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Southwest winners to work for possible Rebel showdown

With a stable full of Kentucky Derby contenders, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is juggling talented three-year-olds every weekend, but he's counting on the strong performances by Secret Circle and Castaway in their split divisions of the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes to help him decide to whether to send them both back for the Grade 2, $500,000 Rebel at Oaklawn Park March 17.

Monmouth, Meadowlands announce racing dates

Live racing will return to Monmouth Park on May 12, it was announced Thursday by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NJTHA). With a lease from the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority (NJSEA) to the NJTHA expected in early May, the latter will take the operational helm at the historic racetrack for this year's 67th season of racing.

Oaklawn increases purses again

The good fortune continues at Oaklawn with racing and Instant Racing/gaming both seeing double-digit increases in February and as a result, the Hot Springs, Arkansas, track is announcing the third purse increase of the meet effective with Friday's nine-race card. In addition, the purses for the four remaining Arkansas-bred stakes -- the Rainbow, the Rainbow Miss and both divisions of the Arkansas Breeders' -- will be increased from $50,000 to $60,000.

Zenyatta foals Bernardini colt

Superstar Zenyatta produced her first foal, a bay colt by Bernardini, Thursday evening at Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Kentucky. Owners Jerry and Ann Moss were on hand to witness the foaling at approximately 10:10 p.m. (EST).

Inaugural 'Steeplechase Festival at Saratoga' scheduled for September

The Saratoga Springs community will celebrate its legendary relationship with Thoroughbreds at the inaugural Steeplechase Festival at Saratoga, a day of racing and spirited activities set for September 15. Proceeds from the first annual Steeplechase Festival at Saratoga will benefit both local and equine charities.

On Fire Baby seeks sweet score in Honeybee

On Fire Baby will return to the distaff ranks on Saturday when she faces seven rivals in Oaklawn Park's Grade 3, $125,000 Honeybee Stakes going 1 1/16 miles. The dual Grade 2 heroine, who is nominated to both the Triple Crown races and Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, could use the race as a springboard to either the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby against the boys or stay with the fillies in the Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes.

Camelot heads 143 early entries for Epsom Derby

Last season's Group 1 Racing Post Trophy winner Camelot heads the 143 three-year-olds going forward for this year's Group Epsom Derby following the first scratchings deadline, details of which were revealed Thursday.

Churchill continues 'Pink Out,' welcomes Stand Up To Cancer on Oaks Day

Churchill Downs Racetrack will be aglow in pink again for the 138th running of the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks -- America's premier race for three-year-old fillies on May 4 and annual celebration of food, fashion and fun -- as the springtime event welcomes a new beneficiary in Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) to raise vital funds and awareness for cancer research.

Heitzmann completes marathon for Remember Me Rescue

Carmel Heitzmann, once a flight attendant for Emirates Airlines but in more recent times the stable foreman for her trainer-husband Eric Heitzmann at Fair Grounds, successfully completed a journey on foot around the Crescent City last Sunday by finishing the New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in four hours and 32 minutes.

Ever So Lucky, Motor City return in Swale

Ever So Lucky and Motor City established themselves as three-year-olds to watch at Churchill Downs last fall and both will launch their highly-anticipated sophomore campaigns Saturday in the Grade 3, $150,000 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park. A total of 10 runners are entered, but the seven-furlong test will be lacking Thunder Moccasin, a good-looking winner of the Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes on February 11.

Tampa Bay Derby attracts a dozen

A clear second to subsequent Grade 2 Risen Star winner El Padrino in a January 29 allowance at Gulfstream Park, Take Charge Indy could also make a successful jump into the winner's circle against graded company when he takes on 11 rivals in Saturday's Grade 2, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby.

Hansen to school at Turfway Park on Friday

Eclipse champion and Kentucky Derby contender Hansen will school in the paddock at Turfway Park on Friday evening between the 6TH and 7TH races, according to the colt's breeder and majority owner, Dr. Kendall Hansen.

Jordan, Bush promoted at Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs Racetrack has looked within its organization to fill a pair of key positions on its team by naming Ryan Jordan to the post of General Manager and promoting Greg Bush to Vice President, Operations at the historic home of the Kentucky Derby.

Havre de Grace works in company with Joyful Victory

Twelve days in advance of her 2012 debut in the $150,000 New Orleans Ladies on March 17, reigning Horse of the Year Havre de Grace worked six furlongs in company with stablemate Joyful Victory in 1:11 2/5, breezing, at Fair Grounds on Monday morning.

Soldat returns triumphant on Gulfstream turf

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.

I'll Have Another blitzes six furlongs in 1:10

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.

Willyconker turns the tables to conquer Kilroe

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.

Ron the Greek conquers Big 'Cap

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.

Doubles Partner aces Canadian Turf off layoff

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.

Hansen rebounds with strong Gotham win

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.

Calibrachoa hangs on over Caleb's Posse in Tom Fool

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.

Pants on Fire sizzles in comeback; Dialed In fourth

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 takes Top Flight in return

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.

Scatman, On Fire Baby ready for Oaklawn engagements

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.

Hollywood announces stakes schedule

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.

Hall of Fame nominees announced

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.

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