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.
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
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
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
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
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,
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.