After a troubled trip in her season debut in late January, reigning champion
female sprinter Musical Romance was back in better form in Saturday's Grade 2,
Information at Gulfstream Park. Under a ground-saving ride by Juan Leyva,
the five-year-old mare settled just off the leaders for the opening
three-quarters, split rivals in the stretch, and drew clear to win by three
parts of a length in a time of 1:21 4/5 for seven furlongs over a fast track.
She returned $11.20, $6.40 and $4.60 as the 9-2 third choice.
Marilyn's Guy disposed of pacesetter San Pablo leaving the far turn, opening
up a clear lead in midstretch, but nearly surrendered the advantage as that
rival came again late in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000
desperately holding on by a neck over the inner track at Aqueduct. Ridden by
Chuck Lopez for trainer Tony Dutrow, the six-year-old gelding was making his
graded debut after notching his first listed stakes tally in his previous
outing, the February 18 As Indicted Stakes.
Multiple Grade 1 winner Caleb's Posse powerfully returned to the Oaklawn
workout sheet Saturday in his first drill since a close runner-up finish in this
four-year-old debut in the Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap March 3 in New York.
Union Rags, the early favorite for Grade 1 Florida Derby, went to the track
at Palm Meadows Saturday morning for an easy five-furlong workout in preparation
for Gulfstream Park's signature race on March 31.
Castellano set the standard on the 72nd day of live racing. He shared the
previous record of 97 with Jerry Bailey (1996 over 64 days), Wigberto Ramos
(1991 over 81 days) and Julio Pezua (1987 over 50 days).
Grade 1 winner Giant Ryan had his final workout Saturday morning in
preparation for the Group 1, $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, covering a
half-mile on the fast track at Calder in :47 3/5 in advance of his seasonal
debut under the lights at Meydan Racecourse on March 31.
Gemologist had not raced since November 26, when he captured the Grade 2
Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs. The Tiznow colt had recently posted a
pair of bullet drills, however, and was sent off as the 3-5 favorite. Currency
Swap, sidelined for more than six months since his victory in the Grade 1
Hopeful, rated as the 6-5 second choice.
Eleven of the 13 contestants in Saturday's Grade 2, $500,000
based locally at Oaklawn Park, but Southern California invaders Sabercat and
Secret Circle are the top draws in the 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Derby prep race
The outcome of the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 10 did nothing to make
trainer Patrick Byrne second guess the decision to skip it in favor of the Grade
1, $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 31.
In response to its popularity among horsemen over the past three years, the
Breeders' Cup board of directors has again approved an early foal nomination
program deadline which allows for a $100 discount off the standard $500
nomination fee for all foals nominated electronically by August 1 to the
Breeders' Cup program.
New Vocations will host "Thoroughbreds For All!" -- an evening of
education and fellowship for people who favor off-the-track Thoroughbreds
combined with an invitation for equestrians to shop in Kentucky for the
Thoroughbred of their dreams -- on April 28 shortly following the
Rolex cross country at 5 p.m. (EDT).
A total of 95 fillies have been entered for the Group 1, £350,000 Epsom
Oaks, highlight of Ladies Day at the Derby Festival at Epsom Downs on
June 1. The figure is two more than the 2011 entry and way ahead of the
2010 total of 77.
Champion female sprinter Musical Romance experienced a troubled trip when
opening 2012 in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint, grabbing a quarter
and ripping off a shoe at the start, but the five-year-old will look to rebound
when she lines up for Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000
Inside Information at
Gulfstream Park. The Bill Kaplan-trained mare will square off against 10 rivals,
including the top four finishers from the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie Stakes on
Late-blooming five-year-old Ellafitz will aim for a career high note as well
as her fourth straight stakes victory Saturday when facing five challengers in
Santa Anita's 75th running of the Grade 1, $300,000
Santa Margarita Stakes, the season's racing highlight for older fillies and
mares at 1 1/8 miles.
Only four other distaffers will line up against reigning Horse of the Year
Havre de Grace on Saturday in Fair Grounds' $150,000
New Orleans Ladies going 1
1/16 miles. The Larry Jones trainee will break from post 2 with regular rider
Ramon Dominguez in the saddle.
The perfect Kentucky Derby appetizer returns May 3 as Churchill Downs stages
its third annual Taste of Derby -- a celebration of cuisine and racing on the
eve of the Kentucky Oaks. Taste of Derby attendees will mingle with horse racing
and Hollywood celebrities and savor exquisite cuisine and delectable wines from
racing destinations across the country as nationally-renowned chefs serve
samples of their regional specialties.
Betfair US and Hollywood Park on Tuesday announced the completion of a
ground-breaking agreement intended to transform the customer experience for
racing fans at the historic venue, online and on television. Under the terms of
the five-year deal, the venue will be renamed "Betfair Hollywood Park" in the
first naming rights agreement ever for a horseracing venue in the United States.
Gulfstream Park will host the 14th running of the Claiming Crown on the
opening day of its 2012-13 meet on December 1. The 2012 event will see a
significant increase in purses to $850,000 for seven races with the individual
race purses ranging from $100,000 to $200,000. In addition to the six Claiming
Crown races conducted at the 2011 event, the Tiara for fillies and mares on the
turf will return this year.
Gulfstream Park will offer fans a week of activities and attractions leading
up to the $1 million Florida Derby on Saturday, March 31, including a concert by
a mystery Grammy-winning country artist as well as golf and poker tournaments, a
cocktail party with jockeys serving drinks, and the official Florida Derby
cocktail party with live and silent auctions.
Dennis J. Manning's first-time starter Crafty Unicorn stayed close to the
early pace of the 23rd running of the $100,000
Championship Stakes, contested Monday at the Ocala Training Center in
Florida. Crafty Unicorn fought to the lead along the inside in the stretch and
beat Burn the Mortgage by 1 3/4 lengths, with Moon Traveler checking in third.
Reigning Horse of the Year Havre de Grace put in her last workout in advance
of Saturday's $150,000 New Orleans Ladies this morning at Fair Grounds, breezing
five furlongs in :59 3/5 with regular exercise rider Jen Brasser aboard. The
five-year-old mare worked in company with an unraced three-year-old filly, Just
Jan, who went the same distance in 1:00 under Rosie Napravnik while breezing to
the inside of Havre de Grace.
Champion Animal Kingdom will miss his intended start in the Group 1 Dubai
World Cup on March 31 after developing lameness in his left hind leg over the
weekend at Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced Monday that an
updated set of racetrack safety and integrity standards has been circulated to
members of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, and that it is now available
for public comment. After finalization, the compliance standards will serve as
the basis for future racetrack Alliance accreditation, including the
re-accreditation of tracks previously accredited by the Alliance. The Alliance,
formed in October 2008 with the goal of establishing national uniform standards
in the areas of safety and integrity, includes 55 racetracks in North America
and every major national horsemen's organization. Twenty-two racetracks have
been accredited to date by Alliance safety teams.
Pinnacle Racing and Bill Kaplan's five-year-old mare Musical Romance closed
out an Eclipse Award campaign in 2011 winning the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare
Sprint at Churchill Downs on November 4, but her 2012 season debut did not go
well when she finished fourth in the Florida Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare
Sprint at Gulfstream Park on January 28.
There's a buzz back at the barn of Jinks Fires this spring a year after the
magical run by Archarcharch that culminated in a victory in the Grade 1, $1
million Arkansas Derby for his longtime clients Bob and Val Yagos. This time
another set of longtime owners are eagerly hoping Kid Sidney can make up for
lost time and get into the Grade 2, $500,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park
George and Mary Clare Schmitt's Izzy Rules lived up to her name, and her 6-5
favoritism, in Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000
Flores Stakes at Santa Anita Park. Grabbing command soon after the start,
the Jeff Bonde trainee led all the way home to finish the 6 1/2-furlong, fast
track event in 1:14 2/5. The five-year-old daughter of Peace Rules paid $4.60,
$3.20 and $2.80 to her faithful supporters.
Bradley Thoroughbreds, Steve Laymon and Jerry & Ronald Frankel's Dayatthespa
was all out to hold a closing Regalo Mia in Sunday's Grade 3, $150,000
Herecomesthebride Stakes at Gulfstream Park. With Javier Castellano aboard,
the Chad Brown-trained daughter of City Zip was a neck clear on the wire while
finishing the nine-furlong, firm turf affair in 1:47 1/5.
When Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein's Miz Ida powered home with a
late-running three-quarter-length victory in Saturday's $75,000 Allen LaCombe
Memorial at Fair Grounds, winning trainer Steve Margolis was quick to bring
attention to the filly's namesake.
Santa Anita will present its fifth annual "Santa Anita Uncorked" wine and
culinary festival on March 25. The event will be staged in the track's paddock
gardens area beginning at noon (PDT) and will feature a wide array of boutique
and hand-picked wine selections, cuisine sampling from 14 popular local
restaurants, a paddock art show and a full day of exciting Thoroughbred racing.
Mucho Macho Man continued to establish himself as a serious player in the
older horse division Saturday, posting a convincing victory in the Grade 2,
$300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap. A smart winner of the 1 1/8-mile Sunshine
Millions Classic January 28, the leggy bay colt cut back powerfully to a
one-turn mile while extending his win streak to three. Ramon Dominguez was up
for trainer Kathy Ritvo.
Anita Cauley's homebred On Fire Baby was sent off the 2-5 favorite in
Saturday's Grade 3, $125,000
Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park, but the gray miss
had to work for the win as 3-1 second choice Amie's Dini refused to yield in the
lane. It was only nearing the wire that On Fire Baby managed to pull away,
posting a two-length victory under jockey Joe Johnson to return $2.80, $2.40 and
$2.10 to her backers.
The San Felipe was widely viewed as the deepest Derby prep race so far this
season. Despite the withdrawal of Out of Bounds, who is sidelined by a fractured
ankle, and Fed Biz, who had a minor hiccup but is still on the trail, the 1
1/16-mile test lured a terrific group of classic hopefuls.
Prospective made his move to the lead on the far turn, was headed in
midstretch by a surging Golden Ticket, then came back again to prevail in
Saturday's Grade 2, $350,000
Tampa Bay Derby. Winner of the Grade 3 Grey Stakes
at two and second in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes in his previous start, the
Mark Casse-trained colt likely guaranteed himself a spot in the Kentucky Derby
field by increasing his graded earnings to $365,452.