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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2014

Graded Recaps

Classic Point edges Princess Violet in Go for Wand

Classic Point (No. 10) battled back along the inside to regain the lead (Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photo)

Joseph Shields Jr.'s homebred Classic Point surrendered the lead in deep stretch of Friday's Grade 3, $300,000 Go for Wand but courageously fought back to defeat Princess Violet on the wire, posting a nose decision in one-mile event at Aqueduct.

The New York-bred mare has discovered her best form at age five for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, following her first stakes triumph in the restricted Punkin Pie with another fine performance, and paid $18.40 to win as the 8-1 fourth choice among 11 rivals.

Angel Arroyo was up as the chestnut daughter of Flatter stopped the teletimer in 1:37 3/5 on the "good" main track.

Sweet Whiskey showed the way early as Classic Point tracked her in second through opening splits in :23 4/5, :47 2/5 and 1:12 3/5. Classic Point overhauled the pacesetter approaching midstretch but the rallying Princess Violet was charging fast on the outside. That rival stuck a head in front in the final sixteenth of a mile before Classic Point gamely battled back to win the head-bobbing photo finish.

Princess Violet, the 2-1 favorite, and wound up 2 1/4 lengths better than 23-1 longshot Moment in Dixie in third.

Out of the Langfuhr mare Discerning, Classic Point earned her first stakes placing last year when second in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss and filled the same position in the 2013 Punkin Pie. The reformed claimer broke her maiden for a $16,000 tag in 2012 and proved durable despite inconsistent form earlier in her career, making 13 starts in 2013.

Unplaced in her first five stakes attempts this year, Classic Point appears to have really turned the corner over the last seven weeks. She registered a career-best 99 BRIS Speed rating for her 6 1/4-length win in the October 13 Punkin Pie and continued to move forward against open rivals in the Go for Wand, increasing her career earnings to $548,034 from a 30-7-4-1 record.

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Classic Point edges Princess Violet in Go for Wand

Classic Point (No. 10) battled back along the inside to regain the lead (Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photo)

Joseph Shields Jr.'s homebred Classic Point surrendered the lead in deep stretch of Friday's Grade 3, $300,000 Go for Wand but courageously fought back to defeat Princess Violet on the wire, posting a nose decision in one-mile event at Aqueduct.

The New York-bred mare has discovered her best form at age five for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, following her first stakes triumph in the restricted Punkin Pie with another fine performance, and paid $18.40 to win as the 8-1 fourth choice among 11 rivals.

Angel Arroyo was up as the chestnut daughter of Flatter stopped the teletimer in 1:37 3/5 on the "good" main track.

Sweet Whiskey showed the way early as Classic Point tracked her in second through opening splits in :23 4/5, :47 2/5 and 1:12 3/5. Classic Point overhauled the pacesetter approaching midstretch but the rallying Princess Violet was charging fast on the outside. That rival stuck a head in front in the final sixteenth of a mile before Classic Point gamely battled back to win the head-bobbing photo finish.

Princess Violet, the 2-1 favorite, and wound up 2 1/4 lengths better than 23-1 longshot Moment in Dixie in third.

Out of the Langfuhr mare Discerning, Classic Point earned her first stakes placing last year when second in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss and filled the same position in the 2013 Punkin Pie. The reformed claimer broke her maiden for a $16,000 tag in 2012 and proved durable despite inconsistent form earlier in her career, making 13 starts in 2013.

Unplaced in her first five stakes attempts this year, Classic Point appears to have really turned the corner over the last seven weeks. She registered a career-best 99 BRIS Speed rating for her 6 1/4-length win in the October 13 Punkin Pie and continued to move forward against open rivals in the Go for Wand, increasing her career earnings to $548,034 from a 30-7-4-1 record.

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Racing Headlines

Lukas to run Take Charge Brandi, Mr. Z at Los Alamitos

Take Charge Brandi, a debut winner on June 22, will make her seventh straight stakes appearance in the Starlet (Delta Downs/Coady Photography)

The most accomplished juveniles in the barn of Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas -- Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and Delta Princess winner Take Charge Brandi and Delta Jackpot runner-up Mr. Z -- will each have one more dance before the universal birthday for Thoroughbreds arrives on January 1 and those young stars embark on their three-year-old campaigns.

Both horses will travel to Southern California's Los Alamitos Race Course in an effort to put an exclamation point on their respective successful juvenile campaigns. Take Charge Brandi will bid to wrap-up the Eclipse Award for champion two-year-old filly in the $350,000 Starlet on December 13, and Mr. Z will seek his breakthrough stakes victory in the $500,000 Los Alamitos Futurity a week later on December 20.

The setting at Los Alamitos, which has been primarily a Quarter Horse venue throughout its history, will be very familiar to Lukas, who is the only trainer to be enshrined in both the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing Halls of Fame.

The Grade 1 races are also part of the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" and "Road to the Kentucky Oaks" points systems that will determine the horses that will compete next spring in the 141st runnings of the $2 million Kentucky Derby and the $1 million Kentucky Oaks.

Lukas has four victories in each of those signature races at Churchill Downs.

Take Charge Brandi was not even a tiny blip of the Eclipse Award radar screen when she traveled to Santa Anita for the Juvenile Fillies off an eighth-place finish in Keeneland's Alcibiades, which was her fourth consecutive loss following a sparkling debut win at Churchill Downs on June 22. But she led throughout in springing a 61-1 upset and erased thoughts that her Santa Anita performance might have been a fluke with a win in the $400,000 Delta Princess on November 22.

In a year in which there is no standout among two-year-old fillies, Lukas believes the back-to-back wins are enough to merit an Eclipse Award championship for Take Charge Brandi. If she extends her winning streak to three at Los Alamitos, he thinks it would be difficult for voters to look away from his chestnut filly.

"I want to take the doubt out of the vote," Lukas said in his stable office. "Let's make it easy."

The Giant's Causeway filly is out of Charming, who is out of two-time Spinster winner and 2002 Kentucky Oaks runner-up Take Charge Lady. The latter is the dam of the Lukas-trained Will Take Charge, who won last year's Travers at Saratoga and Churchill Downs' Clark Handicap on his way earning the Eclipse Award for champion three-year-old.

"We've been so blessed with that family, and my theory has always been, 'If they get good, run 'em and not put them in a stall,'" Lukas said. "I really thought she was coming up to the Delta Downs race as well as the Breeders' Cup, so to get two like that was good. I think she's going to run huge the next time.

"I'm not afraid to lead them over there."

Mr. Z also won at first-asking at Churchill Downs when he took a six-furlong maiden race on June 28. He has failed to win in six subsequent starts, but has done enough to merit being included as a wagering interest in Churchill Downs' first Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool leading up to Derby 141.

Beaten by a nose in the November 22 Delta Jackpot by Ocho Ocho Ocho, Mr. Z's has also posted runner-up efforts versus graded rivals in the Breeders' Futurity, Saratoga Special and Sanford. He finished a solid fifth behind Texas Red in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and has earned $439,726 despite a single visit to the winner's circle.

"He's a hard-knocker," Lukas said of the Malibu Moon colt. "I want to be here in May (in the Kentucky Derby) with him."

Should Lukas guide Take Charge Brandi to champion status, she would be his 25th Thoroughbred champion. He trained 23 Quarter Horse champions prior to moving over to Thoroughbreds in 1978.

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Lukas to run Take Charge Brandi, Mr. Z at Los Alamitos

Take Charge Brandi, a debut winner on June 22, will make her seventh straight stakes appearance in the Starlet (Delta Downs/Coady Photography)

The most accomplished juveniles in the barn of Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas -- Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and Delta Princess winner Take Charge Brandi and Delta Jackpot runner-up Mr. Z -- will each have one more dance before the universal birthday for Thoroughbreds arrives on January 1 and those young stars embark on their three-year-old campaigns.

Both horses will travel to Southern California's Los Alamitos Race Course in an effort to put an exclamation point on their respective successful juvenile campaigns. Take Charge Brandi will bid to wrap-up the Eclipse Award for champion two-year-old filly in the $350,000 Starlet on December 13, and Mr. Z will seek his breakthrough stakes victory in the $500,000 Los Alamitos Futurity a week later on December 20.

The setting at Los Alamitos, which has been primarily a Quarter Horse venue throughout its history, will be very familiar to Lukas, who is the only trainer to be enshrined in both the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing Halls of Fame.

The Grade 1 races are also part of the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" and "Road to the Kentucky Oaks" points systems that will determine the horses that will compete next spring in the 141st runnings of the $2 million Kentucky Derby and the $1 million Kentucky Oaks.

Lukas has four victories in each of those signature races at Churchill Downs.

Take Charge Brandi was not even a tiny blip of the Eclipse Award radar screen when she traveled to Santa Anita for the Juvenile Fillies off an eighth-place finish in Keeneland's Alcibiades, which was her fourth consecutive loss following a sparkling debut win at Churchill Downs on June 22. But she led throughout in springing a 61-1 upset and erased thoughts that her Santa Anita performance might have been a fluke with a win in the $400,000 Delta Princess on November 22.

In a year in which there is no standout among two-year-old fillies, Lukas believes the back-to-back wins are enough to merit an Eclipse Award championship for Take Charge Brandi. If she extends her winning streak to three at Los Alamitos, he thinks it would be difficult for voters to look away from his chestnut filly.

"I want to take the doubt out of the vote," Lukas said in his stable office. "Let's make it easy."

The Giant's Causeway filly is out of Charming, who is out of two-time Spinster winner and 2002 Kentucky Oaks runner-up Take Charge Lady. The latter is the dam of the Lukas-trained Will Take Charge, who won last year's Travers at Saratoga and Churchill Downs' Clark Handicap on his way earning the Eclipse Award for champion three-year-old.

"We've been so blessed with that family, and my theory has always been, 'If they get good, run 'em and not put them in a stall,'" Lukas said. "I really thought she was coming up to the Delta Downs race as well as the Breeders' Cup, so to get two like that was good. I think she's going to run huge the next time.

"I'm not afraid to lead them over there."

Mr. Z also won at first-asking at Churchill Downs when he took a six-furlong maiden race on June 28. He has failed to win in six subsequent starts, but has done enough to merit being included as a wagering interest in Churchill Downs' first Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool leading up to Derby 141.

Beaten by a nose in the November 22 Delta Jackpot by Ocho Ocho Ocho, Mr. Z's has also posted runner-up efforts versus graded rivals in the Breeders' Futurity, Saratoga Special and Sanford. He finished a solid fifth behind Texas Red in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and has earned $439,726 despite a single visit to the winner's circle.

"He's a hard-knocker," Lukas said of the Malibu Moon colt. "I want to be here in May (in the Kentucky Derby) with him."

Should Lukas guide Take Charge Brandi to champion status, she would be his 25th Thoroughbred champion. He trained 23 Quarter Horse champions prior to moving over to Thoroughbreds in 1978.

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Matriarch wraps up Bing Crosby Season at Del Mar

Discreet Marq tuned up for the Matriarch with a dominant win over New York-bred rivals (Adam Coglianese Photography)

The inaugural Bing Crosby fall meet at Del Mar concludes Sunday with a nine-race program featuring the Grade 1, $300,000 Matriarch. Eight fillies and mares were entered for the one-mile turf affair, but Lexie Lou is expected to scratch in favor of Saturday's Hollywood Derby.

Multiple Grade 1 winner Discreet Marq, a nose second in the 2013 Matriarch, is the likely favorite. Trained by Christophe Clement, the four-year-old gray pushed her career earnings past the $1 million mark ($1,067,900) when posting a three-length tally in the restricted Ticonderoga at Belmont Park on October 18. That represented her first stakes tally of 2014, but Discreet Marq has been close placing in a pair of Grade 1 events this season, the Jenny Wiley and Diana. Regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr. will be in for the mount.

Grade 3 queen Strathnaver, a nose second in the Grade 1 Just a Game earlier this summer and most recently placed second following a rough trip in the Goldikova on November 2, is a top contender for Graham Motion. Rafael Bejarano rides. La Tia, a three-time graded winner this season, exits a nice score in the Athenia at Belmont Park and is the one to catch beneath Joel Rosario.

Queen of the Sand exits a win in the November 7 Kathryn Crosby and is two for two of the new Del Mar turf course. Grade 3 heroine Sheza Smoke Show, Kathryn Crosby runner-up Gender Agenda and comebacker Kadaya round out the field.

Two races prior to the Matriarch, Grade 2 winner Conquest Typhoon heads a field of 10 in the Grade 3, $150,000 Cecil S. DeMille, a one-mile turf event for two-year-olds. The Mark Casse-trained colt exits a closing fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. Daddy D T, third in the Juvenile Turf, is also entered.

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Matriarch wraps up Bing Crosby Season at Del Mar

Discreet Marq tuned up for the Matriarch with a dominant win over New York-bred rivals (Adam Coglianese Photography)

The inaugural Bing Crosby fall meet at Del Mar concludes Sunday with a nine-race program featuring the Grade 1, $300,000 Matriarch. Eight fillies and mares were entered for the one-mile turf affair, but Lexie Lou is expected to scratch in favor of Saturday's Hollywood Derby.

Multiple Grade 1 winner Discreet Marq, a nose second in the 2013 Matriarch, is the likely favorite. Trained by Christophe Clement, the four-year-old gray pushed her career earnings past the $1 million mark ($1,067,900) when posting a three-length tally in the restricted Ticonderoga at Belmont Park on October 18. That represented her first stakes tally of 2014, but Discreet Marq has been close placing in a pair of Grade 1 events this season, the Jenny Wiley and Diana. Regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr. will be in for the mount.

Grade 3 queen Strathnaver, a nose second in the Grade 1 Just a Game earlier this summer and most recently placed second following a rough trip in the Goldikova on November 2, is a top contender for Graham Motion. Rafael Bejarano rides. La Tia, a three-time graded winner this season, exits a nice score in the Athenia at Belmont Park and is the one to catch beneath Joel Rosario.

Queen of the Sand exits a win in the November 7 Kathryn Crosby and is two for two of the new Del Mar turf course. Grade 3 heroine Sheza Smoke Show, Kathryn Crosby runner-up Gender Agenda and comebacker Kadaya round out the field.

Two races prior to the Matriarch, Grade 2 winner Conquest Typhoon heads a field of 10 in the Grade 3, $150,000 Cecil S. DeMille, a one-mile turf event for two-year-olds. The Mark Casse-trained colt exits a closing fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. Daddy D T, third in the Juvenile Turf, is also entered.

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Gentildonna aims for unprecedented Japan Cup triple

Gentildonna is the one to beat as the two-time defending champion (Japan Racing Association)
Japanese superstar Gentildonna has already made history when winning the Japan Cup for the past two years, and the five-year-old mare would only enhance her legendary status with a third victory in her homeland's signature international contest at Tokyo on Sunday. The only sophomore filly ever to win the Japan Cup when outdueling Orfevre in 2012, Gentildonna became the first repeat winner by holding off Denim and Ruby here a year ago. That has not deterred a formidable group of challengers, however, led by Arc also-rans Harp Star and Just a Way.

Gentildonna is in the twilight of her glittering career, with plans calling for the 2012 Fillies' Triple Crown winner to retire to the broodmare band in 2015. But trainer Sei Ishizaka believes she's better than she was last season, and jockey Ryan Moore -- two-for-two aboard her -- reportedly agrees. Moore first rode her in the 2013 Japan Cup, where she clearly benefited from his expertise. She again responded brilliantly for Moore in the March 29 Dubai Sheema Classic, muscling her way through a pocket to defeat the old warrior Cirrus des Aigles handily.

Although only ninth in the June 29 Takarazuka Kinen, Gentildonna can be forgiven, for the Hanshin course was still feeling the effects of heavy rain earlier in the week. She followed the same path as in 2013, taking a summer break before resuming in the November 2 Tenno Sho (Autumn). Unlike last year, when she was no match for the scintillating Just a Way, Gentildonna was a much sharper second this time to the progressive Spielberg, portending a peak performance on Sunday. The daughter of Deep Impact (one of five in the field by the all-time great 2006 Japan Cup hero) projects a ground-saving trip from post 3.

Harp Star looks for compensation off a belated sixth in the Arc (Japan Racing Association)
Perhaps her most dangerous rival is another Deep Impact filly, the sophomore Harp Star, who flew from a tactically hopeless position to finish sixth in the October 5 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Up in time in the April 13 Oka Sho (Japanese One Thousand Guineas) and a near-miss second in the May 25 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) over this course and about 1 1/2-mile trip, Harp Star employed cleverer tactics to beat the high-class veteran Gold Ship in the August 24 Sapporo Kinen. Regular rider Yuga Kawada is expected to carve out a more manageable trip than in the Arc, according to trainer Hiroyoshi Matsuda. Harp Star is well drawn in post 6.

Two other sophomores are taking their chance against elders, the colts One and Only and Isla Bonita, who finished one-two in the June 1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) at this same track and trip. One and Only went on to land the September 28 Kobe Shimbun Hai at Hanshin, also at about 1 1/2 miles, but flopped as the favorite in the October 26 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St Leger). The about 1 7/8 miles of the final classic might have been too far for the talented son of Heart's Cry, and the cutback could help. Isla Bonita, on the other hand, is likely at the upper end of his distance range here. The Satsuki Sho (Japanese Two Thousand Guineas) victor had a class edge that carried him in the about 1 3/8-mile St. Lite Kinen September 21, but he was outkicked by Spielberg and Gentildonna in the Tenno Sho (Autumn), and has to step up in trip again.

Just a Way likewise has a distance question to answer, but he still owns bragging rights as the world's top-rated horse, thanks to a course record-obliterating romp in the March 29 Dubai Duty Free. The Naosuke Sugai charge then had to call on all of his class to prevail in a soggy Yasuda Kinen on June 8, and thereby extended his winning streak, dating back to last year's Tenno Sho (Autumn) over Gentildonna, to four. Not seen again until four months later in the Arc, Just a Way wasn't disgraced in eighth behind Treve. That marked only his second career attempt at about 1 1/2 miles, and both have resulted in unplaced efforts. If the five-year-old son of Heart's Cry can cope with the distance, he rates a big threat from the rail with Yuichi Fukunaga.

Just a Way hopes to answer the distance question and boost his stature as the world's top-rated horse (Neville Hopwood/Dubai Racing Club)
Trainer Katsuhiko Sumii is double-handed with Epiphaneia and Denim and Ruby. Epiphaneia, the 2013 Kikuka Sho winner and Japanese Derby runner-up, warmed up with a useful sixth in the Tenno Sho (Autumn). The son of Japanese champions Symboli Kris S and Cesario will benefit from the extra quarter-mile here. The Deep Impact filly Denim and Ruby, last year's Japan Cup near-misser, is reportedly getting back to her sparkling form of old in the nick of time.

Spielberg is in career-best form at present, as reflected in his victory over the prepping Gentildonna in the Tenno Sho (Autumn). The Deep Impact half-brother to Grade 1 stars Flower Alley and Tosen Ra is unproven at this trip, and must show that he can duplicate such an effort on the big stage.

Adding still further depth to the home team are two-time Tenno Sho (Spring) winner Fenomeno, who was fifth to Gentildonna in the 2012 Japan Cup, and dual Japan Cup placegetter Tosen Jordan. The eight-year-old Tosen Jordan has come close twice, to Buena Vista in 2011 and when third a year ago, and will be competing in his fourth straight Japan Cup. Grade 2 veteran Hit the Target, Kyoto Daishoten runner-up Tamamo Best Play, Epsom Cup scorer Decipher (the fifth hopeful by Deep Impact), Uncoiled and Satono Shuren need to improve significantly to spring the upset.

International shippers have endured an eight-year drought in this race, and Trading Leather, Ivanhowe and Up with the Birds have their work cut out for them to end it.

The Jim Bolger-trained Trading Leather, winless since the 2013 Irish Derby, has amassed a fine collection of placings in Group 1 events. Most recently third to star three-year-olds The Grey Gatsby and Australia in the September 13 Irish Champion, the Godolphin runner was not helped by drawing the far outside post 18. Ivanhowe has looked tremendous in Germany, capturing both the Grosser Preis von Baden and Grosser Preis von Bayern this fall. Unfortunately, he has found life tougher across the Rhine in France, in what could be a harbinger of his experience here. Canadian Horse of the Year Up with the Birds hasn't yet followed up on his smashing score in the Nijinsky over the summer.

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Gentildonna aims for unprecedented Japan Cup triple

Gentildonna is the one to beat as the two-time defending champion (Japan Racing Association)
Japanese superstar Gentildonna has already made history when winning the Japan Cup for the past two years, and the five-year-old mare would only enhance her legendary status with a third victory in her homeland's signature international contest at Tokyo on Sunday. The only sophomore filly ever to win the Japan Cup when outdueling Orfevre in 2012, Gentildonna became the first repeat winner by holding off Denim and Ruby here a year ago. That has not deterred a formidable group of challengers, however, led by Arc also-rans Harp Star and Just a Way.

Gentildonna is in the twilight of her glittering career, with plans calling for the 2012 Fillies' Triple Crown winner to retire to the broodmare band in 2015. But trainer Sei Ishizaka believes she's better than she was last season, and jockey Ryan Moore -- two-for-two aboard her -- reportedly agrees. Moore first rode her in the 2013 Japan Cup, where she clearly benefited from his expertise. She again responded brilliantly for Moore in the March 29 Dubai Sheema Classic, muscling her way through a pocket to defeat the old warrior Cirrus des Aigles handily.

Although only ninth in the June 29 Takarazuka Kinen, Gentildonna can be forgiven, for the Hanshin course was still feeling the effects of heavy rain earlier in the week. She followed the same path as in 2013, taking a summer break before resuming in the November 2 Tenno Sho (Autumn). Unlike last year, when she was no match for the scintillating Just a Way, Gentildonna was a much sharper second this time to the progressive Spielberg, portending a peak performance on Sunday. The daughter of Deep Impact (one of five in the field by the all-time great 2006 Japan Cup hero) projects a ground-saving trip from post 3.

Harp Star looks for compensation off a belated sixth in the Arc (Japan Racing Association)
Perhaps her most dangerous rival is another Deep Impact filly, the sophomore Harp Star, who flew from a tactically hopeless position to finish sixth in the October 5 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Up in time in the April 13 Oka Sho (Japanese One Thousand Guineas) and a near-miss second in the May 25 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) over this course and about 1 1/2-mile trip, Harp Star employed cleverer tactics to beat the high-class veteran Gold Ship in the August 24 Sapporo Kinen. Regular rider Yuga Kawada is expected to carve out a more manageable trip than in the Arc, according to trainer Hiroyoshi Matsuda. Harp Star is well drawn in post 6.

Two other sophomores are taking their chance against elders, the colts One and Only and Isla Bonita, who finished one-two in the June 1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) at this same track and trip. One and Only went on to land the September 28 Kobe Shimbun Hai at Hanshin, also at about 1 1/2 miles, but flopped as the favorite in the October 26 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St Leger). The about 1 7/8 miles of the final classic might have been too far for the talented son of Heart's Cry, and the cutback could help. Isla Bonita, on the other hand, is likely at the upper end of his distance range here. The Satsuki Sho (Japanese Two Thousand Guineas) victor had a class edge that carried him in the about 1 3/8-mile St. Lite Kinen September 21, but he was outkicked by Spielberg and Gentildonna in the Tenno Sho (Autumn), and has to step up in trip again.

Just a Way likewise has a distance question to answer, but he still owns bragging rights as the world's top-rated horse, thanks to a course record-obliterating romp in the March 29 Dubai Duty Free. The Naosuke Sugai charge then had to call on all of his class to prevail in a soggy Yasuda Kinen on June 8, and thereby extended his winning streak, dating back to last year's Tenno Sho (Autumn) over Gentildonna, to four. Not seen again until four months later in the Arc, Just a Way wasn't disgraced in eighth behind Treve. That marked only his second career attempt at about 1 1/2 miles, and both have resulted in unplaced efforts. If the five-year-old son of Heart's Cry can cope with the distance, he rates a big threat from the rail with Yuichi Fukunaga.

Just a Way hopes to answer the distance question and boost his stature as the world's top-rated horse (Neville Hopwood/Dubai Racing Club)
Trainer Katsuhiko Sumii is double-handed with Epiphaneia and Denim and Ruby. Epiphaneia, the 2013 Kikuka Sho winner and Japanese Derby runner-up, warmed up with a useful sixth in the Tenno Sho (Autumn). The son of Japanese champions Symboli Kris S and Cesario will benefit from the extra quarter-mile here. The Deep Impact filly Denim and Ruby, last year's Japan Cup near-misser, is reportedly getting back to her sparkling form of old in the nick of time.

Spielberg is in career-best form at present, as reflected in his victory over the prepping Gentildonna in the Tenno Sho (Autumn). The Deep Impact half-brother to Grade 1 stars Flower Alley and Tosen Ra is unproven at this trip, and must show that he can duplicate such an effort on the big stage.

Adding still further depth to the home team are two-time Tenno Sho (Spring) winner Fenomeno, who was fifth to Gentildonna in the 2012 Japan Cup, and dual Japan Cup placegetter Tosen Jordan. The eight-year-old Tosen Jordan has come close twice, to Buena Vista in 2011 and when third a year ago, and will be competing in his fourth straight Japan Cup. Grade 2 veteran Hit the Target, Kyoto Daishoten runner-up Tamamo Best Play, Epsom Cup scorer Decipher (the fifth hopeful by Deep Impact), Uncoiled and Satono Shuren need to improve significantly to spring the upset.

International shippers have endured an eight-year drought in this race, and Trading Leather, Ivanhowe and Up with the Birds have their work cut out for them to end it.

The Jim Bolger-trained Trading Leather, winless since the 2013 Irish Derby, has amassed a fine collection of placings in Group 1 events. Most recently third to star three-year-olds The Grey Gatsby and Australia in the September 13 Irish Champion, the Godolphin runner was not helped by drawing the far outside post 18. Ivanhowe has looked tremendous in Germany, capturing both the Grosser Preis von Baden and Grosser Preis von Bayern this fall. Unfortunately, he has found life tougher across the Rhine in France, in what could be a harbinger of his experience here. Canadian Horse of the Year Up with the Birds hasn't yet followed up on his smashing score in the Nijinsky over the summer.

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Graded Recaps

Falls City results in a Frivolous upset

Frivolous struck the front in upper stretch and gamely repulsed all challengers (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)

G. Watts Humphrey Jr.'s Frivolous grabbed the lead at the head of the stretch and turned back late challenges by 4-5 favorite Don't Tell Sophia, Molly Morgan and Flashy American to spring a 19-1 upset in the 99th running of the Grade 2, $222,600 Falls City Handicap, the traditional Thanksgiving Day feature at Churchill Downs.

Frivolous, trained by Humphrey's daughter Vicki Oliver, ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:51 1/5 on the fast track under jockey Jon Court, who turned 54 last Sunday. In doing so, the four-year-old homebred collected her first stakes win and a $133,872 first prize that pushed her career earnings to $333,498 from a record of 3-3-3 in 17 starts.

Frivolous, an Empire Maker filly out of the Belong to Me mare Sixty Rocketts bred by Humphrey, raced in the clear just behind pacesetter Teen Pauline, who led the field of eight fillies and mares through ordinary fractions of :25, :49 and 1:13 2/5 before folding on the final turn.

Frivolous shot to the front at the top of the stretch and opened a length advantage on a fast-closing Don't Tell Sophia, who trailed the field by as many as nine lengths. Frivolous never relented in posting a half-length decision on the wire, turning back challenges by Don't Tell Sophia to her outside and Molly Morgan, who closed along the inside rail to finish a neck back of the runner-up in third.

"At the head of the stretch, she wanted to go," Court said. "I called on her to put a little cushion between me and the field. I knew Don't Tell Sophia would come flying at the end so I wanted to get out there where I was in a comfortable spot and keep my lane and hopefully fend her off, which she proved to do."

Frivolous, a Kentucky-bred, paid $40.80 to win. She opened 2014 with an allowance win at Keeneland last April but had dropped six straight starts in advance of the Falls City, most recently finishing fifth in the grassy Dowager at Keeneland on October 19. The dark bay miss finished third behind Don't Tell Sophia and Molly Morgan in the September 6 Locust Grove at Churchill Downs two starts previously.

A trouble-free trip was the key to success for Frivolous, according to her trainer.

"She's always been a spectacular filly, she really has," Oliver said. "She never really had the kind of trip we really wanted (in the past); she likes to be on the outside and Jon (Court) rode her perfect. She's a free-striding filly. She got it today."

For Oliver, it was her first stakes win at Churchill Downs and the third graded stakes win of her training career that began in 1999. Previously, she won the Grade 3 Gardenia Handicap at Ellis Park with Direct Line in 2010 and this year's Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks with Personal Diary.

The Falls City -- a reference to the Ohio River falls or rapids that drop some 30 feet just west of downtown Louisville, Kentucky -- is one of the four original stakes races that were created by Churchill Downs founder Col. M. Lewis Clark for the inaugural meet in 1875. The race has been run on Thanksgiving Day since 1978.

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Falls City results in a Frivolous upset

Frivolous struck the front in upper stretch and gamely repulsed all challengers (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)

G. Watts Humphrey Jr.'s Frivolous grabbed the lead at the head of the stretch and turned back late challenges by 4-5 favorite Don't Tell Sophia, Molly Morgan and Flashy American to spring a 19-1 upset in the 99th running of the Grade 2, $222,600 Falls City Handicap, the traditional Thanksgiving Day feature at Churchill Downs.

Frivolous, trained by Humphrey's daughter Vicki Oliver, ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:51 1/5 on the fast track under jockey Jon Court, who turned 54 last Sunday. In doing so, the four-year-old homebred collected her first stakes win and a $133,872 first prize that pushed her career earnings to $333,498 from a record of 3-3-3 in 17 starts.

Frivolous, an Empire Maker filly out of the Belong to Me mare Sixty Rocketts bred by Humphrey, raced in the clear just behind pacesetter Teen Pauline, who led the field of eight fillies and mares through ordinary fractions of :25, :49 and 1:13 2/5 before folding on the final turn.

Frivolous shot to the front at the top of the stretch and opened a length advantage on a fast-closing Don't Tell Sophia, who trailed the field by as many as nine lengths. Frivolous never relented in posting a half-length decision on the wire, turning back challenges by Don't Tell Sophia to her outside and Molly Morgan, who closed along the inside rail to finish a neck back of the runner-up in third.

"At the head of the stretch, she wanted to go," Court said. "I called on her to put a little cushion between me and the field. I knew Don't Tell Sophia would come flying at the end so I wanted to get out there where I was in a comfortable spot and keep my lane and hopefully fend her off, which she proved to do."

Frivolous, a Kentucky-bred, paid $40.80 to win. She opened 2014 with an allowance win at Keeneland last April but had dropped six straight starts in advance of the Falls City, most recently finishing fifth in the grassy Dowager at Keeneland on October 19. The dark bay miss finished third behind Don't Tell Sophia and Molly Morgan in the September 6 Locust Grove at Churchill Downs two starts previously.

A trouble-free trip was the key to success for Frivolous, according to her trainer.

"She's always been a spectacular filly, she really has," Oliver said. "She never really had the kind of trip we really wanted (in the past); she likes to be on the outside and Jon (Court) rode her perfect. She's a free-striding filly. She got it today."

For Oliver, it was her first stakes win at Churchill Downs and the third graded stakes win of her training career that began in 1999. Previously, she won the Grade 3 Gardenia Handicap at Ellis Park with Direct Line in 2010 and this year's Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks with Personal Diary.

The Falls City -- a reference to the Ohio River falls or rapids that drop some 30 feet just west of downtown Louisville, Kentucky -- is one of the four original stakes races that were created by Churchill Downs founder Col. M. Lewis Clark for the inaugural meet in 1875. The race has been run on Thanksgiving Day since 1978.

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Salutos Amigos rallies boldly under 133 pounds in Fall Highweight

Salutos Amigos easily proved best, earning his second graded win in his last three starts (Adam Coglianese Photography)

Favored Salutos Amigos relished the sloppy going at Aqueduct on Thursday, rallying from far back to capture the 101st running of the Grade 3, $300,000 Fall Highweight Handicap, the Thanksgiving Day feature at the Big A.

He earned a career-best 110 BRIS Speed rating in the process.

Lugging high weight of 133 pounds, including jockey Cornelio Velasquez, Salutos Amigos was content to linger towards the back of the pack as Weekend Hideaway and La Verdad led through an opening quarter-mile in :22 1/5, with the half going in :46 1/5. Angled to the outside with a furlong to go, the four-year-old Salute the Sarge gelding kicked into high gear and swept to the lead, hitting the wire in 1:10 3/5 for the six furlongs.

"He likes to be covered up and behind horses," Velasquez said. "When I put him in the clear, he was the best horse. I wanted to follow (Bakken), but he stopped at the quarter-pole. I put him in the clear at the eighth pole, and I had a lot of horse."

The victory was the fifth in 13 starts this year for Salutos Amigos, who is owned in partnership by Southern Equine Stables and trainer David Jacobson. Overall, he is 6-2-4 from 24 career starts, and has now earned $627,406.

"I wasn't concerned about the wet track because he was three-for-three in the mud going into this," said Jacobson. "I wanted it to keep raining all day -- I was doing a rain dance. Cornelio did an amazing job, as usual."

Sent off at 3-1, Salutos Amigos returned a $6 win mutuel as he notched his second graded stakes of the year, having taken the Grade 3 Bold Ruler on October 25. Following that, he was seventh in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint seven days later.

He made his third start in a 33-day span in the Fall Highweight.

"We'll take a look at the Gravesend (on December 26) next, but it's up to the horse to let us know," said Jacobson. "He might want to run back on seven days rest again, or not. We'll see."

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Salutos Amigos rallies boldly under 133 pounds in Fall Highweight

Salutos Amigos easily proved best, earning his second graded win in his last three starts (Adam Coglianese Photography)

Favored Salutos Amigos relished the sloppy going at Aqueduct on Thursday, rallying from far back to capture the 101st running of the Grade 3, $300,000 Fall Highweight Handicap, the Thanksgiving Day feature at the Big A.

He earned a career-best 110 BRIS Speed rating in the process.

Lugging high weight of 133 pounds, including jockey Cornelio Velasquez, Salutos Amigos was content to linger towards the back of the pack as Weekend Hideaway and La Verdad led through an opening quarter-mile in :22 1/5, with the half going in :46 1/5. Angled to the outside with a furlong to go, the four-year-old Salute the Sarge gelding kicked into high gear and swept to the lead, hitting the wire in 1:10 3/5 for the six furlongs.

"He likes to be covered up and behind horses," Velasquez said. "When I put him in the clear, he was the best horse. I wanted to follow (Bakken), but he stopped at the quarter-pole. I put him in the clear at the eighth pole, and I had a lot of horse."

The victory was the fifth in 13 starts this year for Salutos Amigos, who is owned in partnership by Southern Equine Stables and trainer David Jacobson. Overall, he is 6-2-4 from 24 career starts, and has now earned $627,406.

"I wasn't concerned about the wet track because he was three-for-three in the mud going into this," said Jacobson. "I wanted it to keep raining all day -- I was doing a rain dance. Cornelio did an amazing job, as usual."

Sent off at 3-1, Salutos Amigos returned a $6 win mutuel as he notched his second graded stakes of the year, having taken the Grade 3 Bold Ruler on October 25. Following that, he was seventh in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint seven days later.

He made his third start in a 33-day span in the Fall Highweight.

"We'll take a look at the Gravesend (on December 26) next, but it's up to the horse to let us know," said Jacobson. "He might want to run back on seven days rest again, or not. We'll see."

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Finnegans Wake prevails in Hollywood Turf Cup

Finnegans Wake earned his second graded win of 2014 in determined fashion (Benoit Photo)

Under deft handling by jockey Victor Espinoza, Finnegans Wake rallied between horses entering the stretch, then fought off longshot Patrioticandproud in the final sixteenth to score a neck triumph in the Grade 2, $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar on Thanksgiving Day.

Finnegans Wake, owned by Donegal Racing and Rockingham Ranch and trained by Peter Miller, came into the race off a 10-place effort behind Main Sequence in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita November 1.

Sent postward as 7-2 third choice among 10 rivals, the five-year-old son of Powerscourt completed 1 1/2 miles on the firm grass in 2:27 1/5. The Hollywood Turf Cup marked the first 1 1/2-mile race over the Jimmy Durante Turf Course in Del Mar's history.

"It was a little confusing out there on the backside," Espinoza said. "They didn't seem to know where they wanted to go; horses going in, going out. But I was patient with him. He felt good under me and when I got him outside, that was it. Then he really kicked. When he cut it loose, I knew we were good."

Patrioticandproud, a 34-1 outsider who was piloted by Drayden Van Dyke, was a length in front of 2-1 favorite The Pizza Man in third.

Finnegans Wake, scoring his fourth triumph in 25 starts, added $150,000 to his bankroll, pushing the total to $825,375. After going winless in 2013, he recorded his first stakes victory this year in the Grade 3 Arlington H. in mid-August, and the bay horse also finished second in the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship two starts previously.

Finnegans Wake provided Miller whose horses are based at the nearby San Luis Rey Downs training center, with his second of three wins on Thursday's card. After tying with Jerry Hollendorfer for the Del Mar title last summer, Miller probably clinched the training championship of Del Mar's fall Bing Crosby season as he increased his win total to 12, three more than Mike Puype with three racing days remaining. The 15-day season concludes Sunday.

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Finnegans Wake prevails in Hollywood Turf Cup

Finnegans Wake earned his second graded win of 2014 in determined fashion (Benoit Photo)

Under deft handling by jockey Victor Espinoza, Finnegans Wake rallied between horses entering the stretch, then fought off longshot Patrioticandproud in the final sixteenth to score a neck triumph in the Grade 2, $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar on Thanksgiving Day.

Finnegans Wake, owned by Donegal Racing and Rockingham Ranch and trained by Peter Miller, came into the race off a 10-place effort behind Main Sequence in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita November 1.

Sent postward as 7-2 third choice among 10 rivals, the five-year-old son of Powerscourt completed 1 1/2 miles on the firm grass in 2:27 1/5. The Hollywood Turf Cup marked the first 1 1/2-mile race over the Jimmy Durante Turf Course in Del Mar's history.

"It was a little confusing out there on the backside," Espinoza said. "They didn't seem to know where they wanted to go; horses going in, going out. But I was patient with him. He felt good under me and when I got him outside, that was it. Then he really kicked. When he cut it loose, I knew we were good."

Patrioticandproud, a 34-1 outsider who was piloted by Drayden Van Dyke, was a length in front of 2-1 favorite The Pizza Man in third.

Finnegans Wake, scoring his fourth triumph in 25 starts, added $150,000 to his bankroll, pushing the total to $825,375. After going winless in 2013, he recorded his first stakes victory this year in the Grade 3 Arlington H. in mid-August, and the bay horse also finished second in the Grade 2 John Henry Turf Championship two starts previously.

Finnegans Wake provided Miller whose horses are based at the nearby San Luis Rey Downs training center, with his second of three wins on Thursday's card. After tying with Jerry Hollendorfer for the Del Mar title last summer, Miller probably clinched the training championship of Del Mar's fall Bing Crosby season as he increased his win total to 12, three more than Mike Puype with three racing days remaining. The 15-day season concludes Sunday.

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Racing Headlines

Delaunay much the best in Thanksgiving

Maggi Moss' Delaunay once again showed why he is one of the swiftest sprinters in the land as he won his 17th career start and fifth in six attempts at Fair Grounds when comfortably consuming six others -- including three graded stakes winners -- in the 89th running of the $60,000 Thanksgiving Handicap on Thursday.

The seven-year-old gelding registered an outstanding 107 BRIS Speed rating for the easy win.

After breaking from the far outside in the seven-hole, the son of Smoke Glacken quickly cleared his opposition and established himself as the fastest in a field flush with front-running foes, establishing splits in :21 3/5 and :45. He was never seriously challenged, cruising through the stretch to a seven-length decision, and stopped the teletimer in 1:09 on the fast track. 

Ridden by James Graham for Tom Amoss, Delaunay won his second Thanksgiving after also doing so in 2012. The Maryland-bred was favored at even-money, returning a $4 win mutuel, and earned $36,000 to boost his career bankroll to $1,056,491.

"He broke well and did everything right," Graham said. "Tom said he'd be ready and he was. He came with bells on." 

Amoss echoed those sentiments. 

"It is kind of lost on people that he's seven and turning eight and runs this well," the trainer added. "He's easy to train and I can't take credit for his talent. He may not be as good as he once was, but he's a great horse."

Moss was ecstatic, to say the least. 

"It was very emotional," she said. "I kept saying I wasn't nervous and that he owes me nothing. Then he went in the gate and it was so exciting. What a great call by (announcer) John Dooley -- he made me cry a little. You never know when you give them time off if they will return to form, but I know him so well that I can watch his face and tell when he's on his game -- and today he was.

Unbelievable job by Tom, too. (Delaunay) is the most straight-forward racehorse I've ever owned. He'll stay at the Fair Grounds with Tom and run in the stakes races there. The key really is if you take good care of them, they take care of you. They reward you when you do that and that's why it was such an emotional win. He'll have a home with me when he's eventually done racing."

Take It Like A Man, at 10-1, ran gamely up the inside to finish second under Miguel Mena for new trainer Jonas Gibson, who had claimed him for $32,000 last time out at Keeneland.

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Delaunay much the best in Thanksgiving

Maggi Moss' Delaunay once again showed why he is one of the swiftest sprinters in the land as he won his 17th career start and fifth in six attempts at Fair Grounds when comfortably consuming six others -- including three graded stakes winners -- in the 89th running of the $60,000 Thanksgiving Handicap on Thursday.

The seven-year-old gelding registered an outstanding 107 BRIS Speed rating for the easy win.

After breaking from the far outside in the seven-hole, the son of Smoke Glacken quickly cleared his opposition and established himself as the fastest in a field flush with front-running foes, establishing splits in :21 3/5 and :45. He was never seriously challenged, cruising through the stretch to a seven-length decision, and stopped the teletimer in 1:09 on the fast track. 

Ridden by James Graham for Tom Amoss, Delaunay won his second Thanksgiving after also doing so in 2012. The Maryland-bred was favored at even-money, returning a $4 win mutuel, and earned $36,000 to boost his career bankroll to $1,056,491.

"He broke well and did everything right," Graham said. "Tom said he'd be ready and he was. He came with bells on." 

Amoss echoed those sentiments. 

"It is kind of lost on people that he's seven and turning eight and runs this well," the trainer added. "He's easy to train and I can't take credit for his talent. He may not be as good as he once was, but he's a great horse."

Moss was ecstatic, to say the least. 

"It was very emotional," she said. "I kept saying I wasn't nervous and that he owes me nothing. Then he went in the gate and it was so exciting. What a great call by (announcer) John Dooley -- he made me cry a little. You never know when you give them time off if they will return to form, but I know him so well that I can watch his face and tell when he's on his game -- and today he was.

Unbelievable job by Tom, too. (Delaunay) is the most straight-forward racehorse I've ever owned. He'll stay at the Fair Grounds with Tom and run in the stakes races there. The key really is if you take good care of them, they take care of you. They reward you when you do that and that's why it was such an emotional win. He'll have a home with me when he's eventually done racing."

Take It Like A Man, at 10-1, ran gamely up the inside to finish second under Miguel Mena for new trainer Jonas Gibson, who had claimed him for $32,000 last time out at Keeneland.

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California Chrome to face five in Hollywood Derby

California Chrome working over Del Mar's turf (Benoit Photo)

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome will make his turf debut in Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar. A neck third in the Breeders' Cup Classic, the Art Sherman-trained colt can make a push for Horse of the Year and champion three-year-old male with a victory in the 1 1/8-mile turf affair.

"I want to run him on the grass," Sherman said. "It will give me a lot of options when he runs next year as a four-year-old. And he's got a chance at Horse of the Year (for 2014)."

The California-bred colt would become the seventh horse to race at Del Mar after winning the Kentucky Derby, joining Gato Del Sol (1982 Kentucky Derby winner), Ferdinand (1986), Unbridled (1990), Silver Charm (1997), War Emblem (2002) and Giacomo (2005).

A son of Lucky Pulpit, California Chrome drew post No. 5 with regular rider Victor Espinoza and is scheduled to meet five three-year-old rivals. However, the filly Lexie Lou, winner of the Queen's Plate at Woodbine and most recently the Autumn Miss at Santa Anita, is cross-entered to Sunday's Grade 1 Matriarch for fillies and mare on turf.

The Hollywood Derby is one of three stakes on the penultimate day of Del Mar's Bing Crosby Season along with the Native Diver, a Grade 3 event at 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack; and Jimmy Durante, a one-mile Grade 3 turf affair for three-year-old fillies.

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California Chrome to face five in Hollywood Derby

California Chrome working over Del Mar's turf (Benoit Photo)

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome will make his turf debut in Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar. A neck third in the Breeders' Cup Classic, the Art Sherman-trained colt can make a push for Horse of the Year and champion three-year-old male with a victory in the 1 1/8-mile turf affair.

"I want to run him on the grass," Sherman said. "It will give me a lot of options when he runs next year as a four-year-old. And he's got a chance at Horse of the Year (for 2014)."

The California-bred colt would become the seventh horse to race at Del Mar after winning the Kentucky Derby, joining Gato Del Sol (1982 Kentucky Derby winner), Ferdinand (1986), Unbridled (1990), Silver Charm (1997), War Emblem (2002) and Giacomo (2005).

A son of Lucky Pulpit, California Chrome drew post No. 5 with regular rider Victor Espinoza and is scheduled to meet five three-year-old rivals. However, the filly Lexie Lou, winner of the Queen's Plate at Woodbine and most recently the Autumn Miss at Santa Anita, is cross-entered to Sunday's Grade 1 Matriarch for fillies and mare on turf.

The Hollywood Derby is one of three stakes on the penultimate day of Del Mar's Bing Crosby Season along with the Native Diver, a Grade 3 event at 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack; and Jimmy Durante, a one-mile Grade 3 turf affair for three-year-old fillies.

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Itsmyluckyday taking last hurrah in Cigar Mile

Itsmyluckyday goes for a second Grade 1 win of the season on Saturday after taking the Woodward in August (Jessie Holmes/EquiSport Photos)

Itsmyluckyday looks to go out on a high note Saturday when he faces eight rivals in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap, the feature on an Aqueduct card which features four graded stakes. Bound for stud duty at Spendthrift Farm after the race, Itsmyluckyday will be competing for a $750,000 purse as a previous Grade 1 winner of the Woodward on August 30.

A sliding purse scale was introduced for last year's Cigar Mile, whereby Grade 1 winners compete for $750,000 and Breeders' Cup winners for $1 million. The base purse for the remainder of the field is $500,000.

Aside from a season-opening fourth in the Gulfstream Park Handicap, Itsmyluckyday has been a gem of consistency throughout the year. In addition to a career-best triumph in the nine-furlong Woodward at Saratoga, the son of Lawyer Ron has won three other stakes and placed in the Whitney. However, the four-year-old is seeking to rebound off a dull third in the Kelso Handicap where he was the odds-on favorite.

"He came out a little bit tired, but soundness-wise he was fine," trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. said. "We decided to bypass the Breeders’ Cup, and point to the (Cigar Mile) instead. I think his performance in the Kelso was a combination of factors. (The Whitney and Woodward) took a toll on him physically, and he was put in a position between horses (in the Kelso) and was bounced around. Everyone expected him to win, but that’s why they call it horse racing."

Exiting the Breeders' Cup Sprint are Secret Circle, who finished a half-length second in his title defense of that race at Santa Anita on November 1, and Private Zone, who ran third that day after gutting out a repeat victory by a neck in the September 27 Vosburgh at Belmont. Private Zone was a 32-1 second to Flat Out in the 2013 Cigar Mile. Bourbon Courage, who passed nine horses in the final furlong to finish fourth in the Sprint, is seeking his first stakes win since taking the 2012 Super Derby.

Vyjack, who upset the Kelso by a length, owns a three-for-four mark over the Aqueduct main track, but was also successful over the inner dirt in the 2013 editions of the Jerome and Gotham. Another horse for the course is the New York-bred Big Business, who has fallen a little short in several stakes this year including the Forego at Saratoga.

Regally Ready, a past winner of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, has won six of nine this year, including three stakes in succession on both dirt and turf. Stakes winner Transparent enters off an September 18 allowance score at Belmont off an eight-month layoff, while the three-year-old Noble Moon has been unplaced four times since taking the Jerome on the inner dirt.

Dame Dorothy, who defeated older mares last month in the Turnback the Alarm Handicap at Belmont, puts her undefeated four-for-four record on the line against fellow three-year-old fillies in the Grade 3, $400,000 Comely at 1 1/8 miles.

Catch My Drift, a half-length behind Dame Dorothy last time, is back for a rematch. Others of note are Penwith, third in the 2013 Demoiselle and the Indiana Oaks last time; multiple Grade 2-placed House Rules, a six-length allowance winner at the Big A earlier this month; and the Grade 3-placed allowance winner Divided Attention.

Empire Distaff winner and Mother Goose runner-up Princess Violet was cross-entered to Friday's Go for Wand Handicap, as was Snowbell, an 8 1/2-length allowance winner at Belmont most recently.

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Itsmyluckyday taking last hurrah in Cigar Mile

Itsmyluckyday goes for a second Grade 1 win of the season on Saturday after taking the Woodward in August (Jessie Holmes/EquiSport Photos)

Itsmyluckyday looks to go out on a high note Saturday when he faces eight rivals in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap, the feature on an Aqueduct card which features four graded stakes. Bound for stud duty at Spendthrift Farm after the race, Itsmyluckyday will be competing for a $750,000 purse as a previous Grade 1 winner of the Woodward on August 30.

A sliding purse scale was introduced for last year's Cigar Mile, whereby Grade 1 winners compete for $750,000 and Breeders' Cup winners for $1 million. The base purse for the remainder of the field is $500,000.

Aside from a season-opening fourth in the Gulfstream Park Handicap, Itsmyluckyday has been a gem of consistency throughout the year. In addition to a career-best triumph in the nine-furlong Woodward at Saratoga, the son of Lawyer Ron has won three other stakes and placed in the Whitney. However, the four-year-old is seeking to rebound off a dull third in the Kelso Handicap where he was the odds-on favorite.

"He came out a little bit tired, but soundness-wise he was fine," trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. said. "We decided to bypass the Breeders’ Cup, and point to the (Cigar Mile) instead. I think his performance in the Kelso was a combination of factors. (The Whitney and Woodward) took a toll on him physically, and he was put in a position between horses (in the Kelso) and was bounced around. Everyone expected him to win, but that’s why they call it horse racing."

Exiting the Breeders' Cup Sprint are Secret Circle, who finished a half-length second in his title defense of that race at Santa Anita on November 1, and Private Zone, who ran third that day after gutting out a repeat victory by a neck in the September 27 Vosburgh at Belmont. Private Zone was a 32-1 second to Flat Out in the 2013 Cigar Mile. Bourbon Courage, who passed nine horses in the final furlong to finish fourth in the Sprint, is seeking his first stakes win since taking the 2012 Super Derby.

Vyjack, who upset the Kelso by a length, owns a three-for-four mark over the Aqueduct main track, but was also successful over the inner dirt in the 2013 editions of the Jerome and Gotham. Another horse for the course is the New York-bred Big Business, who has fallen a little short in several stakes this year including the Forego at Saratoga.

Regally Ready, a past winner of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, has won six of nine this year, including three stakes in succession on both dirt and turf. Stakes winner Transparent enters off an September 18 allowance score at Belmont off an eight-month layoff, while the three-year-old Noble Moon has been unplaced four times since taking the Jerome on the inner dirt.

Dame Dorothy, who defeated older mares last month in the Turnback the Alarm Handicap at Belmont, puts her undefeated four-for-four record on the line against fellow three-year-old fillies in the Grade 3, $400,000 Comely at 1 1/8 miles.

Catch My Drift, a half-length behind Dame Dorothy last time, is back for a rematch. Others of note are Penwith, third in the 2013 Demoiselle and the Indiana Oaks last time; multiple Grade 2-placed House Rules, a six-length allowance winner at the Big A earlier this month; and the Grade 3-placed allowance winner Divided Attention.

Empire Distaff winner and Mother Goose runner-up Princess Violet was cross-entered to Friday's Go for Wand Handicap, as was Snowbell, an 8 1/2-length allowance winner at Belmont most recently.

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Fourteen entered for Remsen; Demoiselle gets Grade 1 pair

Spinaway winner Condo Commando will be going for more glory in the Demoiselle (Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography)

It could be a wild renewal of the Grade 2, $400,000 Remsen at Aqueduct on Saturday with 14 two-year-olds in the field, and a short, wide run into the first turn looms for some of the more highly rated entrants marooned with outside posts in the 1 1/8-mile fixture.

The lone stakes winner in the field is Ostrolenka, who exits a 2 1/2-length victory over New York-breds in the $250,000 Sleepy Hallow at Belmont. Preceding that win with a maiden score by more than 14 lengths, the Musket Man colt will be joined here by stablemate Royal Burgh, a neck debut winner against open company at Keeneland.

Other last-out maiden winners in the lineup are Classy Class, who cruised by four lengths on debut going 6 1/2 furlongs at Belmont, and Frosted, who drew off to win by 5 1/4 lengths going a mile at Aqueduct in his third career start. Both colts are trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.

Ostrolenka, Classy Class, and Frosted drew posts 12, 11, and 14, respectively. Market Conduct, twice stakes-placed in New York-bred company, drew post 13.

Also exiting solid maiden wins are Eh Cumpari, Combat Diver, and Leave the Light On. Moonlight Bandit is another, but he was cross-entered to Saturday's Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs along with allowance-placed stablemate Flashaway.

Others of note include The Truth Or Else, a distant third in both the Champagne and Nashua, and Churchill graduate Keen Ice, a son of Curlin who finished fifth in last month's Breeders' Futurity after a slow start.

The Grade 2, $400,000 Demoiselle, a nine-furlong test for juvenile fillies, attracted a more compact field of eight, including Grade 1 scorers Condo Commando and Angela Renee.

Condo Commando registered her first two wins at Saratoga by a combined margin of 25 1/4 lengths, including the seven-furlong Spinaway in the slop. An odds-on favorite to repeat in wet conditions in the Frizette, the Rudy Rodriguez trainee instead endured a wide rating trip and settled for fourth in a field of seven.

After placing in the Adirondack and Spinaway, Angela Renee shipped west to take the Chandelier by 1 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita for trainer Todd Pletcher. The daughter of Bernardini was the 3-1 favorite for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, but made no impact after being bumped early over a track favoring speed.

Jacaranda enters undefeated from two starts, including a 3 1/2-length triumph in the one-mile Tempted earlier this month. Also unbeaten from two starts is Quezon, who has won both starts by six lengths each, albeit against New York-bred company. Her latest was a stakes triumph in the $250,000 Maid of Mist at Belmont.

Gap Year was favored to win the Alcibiades at Keeneland despite being a maiden, but endured a horribly wide trip. She came back to register her first win over the same track by a nose. Calamity Kate, who broke her maiden at Belmont by six lengths in September, was another who didn't fare well in the Alcibiades due to a wide journey.

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Fourteen entered for Remsen; Demoiselle gets Grade 1 pair

Spinaway winner Condo Commando will be going for more glory in the Demoiselle (Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography)

It could be a wild renewal of the Grade 2, $400,000 Remsen at Aqueduct on Saturday with 14 two-year-olds in the field, and a short, wide run into the first turn looms for some of the more highly rated entrants marooned with outside posts in the 1 1/8-mile fixture.

The lone stakes winner in the field is Ostrolenka, who exits a 2 1/2-length victory over New York-breds in the $250,000 Sleepy Hallow at Belmont. Preceding that win with a maiden score by more than 14 lengths, the Musket Man colt will be joined here by stablemate Royal Burgh, a neck debut winner against open company at Keeneland.

Other last-out maiden winners in the lineup are Classy Class, who cruised by four lengths on debut going 6 1/2 furlongs at Belmont, and Frosted, who drew off to win by 5 1/4 lengths going a mile at Aqueduct in his third career start. Both colts are trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.

Ostrolenka, Classy Class, and Frosted drew posts 12, 11, and 14, respectively. Market Conduct, twice stakes-placed in New York-bred company, drew post 13.

Also exiting solid maiden wins are Eh Cumpari, Combat Diver, and Leave the Light On. Moonlight Bandit is another, but he was cross-entered to Saturday's Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs along with allowance-placed stablemate Flashaway.

Others of note include The Truth Or Else, a distant third in both the Champagne and Nashua, and Churchill graduate Keen Ice, a son of Curlin who finished fifth in last month's Breeders' Futurity after a slow start.

The Grade 2, $400,000 Demoiselle, a nine-furlong test for juvenile fillies, attracted a more compact field of eight, including Grade 1 scorers Condo Commando and Angela Renee.

Condo Commando registered her first two wins at Saratoga by a combined margin of 25 1/4 lengths, including the seven-furlong Spinaway in the slop. An odds-on favorite to repeat in wet conditions in the Frizette, the Rudy Rodriguez trainee instead endured a wide rating trip and settled for fourth in a field of seven.

After placing in the Adirondack and Spinaway, Angela Renee shipped west to take the Chandelier by 1 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita for trainer Todd Pletcher. The daughter of Bernardini was the 3-1 favorite for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, but made no impact after being bumped early over a track favoring speed.

Jacaranda enters undefeated from two starts, including a 3 1/2-length triumph in the one-mile Tempted earlier this month. Also unbeaten from two starts is Quezon, who has won both starts by six lengths each, albeit against New York-bred company. Her latest was a stakes triumph in the $250,000 Maid of Mist at Belmont.

Gap Year was favored to win the Alcibiades at Keeneland despite being a maiden, but endured a horribly wide trip. She came back to register her first win over the same track by a nose. Calamity Kate, who broke her maiden at Belmont by six lengths in September, was another who didn't fare well in the Alcibiades due to a wide journey.

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Lord Nelson stretches back out for Kentucky Jockey Club

Iroquois winner Lucky Player (right) leads the home team against Lord Nelson in the Kentucky Jockey Club (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)

Lord Nelson will get another opportunity to demonstrate his two-turn prowess as one of 12 juveniles in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs. The 1 1/16-mile event anchors the Louisville track's "Stars of Tomorrow II" program and is the final stakes of the fall meet, which concludes Sunday.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Lord Nelson has won two of three starts, his lone setback being his only prior two-turn try in the September 27 FrontRunner at Santa Anita. In what was arguably the deepest race of the season in the division, the Pulpit colt was a fading fourth behind star stablemate American Pharoh with eventual Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red snagging the third slot. Lord Nelson rebounded to win the $101,000 Speakeasy, a six-furlong stakes, by 6 3/4 lengths on October 13.

Lucky Player, who turned in an 11-1 upset of the course-and-distance Iroquois on September 6, showed little when eighth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last time. The son of Lookin at Lucky also broke his maiden under the Twin Spires back in May.

Imperia and International Star move to the dirt after they both ran up the track in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf last time. Imperia, who missed by less than a four lengths after a rough trip in the stretch, previously took the Pilgrim at Belmont on the grass and makes his dirt debut Saturday. International Star, who finished one position ahead of Imperia in the Juvenile Turf, previously landed the Grey over Woodbine's Polytrack and was second in his only prior attempt on dirt.

El Kabeir, one of the more noteworthy maiden winners during the Saratoga meet when he waltzed home by 10 3/4 lengths, enters the Kentucky Jockey Club off a distant second-place finish in the Nashua at Aqueduct, a race contested over a one-turn mile in the mud.

Others of note are Sky Hero and Eagle, who landed first-level allowances at Churchill and Keeneland, respectively, in the most recent outings; Flashaway, runner-up to Sky Hero in his dirt debut; and Jumpin Jac Flash, a five-length maiden winner last out for trainer Kenny McPeek.

A dozen two-year-old fillies will also travel 1 1/16 miles in the Grade 2, $200,000 Golden Rod. The likely favorites include the undefeated West Coast Belle, a 6 3/4-length winner of the $62,000 Rags to Riches at Churchill last month, and wire-to-wire Pocahontas winner Cristina's Journey, who finished 11th of 12 in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies last out.

Another intriguing entry is No Fault of Mine, who romped by 4 1/2 lengths in her Arlington debut on Polytrack in late September. The Chris Block trainee is by Blame, who famously landed the Breeders' Cup Classic and Clark Handicap over Churchill's main track.

McPeek saddles two stakes newcomers in the Golden Rod. Keeneland graduate I'm a Chatterbox adds Lasix after showing speed and fading to third behind returning rival Simply Confection in a course-and-distance allowance. Previously, Simply Confection was a distant second to West Coast Belle in the one-mile Rags to Riches.

Kathballu, the other McPeek entry, is one of several recent graduates who might factor with rapid progression. Also in that category are Martz and Jojo's Melody.

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Lord Nelson stretches back out for Kentucky Jockey Club

Iroquois winner Lucky Player (right) leads the home team against Lord Nelson in the Kentucky Jockey Club (Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)

Lord Nelson will get another opportunity to demonstrate his two-turn prowess as one of 12 juveniles in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs. The 1 1/16-mile event anchors the Louisville track's "Stars of Tomorrow II" program and is the final stakes of the fall meet, which concludes Sunday.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Lord Nelson has won two of three starts, his lone setback being his only prior two-turn try in the September 27 FrontRunner at Santa Anita. In what was arguably the deepest race of the season in the division, the Pulpit colt was a fading fourth behind star stablemate American Pharoh with eventual Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red snagging the third slot. Lord Nelson rebounded to win the $101,000 Speakeasy, a six-furlong stakes, by 6 3/4 lengths on October 13.

Lucky Player, who turned in an 11-1 upset of the course-and-distance Iroquois on September 6, showed little when eighth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last time. The son of Lookin at Lucky also broke his maiden under the Twin Spires back in May.

Imperia and International Star move to the dirt after they both ran up the track in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf last time. Imperia, who missed by less than a four lengths after a rough trip in the stretch, previously took the Pilgrim at Belmont on the grass and makes his dirt debut Saturday. International Star, who finished one position ahead of Imperia in the Juvenile Turf, previously landed the Grey over Woodbine's Polytrack and was second in his only prior attempt on dirt.

El Kabeir, one of the more noteworthy maiden winners during the Saratoga meet when he waltzed home by 10 3/4 lengths, enters the Kentucky Jockey Club off a distant second-place finish in the Nashua at Aqueduct, a race contested over a one-turn mile in the mud.

Others of note are Sky Hero and Eagle, who landed first-level allowances at Churchill and Keeneland, respectively, in the most recent outings; Flashaway, runner-up to Sky Hero in his dirt debut; and Jumpin Jac Flash, a five-length maiden winner last out for trainer Kenny McPeek.

A dozen two-year-old fillies will also travel 1 1/16 miles in the Grade 2, $200,000 Golden Rod. The likely favorites include the undefeated West Coast Belle, a 6 3/4-length winner of the $62,000 Rags to Riches at Churchill last month, and wire-to-wire Pocahontas winner Cristina's Journey, who finished 11th of 12 in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies last out.

Another intriguing entry is No Fault of Mine, who romped by 4 1/2 lengths in her Arlington debut on Polytrack in late September. The Chris Block trainee is by Blame, who famously landed the Breeders' Cup Classic and Clark Handicap over Churchill's main track.

McPeek saddles two stakes newcomers in the Golden Rod. Keeneland graduate I'm a Chatterbox adds Lasix after showing speed and fading to third behind returning rival Simply Confection in a course-and-distance allowance. Previously, Simply Confection was a distant second to West Coast Belle in the one-mile Rags to Riches.

Kathballu, the other McPeek entry, is one of several recent graduates who might factor with rapid progression. Also in that category are Martz and Jojo's Melody.

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Cary Street, Ever Rider clash again at Hawthorne

Cary Street, a dominating winner of the Las Vegas Marathon on the Breeders' Cup undercard last month, goes in search of his third graded victory of the season Saturday in the Grade 2, $250,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup over 1 1/4 miles. A relaxed early trailer in the 1 3/4-length Marathon, Cary Street overcame a 15-length deficit to win the Grade 2 successor race to the Breeders' Cup Marathon by 9 1/4 lengths.

Cary Street's main rival is Ever Rider, with whom he had exchanged decisions prior to that jaunt to Santa Anita. In the 1 1/2-mile Greenwood Cup at Parx on Labor Day, Cary Street registered a 28-1 upset over Ever Rider by a length. Ever Rider rebounded to take the 1 5/8-mile Temperence Hill at Belmont, with Cary Street 10 lengths behind in third over a sloppy track.

There are plenty of speed elements in the Hawthorne Gold Cup, including Red Rifle, Abraham, Midnight Aria, and Call Me George. Besides Cary Street and Ever Rider, others who might benefit from a fast, contested pace are the locally-based Mister Marti Gras and Street Spice, who ran second and third, respectively, in last year's Gold Cup.

Also in the lineup are multiple stakes winner Fordubai, sixth in the Gold Cup a year ago, and recent Empire Classic upsetter Effinex.

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Cary Street, Ever Rider clash again at Hawthorne

Cary Street, a dominating winner of the Las Vegas Marathon on the Breeders' Cup undercard last month, goes in search of his third graded victory of the season Saturday in the Grade 2, $250,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup over 1 1/4 miles. A relaxed early trailer in the 1 3/4-length Marathon, Cary Street overcame a 15-length deficit to win the Grade 2 successor race to the Breeders' Cup Marathon by 9 1/4 lengths.

Cary Street's main rival is Ever Rider, with whom he had exchanged decisions prior to that jaunt to Santa Anita. In the 1 1/2-mile Greenwood Cup at Parx on Labor Day, Cary Street registered a 28-1 upset over Ever Rider by a length. Ever Rider rebounded to take the 1 5/8-mile Temperence Hill at Belmont, with Cary Street 10 lengths behind in third over a sloppy track.

There are plenty of speed elements in the Hawthorne Gold Cup, including Red Rifle, Abraham, Midnight Aria, and Call Me George. Besides Cary Street and Ever Rider, others who might benefit from a fast, contested pace are the locally-based Mister Marti Gras and Street Spice, who ran second and third, respectively, in last year's Gold Cup.

Also in the lineup are multiple stakes winner Fordubai, sixth in the Gold Cup a year ago, and recent Empire Classic upsetter Effinex.

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Flintshire, Cirrus des Aigles among foreign invaders for Hong Kong races

Flintshire, Cirrus des Aigles, Buffering and Snow Dragon are among the Group 1 stars from seven nations and jurisdictions heading to Sha Tin on December 14 to compete with a stellar line-up of Hong Kong's finest at the Hong Kong International Races (HKIR).

A total of25 overseas raiders and 22 international Grrade/Group 1 winners were among the 51 selected horses for the Turf World Championships announced Wednesday. The HKIR is comprised of the HK$25 million Hong Kong Cup, the HK$23 million Hong Kong Mile, the HK$18.5 million Hong Kong Sprint and the HK$16.5 million Hong Kong Vase.

Flintshire brings outstanding form to the 2400-meter Hong Kong Vase. Trainer Andre Fabre has not ducked a test with the four-year-old this year. The 2013 Grand Prix de Paris winner heads to Sha Tin after running second in two of the world's great mile and a half events this autumn, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in France and the Breeders' Cup Turf in the U.S.

He is set to face the past two Hong Kong Vase winners, Dominant (2013) and Red Cadeaux (2012), as well another to have made the frame at Santa Anita recently, the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf third Just the Judge, winner of the E.P. Taylor in October and the Irish One Thousand Guineas in 2013.

Cirrus des Aigles is always a headline draw. The French superstar has been in great form this year, winning three Group 1 races to take his top-flight tally to six. The veteran of many a famous skirmish will be having his fifth start at the HKIR when he lines up for the Hong Kong Cup, the day's feature event and the second richest 2000-meter turf contest in the world. Also selected for that race is the southern hemisphere star Criterion, winner of the Australian Derby this year.

The world's richest turf mile race, the Hong Kong Mile, has in its line-up Japan's top-class milers Grand Prix Boss and Fiero, as well as Britain's Woodbine Mile victor and Breeders' Cup Mile third Trade Storm.

An exciting cast for the Hong Kong Sprint, the world's most lucrative all-age 1200-meter contest, features one of Australia's toughest speedsters, Buffering, alongside European luminaries Gordon Lord Byron and Sole Power. Japan, buoyed by the back-to-back wins of the great and now retired Lord Kanaloa, looks to the Sprinters Stakes one-two of Snow Dragon and Straight Girl, and the speedy Group 2 winner Little Gerda.

Japan's representation, with 10 horses in total, will be the largest contingent from that country ever to compete at Hong Kong racing's flagship event.

The home team features the best Hong Kong has to offer including Horse of the Year Designs on Rome, alongside Blazing Speed, Military Attack and California Memory in the Cup; crack milers Able Friend, Ambitious Dragon, Gold-Fun and Glorious Days; elite sprinters Lucky Nine and Sterling City; and defending champion Dominant in the Vase.

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Flintshire, Cirrus des Aigles among foreign invaders for Hong Kong races

Flintshire, Cirrus des Aigles, Buffering and Snow Dragon are among the Group 1 stars from seven nations and jurisdictions heading to Sha Tin on December 14 to compete with a stellar line-up of Hong Kong's finest at the Hong Kong International Races (HKIR).

A total of25 overseas raiders and 22 international Grrade/Group 1 winners were among the 51 selected horses for the Turf World Championships announced Wednesday. The HKIR is comprised of the HK$25 million Hong Kong Cup, the HK$23 million Hong Kong Mile, the HK$18.5 million Hong Kong Sprint and the HK$16.5 million Hong Kong Vase.

Flintshire brings outstanding form to the 2400-meter Hong Kong Vase. Trainer Andre Fabre has not ducked a test with the four-year-old this year. The 2013 Grand Prix de Paris winner heads to Sha Tin after running second in two of the world's great mile and a half events this autumn, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in France and the Breeders' Cup Turf in the U.S.

He is set to face the past two Hong Kong Vase winners, Dominant (2013) and Red Cadeaux (2012), as well another to have made the frame at Santa Anita recently, the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf third Just the Judge, winner of the E.P. Taylor in October and the Irish One Thousand Guineas in 2013.

Cirrus des Aigles is always a headline draw. The French superstar has been in great form this year, winning three Group 1 races to take his top-flight tally to six. The veteran of many a famous skirmish will be having his fifth start at the HKIR when he lines up for the Hong Kong Cup, the day's feature event and the second richest 2000-meter turf contest in the world. Also selected for that race is the southern hemisphere star Criterion, winner of the Australian Derby this year.

The world's richest turf mile race, the Hong Kong Mile, has in its line-up Japan's top-class milers Grand Prix Boss and Fiero, as well as Britain's Woodbine Mile victor and Breeders' Cup Mile third Trade Storm.

An exciting cast for the Hong Kong Sprint, the world's most lucrative all-age 1200-meter contest, features one of Australia's toughest speedsters, Buffering, alongside European luminaries Gordon Lord Byron and Sole Power. Japan, buoyed by the back-to-back wins of the great and now retired Lord Kanaloa, looks to the Sprinters Stakes one-two of Snow Dragon and Straight Girl, and the speedy Group 2 winner Little Gerda.

Japan's representation, with 10 horses in total, will be the largest contingent from that country ever to compete at Hong Kong racing's flagship event.

The home team features the best Hong Kong has to offer including Horse of the Year Designs on Rome, alongside Blazing Speed, Military Attack and California Memory in the Cup; crack milers Able Friend, Ambitious Dragon, Gold-Fun and Glorious Days; elite sprinters Lucky Nine and Sterling City; and defending champion Dominant in the Vase.

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'All Others' a heavy favorite in first Kentucky Derby Future Wager

American Pharoah posted dominant wins in his two stakes appearances (Benoit Photo)

It's a true reminder that the pace is quickening on the journey to the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby: the first of four pools in Churchill Downs Racetrack's Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) will open its three-day run on Friday, November 28 and the "All Others" wagering interest is expected to be a heavy favorite when Derby future betting concludes early Sunday evening.

The Mutuel Field (#24), or "All Others," has been installed by Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia as the 3-5 morning line favorite among 24 betting interests in the opening future pool for the 2015 Kentucky Derby. The pool also features 23 individual horses and Zayat Stables LLC's American Pharoah, winner of the Del Mar Futurity and FrontRunner at Santa Anita, is the individual choice. The colt missed a planned run in the November 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile because of a left front foot bruise, but is expected resume training soon for a return to racing as early as February, according to his three-time Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert.

American Pharoah, one of four KDFW Pool 1 betting interests trained by Baffert, was listed as a 12-1 risk in Battaglia's morning line odds. He is followed closely by Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red (#20) at 15-1 and a group of horses at 20-1 that includes Nashua winner Blofeld (#2), FrontRunner and Del Mar Futurity runner-up Calculator, Breeders' Futurity winner Carpe Diem (#4), unbeaten Hopeful champ Competitive Edge (#6), Champagne winner Daredevil (#7) and Delta Jackpot hero Ocho Ocho Ocho (#17).

The Kentucky Derby Future Wager enables fans of America's greatest race to wager on candidates for the Kentucky Derby well in advance of the race at odds that could be much more attractive than those offered on the day of the race.

Wagering on KDFW Pool 1 is scheduled to open at noon (EST) on Friday and conclude Sunday at 6 p.m.

"All Others" was the 4-5 favorite in last year's inaugural November pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. A total of $273,174 was wagered during that pool, including $35,096 in exacta bets. California Chrome, the eventual winner of the 2014 Kentucky Derby, was not listed among its wagering interests. Total betting in the 2014 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, the first to feature four wagering pools, was $1,324,466.

The November 28-30 pool is only the second November pool in the history of the wager, which was first offered in 1999. All Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools offer $2-minimum win betting and exacta wagering. The latter is available in the form of $2 minimum straight exacta bets or $1-minimum exacta boxes and part-wheels.

No scratches or betting refunds are permitted in the Kentucky Derby Future wager, but betting will be suspended immediately on a wagering interest in any KDFW pool if Churchill Downs determines that injury, illness or other circumstance revealed during a pool would prevent a horse from competing in the race.

Winning payouts in KDFW pools are determined by the odds in place at the end of each respective betting pool.

Wagering on the Kentucky Derby and Oaks Future Wager will be offered at Churchill Downs and racetracks throughout North America; on the web via TwinSpires.com, the official online wagering site of the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs Incorporated, other advance deposit wagering sites; and at other simulcast centers and off-track wagering sites.

Pool 1 coincides with the closing weekend of Churchill Downs' 125th Fall Meet that includes among its highlights the popular "Stars of Tomorrow II" program devoted exclusively to racing for two-year-old Thoroughbreds, many of whom could emerge as candidates for next spring's Kentucky Derby.

The featured event on Saturday's "Stars of Tomorrow II" card is the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club, a 1 1/16-mile race that has produced recent winners of the Kentucky Derby in Real Quiet, the KJC runner-up in 1997 who won the Run for the Roses the following year, and Super Saver, who swept those races in 2009 and 2010.

Also scheduled during KDFW Pool 1 betting period is the Grade 2 Remsen, a 1 1/8-mile race for two-year-olds at Aqueduct on Saturday.

A dozen of the 23 individual horses in Pool 1 are in the barns of three trainers: Todd Pletcher, Baffert and Kiaran McLaughlin.

Pletcher, who saddled Super Saver to win the 2010 Kentucky Derby, trains five of the wagering interests in KDFW Pool 1.  His group includes Blofeld, Carpe Diem, Competitive Edge, Daredevil and New York-bred Ostrolenka (#18), who is among the top contenders expected for the Remsen. Baffert's KDFW foursome headed by favored individual American Pharoah also features Dortmund (#8), Lord Nelson (#14) and Punctuate (#19). His trio of Kentucky Derby winners includes Hall of Famer Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and War Emblem (2002).

McLaughlin, who saddled Closing Argument for a runner-up finish to Giacomo in the 2005 Kentucky Derby, has three Pool 1 wagering interests in his care. They are Remsen prospects Classy Class (#5) and Frosted (#11), as well as Imperia (#13), who is scheduled to race on dirt for the first time after a troubled trip in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1

NO.   HORSE    ODDS
1.   American Pharoah   12-1
2.   Blofeld   20-1
3.   Calculator   20-1
4.   Carpe Diem   20-1
5.   Classy Class   50-1
6.   Competitive Edge   20-1
7.   Daredevil   20-1
8.   Dortmund   50-1
9.   Eagle   50-1
10.   El Kabeir   50-1
11.   Frosted   50-1
12.   I Spent It   50-1
13.   Imperia   50-1
14.   Lord Nelson   30-1
15.   Lucky Player   50-1
16.   Mr. Z   30-1
17.   Ocho Ocho Ocho   20-1
18.   Ostrolenka   50-1
19.   Punctuate   50-1
20.   Texas Red   15-1
21.   The Great War   30-1
22.   Unblunted   50-1
23.   Upstart   20-1
24.   All Other Three-Year-Olds   3-5

The Great War, who finished fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile for trainer Aidan O'Brien, has been transferred to the care of trainer Wesley Ward to be prepared for America's classics, according to Ward.

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

An important part of the selection committee's work was making contact with trainers and other representatives of KDFW wagering interests to determine the health status of those horses and their viability as candidates for the 2015 Kentucky Derby. Horses currently on the mend from injuries were not included in the pool until their recovery status and racing plans were verified.

In addition to American Pharoah, three other KDFW Pool 1 horses have been absent from the work tab recently but their connections intend to target Road to the Kentucky Derby races. Unbeaten Competitive Edge will resume training at Florida's Palm Beach Downs in the near future for a winter/spring campaign, according to Pletcher. Saratoga Special winner I Spent It is expected to resume training in two weeks at Oaklawn Park, according to trainer Tony Dutrow. Promising maiden winner Punctuate had a minor infection recently but Baffert said he should return to training soon.

Free Brisnet Ultimate Past Performances for wagering interests in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager are available at http://www.brisnet.com/brisnet_promos/KYDerby15future1.pdf.

Three additional Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools are scheduled in the months leading up to Derby 141. The dates for those pools are:

KDFW Pool 2:   Friday, February 6 through Sunday, February 8   (12 weeks in advance of Derby)
KDFW Pool 3:   Friday, February 27 through Sunday, March 1    (nine weeks in advance of Derby)
KDFW Pool 4:   Friday, March 27 through Sunday, March 29   (five weeks in advance of Derby)

There will be a single pool for the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, which was launched in 2003 and is now in its 13th year. That pool will run concurrently with KDFW Pool 3 from February 27 through March 1. The only difference in the schedule of those pools is a 6:30 p.m. closing time for the Oaks pool, which is 30 minutes later than the KDFW pool.

Real-time odds during the three-day run of KDFW Pool 1 and other information the wager and the Kentucky Derby are available at the official event Web site at www.KentuckyDerby.com.

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'All Others' a heavy favorite in first Kentucky Derby Future Wager

American Pharoah posted dominant wins in his two stakes appearances (Benoit Photo)

It's a true reminder that the pace is quickening on the journey to the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby: the first of four pools in Churchill Downs Racetrack's Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) will open its three-day run on Friday, November 28 and the "All Others" wagering interest is expected to be a heavy favorite when Derby future betting concludes early Sunday evening.

The Mutuel Field (#24), or "All Others," has been installed by Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia as the 3-5 morning line favorite among 24 betting interests in the opening future pool for the 2015 Kentucky Derby. The pool also features 23 individual horses and Zayat Stables LLC's American Pharoah, winner of the Del Mar Futurity and FrontRunner at Santa Anita, is the individual choice. The colt missed a planned run in the November 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile because of a left front foot bruise, but is expected resume training soon for a return to racing as early as February, according to his three-time Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert.

American Pharoah, one of four KDFW Pool 1 betting interests trained by Baffert, was listed as a 12-1 risk in Battaglia's morning line odds. He is followed closely by Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red (#20) at 15-1 and a group of horses at 20-1 that includes Nashua winner Blofeld (#2), FrontRunner and Del Mar Futurity runner-up Calculator, Breeders' Futurity winner Carpe Diem (#4), unbeaten Hopeful champ Competitive Edge (#6), Champagne winner Daredevil (#7) and Delta Jackpot hero Ocho Ocho Ocho (#17).

The Kentucky Derby Future Wager enables fans of America's greatest race to wager on candidates for the Kentucky Derby well in advance of the race at odds that could be much more attractive than those offered on the day of the race.

Wagering on KDFW Pool 1 is scheduled to open at noon (EST) on Friday and conclude Sunday at 6 p.m.

"All Others" was the 4-5 favorite in last year's inaugural November pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager. A total of $273,174 was wagered during that pool, including $35,096 in exacta bets. California Chrome, the eventual winner of the 2014 Kentucky Derby, was not listed among its wagering interests. Total betting in the 2014 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, the first to feature four wagering pools, was $1,324,466.

The November 28-30 pool is only the second November pool in the history of the wager, which was first offered in 1999. All Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools offer $2-minimum win betting and exacta wagering. The latter is available in the form of $2 minimum straight exacta bets or $1-minimum exacta boxes and part-wheels.

No scratches or betting refunds are permitted in the Kentucky Derby Future wager, but betting will be suspended immediately on a wagering interest in any KDFW pool if Churchill Downs determines that injury, illness or other circumstance revealed during a pool would prevent a horse from competing in the race.

Winning payouts in KDFW pools are determined by the odds in place at the end of each respective betting pool.

Wagering on the Kentucky Derby and Oaks Future Wager will be offered at Churchill Downs and racetracks throughout North America; on the web via TwinSpires.com, the official online wagering site of the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs Incorporated, other advance deposit wagering sites; and at other simulcast centers and off-track wagering sites.

Pool 1 coincides with the closing weekend of Churchill Downs' 125th Fall Meet that includes among its highlights the popular "Stars of Tomorrow II" program devoted exclusively to racing for two-year-old Thoroughbreds, many of whom could emerge as candidates for next spring's Kentucky Derby.

The featured event on Saturday's "Stars of Tomorrow II" card is the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club, a 1 1/16-mile race that has produced recent winners of the Kentucky Derby in Real Quiet, the KJC runner-up in 1997 who won the Run for the Roses the following year, and Super Saver, who swept those races in 2009 and 2010.

Also scheduled during KDFW Pool 1 betting period is the Grade 2 Remsen, a 1 1/8-mile race for two-year-olds at Aqueduct on Saturday.

A dozen of the 23 individual horses in Pool 1 are in the barns of three trainers: Todd Pletcher, Baffert and Kiaran McLaughlin.

Pletcher, who saddled Super Saver to win the 2010 Kentucky Derby, trains five of the wagering interests in KDFW Pool 1.  His group includes Blofeld, Carpe Diem, Competitive Edge, Daredevil and New York-bred Ostrolenka (#18), who is among the top contenders expected for the Remsen. Baffert's KDFW foursome headed by favored individual American Pharoah also features Dortmund (#8), Lord Nelson (#14) and Punctuate (#19). His trio of Kentucky Derby winners includes Hall of Famer Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and War Emblem (2002).

McLaughlin, who saddled Closing Argument for a runner-up finish to Giacomo in the 2005 Kentucky Derby, has three Pool 1 wagering interests in his care. They are Remsen prospects Classy Class (#5) and Frosted (#11), as well as Imperia (#13), who is scheduled to race on dirt for the first time after a troubled trip in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1

NO.   HORSE    ODDS
1.   American Pharoah   12-1
2.   Blofeld   20-1
3.   Calculator   20-1
4.   Carpe Diem   20-1
5.   Classy Class   50-1
6.   Competitive Edge   20-1
7.   Daredevil   20-1
8.   Dortmund   50-1
9.   Eagle   50-1
10.   El Kabeir   50-1
11.   Frosted   50-1
12.   I Spent It   50-1
13.   Imperia   50-1
14.   Lord Nelson   30-1
15.   Lucky Player   50-1
16.   Mr. Z   30-1
17.   Ocho Ocho Ocho   20-1
18.   Ostrolenka   50-1
19.   Punctuate   50-1
20.   Texas Red   15-1
21.   The Great War   30-1
22.   Unblunted   50-1
23.   Upstart   20-1
24.   All Other Three-Year-Olds   3-5

The Great War, who finished fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile for trainer Aidan O'Brien, has been transferred to the care of trainer Wesley Ward to be prepared for America's classics, according to Ward.

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

An important part of the selection committee's work was making contact with trainers and other representatives of KDFW wagering interests to determine the health status of those horses and their viability as candidates for the 2015 Kentucky Derby. Horses currently on the mend from injuries were not included in the pool until their recovery status and racing plans were verified.

In addition to American Pharoah, three other KDFW Pool 1 horses have been absent from the work tab recently but their connections intend to target Road to the Kentucky Derby races. Unbeaten Competitive Edge will resume training at Florida's Palm Beach Downs in the near future for a winter/spring campaign, according to Pletcher. Saratoga Special winner I Spent It is expected to resume training in two weeks at Oaklawn Park, according to trainer Tony Dutrow. Promising maiden winner Punctuate had a minor infection recently but Baffert said he should return to training soon.

Free Brisnet Ultimate Past Performances for wagering interests in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager are available at http://www.brisnet.com/brisnet_promos/KYDerby15future1.pdf.

Three additional Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools are scheduled in the months leading up to Derby 141. The dates for those pools are:

KDFW Pool 2:   Friday, February 6 through Sunday, February 8   (12 weeks in advance of Derby)
KDFW Pool 3:   Friday, February 27 through Sunday, March 1    (nine weeks in advance of Derby)
KDFW Pool 4:   Friday, March 27 through Sunday, March 29   (five weeks in advance of Derby)

There will be a single pool for the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, which was launched in 2003 and is now in its 13th year. That pool will run concurrently with KDFW Pool 3 from February 27 through March 1. The only difference in the schedule of those pools is a 6:30 p.m. closing time for the Oaks pool, which is 30 minutes later than the KDFW pool.

Real-time odds during the three-day run of KDFW Pool 1 and other information the wager and the Kentucky Derby are available at the official event Web site at www.KentuckyDerby.com.

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Tom's Tribute faces nine in Seabiscuit at Del Mar

Tom's Tribute will go for his third stakes win of the year at Del Mar (Benoit Photos)

Slightly outclassed by the European contingent in the Breeders' Cup Mile earlier this month, Tom's Tribute returns to his favorite course Friday as the horse to beat in the Grade 2, $250,000 Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar.

Contested at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, the Seabiscuit was formerly known as the Citation when it was run at the now-defunct Hollywood Park.

A four-year-old colt trained by Jim Cassidy, Tom's Tribute was dominant over the Del Mar turf during the summer meet, taking the nine-furlong Eddie Read as well as the Del Mar Mile. Despite getting a favorable pace setup, the son of Lion Heart was only seventh in the Breeders' Cup Mile, five lengths behind longshot winner Karakontie.

Also exiting the Mile is Kaigun, who was a non-threatening 10th as a 42-1 longshot. Winner of the Play of the King at Woodbine in August, Kaigun was a sharp second to Wise Dan in the Maker's 46 Mile in April and later occupied the same slot in the Manhattan at Belmont Park and Woodbine Mile.

The top three finishers from the October 4 City of Hope at Santa Anita -- Big Bane Theory, Mr Commons and Avanzare -- all return for the Seabiscuit. Only Big Bane Theory has run in the interim, with that five-year-old finishing a distant fifth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile last time.

Za Approval, a multiple Grade 3 winner who was runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Mile, Woodbine Mile and Shoemaker Mile last year, struggled earlier in the year before taking an overnight stakes, the $98,000 Real Courage, over seven furlongs at Belmont last time.

The field is rounded out by Skyring, a multiple Grade 2 winner; Pure Tactics, winner of the $80,000 Lure at Santa Anita by more than six lengths last out; Lil Bit O'Fun, who took the $95,000 Wickerr at Del Mar in July; and last-out $98,000 California Flag Handicap hero Boozer. 

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Tom's Tribute faces nine in Seabiscuit at Del Mar

Tom's Tribute will go for his third stakes win of the year at Del Mar (Benoit Photos)

Slightly outclassed by the European contingent in the Breeders' Cup Mile earlier this month, Tom's Tribute returns to his favorite course Friday as the horse to beat in the Grade 2, $250,000 Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar.

Contested at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, the Seabiscuit was formerly known as the Citation when it was run at the now-defunct Hollywood Park.

A four-year-old colt trained by Jim Cassidy, Tom's Tribute was dominant over the Del Mar turf during the summer meet, taking the nine-furlong Eddie Read as well as the Del Mar Mile. Despite getting a favorable pace setup, the son of Lion Heart was only seventh in the Breeders' Cup Mile, five lengths behind longshot winner Karakontie.

Also exiting the Mile is Kaigun, who was a non-threatening 10th as a 42-1 longshot. Winner of the Play of the King at Woodbine in August, Kaigun was a sharp second to Wise Dan in the Maker's 46 Mile in April and later occupied the same slot in the Manhattan at Belmont Park and Woodbine Mile.

The top three finishers from the October 4 City of Hope at Santa Anita -- Big Bane Theory, Mr Commons and Avanzare -- all return for the Seabiscuit. Only Big Bane Theory has run in the interim, with that five-year-old finishing a distant fifth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile last time.

Za Approval, a multiple Grade 3 winner who was runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Mile, Woodbine Mile and Shoemaker Mile last year, struggled earlier in the year before taking an overnight stakes, the $98,000 Real Courage, over seven furlongs at Belmont last time.

The field is rounded out by Skyring, a multiple Grade 2 winner; Pure Tactics, winner of the $80,000 Lure at Santa Anita by more than six lengths last out; Lil Bit O'Fun, who took the $95,000 Wickerr at Del Mar in July; and last-out $98,000 California Flag Handicap hero Boozer. 

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Tampa Bay Downs gets early start on 2014-15 winter meet

With the strongest jockey colony in memory and top barns from around the country, anticipation for the Saturday opening of Tampa Bay Downs' 2014-15 season has reached a fever pitch. The 91-day meeting resumes with a first-race post time of 12:30 p.m. (EST).

"Not everyone can cash a big superfecta ticket, but we are committed to making our patrons' experience as rewarding and memorable as possible on a daily basis," said Tampa Bay Downs Vice President of Marketing & Publicity Margo Flynn.

"(Racing secretary) Allison De Luca has done an awesome job recruiting top racing outfits. We had almost twice as many applications for stalls as we could accommodate," Flynn said. "The reputation of our safe, sand-based dirt track and lush turf course has spread nationwide and made Tampa Bay Downs a prime winter racing magnet."

Among the attractions for horsemen is a stakes schedule offering $2,660,000 in purse money. The highlight is the March 7 Festival Day program, which includes the Grade 2, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby for three-year-olds; the Grade 3, $200,000 Florida Oaks for three-year-old fillies on the turf; and the Grade 3, $150,000 Hillsborough for older fillies and mares.

The stakes slate begins December 6 -- Cotillion Festival Day -- with the $100,000 Inaugural Stakes for two-year-olds and the $100,000 Sandpiper for two-year-old fillies. The December 6 festivities include the popular "Breakfast Buffet at the Downs" from 8-10 a.m. in the Trackside Picnic Pavilion.

Eight of the top 10 riders from the 2013-14 meeting are back, including last year's runner-up Ronnie Allen Jr., a four-time Tampa Bay Downs jockey champion, and third-place finisher Daniel Centeno, who has won five Tampa Bay Downs titles.

Adding zest to the riding colony is the return of Rosemary Homeister Jr., who spent the past two winters at Oaklawn Park. Homeister, who won an Eclipse Award as the outstanding apprentice in 1992, has ridden more than 2,700 career winners, second only to Hall of Fame member Julie Krone among women riders.

Other newcomers with solid credentials include a pair of Midwestern jockeys, Chris Emigh and E.E. Perez (also known as Eduardo E. Perez).

The track's jockey colony will be greeted Saturday by a state-of-the-art, high-performance collapsible Duralock rail along the inside of the turf course. Manufactured in the United Kingdom, the Duralock rail is designed to minimize the risk of injury when horses and riders brush against it.

For the past eight seasons, one name has reigned supreme among Tampa Bay Downs trainers: Jamie Ness. The native of Heron, South Dakota set the track record by saddling 79 winners in 2011-12 and is a prohibitive favorite to surpass the late Don Rice for most training titles in track history (Rice's eight titles were not consecutive).

Ness -- whose far-flung stable is also active during the winter at Laurel, Aqueduct, Gulfstream, Penn National and Charles Town -- won't have quite the same volume of starters at Tampa Bay Downs as in past seasons, but his exceptional horsemanship and understanding of where his horses fit still make him the one to beat.

"We're going to give it a big shot," he said recently. "We don't base the success of our stable on being leading trainer, but we're going to fill 40 stalls with some quality older horses and some young horses that look like they'll be OK."

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Tampa Bay Downs gets early start on 2014-15 winter meet

With the strongest jockey colony in memory and top barns from around the country, anticipation for the Saturday opening of Tampa Bay Downs' 2014-15 season has reached a fever pitch. The 91-day meeting resumes with a first-race post time of 12:30 p.m. (EST).

"Not everyone can cash a big superfecta ticket, but we are committed to making our patrons' experience as rewarding and memorable as possible on a daily basis," said Tampa Bay Downs Vice President of Marketing & Publicity Margo Flynn.

"(Racing secretary) Allison De Luca has done an awesome job recruiting top racing outfits. We had almost twice as many applications for stalls as we could accommodate," Flynn said. "The reputation of our safe, sand-based dirt track and lush turf course has spread nationwide and made Tampa Bay Downs a prime winter racing magnet."

Among the attractions for horsemen is a stakes schedule offering $2,660,000 in purse money. The highlight is the March 7 Festival Day program, which includes the Grade 2, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby for three-year-olds; the Grade 3, $200,000 Florida Oaks for three-year-old fillies on the turf; and the Grade 3, $150,000 Hillsborough for older fillies and mares.

The stakes slate begins December 6 -- Cotillion Festival Day -- with the $100,000 Inaugural Stakes for two-year-olds and the $100,000 Sandpiper for two-year-old fillies. The December 6 festivities include the popular "Breakfast Buffet at the Downs" from 8-10 a.m. in the Trackside Picnic Pavilion.

Eight of the top 10 riders from the 2013-14 meeting are back, including last year's runner-up Ronnie Allen Jr., a four-time Tampa Bay Downs jockey champion, and third-place finisher Daniel Centeno, who has won five Tampa Bay Downs titles.

Adding zest to the riding colony is the return of Rosemary Homeister Jr., who spent the past two winters at Oaklawn Park. Homeister, who won an Eclipse Award as the outstanding apprentice in 1992, has ridden more than 2,700 career winners, second only to Hall of Fame member Julie Krone among women riders.

Other newcomers with solid credentials include a pair of Midwestern jockeys, Chris Emigh and E.E. Perez (also known as Eduardo E. Perez).

The track's jockey colony will be greeted Saturday by a state-of-the-art, high-performance collapsible Duralock rail along the inside of the turf course. Manufactured in the United Kingdom, the Duralock rail is designed to minimize the risk of injury when horses and riders brush against it.

For the past eight seasons, one name has reigned supreme among Tampa Bay Downs trainers: Jamie Ness. The native of Heron, South Dakota set the track record by saddling 79 winners in 2011-12 and is a prohibitive favorite to surpass the late Don Rice for most training titles in track history (Rice's eight titles were not consecutive).

Ness -- whose far-flung stable is also active during the winter at Laurel, Aqueduct, Gulfstream, Penn National and Charles Town -- won't have quite the same volume of starters at Tampa Bay Downs as in past seasons, but his exceptional horsemanship and understanding of where his horses fit still make him the one to beat.

"We're going to give it a big shot," he said recently. "We don't base the success of our stable on being leading trainer, but we're going to fill 40 stalls with some quality older horses and some young horses that look like they'll be OK."

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

In brief

Peter Redekop B.C. Ltd.'s Alert Bay (City Zip) extended his win streak to three with a comfortable three-length tally in Wednesday's $215,000 Zia Park Derby. Winner of the British Columbia Derby (G3) and Premier's H. (G3) in his last two starts at Hastings, the Blaine Wright-trained gelding closely tracked early splits of :23 2/5 and :47 before gaining the lead on the far turn and drew off entering the stretch. The three-year-old notched his fourth career stakes win when finishing up 1 1/16 miles in 1:41 4/5 with regular rider Rico Walcott. The California-bred was off as the 5-2 second choice in the seven-horse field, with 3-5 favorite Tonito M. (Rock Hard Ten) rallying belatedly for second, and Alert Bay improved his overall record to 12-6-4-1, $497,207...

Fox Hill Farms' Cassatt (Tapit) sped to the front at the break and extended her margin at every point of call, recording a 4 1/2-length decision in Wednesday's $309,000 Zia Park Oaks. Winner of the Monmouth Oaks (G3) three starts previously, the Larry Jones-trained filly posted splits in :23 1/5, :46 2/5 and 1:10 en route to completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:42 1/5. Kerwin Clark was up on the three-year-old filly, who has now earned $339,233 from a 7-4-1-0 career mark. Cassatt was off as the 9-5 second choice among six rivals, with 7-5 choice Shanon Nicole (Majestic Warrior) finishing third...

The Stronach Group announced Wednesday that Tom Chuckas, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Maryland Jockey Club, has resigned his position with the company, effective November 30. Chuckas joined the Maryland Jockey Club in May 2008. Over the years, he has led the effort to develop a long-term plan to bring stability to horse racing in the state of Maryland. He has also played a pivotal role in rebranding the Preakness Stakes which saw record-breaking attendance for 2014. "It has been a great personal pleasure working with the entire team at the Maryland Jockey Club," Chuckas said. "Racing in Maryland is positioning itself for tremendous growth opportunities and I hope for nothing but success in the years to come." Frank Stronach, Founder of The Stronach Group, stated, "Tom has been a valuable part of our team over the past six years as the company has worked towards developing a strong foundation to restore Maryland's racing industry. We very much appreciate his contributions and wish him the best in the next phase of his career." The Stronach Group and Chuckas are in negotiations regarding the transition of his responsibilities in the company moving forward. The Stronach Group is also announcing that Salvatore "Sal" Sinatra has been appointed Vice-President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club and will join the company on December 1. Sinatra has been involved in the Thoroughbred racing industry for over 20 years. He previously held the position of Director of Racing with Parx Racing, formally Philadelphia Park, since 1999. "I am very glad to welcome Sal to our company," said Tim Ritvo, Chief Operating Officer of The Stronach Group. "His knowledge and expertise in racing operations will be a great benefit to both Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course going forward."

In brief

Peter Redekop B.C. Ltd.'s Alert Bay (City Zip) extended his win streak to three with a comfortable three-length tally in Wednesday's $215,000 Zia Park Derby. Winner of the British Columbia Derby (G3) and Premier's H. (G3) in his last two starts at Hastings, the Blaine Wright-trained gelding closely tracked early splits of :23 2/5 and :47 before gaining the lead on the far turn and drew off entering the stretch. The three-year-old notched his fourth career stakes win when finishing up 1 1/16 miles in 1:41 4/5 with regular rider Rico Walcott. The California-bred was off as the 5-2 second choice in the seven-horse field, with 3-5 favorite Tonito M. (Rock Hard Ten) rallying belatedly for second, and Alert Bay improved his overall record to 12-6-4-1, $497,207...

Fox Hill Farms' Cassatt (Tapit) sped to the front at the break and extended her margin at every point of call, recording a 4 1/2-length decision in Wednesday's $309,000 Zia Park Oaks. Winner of the Monmouth Oaks (G3) three starts previously, the Larry Jones-trained filly posted splits in :23 1/5, :46 2/5 and 1:10 en route to completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:42 1/5. Kerwin Clark was up on the three-year-old filly, who has now earned $339,233 from a 7-4-1-0 career mark. Cassatt was off as the 9-5 second choice among six rivals, with 7-5 choice Shanon Nicole (Majestic Warrior) finishing third...

The Stronach Group announced Wednesday that Tom Chuckas, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Maryland Jockey Club, has resigned his position with the company, effective November 30. Chuckas joined the Maryland Jockey Club in May 2008. Over the years, he has led the effort to develop a long-term plan to bring stability to horse racing in the state of Maryland. He has also played a pivotal role in rebranding the Preakness Stakes which saw record-breaking attendance for 2014. "It has been a great personal pleasure working with the entire team at the Maryland Jockey Club," Chuckas said. "Racing in Maryland is positioning itself for tremendous growth opportunities and I hope for nothing but success in the years to come." Frank Stronach, Founder of The Stronach Group, stated, "Tom has been a valuable part of our team over the past six years as the company has worked towards developing a strong foundation to restore Maryland's racing industry. We very much appreciate his contributions and wish him the best in the next phase of his career." The Stronach Group and Chuckas are in negotiations regarding the transition of his responsibilities in the company moving forward. The Stronach Group is also announcing that Salvatore "Sal" Sinatra has been appointed Vice-President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club and will join the company on December 1. Sinatra has been involved in the Thoroughbred racing industry for over 20 years. He previously held the position of Director of Racing with Parx Racing, formally Philadelphia Park, since 1999. "I am very glad to welcome Sal to our company," said Tim Ritvo, Chief Operating Officer of The Stronach Group. "His knowledge and expertise in racing operations will be a great benefit to both Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course going forward."

Features

HANDICAPPING INSIGHTS

NOVEMBER 28, 2014

by Dick Powell

2014 is rapidly drawing to a close and this weekend's stakes action from Del Mar, Aqueduct and Churchill Downs provides us with some of the final graded stakes races of the year. I could care less about Eclipse Awards ramifications and focus on wagering opportunities.

Saturday's stakes races at Aqueduct might be highlighted by the Cigar Mile (G1) but the most intriguing race on the card is the nine-furlong Remsen Stakes (G2) for two-year-olds. It attracted 14 entries, Mark Casse will scratch one of his two, and with the short run into the clubhouse turn on the Aqueduct main track, it should be a cavalry charge out of the gate.

There is not a single, graded stakes winner in the field and seven of them are making their first start after a maiden win. Two of the better starters are New York-breds but they both drew way outside. Ostrolenka (Musket Man) will break from post 11 and has enough gate speed but how hard will Johnny Velazquez have to use him from the gate to gain position and avoid being hung out on the first turn? Market Conduct (Super Saver) was third behind Ostrolenka last out going a mile but he races in midpack and will get the worst of it from post 12.

This year's Remsen is the kind of race that you don't want to land on the favorite since the reward you will get will be nowhere near the risk you will take by playing him. Often times in this race, I'll go with an extreme horse -- either the lone speed or a lone closer.

This year, I can't find a lone speed horse that can run away and hide. Moonlight Bandit (Malibu Moon) showed good speed last out winning a one-turn mile race at Churchill Downs -- where he is cross-entered in Saturday's Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) along with stablemate Flashaway (Eskendereya). If he runs here from post 2, Moonlight Bandit might have the lead into the clubhouse turn but Frosted (Tapit) from post 13 has to gun from there and is training bullets since Kiaran McLaughlin was allowed to use Lasix.

The lone closer appears to be Eh Cumpari (Elusive Quality), who broke his maiden first time out when he rallied from 11th to win by three lengths going a mile at Aqueduct. It's a lot to ask to step up to Grade 2 stakes company but this year's Remsen is not really a Grade 2 stakes race but a first-level allowance race. He will have 12 horses in front of him and if the pace is slow, which it should not be, the field will bunch up and Eh Cumpari will have to go extremely wide.

Frosted drew the far outside and is listed as the 3-to-1 morning line favorite. Can't use him from there at that price. Classy Class (Discreetly Mine) broke his maiden by four lengths going four lengths but he drew outside and his sire turned out to be a Grade 1 sprinter despite being out of a dam that won the Alabama S. (G1) at 10 furlongs.

After much consternation and being forced to make a pick, I gave the nod to Royal Burgh (Street Sense). He broke his maiden first time out going two turns at Keeneland so he has already answered that question. He raced wide through both turns and was game in the stretch to win by a neck. His sire, Street Sense (Street Cry), won the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) so the distance is right in his wheelhouse. His dam won a stakes race at Philly Park and came back to be third in a Grade 1 at Santa Anita going seven furlongs.

Todd Pletcher has won this race twice, with Overanalyze (2012) and Bluegrass Cat (2005), and Jose Lezcano won the 2009 edition with Buddy's Saint. When you examine the history of this race, you see numerous winners that did not have stellar careers afterwards so don't be afraid to go with a horse Saturday that might be at double-digit odds that you are not going to play in the Kentucky Derby future wagers.

Royal Burgh, at 12-to-1 morning line odds, draws well, is from a top barn and has the pedigree to excel at nine furlongs early in his career. His BRIS Speed rating of 80 is woefully slow but it does not take into account the ground he lost (46 feet farther than the second-place finisher) and against this field, at this price, from this post and these connections, he is well worth keying him in your bets. Royal Burgh might not go on to win the Triple Crown but all he has to do is win the Remsen. 

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Results

NORTH AMERICAN NON-GRADED STAKES RESULTS

ZIA PARK DERBY, ZIA, $215,000, 3YO, 1 1/16M, 11-26.
5—ALERT BAY, g, 3, City Zip--Hickory (CHI), by Dushyantor. ($65,000 '12 KEEJAN). O-Peter Redekop B C, Ltd, B-Thomas Newton Bell & Ross John McLeod (CA), T-Blaine D. Wright, J-Rico W. Walcott, $128,928.
3—Tonito M., c, 3, Rock Hard Ten--Esther's Big Band, by Dixieland Band. ($4,500 '11 KEENOV; $12,000 '12 KEESEP). O-M Racing Group, B-Hilbert Thoroughbreds, Inc & Menard Thoroughbreds, Inc (KY), $47,274.
4—Proceed, c, 3, Desert God--Annis, by Texas Glitter. O-Michael C Stinson, B-Michael C Stinson (NM), $21,489.
Also Ran: Bay of Biscay, Walt, Alsono, Street Prancer.
Winning Time: 1:41 4/5 (ft)
Margins: 3, 3, 3.
Odds: 2.60, 0.70, 4.20.
 
ZIA PARK DISTANCE CHAMPIONSHIP H., ZIA, $159,000, 3YO/UP, 1 1/8M, 11-26.
1—ISN'T HE CLEVER, g, 5, Smarty Jones--Sharp Minister, by Deputy Minister. ($45,000 '10 KEESEP). O-Robison, J Kirk and Judy, B-Monticule (KY), T-Johnnie L. Nall, J-Enrique Portillo Gomez, $100,170.
5—Ol Winedrinker Who, g, 5, Sligo Bay (IRE)--Silverup, by Prenup. O-Stevens, Sam E and Sammy L, B-Sam E Stevens & Sammy L Stevens (TX), $34,980.
6—Code West, r, 4, Lemon Drop Kid--Charitabledonation, by Saint Ballado. ($340,000 '11 KEESEP). O-Bryan Hawk, B-Edward P Evans (VA), $17,490.
Also Ran: Big Tall Paul.
Winning Time: 1:48 2/5 (ft)
Margins: NO, 1HF, 6 3/4.
Odds: 1.20, 3.90, 0.90.
 
NEW MEXICO EDDY COUNTY S., ZIA, $150,000, 2YO, 1M, 11-26.
1—LIBERTY LOVER, c, 2, Diabolical--Wildcat Diva, by Forest Wildcat. O-Robison, J Kirk and Judy, B-J Kirk Robison & Judy Robison (NM), T-Johnnie L. Nall, J-Ry Eikleberry, $89,712.
4—Desert Gambler, f, 2, Desert God--Inrightclassitime, by Straight Man. O-Taylor, Dale, Taylor, Carey and Hogg, Jon, B-Dale F Taylor & Debbie Taylor (NM), $32,894.
3—Muy Rapido, f, 2, Diabolical--Rapidamente, by Dixieland Band. O-Robison, J Kirk and Judy, B-J Kirk Robison & Judy Robison (NM), $14,953.
Also Ran: Caliente Carson, Buca Who Looker, Hank N Lefty Who, Burning It, Lux, Desert Stepper, Classy Attitude.
Winning Time: 1:38 1/5 (ft)
Margins: NK, 2 3/4, 3HF.
Odds: 4.20, 13.10, 3.60.

NORTH AMERICAN ALLOWANCE RESULTS

AQU, 7TH, AOC, $70,800, 3YO/UP, F/M, 1M, 11-26.
7—LUCKY NANCY E., f, 3, Disco Rico--Beyond the Limit, by Unbridled. O-Patricia A Generazio, B-Patricia Generazio (NY), T-James T. Ryerson, J-John R. Velazquez, $42,480.
13—Pennymine, m, 5, Mineshaft--Pentatonic, by Cure the Blues. ($1,500 '09 NYBOCT). O-Sherry, Sheila and Sherry, Herbert S, B-Dr Herb Sherry & W S Farish (NY), $14,160.
2—Devious Maddy, f, 4, Forest Danger--Port A, by Alydeed. O-Capi Racing Stable, B-Bradley B Browne (NY), $7,080.
Winning Time: 1:42 3/5 (sy)
 
AQU, 8TH, AOC, $67,620, 3YO/UP, F/M, 6 1/2F, 11-26.
5—CAPE COD CAROL, m, 5, Rockport Harbor--Expect Becky, by Valid Expectations. O-Patricia A Generazio, B-Joseph Barbazon & Helen Barbazon (NY), T-James T. Ryerson, J-John R. Velazquez, $41,400.
1—Make the Moment, f, 4, Indygo Shiner--Pretty Pretty, by Silver Deputy. ($50,000 2012 OBSMAR). O-Charlton Baker, B-Gallagher's Stud (NY), $13,800.
2—Frivolity, f, 4, Corinthian--Sonoma Song, by Unbridled's Song. ($60,000 '11 KEESEP). O-Drawing Away Stable and Jacobson, David, B-Hargus Sexton & Sandra Sexton (KY), $6,900.
Winning Time: 1:20 (sy)
 
LRL, 8TH, AOC, $47,282, 3YO/UP, 6F, 11-26.
1—CASTAWAY, h, 5, Street Sense--Priceless Storm, by Storm Cat. ($435,000 '10 KEESEP). O-Jacobson, David and Southern Equine Stable LLC, B-Hertrich/McCarthy Livestock LLC (KY), T-David Jacobson, J-Sheldon Russell, $26,790.
2—D C Dancer, g, 4, Not for Love--Parlez, by French Deputy. ($60,000 '11 FTMOCT; $67,000 2012 FTMMAY). O-TomRus, LLC, B-Katharine M Voss & Robert TManfuso (MD), $11,597.
6—Awesome Devine, g, 4, Fairbanks--Formalities Aside, by Awesome Again. ($9,500 '11 FTMOCT). O-Goodeal Stable, B-Dr & Mrs Thomas Bowman & Milton P Higgins III (MD), $6,075.
Winning Time: 1:10 1/5 (sy)
 
LRL, 7TH, ALW, $46,190, 3YO/UP, F/M, 7F, 11-26.
7—CHARM CITY, f, 4, City Zip--Ragtime Doll, by Smarten. O-Mary E Eppler Racing Stable, Inc and Triple Tree Stable, B-Mary E Eppler Racing Stable, Inc & A Leonard Pineau (MD), T-Mary E. Eppler, J-Horacio Karamanos, $28,130.
6—Holly's Image, f, 3, Ready's Image--Holly's Wager, by Valid Wager. O-Mary Jo Kuehn, B-Mary Jo Kuehn (KY), $8,820.
4—Conspirer, f, 4, City Zip--Congiura (IRE), by Celtic Swing (GB). O-Kasey Two Racing LLC, B-Isabelle H de Tomaso (NJ), $4,620.
Winning Time: 1:25 3/5 (sy)
 
CD, 10TH, AOC, $45,216, 3YO/UP, F/M, 1MT, 11-26.
7—MAID ON A MISSION, m, 5, Strategic Mission--She's Imperial, by Imperial Falcon. ($1,500 '10 FTKFEB). O-Tommy Ray Mills, B-University of Kentucky (KY), T-Tommy Ray Mills, J-Didiel A. Osorio, $27,000.
3—Cry War Eagle, m, 5, Any Given Saturday--Hollow Design, by Colonial Affair. ($170,000 '09 KEENOV; $120,000 '10 KEESEP). O-Amerman Racing LLC, B-Bellepoint Management, LLC & Patterson Bloodstock (KY), $9,000.
4—Diva Meg, f, 3, Exchange Rate--Diva's Seastar, by Broken Vow. ($115,000 '12 KEESEP). O-Joseph W Sutton, B-Branch Family Trust, Allen & Susan (KY), $4,500.
Winning Time: 1:38 1/5 (gd)
 
CD, 9TH, ALW, $42,974, 3YO/UP, 7F, 11-26.
7—ROBERTO GATO, g, 3, Zensational--Cat News, by Storm Cat. ($100,000 '11 KEENOV; $175,000 '12 KEESEP). O-Roustabout Racing Stables, B-Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings, Inc (KY), T-Doug L. Anderson, J-Jon Kenton Court, $25,800.
8—Attain, g, 3, Successful Appeal--Febrile, by Trempolino. ($38,000 '12 KEESEP; $10,000 2013 OBSJUN). O-Poindexter Thoroughbreds, LLC and Brogden, Carrie L, B-John T L Jones, III (KY), $8,600.
5—Starter, g, 6, Jump Start--Think Pink, by Coronado's Quest. O-Stewart Mather Madison, B-Stewart Madison (KY), $4,300.
Winning Time: 1:23 4/5 (ft)
 
DED, 9TH, ALW, $40,000, 3YO/UP, 1M, 11-25.
6—YONADIXIE, g, 4, Yonaguska--Shes Dixies Eskimo, by Eskimo. O-John Luck, B-John Luck (LA), T-Samuel Breaux, J-Diego Saenz, $24,000.
4—Restless Gerald, g, 3, My Friend Max--Rich'n Restless, by Belek. O-Brian Schweda, Jr, B-Gerald L Averett (LA), $8,000.
1—Blue Forty Two, g, 3, Forefathers--Blue Guru, by El Prado (IRE). O-Cunningham Racing LLC, B-Joel and Marvin Cunningham, LLC (LA), $4,400.
Winning Time: 1:41 (ft)
 
GPW, 1ST, AOC, $35,400, 3YO/UP, F/M, 5FT, 11-26.
5—PERFECT STEP, m, 5, Congrats--Romance Dance, by Vision and Verse. O-Carson Springs Farm, Meeker, Ken and Cooper, Phillip, B-Carson Springs Farm, Ken Meeker &Phillip Cooper (IL), T-Christine K. Janks, J-Carlos H. Marquez, Jr., $21,000.
3—Little Daniella, f, 3, Mr. Sekiguchi--Wellingtons Choice, by Valid Appeal. ($31,000 2013 OBSAPR). O-Little Dreams Racing, B-Juvenal Diaz (FL), $8,100.
9—Henry's Song, f, 3, Henrythenavigator--Stunning Song, by Grand Slam. ($7,000 '12 KEESEP). O-Green Hills Farm Inc, B-Green Hills Farm Inc (KY), $3,850.
Winning Time: :57 4/5 (gd)
 
ZIA, 10TH, ALW, $31,585, 3YO/UP, 1M, 11-25.
3—BOURBON BLUE BAYOU, g, 3, Bourbon n Blues--Shes Bullish, by In Excessive Bull. O-Garcia, Rafael T and Rumalda, B-Philip J Wood (NM), T-Gerald E. Marr, J-Ricardo Jaime, $18,900.
2—Soaring Cid, g, 3, Desert God--Soaring Ego, by Run Paul Run. O-Dan Hardisty, B-Dan Hardisty (NM), $6,930.
4—Mancation, g, 3, Going Wild--Samba Queen, by Giant's Causeway. O-R D Hubbard, B-R D Hubbard (NM), $3,150.
Winning Time: 1:39 (ft)
 
MNR, 7TH, ALW, $20,000, 3YO/UP, F/M, 1M, 11-25.
8—TOE TAPPIN FAST, f, 3, Pleasant Tap--Sabu, by Deputy Minister. ($1,000 '12 FTKOCT). O-Julio Hernandez, B-Monticule (KY), T-Matthew G. Chappell, J-Kathleen Marie Dregits, $12,200.
7—Happy Hattie, f, 3, Chelsey Cat--Fuerza Marina, by Polish Navy. ($2,500 '12 OBSAUG). O-Team Ramgeet Racing Stable LLC, B-Nancy C Shuford (NC), $4,000.
5—Savannah Star F F, m, 5, Bethestar--Anna Savannah, by Knight in Savannah. O-Harold W Fullerton, B-Harold William Fullerton (MT), $2,000.
Winning Time: 1:43 4/5 (ft)
 
FL, 6TH, ALW, $19,200, 3YO/UP, 5 1/2F, 11-26.
1A—TIN CUP TOO, g, 4, E Dubai--Two Reigns, by Reign Road. O-My Purple Haze Stables LLC and Lecesse, Michael A, B-Mike Lecesse (NY), T-Michael A. LeCesse, J-Jaime Rodriguez, $11,520.
1—My Two Great Kids, r, 4, Stonesider--Higgie, by A P Valentine. O-Michael A LeCesse, B-Lowell Kinch (NY), $3,840.
10—El Grande Patron, g, 5, Eltish--New York Jet, by A. P Jet. O-Betty Jean Murphy, B-Ronald Kiser (NY), $1,920.
Winning Time: 1:06 (ft)
 
MVR, 5TH, ALW, $18,700, 3YO/UP, 6F, 11-26.
4—CAPICHE, g, 3, Magna Graduate--Crack the Code, by Lost Code. O-Elizabeth A Alexander, B-Elisabeth H Alexander (OH), T-Robin Schuster, J-Luis H. Colon, $11,220.
5—Advanced Degree, g, 4, Magna Graduate--Unmarked Money, by Red Ransom. ($28,000 '11 KEESEP). O-Robin Schuster, B-Elisabeth H Alexander (OH), $3,740.
6—Upper Arlington, c, 3, Cowboy Cal--Torrent of Song, by Torrential. O-Waltz Racing Stable, LLC, Royer Family Stables LLC and Sheridan, Dan, B-George A Smith & John Royer (OH), $1,870.
Winning Time: 1:16 1/5 (ft)
 
FL, 8TH, ALW, $18,200, 3YO/UP, 5 1/2F, 11-26.
5—PRAGUE, g, 3, Chapel Royal--Dante's Mary, by Boston Harbor. O-William C Schettine, B-William C Schettine (FL), T-Michael S. Ferraro, J-David Michael Lopez, $10,920.
3—Pegasus T, g, 4, Read the Footnotes--Decapolis, by Glomar. O-Ron Cecere, B-Sequel Stallions New York LLC & Pegasus Farms, Inc (NY), $3,640.
2—West College, g, 3, Closing Argument--Fabulous Florence, by Gold Token. O-Joseph A Cabrera, B-Thomas Willmott (NY), $1,820.
Winning Time: 1:06 (ft)

Spot Plays/Highlights/Weather

SPOT PLAYS

For Friday

TRACK   (RACE) HORSE, MORNING LINE
Aqueduct   (7th) Spinit to Winit, 4-1
    (10th) Bossy Boots, 4-1
Charles Town   (7th) Rockinn on Bye, 3-1
    (9th) That Aint No Lady, 3-1
Churchill Downs   (6th) Power Crazed, 3-1
    (10th) Cashmere Cat, 4-1
Del Mar   (2nd) Snuggley Bear, 5-1
    (5th) Intoxicating Move, 7-2
Delta Downs   (2nd) Jobay, 7-2
    (6th) Madam Maggie, 3-1
Fair Grounds   (2nd) Call Me Trouble, 3-1
    (6th) Miss Beautiful, 4-1
Finger Lakes   (3rd) Countess Twice, 3-1
    (4th) Suave Tiger, 7-2
Golden Gate Fields   (6th) Step on the Gas, 4-1
    (9th) Raja's Rose, 9-2
Gulfstream Park West   (3rd) Epic Story, 7-2
    (9th) My Sweet Dove, 7-2
Hawthorne   (7th) Hoist the Colors, 7-2
    (9th) Bahnke, 3-1
Laurel Park   (2nd) Piano Man Ted, 3-1
    (5th) Montana Storm, 6-1
Parx   (6th) Prep Proud, 3-1
    (8th) Guyana Express, 5-1
Penn National   (2nd) Nacho Macho Man, 5-1
    (5th) Conte, 7-2
Remington Park   (6th) Le Flying Monkey, 3-1
    (9th) Honey Boy, 7-2
Retama Park   (2nd) Mystique Night, 3-1
    (6th) Witt's Lizard, 6-1
Woodbine   (3rd) Letter Fly, 3-1
    (8th) Marcian, 4-1

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

Announcements

Help Wanted

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

North American Maiden Winners
Afleet Alex--Maria's Storm by Maria's Mon; AFLEET MARY, f, 2, GPW, Mcl 25000, 11-26, 1mT, 1:40 2/5. B-Extern Developments (KY.). $38,000 '13 KEESEP.
Big Brown--Stick and Move by Cherokee Run; NORTH EIGHT STREET, f, 2, AQU, Msw, 11-26, 1m, 1:43 1/5. B-IEAH Stables & Robert Speranza (NY.). $45,000 '12 KEENOV; $30,000 '13 FTKOCT.
Big Top Cat--Walk Away Rene by Gold Alert; RENE'S FAST CAT, f, 2, DED, Mcl 10000, 11-25, 6 1/2f, 1:24 1/5. B-Circle H Farms (LA.). $10,500 '13 LTBSEP.
Distorted Humor--Ready's Gal (G2$609,959), by More Than Ready; MAWTHOOQ, c, 2, AQU, Msw, 11-26, 1m, 1:40 1/5. B-Courtlandt Farm (KY.). $850,000 '13 KEESEP. *Full to Machen (G3).
English Channel--Irish Sovereign by Polish Numbers; IRISH STRAIT, c, 2, GPW, Msw, 11-26, 5fT, :57 4/5. B-Isabelle H. de Tomaso (NJ.).
Gaff--Sneak Attack by Pine Bluff; SNAFF, f, 2, DED, Mcl 10000, 11-25, 6 1/2f, 1:24 3/5. B-Delmar R. Caldwell (LA.).
Hear No Evil--Golden Anklet by Menifee; GOLDEN EMILY, f, 2, GPW, Mcl 25000, 11-26, 6f, 1:13 1/5. B-Jose Tabraue (FL.).
Hostile Takeover--Unbiased by Brahms; HE'S TAKEN, c, 2, MVR, Msw, 11-26, 6f, 1:17 1/5. B-Double D Farm Corp. (OH.).
Lemon Drop Kid--Secret of the Sea by Storm Cat; NEARSHORE, f, 2, CD, Mcl 20000, 11-26, 5 1/2f, 1:05 3/5. B-Westrock Stables (KY.).
Midshipman--Dixie Satin by Dynaformer; COOMER, c, 2, CD, Mcl 50000, 11-26, 1 1/16m, 1:46 3/5. B-Dividing Ridge Farm (KY.).
Nacimiento--Spirit Moves by Ghostly Moves; NACI KNOTHEAD, g, 2, ZIA, Msw, 11-25, 1m, 1:39 1/5. B-Byron Ritchie (NM.).
Pro Prado--Ghostly Belle by Ghostly Moves; CITIZEN GELLER, g, 2, ZIA, Msw, 11-25, 4 1/2f, :51 3/5. B-Larry Nichols & Denise Nichols (NM.).
Sorcerer's Stone--Saltillo by Salt Lake; SALTILLO STONE, g, 2, DED, Mcl 10000, 11-25, 1m, 1:43 4/5. B-Carrol J. Castille (LA.).
Successful Appeal--Commercialize by Robyn Dancer; COMMERCIAL APPEAL, f, 2, HAW, Mcl 25000, 11-26, 1m 70y, 1:46 1/5. B-Mueller Farms, Inc. (KY.). $25,000 '13 FTKOCT.
Cowboy Cal--Smiling Eyes by Saint Ballado; INCA SAINT, g, 3, AQU, Mcl 16000, 11-26, 1m, 1:42 3/5. B-Kobak Thoroughbreds, Bramer Thoroughbreds & Benwillaw Thoroughbreds (KY.). $34,000 '12 FTKFEB; $42,000 '12 KEESEP.
Delta Miner--The Divas Judge by Judge T C; JUDGE HASSELL, g, 3, MVR, Mcl 5000, 11-26, 1m, 1:48 1/5. B-Double D Farm Corp. (PA.).
Flatter--Sally J by Concorde's Tune; ALTAGRACIA, f, 3, CD, Mcl 10000, 11-26, 1 1/16m, 1:48 2/5. B-Silverton Hill Farm (KY.).
Oratory--Tiding Over by Unbridled; TALKIN' STUFF, g, 3, LRL, Mcl 8000, 11-26, 5 1/2f, 1:06 . B-Hillwood Stable LLC (MD.).
Proud Citizen--Mariaburg by Langfuhr; SHARON'S WAY, f, 3, MNR, Mcl 10000, 11-25, 1m, 1:45 2/5. B-Windhaven Farms Limited (ON.). $2,000 '11 KEENOV. *1/2 to Acting Naughty (G3$421,709).
Purge--Heaven's Deesign by Stormin Fever; DAN'S DEESIGN, f, 3, MVR, Msw, 11-26, 6f, 1:18 1/5. B-Larry Waltz & Dan Sheridan (OH.).
Rosberg--Strangelove by Tiznow; CADILLAC CHROME, g, 3, TUP, Mcl 5000, 11-25, 5 1/2f, 1:04 . B-Christine Elena Ammann (BC.). C$36,000 '12 BRCSEP.
Sky Mesa--To Dream About by Monarchos; AWESOME SKY, g, 3, CD, Msw, 11-26, 1 1/16mT, 1:44 4/5. B-John C. Oxley (KY.).
Songandaprayer--Uninhibited (IRE) by Lahib; ABBAA, c, 3, MNR, Msw, 11-25, 5 1/2f, 1:05 . B-Marablue Farm, LLC (FL.).
Sound the Alarm--Mimi's Boss Sauce by On the Sauce; MIMI'S BELLA ALARM, f, 3, DED, Mcl 10000, 11-25, 5f, 1:01 2/5. B-Tu K Farm (LA.).
Stonesider--Grandma Lu by Salt Lake; MISS MACARENA, f, 3, AQU, Mcl 20000, 11-26, 6f, 1:15 3/5. B-Patricia Calandro & Susan Georgas (NY.).
Tiznow--Carson's Star by Carson City; TIZSOTIZNOT, f, 3, CD, Mcl 30000, 11-26, 7f, 1:26 . B-Cooper Thoroughbred Management LLC (KY.). $75,000 '12 FTKOCT.
Gold Medal--Proudtohave n Hold by Bidding Proud; HOLD MEDAL, m, 5, DED, Mcl 10000, 11-25, 5f, 1:00 4/5. B-Melvin LeBlanc (LA.).   ***FIRST WINNER FOR SIRE

Features

HANDICAPPING INSIGHTS

NOVEMBER 28, 2014

by Dick Powell

2014 is rapidly drawing to a close and this weekend's stakes action from Del Mar, Aqueduct and Churchill Downs provides us with some of the final graded stakes races of the year. I could care less about Eclipse Awards ramifications and focus on wagering opportunities.

Saturday's stakes races at Aqueduct might be highlighted by the Cigar Mile (G1) but the most intriguing race on the card is the nine-furlong Remsen Stakes (G2) for two-year-olds. It attracted 14 entries, Mark Casse will scratch one of his two, and with the short run into the clubhouse turn on the Aqueduct main track, it should be a cavalry charge out of the gate.

There is not a single, graded stakes winner in the field and seven of them are making their first start after a maiden win. Two of the better starters are New York-breds but they both drew way outside. Ostrolenka (Musket Man) will break from post 11 and has enough gate speed but how hard will Johnny Velazquez have to use him from the gate to gain position and avoid being hung out on the first turn? Market Conduct (Super Saver) was third behind Ostrolenka last out going a mile but he races in midpack and will get the worst of it from post 12.

This year's Remsen is the kind of race that you don't want to land on the favorite since the reward you will get will be nowhere near the risk you will take by playing him. Often times in this race, I'll go with an extreme horse -- either the lone speed or a lone closer.

This year, I can't find a lone speed horse that can run away and hide. Moonlight Bandit (Malibu Moon) showed good speed last out winning a one-turn mile race at Churchill Downs -- where he is cross-entered in Saturday's Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) along with stablemate Flashaway (Eskendereya). If he runs here from post 2, Moonlight Bandit might have the lead into the clubhouse turn but Frosted (Tapit) from post 13 has to gun from there and is training bullets since Kiaran McLaughlin was allowed to use Lasix.

The lone closer appears to be Eh Cumpari (Elusive Quality), who broke his maiden first time out when he rallied from 11th to win by three lengths going a mile at Aqueduct. It's a lot to ask to step up to Grade 2 stakes company but this year's Remsen is not really a Grade 2 stakes race but a first-level allowance race. He will have 12 horses in front of him and if the pace is slow, which it should not be, the field will bunch up and Eh Cumpari will have to go extremely wide.

Frosted drew the far outside and is listed as the 3-to-1 morning line favorite. Can't use him from there at that price. Classy Class (Discreetly Mine) broke his maiden by four lengths going four lengths but he drew outside and his sire turned out to be a Grade 1 sprinter despite being out of a dam that won the Alabama S. (G1) at 10 furlongs.

After much consternation and being forced to make a pick, I gave the nod to Royal Burgh (Street Sense). He broke his maiden first time out going two turns at Keeneland so he has already answered that question. He raced wide through both turns and was game in the stretch to win by a neck. His sire, Street Sense (Street Cry), won the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) so the distance is right in his wheelhouse. His dam won a stakes race at Philly Park and came back to be third in a Grade 1 at Santa Anita going seven furlongs.

Todd Pletcher has won this race twice, with Overanalyze (2012) and Bluegrass Cat (2005), and Jose Lezcano won the 2009 edition with Buddy's Saint. When you examine the history of this race, you see numerous winners that did not have stellar careers afterwards so don't be afraid to go with a horse Saturday that might be at double-digit odds that you are not going to play in the Kentucky Derby future wagers.

Royal Burgh, at 12-to-1 morning line odds, draws well, is from a top barn and has the pedigree to excel at nine furlongs early in his career. His BRIS Speed rating of 80 is woefully slow but it does not take into account the ground he lost (46 feet farther than the second-place finisher) and against this field, at this price, from this post and these connections, he is well worth keying him in your bets. Royal Burgh might not go on to win the Triple Crown but all he has to do is win the Remsen. 

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

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

Announcements

Help Wanted

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