You know it's a strange day on the Triple Crown trail when you have four stakes and the two most impressive horses seen are in a maiden race and a workout. Although heavy favorites Brother Derek and First Samurai emerged victorious, the latter on a disqualification, it still left most people wanting more.
A dozen promising 3-year-olds will line up for the $150,000 Swale Stakes (gr. II) at seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park, a race won last year by California invader Lost in the Fog.
Making his stakes debut, Keyed Entry repelled the 3-5 favorite First Samurai in the stretch to post a determined win in the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds on a sloppy Gulfstream Park main track Saturday.
The first 2006 appearance of leading 3-year-old Florida Derby (gr. I) threat First Samurai in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) and seasonal debut of the promising 3-year-old Barbaro in the $150,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) are among the highlights on a stakes-filled card at Gulfstream Park Saturday..
Saturday's one-mile Aventura Stakes at Gulfstream provides an interesting look into this year's 3-year-old picture. The 14-horse field is an indication of what a competitive group we have in Florida, and the number of trainers who can't wait to hit the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) trail.
Mike McCarty's Private Vow, who ran last in a disastrous Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) effort last month, rolled to a 2 1/4-length win over six rivals in the $222,400 Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) for 2-year-olds on closing day at the Churchill Downs fall meet Saturday.
Mike McCarty's Private Vow, a dazzling nine-length winner of the Belmont Futurity (gr. I) but a victim of horrible luck in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), is a strong favorite in a field of eight 2-year-olds entered for Saturday's 79th running of the $200,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.
Rafael Bejarano brought overlooked Catcominatcha through heavy traffic to prevail over a game High Cotton by a neck in the $116,700 Iroquois (gr. III) for 2-year-olds going a mile Saturday at Churchill Downs.
Stevestan Stable's French Park and Right Place N Time, dazzling winners in their career debuts at Keeneland, are lukewarm respective favorites in the Pocahontas (gr. III) and Iroquois (gr. III), Saturday's pair of Churchill Downs stakes races for 2-year-olds.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who lost handicap stars Roses in May and Kitten's Joy to injuries earlier this year, have a Breeders' Cup contender after all. Their overlooked juvenile Dawn of War sprang a major upset in the $500,000 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) at Keeneland Saturday.
Trainer Patrick Biancone, who will saddle likely $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) favorite Stream Cat, says he's excited about running the colt on Turfway Park's Polytrack.
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