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,
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.
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.
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 played "bombs away" in Saturday's $200,000
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
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
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.
Team Valor International and Mark Ford's Went the Day Well continued his
preparation for a scheduled start in the 138th Kentucky Derby by
working six furlongs in 1:14 2/5 over the Polytrack at Keeneland Saturday
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
Stakes by 2 3/4 lengths over a tenacious Brigand.
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.
After previously declaring his multiple Grade 3-winning sprinter Trinniberg
doubtful for the Kentucky Derby, owner Shivananda Parbhoo altered course
Saturday, indicating that he is now likely to send his son of Teuflesberg to
Churchill Downs for the first jewel of the Triple Crown.
Grade 3 Illinois Derby winner Done Talking breezed four furlongs in :49 3/5
at Laurel Park Saturday morning in his penultimate work before the $2 million
Kentucky Derby. Regular rider Sheldon Russell was up on the Hamilton Smith
trainee, who galloped out five furlongs in 1:02 3/5 over the fast track.
Mike Walker and Lou Sutterfield's Amie's Dini, a major contender for the
Grade 1, $1 million Kentucky Oaks, visited the muddy Churchill Downs track on a
cold, damp Saturday morning for a 1 7/8-mile gallop during the 15-minute
training period reserved for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders.
Friday's Grade 3, $100,000
Doubledogdare Stakes turned into a battle royale down the lane at Keeneland
as Pachattack and Kathmanblu hooked up rounding the turn to duel all the way to
the wire. Making her first start since being purchased by Flaxman Holdings for
$1.2 million at Fasig-Tipton's November Sale last year, Pachattack began earning
back her sell price when gutting out the neck victory under jockey Rajiv Maragh.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced Friday that the
purse for January's 14th annual Daily Racing Form/NTRA National
Handicapping Championship (NHC) at Treasure Island Las Vegas has been guaranteed
at a minimum of $1.5 million.
I'll Have Another, who established himself as a top Kentucky Derby contender
with a game win over Creative Cause in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, breezed
six furlongs in 1:13 3/5 over the Hollywood Park's Cushion Track Thursday
The Chad Brown trainee had both tactical and recency advantages over Somali
Lemonade, the 8-5 second choice, who had not run since her sixth in the November
4 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Dayatthespa had likewise run below par in
that same Breeders' Cup race, finishing ninth on unsuitably rain-softened
ground, but had the benefit of two strong stakes wins under her belt this
Wise Dan concluded 2011 in smashing fashion, posting big wins in the Grade 2
Fayette Stakes and Grade 1 Clark Handicap, and the Charles Lopresti-trained
gelding will look to make it three straight when opening his five-year-old
season in Sunday's Grade 3, $150,000
Ben Ali Stakes
at Keeneland. The versatile
chestnut tops a field of seven in the 1 1/8-mile test over the Polytrack.
Peachtree Stable's undefeated Princess Arabella, who would have been a major
contender in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, has been retired due to injury. Hall of
Fame trainer Bob Baffert revealed the news on HRTV Thursday.
Grade 2 Rebel Stakes winner Secret Circle is out of the Kentucky Derby with a
sesamoid injury, according to the Blood-Horse. The Bob Baffert pupil was
most recently a distant runner-up to stablemate Bodemeister in last Saturday's
Grade 1 Arkansas Derby.
Richard L. Hamilton, a former steward and longtime racing official for the
New York Racing Association (NYRA), died Wednesday night at St. Peter's Hospital
in Albany, New York after suffering a heart attack. He was 76 years old.
The Larry Jones-trained trio of Havre de Grace, Mark Valeski and Believe You
Can arrived at Barn 35 at Churchill Downs in good order at 5 p.m. (EST) Tuesday
night and all three visited the track Wednesday morning to gallop a mile.
Bluegrass Hall LLC's homebred Optimizer, most recently ninth in the Grade 1,
$1 million Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, is still being pointed to the
Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, according to trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
While trainer Bob Baffert has yet to fully commit Castaway to the Kentucky
Derby on May 5, the white-haired conditioner has given every indication the
Street Sense colt will wheel back off the two-week break if he captures
Saturday's 31st running of the Grade 3, $200,000
Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.
Dede McGehee's St. John's River, who was narrowly defeated by Plum Pretty in
last year's Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, is being pointed to a return to the races
after an eighth-month layoff in the Grade 2, $300,000 La Troienne, which is to
be run on the Kentucky Oaks Day undercard on May 4.
Already blessed with the presence of champion Royal Delta in his barn, Hall
of Fame trainer Bill Mott also has another nice older mare in Arena Elvria, who
will seek her sixth consecutive victory Saturday in the Grade 3, $200,000
Sails Handicap at Hawthorne.
After landing a one-two punch in last week's Grade 1 Arkansas Derby with
Bodemeister and Secret Circle, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will attempt to
do the same in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000
Aqueduct with California shippers Stirred Up and Brigand. The one-mile Jerome,
which will be run for the 142nd time, is the final graded stakes of the Aqueduct
spring meet as racing in New York shifts to Belmont Park next weekend.
QIPCO British Champions Series, the Daily Telegraph and Racing Post
have launched a brand new, free-to-enter fantasy game, with players having the
opportunity to score points across all 35 races in the 2012 Series.
Keeneland President and CEO Nick Nicholson on Wednesday announced that
effective September 1, he will retire from Keeneland Association after nearly 13
years at the helm. Bill Thomason, currently Vice President and Chief Financial
Officer, has been selected by the Keeneland Trustees as successor to Nicholson.
Creative Cause, recording his first workout since a nose second in the Grade
1 Santa Anita Derby April 7, completed five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 over the
Cushion Track at Hollywood Park on Tuesday. It was the 16th fastest of 37
works at the distance.
The top-two finishers in last Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby
at Oaklawn Park arrived at Churchill Downs in good order Monday afternoon to
continue their preparations for the 138th running of the $2 million Kentucky
Derby, which is to be run beneath the Twin Spires on May 5.
Pachattack, a leading mare on synthetic surfaces in North America the past
couple of seasons, get back to work Friday at Keeneland in the Grade 3, $100,000
Doubledogdare over 1 1/16 miles. The race will mark her first start for the
Niarchos family's Flaxman Holdings, which purchased the six-year-old for $1.2
million at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale.