Azul Leon became the first graded winner and the second added-money winner overall for North America's leading first crop sire, Lion Heart, with a four-length triumph in the $106,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (gr. III) July 5.
Benny the Bull, the "now horse" of the sprinting world, will face a blast from the past in the $250,000 True North Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park June 7, when 2006 Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Thor's Echo returns to competiton for the first time in a year.
Spring at Last, winner of the 2007 Godolphin Mile (UAE-II), skipped the trip to Dubai this year but will be in action at Aqueduct in the $300,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I) April 5.
Inside Information features Funny Cide, prisoners and horses working toward rehabilitation, and communication between trainers and jockeys on race day.
Steve Asmussen's 3-year-old colts have been in full view on the trail to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The trainer's fillies have been less visible, but his 3-year-old Sky Mom may get her chance to shine in the $200,000 WinStar Sunland Park Oaks March 16.
Lava Man is scheduled to have his first workout of the year the morning of March 12 at Hollywood Park, according to trainer Doug O'Neill.
Connections of Spring At Last, a convincing winner of the Feb. 2 Donn Handicap (gr. I), have decided to bypass the $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) March 29 and aim instead for the $300,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct April 5.
It is all systems go for a trip to Dubai by Spring At Last, who worked an easy four furlongs in :50 1/5 at Hollywood Park Feb. 25 for trainer Doug O'Neill.
Seven 3-year-old fillies, including a pair of Breeders' Cup starters, will contest the Feb. 9 event at Santa Anita.
Lava Man is back at the Doug O'Neill barn at Hollywood Park to prepare for a 2008 campaign.
Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Maryfield earns inaugural female sprinter Eclipse Award.
- By Jason Shandler
- Thoroughbred Racing, Northeast Region, Midwest Region, Southeast Region, Southwest Region, West Region
The 3-year-old Smart Strike colt will look to give Todd Pletcher a record-tying victory Dec. 26 on opening day at Santa Anita Park.
Great Hunter and Spring at Last, two runners for Doug O'Neill that were sidelined by ankle chips, could make their next starts before the end of the year, according to O'Neill. Great Hunter could be headed for the Strub Series, while Spring at Last may earn other trip to Dubai.
Riding on to the track at Santa Anita for the last race of the Oak Tree meet Nov. 4, leading rider Tyler Baze will flip shaded goggles down over his eyes and take a deep breath of the fresh, dry air, and will think of how close he came to losing this, the one pursuit he loves most in life.
Cobalt Blue, who has done his best running close to the pace, flew home from last to win the $200,000 Select Stakes Oct. 27 on the Breeders' Cup World Championships undercard at Monmouth Park.
When it comes to Grace Anatomy, trainer Doug O'Neill has her all figured out. She is a filly with "above average" talent and likes to come from off the pace.
Six horses expected to race in the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Monmouth Park received their final works at Keeneland Oct. 20.
No longer under consideration for the Breeders' Cup after his last-place finish in the Oak Tree Mile (gr. IIT) a week ago, Lava Man is being pointed to the $250,000 California Cup Classic at Santa Anita Nov. 3.
Santa Anita racetrack will unveil racing over the Cushion Track surface Sept. 26 when the Oak Tree Racing Association begins its 39th season.
Emotions are sure to run high when Lava Man attempts to defend his title in the $1-million Pacific Classic (gr. I) at Del Mar Aug. 19.
Noe Garcia, longtime groom to Lava Man who lost his left arm in a serious automobile accident in the early morning hours July 23, is making progress at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla.
Settlement terms have been reached in the lawsuit between owners J. Paul Reddam and Kenneth Ramsey over an alleged injured horse, one day after a jury trial was scheduled to begin in a California superior court.
A dispute over the sale of an injured horse has two of the nation's top owners headed to court.
We all know about Lava Man's dislike for any track east of the Sierra Madres and west of Santa Catalina. And we know his speed figures are not exactly in orbit. And we know he hasn't been beating champions in the Golden State. But Lava Man nonetheless is a true phenomenon, and America needs him badly.
Favored Lava Man joined the legendary Native Diver as the only horse to win the prestigious Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) in three consecutive years when he prevailed by a nose over the gritty A. P. Xcellent in a heart-pounding stretch duel Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Juvenile Champion Stevie Wonderboy, winner of the 2005 Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), has been retired from racing and will stand at Brereton Jones' Airdrie Stud near Midway, Ky.
Lava Man, despite six grade I victories on dirt and grass and earnings of over $4.7 million, has had his knockers, because of his inability to win, or even run well, outside of California. But, on Saturday, he will be home and attempting to make history by equaling Native Diver's record three Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) wins.
Paul Reddam's Great Hunter, who finished 13th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) will miss the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) after suffering a chipped ankle in his right front leg, trainer Doug O'Neill said Saturday.
Sprint champion Thor's Echo, a California-bred 5-year-old gelding who captured the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) last year, has been returned to the Doug O'Neill stable at Hollywood Park after a disappointing winter in Dubai.
Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) winner Lava Man could return to competition for the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) June 30, while quarter cracks have delayed the comeback of juvenile champion Stevie Wonderboy, trainer Doug O'Neill reported May 9.
Several of the connections of this year's Derby horses have more than one shot of winning the big prize.
The countdown to the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) is on and the connections of the 14 fillies expected in the starting gate are eager to race for the lilies on the First Friday in May at Churchill Downs.
Although trainer Doug O'Neill has played a significant role in some of racing's biggest days, on May 5 he will experience saddling a Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contender for the first time. After the defection of his trainee Cobalt Blue, O'Neill will be saddling two horses in the Derby, Great Hunter and Liquidity
- By Esther Marr
The $1-million Yum! Brands bonus that will be offered to this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) victor if he posts a margin larger than Barbaro's 6 1/2-length triumph in 2006 received cautious responses from Derby-bound trainers Tuesday morning on the backstretch at Churchill Downs.
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas holds court for an assembling of media in front of his spotless barn. He's the only trainer without a Derby horse who can still provoke a good half-hour worth of questioning.
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.
To aid in unscientific handicapping (and for the entertainment of trivia aficionados), here are the stories behind the titles of this year's contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Doug O'Neill ruled the Derby roost Friday morning, sending out seven workers at Keeneland, including his three starters for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). When it was over, O'Neill and exercise rider Tony Romero were all smiles.
Great Hunter, Liquidity, and Cobalt Blue all worked sharply at Keeneland Friday in their last major preps for the May 5 Run for the Roses.
Liquidity and Cobalt Blue, two Doug O'Neill horses that are being pointed toward the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), breezed Friday over the Polytrack surface at Keeneland.
Florida Derby (gr. I) runner-up Notional suffered non-displaced condylar fracture of his left ankle Saturday morning at Keeneland and will not run in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), owner J. Paul Reddam said.
Last year's champion sprinter Thor's Echo will be returning to Southern California and trainer Doug O'Neill's care, the conditioner's brother, Dennis, said Wednesday.
Lava Man is scheduled to return to his Hollywood Park base Wednesday night after his trip to Dubai, and trainer Doug O'Neill said it's "reasonable to say" the gelding won't be leaving his home state again.
Octave and Mistical Plan are set for a rematch in the $500,000 Ashland Stakes (gr. I) April 7, going 1 1/16 miles over the Polytrack surface at Keeneland Race Course. In addition to Octave and Mistical Plan, seven other fillies, including High Again and Christmas Kid, are expected in the starting gate.
Garrett Gomez may be best known internationally for his association with Discreet Cat but was in the winner's enclosure after the $1 million Godolphin Mile (UAE-II) which he won impressively on the Doug O'Neill trained Spring At Last.
There's a palpable feeling of optimism around the connections of Lava Man who have observed his initial gallops and overall demeanor since he arrived in Dubai last week for the US$5 million Dubai Duty Free on March 31.
Whatsthescript, an Irish import making his first start for Santa Anita's leading trainer Doug O'Neill, was a dominant winner of Friday's $81,400 Pasadena Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf.
J. Paul Reddam's Mistical Plan emerged from a strong pace battle with the lead and was never headed while leaving the field behind in the stretch run of the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies Saturday.
With several major prep races for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) rapidly approaching this weekend, three prominent trainers discussed Tuesday how their contenders are progressing toward their next start and the first Saturday in May.
Merv Griffin's Cobalt Blue may have raced himself back onto the Triple Crown trail Wednesday with an eye-catching victory in a $53,000 allowance event while returning from five months on the sidelines at Santa Anita.
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