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.
The 34th running of the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park has drawn 130 nominations. The race, run at 1 1/8 miles as an early prep for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), is March 26.
Meteor Storm, winner of last year's Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park but on the sidelines for the past eight months, could return for trainer Wally Dollase in Saturday's Frank E. Kilroe Mile (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park.
Trainer Nick Zito, always a threat along the Triple Crown trail, was sitting comfortably Sunday after two of his 3-year-olds posted wins Saturday and a third, High Fly, cruised through his workout and into the picture for the $300,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) on March 5.
Champion Declan's Moon, getting ready to start in the Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita March 5, worked seven furlongs in 1:25 3/5 Saturday at Hollywood Park. Trainer Ron Ellis also breezed Don't Get Mad, while across town, Spanish Chestnut and Scipion drilled for Patrick Biancone.
Champion Sweet Catomine, gearing up for her next appearance in the March 13 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I), worked five furlongs in :59 2/5 over Santa Anita's fast main track Saturday morning.
Mr.& Mrs. William Warren's Saint Liam worked six furlongs handily in 1:12 at the Palm Meadows training center Saturday morning in preparation for his engagement in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 5.
On the sidelines for nearly seven months, the Bob Baffert-trained grade II winner Victory U.S.A. returns to action Sunday as the likely favorite in the $100,00 Las Flores Handicap (gr. III) at Santa Anita.
Undefeated Cajun Pepper will make his 3-year-old debut by leading a dozen sophomores to the gate for Sunday's $100,000 Borderland Derby, going 1 1/16 miles at Sunland Park. The Borderland Derby is the final local prep for the April 2, $500,000 WinStar Sunland Park Derby.
Mr. and Mrs. Martin Wygod's Sweet Catomine, last year's juvenile filly champ, has been nominated to the March 5 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II), and could run in the nine-furlong race at Florida's Gulfstream Park if the bad weather in Southern California hampers her training, trainer Julio Canani said Friday.
Fox Hill Farm's undefeated Rockport Harbor served notice that he is fully recovered from the foot bruise suffered last week by working seven furlongs at Oaklawn Park Friday in 1:27 2/5 over a fast track as he progresses toward his 3-year-old debut in the March 19 Rebel Stakes (gr. III).
Robert Bone's Choctaw Nation, who has not started since suffering his only career loss in the Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar six months ago, has been entered in Saturday's $150,000 San Carlos Handicap (gr. II) over seven furlongs at Santa Anita.
Wannawinemall, a four-length winner of a maiden special weight event Feb. 17 at Santa Anita, should make his next start in graded stakes company, according to trainer Kristin Mulhall, who said the long-term goal for the son of Royal Anthem is the Triple Crown trail.
The Ogden Mills Phipps-homebred filly Daydreaming will be making her first start of the year when she leads a field of six fillies and mares, including the top three finishers in Banshee Breeze Handicap, in Saturday's $100,000 Sabin Handicap (gr. III) going 1 1/8 miles over the main track at Gulfstream Park.
A group of 12 3-year-olds has passed the entry box in Saturday's $100,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, a prelude to that track's signature Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) March 19. Trainer Nick Zito sends out two of the top entries in Andromeda's Hero and G P's Black Knight.
Janice and Robert McNair's Stonerside Stable has purchased a controlling interest in the 3-year-old filly Sis City from the partnership of Sanford Goldfarb, New York Yankees' manager Joe Torre, Michael Dubb, and Ira Davis.
Tracy Farmer's Sun King, third in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and Champagne Stakes (gr. I), will make his 3-year-old debut in a one-mile allowance race at Gulfstream Park Feb. 26.
Sweet Catomine, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and the champion 2-year-old filly of 2004, heads a list of 144 3-year-old fillies nominated to the 131st running of the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on May 6.
Turf-Vivor IV, the 2005 edition of Gulfstream's handicapping contest, begins Friday and concludes Sunday.
Donn Handicap (gr. I) winner St. Liam has joined the probable field for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) March 5, according to racing secretary Rick Hammerle.
Alaskas Great Eagle Stable's stakes-placed So Long Birdie, a half-brother to Birdstone and Bird Town, suffered a condylar fracture of the left ankle while winning a starter allowance race in the mud at Bay Meadows Feb. 20.
You could say that So Long Birdie has some awfully big wings to fill. Last year, his half-brother, Birdstone, won the grade I Belmont and Travers, and the year before, his half-sister, Bird Town, captured the grade I Kentucky Oaks and Acorn on her way to an Eclipse Award.
Philip and Marcia Cohen's Closing Argument, winner of the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) Feb. 5, "worked great" at Palm Meadows Monday morning, according to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, speaking shortly after the half-mile move.
Grade III winner Straight Line turned in a strong workout Monday as trainer Harvey Vanier prepares him for the seven-furlong Swale Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park March 5.
Rockport Harbor, unbeaten in four starts and the future book favorite for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), is being treated for a bruised left front foot, leaving his planned start in the $250,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. III) March 19 on hold.
Juddmonte Farms' Intercontinental, winner of the Nov. 28 Matriarch (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park in her last start of 2004, is scheduled to make her 2005 debut for trainer Bobby Fankel in Monday's $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita.
B.B. Best, most recently fourth in Gulfstream Park's $250,000 Sunshine Millions Ocala Stud Dash Jan. 29, worked one mile handily in 1:44 4/5 at Calder Race Course Friday and is being pointed for the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream March 5.
The second annual AmericaTab "Road to the Derby" handicapping contest is set to begin Saturday with the running of the $100,000 Southwest Stakes from Oaklawn Park.
Speedy Don Six, a 5-year-old that trainer Scott Lake feels is good enough to win the 2005 Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), takes an important step in Monday's $200,000 General George Handicap (gr. II) at seven furlongs at Laurel Park.
Shadow Cast chases her third consecutive stakes victory when she lines up against seven fillies and mares over the Stall-Wilson turf course in Saturday's $125,000 Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Fair Grounds.
Sharon Fitzpatrick's millionaire Continental Red faces seven other turf marathoners as the 9-year-old gelding seeks to regain his winning form in Saturday's San Luis Obispo Handicap (gr. IIT) at 1 1/2 miles over Santa Anita's grass.
Trying to piggyback on the phenomenal success of televised poker, the racing industry has high hopes for ESPN's one-hour program covering the National Handicapping Championship, which will air Sunday, Feb. 20, at 5 p.m. ET.
Mike Pegram's grade II winner Preachinatthebar is back in full training, trainer Bob Baffert said, and the son of Silver Charm may start before the end of the current Santa Anita meeting.
The Feb. 19 Shirley Jones Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park should be one for the record books when a pair of heavy hitting 4-year-old fillies – Madcap Escapade and Society Selection-- clash for the first time in the seven-furlong race.
Hard to believe that it's been precisely a year since Smarty Jones scored a hard-fought victory in the $100,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
A majority interest in Sort it Out, winner of the Whirlaway Stakes, has been sold to Robert and Janice McNair's Stonerside Stable, who have turned the New York-bred over to trainer Bob Baffert. The colt's previous owner, Preferred Pals Stable, has retained a minority interest.
Bear Fan has been installed as the even-money morning-line favorite by Laurel Park handicapper Frank Carulli as the 6-year-old daughter of Pine Bluff attempts to defend her title in Saturday's $200,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap (gr. II).
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