To set the stage for Hansel's Belmont victory, one must go back to Churchill Downs, where the colt had thrown in an inexplicably bad performance in the Kentucky Derby, finishing 10th after looking like a winner at the top of the stretch.
StarLadies Racing, headed by Laurie Wolf and Barbara Lucarelli, have Eskenformoney for the May 1 Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) from their first band of runners. The Eskendereya filly was a $225,000 yearling buy in 2013.
Frank Brothers was a Thoroughbred trainer for nearly four decades, saddling 2,359 winners at a 22% rate, with half of his 10,440 starters finishing in the money while earning $48.9 million in purse money since 1974.
Starlight Racing's Candy Kitty charged through an opening to the outside of battling front-runners and kicked clear to win the $100,000 Ginger Brew Stakes for 3-year-old fillies Jan. 5 at Gulfstream Park.
Jockey Justin Vitek, a native of Wallace, Texas, who found his greatest success on Midwest circuits, succumbed to acute myelogenous leukemia on the morning of Jan. 28 at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He was 36.
Big Glen, eighth after a half-mile, made a sweeping, six-wide move around the second turn, caught the leader at the top of the stretch, and drew away to win by 1 1/4 lengths Feb. 2 in the WEBN Stakes on the Turfway Park Polytrack.
Despite having her five-race win streak broken last month, Talkin About Love will be a formidable foe in the $250,000 Inside Information Breeders' Cup Stakes at Monmouth Park Oct. 26, a test for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16-miles on the main track.
Bel Air Beauty had not won in more than a year. As it turned out, all the 3-year-old filly needed was a return trip to Keeneland to earn her second career victory. Receiving a patient stalking trip from jockey Mark Guidry, Bel Air Beauty hung five-wide throughout the backstretch, followed the leaders, and then made a decisive move in the stretch en route to a two-length victory in the $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View Stakes (gr. IIIT) Oct. 19 on the Keeneland turf.
Bruce Lunsford's Tessa Blue blew off the final turn more than four lengths in front and kept rolling to the easiest of victories for her first graded stakes win in the $406,500 Indiana Breeders Cup Oaks (gr. III) the night of Oct. 5 at Hoosier Park.
With owners Bruce Lunsford and Lansdon Robbins III looking on, Kentucky Derby (Grade I) contender First Samurai completed his major preparation for Saturday's $750,000-added Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) with a strong half-mile workout on Monday at Churchill Downs.
Bruce Lunsford and Lansdon Robbins III's First Samurai, winner via disqualification of the Fountain of Youth (gr. II) in his most recent start, continued his preparation for Keeneland's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) with a strong seven-furlong work Monday at Churchill Downs.
Paraneck Stable's Achilles of Troy, the beaten favorite in Saturday's Gotham (gr. III), has come out of the race with muscle spasms in his back and will likely make his next start in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II).
A four-month layoff and an unfamiliar surface might have given Laity pause early on in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday, but by the end he was zeroed in on the finish line, holding off a blazing late charge to win by half a length.
Though beaten in his first try at two turns, the 3-5 favorite First Samurai was awarded victory in the $300,000 Fountain of Youth (gr. II) Saturday at Gulfstream Park when stewards disqualified the inexperienced Corinthian for weaving in the stretch.
Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park will mark the first time First Samurai has traveled two turns and has gone 1 1/8 miles, but neither factor has trainer Frankie Brothers too concerned.
In his first workout since finishing second in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 4, Bruce Lunsford and Lansdon Robbins III's 3-year-old First Samurai drilled five furlongs in :59 2/5 Thursday morning at Gulfstream Park.
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..
With co-owner Bruce Lunsford looking on from the new Gulfstream Park clubhouse, leading Hutcheson Stakes (gr. III) contender First Samurai breezed a half-mile from the starting gate Saturday morning with his new jockey Edgar Prado aboard.
Leading Classics contender First Samurai breezed six furlongs in 1:14 at Gulfstream Park Saturday morning as he continues to work toward his expected season debut in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) at seven furlongs on Feb. 4.
The highly regarded Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prospect First Samurai continues to work toward his much-anticipated 3-year-old debut, breezing five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 Saturday morning at Gulfstream Park.
Todd Pletcher, who two weeks ago set a North American record for earnings in a year by a trainer, submitted the names of 17 horses for early-bird nomination to the April 1 Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park.
Battle-tested Battle Won got a tour of the Belmont Park layout Thursday morning, but when he faces Lost in the Fog and the other 10 entrants in the TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), it won't be his first start over the track. The 5-year-old gelding, owned by Jay and Gretchen Manoogian and trained by Chuck Simon, raced at "Big Sandy" back during his 3-year-old campaign under different circumstances.
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.
Claiborne Farm's pacesetting Laity shook loose from favored Dawn of Wars at the head of the stretch and rolled to an impressive 11 3/4-length win in the $200,000 Miller Lite Cradle for 2-year-olds at River Downs Monday.
An anticipated stretch battle between the unbeaten colts First Samurai and Henny Hughes never materialized when prohibitive choice Henny Hughes offered no response in the $245,000 Hopeful (gr. I) for 2-year-olds Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
A field of five juveniles has drawn in for Saturday's 101st running of the prestigious Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. Annexed last year by dual classic winner Afleet Alex, undefeated Henny Hughes and First Samurai lead this year's cast postward.
Bruce Lunsford's Madcap Escapade joined the equine millionaire ranks with an impressive 5 ¼-length victory in the $500,000 Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. II) on the "Summit of Speed" card Sunday at Calder Race Course.
Undefeated Happy Ticket will be looking for her 10th straight victory in Saturday's Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. II) at Calder Race Course, but the Andrew Leggio Jr. trainee will have to get past multiple graded stakes winner Madcap Escapade for the win.
Making her first start since April 30, the brilliant filly Madcap Escapade won Saturday's $150,000 Shirley Jones Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park in little more than a canter after overcoming a terrible start.
Madcap Escapade and Society Selection, two of the nation's best 3-year-old fillies last year, head a list of 17 named to the $150,000 Shirley Jones Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at seven furlongs Feb. 19 at Gulfstream Park.
Bruce Lunsford's Madcap Escapade, winner of the Ashland (gr. I) and third in her only career loss in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), returned to serious training on Friday with a sharp three-furlong breeze over a "sloppy" track at Churchill Downs.
Bruce Lunsford's Madcap Escapade, winner of the Ashland (gr. I) and third in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), is out for the year following the discovery of a hairline fracture in the 3-year-old filly's hip.
The unbeaten filly Madcap Escapade is among 14 late nominations to the 2004 Visa Triple Crown and $5-million Visa Triple Crown Challenge. The addition of the late nominations, for which a $6,000 fee was required before March 27, makes this year's total of 448 nominees the third largest overall since the birth of Triple Crown Productions in 1986.
Bruce Lunsford's 3-year-old filly Madcap Escapade turned the $150,000 Forward Gal (gr. II) against four opponents Saturday into a procession, galloping to a 4 3/4-length front-running victory at Gulfstream Park.
Growing up in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Wayne Catalano learned early to fight for what he wanted. It was the kind of neighborhood where you didn't back down. "Life started out hard for me," Catalano said. "My mother raised five kids by herself. We weren't exactly what you call rich."