Harry Bederian, Harout Kamberian, and Hagop Nakkashian's Watch This Cat had raced on turf, synthetic, and a fast dirt track, but it was in slop that she secured her first stakes win.
Under the care of Richard Baltas for the first time in the Frankel, the Irish-bred Azamour filly took command in the backstretch of the sloppy, 1 1/8-mile test and pulled away late to win by 5 1/4 lengths under jockey Corey Nakatani.
Trainer Chad Brown will send three representatives west to Del Mar for the $300,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) Dec. 3, but they'll have to deal with other invaders as well as some 3-year-olds who have done their best running at the seaside racetrack.
Multiple graded stakes winner Free Rose seeks to build upon the best form of his career as the 3-year-old gelded son of Munnings heads a field of 12 entered for the Nov. 4 $200,000 Twilight Derby (gr. IIT) going 1 1/8 miles.
Abbondanza Racing and Nathan McCauley's Free Rose roared to the lead on the far turn and held on for a narrow win the $250,000 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) Sept. 4 as a the field threatened to engulf him.
On the Del Mar grass for the San Clemente Handicap (gr. IIT), Mokat found her best footing and won impressively. On Aug. 20 she'll return to the turf for the Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT).
In his second start since moving to trainer Richard Baltas and owner Abbondanza Racing, Free Rose provided a weekend stunner at Del Mar Aug. 6 in the $150,000 La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIIT).
J K Racing Stable's triple stakes-placed Mokat put it all together for her first stakes win July 23 at Del Mar, bursting past rivals nearing the home turn and galloping away to win the $200,000 San Clemente Handicap (gr. IIT).
The last time Baltas was at Churchill with a Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) horse was back in 1992, as an assistant to Richard Mandella, when Golden Treat ran fourth under his care. Mokat is his first Oaks entry on his own.
Imperative and Page McKenney, second and third, respectively, behind Moreno in last year's Charles Town Classic (gr. II), are among 10 older horses entered in the $1.25 million event April 23 at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
With six perfect starts to her credit, Fox Hill Farms' Songbird has one more hurdle to clear -- the April 9 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) -- before heading to Kentucky as the favorite for the May 6 Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
A visually impressive last-out allowance score proved to be an indicator of future success for Paulina's Love in the $200,000 Buena Vista Stakes (gr. IIT) Feb. 20 at Santa Anita Park.
Mike Rutherford's homebred Stageplay, who will be seeking her second consecutive Fair Grounds stakes, has been installed the 7-5 morning-line favorite for the $200,000 Twinspires.com Rachel Alexandra Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 20
Forever Darling showed her potential again Jan. 2, when she took the $200,000 Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park.
Multiple grade III winners Salutos Amigos and Distinctiv Passion will seek another Jan. 2 in the $100,000 Midnight Lute Stakes at Santa Anita Park, one of three graded events on the Saturday card.
Two maiden-winning fillies were out on the main track at Santa Anita Park Oct. 24, with their connections hoping for upset scores in the upcoming Breeders' Cup at Keeneland.
Although he's yet to win on the Southern California sprint circuit this season, Kobe's Back is heading to Keeneland for the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) for good reason.
Grade I winner and Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) contender Big Macher turned in an easy five-furlong move in 1:01 2/5 Oct. 5 at Santa Anita.
With two straight stakes wins at Emerald Downs, local star Stryker Phd appears poised to defend his title in the $200,000 Longacres Mile Handicap (gr. III) Aug. 16.
Spanish Queen continued her upward trajectory May 30 and is now a grade I winner after claiming the $400,000 American Oaks (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park.
A winner of five Breeders' Cup events over the Santa Anita Park turf, trainer Chad Brown should be a significant factor in the $400,000 American Oaks (gr. IT) May 30 on the Southern California grass course.
Bloom Racing Stable's Majestic City made his trip from California to Texas worthwhile with a wire-to-wire victory in the $200,000 Lone Star Handicap at Lone Star Park May 25.
A neck back in her first stakes try in the Providencia (gr. IIIT), there was no denying Spanish Queen in her second, the $200,000 Honeymoon (gr. IIT) May 3 at Santa Anita Park.
Grade I winner and defending champ Big Macher, along with multiple stakes winner Rousing Sermon and potential star San Onofre, head a deep and competitive field of nine older horses for the $150,000 California Cup Sprint.
Jockey Martin Pedroza and trainer Richard Baltas will face a meeting with the stewards after reported verbal and physical confrontations at Los Alamitos Race Course Sunday, Dec. 21.
Rebounding from a troubled effort in the Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), favored Big Macher outfought a determined Rousing Sermon to score a game neck victory in the $100,000 Cary Grant Stakes Nov. 23 at Del Mar.
Hong Kong's Rich Tapestry and California's Big Macher each worked Oct. 25 at Santa Anita Park in preparation for the Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I).
Former maiden claimer Big Macher became a grade I-winning sprinter when he denied 3-5 favorite Goldencents by half a length in the $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes (gr. I) at Del Mar July 27.
Grade II-winning sprinter Big Macher, vanned off the course with a right front foot problem following a workout May 10 at Santa Anita Park, is doing well after treatment, trainer Richard Baltas reported.
Former claimer Big Macher, a two-time stakes-winning sprinter at the current Santa Anita Park meet, was vanned off following a five-furlong workout in :59.80 the morning of May 10.
Big Macher prevailed in a thrilling finish to the $200,00 Potrero Grande Stakes (gr. II) April 12 at Santa Anita Park, denying 7-5 favorite Wild Dude by a nose for his first graded stakes win.
Big Macher, always traveling well in his stakes debut in the $125,000 Donald Valpredo California Cup Sprint, took command nearing the furlong mark and won comfortably Jan. 25 at Santa Anita Park.
Three weeks after suffering her first defeat in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IT), Flashy Ways will try to redeem herself in the $100,000 Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Betfair Hollywood Park Nov. 24.
Trainer Barry Abrams, one month removed from surgery for recurring throat cancer, made an unexpected visit to Del Mar Aug. 5.
Southern California trainer Barry Abrams came out of surgery for throat cancer in excellent condition, his brother David Abrams reported July 6.
- By Jack Shinar
The head of California's trainer association labeled "ridiculous" a Jockeys' Guild petition seeking payment on a rider's behalf from a trainer whose winning horse was later disqualified because of a positive drug test.
The Jockeys' Guild has filed a petition with the California Horse Racing Board asking that a jockey be paid his share of the purse from a Bay Meadows race in which his mount was later disqualified for a drug positive.
Trainer Richard Baltas is serving a 15-day suspension issued by stewards at Bay Meadows and he was fined $2,500 after a horse he ran Feb. 4 tested positive for a pair of Class 3 prohibited substances.
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.
It will be student versus teacher in the $100,000 Bel Air Handicap at Hollywood Park when trainer Richard Baltas and Freedom Crest meets the Richard Mandella-trained Out Of Mind. Baltas assisted Mandella for 1 1/2 years before going out on his own.
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