American Pharoah stays in training for Breeders' Cup Classic
In a twitter post heard round the world, owner/breeder Ahmed Zayat announced Thursday morning that Triple Crown champion American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) would not retire yet, but stick around for the October 31 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland.
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Prospect Park, Soul Driver head Del Mar Derby; Prize Exhibit faces elders in Yellow Ribbon
Prospect Park (Tapit), a smashing 4 1/4-length winner of the August 9 La Jolla (G2) in his turf debut, and Oceanside winner Soul Driver (Street Boss) are the top draws in Sunday's $250,000 Del Mar Derby (G2). The 1 1/8-mile turf affair for sophomores is one of three stakes races being offered at the seaside track.
Prize Exhibit (Showcasing), the leading turf three-year-old filly on the West Coast, will make her first start against older rivals in the $200,000 Yellow Ribbon (G2). Third as the favorite in the Del Mar Oaks (G1) last out, the Jim Cassidy-trained filly heads a cast of 12 in the 1 1/16-mile turf affair. Her main challengers include Queen of the Sand (Footstepsinthesand) and Lady Pimpernel (Sir Percy).
The $80,000 C.E.R.F. kicks off the stakes action with eight distaffers at six furlongs. Baruta (Crimson Tide) and Ben's Duchess (Munnings) are among the contenders.
Cavorting headlines Prioress field
Included in the group are the second and fourth-place finishers from the August 8 Test. Bar of Gold (Medaglia d'Oro) led the way in the stretch before being caught and easily passed by Cavorting. She, along with rallying fourth Irish Jasper (First Defence), will be looking to turn the tables on their rival in the Prioress.
Full fields entered for Affirmed, Susan's Girl divisions of Florida Sire Stakes
Both the $300,000 Affirmed and $300,000 Susan's Girl divisions of the Florida Sire Stakes series (FSS) drew full fields of 12 runners to go seven furlongs on Saturday at Gulfstream Park. The contests are the second legs of this year's series, and features the top four from the first legs.
Dream of Me (High Cotton) proved best in the Dr. Fager division on August 8 over Mr. Kisses (Big Drama), and faces that same rival in the Affirmed as well as Brighton Lane (Hear No Evil), Li'l Meatball (Graeme Hall), Fellowship (Awesome of Course) and Danbury (Kantharos), who finished in that order behind him in the Dr. Fager.
It's High Time (Gone Astray) upset the Desert Vixen division by 3 1/4 lengths at 10-1, getting the best of Silent Prayer (Brooks 'n Down), 1-5 favorite Ballet Diva (Hear No Evil) and High End Queen (High Cotton) on that occasion. Those three will all be looking to turn the tables in the Susan's Girl.
Liam's Map looks to shake loose for good in the Woodward
Liam's Map (Unbridled's Song), nipped in the final strides by Honor Code (A.P. Indy) after setting a rapid pace in last month's Whitney (G1), will attempt to take down Saturday's $600,000 Woodward (G1) at Saratoga in similar fashion. The flashy gray is one of four Woodward entries trained by Todd Pletcher.
Other leading contenders include Alysheba (G2) victor Protonico (Giant's Causeway), Suburban H. (G2) upsetter Effinex (Mineshaft), and Grade 1 veteran Wicked Strong (Hard Spun).
Visit the TwinSpires blog for a preview of the Woodward as well as the Saranac (G3) and Glens Falls (G3).
Spinaway, Del Mar Debutante offer coast-to-coast juvenile action
Rachel's Valentina (Bernardini) and Pretty N Cool (Scat Daddy) will each take one step closer to the October 31 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) when starting on Saturday in Grade 1 contests.
The $350,000 Spinaway S. (G1), a "Win & You're In" contest for the Juvenile Fillies, will feature Rachel's Valentina in her second career start. The daughter of Horse of the Rachel Alexandra captured her maiden debut by two lengths on August 2 and gets John Velazquez back in the saddle at Saratoga.
Sorrento S. (G2) heroine Pretty N Cool will face some familiar rivals in the $300,000 Del Mar Debutante (G1) as the top four from the Sorrento line up in the seven-furlong event.
Kentucky Downs features three stakes on lucrative opening-day program
Kentucky Downs kicks off its five-day session Saturday with a strong card that features a trio of $300,000 stakes races and $1.585 million in purses. The stakes action consists of the More Than Ready Mile, Calumet Farm Juvenile and Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies, and the turf-only track near Franklin, Kentucky will also offer a pair of $125,000 allowances and a trio of $120,000 maiden races.
The other racing dates are September 10, 12, 16 and 19, and total purses are a record $7.5 million. The $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) on September 12 highlights the stakes schedule.
Top draws on the opening-day program include Undrafted (Purim), who will make his first start since winning the prestigious Diamond Jubilee (G1) at Royal Ascot on June 20. Joel Rosario rides the Wesley Ward-trained gelding.
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