De Kock has triple threat for fourth straight Al Rashidiya win
Mike de Kock is seeking a fourth consecutive victory in the 1800-meter Al Rashidiya S., one of two Group 2 turf features at Meydan Racecourse's fourth meeting of the 2015 Dubai World Cup Carnival on Thursday evening, and is set to saddle three of the seven runners this year.
These include Mujaarib (Nadeem), something of a surprise winner in the race a year ago for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The owner's retained jockey, Paul Hanagan, takes the ride this time with Christophe Soumillon having performed the steering last year.
This year Soumillon rides Vercingetorix (Silvano), winner of last year's Jebel Hatta (UAE-G1) on Super Saturday before finishing an excellent second in the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-G1) on Dubai World Cup night. That was the bay's first career defeat in his seventh outing before he was subsequently third in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (HK-G1) in Hong Kong.
That was back in April and Vercingetorix has been off since, while Mujaarib has not run since Super Saturday in early March 2014.
"We have said many times Vercingetorix is a lazy work horse and nothing has changed," de Kock stated. "He has a touch of class and hopefully we will see that again on Thursday. You cannot get excited with his work but it was the same last year and he won well first time.
"The same applies to Mujaarib who showed little in the mornings last year before surprising us in this race. Hopefully he will go well as he certainly seems to run his best when fresh.
De Kock's third runner, Sanshaawes (Ashaawes), the mount of Dane O'Neill, was second in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 (UAE-G1) last year and has the benefit of a run already this season, finishing fourth in the Singspiel S. over course and distance on January 8.
"Obviously Sanshaawes is likely to have a fitness edge," de Kock noted. "He ran well on the first night and has been in good form since. He had a good Carnival last year and hopefully he can win a race this time.
"It is nice to have three genuine chances in such a big race."
As well as winning the last three renewals, the South African has also won it on a further three occasions whereas Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor is seeking a fifth win in the race.
He relies on True Story (Manduro), the mount of James Doyle who was a winner of the Singspiel S. three weeks ago.
"He won well and we were very pleased with him," bin Suroor said. "He is a horse we have always really liked and he has been working well since. Obviously it is a step up in class but we expect a big run from him."
The 1600-meter Cape Verdi S. (UAE-G2), restricted to fillies and mares, has attracted a field of eight with all but two trained in Europe. It looks wide open with dual listed winner Zurigha (Cape Cross), a first UAE runner for Richard Hannon Jr. when well beaten last week, looking to hold a major chance under Richard Hughes.
Wee Jean (Captain Gerrard), trained by Mick Channon and to be ridden by Hanagan, looks a big danger. The same goes for Group 3 runner-up Anahita (Turtle Bowl), the mount of Mickael Barzalona conditioned by Salem bin Ghadayer, who celebrated his first winner as a trainer last Thursday.
Dubai World Cup day nominations announced
A star studded cast of the world's best racehorses of 2014 highlight the
nominations for the 2015 Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1), the 20th running of the
world's richest race.
Gold Ship (Stay Gold), the Takarazuka Kinen (Jpn-G1) star trained by Naosuke
Sugai, is also on the list from Japan, as is Japanese Derby (Jpn-G1) winner One
and Only (Heart's Cry) and Japanese One Thousand Guineas (Jpn-G1) winner Harp
Star (Deep Impact), who represent Japan's 2014 classic generation.
Peniaphobia (Dandy Man), the Tony Cruz-trained sprinter who won
the 2014 Jockey Club Sprint (HK-G2) as well as the recent Centenary Sprint, has
also been nominated for the Dubai Golden Shaheen. Hong Kong Sprint (HK-G1)
winner Aerovelocity (Pins), trained by Paul O'Sullivan, has also been nominated
for both the Dubai Golden Shaheen and the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint (UAE-G1).
Lady Shipman breaks track record at Ocala
The large crowd that turned out in sunny weather was treated to a
track-record performance as the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company held it's 26th
annual Day of Champions.
Happy to Go (Saint Anddan) came running late to be second, a nose in front of Cool Comfort (Big Brown).
Owned by Ranlo Investments and trained by Kathleen O'Connell, Lady Shipman now has a record of 4-3-0-1 and has earned $80,400 to date.
It's Not Me (D'wildcat) went to the lead early in the $50,000 OBS Sprint for three-year-old colts and geldings and gave nothing else a chance, cruising to the wire an 8 3/4-length winner over Charlie's Brother (With Distinction). Social Request (Lookin at Lucky) was a head back in third.
Trained by Jorge Navarro for owners White Wabbit Wacing and Marco
Thoroughbred Corp., and ridden by Edgard Zayas, It's Not Me ran the six furlongs
in 1:09 3/5. His first stakes win leaves him 8-4-0-1 with $123,335 in earnings.
Ridden by Rafael Hernandez and trained by Gary Contessa for the partnership
of John Moirano, Nehoc Stables, and Alan Sokol, the filly is now 7-2-3-0 and has
Trained by Mike Maker for the partnership of Skychai Racing, Charles Warner, and Sand Dollar Stable, and ridden by Joel Rosario, the three-year-old Florida-bred ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:46 2/5.
It was the second stakes win for Firespike and leaves him with a 7-3-1-1 record and earnings of $183,259.
The Great War debuts for Ward in 96Rock
The Great War turned the corner with a 3 1/2-length coup in the September 28 Blenheim S. back at the Curragh, earning a crack at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. In his first attempt on dirt, and beyond 6 1/2 furlongs, he chased the wickedly fast pace and held on determinedly for fourth.
Considering how well Juvenile third Upstart (Flatter) performed in last Saturday's Holy Bull (G2), and that Juvenile fifth went on to miss narrowly in both the Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) and Los Alamitos Futurity (G1), The Great War is entitled to run up to his reputation here. He has been training forwardly over the Turfway Polytrack, and has drawn in the middle of the field in post 6. Albin Jimenez has the call.
Trainer Mike Maker is double-handed with Gulfstream Park shippers Serious Talk (Forestry) and Two Step Temper (Two Step Salsa). Unbeaten Serious Talk debuts for the barn off a $35,000 claim, while Two Step Temper seeks better luck after a pair of tough trips on turf.
Candy Charger (Candy Ride), 10th behind Dortmund (Big Brown) in a Churchill Downs allowance two back, exits a front-running allowance score at Turfway. Milwaukee Mist (Milwaukee Brew) bested the well-bred Musical Score (Unbridled's Song) in a local maiden January 3, while Worth the Gamble (Van Nistelrooy) just rolled to a 2 1/4-length decision here January 16. Worth the Gamble was previously second to Runhappy (Super Saver) in his eventful maiden romp.
Also worth a look is Draw Nigh (Elite Squadron), who has won or placed in his three career tries on Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs. A three-length maiden winner there in June, he was third in the September 25 Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Juvenile S. The Jim Rankin runner has not raced since capturing a second-level allowance at Mountaineer November 22.
Due to severe winter weather conditions, the New York Racing Association has canceled live racing at Aqueduct on Wednesday. Aqueduct will be open for simulcasting on Wednesday, but Belmont Park will be closed.. Live racing is scheduled to resume at Aqueduct on Thursday...
Fort Erie has received approval from the Ontario Racing Commission to extend its racing season by two weeks resulting in a 40-day meet for 2015. Opening day will take place on June 2 with a 4:15 p.m. (EDT) post time, kicking off the popular Twilight Tuesday race cards for June, July and August. Post Time for Sundays will be 1:50 p.m. and beginning September 1, Tuesday post time will shift to 1:50 p.m. as well. Closing day is scheduled for October 20. The racetrack's 118th season of live Thoroughbred racing with the highlight being the 80th edition of the Prince of Wales S. to be run on July 28. The Prince of Wales is the second jewel in Canada's Triple Crown as well as Canada's richest race on dirt with a purse offered of C$500,000...
Beginning with the $1,500,000 Charles Town Classic (G2) at Charles Town on April 19, Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN) will once again serve as the exclusive radio home for the remaining five events in the 2015 Penn Gaming Racing Challenge. In addition to Charles Town Classic day, the HRRN team will provide coverage of Penn National's Penn Mile card on May 30, the Race for the Ribbon program at Charles Town on September 19 as well as Zia Park's Land of Enchantment day and Penn's Thanksgiving Eve Racing Festival, both of which take place on November 25 and round out the series. Much as it has the previous two years, HRRN's live Charles Town Classic coverage will originate on site and can be heard nationwide on SiriusXM and will be available worldwide via live streaming on the HRRN website, www.horseracingradio.net. Additional information along with specific broadcast times and channels will be announced prior to April 18. HRRN's Eclipse Award-winning broadcast team will be anchored by HRRN President Mike Penna...
Laurel hosts a pair of $100,000 stakes events for three-year-olds on Thursday, which were postponed after racing was canceled January 24 due to track conditions. The seven-furlong Frank Whiteley Jr. S. features nine colts and geldings while the six-furlong Marshua S. boasts eight fillies. In the Whiteley, Majestic Affair (Majesticperfection) is the likely favorite after a dominating 5 3/4-length score in the $98,000 Fred "Cappy" Capossela S. at Aqueduct on January 2. Golden Years (Not for Love) will attempt to add another stakes win to his resume after taking the Maryland Million Nursery and Marylander S. last season. The Whiteley also features the return of Governmentshutdown (Exchange Rate) following a seven-month layoff. The gray gelding notably defeated eventual Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Hootenanny (Quality Road) in the Rollicking S. at Pimlico last May. Lake Sebago (Munnings), who captured the Smart Halo S. and Gin Talking S. during her juvenile campaign, headlines the Marshua. Eloquent Tribute (Tapit) invades from Aqueduct after posting a 5 3/4-length maiden win for trainer Rudy Rodriguez.
KENTUCKY DERBY REPORT
JANUARY 28, 2015
by James Scully
Upstart (Flatter) was sensational in Saturday's Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park, romping to a 5 1/2-length victory. His eye-catching 105 BRIS Speed rating is even more impressive given how wide he traveled throughout the 1 1/16-mile race (more than 30 feet farther than both the runner-up and third-placer).
The New York-bred colt has clearly improved at age three for trainer Richard Violette Jr., a key attribute for any Kentucky Derby hopeful with two-year-old form.
Upstart was easy to identify as a possible Kentucky Derby contender entering his sophomore season but lacked fanfare -- his 53-1 odds in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (November 28-30) were more indicative of a second-tier prospect.
The dark bay captured his first two starts over state-bred rivals in a pair of sprints at Saratoga, including the 6 1/2-furlong Funny Cide. In his first attempt against open rivals, he offered a solid middle move to record a non-threatening second in Champagne Stakes (G1) last October and followed with a respectable third in his 2014 finale, finishing 6 1/2 lengths behind the winning Texas Red (Afleet Alex) in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).
By virtue of his Holy Bull tour-de-force, Upstart will be among the favorites in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (February 6-8). He's by the A.P. Indy stallion Flatter, whose runners tend to improve with age, and is out of a mare by Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold. The presence of champion sprinter Housebuster, sire of the second maternal dam, adds a nice mix of speed to Upstart's stamina-infused bloodlines.
Violette was also on last year's Kentucky Derby trail with another New York-bred, Samraat, who opened 2014 with smart wins in the Withers (G3) and Gotham (G3) before a second in the TwinSpires Wood Memorial (G1). But Samraat lacked a favorable pedigree for classic distances (out of an Indian Charlie mare) and wound up fifth in the 140th Kentucky Derby.
Upstart continued to display good tactical speed in the Holy Bull, racing within a couple of lengths of the early pace, and netted a 107 BRIS Late Pace rating while winning convincingly. He's got a lot going for him.
Frosted (Tapit) remains highly promising. After concluding last year with a commendable second in the Remsen (G2), the Kiaran McLaughlin trainee was bet down to 3-2 favoritism in the Holy Bull but had to settle for runner-up honors once again.
The well-bred gray colt saved ground from his innermost post position, stalking the pace in fourth during the early stages, and finished up nicely to be clear of third-placer Bluegrass Singer (Bluegrass Cat). Frosted equaled his 98 BRIS Speed rating from the Remsen and earned a 101 Late Pace. It will be no surprise to see him keep moving forward off the encouraging performance.
Bluegrass Singer saved third in his two-turn bow, but the stakes-winning gelding probably doesn't want any part of longer distances.
Late runners Keen Ice (Curlin), Frammento (Midshipman) and First Down (Street Sense) all failed to make a significant impact; their connections will be hoping for much more next time.
Khozan (Distorted Humor) is behind the proverbial eight-ball, making such a late career debut on January 24, but the Todd Pletcher-trained colt is one to watch following his impressive maiden tally on the Holy Bull undercard.
A half-brother to three-time champion and $4.8-million earner Royal Delta, the $1 million yearling drew off sharply to a 3 3/4-length decision and earned a 103 BRIS Speed rating after completing seven furlongs in 1:23.63. His performance was flattered by Barbados (Speightstown), who stopped the teletimer in 1:24.39 winning the Hutcheson (G3) one race later as the 3-5 favorite.
There are no scoring races this weekend, but Texas Red will make his three-year-old bow in Sunday's seven-furlong San Vicente (G2) at seven furlongs.
JANUARY 29, 2015
by John Mucciolo
There was no graded racing during the abbreviated week on the inner oval at Aqueduct.
A total of 25 races were held over the inner strip at the Long Island, New York venue, with favorites winning at a 44 percent rate and the top two betting choices combining for 72 percent of the wins during the week. Eight were won in wire-to-wire fashion (32 percent), while there was no turf racing.
It was hard to gauge the condition of the main oval with little racing and a slew of very small fields. We thought the Thursday oval was better for horses from off the pace and speed better over the weekend, if anything.
A total of 22 of the 25 races were taken by horses breaking from the inner six post slots (88 percent), though that once again is a case of small fields at play.
HORSES TO WATCH
2ND -- COPERNICUS (Munnings) sped to the front and never faced a challenge in easily dispatching this group under Guillermo Rodriguez. The sophomore colt could turn out to be a nice claim for Rudy Rodriguez and we have a hunch this one might be capable of carrying his speed a bit longer under the right circumstances.
5TH -- REGULUS (Distorted Humor) easily went by the odds-on leader in the lane and powered home a strong winner in this claiming run for Rudy. The six-year-old gelding came home swiftly for the level and likely won't be in for a tag following this dash.
2ND -- We think it's safe to say that JACKIE BLACK (Discreet Cat) appreciated the stretch out to a route run first time off the claim as the three-year-old miss rolled home to a victory stated as 35 lengths. The speedy Linda Rice trainee earned a hefty 90 BRIS Speed figure for this event and surely won't be in for a tag next time out.
4TH -- Richard Violette's debuter LEHIGH FIVE (Birdstone) overcame the rail, dueled to the top of the lane and then exploded late in a fine first-out tally over a fairly decent field of prospects. The interesting sophomore colt is bred to run long, but has fine speed and really could be any kind.
6TH -- DULCIFY (Candy Ride [Arg]) was wide early and especially wide in the lane, so her run was a lot better than it might appear on paper. The Steve Klesaris trainee had not been on the track since the summer, so to be beaten by just three lengths after giving up a ton of ground should make her very live in her subsequent outing, perhaps at a price.
8TH -- ORGANIC GEMINI (Sir Whimsey) was last early but did put in a spirited run in a much improved test for trainer Steve Asmussen. The New York-bred was more than six lengths clear of the show and should be graduating with any type of forward move in the near future.
6TH -- The Chad Brown-trained LONGFOR THE CITY (Langfuhr) was never getting to the winner but he did fight on gamely to get second in his first start since September. The five-year-old should be expected to move up off of this prep run.
8TH -- WENT THE DAY WELL (Proud Citizen) had been off form for some time following a big early part of his sophomore campaign, but the six-year-old has done some good things since joining the barn of Jimmy Jerkens. The Grade 3 winner put in a fine late rush to capture this race and surely looks to be moving in the right direction.
A Look Ahead
There is no graded racing this week at Aqueduct.
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