One of the strangest Triple Crowns in memory has come to an end, leaving being a flood of memories and wild and wacky moments.
It was a bird that won the June 6 Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park, but it was not Mine That Bird but rather Summer Bird that won the final leg of the Triple Crown.
Trainer Tim Ice will scale new heights, literally, when he visits the Empire State Building for the first time June 2. Figuratively, Ice, the conditioner of Summer Bird, hopes to reach the zenith of his burgeoning training career in the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 6.
Farnsworth Stables' Gozzip Girl took all the heat, but was still able to find enough in the final yards to hold on for a 1 1/2-length victory in the $150,000 Sands Point (gr. II) May 30 on the Belmont Park turf.
Parading made it consecutive graded stakes victories when he held off Just as Well in the $150,000 Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) at Pimlico May 16.
Kent Desormeaux, one of Maryland's all-time leading riders and a two-time winner of the Preakness (gr. I), took home the $14,000 first prize in the inaugural Pimlico Jockey Challenge May 15.
As the sun rose over Churchill Downs April 26, WinStar Farm's Hold Me Back posted a solid workout as he continues to prepare for the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Jockey Joe Talamo has pledged $25,000 to Children's Hospital in New Orleans if he wins his first Kentucky Derby (gr. I) May 2.
Stuck wide on the backstretch of the $150,000 Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III), jockey Kent Desormeaux took a chance when he encouraged Parading to take control over his pace rivals heading into the final turn. The decision paid off when Parading ran away in upper stretch on the way to his first graded stakes victory April 19 at wet and windy Keeneland.
Third in the Doubledogdare Stakes (gr. III) a year ago, Donald Adam's homebred Indescribable was much the best in the 2009 running of the $100,000 event, as she pulled away in the stretch to win by 2 1/4 lengths April 17 at Keeneland.
The connections of favored Hold Me Back were gracious in defeat following the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland April 11 and looking forward to running their colt next in the Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) in three weeks. The 3-year-old son of Giant's Causeway finished second, 1 1/2 lengths behind the winning longshot, General Quarters, while carrying the colors of Bill Casner's and Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm, which bred the colt in partnership with Haras Santa Maria de Araras.
Circle E Racing's Mr. Sidney took command at the top of the lane, then outdueled Passager in a long stretch drive to win the $300,000 Maker's Mark Mile (gr. IT) on Keeneland's yielding turf course April 11.
Eight of the nation's top jockeys, including Eclipse Award winners Kent Desormeaux, Edgar Prado, Garrett Gomez, and John Velazquez, will square off in the inaugural Jockey Challenge at Pimlico Race Course May 15, the day before the $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Quality Road turned back a bid from even-money favorite Dunkirk in upper stretch and drew away for a sensational 1 3/4-length victory in the $750,000 Florida Derby (gr. I) March 28 at Gulfstream Park. The son of Elusive Quality set a new 1 1/8-mile course record in 1:47.72.
Dress Rehearsal, a steadily improving Irish-bred filly trained by Bill Mott, turned the tables on prohibitive favorite Criticism to win the $150,000 Orchid Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Gulfstream Park turf course March 22.
WinStar Farm's homebred Hold Me Back overcame a poor break to win the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park in his first start of 2009 for trainer Bill Mott March 21.
Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux will receive the inaugural Bill Hartack Charitable Foundation award at a ceremony at the Harrah's New Orleans Hotel March 12 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Kenny McPeek stole the show in the two highly-anticipated 3-year-old allowance races Jan. 8 at Gulfstream Park. The trainer won both 1 1/8-mile events with second-time starters and now has a pair of good-looking colts to watch for on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) trail.
George Strawbridge Jr.'s Palmilla, the only graded stakes winner in an overflow field of 12 older fillies and mares, tops the wide open $150,000 Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes at Keeneland Oct. 19.
Carriage Trail took over rounding the far turn, opened up a big lead in the stretch and despite drifting out badly, went on to win the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I) in stakes record time under Kent Desormeaux Oct. 5 on the Keeneland Polytrack. The victory earned the 5-year-old mare an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) Oct. 24 at Santa Anita.
Marc Keller's Grand Couturier scored his second consecutive grade I win, coming from off the pace to post a resounding victory in the $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (gr. IT) Sept. 27 at Belmont Park.
Dynaforce repelled a challenge from heavily favored Mauralakana at the top of the stretch to power away to a four-length victory in the $588,000 Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park Sept. 27.
Big Brown made his return to turf a successful one Sept. 13 in the $500,000 Monmouth Stakes, as he sprinted to a commanding early lead under Kent Desormeaux and then gamely held off Proudinsky for the length of the stretch to win by a neck.
Donald Adam's homebred Adriano became a graded stakes winner on a second different surface Aug. 30 in the $501,500 Kent Stakes (gr. IIIT), as he rallied with a strong stretch move to get up by a half-length on the Delaware Park turf.
Mauralakana, given a perfect ride by Kent Desormeaux, swept to her first grade I victory in the $750,000 Beverly D. over the Arlington Park turf Aug. 9, winning her fourth consecutive race for trainer Christophe Clement.
It certainly wasn't as impressive as his wins in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) or Preakness (gr. I), but Big Brown got the job done in the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) before 45,132 spectators at Monmouth Park Aug. 3.
In an effort to raise money for The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, the Race Track Chaplaincy of New York has organized a basketball game between members of the Saratoga jockey colony and the Texas Titans, a 6th grade Texas-based AAU team.
Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux reached a historic milestone at Saratoga Race Course July 27 when he guided Gumpster Stables' Bella Attrice to win the seventh race and notch his 5,000th career victory.
Eaton's Gift, winner of the Swale Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park in February, takes on an inexperienced field in the $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old sprinters at Saratoga July 28.
Front-running Thorn Song slammed the door on prohibitive choice Einstein in the stretch and held on for a one-length victory in the $213,250 Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT) over a yielding Churchill Downs turf course July 4.
Mauralakana had to work a bit harder than she did when taking the Sheepshead Bay (gr. IIT) at Belmont last month, but the talented mare still earned her third consecutive victory and fourth stakes of the year June 21 when she held off a pair of challengers to capture the $242,000 New York Stakes (gr. IIT) by a neck. She became a millionaire in the process.
This is not about Rick Dutrow or Kent Desormeaux or Michael Iavarone. They've been beaten up enough. This is mostly about the victim many people seem to have forgotten: Big Brown, who has fallen out of favor quicker than Roger Clemens. The question is: why?
Big Brown's downfall in the Belmont came in his training regimen.
The loss of the 2004 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) by Smarty Jones still plays in Stewart Elliott's mind, especially around this time of year. He thinks of the pressure going into that race, remembering the media frenzy and build-up of public recognition.
Kent Desormeaux showed Sunday night that his ability to get the most out of a racehorse is not the only talent he has retained from his youth. The jockey displayed good form when throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at New York's Shea Stadium prior to the June 1 night game between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers.
The connections of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Preakness Stakes (both gr. I) winner Big Brown announced a "special presentation" May 23 to the family of the Nassau County, N.Y. police officer critically injured when a drunken driver crashed into his patrol car.
Anyone expecting a "Brown Out" in the 133rd Preakness Stakes (gr. I) May 17 instead received a jolt of electricity from America's newest superstar, Big Brown, whose powerful surge rocked Pimlico Race Course and sent everyone leaving Old Hilltop with stars in their eyes.
Big Brown takes aim at Triple Crown, will ship to Belmont Park May 19.
In a performance that was more like a coronation than a Thoroughbred horse race, Big Brown crushed his 11 rivals in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico Race Course Saturday afternoon by 5 1/4 lengths
Derby winner Big Brown is one of 13 3-year-olds entered for Saturday's Preakness Stakes (gr. I). Post positions will be drawn later this afternoon.
Zayat Stables' Zee Zee zoomed to a front-running victory in the $168,600 Edgewood Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on a wet afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Trainer Barry Abrams is happily soaking up his first Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) experience as his filly, Golden Doc A, prepares to take the gate for the $500,000 race going 1 1/8 miles May 2 at Churchill Downs.
Keeneland reported an average on-track attendance increase of 6.2% but a 5% drop in total handle from all sources based on preliminary figures following the conclusion of the 16-day meet April 25.
Phipps Stable's Dancing Forever came three-wide into the final turn, collared Drilling for Oil mid-stretch, and hit the wire in front to take the Fifth Third Elkhorn (gr. IIT) by a length to close out the Keeneland fall meet stakes program.
Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable's Carriage Trail broke to an early lead and never gave it up, outlasting six rivals in the $125,000 Doubledogdare (gr. III) to win by 1 1/4 lengths in Keeneland's April 18 feature.
By now, just about every superlative has been used to describe Big Brown's performance in the Florida Derby (gr. I). How many times do you think the word "freak" has been uttered since Saturday? Well, there is no doubt that the colt has accomplished freakish things in his brief career, but so did Curlin, and he couldn't win the Derby off three career starts.
by Erin Nuckols - In 1986, Art Gray watched one of his closest friends -- driver William "Billy" Haughton -- die due to injuries suffered in a harness racing collision at Yonkers Raceway. The accident happened about two months after another driver, Dave Dunckley, was killed at Roosevelt Raceway in a similar type of accident.
IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr.'s highly-touted Big Brown proved that all the hype was justified, as he led from start to finish in the $1-million Florida Derby, crushing 11 rivals to win by five lengths March 29 at Gulfstream Park while making just his third career start.
Cool Coal Man took over at the top of the stretch and then held off a stubborn Elysium Fields by a half-length to take the $350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 24 at Gulfstream Park.
The 3-year-old Johannesburg colt cut back in distance to earn his first graded stakes win Feb. 2 at Gulfstream Park.
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