New faces and capital improvements will be evident at Delaware Park when the Stanton racetrack kicks off its 140-day meet April 7. Lured by $38.5 million in stakes and overnight purses for a daily average of $260,000, trainer D. Wayne Lukas will send 40 horses to Delaware Park for the first time, while Northern California trainers Lonnie Arteburn and Brent Sumja will also make their first trip. Each trainer will be represented by 30 horses.
Captain Steve, on the strength of his win in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), surpassed Tiznow in the latest NTRA National Thoroughbred poll released Tuesday afternoon.
A group of Camden, S.C., residents have secured pledges worth more than $1 million in the hope of purchasing the Camden Training Center from William S. Farish, who notified key members of the community last November of his intent to sell the 385-acre facility.
Richard, Bertram, and Elaine Klein's Stay Sound, a popular Kentucky-based stakes horse who won the grade III Hawthorne Derby in 1998, has been retired and eventually will have a new home as a stallion.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has banned horses from entering the state if they come directly or indirectly from countries where outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease have occurred.
For the first time since its inception in Maryland in 1990, the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash will be run this year in the fall instead of the summer. The $300,000 race, one of only two grade I six-furlong events in the country, will headline a "fall festival day" of a half-dozen stakes Nov. 17 at Laurel Park, said Lou Raffetto Jr., chief operating officer of the Maryland Jockey Club.
Mark Johnston, a leading rider in Maryland for more than a decade, will begin riding at Delaware Park when the track opens April 7. For the first time since late 1989, Johnston will be based somewhere other than
John's Call, the venerable gelding who won two grade I turf stakes last year at age 9, will race again at 10, trainer Tom Voss said. A chestnut gelding by Lord at War, John's Call has won 15 of 36 career starts for earnings of $1,534,207.
A slight decline in on-track wagering was offset by simulcast business as overall handle increased for the seventh straight year during the 88-day Fair Grounds meet that concluded Monday. The New Orleans track reported a total of $430.2 million, or an average of $4.89 million per day, was wagered on Fair Grounds races, a 1.3 percent increase over the $424.9 million wagered last season.
Steve Haskin, the award-winning turf writer and senior correspondent for The Blood-Horse, updates his top Kentucky Derby contenders weekly. During his 29 years with the Daily Racing Form, Haskin became known for his insightful coverage of the Triple Crown races. Haskin won the Red Smith Award for Kentucky Derby writing in 1997, 1999, and 2000.and received the David Woods Award for best Preakness story in 1997. In 1999, he co-authored "Baffert: Dirt Road to the Derby" with trainer Bob Baffert and wrote the book, "Dr. Fager" for Eclipse Press' "Thoroughbred Legends" series in 2000.
A monster runaway victory in Kentucky, a track record in Florida, a stirring two-horse battle in the deserts of Dubai, and a four-horse blanket finish in Arkansas. After Saturday's fast and furious action on the Derby trail, racing fans all over the country will be craving a fix during next weekend's lull before the major stakes frenzies of Apr. 7 and 14.
Big money. Big money. Six-hundred thousand dead presidents were on the line in the nine-furlong Explosive Bid Handicap (gr. IIT) on March 25 and there were plenty of takers. Top grass horses from each corner of the map swarmed into Fair Grounds like moths attracted to a porch light. Five invaders came from the East Coast and six shipped in from California. The biggest name on the marquee was Centennial Farms' King Cugat, a multiple graded stakes winner, who was making his 4-year-old debut. However, trainer Niall O'Callaghan came to bury Caesar, not to praise him, and he did it with Gary Tanaka's Tijiyr. The Irish-bred, under Robby Albarado, put in a determined finish to cap off a ground-saving trip and seal the upset ($21.40) victory.
Xtra Heat beat Erin Moor by 1 3/4 lengths in Sunday's Aqueduct feature, the $103,100 Cicada Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies. Xtra Heat, carrying 122 pounds and jockey Rick Wilson, won for the 11th time in 12 career starts.
Crafty Shaw charged along the rail in deep stretch Saturday at Oaklawn Park to win the $100,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. III) by three-quarter lengths. Arctic Boy finished second, a half-length in front of Strike It Smart. It was a neck farther back to 3-2 favorite Son of Rocket.
Sent off at odds of 1-20, Nick Zito trainee Albert the Great drew off in the final furlong to win Saturday's $200,000 Widener Handicap (gr. III) by 5 3/4 lengths at Hialeah Park, breaking the track record for 1 1/8 miles in the process. Albert the Great took over on the second turn and kicked clear in the stretch, running the final furlong in a quick :11.51. He completed the distance in 1:45.52 on a fast track. Earlier on the card, Zito-trained A P Valentine set a course record for 1 1/16 miles.
George Steinbrenner has transcended the role of sports franchise owner. Through all the salary disputes, manager firings, front-page headlines, and, of course, the dynasties and World Series championships, Steinbrenner has become a living, breathing part of the "Big Apple" as owner of the New York Yankees. But when it comes to his involvement in the Sport of Kings, he still is powerless in his attempt to ascend the throne. Here, he has no visions of grandeur, just an admiration for athletes who still compete for the love of the game. To New York racing fans, "The Boss" is merely George, and the track is where he escapes to mingle with these athletes, who demand nothing in return for their heroic deeds. That is why you'll see Steinbrenner at The Big A on a cold, windy March afternoon beaming over his prized four-legged athlete Dream Supreme.
Ol Memorial Stable and Michael Tabor's A P Valentine closed from eight lengths back after a half-mile run in :45.79 to earn a 3 3/4-length win in an optional claiming race for 3-year-olds and upwards Saturday at Hialeah Park. Ridden by Eibar Coa, the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) winner completed the 1 1/16 miles in track-record time of 1:40.39.
In the days, hours, and even minutes leading up to the March 24 Spiral Stakes (gr. II), there wasn't a clear-cut favorite -- much less a star -- among the nine 3-year-olds going to the starting gate. Six of the nine starters were between 3-1 and 6-1 in the wagering. But all that changed at 4:42 p.m. EST as a star did emerge coming down Turfway Park's stretch. His name: Balto Star. And the strapping dark bay gelding, in an effortless performance, ran off from his foes to a surprising 12 3/4-length romp in the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prep.
The older geldings Jim and Tonic and Fairy King Prawn ran by the great New Zealand mare Sunline and fought to the finish in the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-II) on the World Cup card at Nad al Sheba racecourse. At the end, it was Jim and Tonic on top as the 7-year-old French-bred posted his 11th victory in his 30th career start. Previous to the Duty Free, the gelding trained by Francois Doumen was third in the Hong Kong Cup (HK-I) in Decembe
Captain Steve's owner, Mike Pegram, stood 10 yards away as trainer Bob Baffert issued instructions to Jerry Bailey in the Nad al Sheba walking ring prior to the sixth Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) on the evening of March 24. "I let them go to it," he said. "Those guys will be in the Hall of Fame one day (Bailey already is) and I'll be standing outside on the sidewalk. They know what they're doing." Asked the significance of running in his first $6-million race, the world's richest, Pegram reflected for a minute: "I never thought I'd be running for $6 million in my entire career. That's a lot of $10,000 claimers."
American jockey David Flores rode Godolphin Racing's Festival of Light to victory in the Godolphin Mile and American runner Caller One ran off with the Golden Shaheen (UAE-III) as part of Saturday's Dubai World Cup undercard. Flores, who later won the UAE Derby with Express Tour, said Festival of Light bobbled slightly at the start before recovering to take the lead in the stretch.
Stay Gold, a Japanese-bred son of Sunday Silence, caught Godolphin Racing's highly touted Fantastic Light at the wire to win the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-II) on the World Cup card at Nad al Sheba racecourse. Ridden by Yutaka Take, Stay Gold was set down in the stretch just to catch Fantastic Light and win by a nose bob at the wire.
Two Godolphin Racing stablemates engaged in a stirring stretch drive in the UAE Derby (UAE-III), with Express Tour defeating Street Cry by a narrow margin in the race that was part of the Dubai World Cup card at Nad al Sheba Racecourse Saturday.
New Zealand racemare Sunline could become the first Australasian horse to reach the elusive AUS$10-million earnings mark with a victory in Saturday's $US2-million (AUS$4.09 million) Dubai Duty Free, a turf race on the Dubai World Cup card at Nad al Sheba racecourse in the United Arab Emirates. A victory would be worth US$1.2-million (AUS$2.45 million).
Son of Rocket attempts rare hat trick in Saturday's Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Real estate developer Tom Moyer bought the operating rights for Portland Meadows, Oregon's largest racetrack. The change, however, does not bring much stability to the state's Thoroughbred racing industry.
Mike Pegram's Captain Steve and Godolphin's Best of the Bests, co-favorites at 7-4 for Saturday's Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) with British bookmaker William Hill, will break from the starting gate alongside each other in post-positions 11 and 10 respectively as a dozen international runners face the starter for the $6 million pot, richest in racing with $3.6 million earmarked for the winner. Also competing in the 1 1/4-mile test is Bobby Frankel-trained Aptitude.
When he left California in early January to spend the winter in Dubai, trainer Eoin Harty hinted he might split his stable when he returned in April. He confirmed that on Thursday.
Tracy Farmer's Albert The Great will be an odds-on favorite against six rivals in Saturday's Widener Handicap (gr. III) at Hialeah Park. Eclipse champion Jorge Chavez will be aboard Albert the Great, with the 4-year-old son of Go For Gin shouldering top weight of 120 pounds in the 1 1/8-mile event.
Dream Supreme and Country Hideaway, both daughters of multiple grade I winner Seeking The Gold, highlight the list of five fillies and mares contesting Saturday's Distaff Breeders Cup Handicap (gr. III), going seven furlongs at Aqueduct.
Virginia horsemen have two weeks to secure a loan that will allow Colonial Downs to pay an average of $200,000 in purses daily during a summer meet. The two-week deadline also applies to resolving a racing dates conflict between Virginia and Maryland.
Michael Tabor's Buckle Down Ben, winless in two starts this year but winner of last year's Laurel Futurity (gr. III), was installed the 5-2 morning line favorite after drawing post 8 for Saturday's $600,000 Spiral Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park. While there is no standout, a well-balanced field of nine 3-year-olds were entered for the 1 1/8-mile race that will be telecast live on ESPN from 4-5 p.m. EST.
John Oxley's Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Monarchos and The Thoroughbred Corp.'s San Felipe (gr. II) winner Point Given head the list of 109 nominations to the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I). The 1 1/8-mile event will be televised live on ESPN April 14 from Keeneland Race Course.
Four of the five top juvenile fillies on the 2000 Experimental Free Handicap are among the 85 nominations for the grade I Ashland Stakes to be run at Keeneland Race Course on April 7th.
Trainer Julio Canani had Ladies Din out on the grass track at Nad al Sheba before the sun was up. The six-year-old is back in Dubai for another shot at the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-IIT) in which he ran 5th 2 1/2 lengths behind the winner, Rhythm Band, last year.
Kent Desormeaux won the Kentucky Derby in 1998 and 2000, but in 2001 his best Derby hope may come on May 27 in the Japanese Derby at Tokyo racecourse. Desormeaux has agreed to ride in Japan on a three-month license from the Japan Racing Association, beginning on April 28, the date of a key trial race for the Japanese classic.
The Dubai World Cup is not just the world's richest horse race, it can also be the most expensive racing event on the globe to attend. Though fans can take a low-budget approach, with free admission to certain areas, the more well-heeled patrons might reach deep into their pockets and go first class, paying as much as US$742 for a seat in one of the suites overlooking the finish line.
The first two Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contenders arrived at historic Churchill Downs Wednesday. Dollar Bill, trained by Dallas Stewart, and Buckle Down Ben, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, arrived on a plane from Fair Grounds Racecourse.
Spring in Maryland means the return of live racing at Pimlico Race Course, which opens March 28 for an 11-week meet highlighted by the May 19 Preakness Stakes, second leg of the Triple Crown.
There are clear favorites in three of the big Dubai World Cup Day races, but in THE BIG race, the $6 million Dubai World Cup, Captain Steve from the U.S. and the home team's Best of the Bests are both 7-4. According to William Hill, one of England's leading bookmakers. the biggest favorite on the day is Sunline, who is the 13-8 choice in the Dubai Duty Free.
Top sprinter Tayseer was euthanized Wednesday after sustaining a leg fracture, the Dubai World Cup's chief veterinarian told the Associated Press.
A P Valentine, who will use the April 7 Flamingo Stakes as a stop on his road to the May 5 Kentucky Derby, worked five furlongs in :59.20 in between the third and fourth races Tuesday afternoon at Hialeah Park.
A field of at least 10 is shaping up for Saturday's grade II spiral Stakes at Turfway Park, and the $600,000 race appears wide open. The draw for post positions will be held Thursday.
Bob Baffert-trained Captain Steve, likely favorite for Saturday's $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), zipped six furlongs in 1:10.44 over the Nad al Sheba track Monday night. Working on the outside of local horse Alboostan, Captain Steve was clocked in 23.24 seconds for the final quarter, drawing clear of his workmate in the closing stages.
Trainer Kenny McPeek was dreaming of a Triple Crown campaign after Saint Damien fought off a late bid from Saved by the Sword to win the colts and geldings division of the $100,000 OBS Championship Stakes. In a steady rain Monday in Ocala, Fla., the 3-year-old son of Saint Ballado -- Wife Begone completed the 1 1/16 miles in the slop in 1:47 3/5. The winning rider was Edgar Prado.
ESPN Classic's "Road Show" will make a stop at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club's premier event -- the $1,000,000 Pacific Classic -- once again will be televised by ESPN when it is presented for the 11th time at the shore track on Sunday, August 19.
The Mail On Sundaynewspaper in Britain reported the Queen, who owns and breeds horses and has her own racecourse, Ascot, thinks that the sport should be suspended while the foot and mouth outbreak continues. The British Horseracing Board confirmed that the Queen has expressed her concern. Tristram Ricketts, secretary general of the BHB, said: "Last week Her Majesty the Queen expressed her concern that racing should consider its response to the foot and mouth outbreak very carefully, but has not asked for horseracing to stop.
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