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MONDAY, MAY 25, 2015

Triple Crown News & Notes

American Pharoah skims over Churchill slop; Baffert to fly in Monday night

American Pharoah flaunted his typically smooth action on Memorial Day (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)
Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) winner American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) continued his training for the June 6 Belmont S. (G1) by galloping 1 1/4 miles over a sloppy Churchill Downs main track on Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. (EDT) with Jorge Alvarez up. Video is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FktMyy55BmQ.

"He went great," Alvarez said. "He loves the slop."

Jimmy Barnes, chief assistant to trainer Bob Baffert, also was pleased with how the Zayat Stables homebred galloped over the sloppy going.

"He went very nice and looked good," Barnes said. "He likes an off track. Everything seems fine."

American Pharoah is two-for-two on an off track. His two wins in the slop came in the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park and the May 16 Preakness.

Baffert is scheduled to fly into Louisville, Kentucky, from California on Monday night to oversee his string of 12 horses that are stabled at Churchill Downs. Aside from American Pharoah, he has last year's Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) winner Bayern (Offlee Wild) and 2014 Clark H. (G1) winner Hoppertunity (Any Given Saturday) in training at Churchill Downs. Barnes said that Baffert would determine Tuesday morning when American Pharoah would resume breezing.

Baffert is expected to be at Barn 33 Tuesday morning and will return to California later that day.

Three other Belmont S. contenders are currently stabled at Churchill: Conquest Curlinate (Curlin), Barn 36; Keen Ice (Curlin), Barn 4; and War Story (Northern Afleet), Barn 29.

In other Belmont news from Churchill:

Churchill Downs' special 8:30-8:45 a.m. training period for the Belmont S.-bound horses continues through Tuesday, June 2.

Additionally, area horse racing fans are invited to watch those colts train from the first floor of the facility, including the new Courtyard area, free of charge.

Churchill will open its Gate 17 entrance between 8-9 a.m. each morning through June 2 so the public can watch. Churchill concessionaire Levy Restaurants will have coffee, juice, soda, water and doughnuts available for purchase near the Aristides Garden. Also, video of the exercises will be shown on the Big Board and infield video screens.

Those unable to attend can watch an online live stream of the daily exercises at http://www.kentuckyderby.com/workouts/live, and clips of the activity will be uploaded on the Kentucky Derby YouTube channel. A graphic with each horse's name will appear on the screen with the corresponding horse, although a majority of the focus will be on American Pharaoh.

Despite rainfall and short notice, more than 100 fans attended Monday's debut of the special training session.

Churchill Downs has a special box seat package for the Belmont S. simulcast. For $24, fans can get an undercover box seat, official program, a domestic beer or souvenir soda and a custom, limited-edition Kentucky Derby 141 T-Shirt that features a victorious American Pharaoh. Fans can purchase the package by visiting the online box office at www.ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets.

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Graded Recaps

Distinctiv Passion hangs on to take Los Angeles

Left alone on an uncontested lead through splits of :22 and :44 2/5, Distinctiv Passion (With Distinction) had just enough in the tank to eke out a neck victory over the surging favorite San Onofre (Surf Cat) in Monday's $98,000 Los Angeles (G3) at Santa Anita.

A five-year-old owned by Edward Brown Jr., Alan Klein and Phillip Lebherz, the Jeff Bonde trainee finished up six furlongs on a fast track in 1:08. Ridden by Edwin Maldonado, he returned $6.60 to win.

San Onofre, the 9-10 favorite, finished 1 1/4 lengths clear of Wild Dude (Wildcat Heir), with War Academy (Giant's Causeway) trailing the field of four after the withdrawals of Five Palms (Unbridled's Song) and Spirit Rules (Tribal Rule).

"I knew I had enough to win today," Maldonado said. "I was just waiting to push the button, waiting on San Onofre. I knew it was going to be a two-horse race."

This was the third stakes win at Santa Anita in the past six months for Distinctiv Passion, who captured the Midnight Lute (G3) on December 27 and the $74,000 Joe Hernandez on February 22, both over 6 1/2 furlongs.

Also the winner of 2013 San Pedro, Distinctiv Passion has placed in four other stakes including the 2013 Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1). He preceded this win with a 13th-place effort in the Al Quoz Sprint (UAE-G1) over the turf at Meydan in Dubai. His record now stands at 17-8-14, $453,660.

"The Dubai race was a totally wasted race," Bonde said. "If you look at all the American horses over there that ran on the turf, they did miserably. On the main track, they did fine. The grass lies over five inches, and we're staying at this hotel that looks right down on the track and they're watering it every night. Even though you're in a desert, it's a bog.

"I'm sure you'll see the horse next in the Bing Crosby ([G1] at Del Mar)."

Bred in Florida by Harold Plumley, Distinctiv Passion was produced by Dance Forthe Green (West by West), who is also the dam of Jamaican champion Dance So Sweet (Sweetsouthersaint) and stakes winner Italo (With Distinction).

This extended family also includes French champion Gravelines (Cadmus) and Grade/Group 2 winners Brooke's Halo (Southern Halo), Grand Pavois (Irish River), and Roi Gironde (Fairy King).

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Street Story regains the plot in Winning Colors

Street Story enjoyed clear sailing on the outside (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)
Whispering Oaks Farm's Street Story (Street Cry), winless since her signature score in last summer's Victory Ride (G3), regained the winning thread in Monday's $100,000 Winning Colors (G3) at Churchill Downs. With Florent Geroux aboard, the Steve Asmussen filly sprang a 7-1 upset in the Memorial Day feature and rewarded her loyalists with a $17.60 payout.

Defending champion Southern Honey (Colonel John) zipped to the lead through an opening quarter in :21 4/5 on the sloppy, sealed track, but 3-2 favorite Spring Included (Include) was in hot pursuit. Street Story, who broke from the far outside in post 10, was well placed in a stalking third. When Spring Included took over from the weakening Southern Honey at the half-mile mark in :45 1/5, Street Story moved in tandem with her, and the two settled down to battle.

Street Story began to assert in midstretch, getting the five-furlong split in :57 1/5, and stayed on relentlessly to prevail by 1 1/2 lengths. The dark bay splashed six furlongs in 1:10 1/5.

"We had a great trip on the outside," Geroux recapped. "When I rode her at Fair Grounds (in the February 17 Mardi Gras) she was stuck on the inside and she almost jumped the fence. She was really claustrophobic on the inside.

"I was pretty much sure I could win this stakes. I had to keep her on the clear as much as possible and it went great. I had a good enough post to do so and I took advantage of it. I had the 8-5 favorite next to me when I squeezed mine just before the quarter-pole. I pretty much knew I had it."

Heykittykitty (Tactical Cat), a ground-saving fourth early, closed down the stretch to finish a clear second. Spring Included crossed the wire a further 1 3/4 lengths adrift in third, and Milam (Street Sense) worked her way into fourth. Southern Honey beat just one home, in a photo.

"It's a long time off," said Southern Honey's trainer, Rusty Arnold, who alluded to her vacation since her sixth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).

"The race didn't go exactly like I thought it would. I don't know about the surface, I'm not using it as an excuse I just don't know. She's out of a Carson City mare so she should like it, but doesn't mean they'll like it. It was probably a little fast but you know how this track gets, they'll do that. I think they did that in an earlier race that might not have been a top race.

"I'm disappointed right now, but if she comes back good and my objectives are a little bit further a long, so it's not the end of the world."

Street Story was returning to Churchill for the first time since her maiden victory as a juvenile. She raced only once more in 2013, finishing a distant second in the Letellier Memorial at Fair Grounds. Street Story went on to take a pair of stakes at Oaklawn in 2014, the Dixie Belle and Instant Racing, before plundering Belmont Park in the Victory Ride.

Sidelined following a 10th in the Test S. (G1), Street Story wintered with Steve Flint at Fair Grounds. She checked in a troubled third when resurfacing in the Mardi Gras and didn't enjoy the surface switch when fifth in a grassy optional claimer on March 15. Street Story was reunited with Asmussen at Oaklawn, where she played second fiddle to Spring Included in the April 8 Carousel. She gained revenge in the Winning Colors and thereby advanced her line to 13-5-2-1, $339,430.

"She's been training very well here at Churchill; she had some good works," assistant trainer Darren Fleming said. "She was annihilated (by a troubled start in the Carousel), she had no shot. The start cost her that race.

"When you bring her over here she tries hard every time. I didn't think (the off track) hurt her; she had run on it before. She won on it at Oaklawn once before."

Bred by John C. Oxley in Kentucky, Street Story was sold for $155,000 as a yearling at Keeneland September. The four-year-old is a half-sister to Grade 1-placed Paige (Sky Mesa) and to multiple Grade 2-placed Medjool (Monarchos). They were produced by Perfect Story (Tale of the Cat), a winning half-sister to Hall of Famer Point Given (Thunder Gulch).

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Racing Headlines

Empire Dreams an apt winner on Big Apple Showcase Day

Empire Dreams proved too strong for pacesetter Readthebyline (right) and favored Saratoga Snacks (center) (NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography/Chelsea Durand)
West Point Thoroughbreds' Empire Dreams (Patriot Act) rolled from off the pace to land Monday's $200,000 Commentator S., one of six stakes events on a Memorial Day card dedicated to New York-breds at Belmont Park. With a name redolent of the Empire State, Empire Dreams was an apt winner on "Big Apple Showcase Day."

The 4-1 fourth choice in a six-horse field, the Tom Albertrani charge was anchored near the rear while Readthebyline (Read the Footnotes) set a pressured pace of :23 2/5, :46 and 1:10 1/5. Saratoga Snacks (Tale of the Cat), the 4-5 favorite, chased early before challenging in the stretch, but Empire Dreams was rallying more strongly wider out. Under Javier Castellano, the winner got up by three-quarters of a length, negotiated the fast-track mile in 1:35 2/5, and returned $10.20. Readthebyline boxed on to hold second by a nose from Saratoga Snacks.

Empire Dreams was recording his third career stakes victory, having taken the 2013 Great White Way division of the New York Stallion S. as a juvenile as well as last year's New York Derby. The dark bay gelding has also placed in a quartet of New York-bred stakes, most recently finishing second in his reappearance in the May 3 Affirmed Success. His scorecard stands at 13-4-5-1, $463,667.

The $125,000 Kingston S. featured a clash of the past two winners, defending champion and 4-5 favorite Kharafa (Kitalpha) versus 2013 hero King Kreesa (King Cugat), but victory instead went to another venerable turf campaigner in the 4-1 Lubash (Freud).

The Aliyu Ben J Stables homebred had placed in each of his four prior attempts in the Kingston, and his admirable consistency -- not to mention his perseverance -- was compensated here. Given a textbook stalking trip on the inside by Junior Alvarado, the Christophe Clement veteran raced within striking distance of pacesetter King Kreesa and his shadow Kharafa.

Lubash won the Kingston after placing in each of the last four runnings (NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)
While Kharafa pounced in midstretch, Lubash tipped out and delivered a telling burst of speed to win going away by a length. The eight-year-old stopped the teletimer in 1:33 for the mile on a firm Widener turf course.

Lubash is now a nine-time stakes winner, including higher-profile victories in the 2013 Fort Marcy (G3) and the November 22 Tropical Turf (G3). The warrior has accumulated a baker's dozen of stakes placings, a total enhanced with his third in the April 19 Danger's Hour at Aqueduct. With this overdue Kingston trophy in his cabinet, his record reads 41-13-9-5, $1,095,599.

Bloodlines Racing Partnerships' Invading Humor (Invasor) had not raced since November, but the six-month layoff proved no hindrance in the $125,000 Mount Vernon S., where she handed trainer Bruce Levine his 1,998th win. Uncorking a rail-skimming rally for Rajiv Maragh, the 7-2 chance drove to a two-length decision over Mah Jong Maddnes (Freud), with 5-2 favorite Old Harbor (Raffie's Majesty) in third.

Invading Humor sped the mile on the firm Widener course in 1:32 4/5, improving her resume to 15-7-1-1, $379,844. Successful in last September's John Hettinger for state-breds, the five-year-old mare was subsequently unplaced in both the Ticonderoga and the Long Island H. (G3), and headed to the sidelines.

Levine had a chance for number 1,999 in the $200,000 Critical Eye with 2-1 favorite Hot Stones (Bustin Stones), but she never looked like catching front-running 9-1 shot Sheriffa (Posse) en route to a lackluster fourth.

Antonino Miuccio's Sheriffa broke on top, while projected pace rival Carameaway (Lawyer Ron) lunged at the start and left the gate awkwardly. Jose Ortiz was quick to seize advantage aboard Sheriffa, who secured the lead and widened her advantage to as many as seven lengths in the stretch. Although Saythreehailmary's (Repent) reduced the gap inside the final furlong, Sheriffa was still 2 1/4 lengths to the good at the line. The Linda Rice trainee took 1:37 1/5 to finish the mile.

Sheriffa's first stakes credit boosted her bankroll to $339,500 from a 16-5-3-5 record. The four-year-old had competed in a stakes just once before, resulting in a fifth in the 2013 Fifth Avenue division of the New York Stallion S. Last fall, the chestnut was claimed from her original connections, owner/breeder Richard Santulli and trainer Alan Goldberg.

Ostrolenka is now four-for-four at Belmont Park (NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)
In the $125,000 Mike Lee S. for sophomores, Ostrolenka (Musket Man) and Good Luck Gus (Lookin at Lucky) replicated their one-two result from the Sleepy Hollow over this same track in October.

The Todd Pletcher-trained Ostrolenka was dispatched as the 7-5 favorite, slightly preferred to the 8-5 Wincoma (Badge of Silver). As Wincoma dashed to the fore through splits of :22 and :44 4/5, Ostrolenka was perched in second, awaiting his cue. Once John Velazquez set him down, Ostrolenka took command in upper stretch and drew off convincingly to complete seven furlongs in 1:23 3/5.

Good Luck Gus closed sharply for runner-up honors, but remained a respectful two lengths behind the winner. Battle of Evermore (Scat Daddy), last early after being squeezed back at the start, also made good headway late and checked in third in his debut for Chad Brown. Wincoma tired to fifth.

Campaigned by breeder Eric Fein in partnership with Christopher McKenna, Ostrolenka sports a mark of 8-4-1-0, $322,292. Interestingly, he is a perfect four-for-four at Belmont, including his 14-length maiden conquest, the Sleepy Hollow, and a 4 1/2-length allowance tally last out on May 2. The Triple Crown nominee didn't perform up that level at Aqueduct, winding up 13th in the Remsen (G2) and fifth in the Jerome (G3).

A similar pattern held sway in the companion race for three-year-old fillies, the $125,000 Bouwerie S. -- Marc Keller's Quezon (Tiz Wonderful), a six-length heroine of the Maid of the Mist here in October, made a triumphant return to action.

Trained by Bobby Ribaudo and piloted by Manny Franco, the 2-1 favorite circled her rivals from seventh. She swept past Lakeside Sunset (Bellamy Road) in deep stretch, bounded 3 1/4 lengths clear, and clocked 1:23 for seven furlongs. Temper Mint Patty (Congrats), who had been second to Quezon in the Maid of the Mist, showed late interest for third on Monday.

Quezon suffered her only loss when fourth in the November 29 Demoiselle (G2) when last seen. Like Ostrolenka, she too is unbeaten at Belmont, and her overall resume reads 4-3-0-0, $288,200.

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Pennine Ridge, Wonder Again probables revealed

Lady Eli could go to the Belmont Oaks with a strong performance in next week's Wonder Again (Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos)

Fields are taking shape for next weekend's stakes at Belmont Park -- the $200,000 Pennine Ridge on Saturday and the $200,000 Wonder Again on Sunday -- which serve as preps for the $1.25 million Belmont Derby (G1) and $1 million Belmont Oaks (G1), respectively, on Stars & Stripes Day July 4.

The 1 1/8-mile Pennine Ridge on the turf will likely include a number of talented runners. World Approval (Northern Afleet), trained by Mark Casse, is coming off a third-place finish in the American Turf (G2) at Churchill Downs May 2. Startup Nation (Temple City), winner of last year's With Anticipation (G2) at Saratoga, will be looking to make his first start since running in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), in which he endured a difficult trip to finish 11th. Also likely to enter is Takeover Target (Harlan's Holiday), who is undefeated in two starts at Belmont.

Other possible contenders in the field include Eh Cumpari (Elusive Quality), winner of the Palm Beach (G3) at Gulfstream Park, Face the Music (Stormy Atlantic), recent maiden winner Rock Eagle (Indian Charlie), and Made in Detroit (Arch).

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) winner Lady Eli (Divine Park) is likely to headline the Wonder Again at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Trained by Chad Brown, Lady Eli was dominant in her 2015 debut, taking the Appalachian (G3) at Keeneland by 2 1/2 lengths over next-out Hilltop S. winner Miss Temple City (Temple City).

The brilliant filly has yet to run beyond 1 1/16 miles in her career, but Brown does not foresee the added ground of the Wonder Again as a problem, nor Lady Eli's ultimate objective, the 1 1/4-mile Belmont Oaks.

"My feeling is she's talented enough, has a good enough mind, and relaxes enough to handle the stretch-out," Brown said. "We'll first try her at 1 1/8 miles, which she's never done before, and see how she handles it. If she does, we'll point her to (the Belmont Oaks)."

Lady Eli is expected to meet a talented group of turf fillies, including Heath (Pulpit), for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott; Itsonlyactingdad (Giant's Causeway), a recent allowance winner for trainer Todd Pletcher; Miss Chatelaine (Pulpit), who has not run since taking the Chelsea Flower at Belmont as a two-year-old; My Sweet Girl (Bernardini), who has yet to win on turf but is out of Grade 1 turf winner Bit of Whimsy; Pangburn (Congrats), fourth in the Fantasy (G3) last out; and Pine Needle (Giant's Causeway), second in the Memories of Silver at Aqueduct in her most recent outing. Diannestillworks (Scat Daddy) is possible.

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Twirling Candy registers first winner

Alexandra Racing Stable's Queen of Silence scored in her debut in Monday's 2ND race at Gulfstream Park, becoming the first winner sired by Grade 1 star Twirling Candy (Candy Ride).

The Antonio Sano trainee was overlooked at 10-1 in this five-furlong turf sprint, but the first-time starter proved the market wrong. Flashing speed beneath Manoel Cruz, the dark bay juvenile argued the pace through an opening quarter in :23 1/5 before edging away at the half in :46 2/5. She then reached for the wire to stave off 4-5 favorite Devilish Kitten (Kitten's Joy) by a neck in a final time of :58 1/5 on the firm course.

Bred by Calumet Farm in Kentucky, Queen of Silence went to her current connections for $11,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. She is out of the A.P. Indy mare Silent Moccasins, who is herself a half-sister to former Canadian Horse of the Year Quiet Resolve (Affirmed).

Twirling Candy was a triple-surface threat over the course of his career. A track record-setting winner of the seven-furlong Malibu (G1) in 1:19.70 on the restored Santa Anita dirt in 2010, he also captured that season's Del Mar Derby (G2) and Oceanside S. on turf. At four in 2011, the dark bay added the Strub S. (G2) on dirt and the Californian (G2) on Hollywood's Cushion Track. He also missed narrowly in two other major events on synthetic, the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) and Pacific Classic (G1) on Del Mar's Polytrack.

Retired with a mark of 11-7-1-1, $944,900, Twirling Candy is a full brother to this year's Spiral (G3) hero Dubai Sky and a half-brother to 2013 Del Mar Derby victor Ethnic Dance (Tribal Rule). Their dam, House of Danzing (Chester House), hails from the family of 1978 Triple Crown legend Affirmed (Exclusive Native). A nearer maternal relative is Grade 3 winner Chocolate Candy, also by Candy Ride.

The eight-year-old Twirling Candy stands for $10,000, stands and nurses, at Lane's End near Versailles, Kentucky.

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Fanticola the one to catch in Gamely

Little separated Gamely contenders Queen of the Sand (outside) and Fanticola (inside) in the Santa Barbara (Benoit Photos)
Queen of the Sand (Footstepsinthesand) nipped long-time leader Fanticola (Silent Name) by a nose in last month's Santa Barbara H. (G3) over 1 1/4 miles, but might have a more difficult time doing it again over a furlong shorter in Monday's $300,000 Gamely (G1) at Santa Anita.

The Santa Barbara was the first graded stakes win for Queen of the Sand, who notably finished second in the Matriarch (G1) at Del Mar in November. Out of action until mid-March, she looked a bit short when finishing eighth of nine in the Santa Ana (G2) in her season debut.

Fanticola just missed giving her connections an emotional victory in the Santa Barbara, which occurred the same week as the death of her former trainer, Mike Mitchell. The stakes-winning five-year-old has won or placed in her last five outings, and on paper looks poised to try and lead wire-to-wire.

Hard Not to Like (Hard Spun) invades from New York for trainer Christophe Clement. Upset winner of the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland in April 2014, she was most recently third in her title defense of that race April 11. She began the year at Tampa Bay Downs on the last day of January, when she was demoted from first to second in the Endeavour (G3).

Also racing for the first time on this circuit are Danza Cavallo (Sunday Break), runner-up in the Long Island H. (G3) and first in a Keeneland allowance last month in two U.S. outings for Chad Brown, and Generosidade (Nedawi), a Group 1 winner in Brazil, who placed in one of three outings in France last year.

Also expected to garner support are Blingismything (Arch) and Smoove It (Square Eddie), who were separated by a nose at the finish of the one-mile Wilshire (G3) on April 26, and Three Hearts (Hat Trick), the Red Carpet H. (G3) heroine who subsequently placed in the Robert J. Frankel (G3), Santa Ana, and Santa Barbara.

Moulin de Mougin (Curlin), who captured the John C. Mabee (G2) at Del Mar last summer, fell when near the back of the field in the Rodeo Drive (G1) in September, and then was no factor against males in the $82,000 Thunder Road over a mile April 4. Also lining up is Elektrum (High Chaparral), who prevailed by a half-length against second-level allowance company April 5 after narrow defeats against similar in her first two U.S. appearances.

The supporting feature on the Memorial Day program is the $100,000 Los Angeles, a six-furlong dash for older horses. Leading contenders include San Carlos (G2) winner Wild Dude (Wildcat Heir), Kona Gold (G2) runner-up San Onofre (Surf Cat), Midnight Lute (G3) and Joe Hernandez victor Distinctiv Passion (With Distinction), and the Bob Baffert-trained Five Palms (Unbridled's Song), who has won three of four starts.

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Tapiture, Carve head Lone Star Park Handicap field

Tapiture goes for his fifth graded stakes win in the Lone Star Park Handicap on Memorial Day (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)
Tapiture (Tapit) and Carve (First Samurai), familiar foes during the Oaklawn meet, will square off for a third time this season on Monday in the $200,000 Lone Star Park H. (G3), a 1 1/16-mile event that highlights the Texas track's Memorial Day program.

A prominent three-year-old last season when winning three graded stakes and placing in the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) and Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1), Tapiture was well beaten while securing minor awards in two starts during the Oaklawn meet. Ron Winchell's homebred was fifth, beaten 10 1/4 lengths, in the Razorback H. (G3), and then third by 7 3/4 lengths in the Oaklawn H. (G2). Both races were won by the promising Race Day (Tapit).

Carve, whose signature victory to date was last year's Prairie Meadows Cornhusker H. (G3), also ran in both Oaklawn features, finishing fourth in the Razorback and second in the Oaklawn H. The five-year-old gelding finished well behind Tapiture in their first meeting last November, finishing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, although he captured the $100,000 Fifth Season at Oaklawn by more than three lengths in his season debut.

Texas Air (Texas City), a seven-year-old gelding, will attempt a sweep of Lone Star Park's two graded stakes after posting a 24-1 upset of the May 1 Texas Mile (G3). Unplaced in both events last season, Texas Air enters Monday's race on a two-race win streak.

Majestic City (City Zip), formerly based in California with Ron Ellis, makes his debut for trainer Richard Baltas here. Unplaced in two starts this term, the six-year-old was a Grade 3 winner at two and has placed in five other graded stakes during his career.

The field is completed by Endurance (Indy Wind), a distant second in the Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston in his last dirt attempt, and Cy Seven (Tiznow), a recent first-level allowance winner on the turf.

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In brief

A Wesley Ward-trained quartet of hopefuls for the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting worked on Sunday morning at Arlington, each negotiating half-mile moves over the world-renowned turf course. Ward, who has been an American pioneer in recent years with his success shipping overseas -- especially to Royal Ascot -- was very grateful to Arlington International and its Director of Racing and Racing Secretary Chris Polzin for accommodating his horses. The Chicagoland oval's iconic turf course has been integral to Ward's international success, including works the last two years by Group I winner No Nay Never in 2013 and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) victor Hootenanny (Quality Road) -- both winners at Royal Ascot -- prior to shipping overseas. The foursome of fillies worked in two teams of two at just past 9:30 a.m. (CDT) with the dogs up. Michael Dubb's Back at the Ranch (Artie Schiller), Santo Sanjur up, and Gainesway Stable's Storied Tale (Tale of the Cat), Jose Valdivia Jr. up, worked in tandem, with the former going in :49 4/5 and latter in :50 1/5 over the firm going. Hat Creek Racing's duo of Bruised Orange (City Zip), with Sanjur, and Laxfield Road (Quality Road), with Valdivia, went in :49 and :48 3/5, respectively...

The late-maturing Mikki Queen (Deep Impact) lacked the earnings to make the lineup for the Oka Sho (Japanese One Thousand Guineas) (Jpn-G1) April 12, but instead contested and won the Wasurenagusa Sho on that Classic's undercard, and proved her worthiness of competing at the top level when taking Sunday's Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) (Jpn-G1). Dropping back to travel slightly worse than midpack as the field passed the stands for the first time, Mikki Queen traveled three-wide down the backstretch and swung wider yet coming off the turn for running room. She used the length of the stretch to find the lead under a drive, and crossed the wire a narrow winner after changing leads in the shadow of the post. Unlike many of her competitors in these classics, Mikki Queen was slower out of the blocks as a juvenile, and did not get going until December 7, when she finished second over 6 1/2 furlongs on debut at Hanshin. She graduated by two lengths two weeks later over the same course when given an extra furlong, and was shelved until the February 14 Daily Hai Queen Cup (Jpn-G3), where she was beaten a neck in second and therefore missed the opportunity to make the Oka Sho lineup. "I'm so happy she was able to demonstrate her ability," said jockey Suguru Hamanaka, who has ridden Mikki Queen in each start. "I especially concentrated on her break, since she's been struggling at it so far. I thought I would relax her (early) to get her turn of foot in the stretch. She responded well and quickened being driven, so I just prayed for the best. It was my fault that she wasn't able to start in the Oka Sho, so my hopes to do well today were definitely higher than ever."...

The Peter Schiergen-trained Nightflower (Dylan Thomas) drove to a 2 1/2-length decision in Sunday's Diana-Trial (Ger-G2) at Hoppegarten. Second to the subsequent Prix Cleopatre (Fr-G3) scorer Little Nightingale (Muhtathir) in a 10-furlong maiden at Maisons-Laffitte April 2, Nightflower filled the same spot behind Desiree Clary (Sholokhov) in a 10 1/2-furlong conditions race at Chantilly last time April 27, but stepped out of her bridesmaid dress in plenty of time ahead of the August 2 Preis der Diana (Ger-G1) at Dusseldorf. Stalking Arles (Monsun) throughout racing freely at first, the chestnut was switched off the rail to challenge in the stretch and, after overhauling the longtime leader approaching the furlong pole, drew away to register a resounding first success...

Jerry Hollendorfer reports that multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire and champion Shared Belief (Candy Ride) is "doing great, coming right along," as he recovers from a right hip injury at the Pegasus Training and Equine Rehabilitation Center in Redmond, Washington. The four-year-old gelding was pulled up as the heavy favorite in the Charles Town Classic (G2) on April 18 following a pair of easy wins to open his 2015 campaign, including the Santa Anita H. (G1)...

Cliff and Michele Love's Xtra Luck (Exchange Rate), 1 1/2-length victor of Saturday's Louisville H. (G3) at Churchill Downs, exited the 1 1/2-mile turf marathon well, according to trainer Neil Howard, who collected his first graded stakes win since Machen won the 2011 Derby Trial (G3). "He seemed pretty good and didn't look too knocked out," said Howard, who added there's a good chance the four-year-old could make a trip to Arlington for the $100,000 Stars & Stripes S. (G3) going 12 grassy furlongs July 11. "Obviously with a horse like him that would be a good spot for him but I'll talk to the Loves about it. I think that with a horse like him those marathon type races are where they can really excel. He's good at a mile-and-an-eighth, but I think he likes to go longer." Louisville 'Cap runner-up For Greater Glory (Afleet Alex), who was making only his second start on turf, also exited the race in good order for trainer Steve Hobby. His other start on grass came in an allowance/optional claimer last year where he ran third behind Golden Soul (Perfect Soul), the third-place finisher in Saturday's race. Hobby said For Greater Glory had high energy after the race and was jumping and playing coming back to the barn. "He ran awesome," the horseman said. "I don't know where we'll run him next yet. Yesterday was kind of a trial thing, so I don't know where we'll go. I don't know if it was the distance or the turf that he liked." Majestic Harbor (Rockport Harbor) was a disappointing ninth and last, beaten 11 1/2 lengths, in the Louisville 'Cap. It was the seven-year-old's third time trying the turf. "He came out fine, but I don't think he'll ever see the grass again," trainer Paul McGee said. Majestic Harbor was also under consideration for the June 6 Brooklyn H. (G2) on the June 6 Belmont S. (G1) undercard, which McGee said has now been "pretty much ruled out." He added, "We may nominate to the Stephen Foster and see how that plays out."...

Despite the usual strong overseas challenge, there are real prospects of Cologne's Mehl-Mulhens-Rennen (Ger-G2), or German Two Thousand Guineas, staying at home on Monday with Pearl Bloodstock's unbeaten Karpino (Cape Cross) in attendance. Following a four-length win on debut at Hoppegarten in September, the bay rubber-stamped his prominent placing among his country's sophomores when taking Krefeld's Dr Busch-Memorial (Ger-G3) in authoritative fashion over 8 1/2 furlongs April 26. Unproven at a mile but boasting smart form at two, Qatar Racing's Round Tower S. (Ire-G3) winner and Phoenix S. (Ire-G1) third Cappella Sansevero (Showcasing) appears a dubious stayer shipping in from Ireland, while the Brits are represented by Scuderia Blueberry's Fanciful Angel (Dark Angel). The Marco Botti-trained gray is another with doubts surrounding his stamina despite the fact that he won the International Trial S. over this trip on Lingfield's Polytrack last time April 11. Litex Commerce's Preis des Winterfavoriten (Ger-G3) scorer Brisanto (Dansili) is another of the home brigade with obvious chances along with Jaber Abdullah's April 12 Preis der Dreijahrigen winner Making Trouble (Paco Boy)...

Evergreen sprinter Gordon Lord Byron (Byron) returned a dirty scope after an eighth-place finish in Saturday's Greenlands S. (Ire-G2) at the Curragh, according to trainer Tom Hogan.  "He blew abnormally during the race, which he shouldn't have done as he was pretty fit, so we scoped him immediately afterwards and his scope was dirty," Hogan explained. "It was nice to find something and we'll just have to sort ourselves out now and see how things are in a couple of weeks." The seven-year-old's Royal Ascot participation could be in jeopardy. "We'll know a bit more about whether he'll make the Diamond Jubilee ([Eng-G1] June 20)," Hogan said...

Trainer Roger Varian was upbeat Sunday about the effort put in by Godolphin and Prince A.A. Faisal's Belardo (Lope de Vega) to finish fourth in Saturday's Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-G1), and the conditioner noted last year's Dewhurst S. (Eng-G1) scorer would be pointed toward the summer's top mile events, including the St. James's Palace S. (Eng-G1) June 16 at Royal Ascot. "We were really pleased with his performance, although it was a little bit frustrating that he was slowly into stride for whatever reason," Varian said. "Because of that he missed out on getting a midfield position and if he had, I think he would have been right in the mix with the first three." Belardo had disappointed when eighth of nine on seasonal debut in the Greenham S. (Eng-G3) April 18, an effort connections put down to the firm going. Varian said the Prix Jean Prat (Fr-G1) at Chantilly July 12 is an option should the going at Royal Ascot not suit. "It's difficult to make plans because of the weather, but we've all been to Royal Ascot with our umbrellas before, so who knows?" Varian said. "He can race on good ground, but we just have to be disciplined enough not to run when the ground gets firm."...

Monday's $100,000 All American (G3) at Golden Gate Fields features a rematch between G. G. Ryder (Chhaya Dance) and Summer Hit (Bertrando), the one-two finishers in last month's San Francisco Mile (G3) on turf. G. G. Ryder edged his fellow Jerry Hollendorfer stablemate by a half-length, but Summer Hit is the defending titlest in the one-mile All American, which is run over Golden Gate's Tapeta main track. Hollendorfer will saddle a third contender in Outside Nashville, an impressive winner of the Oakland S. and an allowance, both over six furlongs on this track, last winter. Other contenders include Pepper Crown (Peppered Cat), upset winner of the San Francisco Mile and Berkeley H. (G3) last year; Grade 2-winning mare Living the Life (Footstepsinthesand); and local allowance winners Eagle Screams (Redattore) and Hypnatique (Scat Daddy)...

Unraced since a sixth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), Southern Honey (Colonel John) will make a title defense when she returns from 205-day layoff in Monday's $100,000 Winning Colors (G3) at Churchill Downs. The four-year-old filly registered a career-best 101 BRIS Speed rating when scoring by 1 1/2 lengths in last year's edition and the Rusty Arnold trainee went on to record a runner-up in the Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) and a third in the Prioress (G2). She's face nine foes in the six-furlong test with regular rider Julien Leparoux. Spring Included (Include) will enter in good form for Steve Hobby, winning the Carousel and Spring Fever at Oaklawn Park in her last two outings, and You Bought Her (Graeme Hall) posted a neck second in the Inside Information (G2) at Gulfstream Park two starts back. The stakes-winning and thrice Grade 3-placed Milam (Street Sense) also merits respect in her second start off the layoff...

More than 275 professional and amateurs riders walked, trotted and cantered their horses and ponies across historic Pimlico Race Course Sunday morning during Canter For the Cause, a popular event that raises money for Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and Susan G. Komen Maryland. Beginning at 6 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, riders rode their horses and ponies across the same track that has hosted Secretariat, Seabiscuit, Cigar, Affirmed, Rachel Alexandra, Seattle Slew, California Chrome and American Pharoah. Riders casually trotted and cantered, walked through a pink starting gate, and posed for photo opportunities in the winner's circle. Canter For the Cause was just one of several events held supporting Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and Susan G. Komen Maryland before, during and after the 140th running of the Preakness S. (G1) on May 16. Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company handed out complimentary coffee and the Mounted Unit of the Baltimore Police Department attended. "For the second consecutive year, Canter For the Cause was a great opportunity for horse owners and horse lovers to enjoy Pimlico Race Course while raising awareness and giving back to Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and Susan G. Komen Maryland," Maryland Jockey Club Vice President and General Manager Sal Sinatra said. "For those of us with the Maryland Jockey Club, it was a pleasure and honor to meet so many people who share our love and respect for the horse and are committed to the growth of Thoroughbred racing throughout Maryland."...

Fredric Prat, 46-year-old father of 22-year-old riding sensation Flavien Prat, is visiting America for the first time from his native France to watch his 22-year-old son ride. The younger Prat single-handedly was responsible for Sunday's Santa Anita Park Pick 6 carryover of $127,454 by piloting Neveradoubt (Decarchy) to an $85.40 upset in Saturday's Snow Chief S. Through 18 racing days, Prat had 15 wins from 64 mounts, 23 percent, good for third in the standings. "Fredric is here on a 12-day vacation to see his son because he hasn't seen him for almost six months," said Prat's agent, Derek Lawson, interpreting for the elder Prat, who is a Standardbred driver in France. "Fantastic," was Fredric's reaction to his son's achievements at Santa Anita...

General admission for all active and retired members of the United States Armed Forces is free on Memorial Day Monday at Churchill Downs, and there's a special $28 Memorial Day dining package in Millionaires Row 4 available for military as well. Track bugler Steve Buttleman will entertain Memorial Day attendees with patriotic songs following the "Call to the Post" for each race on Monday. He's also sure to decorate the Kentucky Derby Winner's Circle with an abundance of U.S. flags. Fans attending Churchill Downs on Monday are advised to avoid Southern Parkway and Third Street from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (EDT) due to road closures for the Subway Fresh Hike, Bike and Paddle...

Santa Anita will race through Monday's Memorial Day holiday, then be dark for live racing Tuesday through Thursday and return with live racing Friday at 4 p.m. (PDT). There will be simulcast racing Thursday, June 4, with free parking and free general admission. Monday is Dollar Day at Santa Anita, with beer, soda and hot dogs on sale for a buck apiece...

Pimlico's 10-cent Rainbow 6 will have a carryover of $167,535.07 when racing resumes Monday on a special Memorial Day program with a 1:10 p.m. (EDT) post time. There was no single winning ticket on Sunday's Rainbow 6. Multiple tickets with six winners returned $411.20. Monday's six-race sequence will include three turf races with fields of 11, 12 and 14 horses.

Trainer Stats

BRIS TRAINER STATS FROM PAST 60 DAYS

Trainer   Starts   Wins   Win %
Jonas Gibson   36   17   47
Kirk Ziadie   41   19   46
Roger F. Engel   56   25   45
Jamen Davidovich   16   7   44
Nabu Morales   36   15   42
Brandon L. Kulp   24   10   42
John F. Martin   51   21   41
Karl Broberg   232   93   40
Mike Chambers   23   9   39
Jack Steiner   18   7   39
Marcos Zulueta   44   17   39
Michael Puhich   21   8   38
Kiaran P. McLaughlin   71   27   38
David Walters   24   9   38
Danny Gargan   16   6   38
Robert L. Lawrence   16   6   38
Kevin Fletcher   27   10   37
Eddie M. Essenpreis   17   6   35
Sandino R. Hernandez, Jr.   20   7   35
Ramon Preciado   107   37   35
Jason Servis   55   19   35
Philip D'Amato   61   21   34
Kieron Magee   68   23   34
Eddie Truman   21   7   33
Rene Amescua   15   5   33
Clifford DeLima   15   5   33
John Rigattieri   15   5   33

Trainer/Jockey Stats

BRIS TRAINER/JOCKEY STATS FROM PAST 60 DAYS

Trainer/Jockey Combo   Starts   Wins   Win %
Michael J. Maker/Julien R. Leparoux   16   10   63%
John F. Martin/David Charles Lopez   17   9   53%
Karl Broberg/Colby J. Hernandez   74   39   53%
Scott Becker/Vicente Gudiel   24   12   50%
Miguel A. Feliciano/Ricardo Feliciano   16   8   50%
Jerry Gourneau/Efren Prado   16   8   50%
Chris J. Englehart/John R. Davila, Jr.   27   13   48%
Michael J. Maker/Javier Castellano   19   9   47%
Brent Angelle/Deshawn L. Parker   17   8   47%
Nabu Morales/Isais Nunez   17   8   47%
Jonas Gibson/Luis A. Batista   20   9   45%
Greg Tracy/Rico W. Walcott   20   9   45%
Scott Becker/Victor Santiago   43   19   44%
Roger F. Engel/Bryan McNeil   47   20   43%
Veronica Griggs/Curtis Kimes   19   8   42%
Timothy C. Kreiser/Matthew Rispoli   24   10   42%
Eduardo Caramori/Vanessa Ryall   17   7   41%
Philip D'Amato/Tiago Josue Pereira   17   7   41%
William I. Mott/Jose Lezcano   17   7   41%
Todd A. Pletcher/John R. Velazquez   50   20   40%
Jamie Ness/Antonio A. Gallardo   38   15   39%
Karl Broberg/C.J. McMahon   85   33   39%
Nabu Morales/Walter De La Cruz   16   6   38%
Marcos Zulueta/Jorge A. Vargas, Jr.   16   6   38%
Ardell Sayler/Larren Delorme   46   17   37%

Spot Plays/Highlights/Weather

SPOT PLAYS

For Monday

TRACK   (RACE) HORSE, MORNING LINE
Arlington Park   (1st) Oo de Lally, 5-1
    (4th) Sterlingten, 8-1
Belmont Park   (1st) Hundred Percent, 5-1
    (10th) Dot Product, 4-1
Belterra Park   (2nd) April One, 5-1
    (7th) Naturday, 4-1
Canterbury Park   (5th) Gentle as a Breeze, 7-2
    (8th) No Rain, 8-1
Churchill Downs   (5th) Waldo, 3-1
    (11th) Anusara, 7-2
Delaware Park   (5th) Stormy Mouse, 8-1
    (7th) Jean's Beauty, 3-1
Emerald Downs   (6th) Miners Night, 5-1
    (8th) Foolish Miss, 6-1
Finger Lakes   (2nd) Destinys Mystery, 7-2
    (8th) Maybry's Girl, 6-1
Golden Gate Fields   (7th) Skip Tony, 4-1
    (8th) Outside Nashville, 9-2
Gulfstream Park   (2nd) Song Memory, 6-1
    (8th) French Channel, 3-1
Lone Star Park   (2nd) Tonto M., 7-2
    (6th) Hyde and Go, 3-1
Louisiana Downs   (3rd) Connor's Ace, 3-1
    (7th) Joe Goshen, 9-2
Monmouth Park   (2nd) Calvello, 4-1
    (4th) Taty's Gold, 4-1
Mountaineer   (3rd) Catch the Luck, 5-1
    (4th) Dutchie Baby, 3-1
Parx Racing   (3rd) Tender May, 3-1
    (4th) Distinctive Lady, 7-2
Pimlico   (6th) Trade Rumor, 6-1
    (8th) Cloudy River, 5-1
Prairie Meadows   (1st) Gaelic Passion, 4-1
    (6th) Ghost Locket, 7-2
Presque Isle Downs   (1st) Gdansk, 4-1
    (6th) Dancin' Lil, 4-1
Santa Anita   (2nd) Jaycee's Humor, 3-1
    (7th) Flat Gone, 9-2
Thistledown   (2nd) Pyrite Ice, 7-2
    (5th) Dynafox, 6-1

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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