Multiple grade I winner Island Fashion, getting ready to defend her title in Sunday's Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I), worked a bullet :46 4/5 over Santa Anita's fast main track Monday morning.
A year after a record three colts shared top weight on the Experimental Free Handicap, this time around the lead is shared by two.
Jamie Michelson Jr., a 39-year-old advertising account director from West Bloomfield, Michigan, connected on a key upset and captured the $200,000 winner's check in the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship at Bally's Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Jay Em Ess Stable's Declan's Moon, the leading candidate to collect an Eclipse Award as the country's top juvenile of 2004 on Monday, worked a half-mile in a bullet :48 1/5 over Hollywood Park's fast main track.
Sunshine Millions Vinery Farms Sprint defending champion Shake You Down worked up a sweat while breezing five furlongs Saturday at Gulfstream Park in his last major move before flying to California for the Jan. 29 renewal. Trainer Scott Lake says the gelding did just what he needed to do.
Consistent sprinter McCann's Mojave, a winner of five of eight career starts, can make amends for his recent fifth-place stakes finish in Sunday's $150,000 Palos Verdes Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park.
The Sunshine Millions, matching California-breds against Florida-breds, will be renewed Saturday, Jan. 29 with eight races worth a combined $3.6 million.
Eight evenly-matched older turf specialists are set to go postward in Saturday's San Marcos Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita.
Taking advantage of lucrative purses for Maryland-bred stakes races, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. sent Aggadan to Pimlico for his last three races. But with the $100,000 Aqueduct Handicap (gr. III) to be run on Aggadan's home track at 1 1/16 miles, the 6-year-old horse will make his next start in that race Saturday.
Expect an Angel, who won the Chaposa Springs at Calder on New Year's Eve by three lengths, heads a balanced field in the First Lady Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Chris Nolan's Colonial Colony, winner of the 2004 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, and William Farish, James Elkins, and Temple Webber's Alumni Hall, winner of the 2004 Black Tie Affair Handicap at Arlington Park, figure to vie for favoritism in the Jan. 22 Maxxam Gold Cup, a $100,000 event for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles at Sam Houston Race Park.
Defending champion Kent Meyer of Sioux City, Iowa heads a field of 214 horseplayers who will gather at Bally's Las Vegas on Jan. 21-22 to vie for horse racing's official title of "Handicapper of the Year" and a first-place prize of $200,000 in the $400,000 Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship.
A total of 989 horses from 21 countries were nominated to the March 26 Dubai World Cup day card at Nad Al Sheba Race Course.
Trainer Bobby Frankel said Jan. 17 Stronach Stable's 2004 Horse of the Year candidate Ghostzapper could make his 2005 debut at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott was on hand Jan. 17 to oversee workouts by many of his top Gulfstream Park-based horses including Dapple Stables' Stockholder, who is being pointing toward the $1-million Ocala Breeders' Sales Classic, the highlight of the Jan. 29 Sunshine Millions program.
Second of June, on the comeback trail after a 3-year-old season shortened by a serious injury, will race in the $1 million Ocala Breeders' Sales Classic, the highlight of the Jan. 29 Sunshine Millions program.
California Cup Classic winner Cozy Guy worked five furlongs on Santa Anita's fast main track Saturday in 1:01 2/5 in preparation for the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 29.
Sharp Lisa, a strong second in the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) last month, is the clear standout in Monday's $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park.
Six 3-year-old sprinters vie in the first running of the $75,000-added Jimmy Winkfield Stakes, named for one of the greatest African-American jockeys of all time, highlighting Aqueduct's Martin Luther King Jr. Day program Monday.
Maiden winner Going Wild, a $600,000 Kentucky-bred son of Golden Missile, goes for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas in the $100,000 San Miguel Stakes for 3-year-olds at six furlongs at Santa Anita Park on Monday.
Texcess, who was entered in both the Golden Gate Derby at Golden Gate Fields and the San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita on Saturday, will stay home, Southern California-based trainer Paul Aguirre confirmed Friday morning.
A.P. Adventure heads a field of eight entered for Sunday's $150,000 El Encino Stakes (gr. II) for 4-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Park.
Sweet Catomine, whose 3-year-old debut was delayed Jan. 9 when racing at Santa Anita Park was postponed due to heavy rains and slick track conditions, returns Sunday in the rescheduled $100,000 Santa Ysabel (gr. III).
Texcess, the winner of the $1 million Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs in Louisiana last month, heads a field of five for the $100,000 Golden Gate Derby at Golden Gate Fields Saturday.
Last year's Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Castledale makes his first start since finishing 14th in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) in the $200,000 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) for 4-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles Saturday at Santa Anita Park.
The long Triple Crown trail for 3-year-olds gets starts in earnest on the West Coast Saturday with Santa Anita Park's $150,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II), which drew six entries.
Grade I winner Honor in War and millionaire Candid Glen top a solid field of 11 runners in Saturday's $100,000 Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap.
The Count Fleet Stakes, originally scheduled to be run last Saturday but postponed when racing was cancelled at Aqueduct, has drawn a field of nine 3-year-olds.
A dozen 3-year-olds have passed the entry box for Sunland Park's $125,000 Pepsi Cola Handicap Saturday. Restricted to sophomores bred in the state of New Mexico, the field is co-highweighted by restricted stakes winners Sandias Peppermint and Leon's Bull, a winner in six of his even trips postward.
Team Block's Dyna Da Wyna headlines a solid field of 13, including five stakes/group winners, in Saturday's $100,000 Dr. A. B. Leggio Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds. The turf dash for older fillies and mares will be run as the first of four $100,000 stakes on the day's card.
Louisiana's path on the Triple Crown trail officially gets underway Saturday with the running of the one-mile LeComte Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds. Six 3-year-olds have passed the entry box, with Biloxi Palace and Storm Surge figuring to draw the most attention.
If Kirkendahl wins Saturday's $150,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita Park, it will be music to the ears of the colt's owner, country singing star Toby Keith.
Although last weekend saw rainouts on both coasts, including a rare cancellation at Santa Anita, there at least was a 'High Fly' hit that turned into a tape measure home run. So, while the Florida 3-year-olds moved forward, the California horses hit a brick wall and now must wait for dry weather in order to race, and even train.
Punch Appeal will be seeking her sixth career stakes win when she contests Saturday's $100,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes at Fair Grounds. The Tiffany Lass is the first in a series of three 3-year-old filly stakes leading up to the $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) March 12 at the New Orleans oval.
Biloxi Palace, a two-time winner at Fair Grounds, is looking to make a name for himself along the VISA Triple Crown trail with a solid performance in Saturday's $100,000 Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds. The LeComte is the first in a three-race series leading up to the March 12 Louisiana Derby (gr. II).
Trainer Vladimir Cerin said Sunday that his recent winner She's a Jewel is headed to the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Oaks on Jan. 29.
Sweet Catomine, the 2004 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) champion, makes her much-anticipated 3-year-old debut in Sunday's $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) at 1 1/16 miles for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita.
Stakes winners Clock Stopper and Gold Storm highlight a field of six sprinters pointed toward Sunday's $60,000 Colonel Power Handicap, going six-furlongs at Fair Grounds. The two runners last met at Lone Star Park in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), where Clock Stopper finished sixth and Gold Storm finished ninth.
Trainer Bobby Frankel, just three wins short of 800 career victories at Santa Anita Park, saddles horses in both the $150,000 San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) and the $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) Saturday.
Smarty Jones electrifying run at the 2004 Triple Crown started modestly enough with a victory in the Count Fleet at Aqueduct. Some horsemen took note. The $75,000 race for 3-year-olds at a mile and 70 yards Saturday attracted an overflow field of 13.
Undefeated Declan's Moon, the probable leader of the male 2-year-old division of 2004, is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in the $200,000 Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) at 1 1/16 miles on March 5, said trainer Ron Ellis Thursday.
David Flores and Sweet Catomine, the very likely 2-year-old filly champion of 2004, are scheduled to join forces again Sunday when the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (g. I) winner makes her 3-year-old debut in the $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) at 1 1/16 miles.
A deep, contentious field of 10 are signed up to contest the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Handicap (gr. III) over six furlongs at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
A robust field of 13 is set to head postward at Gulfstream Park for Saturday's 2005 edition of the $100,000 Hal's Hope Handicap (gr. III). Multiple stakes winners Dynever and Purge lead a quality group of entrants drawn for the 1 1/8 mile affair, each looking to start the New Year on a high note
North American fans will have a rare opportunity to wager on a pair of Uruguayan group I races from Maronas National Racetrack Thursday.
The Dallas Stewart-trained Clock Stopper will make his next start in Sunday's $60,000 Colonel Power Handicap at Fair Grounds, and has been issued highweight of 122-pounds in the six furlong event.
The journey to the 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) may only be in its very early stages, but the continued adventures of Robert LaPenta -- "the Accidental Owner" -- are already unfolding. The master of Russian roulette has several guns loaded, and it will be interesting to see in what direction they'll be fired this spring.
Fox Hill Farms' Rockport Harbor, undefeated winner of the Remsen (gr. II) and Nashua Stakes (gr. III), is recovering nicely from a severe gash to his back foot and is scheduled to leave Philadelphia Park for Oaklawn Wednesday.
Malibu Stakes (gr. I) winner Rock Hard Ten, who breezed three furlongs Sunday in :36 4/5, may not be ready for the second leg of the Strub series for 4-year-olds, the $200,000 San Fernando Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park on Jan. 15.
Bad weather in Southern California will keep Fusaichi Samurai, the much-publicized $4.5 million colt who broke his maiden in his only start thus far, out of Sunday's San Miguel Stakes for 3-year-olds.
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