Following another blowout by Lawyer Ron in Saturday's Woodward Stakes (gr. I), we're down to one champion-caliber older horse who looks capable of withstanding this year's 3-year-old juggernaut in the Breeders' Cup Classic Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
- By Claire Novak
For days, reporters have been asking Bill Mott about his successful season at Saratoga, where he leads all trainers with a 16-6-10 standing from 53 starts. For days, Mott has been realistic about his chances; he's seen other horsemen hit unexpected winning streaks, has known the dry spells that can suddenly hit a leading trainer's string. Just because he was ahead at week one, or week two, or week three of the meet doesn't mean he'll be the last man standing when they run the last race on the last day, and this is what Mott has been quick to say.
The next start for 7-year-old campaigner Silver Tree is yet to be determined, but trainer Bill Mott said he will consider sending the son of Hennessy to Australia this fall to compete in the Oct. 27 Tattersalls Cox Plate (group I).
Jockey Julien Leparoux won six of the first eight races on a nine-race card at Churchill Downs June 27, including a dead-heat.
Quite a Bride made every pole a winning one while scoring a 2 1/4-length win in course record time in the $164,100 Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) for fillies and mares on the Churchill Downs turf course Saturday.
Graded stakes winner Quite a Bride looks to better a bridesmaid-like performance in the May 5 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile as she stretches out for Saturday's renewal of the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT) on Churchill's Stephen Foster Day undercard.
Zayat Stable's favored Marcavelly, who broke his maiden at first asking on Belmont Park's Widener Turf Course last summer, returned to the course Friday to win the $107,700 Hill Prince (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds at a mile by 1 1/4 lengths over second choice Distorted Reality.
Six 3-year-olds will battle one mile over the Widener Turf Course in Friday's 33rd running of the $100,000-added Hill Prince (gr. IIIT), a race in which Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and Eclipse Award winner Todd Pletcher are likely to combine for a very chalky exacta box.
Shakespeare, winner of the 2005 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes (gr. IT) and Belmont Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT), is back in training under the supervision of Kiaran McLaughlin after spending more than a year on the sidelines.
Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) contender High Again breezed a strong half-mile in :47 4/5 at Churchill Downs Monday for trainer Bill Mott. Jockey Larry Melancon deputized for Cornelio Velasquez in the saddle.
Zayat Stables' favored Moudez, an Irish-bred colt who began his career in England, prevailed in a field of eight 3-year-olds to win the $112,100 Forerunner Stakes on the grass Thursday at Keeneland.
WinStar Farm homebred Sharp Susan assumed control of the tempo at the start and was never challenged, cruising to a three-length win as the favorite in the $107,000 Herecomesthebride Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-old fillies on the Gulfstream Park turf Sunday.
Kinsman Stable's 4-year-old homebred filly Sweet Fervor rallied from off a fast early pace in the $200,000 Shirley Jones Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park to score a one-length victory over 8-5 favorite Any Limit.
Zayat Stable's High Again, passed on the far turn by even-money favorite Christmas Kid, found another gear in the stretch of Saturday's $150,000 Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, edging away for a 1 1/2-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile test for 3-year-old fillies.
Peter Vegso's favored Silver Tree returned to his favorite course Sunday, closing with a big rush to sweep past Steel Light in the final strides while taking the $125,000 Appleton Handicap (gr. IIIT) by a neck on the Gulfstream Park turf.
Miesque's Approval came from behind all right, unleashing a big kick that not only carried him to victory in the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), but to an Eclipse Award as the top male turf horse of 2006.
Peter Vegso's grade I winning 5-year-old mare Splendid Blended has been retired, trainer Bill Mott said Saturday.
The final bid for Chief Officer at the Keeneland January horses of all ages auction Wednesday was $750,000, but it came from someone working for her owner, Egyptian entrepreneur Ahmed Zayat.
Edgar Prado guided Kinsman Stable's homebred Classic Campaign through a tight hole in deep stretch to win the $75,000 Fort Lauderdale Stakes in an exciting upset on the Gulfstream Park lawn Saturday.
Odds-on choice Pommes Frites notched her fifth win of the year in sharp fashion Sunday, sweeping past the pacesetter Virden mid-stretch and rolling to victory in the $112,300 Athenia Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares on the Belmont Park inner turf course.
The $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational Handicap (gr. IT), to be contested over 10 furlongs Oct. 7 at Belmont Park, looks to be a clash between the consistent Honey Ryder and the ever-improving Angara.
Even-money favorite Old Forester got up in the final two strides to win the $150,000 Cliff Hanger Stakes (gr. IIIT) by a nose over 40-1 shot Tune of the Spirit on opening night at the Meadowlands Friday.
Chief Officer broke right to the front and never looked back on her way to a 5 1/2-length victory in the $250,518 New York Breeders' Futurity at Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack in Farmington, N.Y., on Monday.
Live Oak Plantation's Irish-bred My Typhoon, under a masterful pacesetting ride from Garrett Gomez, captured the $200,000 Ballston Spa (gr. IIT) for fillies and mares on the Saratoga inner turf course Saturday.
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott enjoyed his 53rd birthday in grand style Saturday when the 5-year-old mare Angara got up in the final couple of strides to win the $500,000 Diana Handicap (gr. IT) on a yielding Saratoga turf course.
Quite a Bride, winner of all four of her starts on the grass for trainer Bill Mott, is the likely favorite for Friday's $100,000 Lake George (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga Race Course.
Union Avenue opened up a clear advantage in the stretch and was able to hold off an unlucky Can't Beat It by a half-length to capture the $250,000 American Derby (gr. IIT) at odds of 23-1 for trainer Bill Mott on the Arlington Park turf course Saturday.
Peter Vegso's homebred Go Between won the 9th running of the $1 million Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) setting a track record of 1:59 3/5 and becoming only the second horse in the history of the 1 1/4-mile turf race to stop the clock in under two minutes.
Unbeaten After Market, showing some greenness while making his stakes debut in his third start, collared Carnera in mid-stretch Sunday and went on to victory in the $107,400 Lexington (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds at nine furlongs on Belmont Park's firm inner turf course.
After Market, bred by Mr. and Mrs. Martin Wygod from their dual grade I winner Tranquility Lake, makes his stakes debut in the $100,000-added Lexington Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds on the Belmont Park inner turf course Sunday.
My Typhoon, ridden by Robby Albarado, rallied from third to grab the lead in the final furlong and score a 1 ¾-length victory in the $115,000 Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares on the Churchill Downs turf Saturday.
Kinsman Stable's Ebony Breeze rallied off the rail en route to a 1 ¼-length tally in the $157,750 Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares Saturday at Arlington Park.
Former Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contender Buddy Gil is back in training at Churchill Downs under the care of trainer Bill Mott, nearly 20 months since his last start.
Pacesetting Pommes Frites got her head down at the wire Saturday to defeat fast-closing Naissance Royale in the $112,300 Beaugay Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares, the last graded stakes of the Aqueduct meeting.
A royally-bred A.P. Indy -- Dream Supreme filly brought the highest bid of $2,395,000 at Tuesday's Keeneland juvenile auction. But she was bought back by her breeder, George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Farm.
Claiborne Farm's favored Wend made her return to her hometown track a successful one, making it look easy as she handled a solid field in the $200,000 Jenny Wiley (gr. IIT) for older fillies and mares on a dusty Keeneland turf course Saturday.
Claiborne Farm's Wend, owner of a five-race winning streak on the East Coast last year, returns to her Lexington home as the 5-2 morning line favorite in Saturday's $200,000 Jenny Wiley (gr. IIT) on the Keeneland turf.
Stronach Stable's 4-year-old Silver Whistle finally wore down 30-to-1 outsider Ramazutti in the final strides of Saturday's $150,000 Captain Morgan Pan American Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park to score by a neck.
Peter Vegso's 4-year-old Florida homebred filly Splendid Blended, twice a grade I winner, was the class of the field in Saturday's $187,000 Shirley Jones Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park. She did nothing to dispel that notion as she drew clear for a 3 1/4-length victory over Beautiful Bets.
Peter Vegso's homebred Go Between, guided through a hole along the rail by Edgar Prado, outlasted a determined Up an Octave to win a neck decision in the $100,000 Palm Beach Handicap (gr. IIIT) at 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds on the Gulfstream Park turf Sunday.
Claiborne Farm's 5-year-old mare Wend kicked off her 2006 season with an impressive win in the $100,000 Honey Fox Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares on the Gulfstream Park turf Saturday.
Laue Stable's grade I winner Gun Salute will be one of the top choices Saturday with jockey Cornelio Velasquez aboard in the evenly matched $250,000 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at 1 7/16 miles.
Mike Rutherford's homebred Taittinger Rose mowed down her rivals in the stretch with a bold move on the outside to register her first graded stakes victory Saturday in the $100,000 Sabin Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park.
Favored Silver Tree, with Jerry Bailey working hard for the wire, found the winner's circle for the first time in 2005, making up two lengths on 40-1 shot Demeteor in the final furlong to capture the $100,00 Tropical Turf Handicap. (gr. IIIT) on the Calder turf course Saturday.
Favored My Typhoon overcame a sluggish start to open up a two-length lead in the stretch but was all out to hold off the furious charge of Isla Cozzene by a nose to win the $166,950 Mrs. Revere (gr. IIT) for 3-year-old fillies on the Churchill Downs turf Saturday.
Briviesca shook loose of her rivals in upper stretch and went on to a 1 1/4-length win in the $150,000 Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes for fillies and mares Sunday at Keeneland.
Prohibitive favorite Gun Salute was all out to hold off Cosmic Kris and post a gutsy win in the $250,000 Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIIT) at nine furlongs on the turf Saturday.
Lyon Stables' Miss Fortunate closed strongest of all to defeat Sheer Luck and Whoopi Cat in an exciting finish to the $175,000 Turfway Breeders' Cup (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares at Turfway Park Saturday.
The undefeated Shakespeare blew past grade I winner Meteor Storm in mid-stretch en route to his first graded stakes victory, a track-record win in the Belmont Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) on the turf Sunday.
The undefeated Shakespeare makes his graded stakes debut in the $200,000-added Belmont Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) Sunday at Belmont Park, taking on a field that includes grade I winner Meteor Storm and grade II winner Greek Sun.
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