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.
Chilean-bred Babae wins back-to-back renewals of the Athenia Handicap.
All-time New York-bred money-winner Say Florida Sandy edged ever closer to the $2 million mark when he notched this 31st career victory Friday in an allowance race at Aqueduct.
Chimichurri broke alertly and made every pole a winner as she cruised to victory in the 27th running of the $110,400 Tempted Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct on Sunday.
Jockey John Velazquez, the leading rider of the Belmont Fall Championship Meet, watched rival rider Jose Santos win the first three stakes on the New York Showcase Day card Saturday. Then he won the next three.
Leonard C. Green's Rhum used a ground-saving trip to full advantage Saturday afternoon to halt a four-race losing streak and win the $150,000 Ticonderoga Handicap for the second time in three years.
Well Fancied carried John Velazquez through a narrow opening on the rail Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park to capture the $125,000 Hudson Handicap for New York-breds at six furlongs.
Although there are a few mounts still open, the jockey assignments for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships are pretty much confirmed. Of the leading riders, Mike Smith, Jerry Bailey, Pat Day, and Edgar Prado are particularly deep in talent.
Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey went to Long Island Jewish Hospital Monday morning after complaining of discomfort in his kidneys. Doctors discovered a small kidney stone that Bailey should be able to pass naturally.
Dogwood Stable's Boston Bull was easily the best in Sunday's 80th running of the Cowdin Stakes (gr. III) for 2-year-olds, winning by about five lengths at Belmont Park.
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.
Dogwood Stable's Finality took the overland route to a one-length victory over Union Place in the $200,000 Jamaica Handicap (gr. IIT) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 mile on Belmont's inner turf course.
On a rainy day at Belmont Park, Ogden Mills Phipps' favored Storm Flag Flying, in just her second career start, demolished Sunday's 96th running of the $200,000 Matron (gr. I) for 2-year-olds, winning by 12 3/4 lengths.
Carson Hollow stamped herself as one of the nation's top female sprinters Saturday at Belmont Park as she posted an impressive 2 1/4-length victory in the $100,000 Floral Park Handicap (gr. III).
Well Fancied sprang a 7-1 upset in the $75,000 General Douglas MacArthur Handicap on opening day of the Belmont fall meeting Friday, beating a field that included the state's all-time leading money earner, 4-5 favorite Say Florida Sandy.
<b>Saratoga Notebook: </b> Bailey Loses Jockey Battle but Wins War; Stewards Suspend Him for Sunday Infraction; Zito bounces Back
Though jockey Jerry Bailey lost the riding battle at Saratoga this summer, he was a very big winner nonetheless. You could say he won the war.
Owner/breeder Edward Evans, trainer Mark Hennig, and jockey John Velazquez nearly sweep Saratoga's other grade I races.
Summer Colony was pressed through the early and middle stages of the Personal Ensign Handicap (gr. I) Friday at Saratoga, but it didn't faze her at all as she drew off to an authoritative victory.
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