Trainer John Baird secured the 2,000th victory of his career Oct. 24 at Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort when Monba Number Five posted a front-running win in the first race.
Monba, winner of the 2008 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), will stand the 2015 breeding season at Nicks Farm near Sellersburg, Ind.
Grade I winner Monba was represented by his first winner as a stallion when Percy Jackson won the the third race at Penn National Race Course Dec. 20.
The first foal by grade I winner Monba was born Feb. 15 at Michael Jester's Penn Ridge Farms near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
The first mare in foal to grade I winner Monba is Hanna's Fury, a winning half-sister to two stakes winners.
Penn Ridge Farms will offer an incentive program for incoming stallion Monba.
Monba, winner of the 2008 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), has been sold and will enter stud in 2010 at Mike Jester's Penn Ridge Farms near Harrisburg, Pa.
Starlight Stable and partners' Monba, winner of the 2008 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, has been retired from racing because of an injury to his left hind leg.
A review of the Preakness and the Triple Crown so far, including the jockey situation, and the return of Zenyatta. Plus, special guest Jack Wolf of Starlight Stable. Watch Video
A deep field of 13, including multiple graded stakes winners Proudinsky, Kiss the Kid, and Wesley, makes for an intriguing match-up in the $150,000 Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT), the race that precedes the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico May 16.
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.
A star-studded cast of older horses that includes three former Kentucky Derby (gr. I) starters tops a field of seven in the $150,000 Ben Ali (gr. III), the feature race on Keeneland's April 19 program.
Einstein became the first East Coast shipper since Broad Brush in 1987 to capture the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), capitalizing on a perfect trip with jockey Julien Leparoux to defeat the late closer Champs Elysees.
Colonel John, winner of the Travers Sakes (gr. I) last summer, makes his 2009 debut as the slight choice in a diverse 14-horse field for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) March 7.
Matto Mondo grabbed the lead from favored pacesetter Monterey Jazz at the head of the stretch and rolled on to register a 3 1/4-length win in the off-the-turf Thunder Road Handicap at Santa Anita Feb. 7.
Monba and Yankee Bravo, both prominent on last year's Triple Crown trail, will make their returns to the racetrack in the $100,000 Thunder Road Handicap (gr. IIIT) Feb. 7 at Santa Anita. However, Irish-bred Ferneley, a near-winner in consecutive graded stakes, could loom the largest in the one-mile turf event.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, back from Kentucky and at his home base of Belmont Park, said May 5 that Ready's Echo would start in the $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes (gr.II) at Belmont May 10. Ready's Echo, a son of the Pletcher-trained More Than Ready, will make his stakes debut in the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan.
As participants in The Race For Education's Racehorse Nomination Program, a percentage of any earnings by Colonel John, Court Vision, Monba, Visionaire, Z Fortune and Z Humor in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) will go to the non-profit, which funds scholarships and educational grants for young people with significant financial need.
This space will not focus too much on Big Brown or Colonel John. The comments and observations that follow are designed to help ferret out some elusive price horses, based on looks, works, and gallops.
Big Brown, Smooth Air turn in works; Cowboy Cal, Monba get feel for track
Trainer Todd Pletcher doesn't have the first, second, or third choice in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). In fact, his horses were assigned odds of 15-1 (Monba) and 20-1 (Cowboy Cal) on the morning line. So, after giving an update on the status of his runners, Pletcher was left to confirm Rick Dutrow Jr.'s confidence in Big Brown during a May 1 press conference at Churchill Downs.
Monba, Cowboy Cal arrive; Eight Belles eyes history; all systems go for Smooth Air
As Todd Pletcher's contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) arrived at Barn 34 from Keeneland April 30, accompanied by stakes contenders Danzon, Leah's Secret, and Garden District, the Eclipse Award-winning trainer took time to reflect upon the challenge of reaching - let alone winning - the first leg of the Triple Crown.
Before the running of last year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Keeneland Race Course was overrun with trainers whose potential contenders were squeezing in final works prior to shipping up to Churchill Downs. This year, Todd Pletcher cut a lonely figure along the rail at the Lexington oval as he sent Behindatthebar to gallop and then watched Monba and Cowboy Cal complete their final preparations April 26.
PORTER ON PEDIGREES, by Alan Porter
Monba's success could be tied to an intensifying of the influences of La Troienne. The Derby contender's pedigree is rich in the blood of Raise a Native and Buckpasser.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said April 24 that Starlight Stable, Donald Lucarelli and Paul Saylor's Monba and Stonerside Stable's Cowboy Cal remain on schedule to work at Keeneland either April 26 or April 27 in their first works since finishing one-two in the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I). Pletcher said the pair would then ship to Churchill Downs probably April 28, for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) on May 3.
In 2006, Ramon Dominguez rode Bluegrass Cat to a second-place finish behind Barbaro in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). He was close enough to practically taste the victory, and this year he's chasing it with renewed determination aboard the Todd Pletcher-trained Monba, his fifth Derby contender.
Trainer Barclay Tagg sent Tale of Ekati out for a five-furlong work Wednesday morning at Keeneland, and was pleased with the colt's performance.
Another Kentucky Derby is upon us, and most of the talk has been about the inconsistencies and slow speed figures of this year's crop of 3-year-olds. Before we get into all the observations and analyses, and attempt to figure out this daffy Derby there is one point that must be addressed first.
Just when it looked as if Todd Pletcher would be sitting out this year's Kentucky Derby, his two best Derby hopes from day one - Monba and Cowboy Cal - came through for him with a first and second in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
Trainer Todd Pletcher said April 18 that he has not decided when he will ship Monba and Cowboy Cal, his one-two finishers in the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I), to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and is considering giving the two colts their final works at Keeneland the weekend before the Run for the Roses.
With Edgar Prado deciding to ride Adriano in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Ramon Domiguez was named by trainer Todd Pletcher to ride Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) winner Monba.
Well, should we talk about the vagaries of Polytrack form for the umpteenth time or concentrate on the weekend's racing?
One day after his 3-year-olds ran 1-2 in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), trainer Todd Pletcher said he will take a few days before deciding when Monba and Cowboy Cal will ship to Churchill Downs in preparation for the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Trainer Todd Pletcher had won just a single race at Keeneland going into the April 12 card. But he won again where it counted, and with Monba and Cowboy Cal finishing 1-2 in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), it looks like North America's leading trainer of 2007 will be headed to the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) after all.
The Blue Grass Stakes News Minute plus interviews from the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) dinner held on April 10, 2008. Includes interviews with Michael Matz, trainer of Visionaire, Edgar Prado, jockey for Monba, Robert LaPenta, owner of Cool Coal Man and Stevil and more.
There are two ways of looking at Saturday's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I)- either as a rich workout for the first Saturday in May for Pyro, Cool Coal Man, Visionaire, Big Truck, and Halo Najib, who all have sufficient earnings, or as a final, desperate attempt to sneak into the Derby field by utilizing the often dirt form-challenged Polytrack.
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner Pyro turned in his final major prep for Saturday's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) by working a half-mile in :50.60 early Monday morning at Keeneland.
Trainer Todd Pletcher was at Keeneland April 6 for the first time during the spring meet to oversee his horses stabled here, including the 3-year-olds Cowboy Cal and Monba. Both colts worked before sunrise, Monba in company with Ready's Image at about 6:15 a.m., and Cowboy Cal some 45 minutes later.
There's just no escaping it. You can question his pedigree and his running style all you want, but War Pass is simply in a class by himself right now, and until someone figures out how to beat him or his pedigree catches up to him, he has to be the top dog.
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.
A star-studded field of 12 3-year-olds, highlighted by a pair of starters for trainers Bill Mott and Nick Zito, will contest the $350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 24 at Gulfstream Park.
This year's Future Wager field includes some interesting morning line odds, withy only five of the 23 horses higher than 20-1 and only three less than 15-1. That means that 15 horses are either 15-1 or 20-1. That all seems to imply that no one -- not even the oddsmaker -- has a clue what to make of this year's classic crop so far.
Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia has installed the "all others" bet as the strong 5-2 favorite in his morning-line odds for Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which begins its four-day run at noon Feb. 7 at racetracks and satellite wagering outlets across the United States and Canada.
As we head into December, a well-funded trainer is looking for a potential Kentucky Derby horse, but does not want a horse based in Southern California. At the same time, a well-funded gambler is looking for a solid Derby horse to bet in the future book, but he, too, is looking away from California. The reason behind their thinking is quite simple.
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