A million-dollar international race doesn't usually serve as practice for a $300,000 stakes in Maryland. But following a script that was part wisdom and part luck, the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) turned out to be a dress rehearsal for the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (gr. I) Nov. 17 at Laurel Park.
Headley & Molasky's Kona Gold heads a field of seven in the $300,000 grade I Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park on Saturday. Eclipse Award honors in the sprint division hinge on the outcome.
Kona Gold, champion sprinter of 2000, was to board a plane in California Tuesday and fly to Maryland to take on Xtra Heat, the local heroine, in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Nov. 17 at Laurel Park.
The toughest race on the card? Usually the Sprint (gr. I). And this year is no different.
Workouts on West Coast in preparation for Oct. 27 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Racing Championships in New York.
If the over and under on the number of Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) runners who had their final prep in England or France was 25, you would probably take the under, wouldn't you? This writer would have. But, counting them up shows 27 Sprint starters have shipped in from France or England. And, not surprisingly, more have finished last -- six -- than first -- one.
A contingent of Southern California horses competing in the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships is scheduled to ship to New York on Oct. 23.
Breeders' Cup Juvenile hope Came Home and Juvenile Fillies contender Habibti worked at Santa Anita Thursday.
Swept Overboard earned a ticket to the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Oct. 27 at Belmont Park, rallying from last to outrun defending Sprint champion Kona Gold and capture the $207,100 Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicap at Oak Tree at Santa Anita Saturday.
Saturday will mark the fourth consecutive appearance for 7-year-old defending champion Kona Gold in the $200,000 Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicap as the Java Gold gelding gets his final test in advance of the Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park Oct. 27.
The game plan for Freespool isn't any secret as the unabashed front-runner heads into Saturday's grade I $200,000 Ancient Title Handicap at Oak Tree at Santa Anita.
Breeders' Cup Sprint Report--10/1/2001
Several races with Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) implications were run last weekend. But the race featuring the marquee name in sprinting is still out there on the horizon.
In a much-anticipated showdown, Kona Gold defeats Caller One in the Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap.
Champion sprinter Kona Gold scored his second consecutive Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) Sunday at Del Mar, defeating Caller One by three-quarter lengths in the $196,000 race. The win extends Kona Gold's current winning streak to seven races.
Headed by Eclipse Award sprinter Kona Gold, a field of six swifties was entered Friday morning for Sunday's 56th running of the grade II, $200,000 Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap at 6 furlongs on the main track.
The 7-year-old gelding Kona Gold had plenty to contend with when the $200,900 Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) got underway on April 1. But in the end, the champ prevailed by a desperate neck. Hollycombe and Explicit finished in a dead heat.
Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Kona Gold will face only three challengers when he carries top weight of 126 pounds in Sunday's grade II Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs. The Java Gold gelding, who carried 125 pounds to win the March 4 San Carlos Handicap, will be spotting the field from 11 to 16 pounds as he seeks his sixth consecutive victory.
A field of eight has entered Sunday's $150,000 San Carlos Handicap for older horses sprinting seven furlongs. The San Carlos has been upgraded to grade I status by the graded stakes committee for 2001. Kona Gold will carry high weight of 125 pounds, spotting the field from 11 to 14 pounds and will break from outside post No. 8 under regular rider Alex Solis.
While Kona Gold rightfully deserves the majority of the attention in the sprint division following his Eclipse Award-winning season in 2000, it's stablemate Son of a Pistol who will be defending his crown in the 63rd running of the grade I San Carlos Handicap Sunday.
A new track and race record in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) and five graded stakes wins for the year helped in Kona Gold's unanimous selection as North America's top sprinter for 2000.
Horse of the Year titles come in all sizes, from a year's worth of heroics to a single moment of glory. In 2000, it came in the size of Tiznow's neck. That's all it took to turn the name of Tiznow from a faint whisper before the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) to a deafening roar after it.
Champion sprinter Kona Cold was among the seven horses entered for Sunday's 49th running of the Palos Verdes Handicap, but was scratched out of the race due to his weight assignment. The 7-year-old gelded son of Java Gold started last year's championship campaign with a win in the Palos Verdes and was assigned top weight of 126 pounds for Sunday's renewal.
The unanimous choice for champion sprinter of 2000 would have faced last year's second- and third-place Palos Verdes finishers -- Big Jag and Freespool, respectively. Big Jag has been assigned 120 pounds and Freespool 116.
Horse of the Year nominee Kona Gold is scheduled to breeze Monday or Tuesday in advance of his first start of the year in next Sunday's grade II Palos Verdes, according to trainer Bruce Headley. Nine older sprinters have been nominated to the Jan. 28 grade II, $200,000 Palos Verdes Handicap, including Breeders' Cup Sprint champion and Horse of the Year finalist Kona Gold.
Godolphin Racing's Dubai Millennium, the impressive six-length winner of the Dubai World Cup, has been accorded top weight of 134 on the International Classifications announced in London Wednesday. Among horses trained in the U.S. on the International Classification, sprinter Kona Gold and Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus both were rated at 127 pounds. That placed Kona Gold behind only Dubai Millennium and Montjeu (130 pounds) on the older horse list and Fusaichi Pegasus' weight assignment exceeded only by Sinndar.
The votes are in and the major players are in New Orleans for tonight's Eclipse Awards dinner. In addition to Horse of the Year, Eclipse Awards will also be presented for other equine and human achievements during 2000. Complete results and profiles of the winners will be posted on Bloodhorse.com at 10:30 p.m. (ET). An Eclipse Awards Special will air on ESPN2 on February 4 from 4:00-5:00 p.m. (ET).
Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Kona Gold breezed five furlongs in 1:05 Sunday at Santa Anita. Also working Sunday were Hawksley Hill, Full Moon Madness, and Manndar.
Racing over a Churchill Downs main track that was playing extremely fast on Breeders' Cup Championship Day, Kona Gold set a track record of 1:07.77 for six furlongs when he won the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
Breeders' Cup Sprint hopeful Five Star Day cleared a couple of major hurdles on Wednesday. The Beau Greely trainee was named as one of the 14 preferred entrants in the Sprint and he turned in a solid training move in his next-to-last work before the Breeders' Cup.
Kona Gold settled behind This Tune Can Hum through the early going before rallying to win the $196,498 Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) by three lengths Saturday at Santa Anita. Under Alex Solis, Kona Gold completed the six furlongs in 1:08.11, the fastest six furlongs of the current Santa Anita meet.
Stable notes from Oak Tree at Santa Anita on Wednesday works for stakes horses.
Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) winner Tiznow and Love That Red, winner of the Pat O'Brien Handicap (gr. II), each posted bullet works at Santa Anita Thursday morning.
Last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) second-place finisher Kona Gold returns to the races after a 3 1/2 month freshening in the $200,000 Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) Saturday at Del Mar.
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