Azar earns first career score in With Anticipation
Alto Racing LLC's Azar (Scat Daddy) entered Wednesday's $200,000 With Anticipation S. (G2) at Saratoga 0-for-two in his career, but quickly added a first score to his resume with jockey John Velazquez aboard.
The Todd Pletcher trainee bided his time on the inside while fellow maiden Next Shares (Archarcharch) led the way. That 15-1 shot was still in command in the lane, but Velazquez suddenly angled Azar off the hedge and the two-year-old dark bay took off. He easily ran down Next Shares to be three parts of a length best on the wire while completing 1 1/16 miles over the firm Saratoga turf in 1:41.68.
Gleneagles to point for Breeders' Cup Classic
Winner of the Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-G1), Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-G1), and St James's Palace (G1) this season, Gleneagles has not started since the latter event in mid-June at Royal Ascot.
Depending on course conditions, Gleneagles is expected to race next in the September 12 Irish Champion (Ire-G1) at Leopardstown.
Kellie Reilly provides three quick thoughts on this development at the TwinSpires blog.
Kentucky Downs features three stakes on lucrative opening-day program
Kentucky Downs kicks off its five-day session Saturday with a strong card that features a trio of $300,000 stakes races and $1.585 million in purses. The stakes action consists of the More Than Ready Mile, Calumet Farm Juvenile and Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies, and the turf-only track near Franklin, Kentucky will also offer a pair of $125,000 allowances and a trio of $120,000 maiden races.
The other racing dates are September 10, 12, 16 and 19, and total purses are a record $7.5 million. The $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) on September 12 highlights the stakes schedule.
Top draws on the opening-day program include Undrafted (Purim), who will make his first start since winning the prestigious Diamond Jubilee (G1) at Royal Ascot on June 20. Joel Rosario rides the Wesley Ward-trained gelding.
P.G. Johnson attracts field of six
Much like its counterpart for males the previous day, the $200,000 With Anticipation (G2), Thursday's $100,000 P.G. Johnson for juvenile fillies at Saratoga has only attracted a field of six to go 1 1/16 miles on the Mellon Turf.
Thrilled (Uncle Mo) and Harmonize (Scat Daddy), separated by a nose in an August 9 maiden over the same distance on the inner turf, will vie for favoritism, with Harmonize a threat to go wire to wire from post 1. Also exiting that maiden is Ava's Kitten (Kitten's Joy), who was third as the favorite in that race.
Others expected to attract support are Seaside Schiller (Artie Schiller), a debut winner for Michael Matz at Belmont in mid-July, and the Graham Motion-trained Finn's Girl (Bernardini), who romped by more than three lengths in her Delaware Park debut in early August.
Churchill Downs to upgrade premium seating areas for 2016 Kentucky Derby
Churchill Downs has announced it will spend $18 million in the coming months on upgrades to its Turf Club and premium seating area. The project is expected to be completed in time for the opening of the 2016 Spring Meet on April 30, one week before the Kentucky Derby (G1).
Visit the TwinSpires blog for the full story and for several artists renditions of the new upgrades.
American Pharoah to parade for his fans at Del Mar Sunday
Triple Crown champion American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) will parade between races at Del Mar Sunday, with precise times and details still being ironed out.
See the TwinSpires blog for a bit of speculation about whether anything can be read into this development -- or not.
In other Pharoah-related commentary on the blog:
James Scully's five takeaways from the Travers.
Vance Hanson explains why the Travers was a race American Pharoah didn't have to lose.
Fields coming into focus for Saratoga's Labor Day weekend stakes
Liam's Map (Unbridled's Song) in the Woodward (G1), Rachel's Valentina (Bernardini) in the Spinaway (G1), Cavorting (Bernardini) in the Prioress (G2), Ironicus (Distorted Humor) in the Bernard Baruch (G2) and Magna Light (Magna Graduate) in the Hopeful (G1) -- just a sampling of the notable names lining up for Saratoga's final weekend, featuring seven graded stakes.
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HANDICAPPER'S EDGE is compiled by Bloodstock Research Information Services. This newsletter may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. Copyright 2011, Bloodstock Research Information Services. Information as to the races, race results and earnings was obtained from Equibase Company LLC and is utilized herein with the permission of the copyright owner, Equibase Company LLC.
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