The 2011 juvenile champion emerged from Aqueduct Racetrack's 1 1/16-mile Gotham in good order, said trainer Michael Maker's assistant, Nelson Donis.
Soldat continued the recent trend of 2011 Kentucky Derby runners making a big impression in their four-year-old debuts. Derby hero Animal Kingdom captured a similar Gulfstream turf test on February 19; Derby runner-up Nehro crushed an optional claimer at Fair Grounds February 25; Derby third Mucho Macho Man beat subsequent Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap winner Ron the Greek in the January 28 Florida Sunshine Millions Classic; and Pants on Fire just romped in an optional claimer at Gulfstream on Saturday.
Martha Washington Stakes winner Amie's Dini showed she's ready for a showdown in the Grade 3, $125,000 Honeybee Stakes with fellow top filly On Fire Baby with a quick half-mile breeze Sunday at Oaklawn Park.
With jockey Mario Gutierrez in the irons, I'll Have Another was on the muscle while ambling and jogging alongside Lava Man. The popular 11-year-old gelding, a two-time winner of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in his glory days, escorted his young companion until the time came for him to break away for his work.
Unlike the Arcadia, where Willyconker rallied too late, the Irish-bred gelding enjoyed a better tactical position for new rider Joel Rosario. Jimmy Simms carved out splits of :23, :46 4/5 and 1:10 3/5, with Compari in close attendance, and Willyconker well placed in third. Jeranimo was anchored in midpack, but Mr. Commons was unhurried near the tail of the field.
Wachtel Stable, Brous Stable and breeder Jack T. Hammer's Ron the Greek bided his time as 2-1 favorite Ultimate Eagle set suicidal fractions on the front end of Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap before putting in a furious rally down the center of the track to take the prestigious event by 3 1/2 lengths.
Eden's Moon was an easy winner of Saturday's $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita Park, but the talented bay miss had to survive an objection lodged by runner-up Reneesgotzip's trainer before she could give owner Kaleem Shah his first Grade 1 victory.
A smart ride and grit at the wire made Team Valor International's State of Play best by a head in Saturday's $75,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park. The Graham Motion trainee ran 1 1/16 miles on the Polytrack in 1:46 2/5 to return to the winner's circle under jockey Victor Lebron.
Doubles Partner had not raced since his third-place finish in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on Kentucky Derby Day. The Grade 2 veteran was dispatched as the 7-2 third choice, with Juddmonte's French Group 1 winner Mutual Trust garnering second choice status at 3-1.
Any suggestion that Hansen was a mere a one-dimensional speedball proved unfounded in Saturday's Grade 3, $400,000 Gotham at Aqueduct, as last year's juvenile colt champion overcame an outside post, a wide journey into the clubhouse turn, and having a little dirt kicked in his face for the first time to register an emphatic three-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile inner dirt event.
Despite possessing a perfect four-for-four mark over Aqueduct's inner dirt leading into Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap, Mike Repole's Calibrachoa was let go at a nifty 7-2 going up against the likes of multiple Grade 1 winner Caleb's Posse and the imposing stakes newbie Emcee. Calibrachoa's loyal backers were rewarded when the five-year-old earned his second consecutive Tom Fool triumph, gutting out a neck victory over a fast-charging Caleb's Posse in the six-furlong contest over a tiring surface labeled good.
George and Lori Hall's Pants on Fire, who bled when ninth in the Kentucky Derby, was last seen finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational on July 31. The Kelly Breen charge had been entered, and scratched, from a couple of other potential reappearances, most recently in the Grade 3 Mineshaft Handicap at Fair Grounds last Saturday. Despite the fact that the speedy colt figured to get the jump on the deep-closing Dialed In, Pants on Fire was sent off as the 5-2 second choice.
It's Tricky broke a three-race streak of seconds on Saturday when making her return in the Grade 2, $196,000 Top Flight Handicap at Aqueduct. The Godolphin colorbearer had to work over the tiring track to get the 2 3/4-length victory in her first race since running second in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic last November, but gutted out the win under jockey Ramon Dominguez as the near 2-5 favorite.
Grade 3 Southwest Stakes runner-up Scatman, preparing for the Grade 2, $500,000 Rebel Stakes on March 17, breezed five furlongs in 1:01 3/5 over the fast track at Oaklawn Park Saturday. Michael Lauer instructed jockey Luis Quinonez to work the colt between 1:01 and 1:02, and the veteran rider executed it perfectly.
The 73rd running of the Grade 1, $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup and the Grade 1 American Oaks, which was increased from $250,000 to $400,000, headline a stakes schedule worth more than $6.8 million for the 2012 Spring/Summer meet at Hollywood Park.
Five newcomers and five returning finalists comprise the National Museum of Racing's 2012 Hall of Fame ballot. The first-time finalists are trainer Roger Attfield and Thoroughbreds Ashado, Ghostzapper, Housebuster, and Xtra Heat. They join jockeys Calvin Borel, Garrett Gomez, Alex Solis, and John Velazquez, and trainer Robert Wheeler, all of whom were finalists in 2011.
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) has announced a $100,000 bonus for any two-year-old who breaks its maiden at the 2012 Belmont Park spring meet and goes on to win a graded stakes at Saratoga Race Course, Belmont or Aqueduct Racetrack in 2012.
KENTUCKY DERBY REPORT
Juvenile colt champion Hansen, who suffered his first career defeat in the Grade 3 Holy Bull on January 29, will attempt to get back on the winning track in Saturday's Grade 3, $400,000 Gotham at Aqueduct. The front-running gray has not scared away the competition, as he will break from post 12 in a field of 13 going 1 1/16 miles on the inner dirt. This is the final local prep for the Grade 1 Wood Memorial on April 7.
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NetJets, the world's leading private aviation company, will partner with the New York Racing Association for the second consecutive year on an extensive, multi-tiered presence at Saratoga for the 2009 racing season.
Youbet.com has signed three agreements that will enable its members to watch and wager on racing from South Africa, Sweden, additional tracks in the United Kingdom, and Puerto Rico, providing nearly 24-hour-a-day racing coverage.
Bold Executive, Canada's leading sire, has been named top stallion awards earner under the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (Ontario Division) Stallion Awards Program, with his eligible progeny achieving the highest earnings of all OSS registered stallions in 2008.
TwinSpires.com, the official advance deposit wagering service for Churchill Downs Inc., will provide an inside look at the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship from Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas by providing online video coverage of the event throughout the Jan. 23-24.
Keeneland, whose fall meet begins Oct. 3, is launching a "PolyCapping" online database to provide more information for handicappers.
Hastings Racecourse in British Columbia has instituted a commission reduction on show wagers.
Churchill Downs will begin testing a new wagering format with on-track customers June 11 that allows patrons to bundle win, exacta, and trifecta plays at a lower price per bet.
The $1-million Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship will return to the Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa in Las Vegas next year, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association said.
Unbeaten 2-year-old champion War Pass, winner of the $2-million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), and Pyro, the runner-up in the Juvenile and winner of the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III), are the early favorites for Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which opens Mar. 6.
Richard Goodall, a 64-year-old retired attorney from Las Vegas, defeated 276 Thoroughbred racing handicappers by a record margin to capture the ninth Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship at the Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa in Las Vegas Jan. 26.
By Jason Shandler - The late Saturday Pick 4 looks like an appetizing way to bet the World Championships.
The 10-cent superfectas that have become popular at North American racetracks will make their Breeders' Cup World Championships debut at Monmouth Park Oct. 26-27.
Thoro-Graph, whose proprietary performance figures have been utilized by professional handicappers and horsemen alike for the past 25 years, has unveiled Thoro-Graph Form Ratings, which are available exclusively at equibase.com
The New York Racing Association has officially announced the release of an Internet wagering application that allows New York fans full access to not only Magna/Churchill racetracks, but also those that have exclusive agreements with TVG.
A temporary ban on the release of race video replays from Magna Entertainment tracks may continue through the end of the week for Post Time Technologies business partners, which include The Blood-Horse and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
The Fortune Six at Beulah Park set another record Jan. 30 with a payout of more than $364,000 for a gimmick with a minimum wager of 25 cents.
WinTicket.com has added live video-streaming to its mobile Web site, which means users can watch races on mobile devices.
HRTV will broadcast 11 days of racing during the Dubai Racing Carnival beginning Jan. 18.
Live racing from Oaklawn Park will be part of the lineup on HorseRacing TV when the meet begins Jan. 19 at the Arkansas racetrack.
Video replays of all graded stakes in North America - starting with the races of Dec. 26, 2006 - will be archived and available free of charge at the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Web site.
Brisnet.com is now publishing individual all-weather-surface records for all horses in its past performances.
The world's richest horse race, the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), will be run a week later in 2007, the $6 million event set for March 31.
A handicapper who wins a Churchill Downs Inc. qualifying tournament and the 2007 Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship will win a $1-million bonus.
Equibase, the North American Thoroughbred industry's official database for racing information, announced Feb. 2 that it has recalibrated the scale of its Equibase Speed Figure, a numerical assessment of the quality of a horse's final time in a North American Thoroughbred race.