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.
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.
While all the pre-race buzz surrounded older runners and former barnmates
Game on Dude and Richard's Kid in Sunday's Grade 1, $1 million
at Del Mar, three-year-old Dullahan decided to make some noise of his own.
Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino's Obviously made no secret stratagems
for Sunday's Grade 2, $200,000
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
"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).
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.
Trainer Todd Pletcher sent out Grade 1 Woodward candidates Stay Thirsty and
Rule to work five furlongs Sunday morning in company for Saturday's $750,000
race, with the pair firing a bullet 1:00.03 over Saratoga's fast main track.
Lothenbach Stables' Mister Marti Gras, hero of last summer's Grade 3
Washington Park Handicap, breezed Sunday at Arlington in advance of Saturday's
78th renewal of the $150,000 event, Arlington's richest race for older horses
over its Polytrack course each year.
Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito was his usual philosophical self the morning
after Fast Falcon finished a fast-closing third to the dead-heating tandem of
Alpha and Golden Ticket in Saturday's Grade 1 Travers at Saratoga.
"We had been watching this horse train, and Danny Ramsey, who has a really good
talent galloping for me, was telling me how good he was doing," McPeek
went 59 and change over the Oklahoma track and that was faster than I've had any
horse work there. He went 59 there and that's like 57 anywhere else."
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.
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, 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.
Gary and Mary West's Casino Host got first run on 6-5 favorite Dhaamer in
Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000
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.
The conclusion of Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million
Stakes was so tight that a photo was needed to determine the winner, and it turned out that Alpha and Golden Ticket had reached the finish line together,
resulting in the first dead-heat victory in the 143-year history of the
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
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.
Natalie J. Baffert's Contested propped at the break of Saturday's Grade 1,
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
D'nied Permission was sent off the 21-1 third longest shot on the board in
Affirmed division of the Florida Stallion Stakes at Calder, but that didn't
stop the D'wildcat gelding from gutting out a neck victory over fellow 25-1
longshot Joshua's Comprise on the wire of the seven-furlong contest.
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 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.
One of the more fascinating of the many questions surrounding Sunday's 22nd
running of the Grade1, $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar is this: Will the
change in owner, trainer, jockey and immediate surroundings engendered by last
weekend's sale effect the performance of Richard's Kid?
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.
Although the two supporting stakes on Sunday's Pacific Classic Day program at
Del Mar drew short fields of six apiece, both Grade 2 events feature top-level
performers. Coil and Camp Victory are the most accomplished entrants in the
O'Brien Stakes on Polytrack, while Jeranimo, Mr. Commons and Norvsky are the
big names in the $200,000
Mile Handicap on turf.
Last year at Saratoga Race Course, Royal Delta bolstered her Eclipse Award
credentials with a 5 1/2-length win in the Grade 1 Alabama, and she later sewed
up champion three-year-old filly honors with a victory in the Breeders' Cup
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
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.
Finding a clear path on the outside at just the right time, jockey Robert
Walsh deftly avoided trouble on Demonstrative when leader Divine Fortune fell
over the final jump in Thursday's 71st running of the Grade 1,
New York Turf Writers Cup Steeplechase Handicap at Saratoga, going on to win
by a length.
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.
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.
company operates a farm based near Georgetown, Kentucky, which cares for more than
120 retired racehorses and draws nearly 20,000 visitors a year.
Owner, breeder and restaurateur Carlo Vaccarezza, a resident of Parkland,
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.
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 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.
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.
Eleven three-year-olds are set for the 143rd edition of the "Midsummer
Derby," Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.