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FRIDAY, MAY 29, 2015

Triple Crown News & Notes

American Pharoah gate schools, Keen Ice jogs two miles at Churchill

American Pharoah galloped under the Twin Spires on Friday (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)
Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness S. (G1) winner American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile), preparing for a sweep of the Triple Crown in the 147th running of the $1.5 million Belmont S. (G1) on June 6, had a schooling session in the Churchill Downs starting gate and resumed galloping around the one-mile oval on Friday morning.

To watch YouTube video of American Pharoah's May 29 gallop please click here.

Zayat Stables' Kentucky homebred went to the fast main track under regular exercise rider Jorge Alvarez at 8:30 a.m. (EDT) during Churchill Downs' special 15-minute training session exclusive to Belmont Stakes contenders after the renovation break. American Pharoah spent a brief period standing in the auxiliary starting gate at the top of the stretch and then galloped 1 1/8 miles, according to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert's assistant Jimmy Barnes.

"Everything was great this morning -- no problem," Alvarez said. "He looked real professional. This is good what they're doing by closing the track for us and letting us train. That makes my job a lot easier."

Barnes said that American Pharoah would likely gallop 1 1/4 miles on Saturday at 8:30 a.m.

"You see everything that you expect to see," Barnes said. "Nothing alarming; everything is super positive. This is absolutely normal going into any race the way that we're doing. We have really nothing to deal with other than keeping him happy. Everything is going smooth."

Baffert is scheduled to return to Louisville, California, from his Southern California base on Saturday night, and American Pharoah could breeze Sunday or Monday with the former the more likely of the two, according to Barnes.

Also at Churchill on Friday, Donegal Racing's multiple Grade 2-placed Keen Ice (Curlin) jogged two miles at 8:30 a.m. with regular exercise rider Faustino Aguilar in the irons for trainer Dale Romans.

The possible 10-horse Belmont Stakes lineup (with jockey and trainer) currently stands at American Pharoah (Victor Espinoza, Baffert); Carpe Diem (Giant's Causeway) (TBA, Todd Pletcher); Frammento (Midshipman) (Mike Smith, Nick Zito); Frosted (Tapit) (Joel Rosario, Kiaran McLaughlin); Keen Ice (Kent Desormeaux, Romans); Madefromlucky (Lookin at Lucky) (TBA, Pletcher); Materiality (Afleet Alex) (TBA, Pletcher); Mubtaahij (Dubawi) (Irad Ortiz Jr., Mike de Kock); Tale of Verve (Tale of Ekati) (Gary Stevens, Dallas Stewart); and The Truth or Else (Yes It's True) (Edgar Prado, Kenny McPeek).

In other Belmont Stakes news:

The Truth or Else is seeking his first stakes win in the "Test of the Champion" (NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)
Trainer Kenny McPeek and jockey Edgar Prado are no strangers to spoiling Triple Crown bids. It was 13 years ago that they teamed to ruin trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Victor Espinoza's Triple Crown chance with War Emblem when Sarava scored a 70-1 shocker in the 2002 Belmont Stakes.

Harold Lerner's The Truth or Else, who won a first-level allowance going 1 1/16 miles at Belmont Park on May 22, entered this year's Belmont fray Thursday and hopes to deliver a crushing blow to American Pharoah. The chestnut colt has a 12-2-1-3, $294,137 career record but, more importantly, boasts two wins and a third in three starts over the massive Belmont oval.

On Friday, McPeek sent a text message with 11 reasons as to why he's running The Truth or Else in the Belmont Stakes:

  • My horse loves the Belmont track. (He has) two starts and two wins over a dry Belmont.
  • (He is out of a) Colonial Affair mare and should get the distance.
  • He is a very sturdy horse. He eats well and is completely sound. He's a throwback type of horse.
  • We've got nothing to lose, they pay down to eighth place.
  • Edgar Prado has been there before and he knows the track and distance.
  • The Truth or Else is bigger and stronger than Sarava and Atigun (third in 2012 Belmont).
  • Confidence builder last race in a good time and excellent speed figure. His last two races set him up for this.
  • Harold and Helen Lerner are from the New York area. This would be special for them.
  • The Truth or Else has been based at Belmont most of his career, we don't have to ship him.
  • Weird things happen in the Belmont. Never duck one horse. American Pharoah could possibly not handle the surface.
  • I'm completely crazy, but I have no fear of failure. We only live once. Let's do this!
  • Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

    American Pharoah gate schools, Keen Ice jogs two miles at Churchill

    American Pharoah galloped under the Twin Spires on Friday (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)
    Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness S. (G1) winner American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile), preparing for a sweep of the Triple Crown in the 147th running of the $1.5 million Belmont S. (G1) on June 6, had a schooling session in the Churchill Downs starting gate and resumed galloping around the one-mile oval on Friday morning.

    To watch YouTube video of American Pharoah's May 29 gallop please click here.

    Zayat Stables' Kentucky homebred went to the fast main track under regular exercise rider Jorge Alvarez at 8:30 a.m. (EDT) during Churchill Downs' special 15-minute training session exclusive to Belmont Stakes contenders after the renovation break. American Pharoah spent a brief period standing in the auxiliary starting gate at the top of the stretch and then galloped 1 1/8 miles, according to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert's assistant Jimmy Barnes.

    "Everything was great this morning -- no problem," Alvarez said. "He looked real professional. This is good what they're doing by closing the track for us and letting us train. That makes my job a lot easier."

    Barnes said that American Pharoah would likely gallop 1 1/4 miles on Saturday at 8:30 a.m.

    "You see everything that you expect to see," Barnes said. "Nothing alarming; everything is super positive. This is absolutely normal going into any race the way that we're doing. We have really nothing to deal with other than keeping him happy. Everything is going smooth."

    Baffert is scheduled to return to Louisville, California, from his Southern California base on Saturday night, and American Pharoah could breeze Sunday or Monday with the former the more likely of the two, according to Barnes.

    Also at Churchill on Friday, Donegal Racing's multiple Grade 2-placed Keen Ice (Curlin) jogged two miles at 8:30 a.m. with regular exercise rider Faustino Aguilar in the irons for trainer Dale Romans.

    The possible 10-horse Belmont Stakes lineup (with jockey and trainer) currently stands at American Pharoah (Victor Espinoza, Baffert); Carpe Diem (Giant's Causeway) (TBA, Todd Pletcher); Frammento (Midshipman) (Mike Smith, Nick Zito); Frosted (Tapit) (Joel Rosario, Kiaran McLaughlin); Keen Ice (Kent Desormeaux, Romans); Madefromlucky (Lookin at Lucky) (TBA, Pletcher); Materiality (Afleet Alex) (TBA, Pletcher); Mubtaahij (Dubawi) (Irad Ortiz Jr., Mike de Kock); Tale of Verve (Tale of Ekati) (Gary Stevens, Dallas Stewart); and The Truth or Else (Yes It's True) (Edgar Prado, Kenny McPeek).

    In other Belmont Stakes news:

    The Truth or Else is seeking his first stakes win in the "Test of the Champion" (NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)
    Trainer Kenny McPeek and jockey Edgar Prado are no strangers to spoiling Triple Crown bids. It was 13 years ago that they teamed to ruin trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Victor Espinoza's Triple Crown chance with War Emblem when Sarava scored a 70-1 shocker in the 2002 Belmont Stakes.

    Harold Lerner's The Truth or Else, who won a first-level allowance going 1 1/16 miles at Belmont Park on May 22, entered this year's Belmont fray Thursday and hopes to deliver a crushing blow to American Pharoah. The chestnut colt has a 12-2-1-3, $294,137 career record but, more importantly, boasts two wins and a third in three starts over the massive Belmont oval.

    On Friday, McPeek sent a text message with 11 reasons as to why he's running The Truth or Else in the Belmont Stakes:

  • My horse loves the Belmont track. (He has) two starts and two wins over a dry Belmont.
  • (He is out of a) Colonial Affair mare and should get the distance.
  • He is a very sturdy horse. He eats well and is completely sound. He's a throwback type of horse.
  • We've got nothing to lose, they pay down to eighth place.
  • Edgar Prado has been there before and he knows the track and distance.
  • The Truth or Else is bigger and stronger than Sarava and Atigun (third in 2012 Belmont).
  • Confidence builder last race in a good time and excellent speed figure. His last two races set him up for this.
  • Harold and Helen Lerner are from the New York area. This would be special for them.
  • The Truth or Else has been based at Belmont most of his career, we don't have to ship him.
  • Weird things happen in the Belmont. Never duck one horse. American Pharoah could possibly not handle the surface.
  • I'm completely crazy, but I have no fear of failure. We only live once. Let's do this!
  • Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

    Pletcher works trio of Belmont contenders

    Florida Derby winner Materiality (outside) worked in company with stablemate Stanford (Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography)
    Following the workouts Friday morning from a trio of Todd Pletcher-trained horses for the $1.5 million Belmont S. (G1), it appears the two-time Belmont winning trainer will be represented by all three in the final leg of the Triple Crown on June 6.

    "I need to talk to all the connections, but I'm sure everyone is on board with all three of them (running). We intend to run all three at this moment," Pletcher said outside his Belmont Park barn.

    Rider assignments for Carpe Diem (Giant's Causeway), Madefromlucky (Lookin at Lucky), and Materiality (Afleet Alex) are still to be determined. Pletcher said John Velazquez and Javier Castellano have both been retained by him for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont, but it has yet to be decided whom will ride which horse. Pletcher said he would wait "a day or two" before any further jockey commitments would be made because he wants to evaluate how the horses come out of their works.

    Carpe Diem and Madefromlucky were the first to breeze for Pletcher, shortly after 6 a.m. (EDT).

    With Velazquez aboard Carpe Diem and exercise rider Patti Krotenko on Madefromlucky, the pair worked four furlongs over the main track, which was labeled fast.

    Carpe Diem worked to the outside of his stablemate and finished about a couple lengths in front of Madefromlucky. Carpe Diem's final time was :47.66, and Madefromlucky, who was under urging from Krotenko, completed the distance in :47.84, according to NYRA clockers. Carpe Diem's gallop-out time for five-eighths was 1:00 2/5, while Madefromlucky was clocked in 1:01.

    "I thought both horses worked well enough today to continue considering the Belmont," Pletcher said. "I didn't see anything that would deter me from it. I'll see how they come out of it, and talk with everybody, but we worked with the intention of running in the Belmont, and I thought they both worked well."

    Pletcher remarked that Madefromlucky's work on Friday wasn't as impressive as last Friday's move when he worked in company with Carpe Diem. That day they both worked a bullet :59 for five furlongs, the fastest of 20 works at the distance.

    "I don't think this work was as impressive from (Madefromlucky) as last week," Pletcher said. "I think, like a lot of horses, they will tend to work better when they are on the outside (rather) than the inside."

    After the renovation break on the main track, Materiality, with Velazquez up, worked in company with Stanford (Malibu Moon), who is under consideration for the Woody Stephens (G2) on the Belmont Stakes undercard.

    Materiality worked to the inside of Stanford. The final time was :47 3/5 for both horses. They galloped out five furlongs in 1:00 1/5.

    "I thought (Materiality) worked very well," Pletcher said. "You know, he's the kind of horse who kind of does what his workmate does. It was a very good, progressive breeze, picking it up as they went along, with a very strong gallop out. (Materiality) came back and he wasn't even blowing. He just took it all very well."

    Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

    Pletcher works trio of Belmont contenders

    Florida Derby winner Materiality (outside) worked in company with stablemate Stanford (Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography)
    Following the workouts Friday morning from a trio of Todd Pletcher-trained horses for the $1.5 million Belmont S. (G1), it appears the two-time Belmont winning trainer will be represented by all three in the final leg of the Triple Crown on June 6.

    "I need to talk to all the connections, but I'm sure everyone is on board with all three of them (running). We intend to run all three at this moment," Pletcher said outside his Belmont Park barn.

    Rider assignments for Carpe Diem (Giant's Causeway), Madefromlucky (Lookin at Lucky), and Materiality (Afleet Alex) are still to be determined. Pletcher said John Velazquez and Javier Castellano have both been retained by him for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont, but it has yet to be decided whom will ride which horse. Pletcher said he would wait "a day or two" before any further jockey commitments would be made because he wants to evaluate how the horses come out of their works.

    Carpe Diem and Madefromlucky were the first to breeze for Pletcher, shortly after 6 a.m. (EDT).

    With Velazquez aboard Carpe Diem and exercise rider Patti Krotenko on Madefromlucky, the pair worked four furlongs over the main track, which was labeled fast.

    Carpe Diem worked to the outside of his stablemate and finished about a couple lengths in front of Madefromlucky. Carpe Diem's final time was :47.66, and Madefromlucky, who was under urging from Krotenko, completed the distance in :47.84, according to NYRA clockers. Carpe Diem's gallop-out time for five-eighths was 1:00 2/5, while Madefromlucky was clocked in 1:01.

    "I thought both horses worked well enough today to continue considering the Belmont," Pletcher said. "I didn't see anything that would deter me from it. I'll see how they come out of it, and talk with everybody, but we worked with the intention of running in the Belmont, and I thought they both worked well."

    Pletcher remarked that Madefromlucky's work on Friday wasn't as impressive as last Friday's move when he worked in company with Carpe Diem. That day they both worked a bullet :59 for five furlongs, the fastest of 20 works at the distance.

    "I don't think this work was as impressive from (Madefromlucky) as last week," Pletcher said. "I think, like a lot of horses, they will tend to work better when they are on the outside (rather) than the inside."

    After the renovation break on the main track, Materiality, with Velazquez up, worked in company with Stanford (Malibu Moon), who is under consideration for the Woody Stephens (G2) on the Belmont Stakes undercard.

    Materiality worked to the inside of Stanford. The final time was :47 3/5 for both horses. They galloped out five furlongs in 1:00 1/5.

    "I thought (Materiality) worked very well," Pletcher said. "You know, he's the kind of horse who kind of does what his workmate does. It was a very good, progressive breeze, picking it up as they went along, with a very strong gallop out. (Materiality) came back and he wasn't even blowing. He just took it all very well."

    Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

    Belmont hopeful Frosted clocks half-mile in company with Tamarkuz

    Frosted (gray) and Tamarkuz ready for their Belmont Stakes Racing Festival starts (NYRA/Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography)
    Godolphin Racing's Grade 1 hero Frosted (Tapit) wrapped up his major preparations for the $1.5 million Belmont S. (G1) with a half-mile drill in company with $1.25 million Met Mile (G1) contender Tamarkuz (Speightstown) on Friday morning.

    The Kiaran McLaughlin trainees took to the fast Belmont Park main track shortly after the renovation break, minutes after fellow Belmont Stakes hopeful Materiality Afleet Alex) turned in his final work for Todd Pletcher.

    Frosted, piloted by exercise rider Lorenzo Morales, broke from the half-mile pole a length ahead of his older workmate, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. Frosted led throughout the move and hit the wire a half-length in front.

    The pair earned an official time of :47 4/5 while never under asking and galloped out five furlongs together.

    "They went great," McLaughlin remarked after the breeze. "(Frosted) worked so well last week with Tamarkuz we decided to do the same thing today. They went 47 and four and (out in five furlongs) in a minute and three-fifths. It couldn't have gone better. We're all set."

    Godolphin Mile (UAE-G2) winner Tamarkuz is slated to make his North American debut in the Metropolitan H. along with fellow McLaughlin charge Bay of Plenty (Medaglia d'Oro). Bay of Plenty, runner-up while making his stakes bow in the Discovery H. (G3) last fall at Aqueduct, returned with a gate-to-wire, two-length allowance/optional victory last month over the local course in his seasonal debut.

    "He had some time off and he came back and won his last race impressively," McLaughlin said. "It's a tough race but we've got to give him a chance."

    Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

    Belmont hopeful Frosted clocks half-mile in company with Tamarkuz

    Frosted (gray) and Tamarkuz ready for their Belmont Stakes Racing Festival starts (NYRA/Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography)
    Godolphin Racing's Grade 1 hero Frosted (Tapit) wrapped up his major preparations for the $1.5 million Belmont S. (G1) with a half-mile drill in company with $1.25 million Met Mile (G1) contender Tamarkuz (Speightstown) on Friday morning.

    The Kiaran McLaughlin trainees took to the fast Belmont Park main track shortly after the renovation break, minutes after fellow Belmont Stakes hopeful Materiality Afleet Alex) turned in his final work for Todd Pletcher.

    Frosted, piloted by exercise rider Lorenzo Morales, broke from the half-mile pole a length ahead of his older workmate, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. Frosted led throughout the move and hit the wire a half-length in front.

    The pair earned an official time of :47 4/5 while never under asking and galloped out five furlongs together.

    "They went great," McLaughlin remarked after the breeze. "(Frosted) worked so well last week with Tamarkuz we decided to do the same thing today. They went 47 and four and (out in five furlongs) in a minute and three-fifths. It couldn't have gone better. We're all set."

    Godolphin Mile (UAE-G2) winner Tamarkuz is slated to make his North American debut in the Metropolitan H. along with fellow McLaughlin charge Bay of Plenty (Medaglia d'Oro). Bay of Plenty, runner-up while making his stakes bow in the Discovery H. (G3) last fall at Aqueduct, returned with a gate-to-wire, two-length allowance/optional victory last month over the local course in his seasonal debut.

    "He had some time off and he came back and won his last race impressively," McLaughlin said. "It's a tough race but we've got to give him a chance."

    Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

    Racing Headlines

    Treve encounters little difficulty in Prix Corrida

    Sent off at a generous 7-10 carrying a penalty for her tumultuous second win in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-G1) at Longchamp in October, Treve (Motivator) served notice that a ground-breaking third is still very much on the cards when coasting to a bloodless comeback win in Saint-Cloud's Prix Corrida (Fr-G2) on Friday.

    Anchored with two behind early by Thierry Jarnet, the bay moved into contention without turning a hair in early straight and when eased off the rail passing the quarter pole began her finishing effort with the leader Mayhem (Whipper) in her sights. Given a shake of the reins and a quick slap on the neck, she duly swept that rival aside with a furlong left and after scooting clear in her inimitable style was geared down late to score with her ears pricked by four lengths from last year's Prix de l'Opera (Fr-G1) heroine We Are (Dansili), who edged out Mayhem for second by a short head.

    "As I have said many times before, she had spent a good winter at the farm and looked great when she came back," Criquette Head-Maarek said. "She had trained superbly going into this race, but of course you have to see how they behave at the races and today she proved she has lost nothing of her quality. She still has that great power of acceleration and with new shoes fitted, she is moving really well and I loved her action.

    "It is too early to talk about another Arc and we'll take it race-by-race with her next appointment being the (June 28) Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Fr-G1)."

    Rupert Pritchard-Gordon, the French racing manager for Al Shaqab, added, "It was lovely to see her return like that and she is a true champion. Sheikh Joaan loves challenges and that's why he kept her in training as a five-year-old. It is for the public as well as for him and we are really delighted."

    Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

    Treve encounters little difficulty in Prix Corrida

    Sent off at a generous 7-10 carrying a penalty for her tumultuous second win in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-G1) at Longchamp in October, Treve (Motivator) served notice that a ground-breaking third is still very much on the cards when coasting to a bloodless comeback win in Saint-Cloud's Prix Corrida (Fr-G2) on Friday.

    Anchored with two behind early by Thierry Jarnet, the bay moved into contention without turning a hair in early straight and when eased off the rail passing the quarter pole began her finishing effort with the leader Mayhem (Whipper) in her sights. Given a shake of the reins and a quick slap on the neck, she duly swept that rival aside with a furlong left and after scooting clear in her inimitable style was geared down late to score with her ears pricked by four lengths from last year's Prix de l'Opera (Fr-G1) heroine We Are (Dansili), who edged out Mayhem for second by a short head.

    "As I have said many times before, she had spent a good winter at the farm and looked great when she came back," Criquette Head-Maarek said. "She had trained superbly going into this race, but of course you have to see how they behave at the races and today she proved she has lost nothing of her quality. She still has that great power of acceleration and with new shoes fitted, she is moving really well and I loved her action.

    "It is too early to talk about another Arc and we'll take it race-by-race with her next appointment being the (June 28) Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Fr-G1)."

    Rupert Pritchard-Gordon, the French racing manager for Al Shaqab, added, "It was lovely to see her return like that and she is a true champion. Sheikh Joaan loves challenges and that's why he kept her in training as a five-year-old. It is for the public as well as for him and we are really delighted."

    Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

    Brueggemann: 'We're all hoping for another big year'

    Florent Geroux celebrates after Work All Week's BC Sprint triumph (Breeders' Cup Ltd.)
    Trainer Roger Brueggemann looks to have a big day on Saturday with two of his Illinois-bred superstars both making their 2015 debut. He sends out reigning champion sprinter Work All Week (City Zip) in the $100,000 Aristides S. (G3) and The Pizza Man (English Channel) in the $65,000 Opening Verse overnight stakes.

    Both horses are owned by Midwest Thoroughbreds and coming off breaks of over six months. Work All Week has not run since his triumph in the November 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita Park and The Pizza Man has not been seen in competition since a third-place effort in the November 27 Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) at Del Mar.

    Nevertheless, Brueggemann is not much concerned with their amount of time off.

    "The layoff should not be a problem for either of them," he stated. "I think (Work All Week) is coming into the race well and he should be OK, but they have both been training well."

    Brueggemann said that their layoffs was not intentional as harsh weather this winter at Oaklawn Park set back training for both horses.

    "We wanted to get them out earlier but it just didn't work out," the horseman explained. "This was probably the soonest we could get them out."

    The Brueggemann-trained duo had stellar campaigns last year. Work All Week won five of his six starts, which ended with a Breeders' Cup Sprint victory. The Pizza Man won his first three starts last year, which included his first graded victory in the Stars and Stripes S. (G3) at Arlington on July 12, before finishing fourth and fifth in a pair of Canadian Grade 1s prior to his Del Mar finale.

    "We're all hoping for another big year," Brueggemann admitted. "You just never know what might happen, but I hope so."

    Jockey Florent Geroux has the mount on both horses entered for Saturday.

    Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

    Brueggemann: 'We're all hoping for another big year'

    Florent Geroux celebrates after Work All Week's BC Sprint triumph (Breeders' Cup Ltd.)
    Trainer Roger Brueggemann looks to have a big day on Saturday with two of his Illinois-bred superstars both making their 2015 debut. He sends out reigning champion sprinter Work All Week (City Zip) in the $100,000 Aristides S. (G3) and The Pizza Man (English Channel) in the $65,000 Opening Verse overnight stakes.

    Both horses are owned by Midwest Thoroughbreds and coming off breaks of over six months. Work All Week has not run since his triumph in the November 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita Park and The Pizza Man has not been seen in competition since a third-place effort in the November 27 Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) at Del Mar.

    Nevertheless, Brueggemann is not much concerned with their amount of time off.

    "The layoff should not be a problem for either of them," he stated. "I think (Work All Week) is coming into the race well and he should be OK, but they have both been training well."

    Brueggemann said that their layoffs was not intentional as harsh weather this winter at Oaklawn Park set back training for both horses.

    "We wanted to get them out earlier but it just didn't work out," the horseman explained. "This was probably the soonest we could get them out."

    The Brueggemann-trained duo had stellar campaigns last year. Work All Week won five of his six starts, which ended with a Breeders' Cup Sprint victory. The Pizza Man won his first three starts last year, which included his first graded victory in the Stars and Stripes S. (G3) at Arlington on July 12, before finishing fourth and fifth in a pair of Canadian Grade 1s prior to his Del Mar finale.

    "We're all hoping for another big year," Brueggemann admitted. "You just never know what might happen, but I hope so."

    Jockey Florent Geroux has the mount on both horses entered for Saturday.

    Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

    Promise Me Silver fires bullet five furlongs for Acorn

    Promise Me Silver will put her perfect mark on the line in the Acorn (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)
    Robert Luttrell's unbeaten Promise Me Silver (Silver City) -- 1 1/4-length winner of the Eight Belles S. (G3) on May 1, Kentucky Oaks Day, -- breezed a bullet five furlongs in :59 2/5 with Brian Hernandez Jr. in the irons for trainer Bret Calhoun on Friday over the fast main track at Churchill Downs.

    Assistant trainer Dennis "Peaches" Geier oversaw the work while Calhoun was in Texas visiting family and said he was happy with the filly's work.

    "She looked very good," Geier remarked. "Everything was perfect, she galloped out good."

    Promise Me Silver rattled off fractions of :12, :23 4/5 and :35 3/5 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:12 1/5.

    "She went great," Hernandez added. "She did everything Bret (Calhoun) wanted her to do. Everything went smooth."

    The Texas-bred filly, who is eight-for-eight thus far having racked up $434,915 in career earnings, remains on target for the $750,000 Acorn S. (G1) on the June 6 Belmont Stakes Day program at Belmont Park. The gray miss broke her maiden last May at Lone Star Park and has faced stakes company in every start since while competing at six different tracks.

    Mike Smith will ride Promise Me Silver, who is likely to ship to New York on Wednesday, in the Acorn. Her Eight Belles jockey, Robby Albarado, will pilot Kentucky Oaks (G1) runner-up Shook Up (Tapit).

    Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

    Promise Me Silver fires bullet five furlongs for Acorn

    Promise Me Silver will put her perfect mark on the line in the Acorn (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)
    Robert Luttrell's unbeaten Promise Me Silver (Silver City) -- 1 1/4-length winner of the Eight Belles S. (G3) on May 1, Kentucky Oaks Day, -- breezed a bullet five furlongs in :59 2/5 with Brian Hernandez Jr. in the irons for trainer Bret Calhoun on Friday over the fast main track at Churchill Downs.

    Assistant trainer Dennis "Peaches" Geier oversaw the work while Calhoun was in Texas visiting family and said he was happy with the filly's work.

    "She looked very good," Geier remarked. "Everything was perfect, she galloped out good."

    Promise Me Silver rattled off fractions of :12, :23 4/5 and :35 3/5 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:12 1/5.

    "She went great," Hernandez added. "She did everything Bret (Calhoun) wanted her to do. Everything went smooth."

    The Texas-bred filly, who is eight-for-eight thus far having racked up $434,915 in career earnings, remains on target for the $750,000 Acorn S. (G1) on the June 6 Belmont Stakes Day program at Belmont Park. The gray miss broke her maiden last May at Lone Star Park and has faced stakes company in every start since while competing at six different tracks.

    Mike Smith will ride Promise Me Silver, who is likely to ship to New York on Wednesday, in the Acorn. Her Eight Belles jockey, Robby Albarado, will pilot Kentucky Oaks (G1) runner-up Shook Up (Tapit).

    Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

    Lady Eli aims to stay perfect in Wonder Again

    Lady Eli is prepping for the July 4 Belmont Oaks (Coady Photography)
    Undefeated Grade 1 star Lady Eli (Divine Park) towers over the field in Sunday's $200,000 Wonder Again S. at Belmont Park, the designed prep for the $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) on July 4. While her opponents include such promising turf fillies as Miss Chatelaine (Pulpit), Pine Needles (Giant's Causeway), Heath (Pulpit) and Itsonlyactingdad (Giant's Causeway), as well as alumnae from the Kentucky Oaks (G1) trail in Puca (Big Brown) and Pangburn (Congrats), they all need to step up their game considerably to trouble the undisputed head of the class.

    Lady Eli's only close scrape came in her debut, when she overcame a world of trouble to get up by a nose. Since then, the Chad Brown filly has dispatched her foes with consummate ease. After rallying to a three-length decision in last September's Miss Grillo (G3) here, Lady Eli dismantled an international cast in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Santa Anita. She picked up right where she left off with another convincing display in the April 12 Appalachian (G3) at Keeneland, and seeks to run up her score to 5-0 on Sunday. Regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr. should carve out another stalk-and-pounce trip from post 7.

    Her rivals hope that Lady Eli's finishing burst won't be quite so potent over 1 1/8 miles. Four are already proven at this distance (or beyond) on turf -- Heath, Pine Needles, Itsonlyactingdad and My Sweet Girl (Bernardini) -- while Puca has experience at this trip on dirt.

    Heath, a half-sister to Grade 1 winner and Gulfstream track record-setter Lea (First Samurai), has won two straight for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. The Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider homebred booked her ticket to stakes company by storming 3 1/4 lengths clear in a 1 3/16-mile Keeneland turf allowance. The improving chestnut keeps Jose Lezcano aboard.

    Mott also sends out Puca, the runner-up in the April 4 Gazelle (G2) who was a disappointing 12th in the May 1 Kentucky Oaks. As a half-sister to current Grade 1-winning millionaire Finnegans Wake (Powerscourt), however, Puca could enjoy a surface switch. The Donegal Racing runner has tried turf only once, finishing third as a juvenile -- in the same Saratoga maiden won by Lady Eli.

    Trainer Christophe Clement likewise has two chances in Miss Chatelaine and Pine Needles. Miss Chatelaine brings a perfect two-for-two record, but has not raced since capturing the Chelsea Flower here last October. She adds Lasix for this sophomore bow, and her first start beyond a mile.

    Pine Needles is a neck away from being unbeaten herself. Successful in her first two outings at Gulfstream this winter, Pine Needles was a troubled second, beaten a scant neck by Consumer Credit (More Than Ready), in the April 23 Memories of Silver at Aqueduct. Out of Italian classic queen Meridiana (Lomitas), she is a full sister to Grade 1-placed turf performer Center Divider and a half-sister to Chamois (Smart Strike).

    The Todd Pletcher-trained Itsonlyactingdad steps up in class off a Gulfstream maiden score and a game decision in a Keeneland allowance. My Sweet Girl (Bernardini), a close third to Pine Needles at Gulfstream two back, was a fast-finishing third in a 1 3/16-mile turf allowance at Keeneland. The half-sister to Grade 2 heroine Caroline Thomas (Giant's Causeway) out of Grade 1 vixen Bit of Whimsy (Distorted Humor), should have more to offer for Barclay Tagg.

    Pangburn reverts to turf for the first time since her debut victory at Ellis Park last summer. The Ken McPeek trainee subsequently paid her way on the dirt. Second in the Pocahontas (G2) at Churchill, Pangburn went on to have a useful Oaklawn meet, with an allowance score, a third in the March 7 Honeybee (G3) and a fourth in the April 4 Fantasy (G3). She picks up Jose Ortiz for this assignment, but note that she's cross-entered to Saturday's $150,000 Penn Oaks.

    Rounding out the field is the main-track-only Doinwhatshelikes (Include).

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    Breeding & Sales News

    J P's Gusto colt commands $230,000 at Barretts juvenile sale

    The $230,000 sales topper was a successful pinhook, having brung $72,000 in April (Benoit Photos)
    CHICKEN HAWK (J P's Gusto), a Florida-bred juvenile offered by Wavertree Stables (Ciaran Dunne), agent, was gaveled down to Dennis O'Neill for $230,000 at Barretts' May Two-Year-Old in Training Sale, held Thursday at Del Mar.

    Sporting Hip No. 65, the March 23 colt is out of Iny Belle (Lord Carson), who has also reared the multiple stakes-placed Smoky Belle (Macho Uno). Iny Belle is herself a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Ocala Flame (Fire Dancer), stakes-winning producer Paula's Girl (Phone Trick), and the Grade 3-placed stakes winner Princess Belle (Mr. Greeley).

    Chicken Hawk was a successful pinhook after bringing $72,000 at last month's OBS juvenile sale. He also sold for $35,000 as a yearling last August at Ocala. The March 23 colt worked a quarter-mile in :21 1/5 at the under tack show.

    At the conclusion of trading, 92 juveniles sold for $4,199,000, an increase of 38.5 percent from last year when 70 head brought $3,031,500. The average was up 5.4 percent, from $43,307 to $45,641, while the median remained level at $30,000.

    Also on Thursday, two horses of racing age were sold for a cumulative $17,000, for an average and median of $8,500.

    Full results can be found at barretts.com.

    Racing Headlines

    Work All Week back in the Aristides

    A six-time stakes winner, Work All Week owns an 11-9-2-0 record at six furlongs (Keeneland/Coady Photography)
    Unraced since a half-length tally in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), champion sprinter Work All Week (City Zip) will launch his six-year-old campaign in Saturday's $100,000 Aristides (G3) at Churchill Downs. The Roger Brueggemann-trained gelding will face six rivals in the six-furlong test from his outside post and Florent Geroux retains the mount.

    A winner in nine of his last 10 starts, the Illinois-bred Work All Week recorded his first Grade 1 triumph in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita, scoring by a half-length as a 19-1 longshot, and netted a 104 BRIS Speed rating. His Speed figures ran as high as 106 last season and the chestnut will be making his first appearance at Churchill Downs in the Aristides, which is named in honor of the first Kentucky Derby winner.

    Alsvid (Officer) looms as a dangerous challenger following his win in the Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3) at Oaklawn Park. Trained by Chris Hartman, the six-year-old gelding registered a career-best 106 Speed rating scoring by nearly a length last time and Chris Landeros will be back aboard the early presser. A nine-time winner at the distance, the Kentucky-bred Alsvid will also be making his start under the Twin Spires.

    Grade 2 winner Nates Mineshaft (Mineshaft) enters on the upswing for Anne Smith, posting a runner-up finish against a deep field in the Churchill Downs S. (G2), and the eight-year-old will be piloted by Rafael Mojica Jr. Multiple stakes hero Gentlemen's Bet (Half Ours), third in the 2013 Breeders' Cup Sprint, also merits respect following a fourth in the Churchill Downs. Ricardo Santana Jr. has the mount for Ron Moquett.

    The Pizza Man, who likes to race on or close to the early lead, recorded three stakes wins last season (Four Footed Fotos)
    Good Lord (Greatness), Googleado (Southern Halo) and Viva Majorca (Tiago) complete the field.

    One race after the Aristides, 10 older horses will contest the $65,000 Opening Verse at 1 1/16 miles on turf. Multiple Grade 2-winning millionaire Departing (War Front), unraced since a seventh in the Clark H. (G1) last November, is scheduled to make his turf debut for trainer Al Stall Jr. with regular rider Robby Albarado.

    The five-year-old gelding will meet a nice group of challengers that includes The Pizza Man (English Channel), winner of the American St. Leger and Stars and Stripes (G3) last season. Conditioned by Brueggemann, the Illinois-bred gelding will make his first start since a close third in the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) last November. Geroux has the call aboard the six-year-old.

    Grade 2 scorer Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy), last seen finishing fourth in the San Diego (G2) in late July, returns for Kenny McPeek and just missed when making his lone appearance on Churchill's grass course in the 2013 Commonwealth Turf (G3), finishing a half-length second. Multiple stakes victor Hip Four Sixtynine (Southern Image) tries turf again following an encouraging runner-up in the May 1 Texas Mile (G3) and Guys Reward (Grand Reward) is a five-time winner over the local turf, including the 2012 editions of the Firecracker (G2) and Opening Verse.

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    Lady Eli aims to stay perfect in Wonder Again

    Lady Eli is prepping for the July 4 Belmont Oaks (Coady Photography)
    Undefeated Grade 1 star Lady Eli (Divine Park) towers over the field in Sunday's $200,000 Wonder Again S. at Belmont Park, the designed prep for the $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) on July 4. While her opponents include such promising turf fillies as Miss Chatelaine (Pulpit), Pine Needles (Giant's Causeway), Heath (Pulpit) and Itsonlyactingdad (Giant's Causeway), as well as alumnae from the Kentucky Oaks (G1) trail in Puca (Big Brown) and Pangburn (Congrats), they all need to step up their game considerably to trouble the undisputed head of the class.

    Lady Eli's only close scrape came in her debut, when she overcame a world of trouble to get up by a nose. Since then, the Chad Brown filly has dispatched her foes with consummate ease. After rallying to a three-length decision in last September's Miss Grillo (G3) here, Lady Eli dismantled an international cast in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Santa Anita. She picked up right where she left off with another convincing display in the April 12 Appalachian (G3) at Keeneland, and seeks to run up her score to 5-0 on Sunday. Regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr. should carve out another stalk-and-pounce trip from post 7.

    Her rivals hope that Lady Eli's finishing burst won't be quite so potent over 1 1/8 miles. Four are already proven at this distance (or beyond) on turf -- Heath, Pine Needles, Itsonlyactingdad and My Sweet Girl (Bernardini) -- while Puca has experience at this trip on dirt.

    Heath, a half-sister to Grade 1 winner and Gulfstream track record-setter Lea (First Samurai), has won two straight for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. The Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider homebred booked her ticket to stakes company by storming 3 1/4 lengths clear in a 1 3/16-mile Keeneland turf allowance. The improving chestnut keeps Jose Lezcano aboard.

    Mott also sends out Puca, the runner-up in the April 4 Gazelle (G2) who was a disappointing 12th in the May 1 Kentucky Oaks. As a half-sister to current Grade 1-winning millionaire Finnegans Wake (Powerscourt), however, Puca could enjoy a surface switch. The Donegal Racing runner has tried turf only once, finishing third as a juvenile -- in the same Saratoga maiden won by Lady Eli.

    Trainer Christophe Clement likewise has two chances in Miss Chatelaine and Pine Needles. Miss Chatelaine brings a perfect two-for-two record, but has not raced since capturing the Chelsea Flower here last October. She adds Lasix for this sophomore bow, and her first start beyond a mile.

    Pine Needles is a neck away from being unbeaten herself. Successful in her first two outings at Gulfstream this winter, Pine Needles was a troubled second, beaten a scant neck by Consumer Credit (More Than Ready), in the April 23 Memories of Silver at Aqueduct. Out of Italian classic queen Meridiana (Lomitas), she is a full sister to Grade 1-placed turf performer Center Divider and a half-sister to Chamois (Smart Strike).

    The Todd Pletcher-trained Itsonlyactingdad steps up in class off a Gulfstream maiden score and a game decision in a Keeneland allowance. My Sweet Girl (Bernardini), a close third to Pine Needles at Gulfstream two back, was a fast-finishing third in a 1 3/16-mile turf allowance at Keeneland. The half-sister to Grade 2 heroine Caroline Thomas (Giant's Causeway) out of Grade 1 vixen Bit of Whimsy (Distorted Humor), should have more to offer for Barclay Tagg.

    Pangburn reverts to turf for the first time since her debut victory at Ellis Park last summer. The Ken McPeek trainee subsequently paid her way on the dirt. Second in the Pocahontas (G2) at Churchill, Pangburn went on to have a useful Oaklawn meet, with an allowance score, a third in the March 7 Honeybee (G3) and a fourth in the April 4 Fantasy (G3). She picks up Jose Ortiz for this assignment, but note that she's cross-entered to Saturday's $150,000 Penn Oaks.

    Rounding out the field is the main-track-only Doinwhatshelikes (Include).

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    Work All Week back in the Aristides

    A six-time stakes winner, Work All Week owns an 11-9-2-0 record at six furlongs (Keeneland/Coady Photography)
    Unraced since a half-length tally in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), champion sprinter Work All Week (City Zip) will launch his six-year-old campaign in Saturday's $100,000 Aristides (G3) at Churchill Downs. The Roger Brueggemann-trained gelding will face six rivals in the six-furlong test from his outside post and Florent Geroux retains the mount.

    A winner in nine of his last 10 starts, the Illinois-bred Work All Week recorded his first Grade 1 triumph in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita, scoring by a half-length as a 19-1 longshot, and netted a 104 BRIS Speed rating. His Speed figures ran as high as 106 last season and the chestnut will be making his first appearance at Churchill Downs in the Aristides, which is named in honor of the first Kentucky Derby winner.

    Alsvid (Officer) looms as a dangerous challenger following his win in the Count Fleet Sprint H. (G3) at Oaklawn Park. Trained by Chris Hartman, the six-year-old gelding registered a career-best 106 Speed rating scoring by nearly a length last time and Chris Landeros will be back aboard the early presser. A nine-time winner at the distance, the Kentucky-bred Alsvid will also be making his start under the Twin Spires.

    Grade 2 winner Nates Mineshaft (Mineshaft) enters on the upswing for Anne Smith, posting a runner-up finish against a deep field in the Churchill Downs S. (G2), and the eight-year-old will be piloted by Rafael Mojica Jr. Multiple stakes hero Gentlemen's Bet (Half Ours), third in the 2013 Breeders' Cup Sprint, also merits respect following a fourth in the Churchill Downs. Ricardo Santana Jr. has the mount for Ron Moquett.

    The Pizza Man, who likes to race on or close to the early lead, recorded three stakes wins last season (Four Footed Fotos)
    Good Lord (Greatness), Googleado (Southern Halo) and Viva Majorca (Tiago) complete the field.

    One race after the Aristides, 10 older horses will contest the $65,000 Opening Verse at 1 1/16 miles on turf. Multiple Grade 2-winning millionaire Departing (War Front), unraced since a seventh in the Clark H. (G1) last November, is scheduled to make his turf debut for trainer Al Stall Jr. with regular rider Robby Albarado.

    The five-year-old gelding will meet a nice group of challengers that includes The Pizza Man (English Channel), winner of the American St. Leger and Stars and Stripes (G3) last season. Conditioned by Brueggemann, the Illinois-bred gelding will make his first start since a close third in the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) last November. Geroux has the call aboard the six-year-old.

    Grade 2 scorer Frac Daddy (Scat Daddy), last seen finishing fourth in the San Diego (G2) in late July, returns for Kenny McPeek and just missed when making his lone appearance on Churchill's grass course in the 2013 Commonwealth Turf (G3), finishing a half-length second. Multiple stakes victor Hip Four Sixtynine (Southern Image) tries turf again following an encouraging runner-up in the May 1 Texas Mile (G3) and Guys Reward (Grand Reward) is a five-time winner over the local turf, including the 2012 editions of the Firecracker (G2) and Opening Verse.

    Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

    Eleven to compete in wide-open Penn Mile

    Night Prowler enters the Penn Mile with a pair of Grade 3 wins, including the Transylvania (Keeneland/Coady Photography)
    Saturday's $500,000 Penn Mile (G3) at Penn National, elevated this year to Grade 3 status, figures to be a fascinating handicapping and betting exercise. Eleven three-year-olds have entered the grass test, and a majority are worthy win candidates.

    The most familiar name in the lineup is Ocho Ocho Ocho (Street Sense), who captured the Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) in November but faltered as a classic candidate this spring. Third in the Blue Grass (G1) two back, he finished 14th in the Kentucky Derby (G1) last time. However, the dark bay has never run on turf, although he has the potential to handle it descending from Street Cry and Horse Chestnut.

    "I think he'll like the grass. The distance he'll like. I don't have any doubts. He's pretty keen to go. I don't see any negativity," trainer Jim Cassidy said.

    Also invading from the West Coast is Papacoolpapacool (Temple City), a comfortable winner of the $80,000 Pasadena and $79,000 La Puente at Santa Anita, the latter at odds of 1-2. He is undefeated in three outings since joining the Phil D'Amato barn.

    "He handles his foes pretty easily in his races, and he's just been training lights out," D'Amato said. "It made my decision to ship out there easy to test the waters."

    Night Prowler (Giant's Causeway), the morning line favorite at 3-1, will be looking to add to his graded stakes trophy collection after wins in the Transylvania (G3) and Dania Beach (G3) earlier this season. In between those wins, the Chad Brown trainee was a rough-trip fifth in the Palm Beach (G3).

    Woodwin W (More Than Ready) has started his career with four straight wins, the most recent being a three-quarters of a length score in the $100,000 James W. Murphy at Pimlico on the Preakness undercard two weeks ago. The runner-up, stakes winner Force the Pass (Speightstown), is back to oppose.

    Others who might move forward are Granny's Kitten (Kitten's Joy), who has won both starts including a Churchill Downs allowance May 10; Commanche's Storm (Pollard's Vision), runner-up in the $75,000 English Channel at Gulfstream last time; and High Noon Rider (Distorted Humor), runner-up to Force the Pass in the $60,000 Cutler Bay at Gulfstream prior to a recent allowance win.

    Ben's Cat slipped inside Bold Thunder to take the Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico two weeks ago (Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)
    Grass stakes winners My Point Exactly (Concord Point) and Tuba (Magna Graduate) have also been entered.

    The venerable Ben's Cat (Parkers's Storm Cat), who earned his 24th career stakes win May 15 when taking the Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico, headlines the $150,000 Pennsylvania Governor's Cup, a five-furlong turf dash.

    This will be Ben's Cat's fourth appearance in the Governor's Cup. The nine-year-old, King Leatherbury charge won in 2011, was fourth in 2012, and third in 2013.

    His main rivals figure to be the pair he just defeated at Old Hilltop -- Jim McKay runner-up Bold Thunder (Bold n' Flashy) and third-placer Amelia's Wild Ride (D'wildcat). Trying turf for a second time is Fabulous Kid (Congrats), a sharp second-level allowance winner over the main track at Parx last time.

    The $200,000 Mountainview H., a nine-furlong, main-track test for older horses, has attracted a number of graded stakes winners. Early favorites on the morning line are Grade 3 scorers Albano (Istan), who won the Maxxam Gold Cup two back and was second in the New Orleans H. (G2) last time, and Golden Lad (Medaglia d'Oro), who captured the Essex H. in February prior to a fourth in the Oaklawn H. (G2).

    Other notables include Dwyer (G3) winner Kid Cruz (Lemon Drop Kid); Indiana Derby (G2) hero East Hall (Graeme Hall); Mineshaft H. (G3) victor Street Babe (Street Sense); and the competitive-looking trio of Farhaan (Jazil), Cousin Stephen (Proud Citizen), and Nowalking (Hard Spun).

    Strict Compliance (Into Mischief), who was entered in Saturday's American Oaks (G1) at Santa Anita, will reportedly skip that race in favor of the $150,000 Penn Oaks over a mile on the turf. The Chad Brown pupil missed by a neck in her debut before reeling off back-to-back wins at Gulfstream and Keeneland.

    Quality Rocks (Rock Hard Ten), winner of the Florida Oaks (G3) and runner-up in the Sweetest Chant (G3) and Edgewood (G3) this term, looks like the one to beat. Also among the field of eight are multiple stakes winner Red Sashay (Big Brown) and the Grade/Group 3-placed Prize Exhibit (Showcasing) and Pangburn (Congrats).

    Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

    Eleven to compete in wide-open Penn Mile

    Night Prowler enters the Penn Mile with a pair of Grade 3 wins, including the Transylvania (Keeneland/Coady Photography)
    Saturday's $500,000 Penn Mile (G3) at Penn National, elevated this year to Grade 3 status, figures to be a fascinating handicapping and betting exercise. Eleven three-year-olds have entered the grass test, and a majority are worthy win candidates.

    The most familiar name in the lineup is Ocho Ocho Ocho (Street Sense), who captured the Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) in November but faltered as a classic candidate this spring. Third in the Blue Grass (G1) two back, he finished 14th in the Kentucky Derby (G1) last time. However, the dark bay has never run on turf, although he has the potential to handle it descending from Street Cry and Horse Chestnut.

    "I think he'll like the grass. The distance he'll like. I don't have any doubts. He's pretty keen to go. I don't see any negativity," trainer Jim Cassidy said.

    Also invading from the West Coast is Papacoolpapacool (Temple City), a comfortable winner of the $80,000 Pasadena and $79,000 La Puente at Santa Anita, the latter at odds of 1-2. He is undefeated in three outings since joining the Phil D'Amato barn.

    "He handles his foes pretty easily in his races, and he's just been training lights out," D'Amato said. "It made my decision to ship out there easy to test the waters."

    Night Prowler (Giant's Causeway), the morning line favorite at 3-1, will be looking to add to his graded stakes trophy collection after wins in the Transylvania (G3) and Dania Beach (G3) earlier this season. In between those wins, the Chad Brown trainee was a rough-trip fifth in the Palm Beach (G3).

    Woodwin W (More Than Ready) has started his career with four straight wins, the most recent being a three-quarters of a length score in the $100,000 James W. Murphy at Pimlico on the Preakness undercard two weeks ago. The runner-up, stakes winner Force the Pass (Speightstown), is back to oppose.

    Others who might move forward are Granny's Kitten (Kitten's Joy), who has won both starts including a Churchill Downs allowance May 10; Commanche's Storm (Pollard's Vision), runner-up in the $75,000 English Channel at Gulfstream last time; and High Noon Rider (Distorted Humor), runner-up to Force the Pass in the $60,000 Cutler Bay at Gulfstream prior to a recent allowance win.

    Ben's Cat slipped inside Bold Thunder to take the Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico two weeks ago (Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)
    Grass stakes winners My Point Exactly (Concord Point) and Tuba (Magna Graduate) have also been entered.

    The venerable Ben's Cat (Parkers's Storm Cat), who earned his 24th career stakes win May 15 when taking the Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico, headlines the $150,000 Pennsylvania Governor's Cup, a five-furlong turf dash.

    This will be Ben's Cat's fourth appearance in the Governor's Cup. The nine-year-old, King Leatherbury charge won in 2011, was fourth in 2012, and third in 2013.

    His main rivals figure to be the pair he just defeated at Old Hilltop -- Jim McKay runner-up Bold Thunder (Bold n' Flashy) and third-placer Amelia's Wild Ride (D'wildcat). Trying turf for a second time is Fabulous Kid (Congrats), a sharp second-level allowance winner over the main track at Parx last time.

    The $200,000 Mountainview H., a nine-furlong, main-track test for older horses, has attracted a number of graded stakes winners. Early favorites on the morning line are Grade 3 scorers Albano (Istan), who won the Maxxam Gold Cup two back and was second in the New Orleans H. (G2) last time, and Golden Lad (Medaglia d'Oro), who captured the Essex H. in February prior to a fourth in the Oaklawn H. (G2).

    Other notables include Dwyer (G3) winner Kid Cruz (Lemon Drop Kid); Indiana Derby (G2) hero East Hall (Graeme Hall); Mineshaft H. (G3) victor Street Babe (Street Sense); and the competitive-looking trio of Farhaan (Jazil), Cousin Stephen (Proud Citizen), and Nowalking (Hard Spun).

    Strict Compliance (Into Mischief), who was entered in Saturday's American Oaks (G1) at Santa Anita, will reportedly skip that race in favor of the $150,000 Penn Oaks over a mile on the turf. The Chad Brown pupil missed by a neck in her debut before reeling off back-to-back wins at Gulfstream and Keeneland.

    Quality Rocks (Rock Hard Ten), winner of the Florida Oaks (G3) and runner-up in the Sweetest Chant (G3) and Edgewood (G3) this term, looks like the one to beat. Also among the field of eight are multiple stakes winner Red Sashay (Big Brown) and the Grade/Group 3-placed Prize Exhibit (Showcasing) and Pangburn (Congrats).

    Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

    Brown sends two to California for American Oaks

    American Oaks candidate Consumer Credit has won three of her four stakes appearances (Leslie Martin/Adam Coglianese Photography)
    Not only does trainer Chad Brown have the nation's leading three-year-old turf filly in Lady Eli (Divine Park), but the young conditioner has his eye set on plundering other divisional races Lady Eli is not targeting. A case in point is Saturday's $400,000 American Oaks (G1) at Santa Anita, where Brown will saddle two of the six entrants in the 1 1/4-mile test.

    The most accomplished of the trio is Consumer Credit (More Than Ready), who has already won three of her four stakes appearances. Opening her black type account with a 3 3/4-length score in the $75,000 Wait a While at Gulfstream Park West in November, she next captured the Sweetest Chant (G3) at Gulfstream by a length two months later.

    Second by three-quarters of a length in the March 7 Florida Oaks (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs, Consumer Credit rebounded to take the $98,000 Memories of Silver at Aqueduct April 23, but only by a neck on yielding ground.

    Brown's will also be represented by Mrs McDougal (Medaglia d'Oro), who is two-for-three after romping by more than seven lengths over good ground at Aqueduct. Brown also entered Strict Compliance (Into Mischief), but will instead run that filly in Saturday's $150,000 Penn Oaks at Penn National.

    The home defense is led by Spanish Queen (Tribal Rule) and Sharla Rae (Afleet Alex), one-two in the May 3 Honeymoon (G2) over nine furlongs. The 1 1/2-length score by Spanish Queen was her second in three starts, the only setback being a neck loss in the Providencia (G3) two back.

    Sharla Rae, 48-1 in the Honeymoon, had previously captured the California Oaks and Pike Place Dancer on Golden Gate Fields' Tapeta, and the Barretts Debutante on the dirt at Los Alamitos.

    Moreno looks to end his Santa Anita losing streak in the Californian (Coady Photography)
    Invading the West Coast for a third time is the Todd Pletcher-trained Feathered (Indian Charlie), exiting a two-length win in the Edgewood (G3) at Churchill Downs in her turf debut. Last fall, she finished fourth by a length in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Santa Anita and second by a half-length in the Starlet (G1) at Los Alamitos.

    The field is completed by Dating Lady Luck (Arch), a last-out maiden winner at Keeneland for Al Stall.

    The speedy older male star Moreno (Ghostzapper) seeks to snap his eight-race losing skid at Santa Anita when he takes on eight rivals in the $200,000 Californian (G2) at 1 1/8 miles.

    Hero of last year's Whitney (G1), Moreno has had a positive campaign thus far. Runner-up to Shared Belief (Candy Ride) in the Santa Anita H. (G1) off a four-month layoff, Moreno next finished a close third in the New Orleans H. (G2) and then won the Charles Town Classic (G2) by two lengths after Shared Belief was pulled up midway through the race.

    Moreno has finished second four times in eight starts at Santa Anita, but has never won over the main track. One who has, Catch a Flight (Giant's Causeway), figures to be his most serious rival. The Brazilian import finished third in the Big 'Cap in his third U.S. appearance, and most recently captured the Precisionist (G3) over returning rivals Sammy Mandeville (Rock Hard Ten) and Blue Tone (Birdstone).

    Also lining up for the Californian are Big Cazanova (Giant's Causeway), who captured the Native Diver (G3) at Del Mar two back but was only fifth in the January 10 San Pasqual (G2) in his only outing so far this year, and Louisiana H. winner Hard Aces (Hard Spun), who adds blinkers after a fourth in the Big 'Cap and a sixth in the Oaklawn H. (G2).

    Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

    Brown sends two to California for American Oaks

    American Oaks candidate Consumer Credit has won three of her four stakes appearances (Leslie Martin/Adam Coglianese Photography)
    Not only does trainer Chad Brown have the nation's leading three-year-old turf filly in Lady Eli (Divine Park), but the young conditioner has his eye set on plundering other divisional races Lady Eli is not targeting. A case in point is Saturday's $400,000 American Oaks (G1) at Santa Anita, where Brown will saddle two of the six entrants in the 1 1/4-mile test.

    The most accomplished of the trio is Consumer Credit (More Than Ready), who has already won three of her four stakes appearances. Opening her black type account with a 3 3/4-length score in the $75,000 Wait a While at Gulfstream Park West in November, she next captured the Sweetest Chant (G3) at Gulfstream by a length two months later.

    Second by three-quarters of a length in the March 7 Florida Oaks (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs, Consumer Credit rebounded to take the $98,000 Memories of Silver at Aqueduct April 23, but only by a neck on yielding ground.

    Brown's will also be represented by Mrs McDougal (Medaglia d'Oro), who is two-for-three after romping by more than seven lengths over good ground at Aqueduct. Brown also entered Strict Compliance (Into Mischief), but will instead run that filly in Saturday's $150,000 Penn Oaks at Penn National.

    The home defense is led by Spanish Queen (Tribal Rule) and Sharla Rae (Afleet Alex), one-two in the May 3 Honeymoon (G2) over nine furlongs. The 1 1/2-length score by Spanish Queen was her second in three starts, the only setback being a neck loss in the Providencia (G3) two back.

    Sharla Rae, 48-1 in the Honeymoon, had previously captured the California Oaks and Pike Place Dancer on Golden Gate Fields' Tapeta, and the Barretts Debutante on the dirt at Los Alamitos.

    Moreno looks to end his Santa Anita losing streak in the Californian (Coady Photography)
    Invading the West Coast for a third time is the Todd Pletcher-trained Feathered (Indian Charlie), exiting a two-length win in the Edgewood (G3) at Churchill Downs in her turf debut. Last fall, she finished fourth by a length in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Santa Anita and second by a half-length in the Starlet (G1) at Los Alamitos.

    The field is completed by Dating Lady Luck (Arch), a last-out maiden winner at Keeneland for Al Stall.

    The speedy older male star Moreno (Ghostzapper) seeks to snap his eight-race losing skid at Santa Anita when he takes on eight rivals in the $200,000 Californian (G2) at 1 1/8 miles.

    Hero of last year's Whitney (G1), Moreno has had a positive campaign thus far. Runner-up to Shared Belief (Candy Ride) in the Santa Anita H. (G1) off a four-month layoff, Moreno next finished a close third in the New Orleans H. (G2) and then won the Charles Town Classic (G2) by two lengths after Shared Belief was pulled up midway through the race.

    Moreno has finished second four times in eight starts at Santa Anita, but has never won over the main track. One who has, Catch a Flight (Giant's Causeway), figures to be his most serious rival. The Brazilian import finished third in the Big 'Cap in his third U.S. appearance, and most recently captured the Precisionist (G3) over returning rivals Sammy Mandeville (Rock Hard Ten) and Blue Tone (Birdstone).

    Also lining up for the Californian are Big Cazanova (Giant's Causeway), who captured the Native Diver (G3) at Del Mar two back but was only fifth in the January 10 San Pasqual (G2) in his only outing so far this year, and Louisiana H. winner Hard Aces (Hard Spun), who adds blinkers after a fourth in the Big 'Cap and a sixth in the Oaklawn H. (G2).

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    Heitai tops Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint

    Heitai (Fusaichi Pegasus) was only eighth of 10 in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G3), but merits serious consideration when he defends his title Saturday in the $300,000 Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint.

    The field for the five-furlong dash will be reduced to at least seven with the scratch of early favorite Power Alert (Alert) due to the likelihood of soft turf. The Australian import, who captured the Twin Spires Turf Sprint in course-record time, will instead point for the Jaipur S. (G3) at Belmont Park June 6.

    Prior to his flub at Churchill Downs, Heitai had finished first or second in his previous 11 starts. Heitai is two-for-two over the Evangeline turf, and took the inaugural edition of this sprint by 3 3/4 lengths.

    The established sprinter Gantry (Pulpit) was only fifth in the local prep, the $60,000 Need for Speed on May 2, but it was his first start in nearly five months and figures to be much sharper for this. However, he failed to fire here last year when a dull fifth.

    Also exiting the Need for Speed is the winner, Reflector (Ready's Image), and the Quick Dagger (Northern Afleet) and Ty's Bandit (Time Bandit), who finished in a dead heat for second three-quarters of a length behind Reflector. A threat to improve is Great Minds (Stroll), who has finished first or second in three outings since joining the Al Stall barn.

    Evangeline's richest card of the season also features two other open stakes. A wide-open renewal of the $100,000 Evangeline Mile for older horses on the main track features Argentinean import Mystery Train (Not for Sale), the Mineshaft H. (G3) runner-up looking to rebound off tiring seventh-place performance in the Precisionist (G3) at Santa Anita.

    Stormdriver (Discreet Cat) enters off a freakish performance in the off-the-turf, $60,000 John Henry April 25. Preceding the win with a score over $30,000 claimers, the five-year-old took a  huge step forward to deliver the knockout by 5 3/4 lengths.

    Others of interest are last-out allowance winners Only in America (Tiznow), Ide Be Cool (Ide), and Galveston Harbor (Belgravia), and the stakes-winning Holiday Mischief (Into Mischief), who was overmatched in the Texas Mile (G3) last time.

    The $100,000 Opelousas, a 1 1/16-mile grass stakes for fillies and mares, features the top three finishers from the $60,000 Matron on April 24 -- Tensas Harbor (Private Vow), Hot Tempo (Heatseeker), and Synapse (Fairbanks). However, that prep was rained off the turf and contested on a sloppy track, which might have aided Tensas Harbor more. Hot Tempo won the 2014 Matron on turf, while Synapse was only a half-length away from victory in last year's Opelousas.

    Other likely contenders are Satin Gold (English Channel), a close fourth in the 2014 Opelousas prior to winning a stakes on the Remington turf, and Treaty Oak (War Chant), a two-time allowance winner on grass at Fair Grounds last winter.

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    In brief

    Horse of the Year and dual Classic winner California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) is set to have a racecourse gallop at Ascot next week ahead of his engagement at the Royal meeting. It is hoped Frankie Dettori will be able to partner last year's Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness S. (G1) winner in the exercise as he prepares for the Prince of Wales's S. (Eng-G1) June 17. The four-year-old is lodging with trainer Rae Guest in Newmarket since finishing second to Prince Bishop in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1) in March, and trainer Art Sherman's son, Alan, is set to fly in from California for the gallop. "California Chrome's progress continues with the start of Royal Ascot less than three weeks away," reported Guest on his website. "Rae is very happy with his work, he has been making use of Newmarket's watered gallop in recent weeks. This gallop runs adjacent to Newmarket's famous Rowley Mile Racecourse. Frankie Dettori will ride him in his gallop at Ascot as long as his existing commitments allow."...

    Bill Cubbedge's Molly Morgan (Ghostzapper) is off to the breeding shed for her next career as a broodmare after sustaining a cracked sesamoid bone in her left front leg during a recent workout. The six-year-old bay mare most recently captured her fourth stakes and first Grade 1 when taking the La Troienne S. on the May 1, Kentucky Oaks Day, card. Molly Morgan racked up an 8-4-8 career line from 29 starts and earned $882,159 while on track. In addition to the La Troienne, she also scored in the Chilukki S. (G2), Fleur de Lis H. (G2) and Gardenia S. (G3) last year and placed in five other stakes contests. Breeding plans have yet to be determined...

    Al Shaqab Racing's Osaila (Danehill Dancer) will bid to get her season back on track in the Coronation S. (Eng-G1) at Royal Ascot next month. Great things were expected of the Richard Hannon trainee after she made a winning seasonal reappearance in the Nell Gwyn S. (Eng-G3) at Newmarket in April. Osaila never figured in the One Thousand Guineas (Eng-G1) at Newmarket May 3 and her owners' representative Harry Herbert is hoping it was a one off lackluster display. Herbert told At The Races, "She was a real disappointment that day, I don't know whether she just bombed after winning the Nell Gwyn when she hadn't come in her coat. The plan is to head to the Coronation at the Royal meeting. She seems in great form. She tried hard but she just had a proper off day. She was quite fractious and keen to post. Something may have just washed over her and set her alight but she's in great form now."...

    Herbert also had news on another Hannon trainee that carries the same silks. "TDN Rising Star" Moheet (High Chaparral), an 800,000gns purchase at Tattersalls Craven Breeze Up Sale last year, will be a rare Richard Hannon runner in the Epsom Derby (Eng-G1). Breeding would suggest the colt should handle the step up in trip and according to Herbert, the colt is showing all the right signs at home. "I realize he's a long shot, but he is held in high regard by Richard and the team. He ran well in the Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-G1). I think the horse is crying out to go further. Whether he wants to go a mile and a half we will have to see, but he's worked very well."  Frankie Dettori has ridden Moheet in all his three starts to date, but Al Shaqab's retained jockey is teaming up with ante-post favorite Golden Horn (Cape Cross) at Epsom. Pat Dobbs, who rides Moheet in all his work at the Hannon yard, will be entrusted with the mount on Derby day....

    Following a highly respectable first effort in Group 1 company last weekend, the Luca Cumani trained Postponed (Dubawi) will drop down to a Group 2 race next when he lines up in the Hardwicke S. (Eng-G2) at Royal Ascot. The progressive four-year-old was beaten only a half-length into third behind Al Kazeem (Dubawi) and Fascinating Rock (Fastnet Rock) in the Tattersalls Gold Cup (Ire-G1) at the Curragh last Sunday, a performance that left his trainer full of hope for the season ahead.  "You can't be disappointed," commented Cumani. "It was his first try at a Group 1, so we were still checking to see if he is actually a Group 1 horse and he didn't let us down. A mile and a quarter we know is a little bit tight for him and a mile and a half is a better trip. We had to make the running because there was no pace in the race, but that is not his preferred style of running. He much prefers sitting quiet and coming with a flourish in the end, like he did last year. His next step is now the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot, which won't be a piece of cake because there is Telescope (Galileo) in it, so he will have to be at his best."  Telescope won the race by seven lengths last year and proved his recent well-being with a wide-margin win in a listed race at Newbury two weeks ago...

    The Chris Waller-trained Winx (Street Cry) will attempt to justify market favoritism in this oversubscribed field for Saturday's Queensland Oaks (Aus-G1) at Doomben. A smart winner of the Sunshine Coast Guineas (Aus-G3) last time over 1600 meters May 16, Winx will break from gate 13. Runner-up in the Flight S. (Aus-G1) at Randwick to end her spring campaign October 4, the daughter of Darley's late Street Cry returned from a three-month spell and ran seventh at that venue in the 1200-meter Light Fingers S. (Aus-G2) on Valentine's Day. Just fifth of 12 in the Surround S. (Aus-G2) two weeks later, Winx reported home a winner in Rosehill's Phar Lap S. (Aus-G2) March14. Trying 2000 meters for the first time, the bay was fifth in the Vinery Stud S. (Aus-G1) later that month and proved longer distances were within her scope when a solid second under the care of Joao Moreira in the 2400-meter Australian Oaks (Aus-G1) behind Gust of Wind (Darci Brahma), one start prior to her classic score. Winx's main rival at the windows takes the form of Bohemian Lily (O'Reilly), who scooped up The Roses S. (Aus-G2) over 2020 meters here -- defeating fellow Oaks starters Col N' Lil (Bradbury's Luck) and Whatalovelyday (Domesday) among others -- for training wizard Gai Waterhouse last out May 23. Never worse than second in her last four starts, it will be the first appearance at the highest level for the Kiwi, who won the listed Bracelet S. on the Gold Coast April 25 and just missed when runner-up to rival Ballet Suite (High Chaparral) in the Princess S. when tried over 2000 meters at this venue May 9...

    Pure Tactics (Pure Prize) mounts a title defense in Sunday's $75,000 Siren Lure S., an about 6 1/2-furlong scramble on Santa Anita's downhill turf. Up at the wire here one year ago, the Doug O'Neill charge later carried his speed for a mile in the October 26 Lure and also added the January 25 Clocker's Corner back at this trip. Pure Tactics was most recently sixth in the April 19 San Simeon (G3), but he rebounded off a similar effort in the same race last year. He faces only four challengers, but all have credentials -- Holy Lute (Midnight Lute) exits a closing second in the San Simeon; County Lineman (Silent Name), third in the 2014 Siren Lure, tuned up with a last-stride optional claiming score; Oliver's Tale (E Dubai) just wired a course-and-distance optional claimer by 3 1/2 lengths; and course specialist Bobby Z Man (Unusual Heat) hails from the Barry Abrams barn...

    Henry S. Clark S. winner Talk Show Man (Great Notion) will likely have his first work this weekend since finishing 11th in the Dixie S. (G2) on Preakness Day, May 16. The Maryland-bred gelding, who won the Maryland Million Turf S. last year, prompted the pace in the Dixie before fading down the stretch. "I know we were in a tough spot," trainer Hamilton Smith said. "I'm not saying he would have beaten those horses by any means, but I thought we could have made an earlier move. (Jockey Xavier) Perez had the horse in perfect position on the backside. What I thought he did wrong was sit on him. He should never have let the horses come to him like that. I think he just likes to be a little further off the pace than where he was and make his run." Smith said he's looking at a grassy allowance on June 5 at Pimlico. "I might try to give him an easier spot to get his confidence back," he said. "If that (race) doesn't go, maybe a little overnight stakes at Delaware (Park). He can run on either surface. I just think he's a better horse on the turf."...

    Officials at Finger Lakes canceled live racing for Friday, May 29, due to lack of entries. The elimination of Friday's card is aimed toward helping to maintain horse field size for upcoming scheduled race days. The $50,000 Susan B. Anthony S., originally slated to take place Friday, has been postponed until Saturday, May 30. Post time for first race is 1:10 p.m. (EDT).

    Heitai tops Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint

    Heitai (Fusaichi Pegasus) was only eighth of 10 in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G3), but merits serious consideration when he defends his title Saturday in the $300,000 Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint.

    The field for the five-furlong dash will be reduced to at least seven with the scratch of early favorite Power Alert (Alert) due to the likelihood of soft turf. The Australian import, who captured the Twin Spires Turf Sprint in course-record time, will instead point for the Jaipur S. (G3) at Belmont Park June 6.

    Prior to his flub at Churchill Downs, Heitai had finished first or second in his previous 11 starts. Heitai is two-for-two over the Evangeline turf, and took the inaugural edition of this sprint by 3 3/4 lengths.

    The established sprinter Gantry (Pulpit) was only fifth in the local prep, the $60,000 Need for Speed on May 2, but it was his first start in nearly five months and figures to be much sharper for this. However, he failed to fire here last year when a dull fifth.

    Also exiting the Need for Speed is the winner, Reflector (Ready's Image), and the Quick Dagger (Northern Afleet) and Ty's Bandit (Time Bandit), who finished in a dead heat for second three-quarters of a length behind Reflector. A threat to improve is Great Minds (Stroll), who has finished first or second in three outings since joining the Al Stall barn.

    Evangeline's richest card of the season also features two other open stakes. A wide-open renewal of the $100,000 Evangeline Mile for older horses on the main track features Argentinean import Mystery Train (Not for Sale), the Mineshaft H. (G3) runner-up looking to rebound off tiring seventh-place performance in the Precisionist (G3) at Santa Anita.

    Stormdriver (Discreet Cat) enters off a freakish performance in the off-the-turf, $60,000 John Henry April 25. Preceding the win with a score over $30,000 claimers, the five-year-old took a  huge step forward to deliver the knockout by 5 3/4 lengths.

    Others of interest are last-out allowance winners Only in America (Tiznow), Ide Be Cool (Ide), and Galveston Harbor (Belgravia), and the stakes-winning Holiday Mischief (Into Mischief), who was overmatched in the Texas Mile (G3) last time.

    The $100,000 Opelousas, a 1 1/16-mile grass stakes for fillies and mares, features the top three finishers from the $60,000 Matron on April 24 -- Tensas Harbor (Private Vow), Hot Tempo (Heatseeker), and Synapse (Fairbanks). However, that prep was rained off the turf and contested on a sloppy track, which might have aided Tensas Harbor more. Hot Tempo won the 2014 Matron on turf, while Synapse was only a half-length away from victory in last year's Opelousas.

    Other likely contenders are Satin Gold (English Channel), a close fourth in the 2014 Opelousas prior to winning a stakes on the Remington turf, and Treaty Oak (War Chant), a two-time allowance winner on grass at Fair Grounds last winter.

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    Features

    HANDICAPPING INSIGHTS

    MAY 29, 2015

    by Dick Powell

    I have some theories about the Belmont S. (G1) and the pursuit of the Triple Crown that are out there where the buses don't run.

    We focus on the three races in five weeks angle as the main reason why today's horses cannot get the job done.

    What it ignores is the 25-year gap between CITATION (Bull Lea) in 1948 to SECRETARIAT (Bold Ruler) in 1973 during a period where horses raced much more than they did today. Three races in five weeks didn't seem to be the factor then that it is made out to be today.

    In the 1970s, there were three Triple Crown winners and looking back, that stretch is as unexplainable as to the dearth of winners before or since. The drought was over and after SPECTACULAR BID (Bold Bidder) just missed in 1979, it seemed that there would not be any more big gaps between Triple Crown winners.

    How wrong we were as AFFIRMED (Exclusive Native) in 1978 is the last Triple Crown winner. So what else could it be?

    Let's bring out "Ole Reliable" and blame it on Lasix. Ignoring the 25-year gap from 1948 to 1973, it has to be Lasix and raceday medication that keeps a horse from winning all three races in a short period of time.

    This conveniently ignores how the British Triple Crown, where Lasix and raceday medications are banned, has not been won since 1970 when NIJINSKY II (Northern Dancer) did it. And, Lasix was not available on raceday in New York, the site of the Belmont Stakes, until 1995, so why wasn't it hit between 1978 and 1995?

    I can go through various horses that recently failed to win the Belmont after winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown and come up with various reasons and factors that affected the outcome.

    One factor that I believe was true happened in 2003 and 2004. We think that if there were more time between races, the winning horses would have more time to recover and run better. But what if the Belmont were run two weeks after the Preakness S. (G1) instead of three?

    In 2003, FUNNY CIDE (Distorted Humor) won the Derby and then blew away the field in the Preakness. He came out of the Preakness in great shape and on the weekend before the Belmont, he breezed five furlongs in :59 and change while being hard restrained. It looked like he could not be coming into the Belmont any better but on the day of the race, a week later, he was not the same horse.

    What if the horse that had all that energy two weeks after the Preakness was able to race in the Belmont that day and not a week later? In Funny Cide's case, he still might not have been able to beat EMPIRE MAKER (Unbridled) that day but all that energy he wasted in that final workout would have been put to much better use.

    In 2004, I was convinced that we had the next Triple Crown winner and his name was SMARTY JONES (Elusive Quality). The undefeated winner of the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness, he looked like he had the field at this mercy. In the weeks leading up to the Belmont, his gallops were brilliant and there was no way he could get beat. But, could he?

    The weekend before the Belmont, he worked sensational with a 170-pound exercise rider aboard. But on the big day, the other riders ganged up on Stew Elliott but even then, he looked like a winner on the far turn. A record crowd of 120,319 roared thinking they were going to see racing history but in the deep stretch, Smarty Jones began to run out of gas and BIRDSTONE (Grindstone) went by him. His fatigue was mostly due to the energy that his rider expended early but even so, he was right there with a hundred yards to go. Was it the three races in five weeks or would he have won had the race been held a week before?

    We will never know but I could not help but think at the time that had the Belmont been held the week before, both horses' chances of winning would have been greater. They come out of the Preakness dead fit and the extra week worked against them.

    Can I prove it? No. That is why it is called a theory.

    Which brings us to AMERICAN PHAROAH's (Pioneerof the Nile) workout at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning. The workout was officially a half-mile in :48 flat but he never really let up when he hit the wire and covered six furlongs in 1:13 1/5. Considering that he was at least four paths off the rail on both turns and did not have company, he probably shaded 1:12.

    Visually, any concerns about how he came out of the Preakness were dispelled as his stride looked better than ever. My initial reaction was start engraving the Belmont Stakes trophy.

    However, before I anoint him racing's 12th Triple Crown winner, let's see how he does in the days leading up to the Belmont on June 6. This is not Bob Baffert's first rodeo and Victor Espinoza is battle tested, so I am sure they will press all the right buttons. I would rather Baffert do what he did on Tuesday than train him lightly while worrying about his energy level. A solid workout like that should take the edge off him and have him ready on the big day.

    Racing Headlines

    In brief

    Horse of the Year and dual Classic winner California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) is set to have a racecourse gallop at Ascot next week ahead of his engagement at the Royal meeting. It is hoped Frankie Dettori will be able to partner last year's Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness S. (G1) winner in the exercise as he prepares for the Prince of Wales's S. (Eng-G1) June 17. The four-year-old is lodging with trainer Rae Guest in Newmarket since finishing second to Prince Bishop in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1) in March, and trainer Art Sherman's son, Alan, is set to fly in from California for the gallop. "California Chrome's progress continues with the start of Royal Ascot less than three weeks away," reported Guest on his website. "Rae is very happy with his work, he has been making use of Newmarket's watered gallop in recent weeks. This gallop runs adjacent to Newmarket's famous Rowley Mile Racecourse. Frankie Dettori will ride him in his gallop at Ascot as long as his existing commitments allow."...

    Bill Cubbedge's Molly Morgan (Ghostzapper) is off to the breeding shed for her next career as a broodmare after sustaining a cracked sesamoid bone in her left front leg during a recent workout. The six-year-old bay mare most recently captured her fourth stakes and first Grade 1 when taking the La Troienne S. on the May 1, Kentucky Oaks Day, card. Molly Morgan racked up an 8-4-8 career line from 29 starts and earned $882,159 while on track. In addition to the La Troienne, she also scored in the Chilukki S. (G2), Fleur de Lis H. (G2) and Gardenia S. (G3) last year and placed in five other stakes contests. Breeding plans have yet to be determined...

    Al Shaqab Racing's Osaila (Danehill Dancer) will bid to get her season back on track in the Coronation S. (Eng-G1) at Royal Ascot next month. Great things were expected of the Richard Hannon trainee after she made a winning seasonal reappearance in the Nell Gwyn S. (Eng-G3) at Newmarket in April. Osaila never figured in the One Thousand Guineas (Eng-G1) at Newmarket May 3 and her owners' representative Harry Herbert is hoping it was a one off lackluster display. Herbert told At The Races, "She was a real disappointment that day, I don't know whether she just bombed after winning the Nell Gwyn when she hadn't come in her coat. The plan is to head to the Coronation at the Royal meeting. She seems in great form. She tried hard but she just had a proper off day. She was quite fractious and keen to post. Something may have just washed over her and set her alight but she's in great form now."...

    Herbert also had news on another Hannon trainee that carries the same silks. "TDN Rising Star" Moheet (High Chaparral), an 800,000gns purchase at Tattersalls Craven Breeze Up Sale last year, will be a rare Richard Hannon runner in the Epsom Derby (Eng-G1). Breeding would suggest the colt should handle the step up in trip and according to Herbert, the colt is showing all the right signs at home. "I realize he's a long shot, but he is held in high regard by Richard and the team. He ran well in the Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-G1). I think the horse is crying out to go further. Whether he wants to go a mile and a half we will have to see, but he's worked very well."  Frankie Dettori has ridden Moheet in all his three starts to date, but Al Shaqab's retained jockey is teaming up with ante-post favorite Golden Horn (Cape Cross) at Epsom. Pat Dobbs, who rides Moheet in all his work at the Hannon yard, will be entrusted with the mount on Derby day....

    Following a highly respectable first effort in Group 1 company last weekend, the Luca Cumani trained Postponed (Dubawi) will drop down to a Group 2 race next when he lines up in the Hardwicke S. (Eng-G2) at Royal Ascot. The progressive four-year-old was beaten only a half-length into third behind Al Kazeem (Dubawi) and Fascinating Rock (Fastnet Rock) in the Tattersalls Gold Cup (Ire-G1) at the Curragh last Sunday, a performance that left his trainer full of hope for the season ahead.  "You can't be disappointed," commented Cumani. "It was his first try at a Group 1, so we were still checking to see if he is actually a Group 1 horse and he didn't let us down. A mile and a quarter we know is a little bit tight for him and a mile and a half is a better trip. We had to make the running because there was no pace in the race, but that is not his preferred style of running. He much prefers sitting quiet and coming with a flourish in the end, like he did last year. His next step is now the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot, which won't be a piece of cake because there is Telescope (Galileo) in it, so he will have to be at his best."  Telescope won the race by seven lengths last year and proved his recent well-being with a wide-margin win in a listed race at Newbury two weeks ago...

    The Chris Waller-trained Winx (Street Cry) will attempt to justify market favoritism in this oversubscribed field for Saturday's Queensland Oaks (Aus-G1) at Doomben. A smart winner of the Sunshine Coast Guineas (Aus-G3) last time over 1600 meters May 16, Winx will break from gate 13. Runner-up in the Flight S. (Aus-G1) at Randwick to end her spring campaign October 4, the daughter of Darley's late Street Cry returned from a three-month spell and ran seventh at that venue in the 1200-meter Light Fingers S. (Aus-G2) on Valentine's Day. Just fifth of 12 in the Surround S. (Aus-G2) two weeks later, Winx reported home a winner in Rosehill's Phar Lap S. (Aus-G2) March14. Trying 2000 meters for the first time, the bay was fifth in the Vinery Stud S. (Aus-G1) later that month and proved longer distances were within her scope when a solid second under the care of Joao Moreira in the 2400-meter Australian Oaks (Aus-G1) behind Gust of Wind (Darci Brahma), one start prior to her classic score. Winx's main rival at the windows takes the form of Bohemian Lily (O'Reilly), who scooped up The Roses S. (Aus-G2) over 2020 meters here -- defeating fellow Oaks starters Col N' Lil (Bradbury's Luck) and Whatalovelyday (Domesday) among others -- for training wizard Gai Waterhouse last out May 23. Never worse than second in her last four starts, it will be the first appearance at the highest level for the Kiwi, who won the listed Bracelet S. on the Gold Coast April 25 and just missed when runner-up to rival Ballet Suite (High Chaparral) in the Princess S. when tried over 2000 meters at this venue May 9...

    Pure Tactics (Pure Prize) mounts a title defense in Sunday's $75,000 Siren Lure S., an about 6 1/2-furlong scramble on Santa Anita's downhill turf. Up at the wire here one year ago, the Doug O'Neill charge later carried his speed for a mile in the October 26 Lure and also added the January 25 Clocker's Corner back at this trip. Pure Tactics was most recently sixth in the April 19 San Simeon (G3), but he rebounded off a similar effort in the same race last year. He faces only four challengers, but all have credentials -- Holy Lute (Midnight Lute) exits a closing second in the San Simeon; County Lineman (Silent Name), third in the 2014 Siren Lure, tuned up with a last-stride optional claiming score; Oliver's Tale (E Dubai) just wired a course-and-distance optional claimer by 3 1/2 lengths; and course specialist Bobby Z Man (Unusual Heat) hails from the Barry Abrams barn...

    Henry S. Clark S. winner Talk Show Man (Great Notion) will likely have his first work this weekend since finishing 11th in the Dixie S. (G2) on Preakness Day, May 16. The Maryland-bred gelding, who won the Maryland Million Turf S. last year, prompted the pace in the Dixie before fading down the stretch. "I know we were in a tough spot," trainer Hamilton Smith said. "I'm not saying he would have beaten those horses by any means, but I thought we could have made an earlier move. (Jockey Xavier) Perez had the horse in perfect position on the backside. What I thought he did wrong was sit on him. He should never have let the horses come to him like that. I think he just likes to be a little further off the pace than where he was and make his run." Smith said he's looking at a grassy allowance on June 5 at Pimlico. "I might try to give him an easier spot to get his confidence back," he said. "If that (race) doesn't go, maybe a little overnight stakes at Delaware (Park). He can run on either surface. I just think he's a better horse on the turf."...

    Officials at Finger Lakes canceled live racing for Friday, May 29, due to lack of entries. The elimination of Friday's card is aimed toward helping to maintain horse field size for upcoming scheduled race days. The $50,000 Susan B. Anthony S., originally slated to take place Friday, has been postponed until Saturday, May 30. Post time for first race is 1:10 p.m. (EDT).

    Results

    NORTH AMERICAN ALLOWANCE RESULTS

    BEL, 4TH, AOC, $80,000, 3YO/UP, 1 1/2MT, 5-28.
    4—ARTIC NORTH, g, 6, North Light (IRE)--Ms Isadorable, by Royal Academy. ($2,000 '10 KEESEP). O-Paul P Pompa, Jr, B-Richard Shultz (KY), T-Patrick L. Reynolds, J-Irad Ortiz, Jr., $48,000.
    2—Global Strike, c, 4, Smart Strike--Misty Lady (ARG), by Lucky Roberto. O-Stonestreet Stables LLC, B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY), $16,000.
    3—Heyaarat, c, 4, Distorted Humor--Mushka, by Empire Maker. ($1,650,000 '12 KEESEP). O-Shadwell Stable, B-Brushwood Stable (KY), $8,000.
    Winning Time: 2:26 (fm)
     
    BEL, 8TH, ALW, $77,000, 3YO, F, 1MT, 5-28.
    1A—SENTIERO ITALIA, f, 3, Medaglia d'Oro--Golden Way (IRE), by Cadeaux Genereux (GB). O-Godolphin Racing LLC, B-Darley (KY), T-Kiaran P. McLaughlin, J-Luis Saez, $46,200.
    9—Kitten's Roar, f, 3, Kitten's Joy--Bambolina, by War Chant. ($130,000 '13 KEESEP). O-Ramsey, Kenneth L and Sarah K, B-Dapple Bloodstock (KY), $15,400.
    10—Tapitry, f, 3, Tapit--My Trusty Cat, by Tale of the Cat. ($90,000 '13 KEESEP; $240,000 2014 OBSJUN). O-Gainesway Stable (Antony Beck) and Rosen, Andrew, B-WinStar Farm, LLC (KY), $7,700.
    Winning Time: 1:33 3/5 (fm)
     
    WO, 3RD, ALW, $65,037, 3YO/UP, F/M, 1MT, 5-27.
    2—BEAR'S PRIDE, f, 4, Kentucky Bear--Molly's Pride, by Maria's Mon. O-Bear Stables, Ltd, B-Bear Stables LTD (ON), T-Reade Baker, J-Eurico Rosa Da Silva, $45,218.
    5—Endless Light (GB), m, 5, Pivotal (GB)--Celeste (GB), by Green Desert. O-Jal Dastur, B-Cheveley Park Stud Ltd (GB), $9,426.
    1—Sweet Corinna, f, 3, Corinthian--Sweet Sugaree, by Tiznow. O-Gabe Grossberg, B-Gabe Grossberg (KY), $5,185.
    Winning Time: 1:34 1/5 (fm)
     
    CD, 3RD, AOC, $54,880, 3YO/UP, 1 1/16M, 5-28.
    4—ULANBATOR, c, 4, Offlee Wild--Ashapoo, by Petionville. O-Mary Ann Charlston, B-Mary Ann Charlston (KY), T-Ian R. Wilkes, J-Julien R. Leparoux, $33,600.
    5—Russellin, c, 4, Old Fashioned--Vikki's Honor, by Bartok (IRE). ($102,000 '12 FTKJUL; $100,000 2013 FTMMAY). O-Chris Wilkins, B-Sebold Racing, LLC & KM Stables, In (KY), $11,200.
    2—Street Strategy, c, 4, Street Sense--Spoken Softly, by Notebook. ($30,000 '12 KEESEP; $425,000 2013 OBSAPR). O-David Clark, B-Glencrest Farm LLC & Darley (KY), $5,600.
    Winning Time: 1:43 1/5 (ft)
     
    PID, 5TH, ALW, $39,010, 3YO/UP, 5 1/2F, 5-27.
    6—CATALACTIC, g, 7, Freefourinternet--Cat Dancin, by Secret Claim. O-Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc, B-Denise Lingenfelter (PA), T-Jamie Ness, J-Antonio A. Gallardo, $25,740.
    1—Choctaw Chuck, g, 4, Bwana Charlie--Taylor's Choice, by Conquistador Cielo. ($4,000 '11 OBSOCT). O-Clyde D Rice, B-Virgilio Lopez (FL), $6,600.
    3—Heaven's Runway, h, 5, Run Away and Hide--Heavens Passport, by Awesome Again. O-Jayaraman, K K and Jayaraman, V Devi, B-Dr K K & Dr V Devi Jayaraman (KY), $3,300.
    Winning Time: 1:03 1/5 (ft)
     
    GP, 6TH, AOC, $38,400, 3YO/UP, 1MT, 5-28.
    3—GOLDEN RIFLE, h, 5, Ghostzapper--Sierra Vista (GB), by Atraf (GB). O-Miller Racing LLC, B-Adena Springs (KY), T-Martin D. Wolfson, J-Tyler Gaffalione, $22,800.
    2—Aire Bueno (CHI), g, 6, Ivan Denisovich (IRE)--Arabian Girl (CHI), by Sadlers Congress (IRE). O-Simon, Charles and La Estrella, B-Haras El Sheik (CHI), $7,980.
    1—Adios Nardo, g, 6, Invisible Ink--Tambien Me Voy, by Orono. O-Diamond Racing, Inc, Volunteer Racing, Inc, Four Star Thunder Run LLC et al, B-Ups and Downs Farm (FL), $4,200.
    Winning Time: 1:34 4/5 (fm)
     
    CT, 7TH, ALW, $29,000, 3YO/UP, 7F, 5-27.
    7—HELP A BROTHER, g, 6, Windsor Castle--Kom Kim Lass, by Seacliff. O-Lewis E Craig, Jr, B-Lewis Craig (WV), T-Lewis E. Craig, Jr., J-Jesus Sanchez, $17,280.
    4—Rip Current, g, 4, Tidal Wave--Bar Fly, by Chief Honcho. O-Grams Racing Stable LLC, B-Tex J Mullins (WV), $5,760.
    6—Attempt to Dream, g, 3, Concord Point--Attempt to Name, by Consolidator. ($22,000 '12 KEENOV; $45,000 '13 KEESEP; $55,000 2014 FTMMAY). O-Angel Gonzalez Racing Stable, B-Pinnacle Thoroughbreds LLC (KY), $2,880.
    Winning Time: 1:25 1/5 (ft)
     
    CT, 6TH, ALW, $27,000, 3YO/UP, F/M, 6 1/2F, 5-27.
    1—WALK OF STARS, f, 4, Street Sense--Star Kell, by Star De Naskra. O-R Larry Johnson, B-R Larry Johnson (KY), T-Michael J. Trombetta, J-Travis L. Dunkelberger, $16,200.
    (DH) 2—Finding Forestry, f, 4, Forestry--Oxford Scholar, by Seeking the Gold. ($20,000 '12 FTKOCT; $50,000 2013 OBSJUN). O-Michael Nentwig, B-Michael J Snyder (KY), $4,050.
    (DH) 5—Pam Got Even, f, 4, Stephen Got Even--Ghost of Love, by Silver Ghost. O-Jackson, Stephen G and Debbie, B-Dr Stephen G & Debbie Jackson (KY), $4,050.
    Winning Time: 1:19 (ft)
     
    CT, 4TH, ALW, $27,000, 3YO/UP, F/M, 4 1/2F, 5-27.
    7—CUPPA MOCHA MOJO, f, 4, Mikimoto's Mojo--Front of Class, by Robyn Dancer. O-Terri T Catlett, B-Terri T Catlett (WV), T-David Walters, J-Jose Montano, $16,140.
    2—Lady Jillet, f, 3, Windsor Castle--Scottish Punch, by My Boy Adam. O-Taylor Mountain Farm LLC, B-James W Casey (WV), $5,380.
    3—Elusive Camilla, f, 4, Bop--Krista's Orage, by Eternal Orage. O-Couchenour, Lee and Oller, John, B-Leslie Condon (WV), $2,690.
    Winning Time: :52 1/5 (ft)
     
    ALB, 8TH, ALW, $26,600, 3YO/UP, 6 1/2F, 5-27.
    5—FRENCH LYON, g, 3, Stormin' Lyon--French Chime, by Chimes Band. O-Amestoy, Jr, Pierre Jean and Leslie A, B-Pierre J & Leslie Amestoy (NM), T-Ross A. Amestoy, J-Enrique Portillo Gomez, $15,960.
    7—Clay Court, g, 4, Diabolical--Surprisingly, by Bertrando. O-Paul Jenson, B-Margaret Bloss & Margaret duPont (NM), $5,320.
    6—Hay Man Mark, g, 5, Valet Man--Hotmark, by Benchmark. O-Kenneth L Hall Jr, B-Gallegos Del Norte Racing (NM), $2,660.
    Winning Time: 1:17 4/5 (ft)
     
    FL, 2ND, ALW, $25,353, 3YO/UP, 1M, 5-28.
    2—FOX RULES, g, 6, Roman Ruler--Shesastonecoldfox, by Foxhound. O-Langpap Stables, B-Dennis & Deborah Petrisak (NY), T-M. Anthony Ferraro, J-Pedro A. Rodriguez, $15,300.
    3—Mighty One, g, 6, Macho Uno--Behrnik, by Chimes Band. ($3,100 '10 FTMOCT). O-Gold Bear Farm, B-Kaz Hill Farm & Adena Springs (NY), $5,100.
    5—Five Freedoms, g, 6, Patriot Act--Tres Chaud, by French Deputy. O-TLC Thoroughbreds, B-First Class Thoroughbreds LLC (NY), $2,805.
    Winning Time: 1:39 3/5 (ft)
     
    LAD, 6TH, ALW, $22,580, 3YO/UP, 5F, 5-27.
    7—K T'S GOLDEN YEAR, g, 5, Ide--Barney's Oldfield, by Jitterbug Chief. O-Loooch Racing Stables, Inc, B-Barney L Core & Regina Bourgeois Core (LA), T-Karl Broberg, J-Chris R. Rosier, $13,800.
    11—Contrarian Bet, g, 4, Will He Shine--Louisiana Lace, by Cuvee. O-What Else Racing and Meeks, Michael R, B-Northpointe Thoroughbreds (LA), $4,600.
    4—Netcents, g, 3, Neko Bay--Ardum Relaunch, by Cee's Tizzy. ($10,500 '13 TEXAUG; $20,000 2014 TEXAPR). O-Terrell Jarrett Jr, B-Eureka Thoroughbred Farm (KY), $2,200.
    Winning Time: :58 2/5 (ft)
     
    BTP, 4TH, ALW, $19,500, 3YO/UP, F/M, 6F, 5-28.
    3—HOPE'S FROG SONG, f, 4, Kentucky Dane--Rosemary's Prayer, by Deerhound. O-Raymond Donald, B-Raymond Donald (OH), T-Ivan Vazquez, J-Megan Fadlovich, $12,090.
    5—Iamacongatoo, m, 5, Congaree--Imahoneytoo, by Latvia. O-Ronald Zielinski, B-Ronald Zielinski (OH), $3,900.
    4—Chain Yanker, f, 3, Delta Miner--Yankee Cruz, by Yankee Victor. O-Mark D Kuntz, B-Double D Farm Corp (OH), $1,950.
    Winning Time: 1:12 (ft)
     
    FL, 8TH, ALW, $18,200, 3YO/UP, 6F, 5-28.
    3—BREAKIN THE FEVER, g, 3, Roaring Fever--Breakers West, by Rodeo. O-Debra A Breed, B-Debra A Breed (NY), T-Debra A. Breed, J-Oscar Gomez, $10,920.
    1A—Go Get the Basil, h, 5, Andromeda's Hero--Images in Jade, by Jade Hunter. O-Esposito, John T and Logrippo, Anthony J, B-John T Esposito & Anthony J Lo Grippo (NY), $3,640.
    5—West College, g, 4, Closing Argument--Fabulous Florence, by Gold Token. O-Joseph A Cabrera, B-Thomas Willmott (NY), $1,820.
    Winning Time: 1:11 2/5 (ft)
     
    MNR, 2ND, ALW, $16,200, 3YO/UP, 5F, 5-27.
    2—EVIL LAD, g, 6, Afleet Prince--Belle of Claxton, by Devil His Due. O-Ricardo Bailey, B-Ayres Fountain Spring Farm (MD), T-Ricardo Bailey, J-Isais Nunez, $10,044.
    7—Viscious Lies, g, 6, Schwarzwald--Lies Be Gone, by Tricky Creek. O-Sandra J Witherow, B-Sandra Witherow (WV), $3,240.
    1—Darwin's Dream, g, 4, Old Fashioned--Destiny's Yield, by High Yield. ($135,000 '12 FTKOCT). O-Darwin Krenz, B-Destiny Oaks of Ocala (FL), $1,620.
    Winning Time: 1:00 (gd)
     
    NP, 2ND, ALW, $14,351, 3YO/UP, 6F, 5-27.
    1—BEAR'S REALITY, g, 4, Kentucky Bear--Princess G, by Cee's Tizzy. O-Bear's Stable LTD and Riversedge Racing Stables, Ltd, B-Bear Stables LTD (ON), T-Tim Rycroft, J-Ismael Eluid Mosqueira, $8,493.
    2—Go Max, c, 4, War Pass--Gold Futures, by Golden Missile. ($7,000 '12 KEESEP). O-Doug Blair, B-G Watts Humphrey Jr (KY), $2,831.
    5—Kaleohano, g, 4, Kissin Kris--Steamen Demon, by Fiesty Fouts. O-Almac Racing Stable, B-Almac Racing Stable (AB), $1,939.
    Winning Time: 1:10 (ft)

    Features

    INTERNATIONAL FEATURE

    MAY 29, 2015

    Royal Ascot awaits "Magic" show

    by Andrew Hawkins for TDN

    Racing is full of Hollywood-esque stories -- the inconceivable, the implausible, the unrealistic.

    On a global scale, the story of Joao Moreira is right up there with the most astonishing: the jockey they call the "Magic Man," the Brazilian-born wizard who has taken Asia by storm, now looks set to make a true splash on the world stage.

    An unrivaled rags-to-riches tale, Moreira has risen from the slums of Brazil, from a destiny of poverty and crime, to the very top of his game, to become arguably Brazil's most successful non-soccer sportsman since the champion Formula One driver, the late Ayrton Senna.

    And yet, while Moreira made a big splash in Brazil, broke every record in a remarkable stint in Singapore and is now setting Hong Kong alight, he still doesn't receive the plaudits he deserves globally.

    For those who have seen the Magic Man at work, his name is one of a number bandied about as the world's best jockey, deserving of a spot alongside Moore and Soumillon, a rider with that potent combination of balance, poise and tactical awareness that only champions possess.

    His star is slowly rising in Australia, having ridden three Group 1 winners down under, and dual success in Dubai in 2014 brought him further acclaim. He's ridden in England's Shergar Cup and partnered a number of graded stakes placegetters in two short stints in the United States. He estimates he's ridden in about 20 countries.

    But for all that, Moreira remains still somewhat of a mystery to most in traditional racing heartland s-- so much so that a Google search turns up the wrong age for the rider, putting him 12 months younger than his 31 years. The relative obscurity is set to change in the next month as his association with the world's highest ranked turf galloper Able Friend (Shamardal) thrusts him into the spotlight at arguably the biggest turf meeting on the planet, Royal Ascot.

    It is the continuation of a whirlwind journey for the Brazilian, who was once turned down for an apprenticeship and came within a nose of losing his license in the early days of his career. Anyone who meets Moreira for little more than a fleeting moment has the same story to report: the nicest man in racing, humble, gentle, kind -- the antithesis of his warrior persona on-track. It's a modesty brought about by his humble upbringing.

    "I don't think anyone would believe where I come from," Moreira said recently. "I grew up in a small village near Curitiba, and we had very little. It was tough, and we did what we had to do to get by, but I always loved horses."

    At the age of 14, he quit his job, working in a factory, to pursue a career with horses. He worked as a stablehand for no pay and was knocked back from joining the jockey ranks in his home town before being offered the chance to join a jockey academy in Sao Paulo.

    "In my early days of riding in Sao Paulo, while I was still in the academy, I was considered the worst jockey there," he explained. "No one would give me a ride and I had some bad luck. My first two winners were both disqualified. I was told I was not born to ride and that I should be getting another job. I only just kept my license. I was almost on my way back to Curitiba and then my luck turned."

    Moreira was a full-fledged jockey by 2003, and by the time of his departure in 2009, he had racked up over 1000 winners, mainly at Sao Paulo's Cidade Jardim racetrack. He was a two-time Trofeu Mossoro (Brazilian Eclipse Award) winner and it was his early association with champion South American three-year-old Eu Tambem, the winner of the 2006 Gran Premio Nacional (Arg-G1) -- the Argentine Derby -- and later bought by Godolphin, that catapulted Moreira to stardom. And yet, already, the young rider was looking outside Brazil.

    "I knew the world was a big place and I knew I wanted to ride elsewhere," Moreira says. "I had ridden in France, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay, but I had big dreams."

    In March 2009, he left Brazil for Singapore. By year's end, he was seen as a rising star in the Lion City, having finished third in the jockey rankings despite missing almost half the season. It was here that the Moreira myth was borne, where he was nicknamed "Magic" by former commentator Michael Maxworthy, a nickname that quickly developed into the "Magic Man."

    In 2010, he set a new Singaporean record with 116 wins, capturing his first premiership in the process. A year later, he set a new benchmark with 153 wins. And then, in 2012, he blew those two marks out of the water with a whopping 206 victories in a season. He claimed a fourth title in 2013 with 179 wins, despite leaving for his new contract in Hong Kong with just over two months left to go in the season. But as a parting gift to Singapore, he managed to win eight races from eight rides at Kranji in September 2013, a feat just as remarkable as Dettori's Magnificent Seven.

    They may not be too distant, geographically or culturally, but in racing circles, Singapore and Hong Kong are worlds apart. Hong Kong is the ultimate test for a rider. Not only is there a higher concentration of top jockeys at their peak, but the intensity of the racing community is unmatched anywhere else worldwide. There may be only two meetings a week -- and only 83 across the whole season -- but the level of scrutiny is extreme, especially for a jockey.

    The political climate is not unlike a scene out of House of Cards as jockeys fight for rides, with every move watched by the local media and the punters who splurge, on average, US$17 million on every single race. It's a dog-eat-dog environment that has claimed some notable scalps over the years.

    And yet the Brazilian has thrived.

    With last season's champion jockey, Australian Zac Purton, Moreira has brought about the end of an era -- the end of the dominance of South African master Douglas Whyte, who had won 13 straight championships before he was dethroned by Purton last season. And yet, Moreira believes he's only starting to find his best form now, despite riding winners at a seemingly unsustainable strike rate of 23 percent.

    "I struggled to get it right in Hong Kong at first," Moreira admitted. "I was used to riding on left-handed tracks, so when I switched to go right-handed at Sha Tin and Happy Valley, my horses were shifting in and causing interference. I missed 18 meetings (out of 83) because of suspension last season, and I also started late, so I was really happy to finish second to Zac."

    He continued, "This season I've really tried to stay out of trouble and to just focus on riding winners, and now I think I've got it right. And it's still getting better, although it will be hard to beat this season."

    And what a season it has been. Moreira has not only got the Hong Kong jockeys' championship wrapped up with 13 meetings to go in the term, he's already surpassed Whyte's previous record of 113 wins in a season. There is talk that the 150 mark could be under threat, an achievement previously thought impossible in the pressure cooker environment of Hong Kong racing.

    Moreira's biggest moment will come in the Queen Anne S. (Eng-G1) June 16, when he partners the John Moore-trained Able Friend in the opening event at the Royal meeting. It will be the 1300-pound chestnut's biggest test against horses of the ilk of Dubai Turf (UAE-G1) winner Solow (Singspiel), last season's Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-G1) victor Night Of Thunder (Dubawi) and potentially Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) hero Karakontie (Bernstein), but Moreira seems unperturbed by the likely opposition -- in fact, he is relishing the chance to test Able Friend against the world's best milers.

    "He's the best horse I've ridden, he's just outstanding," he opines. "He's the easiest ride, he is just so uncomplicated. He goes to sleep, and then you ask him to quicken and the response is instant. Is he the best horse in the world? I think so, he's just a dream horse to ride -- every jockey wants a horse like him. Hopefully he can take his best to England and the world can see how good he is."

    Perhaps the same can be said for his unassuming rider, with the world finally set to witness how lethal Joao Moreira can be.

    North American Maiden Winners
    Archarcharch--Miss Laylee by Awesome Again; TIA CHUY, f, 2, MNR, Msw, 5-27, 4 1/2f, :54 1/5. B-Joe Besecker (PA.). $1,000 '14 FTKOCT.
    Cowboy Cal--Tapatia by Tapit; ADHARA, f, 2, CD, Msw, 5-28, 5 1/2f, 1:04 4/5. B-Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC (KY.).
    Hear No Evil--Dame Sylvieguilhem by Nureyev; BALLET DIVA, f, 2, GP, Msw, 5-28, 5f, :59 3/5. B-Jacks or Better Farm Inc. (FL.). *1/2 to Flying Trip (SW $265,946).
    Tizdejavu--Wild Debutante by Forest Wildcat; IL EST BEAU, c, 2, EVD, Msw, 5-27, 4 1/2f, :52 3/5. B-Cloyce Clark & Jay Goodwin (LA.). $19,000 '14 ESLSEP.
    Arch--Royal Opportunity by Kingmambo; TRAVEL TRUE, c, 3, PID, Msw, 5-27, 5 1/2f, 1:04 4/5. B-Hudson River Farms (PA.).
    Chatain--Pine Thymeprincess by Secretariats Ghost; POLLY MY LOVE, f, 3, GP, Mcl 16000, 5-28, 7 1/2fT, 1:29 1/5. B-Stan Whisenant (LA.). $9,000 '13 OBSAUG; $1,400 '13 OBSJAN.
    Curlin--Birthday Wire by Birdonthewire; BIRTHDAY GIRL, f, 3, BEL, Mcl 25000, 5-28, 6 1/2f, 1:19 3/5. B-Todd Graves, Michele Graves & Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (NY.). $17,000 '13 FTNAUG; $60,000 2014 FTNOCT. *1/2 to Wiredfortwotwenty (MSW $372,464).
    Diabolical--Shezapirate by Desert God; DAPIRATE, g, 3, ALB, Msw, 5-27, 5 1/2f, 1:04 4/5. B-Harry Joseph Allen (NM.). $13,500 '13 RUIAUG.
    Dunkirk--Mizzcan'tbewrong (MSW$352,117), by Mizzen Mast; HAPPY ON EMPTY, g, 3, MNR, Mcl 5000, 5-27, 1m, 1:44 2/5. B-Jerry Crawford (KY.). $6,000 '13 FTKFEB.
    Flatter--Shibui by Signal Tap; HELTON, g, 3, CT, Mcl 10000, 5-27, 7f, 1:27 2/5. B-Silverton Hill Farm, LLC (KY.).
    Horse Greeley--Maze by Broad Brush; BEIL BEIL, g, 3, CT, Mcl 10000, 5-27, 6 1/2f, 1:22 1/5. B-Barak Farm (WV.).
    Latent Heat--Duchess Kiss by Cox's Ridge; WHINNY MAGOOGIN, f, 3, NP, Msw, 5-27, 6f, 1:12 2/5. B-Liberation Farm & Brandywine Farm (KY.). $3,000 '12 KEENOV. *1/2 to As You Like (MSW $347,514).
    Max Forever--Manzanilla by Awesome Again; SHOTGUN SAM, g, 3, NP, Mcl 7000, 5-27, 6f, 1:13 . B-Stone Ranches Ltd. (AB.).
    Minister's Gold--Ohpoos by Mr. Shawklit; WENDELL L SMITH, g, 3, LAD, Mcl 5000, 5-28, 5 1/2f, 1:07 . B-Julien R Stevens Jr (LA.).
    Private Vow--Seattle Songster by Katowice; PRIVATE SONGSTER, f, 3, LAD, Msw, 5-28, 5 1/2f, 1:06 2/5. B-John P. Balensiefen (LA.).
    Rock Hard Ten--Tina's Goal by El Corredor; ROCK ME AGAIN, f, 3, BEL, Mcl 75000, 5-28, a1 1/16mT, 1:43 1/5. B-Russell B. Jones Jr. (PA.). $42,000 '13 FTKOCT.
    Silent Name (JPN)--Perfect Design by Marquetry; WORBOTHOR, g, 3, FL, Msw, 5-28, 1m, 1:41 3/5. B-McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, LLC (NY.). $57,000 '13 FTNAUG.
    Street Sense--Saratoga Cat by Sir Cat; TIGER MOTH, f, 3, BEL, Msw, 5-28, 1 1/16m, 1:44 . B-John D. Gunther (KY.). *1/2 to Kanagaro ($262,684) *1/2 to Last Gunfighter (G2 $1,210,205).
    Tiz Wonderful--Ida Maria (MSW$277,555), by Gold Case; IDA'S WONDER, f, 3, EVD, Msw, 5-27, 6f, 1:11 3/5. B-R. Carson Llewellyn (LA.). $29,000 '13 ESLSEP; $38,000 2014 OBSJUN.
    Vibank--Psychedelia by Wild Zone; VIRTADERO, g, 3, WO, Msw, 5-27, 6f, 1:10 3/5. B-Victoria Pappas (ON.).
    Where's the Ring--Pyrenee by Mt. Livermore; BEST OFFER, g, 3, WO, Mcl 16000, 5-27, 1 1/16m, 1:48 1/5. B-Paradox Farm, Inc. (ON.). C$11,000 '13 ONTSEP. *1/2 to Bold Comment (SP $341,436) *1/2 to Bobby Jo ($265,000).
    Wildcat Heir--Book the Devil by Notebook; DEVIL RISING, g, 3, GP, Mcl 35000, 5-28, 5fT, :56 1/5. B-Bridle Oaks Farm, Inc. (FL.). $32,000 '13 OBSAUG; $32,000 2014 OBSJUN.
    Yankee Gentleman--Le Cordon Bleu by Royal Academy; BLUE RIBBON GENT, g, 3, EVD, Mcl 7500, 5-27, 6f, 1:13 3/5. B-Allen C. Peltier (LA.). $32,000 '13 LTBSEP.
    Bluegrass Cat--Fast and Early by Carson City; BLUE GRASS MARY, f, 4, EVD, Msw, 5-27, 1m, 1:40 4/5. B-Neal & Mary McFadden (LA.). $36,500 '12 ESLSEP. *1/2 to Speed Hunter (SP $392,334) *1/2 to Sharp Impact (G3 $206,568).
    Burning Roma--Oak Islander by Bold Ruckus; BOLD TEMPEST, g, 4, ALB, Msw, 5-27, 1m, 1:39 4/5. B-Tim Ahearn (FL.).
    City Zip--Ritual Dance by Runaway Groom; TIPASA, f, 4, CT, Mcl 10000, 5-27, 6 1/2f, 1:21 2/5. B-Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin III (VA.).
    Flatter--Fergie's Folly by Down the Aisle; RACHEL'S TEMPER, f, 4, BEL, Mcl 50000, 5-28, 6 1/2f, 1:18 4/5. B-Charles H. Deters (KY.).
    Harris Tweed--Erika Is a Hotty by Aloha Prospector; NO MUZZLE, g, 4, WO, Msw, 5-27, 6f, 1:11 . B-Bruno Schickedanz (ON.).
    Ile St. Louis (CHI)--Tuff It by Tricky Creek; MY BELLO VITA, f, 4, LAD, Mcl 5000, 5-27, 6 1/2f, 1:19 4/5. B-Donny & Teressa Bates (AR.).
    Tale of the Cat--Platinum Ballet (MG1P$355,291), by Skip Away; BRACIGLIANO, c, 4, CD, Mcl 10000, 5-28, 1m, 1:38 2/5. B-White Fox Farm (KY.).

    Spot Plays/Highlights/Weather

    SPOT PLAYS

    For Friday

    TRACK   (RACE) HORSE, MORNING LINE
    Arlington Park   (3rd) Kingston Terrace, 3-1
        (6th) Cindy's Uproar, 8-1
    Belmont Park   (7th) Compliance Officer, 5-1
        (9th) David Rocks, 5-1
    Belterra Park   (3rd) Isadella, 4-1
        (4th) Sir Sunnyboy, 3-1
    Canterbury Park   (5th) G Road, 5-1
        (9th) Macho Storm, 3-1
    Charles Town   (1st) Up the Power, 9-2
        (6th) Marchwood, 7-2
    Churchill Downs   (4th) Star of Sky, 7-2
        (5th) Tulira Castle, 7-2
    Emerald Downs   (3rd) Percy's Bluff, 3-1
        (5th) Sanibel Harbor, 3-1
    Evangeline Downs   (6th) Ravin Rebel, 8-1
        (9th) Beaus Brahms, 5-1
    Golden Gate Fields   (3rd) Tell Her Yes, 6-1
        (5th) Justamitch, 10-1
    Gulfstream Park   (6th) Dragon Master, 3-1
        (7th) E B Ryder, 3-1
    Indiana Grand   (7th) My Name is Hebe, 9-2
        (8th) My Nana Anna, 9-2
    Lone Star Park   (3rd) Eddie Junior, 3-1
        (9th) Overland Park, 4-1
    Louisiana Downs   (3rd) Midge's Magic, 3-1
        (5th) Mystic Madeline, 7-2
    Penn National   (8th) Carolyn Shines, 3-1
        (9th) Highland Dragon, 3-1
    Pimlico   (4th) Pluracity, 4-1
        (7th) Prayer on a Wing, 5-1
    Prairie Meadows   (3rd) Full Potential, 3-1
        (7th) Ready Jett, 5-1
    Santa Anita   (6th) Del Mar Dixie, 4-1
        (7th) Prevaricator, 3-1
    Thistledown   (2nd) Victory in Motion, 4-1
        (6th) Pyrite Mill, 7-2
    Woodbine   (3rd) Jade Dragon, 6-1
        (9th) Bear's Romeo, 10-1

    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.

    Announcements

    Help Wanted

    A horse racing website is currently hiring for part-time positions as a Customer Service Representative in Lexington, Kentucky. Must be available nights and weekends. Some weekdays may also be available. Computer literacy required, horse racing knowledge and customer service experience a plus. To schedule an interview, email or send your résumé to the following: Nancy.Kanaval@brisnet.com, P.O. Box 4097, Lexington, KY 40544.

    Features

    HANDICAPPING INSIGHTS

    MAY 29, 2015

    by Dick Powell

    I have some theories about the Belmont S. (G1) and the pursuit of the Triple Crown that are out there where the buses don't run.

    We focus on the three races in five weeks angle as the main reason why today's horses cannot get the job done.

    What it ignores is the 25-year gap between CITATION (Bull Lea) in 1948 to SECRETARIAT (Bold Ruler) in 1973 during a period where horses raced much more than they did today. Three races in five weeks didn't seem to be the factor then that it is made out to be today.

    In the 1970s, there were three Triple Crown winners and looking back, that stretch is as unexplainable as to the dearth of winners before or since. The drought was over and after SPECTACULAR BID (Bold Bidder) just missed in 1979, it seemed that there would not be any more big gaps between Triple Crown winners.

    How wrong we were as AFFIRMED (Exclusive Native) in 1978 is the last Triple Crown winner. So what else could it be?

    Let's bring out "Ole Reliable" and blame it on Lasix. Ignoring the 25-year gap from 1948 to 1973, it has to be Lasix and raceday medication that keeps a horse from winning all three races in a short period of time.

    This conveniently ignores how the British Triple Crown, where Lasix and raceday medications are banned, has not been won since 1970 when NIJINSKY II (Northern Dancer) did it. And, Lasix was not available on raceday in New York, the site of the Belmont Stakes, until 1995, so why wasn't it hit between 1978 and 1995?

    I can go through various horses that recently failed to win the Belmont after winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown and come up with various reasons and factors that affected the outcome.

    One factor that I believe was true happened in 2003 and 2004. We think that if there were more time between races, the winning horses would have more time to recover and run better. But what if the Belmont were run two weeks after the Preakness S. (G1) instead of three?

    In 2003, FUNNY CIDE (Distorted Humor) won the Derby and then blew away the field in the Preakness. He came out of the Preakness in great shape and on the weekend before the Belmont, he breezed five furlongs in :59 and change while being hard restrained. It looked like he could not be coming into the Belmont any better but on the day of the race, a week later, he was not the same horse.

    What if the horse that had all that energy two weeks after the Preakness was able to race in the Belmont that day and not a week later? In Funny Cide's case, he still might not have been able to beat EMPIRE MAKER (Unbridled) that day but all that energy he wasted in that final workout would have been put to much better use.

    In 2004, I was convinced that we had the next Triple Crown winner and his name was SMARTY JONES (Elusive Quality). The undefeated winner of the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness, he looked like he had the field at this mercy. In the weeks leading up to the Belmont, his gallops were brilliant and there was no way he could get beat. But, could he?

    The weekend before the Belmont, he worked sensational with a 170-pound exercise rider aboard. But on the big day, the other riders ganged up on Stew Elliott but even then, he looked like a winner on the far turn. A record crowd of 120,319 roared thinking they were going to see racing history but in the deep stretch, Smarty Jones began to run out of gas and BIRDSTONE (Grindstone) went by him. His fatigue was mostly due to the energy that his rider expended early but even so, he was right there with a hundred yards to go. Was it the three races in five weeks or would he have won had the race been held a week before?

    We will never know but I could not help but think at the time that had the Belmont been held the week before, both horses' chances of winning would have been greater. They come out of the Preakness dead fit and the extra week worked against them.

    Can I prove it? No. That is why it is called a theory.

    Which brings us to AMERICAN PHAROAH's (Pioneerof the Nile) workout at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning. The workout was officially a half-mile in :48 flat but he never really let up when he hit the wire and covered six furlongs in 1:13 1/5. Considering that he was at least four paths off the rail on both turns and did not have company, he probably shaded 1:12.

    Visually, any concerns about how he came out of the Preakness were dispelled as his stride looked better than ever. My initial reaction was start engraving the Belmont Stakes trophy.

    However, before I anoint him racing's 12th Triple Crown winner, let's see how he does in the days leading up to the Belmont on June 6. This is not Bob Baffert's first rodeo and Victor Espinoza is battle tested, so I am sure they will press all the right buttons. I would rather Baffert do what he did on Tuesday than train him lightly while worrying about his energy level. A solid workout like that should take the edge off him and have him ready on the big day.

    INTERNATIONAL FEATURE

    MAY 29, 2015

    Royal Ascot awaits "Magic" show

    by Andrew Hawkins for TDN

    Racing is full of Hollywood-esque stories -- the inconceivable, the implausible, the unrealistic.

    On a global scale, the story of Joao Moreira is right up there with the most astonishing: the jockey they call the "Magic Man," the Brazilian-born wizard who has taken Asia by storm, now looks set to make a true splash on the world stage.

    An unrivaled rags-to-riches tale, Moreira has risen from the slums of Brazil, from a destiny of poverty and crime, to the very top of his game, to become arguably Brazil's most successful non-soccer sportsman since the champion Formula One driver, the late Ayrton Senna.

    And yet, while Moreira made a big splash in Brazil, broke every record in a remarkable stint in Singapore and is now setting Hong Kong alight, he still doesn't receive the plaudits he deserves globally.

    For those who have seen the Magic Man at work, his name is one of a number bandied about as the world's best jockey, deserving of a spot alongside Moore and Soumillon, a rider with that potent combination of balance, poise and tactical awareness that only champions possess.

    His star is slowly rising in Australia, having ridden three Group 1 winners down under, and dual success in Dubai in 2014 brought him further acclaim. He's ridden in England's Shergar Cup and partnered a number of graded stakes placegetters in two short stints in the United States. He estimates he's ridden in about 20 countries.

    But for all that, Moreira remains still somewhat of a mystery to most in traditional racing heartland s-- so much so that a Google search turns up the wrong age for the rider, putting him 12 months younger than his 31 years. The relative obscurity is set to change in the next month as his association with the world's highest ranked turf galloper Able Friend (Shamardal) thrusts him into the spotlight at arguably the biggest turf meeting on the planet, Royal Ascot.

    It is the continuation of a whirlwind journey for the Brazilian, who was once turned down for an apprenticeship and came within a nose of losing his license in the early days of his career. Anyone who meets Moreira for little more than a fleeting moment has the same story to report: the nicest man in racing, humble, gentle, kind -- the antithesis of his warrior persona on-track. It's a modesty brought about by his humble upbringing.

    "I don't think anyone would believe where I come from," Moreira said recently. "I grew up in a small village near Curitiba, and we had very little. It was tough, and we did what we had to do to get by, but I always loved horses."

    At the age of 14, he quit his job, working in a factory, to pursue a career with horses. He worked as a stablehand for no pay and was knocked back from joining the jockey ranks in his home town before being offered the chance to join a jockey academy in Sao Paulo.

    "In my early days of riding in Sao Paulo, while I was still in the academy, I was considered the worst jockey there," he explained. "No one would give me a ride and I had some bad luck. My first two winners were both disqualified. I was told I was not born to ride and that I should be getting another job. I only just kept my license. I was almost on my way back to Curitiba and then my luck turned."

    Moreira was a full-fledged jockey by 2003, and by the time of his departure in 2009, he had racked up over 1000 winners, mainly at Sao Paulo's Cidade Jardim racetrack. He was a two-time Trofeu Mossoro (Brazilian Eclipse Award) winner and it was his early association with champion South American three-year-old Eu Tambem, the winner of the 2006 Gran Premio Nacional (Arg-G1) -- the Argentine Derby -- and later bought by Godolphin, that catapulted Moreira to stardom. And yet, already, the young rider was looking outside Brazil.

    "I knew the world was a big place and I knew I wanted to ride elsewhere," Moreira says. "I had ridden in France, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay, but I had big dreams."

    In March 2009, he left Brazil for Singapore. By year's end, he was seen as a rising star in the Lion City, having finished third in the jockey rankings despite missing almost half the season. It was here that the Moreira myth was borne, where he was nicknamed "Magic" by former commentator Michael Maxworthy, a nickname that quickly developed into the "Magic Man."

    In 2010, he set a new Singaporean record with 116 wins, capturing his first premiership in the process. A year later, he set a new benchmark with 153 wins. And then, in 2012, he blew those two marks out of the water with a whopping 206 victories in a season. He claimed a fourth title in 2013 with 179 wins, despite leaving for his new contract in Hong Kong with just over two months left to go in the season. But as a parting gift to Singapore, he managed to win eight races from eight rides at Kranji in September 2013, a feat just as remarkable as Dettori's Magnificent Seven.

    They may not be too distant, geographically or culturally, but in racing circles, Singapore and Hong Kong are worlds apart. Hong Kong is the ultimate test for a rider. Not only is there a higher concentration of top jockeys at their peak, but the intensity of the racing community is unmatched anywhere else worldwide. There may be only two meetings a week -- and only 83 across the whole season -- but the level of scrutiny is extreme, especially for a jockey.

    The political climate is not unlike a scene out of House of Cards as jockeys fight for rides, with every move watched by the local media and the punters who splurge, on average, US$17 million on every single race. It's a dog-eat-dog environment that has claimed some notable scalps over the years.

    And yet the Brazilian has thrived.

    With last season's champion jockey, Australian Zac Purton, Moreira has brought about the end of an era -- the end of the dominance of South African master Douglas Whyte, who had won 13 straight championships before he was dethroned by Purton last season. And yet, Moreira believes he's only starting to find his best form now, despite riding winners at a seemingly unsustainable strike rate of 23 percent.

    "I struggled to get it right in Hong Kong at first," Moreira admitted. "I was used to riding on left-handed tracks, so when I switched to go right-handed at Sha Tin and Happy Valley, my horses were shifting in and causing interference. I missed 18 meetings (out of 83) because of suspension last season, and I also started late, so I was really happy to finish second to Zac."

    He continued, "This season I've really tried to stay out of trouble and to just focus on riding winners, and now I think I've got it right. And it's still getting better, although it will be hard to beat this season."

    And what a season it has been. Moreira has not only got the Hong Kong jockeys' championship wrapped up with 13 meetings to go in the term, he's already surpassed Whyte's previous record of 113 wins in a season. There is talk that the 150 mark could be under threat, an achievement previously thought impossible in the pressure cooker environment of Hong Kong racing.

    Moreira's biggest moment will come in the Queen Anne S. (Eng-G1) June 16, when he partners the John Moore-trained Able Friend in the opening event at the Royal meeting. It will be the 1300-pound chestnut's biggest test against horses of the ilk of Dubai Turf (UAE-G1) winner Solow (Singspiel), last season's Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-G1) victor Night Of Thunder (Dubawi) and potentially Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) hero Karakontie (Bernstein), but Moreira seems unperturbed by the likely opposition -- in fact, he is relishing the chance to test Able Friend against the world's best milers.

    "He's the best horse I've ridden, he's just outstanding," he opines. "He's the easiest ride, he is just so uncomplicated. He goes to sleep, and then you ask him to quicken and the response is instant. Is he the best horse in the world? I think so, he's just a dream horse to ride -- every jockey wants a horse like him. Hopefully he can take his best to England and the world can see how good he is."

    Perhaps the same can be said for his unassuming rider, with the world finally set to witness how lethal Joao Moreira can be.

    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.

    Announcements

    Help Wanted

    A horse racing website is currently hiring for part-time positions as a Customer Service Representative in Lexington, Kentucky. Must be available nights and weekends. Some weekdays may also be available. Computer literacy required, horse racing knowledge and customer service experience a plus. To schedule an interview, email or send your résumé to the following: Nancy.Kanaval@brisnet.com, P.O. Box 4097, Lexington, KY 40544.