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.
The $1 million Louisiana Derby (gr. II) is the headliner on Fair Grounds' April 1 program, but the biggest names and most talented horses may be running on the undercard in the $400,000 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II).
The Factor will face Rocket Man and several other of the world's top sprinters when he goes to the post in the $2-million Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored by Gulf News (UAE-I) at Meydan Racecourse March 31.
Providing a strong sense of deja vu, Team Valor International's Went the Day Well booked his ticket to the Kentucky Derby with a convincing victory in Saturday's Grade 3, $500,000 Viver Racing Spiral Stakes
Thoroughbred owners and trainers who wish to make their late-blooming
three-year-olds eligible to compete in the 2012 Triple Crown series of classic
American races have until Saturday to add their horses to the roster of late
nominations to the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
America's contenders for the $27 million Dubai World Cup program, including champion Royal Delta and multiple grade I winner Game On Dude, have landed safely in Dubai and are in good health after the long flight from Florida.
With its lucrative $800,000 purse, the Grade 3
Derby is an attractive prep race for Kentucky Derby hopefuls lacking graded
earnings, and three-year-olds from the barns of notable trainers Bob Baffert,
Todd Pletcher and Steve Asmussen have shipped into the New Mexico track this
year in search of a guaranteed berth to the Run for Roses. The 1 1/8-mile race
gained notoriety in 2009 when producing Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird.
Oaklawn Park, which has already announced three purse increases this meet, is
increasing the purses of the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap and Grade 3 Count Fleet
Sprint Handicap by $50,000, bringing the April 14 events to $400,000 and
$250,000, respectively. Additionally, the track will offer a participation bonus
for the fourth consecutive year on all non-stakes races that attract more than
eight wagering interests for the final three weeks of the season (March 29 ?
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who won the Spiral Stakes in 2001 with Balto Star and
in 2005 with Flower Alley when it was a Grade 2, will be looking for his third
win in the now Grade 3 race when he sends out the uncoupled duo of Heavy
Breathing and Holiday Promise on Saturday at Turfway Park.
Mark Valeski, runner-up in last month's Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes, made a
case for favoritism in the Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby on April 1,
breezing an impressive five furlongs over the fast main track at Fair Grounds on
Tuesday. He completed the move in :59 2/5 under regular rider Rosie Napravnik,
the fastest of 11 works at the distance by a full second.
South Florida-based Alpha, easy winner of the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct on
February 4, is now considered probable for the Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana
Derby on April 1, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin confirmed Tuesday.
Multiple Grade 1 hero Game on Dude and champion filly Royal Delta are among
14 horses projected to compete in the Group 1, $10 million Dubai World Cup on
March 31, according to the
list of probable competitors released Sunday by the Dubai Racing Club.
The field for Saturday's Grade 3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park is expected to
fill or nearly fill the gate as trainers solidify plans for their Kentucky Derby
hopefuls. The race's $500,000 purse virtually assures the winner a spot in
the Derby gate, as proved true for the 2011 Spiral Stakes and Kentucky Derby
winner, Animal Kingdom.
Jockey Ramon Dominguez and apprentice rider Samuel Camacho Jr. were released
Sunday evening from North Shore University Hospital where they were transported
following a spill in this afternoon's 8TH race at Aqueduct.
Frank L. Jones Jr.'s homebred Tapitsfly, who had not won a stakes race since
the 2009 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, remedied that statistic with a
strong late rally in Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000
Fox at Gulfstream Park. Typically up on or near the pace, the Dale Romans
filly enjoyed being held up a little farther back by Julien Leparoux, and rolled
past Bay to Bay and La Reine Lionne by a measured three-quarters of a length.
Reigning Horse of the Year Havre de Grace, fresh once more after the spoils
of victory attained Saturday afternoon at Fair Grounds in the $150,000 New
Orleans Ladies, was standing quietly in her stall early Sunday morning while
trainer Larry Jones was still in town.
Nearly every runner in Saturday's Grade 2, $500,000 Rebel Stakes returned in
good order according to their handlers Sunday morning, with the exception of
Adirondack King, who developed colic late Sunday morning.
With a third straight Grade 2 Rebel Stakes victory sealed thanks to Secret
Circle, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert was eagerly looking forward to the
Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby next month at Oaklawn.
Cresran's homebred Tiz Miz Sue bided her time just behind the early leaders
before making her move in the stretch, closing strongly on the far outside to
win going away in Saturday's Grade 3, $147,000
at Oaklawn Park. The
five-year-old mare garnered her first graded stakes victory, scoring by three
lengths under Joe Rocco Jr., and the Steve Hobby trainee completed 1 1/16 miles
in 1:43 2/5 over the fast track.
Jay Em Ess Stable's Include Me Out was an easy winner of the Grade 2 La
Canada Stakes at Santa Anita on January 22 and continued that thread Saturday
with a 3 3/4-length victory in the Grade 1, $294,000
Santa Margarita Invitational under jockey Joe Talamo. The Ron Ellis trainee
was sent off the 6-5 second choice to Ellafitz's 4-5 favoritism, but was much
the best in this one while finishing nine furlongs on the sloppy, sealed dirt in
Fox Hill Farms' reigning Horse of the Year Havre de Grace made a winning
return to competition on Saturday, easily outclassing four rivals to take the
New Orleans Ladies Stakes at Fair Grounds by 4 1/2 lengths. The Larry Jones
trainee was sent off the prohibitive 1-9 favorite, and did not disappoint her
backers, who may have decided to keep their tickets as souvenirs instead of
cashing in for paltry across-the-board returns of $2.10.