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FRIDAY, MAY 22, 2015

Triple Crown News & Notes

American Pharoah gallops, Conquest Curlinate breezes, at Churchill

American Pharoah is eyeing an historic sweep of the Triple Crown (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)
Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness S. (G1) hero American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) had his first gallop on Friday at Churchill Downs since his seven-length romp in last Saturday's second jewel of the Triple Crown.

The Zayat Stables homebred is readying for the final leg of the Triple Crown, the $1.5 million Belmont S. (G1) on June 6, and galloped 1 3/16 miles over the Churchill main track at 8:30 a.m. (EDT), following the renovation break, with exercise rider Jorge Alvarez up.

"It went nice, didn't seem like he was tired or anything," Alvarez said. "He came back pretty much the same (after Derby). So far, no difference."

Alvarez says one of the biggest qualities that American Pharoah has is his ability to cover a lot of ground.

"His stride is very different from a lot of horses -- that's an advantage," he stated.

Alvarez, who has worked horses for trainer Bob Baffert for seven years, also was the exercise rider for Pioneerof the Nile, American Pharoah's sire.

"They are both good horses," he said of the Zayat-owned father and son, "but since Day One this horse (American Pharoah) has covered so much ground."

Alvarez wouldn't be disappointed if the track on Belmont Day was similar to Pimlico on Preakness Day because of how well the horse has handled an off surface. A deluge of rain turned the fast track into a sloppy mess just as the call came for riders to mount for the Preakness. Aside from that contest, American Pharoah triumphed in the slop at Oaklawn Park when he won the March 14 Rebel S. (G2).

"Once it started raining I got excited a little bit because I know he likes the mud," Alvarez admitted. "I thought he was ready to run a good race anyway, but the rain adds a lot, too. I hope it rains in New York."

Baffert's assistant, Jimmy Barnes, also was pleased with the horse's Friday gallop over the Churchill main track.

American Pharoah is progressing in his preparations for the Belmont Stakes (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)
"It went very nice," Barnes said. "He just had a 1 3/16-mile gallop today, but it went very nice. He's perfect -- just the way he always is -- so we'll gallop a little bit further maybe tomorrow (Saturday) and then by Sunday we'll be back to his normal gallop at a mile-and-a-half.

"The best horses cover the track well -- they have a large stride and they're big movers, which he is. Usually the good ones are like that."

American Pharoah's pursuit for racing immortality will mark the 14th time -- and third in the last four years -- since Affirmed swept all three races in 1978 that a horse has had a chance to join the 11 Triple Crown champions.

According to reports, his challengers in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont could include (with known jockeys) Carpe Diem (Giant's Causeway), Conquest Curlinate (Curlin) (Shaun Bridgmohan), Frammento (Midshipman) (Mike Smith), Frosted (Tapit) (Joel Rosario), Keen Ice (Kent Desormeaux) (Curlin), Madefromlucky (Lookin at Lucky), Materiality (Afleet Alex), Mubtaahij (Irad Ortiz) (Dubawi), Tale of Verve (Tale of Ekati) (Gary Stevens) and War Story (Northern Afleet) (Colby Hernandez).

One of those rivals, Conquest Stables LLC's Conquest Curlinate, breezed five furlongs over Churchill's fast main track in :59 4/5 Friday morning in preparation for the Belmont Stakes.

Norman Casse, assistant to his father and trainer Mark Casse, was pleased with the move and says the Ontario-bred should handle the 1 1/2-mile distance.

Madefromlucky (yellow hat) and Conquest Curlinate (teal hat) will face off yet again in the Belmont Stakes (NYRA/Joe Labozzetta/Adam Coglianese Photography)
"The way he runs he doesn't show a whole lot of early speed," Norman Casse said. "He's always been a much more effective route horse obviously, so we think the distance is just perfect for him. Plus, he has a race over the track which we think is going to be pretty important. He obviously liked it."

Conquest Curlinate was a late-closing second in the Peter Pan S. (G2) at Belmont Park last out on May 9 behind Madefromlucky. Prior to that, the gray colt just missed by a nose while making his stakes bow in the Illinois Derby (G3).

In other Belmont Stakes news:

Jerry Crawford's multiple Grade 2-placed Keen Ice clocked three-quarters in 1:15 on Thursday. Trainer Dale Romans' partner Tammy Fox spoke highly of how the bay colt is preparing for the third and final jewel of the Triple Crown.

"As of yesterday, he's coming into the race really, really good," Fox said. "The work I thought was super. He galloped out really well."

Fox said that Keen Ice will likely work twice before shipping to Belmont Park on Tuesday, June 2. She went on to say that she is hopeful of how he'll will handle the deep and sandy track at Belmont.

"I hope he will," Fox commented. "It takes a special horse to come in there and run over that racetrack but he's a big horse and a big grinder. I think he'll handle it just fine."

Churchill Downs has a new special box seat package for the Belmont Stakes simulcast. For $24, fans can get an undercover box seat, official program, a domestic beer or souvenir soda and a custom, limited-edition Kentucky Derby 141 T-Shirt featuring a victorious American Pharaoh.

Fans may purchase the package by visiting the online box office.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

American Pharoah gallops, Conquest Curlinate breezes, at Churchill

American Pharoah is eyeing an historic sweep of the Triple Crown (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)
Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness S. (G1) hero American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) had his first gallop on Friday at Churchill Downs since his seven-length romp in last Saturday's second jewel of the Triple Crown.

The Zayat Stables homebred is readying for the final leg of the Triple Crown, the $1.5 million Belmont S. (G1) on June 6, and galloped 1 3/16 miles over the Churchill main track at 8:30 a.m. (EDT), following the renovation break, with exercise rider Jorge Alvarez up.

"It went nice, didn't seem like he was tired or anything," Alvarez said. "He came back pretty much the same (after Derby). So far, no difference."

Alvarez says one of the biggest qualities that American Pharoah has is his ability to cover a lot of ground.

"His stride is very different from a lot of horses -- that's an advantage," he stated.

Alvarez, who has worked horses for trainer Bob Baffert for seven years, also was the exercise rider for Pioneerof the Nile, American Pharoah's sire.

"They are both good horses," he said of the Zayat-owned father and son, "but since Day One this horse (American Pharoah) has covered so much ground."

Alvarez wouldn't be disappointed if the track on Belmont Day was similar to Pimlico on Preakness Day because of how well the horse has handled an off surface. A deluge of rain turned the fast track into a sloppy mess just as the call came for riders to mount for the Preakness. Aside from that contest, American Pharoah triumphed in the slop at Oaklawn Park when he won the March 14 Rebel S. (G2).

"Once it started raining I got excited a little bit because I know he likes the mud," Alvarez admitted. "I thought he was ready to run a good race anyway, but the rain adds a lot, too. I hope it rains in New York."

Baffert's assistant, Jimmy Barnes, also was pleased with the horse's Friday gallop over the Churchill main track.

American Pharoah is progressing in his preparations for the Belmont Stakes (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)
"It went very nice," Barnes said. "He just had a 1 3/16-mile gallop today, but it went very nice. He's perfect -- just the way he always is -- so we'll gallop a little bit further maybe tomorrow (Saturday) and then by Sunday we'll be back to his normal gallop at a mile-and-a-half.

"The best horses cover the track well -- they have a large stride and they're big movers, which he is. Usually the good ones are like that."

American Pharoah's pursuit for racing immortality will mark the 14th time -- and third in the last four years -- since Affirmed swept all three races in 1978 that a horse has had a chance to join the 11 Triple Crown champions.

According to reports, his challengers in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont could include (with known jockeys) Carpe Diem (Giant's Causeway), Conquest Curlinate (Curlin) (Shaun Bridgmohan), Frammento (Midshipman) (Mike Smith), Frosted (Tapit) (Joel Rosario), Keen Ice (Kent Desormeaux) (Curlin), Madefromlucky (Lookin at Lucky), Materiality (Afleet Alex), Mubtaahij (Irad Ortiz) (Dubawi), Tale of Verve (Tale of Ekati) (Gary Stevens) and War Story (Northern Afleet) (Colby Hernandez).

One of those rivals, Conquest Stables LLC's Conquest Curlinate, breezed five furlongs over Churchill's fast main track in :59 4/5 Friday morning in preparation for the Belmont Stakes.

Norman Casse, assistant to his father and trainer Mark Casse, was pleased with the move and says the Ontario-bred should handle the 1 1/2-mile distance.

Madefromlucky (yellow hat) and Conquest Curlinate (teal hat) will face off yet again in the Belmont Stakes (NYRA/Joe Labozzetta/Adam Coglianese Photography)
"The way he runs he doesn't show a whole lot of early speed," Norman Casse said. "He's always been a much more effective route horse obviously, so we think the distance is just perfect for him. Plus, he has a race over the track which we think is going to be pretty important. He obviously liked it."

Conquest Curlinate was a late-closing second in the Peter Pan S. (G2) at Belmont Park last out on May 9 behind Madefromlucky. Prior to that, the gray colt just missed by a nose while making his stakes bow in the Illinois Derby (G3).

In other Belmont Stakes news:

Jerry Crawford's multiple Grade 2-placed Keen Ice clocked three-quarters in 1:15 on Thursday. Trainer Dale Romans' partner Tammy Fox spoke highly of how the bay colt is preparing for the third and final jewel of the Triple Crown.

"As of yesterday, he's coming into the race really, really good," Fox said. "The work I thought was super. He galloped out really well."

Fox said that Keen Ice will likely work twice before shipping to Belmont Park on Tuesday, June 2. She went on to say that she is hopeful of how he'll will handle the deep and sandy track at Belmont.

"I hope he will," Fox commented. "It takes a special horse to come in there and run over that racetrack but he's a big horse and a big grinder. I think he'll handle it just fine."

Churchill Downs has a new special box seat package for the Belmont Stakes simulcast. For $24, fans can get an undercover box seat, official program, a domestic beer or souvenir soda and a custom, limited-edition Kentucky Derby 141 T-Shirt featuring a victorious American Pharaoh.

Fans may purchase the package by visiting the online box office.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Pletcher's Belmont Stakes trio work at Big Sandy

Madefromlucky (outside) and Carpe Diem worked in company for the Belmont Stakes... (NYRA/Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography)
Trainer Todd Pletcher sent out a veritable "Who's Who" of contenders for their penultimate workouts this morning at Belmont Park for the upcoming Belmont Stakes Racing Festival on June 4-6.

Grade 1 hero Carpe Diem (Giant's Causeway) returned to the worktab for the first time since his 10th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Under Hall of Famer John Velazquez, the chestnut colt worked early on the fast main track in company with Peter Pan S. (G2) victor Madefromlucky. With both colts pointed to the $1.5 million Belmont S. (G1) on June 6, the pair picked up the bullet of the day, finishing together to cover five furlongs in :59.

"The (main) track was probably playing a little bit on the quick side, but I thought it was a pretty good work for both of them," Pletcher remarked. "It was a fast work but in hand with a strong gallop out.

"(Carpe Diem has) been galloping well," he added. "He's kind of an enthusiastic horse on a daily basis, so we decided on two breezes between the Derby and the Belmont and I thought we got a good, solid work this morning.

"That was the best that I've seen (Madefromlucky) breeze since we've had him. It was a very good work for him. It appears that he likes the track here, which is what we were hoping for and it seems like the Peter Pan was good going forward."

Florida Derby (G1) winner Materiality (Afleet Alex) and Louisiana Derby (G1) runner-up Stanford (Malibu Moon) hit the main track shortly after the renovation break. In a visually impressive move, the two worked five furlongs together in 1:00, the fourth-fastest time of 20 works at the distance.

"I thought both horses worked extremely well," Pletcher stated. "It was a little bit slower in the first part than the Carpe Diem/Madefromlucky team, but they finished up with similar times and a strong gallop out as well.

...while Stanford and fellow Belmont hopeful Materiality (outside) traveled in tandem around Big Sandy (NYRA/Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography)
"Before we went out, I told them we were looking for something between a minute and 1:01 with a strong gallop-out, so the fractions seemed like they were going to land them in that time frame. I just relayed the times to them and they picked it up on their own through the lane."

With Velazquez aboard the Belmont Stakes-bound Materiality, Pletcher reported that the riding assignments for his trio had yet to be decided.

Meanwhile, undefeated Competitive Edge (Super Saver), possible for the $1.25 million Metropolitan H. (G1) as well as the $500,000 Woody Stephens S. (G2), breezed over Belmont's fast dirt training track Friday morning. Working in company with impressive allowance winner Curalina (Curlin), the duo covered a half-mile in :48 2/5.

Also breezing a half-mile on the Belmont training track for the Pletcher barn were recent Humana Distaff S. (G1) heroine Dame Dorothy (Bernardini), who went in :48 4/5 ahead of the $1 million Ogden Phipps S. (G1); Harlan's Holiday S. winner Liam's Map (Unbridled's Song), who was clocked in :48 3/5; and dual Grade 2 scorer Blofeld (Quality Road), who was caught in :48 3/5 while readying for the Woody Stephens.

Alysheba S. (G2) victor Protonico (Giant's Causeway), aiming for the $500,000 Stephen Foster H. (G1) on June 13 at Churchill Downs, turned four furlongs in :48 3/5.

Palace Malice (Curlin), the 2013 Belmont Stakes winner who finished third in the May 10 Diablo S. while making his five-year-old debut, is expected to work early next week in preparation for his bid to win back-to-back editions of the Met Mile. The rest of Pletcher's Belmont Stakes Day runners are scheduled to work again Friday.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Pletcher's Belmont Stakes trio work at Big Sandy

Madefromlucky (outside) and Carpe Diem worked in company for the Belmont Stakes... (NYRA/Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography)
Trainer Todd Pletcher sent out a veritable "Who's Who" of contenders for their penultimate workouts this morning at Belmont Park for the upcoming Belmont Stakes Racing Festival on June 4-6.

Grade 1 hero Carpe Diem (Giant's Causeway) returned to the worktab for the first time since his 10th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Under Hall of Famer John Velazquez, the chestnut colt worked early on the fast main track in company with Peter Pan S. (G2) victor Madefromlucky. With both colts pointed to the $1.5 million Belmont S. (G1) on June 6, the pair picked up the bullet of the day, finishing together to cover five furlongs in :59.

"The (main) track was probably playing a little bit on the quick side, but I thought it was a pretty good work for both of them," Pletcher remarked. "It was a fast work but in hand with a strong gallop out.

"(Carpe Diem has) been galloping well," he added. "He's kind of an enthusiastic horse on a daily basis, so we decided on two breezes between the Derby and the Belmont and I thought we got a good, solid work this morning.

"That was the best that I've seen (Madefromlucky) breeze since we've had him. It was a very good work for him. It appears that he likes the track here, which is what we were hoping for and it seems like the Peter Pan was good going forward."

Florida Derby (G1) winner Materiality (Afleet Alex) and Louisiana Derby (G1) runner-up Stanford (Malibu Moon) hit the main track shortly after the renovation break. In a visually impressive move, the two worked five furlongs together in 1:00, the fourth-fastest time of 20 works at the distance.

"I thought both horses worked extremely well," Pletcher stated. "It was a little bit slower in the first part than the Carpe Diem/Madefromlucky team, but they finished up with similar times and a strong gallop out as well.

...while Stanford and fellow Belmont hopeful Materiality (outside) traveled in tandem around Big Sandy (NYRA/Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography)
"Before we went out, I told them we were looking for something between a minute and 1:01 with a strong gallop-out, so the fractions seemed like they were going to land them in that time frame. I just relayed the times to them and they picked it up on their own through the lane."

With Velazquez aboard the Belmont Stakes-bound Materiality, Pletcher reported that the riding assignments for his trio had yet to be decided.

Meanwhile, undefeated Competitive Edge (Super Saver), possible for the $1.25 million Metropolitan H. (G1) as well as the $500,000 Woody Stephens S. (G2), breezed over Belmont's fast dirt training track Friday morning. Working in company with impressive allowance winner Curalina (Curlin), the duo covered a half-mile in :48 2/5.

Also breezing a half-mile on the Belmont training track for the Pletcher barn were recent Humana Distaff S. (G1) heroine Dame Dorothy (Bernardini), who went in :48 4/5 ahead of the $1 million Ogden Phipps S. (G1); Harlan's Holiday S. winner Liam's Map (Unbridled's Song), who was clocked in :48 3/5; and dual Grade 2 scorer Blofeld (Quality Road), who was caught in :48 3/5 while readying for the Woody Stephens.

Alysheba S. (G2) victor Protonico (Giant's Causeway), aiming for the $500,000 Stephen Foster H. (G1) on June 13 at Churchill Downs, turned four furlongs in :48 3/5.

Palace Malice (Curlin), the 2013 Belmont Stakes winner who finished third in the May 10 Diablo S. while making his five-year-old debut, is expected to work early next week in preparation for his bid to win back-to-back editions of the Met Mile. The rest of Pletcher's Belmont Stakes Day runners are scheduled to work again Friday.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Frosted tours track with Tamarkuz ahead of likely Belmont Stakes bid

Tamarkuz and Frosted (inside) cruised over Belmont Park's main track on Friday (NYRA/Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography)
Twinspires.com Wood Memorial S. (G1) winner Frosted (Tapit) took to the fast Belmont main track Friday morning, breezing five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 one day after he was declared a likely starter for the $1.5 million Belmont S. (G1) by trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Working in company with Tamarkuz (Speightstown), winner of the March 28 Godolphin Mile (UAE-G2) in Dubai, Frosted and his older workmate hit the wire together and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13 2/5.

"(Frosted) worked with a really nice horse, and we didn't want him to go too fast or too slow, so it was a perfect work," McLaughlin said. "They both galloped out well and came back in good shape, and we'll do it again next week for June 6."

Frosted enters the Belmont off a strong fourth-place showing in the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 2, when he went wide on both turns and closed ground late to finish 4 1/2 lengths behind American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile). The gray colt will attempt to follow in the footsteps of another McLaughlin trainee, Jazil, who went on to win the 2006 edition of the Belmont after finishing fourth in the Derby.

Frosted will attempt to regain his winning ways in the Belmont Stakes (NYRA/Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography)
Tamarkuz is probable for the $1.25 million Metropolitan H. (G1) on Belmont Stakes Day. The five-year-old chestnut horse enters the Met Mile on a four-race win streak, with his last three victories coming in group contests in Dubai.

"Tamarkuz is a nice horse," McLaughlin stated. "We're picking out a tough spot to get him started, but he's a very good horse. He's been with us about a month now and has done everything right. He's worked three times here and has been training very well.

"It's a tough race, but he won the Godolphin Mile in his last start, so it's not like we need to back him into an allowance race."

If Tamarkuz is to win his fifth straight race and North American debut, he'll have to beat a world-class field and adapt to a race shape that may not be ideal for him, according to McLaughlin.

"He runs close to the pace, and that spot might be occupied (in the Met Mile) by (multiple Grade 1 hero) Private Zone (Macho Uno)," the trainer said. "We'll see what post we draw, but he's a really nice horse."

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Frosted tours track with Tamarkuz ahead of likely Belmont Stakes bid

Tamarkuz and Frosted (inside) cruised over Belmont Park's main track on Friday (NYRA/Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography)
Twinspires.com Wood Memorial S. (G1) winner Frosted (Tapit) took to the fast Belmont main track Friday morning, breezing five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 one day after he was declared a likely starter for the $1.5 million Belmont S. (G1) by trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Working in company with Tamarkuz (Speightstown), winner of the March 28 Godolphin Mile (UAE-G2) in Dubai, Frosted and his older workmate hit the wire together and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13 2/5.

"(Frosted) worked with a really nice horse, and we didn't want him to go too fast or too slow, so it was a perfect work," McLaughlin said. "They both galloped out well and came back in good shape, and we'll do it again next week for June 6."

Frosted enters the Belmont off a strong fourth-place showing in the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 2, when he went wide on both turns and closed ground late to finish 4 1/2 lengths behind American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile). The gray colt will attempt to follow in the footsteps of another McLaughlin trainee, Jazil, who went on to win the 2006 edition of the Belmont after finishing fourth in the Derby.

Frosted will attempt to regain his winning ways in the Belmont Stakes (NYRA/Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography)
Tamarkuz is probable for the $1.25 million Metropolitan H. (G1) on Belmont Stakes Day. The five-year-old chestnut horse enters the Met Mile on a four-race win streak, with his last three victories coming in group contests in Dubai.

"Tamarkuz is a nice horse," McLaughlin stated. "We're picking out a tough spot to get him started, but he's a very good horse. He's been with us about a month now and has done everything right. He's worked three times here and has been training very well.

"It's a tough race, but he won the Godolphin Mile in his last start, so it's not like we need to back him into an allowance race."

If Tamarkuz is to win his fifth straight race and North American debut, he'll have to beat a world-class field and adapt to a race shape that may not be ideal for him, according to McLaughlin.

"He runs close to the pace, and that spot might be occupied (in the Met Mile) by (multiple Grade 1 hero) Private Zone (Macho Uno)," the trainer said. "We'll see what post we draw, but he's a really nice horse."

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Racing Headlines

Fanticola the one to catch in Gamely

Little separated Gamely contenders Queen of the Sand (outside) and Fanticola (inside) in the Santa Barbara (Benoit Photos)

Queen of the Sand (Footstepsinthesand) nipped long-time leader Fanticola (Silent Name) by a nose in last month's Santa Barbara H. (G3) over 1 1/4 miles, but might have a more difficult time doing it again over a furlong shorter in Monday's $300,000 Gamely (G1) at Santa Anita.

The Santa Barbara was the first graded stakes win for Queen of the Sand, who notably finished second in the Matriarch (G1) at Del Mar in November. Out of action until mid-March, she looked a bit short when finishing eighth of nine in the Santa Ana (G2) in her season debut.

Fanticola just missed giving her connections an emotional victory in the Santa Barbara, which occurred the same week as the death of her former trainer, Mike Mitchell. The stakes-winning five-year-old has won or placed in her last five outings, and on paper looks poised to try and lead wire-to-wire.

Hard Not to Like (Hard Spun) invades from New York for trainer Christophe Clement. Upset winner of the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland in April 2014, she was most recently third in her title defense of that race April 11. She began the year at Tampa Bay Downs on the last day of January, when she was demoted from first to second in the Endeavour (G3).

Also racing for the first time on this circuit are Danza Cavallo (Sunday Break), runner-up in the Long Island H. (G3) and first in a Keeneland allowance last month in two U.S. outings for Chad Brown, and Generosidade (Nedawi), a Group 1 winner in Brazil, who placed in one of three outings in France last year.

Also expected to garner support are Blingismything (Arch) and Smoove It (Square Eddie), who were separated by a nose at the finish of the one-mile Wilshire (G3) on April 26, and Three Hearts (Hat Trick), the Red Carpet H. (G3) heroine who subsequently placed in the Robert J. Frankel (G3), Santa Ana, and Santa Barbara.

Moulin de Mougin (Curlin), who captured the John C. Mabee (G2) at Del Mar last summer, fell when near the back of the field in the Rodeo Drive (G1) in September, and then was no factor against males in the $82,000 Thunder Road over a mile April 4. Also lining up is Elektrum (High Chaparral), who prevailed by a half-length against second-level allowance company April 5 after narrow defeats against similar in her first two U.S. appearances.

The supporting feature on the Memorial Day program is the $100,000 Los Angeles, a six-furlong dash for older horses. Leading contenders include San Carlos (G2) winner Wild Dude (Wildcat Heir), Kona Gold (G2) runner-up San Onofre (Surf Cat), Midnight Lute (G3) and Joe Hernandez victor Distinctiv Passion (With Distinction), and the Bob Baffert-trained Five Palms (Unbridled's Song), who has won three of four starts.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Fanticola the one to catch in Gamely

Little separated Gamely contenders Queen of the Sand (outside) and Fanticola (inside) in the Santa Barbara (Benoit Photos)

Queen of the Sand (Footstepsinthesand) nipped long-time leader Fanticola (Silent Name) by a nose in last month's Santa Barbara H. (G3) over 1 1/4 miles, but might have a more difficult time doing it again over a furlong shorter in Monday's $300,000 Gamely (G1) at Santa Anita.

The Santa Barbara was the first graded stakes win for Queen of the Sand, who notably finished second in the Matriarch (G1) at Del Mar in November. Out of action until mid-March, she looked a bit short when finishing eighth of nine in the Santa Ana (G2) in her season debut.

Fanticola just missed giving her connections an emotional victory in the Santa Barbara, which occurred the same week as the death of her former trainer, Mike Mitchell. The stakes-winning five-year-old has won or placed in her last five outings, and on paper looks poised to try and lead wire-to-wire.

Hard Not to Like (Hard Spun) invades from New York for trainer Christophe Clement. Upset winner of the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland in April 2014, she was most recently third in her title defense of that race April 11. She began the year at Tampa Bay Downs on the last day of January, when she was demoted from first to second in the Endeavour (G3).

Also racing for the first time on this circuit are Danza Cavallo (Sunday Break), runner-up in the Long Island H. (G3) and first in a Keeneland allowance last month in two U.S. outings for Chad Brown, and Generosidade (Nedawi), a Group 1 winner in Brazil, who placed in one of three outings in France last year.

Also expected to garner support are Blingismything (Arch) and Smoove It (Square Eddie), who were separated by a nose at the finish of the one-mile Wilshire (G3) on April 26, and Three Hearts (Hat Trick), the Red Carpet H. (G3) heroine who subsequently placed in the Robert J. Frankel (G3), Santa Ana, and Santa Barbara.

Moulin de Mougin (Curlin), who captured the John C. Mabee (G2) at Del Mar last summer, fell when near the back of the field in the Rodeo Drive (G1) in September, and then was no factor against males in the $82,000 Thunder Road over a mile April 4. Also lining up is Elektrum (High Chaparral), who prevailed by a half-length against second-level allowance company April 5 after narrow defeats against similar in her first two U.S. appearances.

The supporting feature on the Memorial Day program is the $100,000 Los Angeles, a six-furlong dash for older horses. Leading contenders include San Carlos (G2) winner Wild Dude (Wildcat Heir), Kona Gold (G2) runner-up San Onofre (Surf Cat), Midnight Lute (G3) and Joe Hernandez victor Distinctiv Passion (With Distinction), and the Bob Baffert-trained Five Palms (Unbridled's Song), who has won three of four starts.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Tapiture, Carve head Lone Star Park Handicap field

Tapiture goes for his fifth graded stakes win in the Lone Star Park Handicap on Memorial Day (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)

Tapiture (Tapit) and Carve (First Samurai), familiar foes during the Oaklawn meet, will square off for a third time this season on Monday in the $200,000 Lone Star Park H. (G3), a 1 1/16-mile event that highlights the Texas track's Memorial Day program.

A prominent three-year-old last season when winning three graded stakes and placing in the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) and Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1), Tapiture was well beaten while securing minor awards in two starts during the Oaklawn meet. Ron Winchell's homebred was fifth, beaten 10 1/4 lengths, in the Razorback H. (G3), and then third by 7 3/4 lengths in the Oaklawn H. (G2). Both races were won by the promising Race Day (Tapit).

Carve, whose signature victory to date was last year's Prairie Meadows Cornhusker H. (G3), also ran in both Oaklawn features, finishing fourth in the Razorback and second in the Oaklawn H. The five-year-old gelding finished well behind Tapiture in their first meeting last November, finishing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, although he captured the $100,000 Fifth Season at Oaklawn by more than three lengths in his season debut.

Texas Air (Texas City), a seven-year-old gelding, will attempt a sweep of Lone Star Park's two graded stakes after posting a 24-1 upset of the May 1 Texas Mile (G3). Unplaced in both events last season, Texas Air enters Monday's race on a two-race win streak.

Majestic City (City Zip), formerly based in California with Ron Ellis, makes his debut for trainer Richard Baltas here. Unplaced in two starts this term, the six-year-old was a Grade 3 winner at two and has placed in five other graded stakes during his career.

The field is completed by Endurance (Indy Wind), a distant second in the Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston in his last dirt attempt, and Cy Seven (Tiznow), a recent first-level allowance winner on the turf.

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Tapiture, Carve head Lone Star Park Handicap field

Tapiture goes for his fifth graded stakes win in the Lone Star Park Handicap on Memorial Day (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)

Tapiture (Tapit) and Carve (First Samurai), familiar foes during the Oaklawn meet, will square off for a third time this season on Monday in the $200,000 Lone Star Park H. (G3), a 1 1/16-mile event that highlights the Texas track's Memorial Day program.

A prominent three-year-old last season when winning three graded stakes and placing in the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) and Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1), Tapiture was well beaten while securing minor awards in two starts during the Oaklawn meet. Ron Winchell's homebred was fifth, beaten 10 1/4 lengths, in the Razorback H. (G3), and then third by 7 3/4 lengths in the Oaklawn H. (G2). Both races were won by the promising Race Day (Tapit).

Carve, whose signature victory to date was last year's Prairie Meadows Cornhusker H. (G3), also ran in both Oaklawn features, finishing fourth in the Razorback and second in the Oaklawn H. The five-year-old gelding finished well behind Tapiture in their first meeting last November, finishing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, although he captured the $100,000 Fifth Season at Oaklawn by more than three lengths in his season debut.

Texas Air (Texas City), a seven-year-old gelding, will attempt a sweep of Lone Star Park's two graded stakes after posting a 24-1 upset of the May 1 Texas Mile (G3). Unplaced in both events last season, Texas Air enters Monday's race on a two-race win streak.

Majestic City (City Zip), formerly based in California with Ron Ellis, makes his debut for trainer Richard Baltas here. Unplaced in two starts this term, the six-year-old was a Grade 3 winner at two and has placed in five other graded stakes during his career.

The field is completed by Endurance (Indy Wind), a distant second in the Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston in his last dirt attempt, and Cy Seven (Tiznow), a recent first-level allowance winner on the turf.

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Geller to succeed Loiselle as Woodbine announcer

Robert Geller will call his first race at Woodbine June 13 (Photo courtesy of Emerald Downs)

Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) has announced that Robert Geller will succeed Dan Loiselle as Woodbine's new Thoroughbred race caller.

Formerly the track announcer at Emerald Downs, Geller will call his first race at Woodbine on June 13.

"Woodbine Entertainment Group has been blessed with the distinctive tones of Dan Loiselle, truly the voice of Canadian racing, for nearly three decades. With the addition of Robert Geller, an Englishman by way of Australia, we add a new and exciting accent to accompany our races," said Jim Lawson, WEG's Chief Executive Officer. "Robert is a seasoned race caller, with a wealth of international experience having called races in Australia and Hong Kong, and we are delighted he has chosen to bring his unique talents to Canada. We warmly welcome Robert to the Woodbine Entertainment Group family."

Woodbine racing analyst Dawn Lupul and backup announcer Greg Blanchard will bridge the gap between Loiselle's final call on May 31 and Geller's first foray into the announcer's booth on the eve of the Woodbine Oaks.

The 55-year-old Geller was born in Birmingham, England, but at the age of three moved with his family to Melbourne, Australia, where he would regularly attend the races as a young boy. His love for horse racing runs in the blood, with one grandfather a former bookmaker in Brighton, England.

A qualified speech pathologist, having graduated from the Lincoln Institute of Health Sciences with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in communication disorders, Geller worked in a variety of positions as a speech pathologist including St. Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne.

Geller pursued his passion for calling races on the weekends, eventually earning part-time work calling harness, greyhound and Thoroughbred racing in his home state of Victoria.

He took his first official job in 1984 at Wangaratta, calling 10 race days a year. His calendar began to quickly fill up, appointed as the course commentator across the four tracks in the north-east of the state, expanding to Benalla, Tatura and Wodonga along with summer duties on the picnic circuit at Wonthaggi and Woolamai Racing Clubs along the Mornington Peninsula.

In 1989, Geller pursued an opportunity with the prestigious Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club becoming the English-speaking race caller at Happy Valley and Sha Tin, a role he held for 6 1/2 years.

He left Hong Kong for Washington State in 1996 to become the track announcer at Emerald Downs for its inaugural season and has been their race caller since.

Since its 2000-01 season, Geller has also taken on announcer duties at Sunland Park in New Mexico and will continue in that capacity.

"Ever since my first visit to Toronto in 1993 when I saw Peteski win The Queen's Plate, I have felt an affinity for the track and the city. To be asked to follow on from Dan Loiselle as the next voice of Woodbine is an honor," Geller said. "I am especially excited to call turf races again. I look forward to bringing my years of experience to such a world-renowned track and to build on the skills that I have developed through both Emerald Downs and Sunland Park, as a new member of its dynamic broadcast team."

On July 5, Geller will call his first Queen's Plate, succeeding Loiselle, who has been the familiar voice of the "Gallop for the Guineas" since 1987. Loiselle began his career with Woodbine, then known as the Ontario Jockey Club on August 1, 1967 as an assistant race secretary in the Standardbred division and backup announcer. The 63-year-old native of Scarborough announced at the end of the 2014 Woodbine meet that he would bring his 29-year-career to a close on May 31.

"Robert is an elite announcer and a class act, and I wish him the very best," Loiselle said. "It has been an absolute honor for me to announce Canada's greatest races, and I am confident Robert will be embraced by Canadian racing fans, and will find a tremendous following in this country."

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Geller to succeed Loiselle as Woodbine announcer

Robert Geller will call his first race at Woodbine June 13 (Photo courtesy of Emerald Downs)

Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) has announced that Robert Geller will succeed Dan Loiselle as Woodbine's new Thoroughbred race caller.

Formerly the track announcer at Emerald Downs, Geller will call his first race at Woodbine on June 13.

"Woodbine Entertainment Group has been blessed with the distinctive tones of Dan Loiselle, truly the voice of Canadian racing, for nearly three decades. With the addition of Robert Geller, an Englishman by way of Australia, we add a new and exciting accent to accompany our races," said Jim Lawson, WEG's Chief Executive Officer. "Robert is a seasoned race caller, with a wealth of international experience having called races in Australia and Hong Kong, and we are delighted he has chosen to bring his unique talents to Canada. We warmly welcome Robert to the Woodbine Entertainment Group family."

Woodbine racing analyst Dawn Lupul and backup announcer Greg Blanchard will bridge the gap between Loiselle's final call on May 31 and Geller's first foray into the announcer's booth on the eve of the Woodbine Oaks.

The 55-year-old Geller was born in Birmingham, England, but at the age of three moved with his family to Melbourne, Australia, where he would regularly attend the races as a young boy. His love for horse racing runs in the blood, with one grandfather a former bookmaker in Brighton, England.

A qualified speech pathologist, having graduated from the Lincoln Institute of Health Sciences with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in communication disorders, Geller worked in a variety of positions as a speech pathologist including St. Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne.

Geller pursued his passion for calling races on the weekends, eventually earning part-time work calling harness, greyhound and Thoroughbred racing in his home state of Victoria.

He took his first official job in 1984 at Wangaratta, calling 10 race days a year. His calendar began to quickly fill up, appointed as the course commentator across the four tracks in the north-east of the state, expanding to Benalla, Tatura and Wodonga along with summer duties on the picnic circuit at Wonthaggi and Woolamai Racing Clubs along the Mornington Peninsula.

In 1989, Geller pursued an opportunity with the prestigious Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club becoming the English-speaking race caller at Happy Valley and Sha Tin, a role he held for 6 1/2 years.

He left Hong Kong for Washington State in 1996 to become the track announcer at Emerald Downs for its inaugural season and has been their race caller since.

Since its 2000-01 season, Geller has also taken on announcer duties at Sunland Park in New Mexico and will continue in that capacity.

"Ever since my first visit to Toronto in 1993 when I saw Peteski win The Queen's Plate, I have felt an affinity for the track and the city. To be asked to follow on from Dan Loiselle as the next voice of Woodbine is an honor," Geller said. "I am especially excited to call turf races again. I look forward to bringing my years of experience to such a world-renowned track and to build on the skills that I have developed through both Emerald Downs and Sunland Park, as a new member of its dynamic broadcast team."

On July 5, Geller will call his first Queen's Plate, succeeding Loiselle, who has been the familiar voice of the "Gallop for the Guineas" since 1987. Loiselle began his career with Woodbine, then known as the Ontario Jockey Club on August 1, 1967 as an assistant race secretary in the Standardbred division and backup announcer. The 63-year-old native of Scarborough announced at the end of the 2014 Woodbine meet that he would bring his 29-year-career to a close on May 31.

"Robert is an elite announcer and a class act, and I wish him the very best," Loiselle said. "It has been an absolute honor for me to announce Canada's greatest races, and I am confident Robert will be embraced by Canadian racing fans, and will find a tremendous following in this country."

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Gleneagles poised for Guineas repeat at The Curragh

Newmarket's Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-G1) worked out as many had expected long beforehand, with Gleneagles (Galileo) proving a cut above, and now that the pecking order has been established it will be a surprise if the bay does not follow up in Saturday's Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-G1) at The Curragh. Unbeaten in Kildare, Gleneagles has all angles covered now that the ground has dried, and the only question mark would arise if any unexpected rain arrives.

"He's very like Giant's Causeway, really, but he probably would have more speed," Aidan O'Brien, who is chasing a 10th renewal, commented of the close relative to that six-time Group 1 winner. "That's the way we would rate him at the moment. He's a very well-made horse -- not too big and not too small. He has a great step to him, a lovely head and a lovely mind. He travels very well in his races and quickens well. When he gets there he doesn't do a lot, but he's very professional.

"He hasn't done a lot, it's only three weeks since (Newmarket). He had an easy week after and then he did three half-speeds and seems in good form. We'd love to keep him on good ground or better, so hopefully the ground will be good and we'll look forward to Saturday."

On the face of it, there is too much clear water between him and Ivawood (Zebedee) for it to be feasible for the Richard Hannon trainee to mount a serious challenge in this rematch. Separated by three lengths in the May 2 classic, there is little evidence that the British raider will find improvement over this mile, which stretches his stamina to the limit. Now that the impressive July S. (Eng-G2) and Richmond S. (Eng-G2) winner has suffered three straight defeats, it appears that some of his former luster has gone, but his conditioner remains in customarily positive mood.

"The odds are stacked against us, but we think Ivawood has improved again since the Guineas and, though we are not claiming we will beat Gleneagles, who looked a proper horse at Newmarket, we have always loved our fellow and he'll be giving his all to gain revenge."

In what is becoming a pattern of the current European flat season, strength in depth is definitely lacking, and although he has plenty to find, Endless Drama (Lope de Vega) is still relatively unexposed. Ger Lyons holds the bay in high regard, but he has two defeats to his name this term -- albeit respectable efforts -- when second to Zawraq (Shamardal) in the April 12 Leopardstown Two Thousand Guineas Trial at this trip and to Tombelaine (First Defence) in the Tetrarch S. over seven furlongs in testing conditions May 4.

There was a time when Ireland was a bit-player at best in the major sprints, but three of the bunch to have turned that around in recent years -- Sole Power (Kyllachy), Gordon Lord Byron (Byron) and Maarek (Pivotal) -- line up proud and tall to grace the newly promoted Greenlands S. (Ire-G2).

Despite the gravity of Sole Power's recent achievements, the fact remains that this six-furlong trip is further than ideal for him and all five of his top-level wins have come over five. Nevertheless, the eight-year-old has been kept away from Haydock's Temple S. (Eng-G2), which he won in 2011, in favor of this prize, whose fortunes mirror the rise in prominence of the Irish speed brigade.

"One of the main reasons we decided to stay at home was that Richard Hughes was available and everyone knows how well he gets on with him," Paddy Power, son of owners Sabena and David Power, told PA Sport. "It will be nice for him to finally run at home -- it's been a long time.

"It remains to be seen if he actually knows he's going for a race without having to get on a boat or a plane, though. It's six furlongs and while I'm the most optimistic man alive, I have always said there is nothing to stop him winning over six -- I'm sure he stays, the races have just never been run to suit him."

With three Group 1 wins to his name, Gordon Lord Byron is worthy of respect despite being seven, and he was ahead of Sole Power when fourth in Sha Tin's Hong Kong Sprint (HK-G1) on his penultimate start in December. Trainer Tom Hogan told PA Sport, "We did have him entered to run over a mile a couple of weeks ago, but the ground was testing and that would just test his stamina.

"While he's still able to mix it with the best sprinters, there's no real need to stretch him. His run in Hong Kong in December was very good, he was just over a length behind Aerovelocity, and that form keeps getting franked."

Maarek needs to regain old glories if he is to compete here, but the 2013 Prix de l'Abbaye (Fr-G1) hero shaped with promise when fourth in the May 10 Prix de Saint-Georges (Fr-G3) over Longchamp's five-furlong strip, while Jersey S. (Eng-G3) winner Mustajeeb (Nayef) adds further weight to the contest stepping down in trip after finishing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1).

Dermot Weld may be entering the veteran stage of his training career, but his star is firmly in the ascendant in 2015 and he unleashes another potential luminary in Juddmonte's unbeaten Brooch (Empire Maker) in Saturday's Lanwades Stud S. (Ire-G2). Stepping up from a maiden at the Galway festival to add Killarney's Vincent O'Brien Ruby S. and the Denny Cordell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Fillies S. (Ire-G3) at Gowran Park to her tally, the homebred could be in line for a stellar campaign if she has made more progress.

"She's in very good form -- Dermot has been very pleased with her," the owner-breeder's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe told PA Sport. "She's unbeaten and did everything we asked of her last season. We hope she can continue to progress and we're expecting a good run."

While Brooch has a profile that fits a race of this status, the worthiness of the remainder is questionable. Marco Botti sends across Pelerin (Shamardal), who scored on her last visit here in Dundalk's Cooley Fillies S. in October and could be open to further progression, and also Lady Dutch (Dutch Art). She was fourth in the Dahlia S. (Eng-G2) over nine furlongs at Newmarket May 3, but that form was let down in York's Middleton S. (Eng-G2) last week and she has improvement to find here.

England

With Sole Power staying at home, Saturday's Temple S. at Haydock has opened up for the likes of G Force (Tamayuz) to capitalize. Although he was disappointing when last of 15 in Ascot's British Champions (Eng-G1) in October, the four-year-old had looked a natural throughout the campaign and plundered the Haydock Sprint Cup (Eng-G1) in decisive fashion. Saddled with a four-pound penalty as a result, he may also have to contend with the absence of regular rider Daniel Tudhope, who was kicked in the stomach by a horse on Friday.

"He's got a penalty, but I just thought it would be a nice place to start him off," trainer David O'Meara told PA Sport. "The rain that has fallen will certainly do him no harm. After this it will be Ascot, but whether that is for the King's Stand (Eng-G1) or the Diamond Jubilee (Eng-G1), we'll decide after this."

Godolphin rely on Pretend (Invincible Spirit), who is unproven on turf but highly talented on Polytrack, as he showed when winning Lingfield's Hever Sprint S. May 14 and the six-furlong All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions S. April 3. Trainer Charlie Appleby is watching the skies ahead of his keenly anticipated return to  grass.

"Pretend has had a nice break since his latest start and I have been delighted with his preparation," he said. "The one thing I am concerned about is the ground. We have declared him on good-to-soft and I am hoping that it dries out a bit -- if there is any more rain then it is highly unlikely that he will run.

"He is in good place at the moment and I want him to have a good experience ahead of the King's Stand (at Royal Ascot June 16). I think that running him on the wrong ground wouldn't be the best preparation for Royal Ascot."

Trainer Robert Cowell often has a leading sprinter to play with, and the May 2 Palace House S. (Eng-G3) winner Goldream (Oasis Dream) fits the bill.

"By definition this is a Group 2, not a Group 3, so he has to step up in grade essentially, but he won the Palace House quite convincingly and he arrives at Haydock in excellent condition," Cowell told PA Sport. "I've been really delighted with his preparation. He was working really well before the Palace House and he has probably come on a notch as well. He's a lot tighter and his work has been absolutely brilliant."

Gleneagles poised for Guineas repeat at The Curragh

Newmarket's Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-G1) worked out as many had expected long beforehand, with Gleneagles (Galileo) proving a cut above, and now that the pecking order has been established it will be a surprise if the bay does not follow up in Saturday's Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-G1) at The Curragh. Unbeaten in Kildare, Gleneagles has all angles covered now that the ground has dried, and the only question mark would arise if any unexpected rain arrives.

"He's very like Giant's Causeway, really, but he probably would have more speed," Aidan O'Brien, who is chasing a 10th renewal, commented of the close relative to that six-time Group 1 winner. "That's the way we would rate him at the moment. He's a very well-made horse -- not too big and not too small. He has a great step to him, a lovely head and a lovely mind. He travels very well in his races and quickens well. When he gets there he doesn't do a lot, but he's very professional.

"He hasn't done a lot, it's only three weeks since (Newmarket). He had an easy week after and then he did three half-speeds and seems in good form. We'd love to keep him on good ground or better, so hopefully the ground will be good and we'll look forward to Saturday."

On the face of it, there is too much clear water between him and Ivawood (Zebedee) for it to be feasible for the Richard Hannon trainee to mount a serious challenge in this rematch. Separated by three lengths in the May 2 classic, there is little evidence that the British raider will find improvement over this mile, which stretches his stamina to the limit. Now that the impressive July S. (Eng-G2) and Richmond S. (Eng-G2) winner has suffered three straight defeats, it appears that some of his former luster has gone, but his conditioner remains in customarily positive mood.

"The odds are stacked against us, but we think Ivawood has improved again since the Guineas and, though we are not claiming we will beat Gleneagles, who looked a proper horse at Newmarket, we have always loved our fellow and he'll be giving his all to gain revenge."

In what is becoming a pattern of the current European flat season, strength in depth is definitely lacking, and although he has plenty to find, Endless Drama (Lope de Vega) is still relatively unexposed. Ger Lyons holds the bay in high regard, but he has two defeats to his name this term -- albeit respectable efforts -- when second to Zawraq (Shamardal) in the April 12 Leopardstown Two Thousand Guineas Trial at this trip and to Tombelaine (First Defence) in the Tetrarch S. over seven furlongs in testing conditions May 4.

There was a time when Ireland was a bit-player at best in the major sprints, but three of the bunch to have turned that around in recent years -- Sole Power (Kyllachy), Gordon Lord Byron (Byron) and Maarek (Pivotal) -- line up proud and tall to grace the newly promoted Greenlands S. (Ire-G2).

Despite the gravity of Sole Power's recent achievements, the fact remains that this six-furlong trip is further than ideal for him and all five of his top-level wins have come over five. Nevertheless, the eight-year-old has been kept away from Haydock's Temple S. (Eng-G2), which he won in 2011, in favor of this prize, whose fortunes mirror the rise in prominence of the Irish speed brigade.

"One of the main reasons we decided to stay at home was that Richard Hughes was available and everyone knows how well he gets on with him," Paddy Power, son of owners Sabena and David Power, told PA Sport. "It will be nice for him to finally run at home -- it's been a long time.

"It remains to be seen if he actually knows he's going for a race without having to get on a boat or a plane, though. It's six furlongs and while I'm the most optimistic man alive, I have always said there is nothing to stop him winning over six -- I'm sure he stays, the races have just never been run to suit him."

With three Group 1 wins to his name, Gordon Lord Byron is worthy of respect despite being seven, and he was ahead of Sole Power when fourth in Sha Tin's Hong Kong Sprint (HK-G1) on his penultimate start in December. Trainer Tom Hogan told PA Sport, "We did have him entered to run over a mile a couple of weeks ago, but the ground was testing and that would just test his stamina.

"While he's still able to mix it with the best sprinters, there's no real need to stretch him. His run in Hong Kong in December was very good, he was just over a length behind Aerovelocity, and that form keeps getting franked."

Maarek needs to regain old glories if he is to compete here, but the 2013 Prix de l'Abbaye (Fr-G1) hero shaped with promise when fourth in the May 10 Prix de Saint-Georges (Fr-G3) over Longchamp's five-furlong strip, while Jersey S. (Eng-G3) winner Mustajeeb (Nayef) adds further weight to the contest stepping down in trip after finishing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Mile (G1).

Dermot Weld may be entering the veteran stage of his training career, but his star is firmly in the ascendant in 2015 and he unleashes another potential luminary in Juddmonte's unbeaten Brooch (Empire Maker) in Saturday's Lanwades Stud S. (Ire-G2). Stepping up from a maiden at the Galway festival to add Killarney's Vincent O'Brien Ruby S. and the Denny Cordell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Fillies S. (Ire-G3) at Gowran Park to her tally, the homebred could be in line for a stellar campaign if she has made more progress.

"She's in very good form -- Dermot has been very pleased with her," the owner-breeder's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe told PA Sport. "She's unbeaten and did everything we asked of her last season. We hope she can continue to progress and we're expecting a good run."

While Brooch has a profile that fits a race of this status, the worthiness of the remainder is questionable. Marco Botti sends across Pelerin (Shamardal), who scored on her last visit here in Dundalk's Cooley Fillies S. in October and could be open to further progression, and also Lady Dutch (Dutch Art). She was fourth in the Dahlia S. (Eng-G2) over nine furlongs at Newmarket May 3, but that form was let down in York's Middleton S. (Eng-G2) last week and she has improvement to find here.

England

With Sole Power staying at home, Saturday's Temple S. at Haydock has opened up for the likes of G Force (Tamayuz) to capitalize. Although he was disappointing when last of 15 in Ascot's British Champions (Eng-G1) in October, the four-year-old had looked a natural throughout the campaign and plundered the Haydock Sprint Cup (Eng-G1) in decisive fashion. Saddled with a four-pound penalty as a result, he may also have to contend with the absence of regular rider Daniel Tudhope, who was kicked in the stomach by a horse on Friday.

"He's got a penalty, but I just thought it would be a nice place to start him off," trainer David O'Meara told PA Sport. "The rain that has fallen will certainly do him no harm. After this it will be Ascot, but whether that is for the King's Stand (Eng-G1) or the Diamond Jubilee (Eng-G1), we'll decide after this."

Godolphin rely on Pretend (Invincible Spirit), who is unproven on turf but highly talented on Polytrack, as he showed when winning Lingfield's Hever Sprint S. May 14 and the six-furlong All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions S. April 3. Trainer Charlie Appleby is watching the skies ahead of his keenly anticipated return to  grass.

"Pretend has had a nice break since his latest start and I have been delighted with his preparation," he said. "The one thing I am concerned about is the ground. We have declared him on good-to-soft and I am hoping that it dries out a bit -- if there is any more rain then it is highly unlikely that he will run.

"He is in good place at the moment and I want him to have a good experience ahead of the King's Stand (at Royal Ascot June 16). I think that running him on the wrong ground wouldn't be the best preparation for Royal Ascot."

Trainer Robert Cowell often has a leading sprinter to play with, and the May 2 Palace House S. (Eng-G3) winner Goldream (Oasis Dream) fits the bill.

"By definition this is a Group 2, not a Group 3, so he has to step up in grade essentially, but he won the Palace House quite convincingly and he arrives at Haydock in excellent condition," Cowell told PA Sport. "I've been really delighted with his preparation. He was working really well before the Palace House and he has probably come on a notch as well. He's a lot tighter and his work has been absolutely brilliant."

Court to be honored with 2015 Mike Venezia Memorial Award

Jon Court (Coady Photography)
Kentucky-based jockey Jon Court was announced as the 2015 recipient of the Mike Venezia Memorial Award, which will be presented on Memorial Day at Belmont Park.

Established in 1989, the Mike Venezia Memorial Award is awarded to jockeys who exemplify extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship. It is named in honor of Mike Venezia, who died as a result of injuries he suffered in a spill in 1988 at Belmont Park. Previous winners include Bill Shoemaker, Angel Cordero Jr., Jerry Bailey, Mike Smith, Gary Stevens, Richard Migliore and Ramon Dominguez.

Court, 54, received the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 2007. At the age of 50, he captured the Arkansas Derby (G1) aboard Archarcharch for the second straight year after piloting Line of David to victory in 2010. He has twice finished among the top 25 jockeys in terms of earnings, first in 2005 and again in 2006.

Monday at Belmont will also host Big Apple Showcase Day, featuring six stakes races restricted to New York-breds.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Court to be honored with 2015 Mike Venezia Memorial Award

Jon Court (Coady Photography)
Kentucky-based jockey Jon Court was announced as the 2015 recipient of the Mike Venezia Memorial Award, which will be presented on Memorial Day at Belmont Park.

Established in 1989, the Mike Venezia Memorial Award is awarded to jockeys who exemplify extraordinary sportsmanship and citizenship. It is named in honor of Mike Venezia, who died as a result of injuries he suffered in a spill in 1988 at Belmont Park. Previous winners include Bill Shoemaker, Angel Cordero Jr., Jerry Bailey, Mike Smith, Gary Stevens, Richard Migliore and Ramon Dominguez.

Court, 54, received the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 2007. At the age of 50, he captured the Arkansas Derby (G1) aboard Archarcharch for the second straight year after piloting Line of David to victory in 2010. He has twice finished among the top 25 jockeys in terms of earnings, first in 2005 and again in 2006.

Monday at Belmont will also host Big Apple Showcase Day, featuring six stakes races restricted to New York-breds.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Doomben 10,000 attracts overflow field; Racing NSW suspends trainer Kavanagh

A full field of 16 plus one also-eligible line up for the Doomben 10,000 (Aus-G1) in Queensland, Australia, on Saturday led by current favorite -- the 5-1 Ciaron Maher-trained Srikandi (Dubawi).

The chestnut filly displaced one-time market leader Our Boy Malachi (Top Echelon), trained by Team Hawkes, in the betting after drawing an ideal position in barrier 5, while the latter has been hung out to dry in post 12. Third in last year's Stradbroke H. (Aus-G1) in June, Srikandi landed the Victory S. (Aus-G2) at the Gold Cost on April 25, but enters the Doomben 10,000 on the back of an eighth-place performance when slowly away in the 1200-meter BTC Cup (Aus-G1), with Our Boy Malachi third and Bring Me the Maid (Sebring) fourth at this venue on May 9.

"She's come through the BTC Cup OK, she just had an easy week and had a strong gallop yesterday and she was nice and bright today," Ciaron Maher told www.anzbloodstocknews.com. "She worked over 1000 meters and came up a strong 600 and her times were good. Hopefully she can get away cleanly and get back to her best form."

Our Boy Malachi ended 2014 with a win in the Razor Sharp S. this past December prior to a three-month spell and returned to take the Hall Mark S. (Aus-G3) at Randwick on April 18 over this distance one start before the BTC Cup.

"Statistics don't win big races, barriers do," co-trainer Michael Hawkes said to www.anzbloodstocknews.com. "The horse is flying. It's just unfortunate he's drawn badly (but) he's quite adaptable and doesn't have to lead. His last run when third in the BTC Cup was quite good but he had to do too much work in the first 400 meters. If you swap barriers with the winner it's a different result."

Peter Moody's Golden Slipper (Aus-G1) third and Group 2 heroine Bring Me the Maid will try to buck history and become the first three-year-old filly to win since Sea Siren in 2012, who was the first such winner in 80 years. Bring Me the Maid faces a tall task, however, despite carrying the lightest impost of 121 pounds, leaving from stall 16. Any moisture Doomben receives in advance of the race will only increase her chances.

Temple of Boom (Piccolo), runner-up in this race in 2014, could also factor and was most recently seventh in the BTC Cup against several of these.

In other Australian racing news, Sam Kavanagh, a trainer at Rosehill in Australia, has had his training license suspended by the Racing NSW stewards Wednesday and will face an inquiry concerning eight charges involving cobalt and caffeine in three of his horses reported Racing and Sports. His license status depends on the outcome of the hearing June 4.

Midsummer Sun (Monsun) tested positive for both substances after winning the listed Gosford Gold Cup in January. Additionally, Kavanagh was charged for breeches of a racing rule dealing with race-day medication administration. The other two Kavanagh horses involved are Ceda Miss (Encosta de Lago) and Palazzo Pubblico (Conatus), who raced at Warwick two days prior to Midsummer Sun's win.

The stewards released a statement which says that Kavanagh admitted giving misleading evidence during the investigation. Further incriminating evidence has surfaced in relation to the race-day administration and supply of medications to Kavanagh.

"In suspending his trainers' license...stewards formed the opinion that Mr. Kavanagh's continued participation in racing might pose an unacceptable risk to prejudice the image, interests or integrity of racing," the stewards' statement read.

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Doomben 10,000 attracts overflow field; Racing NSW suspends trainer Kavanagh

A full field of 16 plus one also-eligible line up for the Doomben 10,000 (Aus-G1) in Queensland, Australia, on Saturday led by current favorite -- the 5-1 Ciaron Maher-trained Srikandi (Dubawi).

The chestnut filly displaced one-time market leader Our Boy Malachi (Top Echelon), trained by Team Hawkes, in the betting after drawing an ideal position in barrier 5, while the latter has been hung out to dry in post 12. Third in last year's Stradbroke H. (Aus-G1) in June, Srikandi landed the Victory S. (Aus-G2) at the Gold Cost on April 25, but enters the Doomben 10,000 on the back of an eighth-place performance when slowly away in the 1200-meter BTC Cup (Aus-G1), with Our Boy Malachi third and Bring Me the Maid (Sebring) fourth at this venue on May 9.

"She's come through the BTC Cup OK, she just had an easy week and had a strong gallop yesterday and she was nice and bright today," Ciaron Maher told www.anzbloodstocknews.com. "She worked over 1000 meters and came up a strong 600 and her times were good. Hopefully she can get away cleanly and get back to her best form."

Our Boy Malachi ended 2014 with a win in the Razor Sharp S. this past December prior to a three-month spell and returned to take the Hall Mark S. (Aus-G3) at Randwick on April 18 over this distance one start before the BTC Cup.

"Statistics don't win big races, barriers do," co-trainer Michael Hawkes said to www.anzbloodstocknews.com. "The horse is flying. It's just unfortunate he's drawn badly (but) he's quite adaptable and doesn't have to lead. His last run when third in the BTC Cup was quite good but he had to do too much work in the first 400 meters. If you swap barriers with the winner it's a different result."

Peter Moody's Golden Slipper (Aus-G1) third and Group 2 heroine Bring Me the Maid will try to buck history and become the first three-year-old filly to win since Sea Siren in 2012, who was the first such winner in 80 years. Bring Me the Maid faces a tall task, however, despite carrying the lightest impost of 121 pounds, leaving from stall 16. Any moisture Doomben receives in advance of the race will only increase her chances.

Temple of Boom (Piccolo), runner-up in this race in 2014, could also factor and was most recently seventh in the BTC Cup against several of these.

In other Australian racing news, Sam Kavanagh, a trainer at Rosehill in Australia, has had his training license suspended by the Racing NSW stewards Wednesday and will face an inquiry concerning eight charges involving cobalt and caffeine in three of his horses reported Racing and Sports. His license status depends on the outcome of the hearing June 4.

Midsummer Sun (Monsun) tested positive for both substances after winning the listed Gosford Gold Cup in January. Additionally, Kavanagh was charged for breeches of a racing rule dealing with race-day medication administration. The other two Kavanagh horses involved are Ceda Miss (Encosta de Lago) and Palazzo Pubblico (Conatus), who raced at Warwick two days prior to Midsummer Sun's win.

The stewards released a statement which says that Kavanagh admitted giving misleading evidence during the investigation. Further incriminating evidence has surfaced in relation to the race-day administration and supply of medications to Kavanagh.

"In suspending his trainers' license...stewards formed the opinion that Mr. Kavanagh's continued participation in racing might pose an unacceptable risk to prejudice the image, interests or integrity of racing," the stewards' statement read.

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California Gold Rush Day on tap at Santa Anita Park

Grazen Sky will face some familiar foes in the Show Chief (Vassar Photography)
Santa Anita Park will host California Gold Rush Day on Saturday, featuring five stakes worth a total $825,000 in purses. Cal-bred sophomores will take center stage on the card in the highest-valued contests, the Snow Chief S. and Melair S., offering $200,000 each.

The Snow Chief has attracted a field of 11 three-year-olds to go 1 1/8 miles on Santa Anita's turf, including the top three from the Silky Sullivan S. and the winner of the Desert Code S.

Richard's Boy (Idiot Proof) captured that latter May 2 event going about 6 1/2 furlongs on Santa Anita's downhill turf course. The gray gelding was making his second start for new trainer Peter Miller in that contest, and is now 5-4-0-1 in his short career.

Grazen Sky (Grazen) got the best of Pulmarack (Lucky Pulpit) by 1 1/4 lengths in Golden Gate Fields' one-mile Silky Sullivan on April 26, with Cardiac (Papa Clem) finishing another three parts of a length back in third. Grazen Sky preceded the Silky Sullivan with a stakes debut second in the Echo Eddie going 6 1/2 furlongs on Santa Anita's main track.

Seven fillies will take to the main track track for the 1 1/16-mile Melair one race before the Snow Chief. Jerry Hollendorfer took over training duties on La Fiera (Comic Stripe) after the dark bay miss posted a two-length decision in the grassy Campanile S. last out at Golden Gate Fields over the re-opposing Ashley's Sassy (Decarchy) and sends her out in the Melair against Evening Jewel S. victress Sheer Pleasure (Birdonthewire).

Harlington's Rose is seeking her second straight stakes win on Saturday in the Spring Fever (Benoit Photos)
One of the more exciting match-ups comes in the $150,000 Spring Fever S., which kicks off the stakes action for the day by sending a half-dozen distaffers six furlongs on the dirt. Sunday Rules (Tribal Rule) will put her perfect four-for-four mark on the line while facing last-out Las Flores S. (G3) heroine Harlington's Rose (Harlington). Meinertzhageni (Stormin Fever), a close second in the Las Flores, is also entered.

The $150,000 Tiznow S., scheduled for a mile on the main track, boasts 10 in its line-up, including last year's runner-up Rousing Sermon (Lucky Pulpit) and recent Precisionist S. (G3) third Motown Men (Decarchy). The $125,000 Fran's Valentine S. sends out eight fillies and mares to contest a mile on the turf, with Go West Marie (Western Fame) seeking a return to the winner's circle after having a three-race win streak snapped when runner-up in the Las Cienegas S. (G3) on April 11.

California Gold Rush Day will also feature a beer festival, with unique craft brews from throughout Southern California, and food trucks.

In addition to the racing action, the Santa Anita Carnival Memorial Day weekend will take place Saturday through Monday, featuring carnival rides, games and prizes with unlimited rides for children for only $10. Admission and parking to the infield is free through Gate 6 off Colorado Place.

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California Gold Rush Day on tap at Santa Anita Park

Grazen Sky will face some familiar foes in the Show Chief (Vassar Photography)
Santa Anita Park will host California Gold Rush Day on Saturday, featuring five stakes worth a total $825,000 in purses. Cal-bred sophomores will take center stage on the card in the highest-valued contests, the Snow Chief S. and Melair S., offering $200,000 each.

The Snow Chief has attracted a field of 11 three-year-olds to go 1 1/8 miles on Santa Anita's turf, including the top three from the Silky Sullivan S. and the winner of the Desert Code S.

Richard's Boy (Idiot Proof) captured that latter May 2 event going about 6 1/2 furlongs on Santa Anita's downhill turf course. The gray gelding was making his second start for new trainer Peter Miller in that contest, and is now 5-4-0-1 in his short career.

Grazen Sky (Grazen) got the best of Pulmarack (Lucky Pulpit) by 1 1/4 lengths in Golden Gate Fields' one-mile Silky Sullivan on April 26, with Cardiac (Papa Clem) finishing another three parts of a length back in third. Grazen Sky preceded the Silky Sullivan with a stakes debut second in the Echo Eddie going 6 1/2 furlongs on Santa Anita's main track.

Seven fillies will take to the main track track for the 1 1/16-mile Melair one race before the Snow Chief. Jerry Hollendorfer took over training duties on La Fiera (Comic Stripe) after the dark bay miss posted a two-length decision in the grassy Campanile S. last out at Golden Gate Fields over the re-opposing Ashley's Sassy (Decarchy) and sends her out in the Melair against Evening Jewel S. victress Sheer Pleasure (Birdonthewire).

Harlington's Rose is seeking her second straight stakes win on Saturday in the Spring Fever (Benoit Photos)
One of the more exciting match-ups comes in the $150,000 Spring Fever S., which kicks off the stakes action for the day by sending a half-dozen distaffers six furlongs on the dirt. Sunday Rules (Tribal Rule) will put her perfect four-for-four mark on the line while facing last-out Las Flores S. (G3) heroine Harlington's Rose (Harlington). Meinertzhageni (Stormin Fever), a close second in the Las Flores, is also entered.

The $150,000 Tiznow S., scheduled for a mile on the main track, boasts 10 in its line-up, including last year's runner-up Rousing Sermon (Lucky Pulpit) and recent Precisionist S. (G3) third Motown Men (Decarchy). The $125,000 Fran's Valentine S. sends out eight fillies and mares to contest a mile on the turf, with Go West Marie (Western Fame) seeking a return to the winner's circle after having a three-race win streak snapped when runner-up in the Las Cienegas S. (G3) on April 11.

California Gold Rush Day will also feature a beer festival, with unique craft brews from throughout Southern California, and food trucks.

In addition to the racing action, the Santa Anita Carnival Memorial Day weekend will take place Saturday through Monday, featuring carnival rides, games and prizes with unlimited rides for children for only $10. Admission and parking to the infield is free through Gate 6 off Colorado Place.

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In brief

Bayern (Offlee Wild), the reigning Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) winner, returned to the Churchill Downs worktab Wednesday morning with a six-furlong gate breeze in 1:11 4/5 -- his first move since a subpar sixth of six finish in the Churchill Downs S. (G2) on Kentucky Derby Day. The four-year-old, with Miguel Mena aboard, clicked off fractions of :23 4/5, :35 3/5, :47 3/5 and :59 3/5. He galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25 1/5. Meanwhile, another Bob Baffert-trained runner, Hoppertunity (Any Given Saturday), last year's Clark H. (G1) victor who captured the San Pasqual S. (G2) and was third in the San Antonio Invitational S. (G2) in his two starts thus far this season, breezed a half-mile in :49 3/5 on Tuesday. Baffert had previously said that Bayern's next target could be the $1.25 million Metropolitan H. (G1) going a mile on the June 6 Belmont Stakes undercard. "Bob will come in and make his mind up where we're going," assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes said. "We haven't quite decided yet."...

On a fast Santa Anita main track Thursday morning, Beholder (Henny Hughes) had her first work back since missing the May 9 Vanity (G1) with a temperature, going five furlongs under David Neusch in 1:01. "It was a very nice work," trainer Richard Mandella said of the two-time Eclipse Award winner. "She wanted to do more. We're still looking at the Adoration Stakes (G3) for her on June 13." Mandella also sent Precisionist winner Catch a Flight (Giant's Causeway) six furlongs in 1:12 4/5 in preparation for the Gold Cup (G1) at Santa Anita on June 27...

Champion jockey Kieren Fallon will be out of action "for at least 10 days", said the jockey's agent Simon Dodds Thursday. Fallon reportedly hurt a foot at Newmarket Saturday, but rode at Southwell Monday. He was booked to ride First Party (Royal Applause) at Nottingham Thursday evening but will now be replaced by Andrew Mullen. "He won't be riding for a few days," Dodds stated. "It's disappointing as he had a ride in the Irish One Thousand (Guineas [Ire-G1]) and was supposed to ride Gathering Power (Kyllachy) at Haydock but Jamie Spencer rides her now. I think he'll be out for at least 10 days."...

Grade 2-winning millionaire Gone Astray (Dixie Union) was represented by his first winner as a sire on Thursday when his juvenile daughter It's High Time wired the 2ND race at Gulfstream Park. Making her first start in the 4 1/2-furlong maiden special weight, the dark bay filly drew off by 7 1/4 lengths while stopping the clock in :52 4/5 over the fast main track. The Tracy Pinchin homebred lass, trained by Jose Pinchin and ridden by Jonathan Gonzales, is out of My Rolex (Proud Accolade), who is a half-sister to Grade 1 scorer Black Seventeen (Is It True). Gone Astray is himself a half-brother to Group 3-placed Contentious (Giant's Causeway) and counts as his second dam multiple Grade 1-winning champion and millionaire Inside Information (Private Account). The stallion -- whose female family also includes Inside Information's champion daughter Smuggler (Unbridled), multiple Grade 1-scoring millionaire and black-type producer Educated Risk (Mr. Prospector) and, farther back, blue-hen mare Misty Morn (*Princequillo) -- captured a trio of stakes in his time on track, including the Ohio Derby (G2), and placed in seven others while racking up $1,125,162 in career earnings. He retired to stud with a 21-5-5-4 line and resides at Northwest Stud near Ocala, Florida, for a $4,500 live foal fee...

Friday's Epsom Derby (Eng-G1) trial -- the £40,000 Cocked Hat S. which was previously known as the Predominate -- sees Godolphin's Best of Times (Dubawi) try and book a late ticket to the blue riband on the first Saturday in June. Overcoming unsuitably fast ground to win the listed Newmarket S. on May 2, the bay faces the respective second and third from the May 7 Chester Vase (Eng-G3) in Storm the Stars (Sea the Stars) and Medrano (Archipenko), who will give a guide to the merit of that race's winner and Ballydoyle's potential Derby first-string Hans Holbein (Montjeu). "He won well at Newmarket last time and he has pleased me since," trainer Saeed bin Suroor said of Best of Times. "He worked very nicely five days ago and he is ready to go. We would like some cut in the ground for him. If he runs well, then the Derby is on the cards." John Gosden holds a strong hand for the June 6 classic and saddles April 18 Newbury maiden scorer Mr Singh (High Chaparral), who beat subsequent winner Scottish (Teofilo) with the promise of more to come...

Grade 1 victor Majestic Harbor (Rockport Harbor) is the 116-pound highweight and was made the 7-2 morning-line favorite against a competitive field of nine older horses for Saturday's 78th running of the $100,000 Louisville H. (G3) at Churchill Downs, but it remains unclear if the seven-year-old will start in the 1 1/2-mile marathon on the Matt Winn Turf Course. The $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational (G2), a 1 1/2-mile dirt race on the June 6 Belmont Stakes undercard, is also under consideration for Majestic Harbor. "I'm still not 100-percent sure that we'll run, but we entered him," trainer Paul McGee said. "I've got to get with the owners. We may still opt to run in the Brooklyn. I just haven't consulted with the owners just yet, so that's how it stands." Last year, Majestic Harbor sprang a 14-1 upset in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita S. (G1) when under the care of West Coast trainer Sean McCarthy. He is coming into his next start off a pair of April victories in off-the-turf allowance races at Keeneland and Churchill Downs...

While Majestic Harbor is yet to confirmed for the Louisville 'Cap, Golden Soul (Perfect Soul) has shown up in a dozen graded races throughout his career but has yet to find success at such a level. Two years ago the five-year-old chestnut was runner-up to Orb in the Kentucky Derby (G1), but has yet to place against stakes rivals in nine tries since. Golden Soul is two-for-two on Churchill's Matt Winn Turf Course and trainer Dallas Stewart, who won the Louisville Handicap three years in a row with Silverfoot (2004-06), says that his affinity for the Churchill turf gives the horse a good advantage. "He likes the track, and the race is at a mile-and-a-half distance," Stewart said. "We think he's going to like it." Stewart went on to say that Golden Soul was a horse who he had to be patient with -- much like he was with Saturday's longshot Preakness (G1) runner-up Tale of Verve (Tale of Ekati). "He was second here going a mile first time out and then he won at Fair Grounds so he got with it a little earlier than Tale of Verve, but they're all different," Stewart explained. "You just have to take your time with him. He's doing real well, I'm happy with him. His works have been good."...

Perfect from four starts, Sunday Rules (Tribal Rule) will be favored to capture her fifth straight when she runs in Saturday's $150,000 Spring Fever S. at Santa Anita. The speedy four-year-old filly has won her starts by a combined margin of nearly 24 lengths. "She couldn't be doing any better," said trainer Phil D'Amato, who knows another committed front runner, Tribal Gal (Tribal Rule), drew outside of Sunday Rules in a field of six. "It is what it is; if they want to :21, :44 or whatever, we'll keep going. She breezed (five furlongs in) :59 the other day and it looked like she was going 1:02, she was doing it so easy. She's just so talented. Good horses do that." Sunday Rules won her first two starts at Del Mar in 2013 and captured her lone 2014 outing last June at Santa Anita. The bay California-bred opened this year with a 2 1/2-length score over allowance/optional claiming rivals on April 30. "She's had a little of this, a little of that," D'Amato said in explaining her limited campaign. "She had some issues at two, then she got sick at three, but she's never been as good as she is right now and I look forward to giving her a more substantial campaign this year."...

After making her first three starts this year in turf sprints at Santa Anita, the consistent and versatile Go West Marie (Western Fame) stretches back out to a mile in Saturday's $125,000 Fran's Valentine for red-hot trainer Eddie Truman, who won four races last weekend, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. "I, Gary (Stevens), Mr. Redekop (owner Peter Redekop) and Brian (Anderson), his agent, are all on board with running her two turns instead of off the hill, actually," Truman said. "She's run super down the hill (at about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf), but we just love her at two turns. Brian is the one who talked Mr. Redekop into giving me a chance to train for him. He's been a friend for years and there's a great partnership there. We won four races down the hill last weekend and I think we've won seven of 11 over that course." Go West Marie opened the year with victories in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint and Irish O'Brien, and exits a runner-up in the April 11 Las Cienegas (G3)...

A field of five has been drawn for Sunday's $200,000 Charles Whittingham S. (G2) going 1 1/2 miles over Santa Anita Park's turf, but multiple Grade 3 hero Divine Oath (Broken Vow) will be facing off against last-out San Luis Rey S. (G2) victor Ashleyluvssugar (Game Plan). Trained by Todd Pletcher, Divine Oath has been unable to place in three starts thus far this season after closing out his sophomore campaign with a half-length score in the W.L. McKnight H. (G3). The bay colt ran fifth in his season opener, the Mac Diarmida S. (G2), before finishing fourth in both the Mervin H. Muniz Jr. H. (G2) and Fort Marcy S. (G3). Rafael Bejarano has the call. Ashleyluvssugar was making just his second start against stakes rivals, and first against non-restricted stakes foes, in the San Luis Rey but prevailed by 2 1/4 lengths for trainer Peter Eurton. The four-year-old gelding will attempt to duplicate that performance in the Whittingham with Gary Stevens retaining the mount. Crucero (Admiral's Cruise) just broke his maiden in his 11th attempt, which came against $20,000 maiden claimers, but has been unable to defeat winners in three races since. Kent Desormeaux will be aboard for his brother and trainer Keith Desormeaux. Ganesh (Sulamani) and Going Somewhere (Sulamani) are both Group 1-winning Brazilian-breds. The former ran second most recently in the April 25 Last Tycoon S. (G3) while Going Somewhere is making his U.S. debut after competing in France last season...

Last seen winning the Bourbonette Oaks (G3) on March 21, Don't Leave Me (Lemon Drop Kid) heads a field of nine sophomore fillies in Sunday's $150,000 Selene (G3) at Woodbine. Two for three as a juvenile, the Malcolm Pierce-trained gray lass was making her first start of 2015 in the Bourbonette. Don't Leave Me can improve to three for three on Polytrack with a victory in the 1 1/16-mile Selene and will be reunited with jockey Eurico Da Silva. Mark Casse will be represented by Grade 3 heroine Ol' Fashion Gal (Sky Mesa), and restricted stakes winners Starless Night (Grand Slam) and Green Doctor (The Green Monkey) are also entered...

Patrioticandproud (Proud Citizen) has finished behind Majestic Harbor (Rockport Harbor) in their last two starts, both allowances on dirt at Keeneland and Churchill Downs, but the roles could easily reverse Saturday when the pair meet up again in the $100,000 Louisville H. (G3) at Churchill. The 1 1/2-mile turf event seems more ready-made for Patrioticandproud, who was a narrowly beaten second in both the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) and San Gabriel (G2) last winter to Finnegans Wake (Powerscourt), recent winner of the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) over the Matt Winn turf. Both veterans were up the track in the San Marcos (G2) at Santa Anita in February, which was Majestic Harbor's latest turf outing. The latter has excelled much more on dirt, taking the Gold Cup (G1) and Tokyo City Cup (G3) over Santa Anita's main strip last season. Also lining up in the Louisville are Cozy Kitten (Kitten's Joy), recently second in a Gulfstream starter allowance in his first turf outing of the year, and Calvados (Snipewalk), unplaced four times since missing by a neck in last September's Laurel Turf Cup. Golden Soul (Perfect Soul), notably second in the Kentucky Derby (G1) two years ago, is two-for-two on the Churchill lawn, and is joined here by Xtra Luck (Exchange Rate) and For Greater Glory (Afleet Alex), rivals he beat in a nine-furlong turf allowance at Churchill in late November...

Trainer Malcolm Pierce sends out Grade 2 winners Deceptive Vision (A.P. Indy) and Overheard (Macho Uno) in Saturday's C$200,000 Nassau S. (Can-G2) at Woodbine. Deceptive Vision has gone 5-2-2 from nine career starts thus far, including a win in the Canadian S. (Can-G2) prior to concluding her 2014 season with a third in the E.P. Taylor S. (Can-G1). The bay mare opened her five-year-old season with a gutsy head win in the Doubledogdare S. (G3) at Keeneland on April 17. Overheard, also a five-year-old, posted a record of 1-2-1 from four starts in 2014. Last year's Dance Smartly S. (Can-G2) victress made her seasonal debut a fourth-place run over soft going in a loaded Keeneland allowance tilt. Pierce wasn't too concerned with Overheard's off-the-board result at Keeneland. "She likes that Keeneland course," he said. "I don't know if it was the soft turf, but it was a pretty solid race. I know she's a graded stakes winner, but there were other graded stakes winners in the race. She'd been off awhile and maybe needed a race." That April 9 contest was Overheard's first start since October 12 when she rallied for third in the Athenia S. (G3) at Belmont Park. "It was a fairly long break, but we did that on purpose as it's probably going to be her last year of racing," Pierce explained. "She had a good break and got back to training at Palm Meadows and that was the first spot we found for her. We tried to find an easy spot, but it didn't turn out to be that easy." Overheard has since put in four breezes at Woodbine, including a recent four-panel move in :47 4/5 over the Polytrack. "She's doing well," Pierece said. "Her last breeze was very quick, which is unusual for her. She's usually a filly that works in :49 and her last breeze was in :47.4, maybe the track was fast that day, but she's coming into the race in good order." Last year, Overheard and Deceptive Vision squared off in the nine-furlong Dance Smartly, with Overheard rallying wide down the lane to collar Deceptive Vision in the final jump. Pierce believes both of his entrants may find the one-mile Nassau distance challenging. "It's probably not her best distance. We always thought she was a mile and a sixteenth horse. Last year, she was so relaxed early in her races that a mile and an eighth, maybe even a mile and a quarter might now be her better distance. It's a little on the short side probably for both fillies," he remarked...

The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA) announced that the 30th annual National Awards Dinner will be held Friday, September 11, at Hill 'n' Dale Farms in Lexington, Kentucky. The National Awards Dinner honors owners and breeders from 24 states and Canada. Also honored are four Regional Owners of the Year, National Owner of the Year, two National Breeders of the Year, Broodmare of the Year, Rood & Riddle Sport Horse of the Year, and recipient of the Robert N. Clay Award (recognizing a member of the Thoroughbred racing community who has made an outstanding contribution to preserving land for equine use). Tickets for the National Awards Dinner may be purchased at www.toba.org...

Four two-year-olds and one four-year-old have been supplemented to the 2015 Barretts May Sale at Del Mar of Two-Year-Old in Training and Horses of Racing Age. The supplemental horses will be sold directly after the end of the main catalog on Thursday, May 28. Hard copies of the supplemental catalog can found both in the Santa Anita Park racing office in Arcadia, California, and on the sales grounds located on the Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California. The entire sale catalog can be viewed at http://www.barretts.com/sales/Catalogs/catmay2015/catalogTABLE.asp. Several horses in the sales catalog have already run. The official training preview is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, May 26, on the Del Mar racetrack beginning at 10 a.m. (PDT). The preview will be streamed live at http://www.barretts.com/sales/ViewSale/index.asp. Video clips for each preview can be viewed online by the following morning at www.barretts.com...

Feeling a bit under the weather, Corey Nakatani took off the two horses he was scheduled to ride Thursday at Santa Anita...

Churchill Downs has a special five-day racing schedule this week: Thursday (5 p.m. [EDT], 8 races), Friday (12:45 p.m., 9 races), Saturday (12:45 p.m., 10 races), Sunday (12:45 p.m., 10 races) and Memorial Day Monday (12:45 p.m., 11 races). General admission for all active and retired members of the United States armed forces is free on Monday, and there's a special $28 Memorial Day dining package in Millionaires Row 4 available for military as well. Track bugler Steve Buttleman will entertain Memorial Day attendees with patriotic songs following the "Call to the Post" for each race on Monday. He's also sure to decorate the Kentucky Derby winner's circle with an abundance of U.S. flags. The Memorial Day feature is the 12th running of the $100,000 Winning Colors S. (G3), a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares...

The Great Race Place presents its Santa Anita Carnival Memorial Day weekend, this Saturday through Monday. The entire family is invited for three days of live racing, carnival rides, games and prizes, with unlimited rides for children for only $10. Admission and parking to the Infield is free through Gate 6 off Colorado Place.

In brief

Bayern (Offlee Wild), the reigning Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) winner, returned to the Churchill Downs worktab Wednesday morning with a six-furlong gate breeze in 1:11 4/5 -- his first move since a subpar sixth of six finish in the Churchill Downs S. (G2) on Kentucky Derby Day. The four-year-old, with Miguel Mena aboard, clicked off fractions of :23 4/5, :35 3/5, :47 3/5 and :59 3/5. He galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25 1/5. Meanwhile, another Bob Baffert-trained runner, Hoppertunity (Any Given Saturday), last year's Clark H. (G1) victor who captured the San Pasqual S. (G2) and was third in the San Antonio Invitational S. (G2) in his two starts thus far this season, breezed a half-mile in :49 3/5 on Tuesday. Baffert had previously said that Bayern's next target could be the $1.25 million Metropolitan H. (G1) going a mile on the June 6 Belmont Stakes undercard. "Bob will come in and make his mind up where we're going," assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes said. "We haven't quite decided yet."...

On a fast Santa Anita main track Thursday morning, Beholder (Henny Hughes) had her first work back since missing the May 9 Vanity (G1) with a temperature, going five furlongs under David Neusch in 1:01. "It was a very nice work," trainer Richard Mandella said of the two-time Eclipse Award winner. "She wanted to do more. We're still looking at the Adoration Stakes (G3) for her on June 13." Mandella also sent Precisionist winner Catch a Flight (Giant's Causeway) six furlongs in 1:12 4/5 in preparation for the Gold Cup (G1) at Santa Anita on June 27...

Champion jockey Kieren Fallon will be out of action "for at least 10 days", said the jockey's agent Simon Dodds Thursday. Fallon reportedly hurt a foot at Newmarket Saturday, but rode at Southwell Monday. He was booked to ride First Party (Royal Applause) at Nottingham Thursday evening but will now be replaced by Andrew Mullen. "He won't be riding for a few days," Dodds stated. "It's disappointing as he had a ride in the Irish One Thousand (Guineas [Ire-G1]) and was supposed to ride Gathering Power (Kyllachy) at Haydock but Jamie Spencer rides her now. I think he'll be out for at least 10 days."...

Grade 2-winning millionaire Gone Astray (Dixie Union) was represented by his first winner as a sire on Thursday when his juvenile daughter It's High Time wired the 2ND race at Gulfstream Park. Making her first start in the 4 1/2-furlong maiden special weight, the dark bay filly drew off by 7 1/4 lengths while stopping the clock in :52 4/5 over the fast main track. The Tracy Pinchin homebred lass, trained by Jose Pinchin and ridden by Jonathan Gonzales, is out of My Rolex (Proud Accolade), who is a half-sister to Grade 1 scorer Black Seventeen (Is It True). Gone Astray is himself a half-brother to Group 3-placed Contentious (Giant's Causeway) and counts as his second dam multiple Grade 1-winning champion and millionaire Inside Information (Private Account). The stallion -- whose female family also includes Inside Information's champion daughter Smuggler (Unbridled), multiple Grade 1-scoring millionaire and black-type producer Educated Risk (Mr. Prospector) and, farther back, blue-hen mare Misty Morn (*Princequillo) -- captured a trio of stakes in his time on track, including the Ohio Derby (G2), and placed in seven others while racking up $1,125,162 in career earnings. He retired to stud with a 21-5-5-4 line and resides at Northwest Stud near Ocala, Florida, for a $4,500 live foal fee...

Friday's Epsom Derby (Eng-G1) trial -- the £40,000 Cocked Hat S. which was previously known as the Predominate -- sees Godolphin's Best of Times (Dubawi) try and book a late ticket to the blue riband on the first Saturday in June. Overcoming unsuitably fast ground to win the listed Newmarket S. on May 2, the bay faces the respective second and third from the May 7 Chester Vase (Eng-G3) in Storm the Stars (Sea the Stars) and Medrano (Archipenko), who will give a guide to the merit of that race's winner and Ballydoyle's potential Derby first-string Hans Holbein (Montjeu). "He won well at Newmarket last time and he has pleased me since," trainer Saeed bin Suroor said of Best of Times. "He worked very nicely five days ago and he is ready to go. We would like some cut in the ground for him. If he runs well, then the Derby is on the cards." John Gosden holds a strong hand for the June 6 classic and saddles April 18 Newbury maiden scorer Mr Singh (High Chaparral), who beat subsequent winner Scottish (Teofilo) with the promise of more to come...

Grade 1 victor Majestic Harbor (Rockport Harbor) is the 116-pound highweight and was made the 7-2 morning-line favorite against a competitive field of nine older horses for Saturday's 78th running of the $100,000 Louisville H. (G3) at Churchill Downs, but it remains unclear if the seven-year-old will start in the 1 1/2-mile marathon on the Matt Winn Turf Course. The $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational (G2), a 1 1/2-mile dirt race on the June 6 Belmont Stakes undercard, is also under consideration for Majestic Harbor. "I'm still not 100-percent sure that we'll run, but we entered him," trainer Paul McGee said. "I've got to get with the owners. We may still opt to run in the Brooklyn. I just haven't consulted with the owners just yet, so that's how it stands." Last year, Majestic Harbor sprang a 14-1 upset in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita S. (G1) when under the care of West Coast trainer Sean McCarthy. He is coming into his next start off a pair of April victories in off-the-turf allowance races at Keeneland and Churchill Downs...

While Majestic Harbor is yet to confirmed for the Louisville 'Cap, Golden Soul (Perfect Soul) has shown up in a dozen graded races throughout his career but has yet to find success at such a level. Two years ago the five-year-old chestnut was runner-up to Orb in the Kentucky Derby (G1), but has yet to place against stakes rivals in nine tries since. Golden Soul is two-for-two on Churchill's Matt Winn Turf Course and trainer Dallas Stewart, who won the Louisville Handicap three years in a row with Silverfoot (2004-06), says that his affinity for the Churchill turf gives the horse a good advantage. "He likes the track, and the race is at a mile-and-a-half distance," Stewart said. "We think he's going to like it." Stewart went on to say that Golden Soul was a horse who he had to be patient with -- much like he was with Saturday's longshot Preakness (G1) runner-up Tale of Verve (Tale of Ekati). "He was second here going a mile first time out and then he won at Fair Grounds so he got with it a little earlier than Tale of Verve, but they're all different," Stewart explained. "You just have to take your time with him. He's doing real well, I'm happy with him. His works have been good."...

Perfect from four starts, Sunday Rules (Tribal Rule) will be favored to capture her fifth straight when she runs in Saturday's $150,000 Spring Fever S. at Santa Anita. The speedy four-year-old filly has won her starts by a combined margin of nearly 24 lengths. "She couldn't be doing any better," said trainer Phil D'Amato, who knows another committed front runner, Tribal Gal (Tribal Rule), drew outside of Sunday Rules in a field of six. "It is what it is; if they want to :21, :44 or whatever, we'll keep going. She breezed (five furlongs in) :59 the other day and it looked like she was going 1:02, she was doing it so easy. She's just so talented. Good horses do that." Sunday Rules won her first two starts at Del Mar in 2013 and captured her lone 2014 outing last June at Santa Anita. The bay California-bred opened this year with a 2 1/2-length score over allowance/optional claiming rivals on April 30. "She's had a little of this, a little of that," D'Amato said in explaining her limited campaign. "She had some issues at two, then she got sick at three, but she's never been as good as she is right now and I look forward to giving her a more substantial campaign this year."...

After making her first three starts this year in turf sprints at Santa Anita, the consistent and versatile Go West Marie (Western Fame) stretches back out to a mile in Saturday's $125,000 Fran's Valentine for red-hot trainer Eddie Truman, who won four races last weekend, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. "I, Gary (Stevens), Mr. Redekop (owner Peter Redekop) and Brian (Anderson), his agent, are all on board with running her two turns instead of off the hill, actually," Truman said. "She's run super down the hill (at about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf), but we just love her at two turns. Brian is the one who talked Mr. Redekop into giving me a chance to train for him. He's been a friend for years and there's a great partnership there. We won four races down the hill last weekend and I think we've won seven of 11 over that course." Go West Marie opened the year with victories in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint and Irish O'Brien, and exits a runner-up in the April 11 Las Cienegas (G3)...

A field of five has been drawn for Sunday's $200,000 Charles Whittingham S. (G2) going 1 1/2 miles over Santa Anita Park's turf, but multiple Grade 3 hero Divine Oath (Broken Vow) will be facing off against last-out San Luis Rey S. (G2) victor Ashleyluvssugar (Game Plan). Trained by Todd Pletcher, Divine Oath has been unable to place in three starts thus far this season after closing out his sophomore campaign with a half-length score in the W.L. McKnight H. (G3). The bay colt ran fifth in his season opener, the Mac Diarmida S. (G2), before finishing fourth in both the Mervin H. Muniz Jr. H. (G2) and Fort Marcy S. (G3). Rafael Bejarano has the call. Ashleyluvssugar was making just his second start against stakes rivals, and first against non-restricted stakes foes, in the San Luis Rey but prevailed by 2 1/4 lengths for trainer Peter Eurton. The four-year-old gelding will attempt to duplicate that performance in the Whittingham with Gary Stevens retaining the mount. Crucero (Admiral's Cruise) just broke his maiden in his 11th attempt, which came against $20,000 maiden claimers, but has been unable to defeat winners in three races since. Kent Desormeaux will be aboard for his brother and trainer Keith Desormeaux. Ganesh (Sulamani) and Going Somewhere (Sulamani) are both Group 1-winning Brazilian-breds. The former ran second most recently in the April 25 Last Tycoon S. (G3) while Going Somewhere is making his U.S. debut after competing in France last season...

Last seen winning the Bourbonette Oaks (G3) on March 21, Don't Leave Me (Lemon Drop Kid) heads a field of nine sophomore fillies in Sunday's $150,000 Selene (G3) at Woodbine. Two for three as a juvenile, the Malcolm Pierce-trained gray lass was making her first start of 2015 in the Bourbonette. Don't Leave Me can improve to three for three on Polytrack with a victory in the 1 1/16-mile Selene and will be reunited with jockey Eurico Da Silva. Mark Casse will be represented by Grade 3 heroine Ol' Fashion Gal (Sky Mesa), and restricted stakes winners Starless Night (Grand Slam) and Green Doctor (The Green Monkey) are also entered...

Patrioticandproud (Proud Citizen) has finished behind Majestic Harbor (Rockport Harbor) in their last two starts, both allowances on dirt at Keeneland and Churchill Downs, but the roles could easily reverse Saturday when the pair meet up again in the $100,000 Louisville H. (G3) at Churchill. The 1 1/2-mile turf event seems more ready-made for Patrioticandproud, who was a narrowly beaten second in both the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) and San Gabriel (G2) last winter to Finnegans Wake (Powerscourt), recent winner of the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) over the Matt Winn turf. Both veterans were up the track in the San Marcos (G2) at Santa Anita in February, which was Majestic Harbor's latest turf outing. The latter has excelled much more on dirt, taking the Gold Cup (G1) and Tokyo City Cup (G3) over Santa Anita's main strip last season. Also lining up in the Louisville are Cozy Kitten (Kitten's Joy), recently second in a Gulfstream starter allowance in his first turf outing of the year, and Calvados (Snipewalk), unplaced four times since missing by a neck in last September's Laurel Turf Cup. Golden Soul (Perfect Soul), notably second in the Kentucky Derby (G1) two years ago, is two-for-two on the Churchill lawn, and is joined here by Xtra Luck (Exchange Rate) and For Greater Glory (Afleet Alex), rivals he beat in a nine-furlong turf allowance at Churchill in late November...

Trainer Malcolm Pierce sends out Grade 2 winners Deceptive Vision (A.P. Indy) and Overheard (Macho Uno) in Saturday's C$200,000 Nassau S. (Can-G2) at Woodbine. Deceptive Vision has gone 5-2-2 from nine career starts thus far, including a win in the Canadian S. (Can-G2) prior to concluding her 2014 season with a third in the E.P. Taylor S. (Can-G1). The bay mare opened her five-year-old season with a gutsy head win in the Doubledogdare S. (G3) at Keeneland on April 17. Overheard, also a five-year-old, posted a record of 1-2-1 from four starts in 2014. Last year's Dance Smartly S. (Can-G2) victress made her seasonal debut a fourth-place run over soft going in a loaded Keeneland allowance tilt. Pierce wasn't too concerned with Overheard's off-the-board result at Keeneland. "She likes that Keeneland course," he said. "I don't know if it was the soft turf, but it was a pretty solid race. I know she's a graded stakes winner, but there were other graded stakes winners in the race. She'd been off awhile and maybe needed a race." That April 9 contest was Overheard's first start since October 12 when she rallied for third in the Athenia S. (G3) at Belmont Park. "It was a fairly long break, but we did that on purpose as it's probably going to be her last year of racing," Pierce explained. "She had a good break and got back to training at Palm Meadows and that was the first spot we found for her. We tried to find an easy spot, but it didn't turn out to be that easy." Overheard has since put in four breezes at Woodbine, including a recent four-panel move in :47 4/5 over the Polytrack. "She's doing well," Pierece said. "Her last breeze was very quick, which is unusual for her. She's usually a filly that works in :49 and her last breeze was in :47.4, maybe the track was fast that day, but she's coming into the race in good order." Last year, Overheard and Deceptive Vision squared off in the nine-furlong Dance Smartly, with Overheard rallying wide down the lane to collar Deceptive Vision in the final jump. Pierce believes both of his entrants may find the one-mile Nassau distance challenging. "It's probably not her best distance. We always thought she was a mile and a sixteenth horse. Last year, she was so relaxed early in her races that a mile and an eighth, maybe even a mile and a quarter might now be her better distance. It's a little on the short side probably for both fillies," he remarked...

The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA) announced that the 30th annual National Awards Dinner will be held Friday, September 11, at Hill 'n' Dale Farms in Lexington, Kentucky. The National Awards Dinner honors owners and breeders from 24 states and Canada. Also honored are four Regional Owners of the Year, National Owner of the Year, two National Breeders of the Year, Broodmare of the Year, Rood & Riddle Sport Horse of the Year, and recipient of the Robert N. Clay Award (recognizing a member of the Thoroughbred racing community who has made an outstanding contribution to preserving land for equine use). Tickets for the National Awards Dinner may be purchased at www.toba.org...

Four two-year-olds and one four-year-old have been supplemented to the 2015 Barretts May Sale at Del Mar of Two-Year-Old in Training and Horses of Racing Age. The supplemental horses will be sold directly after the end of the main catalog on Thursday, May 28. Hard copies of the supplemental catalog can found both in the Santa Anita Park racing office in Arcadia, California, and on the sales grounds located on the Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California. The entire sale catalog can be viewed at http://www.barretts.com/sales/Catalogs/catmay2015/catalogTABLE.asp. Several horses in the sales catalog have already run. The official training preview is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, May 26, on the Del Mar racetrack beginning at 10 a.m. (PDT). The preview will be streamed live at http://www.barretts.com/sales/ViewSale/index.asp. Video clips for each preview can be viewed online by the following morning at www.barretts.com...

Feeling a bit under the weather, Corey Nakatani took off the two horses he was scheduled to ride Thursday at Santa Anita...

Churchill Downs has a special five-day racing schedule this week: Thursday (5 p.m. [EDT], 8 races), Friday (12:45 p.m., 9 races), Saturday (12:45 p.m., 10 races), Sunday (12:45 p.m., 10 races) and Memorial Day Monday (12:45 p.m., 11 races). General admission for all active and retired members of the United States armed forces is free on Monday, and there's a special $28 Memorial Day dining package in Millionaires Row 4 available for military as well. Track bugler Steve Buttleman will entertain Memorial Day attendees with patriotic songs following the "Call to the Post" for each race on Monday. He's also sure to decorate the Kentucky Derby winner's circle with an abundance of U.S. flags. The Memorial Day feature is the 12th running of the $100,000 Winning Colors S. (G3), a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares...

The Great Race Place presents its Santa Anita Carnival Memorial Day weekend, this Saturday through Monday. The entire family is invited for three days of live racing, carnival rides, games and prizes, with unlimited rides for children for only $10. Admission and parking to the Infield is free through Gate 6 off Colorado Place.

Results

NORTH AMERICAN ALLOWANCE RESULTS

BEL, 7TH, ALW, $77,000, 3YO/UP, 7FT, 5-21.
3—ELEMENT, r, 3, Unbridled's Song--Floresta, by Forest Camp. ($175,000 '13 FTKOCT). O-Glencrest Farm LLC (Lessee) and JSM Equine, LLC, B-Glencrest Farm (KY), T-Todd A. Pletcher, J-Javier Castellano, $46,200.
6—Glowing Ember, g, 5, Bernstein--Fanfire, by Elusive Quality. ($53,000 '11 FTNAUG). O-Dogwood Stable, B-Gallaghers Stud (NY), $15,400.
1—Manhattan Mischief, g, 4, Into Mischief--Western Melody, by West by West. ($20,000 '12 KEEJAN). O-Treblanna Stable, B-Patrick Costello & Ledgelands LLC (KY), $7,700.
Winning Time: 1:22 (fm)
 
SA, 4TH, AOC, $71,300, 3YO/UP, 6 1/2F, 5-21.
7—RAISED A SECRET, h, 5, Songandaprayer--Sensitive Soul, by Bernstein. ($15,000 '11 BESOCT). O-Rodney E Orr, B-Dahlberg Farms LLC (CA), T-Mark Glatt, J-Rafael Bejarano, $46,800.
6—Caminetto, g, 6, Stormy Atlantic--Vassar, by Royal Academy. ($200,000 '10 KEEJAN; $500,000 '10 KEESEP). O-Kaleem Shah, Inc, B-Dapple Bloodstock & Gryphon Investments LLC (KY), $12,000.
2—Midnight Transfer, h, 6, Hard Spun--French Satin, by French Deputy. ($80,000 2011 KEEAPR). O-Finder, Gary, Tachycardia Racing Stables and Ellomiss Racing, B-Alpha Delta Stables, LLC (KY), $7,200.
Winning Time: 1:15 1/5 (ft)
 
PIM, 6TH, ALW, $43,386, 3YO/UP, F/M, 6F, 5-21.
3—TRUE BLUE NATION, f, 4, Bluegrass Cat--Truly Spectacular, by Yes It's True. ($85,000 '12 FTKJUL). O-The Players Group and Reis, Mary Beth, B-Gabriel Duignan (KY), T-Marcus J. Vitali, J-Orlando Bocachica, $23,940.
4—Tallow, f, 4, Rockport Harbor--American Czarina, by Quiet American. ($14,000 '12 FTKJUL; $30,000 '12 FTMOCT). O-Tanterra Stables, B-Bill Justice & Dr Naoya Yoshida (KY), $8,820.
7—Lovable Lady, f, 4, Not for Love--Summer Notebook, by Notebook. O-Samuel H Rogers, Jr, B-Mr & Mrs Samuel H Rogers Jr (MD), $6,006.
Winning Time: 1:12 3/5 (gd)
 
PIM, 8TH, AOC, $42,000, 3YO, 1 1/16M, 5-21.
6—TEKTON, c, 3, Bernardini--Touch Love, by Not for Love. ($190,000 '13 KEESEP). O-Shortleaf Stable, Inc, B-Gainesway Thoroughbreds Ltd (KY), T-Anthony W. Dutrow, J-Alex Cintron, $23,940.
5—Dr. Toole, c, 3, Super Saver--Nonsuch Bay, by Mr. Greeley. ($60,000 2014 OBSAPR). O-Triple K Stables, B-SF Bloodstock LLC (NY), $8,820.
4—Now We Are Free, c, 3, First Samurai--Ice Cool Kitty, by Tomorrows Cat. O-Robbins, III, Lansdon and Callahan, Kevin, B-Lansdon B Robbins & Kevin Callahan (KY), $4,620.
Winning Time: 1:45 2/5 (ft)
 
GP, 1ST, AOC, $40,000, 3YO/UP, 5 1/2F, 5-21.
2—RASTA RANT, g, 4, Act of Duty--Unholy Night, by Najran. ($19,000 2013 OBSAPR). O-Rohan Crichton, B-Stone Alley (FL), T-Rohan Crichton, J-Jocelyne C. Gomez, $24,400.
7—Take Time to Pray, g, 4, Songandaprayer--Scattitude, by Scatmandu. ($10,000 '12 FTKFEB; $21,000 '12 FTKOCT). O-Thoroughbred Acquisition Group and Joseph, Saffie, B-Joanne & Donald Crowe (FL), $8,360.
5—Colormepompom, c, 3, Pomeroy--Colormein, by Mr. Greeley. O-My Purple Haze Stables LLC, B-Wanda Polisseni (FL), $4,360.
Winning Time: 1:05 1/5 (ft)
 
GP, 7TH, AOC, $39,200, 3YO/UP, 7F, 5-21.
8—LEDOKOL, g, 5, Purge--Quick to Boot, by Storm Boot. ($4,200 2012 KEEJAN). O-Julian De Mora, B-James A & Janeane A Everatt & J Arika Everatt-Meeuse (ON), T-Marcial Navarro, J-Pedro L. Cotto, Jr., $22,800.
9—Monty Haul, g, 6, With Distinction--Freddy Fenter, by Fenter. O-Dawghouse Stable, B-Jonnie Hall (FL), $8,780.
1—Louies Flower, c, 4, Flower Alley--Tembisa, by Johannesburg. ($25,000 '12 OBSAUG). O-Wesley Melcher, B-Shadybrook Farm Inc & Castletop Stable (FL), $4,200.
Winning Time: 1:22 3/5 (ft)
 
PID, 5TH, ALW, $29,600, 3YO/UP, 1M, 5-20.
7—FEET'S AFIRE, g, 5, Shaniko--Magic Feet, by Storm Boot. O-Del Loveland, B-Delray Loveland (KY), T-Del Loveland, J-Mario G. Pino, $16,800.
2—Silver Dib, g, 7, Eurosilver--Listed, by Housebuster. ($6,500 '09 KEESEP). O-Drake Racing Stables, Muirfield Farm and Michael Lobalzo, LLC, B-Keith Asmussen (PA), $7,280.
1—Outriders Posse, g, 8, Posse--Triumphant Potion, by Victory Gallop. O-Joshua Langley, B-South Point Farms LLC (KY), $2,800.
Winning Time: 1:38 2/5 (ft)
 
FL, 8TH, ALW, $17,000, 3YO/UP, F/M, 5F, 5-21.
5—SHANGALA, f, 3, Roaring Fever--Queen in Waiting, by Sea Salute. O-Carl Buhr, B-Carl Buhr (NY), T-Debra A. Breed, J-Oscar Gomez, $10,200.
3—So Let It Be So, f, 3, Sky Mesa--So N So, by Freud. O-Island Wind Racing, B-Donald Newman (NY), $3,400.
6—Evangeline's Hope, m, 5, City Zip--Elusive Hope, by Elusive Quality. (C$13,000 '11 ONTSEP; $17,000 2015 FTKFEB). O-Barry R Ostrager, B-Hope Stock Farm (ON), $1,700.
Winning Time: :58 3/5 (ft)
 
MNR, 3RD, ALW, $16,200, 3YO/UP, F/M, 1MT, 5-20.
4—SWEET SOUND, f, 3, Circular Quay--Siren, by War Chant. ($16,000 2015 OBSJAN). O-John W Baird, B-Brent & Crystal Fernung (FL), T-John W. Baird, J-Cesar A. Ordaz, $9,720.
6—Cradle Robbin, f, 4, Amwaal--Justlikesue, by Western Pride. O-Royal Oak Farm, B-Darryl Epting (WV), $3,240.
1—Beeline Express, f, 4, Gimmeawink--Northbound Express, by Northern Trend. O-Team Ramgeet Racing Stable LLC, B-Arilda Barroso (FL), $1,620.
Winning Time: 1:36 3/5 (fm)

Features

BELMONT STAKES REPORT

MAY 23, 2015

by James Scully

American Pharoah's (Pioneerof the West) superiority is unquestioned but we've been down this path many times. The 36-year drought since the last Triple Crown winner makes the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes (G1) one of the most difficult assignments in sports.

The universal question facing any Thoroughbred racing fan surrounds American Pharoah's chances to complete the sweep. Common sense dictates a strong possibility, no rival can beat him if he shows up with his best, but memories of past failures haunt any projections of unbridled confidence.

Upsets are a Belmont Stakes specialty.

The current stretch of heartbreak began one year after the last Triple Crown winner, Affirmed in 1978, with the mighty Spectacular Bid weakening to third in the Belmont stretch.

Smarty Jones (2004) and Big Brown (2009) met the same standard, appearing practically invincible following convincing victories in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1), and the list includes other capable Triple Crown aspirants such as Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), Charismatic (1999) and California Chrome (2014).

As history shows, anything can happen in the Belmont Stakes.

American Pharoah is back galloping at Churchill Downs, readying for the 147th running of the American classic and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert brings valuable experience to the equation, making his fourth attempt at saddling a Triple Crown winner.

With a six-race win streak in tow, American Pharoah has made it look easy nearly every time, the one-length Kentucky Derby decision representing the only true test so far for the speedy colt, and he simply glided to a magnificent seven-length victory over a sloppy track in the Preakness last out.

Supporters would love to see a wet track again on June 6.

His main competition is rested and lying in wait, with Grade 1 winners Carpe Diem (Giant's Causeway), Frosted (Tapit) and Materiality (Afleet Alex) skipping the Preakness after the Kentucky Derby. They've been preparing for weeks at Belmont Park along with Dubai stalwart Mubtaahij (Dubawi) and improving Peter Pan (G2) hero Madefromlucky (Lookin at Lucky).

The Belmont Stakes will be the fourth start in eight weeks for American Pharoah and nobody knows whether the demanding schedule will exact a toll.

Two things we're keenly aware: American Pharoah is the best horse and the unpredictable nature of the Belmont Stakes when a Triple Crown is on the line.

HANDICAPPING INSIGHTS

MAY 22, 2015

by Dick Powell

Preakness (G1) 140 is in the books and American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) is on the verge of immortality. With his convincing seven-length win, American Pharoah now goes to the Belmont Stakes (G1) with the best shot of becoming American Thoroughbred racing's 12th winner of the Triple Crown. He is head and shoulders above his competition.

With about 10 minutes to go before post time, a line of thunderstorms swept through the Pimlico area of Maryland. Many of us have apps on our smartphones that show Doppler radar and you could see that that there was no avoiding the bad weather that was coming. And it wasn't just rain but severe thunderstorms with lightning.

I was at the Kentucky Oaks (G1) years ago when in response to a severe weather alert, the horses for the Oaks were sent back to their barns from the paddock and the infield was evacuated. On Saturday, nothing of the sort happened. Despite every indication that severe was weather was about to hit, Pimlico management did little. They tried to get people in the infield under cover but the race went on like nothing happened.

All but two of the horses saddled inside with only two out on the turf course. The jockeys were not prepared so none wore rain pants or had the right rainy weather equipment with them. They mounted their horses under torrential rainfall. It looked like the inside part of the track might wash away and you couldn't help but wonder how American Pharoah was going to negotiate the wettest part of the track.

Thunder, lightning, torrential rain and high wind pelted Pimlico but the show went on in a reckless, dangerous decision. Seeing that the line of storms would pass through the area with nothing behind them, how could you not send the horses to the indoor saddling area, wait out the bad weather, and then send the tractors once around the track to make sure the surface was safe?

Luckily for American Pharoah, he raced over a sloppy track in the Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park so this was not a new surface for him. Victor Espinoza gunned him from post 1 and he was able to maintain his position going into the clubhouse turn. Firing Line (Line of David), overbet at 3-to-1, stumbled in his second stride out of the gate and was effectively out of the race. Mr. Z (Malibu Moon) gunned from the gate with Corey Nakatani but to his credit, he never tightened things up for American Pharoah. 

Espinoza kept the pedal down through a first quarter in 22.90 seconds and only after putting some distance between himself and Mr. Z, did he ease up a bit and settle. There was no telling how the track inundated with rain would play but you could see that American Pharoah was having no trouble grabbing a hold of it.

After a half-mile in 46.49 seconds, Espinoza looked like he gave American Pharoah a breather going into the far turn and his pursuers closed the gap. Dortmund (Big Brown) moved up outside of Mr. Z on the far turn and Divining Rod (Tapit) made a move on the inside of those two and looked like he might put some pressure on American Pharoah.

As they neared the top of the stretch, Espinoza let it out a notch and the race was over. American Pharoah, even though the pace was slowing down, was pulling away effortlessly. Divining Rod, who I needed for second in a big, cold exacta underneath the winner, could not hang on for second as Tale of Verve (Tale of Ekati) rallied from last to get up for second and complete a $124.40 exacta.

Typical of races conducted under weather conditions like this, many in the race finished up the track. There is nothing you can do when it rains like it did. But, the race could have easily been postponed for 20 to 30 minutes to make sure that it was run under the safest conditions.

After the race, Gary Stevens said that he weighed 135 pounds without his helmet. Victor Espinoza poured water out of his riding boots up on the podium for the trophy presentation. Had they had rain pants on that go over the boot down to their feet, they would not be riding with boots full of rain in lightning.

And as dangerous as it was for the jockeys, can you imagine poor Donna Brothers on her pony out on the track with all that electronic equipment on her?

Now we go on to Belmont for another run at the Triple Crown. The question that needs to be answered is how well American Pharoah came out of the race and what will he have left three weeks from now? For a horse that has some physical issues that were serious enough for him to miss last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) and forced him into a late start to his three-year-old campaign, can he recover quick enough to go 1 1/2 miles on a track that is often tiring if dry, against a field with many fresh horses?

All that will work itself out in time but after the Derby and Preakness, there is no doubt who the best three-year-old is at this point. 

A random act of journalism broke out during the NBC Preakness coverage. During the walkover from the barn area to be saddled, Carolyn Manno was interviewing Dortmund's owner Kaleem Shah. When Shah talked about how Dortmund was doing and how good horses tend to beat each other, Shah said, "This one would be for my dad."

Manno, instead of going on to the next question, actually listened to Shah and said, "Tell us why." Shah then explained how his father was a top trainer in India, won the Triple Crown there and that lately he has not been doing well and he hoped that Dortmund would come through for him.

True story: two of my four grandchildren live next door to me and I see them every day. On Preakness Day, I was busy with betting and watching the races and did not see them. The next day, I asked my grandson did you watch the horse race yesterday. The eight-year-old responded, "No. What am I 90 years old?"

North American Maiden Winners
Closing Argument--Ms Hard Cat by Big Top Cat; MS RUNCAT, f, 2, EVD, Msw, 5-20, 4 1/2f, :52 . B-Circle H Farms & Carrol Castille (LA.).
Giant's Causeway--Alienation by Rock Hard Ten; ALIEN GIANT, f, 2, SA, Msw, 5-21, 4 1/2f, :51 3/5. B-Mercedes Stables LLC (KY.).
Gone Astray--My Rolex by Proud Accolade; IT'S HIGH TIME, f, 2, GP, Msw, 5-21, 4 1/2f, :52 4/5. B-Tracy Pinchin (FL.). ***FIRST WINNER FOR SIRE.
Tapit--Catera by Gone West; AREOLITE, f, 2, CD, Msw, 5-21, 5f, :58 4/5. B-Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC (KY.).
Uncle Mo--Arealhotlover by Untuttable; UNCLE VINNY, c, 2, BEL, Msw, 5-21, 5f, :58 3/5. B-Gilbert G. Campbell (FL.). $175,000 '14 KEESEP.
Any Given Saturday--Hey Ghaz by Ghazi; SUPER C ME, c, 3, GP, Mcl 20000, 5-21, 5fT, :56 4/5. B-Hargus & Sandra Sexton & Silver Fern Farm LLC (KY.). $4,000 '13 FTKOCT; $6,000 '13 KEEJAN; $13,000 2014 OBSJUN.
Bernstein--Princess Hillary by Maria's Mon; WYANDOT, f, 3, PIM, Msw, 5-21, 1 1/16m, 1:48 4/5. B-Hickory Ridge Farm (MD.).
Boos--Roman Juliet by Roman Dancer; ROMAN BOOS, c, 3, BOI, Msw, 5-20, 5f, 1:01 . B-Rod & Lorraine Rodriguez (CA.).
Curlin--Weeks (MSW$298,504), by Ghazi; SHIRLEYS CURLS, f, 3, PIM, Msw, 5-21, 1 1/16m, 1:49 3/5. B-Two Legends Farm, Kevin Creek & Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (MD.). $17,000 '12 KEENOV; $47,000 '13 FTMSEP.
Discreetly Mine--Miss Jeanne Cat by Tabasco Cat; MIZNER PARK, g, 3, BEL, Mcl 20000, 5-21, 6f, 1:12 4/5. B-Mr. & Mrs. Hugh Harlingten (KY.). $25,000 '12 KEENOV; $110,000 '13 FTKJUL. *1/2 to Murjan (champion).
Einstein (BRZ)--Dancing Bird by Lemon Drop Kid; HAVANA JUILE, f, 3, PIM, Mcl 8000, 5-21, 6f, 1:13 3/5. B-Adena Springs (ON.). $10,000 '13 KEESEP.
Even the Score--Robbin's Music by Prospector's Music; EVEN ROB SCORES, c, 3, MNR, Msw, 5-20, 6f, 1:13 4/5. B-Maria E Pinzon (KY.).
Good and Tough--Speed of Thought by Broad Brush; THINK TOUGH, g, 3, LAD, Mcl 5000, 5-20, 5f, :59 2/5. B-Danny M. & Donna B. Brown (LA.). $19,500 '13 LTBSEP.
Harlan's Holiday--Danseur Chaud by Joyeux Danseur; FELISA, f, 3, FL, Mcl 5000, 5-21, 6f, 1:14 4/5. B-Barry & Veronique Berkelhammer (FL.). $22,000 2014 OBSAPR. *Full to Leave of Absence (MSP $291,270).
More Than Ready--Bachata by Kingmambo; DANCE WITH RON, f, 3, PIM, Msw, 5-21, 6f, 1:13 3/5. B-Pin Oak Stud, LLC (KY.). $80,000 '13 KEESEP. *1/2 to Gold Medal Dancer (G2 $618,069).
Noonmark--Essence of Cute by Essence of Dubai; ESSENCE AT NOON, c, 3, FL, Mcl 5000, 5-21, 5 1/2f, 1:07 4/5. B-MAT Stables LLC (NY.).
Noonmark--Structured by West by West; SURFINA, f, 3, PID, Mcl 7500, 5-21, 5f, :58 3/5. B-Sequel Thoroughbreds, LLC & Hidden Lake Farm LLC (NY.). $6,000 2014 OBSJUN; $4,000 2015 OBSJAN.
Northern Afleet--Captivating Cathy by Forest Wildcat; RALLY FOR MCNALLY, g, 3, FL, Mcl 5000, 5-21, 4 1/2f, :54 1/5. B-Paul Braverman (NY.).
Quiet American--Chi Chi's Dream by Phone Trick; KERRY BOY, c, 3, BEL, Mcl 40000, 5-21, 7fT, 1:23 4/5. B-Martin Minnella (NY.).
Rock Hard Ten--Ing Ing (FR) (G3), by Bering (GB); BEELINE, f, 3, CD, Mcl 40000, 5-21, 1 1/16mT, 1:43 3/5. B-Stewart L. Armstrong (TX.).
Space Shot--Inflammatory by Notebook; SPACE BOOK, g, 3, EVD, Mcl 7500, 5-20, 1m 70y, 1:46 1/5. B-Nellie Jenkins (LA.).
Street Sense--Naughty Mambo by Kingmambo; VANDELITA, f, 3, CD, Mcl 50000, 5-21, 1m, 1:38 3/5. B-Dr. Naoya Yoshida & Bill Justice (KY.). $60,000 2014 OBSAPR.
Tannersmyman--Smokey Lady by Smokester; KAYS MAN, g, 3, GG, Mcl 8000, 5-21, 6f, 1:13 1/5. B-Line Way Farm (CA.).
Windsor Castle--Hidden Curves by Mt. Livermore; WATCH MY FIGURE, f, 3, CT, Mcl 5000, 5-20, 4 1/2f, :55 1/5. B-James W. Casey (WV.).
Yankee Gentleman--Aztec Tune by Saratoga Six; GENTLE TUNE, f, 3, LAD, Mcl 5000, 5-21, 5f, :59 3/5. B-I. Lee Lange & Eugene J. Patin (LA.).
Fairbanks--So Smashing by Two Punch; WYNHURST, c, 4, SA, Mcl 50000, 5-21, 6f, 1:09 . B-Sycamore Hall Farm LLC (MD.). $15,000 '12 FTMOCT; $150,000 2013 FTMMAY.
Montbrook--Kwestionable Kiss by Kissin Kris; MIDNIGHT DIME, f, 4, GG, Mcl 5000, 5-21, 5f, 1:00 . B-Tim Ahearn Jr. & Joe Greely Jr. (FL.).
Montbrook--Seattle Showers by Seattle Slew; SEATTLE BROOK, g, 4, MNR, Mcl 5000, 5-20, 6f, 1:15 2/5. B-Just For Fun Stable (FL.). $14,000 '11 OBSOCT.
Tapit--Zealous Cat by Storm Cat; JEALOUS CAT, f, 4, MNR, Msw, 5-20, 5fT, :57 1/5. B-Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC & Gaines Thoroughbreds, LTD (KY.). $125,000 2014 KEEJAN; $100,000 2015 KEEJAN. *Full to Tapicat (G3 $272,668).
Yankee Gentleman--Satin Shoes by Six Speed; LINDACIOUS, f, 4, EVD, Msw, 5-20, 5f, :58 4/5. B-William C. Thomas (LA.). $70,000 '12 ESLSEP. *1/2 to Intractabie (MSP $272,258) *1/2 to Flashy Wise Cat (MSW $283,040).
Zensational--Baldomera (MG1P$313,390), by Doneraile Court; ZENYANDTHEJET, g, 4, GG, Mcl 12500, 5-21, 1m, 1:40 4/5. B-BryLynn Farm, Inc. (FL.). $72,000 '12 KEESEP. *1/2 to Big John B (G2 $483,055) *1/2 to Circle Unbroken (G3 $126,991).
Act of Duty--Jovial Sez by Sezyou; BONNIE BOY HUNTER, h, 5, GP, Mcl 25000, 5-21, 7 1/2fT, 1:30 . B-Maurleen Miller (FL.).
Noactor--Wildfire Ruby by Wild Event; POLO IS CHEAPER, m, 5, GP, Mcl 12500, 5-21, 1mT, 1:37 . B-The Weslinn Corp & Dr. Tom Lane (FL.).

Spot Plays/Highlights/Weather

SPOT PLAYS

For Friday

TRACK   (RACE) HORSE, MORNING LINE
Arlington Park   (1st) Keeker, 3-1
    (2nd) Go Bonnie Go, 3-1
Belmont Park   (1st) Darnley Bay, 7-2
    (6th) Sleeping Giant, 3-1
Belterra Park   (6th) Pay the Lady, 6-1
    (8th) Spring Blossom, 3-1
Canterbury Park   (1st) Gracie Jean, 4-1
    (2nd) Meloveda, 8-1
Charles Town   (1st) Debutante Ball, 8-1
    (9th) Helena Hurry, 3-1
Churchill Downs   (4th) Salvation Show, 4-1
    (6th) Lovethislife, 7-2
Evangeline Downs   (1st) Mystic Smile, 6-1
    (9th) Radiate, 5-1
Finger Lakes   (6th) Notta Ring, 6-1
    (9th) Golden Fire, 6-1
Golden Gate Fields   (2nd) Be You, 9-2
    (6th) Downtown C. T., 4-1
Gulfstream Park   (2nd) Roman's Chance, 7-2
    (5th) Galardonado, 3-1
Indiana Grand   (1st) Kate's Forest, 4-1
    (7th) Dreaminofthewin, 4-1
Lone Star Park   (6th) Stylo, 3-1
    (8th) Belle of Infinity, 7-2
Louisiana Downs   (3rd) Lemonsgonemad, 9-2
    (4th) Tent of Livingston, 3-1
Penn National   (1st) Don's Honour, 3-1
    (6th) Miss Rockport, 7-2
Pimlico   (6th) Hero's Notion, 7-2
    (8th) Wicked Heat, 7-2
Prairie Meadows   (3rd) Soaring Native, 5-1
    (6th) Dixie Surge, 7-2
Santa Anita   (5th) Prospector's Trick, 9-2
    (6th) Afleet in Time, 4-1
Thistledown   (6th) Rock N Heart, 7-2
    (7th) License to Bling, 9-2
Woodbine   (4th) Onmywaytothetop, 4-1
    (7th) Ultimate Desitny, 8-1

Features

BELMONT STAKES REPORT

MAY 23, 2015

by James Scully

American Pharoah's (Pioneerof the West) superiority is unquestioned but we've been down this path many times. The 36-year drought since the last Triple Crown winner makes the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes (G1) one of the most difficult assignments in sports.

The universal question facing any Thoroughbred racing fan surrounds American Pharoah's chances to complete the sweep. Common sense dictates a strong possibility, no rival can beat him if he shows up with his best, but memories of past failures haunt any projections of unbridled confidence.

Upsets are a Belmont Stakes specialty.

The current stretch of heartbreak began one year after the last Triple Crown winner, Affirmed in 1978, with the mighty Spectacular Bid weakening to third in the Belmont stretch.

Smarty Jones (2004) and Big Brown (2009) met the same standard, appearing practically invincible following convincing victories in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1), and the list includes other capable Triple Crown aspirants such as Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), Charismatic (1999) and California Chrome (2014).

As history shows, anything can happen in the Belmont Stakes.

American Pharoah is back galloping at Churchill Downs, readying for the 147th running of the American classic and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert brings valuable experience to the equation, making his fourth attempt at saddling a Triple Crown winner.

With a six-race win streak in tow, American Pharoah has made it look easy nearly every time, the one-length Kentucky Derby decision representing the only true test so far for the speedy colt, and he simply glided to a magnificent seven-length victory over a sloppy track in the Preakness last out.

Supporters would love to see a wet track again on June 6.

His main competition is rested and lying in wait, with Grade 1 winners Carpe Diem (Giant's Causeway), Frosted (Tapit) and Materiality (Afleet Alex) skipping the Preakness after the Kentucky Derby. They've been preparing for weeks at Belmont Park along with Dubai stalwart Mubtaahij (Dubawi) and improving Peter Pan (G2) hero Madefromlucky (Lookin at Lucky).

The Belmont Stakes will be the fourth start in eight weeks for American Pharoah and nobody knows whether the demanding schedule will exact a toll.

Two things we're keenly aware: American Pharoah is the best horse and the unpredictable nature of the Belmont Stakes when a Triple Crown is on the line.

HANDICAPPING INSIGHTS

MAY 22, 2015

by Dick Powell

Preakness (G1) 140 is in the books and American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) is on the verge of immortality. With his convincing seven-length win, American Pharoah now goes to the Belmont Stakes (G1) with the best shot of becoming American Thoroughbred racing's 12th winner of the Triple Crown. He is head and shoulders above his competition.

With about 10 minutes to go before post time, a line of thunderstorms swept through the Pimlico area of Maryland. Many of us have apps on our smartphones that show Doppler radar and you could see that that there was no avoiding the bad weather that was coming. And it wasn't just rain but severe thunderstorms with lightning.

I was at the Kentucky Oaks (G1) years ago when in response to a severe weather alert, the horses for the Oaks were sent back to their barns from the paddock and the infield was evacuated. On Saturday, nothing of the sort happened. Despite every indication that severe was weather was about to hit, Pimlico management did little. They tried to get people in the infield under cover but the race went on like nothing happened.

All but two of the horses saddled inside with only two out on the turf course. The jockeys were not prepared so none wore rain pants or had the right rainy weather equipment with them. They mounted their horses under torrential rainfall. It looked like the inside part of the track might wash away and you couldn't help but wonder how American Pharoah was going to negotiate the wettest part of the track.

Thunder, lightning, torrential rain and high wind pelted Pimlico but the show went on in a reckless, dangerous decision. Seeing that the line of storms would pass through the area with nothing behind them, how could you not send the horses to the indoor saddling area, wait out the bad weather, and then send the tractors once around the track to make sure the surface was safe?

Luckily for American Pharoah, he raced over a sloppy track in the Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park so this was not a new surface for him. Victor Espinoza gunned him from post 1 and he was able to maintain his position going into the clubhouse turn. Firing Line (Line of David), overbet at 3-to-1, stumbled in his second stride out of the gate and was effectively out of the race. Mr. Z (Malibu Moon) gunned from the gate with Corey Nakatani but to his credit, he never tightened things up for American Pharoah. 

Espinoza kept the pedal down through a first quarter in 22.90 seconds and only after putting some distance between himself and Mr. Z, did he ease up a bit and settle. There was no telling how the track inundated with rain would play but you could see that American Pharoah was having no trouble grabbing a hold of it.

After a half-mile in 46.49 seconds, Espinoza looked like he gave American Pharoah a breather going into the far turn and his pursuers closed the gap. Dortmund (Big Brown) moved up outside of Mr. Z on the far turn and Divining Rod (Tapit) made a move on the inside of those two and looked like he might put some pressure on American Pharoah.

As they neared the top of the stretch, Espinoza let it out a notch and the race was over. American Pharoah, even though the pace was slowing down, was pulling away effortlessly. Divining Rod, who I needed for second in a big, cold exacta underneath the winner, could not hang on for second as Tale of Verve (Tale of Ekati) rallied from last to get up for second and complete a $124.40 exacta.

Typical of races conducted under weather conditions like this, many in the race finished up the track. There is nothing you can do when it rains like it did. But, the race could have easily been postponed for 20 to 30 minutes to make sure that it was run under the safest conditions.

After the race, Gary Stevens said that he weighed 135 pounds without his helmet. Victor Espinoza poured water out of his riding boots up on the podium for the trophy presentation. Had they had rain pants on that go over the boot down to their feet, they would not be riding with boots full of rain in lightning.

And as dangerous as it was for the jockeys, can you imagine poor Donna Brothers on her pony out on the track with all that electronic equipment on her?

Now we go on to Belmont for another run at the Triple Crown. The question that needs to be answered is how well American Pharoah came out of the race and what will he have left three weeks from now? For a horse that has some physical issues that were serious enough for him to miss last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) and forced him into a late start to his three-year-old campaign, can he recover quick enough to go 1 1/2 miles on a track that is often tiring if dry, against a field with many fresh horses?

All that will work itself out in time but after the Derby and Preakness, there is no doubt who the best three-year-old is at this point. 

A random act of journalism broke out during the NBC Preakness coverage. During the walkover from the barn area to be saddled, Carolyn Manno was interviewing Dortmund's owner Kaleem Shah. When Shah talked about how Dortmund was doing and how good horses tend to beat each other, Shah said, "This one would be for my dad."

Manno, instead of going on to the next question, actually listened to Shah and said, "Tell us why." Shah then explained how his father was a top trainer in India, won the Triple Crown there and that lately he has not been doing well and he hoped that Dortmund would come through for him.

True story: two of my four grandchildren live next door to me and I see them every day. On Preakness Day, I was busy with betting and watching the races and did not see them. The next day, I asked my grandson did you watch the horse race yesterday. The eight-year-old responded, "No. What am I 90 years old?"

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

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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.

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.