Ministers Wild Cat can validate his status as a Kentucky Derby contender with a victory Saturday in the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) at Golden Gate Fields.
The decision by Kent Desormeaux to move his tack to Keeneland for the 15-day meet that runs April 4-25 was not made in haste.
A well-matched field of nine fillies and mares will meet on the turf Saturday in the $100,000 Brown Bess Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Golden Gate Fields.
Bare Necessities is scheduled to make her first start since Nov. 9 in Sunday's $150,000 El Encino Stakes (gr. II) for 4-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 mile on the Santa Anita dirt. According to her rider, that's been the plan all along.
Marjorie and Irving Cowan's Ministers Wild Cat, a 3-year-old colt out of Hollywood Wildcat by Deputy Minister, turned some heads in Saturday's fourth race at Santa Anita, defeating a $48,000 maiden special weight field by 7 1/2 lengths in a time of 1:22.57 for seven furlongs.
Neil Drysdale entered two horses in Saturday's $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the Santa Anita turf. But the Hall of Fame trainer gives Magic Mission a definite edge over stablemate Double Cat.
Major Idea swept to the lead at the top of the stretch and drew clear for a two-length victory Wednesday in the $76,300 Blue Norther Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Park.
Three nominees for the $150,000 Dahlia Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares on turf Dec. 21 worked Thursday.
Jockey Frankie Dettori wins both the Japan Cup and Japan Cup Dirt with Falbrav and Eagle Cafe, respectively.
Sarafan, America's only hope to break a 10-year drought in the Japan Cup (Jpn-I), drew the number eight post position in a field of 16 international runners set to go postward Sunday in the world's richest turf race, moved to Nakayama racecourse and dropped from 12 to 11 furlongs in distance because of construction of a new grandstand at Tokyo racecourse.
Decarchy, White Heart and Freedom Crest, three major stakes winners who all went to the sidelines this spring, are ready to launch comebacks Sunday in the $70,000-added Steinlen Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on turf.
D. Wayne Lukas, the king of Breeders' Cup trainers with 16 victories, pre-entered only two horses for this year's renewal of the World Thoroughbred Championships.
Barry Hills' decision to fit cheek pieces to Storming Home after he had flopped at Doncaster last month paid handsome dividends when he romped home in the $620,000 Emirates Airline Champion Stakes (Group I) Saturday at Newmarket, the trainer's second success in the race after Cormorant Wood 19 years ago.
Keeneland had a number of Breeders' Cup contenders on the grounds Monday morning making final preparations for Oct. 26.
Making his first United States start, Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier's Landseer may have landed a spot in the Breeders' Cup Oct. 26 by winning the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland Sunday
Sarafan has defeated top-ranked Beat Hollow twice in three meetings, but the Neil Drysdale trainee seems to be getting short shrift from the media.
This is the weekend we've been waiting for: the three major North American preps for the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT).
Trainer Bobby Frankel will be well represented on opening weekend at Keeneland when he ships in the likes of Surya, Lord Flasheart, and Beat Hollow to contest Fall Stars weekend at the Central Kentucky oval.
Defending champion Choc Ice and last year's runner-up Volga will renew their rivalry Sunday at Woodbine in the $750,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes (gr. IT).
Godolphin Racing's Imperial Gesture set her own pace, then had more than enough to hold off the stalking Take Charge Lady to score a 2 1/2-length victory in the $250,000 Gazelle Handicap (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park Saturday.
Take Charge Lady will make her first start since May 25, and she will have to do it against tough rivals like Bella Bellucci and Imperial Gesture, part of a strong field for the $250,000 Gazelle Handicap (gr. I) at 1 1/8 mile for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park.
An emerging rivalry of two world-class competitors intensifies in a third act of drama Saturday as Juddmonte Farms Inc.'s Beat Hollow attempts to conquer Gary A. Tanaka's Sarafan in the 20th running of the Arlington Million (gr. I) at Arlington Park.
Four European-based invaders will face five American-based Thoroughbreds in the 20th running of the Arlington Million (gr. I) at Arlington Park on Saturday.
The Charlie Whittingham School of Horse Training has brought to the sport a number of leading conditioners, including the well known and successful Joe Manzi, Dick Lundy, Rodney Rash and Hall of Famer Neil Drysdale. The newest Whittingham disciple to step forward in what is primarily a man's world is Laura de Seroux.
The Illinois State District Court on July 23 granted trainer Neil Drysdale a stay of his 45-day suspension and $2,500 fine stemming from positive drug samples taken from Hawthorne Derby (gr. II) winner Flying Dash May 11.
Attorney Neil Papiano said he is convinced the positive drug test attributed to disqualified Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIT) winner Flying Dash was a case of mistaken identity.
Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale was suspended by Illinois stewards and Flying Dash disqualified from his win in the May 11 Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIIT) after a sample from Flying Dash tested positive for clenbuterol and promazine sulfoxide.
Proud Citizen, who exited the Belmont Stakes with a crack in his left shin, was resting comfortably in his stall Sunday morning. Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said the colt would likely miss 90-120 days of training.
Sunday Break and Puzzlement, the respective first- and second-place finishers in the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II), worked at Belmont Park on Monday in preparation for Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- Racing fans from the baby boomer generation were spoiled by the remarkable careers of the three most recent Triple Crown winners, Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), and Affirmed (1978). Maybe that's why the knockers are lining up to take their shots at War Emblem as he bids for the Triple Crown.
On Saturday, Sunday Break will make his first start for Drysdale since finishing third in Aqueduct's Wood Memorial (gr. I) on April 13, when he goes to post in the $200,000 Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at nine furlongs.
Sunday Break, who failed to make it into the Kentucky Derby due to insufficient graded earnings, breezed seven furlongs in 1:28 at Belmont Park Saturday.
Michael Tabor's Bella Bellucci, who was scratched Wednesday from the Kentucky Oaks, will point for the filly Triple Tiara in New York, trainer Neil Drysdale said Thursday. The first race in the series in the June 7 Acorn Stakes.
Friday's Kentucky Oaks lost yet another top contender Wednesday when Demi O'Byrne, advisor to owner Michael Tabor, said Bella Bellucci would not run because "she is not 100%."
It was a busy day Monday at Churchill Downs and Belmont Park for horses pointing toward the Kentucky Derby. In one development, German-bred Flying Dash was taken out of consideration for the Derby after his workout.
Benefiting from a gutsy move by jockey Kent Desormeaux, Touch of the Blues charged through a wall of horse to post an upset victory in Friday's $200,000, grade II Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland.
Sunday Break, winner of his last three starts, worked a sharp six furlongs in 1:15 3/5 at Aqueduct Monday, in preparation for Saturday's $750,000 Wood Memorial, while Saarland breezed a half in :48 at Belmont.
Sunday Break overcame an erratic stretch drive to win for the third straight time, taking a 1 1/8-mile, money allowance race at Aqueduct Wednesday. The victory keeps the Japanese-bred son of Forty Niner on target for the April 13 Wood Memorial (gr. I), and a possible stop at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) on May 4.
Koji Maeda's Triple Crown nominee Sunday Break gets his prep for the April 13 Wood Memorial (gr. I) when he faces vie other 3-year-olds in a 1 1/8-mile allowance test at Aqueduct on Wednesday.
Amerman Racing Stable's Siphonic, gearing up for his next start in the March 17 San Felipe S. (gr. II) at Santa Anita, drilled an impressive seven furlongs in 1:24 2/5 over a fast main track at Hollywood Park on Wednesday.
Is there still time for an unknown, late-developing 3-year-old to play catch-up and make it to the Derby with a legitimate shot? The answer is yes. And if you think some of the big-name trainers have already emptied all their barrels you're in for a big surprise.
Irish Prize won another photo finish at Santa Anita Park on Monday, prevailing by a nose over long shot Continental Red in the $150,000 San Marcos Stakes (gr. II) on the turf.
The rocketing career of steeplechase Eclipse Award finalist Pompeyo ended as suddenly as it began with his death Saturday, Jan. 19, due to complications from an injury suffered in September.
Breeders' Cup Mile winner Val Royal worked three furlongs in :36 at Hollywood Park on Thursday in preparation for a possible berth in the Citation Handicap (gr. IIT) on Nov. 24.
Pedigree Analysis for Bella Bellucci
Bella Bellucci showed she had the class to make the jump from maiden special weight winner to graded stakes winner with a strong close in Monday's Astarita Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park.
Conserve, last year's winner of Churchill Downs' Firecracker Breeders' Cup (gr. II), faces stiff competition from California ship-in Irish Prize in Wednesday's race.
Neil Drysdale trainee Irish Prize is likely to go highweighted in the $250,000-added Firecracker Breeders' Cup (gr. II) July 4 at Churchill Downs. The 5-year-old Irish River gelding has been setting off fireworks throughout 2001, with three graded stakes wins from four starts.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux will return from a 10-week stint in Japan to ride at Hollywood Park on Sunday. Included in Desormeaux's four mounts on the card is Astra, the Santa Barbara Handicap winner who will carry 121 pounds in the Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IT).
Jim and Alice Sapara, who have bred and raced horses since the early 1980s, and late in the 1990s purchased Winsong Farms near Versailles, Ky., will disperse their stock at Keeneland in November.
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