It was business as usual at Churchill Downs when Cat Quatorze, the first horse saddled by new trainer Helen Pitts, who has replaced her former boss Ken McPeek, won Friday.
Trainer Elliott Walden will hang up his training cap at the end of the current Churchill Downs meet to become vice president in charge of racing and bloodstock services for Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm.
Sweet Talker, who clearly loves the turf course at Churchill Downs, should be the solid favorite Saturday in the Regret Stakes (gr. IIIT).
The top three finishers from last year's Elkhorn Stakes (gr. IIIT) are back to renew their rivalry Friday when the $200,000 race is contested at Keeneland on closing day.
- By Ron Mitchell
Trainer Ken McPeek, who conditioned grade I winners Harlan's Holiday, Take Charge Lady, Sarava, and Hard Buck during his 20-year career, is leaving the training game effective July 1 to become a bloodstock agent and advisor.
The connections of two U. S. turf specialists said Thursday they plan to embark on race campaigns this year that will include France's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp Oct. 2.
It looks like Prince Arch is headed to Dubai for the $2 million Sheema Classic (UAE-I) after the 4-year-old captured the $230,000 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup (gr. IT) on the turf Sunday in the colt's 2005 debut.
A couple of classy older horses, Denon and Rochester, head the field for the mile-and-a-half $150,000 Sycamore Breeders' Cup (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland Saturday.
Favored Prince Arch overcame a bump with Good Reward in upper stretch to rally for a resolute victory by a head over Mustanfar in the closing-day $108,200 Saranac Handicap (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds Monday at Saratoga Race Course.
Trainer Ken McPeek hopes to close the 136th Saratoga Race Course meet on a winning note when he ships Prince Arch from Kentucky for the $100,000-added Saranac Handicap (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds at 1 3/16-mile on the turf.
Thoroughbred Charities of America raised $65,000 at its inaugural golf tournament Aug. 17 at the Saratoga National Golf Club in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Proceeds will benefit Thoroughbred rescue, rehabilitation, and research throughout the nation.
Trainer Ken McPeek and jockey Brice Blanc teamed for a second graded stakes win on a yielding Churchill Downs turf course Saturday when Sister Star surprised favored Western Ransom by 3 3/4 lengths in the $221,800 Regret (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-old fillies.
Prince Arch, thanks to a patient ride by Brice Blanc, ended heavily favored Kitten's Joy five-race winning streak in the final strides of the $226,200 Jefferson Cup (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds on the turf at Churchill Downs.
Brazilian-bred Hard Buck rallied on the outside to get up in the final two strides, defeating favored Balto Star by a head in the $190,000 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) on the turf Sunday.
Paper Man and Hard Buck prepare for Palm Beach Stakes, Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap.
Ken McPeek could have starters in the Canadian Turf and the Suwanee River Handicaps. Allen Jerkens is pointing both Bowman's Band and Puzzlement toward the Donn.
The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association will hold a two-day conformation and pedigree clinic at Calder Race Course Feb. 1-2.
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has already saddled more winners of the $200,000-added Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II) than anyone at Churchill Downs, sends out the imposing duo of Be Gentle and Stellar Jayne in Saturday's 60th renewal of the race for 2-year-old fillies.
Lead Story, ridden by Calvin Borel, rallied along the inside on a sloppy Churchill Downs track to romp away in the $334,200 Falls City Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares Thursday by a widening 6 1/2 lengths.
Crafty Shaw's connections are weighing their options after the horse's recent Schaefer Mile win...Take Charge Lady could make her final start in the Nov. 27 Falls City.
Front-running Warleigh nearly pulled off a theft of Sunday's $172,800 River City Handicap (gr. IIIT) on a yielding Churchill Downs turf, but he could not hold off the relentless charge of upsetter Hard Buck in the final stages.
After flirting with the notion of running Take Charge Lady in Saturday's Churchill Downs Distaff (gr. II), trainer Ken McPeek is pointing the Select Stable runner toward a repeat effort in the Nov. 27 Falls City Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.
Galloping Gal displayed her fondness for the grass Thursday at Keeneland, winning the $113,200 Jessamine County Stakes for 2-year-old fillies on the turf.
Stonecrest Farm's Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) contender Perfect Drift, Select Stable's Distaff (gr. I) hope Take Charge Lady, and Team Valor's Juvenile (gr. I) hopeful Tiger Hunt each worked five furlongs in dense fog at Churchill Downs Saturday morning in their last training moves before they fly to California to compete in the Breeders' Cup at Oak Tree at Santa Anita Oct. 25.
Select Stable's Take Charge Lady came out of her impressive 10 ½ -length tally in Monday's Arlington Matron Handicap (gr. III) well and will leave Arlington Park Wednesday evening on her return trip to Churchill Downs, trainer Ken McPeek said.
A sloppy track added a little intrigue to Monday's $150,000 Arlington Matron Handicap (gr. III), but prohibitive favorite Take Charge Lady put an end to any issues on the turn for home, striding out in the home stretch for jockey Shane Sellers to win as she pleased.
Select Stable's Take Charge Lady, a multiple grade I stakes winner with career earnings in excess of $2 million, has been installed as the prohibitive 3-5 for Monday's 67th running of the $150,000 Arlington Matron Handicap (gr. III).
Select Stable's Take Charge Lady, one of the headline attractions in this year's older filly and mare division, is coming to Arlington Park as the starring individual in Monday's grade III Arlington Matron Handicap
Saratoga Notebook: McPeek Thinking Upset; Weight Could Factor; Tagg Rethinks Hopeful; Bond High on Solar Man
When Sarava rocked the Thoroughbred world by winning the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) last June, trainer Ken McPeek may have been the least surprised by the unexpected upset.
Saratoga Notebook: No Budging Tagg; Wild and Wicked in Travers; Sackatoga Breaks Maiden; Mud Delays Sky Mesa
Sackatoga Stable's Funny Cide was worked on by a chiropractor Thursday morning and his status for the Travers (gr.I) remains in question.
Uncharacteristically, trainer Kenny McPeek was a man of few words Wednesday as he talked about Ohio Derby (gr.II) Wild and Wicked's work over the Oklahoma training track.
Observations from those involved with the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky summer yearling sale.
Edward P. Evans' Summer Colony will attempt to become the fifth back-to-back winner of the $750,000 Delaware Handicap (gr. II) Sunday when she faces seven foes in the 66th renewal of the filly and mare classic at Delaware Park.
Juddmonte Farms' Sightseek, a filly who always fires, is the likely favorite in Saturday's $300,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park, but she'll have to beat an extremely tough if compact field.
Saturday's 29th running of the $300,000-added Fleur De Lis Handicap (gr. II) lost one of its major stars when trainer Ken McPeek decided that Select Stable's Take Charge Lady would skip the race.
Select Stable's Take Charge Lady may have earned a spot in the starting gate for Saturday's $300,000-added Fleur De Lis Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs with a sharp five furlong work over the track on Monday.
Select Stable's Take Charge Lady, who was scratched from the Louisville Breeders' Cup (gr. II) on Kentucky Oaks Day when she suffered a bruised foot on the eve of the race, returned to serious training on Monday with a sizzling four-furlong breeze at Churchill Downs.
John Phillips and partners' Sir Barton Stakes winner Best Minister zipped a half-mile in a quick :47 at Belmont Park on Monday as the Deputy Minister colt continued to progress toward Saturday's Belmont Stakes.
Next week's Belmont Stakes (gr. I) lost a possible contender on Saturday when trainer Ken McPeek confirmed that R. David Randal's unbeaten Wild and Wicked would not ship to Belmont Park for the race.
Kenny McPeek, who already has one horse, Best Minister, in the Belmont Stakes field, said Monday he also is considering running Wild and Wicked, unbeaten in two career starts.
Ten Cents A Shine, who finished eighth in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) earlier this month, will make his next start in the $500,000 Arkansas Derby (gr. II) on April 12, owner Ken Ramsey said. The son of Devil His Due worked one mile in 1:38 2/5 at Santa Anita Sunday morning for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
Barrister Hall Stable's Midnight Cry, with jockey Edgar Prado showing the way, caught Chimichurri in the stetch and drew off to win Friday's $100,000 Forward Gal Stakes (gr. III) in a mild surprise at Gulfstream Park Friday.
Ken Ramsey's Ten Cents a Shine, who was transferred from trainer Ken McPeek's care in Florida to Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas in California this past week, worked for the first time over Santa Anita's fast main track Sunday morning, logging five furlongs in 1:01 3/5 handily.
Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's Ten Cents A Shine worked Monday morning in preparation for Saturday's $200,000, grade I Fountain of Youth Stakes for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park in Florida.
Trainer Ken McPeek said Saturday that two of his promising 3-year-olds, Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's Ten Cents A Shine and Stronach Stables Inc.'s Powerful Touch, are being pointed towards the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on March 15.
Ten Cents a Shine, sharpening for a possible run in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. I) Feb. 15, rallied on the outside with jockey Jerry Bailey aboard to finish in a dead heat with Senor Swinger and rider Edgar Prado in the featured $36,000 allowance race for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park Friday.
South Florida is a 3-year-old mecca because of Gulfstream's Florida Derby Series, which starts on Jan. 18, with the running of the $100,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III). The series continues Feb. 15 with the $200,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. I), and comes to a fitting climax March 15 with the $1 million Florida Derby (gr. I).
K.K. & Vilasini Jayaraman's Comic Truth, winner of the Lafayette Stakes at Evangeline Downs, heads a field of 10 2-year-olds entered Wednesday for Delta Downs' $500,000 Delta Jackpot Stakes at a mile Saturday.
The Turf Publicists of America have named trainer Ken McPeek and his wife, Sue, the 2002 winners of the Big Sport of Turfdom Award. The award is presented annually to a person who enhances coverage of Thoroughbred racing through corporation with the media and Thoroughbred racing publicists.
Sarava, winner of this year's Belmont Stakes (gr. I), has been transferred from trainer Kenny McPeek to the barn of Bob Baffert in preparation for a 2003 Southern California campaign that his owners hope will carry him to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, held during the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.
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