Triple Crown News & Notes
Lukas back on top following Oxbow's Preakness win
Lukas and his nine-horse contingent, that also included Dixie upsetter Skyring and his personal pony, were on the highway before dawn Sunday morning, heading back to their home base at Churchill Downs. Then it's on to the Belmont Stakes in three weeks with Oxbow and possibly seventh-place finisher Will Take Charge. Titletown Five, Lukas' third Preakness entrant who finished last, will run in shorter races for the rest of his three-year-old campaign.
"I've always rode with the horses all my career," said Lukas, who now has six Preakness winners, one behind Robert Walden for the all-time record in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. "I used to go on the airplanes and stand there with them all the time. We don't fly much anymore."
He's "the man on the van" these days, having ridden in a pickup truck for more than 12 hours to Pimlico on Tuesday and scheduled to follow the same routine back home Sunday.
"I'll get him home at feeding time just about," Lukas explained. "By the time I get him home and give him a bath it'll be right about 5 o'clock (EDT). They put a bucket seat where I ride on kind of an air-ride slide thing. It's like riding in a boat somewhere on the waves."
"I was trying to be politically correct all week, but I thought (Oxbow) was the toughest horse. I thought if there was some adversity or something went wrong, he had the best chance to overcome," Lukas admitted. "Will Take Charge is so big that he has to get a clear run. He can't check, stop, take a bump or anything. The other horse (Titletown Five) we knew was going to need a career quantum leap forward."
Orb doing well after Preakness fourth
McGaughey will monitor Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable's homebred colt's training at Belmont Park before deciding his status for the Belmont Stakes on June 8.
"I want to see him bounce back and see his soundness level and his energy level," he explained. "I think there are a lot of good wins down the road for him."
After Orb arrived at Belmont Park at 11:30 a.m., McGaughey reported that his charge had shipped back home well.
"He was already in his stall when I got back here and seemed to be fine," he said. "We'll walk him a good while this afternoon and just kind of see what we have. The Belmont Stakes is on our radar screen.
"I talked to Mr. Janney this morning. He and Mr. Phipps had talked on their way to the airport. We just all came to the conclusion that we should just watch Orb and see. I think everything is in good shape. We'd like to run.
"But yesterday took a little bit out of him and he's already run five times this year and it's only the middle of May. I'd sure like to have him fresh for Saratoga and a Jim Dandy/Travers kind of a go.
"He's just going to have to tell us what we want to see. If he's jumping out of his skin, we're going to bring him over here (to run in the Belmont Stakes).
"I might know in about a week. I just have to wait and see. Everything's gone great all year until yesterday. But I don't anticipate any problems. I don't think he's knocked out by any means."
Pletcher's armada massing for Belmont Stakes
After bypassing the Preakness, trainer Todd Pletcher has a deep group of contenders for the June 8 Belmont Stakes.
"We have a few candidates, but we haven't firmed up the line-up just yet," Pletcher said.
Two of his Derby also-rans, Overanalyze and Palace Malice, breezed at Belmont Park Sunday, as did the filly Unlimited Budget.
Palace Malice sped a half-mile on the good training track in :47.49, while Overanalyze covered the same ground in :47.50. The colts posted the day's second and third-best times, respectively, at the trip. Unlimited Budget clocked :49.
"Overanalyze breezed this morning and breezed well," Pletcher said. "We are planning to run him. We breezed Palace Malice and talked to (Cot) Campbell (of Dogwood Stable). We plan to run him.
"Revolutionary will have two breezes starting next Sunday. We plan to run him.
"Mike Repole is going to be the key to how many other horses we run. He has several possibilities (in addition to Overanalyze).
"Unlimited Budget breezed this morning, and she is possible. Micromanage is here and will breeze next Sunday, and we'll make a decision after that."
WinStar Farm's Revolutionary, winner of the Withers in February at Aqueduct and the Louisiana Derby in March at Fair Grounds, was Pletcher's highest finisher in the 2013 Kentucky Derby, reporting home third, beaten 3 1/2 lengths by Orb.
Overanalyze, victorious in the Arkansas Derby in April at Oaklawn, was 11th in the Derby, with Blue Grass runner-up Palace Malice tiring to 12th after setting a fast pace.
Unlimited Budget, third in the Kentucky Oaks on May 3, would be attempting to emulate Rags to Riches, who in 2007 became the first filly since 1905 to win the Belmont. Rags to Riches is Pletcher's only Belmont Stakes winner to date. Micromanage is exiting a neck victory in an optional claimer on May 11 at Monmouth Park.
Pletcher is a former assistant to Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who on Saturday picked up his sixth Preakness victory when he sent out Oxbow to a front-running win under Gary Stevens.
"I was very happy for Wayne and Gary; it was a tremendous accomplishment for both of them," Pletcher said. "I thought Gary rode a very, very smart race and took advantage of the pace scenario, and the horse delivered a big performance."
Oxbow, the Preakness Stakes winner, departed Pimlico before dawn on Sunday and vanned to Lukas' barn at Churchill Downs, according to Pimlico officials. The colt is expected to aim for the Belmont Stakes.
According to NYRA Stakes Coordinator Andrew Byrnes, Oxbow currently is slated to face Freedom Child, Golden Soul, Overanalyze, Palace Malice and Revolutionary. Bob Baffert will run either Code West or Power Broker. Orb and Itsmyluckyday are possible.
Itsmyluckyday justifies Plesa's faith, now targeting Haskell
Itsmyluckyday, who was scheduled to ship to Monmouth Park Sunday, is a far more definite candidate to run in the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational at the New Jersey track on July 28.
"The Haskell is on my list. God willing, that's a certainty," Plesa said.
Majority of Preakness field bypassing Belmont Stakes
Trainer Doug O'Neill and his fifth-place Preakness finisher Goldencents will not be going on to the third jewel of the Triple Crown. Team O'Neill and the colt departed Pimlico early Sunday morning to return to Southern California.
Oxbow steals Preakness as Orb struggles home fourth
Oxbow's was the eighth Preakness win for Calumet Farm, although the famous devil red and blue silks associated with the stable have long since passed into history. Calumet's previous Preakness winners include Triple Crown heroes Whirlaway and Citation.
"He was in a good spot early in the race. They were going slow up front and he was fine," said Joel Rosario, the jockey aboard Orb. "When I got to the half-mile pole, he had a hard time keeping up. I used my stick to try to get him going. He usually takes you there. He always runs hard. But today he never took off. He just steadied. Today was not his day."
"We haven't had a chance to cool him out yet and I've got to talk to Mr. Kelley," Lukas said. "But you know me, I like to rack them up in the big events. So I'll probably go."
Oxbow could have another rematch with Orb in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont, a race that is also likely to attract Golden Soul and Revolutionary, the Kentucky Derby second- and third-place finishers, as well as Peter Pan winner Freedom Child.
Bred by Colts Neck Stables in Kentucky, Oxbow is a close relative of Paynter, last year's Haskell Invitational hero who riveted the nation by beating life-threatening colitis and laminitis. Supported by the votes of his many fans, Paynter earned both the Vox Populi Award and the NTRA Moment of the Year, for his protracted battle.
Both are by Awesome Again and out of full sisters to Hall of Famer Tiznow, the only two-time winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic. Paynter is out of the mare Tizso, while Oxbow is out of her full sister Tizamazing. The mares are likewise full sisters to multiple Grade 2 star Budroyale, Grade 3 scorer Tizdubai and Grade 2-placed stakes winner Tizbud.
Tizamazing has also produced Grade 3-placed stakes winner Awesome Patriot, a full brother to Oxbow.
They Said It
PREAKNESS STAKES THEY SAID IT
MAY 18, 2013
"What a story this is. I'm happy for Gary (Stevens) and I'm just so happy for Mr. (Brad) Kelley. He's trying to revitalize Calumet, and now Calumet is back in a classic race. That's just very gratifying. I have great respect for the Phipps family and Shug (McGaughey), but I was telling one of your colleagues that I get paid to spoil dreams."
--Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas after spoiling Orb's Triple Crown hopes by saddling Oxbow to win Preakness 138 under fellow Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens
"Let me say, this I think I got a Hall of Fame ride. I think we can plan this thing, we can talk about it, we can talk about strategy. But once that gate is open, they have to make decisions. Gary made some great ones. He really -- I told him, if you get on the lead, get into that cruising speed and just let it happen. Actually, we thought that maybe that Goldencents and a couple of those other horses might show a little bit more speed and we would not inherit the lead as easily as we did today. Gary was smart enough. When he threw up the 1:13 and change, I knew we were in good shape. We weren't totally confident. But I knew the way this horse cruises and gets into stride, you could see how relaxed and how easy he was getting over that ground on the backside. I said, this isn't over by a long shot. We're going to be tough."
--Lukas praising Stevens' ride aboard Oxbow
"We talked about strategy and I didn't expect to be on the lead. In these classic races you don't give up anything you get for free. They gave me a free three-quarters of a mile today. I was smiling pretty good midway down the backside. I actually thought about Wayne (Lukas) up in the grandstand. I knew he would be looking at those fractions and be pleased with what he was seeing. I jumped on (Oxbow) at the quarter-pole and said, 'Let's go now and just try and last.' We did more than last today. When we pulled up he wasn't a tired horse."
--Stevens after winning his third Preakness victory
"This horse has such a high cruising speed that he'll fool you a little bit. I was very comfortable and he was very comfortable in the Kentucky Derby. When I hit the half-mile pole, the leader was out there a ways. Normandy Invasion came up outside of me, and that forced me to move possibly a bit earlier than I wanted. But when you're in the Kentucky Derby, you don't give anything up. You try to get away with what you can. I won't say it backfired on us, but I learned a heck of a lot about Oxbow, what he did the final eighth-mile when he was breathing fire a little bit. Everybody else caved in, he didn't. Had a heck of a time pulling him up after the race, and it showed me how much heart he had."
--Stevens on what he learned about Oxbow in the Kentucky Derby
"I thought he had the best day of the spring (on Friday). The gallop boy that gallop's him all the time was on him the same. And I said that is the best he ever looked. He just seemed like he was in the zone, relaxed, got over the track. He can get aggressive in the morning. He's not an easy horse to train at all. He's so aggressive. You think you're doing too much every single day with him, but the good ones sometimes do that."
--Lukas on Oxbow coming into the Preakness
"They're all special because they were all with a different client. That is the thing. The key, if you're training horses, try to win one every once in a while for a new guy. We've got a new guy in Brad Kelly at Calumet, and that is just the good economics of it. You give that guy that special moment to stand up there with his daughter and to know that he was watching at home and put Calumet, who we all know that name, back on the front pages of the racing publications is very special. I'm so happy for him just to have the opportunity to represent him."
--Lukas when asked to compare his Preakness triumph with Oxbow to the other five times he's won the second jewel of the Triple Crown
"The thing about it is you get up every day and look for that one that you maybe can do something. But as long as we've got something to work with, we're going to be around. I think that we're not through by a long way here. I feel like we can get up and maybe get another one someplace down the line. But that's what makes it so interesting. You have to have a passion for it. It's not a 9 to 5 job."
"Yes, yes, definitely. At 77, I do, yes. The first one, I thought I was going to win quite a few more. I won the first classic I ever ran in was Codex right here. I told my son, this is no big deal. We'll win a bunch of these, and then I went 10 years before I got another one. Bob's a good friend, and it meant a lot to me to have him come down all the way from where he was and congratulate me. I called him this week at home. He was on the fence maybe he'd even run here. And I said, 'Bob, get on an airplane and come back. You need to be here. We'll have some fun.' So what does he do? He comes back, wins the Black‑Eyed Susan, wins the Sprint. He didn't get this one, but he had a hell of a day."
--Lukas agreeing with trainer Bob Baffert's comment that he would appreciate winning this Preakness more than his first one
"Some of us in this great nation get up and get after it in the morning; others sleep in."
--Lukas when asked by press corps if he could delay Oxbow's 4:30 a.m. Sunday departure time to 5:30 a.m.
"I shared that record with a very special man in this industry in Sunny Fitzsimmons. And if I never broke it, I was proud of that. I know he meant so much to the Thoroughbred industry. I never knew him personally, but I thought that that was something I'm really proud of. I don't have it documented anywhere. You guys reminded me of it all week. I thought maybe we'd win another one, but to get it done, it's probably going to be on trivial pursuit in about five minutes, but that's it."
--Lukas on breaking the record for the most Triple Crown race wins
"Well, I enjoy it so much. I don't wake up every day trying to prove I can train a race horse anymore. When you're younger, you keep trying to prove yourself in this industry. But at this point in my career, I'm very comfortable with where we're at. I don't wake up and say, 'Gosh, I've got something to prove to you all that I can train a race horse.' I do it for the personal satisfaction of working with the horses and developing some young assistants. We've still got some guys coming through the ranks, and it's just a wonderful lifestyle. I mean, where in the hell can you get paid to ride out there? I ride on my saddle horse in beautiful weather four hours in the morning, go to the turf club, have lunch. Deal with great people. I mean, is this a great country or what?"
--Lukas on why he keeps training
"Well, I'll just say that my great friend Mike Smith, who is more like a brother than a friend to me, we've been through so much together over the years, watching what he has done since my retirement over the last seven years and to continue on as he has at a high level was a big inspiration for me. Just did an interview from a French television station as well, and watching Olivier Peslier do what he's done. I've ridden with him for so many years and watch him ride at the level he does, both of those guys gave me a lot of inspiration.
"I thought back to Lester Piggott and his comeback in the Breeders' Cup and what he did...I won't go where he was and came out of retirement and pulled off what he did with Royal Academy, but you don't forget what you're doing. You're only as good as the horses you ride and the people that you ride for. And I rode for what I consider to be one of the greatest trainers of all time today."
"I haven't had any doubt at all until this past three weeks. I went out from California to Keeneland, and only won three races during that short meet, which wasn't bad. It was one of the most competitive boutique meetings in the United States. So I was happy enough with my three wins there. But shifting my tack to Churchill Downs, I have not won a race since leaving Keeneland. It's been a month since I won my last race; granted, I haven't had a lot of opportunities in the right place.
"But Oxbow two weeks ago in the Kentucky Derby was one of my best finishes, a horse that really went out and performed for me. I thought maybe my business was lacking, maybe this was a mistake. I've been questioning myself, and when riders go through slumps, I don't care if you're 15-years old or 30-years old, you start changing your stirrups on your saddles and this and that. I told myself, you know what, if it's meant to be, it's not going to matter where your stirrups are, it's going to matter what horse you're riding.
"When I won on Skyring, a $50 horse just prior to the Preakness, you don't know what kind of boost that gave me going into the Preakness, and it was for Wayne Lukas. And I thought to myself, 'Man, this guy, it doesn't matter what the form looks like on a horse.' You go out there with confidence, and you can throw an upset. I went out on the turf course to be legged up on Oxbow, and I couldn't have had more confidence. After the pre-race warm-up, I was actually joking with Donna Brothers in the post period, and I said, 'Can I borrow that microphone and take it with me and interview Joel halfway through the race?' And she said you're not getting this microphone.
"But I was very relaxed, and very happy, and it's just funny how things go. But one race can really boost your spirits. Doesn't matter if you're 16 or 50."
--Stevens on whether or not he's had any doubts about coming out of retirement to ride again
"I'm disappointed. It was a great opportunity. We were 3-5 and we finished fourth. I would be disappointed any time you had this kind of opportunity and didn't get it done. This was quite a run for a couple of weeks. We'll pack it up and go back home and see what kind of horse we've got down the road and figure it out from there."
--trainer Shug McGaughey after Kentucky Derby hero and Preakness favorite Orb finished fourth
"I don't think two weeks had anything to do with it. Oxbow ran back in two weeks. Itsmyluckyday ran back in two weeks, Mylute ran back in two weeks. I just think he got himself in a position where he wasn't comfortable and then without the pace scenario in front of him; they really weren't spread out a little bit more than maybe I'd hoped. That probably affected him more than anything else.
"The pace was slower than I anticipated. I thought the pace would be quicker. I thought maybe they would speed it up a little bit but they didn't. I still thought we would close into it, but it just wasn't his day. He was just never real comfortable once he got down in there. I'm disappointed. I'll probably be way more disappointed tomorrow but I know the game. It is highs and lows, probably more lows than highs. We had a great run two weeks ago. My hat's off to Wayne to win his sixth Preakness. That's pretty remarkable."
"I'm very pleased with the way he ran. He ran his race. He simply just got beat by a horse that was trained perfectly by Wayne Lukas. We did run our race, but we just weren't lucky enough to win."
--trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. after Itsmyluckyday improved from 15th in the Kentucky Derby to second in the Preakness
"My horse ran awesome. The speed didn't develop the way I thought it would. I thought Oxbow would be third or fourth, then all of a sudden I look up and Bob Baffert's horse (Govenor Charlie) gets left and Oxbow was on the lead all by himself. I worried then about my horse, but he ran great."
--jockey John Velazquez, who piloted Itsmyluckyday
"My horse ran great. The pace was a disappointment up front. I thought there would be more speed; it didn't materialize. We were probably at the biggest disadvantage of all, coming from way back and being the widest in the race. We've got nothing to be ashamed of. I actually look at this like a missed opportunity because my horse ran a big race today."
--Tom Amoss, who saddled Mylute to third in the Preakness
"He was very sluggish out of the gate for the first quarter of a mile. Then he got going. This is a tough course. I was too far back to see who the leaders were. This was a tough pace to follow. But he ran great down the lane and closed well."
--jockey Rosie Napravnik describing her ride on Mylute
"I thought Kevin (Krigger) had him in a great spot and when the winner kicked there, we just couldn't keep up with him. I'm very proud of Kevin and the horse. We're going to be fine. We've got a bright future. Definitely, he belongs among these horses and we're going to be in good shape. We'll be OK. I'll have to talk to (co-owner) Glen (Sorgenstein) and we'll put our heads together and see what's next."
--trainer Doug O'Neill following Goldencents' fifth-placing in Preakness 138
"He had no excuses. It looked like he got over the track OK. He just didn't go on with it like he usually does."
--conditioner Al Stall Jr. after Departing ran a one-paced sixth in the Preakness
"I had a great trip. On the second turn, Orb was inside of me and we spurted away from him and got up to third. But he was just a little dull today. I don't know why. It seemed like he handled the track OK. But it was a little deep."
--jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. on his trip aboard Departing
"He just really struggled with the racetrack. His legs were going everywhere from the word 'go.' He just couldn't get a hold of it at all."
--Mike Smith, who had piloting duties on Lukas trainee and Preakness seventh Will Take Charge
"If they would have yelled "about-face" I would have won easy at the wire. My horse missed the break and never really was in the race. I'm happy for Gary (Stevens) and Wayne (Lukas); that's awesome."
--trainer Bob Baffert, whose Govenor Charlie finished eighth on the Preakness wire after a slow start
"(Gary) Stevens took the lead early, and I was just kind of sitting there. I felt like I had a lot of horse under me when we turned for home. But he just kind of flattened out in the stretch."
--Julien Leparoux, who rode Lukas' third Preakness 138 starter Titletown Five to a ninth- and last-place finish
Take Charge Indy, Fort Larned work for Stephen Foster
"I think when it's all said and done, (Take Charge Indy) might be a better horse than Awesome Again," Byrne asserted.
Fields shaping up for Belmont's Memorial Day weekend
Trainer Todd Pletcher will have the chance to take down a few graded stakes on Memorial Day at Belmont Park. The day's featured race is the Grade 1, $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap, and Pletcher is expected to run Cross Traffic and Discreet Dancer in the one-mile event for three-year-olds and up.
Cross Traffic will enter the Met Mile off a hard-fought second to Flat Out in the Westchester on April 27 at Belmont, while Discreet Dancer is exiting a third in the Carter Handicap on April 6 at Aqueduct.
"It's pretty rare that you see a horse who has come that far in such a short time," Pletcher said of GoldMark Farm's Cross Traffic. "He was an unraced four-year-old at the start of the year. He ran a huge race in the Westchester. He just lost to a tough, seasoned veteran who seems to love Belmont. We were very pleased with his race, and he's doing just as well or even better than he came into (the Westchester).
"The Carter came up a very fast race," Pletcher said of Discreet Dancer, an E. Paul Robsham Stables homebred. "He won the mile race at Gulfstream, and we think the mile suits him well. He's coming up to it in good order, so we're excited about his chances as well."
A talented contingent from California is expected to take on Cross Traffic and Discreet Dancer, with Jimmy Creed, Sahara Sky and Fed Biz aiming for the race, according to NYRA Stakes Coordinator Andrew Byrnes. Also probable are Mucho Macho Man, Swagger Jack, Mark Valeski and Fort Loudon. Handsome Mike is possible.
Pletcher added that he plans to run Kauai Katie in the Grade 1 Acorn on the Met Mile undercard. She will likely be challenged by Cue the Moon, Let Me Entertain U, Manuka Honey, Midnight Lucky and Momentary Magic.
In the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps for fillies and mares, Pletcher will run Disposablepleasure, with Authenticity listed as possible.
"I'm keeping an eye on the Phipps with Authenticity, if it comes up a short field," the trainer said. "I'm just seeing how quickly she bounces back (off her win in the La Troienne on May 3 at Churchill Downs), but she's doing well. I'd say she's about 50-50 at this moment."
The Ogden Phipps is also expected to attract Joyful Victory, Tiz Miz Sue and Centring.
Pletcher said all of his contenders for Memorial Day stakes will breeze on Tuesday, pending weather.
Belmont will present a pair of graded stakes on the turf next weekend, and, as usual, trainer Christophe Clement will be represented in both races.
On Saturday, Belmont will conduct the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay, a 1 3/8-mile race for fillies and mares. Clement said he will run Cheyenne Stables' Mystical Star, fourth in the Doubledogdare at Keeneland. In last year's Sheepshead Bay, Mystical Star was disqualified from third and placed last after beating the gate and rearing up.
"She got beat the other day at Keeneland (in the Doubledogdare); I think she's a better filly for the race," Clement said. "Unfortunately, the race will be very competitive, but that's the way it is. She's doing well."
Others pointing for the Sheepshead Bay are Hessonite, Starformer, Strathnaver, Anjaz, Julie's Love, Minakshi and Tannery.
Clement will run either Lael Stable's Bella Castani or Patricia Generazio's Discreet Marq in the Grade 2, 1 1/16-mile Sands Point for three-year-old fillies on Memorial Day.
"I will probably run one of the two," Clement said. "I have to see. They're both doing well. I will likely run one (in the Miss Liberty next Sunday at Monmouth Park) and run one here."
Bella Castani won the Tweedside overnight stakes by 1 1/2 lengths on April 27 at Belmont, while Discreet Marq is coming out of a second-place finish in the Sweetest Chant in January at Gulfstream Park.
"She was very rank," said Clement of Bella Castani's performance in the Tweedside. "Mentally, she needs to settle, but she was impressive. When we asked her to run, she quickened.
"Discreet Marq hasn't run since January," he added. "It would be a little bit ambitious first time back."
Barclay Tagg's pair of Caroline Thomas and Unbelievable Dream, and the Chad Brown duo of Watsdachances and Wave Theory, are expected to contest the Sands Point.
Lady of Shamrock, Marketing Mix to clash in Gamely
Grade 1 stars Lady of Shamrock and Marketing Mix top the prospective field of eight or nine fillies and mares lining up for Hollywood Park's Grade 1 Gamely on Memorial Day.
Hronis Racing LLC's Lady of Shamrock, winner of last year's American Oaks over the course, was just awarded the victory disqualification in the April 20 Santa Barbara at Santa Anita. Rafael Bejarano has the call for trainer John Sadler.
Glen Hill Farm's Marketing Mix, who took the Rodeo Drive at Santa Anita last September, will be making her first start since a runner-up effort in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Gary Stevens, fresh from his upset aboard Oxbow in the Preakness at Pimlico, will ride for trainer Tom Proctor.
Others in the star-filled lineup are venerable California bred Halo Dolly, a 15-time winner who won the Wilshire Handicap April 28; Tiz Flirtatious, victorious in the March 24 Santa Ana Stakes at Santa Anita, Quiet Oasis, runner-up in last year's Gamely; and comebacking My Gi Gi, winner of the Honeymoon Handicap in 2012.
Rounding out the probables are Long Face, second to Halo Dolly in the Wilshire, and Private Affair, a champion in her native Peru.
The Memorial Day card will also offer the $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap, a Grade 3 for older horses at six furlongs over Cushion Track.
Heading the field are Camp Victory, winner of the 2011 Los Angeles Handicap and third a year ago; Comma to the Top, winner of the CashCall Futurity in 2010 and the Cool Frenchy Stakes May 4.
Centralintelligence will compete in his second consecutive Los Angeles. The Smarty Jones gelding defeated Camp Victory when finishing second in last year's edition. Entering Sunday's card, trainer Ron Ellis was just five short of 1,000 career victories. Ellis will also saddle Majestic City in the Los Angeles.
Chosen Miracle will be among the entrants in the sprint, as will an undetermined number of Bob Baffert runners. The trainer has six nominated to the race.
Fanticola and Scardino's Obviously tops the probables for Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 American Handicap for older horses at one mile on turf.
Trained by Mike Mitchell, the five-year-old was a close third in the San Simeon in his first start of the year. In 2012, the Irish-bred won a pair of Grade 2 races and was third behind Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the Breeders' Cup Mile. Regular rider Joe Talamo will be aboard.
Schiaparelli, who gave Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner and stablemate Mizdirection all she could handle when finishing second in the Las Cienegas Stakes April 13, is the likely favorite for next Sunday's $70,000 Great Lady M Stakes at six furlongs on turf.
Hong Kong duo Military Attack, Lucky Nine plunder Singapore prizes
"They said it was the strongest race they have ever been able to assemble," Purton said, "and it is scary to think how much he has improved in the last three or four months.
"I came here thinking I had a good chance. I would have been happy just to win, but to blow them away like that is a phenomenal performance.
"I just began and put myself in a good position and I let Pastorius come around me at the 1,500 meters, and of course I thought he was the right horse to be following.
"My horse was just a little bit unbalanced, and I thought if I put him on the fence, it will just give him something to keep him more tractable.
"They were going at a good tempo and for a second, I thought it could be his undoing. But then, from the 700 meters, I was looking once again to get on the back of Pastorius thinking he would drag me into the race.
"But I could see he was gone and Dan Excel was traveling really well and Mawingo was pinching ground and saving time getting runs.
"Then the saloon passage just opened up for me, and he did the rest," Purton concluded. "I couldn't believe how far ahead he was and in the end I just let him idle to the line."
Moore, a 63-year-old Australian native who has worked in Hong Kong for more than 40 years, was overcome by his first international victory.
"I've finally got the icing on the cake! I've been trying to win this race for years and I've finally done it," said Moore, who had finished runner-up the past two years with Zaidan (2012) and Irian (2011).
"I've always liked coming to Singapore from the days I used to ride here for Garnet Bougoure at Bukit Timah in the Pro-Am races.
"I loved my stay here and always had very fond memories of the track and the country. I always told dad (late legendary jockey and Hong Kong trainer George Moore) that Singapore has changed to a very professional racing nation."
Military Attack, coming off a dynamic score in the April 28 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin, became the first winner of that race to follow up in Singapore. He began his skein in the February 24 Hong Kong Gold Cup and added the March 24 Premier Plate Handicap before venturing into international Group 1 company at home and abroad.
"To travel all the way here and stay in this heat and break the two-minute mark shows how much this horse has thrived," Moore said.
"Four runs back, there were even some queries about him, but he's turned the corner and has become a really serious horse.
"Zac wanted to bring about some tactical changes when he started riding him and it seems to have worked. Honestly, I didn't expect he would win so easily as there were some really strong horses in the field.
"I would now love to send him to the Group 1 Cox Plate in October in Australia. I know it's tough with the two weeks (quarantine) at Werribee, but he has shown he could travel.
"And the Cox Plate would be nice as I would love nothing more than to win a Group race in my own country. I've actually already discussed with (owner) Steven Lo and I believe the organizers will soon send all the paraphernalia to him."
"He hasn't got into his races his last two and was never really comfortable those times, but tonight he actually put the brakes on the turn because he didn't like the mobile footage camera on the inside, so I let him get his confidence and pulled him away from the rail.
"His mind was on the job from then on and once he got the run, he stays a mile so the turn of foot he gave me I knew they wouldn't run me down."
Fownes admitted to feeling plenty of pressure ahead of the KrisFlyer.
"The pressure on me after his last run where he had blood in his trachea was quite heavy," Fownes said. "Having to travel him here and then get him to perform at his top, the pressure was right on.
"He's always had internal issues but you've got to take the plunge and we came here and it paid off. He's tough because we medicated his joints prior to this race and when we X-rayed him he's got a chip in his joint, which we didn't realize he had -- he's that tough. That could have maybe been affecting him as well."
Giving Fownes additional worry, the son of Dubawi acted up before the race.
"I was absolutely concerned because that's not him," Fownes said. "I was worried coming into the parade, but once we managed to saddle him and sweat him down and get him out walking and chill a bit he was good.
"We saw the real Lucky Nine tonight," the trainer added. "He's been unlucky overseas on a number of occasions previously, so it was great to see everything fall into place.
"This means a lot to us to come here and win on international soil. We'll put him away now and we'll look forward to the next season.
"I'd like to win a Group 1 in Australia -- my wife's Australian and the people there are really passionate about their racing, so we'll talk to the owner and see about that."
Australia's Bel Sprinter rallied from near the tail of the field to grab second, edging Super Easy on the line. Next came Balmont Mast, Kavanagh, Speedy Cat, Goal Keeper, Mr Big, Dux Scholar and Dasher Go Go.
There was an incident down the lane as Emerald Hill went wrong and unseated jockey Jose Verenzuela.
"He was traveling good, but suddenly at around the 250-meter mark, he switched his lead and broke down. There was nothing I could do about it."
Meisho Mambo surprises Japanese Oaks
Yoshio Matsumoto's homebred Meisho Mambo, only 10th in the Oka Sho (Japanese One Thousand Guineas), jumped up to surprise Sunday's Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) at Tokyo. Under Koshiro Take, the daughter of Suzuka Mambo rallied in midstretch to give veteran trainer Akihiro Iida the first Grade 1 win of his 25-year career.
The gray Kurofune Surprise scampered to the early lead, stalked by Sakura Plaisir and Tosen Soleil. Further back, roughly in midpack, came Ever Blossom, Meisho Mambo and Oka Sho heroine Ayusan. Favorite Denim and Ruby lagged in last early after a slow start.
Kurofune Surprise opened up by as many as seven or eight lengths on the backstretch, but by the time she turned for home, her margin had evaporated. Although the front runner tried to dig in at the top of the stretch, she was spent from her early exertions and could not resist the onslaught of closers.
Meisho Mambo, who had swung out for clear running room, found the best turn of foot to storm to the front. Ever Blossom followed in hot pursuit, and Denim and Ruby likewise finished strongly from her poor position, but the winner had gone beyond recall. Meisho Mambo crossed the wire 1 1/4 lengths to the good of Ever Blossom in a final time of 2:25.2 for about 1 1/2 miles on the firm turf.
Denim and Ruby came home another two lengths adrift in third. Ayusan wound up fourth, followed by Floor Craft, Ti Amo, Sweet Salsa, Lilas Corsage, Robe Tissage, Brilliant Ask, Kurofune Surprise, Celebrity Model, Sakura Plaisir, Tosen Soleil, Brunette, Red Oval and Crown Rose.
Meisho Mambo now sports a line of 7-4-1-0, ¥203,923,000. The bay filly won at first asking at Kyoto last November, but found the plunge into Grade 1 company too tough when 10th in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies. Runner-up to Red Oval back at Kyoto on January 14, Meisho Mambo scored a confidence-boosting allowance win at the same venue on February 16. She made it two straight by capturing the March 10 Hochi Hai Fillies' Revue at Hanshin, but never landed a blow in the Oka Sho.
The Japanese-bred thrived on the step up in trip here to become the first top-level winner sired by Suzuka Mambo. She was produced by the Grass Wonder mare Meisho Momoka and comes from the family of multiple Japanese stakes heroine and Grade 3-placed Meine Ratsel.
Coffee Clique too much in Selene
Contreras wasn't too concerned about the runaway pacesetter in the early stages of the Selene.
"I got a perfect trip," Contreras said. "I knew there was crazy speed in the race, but I just tried to relax and save my horse until the end. I had a lot of horse and she gave me everything."
Coffee Clique kept busy over the winter racing four times at Gulfstream Park, winning a turf allowance and notching a third-place effort in the Secret Grace Stakes last time out.
Lynch believes that having Contreras breeze the filly in advance of the Selene was a key factor in her performance.
"She's a great little filly, very honest," Lynch said. "Luis got to work her during the week as she's not long up from Keeneland. I think he was very confident after that work and rode her very nicely today. She's very versatile, looks like the 'Poly' and the turf...that's her number."
The conditioner has prepared the bay for what he hopes will be a lucrative campaign at Woodbine.
"I didn't want to over race her (in Florida)," Lynch said. "It's very tempting when you have a three-year-old filly to get creative down there, but we feel like the program up here for three-year-olds is great and we want to save her for that and have a fresh horse."
Coffee Clique returned $7.60, $3.60 and $2.70 to her supporters and banked $87,534 in victory, while increasing her lifetime earnings to $166,300 from a 6-3-1-0 career line.
Spring Venture, who was exiting an eighth-place run in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on April 6, finished fourth. Completing the order under the wire were Leigh Court, Fun in d' Sun and Thats Our Princess. Takeyourbreathaway was scratched.
Eclipse Award winner Beholder (Henny Hughes), recently second to Princess of Sylmar (Majestic Warrior) in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), has been sent to Julie Adair's farm for a break, according to trainer Richard Mandella. The Hall of Famer indicated she's fine but he wanted to give her a little rest...
Veteran jockey Mike Luzzi will undergo shoulder surgery for an injury he suffered on May 10 and will be out for 12-18 weeks, the rider said on Saturday. Luzzi, 43, hit his shoulder on the starting gate at the start of the No Reason overnight stakes. Since then, he rode in five races on May 11 and in a single race Saturday. The rider says he needs the surgery to regain his full range of motion on that shoulder. So far in 2013, Luzzi has won 28 races from 235 mounts. He had won five races from 26 mounts during the current Belmont spring/summer meet...
Saturday was a pretty good day to be Joe Talamo. Not only did the 23-year-old native of Louisiana sweep both stakes races at Hollywood Park, taking the Fran's Valentine with 9-2 shot Unusual Hottie (Unusual Heat) and the Marjorie L. Everett H. (G2) with 9-1 outsider Open Water (Include), he got to see his mentor -- Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens -- go gate-to-wire aboard Oxbow (Awesome Again), the upset ($32.80) winner of the Preakness (G1). "I thought it was great," Talamo said. "I was so happy for Gary. Even as a little kid I always looked up to him. I remember I was 11 when he won (the 2001 Preakness) with Point Given. We've become really close. He's given me a lot of pointers, which I'm thankful for, so I'm really happy for him."...
Trainer Dallas Stewart said Kentucky Derby runner-up Golden Soul (Perfect Soul) is likely to work at Churchill Downs on Wednesday or Thursday. It will be the first work since the Kentucky Derby for the chestnut, who is being pointed toward the Belmont Stakes on June 8. Golden Soul opened his sophomore campaign with a second-place effort behind Saturday's Preakness winner, Oxbow, in the Lecomte (G3) at Fair Grounds in mid-January...
Jungle Stable's Mizdirection (Mizzen Mast), winner of the 2012 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1), worked six furlongs under exercise rider Manny Landeros Sunday morning on the Hollywood Park turf. "It was a nice and even work," trainer Mike Puype said. "Just what we wanted. She got a little rank when she broke off, but she always does that." Puype said he got the work in "1:14 and change." Her official time was 1:15 3/5, according to track clocker Russ Hudak. After winning the Las Cienegas S. (G3) April 13, Puype indicated Mizdirection's next start would be in the $500,000 Just a Game S. (G1) at one mile on turf Belmont Stakes Day (June 8). Those plans remain unchanged...
Highclere Thoroughbred Racing's Telescope (Galileo) remains on target for the June 1 Epsom Derby (Eng-G1) after putting in an impressive piece of work on the Newmarket gallops Sunday morning. Forced out of his intended re-appearance in last Thursday's Dante (Eng-G2) at York after some grazes became infected, the Sir Michael Stoute trainee came clear of his companion on the Limekilns stretch in the town and Harry Herbert told PA Sport, "Sir Michael has called me and he seemed very pleased. We'll just see how he is before we move on to the next step. If he comes through this OK, we'll take him to Lingfield on Wednesday where he will have his racecourse gallop. As long as Sir Michael is happy with him tonight and tomorrow morning, that will be the plan. As if there is not enough pressure surrounding a British Derby candidate, this has just added to the stress of it all really. There's still a chance he could make the Derby, but we'll just take it day by day."...
Cristina Patino's Snow Fairy (Intikhab) is a step closer to making her seasonal debut in the Prince of Wales's (Eng-G1) at Royal Ascot, trainer Ed Dunlop revealed. Despite the conditioner's caution surrounding the possibility that the six-time Group 1 winner could reappear at the Royal meeting after her injury-enforced absence, the signs are becoming increasingly positive. "She did her first little bit of fast work on Friday and if she's ready, we'd like to take her to Royal Ascot," he said...
In one of the best performances of the Churchill Downs spring meet thus far, Harry Rosenblum's Gentlemen's Bet (Half Ours) won Friday's 4TH race at Churchill Downs by 5 3/4 lengths and ran six furlongs in 1:07.90, less than a half-second off the track record of 1:07.55. That effort could land him back in the Churchill starting gate for the $100,000 Aristides (G3) on June 1. "He's possible for the Aristides," trainer Ron Moquett said. "If everything keeps going smoothly, that's what we're thinking." Gentlemen's Bet entered Friday's allowance off a third-place finish in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3), his only defeat in five career starts. "We expected him to run really well, but didn't know where that would put us because there were some really nice horses in there," Moquett remarked. "We were thinking of running him in another stake, but decided to give him the easiest path possible. At some point, you won't have the option of running in an allowance and you have to run in a stake." Moquett's truck sports a novelty license plate that says "1:07 Flat" and Gentlemen's Bet wasn't too far from running that time. "It used to be on Bernie Flint's car," Moquett explained. "Gentlemen's Bet didn't run 1:07 flat, but he did go in 1:07 and change and I think that's pretty cool. When people ask me what it means, I tell them, 'That's what I'm looking for. A horse that can go 1:07 flat.'"...
Trainer John Sadler stated he scratched More Chocolate (Malibu Moon) from Saturday's Marjorie L. Everett H. (G2) to run in the $250,000 Vanity H. (G1) on June 15. Everett winner Open Water (Include) came back great and is also on course for the Vanity, according to John Daley, assistant to trainer Eric Guillot. Other main participants in the Everett, and Saturday's Fran's Valentine Stakes, likewise returned in good shape. Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said he scoped his four stakes starters after the races and they came up clean. Lady of Fifty (After Market), Sister Kate (Benchmark) and Lady Aspen (Grand Reward) -- second, fifth and sixth, respectively, in the Everett -- were all fine Sunday morning. Top Kisser (Old Topper) finished third as the favorite in the Fran's Valentine. Jeff Mullins, who sent out Fran's Valentine winner Unusual Hottie, also was pleased with how the daughter of Unusual Heat came out of the race...
Treasured Up (Medaglia d'Oro) was in good order Sunday morning following her narrow victory in Saturday's Keertana at Churchill Downs. "She ate up and was bright-eyed this morning," said Heather Craig, assistant to trainer Al Stall Jr...
Assistant trainer Norman Casse said Funny Proposition (Medaglia d'Oro) is under consideration for the $175,000 Fleur de Lis (G2) following her three-length victory at Churchill Downs on Friday. The dark bay four-year-old's previous tries against stakes company resulted in an eighth-place run in the Regret (G3) last June at Churchill and a well-beaten fifth in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) one race later at Saratoga. The 1 1/8-mile Fleur de Lis is scheduled for the Stephen Foster Day undercard on June 15 under the Twin Spires...
Trainer Mike Mitchell reported that Dhaamer (Dubai Destination), winner of the recent Round Table Stakes, is doing super and right on target for a title defense in the $100,000 Sunset H. (G3) on Hollywood's closing day, July 14...
Paso Doble (Bold n' Flashy) and Haverhill (Seffir), an uncoupled entry trained by Mark Casse, headline the Victoria Day feature at Woodbine on Monday, the C$125,000 New Providence. The seven-year-old Paso Doble makes his third start of the season in the six-furlong Polytrack sprint after opening his campaign with a disappointing effort at Keeneland. The classy gelding returned to form last out when second, defeated a nose by the re-opposing Executive Five (Bold Executive), in the prep for this event. Patrick Husbands has the call on Paso Doble, who ran second in this race last year in his 2012 finale. The five-year-old Haverhill competed at Gulfstream Park over the winter when trained by Katerina Vassilieva. The bay gelding was purchased privately and raced once, finishing third, at Santa Anita, before returning to Woodbine to complete the superfecta in the local prep. Luis Contreras will be aboard as Haverhill makes his stakes bow in this spot. Executive Five, a surprise winner of the New Providence prep at 50-1, will be seeking his first stakes score for trainer David Katryan. The five-year-old gelding will once again be partnered by Jesse Campbell...
Godolphin may have endured a testing period of late, but their representatives are making waves on the track and Tawhid (Invincible Spirit) bids to continue the racing offensive in Monday's Mehl-Mulhens-Rennen (German Two Thousand Guineas) (Ger-G2) at Cologne. While he was never a factor when last of four in a strong renewal of the Craven (Eng-G3) in his seasonal bow over Monday's one-mile trip at Newmarket on April 18, he is better judged by his prior performance when scoring by four lengths in heavy ground in Newbury's Horris Hill (Eng-G3) going seven furlongs in October. "Tawhid needs soft ground to be at his best," Saeed bin Suroor said. "He showed at Newbury last year that he is a different horse with some cut underfoot. He worked very well on Wednesday and I am very happy with him, but the ground is the key for him." If the ground is not in his favor, there are several who will seek to take advantage, including last year's Gran Criterium (Ity-G1) winner Law Enforcement (Lawman). He was not disgraced when fifth attempting to make all in the March 30 UAE Derby (UAE-G2) on the Tapeta last out and switches back to turf. This renewal looks booked for export to Britain and another due respect from that country is Prince Faisal's impressive Kempton maiden winner String Theory (Medicean). Trainer Marco Botti has taken the significant step of sending him straight into Pattern company on the back of that six-length score over this trip on the Polytrack at the start of the month...
Jockey Joe Talamo completed a weekend stakes sweep Sunday at Hollywood Park with a victory aboard Hronis Racing's 7-5 favorite Iotapa (Afleet Alex) in the $74,920 Railbird. Shortening up after finishing second behind juvenile filly champion Beholder (Henny Hughes) in the 1 1/16-mile Santa Anita Oaks (G1) on April 6, Iotapa was reserved off the pace, rallied outside Tres Belle (War Front) and pacesetter Hail Mary (Old Topper) around the turn and went on to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Ciao Bella Luna (Tribal Rule). Iotapa's third win in four starts came a day after Talamo captured the Marjorie L. Everett Handicap (G2) with 9-1 outsider Open Water (Include) and the Fran's Valentine Stakes with 9-2 shot Unusual Hottie (Unusual Heat). Trained by John Sadler, Iotapa covered seven furlongs over Hollywood's Cushion Track in 1:23 2/5 to push her earnings to $155,490 from a 4-3-1-0 mark. She broke her maiden in her debut last June 21 over the track and was claimed for $50,000 by her current connections. "You claim a horse and she wins and you're excited, then two days later she came up sore," Sadler said. "We took X-rays and she had a little fracture in one of her hind pasterns. It was a hairline fracture and we knew it would heal up well. Once they've showed they can run you don't mind giving them some time. (Hollywood Park) is where she has always trained. She won first time back on dirt (February 15 at Santa Anita), then she ran a big race in the (Santa Anita Oaks). The plan was to run her here and then run in the ($150,000 Hollywood) Oaks ([G2] on June 22)...
Sovereign Stable's Fearless Jacq (Soviet Star) captured her first stakes victory in Sunday's $85,000 Miss Otis Stakes at Belmont Park as the 5-2 favorite. The three-year-old filly attended the pace three wide in hand, gained a length advantage by the time they reached the half-mile pole and slowly edged away from the field for a 2 3/4-length victory. With Joel Rosario in the irons, the John Terranova II trainee covered six furlongs over the yielding inner turf in 1:12 2/5. The bay was exiting a fourth-place finish in the Beaumont (G2) at Keeneland last time out. With Sunday's stakes score, Fearless Jacq banked $51,000 to increase her lifetime earnings to $75,295 from a 6-2-1-0 line...
Trainer Stefano Botti saddled a quintet in Sunday's Derby Italiano (Ity-G2) in Rome and three of them managed to fill the trifecta and complete a memorable achievement for the son and nephew of the legendary Alduino and Giuseppe. Biz the Nurse (Oratorio) had flopped when tried in Pattern company at two, finishing fifth after a slow start in the Premio Guido Berardelli (Ity-G3) going nine furlongs here at the start of November, but had looked a different proposition in his successful return in the Premio Botticelli over 1 5/16 miles on April 28. Settled in midpack throughout the early stages of Sunday contest, the bay was sent to the lead with over two furlongs to race by the visiting Andrea Atzeni and drew clear of his barnmates Wish Come True (Aussie Rules) and Ancient King (Ramonti) with the field strung out behind...
Also on Sunday's card at Rome, Victory Laurel (Holy Roman Emperor) and Romantic Wave (Rock of Gibraltar) visited the winner's circle in the Premio Tudini (Ity-G3) and Premio Carlo d'Alessio (Ity-G3), respectively. Taking on the older sprinters at this early stage of the season is often difficult for the sophomore brigade and Victory Laurel had not looked an obvious candidate for these type of honors when beaten in his first five starts at two. Campaigned exclusively at this track so far, the bay registered a breakthrough win on the all-weather at the end of the year and followed that with a third-placing and a win in conditions events over Sunday's six-furlong trip on April 5 and 19, respectively. Held up early in the Premio Tudini, he met traffic as Salvatore Sulas searched for an escape route, but swamped Rosendhal (Indian Ridge) when in the clear in the final 100 yards. Romantic Wave came to the fore in his latest start when registering a first black-type success in this venue's Premio Signorio over nine furlongs on April 28, and showed that Sunday's 1 1/2-mile trip held no fears with a convincing follow-up. In front initially before taking a lead, the dark bay was sent back to the front approaching the quarter-pole and dominated proceedings from there...
Last seen finishing a short-head second in the latest renewal of the San Siro's St Leger Italiano (Ity-G3) in September, Altano (Galileo) showed he retained his ability despite his advancing years to book a possible ticket to the June 20 Gold Cup (Eng-G1) at Royal Ascot with a three-quarter length victory in Sunday's Oleander-Rennen (Ger-G3) at Hoppegarten. Anchored in the rear early, the bay was angled out from the rail at the end of the back straight and gradually wore down his stablemate and the long-time leader Earl of Tinsdal (Black Sam Bellamy) and Supersonic Flight (Lomitas) in the final 50 yards. Altano's staying power was advertised with wins in the St Leger Italiano in 2011, in this race 12 months ago and in the Deutsches St Leger (Ger-G3) at Dortmund in September...
Voleuse de Coeurs (Teofilo) came to the fore over two miles last term when recording successes at the Galway Festival and in the Irish Cesarewitch Handicap at The Curragh in October by a cumulative margin of 18 lengths. She had come up short against El Salvador (Galileo), however, in her return in a conditions event over 1 9/16 miles at Limerick on April 11. Reversing that form in comprehensive manner in Sunday's Vintage Crop, Navan's Ascot Gold Cup trial, the bay suggested she could become a leading stayer for the Dermot Weld barn responsible for the horse after which the race in named. Settled on the rail taking a lead from the pacesetters early, the homebred was angled wide for her run in early stretch and, after cruising to the fore with 1 1/2 furlongs remaining, was shaken up to assert her authority. "I see her as possibly an outstanding stayer," said Weld, who also has former Gold Cup winner Rite of Passage (Giant's Causeway) in the Royal meeting's June 20 feature. "I thought she would win, but the Ascot Gold Cup might be a bit soon. She could go for the (June 30) Curragh Cup (Ire-G3) and (September 15) Irish St Leger (Ire-G1) and be a Gold Cup horse for next year, but she will always want a little ease in the ground."...
Agent Tony Matos advises that Garrett Gomez will be at Arlington Park Saturday to ride in a trio of $150,000 stakes -- the Arlington Classic (G3), Arlington Matron (G3) and Hanshin Cup (G3)...
With the Gamely S. (G1) coming up, veteran race fans must have done a double-take when they saw a first-time starter named Manta (Council Member) in Saturday's 11TH race at Hollywood Park. An Elmendorf-bred and Farrell Jones-trained mare, also named Manta, was a top-class female who raced in the early 1970s. The original Manta was an 18-time winner with a bankroll of $502,000, a sizable amount in those days. She won the 1971 Long Beach Handicap -- which is now known as the Gamely -- and was third to the brilliant Typecast in the same race the following year. Based on her debut, the modern-day Manta bears no resemblance to her predecessor. She finished sixth, almost 10 lengths behind winner Only Josie Knows (Rio Verde) in the $20,000 maiden claimer...
Going into Sunday's card, only 30 of the original 1,744 contestants remained alive in Hollywood Park's $2,500 winner-take-all Show Me the Money contest.
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