A rare meeting of three Breeders' Cup winners--including a rematch of the last two winners of the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I)--headlines one of the most memorable renewals of Churchill Downs' $250,000 Falls City Handicap (gr. III) on Thursday.
Spain, who won the 2000 edition of the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) and came within a head of repeating that feat this year, worked a sharp :59 4/5 over five furlongs in her final preparation for Thursday's $250,000-added Falls City Handicap (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.
Brief items on racing and breeding.
Miscellaneous racing news
The Thoroughbred Corp.'s Habibti showed her readiness for Sunday's Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) at Oak Tree Tuesday morning with a five-furlong drill in :58 4/5.
Trainer Bob Baffert reversed fields again on Friday with his unbeaten 2-year-old colt Officer, saying the Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) winner will be going to New York for the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park Oct. 6. Only two days earlier, Baffert said Officer would stay in California for the Sept. 29 Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita rather than run in the Champagne as previously announced.
Richard Mulhall, racing manager of Prince Ahmed Salman's Thoroughbred Corp., said there has been "a lot of interest" in standing recently retired Point Given at stud but that "absolutely nothing" has been decided regarding the colt's future as a stallion. Meanwhile, Point Given will be paraded between races on Del Mar's closing program Wednesday and trainer Bob Baffert said the son of Thunder Gulch would be shipped on Thursday to The Thoroughbred Corp. farm in Bradbury Estates near Santa Anita.
Leading Horse of the Year candidate Point Given has been retired because of a strain to the suspensory tendon of his left foreleg, trainer Bob Baffert announced on Friday. The strain was detected on Thursday morning, when Point Given had been expected to return to the track for the first time after his victory in last Saturday's Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. "I've had to retire a lot of good horses, but I never felt like this," Baffert said. "We were just beginning to tap into his greatness."
On Sunday at Del Mar, The Thoroughbred Corporation scored another grade I win with an impressive looking chestnut. One day after Point Given romped home in the Travers Stakes (gr. I), Habibti won the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante by two lengths.
Point Given, winner of the Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) earlier this year, continued his quest toward the Aug. 5 Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) with a six-furlong drill Wednesday morning at Del Mar.
The Thoroughbred Corp.'s Point Given, winner of two jewels of the Triple Crown this year, has been assigned highweight of 124 pounds for Monmouth Park's Haskell Invitational (gr. I) to be run Aug. 5.
Point Gained, the 2-year-old half-sister to Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Point Given, never threatened and finished seventh in a field of eight in the $100,000 Silver Spur Stakes on Sunday at Lone Star Park. It was the stakes debut for Point Gained, a Hennessy filly, after she broke her maiden in her career debut June 20 at Lone Star.
Point Given had his first breeze on Saturday since his dominating performance in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) last month. With the Bob Baffert stable's top exercise rider, Dana Barnes, in the saddle, the son of Thunder Gulch went a half-mile at Santa Anita Park in :47 3/5, according to clockers, though Baffert timed Point Given in :48 1/5.
Trainer Bob Baffert said on Thursday that Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Point Given is about one week away from having his first breeze since the Triple Crown. Baffert wouldn't rule out the Aug. 5 Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at Monmouth Park or the Aug. 25 Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga, but said the only race the son of Thunder Gulch is specifically being pointing toward is the Oct. 27 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).
The 2-year-old half sister of Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes winner Point Given made a successful racing debut Wednesday night at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie.
Prince Ahmed Salman likes quality, and he believed he had the goods in Point Given. He made the long trip from Saudi Arabia to Kentucky for the first Saturday in May to chase immortality. The Thoroughbred Corp., his racing and breeding operation, has been cranking out top racehorses for years. There have been three Breeders' Cup winners, owned exclusively or in partnership, but no classics trophies in the United States.
Lazy Lode dueled with Eagleton through the early going before pulling away to win the $150,000 Arcadia Handicap (gr. IIT) on a yielding turf course. The win marks the second graded stakes win on the Santa Anita card for The Thoroughbred Corporation, which also owns Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Point Given. The Thoroughbred Corp.'s Poetic also won the track's second race, an allowance race on turf, giving the stable three winners on the card.
On March 12, the Nasdaq composite index sank below 2000 and the Dow Jones industrial average experienced a staggering 436-point drop. The following day, Barretts conducted its select sale of 2-year-olds in training and suffered one of its worst financial beatings ever. The gross, average, and median all declined sharply. The buy-back rate climbed to its second-highest level in the auction's history. And the sale failed to produce a seven-figure horse for the first time since 1996. Just a coincidence? Gerald McMahon didn't think so. The Barretts president saw a direct link between Wall Street's crash and his California-based company's plummeting fortunes.
One day after the stock market plunged dramatically, business at the Barretts Equine Ltd.'s March select sale of 2-year-olds in training suffered significant setbacks. Gross revenue dropped by 33.8%, and the average and median prices fell by 27.2% and 44.0%, respectively. The buy-back rate was 45.4%, reaching the second-highest level in the auction's history.
From Thunder Gulch's second crop, Point Given appears poised to make a run at the 2001 Derby, giving the Mr. Prospector line another strong player to extend the dynasty. If successful, Thunder Gulch would join Unbridled (Grindstone) as the most recent Derby winner to sire a Derby winner.
The Thoroughbred Corp.'s Spain blew past High Walden on the last turn and proved too much for Chilukki in the stretch as she registered a two-length victory Sunday in the $200,000 La Canada Stakes (gr. II) for 4-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Park. Ridden by Victor Espinoza at high weight of 122 pounds, Spain ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.74 on a fast main track and paid $5.20, $2.40 and $2.10.
Spain made a case for herself for 3-year-old filly Eclipse Award honors with an upset win in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) only to be trumped three weeks later when Surfside convincingly defeated males in the Clark Handicap (gr. II). Spain put in some last-minute campaigning Saturday, defeating reigning 2-year-old champion Chilukki in the $200,000 La Brea Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita.
The Thoroughbred Corporation's Subtle Power will return to the barn of Henry Cecil, his former trainer, to race in Europe next year, according to the Racing Post.
Alice Chandler of Mill Ridge Farm announced that 1999 champion and Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Anees will take up stud duty for $15,000 live foal at the Lexington farm on behalf of a syndicate.
Millionaire Royal Anthem will enter stud at Rick Trontz' Hopewell Farm near Midway, Ky., and stand for $10,000.
The Thoroughbred Corporation's Spain dueled though the stretch with Ruby Surprise before edging away to a one-length victory in the $250,000 Turfway Breeders' Cup (gr. III) Saturday at Turfway Park.
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