Trainer Bob Baffert sent out a trio of 3-year-olds coming off stakes wins for four-furlong works at Santa Anita Wednesday, including Golden Gate Derby (gr. III) winner Danthebluegrassman. All three completed their assignments in :48 3/5 on a fast track.
Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) winner Repent breezed a half-mile in :50 at Gulfstream Park on Saturday under regular rider Tony D'Amico.
Trainer Ken McPeek sent out a pair of Kentucky Derby prospects for exercise at Gulfstream Park Sunday. Harlan's Holiday went five furlongs in :59 2/5, handily, while Repent breezed three furlongs in :36 1/5. Also working Sunday was Derby future-book favorite Siphonic, who went seven furlongs in 1:26 2/5, handily, at Hollywood Park.
By Steve Haskin -- There are 2,904 hours until the Kentucky Derby. By the time I finish writing this, there will be 2,903. I figure approximately 650 of those hours will be spent sleeping, leaving 2,253 hours to think about the Derby.
Trainer Kenneth McPeek saddled the favorite in both of Churchill Downs' stakes races for 2-year-olds Saturday but won only with Repent in the $217,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) as his Take Charge Lady finished second in the $215,200 Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II) for fillies. In between those two races, Bet On Sunshine stretched out for a rare route race, winning the 1 1/16-mile allowance race by 7 1/4 lengths.
Churchill Downs' closing day $200,000-added stakes races for 2-year-olds -- the Golden Rod (gr. II) for fillies and the Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) -- have each attracted fields of six horses, although both races suffered late defections because of illness.
While the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships Oct. 27 marked the end of the racing year or was the career finale for many participants, others plan to remain in training and will even race again before the 2001 season ends.
Say what's the word? Well at Belmont Park on Saturday, it was Johannesburg, who remained unbeaten when he won the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). Down to defeat went the Bob Baffert-trained Officer, who was on the rail in striking position but could not handle the pressure. Later, Baffert said Officer shut down after displacing his palate.
Champagne Stakes (gr. I) winner Officer put in his final workout for Saturday's Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) when he worked Monday at Santa Anita under exercise rider Dana Barnes.
A baker's dozen were pre-entered for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), but it will be an upside-down cake if anyone other than Officer enters the winner's circle following the 8 1/2 furlong match.
Morton Fink's Stephen Foster Handicap winner Guided Tour breezed five furlongs in 1:02 4/5 in company over a muddy track at Churchill Downs on Monday.
This is the weekend that should clear up a very murky 2-year-old picture three weeks out from the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Hopefully, and we do mean with fingers crossed, as injuries and illnesses continue to take their toll on the juvenile ranks, we will get to see The Thoroughbred Corp.'s Officer prep for racing's biggest day.
After doing more about-faces than a soldier in boot camp, trainer Bob Baffert has decided that Officer, the leading juvenile in the universe right now, will make his next appearance in the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park Oct. 6 at 8 1/2 furlongs. Officer, by Bertrando, is perfect in four starts, including wins by six, eight, and seven lengths in his first three races. In his most recent effort, the Sept. 5 Del Mar Futurity (gr. II), Officer won, geared down, by 1 1/2 lengths.
Select Stable's Repent returned from a nose-length maiden win Sept. 7 at Turfway Park to win the track's $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes (gr. III) Saturday, giving Preakness (gr. I) winner Louis Quatorze his first stakes winner as a sire.
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