The Maryland Jockey Club concluded its spring meeting at Pimlico last weekend, posting average wagering figures which were 9 percent higher than the 2011 spring meet. The average daily handle went from $4.72 million to $5.17 million. The stand featured 29 live racing dates and 21 simulcast days.
John Velazquez will replace Julien Leparoux aboard Union Rags as he seeks to end I'll Have Another's bid for the Triple Crown in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr .I).
Triple Crown hopeful I'll Have Another was a "very happy horse" Tuesday morning as he continued to settle nicely into his new digs at Belmont Park, where on June 9 he will attempt to become the 12th horse to add the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes to victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and the New York Racing Association (NYRA) on Tuesday announced an agreement to establish the NYRA Reorganization Board that will place NYRA under temporary public control in order to reform the association and transform oversight and management of horse racing in New York State.
Triple Crown hopeful I'll Have Another was reported to be doing well the morning after he arrived at Belmont Park by van and will soon begin training on the Belmont main track, according to Jack Sisterson, assistant to trainer Doug O'Neill.
Aidan O'Brien is going all out for an eighth win in Saturday's Group 1 Irish Two Thousand Guineas at the Curragh. The master of Ballydoyle, who has collected the one-mile classic with the likes of Rock Of Gibraltar (2002), Henrythenavigator (2008) and last year with Roderic O'Connor, is responsible for seven of the 15 confirmations.
Mercedes Stables went to $575,000 to purchase a Scat Daddy colt, headlining Monday's opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. Consigned by Kings Equine, agent, Hip No. 39 hails from the immediate family of juvenile Grade 1 winner and $811,760-earner J P's Gusto (Successful Appeal).
British Horseracing Authority Handicapper Dominic Gardiner-Hill confirmed Frankel at a new rating of 138 Monday morning, two pounds higher than last year's mark of 136, following his brilliant, five-length victory over Excelebration in Saturday's Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
On Sunday, champion Royal Delta turned in her second breeze following her ninth-place finish in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup in March, with NYRA clockers catching her covering four furlongs in a bullet :47 2/5, best of 57 moves at the distance on Belmont's fast main track.
Mario Gutierrez's fairytale journey that has carried him to within one victory of the Triple Crown almost never happened. The 25-year-old native of Veracruz, Mexico, who rode regularly at Hastings Park from 2006 to 2011, was so homesick for Vancouver, British Columbia, that he nearly left California despite having just won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby aboard I'll Have Another.
On Saturday morning at Belmont Park, Godolphin Racing's Alpha turned in his first timed workout since a 12th-place finish in the May 5 Kentucky Derby. The son of Bernardini, a two-time stakes winner at Aqueduct this winter, covered four furlongs over the main track in :49.
I'll Have Another, who on June 9 will attempt to become the 12th horse to sweep the Triple Crown when he competes in the $1 million Belmont Stakes, arrived in Barn 9 at Belmont Park at 2:53 p.m. (EDT) Sunday after vanning north from Pimlico Race Course in Maryland.
Barbara Hunter's homebred Keertana, who last year became the first filly or mare to win the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap since Our Request in 1951, has been bred and is retired from racing.
Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said Sunday that Zetterholm appeared to come out of his fourth-place finish in Saturday's Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in good order. The New York-bred son of Silver Train was shipped back to Dutrow's barn at Aqueduct Sunday morning.
Two days after trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias had to fly home unexpectedly upon the death of his father, his globetrotting charge Chinchon lifted his spirits with an impressive victory in Sunday's Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup at Kranji.
Trainer Patrick Shaw watched his second-stringer Ato upset Sunday's Group 1 KrisFlyer International Sprint at Kranji. The Royal Academy colt was very much an understudy for his world-class stablemate, Rocket Man, the reigning KrisFlyer champion who was ruled out by injury this week.
The morning after Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another ran down Bodemeister in the Pimlico stretch to capture the Preakness Stakes, trainer Mark Casse said he is considering running John Oxley's Stealcase in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes, the final jewel of the Triple Crown, on June 9 at Belmont Park.
After another agonizingly tough loss to I'll Have Another in Saturday's Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, Bodemeister was flown back to California Sunday morning. He will remain in training, but will skip the Belmont Stakes.
I'll Have Another's connections loaded their Preakness Stakes winner onto a van Sunday morning at Pimlico Race Course to begin their journey to Belmont Park in their continuing quest to sweep racing's Triple Crown.
PREAKNESS THEY SAID IT
Two weeks ago, J. Paul Reddam's I'll Have Another ran down pacesetter Bodemeister to take the Kentucky Derby under the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs. On Saturday, I'll Have Another took on that pacesetting rival in the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes and gutted out a neck victory to take the second jewel of the Triple Crown at Pimlico.
Overcoming a wide journey through the opening six furlongs, Silverton Hill's homebred Havelock responded to the urgings of jockey Florent Geroux in the stretch to wear down the favored Lonesome Street by a neck in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Hanshin Cup at Arlington Park. An 8-1 chance, Havelock paid $19.60, $8 and $4.40.
Include Me Out continued her winning way in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Marjorie L. Everett Handicap at Hollywood Park, notching her third consecutive graded stakes tally in California. The Ron Ellis-trained filly overhauled pacesetter Ellafitz turning for home and scored by about a length beneath regular rider Joe Talamo.
Roger J. Weiss's Hudson Steele, who captured Pimlico's Henry S. Clark Stakes in his return from a year-long layoff, followed up with another convincing display in Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Dixie Stakes over the same course. Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Javier Castellano, the lukewarm 3-1 favorite enjoyed a perfect rail-skimming trip just behind the leader, angled out turning into the stretch, and put the race away by 2 1/2 lengths.
Best known for his 23-1 runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs in 2010, Hamazing Destiny was still winless in stakes company heading into the Grade 3, $100,000 Maryland Sprint Handicap at Pimlico on Saturday. However, the D. Wayne Lukas trainee finally got off the duck before one the largest crowds of the year on the Preakness undercard.
Despite exchanging a hard bump with Love and Pride in midstretch, Natalie J. Baffert's Awesomemundo got her head in front of that rival on the wire to take Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Allaire duPont Distaff Stakes at Pimlico. The Bob Baffert trainee ran to her odds as the 7-5 favorite and paid $4.80, $3.20 and $2.60 for completing 1 1/16 miles on the fast dirt in 1:44 3/5.
Il Villano returned to the winner's circle Saturday afternoon with a nice 4 3/4-length win in the $100,000 Chick Lang Stakes on the Preakness Stakes Day undercard at Pimlico. With Jose Flores in the saddle, the gray sophomore took command turning for home and never looked back as he stopped the clock in 1:10 2/5 for the six-furlong, fast-track contest.
Steve Beneto's Via Villaggio accelerated into contention on the far turn and out-dueled Sister Moon to the wire in Saturday's Grade 3, $98,000 Railbird Stakes at Hollywood Park, notching her first stakes victory with a half-length tally in the seven-furlong test for sophomore fillies. Martin Pedroza was up on the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained winner.
Anita Cauley's On Fire Baby, most recently fifth in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, turned heads at Churchill Downs Saturday during her first work since the big race on the first Friday in May.
Neither a seven-month layoff nor a recent injury scare made the slightest dent in Frankel's supremacy, as the undefeated superstar ran away with Saturday's Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. Now a perfect 10-for-10, the world's top-ranked racehorse promises to improve off this stellar comeback ? a truly frightening prospect for his rivals.
The Dale Romans trainee posted the second fastest of 26 moves at the distance, with the multiple Grade 2-winning filly On Fire Baby recording the bullet in :59 3/5.
Zagora was returning to her sparkling early-season form, when she captured the Grade 3 Endeavour and Grade 3 Hillsborough at Tampa Bay Downs. The Chad Brown mare never had a chance to shine in the Jenny Wiley, considering that she lagged too far behind a desperately slow pace, and wasn't disgraced in fifth.
In a head-bobbing finish to the Grade 3, $300,000 Pimlico Special on Friday, Pin Oak Stable's homebred Alternation just lasted to take the 1 3/16-mile test for his fourth straight stakes score on the year. Guided by Luis Quinonez, the four-year-old son of Distorted Humor overcame a three-wide journey to overtake long-time leader Endorsement inside the final sixteenth and won the nose bob over a determined Nehro. Final time over a fast but slow-playing track was 1:57 3/5.
Agave Kiss kissed her rivals goodbye in Friday's $100,000 Miss Preakness Stakes on Black-Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico, easily wiring the six-furlong contest by 5 1/2 lengths.
Unraced since a fifth in the Grade 1 Nearctic Stakes last October, Fiddlers Patriot returned Friday with a comfortable 2 1/4-length tally in the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes at Pimlico. Jockey John Velazquez was up for trainer George Weaver on the six-year-old gelding, who notched his first stakes victory when completing five furlongs in :56 over the firm course, and the chestnut improved his overall record to 13-6-3-1, $278,446.
Rosie Napravnik made a triumphant return to the state where she kicked off her career seven years ago, winning the second edition of the $31,000 Female Jockey Challenge on Friday at Pimlico Race Course.
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber's In Lingerie ran down even-money favorite Mamma Kimbo and held off the late run of Disposablepleasure to capture Friday's Grade 2, $300,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico. With John Velazquez in the irons, the Empire Maker filly ran nine-furlongs in a pedestrian 1:52 to score her second straight graded victory.
Jockey Ramon Dominguez will ride Tiger Walk in Saturday's Preakness Stakes, replacing Kent Desormeaux, trainer Ignacio Correas IV said Friday.
Starter allowance supremo Rapid Redux, last seen extending his modern North American record winning streak to 22 on January 4, has been retired, according to published reports.
Trained by Maryland-based Vernon Allinson, Class Rules ran the 4TH race, a six-furlong allowance for three-year-olds and up, in 1:12 2/5 on a fast main track. Bellagio, the 6-to-5 post-time favorite, finished second.
Hard Mystery could have the chance to prove her 27-1 upset in Belmont's Inside Information overnight stakes on April 28 was no fluke as the three-year-old is currently set to make her graded stakes debut in the Grade 1 Acorn on May 28, Memorial Day, at Belmont Park.
Trainer Tom Albertrani will have two opportunities to win a graded stakes for three-year-old fillies on Memorial Day, May 28, as he will likely run Zo Impressive in the Grade 1 Acorn and Better Lucky in the Grade 2 Sands Point.
Trainer Doug O'Neill, on likely scenario for Preakness. Watch Video
Preakness Stakes candidate Creative Cause returned to the track at Pimlicoa little after 8 a.m. (EDT) Friday morning, jogging a mile and galloping a mile under exercise rider John Cisneros before making a visit to the starting gate.
Here we go again. This is where we left you two weeks ago trying to decipher a formula of countless possibilities. read blog
On a clear, crisp Maryland Friday morning, Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another made an early appearance on the main track at Pimlico, jogging a half-mile and then galloping seven furlongs under exercise rider Jonny Garcia.
With the Derby Festival just two weeks away, the final fields for the Group 1 Derby and Group 1 Oaks are beginning to take shape following Friday's scratchings deadline.
The Blood-Horse wants to know which middle-market racetracks are the leaders in quality of racing, customer service, and entertainment.
Jason Shandler makes his picks for the Preakness, in his final Triple Crown Talk blog. read blog