Handicapping

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Record Kentucky Derby and unusual weather among themes for Churchill meet

An eventful and memorable spring meet at Churchill Downs that included an attendance record for the Kentucky Derby; continued strength of "Downs After Dark" night racing that included the first running of the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap under the lights; and weather challenges posed by severe storms, hailstones and record heat wound to a close under the historic track's permanent lights on Sunday.

Musical Romance, Trinniberg highlight Summit of Speed

Champion female sprinter Musical Romance endured a tough beat in last year's Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap when nabbed at the wire by Sassy Image, who rallied from far back while racing near the outer rail. The Bill Kaplan trainee will be favored to make amends in Saturday's renewal of the $400,000 dash over six furlongs at Calder, the highlight of the Miami track's annual Summit of Speed.

Guys Reward captures Firecracker

Michael J. Bruder's Guys Reward wrapped up a stellar spring meet under the Twin Spires for trainer Dale Romans and jockey Corey Lanerie, capping off the duo's meet leading titles with a two-length victory in Churchill Downs' closing day feature, the Grade 2, $165,900 Firecracker Handicap.

Gantry, Cajun Breeze sizzle in final Smile Sprint moves

Grade 2-placed multiple stakes winner Gantry, the likely favorite for next Saturday's weekend's Grade 2 Smile Sprint at Calder took to the Miami Gardens, Florida, track on Sunday to put in place the final piece of his preparatory puzzle, blasting a co-bullet half-mile workout in :47 3/5.

Uptown Bertie captures stakes bow in Iowa Oaks

Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein's Uptown Bertie came three wide around the turn in Saturday night's Grade 3, $200,000 Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows before taking command and drawing off for a 2 1/4-length victory under jockey Julien Leparoux. The Steve Margolis-trained daughter of More Than Ready was trying stakes company for the first time in the 1 1/16-mile, fast-track contest, and stopped the clock in 1:43 1/5.

Jeranimo blows past rivals in Shoemaker Mile

B.J. Wright's Jeranimo turned in an explosive rally from the back to win the Grade 1, $300,000 Shoemaker Mile by 1 1/4 lengths at Hollywood Park on Saturday. Trailing the field entering the stretch, the six-year-old circled his rivals under Garrett Gomez to score an 8-1 upset in a time of 1:33 4/5 on firm turf. Jeranimo paid $19.60, $8.40 and $4.

Big Brown represented by first U.S. winner

Champion and dual classic winner Big Brown registered his first North American winner as a freshman sire on Saturday when his juvenile daughter Brown Eyes Blue wired the 2ND race at Churchill Downs by 1 3/4 lengths. The Dale Romans-trained miss ran six furlongs on the fast dirt track in 1:12 1/5 under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan to easily capture her career debut. Brown Eyes Blue has passed through the sales ring twice, bringing $70,000 as a Keeneland September yearling before being purchased by her current connections, Twin Creeks Racing Stables, for $180,000 at the Keeneland April two-year-old sale.

Camp Victory upsets The Factor in Triple Bend

Camp Victory registered a first top-level success Saturday when posting a 10-1 upset of the Grade 1, $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap at Hollywood Park. Rallying from slightly off the pace, the five-year-old gelding caught odds-on favorite The Factor inside the eighth pole and drew off to win the seven-furlong Cushion Track test by 3 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:22 3/5. Ridden by Joe Talamo, Camp Victory paid $22.60, $7 and $3.60.

Mystical Star fends off challenges in New York

Cheyenne Stables' Mystical Star registered her first stakes victory against a strong field Saturday in the Grade 2, $200,000 New York over 1 1/4 miles of Belmont Park's firm inner turf. Seizing control with about six furlongs remaining, Mystical Star found another gear in the stretch and outkicked Hit It Rich and then 9-5 favorite Aruna to win by a length as the 9-2 fourth choice in a field of six fillies and mares. She paid $11.80, $4.90 and $3.20.

Silver Screamer takes stakes debut in Eatontown

Michael Imperio and Bill Elias Stables' Silver Screamer, who raced and won twice for a claiming tag at Saratoga last summer, landed a Grade 3 stakes in her first attempt when taking the $105,000 Eatontown at Monmouth Park on Saturday. The gray four-year-old tracked in second behind Marquet Madness before taking control in the stretch and kicking clear to win by 1 1/2 lengths. The 9-2 fourth choice in a field of eight fillies and mares, Silver Screamer returned $11.40, $5.20 and $2.80. She finished up 1 1/16 miles on the firm turf in 1:40 2/5 under Jose Espinoza.

Summit of Speed hopefuls litter Calder's worktab

Several horses pointed toward a start in next weekend's Summit of Speed program littered the morning worktab at Calder on Saturday, including a half-mile breeze from Grade 2 Smile Sprint hopeful Apriority, who covered the distance in :49 for trainer Dave Fawkes.

Charles Town cancels Sunday afternoon card

Due to the anticipated heat in the region and temperatures in the area expected to reach the mid to upper 90s, Charles Town has canceled its afternoon card for Sunday. First post for the card was scheduled for 1 p.m. (EDT).

Diaz hopes history repeats itself with Baby J

Baby J debuted a half-length winner on Thursday at Belmont Park for retired jockey Juvenal Diaz, but if all goes according to plan the filly will soon be carrying somebody else's colors, the former rider said on Friday.

Musical Romance heads Summit of Speed workers at Calder

Several Summit of Speed hopefuls made morning workout appearances at Calder on Friday, including a powerful half-mile move by champion female sprinter and likely Grade 1 Princess Rooney favorite Musical Romance, who covered the four-furlong trip in a bullet :46 1/5.

Bodemeister to stand at WinStar Farm

Leading three-year-old Bodemeister, a runaway winner of the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby and a close second in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, will stand stud at WinStar Farm at the conclusion of his racing career. A partnership was formed between WinStar and the colt's owners, Ahmed Zayat and Michel & Tiffany Moreno, who will continue to race the colt.

Mitchell will undergo brain surgery

Trainer Mike Mitchell was diagnosed Monday with a brain tumor, according to his wife Denise. A 17-time leading conditioner on the Southern California circuit, the 64-year-old will undergo surgery Friday to remove it.

Fair Grounds increases purses for eight stakes

Fair Grounds has boosted the purses of eight open-company races on its 2012-2013 stakes schedule released Thursday, marking the third straight year the average stakes purse has increased at the New Orleans racetrack. Last season the track raised purses on 19 stakes events.

Maker keeping options open by entering Hansen in Red Legend

While his connections have maintained that reigning two-year-old Eclipse Award champion Hansen would make his next in Prairie Meadows' Grade 3 Iowa Derby on Saturday night, it didn't stop them from spending $1,500 and dropping their Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner into the entry box for Saturday night's seven-furlong Red Legend Stakes at Charles Town, the featured race on the track's fifth annual Sprint Festival program.

Bated Breath's connections eyeing July Cup

The Group 1, £400,000 July Cup, which takes place at Newmarket on July 14, has 28 horses going forward following the June 26 scratchings deadline. Europe's premier sprint, which takes place over six furlongs, was won last year in tremendous fashion by Dream Ahead, who quickened brilliantly under Hayley Turner to give the rider her first Group 1 success.

'Best Jockey' nominees announced for Espys

Javier Castellano, Ramon Dominguez, Mario Gutierrez and John Velazquez were announced Wednesday by ESPN as the four nominees in the "Best Jockey" category of the 20th annual ESPY Awards. The ESPYS, which honor a wide array of athletes and sports entities, will take place July 11 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

Moyglare Stud's Haefner dies at 101

Moyglare Stud owner Walter Haefner has died in his native Switzerland at age 101. Born in Zurich in 1910, the renowned businessman and billionaire philanthropist, who set up the famed Irish stud farm in 1962, bred such luminaries as Refuse to Bend, Casual Conquest, Trusted Partner and Dress to Thrill.

Saratoga Open House scheduled for July 15

The familiar gates of Saratoga Race Course will open five days early as the New York Racing Association prepares to host its annual pre-season preview party, the 32nd annual Open House. A Saratoga tradition held prior to the start of racing season at North America's most historic thoroughbred racetrack, Open House returns to kick off a full day of fun and attractions on Sunday, July 15, to benefit dozens of local non-profit organizations.

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