Azeri

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Purses Increased at Oaklawn Park

Following a successful opening month at Oaklawn Park, including record growth in the Instant Racing pari-mutuel wagering system, the track announced an across-the-board purse increase, beginning with the races of Feb. 24.

2004 Eclipse Older Female: Azeri

Hers is a familiar name in these pages, and her star has not diminished over time. Azeri, 2002 Horse of the Year and champion older mare in 2002 and 2003, has now made it a three-peat in that category. The 2004 Eclipse puts North America's all-time leading money earner for fillies and mares on her own plateau--ahead of Paseana (1992, 1993), Bayakoa (1989, 1990), and Susan's Girl (1973, 1975), the only other two-time Eclipse Award-winning older mares.

Eclipse Award Finalists: Some Familiar Names, Some Sure Things

The Eclipse Award finalists, announced Jan. 5, reveal many familiar names in the human categories, with several big-name horses appearing in more than one category. Although most of the winners look like sure things, there are still some potential drag-out battles in the Sprint and 4-Year-Old and Up Female categories.

Putting the Legs in Legacy

By Lenny Shulman -- For the past few years, Michael Paulson has been busy watching a reality show on TV in his Las Vegas home. His tastes don't necessarily run to "Survivor," "American Idol," or the other garbage that passes for entertainment in the 21st century. Paulson's viewing has been taken up by a horse--Azeri--whom he's watched race by race, frame by frame; remote in one hand, stopwatch in the other.

Leading Female Earner, Horse of the Year Azeri Retired

Azeri, North America's all-time leading money-earning female, has been retired from racing. Michael Paulson, who heads his father's Allen Paulson Living Trust that raced Azeri, made the decision to retire the 6-year-old daughter of Jade Hunter rather than race her a few more times, as was under consideration.

Irish Conquest to Stand in Azerbaijan

The Azeri Horse Club, MAG Company Ltd., and Cedar Meadow Inc. [CMI) announced that 11-year-old Irish Conquest will stand at the Azeri Horse Club facility in Baku in Azerbaijan in 2005.

Weight Keeps Azeri Out of Falls City; Seven Set to Go

Azeri, who figured to be the brightest star to shine over the holiday weekend at Churchill Downs in Thursday's Falls City Handicap (gr. II), has not been entered by trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Lukas, along with owner Michael Paulson, wasn't overly concerned with the 126-pound assessment, it was the spread in the weights that will keep her on the sidelines.

Azeri Assigned 126 Pounds for Falls City

Three-time champion Azeri was assigned high weight 126 pounds for the $300,000-added Falls City Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at Churchill Downs on Thanksgiving Day. In the $500,000 Clark Handicap (gr. II) on Nov. 27, South African import Lundy's Liablility was assigned top impost of 120 pounds.

Big Four Weekend at Churchill Downs Packed with Talent

The $1.2 million "Big Four Weekend" stakes races at Churchill Downs Nov. 25-27 have attracted an outstanding group of nominees that includes Perfect Drift and Colonial Colony, the last two winners of Churchill Downs' Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I); 2002 "Horse of the Year" Azeri; and some of the most promising 2-year-olds in racing.

Falls City Handicap May be Next for Azeri

Azeri is doing so well after her fifth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Lone Star Park she may come back for the $300,000 Falls City Handicap (gr. II) on Thanksgiving Day Nov. 25, trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Wednesday.

Biancone Says Azeri Will Win Classic

There are at least two trainers who think the correct move with Azeri is to run in the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) rather than the Breeders' Cup Distaff – Presented by Nextel (gr. I). One is D. Wayne Lukas, who trains Azeri. The other is Patrick Biancone.

'Storm Flag' Readies to Fly to Lone Star

Trainer Shug McGaughey is gearing up Ogden Mills Phipps' Storm Flag Flying for a historic run at the Breeders' Cup Distaff - Presented by Nextel (gr. I) at Lone Star Park. The $2-million Distaff kicks off the eight-race World Thoroughbred Championships.

Nextel Distaff Preview: Heavy Lies the Crown

Azeri is already among elite company: Horse of the Year in 2002, back-to-back champion older mare in 2002 and 2003, and all-time leading North American female earner. With a victory in the Breeders' Cup Distaff - Presented by Nextel (gr. I), she would join the brilliant Bayakoa as the only two-time Distaff winners in history.

Smooth Azeri Her Old Self in Spinster

The champion Azeri, approaching her 2002 form when she was Horse of the Year, put on a show in her first start at Keeneland while winning the $500,000 Overbrook Spinster for fillies and mares under wraps Sunday.

Countdown to the Cup: Will Azeri Tackle the Boys?

Although there are still several major preps remaining for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), the leading players are pretty well set, with Pleasantly Perfect, Ghostzapper, and Birdstone all heading straight for Texas. But there is still one player – former Horse of the Year Azeri -- who could add a whole new dimension to the race.

Sightseek, Azeri in Go for Wand 'Cap Rematch

The champion mare Azeri can become the all-time top-earning mare in North American racing with a victory in the $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course Sunday. But to do so, she'll have to overcome Sightseek, who trounced her in their most recent start in the Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park June 19.

Business or Sport?

By Ray Paulick -- Currently playing across America's racing landscape are two stories that reflect the difficult decision owners of championship-level racehorses face concerning when to have their stars "call it a career."

Azeri Works Bullet Five Furlongs

Azeri's lackluster performance in her first test against males in the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) apparently has not dulled her enthusiasm for morning training. The champion older mare in 2002 and 2003 breezed five furlongs at Churchill Downs Wednesday in 1:00.

Azeri Faces Most Difficult Test in Met Mile

Monday's Memorial Day $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) kicks off Belmont Stakes week with an outstanding cast, including 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri, last year's 3-year-old champion Funny Cide and Pico Central and Strong Hope, the 1-2 finishers of Aqueduct's Carter Handicap (gr. I).

Funny Cide Breezes Toward Met Mile

Last year's Triple Crown Hopeful, Sackatoga Stable's Funny Cide, breezed five furlongs in :59 2/5 beneath exercise rider and assistant trainer Robin Smullen Tuesday morning at Belmont Park. The work was the fastest of 18 at that distance.

Azeri Bound for Met Mile Pending Weight Assignment

The Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) on May 31 at Belmont Park is expected to be the next stop for 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri, but only if trainer D. Wayne Lukas approves of the weight assignment for the 6-year-old champion.

Azeri Upset in Humana Distaff

Azeri came back time after time, but it wasn't enough. Mayo on the Side and Pat Day got by at the end to win the Humana Distaff Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs Saturday.

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