Liaison worked six furlongs in 1:12 4/5 under Shaun Bridgmohan after the renovation break on a sunny and mild Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs. The main track was labeled good.
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 Derby 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 distance.
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.
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.
A minority interest in probable Kentucky Derby favorite Bodemeister has been sold to Mike and Tiffany Moreno of Southern Equine Stable, according to various reports.
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.
With $300,000 in graded earnings from the Illinois Derby, Done Talking is now virtually guaranteed a starting spot in the Derby should his owners so desire.
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).
With premier Thoroughbred racing, and with daily purses expected to average $620,000, the competition will be tougher than ever when Belmont Park opens for racing on Friday.
Two of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert's Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks hopefuls worked over a fast track after the renovation break and a third got her first outing at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning.
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, 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.
SANTA ANITA NOTEBOOK
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.
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.
The Maryland Jockey Club Monday announced that the May 5 Kentucky Derby card at Pimlico Race Course will feature a Jockey Challenge featuring four riders visiting from Venezuela competing against four from the Maryland colony.
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).
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
"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.
Eugene Melnyk's homebred Roxy Gap was making just her second start following an eight-month layoff in Sunday's Grade 3, $183,200 Whimsical Stakes at Woodbine and dug in to gut out a neck win over Honey Chile on the wire.
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.
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 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 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.
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 morning.
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.
When Saturday's $125,000 Miami Mile Handicap was moved from the rain-soaked turf at Calder to the sloppy, sealed dirt, it not only lost is Grade 3 status but six runners as well.
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.
Rather than worry about the prospects of a cold, damp weekend in Kentucky, trainer Michael Matz opted to work Kentucky Derby contender Union Rags on Friday morning at Keeneland.
On Fire Baby, a leading contender for the Grade 1, $1 million Kentucky Oaks, breezed seven furlongs on the fast main track at Churchill Downs Friday morning in 1:26 4/5 for trainer Gary Hartlage.
It's been a somewhat eventful road to the Kentucky Derby for Grade 3 Withers Stakes hero Alpha.
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.
Michael Matz talks about Union Rags' work at Keeneland on April 20, 2012. Watch Video