The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced Monday that an
updated set of racetrack safety and integrity standards has been circulated to
members of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, and that it is now available
for public comment. After finalization, the compliance standards will serve as
the basis for future racetrack Alliance accreditation, including the
re-accreditation of tracks previously accredited by the Alliance. The Alliance,
formed in October 2008 with the goal of establishing national uniform standards
in the areas of safety and integrity, includes 55 racetracks in North America
and every major national horsemen's organization. Twenty-two racetracks have
been accredited to date by Alliance safety teams.
Pinnacle Racing and Bill Kaplan's five-year-old mare Musical Romance closed
out an Eclipse Award campaign in 2011 winning the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare
Sprint at Churchill Downs on November 4, but her 2012 season debut did not go
well when she finished fourth in the Florida Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare
Sprint at Gulfstream Park on January 28.
3RD race at Gulfstream Park looms as a battle of the
unbeatens, as Gemologist and Currency Swap are set to kick off their sophomore campaigns in this one-mile allowance.
There's a buzz back at the barn of Jinks Fires this spring a year after the
magical run by Archarcharch that culminated in a victory in the Grade 1, $1
million Arkansas Derby for his longtime clients Bob and Val Yagos. This time
another set of longtime owners are eagerly hoping Kid Sidney can make up for
lost time and get into the Grade 2, $500,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park
George and Mary Clare Schmitt's Izzy Rules lived up to her name, and her 6-5
favoritism, in Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000
Flores Stakes at Santa Anita Park. Grabbing command soon after the start,
the Jeff Bonde trainee led all the way home to finish the 6 1/2-furlong, fast
track event in 1:14 2/5. The five-year-old daughter of Peace Rules paid $4.60,
$3.20 and $2.80 to her faithful supporters.
Bradley Thoroughbreds, Steve Laymon and Jerry & Ronald Frankel's Dayatthespa
was all out to hold a closing Regalo Mia in Sunday's Grade 3, $150,000
Herecomesthebride Stakes at Gulfstream Park. With Javier Castellano aboard,
the Chad Brown-trained daughter of City Zip was a neck clear on the wire while
finishing the nine-furlong, firm turf affair in 1:47 1/5.
"We talked about it before the race," Motion said, "and decided the logical
spot for him, if he did well today, would be to go to the Blue Grass, and see
where we go from there."
When Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein's Miz Ida powered home with a
late-running three-quarter-length victory in Saturday's $75,000 Allen LaCombe
Memorial at Fair Grounds, winning trainer Steve Margolis was quick to bring
attention to the filly's namesake.
Santa Anita will present its fifth annual "Santa Anita Uncorked" wine and
culinary festival on March 25. The event will be staged in the track's paddock
gardens area beginning at noon (PDT) and will feature a wide array of boutique
and hand-picked wine selections, cuisine sampling from 14 popular local
restaurants, a paddock art show and a full day of exciting Thoroughbred racing.
Mucho Macho Man grazed on a small patch of grass on the Gulfstream Park
backstretch Sunday, stopping on occasion to bask in the morning sun and calmly
survey his surroundings outside Barn 4.
Mucho Macho Man continued to establish himself as a serious player in the
older horse division Saturday, posting a convincing victory in the Grade 2,
$300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap. A smart winner of the 1 1/8-mile Sunshine
Millions Classic January 28, the leggy bay colt cut back powerfully to a
one-turn mile while extending his win streak to three. Ramon Dominguez was up
for trainer Kathy Ritvo.
Anita Cauley's homebred On Fire Baby was sent off the 2-5 favorite in
Saturday's Grade 3, $125,000
Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park, but the gray miss
had to work for the win as 3-1 second choice Amie's Dini refused to yield in the
lane. It was only nearing the wire that On Fire Baby managed to pull away,
posting a two-length victory under jockey Joe Johnson to return $2.80, $2.40 and
$2.10 to her backers.
The San Felipe was widely viewed as the deepest Derby prep race so far this
season. Despite the withdrawal of Out of Bounds, who is sidelined by a fractured
ankle, and Fed Biz, who had a minor hiccup but is still on the trail, the 1
1/16-mile test lured a terrific group of classic hopefuls.
Pin Oak Stable's homebred Alternation continued his progression toward the
Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap with a wire-to-wire score in Saturday's Grade 3,
Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park.
Prospective made his move to the lead on the far turn, was headed in
midstretch by a surging Golden Ticket, then came back again to prevail in
Saturday's Grade 2, $350,000
Tampa Bay Derby. Winner of the Grade 3 Grey Stakes
at two and second in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes in his previous start, the
Mark Casse-trained colt likely guaranteed himself a spot in the Kentucky Derby
field by increasing his graded earnings to $365,452.
Gold Mark Farm's Grade 2 Nashua Stakes winner Vexor makes his three-year-old
debut in the $50,000
Sprint Stakes as OBS holds its 23rd annual Day of Champions race card on
Mikhail Glinka foreshadowed what Master of Hounds would accomplish two races
later in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta. Interestingly, both had been stablemates under
the tutelage of Aidan O'Brien, and neither had managed to win since the summer
of 2010. Mikhail Glinka last visited the winner's circle after a photo-finish
score in the Group 3 Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot.
Shivananda Parbhoo's Trinniberg is a colt to be reckoned with in the major
three-year-old sprints later this year after an impressive 2012 debut in
Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000
Swale at Gulfstream Park. Making his first start
since November and racing without blinkers for the first time, the son of
Teuflesberg assumed command at the start, led by a length through splits of :22
3/5 and :45, and exploded through the stretch to win by six lengths under Willie
Martinez. Final time for seven furlongs over a fast track was a sharp 1:21 3/5.
Trinniberg, sent off at 7-1, returned $17.20, $9.60 and $6.40.
Ahmed Ajtebi picked up the mount as Godolphin's other associated riders
piloted more accomplished entrants. Frankie Dettori, who had ridden Capponi in
all three of his starts this season, got off to partner Prince Bishop for Saeed
bin Suroor, who also sent out Mendip with Kieren Fallon. Al Zarooni saddled two
other contenders -- Monterosso, piloted by Mickael Barzalona, and Biondetti, who
drew in from the also-eligible list with Silvestre de Sousa. But none of them
In the early going, Master of Hounds was tracked by Secrecy, Pisco Sour and
Derbaas, and City Style was also well placed in fifth. The same could not be
said of several major contenders, including Master of Hounds' stablemates, River
Jetez and Mutahadee. Christophe Soumillon, who got off Master of Hounds to ride
Mutahadee, anchored him near the tail of the field. River Jetez was almost as
far back. Defending Jebel Hatta champion Wigmore Hall was likewise in a poor
position, and reigning Duty Free hero Presvis lagged in last after his habitual
Zagora was given a textbook ride by regular pilot Javier Castellano. The
odds-on choice was reserved in sixth early, six lengths off the pace established
by 96-1 longshot Megaspiel through fractions of :23 2/5 and :47 1/5. Unbridled
Humor stalked in second, followed by Sea Level Drive and Federation. Zagora
commenced her move entering the far turn, cutting her deficit to just 2 1/2
lengths when the leader reached six furlongs in 1:11 2/5.
Despite an initial early challenge in Saturday's Grade 3, $147,000
Stakes, Agave Kiss easily ran away with the six-furlong contest to move her
career record to a perfect four-for-four under jockey Ryan Curatolo. The Rudy
Rodriguez trainee was made the 1-4 prohibitive favorite by the betting public
and delivered when crossing under the wire three lengths the best.
Preakness winner Shackleford will be among the star studded cast of horses
lining up for the Grade 1, $400,000 Carter on Wood Memorial Day at Aqueduct on
Take Charge Indy, the 3-1 second choice on the morning line for Saturday's
Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby, will be scratched from the race and point instead to
the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 31. Trainer Pat Byrne confirmed the change in
plans to Daily Racing Form on Friday.
When the devastating news came out that jockey E.J. "Tee Joe" Perrodin was
diagnosed with brain cancer just days after retiring from the saddle -- and that
Fair Grounds would be hosting a charitable crawfish boil on March 20 to benefit
the popular rider's family -- one of the first people to volunteer his services
at the upcoming event was Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg, who will be
returning to New Orleans that afternoon as an auctioneer.
There will be no change in the price of general admission tickets for the
138th runnings of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks if tickets
are purchased online and in advance of those events, but the ticket price will
be higher for walk-up purchases at admission gates on those respective days.
With a stable full of Kentucky Derby contenders, Hall of Fame trainer Bob
Baffert is juggling talented three-year-olds every weekend, but he's counting on
the strong performances by Secret Circle and Castaway in their split divisions
of the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes to help him decide to whether to send them both
back for the Grade 2, $500,000 Rebel at Oaklawn Park March 17.
The Jockey Club Foundation, a charitable trust that assists needy individuals
throughout the Thoroughbred racing industry, has been renamed
The Jockey Club Safety
Net Foundation, effective immediately.
Live racing will return to Monmouth Park on May 12, it was announced Thursday
by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NJTHA). With a lease from
the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority (NJSEA) to the NJTHA expected in
early May, the latter will take the operational helm at the historic racetrack
for this year's 67th season of racing.
The good fortune continues at Oaklawn with racing and Instant Racing/gaming
both seeing double-digit increases in February and as a result, the Hot Springs,
Arkansas, track is announcing the third purse increase of the meet effective
with Friday's nine-race card. In addition, the purses for the four remaining
Arkansas-bred stakes -- the Rainbow, the Rainbow Miss and both divisions of the
Arkansas Breeders' -- will be increased from $50,000 to $60,000.
Superstar Zenyatta produced her first foal, a bay colt by Bernardini,
Thursday evening at Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Kentucky. Owners Jerry and
Ann Moss were on hand to witness the foaling at approximately 10:10 p.m. (EST).
The Saratoga Springs community will celebrate its legendary relationship with
Thoroughbreds at the inaugural Steeplechase Festival at Saratoga, a day of
racing and spirited activities set for September 15. Proceeds from the first
annual Steeplechase Festival at Saratoga will benefit both local and equine
A strong mix of accomplished stars headed by major stakes performers Grace
Hall and On Fire Baby and exciting newcomers led by the Bob Baffert-trained trio
of Eden's Moon, Princess Arabella and Mamma Kimbo comprise the list of
three-year-old fillies nominated to compete in the 138th running of the
Grade 1, $1 million Kentucky Oaks on May 4 at Churchill Downs.
On Fire Baby will return to the distaff ranks on Saturday when she faces
seven rivals in Oaklawn Park's Grade 3, $125,000
Honeybee Stakes going 1 1/16 miles. The dual Grade 2 heroine, who is
nominated to both the Triple Crown races and Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, could use
the race as a springboard to either the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby against the boys
or stay with the fillies in the Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes.
It Happened Again will need to elevate his game if he wants to defend the
crown he won last year in the Grade 3, $125,000
Razorback Handicap, but the gelding's new trainer, Chris Richard, thinks he
is positioned to pull it off.
Last season's Group 1 Racing Post Trophy winner Camelot heads the 143
three-year-olds going forward for this year's Group Epsom Derby following the
first scratchings deadline, details of which were revealed Thursday.
Churchill Downs Racetrack will be aglow in pink again for the 138th running
of the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks -- America's premier race for three-year-old
fillies on May 4 and annual celebration of food, fashion and fun -- as the
springtime event welcomes a new beneficiary in Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) to
raise vital funds and awareness for cancer research.
Carmel Heitzmann, once a flight attendant for Emirates Airlines but in more
recent times the stable foreman for her trainer-husband Eric Heitzmann at Fair
Grounds, successfully completed a journey on foot around the Crescent City last
Sunday by finishing the New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in four hours and 32
Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000
Handicap lost an expected top contender when Grade 1 winner Boys at
Tosconova was not entered, but the one-turn mile event still features a
dynamite field of six that includes Jackson Bend and Mucho Macho Man.
A field of 10 sophomores has been entered to go 1 1/16 miles in the Grade 2,
Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday, and trainer Bob Baffert holds a
powerful hand in the form of Liaison and Bodemeister.
Ever So Lucky and Motor City established themselves as three-year-olds to
watch at Churchill Downs last fall and both will launch their
highly-anticipated sophomore campaigns Saturday in the Grade 3, $150,000
Stakes at Gulfstream Park. A total of 10 runners are entered, but the
seven-furlong test will be lacking Thunder Moccasin, a good-looking winner of
the Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes on February 11.
KENTUCKY DERBY REPORT
A clear second to subsequent Grade 2 Risen Star winner El Padrino in a
January 29 allowance at Gulfstream Park, Take Charge Indy could also make a
successful jump into the winner's circle against graded company when he takes on
11 rivals in Saturday's Grade 2, $350,000
Entries were unveiled Wednesday for the opening two classics of the 2012
European flat season, the Group 1 Two Thousand Guineas and Group 1 One Thousand
Guineas, both of which take place on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket during the
first weekend in May.
Eclipse champion and Kentucky Derby contender Hansen will school in the
paddock at Turfway Park on Friday evening between the 6TH and 7TH races,
according to the colt's breeder and majority owner, Dr. Kendall Hansen.
SANTA ANITA NOTEBOOK
Churchill Downs Racetrack has looked within its organization to fill a pair
of key positions on its team by naming Ryan Jordan to the post of General
Manager and promoting Greg Bush to Vice President, Operations at the historic
home of the Kentucky Derby.