Triple Crown News & Notes
Derby horses continue to arrive at Downs; Bold Conquest works
"He was here in the fall. We shipped him in Thanksgiving week and everything worked out well," Terranova said. "He's gotten over the track, shipped in, been here, so there are no concerns there."
The Todd Pletcher barn at Churchill Downs was back to its full complement of Derby horses Monday with the 5:20 a.m. arrival of Carpe Diem from Keeneland by van. The colt, a multiple-stakes winner of four of five starts, simply had a morning of walking around Barn 40 after having put in his final Kentucky Derby prep (:48.60) Saturday morning in Lexington, then jogging there Sunday.
Arriving shortly after 10 a.m. (EDT) from the nearby Trackside training center was Louisiana Derby (G2) winner International Star (Fusaichi Pegasus), who took up residence in Barn 27.
Scheduled to arrive later Monday from Arlington in Chicago is Mubtaahij (Dubawi). Trained by Michael de Kock, Mubtaahij won the U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2) in his most recent start.
The lone horse under Kentucky Derby consideration to work Monday was Bold Conquest, who covered five furlongs in 1:01 4/5 under exercise rider Abel Flores for trainer Steve Asmussen. The workout was the ninth fastest of 32 workouts at the distance.
Bold Conquest's fractions were :13 1/5, :25 2/5, :37 3/5, :49 3/5 and out six furlongs in 1:16. The colt worked in company with Gold Hawk (Empire Maker) after the renovation break.
"He went nice," Asmussen said. "He goes over the track good. Nice and smooth. Handled nice."
Bold Conquest would need two defections from horses under consideration for the race to gain a spot in the starting gate.
Stanford (Malibu Moon), the Louisiana Derby runner-up, went to the track with the stable's first set shortly after 6 a.m. with exercise rider Isabelle Bourez as his pilot. He galloped a mile and one half strongly, making the Frenchwoman earn all of her keep.
"Oh, boy," Bourez said afterward. "He made me work hard today. I didn't want him to go fast and he was pulling hard."
Trainer Todd Pletcher noted that the issue of a rider for Stanford still had not been resolved, but that there was to be "a pow wow this afternoon with all the owners on the phone and we'll see if we can't get it sorted out there."
For the full Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks (G1) tracknotes for April 27, please click here.
Luminance, Maybellene likely to swerve 'really strong' Kentucky Oaks
Luminance has made three career starts and in her most recent outing was second by 5 1/4 lengths in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1). Maybellene has won three of 10 starts. She finished second in the Sunland Park Oaks but was moved to first by the disqualification of stablemate Callback (Street Sense).
Should the Baffert duo skip the Oaks, then Charles Fipke's Forever Unbridled (Unbridled's Song) and George and Lori Hall's Money'soncharlotte (Mizzen Mast) would get in.
Forever Unbridled, currently 15th on the Oaks point list, placed in all three preps at Fair Grounds. She finished second in the Silverbulletday and third in both the Rachel Alexandra (G3) and Fair Grounds Oaks (G2). I'm a Chatterbox (Munnings) won all three of those races.
"They're solid, the ones she's been running against,'' Stewart said. "That form has held up just great. She's got to be a couple of lengths better for sure to win.''
Stewart said that Unbridled Forever is showing signs that she's maturing.
"She's progressed,'' Stewart said. "You look at her worktab, she's right there. She was three of 30 the other day, nice and easy. (He was referring to a five-furlong workout Friday in 1:01, the third fastest of 30 workouts that day at the distance.) She's doing well. She's eating well. She's carrying herself well -- everything that we like to see. She's sound.''
Also on Monday, Hronis Racing's dominant Santa Anita Oaks winner Stellar Wind got her first taste of the Churchill Downs surface right after the track opened in the morning, jogging an easy one mile from the five-eighths pole under Ricardo Peniche, longtime exercise rider for trainer John Sadler.
"She jogged really nice, relaxed," Peniche said. "No problems. She's been relaxed and is very good. She handled the track good. She's sharp but she handled it really nice. We are very excited about her. She's been training great and she's got our hopes up."
Belmont kicks off lucrative 59-day meet with Elusive Quality
That day, Belmont will offer a trio of prestigious stakes races: the $200,000 Sheepshead Bay (G2) and the $150,000 Fort Marcy (G3), both on the turf, and the $150,000 Westchester (G3), the traditional prep for the $1.25 million Metropolitan H. (G1) on Belmont Stakes Day.
The Met Mile is one of five other Grade 1 races on a 13-race card supporting the Belmont: the $1 million Manhattan on the turf, the $1 million Ogden Phipps for fillies and mares, the $750,000 Acorn for three-year-old fillies and the $700,000 Just a Game for turf fillies and mares.
Also on track that day will be the $500,000 Woody Stephens , the $400,000 Brooklyn (G2), the $300,000 Jaipur (G3), and the $150,000 Easy Goer for three-year-olds.
With the Belmont Stakes Draw scheduled on June 3 at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival will kick off on June 4 with the $150,000 Intercontinental for turf fillies and mares and the $250,000 Astoria for two-year-old fillies.
On June 5, the festival continues as Belmont Park will offer five stakes races worth $1.2 million, including the $300,000 New York (G2) for turf fillies and mares, the $250,000 True North (G2) for sprinters, the $250,000 Belmont Gold Cup for turf marathoners, the $150,000 Jersey Girl for three-year-old filly sprinters, and the Astoria's twin race, the 5 1/2-furlong Tremont for juveniles, also with a purse of $250,000.
On Memorial Day, May 25, New York-breds take center stage on Big Apple Showcase Day, with six stakes races worth $900,000 including a pair of one-mile dirt races: the Commentator and the Critical Eye for fillies and mares, both worth $200,000.
In July, the second "must-see" event of the meet is the second edition of the internationally themed Stars & Stripes Racing Festival, highlighted by the $1.25 Belmont Derby (G1) and the $1 million Belmont Oaks (G1) for three-year-old fillies, both at 1 1/4 miles on the turf. Also on the card are the $500,000 Suburban H. (G2), the $500,000 Dwyer (G3) for three-year-olds, the $400,000 Belmont Sprint Championship (G3) and the $150,000 Victory Ride (G3) for three-year-old filly sprinters.
"Party at the Park" Twilight Fridays return with a special 3 p.m. (EDT) post time on June 19, June 26 and July 3, and the "Breakfast at Belmont" program is available every weekend and holiday during the meet, with the exception of Belmont Stakes weekend.
First race post time at Belmont Park generally is 1:20 p.m., with racing conducted Wednesday through Sunday.
Admission to Belmont Park is $5, excluding Belmont Stakes Day, when Grandstand admission is $15 and Clubhouse admission is $40. Information on special hospitality packages and seats for Belmont Stakes Day can be found at belmontstakes.com.
A contentious group of older turf runners have lined up for Wednesday's $100,000 Elusive Quality on opening day, led by New York-bred King Kreesa (King Cugat). In 2014, King Kreesa won his seasonal debut in the West Point on August 24 at Saratoga, and then finished second in the Ashley T. Cole at Belmont and third in the Mohawk to close out an abridged campaign for trainer David Donk.
Plainview (Street Cry) is set to make his 2015 debut in the seven-furlong dash on the Widener turf. Most recently a distant ninth in the Queens County racing on dirt, Plainview previously finished fourth in the Knickerbocker (G3) after setting the pace over a yielding course.
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott will saddle a potent uncoupled entry of Sinatra (Harlan's Holiday) and Mosler (War Front). Sinatra will be turning back off a third-place finish in a 1 1/16-mile allowance at Gulfstream Park, while Mosler will switch back to turf after finishing ninth in the one-mile Fred W. Hooper (G3) on Gulfstream's main track. One start prior to the Fred Hooper, Mosler was sixth, beaten 3 1/2 lengths, in the Ft. Lauderdale (G2) on turf -- his first start over the surface.
Hard-knocking turf sprinters Mr. Online (Silent Name), Tightend Touchdown (Pure Precision), Dimension (Medicean) and Spring to the Sky (Langfuhr) are also among those entered for the Elusive Quality.
Lyons duo still on course to contest Guineas
Conditioner Ger Lyons is planning on saddling two for the Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-G1) at Newmarket's Rowley Mile Saturday in Cappella Sansevero (Showcasing) and Endless Drama (Lope De Vega).
"Both are likely to run, although Endless Drama might not make the trip if the ground ended up being on the firm side," Lyons said. "Endless Drama is a big gross horse, weighing over 600 kilos, and he had a good blow after his comeback race. He is a very straightforward and uncomplicated horse with a very high-cruising speed. I first thought of him as a possible Guineas horse a long, long time ago as every single piece of work that he has ever done has been very smart.
"Cappella Sansevero had a busy two-year-old campaign with a lot of traveling, so it was always the intention to start him back in the Guineas," Lyons continued. "He has had a couple of racecourse gallops and won first time out last season. I am happy with him, he has done well physically, and his work has been good."
Moheet (High Chapparal) and The Wow Signal (Starspangledbanner) both remain on track for the Two Thousand Guineas. Frankie Dettori will maintain his mount on Moheet, while Gregory Benoist will ride The Wow Signal.
"At this stage the intention is to run both of them," said Harry Herbert, Al Shaqab's racing manager. "I think Frankie rides Moheet with Gregory Benoist coming over to ride The Wow Signal, but that could change, obviously."
Meanwhile, Beautiful Romance (New Approach) will not run in Sunday's One Thousand Guineas (Eng-G1) at Newmarket, trainer Saeed bin Suroor confirmed. The Godolphin colorbearer took a Doncaster maiden in October and was third in the Nell Gwyn S. (Eng-G3) April 15. Beautiful Romance will now target the Epsom Oaks (Eng-G1).
"It is nothing major, but it has held her up enough to rule her out of racing this weekend," bin Suroor told www.godolphin.com. "But I am hopeful that she will be back on target for the Oaks and other big races this summer."
Sr. Quisqueyano (Exclusive Quality), who has turned in two quality showings at Gulfstream this season winning the Sunshine Millions Classic and running second by a neck in the Skip Away (G3), will shorten up in distance for Friday's $200,000 Texas Mile (G3) at Lone Star Park. Originally scheduled to be run April 24, the Texas Mile was postponed after inclement weather forced the cancellation of racing that evening after one race. The 7-5 morning line favorite will need to use his early speed to overcome post 9 in the 11-horse lineup. His most serious challenger might be Grade 3 veteran Rise Up (Rockport Harbor), a three-length winner against third-level allowance company at Fair Grounds last time for Tom Amoss. Also in the mix are Louisiana-bred stakes winner One King's Man (K One King), sixth in the New Orleans H. (G2) last time, and recentr Oaklawn allowance winners Evan's Calling (Aragorn) and Texas Air (Texas City).
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