Doug O'Neill looking on, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner
I'll Have Another had another routine morning at Belmont Park, jogging four
furlongs and galloping seven furlongs over a wet main track under exercise rider
Humberto Gomez as he continued preparations for the $1 million Belmont Stakes on
Following a seven-furlong work in 1:28 1/5 over a fast track at Calder Sunday
morning, trainer Manny Azpurua confirmed that Korina Stable's Ravelo's Boy will
make his next start in the Belmont Stakes on June 9.
One day after Power rebounded in the Group 1 Irish Two Thousand Guineas,
another smart two-year-old of 2011, Samitar, regained her top form in Sunday's
Group 1 Irish One Thousand Guineas for fillies. Unlike that Aidan O'Brien colt,
however, Samitar's success came as a bigger surprise. Dispatched at 12-1 on the
heels of two unplaced efforts this season, the daughter of Rock of Gibraltar
cruised past 11-8 favorite Homecoming Queen to hand trainer Mick Channon and
young jockey Martin Harley their first-ever classic wins.
Dede McGehee's St. John's River, runner-up to Juanita in the Grade 2 La
Troienne on Kentucky Oaks Day, breezed five furlongs at Churchill Downs in 1:01
for trainer Andy Leggio Jr. in preparation for the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Stakes
on June 16. The 37th running of the Fleur de Lis, sending distaffers 1 1/8 miles
on the main track at Churchill Downs, will be run on the Stephen Foster Handicap
In his first California start for new trainer Jeff Mullins, Wilkinson scored
a 44-1 upset in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000
Handicap at Hollywood Park. The four-year-old colt stalked a couple of
lengths off the early leaders, advanced to challenge on the far turn and then
surged to a clear lead in midstretch. Mr. Commons, the overwhelming 3-5
favorite, came charging late from far off the pace in the final furlongs to grab
second while never seriously threatening the winner, who cruised to a
comfortable 1 1/4-length decision under the wire.
The unforgettable rivalry between 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed and
archrival Alydar came alive again at Belmont Park on Saturday afternoon as
hundreds of fans lined up for a special autograph session with Hall of Fame
jockeys Steve Cauthen and
Much like his recent wins in the Grade 3 Transylvania and Grade 2 American
Turf, Mark Bacon and Dana Wells' Silver Max proved too difficult to beat on the
front end in Saturday's $125,000
Arlington Classic, the first leg of Arlington
Park's Mid-America Triple for three-year-olds on the turf.
Stone Farm, John H. Adger, Oakcrest Farm and trainer Michael Stidham's
Upperline was content to stalk the early pace set by Hooh Why in Saturday's
Grade 3, $150,000
Arlington Matron over the Polytrack at Arlington Park, but asserted her
authority in the lane to take over and draw off for a four-length win. Jockey
James Graham had piloting duties aboard the Maria's Mon mare, and the duo
completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:51 3/5 to return $5.80, $3.80 and $2.60.
Mowed down after taking a lead in his prior two starts, the seven-year-old
Simmard hit the front three furlongs from home in Saturday's Grade 3, $115,200
Louisville Handicap on the Churchill Downs turf, but did not relinquish control
this time. Under Gabriel Saez, the veteran held off a late charge from Joinem to
win by 1 1/4 lengths in a time of 2:27, the fastest edition of the Louisville
Handicap since the race was extended to 1 1/2 miles in 2007.
Flaxman Holdings' homebred Aruna made an impressive move on the
far turn en route to victory in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000
Sheepshead Bay Stakes, but the Belmont Park race will be better remembered for a wild
start that derailed the chances of two horses.
Peruvian invader Al Qasr captured the Group 1 Gran Premio 25 de Mayo while
making his turf debut on Friday evening by two lengths over Bogeyman at
San Isidro Racetrack in Argentina.
The New York Racing Association (NYRA), for the first time ever, is making $10 grandstand general admission tickets to the Belmont Stakes
available through Ticketmaster.
Dullahan turned in one last workout on Saturday at his Churchill Downs home
base prior to his departure for the Belmont Stakes in New York, traveling one
mile over the fast main track in 1:43 with Tammy Fox aboard.
Trainer Gary Hartlage knew On Fire Baby was special from the moment last
spring when she walked off the van into his Churchill Downs barn. The gray
daughter of Smoke Glacken validated that early opinion later in the year with
wins in the Pocahontas and Golden Rod, both Grade 2s, at Churchill Downs and a
victory this spring in the Grade 3 Honeybee at Oaklawn Park.
Under bright and sunny skies, Triple Crown hopeful
I'll Have Another had a second energetic gallop over Belmont Park's main
track Saturday morning as he continues preparations for the June 9 Belmont
She may not have been an obvious leading lady a few weeks ago, but Homecoming
Queen put herself firmly in the spotlight with a sensational victory at
Newmarket in the Group 1 English One Thousand Guineas and is poised to complete
the double in Sunday's Group 1 Irish One Thousand Guineas at The Curragh.
Rapid Redux, the extraordinary racehorse who holds the modern North American
record of 22 consecutive wins, will be permanently pensioned at
Old Friends, the
Thoroughbred Retirement Center near Georgetown, Kentucky.
The Mahmood al Zarooni-trained Kailani was supplemented to the Group 1 Oaks
at a cost of £20,000, making 14 three-year-old fillies still eligible to contest
Friday's classic at Epsom Downs. Kailani is out of the 2002 Oaks heroine Kazzia
and like her dam is owned by Godolphin, which has also enjoyed Oaks success with
Balanchine (1994) and Moonshell (1995).
Up-and-coming turf distaffers Quiet Oasis and Capital Plan will clash in
pursuit of Grade 1 laurels in Monday's $250,000
Stakes at Hollywood Park. The Memorial Day card also features the return of
Grade 1 veteran Rail Trip, who meets a field of sprint specialists in his
tightener, the $100,000
Jim Bolger has one omission from his list of big-race successes and will be
hoping that Parish Hall can put it right by providing a belated first victory in
Saturday's Group 1 Irish Two Thousand Guineas at The Curragh. New Approach
appeared poised to bring the trophy home to Coolcullen four years ago only to be
denied by Henrythenavigator, while Parish Hall's sire, Teofilo, would have been
a leading player had he the chance to flaunt his wares at three.
Only six were entered for Monday's Memorial Day feature of the Grade 1,
Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park, but the short field is comprised of
some of the best older runners currently in training.
Effective Monday, Churchill Downs Racetrack will raise overnight race purses
10 percent because of higher than expected all-sources wagering levels during
Kentucky Derby Week.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced Friday that the
the 14th annual Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship
(NHC) will again be contested over a two-day period and consist of 15 race
selections each day -- eight from mandatory races and seven from races of the
player's choosing among available contest tracks.
It was the first gallop over Belmont's 1 1/2-mile track for I'll Have
Another, who jogged the previous two days after arriving in New York Sunday. The
Flower Alley colt, who is bidding to become the first Triple Crown winner in 34
years, was accompanied by his stable pony, Lava Man, as he made his way to the
track shortly after the renovation break.
The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) met in closed session Thursday to
consider the recommended decision of the Hearing Officer in the case involving
Doug O'Neill, the trainer of Argenta, a filly that finished eighth in the 6TH
race at Del Mar on August 25, 2010.
Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes hero I'll Have Another, who on June 9
will attempt to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner in the $1 million
Belmont Stakes, had a second tour of Belmont Park's main track Thursday morning,
jogging 1 1/2 miles in company with a pony.
Aidan O'Brien wasn't on hand for Thursday's Breakfast with the Stars at
Epsom, but Ireland's champion trainer was interviewed over the phone by Clare
Breakfast with the Stars, hosted by Clare Balding and Nick Luck, took place
early Thursday morning at Epsom Downs Racecourse, eight days ahead of the start
of the Derby Festival.
John Gosden, who won the Group 1 Derby with Benny the Dip (1997), worked
three horses during Thursday morning's Breakfast with the Stars at Epsom. Last
year's Group 1 St Leger winner Masked Marvel (William Buick) goes for the Group
1 Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup June 2, while Joviality (Robert Havlin) targets
the Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes on the Derby Festival's opening day, June
1. There was also a lead horse, partnered by Saleem Golam. Masked Marvel
finished ahead of the lead horse with Joviality in third after none was pushed
A Paddock Concert Series performance by The Black Lillies on Friday evening
kicks off a festive four-day holiday weekend at Churchill Downs that includes a
special Memorial Day racing program on Monday, infield fun
Saturday-through-Monday with the first Bluegrass Art Experience, and another
"Family Fun" Sunday Presented by Kroger.
Korina Stable's Ravelo's Boy sizzled a half-mile in :46 3/5 over a wet-fast
track at Calder Thursday morning as the son of Lawyer Ron continues preparations
for his next start, which could come in the Belmont Stakes on June 9.
While Grade 1 winner Dullahan has never competed at Belmont Park and has yet
to win on dirt, trainer Dale Romans believes the colt will deliver a top
performance in the Belmont Stakes on June 9. If, in the process, the Even the
Score colt manages to spoil I'll Have Another's Triple Crown bid, Romans won't
feel any remorse.
Triple Crown hopeful I'll Have Another returned to the track for the first
time since Saturday's Preakness Stakes victory, jogging around Belmont Park's 1
1/2-mile oval Wednesday morning shortly after the renovation break with exercise
rider Hector Ramos aboard.
After producing convincing wins this winter in the Grade 2 Arcadia and Grade
2 Sir Beaufort, Mr. Commons was upset at odds-on in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe
Mile on March 3, finishing second by a neck. The John Shirreffs-trained colt
will look to rebound when he squares off against 10 rivals in Saturday's Grade
American Handicap at Hollywood Park.
A dull last of six in her season debut in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley last month,
the five-year-old Aruna will attempt to rebound Saturday in the Grade 2,
Sheepshead Bay at Belmont Park. The 1 3/8-mile test is scheduled for
the grass, but the threat of persistent rain through the weekend has enticed
four main-track-only entrants into the field in addition to the 10 fillies and
mares in the main body of the race.
The Maryland Jockey Club concluded its spring meeting at Pimlico last
weekend, posting average wagering figures which were 9 percent higher than the
2011 spring meet. The average daily handle went from $4.72 million to $5.17
million. The stand featured 29 live racing dates and 21 simulcast days.
John Velazquez will replace Julien Leparoux aboard Union Rags as he seeks to end I'll Have Another's bid for the Triple Crown in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr .I).
Triple Crown hopeful I'll Have Another was a "very happy horse" Tuesday
morning as he continued to settle nicely into his new digs at Belmont Park,
where on June 9 he will attempt to become the 12th horse to add the Grade 1, $1
million Belmont Stakes to victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Assembly
Speaker Sheldon Silver, and the New York Racing Association (NYRA) on Tuesday
announced an agreement to establish the NYRA Reorganization Board that will
place NYRA under temporary public control in order to reform the association and
transform oversight and management of horse racing in New York State.
Triple Crown hopeful I'll Have Another was reported to be doing well the
morning after he arrived at Belmont Park by van and will soon begin training on
the Belmont main track, according to Jack Sisterson, assistant to trainer Doug
Aidan O'Brien is going all out for an eighth win in Saturday's Group 1 Irish
Two Thousand Guineas at the Curragh. The master of Ballydoyle, who has collected
the one-mile classic with the likes of Rock Of Gibraltar (2002),
Henrythenavigator (2008) and last year with Roderic O'Connor, is responsible for
seven of the 15 confirmations.
Mercedes Stables went to $575,000 to purchase a Scat Daddy colt, headlining
Monday's opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training
Sale at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. Consigned by Kings Equine,
agent, Hip No. 39 hails from the immediate family of juvenile Grade 1 winner and
$811,760-earner J P's Gusto (Successful Appeal).
British Horseracing Authority Handicapper Dominic Gardiner-Hill confirmed
Frankel at a new rating of 138 Monday morning, two pounds higher than last
year's mark of 136, following his brilliant, five-length victory over
Excelebration in Saturday's Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
On Sunday, champion Royal Delta turned in her second breeze following her
ninth-place finish in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup in March, with NYRA clockers
catching her covering four furlongs in a bullet :47 2/5, best of 57 moves at the
distance on Belmont's fast main track.
Mario Gutierrez's fairytale journey that has carried him to within one
victory of the Triple Crown almost never happened. The 25-year-old native of
Veracruz, Mexico, who rode regularly at Hastings Park from 2006 to 2011, was so
homesick for Vancouver, British Columbia, that he nearly left California despite
having just won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby aboard I'll Have Another.
On Saturday morning at Belmont Park, Godolphin Racing's Alpha turned in his
first timed workout since a 12th-place finish in the May 5 Kentucky Derby. The
son of Bernardini, a two-time stakes winner at Aqueduct this winter, covered
four furlongs over the main track in :49.