It was a sunny December afternoon, with temperatures reaching the 50s and gusty winds blowing in from the northwest. The 2,453 hardcore racegoers who ventured to Aqueduct Racetrack on this Friday in 2003 had no way of knowing that they were witnessing the birth of a future winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) and the leading candidate for Horse of the Year honors.
Saint Liam, a leading contender for Horse of the Year after winning the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), will begin his stallion career for $50,000 live foal.
William K. and Suzanne Warren's Saint Liam, sent off at 2-1 odds, won a stretch duel with Flower Alley to win Saturday's $4,680,000 Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
The battle lines have been drawn for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships and it is now time to plot strategy and assess the competition. And nowhere will that place with more intensity than in the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
The top three choices for the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) drew tough assignments when the post positions were drawn Wednesday morning for Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
It was a chaotic Monday morning on the Belmont work tab, with 21 Breeders' Cup horses having their final tune-ups for the World Thoroughbred Championships. And over at Aqueduct, Rick Dutrow worked his two Breeders' Cup horses, Saint Liam and Silver Train.
Saint Liam, the probable favorite for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), had his final work before the $4 million race Monday morning at Aqueduct.
Jerry Bailey, the leading Breeders' Cup jockey with 14 victories, will have mounts in every Breeders' Cup race next Saturday. He could be on four favorites with First Samurai (Bessemer Trust Juvenile), Shakespeare (John Deere Turf) Oujia Board (Emirates Airline F&M Turf) and Saint Liam (Classic Powered by Dodge).
Trainer Richard Dutrow is not tipping his hand when it comes to the strategy he will employ when Saint Liam faces a full field in the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Belmont Park Oct. 29.
William and Suzanne Warren's Saint Liam, winner of the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) in his last start, worked six furlongs in 1:13 at Aqueduct Monday, in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) Oct. 29.
Bloodstock agent Mark Reid has purchased 100% of Pennsylvania-based Walnut Green Bloodstock from brothers Russell and Richard Jones.
- By Steve Haskin
With Saint Liam pretty much established as the early favorite for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), a competitive field of eight will line up for Saturday's $1-million Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) to determine who will pose the most serious challenge to the Woodward (gr. I) and Stephen Foster (gr. I) winner.
They don't make them like Gallorette any more. The champion handicap mare of 1946, Gallorette won or placed in 54 of her 72 starts while battling against the likes of Armed, Assault, and Stymie in one of the deepest handicap divisions ever seen in America.
It's hard to say what was the weirdest part of this past weekend -- the Woodward, with only three legitimate starters; the amount of money wagered, or rather thrown away, on Rick Dutrow's rabbit entry; or the paltry 41 starters competing in the seven graded stakes.
Saint Liam, the authoritative winner of the Sept. 10 Woodward (gr. I) at Belmont Park, will make his next start in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic, Powered by Dodge (gr. I) on Oct. 29, according to trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.
Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. figured all he needed in order to get Saint Liam home on top in Saturday's $490,000 Woodward (gr. I) was to put a little pace pressure on Commentator, who upset his star in the Whitney (gr. I). Dutrow's strategy worked to perfection as Saint Liam galloped home an easy winner at Belmont Park.
Aaron and Marie Jones' Shaniko will be scratched from Saturday's Woodward Stakes (gr. I), racing manager Buzz Chace said Friday after talking to the Joneses and trainer Todd Pletcher. With Shaniko out, trainer Rick Dutrow will run both Crafty Player and Show Boot as pacesetters for Saint Liam.
Saturday's $500,000 Woodward Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park managed to pry four horses out of the comfort of their stalls for the dubious task of taking on the race's two brilliant stars, Commentator and Saint Liam, the one-two finishers in the Whitney Handicap (gr. I).
It is time for a legitimate favorite for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) to step forward and assert himself, and that could happen in Saturday's Woodward (gr. I) when Saint Liam and Commentator hook up again. But this time, trainer Rick Dutrow will be adding a new dish to Saint Liam's menu.
Saint Liam breezed six furlongs over Aqueduct's main track Sunday morning in 1:16 3/5. An earner of more than $1.7 million, Saint Liam is running in Saturday's $500,000 Woodward (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
Grade I winner Commentator breezed a half mile over Saratoga's training track Friday morning in :51. It was the gelding's first recorded work since winning the Whitney Handica (gr. I) Aug. 6.
Stonerside Stable's Sis City, winner of the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) earlier this year, breezed seven furlongs in 1:27 3/5 over the main Saratoga Race Course track Thursday morning with Rudy Rodriguez aboard. The filly is scheduled to make her next start in the Alabama (gr. I) Aug. 20.
The classy sprinter Commentator was able to stretch his speed all the way to the wire under Gary Stevens in Saturday's $750,000 Whitney Handicap (gr. I), digging in to hold off Saint Liam by a neck at Saratoga Race Course.
A field of eight older horses is set to line up for Saturday's 78th running of the prestigious Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga. Won by Roses in May in thrilling fashion over Perfect Drift in 2004, this year's edition includes division leader Saint Liam--with trainers Nick Zito and Todd Pletcher entering two starters each.
Trainer Rick Dutrow told a national teleconference Tuesday he is expecting a "huge" performance from Saint Liam in Saturday's Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga. Not that anyone needs Dutrow to tell them that, as the Stephen Foster (gr. I) winner likely will be an overwhelming favorite in the 1 1/8-mile race.
Saint Liam, arguably the nation's top older horse after 2005 victories in the grade I Donn and Stephen Foster handicaps, breezed five furlongs over Saratoga's Oklahoma training trackMonday morning in 1:02 1/5.
Saint Liam, winner of this year's Donn (gr. I) and Stephen Foster (gr. I) Handicaps, will be retired from racing after the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships in October and will enter stud next year at William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Ky.
Trainer Bobby Frankel couldn't have drawn up the running of Saturday's $828,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) any better for Saint Liam in his first start for the Hall of Fame conditioner. Saint Liam shook off pacesetter Presidentialaffair coming off the far turn and romped to a 2 3/4-length victory.
Saint Liam, the 8-5 morning line favorite for Saturday's $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I), was reacquainted with Churchill Downs' one-mile racing oval during a Friday morning gallop.
It's been a rough week for trainer Bobby Frankel. On Monday his 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper was retired due to injury, but things could improve dramatically by the weekend when he sends out Saint Liam and Badge of Silver in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I), going 1 1/8 miles at Churchill Downs.
Barbara Cesare's Second of June, runner-up in the New Orleans Handicap (gr. II), has been knocked out of Saturday's Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs an ailment in the colt's left hind ankle.
Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren's Saint Liam, winner of the Donn Handicap (gr. I) and Clark Handicap (gr. II), has been assigned high weight of 121 pounds for next Saturday's $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
An impressive group of handicap runners headed by Saint Liam, Eddington, and Perfect Drift is included on a roster of 24 older horses nominated for the $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs June 18.
Often accused of failing to realize his awesome potential, Rock Hard Ten brought his true knockout punch to Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), pulling away for a decisive 1 3/4-length victory over the strongest field he is yet to face.
As the rains arrived once again in Southern California Friday morning, Saint Liam, winner of the Donn Handicap (gr. I) bedded down with Bobby Frankel's horses at Santa Anita after making the trip from Florida Thursday in uneventful fashion.
An old-fashioned East vs. West match-up between Saint Liam and Rock Hard Ten looms in Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I).
Rock Hard Ten and Congrats, two contenders for Saturday's Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) trained by Richard Mandella, worked at Santa Anita Tuesday.
Mr.& Mrs. William Warren's Saint Liam worked six furlongs handily in 1:12 at the Palm Meadows training center Saturday morning in preparation for his engagement in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap March 5.
Donn Handicap (gr. I) winner St. Liam has joined the probable field for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) March 5, according to racing secretary Rick Hammerle.
After nearly blowing the final turn, Saint Liam won the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) with authority Saturday at Gulfstream Park, pulling away by 3 3/4 lengths at the end.
A field of six will contest the 47th running of the grade I Donn Handicap, traditionally the opening salvo of the handicap divisional season. This year's edition includes 2004 Eclipse Award finalist Roses in May and last year's Clark Handicap (gr. II) winner St. Liam--both of whom tussled with Horse of the Year Ghostzapper.
Clark Handicap (gr. II) winner Saint Liam is to ship to Florida's Palm Meadows training center Wednesday, where he'll be prepared for the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I), his next target at Gulfstream Park Feb. 5.
Heavily favored Saint Liam repelled the challenges of Perfect Drift and Seek Gold in the stretch and pulled away to victory in the $558,000 Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs Friday.
Saint Liam, who gave leading Horse of the Year candidate Ghostzapper his toughest race of the season while finishing second in the Woodward Stakes (g.r I) Sept. 11, is probable for the $500,000 Clark Handicap (gr. II) Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs.
Although there are still several major preps remaining for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), the leading players are pretty well set, with Pleasantly Perfect, Ghostzapper, and Birdstone all heading straight for Texas. But there is still one player – former Horse of the Year Azeri -- who could add a whole new dimension to the race.
There was no debating Ghostzapper's talent heading into the $500,000 Woodward (gr. I) at Belmont Park Saturday. After his gut-wrenching neck victory over Saint Liam, fans have a good idea of the size of his heart as well.
While he's well known to those who follow speed figures, impressive Ghostzapper takes the national stage for the first time Saturday as the horse to beat in the $500,000 Woodward (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
Undaunted by a brisk pace battle, Edmund Gann's Peace Rules had more than enough left to win the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) Saturday by two lengths over Ole Faunty.
Last year trainer Bobby Frankel saddled Medaglia d' Oro to win the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II). This year Frankel hopes Peace Rules, who is listed as even money on the morning-line, can emulate his stablemate's success in Saturday's $500,000 race going 1 1/8-miles.
Edmund Gann's Peace Rules and Mr. and Mrs. William Warren Jr's Saint Liam, the one-two finishers in the Feb. 29 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) at Fair Grounds, and the past two Arkansas Derby (gr. II) winners--Private Emblem (2002) and Sir Cherokee (2003)--head a list of 17 horses nominated for the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) April 3.
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