Constitution out of Derby
Constitution will be shipped to WinStar Farm in Versailles, Kentucky to rehabilitate, with the hopes of returning to training in 60 days and racing again in 2014. The talented bay colt is owned by WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables.
"While we are extremely disappointed to miss the Kentucky Derby, we're just as excited about the future of Constitution," said Randy Gullatt, Twin Creeks Racing's general manager. "We think he's just scratching the surface of his talent."
WinStar President & CEO Elliott Walden added: "Todd has done a tremendous job with Constitution and I can't wait to get him back for two reasons: firstly, he has so much to accomplish, and secondly, he is the most exciting stallion prospect of his generation."
Constitution holds a perfect record of three wins from three starts this winter at Gulfstream Park, capturing the March 29 Florida Derby in his stakes debut. Out of the Distorted Humor mare Baffled, he has earnings of $649,350 to date.
With the defection, Uncle Sigh now has enough points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, moving from 21st to 20th on the leaderboard.
Eleven line up for Lexington
Mr Speaker is also in with a good chance following a half-length second in the grassy Palm Beach at Gulfstream Park last month. The bay son of Pulpit broke his maiden and captured the Dania Beach in his final two juvenile starts for trainer Shug McGaughey and keeps Jose Lezcano in the irons for this first foray over the synthetic Polytrack.
Supermonic just tried Keeneland for the first time in an allowance going the Lexington's 8 1/2-furlong distance and romped home a 7 1/2-length front-running winner. The Pletcher-trained son of Latent Heat stamped himself as one to watch on Saturday as he faces stakes rivals for the first time with Joel Rosario taking the mount.
The rest of the Lexington field is stakes, and synthetic, debuter Z Lucky; optional claiming scorer Ride Away; and maiden winners Morning Calm and Global Strike.
While the Lexington is the feature on Saturday at Keeneland, it shares the program with one other graded contest and a stakes event.
The Grade 3, $150,000 Ben Ali is sandwiched in between the $100,000 Giant's Causeway, which begins the stakes action, and the Lexington. The nine-furlong, main-track contest drew 10 older horses, including Newsdad and Frac Daddy. The former just captured the Pan American at Gulfstream on March 24 and boasts a 2-0-0 mark from three tries at Keeneland, including last year's Fayette.
Frac Daddy scored an allowance win at Keeneland, just the second victory of his career, last October and is exiting a second in the Maxxam Gold Cup. The Scat Daddy gray has yet to actually earn a stakes win but will be saddled by trainer Kenny McPeek, who has been winning at a 23-percent clip at the current meet.
Eleven distaffers have been entered for the grassy, 5 1/2-furlong Giant's Causeway.
Midnight Hawk holds class edge in Illinois Derby
Whether or not Midnight Hawk will appreciate the distance of the Illinois Derby, the gray will at least experience some welcome class relief. A winner of his first two starts, including the one-mile Sham at Santa Anita in January, Midnight Hawk has futilely chased the likes of probable Kentucky Derby favorite California Chrome, Candy Boy, and Chitu in recent outings.
Midnight Hawk's most serious rival on Saturday might be Class Leader. The late-blooming Smart Strike colt, from the barn of Neil Howard, makes his stakes debut after back-to-back wins at Fair Grounds, the latter a one-length allowance score on March 13.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, whose barn has racked up wins in the Florida Derby and Arkansas Derby in recent weeks, has entered King Cyrus and Global Strike. Second in a minor stakes at Calder two back, King Cyrus will add blinkers for the Illinois Derby after a nondescript seventh-place effort in the Louisiana Derby. Global Strike, who is also cross-entered in Saturday's Lexington at Keeneland, is probably better than his last-out sixth in the Sunland Derby would indicate.
Like Global Strike, the Mark Casse-trained Dynamic Impact was cross-entered in the Lexington. The Tiznow colt needed five starts to break his maiden, but did so over a mile at Oaklawn last time in an effort which garnered a solid 96 BRIS Speed rating.
The Illinois Derby field is completed by longshots A Step Ahead, Irish You Well, and Emmett Park.
Recently sixth against a tough field in the Azeri at Oaklawn, Flashy American might move forward in her second start of the season in the Grade 3, $150,000 Sixty Sails Handicap over nine furlongs. A three-time stakes winner last season, the five-year-old gray mare also placed in the Shuvee Handicap and Falls City Handicap for trainer Ken McPeek.
Also entered in this wide-open renewal are Gamay Noir, who upset the Rampart at Gulfstream at odds of 49-1 last time, and Imposing Grace, a recent allowance runner-up who will probably move on to defend her title in next month's Arlington Matron.
Likely to show speed here are Sonja's Angel, second against optional claiming foes at Gulfstream last out, and Dress the Part, who landed the $50,000 Wayward Lass at Tampa Bay Downs most recently. Todd Pletcher's Brazilian import Ana Luisa and 2012 Canadian classic winner Dixie Strike are also among the eight fillies and mares entered.
Game On Dude towers over six rivals in Charles Town Classic
Multiple stakes victor Long River brings improving form into the race for Kiaran McLaughlin. A nice winner of the January 18 Evening Attire at Aqueduct, the four-year-old son of A.P. Indy exits a neck second to well-regarded stablemate Romansh in the Grade 3 Excelsior on March 22. Irad Ortiz Jr. retains the assignment.
"Maybe we can sit third, fourth or fifth and make a run," said McLaughlin, who is anticipating a hot early pace. "Game on Dude is obviously the horse to beat and a nice horse. He's coming off a big effort in California but has to fly (to West Virginia_. We're coming off a big effort at Aqueduct. There are a million and five reasons to come. He deserves a chance, and it's a Grade 2, and we're trying to win a graded stakes with our horse. There's no reason not to run."
Imperative finished ahead of Game On Dude when second at 26-1 odds in the Grade 2 San Antonio two back and will attempt to rebound from a seventh in the Big 'Cap. Kent Desormeaux sticks with the George Papaprodromou-trained gelding.
Clubhouse Ride finished second to Game On Dude three times last season, including the Charles Town Classic, and returns for another shot at the favorite. However, the Craig Lewis charge will need to turn things around, dropping seven starts in a row, including all three efforts this year. The six-year-old exits a non-threatening third in the March 30 Santana Mile at Santa Anita. The Candy Ride horse keeps Typer Baze in the irons.
"Chasing (Game On Dude) around the country is like trying to catch the wind," Lewis said. "He's coming up to this as well as I could hope. He's feeling good, acting good."
Moreno, a nose second in the Travers, will make his first appearance of the year. Scratched from last Saturday's Oaklawn H., the four-year-old gelding has not started since a 10th in the Breeders' Cup Classic. The Eric Guillot trainee captured the Grade 2 Dwyer last season and the speedster also placed in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby and Grade 2 Jim Dandy. Moreno picks up the services of Joel Rosario and figures to break running from post position 2.
"His pedigree indicates he should be better at four," Guillot said. "He's been working lights out at Santa Anita."
Multiple Grade 2 runner-up Ruler of Love, fourth when opening 2014 in the March 22 Challenger at Tampa Bay Downs; and local star Lucy's Bob Boy, an eight-time Charles Town stakes winner, round out the field.
"He kind of accelerates on the turns here while everyone else slows down a little bit," trainer Sandra Dono said of the West Virginia-bred Lucy's Bob Boy. "He might have a little bit of a hometown advantage, but just to run with this class of horses -- like Game on Dude -- is a privilege."
Two races prior to the Classic, Grade 3 winner Rise Up heads a a field of nine three-year-olds in the $100,000 Robert Hilton Memorial at seven furlongs. The Tom Amoss-trained colt entered the year on the Kentucky Derby trail but missed the start and never threatened in both outings this year, finishing seventh in the Grade 2 Risen Star and 10th in the Louisiana Derby. The Rockport Harbor colt picks up a new rider in Leandro Goncalves.
An overflow of 11 fillies and mares, including one also-eligible, were entered to the $200,000 Sugar Maple. Multiple stakes winner My Pal Chrisy, who is cross-entered to Saturday's Grade 2 Distaff H. at Aqueduct, will be the one to beat in the seven-furlong test following a runner-up in the Grade 2 Inside Information at Gulfstream Park.
Kauai Katie returns in Distaff Handicap
Kauai Katie, unraced since finishing sixth in the Prioress in July, will return to the races on Saturday when she faces an evenly matched field of filly and mare sprinters in Aqueduct's Grade 2, $200,000 Distaff Handicap at six furlongs.
As a two-year-old, Kauai Katie won her first three starts, including the Adirondack and Matron, both Grade 2s. She then tired to fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, the only time in her career she has competed around two turns.
At three, Kauai Katie easily won the Old Hat, Forward Gal and Road Princess before she stumbled at the start, pressed the pace, and retreated in the stretch when third, beaten seven lengths, as the 8-5 second choice in the Acorn in May at Belmont Park.
Despite the loss, Kauai Katie went off as the 2-5 favorite in the Prioress at Saratoga. Once again, she tracked the leaders and came up empty in the stretch, finishing last of six, 6 1/4 lengths behind the winner. Following that disappointing effort, the Malibu Moon filly was freshened by trainer Todd Pletcher with the intention of focusing on a four-year-old campaign.
"It was always planned to come back (in the Distaff); it worked out, timing wise," said Byron Hughes, assistant to Pletcher. "She has been feeling great in the mornings, never missed a step out there. We'll see what happens. This is a difficult spot, but she's a very high-quality filly, and we think she's capable of competing at any level."
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez rill ride Kauai Katie, the 3-1 second choice on the morning-line, from post 5.
La Verdad, also a four-year-old, has won six-of-eight starts, including five-of-six at Aqueduct. In her most recent start, the bay daughter of Yes It's True made quick work of New York-bred competition in the Broadway over the inner track in March. She was installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the Distaff.
After finishing fourth in her debut, La Verdad won five straight races before she set the pace and yielded late when second in the Barbara Fritchie Handicap in February at Laurel Park. The front runner found the Broadway to her liking, quickly seizing the lead and never looking back en route to a 3 1/4-length triumph.
"She's racing well, but this is a pretty big jump up in company," trainer Linda Rice admitted. "She ran very well (in the Barbara Fritchie), which made me think she deserves another chance in a graded stakes."
La Verdad, who will be ridden once again by Jose Ortiz, drew post 1 for the Distaff.
"Jose knows her well, so he'll make the best decision for her," Rice added of La Verdad's draw.
The lightly raced Bridgehampton will be making her second start of 2014 in the Distaff. Second in the Victory Ride in her sophomore finale, the Bernardini lass made her return in an entry-level allowance over the inner track on March 23, showing speed from the gate, opening a five-length lead in the stretch, and holding on while shortening stride late to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths.
"I thought it was just what she needed, just what we were looking for," trainer Michael Hushion stated. "We've been pointing for the Distaff for three months. This has been our long-term plan. We've done everything we can to get her a little stronger since (the allowance race). We'll find out at the sixteenth-pole."
Rajiv Maragh will ride Bridgehampton, drew post 6, for the first time in the Distaff.
Munnings Sister, who has won five stakes, including three at Belmont Park, returns to New York after competing twice in Florida and making one start in California for trainer Barclay Tagg. She was third in the Sugar Swirl in December and won the Awesome Feather in February before reporting home third in the Las Flores on March 9. The winner of the Las Flores, Judy the Beauty, returned to take Keeneland's Madison last Saturday.
Luis Saez will ride Munnings Sister, 4-1, from post 4.
The Distaff field is completed by Miss d'Oro, who was second in last year's Distaff and hasn't raced since finishing fourth in the Vagrancy Handicap in May; Lion D N A, who won a pair of inner track stakes before finishing fifth in a starter allowance February 17; and My Pal Chrisy, who has finished second in three straight races, including the March 22 Inside Information at Gulfstream Park, and is cross-entered to Saturday evening's $200,000 Sugar Maple at Charles Town.
Garoffalo happy to have Bejarano aboard Wildcat Red
Garoffalo had been waiting to find out if Saez would become available to return aboard the multiple stakes-winning colt that he had guided to victory in the Fountain of Youth on February 22. However, Saez had committed to ride Cairo Prince, who became eligible for the first leg of the Triple Crown on points last weekend when the dirt and Polytrack settled after the Arkansas Derby and the Blue Grass last weekend.
"The very next day after the Florida Derby, Bejarano called me and told me he wanted to ride the horse. I put him on standby until this week," said Garoffalo, who had a conversation with Gary Stevens' agent before the Hall of Fame jockey opted to ride Candy Boy. "When we found the other riders were busy, I called him and set the deal. He's a great rider."
Bejarano has ridden the winners of more than 3,200 races and $155 million in purses, but is winless in eight Derby mounts. The 32-year-old native of Peru has two on-the-board finishes in Triple Crown races, finishing second in the 2005 Belmont aboard Andromeda's Hero and third on Sunriver in the 2006 Belmont.
In seven starts, all at Gulfstream, Wildcat Red has won four races, including the Fountain of Youth and the Hutcheson, and lost the other three starts by a pair of heads and a disqualification to account for three second-place finishes.
"He's a fighter," Garoffalo said. "He has versatility. He can run anywhere."
Wildcat Red is scheduled to breeze at Gulfstream on Friday before shipping to Churchill Downs on April 22 and have his final prep the following Friday.
"We're trying to get together and see if he can stop by Churchill for a day or two and breeze the horse," Garoffalo said. "I would like it to work out that way, but, if not, it's not necessary. This horse is an easy ride."
Garoffalo expressed total satisfaction with Wildcat Red's development and training since the Florida Derby, in which he set the pace before being headed by Constitution.
"He's getting better with every race. He's getting more mature and stronger and more focused with every race," he said. "The more he's doing the better he feels."
Social Inclusion turns in three-furlong breeze
"We're going to breeze him again Saturday and by that time, we might know if we're in the Derby or not," said Sanchez, noting that Social Inclusion would run on the first leg of the Triple Crown if eligible. "But we're trying to find a prep for the Preakness."
In any event, the first Saturday in May could still be on Social Inclusion's calendar. The $75,000 Sir Bear, a one-mile stakes for three-year-olds at Gulfstream on May 3, would be one option for a Preakness prep.
Social Inclusion debuted at Gulfstream on February 22, scoring a 7 1/2-length victory in 1:09 1/5 for six furlongs. He followed up with a 10-length triumph on March 12 while setting a track record for 1 1/16 miles (1:40.97). Favored at 9-5 in the Wood Memorial, the Kentucky-bred colt raced wide on the first turn before getting the lead and tiring in deep stretch to finish third, beaten by a nose for second and an automatic spot in the Derby field.
"The horse got a lot of experience. We had a lot of bad luck losing the Derby spot by a nose," Sanchez said. "He's improving. What I saw this morning was surprising. What we learned is the horse is improving every day with experience."
Sanchez said Luis Contreras would retain the mount aboard Social Inclusion.
Zenyatta's yearling colt named Ziconic
Zenyatta is due to deliver a War Front foal soon.
All-Weather Championship Finals Day draws full fields
Final declarations have been made for All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, April 18, and the £1 million on offer in prize money has certainly proved popular.
There are 96 horses declared across the card with maximum fields for five of the seven contests. In addition, the £150,000 Three-Year-Old Championships, the £150,000 Sprint and the £150,000 Mile each have two reserves which can be utilized if there are any withdrawals by 9 a.m. (BST) Thursday morning.
"We really could not have asked for a better inaugural All-Weather Championships Finals Day with maximum fields in five of the six main races," ARC Director of PR and Communications Kate Hills said. "The Fast-Track Qualifiers have provided a strong narrative in the build-up to Good Friday and it is very satisfying to see so many of them lining up.
"We are all set for a fabulous and historic day's racing with racing for the first time in England on Good Friday."
Horses qualified for the six championship contests by running in a minimum of three races at Britain's all-weather tracks -- three owned by ARC (Lingfield Park, Southwell and Wolverhampton) and The Jockey Club's Kempton Park -- between October 26 and April 11 or else by succeeding in one of the 16 Fast-Track Qualifiers.
A field of 13 goes to post in the day's richest race, the £200,000 Classic over 10 furlongs. Heading the declarations are course and distance winners Robin Hoods Bay and Grandeur. Robin Hoods Bay landed the March 22 Winter Derby for trainer Ed Vaughan while Grandeur was successful in the Winter Derby Trial a month earlier for conditioner Jeremy Noseda. Both of those races served as Fast-Track Qualifiers for the Classic.
The final field for Britain's richest-ever all-weather race also includes multiple Polytrack scorer Solar Deity plus listed scorers Aussie Reigns and Dick Doughtywylie.
In the £150,000 All-Weather Fillies' & Mares' Championships, a maximum field of 14 distaffers is set to face the starter, including the Michael Bell-trained Fashion Line, who won twice at Wolverhampton before finishing a close fourth in the valuable Ladbrokes Lincoln Trial on March 8 at the same track.
All three Fast-Track Qualifier winners in the Three-Year-Old category are set to take part in the £150,000 All-Weather Three-Year-Old Championships over seven furlongs, which has a maximum field of 14.
Ertijaal qualified by landing the listed Spring Cup at Lingfield Park on March 22 by a head from American Hope. The filly Alutiq could only finish seventh that day but had already qualified by landing a Fast-Track Qualifier at Kempton Park on January 15. The other Fast-Track Qualifier scorer to line up is Complicit, who scored at Lingfield Park in November before going on to win on the All-Weather surface at Deauville next time out.
Dean Ivory, based at Radlett in Hertfordshire, is represented in the All-Weather Three-Year-Old Championships by Golden Amber. The daughter of Holy Roman Emperor won on turf in Ireland last year and although winless in three six-furlong starts on Polytrack, the trainer believes the step up in trip will suit and she will sport a hood for the first time.
"I think Golden Amber will appreciate the step up to seven furlongs on the all-weather," Ivory said. "To get into these big races, you have to run three times to qualify so you end up running them in races that aren't ideal. I was running her over six furlongs when I knew she wanted seven.
"She had three quick runs to get her in, but she has had a break and galloped at Lingfield last week with Sirius Prospect just to sharpen her up. I think the hood will help. It will get her to relax."
Another race with a maximum field is the £150,000 All-Weather Marathon over nearly two miles. Again, three Fast-Track Qualifier scorers line up -- Arch Villain, who scored at Kempton Park on January 22; Castilo del Diablo, a winner at Kempton Park on March 31; and Litigant, who has won two of his three starts on Polytrack and landed his Fast-Track Qualifier at Lingfield Park on March 1.
Ivory is represented in the race by Duchess of Gazeley, who put up her best performance when third, beaten a half-length, behind Litigant at Lingfield Park.
"Duchess of Gazeley is in great form," Ivory stated. "The two miles at Kempton doesn't suit her -- she struggles to get the trip -- but it's a lot easier at Lingfield. She has good form at the track but we have got to ride her to get the trip.
"She would have a squeak on her run behind Litigant at Lingfield and I would like to think she will be in the first three or four."
The £150,000, six-furlong Sprint also features the three Fast-Track Qualifier scorers among the maximum field of 12. They include Tarooq, who scored by a head from Rivellino in the listed Cleves Stakes at Lingfield Park on February 22. The eight-year-old had previously led home Hawkeyethenoo, Lancelot Du Lac and Alben Star in a handicap over the same course and distance in December, when the first six horses home all broke the track record. Stepper Point, successful in the five-furlong listed Hever Sprint Stakes at Lingfield Park on March 22, and Valbchek, not seen out since taking the listed Golden Rose Stakes at Lingfield Park on November 16, are the other two Fast-Track Qualifier winners.
Lancelot Du Lac did not manage to win a Fast-Track Qualifier but, having finished third behind Tarooq and Valbchek, his trainer Ivory is confident of a good run. The four-year-old was last seen out when fifth behind Trinityelitedotcom in a March 29 Kempton Park handicap.
"I thought it was a good, solid run from Lancelot Du Lac at Kempton," Ivory commented. "Ideally, I wanted to sit him second or third that day, but they hit the gate and went like the clappers. He was a little bit further back than I would have like and there was a tail wind, so the leaders did not come back to us and broke the track record by a second.
"That run should put him spot on and, as long as we get luck in running, which is so important at Lingfield, I really do think he is going to take a lot of beating."
A maximum field of 12 goes in the £150,000 Mile. Again, all the of the three Fast-Track Qualifier winners are set to run -- Sirius Prospect, who has been rested since winning the listed Hyde Stakes at Kempton Park in November; Grey Mirage, successful in three of his four most recent Polytrack starts; and Chookie Royale, who makes the long journey down from Scotland.
"Sirius Prospect has had two gallops at Lingfield. I just wanted to show the horse around - he has never run there before - and get him used to the bends," Ivory spoke of his entrant. "He worked lovely again this morning. I know we have a bad draw (14) and you need the luck in running at Lingfield, but he is in great nick and I am expecting a big run.
"A mile at Lingfield is like seven and a bit on the grass. He held on well at Kempton and is bred for a mile, so I'm not worried about the trip."
All-Weather Championships Finals Day gets underway with the £50,000 All-Weather Championships Apprentice Handicap over 1 1/2 miles in which 11 horses go to post including The Lock Master, who is seeking a four-timer following victories at Southwell and Wolverhampton.
Please visit awchampionships.co.uk for more details about the All-Weather Championships, including the leaderboards and the blog from Luke Morris.
Shared Belief returns to worktab
Out of the Storm Cat mare Common Hope and a half-brother to Grade 3 vixen Little Miss Holly, the unbeaten Shared Belief has earned $451,200.
Emollient seeks third Keeneland stakes win in Doubledogdare
Another with notable synthetic credentials is Sisterhood, who narrowly missed in both the Doubledogdare and Arlington Matron last year. The Wesley Ward pupil has been idle since December, when she ended her campaign with a fifth consecutive unplaced finish against stakes foes.
Several quality grass performers are also in the Doubledogdare lineup, including 2013 Bewitch winner Strathnaver. The Graham Motion-trained daughter of Oasis Dream also captured the Lady Baltimore at Laurel in September and was last seen finishing a close third in the My Charmer Handicap at Calder in December.
Solid Appeal kicked off her 2013 campaign with an allowance win over the Keeneland main track and later won the Nassau and Dance Smartly, both Grade 2 events over the Woodbine turf. She will be making her first start since running third in the Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs in November.
Others of note are Canadian classic winner Dixie Strike, Remington Park Oaks and Zia Park Oaks runner-up Gold Medal Dancer, and the Grade 3-placed Ire, who has won three of four starts on the Keeneland Polytrack.
Toormore returns to action in Craven
Toormore, Europe's champion two-year-old from last season, heads a strong six-runner field for Thursday's Group 3 Craven Stakes on Newmarket's Rowley Mile, a key trial for the Two Thousand Guineas.
Trained by Richard Hannon Jr., Toormore will be looking to maintain his three-race unbeaten record which climaxed when he won the Vincent O'Brien National Stakes at the Curragh last September. He is third-favorite for the Two Thousand Guineas at Newmarket on May 3, the opening race of the British Champions Series, behind hot favorite Kingman, trained by John Gosden, and the Aidan O'Brien-trained Australia.
There could be a further shake-up in the marketThursday afternoon if Toormore wins impressively under a three-pound penalty over the Guineas course and distance. He will have to beat some serious opposition, however, including the highly regarded Be Ready from Saeed bin Suroor's Godolphin yard.
The son of New Approach made his debut in a staks at Newbury when finishing a clear second behind the Mark Johnston-trained Somewhat. His second start was in another stakes at Doncaster when he ran out a very impressive winner, beating Barley Mow by an easy three lengths. Barley Mow was a close fifth in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc Day at Longchamp on his next start.
"Be Ready is doing well and working really nicely," bin Suroor said Tuesday morning. "This is a tough race to start his year but he will improve. He was always one of the nicest two-year-olds in my stable, that's why we started him off in a Listed race as we knew that he had the class.
"He looks stronger -- he was weak last year -- and is quiet, calm, relaxed and happy. He has done really well. He's starting to work really well but we will learn a lot more about him from this race.
"We missed the Dewhurst with him as we needed to give him a break -- he was not ready for a Group 1 race and needed time."
Asked about the ideal trip for the colt, bin Suroor said: "A mile and a quarter or a mile and a half might be fine for him. The way he does his work suggests a mile and a quarter but the longer trip is still a possibility."
Asked about Kingman's Greenham Stakes victory, bin Suroor added: "He was really impressive, he won so easily."
Toormore also has to take on his stable companion Anjaal, who won the July Stakes at the Newmarket July Festival last season and who finished just three lengths behind War Command in the Dewhurst on Future Champions Day last October. He also has a three-pound penalty to carry.
The other three contenders include Patentar from Marco Botti's yard. He ran away with a York maiden last season and is in serious consideration for the Guineas.
Luca Cumani runs Postponed, who was a fine second to Oklahoma City in the £500,000 Tattersalls Millions Two-Year-Old Trophy on Newmarket's Rowley Mile last October.
The field is completed by Kevin Ryan's The Great Gatsby, who was runner-up to Outstrip -- subsequent winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf -- in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last September.
Elsewhere on the card there is a very strong field for the £200,000 Tattersalls Millions Three-Year-Old Trophy, including the runner-up to Kingston Hill in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, Johann Strauss, trained by Aidan O'Brien
"Johann Strauss gained some valuable experience last year and finished off with a storming run in the Racing Post Trophy," O'Brien said. "He was unlucky on his first run back this season but still showed plenty of promise. He seems to have come out of it in good form so we're hoping he'll run well again in the valuable Tattersalls Millions race on Thursday."
Aljamaaheer tries his hand at sprinting in the Group 3 Abernant Stakes for trainer Roger Varian, while the Group 3 Earl of Sefton Stakes sees the One Thousand Guineas runner-up from last season, Just the Judge, who subsequently took the Irish One Thousand Guineas, make her seasonal debut over a mile and one furlong for trainer Charlie Hills.
Breeders' Cup winner My Flag dies after foaling
Four-time Grade 1 winner My Flag died at Claiborne Farm April 12 after foaling a healthy bay colt by Bernardini.
Bred and raced by Ogden Phipps, the 21-year-old broodmare was a product of two Phipps champions -- 1988 champion two-year-old colt and 1989 Belmont Stakes winner Easy Goer, and the undefeated Hall of Fame mare Personal Ensign, who was named champion older female in 1988.
One of the leading fillies of her generation, My Flag won six races and placed seven times from 20 starts, earning over $1.5 million. Among her victories were the 1995 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Belmont Park, and the 1996 runnings of the Ashland at Keeneland, Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont, and Gazelle Handicap at Belmont. My Flag placed in five other stakes, including the 1996 Belmont Stakes.
As a broodmare, My Flag produced 2002 champion two-year-old filly Storm Flag Flying, also winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Additionally, she is the dam of Grade 3-placed On Parade as well as stakes winner With Flying Colors and stakes-placed Leading the Parade. My Flag is the second dam of Grade 2 winner Parading.
My Flag has been buried at Claiborne Farm.
French import Lacarolina faces 11 in Appalachian
Kitten Kaboodle, who broke her maiden last fall in the Jessamine over this turf, is hoping to rebound off two sub-par outings. Eleventh of 14 in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in her two-year-old finale, the Chad Brown trainee ran another dull one in the March 8 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs, finishing seventh in a field of 12.
Brown will also saddle the field's other European import, Sweet Acclaim, who won on debut at Yarmouth at odds of 40-1 before finishing third in the Oh So Sharp, a Group 3 event at Newmarket.
Recepta, who makes her season debut for trainer Jimmy Toner, made an impressive turf debut last October in the $100,000 Chelsea Flower at Belmont Park. Saddled with an outside post and hung very wide for most of the one-mile trip, the Speightstown filly nonetheless turned in an impressive stretch rally to beat 11 rivals going away by 3 1/4 lengths.
"She is doing great and we are following the same program we did with Winter Memories," said Toner, referring to his 2011 Appalachian winner. "Recepta has a lot of quality and ability, but we don't know how deep that is. With Winter Memories we knew."
Resistivity, a solid allowance winner two back at Gulfstream in her turf debut, wheels back on 12 days' rest after fading to 10th in the Ashland on Polytrack. Retreating after a wide-trip pressing trip from post 13, the filly easily defeated Jessamine runner-up and returning rival Zinzay by 3 3/4 lengths in that March 15 allowance in Florida.
Other Appalachian notables include Daring Dancer, who captured her only outings at Laurel and Churchill Downs last fall for Graham Motion, and Maria Maria, who finished third behind the graded stakes-winning colts Bobby's Kitten and Global View in a Tampa Bay Downs allowance last month.
Beholder returns in Santa Lucia
Like Zenyatta, she is trained by John Shirreffs and will be ridden for the second time in a row by Mike Smith. Owned by St. George Farm Racing, LLC, she is 4-2-1-0 with earnings of $77,800.
The complete field for the Santa Lucia Stakes, to be run as the 8TH race on a nine-race card Sunday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Legacy, Drayden Van Dyke, 117; Moulin de Mougin, Martin Garcia, 117; Beholder, Gary Stevens, 123; Magic Union, Victor Espinoza, 117; Eblouissante, Mike Smith, 117; City At Dawn, Julien Couton, 117, and Irish Presence, Tyler Baze, 117.
First post time on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m. (PDT). Admission gates will open at 10:30 a.m.
Calvin Borel, who was inducted to Thoroughbred racing's Hall of Fame in 2013 after posting three Kentucky Derby victories in a four-year span (2007, 2009-10), will pilot Ride on Curlin (Curlin) in the May 3 Run for the Roses, The Courier-Journal reports. Borel was up for both previous wins on the "Bronco" Gowan-trained colt, including an allowance triumph earlier this year at Oaklawn Park, but departed for the last two outings, a third in the Rebel (G2) and a runner-up in the Arkansas Derby (G1). In other Kentucky Derby jockey developments, DRF reports that Rafael Bejarano will ride Fountain of Youth (G2) winner and Florida Derby (G1) runner-up Wildcat Red (D'wildcat), replacing John Velazquez, who will take the call on Risen Star (G2) hero and Louisiana Derby (G2) runner-up Intense Holiday (Harlan's Holiday). Agent Ron Anderson confirmed that Joel Rosario, winner of last year's Kentucky Derby on Orb, will have the mount in this year's renewal on General a Rod (Roman Ruler) for trainer Mike Maker. Rosario rode General a Rod to win the Gulfstream Park Derby and finished third on him in the Florida Derby (G1) in his most recent start...
Grade 2 winner Moreno (Ghostzapper) worked a half-mile in :49 3/5 through the snow early Tuesday morning at Keeneland with jockey Joel Rosario up for trainer Eric Guillot in preparation for Saturday's $1.5 million Charles Town Classic (G2) at 1 1/8 miles. Working on his own, Moreno went the first quarter-mile in :25 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:02 2/5. "That is what Eric wanted," said John Daley, who oversaw the work of Moreno, who was scheduled to make his 2014 debut in last Saturday's Oaklawn H. (G2). "He got to Oaklawn on Wednesday and was off his feed Thursday, so we scratched out of there," Daley said. "He flew in here Sunday, galloped Monday and we are leaving at 11:30 (a.m. EDT Tuesday morning) for West Virginia." Rosario will have the mount on Moreno on Saturday, according to his agent, Ron Anderson.
Up With the Birds (Stormy Atlantic) became a two-time Sovereign Award winner over the weekend as Canada's 2013 Horse of the Year and champion three-year-old. Trainer Malcolm Pierce has Up With the Birds at Keeneland, where he made his 2014 debut April 5 and finished sixth in a turf allowance test. "Maybe I did not have him tight enough, but he is the kind of horse that has to race himself into shape," Pierce said. "The other day when he ran, the turf was not that firm." Pierce said his horses would begin shipping to their home base at Woodbine the middle of next week. Plans for Up With the Birds might include a trip to Baltimore. "I have been thinking about the ($400,000) Dixie (G2) at Pimlico (on May 17)," Pierce said. "Timing-wise that would be perfect."...
A disappointing seventh as the 2-1 favorite in the February 9 Gulfstream Park Turf H. (G1), Summer Front (War Front) will look to rebound in Saturday's $100,000 Miami Mile H. (G3) at Calder. The five-year-old Christophe Clement trainee kicked off the season with a victory in the Ft. Lauderdale S. (G2) by three parts of a length, and figures to be a strong favorite to defend his title in the Miami Mile, which he won last year by 1 1/2 lengths. Also in the lineup is Hey Leroy (Any Given Saturday), who pulled off an 11-1 upset of the Appleton S. (G3) at Gulfstream last month in his stakes debut for trainer Manny Azpurua, and Travelin Man (Trippi), a Grade 2 winner on dirt who finished second in the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint two back. Csaba (Kitten's Joy), a multiple Grade 3 winner on Calder's main track, is entered for the main track only...
Goldy Espony (Vespone) tried black-type company in the Prix Policeman over 10 furlongs on Cagnes-sur-Mer's Polytrack February 22 before stepping up to win the Prix Rose de Mai over that trip at Saint-Cloud March 15 and followed up in Tuesday's Prix Penelope (Fr-G3) with a determined effort to stay on the road to the Prix de Diane (Fr-G1). Settled in second early, the gray took over before the quarter pole and dug in to beat Hug and a Kiss (Thewayyouare) in the drive to the line...
Free Eagle (High Chaparral), third choice at 16-1 for the Epsom Derby (Eng-G1) with some bookmakers, will miss the June 7 classic after suffering a setback in training, conditioner Dermot Weld told Racing Post. "Unfortunately Free Eagle has had a training setback and there won't be enough time to have him ready to run at Epsom or in the Irish Derby (Ire-G1)," the trainer told the trade daily. "He should be back in full training in early July to be prepared for an autumn campaign." A 5 1/2-length first-out maiden winner at Leopardstown last August, the Moyglare Stud homebred was second to Australia (Galileo) in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Trial (Ire-G3) when last seen September 7...
The fields were drawn Tuesday for the second day of The Championships, Saturday at Royal Randwick, with the Queen Elizabeth S. (Aus-G1) set to be the centerpiece. The Queen Elizabeth was given a major boost when the program for The Championships was unveiled last year, with the purse rising from A$500,000 in 2013 to A$4 million this year. It thus becomes the world's richest race over 2000 meters on the turf, and Australia's richest weight-for-age contest, surpassing the A$3 million Cox Plate (Aus-G1) run in Melbourne in the spring. Trainer Chris Waller stole the show during the opening card of The Championships last weekend when saddling the first four home from five saddled in the Doncaster Mile (Aus-G1). Waller once again saddles five here, with four from the Doncaster returning including the victorious Sacred Falls (O'Reilly) and dual Group 1-winning miler Boban (Bernardini) being added to the mix in an attempt to give Sydney's champion trainer his second straight renewal of the race. All of those runners bar Hawkspur (Purrealist) in gate four have drawn the four widest barriers, with Sacred Falls widest of all in 12. Carlton House (Street Cry), well fancied after a strong second in the Ranvet S. (Aus-G1) March 22, has landed in barrier five in his attempt to provide his owner, The Queen, with what would be a popular victory in the race named for her. The horse that finished ahead of Carlton House in the Ranvet, Silent Achiever (O'Reilly), will exit from barrier seven as she looks to make it four consecutive Group 1 victories...
Sacred Falls (O'Reilly), winner of his second consecutive Doncaster Mile (Aus-G1) Saturday, will stand alongside his sire at Waikato Stud in New Zealand for the 2014 Southern Hemisphere breeding season, ANZ Bloodstock News reports. Speaking to that trade daily, Waikato Stud's general manager Mark Chittick said: "Sacred Falls will be at stud this year and we're getting pretty close to setting our service fees. We did speak about it last week and obviously he was going to be 'fee to be advised'. There's probably been a little bit of change after Saturday, so it's a good position to be in. I went down to watch him gallop at the beginning of his three-year-old spring campaign and I said straight away he was the closest thing I'd seen to (dual Group 1 winner) O'Reilly galloping since O'Reilly." The five-year-old Sacred Falls led home a 1-2-3-4 finish for trainer Chris Waller in the Doncaster, and is entered for Saturday's A$4 million Queen Elizabeth S. (Aus-G1) at Royal Randwick in what could be his final start...
The 35th Asian Racing Conference, set for May 5-8 at the Hong Kong Conference and Exhibition Centre, will kick off with a key session under the heading "Racing's lifeblood the future landscape for wagering." Included amongst the speakers on this topic are Betfair Chief Executive Officer Breon Corcoran; Philippe Germond, Chief Executive Officer of France's totalisator operator Pari Mutuel Urbain (PMU), and British Horseracing Authority Chief Executive Paul Bittar. The session will be opened and chaired by Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. During the session, expert market analyst Jennifer Owens, who spent 16 years as a top-ranked analyst for Citi and Macquarie Banks, will unveil a landmark report on the sector and on future funding that will be available to racing globally. The report will examine current trends in wagering, analyze factors influencing performance, and provide a view of what the future holds for betting on and funding of racing. The Asian Racing Conference is set to welcome a number of delegates and 700 confirmed guests from 40 countries.
For Wednesday or Next Raceday
APRIL 17, 2014
by John Mucciolo
There was no graded racing during the week at Aqudeduct.
A total of 36 races were held at the Jamaica, New York venue, with favorites winning at a 53 percent rate and the top two betting choices combining for 78 percent of the wins during the week. From 30 races on the main oval, nine animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (30 percent). There were no turf wire jobs from six races on the lawn.
The bettors had a fine week with the big number of first and second choices coming in this week. While three very short priced runners failed, the week was formful throughout.
We'd have to say the main oval played fairly, as speed did well but closing types had every chance, also. There couldn't have been a bias with all the chalk that came through. Of the nine wire jobs on the dirt, seven came in sprints while the other pair occurred in route races.
HORSES TO WATCH
8TH -- CALL FOR THE CLOCK (Read the Footnotes) moved into prime position in early stretch and wore down the clear leader late en route to a 2 1/2-length score under Rajiv Maragh. The Mark Hennig trainee ran a decent time for the way the track was playing today and showed improvement in his second run off the long layoff.
5TH -- BEAU WHO (Strut the Stage) took a very short lead nearing midstretch and was all heart late in gutting out a narrow score for conditioner Bruce Brown. The four-year-old gelding, who was making his first outing since the summer, should have gotten a ton out of this race and will surely be strong coming back next time.
6TH -- Brown picked up a double when PRAIRIE STONE (Stonesider) took command turning for home and proved much the best in graduating in sharp fashion. This sophomore filly looked to have more in the tank after crossing the wire and should give winners a lot to handle in her subsequent outing with any type of forward move.
8TH -- ELENA STRIKES (Smart Strike) had no chance with the talented winner, who had an absolutely perfect trip, but the Todd Pletcher trainee did battle on to the wire in finishing a clear second against her elder foes and should be a tough customer in a similar spot coming back if she avoids an early pace duel.
9TH -- MULHEB (Bernardini) took full advantage of this race coming off the turf, as the Kiaran McLaughlin pupil was the easiest of winners under Irad Ortiz Jr. David Jacobson claimed the gelded five-year-old out of here and the Kentucky-bred could show instant dividends as this new barn likes to bring them back quickly off of similar performances.
4TH -- JETER (Lawyer Ron) looked to be going the wrong way in early stretch, but he gained momentum and finished with a big rush, only to fall one jump short in a pretty nice showing for trainer John Terranova. The five-year-old gelding also went off the claim for Jacobson, and is another that will be a real player if he returns in a similar spot next time.
6TH -- TRULY MIZZED (Mizzen Mast) did nearly everything right but fell short to a horse that might be a good one, in a strong move back to the lawn for trainer David Donk. The sophomore filly surely appears to do her best work on the green and we hope she stays on the surface.
8TH -- LOST IN SUCCESS (Successful Appeal) made short work of a potentially nice field in leading from wire-to-wire and the Rudy Rodriguez pupil could evolve into a stakes runner with performances like this one. The four-year-old had plenty left under the wire and might even be capable of a bit more ground to work with. She has been ultra consistent to this point and has also improved her BRIS Speed number in each career run.
3RD -- BARRISTER JIM (Silver Train) would never let the favorite buy him in the lane in posting a gritty tally for Rodriguez. The gelding is especially sharp right now and always a very tough customer in these starter events.
5TH -- In one of the better runs of the week, the Richard Violette-trained CARRIED INTEREST (Henny Hughes) tracked in second early and took over in the lane, posting a fine allowance score. The four-year-old colt sizzled home in 1:15 4/5 for the 6 1/2-furlong test and might be coming back to the fine prospect he looked like as a juvenile.
6TH -- The Jimmy Jerkens-conditioned GRAND STRAND (Tiznow) never was getting to the sharp winner in this special weight heat, but the sophomore colt was tons better than his other foes under Angel Arroyo. Tab this one for a graduation date soon with more races of this nature.
A Look Ahead
Saturday will play host to the Grade 2, $200,000 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct.
SANTA ANITA NOTEBOOK
APRIL 16, 2014
by John Mucciolo
A trio of graded races topped the week at Santa Anita.
Potrero Grande S. (G2): Tom Mansor et al's BIG MAHCER (Beau Genius) moved to the fore in late stretch and held off a late rally to win by a nose and pick up his first graded trophy. With Tyler Baze, the Richard Baltas trainee finished off 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14 4/5 on the fast main oval.
Santa Barbara H. (G2): Steve Moger's STORMY LUCY (Stormy Atlantic) commenced her run approaching the turn for home and caught a real nice one in late stretch to win for conditioner Ed Moger. The five-year-old mare, who has bagged two straight graded wins, went nine panels on the firm lawn in 1:58 3/5 under the guidance of Rafael Bejarano.
San Simeon S. (G3): Hronis Racing's SWEET SWAP (Candy Ride) led soon after the break, fended off a foe at the top of the lane and spurted home a half-length winner for trainer John Sadler. The five-year-old clocked the about 6 1/2 furlongs in a swift 1:11 2/5 beneath Joe Talamo.
From a total of 34 races held at the Arcadia, California racetrack during the past week, favorites won at a 41 percent clip and the top two betting choices combined for 68 percent of the wins. From 21 frays contested on the dirt oval, nine animals won in wire-to-wire fashion (43 percent), while six of the 13 grassy tilts were taken all the way on the front end (46 percent).
From 11 main-track races from Wednesday and Thursday, eight of the winners led from start to finish. The surface seemed biased to us at that point, but all types were coming in over the weekend, with early speed not holding such an advantage. Oddly, not a single horse broke from the rail and won on the dirt this week.
The turf course was also very kind to front-runners, with six leading all the way. Three came in route runs, while the other trio came in downhill dashes. We've seen where some locals have claimed how hard and speed favoring the turf is playing lately, so we'll get on the bandwagon and agree.
HORSES TO WATCH
1ST -- NEWFOUND GOLD (Newfoundland) got the jump out of the gate and never let his main foe by while looking to have some in reserve in the end under Tyler Baze. The in-form seven-year-old will likely be a nice claim for Ted West, after running a fast final time for this level.
4TH -- TANCRED (Majestic Warrior) looked to be going up and down for a lot of the stretch in his comeback race since being off since the summer, though the four-year-old kicked into another gear inside the final furlong and won this dash going away. The Jose Jimenez trainee beat a useful field for the level and should be a player in his return.
6TH -- CHELIOS (Distorted Humor) gave a nice impression in facing elder winners off the layoff in grinding away from off the pace to be second, behind a very sharp winner that could be a stakes type. Tab this Proctor for future success as he might run longer and possibly on any kind of oval.
5TH -- The consistent CAT BURGLAR (Unbridled's Song) made a sharp move in early stretch to get the lead and held the second choice at bay through the stretch in posting a strong allowance tally for conditioner Bob Baffert. The four-year-old colt has run first or second in each run since his debut and we expect the colt to be stakes bound next time.
6TH -- OLIVER'S TALE (E Dubai) broke slow but sped to the front shortly there after and never looked back in a dominating performance in his first turf outing. The Mark Tsagalakis trainee finished the about 6 1/2 furlongs in a wicked 1:11 4/5 and we'd say he found his niche.
HAWKEDON (Macho Uno), unraced since May, put in a solid late run to be a clear second on this occasion, and he should be a major player in his return after running into a buzz saw in this dash.
A Look Ahead
Santa Anita will host only two days of racing this week (Saturday and Sunday) and there are no graded races on tap. However, Beholder will return to action Sunday in the Santa Lucia, a 1 1/16-mile event on the main track. The two-time champion is prepping for her first major engagement of the season, a scheduled match-up against Princess of Sylmar and Close Hatches in the Grade 1, $1.5 million Ogden Phipps on the June 14 Belmont Stakes undercard.
Top Speed/Class ratings
TOP BRIS CLASS RATINGS
(through April 14, 2014)
Note: Figures are for North American-based racing
At a Glance
AT A GLANCE SCHEDULE
*all times Eastern
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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