After winning Grade 1 turf races in 2011 with European imports Stacelita and
Zagora, trainer Chad Brown is primed to make a similar assault on major grass
events in America this year after receiving an influx of talented international
Stonestreet Stables LLC's Hierro rallied four wide in the stretch to run down
favored Paynter to win the 88th running of the Grade 3, $232,600
Trial by 1 1/2 lengths before a crowd of 26,527 on opening night of
Churchill Downs Friday.
Willa B Awesome might have bypassed on running in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks,
but the Walther Solis trainee didn't find the $288,000
Melair Stakes to be a
walk in the park on Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Chappell Alpine Farm's Hudson Landing, who had shifted barns five times via
the claim box since last July, is unlikely to be moving away from trainer Blaine
Wright anytime soon after a half-length victory in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000
San Francisco Mile at Golden Gate Fields. Overcoming a wide journey down the
backside, the five-year-old gelding caught 2011 Mile runner-up Gallant Son
inside the eighth pole and held off a belated rally by 1-2 favorite Jeranimo to
register his second stakes win in a time of 1:37 1/5 over good ground. He
returned $19.60, $5.20 and $3.80 at odds of 8-1.
Endorsement made a name for himself when taking the Grade 3 Sunland Derby by
three lengths in 2010 but an injury sidelined the son of Distorted Humor until
December 2011. Following three conditioning starts at Gulfstream Park, the Casner
Racing colorbearer returned to stakes competition on Saturday and easily went
two-for-two against black-type company with a two-length victory in the Grade 3,
Mile Stakes at Lone Star Park.
Live Oak Plantation's To Honor and Serve coasted in his comeback in
Saturday's Grade 3, $142,500
Westchester Stakes at Belmont Park, stamping himself as the horse to beat in
the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap over the same mile trip on Memorial Day. Under
confident handling by regular rider Jose Lezcano, the 3-5 favorite took over
with a minimum of effort turning for home and won easing up by 5 1/4 lengths.
With jockey Julien Leparoux aboard, Union Rags breezed the distance in :59
4/5, third fastest of 53 moves at the distance on the fast main track. The
Michael Matz colt posted fractions of :12, :23 3/5 and :47 1/5 and galloped out
six furlongs in 1:13 4/5.
Australia's unbeaten wonder mare Black Caviar returned from a two-month
holiday to dust an overmatched field in Saturday's Group 1 Robert Sangster
before a packed house of 30,000 at Morphettville. As her fans waved flags with
the color scheme of her silks -- salmon pink and black dots -- the world's best
sprinter registered her 20th straight win, breaking the Australasian record for
a winning streak at metropolitan (as opposed to bush) tracks.
Keeneland's 2012 spring race meeting proved to be an enormously successful
finale for President Nick Nicholson, posting several records for attendance and
wagering and boasting field sizes that are among the largest in the country.
More importantly, it also marked the sixth consecutive spring meeting in which
there were no catastrophic breakdowns during racing on Keeneland's all-weather
Phipps Stable's homebred Point of Entry made his turf stakes debut a winning
one in Friday's Grade 2, $150,000
Elkhorn on closing day of the Keeneland spring
meet. Guided by John Velasquez, the Dynaformer colt defeated a group that
included two-time Elkhorn winner Musketier, as well as recent Grade 2 winners
Newsdad and Simmard.
Acclamation, who was voted champion older male of 2011, has been scratched
from Friday evening's Grade 3, $100,000 Inglewood Handicap at Hollywood Park.
Co-owner Pete Hilvers told the Fresno Bee that the son of Unusual Heat
"was just a little off" in his left-front after a morning workout.
The even-money favorite once the sprint was transferred from the turf to the
Cushion Track, the Jack Carava trainee raced last of six early, but appeared to
be uncorking a good move before veering out badly turning for home. Jockey
Rafael Bejarano kept riding, however, and American Act kept responding near the
stands' side of the track.
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.
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.
An in-depth look at the bloodlines of the contenders for each leg of the Triple Crown. The profiles also include a pedigree chart, TrueNicks ratings, and Brisnet.com Ultimate Past Performances.
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) saw
double-digit gains in on-track handle, total handle and NYRA Rewards account
wagering during the recently concluded 2012 Aqueduct winter/spring
meet, which spanned 78 live racing days from January 1 through April 22.
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).
Paynter, who finished fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in just his
second start, and the undefeated Bourbon Courage headline a field of 11 entered
for the Grade 3, $200,000
Trial at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
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 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
A Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.) networking reception designed to
enhance the lines of communication between Thoroughbred racing and competitive
equestrian sports will be held April 27 at Keeneland Race Course.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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.