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.
Martha Washington Stakes winner Amie's Dini showed she's ready for a showdown
in the Grade 3, $125,000 Honeybee Stakes with fellow top filly On Fire Baby with
a quick half-mile breeze Sunday at Oaklawn Park.
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.
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.
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
Anita Handicap before putting in a furious rally down the center of the
track to take the prestigious event by 3 1/2 lengths.
Eden's Moon was an easy winner of Saturday's $250,000
Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita Park, but the talented bay miss had to
survive an objection lodged by runner-up Reneesgotzip's trainer before she could
give owner Kaleem Shah his first Grade 1 victory.
A smart ride and grit at the wire made Team Valor International's State of
Play best by a head in Saturday's $75,000
John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park. The Graham Motion trainee
ran 1 1/16 miles on the Polytrack in 1:46 2/5 to return to the winner's circle
under jockey Victor Lebron.
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.
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
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.
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 broke a three-race streak of seconds on Saturday when making her
return in the Grade 2, $196,000
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.
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
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
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.
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) has announced a $100,000 bonus for any
two-year-old who breaks its maiden at the 2012 Belmont Park spring meet and goes
on to win a graded stakes at Saratoga Race Course, Belmont or Aqueduct Racetrack
Juvenile colt champion Hansen, who suffered his first career defeat
in the Grade 3 Holy Bull on January 29, will attempt to get back on the
winning track in Saturday's Grade 3, $400,000
at Aqueduct. The front-running gray has not scared away the competition,
as he will break from post 12 in a field of 13 going 1 1/16 miles on the
inner dirt. This is the final local prep for the Grade 1 Wood Memorial
on April 7.
NetJets, the world's leading private aviation company, will partner with the New York Racing Association for the second consecutive year on an extensive, multi-tiered presence at Saratoga for the 2009 racing season.
Youbet.com has signed three agreements that will enable its members to watch and wager on racing from South Africa, Sweden, additional tracks in the United Kingdom, and Puerto Rico, providing nearly 24-hour-a-day racing coverage.
Bold Executive, Canada's leading sire, has been named top stallion awards earner under the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (Ontario Division) Stallion Awards Program, with his eligible progeny achieving the highest earnings of all OSS registered stallions in 2008.
TwinSpires.com, the official advance deposit wagering service for Churchill Downs Inc., will provide an inside look at the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship from Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas by providing online video coverage of the event throughout the Jan. 23-24.
Unbeaten 2-year-old champion War Pass, winner of the $2-million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), and Pyro, the runner-up in the Juvenile and winner of the Risen Star Stakes (gr. III), are the early favorites for Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2008 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which opens Mar. 6.
Richard Goodall, a 64-year-old retired attorney from Las Vegas, defeated 276 Thoroughbred racing handicappers by a record margin to capture the ninth Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship at the Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa in Las Vegas Jan. 26.
Thoro-Graph, whose proprietary performance figures have been utilized by professional handicappers and horsemen alike for the past 25 years, has unveiled Thoro-Graph Form Ratings, which are available exclusively at equibase.com
The New York Racing Association has officially announced the release of an Internet wagering application that allows New York fans full access to not only Magna/Churchill racetracks, but also those that have exclusive agreements with TVG.
A temporary ban on the release of race video replays from Magna Entertainment tracks may continue through the end of the week for Post Time Technologies business partners, which include The Blood-Horse and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
Video replays of all graded stakes in North America - starting with the races of Dec. 26, 2006 - will be archived and available free of charge at the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Web site.
Equibase, the North American Thoroughbred industry's official database for racing information, announced Feb. 2 that it has recalibrated the scale of its Equibase Speed Figure, a numerical assessment of the quality of a horse's final time in a North American Thoroughbred race.
HorseRacing TV has entered into a comprehensive agreement with Coast Hotels and Casinos for exclusive broadcast coverage and promotion of the Horse Player World Series from the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas Jan. 19-21.