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THURSDAY, JANUARY 29, 2015

Racing Headlines

Take Charge Brandi returns in Martha Washington

Take Charge Brandi closed out her championship juvenile season with a win in the Starlet (Benoit Photos)

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner and recently crowned 2014 champion two-year-old filly Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway) takes on six rivals while beginning her sophomore campaign on Saturday in the $100,000 Martha Washington S. at Oaklawn Park.

The one-mile contest is a prep for the $150,000 Honeybee S. (G3) on March 7, followed by the $400,000 Fantasy S. (G3) scheduled for April 4, all leading up to the May 1 Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs.

Before that, though, Take Charge Brandi will be looking to score her fourth straight victory in the Martha Washington after closing out 2013 on a three-race win streak that began in the Breeders' Cup.

Sent off the 61-1 longest shot in that 12-filly field, Take Charge Brandi wired the Juvenile Fillies for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. She proceeded to take the Delta Downs Princess (G3) and Starlet S. (G1) in similar front-running fashion, and that trio of wins was enough for the chestnut miss to garner an Eclipse Award as 2014's top juvenile filly.

Jon Court will take the reins on Take Charge Brandi for the first time in the Martha Washington, which features only two other fillies with prior stakes experience.

Perfect Fit (Majesticperfection) ran second in the Trapeze S. at Remington Park in her black-type bow on December 14 under Clifton Berry, who retains the mount on Saturday. The Bret Calhoun pupil was eighth in her debut prior to breaking her maiden by 4 3/4 lengths and taking an optional claimer by two lengths, all at Remington.

Sarah Sis (Sharp Humor) is one of three in the field with a 2015 start already under her girth. The dark bay lass was a neck runner-up in the January 15 Dixie Belle S. in her first start since taking an allowance at Keeneland in October by 4 1/4 lengths. Conditioned by Ingrid Mason, Sharp Sis romped by 11 lengths at Arlington last August in her career debut before finishing second in the Arlington-Washington Lassie S. about three weeks later. Julio Felix has the call in the Martha Washington.

Indian Annie (Indian Charlie) and Sweet Corinna (Corinthian) both showed up in an Oaklawn optional claimer on January 17, running one-two. The Steve Asmussen-trained Indian Annie, whose dam is a half-sister to champion Uncle Mo, finished 4 3/4 lengths in front of her rival and keeps Ricado Santana Jr. in the saddle. Sweet Corinna, from Mark Casse's shedrow, will be ridden by Channing Hill for the second straight time.

Allowance heroine High Dollar Woman (Super Saver) and maiden winner Cape Town Stevie (Stephen Got Even) complete the Martha Washington field.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Breeding & Sales News

Louisiana-bred yearling fillies top OBS Mixed session

A pair of yearling fillies bred in Louisiana topped the leader board at the first session of the 2015 Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Winter Mixed Sale on Wednesday.

Heading the preferred session was Hip No. 105, a daughter from the first crop of Grade 1 winner The Factor who sold for $190,000 to George Bolton and Peter Leidel. The March 15 foal was offered by Kim Harrison (Top Speed Farm), agent.

The session topper was reared by Viva Vega (Cobra King), who has produced the Grade 3-placed stakes winner Southern Dude (Lion Tamer). Viva Vega is a full sister to multiple stakes winner Follow Me Home, and was herself out of the multiple stakes-winning Ree Saspri (Pachuto).

EQB, agent for Zayat Stables, went to $87,000 to secure Hip 145, a yearling filly by Pioneerof the Nile. Summerfield (Francis & Barbara Vanlangendonck), agent, consigned the March 22 foal.

The bay is out of Cinnamon Kisses (Doneraile Court), a half-sister to Grade 3 winner The Mailet (Rock Hard Ten). This extended family includes the multiple Grade 1-winning half-sisters Starrer (Dynaformer) and Stellar Jayne (Wild Rush), Grade 1 winner Star Billing (Dynaformer) and multiple Grade 2 winner American Royale (American Standard).

At the conclusion of trading, 124 horses sold for $2,462,200, a decline of 16.9 percent over last year when 154 horses sold for $2,962,700. The average was up 3.2 percent, from $19,238 to $19,856, while the median dipped 29.3 percent, from $15,000 to $10,600.

The sale concludes Thursday with an open session beginning at 10:30 a.m. (EST), followed by a horses of racing age session.

Full results can be viewed at obssales.com.

Racing Headlines

Take Charge Brandi returns in Martha Washington

Take Charge Brandi closed out her championship juvenile season with a win in the Starlet (Benoit Photos)

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner and recently crowned 2014 champion two-year-old filly Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway) takes on six rivals while beginning her sophomore campaign on Saturday in the $100,000 Martha Washington S. at Oaklawn Park.

The one-mile contest is a prep for the $150,000 Honeybee S. (G3) on March 7, followed by the $400,000 Fantasy S. (G3) scheduled for April 4, all leading up to the May 1 Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs.

Before that, though, Take Charge Brandi will be looking to score her fourth straight victory in the Martha Washington after closing out 2013 on a three-race win streak that began in the Breeders' Cup.

Sent off the 61-1 longest shot in that 12-filly field, Take Charge Brandi wired the Juvenile Fillies for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. She proceeded to take the Delta Downs Princess (G3) and Starlet S. (G1) in similar front-running fashion, and that trio of wins was enough for the chestnut miss to garner an Eclipse Award as 2014's top juvenile filly.

Jon Court will take the reins on Take Charge Brandi for the first time in the Martha Washington, which features only two other fillies with prior stakes experience.

Perfect Fit (Majesticperfection) ran second in the Trapeze S. at Remington Park in her black-type bow on December 14 under Clifton Berry, who retains the mount on Saturday. The Bret Calhoun pupil was eighth in her debut prior to breaking her maiden by 4 3/4 lengths and taking an optional claimer by two lengths, all at Remington.

Sarah Sis (Sharp Humor) is one of three in the field with a 2015 start already under her girth. The dark bay lass was a neck runner-up in the January 15 Dixie Belle S. in her first start since taking an allowance at Keeneland in October by 4 1/4 lengths. Conditioned by Ingrid Mason, Sharp Sis romped by 11 lengths at Arlington last August in her career debut before finishing second in the Arlington-Washington Lassie S. about three weeks later. Julio Felix has the call in the Martha Washington.

Indian Annie (Indian Charlie) and Sweet Corinna (Corinthian) both showed up in an Oaklawn optional claimer on January 17, running one-two. The Steve Asmussen-trained Indian Annie, whose dam is a half-sister to champion Uncle Mo, finished 4 3/4 lengths in front of her rival and keeps Ricado Santana Jr. in the saddle. Sweet Corinna, from Mark Casse's shedrow, will be ridden by Channing Hill for the second straight time.

Allowance heroine High Dollar Woman (Super Saver) and maiden winner Cape Town Stevie (Stephen Got Even) complete the Martha Washington field.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Well-matched fields line up in Las Virgenes, Santa Anita stakes

Achiever's Legacy is but one of Jerry Hollendorfer's five entries in the Las Virgenes (Benoit Photos)

While Saturday's Martha Washington S. at Oaklawn Park appears to be a one-sided affair with the presence of Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway), the $400,000 Las Virgenes S. (G1) going a mile at Santa Anita Park has drawn an evenly-matched field of 10.

There is no real standout in the Las Virgenes, which like the Martha Washington offers points toward a starting berth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), and the race features quite a few who have finished behind Take Charge Brandi in recent months.

One of those is Maybellene (Lookin at Lucky), and the Bob Baffert pupil could go off a narrow favorite based on her three-quarter length third in the Starlet S. (G1) last out on December 13. Take Charge Brandi fended off the 15-1 Maybellene in the lane of that 1 1/16-mile contest but won't be around this time. That could leave the way clear for the bay lass to secure her first stakes victory. Rafael Bejarano has the return call.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer will saddle half the Las Virgenes field, including Achiever's Legacy (City Zip) and Majestic Presence (Majestic Warrior) who were fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Starlet.

Achiever's Legacy entered that contest off a 1 1/4-length win at Del Mar in the Desi Arnaz S., which had Maybellene in second and fellow Las Virgenes starter and Hollendorfer trainee Light the City (Street Sense) another neck back in third. Majestic Presence faced Take Charge Brandi in her past three outings, finishing ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), third in the Delta Downs Princess (G3) and then fourth in the Starlet. The chestnut lass was also fourth in the Chandelier S. (G1) last season.

Also in with a chance Saturday is Callback (Street Sense), runner-up in the Santa Ynez S. (G2) on January 3 for Baffert.

Trainer Mark Casses has maiden winners Mio Me (Eskendereya) and Miss Mandate (Pioneerof the Nile) entered, while John Sadler sends out Suva Harbor (Rockport Harbor). Hollendorfer's remaining two entries -- Glory (Tapit) and Lutine Belle (Bellamy Road) -- complete the Las Virgenes field.

Secret Circle's last win came in the 2013 BC Sprint (Breeders' Cup Ltd.)

There are two other graded contests scheduled for Saturday at Santa Anita. Kicking off the stakes action will be the $200,000 Palos Verdes S. (G2) sending six older runners sprinting six furlongs.

The race features 2013 Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) hero Secret Circle (Eddington), who finished a half-length second while going for a Sprint title defense three races back. The Baffert trainee, who was second in this race last year, filled the runner-up spot in the Cigar Mile H. (G1) after his Breeders' Cup try and closed out 2014 with a close fourth in the Midnight Lute S. (G3) behind Distinctiv Passion (With Distinction), who brings a two-race win streak into this one.

Bing Crosby S. (G1) winner Big Macher (Beau Genius), Grade 2 victor Wild Dude (Wildcat Heir) and Conquest Two Step (Two Step Salsa), a neck second in the recent Malibu S. (G1), are also entered. Stakes debuter Chief Lion (Wildcat Heir) rounds out the field.

Sandwiched between the Palos Verdes and Las Virgenes is the $200,000 Arcadia S. (G2) going a mile on the Santa Anita turf. Nine were entered, including Kaigun (Northern Afleet), who closed out his four-year-old campaign with a win in the Seabiscuit H. (G2) at Del Mar on November 28. The chestnut gelding spent part of last year knocking on the door against Grade 1 rivals, running second in the Woodbine Mile (Can-G1), Manhattan S. (G1) and Maker's 46 Mile S. (G1).

Home Run Kitten (Kitten's Joy) is looking to add a second graded score to his resume in this contest. The David Hofmans-conditioned four-year-old captured the Eddie D. S. (G3) in late September and was last seen rallying for a neck second in the Mathis Brothers Mile (G2) over course and distance. Play Hard to Get (Purim) is stretching out in this spot after finishing fourth in the about 6 1/2-furlong Daytona S. (G3) on the downhill turf in his stakes bow, and Grade 3 winner Avanzare (Grand Reward) has some experience on Santa Anita's green as well thanks to a third-placing in the City of Hope Mile (G2) last fall.

The Arcadia is finished out by multiple Grade 3 veteran Za Approval (Ghostzapper), Brazilian Group 1 winner Baccelo (Northern Afleet), Grade 3 victor Edge of Reality (Lawyer Ron), Grade 1-placed Talco (Pivotal) and El Nino Terrible (Malibu Moon).

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Well-matched fields line up in Las Virgenes, Santa Anita stakes

Achiever's Legacy is but one of Jerry Hollendorfer's five entries in the Las Virgenes (Benoit Photos)

While Saturday's Martha Washington S. at Oaklawn Park appears to be a one-sided affair with the presence of Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway), the $400,000 Las Virgenes S. (G1) going a mile at Santa Anita Park has drawn an evenly-matched field of 10.

There is no real standout in the Las Virgenes, which like the Martha Washington offers points toward a starting berth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), and the race features quite a few who have finished behind Take Charge Brandi in recent months.

One of those is Maybellene (Lookin at Lucky), and the Bob Baffert pupil could go off a narrow favorite based on her three-quarter length third in the Starlet S. (G1) last out on December 13. Take Charge Brandi fended off the 15-1 Maybellene in the lane of that 1 1/16-mile contest but won't be around this time. That could leave the way clear for the bay lass to secure her first stakes victory. Rafael Bejarano has the return call.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer will saddle half the Las Virgenes field, including Achiever's Legacy (City Zip) and Majestic Presence (Majestic Warrior) who were fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Starlet.

Achiever's Legacy entered that contest off a 1 1/4-length win at Del Mar in the Desi Arnaz S., which had Maybellene in second and fellow Las Virgenes starter and Hollendorfer trainee Light the City (Street Sense) another neck back in third. Majestic Presence faced Take Charge Brandi in her past three outings, finishing ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), third in the Delta Downs Princess (G3) and then fourth in the Starlet. The chestnut lass was also fourth in the Chandelier S. (G1) last season.

Also in with a chance Saturday is Callback (Street Sense), runner-up in the Santa Ynez S. (G2) on January 3 for Baffert.

Trainer Mark Casses has maiden winners Mio Me (Eskendereya) and Miss Mandate (Pioneerof the Nile) entered, while John Sadler sends out Suva Harbor (Rockport Harbor). Hollendorfer's remaining two entries -- Glory (Tapit) and Lutine Belle (Bellamy Road) -- complete the Las Virgenes field.

Secret Circle's last win came in the 2013 BC Sprint (Breeders' Cup Ltd.)

There are two other graded contests scheduled for Saturday at Santa Anita. Kicking off the stakes action will be the $200,000 Palos Verdes S. (G2) sending six older runners sprinting six furlongs.

The race features 2013 Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) hero Secret Circle (Eddington), who finished a half-length second while going for a Sprint title defense three races back. The Baffert trainee, who was second in this race last year, filled the runner-up spot in the Cigar Mile H. (G1) after his Breeders' Cup try and closed out 2014 with a close fourth in the Midnight Lute S. (G3) behind Distinctiv Passion (With Distinction), who brings a two-race win streak into this one.

Bing Crosby S. (G1) winner Big Macher (Beau Genius), Grade 2 victor Wild Dude (Wildcat Heir) and Conquest Two Step (Two Step Salsa), a neck second in the recent Malibu S. (G1), are also entered. Stakes debuter Chief Lion (Wildcat Heir) rounds out the field.

Sandwiched between the Palos Verdes and Las Virgenes is the $200,000 Arcadia S. (G2) going a mile on the Santa Anita turf. Nine were entered, including Kaigun (Northern Afleet), who closed out his four-year-old campaign with a win in the Seabiscuit H. (G2) at Del Mar on November 28. The chestnut gelding spent part of last year knocking on the door against Grade 1 rivals, running second in the Woodbine Mile (Can-G1), Manhattan S. (G1) and Maker's 46 Mile S. (G1).

Home Run Kitten (Kitten's Joy) is looking to add a second graded score to his resume in this contest. The David Hofmans-conditioned four-year-old captured the Eddie D. S. (G3) in late September and was last seen rallying for a neck second in the Mathis Brothers Mile (G2) over course and distance. Play Hard to Get (Purim) is stretching out in this spot after finishing fourth in the about 6 1/2-furlong Daytona S. (G3) on the downhill turf in his stakes bow, and Grade 3 winner Avanzare (Grand Reward) has some experience on Santa Anita's green as well thanks to a third-placing in the City of Hope Mile (G2) last fall.

The Arcadia is finished out by multiple Grade 3 veteran Za Approval (Ghostzapper), Brazilian Group 1 winner Baccelo (Northern Afleet), Grade 3 victor Edge of Reality (Lawyer Ron), Grade 1-placed Talco (Pivotal) and El Nino Terrible (Malibu Moon).

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Catalina Red faces class check in Sam F. Davis

Catalina Red puts his two-for-two mark at Tampa on the line (S V Photography)

Winner of the Inaugural and Pasco at Tampa Bay Downs this meet, Catalina Red (Munnings) will face a deeper cast of rivals while he stretches out to two turns in Saturday's $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.

The Chad Stewart-trained colt will break from the rail against 11 foes in the 1 1/16-mile event with Daniel Centeno.

Catalina Red placed in his first three starts, including two on turf, at Gulfstream Park and Gulfstream Park West before breaking his maiden by a 7 1/4-length margin in the December 6 Inaugural at six furlongs. He came back with a hard-fought neck decision in the seven-furlong Pasco on December 27 and was flattered when runner-up X Y Jet (Kantharos) came back to finish a half-length second in last Saturday's Hutcheson (G3) at Gulfstream.

Ami's Flatter (Flatter) ships into Gulfstream for trainer Josie Carroll following a fast-finishing second in the January 3 Mucho Macho Man, his first attempt against winners and only his second career outing. The bay colt will attempt to keep improving off the encouraging performance with a returning Luis Contreras.

Ocean Knight (Curlin), a 4 1/4-length debut winner at Aqueduct December 13 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, merits respect in his stakes debut. Irad Ortiz Jr. will be in for the mount. Todd Pletcher will be represented by recent maiden scorer Royal Son (Tiznow), who was elevated to first via disqualification at Gulfstream on January 8. John Velazquez rides.

Other runners include stakes runner-up Brother Bobo (Kantharos); Bears Personality (Awesome Again), who returns to action for conditioner Reade Baker after concluding 2014 with a pair of easy wins at Woodbine; My Johnny Be Good (Colonel John), 14-length runaway winner over allowance/optional claiming opponents at Tampa on December 28; and smart Tampa maiden winner Bandages (Any Given Saturday).

Eleven sophomore fillies were entered for the $100,000 Suncoast at a mile and 40 yards. Juvenile stakes winner A.P.'s Glory will attempt to bounce back from a fourth-place showing as the favorite in the December 27 Gasparilla at Tampa. Chris Emigh takes over the reins for Jimmy DiVito.

Irish Jasper (First Defence) and Huasca (Tiz Wonderful), the top two respective finishers from the Gasparilla, both return in the Suncoast. The overflow field of 11 includes one also-eligible.

The $150,000 Endeavour (G3), a 1 1/16-mile turf affair for fillies and mares, will also be offered. Testa Rossi (Dr Fong), a smashing 3 1/2-length winner of the Florida Oaks (G3) over the course in her 2014 debut, will return to Tampa for trainer Chad Brown. She makes her first appearance since a disappointing seventh as the favorite in the Mrs. Revere (G2) last November.

The 14-horse field also contains Hard Not to Like (Hard Spun), who will make her first appearance since upsetting the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland last April. The six-year-old mare sold for $1.5 million at the Keeneland November sale and makes her first start for Christophe Clement. Multiple Grade 3 heroine I'm Already Sexy (Ready's Image) can't be dismissed from consideration and Grade 1 queen Rosalind (Broken Vow) will be seeking a turnaround in form after concluding last season with four consecutive unplaced finishes.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

Catalina Red faces class check in Sam F. Davis

Catalina Red puts his two-for-two mark at Tampa on the line (S V Photography)

Winner of the Inaugural and Pasco at Tampa Bay Downs this meet, Catalina Red (Munnings) will face a deeper cast of rivals while he stretches out to two turns in Saturday's $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.

The Chad Stewart-trained colt will break from the rail against 11 foes in the 1 1/16-mile event with Daniel Centeno.

Catalina Red placed in his first three starts, including two on turf, at Gulfstream Park and Gulfstream Park West before breaking his maiden by a 7 1/4-length margin in the December 6 Inaugural at six furlongs. He came back with a hard-fought neck decision in the seven-furlong Pasco on December 27 and was flattered when runner-up X Y Jet (Kantharos) came back to finish a half-length second in last Saturday's Hutcheson (G3) at Gulfstream.

Ami's Flatter (Flatter) ships into Gulfstream for trainer Josie Carroll following a fast-finishing second in the January 3 Mucho Macho Man, his first attempt against winners and only his second career outing. The bay colt will attempt to keep improving off the encouraging performance with a returning Luis Contreras.

Ocean Knight (Curlin), a 4 1/4-length debut winner at Aqueduct December 13 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, merits respect in his stakes debut. Irad Ortiz Jr. will be in for the mount. Todd Pletcher will be represented by recent maiden scorer Royal Son (Tiznow), who was elevated to first via disqualification at Gulfstream on January 8. John Velazquez rides.

Other runners include stakes runner-up Brother Bobo (Kantharos); Bears Personality (Awesome Again), who returns to action for conditioner Reade Baker after concluding 2014 with a pair of easy wins at Woodbine; My Johnny Be Good (Colonel John), 14-length runaway winner over allowance/optional claiming opponents at Tampa on December 28; and smart Tampa maiden winner Bandages (Any Given Saturday).

Eleven sophomore fillies were entered for the $100,000 Suncoast at a mile and 40 yards. Juvenile stakes winner A.P.'s Glory will attempt to bounce back from a fourth-place showing as the favorite in the December 27 Gasparilla at Tampa. Chris Emigh takes over the reins for Jimmy DiVito.

Irish Jasper (First Defence) and Huasca (Tiz Wonderful), the top two respective finishers from the Gasparilla, both return in the Suncoast. The overflow field of 11 includes one also-eligible.

The $150,000 Endeavour (G3), a 1 1/16-mile turf affair for fillies and mares, will also be offered. Testa Rossi (Dr Fong), a smashing 3 1/2-length winner of the Florida Oaks (G3) over the course in her 2014 debut, will return to Tampa for trainer Chad Brown. She makes her first appearance since a disappointing seventh as the favorite in the Mrs. Revere (G2) last November.

The 14-horse field also contains Hard Not to Like (Hard Spun), who will make her first appearance since upsetting the Jenny Wiley (G1) at Keeneland last April. The six-year-old mare sold for $1.5 million at the Keeneland November sale and makes her first start for Christophe Clement. Multiple Grade 3 heroine I'm Already Sexy (Ready's Image) can't be dismissed from consideration and Grade 1 queen Rosalind (Broken Vow) will be seeking a turnaround in form after concluding last season with four consecutive unplaced finishes.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

De Kock has triple threat for fourth straight Al Rashidiya win

Mike de Kock is seeking a fourth consecutive victory in the 1800-meter Al Rashidiya S., one of two Group 2 turf features at Meydan Racecourse's fourth meeting of the 2015 Dubai World Cup Carnival on Thursday evening, and is set to saddle three of the seven runners this year.

These include Mujaarib (Nadeem), something of a surprise winner in the race a year ago for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The owner's retained jockey, Paul Hanagan, takes the ride this time with Christophe Soumillon having performed the steering last year.

This year Soumillon rides Vercingetorix (Silvano), winner of last year's Jebel Hatta (UAE-G1) on Super Saturday before finishing an excellent second in the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-G1) on Dubai World Cup night. That was the bay's first career defeat in his seventh outing before he was subsequently third in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (HK-G1) in Hong Kong.

That was back in April and Vercingetorix has been off since, while Mujaarib has not run since Super Saturday in early March 2014.

"We have said many times Vercingetorix is a lazy work horse and nothing has changed," de Kock stated. "He has a touch of class and hopefully we will see that again on Thursday. You cannot get excited with his work but it was the same last year and he won well first time.

"The same applies to Mujaarib who showed little in the mornings last year before surprising us in this race. Hopefully he will go well as he certainly seems to run his best when fresh.

De Kock's third runner, Sanshaawes (Ashaawes), the mount of Dane O'Neill, was second in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 (UAE-G1) last year and has the benefit of a run already this season, finishing fourth in the Singspiel S. over course and distance on January 8.

"Obviously Sanshaawes is likely to have a fitness edge," de Kock noted. "He ran well on the first night and has been in good form since. He had a good Carnival last year and hopefully he can win a race this time.

"It is nice to have three genuine chances in such a big race."

As well as winning the last three renewals, the South African has also won it on a further three occasions whereas Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor is seeking a fifth win in the race.

He relies on True Story (Manduro), the mount of James Doyle who was a winner of the Singspiel S. three weeks ago.

"He won well and we were very pleased with him," bin Suroor said. "He is a horse we have always really liked and he has been working well since. Obviously it is a step up in class but we expect a big run from him."

The 1600-meter Cape Verdi S. (UAE-G2), restricted to fillies and mares, has attracted a field of eight with all but two trained in Europe. It looks wide open with dual listed winner Zurigha (Cape Cross), a first UAE runner for Richard Hannon Jr. when well beaten last week, looking to hold a major chance under Richard Hughes.

Wee Jean (Captain Gerrard), trained by Mick Channon and to be ridden by Hanagan, looks a big danger. The same goes for Group 3 runner-up Anahita (Turtle Bowl), the mount of Mickael Barzalona conditioned by Salem bin Ghadayer, who celebrated his first winner as a trainer last Thursday.

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The Great War debuts for Ward in 96Rock

The Great War (center) was a solid fourth in the BC Juvenile (Breeders' Cup Ltd. Photo)
Last seen finishing a creditable fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) for Aidan O'Brien, The Great War (War Front) will make his first start for Wesley Ward in Saturday's $75,000 96Rock S. at Turfway Park. The 6 1/2-furlong dash is a stepping stone to the track's marquee Kentucky Derby (G1) prep, the March 21 Spiral S. (G3), with the March 1 John Battaglia Memorial serving as the in-between prep.

The Great War is making a homecoming of sorts, having been bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm. The close relative of multiple Grade 2-winning millionaire Departing (War Front) was sold for $1 million as a yearling at Keeneland September.

Racing for Coolmore principals Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier in partnership with Joseph Allen, The Great War got off to a quick start as a juvenile at Ballydoyle. The precocious colt won his first two starts at Tipperary and the Curragh, respectively, before a disappointing fifth as the odds-on favorite in the Norfolk (Eng-G2) at Royal Ascot. He was subsequently a subpar sixth in the July S. (Eng-G2), an encouraging second in the Curragh S., and a better-than-appears 11th under 128 pounds in a lucrative event at Doncaster.

The Great War turned the corner with a 3 1/2-length coup in the September 28 Blenheim S. back at the Curragh, earning a crack at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. In his first attempt on dirt, and beyond 6 1/2 furlongs, he chased the wickedly fast pace and held on determinedly for fourth.

Considering how well Juvenile third Upstart (Flatter) performed in last Saturday's Holy Bull (G2), and that Juvenile fifth went on to miss narrowly in both the Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) and Los Alamitos Futurity (G1), The Great War is entitled to run up to his reputation here. He has been training forwardly over the Turfway Polytrack, and has drawn in the middle of the field in post 6. Albin Jimenez has the call.

Trainer Mike Maker is double-handed with Gulfstream Park shippers Serious Talk (Forestry) and Two Step Temper (Two Step Salsa). Unbeaten Serious Talk debuts for the barn off a $35,000 claim, while Two Step Temper seeks better luck after a pair of tough trips on turf.

Candy Charger (Candy Ride), 10th behind Dortmund (Big Brown) in a Churchill Downs allowance two back, exits a front-running allowance score at Turfway. Milwaukee Mist (Milwaukee Brew) bested the well-bred Musical Score (Unbridled's Song) in a local maiden January 3, while Worth the Gamble (Van Nistelrooy) just rolled to a 2 1/4-length decision here January 16. Worth the Gamble was previously second to Runhappy (Super Saver) in his eventful maiden romp.

Also worth a look is Draw Nigh (Elite Squadron), who has won or placed in his three career tries on Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs. A three-length maiden winner there in June, he was third in the September 25 Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Juvenile S. The Jim Rankin runner has not raced since capturing a second-level allowance at Mountaineer November 22.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

De Kock has triple threat for fourth straight Al Rashidiya win

Mike de Kock is seeking a fourth consecutive victory in the 1800-meter Al Rashidiya S., one of two Group 2 turf features at Meydan Racecourse's fourth meeting of the 2015 Dubai World Cup Carnival on Thursday evening, and is set to saddle three of the seven runners this year.

These include Mujaarib (Nadeem), something of a surprise winner in the race a year ago for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The owner's retained jockey, Paul Hanagan, takes the ride this time with Christophe Soumillon having performed the steering last year.

This year Soumillon rides Vercingetorix (Silvano), winner of last year's Jebel Hatta (UAE-G1) on Super Saturday before finishing an excellent second in the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-G1) on Dubai World Cup night. That was the bay's first career defeat in his seventh outing before he was subsequently third in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (HK-G1) in Hong Kong.

That was back in April and Vercingetorix has been off since, while Mujaarib has not run since Super Saturday in early March 2014.

"We have said many times Vercingetorix is a lazy work horse and nothing has changed," de Kock stated. "He has a touch of class and hopefully we will see that again on Thursday. You cannot get excited with his work but it was the same last year and he won well first time.

"The same applies to Mujaarib who showed little in the mornings last year before surprising us in this race. Hopefully he will go well as he certainly seems to run his best when fresh.

De Kock's third runner, Sanshaawes (Ashaawes), the mount of Dane O'Neill, was second in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 (UAE-G1) last year and has the benefit of a run already this season, finishing fourth in the Singspiel S. over course and distance on January 8.

"Obviously Sanshaawes is likely to have a fitness edge," de Kock noted. "He ran well on the first night and has been in good form since. He had a good Carnival last year and hopefully he can win a race this time.

"It is nice to have three genuine chances in such a big race."

As well as winning the last three renewals, the South African has also won it on a further three occasions whereas Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor is seeking a fifth win in the race.

He relies on True Story (Manduro), the mount of James Doyle who was a winner of the Singspiel S. three weeks ago.

"He won well and we were very pleased with him," bin Suroor said. "He is a horse we have always really liked and he has been working well since. Obviously it is a step up in class but we expect a big run from him."

The 1600-meter Cape Verdi S. (UAE-G2), restricted to fillies and mares, has attracted a field of eight with all but two trained in Europe. It looks wide open with dual listed winner Zurigha (Cape Cross), a first UAE runner for Richard Hannon Jr. when well beaten last week, looking to hold a major chance under Richard Hughes.

Wee Jean (Captain Gerrard), trained by Mick Channon and to be ridden by Hanagan, looks a big danger. The same goes for Group 3 runner-up Anahita (Turtle Bowl), the mount of Mickael Barzalona conditioned by Salem bin Ghadayer, who celebrated his first winner as a trainer last Thursday.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

The Great War debuts for Ward in 96Rock

The Great War (center) was a solid fourth in the BC Juvenile (Breeders' Cup Ltd. Photo)
Last seen finishing a creditable fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) for Aidan O'Brien, The Great War (War Front) will make his first start for Wesley Ward in Saturday's $75,000 96Rock S. at Turfway Park. The 6 1/2-furlong dash is a stepping stone to the track's marquee Kentucky Derby (G1) prep, the March 21 Spiral S. (G3), with the March 1 John Battaglia Memorial serving as the in-between prep.

The Great War is making a homecoming of sorts, having been bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm. The close relative of multiple Grade 2-winning millionaire Departing (War Front) was sold for $1 million as a yearling at Keeneland September.

Racing for Coolmore principals Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier in partnership with Joseph Allen, The Great War got off to a quick start as a juvenile at Ballydoyle. The precocious colt won his first two starts at Tipperary and the Curragh, respectively, before a disappointing fifth as the odds-on favorite in the Norfolk (Eng-G2) at Royal Ascot. He was subsequently a subpar sixth in the July S. (Eng-G2), an encouraging second in the Curragh S., and a better-than-appears 11th under 128 pounds in a lucrative event at Doncaster.

The Great War turned the corner with a 3 1/2-length coup in the September 28 Blenheim S. back at the Curragh, earning a crack at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. In his first attempt on dirt, and beyond 6 1/2 furlongs, he chased the wickedly fast pace and held on determinedly for fourth.

Considering how well Juvenile third Upstart (Flatter) performed in last Saturday's Holy Bull (G2), and that Juvenile fifth went on to miss narrowly in both the Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) and Los Alamitos Futurity (G1), The Great War is entitled to run up to his reputation here. He has been training forwardly over the Turfway Polytrack, and has drawn in the middle of the field in post 6. Albin Jimenez has the call.

Trainer Mike Maker is double-handed with Gulfstream Park shippers Serious Talk (Forestry) and Two Step Temper (Two Step Salsa). Unbeaten Serious Talk debuts for the barn off a $35,000 claim, while Two Step Temper seeks better luck after a pair of tough trips on turf.

Candy Charger (Candy Ride), 10th behind Dortmund (Big Brown) in a Churchill Downs allowance two back, exits a front-running allowance score at Turfway. Milwaukee Mist (Milwaukee Brew) bested the well-bred Musical Score (Unbridled's Song) in a local maiden January 3, while Worth the Gamble (Van Nistelrooy) just rolled to a 2 1/4-length decision here January 16. Worth the Gamble was previously second to Runhappy (Super Saver) in his eventful maiden romp.

Also worth a look is Draw Nigh (Elite Squadron), who has won or placed in his three career tries on Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs. A three-length maiden winner there in June, he was third in the September 25 Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Juvenile S. The Jim Rankin runner has not raced since capturing a second-level allowance at Mountaineer November 22.

Bet Horseracing Free Online at TwinSpires.com

In brief

Reigning South African Horse of the Year Legislate (Dynasty) was officially declared Thursday by trainer Justin Snaith from the J & B Met S. (SAf-G1), which is scheduled for Saturday at Kenilworth. Last year's July S. (SAf-G1) winner returned to action with a smashing victory in the Green Point S. (SAf-G2) in November, but trailed in last behind Futura (Dynasty) in the Queen's Plate (SAf-G1) on January 10. He was subsequently found to be suffering from an infection, and while that ailment is now in the past, Snaith said the colt "is unlikely to produce his best," and was removed from consideration...

Four-time Group 1 winner and New Zealand champion Silent Achiever (O'Reilly) is continuing her preparation ahead of an international Autumn campaign that could see her take on Europe's finest in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-G1). The seven-year-old mare pleased connections in a racecourse gallop at Ellerslie on January 25. "She's very well and that work was as good as she has put in at this stage in a preparation," trainer Roger James told racenet.com.au. Silent Achiever beat the boys in the New Zealand Derby (NZ-G1) back in 2012, and completed a hat-trick of Group 1 wins within a month last season, including the BMW S. (Aus-G1), where she left the likes of fellow New Zealand champion and multiple Group 1 scorer It's A Dundeel (High Chaparral) as well as Melbourne Cup (Aus-G1) hero Fiorente (Monsun) in her wake. James confirmed that the mare's 2015 season will likely include a start during in The Championships at Royal Radwick meet on April 4 and 11, although her ultimate goal remained the Arc...

Belle Gallantey (After Market), triumphant in last year's Beldame Invitational (G1) and Delaware H. (G1), makes her second start of the year when lining up against four rivals in Saturday's $100,000 Ladies H. going 1 1/8 miles over Aqueduct's inner dirt. The Rudy Rodriguez-trained six-year-old closed out 2014 with a ninth-placing in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) and faded to fifth in the Affectionately S. on New Year's Day over the inner track. The chestnut is 2-3-0 from 10 starts on the surface and brings Manuel Franco along for the ride Saturday. Penwith just missed in the Affectionately by a nose and boasts a pair of Grade 2-placings on her resume. The Kiaran McLaughlin pupil keeps Fernando Jara aboard. Completing the Ladies H. field are dual Grade 3-placed Moment in Dixie (Dixieland Band), second in the Wintergreen S. on January 3 at Turfway Park; Grade 3 runner-up Shayjolie (Indian Charlie), fourth in the Affectionately; and stakes debuter Holiday's Jewel (Harlan's Holiday)...

Laurel hosts a pair of $100,000 stakes events for three-year-olds on Thursday, which were postponed after racing was canceled January 24 due to track conditions. The seven-furlong Frank Whiteley Jr. S. features nine colts and geldings while the six-furlong Marshua S. boasts eight fillies. In the Whiteley, Majestic Affair (Majesticperfection) is the likely favorite after a dominating 5 3/4-length score in the $98,000 Fred "Cappy" Capossela S. at Aqueduct on January 2. Golden Years (Not for Love) will attempt to add another stakes win to his resume after taking the Maryland Million Nursery and Marylander S. last season. The Whiteley also features the return of Governmentshutdown (Exchange Rate) following a seven-month layoff. The gray gelding notably defeated eventual Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Hootenanny (Quality Road) in the Rollicking S. at Pimlico last May. Lake Sebago (Munnings), who captured the Smart Halo S. and Gin Talking S. during her juvenile campaign, headlines the Marshua. Eloquent Tribute (Tapit) invades from Aqueduct after posting a 5 3/4-length maiden win for trainer Rudy Rodriguez...

Leading Sydney-based jockey James McDonald's relations with father-and-sons training team Hawkes Racing have cooled off following the jockey's decision to remain freelance and lack of communication around it. In an interview to RSN Radio, McDonald confirmed, "I am keen to go freelance but I would definitely love to continue riding for the Hawkes stable. I want to look at as many opportunities throughout the autumn carnival as I can, this includes riding for the Japanese during The Championships." McDonald has also been riding increasingly for Godolphin since John O'Shea took over the reins, and on several occasions gave preference to Godolphin. This was never as blatant as during a trial session at Warwick Farm on Tuesday, when McDonald chose to partner Godolphin's Memorial (Street Cry) ahead of Hawkes Racing's Mossfun (Mossman), with whom he won last year's Golden Slipper (Aus-G1). Speaking on RSN Radio's Racing Ahead program, John Hawkes expressed disappointment at to the unfolding of events. "He didn't want to ride ours anymore, he just wanted to ride Godolphin's. It was his call that he wanted to move on and that was fine," Hawkes said. "He got his manager to ring, I haven't spoken to him personally, he didn't want to ring us and that's his prerogative." However, McDonald admitted, "In hindsight, I probably should have called and likely will. I am keen to continue riding for them."

Features

KENTUCKY DERBY REPORT

JANUARY 28, 2015

by James Scully

Upstart (Flatter) was sensational in Saturday's Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park, romping to a 5 1/2-length victory. His eye-catching 105 BRIS Speed rating is even more impressive given how wide he traveled throughout the 1 1/16-mile race (more than 30 feet farther than both the runner-up and third-placer).

The New York-bred colt has clearly improved at age three for trainer Richard Violette Jr., a key attribute for any Kentucky Derby hopeful with two-year-old form.

Upstart was easy to identify as a possible Kentucky Derby contender entering his sophomore season but lacked fanfare -- his 53-1 odds in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (November 28-30) were more indicative of a second-tier prospect.

The dark bay captured his first two starts over state-bred rivals in a pair of sprints at Saratoga, including the 6 1/2-furlong Funny Cide. In his first attempt against open rivals, he offered a solid middle move to record a non-threatening second in Champagne Stakes (G1) last October and followed with a respectable third in his 2014 finale, finishing 6 1/2 lengths behind the winning Texas Red (Afleet Alex) in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).

By virtue of his Holy Bull tour-de-force, Upstart will be among the favorites in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (February 6-8). He's by the A.P. Indy stallion Flatter, whose runners tend to improve with age, and is out of a mare by Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold. The presence of champion sprinter Housebuster, sire of the second maternal dam, adds a nice mix of speed to Upstart's stamina-infused bloodlines.

Violette was also on last year's Kentucky Derby trail with another New York-bred, Samraat, who opened 2014 with smart wins in the Withers (G3) and Gotham (G3) before a second in the TwinSpires Wood Memorial (G1). But Samraat lacked a favorable pedigree for classic distances (out of an Indian Charlie mare) and wound up fifth in the 140th Kentucky Derby.

Upstart continued to display good tactical speed in the Holy Bull, racing within a couple of lengths of the early pace, and netted a 107 BRIS Late Pace rating while winning convincingly. He's got a lot going for him.

Frosted (Tapit) remains highly promising. After concluding last year with a commendable second in the Remsen (G2), the Kiaran McLaughlin trainee was bet down to 3-2 favoritism in the Holy Bull but had to settle for runner-up honors once again.

The well-bred gray colt saved ground from his innermost post position, stalking the pace in fourth during the early stages, and finished up nicely to be clear of third-placer Bluegrass Singer (Bluegrass Cat). Frosted equaled his 98 BRIS Speed rating from the Remsen and earned a 101 Late Pace. It will be no surprise to see him keep moving forward off the encouraging performance.

Bluegrass Singer saved third in his two-turn bow, but the stakes-winning gelding probably doesn't want any part of longer distances.

Late runners Keen Ice (Curlin), Frammento (Midshipman) and First Down (Street Sense) all failed to make a significant impact; their connections will be hoping for much more next time.

Debut winner

Khozan (Distorted Humor) is behind the proverbial eight-ball, making such a late career debut on January 24, but the Todd Pletcher-trained colt is one to watch following his impressive maiden tally on the Holy Bull undercard.

A half-brother to three-time champion and $4.8-million earner Royal Delta, the $1 million yearling drew off sharply to a 3 3/4-length decision and earned a 103 BRIS Speed rating after completing seven furlongs in 1:23.63. His performance was flattered by Barbados (Speightstown), who stopped the teletimer in 1:24.39 winning the Hutcheson (G3) one race later as the 3-5 favorite.

Upcoming

There are no scoring races this weekend, but Texas Red will make his three-year-old bow in Sunday's seven-furlong San Vicente (G2) at seven furlongs.

Racing Headlines

In brief

Reigning South African Horse of the Year Legislate (Dynasty) was officially declared Thursday by trainer Justin Snaith from the J & B Met S. (SAf-G1), which is scheduled for Saturday at Kenilworth. Last year's July S. (SAf-G1) winner returned to action with a smashing victory in the Green Point S. (SAf-G2) in November, but trailed in last behind Futura (Dynasty) in the Queen's Plate (SAf-G1) on January 10. He was subsequently found to be suffering from an infection, and while that ailment is now in the past, Snaith said the colt "is unlikely to produce his best," and was removed from consideration...

Four-time Group 1 winner and New Zealand champion Silent Achiever (O'Reilly) is continuing her preparation ahead of an international Autumn campaign that could see her take on Europe's finest in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-G1). The seven-year-old mare pleased connections in a racecourse gallop at Ellerslie on January 25. "She's very well and that work was as good as she has put in at this stage in a preparation," trainer Roger James told racenet.com.au. Silent Achiever beat the boys in the New Zealand Derby (NZ-G1) back in 2012, and completed a hat-trick of Group 1 wins within a month last season, including the BMW S. (Aus-G1), where she left the likes of fellow New Zealand champion and multiple Group 1 scorer It's A Dundeel (High Chaparral) as well as Melbourne Cup (Aus-G1) hero Fiorente (Monsun) in her wake. James confirmed that the mare's 2015 season will likely include a start during in The Championships at Royal Radwick meet on April 4 and 11, although her ultimate goal remained the Arc...

Belle Gallantey (After Market), triumphant in last year's Beldame Invitational (G1) and Delaware H. (G1), makes her second start of the year when lining up against four rivals in Saturday's $100,000 Ladies H. going 1 1/8 miles over Aqueduct's inner dirt. The Rudy Rodriguez-trained six-year-old closed out 2014 with a ninth-placing in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) and faded to fifth in the Affectionately S. on New Year's Day over the inner track. The chestnut is 2-3-0 from 10 starts on the surface and brings Manuel Franco along for the ride Saturday. Penwith just missed in the Affectionately by a nose and boasts a pair of Grade 2-placings on her resume. The Kiaran McLaughlin pupil keeps Fernando Jara aboard. Completing the Ladies H. field are dual Grade 3-placed Moment in Dixie (Dixieland Band), second in the Wintergreen S. on January 3 at Turfway Park; Grade 3 runner-up Shayjolie (Indian Charlie), fourth in the Affectionately; and stakes debuter Holiday's Jewel (Harlan's Holiday)...

Laurel hosts a pair of $100,000 stakes events for three-year-olds on Thursday, which were postponed after racing was canceled January 24 due to track conditions. The seven-furlong Frank Whiteley Jr. S. features nine colts and geldings while the six-furlong Marshua S. boasts eight fillies. In the Whiteley, Majestic Affair (Majesticperfection) is the likely favorite after a dominating 5 3/4-length score in the $98,000 Fred "Cappy" Capossela S. at Aqueduct on January 2. Golden Years (Not for Love) will attempt to add another stakes win to his resume after taking the Maryland Million Nursery and Marylander S. last season. The Whiteley also features the return of Governmentshutdown (Exchange Rate) following a seven-month layoff. The gray gelding notably defeated eventual Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Hootenanny (Quality Road) in the Rollicking S. at Pimlico last May. Lake Sebago (Munnings), who captured the Smart Halo S. and Gin Talking S. during her juvenile campaign, headlines the Marshua. Eloquent Tribute (Tapit) invades from Aqueduct after posting a 5 3/4-length maiden win for trainer Rudy Rodriguez...

Leading Sydney-based jockey James McDonald's relations with father-and-sons training team Hawkes Racing have cooled off following the jockey's decision to remain freelance and lack of communication around it. In an interview to RSN Radio, McDonald confirmed, "I am keen to go freelance but I would definitely love to continue riding for the Hawkes stable. I want to look at as many opportunities throughout the autumn carnival as I can, this includes riding for the Japanese during The Championships." McDonald has also been riding increasingly for Godolphin since John O'Shea took over the reins, and on several occasions gave preference to Godolphin. This was never as blatant as during a trial session at Warwick Farm on Tuesday, when McDonald chose to partner Godolphin's Memorial (Street Cry) ahead of Hawkes Racing's Mossfun (Mossman), with whom he won last year's Golden Slipper (Aus-G1). Speaking on RSN Radio's Racing Ahead program, John Hawkes expressed disappointment at to the unfolding of events. "He didn't want to ride ours anymore, he just wanted to ride Godolphin's. It was his call that he wanted to move on and that was fine," Hawkes said. "He got his manager to ring, I haven't spoken to him personally, he didn't want to ring us and that's his prerogative." However, McDonald admitted, "In hindsight, I probably should have called and likely will. I am keen to continue riding for them."

Results

NORTH AMERICAN ALLOWANCE RESULTS

GP, 8TH, AOC, $44,000, 4YO/UP, 7 1/2FT, 1-28.
8—SACHEM SPIRIT, h, 6, Mr. Greeley--Ballette (IRE), by Giant's Causeway. ($27,000 2014 KEENOV). O-Auerbach, Rob, Chenvert, Brian and Kenneally, Eddie, B-Manganaro LLC (KY), T-Eddie Kenneally, J-Corey J. Lanerie, $26,400.
5—Hothersal, h, 7, Smart Strike--Steel Shed, by Theatrical (IRE). O-Mr Amore Stable, B-Eugene Melnyk (ON), $8,800.
3—Dangerous Lad, g, 6, Bob and John--Buttercup's Song, by Unbridled's Song. ($32,000 '10 KEESEP). O-Eugene P Cahalan, B-B & B Thoroughbreds Inc & Marty Hughes (KY), $4,400.
Winning Time: 1:28 4/5 (fm)

Notebooks

AQUEDUCT NOTEBOOK

JANUARY 29, 2015

by John Mucciolo

There was no graded racing during the abbreviated week on the inner oval at Aqueduct.

Track Stats

A total of 25 races were held over the inner strip at the Long Island, New York venue, with favorites winning at a 44 percent rate and the top two betting choices combining for 72 percent of the wins during the week. Eight were won in wire-to-wire fashion (32 percent), while there was no turf racing.

It was hard to gauge the condition of the main oval with little racing and a slew of very small fields. We thought the Thursday oval was better for horses from off the pace and speed better over the weekend, if anything.

A total of 22 of the 25 races were taken by horses breaking from the inner six post slots (88 percent), though that once again is a case of small fields at play.

Meet Totals

RACES:   241
DIRT:   241
FAVORITES:   102 (42 percent)
2ND CHOICES:   41 (17 percent)
DIRT WIRE:   59 (24 percent)

HORSES TO WATCH

Thursday (1/22)

2ND -- COPERNICUS (Munnings) sped to the front and never faced a challenge in easily dispatching this group under Guillermo Rodriguez. The sophomore colt could turn out to be a nice claim for Rudy Rodriguez and we have a hunch this one might be capable of carrying his speed a bit longer under the right circumstances.

5TH -- REGULUS (Distorted Humor) easily went by the odds-on leader in the lane and powered home a strong winner in this claiming run for Rudy. The six-year-old gelding came home swiftly for the level and likely won't be in for a tag following this dash.

Friday (1/23)

2ND -- We think it's safe to say that JACKIE BLACK (Discreet Cat) appreciated the stretch out to a route run first time off the claim as the three-year-old miss rolled home to a victory stated as 35 lengths. The speedy Linda Rice trainee earned a hefty 90 BRIS Speed figure for this event and surely won't be in for a tag next time out.

4TH -- Richard Violette's debuter LEHIGH FIVE (Birdstone) overcame the rail, dueled to the top of the lane and then exploded late in a fine first-out tally over a fairly decent field of prospects. The interesting sophomore colt is bred to run long, but has fine speed and really could be any kind.

6TH -- DULCIFY (Candy Ride [Arg]) was wide early and especially wide in the lane, so her run was a lot better than it might appear on paper. The Steve Klesaris trainee had not been on the track since the summer, so to be beaten by just three lengths after giving up a ton of ground should make her very live in her subsequent outing, perhaps at a price.

8TH -- ORGANIC GEMINI (Sir Whimsey) was last early but did put in a spirited run in a much improved test for trainer Steve Asmussen. The New York-bred was more than six lengths clear of the show and should be graduating with any type of forward move in the near future.

Sunday (1/25)

6TH -- The Chad Brown-trained LONGFOR THE CITY (Langfuhr) was never getting to the winner but he did fight on gamely to get second in his first start since September. The five-year-old should be expected to move up off of this prep run.

8TH -- WENT THE DAY WELL (Proud Citizen) had been off form for some time following a big early part of his sophomore campaign, but the six-year-old has done some good things since joining the barn of Jimmy Jerkens. The Grade 3 winner put in a fine late rush to capture this race and surely looks to be moving in the right direction.

A Look Ahead

There is no graded racing this week at Aqueduct.

North American Maiden Winners
Distorted Reality--Unbidable by General Gem; WORTHY GRAPES, f, 3, TUP, Mcl 8000, 1-28, 6f, 1:12 . B-Eric Kruljac & Spac Enterprises & Kruidenier (AZ.). $1,700 '13 ARZOCT.
Impervious--Super Natascha by Pulpit; HUAQUECHULA, f, 3, GP, Mcl 12500, 1-28, 6f, 1:13 . B-German Larrea (KY.).
Majesticperfection--Thealka by Crafty Prospector; THEALKASCRAFTYGIRL, f, 3, TAM, Mcl 25000, 1-28, 6f, 1:12 3/5. B-Marvin Little Jr. (KY.). $28,000 '12 KEENOV; $90,000 '13 FTKJUL; $19,000 2014 OBSOCT.
Malibu Moon--Wonderful Town by Bernstein; MOON OVER CUZCO, g, 3, GP, Mcl 100000, 1-28, 1 1/16mT, 1:41 3/5. B-Bill Dwan, John Dwan & Marion Goodbody (KY.). $55,000 '12 KEENOV; $200,000 '13 KEESEP.
Mr Charlypotatoes--Chapilkim by Storm Boot; MISSCHARLYPOTATOES, f, 3, TUP, Mcl 8000, 1-28, 5 1/2f, 1:05 1/5. B-Susan Jesmer (NM.). ***FIRST WINNER FOR SIRE.
Twentyeighttwelve--Valid's Honor by Valid Expectations; JESSICAS ARCH, g, 3, HOU, Msw, 1-27, 6f, 1:13 4/5. B-Myrna Loy Smith (TX.). ***FIRST WINNER FOR SIRE.
Coastal Storm--City Woman by Citidancer; STORMY WOMAN, f, 4, PEN, Mcl 15000, 1-28, 6f, 1:11 2/5. B-Sterling R. Krumbine (PA.).
Keyed Entry--Red Head Champ by Pentelicus; CORNERBACK SACK, g, 4, TAM, Mcl 8000, 1-28, 5 1/2f, 1:05 2/5. B-Chris & Janna Abbott (FL.). $7,000 '12 OBSAUG; $30,000 2013 OBSJUN.
Majestic Warrior--Cosi Fan Tutte by Kris Kin; COSIDESERVEDIT, f, 4, MVR, Msw, 1-28, 1m 70y, 1:47 4/5. B-Mary Lynne Mackin-Salazar, Gail Curtsinger & Jesus Salazar (IN.).
Tiznow--Westerly Breeze (G2$350,435), by Gone West; TIZBREEZY, r, 4, TAM, Mcl 25000, 1-28, 1mT, 1:37 1/5. B-Cooper Thoroughbred Management LLC (KY.). $20,000 '12 FTKOCT; $6,000 2014 OBSJUN.
Touch Gold--Quatrain by Quiet American; WESTONIANA, f, 4, GP, Mcl 12500, 1-28, 7f, 1:25 4/5. B-Northwest Stud (FL.). $10,000 2013 FTMMAY.
Unbridled's Song--Grandmas' Girl by Miesque's Son; SONGSATIONAL, c, 4, TAM, Msw, 1-28, 7f, 1:22 3/5. B-Fred W. Hertrich III, John D. Fielding & Unbridled's Song Syndicate (KY.).
Chapel Royal--Jabibti (PER) by Play the Gold; MAYBE NEXT TIME, m, 5, TAM, Mcl 8000, 1-28, 5 1/2f, 1:06 3/5. B-Ricardo Morales (FL.).
Simon Pure--Just Right Ashley by Just Right Classi; NOT SIMPLY SIMON, m, 5, MVR, Mcl 3500, 1-28, 5f, 1:01 3/5. B-Charles A. Caronia (FL.).

Features

UPCOMING STAKES

Click here for the monthly January Calendar

Thursday, January 29
 
Frank Whiteley Jr. S., Laurel Park, $100,000, 3yo, 7f.
Marshua S., Laurel Park, $100,000, 3yo, f, 6f.
 
Friday, January 30
 
Rego Park S. (r), Aqueduct, $125,000, 3yo, 6f.
 
Saturday, January 31
 
LAS VIRGENES S. (G1), Santa Anita Park, $300,000, 3yo, f, 1m.
SAM F. DAVIS S. (G3), Tampa Bay Downs, $250,000, 3yo, 1 1/16m.
ARCADIA S. (G2), Santa Anita Park, $200,000, 4&up, 1mT.
PALOS VERDES S. (G2), Santa Anita Park, $200,000, 4&up, 6f.
ENDEAVOUR S. (G3), Tampa Bay Downs, $150,000, 4&up, f&m, 1 1/16mT.
Ladies H., Aqueduct, $100,000, 4&up, f&m, 1 1/8m.
Martha Washington S., Oaklawn Park, $100,000, 3yo, f, 1m.
Suncoast S., Tampa Bay Downs, $100,000, 3yo, f, 1m 70yds.
H. Allen Jerkens S., Gulfstream Park, $75,000, 4&up, 2mT.
96ROCK S., Turfway Park, $75,000, 3yo, 6 1/2f.
Tomball Distaff (r), Sam Houston, $50,000, 4&up, f&m, 1 1/16mT.
Budweiser H., Sunland Park, $50,000, 3&up, 5f.
 
Sunday, February 1
 
SAN VICENTE S. (G2), Santa Anita Park, $200,000, 3yo, 7f.
Franklin Square S. (r), Aqueduct, $125,000, 3yo, f, 6f.

RACING DATES

Current Meetings
     
AQUEDUCT:   Jan. 1 - March 22
CHARLES TOWN:   Jan. 2 - Dec. 30
DELTA DOWNS:   Oct. 15 - March 14
FAIR GROUNDS:   Nov. 21 - March 29
GOLDEN GATE FIELDS:   Dec. 26 - June 14
GULFSTREAM PARK:   Dec. 6 - June 30
LAUREL PARK:   Jan. 1 - March 28
MAHONING VALLEY:   Jan. 5 - April 25
OAKLAWN PARK:   Jan. 9 - April 11
PARX RACING:   Jan. 1 - Dec. 31
PENN NATIONAL:   Jan. 2 - Dec. 27
SAM HOUSTON:   Jan. 16 - March 10
SANTA ANITA PARK:   Dec. 26 - June 28
SUNLAND PARK:   Dec. 5 - April 13
TAMPA BAY DOWNS:   Nov. 29 - May 3
TURF PARADISE:   Oct. 18 - May 5
TURFWAY PARK:   Jan. 1 - March 29
     
Upcoming Meetings
     
HAWTHORNE:   Feb. 20 - April 26

KENTUCKY DERBY REPORT

JANUARY 28, 2015

by James Scully

Upstart (Flatter) was sensational in Saturday's Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park, romping to a 5 1/2-length victory. His eye-catching 105 BRIS Speed rating is even more impressive given how wide he traveled throughout the 1 1/16-mile race (more than 30 feet farther than both the runner-up and third-placer).

The New York-bred colt has clearly improved at age three for trainer Richard Violette Jr., a key attribute for any Kentucky Derby hopeful with two-year-old form.

Upstart was easy to identify as a possible Kentucky Derby contender entering his sophomore season but lacked fanfare -- his 53-1 odds in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (November 28-30) were more indicative of a second-tier prospect.

The dark bay captured his first two starts over state-bred rivals in a pair of sprints at Saratoga, including the 6 1/2-furlong Funny Cide. In his first attempt against open rivals, he offered a solid middle move to record a non-threatening second in Champagne Stakes (G1) last October and followed with a respectable third in his 2014 finale, finishing 6 1/2 lengths behind the winning Texas Red (Afleet Alex) in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).

By virtue of his Holy Bull tour-de-force, Upstart will be among the favorites in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (February 6-8). He's by the A.P. Indy stallion Flatter, whose runners tend to improve with age, and is out of a mare by Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold. The presence of champion sprinter Housebuster, sire of the second maternal dam, adds a nice mix of speed to Upstart's stamina-infused bloodlines.

Violette was also on last year's Kentucky Derby trail with another New York-bred, Samraat, who opened 2014 with smart wins in the Withers (G3) and Gotham (G3) before a second in the TwinSpires Wood Memorial (G1). But Samraat lacked a favorable pedigree for classic distances (out of an Indian Charlie mare) and wound up fifth in the 140th Kentucky Derby.

Upstart continued to display good tactical speed in the Holy Bull, racing within a couple of lengths of the early pace, and netted a 107 BRIS Late Pace rating while winning convincingly. He's got a lot going for him.

Frosted (Tapit) remains highly promising. After concluding last year with a commendable second in the Remsen (G2), the Kiaran McLaughlin trainee was bet down to 3-2 favoritism in the Holy Bull but had to settle for runner-up honors once again.

The well-bred gray colt saved ground from his innermost post position, stalking the pace in fourth during the early stages, and finished up nicely to be clear of third-placer Bluegrass Singer (Bluegrass Cat). Frosted equaled his 98 BRIS Speed rating from the Remsen and earned a 101 Late Pace. It will be no surprise to see him keep moving forward off the encouraging performance.

Bluegrass Singer saved third in his two-turn bow, but the stakes-winning gelding probably doesn't want any part of longer distances.

Late runners Keen Ice (Curlin), Frammento (Midshipman) and First Down (Street Sense) all failed to make a significant impact; their connections will be hoping for much more next time.

Debut winner

Khozan (Distorted Humor) is behind the proverbial eight-ball, making such a late career debut on January 24, but the Todd Pletcher-trained colt is one to watch following his impressive maiden tally on the Holy Bull undercard.

A half-brother to three-time champion and $4.8-million earner Royal Delta, the $1 million yearling drew off sharply to a 3 3/4-length decision and earned a 103 BRIS Speed rating after completing seven furlongs in 1:23.63. His performance was flattered by Barbados (Speightstown), who stopped the teletimer in 1:24.39 winning the Hutcheson (G3) one race later as the 3-5 favorite.

Upcoming

There are no scoring races this weekend, but Texas Red will make his three-year-old bow in Sunday's seven-furlong San Vicente (G2) at seven furlongs.

Notebooks

AQUEDUCT NOTEBOOK

JANUARY 29, 2015

by John Mucciolo

There was no graded racing during the abbreviated week on the inner oval at Aqueduct.

Track Stats

A total of 25 races were held over the inner strip at the Long Island, New York venue, with favorites winning at a 44 percent rate and the top two betting choices combining for 72 percent of the wins during the week. Eight were won in wire-to-wire fashion (32 percent), while there was no turf racing.

It was hard to gauge the condition of the main oval with little racing and a slew of very small fields. We thought the Thursday oval was better for horses from off the pace and speed better over the weekend, if anything.

A total of 22 of the 25 races were taken by horses breaking from the inner six post slots (88 percent), though that once again is a case of small fields at play.

Meet Totals

RACES:   241
DIRT:   241
FAVORITES:   102 (42 percent)
2ND CHOICES:   41 (17 percent)
DIRT WIRE:   59 (24 percent)

HORSES TO WATCH

Thursday (1/22)

2ND -- COPERNICUS (Munnings) sped to the front and never faced a challenge in easily dispatching this group under Guillermo Rodriguez. The sophomore colt could turn out to be a nice claim for Rudy Rodriguez and we have a hunch this one might be capable of carrying his speed a bit longer under the right circumstances.

5TH -- REGULUS (Distorted Humor) easily went by the odds-on leader in the lane and powered home a strong winner in this claiming run for Rudy. The six-year-old gelding came home swiftly for the level and likely won't be in for a tag following this dash.

Friday (1/23)

2ND -- We think it's safe to say that JACKIE BLACK (Discreet Cat) appreciated the stretch out to a route run first time off the claim as the three-year-old miss rolled home to a victory stated as 35 lengths. The speedy Linda Rice trainee earned a hefty 90 BRIS Speed figure for this event and surely won't be in for a tag next time out.

4TH -- Richard Violette's debuter LEHIGH FIVE (Birdstone) overcame the rail, dueled to the top of the lane and then exploded late in a fine first-out tally over a fairly decent field of prospects. The interesting sophomore colt is bred to run long, but has fine speed and really could be any kind.

6TH -- DULCIFY (Candy Ride [Arg]) was wide early and especially wide in the lane, so her run was a lot better than it might appear on paper. The Steve Klesaris trainee had not been on the track since the summer, so to be beaten by just three lengths after giving up a ton of ground should make her very live in her subsequent outing, perhaps at a price.

8TH -- ORGANIC GEMINI (Sir Whimsey) was last early but did put in a spirited run in a much improved test for trainer Steve Asmussen. The New York-bred was more than six lengths clear of the show and should be graduating with any type of forward move in the near future.

Sunday (1/25)

6TH -- The Chad Brown-trained LONGFOR THE CITY (Langfuhr) was never getting to the winner but he did fight on gamely to get second in his first start since September. The five-year-old should be expected to move up off of this prep run.

8TH -- WENT THE DAY WELL (Proud Citizen) had been off form for some time following a big early part of his sophomore campaign, but the six-year-old has done some good things since joining the barn of Jimmy Jerkens. The Grade 3 winner put in a fine late rush to capture this race and surely looks to be moving in the right direction.

A Look Ahead

There is no graded racing this week at Aqueduct.

Spot Plays/Highlights/Weather

SPOT PLAYS

For Thursday

TRACK   (RACE) HORSE, MORNING LINE
Aqueduct   (1st) Radiant Cut, 4-1
    (7th) Atlantic's Smile, 5-1
Charles Town   (1st) Fancy's Secret, 4-1
    (6th) Sister Stephanie, 4-1
Delta Downs   (5th) Corner Store, 3-1
    (10th) Endless Rules, 3-1
Fair Grounds   (2nd) Super Sparky, 8-1
    (4th) Tonto's Sister, 7-2
Golden Gate Fields   (2nd) Fleet Eagle, 10-1
    (4th) Olympic Jumble, 7-2
Gulfstream Park   (7th) Afleet Mary, 4-1
    (10th) Malbec, 10-1
Laurel Park   (4th) Silver Legend, 9-2
    (10th) Wildcat Creek, 3-1
Oaklawn Park   (6th) Easter Shoes, 8-1
    (9th) Loud Cat, 7-2
Penn National   (6th) Ariadna, 3-1
    (7th) Nile Sapphire, 3-1
Santa Anita   (6th) Juniper Pass, 6-1
    (8th) Silent Ruler, 4-1

Features

UPCOMING STAKES

Click here for the monthly January Calendar

Thursday, January 29
 
Frank Whiteley Jr. S., Laurel Park, $100,000, 3yo, 7f.
Marshua S., Laurel Park, $100,000, 3yo, f, 6f.
 
Friday, January 30
 
Rego Park S. (r), Aqueduct, $125,000, 3yo, 6f.
 
Saturday, January 31
 
LAS VIRGENES S. (G1), Santa Anita Park, $300,000, 3yo, f, 1m.
SAM F. DAVIS S. (G3), Tampa Bay Downs, $250,000, 3yo, 1 1/16m.
ARCADIA S. (G2), Santa Anita Park, $200,000, 4&up, 1mT.
PALOS VERDES S. (G2), Santa Anita Park, $200,000, 4&up, 6f.
ENDEAVOUR S. (G3), Tampa Bay Downs, $150,000, 4&up, f&m, 1 1/16mT.
Ladies H., Aqueduct, $100,000, 4&up, f&m, 1 1/8m.
Martha Washington S., Oaklawn Park, $100,000, 3yo, f, 1m.
Suncoast S., Tampa Bay Downs, $100,000, 3yo, f, 1m 70yds.
H. Allen Jerkens S., Gulfstream Park, $75,000, 4&up, 2mT.
96ROCK S., Turfway Park, $75,000, 3yo, 6 1/2f.
Tomball Distaff (r), Sam Houston, $50,000, 4&up, f&m, 1 1/16mT.
Budweiser H., Sunland Park, $50,000, 3&up, 5f.
 
Sunday, February 1
 
SAN VICENTE S. (G2), Santa Anita Park, $200,000, 3yo, 7f.
Franklin Square S. (r), Aqueduct, $125,000, 3yo, f, 6f.

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

Announcements

Help Wanted

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

Features

RACING DATES

Current Meetings
     
AQUEDUCT:   Jan. 1 - March 22
CHARLES TOWN:   Jan. 2 - Dec. 30
DELTA DOWNS:   Oct. 15 - March 14
FAIR GROUNDS:   Nov. 21 - March 29
GOLDEN GATE FIELDS:   Dec. 26 - June 14
GULFSTREAM PARK:   Dec. 6 - June 30
LAUREL PARK:   Jan. 1 - March 28
MAHONING VALLEY:   Jan. 5 - April 25
OAKLAWN PARK:   Jan. 9 - April 11
PARX RACING:   Jan. 1 - Dec. 31
PENN NATIONAL:   Jan. 2 - Dec. 27
SAM HOUSTON:   Jan. 16 - March 10
SANTA ANITA PARK:   Dec. 26 - June 28
SUNLAND PARK:   Dec. 5 - April 13
TAMPA BAY DOWNS:   Nov. 29 - May 3
TURF PARADISE:   Oct. 18 - May 5
TURFWAY PARK:   Jan. 1 - March 29
     
Upcoming Meetings
     
HAWTHORNE:   Feb. 20 - April 26

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.