Daniel Sullivan, president of the Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation, announced that Giant Oak has been selected its 2009 Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male.
Music Note, as expected, swept to victory with jockey Rajiv Maragh in the $600,000 Beldame (gr. I), the first of five grade I stakes at Belmont Park Oct. 3.
Miss Isella, upset winner of the Louisville Distaff (gr. II) last out, looks to build upon that score when taking on eight rivals in the $200,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) June 13 at Churchill Downs.
Getting a patented rail-skimming ride from Calvin Borel, Miss Isella won Thursday's 93rd running of the $169,800 Falls City Handicap (gr. II) by a length over Skylighter on Thanksgiving Day at Churchill Downs.
Spring Waltz, winner of the Rampart Handicap (gr. II) for trainer Bobby Frankel earlier this year, carries top weight of 120 pounds in a full field of 12 fillies and mares for the $150,000 Falls City Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 27.
Leah's Secret, up against an easier field than she faced in two starts this summer, drew clear in the stretch and held off the late charge of Unforgotten to win the $170,400 Chilukki Stakes (gr. II) by a half-length at Churchill Downs Nov. 2.
Millennium Farms' Copper State, a bridesmaid in four consecutive stakes efforts, will finally try to get over the hump Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs when she takes on 10 rivals in the $150,000 Chilukki Stakes (gr. II), a one-mile main track test for fillies and mares.
Bob Baffert scratched morning-line favorite Indian Blessing in the $300,000 Ruffian Handicap (gr. I), but still left himself a chance with his other lesser-known entry, Tough Tiz's Sis. The veteran trainer must have known exactly what he was doing, as the daughter of Tiznow enjoyed the sloppy conditions at Belmont Park en route to a dominating 12 1/4 length victory Sept. 6.
Hal and Patti Earnhardt's homebred Indian Blessing will try older horses for the first time and stretch out past a mile once again, as she battles eight fillies and mares in the $300,000 Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) Sept. 6 at Belmont Park.
Bottled up on the inside and running at a slow pace, Ginger Punch showed her grit as a true champion by splitting horses just outside the eighth-pole and finally taking over at the top of the stretch to earn a hard-fought 1 1/4-length victory in the $250,000 Go For Wand Handicap (gr. I) July 26 at Saratoga.
Last year, Stronach Stables' Ginger Punch romped to a six-length victory in the Go For Wand (gr. I) en route to her Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) win and being named champion older female. The scary part for her competition is that trainer Bobby Frankel says the daughter of Awesome Again is vastly improved as a 5-year-old.
Team Valor Stable's Unbridled Belle successfully opened her 2008 campaign with a convincing victory in the $150,000 Obeah Stakes (gr. III) at Delaware Park June 14.
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