Afleet Alex gave Oaklawn Park its second major contender for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) in as many years with his smashing win Saturday in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II).
A field of 10 was entered for Saturday's $1 million Arkansas Derby (gr. II), and although two of the "Big Three" stabled at Oaklawn this winter will run, it is not quite what the Hot Springs track had envisioned.
Fox Hill Farm's Rockport Harbor, who is still on target for the May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), worked seven furlongs in 1:25 3/5 at Oaklawn Park Sunday, after which, trainer John Servis said the colt would pass the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) and point instead to the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) a week later.
This is a bad week for the Future Wager if you like anyone in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), Wood Memorial (gr. I), or Illinois Derby (gr. II). The only way you can get a decent price in those races is if you happen to like a horse who gets beat and feel he might move forward off it.
Rick Porter, owner of Rockport Harbor, said that although the colt is doing much better after suffering his third setback of the year, he is 50-50 at best to make the April 16 Arkansas Derby (gr. II), and that the April 23 Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland appears to be the more likely spot at this time."
Cash is King Stable managing partner Chuck Zacney, co-owner of Afleet Alex, announced Tuesday he has accepted Dan Borislow's $50,000 challenge matching Borislow's Wild Desert against Afleet Alex and Rockport Harbor in a horse-against-horse showdown in the April 16 Arkansas Derby (gr. II).
Patrick Valenzuela has been named to ride Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) runner-up Wild Desert in the April 16 Arkansas Derby (gr. II), majority owner Dan Borislow said Monday. If Wild Desert runs well enough at Oaklawn to merit a trip to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), Valenzuela will remain aboard.
Trainer John Servis made a phone call Monday morning, a phone call he didn't really want to make. Servis called the Keeneland racing office to nominate Rockport Harbor to the $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) scheduled for April 23 at the Lexington, Ky. track.
Murphy's Law continues to plague Fox Hill Farm's Rockport Harbor, who now has come down with an undetermined ailment, forcing trainer John Servis to cancel his scheduled work Saturday and putting his status for the April 16 Arkansas Derby (gr. II) in question.
So, where are the best 3-year-olds based? Florida, Arkansas, California, and New York can all make a case for being the hot spot right now following Saturday's stirring and strange turn of events. With Declan's Moon and now Roman Ruler out of the picture, and Afleet Alex and Wilko facing uphill battles, last year's top 2-year-olds are fading fast.
Afleet Alex, who finished last as the 3-5 favorite in Saturday's Rebel (gr. III), was scoped following the race and found to be suffering from a lung infection. Trainer Tim Ritchey said the colt is still being pointed for the April 16 Arkansas Derby (gr. II).
Lewis Lakin's Greater Good rallied from well off the pace to collar runaway pacesetter Rockport Harbor for a half-length victory in the $250,000 Rebel (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park.
The picture above the month of November in the 2005 New York Racing Association wall calendar shows the stretch run of last year's Remsen Stakes (gr. II) in which Rockport Harbor held off Galloping Grocer to complete his 2-year old season undefeated. Notable about the photo is the wide smile on the face of Rockport Harbor's jockey, Stewart Elliott.
It was an eventful Friday morning for Rebel Stakes (gr. III) contender Rockport Harbor, who managed to dodge a loose horse while out for his morning jog.
The March 19 Rebel Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park promises to deliver some major fireworks when Afleet Alex, Rockport Harbor, and Greater Good lock horns in the 1 1/16-mile race, which drew a field of six.
Saturday's $250,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. III) from Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., will be televised on ESPNEWS at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Fox Hill Farm's Rockport Harbor, who has been battling foot bruises this winter, apparently has recovered from his latest setback, and all systems are go for Saturday's Rebel Stakes (gr. III), where he'll meet Afleet Alex and Greater Good.
Bettors across North America settled on "all others" as the lukewarm favorite when Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' 2005 Kentucky Derby Future Wager ended its four-day run on Sunday evening.
Just when it looked as if Rockport Harbor's luck had run out and he'd be unable to make the March 19 Rebel Stakes (gr. III), trainer John Servis, while still cautious, said the foot looked much better Sunday.
Rockport Harbor's rocky road to Louisville continued Saturday when trainer John Servis announced that the undefeated colt has re-aggravated the foot bruise he suffered on Feb. 20. Although he still is on schedule for the March 19 Rebel Stakes (gr. III), Servis won't know for sure until Sunday morning.
Cash Is King Stable's Afleet Alex and Harry Aleo's unbeaten Lost In The Fog emerged as the favorites at the midway point of Pool 2 of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager following the defection of the injured Declan's Moon.
Declan's Moon, champion 2-year-old colt last year, and Wilko, winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), are among the 126 nominations for Keeneland's $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
With Willie Martinez up and trainer John Servis looking on from the frontside press box, Rockport Harbor went to the Oaklawn Park racetrack at 7:00 Friday morning for a mile work.
Fox Hill Farm's undefeated Rockport Harbor served notice that he is fully recovered from the foot bruise suffered last week by working seven furlongs at Oaklawn Park Friday in 1:27 2/5 over a fast track as he progresses toward his 3-year-old debut in the March 19 Rebel Stakes (gr. III).
Fox Hill Farm's undefeated Rockport Harbor, who suffered a foot bruise on Feb. 20, has shown dramatic improvement and is already back jogging, the colt's owner, Rick Porter, said Tuesday.
Rockport Harbor, unbeaten in four starts and the future book favorite for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), is being treated for a bruised left front foot, leaving his planned start in the $250,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. III) March 19 on hold.
The most accomplished stars of this year's crop of 3-year-olds--including 2-year-old champion Declan's Moon, 2-year-old filly champion Sweet Catomine, and Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Wilko--are among the 24 wagering interests in the first of three 2005 Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools scheduled for Feb. 10-13.
Two undefeated colts, Declan's Moon and Rockport Harbor, worked Thursday morning at Santa Anita and Oaklawn Park, respectively, in preparation for their 3-year-old debuts. Declan's Moon turned in a sharp five furlongs in :59 4/5, while Rockport Harbor went the same distance in 1:02 1/5.
Trainer Shug McGaughey is set to take the wraps off Laurel Futurity winner Defer in Saturday's $100,000 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park in what he hopes will be the first step toward the 3-year-old Classic races later this spring.
In his first workout since being injured while winning the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) last year, Rick Porter's Rockport Harbor breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:02 at Oaklawn Park Wednesday.
Hangovers weren't the only thing to come out of the Eclipse Awards dinner in Beverly Hills, Calif., Jan. 24. Various connections gave voice to their private plans as to where they hope to run prominent horses in the coming months
Even though folks are aware the future book is normally a bad bet, with good horses priced way too low, some still can't help taking the plunge. So, here's a look at what's out there.
"Too fast to last." That is an old slogan that racing fans hope does not ring true in 2005. If it doesn't, then we're in for a memorable winter and spring on the road to the May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), as a legion of brilliant young horses across the country prepare to embark on the journey of a lifetime.
Fox Hill Farms' Rockport Harbor, undefeated winner of the Remsen (gr. II) and Nashua Stakes (gr. III), is recovering nicely from a severe gash to his back foot and is scheduled to leave Philadelphia Park for Oaklawn Wednesday.
With the year drawing to a close, it's time to start sizing up the future travelers who are preparing to embark on the 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) trail.
The Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner and two other Eclipse Award candidates are among 113 early nominees for the 93rd running of the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) March 12 at Fair Grounds.
Fox Hill Farms' Rockport Harbor, who scored a gutsy victory over Galloping Grocer in the Nov. 27 Remsen Stakes (gr. II), came out of the 1 1/8-mile race with a severe gash on his right hind leg that was described by trainer John Servis as "pretty nasty."
The clash of undefeated 2-year olds in Saturday's Remsen (gr. II) lived up to billing when Rockport Harbor dug in to earn a neck victory over Galloping Grocer in a stretch battle that drew a rare shout of applause from the Aqueduct grandstand.
Two undefeated juvenile colts – Galloping Grocer and Rockport Harbor – square off in the $200,000 Remsen (gr. II) at Aqueduct Saturday at 1 1/8 miles.
Will "Rocky" score another knockout? Will The Grocer breeze through the express lane again? Those questions should be answered in the Nov. 27 Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct. The same day, at Churchill Downs, Iroquois (gr. III) winner Straight Line again will try to take the shortest way home in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II).
After his victory earlier aboard Summer Raven in the Tempted Stakes (gr. III), jockey Stewart Elliott completed a sweep of the Election Day features at Aqueduct when led Rockport Harbor to a win in the Nashua Stakes (gr. III).
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