Handicapping

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Belmont Notebook: A Look Ahead

by John Mucciolo - A quartet of Grade 1 races were contested on Saturday at Belmont Park, and we will go in the order of what we think were the most impressive performances of the weekend's riches.

Meadowlands Notebook: Zito's Graded Prospects Improve

by Gary Granade - Pies Prospect was never far off the pace in the 1 1/8-mile race. Eddington, the even-money favorite who has contested most of the major three-year-old stakes this year, surged into contention with a dramatic four-wide move on the final turn and looked poised to score his first win since February.

Cradle 1, 2, 3 Meet Again in Breeders' Futurity

The first three finishers in the River Downs' Miller Genuine Draft Cradle Stakes (gr. III)--Bellamy Road, Diamond Isle, and Scipion--are slated to meet again Saturday in Keeneland's $400,000 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. I). The Breeders' Futurity, along with the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) highlight day two of Keeneland's Fallstars Allstars weekend.

Balto Star Headlines Meadowlands Cup

Multimillionaire Balto Star is set to head postward in Friday night's $500,000 Meadowlands Cup (gr. II), and trainer Todd Pletcher is hoping to use the 1 1/8-mile dirt race to springboard the 6-year-old gelding by Glitterman to Lone Star Park and the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on Oct. 30.

Keeneland Opener To Have a Certain Sense of Style

Keeneland's fall meet kicks off Friday with its now familiar Fallstars Weekend and with three weeks to the World Thoroughbred Championships, Breeders' Cup implications certainly abound at the Lexington track. Fallstars Weekend features three action-packed days of racing with eight graded stakes and more than $3.4 million in stakes purses.

Fresh Bayamo Heads Hirsch Line-Up

Bayamo, freshened since his runner-up effort in the Eddie Read Handicap (gr. IT) at Del Mar more than two months ago, rates an edge in a solid field of seven older horses entered for the $250,000 Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship (gr. IT) at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting Sunday.

Maryland Million Attracts 171 Pre-Entries

A total of 171 horses, all the offspring of Maryland-based stallions, have been pre-entered in the dozen races that will make up the 2004 Maryland Million Day Oct. 9 at Pimlico Race Course. The post-position draw will be held Oct. 6 at the racetrack.

Top Sprinters Collide in Vosburgh

Three of the nation's top sprinters will vie for supremacy in the 65th edition of the Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park Saturday, Oct.2. What looked like a true Breeders' Cup field before the defection of grade I winner Midas Eyes, still has major implications for the Lone Star affair, just over four weeks away.

Joe Hirsch Turf Classic: Kitten's Joy in Lion's Den

Sophomore turf sensation Kitten's Joy gets the ultimate test Saturday, facing a tough group of seasoned older horses in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park. Leg two of the NTRA's National Pick 4, the Turf Classic will be shown live on ESPN and has an approximate post time of 5:12 p.m. EDT.

Sir Shackleton Tops Indiana Derby Field

Nick Zito-trained Sir Shackleton has been tabbed as the 5-2 morning line favorite for the $500,000-added Indiana Derby (gr. II) Saturday at Hoosier Park. The Miswaki colt will be joined by eight other 3-year-olds in the 1 1/16-mile event.

Cal Cup Matron Next for Dream of Summer

Dream of Summer, winner of six of eight career races including her last five in a row, will pass Sunday's $250,000 Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) and be pointed to the $150,000 California Cup Matron, trainer Juan Garcia said Wednesday.

The Euros: Will They Make the Trip?

European horsemen, like the vast majority of Americans, will be Texas strangers this year, as the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships comes to Lone Star Park for the first time. The question is, will they be willing to journey into the unknown to run at a track that has never hosted a grade I stakes? Preliminary indications say yes.

Last NTRA Pick 4 of the Year Offered Saturday

The NTRA National Pick 4 wager, offered in conjunction with the "NTRA Super Saturday" telecasts airing on ABC and ESPN, makes its fifth and final appearance of the year Saturday. Three grade I stakes from Belmont Park: the Jockey Club Gold Cup, the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, and the Vosburgh Stakes; along with the Yellow Ribbon Stakes from Oak Tree at Santa Anita make up the wager.

Roman Ruler Sizzles in Norfolk Workout

Grade II winner Roman Ruler, second by a neck to Declan's Moon in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) in his last start, was put through his final drill in preparation for Sunday's Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita, posting a bullet six furlongs in 1:11 3/5 under regular exercise rider Dana Barnes over the Southern California oval's main track Monday morning.

Frankel Sharpens Cajun Beat for Vosburgh

Padua Stables' Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Cajun Beat breezed five furlongs over the fast main track in 1:00 2/5 this morning as trainer Bobby Frankel points the four-year-old gelding to Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 Vosburgh (gr. I)at six furlongs.

Lundy's Liability Makes U.S. Debut at Oak Tree

United Arab Emirates Derby (UAE-II) winner Lundy's Liability is expected to make his United States debut in the $500,000 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) on Oct. 2, opening day of the Oak Tree Racing Association's 26-day meet at Santa Anita.

Love Of Money Tops Indiana Derby Nominees

The top three finishers of the recent Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) – Jay em Ess Stable's Love Of Money, Pollard's Vision and Swingforthefences – are among 32 top 3-year-olds nominated to the $500,000-added Indiana Derby (gr. II) at Hoosier Park.

Western Ransom, Art Fan Vie in Martha Washington

Western Ransom and Art Fan, the first two finishers in last spring's Hilltop Stakes, return to Pimlico on Saturday as favorites for the $150,000 Martha Washington Breeders' Cup (gr. IIIT). Twelve are entered to start in the grassy 1-1/16th mile test for 3-year-old fillies.

First Three Back for Kentucky Cup Turf

The first three from last year's Kentucky Cup Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Kentucky Downs are back for this year's running, and track officials hope that things go more smoothly in the 1 1/2-mile Sept. 25 race than they did in 2003.

Finery Ready For Stakes Start in Noble Damsel

Following two straight runner-up finishes in allowances races, trainer Billy Turner will start Althea Richards' Finery in a stakes for the first time, Saturday's grade III, $150,000 Noble Damsel for fillies and mares at one mile on the turf at Belmont.

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