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A Day At The Spa: Sept. 2, Bob's Back

Standing outside his barn on the Oklahoma side of Saratoga, Bob Baffert holds court with the media and smiles. He talks about Midnight Lute's victory in the Forego (gr. I). About how rewarding it is to win a race like that at a track like this. About how good it feels to be back.

Baffert Strums Winning Tune With Midnight Lute

Baffert Strums Winning Tune With Midnight Lute

Southern California trainer Bob Baffert continues to see dividends from his decision to take a string from his Southern California stable to Saratoga. In the $250,000 Forego Handicap (gr. I), his Midnight Lute made the lead on the turn of the seven-furlong test and rolled to his first grade I win by more than two lengths under substitute rider Shaun Bridgmohan.

Maimonides Tops Short but Enticing Hopeful Field

Normally, a Grade I event with only four entries would be a bit of a letdown for horse racing fans. In the case of the $250,000 Hopeful Stakes, nothing could be further from the truth, as a terrific showdown between top-flight 2-year-olds is set for Saratoga's main track Sept. 3.

More Happy Headlines Talented Spinaway Field

More Happy Headlines Talented Spinaway Field

It's still early in the 2-year-old season, but it seems that Bob Baffert already has a slight leg up on the rest of the competition, as the trainer has a pair of good-looking prospects, both by 2002 Juvenile champion Vindication. One of them, More Happy, will headline a field of 10 in the 116th running of the $250,000 Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 2 at Saratoga, the nation's first Grade I event of the year for 2-year-olds.

Saratoga Riders Jockey For Position

Saratoga Riders Jockey For Position

With eight racing days remaining until the end of the 2007 meet at Saratoga Race Course, the track's jockey colony is tightly bunched as usual, but the shifting fortunes of several riders make for an interesting match-up as we head into closing week. Here's a look at Saratoga's top 10 jockeys and their nearly finished summer seasons heading into Sunday's card.

Steve Haskin's BC Countdown: A Road Less Traveled

Steve Haskin's BC Countdown: A Road Less Traveled

There was the rubber match between Street Sense and Curlin in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Didn't Happen. There was the showdown between the two in the Travers Stakes (gr. I). Not going to happen. There was Rags to Riches headlining Lady's Day at Belmont for the CCA Oaks (gr. I). Didn't Happen. There was Rags in the Saratoga limelight for the Alabama. Not going to happen.

Surf Cat Looks to Help Headley

Surf Cat Looks to Help Headley

Bob Baffert is not the only successful veteran trainer who is having difficulty winning on synthetic surfaces. Count Bruce Headley among those who have been unable to conquer Cushion Track at Hollywood Park or Polytrack at Del Mar.

More Happy Scores in Adirondack

More Happy Scores in Adirondack

Phantom Income and More Happy were the clear favorites in the 91st running of $150,000 Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga Aug. 15. The six-and-a-half-furlong sprint could not have gone any more dramatically different for the pair of talented 2-year-old fillies.

River's Prayer Brings Four-Race Win Streak into 'Bernardo

River's Prayer Brings Four-Race Win Streak into 'Bernardo

River's Prayer, a half-length winner of the Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I) at Calder Race Course in her last start on July 7, brings a four-race victory streak into the $200,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs on the Del Mar Polytrack Friday evening.

Tough Tiz's Sis Puts Twist in Hollywood

Odds-on favorite Silver Swallow was perfectly positioned for her powerful late charge but there was no catching Tough Tiz's Sis, who kicked away to an easy 3 1/2-length victory in Sunday's $126,400 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies on the Cushion Track.

E Z Warrior Penciled for Bing Crosby Handicap

Zayat Stables' grade III winner E Z Warrior is to make his next start in the July 29 Bing Crosby Handicap (gr. I) at Del Mar, trainer Bob Baffert said after the chestnut son of Exploit worked a half-mile in :47 1/5 over a fast main track at Santa Anita on Friday morning.

Bob and John Turns Back 'Saint in Lone Star Handicap

Stoneside Stable's determined Bob and John would not give way in the stretch run of the $388,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. III) to win by a hard fought neck over odds-on choice Sweetnorthernsaint and give jockey Garrett Gomez a sweep of the three graded stakes at the muddy Grand Prairie, Texas, track Monday.

Champion Chilukki Dead

Chilukki, the top 2-year-old filly of 1999, died May 7 at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute near Lexington after complications during foaling.

Bob and John to End Long Layoff in Texas Mile

Bob and John, the 2006 Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner will make his first start in 238 days as the 6-5 morning line favorite in Saturday's grade III, $300,000 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Baffert Targets Kentucky Stakes with 'Doll, 'Lute

Trainer Bob Baffert has two offspring of Real Quiet on target for stakes engagements in Kentucky. Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) winner Pussycat Doll will likely defend her title in the Humana Distaff Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs May 5, while Perryville Stakes (gr. III) winner Midnight Lute is pointing for the Commonwealth Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Keeneland April 14.

$8M Colt Mr. Sekiguchi Collects Second Win

Mr. Sekiguchi, a son of Storm Cat purchased as a yearling for $8 million in 2004 by Fusao Sekiguchi, won Santa Anita's $52,100 allowance feature Friday by a head over 52-1 longshot Absolute Glory.

Great Hunter Begins Derby Chase Saturday

Grade I winner Great Hunter will be favored to provide trainer Doug O'Neill and jockey Corey Nakatani with their second major stakes victory on Saturday when the colt joins a field of nine 3-year-olds for the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita.

Preachinatthebar May Set 'Em Up in San Antonio

Mike Pegram's Preachinatthebar, whose most notable career accomplishment came in winning Santa Anita's San Rafael Stakes (gr. II) three years ago, is expected to be a slight favorite to match that achievement in Sunday's $250,000 San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) for older horses at Santa Anita.

Pussycat Doll Forges Ahead in Santa Monica Test

Pussycat Doll, off the racing trail since winning the Humana Distaff Handicap (gr. I) May 6, returns in an ambitious spot -- Sunday's $250,000 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) for older fillies and mares at Santa Anita -- where she faces nine tough rivals going seven furlongs.

Unbeaten E Z Warrior Wallops San Miguel Foes

Zayat Stables' odds-on choice E Z Warrior, making his first appearance in more than six months, remained unbeaten in three starts for trainer Bob Baffert with a measured front-running victory in the $80,000 San Miguel for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita Park on Sunday.

Brother Derek Leads Southern Cal Workers Sunday

Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) contender Brother Derek was put through his final preparations for Saturday by logging five furlongs in :59 1/5 over a fast Santa Anita main track Sunday morning. Also working in Southern California were Quick Little Miss, Malt Magic and Aragorn.

Baffert's Midnight Lute Dominates Perryville S.

Midnight Lute, a recent arrival from California trained by Bob Baffert, drew off by 4 3/4 lengths in winning the $200,000 Perryville Stakes (presented by Budweiser Select) (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at Keeneland Friday.

Baffert Sets Stakes Mark; Behaving Badly Rolls

Behaving Badly, the 3-5 favorite under jockey Victor Espinoza, provided trainer Bob Baffert with a record 75th stakes success at Del Mar Friday evening as she breezed to victory in the featured $200,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap (gr. III) for older fillies and mares.

Bullet Breeze for Brother Derek at Del Mar

Brother Derek, fourth-place dead heater in the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), continued his forward training with a bullet :47 2/5 clocking for a half-mile Thursday morning on the main track.

Too Much Bling Dazzling Carry Back Winner

Too Much Bling made a three wide move on the turn and took command in the final furlong to post a two-length win as the prohibitive 1-2 favorite in Saturday's $300,000 Carry Back (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at Calder Race Course's Summit of Speed.

California Invaders Dominate Carry Back Cast

After Lost in the Fog invaded from California to win the $300,000 Carry Back Stakes (gr. II) in 2005, the six-furlong Summit of Speed test has a strong California presence once again in this year's renewal. Too Much Bling and Northern Soldier are the probable favorites in the field eight 3-year-olds.

Super Spot for Behaving Badly's First Road Win

Undefeated in California dirt sprints, the speedy 5-year-old mare Behaving Badly is in a great spot to pick up her first victory outside the Golden State. She goes to the post a heavy favorite at Belmont Park in Monday's $150,000 Genuine Risk Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at six furlongs.

Super Spot for Behaving Badly's First Road Win

Undefeated in California dirt sprints, the speedy 5-year-old mare Behaving Badly is in a great spot to pick up her first victory outside the Golden State when she goes to the post at Belmont Park a heavy favorite in Monday's $150,000 Genuine Risk Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at six furlongs.

Wanna Runner Favored in Queen's Plate

Of the 13 horses entered for Sunday's Queen's Plate at Woodbine, 11 have previously run at the Ontario track. But one of the two that hasn't started at Woodbine was made the morning line favorite, and for good reason.

Point Determined Gets Grade in Affirmed 'Cap

In a desperate battle to the wire with A.P. Warrior, jockey Victor Espinoza urged everything he could from favored Point Determined, who responded on the outside to win by a nose in the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at Hollywood Park Saturday.

Preachinatthebar Can Make Amends in Californian

Preachinatthebar, a disappointing eighth on a muddy track in the Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. III) in Texas most recently, will try to regain his winning ways in Saturday's $250,000 Californian (gr. II) at Hollywood Park.

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