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.
Sheikh Maktoum's Irish Prize overcame traffic problems and won a stretch duel with stablemate Touch of the Blues as Neil Drysdale horses finished first and second in Monday's $475,000 Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. I) before a crowd of 18,194 at Hollywood Park.
Millionaire mares Tranquility Lake and Happyanunoit offer the packed resumes for the $250,000-added Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) for fillies and mares on Saturday at Hollywood Park, but Kalypso Katie appears to be the interesting filly on the rise.
With a three-wide move under Gary Stevens on the turn, White Heat took the lead in the stretch and held off favorite King Cugat to win the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) by a neck.
Two American runners are among eight extra entries for the 2001 Vodafone Derby, which will be contested at Epsom on Saturday, June 9. Tiger Trap, from Neil Drysdale's California stable, and River God, representing Richard Mandella highlight the additions list.
Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner War Chant will not start in Sunday's Early Times Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park and will be retired to enter stud beginning next year, owner-breeder Irving Cowan confirmed Wednesday.
Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner War Chant worked seven furlongs in a bullet 1:26 2/5 Sunday on the firm Hollywood Park turf course, but no decision has yet been made on whether the talented 3-year-old will start in Sunday's $500,000 Early Times Hollywood Derby (gr. IT).
Depending upon the weather and the colt's condition following a workout Sunday, Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Fusaichi Pegasus could return to competition Saturday in the Jerome Handicap (gr. I), a one-mile race for 3-year-olds.
Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Fusaichi Pegasus returned to the track Thursday for his first serious work since he suffered a minor foot injury following his second-place finish in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), covering three furlongs in :39 1/5 over a fast track at Hollywood Park.
Because the people and horses elected to racing’s Hall of Fame are revealed each spring prior to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), the induction ceremony in August at Saratoga is more of a celebration than a news-making event. But this year’s induction provided a surprise.
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