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Mutuel field completes hat trick in KDFW Pool 3

The mutuel field (#24), or "All Others," on Sunday became the favorite for the first three pools of Churchill Downs' 2015 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) when closing as the 4-1 choice in Pool 3.

American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) (#1) attracted the lowest price among the individual interests when closing at 8-1. The Bob Baffert pupil has been working up a storm at Santa Anita Park to ready for his expected three-year-old bow in the $750,000 Rebel S. (G2) at Oaklawn Park on March 14.

In Pool 1, the honor of favorite individual belonged to undefeated Dortmund (Big Brown), whose final odds were 9-1. On Sunday, the chestnut (#6) closed at those same odds to be the only other individual betting interest at single-digit odds. The Baffert trainee is expected to line up next Saturday, March 7, in the $400,000 San Felipe S. (G2) at Santa Anita Park.

Wagering was suspended on The Great War before the final day of KDFW Pool 3 opened Sunday.

Wagering on Pool 3 of the KDFW was offered at Churchill Downs and racetracks throughout North America; on the web via, the official online wagering site of the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs Inc.; and at other simulcast centers and off-track wagering sites.

No scratches or betting refunds are permitted in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, but betting will be suspended immediately on a wagering interest in any KDFW pool if Churchill Downs determines that injury, illness or other circumstance revealed during a pool would prevent a horse from competing in the race.

Free Brisnet Ultimate Past Performances for wagering interests in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager were available and Brisnet also has complimentary past performances for all Triple Crown nominees.

The fourth and final Pool of the 2015 KDFW is scheduled for March 27-29.

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Public tabs field as 7-2 choice in Kentucky Oaks Future Wager

The mutual field (#24), or "All Other 3YO Fillies," was made the 7-2 favorite when wagering closed on the only 2015 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (KOFW) Sunday.

I'm a Chatterbox's (Munnings) (#11) eight-length romp in the Silverbulletday S. and 2 1/2-length victory in the Rachel Alexandra S. (G3) in her past two races at Fair Grounds helped make her the betting public's individual favorite at 6-1.

Assigned 8-1 odds on the morning-line for the wager, the Larry Jones lass beat out both champion Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway) (#22) and Condo Commando (Tiz Wonderful) (#4), who each closed at 7-1 as the only other individual interests at single-digit odds.

Take Charge Brandi was the actual third favorite of the 2015 KOFW, as she would pay $16.80 if she captured the May 1 Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is mulling either the $150,000 Honeybee S. (G3) at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, March 7, or the $750,000 Rebel S. (G2) against the boys on Saturday, March 14, for his charge's next start.

Condo Commando's backers would earn $17.60 for a $2 wager if the Rudy Rodriguez trainee should take the "Run for the Lillies."

Brisnet offers complimentary past performances for all Kentucky Oaks nominees.

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Far From Over gains new co-owners, skips Gotham

Far From Over, now part owned by James Covello and Madaket Stable along with Black Rock Thoroughbreds, will train up to the Wood (NYRA/Coglianese Photography/Susie Raisher)
Withers (G3) winner Far From Over (Blame) will skip Saturday's Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct and await the April 4 Wood Memorial (G1), after a private sale of a 25-percent interest in the Kentucky Derby (G1) hopeful was disclosed Sunday.

As reported by Steve Haskin of the Blood-Horse and David Grening of Daily Racing Form, James Covello and Madaket Stable purchased a quarter-interest from Steven Marshall's Black Rock Thoroughbreds.

Far From Over is trained by Todd Pletcher at his winter base of Palm Beach Downs, where he did not get a work in Sunday because of the muddy conditions. The colt had already been uncertain to ship back to Aqueduct for the Gotham, with Pletcher mentioning the idea of training up to the Wood. In the circumstances, connections reportedly decided to keep to that plan.

A potential field of eight talented three-year-olds is shaping up for the Gotham, led by the undefeated Kiaran McLaughlin trainee Ocean Knight (Curlin) and Withers runner-up El Kabeir (Scat Daddy).

The Gotham, which will be joined on Saturday by the Tom Fool H. (G3) and $100,000 Cat Cay, will offer the winner 50 qualifying points as part of the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" system. Additionally, the runner-up will receive 20 points, with 10 points to third and five points to fourth. The previous round of preps, including the Withers at the Big A, was worth 10-5-2-1 points to the top four finishers.

Ocean Knight, undefeated through two career starts, has already had success over Aqueduct's inner track, having won his debut over the surface by an effortless 4 1/4 lengths. He tested graded stakes company in his very next start in the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs and responded well to the challenge, earning a hard-fought neck victory after a wide trip.

"He worked very well ( at Palm Meadows on Saturday morning); :49 and change, just what we were looking for," said McLaughlin, who trains Ocean Knight for Stonestreet Stables.

"He ran very well at Tampa, but (Stonestreet) has Carpe Diem (Giant's Causeway) to potentially run in the Tampa Bay Derby ([G2] also on Saturday), and they'd prefer to split them up. We get to run out of our own barn and he already has a win at Aqueduct, so it's an easy decision. We're happy."

McLaughlin is also likely to saddle Classy Class (Discreetly Mine), who finished third in the Withers. Owned by Cheyenne Stables, Classy Class also has a maiden win and a fourth-place finish in the Remsen (G2) to his credit.

"We thought Classy Class ran very well in the Withers," McLaughlin said. "El Kabeir challenged him a lot earlier than we were expecting, and he ran on well. (In the Gotham), we'd prefer to see him come from off the pace; he doesn't need to be on the lead."

Owner Mike Repole is likely to send out an entry of Blame Jim (Sharp Humor) and Dontbetwithbruno (Tiz Wonderful). The former most recently finished second in an optional claimer at Gulfstream Park, while the latter broke his maiden last out on February 1 at the Big A.

Others likely for the Gotham include Combat Diver (Line of David), Lieutenant Colonel (Colonel John) and Tencendur (Warrior's Reward).

The 40th running of the six-furlong Tom Fool is likely to feature Dads Caps (Discreet Cat), who finished second last out in the Toboggan (G3) on February 7 for trainer Rudy Rodriguez and owner Vincent Scuderi. Also expected are Maleeh (Indian Charlie), for Shadwell Stable and McLaughlin, the John Terranova-trained West Hills Giant (Frost Giant), Schivarelli (Montbrook), and Sonny Inspired (Artie Schiller).

The second edition of the Cat Cay, which was won by Princess of Sylmar last year in its inaugural running, is likely to be headed by Holiday's Jewel (Harlan's Holiday), who is trained by Mitchell Friedman for Sunny Meadow Farm. The Ladies H. winner is slated to meet six other older fillies and mares, including Storied Lady (Read the Footnotes), winner of the Bay Ridge S. at Aqueduct in December. Evening Show (Master Command) for trainer Steve Klesaris, Fortune Pearl (Mineshaft), Lunar Surge (Malibu Moon), Mylitta (Sky Mesa) and Shayjolie (Indian Charlie) are also probable.

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Wagering suspended on The Great War in KDFW Pool 3

The Great War was unable to duplicate his 96 Rock S. tour de force when bleeding in the Battaglia and is off the Derby trail (Turfway Park/Coady Photography)

Trainer Wesley Ward confirmed to Churchill Downs Racetrack officials that The Great War (War Front) is no longer a candidate for the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) and the track has suspended wagering on the colt, listed as #21, in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW).

Betting on The Great War was suspended prior to the star of Sunday's third and final day of the third of four KDFW pools. The pool is scheduled to close at 6 p.m. (EST). The accompanying Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (KOFW), a three-day wagering pool also in its final day, will close 30 minutes after the Derby Future pool at 6:30 p.m.

Owned by Joseph Allen, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, The Great War finished 10th as a heavy favorite in Saturday evening's John Battaglia Memorial S. at Turfway Park. The official Equibase chart of the race notes that Ward's colt bled when he faded from second to finish last in the 1 1/16-mile race over Turfway's synthetic Polytrack course.

In a telephone discussion with Churchill Downs' Director of Racing and Racing Secretary Ben Huffman on Sunday, Ward confirmed that The Great War was no longer being considered for Kentucky Derby 141, but offered no other specific information.

The Great War has a career record of 4-1-0 in 10 races with earnings of $250,106. He finished fourth while making his U.S. debut in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) for Irish-based trainer Aidan O'Brien before he was moved to Ward's stable.

The bay colt, a listed winner in Ireland, captured his sophomore bow in the 96Rock S. at Turfway by 7 1/4 lengths on January 31.

The Kentucky Derby Future Wager, launched in 1999, provides racing fans with the opportunity to bet on contenders for the Kentucky Derby well in advance of the race and at odds that could be much more attractive than those available on Derby Day. No scratches or refunds are allowed in the wager.

Wagering on any KDFW betting interest will be suspended immediately should Churchill Downs officials confirm that the individual horse will not participate in the Kentucky Derby because of injury, illness or other circumstance.

The 141st Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 2, at Churchill Downs.

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Daredevil set for rescheduled Swale; Souper Colossal could opt for Tampa

Daredevil is sticking to his game plan... (NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)
Grade 1 winner Daredevil (More Than Ready) remains set to make his three-year-old debut in the $200,000 Swale (G2) on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday that the sophomore will work four furlongs Monday morning at Palm Beach Downs for the seven-furlong Swale, which was postponed Saturday due to torrential rainstorms.

"We're going to breeze him tomorrow, just an easy half-mile, and then hopefully be all set for next Saturday," Pletcher said.

Daredevil drew post 1 and was installed as the even-money favorite in the original field of seven for the Swale. Owned by Let's Go Stable and WinStar Farm, he won his first two starts, including the Champagne (G1) at Belmont, before finishing last of 11 in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) November 1 at Santa Anita.

Chalk Racing's Ready for Rye (City Zip) and Gelfenstein Farm's X Y Jet (Kantharos) will also re-enter the Swale.

"For us, everything is good. It's just another week away," trainer Tom Albertrani said of Ready for Rye. "We'll just continue our schedule with him and re-enter."

Second in the Spectacular Bid on January 3 at Gulfstream Park, Ready for Rye broke his maiden on a sloppy, sealed racetrack in October at Belmont Park.

"He ran well in the slop in his second start, but you can't predict you're going to end up with a monsoon," Albertrani said. "I remember a bad one where there was two feet of water on the backside, but that was going way back, probably 20 years ago or more. It was just kind of a bad day all around."

X Y Jet is coming off back-to-back runner-up stakes finishes since being moved to the barn of trainer Jorge Navarro. The gelding was beaten a neck in the Pasco at Tampa Bay Downs and most recently second by a half-length in the Hutcheson (G3) on January 24 at Gulfstream Park.

"We're still going for it. He's kind of on the right schedule so we didn't miss anything," Navarro said. "The rain was something. I haven't seen that in 15 or 16 years the last time it was bad like that."

In the aftermath of Saturday's postponement of the Swale, trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. is pondering a new schedule for Super Colossal (War Front) with an eye toward the Triple Crown.

Owned by Charlotte Weber's Live Oak Plantation, the three-year-old was entered in the seven-furlong Swale to prep for the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) March 28. The postponement caused by heavy rainstorms has prompted his trainer to reconsider his original plan.

"It's a negative because if we're looking at the big picture -- which is certainly running in the Derby -- I have to look at opportunities and a time frame to get my horse ready to earn (qualifying) points. With the Swale being postponed for a week, it gives me seven less days to do what I believe is best for my horse. That being said, I'm going to look what my options are and discuss it with Mrs. Weber and Bruce Hill, the farm manager," Plesa said Sunday morning.

...while Souper Colossal is having a rethink (Lauren King/Coglianese Photography)
"Right now, our decision is: do we go ahead and run in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), the same day as the Swale, to get two bites of the apple, so to speak; or do we go ahead with our original plan and run in the Swale, which makes me run a week sooner than maybe what I would have thought in the Florida Derby? It needs to be sorted out. There's no black and white answer at the moment," the veteran South Florida trainer added.

Meanwhile, Plesa is preparing undefeated Mr. Jordan (Kantharos) for a return to action. The exciting three-year-old prospect has been inactive since December 19, when he sustained an injury first thought to be a torn check ligament. The injury turned out to be less serious, and he underwent surgery to remove pressure a bone had placed on the check ligament.

Mr. Jordan returned to the worktab at Gulfstream Park West on February 24, when he breezed three furlongs in :36 4/5 seconds.

"It was his first work back. He seems to be going 110 percent. I'm excited about that, but he's at least 30 days away, maybe six weeks," said Plesa, who plans to work Mr. Jordan again Thursday or Friday.

Mr. Jordan has won all three starts, including a 4 1/2-length victory in the Smooth Air S. at Gulfstream West on November 29. He launched his career with 6 1/2-length triumph at Monmouth Park on September 14 and a three-length victory in the Juvenile Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream Park West on November 8.

Plesa is grateful that his colt escaped more serious injury and has bounced back so quickly.

"It usually goes the other way. Very rarely does it go in a positive way. We're tickled to death, because it gives us more options if he's ready to run at an earlier date," he said. "He seems perfectly happy. He's no worse for the wear and tear."

After scratching from the $150,000 Palm Beach S. (G3), which was eventually canceled due to torrential downpours that plagued Hallandale Saturday afternoon, trainer Chad Brown said he will re-enter Night Prowler (Giant's Causeway) when the race is redrawn Wednesday.

Brown scratched the winner of the January 3 Dania Beach S. (G3) after the Palm Beach, a 1 1/16-mile contest, was declared off the turf earlier in the day. The race was later rescheduled for Saturday, along with the Swale. Those two postponed events will be now held in conjunction with the Gulfstream Park H. (G2) on a three-stake card next weekend.

"He'll have a little breeze tomorrow, and then he'll be ready when they redraw the race," Brown said.

Croninthebarbarian (Stroll) and Divisidero (Kitten's Joy) are also among the horses that will re-enter the Palm Beach.

"He's been training really well," Zack Simms, assistant to trainer Gary Simms, said of Croninthebarbarian. "I think now we just keep him fresh and try to make a run at them again next week."

Buff Bradley, trainer of Divisidero, also sketched out plans.

"He'll probably breeze a little bit on Tuesday -- nothing much, but maybe just put a little half in him," Bradley said.

Consumer Credit (More Than Ready), winner of Gulfstream's Sweetest Chant (G3) on January 24, was scratched from her scheduled start in the Herecomesthebride Saturday. That race, the 5TH on the program, was the last to go off before the remaining seven races were canceled. Having missed the race, Brown adjusted his filly's schedule.

"We breezed her this morning. She breezed well," Brown said of the half-mile move in :50 1/5 at Palm Meadows. "We're planning on now running in the Florida Oaks (G3) at Tampa on Saturday."

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Dortmund to run in San Felipe

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday morning that unbeaten Dortmund (Big Brown), a leading Triple Crown contender, would run in Saturday's $400,000 San Felipe S. (G2), a major steppingstone to the $1 million Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 4.

Dortmund won his last two races by a head, the Robert B. Lewis S. (G3) and Los Alamitos Futurity (G1), which followed much easier scores in his initial two races. The chestnut colt had been expected to train up to the Santa Anita Derby off his Lewis score, which came February 7.

Among those Dortmund expects to face in the San Felipe is Pain and Misery (Bob and John), who will be stretching out past 6 1/2 furlongs for the first time in the 1 1/16-mile contest.

"The timing is good," trainer Richard Mandella explained the move. "He's ready to run and the San Felipe is the race that's there. We don't know if he's good enough for that, but we might as well find out. He trains like he might be."

The Kentucky-bred gelding finished third in his debut at Del Mar last August 24 before moving to Zia Park in New Mexico, where he won two straight for trainer Henry Dominguez, including the Governor's Cup S. at six furlongs by 7 1/4 lengths.

Sent to Mandella, Pain and Misery was beaten a neck in his debut for the Hall of Fame conditioner at 10-1 in the restricted Baffle S. at about 6 1/2 furlongs on Santa Anita's downhill turf course February 15.

Other probables for the San Felipe include Eddie Logan S. victor Bolo (Temple), who will be competing on the main track for the first time in the race; Lord Nelson (Pulpit), hero of the San Vicente S. (G2) last out in his sophomore bow and stablemate to Dortmund; undefeated Delta Downs Jackpot S. (G3) winner Ocho Ocho Ocho (Street Sense), who will be making his sophomore debut in this spot; and last-out romping scorer Prospect Park (Tapit).

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Shared Belief assigned 125 pounds in Big 'Cap

Shared Belief will tote the biggest impost of his career (Benoit Photos)
Shared Belief (Candy Ride), "the best horse in the country," will carry his greatest impost ever, top weight of 125 pounds, in Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita H. (G1).

"I don't think Jerry had any complaints," said Jerry Hollendorfer assistant Dan Ward of the 125 assigned to Shared Belief, the once-beaten male two-year-old champion of 2013 who defeated 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) in the San Antonio Invitational (G2) on February 7.

"The racing secretary (Rick Hammerle) told us Shared Belief is the best horse in the country," Ward said, adding that the disparity in weights from high to low is more significant than the actual weight assigned and carried by the high weight.

In 10 lifetime starts, nine of them victories, Shared Belief has never carried more than 123 pounds, both times in his last two starts, victories, in the San Antonio at 1 1/8 miles and the Malibu (G1) at seven furlongs.

Probable starters with assigned weights for the 78th Santa Anita H. for four-year-olds and up at 1 1/4 miles, which goes as the 10TH race on an 11-race program that starts at noon (PST): Shared Belief, Mike Smith, 125; Bronzo (Fusaichi Pegasus), Tyler Baze, 117; Dynamic Sky (Sky Mesa), Corey Nakatani, 117; Patrioticandproud (Proud Citizen), no rider, 116; Hard Aces (Hard Spun), Victor Espinoza, 115; Sr. Quisqueyano (Exclusive Quality), Joe Talamo, 115; Catch a Flight (Giant's Causeway), Gary Stevens, 114; Cool Samurai (First Samurai), Aaron Gryder, 114; Crimson Giant (Formal Gold), Brandon Boulanger, 114; and Diamond Bachelor (War Front), Martin Pedroza, 114.

In other Big 'Cap news:

Bob Baffert was undecided Sunday morning on whether San Pasqual S. (G2) winner Hoppertunity (Any Given Saturday) would start. Asked at 9 a.m. if the four-year-old would run in the race, Baffert said, "Don't know yet."

Crimson Giant might be long on odds but he won't be short on fitness.

"Every single day he gallops at a very high clip," trainer Charlie Stutts said of the six-year-old gelding, winner of only a maiden race from 66 career starts.

The California-bred owned and bred by Bryan Carney has raced six times at this meet alone in a span of nine weeks. His lifetime past performances take up seven inches of space.

Apprentice rider Bryan Boulanger, who celebrates his 21st birthday Sunday, has the mount in the Big 'Cap.

Santa Anita offers two huge guaranteed pools on Big'‘Cap Day, $1 million on the Late Pick 4 and $250,000 on the Pick 6. There will be a Beerfest and live music in the infield.

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Take Charge Brandi to work, decision still forthcoming on next start

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said he hopes to breeze champion Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway) Monday morning at Oaklawn Park in preparation for her next start, either the $150,000 Honeybee S. (G3) on next Saturday, March 7, or against the boys in the $750,000 Rebel S. (G2) on March 14. Both races are scheduled for 1 1/16 miles.

"We'll work tomorrow if the track's good," Lukas said late Sunday morning. "If it isn't, then we won't work at all."

Lukas still plans to enter Take Charge Brandi in the Honeybee for three-year-old fillies, a move that will allow he and owner Willis Horton more time to analyze the prospective Rebel field. Post positions for the Honeybee will be drawn Wednesday morning.

Horton has said his preference is to test his Eclipse Award-winning filly against males in the Rebel.

Take Charge Brandi galloped Thursday morning, but the track was closed for training Friday and Saturday. Lukas had mentioned working Take Charge Brandi this weekend, but decided not take any of his horses to the track Sunday morning when Oaklawn reopened for training. The surface was rated muddy Sunday by clockers.

Despite not going to the track the last three days, Lukas said the interruption won't impact Take Charge Brandi's next start, whether it's the Honeybee or Rebel.

"You're always concerned about setbacks this time of the year, but a day or two doesn't make any difference," he remarked. "But you'd like to run on the day you train for."

Take Charge Brandi posted a head victory in the Martha Washington S. on January 31 in her three-year-old debut.

Martha Washington runner-up Sarah Sis (Sharp Humor), scheduled to run in the Honeybee, breezed five furlongs Sunday morning over Oaklawn Park's muddy main track in 1:03 4/5 for trainer Ingrid Mason.

Conditioner Bret Calhoun said unbeaten Promise Me Silver (Silver City) is "possible" to make her graded bow in the Honeybee.

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Designs on Dubai after 'Rome' stamps class in HK Gold Cup

Designs on Rome will bring a three-race winning streak into the Sheema Classic (Hong Kong Jockey Club Photo)
Hong Kong Horse of the Year Designs on Rome (Holy Roman Emperor) landed Sunday's Hong Kong Gold Cup (HK-G1) in decisive fashion, signaling his readiness to take on the world in the March 28 Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-G1).

"He is such a special horse," jockey Joao Moreira said. "I'm looking forward to Dubai now."

Reserved near the back of the pack as usual, Designs on Rome delivered his power-packed late charge to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths. The Irish-bred five-year-old negotiated about 1 1/4 miles on Sha Tin's good-to-firm turf in 2:01 2/5 and handed trainer John Moore his 10th Gold Cup win.

"As I said going into the race, I thought he was the fittest he has been all season and he showed everybody just that," Moore said of Designs on Rome, who was coming off wins in the December 14 Hong Kong Cup (HK-G1) and February 7 Centenary Vase.

"We'll just make sure there is nothing amiss with him now and we will aim to have him in the same condition when we present him for the Dubai Sheema Classic."

"Once again I got going on him a little bit early," Moreira said, "and they started to push me wide, so I had to take a chance and buy a little bit of time. I didn't want to make it too hard for him on the outside, covering so much ground, but he's such an honest horse, he gives 100 percent of himself.

"I wouldn't say that was easy because I really had to ride him strongly to the line. The pace wasn't as fast as we wanted but then we were always going to catch up with his great turn of foot. A furlong to go I knew I was going to win and then I was just pushing him to the line and I was celebrating almost as we crossed the line."

Helene Super Star (War Front) finished second, followed by stablemate Blazing Speed (Dylan Thomas) from the Tony Cruz yard. Two-time defending champion Military Attack (Oratorio) wound up fourth when adding blinkers.

Designs on Rome was notching his third international Group 1 victory, having accounted for last April's QE II Cup (HK-G1) and the aforementioned Hong Kong Cup. He also scooped a pair of local Group 1s in the 2014 Hong Kong Classic Cup and Hong Kong Derby. Last time out in the Centenary Vase, he defied the top weight of 131 pounds.

"This will be the first time we will have ever traveled him for a race," Moore said of the Sheema Classic.

"Of course, he traveled here (from Ireland) to begin with and he did show good form straight away, but we have to look at the traveling. There's a bit of arrogance about him and he does have a bite once in a while, and a kick, so you've got to watch him.

"We're taking his regular mafoo, the spare mafoo -- I think we're taking everybody!"

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Jones earns stakes double with Albano, Louisiana Derby hopeful A Day in Paradise

Albano capped off a stakes double for trainer Larry Jones and jockey Kerwin Clark that began... (Sam Houston/Coady Photography)

Brereton C. Jones' homebred Albano (Istan) wired Saturday evening's $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston by a romping 6 1/2 lengths for trainer Larry Jones.

Jockey Kerwin Clark was patient with the Kentucky-bred, guiding him through the first quarter-mile in :24 3/5 and the half-mile in :50 2/5. Unpressured throughout, the bay colt galloped home in 1.52 1/5 for 1 1/8 miles on the fast track. Albano was sent off the 2-5 favorite against his five rivals and paid $2.80 for the win.

"I knew they were in trouble after the first quarter mile," said Clark. "I've always liked this colt. He was my 'in' to Larry Jones' barn last year, so he will always have a special place in my heart. Larry had him ready to go and, what can I say? It's just a privilege and a pleasure to be riding for these guys."

Jones was aiming for the Mineshaft H. (G3) last weekend at Fair Grounds, but just didn't see the "sparkle" in Albano, and opted to ship him to Sam Houston for the Maxxam Gold Cup instead.

"He ran very well tonight, but it just showed what a poor training job I did on his last race," Jones said, referring to his third-place finish in the Louisiana H. at Fair Grounds on January 17. "It's great to see him at the top of his game. I owe Governor Jones a lot of credit. He doesn't put the pressure on me. He tells me that when the horses are right, let's run them."

"It's wonderful to be here with Kerwin, Larry and Albano," said Brereton Jones, former governor of Kentucky. "The Good Lord has blessed us and we are grateful. I must admit that seeing such a nice performance from this homebred brought a tear to my eye."

Albano earned his third stakes victory in the Maxxam Gold Cup, adding it to previous scores in the Pegasus S. (G3) and Sugar Bowl S. In addition to his Louisiana H. third, the four-year-old bay boasts four placings from his 2014 campaign, including the Haskell Invitational (G1) and Risen Star S. (G2). His career line reads 11-4-3-3, $608,600.

Jones is now pointing Albano to the $400,000 New Orleans H. (G2) back at Fair Grounds.

...when Louisiana Derby candidate A Day in Paradise captured his stakes bow in the Texas Heritage S. (Sam Houston/Coady Photography)

Sam Houston hosted two other stakes on its Saturday evening card, with Ken and Sarah Ramsey's homebred Kitten's Queen (Kitten's Joy) living up to her 3-2 favoritism in the $50,000 Jersey Lily S. and Tommy G. Ligon's A Day in Paradise (Yes It's True) doing the same at 3-5 in the $50,000 Texas Heritage S.

A Day in Paradise gave Larry Jones and Clark a second stakes win on the evening when taking the Texas Heritage S. by 3 1/4 lengths right before the Maxxam Gold Cup. The bay gelding dueled throughout before finally asserting his class and drawing off in late stretch to stop the clock in 1:40 1/5 for a mile on the main track.

"He didn't even know what he was doing," Clark said. "He never really puts his mind to running; he just thinks he is out there for fun and games. In all honesty, this horse has not even figured it out yet, but it's going to be fun when he figures out he is a racehorse."

Jones affectionately dubbed his winner a "knucklehead," but was very pleased with the victory.

"He's a big horse and that's one of the reasons he's coming around slowly," Jones explained. "He'll figure it out, and we're pretty pleased with him."

A Day in Paradise will now be pointed to the $750,000 Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds, according to his owner

Prior to those two stakes was Kitten's Queen, who gave the Ramseys and Maker a third straight win in the Jersey Lilly (Sam Houston/Coady Photography)

Kitten's Queen rallied on the far turn after settling off the early pace set by One Time Only (Lemon Drop Kid). The Mike Maker-trained mare took command in midstretch for a two-length victory under jockey David Cabrera. The duo completed 1 1/16 miles on the firm turf in 1:42.71, just off the 1:42.05 course record set last Saturday night by Gaelico (War Front).

Kitten's Queen earned her first stakes score in the Jersey Lilly having finished second in the Blushing K.D. S. to round out her four-year-old season on December 18 at Fair Grounds. It was the third straight win in the Jersey Lilly for Maker and the Ramseys, who scored year's stakes with Always Kitten and the 2013 edition of the turf stakes with Artemus Kitten, both of whom are also by Kitten's Joy.

Maker had no definite idea for the next start for his filly, just stating that "several options" would be considered.

While no Thoroughbred stakes are scheduled for next weekend at Sam Houston, the track will host the return of exotic racing featuring camels, ostriches and the addition of zebra races. The exotic animal races will take place on the main racetrack in between live horse races and, due to the popular demand, will be held on two nights -- Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7.

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Gulfstream revives Summit of Speed

Gulfstream Park announced Sunday a record $4.7 million summer stakes schedule highlighted by the resurrected $1.025 million Summit of Speed, a record $2 million Florida Sire Stakes Series, and an inaugural Sire Stakes for three-year-old Florida-breds worth $900,000.

The schedule will feature five graded stakes starting Saturday, April 25, with the Miami Mile (G3) at a mile on the turf.

The Summit of Speed, highlighted by the $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2), $250,000 Smile Sprint (G2), $150,000 Carry Back (G3) and $150,000 Azalea (G3), will be run Sunday, July 5. The series, which gained popularity at Calder Race Course, was not run in 2014.

Both the Princess Rooney and Smile will be part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series "Win & You're In."

The Florida Sire Stakes, a three-race series for two-year-olds sired by nominated stallions, had total purses its first year at Gulfstream of $1.4 million. The total purse will now be $2 million. The series will kick off Saturday, August 8, with the six-furlong $200,000 Dr. Fager (open) and $200,000 Desert Vixen (fillies). The $300,000 Affirmed (open) and $300,000 Susan's Girl (fillies) will be contested at seven furlongs Saturday, September 5, while the 1 1/16-mile finals -- the $500,000 In Reality (open) and $500,000 My Dear Girl -- will be run Saturday, October 3.

Gulfstream will also offer a Sire Stakes for three-year-olds, to be run on the same three dates as the juvenile races with distances of seven furlongs, a mile and 1 1/16 miles, with each race worth $150,000.

"We believe this is our strongest and most balanced summer stakes schedule yet," said Gulfstream's General Manager and The Stronach Group's Vice President of Racing P.J. Campo.

"After consulting with horsemen and breeders, we believe this stakes schedule continues rebuilding summer racing in Florida. We have increased the Florida Sire Stakes for two-year-olds, created a Sire Stakes for three-year-olds, and have brought back the Summit of Speed.

"With nearly $5 million in purses and 29 stakes, we're looking forward to a tremendous summer season at Gulfstream Park."

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Old Friends pensioner Creator euthanized

Creator came to Old Friends in 2004 (EquiSport Photos)

Creator, a two-time Group 1 winner in France, was euthanized at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital on Saturday, February 28, due to complications from colic.

The 29-year-old son of Mill Reef had been a pensioner of Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement farm in Georgetown, Kentucky, since 2004, when he was retired from stud duty in Japan and returned to the United States.

A British homebred for Sheikh Mohammed, Creator won seven of his16 starts for career earnings of more than $550,000. His most impressive victory came at Longchamp in the Prix Ganay (Fr-G1), a race his sire also won impressively in 1972. The chestnut also captured the Prix d'Ispahan (Fr-G1) and a trio of Group 2 contests in France.

Creator's final start was in the United States in the Budweiser International H. (G1) at Laurel Park, where he suffered a career-ending injury.

Creator and Old Friends stablemate Sunshine Forever were the first stallions the non-profit organization returned from overseas for U.S. retirement.

At the time of his death Creator was surrounded by Michael Blowen, president and founder of Old Friends, his wife, Diane White, and others who cared for him daily at the farm.

"Creator was not only a magnificent animal, he was one of the founding fathers of Old Friends," Blowen said. "Every time we lose one of the horses it's as if they take a little part of our lives with them and, yesterday, Creator took an enormous chunk with him."

For additional information please contact Old Friends at 502-863-1775.

Bin Suroor: Cavalryman 'will be hugely missed'

Cavalryman, a redoubtable campaigner for seven years, was euthanized after fracturing his pastern in the Nad al Sheba Trophy (Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club)
Godolphin's Group 1 star Cavalryman (Halling), who amassed approximately $3 million in earnings over a memorable seven-year career, was sadly euthanized as a result of his serious injury in Saturday's Nad al Sheba Trophy (UAE-G3). The news was confirmed Sunday by the Emirates Racing Authority stewards' report and by a release from Godolphin.

The defending champion in the Nad al Sheba Trophy, in which he had set a Meydan course record for about 1 3/4 miles on turf, Cavalryman broke down on the backstretch. He was transported to the equine hospital, where he was found to have fractured his right hind pastern. Although the nine-year-old was reportedly taken into surgery, he ultimately did not survive.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor revealed just how much Cavalryman meant to Godolphin.

"He was a real character in the yard and was treasured, not only by me, but by everyone here -- all of the team," bin Suroor said.

"We are very upset by the tragic news. He had a wonderful career and he will be hugely missed."

Bred by Darley in Great Britain, Cavalryman was originally trained by Andre Fabre. He developed into a top three-year-old in France, with victories in the 2009 Grand Prix de Paris (Fr-G1) and Prix Niel (Fr-G2) and a high-profile third to Sea the Stars in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-G1).

As an older horse, Cavalryman found his niche in the staying ranks for bin Suroor. After capturing the 2012 Grand Cup at York and Esher at Sandown, he added the 2013 Dubai Gold Cup.

At the age of eight in 2014, Cavalryman compiled his best season since his glittering sophomore campaign with a trio of major wins -- the aforementioned Nad al Sheba Trophy; the Princess of Wales's S. (Eng-G2) at Newmarket, successfully cutting back in trip to 1 1/2 miles to beat the likes of Hillstar (Danehill Dancer) and Pether's Moon (Dylan Thomas); and the historic Goodwood Cup (Eng-G2) over Ahzeemah (Dubawi) and Brown Panther (Shirocco).

Cavalryman's two losses last year were likewise full of merit. He was hampered en route to a near-miss second to Certerach (Halling) in the Dubai Gold Cup on World Cup night. Jockey Silvestre de Sousa promptly lodged a claim of foul, but bin Suroor famously withdrew the objection before the stewards. Cavalryman's final outing of 2014 was a fourth to Pale Mimosa (Singspiel) and Estimate (Monsun) in the August 22 Lonsdale Cup (Eng-G2) at York.

With an overall ledger of 39-10-5-5, Cavalryman won or placed in a total of 19 stakes. In addition to the Arc, he garnered minor awards in such events as the Grosser Preis von Baden (Ger-G1), Gran Premio del Jockey Club (Ity-G1), Princess of Wales's, Prix Greffulhe (Fr-G2) and consecutive runnings of the Dubai City of Gold.

Cavalryman is a three-quarter brother to Group 3-placed Finity (Diesis), who appears as the second dam of Group 1-placed stakes scorer Justice Day (Acclamation). Cavalryman was produced by the Group 3-placed Silversword (Highest Honor), a full sister to German highweight stayer Double Honour. His second dam, Silver Cobra (Silver Hawk), is a full sister to Grade 1-winning millionaire Silver Ending.

Cavalryman descends from the celebrated matron Bourtai (Stimulus), with his fourth dam being Basin (Tom Rolfe) and his fifth dam Broodmare of the Year Delta (*Nasrullah).

Laurel Park cancels due to winter storm

Laurel Park canceled its live program Sunday due to a winter storm producing snow and freezing rain.

It is the most recent day lost by the Maryland track due to acclimate weather.

Officials were forced to call off live racing on Friday, February 27, due to a thawing track, and winter weather cost the track nearly the entire previous weekend, as racing was canceled on Sunday, February 22, and Friday, February 20, as well as after the first two races on Saturday, February 21.

Live racing is expected to resume Thursday, March 5, with a 12:30 p.m. (EST) first race post time.

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In brief

Untapable breezed six furlongs Sunday in advance of her return in the Azeri (Cecilia Gustavsson/
Last year's champion three-year-old filly Untapable (Tapit) will make her four-year-old debut in the $300,000 Azeri S. (G2) at Oaklawn Park on March 14, owner/breeder Ron Winchell tweeted Sunday. She will be joined by fellow Winchell homebred Tapiture (Tapit), who will kick off his 2015 campaign in the $250,000 Razorback H. (G3). Both Steve Asmussen trainees were last seen at the Breeders' Cup. Tapiture was second in the Dirt Mile (G1), while Untapable crowned her Eclipse-worthy year with a Distaff (G1) triumph. The duo turned in Sunday works at Fair Grounds, with Untapable breezing six furlongs in 1:12 1/5 and Tapiture going in 1:12 3/5. In other Azeri news, Bayakoa S. (G3) winner Mufajaah (Tapit) recorded a bullet half-mile in :48 just after Oaklawn Park's muddy main track opened Sunday morning for trainer Dan Peitz. Dual Grade 3 heroine Sugar Shock (Candy Ride), also scheduled to make her next start in the Azeri, clocked three-quarters in 1:16 1/5 Sunday morning for trainer Doug Anderson. Regular rider Channing Hill was aboard...

Todd Pletcher entered three-year-old colts Stanford (Malibu Moon) and Materiality (Afleet Alex) for Friday's $60,000 Islamorada, an overnight handicap scheduled for 1 1/8 miles on the main track at Gulfstream Park. Stanford returned from a six-month layoff to capture his sophomore debut, a six-furlong optional claiming allowance over favored stablemate Blame Jim (Sharp Humor) on February 8 at Gulfstream. Materiality was a 4 1/4-length winner in his career debut over a sloppy, sealed main track January 11 at Gulfstream. Tradesman (Street Sense), disqualified from a maiden win over eventual John Battaglia winner Royal Son (Tiznow), goes to bat for Tom Albertrani...

Agent Tony Matos reports that Corey Nakatani will ride Mr. Z (Malibu Moon) for D. Wayne Lukas in the Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds on March 28...

Sunday's Nakayama Kinen (Jpn-G2) featured three classic winners: last year's Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) (Jpn-G1) winner Nuovo Record (Heart's Cry); the 2013 Satsuki Sho (Japanese Two Thousand Guineas) (Jpn-G1) victor Logotype (Lohengrin); and last year's Guineas winner Isla Bonita (Fuji Kiseki), and it was the filly who came out the narrow victor on seasonal debut. Third in last year's Oka Sho (Japanese One Thousand Guineas) (Jpn-G1), Nuovo Record earned her first stakes score in the Oaks, and after a summer holiday she followed up in the Sho Rose S. (Jpn-G2) in September. She was second in the Shuka Sho (Jpn-G1) a month later, and was last seen filling the runner-up slot in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (Jpn-G1) November 16. Fastest from the gate Sunday, Nuovo Record settled third on the rail with Logotype to her outside as the field rounded the first turn. Logotype strode forward down the backstretch while the filly remained under a tight hold. Nuovo Record's rider, Yasunari Iwata, had little choice but to take the rail route once the field turned into the stretch, and the chestnut bravely squeezed between Logotype and the fence to get up just in time. Iwata told Racing Post, "I couldn't (get) her to the outside after rounding the home turn because there was no room, so I led her to the inside. She is so brave. Her next target would be Yasuda Kinen (Jpn-G1) and then the (Takarazuka) Kinen (Jpn-G1) (both) in June." Isla Bonita checked in fifth...

Alex and JoAnn Leblong's The Big Beast (Yes It's True) returned a winner on Sunday at Oaklawn Park when recording a 1 1/4-length victory in the 8TH race, a $68,000 allowance sprinting six furlongs on the good, sealed main track. With Ricardo Santana Jr. aboard, the Tony Dutrow trainee stalked the early pacesetter before overtaking and pulling away from that rival under a hand ride to stop the clock in 1:10 3/5. It was the first start for the Maryland-bred bay since his neck triumph while making his stakes debut in last August's King's Bishop S. (G1) at Saratoga. The Big Beast subsequently underwent surgery to remove a tiny bone chip from an ankle and resumed training last fall. "He's filled out," Dutrow said in January. "He's a big horse, but all athlete. Nothing bulky about him." During that time the conditioner also said the major spring objective for The Big Beast is the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3) on April 9...

Veteran Oaklawn trainer Jinks Fires continues to watch his horses train in the morning from the grandstand after undergoing surgery on his left ear late last month. Fires, 74, is normally on the track atop his pony during training hours, but said he was treated for basal cell carcinoma -- the most common form of skin cancer -- during an approximate 10-hour procedure on February 19 at a Hot Springs, Arkansas, dermatology clinic. "They're pretty sure they got it all," Fires said Saturday morning. "Man, they hulled me out like an oyster. They cut on me all day long. I didn't even get to see my horses run that day." Fires said he believed his visit would last only an hour, but his stay ran from roughly 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (CST). He said the cancer likely formed from prolonged exposure to the sun, noting that he drives 30,000 to 50,000 miles annually to train and race his horses. "The sun beams right through that window real hard," Fires said. "But, I grew up in northeast Arkansas and worked in the field all my life." Fires said the cancer was detected after a scab fell off, leaving a small red spot. His left ear remains covered by a large white bandage. "I'll probably have to keep it covered, probably forever -- a long time, anyway," Fires said. Watching from the grandstand, Fires said, has been a relief because of bitter cold that has gripped Oaklawn the last couple of weeks, but he's anxious to return to his normal routine. Fires said he hopes to resume riding his pony soon. "The jarring hurts me a little bit," Fires said. "Weather like this, that thing is so tender. The air gets through that real quick. You wouldn't see me in the grandstand, if it wasn't for this. I feel a lot better when I'm out there on a horse. I feel like I'm getting more accomplished out there than I do in the grandstand."...

The Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) and Laurel Park will host the Champions Handicapping Tournament on Saturday, March 7, with the winner earning a berth into the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge. The winner will also receive two days of championship racing at the 2015 Breeders' Cup at Keeneland, three-day accommodations in Lexington, a discount on seating and food where available for Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge players, and tickets to a VIP Breeders' Cup party. The total value is $10,000 and there will be a prize schedule of more than $25,000. There is a maximum of two entries per person and prizes will be paid through 10th place. The Champions Handicapping Tournament is open to players for $300, which covers a $100 entry fee and $200 bank. Entries will be capped at 300. Players must place a minimum of 10 $20 wagers. Only win, place and show wagers are valid in the tournament. There will be no maximum wager. Registration forms and information are available by emailing before noon on Friday, March 6. If there are still open spots in the tournament, registration will resume the morning of the tournament at 10 a.m. (EST)...

Mark O'Hanlon, a former executive for Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, has died at age 52 following a short illness. O'Hanlon specialized in international markets during his time at ITM, specifically Italy, the Middle East, Singapore, Russia and Morocco.  Michael O'Hagan, former chief executive of ITM, led the tributes to O'Hanlon Sunday, telling Racing Post, "Mark originally joined as our rep in Italy as he lived out there, but the more I got to know him the more I realized he was wasted looking after just one country. He was always just a great right-hand man to have on your team, a top man to have. He did what had to be done and he did it in his own quiet way -- he was a gentle giant. Before joining us he worked for Goresbridge. After I saw him in action I asked (director) Martin Donohoe if we could poach him. He got on well with everyone he dealt with, and when you walked into the sales, you looked for Mark -- he was the obvious go-to guy." Tributes also poured in via Twitter. Adrian Beaumont noted the "Tragic loss of a good man," Kevin Buckley called O'Hanlon "a top guy who'll be missed by many of us," and Charles O'Neill hailed him as "a true gentleman and one of the greatest people I have had the pleasure to travel and work with." A funeral Mass will be held Tuesday at the Cathedral of the Assumption in County Carlow.

Spot Plays/Highlights/Weather


For Monday

Mahoning Valley   (7th) Wild Skye, 3-1
    (8th) Royal Marque, 10-1
Mountaineer Park   (1st) E. T. Echo, 3-1
    (9th) Proud Trick, 3-1
Parx Racing   (4th) Fairy Cat, 9-2
    (5th) Sir Newcastle, 3-1
Sam Houston   (3rd) Classy Talent, 3-1
    (8th) Wedded Prince, 3-1
Sunland Park   (4th) Sidaam, 7-2
    (10th) Uncle Regal, 5-1
Turf Paradise   (5th) Spinning Steel, 5-1
    (6th) Chelokee's Gem, 9-2

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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