It's hard to say what was the weirdest part of this past weekend -- the Woodward, with only three legitimate starters; the amount of money wagered, or rather thrown away, on Rick Dutrow's rabbit entry; or the paltry 41 starters competing in the seven graded stakes.
Along with the connections of 3-year-old champion Afleet Alex, the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association has announced a fundraising plan to benefit hurricane relief efforts.
Following the latest set of digital X-rays taken Thursday and a consultation with veterinarian Larry Bramlage, trainer Tim Ritchey was given the OK to bring Afleet Alex to the track Friday for his first jog since undergoing surgery to repair a slight hairline fracture.
Delaware Park will host "Afleet Alex Day" Sept. 10 inconjunction with its annual Owners Day, which is offered by the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association.
With the majority of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships races beginning to sort themselves out, it looks as if this year's events for the most part are going to be wide-open races, with no standout. And that means Horse of the Year also is still very much up for grabs.
Afleet Alex, the Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner, will pay a visit to Saratoga Race Course on Saturday afternoon, parading on the main track after the second race.
Trainer Tim Ritchey said Tuesday that Preakness and Belmont (both gr. I) winner Afleet Alex's fracture is healing nicely, but with an extra week of walking prescribed, there is a question whether the colt can make the Oct. 29 Breeders' Cup Classic-Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
Act of Duty, a half-brother to Northern Afleet who sold for $3.6 million as a yearling but failed to win on the racetrack, has been retired and will stand in 2006 at Arthur Appleton's Bridlewood Farm near Ocala, Fla.
As Afleet Alex walked the shedrow for the second of three times Tuesday morning, his ears were up and he was looking for peppermints from trainer Tim Ritchey. It was obvious the colt was happy being out of his stall and walking again.
Trainer Tim Ritchey confirmed Thursday that Preakness and Belmont, both grade I, winner Afleet Alex was expected leave Belmont Park early this afternoon en route to Barn 24 on the Saratoga backstretch later this evening.
Bob Brittingham couldn't help but shake his head and smile. It was one of those shakes when something almost too good to be true is happening, and one of those wry smiles people get when they are on a roll.
Trainer Tim Ritchey said Saturday morning from his barn at Belmont Park that Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex is likely to arrive at Saratoga Race Course with nine stablemates as early as Friday, Aug. 5.
As expected, the $1-million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) picture changed dramatically with the announcement Thursday that Afleet Alex would not run due to a condylar fracture. Within 24 hours, horses began coming out of the woodwork, all but assuring a large, competitive field.
Cash Is King's Afleet Alex, dramatic winner of the Preakness and runaway winner of the Belmont Stakes (both gr. I), was operated on Wednesday at the New Jersey Equine Clinic after suffering a condylar fracture. The 3-year-old son of Northern Afleet is now out of consideration for the upcoming Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) and Travers Stakes (gr. I) but could return for a fall campaign.
Fog City Stable's Roman Ruler, winner of the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) in his last start, worked seven furlongs in 1:24 at Del Mar Tuesday in preparation for the $1-million Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at Monmouth Park on Aug. 7.
Cash Is King's Afleet Alex, winner of two jewels of the Triple Crown this year, has been assigned highweight of 123 pounds for the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. 1) Aug. 7.
Cash is King Stable's Afleet Alex, winner of the Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I), turned in a sharp mile work in 1:36 3/5 at Belmont Park Thursday in preparation for his return to the races in the $1-million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on Aug. 7.
Afleet Alex, the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) champion, recorded his first official workout in more than a month Sunday morning when he breezed five furlongs over Belmont Park's fast main track in 1:00 4/5.
Jockey Jeremy Rose, the focus of national attention with his acrobatic ride in winning the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) aboard Afleet Alex, notched his 1,000th victory in the eighth race at Delaware Park July 3.
The 2005 classic season is in the books, but it took its toll, producing one of the longest casualty lists in memory. But, now it is time for the second season to get under way, and although many of the early season stars will be missing, there is still Afleet Alex and a few new stars in the making.
"At the Races and Beyond," a South Florida AM radio program that boasts 100,000 listeners via it's Web site is about to get bigger...much bigger. Starting Monday, June 20, "At the Races and Beyond" will be broadcast three hours a night nationally on Sirius satellite radio.
The following is a potpourri of impressions, observations, afterthoughts, and memorable quotes from this year's Triple Crown, which proved to be a pretty wild ride. There was nothing ordinary about the cast of characters and the unusual paths they took to get to Churchill Downs and beyond.
- By Dan Liebman
By Dan Liebman - Perspective may be needed to realize something is indeed great. That is why it is commonly written that men are best judged after death. The time to reflect by future generations helps identify and define those who were great.
It was a typical lazy afternoon on the Belmont Park backstretch as two figures strolled down the horse path heading to Barn 5. Afleet Alex and trainer Tim Ritchey had already spent five days stabled in Barn 14 preparing for the 137th Belmont Stakes (gr. I), but Ritchey decided he wanted to move to the barn in which he had originally been assigned.
On the same day Afleet Alex won the $1-million Belmont Stakes (gr. I), his full brother, Unforgettable Max, won a $47,000 allowance/optional claiming test across the Hudson River and down the Garden State Parkway at Monmouth Park.
North American racetracks hosting lemonade stands on Belmont Stakes Day collectively raised more than $114,000 to benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand For Pediatric Cancer Research, the charity founded by Alexandra "Alex" Scott in 2000.
The North American racetracks hosting lemonade stands on Belmont Stakes Day collectively raised more than $114,000 to benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand for Pediatric Cancer Research, the charity founded by Alexandra "Alex" Scott in 2000. The figure is expected to increase as nine tracks are yet to report their figures and others are finalizing exact amounts.
Afleet Alex, very, very confidently ridden by Jeremy Rose, made the same move he made in the Preakness (gr. I)...only this time he wasn't bumped. He blew by the field and romped home to win the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in impressive fashion.
The smallest crowd for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) since 1996, 62,274, turned out on a hot and humid afternoon at the Elmont, N.Y., track to see Afleet Alex dominate the 137th running of the 3-year-old classic by seven lengths Saturday.
With $330,000 in the pool as of 3:15 p.m., the odds are hard to figure for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), which has a post time of about 6:40.
Compared to the last few years, things are much calmer at Belmont Park the morning of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Preakness (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex, the favorite for Saturday's Belmont Stakes, settled into his new barn without a problem. John Shirreffs, the affable trainer of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo, seemed nice and relaxed just one day before the rubber match at 1 1/2 miles.
The question "What's in a name?" may have first been pondered by William Shakespeare, but Chuck Zacney, a partner in the Philadelphia-area Cash is King Stable, must have wondered the same thing when he first read the story of Alexandra "Alex" Scott.
Yes, it's time to look for a value horse again. It doesn't take a genius to figure out Afleet Alex and Giacomo are the class of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), and if both run their "A" race, they should finish one-two. But, this is the Belmont, and Andromeda's Hero and Reverberate look like two horses who will love the mile and a half distance.
Afleet Alex, the dramatic winner of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) three weeks ago and morning-line favorite for tomorrow's Belmont Stakes (gr. I), will be in a stalking position early in the race according to trainer Tim Ritchey.
Jimmy Iselin has trained some good horses. But this is the classic story, as he said jokingly, "of the one that got away."
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) morning-line favorite Afleet Alex was relocated from Barn 14 to Barn 5 Thursday due to the presence of fellow Belmont starter Nolan's Cat, who is in the same barn.
Premiere Radio Networks will deliver the exclusive radio call of the 137th Belmont Stakes (gr. I) live from Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y June 11.
Cash is King Stable's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex was installed the 6-5 morning-line favorite when 11 horses were entered for Saturday's $1-million Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the third leg of the Visa Triple Crown.
Watchmon, a son of Maria's Mon who is expected to be one of the longest prices on the board in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I), breezed five furlongs over the main track at Belmont Park Tuesday morning in 1:00.09.
Trainer Nick Zito has had nine horses finish behind Afleet Alex this year, and will try him again with three more in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I). That in itself would certainly make the Preakness (gr. I) winner a thorn in Zito's side. But Zito and Alex have a history together that goes back a lot farther than this year's Triple Crown trail.
It's countdown to the June 11 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), and the big question is whether we will have a dual classic winner.
Bob Brittingham, one of the owners of Afleet Alex, doesn't watch the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) replay anymore. He has seen enough. Now, he's looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the third leg of the Triple Crown.
Afleet Alex completes serious training for Belmont Stakes (gr. I)... Chekhov works at Saratoga... Romans searching for jockey to ride Nolan's Cat... Watchmon, likely Belmont starter, to work Tuesday.
Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex turned in another of his unique feats Monday by jogging a mile and a half at 6:15, then going out at 8:45 and galloping three miles in the sweltering heat and humidity.
With less than a week until the 137th Belmont Stakes (gr. I), the mile and a half race looks like this: Preakness (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex, Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo, and the rest of them.
Preakness (gr. I) winner Afleet Alex, the likely favorite for the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 11, arrived without incident at Belmont Park Saturday at approximately 4:30 p.m.
Ken Ramsey, in an effort to gain stature for the stallion Catienus, will run his son Nolan's Cat in the June 11 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), even though the colt is still a maiden after five starts.
In an NTRA "Pre-Belmont" teleconference Thursday, trainers of the first three Preakness Stakes (gr. I) finishers--Afleet Alex, Scrappy T, and Giacomo--spoke to national media about that battle at Pimlico and the grueling 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes (gr. I) that awaits June 11.
Weekend testing done by both a local laboratory and the University of Illinois have come up negative for horses quarantined at Belmont Park that were suspected of having been exposed to the bacteria that causes a contagious respiratory disease called "strangles."
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