California Chrome, Untapable star in Philadelphia
The colt's chances at a Triple Crown sweep, the first since 1978, were effectively dashed at the start of the 1 1/2-mile classic, when California Chrome stumbled and grabbed a quarter. Although in contention until the final furlong or so, the minor injury and the overall rigors of the classic campaign finally caught up with the modestly-bred chestnut owned by breeders Steve Coburn and Perry Martin.
Widely considered the leader of the division despite his summertime absence, California Chrome will attempt to regain some momentum in the championship race on Saturday. Shared Belief, last year's unbeaten juvenile champion who missed the Triple Crown due to injury, has come back with sterling performances in the Los Alamitos Derby and Pacific Classic, the latter against older horses. Shared Belief is not in the Pennsylvania Derby, but several other top three-year-olds are.
Bayern, whose 7 1/4-length tour de force in the Haskell Invitational remains one of the top efforts turned in by this year's three-year-old class, figures to be a primary target for the rail-drawn California Chrome. The son of Offlee Wild failed badly in his attempt to steal the 1 1/4-mile Travers over a less speed-friendly course last time, but should appreciate the cutback in distance. Bayern previously took on California Chrome in the May 17 Preakness, but was never in contention after a rough trip in the early stages kept him from being closer to the lead.
The local prep for the Pennsylvania Derby, the Smarty Jones contested on Labor Day, has yielded two starters. Protonico, exiting a photo-finish third to subsequent Travers winner V. E. Day in a Saratoga stakes, overcame traffic to take the Smarty Jones by three-quarters over Classic Giacnroll. Those two are also joined by Noble Moon, who beat Classic Giacnroll in the Jerome at Aqueduct in early January and was most recently fourth in the seven-furlong King's Bishop at Saratoga following a layoff of more than four months.
The field is rounded out by C J's Awesome, a first-level allowance winner at Saratoga who might apply early pressure on Bayern.
Untapable, who is undefeated against her own sex in four starts this season, is so far in the driver's seat for divisional honors entering the 1 1/16-mile Cotillion. The Steve Asmussen trainee swept the Rachel Alexandra, Fair Grounds Oaks, Kentucky Oaks, and Mother Goose by an average margin of 7 3/4 lengths, which convinced her connections to roll the dice against males in the Haskell Invitational.
Likely to show speed in the Cotillion, thus setting the race up for all three major contenders, are Monmouth Oaks heroine Cassatt and the California-based Jojo Warrior, who enters off back-to-back wins in the Summertime Oaks and Torrey Pines.
Also of note are the multiple Grade 2-placed House Rules; Alabama and Delaware Oaks runner-up Joint Return; and Test third-placer Little Alexis.
Fast Anna, who just missed preserving his undefeated streak in the King's Bishop last out, is one of several fast three-year-olds in the Grade 3, $300,000 Gallant Bob over six furlongs. The Kathy Ritvo charge, who blew away maiden and allowance company at Gulfstream prior to his neck loss at Saratoga, will race without blinkers for the first time on Saturday.
Prudhoe Bay and Favorite Tale, one-two in last month's Jersey Shore at Monmouth Park, are the other main contenders in a field of seven.
Wynn Las Vegas unveils future book; Yum! extends KY Derby sponsorship
"Our partnership over the last nine years with Yum! Brands has been positive for both companies, the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky's horsemen. Churchill Downs is very pleased to continue to work with a great corporate citizen right here in our hometown," said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack.
"The Kentucky Derby is a great American tradition and we look forward to the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands on Saturday, May 2."
"Yum! Brands is pleased to renew our presenting sponsorship of the Kentucky Derby, the greatest two minutes in sports," said Jonathan Blum, senior vice president, Yum! Brands, Inc.
"While millions of people know and love our leading restaurant brands, they may not know Yum! Brands. The sponsorship of the Kentucky Derby allows us to build awareness of Yum!, the world's largest restaurant company."
Churchill Downs, which opened with the running of the first Kentucky Derby on May 17, 1875, is the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Inc. Yum! Brands, a Fortune 500 company that operates over 40,000 restaurants in more than 125 countries and territories, is the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell.
Demonstrative the top weight in Lonesome Glory
Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard will have a three-horse entry consisting of the aforementioned Barnstorming, 2013 divisional champion Divine Fortune, and Bluegrass Summer. While Barnstorming remains in search of his first top-level win, the venerable Divine Fortune will attempt to get back to the form that saw him win the three-mile Iroquois by 3 1/4 lengths back in May. The 11-year-old left the course prior to the ninth fence in the Smithwick last time.
Bluegrass Summer, meanwhile, steps up in class after securing minor checks in the Jonathan Kiser and Michael G. Walsh -- a pair of novice stakes at Saratoga.
All Together, runner-up last year in the New York Turf Writers Cup and Lonesome Glory, enters this race off fourth-place finishes in the Smithwick and Turf Writers Cup. The field is rounded out by For Non Stop, Spy in the Sky, and Parker's Project.
The $75,000 Entenmann Memorial, for novices over 2 1/4 miles, features a field of nine, including Schoodic and Address Unknown, the one-two finishers from the August 14 Michael G. Walsh. Syros, a five-length allowance winner at Saratoga last month, also figures to attract support.
An interesting entrant is One Giant Step, who returns to action off a three-year layoff for Sheppard. He was the distant runner-up behind Demonstrative in the 2011 edition of the race.
Fiftyshadesofgold's the one to beat in Dogwood
Milam, who came up a half-length short of upsetting Fiftyshadesofgold in the Eight Belles, has been a fairly consistent performer for Eddie Kenneally. Since her fourth to Untapable in the 1 1/16-mile Pocahontas here a year ago, the daughter of Street Sense has stuck to sprinting. She rebounded from a rare clunker in the January 4 Old Hat to crush the February 22 Pica Slew at Calder by eight lengths, and most recently finished a closing third in the June 29 Victory Ride. Corey Lanerie rode her to a Churchill allowance win last fall, and regains the mount.
Tom Amoss sends out Kiss to Remember, successful in a course-and-distance allowance on June 22. The Maggi Moss colorbearer rolled in the grassy Battle of New Orleans at Fair Grounds earlier this season, and two starts ago, she was second in the off-the-turf Indiana Grand.
Henny Jenney, the winner of the Inaugural at Presque Isle Downs May 11, has been predominantly a turf and synthetic type so far. Although she was a poor fourth in the Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies at Penn National in her only previous try on dirt, and still has something to prove on the surface, the William Connelly pupil has been training forwardly at Churchill.
Rounding out the 10-filly field are Enjoy the Family, Platinum Lady, Mizzen Miss and Honey's Ryan, who are moving up considerably in class from their last outings in allowances.
Toast confirmed for BC Classic; Treve still to point for Arc
Plans are also crystallizing for star distaffers Treve and Estimate.
Treve will defend her Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe crown, trainer Criquette Head-Maarek announced Monday. The four-year-old was a close fourth, only 1 1/2 lengths behind Baltic Baroness, in Sunday's Prix Vermeille at Longchamp.
"She is fine and she hasn't lost any weight," commented Head-Maarek to Racing Post. " We'll see tomorrow and the day after when she goes out on the track, but first impressions are that she looks well. I spoke to Sheikh Joaan and for the moment there is no change in the plan."
The bay was undefeated in five starts as a sophomore including three Group 1s with scores in the Prix de Diane, Prix Vermeille and the aforementioned Arc. She went down by only a neck to Cirrus des Aigles in the Prix Ganay in her seasonal bow April 27 and was runner-up again in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot June 18.
Estimate will not run in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington, according to John Warren, bloodstock and racing advisor to The Queen.
Connections of the Sir Michael Stoute-trained mare will resist the urge to send the five-year-old to Australia for the coveted prize November 4, instead opting to stay closer to home after she impressively returned to winning ways in last Friday's Doncaster Cup. Estimate will now have one more start before retiring and beginning her career as a broodmare.
"After much consideration and in the best interest of the filly, it has been decided that Estimate will not be heading to the Melbourne Cup," Warren said in a statement. "Her final target will be either the British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot or the Prix du Cadran at Longchamp, after which she will be retired to The Royal Studs."
Last season's Gold Cup heroine may have run heroically to finish second in defense of her crown at Royal Ascot June 19, but just a month a later she returned a positive test for morphine. Estimate was one of a cluster of horses to have become embroiled in the case, with the source of the drug identified as a contaminated batch of horse feed and is still likely to be disqualified from this season's Gold Cup at a BHA hearing September 25.
Top stars now eye British Champions Day
The Grey Gatsby, Australia, Free Eagle, Estimate, Brown Panther Sheikhzayedroad, Charm Spirit, Bow Creek and Pomology are some of the star names all set to head to British Champions Day at Ascot on October 18, the richest day in British racing.
In the latest round of their season-long rivalry The Grey Gatsby came out on top to win the Irish Champion Stakes on Saturday in dramatic style from Australia.
"We'll have to see how he comes out of this race but we would love to meet Australia again and if our horse continues in the same order we'll be looking at Ascot," trainer Kevin Ryan said. "Ryan Moore has great faith in the horse, which is very important. He believed he could win the race. We'd love to keep Ryan on him and if he can ride him at Ascot that would be an added bonus."
Australia was second and trainer Aidan O'Brien said: "I'd imagine Australia's next race will be at Ascot over ten furlongs or a mile. I'm not ruling him out of anything but I'd say the Arc is unlikely."
Trading Leather, Mukhadram and Al Kazeem, third through fifth in the Irish Champion, also have entries in the £1.3m Champion Stakes.
Free Eagle, winner of a Group 3 race at Leopardstown on Saturday by seven lengths, also has the Champion Stakes in his sights.
"We can think of what might have been, but that's life," said Dermot Weld of Free Eagle, who has only run three times. "He's come back nicely, he's a very laid back horse and it was difficult to get him fit as I wanted for today, so there should be some natural improvement in him.
"I think the Champion Stakes at Ascot is the logical target for him, and that'll be it for this year."
Sheikhzayedroad may also head for the Champion Stakes after his victory in the Northern Dancer Turf at Woodbine on Sunday.
"We've got an option of the Canadian International back here on (October 19). He's also got an entry at Ascot," trainer David Simcock said. "I'll speak to his owner and decide where he is going. We'll either come back here or go to Ascot and then he'll go to Dubai and start his travels again."
Following her impressive win at Doncaster in the Doncaster Cup, the Queen's filly Estimate could also return to Ascot, the home of her most famous win, to line up in the British Champions Long Distance Cup with racing manager John Warren saying, "There are three options...but Ascot could be favorite in the sense that the Queen could see her race again."
Opposing her will be Brown Panther following his brilliant victory in the Irish St Leger to claim his first Group 1 victory.
"We'll look at running him on Champions Day," trainer Tom Dascombe said.
For the £1 million Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Charm Spirit is firmly in the mix after his brave victory over the Hannon pair of Toronado and Night of Thunder in the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp on Sunday.
"I don't think we'll go to the Breeders' Cup -- we're thinking of going to Ascot on Champions Day," trainer Freddie Head said. "We might have to meet Kingman and he will have a fight."
After Bow Creek's victory in the Solonaway Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday, Charlie Johnston said: "To win it shows he is on an upward curve. A Group 1 is almost certainly the next step. The only option left in Europe is the Queen Elizabeth II and that will definitely come in for strong consideration."
Pomology, who lost her unbeaten record by just a short head in the Prix Vermeille at Longchamp on Sunday, is on course for the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.
"Pomology has been forced to make it and ran a superb race even though she was a little green and looked at the rail. All being well she'll go for the Fillies and Mares race," trainer John Gosden said.
Trainer Clive Brittain received a considerable boon Monday by the news Rizeena (Iffraaj) is likely to stay in training as a four-year-old. This season's Coronation S. (Eng-G1) winner turned in another fine effort in Ireland this weekend when she finished an honorable second behind Fiesolana (Aussie Rules) in the Matron S. (Ire-G1) at Leopardstown. Rizeena has already had a busy year, with Brittain keen to protect his prized asset with a view to next season. "She keeps running at a high level every time she runs," commented Brittain. "We were just beaten by a good one on the day, so there are absolutely no regrets about going there. The owners are keen to have her in training again next season so why empty the tank now? We've seen that happen to a lot of good horses over the years." Rizeena still holds entries in the Sun Chariot S. (Eng-G1) at Newmarket October 4 and the Queen Elizabeth II S. (Eng-G1) at Ascot October 18, should Brittain and owner Sheikh Rashid Dalmook al Maktoum opt to go to the well once again...
Al Shaqab Racing's Olympic Glory (Choisir) will stand at Haras de Bouquetot in France in 2015. A triple Group 1 winner with wins in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Fr-G1) as a juvenile, the Queen Elizabeth II S. (Eng-G1) at Ascot last October and the Lockinge S. (Eng-G1), the handsome bay will make one more start this year in either the October 5 Prix de la Foret (Fr-G1) or will defend his title in the QE II. Olympic Glory, whose record stands at 14-7-3-1, $2,059,558, will arrive at Haras de Bouquetot in November. He joins fellow Al Shaqab stallions Style Vendome and Planteur, who both completed their first season at stud, as well as Uruguayan champion Boby Di Job, who will also be standing his initial season in 2015. A stud fee will be announced later. "Olympic Glory is the most amazingly consistent horse who we have enjoyed campaigning at the highest level for the past three yeas," commented trainer Richard Hannon Jr. "He has a wonderful temperament, and physically you could not wish to see a more imposing individual."...
The Meadowlands kicks off the first of 14-all turf race cards on Thursday with 53 horses entered across the six-race program. The Monmouth-at-Meadowlands meet will race on Thursdays and Fridays from September 18-26. Beginning in October the track will offer live cards on Fridays and Saturdays through November 1. First post nightly will be 7:00 p.m. (EDT), except for October 31 (Breeders' Cup Friday) and November 1 (Breeders' Cup Saturday), when post time will be 1:00 p.m. and noon, respectively. A full slate of activities and dining options will be available throughout the Monmouth-at-Meadowlands meet, including fireworks on September 19 following the night's live racing action; Scotch-n-Smoke on October 4 with unique scotches and hand-rolled cigars; and, the Oktoberfest Food Truck Mash-Up on October 11. On the food side, Pink, the main restaurant at the New Meadowlands will be in full swing (reservations 201-460-4079), as will The Victory Sports Bar and The Lounge. There's free parking, free admission and free seating, both inside and out at the Meadowlands. Live programs will be $2, simulcast books $4. Valet parking will be offered for $5...
The Keeneland Library Lecture Series returns September 23-24 with presentations of recent works about Thoroughbred racing. On September 23, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. (EDT), Paul Roberts will discuss "Racecourse Architecture." The book, which Roberts wrote with Isabelle Taylor, is an exhaustive look at the history of the architecture at some of the world's greatest race courses, including Keeneland. Roberts, the director of Turnberry Consulting in London, has extensive experience as a strategic consultant to racecourses, including Saratoga and Belmont Park in New York, Ascot and York in the United Kingdom, Flemington in Australia, and Leopardstown in Ireland. On September 24, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., Roberts will talk about his book "The Spa: The Legendary Saratoga Race Course." The book is an architectural history of the race track, the oldest sporting venue in the U.S. Following both presentations, guests may stay for a reception and book-signing with Roberts. A limited number of copies of Racecourse Architecture and The Spa will be available for purchase. Each of the Keeneland Library Lecture Series is free, and ample parking is available...
Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN), the Eclipse Award-winning broadcast organization based in Lexington, Kentucky, announced Monday their array of popular programming will now be heard on new SiriusXM channels beginning this week. HRRN's trio of weekday talk shows will shift to Sirius 220 and XM 206 starting with Trainer Talk this Wednesday evening. The new channels will also be home to the network's Brisnet.com Call In Show on Thursday nights and the Weekend Stakes Preview on Fridays. All three shows can be heard live from 6-7 p.m. (ET). On weekends, HRRN programming will air on Sirius 92 and XM 92. The network's weekend schedule features their weekly Saturday morning talk show, the Equine Forum from 8-10 a.m. along with a multitude of live race coverage throughout the year including upcoming events such as the Charles Town Oaks (G3), Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), Awesome Again S.(G1), Keeneland's Fall Stars Weekend and the Breeders' Cup World Championships. In addition to SiriusXM, listeners can tune-in to all broadcasts via live streaming provided on the HRRN website and also available on smartphones and tablets. Select HRRN shows and race broadcasts are also carried on various terrestrial affiliates across the country. A complete broadcast schedule along with a listing of affiliates can be found on the schedule page of the HRRN website. Podcasts of all talk shows are also posted on both the HRRN site and on iTunes. Also included on the new Sirius 220/XM 206 channels is the daily talk show At the Races with Steve Byk. The show airs Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to noon with replays airing from 6-9 a.m. each day...
The Arqana Arc Sale -- consisting of 48 lots of horses in training plus eight additional Wild Card lots to be added closer to the sale -- will be held at Saint-Cloud October 4. The catalog is available at www.arqana.com, and almost 70 percent are rated at 95 or higher, making these top candidates for the Dubai Carnival and the best meetings in Hong Kong, the United States and Australia. Highlights include Group 3 winners Citron Spirit (Invincible Spirit), Burnt Sugar (Lope De Vega) and Queen Bee (Le Havre) who will sell with an entry in the Prix Marcel Boussac (Fr-G1).
For Tuesday or Next Raceday
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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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