When Indian Blessing romped in the Gallant Bloom Handicap (gr. II) last year she was in the top form of her career and on her way to another Eclipse Award, this one as the nation's top female sprinter.
Paul Pompa Jr.'s D' Funnybone followed up his impressive Saratoga Special (gr. II) win with another no-doubt-about-it victory, this one in the $250,000 Futurity (gr. II) Sept. 19 at Belmont Park. The 2-year-old son of D'wildcat is sure to be one of the favorites for the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) later this fall, if he is entered.
Rutherienne has had some tough beats during a 10-race stretch in which she won just once but finished on the board in every one of those starts. Her improbable victory in the $107,000 Noble Damsel Handicap (gr. IIIT) Sept. 19 at Belmont Park will make up for some of that disappointment.
Virginia Kraft Payson's multiple graded stakes winner Rutherienne has not been off the board her last 10 starts, but has just one win to show for her efforts. On Sept. 19 at Belmont Park, the 5-year-old mare will try to return to the winner's circle when she takes on six fillies and mares in the $100,00 Noble Damsel Handicap (gr. IIIT).
Paul Pompa Jr. is reluctant to compare any of his young horses to 2008 dual classic winner Big Brown, but the New York based owner is not afraid to say that D'Funnybone could be something special.
Mark Stanley's Swift Temper, returning to action off less than two weeks rest, upset odds-on favorite Seventh Street in the $300,000 Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) Sept. 12 in the mud at Belmont Park. The 1 3/4-length victory earned the 5-year-old daughter of Giant's Causeway an automatic berth in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) Nov. 6 at Santa Anita.
Godolphin Stable's Seventh Street looks to notch her third grade I win of the season and lock up a spot in the Breeders' Cup later this season when she faces five fillies and mares in the $300,000 Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) Sept. 12 at Belmont Park.
- By Esther Marr
In mid-July, Ruben Beltran, Consul General of Mexico, paid a visit to Anna House, a childcare center located on the backstretch of Belmont Park for the working families at the New York racetrack.
Online wagering companies TVG and Betfair have pledged an additional $400,000 to the New York Racing Association to invite Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta to participate in the Beldame Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park Oct. 3.
All-sources handle for the recently-concluded 64-day Belmont Park spring/summer meet decreased 13.9% from 2008 totals, in contrast with industry-wide decreases of 16.9% in June, and 10.5% through the first six months of 2009 compared to 2008 figures. Incessant rain throughout the meet resulted in 77 races taken off the turf and many more turf races which could not be carded.
Jockey Ramon Dominguez and trainer Gary Contessa continued to dominate the competition in New York. Dominguez ran away with the jockey title for the 64-day spring/summer meet at Belmont Park and Contessa edged Christophe Clement for the training title.
Funny Moon came charging down the lane under Alan Garcia and outran a host of rivals in deep stretch to win the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) at Belmont Park July 25. It was the first graded stakes victory for the 3-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon.
Jockey Ramon Dominguez set a modern-day record for victories at Belmont Park's spring/summer meet when he guided Michael Dubb and Robert Joscelyn's I've Got Speed to win the fifth race July 24, notching his 93rd winner for the meet.
Hightap, a winner of consecutive graded stakes for Steve Asmussen, will take on seven 3-year-old filly rivals in the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) July 25 at Belmont Park.
Silver Timber, in a no-holds-barred speed duel with even-money favorite Heroes Reward from the very start, finally inched clear of his rival in upper stretch and held on for a narrow victory in the $156,000 Jaipur Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Belmont turf July 18.
Heroes Reward, a graded stakes winner on turf in each of the last three years, will tote top weight of 124 pounds as the likely favorite for the $150,000 Jaipur Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park July 18.
Jockeys at Belmont Park this week began testing padded crops designed to be gentler on horses, according to a press rlease issued by the New York Racing Association July 10. The goal is to fully implement the new equipment by the start of the six-week Saratoga meeting on July 29.
Castleton Lyons' Gio Ponti, fresh off victories in the Frank Kilroe Mile (gr. IT) and Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT), will shoot for his third consecutive grade I score July 11 in the $500,000 Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park.
Jason, Evan, and special guest Les Instone of Twinspires.com preview the Suburban (gr. II) at Belmont Park on July 4. Watch Video
After Fabulous Strike turned in a dazzling performance in the June 6 True North (gr. III), trainer Todd Beattie said he was leaning toward giving the 6-year-old gelding some well-deserved time off. But as they say, the horse will tell you what it wants, and the son of Smart Strike has spoken loud and clear.
A. Stevens Miles Jr.'s Warrior's Reward, who lost a tough duel with Successful Dan three weeks ago in the Northern Dancer (gr. III), will look to break through for his first graded stakes score in the $200,000 Dwyer (gr. III) July 4 at Belmont Park.
Edmund Gann's It's a Bird, winner of consecutive graded stakes and three of his last four overall, will try to continue his top form when facing nine rivals in the $400,000 Suburban Handicap (gr. II) July 4 at Belmont Park.
Rachel Alexandra faced only two opponents in the $300,000 Mother Goose (gr. I) June 27 at Belmont Park but the sensational filly put on a dazzling display anyway, setting a stakes record while romping by nearly 20 lengths under Calvin Borel.
The field for $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) today was reduced to three with the scratches of Don't Forget Gil and Hopeful Image, leaving Preakness (gr. I) heroine Rachel Alexandra to face only Flashing and Malibu Prayer.
Belmont Park canceled its ninth and final race June 26 due to a severe storm that brought with it heavy rains, wind, lightning, thunder, and hail, and created unsafe conditions.
Preakness (gr. I) and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra galloped about a mile and a quarter on Belmont's fast main track early June 26, well in advance of a 9:30 a.m. EDT downpour.
Carolyn's Cat, wire-to-wire winner last out in the Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II), will look to take her five older filly and mare rivals all the way again when she goes to post for the $150,000 First Flight Handicap (gr. II) June 28 at Belmont Park.
Rachel Alexandra, who when last seen was making history by winning the May 16 BlackBerry Preakness (gr. I), will make her return to the racetrack in the $300,000 Mother Goose (gr. I) June 27 at Belmont Park. The Horse of the Year candidate will face only four rivals in the nine-furlong test for 3-year-old fillies.
Stonestreet Stables' Jess Jackson, majority owner of Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and BlackBerry Preakness (gr. I) winner Rachel Alexandra, said in a wide-ranging media teleconference June 24 that the superb filly would not race in this year's Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita but that there is a good possibility that she would return in 2010 for a 4-year-old campaign.
When Rachel Alexandra makes her Belmont Park debut in the 53rd renewal of the $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) June 27, the New York Racing Association will give away pink bracelets embossed with the filly's name and admission for ladies will be free.
Heavy rain forced the $245,000 New York Stakes (gr. IIT) off the turf and that was just fine with Star Crown Stable's Icon Project, who took over from tiring favorite Criticism at the top of the lane and sailed to a 13 1/4-length victory June 20 on the slop at Belmont Park.
New York officials this week told bidders vying for the Aqueduct casino development rights to assume the contract will be awarded by Aug. 1, a questionable timetable given the chaos and leadership questions still swirling following a coup in the state Senate June 8.
Jason, Tom, and the Wizard analyze the New York Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park on June 20. Watch Video
Darley Stable's homebred Criticism has been on quite a roll, winning four of her last five, all in graded stakes. Backseat Rhythm and Dynaforce, both grade I winners a year ago, are both coming off unplaced efforts last out. Will the hot horse continue her winning ways, will the proven grade I winners return to form, or will one of the other capable starters break through?
Walter Downey's Fabulous Strike survived lightning-fast fractions to take the True North Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park Saturday over Benny the Bull.
Eldaafer, claimed for $20,000 earlier this year, came with a late stretch run and pulled off a 17-1 shocker in the $198,500 Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) June 5 on the slop at Belmont Park.
Despite the Odds became a graded stakes winner June 5 at Belmont Park, as he put away Affirmatif and romped to a 7 1/2-length victory in the $109,000 Hill Prince (gr. IIIT), which was taken off the turf course because of heavy rain in New York.
TVG has returned to Belmont Park to broadcast live pre- and post-race coverage of the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
Cowboy Cal and Champs Elysees, both narrowly beaten by tough-as-nails Einstein in separate grade I races this year, will see if his absence will be enough to get them over the top this time, as they headline a strong field of 14, including five grade I winners, for the $400,000 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) June 6 at Belmont Park.
Mine That Bird will face nine rivals in the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Jockey Calvin Borel will look to become the first jockey to win all three Triple Crown races on two different horses.
Riders at racetracks across the United States and Canada will take part in a unified show of support June 6 for recently injured jockey Rene Douglas and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
Farnsworth Stables' Gozzip Girl took all the heat, but was still able to find enough in the final yards to hold on for a 1 1/2-length victory in the $150,000 Sands Point (gr. II) May 30 on the Belmont Park turf.
With the recent spell of wet weather having finally moved on, three contenders for the 141st running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) turned in their final serious moves this morning at Belmont Park in preparation for the June 6 race.
With firm knowledge that the Preakness (gr. I)-winning filly Rachel Alexandra would pass on a possible run in the third jewel of the Triple Crown, trainer Bennie "Chip" Woolley Jr. and jockey Calvin Borel are both enthusiastically looking forward to the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and a bid to take two-thirds of the crown with Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner and Preakness runner-up Mine That Bird.
Belmont Park, host of the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), has received full accreditation from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Safety and Integrity Alliance.
Continued wet weather in the New York metropolitan area has left the final serious works of several contenders for the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) up in the air.
Racing fans at Belmont Park will be able to watch and wager on the Epsom Derby (Eng-I), as part of a morning card from the United Kingdom on Belmont Stakes (gr. I) Day June 6.
- By Tom Precious
Six months into the year, a state-ordered review of the New York Racing Association's 2009 budget has still not received approval from a government oversight panel.
The only graded stakes winner in a field of seven 3-year-old fillies, Farnsworth Stables' Gozzip Girl, has the edge in the $150,000 Sands Point (gr. IIT) May 30 on the turf at Belmont Park.
The Ruffian Equine Medical Center, located across the street from the backstretch at Belmont Park, opened its doors May 26 under the direction of Dr. James Hunt and Dr. Patricia Hogan.
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