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SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2015

Racing Headlines

Devine Aida sloshes to Herecomesthebride win

Devine Aida romped in a rain-soaked, off-the-turf, downgraded Herecomesthebride (Lauren King/Adam Coglianese Photography)

Stronach Stables' Devine Aida (Unbridled's Song) prevailed by 6 3/4 lengths in the $150,000 Herecomesthebride S. over the lake that Gulfstream Park's main track turned into Saturday after torrential rains hit the area.

A weather delay followed the race, and track announcer Larry Collmus soon made the proclamation that the remainder of the card had been called off due to the weather.

Originally scheduled for the turf, the 1 1/16-mile Herecomesthebride was transferred to the sloppy, sealed dirt and lost its Grade 3 status, pending review by the American Grade Stakes Committee. Three in the nine-horse field scratched, including 9-5 morning-line favorite Consumer Credit (More Than Ready), leaving Devine Aida to become the public's new choice.

The Ramon Morales trainee was sent off at 9-5 against her remaining five rivals and slid up the rail on the backstretch to take the lead after Arella Princess (Limehouse) set the opening quarter in :24. Devine Aida splashed her way home through splits of :48 2/5, 1:14 and 1:41 2/5, weaved her way back and forth through the lane with jockey Jesus Rios trying to keep her straight, and finally stopped the clock in 1:49.

The rest of the field was strung out behind the three-year-old miss, with Tumminia (Big Brown) being eased in the stretch.

"I was sitting third when the three-horse on the lead drifted out," Rios explained. "At the three-quarter pole, I made the move to the lead. She ran a good race."

"I've trained many winners in Puerto Rico, but to come to America and win a race like this is a great feeling," said Morales, who trained more than 1,200 winners in Puerto Rico before coming to Gulfstream last year to train about a dozen young horses for Frank Stronach. "I am so grateful to Mr. Stronach for the opportunity."

"Once she went to the lead, I knew the race was over," the horseman added.

Devine Aida earned her fourth win in a row in this one and her second straight stakes score. The gray lass finished second in her career debut on the main track at Gulfstream before heading to Gulfstream Park West and getting her initial victory by five lengths on the dirt.

The filly recorded a nose triumph to close out her juvenile campaign when switched to the turf next out, and returned on January 3 for a 3 1/2-length win in her stakes bow, the Ginger Brew S., back at Gulfstream Park. With the Herecomesthebride added to her resume, Devine Aida now sports a 4-1-0 line from five starts and has banked $201,390 in career earnings.

Devine Aida will remain on dirt for her next start on March 28 in the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), which is run at the same 1 1/16-mile distance as the Herecomesthebride.

"We knew she'd be better the farther she went," Morales stated.

Bred in Kentucky by Alpha Delta Stables LLC, Devine Aida was purchased for $200,000 as a Keeneland September yearling prior to bringing $120,000 as an OBS June two-year-old from her current connections. She is the first registered stakes winner out of Grade 3 heroine Passion (Came Home), who is a half-sister to Grade 2 victress Kumari Continent (Kris S.).

Devine Aida's third dam, the unraced Begum (Alydar), produced such notables as Grade 2-placed multiple stakes winning sire Binalong (Known Fact) and her descendents include the likes of Grade 1 scorers Hymn Book (Arch) and Data Link (War Front).

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Devine Aida sloshes to Herecomesthebride win

Devine Aida romped in a rain-soaked, off-the-turf, downgraded Herecomesthebride (Lauren King/Adam Coglianese Photography)

Stronach Stables' Devine Aida (Unbridled's Song) prevailed by 6 3/4 lengths in the $150,000 Herecomesthebride S. over the lake that Gulfstream Park's main track turned into Saturday after torrential rains hit the area.

A weather delay followed the race, and track announcer Larry Collmus soon made the proclamation that the remainder of the card had been called off due to the weather.

Originally scheduled for the turf, the 1 1/16-mile Herecomesthebride was transferred to the sloppy, sealed dirt and lost its Grade 3 status, pending review by the American Grade Stakes Committee. Three in the nine-horse field scratched, including 9-5 morning-line favorite Consumer Credit (More Than Ready), leaving Devine Aida to become the public's new choice.

The Ramon Morales trainee was sent off at 9-5 against her remaining five rivals and slid up the rail on the backstretch to take the lead after Arella Princess (Limehouse) set the opening quarter in :24. Devine Aida splashed her way home through splits of :48 2/5, 1:14 and 1:41 2/5, weaved her way back and forth through the lane with jockey Jesus Rios trying to keep her straight, and finally stopped the clock in 1:49.

The rest of the field was strung out behind the three-year-old miss, with Tumminia (Big Brown) being eased in the stretch.

"I was sitting third when the three-horse on the lead drifted out," Rios explained. "At the three-quarter pole, I made the move to the lead. She ran a good race."

"I've trained many winners in Puerto Rico, but to come to America and win a race like this is a great feeling," said Morales, who trained more than 1,200 winners in Puerto Rico before coming to Gulfstream last year to train about a dozen young horses for Frank Stronach. "I am so grateful to Mr. Stronach for the opportunity."

"Once she went to the lead, I knew the race was over," the horseman added.

Devine Aida earned her fourth win in a row in this one and her second straight stakes score. The gray lass finished second in her career debut on the main track at Gulfstream before heading to Gulfstream Park West and getting her initial victory by five lengths on the dirt.

The filly recorded a nose triumph to close out her juvenile campaign when switched to the turf next out, and returned on January 3 for a 3 1/2-length win in her stakes bow, the Ginger Brew S., back at Gulfstream Park. With the Herecomesthebride added to her resume, Devine Aida now sports a 4-1-0 line from five starts and has banked $201,390 in career earnings.

Devine Aida will remain on dirt for her next start on March 28 in the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), which is run at the same 1 1/16-mile distance as the Herecomesthebride.

"We knew she'd be better the farther she went," Morales stated.

Bred in Kentucky by Alpha Delta Stables LLC, Devine Aida was purchased for $200,000 as a Keeneland September yearling prior to bringing $120,000 as an OBS June two-year-old from her current connections. She is the first registered stakes winner out of Grade 3 heroine Passion (Came Home), who is a half-sister to Grade 2 victress Kumari Continent (Kris S.).

Devine Aida's third dam, the unraced Begum (Alydar), produced such notables as Grade 2-placed multiple stakes winning sire Binalong (Known Fact) and her descendents include the likes of Grade 1 scorers Hymn Book (Arch) and Data Link (War Front).

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Almoonqith takes Nad al Sheba Trophy marred by breakdown of Cavalryman

Almoonqith set a course record in his first try at a marathon trip (Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club)
Class climber Almoonqith (Dynaformer) benefited from a step up in trip to capture Saturday's $200,000 Nad al Sheba Trophy (UAE-G3) at Meydan, but the turf marathon was marred by a serious injury to defending champion Cavalryman (Halling).

Making his nine-year-old debut for Saeed bin Suroor, the Godolphin standard-bearer was reserved well off the early pace, when he broke down in his right hind leg on the backstretch. According to Stephen Molyneux of Dubai Racing Channel, Cavalryman was transported to the equine hospital. Several Twitter reports suggested that he was undergoing surgery.

Meanwhile, the field continued on its way, and stablemate Excellent Result (Shamardal) tried to pick up the baton rounding the final turn. Rolling past the weakening pacesetter Fire Fighting (Soldier of Fortune), Excellent Result soon felt the exertion of chasing his demanding tempo. He had no answer when accosted by Havana Beat (Teofilo) at the head of the lane.

But traveling even better was Almoonqith, who had bided his time at the rear before cruising into contention. Staying on best of all, the Mike de Kock trainee rebuffed a challenge from fellow closer Rio Tigre (Teofilo) by 1 1/2 lengths. Almoonqith also set a course record of 2:54.47 for about 1 3/4 miles on the good turf course, lowering the former mark established in this very race a year ago, by Cavalryman.

Almoonqith was completing a banner night for owner Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum and his retained rider Paul Hanagan, who won four races with horses from four different yards. The Musabah al Muhairi-trained Nolohay (Dubawi) and Jeeraan (Distorted Humor) from the Doug Watson yard captured the first two races, both on dirt, and Ertijaal (Oasis Dream) wired a turf sprint for Ali Rashid al Raihe to make it a treble.

"It has been an amazing evening," Hanagan enthused. "To ride four winners for Sheikh Hamdan anywhere is brilliant, but to do it here at Meydan on the world stage is extra special.

"We were pretty sure Almoonqith was going to stay the distance it was just a case whether or not he was good enough. As it transpired I was always happy and that was a big performance."

Until Saturday's renewal, Godolphin had a stranglehold on the Nad al Sheba Trophy, sending out all four past winners. The team's other two chances, Excellent Result and 2013 winner Ahzeemah (Dubawi), wound up seventh and eighth, respectively.

Bred in Kentucky by Padua Stables, Almoonqith sold for $725,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. He is out of Grade 3 heroine Bohemian Lady (Carson City), a half-sister to Grade 1-winning millionaire and sire Any Given Saturday (Distorted Humor).

Almoonqith began his career in France with Jean-Claude Rouget, winning once from seven tries. The dark bay joined de Kock for a 2014 campaign in Dubai, where he garnered a turf handicap and was unplaced in two outings on Tapeta. The five-year-old had won once this season, on a non-Carnival card January 17. After a fifth and fourth, respectively, in Carnival handicaps at about 1 1/4 miles, he was ready for more ground. This first stakes score advanced his resume to 15-4-3-1, $207,191.

In the opener, the aforementioned Nolohay led throughout to prevail by 3 1/4 lengths, finishing the metric mile in 1:38 in his dirt debut.

"We were drawn widest of all, but I was keen to get to the front and I was able to get across to the rail," Hanagan recapped. "I wanted to be positive as we know he stays further.

"Obviously we were out of any kickback and he has handled the surface really well and skipped over it."

The four-year-old Nolohay now sports a mark of 10-4-1-1, $204,834, including a third in last year's Prix Greffulhe (Fr-G2) for Carlos Laffon-Parias.

Ertijaal wired a turf sprint on a four-win night for Sheikh Hamdan and his retained rider Paul Hanagan (Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club)
Hanagan also masterminded a front-running victory aboard Ertijaal, who blitzed in a course-record 1:08.98 for about six furlongs on turf.

"He has done that well," Hanagan said. "He was always happy bowling along in front and then quickened well when I asked him. We know he stays further so I was pretty confident he would not be stopping."

Ertijaal, winner of the 2014 Spring Cup at Lingfield when trained by William Haggas, was coming off a score in the February 15 H.H. The President Cup at Abu Dhabi. The four-year-old has now earned $388,798 from his 13-5-1-1 line.

Jeeraan showed admirable tenacity as the 130-pound highweight in a non-Carnival handicap, holding on stubbornly to complete about 1 3/8 miles in 2:19.72 -- a record on the new dirt track.

"He is still improving and has a great attitude," Watson said of the lightly-raced five-year-old. "We hope he will be a Dubai World Cup Carnival horse next season and he goes really well on dirt."

Jeeraan, who had outgamed stablemate Layl (Street Cry) February 12, has compiled a record of 8-3-0-1, $82,941.

Watson later sent out Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al Maktoum's Henry Clay (Dubawi) to wire an about 1 1/4-mile dirt handicap. Under stable jockey Pat Dobbs, the six-year-old clocked 2:05 1/5 and upped his scorecard to 28-9-6-4, $253,675.

"Pat has given him a great ride," Watson said. "He is a very tough horse as he has shown throughout the season and once in front he is not easy to get past."

Godolphin's Footbridge (Street Cry), who placed in last year's San Diego (G2) and Awesome Again (G1) and was 10th in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1), checked in fourth in his Dubai bow for Charlie Appleby.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed's colors were also carried to victory by Heavy Metal (Exceed and Excel), who readily handled the switch to dirt in his premiere for trainer Salem bin Ghadayer. Mickael Barzalona guided the five-year-old through about seven furlongs in 1:25 1/5.

"They went very quick," Barzalona said. "He responded well when I asked and stayed on strongly."

Previously with Mark Johnston, Heavy Metal is best known for his productive juvenile season of 2012, when he scored in the Richmond (Eng-G2) and placed in the Woodcote and Gimcrack (Eng-G2). He has since plied his trade in handicaps, and his resume reads 37-8-4-0, $477,033.

One race after Cavalryman was stricken, fellow bin Suroor pupils Haafaguinea (Haafhd) and Silent Bullet (Exceed and Excel) ran one-two in the nightcap. Ridden by William Buick, who was also aboard Cavalryman, Haafaguinea pounced in the stretch and fended off his stablemate. The five-year-old, who covered about 1 1/4 grassy miles in 2:03, had won over this course and distance two back on January 15. He has bankrolled $399,957 from his 12-5-2-1 record.

Almoonqith takes Nad al Sheba Trophy marred by breakdown of Cavalryman

Almoonqith set a course record in his first try at a marathon trip (Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club)
Class climber Almoonqith (Dynaformer) benefited from a step up in trip to capture Saturday's $200,000 Nad al Sheba Trophy (UAE-G3) at Meydan, but the turf marathon was marred by a serious injury to defending champion Cavalryman (Halling).

Making his nine-year-old debut for Saeed bin Suroor, the Godolphin standard-bearer was reserved well off the early pace, when he broke down in his right hind leg on the backstretch. According to Stephen Molyneux of Dubai Racing Channel, Cavalryman was transported to the equine hospital. Several Twitter reports suggested that he was undergoing surgery.

Meanwhile, the field continued on its way, and stablemate Excellent Result (Shamardal) tried to pick up the baton rounding the final turn. Rolling past the weakening pacesetter Fire Fighting (Soldier of Fortune), Excellent Result soon felt the exertion of chasing his demanding tempo. He had no answer when accosted by Havana Beat (Teofilo) at the head of the lane.

But traveling even better was Almoonqith, who had bided his time at the rear before cruising into contention. Staying on best of all, the Mike de Kock trainee rebuffed a challenge from fellow closer Rio Tigre (Teofilo) by 1 1/2 lengths. Almoonqith also set a course record of 2:54.47 for about 1 3/4 miles on the good turf course, lowering the former mark established in this very race a year ago, by Cavalryman.

Almoonqith was completing a banner night for owner Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum and his retained rider Paul Hanagan, who won four races with horses from four different yards. The Musabah al Muhairi-trained Nolohay (Dubawi) and Jeeraan (Distorted Humor) from the Doug Watson yard captured the first two races, both on dirt, and Ertijaal (Oasis Dream) wired a turf sprint for Ali Rashid al Raihe to make it a treble.

"It has been an amazing evening," Hanagan enthused. "To ride four winners for Sheikh Hamdan anywhere is brilliant, but to do it here at Meydan on the world stage is extra special.

"We were pretty sure Almoonqith was going to stay the distance it was just a case whether or not he was good enough. As it transpired I was always happy and that was a big performance."

Until Saturday's renewal, Godolphin had a stranglehold on the Nad al Sheba Trophy, sending out all four past winners. The team's other two chances, Excellent Result and 2013 winner Ahzeemah (Dubawi), wound up seventh and eighth, respectively.

Bred in Kentucky by Padua Stables, Almoonqith sold for $725,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. He is out of Grade 3 heroine Bohemian Lady (Carson City), a half-sister to Grade 1-winning millionaire and sire Any Given Saturday (Distorted Humor).

Almoonqith began his career in France with Jean-Claude Rouget, winning once from seven tries. The dark bay joined de Kock for a 2014 campaign in Dubai, where he garnered a turf handicap and was unplaced in two outings on Tapeta. The five-year-old had won once this season, on a non-Carnival card January 17. After a fifth and fourth, respectively, in Carnival handicaps at about 1 1/4 miles, he was ready for more ground. This first stakes score advanced his resume to 15-4-3-1, $207,191.

In the opener, the aforementioned Nolohay led throughout to prevail by 3 1/4 lengths, finishing the metric mile in 1:38 in his dirt debut.

"We were drawn widest of all, but I was keen to get to the front and I was able to get across to the rail," Hanagan recapped. "I wanted to be positive as we know he stays further.

"Obviously we were out of any kickback and he has handled the surface really well and skipped over it."

The four-year-old Nolohay now sports a mark of 10-4-1-1, $204,834, including a third in last year's Prix Greffulhe (Fr-G2) for Carlos Laffon-Parias.

Ertijaal wired a turf sprint on a four-win night for Sheikh Hamdan and his retained rider Paul Hanagan (Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club)
Hanagan also masterminded a front-running victory aboard Ertijaal, who blitzed in a course-record 1:08.98 for about six furlongs on turf.

"He has done that well," Hanagan said. "He was always happy bowling along in front and then quickened well when I asked him. We know he stays further so I was pretty confident he would not be stopping."

Ertijaal, winner of the 2014 Spring Cup at Lingfield when trained by William Haggas, was coming off a score in the February 15 H.H. The President Cup at Abu Dhabi. The four-year-old has now earned $388,798 from his 13-5-1-1 line.

Jeeraan showed admirable tenacity as the 130-pound highweight in a non-Carnival handicap, holding on stubbornly to complete about 1 3/8 miles in 2:19.72 -- a record on the new dirt track.

"He is still improving and has a great attitude," Watson said of the lightly-raced five-year-old. "We hope he will be a Dubai World Cup Carnival horse next season and he goes really well on dirt."

Jeeraan, who had outgamed stablemate Layl (Street Cry) February 12, has compiled a record of 8-3-0-1, $82,941.

Watson later sent out Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al Maktoum's Henry Clay (Dubawi) to wire an about 1 1/4-mile dirt handicap. Under stable jockey Pat Dobbs, the six-year-old clocked 2:05 1/5 and upped his scorecard to 28-9-6-4, $253,675.

"Pat has given him a great ride," Watson said. "He is a very tough horse as he has shown throughout the season and once in front he is not easy to get past."

Godolphin's Footbridge (Street Cry), who placed in last year's San Diego (G2) and Awesome Again (G1) and was 10th in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1), checked in fourth in his Dubai bow for Charlie Appleby.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed's colors were also carried to victory by Heavy Metal (Exceed and Excel), who readily handled the switch to dirt in his premiere for trainer Salem bin Ghadayer. Mickael Barzalona guided the five-year-old through about seven furlongs in 1:25 1/5.

"They went very quick," Barzalona said. "He responded well when I asked and stayed on strongly."

Previously with Mark Johnston, Heavy Metal is best known for his productive juvenile season of 2012, when he scored in the Richmond (Eng-G2) and placed in the Woodcote and Gimcrack (Eng-G2). He has since plied his trade in handicaps, and his resume reads 37-8-4-0, $477,033.

One race after Cavalryman was stricken, fellow bin Suroor pupils Haafaguinea (Haafhd) and Silent Bullet (Exceed and Excel) ran one-two in the nightcap. Ridden by William Buick, who was also aboard Cavalryman, Haafaguinea pounced in the stretch and fended off his stablemate. The five-year-old, who covered about 1 1/4 grassy miles in 2:03, had won over this course and distance two back on January 15. He has bankrolled $399,957 from his 12-5-2-1 record.

Pride of Dubai showcases big potential in Blue Diamond victory

Trainer Peter Snowden and jockey Damian Browne posted back-to-back successes in the A$1 million Blue Diamond S. (Aus-G1) as Pride of Dubai (Street Cry) overcame serious interference in the Caulfield straight to win by a head from Shadwell's 100-1 shot Reemah (Redoute's Choice).

The imposing colt missed the break and was pushed along to keep up with the early pace yet managed to secure a midfield position on the rail, stalking the short-priced favorite, Robert Smerdon's unbeaten Fontiton (Turffontein). Prompt Return (Beneteau) ensured that there was plenty of speed early on and the leaders began to weaken turning for home.

When Fontiton pulled off the front runners' heels to deliver her challenge, she and Pride of Dubai bumped on numerous occasions as Mark Zahra tried to hold his main rival in a pocket. However, the strongly-built colt fought his way through the narrow gap, picked himself up and rallied home to score impressively, resisting the storming late challenge of David Hayes and Tom Dabernig's Reemah.

"It was a bit hairy trying to get the gap," winning hoop Browne commented. "On straightening, Mark (Zahra) tried to shut the gate on me, but lucky I'm on a big, strong, good horse," he added. "He was able to do that just on pure ability."

Zahra subsequently earned a 10-meeting suspension from the stewards for careless riding.

Pride of Dubai became the first maiden in two decades to win Victoria's richest two-year-old event. Not only that, but the first three home were among four maiden horses going into the race as Coolmore's A$1 million yearling purchase Lake Geneva (Fastnet Rock), an eye-catching second in the Widden S. (Aus-G3) on debut January 31, finished strongly in third. The impressive second-placed Reemah had two previous runs under her belt, including a second in a 1000-meter plate at Moonee Valley last time out.

Market favorite Fontiton traveled well but failed to deliver her customary change of gear and will now be rested until the spring.

"She did have a hell of a hard run here in the (Blue Diamond) Prelude (Aus-G2) and she seemed to be back on deck, but that was probably her grand finale and she might have been over the top today," Smerdon said.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa's homebred Pride of Dubai was third behind Godolphin's Ottoman (Exceed and Excel) on his Rosehill debut December 20 before running a fast-finishing second to Of The Brave (Starspangledbanner) in the Blue Diamond Prelude (Aus-G3). That Mark Riley-trained colt raced prominently Saturday, but showed signs of tiredness entering the stretch and only beat two home.

Pride of Dubai provided Peter Snowden with his third Blue Diamond winner in five years, the first for the partnership he has been operating with son Paul since last May. Snowden Sr. was previously head trainer for another Sheikh Mohammed -- bin Rashid al Maktoum -- under the Darley banner, with his son acting as Melbourne foreman.

The team scored in last year's Blue Diamond courtesy of Earthquake (Exceed and Excel) -- who could only achieve 10th in the Oakleigh Plate (Aus-G1) Saturday -- and in 2011 with Sepoy.

"It's always great to win these races, especially for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa," Paul Snowden said. "This is the first group of horses he's given us, so it's a big result. We picked this bloke out as a yearling. Out of a group of about 10 or 12 yearlings, he was the number one pick out of that bunch, so it was good of him to give him to us."

Reflecting on the race, the co-trainer commented, "If he didn't win today, he would have been a certainty beaten. To his credit he's picked himself up off the canvas and has proven himself a worthy winner."

Snowden Jr. kept all options open regarding the colt's future, identifying the Sires' Produce S. (Aus-G1) over 1400 meters and Champagne S. (Aus-G1) over a mile as ideal targets, although not ruling out a tilt at the 1200-meter Golden Slipper (Aus-G1).

Pride of Dubai is the fifth foal out of Al Anood (Danehill), a A$500,000 yearling purchase for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa and half-sister to Prix de Diane (Fr-G1) heroine Rafha (Kris), who went on to produce seven black-type performers including the leading sires Invincible Spirit and Kodiac.

Smerdon had better luck in the Oakleigh Plate, where Shamal Wind (Dubawi) and Under the Louvre (Excellent Art) served up an exacta for the conditioner.

Out of the money in the Caulfield feature twice before, Shamal Wind was away alertly but raced near the back of the pack well off the rail from her outside draw. Going well into the turn, pilot Dwayne Dunn steered the five-year-old to the center of the track with 300 meters left to travel before setting her loose. The response was immediate, as Shamal Wind produced a sharp turn of foot to reach contention inside the final furlong and found the front in the shadow of the wire to win by a comfortable margin over Under the Louvre, who out-bobbed Fast n' Rockin (Fastnet Rock) in third.

Shamal Wind, first in a barrier trial last August, was third in the Sportingbet Sprint S. two starts later, before placing fourth in an 800 meter barrier trial at Cranbourne October 6. She earned a trio of thirds in the Sportingbet Series Final (Aus-G3) here October 11, the Perri Cutten Caulfield Sprint (Aus-G2) over 100 meters shorter later that month and in Flemington's G.H. Mumm S. (Aus-G3) November 6. Back in the winner's circle after being spelled in the listed W.J. Adams S. over 1000 meters at Sandown January 26, she was overlooked behind last year's Blue Diamond winner and Golden Slipper second Earthquake (Exceed and Excel).

"To be honest I'd lost sight of her and I was watching the other horse," Smerdon told racenet.com.au. "He was in front of her in the right spot and getting the cheap runs and I though we had it -- then she arrived on the outside. Obviously, it's a really good outcome, I've got to see the replay to appreciate it. The owners wanted to give her another try, keep her fresh and have a crack at a Group 1, so all credit to them."

Also at Caulfield, the Futurity S. (Aus-G1) was supposed to be heavy favorite Dissident's (Sebring) stomping ground, however the pint-sized Suavito (Thorn Park) finished with a late burst to lift her first top-level victory and deny that rival his fifth Group 1 win. The bay tracked an eager Dissident in fifth perched two deep through the early stages before keeping closer contact with the leaders leaving the bend. Shifted to the extreme outside with 200 meters left, Suavito put away Smokin' Joey (Encosta de Lago) to her inside and kicked away to win in style. Dissident stayed gamely on to be third.

Suavito, a consistent campaigner at the group level, started off her season with a win in a plate race here August 30, but, although never out of the top three, wouldn't return to the winner's circle until four starts later in the Eliza Park International S. (Aus-G3) October 25. She annexed the 2000-meter Momentum Energy S. (Aus-G2) November 8 and was shortening up for the Futurity's seven-furlong distance.

Originally targeting the Mannerism S. (Aus-G3) earlier on the card, winning trainer Nigel Blackiston opted for the weight-for-age Futurity instead.

"She was first-up and I though she'd end up carrying 59 (kilograms) against the mares," said Blackiston to racenet.com.au. "I thought the tempo would be a little more forgiving in the Futurity and it worked out perfectly. (Jockey) Damien (Oliver) knows her so well and he gave her a beautiful ride. The Blamey was the race we were looking at next for her, but now we have the pleasant task of a Group 1 penalty, so I will see how she comes out of this before making a decision."

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Pride of Dubai showcases big potential in Blue Diamond victory

Trainer Peter Snowden and jockey Damian Browne posted back-to-back successes in the A$1 million Blue Diamond S. (Aus-G1) as Pride of Dubai (Street Cry) overcame serious interference in the Caulfield straight to win by a head from Shadwell's 100-1 shot Reemah (Redoute's Choice).

The imposing colt missed the break and was pushed along to keep up with the early pace yet managed to secure a midfield position on the rail, stalking the short-priced favorite, Robert Smerdon's unbeaten Fontiton (Turffontein). Prompt Return (Beneteau) ensured that there was plenty of speed early on and the leaders began to weaken turning for home.

When Fontiton pulled off the front runners' heels to deliver her challenge, she and Pride of Dubai bumped on numerous occasions as Mark Zahra tried to hold his main rival in a pocket. However, the strongly-built colt fought his way through the narrow gap, picked himself up and rallied home to score impressively, resisting the storming late challenge of David Hayes and Tom Dabernig's Reemah.

"It was a bit hairy trying to get the gap," winning hoop Browne commented. "On straightening, Mark (Zahra) tried to shut the gate on me, but lucky I'm on a big, strong, good horse," he added. "He was able to do that just on pure ability."

Zahra subsequently earned a 10-meeting suspension from the stewards for careless riding.

Pride of Dubai became the first maiden in two decades to win Victoria's richest two-year-old event. Not only that, but the first three home were among four maiden horses going into the race as Coolmore's A$1 million yearling purchase Lake Geneva (Fastnet Rock), an eye-catching second in the Widden S. (Aus-G3) on debut January 31, finished strongly in third. The impressive second-placed Reemah had two previous runs under her belt, including a second in a 1000-meter plate at Moonee Valley last time out.

Market favorite Fontiton traveled well but failed to deliver her customary change of gear and will now be rested until the spring.

"She did have a hell of a hard run here in the (Blue Diamond) Prelude (Aus-G2) and she seemed to be back on deck, but that was probably her grand finale and she might have been over the top today," Smerdon said.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa's homebred Pride of Dubai was third behind Godolphin's Ottoman (Exceed and Excel) on his Rosehill debut December 20 before running a fast-finishing second to Of The Brave (Starspangledbanner) in the Blue Diamond Prelude (Aus-G3). That Mark Riley-trained colt raced prominently Saturday, but showed signs of tiredness entering the stretch and only beat two home.

Pride of Dubai provided Peter Snowden with his third Blue Diamond winner in five years, the first for the partnership he has been operating with son Paul since last May. Snowden Sr. was previously head trainer for another Sheikh Mohammed -- bin Rashid al Maktoum -- under the Darley banner, with his son acting as Melbourne foreman.

The team scored in last year's Blue Diamond courtesy of Earthquake (Exceed and Excel) -- who could only achieve 10th in the Oakleigh Plate (Aus-G1) Saturday -- and in 2011 with Sepoy.

"It's always great to win these races, especially for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa," Paul Snowden said. "This is the first group of horses he's given us, so it's a big result. We picked this bloke out as a yearling. Out of a group of about 10 or 12 yearlings, he was the number one pick out of that bunch, so it was good of him to give him to us."

Reflecting on the race, the co-trainer commented, "If he didn't win today, he would have been a certainty beaten. To his credit he's picked himself up off the canvas and has proven himself a worthy winner."

Snowden Jr. kept all options open regarding the colt's future, identifying the Sires' Produce S. (Aus-G1) over 1400 meters and Champagne S. (Aus-G1) over a mile as ideal targets, although not ruling out a tilt at the 1200-meter Golden Slipper (Aus-G1).

Pride of Dubai is the fifth foal out of Al Anood (Danehill), a A$500,000 yearling purchase for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa and half-sister to Prix de Diane (Fr-G1) heroine Rafha (Kris), who went on to produce seven black-type performers including the leading sires Invincible Spirit and Kodiac.

Smerdon had better luck in the Oakleigh Plate, where Shamal Wind (Dubawi) and Under the Louvre (Excellent Art) served up an exacta for the conditioner.

Out of the money in the Caulfield feature twice before, Shamal Wind was away alertly but raced near the back of the pack well off the rail from her outside draw. Going well into the turn, pilot Dwayne Dunn steered the five-year-old to the center of the track with 300 meters left to travel before setting her loose. The response was immediate, as Shamal Wind produced a sharp turn of foot to reach contention inside the final furlong and found the front in the shadow of the wire to win by a comfortable margin over Under the Louvre, who out-bobbed Fast n' Rockin (Fastnet Rock) in third.

Shamal Wind, first in a barrier trial last August, was third in the Sportingbet Sprint S. two starts later, before placing fourth in an 800 meter barrier trial at Cranbourne October 6. She earned a trio of thirds in the Sportingbet Series Final (Aus-G3) here October 11, the Perri Cutten Caulfield Sprint (Aus-G2) over 100 meters shorter later that month and in Flemington's G.H. Mumm S. (Aus-G3) November 6. Back in the winner's circle after being spelled in the listed W.J. Adams S. over 1000 meters at Sandown January 26, she was overlooked behind last year's Blue Diamond winner and Golden Slipper second Earthquake (Exceed and Excel).

"To be honest I'd lost sight of her and I was watching the other horse," Smerdon told racenet.com.au. "He was in front of her in the right spot and getting the cheap runs and I though we had it -- then she arrived on the outside. Obviously, it's a really good outcome, I've got to see the replay to appreciate it. The owners wanted to give her another try, keep her fresh and have a crack at a Group 1, so all credit to them."

Also at Caulfield, the Futurity S. (Aus-G1) was supposed to be heavy favorite Dissident's (Sebring) stomping ground, however the pint-sized Suavito (Thorn Park) finished with a late burst to lift her first top-level victory and deny that rival his fifth Group 1 win. The bay tracked an eager Dissident in fifth perched two deep through the early stages before keeping closer contact with the leaders leaving the bend. Shifted to the extreme outside with 200 meters left, Suavito put away Smokin' Joey (Encosta de Lago) to her inside and kicked away to win in style. Dissident stayed gamely on to be third.

Suavito, a consistent campaigner at the group level, started off her season with a win in a plate race here August 30, but, although never out of the top three, wouldn't return to the winner's circle until four starts later in the Eliza Park International S. (Aus-G3) October 25. She annexed the 2000-meter Momentum Energy S. (Aus-G2) November 8 and was shortening up for the Futurity's seven-furlong distance.

Originally targeting the Mannerism S. (Aus-G3) earlier on the card, winning trainer Nigel Blackiston opted for the weight-for-age Futurity instead.

"She was first-up and I though she'd end up carrying 59 (kilograms) against the mares," said Blackiston to racenet.com.au. "I thought the tempo would be a little more forgiving in the Futurity and it worked out perfectly. (Jockey) Damien (Oliver) knows her so well and he gave her a beautiful ride. The Blamey was the race we were looking at next for her, but now we have the pleasant task of a Group 1 penalty, so I will see how she comes out of this before making a decision."

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Rain shortens Gulfstream card, stakes rescheduled

Gulfstream Park cancelled its live program after the 5TH race Saturday afternoon due to torrential rainstorms and thunderstorms in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

Racing will resume Sunday with a 12:30 p.m. (EST) first race post.

"The rain just didn’t stop and, for the safety of our customers, jockeys, horsemen and employees, we felt it best to cancel the races for the remainder of the day," said Gulfstream Park General Manager P.J. Campo.

Campo said both the $200,000 Swale (G2) and the $150,000 Palm Beach (G3), scheduled to be run Saturday as races 10 and 11, will now be run March 7 along with the $300,000 Gulfstream Park H. (G2).

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Rain shortens Gulfstream card, stakes rescheduled

Gulfstream Park cancelled its live program after the 5TH race Saturday afternoon due to torrential rainstorms and thunderstorms in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

Racing will resume Sunday with a 12:30 p.m. (EST) first race post.

"The rain just didn’t stop and, for the safety of our customers, jockeys, horsemen and employees, we felt it best to cancel the races for the remainder of the day," said Gulfstream Park General Manager P.J. Campo.

Campo said both the $200,000 Swale (G2) and the $150,000 Palm Beach (G3), scheduled to be run Saturday as races 10 and 11, will now be run March 7 along with the $300,000 Gulfstream Park H. (G2).

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Oaklawn cancels, makeup dates added

Oaklawn canceled their Saturday program because of below-freezing temperatures. Temperatures were lingering around 25 degrees at 10 a.m. (CST) and not supposed to get above freezing until later in afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Arkansas Racing Commission unanimously approved a request by Oaklawn to add two Wednesdays to its 2015 racing season -- March 18 and March 25 -- to compensate for days lost to weather.

"We are simply trying to make the best of a bad situation," Oaklawn General Manager Eric Jackson said. "The last two weeks have been hard on everyone -- racing fans, horsemen, jockeys, employees, Oaklawn itself -- as well as local businesses. The two additional days means we will essentially be racing five days a week for the last month of our season. That is not ideal, but under these stressful circumstances, we believe it is the best option."

Oaklawn management presented the additional dates idea to horsemen Saturday morning, and after their receiving full support, made the request to the Racing Commission at an already scheduled meeting. Management and horsemen also agreed to bring back the $75,000 Downthedustyroad on March 6 and the $75,000 Nodouble on March 8. The two Arkansas-bred stakes were scheduled to be run Saturday.

Steve Hobby, a top trainer at Oaklawn who has been meeting with track officials daily this past week, said the horsemen recognize what Oaklawn is trying to do.

"They've been on the track night and day for almost two weeks now, trying to save racing," Hobby said. "Offering to come up with two additional race days is really appreciated, and reflects on the great working relationship horsemen have with Oaklawn management."

The two additional days will result in a 53-day race season if there are no additional cancellations.

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Oaklawn cancels, makeup dates added

Oaklawn canceled their Saturday program because of below-freezing temperatures. Temperatures were lingering around 25 degrees at 10 a.m. (CST) and not supposed to get above freezing until later in afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Arkansas Racing Commission unanimously approved a request by Oaklawn to add two Wednesdays to its 2015 racing season -- March 18 and March 25 -- to compensate for days lost to weather.

"We are simply trying to make the best of a bad situation," Oaklawn General Manager Eric Jackson said. "The last two weeks have been hard on everyone -- racing fans, horsemen, jockeys, employees, Oaklawn itself -- as well as local businesses. The two additional days means we will essentially be racing five days a week for the last month of our season. That is not ideal, but under these stressful circumstances, we believe it is the best option."

Oaklawn management presented the additional dates idea to horsemen Saturday morning, and after their receiving full support, made the request to the Racing Commission at an already scheduled meeting. Management and horsemen also agreed to bring back the $75,000 Downthedustyroad on March 6 and the $75,000 Nodouble on March 8. The two Arkansas-bred stakes were scheduled to be run Saturday.

Steve Hobby, a top trainer at Oaklawn who has been meeting with track officials daily this past week, said the horsemen recognize what Oaklawn is trying to do.

"They've been on the track night and day for almost two weeks now, trying to save racing," Hobby said. "Offering to come up with two additional race days is really appreciated, and reflects on the great working relationship horsemen have with Oaklawn management."

The two additional days will result in a 53-day race season if there are no additional cancellations.

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Take Charge Brandi heads list of 154 nominees for Kentucky Oaks

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Reigning juvenile champion Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway) is the brightest star among 154 horses on the roster of early nominations to the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1), scheduled for its 141st running on May 1 at Churchill Downs.

This year's early nomination total is a 27.3 percent increase from the 121 fillies made eligible during the early nomination total in 2014, and it's the highest total since 170 fillies were nominated in 2009. The Oaks early nomination record is 192 from 2007.

To view the complete list of 2015 Kentucky Oaks nominations, please click here.

A late nomination phase is open and will continue through April 8. Late nominations require payment of a $1,500 fee. After the closing of late nominations, there will be a final opportunity to make a filly eligible for the Kentucky Oaks through the race's supplemental nomination process, which requires payment of $30,000 at the time of entry to the race on April 28.

The Oaks field is limited to 14 starters and up to four fillies designated as "also-eligible" to start. Eligibility to compete in the Oaks is determined by points amassed during the "Road to the Kentucky Oaks" series. If one of more horses should scratch from the Kentucky Oaks before 9 a.m. (EDT) on the morning of the race, fillies from the "also-eligible" list with the highest respective point totals would be allowed to compete.

The Kentucky Oaks will be telecast live on NBC Sports Network.

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Take Charge Brandi heads list of 154 nominees for Kentucky Oaks

)

Reigning juvenile champion Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway) is the brightest star among 154 horses on the roster of early nominations to the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1), scheduled for its 141st running on May 1 at Churchill Downs.

This year's early nomination total is a 27.3 percent increase from the 121 fillies made eligible during the early nomination total in 2014, and it's the highest total since 170 fillies were nominated in 2009. The Oaks early nomination record is 192 from 2007.

To view the complete list of 2015 Kentucky Oaks nominations, please click here.

A late nomination phase is open and will continue through April 8. Late nominations require payment of a $1,500 fee. After the closing of late nominations, there will be a final opportunity to make a filly eligible for the Kentucky Oaks through the race's supplemental nomination process, which requires payment of $30,000 at the time of entry to the race on April 28.

The Oaks field is limited to 14 starters and up to four fillies designated as "also-eligible" to start. Eligibility to compete in the Oaks is determined by points amassed during the "Road to the Kentucky Oaks" series. If one of more horses should scratch from the Kentucky Oaks before 9 a.m. (EDT) on the morning of the race, fillies from the "also-eligible" list with the highest respective point totals would be allowed to compete.

The Kentucky Oaks will be telecast live on NBC Sports Network.

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Mutuel field 3-1 favorite in third Kentucky Derby Future Wager

With just over nine weeks remaining until the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby (G1), uncertainty surrounds some of the Derby's major contenders and it is reflected in the morning line odds for this week's third of four pools of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW), which launches its three-day run on Friday and concludes on Sunday.

The Mutuel Field, or "All Others," which includes all three-year-olds other than the 23 individual horses among Pool 3's 24 wagering interests, is the 3-1 favorite in Churchill Downs' handicapper Mike Battaglia's morning line. That's a customary, though not exclusive spot for that wagering interest in the next-to-last pool of the wager that was introduced in 1999. Battaglia's 3-1 odds reflect increased interest in individual horses in the pool, but given, late starts on pre-Derby racing campaigns by some of the pool's individual stars, "All Others" should emerge as a clear fan's choice in Pool 3.

Three-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert appears to be in an enviable spot with nine weeks remaining before Kentucky Derby 141 as he conditions both of the 8-1 co-second choices in KDFW Pool 3: reigning champion juvenile American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) and unbeaten Dortmund (Big Brown).

While the latter has run off four wins since his November 2 racing debut that include the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) and the recent Robert B. Lewis (G3) at Santa Anita, American Pharoah is one of the wagering interests with some questions to answer. He has not raced since September 27, when he rolled to victory in the FrontRunner (G1) at Santa Anita. American Pharoah missed a planned start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita because of injury, and is now training toward a planned return to competition in the $750,000 Rebel (G2) on March 14 at Oaklawn Park.

The other major player in KDFW Pool 3 that is surrounded by a bit of mystery is Texas Red (Afleet Alex), who romped to an easy victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and was the 9-1 favored individual horse in early February's second Derby Futures pool. He made his three-year-old debut in a strong runner-up finish to Lord Nelson (Pulpit) in the seven-furlong San Vicente (G2) on February 1 at Santa Anita, but Texas Red suffered a foot abscess following that race. Trainer and co-owner Keith Desormeaux still has the May 2 Kentucky Derby as the colt's target, but Texas Red has not worked since the ailment was discovered. Battaglia placed his Pool 3 odds at 12-1.

The Kentucky Derby Future Wager enables fans to wager on the Kentucky Derby well in advance of the race at odds that could be much more attractive than those offered on the day of the race. Winning payouts in all KDFW pools are determined by the odds that are in place at the end of each respective betting pool. Those winning mutuel payouts for the $2 minimum win and exacta wagers placed in each Kentucky Derby Future pool will be made following the running of the Kentucky Derby on May 2.

Pool 3 of the Derby Future Wager will run concurrent to the only Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pool of 2015. Wagering on both pools is set to open at noon (EST) on Friday. Betting on the Kentucky Derby pool will close at 6 p.m. on Sunday, while the Kentucky Oaks pool will remain open for an addition 30 minutes before closing at 6:30 p.m.

Wagering on Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager will be 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 other advance deposit wagering sites; 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.

Wagering was brisk in the second KDFW pool that ran from February 6-8. A total of $448,598 in win and exacta wagers was placed during the three days of betting, which was an 18 percent increase in betting from the same pool in 2014. The "All Others" interest was the odds-on 3-5 favorite in November 28-30 opening KDFW pool, which attracted total wagering of $234,574.

Dortmund (right) is the co-second choice in the third KDFW along with stablemate American Pharoah (Benoit Photos)

Total wagering in the earlier two pools of this year stands at $683,172. Total betting in the 2014 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, the first to feature four wagering pools, was $1,324,466.

Todd Pletcher, who saddled Super Saver to a Kentucky Derby win in 2010, is the trainer of five of the 23 individual horses on the Pool 3 betting roster. The Pletcher group includes Carpe Diem (Giant's Causeway), the winner of Keeneland's Breeders' Futurity (G1) and runner-up to Texas Red in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Carpe Diem is another colt who has yet to make his racing debut in 2015, but is scheduled to compete in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs on March 7.

Pletcher, who trained six of the 23 individual horses in KDFW Pool 2, also trains the unbeaten Itsaknockout (Lemon Drop Kid), who won last week's Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park via disqualification; Champagne (G1) winner Daredevil (More Than Ready); unbeaten Withers (G3) winner Far From Over (Blame); and unbeaten Khozan (Distorted Humor), who won an allowance race at Gulfstream Park on Sunday.

Another horse expected to attract strong support in the upcoming pool is Ralph M. Evans' Upstart (Flatter), the winner of Gulfstream Park's Holy Bull (G2) who was disqualified from first to second in last week's Fountain of Youth. Trainer Rick Violette's New York-bred has a record of 3-2-1 in six career races. Another New York-bred star likely to garner increased support in the pool is International Star (Fusaichi Pegasus), who won last week's Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds after winning the Lecomte (G3) over the New Orleans track in his previous outing.

Other prominent players heading into Pool 3 include Ocean Knight (Curlin), the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained winner of Tampa Bay Downs' Sam F. Davis (G3) and a 15-1 risk in Battaglia's morning line odds; Ocho Ocho Ocho (Street Sense), winner of the $1 million Delta Jackpot (G3) and listed at 20-1 as the James Cassidy trainee prepares for his 2015 debut; and Far Right (Notional), winner of the Southwest (G3) and Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park for trainer Ron Moquett.

KDFW Pool 3 wagering interests that were not a part of Pool 2 include Bolo (Temple City), winner of the Eddie Logan on turf at Santa Anita; recent maiden winner Danzig Moon (Malibu Moon), Far From Over, Keen Ice (Curlin), third in the Risen Star; and War Story (War Front), runner-up to Far Right in both the Southwest and Smarty Jones.

Wagering interests for the Kentucky Derby Future Wager were chosen by Churchill Downs committee that included Racing Secretary Ben Huffman, Senior Director of Communications and Media Services Darren Rogers, Director of Programming and Senior Racing Analyst Jill Byrne, Player Services Manager Gary Palmisano and Vice President, Racing Communications John Asher.

After the closing of KDFW Pool 3, one Derby Futures pool will remain on the schedule prior to Kentucky Derby 141. The fourth and final KDFW pool is set for five weeks before the Derby and will run from March 27-29.

Real-time odds during the three-day run of KDFW Pool 3 and other information the wager and the Kentucky Derby are available at the official event Web site at http://www.kentuckyderby.com/racing-wagering/future-wager/pool-3-final-odds.

Free Brisnet Ultimate Past Performances for wagering interests in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager are available at http://www.brisnet.com/brisnet_promos/KDFW2.pdf. Brisnet also has complimentary past performances for all Triple Crown nominees at http://www.brisnet.com/brisnet_promos/TC15noms.pdf.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Mutuel field 3-1 favorite in third Kentucky Derby Future Wager

With just over nine weeks remaining until the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby (G1), uncertainty surrounds some of the Derby's major contenders and it is reflected in the morning line odds for this week's third of four pools of Churchill Downs' Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW), which launches its three-day run on Friday and concludes on Sunday.

The Mutuel Field, or "All Others," which includes all three-year-olds other than the 23 individual horses among Pool 3's 24 wagering interests, is the 3-1 favorite in Churchill Downs' handicapper Mike Battaglia's morning line. That's a customary, though not exclusive spot for that wagering interest in the next-to-last pool of the wager that was introduced in 1999. Battaglia's 3-1 odds reflect increased interest in individual horses in the pool, but given, late starts on pre-Derby racing campaigns by some of the pool's individual stars, "All Others" should emerge as a clear fan's choice in Pool 3.

Three-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert appears to be in an enviable spot with nine weeks remaining before Kentucky Derby 141 as he conditions both of the 8-1 co-second choices in KDFW Pool 3: reigning champion juvenile American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) and unbeaten Dortmund (Big Brown).

While the latter has run off four wins since his November 2 racing debut that include the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) and the recent Robert B. Lewis (G3) at Santa Anita, American Pharoah is one of the wagering interests with some questions to answer. He has not raced since September 27, when he rolled to victory in the FrontRunner (G1) at Santa Anita. American Pharoah missed a planned start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita because of injury, and is now training toward a planned return to competition in the $750,000 Rebel (G2) on March 14 at Oaklawn Park.

The other major player in KDFW Pool 3 that is surrounded by a bit of mystery is Texas Red (Afleet Alex), who romped to an easy victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and was the 9-1 favored individual horse in early February's second Derby Futures pool. He made his three-year-old debut in a strong runner-up finish to Lord Nelson (Pulpit) in the seven-furlong San Vicente (G2) on February 1 at Santa Anita, but Texas Red suffered a foot abscess following that race. Trainer and co-owner Keith Desormeaux still has the May 2 Kentucky Derby as the colt's target, but Texas Red has not worked since the ailment was discovered. Battaglia placed his Pool 3 odds at 12-1.

The Kentucky Derby Future Wager enables fans to wager on the Kentucky Derby well in advance of the race at odds that could be much more attractive than those offered on the day of the race. Winning payouts in all KDFW pools are determined by the odds that are in place at the end of each respective betting pool. Those winning mutuel payouts for the $2 minimum win and exacta wagers placed in each Kentucky Derby Future pool will be made following the running of the Kentucky Derby on May 2.

Pool 3 of the Derby Future Wager will run concurrent to the only Kentucky Oaks Future Wager pool of 2015. Wagering on both pools is set to open at noon (EST) on Friday. Betting on the Kentucky Derby pool will close at 6 p.m. on Sunday, while the Kentucky Oaks pool will remain open for an addition 30 minutes before closing at 6:30 p.m.

Wagering on Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager will be 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 other advance deposit wagering sites; 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.

Wagering was brisk in the second KDFW pool that ran from February 6-8. A total of $448,598 in win and exacta wagers was placed during the three days of betting, which was an 18 percent increase in betting from the same pool in 2014. The "All Others" interest was the odds-on 3-5 favorite in November 28-30 opening KDFW pool, which attracted total wagering of $234,574.

Dortmund (right) is the co-second choice in the third KDFW along with stablemate American Pharoah (Benoit Photos)

Total wagering in the earlier two pools of this year stands at $683,172. Total betting in the 2014 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, the first to feature four wagering pools, was $1,324,466.

Todd Pletcher, who saddled Super Saver to a Kentucky Derby win in 2010, is the trainer of five of the 23 individual horses on the Pool 3 betting roster. The Pletcher group includes Carpe Diem (Giant's Causeway), the winner of Keeneland's Breeders' Futurity (G1) and runner-up to Texas Red in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Carpe Diem is another colt who has yet to make his racing debut in 2015, but is scheduled to compete in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs on March 7.

Pletcher, who trained six of the 23 individual horses in KDFW Pool 2, also trains the unbeaten Itsaknockout (Lemon Drop Kid), who won last week's Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park via disqualification; Champagne (G1) winner Daredevil (More Than Ready); unbeaten Withers (G3) winner Far From Over (Blame); and unbeaten Khozan (Distorted Humor), who won an allowance race at Gulfstream Park on Sunday.

Another horse expected to attract strong support in the upcoming pool is Ralph M. Evans' Upstart (Flatter), the winner of Gulfstream Park's Holy Bull (G2) who was disqualified from first to second in last week's Fountain of Youth. Trainer Rick Violette's New York-bred has a record of 3-2-1 in six career races. Another New York-bred star likely to garner increased support in the pool is International Star (Fusaichi Pegasus), who won last week's Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds after winning the Lecomte (G3) over the New Orleans track in his previous outing.

Other prominent players heading into Pool 3 include Ocean Knight (Curlin), the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained winner of Tampa Bay Downs' Sam F. Davis (G3) and a 15-1 risk in Battaglia's morning line odds; Ocho Ocho Ocho (Street Sense), winner of the $1 million Delta Jackpot (G3) and listed at 20-1 as the James Cassidy trainee prepares for his 2015 debut; and Far Right (Notional), winner of the Southwest (G3) and Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park for trainer Ron Moquett.

KDFW Pool 3 wagering interests that were not a part of Pool 2 include Bolo (Temple City), winner of the Eddie Logan on turf at Santa Anita; recent maiden winner Danzig Moon (Malibu Moon), Far From Over, Keen Ice (Curlin), third in the Risen Star; and War Story (War Front), runner-up to Far Right in both the Southwest and Smarty Jones.

Wagering interests for the Kentucky Derby Future Wager were chosen by Churchill Downs committee that included Racing Secretary Ben Huffman, Senior Director of Communications and Media Services Darren Rogers, Director of Programming and Senior Racing Analyst Jill Byrne, Player Services Manager Gary Palmisano and Vice President, Racing Communications John Asher.

After the closing of KDFW Pool 3, one Derby Futures pool will remain on the schedule prior to Kentucky Derby 141. The fourth and final KDFW pool is set for five weeks before the Derby and will run from March 27-29.

Real-time odds during the three-day run of KDFW Pool 3 and other information the wager and the Kentucky Derby are available at the official event Web site at http://www.kentuckyderby.com/racing-wagering/future-wager/pool-3-final-odds.

Free Brisnet Ultimate Past Performances for wagering interests in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager are available at http://www.brisnet.com/brisnet_promos/KDFW2.pdf. Brisnet also has complimentary past performances for all Triple Crown nominees at http://www.brisnet.com/brisnet_promos/TC15noms.pdf.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Take Charge Brandi the early individual choice in Oaks Future Wager

Streaking juvenile filly champion filly Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway) is a narrow choice as the favored individual horse, but the ever-popular Mutuel Field (#24), or "All Other Three-Year-Old Fillies," will again be a solid favorite in the morning line odds for Churchill Downs Racetrack's Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (KOFW), which opens a three-day run on Friday and concludes on Sunday.

Bettors were on target in 2014 when they tabbed Winchell Thoroughbreds' Untapable as the 5-1 KOFW favorite to win the Kentucky Oaks (G1), America's premier race for three-year-old fillies. The Steve Asmussen-trained star rolled to a dominant Oaks win and became just the third Oaks winner to also take the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) during a campaign in which she was unbeaten against her gender and suffered her only loss in a fourth-place finish against males in the Haskell Invitational (GI) at Monmouth Park. Untapable earned the 2014 Eclipse Award for America's outstanding three-year-old filly.

The pre-race picture is murkier heading into this year's 141st running of the Kentucky Oaks on May 1 at Churchill Downs, and handicapper Mike Battaglia has installed the Mutuel Field, or "All Others," as the 5-2 favorite in the Oaks Future pool. "All Others" includes all three-year-old fillies other than the 23 individual horses listed among the KOFW's 24 wagering interests.

Willis D. Horton's Take Charge Brandi, riding a streak of four consecutive stakes triumphs that began with her 61-1 upset in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita, is the 6-1 favored individual in lone Kentucky Oaks Future Wager Pool of 2015. The string of stakes wins by the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Take Charge Brandi also includes the Starlet (G1) at Los Alamitos, Delta Downs' Delta Princess (G3) and the Martha Washington at Oaklawn Park. Her career record stands at 5-1-0 in nine races with earnings of $1,680,125.

Despite her successful run, Take Charge Brandi is far from an overwhelming choice among the individual Oaks contenders in the pool. Close behind are 8-1 co-third choices Condo Commando (Tiz Wonderful), a romping winner of Saratoga's Spinaway (G1) and Aqueduct's Demoiselle (G2) at two; and I'm A Chatterbox (Munnings), who earned back-to-back wins in the Rachel Alexandra (G3) and Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds since she joined the stable of two-time Kentucky Oaks-winning trainer Larry Jones.

The Kentucky Oaks Future Wager enables racing fans to wager on contenders for the Kentucky Oaks weeks in advance of the 2015 renewal of the 1 1/8-mile race for three-year-old fillies at odds that could be more attractive than those available on Oaks Day.

The wager permits $2 minimum win bets and $2 exactas, which are available in $1 minimum increments in boxes and other multiple number configurations. The KOFW pool runs concurrent to the third of four pools of the 2015 Kentucky Derby Future Wager. Wagering in both the Oaks and Derby pools is scheduled to open at noon (ET) on Friday. Betting in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool will conclude at 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 1 and Kentucky Oaks Future betting will continue for 30 minutes before the pool closes at 6:30 p.m.

No scratches or betting refunds are permitted in the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager. Betting on any individual filly in the pool will be suspended immediately should Churchill Downs determine during the pool that injury, illness or some other circumstance would prevent that horse from competing in the Oaks.

Total wagering on the 2014 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (including win and exacta betting) was $81,234. The betting total for the three-day pool in 2013 totaled $126,039.

Other fillies expected to attract solid support in the KOFW pool include Callback (Street Sense), who is listed at 12-1 following a win in the Las Virgenes (G1) at Santa Anita; Davona Dale (G2) heroine Ekati's Phaeton (Tale of Ekati); Forward Gal (G2) winner and Davona Dale runner-up Birdathewire (Summer Bird); Davona Dale third-placer Eskenformoney (Eskendreya); Starlet runner-up Feathered (Indian Charlie); and Puca (Big Brown), who exits a late-running fourth in the Davona Dale.

Two-time Kentucky Oaks winners Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher each train three of the Oaks Future Wager betting interests. Baffert conditions Callback, Fantastic Style (Harlan's Holiday) and Luminance (Tale of the Cat), while Pletcher trains Angela Renee (Bernardini), Eskenformoney and Feathered.

The wagering interests for the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager are selected by a committee that consists of Churchill Downs Racing Secretary Ben Huffman, Senior Director of Communications and Media Services Darren Rogers, Director of Programming and Senior Racing Analyst Jill Byrne, Player Services Manager Gary Palmisano and Vice President of Communications John Asher.

Real time odds and other information on the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager is available at http://www.kentuckyderby.com/racing-wagering/future-wager/pool-3-oaks-odds.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Take Charge Brandi the early individual choice in Oaks Future Wager

Streaking juvenile filly champion filly Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway) is a narrow choice as the favored individual horse, but the ever-popular Mutuel Field (#24), or "All Other Three-Year-Old Fillies," will again be a solid favorite in the morning line odds for Churchill Downs Racetrack's Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (KOFW), which opens a three-day run on Friday and concludes on Sunday.

Bettors were on target in 2014 when they tabbed Winchell Thoroughbreds' Untapable as the 5-1 KOFW favorite to win the Kentucky Oaks (G1), America's premier race for three-year-old fillies. The Steve Asmussen-trained star rolled to a dominant Oaks win and became just the third Oaks winner to also take the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) during a campaign in which she was unbeaten against her gender and suffered her only loss in a fourth-place finish against males in the Haskell Invitational (GI) at Monmouth Park. Untapable earned the 2014 Eclipse Award for America's outstanding three-year-old filly.

The pre-race picture is murkier heading into this year's 141st running of the Kentucky Oaks on May 1 at Churchill Downs, and handicapper Mike Battaglia has installed the Mutuel Field, or "All Others," as the 5-2 favorite in the Oaks Future pool. "All Others" includes all three-year-old fillies other than the 23 individual horses listed among the KOFW's 24 wagering interests.

Willis D. Horton's Take Charge Brandi, riding a streak of four consecutive stakes triumphs that began with her 61-1 upset in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita, is the 6-1 favored individual in lone Kentucky Oaks Future Wager Pool of 2015. The string of stakes wins by the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Take Charge Brandi also includes the Starlet (G1) at Los Alamitos, Delta Downs' Delta Princess (G3) and the Martha Washington at Oaklawn Park. Her career record stands at 5-1-0 in nine races with earnings of $1,680,125.

Despite her successful run, Take Charge Brandi is far from an overwhelming choice among the individual Oaks contenders in the pool. Close behind are 8-1 co-third choices Condo Commando (Tiz Wonderful), a romping winner of Saratoga's Spinaway (G1) and Aqueduct's Demoiselle (G2) at two; and I'm A Chatterbox (Munnings), who earned back-to-back wins in the Rachel Alexandra (G3) and Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds since she joined the stable of two-time Kentucky Oaks-winning trainer Larry Jones.

The Kentucky Oaks Future Wager enables racing fans to wager on contenders for the Kentucky Oaks weeks in advance of the 2015 renewal of the 1 1/8-mile race for three-year-old fillies at odds that could be more attractive than those available on Oaks Day.

The wager permits $2 minimum win bets and $2 exactas, which are available in $1 minimum increments in boxes and other multiple number configurations. The KOFW pool runs concurrent to the third of four pools of the 2015 Kentucky Derby Future Wager. Wagering in both the Oaks and Derby pools is scheduled to open at noon (ET) on Friday. Betting in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool will conclude at 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 1 and Kentucky Oaks Future betting will continue for 30 minutes before the pool closes at 6:30 p.m.

No scratches or betting refunds are permitted in the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager. Betting on any individual filly in the pool will be suspended immediately should Churchill Downs determine during the pool that injury, illness or some other circumstance would prevent that horse from competing in the Oaks.

Total wagering on the 2014 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (including win and exacta betting) was $81,234. The betting total for the three-day pool in 2013 totaled $126,039.

Other fillies expected to attract solid support in the KOFW pool include Callback (Street Sense), who is listed at 12-1 following a win in the Las Virgenes (G1) at Santa Anita; Davona Dale (G2) heroine Ekati's Phaeton (Tale of Ekati); Forward Gal (G2) winner and Davona Dale runner-up Birdathewire (Summer Bird); Davona Dale third-placer Eskenformoney (Eskendreya); Starlet runner-up Feathered (Indian Charlie); and Puca (Big Brown), who exits a late-running fourth in the Davona Dale.

Two-time Kentucky Oaks winners Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher each train three of the Oaks Future Wager betting interests. Baffert conditions Callback, Fantastic Style (Harlan's Holiday) and Luminance (Tale of the Cat), while Pletcher trains Angela Renee (Bernardini), Eskenformoney and Feathered.

The wagering interests for the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager are selected by a committee that consists of Churchill Downs Racing Secretary Ben Huffman, Senior Director of Communications and Media Services Darren Rogers, Director of Programming and Senior Racing Analyst Jill Byrne, Player Services Manager Gary Palmisano and Vice President of Communications John Asher.

Real time odds and other information on the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager is available at http://www.kentuckyderby.com/racing-wagering/future-wager/pool-3-oaks-odds.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

The Great War looms as heavy favorite in Battaglia

The Great War ran away from overmatched rivals last month in the 96Rock (Turfway Park/Coady Photography)

The battle for Kentucky Derby (G1) eligibility is still several weeks away for The Great War (War Front), but the Wesley Ward-trained colt will participate in a preparatory skirmish on Saturday in the $125,000 John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park.

The Battaglia, at 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack, is not part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series and thus does not offer qualifying points for entry to the Run for the Roses. However, it has long-served as the leading prep for Turfway's Spiral S. (G3), which will be run March 21 at nine furlongs and offers 50 qualifying points to its winner.

A $1 million yearling purchase by Coolmore, The Great War was trained at two by Aidan O'Brien. Winner in three of seven starts in Ireland, including the Blenheim Stakes at The Curragh, the bay was a commendable fourth in his U.S. and dirt debut, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita.

Staying stateside with Ward, The Great War was dazzling in Turfway's $69,000 96Rock on January 31. Pressing the early pace, the bay seized control turning for home and drew off to win by 7 1/4-lengths as the prohibitive 1-10 favorite.

The Great War will be heavily favored to repeat in the Battaglia, but has not yet won beyond the 96Rock distance of 6 1/2 furlongs. Among those who have shown aptitude around two turns over the Turfway oval are maiden scorer Milwaukee Mist (Milwaukee Brew) and allowance winner Candy Charger (Candy Ride), fifth and sixth in the 96Rock when cutting back in distance. Another local who might do well is Pepper Roani (Broken Vow), an impressive 3 1/2-length maiden winner last time for trainer Mike Maker.

Maker will also saddle Firespike (Flower Alley), a stakes winner on turf and synthetic, and Task Force Glory (Badge of Silver), a maiden winner on turf at Churchill Downs in November and second against allowance foes at Gulfstream last out.

Also expected to garner some wagering support are the Todd Pletcher-trained Royal Son (Tiznow), who adds blinkers following a nondescript stakes debut at Tampa Bay Downs last time. Graham Motion, who landed the Spiral four years ago with eventual Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, is represented by Midnight Trace (Scat Daddy), who won his debut over the turf at Tampa Bay Downs and was most recently third in allowance company over the same course.

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The Great War looms as heavy favorite in Battaglia

The Great War ran away from overmatched rivals last month in the 96Rock (Turfway Park/Coady Photography)

The battle for Kentucky Derby (G1) eligibility is still several weeks away for The Great War (War Front), but the Wesley Ward-trained colt will participate in a preparatory skirmish on Saturday in the $125,000 John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park.

The Battaglia, at 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack, is not part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series and thus does not offer qualifying points for entry to the Run for the Roses. However, it has long-served as the leading prep for Turfway's Spiral S. (G3), which will be run March 21 at nine furlongs and offers 50 qualifying points to its winner.

A $1 million yearling purchase by Coolmore, The Great War was trained at two by Aidan O'Brien. Winner in three of seven starts in Ireland, including the Blenheim Stakes at The Curragh, the bay was a commendable fourth in his U.S. and dirt debut, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita.

Staying stateside with Ward, The Great War was dazzling in Turfway's $69,000 96Rock on January 31. Pressing the early pace, the bay seized control turning for home and drew off to win by 7 1/4-lengths as the prohibitive 1-10 favorite.

The Great War will be heavily favored to repeat in the Battaglia, but has not yet won beyond the 96Rock distance of 6 1/2 furlongs. Among those who have shown aptitude around two turns over the Turfway oval are maiden scorer Milwaukee Mist (Milwaukee Brew) and allowance winner Candy Charger (Candy Ride), fifth and sixth in the 96Rock when cutting back in distance. Another local who might do well is Pepper Roani (Broken Vow), an impressive 3 1/2-length maiden winner last time for trainer Mike Maker.

Maker will also saddle Firespike (Flower Alley), a stakes winner on turf and synthetic, and Task Force Glory (Badge of Silver), a maiden winner on turf at Churchill Downs in November and second against allowance foes at Gulfstream last out.

Also expected to garner some wagering support are the Todd Pletcher-trained Royal Son (Tiznow), who adds blinkers following a nondescript stakes debut at Tampa Bay Downs last time. Graham Motion, who landed the Spiral four years ago with eventual Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, is represented by Midnight Trace (Scat Daddy), who won his debut over the turf at Tampa Bay Downs and was most recently third in allowance company over the same course.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

In brief

The racing cards at Laurel Park, Oaklawn Park, and Charles Town were all canceled Friday due to inclement weather or its effect on track conditions. Racing is scheduled to resume at all three track on Saturday...

Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Texas Red (Afleet Alex), scheduled to run in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 4, is now due to return to trainer Keith Desormeaux at Santa Anita on March 7 rather than March 1 after undergoing swimming rehab for an abscessed foot. "That gives us time for three works before the Derby," the trainer said...

Services will be private for former top jockey Jerry Lambert who died Monday at the age of 74. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Lambert's name to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund...

Last year's King's Bishop S. (G1) winner The Big Beast (Yes It's True) is scheduled to make his four-year-old debut in Sunday's 8TH race at Oaklawn Park, a third-level allowance sprint for older horses. Trainer Tony Dutrow is using the race as a prep for the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3) April 9...

Five-time Grade 1-winning Japanese jockey Hiroki Goto, 40, was found dead at his home of an apparent suicide by local police officers Friday, according to The Tokyo Reporter. In 23 years in the saddle, Goto amassed 1,447 victories, including the 2010 Yasuda Kinen (Jpn-G1) on board Showa Modern and the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) (Jpn-G1) with Erin Court the following year. He also suffered a number of severe injuries, notably a cracked skull and broken vertebrae in a fall in September 2012, before injuring his vertebrae again in the spring last year. Earlier this week, Goto had been receiving treatment for a sprained vertebrae, the consequence of a fall in the February 21 Diamond S. (Jpn-G3) in Tokyo when his mount fractured a leg. In spite of the injury, the jockey won two races at Kyoto two days later. Goto had rides booked on February 28 and March 1...

Hardly 24 hours ahead of the running of the A$1 million Blue Diamond S. (Aus-G1), Widden Stud revealed they had bought a 10 percent interest in leading contender Of the Brave (Straspangledbanner). The A$170,000 Magic Millions yearling purchase -- one of the highest-priced member of his sire's small first crop -- looks to maintain his perfect record going into Saturday's race, having won the listed Debutant S. going 1000 meters first time out and followed up with a wire-to-wire score in the Blue Diamond Prelude (Aus-G3), going an extra 100 meters. "We believe he is a very exciting young horse to be involved with going forward given his outstanding looks, strong pedigree and raw speed," said Anthony Thompson, owner of Widden Stud. Bought and trained by Mark Riley, Of the Brave was in the news earlier in the week as the banned conditioner fought to be allowed to saddle his charge in the Blue Diamond. A call for a Supreme Court injunction against the three-year ban -- incurred for administering Gold For Kev (Desert Sun) one of his charges with bicarbonate last July -- was rejected, but a stay was ultimately ordered by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, allowing Riley to continue doing his job until Tuesday. The Mornington trainer on Friday received confirmation by Racing Victoria stewards that another of his charges had returned a positive sample, this time to the anti-inflammatory Meloxicam. The urine swab was taken from the mare Grand Gallop (Danerich) following a December 10 win at Sandown...

John O'Shea, head of Godolphin's training operation in Australia, has reported that exciting juvenile Holler (Commands), an impressive winner of his only start on January 17, will miss the Golden Slipper (Aus-G1) and instead be sent for an Autumn spell. The colt was a late withdrawal in last Saturday's Silver Slipper S. (Aus-G2) after running a temperature and missing some training. Godolphin remains likely to hold a strong hand in the feature race on March 21, with four of their charges currently sitting in the top 10 on the ante-post betting market. Exosphere (Lonhro), a wide-margin maiden winner at Kembla last out, goes to post in Saturday's Skyline S. at Warwick Farm, and a win would earn him a ballot exemption for the Golden Slipper. The seven-runner field comprises another Godolphin colt in Mogador (Lonhro), who was second to the former in his only start to date. Furnaces (Exceed and Excel) found only his stablemate Haptic (Exceed and Excel) too good in the listed Lonhro Plate on Valentine's Day and was highly impressive when winning a trial unextended at Warwick Farm last Friday. A pair of Godolphin-owned fillies -- Italy (Domesday), winner of a Canterbury maiden in her second start, and Circular (Street Cry), who ran third in her February debut -- are in the Sweet Embrace S. on Saturday, a race whose winner will also be exempted from ballot for the Golden Slipper...

The four Japanese contenders aimed at Royal Randwick's The Championships arrived at the newly approved quarantine center at Canterbury Park racecourse, on the outskirts of Sydney, Australia. "The float arrived at the Canterbury quarantine center a shade after 9 p.m. (Thursday)" the Championships International Liaison Manager Maurice Logue told Racingandsports.com.au. "They were in excellent condition, Real Impact (Deep Impact) only lost 4kg in the whole trip. They (connections) were very pleased with the condition they arrived in." To The World (King Kamehameha), a Grade 2 winner at home last season and runner-up in both the 2000-meter Satsuki Sho (Japanese Two Thousand Guineas) (Jpn-G1) and 2500-meter Arima Kinen (Jpn-G1) -- behind the retiring Gentildonna (Deep Impact) -- is a fancied contender for the Queen Elizabeth S. (Aus-G1) on Apr. 11. Tosen Stardom (Deep Impact), winner of the Challenge Cup (Jpn-G3) going 1800 meters last out, is also expected to contest the 2000-meter race. World Ace (Deep Impact), who was last seen when fourth to Able Friend (Shamardal) in the Hong Kong Mile (HK-G1), is currently joint favorite for the Doncaster Mile (Aus-G1) on April 4, a race in which he will take on fellow citizen Real Impact. That seve-year-old became his sire's first winner at the highest level when taking the Yasuda Kinen (Jpn-G1) back in 2011 and arrives in Australia on the back of a narrow victory in a December 27 Grade 2 event going 1400 meters...

Semi-finalists for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award have been announced by Castleton Lyons Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. The contest, which offers a $10,000 winner's prize equal to that of the famed National Book Award, was the brainchild of the later Dr. Tony Ryan, founder of Ryanair airline and owner of Castleton Lyon. Ryan's twin passions were top flight horse racing and great literature. When he conceived the award in 2006, his intent was to honor the best full-length work published in the previous calendar year and written with a horse racing focus or backdrop. Finalists will be announced March 17, with the winner revealed at an April 15 invitation-only cocktail reception in Castleton Lyons' historic stallion barn. The semi-finalists are Canonero II: The Rags to Riches Story of the Kentucky Derby's Most Improbable Winner by Milton C. Toby; Everywhere Spirit by Stephen Halstead; Madam Belle: Sex, Money, and Influence in a Southern Brothel by Maryjean Wall; Northern Dancer: The Legendary Horse That Inspired a Nation by Kevin Chong; Offerings from a Rust Belt Jockey by Andy Plattner; and RaceLens: Vintage Thoroughbred Racing Images by Philip Von Borries...

Saturday's $60,000 Black Gold S. at Fair Grounds drew a field of 10 sophomores to go 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf. Lucky Player (Lookin at Lucky) has yet to compete on grass but is one of the top draws in the race from trainer Steve Asmussen's shedrow. The bay colt captured last year's Iroquois S. (G3) at Churchill Downs but was uanble to capitalize on that score when well beaten in his next three, including the Smarty Jones S. at Oaklawn Park on January 19. Robby Albarado has the call on Lucky Player as he faces dual stakes-placed Bourbon Cowboy (Cowboy Cal) and Another Lemon Drop (Lemon Drop Kid), who was fourth in the Lecomte S. (G3) in mid-January. Earlier on the card, 12 Louisiana-breds were entered in the $60,000 Dixie Poker Ace S. at a mile on the turf, including the top three from last year's off-the-turf running...

Albano (Istan), last year's Pegasus S. (G3) winner and Risen Star S. (G2) runner-up, makes his second start of the season Saturday in the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston. The Brereton Jones homebred kicked off his four-year-old campaign January 17 in the Louisiana S. at Fair Grounds, where he ran third as the 3-5 favorite. Kerwin Clark will again ride the Larry Jones-trained colt. C J's Awesome (Awesome Again), fourth in the Indiana Derby (G2) and Pennsylvania Derby (G2) last fall, appears to be the main threat on paper for trainer Ken McPeek. Others of note in the 1 1/8-mile test are F J Uncle Vic (Uncle Abbie), a two-time stakes winner on Sam Houston's main track, and multiple Grade 3-placed Hattaash (Strong Hope)...

The Breeders' Cup announced Friday that West Point Thoroughbreds near Saratoga Springs, New York, has been named an official partner of the Breeders' Cup World Championships and the presenting sponsor of the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC), and partners with major horseplayer tournaments across the United States in 2015. Now in its seventh year, the estimated prize money for the 2015 BCBC is $800,000. As a special bonus, the top two finishers at the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge will receive interests in a West Point horse, with the winner receiving a $25,000 interest and the second-place finisher receiving a $10,000 interest. Last year's Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge set new records for participation and prize money. The BCBC is a $10,000 buy-in handicapping contest in a live money wagering format ($2,500 to prize pool and $7,500 betting bankroll). Contest wagers were limited to win, place, show, exacta and trifecta betting...

Due to a high probability of rain, Santa Anita Park has canceled a special screening of the 2003 movie "Seabiscuit" this Saturday, which had been scheduled to start following the races at 6:30 p.m. (PST) in the track's Paddock Gardens Area. The screening, which was planned to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the legendary Seabiscuit winning the 1940 Santa Anita H., will be rescheduled at some point later this spring or summer, according to track officials.

In brief

The racing cards at Laurel Park, Oaklawn Park, and Charles Town were all canceled Friday due to inclement weather or its effect on track conditions. Racing is scheduled to resume at all three track on Saturday...

Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Texas Red (Afleet Alex), scheduled to run in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) on April 4, is now due to return to trainer Keith Desormeaux at Santa Anita on March 7 rather than March 1 after undergoing swimming rehab for an abscessed foot. "That gives us time for three works before the Derby," the trainer said...

Services will be private for former top jockey Jerry Lambert who died Monday at the age of 74. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Lambert's name to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund...

Last year's King's Bishop S. (G1) winner The Big Beast (Yes It's True) is scheduled to make his four-year-old debut in Sunday's 8TH race at Oaklawn Park, a third-level allowance sprint for older horses. Trainer Tony Dutrow is using the race as a prep for the $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3) April 9...

Five-time Grade 1-winning Japanese jockey Hiroki Goto, 40, was found dead at his home of an apparent suicide by local police officers Friday, according to The Tokyo Reporter. In 23 years in the saddle, Goto amassed 1,447 victories, including the 2010 Yasuda Kinen (Jpn-G1) on board Showa Modern and the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) (Jpn-G1) with Erin Court the following year. He also suffered a number of severe injuries, notably a cracked skull and broken vertebrae in a fall in September 2012, before injuring his vertebrae again in the spring last year. Earlier this week, Goto had been receiving treatment for a sprained vertebrae, the consequence of a fall in the February 21 Diamond S. (Jpn-G3) in Tokyo when his mount fractured a leg. In spite of the injury, the jockey won two races at Kyoto two days later. Goto had rides booked on February 28 and March 1...

Hardly 24 hours ahead of the running of the A$1 million Blue Diamond S. (Aus-G1), Widden Stud revealed they had bought a 10 percent interest in leading contender Of the Brave (Straspangledbanner). The A$170,000 Magic Millions yearling purchase -- one of the highest-priced member of his sire's small first crop -- looks to maintain his perfect record going into Saturday's race, having won the listed Debutant S. going 1000 meters first time out and followed up with a wire-to-wire score in the Blue Diamond Prelude (Aus-G3), going an extra 100 meters. "We believe he is a very exciting young horse to be involved with going forward given his outstanding looks, strong pedigree and raw speed," said Anthony Thompson, owner of Widden Stud. Bought and trained by Mark Riley, Of the Brave was in the news earlier in the week as the banned conditioner fought to be allowed to saddle his charge in the Blue Diamond. A call for a Supreme Court injunction against the three-year ban -- incurred for administering Gold For Kev (Desert Sun) one of his charges with bicarbonate last July -- was rejected, but a stay was ultimately ordered by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, allowing Riley to continue doing his job until Tuesday. The Mornington trainer on Friday received confirmation by Racing Victoria stewards that another of his charges had returned a positive sample, this time to the anti-inflammatory Meloxicam. The urine swab was taken from the mare Grand Gallop (Danerich) following a December 10 win at Sandown...

John O'Shea, head of Godolphin's training operation in Australia, has reported that exciting juvenile Holler (Commands), an impressive winner of his only start on January 17, will miss the Golden Slipper (Aus-G1) and instead be sent for an Autumn spell. The colt was a late withdrawal in last Saturday's Silver Slipper S. (Aus-G2) after running a temperature and missing some training. Godolphin remains likely to hold a strong hand in the feature race on March 21, with four of their charges currently sitting in the top 10 on the ante-post betting market. Exosphere (Lonhro), a wide-margin maiden winner at Kembla last out, goes to post in Saturday's Skyline S. at Warwick Farm, and a win would earn him a ballot exemption for the Golden Slipper. The seven-runner field comprises another Godolphin colt in Mogador (Lonhro), who was second to the former in his only start to date. Furnaces (Exceed and Excel) found only his stablemate Haptic (Exceed and Excel) too good in the listed Lonhro Plate on Valentine's Day and was highly impressive when winning a trial unextended at Warwick Farm last Friday. A pair of Godolphin-owned fillies -- Italy (Domesday), winner of a Canterbury maiden in her second start, and Circular (Street Cry), who ran third in her February debut -- are in the Sweet Embrace S. on Saturday, a race whose winner will also be exempted from ballot for the Golden Slipper...

The four Japanese contenders aimed at Royal Randwick's The Championships arrived at the newly approved quarantine center at Canterbury Park racecourse, on the outskirts of Sydney, Australia. "The float arrived at the Canterbury quarantine center a shade after 9 p.m. (Thursday)" the Championships International Liaison Manager Maurice Logue told Racingandsports.com.au. "They were in excellent condition, Real Impact (Deep Impact) only lost 4kg in the whole trip. They (connections) were very pleased with the condition they arrived in." To The World (King Kamehameha), a Grade 2 winner at home last season and runner-up in both the 2000-meter Satsuki Sho (Japanese Two Thousand Guineas) (Jpn-G1) and 2500-meter Arima Kinen (Jpn-G1) -- behind the retiring Gentildonna (Deep Impact) -- is a fancied contender for the Queen Elizabeth S. (Aus-G1) on Apr. 11. Tosen Stardom (Deep Impact), winner of the Challenge Cup (Jpn-G3) going 1800 meters last out, is also expected to contest the 2000-meter race. World Ace (Deep Impact), who was last seen when fourth to Able Friend (Shamardal) in the Hong Kong Mile (HK-G1), is currently joint favorite for the Doncaster Mile (Aus-G1) on April 4, a race in which he will take on fellow citizen Real Impact. That seve-year-old became his sire's first winner at the highest level when taking the Yasuda Kinen (Jpn-G1) back in 2011 and arrives in Australia on the back of a narrow victory in a December 27 Grade 2 event going 1400 meters...

Semi-finalists for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award have been announced by Castleton Lyons Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. The contest, which offers a $10,000 winner's prize equal to that of the famed National Book Award, was the brainchild of the later Dr. Tony Ryan, founder of Ryanair airline and owner of Castleton Lyon. Ryan's twin passions were top flight horse racing and great literature. When he conceived the award in 2006, his intent was to honor the best full-length work published in the previous calendar year and written with a horse racing focus or backdrop. Finalists will be announced March 17, with the winner revealed at an April 15 invitation-only cocktail reception in Castleton Lyons' historic stallion barn. The semi-finalists are Canonero II: The Rags to Riches Story of the Kentucky Derby's Most Improbable Winner by Milton C. Toby; Everywhere Spirit by Stephen Halstead; Madam Belle: Sex, Money, and Influence in a Southern Brothel by Maryjean Wall; Northern Dancer: The Legendary Horse That Inspired a Nation by Kevin Chong; Offerings from a Rust Belt Jockey by Andy Plattner; and RaceLens: Vintage Thoroughbred Racing Images by Philip Von Borries...

Saturday's $60,000 Black Gold S. at Fair Grounds drew a field of 10 sophomores to go 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf. Lucky Player (Lookin at Lucky) has yet to compete on grass but is one of the top draws in the race from trainer Steve Asmussen's shedrow. The bay colt captured last year's Iroquois S. (G3) at Churchill Downs but was uanble to capitalize on that score when well beaten in his next three, including the Smarty Jones S. at Oaklawn Park on January 19. Robby Albarado has the call on Lucky Player as he faces dual stakes-placed Bourbon Cowboy (Cowboy Cal) and Another Lemon Drop (Lemon Drop Kid), who was fourth in the Lecomte S. (G3) in mid-January. Earlier on the card, 12 Louisiana-breds were entered in the $60,000 Dixie Poker Ace S. at a mile on the turf, including the top three from last year's off-the-turf running...

Albano (Istan), last year's Pegasus S. (G3) winner and Risen Star S. (G2) runner-up, makes his second start of the season Saturday in the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston. The Brereton Jones homebred kicked off his four-year-old campaign January 17 in the Louisiana S. at Fair Grounds, where he ran third as the 3-5 favorite. Kerwin Clark will again ride the Larry Jones-trained colt. C J's Awesome (Awesome Again), fourth in the Indiana Derby (G2) and Pennsylvania Derby (G2) last fall, appears to be the main threat on paper for trainer Ken McPeek. Others of note in the 1 1/8-mile test are F J Uncle Vic (Uncle Abbie), a two-time stakes winner on Sam Houston's main track, and multiple Grade 3-placed Hattaash (Strong Hope)...

The Breeders' Cup announced Friday that West Point Thoroughbreds near Saratoga Springs, New York, has been named an official partner of the Breeders' Cup World Championships and the presenting sponsor of the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC), and partners with major horseplayer tournaments across the United States in 2015. Now in its seventh year, the estimated prize money for the 2015 BCBC is $800,000. As a special bonus, the top two finishers at the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge will receive interests in a West Point horse, with the winner receiving a $25,000 interest and the second-place finisher receiving a $10,000 interest. Last year's Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge set new records for participation and prize money. The BCBC is a $10,000 buy-in handicapping contest in a live money wagering format ($2,500 to prize pool and $7,500 betting bankroll). Contest wagers were limited to win, place, show, exacta and trifecta betting...

Due to a high probability of rain, Santa Anita Park has canceled a special screening of the 2003 movie "Seabiscuit" this Saturday, which had been scheduled to start following the races at 6:30 p.m. (PST) in the track's Paddock Gardens Area. The screening, which was planned to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the legendary Seabiscuit winning the 1940 Santa Anita H., will be rescheduled at some point later this spring or summer, according to track officials.

Results

NORTH AMERICAN ALLOWANCE RESULTS

AQU, 5TH, AOC, $67,620, 4YO/UP, F/M, 1M, 2-27.
7—AMULAY, m, 5, It's No Joke--Lost Romance, by Lost Soldier. O-Roddy J Valente, B-Mary Anne Hockensmith (KY), T-Bruce N. Levine, J-Jose L. Ortiz, $41,400.
5—Jcs American Dream, f, 4, Catienus--American Passage, by Quiet American. O-Shooting Star Stable, B-Miracle Man Racing Partners LLC (NY), $13,800.
2—Agawa, m, 5, Curlin--Silver Adventure, by Silver Deputy. O-Wachtel Stable, B-Sam-Son Farm (ON), $6,900.
Winning Time: 1:37 3/5 (ft)
 
SA, 6TH, AOC, $58,000, 3YO, 1 1/16M, 2-27.
5—VERRACO, c, 3, Old Fashioned--N. Y. Friend, by Friends Lake. ($10,000 '13 FTKJUL; $40,000 2014 BESJUL). O-DP Racing, LLC, B-Sarawin Stable & Joe Mroz (KY), T-James M. Cassidy, J-Elvis Trujillo, $34,800.
4—Cyrus Alexander, c, 3, Medaglia d'Oro--Supercharger, by A.P. Indy. ($1,700,000 '13 KEESEP). O-Spendthrift Farm LLC and Stonestreet Stables LLC, B-WinStar Farm, LLC (KY), $11,600.
1—Battle of Evermore, c, 3, Scat Daddy--Maddalena, by Good and Tough. ($165,000 '13 OBSAUG; $285,000 2014 OBSMAR). O-Doubledown Stables, Inc, B-Ned Williams (NY), $6,960.
Winning Time: 1:43 3/5 (ft)
 
AQU, 7TH, ALW, $57,000, 4YO/UP, 6F, 2-27.
8—MIGHTY ZEALOUS, g, 4, Here's Zealous--Winters Bell, by Winter Glitter. ($40,000 2013 OBSAPR). O-Rice, Linda and Sacandaga Stable, B-Gerald Reid (NY), T-Linda Rice, J-Taylor B. Rice, $34,200.
3—Lulu Rocks, c, 4, Bustin Stones--Devilish Imp, by Devil's Bag. O-Valente, Roddy J and Lemme, Thomas, B-Roddy Valente & Thomas Lemme (NY), $11,400.
9—Groupthink, g, 4, Majestic Warrior--Road to Mandalay, by Sea of Secrets. ($220,000 '12 FTNAUG). O-Klaravich Stables, Inc and Lawrence, William H, B-Seth Gregory (NY), $5,700.
Winning Time: 1:11 (ft)
 
AQU, 2ND, AOC, $51,300, 3YO, F, 1M 70Y, 2-27.
4—JULES N ROME, f, 3, Dunkirk--Pretty Honoree, by Double Honor. ($19,000 '12 FTNOCT; $77,000 '13 FTKOCT). O-MeB Racing Stables LLC and Brooklyn Boyz Stables, B-Harry L Landry, Constancia Farm & Dunkirk Syndicate (NY), T-Dominick Schettino, J-Irad Ortiz, Jr., $34,200.
5—Bobby's Brickhouse, f, 3, Bob and John--Acquired Taste, by Scarlet Ibis. ($20,000 '13 FTKOCT; $30,000 2014 OBSAPR). O-Betty Jean Murphy, B-Patricia Staskowski Purdy (NY), $11,400.
6—Jackie Black, f, 3, Discreet Cat--Hollybygolly, by Old Trieste. ($5,000 '13 FTKOCT). O-Knights of the Round Stable and Perry, Andrew, B-Michael Mandara (NY), $5,700.
Winning Time: 1:43 1/5 (ft)
 
DED, 8TH, ALW, $43,240, 4YO/UP, 6 1/2F, 2-26.
2—FARMERVILLE, g, 4, Richter Scale--Very Gifted, by Gift of Gib. O-Chad White, B-Chad White (LA), T-Ray Spencer, J-Donald Edward Simington, $26,700.
7—Sonofaguska, g, 5, Yonaguska--Fraser's Joy, by Fraser River. O-Terry M Vitrano, Sr, B-Mr & Mrs Terry Michael Vitrano Sr (LA), $8,900.
8—Ella's Top Cat, c, 4, Bluegrass Cat--Makeout Session, by Cherokee Run. ($35,000 '11 KEENOV; $50,000 '12 KEESEP; $45,000 2013 FTMMAY). O-Edgar Neal Jester, B-Fred W Hertrich III & John D Fielding (KY), $3,905.
Winning Time: 1:21 (ft)
 
GP, 9TH, AOC, $42,000, 4YO/UP, F/M, 1M, 2-27.
8—PREVIOUS, m, 5, Empire Maker--Discuss, by Danzig. O-Juddmonte Farms, Inc, B-Juddmonte Farms Inc (KY), T-William I. Mott, J-Jose Lezcano, $25,200.
4—Lil Honey Badger, f, 4, Flatter--Legendary Lady, by Virginia Rapids. ($30,000 '12 KEESEP). O-Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc, B-E H Beau Lane III (KY), $8,820.
1—Streethomealabama, f, 4, Street Sense--Servalina, by A.P. Indy. ($95,000 '12 KEESEP). O-William Heffner, B-Dr John R Cummins & John Leahy (KY), $4,200.
Winning Time: 1:39 4/5 (ft)
 
SUN, 9TH, ALW, $32,285, 4YO/UP, F/M, 6F, 2-27.
8—GNACARANO, m, 6, Your Eminence--Lord Imajones, by Prospector Jones. O-Wyona M Noel, B-Wyona Noel (NM), T-Bobby R. Noel, J-Travis Wales, $19,320.
5—Turbulent Sea, f, 4, Seacliff--Ryann, by Signal Tap. ($5,200 '12 RUIJUL). O-Bills, Larry T and Green, Greg, B-Brian K Bentley & Patsy Handcock (NM), $7,084.
2—Rollsetroll, f, 4, Roll Hennessy Roll--Setapiece, by In Excessive Bull. O-Linda Hunter, B-Charles Hunter (NM), $3,220.
Winning Time: 1:09 (ft)
 
HAW, 9TH, ALW, $30,630, 3YO/UP, 1M 70Y, 2-27.
1—ARCHYBDANCING, g, 4, Arch--Stormybdancing, by Storm Creek. O-Michael L Reavis, B-RNB Racing LLC (IL), T-Michael L. Reavis, J-Samantha Colvin, $19,404.
4—Sun Red, g, 5, Devil His Due--Cozzy Temper, by Cozzene. O-Ben Barnow, B-Ben Barnow (IL), $6,468.
5—Mr. Pumpermichael, g, 5, Latent Heat--Tizina, by Tiznow. O-American Star Racing Stable, B-Russell L Reineman Stable, Inc (KY), $2,310.
Winning Time: 1:43 (ft)
 
CT, 3RD, ALW, $27,000, 4YO/UP, F/M, 7F, 2-26.
6—MOONLIGHT RUN, f, 4, El Corredor--Sudden Desire, by Hennessy. O-Coleswood Farm Inc and Smart Angle, B-Coleswood Farm, Inc & Dan Ryan (WV), T-Jeff C. Runco, J-Arnaldo Bocachica, $16,080.
1—Spectacular Lady, f, 4, Spring At Last--Cobra Lady, by Cobra King. O-J Michael Baird, B-John Michael Baird (WV), $5,360.
5—Mommy Did It, f, 4, Luftikus--Farsi Strada, by Awesome Again. O-Kristy Petty, B-Kristy Petty (WV), $2,680.
Winning Time: 1:29 (ft)
 
SUN, 6TH, ALW, $26,685, 4YO/UP, 1M 70Y, 2-27.
6—SAILORS BROTHER, g, 4, Whatsthescript (IRE)--Sailor's Sister, by Petionville. O-Len Schermer, B-Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, LLC (CA), T-Justin R. Evans, J-Irwin J. Rosendo, $15,960.
3—Tri Chocolate, g, 5, Swiss Yodeler--Cryptoscript, by Cryptoclearance. O-Peggy B Rust, B-Lisa Rehburg (OK), $5,852.
5—Crimson Night, h, 5, Kitten's Joy--Buckeye Search, by Meadowlake. O-Kenneth Corazza, B-Kenneth L Corazza (KY), $2,660.
Winning Time: 1:41 3/5 (ft)
 
HAW, 8TH, ALW, $23,100, 3YO/UP, F/M, 6F, 2-27.
4—DOC GALORE, f, 4, Bring the Heat--Western Mindy, by Western Borders. O-William Stiritz, B-Jean White & Larry Rivelli (IL), T-Scott Becker, J-Vicente Gudiel, $13,860.
7—Cow Catcher, f, 4, Cactus Ridge--Stop a Train, by Devil His Due. O-William Stiritz, B-Nancy & Vince Letto & Carson Springs Farm (IL), $4,620.
6—Im Moneyinthebank, f, 4, Dunkirk--Costar, by Gone West. O-Young, Terry and Crooks, Sue, B-Dennis Crooks/Terry Young (IL), $2,310.
Winning Time: 1:09 3/5 (ft)

Features

HANDICAPPING INSIGHTS

FEBRUARY 27, 2015

by Dick Powell

Lots of ways to approach last Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and any conclusions one might draw going forward. In no apparent order:

The track was extremely dry and with a brisk wind blowing, it produced very slow running times. After six furlongs were contested in 1:11.65, they took 34.63 seconds to run the final five-sixteenths of a mile. The main track played slow all day and even on Sunday, when Khozan (Distorted Humor) crushed allowance foes going a mile by 12 lengths, taking 51.50 seconds to run the last half-mile.

Upstart (Flatter) is for real. He has shown that he can handle any surface and can handle the classic distances. On Saturday, he raced wide throughout and Trakus showed that he covered 20 feet more than Itsaknockout (Lemon Drop Kid) and 54 feet more than third place finisher Frammento (Midshipman). His bearing out in the stretch was the result of Jose Ortiz's left-hand whip than any sign of unsoundness.

Rick Violette, who did a great job last year with Samraat (Noble Causeway) getting ready for the first Saturday in May, can come back in the Florida Derby (G1) on March 29, which gives him five weeks before Kentucky. Or, he could wait another week for the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct, but that would only give him four weeks. Look for Upstart to stay down in Florida and contest the Florida Derby.

Turning for home, Frosted (Distorted Humor) looked like he might be an easy winner. Irad Ortiz Jr. had a strong hold on him and hadn't even asked him to go at the top of the stretch. When the moment of truth came, Frosted came up completely empty with no apparent excuse.

To make it even worse for the Boys in Blue from Godolphin, Imperia (Medaglia d'Oro) was dreadful as the 3-to-2 favorite in the Risen Star Stakes (G2) at the Fair Grounds. He was far back early, made a nominal middle move before offering nothing coming home.

Itsaknockout just keeps getting the job done for Starlight Stables, who always seems to develop a promising three-year-old this time of year. The colt raced between horses down the backstretch, moved up on the turn then looked like a winner until Ortiz steered Upstart into his path. His win in the Fountain of Youth was a backwards move off his fast win going a mile on January 4 against allowance foes, but it should set him up well down the road.

That blur in the homestretch was Frammento, trained by none other than Nick Zito who is back on the Triple Crown trail. The colt added blinkers and Johnny Velazquez for the Fountain of Youth and made up nine lengths on the leaders from the far turn to the wire. With Zito at the helm, expect more improvement.

Don't know how to compare these horses with their California counterparts. Have no idea how Dortmund (Big Brown) and American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) compare to Upstart, but these are some solid horses racing in the East.

I would have disqualified Upstart for bearing out in the stretch into Itsaknockout's path. Ortiz was making no effort to keep him straight. The final margin of 2 1/2 lengths might indicate that it did not affect the outcome but the foul occurred when Itsaknockout pulled to within a half-length and had a ton of momentum.

Elsewhere, Main Sequence's (Aldeberan) final surge in the deep stretch to win the Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2) was sensational. He covered his last furlong in 11.20 seconds and lengthened his enormous stride with ease.

After a modest pace, it looked like Twilight Eclipse (Purim) might pull off the mile upset when he had a length cushion at the sixteenth pole but Main Sequence devoured him; just like he had the previous four times they faced each other. Considering Main Sequence was not fully cranked up, it was an awesome finish and now he goes on to the $6 million Sheema Classic (UAE-G1) at 1 1/2 miles at Meydan in Dubai.

Spot Plays/Highlights/Weather

SPOT PLAYS

For Saturday

TRACK   (RACE) HORSE, MORNING LINE
Aqueduct   (2nd) Naught Grace, 7-2
    (5th) Brass Pear, 4-1
Charles Town   (1st) Java for Two, 8-1
    (4th) Roche, 6-1
Delta Downs   (4th) Tough Thomas, 3-1
    (8th) Dreamy Kid, 7-2
Fair Grounds   (4th) Hail to the Nile, 3-1
    (7th) Skip the Pinot, 6-1
Golden Gate Fields   (1st) Due Believe, 6-1
    (5th) Siberian Winter, 4-1
Gulfstream Park   (2nd) Silver Lucky Q, 10-1
    (10th) X Y Jet, 5-1
Hawthorne   (3rd) Miss Lucky, 5-1
    (5th) Champagne Tony, 10-1
Laurel   (4th) Aruban Truth, 6-1
    (6th) Remember the Prom, 9-2
Mahoning Valley   (4th) Brass Buckle, 9-2
    (8th) Tupelo Playboy, 3-1
Oaklawn Park   (1st) Sea of Change, 3-1
    (6th) Jan's Perfect Star, 7-2
Parx Racing   (1st) Vianney Lane, 9-2
    (9th) Irish Rose, 10-1
Penn National   (3rd) Aisle Ring, 3-1
    (6th) Magic Lion, 9-2
Santa Anita   (2nd) Pay the Debt, 4-1
    (4th) Smoove It, 4-1
Sam Houston   (2nd) Senor Smokey, 7-2
    (10th) Expect Distinction, 9-2
Sunland Park   (6th) Theplane Theplane, 8-1
    (10th) Montezuma Creek, 10-1
Tampa Bay Downs   (2nd) Drill Sergeant, 7-2
    (11th) Welcome Speech, 10-1
Turf Paradise   (1st) Sea Side Story, 7-2
    (6th) Thrills and Chills, 4-1
Turfway Park   (1st) Poblanita, 6-1
    (9th) Vanilla Man, 6-1

North American Maiden Winners
After Market--Drumlin by Arch; MARKET RAD, g, 3, HAW, Msw, 2-27, 6f, 1:10 3/5. B-Asiel Stable, L.C. (IL.).
Charitable Man--Early Annuity by Luftikus; CHARITABLE ANNUITY, g, 3, CT, Msw, 2-26, 6 1/2f, 1:22 4/5. B-Donald L. Duvall (WV.).
Flower Alley--Pacific Sky by Stormy Atlantic; FENERBAHCE, g, 3, GP, Mcl 12500, 2-27, 1m, 1:41 . B-Sanford R. Robertson (KY.). $17,000 '13 KEESEP.
Freud--Chicopee by Mr. Greeley; CHILDHOOD DREAM, f, 3, AQU, Mcl 25000, 2-27, 1m, 1:41 2/5. B-Windhorse Thoroughbreds LLC (NY.). $80,000 '13 FTNAUG.
Great Notion--Smart Crowd by Crowd Pleaser; WATERSIDE DREAM, f, 3, CT, Msw, 2-26, 6 1/2f, 1:22 1/5. B-Linda L. Zang (MD.).
High Cascade--Indian Braid by Eugene's Third Son; THAT'S WHAT I DO, f, 3, DED, Mcl 10000, 2-26, 5f, 1:02 . B-Dr. Rebecca Bynum (LA.).
Latent Heat--Hunting Valley by Valley Crossing; CROSSHAIRS, c, 3, TP, Mcl 15000, 2-27, 6f, 1:14 4/5. B-Kim Dionne (KY.).
Lucky Pulpit--Unusual Spirit by Unusual Heat; JAN'S SPIRIT, f, 3, SA, Mcl 30000, 2-27, 6f, 1:11 2/5. B-Fanning Family Trust, Jerry Fanning & Jan Harrison (CA.).
Olympio--Siberian Shamrock by Siberian Summer; SIBERIAN OLYMPIAD, f, 3, GG, Mcl 12500, 2-26, 6f, 1:12 4/5. B-Ellen Jackson (CA.).
Saint Anddan--Snow Sprite by Snow Ridge; FROSTY GIRL, f, 3, TAM, Mcl 32000, 2-27, 1 1/16mT, 1:44 2/5. B-Dennis Johnson (FL.).
Smoke Glacken--Brilliant Response by High Brite; PRICE OF GLORY, g, 3, SA, Mcl 30000, 2-26, 5 1/2f, 1:05 . B-Harris Farms Inc. (CA.).
Songandaprayer--Miss Angeline by Chief Seattle; DEVILKNOWSMYNAME, c, 3, PEN, Mcl 15000, 2-26, 1m 70y, 1:48 1/5. B-Dr. Stephen G. & Debbie Jackson & Flint Stites (PA.).
Where's the Ring--Cosa Rara ($259,135), by Tethra; SICK LOVE, f, 3, PEN, Msw, 2-27, 1m, 1:41 4/5. B-Hard Eight Stables Inc. & Ace Racing (ON.). *Full to Cawaja Beach (MSW $274,430) *Full to Who's Big Daddy (SW $263,756) *1/2 to Charlie Bull ($318,103).
Wildcat Heir--Starship Squaw by Cherokee Run; MOCHIMA, f, 3, GP, Mcl 40000, 2-27, 6f, 1:14 1/5. B-Laurence Leavy (FL.). $82,000 2014 OBSJUN.
Elusive Bluff--Deal With Her by Plain Dealing; BONNIEAINTBLUFFING, f, 4, DED, Mcl 10000, 2-26, 5f, 1:00 4/5. B-Terry Adcock & Don Cormier (LA.). $5,300 '12 ESLSEP.
Flatter--Crystal Lyric by El Prado (IRE); OXIDADA, f, 4, GP, Mcl 20000, 2-27, 1 1/16mT, 1:43 2/5. B-Luke Guida (KY.). $37,000 '12 FTKJUL; $200,000 2013 OBSAPR.
Hat Trick (JPN)--Simply Sapphire by Harlan's Holiday; SIMPLE TRICKS, f, 4, PEN, Mcl 7500, 2-26, 6f, 1:15 2/5. B-Xanthus Farms, Inc. (PA.).
In Summation--All Two One by Henbane; BOLD SUMMIT, g, 4, GP, Mcl 50000, 2-27, 6f, 1:13 3/5. B-Becky Bunn (FL.).
Jeffries Bay--Sheet Music by Exploit; SHEET SECRETS, g, 4, SUN, Mcl 7500, 2-27, 5 1/2f, 1:04 . B-Don & Choya Young (NM.).
Lemon Drop Kid--Moravia by A.P. Indy; SWEET SHOP, g, 4, GG, Msw, 2-27, 1m, 1:39 1/5. B-Aaron Sones & Beverly Sommer (KY.). $80,000 '12 KEESEP; $75,000 2014 KEEJAN.
Limehouse--Cukee by Langfuhr; LIMEFUHR, f, 4, FON, Mcl 5000, 2-27, 6f, 1:17 . B-Rose Hill Farm Inc. (KY.). $10,000 '12 KEEJAN. *Full to Humble and Hungry (G3 $269,967).
Luftikus--August Romance by Dance Master; ROMANTIKUS, g, 4, CT, Mcl 10000, 2-26, 4 1/2f, :53 2/5. B-Vina del Mar Thoroughbreds & Stephen Spears (WV.).
Pure Prize--Laplumas by Posse; LA PERUANA, f, 4, PEN, Mcl 5000, 2-26, 5 1/2f, 1:09 1/5. B-Highclere & Springtown Show Stables (PA.). *1/2 to Smash and Grab (SW $401,590).
Stormin Fever--Pocosin Lass by Taj Alriyadh; ADIOS PELOTA, f, 4, GG, Mcl 5000, 2-27, 5 1/2f, 1:06 1/5. B-Dexter Bergounous & Norm Hansen (CA.).
Zensational--Yankee Belle by Yankee Gentleman; BILLYPAYSTHEBILLS, c, 4, AQU, Mcl 16000, 2-27, 6f, 1:12 . B-Sean Gorman (KY.). $27,000 '11 KEENOV; $36,000 '12 FTKJUL; $75,000 2013 OBSAPR.
Atticus--Mylittletart by Strawberry Road (AUS); MIZ STRAWBERRY DEE, m, 5, GG, Msw, 2-27, 6f, 1:12 1/5. B-Cal Poly Corporation (CA.). $3,000 '11 BESOCT.
Discreet Cat--Sunday Ride by Sunday Break (JPN); RIDE A CAT, h, 5, AQU, Msw, 2-27, 6f, 1:11 . B-Edward Cohn (NY.).
Niagara Causeway--Chargers Beauty by Unbendable Charger; ON A BLACK CHARGER, g, 5, DED, Mcl 10000, 2-26, 7f, 1:29 . B-La Bahia Stud, Inc. (TX.).
Poteen--Palace Royale (IRE) by Perugino; ROYALIST, g, 5, SA, Msw, 2-27, 1mT, 1:36 2/5. B-Old English Rancho & Berumen (CA.).
City Zip--Carr Dot Com by Compliance; ZIPPY MISS ISSIE, m, 6, FON, Msw, 2-27, 4f, :47 4/5. B-Tommy Wente Jr. (IN.). $34,000 '10 INDNOV.

Features

HANDICAPPING INSIGHTS

FEBRUARY 27, 2015

by Dick Powell

Lots of ways to approach last Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and any conclusions one might draw going forward. In no apparent order:

The track was extremely dry and with a brisk wind blowing, it produced very slow running times. After six furlongs were contested in 1:11.65, they took 34.63 seconds to run the final five-sixteenths of a mile. The main track played slow all day and even on Sunday, when Khozan (Distorted Humor) crushed allowance foes going a mile by 12 lengths, taking 51.50 seconds to run the last half-mile.

Upstart (Flatter) is for real. He has shown that he can handle any surface and can handle the classic distances. On Saturday, he raced wide throughout and Trakus showed that he covered 20 feet more than Itsaknockout (Lemon Drop Kid) and 54 feet more than third place finisher Frammento (Midshipman). His bearing out in the stretch was the result of Jose Ortiz's left-hand whip than any sign of unsoundness.

Rick Violette, who did a great job last year with Samraat (Noble Causeway) getting ready for the first Saturday in May, can come back in the Florida Derby (G1) on March 29, which gives him five weeks before Kentucky. Or, he could wait another week for the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct, but that would only give him four weeks. Look for Upstart to stay down in Florida and contest the Florida Derby.

Turning for home, Frosted (Distorted Humor) looked like he might be an easy winner. Irad Ortiz Jr. had a strong hold on him and hadn't even asked him to go at the top of the stretch. When the moment of truth came, Frosted came up completely empty with no apparent excuse.

To make it even worse for the Boys in Blue from Godolphin, Imperia (Medaglia d'Oro) was dreadful as the 3-to-2 favorite in the Risen Star Stakes (G2) at the Fair Grounds. He was far back early, made a nominal middle move before offering nothing coming home.

Itsaknockout just keeps getting the job done for Starlight Stables, who always seems to develop a promising three-year-old this time of year. The colt raced between horses down the backstretch, moved up on the turn then looked like a winner until Ortiz steered Upstart into his path. His win in the Fountain of Youth was a backwards move off his fast win going a mile on January 4 against allowance foes, but it should set him up well down the road.

That blur in the homestretch was Frammento, trained by none other than Nick Zito who is back on the Triple Crown trail. The colt added blinkers and Johnny Velazquez for the Fountain of Youth and made up nine lengths on the leaders from the far turn to the wire. With Zito at the helm, expect more improvement.

Don't know how to compare these horses with their California counterparts. Have no idea how Dortmund (Big Brown) and American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) compare to Upstart, but these are some solid horses racing in the East.

I would have disqualified Upstart for bearing out in the stretch into Itsaknockout's path. Ortiz was making no effort to keep him straight. The final margin of 2 1/2 lengths might indicate that it did not affect the outcome but the foul occurred when Itsaknockout pulled to within a half-length and had a ton of momentum.

Elsewhere, Main Sequence's (Aldeberan) final surge in the deep stretch to win the Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2) was sensational. He covered his last furlong in 11.20 seconds and lengthened his enormous stride with ease.

After a modest pace, it looked like Twilight Eclipse (Purim) might pull off the mile upset when he had a length cushion at the sixteenth pole but Main Sequence devoured him; just like he had the previous four times they faced each other. Considering Main Sequence was not fully cranked up, it was an awesome finish and now he goes on to the $6 million Sheema Classic (UAE-G1) at 1 1/2 miles at Meydan in Dubai.

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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