December or no December, the journey to Louisville has officially begun. Just ask any trainer with a promising 2-year-old if the lure of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) hasn't already taken a firm hold. Over the past 10 days we've seen several exciting hopefuls emerge. And there's still that little matter of crowning a champ this weekend.
Fusaichi Samurai, a record-priced $4.5 million son of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Fusaichi Pegasus, was an impressive two-length winner in his debut Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Musical Chimes, who was neck shy of victory behind Heat Haze in the 2003 Matriarch (gr. IT), worked six furlongs on the Hollywood Park turf Sunday for her second shot at the $500,000 test for fillies and mares at one mile on turf Nov. 28.
The 4-year-old filly Musical Chimes, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, squeezed between horses in a spectacular stretch run to win a frantic finish by a nose over Buckland Manor in the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Saturday.
Musical Chimes, poised for a possible return trip to the Breeders' Cup, will challenge males for the third time for trainer Neil Drysdale in Saturday's $250,000 Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IIT) on the Santa Anita turf.
Dimitrova, winner of the 2003 Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (gr. IT), will be offered for sale during the upcoming Keeneland November breeding stock auction.
Gary A. Tanaka's veteran stakes campaigner Sarafan showed his class Wednesday with a decisive victory in the featured $79,000 Escondido Handicap at the marathon distance of 1 3/8 miles on the grass at Del Mar.
French Lady, a New Zealand import which joined the Neil Drysdale stable last week, was extended an alternate invitation Sunday to the $750,000 American Oaks (gr. I) July 3 by Hollywood Park racing secretary Martin Panza.
Megahertz and Dimitrova, winners of the first two American Oaks, will hook up in Monday's $350,000 Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I) at Hollywood Park.
King of Happiness, an impressive winner of the $62,000 allowance feature on the Hollywood Park turf Thursday is headed for bigger things. But the victory was bittersweet for trainer Neil Drysdale, who was out of the country due to the death of his mother.
Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale will be at Bay Meadows Saturday to saddle Arabic Song in the $125,000 Yerba Buena Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT).
Saturday's $150,000 Arcadia Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita has all of the earmarks of a springboard race for grass stakes later in the year at longer distances. Several of the eight entrants are better traveling farther than the Arcadia's 1 1/8-mile route. And none of the starters are coming off of a win.
The $4.5-million, world record Fusaichi Pegasus colt is now a California resident, living in the Hollywood Park barn of Hall-of-Fame trainer Neil Drysdale.
Piers Pottinger's Irish bred Wixoe Express looked beaten in upper stretch by pacesetter Expresso Bay in Saturday's $84,900 Tanforan Handicap, but responded under jockey Matt Garcia to pull away in the final furlong for a two-length victory on a yielding Golden Gate Fields' turf course.
Dress To Thrill worked a half mile on the Hollywood Park turf course in :51 Sunday under Patrick Valenzuela in preparation for defense of her crown in the $500,000 Matriarch (gr. IT) for fillies and mares next Sunday.
Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) winner Adoration worked six furlongs on the Hollywood Park turf course in 1:18 1/5 Thursday under regular rider Patrick Valenzuela after being supplemented to the $500,000 Matriarch (gr. IT) Nov. 30 for $15,000.
Touch of the Blues, a 6-year-old horse who finished second in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) last month, has been retired, trainer Neil Drysdale reported Friday from Hollywood Park.
Debuting trainer Leonard Powell, 27, plans to send out his first starter, Labirinto, in the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup, a grade I test at 12 furlongs at Hollywood Park on Nov. 22. "I've got to start somewhere," said Powell with a chuckle.
Sarafan, prepping for a planned start in the Japan Cup (Jpn-I) on Nov. 30, captured a $54,000 classified allowance event in a tune-up at Hollywood Park Thursday.
Sheikh Maktoum's Storming Home, seventh as the 2-1 favorite in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), had a chunk taken out of his right hind foot when he was involved in a bumping incident with Sulamani rounding the first turn.
Gary A. Tanaka's Sarafan, runner-up in the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IIT), was scratched out of Saturday's Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT).
Former jockey Corey Black wears several hats these days. He's a high-profile and well-liked racing expert on TVG. He leads the Seabiscuit backstretch tours several days a week at Santa Anita. And he's the work rider for the sometimes-troubled John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) favorite Storming Home.
Probable John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) favorite Storming Home worked seven furlongs in 1:28 2/5 in company with NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) hopeful Sarafan, who was clocked in 1:28 4/5 over Santa Anita's firm turf course Sunday.
Maktoum al Maktoum's odds-on favorite Storming Home, ridden by Gary Stevens, caught a determined Johar in deep stretch and went on to a half-length victory in Sunday's $245,000 Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship (gr. IT) on opening day of the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita.
Gainsborough Farm, jockey Kent Desormeaux and trainer Neil Drysdale teamed up once again to win a thrilling edition of the $1 million Atto Mile (Can-I) Sunday at Woodbine, this time with Touch of the Blues.
Canadian Triple Crown winner Wando and a pair of Neil Drysdale-trained veteran turf specialists lead a powerful field of 11 entered for Sunday's $1 million Atto Mile (Can-I) at Woodbine.
Jockey Gary Stevens worked a horse at Del Mar Thursday morning for the first time since being injured in the Arlington Million (gr. IT) Aug. 16. He was astride Fun House for trainer Ron McAnally in a 1:14 2/5 six-furlong drill.
In the most controversial Arlington Million (gr. IT) ever, stewards awarded victory to Godolphin Racing's Sulamani after determining that winner Storming Home interfered at the finish with two horses behind him when he spooked badly just before the wire and unseated his rider, Gary Stevens.
Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum's Storming Home is undefeated in his two U.S. races, including a victory last time out in the Charles Whittingham Handicap (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park. Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale thinks his horse can do better in Saturday's Arlington Million than what he showed in that three-quarter-length win at 1-5 odds.
Sam-Son Farm's Soaring Free puts his unbeaten four-race seasonal win streak on the line Saturday at Woodbine in the featured $165,000 Play The King Stakes (Can-III).
Seven 3-year-olds with thoughts of the Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) dancing in their heads will tackle the $150,000 La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIIT) at 1 1/16 mile on the northern San Diego County track's Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
Sheik Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum's Magic Mission ended her seven-race losing streak at Hollywood Park Saturday, circling the field coming out of the turn for home to score an upset in $112,200 Royal Heroine (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares by a head over Little Treasure.
Ten Most Wanted, runner-up in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), worked six furlongs in a bullet 1:11.80 Thursday for trainer Wally Dollase to signal his readiness for a return in the $400,000 Swaps Stakes (gr. Ii) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on July 13.
Friday's $150,000 American Handicap (gr. IIT), a turf event that has been won by nine champions, figures to more clearly define the burgeoning international status of South American superstar Candy Ride.
Charles H. Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) hero Storming Home worked for the first time since that victory on Thursday, posting a half-mile in a bullet :48 4/5 over Hollywood Park's turf course.
Ministers Wild Cat is finally where trainer Neil Drysdale wants him following a six-furlong work in 1:13.20 at Hollywood Park Tuesday for the $100,000-added Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles Sunday.
Trainer Neil Drysdale appears to have a star in Storming Home, who overcame some trouble to win Saturday's $350,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) on the Hollywood Park turf as the 3-10 favorite.
Ministers Wild Cat, scratched from the Laz Barrera Memorial Stakes May 26 because of a cough, is scheduled to make his next start in the $100,000-added Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 mile June 22, trainer Neil Drysdale confirmed Friday.
Storming Home, whose United States debut in the Jim Murray Handicap last month produced an electrifying victory, is a strong favorite over five rivals in Saturday's $350,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park.
English import Storming Home, an impressive winner of the Jim Murray Memorial Handicap in his United States debut at Hollywood Park May 10, worked seven furlongs on turf in 1:29.20 Sunday.
Stan E. Fulton's Roll Hennessy Roll, scratched from Monday's Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes (gr. III) after developing a slight foot bruise, may turn up next in the Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) on the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) undercard June 7, trainer Rafael Becerra said.
Bien Nicole, the locally-based winner of the Oaklawn Breeders' Cup, will defend the home turf in the $200,000 WinStar Distaff (gr. IIIT) at one mile on the Lone Star Park grass course.
Ministers Wild Cat, once considered a threat for Triple Crown races, seeks to regroup for the summer with a return in the $150,000 Laz Barrera Memorial Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs at Hollywood Park Monday.
Azeri, who seeks to defend honors in the $200,000-added Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I) Saturday, will be the first reigning Horse of the Year to run at Hollywood Park since Sunday Silence in 1990.
Dublino, a leading contender for the $350,000-added Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) May 26, drilled five furlongs in 1:01.80 on the Hollywood Park turf Sunday.
Major Idea, whose three-race winning streak ended when favored in Santa Anita's Providencia Stakes last month, will be out to make amends Saturday in Hollywood Park's $100,000 Senorita Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf.
Irving and Marjorie Cowan's Ministers Wildcat, knocked off the Triple Crown path with a troubled trip in the April 19 Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland, worked six furlongs in 1:13 handily over Hollywood Park's fast main track Wednesday morning.
Making his first start in the United States, English-bred Storming Home proved that trainer Neil Drysdale's confidence in him was well placed as he came home with authority Saturday in winning Saturday's $400,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap over 12 furlongs on the Hollywood Park turf.
Trainer Neil Drysdale is anxious to tighten the girth on Storming Home for his United States debut in the $400,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap at 1 1/2 miles on turf Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Continental Red worked six furlongs in 1:13 on the main track at Hollywood Park Friday in preparation for the $400,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap at 1 1/2 miles on turf May 10.
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