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FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2014

Triple Crown News & Notes

Candy Boy gallops; Pletcher to keep tabs on Vinceremos before making a final decision

Candy Boy has won or placed in all three stakes attempts (Benoit Photo)

Candy Boy, winner of the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis two starts back, visited the main track at Churchill Downs early Thursday morning, galloping 1 1/2 miles at 6:30 a.m. (EDT). Exercise rider Jelani Grant was up for trainer John Sadler.

"It was an easy first day, just letting him get his feet wet," Sadler said of Candy Boy, who arrived at Churchill Downs on Monday, walked Tuesday and jogged Wednesday.

Sadler said Candy Boy would gallop again Friday morning and is scheduled to work Saturday with three-time Kentucky Derby-winning rider Gary Stevens slated to be aboard. Owned by C R K Stable, Candy Boy came back from a two-month freshening to finish third in arguably the toughest prep race this year, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. Stevens has the return call on May 3.

Trainer Todd Pletcher's quartet of Kentucky Derby hopefuls galloped after the morning renovation break.

Pletcher, who will remain at Churchill Downs through the Derby, said the four colts would work Sunday, "if the weather cooperates" and that a decision on Vinceremos' Derby participation would not come until early next week after he watches the colt train and work.

Vinceremos, who finished 14th when making his first start on Polytrack in the Grade 1 Blue Grass, is owned by WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables. He was sent to WinStar after the Blue Grass and arrived back in Pletcher's Churchill barn Wednesday afternoon. Ovel Merida was aboard Vinceremos on Thursday morning.

Grade 1 Arkansas Derby winner Danza was partnered by Ezequiel Perez Thursday morning; Grade 2 Risen Star winner Intense Holiday had Isabelle Bourez aboard; and Grade 3 Spiral winner We Miss Artie was ridden by Nick Bush.

In other Kentucky Derby news:

Hoppertunity has already accumulated five starts this season and Baffert isn't too worried about the "Derby jinx" surrounding unraced two-year-olds (Rickelle Nelson/Horsephotos.com)

Probable Derby favorite California Chrome is scheduled to work at his Los Alamitos base in Southern California Saturday and will ship to Churchill Downs on Monday. Trained by Art Sherman, California Chrome will be ridden in Kentucky Derby 140 by Victor Espinoza.

Blue Grass winner Dance With Fate is scheduled to work Saturday morning on the turf at Santa Anita for trainer Peter Eurton. The colt will be on the same flight to Louisville, Kentucky Monday with California Chrome.

Grade 2 Rebel winner Hoppertunity, runner-up in the Santa Anita Derby, walked the shedrow a day after working five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 at Churchill Downs. Trained by Bob Baffert, Hoppertunity will be attempting to become the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby without a start as a two-year-old since Apollo in 1882.

"Hey, I had him entered in a race at two and scratched him because I had another one there," Baffert said. "He was ready to run, so that should count."

Arkansas Derby runner-up Ride On Curlin galloped after the renovation break for trainer Billy Gowan under exercise rider Bryan Beccia.

"He's doing just as good as we had him in Arkansas," Gowan said. "He's held his weight well, stayed sound and is galloping around with his ears up. He likes this track."

Ride On Curlin is scheduled to work Saturday, weather-permitting.

Uncle Sigh is scheduled to work Friday morning on the Belmont Park Training Track around 9:30 a.m., according to Gary Contessa. The trainer said Uncle Sigh would leave New York by van early Saturday morning with a Saturday evening arrival at Churchill Downs anticipated. Contessa will fly to Louisville on Sunday.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Candy Boy gallops; Pletcher to keep tabs on Vinceremos before making a final decision

Candy Boy has won or placed in all three stakes attempts (Benoit Photo)

Candy Boy, winner of the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis two starts back, visited the main track at Churchill Downs early Thursday morning, galloping 1 1/2 miles at 6:30 a.m. (EDT). Exercise rider Jelani Grant was up for trainer John Sadler.

"It was an easy first day, just letting him get his feet wet," Sadler said of Candy Boy, who arrived at Churchill Downs on Monday, walked Tuesday and jogged Wednesday.

Sadler said Candy Boy would gallop again Friday morning and is scheduled to work Saturday with three-time Kentucky Derby-winning rider Gary Stevens slated to be aboard. Owned by C R K Stable, Candy Boy came back from a two-month freshening to finish third in arguably the toughest prep race this year, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. Stevens has the return call on May 3.

Trainer Todd Pletcher's quartet of Kentucky Derby hopefuls galloped after the morning renovation break.

Pletcher, who will remain at Churchill Downs through the Derby, said the four colts would work Sunday, "if the weather cooperates" and that a decision on Vinceremos' Derby participation would not come until early next week after he watches the colt train and work.

Vinceremos, who finished 14th when making his first start on Polytrack in the Grade 1 Blue Grass, is owned by WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables. He was sent to WinStar after the Blue Grass and arrived back in Pletcher's Churchill barn Wednesday afternoon. Ovel Merida was aboard Vinceremos on Thursday morning.

Grade 1 Arkansas Derby winner Danza was partnered by Ezequiel Perez Thursday morning; Grade 2 Risen Star winner Intense Holiday had Isabelle Bourez aboard; and Grade 3 Spiral winner We Miss Artie was ridden by Nick Bush.

In other Kentucky Derby news:

Hoppertunity has already accumulated five starts this season and Baffert isn't too worried about the "Derby jinx" surrounding unraced two-year-olds (Rickelle Nelson/Horsephotos.com)

Probable Derby favorite California Chrome is scheduled to work at his Los Alamitos base in Southern California Saturday and will ship to Churchill Downs on Monday. Trained by Art Sherman, California Chrome will be ridden in Kentucky Derby 140 by Victor Espinoza.

Blue Grass winner Dance With Fate is scheduled to work Saturday morning on the turf at Santa Anita for trainer Peter Eurton. The colt will be on the same flight to Louisville, Kentucky Monday with California Chrome.

Grade 2 Rebel winner Hoppertunity, runner-up in the Santa Anita Derby, walked the shedrow a day after working five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 at Churchill Downs. Trained by Bob Baffert, Hoppertunity will be attempting to become the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby without a start as a two-year-old since Apollo in 1882.

"Hey, I had him entered in a race at two and scratched him because I had another one there," Baffert said. "He was ready to run, so that should count."

Arkansas Derby runner-up Ride On Curlin galloped after the renovation break for trainer Billy Gowan under exercise rider Bryan Beccia.

"He's doing just as good as we had him in Arkansas," Gowan said. "He's held his weight well, stayed sound and is galloping around with his ears up. He likes this track."

Ride On Curlin is scheduled to work Saturday, weather-permitting.

Uncle Sigh is scheduled to work Friday morning on the Belmont Park Training Track around 9:30 a.m., according to Gary Contessa. The trainer said Uncle Sigh would leave New York by van early Saturday morning with a Saturday evening arrival at Churchill Downs anticipated. Contessa will fly to Louisville on Sunday.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Social Inclusion blazes three-eighths at Gulfstream

Social Inclusion appears headed to the Preakness (Beth Arkin/Adam Coglianese Photography)

Although a run for Social Inclusion in the May 3 Kentucky Derby is still a possibility, the connections of the late-developing colt have decided to focus on the Preakness Stakes, the middle leg of the Triple Crown on May 17 at Pimlico, as their goal.

The son of Pioneerof the Nile breezed three furlongs in a swift :34 2/5 before galloping out four furlongs in :45 3/5 Thursday morning over Gulfstream Park's fast main track.

Following the "great" work, Ron Sanchez of owner Rontos Racing Stable Corp. expressed doubt that Social Inclusion, currently ranked 24th on the points list that decides the 20-horse Derby field, would draw into the first leg of the Triple Crown.

"At this moment, I don't think we'll ship to Kentucky. It doesn't make sense to pay a $25,000 entry fee, plus all the other expenses, when you're 24th and also-eligible," Sanchez said. "He's going to train here and then we hope to get a prep for the Preakness. We'll make a final decision on Monday."

The Manny Azpurua-trained Social Inclusion is scheduled to breeze again at Gulfstream on Monday morning.

The Kentucky-bred colt created a buzz at Gulfstream on February 22 when he debuted with a 7 1/2-length romp in a six-furlong maiden race in 1:09 1/5. He came right back to break Gulfstream's track record for 1 1/16 miles on March 12, scoring by 10 lengths in 1:40.97.

In Social Inclusion's third lifetime start, he set the pace into midstretch in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 5 before faltering to third, nosed out of second-place and an automatic berth in the Kentucky Derby.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Social Inclusion blazes three-eighths at Gulfstream

Social Inclusion appears headed to the Preakness (Beth Arkin/Adam Coglianese Photography)

Although a run for Social Inclusion in the May 3 Kentucky Derby is still a possibility, the connections of the late-developing colt have decided to focus on the Preakness Stakes, the middle leg of the Triple Crown on May 17 at Pimlico, as their goal.

The son of Pioneerof the Nile breezed three furlongs in a swift :34 2/5 before galloping out four furlongs in :45 3/5 Thursday morning over Gulfstream Park's fast main track.

Following the "great" work, Ron Sanchez of owner Rontos Racing Stable Corp. expressed doubt that Social Inclusion, currently ranked 24th on the points list that decides the 20-horse Derby field, would draw into the first leg of the Triple Crown.

"At this moment, I don't think we'll ship to Kentucky. It doesn't make sense to pay a $25,000 entry fee, plus all the other expenses, when you're 24th and also-eligible," Sanchez said. "He's going to train here and then we hope to get a prep for the Preakness. We'll make a final decision on Monday."

The Manny Azpurua-trained Social Inclusion is scheduled to breeze again at Gulfstream on Monday morning.

The Kentucky-bred colt created a buzz at Gulfstream on February 22 when he debuted with a 7 1/2-length romp in a six-furlong maiden race in 1:09 1/5. He came right back to break Gulfstream's track record for 1 1/16 miles on March 12, scoring by 10 lengths in 1:40.97.

In Social Inclusion's third lifetime start, he set the pace into midstretch in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 5 before faltering to third, nosed out of second-place and an automatic berth in the Kentucky Derby.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Racing Headlines

Hall of Fame steeplechaser Flatterer dies at 35

Hall of Fame steeplechaser Flatterer, who had been the oldest living Eclipse Award winner, has died at the age of 35. According to a report on thisishorseracing.com, the four-time Eclipse Award champion was euthanized Tuesday at owner/breeder Bill Pape's Unionville, Pennsylvania, farm.

Pape bred Flatterer in partnership with Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, who conditioned the great 'chaser throughout his career. The son of Mo Bay switched from flat racing to fences in 1983 and took his new discipline by storm. He became the first steeplechasing Triple Crown winner by sweeping the American Grand National, Temple Gwathmey and Colonial Cup, and thereby earned the first of his series of four consecutive Eclipse Awards.

In 1984, Flatterer successfully defended his Colonial Cup title and added three other stakes victories, including the New York Turf Writers' Cup. He made it a Colonial Cup three-peat in 1985, while winning the Temple Gwathmey for the second time.

Flatterer's 1986 highlights included an unprecedented fourth straight Colonial Cup, by a resounding 17 lengths; the establishment of a new American weight-carrying record of 176 pounds when romping in the National Hunt Cup; and a gallant second when invading France's famous Auteuil Racecourse.

Back on his international travels in 1987, Flatterer was once more a terrific runner-up, this time in the Waterford Crystal Champion Hurdle during the Cheltenham Festival in March. That May, he earned his final stakes laurel in the Iroquois. After his summer holiday, Flatterer returned to crush an allowance in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Steeplechase. But unfortunately, in the Breeders' Cup, he bowed a tendon, retired from the course, and from racing altogether.

Flatterer, who for a time ranked as America's richest steeplechaser with earnings of $421,146, compiled an overall mark of 52-24-8-5, $534,854. The dark bay gelding also set five track records -- two over the Belmont turf, as well as at Atlanta, Camden and Great Meadow.

Breeding & Sales News

$625,000 Indian Charlie colt concludes record-breaking OBS Spring Sale

Concluding four days that shattered sale records for gross, average and median, Hip No. 924, a son of Indian Charlie consigned by de Meric Sales, agent, went to Ashford Stud for $625,000 to top the fourth and final session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's 2014 Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training.

The bay colt, who worked a quarter in :20 4/5 at the Under Tack Show, is out of Agatha (Distorted Humor), an unraced half-sister to Japanese champion Hishi Akebono (Woodman) and multiple Group 1 hero Agnes World (Danzig).

This marked the Kentucky-bred's third, and most successful, trip to the sales ring. After RNA'ing for $110,000 as a Keeneland November weanling, he sold for $75,000 at the same venue last September.

Mark Casse, agent, went to $550,000 for Hip 1093, a dark bay colt by More Than Ready out of stakes winner Coya (Deputy Minister), a half-sister to stakes winner Return to Paradise (El Prado). Consigned by Northwest Stud, agent for Inversiones FI, LLC, he worked a quarter in :21 at the Under Tack Show. The Kentucky-bred juvenile had brought $50,000 at Keeneland last September.

Hip 991, a son of Kitten's Joy out of Blazing Bliss (Honour and Glory), from the family of Grade 2 winner Rhapsodic (Dixieland Band), was sold to Narvick International for $400,000. Consigned by Cary Frommer, agent, the chestnut colt worked an Under Tack eighth in :10 1/5. Yet another pinhook coup, the Kentucky-bred was improving on his Keeneland September purchase price of $65,000.

Hip 1143, a daughter of freshman sire Quality Road consigned by Eddie Woods, agent, who worked a quarter at the Under Tack Show in :21, was sold for $350,000 to Martin S. Schwartz. The bay filly, a half-sister to Canadian Grade 3 winner Senor Rojo (Out of Plade), is out of the winning Devil's Bag mare Detect. She was initially sold for $180,000 at Keeneland September.

Klaravich Stable, Inc. paid $320,000 for Hip 1056, WEEKEND HOLIDAY, a son of freshman sire Lookin at Lucky and the winning Chief Secretary (Deputy Minister), and a half-brother to Grade 3-placed stakes winner Left a Message (Mr. Greeley). Consigned by Casse Sales LLC (Justin Casse), agent for Kinsman Farm, the chestnut colt breezed an eighth in :10 2/5. He had fetched only $40,000 as a yearling at Keeneland in September.

For the session, 178 two-year-olds sold for a total of $13,167,000 compared with 187 horses bringing $10,208,500 at the corresponding session last year. The average price was $73,972, up 35.5 percent from $54,591 in 2013 while the median was $43,500, rising 45 percent above $30,000 last year. The buyback percentage was 24.3 percent; it was 19.4 percent a year ago. Thirty-five horses sold for $100,000 or more compared with 25 in 2013.

For the entire sale, 767 horses grossed a record $57,032,000 compared with 815 youngsters bringing the previous Spring Sale mark of $48,757,000 achieved last year. The average price was $74,357, up 24.3 percent over last year's record $59,825 while the median figure was $47,000, soaring 34.3 percent above the previous record $35,000 set in 2013. The buyback percentage was 18.5 percent; it was 14 percent a year ago. Fifty-two sold for $200,000 or more compared with 38 at the 2013 sale.

The sale topper was Hip 514, a son of Tapit consigned by de Meric Sales, agent, who sold to Mike Repole for $725,000.  The bay colt, out of Grade 2-placed stakes winner Ready for Fortune (More Than Ready), worked an eighth in :10 1/5 at the Wednesday Under Tack Session. 

For complete results, log on to obssales.com.

Next on the OBS agenda is the June Sale of Two-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age; the Sale and Under Tack dates to be announced.

Racing Headlines

Sugar Shock leads quartet of Oaks workers under the Twin Spires

Sugar Shock breezed a half-mile in her final major move for next Friday's Kentucky Oaks (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)

Trainer Doug Anderson opted to beat the weather and sent Sugar Shock out for a half-mile breeze in :48 2/5 Thursday morning after the renovation break at Churchill Downs.

With new rider Calvin Borel aboard for the first time, Sugar Shock recorded fractions of :12 1/5, :24 1/5 and :36 2/5 while galloping out five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 on her own. The move was the 10th fastest of 34 at the distance.

"I thought it was excellent," Anderson said. "I decided to do it today instead of waiting and maybe being in the mud tomorrow. Calvin thought she worked well."

With Thursday's work, Sugar Shock's major preparation is done for the Oaks.

"She has done quite a bit before she got here and I think she is pretty fit," Anderson said. "She's going good and I may just give her a strong gallop the day before (the Oaks)."

Sugar Shock, who opened her career under the Twin Spires last fall in a pair of maiden special weights, earned her shot at Oaks glory when taking the Fantasy at Oaklawn Park on April 5. The Candy Ride filly also finished first in the Honeybee at that Hot Springs, Arkansas, venue one race prior, but was disqualified and placed second.

Trainer Wayne Catalano's two Kentucky Oaks hopefuls -- Room Service and Aurelia's Belle -- worked seven furlongs together in 1:28 3/5 after the renovation break over Churchill's fast track.

Aurelia's Belle, with Florent Geroux up, started about a half-length in front of Room Service and Shaun Bridgmohan and finished that way as they raced through fractions of :13, :26 1/5, :38 3/5, :50 4/5, 1:03 1/5 and 1:15 2/5. They galloped out a mile in 1:42 4/5.

Aurelia's Belle, who will be ridden in the Oaks by Channing Hill, is battle tested racing on dirt while Room Service has made five of her six starts on grass. In her most recent effort, the More Than Ready lass dead-heated for a seven-length victory in the Ashland over Keeneland's synthetic Polytrack.

"I thought they worked well," said Catalano, who was not ready to commit to the Oaks with Room Service.

"I honestly think she is better on the turf," he explained. "But I want to get feedback from the jock, feedback from the owners and from the horse and we will talk it over."

Aurelia's Belle has yet to finish worse than third in her five-race career, most recently taking the Bourbonette Oaks and placing in Gulfstream Park's series of races for three-year-old fillies -- the Old Hat, Forward Gal and Davona Dale.

Unbridled Forever was also on track Thursday at Churchill, covering five furlongs after the renovation break in a bullet 1:00 4/5 under exercise rider Pedro Velez. The Dallas Stewart trainee recorded splits of :12 1/5, :24 2/5, :36 4/5 and :48 4/5 while galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.

Robby Albarado has the mount in the Oaks aboard Unbridled Forever, who scored in the Silverbulletday and finished third in the Fair Grounds Oaks in her past two.

In other Oaks news:

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Ria Antonia walked the shedrow at trainer Bob Baffert's Churchill barn a day after working five furlongs in 1:00 3/5. The Rockport Harbor filly enters the Kentucky Oaks off a second-place run in the Santa Anita Oaks on April 5.

Fellow California shipper Fashion Plate, winner of the Las Virgenes and Santa Anita Oaks in her two most recent starts, is scheduled to work Saturday morning at Santa Anita according to trainer Simon Callaghan. The dark bay daughter of Old Fashioned is scheduled to fly to Louisville, Kentucky, on Monday.

Fair Grounds Oaks queen Untapable galloped before 6:30 a.m. (EDT) over Churchill's fast track Thursday morning with exercise rider Angel Garcia aboard in preparation for next Friday's Kentucky Oaks.

Rosalind put in a post-renovation break gallop for trainer Kenny McPeek under exercise rider Danny Ramsey on Thursday. McPeek said the dead-heat Ashland winner will work Saturday under the Twin Spires, weather permitting.

Fiftyshadesofgold galloped 1 1/2 miles before the renovation break under exercise rider Sara Escudero for trainer Bret Calhoun. The filly, who is under consideration for the Oaks as well as next Friday's Grade 3, $175,000 Eight Belles, is scheduled to work Friday after the break with Escudero up, according to Dennis "Peaches" Geier, assistant to Calhoun.

Empress of Midway galloped after the renovation break under Humberto Gomez for trainer Doug O'Neill. Jack Sisterson, assistant to O'Neill, said the Empire Maker filly is scheduled to work Friday with the time TBA depending on weather. Showers are predicted to start after midnight with rain anticipated through training hours.

Trainer Todd Pletcher's trio of Kentucky Oaks hopefuls galloped after the morning renovation break. Amy Mulen was aboard unbeaten Grade 2 queen In Tune, Humberto Zamora partnered Gazelle romper My Miss Sophia and Britney Trimble was on multiple Grade 2 runner-up Got Lucky.

Pletcher has not finalized his riders for the Oaks. He plans to work all three on Saturday, weather permitting.

Kiss Moon galloped after the renovation break with Otto Thorwarth up for trainer David Vance. Second in the Fantasy in her most recent start, the Malibu Moon fill will be ridden in the Oaks by Victor Espinoza, according to Espinoza's agent Brian Beach.

Thank You Marylou galloped a little after 6 a.m. for trainer Mike Maker with exercise rider Joel Barrientos aboard. Julien Leparoux, who rode Thank You Marylou in her past two starts, has the Oaks mount on the filly according to his agent, Steve Bass.

Trainer Leah Gyarmati confirmed that Sweet Reason has been taken out of consideration for the Oaks.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Hall of Fame steeplechaser Flatterer dies at 35

Hall of Fame steeplechaser Flatterer, who had been the oldest living Eclipse Award winner, has died at the age of 35. According to a report on thisishorseracing.com, the four-time Eclipse Award champion was euthanized Tuesday at owner/breeder Bill Pape's Unionville, Pennsylvania, farm.

Pape bred Flatterer in partnership with Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, who conditioned the great 'chaser throughout his career. The son of Mo Bay switched from flat racing to fences in 1983 and took his new discipline by storm. He became the first steeplechasing Triple Crown winner by sweeping the American Grand National, Temple Gwathmey and Colonial Cup, and thereby earned the first of his series of four consecutive Eclipse Awards.

In 1984, Flatterer successfully defended his Colonial Cup title and added three other stakes victories, including the New York Turf Writers' Cup. He made it a Colonial Cup three-peat in 1985, while winning the Temple Gwathmey for the second time.

Flatterer's 1986 highlights included an unprecedented fourth straight Colonial Cup, by a resounding 17 lengths; the establishment of a new American weight-carrying record of 176 pounds when romping in the National Hunt Cup; and a gallant second when invading France's famous Auteuil Racecourse.

Back on his international travels in 1987, Flatterer was once more a terrific runner-up, this time in the Waterford Crystal Champion Hurdle during the Cheltenham Festival in March. That May, he earned his final stakes laurel in the Iroquois. After his summer holiday, Flatterer returned to crush an allowance in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Steeplechase. But unfortunately, in the Breeders' Cup, he bowed a tendon, retired from the course, and from racing altogether.

Flatterer, who for a time ranked as America's richest steeplechaser with earnings of $421,146, compiled an overall mark of 52-24-8-5, $534,854. The dark bay gelding also set five track records -- two over the Belmont turf, as well as at Atlanta, Camden and Great Meadow.

Sugar Shock leads quartet of Oaks workers under the Twin Spires

Sugar Shock breezed a half-mile in her final major move for next Friday's Kentucky Oaks (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)

Trainer Doug Anderson opted to beat the weather and sent Sugar Shock out for a half-mile breeze in :48 2/5 Thursday morning after the renovation break at Churchill Downs.

With new rider Calvin Borel aboard for the first time, Sugar Shock recorded fractions of :12 1/5, :24 1/5 and :36 2/5 while galloping out five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 on her own. The move was the 10th fastest of 34 at the distance.

"I thought it was excellent," Anderson said. "I decided to do it today instead of waiting and maybe being in the mud tomorrow. Calvin thought she worked well."

With Thursday's work, Sugar Shock's major preparation is done for the Oaks.

"She has done quite a bit before she got here and I think she is pretty fit," Anderson said. "She's going good and I may just give her a strong gallop the day before (the Oaks)."

Sugar Shock, who opened her career under the Twin Spires last fall in a pair of maiden special weights, earned her shot at Oaks glory when taking the Fantasy at Oaklawn Park on April 5. The Candy Ride filly also finished first in the Honeybee at that Hot Springs, Arkansas, venue one race prior, but was disqualified and placed second.

Trainer Wayne Catalano's two Kentucky Oaks hopefuls -- Room Service and Aurelia's Belle -- worked seven furlongs together in 1:28 3/5 after the renovation break over Churchill's fast track.

Aurelia's Belle, with Florent Geroux up, started about a half-length in front of Room Service and Shaun Bridgmohan and finished that way as they raced through fractions of :13, :26 1/5, :38 3/5, :50 4/5, 1:03 1/5 and 1:15 2/5. They galloped out a mile in 1:42 4/5.

Aurelia's Belle, who will be ridden in the Oaks by Channing Hill, is battle tested racing on dirt while Room Service has made five of her six starts on grass. In her most recent effort, the More Than Ready lass dead-heated for a seven-length victory in the Ashland over Keeneland's synthetic Polytrack.

"I thought they worked well," said Catalano, who was not ready to commit to the Oaks with Room Service.

"I honestly think she is better on the turf," he explained. "But I want to get feedback from the jock, feedback from the owners and from the horse and we will talk it over."

Aurelia's Belle has yet to finish worse than third in her five-race career, most recently taking the Bourbonette Oaks and placing in Gulfstream Park's series of races for three-year-old fillies -- the Old Hat, Forward Gal and Davona Dale.

Unbridled Forever was also on track Thursday at Churchill, covering five furlongs after the renovation break in a bullet 1:00 4/5 under exercise rider Pedro Velez. The Dallas Stewart trainee recorded splits of :12 1/5, :24 2/5, :36 4/5 and :48 4/5 while galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.

Robby Albarado has the mount in the Oaks aboard Unbridled Forever, who scored in the Silverbulletday and finished third in the Fair Grounds Oaks in her past two.

In other Oaks news:

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Ria Antonia walked the shedrow at trainer Bob Baffert's Churchill barn a day after working five furlongs in 1:00 3/5. The Rockport Harbor filly enters the Kentucky Oaks off a second-place run in the Santa Anita Oaks on April 5.

Fellow California shipper Fashion Plate, winner of the Las Virgenes and Santa Anita Oaks in her two most recent starts, is scheduled to work Saturday morning at Santa Anita according to trainer Simon Callaghan. The dark bay daughter of Old Fashioned is scheduled to fly to Louisville, Kentucky, on Monday.

Fair Grounds Oaks queen Untapable galloped before 6:30 a.m. (EDT) over Churchill's fast track Thursday morning with exercise rider Angel Garcia aboard in preparation for next Friday's Kentucky Oaks.

Rosalind put in a post-renovation break gallop for trainer Kenny McPeek under exercise rider Danny Ramsey on Thursday. McPeek said the dead-heat Ashland winner will work Saturday under the Twin Spires, weather permitting.

Fiftyshadesofgold galloped 1 1/2 miles before the renovation break under exercise rider Sara Escudero for trainer Bret Calhoun. The filly, who is under consideration for the Oaks as well as next Friday's Grade 3, $175,000 Eight Belles, is scheduled to work Friday after the break with Escudero up, according to Dennis "Peaches" Geier, assistant to Calhoun.

Empress of Midway galloped after the renovation break under Humberto Gomez for trainer Doug O'Neill. Jack Sisterson, assistant to O'Neill, said the Empire Maker filly is scheduled to work Friday with the time TBA depending on weather. Showers are predicted to start after midnight with rain anticipated through training hours.

Trainer Todd Pletcher's trio of Kentucky Oaks hopefuls galloped after the morning renovation break. Amy Mulen was aboard unbeaten Grade 2 queen In Tune, Humberto Zamora partnered Gazelle romper My Miss Sophia and Britney Trimble was on multiple Grade 2 runner-up Got Lucky.

Pletcher has not finalized his riders for the Oaks. He plans to work all three on Saturday, weather permitting.

Kiss Moon galloped after the renovation break with Otto Thorwarth up for trainer David Vance. Second in the Fantasy in her most recent start, the Malibu Moon fill will be ridden in the Oaks by Victor Espinoza, according to Espinoza's agent Brian Beach.

Thank You Marylou galloped a little after 6 a.m. for trainer Mike Maker with exercise rider Joel Barrientos aboard. Julien Leparoux, who rode Thank You Marylou in her past two starts, has the Oaks mount on the filly according to his agent, Steve Bass.

Trainer Leah Gyarmati confirmed that Sweet Reason has been taken out of consideration for the Oaks.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Cairo Prince to undergo surgery for ankle chip

Cairo Prince should be ready to race again by late summer (Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos)
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin took to Twitter Thursday to update fans on Cairo Prince, who was knocked off the Triple Crown trail by injury last weekend. Sent to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital near Lexington, Kentucky, for additional diagnostic testing on his left ankle, the colt will undergo surgery for a bone chip on Friday.

"Thanks for all the kind words and support for Cairo Prince and my team during this difficult time. Thankfully it is a minor injury," McLaughlin said.

"Cairo Price is scheduled for surgery tomorrow at Rood & Riddle to remove a small but very painful chip from his ankle.

"If all goes well Cairo Prince should be back for a successful late summer/fall campaign."

Cairo Prince had ranked among the leading Kentucky Derby contenders. From the first crop of Pioneerof the Nile, the gray burst onto the scene in New York last fall. He dominated the Nashua before suffering a tough photo-finish loss to Honor Code in the Remsen, both at Aqueduct. Wintering in South Florida, Cairo Prince opened 2014 with a smashing, 5 3/4-length victory in the January 25 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park.

Darley then acquired a majority interest in the classic hopeful, who made his debut in Godolphin's royal blue silks in the March 29 Florida Derby. But Cairo Prince didn't run up to his best that day, checking in fourth as the 6-5 favorite. He returned to the worktab at Palm Meadows April 13, covering a half-mile in a sharp :48 3/5, only to meet with this setback.

Cairo Prince sports a mark of 5-3-1-0, $562,000.

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Tamarando tops Snow Chief as Santa Anita hosts Gold Rush Day

Tamaradno tries turf for the first time in the Snow Chief (Benoit Photos)

Snow Chief, the great Cal-bred who won the Santa Anita Derby in 1986 by six lengths and was favored to win the Kentucky Derby but didn't, went on to earn an Eclipse Award that year as the nation's outstanding three-year-old.

Santa Anita honors Snow Chief Saturday with the $250,000 Snow Chief going nine grassy furlongs as the featured event on its Gold Rush program. No one could be prouder than retired trainer Mel Stute, who conditioned the colt, also winner of both the Preakness and the Jersey Derby during his three-year-old campaign.

"His best race was the Santa Anita Derby," the 86-year-old Stute asserted. "He won it by six lengths; California Chrome only won it by 5 1/4."

When asked if Snow Chief was the horse that put him on the map, Stute's response was quick and firm.

"No, no, no," he said. "The guy who put me on the map was Jim Murray, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Los Angeles Times. In a column, he compared me to all the great baseball mangers. He said, 'Today, Mel Stute feels like Casey Stengel. He's got the favorite for the Derby. He doesn't have Joe DiMaggio or anybody to pinch hit.'

"I think I won nine stakes before he wrote that article. In the next two years, I won 37 stakes. It was that article that made the difference."

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has already achieved fame, and numerous trophies, but will look to add the Snow Chief to his mantle when saddling Tamarando. A Kentucky Derby hopeful prior to a disappointing eighth-place finish as the favorite in the March 22 Spiral at Turfway Park, the Bertrando colt hopes to regain the form that enabled him to win the Del Mar Futurity and two other stakes as he heads a field of eight sophomores bred or sired in California in Saturday's contest.

Tamarando was away slowly as the 2-1 favorite in the 12-horse Spiral and never got untracked en route to an 11 1/2-length defeat over Turfway Park's synthetic Polytrack. Prior to that, the dark bay was an impressive half-length victor of the El Camino Real Derby on Golden Gate Fields' all-weather Tapeta. He'll be trying turf for the first time in the Snow Chief with Rafael Bejarano aboard.

Hollendorfer will also saddle Pray Hard, who will try two turns for the first time and help to ensure a solid pace in the Snow Chief. A gelding by Kafwain, Pray Hard was an impressive three-length allowance winner as the 3-5 favorite two starts back going six furlongs. He comes off a fourth-place finish at 6 1/2 furlongs in the Echo Eddie on April 5. Corey Nakatani has the call.

One race before the Snow Chief, trainer Mike Machowsky's Rovenna will shoot for her third consecutive win as she heads a field of eight sophomore fillies in the $250,000 Melair at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

Swiss Lake Yodeler's last win came in the Soviet Problem H. in December (Benoit Photos)

Rovenna is riding a two-race win streak that includes a 2 3/4-length score in the Evening Jewel under Victor Espinoza, who rides her back in the Melair. The Vronsky filly, who has finished worse than third just once in her eight-race career, also ran a respectable third in the Golden State Juvenile Fillies on Santa Anita's main track last November and filled that same spot in the Cal Cup Oaks on Santa Anita's green in January.

Hollendorfer's Swiss Lake Yodeler, who defeated Rovenna in both the Soviet Problem back in December and Golden State Juvenile Fillies, will try to rebound following a 24 3/4-length defeat in the Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway on March 22. The daughter of Swiss Yodeler will have Bejarano in the irons on Saturday.

Harlington's Rose, runner-up in the Evening Jewel, worked a half-mile on Santa Anita's main track last Saturday under exercise rider Fernando Serna in :48 1/5 in preparation for the Melair.

"She finished six furlongs in 1:10.37 and galloped out seven-eighths in 1:28 2/5," trainer Steve Knapp said. "It was a very solid work. She's ready."

Knapp hopes to turn the tables on Rovenna, who outsprinted Harlington's Rose in the Evening Jewel.

"We just have to hope that someone goes with Rovenna on the front end," he remarked. "I think there's plenty of speed in the race, and my horse has learned how to relax, so we'll be fine."

Barring the unforeseen, Storm Fighter is the one to catch in the $125,000 Tiznow at one mile on the main track earlier on the card. The four-year-old Stormin Fever colt trained by Bruce Headley is coming off a front-running, three-quarter length victory over track and distance on April 5.

"He's working really well, and he's turned into a beautiful, mature horse," Headley said. "It looks like he's ready to go."

Storm Fighter will get tested for class as he aims for his third win from seven starts. Edwin Maldonado has the call.

With more than $700,000 in earnings, Rousing Sermon is easily the leading money earner in the race. The Hollendorfer pupil looms large despite finishing a well-beaten sixth in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 8.

Winner of the 7 1/2-furlong On Trust Handicap last November, Rousing Sermon was then a close third in the Native Diver and an even fifth in the San Pasqual prior to his Big 'Cap run. The Lucky Pulpit five-year-old keeps Bejarano in the saddle.

Hollendorfer will also saddle Kate's Event, the elder statesman at age seven in the seven-strong field and winner of last year's Tiznow at the now-shuttered Hollywood Park.

Trainer Barry Abrams' Lakerville will try dirt for the first time Saturday in the Tiznow and the six-year-old chestnut rates a chance if he can demonstrate a closing kick similar to the one he unfurled when second in the grassy San Simeon two weeks ago.

The Bay Area-based Specht saddles Marks Mine in the $125,000 Spring Fever, and the four-year-old Benchmark filly drew the rail against seven rivals. The bay miss was an authoritative half-length winner as the even-money favorite in the Camilla Urso at Golden Gate Fields in March going the same six-furlong distance as the Spring Fever.

"Once in a while she'll take a stutter step leaving there and not get away so great, but most of the time she leaves there in a hurry, and it doesn't look like there's anything directly to her outside that's going to pester her too much," Specht said of the inside post. "She shipped down here in good shape and she'll be tough."

Marks Mine has an impressive resume that includes seven wins, two seconds and a third from 10 starts at six furlongs. She will be handled by regular rider Frank Alvarado, who was aboard for her five-furlong drill at Golden Gate Fields last Sunday in 1:00 2/5.

Trainer Craig Lewis is hoping his Warren's Veneda will come back running after finishing third in the Bayakoa at Hollywood Park on December 7. An impressive allowance winner at Santa Anita last October 13, the four-year-old Affirmative filly has proven effective routing but will try six furlongs for the first time Saturday. Warren's Veneda will be ridden by Joe Talamo.

Idle since running a close seventh in the 8 1/2-furlong Osunitas Stakes over Del Mar's grassy last July, Hollendorfer's Top Kisser will try dirt for the first time in her ninth career start. She's routed on turf in her last seven races, but has the advantage of breaking from the outside post 8 with Nakatani. The Old Topper mare also captured last year's Fran's Valentine on the final Gold Rush program at Hollywood Park.

Hollendorfer's Halo Dolly seeks millionaire status as she heads a field of seven older fillies and mares in the $100,000 Fran's Valentine to get the 2014 Gold Rush stakes action underway. The one-mile turf contest, like the rest of the Gold Rush races, is being contested for the first time at Santa Anita.

Halo Dolly comes off an authoritative win going a mile on dirt in the March 23 Dream of Summer. Although winless in three tries over the Santa Anita lawn, the six-year-old Popular mare has eight wins from 10 starts at a mile on grass. Nakatani will be aboard Halo Dolly, who needs to run first or second to eclipse the million dollar mark in winnings.

Trainer Jeff Bonde's Unusual Way comes off a second-place finish to Halo Dolly as the 1-2 favorite in the Dream of Summer and will try to turn the tables Saturday. Blessed with an abundance of speed, the four-year-old Unusual Heat filly will be ridden for the first time in 10 starts by Bejarano.

Ciao Bella Luna will be stretching out to a mile here after capturing the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint in January, finishing second in the Irish O'Brien on March 15, and running fifth in the April 12 Las Cienegas in her past three, all at 6 1/2 furlongs down Santa Anita's hillside turf course. Trained by Peter Miller, the four-year-old Tribal Rule filly gets Victor Espinoza in the pilot's seat.

First post time on Saturday is 1 p.m. (PDT). Admission gates will open at 11 a.m.

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Cairo Prince to undergo surgery for ankle chip

Cairo Prince should be ready to race again by late summer (Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos)
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin took to Twitter Thursday to update fans on Cairo Prince, who was knocked off the Triple Crown trail by injury last weekend. Sent to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital near Lexington, Kentucky, for additional diagnostic testing on his left ankle, the colt will undergo surgery for a bone chip on Friday.

"Thanks for all the kind words and support for Cairo Prince and my team during this difficult time. Thankfully it is a minor injury," McLaughlin said.

"Cairo Price is scheduled for surgery tomorrow at Rood & Riddle to remove a small but very painful chip from his ankle.

"If all goes well Cairo Prince should be back for a successful late summer/fall campaign."

Cairo Prince had ranked among the leading Kentucky Derby contenders. From the first crop of Pioneerof the Nile, the gray burst onto the scene in New York last fall. He dominated the Nashua before suffering a tough photo-finish loss to Honor Code in the Remsen, both at Aqueduct. Wintering in South Florida, Cairo Prince opened 2014 with a smashing, 5 3/4-length victory in the January 25 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park.

Darley then acquired a majority interest in the classic hopeful, who made his debut in Godolphin's royal blue silks in the March 29 Florida Derby. But Cairo Prince didn't run up to his best that day, checking in fourth as the 6-5 favorite. He returned to the worktab at Palm Meadows April 13, covering a half-mile in a sharp :48 3/5, only to meet with this setback.

Cairo Prince sports a mark of 5-3-1-0, $562,000.

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Breeders' Cup unveils 2014 Challenge series

The Breeders' Cup announced Thursday that the 2014 Breeders' Cup Challenge series will consist of 73 automatic qualifying races into the Breeders' Cup World Championships with 46 Challenge races to be held in the United States and Canada.

Breeders' Cup will pay entry fees and provide travel allowances for the connections of the Challenge winners outside of California to compete in the Championships.

Horses from around the globe will be qualifying for the 31st Breeders' Cup World Championships, which will be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, on October 31-November 1, and will be televised live in the United States by the NBC Sports Group. The $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic will be shown live in primetime on NBC from 8-9 p.m. (ET) on November 1.

On April 21, Breeders' Cup and NBC Sports announced an expanded partnership to televise "Breeders' Cup Challenge Series: Win and You're In," a series of 18 Challenge races across 11 shows on NBC and NBCSN from top tracks in the United States from June until the World Championships.

The Breeders' Cup Challenge series, now in its eighth year, will be held at many of the world's premier racetracks in 13 countries: the United States, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Peru and South Africa.

As part of the enhanced benefits to horsemen in the Breeders' Cup Challenge series, Breeders' Cup will pay the entry fees and guarantee a starting position in a corresponding Championships race for winners of all Challenge races.

Breeders' Cup will provide travel allowances to all starters outside of California for this year's Championships including Challenge race winners. Breeders' Cup will provide a $40,000 travel stipend to the connections of each Challenge winner from outside of North America and in North America, a $10,000 travel allowance for winners stabled outside of California. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders' Cup program by the Championships' pre-entry deadline of October 20 to receive the rewards.

Last year, 36 participants in the Breeders' Cup World Championships earned automatic starting positions through the Breeders' Cup Challenge series. Mucho Macho Man (Classic); Beholder (Distaff); Dank (Filly & Mare Turf) and Wise Dan (Mile) were Challenge qualifiers who won World Championships races.

"The Breeders' Cup Challenge series continues to be an excellent path for horsemen to secure an automatic starting berth, with fees paid, for their runners to qualify into the Championships," said Craig Fravel, president and CEO of Breeders' Cup Ltd. "We were very proud of the large number of Challenge starters that competed in last year's event, and are looking forward to attracting more horses this year as we welcome our new racetrack partners who have joined the series for the 2014 season."

Some of the highlights of this year's Challenge series are as follows:

  • There will be a record seven automatic berths awarded for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, all Grade 1 races: Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 14; Gold Cup at Santa Anita on June 28; Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 27; Whitney from Saratoga on August 2; Pacific Classic from Del Mar on August 24; and Jockey Club Gold Cup from Belmont Park and Awesome Again from Santa Anita Park, both on September 28. Defending Classic champion Mucho Macho Man earned an automatic berth by winning last year's Awesome Again.
  • The series will include 11 new races: Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes (SAf-G1) run January 11 at Kenilworth in South Africa (Filly & Mare Turf); Queen Elizabeth (Aus-G1) at Royal Randwick in Australia run April 14 (Turf); Grande Premio Brasil (Brz-G1) at Hipodromo de Gavea in Brazil on June 8 (Turf); Clasico Cesar del Rio (Per-G3) at Hipódromo de Monterrico on June 22 in Peru (Distaff); Copa de Oro Vinas de Chile (Chi-G2) at Club Hipico de Santiago in Chile on June 27 (Dirt Mile); Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) on June 28 (Classic); Belmont Oaks at Belmont Park on July 5 (Filly & Mare Turf); Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park in New Jersey on July 27 (Classic); Matron (Ire-G1) at Leopardstown in Ireland on September 13 (Filly & Mare Turf); Juddmonte International at York on September 20 in England (Turf); and Rockfel (Eng-G2) at Newmarket in England on September 27 (Juvenile Fillies Turf).
  • For the fifth consecutive year, the Breeders' Cup will pay foal nominators of Challenge winners a $10,000 award.
  • The international portion of the series began on January 11 in South Africa at Kenilworth when the seven-year-old mare Beach Beauty won the Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes and qualified for an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, and the five-year-old Capetown Noir captured the Queen's Plate and gained a free start into the Breeders' Cup Mile.

    In Australia this month, three more horses earned automatic berths at Royal Randwick -- Lankan Rupee, winner of the TJ Smith (Turf); Sacred Falls, winner of the Doncaster Mile (Mile); and It's a Dundeel, who captured the Queen Elizabeth (Turf).

    The first two North American races of the series will be run on June 7 with the Metropolitan Handicap (Dirt Mile) and Ogden Phipps (Distaff) at Belmont Park, and will be televised live on NBCSN.

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    Tamarando tops Snow Chief as Santa Anita hosts Gold Rush Day

    Tamaradno tries turf for the first time in the Snow Chief (Benoit Photos)

    Snow Chief, the great Cal-bred who won the Santa Anita Derby in 1986 by six lengths and was favored to win the Kentucky Derby but didn't, went on to earn an Eclipse Award that year as the nation's outstanding three-year-old.

    Santa Anita honors Snow Chief Saturday with the $250,000 Snow Chief going nine grassy furlongs as the featured event on its Gold Rush program. No one could be prouder than retired trainer Mel Stute, who conditioned the colt, also winner of both the Preakness and the Jersey Derby during his three-year-old campaign.

    "His best race was the Santa Anita Derby," the 86-year-old Stute asserted. "He won it by six lengths; California Chrome only won it by 5 1/4."

    When asked if Snow Chief was the horse that put him on the map, Stute's response was quick and firm.

    "No, no, no," he said. "The guy who put me on the map was Jim Murray, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Los Angeles Times. In a column, he compared me to all the great baseball mangers. He said, 'Today, Mel Stute feels like Casey Stengel. He's got the favorite for the Derby. He doesn't have Joe DiMaggio or anybody to pinch hit.'

    "I think I won nine stakes before he wrote that article. In the next two years, I won 37 stakes. It was that article that made the difference."

    Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has already achieved fame, and numerous trophies, but will look to add the Snow Chief to his mantle when saddling Tamarando. A Kentucky Derby hopeful prior to a disappointing eighth-place finish as the favorite in the March 22 Spiral at Turfway Park, the Bertrando colt hopes to regain the form that enabled him to win the Del Mar Futurity and two other stakes as he heads a field of eight sophomores bred or sired in California in Saturday's contest.

    Tamarando was away slowly as the 2-1 favorite in the 12-horse Spiral and never got untracked en route to an 11 1/2-length defeat over Turfway Park's synthetic Polytrack. Prior to that, the dark bay was an impressive half-length victor of the El Camino Real Derby on Golden Gate Fields' all-weather Tapeta. He'll be trying turf for the first time in the Snow Chief with Rafael Bejarano aboard.

    Hollendorfer will also saddle Pray Hard, who will try two turns for the first time and help to ensure a solid pace in the Snow Chief. A gelding by Kafwain, Pray Hard was an impressive three-length allowance winner as the 3-5 favorite two starts back going six furlongs. He comes off a fourth-place finish at 6 1/2 furlongs in the Echo Eddie on April 5. Corey Nakatani has the call.

    One race before the Snow Chief, trainer Mike Machowsky's Rovenna will shoot for her third consecutive win as she heads a field of eight sophomore fillies in the $250,000 Melair at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

    Swiss Lake Yodeler's last win came in the Soviet Problem H. in December (Benoit Photos)

    Rovenna is riding a two-race win streak that includes a 2 3/4-length score in the Evening Jewel under Victor Espinoza, who rides her back in the Melair. The Vronsky filly, who has finished worse than third just once in her eight-race career, also ran a respectable third in the Golden State Juvenile Fillies on Santa Anita's main track last November and filled that same spot in the Cal Cup Oaks on Santa Anita's green in January.

    Hollendorfer's Swiss Lake Yodeler, who defeated Rovenna in both the Soviet Problem back in December and Golden State Juvenile Fillies, will try to rebound following a 24 3/4-length defeat in the Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway on March 22. The daughter of Swiss Yodeler will have Bejarano in the irons on Saturday.

    Harlington's Rose, runner-up in the Evening Jewel, worked a half-mile on Santa Anita's main track last Saturday under exercise rider Fernando Serna in :48 1/5 in preparation for the Melair.

    "She finished six furlongs in 1:10.37 and galloped out seven-eighths in 1:28 2/5," trainer Steve Knapp said. "It was a very solid work. She's ready."

    Knapp hopes to turn the tables on Rovenna, who outsprinted Harlington's Rose in the Evening Jewel.

    "We just have to hope that someone goes with Rovenna on the front end," he remarked. "I think there's plenty of speed in the race, and my horse has learned how to relax, so we'll be fine."

    Barring the unforeseen, Storm Fighter is the one to catch in the $125,000 Tiznow at one mile on the main track earlier on the card. The four-year-old Stormin Fever colt trained by Bruce Headley is coming off a front-running, three-quarter length victory over track and distance on April 5.

    "He's working really well, and he's turned into a beautiful, mature horse," Headley said. "It looks like he's ready to go."

    Storm Fighter will get tested for class as he aims for his third win from seven starts. Edwin Maldonado has the call.

    With more than $700,000 in earnings, Rousing Sermon is easily the leading money earner in the race. The Hollendorfer pupil looms large despite finishing a well-beaten sixth in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 8.

    Winner of the 7 1/2-furlong On Trust Handicap last November, Rousing Sermon was then a close third in the Native Diver and an even fifth in the San Pasqual prior to his Big 'Cap run. The Lucky Pulpit five-year-old keeps Bejarano in the saddle.

    Hollendorfer will also saddle Kate's Event, the elder statesman at age seven in the seven-strong field and winner of last year's Tiznow at the now-shuttered Hollywood Park.

    Trainer Barry Abrams' Lakerville will try dirt for the first time Saturday in the Tiznow and the six-year-old chestnut rates a chance if he can demonstrate a closing kick similar to the one he unfurled when second in the grassy San Simeon two weeks ago.

    The Bay Area-based Specht saddles Marks Mine in the $125,000 Spring Fever, and the four-year-old Benchmark filly drew the rail against seven rivals. The bay miss was an authoritative half-length winner as the even-money favorite in the Camilla Urso at Golden Gate Fields in March going the same six-furlong distance as the Spring Fever.

    "Once in a while she'll take a stutter step leaving there and not get away so great, but most of the time she leaves there in a hurry, and it doesn't look like there's anything directly to her outside that's going to pester her too much," Specht said of the inside post. "She shipped down here in good shape and she'll be tough."

    Marks Mine has an impressive resume that includes seven wins, two seconds and a third from 10 starts at six furlongs. She will be handled by regular rider Frank Alvarado, who was aboard for her five-furlong drill at Golden Gate Fields last Sunday in 1:00 2/5.

    Trainer Craig Lewis is hoping his Warren's Veneda will come back running after finishing third in the Bayakoa at Hollywood Park on December 7. An impressive allowance winner at Santa Anita last October 13, the four-year-old Affirmative filly has proven effective routing but will try six furlongs for the first time Saturday. Warren's Veneda will be ridden by Joe Talamo.

    Idle since running a close seventh in the 8 1/2-furlong Osunitas Stakes over Del Mar's grassy last July, Hollendorfer's Top Kisser will try dirt for the first time in her ninth career start. She's routed on turf in her last seven races, but has the advantage of breaking from the outside post 8 with Nakatani. The Old Topper mare also captured last year's Fran's Valentine on the final Gold Rush program at Hollywood Park.

    Hollendorfer's Halo Dolly seeks millionaire status as she heads a field of seven older fillies and mares in the $100,000 Fran's Valentine to get the 2014 Gold Rush stakes action underway. The one-mile turf contest, like the rest of the Gold Rush races, is being contested for the first time at Santa Anita.

    Halo Dolly comes off an authoritative win going a mile on dirt in the March 23 Dream of Summer. Although winless in three tries over the Santa Anita lawn, the six-year-old Popular mare has eight wins from 10 starts at a mile on grass. Nakatani will be aboard Halo Dolly, who needs to run first or second to eclipse the million dollar mark in winnings.

    Trainer Jeff Bonde's Unusual Way comes off a second-place finish to Halo Dolly as the 1-2 favorite in the Dream of Summer and will try to turn the tables Saturday. Blessed with an abundance of speed, the four-year-old Unusual Heat filly will be ridden for the first time in 10 starts by Bejarano.

    Ciao Bella Luna will be stretching out to a mile here after capturing the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint in January, finishing second in the Irish O'Brien on March 15, and running fifth in the April 12 Las Cienegas in her past three, all at 6 1/2 furlongs down Santa Anita's hillside turf course. Trained by Peter Miller, the four-year-old Tribal Rule filly gets Victor Espinoza in the pilot's seat.

    First post time on Saturday is 1 p.m. (PDT). Admission gates will open at 11 a.m.

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    Western Hymn looms large in Sandown Classic Trial; Telescope returns

    John Gosden has hit the ground running this Flat turf season, and the unbeaten Western Hymn puts his Epsom Derby credentials on the line for Clarehaven Stables in Friday's Group 3 Sandown Classic Trial.

    Impressive over a mile on debut on Kempton's Polytrack in December and in an often-informative Newbury conditions event over 10 furlongs April 11, Robin Geffen and Rachel Hood's exciting prospect will be a warm order to provide a seventh renewal for his conditioner.

    "It's a while since a Derby winner came out of the race, but I gather it was hot in the seventies and eighties when Troy, Henbit, Shergar and Shahrastani were successful," jockey William Buick wrote in his attheraces.com blog Thursday.

    "I'm hoping that Western Hymn is the horse that's going to put the race back in the spotlight and I have no doubts he has the ability to do it. I loved everything he did at Newbury last time, when he showed himself to be very amenable then produce a good turn of pace when I asked for it. He's taken plenty from that race and has done well since. The track should be fine, a marginally stiffer mile and a quarter to the one at Newbury and it looks as though there will be some juice in the ground, too, which he likes. He's a horse with a lot of potential and all I want him to do is keep showing it."

    At the other end of the spectrum is Ron Hull, David Brown and Clive Watson's Royal Lodge third Sir Jack Layden, who has an exposed look but who could have an edge after returning from a spell in Dubai when eighth in the March 29 U.A.E. Derby on the Tapeta, while another like Western Hymn with untapped potential is Weston Brook Farm's Lingfield conditions winner Impulsive Moment, a son of Galileo and the classy Luas Line.

    Earlier on the card, onetime Derby hope Telescope opens his four-year-old campaign in the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes. Sir Michael Stoute has used this about 1 1/4-mile test as a springboard for his returning older stars in waiting and been successful a record seven times thanks to the exploits of the likes of Singspiel, Ask and Tartan Bearer.

    One of Freemason Lodge's most vaunted prospects of recent times, Telescope disappointingly missed out on the Classics in 2013 but looked ready to make up for lost time when winning the Great Voltigeur at York in August. Subsequently meeting with the latest in a series of setbacks and being put on the shelf for the remainder of the season, Highclere Thoroughbred Racing's great hope has the operation's Managing Director Harry Herbert excited as he starts on a clean slate.

    "Sir Michael is very happy with him and we're thrilled to see him back," he told PA Sport. "He's so well that there's a good chance he'll need the run, he's had proper blows after the last two pieces of work. He's had a good break and this is a race Sir Michael likes to start off in, so hopefully he's in for a good season."

    His chief rival appears to be Godolphin's Sky Hunter, whose sole defeat for Andre Fabre came when third in the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly in June. His only subsequent outing resulted in a workmanlike first black-type success in the Prix Frederic de Lagrange over 12 furlongs at Vichy the following month and he is one of the most intriguing recruits for the boys in blue.

    "Sky Hunter is doing very well," trainer Saeed bin Suroor commented. "He is a horse I like and has been working really nicely. A mile and a quarter will be fine for him, although he will improve for his first appearance since last year."

    If the unexposed pair fail to ignite, Khalid Abdullah's Noble Mission could step in, but the string of Group-race placings which include a latest second in Newbury's John Porter on April 12 are beginning to stack up and Frankel's brother may not be the most resolute in a finish.

    Former handicapper-turned-Group 1 performer Top Notch Tonto, an unlikely hero in 2013, is back for Friday's Group 2 Sandown Mile as he bids to heap further glory on the quietly-respected but internationally-insignificant Brian Ellison stable.

    Having taken care of the four-year-old halfway through last term, the Northern conditioner managed to conjure a win in Haydock's Superior Mile and a second in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Ascot's Champions' Day from the flashy chestnut.

    "It will be an interesting race and we're looking forward to getting him started," Ellison told PA Sport. "I'm sure he'll improve a lot for the run -- we're getting him ready for the Lockinge (at Newbury May 17) -- but he's plenty done and seems in good form. He looks a million dollars at the moment and we just want to see him pick up where he left off."

    Richard Hannon Sr. struck gold seven times since 2004, and his son's duo are last year's winner Trumpet Major and jockey Richard Hughes' choice, Montiridge. The latter, who races for Mitaab Abdullah, registered two listed wins and a Group 3 in the Thoroughbred Stakes over this trip at Glorious Goodwood in August and signed off with a second to Soft Falling Rain in Newmarket's Joel Stakes in September.

    "Montiridge has won at Sandown in the soft, but Top Notch Tonto, whom I consider our biggest danger, is at his element in these conditions, so I would not mind if we saw some improvement in the ground as the better it is the more it would lessen his chance," Hannon said. "In contrast, our fellow goes on any ground. He has the class -- he was beaten a head in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and there was no disgrace in being beaten by Soft Falling Rain in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket at the back-end -- so he has to be a major player."

    Last year's Lennox winner Garswood is another with major claims for David Armstrong and Cheveley Park Stud, based on his latest third behind the established class acts Moonlight Cloud and Gordon Lord Byron in Longchamp's Prix de la Foret over seven furlongs at Longchamp, but he has stamina to prove.

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    Breeders' Cup unveils 2014 Challenge series

    The Breeders' Cup announced Thursday that the 2014 Breeders' Cup Challenge series will consist of 73 automatic qualifying races into the Breeders' Cup World Championships with 46 Challenge races to be held in the United States and Canada.

    Breeders' Cup will pay entry fees and provide travel allowances for the connections of the Challenge winners outside of California to compete in the Championships.

    Horses from around the globe will be qualifying for the 31st Breeders' Cup World Championships, which will be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, on October 31-November 1, and will be televised live in the United States by the NBC Sports Group. The $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic will be shown live in primetime on NBC from 8-9 p.m. (ET) on November 1.

    On April 21, Breeders' Cup and NBC Sports announced an expanded partnership to televise "Breeders' Cup Challenge Series: Win and You're In," a series of 18 Challenge races across 11 shows on NBC and NBCSN from top tracks in the United States from June until the World Championships.

    The Breeders' Cup Challenge series, now in its eighth year, will be held at many of the world's premier racetracks in 13 countries: the United States, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Peru and South Africa.

    As part of the enhanced benefits to horsemen in the Breeders' Cup Challenge series, Breeders' Cup will pay the entry fees and guarantee a starting position in a corresponding Championships race for winners of all Challenge races.

    Breeders' Cup will provide travel allowances to all starters outside of California for this year's Championships including Challenge race winners. Breeders' Cup will provide a $40,000 travel stipend to the connections of each Challenge winner from outside of North America and in North America, a $10,000 travel allowance for winners stabled outside of California. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders' Cup program by the Championships' pre-entry deadline of October 20 to receive the rewards.

    Last year, 36 participants in the Breeders' Cup World Championships earned automatic starting positions through the Breeders' Cup Challenge series. Mucho Macho Man (Classic); Beholder (Distaff); Dank (Filly & Mare Turf) and Wise Dan (Mile) were Challenge qualifiers who won World Championships races.

    "The Breeders' Cup Challenge series continues to be an excellent path for horsemen to secure an automatic starting berth, with fees paid, for their runners to qualify into the Championships," said Craig Fravel, president and CEO of Breeders' Cup Ltd. "We were very proud of the large number of Challenge starters that competed in last year's event, and are looking forward to attracting more horses this year as we welcome our new racetrack partners who have joined the series for the 2014 season."

    Some of the highlights of this year's Challenge series are as follows:

  • There will be a record seven automatic berths awarded for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, all Grade 1 races: Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 14; Gold Cup at Santa Anita on June 28; Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 27; Whitney from Saratoga on August 2; Pacific Classic from Del Mar on August 24; and Jockey Club Gold Cup from Belmont Park and Awesome Again from Santa Anita Park, both on September 28. Defending Classic champion Mucho Macho Man earned an automatic berth by winning last year's Awesome Again.
  • The series will include 11 new races: Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes (SAf-G1) run January 11 at Kenilworth in South Africa (Filly & Mare Turf); Queen Elizabeth (Aus-G1) at Royal Randwick in Australia run April 14 (Turf); Grande Premio Brasil (Brz-G1) at Hipodromo de Gavea in Brazil on June 8 (Turf); Clasico Cesar del Rio (Per-G3) at Hipódromo de Monterrico on June 22 in Peru (Distaff); Copa de Oro Vinas de Chile (Chi-G2) at Club Hipico de Santiago in Chile on June 27 (Dirt Mile); Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) on June 28 (Classic); Belmont Oaks at Belmont Park on July 5 (Filly & Mare Turf); Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth Park in New Jersey on July 27 (Classic); Matron (Ire-G1) at Leopardstown in Ireland on September 13 (Filly & Mare Turf); Juddmonte International at York on September 20 in England (Turf); and Rockfel (Eng-G2) at Newmarket in England on September 27 (Juvenile Fillies Turf).
  • For the fifth consecutive year, the Breeders' Cup will pay foal nominators of Challenge winners a $10,000 award.
  • The international portion of the series began on January 11 in South Africa at Kenilworth when the seven-year-old mare Beach Beauty won the Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes and qualified for an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, and the five-year-old Capetown Noir captured the Queen's Plate and gained a free start into the Breeders' Cup Mile.

    In Australia this month, three more horses earned automatic berths at Royal Randwick -- Lankan Rupee, winner of the TJ Smith (Turf); Sacred Falls, winner of the Doncaster Mile (Mile); and It's a Dundeel, who captured the Queen Elizabeth (Turf).

    The first two North American races of the series will be run on June 7 with the Metropolitan Handicap (Dirt Mile) and Ogden Phipps (Distaff) at Belmont Park, and will be televised live on NBCSN.

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    Western Hymn looms large in Sandown Classic Trial; Telescope returns

    John Gosden has hit the ground running this Flat turf season, and the unbeaten Western Hymn puts his Epsom Derby credentials on the line for Clarehaven Stables in Friday's Group 3 Sandown Classic Trial.

    Impressive over a mile on debut on Kempton's Polytrack in December and in an often-informative Newbury conditions event over 10 furlongs April 11, Robin Geffen and Rachel Hood's exciting prospect will be a warm order to provide a seventh renewal for his conditioner.

    "It's a while since a Derby winner came out of the race, but I gather it was hot in the seventies and eighties when Troy, Henbit, Shergar and Shahrastani were successful," jockey William Buick wrote in his attheraces.com blog Thursday.

    "I'm hoping that Western Hymn is the horse that's going to put the race back in the spotlight and I have no doubts he has the ability to do it. I loved everything he did at Newbury last time, when he showed himself to be very amenable then produce a good turn of pace when I asked for it. He's taken plenty from that race and has done well since. The track should be fine, a marginally stiffer mile and a quarter to the one at Newbury and it looks as though there will be some juice in the ground, too, which he likes. He's a horse with a lot of potential and all I want him to do is keep showing it."

    At the other end of the spectrum is Ron Hull, David Brown and Clive Watson's Royal Lodge third Sir Jack Layden, who has an exposed look but who could have an edge after returning from a spell in Dubai when eighth in the March 29 U.A.E. Derby on the Tapeta, while another like Western Hymn with untapped potential is Weston Brook Farm's Lingfield conditions winner Impulsive Moment, a son of Galileo and the classy Luas Line.

    Earlier on the card, onetime Derby hope Telescope opens his four-year-old campaign in the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes. Sir Michael Stoute has used this about 1 1/4-mile test as a springboard for his returning older stars in waiting and been successful a record seven times thanks to the exploits of the likes of Singspiel, Ask and Tartan Bearer.

    One of Freemason Lodge's most vaunted prospects of recent times, Telescope disappointingly missed out on the Classics in 2013 but looked ready to make up for lost time when winning the Great Voltigeur at York in August. Subsequently meeting with the latest in a series of setbacks and being put on the shelf for the remainder of the season, Highclere Thoroughbred Racing's great hope has the operation's Managing Director Harry Herbert excited as he starts on a clean slate.

    "Sir Michael is very happy with him and we're thrilled to see him back," he told PA Sport. "He's so well that there's a good chance he'll need the run, he's had proper blows after the last two pieces of work. He's had a good break and this is a race Sir Michael likes to start off in, so hopefully he's in for a good season."

    His chief rival appears to be Godolphin's Sky Hunter, whose sole defeat for Andre Fabre came when third in the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly in June. His only subsequent outing resulted in a workmanlike first black-type success in the Prix Frederic de Lagrange over 12 furlongs at Vichy the following month and he is one of the most intriguing recruits for the boys in blue.

    "Sky Hunter is doing very well," trainer Saeed bin Suroor commented. "He is a horse I like and has been working really nicely. A mile and a quarter will be fine for him, although he will improve for his first appearance since last year."

    If the unexposed pair fail to ignite, Khalid Abdullah's Noble Mission could step in, but the string of Group-race placings which include a latest second in Newbury's John Porter on April 12 are beginning to stack up and Frankel's brother may not be the most resolute in a finish.

    Former handicapper-turned-Group 1 performer Top Notch Tonto, an unlikely hero in 2013, is back for Friday's Group 2 Sandown Mile as he bids to heap further glory on the quietly-respected but internationally-insignificant Brian Ellison stable.

    Having taken care of the four-year-old halfway through last term, the Northern conditioner managed to conjure a win in Haydock's Superior Mile and a second in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Ascot's Champions' Day from the flashy chestnut.

    "It will be an interesting race and we're looking forward to getting him started," Ellison told PA Sport. "I'm sure he'll improve a lot for the run -- we're getting him ready for the Lockinge (at Newbury May 17) -- but he's plenty done and seems in good form. He looks a million dollars at the moment and we just want to see him pick up where he left off."

    Richard Hannon Sr. struck gold seven times since 2004, and his son's duo are last year's winner Trumpet Major and jockey Richard Hughes' choice, Montiridge. The latter, who races for Mitaab Abdullah, registered two listed wins and a Group 3 in the Thoroughbred Stakes over this trip at Glorious Goodwood in August and signed off with a second to Soft Falling Rain in Newmarket's Joel Stakes in September.

    "Montiridge has won at Sandown in the soft, but Top Notch Tonto, whom I consider our biggest danger, is at his element in these conditions, so I would not mind if we saw some improvement in the ground as the better it is the more it would lessen his chance," Hannon said. "In contrast, our fellow goes on any ground. He has the class -- he was beaten a head in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and there was no disgrace in being beaten by Soft Falling Rain in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket at the back-end -- so he has to be a major player."

    Last year's Lennox winner Garswood is another with major claims for David Armstrong and Cheveley Park Stud, based on his latest third behind the established class acts Moonlight Cloud and Gordon Lord Byron in Longchamp's Prix de la Foret over seven furlongs at Longchamp, but he has stamina to prove.

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    Champagne, All Aged conclude Sydney's autumn carnival

    At the end of this month, trainer Peter Snowden will hang up his hat at Darley Australia's Crown Lodge after six years as the operation's head trainer. Before that, though, Snowden has one more chance to earn Sheikh Mohammed another Group 1, with Kumaon in the Champagne Stakes at Randwick Saturday.

    Snowden certainly has the experience to win the Champagne, having taken two of the last three renewals with Helmet in 2011 and Guelph last year, and he saddles Kumaon off a sixth-place finish in the Sires' Produce Stakes two weeks ago. The dark bay, who broke his maiden at first asking at Rosehill December 21, later finished second in the Pago Pago.

    Kumaon will have to see off the challenge of Sires' Produce winner Peggy Jean, who has been prepared by trainer Gerald Ryan with these two races in mind. A winner in her second start in the lucrative Inglis Classic January 18, Peggy Jean was earning her second lifetime victory in five starts in the Sires' Produce.

    Much attention is being paid to Veuvelicious, who broke her maiden at third asking at Sandown March 22 before taking the listed Fernhill Handicap over this track and trip last weekend. She is the only runner in the field to have tried the mile distance.

    Randwick's All Aged Stakes, programmed as the final Group 1 of the Sydney autumn carnival, should surely be a fitting finale. Won in the past by the likes of All Too Hard, Atlantic Jewel and Sunline, the All Aged this year boasts some intriguing contenders deserving to join that honor roll.

    Rebel Dane is favored on the back of a strong second place finish to the brilliant Lankan Rupee in the T.J. Smith two weeks ago. That was the four-year-old's belated first outing of 2014 coming off a spring campaign that saw him victorious in the Sir Rupert Clarke, and he should enjoy the return to a drier track.

    Steps in Time, winner of the Coolmore Classic at Rosehill March 22, will be given a chance to rebound from a 13th-place finish in the T.J. Smith after failing to handle the heavy going. Weary is another to have been placed at The Championships, having finished third in the Doncaster Mile. The progressive import, who had previously won the Doncaster Prelude, is rated highly by trainer Chris Waller. Hana's Goal found no luck in running when 14th in the Coolmore Classic in her Australian debut, but was running on a sneaky good sixth in the Doncaster, and certainly poses a threat here.

    Meanwhile, at Morphetville on Saturday, filly and mare sprinters will be given their chance to shine in the Robert Sangster Classic over 1,200 meters. Platelet is receiving attention in the betting as she looks to defend her win from 12 months ago. The bay backed that victory up with a Goodwood Stakes win two weeks later, and has displayed enough consistency since to suggest she retains her class. Making a belated start to her autumn campaign, she won a Moonee Valley handicap March 21, and finished second in the local R.N. Irwin Stakes three weeks ago.

    The five-year-old will have to see off the challenge of the favored sophomore Villa Verde. Winner of the Challenge Stakes March 15, Villa Verde was a smart third in the Galaxy at Rosehill March 29 before finishing eighth three weeks ago in a boggy T.J. Smith at Royal Randwick. Dual Group 3 winner A Time for Julia seeks a first Group 1 victory off a fourth in the Coolmore Classic, and last year's Blue Diamond heroine Miracles of Life seeks her first win since that day.

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    Derby Trial highlights opening night at Churchill Downs

    Chitu could scratch from the Derby Trial in favor of the Kentucky Derby (Coady Photography)

    Churchill Downs kicks off its 38-day spring meet Saturday with a night racing program that features the 90th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Derby Trial. First post is 6 p.m. (EDT), with the Derby Trial scheduled for 10:01 p.m.

    The centerpiece of the session comes the following weekend, with the 140th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby on May 3 and the 140th running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks the day before. Churchill Downs will offer a record six Grade 1 events among its schedule of 24 stakes races worth a total of $7.675 million during the April 26-June 29 spring meet.

    Bob Baffert has a pair of Kentucky Derby prospects, Bayern and Chitu, among the 10 entrants in the Derby Trial.

    Chitu is already in the main body of the Kentucky Derby field, ranking 12th by points following his victory in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby on March 23. A winner in three of four career starts, the lone setback coming via a runner-up in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis, the Henny Hughes colt drew post 2 with jockey Joel Rosario in the Derby Trial.

    "I am going to enter him, but I am not sure if he will run," Baffert said of Chitu. "This gives me an option. He's a lazy work horse. He needs to get one good work and I want to see how he trains."

    Bayern is ranked 23rd by points and Baffert will use the Derby Trial as a Preakness prep if it doesn't appear he can get into the main body of the Derby field (Benoit Photography)

    Bayern received the innermost post position and Rosie Napravnik is named to ride. A debut maiden special weight scorer on January 4, the Offlee Wild colt recorded a 15-length allowance victory in his second career outing but missed a planned stakes debut in the March 8 San Felipe due to a foot issue. He came back from a two-month hiatus in the Arkansas Derby, weakening to third as the favorite after establishing the early pace, and is eligible to keep improving in his second stakes attempt.

    Bayern remains under consideration for the Kentucky Derby but would need help making the field, currently ranking 23rd.

    "Bayern likes this track, so I am going to enter him in the Trial and watch for defections (from the Derby field)," Baffert said. "I think the Trial would set him up for the Preakness well."

    Spot is another top contender. A sharp 2 1/2-length winner in the Grade 2 Swale at seven furlongs, the Nick Zito-trained gelding was never a factor trying two turns in the Florida Derby, checking in seventh, but the son of Pulpit should appreciate the cutback to a one-turn mile. John Velazquez picks up the mount.

    Laddie Boy makes his first start at Churchill Downs since finishing second in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club in late November. Conditioned by Chuck Peery, the gray colt showed little in his first two outings this year on Polytrack, recording a pair of fifths in the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway and the off-the-turf Transylvania at Keeneland, but he will receive an equipment change with blinkers off and picks up the services of the hot-riding Stewart Elliott.

    Grade 2-placed Big Sugar Soda tries graded company again following a runner-up in the March 22 Gazebo at Oaklawn Park. Matador has raced exclusively in stakes in all six career starts, with a close fourth in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis being his best outcome this season, and Friendswith K Mill receives class relief after finishing seventh behind California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby.

    Embellishing Bob will be tested for class following an encouraging maiden win at Fair Grounds, registering a 102 BRIS Speed rating for the four-length decision. Recent Keeneland allowance winner Myositis Dan and expected long shot Bitters 'n Bourbon round out the field.

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    Champagne, All Aged conclude Sydney's autumn carnival

    At the end of this month, trainer Peter Snowden will hang up his hat at Darley Australia's Crown Lodge after six years as the operation's head trainer. Before that, though, Snowden has one more chance to earn Sheikh Mohammed another Group 1, with Kumaon in the Champagne Stakes at Randwick Saturday.

    Snowden certainly has the experience to win the Champagne, having taken two of the last three renewals with Helmet in 2011 and Guelph last year, and he saddles Kumaon off a sixth-place finish in the Sires' Produce Stakes two weeks ago. The dark bay, who broke his maiden at first asking at Rosehill December 21, later finished second in the Pago Pago.

    Kumaon will have to see off the challenge of Sires' Produce winner Peggy Jean, who has been prepared by trainer Gerald Ryan with these two races in mind. A winner in her second start in the lucrative Inglis Classic January 18, Peggy Jean was earning her second lifetime victory in five starts in the Sires' Produce.

    Much attention is being paid to Veuvelicious, who broke her maiden at third asking at Sandown March 22 before taking the listed Fernhill Handicap over this track and trip last weekend. She is the only runner in the field to have tried the mile distance.

    Randwick's All Aged Stakes, programmed as the final Group 1 of the Sydney autumn carnival, should surely be a fitting finale. Won in the past by the likes of All Too Hard, Atlantic Jewel and Sunline, the All Aged this year boasts some intriguing contenders deserving to join that honor roll.

    Rebel Dane is favored on the back of a strong second place finish to the brilliant Lankan Rupee in the T.J. Smith two weeks ago. That was the four-year-old's belated first outing of 2014 coming off a spring campaign that saw him victorious in the Sir Rupert Clarke, and he should enjoy the return to a drier track.

    Steps in Time, winner of the Coolmore Classic at Rosehill March 22, will be given a chance to rebound from a 13th-place finish in the T.J. Smith after failing to handle the heavy going. Weary is another to have been placed at The Championships, having finished third in the Doncaster Mile. The progressive import, who had previously won the Doncaster Prelude, is rated highly by trainer Chris Waller. Hana's Goal found no luck in running when 14th in the Coolmore Classic in her Australian debut, but was running on a sneaky good sixth in the Doncaster, and certainly poses a threat here.

    Meanwhile, at Morphetville on Saturday, filly and mare sprinters will be given their chance to shine in the Robert Sangster Classic over 1,200 meters. Platelet is receiving attention in the betting as she looks to defend her win from 12 months ago. The bay backed that victory up with a Goodwood Stakes win two weeks later, and has displayed enough consistency since to suggest she retains her class. Making a belated start to her autumn campaign, she won a Moonee Valley handicap March 21, and finished second in the local R.N. Irwin Stakes three weeks ago.

    The five-year-old will have to see off the challenge of the favored sophomore Villa Verde. Winner of the Challenge Stakes March 15, Villa Verde was a smart third in the Galaxy at Rosehill March 29 before finishing eighth three weeks ago in a boggy T.J. Smith at Royal Randwick. Dual Group 3 winner A Time for Julia seeks a first Group 1 victory off a fourth in the Coolmore Classic, and last year's Blue Diamond heroine Miracles of Life seeks her first win since that day.

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    Derby Trial highlights opening night at Churchill Downs

    Chitu could scratch from the Derby Trial in favor of the Kentucky Derby (Coady Photography)

    Churchill Downs kicks off its 38-day spring meet Saturday with a night racing program that features the 90th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Derby Trial. First post is 6 p.m. (EDT), with the Derby Trial scheduled for 10:01 p.m.

    The centerpiece of the session comes the following weekend, with the 140th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby on May 3 and the 140th running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks the day before. Churchill Downs will offer a record six Grade 1 events among its schedule of 24 stakes races worth a total of $7.675 million during the April 26-June 29 spring meet.

    Bob Baffert has a pair of Kentucky Derby prospects, Bayern and Chitu, among the 10 entrants in the Derby Trial.

    Chitu is already in the main body of the Kentucky Derby field, ranking 12th by points following his victory in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby on March 23. A winner in three of four career starts, the lone setback coming via a runner-up in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis, the Henny Hughes colt drew post 2 with jockey Joel Rosario in the Derby Trial.

    "I am going to enter him, but I am not sure if he will run," Baffert said of Chitu. "This gives me an option. He's a lazy work horse. He needs to get one good work and I want to see how he trains."

    Bayern is ranked 23rd by points and Baffert will use the Derby Trial as a Preakness prep if it doesn't appear he can get into the main body of the Derby field (Benoit Photography)

    Bayern received the innermost post position and Rosie Napravnik is named to ride. A debut maiden special weight scorer on January 4, the Offlee Wild colt recorded a 15-length allowance victory in his second career outing but missed a planned stakes debut in the March 8 San Felipe due to a foot issue. He came back from a two-month hiatus in the Arkansas Derby, weakening to third as the favorite after establishing the early pace, and is eligible to keep improving in his second stakes attempt.

    Bayern remains under consideration for the Kentucky Derby but would need help making the field, currently ranking 23rd.

    "Bayern likes this track, so I am going to enter him in the Trial and watch for defections (from the Derby field)," Baffert said. "I think the Trial would set him up for the Preakness well."

    Spot is another top contender. A sharp 2 1/2-length winner in the Grade 2 Swale at seven furlongs, the Nick Zito-trained gelding was never a factor trying two turns in the Florida Derby, checking in seventh, but the son of Pulpit should appreciate the cutback to a one-turn mile. John Velazquez picks up the mount.

    Laddie Boy makes his first start at Churchill Downs since finishing second in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club in late November. Conditioned by Chuck Peery, the gray colt showed little in his first two outings this year on Polytrack, recording a pair of fifths in the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway and the off-the-turf Transylvania at Keeneland, but he will receive an equipment change with blinkers off and picks up the services of the hot-riding Stewart Elliott.

    Grade 2-placed Big Sugar Soda tries graded company again following a runner-up in the March 22 Gazebo at Oaklawn Park. Matador has raced exclusively in stakes in all six career starts, with a close fourth in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis being his best outcome this season, and Friendswith K Mill receives class relief after finishing seventh behind California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby.

    Embellishing Bob will be tested for class following an encouraging maiden win at Fair Grounds, registering a 102 BRIS Speed rating for the four-length decision. Recent Keeneland allowance winner Myositis Dan and expected long shot Bitters 'n Bourbon round out the field.

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    Canadian champ Forte Dei Marmi faces tough field in Elkhorn

    Canadian champ Forte Dei Marmi will break from post 13 in the Elkhorn (WEG/Michael Burns Photography)

    Forte Dei Marmi, who rebounded from a slow start to the 2013 season to become Canada's champion turf male, will hope for better luck in this year's renewal of the Grade 2, $250,000 Elkhorn, which brings down the curtain at the Keeneland spring meet Friday.

    The Roger Attfield-trained eight-year-old gelding, fifth in a nine-furlong Keeneland allowance prep on April 5, is entering the Elkhorn in the same fashion he did last year. However, his performance in the 2013 edition of the 1 1/2-mile grass feature is best forgotten as he was pulled up and vanned off after losing contact with the field. His next try was not much better, a ninth in the Dixie at Pimlico.

    "Scared the life out of me. Nothing happened," said Attfield of the 2013 Elkhorn. "It was upsetting but a relief, too, when we realized he was OK."

    Forte Dei Marmi's fortunes took a positive turn when he remained to race at his Woodbine home base. The son of Selkirk reeled off three straight graded wins in the Singspiel, Sky Classic, and Northern Dancer, and despite a poor try in the Canadian International, won a Sovereign Award as the Dominion's top turf male.

    The Elkhorn will be no easy task for Forte Dei Marmi, who faces a solid group of rivals and was saddled with post 13 in the 14-horse field.

    Optimizer is inconsistent but capable with his best race. A multiple Grade 3 winner at Fair Grounds last year, he later went on to place in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, Dixie, and Manhattan Handicap. However, the D. Wayne Lukas charge was an ineffective eighth in the March 8 Frank E. Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita in his season debut.

    Temeraine, most recently third in the San Luis Rey at Santa Anita, enjoyed solid form last season winning the Kentucky Turf Cup and finishing a close second in both the Arlington Handicap and Hollywood Turf Cup. Stakes veterans Eagle Poise, Tricky Hat, and Suntracer also figure in the Elkhorn having finished close together for minor awards in the $100,000 Sycamore over the Polytrack last October.

    Returning to the turf after a modest dirt effort at Gulfstream is War Dancer, the 2013 Virginia Derby winner who will have to work out a trip from post 14.

    "He's had some rough trips in his last few races, and I tried him on the dirt one last time, which didn't go all that well, but he's a nice horse, doing good," trainer Ken McPeek said. "A mile and a half won't be an issue. He'll love it."

    Another one of last year's capable sophomores, Amen Kitten, enters the Elkhorn off two solid placings in the Hollywood Derby and Mac Diarmida.

    Others who might factor are the New York-bred stakes winner Hangover Kid, runner-up in his last two including the Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct, and Old Time Hockey, winner most recently of the Florida Cup Turf Classic at Tampa Bay Downs.

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    In brief

    Golden Gate Fields will begin an abbreviated three-day racing week Friday and there is a special 1:45 p.m. (PDT) post time for the eight-race program. Post time Saturday and Sunday is 12:45 p.m., with Saturday's card featuring the 64th running of the $100,000 San Francisco Mile (G3) and Sunday's program will showcasing $1 specials (general parking, general admission, programs, hot dogs, beers and sodas cost just a buck each). A field of eight was drawn for the San Francisco Mile, Northern California's most important turf race. Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer will send out a trio of runners -- dual Grade 3 winner Summer Hit (Bertrando), who was runner-up in last year's San Francisco Mile; multiple Grade 3-placed stakes hero Longview Drive (Pulpit); and lightly-raced five-year-old gelding Tribal Jewel (Tribal Rule). Hudson Landing (Maria's Mon), who won the San Francisco Mile in 2012 and finished sixth in the feature last year, will compete in the stakes for the third straight time. Trained by Blaine Wright, the seven-year-old gelding comes into Saturday's race off a solid second-place finish in a one-mile optional claimer on March 30. That race was won by the re-opposing Pepnic (Peppered Cat), who was claimed for $62,500 by trainer Tim McCanna on behalf of owner David P. Taylor Jr. Alex Paszkeicz -- who bred, owned and trained -- Pepnic, will send out Pepper Crown (Peppered Cat) in the San Francisco Mile. Pepper Crown finished third behind Pepnic and Hudson Landing in the March 30 race and will make his first stakes start on Saturday. Top Southern California trainer John Sadler, who saddled Tigah to victory in last year's running, will be represented by Horizontalyspeakin (Medallist) in this year's renewal. The bay gelding is two-for-two this year with the victories coming in allowance races on the turf at Santa Anita. Completing the field is Fast Track (Taste of Paradise), a seven-year-old gelding with a three-race winning streak on the grass at Turf Paradise. All of the starters carry 122 pounds...

    Santa Anita kicks off its inaugural spring meet Friday and Ron McAnally hopes to make history by winning the first stakes race ever contested at the session that runs for 40 days through June 29. The Hall of Fame trainer sends out Chilean-bred Quick Casablanca (Until Sundown) in the first edition of the $100,000 Last Tycoon (G3) at nine furlongs on the turf. "He's training good," McAnally said of the six-year-old horse who raced in New York in his five U.S. starts for trainer Christophe Clement until last November. The Last Tycoon will mark his first start under McAnally's direction. "There were some off tracks back there and I guess he likes firm going," McAnally said in explaining the move. "Anyway, I'm kind of anxious to see we are with him. He won the Chilean Derby back in 2012 and that was a good race." Quick Casablanca is winless in five stateside starts thus far, but was a creditable fourth after setting the pace in the Bowling Green H. (G2) at Belmont Park last September 7...

    Santa Anita kicks off its Spring Meet with a Friday card highlighted by the $100,000 Last Tycoon (G3), the successor to the Inglewood H. that would have been run around this time at old Hollywood Park. Rookie Sensation (Unbridled's Song) looked like the next big thing when taking the November 1 Twilight Derby (G2) over this turf course and 1 1/8-mile distance. Winless since then, he tired to fifth after uncharacteristically setting the pace in the 1 1/4-mile Hollywood Derby (G1), trailed throughout in a dirt experiment in the January 18 Strub (G2), and was a near-miss, troubled second in an allowance here March 15. Trainer John Shirreffs has Rookie Sensation well spotted to regain the winning thread, and he gets a rider switch to Hall of Famer Mike Smith. Smart turf sprinter Lakerville (Unusual Heat) wheels back only 12 days after his fast-finishing second in the San Simeon (G3) on the downhill turf, and tests his stamina for the first time over 1 1/8 miles. In his only prior two-turn attempt, the Barry Abrams charge was sixth in the March 8 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1). Fire With Fire (Distorted Humor), on the other hand, takes a dramatic step down in trip after his front-running victory in the 1 1/2-mile San Luis Rey (G2) March 22. Joelito (Rock Hard Ten) comes off a runner-up effort to course record-tying Tom's Tribute (Lion Heart) in the April 6 Thunder Road, while Spring Up (Spring at Last) exits a rallying allowance score over the course. Rounding out the field is former Chilean Horse of the Year Quick Casablanca (Until Sundown), who placed twice from five starts for Christophe Clement last year and begins afresh for new trainer Ron McAnally...

    Youcan'tcatchme (The Daddy), Canada's recently honored champion female sprinter of 2013, makes her seasonal debut in Saturday's $150,000 Whimsical (Can-G3) at Woodbine. The aptly-named five-year-old captured three stakes in five starts last season including a pair of Grade 3 victories in the Seaway and Ontario Fashion. Trained by Sam DiPasquale, the dark bay Florida homebred enjoyed a breakout season, combining with pilot Justin Stein to overpower fields with front-running performances in which she dictated the tempo. "It takes a team (to raise a horse) and Youcan'tcatchme has been through a lot of trials and injuries," owner Murray Stroud said at the Sovereign Awards. "As a two-year-old she had a back injury and as a three-year-old she had a condylar fracture and had to come back from that." Stroud was duly appreciative of the mare's eye-popping campaign. "She's a lovely animal. I am blessed to have a horse like Youcan'tcatchme. She has a personality that is unbelievable to be around." Youcan'tcatchme returned to the work tab at Woodbine on March 11 and has breezed six times in preparation for her seasonal debut, including a recent five-furlong bullet over the Polytrack in :59 1/5 on April 20. Goldstryke Glory (Second in Command), who finished second in the Sovereign Award voting to Youcan'tcatchme, will once again threaten to take pole position from her rival as she attempts to duplicate her season-ending win in the Apelia over her opponent. The dark bay four-year-old won three of four Woodbine starts last season after arriving from Hastings Park, including a score in the Inglorious. Slade Campbell takes over Saturday for the suspended Jesse Campbell. Spring in the Air (Sprint at Last), a Sovereign Award winner as a juvenile on the back of an impressive score in Keeneland's Alcibiades (G1), races six furlongs for the first time since her 10 1/4-length maiden romp on August 4, 2012. The four-year-old has primarily routed in her 12-race career though she did show speed to take the seven-furlong Fury last season. On the shelf since a third-place run in the La Lorgnette on September 21, Spring in the Air wintered in Florida breezing regularly at Ocala Training Center. Patrick Husbands will ride...

    Last year's Preakness runner-up Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) is expected to be heavily favored in Saturday's $75,000 Best of the Rest while running on the same Gulfstream Park track over which he scored victories in the Holy Bull (G3) and Gulfstream Park Derby in 2013. The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained four-year-old established himself as one of the top sophomores in the country last year before suffering a pelvic fracture last June. Out of action for almost ninth months, Itsmyluckday came back to finish fourth behind 2013 Belmont winner Palace Malice, 2012 Travers victor Golden Ticket and Canadian classic hero Uncaptured in the Gulfstream Park H. (G2) on March 8. "He came out of the race 110 percent. He's training fantastically," said Plesa, who trained Best of the Rest during a career that included 16 wins and $1.4 million in purses (1997-2003). "He couldn't be doing any better." Paco Lopez has the return mount aboard Lawyer Ron. Among those lining up against the dark bay will be Border Song (Stormy River), who was winless in seven starts on turf before being claimed by Rontos Racing Stable in February and going on to demonstrate a greater affinity for dirt in recent starts at Gulfstream. "When we claimed him, we thought he'd be better on dirt than he is on turf," Ron Sanchez of Rontos Racing Stable said. "The first two races he ran were on (synthetic footing). After we claimed him, he trained good on dirt and when we breezed him for the first time, he went :46 1/5 (for a half-mile). We said, 'Wow, this is a dirt horse.'" The Manny Azpurua-trained Border Song overcame a hard bumping incident at the start of his first race for his new connections to finish second in a six-furlong optional claimer. The five-year-old came back to win his first U.S. race, closing after a wide trip to capture a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race on March 20. In his most recent start, he closed to finish fourth in a very tough Sir Shackleton going 6 1/2 furlongs on March 29. "He's a tremendous horse. He's healthy and strong. He can run from six furlongs to a mile, a mile and a sixteenth," Sanchez said. "We're very happy with him." Elvis Trujillo has been named to ride...

    With a third-place finish in last month's Razorback H. (G3) under his belt, Taptowne (Tapit) figures to move forward in his second start of the year in Saturday's $200,000 Texas Mile (G3) at Lone Star Park. The charismatic gray gelding, a stakes winner at Mountaineer and Penn National last season, also placed in such lucrative events as the Oaklawn H. (G2), Prairie Meadows Cornhusker H. (G3), and Ack Ack H. (G3). Taptowne was only a head behind the runner-up in the Razorback, which was contested on an off track. Grand Contender (Strong Contender), a dual stakes winner at Delta Downs over the winter, demonstrated his worth against classier rivals during the Fair Grounds meet, earning the silver in both the Mineshaft H. (G3) and Louisiana H. Another with back class is Bourbon Courage (Lion Heart), who seeks his first win since the 2012 Super Derby (G2). The five-year-old was fourth in the Donn H. (G1) two back and second against allowance foes at Oaklawn most recently. Getting a class test in the Texas Mile is Forest Mouse (Teton Forest), a leading handicap star on the New Mexico circuit...

    Trainer Tom Proctor appears to be holding a solid two-card hand going into Sunday's $100,000 Wilshire H. (G3) at Santa Anita Park, as his sharp recent allowance winners Theatre Star (War Front) and Premier Steps (Footstepsinthesand) head a field of seven fillies and mares in the one-mile turf contest. Gary Stevens, who rode both horses to victory in their most recent starts, has opted for Theatre Star, who had won three races in-a-row for trainer Dale Romans prior to shipping west to Proctor and winning a 1 1/8-mile turf allowance on April 4. "We figured she would show speed and Gary just let her do what she wanted," assistant trainer Aimee Dollase said after the filly's Southern California debut. "It's nice that he was able to teach her to rate off others as well. That's going to help her in the long run. She won today, well within herself, and it looks like she's something special." Theatre Star seeks her fifth consecutive win in what will be her initial stakes engagement. Premier Steps was a minor stakes winner going a grassy mile five starts back at Gulfstream Park in January 2013 when trained by Chad Brown. Second in her Southern California debut for Proctor at 6 1/2 furlongs down Santa Anita's hillside turf course, the Irish-bred stalked the pace and was an impressive one-length allowance winner going one mile on turf March 9. Top rider Rafael Bejarano will ride Florida-based Parranda (English Channel) for the first time in the Wilshire. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Parranda comes off a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Honey Fox (G2) at Gulfstream, but was a handy gate-to-wire winner two starts back in the Suwannee River (G3). Victress of the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf at Gulfstream in January, Parranda has an extensive resume that includes four stakes wins from eight overall victories in 21 starts...

    Tom Leach interviewed trainer Roger Attfield, who will send out Forte dei Marmi (Selkirk) in Friday's $250,000 Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland. The British-bred gelding captured last September's Northern Dancer (Can-G1) at Woodbine, but has been unplaced in two starts since, including a fifth-placing when beaten two lengths in a Keeneland allowance while making his eight-year-old debut on April 5...

    Keeneland will hold the biggest party in Lexington for the May 2 Kentucky Oaks and May 3 Kentucky Derby. Fans will be able to watch and wager on those races and other races from Churchill Downs as well as other major tracks in North America on both days. Fans are welcome to picnic in the paddock and walking ring or watch the Churchill races on the infield tote board from the grandstand seats. Tables in the dining rooms and Clubhouse are sold out, but concessions and bars will be open throughout the grandstand. Admission to Keeneland is free on Oaks Day and $5 per person on Derby Day, with children 12 and under admitted free. Tickets are still available for the annual Martinis on the Lawn on Oaks Day. Fans can enjoy an upscale celebration in the Clubhouse and Club Lawn from 3:30-7:30 p.m. (EDT) that includes a light buffet, cash bar, live jazz music and simulcast of the Kentucky Oaks. Tickets are $40 each and may be purchased by clicking here. A limited number of tables remain for the Derby Bash at the Keene Barn & Entertainment Center. Tickets are $65 per person for a table of eight in the Entertainment Center and $55 per person for a table of eight in the Keene Barn. The Bash will offer a Keeneland-themed buffet, snack bar after 3 p.m., live music, cash bar, Kentucky Derby souvenir program and simulcast of the Derby. Tickets may be purchased by clicking here...

    Winners of the All-Weather Championships have been revealed following a superb season, which culminated with the new £1 million Finals Day at Lingfield Park last Friday. Connections of the six category winners -- Trainer of the Year, Jockey of the Year, Owner of the Year, Horse of the Year in terms of prize money, Winning-most Horse and Sire of the Year -- will each receive £10,000. Adam Kirby was crowned Jockey of the Year with 90 wins during the season, which ran from October 26 to April 18, ahead of nearest rival Luke Morris (75 wins) with Joe Fanning third (64). Mark Johnston was Trainer of the Year following 68 victories over the season, ahead of Mick Appleby (46) and David Evans (36). Johnston's leading patron, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed al Maktoum, dominated the owner standings with 46 wins and was Owner of the Year, well in front of Godolphin (16) and Dr. Marwan Koukash (15). Yvonne Jacques' Grandeur (Verglas) was the Horse of the Year. The Jeremy Noseda charge amassed prize money of just in excess of £150,000, courtesy of victories at Lingfield Park in the Winter Derby Trial on February 22 and the £200,000 Coral Easter Classic on All-Weather Championships Finals Day. Shapoor Mistry's Alumina (Invincible Spirit) was the Winning-most Horse with six wins. Mr Burbidge (Midnight Legend) also had six wins, but Alumina took the prize by virtue of her two thirds during the championship period for trainer Andrew Balding. Her sire, Invincible Spirit, who stands at the Irish National Stud, was Stallion of the Year thanks to 41 victories...

    Great British Racing International and The Racecourse Association have partnered to launch the GBRI Members Club, an initiative aimed at providing international owners with the best possible experience of racing in Britain. Benefits for members will include exclusive RCA access to all British racecourses, including access to fine dining, and complimentary access to the Racing Post for iPad Daily Edition. The club will include members from more than 30 countries, including Australia, Hong Kong, the U.S., India, Japan, Russia, Europe and the Middle East. "Owners are the most important stakeholders in racing," GBRI's International Executive Carter Carnegie said, "and we should never underestimate the fact that, along with owners based in Britain, so many international owners choose to make a significant and sustained investment in British racing. The GBRI Members Club recognizes and rewards the contribution of international owners. We are delighted to have worked closely with The Racecourse Association and with trainers around Britain to launch this Club and look forward to seeing its members enjoying benefits throughout the season."...

    The Pattern system will be the subject of a session entitled: "The Pattern: now and in the future" during the 35th Asian Racing Conference in Hong Kong. Brian Kavanagh, who is Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, Chairman of the European Pattern Committee and Vice-Chairman of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, will be the keynote presenter on the subject, and he will be joined by a panel drawn from around the world to discuss a range of issues pertaining to the Pattern. The panel includes: William A. Nader, Executive Director of Racing at the Hong Kong Jockey Club and Chairman of the Asian Pattern Committee; Kevin Dixon, Chairman of the Australian Pattern Committee; Greg Purcell, CEO of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing; Nigel Gray, Head of Handicapping and Race Planning at the Hong Kong Jockey Club and co-Chairman of the World's Best Racehorse Rankings Committee; and Robin Bruss from the National Horseracing Authority of Southern Africa. Among the subjects that will be debated are whether use of the Pattern is consistent throughout the world, how to strike the right balance between domestic race planning and the regional/international Pattern, and whether the time has come for a new tier of "Super Group 1" races. The Conference is being organized by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, in association with the Asian Racing Federation and takes place from May 5-8 at Hong Kong's Conference and Exhibition Centre, overlooking the world famous Hong Kong harbor. For more information, please visit www.archk2014.com...

    Santa Anita will offer fans free weekend admission to its spacious Infield Area and free parking via Infield Gate 6, beginning Saturday through the conclusion of the upcoming spring meet that ends June 29. "Our spring meet opens (Friday) and for the first time ever, we will be open for live racing during the Triple Crown," Santa Anita Vice President of Marketing Nate Newby said. "Our Infield has been and remains an incredibly popular area for young people, families and groups and we are excited to be able to showcase our entire facility leading into the Kentucky Derby and through the Belmont Stakes. By offering free parking and free admission in the Infield, we're hoping to attract many thousands of new and existing fans and expose them to the best our sport has to offer. In addition to great racing both here and around the country, we're also going to let folks know that they are welcome to bring beach chairs to the Infield, coolers with picnic items and non-alcoholic beverages."...

    William J. Shively's Dixiana Farm has become the sponsor of the 29th Elkhorn (G2), the traditional closing-day feature of Keeneland's spring meet. The purse for Friday's race was increased $100,000, to $250,000, but the prizes that day aren't limited to racehorse owners. Dixiana is sponsoring a "Best Turned Out Award" that will recognize a groom with a horse competing in the Mata Hari (6TH race), the Tower Hill (8TH race) and Elkhorn (9TH race). In the paddock prior to each race, a representative from Dixiana Farm will judge the horses on their appearance, including the cleanliness of their tack, and on the appearance of their grooms. The groom selected for presenting the best turned-out racehorse in each race will receive $500. Dixiana is also sponsor of the Bourbon (G3) on October 5 during Keeneland's Fall Stars Weekend...

    Jockey Edwin Maldonado has split with agent Jim Pegram and reunited with Vic Lipton, effective immediately. "It was by mutual consent," said Lipton, who represented Maldonado when he won three riding titles, two at Hollywood Park and one at Fairplex Park in Pomona. Maldonado finished sixth in the standings at Santa Anita's winter meet with 37 victories from 263 mounts. He also had 34 seconds and 50 thirds, with purse earnings of $1,465,186...

    Among the horses competing this weekend during the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park is 2001 Keeneland September Yearling Sale graduate Supplize. Emily Beshear, daughter-in-law of Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, will ride the 14-year-old son of Will's Way, whose show name is Here's To You. A $1,700 RNA at the September Sale, Supplize was winless in three races and earned $1,290. At Rolex, horses compete in dressage, cross-country and show jumping. Click here for more about Here's To You...

    On Keeneland's closing day Friday, there will be a Concert on the Lawn presented by Dixiana Farms to benefit Markey Cancer Center. The event, to be held on the Clubhouse Lawn beginning at 6 p.m. (EDT), features a free concert by Lexington's own Laura Bell Bundy and Sundy Best.

    Canadian champ Forte Dei Marmi faces tough field in Elkhorn

    Canadian champ Forte Dei Marmi will break from post 13 in the Elkhorn (WEG/Michael Burns Photography)

    Forte Dei Marmi, who rebounded from a slow start to the 2013 season to become Canada's champion turf male, will hope for better luck in this year's renewal of the Grade 2, $250,000 Elkhorn, which brings down the curtain at the Keeneland spring meet Friday.

    The Roger Attfield-trained eight-year-old gelding, fifth in a nine-furlong Keeneland allowance prep on April 5, is entering the Elkhorn in the same fashion he did last year. However, his performance in the 2013 edition of the 1 1/2-mile grass feature is best forgotten as he was pulled up and vanned off after losing contact with the field. His next try was not much better, a ninth in the Dixie at Pimlico.

    "Scared the life out of me. Nothing happened," said Attfield of the 2013 Elkhorn. "It was upsetting but a relief, too, when we realized he was OK."

    Forte Dei Marmi's fortunes took a positive turn when he remained to race at his Woodbine home base. The son of Selkirk reeled off three straight graded wins in the Singspiel, Sky Classic, and Northern Dancer, and despite a poor try in the Canadian International, won a Sovereign Award as the Dominion's top turf male.

    The Elkhorn will be no easy task for Forte Dei Marmi, who faces a solid group of rivals and was saddled with post 13 in the 14-horse field.

    Optimizer is inconsistent but capable with his best race. A multiple Grade 3 winner at Fair Grounds last year, he later went on to place in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, Dixie, and Manhattan Handicap. However, the D. Wayne Lukas charge was an ineffective eighth in the March 8 Frank E. Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita in his season debut.

    Temeraine, most recently third in the San Luis Rey at Santa Anita, enjoyed solid form last season winning the Kentucky Turf Cup and finishing a close second in both the Arlington Handicap and Hollywood Turf Cup. Stakes veterans Eagle Poise, Tricky Hat, and Suntracer also figure in the Elkhorn having finished close together for minor awards in the $100,000 Sycamore over the Polytrack last October.

    Returning to the turf after a modest dirt effort at Gulfstream is War Dancer, the 2013 Virginia Derby winner who will have to work out a trip from post 14.

    "He's had some rough trips in his last few races, and I tried him on the dirt one last time, which didn't go all that well, but he's a nice horse, doing good," trainer Ken McPeek said. "A mile and a half won't be an issue. He'll love it."

    Another one of last year's capable sophomores, Amen Kitten, enters the Elkhorn off two solid placings in the Hollywood Derby and Mac Diarmida.

    Others who might factor are the New York-bred stakes winner Hangover Kid, runner-up in his last two including the Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct, and Old Time Hockey, winner most recently of the Florida Cup Turf Classic at Tampa Bay Downs.

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    In brief

    Golden Gate Fields will begin an abbreviated three-day racing week Friday and there is a special 1:45 p.m. (PDT) post time for the eight-race program. Post time Saturday and Sunday is 12:45 p.m., with Saturday's card featuring the 64th running of the $100,000 San Francisco Mile (G3) and Sunday's program will showcasing $1 specials (general parking, general admission, programs, hot dogs, beers and sodas cost just a buck each). A field of eight was drawn for the San Francisco Mile, Northern California's most important turf race. Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer will send out a trio of runners -- dual Grade 3 winner Summer Hit (Bertrando), who was runner-up in last year's San Francisco Mile; multiple Grade 3-placed stakes hero Longview Drive (Pulpit); and lightly-raced five-year-old gelding Tribal Jewel (Tribal Rule). Hudson Landing (Maria's Mon), who won the San Francisco Mile in 2012 and finished sixth in the feature last year, will compete in the stakes for the third straight time. Trained by Blaine Wright, the seven-year-old gelding comes into Saturday's race off a solid second-place finish in a one-mile optional claimer on March 30. That race was won by the re-opposing Pepnic (Peppered Cat), who was claimed for $62,500 by trainer Tim McCanna on behalf of owner David P. Taylor Jr. Alex Paszkeicz -- who bred, owned and trained -- Pepnic, will send out Pepper Crown (Peppered Cat) in the San Francisco Mile. Pepper Crown finished third behind Pepnic and Hudson Landing in the March 30 race and will make his first stakes start on Saturday. Top Southern California trainer John Sadler, who saddled Tigah to victory in last year's running, will be represented by Horizontalyspeakin (Medallist) in this year's renewal. The bay gelding is two-for-two this year with the victories coming in allowance races on the turf at Santa Anita. Completing the field is Fast Track (Taste of Paradise), a seven-year-old gelding with a three-race winning streak on the grass at Turf Paradise. All of the starters carry 122 pounds...

    Santa Anita kicks off its inaugural spring meet Friday and Ron McAnally hopes to make history by winning the first stakes race ever contested at the session that runs for 40 days through June 29. The Hall of Fame trainer sends out Chilean-bred Quick Casablanca (Until Sundown) in the first edition of the $100,000 Last Tycoon (G3) at nine furlongs on the turf. "He's training good," McAnally said of the six-year-old horse who raced in New York in his five U.S. starts for trainer Christophe Clement until last November. The Last Tycoon will mark his first start under McAnally's direction. "There were some off tracks back there and I guess he likes firm going," McAnally said in explaining the move. "Anyway, I'm kind of anxious to see we are with him. He won the Chilean Derby back in 2012 and that was a good race." Quick Casablanca is winless in five stateside starts thus far, but was a creditable fourth after setting the pace in the Bowling Green H. (G2) at Belmont Park last September 7...

    Santa Anita kicks off its Spring Meet with a Friday card highlighted by the $100,000 Last Tycoon (G3), the successor to the Inglewood H. that would have been run around this time at old Hollywood Park. Rookie Sensation (Unbridled's Song) looked like the next big thing when taking the November 1 Twilight Derby (G2) over this turf course and 1 1/8-mile distance. Winless since then, he tired to fifth after uncharacteristically setting the pace in the 1 1/4-mile Hollywood Derby (G1), trailed throughout in a dirt experiment in the January 18 Strub (G2), and was a near-miss, troubled second in an allowance here March 15. Trainer John Shirreffs has Rookie Sensation well spotted to regain the winning thread, and he gets a rider switch to Hall of Famer Mike Smith. Smart turf sprinter Lakerville (Unusual Heat) wheels back only 12 days after his fast-finishing second in the San Simeon (G3) on the downhill turf, and tests his stamina for the first time over 1 1/8 miles. In his only prior two-turn attempt, the Barry Abrams charge was sixth in the March 8 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1). Fire With Fire (Distorted Humor), on the other hand, takes a dramatic step down in trip after his front-running victory in the 1 1/2-mile San Luis Rey (G2) March 22. Joelito (Rock Hard Ten) comes off a runner-up effort to course record-tying Tom's Tribute (Lion Heart) in the April 6 Thunder Road, while Spring Up (Spring at Last) exits a rallying allowance score over the course. Rounding out the field is former Chilean Horse of the Year Quick Casablanca (Until Sundown), who placed twice from five starts for Christophe Clement last year and begins afresh for new trainer Ron McAnally...

    Youcan'tcatchme (The Daddy), Canada's recently honored champion female sprinter of 2013, makes her seasonal debut in Saturday's $150,000 Whimsical (Can-G3) at Woodbine. The aptly-named five-year-old captured three stakes in five starts last season including a pair of Grade 3 victories in the Seaway and Ontario Fashion. Trained by Sam DiPasquale, the dark bay Florida homebred enjoyed a breakout season, combining with pilot Justin Stein to overpower fields with front-running performances in which she dictated the tempo. "It takes a team (to raise a horse) and Youcan'tcatchme has been through a lot of trials and injuries," owner Murray Stroud said at the Sovereign Awards. "As a two-year-old she had a back injury and as a three-year-old she had a condylar fracture and had to come back from that." Stroud was duly appreciative of the mare's eye-popping campaign. "She's a lovely animal. I am blessed to have a horse like Youcan'tcatchme. She has a personality that is unbelievable to be around." Youcan'tcatchme returned to the work tab at Woodbine on March 11 and has breezed six times in preparation for her seasonal debut, including a recent five-furlong bullet over the Polytrack in :59 1/5 on April 20. Goldstryke Glory (Second in Command), who finished second in the Sovereign Award voting to Youcan'tcatchme, will once again threaten to take pole position from her rival as she attempts to duplicate her season-ending win in the Apelia over her opponent. The dark bay four-year-old won three of four Woodbine starts last season after arriving from Hastings Park, including a score in the Inglorious. Slade Campbell takes over Saturday for the suspended Jesse Campbell. Spring in the Air (Sprint at Last), a Sovereign Award winner as a juvenile on the back of an impressive score in Keeneland's Alcibiades (G1), races six furlongs for the first time since her 10 1/4-length maiden romp on August 4, 2012. The four-year-old has primarily routed in her 12-race career though she did show speed to take the seven-furlong Fury last season. On the shelf since a third-place run in the La Lorgnette on September 21, Spring in the Air wintered in Florida breezing regularly at Ocala Training Center. Patrick Husbands will ride...

    Last year's Preakness runner-up Itsmyluckyday (Lawyer Ron) is expected to be heavily favored in Saturday's $75,000 Best of the Rest while running on the same Gulfstream Park track over which he scored victories in the Holy Bull (G3) and Gulfstream Park Derby in 2013. The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained four-year-old established himself as one of the top sophomores in the country last year before suffering a pelvic fracture last June. Out of action for almost ninth months, Itsmyluckday came back to finish fourth behind 2013 Belmont winner Palace Malice, 2012 Travers victor Golden Ticket and Canadian classic hero Uncaptured in the Gulfstream Park H. (G2) on March 8. "He came out of the race 110 percent. He's training fantastically," said Plesa, who trained Best of the Rest during a career that included 16 wins and $1.4 million in purses (1997-2003). "He couldn't be doing any better." Paco Lopez has the return mount aboard Lawyer Ron. Among those lining up against the dark bay will be Border Song (Stormy River), who was winless in seven starts on turf before being claimed by Rontos Racing Stable in February and going on to demonstrate a greater affinity for dirt in recent starts at Gulfstream. "When we claimed him, we thought he'd be better on dirt than he is on turf," Ron Sanchez of Rontos Racing Stable said. "The first two races he ran were on (synthetic footing). After we claimed him, he trained good on dirt and when we breezed him for the first time, he went :46 1/5 (for a half-mile). We said, 'Wow, this is a dirt horse.'" The Manny Azpurua-trained Border Song overcame a hard bumping incident at the start of his first race for his new connections to finish second in a six-furlong optional claimer. The five-year-old came back to win his first U.S. race, closing after a wide trip to capture a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race on March 20. In his most recent start, he closed to finish fourth in a very tough Sir Shackleton going 6 1/2 furlongs on March 29. "He's a tremendous horse. He's healthy and strong. He can run from six furlongs to a mile, a mile and a sixteenth," Sanchez said. "We're very happy with him." Elvis Trujillo has been named to ride...

    With a third-place finish in last month's Razorback H. (G3) under his belt, Taptowne (Tapit) figures to move forward in his second start of the year in Saturday's $200,000 Texas Mile (G3) at Lone Star Park. The charismatic gray gelding, a stakes winner at Mountaineer and Penn National last season, also placed in such lucrative events as the Oaklawn H. (G2), Prairie Meadows Cornhusker H. (G3), and Ack Ack H. (G3). Taptowne was only a head behind the runner-up in the Razorback, which was contested on an off track. Grand Contender (Strong Contender), a dual stakes winner at Delta Downs over the winter, demonstrated his worth against classier rivals during the Fair Grounds meet, earning the silver in both the Mineshaft H. (G3) and Louisiana H. Another with back class is Bourbon Courage (Lion Heart), who seeks his first win since the 2012 Super Derby (G2). The five-year-old was fourth in the Donn H. (G1) two back and second against allowance foes at Oaklawn most recently. Getting a class test in the Texas Mile is Forest Mouse (Teton Forest), a leading handicap star on the New Mexico circuit...

    Trainer Tom Proctor appears to be holding a solid two-card hand going into Sunday's $100,000 Wilshire H. (G3) at Santa Anita Park, as his sharp recent allowance winners Theatre Star (War Front) and Premier Steps (Footstepsinthesand) head a field of seven fillies and mares in the one-mile turf contest. Gary Stevens, who rode both horses to victory in their most recent starts, has opted for Theatre Star, who had won three races in-a-row for trainer Dale Romans prior to shipping west to Proctor and winning a 1 1/8-mile turf allowance on April 4. "We figured she would show speed and Gary just let her do what she wanted," assistant trainer Aimee Dollase said after the filly's Southern California debut. "It's nice that he was able to teach her to rate off others as well. That's going to help her in the long run. She won today, well within herself, and it looks like she's something special." Theatre Star seeks her fifth consecutive win in what will be her initial stakes engagement. Premier Steps was a minor stakes winner going a grassy mile five starts back at Gulfstream Park in January 2013 when trained by Chad Brown. Second in her Southern California debut for Proctor at 6 1/2 furlongs down Santa Anita's hillside turf course, the Irish-bred stalked the pace and was an impressive one-length allowance winner going one mile on turf March 9. Top rider Rafael Bejarano will ride Florida-based Parranda (English Channel) for the first time in the Wilshire. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Parranda comes off a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Honey Fox (G2) at Gulfstream, but was a handy gate-to-wire winner two starts back in the Suwannee River (G3). Victress of the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf at Gulfstream in January, Parranda has an extensive resume that includes four stakes wins from eight overall victories in 21 starts...

    Tom Leach interviewed trainer Roger Attfield, who will send out Forte dei Marmi (Selkirk) in Friday's $250,000 Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland. The British-bred gelding captured last September's Northern Dancer (Can-G1) at Woodbine, but has been unplaced in two starts since, including a fifth-placing when beaten two lengths in a Keeneland allowance while making his eight-year-old debut on April 5...

    Keeneland will hold the biggest party in Lexington for the May 2 Kentucky Oaks and May 3 Kentucky Derby. Fans will be able to watch and wager on those races and other races from Churchill Downs as well as other major tracks in North America on both days. Fans are welcome to picnic in the paddock and walking ring or watch the Churchill races on the infield tote board from the grandstand seats. Tables in the dining rooms and Clubhouse are sold out, but concessions and bars will be open throughout the grandstand. Admission to Keeneland is free on Oaks Day and $5 per person on Derby Day, with children 12 and under admitted free. Tickets are still available for the annual Martinis on the Lawn on Oaks Day. Fans can enjoy an upscale celebration in the Clubhouse and Club Lawn from 3:30-7:30 p.m. (EDT) that includes a light buffet, cash bar, live jazz music and simulcast of the Kentucky Oaks. Tickets are $40 each and may be purchased by clicking here. A limited number of tables remain for the Derby Bash at the Keene Barn & Entertainment Center. Tickets are $65 per person for a table of eight in the Entertainment Center and $55 per person for a table of eight in the Keene Barn. The Bash will offer a Keeneland-themed buffet, snack bar after 3 p.m., live music, cash bar, Kentucky Derby souvenir program and simulcast of the Derby. Tickets may be purchased by clicking here...

    Winners of the All-Weather Championships have been revealed following a superb season, which culminated with the new £1 million Finals Day at Lingfield Park last Friday. Connections of the six category winners -- Trainer of the Year, Jockey of the Year, Owner of the Year, Horse of the Year in terms of prize money, Winning-most Horse and Sire of the Year -- will each receive £10,000. Adam Kirby was crowned Jockey of the Year with 90 wins during the season, which ran from October 26 to April 18, ahead of nearest rival Luke Morris (75 wins) with Joe Fanning third (64). Mark Johnston was Trainer of the Year following 68 victories over the season, ahead of Mick Appleby (46) and David Evans (36). Johnston's leading patron, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed al Maktoum, dominated the owner standings with 46 wins and was Owner of the Year, well in front of Godolphin (16) and Dr. Marwan Koukash (15). Yvonne Jacques' Grandeur (Verglas) was the Horse of the Year. The Jeremy Noseda charge amassed prize money of just in excess of £150,000, courtesy of victories at Lingfield Park in the Winter Derby Trial on February 22 and the £200,000 Coral Easter Classic on All-Weather Championships Finals Day. Shapoor Mistry's Alumina (Invincible Spirit) was the Winning-most Horse with six wins. Mr Burbidge (Midnight Legend) also had six wins, but Alumina took the prize by virtue of her two thirds during the championship period for trainer Andrew Balding. Her sire, Invincible Spirit, who stands at the Irish National Stud, was Stallion of the Year thanks to 41 victories...

    Great British Racing International and The Racecourse Association have partnered to launch the GBRI Members Club, an initiative aimed at providing international owners with the best possible experience of racing in Britain. Benefits for members will include exclusive RCA access to all British racecourses, including access to fine dining, and complimentary access to the Racing Post for iPad Daily Edition. The club will include members from more than 30 countries, including Australia, Hong Kong, the U.S., India, Japan, Russia, Europe and the Middle East. "Owners are the most important stakeholders in racing," GBRI's International Executive Carter Carnegie said, "and we should never underestimate the fact that, along with owners based in Britain, so many international owners choose to make a significant and sustained investment in British racing. The GBRI Members Club recognizes and rewards the contribution of international owners. We are delighted to have worked closely with The Racecourse Association and with trainers around Britain to launch this Club and look forward to seeing its members enjoying benefits throughout the season."...

    The Pattern system will be the subject of a session entitled: "The Pattern: now and in the future" during the 35th Asian Racing Conference in Hong Kong. Brian Kavanagh, who is Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, Chairman of the European Pattern Committee and Vice-Chairman of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, will be the keynote presenter on the subject, and he will be joined by a panel drawn from around the world to discuss a range of issues pertaining to the Pattern. The panel includes: William A. Nader, Executive Director of Racing at the Hong Kong Jockey Club and Chairman of the Asian Pattern Committee; Kevin Dixon, Chairman of the Australian Pattern Committee; Greg Purcell, CEO of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing; Nigel Gray, Head of Handicapping and Race Planning at the Hong Kong Jockey Club and co-Chairman of the World's Best Racehorse Rankings Committee; and Robin Bruss from the National Horseracing Authority of Southern Africa. Among the subjects that will be debated are whether use of the Pattern is consistent throughout the world, how to strike the right balance between domestic race planning and the regional/international Pattern, and whether the time has come for a new tier of "Super Group 1" races. The Conference is being organized by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, in association with the Asian Racing Federation and takes place from May 5-8 at Hong Kong's Conference and Exhibition Centre, overlooking the world famous Hong Kong harbor. For more information, please visit www.archk2014.com...

    Santa Anita will offer fans free weekend admission to its spacious Infield Area and free parking via Infield Gate 6, beginning Saturday through the conclusion of the upcoming spring meet that ends June 29. "Our spring meet opens (Friday) and for the first time ever, we will be open for live racing during the Triple Crown," Santa Anita Vice President of Marketing Nate Newby said. "Our Infield has been and remains an incredibly popular area for young people, families and groups and we are excited to be able to showcase our entire facility leading into the Kentucky Derby and through the Belmont Stakes. By offering free parking and free admission in the Infield, we're hoping to attract many thousands of new and existing fans and expose them to the best our sport has to offer. In addition to great racing both here and around the country, we're also going to let folks know that they are welcome to bring beach chairs to the Infield, coolers with picnic items and non-alcoholic beverages."...

    William J. Shively's Dixiana Farm has become the sponsor of the 29th Elkhorn (G2), the traditional closing-day feature of Keeneland's spring meet. The purse for Friday's race was increased $100,000, to $250,000, but the prizes that day aren't limited to racehorse owners. Dixiana is sponsoring a "Best Turned Out Award" that will recognize a groom with a horse competing in the Mata Hari (6TH race), the Tower Hill (8TH race) and Elkhorn (9TH race). In the paddock prior to each race, a representative from Dixiana Farm will judge the horses on their appearance, including the cleanliness of their tack, and on the appearance of their grooms. The groom selected for presenting the best turned-out racehorse in each race will receive $500. Dixiana is also sponsor of the Bourbon (G3) on October 5 during Keeneland's Fall Stars Weekend...

    Jockey Edwin Maldonado has split with agent Jim Pegram and reunited with Vic Lipton, effective immediately. "It was by mutual consent," said Lipton, who represented Maldonado when he won three riding titles, two at Hollywood Park and one at Fairplex Park in Pomona. Maldonado finished sixth in the standings at Santa Anita's winter meet with 37 victories from 263 mounts. He also had 34 seconds and 50 thirds, with purse earnings of $1,465,186...

    Among the horses competing this weekend during the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park is 2001 Keeneland September Yearling Sale graduate Supplize. Emily Beshear, daughter-in-law of Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, will ride the 14-year-old son of Will's Way, whose show name is Here's To You. A $1,700 RNA at the September Sale, Supplize was winless in three races and earned $1,290. At Rolex, horses compete in dressage, cross-country and show jumping. Click here for more about Here's To You...

    On Keeneland's closing day Friday, there will be a Concert on the Lawn presented by Dixiana Farms to benefit Markey Cancer Center. The event, to be held on the Clubhouse Lawn beginning at 6 p.m. (EDT), features a free concert by Lexington's own Laura Bell Bundy and Sundy Best.

    Carryover Watch

    For Friday or Next Raceday

    GULFSTREAM:   Pick 6 -- $5,448,255
    HAWTHORNE:   High 5 -- $62,010
    PIMLICO:   Pick 5 -- $54,401
    WOODBINE:   High 5 -- $24,646

    Results

    NORTH AMERICAN GRADED STAKES RESULTS

    BEWITCH S. (G3), KEE, $150,000, 4YO/UP, F/M, 1 1/2MT, 4-24.
    12—INIMITABLE ROMANEE, m, 6, Maria's Mon--Cellars Shiraz, by Kissin Kris. ($210,000 '09 FTSAUG). O-Gallagher's Stud, B-Gallagher's Shiraz LLC (NY), T-H. Graham Motion, J-Alan Garcia, $90,000.
    11—Aigue Marine (GB), m, 5, Galileo (IRE)--Aiglonne, by Silver Hawk. O-Haras du Mezeray and Skymarc Farm, Inc, B-Haras du Mezeray and Skymarc Farm (GB), $30,000.
    10—Caroline Thomas, f, 4, Giant's Causeway--Bit of Whimsy, by Distorted Humor. O-Joyce B Young, B-Bonner Young (KY), $15,000.
    Also Ran: Romantica (GB), Viva Rafaela (BRZ), Always Kitten, Freedom Reigns (IRE), Street of Gold, Left a Message, Angel Terrace, I Dazzle, Stick to Your Guns.
    Winning Time: 2:32 1/5 (fm)
    Margins: HD, NK, 3/4.
    Odds: 14.60, 20.60, 10.40.

    Romanee uncorks vintage late run in Bewitch

    Inimitable Romanee (far left) outkicks eventual fourth Romantica (center) and nips Aigue Marine (right) on the wire (Keeneland/Coady Photography)
    Gallagher's Stud's homebred Inimitable Romanee got up at the wire to deny Aigue Marine in Thursday's Grade 3, $150,000 Bewitch Stakes at Keeneland, while 3-5 favorite Romantica could do no better than fourth.

    The winner of the November 9 Long Island and February 15 The Very One, Inimitable Romanee ranked as the 123-pound highweight. But the Graham Motion mare was overlooked at 14-1 on Thursday, following a non-threatening seventh in the March 29 Orchid at Gulfstream. Aigue Marine, sixth as the 9-5 favorite in the Orchid, was likewise ignored as a 20-1 chance in the Bewitch. Both returned to their prior form here to fight out the finish.

    Confirmed front-runner Viva Rafaela took up her customary spot and led through pedestrian splits of :26, :51 4/5, 1:17 2/5, 1:42 4/5 and 2:07 4/5 on the firm turf. Aigue Marine was well placed in second, and Romantica, last seen missing by a half-length in the November 2 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, was also perched just off the pace. Inimitable Romanee, who broke from the far outside post 12, settled in midpack.

    At the top of the stretch, Aigue Marine pounced on Viva Rafaela, and Romantica rallied to threaten the new leader. But the odds-on choice couldn't get on terms with Aigue Marine, who began to inch away.

    Just then, Inimitable Romanee angled out to launch her rally and gained ground fast. Under Alan Garcia, she forced her head in front in the nick of time and sparked a $31.20 win mutuel.

    "The post position I had was a little difficult," Garcia recapped. "I had to use my filly a little bit in the first part of the race. After that, I wanted to save all the ground I could. In the last part, I said, 'Let me move out and see if she's good enough.' She was good today; she was the best."

    James Graham, the rider of Aigue Marine, believed that he had worked out a winning trip.

    "Great trip, sat second, picked up (the pace) turning for home, and in all honesty I thought I'd beat them a good head," Graham said.

    Aigue Marine salvaged second by a neck from the closing Caroline Thomas, who relegated Romantica to fourth.

    Romantica's connections expect the Juddmonte Farms blueblood to move forward off this comeback, her first start since transferring stateside and joining Bill Mott.

    "She was just a little bit tired, but it was the first time after the Breeders' Cup," jockey Joel Rosario said. "That was a good race."

    "We got perfect position in the race, but no pace to run at," assistant trainer Rodolphe Brisset said. "With this kind of distance (1 1/2 miles), she didn't show the same kick. We don't think it was a disappointing race; you've just got to start somewhere. That was the right race for now and she's got the whole year to redeem herself."

    Viva Rafaela tired to fifth, followed by Always Kitten, Freedom Reigns, Street of Gold, Left a Message, Angel Terrace, I Dazzle and Stick to Your Guns.

    The six-year-old Inimitable Romanee stopped the clock in 2:32 1/5, advancing her line to 23-5-6-5, $473,874. A frequent bridesmaid in New York-bred stakes over 2012 and 2013, the gray earned a breakthrough when stepping up to a marathon trip for the Grade 3 Long Island. She made it a quick Grade 3 double in the 1 3/8-mile The Very One, beating Aigue Marine. Neither landed a blow from off the pace in the Orchid, which was stolen in a crafty performance by Anjaz, but they rebounded to serve up the exacta again in the Bewitch.

    Sired by Maria's Mon, the aptly-named Inimitable Romanee is out of Cellars Shiraz, a Grade 3-winning daughter of Kissin Kris. The New York-bred brought $210,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling.

    Inimitable Romanee's fourth dam, Fancy Road, won the 1970 Bewitch when it was a 4 1/2-furlong dash on the main track.

    Graded Recaps

    Romanee uncorks vintage late run in Bewitch

    Inimitable Romanee (far left) outkicks eventual fourth Romantica (center) and nips Aigue Marine (right) on the wire (Keeneland/Coady Photography)
    Gallagher's Stud's homebred Inimitable Romanee got up at the wire to deny Aigue Marine in Thursday's Grade 3, $150,000 Bewitch Stakes at Keeneland, while 3-5 favorite Romantica could do no better than fourth.

    The winner of the November 9 Long Island and February 15 The Very One, Inimitable Romanee ranked as the 123-pound highweight. But the Graham Motion mare was overlooked at 14-1 on Thursday, following a non-threatening seventh in the March 29 Orchid at Gulfstream. Aigue Marine, sixth as the 9-5 favorite in the Orchid, was likewise ignored as a 20-1 chance in the Bewitch. Both returned to their prior form here to fight out the finish.

    Confirmed front-runner Viva Rafaela took up her customary spot and led through pedestrian splits of :26, :51 4/5, 1:17 2/5, 1:42 4/5 and 2:07 4/5 on the firm turf. Aigue Marine was well placed in second, and Romantica, last seen missing by a half-length in the November 2 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, was also perched just off the pace. Inimitable Romanee, who broke from the far outside post 12, settled in midpack.

    At the top of the stretch, Aigue Marine pounced on Viva Rafaela, and Romantica rallied to threaten the new leader. But the odds-on choice couldn't get on terms with Aigue Marine, who began to inch away.

    Just then, Inimitable Romanee angled out to launch her rally and gained ground fast. Under Alan Garcia, she forced her head in front in the nick of time and sparked a $31.20 win mutuel.

    "The post position I had was a little difficult," Garcia recapped. "I had to use my filly a little bit in the first part of the race. After that, I wanted to save all the ground I could. In the last part, I said, 'Let me move out and see if she's good enough.' She was good today; she was the best."

    James Graham, the rider of Aigue Marine, believed that he had worked out a winning trip.

    "Great trip, sat second, picked up (the pace) turning for home, and in all honesty I thought I'd beat them a good head," Graham said.

    Aigue Marine salvaged second by a neck from the closing Caroline Thomas, who relegated Romantica to fourth.

    Romantica's connections expect the Juddmonte Farms blueblood to move forward off this comeback, her first start since transferring stateside and joining Bill Mott.

    "She was just a little bit tired, but it was the first time after the Breeders' Cup," jockey Joel Rosario said. "That was a good race."

    "We got perfect position in the race, but no pace to run at," assistant trainer Rodolphe Brisset said. "With this kind of distance (1 1/2 miles), she didn't show the same kick. We don't think it was a disappointing race; you've just got to start somewhere. That was the right race for now and she's got the whole year to redeem herself."

    Viva Rafaela tired to fifth, followed by Always Kitten, Freedom Reigns, Street of Gold, Left a Message, Angel Terrace, I Dazzle and Stick to Your Guns.

    The six-year-old Inimitable Romanee stopped the clock in 2:32 1/5, advancing her line to 23-5-6-5, $473,874. A frequent bridesmaid in New York-bred stakes over 2012 and 2013, the gray earned a breakthrough when stepping up to a marathon trip for the Grade 3 Long Island. She made it a quick Grade 3 double in the 1 3/8-mile The Very One, beating Aigue Marine. Neither landed a blow from off the pace in the Orchid, which was stolen in a crafty performance by Anjaz, but they rebounded to serve up the exacta again in the Bewitch.

    Sired by Maria's Mon, the aptly-named Inimitable Romanee is out of Cellars Shiraz, a Grade 3-winning daughter of Kissin Kris. The New York-bred brought $210,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling.

    Inimitable Romanee's fourth dam, Fancy Road, won the 1970 Bewitch when it was a 4 1/2-furlong dash on the main track.

    Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

    Features

    KENTUCKY DERBY REPORT

    APRIL 25, 2014

    by James Scully

    California Chrome is due to arrive at Churchill Downs Monday  (Benoit Photo)

    The field for the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby is still not set, with a trio of recent defections opening spots for Uncle Sigh, Vinceremos and Harry's Holiday. Attrition always plays a part in the build-up and more than a handful of three-year-olds remain outside the bubble waiting for a spot to materialize.

    Midnight Hawk was removed from consideration Monday and while his absence (or any other longshots that may be withdrawn) figures to have little effect upon the price of the favorite, California Chrome, the recent losses of viable win contenders Cairo Prince and Constitution dealt more of a blow to his price.

    Barring a dreadful inside post, California Chrome likely will be in the 2-1 vicinity at post time.

    Post positions will be an added element but here is an early look at some strengths (S) and weaknesses (W) for the top 22 Derby contenders (ranked by points).

    California Chrome

    Strengths -- The fastest three-year-old, the Chromester earned a field-best 106 BRIS Speed rating for his sterling 5 1/4-length win in the Santa Anita Derby and a 102 for a seemingly effortless 7 1/4-length romp in the San Felipe two back. The athletic chestnut puts himself into the race with his natural speed and displays push-button acceleration, with jockey Victor Espinoza waiting until the stretch drive to ask for run in the last two wins. California Chrome put away the Santa Anita Derby field in a matter of a few strides before being wrapped up on. Super impressive so far.

    Weaknesses -- This isn't the pedigree of a Kentucky Derby winner, with sire Lucky Pulpit (stakes-winning turf sprinter) inspiring little confidence for 10 furlongs, and California Chrome has had issues with tardy starts, breaking a step slow in the Santa Anita Derby. He probably can't afford any troubles leaving the starting gate in a 20-horse field and wouldn't be the first California sensation to falter at short odds shipping into Churchill Downs.

    Vicar's in Trouble

    S -- Excelled in the Louisiana Derby, netting a 104 Speed rating while scoring by 3 1/2 lengths, and Vicar's in Trouble has displayed a nice acceleration for home while capturing three of his last four starts. Rates as an improving colt for trainer Mike Maker and jockey Rosie Napravnik and will be forwardly placed in Derby, looking to take the lead into the stretch drive.

    W -- Legitimate questions surround his effectiveness at 1 1/4 miles. Bred to be more of a miler, the Louisiana-bred essentially had his way on the lead in all three career wins. Those circumstances appear unlikely given the other speed in the 20-horse field and Vicar's in Trouble faltered when changing tactics in the Risen Star.

    Dance with Fate

    S -- Possesses the late foot to make his presence felt in the final furlongs if he handles the track at Churchill Downs, earning century-topping BRIS Late Pace ratings in his last two outings, and the top three finishers in last year's Derby were 15th or worse after the opening six furlongs. This year's event could set up similarly. Dance with Fate closed boldly to win the Blue Grass going away last time and will attempt to carry that form forward.

    W -- Winless in two previous dirt attempts, Dance with Fate has run faster on synthetics and turf. Trainer Peter Eurton long targeted the Blue Grass on Polytrack and wasn't ready to commit to Churchill Downs immediately after the race, citing the dirt track and three-week turnaround as major concerns. Few will be surprised to see the Derby turn into a failed experiment.

    Wicked Strong

    S -- After opening the year with a pair of disappointing efforts at Gulfstream, Wicked Strong's TwinSpires.com Wood Memorial victory stamped him as a major player. He drew off impressively, netting a 103 Speed rating for the 3 1/2-length decision, and figures to receive a better set-up in the Derby. With a favorable pedigree for 10 furlongs, the Jimmy Jerkens-trained colt looms a dangerous closer.

    W -- Proven at Belmont and Aqueduct, Wicked Strong needs to prove he can transfer his form outside of New York. He waited until the stretch drive to make serious headway last time, closing dramatically in the final furlong, and the Derby is usually won on the far turn. Must avoid a regression after a huge jump in Speed ratings.

    Samraat

    S -- Hard-trying horse merits respect. After easily capturing his first three starts over New York-bred rivals, Samraat displayed grit posting commendable Grade 3 wins in the Withers and Gotham. He didn't experience the best trip stalking the pace in the Wood and Wicked Strong left him withering late in third, but Samraat never quit, battling gamely to overhaul Social Inclusion for second on the wire. Trainer Richard Violette achieved his goal getting to the bottom of the colt and is expecting a jump forward.

    W -- Samraat has never earned a triple-digit Speed rating and his ability to thrive at 1 1/4 miles rates as a major concern, with races up to nine furlongs possibly representing his ceiling. He's never been more than two lengths behind at any point of call previously and could get caught chasing a fast pace if he doesn't settle willingly in the early stages.

    Danza

    S --  New kid on the block made his two-turn debut in the Arkansas Derby, exploding from just off the pace to win going away by 4 3/4 lengths, and earned whopping Speed (104) and Late Pace numbers (106). Danza's late kick appears tailor-made for a Derby field loaded with speed and the late-blooming colt is peaking at the right time.

    W -- The Arkansas Derby came out of nowhere, with Danza showing little in his 2014 bow and possessing only a 5 1/2-furlong maiden win last July, and the 41-1 outsider received a perfect inside trip after breaking from the rail, with Bayern drifting out to open clear sailing turning for home. Lightly-raced type could be hard-pressed to reproduce that effort while facing more extreme circumstances in a 20-horse Derby field.

    Hoppertunity

    S -- Didn't race at two but Hoppertunity figures to be plenty fit after making five starts this season. Well-bred for the 1 1/4-mile distance, the improving colt broke through with a bold win in the Rebel two starts back and his non-threatening second in the Santa Anita Derby last time was simply for conditioning -- three-time Derby winner Bob Baffert will look to tighten the screws on Derby day.

    W -- Hoppertunity won't bring the best numbers into the race, managing his first triple-digit Speed rating in the Santa Anita Derby (100), and the grinder must prove that he can quicken readily enough to challenge. He raced close to the pace in both wins, and settled up close as well in the Santa Anita Derby, but the colt figures to employ different tactics from well off the pace.

    Intense Holiday

    S -- His ability to finish could prove valuable, especially if the pace collapses like it did last year, and Intense Holiday has come on in his last two outings, gamely posting his first stakes win in the Risen Star before recording a clear second in Louisiana Derby after a rough trip. Todd Pletcher charge has already raced at five different tracks, so shipping to Churchill Downs should be no problem, and he's a late runner to consider.

    W -- Quality issues still surround him -- Intense Holiday wasn't a serious factor in his first four graded attempts -- and he didn't leave a favorable impression weaving in and out through the stretch of the Louisiana Derby. Could be viewed as more of a plodder than a legitimate late-running threat.

    Wildcat Red

    S -- Speed, speed, speed. Wildcat Red posted strong wins in the Hutcheson and Fountain of Youth before a neck second in the Florida Derby, and he's never been worse than second in seven lifetime starts. Broodmare sire Miner's Mark, a Grade 1 winner at 1 1/4 miles, could potentially balance stamina with a speed-infused top of the pedigree, and the Florida-bred colt is as game as they come.

    W -- Wildcat Red caught a speed-favoring track that played to his run style and got away with slow fractions over the same oval in the Florida Derby; it's tough to say he could've reproduced those efforts elsewhere. Easy to envision him being more of a middle-distance specialist in the future, with Saratoga's Grade 1 King's Bishop at seven furlongs a viable target for the talented colt.

    We Miss Artie

    S -- Surged late to earn his way into the Derby, posting a nose win in the Spiral on Polytrack, and regains the services of Eclipse Award-winning jockey Javier Castellano. His run style could play favorably behind an expected lively pace and We Miss Artie will look to rally in the final stages.

    W -- He's been better on turf and synthetics, recording well-beaten efforts in the Fountain of Youth and Breeders' Cup Juvenile on dirt, and didn't run fast capturing the Spiral. We Miss Artie may be done with dirt racing if he doesn't fire in the Derby.

    Ride on Curlin

    S -- Got up late for second in the Arkansas Derby, ensuring the hard-trying colt a spot in the field, and Ride on Curlin picks up the services of three-time Derby winner Calvin Borel. His Speed ratings are increasing nicely and the bay colt has shown that he can overcome adversity, an admirable trait in a 20-horse field. He figures to be saving ground from the inside in midpack and owns a solid late kick.

    W -- His only two wins came sprinting (earning his career-best Speed rating when setting a 5 1/2-furlong track record at Ellis Park) and grinder type can be labeled more of an exotics contender than a win threat, placing in all six graded attempts while never seriously threatening to prevail. His propensity to find trouble is also worrisome.

    Chitu

    S -- Drew off superbly in the stretch of the Sunland Derby, earning a commendable 103 Speed rating for the 2 1/4-length decision, and Chitu has never run a bad race, sustaining his only career setback in four starts with a half-length second in the Robert Lewis. Owns good tactical speed and will look to get in the clear and settle into a comfortable position close to the pace.

    W -- A.P. Indy provides stamina on the dam side, but tough to envision a son of Henny Hughes winning the Kentucky Derby. He's also very lightly-raced, with Animal Kingdom being the only other Derby winner in modern times with only four previous starts, and Chitu has faced little adversity racing on the front end in previous outings.

    Tapiture

    S -- Churchill Downs stakes winner ran well in his first two starts this year at Oaklawn, posting a convincing win in the Southwest before a troubled second in the Rebel, and he's a candidate to rebound following a subpar fourth in the Arkansas Derby. Tapiture figures to be stalking in midpack and is eligible to get first run on the deep closers -- he's the type that could be in the mix turning for home.

    W -- By leading sire Tapit, Tapiture receives little help from his dam side for the 1 1/4-mile distance. His regression in the Arkansas Derby -- the first start at 1 1/8 miles -- is disconcerting given the distance issues surrounding the colt and he's never earned a triple-digit Speed rating. Legitimate questions surrounding his chances.

    Ring Weekend

    S -- Tampa Bay Derby winner is a gelded son of Tapit from a stamina-filled female family. Ring Weekend proved a little rank when trying to rate in the Calder Derby last time, but the Graham Motion trainee settled nicely off the pace when breaking his maiden and has finished in the money in six straight starts since making his career debut.

    W --  Seized the early initiative, opening a clear lead rounding the first turn of the Tampa Bay Derby, and stole the race on the front end at 14-1. Ring Weekend was drilled last time in a soft non-points race, finishing 9 3/4 lengths back as the 1-5 favorite, and his past performances provide little hope that he can compete against this level of horses.

    General a Rod

    S -- General a Rod came up a little short when utilizing stalking tactics in the Florida Derby, finishing 1 1/2 lengths back in third, but the race served its purpose as an educational experience. The Mike Maker-trained colt will attempt to rally from just off the pace with Joel Rosario, last year's Derby-winning jockey, and the presence of dam sire Dynaformer (sire of Barbaro) is encouraging. Honest performer has never run a bad race in five career starts and brings plenty of moxie to the equation if he handles the distance.

    W -- Despite the female side of his family, General a Rod is a speedy type with concerns at 10 furlongs. He dueled from the start of the Gulfstream Park Derby and Fountain of Youth, battling throughout with another speedball (Wildcat Red) over surfaces that favored them, and his only wins have come around one turn. He could get caught chasing the pace if he doesn't settle.

    Medal Count

    S -- He's recently developed into a quality three-year-old for Dale Romans. A non-threatening fifth in the Fountain of Youth, Medal Count rebounded from that disappointment with an eye-catching win in the Transylvania on Keeneland's Polytrack and exits a good second in the Blue Grass. The Dynaformer colt broke his maiden on dirt and is based at Churchill Downs, so he's a candidate to make the transition from synthetics, and packs a big late kick. Rates as an intriguing closer.

    W -- Medal Count opened the year with a dead-heat win on turf and preference so far for turf/synthetics is no surprise given the influences in his pedigree. He's got a lot to prove on dirt against a higher caliber of competition than he faced at Keeneland and the lack of a triple-digit Speed rating (career-best 97) does not flatter his chances.

    Candy Boy

    S -- Opened the year on a strong note, posting a comfortable victory in the Robert Lewis, but Candy Boy did not fire following a two-month freshening in the Santa Anita Derby, chasing the early pace before weakening in the stretch drive. That effort served as a useful tightener and the colt figures to enjoy a better trip at Churchill Downs, rating off an expected hot and contested pace. Three-time Derby winner Gary Stevens believes he can make an impact in the final furlongs.

    W -- His breeding is suspect for the 1 1/4-mile trip and trainer John Sadler fared poorly in his last Derby attempt, sending out Santa Anita Derby winner Sidney's Candy and Arkansas Derby victor Line of David to finish 17th and 18th, respectively, in 2010. Candy Boy's numbers are also light, with a career-best 97 Speed.

    Uncle Sigh

    S -- Will look to rebound in the Derby after losing all chance at the start of the Wood, breaking a step slowly. He performed admirably in two previous attempts, finishing a close second to Samraat in Gotham and Withers despite a seasoning disadvantage, and Uncle Sigh could have more to offer moving forward. Indian Charlie colt does his best running on the front end but appears to receive some stamina from classic-winning dam sire Pine Bluff.

    W -- Like so many in the Derby field, he must find a way to carve out a reasonable trip up close during the early stages and Uncle Sigh will probably look to show a lot more speed after breaking slowly last time. His ability to navigate 10 furlongs is in question -- it's easy to classify him as one who is probably best-suited for less ground.

    Vinceremos

    S -- Vinceremos shipped to Tampa Bay Downs off a maiden special weight win and recorded a gutsy victory in the Sam F. Davis. Runner-up in the Tampa Bay Derby next out, he didn't handle the Polytrack in the Blue Grass and will attempt to show more back on the dirt at Churchill Downs.

    W -- Didn't run fast in his Tampa races and Vinceremos' career-best BRIS Speed rating (93) probably won't get it done.

    Harry's Holiday

    S -- Churchill maiden winner captured a minor stakes sprinting on Turfway's Polytrack before posting a third in the John Battaglia Memorial and a nose second in the Spiral. Faltered in the Blue Grass, but trainer Mike Maker is optimistic that he can turn things around in the Derby.

    W -- His ability in dirt routes can be doubted and Harry's Holiday will bring a pedestrian set of Speed ratings into the race, earning a career-best 93 in a slowly run Spiral.

    Commanding Curve

    S -- Currently 21st on the points list, Commanding Curve will offer some appeal if he makes the field. A Churchill Downs maiden winner in his juvenile finale, he made his 2014 debut and first start against winners in the February 22 Risen Star, offering a decent middle move before flattening out. Figured to move forward in the Louisiana Derby but wound up being slammed at the start by a rival breaking inward, retreating to last early. Passed most of the field on the far turn and stretch for third and the late runner could continue to show more for Dallas Stewart, who recorded a second at 34-1 last year with the deep-closing Golden Soul.

    W -- The inexperienced ridgling is only a maiden winner and could be forced to navigate traffic while trying to make his presence felt from the back of the field. Commanding Curve wasn't a serious factor in both starts this year (finishing five lengths back of the winner last time) and the question remains whether he's good enough to challenge in the Derby.

    Pablo del Monte

    S -- Pablo del Monte exits his best effort of the year, finishing third in the Blue Grass, and figures to show speed if he makes the Derby field.

    W -- Both wins have come sprinting on Polytrack and he wasn't a serious factor in his first two dirt starts this year, finishing fourth in the Gulfstream Park Derby and third in the Hutcheson, both one-turn races. And with his speedy female family, Pablo del Monte could find the 1 1/4-mile trip too taxing.

    Results

    NORTH AMERICAN ALLOWANCE RESULTS

    KEE, 7TH, AOC, $62,320, 4YO/UP, 1 1/16M, 4-24.
    8—CHARMING KITTEN, c, 4, Kitten's Joy--Iteration, by Wild Again. O-Ramsey, Kenneth L and Sarah K, B-Kenneth L Ramsey & Sarah K Ramsey (KY), T-Todd A. Pletcher, J-John R. Velazquez, $38,400.
    11—Code West, r, 4, Lemon Drop Kid--Charitabledonation, by Saint Ballado. ($340,000 '11 KEESEP). O-West, Gary and Mary, B-Edward P Evans (VA), $11,200.
    9—Bellarmine, c, 4, Magna Graduate--Aly Capri, by Alydar. ($25,000 '10 KEENOV; $40,000 '11 FTKJUL). O-Magdalena Racing (Susan McPeek), B-John W Phillips (KY), $6,400.
    Winning Time: 1:45 2/5 (ft)
     
    AQU, 7TH, AOC, $62,000, 4YO/UP, 1 1/16MT, 4-24.
    5—LUBASH, h, 7, Freud--Nasty Cure, by Cure the Blues. O-Aliyu Ben J Stables, B-Aliyuee Ben J Stable, Inc (NY), T-Christophe Clement, J-Junior Alvarado, $37,200.
    6—Kharafa, g, 5, Kitalpha--Exquisite Cassie, by King of Kings (IRE). O-Braverman, Paul and Pinch, Timothy, B-Highmeadow Farm (NY), $12,400.
    2—Notacatbutallama, c, 4, Harlan's Holiday--Self Rising, by Hansel. ($50,000 '11 FTNAUG; $105,000 2012 OBSAPR). O-Repole Stable, B-Happy Hill Farm (NY), $6,200.
    Winning Time: 1:44 (fm)
     
    KEE, 5TH, ALW, $59,265, 4YO/UP, A7F, 4-24.
    9—COMMAND FORCE, g, 5, Strong Contender--Melrose Morning, by Shadeed. O-Debby M Oxley, B-Debby Oxley (KY), T-Mark E. Casse, J-Stewart Elliott, $36,000.
    10—Breaking Ball, g, 6, Smart Strike--One Emotion, by Sky Classic. O-Cabernet Racing Stables and Seltzer, Ed, B-Solera Farm (KY), $12,000.
    7—Stevis Man, g, 4, Senor Amigo--G Man's Diamond, by Pembroke. O-Crown Colony Farm, B-William O Howard (KY), $5,300.
    Winning Time: 1:27 3/5 (ft)
     
    AQU, 8TH, AOC, $59,000, 3YO/UP, 1M, 4-24.
    7—BERNARDO, c, 4, Flatter--Flora Danica, by Danzig. O-Toscano, Robert, Bran Jam Stable, Carney, Robert and Mondello, Ben, B-Robert Toscano (NY), T-John T. Toscano, Jr., J-Jose L. Ortiz, $35,400.
    5—Sinistra, g, 4, Stonesider--Margin for Error, by Dixie Brass. O-Chevalier Stable, B-Edward L Shapoff (NY), $11,800.
    6—Ultimate Empire, c, 4, Utopia (JPN)--Dancin on Broadway, by Menifee. ($7,500 '11 OBSAUG; $90,000 2012 OBSAPR). O-West Point Thoroughbreds, B-Ted Taylor Thoroughbreds (NY), $5,900.
    Winning Time: 1:37 1/5 (ft)
     
    KEE, 6TH, ALW, $53,450, 3YO, 1 1/8MT, 4-24.
    12—AFORTABLE, c, 3, Fort Prado--Taxable Deduction, by Prized. ($75,000 '11 KEENOV). O-Fedro, Sr, Thomas and Team Block, B-Team Block (IL), T-Chris M. Block, J-Jose Lezcano, $31,800.
    1—Can'thelpbelieving (IRE), c, 3, Duke of Marmalade (IRE)--Embark (GB), by Soviet Star. (60,000EUR '11 GOFNOV). O-Albert Frassetto, B-G Kelly, Milltownmore & Pinnacle B/S (IRE), $10,600.
    5—Special Envoy, c, 3, Stroll--Diplomacy, by Cozzene. O-Firestone, Mr and Mrs Bertram R, B-Mr & Mrs Bertram R Firestone (VA), $5,300.
    Winning Time: 1:50 4/5 (fm)
     
    PIM, 7TH, ALW, $48,543, 3YO/UP, F/M, 5FT, 4-24.
    10—LADY RAVEN, m, 7, Dance With Ravens--Verabald, by Baldski. O-Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc, B-Country Roads Ltd & Dr & Mrs Thomas Bowman (MD), T-Jamie Ness, J-Victor R. Carrasco, $28,130.
    3—Eddy Gourmet, f, 4, Eddington--Mz. Ann, by Citidancer. ($20,000 '11 FTMOCT; $40,000 2013 KEENOV). O-Toby Roth, B-Michael P Cataneo (MD), $10,364.
    6—Vielsalm, f, 4, Fairbanks--Merriweather, by Opening Verse. O-Brooke Bowman, B-Dr & Mrs Thomas Bowman & Brooke Bowman (MD), $5,429.
    Winning Time: :58 1/5 (fm)
     
    PIM, 8TH, ALW, $47,734, 3YO/UP, F/M, 6F, 4-24.
    12—GENTLE OFFICER, f, 4, Officer--Hope Bay, by Smart Strike. O-Howard M Bender, B-Sondra D Bender & Howard M Bender (MD), T-Lawrence E. Murray, J-Trevor McCarthy, $28,130.
    1—Simmadownnow, f, 4, Candy Ride (ARG)--Da Choice, by Dehere. O-Triple Tree Stable, B-Skeedattle Associates (MD), $10,364.
    11—Miss Moonshine, f, 4, Malibu Moon--Shiny Sheet, by Press Card. ($70,000 '10 KEENOV; $56,000 '11 FTMOCT). O-Country Life Farm, B-Haymarket Farm LLC (KY), $4,620.
    Winning Time: 1:12 2/5 (ft)
     
    PIM, 6TH, AOC, $47,000, 3YO/UP, F/M, 6F, 4-24.
    3—DOROTHY'S AURORA, m, 5, Simon Pure--Aurora X F, by Tale of the Cat. ($37,000 '10 OBSAUG). O-S J B Stable Trust, B-Stephen J Barberino Jr, Trustee(Stephen J Barberino Jr Acc Trust) (PA), T-Timothy C. Kreiser, J-William P. Otero, $26,790.
    6—In Mid Heir, f, 4, Wildcat Heir--Rhythm in Shoes, by Rhythm. O-New Farm, B-New Farm (FL), $9,870.
    4—Petit Trianon, f, 4, Latent Heat--Love Ballad, by Yankee Victor. ($5,000 '10 KEENOV; $45,000 '11 OBSAUG). O-King Star and A R Stable 3 LLC, B-MJK Bloodstock (KY), $5,170.
    Winning Time: 1:12 4/5 (ft)
     
    PEN, 6TH, ALW, $33,300, 3YO/UP, F/M, 1M 70Y, 4-23.
    1—BAETYKATY, f, 4, Cat Thief--Katybaety, by Kris S.. O-Equivine Farm, B-Equivine Farm (PA), T-Cathal A. Lynch, J-Frankie Pennington, $19,980.
    2—What a Delight, m, 5, Lawyer Ron--Western Delight, by West by West. ($55,000 '09 KEENOV; $30,000 2011 OBSMAR). O-Mario O Mangini, B-Karen S Farrar & Gary M Farrar (PA), $6,660.
    9—Savethewildagain, m, 5, Activist--First Sail, by Baederwood. O-Harry E Dimitriou, B-Harry E Dimitriou (PA), $3,663.
    Winning Time: 1:44 4/5 (ft)
     
    PEN, 5TH, ALW, $29,500, 3YO, F, 1M, 4-23.
    5—STAR OMEGA, f, 3, Imperialism--Star Mesa, by Woodman. O-No Guts No Glory Stable, B-Porter Racing Stable, LLC (FL), T-Gina Rosenthal, J-Trevor McCarthy, $17,700.
    2—Manda Moo, f, 3, War Pass--Our Ryann's Xpress, by Orientate. ($50,000 2013 FTMMAY). O-CJZ Racing Stable, B-Robert V LaPenta (KY), $5,900.
    6—Swiss Army Wife, f, 3, Colonel John--Se Bella, by Forestry. O-Frederick Hertrich, III, B-Fred W Hertrich III & John D Fielding (KY), $3,245.
    Winning Time: 1:40 1/5 (ft)
     
    EVD, 9TH, ALW, $24,200, 3YO/UP, 5 1/2F, 4-23.
    9—SHARP KANE, g, 5, Sharp Humor--Golden Wahine, by Golden Missile. ($85,000 2011 KEEAPR). O-Hardy Racing Stables LLC, B-Roger Attfield, William Werner & Mickey Canino (ON), T-Keith G. Bourgeois, J-Joseph Walter Patin, Jr., $14,100.
    7—South Floyd, g, 4, Any Given Saturday--Major Wager, by Valid Wager. ($62,000 2012 OBSJUN). O-Bill W Cunningham, B-Siena Farms LLC (KY), $4,700.
    5—Stormin Encore, c, 3, Storm and a Half--Winloc's Sunshine, by Distinctive Pro. ($8,500 '12 LTBSEP; $30,000 2013 TEXMAR). O-Horseplayers Racing Club LLC, B-Bethe Deal & Sandra McDowell (LA), $3,135.
    Winning Time: 1:04 1/5 (ft)

    Features

    HANDICAPPING INSIGHTS

    APRIL 25, 2014

    by Dick Powell

    Remember the "Fix Six" scandal from the 2002 Breeders' Cup? Three unscrupulous individuals with access to the tote system went into the betting system and changed their Pick Six ticket so that the first four horses won and then used all the horses in the last two legs.

    When Volponi upset the Classic at 43-to-1 odds, there was only one winning ticket, which made it easier to track down what exactly happened. Eventually, the perpetrators were caught and the racing industry knew they had a perception problem on their hands.

    None of the race results were affected but the confidence in the wagering system was shaken. So what did the racing industry do?

    They paid former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani $3 million to conduct a study on what was wrong and how to fix it. Giuliani had just left being mayor and had founded a security-consulting firm. After 9/11, he was a nation-wide household name and in the white shoe world of racing "leadership," this was considered a good idea.

    They actually thought that John and Jane Bettor would suddenly have their confidence in the wagering system restored and the racing industry could dodge the bullet of the scandal. Giuliani's team came up with some obvious computer security issues and racing wound up dislocating their collective shoulders by patting themselves on the back.

    Now, we have another scandal. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had an agent infiltrate the Steve Asmussen barn and came up some amateurish video and audio proof of severely damaging practices. Racing is in another crisis and they can't play, nor afford, the Rudy card so what to do?

    It didn't take long but the answer came recently when it was proposed by The Jockey Club that a bunch of owners and trainers will now voluntarily submit veterinary records on their horses competing in graded stakes races. The records will cover the prior 14 days and will be available on the day of the race at least two hours before the race.

    All I can say is WTFWDDD, which is a combination of WTF and Derrick Coleman's famous "Whoop de Damn Do!"

    Calling Doctor Fine, calling Doctor Fine. We have more dislocated shoulders in the Trustees Room. STAT!

    So now, two hours before a graded stakes, I will somehow know what veterinary treatments have been administered to all the horses in the race. This helps me how? Do they really think we are that stupid that this is going to help anything? Based on past performances, a silly question.

    Will the records be accompanied by lie detector tests to prove their veracity? Somehow, I will bet that the people doing the cheating will not fess up voluntarily. Just saying. Somehow I will bet that this new policy won't stop PETA from firing their next salvo against the game.

    If you want to restore this handicapper's confidence in the game, just let me know which horses have had their cobalt treatments and when was the last one. I can take it from there.

    Not all the news in racing has been bad. The New York Racing Association implemented an improved high-definition of the broadcast of their races and the results are stunning. Blown up to full-screen, the live broadcast of their races on their web site is spectacular.

    They also unveiled a channel on the Roku system, which enables you to watch a high definition stream of the races from NYRA on your high definition television.

    Right now, a channel surfer sees sports being televised in beautiful high definition and then when they come across horse racing, the picture looks terrible. With NYRA, joining Keeneland, Churchill Downs and Fair Grounds in broadcasting in high definition, at least our game is trying to keep up with the technology available.

    North American Maiden Winners
    Scat Daddy--Doc's Leading Lady by Doc's Leader; SPANISH PIPEDREAM, f, 2, KEE, Msw, 4-24, 4 1/2f, :51 1/5. B-Hurstland Farm, Inc. & James H. Gree Jr. (KY.). $125,000 '13 FTKJUL.
    Chapel Royal--Tobin's Fortune by Fortunate Prospect; BRENDAN G, g, 3, AQU, Mcl 25000, 4-24, 6 1/2f, 1:19 1/5. B-Jorge Tabraue (FL.). *1/2 to Electrical Carlita ($483,569).
    English Channel--Dans La Ville (CHI) by Winning; AL'S GAL, f, 3, AQU, Msw, 4-24, 1 1/8mT, 1:52 2/5. B-Malone Racing LLC (PA.). $50,000 '11 FTKNOV; $30,000 '12 KEESEP; $40,000 2013 KEEAPR. *1/2 to May Be Now (G2).
    Etbauer--Adieu and Farewell by Fraser River; ADIEU GERALD, g, 3, EVD, Mcl 7500, 4-24, 1m, 1:42 3/5. B-Gerald Averett Sr. (LA.).
    Friendly Island--Running Kitty by Tactical Cat; THE IRON FURNACE, g, 3, AQU, Mcl 16000, 4-24, 1m, 1:43 1/5. B-Parker Lightfield Farm LLC. (NY.).
    High Cotton--Lucky Trip by Trippi; COTTON CANDY KID, g, 3, HAW, Mcl 8000, 4-23, 5 1/2f, 1:05 4/5. B-Ocala Stud (FL.).
    Latent Heat--You Dancing Devil (MSP$352,326), by Joyeux Danseur; UNSEEN, c, 3, PIM, Mcl 25000, 4-24, 5fT, :57 1/5. B-S. D. Brilie LP (KY.). $4,700 '12 FTKOCT.
    Sorcerer's Stone--Streakin Appeal by Valid Belfast; SORCERER'S APPEAL, f, 3, EVD, Mcl 7500, 4-23, 1m, 1:42 4/5. B-Judice Farms, Inc. (LA.). $8,000 2013 TEXMAR.
    Special Rate--Sing Krystal by Roar; COURTNEY'S PRINCE, c, 3, EVD, Mcl 15000, 4-23, 7f, 1:25 4/5. B-4 M Ranch (LA.). $9,000 '12 ESLSEP; $24,000 2013 TEXMAR.
    Stroll--Miss Malley by Grindstone; STROLL TO VICTORY, c, 3, KEE, Msw, 4-24, 1 1/8mT, 1:51 2/5. B-Kathryn S. West (KY.). $4,700 '11 KEENOV; $31,000 '12 FTKOCT.
    Wildcat Heir--Toasttofriendship by Salt Lake; WILDCAT FRIENDSHIP, g, 3, EVD, Msw, 4-23, 6f, 1:11 1/5. B-Georgia Farms Inc (LA.). $15,000 '12 KEESEP; $5,000 '12 OBSJAN; $50,000 2013 OBSAPR.
    Crafty Friend--Lovin'nonna by Forever Silver; CRAFTY CHICK, f, 4, ATL, Msw, 4-24, 1 1/16mT, 1:45 2/5. B-Lyno Maraspin (NJ.).
    Kela--Blushing Maggie by Dynaformer; CONSOLES GOTTA GO, g, 4, PEN, Mcl 10000, 4-24, 1m, 1:43 . B-Jay Manoogian (KY.).
    Lion Heart--Seeingtizbelieving by Tiznow; TIZALLHEART, f, 4, AQU, Mcl 35000, 4-24, 1mT, 1:39 . B-Doug Branham (KY.). $57,000 '10 KEENOV; $85,000 '11 KEESEP.
    Notional--Dancehall Deelites by Afternoon Deelites; FREAKY DEELITES, f, 4, EVD, Mcl 20000, 4-23, 1 1/16mT, 1:46 4/5. B-Spendthrift Farm, LLC (LA.).
    Snow Ridge--Connie's Passion by Roanoke; PASSION RIDGE, f, 4, PEN, Msw, 4-24, 1m 70y, 1:46 . B-Marcia Wolfe & Gary Brockmeyer (PA.).
    Birdonthewire--Sparkling Fox by Foxhound; SPEEDY VIXEN, m, 6, MNR, Mcl 5000, 4-23, 5f, 1:03 2/5. B-Madera Thoroughbreds (CA.).

    Features

    RACING ON TV

    Saturday, May 2   Kentucky Oaks (G1)
        5 - 6 p.m.
        NBC
         
    Saturday, May 3   Kentucky Derby undercard
        11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
        NBCSN
         
        Kentucky Derby (G1)
        4 - 7 p.m.
        NBC
         
        Kentucky Derby post show
        7 - 7:30 p.m.
        NBCSN

    all times Eastern

    KENTUCKY DERBY REPORT

    APRIL 25, 2014

    by James Scully

    California Chrome is due to arrive at Churchill Downs Monday  (Benoit Photo)

    The field for the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby is still not set, with a trio of recent defections opening spots for Uncle Sigh, Vinceremos and Harry's Holiday. Attrition always plays a part in the build-up and more than a handful of three-year-olds remain outside the bubble waiting for a spot to materialize.

    Midnight Hawk was removed from consideration Monday and while his absence (or any other longshots that may be withdrawn) figures to have little effect upon the price of the favorite, California Chrome, the recent losses of viable win contenders Cairo Prince and Constitution dealt more of a blow to his price.

    Barring a dreadful inside post, California Chrome likely will be in the 2-1 vicinity at post time.

    Post positions will be an added element but here is an early look at some strengths (S) and weaknesses (W) for the top 22 Derby contenders (ranked by points).

    California Chrome

    Strengths -- The fastest three-year-old, the Chromester earned a field-best 106 BRIS Speed rating for his sterling 5 1/4-length win in the Santa Anita Derby and a 102 for a seemingly effortless 7 1/4-length romp in the San Felipe two back. The athletic chestnut puts himself into the race with his natural speed and displays push-button acceleration, with jockey Victor Espinoza waiting until the stretch drive to ask for run in the last two wins. California Chrome put away the Santa Anita Derby field in a matter of a few strides before being wrapped up on. Super impressive so far.

    Weaknesses -- This isn't the pedigree of a Kentucky Derby winner, with sire Lucky Pulpit (stakes-winning turf sprinter) inspiring little confidence for 10 furlongs, and California Chrome has had issues with tardy starts, breaking a step slow in the Santa Anita Derby. He probably can't afford any troubles leaving the starting gate in a 20-horse field and wouldn't be the first California sensation to falter at short odds shipping into Churchill Downs.

    Vicar's in Trouble

    S -- Excelled in the Louisiana Derby, netting a 104 Speed rating while scoring by 3 1/2 lengths, and Vicar's in Trouble has displayed a nice acceleration for home while capturing three of his last four starts. Rates as an improving colt for trainer Mike Maker and jockey Rosie Napravnik and will be forwardly placed in Derby, looking to take the lead into the stretch drive.

    W -- Legitimate questions surround his effectiveness at 1 1/4 miles. Bred to be more of a miler, the Louisiana-bred essentially had his way on the lead in all three career wins. Those circumstances appear unlikely given the other speed in the 20-horse field and Vicar's in Trouble faltered when changing tactics in the Risen Star.

    Dance with Fate

    S -- Possesses the late foot to make his presence felt in the final furlongs if he handles the track at Churchill Downs, earning century-topping BRIS Late Pace ratings in his last two outings, and the top three finishers in last year's Derby were 15th or worse after the opening six furlongs. This year's event could set up similarly. Dance with Fate closed boldly to win the Blue Grass going away last time and will attempt to carry that form forward.

    W -- Winless in two previous dirt attempts, Dance with Fate has run faster on synthetics and turf. Trainer Peter Eurton long targeted the Blue Grass on Polytrack and wasn't ready to commit to Churchill Downs immediately after the race, citing the dirt track and three-week turnaround as major concerns. Few will be surprised to see the Derby turn into a failed experiment.

    Wicked Strong

    S -- After opening the year with a pair of disappointing efforts at Gulfstream, Wicked Strong's TwinSpires.com Wood Memorial victory stamped him as a major player. He drew off impressively, netting a 103 Speed rating for the 3 1/2-length decision, and figures to receive a better set-up in the Derby. With a favorable pedigree for 10 furlongs, the Jimmy Jerkens-trained colt looms a dangerous closer.

    W -- Proven at Belmont and Aqueduct, Wicked Strong needs to prove he can transfer his form outside of New York. He waited until the stretch drive to make serious headway last time, closing dramatically in the final furlong, and the Derby is usually won on the far turn. Must avoid a regression after a huge jump in Speed ratings.

    Samraat

    S -- Hard-trying horse merits respect. After easily capturing his first three starts over New York-bred rivals, Samraat displayed grit posting commendable Grade 3 wins in the Withers and Gotham. He didn't experience the best trip stalking the pace in the Wood and Wicked Strong left him withering late in third, but Samraat never quit, battling gamely to overhaul Social Inclusion for second on the wire. Trainer Richard Violette achieved his goal getting to the bottom of the colt and is expecting a jump forward.

    W -- Samraat has never earned a triple-digit Speed rating and his ability to thrive at 1 1/4 miles rates as a major concern, with races up to nine furlongs possibly representing his ceiling. He's never been more than two lengths behind at any point of call previously and could get caught chasing a fast pace if he doesn't settle willingly in the early stages.

    Danza

    S --  New kid on the block made his two-turn debut in the Arkansas Derby, exploding from just off the pace to win going away by 4 3/4 lengths, and earned whopping Speed (104) and Late Pace numbers (106). Danza's late kick appears tailor-made for a Derby field loaded with speed and the late-blooming colt is peaking at the right time.

    W -- The Arkansas Derby came out of nowhere, with Danza showing little in his 2014 bow and possessing only a 5 1/2-furlong maiden win last July, and the 41-1 outsider received a perfect inside trip after breaking from the rail, with Bayern drifting out to open clear sailing turning for home. Lightly-raced type could be hard-pressed to reproduce that effort while facing more extreme circumstances in a 20-horse Derby field.

    Hoppertunity

    S -- Didn't race at two but Hoppertunity figures to be plenty fit after making five starts this season. Well-bred for the 1 1/4-mile distance, the improving colt broke through with a bold win in the Rebel two starts back and his non-threatening second in the Santa Anita Derby last time was simply for conditioning -- three-time Derby winner Bob Baffert will look to tighten the screws on Derby day.

    W -- Hoppertunity won't bring the best numbers into the race, managing his first triple-digit Speed rating in the Santa Anita Derby (100), and the grinder must prove that he can quicken readily enough to challenge. He raced close to the pace in both wins, and settled up close as well in the Santa Anita Derby, but the colt figures to employ different tactics from well off the pace.

    Intense Holiday

    S -- His ability to finish could prove valuable, especially if the pace collapses like it did last year, and Intense Holiday has come on in his last two outings, gamely posting his first stakes win in the Risen Star before recording a clear second in Louisiana Derby after a rough trip. Todd Pletcher charge has already raced at five different tracks, so shipping to Churchill Downs should be no problem, and he's a late runner to consider.

    W -- Quality issues still surround him -- Intense Holiday wasn't a serious factor in his first four graded attempts -- and he didn't leave a favorable impression weaving in and out through the stretch of the Louisiana Derby. Could be viewed as more of a plodder than a legitimate late-running threat.

    Wildcat Red

    S -- Speed, speed, speed. Wildcat Red posted strong wins in the Hutcheson and Fountain of Youth before a neck second in the Florida Derby, and he's never been worse than second in seven lifetime starts. Broodmare sire Miner's Mark, a Grade 1 winner at 1 1/4 miles, could potentially balance stamina with a speed-infused top of the pedigree, and the Florida-bred colt is as game as they come.

    W -- Wildcat Red caught a speed-favoring track that played to his run style and got away with slow fractions over the same oval in the Florida Derby; it's tough to say he could've reproduced those efforts elsewhere. Easy to envision him being more of a middle-distance specialist in the future, with Saratoga's Grade 1 King's Bishop at seven furlongs a viable target for the talented colt.

    We Miss Artie

    S -- Surged late to earn his way into the Derby, posting a nose win in the Spiral on Polytrack, and regains the services of Eclipse Award-winning jockey Javier Castellano. His run style could play favorably behind an expected lively pace and We Miss Artie will look to rally in the final stages.

    W -- He's been better on turf and synthetics, recording well-beaten efforts in the Fountain of Youth and Breeders' Cup Juvenile on dirt, and didn't run fast capturing the Spiral. We Miss Artie may be done with dirt racing if he doesn't fire in the Derby.

    Ride on Curlin

    S -- Got up late for second in the Arkansas Derby, ensuring the hard-trying colt a spot in the field, and Ride on Curlin picks up the services of three-time Derby winner Calvin Borel. His Speed ratings are increasing nicely and the bay colt has shown that he can overcome adversity, an admirable trait in a 20-horse field. He figures to be saving ground from the inside in midpack and owns a solid late kick.

    W -- His only two wins came sprinting (earning his career-best Speed rating when setting a 5 1/2-furlong track record at Ellis Park) and grinder type can be labeled more of an exotics contender than a win threat, placing in all six graded attempts while never seriously threatening to prevail. His propensity to find trouble is also worrisome.

    Chitu

    S -- Drew off superbly in the stretch of the Sunland Derby, earning a commendable 103 Speed rating for the 2 1/4-length decision, and Chitu has never run a bad race, sustaining his only career setback in four starts with a half-length second in the Robert Lewis. Owns good tactical speed and will look to get in the clear and settle into a comfortable position close to the pace.

    W -- A.P. Indy provides stamina on the dam side, but tough to envision a son of Henny Hughes winning the Kentucky Derby. He's also very lightly-raced, with Animal Kingdom being the only other Derby winner in modern times with only four previous starts, and Chitu has faced little adversity racing on the front end in previous outings.

    Tapiture

    S -- Churchill Downs stakes winner ran well in his first two starts this year at Oaklawn, posting a convincing win in the Southwest before a troubled second in the Rebel, and he's a candidate to rebound following a subpar fourth in the Arkansas Derby. Tapiture figures to be stalking in midpack and is eligible to get first run on the deep closers -- he's the type that could be in the mix turning for home.

    W -- By leading sire Tapit, Tapiture receives little help from his dam side for the 1 1/4-mile distance. His regression in the Arkansas Derby -- the first start at 1 1/8 miles -- is disconcerting given the distance issues surrounding the colt and he's never earned a triple-digit Speed rating. Legitimate questions surrounding his chances.

    Ring Weekend

    S -- Tampa Bay Derby winner is a gelded son of Tapit from a stamina-filled female family. Ring Weekend proved a little rank when trying to rate in the Calder Derby last time, but the Graham Motion trainee settled nicely off the pace when breaking his maiden and has finished in the money in six straight starts since making his career debut.

    W --  Seized the early initiative, opening a clear lead rounding the first turn of the Tampa Bay Derby, and stole the race on the front end at 14-1. Ring Weekend was drilled last time in a soft non-points race, finishing 9 3/4 lengths back as the 1-5 favorite, and his past performances provide little hope that he can compete against this level of horses.

    General a Rod

    S -- General a Rod came up a little short when utilizing stalking tactics in the Florida Derby, finishing 1 1/2 lengths back in third, but the race served its purpose as an educational experience. The Mike Maker-trained colt will attempt to rally from just off the pace with Joel Rosario, last year's Derby-winning jockey, and the presence of dam sire Dynaformer (sire of Barbaro) is encouraging. Honest performer has never run a bad race in five career starts and brings plenty of moxie to the equation if he handles the distance.

    W -- Despite the female side of his family, General a Rod is a speedy type with concerns at 10 furlongs. He dueled from the start of the Gulfstream Park Derby and Fountain of Youth, battling throughout with another speedball (Wildcat Red) over surfaces that favored them, and his only wins have come around one turn. He could get caught chasing the pace if he doesn't settle.

    Medal Count

    S -- He's recently developed into a quality three-year-old for Dale Romans. A non-threatening fifth in the Fountain of Youth, Medal Count rebounded from that disappointment with an eye-catching win in the Transylvania on Keeneland's Polytrack and exits a good second in the Blue Grass. The Dynaformer colt broke his maiden on dirt and is based at Churchill Downs, so he's a candidate to make the transition from synthetics, and packs a big late kick. Rates as an intriguing closer.

    W -- Medal Count opened the year with a dead-heat win on turf and preference so far for turf/synthetics is no surprise given the influences in his pedigree. He's got a lot to prove on dirt against a higher caliber of competition than he faced at Keeneland and the lack of a triple-digit Speed rating (career-best 97) does not flatter his chances.

    Candy Boy

    S -- Opened the year on a strong note, posting a comfortable victory in the Robert Lewis, but Candy Boy did not fire following a two-month freshening in the Santa Anita Derby, chasing the early pace before weakening in the stretch drive. That effort served as a useful tightener and the colt figures to enjoy a better trip at Churchill Downs, rating off an expected hot and contested pace. Three-time Derby winner Gary Stevens believes he can make an impact in the final furlongs.

    W -- His breeding is suspect for the 1 1/4-mile trip and trainer John Sadler fared poorly in his last Derby attempt, sending out Santa Anita Derby winner Sidney's Candy and Arkansas Derby victor Line of David to finish 17th and 18th, respectively, in 2010. Candy Boy's numbers are also light, with a career-best 97 Speed.

    Uncle Sigh

    S -- Will look to rebound in the Derby after losing all chance at the start of the Wood, breaking a step slowly. He performed admirably in two previous attempts, finishing a close second to Samraat in Gotham and Withers despite a seasoning disadvantage, and Uncle Sigh could have more to offer moving forward. Indian Charlie colt does his best running on the front end but appears to receive some stamina from classic-winning dam sire Pine Bluff.

    W -- Like so many in the Derby field, he must find a way to carve out a reasonable trip up close during the early stages and Uncle Sigh will probably look to show a lot more speed after breaking slowly last time. His ability to navigate 10 furlongs is in question -- it's easy to classify him as one who is probably best-suited for less ground.

    Vinceremos

    S -- Vinceremos shipped to Tampa Bay Downs off a maiden special weight win and recorded a gutsy victory in the Sam F. Davis. Runner-up in the Tampa Bay Derby next out, he didn't handle the Polytrack in the Blue Grass and will attempt to show more back on the dirt at Churchill Downs.

    W -- Didn't run fast in his Tampa races and Vinceremos' career-best BRIS Speed rating (93) probably won't get it done.

    Harry's Holiday

    S -- Churchill maiden winner captured a minor stakes sprinting on Turfway's Polytrack before posting a third in the John Battaglia Memorial and a nose second in the Spiral. Faltered in the Blue Grass, but trainer Mike Maker is optimistic that he can turn things around in the Derby.

    W -- His ability in dirt routes can be doubted and Harry's Holiday will bring a pedestrian set of Speed ratings into the race, earning a career-best 93 in a slowly run Spiral.

    Commanding Curve

    S -- Currently 21st on the points list, Commanding Curve will offer some appeal if he makes the field. A Churchill Downs maiden winner in his juvenile finale, he made his 2014 debut and first start against winners in the February 22 Risen Star, offering a decent middle move before flattening out. Figured to move forward in the Louisiana Derby but wound up being slammed at the start by a rival breaking inward, retreating to last early. Passed most of the field on the far turn and stretch for third and the late runner could continue to show more for Dallas Stewart, who recorded a second at 34-1 last year with the deep-closing Golden Soul.

    W -- The inexperienced ridgling is only a maiden winner and could be forced to navigate traffic while trying to make his presence felt from the back of the field. Commanding Curve wasn't a serious factor in both starts this year (finishing five lengths back of the winner last time) and the question remains whether he's good enough to challenge in the Derby.

    Pablo del Monte

    S -- Pablo del Monte exits his best effort of the year, finishing third in the Blue Grass, and figures to show speed if he makes the Derby field.

    W -- Both wins have come sprinting on Polytrack and he wasn't a serious factor in his first two dirt starts this year, finishing fourth in the Gulfstream Park Derby and third in the Hutcheson, both one-turn races. And with his speedy female family, Pablo del Monte could find the 1 1/4-mile trip too taxing.

    HANDICAPPING INSIGHTS

    APRIL 25, 2014

    by Dick Powell

    Remember the "Fix Six" scandal from the 2002 Breeders' Cup? Three unscrupulous individuals with access to the tote system went into the betting system and changed their Pick Six ticket so that the first four horses won and then used all the horses in the last two legs.

    When Volponi upset the Classic at 43-to-1 odds, there was only one winning ticket, which made it easier to track down what exactly happened. Eventually, the perpetrators were caught and the racing industry knew they had a perception problem on their hands.

    None of the race results were affected but the confidence in the wagering system was shaken. So what did the racing industry do?

    They paid former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani $3 million to conduct a study on what was wrong and how to fix it. Giuliani had just left being mayor and had founded a security-consulting firm. After 9/11, he was a nation-wide household name and in the white shoe world of racing "leadership," this was considered a good idea.

    They actually thought that John and Jane Bettor would suddenly have their confidence in the wagering system restored and the racing industry could dodge the bullet of the scandal. Giuliani's team came up with some obvious computer security issues and racing wound up dislocating their collective shoulders by patting themselves on the back.

    Now, we have another scandal. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had an agent infiltrate the Steve Asmussen barn and came up some amateurish video and audio proof of severely damaging practices. Racing is in another crisis and they can't play, nor afford, the Rudy card so what to do?

    It didn't take long but the answer came recently when it was proposed by The Jockey Club that a bunch of owners and trainers will now voluntarily submit veterinary records on their horses competing in graded stakes races. The records will cover the prior 14 days and will be available on the day of the race at least two hours before the race.

    All I can say is WTFWDDD, which is a combination of WTF and Derrick Coleman's famous "Whoop de Damn Do!"

    Calling Doctor Fine, calling Doctor Fine. We have more dislocated shoulders in the Trustees Room. STAT!

    So now, two hours before a graded stakes, I will somehow know what veterinary treatments have been administered to all the horses in the race. This helps me how? Do they really think we are that stupid that this is going to help anything? Based on past performances, a silly question.

    Will the records be accompanied by lie detector tests to prove their veracity? Somehow, I will bet that the people doing the cheating will not fess up voluntarily. Just saying. Somehow I will bet that this new policy won't stop PETA from firing their next salvo against the game.

    If you want to restore this handicapper's confidence in the game, just let me know which horses have had their cobalt treatments and when was the last one. I can take it from there.

    Not all the news in racing has been bad. The New York Racing Association implemented an improved high-definition of the broadcast of their races and the results are stunning. Blown up to full-screen, the live broadcast of their races on their web site is spectacular.

    They also unveiled a channel on the Roku system, which enables you to watch a high definition stream of the races from NYRA on your high definition television.

    Right now, a channel surfer sees sports being televised in beautiful high definition and then when they come across horse racing, the picture looks terrible. With NYRA, joining Keeneland, Churchill Downs and Fair Grounds in broadcasting in high definition, at least our game is trying to keep up with the technology available.

    RACING ON RADIO

    Monday thru Friday   At the Races w/ Steve Byk
        10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
        Sirius 93 - XM 209
         
    Thursdays   Brisnet.com Call-In Show
        6 - 7 p.m.
        Sirius 93 - XM 209
         
    Saturdays   Down the Stretch w/ Don Knobel
        10 - 11 a.m.
        790 AM (WKRD)
         
    Saturdays   Down the Stretch
        10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
        Sirius 93 - XM 209
         
    Saturdays   Equine Forum
        8 - 10 a.m.
        HRRN
         
    Tuesday, April 29   Derby Trainers' Dinner
        7:30 - 11:30 p.m.
        Sirius 93/HRRN website
         
    April 30 thru May 2   Derby Countdown Show
        8 - 10 a.m./3 - 5 p.m.
        HRRN website/XM 208
         
        Kentucky Derby Post Position Draw
        5 - 6 p.m.
        XM 208/HRRN website
         
    Friday, May 2   Kentucky Oaks (G1)
        La Troienne (G1)
        American Turf (G2)
        Alysheba (G2)
        Eight Belles (G3)
        3 - 6 p.m.
        Sirius 93 - XM 208/HRRN website
         
    Saturday, May 3   Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1)
        Humana Distaff (G1)
        Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2)
        Churchill Downs S. (G2)
        Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G3)
        2 - 4 p.m.
        Sirius 93 - XM 208/HRRN website
         
        Kentucky Derby (G1)
        5 - 7 p.m.
        Sirius 93 - XM 208/HRRN website

    all times Eastern

    At a Glance
    AQUEDUCT AT A GLANCE
     
    Avg. Winning Odds: 4.83 - 1
    Favorite Win%: 38%, Favorite Itm%: 77%
     
    EXOTICS PAYOFF
    Quinella28.77
    Exacta74.58
    Daily Double70.36
    Trifecta485.19
    Pick 3484.99
    Superfecta3,868.31
    Pick 621,134.76
    Pick 43,197.92
    Pick 515,244.66
    Grand Slam67.15
    TRACK BIAS MEET(11/01 - 04/23)
    Distance #
    Race
    %
    Wire
    Best
    Style
    Best
    Posts
    6.0fDirt 119 28% E Outside
    6.5fDirt 40 28% E/P Outside
    1 MileDirt 109 19% E/P Outside
    Turf Routes 66 8% P Rail/Ins
    TRACK BIAS WEEK(04/17 - 04/23)
    Distance #
    Race
    %
    Wire
    Best
    Style
    Best
    Posts
    6.0fDirt 7 43% E Outside
    6.5fDirt 5 40% P Mid/Out
    1 MileDirt 6 0% E Middle
    Turf Routes 10 30% E/P Rail
    Who's HOT, Who's NOT
     
    HOT TRAINERS Starts WinsPlace ShowAvg.
    Odds
    Winning
    Favorites
    '13-' 14
    Win%
    Jacobson David 14 6 1 3 2.59 3 23%
    Englehart Jeremiah C. 8 3 2 0 5.25 1 22%
    Barbara Robert 4 2 1 1 4.89 0 10%
    Brown Chad C. 4 2 1 1 2.34 1 26%
    Jerkens James A. 5 2 1 0 5.81 0 19%
    Violette, Jr. Richard A. 5 2 1 2 5.64 1 15%
    Hertler John O. 6 2 1 0 9.23 1 7%
     
    HOT JOCKEYS Starts WinsPlace ShowAvg.
    Odds
    Winning
    Favorites
    '13-' 14
    Win%
    Velasquez Cornelio H. 13 4 1 7 3.90 0 18%
    Arroyo Angel S. 11 3 0 3 13.15 1 13%
    Luzzi Michael J. 8 2 1 0 19.43 1 11%
     
    COLD TRAINERS Starts WinsPlace ShowAvg.
    Odds
    Beaten
    Favorites
    '13-' 14
    Win%
    Persaud Randi 17 0 2 2 17.99 0 8%
    Levine Bruce N. 10 0 1 2 8.34 1 16%
     
    COLD JOCKEYS Starts WinsPlace ShowAvg.
    Odds
    Beaten
    Favorites
    '13-' 14
    Win%
                 

    Features

    INTERNATIONAL RACING CALENDAR

    Click here for April's International Racing Calendar

    RACING ON TV

    Saturday, May 2   Kentucky Oaks (G1)
        5 - 6 p.m.
        NBC
         
    Saturday, May 3   Kentucky Derby undercard
        11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
        NBCSN
         
        Kentucky Derby (G1)
        4 - 7 p.m.
        NBC
         
        Kentucky Derby post show
        7 - 7:30 p.m.
        NBCSN

    all times Eastern

    At a Glance
    KEENELAND AT A GLANCE
     
    Avg. Winning Odds: 6.63 - 1
    Favorite Win%: 23%, Favorite Itm%: 61%
     
    EXOTICS PAYOFF
    Exacta128.40
    Daily Double124.80
    Trifecta990.90
    Pick 3979.23
    Superfecta7,581.16
    Pick 47,235.54
    Pick 597,198.20
    Super High Five43,628.00
    TRACK BIAS MEET(04/04 - 04/23)
    Distance #
    Race
    %
    Wire
    Best
    Style
    Best
    Posts
    6.0fDirt 24 38% E Middle
    a7.0fDirt 5 20% E/P Inside
    1 1/16mDirt 30 20% P Rail/Ins
    1 1/8mDirt 11 18% S Mid/Out
    Turf Sprint 4 50% E Rail
    Turf Routes 22 18% E Outside
    TRACK BIAS WEEK(04/17 - 04/23)
    Distance #
    Race
    %
    Wire
    Best
    Style
    Best
    Posts
    6.0fDirt 6 67% E Middle
    a7.0fDirt 3 33% E/P Inside
    1 1/16mDirt 9 22% E Rail
    1 1/8mDirt 3 33% E Outside
    Turf Sprint 3 33% S Rail
    Turf Routes 8 0% E/P Outside
    Who's HOT, Who's NOT
     
    HOT TRAINERS Starts WinsPlace ShowAvg.
    Odds
    Winning
    Favorites
    '13-' 14
    Win%
    Clement Christophe 13 5 2 1 5.96 2 20%
    Amoss Thomas M. 8 3 1 1 4.38 2 32%
    Brown Chad C. 8 3 2 0 4.84 1 26%
    Calhoun W. Bret 5 2 0 0 9.98 0 23%
    Pessin Neil L. 6 2 1 0 8.48 0 11%
     
    HOT JOCKEYS Starts WinsPlace ShowAvg.
    Odds
    Winning
    Favorites
    '13-' 14
    Win%
     
    COLD TRAINERS Starts WinsPlace ShowAvg.
    Odds
    Beaten
    Favorites
    '13-' 14
    Win%
    Arnold, II George R. 11 0 2 1 13.85 2 10%
    Sims Philip A. 11 0 3 0 19.93 0 12%
     
    COLD JOCKEYS Starts WinsPlace ShowAvg.
    Odds
    Beaten
    Favorites
    '13-' 14
    Win%
    Davis Dylan 18 0 2 1 18.23 1 13%

    Features

    RACING ON RADIO

    Monday thru Friday   At the Races w/ Steve Byk
        10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
        Sirius 93 - XM 209
         
    Thursdays   Brisnet.com Call-In Show
        6 - 7 p.m.
        Sirius 93 - XM 209
         
    Saturdays   Down the Stretch w/ Don Knobel
        10 - 11 a.m.
        790 AM (WKRD)
         
    Saturdays   Down the Stretch
        10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
        Sirius 93 - XM 209
         
    Saturdays   Equine Forum
        8 - 10 a.m.
        HRRN
         
    Tuesday, April 29   Derby Trainers' Dinner
        7:30 - 11:30 p.m.
        Sirius 93/HRRN website
         
    April 30 thru May 2   Derby Countdown Show
        8 - 10 a.m./3 - 5 p.m.
        HRRN website/XM 208
         
        Kentucky Derby Post Position Draw
        5 - 6 p.m.
        XM 208/HRRN website
         
    Friday, May 2   Kentucky Oaks (G1)
        La Troienne (G1)
        American Turf (G2)
        Alysheba (G2)
        Eight Belles (G3)
        3 - 6 p.m.
        Sirius 93 - XM 208/HRRN website
         
    Saturday, May 3   Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1)
        Humana Distaff (G1)
        Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2)
        Churchill Downs S. (G2)
        Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G3)
        2 - 4 p.m.
        Sirius 93 - XM 208/HRRN website
         
        Kentucky Derby (G1)
        5 - 7 p.m.
        Sirius 93 - XM 208/HRRN website

    all times Eastern

    At a Glance

    AT A GLANCE SCHEDULE

    MONDAY:   Golden Gate and Tampa Bay Downs
    TUESDAY:   Hawthorne and Santa Anita
    WEDNESDAY:   Calder and Woodbine
    THURSDAY:   Gulfstream Park and Pimlico
    FRIDAY:   Aqueduct and Keeneland

    Racing Highlights

    For Friday

    AQUEDUCT (1:20): $71,000 ocl, 4&up, 1m (8TH).
    CALDER RACE COURSE (12:55): $23,800 ocl, 3&up, 7f (6TH); $23,800 ocl, 3&up, f&m, 1m (7TH).
    EVANGELINE DOWNS (6:40): $60,000 Matron S., 3&up, f&m, 1mT (8TH).
    FINGER LAKES (12:35): $18,500 alw, 3&up, f&m, 4 1/2f (8TH).
    HAWTHORNE (6:00): $28,000 alw, 3&up, 6f (5TH).
    KEENELAND (1:05): $250,000 Elkhorn S. (G2), 4&up, 1 1/2mT (9TH).
    LONE STAR PARK (7:35): $21,000 alw, 3&up, f&m, 6f (2ND); $21,000 alw, 3&4yos, 5 1/2f (7TH).
    PENN NATIONAL (6:00): $33,300 alw, 3&up, 6f (4TH); $33,300 alw, 3&up, 6f (6TH).
    PIMLICO (1:10): $42,000 alw, 3&up, 1 1/16mT (8TH).
    PRAIRIE MEADOWS (7:30): $39,376 alw, 3&up, f&m, 5 1/2f (6TH).
    SANTA ANITA (6:00): $100,000 Last Tycoon S. (G3), 3&up, 1 1/8mT (4TH).
    THISTLEDOWN (12:55): $22,100 alw, 3&up, 5 1/2f (7TH).
    WOODBINE (1:00): $47,500 alw, 3yo, f, 7f (4TH).

    *all times Eastern

    Spot Plays/Highlights/Weather

    SPOT PLAYS

    For Friday

    TRACK   (RACE) HORSE, MORNING LINE
    Aqueduct   (4th) Halos and Angels, 5-1
        (9th) Kelly's Prize, 7-2
    Atlantic City   (1st) Scandalous Love, 6-1
        (4th) Well Lit, 7-2
    Calder Race Course   (1st) His Own Beat, 3-1
        (3rd) Princess at Peace, 3-1
    Evangeline Downs   (2nd) Charlie's Ring, 3-1
        (10th) Warrior Elite, 3-1
    Finger Lakes   (2nd) Bear Dance, 3-1
        (7th) Fire Wise, 6-1
    Golden Gate Fields   (5th) Hollywood Groom, 7-2
        (6th) Emeraldcity Kitten, 7-2
    Gulfstream Park   (5th) Felixia, 3-1
        (6th) Philomene, 7-2
    Hawthorne   (6th) Harmony Place, 7-2
        (8th) Royal Dehere, 3-1
    Keeneland   (7th) Miz Lee, 7-2
        (10th) Shakesperian Dream, 3-1
    Lone Star Park   (4th) Warrens China Doll, 8-1
        (5th) Fizzano, 3-1
    Penn National   (5th) Hug a Tree, 4-1
        (7th) Sand Devil, 6-1
    Pimlico   (5th) Lady at Heart, 3-1
        (6th) Pennie My Love, 6-1
    Prairie Meadows   (1st) Super Tornado, 9-2
        (8th) Conchacer, 7-2
    Santa Anita   (5th) Dunmore East, 3-1
        (6th) Starry Skies, 7-2
    Tampa Bay Downs   (3rd) Citations Honor, 4-1
        (5th) Awesome Rhythm, 4-1
    Thistledown   (1st) Raymond's Brew, 6-1
        (4th) El Martillo, 3-1
    Woodbine   (8th) Save My Soul, 8-1
        (9th) Guitar Solo, 4-1

    HIGHLIGHTS

    For Friday

    AQUEDUCT (1:20): $71,000 ocl, 4&up, 1m (8TH).
    CALDER RACE COURSE (12:55): $23,800 ocl, 3&up, 7f (6TH); $23,800 ocl, 3&up, f&m, 1m (7TH).
    EVANGELINE DOWNS (6:40): $60,000 Matron S., 3&up, f&m, 1mT (8TH).
    FINGER LAKES (12:35): $18,500 alw, 3&up, f&m, 4 1/2f (8TH).
    HAWTHORNE (6:00): $28,000 alw, 3&up, 6f (5TH).
    KEENELAND (1:05): $250,000 Elkhorn S. (G2), 4&up, 1 1/2mT (9TH).
    LONE STAR PARK (7:35): $21,000 alw, 3&up, f&m, 6f (2ND); $21,000 alw, 3&4yos, 5 1/2f (7TH).
    PENN NATIONAL (6:00): $33,300 alw, 3&up, 6f (4TH); $33,300 alw, 3&up, 6f (6TH).
    PIMLICO (1:10): $42,000 alw, 3&up, 1 1/16mT (8TH).
    PRAIRIE MEADOWS (7:30): $39,376 alw, 3&up, f&m, 5 1/2f (6TH).
    SANTA ANITA (6:00): $100,000 Last Tycoon S. (G3), 3&up, 1 1/8mT (4TH).
    THISTLEDOWN (12:55): $22,100 alw, 3&up, 5 1/2f (7TH).
    WOODBINE (1:00): $47,500 alw, 3yo, f, 7f (4TH).

    *all times Eastern

    HANDICAPPER'S EDGE is compiled by Bloodstock Research Information Services. This newsletter may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. Copyright 2011, Bloodstock Research Information Services. Information as to the races, race results and earnings was obtained from Equibase Company LLC and is utilized herein with the permission of the copyright owner, Equibase Company LLC.

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    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.