Triple Crown News & Notes
Dortmund, Firing Line put in final easy works at Santa Anita
"He'll probably run in the Alysheba," Baffert said of Bayern, adding, "I'm really happy with how they went."
Shortly after Dortmund completed his work, Baffert caught a flight to Louisville, Kentucky. His other Derby contender, champion American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile), is scheduled to breeze Sunday morning under the Twin Spires but the work could be moved to Monday if the track isn't "fast."
The bay colt went off at 6:30 a.m. (PDT) with Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens -- who'll also ride him in the Kentucky Derby -- in the saddle and skipped through five furlongs in 1:02 1/5.
Bolo's groom, Daniel Marquez, and exercise rider, Tony Rubalcaba, will fly out the same day as their charge to Kentucky. Gaines will do her flying Monday.
Carpe Diem beats rain in final Derby work
"He really loves the surface here," Pletcher said. "We were a little concerned with how the weather was going to play out. Today was the day we wanted to breeze him. We had a lot more confidence in the surface being good here at Keeneland. This surface has impressed us quite a bit -- the way it handles moisture, rain."
Pletcher, who has been traveling between Keeneland and Churchill to oversee his horses, said Carpe Diem has been thriving since the Blue Grass.
"He's continued to develop," Pletcher said. "He's really in a good place now. He's just very happy with himself, content, galloping well; his appetite's good. Just all the indications you'd like to see leading up to a big race. He's giving us all the right signs."
Carpe Diem, who has won four races in five starts and has earned $1,519,800, is the third-leading point earner among horses taking aim at the Kentucky Derby. Pletcher, who won the 2010 Kentucky Derby with Super Saver, said Carpe Diem likely would ship to Churchill on Monday.
Pletcher made the 75-mile trip from Lexington to Louisville -- logging some phone calls and getting in some ESPN radio along the way -- in time to see his three other Derby colts go through a jog during the 8:30 to 8:45 special training window Churchill has put in place for Derby and Kentucky Oaks horses.
The trio -- Itsaknockout (Lemon Drop Kid), Materiality (Afleet Alex) and Stanford (Malibu Moon) -- had each worked the day prior, so they merely jogged a mile, backtracking all the way around the big Churchill oval. Itsaknockout had Ezequiel Perez in the tack, Materiality was handled by Carlos Cano and Stanford went for Isabelle Bourez.
Of the three, Florida Derby (G1) winner Materiality came off the track "on the muscle," as racetrackers say of a horse who is full of himself and showing it.
"He's normally a quiet colt, but sometimes he'll tip you that he's feeling good," Pletcher said. "He's telling us that he came out of that work yesterday very well."
The lightly raced colt will be making only the fourth start of his career next Saturday and he'll have Javier Castellano aboard for the first time.
Itsaknockout will have the Derby services of Luis Saez, while Stanford has not had a rider named to this point, though Florent Geroux rode him in his most recent start -- a second-place finish in the Louisiana Derby (G2) -- and may have the inside track on the mount next week.
Pletcher indicated that he'd wait to see what the track was like tomorrow morning before making his next move with his three colts. If the heavy rains that are predicted come and the track is on the "off," he indicated that the trio might just walk the shedrow. But if the main surface is in good shape, they could return to galloping.
Upstart, Frosted tune up for Derby at Palm Meadows
"He felt great," King said. "He felt really good. He's done everything right. He went the right time -- everything, the fractions were perfect.
"He's push-button. He's really a nice ride," she added. "If he messes up, it's the rider's fault, because he does anything you ask him to do!"
King said having difficultly pulling up is the norm when riding the eager bay, noting he has great endurance.
"He's always like that -- before and after the breeze," she said. "He's just wants to go around again. He's happy to keep going."
Trainer Rick Violette was similarly very pleased with Upstart's work, noting the ease with which he carried his speed.
"It was kind of typical (for him), very professional," he said. "He looks like he's two-minute licking but he's going in 12 (second-intervals). He didn't want to pull up. He did it easily, and it basically was a typical Upstart work, which is what we were looking for."
Violette said he's learned that his trainee excels when racing off fast works.
"All (Vicki King) has to do is move her hands a little bit and he accelerates," he said. "He likes to work fast going into his races. His best races have come off fast workouts. When I toyed with that and toned it down a little bit, he didn't run his A-race, which is kind of my program, but it was also something we've learned (about him) as a two-year-old and three-year-old. He wants to zip a little bit, and we try to keep our horses happy."
Following the work, Upstart cooled out when walking Violette's shed row before being led to the turnout ring and taking a routine roll on his back. Upon rising, the ridgling let out a playful buck, seemingly full of energy after the serious exercise. Violette said his trainee has thrived since missing a scheduled workout about two weeks ago due to a spiked fever.
"He looked like he just walked out of his stall," Violette said. "It's pretty cool. We've had one little bullet that we dodged, and it doesn't seem to have had any after effect, that's for sure. He's had two good breezes and a two-minute lick, and now we'll just let him feel like King Kong for a week and head him over there (to Louisville) and see what happens."
"We had a great racetrack today," McLaughlin said. "We wanted to see a maintenance work, and we're all systems go. He worked great -- went in 1:01 -- and it was very similar to last week. We're very happy with it.
"We didn't want to see any changes, and we're just happy to keep seeing the same, seeing him work well and within himself," he added. "He's gone perfect."
After training up to the Wood Memorial at Palm Meadows, McLaughlin elected to return the colt to South Florida to keep things status quo. Under a sunny sky on a warm, picture-perfect morning, McLaughlin said the weather also played a role in his decision.
"Going into the Wood, he worked every week here and flew up there and won," he said. "Weather was a big thing. It looked rainy in Kentucky, and it has been, and in New York, too. It just looked like it was the right move. He's trained great here."
Frosted will depart for Louisville on Tuesday and spend the rest of the week galloping up to a start in the Run for the Roses.
"On Tuesday he flies at noon. He'll train here (at Palm Meadows) Tuesday morning, fly up, and train thereWednesday, Thursday, Friday, and maybe Saturday, too. We'll also go through the paddock, but not in the afternoon."
International Star, Mubtaahij put in final major moves for Derby
Ramsey, who was not present for the work but was in regular contact with Maker throughout the morning, relayed a final time of 1:02 2/5 with splits of :13, :25 2/5, :37 4/5 and :50 2/5.
"The time doesn't sound spectacular but Mike was pleased and if he's pleased then I'm pleased," Ramsey said. "I leave the training up to him."
While International Star was enjoying his salt bath, U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2) victor Mubtaahij (Dubawi) breezed yet again over the Arlington Polytrack on an unseasonably cool morning in the Chicago suburbs.
The work was missed by clockers on course, with the circuit's main clocking crew at Hawthorne. However, trainer Mike de Kock employs Fine Equinity, a GPS-based training management tracking system, to record morning work times, heart rates, and more.
"We had too many runners in big races today and it would have been much too rushed," de Kock said from Johannesburg, where he was rewarded with two Group 1 wins, a Group 1 second, and a Group 2 victory on the lucrative program. "I'm really looking forward to getting to Louisville now."
El Kabeir turns in quick half-mile at Belmont
Owned by Zayat Stables, who will also be represented in the Derby by likely favorite American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) and the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Mr. Z, El Kabeir most recently finished third in the Twinspires.com Wood Memorial (G1) on April 4. The colt competed in all four Aqueduct preps for the Derby, winning the Jerome (G3) to kick off the year, finishing second in the Withers (G3), and capturing the Gotham (G3) before his third-place finish in the Wood.
Following the Wood, in which El Kabeir was ridden by C.C. Lopez, it was announced that three-time Kentucky Derby winner Calvin Borel would replace Lopez aboard the colt in the Derby. Borel rode El Kabeir to victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs last fall, but Lopez picked up the mount for the Jerome after Borel was unable to take the call.
El Kabeir is Terranova's second Derby starter; the trainer sent out sprinter Falling Sky to a 19th-place finish in the 2013 edition of the Run for the Roses. According to Terranova, El Kabeir is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs on Sunday afternoon.
"We're looking forward to a good week," said Terranova. "He's a real smart, well-seasoned colt, and he's been battle tested already. We're just going to go in and enjoy the week -- keep him happy, keep us happy -- and hopefully we'll have a fun Derby."
Keen Ice, Tencendur take a spin under the Twin Spires
"He was smooth doing everything," Romans added. "You saw what a beautiful stride he has. He swept to his right lead turning for home perfect. I told her, just smooch to him leaving there, just let him do whatever he wants. It ended up being just right."
Keen Ice, whose only victory in seven starts came in a maiden race last year at Churchill Downs, is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby (G2). Prior to that he was third in the Risen Star S. (G2), also at Fair Grounds, and began his sophomore season with a fifth-placing in Gulfstream Park's Holy Bull S. (G2) on January 24.
The Kentucky-bred colt's other two stakes tries came last years as a third in the Remsen S. (G2) at Aqueduct and another fifth-placing, this time in the Breeders' Futurity (G1) at Keeneland.
"My first time here," said Franco, who left later in the morning to return to New York and ride at Aqueduct before returning Friday. "He worked well. The first time I rode him in thought he was talented, very talented."
Weaver said that Tencendur would have some paddock and gate schooling prior to the Derby.
"He has not had any issues," the horseman stated. "But with Derby Day, it can affect even the calmest horses."
In other Kentucky Derby news:
"We tried a bunch of stuff, took the blinkers off, changed up the rider, did a number of things," the Hall of Fame conditioner remarked. "And I don't think he cared for the track either, as it turned out. He's back to his old form and rebounded well in Arkansas."
For the full Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks (G1) tracknotes for April 25, please click here.
Effinex delivers for Jerkens in Excelsior; Wicked Strong third
"I had the best trip," Arroyo said. "I was able to break good and relax behind the speed. I waited for the stretch, and my horse responded when I asked. He's a nice horse."
The four-year-old returned a $14 win mutuel.
Red Rifle, who was off at 8-1, finished 2 1/4 lengths clear of Wicked Strong, who was making his second start of the year after a close fourth in the March 7 Gulfstream Park H. (G2).
"I was a little worried about running (Wicked Strong) 1 1/4 miles after having just one race in Florida," Jerkens said. "It puts a horse in a different mindset when you have to go chasing fast horses then you have to slow them back down again. You try to do what you can in the morning, but there's only so much you can do. He'll be back."
Effinex broke his maiden in his third outing and was transferred to Jerkens four starts later. He placed in his first attempt versus restricted stakes rivals, the Albany at Saratoga last August, before capturing the Empire Classic H. at Belmont Park in October. He followed with a pair of fourths, including the Hawthorne Gold Cup (G2), before returning to the winner's circle in his 2015 bow, a March 27 allowance/optional claimer at Aqueduct on March 27.
With Saturday's $120,000 payday, the dark bay increased his earnings to $507,250 from a 14-5-1-2 record.
"We don't have anything planned for him," Jerkens said when asked what's next for Effinex. "We'll bring him back to the barn and evaluate when he comes back."
Bred by Dr. Russell S. Cohen, Effinex is out of the multiple stakes-winning What a Pear (E Dubai). He counts Broodmare of the Year Best in Show (Traffic Judge) as his fourth maternal dam.
Rerun springs 21-1 upset in Miami Mile
A six-year-old, Rerun didn't make it to the races until he was four, and the bay gelding notched his first stakes win here. Fifth in his first graded try in the January 24 Tampa Bay (G3), he came right back to take a third-level allowance back at Tampa February 25. His scorecard now stands at 16-6-2-1, $141,740.
"He's always been cut out to be a nice horse, but he got injured just before I was about to run him as a two-year-old," Stewart said. "He had to have a year off before we ever got to run him. He's a very nice horse. We've had very high hopes for him."
The Kentucky-bred is out of stakes-placed It's Spooky (Silver Ghost), who is also responsible for multiple stakes-placed Garnet Crystals (Lion Heart). This is the further family of Grade 3 winner Revivalist (Advocator).
G. G. Ryder denies Summer Hit in San Francisco Mile
Finishing third, three-quarters of a length behind Summer Hit, was Are You Kidding Me (Run Away and Hide). Completing the order of finish were 2014 San Francisco Mile winner Pepper Crown (Peppered Cat), Tiz Dynamic (Tiznow), Edge of Reality (Lawyer Ron), the Hollendorfer-trained Toruk Makto (Rahy), and Polytechnicien (Royal Academy).
This was the second career stakes win for G. G. Ryder, who landed the $75,000 Alcatraz over the course and distance last May. He subsequently finished second in the Berkeley H. (G3), and preceded this victory with an allowance second to Pepper Crown, who beat him in the Berkeley but who had finished behind him in a trio of allowances dating back to November. G. G. Ryder's record now stands at 18-9-3-1, $315,114.
Bred in California by Eagle Oak Ranch, G. G. Ryder was reared by Stormy Gigi (Storm Boot), a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Force Freeze (Forest Camp), stakes winner Barber (Storm Boot), Grade 2-placed Declan's Fast Cat (Bluegrass Cat), and stakes-placed Ice Legend (Bertrando). All were produced by stakes winner Antifreeze (It's Freezing).
Longshot Si Sage captures Last Tycoon at 42-1
"Darrell told me that 'You know the horse, you work him, it's your decision where to place him in the race.' We sat behind and he was ready to go in the stretch."
"I think the blinkers made a difference on this horse," Vienna agreed. "Elvis had been working him, he said maybe blinkers would help and I think he was right. I trained him once in them before but I didn't think he liked them. He worked very well in his last work with the blinkers. Frankly, I was hoping they would make a difference for him.
"I wasn't actually looking at the fractions, I was watching him, and frankly I was never worried. I thought he was always running pretty easily. I should say I was a little worried early when he was tugging, but after he settled on the turn, I felt pretty good, and then I could see he wasn't asking him at all, and then he did."
Campaigned by Red Baron's Barn LLC, Rancho Temescal and Vayaconsuerte LLC, Si Sage completed 1 1/4 miles over the firm turf in 2:02 to claim his first stakes victory in style. He paid $87.60 to his faithful, but few, supporters as the 42-1 longest shot in the eight-horse field.
Ganesh (Sulamani) was the winner of a three-way photo for second, getting his nose in front at just the right moment over Abbey Vale (Moss Vale), who in turn had a head in front of fourth-place finisher Power Foot (Powerscourt).
Not only was Si Sage earning his first stakes win in the Last Tycoon, it was also his first U.S. victory from 11 starts. Beginning his career in his native France, the bay's best black-type effort overseas came as second in the 2013 Prix du Pont-Neuf in his final start. He shipped stateside and proceeded to be fifth in both the Oceanside S. and La Jolla H. (G2) before a 10th-place finish in the Del Mar Derby (G2), all at Del Mar.
Wrapping up his sophomore campaign with a dead-heat, short-neck third in the Sir Beaufort S. (G2), Si Sage produced his best 2014 effort when opening the season with a second in the San Marcos S. (G2). He was never close to hitting the board in his remaining four starts last year and thus far in 2015 has been fourth against allowance/optional claiming company and sixth in the Thunder Road S.
Saturday's victory in the Last Tycoon bumped Si Sage's career earnings to $255,494 and his line now stands at 23-4-6-2.
Bred in France by Ecurie D., the five-year-old bay is out of San Rien (Poliglote) and counts as his fourth dam classic-placed Group 3 heroine Boreale (Bellypha). His female family also includes French champion Princesse Lida (Nijinsky II) and English champion *Carlemont as well as Group 1 winners Corre Caminos (Montjeu) and Recital (Montjeu).
Birdatthewire, Include Betty ready for Oaks with Churchill breezes
Also taking a spin around Churchill Downs on Saturday was Fantasy S. (G3) winner Include Betty (Include), who came to the track at about 6:30 a.m. (EDT) for a five-furlong breeze in 1:02 1/5 under regular exercise rider Leo Garcia.
Churchill Downs clockers recorded splits of :25 4/5 and :38 for the Tom Proctor trainee, as well as a six-furlong gallop-out time of 1:18.
"She rode a hell of a race for us in the Fantasy and we're just hoping for her to do the same thing again in the Oaks," Thornton said.
Gazelle S. (G2) runner-up Puca (Big Brown) was scheduled to work Saturday but instead galloped 1 1/2 miles after the renovation break with exercise rider Jo Lawson up.
"I was planning to work her sometime this weekend and I just opted to wait a day," trainer Bill Mott explained. "If the track is not good in the morning, we can wait until Monday. I thought she got around there pretty good this morning."
Junior Alvarado has the mount in the Oaks.
In other Kentucky Oaks news:
Most mornings Jones can be seen on the track all morning long jogging and galloping his horses, though which ones he climbs aboard himself depends mostly on their individual needs.
"They'll be maybe 100 yards apart," Jones said. "We're going to be the first hoofprints around that track, I hope."
De Kock wins two Group 1s at Turffontein
Although trainer Mike de Kock was out of luck in the main event on President's Champions Challenge Day at Turffontein, the South African horseman nevertheless scored a Group 1 double on the big card.
Pine Princess (Captain Al) came again to deny Triple Tiara-seeking Siren's Call (Elusive Fort) in the S A Oaks (SAf-G1).
The de Kock trainee has been knocking at the door at the highest level, having been placed in South Africa's Golden Slipper (SAf-G1) as a two-year-old last year and twice fourth in Group 1s since the turn of the calendar. She checked in fourth going 1800 meters in the Paddock S. (SAf-G1) January 10, but could manage only eighth dropped back to a mile in the Gauteng Fillies Guineas (SAf-G2) over this strip February 28. She was fourth once again in the S A Fillies' Classic (SAf-G1) back at 1800 meters March 28, and seemed to relish the added ground Saturday.
Dropping back to travel in the second half of the strung-out field, Pine Princess was three-wide around both bends but shrugged off that inconvenience, striding to the lead under a near-motionless Anthony Delpech at the top of the lane. She was headed by Siren's Call inside the final furlong but fought back gamely to nail that rival on the wire.
De Kock also sent out Alboran Sea (Rock of Gibraltar) to capture the Computaform Sprint (SAf-G1). The three-year-old filly earned her first Group 1 in just her second start going six furlongs in the Allan Robertson Championship (SAf-G1) a little more than a year ago, but she has shown as of late that five furlongs may just be her game, as she has now won back-to-back Group 1s over the minimum distance.
Victorious in the Cape Flying Championship (SAf-G1) January 24, Alboran Sea was sent off the second choice here. Quickly working her way up to travel with the leaders on the stand's side rail, the bay hooked up with Carry On Alice, the only other three-year-old filly in the lineup, at the 300-meter mark and had to call on all her reserves to see off that stubborn foe after the pair pulled clear in the final furlong.
The de Kock yard was expected to plunder the President's Champions Challenge (SAf-G1) with 4-5 favorite Majmu (Redoute's Choice), but the sophomore filly had to settle for second behind the veteran Wylie Hall -- also by Redoute's Choice.
Wylie Hall earned his first Group 1 win on this card two years ago when taking the S A Derby (SAf-G1), but had failed to win again until victorious in the Colorado King S. (SAf-G2) over this track and 10-furlong trip three weeks ago. The Australian-bred crossed the wire first in last year's Durban July (SAf-G1), but was disqualified and placed second. He beat just two when 12th in the Champions Cup (SAf-G1) three weeks later, and was making his first start since in the Colorado King. Breathing down the neck of the heavily favored Majmu in midpack through the opening stages, Wylie Hall was steered to the stand's side rail by jockey Bernard Fayd'herbe at the top of the lane, hit the lead at the 300-meter mark and was all out to score.
In Saturday's renewal of the S A Derby, the de Kock-trained Ertijaal (Hard Spun) was only fourth behind Legal Eagle (Greys Inn) from the Sean Tarry yard.
Legal Eagle has appeared to relish each step up in distance, and he took his latest leap in stride when registering his first Group 1 here. A second-out winner going a mile March 5, Legal Eagle was second in a Vaal handicap going a half-furlong longer two weeks later, and took his black-type debut when stretching out to 1 1/4 miles in the Derby Trial here April 4.
Racing wide with three beaten early, Legal Eagle stormed down the stand's side rail in the lane. He appeared to bother the favorites Ertijaal and French Navy (Count Dubois) slightly in the closing stages, but that pair already appeared beaten. Legal Eagle went on to win by a widening margin from Deputy Jud (Judpot), with stablemate French Navy giving Tarry a one-three result.
Rounding out the Group 1 action, Arabian Beat (Black Minnaloushe) sprang a 16-1 upset of de Kock's Shaama (Redoute's Choice) in the S A Nursery (SAf-G1).
A debut winner over this course February 28, Arabian Beat could manage only second over Turffontein's soft going a month later in the Protea S. (SAf-G3), but he proved the deep ground wasn't an issue Saturday when earning his first black-type victory at long odds. Traveling midpack one path off the stand's side rail down the Turffontein straight, the bay was roused by jockey Craig Zackey passing the 600-meter mark and ultimately disposed of the stubborn filly Shaama to win comfortably.
Scuderia Effevi aims for Italian Guineas double
Felice Villa's Scuderia Effevi has a chance to finally snatch its first win in the Premio Parioli (Italian Two Thousand Guineas) (Ity-G3) Sunday. The reigning Italian champion owner has won the Derby and the Oaks three times since 2007, and the Italian One Thousand Guineas once, but the Parioli has been an elusive target.
Hero Look (Lope De Vega) looked like an international prospect in his juvenile season, which was highlighted by an easy win in the Gran Criterium (Ity-G2). The colt returned three weeks ago in a conditions race over 1600 meters and was forced to a first defeat in the stewards' room. A bit coltish in the saddling enclosure and giving seven pounds to his rivals, bumped Pelandrun (Gladiatorus) in the last 30 meters and crossed the line a neck in front, only to be disqualified.
General Sherman (Teofilo) is the fresh force of the race. The La Nuova Sbarra's homebred, who opened his account in his second juvenile start, outbattled Clockwinder (Intikhab) in his seasonal debut over 1600 meters at Capannelle, and stepped up to score by four lengths in the Premio Gardone, a solid Parioli trial, at San Siro.
Muqaawel (Daaher), a clever 15,000gns purchase at the Tattersalls horses in training sale last year, has changed gears since joining trainer Ana Imaz Ceca at San Sebastian in Spain. The colt, one for five in England, came back with a third in the Prix De La Californie over the all-weather track at Cagnes Sur Mer, and outfinished the Group 3 scorer and Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-G1) candidate Ride Like The Wind (Lope De Vega) in a conditions race over Deauville's synthetic track.
Fabio Branca, the retained jockey of Scuderia Effevi, faced a tough choice for Sunday's Premio Regina Elena (Italian One Thousand Guineas) (Ity-G3), with his boss, Felice Villa, having two talented and unbeaten fillies in the race.
Reset In Blue (Fastnet Rock) opened her account strolling home in her juvenile debut over 1800 meters and has won her two starts over 1600 meters this season by a combined 11 1/2 lengths. Sound Of Freedom (Duke Of Marmalade) has had a similar path; she has won her three starts by a combined nine lengths, including last month's Premio Seregno at San Siro. Branca chose Reset In Blue and Cristian Demuro gets the call on Sound Of Freedom.
Trainer Bruno Grizzetti has won the Regina Elena seven times, and this year he will saddle Testa O Croce (Orpen), who needed four starts to break her maiden last year and ended the season with an unlucky third in the Criterium Femminile. Testa O Croce won much easier than the margin -- a neck -- suggested in a conditions race over 1600 meters at San Siro April 1.
"She is a very good filly and is entered also in the French One Thousand Guineas (Fr-G1)," said Grizzetti. "I decided to run her just once before the Regina Elena because I want to have a fresh filly in the classic and for the rest of the season. I will campaign her in France in the future because she is eligible for the French bonuses."
Lee Lewis' Baffle Me (First Samurai) rallied to win going away by 2 1/2 lengths in Saturday's $75,000 Baffle Me at Gulfstream Park, notching her first stakes tally since 2013. Now a five-time stakes heroine, the Mark Hennig-trained mare easily prevailed after the late scratch of prohibitive morning-line favorite Discreet Marq (Discreet Cat), completing the one-mile distance in 1:40 3/5 over the firm turf with jockey Paco Lopez. A fast-finishing fourth when opening her six-year-old season in the March 28 Honey Fox (G2), the Kentucky-bred Baffle Me has now earned $512,196 from a 28-8-4-4 scorecard...
Newton Anner Stud's Royal Squeeze (Wildcat Heir) appeared ready to run past Mr. Jordan (Kantharos) in Saturday's $60,000 Tarpoon at Gulfstream when that rival suddenly veered out into him in deep stretch, forcing jockey Eddie Castro to check severely as they were carried out badly. Mr. Jordan still managed to finish first by head, but the stewards didn't spend much time coming to an easy decision, quickly disqualifying the 1-5 favorite and elevating Royal Squeeze to first. Off as the 6-1 second choice among six three-year-olds, the Marty Wolfson-trained Royal Squeeze turned a mile in 1:36 2/5 on the track and the Florida-bred chestnut improved his record to 8-2-1-1, $139,630 with his first stakes victory...
For the first time since it opened in 1996, Emerald Downs has begun a search for a new track announcer. Robert Geller, who has called nearly 16,000 races in 20 seasons at Emerald Downs, has announced that he planned to pursue other career opportunities. Meantime, Emerald Downs is taking applications from experienced race callers worldwide, a job, which in addition to announcing races, includes co-hosting the Handicapper's Corner TV show and Emerald AM workout show, and also producing content for the track's website and serving as an ambassador in the community with appearances on local TV and radio and civic organizations. "The track announcer is an integral part of the Emerald Downs team," Emerald Downs' Vice President Marketing Sophia McKee said. "The track announcer is the voice of Emerald Downs and the represents the track within the community." McKee said experienced race callers are invited to apply by sending a cover letter, resume and audio clips/links to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions will be accepted until May 10...
As the classics loom in Germany, Sunday's Dr Busch-Memorial (Ger-G3) at Krefeld offers the first real clues with Pearl Bloodstock's Karpino (Cape Cross) likely to start a warm order following his highly promising debut success at Hoppegarten in September. Whereas he is all potential, Stall Leon's Los Cerritos (Dr Fong) has proven pattern-race form over this track and trip, having won the Herzog von Ratibor-Rennen (Ger-G3) in November and he is fit from a return third in the Preis der Dreijahrigen over 7 1/2 furlongs at Dusseldorf Apr. 12. Disappointing when seventh in the Herzog von Ratibor-Rennen, Stall Lucky Owner's Ajalo (King's Best) has the chance to prove that form all wrong...
Trainer Doug O'Neill's front-running Birdlover (Byron) seeks her third consecutive win as she heads a field of eight fillies and mares in Sunday's $100,000 Wilshire S. (G3) going one mile on Santa Anita Park's turf. The five-year-old mare only raced twice in 2014, finishing up the season with a close head second in the Wishing Well S., and returned one year later to take that about 6 1/2-furlong contest on the downhill turf by a half-length February 8. The British-bred chestnut followed up by wiring a one-mile turf allowance by 2 1/4 lengths last out on March 22, and will likely employ a similar strategy when breaking from the far outside in Sunday's Wilshire under jockey Rafael Bejarano. The Richard Mandella-trained Indecise (Pleasant Tap) appears set for a big effort in the Wilshire after also returning from a year-long hiatus to be second in the Wishing Well most recently. The six-year-old bay mare was making her stakes bow in that spot and retains the services of Flavien Prat on Sunday. Mandella will also be represented in the Wilshire by last year's John C. Mabee S. (G2) heroine Moulin de Mougin (Curlin), who ran an even ninth in the Thunder Road S. going a grassy mile on April 4, her first start since clipping heels and falling at odds of 5-1 in the Rodeo Drive S. (G1) last September. Also in with a chance Sunday are La Canada S. (G2) victress Thegirlinthatsong (My Golden Song), third in both the Santa Margarita S. (G1) and Santa Maria S. (G2) in her past two; Blingismything (Arch), third in the Las Cinegas S. (G3) and Buena Vista S. (G2) in her last two races; and Grade 2-placed Uzziel (Harlington), who ran second behind dual champion Beholder (Henny Hughes) in the Santa Lucia S. on April 10...
Rontos Racing Stable's Social Inclusion (Pioneerof the Nile), third in last year's Preakness S. (G1), will make his highly anticipated four-year-old debut in Sunday's 3RD race, a one-mile allowance for older horses, at Gulfstream Park. The bay colt has not run since finishing seventh in last July's Haskell Invitational (G1). Formerly in the care of trainer Manny Azpurua, he was transferred to the Chad Brown barn after that race and will make his first start for that conditioner Sunday. "He's doing really well," Brown said. "We're just taking our time with him. He's a pleasure to train. He's cooperated beautifully up to this point. We're excited to get him started." Social Inclusion emerged from his uncharacteristic effort in the Haskell, his first unplaced finish after going 2-0-3 in five prior starts, with an injury to his tendon. Upon receiving the talented runner, Brown made sure Social Inclusion received the appropriate medical attention and gave the colt plenty of time to heal. "When we got him in July, he had a tendon injury, so we immediately sent him to Kentucky to be evaluated by Dr. Larry Bramlage," Brown explained. "Then, of course (Bramlage) recommended a course of treatment and rest and a schedule for the horse, which we followed, and (Social Inclusion) did his down time at Dell Ridge Farm in Kentucky. They did a great job working with Dr. Bramlage. Eventually, he made his way down to me at the end of last year to begin training, and since then he hasn't missed a beat." Social Inclusion has trained for his return at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream's satellite training facility in Palm Beach County, and the colt has recorded eight published breezes since late February. He turned in a bullet five-furlong move on April 13 before most recently breezing five-eighths in 1:01 on April 19...
Sunday's C$125,000 Jacques Cartier S. at Woodbine is turning into a rematch of the November 23 Kennedy Road S. (Can-G2), as half of the 10-horse field are exiting that six-furlong contest for this one. Calgary Cat (Cowtown Cat) ended up winning that day, posting a two-length victory, with Bear No Joke (It's No Joke) crossing the line in third and Black Hornet (Pioneering) in fourth. Those latter two ended up reversing placings when Bear No Jack was disqualified to fourth while going for a title defense in the Kennedy Road. Stacked Deck (First Samurai) and Jose Sea View (Badge of Silver), the respective sixth and seventh in the race, also will be making their seasonal bows on Sunday. Pablo Del Monte (Giant's Causeway) has already returned from a long vacation, taking an allowance at Turfway Park on March 6 in his first start since running sixth in last July's Bing Crosby S. (G1) at Del Mar. The Wesley Ward pupil placed in last year's Blue Grass S. (G1) at Keeneland en route to a sixth placing in the Preakness S. (G1), and keeps jockey Albin Jimenz aboard...
Aqueduct plays host to three stakes on Sunday, including two 6 1/2-furlong, $100,000 divisions of the New York Stallion Stakes in the Times Square and Park Avenue. The Time Square will kick off the card in the 1ST race and features five sophomore colts and geldings while the Park Avenue has attracted a field of 11 three-year-old fillies. Also on tap is the $100,000 Belle Harbor S., which drew Paulassilverlining (Ghostzapper). The bay miss ran fourth in her career debut but has yet to finish worse than second in five subsequent starts, including wins in last year's Matron S. (G2) and this season's Ruthless S. She'll face five rivals in the 6 1/2-furlong Belle Harbor, including last-out Marshua S. winner Lindisfarne (City Zip) and impressive maiden scorer Lakeside Sunset (Bellamy Road)...
The Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) nominating committee has announced a slate of six candidates for five open seats in the 2015 board of directors election, including incumbents Bob Baffert, Ed Moger, Mike Pegram and Kathy Walsh and new nominees Allen Aldrich and Gary Fenton. Baffert, who has served on the TOC board since 2007, is an owner-trainer representative and member of the Racing Affairs Committee. Moger has served on the board since 2010 and also represents the owner-trainer category as well as Northern California members. He serves on the executive and racing affairs committees. Pegram, who has been on the board since 2010, is board chairman and serves "ex officio" on all TOC committees. Walsh was first elected in 2012 and serves as chair of the racing affairs committee. Aldrich, a resident of Northern California, has been a licensed owner since 1978 and averages more than 100 starts per year. He had an ownership interest in Eclipse Award winner She's a Tiger. Fenton is a managing partner of Little Red Feather Racing, which presently owns 16 horses in California. A Southern California resident, he has been an entertainment attorney for almost 20 years. Ballots, including full candidate statements, will be mailed to the TOC membership on May 15. The deadline for returned ballots is June 15.
HANDICAPPER'S EDGE is compiled by Bloodstock Research Information Services. This newsletter may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. Copyright 2011, Bloodstock Research Information Services. Information as to the races, race results and earnings was obtained from Equibase Company LLC and is utilized herein with the permission of the copyright owner, Equibase Company LLC.
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