at Saratoga" series, with five live broadcasts from Saratoga, starting on August 11 and running through September 1, and including such marquee races as the Alabama, Travers and Woodward.
Black Caviar, the unbeaten Australian sprinting sensation, exercised in Newmarket Thursday, during a Royal Ascot media morning ahead of racing in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs on June 23.
Rogue Romance could be one of the longest shots on the board for the Grade 1, $400,000 Stephen Foster Handicap on Saturday evening at Churchill Downs, but trainer Ken McPeek hopes for a top effort from his four-year-old son of Smarty Jones when he faces a group of some of the best older horses in training.
Snow Top Mountain will attempt to get back to her winning form on Saturday while taking on 10 rivals in the Grade 3, $100,000 All Along Stakes at Colonial Downs. The gray mare scored a half-length victory in the Grade 3 Suwannee River at the beginning of the year, but has been unable to find the board in two starts since then.
Dana Wells and Marc Bacon's Silver Max rolled to his fifth consecutive win Wednesday in the $211,100 Oliver Stakes at Indiana Downs. The Badge of Silver colt showed his customary speed from the start under Victor Lebron, was left untouched through splits of :23 4/5, :47 and 1:10 3/5, and drew off in the stretch to win by a lopsided margin of 6 3/4 lengths in track-record time of 1:33 4/5 for one mile on the firm turf.
Royal Delta will face just five rivals when she returns to competition on Saturday in the Grade 2, $150,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs. The 1 1/8-mile race is one of four stakes that comprise Churchill's Stephen Foster Downs After Dark racing program.
While Game on Dude sits safely atop the West Coast's handicap division, a stellar field will vie for supremacy among those based in the eastern half of the country Saturday night in the Grade 1, $400,000 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs.
Wesley Ward's Judy the Beauty, who has not raced since finishing second to Grace Hall in the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga last September, will return off a more than nine-month layoff in Thursday afternoon's featured allowance race at Churchill Downs.
The Jockey Club on Wednesday announced plans to develop a statistics-based system that would notify track officials and regulatory veterinarians when a horse that has been entered in a race is facing a heightened risk of injury.
NBC's broadcast of the Belmont Stakes, which was won by Union Rags, drew 7.67 million viewers, a gain of 12 percent from last year's race (6.84 million on NBC), and up 62 percent from the 2010 race (4.74 million on ABC). Saturday's Belmont was the most-watched in a non-Triple Crown year since 2005 on NBC, less than one percent lower than the 7.71 million that year, according to official national data provided Tuesday by The Nielsen Company.
Pin Oak Stable's homebred Alternation, the top-ranked horse in the latest NTRA Poll, completed his major training preparations for Saturday's Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs with an easy five-furlong breeze in 1:05 2/5 on the fast main track beneath the Twin Spires on Tuesday morning.