Champion 2-year-old filly Sweet Catomine looms as the likely favorite in this week's third and final pool of Churchill Downs' 2005 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, but fans will have to decide during the April 7-10 pool whether the daughter of Storm Cat will ultimately challenge her fellow fillies in the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) or take on males in the May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr.I ).
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association will offer a national pick three wager "the NTRA Spring Pick 3" on three of the nationally televised races airing live April 9 on NBC from 4-6 p.m.
Bettors will be able to wager as little as 10 cents on superfectas during the upcoming Keeneland spring race meeting that opens April 8. The dime option will be available on all races in which a superfecta wager is offered. Previously, Keeneland's superfecta minimum was $1.
Consolidator, Going Wild and Bellamy Road – all considered to be major contenders for the $2 million Kentucky Derby (gr. I) – turned in sharp workouts on Sunday at Churchill Downs in preparation for their final preps for the 131st renewal of the "Run for the Roses" on May 7.
Leading trainer Doug O'Neill saddles two contenders in Sunday's contentious Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) for older sprinters at Santa Anita.
Less than a week after breaking the Santa Anita record for wins at a meeting with his 48th victory, trainer Doug O'Neill is not resting. He'll saddle two of the six runners in Saturday's Tokyo City Handicap (gr. III) as he looks to extend his record.
Veteran Country Be Gold, winner of the Jan. 30 Aqueduct Handicap (gr. III), has new owners but the same trainer, Steve Kappes, as he prepares for Saturday's $200,000 Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at the New York track.
Mansell Stables' Quest Star will attempt his third straight win in the Pan American Handicap (gr. IIT) Saturday at Gulfstream Park. The 1 1/2 mile-event, which drew a field of eight, is one of five stakes races on the Florida Derby (gr. I) card.
Glencrest Farm's Honey Ryder will face two of her toughest rivals when she tangles with Briviesca and Snowdrops in the $150,000 Orchid Handicap (gr. IIT) Saturday at South Florida's Gulfstream Park.
Paul Pompa Jr.'s Zakocity, who finished third in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) behind Eddington and Pies Prospect March 5, will tote high weight of 117 pounds Saturday in the Skip Away Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.
Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel said that Mary and Gary West's High Limit, winner of the Louisiana Derby (grade II), was doing well on the day after his first work at Churchill Downs and would make his next start in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland on April 16.
Post positions were drawn for Saturday's $250,000 WinStar/Sunland Park Oaks and a group of eight fillies will test at 1-1/16 miles. The undercard of the $500,000 WinStar Derby for the colts includes California invader Cee's Irish as the most accomplished of the field, but she'll have to get past fellow West Coast shipper Pegasus Rose, and some improving local gals to snare the top prize.
Reigning Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, who was scheduled to make his 5-year-old debut in the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II), won't be coming to Hot Springs for the April 9 race after all.
A field of eight, highlighted by the first three finishers in the Borderland Derby and stakes winner Sort it Out, will take the gate for Saturday's $500,000 WinStar Derby, going 1 1/8 miles at Sunland Park.
Champion Ashado, winner of the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) last fall, heads the list of 19 nominations to the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handiap (gr. I), going 1 1/16 miles April 9 at Oaklawn Park.
A March 28 teleconference sponsored by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association was designed to profile entrants in the April 2 Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park, but it looks as though the prospective field will undergo some changes. Instead, the media event focused largely on equine health.
Trainer John Ward won't be caught up in the hoopla of Florida Derby (gr. I) week like he was in 2001 when Monarchos parlayed a victory in Gulfstream's premier event into a win in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), but he did send three of his talented fillies for workouts Monday, each with potential for the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
Stan Fulton's grade III winner Uncle Denny has been withdrawn from the Triple Crown trail after suffering a bone chip to his right front ankle, trainer Rafael Becerra revealed Sunday.
El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) runner-up Wannawinemall, set to make his next start in the April 9 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), worked six furlongs in 1:12 4/5 under trainer Kristin Mulhall at Santa Anita Sunday morning.
If Meteor Storm is to successfully defend his title in Sunday's $200,000 San Luis Rey Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 ½ miles on turf, he will have to catch front-runner Star Over The Bay.
If the build up to Saturday's $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) has revealed one thing, it is that there will be no excuses for any of the four American runners in the Nad al Sheba showpiece.
With the next Kentucky Derby Trail column not until Wednesday, March 30, when the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) and UAE Derby (UAE-I) will be discussed belatedly, this seems like a good time to offer some lingering thoughts, facts, and observations left over from last weekend.
Godolphin Racing will not have a runner in a bid for a fifth Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) win in the 2005 renewal when, as feared, Grande Hombre was ruled out on Friday with the bruised foot he suffered on Tuesday morning.
A mishap ruined his last start, but Prince Rahy looks ready to take on stakes company for the first time in Saturday's $100,000 Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT), according to trainer Frank Alexander.
Martin Cherry's Pampered Princess, second in the Sabin Handicap (gr. III) this winter, will challenge South America's Isola Piu Bella a second time in Saturday's $200,000 Rampart Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park.
Trainer Tim Tullock Jr. believes that Sensibly Chic has a few points in her favor that will help her extract revenge upon Cativa when they hook up at Aqueduct on Saturday afternoon in the 51st running of the $150,000-added Distaff Breeders' Cup (gr. II).
Padua Stables' Proud Accolade, winner of the seven-furlong Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) earlier this year, seeks to get back on track after overcoming an illness in Saturday's $100,000 Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park. The 1 1/16-mile race is part of Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) day at the northern Kentucky track.
Spanish Chestnut, the only graded stakes winner in the bunch, drew post 8 Thursday afternoon for Saturday's $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park. The West Coast shipper was installed the 5-2 morning line favorite by Turfway's announcer and odds maker Mike Battaglia. The nine-furlong prep for the May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) drew a field of nine.
Trainer Paulo Lobo says Pico Central, listed by British bookmakers as the 10-11 favorite for Saturday's $2-million Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) at Nad Al Sheba, appears to have fully recovered from a hoof injury suffered earlier this year.
Friel's For Real shoots for the second graded stakes win of her career in Friday's $100,000-added Next Move Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at nine furlongs on Aqueduct's main track.
Churchill Downs Inc. will offer a $1-million bonus to a Twin Spires Club member that wins of one of the company's qualifying tournaments and the 2006 Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas.
Mixed vibes surround America's four runners in Saturday's $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) although none of their connections had any concerns about Wednesday's post position draw.
As expected, 13 American horses were declared for the world's richest race meeting, the Dubai World Cup fixture at Nad Al Sheba on Saturday night.
Bobby Frankel-trained Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) contender Lundy's Liability and UAE Derby (UAE-II) hope Marenostrum arrived in Dubai Tuesday morning after a delayed flight.
So, where are the best 3-year-olds based? Florida, Arkansas, California, and New York can all make a case for being the hot spot right now following Saturday's stirring and strange turn of events. With Declan's Moon and now Roman Ruler out of the picture, and Afleet Alex and Wilko facing uphill battles, last year's top 2-year-olds are fading fast.
Mr. and Mrs. Martin Wygod's champion Sweet Catomine, getting ready to take on males for the first time in the April 9 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), worked a half-mile in :49 under regular jockey Corey Nakatani over Santa Anita's fast main track Monday morning.
Afleet Alex, who finished last as the 3-5 favorite in Saturday's Rebel (gr. III), was scoped following the race and found to be suffering from a lung infection. Trainer Tim Ritchey said the colt is still being pointed for the April 16 Arkansas Derby (gr. II).
Roses in May has filled trainer Dale Romans with confidence he'll leave Dubai with the world's richest horse racing prize, the $6 million Dubai World Cup (gr. I) on March 26.
Live Oak Plantation's High Fly, early favorite for the Florida Derby (gr. I) - Gulfstream's showcase event for 3-year-olds with Kentucky Derby aspirations - breezed five furlongs in 1:02 at the Palm Meadows training center Saturday morning.
Molta Vita, making her first start in six months, carries trainer Dallas Stewart's hopes in Sunday's $100,000 Hurricane Bertie Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park.
Megahertz, the diminutive 6-year-old chestnut mare with a big kick, may finally have the opportunity to show it Sunday in the $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Santa Anita turf.
Fair Grounds shipper Cape Hope heads into Saturday's $100,000 Herecomesthebride (gr. IIIT) as the one to beat in the 3-year-old filly stakes on the Gulfstream Park grass.
Delta Princess, who familiarized herself with the Tampa Bay lawn when winning the Endeavour Stakes in her last start, is the 5-2 morning line favorite in Saturday's $125,000 Hillsborough Stakes (gr. III) for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles.
The March 19 Rebel Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park promises to deliver some major fireworks when Afleet Alex, Rockport Harbor, and Greater Good lock horns in the 1 1/16-mile race, which drew a field of six.
With champion Declan's Moon on the sidelines, the 3-year-old throne in California is up for grabs in Saturday's San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), which has attracted a field of eight, headed by Wilko, Roman Ruler, and Consolidator. But there are at least three others with credentials who will attempt to seize the crown.
The March 19 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) drew a field of eight, but the race for all intents and purposes comes down to Sun King vs. Sun King. The Nick Zito-trained colt is the class of the field, and the race his to lose. Only two others in the field have even been nominated to the Triple Crown.
It will be speed vs. stamina in Saturday's Cicada Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct when 3-year-old fillies Megascape and Acey Deucey hook up against each other under topweight of 122 pounds in the field of eight.
Eleven older horses passed the entry box for the Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT), the premier grass event on the Fair Grounds calendar. Highweighted California shipper A to the Z, second to grade I winner Star Over the Bay in his last start in the Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita, and the red-hot G P Fleet lead a group of horses most familiar with each other postward with half-a-million dollars on the line.
Saturday's $150,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct drew three strong Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contenders in Galloping Grocer, Naughty New Yorker, and Survivalist in the field of nine. While all three would prefer two turns, Galloping Grocer has the brilliance to bounce back off his fourth in the Whirlaway with a big performance.
Daddy Joe, a $900,000 son of owner Paraneck Stable's 1996 Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Unbridled's Song who is set to run in the $150,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) Saturday, worked five furlongs in 1:00 on the Aqueduct inner track Wednesday with jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. aboard.
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