Handicapping

Tips and picks for how to bet on Thorougbred horse racing

Upperline plays it by ear in Bewitch

The 2-1 second choice, Upperline strolled through an opening quarter in :26 4/5. Shimmering Moment moved up to vie for the lead passing the stands for the first time, and took over when reaching the half in :54. Senada also advanced to prompt on the outside, relegating the rail-hugging Upperline to third or fourth through splits of 1:19 3/5 and 1:44 3/5. Meanwhile, Here to Win, the 8-5 favorite, steadily improved her position off the pace.

Oaks contenders gallop, ready for final moves

Grade 1 victress Eden's Moon visited the Churchill Downs starting gate and then galloped 1 1/2 miles after the morning renovation break on Thursday under exercise rider George Alvarez for trainer Bob Baffert.

Orientate colt brings $450,000 at OBS

Hip No. 731, a colt by Orientate consigned by Eddie Woods, agent, went to Hill N Dale Bloodstock for $450,000 to top Wednesday's third session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's 2012 Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training. The dark bay or brown colt, whose eighth in :10 flat was co-fastest at the distance at Thursday's Under Tack session, is out of Mir Cat (Tale of the Cat), a half-sister to stakes-placed Runnin Ute (Gone West).

Oaks hopeful Colonial Empress breezes half-mile

Bluegrass Hall's Colonial Empress clocked a half-mile in :48 2/5 after the renovation break on Wednesday at Churchill Downs over a track labeled as good. With jockey Ramon Vazquez aboard and working on her own, the Empire Maker filly posted fractions of :12 and :24 in the move that was the third fastest of 35 at the distance.

Third annual Taste of Derby showcases 19 award-winning chefs

The hottest new Kentucky Derby party continues to heat up as 19 top international chefs announce their menu offerings and wine pairings for the third annual Taste of Derby, the official Kentucky Derby Party of Churchill Downs. At this celebration of cuisine and racing on May 3, eve of the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, guests will mingle with horse racing and Hollywood celebrities while savoring exquisite cuisine and delectable wines from racing destinations across the country as internationally-renowned chefs serve samples of their regional specialties.

To Honor and Serve starts season in Westchester

To Honor and Serve, who at times showed himself to be among the leading three-year-olds in the country last season, kicks off his four-year-old campaign Saturday in the Grade 3, $150,000 Westchester at Belmont Park, a one-mile prep for the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on Memorial Day.

International entries for Royal Ascot declared

Black Caviar, with the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes her most likely target, headlines entries from 11 countries for Royal Ascot's Group 1 races and she could lead a female Australian team unprecedented in strength including her stablemate King's Rose, Ortensia and Australia's champion miler, More Joyous.

Guineas fields pared down after scratch deadline

Group 1 Racing Post Trophy third Fencing is on schedule to make the line-up for the Group 1, £350,000 Two Thousand Guineas at Newmarket on May 5 despite missing an intended reappearance at the Craven meeting last week.

Majestic Warrior colt tops OBS session at $400,000

Hip No. 441, a colt by Majestic Warrior consigned by Harris Training Center, agent, went to Narvick International for $400,000 to top Tuesday's second session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's 2012 Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training. The chestnut colt, who breezed an eighth in :10 1/5 at the Under Tack Show, is out of Flirtatious Miss (Mr. Greeley), a half-sister to Group 3 winner Across the Rhine (Cuvee) and Grade 2 winner Prospectress (Mining).

Bodemeister work pleases Baffert

Grade 1 Arkansas Derby winner Bodemeister, working in company with stablemate and Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks candidate Jemima's Pearl, worked five furlongs in 1:00 4/5, the third fastest of 23 at the distance on a clear, brisk Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs over the fast main track.

Havre de Grace injured, retired

Havre de Grace, who in 2011 became the third consecutive filly to garner Horse of the Year honors, has been retired. The announcement was made by owner Rick Porter on his Fox Hill Farm website.

Dominguez on Hansen, Bejarano on El Padrino

Significant Kentucky Derby riding assignments were announced on Monday, with Daily Racing Form reporting that Ramon Dominguez has decided to stick with champion Hansen, and that Rafael Bejarano will ride El Padrino in Derby 138.

Asmussen trio get in pre-Derby works

Daddy Nose Best, undefeated in two starts this year with victories in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby and Grade 3 Sunland Derby, breezed six furlongs on the fast main track at Churchill Downs Monday morning prior to the renovation break in 1:14 for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Hollywood kicks off 73rd spring/summer meet

Hollywood Park will kick off its 73rd spring/summer meet on Thursday, and fans will notice something new right away. With Betfair securing naming rights for five years, the Inglewood, California, track is dubbed Betfair Hollywood Park (track code BHP).

Believe You Can fires bullet for Oaks

Brereton Jones' Believe You Can, winner of the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks in her most recent start, worked five furlongs in a bullet :59 over a fast track Monday morning under jockey Rosie Napravnik. The daughter of Proud Citizen worked during the post-renovation break, 8:30-8:45 a.m. (EDT) training session reserved for candidates for the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby.

Blige to sing National Anthem at Derby

Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum selling recording artist Mary J. Blige will sing the National Anthem prior to the 138th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby on May 5 at Churchill Downs.

Total handle up at Santa Anita winter/spring meet

Santa Anita Park, which will host the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on November 2-3, capped its 75th winter/spring season on Sunday with gains in on-track attendance, handle and overall pari-mutuel handle.

Ghostzapper leads Hall of Fame inductees

Ghostzapper, the 2004 Horse of the Year, jockey John Velazquez and trainers Roger Attfield and Robert Wheeler have been elected to the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame. They were elected in the contemporary category by the 183 members of the Hall of Fame voting panel.

Bourbon Bay nips Eagle Poise in San Juan Capistrano

David and Jill Heerensperger's Bourbon Bay bided his time in the rear of Sunday's closing day feature at Santa Anita Park, the $150,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap, but put in a game rally down the center of the track to score in the Grade 2 contest by the slimmest of margins over fellow late runner Eagle Poise. Jockey Joel Rosario was aboard the Neil Drysdale six-year-old, who completed the marathon about 1 3/4 miles on the firm turf in 2:45 3/5.

Amie's Dini breezes a half-mile

Mike Walker and Lou Sutterfield's Amie's Dini continued her preparations for the Grade 1, $1 million Kentucky Oaks with a four-furlong breeze in :50 2/5 after the renovation break on the fast Churchill Downs track Sunday morning.

Stidham helps Flash Mash to overcome her fear

This year, Prime Equestrian's Flash Mash has required a lot of patience from trainer Mike Stidham and his team. Before Saturday's Giant's Causeway Stakes at Keeneland, the four-year-old Smarty Jones filly, with Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard, was walking through the tunnel to the track for the post parade, then she stopped and wouldn't move. Stidham, wearing a suit, went to the filly and jogged beside her and Hernandez to the first turn -- probably an eighth of a mile -- where he handed her off to the outrider. Flash Mash continued to near the starting gate, where she stood while her rivals continued to warm up.

Isn't He Clever switched to Asmussen

Isn't He Clever, winner of the Borderland Derby and eighth in the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby in his most recent start, has been transferred to trainer Steve Amussen, according to owner J. Kirk Robison, and a start in the $2 million Kentucky Derby is still under consideration.

Ward unsure of plans for All Squared Away

"It was fantastic. I'm very happy," trainer Wesley Ward said Sunday morning about winning Saturday's Grade 3 Lexington with 70-1 longshot All Squared Away. Ridden by Julio Garcia, the Bellamy Road gelding won the 1 1/16-mile race by 1 1/2 lengths over favored Summer Front in his first start for Ward.

Wise Dan throws down gauntlet in record-setting Ben Ali romp

Morton Fink's homebred Wise Dan was expected to be a prime player in the handicap division in 2012, but he turned his comeback in Sunday's Grade 3, $150,000 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland into an overwhelming statement of intent. Dragging jockey John Velazquez to the lead entering the backstretch, the Charles Lopresti trainee went on to spread-eagle the field by 10 1/2 lengths while breaking the track record.

Plan capitalizes on ideal trip in Santa Barbara

By Rock Hard Ten, and out of a daughter of the magnificent Dahlia, Capital Plan is now two-for-two at this 1 1/4-mile trip on the Santa Anita turf. With the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf being held over the same course and distance November 2, the lightly-raced four-year-old could emerge as a contender, if she keeps up the momentum she's begun in the Santa Barbara.

She's All In trounces foes in Sixty Sails

Trainer Donnie Von Hemel and jockey Luis Quinonez, who teamed up to take the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap with Alternation earlier this month, snared another graded stakes triumph Saturday with the five-year-old mare She's All In, who made an emphatic statement in the Grade 3, $200,000 Sixty Sails Handicap at Hawthorne. Seizing control at the top of the stretch, She's All In opened up a commanding lead and kept increasing her margin to the finish, crossing the wire 8 3/4 lengths in front. The 5-1 fourth choice in the field of six returned $12.80, $5.60 and $3.20.

All Squared Away lights up Lexington toteboard

All Squared Away played "bombs away" in Saturday's $200,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, scoring as the 70-1 longest shot in the Grade 3 race. A former claimer making his first start for trainer Wesley Ward, the three-year-old gelding improved significantly upon a well-beaten sixth in the Grade 2 Spiral Stakes to post his initial stakes victory, completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:42 3/5 on Polytrack.

California Flag shows he still has it in San Simeon

California Flag won the second running of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita back in 2009, and could be heard from again when that Grade 1 race is renewed on November 3 after a visually impressive display in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 San Simeon Handicap. Showing his fondness for the about 6 1/2-furlong trip down the hillside turf course has not abated with age, the eight-year-old gray gelding made all the running and romped to a convincing 2 1/4-length score under Joe Talamo. Surprisingly overlooked at nearly 6-1, California Flag returned $13.80, $7.80 and $4.40.

The Lumber Guy returns to winner's circle in Jerome

Barry K. Schwartz's The Lumber Guy suffered his first loss on April 7 when stretching out to 1 1/16 miles in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct, but returned Saturday off the two-week break and cut back to eight furlongs at the Big A to capture the Grade 2, $200,000 Jerome Stakes by 2 3/4 lengths over a tenacious Brigand.

Reveron injured, out of Derby

Stipa Racing Stable Inc.'s Reveron has been withdrawn from Kentucky Derby consideration after a left fore condylar fissure was detected following a one-mile workout in 1:46 over a sloppy track at Calder Saturday morning.

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