The fields for six graded stakes on Belmont Park's Oct. 3 "Super Saturday" card are beginning to take form.
- By Vic Zast
Track needs shot-in-the-arm marketing to reverse negative trend. read blog
The Kentucky Derby graded earnings system is gone, thank goodness. No more one-time 2-year-old hotshots getting a free pass and riding the gravy train all the way to Louisville. read blog
In an awesome-looking performance, Vineyard Haven won the $400,000 Champagne (gr.I) Oct. 4 at Belmont Park. The victory would likely stamp him as an early favorite for the $2-million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr.I) Oct. 25, if he was being pointed to the Oct. 25 race at Santa Anita.
Vineyard Haven, Cribnote, Munnings and Break Water Edison, the top four finishers, respectively, in the Hopeful Stakes (gr.I) last month at Saratoga, meet again in the $400,000 Champagne Stakes (gr.I) at Belmont Park Oct. 4.
War Pass, last year's unbeaten champion 2-year-old male and multiple grade I winner who was injured in April of this year, has been retired to stud to William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Ky.
One week after his Golden Slipper victory, Sebring wins the Sire's Produce Stakes, the second leg of the 2-year-old Australian Triple Crown. He will contest the one-mile Champagne Stakes May 3 in an attempt to sweep the series.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro, winner of the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) and the second choice at 9-2 in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) future wager pool number three, schooled in the paddock at Keeneland April 5
The preps are over and the journey to Jersey begins. This past weekend's stakes orgy did not measure up to the stirring stretch battles and top-class performances we saw the previous week. While there were some big efforts and exciting finishes, it was not a good weekend for favorites, with several big-name stars and division leaders going down to defeat.
Scat Daddy gave trainer Todd Pletcher his record 93rd stakes victory in 2006 with a smart win over favored Nobiz Like Shobiz in the 135th running of the $400,000 Champagne (gr. I) for 2-year-olds at Belmont Park Saturday.
Saturday's stakes races at Belmont Park are the final key East Coast preps for horses targeting the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs Nov 4. One of the highlights of the card is the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) for 2-year-olds at a mile.
Top juveniles First Samurai and Henny Hughes will go at it again, this time in Saturday's $500,000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at a mile at Belmont Park against six others.
First Samurai, trainer Frank Brothers' undefeated winner of Saratoga's Hopeful (gr. I), worked five furlongs over Belmont Park's main track handily Saturday morning in :58 2/5. It was the fastest of 42 works at the distance.
Proud Accolade, who won the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) last year at two and the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) earlier this year, has been retired and will stand in 2006 at Satish Sanan's Padua Stables near Summerfield, Fla.
Unbeaten Proud Accolade, ridden confidently in his stakes debut by John Velazquez, dealt heavy favorite Afleet Alex his first loss with a half-length victory in the $500,000 Champagne (gr. I) for 2-year-olds at Belmont Park Saturday.
Marylou Whitney Stable's improving Birdstone put away favored Chapel Royal in the final furlong to comfortably capture the $500,000 Champagne (gr. I) for 2-year-olds at Belmont Park Saturday.
Chapel Royal, the East's leading 2-year-old throughout the spring and early summer, will be out to prove he is more than a sprinter in Saturday's grade I, $500,000 Champagne at 1 1/16 miles. Seven rivals, including Birdstone and Notorious Rogue, will stand in his way.
Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel loves the position he is in with Juddmonte Farms' multiple grade I winner Sightseek. After 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri had her 11-race win streak snapped last weekend in California, the case could be made that Sightseek is better.
Trainer Todd Pletcher had some of his best juveniles out on the track for workouts Sunday morning, including Chapel Royal, Ashado and Limehouse.
Turnover at the 77th New Zealand yearling sale series closed at $47,235,200 for 970 head and experienced a significant drop in the lower end of the market. Receipts for eight days of selling were down 14% on the previous year.
The 79th running of the $100,000 Laurel Futurity (gr. III), featuring Champagne Stakes (gr. I) winner Toccet, heads the De Francis Dash undercard Saturday at Laurel Park.
Azeri did her part in winning Wednesday's Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita, and now it's up to Edward P. Evans' Summer Colony to match her or do her one better when she takes on six talented fillies and mares in Saturday's $750,000 Beldame Stakes.
The sky will not be the limit should the 'Sky' exacta hit Saturday at Keeneland in the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. II). The heavy favorite in the race will be Sky Mesa and the second choice will probably be Lone Star Sky.
Einar Robsham's Pretty Wild, bound for the $500,000 Champagne (gr. I) Oct. 5, breezed four furlongs Wednesday in :48 3/5 with regular jockey Shaun Bridgmohan aboard.
Repent, Minister's Baby, Fabulous Brush and Risky Cat are among trainer Ken McPeek's hopefuls to hit the track at Belmont Wednesday to prepare for important fall races.
A new Pick 3 wager--the NTRA Fall Pick 3--will be offered on Oct. 5 in conjunction with the telecast of three 2-year-old races that day.
A son of Carson City wins the group III Champagne Victor Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.
The Thoroughbred Corp.'s Officer got his first feel for Belmont Park this morning, jogging a lap with exercise rider Simon Harris aboard, the New York Racing Association press office reported. Officer, who has won all four of his career starts, will be a heavy favorite in Saturday's grade I, $500,000 Champagne at a mile and a sixteenth, one of four grade I races including the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup. Officer arrived at Belmont Park yesterday afternoon.
After doing more about-faces than a soldier in boot camp, trainer Bob Baffert has decided that Officer, the leading juvenile in the universe right now, will make his next appearance in the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park Oct. 6 at 8 1/2 furlongs. Officer, by Bertrando, is perfect in four starts, including wins by six, eight, and seven lengths in his first three races. In his most recent effort, the Sept. 5 Del Mar Futurity (gr. II), Officer won, geared down, by 1 1/2 lengths.
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