Attendance was up but overall wagering declined during the first week of the Saratoga meet. Meanwhile, Bobby Frankel reports on his stars, Todd Pletcher says Harlan's Holiday is not a definite for the Whitney, and John Velazquez gets the mount on Saarland.
Trainer John Ward said Thursday that he is leaning toward running Sky Mesa in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park on Aug. 3 instead of the Jim Dandy (gr. II) at Saratoga. "I'd say I'm 60-40," Ward said.
On farewell day to Laffit Pincay Jr., a competitive Gold Cup (gr. I), worth $750,000, tops a three-stakes card at Hollywood Park Sunday that includes the $400,000 Swaps (gr. II) and the $250,000 A Gleam Invitational (gr. II).
The well-traveled Harlan's Holiday familiarized himself with new surroundings in Stall 20 in Barn 52 at Hollywood Park Thursday morning after completing his first trip to California for the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) Sunday.
Stonerside Stable's Congaree was confirmed as a starter for Sunday's $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup by trainer Bob Baffert after the 5-year-old son of Arazi worked five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 handily over the fast main track at Hollywood Park Tuesday morning.
Harlan's Holiday, scratched Saturday from the Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park, will be flown from New York to California on Thursday to compete in the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) Sunday, trainer Todd Pletcher informed the racing office.
Iron Deputy, the least-heralded of the five runners in Saturday's $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II), used a big break in the weights and his own speed to score a front-running 2 ½-length victory in the nine-furlong race.
A short but select field of six older runners were entered for Saturday's $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park, including Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Volponi and graded stakes winners Harlan's Holiday and Evening Attire.
William S. Farish's homebred Mineshaft, winner of the Pimlico Special (gr. I), and Flaxman Holdings' Aldebaran, winner of the Churchill Downs Handicap (gr. II) and Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) in his last two races, top the list of likely starters from a star-studded group of 32 horses nominated for Churchill Downs' $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I).
For the second consecutive year, the Ohio Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders' Association has named Harlan's Holiday Horse of the Year. The Horse of the Year and divisional honors were presented at an awards dinner March 29.
Godolphin Racing's Moon Ballad took advantage of his brilliant speed to capture the $6 million Dubai World Cup in front-running style Saturday night at Nad Al Sheba, giving the Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum-owned stable and jockey Frankie Dettori three victories on the rich card.
Godolphin and trainer Saeed bin Suroor appears to have all options covered for the way Saturday's Group I Dubai World Cup will be run. Now it is a question of whether Moon Ballad and Grandera have what it takes to secure the stable their fourth win in the race.
The heat is on in Dubai. It can be felt not just from the baking sun that beats through the hazy skyline, but among the trainers who have produced the strongest ever numerical raiding party for Saturday's $15.2 million World Cup meeting.
John Velazquez, who piloted Harlan's Holiday to victory in the Donn Handicap (gr.1) at Gulfstream Park last month, has decided to fly to Dubai to ride the four-year-old colt in Saturday's Dubai World Cup (UAE-I).
The U.S. will field a team of 13 horses at the Dubai World Cup meeting on Saturday, March 29. All the intended runners, including Harlan's Holiday and Blue Burner in the World Cup, have now arrived in Dubai. All but Xtra Heat, who shipped in a week early, landed in Dubai late on Sunday March 16.
California-based trainer Jeff Mullins says he will not alter plans to participate in the March 29 Dubai World Cup card at Nad al Sheba racecourse in the United Arab Emirates despite a travel warning issued by the State Department to U.S. citizens currently in or traveling to that country.
Starlight Stable's Harlan's Holiday, who already owns one career Grade 1 victory at Gulfstream Park, here, will try and match his victory in last year's Florida Derby against ten rivals in Saturday's $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) at 1 1/8 miles.
Starlight Stable's Harlan's Holiday, winner of the Florida Derby (gr. I) last year, made a triumphant return to Gulfstream Park Sunday, taking an allowance race by 1 3/4 length in preparation for the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) on Feb. 22.
Trainer Mark Casse had his undefeated stakes-winning 3-year-old colt Added Edge work five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 on Sunday. It was the second fastest trial of the day for that distance. Added Edge is slated to make his 2003 debut in the Holy Bull Stakes on Saturday.
Harlan's Holiday, winner of the 2002 Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream, was expected to make his 2003 seasonal debut in the Hal's Hope (gr. III) Saturday at the South Florida track, but those plans went awry, according to trainer Todd Pletcher.
Trainer Todd Pletcher is considering both the $400,000 Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs and the $350,000 Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I)at Aqueduct for Harlan's Holiday. The Clark will be contested on Friday and the Cigar on Saturday.
Ivanavinalot, morning-line third choice for Saturday's Long John Silver's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), was scratched Thursday morning. Breeders' Cup officials said the daughter of West Acre, trained by Kathleen O'Connell, had developed a fever and been treated with medication.
Evening Attire turns in big effort in JC Gold Cup...Repent, Macho Uno disappoint as favorites...Hawk Wing defeated again...Goodwood, Meadowlands Cup on tap...3-year-olds dominate BC point leaders...Tenpins game in Arlington score
The biggest question surrounding the weekend's races is the weather. Rain was falling Thursday when entries were taken for Saturday's $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at Belmont, and more rain is forecast for Friday.
Harlan's Holiday, coming off a win I the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) and heading to the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), should be an overwhelming choice Friday night in the Pegasus Handicap (gr. II) at the Meadowlands.
It was a professional ride from a professional rider. After classic setbacks--a disappointing seventh aboard Kentucky Derby (gr. I) favorite Harlan's Holiday, and fourth aboard him again in the Preakness (gr. I)--Edgar Prado finally landed the big one aboard Sarava. While he's always been on the stage, this is Prado's first moment under the heat of the spotlight.