Whoopi Cat worked hard to get past Unbridled Beauty but did so to win the Adirondack (gr. II) at Saratoga on Monday.
Saratoga Notebook: Bird Town Off Schedule; Friday Jog for Funny Cide?; Volponi's Blood Test; Shug on Possibility
A scheduled work for Bird Town was interrupted by weather; Funny Cide may jog Friday; Volponi is undergoing a blood test; trainer Pletcher and owner Dogwood face decisions; plus lots of other news and notes from the Spa.
Still unsure of the cause, trainer Barclay Tagg said Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide was on the improve after spiking a fever of 102 Monday morning.
Jockey Edgar Prado will ride Haskell Invitational runner-up Sky Mesa in the Aug. 23 Travers Stakes. Prado took off Sky Mesa, whom he had ridden in the colt's four previous career starts, to ride Peace Rules to victory in the Haskell.
Peace Rules, ridden by Edgar Prado, was an easy front-running winner of Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at Monmouth Park, giving owner Edmund Gann and trainer Bobby Frankel a sweep of the nation's weekend grade I stakes.
Marylou Whitney Stable's 2-year-old homebred Birdstone, a half-brother to multiple grade I winner Bird Town, won his debut at Saratoga Saturday by 12 1/2 lengths.
Saratoga Notebook: Top 3-Year-Olds Work; Prado Opts for Peace Rules; Volponi Ready for Whitney; Alabama Target for Awesome Humor
Empire Maker, Peace Rules and Sky Mesa all worked Saturday morning on the main track at Saratoga Race Course in preparation for their scheduled starts in stakes races on Aug. 3.
Uncharacteristically, trainer Kenny McPeek was a man of few words Wednesday as he talked about Ohio Derby (gr.II) Wild and Wicked's work over the Oklahoma training track.
Edgar Prado rode four winners, including Ashado in the $150,000 Schuylerville (gr. II) on a rainy Wednesday afternoon, opening the 135th Saratoga Race Course season with a strong start in his bid to defend his Spa jockey title.
On Thursday, July 24, the second day of the meet, all fans (with paid admission), will take home an Edgar Prado bobblehead doll in honor of Saratoga's leading jockey from 2002.
In the much-anticipated return of Sky Mesa, it was Eugene and Laura Melnyk's rapidly-improving Strong Hope who held on for victory in Sunday's $150,000 Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) by a head over Nacheezmo, with Sky Mesa settling for a non-threatening third.
James F. Edwards' Princess Dixie controlled the pace with a gate to wire victory in Sunday's $114,300 Mount Vernon Handicap for New York-bred fillies and mares at Belmont Park.
Edgar Prado turned in a first, second and third-place finish Friday night at Lone Star Park to edge Shane Sellers by a point for the title in the 2003 NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Edmund Gann's Peace Rules, breezed a half mile over Belmont's main track in :48 Friday morning in his first workout since finishing a distant fourth behind Visa Triple Crown hopeful Funny Cide in the May 17 Preakness (gr. I). NYRA clockers caught the colt galloping out five furlongs in 1:00 4/5.
Lightly-raced Dynever collected his third straight win with an impressive 1 1/2-length victory over graded stakes winner Most Feared in Saturday's $500,000 Lone Star Derby (gr. III) at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Buckram Oak Farm's Najran shattered the one-mile track record at Belmont Park on the opening day card with an impressive victory in the Westchester Handicap (gr. III). His time for the one-turn mile was a blistering 1:32.24.
Star Track Farms' colt Grey Comet and Peter E. Mariano's filly Hanselina each won a division of Sunday's $150,000 New York Stallion Stakes for 3-year-olds at Aqueduct Park.
It looks like trainer D. Wayne Lukas will be bringing another surprise package to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) after his lightly regarded colt Scrimshaw and jockey Edgar Prado scored a three-length victory in Saturday's $363,675 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Keeneland.
Michael Tabor's 7-1 shot Smooth Jazz took full advantage of his inside post, gunning to the front with jockey Edgar Prado and pulling away in the stretch to score a three-length upset over 4-5 favorite Crafty C.T. in Sunday's $273,750 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Keeneland.
With handicap division leader Harlan's Holiday several thousand miles away in Dubai, John Oxley's favored Hero's Tribute took full advantage to tally an easy victory in Saturday's $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II).
Mansell Stables' Quest Star and jockey Edgar Prado dictated the pace from the start and scored a sharp 1 3/4-length victory over 3-5 favorite Man From Wicklow in the $200,000 Pan American Handicap (gr. IIT) on the lawn at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
When The Name's Bond scored his first career added-money victory and shattered a track record at the Ocala Training Center Monday, his trainer, Frank Gomez wasn't surprised.
Gold Mover won her second straight $100,000 Hurricane Bertie Handicap on Sunday, beating favorite Harmony Lodge by 3 1/2 lengths at Gulfstream Park.
Barrister Hall Stable's Midnight Cry, with jockey Edgar Prado showing the way, caught Chimichurri in the stetch and drew off to win Friday's $100,000 Forward Gal Stakes (gr. III) in a mild surprise at Gulfstream Park Friday.
Edmund Gann's Peace Rules, a late entrant to Sunday's $750,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds, spoiled the supposed showdown between Kafwain and Badge of Silver with a convincing victory in his first stakes race on dirt.
Trainer Patrick Biancone's Whywhywhy hit the Gulfstream Park track Thursday morning, working a solid five furlongs in 59 seconds. Whywhywhy is pointed toward the March 15 Swale Stakes, on the Florida Derby (gr. I) undercard.
Milwaukee Brew joins John Henry as the only back-to-back Big 'Cap winners after a classic struggle with Congaree.
Dogwood Stable's Hypnotist and jockey Jerry Bailey held off White Cat and Edgar Prado by a neck Sunday in winning the $75,000 Dave Feldman for 3-year-olds on the turf at Gulfstream.
Heavy favorite Excessive Pleasure set all of the fractions but could not hold off Valid Video in an all-out stretch run in the $250,000 Ocala Stud Sunshine Millions Dash for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Saturday.
Edgar Prado is the 54th winner of the 2003 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, Santa Anita Park announced Thursday.
Jeri and Sam Knighton's multiple stakes winner Request for Parole, fifth in last year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I), made his 4-year-old debut sucessful Wednesday, defeating an optional claiming/allowance field at Gulfstream Park.
South African Douglas Whyte earned points in all three races Wednesday night at Happy Valley Racecourse to become the first Hong Kong-based rider to win the International Jockeys' Championship.
Jockey Russell Baze celebrated Thanksgiving Day by winning his 400th race of the year Thursday at Golden Gate Fields.
Union Place, winner of the Calder Derby in his last start Oct. 12, galloped one mile on Hollywood Park's main track Wednesday under exercise rider Juan Aracena for the $500,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) on Sunday.
Jockey Jerry Bailey and trainer Bobby Frankel are within range of setting single-season records for their respective divisions.
Thunderello, who was pulled up in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (gr. I) on Saturday at Laurel Park, broke the splint bone and chipped the sesamoid bone in his left foreleg, said his trainer, Scott Lake. Lake said X-rays taken the day after the race confirmed the injuries.
Select Stable's Take Charge Lady took aim on an expected start in the $250,000-added Falls City Handicap (gr. II) Nov. 28 with a sharp five-furlong work on Friday over her home track at Churchill Downs.
Without the presence of Sky Mesa or Whywhywhy, Einar Robsham's Pretty Wild figured to be tough in the Oct. 5 Champagne (gr. I). Pretty Wild, a son of longshot Alabama (gr. I) winner Pretty Discreet, went to the post the 6-5 favorite in the Champagne and ran awful, finishing a distant fourth.
French-based Domedriver held off a stiff challenge from 4-5 favorite Rock of Gibraltar to post a three-quarter length victory in the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I). The race was marred by the breakdown of Landseer, who broke a cannon bone shortly after the field entered the stretch.
Although there are a few mounts still open, the jockey assignments for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships are pretty much confirmed. Of the leading riders, Mike Smith, Jerry Bailey, Pat Day, and Edgar Prado are particularly deep in talent.
Robert Colton, David Flores, Richard Migliore, Mario Pino and Edgar Prado have been nominated for the 2003 George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, Santa Anita Park announced.
Take Charge Lady, Xtra Heat lead Bluegrass parade of Breeders' Cup contenders.
Making his first United States start, Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier's Landseer may have landed a spot in the Breeders' Cup Oct. 26 by winning the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland Sunday
Perfect Story, a half-sister to 2001 Preakness, Belmont and and Travers (all gr. I) winner Point Given, ran a powerful debut race for owner John Oxley Saturday at Keeneland, losing by about a length to Belle of Perintown after taking the lead in the stretch with a wide move.
After two near-misses in grade I turf stakes to With Anticipation, Denon took advantage of a rail-saving ride to score a narrow win in Sunday's $750,000 Belmont Turf Classic (gr. IT).
Trainer Ken McPeek said Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) favorite Repent came out of Saturday's big race in good order, making the colt's seventh-place finish even more puzzling.
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.
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