Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze and Texas-based trainer Steven Asmussen wrapped up the 2005 season as North America's leading jockey and trainer by wins.
An internal investigation conducted by new Jockeys' Guild leadership reveals nearly $2.1 million was spent using funds that were earmarked for other purposes during former Guild president Dr. Wayne Gertmenian's tenure, according to a Guild press release issued Thursday.
WinStar Farm's homebred Bluegrass Cat, the 3-5 favorite, withstood a serious threat from Flashy Bull in the deep stretch and drew away from the stubborn challenger to win the 92nd running of the $200,000 Remsen (gr. II) for 2-year-olds at Aqueduct Saturday.
On a day that Todd Pletcher set the North American earnings record for trainers, an ultra-game Magna Graduate proved to be his cherry on top, winning the $573,500 Clark Handicap (gr. II) at chilly Churchill Downs Friday by a head over Suave.
Jockey John Velazquez attained the highest mark in yearly purses ever won by a North American-based jockey with his third-place finish aboard India in the $105,200 Valley Stream Stakes Sunday at Aqueduct. Through Nov. 20, last year's Eclipse Award-winning jockey has $23,355,830 in purse earnings.
As members of the Jockeys' Guild senate attempt to get a handle on the organization's financial situation and prepare for a possible vote on a management change, embattled president Dr. Wayne Gertmenian indicated he intended to follow through on a promise to Guild members that he wouldn't quit.
- By Tom LaMarra
Darrell Haire, one of the more recognizable faces of the Jockeys' Guild as a national member representative who often appears at industry meetings on behalf of riders, on Nov. 9 called for the immediate resignation of Guild president Dr. Wayne Gertmenian.
Indian Vale's chances to win her first graded stakes race were improved dramatically with the scratches of Shebelongstoyou and Personal Legend and the Melnyk Racing Stables homebred took full advantage to capture the $105,800 Turnback the Alarm Handicap (gr. III) by 9 1/2 lengths Saturday at Aqueduct.
Members of the Jockeys' Guild senate have called a special meeting for Nov. 15 to decide whether to remove the current board of directors, elect a new board, and replace the management team headed by Dr. Wayne Gertmenian and his company, Matrix Capital Associates. The jockeys who issued the release left little doubt they want a change.
WinStar Farm's Bluegrass Cat continued his education at Belmont Park on Friday afternoon, winning the $113,300 Nashua (gr. III) for 2-year-olds at a mile by 1 1/4 lengths over outsider Political Force.
- By Tom LaMarra
The board of directors of the Jockeys' Guild will begin examining the organization's financial records at its office in Southern California, but members haven't made a decision on the status of Matrix Capital Associates, the entity that manages the Guild.
The powerhouse jockey/trainer tandem of John Velazquez and Todd Pletcher shipped Honey Ryder to Woodbine Sunday to take the $1 million E.P. Taylor Stakes (Can-I) in game fashion.
Vicarage took the lead after a quarter mile and drew away to a 10-length victory in the $200,000 Perryville Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds Friday at Keeneland.
Favored Adieu showed her credentials as one of the leaders in the juvenile filly division with a game two-length victory in the Frizette (gr. I) over a sloppy Belmont Park track Saturday.
Elisabeth H. Alexander's Magna Graduate took command turning for home and held 54-1 shot Crown Point at bay through the lane to take the $250,000 Pegasus Stakes (gr. III) at the Meadowlands on Friday, opening night of the 2005 Thoroughbred season.
Prior to Sunday's Atto Mile (gr. IT), the biggest knock on TNT Stud's Leroidesanimaux is that all of his previous North American wins had been relatively close races. In winning his eighth straight, the Bobby Frankel pupil took care of that with an authoritative performance on a soft course at Woodbine.
Susan and John Moore's favored Smokey Glacken assumed command soon after the start and glided to a two-length victory in the $109,000 Floral Park Handicap (gr. III) Saturday at Belmont Park, her first graded stakes win since November 2003.
Irish invader Luas Line found Saturday's modest offering of three opponents in the $260,000 Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) much more to her liking than her previous American visit. She buried odds-on choice My Typhoon in the stretch for an easy victory on the Belmont Park lawn.
When Edgar Prado completed a successful meet at Belmont Park this July, he didn't take much time to reflect on the 85-win season. Less than six weeks after shifting his tack to Saratoga Race Course, he scored his final victory for the Saratoga season to take the riding title with 44 wins out of 231 starts.
Glencrest Farm's Honey Ryder enjoyed an ideal trip behind a slow early pace and held off rallying favorite Film Maker to score a neck victory in the $109,200 Glens Falls Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares on closing day Monday at Saratoga Race Course.
The Louisiana invader Happy Ticket made short work of the field in Sunday's $250,000 Ballerina (gr. I) for fillies and mares at muddy Saratoga Race Course, pulling away in the final furlong for her 10th win in 11 career starts.
Flower Alley overtook a sharp Bellamy Road approaching the eighth pole and edged away to win Saturday's $1 million Travers (gr. I) and give the dominating duo of trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez a first victory in the Midsummer Derby.
Pacesetting Leroidesanimaux had things all his own way with John Velazquez in the irons Saturday to win the $200,000 Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT) on the Saratoga turf for the Brazilian bred's seventh straight victory.
A cast of seven fillies will line up for distinction Friday in the 114th running of the Spinaway Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-olds at Saratoga. Last month's Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) winner over the track, Folklore, looks to join 2004 Spinaway winner Society Selection and 2003 star Ashado, both of whom used this race as a springboard to grade I Spa glory.
Jay Em Ess Stable's homebred Suave overcame a stumbling start to give trainer Paul McGee his first Saratoga graded stakes victory, carrying jockey John Velazquez to a 2 ¾-length victory in the $245,000 Saratoga Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at 10 furlongs before a crowd of 55,503.
With four wins on Friday's program, Edgar Prado passed John Velazquez at the midway point of a spirited fight for the 2005 Saratoga riding title.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has a host of Saratoga stakes wins to his credit and hopes to add one more to the list when he saddles Vicarage in Sunday's $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II), going six furlongs.
A bad step just yards from the wire by pacesetter Avery Hall proved costly Thursday at Saratoga Race Course as favored Karakorum Splendor rallied in the final strides to win the $250,000 Statue of Liberty Division of the New York Stallion Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by a nose.
A field of eight older horses is set to line up for Saturday's 78th running of the prestigious Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga. Won by Roses in May in thrilling fashion over Perfect Drift in 2004, this year's edition includes division leader Saint Liam--with trainers Nick Zito and Todd Pletcher entering two starters each.
Jockey John Velazquez turned Ashado loose in the upper stretch, and the champion filly demolished the field in Sunday's $245,000 Go for Wand Handicap (gr. I) before a crowd of 51,982 at Saratoga Race Course.
The only graded stakes winner in Saturday's $500,000 Jim Dandy (gr. II), budding Flower Alley outclassed his 3-year-old foes at Saratoga Race Course to establish himself as one of the favorites for the upcoming Travers (gr. I).
Favored Sand Springs, with John Velazquez aboard, dictated the pace into the stretch before pulling away to an easy victory in the $500,000 Diana Handicap (gr. IT) on the inner Saratoga turf course Saturday.
John Velazquez mirrored tactics used in his Colonial Turf Cup win three weeks ago in Saturday's $750,000 Virginia Derby (gr. IIIT) and produced the same result. With a 3 1/4-length romp, trainer Todd Pletcher's turf standout now has captured two legs of the $5 million Grand Slam of Grass.
A dawdling pace in Saturday's $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup couldn't stop prohibitive favorite English Channel, whose devastating late kick produced an easy 3 1/2-length at Colonial Downs.
A field of six fillies passed the entry box for Saturday's Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park. The 1 1/8-mile contest features a who's who of 3-year-olds and marks the grade I debut of Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) winner Spun Sugar. She'll need to get by Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) star Summerly, though, if she is to take home top prize.
The champion filly Ashado, the focus of concern after she lost her first two starts in 2005, looked like her old self in the Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park Saturday, defeating her four rivals with ease.
A small but talented field of five will vie for a share of the $300,000 purse in Saturday's Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park. The 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares features grade I winners Ashado and Society Selection, along with grade II stars Bending Strings and Daydreaming--each looking for their first grade I score.
A new jockey, weight break and aluminum pads for her sore feet helped make favored Sensibly Chic a winner in the $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares Sunday at Belmont Park.
Undefeated Melhor Ainda made her first graded stakes appearance look easy, winning as the prohibitive favorite in the $111,200 Sands Point (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-old fillies Sunday on the Belmont Park turf.
A field of nine 3-year-olds passed the entry box for Saturday's Sir Barton Stakes on the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) undercard at Pimlico Race Course. Highweight Killenaule, third in last year's Remsen Stakes (gr. II) behind winner Rockport Harbor, and undefeated Pinpoint, under the second-high impost, lead the field.
Jockey Gary Stevens will be the only rider attempting his fourth Kentucky Derby (gr. I) victory this year as he takes the mount on Florida Derby (gr. I) runner-up Noble Causeway, trained by Nick Zito. If Stevens succeeds he will join the rank of Hall of Fame jockey Bill Shoemaker who had four victories from a record 26 Derby mounts.
Keeneland's spring meet ended April 29 with record total attendance and the second highest on-track mutuel handle in history but a decline in total handle and total daily average handle.
When horses from the Todd Pletcher barn go to the track at Churchill Downs for morning workouts, one exercise rider attracts more attention than the others. Observers know his face but often ask themselves, "Is that Angel?" The answer is yes, Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr. is exercising horses for Pletcher,
Heavily favored Melhor Ainda rallied to a decisive victory in the $112,800 Appalachian Stakes for 3-year-old fillies Sunday at Keeneland, giving jockey John Velazquez his eighth straight victory over a three-day period.
Chilean-bred Isola Piu Bella notched her second North American graded stakes victory this year when she drew off for a two-length win in Saturday's $250,000 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne.
Multiple graded stakes-winning Pollard's Vision, ridden by John Velazquez, challenged the 1-2 favorite Badge of Silver and Jerry Bailey in the stretch and drew away to a 1 1/4-length victory under a brisk hand ride in Saturday's $242,500 National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne.
Trainer Tim Ritchey announced Tuesday that Jeremy Rose will ride Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Afleet Alex in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) May 7. Rose has ridden Afleet Alex in every race but one, winning six of his eight starts aboard the colt.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Bandini stepped into the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) spotlight with a brilliant performance in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland Saturday.
Bruce Lunsford's heavily favored Madcap Escapade stalked the early pace of the seven-furlong Vinery Madison Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland Race Course before sweeping around the turn to grab Wednesday's $200,000 feature. Jerry Bailey was aboard for a muddy trip in 1:23.33 after quick early fractions of :21.59 and :43.75.
Champion 3-year-old filly Ashado, who won the 2004 Breeders' Cup Distaff – Presented by Nextel (gr. I) in her last outing, will make her 4-year-old debut in Saturday's Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park.
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