Handicapping

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Fair Grounds cancels rest of QH meet in wake of Isaac

After consulting with the Louisiana Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association and the Louisiana State Racing Commission, Fair Grounds has canceled the remainder of the 2012 Summer Quarter Horse Meet due to complications caused by Hurricane Isaac, pending official LSRC approval.

Smarty Jones, Turf Monster highlight Labor Day at Parx

A quartet of colts who came undone in their most recent starts in the slop at Saratoga headline Monday's Grade 3, $350,000 Smarty Jones at Parx Racing. The newly upgraded stakes, contested over one mile and 70 yards, is the premier local prep for the Grade 2, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby on September 22.

Balance the Books overcomes deficit in time in With Anticipation

Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence's Balance the Books uncorked a sustained last-to-first move in Thursday's Grade 2, $200,000 With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga, denying the pacesetter Joha in the final strides to break his maiden. A fast-finishing second in his debut over the same 1 1/16-mile trip on the Mellon Turf, the Lemon Drop Kid colt got up by a head in a final time of 1:42 1/5 on the firm course.

Del Mar Derby features a well-matched field; Potesta heads Torrey Pines

Sunday's Grade 2, $300,000 Del Mar Derby at nine furlongs on turf came up very contentious, with the winners of the Grade 2 La Jolla (Old Time Hockey) and both divisions of the local Oceanside Stakes (Midnight Crooner and My Best Brother) present as well as dangerous East Coast shipper Howe Great, and Sunday's dynamite 11-race program at Del Mar also features well-regarded three-year-old filly Potesta, who will return from a 71-day layoff in the $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes.

Musical Romance could train up to BC Filly & Mare Sprint

Defending Eclipse Award champion female sprinter and last year's Breeder's Cup Filly & Mare Sprint heroine Musical Romance posted her first published workout since a July 7 victory in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap when breezing five furlongs in 1:03 1/5 over Calder's wet-fast track on Tuesday morning.

Jackson Bend confirmed a starter in Forego

Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito said Thursday morning that Jackson Bend will get the chance to defend his title in Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 Forego. Zito had entered the five-year-old son of Hear No Evil Wednesday in the seven-furlong race, but did not want to commit to running until he was absolutely certain Jackson Bend was suffering no after-effects from a training mishap two weeks ago.

Street Life retired in wake of Travers injury

Magnolia Racing Stable and Hidden Brook Farm's Street Life, who pulled up after the wire and was vanned off after finishing last in the Grade 1 Travers, has been retired, trainer Chad Brown said Thursday morning.

Executiveprivilege tops Del Mar Debutante

An impressive winner in each of her first three starts, Executiveprivilege will look to add another prize when she squares off against eight challengers in Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Debutante. The Bob Baffert-trained daughter of First Samurai figures to be an overwhelming favorite with regular rider Rafael Bejarano.

Two canoes celebrate Travers winners

A Saratoga tradition was doubled Wednesday when the infield pond at Saratoga Race Course welcomed two canoes for the winners of Saturday's 143rd edition of the Grade 1 Travers.

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.

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