Four international horseracing events including the $300,000 Clasico Internacional del Caribe will take place at El Comandante Racetrack in Puerto Rico on Dec. 6-7.
Front-running Balto Star and jockey John Velazquez took advantage of his deliberate pace to spurt away in the stretch en route to an easy 3 1/4-length victory in Saturday's $150,000 Red Smith Handicap (gr. IIT) over soft going on the Aqueduct turf.
Volponi, who used the Meadowlands Cup (gr. III) as a springboard to victory in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), breezed a half mile in :49 2/5 at Belmont for Friday night's running of the 1 1/8-mile event.
Trainer Todd Pletcher put Capeside Lady back in against New York breds, and the 2-year-old filly enjoyed a laugher, leading at every call to win the $108,900 Joseph A.Gimma at seven furlongs by nine lengths.
Hall of Fame trainer Phil Johnson has decided to follow the same route in October that Volponi traveled to an upset victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) last year.
Their meet titles long since clinched, trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez reflected on their record-setting achievements this summer.
Despite a wet start to the season and the absence of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) winner Funny Cide in the Travers (gr. I), the 135th Saratoga meeting ended Monday with records for attendance and handle.
ader Shoal Water, with leading jockey John Velazquez in the saddle, wore down Sharp Impact in the final furlong to register a 2 1/4-length victory in the closing-day $108,800 Saranac Handicap (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds Monday at Saratoga Race Course.
John Velazquez won his 56th race at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday, breaking the single-season track record.
Buckram Oak Farm's Silver Wagon and jockey Jerry Bailey kicked into gear near the eighth pole and pulled away to register a four-length upset over 2/5 favorite Chapel Royal in the $200,000 Hopeful (gr. I) at Saratoga Saturday.
Saratoga Notebook: Medaglia d'Oro's Foot Blisters; Velazquez on Volponi; Dynever Pennsylvania-Bound; Gygistar in Forego
Trainer Bobby Frankel said Friday that Whitney Handicap (gr. I) winner Medaglia d'Oro popped a pus pocket in a foot this week, a few days after finishing second to Candy Ride in the Pacific Classic (gr. I).
Saratoga Notebook: Velazquez Equals Win Mark; 'Woe Bobby'; Sky Mesa Gallops On; New Face in Spinaway; Sackatoga's Latest 'Episode'
Having already set one Saratoga riding record this summer, John Velazquez equaled another one Thursday afternoon.
Stylish, with leading jockey John Velazquez riding, won her third straight with a surprising burst in the home stretch of the $200,000 Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Saratoga Race Course Saturday.
John Velazquez didn't waste any time Sunday breaking Manny Ycaza's 44-year-old Saratoga record of 41 winners in a span of 24 days. All it took was one race.
Jeffrey L. Nielsen's Island Fashion, a lights-out winner of her last start, proved it wasn't a fluke Saturday at Saratoga Race Course, romping home in the $750,000 Alabama Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies, denying Spoken Fur's bid to sweep the New York Triple Tiara.
Jockey John Velazquez rode five winners Saturday to equal Manny Ycaza's Saratoga Race Course riding record of 41 victories in a season set in 1959.
Saratoga Notebook: Spa Attendance Up, Handle Down; Harlan's Holiday Uncertain for Whitney; Frankel Update
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.
Leading New York jockey John Velazquez can get his Saratoga season off to a strong start astride Hermione's Magic in Wednesday's opening day feature, the $150,000 Schuylerville (gr. III) for 2-year-old fillies.
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.
Joseph V. Shield Jr.'s homebred House Party came from fifth on the turn to blow past her seven rivals for a sharp victory in Friday's $200,000 Prioress Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park.
Dogwood Stable's Heckle broke alertly with jockey John Velazquez and sped home unchallenged in the stretch to post an easy victory in Saturday's $110,200 Tremont Stakes (gr. III) for 2-year-olds at Belmont Park.
Richard Migliore, winner of more than 3,700 races and twice the leading rider in New York, will compete in the June 20 NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship at Lone Star Park. "The Mig" was named to replace fellow New York rider John Velazquez, who could not participate due to a prior commitment.
Storm Flag Flying, seeking to get back to her championship form from a year ago, will break from post 1 for Friday's Acorn Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park. The Ogden Mills Phipps' homebred daughter of Storm Cat out of My Flag will face six 3-year-old fillies in the one-turn mile contest.
Funny Cide is likely to face six challengers when he tries to win the Belmont Stakes on Saturday and become the 12th Triple Crown champion.
Waterville Lake Stable's 13-1 shot Mariensky scored the biggest win of her career Saturday in the $150,000 Sheepshead Bay Handicap (gr. IIT) on a soft grass course at rain-soaked Belmont Park, leaving 3-5 favorite Lilac Queen in her wake.
Jockey Patricia Cooksey, the all-time leading female rider at Churchill Downs, has been named as a finalist for the New York Racing Association's (NYRA) 2003 Mike Venezia Award, which goes to riders who "exemplify extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship."
Eugene and Laura Melnyk's Speightstown, making his first appearance in more than 21 months, upset Breeders' Cup Classic champion Volponi by a long neck in Friday's $56,000 allowance feature at Belmont Park.
Front-running Cyber Secret, a former claimer, handed champion Storm Flag Flying the first defeat of her career in Friday's $107,900 Comely Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Aqueduct Park.
Edward P. Evans' homebred Halo Homewrecker edged past pacesetting Don Six in mid-stretch and held on for a one-length victory in the $150,000 Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at muddy Aqueduct Park.
Cynthia Phipps' Saarland, one of last year's leading Kentucky Derby (gr. I) prospects, won his first race since November on Friday at Aqueduct Park, defeating four rivals in an allowance race as the 7-5 favorite.
It looks a like a big weekend coming up for Todd Pletcher, who will have starters in all three Kentucky Derby preps. Indy Dancer runs in the Wood Memorial, Aristocat goes in the Arkansas Derby, and Lion Tamer is a likely starter in the Blue Grass Stakes.
The subdued effect that war with Iraq is having on the $15.2 million Dubai World Cup meeting was evident at the official draw for the big race.
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).
Smok'n Frolic and John Velazquez went to the lead from the starting gate and never looked back to win the $108,000 Next Move Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct on Sunday.
Paraneck Stable's New York Hero's valiant win in the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds highlighted a five-stakes day at Turfway Park Saturday.
Even-money favorite Ivanavinalot found the winner's circle again after a pair of runner-up finishes to begin the 2003 season, defeating front-running My Boston Gal by 1 3/4 length in the $200,000 Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies at Gulfstream Park on Friday.
My Boston Gal and Ivanavinalot were the fancied runners in Sunday's $150,000 Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II) that drew a field of five 3-year-old fillies at Gulfstream Park, but it was Yell and jockey John Velazquez who did all the hollering.
The conditions were perfect for Starlight Stable's favored Harlan's Holiday in Saturday's $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I), and the world's most famous Ohio-bred responded with a resounding victory.
Michael Tabor's heavily-favored Lion Tamer roared away with Saturday's $200,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park.
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.
Harlan's Holiday, the winner of the 2002 $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I), will make his 2003 debut in a 1 1/16 miles allowance race on Sunday at Gulfstream Park.
Offlee Wild's 27-1 victory in Saturday's $100,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park kicked off what could be a wide open 2003 Kentucky Derby trail.
Eugene and Laura Melnyk's Harmony Lodge, with John Velazquez riding, circled the field on the turn for home and went on win the $100,000 First Lady Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park Sunday.
Xtra Heat, last year's 3-year-old filly champion, was expected to crush her foes in Saturday's six-furlong, $81,650 Garland of Roses Handicap for fillies and mares. But Dat You Miz Blue had other plans.
Daniel Borislew's gritty Toccet posted a 2 1/2-length victory over Bham in Aqueduct's Remsen Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-olds at 1 1/8 mile Saturday.
Joseph Allen's Roar Emotion and jockey John Velazquez dictated the pace and went on to an easy two-length victory over Savedbythelight in Aqueduct's $200,000 Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 mile Saturday.
Texas Glitter, with John Velazquez riding, collared speedy Rocky Bar in the final 100 yards and went on to a 3/4-length victory in Friday's $200,000 Hollywood Turf Express (gr. IIIT) at 5 1/2 furlongs.
Heavy favorite Randaroo, with John Velazquez aboard, led from a few yards out of the gate to the wire to register a convincing victory in Sunday's $111,300 Valley Stream Stakes (gr. III) for 2-year-old fillies at Aqueduct.
Jockey Jerry Bailey and trainer Bobby Frankel are within range of setting single-season records for their respective divisions.
Lovely Amanda, Beautiful America, Haggs Castle and Grey Comet won divisions of the New York Stallion Stakes at Aqueduct Sunday.
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