Beautiful Pleasure, voted the 1999 champion older female after winning the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I), died recently in Kentucky because of complications from laminitis.
Owner John Oxley and trainer John Ward confirmed Monday morning they plan to run both Minister's Bid and Dr. Pleasure in Saturday's $1 million Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga.
Business continued its upswing Wednesday night during the second of three sessions at Fasig-Tipton's Saratoga yearling sale, with strong gains in gross receipts and average and a modest gain in the median price.
John Oxley's Snow Dance, winless since April 2002, scored an upset victory over a New York Handicap (gr. II) field that included a three-horse entry from the Bobby Frankel barn on the July 4 holiday card at Belmont Park.
Grade I winner Booklet was victorious in his return to the track in a $59,500 allowance race for 3-year-olds and up Tuesday at Churchill Downs. Under jockey Pat Day, the son of Notebook covered the mile distance in 1:34.68, crossing the wire three-quarters of a length in front of Rock Slide, with Dash for Daylight another three-quarters of a length back in third.
Keeneland had a number of Breeders' Cup contenders on the grounds Monday morning making final preparations for Oct. 26.
Miss Linda and Forest Secrets, both grade 1 winners last year, make their seasonal debuts at Gulfstream Park Friday when they head a field of 12 fillies and mares in the $100,000 Sabin Handicap (gr. III) at 1 1/16-miles.
- By Steve Haskin
Assistant trainer Yvonne Azeff, who was injured Saturday after being thrown and pinned beneath the stable pony, was still unconscious at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla. as of Monday morning, a spokesperson at trainer John Ward's barn said. All tests have proven negative and all her vital signs are good. "She's getting better, but very slowly," the spokesperson said.
Booklet and Harlan's Holiday, the respective first and second place finishers in Saturday's Holy Bull Stakes, are expected to meet again Feb. 16 in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. I), the next step on the road to the Florida Derby (gr. I).
After Monarchos runs third in his comeback, Booklet wins the Holy Bull Stakes for the same connections.
Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Monarchos made his return to the races following a more than seven-month layoff in an optional claiming/allowance race at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, running a non-threatening third in a field of five.
Forest Secrets, with Craig Perret aboard, put away pacesetter Miss Linda at the top of the stretch and charged home for a 1 ¼-length upset victory over Printemps in Thursday's featured $273,500 grade III Falls City for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up at Churchill Downs.
John Oxley's Kentucky Derby hero Monarchos arrived at Pimlico Race Course Wednesday with plans to gallop under regular exercise rider Bryan Beccia Thursday. Trained by John Ward, Jr., Monarchos was accompanied on the flight by 3-year-old stablemate Hero's Tribute and a maiden, as well as the stable pony, and arrived under the supervision of assistant trainer Yvonne Azeff. Ward is due in Baltimore Saturday.
Trainer John Ward's two Kentucky Derby 127 contenders, John Oxley's Monarchos and Hero's Tribute, arrived on the grounds at Churchill Downs at approximately 10:40 a.m. (EST) Monday.
Beautiful Pleasure and Heritage of Gold will begin their rematch from neighboring starting gate stalls as the two drew post positions two and three, respectively, for Friday's $400,000 Personal Ensign Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga.
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