California Chrome pleases Sherman with turf work
The colt jogged easily around the clubhouse turn to the backstretch, then broke off from the accompanying pony and started the half-mile work. The turf course "dogs" (marker cones) were well out from the inner rail to protect the surface and the work was conducted more than halfway toward the outer rail.
Track clockers had splits of :13 4/5 and :26 3/5 for the first two furlongs and :52 for the half-mile, meaning a final quarter in :25 2/5. Espinoza had California Chrome well in hand the entire way and clockers labeled it "breezing," an assessment not routinely accorded on the Southern California circuit.
Shark nips Fiero in stakes-record time in Mile Championship
Danox Co. Ltd.'s Danon Shark came up the fence to deny Fiero on the head-bob in Sunday's Grade 1 Mile Championship at Kyoto. Aside from earning his first top-level win, the Ryuji Okubo veteran also clocked a new stakes-record time of 1:31.5 for the metric mile on firm turf.
Danon Shark and Fiero were both sired by Japanese all-time great Deep Impact, who was responsible for four of the top five finishers. Grandezza, by Agnes Tachyon, prevented a clean sweep for the Deep Impact tribe by checking in third, followed by defending champion Tosen Ra and Extra End.
Under Yasunari Iwata, Danon Shark was settled a little past midpack early. Leading the way was three-year-old filly Horai Akiko, attended by fellow sophomore and race favorite Mikki Isle, with Grandezza stalking in third. Mikki Isle launched his bid for glory swinging for home, but soon came up empty and was swamped by the rallying Fiero.
Just when Fiero appeared to have made the winning move, Danon Shark dove to the inside and emerged as a danger. Fiero kept on one-paced as Danon Shark drew alongside, and the two flashed past the wire in unison. The camera proved that Danon Shark, a 17-1 outsider, had his nose down at the right instant.
"I was instructed (by Okubo) to keep him covered in midfield early, and he settled nicely," Iwata recapped. "There was just room enough for us to squeeze through in the inside at midstretch and he responded with a really good turn of speed. I am glad that I was able to contribute to his long-waited and well-deserved Grade 1 win."
Grandezza did well to hold third, another 1 1/2 lengths astern, to finish best of those near the fast early pace. Mikki Isle faded to 13th, and Horai Akiko was distanced when trailing the 17-horse field.
The six-year-old Danon Shark has been a mainstay in Japan's graded ranks for three consecutive seasons. He had competed in the past two Mile Championships, finishing a respectable sixth in 2012 and third in last year's running. Danon Shark has also acquitted himself well in the premier mile contest of the summer, the Yasuda Kinen. Third in 2013, he was fourth in the June 8 renewal.
His prior stakes victories had come in the 2013 Kyoto Kimpai and the Fuji Stakes, both Grade 3 events, and his resume sports a total of nine stakes placings. With this new career high, he has bankrolled ¥433,674,000 from his 29-7-8-5 record.
Bred by Shimokobe Farm in Japan, Danon Shark was produced by the winning Caerleon mare Carla Power, who has also foaled stakes scorer Lei Carla. This is the further family of the world-class Montjeu.
The Mile Championship is the second event of the Japan Autumn International series. Next up is the Japan Cup at Tokyo on November 30, and concluding the quartet is the December 7 Champions Cup (the successor to the Japan Cup Dirt) at Chukyo.
Blazing Speed, Able Friend, Peniaphobia take HK preps
Zac Purton had kicked Military Attack to the lead with the best part of the Sha Tin straight ahead of him and Hong Kong's Horse of the Year in 2012/2013 battled on gamely as a clutch of rivals snapped at his heels. Last year's winner Endowing closed with purpose; California Memory, twice victorious in the Hong Kong Cup, attacked down the rail; current Horse of the Year Designs on Rome, hard at it as usual a full 600 meters out, pounded down center track; but it was Blazing Speed who made the pressure tell.
"I was probably a length further back than where Tony had wanted me to be but the horse was relaxed and that was the most important thing -- I took it and kept his rhythm going," said Callan. "At the corner I felt him just change legs and he instantly gave me a kick. From that point I thought he was either going to win or be second. He's got a good kick, and the further he goes, he's got a better kick."
The John Size-trained Endowing was a short-head behind the Caspar Fownes-trained Military Attack in third. California Memory was another neck in fourth with the John Moore-trained Designs on Rome the same distance back in fifth.
Cruz now has two leading hopes for the Hong Kong Cup at the Hong Kong International Races after California Memory ran on well to claim fourth, while Willie Cazals, seventh here, closed off from the tail to give the trainer hope that he will be a chance for the same day's Hong Kong Vase.
"Blazing Speed will definitely go to the Hong Kong Cup," said the trainer. "We've really found the key to him, he's a brilliant 2,000-meter horse and I think he's getting better as he gets older, just like wine.
"I was happy with California Memory's run. He was fourth, he was coming on strong and I believe he'll be spot on for the Hong Kong Cup. Willie Cazals will go for the Hong Kong Vase, he's a horse that really likes cut in the ground but the 2,400 meters will be perfect for him."
No three-year-old has ever claimed the big one in December but jockey Douglas Whyte is also of the opinion that Peniaphobia, winner of the Weatherbys Super Sprint in England as a juvenile, is now a serious candidate for international honors next month.
"I would be very confident going forward. I think Tony can tweak a few things and I think if a similar or a slightly better Peniaphobia can turn up on international day, he'll be a force to be reckoned with!" said the South African.
Whyte did not have everything go to plan from post 14 -- widest of all in the 14-runner field. Peniaphobia was caught three and four wide at stages during the race before quickening emphatically to lead halfway down the home stretch. That injection of pace proved decisive.
"It looked awkward on paper and it was even more awkward when the gates opened because the Singapore horse (Spalato) dug up underneath me and had more initial gate speed. It just seemed that the whole field dug up and I was posted (wide). Fortunately enough I got into a three wide position with cover and from that point on in he started to travel. I started to get real confident turning for home and when I pressed the button he was there in a matter of strides. I actually thought I'd gone too soon, but he was dour in the end and he stuck on pretty tenaciously.
"I think the key to him is finding a rhythm that he's comfortable with," continued Whyte. "I think when he was younger and more immature he used to jump out in the straight five furlongs and probably wanted to overdo things a little."
Lucky Nine, Hong Kong's champion sprinter, had no luck in the run. Trapped in a pocket down the homestretch, the race was over when jockey Brett Prebble saw daylight and the seven-year-old cruised home in fifth, 2 1/2 lengths behind the winner.
Amber Sky had led the runners into the home stretch but weakened to finish eighth, while Singapore's previously unbeaten star Spalato faded out in the run to finish 13th. Sterling City was a disappointing 12th.
"There doesn't have to be much improvement based on his run today," Moreira added of his prospects for the Hong Kong Mile. "He's such a good horse. He's probably one of the best horses I've ridden in my life so let's look forward and see what he can do in the Hong Kong Mile."
Trainer Moore has long asserted that the Australian-bred Able Friend has all the hallmarks of a champion and is now looking forward to the Hong Kong Mile with eagerness.
"We all know that I said I thought he was slightly underdone for today but after that facile win, I don't think I've got to do much more before the international meeting," said the handler. "He ran a very strong 1:33 on the bit, so from that point of view I'll just keep him at this level for the big day. Going in, we're full of hope now."
Able Friend's exact winning time was 1:33.46 with a final 400-meter split of :21.41. Hong Kong's champion miler, the Richard Gibson-trained Gold-Fun, chased in vain to claim second place. Former two-time Horse of the Year Ambitious Dragon, having his second start after an 18-month injury layoff, ran on to finish 2 3/4 lengths behind the winner in third.
Ocho Ocho Ocho outfinishes Mr. Z, survives inquiry in Delta Downs Jackpot
Far Right, who trailed early in the 10-horse field, accelerated rapidly into contention rounding the final bend but was checked in tight quarters along the rail before straightening for home. He regained his momentum in the stretch but had to settle for third, four lengths behind of the top pair. Jockey Corey Lanerie claimed foul against Ocho Ocho Ocho, and the stewards immediately flashed the inquiry sign after the finish, but no change was made.
Off as the slight 5-2 favorite, Ocho Ocho Ocho paid $7.20 for the narrow win. Mr. Z, who recorded his fourth runner-up finish versus graded rivals this year, was the 3-1 second choice.
Ocho Ocho Ocho was making his two-turn debut and first start outside of California in the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" event. He won at first asking on October 11, taking a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight event at Santa Anita by a length, and rolled to a 5 3/4-length decision in the off-the-turf Juvenile Turf Sprint on the November 1 Breeders' Cup Saturday undercard.
Bred in Kentucky by Sienna Farms, he was purchased for $200,000 earlier this year at the OBS April two-year-old sale. The dark bay colt is out of the Horse Chestnut mare Winner and counts as a half-sister Grade 2-placed Private Ensign. His third maternal dam is unbeaten champion and Broodmare of the Year Personal Ensign.
Ocho Ocho Ocho has now earned $693,600.
Filly takes 'Charge' in Delta Downs Princess
Lukas mentioned after the race he is looking at possibly running her back in the Grade 1, $350,000 Starlet at Los Alamitos on December 13.
Jockey Paco Lopez settled Take Charge Brandi just outside of early pacesetter Vivian Da Bling through blistering splits of :22 1/5 and :46 2/5 on Saturday. The early leader couldn't maintain her momentum after those sizzling fractions and faded nearing the final turf, but Take Charge Brandi was still going strong.
Meanwhile, Skipalute rallied from just off the pace to engage Take Charge Brandi around the turn, but could not keep pace as the Kentucky-bred pulled away in the lane to finish a mile on the fast Delta Downs dirt in 1:39 3/5.
"Her class carried her," Lukas asserted, adding that his filly really hadn't taken to the Delta Downs track leading up to the race.
Take Charge Brandi was the 2-1 favorite and returned $6.40 for just her third career score on Saturday. After breaking her maiden at Churchill Downs on June 22, the chestnut juvenile made her stakes bow a runner-up effort in the Grade 3 Schuylerville at Saratoga. She was unable to reach the top four, losing by double digits each time, in her next three before upsetting the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at 61-1 in a wire job.
Take Charge Brandi is out of the Seeking the Gold mare Charming, who is a half-sister to champion Will Take Charge and Grade 1 hero Take Charge Indy. Her second dam is multiple Grade 1-winning multi-millionaire Take Charge Lady.
Strike Charmer takes wing in Cardinal
After negotiating 1 1/8 miles in 1:49 4/5, Strike Charmer sparked a $26.60 win mutuel. Pappascat hung on gamely for second from the late-running Antonia Autumn, half-sister to three-time Eclipse Award winner Gio Ponti. The exotics therefore ballooned to $421.80 (exacta), $14,876.80 (trifecta) and $109,403.40 (superfecta) with I'm Already Sexy fourth in the 14-distaffer field.
The Kentucky-bred Strike Charmer improved her record to 10-3-3-1, $206,835. All three of her wins have come over this course and nine-furlong distance -- her maiden score as a sophomore in the summer of 2013, an entry-level allowance May 25 and now her first stakes coup.
By Smart Strike, Strike Charmer is a half-sister to multiple Canadian stakes-placed Sweet Dreams. They are out of the stakes-winning, Grade 2-placed Storm Cat mare Cat Charmer, herself a half-sister to Impeachment, the third-place finisher in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in 2000. Strike Charmer's third dam is the influential Stick to Beauty.
Lubash passes $1 million earnings mark in Tropical Turf
"I followed a couple of the horses in front of me and eased out, and when I straightened away he just kicked for me right away."
"He's a fun horse because he really, really wants to win," the trainer added. "He always runs a good race and makes me look good. I like that."
Reporting Star, the 6-1 fourth choice, easily held second, 1 1/2 lengths better than 15-1 Grand Tito in third. Grade 1 winner Lochte came next in fourth.
The New York-bred Lubash captured the Grade 3 Fort Marcy in 2013 and won a couple of open events in 2010, but four of his stakes tallies have come against state-bred foes, including his only previous one in 2014, a repeat score in the September 14 Ashley T. Cole. He improved his career record to 39-12-9-4.
Lubash is out of the stakes-placed Cure the Blues mare Nasty Cure.
Daring Kathy gives namesake a 'charming' birthday
"We weren't running this morning," trainer David Fawkes stated. "But we got the opportunity to go out there and look at the turf course, and the turf course looked in great shape and I think it helped us a lot. We had an opportunity to walk out there and look at it. Billy (Badgett) was nice enough to take us out there and show us the turf course, and it was the reason we raced.
"We wanted to see how soft it was. Really, it was in very good shape. For all the rain we had, they really did a very good job on the turf course.
"(Jaen) rode her perfect. Even the fractions were almost exactly the same," Fawkes added. "When I saw them go in almost :25 and then the :51 and change, I was like 'Oh my God. It's over.' He hadn't even asked her to do anything. She did everything he asked the whole race."
"It was easy for me. She controlled the race. There was no speed and I went for it," Jaen explained. "Right here in Florida, this is the best filly I've ridden. She gives me so much confidence."
Daring Kathy was sent off the 9-2 fourth choice and paid $11.80 for her second straight stakes score over the course. The sophomore daughter of Wildcat Heir posted a similar wire job when taking the the Cellars Shiraz on October 14 by 3 1/4 lengths in a good prep for the My Charmer. Prior to that, the bay miss ran third in both the Grade 2 Lake George at Saratoga and Grade 3 Ontario Colleen at Woodbine.
"We might wait for the Florida Millions," Fawkes said "We'll just see how she comes out of it. There's like three more races coming between here and the Florida Millions. Then there's a race later on in the year after that."
Those two races followed three straight wins, including the Honey Ryder and Starfish Bay Stakes at Gulfstream Park, recorded by Daring Kathy in the spring. Saturday's score boosted her mark to 6-0-2 from nine career starts and $356,366 in lifetime earnings.
Daring Kathy is out of the Kingmambo mare Dare to Mambo, making her a half-sister to Grade 3-placed Zeb. The duo's fifth dam is 1980 Broodmare of the Year Key Bridge, who produced 1970 Horse of the Year Fort Marcy.
Three Hearts crashes Red Carpet at 29-1
Lady Pimpernel flew belatedly for third, just a neck off Lady of Gold. Appealing Cat, the lukewarm 5-2 favorite, was buried on the inside, shuffled back, and wound up sixth in the 11-distaffer field.
Originally trained by Graham Motion, Three Hearts was switched to Rick Mettee early in her 2013 campaign. She started out promisingly for the new barn when promoted to second via disqualification in the Little Silver at Monmouth and battling for a close third in the Virginia Oaks. Out of action for a year, the bay resurfaced in allowance company this summer without success. The Red Carpet marked her fourth start off the lengthy layoff, and advanced her line to 14-3-3-3, $192,249.
The Kentucky-bred is by Hat Trick and out of the South African stakes winner and multiple Group 1-placed Secret Heart. A daughter of Fort Wood, Secret Heart is a half-sister to South African co-champion Promisefrommyheart and Group 1 heroine Covenant. Secret Heart's dam, multiple Group 1-placed Secret Pact, is a full sister to South African legend London News.
Honor Code cruises in Aqueduct comeback
Various physical issues subsequently blighted his road to the Kentucky Derby. After the Remsen, Honor Code had surgery to remove an undescended testicle. He then bruised his hind ankles in training at Payson Park, causing him to miss his intended target in the Fountain of Youth. McGaughey switched him to Gulfstream Park, where he resumed training and made his sophomore bow in a March 12 allowance. No match for the razor-sharp Social Inclusion that day, Honor Code was a distant second, 10 lengths behind a track-record time of 1:40.97 for 1 1/16 miles.
Jones looking forward to Exodus' second career start at Fair Grounds
Fox Hill Farm's Exodus looks to fulfill his considerable promise and lofty pedigree when he embarks on his second outing Sunday afternoon in the 7TH race at Fair Grounds -- an open juvenile maiden going six furlongs.
By Medaglia d'Oro out of multiple Grade 1 heroine Stop Traffic, Exodus sold for $600,000 to Fox Hill principal Rick Porter at Fasig-Tipton's Saratoga Sale in August 2013.
The swift half-brother to 2013 Grade 1 Whitney Handicap winner Cross Traffic signaled his readiness with a bullet work on November 18, negotiating five furlongs in a :59 4/5.
"He's in on Sunday and he's doing very well and coming into this good," trainer Larry Jones said. "He's really coming along. He just got a little tired in that Keeneland race, which I must say kind of surprised me. I thought that once he made the lead he would go on with it, but at Keeneland you can hook up with some very good horses."
In his October 3 debut at that Lexington, Kentucky, track, the bay colt showed good speed throughout, took the lead midrace and proceeded to finish a game third, beaten 2 1/4 lengths by highly regarded Ambidextrous Alex in a sharp 1:10 2/5. The effort earned Exodus an 82 BRIS Speed figure.
With an eye on the lucrative sophomore graded stakes program that commences at Fair Grounds in January, Jones is optimistic that his charge will be up to the challenge.
"We expect him to be one of our classic contenders down here, but only time will tell," he explained. "We're pretty high on him and have a lot of expectations.
"I don't think he'll have any problem getting two turns. I have two half-sisters to him and one wants to go long and the other (allowance winner Thirteen Arrows) acts like she wants to be a little bit of a sprinter, but she's by Indian Charlie. The way he trains, he'll definitely stretch out."
Perth locals Magnifisio, Elite Belle score Group 1 coups
In Saturday's Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot in Perth, Magnifisio turned back a field that included a handful of well-credentialed sprinters and survived an inquiry to become the first Group 1 winner for her sire, Magnus.
Magnifisio bested Watermans Bay by a head, and the latter rival's rider claimed Magnifisio had cost him a winning chance with interference 100 meters into the race. Stewards ultimately decided the interference was insufficient to warrant changing the order of finish.
The remarkably consistent Magnifisio has finished off the board just twice in 12 outings over the past 12 months, and last December she kicked off a five-race win streak that encompassed three listed races and concluded with the Roma Cup May 17, where she had Saturday's Railway winner Elite Belle back in second.
Magnifisio could manage only fourth in the Beaufine on July 12, and filled the same slot behind Elite Belle in the October 25 Prince of Wales Stakes. Magnifisio once again had that rival behind her in fourth when taking the Lee Steere S. prior to this effort November 8. Saturday's race was her first tilt at Group 1 company.
Magnus, who stands at Eliza Park International, is out of Scandinavia, the second dam of unbeaten world champion sprinter Black Caviar and her four-time Group 1-winning half-brother All Too Hard (Aus). Magnus and All Too Hard, who stands at Vinery Stud, also share the same sire line, as All Too Hard is by Casino Prince, a son of Magnus's sire Flying Spur.
Also at Perth's Ascot, the veteran Western Australian mare Elite Belle pushed her earnings past the million-dollar mark while earning a first Group 1 win with a gutsy score in Saturday's Railway Stakes. Crying out for racing room while traveling worse than midpack heading into the closing stages of the race, Elite Belle and jockey William Pike at last found the opening they needed and surged to the front inside the final 200 meters.
"I'd started to watch (and get) despondent," trainer Grant Williams told Sky Racing World. "I thought we had too many horses to get through. In the corner of my eye, I saw a horse coming through. I thought, it couldn't be Willie could it?' and sure enough, it was."
Pike added of Elite Belle, "She doesn't even travel. She does it from off the bit and you have got to rely on her and trust her that she's got it. She catches you a little bit unawares but when she lets down, it's electric."
Elite Belle has made all 23 of her starts in Western Australia, and she kicked off 2014 in style with a victory in the La Trice Classic here January 1. She was not seen again until May 17, when she checked in second in the Roma Cup, and she returned two weeks later to take the Belmont Sprint over 1400 meters before adding the Hyperion over a furlong further June 14. The bay kept the streak alive with a victory in the Prince of Wales in her first outing as a six-year-old, and was fourth behind Saturday's Winterbottom victress Magnifisio in the Lee Steere in her prep for this event.
Williams said Elite Belle would move on to the Kingston Town Classic in two weeks.
While the Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) and Princess (G3) took center stage at the Vinton, Louisiana, track on Saturday, there was plenty of stakes action on the undercard to keep the fans entertained. Topping the rest of the card was the $250,000 Delta Mile, which saw Sunbean (Brahms) romp home by five lengths under regular rider Richard Eramia. The four-year-old gelding is trained by Ron Faucheux for breeder Brittlyn Stable, and drew ever closer to the million mark in earnings having now banked $910,150 in his 19-12-2-1 career that includes 11 stakes victories. The second most lucrative stakes on the undercard was the $200,000 Treasure Chest, and the James Cassidy-conditioned Yahilwa (Medaglia d'Oro) lived up to her even-money favoritism to pull away late with Mike Smith in the irons. Trainer Steve Flint and jockey Gerard Melancon got an early double with D'cajun Cat (D'wildcat), who captured the $75,000 Sam's Town to kick off the stakes action, and Four Leaf Chief (Lookin at Lucky), an effortless winner next out in the $150,000 Louisiana Legacy for Louisiana-bred juveniles. Later on the card, the Gary Scherer-trained Wind Chill Factor (Successful Appeal) romped in the $150,000 Louisiana Jewel for juvenile fillies under jockey Willie Martinez. Honeycomb Allie (Afleet Alex) and jockey Colby Hernandez wrapped up the stakes action on the day when the Al Stall Jr. pupil took the $75,000 Orleans for three-year-old fillies...
Respected veteran Joe Kristufek joins Churchill Downs' talented roster of on-track and simulcast racing television analysts during the final week of its 24-day Fall Meet. Kristufek will be part of a trio that also features Jill Byrne, the track's senior racing analyst and director of programming who has handled duties at Churchill Downs since 2006 and has performed similar duties for the HRTV and TVG networks, and Kevin Kerstein, the newest member of that team will continue to handle occasional duties as an on-track analyst in the team's new configuration. As Kristufek joins that team, Byrne will be a less-frequent presence for on-track and simulcast television duties in order concentrate on the development and creation of special programming for Churchill Downs daily television product, its 4K Big Board video screen and the track's web sites. She will remain an important member of the team of racing analysts and will be prominent on the track's biggest racing days. Kristufek's first appearance as an analyst in the Churchill Paddock will come next week, and he will return as a full-time presence during the track's 2015 Spring Meet that begins with Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks Week. "I am very excited for this opportunity and to work closely with Jill, Kevin and the entire Churchill Downs staff," Kristufek said. "As an ambassador of the game, I believe the job of the paddock host can be much more than just picking horses. Fan development should also be emphasized. I'm looking forward to sharing my passion with the masses."...
Mikki Isle (Deep Impact) would be perfect in 2014 but for an uncharacteristically poor performance in the Yasuda Kinen (Jpn-G1) June 8, and the sophomore has a shot for redemption in Sunday's Mile Championship (Jpn-G1). The Noda Mizuki colorbearer, who is one of six by his champion sire in the lineup, opened his three-year-old account with a pair of Grade 3 victories over this distance. Connections opted to bypass the Triple Crown series to stick to these shorter distances, and that decision paid dividends when Mikki Isle collected the NHK Mile Cup (Jpn-G1) May 11. Mikki Isle floundered over soft going when 16th of 17 behind Just a Way (Heart's Cry) in the Yasuda Kinen, after which he was given a summer holiday. Mikki Isle showed no signs of rust when besting elders on return in the Swan S. (Jpn-G2) November 1, and despite dumping his rider and completing a piece of trackwork solo 10 days ago, Mikki Isle appears primed to add a second Grade 1. Defending champion Tosen Ra (Deep Impact), like Mikki Isle, also failed to handle the easy going in the Yasuda Kinen and checked in 14th. He returned with a third-place finish in the Kyoto Daishoten (Jpn-G2) October 14. World Ace (Deep Impact) turned heads when breaking the course record over this track and trip in the Yomiuri Milers Cup (Jpn-G2) April 27, and he checked in a respectable fifth in the Yasuda Kinen. World Ace was a puzzling 13th in the Mainichi Okan (Jpn-G2) October 12, but having also been placed in the 2012 Japanese Two Thousand Guineas (Jpn-G1) and Derby (Jpn-G1) he has back form to call on, and wouldn't be a shock winner. Second behind World Ace in the Yomiuri was Fiero(Deep Impact), who had previously won three straight at the allowance level. Eighth in the Yasuda Kinen, the five-year-old was beaten just a half-length by Mikki Isle in the Swan. Yasuda Kinen 10th Clarente (Dance in the Dark) comes into this off a pair of Grade 3 victories at the distance...
Globetrotting sprinter-miler Gordon Lord Byron (Byron) will make his third visit to the Hong Kong International race meeting December 14, and the six-year-old pleased trainer Tom Hogan with a racecourse gallop at Dundalk Friday. "It all went perfectly at Dundalk," Hogan said. "He loves it there -- he strode out well and had a little blow afterwards. We might go back there again next Friday just to get him spot-on for Hong Kong." Gordon Lord Byron, who was last seen winning the British Champions Sprint S. (Eng-G2) October 18, claimed his third Group 1 in Australia's George Ryder S. over 7 1/2 furlongs in March prior to finishing a respectable sixth behind Lankan Rupee (Redoute's Choice) in the A$3.5 million T.J. Smith S. (Aus-G1) over six furlongs in April. The Cyrus Poonawalla and Morgan Cahalan colorbearer has contested the Hong Kong Mile (HK-G1) the last two years, finishing fourth both times. "We've decided we will take our chances on the draw and go for the Sprint," Hogan said. "His runs in Australia show he is good enough to go for the race. The milers in Hong Kong are exceptionally good. We've had a couple of goes at the race before and we've not had much luck in running and still finished two lengths off the winner. We think he's capable of running a good race in the Sprint and deserves his chance. He flies out of Heathrow on December 5 and we're looking forward to it."...
Mahoning Valley Racecourse in Austintown, Ohio, kicks off its inaugural racing season on Monday, November 24, with an eight-race program that begins at 12:45 p.m. (EST). The 2014 season is comprised of 21 racing days thru Saturday, December 30, and will feature a four day a week schedule, Monday through Wednesday and Saturday with a 12:45 p.m. post time. Starting in 2015, Mahoning Valley Racecourse will offer 100 racing dates during two meets, January through April and October through December, as well as a complete a circuit with Thistledown, which is located in nearby North Randall, Ohio...
On Sunday at Del Mar, the $100,000 Cary Grant S. attracted eight California-breds. Among those entered for the seven-furlong former On Trust S. are Big Macher (Beau Genius), winner of the Bing Crosby (G1) over the track on July 27; unbeaten multiple stakes victor Red Outlaw (Tribal Rule); and defending race winner Rousing Sermon (Lucky Pulpit). Red Outlaw is nominated for other upcoming stakes and his presence in the Cary Grant remains to be determined. "At this point we're going to look at it and decide. We're considering the ($300,000) Hollywood Derby ([G1] on November 29) and the ($250,000) Seabiscuit ([G2] on November 28) as well," trainer Peter Miller said Thursday morning. "We probably won't make a decision (about the Cary Grant) until race day on Sunday." Red Outlaw worked three furlongs over Del Mar's Polytrack Thursday morning in :37 4/5...
A field of eight heads to the post on Sunday in Woodbine's C$200,000 Kennedy Road S. (Can-G2) going six furlongs on the Polytrack. Sharp Sensation (Sharp Humor) totes the top weight of 121 pounds off a half-length victory in the Bet on Sunshine S. over Churchill Downs' main track November 1. The well-traveled four-year-old gelding recorded a neck score in the Turf Monster H. (G3) at Parx Racing and was a close third in the Woodford S. (G3) on Keeneland's grass in his prior two races. Calgary Cat (Cowtown Cat) will be looking to derail Sharp Sensation's from posting back-to-back stakes wins. The four-year-old chestnut captured the Bold Venture S. (Can-G3) on Woodbine's Polytrack before rallying to be third by a length in the Nearctic S. (Can-G2) last out on the Toronto venue's turf course. Also entered is Black Hornet (Pioneerof the Nile), runner-up from the Nearctic and third in the Bold Venture...
The winner of Sunday's "Who's the Champ? Betting Challenge" will be awarded with a fully paid spot in the Horse Player World Series at The Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on March 25-28. Last week, Craig Meuter of Louisville, Kentucky, won the first prize besting a field of 67 handicappers. The "Who's the Champ? Betting Challenge" requires entrants to place mythical $2 win/place wagers on races 3-8 at Churchill Downs. The contestant with the highest bankroll at event's end is crowned the winner. The weekly grand prize includes a four-night hotel stay and $250 travel voucher. Second-place gets a $500 betting voucher and the third place-finisher receives a $250 betting voucher. Registration for this Sunday's event is 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EST) in the Churchill Downs Lounge. It costs $35 to enter ($30 for TSC Elite members) and entrants receive an official program and meal voucher. The final "Who's the Champ? Betting Challenge" of the year will be held on closing day, Sunday, November 30...
Reserved indoor premium seating at Churchill Downs for Thanksgiving Day is nearly sold out. The only tickets that remain are in the Winn Show Place Lounge on the second floor clubhouse, which range from $26 to $60 and can include the Thanksgiving Chef's Table buffet. There are still some interior dining options left for "Black Friday" on November 28, featuring the 140th running of the $500,000 Clark H. (G1). Tickets to the Skye Terrace are $34.50, which includes the Chef's Table buffet. Also, tickets to the Matt Winn Dining Room are $15, which includes a reserved seat in the dining room plus an outdoor reserved third-floor box. Guests have the option for a buffet or to order a la carte, but a $15 minimum purchase is required. Millionaires Row 4 with a buffet ($34.50) and the Matt Winn Dining Room have availability for Stars of Tomorrow II on Saturday, November 29, and closing day on Sunday, November 30...
Del Mar will hold a craft beer and cider fest alongside its races at the seaside track on Thanksgiving Saturday, November 29. More than 100 local and international brews, along with a variety of seasonal ales and ciders, will be available throughout the day in the track's Seaside Concert area on the west end of the grandstand. DJ's will be playing tunes throughout the afternoon and gourmet food trucks also will be on site with a wide-range of offerings. Track gates open at 11 a.m. (PST) and the craft beer and cider fest will be pouring between noon and 4 p.m. There also will be a terrific racing card that afternoon -- likely topped by dual classic winner California Chrome's appearance in either the Hollywood Derby (G1) or Native Diver H. (G3) -- and Del Mar's fan favorites Cake will perform a full rock concert following the races on the Seaside Concert stage to cap off the exciting day. Admission to the racetrack is $6, and only $3 for Diamond Club card holders (a free and easy sign up for all fans). Admission to the beer fest is free. A beer tasting is $18, which includes five 7 oz. samples of the various wares. Special pre-sale discount packages are on sale through November 25 by going to https://www.dmtc.com/tickets and entering the ticket office...
"Horses and Hope," the initiative created in 2008 by Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear with the Kentucky Cancer Program and the Pink Stable, will return to Churchill Downs on Sunday, November 23, in Millionaires Row 4 and Skye Terrace 5. The mission is to increase breast cancer awareness, education, screening and treatment referral among Kentucky's horse industry workers and their families. The color of pink will be scattered throughout Churchill that day, including saddle towels for the 5TH race, jockey arm bands, groom's vests, outriders, the bugler, flags, bunting and trophies for winning horse owners. To help celebrate, Churchill's Twin Spires will be bathed in pink light, as well...
Internationally successful jockey Sergey Vasyutov is considering a move to Fair Grounds during the 2014-15 meet. In a career that has seen him ride in over 2,000 races in Poland, Russia, Kazakhstan, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and the United States, the well-traveled journeyman has won 564 races and was second in the 2005 Polish Derby. The top Polish apprentice rider of 1996, Vasyutov has also worked in England for multiple Group 1-winning trainer Ed Dunlop and made 123 starts in 2013 in the United States. At the 2013 Arlington meet, Vasyutov won five races in 58 starts while primarily riding for conditioner Gennadi Dorochenko...
Reigning Ascot Gold Cup (Eng-G1) winner Leading Light (Montjeu) will join Coolmore's National Hunt roster in 2015. A 520,000gns Tattersalls October purchase by Demi O'Byrne, Leading Light was trained by Aidan O'Brien and raced in the colors of Derrick Smith. The blaze-faced bay earned classic glory in last year's St Leger (Eng-G1), and added a second highest-level score when gutting out a neck victory in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. Leading Light finished second in this year's Irish St Leger (Ire-G1), won six group races in total, and was this year's Cartier Champion Stayer. The four-year-old was last seen finishing seventh in the British Champions Long Distance Cup (Eng-G2), where he suffered suspensory injuries to both forelegs in a roughly run race. "He's a gorgeous, big horse and we're delighted to be getting him," Coolmore's Albert Sherwood said...
Born To Sea (Invincible Spirit), whose first foals proved popular at last week's Goffs November Foal Sale, will not stand at Rathasker Stud for 2015, the farm revealed on Twitter. The tweet read, "It has been decided by mutual agreement that Born To Sea will not stand at Rathasker for 2015 season. For nominations contact John Clarke." Clarke is the racing advisor to the Tsui family, which bred and own Born To Sea, a three-quarter brother to Sea the Stars and a half-brother to Galileo. That trio are out of the champion racemare Urban Sea (Miswaki). Born To Sea, who was a listed winner on debut and finished second to Camelot in the 2012 Irish Derby (Ire-G1), had his first weanlings sell for up to €220,000 at Goffs.
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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