If Bob Baffert has his way and the weather cooperates, Roman Ruler's long-awaited 3-year-old debut will take place Saturday in the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) at 1 1/16 miles.
Just when it looked as if Rockport Harbor's luck had run out and he'd be unable to make the March 19 Rebel Stakes (gr. III), trainer John Servis, while still cautious, said the foot looked much better Sunday.
With wagering beginning today on the second of three pools in the 2005 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, Steve Haskin, senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse, analyzes the 23 individual horses and mutuel field and their respective morning-line odds.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Purge makes his first start at Oaklawn Park since his fifth-place finish in last spring's Arkansas Derby (gr. II) when he faces nine rivals in the $125,000 Razorback Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) Sunday.
Champion Sweet Catomine could use the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) as a springboard against males when she faces six overmatched rivals in the 1 1/16-mile race Sunday at Santa Anita Park.
River Belle ended 2004 on a high note by winning the hard fought Ms. Revere Stakes (gr. IIT). Now the 4-year-old filly is looking to start her 2005 campaign with the same winning magic in Sunday's $100,000 Honey Fox Handicap (gr. IIIT), going 1 1/16 miles over the turf course at Gulfstream Park.
A few new changes will highlight the 2005 Ellis Park meeting, which begins July 13 and concludes with a special Labor Day program Sept. 5. The track will feature ten events with $850,000 in total purses and add a special day of racing with four stakes races highlighted by the 24th running of the track's signature event, the $150,000-added Gardenia Handicap (gr. III).
Donn Handicap (gr. I) runner-up Roses in May blasted his way through his final workout in Florida Friday morning before a long flight to the Middle East for the March 26, $6 million Dubai World Cup.
Declan's Moon, champion 2-year-old and early favorite for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), has been taken off the Derby trail after X-rays disclosed a small chip fracture in his left knee, trainer Ron Ellis said Friday morning.
California Breeders' Championship Stakes winner Uncle Denny is the morning line choice in a contentious field of ten 3-year-olds included for the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) at Bay Meadows Saturday.
Bobby Frankel, who has won nearly every major stakes race during a Hall of Fame career of nearly 40 years, seeks to add the Santa Margarita Handicap (gr. I) to his impressive resume, sending out Personal Legend and Sweet Lips in Saturday's $300,000 race.
Shake You Down, who boasts six career stakes wins, hopes to add to his $1.3 million in earnings as he takes on five rivals in Saturday's Toboggan Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct.
When the Todd Pletcher-trained Lion Tamer takes the gate for Saturday's $200,000 Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Sprint Championship Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park he will be doing more than making the first start of his 5-year-old season. He will be looking to duplicate his 1 3/4-length win in the 2004 edition of the seven-furlong sprint.
California shipper Fencelineneighbor moves into Hot Springs to challenge five other older fillies and mares in the $175,000 Azeri Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III). Formerly known as the Oaklawn Breeders' Cup Handicap, the traditional prep for the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) was renamed this year for the three-time winner of the Apple Blossom, thrice an Eclipse champion older mare, and 2002 Horse of the Year.
Sweet Catomine, last year's champion 2-year-old filly, tops the list of 68 fillies nominated tor Keeneland's $500,000, Ashland Stakes (gr. I). The race will be run at 1 1/16 miles April 9, nearly a month before the Kentucky Oaks.
Declan's Moon, champion 2-year-old colt last year, and Wilko, winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), are among the 126 nominations for Keeneland's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Leading trainer Doug O'Neill plans to double team champion filly Sweet Catomine in Sunday's Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I).
For Virginia Kraft Payson's Scipion, the long stretch at Fair Grounds beckons once again, as the Patrick Biancone-trained colt returns to New Orleans for the $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) Saturday in an attempt to duplicate his stirring victory in the Feb. 12 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III).
A talented group of nine older horses--including seven graded stakes winners--will battle in Saturday's New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) at Fair Grounds with $500,000 on the line. Highweight Pollard's Vision and second-highweighted Badge of Silver will have to contend with Arthur Hancock's Wanderin Boy.
Graded stakes winner Runway Model will make her seasonal debut Saturday when she breaks from post six in the $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II), going 1 1/16 miles at the New Orleans oval.
Anchored by two major prep races for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), a National Pick 4 wager will be offered on Saturday, April 16 by Oaklawn Park and Keeneland, in conjunction with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
Trainer Dallas Stewart is set to unwind Clock Stopper on South Florida when the speedy son of Gilded Time takes the gate for Saturday's Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II), going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park.
The second of three pools in the 2005 Kentucky Derby Future Wager will open four days of betting with co-favorites in unbeaten juvenile champion Declan's Moon and the mutuel field, the wagering interest that includes all 3-year-olds other than the 23 individual horses in the March 10-13 pool.
Sweet Catomine, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2004 and winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), has been installed as a solid 4-1 favorite in the second of three pools in Churchill Downs' 2005 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, which begins its March 10-13 run on Thursday (March 10).
Dogwood Stables' Limehouse has been pointed toward the March 12 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II), going 1 1/8 miles at Fair Grounds, where he will face a host of talented older runners, including Badge of Silver, Pollard's Vision, and Wanderin Boy.
A pair of top 3-year-old fillies will clash when Summerly and Runway Model hook up in the March 12 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II), going 1 1/16 miles at the New Orleans oval. Runway Model will be making her 3-year-old debut, while Summerly has two wins to her credit this season.
Beverly Green's Dearest Mon, a promising 3-year-old son of Maria's Mon, was a late scratch out of Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) because of his outside post.
Thanks to High Fly's victory in the $300,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) and Noble Causeway's stylish win in a $33,000 allowance, trainer Nick Zito is building a stockpile of Kentucky Derby contenders and crystallized his hold on favorite status for the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) April 2.
Often close but still winless in her last 13 starts, trainer Tim Hills is hoping that Sunday's $100,000 The Very One Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares on the turf provides the key that allows Vous to reach the winner's circle at Gulfstream Park.
Prince Arch embarks on what could be a huge year, believes trainer Kenny McPeek, in Sunday's $250,000 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) at 1 3/8 miles on the turf.
Last year's juvenile champion Declan's Moon makes his long-awaited 2005 debut in Saturday's $200,000 Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park.
Ogden Mills Phipps' Defer will face a two-turn test against a field of 10 other sophomores entered in Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, the final major prep for the $ 1-million Florida Derby (gr. I) April 2.
Chandtrue, unbeaten in four starts at Hollywood Park at 2, gets his sophomore campaign started on the turf in Saturday's $100,000 Baldwin Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Santa Anita.
Undefeated Maddalena, a 7 1/4-length winner for trainer Todd Pletcher in her stakes debut a month ago, stands out in a field of seven entered for the Stonerside Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Maryland invader Malibu Moonshine will carry top weight of 121 pounds in Saturday's John Battaglia Memorial Stakes for 3-year-olds at Turfway Park as he faces eight others while going for his third consecutive stakes win.
In the Gold and Jill Robin L. won't have Sis City to chase again, but they might have another worry in Saturday's Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park.
Sullivan Lane Stable and Vincent Scuderi's highweighted Classic Endeavor will carry Eclipse Award-winning rider John Velazquez and an impost of 118 pounds against a well-matched and familiar group of older horses in Saturday's Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II). The strong card features the prestigious Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) and Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. III) for the 3-year-old set.
A trip down the Triple Crown Trail could be on the line when Northern California-based Lost in the Fog leads a field of 11 runners to the gate for the March 5 Swale Stakes (gr. II), going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park.
Cash is King Stable's Afleet Alex will make his 3-year-old debut in the Saturday's Mountain Valley Stakes, going six furlongs at Oaklawn Park.
Alex Solis, who lost major mounts while sidelined for 6 ½ months after a spill at Del Mar July 23, will replace the injured David Flores aboard Singletary in Saturday's $300,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (gr. IT) on the Santa Anita turf.
An old-fashioned East vs. West match-up between Saint Liam and Rock Hard Ten looms in Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I).
A pair of Bobby Frankel-trained grass specialists, Burning Sun and Gigli, third and eighth respectively in Gulfstream's Mac Diarmida Handicap (gr. IIIT) Jan.30, are likely to face each other once again in Sunday's Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT), going 1 3/8 miles.
Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, owned by Stronach Stables and conditioned by Bobby Frankel, worked five furlongs handily in 1:01.80 at Palm Meadows Wednesday.
Rock Hard Ten and Congrats, two contenders for Saturday's Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) trained by Richard Mandella, worked at Santa Anita Tuesday.
Nick Zito is licking his chops after last weekend's impressive victories by Sun King and Andromeda's Hero. Now, he tries to put the finishing touches on his four-horse feast when he saddles High Fly in the Fountain of Youth (gr. II) and Noble Causeway in an allowance race. All indications are that Zito will be flying high once again.
Dearest Mon, the highly regarded sophomore owned by Beverly Green and trained by Rick Violette Jr., worked four furlongs handily at Palm Meadows Feb. 28 in :48.60 in preparation for Saturday's $300,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes, one of five grade II events on tap for the Spectacular Saturday III program at Gulfstream Park.
Trainer Ralph Ziadie vanned the promising Port Town from his Calder Race Course base to Gulfstream Park for a Feb. 28 morning workout with an eye on a 3-year-old debut in the $150,000 Swale Stakes (gr. II) Saturday.
Multiple grade II winner Roman Ruler, now targeted for the March 19 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, worked six furlongs in a bullet 1:12 2/5 from the gate under jockey Gary Stevens over Santa Anita's fast main track Sunday morning.
Two talented Bay Area 3-year-olds, Lost In The Fog and Stellar Magic, had workouts Sunday morning in preparation for their next major assignments.
Frank Evans, a professional poker player and veteran of numerous handicapping contests, is the 2005 winner of Turf-Vivor IV, Gulfstream Park's prognosticating challenge that annually attracts the best horseplayers in North America.
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