Mucho Macho Man and Ron the Greek, two of the leading older horses of 2012, embark on another title quest Jan. 19 when they face off in the $400,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park.
We all know who the favorites are and who the contenders are. But we also know that no Breeders' Cup is complete without its share of longshots.
With the morning temperature about 10 degrees warmer than the 34 reading the day before, more than a dozen contenders for the Breeders' Cup World Championships completed their works at Churchill Downs on Oct. 31.
Eldaafer, a starter in the Breeders' Cup Marathon a year ago, could be on his way back to the World Championship event once again thanks to his half-length score in the Turfway Park Fall Championship Stakes (gr. III).
Saratoga will kick off its 142nd meet with a stellar opening day card, highlighted by the $100,000 Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III) for 2-year-old fillies and the $75,000 James Marvin Stakes that drew a field of 10
It's been three up and three down this year at Aqueduct for Barrier Reef headed into Saturday's Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at the New York track.
Hobeau Farm's homebred Delightful Kiss has been in top form for more than five months and all things being equal, the 5-year-old gelding would be the one to beat in the $1-milllion OBS Sunshine Millions Classic Jan. 24 at Gulfstream Park. But the son of Kissin Kris drew unenviable post 12 in the 1 1/8-mile main track event, severely compromising his chances of besting the other 11 rivals who will go to post.
Dogwood Stable's Atoned overcame his hard luck status when he won the $200,000 Pegasus Stakes (gr. III) at the Meadowlands Oct. 24, and he now heads to the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida where he will have an easy month before preparing for the $1-million Sunshine Millions Classic Jan.24.
Does money draw a crowd? Look no further than the Sept. 1 Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) for evidence it's true, as a full field of 14 3-year-olds were entered in the $1 million race, the signature event at Philadelphia Park Casino and Racetrack.
Big Brown arrived quietly on the Monmouth Park backstretch at 8 a.m. Aug. 2 and settled into trainer Rick Dutrow Jr.'s barn as he gets ready for a major test in the $1-million Haskell Invitational Presented by Vonage (gr. I).
Six 3-year-olds, including three stakes winners, have been entered to face dual classic winner Big Brown in the $1-million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) Aug. 3 at Monmouth Park.
A total of 33 horses have been invited to the 41st running of Monmouth Park's $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I), with Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Big Brown expected to head the field in the 1 1/8-mile event Aug. 3.
Jet Set Racing Stable's Tomcito, preparing for Saturday's $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II), worked three furlongs out of the gate in :34.60 and galloped out a half-mile in :46.80 with Manfreddy Guzman up Tuesday morning at Keeneland.
Dogwood Stable's Atoned, fourth last time out in the grade II, $500,000 Illinois Derby, will be entered in the grade II $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 19, according to Cot Campbell, Dogwood Stable President.
Recapturetheglory, thought to be nothing more than a pacesetter, jumped to the early lead and never gave it up, powering home to a commanding four-length victory in the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) April 5 at Hawthorne Race Course.
William K. Warren's Denis of Cork will put his undefeated record on the line and try to remain near the top of a small list of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) favorites April 5 when he takes on six rivals in the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) at Hawthorne Race Course.
Denis of Cork was installed as the 2-1 morning-line favorite in a field of seven in the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) April 5 at Hawthorne Race Course.
Entries for the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) won't be drawn until March 31, but from the looks of the nominations, the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) prep is shaping into a deep and competitive field with many of the nation's top trainers and horses participating.
Dogwood Stable has finalized plans for their two Kentucky Derby hopefuls Atoned and Blackberry Road. The former will make his next start in the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) April 5, while Blackberry Road will have his final prep in the $1-million Arkansas Derby (gr. II) April 12.
So, the undefeated 2-year-old champion, sent off at 1-20 in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III), had a fever the week before the race and the public was unaware of it. There is nothing that can be said here that won't be said in the weeks to come by those who bet War Pass, including the bridge jumpers, and those who had invested in him emotionally.
Handicappers who take on the $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) will probably find their challenge not in choosing a winner, but in selecting the order of finish behind Robert LaPenta's prohibitive favorite War Pass.
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
Repent's stakes winners are a mix of strong nicks and intriguing pedigree patterns, something that probably reflects the slightly unusual pedigree of Repent himself. One runner bearing a unique pedigree is Crown of Thorns, who just jumped into this year's Classic picture by winning the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
Be careful how you handle Crown of Thorns. As we're well aware, the impressive winner of the Feb. 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) has never run on a real dirt track. But with that said, let's pretend it will make no difference, and that he will be as good on dirt as he looked in the Bob Lewis.
As we head into December, a well-funded trainer is looking for a potential Kentucky Derby horse, but does not want a horse based in Southern California. At the same time, a well-funded gambler is looking for a solid Derby horse to bet in the future book, but he, too, is looking away from California. The reason behind their thinking is quite simple.
Two horses owned by Dogwood Stable have validated their status as early candidates for the 2008 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, the partnership announced Nov. 26.
Bill Mott figured that the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) would be a good test for his promising 2-year-old colt Court Vision, one that would give the trainer an idea of whether the son of Gulch was a legitimate, early Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) candidate.
Graded stakes winners Empire Maker, Kafwain, and Repent were represented by their first stakes winners Aug. 18.
Atoned, a $165,000 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. 2-year-old sale purchase owned by Cot Campbell's Dogwood Stable, became the first winner for sire Repent when he won a maiden special weight test at Monmouth Park Aug. 3.
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