Charitable Man and Dunkirk, who could be the second and third choices behind Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Mine That Bird in the June 6 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), turned in their final works May 31 for the 1 1/2-mile race.
It was a busy May 23 morning at Belmont Park for contenders of the $1 million Belmont Stakes (gr. I) with Charitable Man, Summer Bird, and Dunkirk all breezing on the main track.
William K. Warren's Charitable Man, impressive winner of the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II), will make his next start in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 6, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin confirmed May 20.
Kiaran McLaughlin has been saying for several weeks that Charitable Man is one of the most talented 3-year-olds in the country and he only needed some more seasoning to show it. On May 9 in the $200,000 Peter Pan (gr. II), the son of Lemon Drop Kid backed up his trainer's words, taking over at the top of the lane and powering to a 3 3/4-length score under Alan Garcia.
West Point Thoroughbreds' Justwhistledixie, the morning-line second choice in the May 1 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), was scratched from the race due to a foot abscess.
Though her work was a bit fast for his taste, trainer Hal Wiggins was more than satisfied when his filly Rachel Alexandra made it back to the barn in good shape after zipping through a half-mile in :46 2/5 at Churchill Downs the morning of April 27.
Under exercise rider Joanna Trout, Flying Spur worked four furlongs in :48.40 and was timed in 1:01.80 galloping out another furlong.
West Point Thoroughbreds and partners' Mr. Fantasy, who was once under considering for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), made his case for a run in next month's Preakness Stakes (gr. I) by scoring a 1 3/4-length victory in the $150,000 Withers (gr. III) April 25 at Aqueduct.
Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) contender Fitz Just Right's chances of capturing the lilies came to a halt when a chip was discovered in her right front ankle following a half-mile workout the morning of April 24 at Keeneland.
This Ones for Phil, Mr. Fantasy and Just a Coincidence - all on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) trail earlier this season - top a field of seven 3-year-olds in the $150,000 Withers (gr. III) April 25 at Aqueduct. The $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I) is now the primary goal for each of them.
Stardom Bound, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2008, will have a new jockey when she attempts to get back on the winning track in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) in Eclipse Award winner Garrett Gomez.
When Charitable Man goes to post in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on April 11, it will be his first race in nearly seven months. In his more than 20 years of training, Kiaran McLaughlin cannot remember a time when he entered a horse in a tougher spot.
West Point Thoroughbreds' Justwhistledixie, winner of five consecutive races and a leading contender for the May 1 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), worked a half-mile in :50.40 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin the morning of April 10 at Keeneland.
Darley Stable's Seventh Street broke to an early lead and never looked back, coasting to a dominating 5 3/4-length victory in the $490,00 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) April 4 at Oaklawn Park.
Helen Alexander and Helen Groves' homebred Acoma has been terrific in her last three wins and now the 4-year-old Empire Maker filly will try to add a grade I victory to her resume when facing a short field in the $500,000 Apple Blossom April 4 at Oaklawn Park.
Two-time Eclipse Horse of the Year Curlin and his connections have swept the top awards for 2008, as voted by the members of the New York Turf Writers Association. All of the 2008 award winners will be honored at the 86th annual NYTWA Awards Dinner at the Saratoga National Golf Club Aug. 24.
Mr. Fantasy, third in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III), will not run in the Wood Memorial (gr. I) as originally planned, and will point for the one-mile Withers Stakes (gr. III) April 25, said Terry Finley, president of West Point Thoroughbreds
West Point Thoroughbreds' Fitz Just Right tops a field of 10 3-year-old fillies hoping to grab their first graded earnings and make a late splash on the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) trail in the $150,000 Bourbonette Stakes (gr. III) March 21 at Turfway Park.
Shipping in from California and making his first start on natural dirt, I Want Revenge put away Mr. Fantasy at the top of the stretch and scored by 8 1/2 convincing lengths in the $250,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) March 7 at Aqueduct.
Donn Handicap (gr. I) winner Albertus Maximus continues to solidify his status as America's leading hope for the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) with a bullet workout March 7 at Palm Meadows Training Center.
Shadwell Stable's Lucky Island, who reeled off four consecutive victories in the first half of 2008 before faltering, looks to start his season on a winning note when taking on eight sprinters in the $100,000 Toboggan Handicap (gr. III) March 7 on Aqueduct's inner track.
On paper, the $250,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) has turned out to be one of the most intriguing and highly-anticipated prep races of the season, as a number of promising 3-year-olds will attempt to answer questions about their ability to go on to the $750,000 Wood Memorial (gr. I), and possibly the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
A bang-up edition of the Barbara Fritchie Handicap (gr. II) has attracted eight fillies and mares led by New York shipper Seventh Street, grade I winner Dream Rush, and By the Light from the powerful Richard Dutrow stable. All three will vie for favoritism in the seven-furlong main track test Feb. 14 at Laurel Park.
Kiaran McLaughlin has been training horses for the Maktoum family for 16 years, so when he was asked to "babysit" Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winner Gayego for a few weeks he had no problem at all. On Jan. 2, McLaughlin confirmed that Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin Stables had recently purchased the 4-year-old son of Gilded Time and he will be pointed to the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) later this year.
The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NYTHA) announced the results of its election of owner and trainer directors to its Board Dec. 5. Richard A. Violette, Jr., president, ran unopposed and was re-elected president of NYTHA.
Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Albertus Maximus will be aimed at the Dubai World Cup program after recently being acquired by Sheikh Hamdan's American-based Shadwell Stable.
Shadwell homebred Shakis, who won the Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT) for the second consecutive year this summer at Saratoga, was euthanized at Hollywood Park the morning of Nov. 21 after breaking his hind leg during a workout. The 8-year-old Irish-bred son of Machiavellian was making his final work prior to running in the Citation Handicap (gr. IT) Nov. 29, which was expected to be his final start before beginning his stud career in 2009.
Merchant Marine, third behind Curlin in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr.I), has been sold to Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Farm, said John Fort of Peachtree Stable, who previously owned the 4-year-old gelding.
Shadwell Stable's Alwajeeha stalked the pace under John Velazquez, took over coming out of the turn, and held off a host of rivals to win the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) by 1 1/4 lengths Oct. 11 at Keeneland. The victory was especially sweet for Velazquez, who was involved in a bad spill just eight days before in Lexington.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin's plans changed for two of his graded stakes-winning sprinters, Abraaj and Lucky Island, when the former suffered a slight setback that will force him to miss the $400,000 Vosburgh (gr. I) at Belmont Park Sept. 27.
With the surprising retirement of Benny the Bull and the disappointing effort by Midnight Lute last weekend, all of a sudden the sprint division has become wide open. Should he claim victory in the $250,000 Forego Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 30 at Saratoga, Shadwell Stable's Lucky Island could catapult himself into the upper echelon of those ranks.
Shadwell Stable's homebred Shakis, well-beaten in three starts this season, roared from the back of the pack and nailed War Monger in the final strides to take the $200,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT) for the second consecutive year on the Saratoga grass Aug. 23.
Zayat Stables' Thorn Song has competed well against some of the nation's best turf horses this season -- Einstein and Kip Deville to name a pair. That good company is the main reason the 5-year-old son of Unbridled's Song was installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite and should be a tough customer Saturday in the $200,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT) at Saratoga.
Making her first start around two turns was no problem at all for Irish-bred Genuine Devotion, as she broke from the rail and led every step of the way to take the $171,750 Locust Grove Handicap (gr. IIIT) by a half-length July 6 at Churchill Downs.
Lucky Island showed his greed for speed in the $161,000 Tom Fool Handicap (gr. II), grabbing the lead after bursting out of the starting gate from the one hole and rolling to a 4 1/4 length victory, without a serious challenge, July 4 at Belmont Park in New York.
Shadwell Stable's Lucky Island, an Argentine-bred colt that has won three straight, including the May 10 Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. III), will face the stiffest competition of his short career July 4 in the $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park.
A three-time graded stakes winner, including a dominating five-length triumph in the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) last month, Brereton Jones' Proud Spell will face just three fillies in the $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) June 28 at Belmont Park none of them with any more than an allowance win to their credit.
Since her tough luck loss in last year's Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I), all Ginger Punch has done is reel off five grade I or II victories and collect the Eclipse Award for top older female. On June 14 the Awesome Again mare will return to Belmont for some unfinished business as the overwhelming favorite in the $300,000 Ogden Phipps.
Jeff Singer's Cowgirl's Don't Cry went straight to the front and never looked back, scoring the $150,000 Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) by 2 1/4 lengths under Mike Luzzi to earn the biggest win of her career May 17 at Belmont Park.
Shadwell Stable's homebred Alwajeeha outdueled I Lost My Choo in deep stretch and then held off a late bid by Sweepstake, taking the $125,000 Appalachian Stakes (gr. IIIT) by a head April 16 on the Keeneland turf.
NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner Kip Deville makes his 5-year-old debut April 11 at Keeneland, but will have to take down 10 talented older horses in order to defend his Maker's Mark Mile (gr. IT) title, including multiple graded stakes winner Einstein.
Edward Seltzer's Wow Me Free started slowly and trailed the field around the first turn, but the poor start did little to deter the daughter of Menifee, as she took over in mid-stretch and powered to a convincing 3 -length victory in the $104,400 Next Move Handicap (gr. III) March 29 at Aqueduct.
Kiaran McLaughlin will certainly have the odds in his favor March 29, as the veteran trainer will saddle three of the five entrants in the $100,000 Next Move Handicap (gr. III), a 1 1/8-mile dirt test for fillies and mares at Aqueduct.
Carolyn's Cat won the expected early speed duel from Dill Or No Dill and then never looked back, going wire-to-wire for a 3 3/4-length victory in the $100,000 Cicada Stakes (gr. III) March 15 on the inner dirt course at Aqueduct.
Hal and Patti Earnhardt's unbeaten Indian Blessing, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2007, and winner of the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), tops a roster of 165 3-year-old fillies nominated to compete in the 134th running of the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on Friday, May 2.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin was relieved to find that grade I winner Daaher, who finished a well-beaten third as the 2-5 favorite in the March 1 Stymie Handicap at Aqueduct, was not suffering from any ailments the morning after the race.
Seven former Donn Handicap winners have gone on to compete in the $6 million Dubai World Cup.
The 5-year-old turf specialist goes for another graded stakes victory in the Canadian Turf at Gulfstream Jan. 4.
James Barry's Divine Park looks to make it a perfect 4-for-4 in his young career, but will have overcome post 14 and defeat a full field of challengers in the $250,000 Malibu Stakes (gr. I) Dec. 26 on opening day at Santa Anita Park.
Two-time grade III winner Mustanfar suffered a soft tissue injury to his left front ankle and has been retired to Shadwell Farm.
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