What is viewed as the strongest "open" racing card in the history of Charles Town Races & Slots will be held June 21, with the centerpiece of the evening a $200,000 invitational at the West Virginia track's signature 4 1/2-furlong distance.
Plate Trial winner Not Bourbon heads a field of 15 Canadian-bred 3-year-olds looking for a victory in the prestigious $1-million Queen's Plate, the oldest continuously run stakes in North America. The 149th Queen's Plate, a 1 1/4-mile event on the Woodbine Polytrack, will be race 9 and is set to go to post at 5:06 p.m. EDT June 22.
Rahy's Attorney, a surprise winner of the Connaught Cup (Can-III) last month, will try to make it back-to-back stakes victories on the Woodbine turf course in the $150,000 Singspiel Stakes (Can-III) June 22. The race marks the return to action of 2007 Queen's Plate victor Mike Fox.
Robert Scarborough's Mauralakana looks to increase her value as a future broodmare even more when she seeks her fourth stakes victory of the season June 21 in the $250,000 New York Handicap (gr. IIT) at Belmont Park.
Jockey Tammi Piermarini will be sidelined indefinitely due to injuries suffered when she was unseated from her mount in the ninth race at Suffolk Downs June 18.
Classy campaigner Yeats secured his place in history by becoming just the second horse to capture three consecutive renewals of the Gold Cup (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot June 19.
There are four stakes races on Colonial Downs' Turf Cup card June 14, but a race earlier in the day will have many closely watching as well.
Trainer Bob Baffert sends out Spaniard, a half-brother to 2007 2-year-old filly champion Indian Blessing, for his first start June 19 in the eighth race at Hollywood Park.
Polonius, front-running winner of the Will Rogers Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Hollywood Park turf last time out, appears to have the speed advantage once again when he faces just four 3-year-old rivals in the $150,000 Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT).
Jockey Jamie Theriot became the seventh rider in Churchill Downs history to ride six winners in a single day. He accomplished the feat June 18 on only seven mounts, an achievement last reached by Pat Day Nov. 15, 1984.
Virginia Kraft Payson's Rutherienne will top a quality field of turf distaffers including Valbenny, Lady Digby,and J'ray, in the $200,000 All Along Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Colonial Downs June 21.
Duke of Marmalade justified his heavy favoritism by powering to an emphatic four length victory in the Prince of Wales's Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot June 18.
Jessica Oldham Stith, the first graduate of Chris McCarron's North American Racing Academy, failed to emulate her parents but got a lot of experience in her first ride as a jockey June 17 at River Downs in Ohio.
The Aidan O'Brien-trained Henrythenavigator won the St. James's Palace Stakes (Eng-I) on opening day of Royal Ascot meeting. Other winners on the day include Haradasun, winner of the Queen Anne (Eng-I), and Equiano, winner of the King's Stand Stakes (Eng-I).
"NTRA Summer Racing" will air on the ESPN networks beginning Saturday, June 28, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced June 17.
Ten colts hope to make it to "first base" June 21 at Colonial Downs with the fourth running of the $600,000 Colonial Turf Cup (gr. IIIT). The 1 1/16-race is the first leg of the $5-million Jacobs Investments Grand Slam of Grass.
Trainer Marty Wolfson pulled off the hat trick on the June 14 "Summit of Speed" preview card at Calder Race Course, winning three of the four $100,000 stakes.
Even-money choice Two Step Salsa passed his first distance test with flying colors in the $107,100 Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park June 15, going all the way on the front end to score a 3 3/4-length win on the Cushion Track.
Following Curlin's dominant win in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) June 14, trainer Steve Asmussen says he's planning to work the reigning Horse of the Year over the Churchill Downs grass course while considering a bid in France's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I).
Charles Town Races & Slots will offer its first "Speed Festival," the centerpiece of which is the $200,000 Charles Town Invitational Dash at the track's popular 4 1/2-furlong distance, on June 21.
First Defence made his initial effort on grass a winning one for trainer Bobby Frankel and became a graded stakes winner in the process, just holding on by a head to capture the $162,966 Jaipur (gr. III) on Belmont Park's yielding course June 15.
Southern Exchange made it back-to-back wins to begin his career when he romped to a 4 3/4-length win in Woodbine's $146,614 Victoria Stakes over four 2-year-olds rivals competing on the Polytrack surface June 15.
Harlem Rocker, decisive winner of the Withers Stakes (gr. III) and fourth in the Plate Trial this season, will not contest the June 22 Queen's Plate (Can-IR) at Woodbine.
On a day in which short-priced winners in graded stakes produced a Pick 6 that paid a scant $48, champion Dreaming of Anna closed out the action at Churchill Downs June 14 with a win in the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. III).
Tizdejavu swept Churchill Downs' spring graded stakes races for 3-year-olds on turf with a convincing gate-to-wire romp June 14 in the $222,600 Jefferson Cup (gr. IIT).
Team Valor Stable's Unbridled Belle successfully opened her 2008 campaign with a convincing victory in the $150,000 Obeah Stakes (gr. III) at Delaware Park June 14.
Reigning Horse of the Year Curlin took the lead entering the stretch and rolled to an impressive 4 1/4-length victory in the $1-million Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
Stronach Stables' Ginger Punch, keen on defending her champion older female title of 2007, made it look easy in the $300,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap with a commanding victory in the Belmont Park fixture June 14.
Jayeff B Stables' Social Queen rallied from last early in an eight-horse field to win the $150,000 Eatontown Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares by neck at Monmouth Park June 14.
Pyro's form of old returned June 14 at Churchill Downs as the son of Pulpit powered to a 1 3/4-length win over five fellow 3-year-olds in the Northern Dancer Stakes (gr. III). The Steve Asmussen-trained colt covered the 1 1/16 miles of the $190,925 race in 1:43.53.
Pure Clan, who was last seen finishing third to Proud Spell and Little Belle May 2 in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), bounced back with an impressive victory June 14 in the Regret Stakes (gr. IIIT) under the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs.
Garrett Gomez was the envy of every jockey June 14 at Churchill Downs. Who wouldn't want to pick up the mount for the first time on a horse that had won eight of her previous 18 starts? Not to mention that she loves the distance and the racetrack.
Jockey Calvin Borel took off his 10 mounts at Churchill Downs on June 14, citing pain in his knee as the cause.
With the heavy money going on the highly touted maiden winner Unbridled's Heart, it was the stakes-placed Mint Lane who took control of the 1 1/16-mile Postponed Stakes at Belmont Friday and cruised to a 5 3/4-length victory.
Gainesway Thoroughbreds' Ocean Colors, a 2-year-old Orientate filly out of 1988 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Winning Colors, made her racing debut one to remember June 13 at Churchill Downs by scoring a front-running 5 1/4-length victory in the fourth race
A well-matched group of turf sprinters will each seek their first graded stakes score June 15 at Belmont Park, as 10 go to post in the $150,000 Jaipur Stakes (gr. IIIT). The six-furlong contest will be held on the inner turf.
When last seen racing under the Twin Spires, Recapturetheglory ran a respectable fifth in the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), earning a $60,000 check in the process.
Bill Mott has taken over the training of Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) winner Adriano and likely will point the son of A.P. Indy for races on the grass, where he's two for four with one second.
Since her tough luck loss in last year's Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I), all Ginger Punch has done is reel off five grade I or II victories and collect the Eclipse Award for top older female. On June 14 the Awesome Again mare will return to Belmont for some unfinished business as the overwhelming favorite in the $300,000 Ogden Phipps.
An easy winner of the Lazaro Barrera Memorial (gr. III) in his last start, Two Step Salsa tries two turns for the first time in the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) for 3-year-olds on the Hollywood Park Cushion Track June 15.
The winner and runner-up from Monmouth Park's May 26 Politely Stakes -- plus the fourth-place finisher -- will meet again at the New Jersey oval June 14, when a field of eight fillies and mares go postward in the $150,000 Eatontown Handicap (gr. IIIT).
Curlin, the 2007 Horse of the Year and 3-5 morning line favorite for the June 14 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I), schooled in the paddock at Churchill Downs following the fifth race June 12. He was accompanied by trainer Steve Asmussen and assistant trainer Scott Blasi.
Coming off a runner-up finish to Bayou's Lassie in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIIT) May 3, Frank Calabrese's Dreaming of Anna heads a field of 11 older fillies and mares in the $150,000 Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs June 14.
Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) runner-up Hystericalady seeks her fifth graded stakes victory and will likely be an odds-on choice to do so, as she faces five challengers in the $300,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) June 14 at Churchill Downs.
Tizdejavu, the 21-1 upset winner of the American Turf (gr. IIIT) last month, seeks a repeat of that big front-running effort in the $200,000 Jefferson Cup Stakes (gr. IIT) June 14 over the same Churchill Downs turf course.
The last time Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro raced at Churchill Downs, he finished a disappointing eighth, 15 lengths behind Big Brown, in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). In the June 14 Northern Dancer Stakes (gr. III), trainer Steve Asmussen looks for a much-improved effort.
A Pick 6 Carryover of $1,186,625 from Belmont Stakes (gr. I) day at Belmont Park attracted another $3,217,655 June 11, creating a non-Breeders' Cup New York record Pick 6 pool of $4,404,280. And, when favored Ten Forty came home in the ninth race, 29 winning tickets were worth $103,754 each. None were sold on track.
Last year, Unbridled Belle was coming off a nine-month layoff when she began her 4-year-old campaign and finished second in the Obeah Stakes (gr. III). The connections for the Broken Vow mare, off since finishing fifth in the Oct. 27 Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I), have chosen the same starting point again in 2008, as she will make her 5-year-old debut in the June 14 Obeah at Delaware Park.
Pure Clan, third in last month's Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) for trainer Bob Holthus, returns to the grass in the $200,000 Regret Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs June 14.
For Steve Asmussen, the perfect scenario in the June 14 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) goes something like this: clean break, good position, powerful move, and a romp home under wraps from Curlin, the 2007 Horse of the Year. But whether the trainer will get that result in the 1 1/8-mile test at Churchill Downs is another question.
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