American Pharoah closes as 5-1 favorite in KDFW Pool 4
Mubtaahij (Dubawi) (#20), a new wagering interest in the KDFW, was the only other one to close at single-digit odds in Pool 4. The Irish-bred saw his 30-1 morning-line plummet to 8-1 by Future Wager close after romping by eight lengths in Saturday's U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2) on the Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1) undercard at Meydan.
The mutuel field or "All Other 3YOs (#24)," a perennial favorite in the KDFW, opened at 8-1 in Pool 4 and closed at 11-1 to be the fifth choice behind Carpe Diem (Giant's Causeway) (#5), who was bet down to 10-1 following his five-length triumph in the March 7 Tampa Bay Derby (G2).
Wagering on Pool 4 of the KDFW was offered at Churchill Downs and racetracks throughout North America; on the web via TwinSpires.com, the official online wagering site of the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs Inc.; and at other simulcast centers and off-track wagering sites.
No scratches or betting refunds are permitted in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, but betting will be suspended immediately on a wagering interest in any KDFW pool if Churchill Downs determines that injury, illness or other circumstance revealed during a pool would prevent a horse from competing in the race.
Brisnet.com offered free Ultimate Past Performances for wagering interests in Pool 4 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. Brisnet also has complimentary past performances for all Triple Crown nominees.
California Chrome confirmed for Royal Ascot
"Amongst those details are that he might have a prep in the Lockinge ([Eng-G1] on May 16) at Newbury. We have been working with Andy Clifton of Newbury on a joint promotion for some weeks. He will be entered for that race tomorrow.
"To have another Kentucky Derby (G1) winner at Royal Ascot is exciting and he could spearhead a strong international presence for the week."
Sherman, however, is not as excited by the Ascot venture, and he expressed his views on the Roger Stein radio show Sunday.
"(Martin) thinks the horse will do good because he's won on the grass (in last year's Hollywood Derby [G1], but it was a different grass," the trainer said.
"They don't realize the horses that are going to be involved, they go counterclockwise, he's got to learn to go the opposite way, and everything. It's going to be rough on him, I think.
"I would have never done it myself. I would have gave the horse more time to kind of unwind. He's going to be a tired horse after this trip."
Several other internationals are expected at the Royal meeting, as Smith discussed.
Hong Kong superstar Able Friend (Shamardal) is a candidate for the Queen Anne (Eng-G1), while compatriot Peniaphobia (Dandy Man) and Ameria's Green Mask (Mizzen Mast), second and third to Ireland's Sole Power (Kyllachy) in Saturday's Al Quoz Sprint (UAE-G1), could renew rivalry with him in the King's Stand (Eng-G1). The Queen Anne and King's Stand are on opening day of the meeting, June 16.
"I had good conversations with John Moore (Able Friend) and Tony Cruz (Peniaphobia) in Dubai -- and Wesley Ward will probably run Green Mask in the King's Stand too, meaning we'd have the first three in the Al Quoz Sprint re-opposing in the King's Stand," Smith said.
"Spielberg (Deep Impact) is in the mix for the Prince of Wales's S. for Japan, which now looks likely to be represented in the King George (VI and Queen Elizabeth [Eng-G1]) in July with One and Only (Heart's Cry), who finished third in the Sheema (Classic [UAE-G1]) yesterday and could be suited by the stiffer Ascot track."
American Pharoah, One Lucky Dane drill for Derby preps
"We got him in :59 and three," O'Neill said. "He looked great, good energy, so we're excited. It's exactly what we were looking for."
Probable for the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby, one of six stakes on a blockbuster card next Saturday that includes the Santa Anita Oaks (G1): Dortmund (Big Brown), Martin Garcia; Prospect Park (Tapit), Kent Desormeaux; Bolo (Temple City), Mike Smith; One Lucky Dane, Bejarano; Cross the Line (Line of David), Juan Hernandez; and Bad Read Sanchez, Gutierrez.
Jerry Hollendorfer said California Derby winner and El Camino Real Derby (G3) runner-up Cross the Line is scheduled to work a half-mile Tuesday morning at Santa Anita.
"We're planning on running," Hollendorfer said. "We're going to blow him out Tuesday."
Juan Hernandez, the third-leading rider at Golden Gate with 53 wins through Saturday, has ridden Cross the Line in his last three races, two of them victories, and retains the mount in the Santa Anita Derby.
The first 10,000 THOROUGHBREDS members in attendance at Santa Anita on Derby Day will be offered free an exclusive 2015 Santa Anita Derby Day T-shirt while supplies last. First post time for the 11-race program is noon (PDT). Gates open at 10 a.m.
Santa Anita offers a $750,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4 pool and a $300,000 guaranteed Pick 6 pool on Santa Anita Derby Day.
Far From Over on course for Wood; El Kabeir's work moved to Monday
El Kabeir, who returned to win the Gotham (G3), was also scheduled to breeze Sunday morning, but his move was postponed to Monday. Justin Zayat of Zayat Stables cited the track condition for the delay.
"El Kabeir work pushed back to tomorrow. Track at Belmont no good today," Zayat tweeted.
At Palm Meadows on Sunday, Frosted (Tapit) drilled five panels in company in 1:00 2/5. Initially a few lengths behind, the Godolphin runner finished 10 in front, according to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
"He worked great this morning, going five furlongs in a minute and two-fifths," McLaughlin said. "We're excited.
"We feel like we've accounted for every issue, and he has no excuse not to run his best race," the trainer added, alluding to Frosted's recent fourth in the Fountain of Youth (G2). "We know he has talent; he has to show it on Saturday. The track was very tiring for the Fountain of Youth and was again yesterday (for the Florida Derby [G1]), so we're happy with our decision."
Also for McLaughlin, Classy Class (Discreetly Mine), third in both the Withers and Gotham, went a half-mile in :48 2/5 at Belmont Saturday.
McLaughlin's third Wood possible, Ocean Knight (Curlin), will breeze on Monday. The Wood decision will be made afterward, according to McLaughlin. Ocean Knight was a too-bad-to-be-true seventh in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) last time.
A trio of Bay Shore (G3) hopefuls turned in Saturday drills in New York-- Ackeret (Mach Ride) toured four furlongs in :49 3/5 at Aqueduct, El Deal (Munnings) covered the same ground in :48 3/5 over Belmont's training track, and Final Chapter traveled five-eighths in 1:02, also on the Belmont training track.
Dads Caps (Discreet Cat) was clocked in 1:01 1/5 as he breezed five furlongs over the inner track. The five-year-old is 0-for-2 this year, having finished second to Salutos Amigos (Salute the Sarge) in the Toboggan (G3) and the Tom Fool H. (G3) at Aqueduct.
"He worked very, very good; we were very pleased," trainer Rudy Rodriguez said. "We don't have to face Salutos Amigos, but the race is a Grade 1, so it's going to be a tough race. He's a pretty consistent horse and always tries hard. He's been unlucky a couple times, but he always gives it his best. We've been very happy to have him around. Hopefully we can do it again this year; we know he likes the main track at Aqueduct."
Materiality doing well after tenacious Florida Derby victory
In a stable full of Triple Crown contenders, including Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Carpe Diem (Giant's Causeway), Withers S. (G3) victor Far From Over (Blame) and Fountain of Youth S. (G2) hero Itsaknockout (Lemon Drop Kid), Materiality wasn't originally seen as a contender for the spring classic prep races, considering he did not make his career debut until January 11.
However, the physically imposing colt earned himself a chance after he answered every demanding question that was asked of him, including seamlessly stretching out from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles in his second start, the Islamorada overnight handicap at Gulfstream on March 6. In that race, he defeated stablemate Stanford (Malibu Moon) by 5 3/4 lengths. Stanford would go on to finish second in Saturday's Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds.
"It's pretty rare that you see a horse go from a six-furlong maiden race to a 1 1/8-mile situation," Pletcher said. "It's not something that we'd planned on months ago. It just sort of gelled at the right time.
"He seemed a little tired afterwards," Pletcher noted. "Like I said, the track was very, very tiring and demanding. I don't think he really relished it. He seemed to cool out fine, although he was a little tired, so we'll just kind of regroup and see how he is over the next few days."
Upstart 'fine' after FL Derby; Carroll weighing KY Derby, Queen's Plate for Ami's Flatter
Ami's Flatter, who also finished second in both the January 3 Mucho Macho Man S. at Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on March 7, closed from off the pace to finish 12 1/2 lengths behind Upstart in Saturday's Florida Derby.
"I thought he ran a great race. The speed got away, and he just wasn't able to make up enough ground," Carroll said.
Peace and War arrives for Ashland
Peace and War will attempt to become the fifth filly to sweep the Alcibiades and Ashland, with the most recent being Take Charge Lady (2001-2002). The others are Silverbulletday (1998-1999), Optimistic Gal (1975-1976) and Doubledogdare (1955-1956).
One filly Peace and War defeated in the Alcibiades was Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway), a granddaughter of Take Charge Lady who finished eighth that day while beaten 11 1/2 lengths. Four weeks later Take Charge Brandi wired the field in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at 61-1 and began a late-season push that earned her the Eclipse Award as champion two-year-old filly.
"I don't think Take Charge Brandi ran her race here that day," Stevens said. "In hindsight, (Peace and War's) form puts her right up there and suggests she would have been in the top three. The Breeders' Cup was run over a speed-favoring track that is not her style, so we saved her for another day."
Stevens added that Peace and War was out of training for about 30 days while in quarantine and returned to the track in December to jog.
"She has been breezing with stakes horses and handling them pretty easily," he noted. "We have done a lot more work with her this time than last fall and I am very happy with her."
Julien Leparoux, who was aboard for the Alcibiades victory, retains the mount for Saturday's Ashland. The race offers a total of 170 points toward the May 1 Kentucky Oaks (G1), with 100 points going to the winner, 40 to second place, 20 to third and 10 to fourth place.
Peace and War picked up 10 points for winning the Alcibiades but would need more than that to make the Oaks field that is limited to the top 14 point getters.
"Hopefully, we can get in the Oaks," Stevens said. "We are 22nd in points now (on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard). Under the old graded stakes earnings system, we would be in.
"If we don't get in the Oaks, we may run against the boys on Derby Day (May 2 in the $250,000 American Turf [G2]) or the ($200,000) Eight Belles ([G3] on May 1 for fillies on dirt). There are a lot of races for her and the plan is to put her on turf this summer at Ascot."
Aerovelocity strikes for Hong Kong in Takamatsunomiya Kinen
Hong Kong may have had a frustrating day at Saturday's Dubai World Cup meeting, registering three placings -- including a pair of runner-up finishes -- in Group 1 events, but Aerovelocity (Pins) surely provided some consolidation with a hard-fought score in Japan's Takamatsunomiya Kinen (Jpn-G1) at Chukyo, the third leg of the Global Sprint Challenge.
The seven-year-old gelding, who landed in Hong Kong two years ago, has been on an upward trajectory as of late. He embarked on a five-race win streak of races over 1200 meters in November 2013, and his streak was only snapped when he stepped up to 1400 meters for a local Group 3 contest last June, finishing second.
Aerovelocity got back to his winning ways in the Premier Bowl October 26, besting Saturday's Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-G1) runner-up Super Jockey (Sandtrap) with superstar miler Able Friend (Shamardal) back in fourth. He was a troubled last of 14 behind Saturday's Al Quoz Sprint (UAE-G1) second Peniaphobia (Dandy Man) in the Jockey Club Sprint (HK-G2) November 23, but turned the tables on that rival in the Hong Kong Sprint (HK-G1) December 14.
Aerovelocity warmed up for this with a second to Group 1 winner Gold-Fun (Le Vie Dei Colori) in the Chairman's Sprint Prize February 15, and was off to a good beginning under regular rider Zac Purton Sunday. Dropping back shortly after the break to stalk the pace just off the fence in the rainy conditions, Aerovelocity -- along with much of the field -- swung wide off the turn and set his sights on the front-running Hakusan Moon (Admire Moon) with Mikki Isle (Deep Impact) racing alongside him. Aerovelocity quickened between rivals in the closing stages to nail Hakusan Moon on the line.
"Obviously I was a bit concerned about the rain, but the track was not that bad," said Purton after recording his first Grade 1 victory in Japan. "It was a new experience for him. As we entered the home straight, he appeared to have lost his footing, lost a bit of his momentum. I thought the race was all over. I continued to ride and he started to regain his balance. The gallop was a little bit better. We moved to the better part of the track and he was comfortable with it again, and able to bounce back."
Trainer Paul O'Sullivan said there is a chance his charge could aim for the Global Sprint Challenge's $1 million bonus, which is awarded to any horse that wins three legs in three different countries in the same year.
"I haven't really made a plan beyond today," O'Sullivan said. "I thought if he ran well we will be going to Singapore (for the May 17 KrisFlyer Sprint [Sin-G1]). But we've now got to start to look at the international series. We will be trying to win another race as there will be a million-dollar bonus if he wins three. We will sit down and discuss and see what looks best to his form."
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al Maktoum, the son of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed whose silks were carried to victory in Saturday's Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1) by Prince Bishop (Dubawi), has donated his prizemoney earned from the world's richest race to charity, he tweeted Sunday. The Dubai Crown Prince donated the $6 million winner's share of the Dubai World Cup to the Dubai Autism Centre. "I am optimistic for what the Dubai Autism Centre will achieve socially and medically for children with autism," he tweeted...
Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer commented on champion Shared Belief's (Candy Ride) first flight, and first start outside California, when he runs in the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic (G2) on April 18. His longest journeys have been by van from Golden Gate Fields in Albany to Del Mar just north of San Diego. "There's always that element of doing something new," Hollendorfer said of "the best race horse in the country" and the champion two-year-old male of 2013, "but so far, we've shipped him up and down the coast and he hasn't seemed to mind. Flying is different, but we think he'll do that just fine also."...
Both International Star (Fusaichi Pegasus) and I'm a Chatterbox (Munnings) exited their respective wins in Saturday's Louisiana Derby (G2) and Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) in good shape, per their conditioners. International Star completed a sweep of all three sophomore graded stakes at the 2014-15 Fair Grounds meet when the bay collared Stanford (Malibu Moon) in the stretch and dug in to post a neck victory and become a millionaire in the process. The obvious plan for the Mike Maker trainee is to point toward the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 2. Earlier in the meet, the New York-bred colt won the Lecomte S. (G3) on January 17 and Risen Star S. (G2) on February 21. I'm a Chatterbox proved a popular winner in the Oaks and is being pointed for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 1, according to trainer Larry Jones. She will look to become the seventh of the last 11 Fair Grounds Oaks winners to go on to win the marquee American race for sophomore fillies. Like International Star, the chestnut miss won all three major stakes for her division at the meet. On January 17, the chestnut filly romped in the Silverbulletday S., followed by a handy win in the Rachel Alexandra S. (G3) on February 21...
Call Me George (Point Given) exited his 22-1 upset in Saturday New Orleans H. (G2) in good shape, according to trainer Grant Forster. The dark bay five-year-old closed from the back of the pack to win the race under James Graham in the final jumps by a half-length at Fair Grounds. "He looks great," Forster reported. "He really seemed to take the race well and he wasn't even blowing that hard afterward. He's such a quirky guy. It was neat to see him get a win like that. We'll probably run in the ($400,000) Alysheba (G2) on Kentucky Oaks Day (May 1) next. We'd really like to try him at Belmont because of how poorly he runs the turns on mile ovals. We're looking at the ($400,000) Brooklyn (H. [G2] on June 6) going a mile and a half for him on those big sweeping turns."...
Chocolate Ride (Candy Ride) came out of his brilliant victory in the Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial H. (G2) no worse for the wear. A winner of three races at the Fair Grounds meet, the bay gelding won the Fair Grounds H. (G3) in the same gate-to-wire fashion he successfully employed Saturday. Winning by a hard-fought half-length under Joe Talamo, the five-year-old broke the track record with his time of 1:48.18 for about 1 1/8 miles on the turf. "He came out really well. He was a little tired, but that's nothing you wouldn't expect after setting a track record," said Ricky Giannini, assistant to trainer Brad Cox. "He seems happy and he ate up this morning. He's leaving in a few hours for Keeneland. All of Brad's Fair Grounds string is going to Keeneland and his Oaklawn horses are headed to Churchill. (The $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic [G1] on May 2 at Churchill) is the obvious next step, but it's one step at a time. He has had five races in four months and he's a gelding -- so we would like to have a horse who can run for a while."...
When trainer Todd Pletcher saddled Materiality (Afleet Alex) to capture Saturday's Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park, it was his second graded victory on the card after Commissioner (A.P. Indy), runner-up in last year's Belmont S. (G1), out-dueled Sr. Quisqueyano (Exclusive Quality) to score his first stakes victory in a thrilling edition of the 1 3/16-mile Skip Away S. (G3) by a neck. "That was a big effort from him and nice to see," Pletcher said. "That was him doing what he does best, which is kind of getting into that cruising speed and just keep going and going. I think he has enough speed in those situations that he kind of can put himself into a good spot, and he's able to continue doing that for a while, and I think that's why he's been successful at some of those longer distances." Another long-distance race, the 1 1/2-mile Brooklyn Invitational (G2) at Belmont Park on this year's Belmont Stakes Day, June 6, could be the next target for the bay four-year-old. "I don't necessarily have a plan for his next start," Pletcher said, "but considering how well he ran in the Belmont (Stakes), the Brooklyn would be a definite objective, but it's possible we could run somewhere before that."...
Beverly Engelberg, Schoeder Farms and Jan Steeper's Blue Tone (Birdstone) rallied from just off the pace in Sunday's $80,200 Santana Mile and kicked away to a 2 3/4-length decision. Trained by Bob Hess Jr. and piloted by Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux, the 9-2 chance negotiated one mile on the fast main track in 1:36. Argentine star Galicado (Asiatic Boy), the 8-5 favorite, was fourth in his U.S. debut for Hall of Famer Ron McAnally. Blue Tone's prior stakes victory came in last summer's Harry F. Brubaker over Del Mar's Polytrack. After placing in the Native Diver (G3) and San Pasqual (G2), he was most recently seventh in the February 7 Donn H. (G1). The six-year-old gelding has now earned $290,750 from his 13-4-3-2 line...
Phaedrus Flights' Celestine (Scat Daddy) stepped up off a maiden score to upset 3-5 favorite Isabella Sings (Eskendereya) in Sunday's $75,000 Sanibel Island at Gulfstream Park. Sent off at 8-1 with Rajiv Maragh, the Bill Kaplan trainee alternated for the lead with Isabella Sings before pulling away decisively. The stakes debutant opened up by 3 1/4 lengths at the wire and finished the firm-turf mile in 1:35 3/5. "She's a very nice filly. She's a very fast filly and she loves the turf, I think," Kaplan said. "After the first couple races we tried her on turf and it's worked really good." Celestine now sports a mark of 5-2-1-0, $81,075. "I felt very comfortable about this filly," the trainer added. "I thought she had a great chance to win because her last work (five furlongs on turf in :58 2/5 at Gulfstream March 22) was just phenomenal. She showed she'd go long. I couldn't believe my clock when I looked at it. She's going to move up in class a little bit, but I think she can handle it. It'll probably be another stake, maybe a graded stake. Maybe she'll try one with her stablemate." Kaplan was referring to Davona Dale (G2) winner Ekati's Phaeton (Tale of Ekati), who was eased when seventh in Saturday's Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2)...
At Keeneland's 2014 fall meet, Bourbon Courage (Lion Heart) found a new career as a one-turn sprinter. Put in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint on the meet's opening day by trainer Kellyn Gorder, the bay colt romped to a 3 1/4-length victory. A solid work after that convinced the connections to give the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) a try and Bourbon Courage did not disappoint. He finished fourth, beaten only two lengths while passing 10 horses in the stretch. "I did not expect it, but I was not surprised by it," Gorder said of his new sprinter, who closed 2014 with a third-place finish in the one-turn Cigar Mile (G1) behind Private Zone (Macho Uno) and Secret Circle (Eddington), the latter of whom captured the Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-G1) on Saturday on the Dubai World Cup card at Meydan. After spending the winter at Tampa Bay Downs, Bourbon Courage returned to Keeneland last week to prepare for an anticipated start in Saturday's $300,000 Commonwealth S. (G3) at seven furlongs. "Right now, we are pointing only for the Commonwealth and he is setting on go for it," Gorder said. "He had a good work last Tuesday (March 24 when going a bullet :47 half-mile) and will work again either Monday or Tuesday." In the Commonwealth, Bourbon Courage will seek to make amends for a 10th-place finish in the General George H. (G3) at Laurel Park in his six-year-old bow on February 16. "We were planning to start him back about that time," Gorder said. "That turned out to be a tough ship to Laurel (from Tampa). We shipped him up there Monday or Tuesday of that week and the temperature dropped when he got there. It was seven degrees on the day of the race. He didn't seem like he handled the track and he was buried in the one hole. It was the worst finish of his life (in 22 starts), but he still did not get beat that far (5 1/2 lengths)."...
The 100-1 Ramone (Marju) stunned Sunday's Park Express S. (Ire-G3) at the Curragh, the first group feature of the Irish Flat season. Slow to mature, the imposing Ramone first offered a glimpse of what was to come when second in a course-and-distance handicap in September and followed that with a fifth in the Garnet S. over this mile trip the next month. Entering this test with a latest piece of form being a 12th of 13 in Leopardstown's Knockaire S. dropping back a furlong also in October, the bay stepped out of the shadows in the Kildare gloom to capture a surprise first black-type success in this seemingly competitive affair. After breaking with more elan than in the past, Ramone raced freely throughout the early stages stranded in open space as she took along the main group. With only the freewheeling Amulet (Ishiguru) ahead, she had a target to aim at and her momentum carried her past that rival with a furlong remaining and on to the line in a slow-motion finish in the conditions. Afternoon Sunlight (Sea the Stars) reported home two lengths astern in second. Ramone, who was the first 100-1 winner in the country in 12 years, is one of six horses in training with Bill Farrell and he told irishracing.com, "That's the first time she's got her ground. She's a big, strong yoke and the ground will control everything as to where she will run."...
Paul Smith's Kingston Hill (Mastercraftsman) has suffered a superficial injury to his left foreleg and will miss the first half of the flat season. Trainer Roger Varian said, however, the four-year-old would be targeted to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-G1) in October, in which he finished fourth last year. "Kingston Hill will miss the first half of the season due to a setback," Varian said. "He is sound but sore. He has an area of significant bruising and inflammation which will take time to settle. It goes without saying that this is an early-season blow as he looks so well and has been training better than ever. We will now target the top middle-distance races later in the season with all roads leading back to Longchamp in October for another crack at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe." Kingston Hill has been in a Group 1 winner in each of his two seasons on the racetrack. He took the Racing Post Trophy (Eng-G1) as a two-year-old and won last year's St Leger (Eng-G1) in addition to finishing second in the Epsom Derby (Eng-G1)...
Royal Ascot winner and dual Group 1-placed Telescope (Galileo) is reported to be in "good form" by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing's Harry Herbert as he prepares for the 2015 Flat season. The five-year-old won last year's Hardwicke S. (Eng-G2) at Royal Ascot by seven lengths before finishing second to Taghrooda in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S. (Eng-G1). He then checked in third in the Juddmonte International (Eng-G1) and was fourth, beaten 2 1/4 lengths, in the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1). "I saw him last week and he appeared to have filled out again and got stronger -- he seems to have gone on again from four to five," Herbert said. He added that Telescope could take in the same key races as last year or go for the Coronation Cup (Eng-G1) on Epsom Derby Day June 6. "(Trainer) Sir Michael (Stoute) has mentioned the possibility of starting him off in the Jockey Club S. (Eng-G2) at Newmarket (May 2) and that could be a good place for him to begin his season," Herbert said. "We will obviously take it one step at a time, as we always do with Sir Michael. He could go for the Coronation Cup or follow a similar route to last year and go for the Hardwicke before the King George. The aim this year is to grab that elusive Group 1 win."...
Gulfstream Park's Florida Derby Day, highlighted by eight stakes races and Materiality's (Afleet Alex) victory in the Florida Derby (G1), set records for total handle and on-track handle. Total handle wagered on Gulfstream's 14-race Derby program was $27.255 million, topping the previous mark set during last year's 14-race program of $26.820 million. Saturday's on-track handle of $3.302 million was a new standard in Gulfstream's new building, topping the previous on-track record set in 2013 of $3.196 million. "Gulfstream's staff and management want to thank our fans and guests for making Florida Derby 2015 such an incredible and memorable experience," said Gulfstream's General Manager and Vice President of Racing P.J. Campo. "None of this would be possible without our fans, many of whom parked off site as we continue to develop Gulfstream Park to grow the sport of Thoroughbred racing. We also want to thank the owners, trainers and jockeys, who continued to support Derby Day and our year-round program while building goodwill with our fans and guests." Saturday's total handle was the biggest in Gulfstream history other than Breeders' Cup days...
Gulfstream Park paid tribute to Javier Castellano following Sunday's 7TH race for earning his fourth consecutive Championship Meet riding title. The 37-year-old Castellano becomes the first jockey in Gulfstream history to lead the rider standings four years in a row, topping the 100-win mark each year. Jeff Fell (1977-79) and Jorge Chavez (1999-2001) had each won three straight. Sunday was Castellano's last day at the meet. "It's very special, because nobody has done it before. I'm very fortunate to be in that position and fortunate to ride with the best riders in the world," Castellano said. "It's very competitive. Every single day you need to get involved with different kinds of horses." Castellano led all Gulfstream jockeys with 114 wins, 16 stakes wins, 11 graded stakes wins and nearly $4.7 million in purse earnings. He captured two of the meet's three Grade 1 races: the Donn H. with Constitution (Tapit), and the Gulfstream Park Turf H. with Mshawish (Medaglia d'Oro), both on February 7. "I have a lot of help from my agent, Matt Muzikar, and all the trainers and owners that support me in different ways," Castellano said. "I'm very grateful. It's a great achievement to win four years in a row. I hope I have many, many more."...
Jockey Orlando Bocachica, who suffered a broken arm and broken jaw on January 14 when his mount ducked into the gap and unseated him, said Sunday he will begin galloped horses Monday morning at Gulfstream Park. "I'm ready to come back," said Bocachica, who visited the Gulfstream jockey's room before races Sunday. "I'm going to gallop one (on Monday) and work my way back. I'm hoping to ride by April 14." At the time of his injury, Bocachica was tied for ninth in wins at Gulfstream's Championship Meet. He finished the Gulfstream Park West meet third in wins and money won...
Laurel Park closed its 2015 winter meet Sunday and jockey Sheldon Russell was the meet's leading rider with 43 winners, four more than Jevian Toledo. Claudio Gonzalez was the leading trainer with 20 victories, four more than Hugh McMahon. Russell, who won the 1,000th race of his career earlier this year in the Cat Cay S. at Aqueduct, was the leading rider at all three Maryland meets in 2011 and was second in the rider standings at the major Maryland tracks in 2013. "I'm very happy. Winter racing can be very tough, especially this winter, but keeping positive, keeping momentum and winning races makes it easier and makes it all worthwhile," Russell said. "It feels very good to win the winter meet. Big thanks to all the trainers and owners who have supported me and also to my agent Marty Leonard who made this all possible. The goal for Pimlico is to try to stay on top. The main thing is to stay healthy, and continue doing well. My goal is to be the all-year leading rider here in Maryland, so to win the first meet of the year is huge. I couldn't be happier." Gonzalez shared the 2014 Laurel winter meet title with four other trainers. The 38-year-old native of Chile won his first training title at the Laurel fall meet. He was the fourth-leading trainer during the 2013 Monmouth Park meet. Racing in Maryland will shift to Pimlico beginning Thursday, April 2. First race post time is 1:10 p.m. (EDT). Pimlico's meet will be highlighted by the 140th Preakness S. (G1), the middle jewel in racing's Triple Crown May 16. Preakness Week will include a number of stakes races, events, fundraisers, and concerts...
Trainer David Jacobson and jockey Jose Ortiz opened up decisive early leads and cruised to the finish line to win their respective titles as Aqueduct's inner-track meet came to a close on Saturday. Jacobson continued his dominance of the inner track with 37 winners from 144 starters at the stand, good for a 25.6 percent win rate. Known primarily for his work with claiming horses, Jacobson's tally was aided by standout sprinter Salutos Amigos (Salute the Sarge), who earned victories in the Tom Fool H. (G3), Toboggan (G3) and Gravesend at the meet. Salutos Amigos' inner-track exploits earned him a spot in the starting gate for the Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-G1) at Meydan, where Jacobson was present on Saturday. Linda Rice finished in second with 25 winners from 135 starts, while Gary Gullo earned third-place honors with 23 wins from 80 starts. Sitting atop the jockey standings with 77 wins, Ortiz won his first-ever meet title on the New York Racing Association circuit, besting his older brother Irad, who checked in second. Jose Ortiz sparkled in inner-track stakes races, scoring victories in the Stymie (Turco Bravo [Caesarion]), Cicada (Noble and a Beauty [Noble Causeway]), Jimmy Winkfield (Ackeret [Mach Ride]) and Hollie Hughes (Captain Serious [Successful Appeal]). Irad Ortiz, Jr. finished 10 wins behind his brother with 67, and Manuel Franco came in third with 58 winners. Piling on to his inner-track success, Jacobson finished as leading owner at the stand with 16 victories, while Repole Stable and Michael Dubb dead-heated for second with 12 wins.
NORTH AMERICAN NON-GRADED STAKES RESULTS
NORTH AMERICAN ALLOWANCE RESULTS
North American Maiden Winners
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