Firmly landing himself prominently on the charts as a serious contender for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), the $200,000 Keeneland September 2015 purchase now looks to make a hit out of his sophomore debut, the Risen Star (G2).
The odds were against Antone Metaxas' Zakaroff during the El Camino Real Derby (G3), and it wasn't just because of his number on the infield tote board at Golden Gate Fields.
Peacock Racing Stables' Gunnevera breezed five furlongs in 1:01 Feb. 18 at Gulfstream Park West in preparation for a scheduled start in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park March 4.
M M G Stables' multiple grade 3 winner El Areeb returned to the work tab with a sharp half-mile breeze over Laurel Park's main track Feb. 18.
- By BloodHorse Staff
- Thoroughbred Racing, Northeast Region, Southeast Region, Triple Crown, Southwest Region, West Region
Each week BloodHorse.com looks forward to the weekend's biggest races. This week, we have a pair of graded stakes at Laurel Park, a Triple Crown prep at Golden Gate Fields, and more.
Robert LaPenta and Harry Rosenblum's Uncontested will look to score an Oaklawn Park Triple Crown prep double in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3).
With an early draw for the Feb. 25 Louisiana Derby Preview Day card, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots saw 38 horses entered for four graded stakes, including the $400,000 Risen Star (G2).
Fifteen 3-year-olds, including one owned by Sheikh Mohammed, are set for the Hyacinth Stakes Feb. 19 at Tokyo Racecourse, which carries a qualifying opportunity to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1).
Trainer Doug O'Neill and Reddam Racing will look to sweep the two winter derbies at Golden Gate Fields and repeat in the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby (G3) Feb. 18.
Add the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) April 1 at Gulfstream Park to the list of Triple Crown preps being considered for M M G Stables' impressive 3-year-old El Areeb, a winner of his last four races including back-to-back graded stakes.
Did McCraken's victory in the Sam F. Davis propel him to the number one spot? Are there any new faces among the dozen?
This past weekend the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" biggest race ran through Tampa Bay Downs in Florida resulting in some changes in week three of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top 3-Year-Old Poll.
The addition of the two Arlington stakes races lifted total stakes purses to be offered during the upcoming meet to $8.84 million, an increase of $200,000 from the $8.64 million in stakes purses offered in the 2016 spring meet.
The unbeaten 3-year-old colt raised his connections' optimism several notches Feb. 11 at Tampa Bay Downs, where he won the $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) by 1 1/2 lengths.
Neil Howard and Wayne Catalano both have promising sophomores on the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks trail.
The built up to McCraken's seasonal bow ended with results to match. Under some left-handed urging from jockey Brian Hernandez Jr., the unbeaten colt unleashed a wicked turn of foot down the middle of the track to win the $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3).
- By Alicia Wincze Hughes
- Thoroughbred Racing, Triple Crown, Southeast Region, Southwest Region, Kentucky
As the regular rider for McCraken, the 2-1 morning-line favorite for Saturday's Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3), jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. could find his current groundswell of momentum dwarfed by what could come his way should his mount prevail.
When trainer Arnaud Delacour saddles No Dozing for the $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) Feb. 11 at Tampa Bay Downs, it could mark an early step toward the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1).
The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues Saturday and Sunday with the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) and Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3).
Days after John Oxley's champion Classic Empire finished a well-beaten third to Irish War Cry in the Holy Bull Stakes (G2), a foot abscess was discovered in the son of Pioneerof the Nile.
One of the more highly regarded classic prospects for 2017, McCraken gets his first chance to make good on his buildup when he makes his seasonal bow against eight others in the 1 1/16-mile Sam F. Davis (G3).
Third Day successfully stretched out to one mile and picked up his second win in as many starts Feb. 8 when he rallied from fourth to win a $60,000 overnight stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Experimental Free Handicap a great tool, needs a fresh look
The 3-year-old stakes results caused a shake up in the Derby Dozen. Who is the new number 1?
Moving right to the top in first place is the undefeated Irish War Cry (7 first-place votes, 303 points) who posted a mild upset as the 3 3/4-length winner of Saturday's Lambholm South Holy Bull (G2), at Gulfstream Park for trainer Graham Motion.
Trainer Graham Motion reported Feb. 5 that the undefeated Irish War Cry, who posted a mild upset as the 3 3/4-length winner of the Lambholm South Holy Bull (G2), will target Gulfstream Park's Triple Crown preps.
Nearly ten years to the day since his sire signaled his brilliance at Gulfstream Park, Irish War Cry showed he could follow in his father's footsteps as a force on the Triple Crown trail.
It appears Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Shirreffs have another speedy colt ready to hit the Triple Crown trail.
M M G Stables' El Areeb toyed with nine rivals in the $250,000 Withers Stakes (G3), summarily dismissed them down the lane, and cleared his fourth straight victory under a hand ride from jockey Trevor McCarthy Feb. 4 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Century Downs Racetrack and Casino announced Feb. 3 that it reached an agreement with the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association of Alberta to run Thoroughbreds at the racetrack in the fall of 2017.
Battalion Runner won for the second consecutive time, capturing the featured eighth race at Gulfstream Park Feb. 3. Trainer Todd Pletcher said the colt will start next in a stakes race on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) trail.
A second juvenile champion proved Pioneerof the Nile's depth as a sire.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby will continue Saturday with the Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes (G3), Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G2) and Kitten's Joy Stakes.
Classic Empire, winner of the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1), has been assigned the high weight of 126 pounds to top The Jockey Club Experimental Free Handicap for 2016.
When a filly costs $1.9 million as a yearling, expectations run high. Yet Rags to Riches soared beyond those initial hopes by vaulting out of a maiden victory straight into the $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) Feb. 10 at Santa Anita Park.
Without a clear favorite among the five entered in the $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3), trainer Doug O'Neill, who has three of the five, is hopeful any or all of his horses will seize an opportunity to move forward.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo quietly squashed a NYRA restructuring bill with a "pocket veto."
After three straight dominating wins, including an 11 1/4-length score in the Jerome Stakes (G3) Jan. 2 at Aqueduct Racetrack, 3-year-old El Areeb is back at Aqueduct for a crack at the $250,000 Withers Stakes (G3) Feb. 4.
John Oxley's reigning juvenile male champion Classic Empire makes his anticipated seasonal bow in the $350,000 Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes (G2) against eight rivals at Gulfstream Park.
Three Rules, the top Florida-bred juvenile last year and winner of five races at Gulfstream, will make his 2016 debut Feb. 4 in the seven-furlong Swale Stakes (G2).
Some minor shuffling in the Derby Dozen, and plenty of new names amongst those Knocking On the Door.
Grade 1 winners Hoppertunity, Mor Spirit, and Mastery each recorded bullet works Jan. 30 at Santa Anita Park for trainer Bob Baffert.
Unbeaten standout in 2016, Classic Empire, ranked number one with 30 points on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard takes the lead with (288 points and 28 first-place votes).
John Oxley's champion 2-year-old Classic Empire edged unbeaten rising stars Mastery and McCraken to be the favored individual contender for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1).
Trainer Mark Casse declared 'all systems go' for Classic Empire to make his sophomore debut in the $350,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 4 after working an easy five furlongs with grade 1 winning-stablemate Pretty City Dancer.
Because of a clerical error, Bourbon Lane Stable's Bourbon Empire was inadvertently omitted from the original list of 3-year-olds made eligible during the early nomination phase to compete in the 2017 Triple Crown.
Owner Kaleem Shah said Jan. 27 that Klimt, the winner of the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and Best Pal Stakes (G2) last year, will be given time off and won't be pointed to the first leg of the Triple Crown.
The first sophomore step for McCraken will come when he makes his seasonal bow in the 1 1/16-mile Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs Feb. 11, trainer Ian Wilkes said after the colt worked five furlongs in 1:00.45 Jan. 25.
"All Others," is expected to continue its traditional role as the overall betting choice in Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2017 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW), which opens its three-day run Jan. 27.
John C. Oxley's Classic Empire, the newly-minted champion 2-year-old of 2016, heads a roster of 418 3-year-olds made eligible during the early nomination phase to compete in the classic races of the 2017 American Triple Crown.
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