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12.4.2019:

“Droopy” Looks to be Top Dog in Sunday’s Clasico Internacional del Caribe

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - When friends first began calling him “Droopy,” a nickname that stemmed from his likeness to the animated hound dog with saggy cheeks, it angered Alberto Paz Rodriguez. He would lash back in protest, only to make matters worse.“I used to get real mad when they called me Droopy,” he said. “But when you get angry because they call you something, the more they call you that. So that was a mistake.”That was decades ago.Nowadays, Panama’s all-time leading Thoroughbred trainer not only embraces his nickname, but promotes it. The three horses Rodriguez brought to South Florida to represent Panama in Sunday’s Clasico Internacional del Caribe at Gulfstream Park all wear saddlecloths that spell out Droopy in white stitching.“I introduce myself as Droopy,” Rodriguez said. “I’m proud of it.”Rodriguez has no reason to be ashamed. With nearly 6,500 victories in Panamanian racing, Rodriguez is a giant of the sport in his home country. He won his first “Clasico del Caribe” in 1974 with Berremina, two more after that, and hopes to add a fourth victory in the Caribbean’s most prized race on Sunday with Fix in the 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds.“Horses are everything,” said Rodriguez, who turns 80 on Thursday. “Horses are a passion. I feel like I’m running myself every time I run a horse in a race. It’s a thrill, even now. Even a cheap claimer, I enjoy it the same.”Rodriguez has long had an affection for Thoroughbred racing. The same couldn’t be said for his parents, who not only frowned on his passion, but tried to steer him away from it. His father, who was the president of Standard Oil in New Jersey, encouraged his son to follow in his footsteps as a businessman.“They didn’t like the idea at all,” Rodriguez said of racing. “So they sent me to military school to get me away from the race track. But they made a mistake by sending me to Louisville, to the Kentucky Military Institute.”To the heart of horse country, in other words.Ultimately, though, Rodriguez went to the University of Alabama before transferring to Saint Bernard College in Cullman, Alabama, where he earned his degree in economics while also developing into a top golfer. Rodriguez and John Dowd, the former legal advisor to President Trump and whose investigation into betting by Pete Rose led to his lifetime banishment from baseball, were teammates on the Saint Bernard golf team.“We had a helluva good team,” Rodriguez said.After graduation, Rodriguez went to work for Columbia Pictures, eventually becoming the film firm’s supervisor overseeing Central America.But it didn’t take long before the pull of horses and racing became too strong for Rodriguez to resist. He bought his first horse in 1965 and never looked back.Rodriguez’s racing success hasn’t been confined to Panama.He set up a stable in South Florida in the mid-80s due to political unrest in Panama, winning races at Gulfstream, Calder and Hialeah, before moving back to Panama once matters had settled.In 1993, he sent El Bakan to the U.S. to race in the Kentucky Derby for new trainer Alfredo Callajas and owner Robert Perez. The colt finished next-to-last in a field of 19.“I wasn’t the trainer, but I noticed that the horse wasn’t wearing a tongue tie in the Derby,” Rodriguez said. “So I told the trainer, ‘This horse runs with a tongue tie.’”Outfitted with the equipment on Rodriguez’s advice, El Bakan returned two weeks later in the Preakness and turned in a better performance at odds of 51-1.“He led most of the way and finished third,” Rodriguez said.Rodriguez is hoping for winning results on Sunday. He has three horses entered on the day’s stakes card. In addition to Fix, he also intends to send out Fray Angelico in the Copa Confraternidad del Caribe and California Music in the Copa Invitacional del Caribe.“Every race is a big deal,” Rodriguez said. “This is like the World Cup. Our horses are identified by their countries. They don’t say such-and-such a horse won it. They say the horse from Panama won it, the horse from Mexico won it. We represent the country.”

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12.3.2019:

After Long Absence, Jamaica Returns to Clasico Internacional del Caribe

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - For an island nation that many call the “Heart of the Caribbean,” Jamaica has in recent years been largely invisible in the eyes of the racing world, an annual no-show in the Clasico Internacional del Caribe.No longer.Two Jamaican-bred colts are expected to take part in Sunday’s Clasico at Gulfstream Park, ending a long absence from one of the most important events on the region’s racing calendar.The pair of 3-year-olds - Supreme Soul and Juice Man - are set to take on rivals from Panama, Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic in the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe, one of five races with purses totaling nearly $700,000 for the top Thoroughbreds from Latin America and the Caribbean.At stake: regional bragging rights.“If we were to win here, that would be huge,” said Anthony Nunes, trainer of Supreme Soul, which this year became the 13th horse to sweep Jamaica’s Triple Crown. “We’re hoping we’ll just run well and represent our country well, and everything is a bonus after that.Glenn Mendez, trainer of Trinidad Derby winner Juice Man, added that a victory by either of the Jamaican-bred horses “would be a major, major boost” to a sport that has suffered through some tough times.“It’s big,” Mendez said.Jamaica was once a regular participant in the event. But Nunes said Jamaican horses stopped showing up during a period when the sport was operated by the government.“We haven’t been here for 10 or 15 years,” Nunes said. “We were owned by the government and they didn’t want to spend the money.”Private interests took over a couple of years ago, though, Nunes said, and “they’ve taken it to another level.”And a win by either Juice Man or Supreme Soul in the 1 1/8-mile stakes would put Jamaica back on the map internationally. Rooting interest in the two colts is expected to be strong.“It’s huge there,” Nunes said of racing in Jamaica while watching his colt school in the Gulfstream paddock. “It’s a culture. (The track) is packed to capacity, twice a week, all year long. And a lot of Jamaicans live in Florida, so I’m sure there will be a lot of people here.”Nunes, who was born into a racing background, attended high school in Canada and earned a degree in management and marketing from the University of South Florida in Tampa.But, after college, he returned to Jamaica, where he now operates a stable of 70 horses. Though he has never won Jamaica’s training title (which is based on stakes earnings), Nunes has been the runner-up 11 times.“Like the Buffalo Bills, right?” Nunes said with a laugh. “Went to the Super Bowl four times and kept losing it. Don’t worry. I’ve thought about it.”Supreme Soul could end all concerns for Nunes.“I always wanted to be on the national stage and this is somewhat national,” he said of the Caribbean Classic.Mendez would be equally joyed if Juice Man comes through with a win.Juice Man began his racing career in Jamaica for Nunes before being turned over to Mendez in Trinidad in April.“In Jamaica and Trinidad, we have gone through trying times with racing,” Mendez said. “Racing is back on its feet in Jamaica. In Trinidad, we’re still struggling.”A win by Juice Man could do more than lift spirits in Trinidad, Mendez said.“It would probably re-energize investing in horses and help build back up the (horse population). It would be huge.”Mendez said there should be no shortage of supporters in either horse.“I would expect Jamaica would want any one of their Jamaican horses to win,” Mendez said. “It is big and we have a lot of support.”

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12.2.2019:

2020 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #1 Results

Here are the full results for Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #1 (November 28 - December 1, 2019): 1. American Theorem (George Papaprodromou) - 54/1 ($110.80)2. Anneau d'Or (Blaine Wright) - 31/1 ($65.00) 3. Answer In (Brad Cox) - 64/1 ($130.60)4. Authentic (Bob Baffert) - 50/1 ($103.60) 5. Basin (Steve Asmussen) - 38/1 ($78.80) 6. Dennis' Moment (Dale Romans) - 12/1 ($26.00) 7. Eight Rings (Bob Baffert) - 24/1 ($50.40) 8. Gouverneur Morris (Todd Pletcher) - 29/1 ($61.40) 9. Great Power (Simon Callaghan) - 60/1 ($123.00) 10. Green Light Go (James Jerkens) - 46/1 ($94.20)11. High Velocity (Bob Baffert) - 40/1 ($82.60) 12. Honor A.P. (John Shirreffs) - 25/1 ($52.40) 13. Independence Hall (Michael Trombetta) - 13/1 ($29.60) 14. Maxfield (Brendan Walsh) - 13/1 ($28.20) 15. Scabbard (Eddie Kenneally) - 85/1 ($173.40) 16. South Bend (Stanley Hough) - 72/1 ($147.60) 17. Storm the Court (Peter Eurton) - 41/1 ($84.60) 18. Structor (Chad Brown) - 24/1 ($51.80) 19. Thousand Words (Bob Baffert) - 34/1 ($70.20) 20. Three Technique (Jeremiah Englehart) - 39/1 ($81.60) 21. Tiz the Law (Barclay Tagg) - 11/1 ($25.80) 22. Wrecking Crew (Peter Miller) - 86/1 ($175.00) 23. All 3YO Fillies - 57/1 ($117.20) 24. All Other 3YO's - 1/1 ($4.20)

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12.1.2019:

2020 Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager Results

Here are the full results for Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager (November 28 - December 1, 2019): 1. American Pharoah - 12/1 ($26.00) 2. Bernardini - 37/1 ($76.00) 3. Bodemeister - 62/1 ($127.60)4. Candy Ride (ARG) - 38/1 ($78.60) 5. Constitution - 5/1 ($13.60) 6. Curlin - 9/1 ($21.80) 7. Declaration of War - 37/1 ($77.80) 8. Empire Maker - 28/1 ($59.80) 9. Hard Spun - 31/1 ($64.20) 10. Honor Code - 19/1 ($41.20) 11. Into Mischief - 17/1 ($36.20) 12. Liam's Map - 26/1 ($54.80) 13. Medaglia d'Oro - 21/1 ($45.00) 14. More Than Ready - 49/1 ($101.60) 15. Pioneerof the Nile - 32/1 ($66.40) 16. Quality Road - 30/1 ($63.80) 17. Shackleford - 77/1 ($156.20) 18. Speightstown - 73/1 ($149.20) 19. Street Sense - 14/1 ($30.40) 20. Tapit - 20/1 ($43.60) 21. Tiznow - 11/1 ($25.60) 22. Uncle Mo - 12/1 ($26.40) 23. Union Rags - 54/1 ($110.40.00) 24. All Others - 9/2 ($11.80)  

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11.27.2019:

Irad Ortiz Jr. Seeking Second Consecutive Riding Title at Gulfstream Park's Championship Meet

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Irad Ortiz Jr. both started and ended a career year at Gulfstream Park in 2018, one where he was recognized with his first Eclipse Award as North America’s leading rider.As Gulfstream prepares to open its 2019-2020 Championship Meet, the nation’s premier winter Thoroughbred meet which begins its 89-day stand Friday, Ortiz is poised to do it all over again.Favored to claim his second straight Eclipse Award during the Jan. 23 ceremony at Gulfstream, the eighth consecutive year the track has hosted the event, the 27-year-old Ortiz is set to return to South Florida to defend his 2018-2019 Championship Meet title.It will be the third straight winter Ortiz has ventured south, having previously ridden primarily in New York where the cold weather often plays havoc with the racing schedule. After honoring his commitments there, he is scheduled to begin riding at Gulfstream full-time Dec. 4.“I won last year and I felt so good to be able to win my first title there. I appreciate all the help from all the trainers and owners to be able to do it,” Ortiz said. “It really helped me because I got a good start. Before there were times when we didn’t have that many days of racing and I didn’t start like that. I think that helped me to keep going. I tried to get better and better every day and, of course, the horses helped me a lot. We were able to win some big races.”Already one of only four jockeys at Gulfstream to reach triple digits in single-season victories, Ortiz won 135 races last winter, one ahead of 2017-2018 champion Luis Saez and just two away from matching Saez’s track record total from that season.During one sizzling stretch, Ortiz notched 30 wins over a span of nine racing days in mid-February, highlighted by a six-win afternoon Feb. 18 that included four starter stakes, to overtake a suspended Saez for the meet lead. With Saez back and closing in, Ortiz won five times on the final weekend – four coming on Florida Derby Day, three in stakes, topped by the Pan American (G2) – to clinch the title.Ortiz was also first with $8,509,498 in purses earned, over $2 million more than the runner-up, five-time meet champion and Hall of Famer Javier Castellano. Of Ortiz’s wins, 24 came in stakes, nine of them graded, none bigger than the inaugural $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), the richest grass race in North American won by Horse of the Year candidate Bricks and Mortar, undefeated in six 2019 starts.“That day he ran an awesome race,” Ortiz said. “We really liked the way he was going into that race and the way he was doing everything. He had a little layoff and he came back so good and he never got beat the rest of the year.”Other graded wins for Ortiz last winter at Gulfstream came in the Mac Diarmida (G2), The Very One (G3), W.L. McKnight (G3), Forward Gal (G3), Swale (G3), Royal Delta (G3) and Orchid (G3). For the second consecutive year, Ortiz also won three races on the Clasico Internacional del Caribe program, including a repeat triumph in the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe.“It’s very nice to be able to win for my country, especially here in America, because a lot more people come to see it,” Ortiz said. “It’s like the Kentucky Derby for us. I feel so good to be able to win some of those races because I grew up watching those races.”Through Nov. 26, Ortiz had already established a career high with $32.3 million in purse earnings, breaking the North American record of $28.1 million set by Castellano in 2015. He also ranked second with 285 wins, keeping him on track for a fifth consecutive season of 300 or more.Ortiz earned the Bill Shoemaker Award as the leading jockey at the Breeders’ Cup for the second straight year, leading all riders with four victories including the $6 million Classic (G1) with Vino Rosso and $4 million Turf with Bricks and Mortar –Ortiz’s ninth win this year in races with purses of $1 million or more.After ranking among the top four riders in North America in wins and purses earned each year from 2014 to 2017, Ortiz took his game to another level last year. Represented by agent Steve Rushing, he led all jockeys in mounts (1,616), wins (346) and purses earned ($27.7 million), and easily outdistanced his younger brother, 2017 winner Jose Ortiz, for the Eclipse Award. “It meant a lot for me, for all the hard work and dedication. Thank God everything came out good, last year and this year,” Ortiz said. “I’m blessed and thankful to be able to be safe and to stay in one piece to be able to keep riding the whole year. Every jockey wants to win the Eclipse Award. It’s something that’s very important to us.”Since first coming to the U.S. in June 2011, Ortiz has established himself as one of the world’s top riders with more than 2,300 wins and nearly $177 million in purse earnings. He has won nine Breeders’ Cup races, and his lone Triple Crown victory came in the 2006 Belmont Stakes (G1) with Creator. He has led New York in races won in 2014, 2015 and 2017, and earned multiple riding titles at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga.At Gulfstream’s 2017-18 Championship Meet, his first full winter in South Florida, Irad Ortiz finished second with 101 wins – joining Castellano, Saez and Paco Lopez in the exclusive 100-win club – and third with $4.8 million in purses earned. He won a total of 16 stakes, six graded, including Promises Fulfilled in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2).Once again, Gulfstream’s Championship Meet jockey colony will include the best collection of racing’s top riders led by the Oritz brothers, Lopez, Castellano, fellow Hall of Famer John Velazquez, Julien Leparoux, Joe Bravo and Davie, Fla. native Tyler Gaffalione.“I want to work hard every day. I want to win the title again,” Ortiz said. “It’s a tough place to win because there are big fields and so many good riders. You need the horses first and you need the help from the trainers and owners, and they give me the help. If they give me the horses I can win races. Without them, it wouldn’t be possible.”

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11.26.2019:

Acacia Courtney, Ron Nicoletti and Jason Blewitt Discuss Gulfstream Park Tips & Strategies

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – While Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet provides fans an opportunity to see many of the top horses and jockeys in the world, it can also be a bit of a puzzle for bettors looking to cash tickets and make a score.“From a betting perspective, with so many top trainers and jockeys, it can be a little confusing,” said Gulfstream handicapper and host Acacia Courtney. “Positive statistics are important, but so are negative ones. For me, when you have two horses that both look competitive on paper coming into a race, that’s when recent statistics for trainers and jockeys can help.”“There’s also the question of trainers who might excel in sprints or distance races, turf or dirt, claiming races or stakes,” said Gulfstream handicapper and host Ron Nicoletti. “There’s also trainer-jockey combinations to look at when putting together tickets.”For instance, Nicoletti said, Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey and jockey Jose Ortiz are a combined 7 for 17 (40 percent) over the past two years, trainer Kathleen O’Connell and jockey Luis Saez are 6 for 17 (35 percent) and the combination of Todd Pletcher and Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez is 15 for 52 (29 percent).Courtney points to the combination of trainer Stanley Hough and jockey Tyler Gaffalione, who are 57 percent in the money with 23 starters the past year, while trainer Armando De la Cerda is 7 for 24 the past year with jockey Luis Saez in the saddle.Host and handicapper Jason Blewitt will be looking at some “young guns” and former assistants during the Championship Meet. Former Jason Servis assistant Carlos David is winning at a 33 percent clip first off a claim while former Gustavo Delgado assistant, Jorge Delgado, is 30 percent off the claim. Nicoletti adds that David’s average win payout was $16 while trainer Juan Rizo, went 7 for 31 with a $25 average payout.Blewitt is also looking at some more established trainers as well.“No news flash here, but looking back through last winter’s statistics I forgot just how dominant Jason Servis was,” he said.The trainer of Florida Derby (G1) winner Maximum Security, Servis finished third in the standings with a 35-13-9 record from 77 starters. Courtney points out that Servis was 18 for 30 with favorites on the dirt last year with 87 percent of those runners finishing in the money. Blewitt says to keep an eye on Lilli Kurtinecz. Of her 36 winners at Gulfstream since 2015, 31 have come on the turf (86 percent). Meanwhile, over the past six months, Peter Walder has won 18 of 58 races (31 percent).“He’s really dangerous in claiming races over the Gulfstream dirt with 75 wins over the last five years,” Blewitt added.“I think everyone wants to get off to a strong start,” Nicoletti said. “So I also look at trainers who start a meet strong with their first or second start at the meet.”Nicoletti points to Tom Bush (4 for 16), Jeremiah Englehart (5 for 24) and Mark Hennig (18 percent) who win with their first or second starter at the meet the past two years.

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11.26.2019:

Jorge Navarro Gearing Up for Gulfstream Park Championship Meet Title Defense

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – No matter how much success Jorge Navarro has enjoyed and how many more accomplishments may come his way, the 44-year-old native of Panama City, Panama will always embrace the humble beginnings of his burgeoning training career.Navarro looks back at his early days on the Calder Race Course backstretch with pride, using them as a gauge to judge just how far he has come in the world of thoroughbred racing. When he snapped Todd Pletcher’s 15-year Championship Meet reign at Gulfstream Park in April to claim the 2018-2019 training title, he was struck with memories of his modest start in the game.“It meant a lot. The meet has always been a prestigious meet with well-known trainers from all over the United States and top quality of horses,” Navarro said. “Being a trainer from South Florida, watching those guys building their reputations and seeing what they’ve done over the years, to win it was amazing.”            Navarro had to celebrate his 53-47 decision over defending 15-time titlist Todd Pletcher on closing day of the 2018-2019 Championship Meet March 31 from afar. He was in Dubai, where he was also able to celebrate X Y Jet’s triumph in the $2.5 million Dubai Golden Shaheen at Meydan March 30.“I was in Dubai [that week] and I really thought Todd Pletcher was going to catch me,” said Navarro, who had finished second behind Pletcher the previous three seasons. “Todd Pletcher has done amazing things all those 15 years. Winning the title meant so much to me.”Navarro is gearing up for a defense of his title during the 2019-2020 Championship Meet that will get under way Friday, Nov. 29 at Gulfstream Park.“About a month ago, 45 days ago, I mentioned something about cutting down on horses. As soon as I came down here to Florida, I kicked it into another gear – I’m getting stormed with horses,” he said. “My wife said, ‘Jorge, I thought you were going to slow down.’ I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s because I’m home and with my family, but I don’t feel like slowing down yet.”Fresh off his seventh consecutive training title at Monmouth Park, Navarro’s stable has gone through somewhat of a transition. Known for his considerable success with tough-as-nails warriors like X Y Jet, Private Zone, Sharp Azteca and War Story, Navarro has welcomed a lot of young horses into his barn.“I love the claiming game, but I’m getting a lot of nice 2-year-olds,” he said. “I’m going to prove I can train a young horse.”Navarro’s success with Shancelot during the 2019 campaign will likely encourage owners to entrust younger stock to him in the future. Shancelot, a 3-year-old son of Shanghai Bobby, won at first asking last February, scoring by a neck over Bodexpress, who would go on to finish second in the Florida Derby (G1) and compete in the Triple Crown. Shancelot returned to action three months later to win an optional claiming allowance at Monmouth Park.“When I pull the plug it’s for a good reason,” Navarro said. “With Shancelot, we weren’t going to the Derby with him, that’s why we pulled the plug – to give him time to mature. It’s paid off.”Shancelot captured the Amsterdam (G2) at Saratoga by 12 ½ lengths in his third start before finishing third in the H. Allen Jerkens (G1) at Saratoga and second in both the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).“He’s one of the cleanest horses I’ve every trained. The speed he has, this little horse, it’s just amazing what he does,” Navarro said. “He comes back after his races like he’s done nothing.”Shancelot is being pointed to the $1.5 million Saudi Cup Sprint in Riyadh Feb. 29 with the hope he will earn his way to Dubai for a possible clash with defending champ X Y Jet in the Golden Shaheen. Both Shancelot and X Y Jet are likely to prep at Gulfstream Park during the 2019-2020 Championship Meet.Although Navarro now has increasing opportunities to develop young horses, he will still be very active with claiming horses during the Championship Meet, especially for the Dec. 7 Claiming Crown, for which he made 20 nominations.            Stabled at both Gulfstream Park West and Palm Meadows Training Center, Navarro is confident that a Championship Meet title defense is well within the realm of possibility..“I feel very good about it,” he said.

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11.21.2019:

Tickets to Preakness 145 On Sale Now

BALTIMORE, MD – November 21st, 2019 – The Stronach Group and the Maryland Jockey Club, owners of the legendary Pimlico Race Course, announced today that facility and Preakness Village tickets to Preakness 145 are on sale. The Preakness Stakes (G1), the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, will be held on Saturday, May 16th and the 96th Black-Eyed Susan (G2) will take place on Friday, May 15th, both at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.  Tickets are available now at www.preakness.com and range from $40 to $750 per person offering unique, curated experiences for every guest, including multi-day tickets, exciting trackside views and elevated race-day luxury options in the Preakness Village.“As we look toward Preakness 145 and beyond, The Stronach Group is committed to a bright and modern future for Thoroughbred racing in Maryland,” said Craig Fravel, Chief Executive Officer, Racing, The Stronach Group. “This has been a year of transformative change across the entire industry, and as the stewards of one of the world’s most renowned sporting events, The Stronach Group is steadfast in our commitment to delivering an unforgettable event that puts horse and rider safety at the forefront.” First contested in 1873, the Preakness is one of Thoroughbred racing's most valued Grade 1 stakes races. In 2019, a crowd of 131,256 witnessed War of Will and jockey Tyler Gaffalione win Preakness 144.  The total handle on Preakness day was a record-breaking $99.8 million, surpassing the $93.6 million wagered in 2018.  Celebrity fans in attendance included Grammy nominated recording artist Robin Thicke, actress and recording artist Victoria Justice, MLB Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, TV personality Carson Kressley, celebrity chef Bobby Flay, players from the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Redskins, and legendary performer Vanessa Williams, who sang the national anthem, to name just a few. The fan favorite InfieldFest will return for the 12th year featuring top tier performers, a variety of food and beverage options and a host of wagering opportunities aimed at engaging the next generation of fans. The Stronach Group will announce the InfieldFest artist line-up and tickets in the coming weeks. In 2019, Diplo made history by parachuting onto the racetrack and running in his jumpsuit to the stage for a stellar set that capped off an incredible day of performances featuring Kygo, Logic, Juice WRLD, Frank Walker and Fisher. Over the past decade InfieldFest has showcased some of music's biggest stars, including Post Malone, 21 Savage, ODESZA and Frank Walker (2018), Sam Hunt and Zedd (2017), The Chainsmokers and Fetty Wap (2016), Armin van Buuren and Childish Gambino (2015), Lorde and NAS (2014), Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pitbull and Florida Georgia Line (2013), Maroon 5 and Wiz Khalifa (2012), Bruno Mars (2011), Zac Brown, O.A.R. and Train (2010), and Buckcherry and ZZ Top (2009). Preakness 145 will feature something for everyone including the popular Sunrise Tours that run from Tuesday through Friday during Preakness week; the Alibi Breakfast, an annual tradition that brings together fans and horsemen; and Rosé on the Rail, a trackside garden party focussed on fashion and fun on Black Eyed Susan Day. Follow all of the excitement of the Preakness Stakes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @PreaknessStakes and at #Preakness. For more information please visit www.preakness.com.

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11.20.2019:

Bodexpress Shatters Gulfstream Park West Track Record

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Top Racing LLC and Global Thoroughbreds LLC’s Bodexpress, who made his name by running in the Triple Crown as a maiden, continued to build a reputation as a serious racehorse Wednesday at Gulfstream Park West, breaking an 18-year-old track record while romping to a 6 ¾ -length victory in a mile allowance race.The Gustavo Delgado-trained 3-year-old colt won his second straight race at Gulfstream Park West after losing his first seven races with a 1:35.58 clocking, eclipsing the old track record of 1:36.25 held by High Ideal.“This is a good horse. This is a good horse. Never in my life have I had a horse set a track record,” said Delgado, who was Venezuela’s all-time winningest trainer before venturing to South Florida 10 years ago. “The way he has come back has been perfect.”Bodexpress, the 8-5 favorite ridden by Emisael Jaramillo, broke alertly to outrush Todd Pletcher-trained Moretti heading into the first turn and established an uncontested lead on the first turn and along the backstretch, posting fractions of 24.09 and 47.64 for the first half-mile of the Race 7 feature. Moretti, the 7-2 second choice ridden by Joe Bravo, made a brief outside move on the far turn before backing up, leaving Bodexpress with a commanding four-length lead on the turn into the homestretch. After being set down for the drive, the son of Bodemeister drew off while extending his lead to the wire.“The way he was training the past 10 days, he looked like he had a good race coming,” said Gustavo Delgado Jr., who is the assistant trainer for his father’s stable. “He’s more mature now. We want to make him a winning horse. We’ll take it step by step up the ladder.”Gump, who stumbled at the start, saved ground under Jairo Rendon to finish second, 10 lengths ahead of Postino’s Vow and jockey Paco Lopez. Moretti, a $900,000 yearling purchase who was making his first start since Feb. 2, finished fifth.Delgado mentioned the $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream Park Dec. 14 as a possible target for Bodexpress’ next start. Bodexpress had earned a Grade 1 placing at Gulfstream Park March 30 when he finished second in the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) behind Maximum Security, who went on to finish first in the Kentucky Derby (G1), only to be controversially disqualified. He finished 3 ¼ lengths clear of third-place finisher Code of Honor, who went on to finish third in the Kentucky Derby before being elevated to second due to the disqualification. Maximum Security went on to win the Haskell (G1) at Monmouth, while Code of Honor went on to win the Dwyer (G2), Travers (G1) and Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1).His strong performance in the Florida Derby earned Bodexpress a berth in the Kentucky Derby, in which he finished 14th of 19 after being taken up in traffic on the turn into the homestretch. The “bad boy” unseated jockey John Velazquez at the start of the Preakness (G1) before going to the sidelines. Bodexpress returned to action at Gulfstream Park West Oct. 14, breaking his maiden with an impressive three-length victory. 

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11.20.2019:

Almond Eye Headlines World-Class Stars Selected for Hong Kong International Races

Almond Eye is among a stellar line-up of 50 horses selected for the HK$93 million LONGINES Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin on Sunday, 8 December. Japan’s superstar filly is just one of the 26 G1 winners set to compete and the headliner among a brilliantly-talented contingent of 24 overseas raiders aiming at this year’s “Turf World Championships”.   The LONGINES HKIR is the sport’s global year-end Group 1 extravaganza and features the HK$28 million LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m), the HK$25 million LONGINES Hong Kong Mile (1600m), the HK$20 million LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) and the HK$20 million LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m). Almond Eye is one of 11 in a powerful cohort from Japan, which also features crack milers Indy Champ, Normcore and Admire Mars, this year’s classic heroine Loves Only You and further star fillies Lucky Lilac and the talented globe-trotter Deirdre, as well as G1 FWD QEII Cup (2000m) victor Win Bright.  The exciting fields for the four Group 1 features also include big-name Europeans: the six-strong Irish party includes G1 Irish Champion Stakes and G1 Champion Stakes heroine Magical - another outstanding filly on the world stage - who is set to lock horns with Almond Eye in what promises to be an enthralling Hong Kong Cup clash. Magical’s G1-winning stable mates Circus Maximus, Magic Wand and Anthony Van Dyck are also among the event’s selected runners - the last-named is set to become the first winner of the Derby at Epsom to compete at the LONGINES HKIR. G1 Preis von Europa winner Aspetar is one of four challengers from Britain, while France has two high-class selected runners including Edisa, winner of the Jockey Club Oaks Invitational at Belmont Park in New York. Australian representation comes in the form of the speedy mare In Her Time, a two-time G1 winner and third in the recent G1 Darley Sprint Classic (1200m). A strong Hong Kong team is headed by established G1 big guns Beauty Generation and Exultant, and the exhilarating rising star sprinter Aethero. Beauty Generation, Mr Stunning, Exultant and Glorious Forever completed an unprecedented Hong Kong clean-sweep of last year’s races and the quartet is engaged to defend their crowns. Beauty Generation in the Mile and Mr Stunning in the Sprint will attempt to match legendary miler Good Ba Ba’s record of three straight wins at the meeting.  Mr. Andrew Harding, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Director, Racing, said: “The LONGINES Hong Kong International Races is firmly established among a select handful of the world’s greatest international racing occasions. We are delighted that the quality of the selected runners for this year’s LONGINES Hong Kong International Races is in keeping with our long-held commitment to deliver sporting excellence. “Almond Eye’s participation is particularly exciting when viewed in the context of the other world-class horses selected - champions of the calibre of Beauty Generation and Exultant, other global stars like Magical and the Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck, and the list is long and strong. Factor in the potential of rising stars like Aethero, Waikuku and our Derby winner Furore and everything points to a thrilling afternoon of sport on 8 December.”   Hong Kong Cup World superstar Almond Eye heads to Sha Tin with a record of eight wins from 10 starts, with six G1 victories to her name. After winning last year’s Fillies’ Triple Crown in Japan, the four-year-old smashed her rivals in the G1 Dubai Turf at Meydan and ran with merit at a mile when third in the G1 Yasuda Kinen. The daughter of two-time LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint winner Lord Kanaloa returned from a long summer break with an impressive success in the G1 Tenno Sho Autumn (2000m) in October. Compatriot Win Bright is one from one at the course and distance thanks to his G1 FWD QEII Cup win in April.  Among those out to prevent a sixth Japanese win in the race are the Aidan O’Brien-trained top-liner Magical, winner of the Irish and “British” Champion Stakes, and recent G1 Mackinnon Stakes winner Magic Wand. Last year’s winner Glorious Forever is engaged again, as is his full-brother and 2017 victor Time Warp but the biggest home contenders could be the improving G1-placed Rise High and last season’s BMW Hong Kong Derby hero Furore. Hong Kong Mile Good Ba Ba is the only horse in HKIR history to win three times and he achieved the feat in the Hong Kong Mile in consecutive years. Beauty Generation, imperious in making it two wins in a row last year and another star of world racing, will have to bounce back from two recent defeats if he is to make the hat-trick. The world’s top-rated miler will face his latest conqueror, the improving Waikuku, as well as some brilliant overseas raiders.  Japan’s assault has a formidable look to it: Indy Champ defeated Almond Eye when taking the G1 Yasuda Kinen in June and last weekend the colt saw off the highly-regarded Danon Premium to win the second of his country’s two big mile races, the G1 Mile Championship, the same two races the powerhouse champion Maurice won before taking this prize in 2015; two-time G1 winner Admire Mars, the G1-winning filly Normcore and the top-class Persian Knight are also selected for Japan. Ireland’s Circus Maximus represents the best European mile form, having won the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes and G1 Prix du Moulin this year. Hong Kong Sprint Mr Stunning has peaked for the last two editions of this race and will attempt to become the Hong Kong Sprint’s first three-time winner. But he faces the flash new kid on the Hong Kong sprinting block, Aethero, who will attempt to become the first Southern Hemisphere-bred three-year-old to win a G1 at the HKIR: the chestnut, sensational when winning the recent G2 Jockey Club Sprint (1200m), has drawn comparisons to past champion Able Friend. The outstanding line-up includes plenty of other top-class contenders too: the talented grey Hot King Prawn is back from a setback and is a G2 winner of untapped potential at this level, while Hong Kong’s champion sprinter Beat The Clock is in, as is D B Pin, runner-up in the past two editions.  Japan’s Danon Smash and Australia’s In Her Time provide the overseas challenge. The former is a three-time G3 winner who has posted smart efforts in Japan’s two G1 sprints this year, placing fourth in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen (1200m) and third in the Sprinters Stakes (1200m). In Her Time has won the G1 Galaxy and G1 Black Caviar Lightning and was a fine third in the G1 Darley Sprint Classic (1200m) last time. Hong Kong Vase Exultant has proven to be one of the world’s top stayers since winning last year’s Vase, which saw subsequent Cox Plate winner Lys Gracieux in second place and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe hero Waldgeist in fifth. Hong Kong’s champion stayer is set to face another tough line-up with Japan and Europe offering strong contenders.  Anthony Van Dyck is set to become the first Derby (English) winner to contest the LONGINES Hong Kong Vase. The Ballydoyle-trained colt is selected alongside well-regarded stablemate Mount Everest who missed most of this year but returned in the autumn to run a promising sixth in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf. The British raiders are Aspetar, winner of the G1 Preis von Europa, Prince Of Arran who has made the frame in the past two renewals of the G1 Melbourne Cup, and the well-regarded G3 winner Young Rascal. Japan has some of its best fillies and mares slated to take on Exultant: Deirdre, runner-up in the Hong Kong Cup last year, has been a marvel on her travels this year and won the G1 Nassau Stakes; Lucky Lilac won the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Kyoto last time; G1 Yushun Himba winner Loves Only You met her first defeat in five starts when third that day; Glory Vase is a G2-winning and G1-placed stayer.

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11.19.2019:

Leading Thoroughbred Racing Organizations Launch Safety Coalition

LEXINGTON (November 19, 2019) – The nation’s leading Thoroughbred racing organizations today announced the creation of an industry-led effort to unify and enhance existing protections and work together to develop new reforms to ensure the safety of the sport’s equine and human athletes.  Partnering together under the name Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, the group seeks to create and implement a series of significant safety, medication, operational and integrity guidelines across Thoroughbred racing to ensure the well-being of horses and jockeys and increase transparency and accountability. The coalition is composed of organizations who have individually led efforts to modernize the sport, and are now using their combined resolve, expertise and resources to advocate for enhanced safety measures throughout Thoroughbred racing. Coalition founding members include Breeders’ Cup Limited, Churchill Downs Inc., Keeneland Association Inc., the New York Racing Association Inc. (NYRA), Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and The Stronach Group. Together they represent more than 85% of graded stakes racing in America.  “Thoroughbred racing is steeped in tradition and we want the sport to live on for generations to come, and that is only possible with all of us working together to ensure that the safety and well-being of our athletes is our top priority,” said Drew Fleming, President and CEO of Breeders’ Cup Limited. “We are passionate about these animals and this sport, and we are committed to working with our partners to ensure that together we are making sound and responsible decisions on behalf of our athletes, our fans and the racing community,” said Kevin Flanery, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “Many of us have taken concrete action at our own tracks and are individually working with regulators and lawmakers in our states to enhance safety protocols. The Thoroughbred Safety Coalition will help drive these needed reforms across the nation.” “Protecting the health and welfare of our athletes is a complicated question that requires a multi-faceted approach. That’s why we are implementing significant measures across the sport – from the quality of our track surfaces to ensuring horses are fit to run each and every time through medication reforms and enhanced veterinary examinations. There is no single solution and we are committed to finding the right answers, wherever that may lead us,” said Bill Thomason, President and CEO of Keeneland Association Inc.  The coalition will adopt best practices and set stricter guidelines for allowable medications, enact standards for crop use, encourage greater transparency and tracking of veterinarian exam records, and commit to the creation of new positions to implement and enforce these reforms.  A full list of these measures can be found at: www.thoroughbredsafetycoalition.com/reforms.  “The Thoroughbred Safety Coalition presents an opportunity for the sport to adopt a set of best practices with a unified approach to equine safety,” said David O’Rourke, CEO and President of NYRA. “We look forward to advancing these efforts, communicating directly with the public and broadening the coalition in the coming weeks and months.” “California racing has embraced progressive reforms over the last several years and we are pleased to join this group today to help push forward similar reforms in other jurisdictions in the US,” said Josh Rubinstein, President of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. “It is critically important that we work together to create the highest levels of safety, integrity and accountability at our tracks and it is also our responsibility to more proactively help the public understand the extensive steps we take to promote a safer environment for our human and equine athletes.” “The Thoroughbred horse racing industry has reached a watershed moment where unprecedented reforms touching all areas of the sport must continue to be advanced and implemented,” said Craig Fravel, Chief Executive Officer, Racing, The Stronach Group. “The Thoroughbred Safety Coalition represents a step toward greater accountability and transparency to put horse and rider safety and care at the forefront.” For all media inquiries, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. document.getElementById('cloakd008253193fceeabac35346265725a6f').innerHTML = ''; var prefix = 'ma' + 'il' + 'to'; var path = 'hr' + 'ef' + '='; var addyd008253193fceeabac35346265725a6f = 'info' + '@'; addyd008253193fceeabac35346265725a6f = addyd008253193fceeabac35346265725a6f + 'thoroughbredsafetycoalition' + '.' + 'com'; var addy_textd008253193fceeabac35346265725a6f = 'info' + '@' + 'thoroughbredsafetycoalition' + '.' + 'com';document.getElementById('cloakd008253193fceeabac35346265725a6f').innerHTML += ''+addy_textd008253193fceeabac35346265725a6f+''; . 

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11.11.2019:

Friday, November 15: Stronach 5 has $91,081 Carryover

LAUREL, MD – There will be a carryover of $91,081.85 in the Stronach 5 on Friday, Nov. 15.There were no winners in Friday’s popular Stronach 5, which has an industry-low 12-percent takeout. The sequence kicked off with Laurel Park’s eighth race and 20-1 longshot Shadow Boxer ($42.20) going wire-to-wire for the victory. In the fourth leg of the Stronach 5, Fruitfully, the 4-5 favorite in the third race at Golden Gate Fields, came up short behind race winner Warrens Lil Margie ($11.20). Gulfstream’s eighth race, the final leg of Friday’s Stronach 5, produced a $41.40 winner in 19-1 shot Alafia.  Friday’s races and sequence Leg One – Laurel Park 8th Race: Shadow Boxer $42.20 Leg Two – Gulfstream Park 7th Race: Morocco $6.60 Leg Three – Laurel Park 9th Race: Zitarrosa $7.80 Leg Four – Golden Gate Fields 3rdRace: Warrens Lil Margie $11.20 Leg Five –Gulfstream Park 8th Race: Alafia $41.40 The minimum wager on the multi-race, multi-track Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool will be carried over to the next Friday.If a change in racing surface is made after the wagering closes, each selection on any ticket will be considered a winning selection. If a betting interest is scratched, that selection will be substituted with the favorite in the win pool when wagering closes.The Maryland Jockey Club serves as host of the Stronach 5.

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11.7.2019:

Sunday, November 10: McWicked Highlights Rosecroft’s $100,000 Potomac Pace

FORT WASHINGTON, MD – The Horse of the Year is coming to Rosecroft. S S G Stable’s McWicked, harness racing’s 2018 Horse of the Year, headlines an all-star group of pacers Sunday evening in the $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft.First race post time is 7:15 p.m. for the 13-race program. Rosecroft will offer a $10,000 bonus to any pacer who breaks the track record of 1:47.3,set by Keystone Victory in the 2017 Potomac Pace.In addition, there will be a $5,000 guaranteed pool on the Pick 5, races 7-11.The $100,000 Potomac Pace has become Rosecroft’s signature event. In its first three years, the Potomac has attracted some of the sport’s biggest stars including Split The House, Keystone Velocity Always B Miki, Wakizashi Hanover and All Bets Off. “We’re very excited and really looking forward to Sunday’s $100,000 Potomac Pace,” said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. “Since the inaugural Potomac Pace in 2016, the event has grown and has attracted some of the best pacers in North America. We very appreciative of all the horsemen who have supported this great event.”McWicked joins that list as one of the sport’s top stars. A winner of 40 starts and $4.9 million, McWicked became the oldest pacer to be named Horse of the Year. Trained by Casie Coleman and driven by Brian Sears, McWicked has surpassed $1 million in purses for the third time in his career, joining Foiled Again as the only pacers with three million-dollar seasons. The 8-year-old won the Dan Rooney Invitational and Allerage Farms Open Pace earlier this year. McWicked will leave from post seven.McWicked came up short in his attempt to win a third Breeders Crown Oct. 26 when he finished fourth behind American History in the $655,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace. American History, bred by Brittany Farm, previously won the $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial and has earned $437,291 this year. Those facing McWicked and American History in the Potomac include Dorsoduro Hanover, second to American History in the Breeders Crown and winner of last year’s $530,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers.Others entered in the Potomac include Dealt A Winner, fourth in last year’s Potomac, This Is The Plan, who turned in the fastest mile ever on a half-mile track in Canada earlier this year, and Maryland’s Slick Tony, a winner of 14 of 34 starts this season.     

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11.6.2019:

‘Art G’ All Heart for Start in Saturday’s Millions Classic Preview

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Winning would do the heart good for a trainer who underwent triple-bypass surgery less than three weeks ago.Monarch Stables’ Art G Is Back will be looking to get back to his winning ways in Saturday’s $75,000 Millions Classic Preview at Gulfstream Park West and give trainer Ron Spatz a boost on the road to recovery.Not that Spatz has been training from the sidelines since undergoing the heart procedure.“I’m at work. I’ve been going to work all week. I’ll be there Saturday,” the veteran South Florida trainer said.The 1 1/16-mile Millions Classic Preview for Florida-bred 3-year-olds and up, an early prep for the $200,000 Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park Jan. 18, is one of nine stakes worth $675,000 in purses on Saturday’s Sunshine Million Preview card.Art G Is Back, like his trainer, has shown a lot of heart during his career, becoming a multiple-stakes winner while showing high levels of talent and versatility on dirt, slop and turf. The 3-year-old throwback, who has finished in the money in nine of 12 starts, is coming off a subpar showing on turf in the Sept. 21 Bear’s Den Stakes at Gulfstream after winning back-to-back dirt starts in his two prior starts. The son of Exchange Rate finished seventh after lagging far off the pace in the 7 ½-furlong race for 3-year-olds.“I wasn’t happy with his trip. He was 100 miles out of it and got beat five lengths,” Spatz said.Prior to the disappointing effort, Art G Is Back defeated older rivals while prevailing by 13 ¾ lengths in an off-the-turf allowance and scoring gamely in the $100,000 Benny the Bull stakes for Florida-breds.“I think he’s a little better on dirt,” Spatz said. “I think his best distance is seven furlongs or a mile. He has been two turns once at a mile and a sixteenth at Gulfstream when he was younger. He led all the way and got beat in the last two jumps. It wasn’t a bad race. He’s an older horse now. He should be OK with that distance.“We’re going to try this and see if he deserves to go in the Sunshine Millions Classic,” he added. “We’re also experimenting with the [Gulfstream Park West] surface. He’s never been on it. We’ll see.”Art G Is Back, who is a nose and a neck away from being a multiple-stakes winner on turf as well as dirt, will be ridden for the first time Saturday by Edgard Zayas.David Melin, Leon Ellman and Laurie Plesa’s Mr. Jordan is coming off a pair of uncharacteristic off-the-board finishes at Gulfstream Park but will return to Gulfstream Park West Saturday, when the 7-year-old gelding will seek his fourth straight victory in the Millions Preview Classic.Mr. Jordan has won all five of his starts at Gulfstream Park West, all in stakes races. The gray veteran campaigner has gone winless in seven starts since capturing last year’s Classic Preview by 11 ½ lengths. The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained gelding, who has earned more than $850,000 in purses during his 41-race career, will be ridden by Paco Lopez.Arindel’s Richard the Great, who finished second behind Mr. Jordan in last year’s Classic Preview, came off a 13-month layoff to register a dominating front-running 8 ¾-length victory in a $35,000 claiming race at Gulfstream Park Sept. 12.“He’s a very nice horse, a great horse to be around. He had a little problem with his ankle,” trainer Juan Alvarado said. “The way that he’s training and the way that he came back from almost a year off, he’ll be tough in that race. He’ll be 1-2-3 in that race.”Rajiv Maragh has the mount aboard the 7-year-old stakes-winning son of Distorted Humor.Equine Authority’s Red Crescent, who finished fourth in last year’s Classic Preview, prepped for Saturday’s renewal with a 6 ½-length victory in an Oct. 3 optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Park West. Trainer John Vinson has named Samy Camacho to ride the 5-year-old son of Overdriven.Mar Racing Stable’s Hy Riverside, who finished well behind Red Crescent Oct. 3, brings a resume with multiple stakes victories, including a triumph in the 2017 Sunshine Millions Classic, into Saturday’s Classic Preview. Jeffrey Sanchez has the mount aboard the 7-year-old gelded son of Macho Uno, who captured the Big Red Stakes three starts back.

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10.30.2019:

Breeders’ Cup: Guaranteed Pools, Head2Head & Special Doubles

On top of 14 Championship races, the Breeders’ Cup is also known for gigantic guaranteed pools, special Daily Doubles and an innovative Head2Head bet that features just 10% Takeout. Here’s a look at this year’s Wager Menu Fan-Favorite Wagering Menu The Breeders’ Cup wager menu features all of the bets you’ve come to love, including: Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta and Jackpot Super Hi-5 wagering on every race Rolling Daily Double and Pick 3 wagering on every race Three Friday Pick 4’s (Races 2, 6 and 7) Four Saturday Pick 4’s (Races 2, 4, 6 and 9) Breeders’ Cup Guaranteed Pools Breeders’ Cup is guaranteeing $7.5 million in pools across the two days: Friday $500,000 Guaranteed Early Pick 5 (Races 1 - 5) $1,000,000 Guaranteed All-Breeders’ Cup Late Pick 5 (Races 5 – 9) $1,000,000 Guaranteed All-Breeders’ Cup Pick 4 (Races 6 – 9) Saturday $1,000,000 Guaranteed All-Breeders’ Cup Ultra Pick 6 (Races 7 – 12) $2,000,000 Guaranteed All-Breeders’ Cup Late Pick 5 (Races 8 – 12) $2,000,000 Guaranteed All-Breeders’ Cup Late Pick 4 (Race 9 – 12) Breeders’ Cup Friday/Saturday Doubles Breeders’ Cup offers three special Friday/Saturday Doubles combining the best races on Friday with Saturday’s top events. These include: Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf/Breeders’ Cup Turf Double Race 6 on Friday (4:52PM ET) – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Race 11 on Saturday (7:40PM ET) – Breeders’ Cup Turf Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies/Breeders’ Cup Distaff Double Race 7 on Friday (5:32PM ET) – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Race 10 on Saturday (7:00PM ET) – Breeders’ Cup Distaff Breeders’ Cup Juvenile/Breeders’ Cup Classic Double Race 9 on Friday (7:03PM ET) – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Race 12 on Saturday (8:44PM ET) – Breeders’ Cup Classic Breeders’ Cup Head2Head Bets The Breeders’ Cup Head2Head wagers are easy to follow and feature a bettor-friendly takeout rate of just 10%! Get involved on the following races: Friday Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint – Race 5 (4:12PM ET) #1 USA Horses (#1 Chimney Rock, #3 Another Miracle, #5 Encoder, #7 Kimari, #9 Four Wheel Drive, #12 Cambria, #13 Bulletproof One (AE), #15 Fore Left (AE), #16 Karak (AE)) #2 Europe Horses (#2 Band Practice, #4 Dream Shot, #6 Alligator Alley, #8 Dr Simpson, #10 A’Ali, #11 King Neptune, #14 Air Force Jet (AE)) Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf – Race 8 (6:12PM ET) #1 USA Horses (#2 Croughavouke, #4 Abscond, #7 Crystalle, #10 Fair Maiden, #11 Sharing, #12 Sweet Melania, #13 Selflessly) #2 Europe Horses (#1 Living In The Past, #3 Shadn, #5 Daahyeh, #6 Unforgetable, #8 Tango, #9 Albinga, #14 Etoile)- Breeders’ Cup Juvenile – Race 9 (7:03PM ET) #1 East Coast (#1 Dennis’ Moment, #3 Shoplifted, #5 Scabbard, #9 Maxfield) #2 West Coast (#2 Wrecking Crew, #4 Storm the Court, #6 Eight Rings, #7 Anneau d’Or, #8 Full Flat) Saturday Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf – Race 7 (4:54PM ET) #1 USA Horses (#2 Sistercharlie, #5 Mirth, #6 Thais, #7 Vasilika, #10 Mrs. Sippy) #2 Europe Horses (#1 Iridessa, #3 Fleeting, #4 Billesdon Brook, #8 Castle Lady, #9 Villa Marina, #11 Just Wonderful, #12 Fanny Logan) Breeders’ Cup Mile – Race 9 (6:20PM ET) #1 USA Horses (#2 Lucullan, #5 True Valour, #6 Got Stormy, #7 Bolo, #8 El Tormenta, #11 Uni, #14 Bowies Hero, #15 Caribou Club (AE), #16 Next Shares (AE)) #2 Europe Horses (#1 Suedois, #3 Space Traveller, #4 Trais Fluors, #9 Circus Maximus, #10 Without Parole, #12 Lord Glitters, #13 Hey Gaman) Breeders’ Cup Classic – Race 12 (8:44PM ET) #1 Code of Honor #2 McKinzie

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10.30.2019:

$279K Empire 6 Mandatory Payout on Friday at Aqueduct

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) formally announced today that the Empire 6 mandatory payout originally scheduled for Sunday, October 27, will be brought back on Friday, November 1, opening day of the fall meet at Aqueduct Racetrack. This action follows the cancellation of live racing on closing day of the Belmont Park fall meet, and the required approval of the New York State Gaming Commission The jackpot carryover heading into Friday stands at $279,432, and the Empire 6 will open in Race 5, which has an approximate post time of 2:00 p.m. Friday features a special first post time of 12 p.m. alongside a full simulcast of the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park, anchored by the Grade 1, $2 million Juvenile, with a local post time of 7:04 p.m. Eastern. The Future Stars Friday Breeders' Cup card begins at 4:12 p.m. with the Grade 2, $1 million Juvenile Turf Sprint. Featuring a $0.20 minimum wager and 20 percent takeout, the Empire 6 requires the bettor to select the first-place finisher of the final six races of the card. On non-mandatory payout days, if one unique ticket exists, then 100% of the net pool, plus the jackpot carryover if applicable, will be paid to the winner. If there is no unique wager selecting the first-place finisher in all six races, then 75% of the day's net pool will be distributed to those who selected the first-place finisher in the greatest number of races. The remainder will be added into the jackpot and carried to the next day's Empire 6.

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10.29.2019:

2019 Breeders' Cup Entries

Here are the entries for all of Friday and Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Championship races at Santa Anita Park. Friday's Races Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint ($1,000,000)2YO - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf)1. Chimney Rock (Mike Maker/Jose Ortiz) - 10/12. Band Practice (IRE) (Archie Watson/Jamie Spencer) - 12/13. Another Miracle (Gary Contessa/Manny Franco) - 15/14. Dream Shot (IRE) (James Tate/Chris Hayes) - 15/15. Encoder (John Sadler/Flavien Prat) - 15/16. Alligator Alley (GB) (Joseph O'Brien/Wayne Lordan) - 12/17. Kimari (Wesley Ward/John Velazquez) - 7/28. Dr Simpson (FR) (Thomas Dascombe/Richard Kingscote) - 15/19. Four Wheel Drive (Wesley Ward/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 3/110. A'Ali (IRE) (Simon Crisford/Frankie Dettori) - 6/111. King Neptune (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore) - 10/112. Cambria (Wesley Ward/Tyler Gaffalione) - 12/1Also Eligible13. Bulletproof One (Peter Miller/Javier Castellano) - 12/114. Air Force Jet (GB) (Joseph O'Brien/Wayne Lordan) - 12/115. Fore Left (Doug O'Neill/Mario Gutierrez) - 12/116. Karak (Wesley Ward/Julio Garcia) - 15/1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade 1, $1,000,000)2YO - 1 Mile (Turf)1. Our Country (George Weaver/John Velazquez) - 15/12. Structor (Chad Brown/Jose Ortiz) - 5/13. Peace Achieved (Mark Casse/Miguel Mena) - 10/14. Decorated Invader (Christophe Clement/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 4/15. Vitalogy (GB) (Brendan Walsh/Javier Castellano) - 10/16. Graceful Kitten (Amador Sanchez/Hector Berrios) - 15/17. Andesite (Brad Cox/Joel Rosario) - 12/18. Billy Batts (Peter Miller/Paco Lopez) - 20/19. Gear Jockey (George Arnold/Tyler Gaffalione) - 20/110. War Beast (Doug O'Neill/Abel Cedillo) - 20/111. Proven Strategies (Mark Casse/Edgard Zayas) - 30/112. Arizona (IRE) (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore) - 5/213. Fort Myers (Aidan O'Brien/Wayne Lordan) - 12/114. Hit the Road (Dan Blacker/Flavien Prat) - 10/1 Also Eligible15. Deviant (Danny Pish/Lane Luzzi) - 30/1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade 1, $2,000,000)2YO Fillies - 1 1/16 Miles (Dirt)1. Donna Veloce (Simon Callaghan/Flavien Prat) - 3/12. Two Sixty (Mark Casse/Edgard Zayas) - 15/13. Perfect Alibi (Mark Casse/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 10/14. British Idiom (Brad Cox/Javier Castellano) - 7/25. Lazy Daisy (Doug O'Neill/Rafael Bejarano) - 12/16. Bast (Bob Baffert/John Velazquez) - 7/27. Wicked Whisper (Steve Asmussen/Joel Rosario) - 7/28. K P Dreamin (Jeff Mullins/Ruben Fuentes) - 20/19. Comical (Doug O'Neill/Abel Cedillo) - 8/1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Grade 1, $1,000,000)2YO Fillies - 1 Mile (Turf)1. Living In The Past (IRE) (Karl Burke/Daniel Tudhope) - 15/12. Croughavouke (IRE) (Jeff Mullins/Flavien Prat) - 20/13. Shadn (IRE) (Andrew Balding/Jamie Spencer) - 10/14. Abscond (Eddie Kenneally/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 15/15. Daahyeh (GB) (Roger Varian/William Buick) - 5/16. Unforgetable (IRE) (Joseph O'Brien/Wayne Lordan) - 20/17. Crystalle (John Kimmel/Joel Rosario) - 8/18. Tango (IRE) (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore) - 10/19. Albigna (IRE) (Jessica Harrington/Shane Foley) - 9/210. Fair Maiden (Eoin Harty/Drayden Van Dyke) - 12/111. Sharing (Graham Motion/Manny Franco) - 12/112. Sweet Melania (Todd Pletcher/Jose Ortiz) - 5/113. Selflessly (Chad Brown/Javier Castellano) - 8/114. Etoile (Aidan O'Brien/Frankie Dettori) - 12/1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Grade 1, $2,000,000) 2YO - 1 1/16 Miles (Dirt)1. Dennis' Moment (Dale Romans/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 8/52. Wrecking Crew (Peter Miller/Paco Lopez) - 20/13. Shoplifted (Steve Asmussen/Ricardo Santana Jr.) - 20/14. Storm the Court (Peter Eurton/Flavien Prat) - 20/15. Scabbard (Eddie Kenneally/Mike Smith) - 8/1 6. Eight Rings (Bob Baffert/John Velazquez) - 2/17. Anneau d'Or (Blaine Wright/Juan Hernandez) - 15/18. Full Flat (Hideyuki Mori/Yutaka Take) - 30/19. Maxfield (Brendan Walsh/Jose Ortiz) - 3/1 Saturday's Races Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (Grade 1, $1,000,000) 3YO+ Fillies & Mares - 7 Furlongs (Dirt)1. Covfefe (Brad Cox/Joel Rosario) - 2/12. Danuska's My Girl (Dan Ward/Geovanni Franco) - 20/13. Heavenhasmynikki (Bob Hess Jr./Ricardo Santana Jr.) - 20/14. Come Dancing (Carlos Martin/Javier Castellano) - 5/2 5. Lady Ninja (Richard Baltas/Drayden Van Dyke) - 10/1 6. Bellafina (Simon Callaghan/Flavien Prat) - 6/17. Selcourt (John Sadler/Luis Saez) - 10/1 8. Dawn the Destroyer (Kiaran McLaughlin/Tyler Gaffalione) - 12/19. Spiced Perfection (Peter Miller/John Velazquez) - 4/1 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (Grade 1, $1,000,000)3YO+ - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf)1. Totally Boss (George Arnold/Jose Ortiz) - 5/1 2. Pure Sensation (Christophe Clement/Paco Lopez) - 5/1 3. Imprimis (Joseph Orseno/Frankie Dettori) - 8/1 4. Shekky Shebaz (Jason Servis/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 12/15. Stubbins (Doug O'Neill/Flavien Prat) - 12/16. Stormy Liberal (Peter Miller/John Velazquez) - 8/1 7. Leinster (George Arnold/Tyler Gaffalione) - 8/18. Legends of War (Doug O'Neill/Rafael Bejarano) - 20/19. Final Frontier (Tom Albertrani/Luis Saez) - 6/110. Eddie Haskell (Mark Glatt/Joel Rosario) - 9/211. Om (Peter Miller/Manny Franco) - 15/1 12. Belvoir Bay (GB) (Peter Miller/Javier Castellano) - 12/1 Also Eligible13. Girls Know Best (Eddie Kenneally/Joe Bravo) - 20/114. Double Touch (GB) (John Sadler/John Velazquez) - 30/1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (Grade 1, $1,000,000)3YO+ - 1 Mile (Dirt)1. Giant Expectations (Peter Eurton/Jose Ortiz) - 12/12. Improbable (Bob Baffert/Rafael Bejarano) - 3/1 3. Spun to Run (Juan Carlos Guerrero/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 6/1 4. Mr. Money (Bret Calhoun/Gabe Saez) - 6/15. Omaha Beach (Richard Mandella/Mike Smith) - 8/5 6. Ambassadorial (Jane Chapple-Hyam/Jamie Spencer) - 30/1 7. Coal Front (Todd Pletcher/Javier Castellano) - 6/18. Blue Chipper (Kim Young-Kwan/Flavien Prat) - 20/1 9. Diamond Oops (Patrick Biancone/Julien Leparoux) - 15/110. Snapper Sinclair (Steve Asmussen/Ricardo Santana Jr.) - 30/1Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (Grade 1, $2,000,000) 3YO+ Fillies & Mares - 1 1/4 Miles (Turf)1. Iridessa (IRE) (Joseph O'Brien/Wayne Lordan) - 8/12. Sistercharlie (IRE) (Chad Brown/John Velazquez) - 8/5 3. Fleeting (IRE) (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore) - 6/14. Billesdon Brook (GB) (Richard Hannon/Sean Levey) - 10/15. Mirth (Phil D'Amato/Mike Smith) - 20/16. Thais (FR) (Chad Brown/Manny Franco) - 30/1 7. Vasilika (Dan Ward/Flavien Prat) - 8/18. Castle Lady (IRE) (Henri-Alex Pantall/Mickael Barzalona) - 15/1 9. Villa Marina (GB) (Carlos Laffon-Parias/Olivier Peslier) - 8/1 10. Mrs. Sippy (Graham Motion/Joel Rosario) - 8/1 11. Just Wonderful (Aidan O'Brien/William Buick) - 20/1 12. Fanny Logan (IRE) (John Gosden/Frankie Dettori) - 15/1 Breeders' Cup Sprint (Grade 1, $2,000,000)3YO+ - 6 Furlongs (Dirt)1. Catalina Cruiser (John Sadler/Joel Rosario) - 4/1 2. Hog Creek Hustle (Vickie Foley/Mike Smith) - 20/13. Firenze Fire (Jason Servis/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 12/14. Mitole (Steve Asmussen/Ricardo Santana Jr.) - 9/5 5. Engage (Steve Asmussen/John Velazquez) - 15/1 6. Shancelot (Jorge Navarro/Jose Ortiz) - 4/1 7. Whitmore (Ron Moquett/Flavien Prat) - 15/1 8. Landeskog (Doug O'Neill/Abel Cedillo) - 12/1 9. Imperial Hint (Luis Carvajal Jr./Javier Castellano) - 4/110. Matera Sky (Hideyuki Mori/Yutaka Take) - 30/1 Breeders' Cup Mile (Grade 1, $2,000,000)3YO+ - 1 Mile (Turf)1. Suedois (David O'Meara/Javier Castellano) - 20/1 2. Lucullan (Kiaran McLaughlin/Luis Saez) - 12/13. Space Traveller (GB) (Ricahrd Fahey/Daniel Tudhope) - 12/1 4. Trais Fluors (GB) (Ken Condon/William Lee) - 20/15. True Valour (IRE) (Simon Callaghan/Drayden Van Dyke) - 20/16. Got Stormy (Mark Casse/Tyler Gaffalione) - 7/2 7. Bolo (Carla Gaines/Julien Leparoux) - 30/1 8. El Tormenta (Gail Cox/Eurico Rosa Da Silva) - 12/1 9. Circus Maximus (IRE) (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore) - 3/1 10. Without Parole (GB) (Chad Brown/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 20/1 11. Uni (GB) (Chad Brown/Joel Rosario) - 7/2 12. Lord Glitters (David O'Meara/Jamie Spencer) - 12/1 13. Hey Gaman (GB) (James Tate/Frankie Dettori) - 12/1 14. Bowies Hero (Phil D'Amato/Flavien Prat) - 12/1 Also Eligible15. Caribou Club (Tom Proctor/Joe Talamo) - 15/1 16. Next Shares (Ricahrd Baltas/John Velazquez) - 30/1 Breeders' Cup Distaff (Grade 1, $2,000,000)3YO+ Fillies & Mares - 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt) 1. Paradise Woods (John Shirreffs/Abel Cedillo) - 5/1 2. Ollie's Candy (John Sadler/Joel Rosario) - 15/1 3. Street Band (Larry Jones/Sophie Doyle) - 10/1 4. Midnight Bisou (Steve Asmussen/Mike Smith) - 6/5 5. Dunbar Road (Chad Brown/Jose Ortiz) - 6/1 6. Wow Cat (CHI) (Chad Brown/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 15/1 7. Secret Spice (Richard Baltas/John Velazquez) - 10/1 8. La Force (GER) (Patrick Gallagher/Drayden Van Dyke) - 30/1 9. Serengeti Empress (Tom Amoss/Flavien Prat) - 12/1 10. Mo See Cal (Peter Miller/Paco Lopez) - 30/1 11. Blue Prize (ARG) (Ignacio Correas IV/Joe Bravo) - 6/1 Breeders' Cup Turf (Grade 1, $4,000,000) 3YO+ - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf)1. Zulu Alpha (Mike Maker/Jose Ortiz) - 20/1 2. Acclimate (Phil D'Amato/Martin Garcia) - 20/1 3. United (Richard Mandella/Flavien Prat) - 20/1 4. Mount Everest (IRE) (Aidan O'Brien/Wayne Lordan) - 15/1 5. Anthony Van Dyck (IRE) (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore) - 3/1 6. Channel Cat (Todd Pletcher/Luis Saez) - 15/1 7. Alounak (FR) (Waldemar Hickst/Clement Lecoeuvre) - 20/1 8. Bandua (Jack Sisterson/Tyler Gaffalione) - 20/1 9. Bricks and Mortar (Chad Brown/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 9/5 10. Old Persian (GB) (Charles Appleby/William Buick) - 4/1 11. Arklow (Brad Cox/Javier Castellano) - 12/1 12. Channel Maker (Bill Mott/John Velazquez) - 10/1 Breeders' Cup Classic (Grade 1, $6,000,000)3YO+ - 1 1/4 Miles (Dirt)1. Math Wizard (Saffie Joseph Jr./Ricardo Santana Jr.) - 30/1 2. Seeking the Soul (Dallas Stewart/Brian Hernandez Jr.) - 20/1 3. Owendale (Brad Cox/Javier Castellano) - 15/1 4. War of Will (Mark Casse/Tyler Gaffalione) - 20/1 5. Yoshida (JPN) (Bill Mott/Mike Smith) - 8/1 6. Elate (Bill Mott/Jose Ortiz) - 6/1 7. Higher Power (John Sadler/Flavien Prat) - 6/1 8. McKinzie (Bob Baffert/Joel Rosario) - 3/1 9. Mongolian Groom (Enebish Ganbat/Abel Cedillo) - 12/1 10. Vino Rosso (Todd Pletcher/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 4/1 11. Code of Honor (Shug McGaughey/John Velazquez) - 4/1

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10.25.2019:

Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) Named Official Aftercare Partner of 2019 Breeders' Cup

The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance has been named the official aftercare partner of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships Nov. 1-2 at Santa Anita Park. The TAA is also an official charity of the Breeders’ Cup, along with TAA-accredited Old Friends, the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, and other nonprofits. During the World Championships, the TAA will present the Marathon Stakes (G2) and will also have a presence at the track with TAA aftercare partner California Retirement Management Account (CARMA). CARMA works with all 11 TAA-accredited organizations in the state of California to safely transition horses from California racetracks into the next phase of their lives. “The Breeders’ Cup has been a proud supporter of the TAA since inception” said Dora Delgado, Executive Vice President, Racing and Nominations, at Breeders’ Cup and a TAA board member. “The TAA is an official charity for Breeders’ Cup again this year and we hope that participants, connections, and fans will support their efforts in caring for our equine athletes after racing.” As a seed money donor, the Breeders’ Cup has been a supporter of the TAA since inception. “The TAA is grateful for the continued support from the Breeders’ Cup, and we are honored to be able to showcase aftercare on a global stage,” TAA President Mike Meuser said. “Best of luck to everyone at the World Championships.” If you're attending or watching the Breeders' Cup this year, consider a one-time $25 donation in honor of BC19 to the TAA and CARMA.    MAKE A DONATION    With a donation, you help: Build: Build an infrastructure of organizations operating with the highest standards. Award: Award millions of dollars in grants earmarked for equine care. Rehome: Assist thousands of horses in finding a new home or career.

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10.24.2019:

October 26 Cross Country Pick 5 Features Belmont and Keeneland

ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday with Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky. It will mark the year's final Cross Country wager.The sequence will include two graded stakes: the Grade 3, $200,000 Bold Ruler for 3-year-olds and upward at Belmont and the Grade 2, $200,000 Hagyard Fayette for 3-year-olds and up at Keeneland.The multi-race wager, hosted by NYRA and featuring a 50-cent minimum, will start with Race 7 at Belmont with a 4:07 p.m. Eastern post time. The allowance event for fillies and mares will see a 12-horse field competing at 1 1/16 miles on the Widener turf course.The second leg is the Bold Ruler, where Maximum Security, for owners Gary and Mary West and trainer Jason Servis, will make his first start since winning the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. Maximum Security, who crossed the wire first in the Kentucky Derby but was demoted to 17th for interference approaching the five-sixteenths marker, will now face a talented field of eight, including graded stakes winners Prince Lucky, Tale of Silence, and Knicks Go in Race 8 at 4:40 p.m.Action will then shift to Keeneland for Race 8 at 4:57 p.m., with a nine-horse allowance field going seven furlongs. Alternating back to Belmont for the third leg, 11 juveniles will compete in the one-mile Awad on the turf at 5:13 p.m. In the Awad, Hall of Fame Trainer Bill Mott will send out two formidable contenders, including maiden debut winner Tiesto and No Lime for owners LRE Racing LLC. The Graham Motion-trained Irish Mias will look to win her second career stakes after capturing the Laurel Futurity on September 21 at Laurel Park.The final leg, the Hagyard Fayette from Keeneland, will feature a talented field of 10, highlighted by multiple graded stakes placed Tom's d'Etat for conditioner Al Stall, Jr. and G M B Racing looking to rebound off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga. Other contenders include the Todd Pletcher-trained Bal Harbour and the Dale Romans-conditioned Mr Freeze.The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. There will be a mandatory payout of the entire pool. Belmont Park/Keeneland Cross Country Pick 5 - October 26:Leg 1 - Belmont, Race 7: (4:07 p.m.)Leg 2 - Belmont, Race 8: Grade 3 Bold Ruler: (4:40 p.m.)Leg 3 - Keeneland, Race 8: (4:57 p.m.)Leg 4 - Belmont, Race 9: Awad (5:13 p.m.)Leg 5 - Keeneland, Grade 2 Haygard Fayette, Race 9: (5:30 p.m.)

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10.23.2019:

2019 Breeders' Cup Pre-Entries Announced

Pre-Entries for all 14 Breeders' Cup Championship Races have been announced.  188 horses were pre-entered for the two-day event. Fields will be drawn and finalized Monday, October 28.  Breeders' Cup ClassicCode of Honor (C. McGaughey III) Elate (W. Mott) - 2nd Preference, Distaff Higher Power (J. Sadler) Math Wizard (S. Joseph Jr. ) McKinzie (B. Baffert) Mongolian Groom (E. Ganbat) Owendale (B. Cox) Seeking the Soul (D. Stewart) Vino Rosso (T. Pletcher) War of Will (M. Casse) Yoshida (JPN) (W. Mott) Breeders' Cup TurfAcclimate (P. D'Amato)Alounak (FR) (W. Hickst) Anthony Van Dyck (IRE) (A. O'Brien) Arklow (B. Cox) Bandua (J. Sisterson) Bricks and Mortar (C. Brown) - 2nd Preference, Mile Channel Cat (T. Pletcher) Channel Maker (W. Mott) Magical (IRE) (A. O'Brien) - 2nd Preference, F&M Turf Mount Everest (IRE) (A. O'Brien)  Mrs. Sippy (G. Motion) - 1st Preference, F&M Turf Old Persian (GB) (C. Appleby) United (R. Mandella) Zulu Alpha (M. Maker) Breeders' Cup DistaffBlue Prize (ARG) (I. Correas)Dunbar Road (C. Brown)Elate (W. Mott) - 1st Preference, ClassicLa Force (GER) (P. Gallagher)Midnight Bisou (S. Asmussen)Mo See Cal (P. Miller) - 2nd Preference, F&M SprintOllie's Candy (J. Sadler)Paradise Woods (J. Shirreffs)Secret Spice (R. Baltas) - 2nd Preference, F&M SprintSerengeti Empress (T. Amoss) - 2nd Preference, F&M SprintStreet Band (L. Jones) Wow Cat (CHI) (C. Brown) Breeders' Cup MileBolo (C. Gaines) Bowies Hero (P. D'Amato) Bricks and Mortar - 1st Preference, Turf Circus Maximus (IRE) (A. O'Brien) El Tormenta (G. Cox) Got Stormy (J. Casse) Hey Gaman (GB) (J. Tate) Iridessa (IRE) (J. O'Brien) - 2nd Preference, F&M Turf Just Wonderful (A. O'Brien) - 1st Preference, F&M Turf Line of Duty (IRE) (C. Appleby)  Lord Glitters (FR) (D. O'Meara) Space Traveller (GB) (R. Fahey) True Valour (S. Callaghan) Uni (GB) (C. Brown) Not Selected - Listed in Order of Preference Suedois (FR) (D. O'Meara) Trais Fluors (GB) (K. Condon) - 2nd Preference, Dirt MileLucullan (K. McLaughlin)Without Parole (GB) (C. Brown)Caribou Club (T. Proctor)Next Shares (R. Baltas)Om (P. Miller) - 1st Preference, Turf Sprint Snapper Sinclair (S. Asmussen) - 1st Preference, Dirt Mile Breeders' Cup SprintCatalina Cruiser (J. Sadler) - 2nd Preference, Dirt Mile  Diamond Oops (P. Biancone) - 2nd Preference, Dirt Mile Engage (S. Asmussen)Firenze Fire (Ja. Servis) - 2nd Preference, Dirt Mile Hog Creek Hustle (V. Foley) - 2nd Preference, Dirt Mile Imperial Hint (L. Carvajal Jr.) Landeskog (D. O'Neill) Matera Sky (H. Mori)Mitole (S. Asmussen) Shancelot (J. Navarro) Whitmore (R. Moquett) - 2nd Preference, Dirt Mile Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf Billesdon Brook (GB) (R. Hannon) Catle Lady (IRE) (H. Pantall) Fanny Logan (IRE) (J. Gosden) Fleeting (IRE) (A. O'Brien)Iridessa (IRE) (J. O'Brien) - 1st Preference, Mile  Just Wonderful (A. O'Brien) - 2nd Preference, Mile  Magical (IRE) (A. O'Brien) - 1st Preference, Turf Mirth (P. D'Amato) Mrs. Sippy (G. Motion) - 2nd Prference, Turf Sistercharlie (IRE) (C. Brown) Thais (FR) (C. Brown) Vasilika (D. Ward) V. Marina (GB) (C. Laffon-Parias) Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile BLue Chipper (K. Young Kwan) Catalina Cruiser (J. Sadler) - 1st Preference, Sprint Coal Front (T. Pletcher) Diamond Oops (P. Biancone) - 1st Preference, Sprint Firenze Fire (Ja. Servis) - 1st Preference, Sprint Giant Expectations (P. Eurton) Hog Creek Hustle (V. Foley) - 1st Preference, Sprint Improbable (B. Baffert) Mr. Money (B. Calhoun) Omaha Beach (R. Mandella) Spun to Run (C. Guerrero) Whitmore (R. Moquett) - 1st Preference, Sprint Not Selected - Listed in Order of PreferenceSnapper Sinclair (S. Asmussen) - 1st Preference, MileTrais Fluors (GB) (K. Condon) - 1st Preference, MileAmbassadorial (J. Chapple-Hyam) Breeders' Cup Turf SprintBelvoir Bay (GB) (P. Miller) Eddie Haskell (M. Glatt) Fairland (IRE) (A. O'Brien) Imprimis (J. Orseno) Legends of War (D. O'Neill) Leinster (G. Arnold II) Om (P. Miller) - 2nd Preference, MilePure Sensation (C. Clement) So Perfect (A. O'Brien) Stormy Liberal (P. Miller) Stubbins (D. O'Neill) Totally Boss (G. Arnold II) Not Selected - Listed in Order of Preference Final Frontier (T. Albertrani) Shekky Shebaz (Ja. Servis) Girls Know Best (E. Kenneally) Double Touch (J. Sadler) Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint Bellafina (S. Callaghan) Come Dancing (C. Martin) Covfefe (B. Cox) Danuska's My Girl (D. Ward) Dawn the Destroyer (K. McLaughlin) Heavenhasmynikki (R. Hess Jr.) Lady Ninja (R. Baltas) Mo See Cal (P. Miller) - 1st Preference, Distaff Secret Spice (R. Baltas) - 1st Preference, Distaff Selcourt (J. Sadler) Serengeti Empress (T. Amoss) - 1st Preference, DistaffSpiced Perfection (P. Miller) Breeders' Cup Juvenile American Theorem (G. Papaprodromou) - 2nd Preference, Juvenile Turf Anneau d'Or (B. Wright) - 1st Preference, Juvenile Turf Billy Batts (P. Miller) - 1st Preference, Juvenile TurfDennis' Moment (D. Romans) Eight Rings (B. Baffert) Full Flat (H. Mori) - 1st Preference, Juvenile Turf Sprint King Neptune (A. O'Brien) - 1st Preference, Juvenile Turf Sprint Maxfield (B. Walsh) Scabbard (E. Kenneally) Shoplifted (S. Asmussen) Storm the Court (P. Eurton) Wrecking Crew (P. Miller) Breeders' Cup Juvenile TurfAmerican Theorem (G. Papaprodromou) - 1st Preference, Juvenile Andesite (B. Cox) Arizona (IRE) (A. O'Brien) Decorated Invader (C. Clement) Encoder (J. Sadler) - 1st Preference, Juvenile Turf Sprint Fort Myers (A. O'Brien) Graceful Kitten (A.M. Sanchez) Hit the Road (D. Blacker) Our Country (G. Weaver) Peace Achieved (M. Casse) Royal Dornoch (IRE) (A. O'Brien) Structor (C. Brown) Vitalogy (GB) (B. Walsh) War Beast (D. O'Neill) Not Selected - Listed in Order of PreferenceBilly Batts (P. Miller) - 2nd Preference, Juvenile Gear Jockey (G. Arnold II) Proven Strategies (M. Casse) Embolden (M. Stidham) - 1st Preference, Juvenile Turf Sprint Deviant (D. Pish) New World Tapestry (A. O'Brien) Anneau d'Or (B. Wright) - 2nd Preference, Juvenile Breeders' Cup Juvenile FilliesBast (B. Baffert) British Idiom (B. Cox) Comical (D. O'Neill) Donna Veloce (S. Callaghan) Etoile (A. O'Brien) - 1stPreference, Juvenile Fillies Turf  K P Dreamin (J. Mullins) Lazy Daisy (D. O'Neill) Perfect Alibi (M. Casse) Two Sixty (M. Casse) Wicked Whisper (S. Asmussen) Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies TurfAbscond (E. Kenneally) Albigna (IRE) (M.J. Harrington) Alms (M. Stidham) Crystalle (J. Kimmel) Daahyeh (GB) (R. Varian) Etoile (A. O'Brien) - 2nd Preference, Juvenile Fillies Fair Maiden (E. Harty) - 2nd Preference, Juvenile Turf Sprint Living In The Past (IRE) (K. Burke) Selflessly (C. Brown) Shadn (IRE) (A. Balding) Sharing (G. Motion) Sweet Melania (T. Pletcher) Tango (IRE) (A. O'Brien) Walk In Marrakesh (IRE) (I. Correas) Not Selected - Listed in Order of PreferencePrecious Moments (IRE) (A. O'Brien) Croughavouke (IRE) (J. Mullins) Princesa Caroline (C. Brown) Unforgetable (IRE) (J. O'Brien) Applecross (IRE) (R. Baltas) Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint A'Ali (IRE) (S. Crisford) Al Raya (S. Crisford) Another Miracle (G. Contessa) Band Practice (IRE) (A. Watson) Cambria (W. Ward) Chimney Rock (M. Maker) Dr Simpson (FR) (T. Dascombe) Dream Shot (IRE) (J. Tate) Fair Maiden (E. Harty) - 1st Preference, Juvenile Fillies Turf Four Wheel Drive (W. Ward) Kimari (W. Ward) King Neptune (A. O'Brien) - 2nd Preference, Juvenile Not Selected - Listed in Order of Preference Alligator Alley (GB) (J. O'Brien) Encoder (J. Sadler) - 2nd Preference, Juvenile TurfMiss J McKay (C. Lynch) Freewheeler (T. Pletcher)Bulletproof One (P. Miller)Air Force Jet (GB) (J. O'Brien)Embolden (M. Stidham) - 2nd Preference, Juvenile TurfPistoletto (A. O'Brien)Jack and Noah (FR) (M. Casse)Fore Left (D. O'Neill)Karak (W. Ward)Leucothea (P. Miller)Axiomo (M. Yanakov)Full Flat (H. Mori) - 2nd Preference, Juvenile

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10.23.2019:

Multiple G1 Winner Maximum Security Headlines G3 Bold Ruler

ELMONT, N.Y. - Gary and Mary West's multiple Grade 1-winner Maximum Security will make his Belmont Park debut in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Bold Ruler, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and upward on closing weekend of the fall meet. Trained by Jason Servis, the New Year's Day colt has crossed the wire first in six of seven career starts, including Grade 1 scores in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in March and the Haskell Invitational last out on July 20 at Monmouth Park. The front-running bay graduated at first asking by 9 3/4-lengths in a key maiden $16,000 claimer in December at Gulfstream that saw third-place finisher Math Wizard also reach prominence in September with a score in the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx. Maximum Security dominated a pair of optional-claiming tilts at Gulfstream ahead of his Florida Derby coup and left the gate in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs as the 9-2 second choice. With regular pilot Luis Saez up, Maximum Security led gate-to-wire in the first leg of the Triple Crown, but was demoted to 17th for interference approaching the five-sixteenths marker. He returned to action on June 16 in the Pegasus at Monmouth Park, where he stumbled from the gate and was beaten to the wire for the first time by multiple stakes winner King for a Day. In the nine-furlong Haskell, Maximum Security returned to his dominant form when besting Mucho Gusto by 1 1/4-lengths. With victories ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/8-miles, the versatile Maximum Security returns to a sprint distance for the first time since an 18 1/2-length score in a seven-furlong optional-claimer at Gulfstream on February 20. The Servis trainee, who had to scratch from the Pennsylvania Derby due to a bout of colic, enjoyed a strong gallop on the Belmont training track Sunday and the veteran conditioner said Maximum Security should enjoy a slight turnback as he prepares for a fall campaign. "It was great," said Servis of the training session. "I like the cut back. He's won at this distance. All systems are go." Saez retains the mount from the inside post. To capture the Bold Ruler, which will serve as key prep for the Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile set for December 7 at Aqueduct Racetrack, Maximum Security will have to topple a talented field of eight, led by graded-stakes winners Tale of Silence, Killybegs Captain, Prince Lucky and Knicks Go. Charles Fipke homebred Tale of Silence, a 5-year-old Tale of the Cat bay, made the grade in the Grade 3 Westchester in May 2018. A Belmont specialist with a record of three wins and one second from seven starts on Big Sandy, Tale of Silence finished fourth last out in the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap on September 21. In 2010, Tagg finished second in the Bold Ruler with Fipke homebred Jersey Town ahead of a 34-1 upset in the Cigar Mile. The veteran conditioner said Tale of Silence posted a strong bullet breeze in 48.33 on the Belmont main on Tuesday. "He had a sharp blowout. He's a fast horse," said Tagg. "He's not a top horse yet, but we're hoping he'll start to improve. I like the distance for him. Our goal with him is the Cigar Mile." Junior Alvarado will pilot the Barclay Tagg-trainee for the first time from post 2. Killybegs Captain, trained by John Terranova for Curragh Stables, boasts a record of 6-5-3 from 24 career starts. The 5-year-old Mizzen Mast gelding arrives at the Bold Ruler from a three-quarter length score in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash, a six-furlong sprint held September 21 at Laurel Park. Eric Cancel retains the mount from post 6. Daniel McConnell's ultra-consistent homebred Prince Lucky, trained by Todd Pletcher, has won seven of 14 career starts while banking $593,570 in purse earnings. Bred in Pennsylvania, the 4-year-old Corinthian gelding is 3-for-6 this season, including scores in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope at Gulfstream and Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Mile. The versatile Prince Lucky captured the 1 1/16-mile State Dinner on July 7 at Belmont and last out finished a game second in the Kelso. Hall of Famer John Velazquez will guide Prince Lucky from the outermost post. KRA Stud Farm's Knicks Go enters the Bold Ruler seeking his first win since registering a gate-to-wire score last October in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland at odds of 70-1. Trained by Ben Colebrook, the 3-year-old Paynter colt was a game second in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs before a string of five off-the-board efforts in graded events. Following a prominent second in the Ellis Park Derby in August, Knicks Go ran fourth in the Grade 3 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs in September and was second last out, on October 4, in a Keeneland allowance sprint won by well-regarded Looking At Bikinis. Knicks Go will emerge from post 5 under Dylan Davis. Calumet Farm's True Timber, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, ran second to No Dozing in this event last year. The 5-year-old son of Mineshaft has amassed $836,550 in purse earning despite never having won a stakes event. With a record of 4-4-5 from 20 starts, True Timber finished third in the Grade 3 Jerome and second in the Grade 3 Withers at the Big A as a sophomore. Last year, he rallied to be second in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile. He ran third last out in the Kelso with a prominent trip under Joe Bravo. "He broke sharp last time and was there. Going seven-eighths, he probably won't be as close. We're just happy to have him back off the long layoff," said McLaughlin. "He ran pretty well in the Kelso and we're hoping he'll run well again on Saturday. "He just missed in the Cigar Mile last year. He's a beautiful horse," added McLaughlin. "It's hard to see him finish second, third and fourth in these races - he deserves a win." Bravo will pilot True Timber from post 4. Rounding out the field are Diamond King (Jose Ortiz, post 7) and Wonderful Light (Manny Franco, post 3). The Bold Ruler is slated as Race 8 on Saturday's 10-race card, which also features the $100,000 English Channel in Race 5 and $100,000 Awad in Race 9.

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10.22.2019:

G1 Pegasus Turf Still on Radar for Glorious Empire

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - An injury kept Matthew Schera’s Grade 1 winner Glorious Empire out of the inaugural $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park, but his connections are hoping to be there for the second go-around in January.Trainer James ‘Chuck’ Lawrence II said the 1 3/16-mile Pegasus Turf for 3-year-olds and up – won in January by Bricks and Mortar, one of the leading contenders for 2019 Horse of the Year – remains on the radar for Glorious Empire.“The Pegasus is still our main goal, if he jumps back up to that status again,” Lawrence said. “That’s the goal right now, and we’ll see how he does.”Glorious Empire is winless in two starts this year, finishing sixth as the favorite in the one-mile Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3) Sept. 21 at Laurel Park, his first race in more than nine months. Last out, he ran fifth in the 1 1/8-mile Knickerbocker (G3) Oct. 14 at Belmont Park.Last year, Glorious Empire was an Eclipse Award finalist for champion male turf horse following a campaign that saw him win four of six starts and $767,830 in purse earnings, including the Sword Dancer (G1) and Bowling Green (G2) at Saratoga. He capped the year with a convincing triumph in the Fort Lauderdale (G2) at Gulfstream, besting a field that included 13 graded-stakes winners, five of them Grade 1.Glorious Empire exited the Fort Lauderdale with a tear in his right front suspensory ligament. He underwent an innovative procedure that included minor surgery Jan. 5 and a stem cell infusion to promote healing.“He ran the other day and we weren’t quite sure what happened,” Lawrence said. “He scoped good. He’s come back from the injury and you can tell from the works I’ve been a second or two slower with him, and maybe I just didn’t have him tight enough.”Lawrence said the suspensory has not been an issue and he is looking ahead to a possible return trip to Gulfstream for the $200,000 Fort Lauderdale Dec. 14, contested at 1 1/8 miles, as Glorious Empire’s Pegasus prep. The 1 3/8-mile Red Smith (G3) Nov. 23 at Aqueduct is also a possibility.“We scanned his suspensory and it’s 100 percent,” Lawrence said. “Whether we do the Red Smith or the Fort Lauderdale, we’ll leave it up to him.”

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10.17.2019:

October 19 Cross Country Pick 5 Features Belmont and Far Hills

ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and Far Hills will partner on Saturday to offer horseplayers an all-stakes Cross Country Pick 5. Saturday's card at Belmont is the unique all New York-bred Empire Showcase Day, including eight stakes races highlighted by the $300,000 Empire Classic for 3-year-olds and upward, while the Far Hills meet will also feature a seven-race all-stakes card. Far Hills will host the first three legs of the sequence, which begins with the $100,000 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle. Carded as Race 4 with a 3 p.m. Eastern post time, the 2 ½-mile event will feature graded stakes placed Snap Decision for conditioner Jack Fisher and owner Bruton Street-US. Snap Decision will seek his fourth consecutive victory facing nine competitors after most recently capturing the William Entenmann Memorial on September 18 at Belmont Park. A full field of 11 will compete in the next leg, the $50,000 New Jersey Hunt Cup. Scheduled as Race 5 with a 3:40 p.m. post. The 1 ½ mile race features graded stakes winner Renown for owner Jack Doyle and trainer Elizabeth Voss. Top contenders include Show Court for Hall of Fame trainer Kingsley Archibald; Douglas Road for trainer Arnaud Delacour; and Decisive Triumph for conditioner Mark Beecher. Concluding the sequence at Far Hills is the Grade 1, $450,000 Grand National. The 2 5/8 mile event carded as Race 6 with a 4:20 post features a full field of 12 runners. Conditioner Ricky Hendriks entered a formidable pair in Surprising Soul owned by his mother Wendy Hendriks, who won the Grade 1 Lonesome Glory Handicap on September 19 at Belmont in his most recent start and The Holy One for owner Rosbrian Farm with the 6-year-old entering off a third-place finish in a novice stakes at Killarney on August 23. Other top contenders include Modem for trainer Elizabeth Voss, who most recently finished sixth in the Grade 1 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap on August 22 at Saratoga; Scorpiancer for conditioner Jack Fisher, who won the Grade 1 Calvin Houghland Iroquois on May 11 at Percy Warner and followed with a fifth-place finish in the Lonesome Glory; and Jury Dury for trainer Gordon Elliott and Sideways Syndicate, who finished sixth in the PWC Champion Steeplechase on October 5 at Gowran Park. The Cross Country Pick 5 sequence will then shift to Belmont Park for the remaining two legs. The $200,000 Ticonderoga, carded as Race 9 with a 4:48 pm. post time, is a 1 1/16 mile event for fillies and mares 3-years-old and upward featuring graded stakes winner Fifty Five for owner Peter Brant and conditioner Chad Brown. The talented Fifty Five is in search of her fourth win from five starts this year coming in off a win in the John Hettinger on September 22 at Belmont, where she bested fellow entrant War Canoe by three-quarters of a length. Also entered among the nine-horse field is Kid Is Frosty for trainer Brad Cox for Bad Boy Racing LLC.; English Soul for trainer Ray Handal and Zilla Racing Stables; and Munchkin Money and Wegetsdamunnys for trainer Christophe Clement. Concluding the sequence will be the $250,000 Empire Distaff. The one-mile event for fillies and mares, carded as Race 10 on Saturday's Belmont card, features an 11-horse field led by multiple stakes winner Newly Minted for Beach Haven Thoroughbreds and conditioner Linda Rice.Listed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite, Newly Minted started her career with three straight victories before running third when trying turf for the first time in the Cupecoy's Joy on September 22. She returned to win the Fleet Indian on August 23 at Saratoga and will look to improve her record to five wins from six starts.Rice also entered Midnight Disguise for owners Dr. William Wilmot and Dr. Joan Taylor off a third-place finish in the Dancin Renee on June 15 at Belmont. Other standouts in the field include Out of Orbit and Held Accountable for trainer Phil Serpe; Bonita Bianca for trainer Jason Servis; and Ratajkowski for trainer Brian Lynch. The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. There will be a mandatory payout of the entire pool.Belmont Park - Far Hills Cross Country Pick 5Leg 1: Far Hills (Race 4, 3:00 p.m; $100,000 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle)Leg 2: Far Hills (Race 5, 3:40 p.m.; $50,000 New Jersey Hunt Cup)Leg 3: Far Hills (Race 6; 4:20 p.m.; Grade 1, $450,000 Grand National)Leg 4: Belmont Park (Race 9; 4:48 p.m.; $200,000 Ticonderoga)Leg 5: Belmont Park (Race 10 5:20 p.m.; $250,00 Empire Distaff)

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10.17.2019:

Saratoga Bob Back to Defend Title in Maryland Million Classic

LAUREL, MD – Robert Manfuso, Wayne Harrison and Katy Voss’ Saratoga Bob, who earned the biggest victory of his career in last year’s Maryland Million, will make his first start in 20 weeks as he goes about defending his title in Saturday’s $150,000 Classic at Laurel Park.Run at 1 1/8 miles over the main track, the Classic for 3-year-olds and up serves to highlight the 34th annual Jim McKay Maryland Million Day program, one of seven stakes and four starter stakes worth $1.02 million in purses that help comprise ‘Maryland’s Day at the Races,’ named for the late Hall of Fame and 13-time Emmy Award-winning broadcaster who helped launch the groundbreaking concept in 1986.Post time for the first of 12 races is noon.A total of 155 horses were entered on the program, an average of 12.9 per race. Five races are scheduled for Laurel’s world-class turf course, attracting 68 entries, an average of 13.6 per race.Bred by Manfuso and Voss, who also trains the 5-year-old Friesan Fire gelding, Saratoga Bob was third choice in a field of 10 for last year’s Classic, prevailing by a half-length in 1:51.28. It was Voss’ first Classic win and the third for jockey Edgar Prado, moving him past retired fellow Hall of Famer Ramon Dominguez for most Maryland Million wins with 18.“That was fantastic. It was very special,” Voss said. “I don’t know how tough a race it was last year and I don’t know that it’ll be much tougher this year. I think we’ve got a shot, but we don’t have any grand expectations with him not having a race under his belt for 4 ½ months. We’ll just have to see.”Saratoga Bob has raced exclusively at Laurel, with four wins, three seconds and four thirds from 16 starts, and a lifetime bankroll of $231,832. This will be his first time back in stakes company and only his second try at 1 1/8 miles since the Classic.This year, Saratoga Bob has one win from five starts, coming in his season opener Feb. 3. He last raced June 1 in a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance, finishing fifth in only his second career try on the turf. Voss pre-entered Saratoga Bob in both the $125,000 Maryland Million Turf and $100,000 Maryland Million Sprint, run at eight and seven furlongs, respectively.“I actually considered running him in the Turf, just because it was a mile and he hasn’t run in so long,” Voss said. “He doesn’t deal with the hot weather very well, so we had planned to give him the summer off. We had hoped to get him a prep race but he had a couple different things to deal with and then the prep race didn’t go, so we’re going into the Classic without it. But, he’s doing good, knock on wood.”Without a prep, Voss adjusted Saratoga Bob’s training to include two longer works, both from the gate, leading up to the Classic. He went seven furlongs in 1:26.60 Oct. 5 and one mile in 1:40.80 Oct. 12.“A couple weeks ago I worked him gate to wire out of the starting gate and then, when it looked like we were heading to the Classic, I went ahead and worked him a mile last Saturday,” Voss said. “He’s doing well. He’s a decent work horse, [but] getting a race under his belt would have made a big difference.”Saratoga Bob, 9-2 in the morning line, will see four familiar faces from last year’s Classic – runner-up Dothat Dance, third-place finisher Clubman, Legend’s Hope and Tattooed. Burning Daylight Farms’ Dothat Dance will be making his third Maryland Million start, also having finished fifth in the 2017 Turf. His lone win this year came in a May 11 starter-optional claimer at Pimlico Race Course.Caonabo Stable’s multiple stakes winner Clubman, the 2-1 morning-line favorite, is back for his third straight try at the Classic but first for trainer Rodolfo Sanchez-Salomon. Last year and 2017, when he ran fourth, came for previous trainer Jonathan Maldonado.“He has run great in this race the last two years,” Sanchez-Salomon said. “He is doing great. We’ve got a really good shot in there. Hopefully, we get a little bit lucky and get a good trip and win the race.”A gelded 5-year-old son of Not For Love, the Maryland Million’s all-time leading sire with 36 wins, Clubman exits a fourth behind Grade 3-placed Cordmaker in the DTHA Governors Day Handicap Sept. 28 at Delaware Park, which came off a string of bullet workouts at Laurel.“The last race, he didn’t grab the bridle for some reason. He likes to be ridden a certain way, and he didn’t run that day,” Sanchez-Salomon said. “When he runs here, he’s a different horse. He’s doing awesome right now.”Clubman owns six of his nine career wins from 25 starts at Laurel, though his two stakes wins have come out of town. He won the seven-furlong Russell Road April 20 at Charles Town and romped by 9 ½ lengths in the 6 ½-furlong Maryland Coalition at Timonium Aug. 24. Julian Pimentel, aboard for that win, gets the return call. Pimentel ranks fifth as one of only five jockeys with double-digit Maryland Million wins (13), but has never won the Classic.“He won the Timonium race for fun. After the last race he ran at Delaware, he was kicking the stall down. He didn’t get to run at all, and it was disappointing because he was doing awesome,” Sanchez-Salomon said. “Julian came to two-minute lick him last Saturday, and he dragged him all the way around.”Among the newcomers is Shirley Lojeski’s homebred Forest Fire, looking to give Friesan Fire his second straight Classic win as a sire. The 4-year-old gelding comes in on a two-race win streak, both by a neck in optional claiming allowance spots at Parx going one mile and a mile and 70 yards.“He’s doing really good,” Kentucky Derby (G1)-winning trainer John Servis said. “He breezed the other day and went really good. I couldn’t be happier with him. He’s shown us that he deserves a shot.”Forest Fire raced twice at Laurel last winter, winning an optional claiming allowance in the mud and finishing second to V.I.P. Code, beaten less than a length in the 1 1/16-mile Private Terms Stakes. He missed some time after that race and again this year, but Servis said the horse has put those issues behind him.“He came up with a little issue last year and we had to stop on him. Then we brought him back and just thought that maybe he didn’t come back the same, but actually there was another issue that we had to address,” Servis said. “We got that straightened out and he came back and knocked out two wins, back to back. He’s back on track and doing good.”Servis also pre-entered Forest Fire in the Turf. Six-for-12 lifetime, he has always shown Servis the same kind of heart he displayed in each of his last two wins.“He loves to fight. He loves it. In the morning, even before he ever ran, he’d put a neck in front and then he’d throw his ears up and get to waiting on horses, and as soon as horses would come to him he’d jump right back in the bridle again. He’s always been a horse that’s been real game like that, Servis said.“When we first tried him in the [Private Terms], he got beat and he ran really game. He dug in and ran hard. And the race before that was the same kind of race. A horse hooked him, he looked like he was beat and he dug back in again,” he added. “He’s sitting on go. He’s ready.”Rounding out the field are Crouchelli; Prendemi, Monmouth Park stakes winner this spring and summer; Tappin Cat, second by a half-length in the Star de Naskra Stakes Aug. 17 at Laurel; Torch of Truth, racing third off the claim for trainer Jamie Ness; and Trifor Gold, a distant second to Alwaysmining in the Federico Tesio Stakes April 20.Maryland-breds on the also-eligible list, and only able to draw in if the main body of the race drops below eight Maryland Million-certified horses, are, in order: multiple stakes winner Cordmaker, third by two necks in the Pimlico Special (G3) in May; Top Line Growth, this summer’s promoted winner of the Iowa Derby who ran third in the Sept. 2 Smarty Jones (G3); and 2017 Classic winner Bonus Points.

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10.15.2019:

Gulfstream Park West has $163K Double Late Pick 5 Carryover on Thursday

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – For the second day in a row, there were no tickets with all five winners of the Late Pick 5 at Gulfstream Park West Monday, producing a double carryover of $163,572.30 for Thursday’s program.   There was a carryover of $31,618.53 when Late Pick 5 betting started Monday, when $206,987 was bet into the multi-race wager that spanned Race 5-9.Tickets will four of five winners were each worth $2,404.05.The Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 11th consecutive racing day at Gulfstream Park West, producing a $127,086.93 carryover jackpot for Thursday’s program.Rainbow 6 tickets with five out of six winners were each worth $3,600.86.The carryover jackpot is only paid out when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 70 percent of that day’s pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners, while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool.The Rainbow 6 was solved at Gulfstream Park for a $2.2 million jackpot Sept. 27 after going unsolved for 47 consecutive racing days.The Rainbow 6 will span Races 3-8, while the Late Pick 5 will span Races 4-8 on Thursday’s card.There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $1,109.50 heading into Thursday’s card.First-time starter Irish Expectations lit up the tote board in Race 9, paying $142.60 for a $2 win ticket and creating a double Late Pick 5 carryover for Thursday’s program,. Irish Expectations keyed a 10-11-4 trifecta that returned $52,335.60 for a 50-cent bet.

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10.13.2019:

Laurel Park Gearing Up for 34th Maryland Million Day Program

LAUREL, MD – Following a special nine-race Columbus Day holiday program Monday, Oct. 14, Laurel Park will begin gearing up for the 34th edition of the Jim McKay Maryland Million Day program Saturday, Oct. 19.A total of 246 horses were pre-entered for ‘Maryland’s Day at the Races,’ which features seven stakes and four starter stakes worth $1.02 million as part of a 12-race program that serves to showcase the state’s rich horse industry which dates back to the founding of the Maryland Jockey Club in 1743.Entries will be taken and post positions drawn Wednesday, Oct. 16 in the Laurel Park clubhouse. Offering food, live music and race analysis and insights, the draw runs from 4 to 6 p.m. and will be streamed live at www.laurelpark.com. The Maryland Million Gala Reception and Auction takes place Friday, Oct. 18 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at The Maryland Club in downtown Baltimore, to benefit the Maryland Horse Industry Foundation. The MHIF was chartered in 1988 by the Maryland Horse Breeders Association to serve various educational and charitable needs of the Maryland horse industry.Since 1986, Maryland Million Ltd. has paid more than $33 million in purses and awards. It was founded by the late Hall of Fame and 13-time Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Jim McKay as a Breeders’ Cup-style event to spotlight the stallions of his adopted home.The richest race of the day is the $150,000 Classic for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles, where Saratoga Bob was pre-entered to defend his 2018 victory. Dothat Dance and Clubman, second and third, respectively, last year were also pre-entered, along with 2017 winner Bonus Points.My Sistersledge can become just the seventh horse in event history to capture three Maryland Million races with a third straight triumph in the $125,000 Ladies for fillies and mares 3 and up going 1 1/8 miles over Laurel’s world-class turf course.The $125,000 Turf for 3-year-olds and up going one mile figures to be a wide-open affair with the recent retirement of two-time winners Phlash Phelps and Talk Show Man. Multiple Grade 3 winner Call Paul and defending champion Lewisfield are each pre-entered in the $100,000 Sprint for 3-year-olds and up at seven furlongs.

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10.9.2019:

Sweet Melania Romps in G2 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine

Robert and Lawana Low’s Sweet Melania moved to the lead on the backstretch and then drew off in the stretch to post a 5½-length victory over Witez in the 29th running of the $200,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G2) for 2-year-olds fillies before a Wednesday afternoon crowd of 9,583.The victory, by the largest margin in the history of the race, earned Sweet Melania a fees-paid berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) to be contested at a mile on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita. The JPMorgan Chase Jessamine was the final Breeders’ Cup Challenge race for this year’s World Championships.Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Jose Ortiz, Sweet Melania covered the 1 1/16 miles on a turf course labeled as good in 1:43.13. It is the fourth victory in the race for Pletcher, who won previously with Ocean Drive in 2002, Paddy’s Daisy in 2004 and J’ray in 2005.It is the 55th Keeneland stakes victory for Pletcher, the track’s leader in that category.It is the first victory in the race for Ortiz, who has won three graded stakes in the first four days of the Fall Meet.Favored Jezebel’s Kitten led the field into the first turn with Sweet Melania in closest pursuit through a first quarter-mile in :23.29. Midway on the backstretch, Sweet Melania moved to the front and maintained a comfortable advantage over Jezebel’s Kitten until the top of the stretch where Sweet Melania kicked clear to put the race away.The victory was worth $120,000 and increased Sweet Melania’s earnings to $204,000 with a record of 5-2-1-2.A graduate of Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale, Sweet Melania is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah out of the Discreet Cat mare Sweet N Discreet.Sweet Melania returned $8, $5.20 and $3.80 as the second choice in the field of 14. Witez, ridden by Calvin Borel, returned $29.40 and $14.80 in finishing three-quarters of a length in front of Ask Bailey, who paid $8.20 to show under Corey Lanerie.Jezebel’s Kitten was another 1¼ lengths back in fourth and was followed in order by Eye of a Soldier, Morning Gold, Diamond Sparkles, Swanage, Indochine, High On Gin, Fujairah, Takeitback, Envied and Lemon Scat.

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10.7.2019:

Sistercharlie Wins Again; Takes Belmont's G1 Flower Bowl

ELMONT, N.Y. - For the sixth consecutive time, Peter Brant's ultra-consistent Sistercharlie outclassed a Grade 1 field. The Chad Brown trainee stayed off the speed set by stablemate Thais, gained command in the stretch and fended off Mrs. Sippy's late challenge from the outside for a three-quarter length victory in Sunday's Grade 1 $500,000 Flower Bowl for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at Belmont Park.Sistercharlie's winning-streak extending effort in the Flower Bowl's 42nd running - one of three Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" races on Sunday's 10-race docket - earned the Irish-bred Myboycharlie mare an all-fees paid trip to the Grade 1, $2 million Filly and Mare Turf on November 2 at Santa Anita Park, where she will look to repeat after winning the 2018 edition at Churchill Downs.Off as the heavy 1-5 favorite, Sistercharlie, under Hall of Famer John Velazquez, settled in fourth position as the Brown-trained Thais opened up a large initial lead in the seven-horse field, going an opening quarter-mile in 24.21 seconds and the half in 49.17 on the firm inner turf.Velazquez tipped Sistercharlie out slightly along the backstretch, moving her up to third with three-quarters going in 1:15.31. Out of the final turn, Sistercharlie was set down and overtook Thais from the outside. Velazquez urged her to the wire with the Graham Motion-trained Mrs. Sippy making a strong bid to her outside, but it wasn't enough as Sistercharlie completed 1 ¼ miles in a final time of 1:39.35.Sistercharlie, who has finished off the board just once in 14 career starts, has not lost since running second to stablemate Fourstar Crook in the Grade 2 New York on June 8, 2018 at Belmont. Since then, the now 5-year-old has won a half-dozen Grade 1 starts at four different tracks [Belmont, Churchill, Arlington Park, Saratoga Race Course] and at four different distances ranging from 1 1/8 miles to 1 3/8 miles."We're very lucky to have her. She did everything she needed to do. She was 0-for-2 at Belmont going in. Even though it was only by short margins both times to two other of our nice horses, she was nevertheless winless here," said Brown, who saddled Fourstar Crook to a Flower Bowl win last year and has won the race five times in the last six runnings. "The case could be made that this isn't her favorite course, but she got the job done. "We're pretty confident [in the Breeders' Cup] as long as she stays healthy," Brown added. "I don't think we've reached the bottom of her. Some of the setbacks that she's had have been a bit disappointing, but it's kept her fresh so it really goes both ways." Sistercharlie returned $2.40 on a $2 win wager. She improved to 10-3-0 lifetime and increased her career bankroll to $3,482,003."She's been very good. She's done everything we've asked of her and I'm proud to be a part of it with Chad and Peter. She's incredible," said Velazquez, a now five-time Flower Bowl winner. "I didn't feel like they were going very fast in front," he continued. "The two horses in front of me kept slowing down and obviously [Thais] just opened up. She was on the bridle and she's never on the bridle. I tried to leave her where she was comfortable and let her go from there."Andrew Stone's Mrs. Sippy, fresh off a win in the Grade 2 Glens Falls on August 31 at Saratoga, finished 2 ½ lengths clear of Thais for second. It was the 4-year-old Blame filly's second North American start since arriving from England. "She really put a nice run in at the end," said Mrs. Sippy jockey Joel Rosario. "I followed Sistercharlie the whole time and she dug in and came with a run, but Sistercharlie was just too strong. It was a nice race."Completing the order of finish was Lantiz, Beau Belle, Ferdinanda and Empress of the Nile.

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10.7.2019:

Wicked Whisper Proves Uncatchable in Belmont's G1 Frizette

ELMONT, N.Y. - Alex and JoAnn Lieblong's Wicked Whisper remained undefeated with a convincing score in the 72nd running of the Grade 1, $400,000 Frizette on Sunday to close out the two-day Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Racing Festival at Belmont Park.The one-turn mile for juvenile fillies offered an all-fees paid berth to the Grade 1, $2 million Breeder's Cup Juvenile Fillies on November 1 at Santa Anita Park. It also serves as New York's first prep race on the "Road to the Kentucky Oaks," with Wicked Whisper earning 10 qualifying points for the 2020 Grade 1 contest on May 1 at Churchill Downs.Wicked Whisper broke sharply under Joel Rosario and set easy splits of 22.91 seconds and 46.49 for the half-mile on the main track rated fast. Miss Marissa pressed the pace in second with California shipper Quality Response in third and multiple graded-stakes placed Frank's Rockette, with Hall of Famer John Velazquez up, rating outside in fourth through the early stages.Wicked Whisper traveled comfortably through the turn, opening up a 1 ½-length lead at the stretch call as Frank's Rockette made a wide move with Ice Princess and Slam Dunk following her lead.Frank's Rockette rallied in vain down the lane but could not reel in a free-wheeling Wicked Whisper, who scored by 2 ¾-lengths in a final time of 1:35.92.Rosario was full of praise for Wicked Whisper's bold effort."She relaxed good and was able to have a little extra in the last part," said Rosario. "There was a lot of speed. I was going to break and see; if someone went, maybe [I'd] lay second or third. She had nice cruising speed right away and I just decided to go on with her."Every time I asked her, she was there for me," he added. "It was her first time going a mile, so you just want something for the last part. She responded and just kept going. The more I asked, the more she was going. She looks like she's real spirited and looking around and enjoying herself."Frank's Rockette earned 4 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points in second, finishing  3 ¼-lengths in front of Slam Dunk (2 points), with Ice Princess (1 point) in fourth. Rounding out the order of finish were Daphne Moon, Miss Marissa and Quality Response.Velazquez said he had a good trip with the hard-trying Frank's Rockette."She was real aggressive the first part of the race and I decided to stay there and lay fourth," said Velazquez. "I just sat there on the outside and made one run with her and she ran really well. The other horse just got the better of us."Toby Sheets, assistant to Asmussen, said the team will take some time before deciding if they venture on to the Breeders Cup with Wicked Whisper."We're going to enjoy the moment and go from there and take it one step at a time," said Sheets. "She's a very nice and classy horse. She does everything correct. All I said to Joel was she's classy and 'good luck'"I didn't have any concerns because they were going easy," he added. "That was very easy for her and she finished great."The chestnut daughter of Liam's Map, bred in Kentucky by Siena Farms, banked $220,000 in victory. She returned $7.90 for a $2 win ticket.

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10.7.2019:

Four Wheel Drive Cruises to Victory in G3 Futurity Stakes at Belmont

ELMONT, N.Y. - Sent off as the overwhelming 4-5 post-time favorite, Breeze Easy LLC's Four Wheel Drive powered by the competition to win Sunday's Grade 3, $150,000 Futurity at Belmont Park and earn an all-expenses paid berth to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint on November 1 at Santa Anita Park.Breaking alertly from post 4 with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard, Four Wheel Drive grabbed an early lead before Jack and Noah shot to the front, setting swift fractions of 21.62 seconds for the opening quarter-mile with the half in 44.33. Jack and Noah remained in front late in the turn with Four Wheel Drive sent under a drive shifting to the four-path to meet the leader at the top of the stretch. Securing the lead at the eighth-pole, Four Wheel Drive extended away to win by 3 lengths. He completed the six-furlong distance in a final time of 1:08.07 over a firm turf course."I worked him before this race and I put him behind horses. He always worked good like that and relaxed. When I asked him, he would take off like an older horse. He has a good mind," said Ortiz, Jr. "So [today], I didn't panic. I just let him break wherever he is comfortable and then go from there because I know he didn't have to be on the lead. He relaxed well and when I asked, he turned on."Four Wheel Drive remains unbeaten in two career starts after successfully winning his debut in the Rosie's on August 31 at Colonial Downs. The Wesley Ward trained son of American Pharoah, bred in Kentucky by Glenvale Stud, returned $3.50 for a $2 win wager and boosted his career earnings to $142,500."Hopefully, he comes out of the race well," said Mike Hall, co-owner of Breeze Easy, LLC. "It will be our first Breeders' Cup starter. We had Shang Shang Shang last year, but he came up a little off the day of the race, so hopefully, this one makes the dream come true. The plan was for him to just sit chilly. Irad knew he had a lot of horse. He just made his move when he needed to."Freewheeler closed for second followed by Embolden, Jack and Noah, Another Miracle, and Tomato Bill completing the order of finish.

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10.7.2019:

El Tigre Terrible Flies Late to Win $100K Speakeasy Stakes

ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 6, 2019) — Last turning for home in a field of 11 juveniles, trainer Peter Miller’s El Tigre Terrible hugged the rail throughout and split horses in the shadow of the wire to nail his stablemate Bulletproof One by a head in a thrilling finish to Sunday’s $100,000 Speakeasy Stakes at Santa Anita.  Ridden for the first time by Ruben Fuentes, El Tigre Terrible got five furlongs on turf and survived a jockey’s claim of foul from Edwin Maldonado for interference in deep stretch. With Greg’s Diva and Alfie Solomons ensuring blazing splits of 20.76 and 43.99, El Tigre Terrible was content to make one run, and he made it count. “I had never been on this horse, not even in the morning,” said Fuentes, who inherited the mount when regular rider Joe Talamo committed to riding in New York today.  “They were going so quick up front that he settled on his own.  I saved ground at the rail and we had a dream trip.  It opened up and he finished strong. I didn’t think we bothered the other horse.” A first condition allowance winner going 5 ½ furlongs on dirt at Del Mar Sept. 1, El Tigre Terrible, a California-bred colt by Smiling Tiger, was trying turf for the first time in his fifth career start and paid $49.20, $21.20 and $12.20 while off at 23-1. Owned by Slam Dunk Racing and Michael Nentwig, El Tigre Terrible, by virtue of his win, is now eligible for a fees-paid berth into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita. “I felt like one of my horses was going to win, both of them ran super and we couldn’t be prouder of the horses,” said Miller.  “It was one of those last minute entries.  It was about 10 o’clock in the morning before entries closed and I called Nick (Cosato, with Slam Dunk Racing) and said ‘Hey, I think we should take a shot.  If I owned the horse, I would do it.’  He said ‘go ahead,’ and lightning struck. “Ruben is a great young rider and a great young kid.  I’ve been riding him more and with rides like this, we will be riding him even more.” El Tigre Terrible, who is out of the Hold That Tiger mare King City Kitty, garnered his first stakes win and he now has three wins from overall five starts. With the winner’s share of $60,000, his earnings zoomed to $118,300. The lone filly in the lineup, Bulletproof One was full of run around the turn and had to wait for room prior to making what appeared to be the winning move, but she couldn’t quite hold off the winner while finishing a half length in front of speedy Greg’s Diva.  Off at 5-1, Bulletproof One paid $7.60 and $5.00. Ridden by Tyler Baze, Greg’s Diva was off at 6-1 and paid $5.40 while finishing 1 ¾ lengths in front of 5-2 favorite Ginobili. Speakeasy Stakes Quotes JOCKEY QUOTES RUBEN FUENTES, EL TIGRE TERRIBLE, WINNER: “I had never been on this horse, not even in the morning. They were going so quick up front that he settled on his own. I saved ground at the rail and we had a dream trip. It opened up and he finished strong.”  TRAINER QUOTES PETER MILLER, EL TIGRE TERRIBLE, WINNER: “I felt like one of my horses was going to win, both of them ran super and we couldn’t be prouder of the horses.“It was one of those last-minute entries it was about 10 o’clock in the morning before entries closed and I called Nick (Cosato) and said, ‘Hey, I think  we should take a shot. If I owned the horse I would do it.’ He said ‘go ahead’ and lightning struck.'“He showed a lot first time on the grass he was dead last and finished with a flourish, so onward and upward. My filly Bulletproof One deserved a shot as well. She ran super but we had to check and wait and came through. A horse freaked out at the gate (Mr. Tip) next to her so she didn’t break well. I’m just really proud of the horses and my whole team and I would like to thank the owners for the opportunity.“Ruben (Fuentes) is a great young rider and a great young kid. I’ve been riding him more and with rides like this we will be riding him even more.”'“Sometimes you take a shot and you win, sometimes you embarrass yourself, and sometimes you run one-two and it’s real sweet.“We’ll look at the Breeders’ Cup, absolutely ($1 million Juvenile Turf Sprint at five furlongs on Nov. 1).”NICK COSATO, OWNER, SLAM DUNK RACING: “It’s kind of crazy. You run the favorite in the race Ginobili), then you’ve got to survive an inquiry (with El Tigre Terrible). There was a lot going on, a lot of moving parts here. We bought this horse as a yearling at Pomona with the hopes of running him grass eventually.”

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10.6.2019:

Kimari Rallies Late to Win Keeneland's Indian Summer Stakes

INDIAN SUMMER STAKES QUOTESWesley Ward (winning trainer of Kimari)“She broke well in the race in England (Queen Mary-G2 at Royal Ascot in June) – and that’s the only race she broke well in. That’s really what I was concerned about. Julio Garcia has been breezing her from behind horses, knowing today that she’d probably break slow. Julio has been sitting back and coming around horses with her and kind of been teaching her to rate. I really didn’t think she was going to be that far back but thank God (jockey Mike Smith is) a cool sitter and a go-getter, and he rode a beautiful race. Everything came through today and we’re looking forward to Breeders’ Cup.”Mike Smith (winning rider)On not panicking after the slow start“A lot of it had to do with what Wesley told me. He told me although she’s extremely fast, she breaks horrible every time. Being in the 2 hole, I thought, ‘Wow, that could be bad.’ But he said she’ll be OK if that happens. ‘Don’t worry about it. Just ride her with confidence.’ I take my hat off to him. I did exactly what he told me to do. I rode her with a lot of confidence. When we came off the top of the turn, I just had to show her the stick a little and she just took off.”Jose Ortiz (rider of runner-up Chimney Rock)“I had a perfect trip. He tried and ran very good. They took the winner, Kimari, out of her game today, and she came from off the pace and made a hell of a run.”Adam Beschizza (rider of third-place finisher Axiomo)“I had a beautiful trip. He’s had quite a good campaign. He’s won on both dirt and turf and seems to be going the right direction. He seems to be getting faster. I worked him a couple of times, and he's definitely a horse going in the right direction. There's a nice stake in him somewhere. The winner (Kimari) just got beat at Royal Ascot, so she’s probably a Grade 1 2-year-old. He’s up against the best at the moment.”

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10.6.2019:

Peace Achieved Wins G3 Bourbon Stakes; On to Breeders' Cup

BOURBON STAKES QUOTESMark Casse (winning trainer of Peace Achieved)“Horses are like anybody. You start winning, and it helps (this is Peace Achieved’s third consecutive win). He’s gotten better and better. I think he’ll like Santa Anita. (Securing a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf-G1 with the “Win & You’re In” Challenge series) “is great for so many reasons. It’s become such a big part of our planning now every year. This is our second (Challenge Series win) this year. It’s how we lay out our season. I’m not going to bring him out (to Santa Anita) until maybe a week before. We’ve had pretty good luck going west and most of the time it’s five or six days out (from the race) so we’re not going to change that.”Miguel Mena (winning rider)“The boss (Mark Casse) mentioned the inside being a little softer than the outside, so we had a great post position (10 of 14). He came out of there running, and I just stayed a little wider for better ground. He was the best horse today – he’s very nice.”Javier Castellano (rider of runner-up Vitalogy [GB]“He got close to the pace for being 14 wide. I'm very satisfied with the way he did it; in a 14-horse field he gave me a good run. If we had (left the gate) better, we could have won the race. He passed horses little by little.”Brendan Walsh (trainer of Vitalogy)“From the draw we had, I basically left it up to Javier (Castellano) and what do you do? (Vitalogy) was a little wide the whole way, and he traveled a lot farther than the winner. But he ran really good, and the whole objective was to get him into the (Breeders’ Cup) Juvenile Turf. I think we probably would get in after today. Maybe we can go there and rectify it.”Tyler Gaffalione (rider of third-place finisher Gear Jockey)“My horse ran a very good race coming off the maiden (special weight on Aug. 31), the race where he finished second at Saratoga. He’s in good hands with (trainer) Rusty (Arnold) and his team, so we expect great things from him. (The pace) was honest. Everybody was doing it comfortably and we were happy with where we were.”

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10.6.2019:

Blue Prize Shocks Elate in G1 Juddmonte Spinster

SPINSTER STAKES QUOTESIgnacio Correas IV (winning trainer of Blue Prize [ARG])“She means a lot to me. The horses of my country (he is also a native of Argentina) have made me look good. Thanks to the trainers that trained them before me – they did a great job developing them. To tell you that I thought I was going to beat Elate, I would be lying. I thought she (Blue Prize) was sitting on a great race. She was coming into form. When we went to Saratoga, we were looking to put her in winning mode. We accomplished that (with a victory in the Aug. 18 Summer Colony Stakes). I thought if (jockey Joe Bravo) could relax her and if she had a target, she’s going to run big. Elate is a great, great mare.”On racing in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1)“Midnight Bisou is a super filly. Elate is a super filly. There are others. If she gets the trip (in the race), I think she has a shot.”Joe Bravo (winning rider)“Ignacio had her very keen today. He said, ‘Try to keep her quiet. She’s ready to go.’ After she broke in front, she got back underneath me. There were some really good horses in there, but she was able to (have) a stalking trip and watch them (in front). We’ve always said she runs great at a target. She listens to me. I really didn’t have to do too much. It’s fun to be part of a good horse.”Jose Ortiz (rider of runner-up Elate)“These mares are very nice. I mean, the winner won the Spinster last year. I’ve ridden her before. If they run fast, she runs fast. If they run slow, she runs a little slower. But she always finds a way to get to the wire first. About this race, I think I was in a good position the whole way. (Elate) was very comfortable, and we were in a good rhythm. She just got beat.”Javier Castellano (rider of third-place finisher Dunbar Road)“She didn’t show much speed out of the gate and the (Steve) Asmussen horse (She’s a Julie) they sent to the lead and Elate was to my outside. I just kept tracking and saving a little ground and tried to go through.”Whit Beckman (assistant to Chad Brown, trainer of Dunbar Road)“She didn’t have the easiest post and trip on the inside, but she showed a lot of heart and made the best bid she could. The good news is she’s 3 and if all goes well, we’ll have her back next year. (The Breeders’ Cup) would be a decision that Chad and (owner) Peter (Brant) will figure out.”Ricardo Santana Jr. (rider of fourth-place finisher She’s a Julie)“We had a good trip. My filly got a little tired at the end. For a Grade 1, we walked (fractions were slow).”Adam Beschizza (rider of fifth-place finisher Vexatious)“I had a dream trip going around there. I followed She’s a Julie, who went a nice, honest gallop the whole way around. My filly probably just got a bit intimidated by Dunbar Road joining a little bit early. There was no room going by Jose (Ortiz on Elate), who obviously was ready to put the race to bed. My filly just wasn’t quite ready to go on at that stage. My filly does have her own running style, and she almost has to have her own space in a race. But she'll come back again and bounce back better.”

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10.6.2019:

Maxfield Dominates G1 Breeders' Futurity; Earns Breeders' Cup Berth

Maxfield, last in the field of 10 in the early going, exploded past favored Gouverneur Morris at the top of the stretch and cruised to a 5½-length victory in the 106th running of the $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) for 2-year-olds. Maxfield not only gave trainer Brendan Walsh his first Keeneland stakes victory but also the first Grade 1 victory of his career. For jockey Jose Ortiz, it was his first win in the race and second stakes victory of Fall Stars Weekend. With the victory, Maxfield earned a berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) to be run at 1 1/16 miles on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita. American Butterfly led the field through fractions of :24.01 and :47.78 as Maxfield bided his time near the back of the pack. On the far turn, Gouverneur Morris blew past American Butterfly but Maxfield was behind him winding up with his run. At the head of the lane, Maxfield surged past and quickly erased any doubt about the outcome. The victory was worth $300,000 and increased Maxfield’s earnings to $354,412 with a record of 2-2-0-0. Maxfield is a Kentucky-bred son of Street Sense out of the Bernardini mare Velvety. Maxfield returned $14.80, $5.60 and $3.80. Gouverneur Morris, ridden by Javier Castellano, returned $3.40 and $2.80 with Enforceable finishing a half-length back in third under Florent Geroux and paying $6.20 to show. It was another five lengths back to Ajaaweed with By Your Side, American Butterfly, January Won, King Theo, Life On the Road and Tap It to Win following in order. BREEDERS' FUTURITY QUOTES Brendan Walsh (winning trainer of Maxfield)“When he started rolling I was looking to see if he was going to get through – is there anything going to stop us? – because I knew he was going to run right to the wire. “He’s a very special horse. I’ve been around a lot of good horses, and good horses breathe different air. I think this horse is right there. I thought he might take a run or two to break his maiden, but we knew he was a super-talented horse. He overcame a lot the first day we ran him (a maiden special win Sept. 14 at Churchill Downs), and he came out of that race doing so good. To come back in three weeks for a horse that’s only run once is a big ask, but he answers every question. “Obviously, we’ll see how he comes out of this (before a decision on the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-G1), but if you don’t bring him, who do you bring?“I always knew (winning my first Grade 1 race) would be special but to win it here for these people (Godolphin) it’s extra special. Fantastic. Indescribable. “Jose Ortiz (winning rider)“He’s a very nice horse and he’s very smart. He broke slow first time, took dirt and came running at Churchill. Today, he did the same thing. Broke a bit slow, relaxed and when I asked him to go, he was there for me the whole time.”Javier Castellano (rider of runner-up and beaten favorite Gouverneur Morris)“It was a good trip. Unfortunately, we were kind of wide in the first turn, but that’s hard to deal with breaking from the outside post. He broke well enough to get into a good spot. We were just second best today. He earned it and fought for second place, but the winner was the best horse in the race.”Florent Geroux (rider of third-place finisher Enforceable)“I was going to save some ground on the first turn on the backside and I decided to tip him out by the three-eighths pole, but the winner (Maxfield) came by me pretty fast. My horse ran a great race to hang on for third. I was close for second place. He ran good. It was a good race for him.”

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10.6.2019:

Spiced Perfection Rallies to Win Keeneland's G1 TCA Stakes

Spiced Perfection stumbled leaving the gate, worked her way into contention and then split leaders Mia Mischief and Talk Veuve to Me at the eighth pole to go on to a head victory over a late-closing Dawn the Destroyer in the 39th running of the $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2).Spiced Perfection, who won the race in her first start since May 4, is cataloged to sell Nov. 6 at Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale as a racing or broodmare prospect. She is consigned by ELiTE, agent.Trained by Peter Miller and ridden by Javier Castellano, Spiced Perfection covered the 6 furlongs over a fast main track in 1:10.60. It is the first victory in the race for Miller and Castellano.With the victory, Spiced Perfection earned a berth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) to be run at 7 furlongs on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.The victory was worth $150,000 and boosted Spiced Perfection’s earnings to $1,026,905 with a record of 18-8-5-2. It is the third Grade 1 victory for the 4-year-old California-bred daughter of Smiling Tiger out of the Pleasantly Perfect mare Perfect Feat.Spiced Perfection joins Groupie Doll (2012) and Informed Decision (2009) as the only horses to sweep the Madison (G1) here in the spring and Thoroughbred Club of America in the same year.Spiced Perfection paid $10.20, $5.60 and $4. Dawn the Destroyer, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, returned $8.40 and $5 and finished 1½ lengths in front of Mia Mischief, who paid $4.40 to show under Joel Rosario.It was another 1¾ lengths back to favored Chalon, who was followed in order by Ours to Run, Danuska’s My Girl, Talk Veuve to Me, Pretty Greeley and Razorback Lady.TCA STAKES QUOTESJavier Castellano (winning rider of Spiced Perfection)“She stumbled really bad coming out of the gate. She recovered pretty quick and we kept tracking the speed. We got through a little, tiny hole at the eighth pole. The filly was very brave to go through that hole and get it done.”Bob Flynn (part-owner of Spiced Perfection)“This horse has been great ever since she started racing. Eighteen races now, eight wins and she just never quits. (A secured spot in the starting gate of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint-G1) sounds great. Sounds wonderful. I’ve never had one in the Breeders’ Cup.”Tyler Gaffalione (rider of runner-up Dawn the Destroyer)“It went to plan. There was a ton of speed in the race. We just let them go on about their business and let her find her stride. Coming into the 5/16ths pole, I just took her out and let her run. She really finished up strong. I thought we were going to get there but congratulations and props to the winner (Spiced Perfection). It went pretty quick, it was an honest pace.”Joel Rosario (rider of third-place finisher Mia Mischief)“I was in a good position, and then she tried running hard – just third best.”Arnaud Delacour (trainer of fourth-place finisher and beaten favorite Chalon)“It looked like she was in a good spot, but she was not really traveling as well as she usually does. The track was a little deep. It never looked at any stage like she was traveling well.”On whether Chalon will compete in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships“Let’s see how she comes back. But it would be a little bit tough to go there off a race like that. She would have had to show something special today. We’ll probably regroup and pass on the Breeders’ Cup.”

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10.5.2019:

Arklow Prevails in Thrilling Edition of G1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic

ELMONT, N.Y. -  The headline event of the two-day Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Festival did not disappoint as three horses crossed the wire together in a thrilling finish in the Grade 1, $500,000 Joe Hirsch on Saturday at Belmont Park, with trainer Brad Cox's Arklow coming out on top over last year's winner Channel Maker and Sadler's Joy. Run at 1 ½ miles over a firm Widener turf course at Belmont, the Joe Hirsch featured an evenly-matched field of older turf marathoners that also included millionaire Zulu Alpha, Chilean superhorse Ya Primo, and graded stakes winner Channel Cat. Breaking from outermost post 7 under Hall of Famer John Velazquez, it was Channel Maker who showed the way early through comfortable splits of 25.14 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 50.85 for the half. Typically a deep closer, Sadler's Joy found himself in second in the early going perched just to the outside of Channel Maker, while Arklow, after breaking near the back of the pack beneath Junior Alvarado, moved up to sit in third just off Sadler's Joy's flank. The leading triumvirate continued to amble along down the backstretch through three-quarters in 1:16.13 and a mile in 1:40.31, before the running began in earnest around the far turn. Arklow was the first to press the issue, launching a menacing bid on the outside heading into the stretch, but Channel Maker was unwavering on the lead and Sadler's Joy dug in determinedly between horses. The three were inseparable for nearly the length of the Belmont stretch until finally Arklow surged by in the final sixteenth and inched away to prevail by a half-length, stopping the clock in 2:27.34. "Every race, I try to do my homework and sometimes you just have to go with how the race is developing," said Alvarado. "One thing I was sure of was that I didn't want to get in his way. I wanted to save ground since it's a mile and a half race. Coming by the wire at the first turn, I knew we were going a little slow. I didn't want to go in behind those horses and then never be able to catch the frontrunner, so I just lost a little ground into the first turn but I never got in his way. I let him find his rhythm and he was there for me the whole way around." The victory was a long time coming for Arklow, who was winless in 2019 despite near misses in the Grade 1 Man O' War and Grade 2 Belmont Gold Cup at Belmont. Prior to Saturday, the 5-year-old son of Arch's last win came more than a year ago in the Grade 3 Sycamore at Keeneland last September. He returned $10 to win and increased his career earnings to $1,776,382 for owners Donegal Racing, Joseph Bulger, and Peter Coneway. "It's been a long journey to get there, but he finally got it done," said Cox's assistant, Dustin Dugas. "He's had enough seconds in a row. He's a cool horse. He's a hard knocker for all of us. It's fun. "They had him right," Dugas added. "He shipped in from Kentucky. The guys in Kentucky did a great job with him. They had him on point and ready to run today."  Channel Maker, who won last year's edition of the Joe Hirsch over soft ground and bested Arklow by a neck earlier this year in the Man O' War, finished second, a neck in front of Sadler's Joy. It was another 1 ¾ lengths back to Channel Cat in fourth, followed by Cross Border, Zulu Alpha, and Ya Primo.

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10.5.2019:

Stubbins Sets Keeneland Record in G2 Woodford Stakes

In the 23rd running of the $200,000 Woodford (G2) Presented by Keeneland Select, Joel Rosario had Stubbins at the rear of the field as Satellite Storm led the field of nine through fractions of :21.18 and :44.21 over the firm turf course.On the far turn, Stubbins eased off the rail, waited behind horses and swung five wide at the top of the lane for clear sailing. In midstretch, Leinster had emerged with a daylight advantage only to be nailed in the final sixteenth as Stubbins moved on to a three-quarters of a length victory.Stubbins finished the 5½ furlongs in 1:01.44 eclipsing the stakes record of 1:01.67 set by Sgt. Bert in 2006 and the course record of 1:01.53 established by Perfect Officer in 2012.Doug O’Neill trains Stubbins, who delivered the first Woodford victory for O’Neill and Rosario.The victory was worth $120,000 and improved Stubbins’ bankroll to $418,151 with a record of 10-4-2-2. It is the first graded stakes victory for the 3-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Morning Line out of the Atraf (GB) mare Sierra Vista (GB).Stubbins, a Keeneland sales graduate, returned $17.20, $7 and $4.40. Leinster, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, returned $4 and $3 and finished 1½ lengths in front of favored Imprimis, who paid $2.40 to show under Paco Lopez.It was another two lengths back to Smart Remark, who was followed in order by Extravagant Kid, Fareeq, Win Lion Win, Satellite Storm and Royal Commish.WOODFORD STAKES QUOTESJoel Rosario (winning rider of Stubbins)On the difference today and his last race on Sept. 12 at Kentucky Downs when he was second to Legends of War in the Nevada State Bank Franklin-Simpson (G3)“Today, it looked like there was good speed in front. There was good speed at Kentucky Downs, too, but it was a bit different – the horse that won (Legends of War) had a tremendous race. (My horse) came running and was a good second. Today, he came running and put in a good run there at the end. I tried to stay in (on the rail in the turn). I was saving ground and then when I had some room was able to turn him loose.”Tyler Gaffalione (rider of runner-up Leinster)“It worked out perfect. The speed went on. We were able to relax right off. When I asked him, he finished up strong. The other horse ran us down. My horse was in full flight and that horse (Stubbins) was finishing all the way to wire – he had a lot left.”Joe Orseno (trainer of third-place finisher and beaten favorite Imprimis)“He (jockey Paco Lopez) wanted to get to the outside and he couldn’t. The 9 (Leinster) was holding him in there, he said, and he couldn’t run his race. It’s not that (Imprimis) has to be on the outside but he was trying to run and he couldn’t.” On whether Imprimis will continue to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships“If he’s OK, then I think we should plan for it. He was running at the end.”

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10.5.2019:

Omaha Beach Nips Shancelot at Wire in G1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship

ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 5, 2019) — The morning line favorite for this Kentucky Derby and idle since April 13, Richard Mandella’s Omaha Beach put on a tremendous exhibition in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship, as he gradually overhauled heavily favored eastern invader Shancelot to prevail by a head in an astonishingly fast 1:08.79 under Mike Smith. The question now is, where does this immensely talented colt by War Front go next?  With today’s race a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race qualifier to the $2 million Sprint here on Nov. 2, that’s an obvious option, but given the scope and versatility Omaha Beach has exhibited in both the morning and afternoon, he could potentially run in any one of three races on Nov. 2. “I want to enjoy this one, but the Sprint, the ($2 million) Mile and the mile and a quarter ($6 million Classic) are all possible,” said Mandella, who had to stop on his stable star just days before the Run for the Roses due to an entrapped epiglotis.  “I’m just very relieved to have him back. At the eighth pole, I thought we were (going to be) clear, but it took some race riding…This horse has a heart of gold and he’s got the greatest personality of any horse I’ve ever had.  I would say anything’s possible.”Although he bobbled ever so slightly at the break, Omaha Beach was quickly into stride and was just a head off of Shancelot while full of run mid-way around the turn.  At the top of the lane, Shancelot, drifted a bit off the rail and Smith then stayed inside through an incredible stretch battle. “He broke extremely well, almost too well,” said Smith. “He slipped a little leaving there, but man he settled right in behind them really nice. He was loaded coming off that turn…His last work was brilliant and he ran the way he worked. “He’s a throwback to those classic horses. He can do anything. Three quarters to a mile and a quarter. He’s extremely fast and he’s got tremendous stamina…He can do it all. The only thing that surprised me today was that I had to stay inside. His last work was his best one, no question. Today, he hit his best stride late.” Overlayed at 5-2 off of a morning line of 8-5 in a field of six, Omaha Beach, who is out of the Seeking the Gold mare Charming, paid $7.20, $2.40 and $2.10. Owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, Inc., Omaha Beach, who won the Grade I Arkansas Derby on April 13, now has a total of three graded stakes wins to his credit from an overall mark of 8-4-3-1.  With today’s winner’s share of $180,000, his earnings stand at $1,301,800. Although it would have been unfathomable to imagine any horse getting beat that essentially ran six furlongs today in 1:08 and 4/5s seconds, that’s exactly the fate that befell Shancelot, who shipped in from his Monmouth Park base and was ridden by Florida-based Emisael Jaramillo.  “I really don’t know what to think right now, to be honest,” said a visibly stunned Jorge Navarro, trainer of Shancelot. “I thought maybe he (Jaramillo) waited too long…What’s he looking back for?” A galloping 12 ½ length winner of a Grade II sprint stakes at Saratoga two starts back on July 28, Shancelot was just a head shy of being unbeaten in four starts and was thus made the 1-5 favorite, returning $2.10 and $2.10 while finishing 2 ½ lengths in front of John Sadler’s Flagstaff.  Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Flagstaff was off at 9-1 and paid $2.10 to show. Fractions, all set by the runner-up, were 21.87, 44.38 and 56.18.SANTA ANITA SPRINT CHAMPIONSHIP (GI) $300,000 QUOTES   JOCKEY QUOTESMIKE SMITH, OMAHA BEACH, WINNER: “He broke extremely well, almost too well, he slipped a little leaving there but man he settled right in behind them really nice. He was loaded coming off that turn, Mr. Mandella really had him ready today. His last work was brilliant and he ran the way he worked.” “He’s a throwback to those classic horses.  He can do anything.  Three quarters to a mile and a quarter.  He’s extremely fast and he’s got tremendous stamina.  When you need him to be quick, he is.  He can do it all.  The only thing that surprised me today was that I had to stay inside.  His last work was his best one, no question.  Today, he hit his best stride late.”  TRAINER QUOTES RICHARD MANDELLA, OMAHA BEACH, WINNER: “He just does that for us all the time, he is a fabulous horse, I think little by little he will have the respect he deserves. “I’m just very relieved to have him back.  At the eighth pole, I thought we were (going to be) clear, but it took some race riding…This horse has a heart of gold and he’s got the greatest personality of any horse I’ve ever had.  I would say anything’s possible. “You never know until you run them back, he got a little fresh and hot going into the gate so that is always on the back of your mind. He is a very good horse and God knows how good he will be in the future. “We were just going to let him run his race, I took two weeks to make a sprinter out of him, so it is not like we practiced a lot, but the really good horses can adapt to whatever you ask. “I want to enjoy this one, but the (Breeders’ Cup) Sprint, the Mile and the mile and a quarter (Classic) are all possible…We’re gonna run in the Breeders’ Cup! For now I’ll just drink that big bottle of champagne and think it over.” JORGE NAVARRO, TRAINER OF SHANCELOT, SECOND:  “I really don’t know what to think right now, to be honest.  I thought maybe he (jockey Emisael Jaramillo) waited too long…What’s he looking back for?” 

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10.5.2019:

True Valour Scores in Santa Anita's G2 City of Hope Mile

ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 5, 2019) — Idle since Feb. 9, trainer Simon Callaghan’s Irish-bred True Valour unleased a furious stretch rally to prevail by a head in a thrilling five-horse photo in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 City of Hope Mile at Santa Anita.  Ridden for the first time by Drayden Van Dyke, the 5-year-old full horse by Kodiac got a mile on turf in 1:32.82.Midpack while fifth in the run up the backside, Van Dyke saved ground at the rail around the far turn, split horses two deep turning for home and outran Restrainedvengence, Prince Earl and Kingly for the money. A winner of the Grade III Thunder Road at one mile on turf Feb. 9, True Valour was off at 16-1 in a field of 11 three year olds and up and paid $35.80, $16.20 and $7.00. Owned by Qatar Racing, Ltd., True Valour, who was making his third start of the year, picked up $120,000 for the win, boosting his earnings to $355,112 while improving his overall mark to 19-5-2-6.Restrainedvengence, fresh off a facile win in the $50,000 Rolling Green Stakes at Golden Gate Fields Sept. 2, pressed pacesetter Kingly throughout and outlasted favored Prince Earl by a nose for second money. Trained by Val Brinkerhoff and ridden by Martin Garcia, Restrainedvengence was off at 43-1 and paid $38.00 and $18.00. California-bred Prince Earl, third the entire trip, just missed while finishing a head in front of Kingly. Trained by Phil D’Amato and ridden by Geovanni Franco, Prince Earl was off at 5-2 and paid $3.60 to show. Fractions on the race were 22.58, 45.50, 1:09.04 and 1:20.82. CITY OF HOPE MILE (GII) $200,000 QUOTES  JOCKEY QUOTES DRAYDEN VAN DYKE, TRUE VALOUR, WINNER:  “Simon told me to keep him covered up, that’s the main thing. If he sees daylight, he gets aggressive, which he was early.  From there, I just tried to find a path and someone to follow. I knew I had won, they (the placing judges) were trying to figure out who was second and third."   TRAINER QUOTES  SIMON CALLAGHAN, TRUE VALOUR, WINNER: “He’s such a cool horse he always comes up and shows a big showing. It was nice to get the head bob today.“He had some time off after the Thunder Road stakes (Feb. 9) due to some minor bone bruising and we wanted to give him some time off.  We felt we had him really fit today. He was pretty fresh early, he pulled Drayden early, gave him a perfect ride, he sprint quick to the front and it worked out well. He needs to play his cards where they lay and Drayden certainly did that.“Qatar (Racing Limited) may want to go for the Breeders’ Cup Mile,  it’s here and he’s shown a pretty good affinity for the track as far as his last two races, it will be tougher but they might want to take a shot.”VAL BRINKERHOFF, CO-OWNER, TRAINER RESTRAINEDVENGENCE, SECOND: “I’m tickled to death. He’d been training great, lights out. I kept telling some of these agents that, but I had a heckuva time getting a jock. It worked out, ’cause Martin rode him great. Last time out up at Golden Gate, he didn’t even have to get off a gallop, that’s how easy he won up there. He’s just now coming into himself. He was still aggressive today, but he’s calming down.”

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10.5.2019:

Bowie's Hero Punches Breeders' Cup Ticket in Keeneland's G1 Shadwell Mile

Agave Racing Stable, ERJ Racing and Madaket Stables’ Bowies Hero emerged from a crowded pack in the stretch to win the 34th running of the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) for 3-year-olds and up by three-quarters of a length before a chamber of commerce Saturday afternoon crowd of 26,567. (Click here for a replay of the race.)Keeneland smashed its Fall Meet all-sources and Pick Five wagering records, both set on Fall Stars Saturday in 2018. All-sources handle totaled $18,392,756, eclipsing the previous record of $17,122,465. Wagering on the $300,000-guaranteed All-Stakes Pick Five totaled $794,689 to best the former record of $619,106.The blockbuster day featured five graded stakes worth $2.35 million, including the Shadwell Turf Mile and three other Breeders’ Cup Challenge races in which winners earned automatic berths in the 36th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita on Nov. 1-2.The Shadwell Turf Mile win earned Bowies Hero a fees-paid berth into the $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) to be run Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.Also earning Breeders’ Cup berths Saturday were Godolphin’s Maxfield, who took the $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1); Robert LaPenta, Michael Dubb, Head of Plains Partners and Bethlehem Stables’ Uni (GB), who set a course record in the $400,000 First Lady Presented by UK HealthCare (G1); and Pantofel Stable, Wachtel Stable and Peter Deutsch’s Spiced Perfection, winner of the $250,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2).Earlier on the 11-race program, McShane Racing’s Stubbins rallied from far off the pace to win the $200,000 Woodford (G2) Presented by Keeneland Select in course-record time.In the Shadwell Turf Mile, jockey Flavien Prat had Bowies Hero racing in midpack early on, swung seven wide at the head of the stretch for clear running and collared Diamond Oops in deep stretch to claim his second Grade 1 victory in his career.The victory is the first in a Keeneland stakes for Prat and trainer Phil D’Amato.Bowies Hero, a Keeneland sales graduate, covered the mile on a firm turf course in 1:34.20 and added $600,000 to his bankroll that now totals $1,478,970 with a record of 21-8-1-3.A winner of four graded stakes, Bowies Hero is a Kentucky-bred son of Artie Schiller out of the Sky Mesa mare Remembered.Bowies Hero returned $18.40, $8.80 and $6.60. Diamond Oops, ridden by Julien Leparoux, returned $13 and $8.80 in finishing a nose in front of 2017 Shadwell winner Suedois (FR), who paid $11.80 to show under Jamie Spencer.It was another nose back to First Premio in fourth followed by March to the Arch, 2018 winner Next Shares and Divisidero. Van Beethoven and Bandua in a dead-heat for eighth with favored Valid Point, Admission Office, Vintager (GB), Robin of Navan (FR) and Real Story completing the field.SHADWELL MILE QUOTESJosh Flores (assistant to Phil D’Amato, winning trainer of Bowies Hero)On the decision to run here rather than at Santa Anita in today’s City of Hope Mile (G2)“About a million dollars (purse of Shadwell Turf Mile), compared to $200,000. We’ve always had the confidence in this horse. He’s had some tough trips. Today, (jockey) Flavien (Prat) was able to put him in the right spot and he was able to fly home.”On earning a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at D’Amato’s home track of Santa Anita.“It will be nice to walk over – probably (as) one of the favorites – right out of your own barn. And to win one at Keeneland is always special.”Flavien Prat (winning rider)“I thought I had a good trip. My horse broke well – better than the other day (when fifth at Del Mar in the Del Mar Mile-G2 on Aug. 18). I was able to put myself in the race, was able to tip him out around the turn and get him ready to make his run. And then he got the job done. (The battle between several horses right at the wire) was great. When you win, it’s great. When you get beat, it’s frustrating. He always gives you everything he has.”Julien Leparoux (rider of runner-up Diamond Oops)“We were close to the pace, broke very sharp. Settled nice on the backside. He ran big today. It was a close finish for second and he ran a big race for sure.”Jamie Spencer (rider of third-place finisher Suedois [FR])“The draw (12 hole) was a big handicap to my horse, probably the difference between winning and losing. He’s run good. He’s an 8-year-old. The trainer (David O’Meara) has done well with him.”Javier Castellano (rider of 10th-place finisher and beaten favorite Valid Point)“I tried to find room and get a spot in the race. Turning for home, I tried looking for a seam. It was a tough race, a lot of traffic, a lot of horses – a lot of good horses. I tried to get a jump but it was a lot of traffic. It was a big step up today for a young horse. I think he ran huge in the Secretariat (G1). We tried to step up a little bit and maybe get lucky but it was a tough race. I’m not disappointed, I think he’s a good horse. Sometimes you have to test the waters a little bit.”

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10.5.2019:

Uni Wins G1 First Lady Stakes; Expected to Supplement to Breeders' Cup Mile

Uni unleashed a furious run through the stretch to score a 2½-length victory over Juliet Foxtrot (GB) to win the 22nd running of the $400,000 First Lady Presented by UK HealthCare (G1) in course-record time of 1:32.87 for the mile on firm turf.Trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Joel Rosario, Uni obliterated the stakes record of 1:34.08 set by Never Retreat in 2011 and the course record of 1:33.54 established by Perfect Soul (IRE) in 2004.It is the third win in the race for Brown, who saddled Dayatthespa in 2014 and A Raving Beauty (GER) last year. It is the first victory in the race for Rosario.Ms Bad Behavior rocketed out of the gate and led the field of 13 through fractions of :22.71, :45.40 and 1:09.47 as Rosario bided his time near the back of the pack.Turning for home, Rosario moved Uni out into the seven path for clear sailing, collared Juliet Foxtrot at the eighth pole and drew off.With the victory, Uni earned a berth in the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) to be run at 1 1/4 miles on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.The victory was worth $240,000 and increased Uni’s earnings to $1,247,880 with a record of 17-9-3-3. Since coming to the U.S. from Europe in 2017, she has won seven stakes, four of them graded, and won six of seven starts at the mile distance.Uni is a 5-year-old daughter of More Than Ready out of the Dansili (GB) mare Unaided (GB).Uni returned $8, $4.40 and $3. Juliet Foxtrot, with Florent Geroux aboard, returned $8.20 and $5 and finished 1¼ lengths in front of Vasilika, who paid $3.60 to show under Flavien Prat.It was another 1½ lengths back to favored Rushing Fall, who was followed in order by Hanalei Moon, Awesometank (GB), Just Wonderful, Mitchell Road, Storm the Hill, Ms Bad Behavior, Indian Blessing (GB), Marina’s Legacy and Conquest Hardcandy. FIRST LADY STAKES Whit Beckman (assistant to Chad Brown, winning trainer of Uni [GB])“It’s another addition to her tremendous career as a miler. She’s real solid when she’s put at this distance and she’s gone to multiple tracks and has shown that kick.”Joel Rosario (rider of Uni)“At some point I thought she (favorite Rushing Fall) would have a little more speed than me and I’d be looking to see where she was and probably follow her and she’d put me in a good spot. In the first turn, it looked like they were going pretty good speed, and I just followed Rushing Fall. (Uni) came with a nice run like she always does. She’s unbelievable. She has a long stride and she just kept coming and coming.”Florent Geroux (rider of runner-up Juliet Foxtrot [GB])“Good trip. I was on the inside to save ground. We got going pretty fast. She did good but moved earlier than I wanted, but the horses in front of me were getting tired so I had to make a quick move. I think she was second best today. I think Uni ran the best race. She ran by me pretty easy – still a nice effort from my filly.”Flavien Prat (rider of third-place finisher Vasilika)“We had a good trip and she made a good move.”Javier Castellano (rider of fourth-place finisher and beaten favorite Rushing Fall)“I had a beautiful trip all the way. It went pretty fast in :22 and :45. I was in midpack, traveled well, passed some horses. Just turning for home, I moved to pass a couple of horses, but at the top of the stretch, she didn’t give it to me. She was more flat today. For (whatever) reason she didn't respond.”Bob Edwards of e Five Racing Thoroughbreds (owner of Rushing Fall)“We’ll probably regroup, talk to Chad (Brown) and come up with a plan. Maybe (send) her down to Stonestreet (in Florida) and let her winter down there and then come back and run her next year.”On her trip“Javier was going to let the pace dictate where he was going to put her. She’s done everything: She’s led, she’s come off the pace, she can run any style you need her to. Maybe it was a little hot, maybe it was a little firm today. She likes a little give to the ground. It could have been a number of things. She ran lights out in the Just a Game (G1), lights out against Sistercharlie (IRE). It’s hard to be disappointed with a horse who has won two Grade 1s this year. I would have loved to win another Grade 1 at Keeneland, but I’m not disappointed in the horse at all. I’m happy the horse is sound and we get to fight another battle.”  

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10.4.2019:

Keeneland's G1 Darley Alcibiades Goes to British Idiom

Michael Dubb, The Elkstone Group, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables’ British Idiom swept to the lead at the head of the stretch and romped to a 6½-length victory to win the 68th running of the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades (G1) for 2-year-old fillies before a Fall Meet opening-day crowd of 16,427.In the race prior to the Darley Alcibiades, Woodford Racing’s Engage held off a late charge from 2017 victor Whitmore to win the 167th running of the $250,000 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G2).Both winners earned fees-paid berths to the 36th Breeders’ Cup World Championships to be held Nov. 1 and 2 at Santa Anita. British Idiom secured a spot in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) to be run at 1 1/16 miles on Nov. 1 and Engage nailed down a spot in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) to be run at 6 furlongs on Nov. 2.Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Javier Castellano, British Idiom covered the 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:45.80. Cox and Castellano earned their first victory in the Darley Alcibiades.A debut winner going 6 furlongs at Saratoga in August, British Idiom rated in fourth place as Spitefulness and Sequin dueled through early fractions of :23.73 and :47.27.On the far turn, Sequin took over but was quickly joined and passed by British Idiom, who erased any doubt about the outcome. Perfect Alibi also made a big move on the turn from fifth to take over second but was no threat to the winner.The victory was worth $240,000 and increased British Idiom’s earnings to $281,250 with a record of 2-2-0-0. British Idiom is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Flashback out of the Mr. Sekiguchi mare Rose and Shine.British Idiom rewarded her backers with payoffs of $9.20, $4.40 and $3.20. Perfect Alibi, ridden by Jose Ortiz, returned $3.40 and $2.60 and finished three lengths in front of favored Alandra, who paid $2.60 to show under Joel Rosario.It was another three lengths back to Gone Glimmering, who was followed in order by Sequin, Three D Flag, Spitefulness, How Ironic, Micheline, Western Taffy and Heir of Light.Darley Alcibiades Stakes QuotesBrad Cox (winning trainer of British Idiom)On what gave him the confidence to start the filly, a winner of her only start, in a Grade 1 race“We were pointing for the Pocahontas (G2) at Churchill, but the week before she came down with a little bug. Nothing major, but (I) just wasn’t happy with her bloodwork so we gave her a little time. She’s a real laid-back filly. She’s a really nice filly that’s full of class. She never gets worked up. She does whatever you want in the mornings. She’s a good-sized filly, too, and obviously capable of getting around two turns. As long as she comes out of this in good shape, we’ll look at California (and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies-G1).”Javier Castellano (winning rider)On how he got her to relax going two turns for the first time“I think good horses can do that. She broke good and got good position. She pulled a little bit, but I liked the way she did it on the backside. She relaxed, kept tracking the horses, and I liked the way she finished. She’s a good filly. She’s improved and stepped up in class. Credit to Mr. Brad (Cox) on the way he trained her. Made me look good today.”Jose Ortiz (rider of runner-up Perfect Alibi)“Perfect, clean trip, just second best. I was following Javier (Castellano on the winner) but he was still in a good position passing the three-eighths pole and I was already asking my filly to go. It took her a while to get going but when she did I wasn’t able to keep up with the winner.”Mark Casse (trainer of Perfect Alibi)“She ran well for her first time going two turns. I think she earned a (chance) in the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Fillies). She sure didn’t embarrass us today.”Joel Rosario (rider of third-place finisher Alandra)“She broke a little slow. This is her first time going two turns and only her second start. She came running. She put in a good effort.”James Graham (rider of fourth-place finisher Gone Glimmering)“She felt fantastic, she traveled beautifully. She’s learning, she’s figuring it out. She’s still a little immature but she’s very willing. She wants to do right for you. It just takes her a couple of extra steps to realize it’s OK to settle.”

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10.4.2019:

Engage Earns Breeders' Cup Trip with G2 Phoenix Victory at Keeneland

In the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix, 2018 winner and favored Promises Fulfilled was first out of the gate, with Zipp On By applying pressure through fractions of :22.22 and :45.43 as Engage raced in mid pack.At the head of the lane, the pacesetters began to wilt as Engage, swinging six wide, steadily moved toward the front and had enough to hold off Whitmore, who had bobbled at the start and spotted the field nearly 10 lengths in the early running.Trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Jose Ortiz, Engage covered the 6 furlongs in 1:10.21 over a fast main track. It is the first victory in the race for Asmussen and OrtizThe victory was worth $150,000 and increased Engage’s earnings to $649,080 with a record of 12-5-4-0.Engage is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Into Mischief out of the Speightstown mare Nefertiti.Engage returned $21, $8 and $6. Whitmore, ridden by Joel Rosario, returned $5.40 and $4.40. A nose back in third was Lexitonian, who paid $12.60 to show under Adam Beschizza.It was another three-quarters of a length back to Recruiting Ready with Hog Creek Hustle, Promises Fulfilled, Zipp On By, Cove Blue and American Pastime completing the order of finish. Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes Quotes Steve Asmussen (winning trainer of Engage)“We’re very pleased with the outcome. It’s great to see this horse dig in. Quality field, rush to the wire and he found enough. He’s always been a quality horse. Belmont Futurity (G3) winner as a 2-year-old, fresh horse, very sound horse. Loved the opportunity for him. We felt good about our chances when we saw him over the race track here at Keeneland. This is a big win.”Jose Ortiz (winning rider)“He’s a very game horse. I know him very well and I appreciate the opportunity they gave me to ride him back. (The race unfolded) very good. I was expecting an honest pace, but they weren’t going that fast so I was able to lay close. The last sixteenth, he felt some horses coming – he pins his ears back and keeps going.”Joel Rosario (rider of runner-up Whitmore)“He was very comfortable where he was, then when he made that run I thought for a second we were going to get there. Good effort.”Ron Moquett (trainer of runner-up Whitmore)“I think the (slightly slow) pace might have affected him a little. He has not run in a while and I was glad to get him back in action. If the race had been a little faster earlier, then (leaving the gate) that far back would not have affected him at all. Breeders’ Cup is still a possibility.”Adam Beschizza (rider of third-place finisher Lexitonian)“I was (on) the underdog in the race, but it was his first time taking on elders and he showed his grit. That’s the way he likes to do it. He's a solid horse. He's just probably getting to the end of his 3-year-old campaign now. Things are going to get harder for him but he showed his all. True heart there. He ran huge.”Dale Romans (trainer of sixth-place finisher and beaten favorite Promises Fulfilled)“(Jockey) Luis (Saez) said he was switching leads a couple times. I don’t know (what happened). We’ll figure it out. He said he thought he was traveling good early and that he had a lot of horse. I don’t know.”On whether the Breeders’ Cup is still in play“Oh yeah, we’ve got a Win and You’re in (from the John Nerud-G2). We’ll just have to figure something out over the next 30 days. Everything is still on the table (between the Sprint-G1 and Dirt Mile-G1).”

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10.4.2019:

Golden Gate 2019 Summer Season Marks 6th Straight Meet with Handle Gains

ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 4, 2019) — Golden Gate Fields’ 2019 Summer Meet, which concluded this past Sunday, posted a strong finish and positive gain in all sources pari-mutuel handle over its 2018 summer season. With all sources handle showing an increase, the accomplishment marked the bayside track’s sixth straight race meeting that ended with an increase in all sources handle over the previous season.At the 2018 Summer Meet, Golden Gate registered $49,056,628 in all sources handle.  One year later, the number increased to $55,357,826, a net gain of 11 percent. Golden Gate Fields General Manager and Vice President David Duggan was pleased with the final number. “After the lengthy break between June and August, it took us a little time to gain momentum at our Summer Meet,” said Duggan. “Needless to say, we were very pleased with our result. We finished our meeting very strong. “First and foremost, equine and rider health and safety is of the utmost importance to us,” continued Duggan. “We continue to work diligently at improving the health and safety of our equine and human athletes. It of course is also incumbent upon us to provide a good racing product for our customers, breeders, owners and trainers. I believe we have successfully managed to do that. We remain very positive regarding the future of racing in Northern California, with great anticipation for our big Fall and Winter/Spring Meets coming up.” Among the jockeys, Irving Orozco had a sensational Summer Meet, finishing atop the rider standings with 46 wins from 159 mounts, which equated to an incredible 29 percent in the win column. The veteran rider had a momentous weekend on Sept. 14 and 15, winning five races on the 14th and four more the following day. Orozco also had a terrific afternoon on closing day this past Sunday, winning a quartet of races to put an exclamation mark on a huge meet. William Antongeorgi III finished second in the jockey standings with 27 victories, while the venerable Frank Alvarado rounded out the top three placings with 26 wins. Jonathan Wong continued to dominate the trainer’s division, as he bagged his fourth consecutive Golden Gate training title with 23 wins from 96 starters—10 wins clear of Victor Trujillo. Bill Delia and Isidro Tamayo each had 10 wins, dead heating for third in the standings. The marquee race of the meet, the $50,000 Rolling Green Stakes, at a mile and one sixteenth on grass, was won by Southern California shipper Restrainedvengance. Trained by Val Brinkerhoff and ridden by locally based Juan Hernandez, the Kentucky-bred son of Hold Me Back went to the lead and never looked back, winning by 3 ½ lengths.                     Live racing returns to Golden Gate Fields on Thursday, Oct. 17, with the 36-day Golden Gate Fall Meeting. Nine stakes races are on the calendar, with closing day on Sunday, Dec. 15. The highlight of the meet figures to be the Grade III, $100,000 Berkeley Handicap for 3-year-olds and up on Saturday, Nov. 30. For additional information, please visit Goldengatefields.com or call (510) 559-7300.

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9.29.2019:

Owendale Scores in G3 Oklahoma Derby

Jim Rupp made a decision in the past few years that has led to owning his first near-millionaire horse, Owendale, winner of the Grade 3, $400,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park on Sunday.Rupp, a retired oilman from Bay City, Mich., met renowned bloodstock agent Mike Ryan at the Yearling Sale at Keeneland in 2017 and hit it off. The head of Rupp Racing eventually asked Ryan to pick out a horse for him and that keen eye came up with Owendale for $200,000. After winning the Oklahoma Derby, capturing the $240,000 first-place share of the purse, Owendale’s lifetime earnings are now $958,725. Nice profit from that decision to talk to Ryan, especially after only four years in the business as an owner.Jockey Florent Geroux came from eighth in the early going and didn’t make the lead until the stretch when he passed 40-1 longshot Sleepy Eyes Todd, 35-1 longshot Chess Chief and 4-5 wagering favorite Mucho Gusto, out of hall of fame trainer Bob Baffert’s barn. Owendale, trained by Brad Cox, drew off to a 1-3/4 lengths victory at 2-1 odds. Owendale ran the 1-1/8 miles in 1:49.29 seconds over a fast track. It was the first win for both Geroux and Cox in the Oklahoma Derby.“He’s a wonderful horse,” Geroux said. “I wanted to make sure he was not too wide down the backstretch, so I found a nice cozy spot to wait. I was keeping my eye on Mucho Gusto because I knew he was the horse to beat.”Sleepy Eyes Todd held on for second and was a neck ahead of third-place Chess Chief, who was a head in front of Mucho Gusto, who could only manage fourth place in the three-horse photo for second. The remaining order of finish for the derby, with a field of 10, was Bankit, Funny Guy, Long Range Toddy, Cairo Cat, Drifting West and View Magic.Owendale, was close to going to the Kentucky Derby this year, winning the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 13, but the horse’s assistant trainer Ricky Giannini said he didn’t have enough points going into the Lexington to qualify for the Run for the Roses, and that turnaround after winning the Lexington would have been a little quick. So the colt was sent to the Preakness Stakes instead in Maryland and he came close to pulling off the upset. War of Will beat him by 1-1/4 lengths in the second leg of the Triple Crown. At that point the connections of Owendale knew they had something special.“He just keeps getting better and better,” said Rupp. “All the thanks go to Brad Cox and (his brother), Blake Cox, Ricky and the whole crew.” Owendale paid $6.20 to win, $3.80 to place and $2.80 to show. In winning the Oklahoma Derby from post-position 10, he becomes the second horse to win the race after leaving the gate, joining Golden Yank from 2008.Owendale showed how talented he is by cutting into the slow fractions set by the pace-setting Sleepy Eyes Todd. He was able to make his winning move despite the 23.95 seconds for the first quarter-mile, 48.03 by the half mile and 1:12.32 for six furlongs. The mile time was 1:36.29.Owendale, combined with the bomb of Sleepy Eyes Todd in second, the exacta paid $192 on a $2 exacta play. With Chess Chief in third at boxcar prices, the 50-cent trifecta paid $341.60. With the heavy favorite Mucho Gusto fourth, the 10-cent superfecta was worth $253.39.Owendale was bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, LLC. He is a 3-year-old colt by Into Mischief from the Bernardini mare Aspen Light. The score in the Oklahoma Derby is the fifth win from 12 starts for Owendale who also won the Grade 3, $500,000 Ohio Derby at Thistledown outside of Cleveland in June.

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9.29.2019:

Paradise Woods Gets Perfect Stalking Trip in G2 Zenyatta Stakes

ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 29, 2019) — Paradise Woods, always long on ability, but limited at times by her own idiosyncrasies, was all business in Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita, as she stalked favored Secret Spice early and took command a sixteenth of a mile from home en route to an impressive 1 ¾ length win under first-time pilot Abel Cedillo. Trained by John Shirreffs, the trainer of the legendary mare for whom today’s race was named, Paradise Woods, a 5-year-old mare by Union Rags, got a mile and one sixteenth in 1:44.31 and will now set her sights on the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.  (A Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge Race qualifier, the Zenyatta winner earns an automatic fees-paid berth into the Distaff). Most recently fourth in the Grade I Clement Hirsch July 28 at Del Mar, an unexpected decision was made to replace Hall of Famer Mike Smith with the recently arrived Cedillo, who bagged his third graded stakes win in the last two days. “Mike told me you’ve got to keep her calm and she’ll try hard,” said Cedillo, a 30-year-old native of Guatemala, who had been the perennial leading rider at Golden Gate Fields prior to shifting his tack this past summer. “I kept her outside that other filly (Secret Spice) and everything worked perfect. She was standing perfect in the gate and we knew that Prat (Flavien, aboard Secret Spice) was the speed and he would go. “We broke good and I got just (put run on her mind). I wanted to be close and not let him (Prat) go by himself. I just want to thank all the owners and trainers for letting me ride their horses.” Off at 7-2 in a field of six fillies and mares three and up, Paradise Woods paid $9.60, $4.20 and $2.80. Bred in Kentucky by Herman Sarkowsky, Paradise Woods, who is out of the Forest Wildcat mare Wild Forest, is owned by HS Stable and Pam and Martin Wygod. A winner of the Grade I Zenyatta at age three when trained by Richard Mandella in 2017, Paradise Woods now has four graded stakes wins to her credit and her overall mark stands at 17-5-3-3.  With today’s winner’s share of $120,000, her earnings went to $1,123,890. “We wanted her to break well and not get shuffled back and hopefully to be in the clear,” said Shirreffs. “In the past, she’s gotten shuffled back and got sucked behind horses, but today she broke well and was able to get to the outside. We weren’t sure if Mike (Smith) would be available for the Breeders’ Cup, so this was the time if you’re going to make a change.” When asked if it was Martin Wygod’s decision to keep her in training, instead of going to the breeding shed this year, Shirreffs responded, “Absolutely. He was the one who had so much faith in her and wanted to see her run another year. Turning for home, it seemed like she was maintaining her stride and she had good action the whole way…We will be taking it day by day to train for the Breeders’ Cup.” Ridden by Flavien Prat, Secret Spice made all the early running through splits of 23.14, 46.83, 1:11.30 and 1:37.33, but tired a bit late. Off as the 4-5 favorite, she paid $2.40 and $2.10 while finishing a neck in front of Ollie’s Candy. The second choice at 5-2 with Kent Desormeaux, Ollie’s Candy paid $2.40 to show. JOCKEY QUOTES ABEL CEDILLO, PARADISE WOODS, WINNER: “Mike (Smith) told me you’ve got to keep her calm and she’ll try hard. I kept her outside of Secret Spice and everything worked perfect. She was standing perfect in the gate and we knew that Prat (Flavien, aboard Secret Spice) was the speed and he would go. We broke good . . .  I wanted to be close and not let him (Prat) go by himself. I just want to thank all the owners and trainers for letting me ride their horses.” FLAVIEN PRAT, SECRET SPICE, SECOND: “She ran good. We just got beat by a better horse today.” TRAINER QUOTESJOHN SHIRREFFS, PARADISE WOODS, WINNER: “We wanted her to break well and not get shuffled back and hopefully to be in the clear. In the past she’s gotten shuffled back and got sucked behind horses, but today she broke well and was able to get to the outside.”Asked about the jockey switch: “We weren’t sure Mike (Smith) would be available for the Breeders’ Cup, so this was the time if you’re going to make a change.”Was it owner Marty Wygod’s decision to keep her in training? “Absolutely. He was the one who had so much faith in her and wanted to see her run another year. Turning for home, it seemed like she was maintaining her stride and she had good action all the way.”Asked if Abel had breezed her: “No. It was the first time (on her) today.” Did he tell him anything? “Win. It’s obviously very special to win a race named for Zenyatta. Walking down, my wife Dotti was almost in tears because we won the Classic on Zenyatta’s 10th anniversary (winning the BC Classic in 2009). It was a special moment“Abel has just been riding terrifically! We got the hot rider at the right time.“This race is so special you can’t even begin to fathom or believe that you will win the Zenyatta, it is so hard to do, having trained Zenyatta and to win the Zenyatta is really special.“We will be taking it day by day to train for the Breeders’ Cup.”DOTTIE INGORDO SHIRREFFS (JOHN’S WIFE): “It’s very thrilling to win it on Zenyatta’s 10th anniversary (of winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2009) . . .We’re very thrilled.”

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9.29.2019:

Selflessly Shines in G2 Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont Park

ELMONT, N.Y. - Selflessly stalked a moderate pace and made a winning move at the top of the stretch to give trainer Chad Brown a fourth straight victory in Sunday's Grade 2, $200,000 Miss Grillo over a firm inner turf at Belmont Park. Owned by Klaravich Stables, the dark bay daughter of More Than Ready arrived at the 1 1/16-mile event for 2-year-old fillies as a maiden with only one start under her belt, which was a narrow runner-up effort to stablemate and fellow Miss Grillo aspirant Jazzique in a 5 ½-furlong maiden event over the Saratoga turf. Breaking from the outside post in a field of eight under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, Selflessly was fourth early as Ava K's Girl marked the opening quarter-mile in a leisurely 24.47 seconds with 73-1 longshot Wicked Title just to her outside.Wicked Title took command through a half-mile in 48.84 seconds as Ava K's Girl began backpedaling into second while Selflessly moved up into third. Selflessly moved three-wide approaching the far turn as Wicked Title began to retreat and opened up a length advantage at the stretch call with Jazzique advancing inside in second position. With an eighth of a mile remaining, Selflessly shook away from Jazzique and held off a late charge from P.G. Johnson winner Crystalle to win by three-quarters of a length in a final time of 1:42.32. It was another three-quarters of a length back to Jazzique in third. Rounding out the order of finish were Sparkling Sky, English Breeze, My Sassy Sarah, Wicked Title and Ava K's Girl. Castellano said he was expecting a strong effort from Selflessly."She did well. I had high expectations for her. She went 5 ½ [furlongs] the first time and I don't think that's the right distance for her," said Castellano, who scored his third Miss Grillo triumph. "Today, we stretched her out to a mile and a sixteenth, and I think she was in a more comfortable rhythm. I didn't have to hustle her too much. I liked the way she did it today. Very professional; she has a great mind and great body. I think she's a horse that's Breeders' Cup [caliber]. She can handle it. She's well-bred and has a great trainer in Chad Brown. I was very fortunate to be in this spot."It was a fourth straight and eighth overall Miss Grillo victory for Brown, who won previous editions with Maram (2008) Watsdachances (2012), Testa Rossi (2013), Lady Eli (2014), New Money Honey (2016), Significant Form (2017) and Newspaperofrecord (2018). "I think stretching out and the experience from that first start were the keys here. She ran a really good race on debut and was unlucky not to win," Brown said. "She galloped out well in the race and she has really done everything right since her debut. With these 2-year-olds, we get them started when they're ready and let them come along at their own pace. She came into this race really training well, and I just treated the debut as if she won."Selflessly is not nominated to the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on November 1 at Santa Anita, but Brown said the filly would likely be supplemented to the event. "I think so. We'll talk to the owner about it, but if she comes out of the race sound and doing well I'd be inclined to go," Brown said.Selflessly will look to become Brown's fourth filly to notch a Miss Grillo-Juvenile Fillies Turf double after Lady Eli, New Money Honey and Newspaperofrecord tackled the feat in their respective years. John Kimmel, trainer of beaten favorite Crystalle, said the lack of early speed impacted his filly's chances as she rallied from last of eight after three-quarters in 1:13.46."The slow pace didn't help," Kimmel said. "She was so relaxed coming out of there and with a couple horses coming out of sprint races, you would think that the pace would have been a little quicker than what it ended up being. But, for her to close into three-quarters in 1:13 and change, was impressive."Kimmel said that the newly-implemented Turf Tiara series for sophomore grass fillies would be a long term goal for Crystalle in 2020 and that she would ship to Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup. "Another two jumps and she would have been in front everybody. Not only that, she had to give up some distance. I'm disappointed we didn't win the race, but I'm certainly not disappointed in the filly," Kimmel said. "Regardless of what she does at the Breeders' Cup going a mile, I think she has tremendous potential for next year. She looks like a filly that settles beautifully and will be able to run a mile and a quarter and be a factor in those nice Turf Tiara races."Returning $12.60 for a $2 win bet, Selflessly took home first prize of $110,000 which elevated her lifetime earnings to $119,000. Bred in Maryland by George Louis Doetsch, Jr., Selflessly is out of the Grand Slam broodmare Uniformly Yours, who also produced two-time stakes winner Enchanted Ghost. She was a $190,000 purchase from the 2017 Keeneland November Sale. Live racing resumes on Wednesday at Belmont with an eight-race card. First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.

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9.28.2019:

Code of Honor Elevated to First in G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup

ELMONT, N.Y. - W.S. Farish's Code of Honor was once again part of a dramatic ending that saw a stewards decision change the final order of finish in a prestigious Grade 1, hitting the wire second to Vino Rosso by a nose before the stewards elevated him to first due to interference in the stretch run in Saturday's 101st running of the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.Code of Honor, who won the Grade 1 Runhappy Travers last month at Saratoga Race Course, posted his fourth victory in seven starts in his 3-year-old campaign and thrived in his first start against older horses, bolstering his case for top sophomore status in earning an all-fees paid trip to the Grade 1, $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic on November 2 at Santa Anita Park. Off at 2-1, the trainee of Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey stayed off the lead as 2018 Grade 2 Wood Memorial-winner Vino Rosso led the five-horse field through the opening quarter-mile in 24.02 seconds, the half in 47.73 and three-quarters in 1:11.63 on the fast main track with Code of Honor covered in fourth.Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. kept Vino Rosso near the rail out of the final turn, with Code of Honor gaining ground under Hall of Famer John Velazquez from the outside. The duo linked up in the stretch, with the rivals going eye-to-eye in the final furlong. Ortiz moved Vino Rosso out from the rail, bumping Code of Honor multiple times as the pair arrived at the wire in a final time of 2:00.30 for the 1 ¼-mile route.But the stewards disqualified Vino Rosso from first to second, elevating Code of Honor to first. In May, Code of Honor finished third in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs but was elevated to second behind Country House when Maximum Security, who had crossed the wire first, was disqualified for interference."I thought maybe Johnny had to move a little sooner than he wanted to just because Tacitus and Preservationist weren't able to put the pressure on Vino Rosso." McGaughey said. "I thought we had him at every jump and he [Vino Rosso] kind of came out. I knew he had come out, but I didn't know they bumped because my view was watching sideways. When I saw the head on, then they threw the objection and inquiry, I thought there was a good chance they'd make a change. Johnny told me they got us twice pretty good." Added Velazquez: "Honestly, he came out and bumped my horse on me. I had put the head in front of him and he bumped him. It kind of got my horse off balance for the second time when he bumped him. And now he puts the head in front of me and I'm trying to get back in front of him and he beats me by a head or a nose or whatever it is."It was a perfect trip, no complaints at all. Just when we got to the eighth pole, he bumped me a little bit, just enough to get my horse off balance."McGaughey won his third career Jockey Club Gold Cup and first in 26 years, adding to his first with Hall of Famer Easy Goer in 1989 and Miner's Mark in 1993."This horse is a pretty good horse now," McGaughey said. "He's made so much improvement since the [Kentucky] Derby. I couldn't be any prouder of him than I am."The Noble Mission colt improved to 5-2-1 in nine career starts and could have a chance to solidify his case for an Eclipse Award in the Breeders' Cup Classic, contested at the Jockey Club Gold Cup distance, against contenders for Horse of the Year honors. "That's up in the air. This horse needs a little vacation but on the other hand, he comes out of his races well and that is certainly a possibility," said Farish on the possibility of running in the Classic. "I don't go after anybody, but this is a wonderful horse and he deserved it. I saw the pictures of it and it was definitely three bumps but bottom line, we're all very excited. It was a really meaningful win for us. We had our family here from all over the country and Shug is just a great, great friend, a wonderful trainer and he did a fabulous job with this horse. This is just fantastic."Code of Honor returned $6 on a $2 win wager. The Kentucky homebred improved his career bankroll to $2,298,320.Velazquez won the Jockey Club Gold Cup for the third time in five years, picked up victories in two of the day's four graded stakes, also piloting Midnight Bisou to victory in the Grade 2, $300,000 Beldame in Race 8."He's [Code Of Honor] been showing up the last three races. He's putting it together. I'm very proud of him. He's the top of the [3-year old) division now, I believe," said Velazquez, who broke Jerry Bailey's record of 660 career graded stakes wins on Friday at Santa Anita before flying back to New York.St. Elias Stable and Repole Stable's Vino Rosso, trained by Todd Pletcher, entered off a third-place finish last out in the Grade 1 Whitney on August 3 at Saratoga."He fought hard. I was proud of the way he ran," Ortiz said.Juddmonte Farms' Tacitus, who ran second to Code of Honor in the Runhappy Travers, earned blacktype for the fourth consecutive graded stakes race. The runner-up in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes and the Grade 2 Jim Dandy finished one-length clear of Preservationist for third. Olympic Village completed the order of finish."He runs good every time. He shows up every time. There isn't one time he doesn't give it a try," Tacitus Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said.

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9.28.2019:

Structor Punches Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Ticket in G3 Pilgrim Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Jeff Drown and Don Rachel's Structor, patiently piloted by Irad Ortiz, Jr., stalked and pounced to a head score in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Pilgrim at Belmont Park.Conditioned by three-time Eclipse Award-winner Chad Brown, Structor settled comfortably in fifth position in the 1 1/16-mile test for juveniles as Tuggle marked the opening quarter-mile in 23.77 seconds on a firm Widener turf course.Tuggle, under pressure from Maxwell Esquire, led the field of nine down the backstretch as Structor inched into fourth position outside of Andesite and No Lime. No Word, the 2-1 mutuel favorite, advanced inside rivals to fifth as Tuggle reached the half-mile in 47.23.Ortiz, Jr. urged Structor into contention into the turn, traveling three-wide, as No Word and Andesite took an inside route into the stretch run. Structor enjoyed a one-length lead at the stretch call as Andesite zipped up the rail and angled outside of Maxwell Esquire for the stretch run. A determined Structor was kept to task to the wire to prevail over a surging Andesite by 1:41.46. Our Country, last-of-nine through three-quarters, arrived late to complete the trifecta. Rounding out the order of finish were Famished, No Word, Maxwell Esquire, No Lime, The Gray Blur and Tuggle.Ortiz was pleased with the trip he engineered for Structor."I didn't want to go that wide, but I didn't have any other option," said Ortiz, Jr. "If I wanted to drop in some more, I would have to keep taking him back and I didn't want to do that." Brown said a start in the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf on November 1 at Santa Anita Park should suit Structor."I was proud of this horse [knowing] how wide he had to travel the whole way. No fault of the jockey, just his post and the way some horses wedged their way in there early. He gutted it out," said Brown. "This was a solid pace, 47 [seconds] and change traveling three deep into the turn. To have enough to gut it out, I think he wouldn't mind a cutback to a mile at all in the Breeders' Cup. He's an improving horse."Bred in Kentucky by Three Chimneys Farm, Structor banked $110,000 in victory while remaining undefeated in two starts. He paid $7 for a $2 win ticket.

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9.28.2019:

Midnight Bisou Stays Hot, Wins G2 Beldame Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Midnight Bisou continued to build on a sensational 4-year-old campaign when drawing away from Wow Cat in the final furlong to win Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Beldame by 3 1/4 lengths over the fast main track at Belmont Park. The talented dark bay daughter of Midnight Lute, who improved to 7-for-7 this year, arrived at the 1 1/8-mile event for fillies and mares 3-years-old and upward off a dramatic victory in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign presented by Lia Infiniti, where she dueled at the top of the Saratoga stretch with Elate and getting a nose better of the dual Grade 1 winner last month. Sent off as the overwhelming mutuel favorite at 1-9 odds in the Beldame, Midnight Bisou broke sharply from the rail to the inside of 48-1 longshot Spring in the Wind, who led the tightly bunched five-horse field through an opening quarter-mile of 24.83 seconds with last year's Beldame victor Wow Cat just to their outside in third. With the half-mile in 48.09 seconds, Midnight Bisou began inching her way up under no asking from Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez and took command approaching the far turn. As Spring in the Wind gave way, Wow Cat challenged Midnight Bisou at the top of the stretch with the two fillies on even terms at the eighth-pole. But Midnight Bisou displayed her superiority and hit the wire first in final time of 1:48.86.Crimson Frost finished another 5 1/4 lengths back in third followed by Another Broad and Spring in the Wind. Vexatious was scratched.Owned by Bloom Racing Stable, Madaket Stable and Allen Racing and trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Midnight Bisou added to an impressive 2019 ledger which includes Grade 1 wins in the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park, the Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park and the Personal Ensign at Saratoga. The victory was a first Beldame win for Asmussen and a fourth for Velazquez, who guided Yanks Music (1996), Ashado (2004) and Life At Ten (2010) to their respective Beldame wins. "It was pretty easy for her," Velazquez said. "I didn't have to do very much, just keep her out of trouble, and she did what she had to do. I didn't have to hit her or anything. I just showed her the whip, and let her know she had to run. That was it."Velazquez picked up the mount from Midnight Bisou's regular rider, Hall of Famer Mike Smith, who is in California scheduled to ride McKinzie in the Grade 1, $300,000 Awesome Again at Santa Anita. "She's a much better horse this year. She wasn't as consistent last year," Velazquez said. "After talking to Mike [Smith], when I rode her in the Breeders' Cup, he said, 'She's not too crazy about the track at Churchill Downs, anyway.' She came back this year and hasn't run bad yet."Asmussen's assistant trainer Scott Blasi saddled Midnight Bisou for Saturday's race and was pleased with the way the filly continues to dominate the older filly and mare division. "You're always a little worried drawing the one-hole in short fields, but I thought Johnny [Velazquez] rode her great and did a terrific job riding her to the wire," Blasi said. "She proved to be the best. She's just been an amazing horse this year. The way she's developed this year, she's turned a corner going from 3 to 4, and it's exciting. She's been training great since the Personal Ensign and hopefully we can just keep her happy going forward."Midnight Bisou's likely next start will take place in the Grade 1, $2 million Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff on November 2 at Santa Anita. She finished third in last year's Distaff which was contested at Churchill Downs. Returning $2.30 for a $2 win bet, Midnight Bisou cashed $165,000 from her Beldame triumph pushing her lifetime earnings up to $2,393,775. Never off the board in 18 career starts, the Beldame was a 12th career victory for Midnight Bisou. Bred in Kentucky by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Midnight Bisou is out of the Repent broodmare Diva Delite and was purchased for $80,000 from the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in April 2017.

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9.28.2019:

Imperial Hint Noses Out Firenze Fire to Win G1 Vosburgh Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Raymond Mamone's Imperial Hint, sent to post at the 1-5 mutuel favorite, won a dramatic stretch battle with Firenze Fire to capture Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 Vosburgh at Belmont Park. The win also earned Imperial Hint, trained by Luis Carvajal, Jr., an all-expenses paid berth to the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders' Cup Sprint on November 2 at Santa Anita Park.Breaking alertly from post 3 with Hall of Famer Javier Castellano aboard, the pair went to the front from the four-horse field, marking the opening quarter-mile in 22.11 seconds and the half in 44.65 with Firenze Fire stalking closely in second on the fast main track. Firenze Fire, with Irad Ortiz, Jr. up, put a head in front at the stretch call but Imperial Hint battled back with the pair trading leads to the wire with Imperial Hint, under a vigorous ride by Castellano along the rail, putting a nose in front to complete six furlongs in 1:08.35.Castellano was full of praise for the game and determined effort by Imperial Hint."It was unbelievable," said Castellano. "You never know in this game, nothing is for sure. You have to ride your race, and this is a great horse. I loved the way he did it. He fought all the way to the end. He didn't want to get beat. I give all credit to the horse and trainer, he did a great job. Now we have the Breeders' Cup and I'm looking forward to it." With the scratch of pace presence Promises Fulfilled, Ortiz, Jr. said he wanted to pressure Imperial Hint early in the race."There was no speed in the race except the horse to beat, so I had to go for it," said Ortiz, Jr. "I took my horse out of his place too early. You don't want to do that, but I had to do it. I thought it was a little early to try and jump on him. It worked out good turning for home and at the three-sixteenths pole, but it didn't work out in the end. He [Imperial Hint] put his head in front."Returning $2.50 for a $2 win wager, the 6-year-old son of Imperialism bred in Florida by Shade Tree Thoroughbreds boosted his earnings to $2,199,155. It was the second consecutive win from four starts this year for Imperial Hint following an impressive four-length victory in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt on July 27 at Saratoga in which he set a track record. Looking ahead, Carvajal, Jr. said Imperial Hint would return to his home base at Monmouth Park, where he will begin final preparations for the Breeders' Cup Sprint. "We'll go back to Monmouth Park and evaluate the horse and make sure he's good," said Carvajal, Jr. "We'll resume training and hopefully we'll see him at Santa Anita and leave in the middle of October or something like that. You don't have to do much now after this race. This will be enough."Following Firenze Fire in second was Brown Buckeye and American Power. Call Paul and Promises Fulfilled was scratched.

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9.28.2019:

Mirth Goes Gate-to-Wire to Win G1 Rodeo Drive Stakes

ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 28, 2019) — With legendary “Big Money” Mike Smith dealing the cards on the front end, 9-1 longshot Mirth registered an impressive 1 ¼ length victory in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Rodeo Drive Stakes at Santa Anita.  Trained by Phil D’Amato, who won the Grade II John Henry Turf Championship earlier in the day, Mirth, a 4-year-old Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Colonel John, got a mile and one quarter on turf in 1:58.47. Most recently a non-threatening fifth at 1 3/8 miles on turf at Del Mar Aug. 16, Mirth, who was ridden for the first time today by Smith, paid $14.20, $6.20 and $3.40. Out of the French Deputy mare Di’s Delight, Mirth, who by virtue of her win today earns a fees-paid berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita, picked up $180,000 for the win, increasing her earnings to $315,563. Irish-bred Beau Recall, the 6-5 favorite with Drayden Van Dyke, rallied well for the place, overhauling fellow Irish-bred Elysea’s World close home by a neck. Beau Recall paid $3.00 and $2.20. Elysea’s World, who was unable to head the winner turning for home, finished 5 ¼ lengths in front of Siberian Iris and paid $2.40 to show. Fractions on the race were 23.72, 47.53, 1:11.05 and 1:35.00.JOCKEY QUOTESMIKE SMITH MIRTH, WINNER: (On riding Mirth for the first time): “I’ve watched her, and she’s been running dynamite. It looked like she wasn’t far from pulling one of these off, so I knew it was in her. It was just a matter of whether I could get a little brave and start marching a little early. She doesn’t really have a turn of foot; she just seems to keep staying and keep going. I felt like I had gotten away with that at the half-mile pole, so going into the turn I started marching on where I was going to lengthen everybody’s kick instead of trying to make an explosive move. It worked today. It might not work next time, but it worked today.” TRAINER QUOTES PHIL D’AMATO, MIRTH, WINNER: “She was kind of a late entry into the race. We were the lone speed and Mike (Smith) just kind of doled it out the right way and had plenty left.” BILLY KOCH, LITTLE RED FEATHER RACING: “When she turned for home she kept going at the same pace and I didn’t see anybody coming . . . It was really great.”

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9.28.2019:

Mongolian Groom Shocks McKinzie in G1 Awesome Again Stakes

ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 28, 2019) — In the money in three graded stakes assignments this year but winless in his last seven starts, 25-1 longshot Mongolian Groom held a one length advantage over heavily favored McKinzie mid-way around the far turn and simply outran him through the lane to win Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes by a widening 2 ¼ lengths Saturday at Santa Anita. With Abel Cedillo picking up his second graded stakes win of the day, both Cedillo and owner/trainer Enebish Ganbat registered their first Grade I wins at Santa Anita as Ganbat’s 4-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Hightail got a mile and one eighth in 1:49.27. Ridden aggressively, Mongolian Groom went to the lead and was in control throughout. Pressured to his outside by longshot Isotherm up the backside, Mongolian Groom got some separation leaving the three furlong pole and although Mike Smith was trying to engage with McKinzie shortly thereafter, it was Mongolian Groom who was firmly in charge. Most recently fifth, beaten 4 ¼ lengths in the Grade I Woodward Stakes at Saratoga Aug. 31, Mongolian Groom paid $52.80, $8.80 and $3.00. With the Awesome Again being a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race qualifier, Mongolian Groom would’ve earned a fees-paid berth into the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 2, but he is not Breeders’ Cup nominated and would therefore have to be supplemented by his owner.Out of the Dynaformer mare Bourbonesque, Mongolian Groom is now 16-3-2-3 and with the winner’s share of $180,000, now has earnings of $579,141. Trained by Bob Baffert and the early favorite to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, McKinzie was second, 5 ¼ lengths clear of Higher Power.  Off at 1-5, he paid $2.10 and $2.10. The second choice with Flavien Prat up at 3-1, Higher Power paid $2.10 to show. Fractions on the race were 23.99, 48.29, 1:12.07 and 1:36.95.JOCKEY QUOTES ABEL CEDILLO, MONGOLIAN GROOM, WINNER: “I would like to thank the trainers and owners. I had a lot of help and thank you Enebish Ganbat, for trusting me. He told me don’t change anything, just do what you do with him . . . just stay close, and I saw McKinzie didn’t go so I took the lead.”  MIKE SMITH, McKINZIE, SECOND: “I thought I could go with the two outside horses, but they seemed like they were determined to get it. So I let them go figuring they’d entertain each other and we’d do what we do. That horse ran a huge race today. We lost the battle, but this ain’t the war. Hopefully we’ll come back and be ready.” TRAINER QUOTES  ENEBISH GANBAT, MONGOLIAN GROOM, WINNER: “Honestly, I didn’t expect he was going to win because he was running against two of the best horses on the dirt and the best two trainers, Baffert and Sadler. I told everyone I’m happy if he comes in third. I bet $500 on show. “I guess last time (Pacific Classic on Aug. 17) he got tired because it was very hot, he was sweaty and we did a hard jog. Today we did a light jog; he was fresher today. “I told the jockey to do what he had to and he did OK, the horse won at 25-1. That’s horse racing. I expected him to hold off McKinzie through the stretch (through interpreter Josie Goldberg). My horse was not stopping. He continued to go." “I didn’t think he’d win. He was up against the two best horses in America in McKinzie and Higher Power. I thought I’d be happy if the horse finished third. I didn’t think my horse would win.” Goldberg: “He (Ganbat) went to a university in Russia, and the Russian mentality is, ‘You fight to the end,’ and that’s what the horse did. He wasn’t going to stop until he won. He didn’t tell Abel anything, except, ‘You know your job.’” Asked about the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Ganbat said even though this was a “Win and You’re In” race, the horse has not been nominated to the Breeders’ Cup.  Breeders’ Cup rules state: “The winning horse in a Challenge Race shall receive automatic selection into the Championship race that corresponds with the division of the Challenge Race won, provided the horse is Breeders’ Cup nominated before the Championships pre-entry deadline.” Ganbat is a native of Mongolia who began training there in 1999. He began training in the United States in 2010. 

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9.27.2019:

Heavily-Favored Bast Wins G1 Chandelier Stakes

ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 27, 2019) — Racing as a team from the quarter pole home, heavily favored Bast, who was ridden by John Velazquez, inched clear late to prevail by a head over K P Dreamin and Abel Cedillo in Friday’s Grade I, $300,000 Chandelier Stakes at Santa Anita.  Trained by Bob Baffert, Bast got a mile and one sixteenth in 1:46.10. A Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race qualifier, Bast has a fees-paid berth into the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, to be run on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita. In winning, Velazquez registered his 661st graded stakes victory, breaking a tie with fellow Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey, making him North America’s all-time leading graded stakes winning jockey. Attentive to the early pace set by Been Studying Her, Bast was three-deep to the immediate  outside of Comical around the far turn and prevailed in a thriller. Off at 1-5 in a field of six juvenile fillies, Bast past paid $2.40, $2.10 and $2.10.                    Owned by Baoma Corp, Bast, Kentucky-bred filly by Uncle Mo, out of the Indian Charlie mare Laffina, came off a rousing 8 ¾ length win in the Grade I Del Mar Debutante and now has two wins from three starts. In her first try around two turns, she picked up $180,000 for the win, increasing her earnings to $372,200. Third, beaten 9 ¼ lengths by Bast at Del Mar, Comical, who was ridden for the first time by Cedillo, was off at 11-1 and paid $5.00 and $2.80 while finishing three lengths in front of K P Dreamin. Ridden by Ruben Fuentes, K P Dreamin was off at 17-1 and paid $4.00 to show. Leucothea, a 24-1 longshot ridden by Norberto Arroyo, Jr., broke from the outside and unseated Arroyo coming out of the gate. Fractions on the race were 24.92, 49.54, 1:13.98 and 1:39.29.JOCKEY QUOTESJOHN VELAZQUEZ, BAST, WINNER: “This means a lot. (Jerry Bailey) is a guy who I rode with for so many years and have looked up to for so long. It’s incredible.”“Going to the backstretch, she looked really good, and I was pretty confident. We got to the turn and I thought we might go a little wide, but I said ‘no, no – you have to stay there.’ I got up to her and she cruised down the lane and put her head out in front of the other horse. She gave me a lot today. I felt she gave me what she could to win the race.”ABEL CEDILLO, COMICAL, SECOND: “I know the other horse was a tough one. I like my filly, though. I worked her last week and she worked really easy. She tried really hard today. She kept coming, but I think the better horse beat me.” RUBEN FUENTES, K P DREAMIN, THIRD: “My horse ran great. I wish there was a little more speed to run at because our pace was a little slow for anyone to make up some ground. I wish there was somebody pressing the favorite, she had a comfortable trip, nice and easy, but I think we’ll be way better in the Breeders’ Cup”(On the future for K P Dreamin) “She’s most likely going to the Breeders’ Cup. Like I said, we can get a bigger field there. We can probably get a better pace to run at there, too”. TRAINER QUOTES BOB BAFFERT, BAST, WINNER: Surrounded by media: “I’ve never seen so much press here on a Friday.” Asked about the stretch duel: “I thought, wow, man, she’s really going to have to fight for this, but if she’s a really good filly, like I think she is, she’ll get through it, and she got that last eighth of a mile. It just shows you how competitive these horses are.“Both of them were fighting to win. She got there, and at 1-9, you want to win. There’s one down and I’ve got a few more to go.“To be part of his (John Velazquez’s record 661st career graded stakes win, breaking the tie with Jerry Bailey’s 660) record is exciting, but Todd Pletcher is the one who got him all those graded wins. I played a very minor part. I really didn’t know he was up for the record until I read it the other day. That’s all I would have needed was a jinx like that to keep me from winning, because it’s always the last hurdle to get him over, but he’s such a professional.“Down the backside she was going nice, then turning for home, John was like, ‘Come on baby, we’ve got to go,’ and she wasn’t going. He thought she would respond, but I think this will get her ready for the next one (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Nov. 1 at Santa Anita).“This is a very demanding, deep, heavy race track. Not only do you have to be really good, you have to be ready . . . The Chus (owners Charles and Susan) are really excited and we’ve been really lucky together, winning the Breeders’ Cup Sprint with Drefong, so they’ve already had a champion.“They’ve been great supporters of mine. I really think this race is going to move Bast up, so I feel pretty good about it. You’re supposed to get tired first time two turns. They’re a little bit confused; they’re two-year-olds and they probably thought, ‘What are we doing?’ We have to go around again? We just started from there.’ But she got the job done. I had gone a little light on her (training ) so I just told John she’s not going to be as tight, but she’s 1-9 so I felt there’d be a little room for error, but there wasn’t much room at all.”

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9.27.2019:

Pee Wee Reese Punches Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint Ticket in G2 Eddie D. Stakes

ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 27, 2019) — Full of run while an attentive third around the far turn, Nick Alexander’s homebred Pee Wee Reese slipped through an opening turning for home en route to an impressive half length win over favored Eddie Haskell in Friday’s Grade III, $200,000 Eddie D Stakes at Santa Anita. Ridden for the first time by Flavien Prat and trained by Phil D’Amato, Pee Wee Reese, named for the late Dodger Hall of Fame shortstop, got five furlongs on turf in 55.33, just .27 seconds off the track record set by Eddie Haskell on Feb. 22. Off at 5-2 in a field of eight 3-year-olds and up, Pee Wee Reese paid $7.00, $3.80 and $2.80. Bred in California, Pee Wee Reese is a 6-year-old full horse by Tribal Rule out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Bluegrass Belle.  In notching his second graded stakes win, Pee Wee Reese is now 15-8-2-1 and with the winner’s share of $120,000, he now has earnings of $532,901. Breaking sharply from post position two, Prat was content to let his mount run into the bridle as he tracked early leader Boa Nova into and around the turn and easily prevailed late over the runner-up. Ridden by Joel Rosario, Eddie Haskell was next to last turning for home and made a big run while wide out, finishing 1 ¼ lengths in front of two-time Breeder’s Cup Turf Sprint winner and last year’s Eddie D victor, Stormy Liberal.  Off at 9-5, Eddie Haskell paid $3.00 and $2.20. Stormy Liberal, who was ridden by Norberto Arroyo, Jr., never threatened for the win but was game for the show at 6-1 and paid $3.40. Fractions on the race were 21.41 and 43.92.JOCKEY QUOTES  FLAVIEN PRAT, PEE WEE REESE, WINNER: “We had a good trip. He broke well and there were two horses that were off quicker than us, so we sort of sat in behind them. When we had the opening in the stretch, he gave me a good kick.(On the pace): It’s a five furlong race, so you don’t expect it to be slow at all.”  JOEL ROSARIO, EDDIE HASKELL, SECOND: “Yeah, he did (finish well). He tried really hard, just got beat by another fast horse. Second best, but he pulled his own.”(On the future for Eddie Haskell) “He tried really hard, and he’s a good horse, so we’ll see where they will go next”. TRAINER QUOTESPHILIP D’AMATO, PEE WEE REESE, WINNER: “Flavien had it in mind to stay at the back coming out of the jock’s room so I told him to play the break; to go suicidal in 21 is never a good thing, so I just told him to do what he thought was best and he got him in a nice spot in the pocket, found a hole there at the top of the lane and exploded through. “For turf horses, San Luis Rey Downs is a great place. They can get plenty fit down there and he really likes it there and he will probably go back down there.”  OWNER QUOTES NICK ALEXANDER, EDDIE D, WINNER: “When you see the Cal-breds fall out and you see them broken, then see them at the track, you never know which is going to be a good and one which one is not. This guy was nothing special for his first couple races on the dirt, broke his maiden on the dirt just barely, and when we switched to the turf he was a different horse. “Phil D’ Amato has done an unbelievable job with this horse. He has only run 14 times, he’s six years old, so in between races he’s really done a lot to help him. “Pee Wee Reese was the captain of the Dodgers and he was the one who befriended Jackie (Robinson) when he was first with the Dodgers. Pee Wee was part of the solution to get everyone to play together…that is why I named the horse after him.

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9.27.2019:

Favorite Eight Rings Goes Gate-to-Wire to Win G1 American Pharoah Stakes

ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 27, 2019) — Sent to the front out of the gate by John Velazquez, Eight Rings dominated proceedings throughout in Friday’s Grade I, $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita, winning by six lengths while getting 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.41.  Trained by Bob Baffert, Eight Rings made amends for a disastrous trip in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity, a race in which he ducked in at the break, unseating Drayden Van Dyke as the 1-2 favorite. “I told Johnny V. to ride him with confidence,” said Baffert, who racked up his record ninth win in the race named for his 2015 Triple Crown winner.  “I thought he might be in front.  Johnny said let’s get him away from there, and he’s figured out this track.  He gigged him a little bit, but he said, ‘Wow, he’s really fast.’  He just got out there really quick and I was actually just watching his ears the whole way. “Johnny said he’ll be going good, then he’ll start looking around and lagging, and all the way down the stretch he was still looking around…My heart is still with American Pharoah, so I’m glad to see his babies are doing well.  I’m blessed and fortunate to get these kinds of horses.” Off as the 6-5 favorite in a field of nine juveniles, Eight Rings paid $4.40, $3.20 and $2.80. Owned by SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Frederick Hertrich, III, John D. Fielding and Golconda Stables, Eight Rings, a Kentucky-bred colt by Empire Maker, out of the Pure Prize mare Purely Hot, was trying two turns for the first time and now has two wins from three starts.  With the winner’s share of $180,000, he has earnings of $216,951. “He’s still not 100 percent confident in what he needs to do,” said Velazquez, who rode Eight Rings for the first time today and who won the Grade I Chandelier earlier in the day with Baffert’s Bast. “If he can put his mind to running, he’ll be a dangerous horse.”A Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race qualifier, the American Pharoah victory provides Eight Rings with a fees-paid berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov. 1. Trained by George Papaprodomou and ridden by Tiago Pereira, American Theorem, a son of American Pharoah, was second throughout and finished 2 ¼ lengths in front of Storm the Court. Off at 7-1, American Theorem paid $7.60 and $6.00. Ridden by Flavien Prat, Storm the Court was off at 19-1 and paid $8.80 to show. Fractions on the race were 23.72, 47.06, 1:11.71 and 1:38.11.JOCKEY QUOTES JOHN VELAZQUEZ, EIGHT RINGS, WINNER: “He’s still not 100 percent confident in what he needs to do. Obviously he’s very talented, but he needs to put it together and go on. He still ran a good race, but you can see he has some room to improve. If he can put his mind to running, he’ll be a dangerous horse.”(On going to the lead): “I wanted to put him into the race, and that way he could get his mind on running. I was pretty comfortable with the way he was moving in the backstretch. But he kept kind of wandering, so I felt like I had to keep reminding him to focus. It’s only his second start, so he’s still learning basically.” TIAGO PEREIRA, AMERICAN THEOREM, SECOND: “I hoped to win, obviously, but I think it was a great race. I followed a horse that was great as well. I am happy, second place is good, and I continue confident for the next race. I think I have a great horse. It will win many big races.” TRAINER QUOTES BOB BAFFERT, EIGHT RINGS, WINNER: “The horse was training really well. I told Johnny V. to ride him with confidence.I thought he might be in front. Johnny said let’s get him away from there, and he’s figured out this track. He gigged him a little bit, but he said, ‘Wow, he’s really fast.’ He just got out there really quick and I was actually just watching his ears the whole way. Johnny said he’ll be going good, then he’ll start looking around and lagging, and all the way down the stretch he was still looking around.“But it was a good race for him, coming off that last disastrous race. I’m just so fortunate that Drayden (Van Dyke) didn’t get hurt worse. I’ve got to thank my entire team. Everybody’s been on him; even Joe Talamo’s worked him for me. When you have a good one like this, you want him to really perform well.“I’m happy for George Papaprodromou that his American Pharoah (ridgling) ran second. My heart is still with American Pharoah so I’m glad to see his babies are doing well. I’m blessed and fortunate to get these kinds of horses.” OWNER QUOTES TOM RYAN (SF RACING), EIGHT RINGS, WINNER: “I guess I had more of a hand in putting the team together to select a colt. The colt was really selected by Bob Baffert, Henry Field, the Frankie brothers, a lot of great people involved in the syndication. We are big supporters of syndication and here are the results.“Baffert calls our syndication the Avengers. Bob gives you confidence; this morning he said we are ready. It’s an exciting month ahead of us more than any of us ever dreamed of.” 

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9.27.2019:

Golden Gate Fields Features $100K Guaranteed Closing Day Late Pick 4 on Sunday

BERKELEY, Calif. (Sept. 24, 2019) — Golden Gate Fields has announced it will guarantee $100,000 in its closing day Late Pick 4 pool this Sunday, Sept. 29.  With the 2019 Summer Meeting at Golden Gate drawing to a close, mandatory payouts in all exotic wagers, including the 20 cent Golden Pick Six Jackpot and both the Early and Late Pick 5 wagers, will be the order of the day. The popular Late Pick 4 is comprised of a 50 cent minimum wager which requires players to correctly tab the winners of the final four races on the program.                  “We are delighted to offer our horseplayers this $100,000 guarantee in our Late Pick 4 this Sunday,” said David Duggan, Golden Gate Fields Vice President and General Manager.  “Our fields on closing week are projected to be large and competitive, which will make the betting sequences very enticing.  We sincerely thank our horseplayers for their continued support of our product.” First post time on Sunday is slated for 1:15 p.m. PT.  For additional information on closing week at Golden Gate Fields, please visit Goldengatefields.com or call (510) 559-7300.

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9.26.2019:

Santa Anita Announces Autumn 2019 Meet Wager Menu

ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 26, 2019) — With the beginning of its 23-day Autumn Meet this Friday, Sept. 27, Santa Anita Park will offer players a comprehensive wagering menu that includes the popular 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six each day and The Stronach Five, a 12 percent takeout wager with a one dollar minimum, each Friday. Santa Anita will also offer a $500,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4 this Saturday, Sept. 28.  The Late 4 is comprised of the final four races on Saturday’s 11-race card. Additionally, Santa Anita will again offer the popular 50 cent Early Pick Five, with a 14 percent takeout, and the 50 cent Late Pick Five. The Stronach Five will offer fans a fast moving quintet of races from four Stronach Group properties, Gulfstream Park, Laurel Park, Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields each Friday.  Providing there is no single ticket winner, the 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six is paid on a daily basis to those tickets with the highest number of winning horses. Thirty percent of the pool is then carried over to a jackpot pool, less takeout. This could create the possibility of a massive jackpot pool leading into a mandatory payout on closing day, Sunday, Nov. 3.        The track will also continue to offer one dollar exactas, two dollar rolling Daily Doubles, 50 cent  rolling Pick 3s, an early and late 50 cent Pick 4, as well as 10 cent Superfectas on all races with a minimum of six runners. 2019 AUTUMN MEET COMPLETE WAGERING MENU 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six offered on final six races each day The Stronach Five, a one dollar minimum wager with 12 percent takeout, offered each Friday Two separate 50 cent Pick 5s, to be offered on the first and last five races each day Two dollar Win, Place & Show wagering on each race, featuring the lowest takeout (15.43 percent) of any major racetrack in the nation 50 cent Trifectas on each race (minimum of four runners) 10 cent Superfectas will be offered on all races (minimum of six horses scheduled to start) One dollar Exactas on each race The 50 cent Early Pick 4 will cover races two through five, while the Late Pick 4 will cover the final four races on each card Rolling two dollar Daily Doubles, which feature a 20 percent takeout 50 cent rolling Pick 3s will be offered beginning with the first race each day All new 50 cent Jackpot Super High 5, in all races with seven or more declared starters.  The Jackpot Super High 5 requires players to select the first five finishers in each race, in exact order. In each race that fails to produce a single ticket winner, 75 percent of the net pool will be paid out to those tickets that have correctly selected the first five winners and 25 percent of the net pool will be carried over to the jackpot pool. If there are no tickets with five winners, 100 percent of the net pool will be carried over to the next Jackpot Super High 5 race.  Should there be no single ticket winners through Nov. 1, there will be a mandatory Jackpot Super High Five payout culminating with the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 2.  For more information on Santa Anita’s 2019 Autumn Meet, please visit www.santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.

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9.25.2019:

Post Times for 2019 Breeders' Cup Announced

ARCADIA, Calif. (September 24, 2019) – The Breeders’ Cup today announced post times for the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 races with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million, which will be held on Nov. 1-2  at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.The official race order and wagering menu for both days of the Championships will be announced on Wednesday, Oct. 23. The 36th Breeders’ Cup begins on Friday, Nov. 1 with Future Stars Friday, featuring all five Breeders’ Cup World Championships races for 2-year-olds, which comprises half of the 10-race program. There will be four undercard races preceding the first Breeders’ Cup race, with first race post time at 10:45 a.m. PT.Friday’s first Breeders’ Cup race will be Race #5, which will have a post time of 1:12 p.m. PT. The $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile will be the ninth race on the card, with a post time of 4:03 p.m. PT. Post time for the 10th and final race will be 4:43 p.m. PT.There will be 12 races on the Saturday, Nov. 2 program, featuring nine Breeders’ Cup World Championships races.  The day begins with three undercard races with a first race post time of 10:07 a.m. PT. The first Breeders’ Cup race will be Race #4, which will have a post time of 11:55 a.m. PT.Post time for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, Race #12, will be 5:44 p.m. PT.  2019 Breeders’ Cup World Championships POST-TIMES All Times PacificFriday, November 1 Race 1: 10:45 AM Race 2: 11:20 AM Race 3: 11:55 PM Race 4: 12:32 PM Race 5: 1:12 PM Race 6: 1:52 PM Race 7: 2:32 PM Race 8: 3:12 PM Race 9: 4:03 PM Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Race 10: 4:43 PM Saturday, November 2 Race 1: 10:07 AM Race 2: 10:42 AM Race 3: 11:17 AM Race 4: 11:55 AM Race 5: 12:33 PM Race 6: 1:10 PM Race 7: 1:54 PM Race 8: 2:36 PM Race 9: 3:20 PM Race 10: 4:00 PM Race 11: 4:40 PM Race 12: 5:44 PM Breeders’ Cup Classic ALL POST-TIMES ARE PACIFIC TIME BOLD are Breeders’ Cup World Championships races

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9.23.2019:

Gulfstream has $1.8 Million Rainbow 6 Carryover Wednesday; Mandatory Payout Sunday

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL –   The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 45th racing day in a row Sunday, producing a carryover jackpot to $1,852,653.42 for Wednesday’s program at Gulfstream Park. First-race post time Wednesday is set for 1:15 p.m.Multiple tickets with all six winners Sunday were each worth $19,507.96.The carryover jackpot is only paid out when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners. On days when there is no unique ticket, 70 percent of that day’s pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners, while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool.The Rainbow 6 was last solved July 6, when one lucky bettor cashed a $173,583.90 jackpot payoff.The carryover jackpot stood at $1,763,111 at the start of Rainbow 6 wagering Sunday, when a total of $373,127 was bet into the multi-race pool.There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $2,481.74 heading into Wednesday’s cardEvents, Big Races and Mandatory Payouts Closing WeekThere will be lots to do during closing week of Gulfstream’s Summer Meet, which begins with a special eight-race program Wednesday.Saturday will mark the finals of the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes featuring the $400,000 In Reality for 2-year-olds colts and geldings and the $400,000 My Dear Girl for 2-year-old fillies. The Saturday program will also include the $150,000 Wildcat Heir for 3-year-olds and up, as well as five others stakes each worth $75,000.The Flamingo Room will also play host Saturday to the third and final Taste of the Track – Bourbon, Beer & BBQ. Fans can sample hand-selected bourbons, local craft beers and BBQ bites and sliders while watching the races. The event starts at 1 p.m. For more information and tickets go to: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe/10427320And finally, closing day Sunday will feature mandatory payouts on the 20-cent Rainbow 6, Late Pick 5 and Super Hi 5. If no one hits the Rainbow 6 through Saturday, the pool could be as high as $10 million Sunday afternoon.

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9.22.2019:

Come Dancing Finishes Breeders' Cup Preparations with Gallant Bloom Win

ELMONT, N.Y. - Sent off as the 1-5 post-time favorite, Blue Devil Racing Stable's Come Dancing didn't disappoint her backers earning her fourth win from five starts this year, capturing the Grade 2, $300,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap on Sunday at Belmont Park for fillies and mares over the main track.  Breaking form post 3 with Hall of Fame rider Javier Castellano aboard, Come Dancing stalked from third position as Carrera Cat and Minit to Stardom battled early with the former leading the field of five through fractions of 22.54 seconds for the opening quarter-mile with the half in 44.99 on the fast main track.  Racing three-wide at the quarter-pole, Come Dancing began to make her winning move past the pair in front. Come Dancing, in hand, extended away to the wire for a 3 ¼-length win, completing the 6 1/2 furlong distance in 1:14.96. "My goal today was just to take it easy and put everything together for the Breeders' Cup," said Castellano. "I think this race is going to bridge the gap to the Breeders' Cup. I didn't want to squeeze the lemon. I wanted to win nice and easy, but I don't want to overdo it." Returning $2.50 for a $2 win wager, the 5-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon homebred reached millionaire status with the victory, boosting her bankroll to $1,046,700. Come Dancing was making her first start since winning the Grade 1 Ballerina on August 24 at Saratoga Race Course for conditioner Carlos Martin. "I initially had said I was going to wait until the Breeders' Cup, but she was just doing so well," said Martin. "I did some research with the team and it was a perfect prep, timing-wise. The more I thought about it, the more I felt confident in running her today. Marc Holliday and the Blue Devil team have stuck with us through some tough times, and I'm glad to see her at her best as a 5-year-old." Martin said this victory should set her up to next compete in the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on November 2 at Santa Anita Park.  "I was with my dad [trainer Jose Martin] when he trained Groovy. Unfortunately, we got beat as the favorite in the 1987 Breeders' Cup Sprint," added Martin. "Those are some bittersweet memories in California, so hopefully we can make it right after all those years and get a Breeders' Cup win for the family."  Following Minit to Stardom in second was Majestic Reason, Carrera Cat, and Jc's Shooting Star completing the order of finish.

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9.21.2019:

Math Wizard Springs Massive Upset in G1 Pennsylvania Derby

Bensalem, Pa. - Math Wizard, the second longest shot on the board in Saturday’s $1 million Pennsylvania Derby, pulled off a gigantic upset when he won the Grade 1 stakes by a neck at Parx Racing. Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. and trained by 32-year-old South Florida-based Saffie Joseph Jr., Math Wizard rallied down the center of the track and shocked the field that included Preakness Stakes winner War of Will, the beaten favorite in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in Improbable and a colt that came in with four straight wins in Mr. Money. Math Wizard went off at odds of 31-1 and paid $64.20, $12 and $4.80. He did not become the biggest longshot to win the Pennsylvania Derby in its 40-year history. That distinction belongs to Valley Crossing, who won at odds of 78-1 in 1991. “I’ve got to retire now!” an emotional Joseph said after Math Wizard became his first Grade 1 winner in first Grade 1 start. “I feel blessed. I’m at a loss for words.” Math Wizard won for the third time in 13 career starts. Math Wizard hadn’t won since Jan. 31 at Gulfstream, when he scored by 18 3/4 lengths and was claimed for $25,000 out of that race by his current ownership group led by John Fanelli, who calls Parx his home track. “This is my biggest win ever,” Fanelli said. “I was screaming so loud, I lost my voice.” Fanelli owns the son of Algorithms along with Collarmele Vitelli Stables LLC, Bassett Stables, Ioannis Zoumas, Wynwood Thoroughbreds and Joseph. Math Wizard won with a six-wide move into the stretch. He ran down the early pacemakers Mr. Money and War of Will, rallying into slow fractions. The first quarter-mile went in :24.50, the half in :49.60 and 6 furlongs in 1:13.44. With fractions that slow, it would not seem ideal for a closer. “To me, what was surprising was that the pace was not fast and that horse came from out of it,” said Mark Casse, the trainer of War of Will. The final time for the 1 1/8 mile race over a fast track was 1:50.94. Ortiz picked up the mount Saturday. Florida-based Edgard Zayas was named to ride Math Wizard at entry time, but he was not at Parx Saturday. “He ran hard,” Ortiz said. “When I turned for home and I opened the reins and he started taking off, I said, ‘I’m going to get there.” Math Wizard arrived at Parx Thursday with his trainer. The only horse that went off at longer odds in the field was the maiden Shanghai Superfly, who finished last at odds of 90-1. Every other horse in the field went off at single-digit odds. “We’ve got the horse going the right way,” Joseph, who is from Barbados. “We just got him at the right time.” Mr. Money, the 8-5 second choice, finished second for trainer Bret Calhoun and jockey Gabriel Saez and War of Will was third for Casse and Tyler Gaffalione. “Obviously disappointing,” Calhoun said after Mr. Money’s four-race winning streak ended in his first Grade 1 start. “No excuses. We just got outrun. Kind of surprising to be outrun by a horse we beat pretty handily a couple times.” Mr. Money beat Math Wizard by 11 3/4 lengths in the West Virginia Derby Aug. 3 and by 4 lengths in the Indiana Derby July 13. Improbable, the 6-5 favorite, got off to a slow start after acting up in the gate and finished fourth, a neck in front of Spun to Run, who was fifth. Improbable also encountered gate problems in the Preakness and he was a non-factor in that race. “I don’t know why he does it,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said by phone from California. “He doesn’t do it in California. Mike (Smith) said he was really good and then heard a noise and it set him off. It’s just frustrating when you go that far and he pulls that stuff.”

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9.21.2019:

Street Band Punches Breeders' Cup Distaff Ticket with G1 Cotillion Victory

Bensalem, Pa. – Street Band circled a field of one of the strongest groupings of 3-year-old fillies assembled in 2019 to win Saturday’s $1 million Cotillion Stakes at Parx Racing, earning Sophie Doyle her first Grade 1 victory and securing an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The Larry Jones-trained Street Band, making her seventh start this year and sent off at 7-1 in the field of 11, tracked the field from the back of the pack early while Jaywalk set a quick opening quarter-mile in :22.75. The field progressed through a half in :46.27 and 6 furlongs in 1:11.19 as Bellafina took command. “I was very glad to hear (Parx announcer Keith Jones) say ‘very fast quarter’ because we were way back,” Jones said. “We knew there was a lot of speed in here and I was waiting to see those fractions and he called it. By the time I could locate her he already said ‘very fast’ so I said, ‘ok, we’re still alive.’ “When she was moving that strong, and I know Sophie doesn’t ask that hard that early, when she was going by horses that fast I thought that when we were heading for home, we were going to be close.” Turning for home Street Band was under a strong drive from Doyle with Guarana to her inside. Street Band took the lead in deep stretch by a head after a mile in 1:37.44, holding off Guarana by 2 1/4 lengths at the finish. Horologist, off her victory in the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks, finished third 3 3/4 lengths back. Bellafina faded to fourth. Street Band won in 1:44.20 for the 1 1/16 miles. “I was feeling good right here (into the stretch),” said Jones. “When she was going by horses, she was running. We knew there was a lot of speed and we could let her run the whole way without taking her back. When I saw her come by last, I felt, ‘Boy, Sophie, you took her back pretty good.’ She had been relaxing in her works, it has been something we had been trying to do. Sophie told me she thought we had her where we wanted her. And I told her, if she doesn’t win, it’s her fault!” Doyle, the former top female apprentice rider in her native England in 2010, moved her tack to the U.S. in 2011. She couldn’t contain her enthusiasm for her breakthrough win and the filly’s trip. “Honestly my trip, I had to go to Plan B and C,” Doyle said. “She was a little worked up in the post parade. When she broke away from the gate I said, ‘you know what, there’s so much speed in here, I’m not going to rush her off her feet.’ I let her carry me into the race. I let her creep into the race in her own time. “When we were coming around the home turn I was like, ‘come on girl, let’s get into it.’ She really exploded for me. She gave me everything she’s got. She never gave up. She’s so tough. What an amazing filly. She’s come out here today and really proved how good she is. She deserves to be at these Grade 1 races. My first Grade 1. I’m absolutely over the moon. It’s fantastic. What an amazing opportunity. Fingers crossed now to the big one and the Breeders’ Cup.” Doyle became the third female to win the Cotillion since its inception in 1969, after Andrea Seefeldt won in 1992 with Star Minister and Rosie Napravnik piloted Untapable to victory in 2014. The Kentucky-bred Street Band entered off a third in the slop in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes Aug. 17 at Saratoga. The Istan filly split rivals to win the Grade 3 Indiana Oaks at Indiana Grand in her prior race, which followed her seventh in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks May 4 at Churchill Downs. Guarana, perfect through three career starts after being unraced at 2, won the Grade 1 Acorn by 6 lengths before adding the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks to her resume for trainer Chad Brown. “She got a pretty good trip,” Brown said. “I thought she was sitting real nice and she was close to a real honest pace. We had everyone where we wanted them. She was just second best. She just won a Grade 1 going two turns so I can’t blame that (the distance). Is she best around one? Probably. I can’t make any excuse. We gave her a little breather since the Coaching Club and maybe she was a little short as well. New track, too. But hats off to the winner. She really ran well. Both fillies did.” Owned by her trainer, Cindy Jones, Ray Francis, Medallion Racing and MyRaceHorse Stable, Street Band earned her trip to the Nov. 2 Distaff at Santa Anita Park through the Breeders' Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” series.

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9.21.2019:

Killybegs Captain Wins G3 Xpressbet Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash

LAUREL, MD – Jockey Eric Cancel’s instructions prior to Saturday’s $250,000 Xpressbet Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) at Laurel Park couldn’t have been simpler.Given the call on Curragh Stables’ Killybegs Captain, a horse he rode to a pair of third-place finishes in graded-stakes earlier this summer for trainer John Terranova, Cancel followed his orders perfectly.Settled in behind runaway pacesetter Old Time Revival for more than a half-mile, Killybegs Captain ($7.80) came with a steady run once straightened for home and fought off multiple stakes winner Altissimo for a three-quarter-length victory in the De Francis.The 28th running of the six-furlong De Francis for 3-year-olds and up served to highlight Round 1 of Laurel’s September to Remember Stakes Festival featuring eight stakes worth $1.3 million in purses, including Caribou Club’s victory in the $200,000 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3).Named for the late president and chairman of both Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, the De Francis’ roster of past winners includes Hall of Famer Housebuster, fellow sprint champions Cherokee Run, Smoke Glacken, Thor’s Echo and Benny the Bull, and Lite the Fuse, the race’s only two-time winner (1995-96).It was the second career stakes win for Killybegs Captain, following the six-furlong Pelican Feb. 16 at Tampa Bay Downs, and first in graded company. He was third in the John A. Nerud (G2) July 6 at Belmont Park and the Forego (G1) Aug. 24 at Saratoga, both contested at seven furlongs.“John didn’t tell me really any instructions because I’ve ridden the horse a few times already. I’ve gotten to know him pretty well,” New York-based Cancel said. “He just told me to ride him with a lot of confidence and to bring home the winner and, thank God, he made it possible.“I had a lot of confidence. The horse has been training very good,” he added. “I’ve been watching him work in the mornings and he’s been running his last few races super good. He’s in very good shape. I never had a doubt that he could win this race.”Old Time Revival was intent on the lead from his outside post position and held it through fractions of 21.74 and 44.37 seconds, tracked by Altissimo, an eight-time Ohio-bred stakes winner. Killybegs Captain saved ground early and moved into a contending position on the turn, made a bid between rivals to take command nearing the eighth pole, and dig in when challenged by Altissimo on his outside.Altissimo was a decisive second, 3 1/4 lengths ahead of 6-5 favorite He Hate Me. It was two lengths back to program favorite and 2019 Maryland Sprint (G3) winner New York Central in fourth, followed by Bon Raison and Old Time Revival. Wonderful Light and Sparticle were scratched.The winning time of 1:08.10 over a fast main track was the fastest De Francis since Richter Scale’s course record of 1:07.95 on July 15, 2000.“The horse, sometimes he has his good breaks and sometimes he has his bad. Today, he broke pretty decent. I put him in the spot that I really wanted to be, laying close third or fourth, and once I asked him to run he just started going and never hesitated. I took advantage and it worked out very well.”

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9.21.2019:

Caribou Club Sets Record in G3 Baltimore/Washington International

LAUREL, MD – Glen Hill Farm’s Caribou Club rallied from off the pace to capture Saturday’s $200,000 Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup (G3) at Laurel Park in record time. The Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup, a mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds and up, was one of eight stakes worth $1.3 million in purses on the September to Remember program that featured the $300,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3). Trained by Tom Proctor, Caribou Club collected his fourth graded-stakes victory while running a mile in 1:33.35 to eclipse Tizzarunner’s 2017 Dahlia Turf Course record (1:33.40). Caribou Club, who captured the 2016 Laurel Futurity, was reserved off a solid early pace set by Macagone, who set fractions of 23.57 and 46.39 for the first half-mile, pressed by Grade 1 winner Glorious Empire, the 5-2 favorite who was making his first start of the year.Macagone and Glorious Empire continued to show the way on the turn into the homestretch while Caribou Club loomed boldly while making a sweeping move under Feargal Lynch. Caribou Club, the 7-2 second choice, continued his outside drive through the stretch and got to the wire first, a head in front of Frontier Market, who rallied from last under Julian Pimentel. Collum Road closed well to finish third under Alex Cintron, a half-length farther back.“There was a lot of speed in the race with the Jason Servis horse [Macagone] in it. He set a very fast track record last time out at Saratoga so there was going to be a lot of speed in there with the outside horse coming back, as well, Glorious Empire. We just decided to take our time,” Lynch said. “He’s a nice horse and he’s got a good turn of foot. He’s very adaptable. He won going 6 ½ downhill at Santa Anita and he won a mile going around here. He’s a cool little horse.” Caribou Club won the Henry Clark at Laurel on his way to a banner 2018 season. The son of City Zip concluded that campaign with a victory in the Seabiscuit Handicap (G2) at Del Mar, before kicking off the 2019 season with a triumph in the Joe Hernandez (G3) to earn a trip to Dubai. The 5-year-old gelding was never a factor in the Al Quoz at Meydan in March. Following a three-month layoff, Caribou Club finished fifth in the Highlander (G1) at Woodbine before breaking through with a win in the West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker’s Cup last time out. “He loves it here. I think he broke his maiden here and won his first stake here. He’s a cool horse. He’d been doing well in California,” Lynch said. “He went to Dubai this year and Dubai is a tough place to go. It’s a straight five furlongs and they don’t get a chance to get a breather; they jump and go.” Glorious Empire, who underwent therapy on a suspensory issue after winning the Fort Lauderdale (G2) at Gulfstream in December, faded to sixth, while Macagone tired to last in the field of seven.

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9.19.2019:

September 21 Cross Country Pick 5 Features Belmont, Parx and Woodbine

ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday with racing action from Belmont Park, Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pennsylvania and Woodbine Racetrack in Etobicoke, Ontario. The special all-stakes edition of the Cross Country Pick 5 features the Grade 1, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby; the Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion; and Grade 2, $300,000 Gallant Bob from Parx as well as the Grade 2, $300,000 Kelso Handicap from Belmont and the $100,000 Sweet Briar Too from Woodbine.The multi-race wager, hosted by NYRA and featuring a 50-cent minimum, will start with the Gallant Bob from Parx, carded as Race 9 at 4:34 ET. Featuring a field of nine talented runners, 7-2 morning-line favorite Landeskog for conditioner Doug O'Neill enters off an impressive 4 ¾ length victory on August 4 at Del Mar Racetrack. Top challengers in the field include multiple graded stakes winner Bulletin for trainer Todd Pletcher, Trophy Chaser for conditioner J.C. Avila, and King Jack for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.  In the second leg, the Grade 1 Cotillion for 3-year-old fillies, undefeated multiple graded stakes winner Guarana for Three Chimneys Farm and conditioner Chad Brown will look to win her fourth straight race facing top contenders Serengeti Empress for trainer Tom Amoss; Bellafina for conditioner Simon Callaghan; and Jaywalk for trainer Jason Servis, who enters off a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks.  The action then switches to Woodbine for the third leg where a field of nine is assembled for the Sweet Briar Too for fillies and mares going 6 ½ furlongs on the Tapeta.  Sister Peacock for conditioner Stuart Simon will look to improve off a third-place finish in the Galway Stakes at Saratoga Race Course taking on deep field led by Heavenly Hill for trainer Jose Carroll, who finished third last out in the Grade 3 Chicago Handicap on June 29 at Arlington Park. The Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby, the penultimate leg of the sequence, will feature a talented field led by Gary Barber's Grade 1 Preakness winner War of Will. The Mark Casse trainee will make his first start since finishing fifth in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy in July at Saratoga. Steep opposition will be provided by Grade 1-winner Improbable and Mr. Money, who is riding a four-race win streak all in Grade 3 events. In the 39th running of the one-mile Grade 2 Kelso Handicap, the final leg of the Cross Country Pick 5, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin will send out Calumet Farm's True Timber, who will make his first start since finishing ninth in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile on March 30 at Meydan Racecourse. Trainer Todd Pletcher entered Prince Lucky for owner Daniel McConnell, who will make his first start since winning the State Dinner on closing day of the Belmont Park spring/summer meet. Other notable protagonists include Shortleaf Stable's Plainsman and Harold Lerner's Pat On the Back. The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. There will be a mandatory payout of the entire pool. Belmont Park/Parx Racing/Woodbine Cross Country Pick 5 - September 21:Leg 1 - Parx, Race 9: Grade 2 Gallant Bob (4:34 p.m.)Leg 2 - Parx, Race 10: G1 Cotillon (5:14 p.m.)Leg 3 - Woodbine, Race 9: Sweet Briar Too (5:34 p.m.)Leg 4 - Parx, Race 11: G1 Penn Derby (5:48 p.m.)Leg 5 - Belmont Park, Race 10: G2 Kelso Handicap (5:57 p.m.)

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9.18.2019:

New York Central Seeks Rebound in G3 Xpressbet Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash

LAUREL, MD – WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing’s Grade 3 winner New York Central, freshened off a disappointing effort last time out, returns to Maryland with a chance to rediscover his winning form in Saturday’s $250,000 Xpressbet Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) at Laurel Park. The 28th running of the six-furlong De Francis for sprinters 3 and up highlights eight stakes worth $1.3 million purses during Round 1 of September to Remember Stakes Festival that also features the return of Grade 1 winner Glorious Empire in the $200,000 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3). Five other stakes will also be contested over Laurel’s world-class turf course – the $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Laurel Futurity and $200,000 Selima for 2-year-olds; $150,000 Bald Eagle Derby presented by B&B Commercial Interiors for 3-year-olds going 1 ½ miles; and $100,000 Laurel Dash presented by Fidelity First and Blackwell Real Estate and $100,000 Sensible Lady Turf Dash, each 5 ½-furlong sprints for 3-year-olds and up. Completing the stakes action is the inaugural $100,000 Warrior’s Reward Weather Vane for 3-year-old fillies sprinting six furlongs on the main track. Laurel will open its doors at 11 a.m. with a first-race post time of 12:25 p.m. The De Francis is carded as Race 8 of 12 with a 4 p.m. post. Named for the late president and chairman of both Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, and not run in 2008 or 2010, the De Francis’ illustrious roster of past winners includes Hall of Famer Housebuster, fellow sprint champions Cherokee Run, Smoke Glacken, Thor’s Echo and Benny the Bull, and Lite the Fuse, the race’s only two-time winner (1995-96). Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen and Laurel-based jockey Feargal Lynch teamed up to win last year’s De Francis with Switzerland, and they unite again this year with New York Central. In his only previous visit to Maryland, the 4-year-old Tapit colt was a 1 ¾-length winner of the six-furlong Maryland Sprint (G3) on the Preakness (G1) undercard May 18 at Pimlico in a stakes-record 1:08.74. “He’s had a little freshening after his last race and he’s done well,” WinStar President and CEO Elliott Walden said. “He’s training well and he’s coming back to Maryland, where he had his best day this year. We’re looking forward to it.” New York Central followed the Maryland Sprint finishing last of seven in the seven-furlong John A. Nerud (G2) July 6 at Belmont Park, just the third time in 10 lifetime starts he ran worse than third. He has worked three times this month over Saratoga’s training track, most recently going a half-mile in 49.14 seconds Monday, ranking fifth of 21 horses. “It was really hot the day he ran in New York and he was kind of down on the inside and didn’t really get into a rhythm to run his race,” Walden said. “He’s always been a talented horse. We just felt the race at Pimlico was tailor-made for him. [Jockey] Ricardo [Santana Jr.] gave him a super ride, and hopefully he’ll get a good, stalking trip again and have similar results on Saturday.” Sagamore Farm’s He Hate Me can become just the fourth Maryland-bred to win the De Francis following Northern Wolf (1990), Smoke Glacken (1997) and Action Andy (2012). Sagamore, the historic Glyndon, Md. racing and breeding operation founded in 1925 and owned by Alfred G. Vanderbilt from 1933-86, and trainer Stanley Hough are each looking for their first De Francis victory. “We’re thrilled to be able to run in this race. It’s what you work for, especially working with Sagamore. Whatever we can do in Maryland is great,” Hough said. “I think He Hate Me will run a good race. We hope to make Sagamore proud.” He Hate Me won his only two starts as a juvenile in 2017 capped by the Tremont Stakes at Belmont. His career since has been interrupted by injuries and absences, but he has put together a solid 2019 campaign of two wins, two seconds and a third in six starts, one more than he had in his first two racing seasons combined. “He was a nice 2-year-old that showed a lot of promise. He had to have knee surgery and came back and had another little problem. But now as a 4-year-old he seems to be coming around again, so I think he’s come into form pretty well,” Hough said. “He’s a very honest horse. I think he’ll be a nice 5-year-old. I only plan to run him a time or two more this year and then give him a little break and look forward to next year.” He Hate Me, by Algorithms, is two-for-five lifetime at six furlongs, winning an optional claiming allowance by 2 ¼ lengths July 19 and running second by less than a length to Bon Raison in the Tale of the Cat Stakes Aug. 9, both at Saratoga. In his only career try at Laurel, he was fourth behind Still Having Fun in the 2018 Miracle Wood. “He’s been running good. He ran great last time at Saratoga. He got off a step slow and then kind of rushed up there. I thought he might have been the best horse that day,” Hough said. “He’s a little more comfortable tracking horses and making a little run. That seems to be where he’s at his best.” Bon Raison, owned and now trained by Peter Tournas, will be making his 31st career start and sixth in graded company in the De Francis. Claimed last summer at Saratoga, the 4-year-old has gone on to win a pair of stakes including the 6 ½-furlong Peeping Tom in March at Aqueduct. Fifth behind win machine Mitole in the Forego (G1) Aug. 24 at Saratoga, Bon Raison comes back 17 days after rallying from well back to be second by a half-length in the Bensalem Stakes Sept. 2 at Parx. “He’s one of those horses that you get blessed with once in a while that enjoys being on the track running more than he does sitting in the stall resting. He kind of needs to be out there,” Tournas said. “He wants it. If you ever see him out in the paddock, he’s just happy to be running, happy to be competing. “He loves to run and if we can get the right races for him, we love to run him,” he added. “This seems like it’s a good fit for him. I’d love to see how he does down that long Laurel stretch. I think this is a good place for him to run.” Nancy Lavrich and Ronald Zielinski’s Altissimo is a 16-time winner from 37 lifetime races, including eight stakes wins, the most recent coming in the July 13 Hockessin at Delaware Park. The Ohio-bred son of Noble Causeway returned to his home base to run second in the Honey Jay Stakes Aug. 10 at Thistledown last time out. Altissimo, which means “highest” in Italian, has raced once over Laurel’s main track, beaten a head when second to Colonel Sharp in the six-furlong Dave’s Friend last December. Regular rider Christian Pilares comes in for the mount. “He just seems to have that natural ability. Everything he’s done so far, he’s done easily,” trainer Richard Zielinski said. “I really think he’s a better horse if he can come from off the pace.  He’s a little bit of a temperamental kind of horse and the groom that takes care of him I think really got in his head and figured him out, how to make him happy and it’s worked.” Completing the De Francis field are Killybegs Captain, winner of the Pelican Stakes Feb. 16 who ran third in both the Forego and Nerud and fourth in the Tale of the Cat; Wonderful Light, a winner of two straight since finishing second in the five-furlong Rumson Stakes July 4 at Monmouth Park; Laurel-based Old Time Revival, whose three career wins have come in 13 tries over his home track; and stakes-placed Sparticle, racing first off the claim for trainer Carl O’Callaghan.

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9.18.2019:

Glorious Empire Returns in Laurel's G3 Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup

LAUREL, MD – After romping to victory in the $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (G2) at Gulfstream Park last December, Matthew Schera’s Glorious Empire was poised to match his Grade 1 credentials against those of many of the very best turf performers in the world in the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) over the same course six weeks later. The Irish-bred gelding, however, never got the chance to clash with the likes of Bricks and Mortar and Magic Wand, the 1-2 finishers, respectively. While preparing for the inaugural running of the accompanying stakes to the $9 million Pegasus World Cup (G1), Glorious Empire sustained a suspensory ligament injury. “That was our whole goal – running in the Pegasus [Turf] – but he came out of the Fort Lauderdale with the start of a tear in the suspensory,” said trainer James Lawrence II, whose gelding underwent treatment that included stem cell therapy. “We’ve done everything we can to make that 100 percent. Knock on wood, it’s been very good. He hasn’t missed a beat.” Glorious Empire is scheduled to make a highly anticipated return to action in Saturday’s $200,000 Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup (G3) at Laurel Park. The mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds and up will be one of eight stakes worth $1.3 million on the September to Remember card that will be headlined by the $250,000 Xpressbet Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3). The 8-year-old gelding had been slated to run at Colonial Downs last month but came down with a virus that delayed his return until Saturday at Laurel Park. “He missed a week of training. I am playing catch-up because of that. The plan was to run at Colonial and this race. This race we’re using as a first race back. He’s worked really well,” Lawrence said. “A mile isn’t his best distance. I think he’s a lot better and a mile and an eighth or a mile and three-eighths, but I think it’s a good steppingstone back. He’s done everything right in his works. He’s eating well, looks tremendous.” Glorious Empire won five of his first nine career races in Europe and Hong Kong before going winless in his first seven starts in North America. The well-traveled gelding was claimed for $62,500 by Scherer out a 12th-place finish in a May 7, 2017 optional claiming allowance at Belmont in his seventh North American start. Trained by Carlos Martin, Glorious Empire won at first asking for his new connections in a $50,000 claiming race at Saratoga 10 weeks later. After finishing seventh in the Bernard Baruch (G2) at the Spa, the Irish-bred gelding was pulled up in the Baltimore/Washington International due to pulmonary bleeding. Transferred to Lawrence, Glorious Empire returned from a seven-month layoff to finish fifth in the Henry Clark at Laurel in April 2018 before scoring by four lengths in a Delaware allowance two months later. He scored his first graded-stakes victory in his next start, holding on to earn a dead-heat win with Channel Maker in the Bowling Green (G2) over a soft Saratoga course. He went on to claim Grade 1 credentials in the Sword Dancer, leading all the way over the same Saratoga course to defeat Channel Maker by two lengths. “It was a rewarding race for all the work I’ve put in since I was a little kid. I had my whole family, my wife and my kids, there. It was really rewarding. I’d been touting how talented this horse was, and he finally got to show it,” Lawrence said. “When you look back on his career, everybody thought he had talent. They couldn’t get everything together on it. Nobody tried this horse long. That’s why, in my opinion, I think this race is short for him. “I’m not saying he’s not good enough to win it, but I think he’s better at a mile and an eighth or further,” he added. “I don’t have him 100-percent fit for this race, but with his talent, he could jump up and win it.” The ‘Win and You’re In’ Sword Dancer victory earned Glorious Empire a fees-paid berth in the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs. After showing the way early in the 1 ½-mile stakes over a ‘good’ turf course, he faltered badly and was eased. “The rider took him right to the rail – I’m not knocking him – and all the winners came from the outside. The course was much heavier down inside and he just didn’t handle it. Everybody thought that he had bled, but we scoped him and everything was 100 percent,” Lawrence said. “I told Matt the whole next week, ‘This horse is knocking the barn down.’ We usually put our horses away in the wintertime, but we picked out the Fort Lauderdale.” Glorious Empire bounced back from the Breeders’ Cup disappointment in dramatic fashion six weeks later, scoring a dominating 2 ½-length front-running victory over Qurbaan in the Fort Lauderdale under Edgar Prado. Daniel Centeno has been named to ride Glorious Empire for the first time in the Baltimore/Washington International.   Skeedattle Stable’s Just Howard won three consecutive stakes over Laurel turf in 2017, capturing the Commonwealth Derby (G3) after scoring back-to-back in the Caveat and Find. The 5-year-old son of English Channel went winless in 10 starts before returning to winning form in the Oceanport (G3) at Monmouth, two starts after finishing third in the Dixie (G2) on the Preakness (G1) undercard at Pimlico.  The Maryland-bred Just Howard finished fourth as the even-money favorite last time out at Laurel. “I was a little disappointed obviously with his last race. I don’t know if he came back a little too quick. He ran such a big race that night at Monmouth, possibly one of his best races. Maybe he regressed a little bit off that race,” Motion said. “He seems to have done well since so I think he needs to be in there.” Trevor McCarthy has the mount aboard Just Howard. Glen Hill Farm’s Caribou Club is scheduled to make a run at his fourth career win in a graded stakes in the Baltimore/Washington International. One of the top turf performers last fall and early winter, when he captured the Seabiscuit Handicap (G2) at Del Mar and the Joe Hernandez (G3) at Santa Anita, the 5-year-old son of City Zip, who finished off the board in the six-furlong Al Quoz on the 2019 Dubai World Cup card, is coming off a victory in the West Virginia Speaker’s Cup. Caribou Club, who won the 2016 Laurel Futurity, will be ridden by Feargal Lynch. Klaravich Stables Inc. and William H. Lawrence’s Frontier Market is set to make his stakes debut Saturday after capturing an optional claiming allowance at Saratoga last time out. The Chad Brown-trained 6-year-old gelding finished second in five of his first six starts before winning back-to-back races at Belmont to close out his 5-year-old season. The son of Lemon Drop Kid finished second in a July 27 optional claiming allowance at Saratoga in his 2019 debut. Julian Pimentel has the mount. Three Diamonds Farm’s Cullum Road, second in the Old Friends at Kentucky Downs last time out, will seek his first stakes victory Saturday. The Michael Maker-trained graded stakes-placed 4-year-old gelding will be ridden by Alex Cintron. Castleton Lions’ Up the Ante, an allowance winner at Saratoga last time out; and Michael Napoli’s Macagone, who captured a state-bred allowance at Saratoga last time out; and ABL Stable and partners’ Golden Brown, who won three New Jersey-bred stakes from his last four starts; round out the field.

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9.18.2019:

Play the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge at Xpressbet

Players in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) can once again compete in the tournament from the comfort and convenience of home with Xpressbet.  And with an estimated $1 Million Prize Pool and as many as 15 NHC Seats on the line, this year’s BCBC is sure to be one of the ages.  Contested on November 1 & 2, 2019, the BCBC is one of horse racing’s premier handicapping tournaments.  Held in conjunction with racing’s preeminent year-end event, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, the BCBC gives contestants the opportunity to play the world’s best races in a live-money handicapping format.  Please note, the BCBC features a $10,000 buy-in, of which $7,500 is the player’s bankroll and $2,500 is the entry fee.  For more information about playing in the BCBC with Xpressbet, please visit https://www.xpressbet.com/breeders-cup-betting-challenge.Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge Estimated Prizes (Based on 400 Participants) 1st – $300,0002nd - $200,0003rd - $110,0004th - $75,0005th - $60,0006th - $50,0007th - $40,0008th - $35,0009th - $30,00010th - $25,00011th - $20,00012th - $17,50013th - $15,00014th - $12,50015th - $10,000 Plus, in addition to cash prizes, berths to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) will be awarded to the top 15 finishers.  Additionally, a $3 Million Bonus will be awarded to any horseplayer who wins the BCBC and NHC.  Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge FormatTournament races will include ALL live races from Santa Anita Park on Friday, November 1, 2019 and live races through the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday, November 2, 2019. Wager types permitted are Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta and Daily Double.

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9.17.2019:

Maximum Security Out of Pennsylvania Derby

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Haskell Invitational and Florida Derby winner Maximum Security is out of Saturday’s Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx due to a large colon nephrosplenic entrapment that developed shortly after the colt returned from a morning work on Monday, trainer Jason Servis announced on Tuesday. Servis said that an issue developed with his star 3-year-old late Monday afternoon, and that Maximum Security was rushed to the Mid-Atlantic Equine Clinic in Ringoes, N.J., where the diagnosis was made by Dr. Janik Gasiorowski. The medical issue is not considered career threatening. “I’ve spoken to the Wests (owners Gary and Mary) and they understand that it’s all about the horse. That’s first and foremost,” said Servis. “There’s nothing that anyone could have done to prevent it. It’s one of those things that just happens. It’s unfortunate and the timing is terrible but that’s horse racing.” Maximum Security had gone a one-mile lick at Parx early Monday morning without incident, with Servis saying he was summoned to his barn around 3:30 p.m. because something was amiss with the horse. “He was doing great,” Servis said. “But I soon as I saw him I could tell he was in trouble so we got him right on the van and sent him to the Mid-Atlantic Equine Clinic.” Servis said he did not have a time frame for a possible racing return for Maximum Security, holding out hope, he said, for the Breeders’ Cup “or something else that might be out there.” Maximum Security is currently back in Servis’ barn at Monmouth Park. Updated Pennsylvania Derby Field with Odds1 - Math Wizard - 6/12 - Improbable - 8/53 - Shanghai Superfly - 30/14 - War of Will - 5/15 - Spun to Run - 8/16 - Mr. Money - 2/17 - Maximum Security - SCR

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9.15.2019:

Abscond Battles Back to Win G1 Natalma Stakes

TORONTO, September 15, 2019 — Abscond, battling throughout on the outside, got the bob over a dead game Walk In Marrakesh in the final stride to prevail by a nose in a thrilling conclusion to the Grade 1, $250,000 Natalma Stakes on Sunday at Woodbine Racetrack. Irad Ortiz Jr., completing a sweep of Sunday’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” races for two-year-olds over one mile of turf after capturing the Summer Stakes two races earlier, punched the Eddie Kenneally-trained Abscond’s ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf with her dramatic performance. “(Assistant trainer Kelly Wheeler) told me she’s a nice filly, she probably needed a little more ground last time,” said Ortiz. “She was acting really good, she broke out of there and she broke sharp and just stayed in the middle of the turf course and she was relaxed. She was going relaxed in the middle of the track so I left her there, I didn’t fight too much with her. “And then by the time I start saving some ground in the turn and when I asked her to go, she’s a fighter. She fought with the outside horse and came back on the inside. She fought back and she put a head in front in the last couple of jumps. Everything worked out good for us.” Abscond got the first call after breaking from the outside but was soon joined by Walk In Marrakesh. That Irish-bred filly Walk In Marrakesh, looking to become the third consecutive European invader to win the Natalma Stakes, ran too well to lose under Jamie Spencer, who had guided La Pelosa to win last year’s renewal. Taking the express route on the inside, Walk In Marrakesh had raced up to join Abscond and held a fractional lead as they went the opening quarter in :23.99 and the half in :48.24 on a course rated “yielding.” Walk In Marrakesh had opened up a length on her dogged pursuer as she reached the six furlongs in 1:12.56 but had to settle for second money when the teletimer stopped at 1:36.51. “I knew it was really close, but I knew she won because I put the head in front in the last jump,” said Ortiz. “It’s always a challenge when you’re at the wire in that position.” Fair Maiden, sent off at 3-5 on the strength of her 7 ½-length victory here in the 6-½ furlong Catch A Glimpse, raced within striking range throughout and looked to be in with a good chance to repeat as she rallied around the final turn. The Chicago-based invader battled hard down the lane only to tire slightly while racing erratically in the closing stages to be beaten just a nose and a neck for all the money. Diamond Express, making her first start in North America and her first for trainer Mark Casse, loomed into contention as they straightened out for home but had to settle for fourth money, a length behind Fair Maiden and just a nose before stablemate Secret Stash. Casse had Secret Stash in training at Keeneland but the Irish-bred, who like Diamond Sparkles was a private purchase overseas, was making her first start on this side of the pond. Locally-based maidens Saratoga Vision and Runway Dreamer rounded out the order of finish. Coach Lori, a third Casse entrant in the Natalma, was scratched. Abscond, making her third career appearance but her first beyond 5 ½ furlongs, is owned by Apogee Bloodstock and Mike Anderson Racing LLC. Based in her native state of Kentucky, the daughter of Blame had kicked off her career at Ellis Park with a maiden win and then a second-place finish in the listed Bolton Stakes at Saratoga, with both races over 5 ½ furlongs of turf. She had returned to Keeneland before shipping north and giving her trainer his first local victory. “I’m really impressed with her,” said Wheeler. “She’s done everything right since she broke her maiden. Really, we’ve asked a lot of her shipping her up to Saratoga – she handled that great. So we shipped her up here, it looked like a good spot, and she came through.” Wheeler added that it was too soon to say for sure that a Breeders’ Cup appearance would be in the cards. “I guess it’s up to Eddie and the owner,” said the assistant. “She’ll tell us, how she comes out of the race. She’ll ship back to Kentucky and we’ll go from there.” Abscond returned $21.00, $6.60 and $2.80 and keyed an 8-1 exacta of $89.30 with Walk In Marrakesh ($5.60, $2.90). Fair Maiden ($2.10) completed an 8-1-3 trifecta of $103.00 with Diamond Sparkles rounding out the 8-1-3-4 superfecta of $348.60 for a $1 outlay.

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9.15.2019:

Decorated Invader Punches Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Ticket in G1 Summer Stakes

TORONTO, September 15, 2019 – Christophe Clement charge Decorated Invader wasn’t in the picture early, but was in full view at Woodbine when it counted most, rallying stoutly to take Sunday’s Grade 1, $251,300 Summer Stakes, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event. Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, William Freeman and William Sandbrook, Decorated Invader didn’t have the smoothest of starts in the one-mile Summer, getting away last of 10 (Secret Stash was scratched) in the two-year-old event. It was 109-1 longshot Cadet Connelly, under Pablo Morales, who crossed over from the outside gate to grab the early lead. The son of Grey Swallow, who won a mile and 70 yard main track race at Woodbine on September 8 to break his maiden, took the field through an opening quarter-mile in :24.26 over an E.P. Taylor Turf Course listed as ‘yielding.’ Irad Ortiz Jr. and Decorated Invader, seventh after the opening quarter, were still seventh after a half-mile timed in :48.43, as Cadet Connelly still led the way, holding a two-length advantage over Pleasecallmeback. Cadet Connelly continued to grind away on the front end, one-length to the good over Proven Strategies at the stretch call, as Ortiz asked Decorated Invader for his best run. The duo eventually wore down the game front-runner to cross the wire 1 ¾-length victors. Cadet Connelly, trained by Teresa Connelly and owned by Endeavor Bloodstock, headed Vitalogy for runner-up honours. Proven Strategies was a further head back in fourth. The final time for the Summer was 1:36.34. “We were just looking for him to relax in the first part of the race and then let him run in the end,” said Ortiz. “We know he can run so we just want to relax him and teach him the first part.” That education ultimately paid off with a winner’s circle trip, and a likely trip to California. “I know he broke a touch poorly but with the rain we had and everything, I was pretty comfortable he was moving well and was happy where he was,” said assistant trainer Christophe Lorieul. “We were just very confident with our ride. He was just biding his time, and he showed up today.” Next stop, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile? “We talked about it beforehand,” said Lorieul. “It would be the obvious next target for him. Today was the big test, and he completed it so we’re very happy for the partnership of West Point.” The son of Declaration of War just missed in his debut at Saratoga on July 13, closing strongly to finish second in a 1 1/16-mile turf race. A month later, the Kentucky-bred broke his maiden via a 3 ¼-length victory, also at 1 1/16-miles on the Saratoga grass. “He’s only had three races so I think he’s getting better and better,” offered Ortiz. “Today, I really liked the way he did it. He was floating in a little bit in the stretch, he always does, but hopefully he learns and if he just keeps a little more straight in the stretch that would be great. He keeps learning.” Decorated Invader paid $6.80, $4 and $3. The exactor with Cadet Connelly ($55.20, $17.20) came back $341.80. Vitalogy finished off a triactor worth $2,727.20, with fourth-place Proven Strategies completing a $1 superfecta worth $9,773.50.

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9.14.2019:

El Tormenta Pulls Off Major Upset in G1 Woodbine Mile

TORONTO, September 14, 2019 – El Tormenta, who had endured a string of troubled trips, found clear sailing under jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva and rallied for a half-length victory at 44-1 in Saturday’s 23rd running of the $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile (Grade 1).The Woodbine Mile is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race and earned El Tormenta a fees-paid berth in the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita on November 3.“This was my last opportunity to win this race – it was the only one left,” said Da Silva, who has announced that he will be retiring from the saddle at the end of this season.“And this was my opportunity, and here we are. I was fully focused. It was a little tough with Pink Lloyd (declared a non-starter in the Grade 3 Bold Venture, earlier in the card) when he broke from the gate today, but I keep talking to myself, ‘Just focus on what you need to focus on, and keep faith in your horse. And never give up.’”“This horse ran so beautifully,” added Da Silva, before closing with his signature phrase, “Good luck to everybody!”El Tormenta, who had saved ground after breaking from the one-hole swung out for racing room in early stretch and closed resolutely to edge the 3-2 favourite Got Stormy, who was one of two fillies in the race.Got Stormy, a four-year-old, performed nobly in defeat when looking to give trainer Mark Casse his third win in the last four runnings of the Woodbine Mile, following Tepin in 2016 and World Approval in 2017. Racing just off the early leaders, Got Stormy had hit the front when they reached the six-furlong mark in 1:08.33 and maintained a half-length lead with a furlong to run before coming up just short.“I was proud of her,” said Casse. “I knew, this is a tough place to win. There is a huge home field advantage.“I was just a little worried that they weren’t going to carry her far enough and that she’d make the lead. But the winner ran very well, showed a lot of guts down inside. I was proud of our filly. I’ve lost no respect for her and I feel extremely confident that we’ll be right there in the Breeders’ Cup.”Regular rider Tyler Gaffalione also believes his charge lost no lustre in defeat.“Mark and I were just walking around the rail and it’s rock hard, it seems like it might be the best spot on the track,” said Gaffalione.“The post position (No. 5) was good, we got a beautiful trip. She ran her heart out. She gave us everything she had. She’s an incredible filly.”“I’m looking forward to her in the Breeders’ Cup. I think she’ll be dynamite out there. This track is a one-turn mile, it’s a long course. She has a lot of quickness to her and I think Santa Anita will fit her perfectly. She laid it all out there today. Congratulations to the winner, they ran a big race. It took a nice horse to beat her today.”Got Stormy finished a half-length prior to Lucullan, who had started putting in his run with a quarter mile to go and ended third only to be disqualified and placed fourth for interfering with Raging Bull in the closing stages.Raging Bull, the second choice at 3.80-1, had finished a half-length behind Lucullan and a half-length prior to fifth-place Synchrony, the third favorite at 3.90-1.Emmaus, Admiralty Pier, Made You Look, Silent Poet, the filly Awesometank, and American Guru rounded out the order of finish.Silent Poet had set a rapid pace of :22.84 and :44.43 while being pressed hard by Admiralty Pier and Awesometank.El Tormenta was giving his trainer, Gail Cox, the biggest win of her career.“Oh, it’s huge. It’s a Grade 1 win and it’s a ‘Win and You’re In,’ so it’s huge.”“I was a little worried with the one-hole and being on the rail because if you’ve seen his past three starts, they’ve been troubled. I just think he was laying closer and really bullied his way through a little bit. He’s a very, very nice horse, and was probably overlooked here.”“Last year, I thought he was a sprinter. He ran shorter and he ran a different style. This year, every start, we thought he’d probably like to go a little farther.”El Tormenta, a gelding by Stormy Atlantic out of Torreadora, had become a stakes winner when making his second start of 2019 in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup over seven furlongs of turf at Woodbine on June 1 but had encountered varying degrees of trouble in three subsequent stakes starts here.The Woodbine Mile, raced over a turf course upgraded to “good” after being rated “yielding” earlier on the program, featured a swift pace. The front-runners were nowhere to be found at the finish. The final time was 1:32.60.Michael Balaz, son of Sam-Son Farm president Rick Balaz and an integral part of the operation, said a decision will be pending on the winner’s Breeders’ Cup participation.“I think that will be a decision that the higher-ups will have to make, and everyone will have to get together,” he said. “I don’t see why not after running like that.”El Tormenta was the record third Woodbine Mile winner for owner/breeder Sam-Son Farm, who won the race with Quiet Resolve (via a disqualification) in 1999 and Soaring Free in 2004.El Tormenta’s $91.40 win mutuel was the largest in Woodbine Mile history, edging the $91.10 returned by Quiet Resolve.The winner returned $21.40 to place and $9.50 to show and combined with runner-up Get Stormy ($3.90, $2.80) for a 5-1 exacta worth $344.70. The 5-1-7 trifecta with Raging Bull ($2.80) returned $2.880.60 and the 5-1-7-2 superfecta completed by Lucullan checked in at $4,741.10.

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9.14.2019:

Lazy Daisy Wins Pocahontas Stakes; Next Stop Breeders' Cup?

Southern California invader Lazy Daisy and 43-1 longshot His Glory took turns sharing the lead throughout Saturday’s 51st running of the $200,000 Pocahontas (Grade II) at Churchill Downs but it was Lazy Daisy who emerged as 1 ¼-length winner when the 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-old fillies reached its conclusion. Portrait, the 6-5 favorite, finished another 3 ½ lengths back in third.Ridden by Abel Cedillo and trained by Doug O’Neill, Lazy Daisy ran 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.89 to prevail over seven rivals for owners ERJ Racing (Erik Johnson), Great Friends Stable LLC (Scott Kaplan) and Tom Mansor.Lazy Daisy broke fast from post position No. 4 and raced one off the rail as His Glory put pressure on the leader from the inside. After a quarter mile in :23.99, His Glory took a narrow lead down the backstretch. They crossed the half-mile marker in :47.90 and Lazy Daisy decided to take over again. His Glory dropped a half-length back and Portrait loomed three-wide as Lazy Daisy came away with the lead on the far turn with three furlongs to run. In the end, Portrait couldn’t keep up but a determined and rail-riding His Glory wasn’t done yet and re-rallied at the top of the stretch to give the winner a test. Lazy Daisy, however, proved best and edged away in the final stages.“When I turned in the stretch, I put my filly close (to the inside horse), and she got a little intimidated,” Cedillo said. “And that’s where my filly kept going, and going. I got lucky there. Doug (O’Neill) has a lot of good horses, and he knows where to put his horses in a good spot, like a live mount.”Lazy Daisy, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Paynter out of the Bellamy Road mare Romantic Intention, banked $120,280 for the win and guaranteed herself a starting spot in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita. The Pocahontas is part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Juvenile Fillies Challenge Division, which means the winner will also will have her entry fees and a travel allowance paid by Breeders’ Cup.Lazy Daisy also is the early points-leader on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks after collecting 10 points. The Pocahontas was the first of 30 qualifying races to the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) to be run next May, and points were awarded to the Top 4 finishers on a 10-4-2-1 scale.Lazy Daisy (3-2-0-0—$174,880), saddled Saturday by O’Neill assistant Sabas Rivera, paid $16.40, $8.20 and $4 as the 7-1 third favorite. His Glory, ridden by James Graham, paid $30.60 and $9.80. Portrait, with Shaun Bridgmohan up, paid $3 to show.The order of finish was completed by Blood Curdling, Morning Gold, Lotta Ott, Shadilee and Addilyn. British Idion was scratched.The winner was bred by John Elder and Paynter Syndicate.POCAHONTAS QUOTESAbel Cedillo, jockey of LAZY DAISY (winner): “When I turned in the stretch, I put my filly close (to the inside horse), and she got a little intimidated. And that’s where my filly kept going, and going. I got lucky there. Doug (O’Neill) has a lot of good horses, and he knows where to put his horses in a good spot, like a live mount. The owner (Erik Johnson), we had a really good Del Mar meet, and he was really happy with the way I rode his horses, so he gave me the opportunity to ride this filly.”Shaun Bridgmohan, jockey of PORTRAIT (third): “I don’t think she gave me what she’s capable of. At about the eighth pole, where I was getting into her a bit, she ducked in. She’s a young horse (who’s) learning.”

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9.14.2019:

Dennis' Moment Wins Iroquois; Punches Breeders' Cup Ticket

Albaugh Family Stables’ Dennis’ Moment is the early points leader on the 2020 “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve” after the promising colt confirmed his runway maiden victory with an easy 1 ¾-length win over Scabbard in Saturday’s 38th running of the $200,000 Iroquois (Grade III) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs.Sent to post as the odds-on 2-5 favorite following his 19 ¼-length maiden win at Ellis Park on July 27, Dennis’ Moment covered 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in a stakes record 1:43.58 to bank $117,800 and 10 points on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” point system that will determine the field for next year’s 146th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) on May 2, 2020 at Churchill Downs. The Iroquois was the first in a series of 35 select races on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby,” which is now entering its eighth year.The Iroquois also is part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In Juvenile Division” Challenge and the win by Dennis’ Moment earned the Kentucky-bred son of Tiznow a guaranteed spot in the starting gate for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) at Santa Anita on “Future Stars Friday,” Nov. 1. Dennis’ Moment’s $60,000 entry fees will be paid by Breeders’ Cup Ltd. and his connections will receive a travel stipend.“Right here in my hand is the invitation to the Breeders’ Cup,” Albaugh said. “They officially delivered it, so that’s exciting. His name came from his sire, Tiznow — the “now” — and we went with Dennis’ Moment. We’re very happy with him now, and they named him after me, which was a surprise. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, of course, but getting 10 points toward getting into the Derby, that’s a big help. We’ll give this horse plenty of time. Dale Romans has been excellent on what’s the timing, where do we go. We’ll start looking at things next week, once we see how he came out of this race, although he looked like he’s perfect after the finish.”Juggernaut led the field of 10 juveniles through early fractions of :23.35, :47.31 and 1:11.96 as Lebda pressured the pace just off his right hip with Zyramid covered up down on the inside and Dennis’ Moment tracking from fourth in the clear on the outside. Lebda briefly poked his head in front of a fading Juggernaut midway around the far turn but a looming Dennis’ Moment was making a bold three-wide move on the far turn to assert his presence. It was all over from there. The winner drew well clear in the stretch and his jockey, national earnings leader Irad Ortiz Jr., geared down Dennis’ Moment to a gallop inside the final sixteenth of a mile. Scabbard, who briefly checked his run into the far turn, recovered to rally down the lane but was clearly second best.“This horse is speaking for himself, I don’t have to build him up anymore,” trainer Dale Romans said. “He’s just an amazing animal. He goes out there and does it, his ears up, like he’s just galloping around out there. The jock was shutting him down with a sixteenth of a mile to go, and he still finished in the time he did. He’s something special.“It’s important going into these big races, to be versatile. That’s what I was worried about today, I was concerned about him getting in a speed duel, with this being the first time around two turns for all these 2-year-olds. And it worked out perfect, he sat outside a horse that didn’t bother him at all, and went three-wide, which is not easy to do on this racetrack and keep on going, and he kicked home good. We’ll be going straight to the Breeders’ Cup from here.”Added Ortiz: “He’s good, he’s a nice horse, he’s done everything he’s been asked to do, we’ll see what’s next (Breeders’ Cup). He felt great, really great for a 2-year-old. He did everything right. I asked him to run and he was going really well. He had some more, but I saved it for the end. He was going to win going away, so I didn’t ask him for any more.”Dennis’ Moment paid $2.80, $2.60 and $2.20 to give Romans his third win in the race. He won in 2013 with Cleburne and again in 2016 with Not This Time, who would go on to finish second to Classic Empire in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.Scabbard, ridden by Corey Lanerie, returned $6 and $4. Lebda was another 5 ¼ lengths back in third under Trevor McCarthy and paid $6.Letmeno, Rowdy Yates, January Won, Flute Maker, Automate, Juggernaut and Zyramid completed the order of finish.Dennis’ Moment’s earnings total $147,800.Dennis’ Moment, a $400,000 yearling purchase at Fasig-Tipton’s 2018 Saratoga Sale, was bred in Kentucky by Tolo Thoroughbreds. The Tiznow colt is out of the Elusive Quality mare Transplendid.IROQUOIS QUOTESDale Romans, trainer of DENNIS’ MOMENT (winner): “This horse is speaking for himself, I don’t have to build him up anymore. He’s just an amazing animal. He goes out there and does it, his ears up, like he’s just galloping around out there. The jock was shutting him down with a sixteenth of a mile to go, and he still finished in the time he did. He’s something special.“It’s important going into these big races, to be versatile. That’s what I was worried about today, I was concerned about him getting in a speed duel, with this being the first time around two turns for all these 2-year-olds. And it worked out perfect, he sat outside a horse that didn’t bother him at all, and went three-wide, which is not easy to do on this racetrack and keep on going, and he kicked home good. We’ll be going straight to the Breeders’ Cup from here.”Irad Ortiz Jr., jockey of DENNIS’ MOMENT (winner): “He’s good, he’s a nice horse, he’s done everything he’s been asked to do, we’ll see what’s next (Breeders’ Cup). He felt great, really great for a 2-year-old. He did everything right. I asked him to run and he was going really well. He had some more, but I saved it for the end. He was going to win going away, so I didn’t ask him for any more.”Dennis Albaugh, owner of DENNIS’ MOMENT (winner): “Right here in my hand is the invitation to the Breeders’ Cup. They officially delivered it, so that’s exciting. His name came from his sire, Tiznow — the “now” — and we went with Dennis’ Moment. We’re very happy with him now, and they named him after me, which was a surprise. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, of course, but getting 10 points toward getting into the Derby, that’s a big help. We’ll give this horse plenty of time. Dale Romans has been excellent on what’s the timing, where do we go. We’ll start looking at things next week, once we see how he came out of this race, although he looked like he’s perfect after the finish.”Corey Lanerie, jockey of SCABBARD (second): “He’s done nothing wrong right now, he’s a superstar. He wasn’t encouraging him that much in the last part of the race, and it looked like won the way he wanted him to. My horse was finishing fast. It looked like (Dennis’ Moment) had had it, so I was trying to sneak up on him a little bit in the middle of the racetrack. But my horse is improving every time. This was a big race for him; he’s a good horse.”Trevor McCarthy, jockey of LEDBA (third): “I was very happy with my horse. He was in a great position, I had to move a little earlier than I wanted to because (Dennis’ Moment) was pretty loaded. It was a privilege to ride him. He gave us a good run and I was very pleased with his performance.”

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9.14.2019:

Old Persian Easily Wins Woodbine's G1 Northern Dancer

TORONTO, September 14, 2019 – It wasn’t the smoothest of starts, but Godolphin homebred Old Persian finished in style to make his Canadian debut a winning one in the $300,000 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes (Grade 1) on Saturday at Woodbine.Sent off as the 3-5 choice, Old Persian sprinted away from his rivals in the late going to notch an impressive score in the 1 ½-mile marathon contested over ‘good’ going on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course.It was longshot Cooler Mike who seized the lead from the outset, as the four-year-old son of Giant Gizmo was given ‘catch me if you can’ orders from jockey Patrick Husbands. Old Persian, under James Doyle, broke sluggishly from the gate, but quickly recovered to settle in third, as the leader, ahead by open lengths already, took the field through an opening quarter-mile in :24.82.Cooler Mike and Husbands continued to widen their advantage through a half-mile in :47.63, with Tiz a Slam, Old Persian, and Sir Sahib running second, third, and fourth, respectively.As the front-runner began to fade – a 12-length lead had been trimmed to a 1 ½-length advantage at the mile mark – Tiz a Slam soon took over top spot, with Focus Group and Old Persian picking up the chase. Ahead of the stretch call, timed in 2:03.09, Doyle asked Old Persian for his best, and the four-year-old son of Dubawi responded in kind.At the wire, Old Persian was 2 ½-lengths in front of Nessy, who finished a nose ahead of Focus Group. Tiz a Slam was a head further back in fourth. Sir Sahib was fifth, and Cooler Mike finished sixth.The final time was 2:27.78.“From the minute he stepped foot on the track, he wasn’t really 100 per cent concentrating,” noted Doyle. “He was more enjoying the crowd rather than what was going on in front of him, which is amazing because he’s run some cracking races at Meydan and there is no bigger stand than that. But obviously we were a bit concerned early. He missed the break, but they went pretty quick and we were able to muster some speed down the fence to secure a bit of space. We had a very clean trip all the way through. He’s a powerful stayer at this trip with a good turn of foot and when the pace came up in the stretch, he exceled and sprinted away nicely.”Friday’s inclement weather in the Toronto area was certainly not a negative for Old Persian.“I think the rain that you guys had during the week definitely played to our strengths,” said Doyle. “The track is in beautiful condition, it’s dried out throughout the day. We had a beautiful racing surface and I think there were no complaints on that front.”A British-bred, Old Persian came into the Northern Dancer off a third-place performance in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Berlin over a mile and a half at Hoppegarten, Germany, on August 11.The bay colt was at the top of his game in Dubai earlier this season, taking a pair of 1 ½-mile turf events, the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic on March 30, and the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold three weeks earlier.Now he can add a Canadian score to a racing resume that features nine wins, one second, and a pair of thirds from 16 starts.“He didn’t run great in the Coronation back at Epsom there after a good run in Dubai,” said Alex Merriam, assistant to trainer Charlie Appleby. “We were pleased enough with his run in Germany and I think the ground was a bit on the soft side for him there. But James gave him a nice ride today and it worked out well.”A return to Woodbine might be in the cards, specifically, a spot in the starting gate for the Grade 1, $800,000 Pattison Canadian International on October 12.“Not quite sure at the minute,” offered Merriam. “I spoke to Charlie and he said we’ll go back to Europe, see how he is, see how he comes out of the race and make a plan from there. No immediate plans at the minute.”Old Persian paid $3.30, $2.80 and $2.20. The exactor with Nessy ($9.60, $4.70) returned $38. Focus Group completed a triactor worth $106.50, with fourth-place Tiz a Slam completing a $1 superfecta worth $84.85.

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9.13.2019:

Craig Fravel to Join the Stronach Group

LEXINGTON, Ky. (September 13, 2019) – Craig R. Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and Chief Executive Officer since 2011, will depart the organization at the conclusion of this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Nov. 1-2. Fravel has been appointed as The Stronach Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Racing Operations. “I can think of no greater privilege than to have had the opportunity to preside over what I consider the greatest championships in Thoroughbred racing. Every race comprising the Breeders’ Cup World Championships provides the chance to witness the splendid horses that reflect the hard work of breeders, trainers, jockeys, owners and backstretch workers. It has been an honor to serve them all during my time at the Breeders’ Cup. I want to thank the women and men of the Breeders’ Cup for their dedication and passion for our event. My particular gratitude goes to the Breeders’ Cup Board led in recent years by Bill Farish and Fred Hertrich whose support has been invaluable. I now look forward to new and important challenges and opportunities and the chance to join my family back in California.” “On behalf of our Board and Members, we extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Craig for his outstanding leadership and enormous accomplishments as our President and CEO these past eight years,” said Breeders’ Cup Chairman, Fred Hertrich III. “His management and stewardship of the organization, not to mention his quick wit and calm demeanor, will be greatly missed by all of us. We wish Craig continued success in his new venture with one of our most valuable host site partners, The Stronach Group.” “I am delighted to have Craig join our company at this pivotal moment in our sport,” said Belinda Stronach, Chairman and President, The Stronach Group. “Craig’s stellar reputation and proven track record of leadership will enable us to further our goal to become North America’s preeminent horse racing organization as we work lock step with industry partners to prioritize horse and rider safety.” As Chief Executive Officer, Racing Operations, Fravel will assume management and oversight of all racing operations across Stronach Group owned tracks and training facilities. He will focus on implementing and enforcing global best practices and integrity standards for horse and rider safety in collaboration with key industry stakeholders while driving a new standard of excellence in Thoroughbred horse racing with a commitment to creating an unparalled experience for both horsemen and guests. Among his many achievements during his time as President and CEO of the Breeders’ Cup, Fravel developed and executed a long-term host site strategy and successfully brought the World Championships to two first time tracks in Keeneland (2015) and Del Mar (2017). Fravel expanded international participation in the World Championships to its highest levels ever and struck an unprecedented 10-year partnership with NBC Sports to televise the World Championships through 2025. Working with industry stakeholders, Fravel also spearheaded plans to increase horse safety and welfare measures. The Board of Directors is evaluating the appropriate next steps to fill Fravel’s position.

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9.7.2019:

Totally Boss Wins 'Win and You're In' Kentucky Downs Runhappy Turf Sprint

FRANKLIN, KY. (Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019) -- When Totally Boss first came into trainer Rusty Arnold’s barn last fall, he was a horse in need of a change in scenery and, most importantly, a dose of fire in his belly.“(Trainer) Brian (Lynch) had him and he asked me to take him,” Arnold recalled. “Brian gave him to me because at the time he wasn’t winning on the dirt and he didn’t go anywhere on the dirt for me, but he ran well on the grass last year.”Less than a year after settling in with his new surroundings, Totally Boss has indeed changed the narrative of his career. The one time underachieving gelding is now a graded stakes winner and Breeders’ Cup contender after running off to a 1 ¼-length victory over Smart Remark in the Grade 3, $700,000 RUNHAPPY Turf Sprint at Kentucky Downs on Saturday. The six-furlong Turf Sprint was a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the $1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) and one of five stakes races – four of which were graded – on the Kentucky Downs lineup.After finishing sixth beaten more than 30 lengths in the Allied Forces Stakes at Belmont Park last September – his sixth loss from his first eight starts – Totally Boss was sent to Arnold’s shedrow in hopes that the venerable horseman could somehow get the son of Street Boss to right the ship in terms of his form. His first two outings for the Kentucky-based conditioner resulted in two more defeats but after getting the winter off at owner Jim and Susan Hill’s Margaux Farm, the bay gelding returned as the best version of himself yet.A victory in his seasonal bow at Keeneland in April was followed promptly by another win at Churchill Downs going 5 ½ furlongs on the grass. What really signaled to Arnold that he had something heady to work with, however, was when Totally Boss was beaten just a nose by multiple graded stakes-winner Om in an allowance race under the Twin Spires on June 29.“We thought his race at Churchill showed he belonged, the race where he got beat,” Arnold said. “His first two were condition allowance races but when he got beat in that race, that was a good field. We thought at that point he was a good horse.“Jim Hill picked the Ellis Park race after that. He said ‘I’m afraid if we go to New York, it may rain and things may go wrong.’ He said ‘Let’s go to Ellis’…and he barely got up there (for the win) but it was great because it got us in for this race.”That trip to Ellis Park yielded a half-length victory in the Kentucky Downs Preview Turf Sprint Stakes on August 4, the first stakes win of his career. Facing a loaded field in the Saturday’s Turf Sprint that included champion Stormy Liberal, Totally Boss pressed early front-runner and eventual second-place finisher Smart Remark through fractions of 23.54 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 46.66 for the half before edging past at the furlong marker to prevail in a final six-furlong time of 1:09.21 and give jockey Florent Geroux his first win of the day, and his fifth of the meet.“He was loaded today,” Geroux said. “He broke sharp. Actually, to be honest, there was not a lot of speed in the race. When he broke sharp, I just took it from there. He put me closer to normal, but he was traveling great. And when I asked him turning for home, he gave me his usual kick. He’s a nice horse, and I think Rusty has him near the top of his form right now.”Dismissed at odds of 69-1, Smart Remark held on for second to give Ellis Park the exacta of having the top two come off races at its track. Leinster, stablemate to Totally Boss and a half-brother to Stormy Liberal, checked in third, beaten 2 3/4 lengths and edging fourth-place finisher and 2-1 post-time favorite Imprimus by a nose.“He’s a really nice horse. He’s always shown a lot of ability,” said Vicki Oliver, trainer of Smart Remark. “I was surprised he was on the lead to be truthful. But he actually loved the course and moved really well. I think 6, 6 ½ (furlongs) is a better distance than 5, 5 ½, which is a little too short for him.”Stormy Liberal ended up fifth, his fifth straight loss since winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint for a second straight year. Undrafted, Wet Your Whistle, White Flag, Cautious Giant and Jazzy Times completed the order of finish.The winner returned $2 bettors $10.80 to win, $6.40 to show and $4.40 to place. It was the sixth victory in 15 starts for Totally Boss, who bolstered his bankroll to $666,658.“He just turned into a good horse,” Arnold said, adding that Totally Boss would not have another race between his expected start in the Breeders’ Cup. “He’s been unfortunate not to win them all this year actually. Mr. Hill takes him back to his farm after every race (Margaux Farm), freshens him up and keeps him 2-3 weeks depending on how much space we have and then he sends him back to me and it works. They say he loves it there, they turn him out and he’s a happy horse and he has really, really trained well.”Totally Boss was bred in Kentucky by Mike Pressley and was purchased by the Hills for $180,000 out of the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.“Everybody was so high on him, and that’s when you think something is going to go wrong,” Jim Hill said. “He was so cool in the paddock. I had high expectations for sure in this race. He’s really turned it around, figured it out. He’s having a great time. He spends half the time at our farm, Margaux, the other half with Rusty at the track. That just seems to suit him perfectly. He gets stronger every race, so we’re happy.”

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9.4.2019:

Laurel Fall Meet Opens September 6; Features 40 Stakes Races + Clubhouse Festival

LAUREL, MD – Launched by a September to Remember Stakes Festival featuring back-to-back Super Saturdays serving up 14 stakes worth $1.8 million in purses topped by the Xpressbet Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) and Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3), live racing returns to Laurel Park for its calendar year-ending fall meet starting Friday, Sept. 6. A nine-race program, with six races scheduled for Laurel’s world-class turf course, will kick off the 61-day fall stand that concludes Sunday, Dec. 29. Racing will be conducted Friday through Sunday in September and December and Thursday through Sunday in October and November. There will be no racing Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and special holiday programs Monday, Oct. 14 and Nov. 11 as well as Thursday, Nov. 28 and Dec. 26. Post time will be 1:10 p.m. through Sunday, Oct. 20 before reverting to a 12:35 p.m. first post Thursday, Oct. 24 for the remainder of the meet. Overall, Laurel’s fall meet offers 40 stakes worth $4.27 million in purses including the 34th Jim McKay Maryland Million program Saturday, Oct. 19 of 11 stakes worth $1.07 million. Also part of the festivities is the second annual Clubhouse Festival featuring 2018 Breakout Artist of the Year Rezz and internationally acclaimed DJs Alan Walker, Madeon, Two Friends and Elephante. Tickets and information can be found at https://www.tixr.com/groups/clubhousefest/events/clubhouse-fest-2019-14107 “The fall meet at Laurel is always one of the highlights on the Maryland racing calendar,” said Maryland Jockey Club President and General Manager Sal Sinatra. “Our stakes schedule always attracts some of the country’s top horsemen and horses. We’re looking forward to some incredible performances on the track, on our world-class turf course, and our events are going to be memorable starting with our opening weekend.” The 28th running of the $250,000 Xpressbet De Francis Dash for 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs and $200,000 BWI Turf Cup for 3-year-olds and up at one mile highlight Part I of the September to Remember Stakes Festival on a Saturday, Sept. 21 card of eight stakes worth $1.2 million. Named for the late president and chairman of both Laurel and Pimlico Race Course, the De Francis’ roster of past winners includes 2013 Hall of Famer Housebuster and fellow sprint champions Cherokee Run, Smoke Glacken, Thor’s Echo and Benny the Bull. Debuting in 2005 debut as the Colonial Turf Cup and run as the Commonwealth Cup in 2015 and Commonwealth Turf Cup in 2016, the BWI Turf Cup was renamed in 2017 and has been won by horses such as champion English Channel and Grade 1 winners Showing Up, Paddy O’Prado, Turbo Compressor and Mr Speaker. Supporting the graded events Sept. 21 are the $100,000 Weathervane for 3-year-old fillies on dirt and five turf stakes – the $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Laurel Futurity and $200,000 Selima for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles; $150,000 Bald Eagle Derby presented by B&B Commercial Interiors for 3-year-olds at 1 ½ miles; and $100,000 Laurel Dash presented by Fidelity First and Blackwell Real Estate and $100,000 Sensible Lady Turf Dash, each at 5 ½ furlongs. Also part of the Sept. 21 card is the second installment of Laurel’s On the Rail series, Reds on the Rail, offering fans the chance to sip and savor in a garden party tent from 1 to 5 p.m. A $28 general admission ticket includes six red wine tastings, souvenir wine glass, live racing program and tip sheet, with upgraded VIP tickets including Charcuterie box for $40 available. For tickets and information, visit http://www.laurelpark.com/events/2019-09-21/reds-rail On Saturday, Sept. 28, the $150,000 All Along for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the grass tops a September to Remember Stakes Festival Part II program of six stakes worth $600,000 in purses that includes the $100,000 Japan Turf Cup for 3-year-olds and up at 1 ½ miles; $100,000 Howard County and $100,000 Anne Arundel County, turf sprints for juveniles going 5 ½ furlongs; and $75,000 Challedon and $75,000 Shine Again, seven-furlong main track sprints for non-winners of a sweepstakes. In addition to live racing, Sept. 28 will also feature Ciders & Seltzers from 1 to 5 p.m., offering samples of hard ciders, spiked seltzers and apple cider plus a souvenir glass, program and tip sheet for $28 general admission. Upgraded VIP tickets with snack box are available for $40. Tickets and information can be found at http://www.laurelpark.com/events/2019-09-28/ciders-seltzers-rail Juveniles will be in the spotlight Saturday, Nov. 16 with the $100,000 Smart Halo for fillies and $100,000 James F. Lewis III, each going six furlongs. Four $100,000 stakes are on tap Saturday, Nov. 30 – the seven-furlong City of Laurel and Safely Kept for 3-year-olds, the latter for fillies; 1 1/8-mile Richard W. Small for 3-year-olds and up; and Thirty Eight Go Go for females 3 and older at about 1 1/16 miles. Maryland-bred/sired horses get their day Saturday, Dec. 7 with the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Futurity and $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship at seven furlongs, the $75,000 Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial for 3-year-olds and up and $75,000 Politely for fillies and mares 3 and older, both at six furlongs. The final Super Saturday of 2019 comes Dec. 28 with a quintet of $100,000 stakes – the Dave’s Friend for 3-year-olds and up and Willa On the Move for females 3 and older at six furlongs, 1 1/8-mile Native Dancer for 3-year-olds and up, and Heft for 2-year-olds and Gin Talking for 2-year-old fillies, each at seven furlongs. Friday’s featured events come in Race 5, a $42,000 entry-level optional claiming allowance for 2-year-old fillies going 5 ½ furlongs on the Exceller turf course; Race 6, a $40,000 maiden special weight for females 3 and up at a mile on the main track led by $575,000 yearling Hunting Season, trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey; and Race 9, a $40,000 maiden special weight for 2-year-old fillies, also at 5 ½ furlongs on the Exceller, which drew a field of 11 including debut runners by Grade 1 winners The Factor, Hard Spun and Palace Malice. The opening day card also marks the return of the $1 Stronach 5, a $1 minimum multi-race wager unveiled at the start of last year’s fall meet. Offering an industry-low 12 percent takeout and a guaranteed pool of $100,000, the Stronach 5 will feature races from Laurel Park, Gulfstream Park and Golden Gate Fields, starting with Laurel’s Race 8. The Maryland Jockey Club serves as host for the Stronach 5. Opening Saturday, Sept. 7, will have 10 races highlighted by a $42,000 entry-level allowance for 3-year-olds and up scheduled for one mile over the Bowl Game turf course in Race 4, one of six grass races that attracted a total of 64 entries, an average of 10.7 horses per race. Saturday’s program will also feature the Crackin’ Crab Feast from 1 to 5 p.m. in the apron tent. Tickets cost $60 and include all you can eat crabs, beer and wine specials, perfect crab feast sides and souvenir Laurel Park crab mallet. For tickets and information, visit http://www.laurelpark.com/events/2019-09-07/crackin-crab-feast Jockey Julio Correa, the nation’s leading apprentice rider, is named in four races Friday and seven races Saturday in his attempt to follow up on a Laurel summer meet where he defeated two-time Maryland champion Trevor McCarthy by a 35-30 margin. Claudio Gonzalez, Maryland’s leading trainer the past two years, goes after his eighth title in nine Laurel Park meets and 11th overall, having captured the summer stand over Mike Trombetta, 24-14. Gonzalez entered Nico Bree N Teej in Friday’s eighth race and has a pair of maidens, Olive’s Bumpa and Imagine Winning, entered on Saturday. Other highlights of Laurel’s fall meet include:  The BIG ONE Handicapping Tournament, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 21-22 Fall and Oystoberfest, Saturday, Oct. 26 Breeders' Cup wagering, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1-2 Military Appreciation Day, Saturday, Nov. 16 Guys' Day Out, Saturday, Nov. 30 Give Back at the Track, Saturday, Dec. 7 Breakfast with Santa, Saturday, Dec. 14 For the complete fall stakes schedule, visit http://www.laurelpark.com/horsemen/stakes-schedule.

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9.2.2019:

Basin Tops Steve Asmussen-Trained Trifecta in G1 Hopeful Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Jackpot Farm's Basin overtook 6-5 favorite and stablemate Gozilla at the top of the stretch from the outside and cruised to a 6 ½-length win for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who saddled each member of the trifecta in the 115th running of the Grade 1, $350,000 Runhappy Hopeful on Monday, Closing Day, at Saratoga Race Course.In the last of 76 stakes during the 40-day Saratoga meet, the Hopeful saw Gozilla led the six-horse field of juveniles through the opening quarter-mile in 22.66 seconds and the half in 45.84 on the sloppy and sealed main track as Basin, breaking from the outermost post, stayed in third position. Out of the turn, Basin, three-wide of the leaders, made a strong move under jockey Jose Ortiz and gained separation in outkicking fellow Asmussen trainee Shoplifted. The meet-leading jockey, who clinched his third career Angel Cordero, Jr. riding title earlier in the day, registered his 60th win as Basin completed seven furlongs in 1:23.48, improving to 2-for-3 after breaking his maiden at second asking last out on July 21 at the Spa."I think that the day suited him with the post-position draw and the way that it came out. Those are three very talented horses and hopefully that's the last time they'll run against each other for a while," Asmussen said. Basin, bred in Kentucky by Cottonwood Stables, was a $150,000 purchased at the 2018 Keeneland September Sale. Off at 3-1, he returned $8.20 on a $2 win wager. The Liam's Map colt improved his career earnings to $260,500."I've always been surprised with how much speed [Basin] showed," Asmussen said. "Physically, and pedigree wise, we were excited about him running long and we were surprised at how sharp he was the first time he ran."Ortiz, who won the Saratoga riding title in 2015-16, recorded his third Grade 1 victory of the meet, adding to Dunbar Road in the Alabama presented by NYRA Bets and Guarana's win in the Coaching Club American Oaks. Ortiz won the Hopeful for a third time, joining Strong Mandate in 2013 and Practical Joke in 2016."I saw them going at it and it was the first time going seven furlongs, so you've got to be a little careful," Ortiz said. "I just took my time. I could have moved a little earlier, but I didn't want to since they were fighting. I gave my horse a really nice breather from the half mile to the quarter pole and that made a difference. I made just one move with him."Shoplifted, a debut winner on July 27 at Saratoga, edged Gozilla by a neck for second."He ran well," said Shoplifted jockey Joel Rosario. "Turning for home, I thought I had a little more time to get him together in a rhythm, but the winner was much the best today. He came running at the end and we were second best."American Butterfly, By Your Side and Inside Risk completed the order of finish. Green Light Go, the winner of the Grade 2 Saratoga Special on August 10, was scratched. The Hopeful, first run in 1903, counts Hall of Famers among its previous winners, including legends such as Peter Pan (1906), Man o' War (1919), Nashua (1954), Buckpasser (1965), Secretariat (1972), Foolish Pleasure (1974) and Affirmed (1977). Thoroughbred action moves to Belmont Park on Friday for the 37-day Fall Championship meet that includes 45 stakes worth $11.525 million in purse money - an increase of $1.45 million over 2018 - and will be highlighted by eight Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" qualifiers held over two weekends.

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9.1.2019:

Perfect Alibi Kicks Away Late to Win G1 Spinaway Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Tracy Farmer's Perfect Alibi linked up with 9-5 favorite Frank's Rockette in the stretch and prevailed with a strong rail-riding push by jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. to overtake her rival in the final sixteenth, clearing away by 1 ¼ lengths to win the 128th running of the Grade 1, $350,000 Spinaway for juvenile fillies on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course.Before the draw, Perfect Alibi trainer Mark Casse said he preferred an off-the-pace trip akin to one she used to win the Grade 2 Adirondack on August 4. The Canadian Hall of Fame conditioner got his wish, with Perfect Alibi rating second-last as Mundaye Call led the seven-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in 22.65 seconds, with the half in 45.45 on the fast main track.Jockey Julien Leparoux positioned Frank's Rockette to the front out of the turn, with Perfect Alibi moving strong to her inside past the eighth pole. In deep stretch, Perfect Alibi, under Ortiz, Jr.'s left-handed encouragement, got the better of her rival for a second straight start, completing seven furlongs in 1:23.44, mirroring the exacta in the 6 1/2-furlong Adirondack last month."She amazes me because she's just so laid back and doesn't get excited about anything. When the gate opens, she's tough," said Casse, who won the Spinaway for the second time after Pretty City Dancer dead-heated Sweet Loretta in 2016. "I wasn't sure if she was going to get through [on the rail]. I knew if she could just get her head in front, she would probably be fine. What a nice filly."This filly is just a fighter. She keeps coming," he added. "I think the farther she runs, the better she likes it."Casse said a pair of Grade 1 races that serve as "Win and You're In" qualifiers to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in November at Santa Anita Park remain a possibility for her next spot, including the $400,00 Frizette at one mile on October 6 at Belmont Park or the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades on October 4 at Keeneland.Off at 5-1, Perfect Alibi returned $12.40 on a $2 win wager. The Sky Mesa filly improved to 3-1 in four career starts, with her only non-win coming with a second-place finish in the Astoria on June 6 at Belmont. Bred by Pin Oak Stud in Kentucky, she more than doubled her career earnings to $380,988."She has a lot of heart. She showed she had a lot of fight in her last time out as well," said Ortiz, Jr., who piloted Pretty City Dancer three years ago and also won the Spinaway with Lady Ivanka in 2017. "So, I wasn't afraid to make that tight space [along the rail] with her. I didn't have too many options and when I saw the space along the rail, I went for it." Frank's Rockette, one of four Into Mischief fillies in the race, was five lengths clear of Figure of Speech for second. The trainee of Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who posted an 8 ¾-length win in her debut on June 21 at Churchill Downs, earned a pair of second-place graded stakes effort for the Saratoga meet."She ran a good race as planned," Leparoux said. "I think the distance might have got me today. Other than that, she ran a good race. It looks like, so far, she might want to go a little shorter. Maybe keep her at six, six and a half [furlongs]. She can do seven [furlongs], but she got a little tired."Miss Peppina, Shippy, Risky Mischief and Mundaye Call completed the order of finish.First run in 1881, the Spinaway has numerous Hall of Famers among its all-time winners list, including Maskette (1908), Top Flight (1931) and Ruffian (1974).

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8.31.2019:

Preservationist Surges to Win G1 Woodward Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Centennial Farms' Preservationist capitalized on an aggressive mid-stretch move from jockey Junior Alvarado, splitting rivals between Tom's d'Etat and Bal Harbour before kicking on for a half-length score in the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course. The last of four graded stakes on the final Saturday of the summer meet, the Woodward's 66th renewal saw New York-bred Mr. Buff surge to the front, leading the eight-horse field of 3-year-olds and up through an opening quarter-mile in 23.98 seconds and the half in 47.97 on the fast main track with Preservationist tracking in third behind Bal Harbour. Out of the final turn, 16-1 Bar Harbour took the lead in a tightly packed field, with Preservationist still near the inside. Inside the eighth pole, Alvarado tipped out Preservationist slightly when a seam opened, allowing the Jimmy Jerkens trainee to overtake Tom's d'Etat from his outside and Bal Harbour, ridden by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, to his inside. Defending Woodward-winner Yoshida made a late bid from the outside, but Preservationist held strong to the wire, completing 1 1/8 miles in a 1:48.11 final time. Alvarado, who rode Preservationist to a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Whitney earlier in the month at Saratoga, earned his first career Woodward victory. "I had a great trip. I tried to find my way through and have something turning for home, but it was hard," Alvarado said. "Javier had some horse turning for home and I wanted to follow him but I know he didn't want to move because then I would be in the clear. So, he tried to hold me there as long as he could. Turning for home, I had some run in between horses. They made it a little bit tight for me there, but at that point, I thought I had it." Off at 3-1, Preservationist returned $8.10 on a $2 win wager. The 6-year-old son of Arch won for the fourth time in five starts, including a 4 ½-length victory in the Grade 2 Suburban on July 6 at Belmont Park, and gave Jerkens his second career Woodward win [Shaman Ghost, 2016]. "It was a nice, even race from him. Perfect for the kind of horse that he is - even paced," Jerkens said. "He's got a good cruising speed, but it looked like he was just galloping. When he gets into a nice rhythm like that, he's going to run his race. Junior was able to switch him to his outside lead and I thought he really took over after that. I didn't think he was going to get there at first, but when one of the horses started to fade and it began to open up a little bit, I was pretty confident after that." Preservationist improved to 6-1-2 in 10 career starts and earned millionaire status with the victory, bringing his career bankroll to $1,037,300. "He was a little more settled today than when he was in the Whitney. I thought he was much better in the post parade," Jerkens said. "He was able to stay with the pony. Last time, he wasted a lot of energy. He's been doing well since that last race in his workouts and his whole demeanor. Physically, I thought he looked terrific." Jerkens left open the possibility of Preservationist running in the Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup on September 28 at Belmont, but said the long-range goal remains the Grade 1, $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic in November at Santa Anita Park. "I'm sure we'll take a look at the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but he's run pretty close together his last three starts," Jerkens said." Obviously, the year-end goal you have to look at the Breeders' Cup Classic as to where we want to be. We'll come up with a plan to get there ready." Red Oak Stable's Bal Harbour, conditioned by Todd Pletcher, finished a half-length ahead of 2-1 favorite Yoshida, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, for second. It was the third consecutive runner-up effort in a graded stakes for the 4-year-old Bal Harbour, who also earned blacktype in the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup in July and the Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin in June at Monmouth Park. "You never know in these types of races. They're all good horses," Castellano said. "I think my horse belonged in this race and I'm so happy with how he did things today. We broke well out of the gate and got a good spot in the race. I'm happy with how he did it every single step of the way. He put up a good fight." Yoshida, who ran second in the Whitney, again finished on the board, three-quarters of a length clear of Tom's d'Etat. "We were a little bit further out than I wanted to be," Yoshida jockey Joel Rosario said. "He ran his race. He came over and I thought we were going to get there. The pace just wasn't as fast up front." Rounding out the field was Mongolian Groom, Wooderson, Mr. Buff and Forewarned. Vino Rosso was scratched.

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8.31.2019:

Vasilika Noses Out Juliet Foxtrot to Win G2 John C. Mabee Stakes

Even-money favored Vasilika, seemingly beaten in mid-stretch, unleashed a brilliant burst of speed in the final furlong to get up in the final stride and nose out Eastern invader Juliet Foxtrot in a thrilling renewal of the Grade II $200,000 John C. Mabee Stakes Saturday.Vasilika, upset as the 9-10 choice when a close third in the Yellow Ribbon Handicap August 3, was outrun in the early stages while positioned in the middle of the pack, was taken to the outside for running room by regular rider Flavien Prat in upper stretch and responded explosively to win the Mabee Stakes for the second straight year.Juliet Foxtrot, winner of the Modesty Handicap at Arlington Park in mid-July, appeared home free in the stretch after opening a clear lead for jockey Drayden Van Dyke, only to lose the closest of photos.Toinette was third, a length and one-quarter behind Juliet Foxtrot, with longshot Paved fourth another length and one-half farther back in the field of ten older fillies and mares.Vasilika, owned by the partnership of All Schlaich Stables and Gatto Racing  and trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, was scoring her 18th victory in 34 career races and first money of $120,000 increased the five-year-old Skipshot mare’s earnings to $1,502,595. Since being claimed for $40,000 in February of 2018, the mare has won seven stakes.Vasilika paid $4, $2.60 and $2.20, while runner-up Juliet Foxtrot at 7-2 returned $3.80 and $2.80, and third-place Toinette, also at 7-2, paid $3.20. Final time for the nine furlongs on the grass was a fast 1:46.46.FLAVIEN PRAT (Vasilika, winner) – “She put me in a good position today. Then she picked it up and started coming. (Third-place finisher Toinette) bothered me just a little in the stretch; she was drifting out. It almost cost me the race. When we hit the wire, I thought I’d won. But when I came back and saw the replay, I thought I was just headed back to the room.”DRAYDEN VAN DYKE (Juliet Foxtrot, second) – “I just let her do her thing and she was rolling along. But the other mare (Vasilika) came to us outside, too far out for my horse to see. If she’d come in closer, it might have made a difference for my horse.”RAFAEL BEJARANO (Toinette, third) – “We had a good trip today. We were right where we wanted to be. When we moved turning for home, I thought we were going to win it. But maybe it was just a little too far for her today.”JERRY HOLLENDORFER (Vasilika, winner) – “When they came back (Flavien) Prat told me ‘She finds a way,’ and that’s true. He knows how to ride this filly and it looked like he felt comfortable the whole way. He didn’t get her jammed down on the rail where she couldn’t get out. He was out where he needed to be. I thought she was going to get there. It didn’t look as close to me as it was. I’d like to see the photo. Sometimes you get a horse like this and you’re just so grateful.”

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8.31.2019:

Mrs. Sippy Wins US Debut in G2 Glens Falls

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Andrew Stone's Mrs. Sippy made her North American debut a winning one in Saturday's Grade 2, $250,000 Glens Falls, a 1 3/8-mile inner turf route for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at Saratoga Race Course.The Glens Falls was one of four stakes on the lucrative Woodford Racing Festival card including the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward won by Preservationist; the Grade 2, $250,000 Prioress captured by Royal Charlotte; and the Grade 3, $200,000 Saranac taken by Global Access. Trained by Graham Motion, the 4-year-old Blame bay launched her career in England under the tutelage of David Simcock winning two of nine starts along with a good second in the Group 3 Princess Royal Nayef at Newmarket in September.Sent to post at odds of 6-1 in the Glens Falls under jockey Joel Rosario, Mrs. Sippy settled at the back of the pack as defending champion Lady Montdore led the field through a half-mile in 49.80 seconds and three-quarters in 1:15.13 over the firm turf with recent Grade 3 Waya winner Fools Gold tracking in second.Rosario urged Mrs. Sippy up the rail into the final turn as Santa Monica, the 8-5 mutuel favorite, rallied wide under Jose Ortiz. Lady Montdore kicked on strong at the top of the lane and battled briefly with Santa Monica before Rosario angled Mrs. Sippy off the rail to split the front-runners en route to a three-quarter length win in a final time of 2:13.62.Empressof the Nile, also trained by Motion, rallied resolutely down the lane to complete the exacta 2 ½-lengths in front of Santa Monica. Rounding out the order of finish were Get Explicit, Fools Gold, Lady Montdore and Violet Blue. Night of England and main-track only entrant Indy Union were scratched.It was the third Glens Falls score for Motion, who previously won with Rosinka [2007] and Humaita [2004]."Every time I looked away at my other filly Empressof the Nile, Joel had crept up a couple of spots," said Motion. "It was an impressive performance and an impressive ride by Joel. She did everything right. I'll have to look for bigger fish because I thought her win today was very nice."Rosario, who picked up his first Glens Falls win and eighth stakes win of the meet, said he felt confident in Mrs. Sippy throughout."She broke a little bit slow and then after that it was all her. It looked like she just wanted to follow somebody the whole time," said Rosario. "I just thought that's the way she's probably used to running in Europe. She did well for her first time here. Graham just told me to be comfortable where you are and take it from there. I knew I had to wait a little bit going into the turn, but she was able to pick up again and get going kicking on to the wire."Mrs. Sippy, bred in Kentucky by her owner, banked $137,500 in victory while improving her record to three wins and two seconds from 10 starts. She paid $14.60 for a $2 win ticket.

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8.28.2019:

Tom's d'Etat Takes on Pletcher Trio & Yoshida in G1 Woodward Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Older horses will seek their final chance to win a graded stakes at the prestigious Saratoga Race Course meet when a field of nine assembles for Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward. Named in honor of William Woodward Sr., who owned the prestigious Bel Air Stud, the 1 1/8-mile event over the main track has been used as a resume builder on recent Horse of the Year campaigns for the likes of Cigar, Skip Away, Mineshaft, Ghostzapper, Saint Liam, Curlin, Rachel Alexandra, Havre De Grace and most recently, Gun Runner. Inaugurated at Aqueduct and previously run at Belmont Park, the Woodward has been contested at the Spa since 2006. G M B Racing's Tom's d'Etat will attempt to keep his undefeated record at Saratoga alive while also looking to net his first graded stakes win. The lightly-raced 6-year-old son of Smart Strike has won all three of his starts at Saratoga, which include a maiden victory at third asking in August 2016, a nine-length victory against winners the following year where he garnered a career best 106 Beyer Speed Figure and defeated stakes winners Far From Over and Bodhisattva. In his most recent start, he won the Alydar on August 2 at Saratoga. "We've hit everything we've wanted to hit. He's been training over the Oklahoma training track with two nice breezes and seems pretty comfortable over there," Stall Jr. said. "We've always felt he has Grade 1 talent, we just hope he has the chance to prove it. The New York-bred [Mr. Buff] is in there with some speed, so we definitely want a stalking trip. We don't have any interest in being on the lead. He did that in a couple of races and we feel like he's a better finisher coming from off the pace with a target." A two-time stakes winner, Tom's d'Etat won his stakes debut in December in the Tenacious at Fair Grounds. Prior to the Alydar, he was twice graded stakes placed at Churchill Downs when finishing second in the Grade 2 Alysheba and third in the Grade 2 Stephen Foster. Bred in Kentucky by SF Bloodstock, Tom's d'Etat is out of the stakes winning Giant's Causeway broodmare Julia Tuttle, whose dam Candy Cane is a full-sister to multiple champion producing stallion Candy Ride. Tom's d'Etat will leave from post 9 under two-time Saratoga leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr., who seeks his first Woodward victory. Trainer Todd Pletcher has saddled three Woodward winners in Lawyer Ron (2007), Quality Road (2010) and Liam's Map (2015) and will send out a trio of contenders for this year's Woodward. Already a Grade 1 winner, Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable's Vino Rosso won the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita in May and was a recent third behind McKinzie in the Grade 1 Whitney. The chestnut son of 2008 Woodward winner Curlin has recorded two works since the Whitney, the most recent being a five-furlong bullet in 58.60 over the main track on Friday morning - the fastest of 22 recorded works at the distance. "He breezed super on Friday," Pletcher said. "It was a real strong breeze. He came out of it with some good energy and has been galloping well this week. It seems like he's in good form. I think he's become a more consistent workhorse, although I thought his last breeze was arguably the best breeze he ever had. He galloped out real strongly and looks great. His appetite has been good and his energy has been good." Pletcher said he looks forward to giving Vino Rosso another chance to become a multiple Grade 1-winner. "It would be another Grade 1 and it's a prestigious race with a horse that's a big-time stallion prospect," Pletcher said. "It would be another feather in his cap and he looks great." Vino Rosso will emerge from post 3 under Hall of Famer John Velazquez, a four-time winner of the Woodward. Pletcher also will saddle Let's Go Stable's Wooderson, who was a recent second behind Tom's d'Etat in the Alydar. The son of Awesome Again and half-brother to 2009 Horse of the Year and Woodward winner Rachel Alexandra has won three times, one of which was a third out graduation at Saratoga last July. "It was a good race. He was closing a bit at the end but just got there too late," Pletcher said of the Alydar effort. "He's a horse that we figured would get better with age all along and it seems like he's starting to find his rhythm." Two-time Saratoga leading jockey Jose Ortiz will guide Wooderson from post 8. Rounding out the Pletcher trio is Bal Harbour, who recorded a career-best 101 Beyer Speed Figure when finishing second by a head to War Story in the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup in July. Owned by Red Oak Stable, the chestnut son of First Samurai seeks his first graded stakes win, but has been a stakes winner three times having notched wins in the 2017 Sapling at Monmouth, the 2017 Smooth Air at Gulfstream and the 2018 Gio Ponti at Aqueduct. "He lost a tough one to a warrior in War Story," Pletcher said. "He's training great, so we'll see what he does." Bal Harbour will break from post 2 under two-time Saratoga leading rider and Hall of Famer Javier Castellano who seeks his third Woodward triumph. Hall of Famer Bill Mott will send out Yoshida in search of a record fifth Woodward victory for the conditioner. Owned by China Horse Club, WinStar Farm and Head of Plains Partners, Yoshida won last year's Woodward and will attempt to be the first horse to score back-to-back triumphs since Lido Palace [2001-02]. The 5-year-old Japanese-bred son of Heart's Cry, out of graded stakes winner Hilda's Passion, was second in the Grade 1 Whitney last out and boasts the highest lifetime earnings in the field with $2,370,770. The well-rounded Yoshida owns Grade 1 triumphs on both dirt and turf. Three starts prior to winning last year's Woodward, he won his 4-year-old debut in the Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic at Churchill Downs. Jockey Joel Rosario will pilot Yoshida from post 7. Chester and Mary Broman's Mr. Buff has found plenty of success against his New York-bred counterparts but will seek his first graded stakes victory when breaking from the rail. The gelded chestnut son of Friend Or Foe is a four-time stakes winner, last out taking the Evan Shipman over the Spa main track in runaway fashion. He captured the Jazil against open company on January 26 at Aqueduct, where he recorded a 102 Beyer. Mr. Buff is trained by John Kimmel, who saddled Premium Tap to a Woodward victory in 2006. He will be piloted by Jose Lezcano. Completing the field for the Woodward are Mongolian Groom [post 4, Luis Saez], Preservationist [post 5, Junior Alvarado] and Forewarned [post 6, Anthony Salgado]. The Woodward is slated as Race 11 on Saturday's 12-race Woodward Racing Festival card, which also features the Grade 2, $250,000 Prioress in Race 3, the Grade 3, $200,000 Saranac in Race 6 and the Grade 2, $250,000 Glens Falls in Race 10. First post is 12:30. The Woodward will be the centerpiece of Saturday's Saratoga Live broadcast airing on FS2 from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern, and regionally on MSG+ from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern.

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8.24.2019:

Code of Honor Storms Home to Win G1 Travers Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Shug McGaughey won his first Travers in 21 years and joined a select group of Hall of Fame conditioners with his fourth "Mid-Summer Derby" triumph when Code of Honor made a strong move to the outside around the final turn and picked off six rivals en route to a three-length victory in the 150th renewal of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course. The sesquicentennial iteration of the Travers, highlighting a packed seven-stakes card that featured six Grade 1s, saw McGaughey saddle his first Travers winner since Coronado's Quest in 1998 and fourth overall, joining Elliott Burch (four) and Winbert F. "Bert" Mulholland (five) as the only trainers with four or more Travers wins. Extending the Hall of Fame connection was jockey John Velazquez, who kept W.S. Farish's Code of Honor settled on the inside in ninth position as 2-1 favorite Tacitus led the 12-horse field through the opening quarter-mile in 23.11 seconds before Mucho Gusto took command with the half in 47.26 and three-quarters in 1:11.21 on the fast main track. Out of the far turn, Velazquez urged Code of Honor on, and the Noble Mission colt responded by thundering up from the outside, outkicking Mucho Gusto and Tacitus inside the final furlong and surging to the wire to complete 1 ¼ miles in 2:01.05. Code of Honor, off at 4-1, was coming off a win by a head in the Grade 3 Dwyer on July 6 at Belmont Park, which followed his impressive Grade 1 Kentucky Derby in which he was placed second following the disqualification of Maximum Security. The Kentucky homebred returned $10.80 on a $2 win wager and improved his career earnings to $1,885,820. "It doesn't get old, but it can't take that long again," said McGaughey, who won his first Travers 30 years ago with Easy Goer and also won in 1990 with Rhythm. "He's been a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde horse. Today, he put it all together. He trained really well. The Dwyer was a really good race, so we were hoping we were going to see what we saw." In a wide-open 3-year-old division that saw three different winners of the Classics, and now with Code of Honor taking the Travers, McGaughey said Code of Honor continues to make a strong case to be considered the top of the division. "The way he won today, you have to put him up there with them. We'll see what happens," McGaughey said. Code of Honor improved to 4-2-1 in eight starts. "I never had any doubts about distance as a problem, just him putting his mind to running," said Velazquez, who notched his second Travers win and first since Flower Alley in 2005. "Today, I made sure, when I got him out to the clear, he responded right away, so I was very happy for him. Obviously, we've been looking for this kind of performance for a long time. He's a late foal, not really knowing what to do [even though he's] run some really big races. He's never really put it together until today." Juddmonte Farms' Tacitus, placed third in the Kentucky Derby, logged a third consecutive runner-up effort. By finishing a half-length clear of Mucho Gusto, he added to his hard-running second in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes on June 8 and the Grade 2 Jim Dandy, both presented by NYRA Bets. Tacitus won the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets in April at Aqueduct Racetrack and has finished first or second in six of his eight starts for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. "We made the choice beforehand to go ahead and try and get him in the race, let him break and if they want to try to outrun you, make them work for it a little bit," Mott said. "Our horse was just there. He got the rail trip. We thought when Mucho Gusto kind of went, you'd have thought he'd have come over to the fence but he stayed out, so that gave us the rail on the second turn. Hey, the winner came running." Mott also saddled Elate, who ran second by a nose to Midnight Bisou two races prior in the Grade 1, $700,000 Personal Ensign presented by Lia Infiniti in a thrilling stretch-drive duel. "The horses ran good. When the day is over, I don't think we really have any excuses," Mott said "My horses both were second, one by maybe a hair and the other was a good second. No excuses. Looking back, I don't know what else we could have done." Michael Lund Petersen's Mucho Gusto, who ran second in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational on July 20 at Monmouth Park, was jockey Joseph Talamo 's first Travers mount. The Bob Baffert trainee was 1 ¼ lengths the best of Endorsed for third. The horses comprising the trifecta were all trained by Hall of Famers. "I was surprised to see Tacitus that close, but we were going pretty easy. I stayed out to where we were both going easy enough," Talamo said. "Turning for home, he really gave me a thrill when he opened up a little bit. I really thought I was going to keep going. Every start I've ridden him, he really lays it downs on them and that's all you can ask of a horse like him." Owendale, Highest Honors, Tax, Chess Chief, Laughing Fox, Scars Are Cool, Looking At Bikinis and Everfast completed the order of finish. Live racing resumes Sunday with a 10-race card that features the $100,000 Better Talk Now in Race 8 at 4:46 p.m. Eastern. First post is set for 1 p.m.

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8.24.2019:

Annals of Time Prevails in G1 Sword Dancer Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Annals of Time came from far off the pace to capture the 45th running of the Grade 1, $850,000 Sword Dancer and complete his comeback from an injury that sidelined him for almost two years as he prevailed by a neck at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday. The victory, which was the first top level score for the 6-year-old horse owned by Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence since he won the 2016 Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar, also guarantees him an all-expenses paid berth in the starting gate for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf in November at Santa Anita Park as part of the "Win and You're In" Challenge Series. Annals of Time, who had never before traveled as far as the 1 ½ miles distance of the three-turn test over the inner turf course, was game in victory, holding off by a neck the hard-charging Sadler's Joy, who was attempting a comeback of his own after winning the 2017 edition of the Sword Dancer and finishing 6th last year in this spot. Channel Cat was third, another two lengths behind. "When he tipped out, I thought we had a good chance because he has a really good, strong closing kick. But it was a little tight near the finish. I'm glad he got up in time." said defending three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown, who earlier in the day won the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa with Significant Form on the 150th Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers card offering six Grade 1 races and one Grade 2 affair. "It's been a real team effort. A guy named Nick de Meric down in Ocala picked him out as a baby, and every time he has gone to the sidelines, he's gone to rehab with him and his team. He sent him back to us, now as a 6-year-old, in fine shape. We finally have had an uninterrupted training schedule and campaign with him. He's back to his old form when he won the [Grade 1] Hollywood Derby when he was a 3-year-old. He's probably better now, so I'm just so grateful to have him back healthy," Brown continued. Brown also saddled Ya Primo, was raced up on the pace and led the field into the home stretch, and Proven Reserves, who figured to race on the lead but was never a factor in the outcome. Ya Primo wound up last in the nine-horse field and Proven Reserves finished seventh. Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, who also won the Grade 1, $400,000 Ketel One Ballerina on Come Dancing on the card, gave Annals of Time a perfect ride in the long-distance race. "He's a good horse. I don't know if I've seen a horse that, no matter if the pace is slow or fast, he always finishes really well. I'm very proud of him. Some horses have to have pace in the race but this horse doesn't need one," said Castellano, who sat behind fractions of 23.36; 47.96; 1:14.82; and 1:40.52 before they finished up in 2:04.70. "You can see the pace was very slow, but he still responded and passed all the horses. I took my time. It's a mile-and-a-half and it's the first time he's gone a mile-and-a-half. You don't want to rush it to be close to the pace. I rode with a lot of patience and it paid off today," Castellano continued. Jose Lezcano, the jockey aboard runner-up Sadler's Joy, was philosophical in defeat, saying, "He broke good in a spot where I wanted to be. The last eighth, he gave me a good race. He ran hard. He gave me his race. We just came up short." With the victory, Brown tied Hall of Famer Bill Mott for the most training wins in race history with three as he also took the 2016 edition with Flintshire and the 2013 running with Big Blue Kitten. Castellano has also won the Sword Dancer three times, scoring with Flintshire and Telling in 2009.

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8.24.2019:

Midnight Bisou Nips Elate at Wire in G1 Personal Ensign

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Midnight Bisou kept her perfect record this season intact by running down fellow multiple Grade 1-winning multi-millionaire Elate through an epic stretch battle and emerging a nose in front at the wire in Saturday's Grade 1, $700,000 Personal Ensign presented by Lia Infiniti at Saratoga Race Course. The 70th running of the 1 1/8-mile Personal Ensign for fillies and mares 3 and older on the main track was the fifth of seven graded-stakes, six of them Grade 1, worth $4.8 million in purses on a blockbuster 13-race program highlighted by the 150th renewal of the $1.25 million Runhappy Travers. Bloom Racing Stable, Madaket Stables and Allen Racing's Midnight Bisou extended her win streak to six races since opening her 4-year-old campaign in January, completing the distance in 1:47.92 over a fast main track. Elate, the 4-5 favorite in an accomplished field of six, was 8 ¾ lengths ahead of She's a Julie - Midnight Bisou's Grade 1-winning stablemate also trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen - in third. "Two great mares hooked up at Saratoga in a Grade 1," Asmussen said. "A beautiful day, a beautiful setting, and two great mares." Grade and Group 1 winner Wow Cat checked in fourth, followed by graded-stakes winners Golden Award and pacesetter Coach Rocks. Sent off as the 8-5 second choice, Midnight Bisou returned $5.40 for a $2 win bet. It was the 11th career win and fifth in Grade 1 company from 17 lifetime starts for Midnight Bisou, earning the daughter of 2007 champion sprinter Midnight Lute an automatic berth to the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff November 2 at Santa Anita. Coach Rocks, second by a length behind Midnight Bisou in the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher July 20 in the last start for both fillies, was quickest from the gate under Luis Saez and took the field through a quarter-mile in 23.46 seconds, a half in 47.88 and six furlongs in 1:11.58. She's a Julie pressed the pace in second with Elate in the clear three wide and Midnight Bisou biding her time at the rear. Elate and regular rider Jose Ortiz launched their bid midway on the far turn and assumed the lead as Coach Rocks weakened. Hall of Famer Mike Smith tipped Midnight Bisou to the far outside and followed Elate's move, setting up the highly anticipated stretch duel. As their rivals began to fade into the background, Midnight Bisou came with a steady run and set her sights on a determined Elate, not edging past until the final moments. "The mare ran a tremendous race," Smith said. "It was a fight to get by Elate, who is a champion in her own right. With the extra four pounds there it took me a bit to get going, but once I got her going I was really happy that she handled the mile-and-an-eighth. I thought I got there at the wire, but there have been times before when I thought I did and didn't. You don't know the bob exactly, but I felt like I got it anyway. I'm happy to know that I did." Winner of the Grade 1 Alabama in 2017, Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider's homebred Elate suffered her third career tough beat at Saratoga. She was a neck behind Abel Tasman's stakes-record 1:47.19 performance in last year's Personal Ensign, and lost by a head in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks prior to her Alabama triumph. Bred in Kentucky by Woodford Thoroughbreds and purchased for $80,000 as a 2-year-old in training in April 2017, Midnight Bisou earned $375,000 for the victory, pushing her lifetime bankroll to $3,255,000. The Personal Ensign marked her first win at Saratoga after finishing second in the Coaching Club American Oaks and third in the Alabama last summer, and her first in four tries at 1 1/8 miles. "The filly didn't run her best races here last summer and she came into this one in great form. And for her to win here at Saratoga against Elate in the Personal Ensign, at a mile-and-an-eighth ... check marks," Asmussen said. "I have a ton of respect for the effort she gave today. We'll evaluate how she's doing. I do think she is the leader of the division." Run as the Firenze from 1948-85 and the John A. Morris from 1986-97, the Personal Ensign was renamed in honor of the undefeated champion filly owned and bred by Ogden Phipps. Her dramatic victory in the 1988 Breeders' Cup Distaff capped a 13-0 career, making her the first major horse in more than 80 years to accomplish the feat. Personal Ensign was inducted into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame in 1993, followed 11 years later by her trainer, Shug McGaughey.

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8.24.2019:

Come Dancing Charges Home to Win G1 Ballerina Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Taking charge in the stretch, Come Dancing came prancing across the finish line to win the $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course. The 41st running of the Ketel One Ballerina, a "Win and You're In" qualifier to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in November at Santa Anita Park, was one of seven stakes and six Grade 1s on a packed card highlighted by the 150th Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers. The seven-furlong Ballerina for fillies and mares 3-years-old and upward was whittled to five starters after the scratches of Pacific Gale and Mint to Stardom. Sent off as the 3-5 favorite, Blue Devil Racing Stables' Come Dancing sat off the early pace set by Separationofpowers and Mia Mischief. The early fractions were 23.31 seconds for the quarter and 45.86 for the half-mile on the main track rated fast. Come Dancing, under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, made her move around the turn and took command, winning by 3 ½ lengths in 1:21.48. Trainer Carlos Martin said he felt confident throughout. "When I saw her just sit out there in third, I said, 'She's so comfortable.' When she gets into that comfortable rhythm, it means she has a lot left coming back,'' said Martin. "She trained so brilliantly the whole time here. Sitting around the turn, I felt pretty comfortable." So did Castellano, even with a start that wasn't so great. "She didn't break sharp out of the gate. I took my time to move up and control the race,'' said Castellano. "She's a wonderful filly and she's so kind. You can do whatever you want with her. In the stretch, she proved she was much the best the way she did it." Come Dancing ran second in her last race, finishing 3 ½ lengths behind Midnight Bisou in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park on June 8. Come Dancing opened her 5-year-old year with back-to-back wins, first with a 7 ¾-length romp in the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap. The daughter of Malibu Moon followed with a 6 ¾-length victory in the Grade 2 Ruffian at Belmont on May 5. The win marked the first Grade 1 for Martin, now 50, since he became the youngest trainer to win at the top level in New York, when Buy the Firm captured the 1991 Top Flight. "I was thinking we won a Grade 1 at Saratoga and we kept the Martin family and the Blue Devil family in a good frame of mind going into the Breeders' Cup,'' said Martin. "I think she's shown that, when given time between races, that she fires her best shot." Come Dancing, with her seventh win in 12 career starts, returned $3.50, $2.80 and $2.30. Dawn the Destroyer was second and returned $6.10 and $3.70, with Special Relativity yielding $4.20 to show. Separationofpowers was fourth and Mia Mischief fifth. The five-horse field matched the smallest for the Ballerina since 2009. "We're thrilled to be second. It's a Grade 1 and she's so well bred and a beautiful filly, so Johnny did a great job trying to win and got second,'' said Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains Dawn the Destroyer. "She put in a big run, but a very nice filly won it. Congratulations to Carlos Martin and his team."

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8.24.2019:

Mitole Gets Back to Winning Ways in G1 Forego Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - William and Corrine Heiligbrodt's Mitole dueled up front with Grade 1-winner Promises Fulfilled and successfully shook away from his rival to net his third career Grade 1 win in the 40th running of the $600,000 Forego presented by Encore Boston Harbor at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday. The seven-furlong sprint for older horses on the main track pays homage to the three-time Horse of the Year (1974-76) and four-time Champion Older Horse (1974-77). Before building a champion-caliber resume, he finished fourth behind fellow Hall of Famer and Secretariat in the 1973 Kentucky Derby. The sensational Forego was a 14-time Grade 1 winner. Guided by jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr., who piloted last year's Forego victor Whitmore, Mitole broke sharply from post 3 and went straight to the front in tandem with Promises Fulfilled to his inside and the two multiple Grade 1 winners laid down a moderate opening quarter-mile of 23.05 seconds on the main track rated fast. Around the turn, the two continued to duel through a half-mile in 45.58 but Promises Fulfilled began to give way with Santana, Jr. asking for more from Mitole. At the the of the stretch, Mitole extended his lead to three lengths with Killybegs Captain looming to his outside. In the final furlong, Mitole was the clear leader and sailed home under the wire, maintaining his three-length advantage in a stakes-record time of 1:20.80. Firenze Fire made a late bid to catch second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Killybegs Captain who rounded out the trifecta. Air Strike, Bon Raison and Promises Fulfilled completed the order of finish. The win was the second stakes victory of the meet for Santana, who previously guided Got Stormy to a track-record setting performance against males in the Grade 1 Fourstardave two weeks ago. "Today he broke sharp and put himself in a position where he wanted to be," Santana Jr. said. "He's a really nice horse to ride, and he does everything right. We [went] slow in the first couple of quarters. My horse was comfortable in the position he was [in]. He put himself in a great spot." Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Mitole made amends in the Forego following a disappointing third in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt earlier in the meet, where he was beaten 7 ½ lengths as the heavy favorite. The Forego was a third Grade 1 win for the 4-year-old Eskendereya chestnut, who earlier in the year captured the Churchill Downs and Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap. "I think the circumstances for the Vanderbilt just didn't suit him; coming off the huge run in the Met Mile and cutting back to three-quarters," Asmussen said. "But he came out of the race in good shape, trained beautifully for this, and the results speak for themselves. "Just like going into the Churchill Downs and the Met Mile, Ricardo [Santana, Jr.] knows the horse, lets him be himself, and the best version of Mitole usually takes care of itself," Asmussen added. Asmussen said the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on November 2 is the long term goal for Mitole. "I think that this was very significant coming off the loss in the Vanderbilt," Asmussen said. "We'll speak with the Heiligbrodts and see how he comes out of the race and see how he trains. Obviously, we'll try to align ourselves for the Breeders' Cup." Mitole racked up $320,000 from Saturday's win, which enhanced his lifetime earnings to $2,004,910. Never off the board in 13 career starts, the ultra-consistent Mitole has a record of 9-2-2. Mitole returned $3.80 as the 4-5 mutuel favorite. Bred in Kentucky by Edward A. Cox, Jr., Mitole was a $140,000 acquisition from the Ocala Breeders Sales Company's 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in 2017. He is out of the Indian Charlie broodmare Indian Miss.

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8.24.2019:

Catalina Cruiser Digs Deep to Punch Breeders' Cup Ticket in G2 Pat O'Brien

Hronis Racing’s Catalina Cruiser, the 1-2 favorite piloted for the first time by Flavien Prat, had to dig deep Saturday to fight off the tenacious challenge of Giant Expectations in an epic stretch battle and win the featured Grade II $200,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes.Hooked at the top of the stretch and passed briefly in mid-stretch by Giant Expectations, Catalina Cruiser determinedly battled back to assert himself in the final strides and win by a desperate head.American Anthem was a distant third, four and three-quarter lengths behind the runner-up and six and one-quarter lengths ahead of fourth-place Jalen Journey in the field of six horses. Lieutenant Dan was withdrawn.Catalina Cruiser thus completed the San Diego Handicap-Pat O’Brien Stakes double for the second year in a row, an unprecedented feat at Del Mar.  He won the San Diego July 20. The five-year-old son of Union Rags also secured a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile for the second time since the Pat O’Brien is a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for that event in November at Santa Anita.Catalina Cruiser was timed in 1:22.00 Saturday; his winning time last summer was 1:22.13.Catalina Cruiser, providing trainer John Sadler with his eighth stakes success of the Del Mar meeting, returned $3, $2.20 and $2.10 after his seventh win in eight starts. His only defeat came in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile when he was sixth as the 9-10 favorite behind City of Light. First money of $120,000 increased Catalina Cruiser’s earnings to $691,100.Giant Expectations, who was ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, won the O’Brien in 2017 and his game performance Saturday signaled a return to his best form. Sent postward as second choice at 7-2, Giant Expectations paid $3.40 and $2.80, while American Anthem returned $2.60 to show.PAT O'BRIEN STAKES QUOTESFLAVIEN PRAT (Catalina Cruiser, winner) – “We were wide (through the first four furlongs), but I was comfortable. He was going easy. At the quarter pole, Giant Expectations made a good move to get by me. He was in front but my horse fought back. He accelerated and ran well to win.”DRAYDEN VAN DYKE (Giant Expectations, second) – “He made the lead (in the stretch). We were a head in front. He ran great. Tough loss.”RAFAEL BEJARANO (American Anthem, third) -- “My horse broke good and I was in a good position. He ran well, but the two best horses beat me today.”JOHN SADLER (Catalina Cruiser, winner) – “I think he ran a really good Beyer, a really good Ragozin figure. That’s a fast race, I could tell, on this track. He was wide all the way, was involved in the running all the way, so I was really pleased. He’s a big horse and he’s got a big heart; I really thought that (when headed in the stretch) he would fight.”

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8.21.2019:

Tax, Tacitus Renew Rivalry in G1 Travers Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY - R. A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable's former claimer Tax and Juddmonte Farms regally bred Tacitus, the one-two finishers of the Grade 2 Jim Dandy, renew their rivalry on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course in the 150th running of Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers. The familiar foes - the 5-2 favorite Tacitus and the 6-1 Tax - will be meeting for the fifth time this year, headlining an august group of 12 sophomores entered Tuesday for the 1 ¼-mile race, including multiple graded-stakes winners Code of Honor, Mucho Gusto and Owendale and a pair of formidable contenders from Saratoga leading trainer Chad Brown in Highest Honors and Looking At Bikinis. The "Mid-Summer Derby" will be televised live on FOX from 5-6 p.m. Eastern. Undercard coverage will also be televised on a special Travers Day edition of Saratoga Live, airing nationally on FS2 from 11:30-5 p.m. ET. Regional coverage of Saturday's Saratoga Live can be found on MSG+, FOX Sports Prime Ticket and Altitude. The Travers is the centerpiece of a card featuring seven stakes and six Grade 1s, including the, $850,000 Sword Dancer; $700,000 Personal Ensign presented by Lia Infiniti; $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina; $600,000 Forego presented by Encore Boston Harbor; and $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial presented by Runhappy. Rounding out the blockbuster card is the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa. Tacitus, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, struck the first blow between the rugged rivals in capturing the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets on April 6 at Aqueduct Racetrack when 1 ¼-lengths the better of Tax. The grey son of Tapit, out of 2014 Eclipse Award winner Close Hatches, followed up with a strong rally to be placed third in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby with Tax placed 14th after a troubled trip. Garrett O'Rourke, General Manager of Juddmonte Farms, said a win in the Travers would be a huge boost to Tacitus' stallion credentials. "He couldn't be bred any better," said O'Rourke. "I think everyone appreciates that when they look at a pedigree and see that you're the first foal out of a champion mare, inbred to Unbridled and by the best dirt stallion around. He physically resembles Unbridled, but is also same color as Tapit and has a lot of Tapit traits in him." Both Tacitus and Tax, conditioned by Danny Gargan, skipped the middle leg of the Triple Crown and continued their battle in the final jewel, the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, where Tax dueled pacesetter Joevia as Tacitus rallied from seventh to finish second behind Sir Winston, with Tax settling for fourth. Last out, in a dramatic edition of the Jim Dandy, Tacitus stumbled badly at the start of the nine-furlong route as Tax tracked Grade 1 Preakness winner War of Will through swift splits. Although Tacitus gamely made up ground down the backstretch, and surged strongly the final 70 yards, Tax got first jump turning for home and held on strong for a three-quarter length score. With one win apiece, the Travers will serve as a lucrative tie-breaker as both rivals arrive in search of a first Grade 1 victory. Tacitus, winner of the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby in March, will add blinkers for the first time as he departs from post 6 under Jose Ortiz. O'Rourke said Tacitus should continue to improve as he matures. "I think, at the end of the day, good horses will overcome things and a big horse like him, he ran tremendously well in the Derby and the Belmont and again in the Jim Dandy," said O'Rourke. "He's gradually getting there, but he's not a horse that was fully mature in May. He's gradually getting to that point. When he does get there, he'll be able to work around his bad luck events and get himself in the race early and use that big, long stride effectively." Tax, claimed for $50,000 out of a winning effort at Keeneland on October 21, finished third in the Grade 2 Remsen in his first start for new connections ahead of a narrow head score in the Grade 3 Withers, both at the Big A. Gargan said he relishes the underdog role with Tax, a dark bay son of Arch. "Well, I haven't taught him how to read yet, so he doesn't know he's an underdog," said Gargan, with a laugh. "Nobody wrote about us going into the Jim Dandy and we did just fine and nobody's really written about us now, but I think he's in his best form today. "Tacitus has beaten us once [Wood Memorial], but I think that was a misjudgment by me not to train him up for that race from Florida," added Gargan. "We stayed with him in New York and missed some time. In the Derby, he didn't really go over the track well and that race took a lot out of him. I don't think I had him 100 percent fit for the Belmont, but if I did, I think we would have won that race as well. Since then, he's been doing great and training forwardly. We're excited and ready to run." Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the call aboard Tax from the outside post. W.S. Farish's Code of Honor, a chestnut son of Noble Mission, won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park in February. Following a good third in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, Code of Honor rallied strongly along the rail in the Kentucky Derby in which he was placed second. Code of Honor will have the benefit of two Hall of Fame connections, with trainer Shug McGaughey seeking his fourth Travers win and jockey John Velazquez. "I think he's come a long way in the last two or three months and I don't think the distance will be a problem," said McGaughey. "He's a laid-back, one-run type of horse and that's what we'll try to do with him. Hopefully, at the quarter pole, we're in a decent position where he can go on and make his run and see what happens." Velazquez, aboard Flower Alley for a victory in the 2005 Travers, will guide Code of Honor, 4-1, from post 2. Michael Lund Petersen's Mucho Gusto, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, arrives at the Travers from a runner-up effort in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational. The four-time Grade 3 winner, who captured the Bob Hope at Del Mar at 2 years old, as well as the Robert Lewis, Affirmed and Laz Barrera this year at Santa Anita Park, has never finished off the board in eight starts. The chestnut son of Mucho Macho Man will look to give Baffert his fourth Travers win and third in four runnings, with Arrogate taking the 2016 edition in a Travers record time for 1 ¼ miles, and West Coast in 2017. Baffert said he relishes a chance at another Travers score. "It's always great to be a part of the Travers. It's an event," said Baffert. "The city embraces it and everyone is into it. It'll be an exciting race, with a lot of good horses." Joe Talamo has the call from post 7 at odds of 6-1. A $200,000 purchase at the 2017 Keeneland September Sale, Rupp Racing's Owendale appears to be peaking at the right time, capturing the Grade 3 Ohio Derby last out after running third in the Preakness. Trained by Brad Cox, Owendale has recorded Beyer Speed Figures in excess of 90 in each of his last three starts, starting with a 98 for his 1 ¾-length win in the Grade 3 Lexington at Keeneland in April, setting him up for his start in the Triple Crown's middle jewel. The son of Into Mischief, who has been training at Churchill Downs, will be making his Saratoga debut at odds of 6-1. Florent Geroux retains the mount from post 1. Chad Brown, a three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer, is in search of his first Travers win and will have two chances. Highest Honors, also owned by Farish and listed at 10-1, has been stretched out in distance in each of his three previous starts, which includes back-to-back wins after running second in his debut at 6 ½ furlongs in April at Keeneland. The Tapit colt broke his maiden going 1 1/16 miles on June 1 at Belmont and then won the 1 1/8-mile Curlin last month at the Spa. Jockey Luis Saez will be attempting to earn his second Travers victory aboard Highest Honors after winning six years ago aboard Will Take Charge, the 2013 Champion 3-Year-Old Male. Highest Honors will depart from post 3. Long Lake Stable, Madaket Stables, Thomas Coleman and Doheny Racing Stable's Looking At Bikinis, also 10-1, finished third in his stakes debut in the Curlin. Purchased for $240,000 from the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale last April, Looking At Bikinis won his first two starts, besting eventual graded-stakes winner Cutting Humor in his debut in September at Belmont Park. Hall of Famer Javier Castellano will be looking to add to his record six Travers victories, including his triumphant ride last year aboard Catholic Boy. They will depart from post 9. Godolphin's Endorsed, at 15-1, is coming off his best stakes effort, running second to Highest Honors in the 1 1/8-mile Curlin. Out of the Grade 1 winning Tapit broodmare Dance Card, Endorsed broke his maiden at Saratoga at first asking. He is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, who won the 2012 Travers when Alpha dead-heated with Golden Ticket. The son of 2002 Travers winner Medaglia d'Oro will look to become the first son of a Travers winner to take the "Mid-Summer Derby" since Alpha, a son of 2006 hero Bernardini. Joel Rosario has the call from post 11. McLaughlin said Endorsed, who exited a six-furlong allowance win into his runner-up Curlin effort, should enjoy the added distance on Saturday. "He went from six to nine furlongs; we think he wants the distance," said McLaughlin. "He's doing fabulous coming out of the Curlin. I don't think there's any bad post in a 1 1/4 mile race. We'll leave it to Joel to decide whether we'll be forwardly placed or take back." Dale Romans will saddle graded-stakes veteran Everfast for Calumet Farm, entering off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational in July at Monmouth Park. His runner-up effort to War of Will in the Preakness, at odds of 29-1, earned him a personal-best 96 Beyer Speed Figure. A son of Take Charge Indy, he has been ambitiously placed throughout his career, running in the Grade 3 Iroquois in his second career start and following with the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity a month later. On the Derby trail, Everfast ran second in the Grade 2 Holy Bull. A seventh-place finisher in the Belmont Stakes, Everfast will be making his fourth consecutive Grade 1 appearance. Martin Chuan will pilot Everfast, a 30-1 choice, from post 5. Alex and JoAnn Lieblong's Laughing Fox, who finished fifth in the Grade 1 Preakness, returned to Saratoga for the first time since his debut in August 2018 to run fourth in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy in July. The son of Union Rags has trained at the Spa since and will be Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen's fourth Travers starter since 2016. Asmussen said the notable defections of Maximum Security and Game Winner from the Travers have changed the pace scenario for the 1 1/4-mile test. "Obviously, the complexion of the race has changed considerably the past couple of weeks. It's a very interesting group of three-year-olds meeting," said Asmussen. "I think the conditions in which the race is run under will be interesting. Most of these three-year-olds' last races, whether it was the weather here in the Jim Dandy or the heat in the Haskell, or not run since the Belmont, whatever the conditions were, they weren't favorable. I think the race lacks a lot of pace; Saratoga speed seems to be so effective. That'll be a huge concern." Purchased for $375,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sale, the Kentucky bred earned stakes blacktype for the first time when capturing the 1 1/8-mile Oaklawn Invitational on May 4. Ricardo Santana, Jr. will guide Laughing Fox, 30-1, from post 4. Rounding out the field are maiden winners Chess Chief, trained by Dallas Stewart for the Estate of James Coleman, Jr. at odds of 30-1; and Scars Are Cool, trained by Stanley Hough for Sagamore Farm, also at 30-1. Hall of Famer Mike Smith, a four-time Travers winner, rides Chess Chief from post 8, while Scars Are Cool will leave from post 10 under Tyler Gaffalione.

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8.21.2019:

Mitole, Promises Fulfilled Square Off in G1 Forego Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Two of the country's finest sprinters will go head-to-head in Saturday's Grade 1, $600,000 Forego presented by Encore Boston Harbor at Saratoga Race Course. The seven-furlong sprint over the main track is named in honor of the three-time Horse of the Year (1974-76) and four-time Champion Older Horse (1974-77). Before building a champion-caliber resume, he finished fourth behind fellow Hall of Famer Secretariat in the 1973 Kentucky Derby. The sensational Forego was a 14-time Grade 1 winner. Looking to make amends after finishing third as the heavy favorite in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt, Bill and Corrine Heiligbrodt's Mitole will attempt to add a third Grade 1 win to his resume after winning the Churchill Downs and the Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap over subsequent Grade 1 Whitney winner McKinzie. Prior to running third in the Vanderbilt, the 4-year-old Eskendreya chestnut had won seven straight races, six of which resulted in triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures. In addition to his pair of Grade 1 triumphs, he took the Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap on April 13 at Oaklawn Park, his second start off of a ten-month layoff. Last year, Mitole won a pair of stakes events in Oaklawn's Bachelor and the Chick Lang at Pimlico. Mitole has a field-best $1,684,910 in career earnings and a record of 12-8-2-2. Mitole is trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, who seeks his first Forego victory. Jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. will attempt his second straight win in the Forego when he guides Mitole from post 3. Robert Baron's Promises Fulfilled was a two-time graded stakes winner at the Spa last meet when taking the Grade 3 Amsterdam and Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial and will seek to keep his perfect record at Saratoga alive when breaking from post 1. Trained by Dale Romans, Promises Fulfilled enters the Forego off of a victory in the Grade 2 John A. Nerud at Belmont Park, where he garnered a career-best 108 Beyer. Promises Fulfilled has put together a strong series of works over the main track at Saratoga, including a bullet on August 10 where he went five furlongs in 58.85 seconds. "He's capable of it. I got great respect for Mitole, he's been a great horse this year so we'll have to see how he bounces back, but I think that we're moving forward," Romans said. "It should be a good race. He trains well everywhere. He doesn't have to take his racetrack with him, he's a good horse anywhere he goes. [The sprint division] is the strongest division in the country, not just with parity but with good horses." Jockey Luis Saez, the current leading rider in stakes wins this meet, will pilot Promises Fulfilled. Invading from the west coast is Air Strike who won the Grade 2 Triple Bend two starts back for trainer Phil D'Amato. Owned by Madaket Stables, Slam Dunk Racing and Michael Nentwig, the son of Street Sense enters the Forego off of a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby at Del Mar Racetrack. Air Strike will attempt his fourth career victory. He broke his maiden at fourth asking at Del Mar last August before defeating winners at Santa Anita a month and a half later. Air Strike will leave from post 2 under jockey Joel Rosario. Mr. Amore Stable's Firenze Fire will attempt to reel in a second Grade 1 victory when breaking from post 6. As a 2-year-old, the Florida-bred son of Poseidon's Warrior won the Champagne at Belmont Park and would go on to win two more graded stakes, one of which was the Grade 3 Dwyer last year at Belmont Park, where he recorded a career-best 106 Beyer. Firenze Fire is trained by Jason Servis and will have the riding services of two-time Saratoga leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. Empire State Racing's Bon Raison takes a massive jump up in class after winning the Tale of the Cat on August 9, where he equaled a 100 Beyer that he recorded four starts back when beating starter allowance company at Belmont Park. A veteran of 28 career starts, the Carlos Martin-trained Raison d'Etat bay makes his Grade 1 debut in the Forego, which will be his 14th start this year. Earlier in March, he won the Peeping Tom at Aqueduct, which was his first stakes victory. Two-time Saratoga leading rider Jose Ortiz picks up the mount aboard Bon Raison, who breaks from post 5. Completing the field is Curragh Stables' Killybegs Captain, who was third two starts back in his graded stakes debut for trainer John Terranova, which took place in the Grade 2 John A. Nerud at Belmont Park. A winner of 5-of-22 starts, Killybegs Captain will break from post 4 under jockey Eric Cancel. The Forego is slated as Race 5 on Saturday's 13-race Travers Day card which features seven stakes and six Grade 1s, including the $1.25 million Runhappy Travers; $850,000 Sword Dancer; $700,000 Personal Ensign presented by Lia Infiniti; $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina; and $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial presented by Runhappy. Rounding out the blockbuster card is the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa. First post is 1 p.m. The "Mid-Summer Derby" will be televised live on FOX from 5-6 p.m. Eastern. Undercard coverage will also be televised on a special Travers Day edition of Saratoga Live, airing nationally on FS2 from 11:30-5 p.m. ET. Regional coverage of Saturday's Saratoga Live can be found on MSG+, FOX Sports Prime Ticket and Altitude.

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8.21.2019:

Leading Trainer Chad Brown Enters Three in G2 Ballston Spa

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N. Y. - A select field with a decided international flavor will assemble Saturday for the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa for turf fillies and mares, one of six stakes on the undercard of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers at Saratoga Race Course. Saratoga's leading trainer, Chad Brown, who has won four of the past seven editions of the Ballston Spa, has entered three: European import Mascha, multiple graded stakes winner Significant Form, and Fifty Five, whom he may scratch from Friday's Yaddo to run on Saturday. Mascha went from last to first in her stateside and 4-year-old debut, a 1 1/16-mile allowance on July 31. In four starts last year in Europe, she won the Kronimus Diana-Trial at Baden Baden and finished second in the Group 3 Prix de Psyche at Deauville. "She's an exciting prospect," said Brown, who also had been pointing Rushing Fall to the Ballston Spa but withdrew her from consideration after she posted a sub-par workout. "I think she's earned the right to step up in this Grade 2 race." Irad Ortiz, Jr. will be aboard Mascha, who drew Post 9, while Significant Form, fifth in the Caress on July 21 after winning the Grade 3 Intercontinental at Belmont Park, was assigned Post 4 with John Velazquez. Fifty Five, winner of four of her past five starts, including the Ticonderoga, Plenty of Grace, John Hettinger and Mount Vernon, drew Post 2. Javier Castellano was named to ride. Indian Blessing returns to the Spa for a second shot in the 1 1/16-mile race, having finished third last year. Trained by Ed Walker for Mr. P. K. Siu, the 5-year-old Sepoy mare racked up two other thirds in her 2018 American foray, including the Grade 3 Athenia at Belmont Park and the Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland. Most recently, she was second in the Group 2 RaceBets.de Meilen Trophy on July 21 at Hamburg, having finished third in the Group 2 Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Brownstown Stakes at Fairyhouse a week earlier. Her lone victory this year came in the Maggie Dickson Stobo Castle Ladies Day Gold Cup on June 1 at Musselberg. Florent Geroux will ride from Post 5 The stakes-placed Scottish Jig will make her third stateside start and first in a graded stakes for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. Winner of an optional claimer in her debut on May 19 at Belmont, the Juddmonte Farms color-bearer returned to finish third in the 1 1/2-mile River Memories on July 5. She will leave from Post 7 with Joel Rosario in the irons. Representing trainer Graham Motion will be the Heider Family Stables' Secret Message, who enters off a fourth-place finish behind Sistercharlie, Rushing Fall and Homerique in the Grade 1 Diana on June 13. Prior to that, the Hat Trick filly won the Grade 2 Nassau at Woodbine and the listed Dahlia at Laurel Park. "I think she was a little unlucky in the Diana; she got into a bit of trouble at the top of the stretch," said Motion. "She could have gotten third. She did well, and I feel very good about running her." Jose Ortiz has the mount and the pair will leave from Post 3. Starship Jubilee, beaten less than a length by Secret Message in the Nassau, makes her first appearance at the Spa for Canadian trainer Kevin Attard. Claimed for $16,000 by Attard's father, Tino, in February 2016 at Gulfstream Park, the Indy Wind mare went on to claim Grade 2 victories at Woodbine in the Nassau and Dance Smartly in 2017 and the Canadian last year. "I think she's been able to stay at the top of her game for a while," said Attard, whose lone start at the Spa came in 2016 when Calgary Cat finished fifth in the Troy. "Her best race, in my opinion, was the Canadian last year. This will be her first start outside south Florida and Canada, and the competition will be different, but I believe she's earned a shot." She will leave from post 8 and will have the services of Jose Lezcano. Rounding out the field are Hogans Holiday, winner of the Miss Liberty on May 26 at Monmouth Park, who will be ridden by Ricardo Santana, Jr., from the rail, and Conquest Hardcandy, a recent allowance winner at the Spa seeking her first stakes victory. Trained by Jim Ryerson, she drew Post 6 under Tyler Gaffalione. The Ballston Spa is slated as Race 8 on Saturday's 13-race Travers Day card which features seven stakes and six Grade 1s, including the $1.25 million Runhappy Travers; $850,000 Sword Dancer; $700,000 Personal Ensign presented by Lia Infiniti; $600,000 Forego presented by Encore Boston Harbor; $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina; and $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial presented by Runhappy. First post is 11:35 a.m. The "Mid-Summer Derby" will be televised live on FOX from 5-6 p.m. Eastern. Undercard coverage will also be televised on a special Travers Day edition of Saratoga Live, airing nationally on FS2 from 11:30-5 p.m. ET. Regional coverage of Saturday's Saratoga Live can be found on MSG+, FOX Sports Prime Ticket and Altitude.

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8.21.2019:

Midnight Bisou, Elate Headline Loaded G1 Personal Ensign Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY - Bloom Racing Stable, Madaket Stables and Allen Racing's Midnight Bisou, undefeated in five starts this season, looks to keep her perfect record intact while seeking her first career victory at Saratoga Race Course in Saturday's Grade 1, $700,000 Personal Ensign presented by Lia Infiniti. The 70th running of the 1 1/8-mile Personal Ensign for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up on the main track is among seven stakes, six of them Grade 1s, worth $4.8 million in purses on a blockbuster 13-race program highlighted by the 150th renewal of the $1.25 million Runhappy Travers. Saturday's card will be televised nationally from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern on FS2 as part of a special Travers Day edition of Saratoga Live, with regional coverage available on MSG+, FOX Sports Prime Ticket and Altitude. The Travers will be shown live on FOX from 5 to 6 p.m. Eastern. First race post time Saturday is 11:35 a.m., while the Personal Ensign - a 'Win and You're In' qualifier for the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Distaff - is carded as Race 9 scheduled to go off at 4:12 p.m. Never worse than third, with $2.87 million in purse earnings from 16 lifetime starts, all 10 of Midnight Bisou's wins have come in graded stakes. Four of those victories were at Grade 1 caliber, including the Apple Blossom April 19 at Oaklawn Park and the Ogden Phipps June 8 at Belmont Park in back-to-back outings. Most recently, she was a one-length winner of the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher July 20 at Monmouth Park. "She's an amazingly consistent mare that has maintained a very high level for an extended period of time," Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen said. "We're expecting and want more of the same." Midnight Bisou kicked off her 4-year-old season with a workmanlike three-quarter-length triumph in the Grade 3 Houston Ladies Classic Jan. 27 under regular Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith. She similarly won the Grade 2 Azeri by a length March 16 at Oaklawn prior to her nose triumph in the Apple Blossom. "She gave herself a lot do off the bench in the Ladies at Sam Houston. Since then she has been very sharp," Asmussen said. "I think examples [of her adjustments] are very subtle within the individual races. It's almost like Mike will think, 'I want to be there,' and she gets there without a lot of obvious visual adjustment. Those are the things you really admire, especially at this level." Midnight Bisou raced twice at Saratoga last summer, finishing second to champion 3-year-old filly Monomoy Girl in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks before returning to be third as the favorite in the Grade 1 Alabama behind Eskimo Kisses and Asmussen-trained stablemate She's a Julie. "Her talent goes without question, but she's obviously very intelligent. Her relationship with Mike, you can see the evolution of it, where they're at now and how responsive she is to him," Asmussen said. "You get into some of these older races, and the number of horses in them has so much to do with how the race shapes up. She and Mike have been making beautiful adjustments, regardless of who she is in with, for where she needs to be in a race." Madaket Stables also has an ownership stake in 4-year-old She's a Julie, herself a five-time graded-stakes winner $73,120 shy of the $1 million mark for career purse earnings. A relentless half-length winner of the Grade 1 La Troienne May 3 at Churchill Downs, She's a Julie ran third in each of her past two starts - the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis June 15, also at Churchill, and the Grade 3 Shuvee July 21 at Saratoga, also run at 1 1/8 miles. "I feel like she's sitting on the best race of her year," Asmussen said. Smith and Midnight Bisou will depart from post 1 as the 124-pound highweight, while Ricardo Santana Jr. rides She's a Julie from post 3 carrying 122 pounds. A threat to Midnight Bisou's streak is Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm's Elate, one of two contenders entered by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who is seeking his fourth Personal Ensign victory. Mott won the 1994 edition with Link River, then took back-to-back runnings with Royal Delta in 2013 and 2014 with Close Hatches. Elate also enters the Personal Ensign on a roll, having won her last two starts in the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis and a second straight triumph in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap, contested at 1 ¼ miles, on July 13. "She's done well since the Delaware race and I'm very happy with her," Mott said. "She put in a very good run in that race. She exploded and put in the kind of run that she's capable of. We've been able to get a little racing in her this year and a little seasoning. She's fit and ready to go, so hopefully that will carry on to the Personal Ensign." Elate's two losses came this year to Midnight Bisou, finishing second in the Azeri and third in the Apple Blossom. The Azeri was Elate's first race since being beaten a neck by arch-rival Abel Tasman in last year's Personal Ensign; a margin that stood up following a stewards' inquiry following contact between the two in deep stretch. "I think she's been unlucky maybe not to win a championship. Maybe her career has been a little shortened. If she won the Personal Ensign last year, she could have been champion,' Mott said. "We've run big races with her off the shelf before. Last year we won the Delaware Handicap off an eight- or nine-month layoff, so six weeks I don't think is a big deal for her. It's a nice amount of time." Mott will also send out Summer Wind Equine's Golden Award in the Personal Ensign off a decisive victory over Wow Cat and She's a Julie in the Grade 3 Shuvee July 21 at Saratoga. The stablemates are the only horses in the field with a win over the main track, with Elate's coming in the 2017 Grade 1 Alabama. "She's doing well and there's nowhere else to run. It's a major race and it's an opportunity to pick up for her to pick up some black type in a Grade 1 race," Mott said of Golden Award. "It's not something I like to do. I don't really like running against myself, but by the same token I've got to do what's right for both horses and both owners. "Her last race was very good. She really stepped up. She took it to them and put them away. She really moved forward in that last race. It was very good," he added. "I think Golden Award seems to have a bit more early speed, so I don't think it's going to hurt Elate." Jose Ortiz returns to ride Elate from post 4 at 120 pounds, with Golden Award carrying 120 pounds including Tyler Gaffalione from far outside post 6. Peter Brant and Stud Vendaval's Wow Cat, a three-time Group 1 winner in her native Chile, ran third in last year's Personal Ensign in her second North American trip. Second in her debut last summer in the Shuvee, she left Saratoga and won the Grade 1 Beldame Oct. 6 at Belmont Park and was second in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, a length behind Monomoy Girl and a half-length ahead of Midnight Bisou. Wow Cat didn't run again until returning in the Shuvee, racing three-wide on both turns and being outfinished by Golden Award. Since then, the 5-year-old daughter of two-time champion Lookin At Lucky has breezed three times at Saratoga for trainer Chad Brown, the most recent a five-furlong move in 1:00.50 August 17. "She got a lot out of that last race. Hopefully she's going to move forward. She's going to need to to run against Elate, but I really liked the way she came out of the race. Her last breeze in particular was very strong," Brown said. "The key to her is the pace in front of her. She prefers some pace in front of her and to sit back a little bit and make one run." Hall of Famer John Velazquez, aboard for both Saratoga starts last summer, has the return call from post position 5 at 122 pounds. Completing the field is Roddy Valente, RAP Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds' Coach Rocks. By 2013 Grade 1 Preakness Stakes winner Oxbow, Coach Rocks went winless from her victory in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks last March until a commanding five-length optional claiming allowance triumph June 23 at Churchill Downs. She followed up with another solid effort in the Molly Pitcher, setting the pace before being caught late by Midnight Bisou on a day where several racetracks in the East cancelled racing due to extreme heat. "She's doing super. This filly is training just as good as she possibly can," trainer Dale Romans said. "It was a great win for her at Churchill. The race the other day at Monmouth, there were a lot of odd circumstances that she stood up to, so she's mentally tough right now, too. This is a good race. [There's] some good fillies and some good mares, so you've got to come out of there running. It's one of the best fields on a great day." Luis Saez will ride Coach Rocks from post 2 carrying the low weight of 118 pounds. Run as the Firenze from 1948-85 and the John A. Morris from 1986-97, the Personal Ensign was renamed in honor of the undefeated champion filly owned and bred by Ogden Phipps. Her dramatic victory in the 1988 Breeders' Cup Distaff capped a 13-0 career, making her the first major horse in more than 80 years to accomplish the feat. Personal Ensign was inducted into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame in 1993, followed 11 years later by her trainer, Shug McGaughey.

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8.21.2019:

Annals of Time Returns to Stakes Competition in G1 Sword Dancer

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Entering off an impressive optional claiming allowance win on July 24, Klaravich Stables' and William Lawrence's Annals of Time will make his first graded-stakes start since winning the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in 2016 as a 3-year-old in the Grade 1, $850,000 Sword Dancer going 1 ½ miles on the inner turf course on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course. The Sword Dancer is one of seven stakes races on Saturday's card, including six Grade 1's highlighted by the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers. National television coverage of Travers Day will be featured on FOX from 5-6 p.m ET. Undercard coverage will also be televised on a special Travers Day edition of Saratoga Live, airing nationally on FS2 from 11:30-5 p.m. ET. Regional coverage of Saturday's Saratoga Live can be found on MSG+, FOX Sports Prime Ticket and Altitude. A 6-year-old son of Temple City in the care of meet-leading conditioner Chad Brown, Annals of Time graduated in his debut at Aqueduct Racetrack in 2015 and finished third in the Grade 3 Hill Prince at Belmont as a 3-year-old before winning the Hollywood Derby at Del Mar Race Track. Sidelined for nine months following that win due to a soft tissue injury, he has only raced three times since, winning a second-level allowance race as a 4-year-old at Belmont Park followed by a runner-up third level allowance finish before subsequently winning last out by 4 ½ lengths at the Spa. Although concerned with the mile and a half distance, Brown said he is looking forward to bringing Annals of Time back against top level competition. "A mile and a half will be a test for him," said Brown. "He's never run in a three-turn race before. I'd prefer there to be some pace in the race, but he has a really good turn of foot and he's going need to." Annals of Time will leave from post 7 with Hall of Famer Javier Castellano aboard. Also entering for Brown is Proven Reserves for Klaravich Stables and Chilean-bred Ya Primo for Madaket Stables and Don Alberto Stables. A 4-year-old son of Flatter, Proven Reserves will try turf for the first time making his third start of the year following a pair of fourth-place finishes in second-level allowance company events, on June 19 at Belmont and on July 19 at Saratoga. Ya Primo, a Mastercraftsman 4-year-old colt and multiple graded stakes winner in South America where he made his firs nine career starts, finished a game second to fellow entrant Channel Cat beaten by a half-length in the Grade 2 Bowling Green on July 27 in his North American debut. "He ran super in that race and just came up a little bit short at the end," said Brown. "He's been training particularly well since and we're looking to running in the Sword Dancer. It was always our plan." Drawing the rail, Proven Reserves will leave with Manny Franco aboard. Ya Primo will depart from post 6 with meet-leading rider Jose Ortiz in the irons. Trainer Todd Pletcher entered a pair of formidable contenders in Bowling Green winner Channel Cat for Calumet Farm and Pillar Mountain for Team Valor. Sired by English Channel, the 4-year-old colt began his campaign with a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy on May 4 at Belmont. Following a fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Manhattan he finished third beaten by three-quarters of a length before breaking through to win his first graded stakes in the Bowling Green, going wire-to-wire. "He's doing well," said Pletcher. "He's training good. I think he's consistent with a lot of English Channels. He had some success at 2 and 3, but he really improved at 4 and I think he will continue to improve. I think for the most part [offspring of English Channel] tend to peak in their 5 year old year in a lot of cases. And this is a horse we've always liked. I kind of called him as a 2-year-old our sleeper horse that would hopefully develop into a top-class older horse and he's right on the verge of that." Channel Cat will leave from post 4 with Luis Saez up. Pillar Mountain, a 4-year-old Irish-bred son of Kodiac, made one career start in Ireland where he broke his maiden and enters the Sword Dancer following back-back allowance wins on June 6 at Belmont and July 19 at Saratoga each going 1 3/8 miles. "He's a horse that's continued to develop and we think has earned his chance to see what he can do at this level," said Pletcher. "It's certainly a jump up, but he's been training well and we think will be able to handle any kind of turf to see what he can do." Looking to rebound off a sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Bowling Green in which he made his first start of the year is Sadler's Joy for Woodslane Farm and conditioner Tom Albertrani. The 6-year-old Kitten's Joy multiple graded stakes winner has two wins from seven starts at Saratoga and is in search of his first victory since winning the Grade 2 Mac Diarmada in 2018 at Gulfstream Park. Also entered is multiple graded stakes winner Channel Maker, who finished fourth in the Grade 2 Bowling Green for Hall off Fame trainer Bill Mott and Wachtel Stable, leaving from post 8 with Joel Rosario aboard; Tiz Morning (Dylan Davis, post 2); and Noble Thought (Irad Ortiz, Jr. post 3). The Sword Dancer is slated as Race 10 on Saturday's 13-race card. First post is 11:35 a.m.

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8.21.2019:

Shancelot Returns to Saratoga for G1 H. Allen Jerkens Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Shancelot, dominant winner of the Grade 2 Amsterdam in his most recent outing, returns to Saratoga Race Course to head a field of nine entered in Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens presented by Runhappy. The H. Allen Jerkens, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds, is one of seven stakes on Saturday's card, which is topped by the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers.  The "Mid-Summer Derby" will be televised live on FOX from 5-6 p.m. Eastern. Undercard coverage will also be televised on a special Travers Day edition of Saratoga Live, airing nationally on FS2 from 11:30-5 p.m. ET. Regional coverage of Saturday's Saratoga Live can be found on MSG+, FOX Sports Prime Ticket and Altitude. In the 6 ½-furlong Amsterdam on July 28, Shancelot went straight to the lead and extended his advantage at every call, running clear to a 12 ½-length victory under jockey Emisael Jaramillo's drive. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 121 for the effort, the top figure in North America so far in 2019. The victory was so impressive that trainer Jorge Navarro needed to pick a race that happened two years before he was born in order to draw a comparison. "I will never see that again," said Navarro, who conditions Shancelot for Ivan Rodriguez and Albert and Michelle Crawford. "The last time I saw something like that was Secretariat. I will be lucky if he runs like that again. I knew he was good, but I didn't expect anything that amazing." Shancelot is unbeaten in three starts, having also won a seven-furlong maiden special weight by a neck in February at Gulfstream Park and an entry-level six-furlong optional claimer by 6 ¼ lengths in June at Monmouth Park. Navarro reported that Shancelot emerged from his Amsterdam performance in good shape. The Shanghai Bobby colt worked twice at Monmouth Park following the Amsterdam, breezing four furlongs in 49.40 on August 11 and six furlongs in 1:11 on Sunday. "He's come back and worked good," said Navarro. "It's amazing how he came out of the race. It's always a good sign when they are back in the feed tub the day after the race." Emisael Jaramillo will once again ride Shancelot, who drew post position 1. Nitrous, runner-up in both the Amsterdam and the Grade 1 Woody Stephens, will attempt to go one better in the Jerkens. Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen for Winchell Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables, the deep closer won the listed Bachelor Stakes at Oaklawn in April before missing by a neck in the Woody Stephens, contested at the Jerkens' seven-furlong distance June 8 at Belmont Park. As a 2-year-old, Nitrous made two starts at Saratoga, breaking his maiden in his second start and finishing third in the Grade 1 Hopeful. "I think he runs solid races here at Saratoga, and seven-eighths of a mile is ideal for him," said Asmussen. "He's a horse that, just like [Grade 1 Runhappy Travers entrant] Laughing Fox, how the racetrack is playing will have a lot to do with [his performance]." Ricardo Santana, Jr. has the call aboard Nitrous from post 5. Something Special Racing's Hog Creek Hustle, who made a seven-wide rally from 10th to win the Woody Stephens, will make his Saratoga debut in the Jerkens. The Woody Stephens was the first stakes win for Hog Creek Hustle, who earlier in his career had finished third in the Sugar Bowl at six furlongs at the Fair Grounds, second in the Fair Grounds' Grade 3 Lecomte around two turns, and second in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile in a one-turn mile at Churchill Downs. "[Seven furlongs] is perfect for him, and as long as he came out of the [Woody Stephens] healthy, the [Jerkens] was the plan," said trainer Vickie Foley. "We're running a fresh horse, and we're ready to go. He had a dynamite work Saturday, :59 and change. And the way he did it was even better. You couldn't ask the horse to be doing any better." Hog Creek Hustle drew post 9 and will be ridden by Corey Lanerie. Also exiting the Woody Stephens is Borracho, who finished third, beaten one length. He returned from that effort to win a second-level optional claimer by 1 ¾ lengths over the Jerkens' course and distance July 21. Borracho is a son of Uncle Mo, who in 2011 lost the Jerkens (then the King's Bishop) by a nose to Caleb's Posse. "We found out what he wants to do," said Rusty Arnold, who trains Borracho for Preston Madden. "He wants to sprint. We tried him long a couple of times, and he didn't like it. We backed him up and sprinted him, and he's run well. He's run well up here. We wanted to run in allowance race and we skipped the [Amsterdam], which is a good thing with the way [Shancelot] ran. He's had a great month up here. He hasn't missed a day and is doing well. He's going to run his race back." Chris Landeros has the call aboard Borracho from post 4. The Jerkens field also includes Call Paul, returning to the main track following a seventh in the Grade 3 Quick Call on July 11; Twelfth Labour, winner of an optional claimer June 28 at Churchill Downs; Mind Control, winner of the Grade 1 Hopeful last year and third in the Concern on July 14 at Laurel Park; The Big S, fifth in the Grade 2 Amsterdam; and Rowayton, fourth in the Curlin on July 26. The H. Allen Jerkens is slated as Race 7 on Saturday's 13-race card. First post is 11:35 a.m.

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8.17.2019:

Acclimate Earns Breeders' Cup Berth with Del Mar Handicap Win

California-bred Acclimate, masterfully-rated on the lead by jockey Florent Geroux, went to the front shortly after the start and won the marathon Grade II $250,000 Del Mar Handicap presented by the Japan Racing Association from wire-to-wire Saturday.The five-year-old son of Acclamation, owned by the Ellwood Johnston Trust and Timmy Time Racing, set a comfortable pace in the mile and three-eighths distance test on the grass and had enough in reserve to score by one length in 2:12.71 over Oscar Dominguez. Ritzy A.P. was third, a length behind the second-place runner and a neck in front of Blended Citizen.The Great Day, the 9-5 favorite, was fifth, while 2-1 supported Marckie’s Water was seventh and last. Withdrawn from the Del Mar ‘Cap were United and Arizona Moon.Acclimate, winner of the San Juan Capistrano at Santa Anita in June, qualified for the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita in November since the Del Mar Handicap is a “Win and You’re In”  Challenge Series event.Sent postward at 7-1, Acclimate, who is trained by Phil D’Amato, returned $16.60, $8.00 and $6.00 while earning first prize of $150,000 to elevate his total earnings to $325,872. Oscar Dominguez paid $11.40 and $6.20, while Ritzy A.P. returned $6.20 to show.FLORENT GEROUX (Acclimate, winner) – “It worked out very well. The horse was sharp. He went to the front easily. And he ran relaxed all the way.”JOE TALAMO (Oscar Dominguez, second) – “We had our trip. The leader just never came back to us.”MARTIN GARCIA (Ritzy A.P., third) – “Too easy up front for the winner. I wanted to go get him, but I couldn’t move my horse too soon.”PHIL D’AMATO (Acclimate, winner) – “He had been breezing up a storm, so I knew he was in good form. But you’re up against a lot of nice horses and it’s great that he proved the best today.”

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8.15.2019:

August 17 Cross Country Pick 5 Features Saratoga and Del Mar

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - An all-graded stakes Cross Country Pick 5 is slated for Saturday, August 17 featuring action from Saratoga Race Course and Del Mar Racetrack in San Diego, California.Saratoga will host the first two legs of the sequence, which begins when a field of seven sophomore fillies, plus one main track only entrant, will go into line for the Grade 2, $200,000 Lake Placid over the inner turf course. Carded as Race 9, the 1 1/16-mile event will feature Varenka, who seeks her first stakes victory for trainer Graham Motion. The daughter of Ghostzapper was an impressive allowance winner over the Saratoga turf last out and is three-times placed against stakes company. Trainer Chad Brown will saddle stakes winners Regal Glory and Blowout, who ran a respective one-two in the Grade 3 Lake George last out. The Lake Placid has a 5:26 p.m. Eastern scheduled post time.Three-year-old fillies will take to the dirt for the next leg, the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama. Scheduled as Race 10 with a 5:59 p.m. post, the 1 1/4-mile event features Peter Brant's Dunbar Road, who was an impressive winner of the Grade 2 Mother Goose at Belmont Park last out. Trainer Larry Jones will saddle dual graded stakes winner Street Band for what he hopes will be his second Alabama victory.Action shifts to southern California for the remaining three legs of the sequence. The Grade 2, $250,000 Del Mar Handicap, carded as Race 7 with an 8:00 p.m. post time, is a 1 ½-mile marathon on the grass and features Marckie's Water, Itsinthepost and Acclimate all of whom are graded stakes winners in California. The Great Day, who ships from the east coast for trainer Arnaud Delacour, will seek his first win since the Group 1 Estrellas Classic in his native Argentina. The penultimate leg of the Cross Country Pick 5 is the Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Oaks. Carded as Race 9 with a 9:00 p.m. post time, the 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-old fillies features two stakes winners from the Brown barn in Dogtag and Cambier Parc. Trainer Norm Casse will ship Hard Legacy to Del Mar in attempt of a second straight graded stakes win. Concluding the sequence will be the Grade 1, $1 million Pacific Classic, a "Win And You're In" event for the Grade 1, $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park. The 1 ¼-mile event on the main track features plenty of shippers from the east coast, most notably Charles Fipke's Seeking the Soul, who won the Grade 2 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs last out for trainer Dallas Stewart. Two-time graded stakes winner Quip, second in the Stephen Foster, will look to turn the tables as he seeks his first Grade 1 win for trainer Rodolphe Brisset. Woodford Racing's Campaign and Reddam Racing's Pavel carry the banner for the locally-based contenders. The Pacific Classic is slated as Race 10 with a post time of 9:30 p.m.The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. There will be a mandatory payout of the entire pool.Saratoga - Del Mar Cross Country Pick 5Leg A: Saratoga (Race 9, 5:26 p.m.; Grade 2, $200,000 Lake Placid)Leg B: Saratoga (Race 10, 5:59 p.m.; Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama)Leg C: Del Mar (Race 7, 8:00 p.m.; Grade 2, $250,000 Del Mar Handicap)Leg D: Del Mar (Race 9, 9:00 p.m.; Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Oaks)Leg E: Del Mar (Race 10, 9:30 p.m.; Grade 1, $1 million Pacific Classic)   

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8.13.2019:

Golden Gate Fields 28-Day Summer Meet Opens Thursday

BERKELEY, Calif. (Aug. 13, 2019) — Live racing will return to Golden Gate Fields on Thursday, as the iconic track will open its 28-day Summer Meeting with a seven-race program that will get underway at 1:45 p.m. The Golden Gate Fields Summer Meeting will run on a Thursday through Sunday basis, through Sept. 29, with first post time each day at 1:45 p.m.  Live racing will also be offered on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 2, with the $50,000 Rolling Green Stakes, for 3-year-olds and up at a mile and one sixteenth on turf, highlighting the holiday festivities. The Rolling Green traditionally attracts the top handicap horses in Northern California, as well as several Southern California shippers.  Last year’s edition of the Rolling Green was taken by the popular California-bred millionaire and multiple stakes winner Alert Bay.“Over the past couple of years, Golden Gate Fields has generated an increase in handle and popularity amongst horseplayers and fans nationwide,” said Golden Gate General Manager and Vice President, David Duggan.  “Our team is very proud of the improvements we have seen and we look towards continuing those improvements at our upcoming Summer Meet. “Our horse population is good and our horsemen are always working extremely hard, which is a big reason why our field sizes have increased and why our racing product has been steadily on the rise.”The highly popular Dollar Day Sundays, with one dollar parking, one dollar admission, one dollar programs, one dollar beers, one dollar hot dogs and one dollar mimosas every Sunday afternoon, are once again expected to attract large on-track crowds. Matt Dinerman, the 27-year-old Voice of Golden Gate Fields, will again provide pre-race analysis for Golden Gate’s simulcast and on-track television presentation in addition to his regular race calling duties. Jonathan Wong, who has won the past four training titles at Golden Gate Fields, has another strong contingent of horses that are ready to run and he’s the solid “morning line favorite” to notch yet another training title.  A long list of trainers are expected to have plenty of starters at the Summer Meeting, including Golden Gate regulars Bill Delia, John Martin, Tim McCanna, Ed Moger, Jr., Victor Trujillo and Blaine Wright.Rising star Abel Cedillo, the leading Golden Gate rider at the 2019 Winter/Spring Meeting by a whopping 30 wins, has moved his full-time tack to Southern California, so an all-out scramble for leading rider honors is expected.Among those that figure to pose for pictures on a regular basis are veteran Frank Alvarado, popular and affable William Antongeorgi III, well respected Juan Hernandez, Pleasanton leading rider Irving Orozco and come-backing Kyle Frey, a Northern California native.A new face who will command plenty of “live” mounts is newly turned journeyman Heriberto Figueroa, who had a successful apprenticeship in Southern California and will now call Golden Gate Fields his full-time home.  At age 20, Figueroa should be in thick of it for leading rider honors and would appear to have a limitless future.For additional information on all things Golden Gate Fields, please visit Goldengatefields.com or call (510) 559-7300.

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8.11.2019:

Danuska's My Girl Scores in G3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap

Danuska’s My Girl darted to the lead leaving the gate under jockey Geovanni Franco and led all the way to win the featured Grade III $100,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap Sunday at Del Mar.For the second year in a row, Anonymity finished second in the six and one-half furlong sprint for older fillies and mares. A year ago, she was runner-up to Yuvetsi as the 2-5 favorite and Sunday she again was second at short odds, 3-5.Danuska’s My Girl, sent to the gate at 6-1, was game to the wire, defeating Anonymity by a half-length in 1:17.13. Two and three-quarters of a length farther back in third was Lady Ninja, who broke poorly, with Best of Me fourth in the field of nine runners.Danuska’s My Girl, a five-year-old mare by Shackleford, is owned by Bad Boy Racing, nom de course of Kelly Mitchell of Plano, Texas and trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer. She was a two-time stakes winner at Santa Anita this spring before finished fourth in the Great Lady M at Los Alamitos July 6.Danuska’s My Girl returned $14.20, $4.40 and $3.20 after scoring her sixth win in 16 outings. First money of $60,000 increased her bankroll to $330,810. She also provided jockey Franco with his first Del Mar stakes success.Anonymity, who was piloted by Flavien Prat, paid $2.40 and $2.10, while Lady Ninja returned $ 2.60 to show.Trainer John Sadler unveiled an impressive two-year-old filly prospect in Sunday’s fourth race as even-money favorite Inspiressa scored stylishly under jockey Victor Espinoza. The Florida-bred daughter of The Big Beast ran five and one-half furlongs in a quick 1:04.31.RANCHO BERNARDO HANDICAP QUOTESGEOVANNI FRANCO (Danuska’s My Girl, winner) – “Congratulations to the owners and to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. She felt great all the way. She broke so sharp and then she slowed it down for me that second quarter. I knew someone was coming late (favorite Anonymity), but it didn’t matter. I kept riding as hard as I could. She likes it here at Del Mar. So do I.”FLAVIEN PRAT (Anonymity, second) – “She stumbled coming away from there and that always affects you. But after that she ran a very good race.”RAFAEL BEJARANO (Best of Me, fourth) – “Good trip for me. I was right where I wanted to be. I thought I might have something late, but…..”JERRY HOLLENDORFER (Danuska’s My Girl, winner) – “It has been a long time coming but we finally got one. I’m doing the best I can and at least some things are working out, like winning this race for Kelly Mitchell. It feels good. In the race we thought we’d get a little more pressure from the eight horse (Best of Me) but we broke so fluid that it wasn’t that bad. He (Geovanni Franco) actually won the race in the second quarter when he got to slow it down a little bit.”

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8.10.2019:

Got Stormy Beats the Boys to Win G1 Fourstardave at Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Gary Barber and Southern Equine Stable's Got Stormy became the first filly to win the Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave, in its 35th running, covering one mile over the firm inner turf in a track record 1:32 flat on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.Trained by Mark Casse, Got Stormy was wheeled back just one week after her convincing win in last Saturday's Fasig-Tipton De La Rose and promptly earned a berth in the Breeders' Cup Mile on November 2 at Santa Anita Park with her lightning-quick effort in the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series race.Got Stormy, sent to post at odds of 5-1 under Ricardo Santana, Jr., was one of two fillies looking to make history as the first female winner of the Fourstardave, along with the 9-5 post-time favorite Uni.Gidu, leaving from outermost post 10, blasted to the lead under Manny Franco and set swift splits covering a quarter-mile in 22.52 seconds and the half-mile in 44.61 with Dr. Edgar, Made You Look, the slow-starting Ostilio and Got Stormy strung out in his wake.Made You Look closed menacingly late in the turn to assume command as Got Stormy began to smartly pick off rivals one-by-one with an impressive turn of foot. Traveling at great speed down the lane, Got Stormy easily reigned in Made You Look en route to an impressive 2 ½-length score. Casse credited Barber for the ambitious entry and the filly, carrying 116 pounds with Santana, Jr. up for the first time in place of regular pilot Tyler Gaffalione, who was committed to stablemate March to the Arch, rewarded her connections with an inspired effort."One of the things I looked at was the weight. I knew the weight would help and Gidu opened up and it set it up. It was great," said Barber. "I told Mark I always wanted to run back in a week, and he said, 'No, let's take it easy and we'll have the Woodbine Mile in five weeks.' When she won so easy, I said we had to try this. She loves the course and she just turned in a dynamite performance. The only concern I had was that Tyler was gone, but with Ricardo, it was perfection."Casse is no stranger to conditioning star turf fillies, having previously saddled multiple Eclipse Award-winner Tepin to a victory in the 2015 Breeders' Cup Mile, which was followed by a strong runner-up effort a year later.The Canadian Hall of Fame conditioner said Got Stormy is a star on the rise."We came back and ran her a week later, which doesn't happen very often, but she's turned into a super filly," said Casse. "I was fortunate to train another filly a few years ago in Tepin, who won the Breeders' Cup and then was second. I told Gary early in the year that she was our next Tepin. It's nice sometimes when you're right. She's amazing."Santana, Jr said he was confident throughout aboard Got Stormy."She's a monster," said Santana, Jr. "I had plenty of horse at the sixteenth pole. I wanted to make sure she opened up so when I passed first, I made sure she was on her game. She really ran a big race."Raging Bull rallied to complete the exacta, a head in front of Uni with March to the Arch another head back in fourth. Rounding out the order of finish were Made You Look, Hembree, Dr. Edgar, Krampus, Gidu and Ostilio.Got Stormy's final time of 1:32 flat eclipsed the previous mark of 1:33.13 set just eight days earlier by Macagone. Her sire, Get Stormy, won the Fourstardave in 2010.The victory marked the second graded stakes win for Got Stormy, who previously captured the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen last July on the Woodbine turf.Bred in Kentucky by Mt. Joy Stables, Pope McLean, Marc McLean and Pope McLean Jr., Got Stormy banked $275,000 in victory while improving her record to 7-1-3 from 15 starts. She paid $12 for a $2 win ticket.

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8.10.2019:

Bricks and Mortar Continues Dominance, Wins Arlington Million

From Arlington Park Barn Notes William H.Lawrence and Klaravich Stables’s Bricks and Mortar continued to assert his dominance on Saturday when he powered home in the Saturday feature at Arlington International Racecourse, the Arlington Million. The Arlington Million, a “Win and You’re In” event, earns Bricks and Mortar an all fees paid entry to the Grade I Breeders Cup Turf at Santa Anita in November. Bricks and Mortar came into the race riding a five-race win streak, three of which were Grade I victories. The 5-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway relaxed mid pack siting patiently while Bandua set early fractions of :24.45, and a :48.65 half-mile. Going into the turn, Bricks and Mortar was in desperate need of racing room. As the field straightened for home, he got that room and sprinted down Bandua and Hunting Horn(IRE). Bricks and Mortar ran away with a 3/4th length victory in a final time of 1:36.80. “He’s just a great horse,” said Irad Ortiz Jr. after guiding Bricks and Mortar to victory. “That makes six in a row for me and him. The first time I got on him we won by a neck but I knew how much he had left and how special he was. The rest has been history. I never worry about anyone else in the race with this horse, I just concentrate on him and let him take me where he wants. When I ask for him he’s there for me every time. “Chad has a lot of people behind him that are all very special, and this horse is really special too,” said the winning owners. “What’s next is up to Chad, but I think the Breeders Cup is obviously on the horizon. It’s been an amazing experience so far.” Bricks and Mortar went off as the 1-2 favorite, and paid $3.00 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.10 to show. Aiden O’Brien’s Magic Wand(IRE) finished a game second in the 37th running of the Arlington Million. Making her first start since a flat eleventh place finish in July, Magic Wand was passed late in the stretch but still held off third place finisher Bandua. “She ran a very good race,” said rider Wayne Lordan. “She loves very hard ground, and her last start was on very soft ground, but she likes when she comes here and the ground is fast.” The 4-year-old daughter of Galileo(IRE) paid $6.40 to place, and $4.80 to show. Rounding out the top three was the Jack Sisterson trained Bandua, who set the pace early and held on valiantly for third. “He likes to grind it out from the front end,” said jockey Adam Beschizza. “It was perfect. He jumped good and he stayed the distance. Look, in a race like that where you’re sort of up against it a little bit and stepping up in class, that’s the best thing you can do. Take it to them. You’re not going to catch a horse like [Bricks and Mortar].” Bandua paid $5.20 to show. Rounding out the Million was defending champion Robert Bruce(CHI), Catcho En Die(ARG), Hunting Horn(IRE), Pivoine(IRE), Captivating Moon, and Intellogent(IRE),  

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8.10.2019:

Sistercharlie Defends Title in Arlington's Beverly D Stakes

From Arlington Park Barn Notes Peter M. Brant’s Sistercharlie (IRE) kicked off what would eventually prove to be a Chad Brown sweep of Saturday’s Grade I races at Arlington International Racecourse when becoming the first horse to win two editions of the Grade I $600,000 Beverly D. She captured last year’s Beverly D. by a half-length in her final race before a victorious run in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, and with her tally in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In event, she earned an automatic berth in that same event this year. The 5-year-old mare was making her second start of the year after a victory in the Grade I Diana at Belmont last month and settled second-last in the early going behind splits of 22.76, 46.23 and 1:09.66. Rated well by John Velazquez until the far turn, the daughter of Myboycharlie made a sweeping move into the lane and effortlessly accelerated past her pace-setting stablemate Thais (FR) and Lee Yuk Lun’s William Haggas-trained Awesometank (GB) and to post a three-length win as the race favorite in a final time and new track record of 1:52.43 for the 1 3/16-miles trip. The win was the fifth consecutive and sixth overall Beverly D. score for Brown, who landed the previous four renewals with Sistercharlie (2018), Dacita (2017), Sea Calisi (2016) and Watsdachances (2015). He previously won with Stacelita (2011) Awesometank (GB) held well for second under Florent Geroux while two lengths clear of Klaravich Stables’ Competitionofideas, who rallied from well behind to grab third for Javier Castellano and trainer Chad Brown. “I wasn’t worried at all [about Thais],” Velazquez said. “I was a little worried about the fillies from Europe. We had one in front and one behind me, but I had all the confidence in the world in [Sistercharlie]. She always takes care of business.” “She’s the horse of a lifetime,” Brown said. “We had a great trip, I loved where we were,” Geroux said. “I looked back and I wondered if Sistercharlie might be too far back. I was riding my race, and we just got outrun – that’s the best filly in North America.” Ryan Moore, jockey of fourth-place finisher and second betting choice Fleeting (IRE), refused comment. Sistercharlie returned $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10 as the 2-5 choice, with Awesometank paying $8 and $5.20, and Competitionofideas returned $3. Sistercharlie won her ninth race from 13 starts and earned $356,400 for her time, improving her career bankroll to $3.207,003. Thais, Remember Daisy and Oh So Terrible completed the order of finish. Magic Wand (IRE) scratched in favor of a run in the Arlington Million, where she finished second.  

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8.10.2019:

Green Light Go Wins G2 Saratoga Special Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Stronach Stables' Green Light Go sat off the early speed and found room at the top of the stretch to take Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Saratoga Special presented by Miller Lite at Saratoga Race Course.Jockey Junior Alvarado placed the bay son of Hard Spun 2 ½ lengths off the pace in fifth position in the 6 ½-furlong sprint for juveniles over the main track as Tuggle and Long Weekend battled up front through an opening quarter-mile in 21.71 seconds. Approaching the far turn, Green Light Go was full of run and swung three-wide as Alvarado asked the talented bay colt for more. At the quarter-pole, Green Light Go was on even terms with Tuggle and moved past the pacesetter drawing away to a 3 ¾-length victory in a time of 1:15.68 over a fast main track. Noose closed late to get second finishing 1 ¾ lengths ahead of Tuggle.Completing the order of finish were Peruvian Boy, Zyramid, Long Weekend and Iberico. The victory was a fourth stakes win of the meet for Alvarado, who piloted Green Light Go to a wire-to-wire victory in his career debut at Belmont Park for trainer Jimmy Jerkens. It was a second win in the Saratoga Special for Alvarado, who won the 2015 edition aboard Exaggerator. "We knew coming into the race it was going to be a test for him to see what he could handle," Alvarado said. "I told Jimmy, 'Let's leave the gate running and if he takes the lead on his own, that's fine; and if not, I'm not going to rush him off his feet.' But I knew I had to get him out of there."Alvarado noted how professional the young horse has been so early on in his career. "I put him in the race and he handled everything very professionally," Alvarado said. "I was just a pilot on top of him. I knew how much horse I had the whole way, and I was very excited at the way he was handling the kick back, and just rating behind horses very kindly. We knew how good he was and I trusted him there."Green Light Go entered the Saratoga Special off of two bullet works over the main track, the most recent of which was a half-mile move in 46.20 seconds on Tuesday morning. "He ran well without having to be on the lead and that was good to see. The track has been so speed-favoring initially," Jerkens said. "I told Junior [Alvarado] to take him out of there and don't discourage him from running, but if someone really wants the lead, that it'd be fine. It turned out he didn't break quite as fast as his first start, but it worked out well. "He sat in the pocket just nice up against the bridle," Jerkens continued. "He didn't care about taking dirt which was really nice to see. He leaned a little in the stretch; maybe a little green, but I guess he's still learning, too. He had good purposeful works between races and has handled it. He was also composed in the paddock, so we might really have a nice one here."The next graded stakes event of the for 2-year-olds on the main track is the Grade 1, $350,000 Runhappy Hopeful on September 2, but Jerkens said that Green Light Go would likely bypass the event in favor of the Grade 1 $500,000 Champagne on October 5 at Belmont Park."We'll talk to Frank [Stronach] and maybe we'll skip the Hopeful," Jerkens said. "The Champagne seems a little more appealing than the Hopeful at the moment, but we'll see."Returning $5.10 for a $2 win wager, Green Light Go enhanced his lifetime earnings to $154,000 and is now unbeaten through two starts. A Kentucky homebred, Green Light Go is out of the stakes-winning Pleasantly Perfect broodmare Light Green.

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8.4.2019:

A Thread of Blue Wins Inaugural Saratoga Derby

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Leonard C. Green's A Thread of Blue wasn't able to participate in the first leg of the New York Racing Association's Turf Triple series, but made up for lost time in a big way, leading an 11-horse field of sophomores gate-to-wire to win the inaugural $1 million Saratoga Derby Invitational on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin had to keep A Thread of Blue out of the the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational on July 6 at Belmont Park after he spiked a temperature two weeks before the Turf Triple Series' opener. But the extra rest, and a stretch out to 1 3/16 miles, worked to his advantage in the middle jewel, as the Hard Spun colt was placed up front by jockey Luis Saez, posting fractions of 23.62 seconds for the opening-quarter mile with the half in 48.54 on the firm Mellon turf course. A Thread of Blue, who went off at 13-1, kept the advantage out of the final turn, with Saez keeping him near the inside as Digital Age made a bid from the outside. But Saez kept his charge under a hard drive, hitting the wire in 1:52.02 to outkick Digital Age by a length. "We talked about three different races in eight days: the [Grade 2] Hall of Fame, the [Grade 1] Secretariat [on August 10 at Arlington], and this race," McLaughin said about his options. "We just kept landing back on this race, after talking to Green and his son, Jonathan. We didn't have to go anywhere and we might get an easier lead going further. Going a mile they are going to be pressing more, so it just worked out great." A Thread of Blue was making his first start since running fourth in the Grade 2 Penn Mile on June 1 at Penn National. Before stretching out in distance on Sunday, he logged two victories and a runner-up effort in three starts at 1 1/16 miles on firm turf since December, winning against allowance company at Gulfstream Park to cap his juvenile campaign and taking the Grade 3 Palm Beach at the same track on March 2. A Thread of Blue ran second to Digital Age in the Grade 2 American Turf on May 4 at Churchill Downs. In facing Digital Age again, A Thread of Blue extracted a measure of revenge en route to returning $28.40 on a $2 win wager. He improved his career bankroll to $879,290 thanks to the winner's share of $535,000. "[An] uncontested lead is big, and he's a very talented horse," McLaughlin said. "He likes it firm, obviously, winning three in Florida. He doesn't like to ship that well, but he ran great at Churchill. [The] Penn [Mile] just didn't go well. We gave him a little more time going into this, but he's been training unbelievable and it just worked out great." Saez notched his seventh stakes win of the Saratoga summer meet, which leads all riders. "In a big race, you never know, but we were lucky that it was pretty easy up front," Saez said. "When we came into the stretch, I knew I had plenty of horse. I saw them coming, but he responded pretty well. It was easy for him today. The other day I had to put him into the race because there was a little more speed." Digital Age, one of two entrants for trainer Chad Brown, improved on a fourth-place effort in the Belmont Derby, finishing 1 ¼-lengths clear of the Aidan O'Brien-condtioned Irish import Cape of Good Hope for second. "They slowed down on the backside, in the second part of the race, and when they slowed down, I think that was when I got beat. [But] he was coming," said Digital Age rider Irad Ortiz, Jr.  Rounding out the field was Social Paranoia, Belmont Derby-winner Henley's Joy, 5-2 favorite Rockemperor, Kadar, Mohawk, Flyings Scotman, Seismic Wave and Eons. The Turf Trinity series will conclude on September 7 at Belmont, with the $1 million, 1 ½-mile Jockey Club Derby Invitational, a "Win and You're In" qualifier to the Breeders' Cup Turf, while the Turf Tiara for 3-year-old fillies will conclude with the $750,000 Jockey Club Oaks Invitational. "[The 1 3/16-mile distance] was a concern, but not really. He's a very talented horse and we thought he could get the distance," McLaughin said. "Now the next one [the Jockey Club Derby], we might have to talk about a mile and a half, but we got this one. We're happy with this." Live racing will resume Wednesday with a 10-race card that features the $100,000 Evan Shipman for 3-year-old state-breds in Race 9. First post is set for 12:50 p.m. Eastern.

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8.3.2019:

McKinzie Scores Victory in G1 Whitney Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - What do you get the man who has almost everything? McKinzie provided an answer by earning Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert a new timepiece, and more importantly, his first career victory in the Grade 1, $1 million Whitney, outkicking Yoshida for a 1 ¾-length score in the 1 1/8-mile route on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course. The 4-5 favorite, owned by Karl Watson, Michael Pegram and Paul Weitman, notched his fourth career Grade 1 victory in capturing the 92nd running of the Whitney, earning an automatic berth to the Grade 1, $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic on November 2 at Santa Anita Park. Baffert, a two-time Triple Crown winner who has earned four Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Training as well as 15 victories in American Classic races and 15 Breeders' Cup victories, added "Whitney-winner" to his ledger with just his second starter and first since 2004. "This win is very emotional for me," said Baffert, who along with fellow winning connections was gifted a new commemorative Longines watch in the winner's circle. "I was telling John [Hendrickson, husband of the late Marylou Whitney] this horse was named after a close friend of ours [Brad McKinzie] that passed away a few years ago. I got very emotional after he won. I was hoping that when I was thinking about running here, I'd never won this race and wanted to see her here so it's kind of sad. It's a great honor to win the Whitney. I've never won the Whitney, so this is a huge moment for me." Under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, McKinzie broke well and dueled Preservationist out front, leading the seven-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in 23.77 seconds on the fast main track, with Preservationist taking the lead with a half-mile in 47.48 under jockey Junior Alvarado. Staying close into the far turn, McKinzie swung outside entering the stretch to take the lead. Yoshida, under urging from rider Joel Rosario, made a bid from the far outside in the final furlong, but Smith kept McKinzie under a drive, hitting the wire in 1:47.10. "That was incredible. He ran big," said Smith, who won his second Whitney and first since Brunswick in 1993. "There were some good horses in there so he had to run, but he ran. That's the important thing. He had to work at it, but he got away from them and the best part of it was at the end of the race. That gives me confidence going a mile and a quarter down the road. The break was huge. Today, he felt better than he ever had. I knew he was going to jump well today." McKinzie improved to 7-4-0 in 12 career starts, with his only off-the-board finish coming with a 12th-place effort in the Breeders' Cup Classic as a sophomore against older horses in November at Churchill Downs. Since then, the Street Sense colt has finished first or second in six starts, winning the Grade 1 Malibu in December at Santa Anita and the Grade 2 Alysheba in May at Churchill to put himself at the top of the Older Male division. "I think he's getting better and better and as long as he's getting better that's the main thing," Baffert said. "I'm glad that he got the right trip and Mike [said] he's got him figured out now. He rode him with a lot of confidence. He can be on or off the lead. When they came to him, I got a little bit nervous. I started thinking maybe he doesn't want to go that far, but he's always shown us in his works that he's got more gears. Joe Talamo, who works him, couldn't believe that he got beat last time, but right now we've got him figured out." McKinzie returned $3.70 on a $2 win wager, improving his career bankroll to $2,238,560. Yoshida, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, bested Vino Rosso by 4 ¾ lengths for second. The Japan-bred finished in the money for the first time in five starts and first since winning the Grade 1 Woodward last September at the Spa. "He ran a good race. He came with a good run," Mott said. "He saved ground on the first half of the turn, he did tip out maybe a little bit early and came around a few horses, but the horse was running and he didn't have to stop his momentum and he kept him rolling." Vino Rosso, the 2018 Grade 2 Wood Memorial winner, followed his victory in the Grade 1 Gold Cup last out on May 27 at Santa Anita by clearing away 1 ¼ lengths from Preservationist for third. Forewarned, Monogahela and Imperative completed the order of finish. Thunder Snow, who was 3-1 on the morning-line, was scratched the morning of the Whitney after spiking a temperature. The back-to-back winner of the Group 1 Dubai World Cup at Meydan for trainer Saeed bin Suroor is the world's richest active racehorse with earnings of $16,511,476. The Whitney was one of five stakes on Marylou Whitney Day, honoring the late philanthropist whose contributions to racing earned her the nicknames "Queen of Saratoga" and "Grand Dame of Saratoga" among other honors before she passed away on July 19 at age 93. "This was so important for him to win. Not only for his namesake, but for the horse," Baffert said. "First thing I told the owners is - I got my Whitney - but it's sad Marylou wasn't here. She's always been so nice to us, but this is every emotional for us. I was just thinking about Brad McKinzie because he was so important to us and I'm just so happy this horse has lived up to him." Live racing will resume Sunday with an 11-race card that includes four stakes, including the $100,000 John Morrissey, the Grade 3, $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Waya, the Grade 2, $200,000 Adirondack for 2-year-old fillies in Race 10 and the $1 million Saratoga Derby Invitational, the second leg of the Turf Triple Series for males, in Race 9.

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8.3.2019:

Covfefe Wins Thriller in G1 Test Stakes at Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Covfefe and Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress battled the length of the Saratoga Race Course stretch in a thrilling renewal of the Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Test, but it was the former who bested her foe in notching her first Grade 1 victory in the seven-furlong event for sophomore fillies. The LNJ Foxwoods-owned Into Mischief bay filly, who drew post 3, broke sharply under Joel Rosario, but Serengeti Empress was under heavy urging by jockey Jose Ortiz coming out of the gate and went to the lead while recording an opening quarter-mile in 22.19 seconds and a half-mile in 44.28 seconds on the fast main track. Rosario urged Covfefe into gear around the far turn and she responded by moving up to even terms with Serengeti Empress. The two fillies separated themselves from the rest of the field and were nip and tuck in the final furlong. Covfefe had a narrow advantage while Serengeti Empress continued to dig down to her inside, but Covfefe would not be denied and scored by a half-length in 1:21.26 to Serengeti Empress, who was 8 ¾ lengths better than three-time Grade 1-winner Bellafina, who finished third. Covfefe entered her Saratoga debut off of a hard-fought third-place effort against elders in the Roxelana at Churchill Downs, where she was three-quarters of a length behind Mia Mischief. She recorded a 107 Beyer Speed Figure in her prior start in the Grade 3 Miss Preakness at Pimlico, which she won by 8 ½ lengths. The win was a third stakes victory of the meet for both Rosario and trainer Brad Cox. "She was there for me the whole time," Rosario said. "She galloped better and better going forward and that was a tremendous race. I know turning for home, I had the 1 [Serengeti Empress] on the inside and at one point she came back a little and was there all the time. It turned out to be a good race at the end." Cox spoke volumes of the effort his filly put on display. "Her last two works at Churchill were phenomenal. I knew when we turned for home, we were going to get as good a Covfefe as we could get at this point of the year," Cox said. "I knew when she turned for home, she wasn't going to give in today. If she was ever going to get seven-eighths it was going to be today. She responded well and Joel gave her an excellent trip. To get a Grade 1 with her is huge. It was a super effort. "It was up to Joel where he wanted her to be," Cox continued. "They sent the filly [Serengeti Empress, No. 1] from the inside and it worked out well. We sat a good trip. I think if you were to ask our filly, she could probably be in front of that filly, but she's a smart filly and was able to sit off. We had to get by a Kentucky Oaks winner. That's a Grade 1 winning filly on the inside and now we have a Grade 1 winner. It was a big effort and I'm super proud of her. I'm very thankful for LNJ Foxwoods to give us an opportunity like this." Tom Amoss, trainer of Serengeti Empress, was gallant in defeat and tipped his hat to the winner. "This is one of those races similar to the [Grade 1] Acorn [June 8). We don't hang our heads at all," Amoss said. "Our horse ran such a fine race. It was the kind of race that the fans were hoping for and for myself personally - I wish it had gone the other way - what a great stretch duel. We got beat by a wonderful performance by our opponent Covfefe. Just as importantly, I look at the last sixteenth of a mile this race and how my filly kept on fighting and I could not be more proud of her. There will be other days for us, but don't take anything away from Serengeti Empress. She ran great." Favored in all of her five prior efforts, Covfefe returned $8.50 for a $2 win wager as the third-choice. She banked $275,000 in victory and brought her lifetime earnings up to $483,300. Bred in Kentucky by Alexander-Groves Thoroughbreds, Covfefe is out of the Unbridled broodmare Antics, who is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner and champion producing sire Arch as well as Grade 1 winner Acoma. Covfefe was purchased for $250,000 from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2017.

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8.3.2019:

Mr. Money Scores in G3 West Virginia Derby

Allied Racing Stable’s Mr. Money left little doubt he’s headed up the ladder with a handy six-length victory in the $500,000, Grade III West Virginia Derby for 3-year-olds the afternoon of Aug. 3 at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort. “Hopefully there are bigger and better things for us,” said Chester Thomas, the principal of Allied Racing. Mr. Money, a colt by Goldencents out of the Tiznow mare Plenty O’Toole, entered Mountaineer’s signature race with three consecutive Grade III wins—the Pat Day Mile and Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs and the Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand, which he won by a combined 14 ¼ lengths with Gabriel Saez aboard. His score in the West Virginia Derby, again with Saez up, looked as easy as the previous three. Heavily favored Mr. Money fired away from post 9 in the 1 1/8-mile Derby and was taken back a bit by Saez as Plus Que Parfait took the rail and the lead. The pace was dawdling—a half-mile in :49.10—so Saez asked Mr. Money to apply pressure to the front-runner as Chilly in Charge began to gain on the top pair three-wide. Mr. Money began to edge away at the top of the stretch and gradually opened the advantage to six lengths as Chess Chief rallied late to nab Plus Que Parfait for second. The winning time was 1:50.28 on a track rated fast. Dispatched at 1-2, Mr. Money returned $3 to win in a nine-horse field. The win-place-show pool totaled $393,439, in large part because of a large amount of show money on the favorite. “(Trainer Bret Calhoun) has done a tremendous job with him, and my job was to find the winner’s circle,” Saez said. “On the final turn I asked him to get it done, and here we are. Good horses make you look good.” “He’s a very good horse, and Chester has allowed me to manage him in a good way to keep his confidence level up,” said Calhoun, who a race earlier won the $200,000, Grade III West Virginia Governor’s Cup with Silver Dust. Thomas, a western Kentucky coal executive with a keen interest in the Thoroughbred business, credited Calhoun and Saez with Mr. Money’s recent success. “Bret has done a great job, and from what I could see Gabe did a wonderful job getting him to relax (through slow fractions),” Thomas said. “I knew he was sitting on a lot of horse when he let him loose. What we saw on paper became reality.” Mr. Money, a $170,000 Keeneland September yearling sale purchase bred in Kentucky by Spruce Lane Farm, earned $301,000 in the West Virginia Derby to become racing’s newest millionaire at $1,074,220. Thomas, when asked if the $1 million, Grade I Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing Sept. 21 is in the cards for Mr. Money, looked at Calhoun and asked him the question. “It’s a good possibility,” the trainer said. “That’s definitely where we are hoping to be.”

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8.1.2019:

NYRA announces Whitney-Saratoga Derby Pick 6

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced the Whitney-Saratoga Derby Pick 6, a special two-day all-stakes wager, kicking off with three races on Saturday's Whitney Day card and concluding on Saratoga Derby Day Sunday at Saratoga Race Course. The two-day Pick 6, featuring a $0.20 minimum and low 15 percent takeout, includes a mandatory payout. The sequence kicks off in Saturday's eighth [5:06 p.m. Eastern] with the Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Test, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-old fillies featuring Grade 1-winners Bellafina and Serengeti Empress. The second leg is the Grade 1, $1 million Whitney [Race 9, 5:46 p.m.], a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" challenge series race offering a berth in the Breeders' Cup Classic on November 2 at Santa Anita Park, featuring Thunder Snow, the world's richest active racehorse with $16,511,746 in purse earnings, looking for his first win in North America. The two-time Group 1 Dubai World winner will have to topple a loaded field of older horses that includes Grade 1-winners McKinzie, Yoshida and Vino Rosso. The 92nd running of the 1 1/8-mile Whitney will be broadcast nationwide on NBC from 5-6 p.m. The $100,000 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose [Race 10, 6:22 p.m.], a one-mile turf event for 4-year-olds and up, completes the first half of the two-day Pick 6 sequence. The two-day Pick 6 concludes on Sunday's Saratoga Derby card, beginning with the fourth leg in Race 5 at 3:21 p.m. with the Grade 3, $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Waya, a 12-furlong turf marathon for fillies and mares 3-years-old and upward, featuring the Chad Brown-trained duo of Fools Gold and Santa Monica. The penultimate leg will be the inaugural running of the $1 million Saratoga Derby [Race 9, 5:48 p.m.], the second leg of the newly-minted Turf Trinity series for sophomores. Henley's Joy was a three-quarter length winner of the first leg of the Turf Triple series, the $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational, at odds of 20-1. The third leg of the Turf Trinity, the $1 million Jockey Club Derby at 1 1/2-miles, is slated for September 7 at Belmont Park. Closing out the lucrative two-day Pick 6 sequence is the Grade 2, $200,000 Adirondack [Race 10, 6:23 p.m.], a 6 ½-furlong sprint for 2-year-old fillies. The 2019 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course will continue through Labor Day, Monday, September 2. Racing at Saratoga Race Course is held five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays. Closing week will run Wednesday, August 28 through Labor Day.

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8.1.2019:

NYRA to Launch Jackpot Pick 6 at Saratoga on August 7

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced the launch of the Empire 6, a jackpot-style multi-race wager replacing the traditional Pick 6. The Empire 6, featuring a $0.20 bet minimum and 20 percent takeout, will be added to the wagering menu beginning Wednesday, August 7 and continue through the remainder of the 2019 meet at Saratoga Race Course. The wager requires the bettor to select the first-place finisher of the final six races of the card. If one unique ticket exists, then 100% of the net pool, plus the jackpot carryover if applicable, will be paid to the winner.  If there is no unique wager selecting the first-place finisher in all six races, then 75% of the day's net pool will be distributed to those who selected the first-place finisher in the greatest number of races. The remainder will be added into the jackpot and carried to the next day's Empire 6. The Empire 6 will offer mandatory payout days on Sunday, August 18 and Monday, September 2, closing day at the Spa. "The Empire 6 provides the potential for large payouts with small bets. That makes it attractive to the everyday horseplayer," said Tony Allevato, President of NYRA Bets. "Bettors have gravitated to this style of wager and we are pleased to be able to offer it at Saratoga along with the benefit of two mandatory payout days during the meet." The existing NYRA Pick 6 wager will conclude with a mandatory payout on Saratoga Derby Day, Sunday, August 4. The 2019 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course will continue through Labor Day, Monday, September 2. Racing at Saratoga Race Course is held five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays. Closing week will run Wednesday, August 28 through Labor Day.

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7.31.2019:

McKinzie, Preservationist, Thunder Snow Headline 92nd Whitney Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Grade 1-winners McKinzie, Thunder Snow, Vino Rosso and Yoshida square off in a contentious renewal of the Grade 1, $1 million Whitney on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.The 92nd running of the 1 1/8-mile Whitney, to be broadcast nationwide on NBC from 5-6 p.m. Eastern, is a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic on November 2 at Santa Anita Park.Karl Watson, Michael Pegram, and Paul Weitman's McKinzie will look to give Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert his first Whitney win. The 4-year-old Street Sense colt was elevated to victory in Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity as a juvenile, and added Grade 1-scores in the Pennsylvania Derby at Parx and the Malibu at Santa Anita last year.Instilled as the 7-5 morning-line favorite in the eight-horse field, McKinzie drew post 6.McKinzie, who romped to victory in the Grade 2 Alysheba on May 3 at Churchill Downs, has finished second in three of his four starts this campaign, including narrow defeats in the Grade 2 San Pasqual and Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in April.Last out, in the Grade 1 Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap, McKinzie endured a troubled trip before rallying to finish second, defeated less than a length, by Mitole on Belmont Stakes Day, June 8.Baffert said McKinzie, who breezed four furlongs in 48 seconds flat on Monday at Del Mar, will need a better trip to win the Whitney."He breezed here yesterday and we thought it went really well," said Baffert. "We're excited and really looking forward to running in this race. He's trained forwardly since the Met Mile and he's come out of that race really well. It's unfortunate we didn't get the trip we really wanted there, but now going a mile and eighth hopefully will give him a little more time to work out a better trip."Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who will guide McKinzie, won the Whitney in 1993 aboard Brunswick.Baffert saddled Sarava to a fourth-place finish in the 2004 Whitney and said he is hopeful McKinzie can provide him a first win in the historic race."It's certainly a prestigious race and it would mean a lot to have it on McKinzie's resume," said Baffert. "It looks like a very good competitive field, so we're hoping we can run our race and get a little bit of racing luck as well."It's certainly exciting," added Baffert. "I've only run in the race once previously, and that was with a horse we were just hoping we could finish in the money with. It's nice to come in here among this good field with a shot at winning it."Godolphin's Thunder Snow is the richest thoroughbred in training with $16,511,476 in purse earnings. The multiple Group 1-winner has captured the last two editions of the Group 1 Dubai World Cup and returns to New York in search of a first win in North America. His previous starts in the U.S. include a troubled effort in the 2017 Grade 1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs; a second in the 2018 Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont; a third in the 2018 Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill; and a third, last out on June 8, in the Metropolitan Handicap.Christophe Soumillon has the call on the 5-year-old son of Helmet from post 4 at 3-1 odds.Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable's Vino Rosso, trained by Todd Pletcher, broke through at the top flight last out in the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita. The 4-year-old Curlin chestnut made the grade in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial last year to punch his ticket to the Kentucky Derby, where he finished ninth.Vino Rosso has won two of three starts this campaign, including a win in the Stymie at Aqueduct Racetrack in his seasonal debut.Hall of Famer John Velazquez retains the mount on Vino Rosso from post 5 at 6-1 odds. He has won the Whitney on four occasions - Left Bank (2002), Lawyer Ron (2007), Commentator (2008), Cross Traffic (2013) - and will look to join Pat Day and Jerry Bailey for the most wins in the prestigious race with a victory on Saturday.China Horse Club International, WinStar Farm, and Head of Plains Partners' Yoshida, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, is a Grade 1 winner on dirt and turf. The versatile Japanese-bred son of Heart's Cry captured the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs to kick off his 2018 campaign, ahead of a score in the Grade 1 Woodward when making his dirt debut at Saratoga.The well-traveled Yoshida, who finished sixth in the Dubai World Cup in March, arrives at the Whitney from a sixth-place effort in the Grade 2 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs.Jose Ortiz, in search of his first Whitney win, retains the mount from post 7 at 10-1.Centennials Farms' Preservationist, trained by Jimmy Jerkens, boasts the field's highest last-out Beyer Speed Figure, garnering a 109 for his 4 ½-length score in the Grade 2 Suburban on July 6 at Belmont. The 6-year-old son of Arch has won five of eight career starts and enters the Whitney on a three-race win streak.Junior Alvarado, who won the Whitney with Moreno in 2014, has the call from post 8 at 3-1.Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables and Gary Aisquith's Monongahela romped to a four-length score last out on June 22 in the Grade 3 Philip Iselin at Monmouth Park. The 5-year-old Pennsylvania-bred son of K One King was transferred to the care of trainer Jason Servis for his 2019 campaign, finishing second on February 16 at Laurel Park in the John B. Campbell, ahead of another strong second in the Grade 3 Excelsior at Aqueduct.Jose Lezcano, aboard for the Iselin score, will leave in search of his first Whitney win from post 3 at 12-1.Forewarned, trained and owned by the Trin-Brook Stables of Uriah St. Lewis, boasts a record of six wins and four seconds from 17 career starts. The Ohio-bred son of Flat Out captured the Cleveland Gold Cup last year at Thistledown in a productive three-win campaign. Forewarned, who finished fourth in the Bernardini in March at Aqueduct, will be piloted by Dylan Davis from post 2. He is 30-1 on the morning line.Loooch Racing Stables, Inc. and Imaginary Stables' multiple graded-stakes winner Imperative will make his 50th career start in the Whitney. The 9-year-old Bernardini gelding, who boasts $,277,810 in purse earnings, captured the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic in 2014 and 2017.Imperative, listed at 30-1 and breaking from the rail in the Whitney, won an allowance event on June 10 at Thistledown and enters the Whitney from a sixth-place effort on July 6 in the Carl Hanford Memorial at Delaware.First post on Saturday's card is 1 p.m. with the Whitney field set to burst from the gate at 5:49 p.m. The Field for the 92nd Whitney Stakes 1. Imperative (Quartarolo/Bracho) - 30/12. Forewarned (St. Lewis/Davis) - 30/13. Monongahela (Servis/Lezcano) - 12/14. Thunder Snow (bin Suroor/Soumillon) - 3/15. Vino Rosso (Pletcher/Velazquez) - 6/16. McKinzie (Baffert/Smith) - 7/57. Yoshida (Mott/Ortiz) - 10/18. Preservationist (Jerkens/Alvarado) - 3/1

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7.28.2019:

Shancelot Dominates Rivals in G2 Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Shancelot broke sharply from the outside and set torrid opening fractions, but was able to shine brightly in his stakes debut when waltzing home under a hand ride by Emisael Jaramillo in Sunday's Grade 2, $200,000 Amsterdam at Saratoga Race Course. Breaking to the far outside in the 12-horse field, Shancelot went straight to the front with 54-1 longshot Classy John to his inside while recording the opening quarter in 21.79 seconds on the main track labelled fast. Approaching the far turn, Shancelot extended his lead considerably, while throwing down the half-mile in 43.94 seconds. Jaramillo began to ask a bit more of his horse late in the turn, opening up a 12-length advantage at the stretch call, but the race was already over by that point with Shancelot crossing the wire 12 1/2 lengths clear. He completed the 6 ½-furlong journey in 1:14.01. Nitrous closed late to get second with Honest Mischief rounding out the trifecta. Two-time winner Super Comet broke poorly from the gate and was well off the pace, but made up enough ground to round out the superfecta. Completing the order of finish were The Big S, Bourbon Calling, Achilles Warrior, Lemniscate, Garter and Tie, Wendell Fong, and Strike Silver. Classy John was eased in the final furlong and did not finish. Owned by Ivan Rodriguez, Albert Crawford and Michelle Crawford, the sophomore son of Shanghai Bobby completed six furlongs of the race in 1:07.63, which was faster than the track record of 1:07.92 for three-quarters of a mile that was set by Imperial Hint in Saturday's Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt. Trainer Jorge Navarro spoke high volumes of the winner, comparing him to his Grade / Group 1 winners Private Zone, Sharp Azteca and X Y Jet. "Wow. To say what I said a month ago, that this is the best horse I've ever trained," Navarro said. "Private Zone was good. Sharp Azteca was good. X Y Jet is still good - going into the race, I knew he was running against some good horses, I thought, 'Am I going to be wrong?' I guess not. "The jockey jumped off and said, 'Jorge, this was just a workout'," Navarro continued. "He said, 'I had so much in the bottom.' I've never seen anything like it in my life." Shancelot will likely return to the Spa for the Grade 1, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial presented by Runhappy - one of six Grade 1 races carded for the Travers Racing Festival. "If everything comes out good, that's where we'll end up," Navarro said. "We'll go through everything with him, make sure everything is fine. That's our plan." Shancelot has led at every point of call in his three career starts. Prior to winning the Amsterdam, he broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park in narrow fashion over Grade 1 Kentucky Derby and Preakness runner Bodexpress. He then defeated winners at Monmouth Park by 6 ¼ lengths while registering a 100 Beyer Speed Figure. Sent off as the 6-5 favorite, Shancelot returned $4.70 for a $2 win bet and cashed a check for $110,000, enhancing his lifetime earnings to $164,300. Bred in Kentucky by Charles Muth and Patrick Murphy, Shancelot was acquired for $245,000 from the Ocala Breeders Sales Company's 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale last March. He is out of the stakes-winning Is It True broodmare True Kiss. Live racing resumes on Wednesday at Saratoga with a 10-race card highlighted by the $150,000 NYSSS Statue of Liberty and $100,000 Shine Again. A Pick 6 carryover of $75,727.22 will commence in Race 5. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.

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7.28.2019:

Concrete Rose Headlines Field for $750,000 Saratoga Oaks

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Ashbrook Farm and BBN Racing's three-time graded stakes winner Concrete Rose will look to capture the first two legs of NYRA's first-year Turf Tiara series as part of a talented six-horse field of 3-year-old fillies competing in the inaugural running of the $750,000 Saratoga Oaks Invitational on Friday at Saratoga Race Course. The Turf Triple, featuring the Turf Trinity for 3-year-old males and the Turf Tiara for sophomore fillies, kicked off with the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational, which Concrete Rose won in surging 2 ¾-lengths clear of Just Wonderful at 1 ¼ miles on July 6. That marked the third consecutive win for the Rusty Arnold trainee, who has earned a trip to the winner's circle in five of her six career starts. The Twirling Candy filly won her debut last August in a 5 ½-furlong turf sprint at the Spa and followed with a three-length win in the Grade 2 Jessamine in October at Keeneland. She capped her 2-year-old year with her only off-the-board finish, running eighth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in November at Churchill. After a four-month freshening, Concrete Rose has not been beaten, taking the Grade 3 Florida Oaks in March at Tampa and the Grade 3 Edgewood in May at Churchill, both at 1 1/16 miles, before stretching out in distance to win the Belmont Oaks on firm turf. A contender for divisional honors, Concrete Rose will be running at 1 3/8 miles for the first time in the middle jewel of the Turf Triple. The series' conclusion will take place with the $750,000 Jockey Club Oaks Invitational on September 7 at Belmont. "Right now, she is [the best 3-year-old turf filly in the country], but we're halfway through the year and hope we continue on," Arnold said. "She won at five-and-a-half furlongs, a mile-and-a-quarter and in the middle, so it's not an issue. I think the mile and three sixteenths is well within her ability." Jockey Julien Leparoux, aboard for all three wins this year, will have the return call from post 5. Saratoga leading trainer Chad Brown will saddle Olendon, who made her North American debut in the Belmont Oaks, finishing eighth. Prior to that, the French-bred Le Havre filly won two races with a runner-up effort in six starts in her native country. Owned by Wonder Stables, Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, Chris Mara and Robert Masiello, Olendon was second in the Group 1 Prix Saint Alary in May at Longchamp before arriving to the United States. Irad Ortiz, Jr. will pick up the mount from post 1.Albert Frassetto's Her Royal Highness will be taking a step up in class following her best stakes effort, running second to Valiance in the Open Mind at 1 1/16 miles on June 30 at Monmouth Park. After making her first four starts on the main track, trainer Graham Motion moved her to the grass in March, where she ran seventh in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks. After finishing out of the money in both the Memories of Silver [fifth] in April at Aqueduct and the Boiling Springs [fourth] in May at Monmouth, Her Royal Highness earned a career-best 82 Beyer Speed Figure in the Open Mind. "She's been a little unlucky. She had a little bit of trouble two starts back at Monmouth. She probably should have hit the board in that race," Motion said about the Boling Springs. "She was running very well at the end last time. I think she handled the dirt, but she's risen to another level on the grass." After making her last four starts at 1 1/16 miles, she will be stretching out to the Saratoga Oaks distance for the first time. She will arrive at the Spa from her training base in Fair Hill, Maryland."She's doing great and I plan to breeze her before shipping her up to Saratoga on Tuesday," Motion said. "I always thought [about stretching her out]. We'll find out, but it's always been on mind. She can be a bit of a tough filly to be around, but I think she'll handle it." Joel Rosario will pick up the mount, breaking from post 6.The Saratoga Oaks will feature a pair of European shippers for trainer Aidan O'Brien, with Coral Beach returning to the U.S. for a second time after running seventh in the Belmont Oaks. The Irish-bred filly has won twice in 18 career starts, including the Grade 3 Killavullan in Dublin's Leopardstown in her home country last October. Jockey Wayne Lordan will make the cross-Atlantic trip, drawing post 3. O'Brien will also send over Happen, who raced three times as a juvenile, breaking her maiden at third asking in October at Leopardstown. Following a six-month break, she started her sophomore year back at Leopardstown with a runner-up finish in the Group 3 Priory Belle in April before winning the seven-furlong Group 3 Coolmore Gleneagles Irish EBF Athasi over good-to-yielding turf on May 6. One month later, she stepped up in class, finishing sixth in the Group 1 Coronation at Royal Ascot on June 21. She will now make first North American start, having accomplished international jockey Ryan Moore in the irons from post 2. Kelsey's Cross, owned by Sanford Bacon and Patrick Biancone, her trainer, has finished in the money in each of her four starts. Bred in Florida by T. Wynn and Mary Jolley, Kelsey's Cross did not race until April, when she ran second in her debut on April 21 at Gulfstream before breaking her maiden at second asking on May 19 over the same track. Stepping up in class, she ran third in both the Grade 3 Wonder Again and the one-mile Martha Washington on July 6 at Gulfstream. "She shows up and she's improving. We gave her plenty of time before we started to run her. Now, she has great form," Biancone said. Florent Geroux has the assignment from post 4. Carded as Race 9 with a 5:51 p.m. Eastern post time, the Saratoga Oaks is one of three stakes on the 10-race card that also includes the $100,000 Alydar and the Grade 2, $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame. First post time is 1 p.m.

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7.28.2019:

Ollie's Candy Earns Breeders' Cup Distaff Berth in Clement Hirsch Stakes

Battling back after being passed in the stretch, Paul and Karen Eggert’s Ollie’s Candy fought off 6-5 favored Secret Spice in a prolonged stretch duel to win the featured Grade I $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes Sunday at Del Mar.Responding gamely to strong urging by jockey Kent Desormeaux, Ollie’s Candy outfinished Secret Spice in the closing yards to win by a head in 1:44.66 for the mile and one-sixteenth over the main track. La Force was third, five and one-quarter lengths behind Secret Spice and two and one-half lengths in front of fourth-place Paradise Woods, the 8-5 second choice.Just a Smidge was withdrawn from the field of older fillies and mares.With her victory, Ollie’s Candy earned a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November at Santa Anita since the Clement L. Hirsch is a ‘Win and You’re In” qualifying race.Ollie’s Candy, a four-year-old daughter of Candy Ride, provided trainer John Sadler with his fifth stakes success in ten days of the 36-day Del Mar summer meeting.The winner returned $10.00, $4.00 and $3.60 while garnering first money of $180,000 with her fourth triumph in eight starts for earnings of $452,151.Runner-up Secret Spice, who was piloted by Flavien Prat, paid $2.80 and $2.20, while La Force returned $3 to show.Recording riding doubles on the eight-race program were Drayden Van Dyke and Rafael Bejarano. Van Dyke won the opener aboard Immediate Impact, a two-year-old half-sister to former stakes star Arrogate, by six and three-quarter lengths, and also captured the third race on Major Cabbie. Bejarano’s winners were Wound Tight in the second and Desert Oasis in the eighth.KENT DESORMEAUX (Ollie’s Candy, winner) – “I was just letting her do her thing; reins were dangling. At the quarter pole I picked her up and she did the rest. She came again (in the lane). That other mare (Secret Spice) got in front of us, but my mare is a fighter. She wants to win. John (trainer John Sadler) is on a roll. He just let me come along today.”FLAVIEN PRAT (Secret Spice, second) – “She ran a huge race. She just got beat today.”DRAYDEN VAN DYKE (La Force, third) – “She’s just so consistent. She always runs her race and always gets a piece every time. She is so good that way.”MIKE SMITH (Paradise Woods, fourth) – “No excuses. I’m thinking maybe this track is too deep for a big mare like her.JOHN SADLER  (Ollie’s Candy, winner) – “She is a really nice filly who ran in some big races here last year for Bill Morey, Jr. She came my way (two starts ago) in really good shape and I’ve just kind of carried on for what he did last year. She ran a good race her last start at Santa Anita, came down here and had a bullet work over the track, which showed me she had an affinity for the dirt. A lot of Candy Rides can run on any surface. You don’t give Kent (Desormeaux) any instructions. You just don’t. So I was surprised to see her in front, but it worked out.”

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7.27.2019:

Tax Springs Upset in G2 Jim Dandy; Tacitus Finishes Second

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - R. A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch, and Corms Racing Stable's former claimer Tax, patiently handled by Irad Ortiz, Jr., paid big dividends with a tenacious score in Saturday's Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy presented by NYRA Bets at Saratoga Race Course.Trained by Danny Gargan, the dark bay son of Arch was claimed for $50,000 out of a maiden-breaking effort at Keeneland on October 21. Tax has contested six consecutive graded races since, including two-thirds of the Triple Crown, winning the Grade 3 Withers and finishing fourth last out in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets.Sent to post as the 9-2 fourth choice in the six-horse Jim Dandy field, headed by Grade 1 Preakness-winner War of Will and Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets victor Tacitus, Tax broke alertly but allowed War of Will to set the opening quarter-mile in 24.89 seconds on the fast main track. Tacitus, the 8-5 mutuel favorite under Jose Ortiz, stumbled out of the gate and trailed the field as War of Will marked the half in 48.80 with Tax tracking comfortably in second, with Global Campaign and Laughing Fox following.War of Will opened up down the backstretch and led the field into the final turn as Tacitus started to pick off horses one-by-one up the rail. Ortiz, Jr., poised to strike aboard Tax, gave the gelding his cue late in the turn and angled the former claimer outside of the tiring front-runner.Tax emerged with a two-length lead at the stretch call as Tacitus left the rail to overtake War of Will and take aim at Tax. Tacitus dug in gamely on the inside to be level with Tax inside the final sixteenth, but there was no denying Tax, who continued to find more to earn a three-quarter length win in a final time of 1:49.28. Global Campaign completed the trifecta, 3 3/4-lengths in front of Laughing Fox. War of Will and Mihos rounded out the order of finish.Ortiz, Jr. said the slow start of both Tacitus and Grade 3 Peter Pan winner Global Campaign impacted his race tactics."When the speed horse [Global Campaign] didn't break that sharp, I changed my plan," said Ortiz, Jr. "I just decided to go. I told myself, 'I don't want to be down on the rail.' When I got outside in the clear, I held it. That was my plan. I didn't want to be inside. I thought I was going to have the other horse as a target, but he didn't break, so I decided to go. We never expected War of Will to be in front."Tax, who battled with Joevia on the lead in the Belmont Stakes, found a more relaxed trip in the Jim Dandy."Today, it felt much better than last time," said Ortiz, Jr. "When I let him run, he picked it up. I let him go and when I asked and said, 'Let's go,' he was feeling great."Ortiz lamented the unfortunate start for the hard-trying Tacitus, a regally bred son of Tapit out of 2014 Eclipse Award Champion Older Mare Close Hatches."I was thinking to be very aggressive today on him going into the first turn. I wanted to break good and make everybody use a little bit at the first sixteenth of a mile," said Ortiz. "Unfortunately, he stumbled and after that, I used him a little bit just to bring him up to the field and when we passed the five-eighths pole, I saw an opening on the inside with War of Will at the front. I decided to let him go and let him catch up with the leaders a little bit by the half mile. The rail opened for me by the three-eighths pole. I felt like it was too early to take that chance. I think the stumble cost me a lot, for sure."The upwardly-mobile Tax finished third in the Grade 2 Remsen in December at Aqueduct Racetrack ahead of his Withers score. Following a runner-up effort to Tacitus in the Wood Memorial, Tax posted the only off-the-board effort of his career when placed 14th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby.Gargan said Tax is likely to make his next start in the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers on August 24 at the Spa."[It] is the goal, so hopefully if he comes out of this well, we're in the Travers," said Gargan. "I think he likes this track and he likes it here, so that's something we're pushing towards and hoping we make. It's a wide-open division, he was unfortunate a couple of times. The Derby was a throw-out race because of the way the break went and the way the track was. If you take the Derby out, he's run as good as anyone all year. With the right trip and the right situation, he can be right there."Tax, bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider, banked $330,000 in victory while improving his record to 3-2-1 from eight starts. He paid $11 to win.

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7.27.2019:

Imperial Hint Breaks Track Record in G1 Alfred Vanderbilt Defense

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Making only his third start of the year and first since finishing third in the Group 1 Golden Shaheen at Meydan Racecourse in March, multiple Grade-1 winner winner Imperial Hint successfully defended his title in the Grade 1, $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course and set a new track record in the process.Imperial Hint, breaking from post 3 at odds of 5-1 and carrying 123 pounds with Hall of Famer Javier Castellano in the irons, tracked from third position as 1-2 post-time favorite Mitole and Strike Power battled up front, with the latter marking the opening quarter-mile in 21.77 seconds on the fast main track.Making a sweeping three-wide move, Imperial Hint overtook the pair in front to mark the half in 44.21 and extended away to best the six-horse field by four lengths at the wire. He completed the six-furlong distance in a final time of 1:07.92, besting the previous track record for the distance of 1:08.04 held by Spanish Riddle and Speightstown."He's an amazing horse," said Castellano. "He did it again. It's very impressive. He did this last year in the same race. It's unbelievable. He's a very good horse and I always have a lot of confidence in him. He's a little horse with a big heart. He's not a huge horse, but he has a lot of talent."I knew they were going pretty quick early in the first part of the race. I had a perfect position in the race tracking them. Turning for home, the way he did it was very impressive. He wanted to go. He was feeling good and gave me everything he had today."Returning $13.60 for a $2 win wager, the 6-year-old son of Imperialism bred by Shade Tree Thoroughbreds boosted his career earnings to over $2 million with the victory to total $2,034,155 for winning owner Raymond Mamone and trainer Luis Carvajal, Jr. "I got to give credit to owner Raymond Mamone," said Carvajal, Jr. "He had a feeling that he was going to do well in this race, even though we thought he was a little short because we lost a week of training with the weather back in New Jersey, but he was right. This horse keeps surprising me and surprising everybody."We were worried a little bit. Mitole is a very nice horse," added Carvajal, Jr. "He won all of those races in a row [seven]. It's an amazing feeling. I couldn't believe what was going on around the turn, but he's a really good horse. He has a lot of heart. He doesn't have a big body, but he has a lot of heart."Charging with a late rally, 29-1 longshot Diamond Oops bested Mitole for second, finishing 3 ½ lengths ahead of the beaten favorite. Firenze Fire came in fourth followed by Strike Power and Do Share."The track inside wasn't too good for us with the post [No. 1] and the weight [125 lbs]," said Ricardo Santana, Jr., rider aboard Mitole. "My horse ran hard. He's a hard-trying horse. I just took my chance, but we'll see him in the next race."Firenze Fire, Strike Power and Do Share completed the order of finish.

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7.27.2019:

Cistron Earns Breeders' Cup Berth with G1 Bing Crosby Win

Hronis Racing’s Cistron, with Hall of Famer Victor Espinoza in the saddle, sped to the front from the gate and never looked back in winning the featured Grade I $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes Saturday at Del Mar.Sent postward at 9-2, Cistron was well-rated by Espinoza in the early stages of the six-furlong dash and had enough in reserve to resist the late challenge of Desert Law, winning by a half-length in 1:09.95, fastest at the distance this summer.Jalen Journey was third, two and one-quarter lengths behind the runner-up and two and one-half lengths ahead of Air Strike in the field of seven sprinters. Eastern invader Recruiting Ready, the 8-5 favorite, wound up sixth under Flavien Prat who was seeking an unprecedented fifth straight success in the Crosby.  Scratched was Calexman.With his victory,  Cistron qualified for a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in November at Santa Anita since the Bing Crosby is a “Win and You’re In” BC series event.Cistron, a five-year-old son of The Factor trained by John Sadler, returned $11.60, $6.20 and $4.20 after his fifth victory in 27 career efforts. Previously, he won the Kona Gold Stakes and was second in the Triple Bend at Santa Anita. First money of $180,000 increased his bankroll to $700,719.Desert Law, who was ridden by Rafael Bejarano, paid $6 and $4, while third-place Jalen Journey returned $4.20 to show.In Saturday’s supporting feature, the $150,000 Real Good Deal Stakes for California-bred three-year-olds, well-backed Lieutenant Dan wore down 7-10 favored Cruel Intention in the stretch and drew off to score by three lengths.Oliver closed resolutely to be second, overhauling Cruel Intention who faded after his early duel with the eventual winner, finishing a neck farther back in third.  Fourth in the field of five runners was Posterize. Prodigal Son was fifth and last.Lieutenant Dan, owned and bred by Nick Alexander,  trained by Steve Miyadi and piloted by Drayden Van Dyke, stepped the seven furlongs in 1:23.67 and paid $6.40, $4 and $2.20 as the 2-1 second choice. Oliver returned $14.40 and $3.20 as a 26-1 longshot, while Cruel Intention paid $2.10 to show.Victory in the Real Good Deal was the fourth in eight starts for Lieutenant Dan and first money of $85,500 increased the Grazen gelding’s earnings to $304,020.Van Dyke was the day’s riding star as he had a triple. He won the second aboard Moody Jim for a $9.40 payoff, the aforementioned Real Good Stakes on Lieutenant Dan and the seventh on Great Return at $7.80. Thus, he moved within five wins of leading rider Prat, 15-10. Prat was limited to a single score on Wrecking Crew at $2.80 in the day’s opener.VICTOR ESPINOZA (Cistron, winner) – “We were comfortable up there. He was running well on the lead. I wanted to save something for the stretch and I was able to. I didn’t get a lot of pressure up front and that helped. At the finish I still had lots of horse. He’s an amazing horse.(Espinoza reflected on his morning training accident and serious injury at Del Mar a year ago, just five days in front of this same race.)“I was thinking about that today. Life is interesting, isn’t it? How things happen; how they unfold. One thing I learned early in my career, you don’t give up. You don’t ever give up. And when I win a race, I enjoy it so much. Each win is special.”RAFAEL BEJARANO (Desert Law, second) – “He ran a beautiful race. He tried hard. You know, they worked him quick the other day, close to this race (bullet :47 1/5 on July 22). Maybe too fast too close. I wish I would have worked him.”MIKE SMITH (Jalen Journey, third) – “He just got a little tired at the end. Right up until then, I thought I was on a winner.”JOHN SADLER (Cistron, winner) – “The way we were drawn, we knew we’d have to go to the front. It looked like there was a lot of speed in the race, but we didn’t really have a choice to change our style. Once he got away and got in the clear he gets energy from that. He had a super work over this track, a bullet, and he showed up for the big race today. We’ve got so many moveable parts (versatile horses) I’m not sure what’s next, but if he runs again here it will be in the Pat O’Brien.”

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7.26.2019:

July 27 Cross Country Pick 5 Features Saratoga, Monmouth and Woodbine

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, July 27, featuring all turf races from historic Saratoga Race Course, Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey and Woodbine Racetrack in Rexdale, Ontario. The Pick 5 will start at the Spa with Race 7 at 4:32 p.m. Eastern. The $90,000 maiden race for juveniles will be contested at 1 1/16 miles on the Mellon turf course featuring a full 10-horse field. Action shifts to Monmouth for the second leg with an allowance optional claiming race for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at 1 1/16 miles in Race 11 at 5:26 p.m. Woodbine, the third track to participate in the Pick 5, will be the home of the third leg; an optional claiming race at 1 1/16 miles for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up over the all-weather track. Post time is 5:56 p.m. Saratoga will be the home for the final two legs, with the Grade 2, $250,000 Bowling Green Handicap in Race 10 at 6:18 p.m. A 13-horse field will compete at 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf, led by Woodslane Farm's $2-million earner Sadler's Joy making his seasonal debut for trainer Tom Albertrani. Channel Maker, who dead-heated to win the 2018 edition of the Bowling Green, will look to repeat for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. Other contenders include the Brad Cox-conditioned Arklow and a trio of entrants for trainer Chad Brown in Focus Group, Olympico and Ya Primo.The last leg will be Saratoga's 12th-race finale, offering a 12-horse field of claimers going one mile on the inner turf at 7:23 p.m. The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. There will be a mandatory payout of the entire pool.Saratoga Race Course - Monmouth - Woodbine - Cross Country Pick 5Leg A: Saratoga - (Race 7, 4:32 p.m.)Leg B: Monmouth - (Race 11, 5:26 p.m.)Leg C: Woodbine - (Race 10, 5:56 p.m.)Leg D: Saratoga - Grade 2, $250,000 Bowling Green (Race 10, 6:18 p.m.)Leg E: Saratoga - (Race 12, 7:23 p.m.)

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7.12.2019:

Beauty Generation Claims Back-to-Back Hong Kong Horse of the Year Titles

Beauty Generation claimed the Hong Kong Horse of the Year award for the second year in a row at a sparkling ceremony held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel tonight, Friday, 12 July. A four-time Group 1 victor this term, Hong Kong’s superstar galloper was also named Champion Miler for the second consecutive year. Beauty Generation is the eighth horse to win back-to-back Horse of the Year titles in Hong Kong’s professional era, joining other timeless heroes Silver Lining, Co-Tack, Quicken Away, River Verdon, Fairy King Prawn, Silent Witness and Ambitious Dragon. John Moore’s stable star had a remarkable 2018/19 campaign in which he went unbeaten and registered a Hong Kong record of eight wins in a season. In addition, he set a new all-time prize money record of HK$84,770,000 and earned the equal-highest rating (127) ever achieved by a Hong Kong horse in the LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings. The Patrick Kwok-owned six-year-old also smashed the course record for 1600m at Sha Tin when he had to concede weight to all other rivals in the G2 BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Mile. The Champion Miler completed a clean sweep in all the Group 1 mile races this term, including going back-to-back in the big two for his division, the LONGINES Hong Kong Mile and the FWD Champions Mile. Zac Purton was in the saddle for every one of his races this term. Meanwhile, Beauty Generation also secured the bulk of the public vote to claim the Most Popular Horse title. The Tony Cruz-trained Exultant became the fifth horse after Indigenous, Precision, Vengeance Of Rain and Viva Pataca to be crowned both the Champion Middle-Distance Horse and the Champion Stayer in the same season. The five-year-old Teofilo gelding proved that he too is a star of Hong Kong and world racing by winning three Group 1 races, the LONGINES Hong Kong Vase, Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup and Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup. He also won the G3 Centenary Vase with 132lb on his back and was a fine second in the G1 FWD QEII Cup. Beat The Clock was named the season’s Champion Sprinter. The John Size-trained five-year-old was a dual G1 victor this term, claiming the Centenary Sprint Cup and the Chairman’s Sprint Prize. The Hinchinbrook gelding continued to be a model of consistency with two wins, two seconds and two thirds from just six starts this term, all at Group race level - he has placed in the first three in all of his 21 starts in Hong Kong. The Size stable took the Champion Griffin Award too, with the three-year-old Champion’s Way receiving worthy recognition for securing six wins from seven starts. By the same sire as Beat The Clock, Champion’s Way achieved his career highlight to date in the G3 Lion Rock Trophy, defeating seasoned gallopers to achieve a rating of 108. That high mark meant that Champion’s Way was also named the season’s Most Improved Horse. He started the campaign on a rating of 52 and rocketed 56 points up the rankings to end the campaign as a leading contender for next year’s Four-Year-Old Classic Series. Zac Purton sealed the Champion Jockey title for a third time and was also elected the Most Popular Jockey of the Year. The Australian rider had a fantastic season, becoming only the second jockey to reach 1000 wins in Hong Kong. He also set a new single season prize money record, and could yet match or better Joao Moreira’s all-time record of 170 wins in a season at the 2018/19 season finale on Sunday, 14 July. Lifetime Achievement Award, the season’s Champion Trainer award and the winner of the Tony Cruz Award for the season’s leading homegrown rider will be revealed and presented during racing at Sunday’s season finale at Sha Tin. The Champion Awards Judging Panel announced the winners for the 2018/19 season during this evening’s presentation ceremony as follows:   Award Winner Owner Trainer Horse of the Year Beauty Generation Patrick Kwok Ho Chuen John Moore   Champion Sprinter Beat the Clock Merrick Chung Wai Lik John Size Champion Miler Beauty Generation Patrick Kwok Ho Chuen John Moore Champion Middle-Distance Horse   Exultant Eddie Wong Ming Chak & Wong Leung Sau Hing Tony Cruz Champion Stayer Exultant Eddie Wong Ming Chak & Wong Leung Sau Hing Tony Cruz Champion Griffin Champion's Way Dr. & Mrs. Arthur Leung, Elaine Leung & Angela Leung   John Size Most Improved Horse Champion's Way Dr. & Mrs. Arthur Leung, Elaine Leung & Angela Leung John Size Most Popular Horse Beauty Generation   Patrick Kwok Ho Chuen John Moore Most Popular Jockey Zac Purton    

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7.11.2019:

July 13 Cross Country Pick 5 Features Saratoga and Delaware Park

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, July 13, featuring racing from historic Saratoga Race Course as well as Delaware Park in Wilmington, Delaware. The sequence will begin at Delaware with the $100,000 Glasgow for 3-year-olds and up going 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf. Carded as Race 7 with a post time of 4:49 p.m. Eastern, the 11-horse field features the Graham Motion-trained Just Howard, making his first start since finishing third in the Prince George's County at Laurel Park on June 16. Also entered is Paret, for trainer James Lawrence, and Square Shooter, who will be making his first start since a fourth-place finish in the Pennsylvania Governor's Cup at Penn National on June 1. The next leg is the Grade 2, $750,000 Delaware Handicap, featuring multiple graded stakes-winner Elate, who will make her first start since capturing the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap on June 15 at Churchill Downs. Among those looking to upset the race include multiple graded stakes-winner Blue Prize, as well as the Todd Pletcher-trained Another Broad and graded stakes-winner Escape Clause. The action then shifts to Saratoga for the closing three legs, starting with the first Grade 1 event of the Saratoga meet, the $500,000 Diana for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at 1 1/8 miles on the Spa's inner turf. Trainer Chad Brown entered four formidable contenders, including multiple graded stakes-winner Sistercharlie. Owned by Peter Brant, Sistercharlie will be making her first start of the year since winning the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf and Churchill Downs in the fall. Her stablemate, Homerique, enters off a pair of graded stakes wins in her last two starts, capturing the Grade 2 New York and Grade 3 Beaugay at Belmont Park. Brown's contingent also includes e Five Racing Thoroughbred's multiple graded stakes-winner Rushing Fall making her first start since winning the Grade 1 Longines Just a Game on June 8 at Belmont, and graded stakes-placed Thais. The penultimate leg of the sequence is a second-level allowance race for 3-year-olds and upward carded at Race 10 at 6:21 p.m. The nine-horse field includes graded stakes-placed Market King. Trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, Market King will make his third start since finishing 12th in the Preakness. Also challenging will be 4-year-old Payne, trained by Brown, and Quick Entry, for owner Marylou Whitney Stables and trainer Ian Wilkes. Rounding out the Cross Country Pick 5 is Saratoga's 11th-race finale at 6:55 p.m., showcasing a 14-field in a claiming race at one mile on the inner turf. Featuring five main-track only entrants, the salty field includes veterans such as 8-year-old Sycamore Lane. for Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott. Derby Champagne, for trainer Rusty Arnold and Shalako, for trainer Michelle Nevin, bolster the field. Belmont Park - Delaware Park Cross Country Pick 5 Leg A: Delaware Park- $100,000 Glasgow (Race 7, 4:49 p.m.)Leg B: Delaware Park - Grade 2, $750,000 Delaware Handicap (Race 8 (5:25 p.m.)Leg C: Saratoga - Grade 1, $500,000 Diana (Race 9, 5:46 p.m.)Leg D: Saratoga - (Race 10, 6:21 p.m.)Leg E: Saratoga - (Race 11, 6:55 p.m.)

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7.11.2019:

Comical Prevails in Saratoga's G3 Schuylerville Stakes

SARATOGA, N.Y. - ERJ Racing, Gary Barber, Dave Kenney and Madaket Stables' Comical captured the first stakes of the Saratoga meet in a thrilling dash to the finish to win the Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville on Opening Day Thursday. Trained by Doug O'Neill, the Into Mischief bay arrived at the six-furlong sprint for juvenile fillies from a convincing six-length debut score on May 26 at Santa Anita Park. Sent to post as the 3-1 second choice under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, Comical stalked from second position as Integral sped through an opening quarter-mile in 22.54 seconds on the muddy and sealed main track. Integral led the field to the turn as the half-mile was clocked in 46.24, with Comical pressuring from the outside while Shippy, the even-money mutuel favorite, waited for her cue from Jose Ortiz on the rail. Comical surged to the lead as the field straightened away and angled to the rail to engage her advancing stablemate Shippy, but it was the wide-rallying Kiss the Girl, under Hall of Famer John Velazquez, providing the danger with a menacing move on the outside. All out to the finish, Comical prevailed by a neck in a final time of 1:11.66.  Castellano praised Comical's determination late in the lane. "She moved fast out of the gate and attended the pace and went forward," said Castellano. "Turning for home, I was able to save a little ground, and I'm very lucky she's a good enough filly to win the race, because the other horse was coming at her." Kiss the Girl was a half-length the better of Shippy, with Buxom Beast a further 7 1/4-lengths in arrears in fourth. Integral, Lula's Roadrunner, His Glory and Lady Fatima completed the order of finish. Aurelia Garland was scratched. Velazquez said Kiss the Girl, a 4 1/2-length maiden winner at Belmont Park last out, lost focus during the race. "She ran in spots, but when they opened up a length and a half, she didn't know what to do. She was running and stopping," said Velazquez. "She was just green today. When she won at Belmont, she was right next to the other horse the whole way around. She was more focused than she was today." Erik Johnson, a defenseman for the National Hockey League's Colorado Avalanche, is part owner of Comical under the nom de course ERJ Racing. The Bloomington, Minnesota native, who won the silver medal with Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics, was thrilled with the effort from the talented bay filly. "It's an unbelievable feeling to win at Saratoga, and we're blessed. To get a win here means a lot," said Johnson. "They're special animals and they're a part of your family when they run at a racetrack. To get a win here feels absolutely amazing. Hopefully, I can win the Stanley Cup later next year and get a daily double."Comical, a $100,000 purchase at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, banked $82,500 in victory.  Johnson said Comical, who is closely related to multiple Grade 1-winner and 2008 Travers winner Colonel John, could have the stamina to go further. "We're excited to see what her future holds. Her dam [Kaycee Ace] is a full sister to Colonel John, so hopefully she can stretch out," said Johnson.Comical, bred in Kentucky by Susan Casner, paid $8.20 for a $2 win ticket.

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7.11.2019:

Xpressbet's $120,000 Del Mar, Saratoga Handicapping Tournament Series Begins Saturday, July 13

July 11, 2019 (Washington, PA) – With no entry fee and $120,000 in guaranteed prizes, Xpressbet’s Fun in the Sun tournament is horse racing’s premier summer handicapping contest.  Contested over eight Saturdays in July and August, Fun in the Sun challenges bettors to make $10 Win bets on 10 pre-determined competition races from Saratoga and Del Mar.  The top performing players each Saturday between July 13 and August 31 will share $8,500 in cash prizes, while the top four players throughout the entire eight-week tournament will receive a Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship Seat, valued at $12,000.  Fun in the Sun Weekly Cash Prizes ($68,000 total): 1st: $5,000 2nd: $2,000 3rd: $1,000 4th: $500 Fun in the Sun Seasonal Prizes ($52,000 total): 1st: Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship Seat ($12,000 value) 2nd: Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship Seat 3rd: Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship Seat 4th: Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship Seat 5th: $4,000 Registration for Fun in the Sun is free, but an Xpressbet account is required to play.  To sign up with Xpressbet and receive a $150 Sign Up Bonus, simply visit https://www.xpressbet.com/release. For more information about Fun in the Sun, check out https://www.xpressbet.com/fun-in-the-sun-tournament.   

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7.10.2019:

Chad Brown Sends Out Four in Saratoga's G1 Diana Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Chad Brown finished off the Belmont meet with 18 stakes victories, three of which came in Grade 1 events. On Saturday at Saratoga Race Course, Brown will look to capture the first Grade 1 of the prestigious meet when he saddles four contenders for the $500,000 Diana. Brown, a four-time winner of the Diana, has used the 1 1/8-mile test over the Mellon Turf Course as a resume builder for Eclipse Award winning campaigns, with Zagora (2012), Lady Eli (2017) and most recently Sistercharlie, who won it last year and looks to repeat coming off of an eight-month layoff. Peter Brant's reigning Champion Older Mare will make her first start since winning the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf in November at Churchill Downs. The 5-year-old bay Irish-bred won four Grade 1's last year, all over different tracks. She kicked off her 2018 campaign with a win in the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland where she recorded a career best 104 Beyer Speed Figure. Two starts later, she won the Diana by a nose before a win in the Beverly D. over stablemate Fourstar Crook. Sistercharlie boasts the highest amount of lifetime earnings in the Diana's six-horse field with $2,575,603. Heading into the Diana, Sistercharlie has recorded strong works over the turf course at Belmont Park, the most recent a half-mile move in 49.80 seconds on July 7. "She's training really well," Brown said. "I wish I had a prep race for her but she just ran out of time, unfortunately. It's a tall order to start her back in a Grade 1, but she's a champion and she likes the course having won last year, so we're going to give her a shot." She will leave from post 4 under Hall of Famer and five-time leading rider at Saratoga John Velazquez. Rushing Fall, owned by e Five Racing Thoroughbreds, has won 8-of-9 career starts, four of which are Grade 1 and will seek a fifth top-flight victory when she breaks from post 2. A Grade 1 winner at ages 2, 3, and 4, the More Than Ready filly won the Jenny Wiley in her 2019 debut before recording her first triple digit Beyer Speed Figure in the Grade 1 Longines Just a Game, where she earned a 102 Beyer for the one-mile event at Belmont Park. "The distance is about her limit but she's done it before," Brown said. "This will be the toughest race she's ever run in but she's doing really well." Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, a two-time leading rider at Saratoga, has been aboard Rushing Fall for every start and will ride again. Peter Brant's Homerique has won both of her starts since joining Brown's contingent in the United States and will make her first Grade 1 start when emerging from post 6. The 4-year-old daughter of Exchange Rate was placed twice against Group 1 company in France when finishing a close third to Laurens in the Prix de Diane Longines and finishing third a length behind Wild Illusion in the Prix de l'Opera Longines in October at Longchamp. Homerique made her first start for Brown in the Grade 3 Beaugay on May 11 at Belmont defeating Competitionofideas and went on to best her Grade 1 winning stablemate once more in the next out Grade 2 New York. "She's very versatile. She's won shorter than this, she's won longer than this," Brown said. "She's an extremely versatile and talented filly and I expect her to run well." Homerique will be guided by Saratoga's defending leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. Brown also will saddle Peter Brant's Thais, who has yet to win a stakes race in the United States but finished third in last year's Grade 1 Beverly D. behind Sistercharlie. The French-bred dark bay daughter of Rio de La Plata was a stakes winner in her final European start in July 2017 and was a last-out fourth in the Plenty of Grace over the Aqueduct turf on April 14. Her lone victory in North America was against allowance company in May 2018 at Belmont Park. Thais will be ridden by Manny Franco from post 1. Looking to upset the Brown contingent is graded stakes winner Mitchell Road, who won the Grade 3 Gallorette on May 18 at Pimlico. Owned by Mrs. J.V. Shields and E.J. McFadden, the 4-year-old daughter of English Channel went wire-to-wire in four of her five career victories. Mitchell Road, a half-sister to Grade 1 Kentucky Derby winner Country House, will attempt her fifth straight win having found the winner's circle twice against allowance company and in the Albert M. Stall Memorial on February 16 at Fair Grounds. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, a four-time winner of the Diana, Mitchell Road will be piloted by Jose Lezcano from post 3. Trainer Graham Motion came close to winning last year's Diana with Ultra Brat, who missed a nose to Sistercharlie and will seek redemption when he saddles Secret Message, who breaks from post 5. Owned by Madaket Stables, ERJ Racing, Elayne Stable 5 and Bouchey Thoroughbreds, the dark bay Hat Trick filly is a two-time graded stakes winner, capturing the Grade 3 Pucker Up at Arlington in August and the Grade 2 Nassau at Woodbine last out. Secret Message has won both of her starts this year. Prior to the Nassau, she won the Dahlia at Laurel Park on April 20. Secret Message will be ridden by Trevor McCarthy. The Diana is slated as Race 9 on Saturday's 11-race card. First post is 1 p.m.

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7.7.2019:

Saratoga Specialist Voodoo Song Returns in G3 Forbidden Apple

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Barry Schwartz's Grade 1 winner Voodoo Song will race off a nine-month layoff, taking on six other graded stakes winners in Friday's Grade 3, $150,000 Forbidden Apple going one mile over the inner turf at Saratoga. Trained by Linda Rice, the New York-bred son of English Channel hasn't raced since finishing 12th in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland last October, but has recorded a strong series of works over Belmont Park's inner turf, most recently a five-furlong work in 1:00.80 on Sunday morning. "I was pleased with his work [Sunday]," Rice said. "We have been trying to have him ready for this race but was concerned because he was a little heavy, but his work was very encouraging." Voodoo Song, who won last year's edition of the Forbidden Apple, has won 5-of-6 starts over the turf at Saratoga, including the Grade 1 Fourstardave last August where he beat Grade 1 winners Delta Prince and Divisidero. As a 3-year-old, he won the Grade 3 Saranac over eventual Grade 1 winners Yoshida and Bricks and Mortar. Voodoo Song brags the highest amount of lifetime earnings in the field, banking $883,435 with a record of 8-2-1 in 18 career starts. Jockey Jose Lezcano will pilot Voodoo Song who will leave from post 7. Also seeking another graded stakes victory at Saratoga is Shadwell Farms' Qurbaan, who seeks redemption following an eighth-place finish in the Grade 1 Manhattan on June 8. The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained son of Speightstown won his United States debut last September in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch, where Voodoo Song ran fifth. Qurbaan has not won since that race but has placed three times against Grade 1 company, including a close second to Bricks and Mortar in the Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic at Churchill Downs in May. Qurbaan will leave from post 8 under Joel Rosario. Trainer Mark Casse will saddle a pair of contenders with March to the Arch and First Premio, the former of which won the Grade 2 Wise Dan in his most recent start. Owned and bred by Live Oak Plantation, March to the Arch upset the Wise Dan at 10-1 odds where he earned a career best 98 Beyer Speed Figure. Prior to a fifth-place finish in the Old Forester Turf Classic, he won his 2019 debut in the Turf Classic for Florida-breds at Tampa Bay Downs. His only other stakes win took place at Woodbine in last year's Toronto Cup. Tyler Gaffalione will pilot March to the Arch from post 5. Casse also will send out First Premio, who breaks from post 2 under Jose Ortiz. The Team Valor-owned son of Pure Prize was fifth behind stablemate March to the Arch in the Grade 2 Wise Dan last out. He made his 2019 debut a winning one in the Colonel E.R. Bradley at Fair Grounds in January, which he won off a seven-month layoff. Chad Brown ended the Belmont spring/summer meet as the runaway leading trainer, and will look to carry that over to Saratoga when he saddles Offering Plan and Made You Look. Owned by Michael Dubb and Nantucket Thoroughbred Partners, the 7-year-old Offering Plan will make his 26th career start and seeks his first graded stakes victory. The New York-bred son of Spring At Last has scored three times in stakes against fellow Empire State-breds and won against open company in the English Channel at age 3. He last raced when running third in the Kingston on May 27 behind eventual graded stakes winner Gucci Factor. Jockey Javier Castellano will be aboard, breaking from post 4. Brown also will send out Three Chimneys Farm's two-time graded stakes winner Made You Look, who makes his first start of the year and seeks his first win at such caliber since the 2017 Grade 3 Dania Beach at Gulfstream Park. The son of More Than Ready previously raced for trainer Todd Pletcher but was moved to Brown after his current owners acquired him from the 2017 Keeneland November Mixed Sale. He won his first start for Brown when defeating stakes winners Inspector Lynley and Aquaphobia last May over Belmont Park's inner turf. Breaking from post 6, Made You Look will be ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. Completing the field are Gidu [post 1, Manny Franco], Hembree [post 3, Luis Saez], Mr. Havercamp [post 9, Junior Alvarado], Doctor Mounty [post 10, John Velazquez]. The Forbidden Apple is named in honor of Arthur Appleton's four-time graded stakes winning millionaire who ran 31 times and retired at age 8. The Christophe Clement-trained son of Pleasant Colony won the Grade 1 Manhattan in 2001 and went on to run second in that year's Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile. First post on Friday's 10-race card is 1 p.m., with the Forbidden Apple slated as Race 9.

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7.7.2019:

Call Paul Headlines Wide-Open G3 Quick Call Stakes on Saratoga Opening Day

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - A competitive field of 3-year-old turf sprinters is lined up for the Grade 3, $100,000 Quick Call on Thursday, Opening Day at Saratoga Race Course, led by Call Paul, a multiple graded stakes winner who will be making his turf debut in the race for potent grass trainer Jason Servis.  The 5 ½-furlong Quick Call on the Mellon turf will join the Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville in kicking off the graded stakes action for the 40-day Saratoga meet, which will run from July 11 to September 2 with racing being conducted five days a week, Wednesday to Sunday, except for a special Labor Day Monday card to close out the meet. The ultra-consistent Call Paul, who has yet to finish out of the money in nine career starts, burst onto the landscape last year with a one-length victory in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special. Following a pair of third-place finishes in the Grade 1 Champagne and Grade 3 Nashua on the NYRA circuit, the bay colt closed out his juvenile campaign with a five-length win over Pennsylvania-breds in the Pennsylvania Nursery on December 1 at Parx Racing. The son of Friesan Fire returned triumphant in the Grade 3 Swale on February 2 at Gulfstream Park, and finished third in the Grade 3 Bay Shore and second in the Gold Fever Stakes before dominating state breds again in the Danzig Stakes on June 1 at Penn National in his most recent start. To date, Call Paul has earned $474,520 for Michael Dubb, David Simon, Bethlehem Stables and David Irom. He will be ridden by Manny Franco from post 6. Prominent turf sprint stakes trainer Wesley Ward will saddle Abyssinian, for owner Hat Creek Racing. The gray filly will be meeting her male counterparts for the second time this year, having already finished third in the Palisades Turf Sprint on April 4 at Keeneland, and is coming off a runner-up finish in the Mamzelle on May 11 at Churchill Downs. In her 2019 debut, the daughter of Cairo Prince smashed a field of optional claimers by 6 ¾ lengths on February 28 at Gulfstream. Abyssinian will break from the rail with Hall of Famer John Velazquez aboard. "We took on the boys before at Keeneland and she was a bit compromised in the race," Ward said. "She hopped at the start and Johnny rushed her up to get position. She really didn't have that same finish as she did down in Florida, though she was running against much easier company there. I thought she still ran a real credible race against a quality horse, a Breeders' Cup winner. "She's doing great coming into the race," Ward added. "We're also considering the Coronation Cup, but the Quick Call is very tempting since it's a Grade 3 and those opportunities don't come up often for turf sprinters. She's got proven turf sprint form and I think she's got a chance." Listing, trained by Ben Cecil for Reddam Racing, will venture east for the Quick Call on the heels of an authoritative win in the Desert Code  on June 9 at Santa Anita Park. The bay homebred is nearly undefeated in turf sprints having already won the California Cup Turf Sprint  against state breds on January 26 and missing by a nose in a Cal-bred optional claimer on January 1, both on the downhill course at Santa Anita. He will enlist the services of jockey Joel Rosario from post 4. The hard-knocking Gladiator King will go out for trainer Jamie Mejia and Thoroughbred Champions Training Center. A chestnut son of Curlin, Gladiator King has already made nine starts in 2019 and has excelled primarily on dirt, having picked up stakes victories in the Grade 3 Hutcheson, the Roar, and the Inaugural on the main track, but he also boasts two wins on turf going five furlongs. In his most recent outing, the Mejia trainee finished fifth beaten 13 ¼ lengths in the Ocala Stakes on June 1 at Gulfstream Park. Jose Gallego will be aboard Gladiator King, breaking from post 3. A perennial contender for Saratoga's training title, Todd Pletcher will be represented by Sombeyay, winner of last year's Grade 3 Sanford at the Spa. The Into Mischief colt's form tailed off at the end of his juvenile season and his sophomore debut, a distant fifth-place finish in the Gold Fever Stakes at Belmont, wasn't any more encouraging, but he bounced back in a big way last time, finishing second by a nose in the Lookin At Lucky on June 2 at Monmouth Park with an 86 Beyer Speed Figure.  The Quick Call will mark Sombeyay's first start on the lawn. He will break from post 10 with Luis Saez in the irons. Rounding out the field are the Linda Rice-trained pair of Elektronic and Mount Travers; Fully Loaded, who will make his turf debut for trainer Ralph Nicks; main-track only entrant Releasethethunder and Neverland Rock, most recently second and third, respectively, in an optional claimer at Belmont Park; and Dunph, a stakes winner on dirt trained by Mike Maker for Three Diamonds Farm. The Quick Call is carded as Race 9 as a part of Thursday's 10-race card. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.

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7.6.2019:

Preservationist Upsets Catholic Boy in G2 Suburban

ELMONT, N.Y. - Centennial Farms' Preservationist was forwardly placed and took control at the top of the stretch to win his stakes debut over dual Grade 1 winner Catholic Boy in the Grade 2, $700,000 Suburban going 1 1/4 miles over a fast Belmont Park main track. Preservationist, with Junior Alvarado up, took command to lead by a length to 3-5 favorite Catholic Boy, who appeared rank in the early stages, and recorded an opening quarter-mile in 24.48 seconds. Just past the quarter pole, Catholic Boy made an early bid and moved to the outside of Preservationist to dictate the pace through a half-mile in 48.09. Around the far turn, Alvarado began urging Preservationist, who responded by moving to the inside to overtake Catholic Boy past the three-quarters pole and eventually regained the lead. A four-wide Catholic Boy tried to come back but Preservationist widened his margin in the final furlong to win by 4 1/2 lengths in 1:59.99. Catholic Boy stayed on for second from Grade 1 winner Pavel, who got third. Rounding out the order of finish were Realm, Cordmaker, Carlino, Marconi, Rocketry, Lone Sailor, Wooderson and Mead Hall. The win was a second stakes victory of the meet for Alvarado, who guided New York-bred Mr. Buff to victory in Sunday's Saginaw. It also was Alvarado's third Suburban victory after guiding Flat Out (2013) and Effinex (2015) in previous years. "My horse broke good, and I let him find his rhythm. He took the lead during the first part of the race and then Catholic Boy came on the outside - a little keen," Alvarado said. "I wasn't worried. I was trying to give a nice, confident ride to my horse. At the five-sixteenths pole, when it was time to pick it up, I asked him, and he was there for me. He gave me a nice run in the end." Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, Preservationist entered the Suburban off a convincing victory over a sloppy main track at Belmont, where he earned a 101 Beyer Speed Figure. Preservationist gave Jerkens his third Suburban victory after winning back-to-back years with Effinex in 2015-16. "He was there all the way for him. Junior [Alvarado] said he felt good coming down the backside," Jerkens said. "He was so nice and relaxed coming off of a big race, so I thought he'd be fit enough. He's got a lot of talent but he's got stamina too. He has a lot of quality all through his female family. Nice to see it all come together to pick up a graded stakes win here today." Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano said Catholic Boy wouldn't settle during the early stages of the Suburban. "He felt good. It was a good break. He didn't relax in the first part of the race, and I think that's what cost me the race," Castellano said. Preservationist returned $9.90 for a $2 win bet and cashed a check for $375,000 enhancing his lifetime earnings up to $572,300. His record now stands at 8-5-1-2. Bred in Kentucky by Emory Hamilton, Preservationist is by Arch out of the Dixieland Band broodmare Flying Dixie, who is a half-sister to four-time graded stakes winner Hungry Island. Live racing resumes on Sunday, July 7, Closing Day of the Belmont Park spring/summer meet. First post is at 12:30 p.m.

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7.6.2019:

Henley's Joy Scores Upset in G1 Belmont Derby Invitational

ELMONT, N.Y. - Bloom Racing Stable's Henley's Joy was briefly on the Kentucky Derby trail earlier this year. But the Kitten's Joy colt instead made his mark on a different Derby contested at 1 ¼ miles, this one on turf, overtaking Social Paranoia from the outside and closing strong for a three-quarter-length victory in the 70th running of Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational to highlight the Stars & Stripes Racing Festival at Belmont Park. One of five graded stakes on the loaded card, the Belmont Derby, the first leg of the Turf Trinity, served as the opener for the New York Racing Association's Turf Triple series, offering $5.25 million in purse money for sophomores over three legs at Belmont and Saratoga Race Course. Henley's Joy, whose 2-year-old campaign included a runner-up effort in the Grade 3 Bourbon before a 13th-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, was moved off the turf for one race by trainer Mike Maker for the Grade 2 Risen Star in February at Fair Grounds. After running 10th in the Kentucky Derby prep, Maker switched the Kentucky bred back to grass, where he ran second in the Grade 3 Transylvania on April 5 at Keeneland. On Saturday, the move back to grass proved prescient as the 20-1 shot broke well and was forwardly placed, covered in third position as Moon Colony led the full 14-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in 23.31 seconds and the half in 47.80 on the firm inner turf. Out of the far turn, jockey Jose Lezcano kept Henley's Joy to the inside before tipping him out, where he passed Moon Colony before overtaking Social Paranoia in the final furlong and outkicked his challenger, hitting the wire in 1:58.29. "It's such a big race to win and it's so important, but for this particular horse, he's had the worst racing luck and he's just been so honest, so many rough trips, it was just so gratifying to see him be able to show everybody how talented he is," said winning owner Jeffrey Bloom. "He's had so many near misses in situations where things didn't go right and he answered the call today in a big spot." Henley's Joy, bred in Kentucky by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, registered his first graded stakes win in seven attempts, returning $43.60 on a $2 win wager. His winner's share of $535,000 nearly earned him millionaire status, with his career earnings soaring to $953,160. "It was great," said Maker assistant Nolan Ramsey. "I was kind of expecting it. He's a horse I hate to make excuses for, but it seems like every race he's got some sort of excuse. Today, he got the perfect ride and a clean trip and he really relished the distance. "He shows up. He's very consistent," Nolan added. "He's never really run a bad race. We knew a mile and a quarter would fit him, so we were confident going in, but obviously it was a really tough field so we knew he needed a clean trip, and that's what he got." Lezcano won his fifth graded stakes of 2019 and tallied his first Grade 1 victory since piloting Voodoo Song to the 2018 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga. "The horse seemed very comfortable," Lezcano said. "Around the backside, I was a little worried he was kind of jumping off the bridle. When I asked him to take off, it was easier because of how he broke out of the gate." At 16-1, the Todd Pletcher-trained Social Paranoia completed the high-priced exacta, finishing a half-length ahead of the Irish-bred Rockemperor for second. Social Paranoia, ridden by Manny Franco, recorded his best stakes finish and is 0-1-3 in four career graded stakes starts. "I got the trip that I wanted," Franco said. "The horse responded to me every time that I asked. I just got beat by a better horse. This is the second time that I've been on him and he ran great for me. I could not ask for more." Trained by Chad Brown, Rockemperor was making his North American debut. "Very good effort he just didn't break good enough to be closer up front," Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez said. "Following the start, he came out with a good run and finished up well." Completing the order of finish was Digital Age, post-time favorite Seismic Wave, Plus Que Parfait, Standard Deviation, Cape of Good Hope, Moon Colony, English Bee, Spinoff, Blenheim Palace and Master Fencer. Demarchelier was pulled up and vanned off. He's No Lemon, an also-eligible, was scratched. The Turf Trinity series will continue with the Grade 1, $1 million Saratoga Derby on August 4 at Saratoga Race Course and concludes with the Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Derby on September 7 at Belmont. In Race 7 on Saturday, Concrete Rose won the Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational to kick off the Turf Tiara for sophomore fillies.

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7.6.2019:

Concrete Rose Wins G1 Belmont Oaks Invitational

ELMONT, N.Y. - After sitting a perfect trip just off a leisurely pace, Concrete Rose bounded away once given her cue at the top of the stretch, posting a 2 3/4-length win in Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational in capturing the first leg of the newly minted Turf Tiara for trainer Rusty Arnold. Concrete Rose, a daughter of Twirling Candy owned by Ashbrook Farm and BBN Racing, entered the Belmont Oaks off a dominant score in the Grade 3 Edgewood on May 3 at Churchill Downs but had yet to run beyond 1 1/16 miles. She passed that distance test with flying colors on Stars & Stripes Day at Belmont Park, completing the 1 ¼-mile turf event for 3-year-old fillies in 1:59.97 on the firm inner course. "It's a long year, but her last two have really moved her forward," Arnold said. "I was impressed today. I was very, very happy with how she ran. "[I was concerned] I rested her too much," he added. "Everyone had run and we hadn't run in two months and a couple of days and I was a little worried. Her training went smooth, her works went smooth and everything went well. Sometimes your plan works and sometimes it doesn't work, but this one worked." The complexion of the race changed dramatically when 8-5 favorite Newspaperofrecord, who broke on top, was rated back by Irad Ortiz, Jr., which allowed Japanese invader Jodie to strike the front and set tepid fractions of 24.29 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 49.16 for the half, and 1:14.14 for three-quarters. The speedy Newspaperofrecord was rank as Ortiz tried to get her to settle, but Julien Leparoux had no such trouble aboard Concrete Rose, who willingly took up position just off the leader in second and coasted along in the early stages. The field continued to cruise around the far turn, going a mile in 1:37.79, but in a hurried top of the stretch, Concrete Rose quickly overtook front-running Jodie and blitzed her competition with a final quarter-mile completed in just over 22 seconds. "I thought Chad's horse [Newspaperofrecord, No. 2] would be on the lead unless they came for her, but I guess today they tried something new and took her back a little bit," said Leparoux. "The Japanese horse [Jodie, No. 7] wanted to go, so I was happy to be second and my filly relaxed beautiful for me the whole race. I knew at the quarter-pole, I had a lot left. She made a big run at the end. It was nice." Concrete Rose returned $7.80 on a $2 win wager and increased her earnings to $818,650. Despite the soft pace, the Aidan O'Brien-trained Just Wonderful emerged from the back of the pack with a flourish to nip Cambier Parc for second. The Coolmore color-bearer was making her second start in two weeks - with a trans-Atlantic trip in between - after finishing a distant eighth in the Group 1 Coronation at Royal Ascot, a move similar to the one O'Brien employed last year when he sent out Athena on just six days rest to take the Belmont Oaks. "She likes to drop in at the races at home, so we decided to do the exact same thing here," said Just Wonderful jockey Wayne Lordan. "I thought she came home really well. It's her first time going that trip as well, and for the future she'll get that trip. Hopefully, she can come back out here and compete again. I'm delighted with the run." Trainer Chad Brown, who had won three of five editions of the race and had three entered in this year's running, could do no better than third, with his Cambier Parc taking that position. It was another two lengths back to the Japanese-bred Jodie in fourth. Dyna Passer, Cafe Americano, Coral Beach, Olendon and Newspaperofrecord completed the order of finish. The next leg of the Turf Tiara, which culminates in the $750,000 Jockey Club Oaks on September 7 at Belmont, will be the $750,000 Saratoga Oaks presented by Encore Boston Harbor on August 2 at Saratoga Race Course. As to Concrete Rose's participation in the race, there is no doubt in Arnold's mind that his talented turf filly will be present. "Absolutely. Unless there's an issue," said the trainer. "That's why we rested her and hopefully it worked."

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7.6.2019:

Promises Fulfilled Punches Breeders' Cup Sprint Ticket in John A. Nerud Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Robert Baron's Promises Fulfilled made every call a winning one en route to a 4 ½-length win in the Grade 2, $300,000 John A. Nerud, a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Stars & Stripes Racing Festival Saturday at Belmont Park. Trained by Dale Romans and piloted by Luis Saez, Promises Fulfilled broke sharply and established a clear lead, marking the quarter-mile in 23.16 seconds and the half-mile in 46.09 under moderate pressure from Warrior's Club on the fast main track. Killybegs Captain, who stumbled at the break, advanced with a wide move approaching the turn as Warrior's Club turned up the pressure on the pacesetter. Promises Fulfilled, under a hold by Saez, was asked for his best at the top of the lane and demonstrated a powerful turn of foot to turn back Killybegs Captain and kicked clear, stopping the clock in 1:21.75. Warrior's Club dug in down the lane to regain second by a neck from the game Killybegs Captain. Nicodemus, Bon Raison, Do Share and New York Central completed the order of finish. Majestic Dunhill and Pat On the Back were scratched. Saez was full of praise for the millionaire chestnut's effort down the lane. "He broke so sharp. He always breaks sharp. The last time, he missed the break, but today he broke so clean, he was right there," said Saez. "When he came to the stretch, and he switched leads, he was running. I still had a lot of horse. It's very hot today. He got a little tired when he crossed the wire, but that's normal." Promises Fulfilled competed in four consecutive Grade 1 events ahead of the Nerud, finishing fourth in the 2018 Breeders' Cup Sprint, and fourth again in both the Dubai Golden Shaheen and last out in the Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont. The Shackleford chestnut was third in the Churchill Downs in May. Romans said the unfortunate start for Killybegs Captain worked in Promises Fulfilled's favor. "It didn't look like there was much speed and when [Killybegs Captain, No. 5] missed the break, that left him out there. He was going to be hard to beat if no one pressed him. He hadn't had that slow of a pace in his life," said Romans. "Look at the horses he's been running against; this race finally gave him a bit of class relief. But this should set him up well. "Where we go next, we'll have to sit down and figure it out," added Romans. "He can make a mile. There's just a good group of horses running three-quarters and a mile. We'll get that all figured out." Formerly the Belmont Sprint Championship, the Nerud was renamed in honor of the late Hall of Fame conditioner, who trained such legends of the sport as Dr. Fager and 1957 Belmont Stakes winner Gallant Man. In 1968, Dr. Fager became the only thoroughbred to win four Championships in one year: Sprinter, Turf Horse, Handicap Horse and Horse of the Year. A founding member of the Breeders' Cup, Nerud served as chairman of the Breeders' Cup marketing committee in its early years. The longtime trainer, president and general manager for William L. McKnight's Tartan Farms passed away in 2015 at the age of 102. Bred in Kentucky by David Jacobs, Promises Fulfilled banked $165,000 in victory while improving his record to seven wins and three thirds from 15 starts. He paid $3.30 to win as the 3-5 mutuel favorite.

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6.29.2019:

Stormy Embrace Defends Title in Gulfstream's G2 Princess Rooney

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL –  Matalona Thoroughbreds LLC’s Stormy Embrace earned a shot at Breeders’ Cup redemption Saturday when the 5-year-old daughter of Circular Quay defended her title in the $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2) at Gulfstream Park. The Princess Rooney, a seven-furlong Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ stakes for fillies and mares, co-headlined Saturday’s Summit of Speed program with the $250,000 Smile Sprint (G3).  Stormy Embrace won an automatic fees-paid berth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita Nov. 2 with her repeat victory under Wilmer Garcia. Stormy Embrace becomes the first horse to win consecutive Princess Rooneys since Gold Mover in 2002-2003. Stormy Embrace, who was sent to post as the 1-5 favorite, finished off the board in her Breeders’ Cup appearance last year at Churchill Downs, but the Kathleen O’Connell-trained mare been racing sharply this year. “This business, sometimes you catch a buzz saw and sometimes you are the buzz saw. Thank God, with Kathleen and Wilmer, we were the buzz saw today. Plus, we wanted to go back [to the Breeders’ Cup] because we have unattended business,” said Matalona Thoroughbreds’ Matt Vuscovich. “She didn’t have a really good trip, got beat least 10 lengths in the race and the next time out she beat the winner – [Shamrock Rose] was behind her [in the Jan. 26 Hurricane Bertie (G3) at Gulfstream]. We feel if we can get a good trip in the Breeders’ Cup we can have a legitimate chance.” Stormy Embrace broke alertly and settled nicely on the outside of dueling pacesetters Razorback Lady and Saguaro Row along the backstretch before making a move to the lead on the far turn with a three-wide move under Wilmer Garcia. The Matalona Thoroughbreds homebred edged away from the tiring pacesetters on the turn into the homestretch, where she was met with a strong outside challenge from Trenchtown Cat, who had rallied from mid-pack under Miguel Vasquez. Stormy Embrace responded to her jockey’s urging and fought off the challenge while drawing away to a two-length triumph, her ninth success in 25 career starts. “Wilmer knows her. God bless her, the best thing about her is she’ll do whatever you want. She’s got speed, but if you ask her she’s going to go overboard,” O’Connell said. “Wilmer’s got a great set of hands and he really fits her well.” Trenchtown Cat, the only 3-year-old filly in the race, easily held second 5 ¼ lengths ahead of Royal Asscher. Stormy Embrace ran seven furlongs over a good track in 1:22.99, giving her jockey a second chance to ride her in the Breeders’ Cup. Garcia broke his foot shortly before Stormy Embrace ran in last year’s Breeders’ Cup, costing him the mount on the mare for five of her starts. But he was back aboard for her win May 18 in the Musical Romance Stakes at Gulfstream and again on Saturday. “I’m back in business now,” said Garcia, who guided Stormy Embrace to a six-length victory in last year’s Princess Rooney. “Since I started working with her and working with Kathleen, she’s been doing everything right for me and we just want to keep that team together.” Stormy Embrace, who rebounded from her lackluster showing at Churchill Downs, with a photo-finish loss in the Sugar Swirl (G3) and a third-place finish in the Hurricane Bertie before breaking through with a 10 ¼-length romp in the Musical Romance. O’Connell, who has saddled nearly 2100 winners during her career, won’t look too far into the future, even though Stormy Embrace is in the field for the Filly & Mare Sprint. “We’ll just see how it unfolds. She tells us what she needs and what to do. Like I say, she’s lasted a long time and mostly because [Matalona Thoroughbreds} are patient, wonderful people,” O’Connell said. “We go one race at a time and one day at a time. She’s holding her weight good. Her coat’s good. We’re happy with everything.”

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6.29.2019:

Diamond Oops Sparkles in Gulfstream's G3 Smile Sprint

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Multiple stakes winner Diamond Oops, back on dirt after two failed tries over turf, came with a steady run on the far outside to reel in pacesetting favorite Jalen Journey and edge clear late for a three-quarter-length victory in Saturday’s $250,000 Smile Sprint (G3) at Gulfstream Park. The Smile Sprint for 3-year-olds and up was the last of five stakes, two graded, worth $725,000 in purses on a 14-race Summit of Speed program headlined by the $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2), where Stormy Embrace defended her title and earned another all-fees-paid trip to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. With Julien Leparoux in town to ride for trainer Patrick Biancone, who also co-owns the winner with Diamond 100 Racing Club and Amy E. Dunne, Diamond Oops ($15.20) ran six furlongs in 1:09.92 over a main track rated good for his third career stakes triumph and first in graded company. Sent off at 6-5 in the field of seven, Jalen Journey had his three-race win streak snapped in his stakes debut, staying up for second by 1 ½ lengths over late-running 25-1 long shot Fast Pass. Royal Squeeze, Garter and Tie, Proforma and Cautious Giant completed the order of finish. “He broke very, very sharp and I kind of let the speed go a little bit,” Leparoux said. “I sat behind them around the turn. It got tight so he sort of stepped back a little, but when I gave him a little room he gave me a big run.” Jalen Journey broke running from Post 3 and was intent on the lead under jockey Luis Saez, going the opening quarter-mile in 22.74 seconds while pressed to his outside by Royal Squeeze, who had won four consecutive races since being claimed for $25,000 in February. The top two went a half-mile in 45.31 as Cautious Giant, Fast Pass and Proforma bunched up behind them. Once straightened for home, Saez set Jalen Journey down for a drive with Royal Squeeze glued to his flank. Leparoux had settled Diamond Oops near the back of the pack before gaining ground on the turn, tipping outside and closing steadily down the center of the track. Leparoux also rode Razorback Lady to a fourth-place finish in the Princess Rooney for Biancone on a day that began with a thunderstorm bringing heavy rain and wind. “You thought you were coming in to win with Razorback Lady, but it’s going to be the other way,” Biancone said he told Leparoux. “He said, ‘Why?’ I said, because [Diamond Oops] loves the wet and the other one hates it.” A gelded 4-year-old son of champion Lookin At Lucky, Diamond Oops won the Kiss a Native and Buffalo Man stakes in the summer and winter of 2017 at Gulfstream Park, both on dirt. He made only one start in 2018 before returning in a pair of turf sprints this year, running third behind world-record holder Pay Any Price in the Crystal River Stakes May 27 at Gulfstream and World of Trouble in the Jaipur (G1) June 8 at Belmont Park. Biancone indicated that Diamond Oops, now with four wins from eight lifetime starts, will stay on the main track. “He’s a better horse on the dirt,” he said.

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6.28.2019:

June 29 Cross Country Pick 5 Features Belmont and Woodbine

ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will again host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday June 29, featuring graded stakes from Belmont Park and Woodbine Racetrack in Etobicoke, Ontario. Woodbine will host the first two legs of the multi-track wager, both of which are graded stakes events over the turf at the Toronto oval. Kicking off the Pick 5 is the Grade 2, $175,000 Dance Smartly for fillies and mares, carded as Race 8 with a post time of 4:18 p.m. Eastern. Holy Helena, the 2017 Queen's Plate winner, will return to Woodbine for the 1 ¼-mile event after finishing third last year for trainer Jimmy Jerkens. The next leg is the Grade 1 Highlander for older horses going six furlongs on the grass. Scheduled as Race 9 with a 4:51 p.m. post time, the Highlander features Christophe Clement trainee White Flag shipping from Belmont as he returns to action following a five-month layoff. The son of War Front seeks his first graded stakes victory. Action then shifts to Belmont for the middle leg, with the Grade 2, $250,000 Mother Goose. Peter Brant's Dunbar Road - a two-time winning daughter of Quality Road - is favored in the 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-old fillies over the main track. Jeltrin, seeking a second graded stakes victory, will also compete after running third in the Grade 1 Acorn on June 8. Carded as Race 8, the Mother Goose has a 5:18 p.m. scheduled post time. The Cross Country Pick 5's penultimate leg will showcase Canada's crown jewel - the $1 million Queen's Plate for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds over Woodbine's all-weather surface. Avie's Flatter, the Grade 3 Transylvania winner, is the 5-2 morning line favorite for the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. Post time for the Queen's Plate is 5:36 p.m. and will go off as Race 10. A field of eight fillies and mares 3-years-old and up will conclude the wager at Belmont in Race 9 in a starter allowance race over the inner turf. Funny Money Honey, who was an impressive 6 ½ length winner two starts back over Belmont Park's inner turf, headlines the field for trainer Charlton Baker. Post time is 5:51 p.m. The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. There will be a mandatory payout of the entire pool. Belmont Park - Woodbine Cross Country Pick 5 Leg A: Woodbine-Race 8 - Grade 2 Dance Smartly (4:18 pm)Leg B: Woodbine-Race 9 - Grade 1 Highlander (4:51 pm)Leg C: Belmont Park-Race 8 - Grade 2 Mother Goose (5:18 pm)Leg D: Woodbine-Race 10 - Queen's Plate (5:36 pm)Leg E: Belmont-Race 9 (5:51)

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6.27.2019:

Summit of Speed Brings Michael Stidham Back to South Florida

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Nearly four decades and 2000 winners later, trainer Michael Stidham will return to his South Florida roots for Saturday’s Summit of Speed at Gulfstream Park, where he is scheduled to saddle Saguaro Row for the $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2) and Proforma for the $250,000 Smile Sprint (G3). ”I was raised in Miami Springs. In the 70s I lived in Miami Springs. I went to Miami Springs High School and graduated there,” Stidham said. “You couldn’t ask for a better childhood, growing up in Miami. At that time, Miami Springs was kind of a new community where there were all new homes. It was kind of like growing up in a ‘Leave it to Beaver’ neighborhood. It was fantastic.” Born in New Jersey in 1957, Stidham spent his childhood in South Florida, where his late father, George, worked in Thoroughbred racing in several capacities, including stints as a jockey and a trainer, but more notably, as the business manager and part-time agent for longtime friend and Hall of Fame jockey Bill Hartack. “I played football for the Miami Springs Optimist [Club]. My brother [Steve] and I both played football from about 10 years old into our teenage years,” said Stidham, whose brother went on to become the track photographer at Hialeah. Stidham gravitated to the racetrack and left college after two years to work as a hotwalker and groom for his father, eventually working his way to becoming assistant trainer. “Back in the 70s, racing at Hialeah and Gulfstream in the winter was as good as you could find, so I was lucky to grow up in that era,” Stidham said. “It was a great time for racing to be coming up as a kid.” Stidham saddled his first horse in 1979 before venturing to Southern California soon after. “After I left Florida, I went to California. That’s when I started my training career in the 80s. I got to spend the whole 10 years in the 80s in Southern California. The best racing at the time was going on there. You had [Charlie] Whittingham, [Bill] Shoemaker, Laz Barrera, all the top trainers and jockeys – Eddie Delahoussaye, Chris McCarron. It was endless – all the good horses, trainers and jockeys. I was very lucky to be in the right places at the right time.” Stidham, who spent time as private trainer for Meadowbrook Farm in South Florida in the early 80s before returning to Southern California, credits his exposure to Thoroughbred racing legends for his success as a trainer. “I obviously learned a lot from my dad and Hartack about racing. As far as being a trainer, I got to start out in Miami in the 70s and in Southern California, when I actually started training – that’s where I learned the most, from watching the top guys, Charlie Whittingham, Barrera, [Richard] Mandella, all those guys,” Stidham said. “If you couldn’t learn from following their example, then you couldn’t learn much of anything.” Stidham relocated to the Midwest in the early 90s and saddled his first Grade 1 winner, Two Altazano, for a victory in the Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont Park in 1994. He is currently stabled in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. “In the summer, we have a full barn at Fair Hill and I have 50 at Monmouth and then another 25 at Arlington. We’re spread out, but we’re at three good facilities for training,” he said. “We race at about seven different racetracks all summer and I spend the winter at Fair Grounds and Tampa.” Last December, Stidham shipped Godolphin’s Classic Fit from Tampa Bay Downs to Gulfstream for a 13-1 upset victory in the Hut Hut Stakes for 2-year-old fillies under jockey Albin Jimenez. Stidham has named Jimenez to ride both Saguaro Row in the Princess Rooney, a seven-furlong Breeders’ Cup ‘Win & You’re In’ sprint for fillies and mares, and Proforma in the Smile Sprint, a six-furlong dash for 3-year-olds and up.

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6.26.2019:

Stormy Embrace 'Doing Awesome' in Advance of Gulfstream's G2 Princess Rooney

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Matalona Thoroughbreds LLC’s Stormy Embrace is scheduled to seek a title defense and another shot at the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) in Saturday’s $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2) at Gulfstream Park. The Princess Rooney, a seven furlong Breeders’ Cup ‘Win & You’re In’ sprint for fillies and mares, will co-headline the Summit of Speed program with the $250,000 Smile Sprint (G3), a six-furlong dash for 3-year-olds and up. Stormy Embrace, who is slated to face six rivals Saturday, enters the Princess Rooney off a sensational 10 ½-length victory in the May 18 Musical Romance Stakes at Gulfstream. She is the 4-5 morning-line favorite. Split 1 Million Points at Gulfstream Park on Summit of Speed Day “She ran very credible and very, very big,” trainer Kathleen O’Connell said. “She’s a very, very nice horse.” Last year, Stormy Embrace won the Musical Romance on her way to capturing the Princess Rooney by six lengths to earn a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs. After finishing off-the-board at Churchill, the Matalona homebred mare returned to finish behind multiple-stakes winner Dream Pauline twice during the Championship Meet, losing a photo finish in the Dec. 15 Sugar Swirl (G3) and checking in third in the Hurricane Bertie (G3). The Florida-bred mare ran seven furlongs in swift 1:21.51 while defending her title in the Musical Romance, named to honor the South Florida-based filly who captured the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs. “She’s just as good this year as she was last year. She’s a model of consistency. She doesn’t have to be anywhere. She just has to have things unfold,” said O’Connell, who has saddled the winners of nearly 2100 races. “In the Breeders’ Cup, they unfolded terrible and I just throw that one out, but she’s been a model of consistency otherwise.” Stormy Embrace debuted in July 2016 with a handy 9 ½-length victory in a $50,000 maiden claiming race and went on to be multiple stakes-placed before blossoming in 2018. “She exhibited a lot of talent early on when she was 2. She went through some physical growing pains and mental growing pains and she’s just matured into what she is, which is a very solid racehorse,” O’Connell said. “She’s doing awesome. Hopefully we’ll have a big day.” Wilmer Garcia has the return mount. Newtown Anner Stud and Mark D. Breen’s Saguaro Row, who is based at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. with trainer Michael Stidham, is slated to seek her first stakes victory in the Princess Rooney. The 4-year-old daughter of Union Rags is coming off back-to-back six-furlong optional claiming allowance races at Keeneland and Belmont Park since returning to Stidham’s stable. She had debuted for Stidham in Sept. 2017 with a victory at six furlongs at Laurel Park and finished fifth at a mile in the Rags to Riches Stakes at Churchill Downs. Saguaro Row subsequently finished off the board in two starts around two turns at Fair Grounds for trainer Brendan Walsh in early 2018 before heading to the sidelines for a year and returning to Stidham for her 2019 campaign. “I sprinted her and both times she won. I think the key is letting her do what she does best, which is sprint,” Stidham said. Albin Jimenez, who rode the Stidham-trained Classic Fit for a victory in the Hut Hut Stakes early in the 2018-2019 Championship Meet at Gulfstream, has the mount. Saguaro Row is 5-2. Trenchtown Cat, was also entered to Saturday’s $75,000 Azalea for 3-year-old fillies, but trainer Rohan Crichton and owners Dennis Smith, Span Investments, In. and George Benedicty have opted for a start in the Princess Rooney. “She’s won two stakes races. If she even hits the board, it improves her value as a broodmare,” Crichton said. “I think her Ana T race merits a shot in the Princess Rooney. The daughter of Discreet Cat, a stakes winner on turf during the Championship Meet, made an auspicious debut on dirt last time out in the May 18 Ana T Stakes, scoring a 3 ¾-length triumph in the 6 ½-furlong sprint for fillies and mares. Split 1 Million Points at Gulfstream Park on Summit of Speed Day “I expected her to run well on dirt, but if I said that I expected her to run the way she did, I’d be lying through my teeth,” said Crichton, who had previously saddled Trenchtown Cat for a victory on turf in the Sanibel Island Stakes on the undercard of the March 30 Florida Derby (G1). Miguel Vasquez, who guided Trenchtown Cat to victory in the Ana T, has the return mount. She is 6-1. Among the older fillies that fell victim to Trenchtown Cat in the Ana T was Razorback Lady, who is also slated to return in the Princess Rooney. Owned by trainer Patrick Biancone, the 4-year-old daughter of Overdriven, who has finished first or second in eight of 11 lifetime races, set a pressured pace before settling for second behind Trenchtown Cat in her first race since finishing second in the March 16 Inside Information (G2) at Gulfstream.. “She was coming off a little layoff,” Biancone said. “She’ll be fitter for this race.” Julien Leparoux, who rode Razorback Lady in the Inside Information, is scheduled to return to Gulfstream to be reunited with the Arkansas-bred filly, who is 8-1. OGMA Investments LLC’s Royal Asscher (12-1) is slated to seek her third straight victory since being claimed by trainer Gustavo Delgado for $12,500 in February. The well-traveled 5-year-old daughter of Tale of Ekati, who has raced from Kentucky to Florida with stops in Southern California, Arizona, Texas and Louisiana, won a pair of mile optional claiming allowance races going away. Edgard Zayas was aboard for both victories and has been named to ride Royal Asscher again Saturday. Flying Finish Farm Inc.’s Reagan’s Rose (30-1) and Arindel’s Weekend Mischief (15-1) round out the field.

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6.26.2019:

Proforma Seeks to Make Grade on Dirt in G2 Smile Sprint at Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – DARRS, Inc.’s Proforma, already a graded-stakes winner on the turf, will attempt to duplicate that success on the dirt as part of a wide-open field of seven sprinters in Saturday’s $250,000 Smile Sprint (G3) at Gulfstream Park. The six-furlong Smile Sprint for 3-year-olds and up is among five stakes, two graded, worth $725,000 in purses on a 14-race Summit of Speed program highlighted by the $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2), a ‘Win and You’re In’ event for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. Split 1 Million Points at Gulfstream Park on Summit of Speed Day Also on the card are a trio of $75,000 stakes, the Carry Back for 3-year-olds and Azalea for 3-year-old fillies, both seven furlongs on dirt, and the 5 ½-furlong Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint for 3-year-olds and up, starring two-time defending champion Pay Any Price. First race post time is 11:30 a.m. Proforma, based at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., is a gelded 5-year-old son of multiple graded-stakes winning sprinter Munnings, whose four career victories include the 2010 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship (G2) in his lone South Florida appearance. The Smile Sprint will mark Proforma’s debut at Gulfstream, his seventh consecutive start at a different track dating back to last summer at Monmouth Park. Winner of the 6 ½-furlong Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (G3) last September, he is 0-for-2 in 2019. “He’s just one of those horses that goes out there and gives you a big effort every time,” trainer Michael Stidham said. Proforma ran third by a length in his seasonal debut, the 5 ½-furlong King T. Leatherbury Stakes April 20, won by Dirty in course-record time of 1:00.65. He returned to be second in the six-furlong Maryland Sprint (G3) on the undercard of the Preakness Stakes (G1) May 18 at Pimlico Race Course, beaten 1 ¾ lengths by New York Central, who ran a stakes-record 1:08.74. “Numbers-wise his figures have been pretty comparable. His actual best number of his career was his last one, and that one was on the dirt,” Stidham said. “He won the Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint – that was a $500,000 race – so he’s obviously good on both surfaces. He’s training really well right now. We’re looking for a big effort from him.” Albin Jimenez has the mount on Proforma (4-1) from Post 1. Jacks or Better Farm homebred 3-year-old Garter and Tie, 7-2 and based at Gulfstream with trainer Ralph Nicks, has earned all three of his career wins over his home track, each of them in stakes, most recently a 10 ½-length romp in the 6 ½-furlong Ocala June 1. Winner of the Florida Stallion Series’ Affirmed Stakes and one-mile Smooth Air as a juvenile, Garter and Tie was off the board in the Holy Bull (G2) and Florida Derby (G1) before being returned to sprinting. He was also nominated to the Carry Back. “He’s in good shape,” Nicks said. “[The Ocala] was amazing. It was an amazing race. He just got into a huge rhythm and ran probably the best race of his life. We were very impressed, but it was impressive enough to wonder if he’s going to bounce a little bit. He’s put three nice races together, but it’s a bit of a concern.” Jeffrey Sanchez, aboard for the past four races, gets the return call from Post 5. Imaginary Stables and Glenn Ellis’ Royal Squeeze, unbeaten since being claimed for $25,000 Feb. 8 at Gulfstream, takes a four-race win streak into the Smile Sprint. Three of those victories have come in starter optional claimer company, but the 7-year-old gelding beat Garter and Tie by 1 ¼ lengths in the seven-furlong Big Drama Stakes for Florida-breds. Overall, Royal Squeeze has earned 10 victories in 35 starts. Eight of those wins have come at Gulfstream, where he is three-for-four going six furlongs, including his last out triumph by a nose June 7. “Last time he ran I expected him to pretty much open up on the field, and he didn’t,” trainer Elizabeth Dobles said. “I was a little concerned after the race, thinking that I might be kind of pushing my luck running him back and everything like that. Instead of breezing him, I wanted to have an easy race for him and that looked like a perfect spot. He ran a little quicker than I would have liked, but he seemed to come out of it OK. Split 1 Million Points at Gulfstream Park on Summit of Speed Day “I don’t think there’s really any concerns with him. He’s doing the best he has been. We haven’t changed anything with him for him to go downhill. He can’t really improve much more than where he’s at now; he’s in his best form. The only thing I’m really concerned about with a race like that is the speed,” she added. “The last two races he went extremely fast. I wish I could get him settled a little bit behind a horse or two and then make his run, just so he’s not burned out toward the end of the race. He’s very fast.” Jairo Rendon rides Royal Squeeze back from Post 6. Paradise Farms Corp. and Walder Racing’s Fast Pass has been off the board once in seven career tries at Gulfstream since joining trainer Peter Walder’s string for the Claiming Crown, where he finished third in the six-furlong Express. The 6-year-old gelding has won his last two races, both in come-from-behind fashion, the latter by a length over Cautious Giant in the Open Lead Stakes May 26, also at six furlongs. “Hopefully, there will be enough speed in front of him and he’ll do what he did last time,” Walder said. Fast Pass will carry Miguez Vasquez, also up in the Open Lead, from Post 7. Moshe Mark’s Cautious Giant, beaten favorite in the Open Lead, is entered to make his 49th career start in the Smile Sprint, his ninth graded-stakes try and first since the 2017 Whitney (G1) at Saratoga. Third in a pair of Grade 2 stakes in California in 2016, he has a record of 6-6-2 from 17 starts with earnings of $276,570 since being claimed for $16,000 out of a runner-up finish Sept. 24, 2017 at Gulfstream. Commonwealth Stable’s Jalen Journey, the 9-5 morning-line favorite, will be making his stakes debut having won three straight races at Gulfstream since early March by a combined 17 ¼ lengths for trainer Kathleen O’Connell. The 4-year-old With Distinction gelding has been on or near the lead in each of his wins, two with Championship Meet record-holder Luis Saez, who makes the trip in from New York to ride. “I wish the race was a little longer because he’s a very long-striding horse, but I have a lot of faith in Luis so we’ll just go from there,” O’Connell said. “I’m real happy with him. At least we’ll be walking right out of the stall. Again, I’d be happier if it was a longer distance, but we’re walking into a stake in Florida in our own backyard and we have Luis, so we have two out of three. We’ll see if we can eke it out.” Completing the field is Amy Dunne, Ivy Hui and trainer Patrick Biancone’s Diamond Oops, a two-time stakes winner on the dirt at Gulfstream as a 2-year-old in 2017, returning to the main track after a pair of turf sprints including a fifth behind World of Trouble in the Jaipur (G1) June 8 at Belmont Park.

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6.26.2019:

NYRA Launches Nationwide Late Pick 5 on Wednesday, July 3

ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced the Late Pick 5 will become available to all horseplayers beginning on Wednesday, July 3 at Belmont Park and continuing through the remainder of 2019. Previously offered as the NYRA Bets Late Pick 5 and available exclusively to NYRA Bets customers, New York on-track bettors, and those betting with a New York simulcasting facility, the Late Pick 5 will now be available to all wagering platforms. The NYRA Bets Late Pick 5 will conclude on Sunday, June 30 with a mandatory payout. "We are pleased to respond to the popular demand of horseplayers and open the Late Pick 5 to horse racing fans across the country," said Tony Allevato, President of NYRA Bets and Executive Producer for NYRA TV. "An exciting summer of racing will be that much more interesting with the late pick 5 on the wagering menu every day at Belmont and Saratoga." The Late Pick 5, featuring a low 15 percent takeout rate and 50 cent minimum, will be offered on every card at Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct Racetrack.  The popular multi-race wager, first offered at Saratoga Race Course in 2016, will also feature the same carryover provision of 100% of the net pool into the next day's Late Pick 5 if there are no winning tickets. All multi-leg wagers with a carryover provision will have a mandatory payout on the last race day of the Belmont Park meet slated for Sunday, July 7. The open Late Pick 5 will begin on Wednesday, July 3 leading into the 2019 Stars & Stripes Racing Festival slated for Saturday, July 6 with five graded stakes races, including the launch of the inaugural $5.25 million Turf Triple Series, featuring the Turf Trinity and Turf Tiara for sophomores over three legs at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. The Turf Trinity begins with the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational on July 6, while the first leg of the filly Turf Tiara will be the Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational - both events will be contested at 10 furlongs and broadcast live nationwide on NBC. Also featured on the lucrative Stars & Stripes card is the Grade 2, $700,000 Suburban Handicap, the Grade 3, $250,000 Dwyer and the Grade 3, $300,000 John A. Nerud, a Breeders' Cup Win & You're In Event to the Breeders' Cup Sprint. The spring/summer meet continues at Belmont Park through Sunday, July 7, before live racing shifts to historic Saratoga Race Course for the 2019 meet beginning on Thursday, July 11.

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6.24.2019:

From Calder to Gulfstream: History of the Summit of Speed

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - There has never been a shortage of searing heat in South Florida summers. At one time, though, sizzle was lacking. At least when it came to summer racing. No track understood that better at one time than Calder Race Course, which once held the summer dates for decades. “It was kind of dead,” said former Calder Race Course president Ken Dunn. “We were isolated. We were racing with what we had. Nobody was shipping in to sweat.” While the track enjoyed a strong reputation as a launching pad for future racing stars — from Kentucky Derby winners Spend A Buck and Lil E. Tee to divisional champions Smile and Princess Rooney — it lacked the kind of signature event that would bring it national recognition, one that would turn it into a drawing card for the country’s top horses, trainers and jockeys. That all changed in 2000 when Calder launched the “Summit of Speed,” a one-day program devoted exclusively to high-octane sprinters racing for eye-popping purses. It proved to be a stroke of genius, an instant hit that has endured to this day. After the Summit of Speed was cancelled in 2014 while racing dates in South Florida were realigned, Gulfstream picked up the five stakes races and will once again host one of Florida’s biggest days of summer racing Saturday featuring the $250,000 Breeders’ Cup ‘Win & You’re In’ Princess Rooney (G2) and $250,000 Smile Sprint (G3). “It’s become a big day for us,” said Gulfstream General Manager Bill Badgett. “Our program on Summit of Speed Day has been incredibly strong and the events surrounding it have only grown over the past five years. We’re looking forward to a big day.” The Summit of Speed was launched through the collective efforts of three of Calder’s former officials: Dunn, head of marketing Mike Cronin, and its racing secretary, the late Bob Umphrey. Together, they brought national attention and respect to a “little old country track” that went largely unnoticed in the summer. “It put us in the limelight,” said David Fawkes, whose horses have enjoyed success in the Summit of Speed. Dunn said Calder officials had looked for a summer spark for years, something before the Florida Stallion Stakes (now FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes) in August and before northern trainers began shipping their horses south to spice up the fall and winter racing seasons. “I wanted to do something to get a little interest at the beginning of the meet,” Dunn said. They tried something called “June Jam,” a one-day program of stakes that met with mild success, but nothing on the grand scale South Florida officials were longing for. “We started looking around the country and looked for a category that wasn’t filled,” Dunn said. In their quest to create a unique event, they ruled out races restricted to 3-year-olds (the Triple Crown erased that prospect) or turf specialists (the summer rainy season in South Florida made that a gamble). Major races already existed elsewhere for older, handicap horses. Ultimately, they settled on sprinters. And to help pull it off, they gambled big, offering $1 million in total purses, an unthinkable amount of money for a track was that was accustomed to carding $50,000 weekend stakes during the summer. Cronin came up with the name: Summit of Speed. “We had a little bit of an issue initially convincing the local horsemen,” Dunn said. “We were taking all this money that they would have rather seen spread out in $50s and $75s,” Dunn said. “There was a battle, initially. But we convinced them that, ultimately, it would be to their benefit. Ultimately, it would be beneficial to them if we were successful.” Recalled Fawkes: “I remember all the grumbling about the out-of-towners coming in for all that purse money. I would go to the HBPA (office) in the morning and some of the guys were disappointed. But, at the same time, it gave us an opportunity.” Money alone, though, wasn’t enough to convince national trainers to send their top horses all the way to South Florida — far off the beaten racing path in the summer months — for a crack at riches. Because of its deep and tiring racing surface, Calder had to overcome its reputation as a track that put first-time runners — horses not used to such going — at a disadvantage. There was also the formidable obstacle of the shipping expense required to transport horses to Calder from distant points. Calder waged an aggressive recruiting effort to convince out-of-town trainers that it was worth the effort. Umphrey and Dunn made pilgramages to California, New York and elsewhere to pitch their plan to horsemen in person. They also offered to pay shipping expenses. D. Wayne Lukas was one trainer, among many, who had reservations after being approached. “The one thing about it is they were offering big purses,” Lukas said. “They were very appealing. At the time, we didn’t have a lot of pure sprint stakes to choose from. But the heat factor was a little bit of a concern.” In the end, Calder succeeded. The horses and jockeys came. And they won. Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day rode two winners for trainer Bernie Flint — Hurricane Bertie and Swept Away — in the inaugural running on July 15, 2000, and the track set a one-day handle record. Over time, Lukas, Bill Mott, Todd Pletcher, Bob Baffert, Mark Hennig, Steve Asmussen and Dale Romans — among others — sent sprinters to Calder that landed in the winner’s circle. Day, Jerry Bailey, Mike Smith, Russell Baze, Jorge Chavez, Edgar Prado, Kent Desormeaux and Corey Nakatani were among the host of nationally acclaimed jockeys who flew down to ride. Local trainers, despite their initial reservations, also came out ahead. Dunn calculated that, at one time, more than 50 percent of all purse money that was awarded ended up going to horsemen stabled at Calder. This year, more South Florida-based trainers will compete in the Princess Rooney (G2) and Smile (G3) than ever before. Summit winners such as Lost in the Fog, Orientate, Benny the Bull and Big Drama went on to capture the year-end Eclipse Award as the nation’s champion sprinter. Summit of Speed stakes were accorded Graded-stakes status — the best of the best — and the Princess Rooney has become a ‘Win & You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup event. “Nobody, when we started this, would have ever thought there would be a (graded stakes) at Calder in the middle of the summer,” Dunn said. “We got national exposure. Even the first year, it did what we wanted it to do — generate some excitement when there wasn’t any.” And that continues 19 years later.

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6.24.2019:

Belmont has $500K Triple Pick 6 Carryover on Wednesday, June 26

ELMONT, N.Y. - Aided by longshot victories in the opening and closing legs, the Pick 6 went unsolved for a third straight day, resulting in a triple carryover of more than a half-million dollars into Wednesday's card at Belmont Park. Sunday's Pick 6 started when Mark Hennig trainee Concerned won her debut, returning $9.10 on a $2 win wager. In the second leg, Kid Is Frosty bested a field of seven to win the $150,000 New York Station Stakes Series Cupecoy's Joy in Race 5. The son of Frost Giant paid $14.80 to win. The following leg saw an even bigger price cross the wire first, as Listentoyourheart [$34.00] made her career debut a winning one for trainer Christophe Clement. The only favorite in the Pick 6 sequence to win came via Endorsed's victory in Race 7, as he paid $4.80 to win in emerging from an eight-month layoff in style. Rinaldi became a maiden no more in the $150,000 NYSSS Spectacular Bid in Race 8, returning $23.20 for the stakes victory for trainer H. James Bond. Securing the triple carryover was 28-1 longshot Cat Lady Steph, who won her career debut over the inner turf and rewarded bettors by returning $58.00 and securing a carryover of $500,310.78. A consolation payout of $21,502 was awarded to bettors who had five of six winners in the Pick 6. Bettors who hit the Late Pick 5 were awarded $71,445. Live racing resumes on Wednesday with a 1:30 p.m. Eastern first post for the eight-race card. The Pick 6 will commence with Race 3 with an approximate post time of 2:38 p.m.

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6.20.2019:

June 22 Cross Country Pick 5 Features Belmont and Monmouth

ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will again host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday June 22, featuring racing action from Belmont Park as well as Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey. Race 7 at Belmont kicks off the action when a field of nine fillies and mares plus one main track only entrant will assemble for a starter allowance event going 1 1/16 miles over the Widener turf course. Trainer Mike Stidham has enjoyed success shipping horses to Belmont from his Mid-Atlantic base this meet hitting at a 31% clip and he sends out Tizaprincessa, who breaks from the rail with Joel Rosario up. The race is scheduled for a 4:45 p.m. post time. Action shifts to the Jersey Shore for the next three legs of the Cross Country Pick 5. In the second leg, a field of seven will face off in the Grade 3, $150,000 Philip H. Iselin over the main track at Monmouth Park. West Virginia-bred sensation Runnin'toluvya seeks a second graded stakes triumph in the 1 1/16 event for older horses. Trained by Timothy Grams, Runnin'toluvya won the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic two starts ago and will seek his 11th straight victory. Diamond King, second in the Charles Town Classic, is also entered in the Iselin and seeks his first stakes victory since the Federico Tesio at Laurel Park last April. Carded as Race 10, the Iselin will go off at 5:02 p.m. The Grade 1, $300,000 United Nations at Monmouth Park is the third and middle leg of the Cross Country Pick 5 and features 2017 winner Bigger Picture. Trained by Mike Maker and owned by Three Diamonds Farm, Bigger Picture was third in last year's United Nations and enters this year's running of the 1 ½ mile turf event off of a win in the Grade 2 Elkhorn at Keeneland. Trainer Chad Brown seeks his fourth triumph in the United Nations and sends out graded stakes winner Focus Group as well as multiple Brazilian Group 1 winner Arrocha. Carded as Race 11, the United Nations will go off at 5:28 p.m. Eight fillies and mares will go into line for the $75,000 Lady's Secret, which is the fourth leg of the Cross Country Pick 5 scheduled as Race 12 with a 5:59 p.m. post time. My Miss Lilly seeks her first stakes victory since last year's Grade 2 Gazelle when she breaks from the rail for trainer Mark Hennig. Well-bred Pink Sands enters the 1 1/16-mile event over the Monmouth Park main track off of a third-place effort in the Grade 2 Ruffian at Belmont Park last month. She is trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey. The fifth and final leg of the Cross Country Pick 5 is a maiden claiming event for New York-breds over the inner turf at Belmont Park. A contentious dozen, plus an also eligible entrant and three main track only entrants, will race for a $40,000 tag. Laughing Manners displayed a much improved effort last out, where he tried turf for the first time and was only beaten by 1 ½ lengths. The son of D'Funnybone will look to graduate fourth time out for trainer Charlton Baker. The race is scheduled as Race 10 with a post time of 6:24 p.m. The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. There will be a mandatory payout of the entire pool. Belmont Park - Monmouth Park Cross Country Pick 5 Leg A: Belmont Park - Race 7, 4:45 p.m.Leg B: Monmouth Park - Grade 3, $150,000 Philip H. Iselin (Race 10, 5:02 p.m.)Leg C: Monmouth Park - Grade 1, $300,000 United Nations (Race 11, 5:30 p.m.)Leg D: Monmouth Park - $75,000 Lady's Secret (Race 12, 5:59 pm)Leg E: Belmont Park - Race 10, 6:24 p.m.

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6.19.2019:

Stormy Embrace Tops Nominations for $250,000 Grade 2 Princess Rooney

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Defending champion Stormy Embrace tops a list of 15 nominations for the $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2), a Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ event that will co-headline the June 29 Summit of Speed card at Gulfstream Park with the $250,000 Smile Sprint (G3). Graded-stakes winners Come Dancing and Honey Bunny are also prominent on the list of nominations for the Princess Rooney, a seven-furlong sprint for fillies and mares that will offer the winner a fees-paid berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita Nov. 2. Stormy Embrace most recently came off a four-month freshening to win the May 18 Musical Romance Stakes, scoring by 10 ½ lengths over Lady’s Island, who came back to dominate the Nicole’s Dream Stakes by nine lengths. Stormy Embrace ran seven furlongs in a dazzling 1:21.51. Last year, the Kathleen O’Connell-trained 5-year-old mare won the Musical Romance on her way to capturing the Princess Rooney by six lengths to earn a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs. After finishing off-the-board at Churchill, the Matalona Thoroughbreds LLC’s homebred mare returned to finish behind multiple-stakes winner Dream Pauline twice during the Championship Meet, losing a photo finish in the Dec. 15 Sugar Swirl (G3) and checking in third in the Hurricane Bertie (G3). Blue Devils Racing Stable’s Come Dancing most recently finished second behind Midnight Bisou in the Ogden Phipps (G1) at Belmont Park June 8. The Carlos Martin-trained 5-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon had previously won the Distaff Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct and the Ruffian (G2) at Belmont in her first two starts of 2019. Honey Bunny is riding a five-race winning streak that includes a 1 ½-length triumph in the Winning Colors (G2) at Churchill Downs May 25. Trained by John Ortiz for Hooties Racing LLC, WSS Racing LLC and 4G Racing LLC, the 5-year-old daughter of Tapizar has won 14 of 31 career starts. Stonestreet Stables LLC’s Dawn the Destroyer, who won the Interborough Stakes at Aqueduct before finishing third behind Come Dancing in the Distaff, has been nominated to the Princess Rooney by trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. Dennis Smith, Span Investments, Inc. and George Benedicty’s Trenchtown Cat and trainer Patrick Biancone’s Razorback Lady, 1-2 in the May 25 Ana T. Stakes at Gulfstream, respectively, are both nominated to the Princess Rooney. The Rohan Crichton-trained Trenchtown Cat, who had won two of four starts on turf, won her dirt debut in the Ana T. by 3 ¾ lengths over Razorback Lady, who had previously finished second behind America’s Tale in the Inside Information (G2) during the Championship Meet. Averill Racing LLC and Matties Racing Stable LLC’s Lady’s Island is expected to seek her fifth victory in six starts this year, her only loss coming against Stormy Embrace in the Musical Romance. DAARs Inc.’s Proforma is prominent among the 16 nominations for the Smile Sprint, a six-furlong dash for 3-year-olds and up. Trained by Michael Stidham, the son of Munnings most recently finished second in the Maryland Sprint (G3) on the Preakness (G1) undercard at Pimlico May 18, The 5-year-old gelding has made 12 consecutive stakes starts on dirt and turf since breaking his maiden in his second career race, collecting three victories, including the Kentucky Turf Sprint (G3) at Kentucky Downs. Three Diamonds Farm’s Do Share and Thoroughbred Champions Training Center LLC’s Gladiator King are among others with graded-stakes credentials on the noms list for the Smile Sprint. Trained by Michael Matz, Do Share most recently finished a troubled fourth in the Churchill Downs (G1) on the Kentucky Derby (G1) undercard after capturing the Top Fool (G3) at Belmont in his previous start. Gladiator King won the Hutcheson (G3) during the Championship Meet for trainer Jaime Mejia. Jacks or Better Farm’s Garter and Tie’s Smile credentials include multiple stakes victories over the Gulfstream Park main track. The Ralph Nicks-trained son of Brooks ‘n Down, who won the $200,000 FSS Affirmed last year, most recently captured the Ocala Stakes going away by 10 ½ lengths. Paradise Farms Corp. and Walder Racing’s Fast Past, who captured the Opening Lead stakes; Commonwealth Stable’s Jalen Journey, who ran a mile in 1:34.47 while winning an optional claiming allowance; Granpollo Stable’s King Humor, who won his fourth straight race without defeat June 14; and Imaginary Stables an Glenn Ellis’ Royal Squeeze, who is riding a four-race winning streak, are among the nominees in sharp form leading up to the Smile. The Princess Rooney and the Smile Sprint will be supported by the $75,000 Carry Back, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds, the $75,000 Azalea, a seven-furlong dash for 3-year-old fillies and the $75,000 Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint, a five-furlong turf sprint. Stonehedge LLC’s Well Defined, the $400,000 FSS In Reality winner last year, tops a list of 19 nominations on the strength of a 2 ¾-length triumph in the Sam Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs. The Kathleen O’Connell-trained son of With Distinction has been unraced since finishing fourth behind Belmont Stakes (G1) runner-up Tacitus in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) March 9. Garter and Tie and Gladiator King are nominated for the Carry Back as well as the Smile Sprint. Trenchtown Cat is also nominated to the Azalea. Laurie Plesa’s Itsmyluckycharm is also among the most prominent nominees for the Azalea. The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained daughter of Itsmyluckyday has finished first in six of her last seven starts, including a victory in the Portofino Bay Stakes last time out. Averill Racing LLC and Matties Racing Stable LLC’s Pay Any Price, the world record-holder for five furlongs on turf, is the leading nominee for the Umphrey Turf Sprint, which he won the past two years.

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6.15.2019:

Seeking the Soul Wins Stephen Foster; Punches Ticket to Breeders' Cup

Seeking the Soul prevailed in a thrilling three-horse stretch battle with Quip and Tom’s d’Etat to win Saturday night’s 38th running of the $600,000 Stephen Foster Presented by GE Appliances (Grade II) by a neck at Churchill Downs.Owned and bred by Charles Fipke, 6-year-old Seeking the Soul covered 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:49.27 with Hall of Fame jockey John Velzaquez, who rode the winner for trainer Dallas Stewart.The lofty $345,960 first prize lifted the classy bay Kentucky-bred’s earnings to a whopping $3,335,802 from a record of 7-6-7 in 27 starts. Also, the victory in the Stephen Foster, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In Classic Division” race, earned Seeking the Soul a guaranteed spot in the starting gate for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI), which is scheduled for Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. Also, his connections will have all Breeders’ Cup pre-entry and entry fees covered and receive a travel award up to $10,000.“We will definitely be in the Breeders’ Cup Classic this year,” Stewart said. “This horse is so special to our entire barn. We have to thank Mr. Fipke for allowing us to train him. With family and friends here tonight, this is as good as it gets – we’re in the Classic.”Tom’s d’Etat set the pace in the Foster and led the field of 12 older horses through quarter-mile fractions of :24.60, :49.43 and 1:13.44 with Quip matching strides about a half-length back to his outside. Meanwhile, Seeking the Soul had a perfect tracking trip in sixth down the backstretch.As the horses reached the top of the stretch, Quip drew even with Tom’s d’Etat and took over with three-sixteenths to run. Seeking the Soul moved into third and was full of run in the clear from the outside as he powered down the stretch to engage the leaders. He collared the front-runners with a sixteenth of a mile to run and edged clear for the win.“As soon as I broke out there and got into the first turn, he was a little more aggressive than I want him to be,” Velazquez said. “He’s never been that close in the first part of the race. But I got him back to where I wanted him to be, got comfortable where he was, and then down the stretch, pulling out, he had it.”Seeking the Soul rewarded his backers with mutuels of $11.20, $6.20 and $4.20 as the 9-2 third betting choice. Quip, with Florent Geroux aboard, returned $12.20 and $8.20, also at 9-2. Tom’s d’Etat, another 1 ¾ lengths back in third under Shaun Bridgmohan, paid $4.80 to show.Santa Anita Handicap (GI) winner Gift Box, who invaded from Southern California as the 2-1 favorite, was another 5 ¾ lengths back in fourth and was followed by Thirstforlife, Yoshida (JPN), Exulting, Runaway Ghist, Tenfold, King Zachary, Alkhaatam and Rated R Superstar.This was the third graded stakes win for Seeking the Soul, who won the 2017 Clark Handicap (GI) and last year’s Ack Ack (GIII) at Churchill Downs. After winning the Ack Ack, Seeking the Soul finished second to City of Light in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI) and Pegasus World Cup Invitational (GI). Following an eighth-place finish in the Dubai World Cup (GI), he returned to the states for the Alysheba (GII) on Kentucky Oaks Day and finished third behind McKinzie and Tom’s d’Etat.Seeking the Soul is son of Perfect Soul (IRE) out of the Seeking the Gold mare Seeking the Title.STEPHEN FOSTER QUOTESJohn Velazquez, jockey of SEEKING THE SOUL (winner): “He ran really well here the last time out, and we knew coming from Dubai he probably wasn’t going to be 100 percent. He had the perfect timing to win that race (Grade II Alysheba, May 3, where he finished third), just like this one. Today he was right back to where he normally is, high energy. As soon as I broke out there and got into the first turn, he was a little more aggressive than I want him to be. He’s never been that close in the first part of the race. But I got him back to where I wanted him to be, got comfortable where he was, and then down the stretch, pulling out, he had it.”Dallas Stewart, trainer of SEEKING THE SOUL (winner): “We will definitely be in the Breeders’ Cup Classic this year. This horse is so special to our entire barn. We have to thank Mr. Fipke for allowing us to train him. With family and friends here tonight, this is as good as it gets – we’re in the Classic.”Florent Geroux, jockey of QUIP (runner-up): “We were in a perfect spot tracking (Tom’s d’Etat). He fought the entire way down the stretch and even when (Seeking the Soul) got to us, he tried to dig back in and rally. He ran great.”Shaun Bridgmohan, jockey of TOM’S d’ETAT (third): “It was kind of an interesting race shape. I didn’t expect him to necessarily be on the lead.”Joel Rosario, jockey of GIFT BOX (fourth): “They went pretty slow up front and he just couldn’t close into the leaders.”Wes Hawley, trainer of THIRSTFORLIFE (fifth): “One of these day’s we’ll get the big race. He ran a credible effort but just didn’t match up the Top 3 tonight.”Joel Rosario, jockey of YOSHIDA (JPN) (sixth): “I thought we were sitting in a good spot, but he just wasn’t steady after that. They kind of kicked home and he stayed in the same space. They kind of left me. Turning for home, he made a move, but they kind of got away from us again.”Tyler Gaffalione, jockey of EXHULTING (seventh): “We were in a good spot and were comfortable up the backstretch but when I asked him for his run he picked up some ground just got a little tired late.”Julien Leparoux, jockey of RUNAWAY GHOST (eighth): “We were in a good spot early tracking the leaders but flattened out.”Ricardo Santana Jr. jockey of TENFOLD (ninth): “He ran alright but just wasn’t able to catch the leaders.”Javier Castellano, jockey of KING ZACHARY (10th): “He broke good and got in a good spot but didn’t have the fight in him today.”Channing Hill, jockey of ALKHAATAM (11th): “We were kind of far out of it after that break. He didn’t like running behind horses.”Rodney Prescott, jockey of RATED R SUPERSTAR (12th): “It wasn’t his day today. I thought he’d run a bit better but just didn’t fire.”

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6.13.2019:

June 15 Cross Country Pick 5 Features Belmont, Monmouth, Delaware Park

ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will again host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday June 15, featuring racing action from Belmont Park as well as Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey and Delaware Park in Wilmington, Delaware. A half-dozen fillies and mares get things started in the Grade 3, $100,000 Obeah at Delaware Park. The 1 1/8 mile event over the main track features stakes winner Another Broad, who seeks her first victory against graded stakes company for trainer Todd Pletcher. Carded as Race 7 on Delaware Park's eight-race program, the Obeah will go off at 4:32 p.m. ET. Action shifts to beautiful Belmont Park for the second leg of the Cross Country Pick 5 when nine sophomores plus one main track only entrant will go into line for a one mile allowance event over the Widener turf course. Carded as Race 7 at 4:45 p.m., Todd Pletcher sends out graded stakes winner Opry, who will make his first start since finishing 10th in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf in November at Churchill Downs. The third and middle leg of the Cross Country Pick 5 is the $75,000 Honey Bee at Monmouth Park. Owner Michael Dubb has three horses entered in the 5 ½ furlong turf sprint for 3-year-old fillies including stakes winner A Bit of Both who seeks her fourth straight win and makes her turf debut in the Honey Bee. Carded as Race 10, the Honey Bee will go off at 5:00 p.m. Action shifts back to Belmont Park for the penultimate leg when a field of ten race for a $40,000 tag over the inner turf in Race 8 which has a post time of 5:18 p.m. Going for two in a row is Lucky Bet, who broke his maiden last time out for trainer Bruce Levine. Rounding out the Cross Country Pick 5 is Belmont Park's featured event on Saturday - the $100,000 Dancin Renee for New York-bred fillies and mares. Trainer Linda Rice sends out half-sisters Holiday Disguise and Midnight Disguise. A graded stakes winner when taking last year's Grade 3 Distaff at Aqueduct, Holiday Disguise will look to make amends after two off-the-board efforts against graded stakes company. Three starts back, she won the Broadway on February 16 against fellow Empire State breds. Midnight Disguise enters the Dancin Renee off of a runner-up effort in the Critical Eye. The three-time stakes winner looks for her first victory since taking the Bouwerie last year at Belmont Park. The Dancin Renee is slated as Race 9 and has a scheduled post time of 5:51 p.m. The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. There will be a mandatory payout of the entire pool. Belmont Park - Monmouth Park - Delaware Park Cross Country Pick 5 Leg A: Delaware Park- Grade 3, $100,000 Obeah (Race 7, 4:32 p.m.) Leg B: Belmont Park-Race 7 (4:45 p.m.) Leg C: Monmouth Park- $75,000 Honey Bee (Race 10, 5:00 p.m.) Leg D: Belmont Park-Race 8 (5:18 p.m.) Leg E: Belmont Park- $100,000 Dancing Renee (Race 9, 5:51 p.m.)

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6.13.2019:

Mandatory Pick 6 Payout Sunday at Santa Anita; Roadster Returns

Santa Anita Park has announced a Mandatory Payout for their 20-cent Rainbow Pick 6 on Sunday, June 16.  Heading into Friday's race, the Pick 6 carryover was $1,161,294 and track officials estimate the total 'mandatory payout' pool on Sunday will exceed $5,000,000!  Sunday's Pick 6 begins with Race 4 at 5:30PM ET and features the following races and field sizes.  Race 4 (5:30PM ET) - Starter Allowance @ 6F on the Dirt (7 horses) Race 5 (6:00PM ET) - Allowance OC @ 1 Mile on the Turf (8 horses) Race 6 (6:30PM ET) - Starter Allowance @ 6.5F on the Dirt (7 horses) Race 7 (7:00PM ET) - Possibly Perfect S. @ 1 1/4 Miles on the Turf (8 horses) Race 8 (7:30PM ET) - Affirmed S. @ 1 1/16 Miles on the Dirt (6 Horses) *More Information Below* Race 9 (8:00PM ET) - Maiden Claiming @ 1 Mile on the Turf (11 horses) Please note: The mandatory payout will not trigger if the single ticket jackpot is hit on Friday, June 14 or Saturday, June 16.    SANTA ANITA DERBY WINNER ROADSTER, IDLE SINCE KENTUCKY DERBY, HEADS SUNDAY’S GRADE III, $100,000 AFFIRMED STAKES AT 1 1/16 MILES ARCADIA, Calif. (June 12, 2019) — Bob Baffert holds a powerful three-card hand as his Santa Anita Derby winning Roadster, Mucho Gusto and Kingly loom large among a field of six sophomores in Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita.  Named for Harbor View Farm’s homebred Triple Crown Champion of 1978, the Affirmed will be contested at a mile and one sixteenth. ROADSTER Owner:  Speedway Stable, LLC                  Trainer:  Bob Baffert An authoritative half length winner of the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 6, this Quality Road colt was never a factor over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs, finishing 16th in the Kentucky Derby on May 4.  Sidelined due to an entrapped epiglottis following a third place finish as the 3-5 favorite in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity Sept. 3, Roadster came back running three starts back for Baffert on March 1, as he tried two turns for the first time in a 2 ½ length allowance win at a one mile.  Although ridden by Florent Geroux in the Run for the Roses, he’ll be reunited with Mike Smith, who had ridden him in his first four starts, in Sunday’s Affirmed.  The leading money winner in the field with $706,200, he has three wins from five starts. MUCHO GUSTO Owner:  Michael Lund Petersen                                          Trainer:  Bob Baffert Off as the prohibitive 1-2 favorite, this Kentucky-bred colt by Mucho Macho Man annexed his third graded stakes win on May 18, as he cut back in distance off of a disappointing third in the Grade III, 1 1/8 mile Sunland Derby to take the Grade III, seven furlong Lazaro Barrera Stakes here by 3 ¼ lengths.  A 4 ¾ length winner of the Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes going 1 1/16 miles three starts back on Feb. 2, Mucho Gusto could prove an elusive front-running target under regular rider Joe Talamo.  KINGLY Owner:  Clearview Stables, LLC, RAC O4 Racing, LLC and Michael Meegan              Trainer:  Bob Baffert A first out maiden winner going six furlongs at Del Mar on Dec. 1, this son of Tapit comes off a third place finish to Affirmed rival Visitant in the one mile Alcatraz Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on May 19.  A half length victor over Visitant two starts back in the 1 1/8 mile California Derby on April 27, Kingly is 5-2-2-1 and will be ridden by Mario Gutierrez for the third consecutive time.  With his last three starts coming on synthetic Tapeta at Golden Gate, he’ll return to Santa Anita’s main track for the first time since Jan. 31, when he was third as the 8-5 favorite in a one mile allowance over a sloppy track. VISITANT Owner:  Williamson Racing, LLC                                          Trainer:  John F. Martin A winner of three out his four starts, all at Golden Gate, this homebred colt by Ghostzapper  rallied from off the pace to win the one mile Alcatraz on May 19 by 1 ¼ lengths, earning an Affirmed-best last-out Beyer Speed figure of 91.  With regular rider William Antongeorgi in town to ride, it would appear Visitant will have plenty of pace to run at as he gets a major test for class. THE GRADE III AFFIRMED STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER Visitant (William Antongeorgi) - 122 Always Forgiven (Kent Desormeaux) - 120 Manhattan Up (Tiago Pereira) - 120 Kingly (Mario Gutierrez) - 122 Roaster (Mike Smith) - 124 Mucho Gusto (Joe Talamo) - 124  

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6.8.2019:

Sir Winston Surges to Win G1 Belmont Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Tracy Farmer's Sir Winston rose to the challenge in his first start in an American Classic, overtaking pacesetter Joevia in the stretch and holding off 9-5 favorite Tacitus for a one-length victory in the 151st running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park. Sir Winston's first career graded stakes win provided trainer Mark Casse his first victory in the "Test of the Champion" three weeks after stablemate and fellow Belmont contender War of Will won the Preakness to give Casse his first win in a Triple Crown race. "He's an amazing little horse. If at this time last year, if you had asked me to rate our top-20 2-year-olds, he would have been about 16th or 17th. But I'm very proud of him because he's kind of what our operation represents, and that is I feel like we develop horses," Casse said. "I have this philosophy. I start every horse out thinking that they are going to win the Kentucky Derby, or the Oaks. That's what I do. And I will try different surfaces; I will try different methods. With a horse like Sir Winston, you know, it paid off there." Jockey Joel Rosario patiently kept Sir Winston covered in eighth position out of the clubhouse turn as Joevia, the longest shot at 21-1, led the 10-horse field through the opening quarter-mile in 23.92 seconds and the half in 48.79 over the fast track in front of an announced crowd of 56,217. On the backstretch, Tax kept close with Joevia, with three-quarters going in 1:13.54 and the mile in 1:38.27 as Rosario utilized a ground-saving trip. Finding an opening near the rail, Sir Winston was moved up to third out of the final turn and was tipped out, moving past Tax and Joevia from the outside as Tacitus, under Jose Ortiz, rallied from the outside. But Rosario kept to task on Sir Winston, completing the 1 ½-mile challenge in 2:28.30. "He's a very nice horse and you have to let him do this thing. I'm really happy," said Rosario, who also won the Belmont when Tonalist ended California Chrome's Triple Crown bid in 2014. "It seemed like he didn't mind [being] inside. I just took my time with him. For the distance, he broke very good. Today, he was a little closer, so I let him be where he was comfortable." Casse, a 10-time Sovereign Award winner for Outstanding Trainer in Canada who registered his first win in 1979, saddled a pair of entrants, with Gary Barber's War of Will as the 3-1 second choice. Instead, Sir Winston, whose best finish in a graded stakes came in a runner-up effort to Global Campaign in the Grade 3 Peter Pan last out on May 11 at Belmont, won while racing for the first time at longer than 1 1/8 miles. War of Will finished ninth. Casse said War of Will and Sir Winston could both target the 10-furlong Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers on August 24 at Saratoga Race Course. "I tell you what, they all better watch out going to a mile-and-a-quarter because Sir Winston will come running, too. Sir Winston is a pretty serious horse, so don't count him out," Casse said. Casse said he remained confident in War of Will's ability going forward. "You didn't see the real War of Will today. I know that," Casse said. "So, we've got to get back and figure out what's up and why he didn't run better. "As far as War of Will, first we'll have a couple days and make sure how he is. [We'll] probably send him back to Kentucky [and] give him a little break. The plan would be, and I would have to discuss it with Gary Barber, but we're going to aim him for the Travers. "Again I'll talk to Mr. Farmer but I don't think there's much out there he would enjoy more than winning the Travers, so I'm sure he'll be all for that," he added. Tacitus, the winner of the Grade 2 Wood Memorial in April at Aqueduct Racetrack, finished three-quarters of a length clear of Joevia for second, giving Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his second runner-up finish in the Belmont and first since Vison and Verse in 1999. Mott won the 2010 Belmont with Drosselmeyer. "It looked like he kind of ducked in a little bit in mid-stretch at the eighth pole. He came running and finished up the race good, but it looked like he just got going too late," Mott said. "I probably shouldn't comment too much without seeing the rerun, but it was a little bit of a wide trip. We did have a bit of a wide trip, which you never like. He came running and looked like he was traveling better than anybody. We planned to try and be in contention at the quarter-pole and he was. He just couldn't get there." Joevia, who gave New Jersey-based trainer Gregory Sacco his first Belmont starter, held strong in the stretch after setting a comfortable pace, outkicking Tax by a length to take third. It was the second straight strong performance for Joevia, who won the Long Branch at Monmouth Park on May 12 after being disqualified to 11th in the Wood Memorial for causing interference. "That was quite a thrill. He's a really talented colt," Sacco said. "We knew the Wood wasn't any indication of his ability. He's a 3-year-old improving at the right time of the year. "I didn't think he'd cave with those [slow] fractions," he added. "He showed a lot of tenacity. Maybe about the eighth pole, I think my blood pressure went through the roof. We knew he had to improve. We thought he would. Of course, training is one thing, but he put it all together last time in the Long Branch. It was in lesser company but he did it effortlessly. He had to step up to the plate today and he did." Starters in the Wood Memorial comprised the second-through-fourth-place finishers in the Belmont, with the Danny Gargan-trained Tax completing the superfecta. "I'm real proud of him. He ran big," Gargan said. "He'll move forward off this race. Obviously, when you run fourth in the Belmont, the Travers is in the back of your mind. This horse does his best running when he has eight weeks between starts, so we'll see where we're at." The Japanese-bred Master Fencer was fifth, followed by Spinoff, Everfast, Intrepid Heart, War of Will and Bourbon War.

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6.8.2019:

Bricks and Mortar Tops Chad Brown Trifecta in G1 Manhattan

ELMONT, N.Y. - Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence's Bricks and Mortar rallied resolutely down the lane to capture the Grade 1, $1 million Manhattan on Belmont Stakes Day at Belmont Park. A 1 1/4-mile route over the firm inner turf for 4-year-olds and upward, the Manhattan was one of eight Grade 1 races on Saturday's card, culminating in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes. Bricks and Mortar, one of four Manhattan entrants trained by Chad Brown, picked up his fifth-consecutive win, three in Grade 1 events, with a powerful stretch run under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr.  He bested stablemate Robert Bruce by 1 1/2 lengths, with stablemate Raging Bull another three-quarters of a length back for a Brown-trained trifecta that returned $23.12 for $0.50. Brown said he was overwhelmed by the result. "This ranks right up there. I have to digest it first but it's certainly way up there. I hold this race in such high regard," said Brown. "To run 1-2-3 in it really points out how fortunate I am to have so many talented horses in my barn. To see the others be not far from Bricks and Mortar gives us hope they are going to have really good years as well." Bandua led the nine horse field through an opening quarter-mile in 23.68 seconds with Qurbaan, piloted by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, tracking his early foot followed by Catcho En Die and recent Grade 1 Man o' War winner Channel Maker. Smith sent Qurbaan to the lead through a half-mile in 48.73, opening up a three-length lead into the turn as Bandua stayed on and Channel Maker and Bricks and Mortar launching their bids wide through the turn. Qurbaan maintained a precarious lead at the top of the lane as Robert Bruce, last year's Grade 1 Arlington Million winner piloted by Jose Ortiz, waited in vain for racing room on the inside as Bricks and Mortar found smooth sailing outside rivals to secure the win in a final running time of 1:58.11. Robert Bruce found his gap late in the wake of Bricks and Mortar's decisive run to be best of the rest. It was the fifth Manhattan victory for Brown, who scored previously with Desert Blanc [2012], Real Solution [2014], Slumber [2015], and Flintshire [2016]. "He ran great, he was carrying a lot of weight. Irad gave him a beautiful trip," said Brown. "He fell into a nice spot off the fence but had cover. Once again, he exploded in the stretch, this horse it just amazes me how consistently he is finishing on the turf. He's getting good trips, he's kicking at all different distances. Very rare horse." A 5-year-old son of Giant's Causeway, Bricks and Mortar captured his first four career starts including a win in the 2017 Grade 2 Hall of Fame at Saratoga. After racing just once in 2018, the dark bay is undefeated in 2019, winning the inaugural Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park, the Grade 2 Muniz Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds, and the Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic at Churchill Downs. Ortiz, Jr. who first piloted Bricks and Mortar on December 22, 2018 to launch the current win streak, was full of praise for his charge. "Since I've been riding him he hasn't got beat yet. I love this horse. He's a fighter," said Ortiz, Jr. "He's so good. The track was really fast. He always shows up. His last couple of races was on firm turf, this was softer. His feet can feel it a little more. "He broke perfectly and put himself in a good position early so I didn't have to use him, and I can save ground," he added. "I followed Channel Maker the whole way, and when I turned for home and I kicked him out, he just took off." Bricks and Mortar, bred in Kentucky by George Strawbridge, banked $535,000 in victory while improving his record to 9-0-2 from 11 career starts. Sent to post as the 3-5 mutuel favorite, he paid $3.30 for a $2 win wager. Following Raging Bull in third was Channel Maker, followed by Channel Cat, Bandua, Olympico, Qurbaan and Catcho En Die. Epical was scratched.

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6.8.2019:

Mitole Victorious in Loaded G1 Metropolitan Handicap

ELMONT, N.Y. - On a day the 151st running of the Belmont Stakes took top billing, the Grade 1, $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap came close to usurping its marquee status at Belmont Park with a loaded field and a thrilling finish that saw Mitole effectively stretch out to a mile, fending off challenges from 8-5 favorite McKinzie and two-time Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow to prevail. Coming into the race with a six-race win streak, all of which he accomplished by open lengths, William and Corinne Heiligbrodt's Mitole was sent off as the 7-2 second choice in a field that featured six Grade 1 winners, including $16 million earner Thunder Snow. Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen and ridden by Ricardo Santana, Jr., who teamed up to win last year's Met Mile with Bee Jersey, Mitole broke well and sat just off Godolphin Mile winner Coal Front early as he carved out splits of 22.17 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 44.38 for the half on the fast main track. Drawing abreast of Coal Front as the field entered the turn, Mitole had stuck his head in front by its conclusion, running three-quarters in 1:08.24, and the son of Eskendereya began to inch away from the pacesetter at the top of the stretch, with Thunder Snow and McKinzie stacked up behind him looking to extricate themselves from traffic. Thunder Snow was the first to find clear running and dove to the rail to mount his rally and was followed intently by McKinzie, who was held up in traffic at the eighth pole and had to wait for a seam to present itself. With both in full flight by the sixteenth pole, the race was on in earnest, but Mitole dug in gamely to cross the wire first by three-quarters of a length. "This is really a special horse," said Santana. "I can't explain how happy I am with this horse. He can come back, he can go in front, you can put him between horses and he always keeps trying his best. Today, we delayed as long as we can. He's a really amazing horse." The win was Asmussen's second Grade 1 victory of the day. Earlier on the card he captured the Ogden Phipps with Midnight Bisou, and he nearly made it a hat trick with Nitrous, runner-up in the Woody Stephens. "This win with this horse is so special," said Asmussen. "I'm thrilled for the Heiligbrodts, who have so much to do with the success that we have. Winning back-to-back editions of the Met Mile, I can't even put into words what this means. Today is what we had targeted, we know what this race meant, what a tremendous field it had. For him to come out on top against this field today under the pressure that he had, he proved what we believed in him the whole time. We're just so fortunate to be associated with this horse." In addition to the winner's share of $650,000, the race, as part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series, earned Mitole an all-expenses paid trip to the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile in November. He completed the mile in 1:32.75 and returned $9 on a $2 win wager. "We weren't looking past today," Asmussen said of a potential date in the Dirt Mile. "Today was our target and for this horse to put it all together that way that he has so far this year is what we will enjoy. We will enjoy this victory and go back to Churchill for a couple of weeks and then regroup, and then go on from there." Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert's McKinzie had to settle for a tough-luck second, finishing a neck in front of Thunder Snow. The Street Sense colt was turning back to a mile after a sensational score in the Grade 2 Alysheba on May 3 at Churchill, but Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith couldn't get him into the clear in time, and the pair ran out of room late. "We had a little traffic trouble and if he could have gone right instead of left, that would have been the way to go," said Baffert assistant Jim Barnes. "It's up to Mike [Smith] to make the right decisions. The horse showed up and he ran well. Credit to Steve Asmussen. His horse ran lights out, and ours did too." Still without a victory on American soil, Thunder Snow again ran credibly over the Belmont main track, a surface on which he finished second by a neck in last year's Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. The Godolphin color-bearer finished 3 ¼ lengths clear of Promises Fulfilled in fourth. Firenze Fire, Pavel, Coal Front, Tale of Silence and Prince Lucky completed the order of finish.

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6.5.2019:

War of Will Looks to Notch a Second Classic Win in G1 Belmont Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Mark Casse waited more than 30 years to earn his first victory in an American Classic. After Gary Barber's War of Will won the Preakness, the veteran trainer will have a chance to notch his second in three weeks as the War Front colt highlights an accomplished 10-horse field in the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park. The culmination of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival featuring 18 total stakes, including 15 graded contests from June 6-8, the 151st running of the "Test of the Champion" is carded as Race 11 on a packed 13-race card that includes eight Grade 1 races and purses totaling more than $9 million. NBCSN will have live coverage from 2:30-4 p.m. Eastern with NBC broadcasting from 4-7 p.m., including the Belmont Stakes with an approximate post time of 6:35 p.m. Casse, a six-time Sovereign Award winner for Outstanding Trainer in Canada who won his first race in 1979, has two contenders for the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes, with Tracy Farmer's Sir Winston joining War of Will in the starting gate. "I learned a long time ago to not think about that kind of stuff," Casse said about his bid to make history. "Right now, the only thing I'm focusing on is getting there. "There's so many variables and so many things that can happen, that I just focus on the future. If Sir Winston wins, and people ask me what I'm thinking about, I'll be thinking about 'how can we win the Travers?' Right now, we just focus day-to-day. After this morning, I couldn't be happier." War of Will earned a personal-best 99 Beyer Speed Figure, rallying in the final furlong for a 1 ¼-length score in the Preakness. Looking to become the 100th all-time Belmont winner bred in Kentucky, War of Will enters with wins in four of his last six starts, including back-to-back victories in the Grade 3 LeComte and Grade 2 Risen Star this winter at Fair Grounds that set him up for a Kentucky Derby start, where he placed seventh. "I think he's put on 40-50 pounds and that's what we've been looking for," Casse said about his post-Preakness weight gain. "We kind of know everyone in the field by now. I tend to just worry about my horses and not anybody else's. If the pace is slow, he'll probably be on the lead. If it's quick, hopefully he'll sit behind the pacesetters."  The 2-1 second choice, War of Will, the only horse to run in all three legs of the Triple Crown this year, retains the services of jockey Tyler Gaffalione, who won his first Triple Crown race with the Preakness victory. The duo will break from post 9. War of Will can become the first horse since Afleet Alex in 2005 to complete the Preakness-Belmont double, a feat accomplished by just 12 horses, starting with Cloverbrook in 1877 [excluding the 13 Triple Crown winners]. Among that dozen includes all-time greats Man o' War in 1920, Native Dancer in 1953, Nashua in 1955 and Damascus in 1967. "Over the years, one of the things that's made Belmont so tough is when the Derby and Preakness winners are here and get beat, it's usually by a Belmont-based horse. There's an advantage to it. But, I've had this since the beginning, that great horses can win when things aren't perfect. Is it ideal? No. Can he win? Absolutely," Casse said. War of Will's stablemate, Sir Winston, enters with momentum following a runner-up finish to Global Campaign in the Grade 3 Peter Pan, the traditional local prep for the Belmont, on May 11 at 1 1/8 miles on Big Sandy. The Awesome Again colt earned a 100 Beyer for that effort, improving off a seventh-place finish in the Grade 2 Blue Grass on April 6 at Keeneland. Listed at 12-1 odds, Sir Winston drew post 7 with Joel Rosario set to ride. "I thought it was extremely encouraging," Casse said of Sir Winston, who schooled in the Belmont paddock with War of Will Tuesday morning. "If the pace were to get pretty hot, it's going to help Sir Winston, because he's truly a mile-and-a-half horse. One thing about it; the pace won't likely be as fast, so he probably won't come as far out of it. But we're not going to take him out of his way. Joel will let him be comfortable, and he'll come running." Juddmonte Farms' Tacitus will look to give Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott a chance to accomplish a rare feat and win two legs of the Triple Crown with different horses. The Mott-trained Country House was placed first in the Kentucky Derby following Maximum Security's disqualification, which also moved Tacitus up from fourth to third to give Mott two-thirds of the trifecta.  Tacitus, who won the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets in April at Aqueduct Racetrack, skipped the Preakness to ready for the grueling Belmont Stakes distance. The well-rested Kentucky homebred will attempt to make Mott the first trainer since fellow Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas to win two Classics with multiple horses. Lukas won the 1996 Kentucky Derby with Grindstone and the Belmont with Editor's Note, which came a year after Lukas trained Derby and Belmont-winner Thunder Gulch and Preakness winner Timber Country. "Had Tacitus won the Kentucky Derby, I suppose we would have taken a chance at the Preakness, but we didn't feel like we wanted to run him back in two weeks," Mott said. Instilled as the 9-5 morning-line favorite, Tacitus is one of three Tapit colts in the Belmont field, along with Bourbon War and Intrepid Heart. Tapit has sired three of the last five Belmont winners. Tacitus, who rallied from 16th at the half-mile mark in the Derby, will look for a smoother trip in the Belmont. "He got back quite a ways, back in the pack," Mott said of the trip at Churchill Downs. "The way the track was and traffic, he didn't get stopped but he had to keep looking for room. With the big field, he had to keep changing direction and changing course - go inside, go outside - so it wasn't smooth, he had to alter course. That being said, he came running and finished well at the end. "Generally, going a mile and a half they won't be further back," he added. "If anything, we will be closer. We hope he goes a good mile and a half." Jose Ortiz will be in the irons from post 10. Trainer Todd Pletcher will have a pair of entrants looking to give him his fourth career Belmont Stakes win. Pletcher, who won his first in 2007 with filly Rags to Riches and also in 2012 with Palace Malice and 2017 with Tapwrit, will send out 10-1 Intrepid Heart and 15-1 Spinoff. Owned by Lawan and Robert Low, the lightly raced Intrepid Heart won his first two starts before graduating to stakes company, running third in the Peter Pan. Stabled at Belmont, Intrepid Heart has breezed twice on the main track since that race, including an official five-furlong work in 1:00.92 on Saturday. Pletcher said he was pleased by his gallop out, which he clocked in 1:38 3/5. "We were pleased by the work and his gallop-out," Pletcher said. "He appears to be moving very well." Hall of Famer John Velazquez will pilot Intrepid Heart from post 8. Fellow Pletcher trainee Spinoff is coming off his only off-the-board appearance, running second-to-last in the Kentucky Derby. The runner-up in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on March 23 at Fair Grounds will pick up the services of Hall of Fame rider Javier Castellano from post 6. Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable's Bourbon War will look to bounce back from an eighth-place finish in the Preakness. Trainer Mark Hennig said the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth runner-up in March at Gulfstream was feisty after the Triple Crown's middle jewel, and said he is looking for an improved effort as he makes his Belmont debut. "He was not tired at all after the race," Hennig said. "I don't know how much running he actually did. I held him for a bath after the race and he bit me in the stomach and tore my shirt. He was actually angry after the Preakness." For the Belmont, Hennig said Bourbon War will have the blinkers removed. He had added the equipment after Bourbon War's fourth-place effort behind Maximum Security, Bodexpress and Code of Honor in the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 30. Hall of Famer and three-time Belmont winner Mike Smith, who a year ago made history aboard the Triple Crown-winning Justify, will return to Belmont Park to ride, breaking from post 5 at 12-1. "Put a line through the Preakness? Hopefully, that's the right thing to do," Hennig said. Katsumi Yoshizawa's homebred Master Fencer adds international intrigue to the race in looking to become the first Japanese horse to capture an American Triple Crown race. Trained by 48-year-old former jockey Koichi Tsunoda, Master Fencer finished a rail-rallying seventh in the Derby and was elevated to sixth with the disqualification of Maximum Security. He earned his spot in the starting gate for the "Run for the Roses" by accumulating 19 points on the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby following fast-closing second in the $310,830 Fukuryu at Nakayama Racecourse in March and a fourth-place effort in the $330,506 Hyacinth Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse in February. Should he win, Master Fencer will collect a $1 million bonus offered by NYRA to a Japanese-based winner of the Belmont Stakes. Julien Leparoux will ride Master Fencer, at odds of 8-1, from post 3. Preakness runner-up Everfast, owned by Calumet Farm, has not won since his victorious career debut in August but has twice finished second in graded stakes, including one length behind Harvey Wallbanger in the Grade 2 Holy Bull in February at Gulfstream. Trained by Dale Romans, Everfast at 12-1, drew post 2 with Luis Saez set to ride. "I would say going a mile-and-a-half, any horse can be where they want. They're going to be going so slowly early on," Romans said. "I just felt like in the Preakness, even though he was coming off of a sprint, he'd have a strong finishing kick and it looked like a lot of speed in the race. But I'll let the jockey figure it out in the Belmont. "In the Belmont, by the time they get to the eighth pole, they are all tired," he added. "It is hard for a horse to kick. So, I would think he would be laying a little bit closer." A pair of contenders familiar to New York racing fans complete the field, with Joevia giving trainer Gregory Sacco his first career starter in an American Classic. After being disqualified and placed 11th in the Wood Memorial, Joevia rebounded to win the Long Branch on May 12 at Monmouth Park. The Shanghai Bobby colt, at odds of 30-1, will have a new rider in Jose Lezcano, breaking from the inside post. Tax, the Wood Memorial runner-up, will be making his first start since placing 14th in the Kentucky Derby. Trained by Danny Gargan, the winner of the Grade 3 Withers on February 2 at Aqueduct will make his first career start at Belmont, drawing post 4 at 15-1 odds with Irad Ortiz, Jr., who won the 2016 Belmont on Creator, taking the call.

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6.4.2019:

Chad Brown Holds Formidable Presence in Belmont's G1 Manhattan Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - In search of a fifth win in the Grade 1, $1 million Manhattan, conditioner Chad Brown entered a quartet of accomplished runners to compete in the 147th running of one of the most prestigious turf races of the Belmont Park spring/summer meet and the prelude to the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday June 8. Leading the charge of Brown's contingent is Klaravich Stables' multiple graded stakes winner Bricks and Mortar. Sired by Giant's Causeway, the 5-year-old has won his last four consecutive races including victories in three straight graded stakes to start his 2019 campaign: the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational in January, the Grade 2 Muniz Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds in March, and the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Churchill Downs in his last start. Bricks and Mortar has posted three breezes since his victory last out at Churchill, most recently working four furlongs in 49.98 seconds on the inner turf at Belmont, and Brown said the horse is in fine fettle heading into the Manhattan. "He's doing really well," said Brown. "He's in great form." With Irad Ortiz, Jr. named to ride, Bricks and Mortar will depart from post 8. Looking to rebound from a fifth-place finish in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy for Brown and owners Convento Viejo is 5-year-old Chilean-bred Robert Bruce. Unbeaten in Chile where he made his first six career starts, Robert Bruce kicked off his 2018 campaign making his North American debut for Brown in winning the Grade 3 Fort Marcy before going on to capture the Grade 1 Arlington Million. After ending his year with a seventh-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf Classic, Robert Bruce returned to start his year in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy on the inner turf course at Belmont listed as soft. Sent off as the 3-5 favorite, he bobbled at the start and finished fifth to stablemate and co-entrant Olympico. "He had a disappointing first race back," said Brown. "He caught a soft course and the race didn't unfold the way we expected. He's fit and strong and hopefully he'll move forward. Drawing post 3, Robert Bruce will be ridden by Jose Ortiz. Owned by Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables and Bethlehem Stables, 4-year-old French-bred Olympico received a 102 Beyer in his Fort Marcy victory, his first start in the United States. Olympico will be ridden by Kendrick Carmouche and depart from post 7. Rounding out Brown's quartet is French-bred Raging Bull for owner Peter Brant. The 4-year-old sired by Dark Angel has made each of his nine career starts in North America, notching five wins including a graded stakes victories last year in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar and the Grade 2 Hall of Fame and Grade 3 Saranac at Saratoga Race Course. Starting his year in the Grade 1 Makers Mile at Keeneland on April 12, he finished fourth and followed up with another fourth-place running in the Turf Classic at Churchill. Raging Bull will leave from post 1 with Hall of Famer Javier Castellano aboard. Leading the challenge to Brown's contingent is multiple graded stakes winner Channel Maker for owners Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R.A. Hill Stable and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing. A 5-year-old gelding sired by Channel Maker, the multiple graded stakes winner with over $1.9 million in earnings for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott improved off a fourth-place finish the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida at Gulfstream Park to win the Grade 1 Man o' War on May 11. After breezing four furlongs in 49 seconds flat on the Belmont dirt training track on June 2 in his final major preparation for the race, Mott said he was pleased with how Channel Maker is doing heading into the race. "He worked very well," said Mott. "We're very happy with him. It was a very nice breeze. He's ready for the Manhattan." With Joel Rosario named to ride, Channel Maker will leave form post 10. Graded stakes winner Qurbaan entered for Shadwell Stable and conditioner Kiaran McLaughlin. A 6-year-old son of Speightstown, Qurbaan has yet to reach the winners circle this year but enters the Manhattan following a game second-place finish in the Turf Classic, beaten half a length by Bricks and Mortar. Prepping for the race from the privately-owned Greentree Training Center in Saratoga; where he's breezed two times since the Turf Classic, McLaughlin said he is excited to run Qurbaan in the race. "He's doing very well right now," said McLaughlin. "I'm excited for the race."  Also entered is Bandua (post 6, Tyler Gaffalione); Catcho En Die; (post 2, Luis Saez); Channel Cat (post 5, John Velazquez) and Epical (post 9, Tyler Baze). The Manhattan is slated as Race 10 on Saturday's 13-race card. First post is 11:35 a.m.

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6.4.2019:

McKinzie, Thunder Snow, Mitole Headline Star Studded G1 Met Mile

ELMONT, N.Y. - Annually one of the country's most highly anticipated races, Saturday's Grade 1, $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap offers a rousing renewal in 2019. The 'Win and You're In' for the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile has attracted an epic field of nine including five Grade/Group 1 winners, six millionaires and the world's richest horse. The Runhappy Metropolitan is one of an unprecedented eight Grade 1 races on the card for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park. The winner will join elite company, including Kelso, Native Dancer, Buckpasser, Forego, Holy Bull and Ghostzapper, as well as the most memorable performer this decade, Frosted, whose 2016 razing of his rivals by 14¼ lengths in 1:32.73 was one for the record books on both accounts. Those same royal blue silks of that Godolphin's Frosted flashed past the finish three years ago return with Thunder Snow, the world's premier ownership's top purse-earning pupil with a bankroll of $16,391,476 - $7 million more than all of his competitors combined. The four-time Group 1-winning globetrotter the world's current leader in that category, thanks to 11 Group 1 wins or placings in five countries and having twice annexed the globe's richest affair, the 10-furlong Group 1 Dubai World Cup. After eight consecutive races at 1 3/16 miles or farther, the Saeed bin Suroor-trained and currently UK-based 5-year-old son of Helmet cuts back to a one-turn mile trip at which he won the 2017 Group 3 UAE 2,000 Guineas, coincidentally over 2018 Met Mile victor Bee Jersey and subsequent Group 1 winners Capezzano and Best Solution. The multi-surface specialist returns to the U.S. for the first time since finishing third in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic and will again receive the services of France's champion jockey Christophe Soumillon. They break from post 4 racing for the first time since March 30 and fourth attempt at an American Grade 1. He will carry co-highweight of 124 pounds under the handicap conditions-the least he has carried since his March 2017 Group 2 UAE Derby victory. "This is a good place to start for him," Bin Suroor said of the 2018 Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup runner-up. "He is ready to run. He will have an American campaign and we want to get him started. The Breeders' Cup Classic is the goal again this year." Sharing top weight is Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman's three-time Grade 1-winning McKinzie, who appears the horse to beat on paper, despite finishing well behind Thunder Snow when 12th in the Classic. Raced four times to a pair of victories and second-place finishes since, he is more effective at trips around one mile, including a pair of one-sided victories in December's seven-furlong Grade 1 Malibu and last month's 1 1/16-mile Grade 2 Alysheba-both by a widening 4¾ lengths. A winner of six of 10, the well-regarded son of champion Street Sense and Breeders' Cup-placed Runway Model appears primed to pose in the winner's enclosure for his Hall of Fame trainer and jockey, Bob Baffert and Mike Smith, who teamed up to win this in 2017 with Mor Spirit. Smith, who also won with Holy Bull in 1994, will look to work out a winning strategy from post 2. Three others to race on the 2019 Dubai World Cup card are entered, led by Group 2 Godolphin Mile winner Coal Front, who carries 122 pounds for trainer Todd Pletcher. Devoid of a top-level win, the son of Stay Thirsty was fifth in his lone Grade 1 try, 2017's H. Allen Jerkens. Jose Ortiz will guide Coal Front from the inside post. Pletcher will also saddle multiple graded stakes winner Prince Lucky in the Runhappy Metropolitan. The Pennsylvania-bred son of Corinthian captured the Grade 3 Hal's Hope and Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Mile over the winter at Gulfstream Park He will be piloted by Hall of Famer John Velazquez from post 9. Category is 'Grade 1-winning longshots that start with the letter P,' as Robert J. Baron's 2018 Jerkens winner Promises Fulfilled (120 pounds) and Reddam Racing's Stephen Foster victor Pavel (118 pounds) must improve after each finishing fourth at Meydan, while also seeking their respective first victories since last summer. The former followed his fourth in the six-furlong Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen behind X Y Jet with a third behind Mitole in last month's seven-furlong Grade 1 Churchill Downs. Pavel was fourth for the second consecutive year in the Dubai World Cup and 10th in last fall's Classic, but has shown a liking for the Belmont surface when third in the 2017 Jockey Club Gold Cup. The Dale Romans-trained Promises Fulfilled breaks from post 6 under Luis Saez, while the Doug O'Neill-trained Pavel will reunite with Mario Gutierrez from post 8. William and Corrine Heiligbrodt's Mitole, who carries the same 122 pounds as Coal Front, will garner plenty of support on the back of his 3½-length Derby Day win. Trained and ridden by last year's winning team of Steve Asmussen and Ricardo Santana Jr., the lightning-quick son of Wood Memorial winner Eskendereya will look to be the third to pull off the Churchill Downs-Met Mile double after Aldebaran (2003) and Shackleford (2012). Representing the best of the sprinters in this annual speed vs. stamina clash, Mitole must reverse the five-year trend of two-turn horses cutting back en route to victory, including Palace Malice (2014) and Honor Code (2015). The seven-time winner from 10 starts breaks from post 3. Another in that category is Mr. Amore Stables' Jason Servis-trained course specialist Firenze Fire, who is undefeated in three starts over 'Big Sandy,' including a nine-length annihilation of Mendelssohn in last July's Dwyer. Fourth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile to cap a productive sophomore 2018 season, he has started twice in 2019, including a rout of Recruiting Ready last out in the six-furlong Runhappy Stakes. His time that day of 1:08.12 signaled a 4-year-old on the improve. "He's in tough," Servis said. "This is going to be a very tough race. I'm not really worried about him stretching out again. It's a race where we want to take a shot and the mile is within his reach. {The Dwyer] was probably his best race." Irad Ortiz, Jr. has the call on Firenze Fire from post 7. Last year's winning owner, Charles E. Fipke, returns with Barclay Tagg-trained Tale of Silence to round out the field. A brother to Grade 1 Cigar Mile winner Tale of Ekati, he has also proven effective at the trip, placing five of six times and winning 2018's Grade 3 Westchester at Belmont. Entering off a freshening since his second to Prince Lucky in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Mile on March 30, the homebred son of Tale of the Cat will break from post 5 under Julien Leparoux and carry 116 pounds. The Met Mile is scheduled as Race 9 with a post time of 4:46 p.m. First post time is 11:35 a.m.

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6.4.2019:

Serengeti Empress Tops Wide-Open G1 Acorn Stakes

ELMONT, NY - A wide-ranging field of nine 3-year-old fillies, led by Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks heroine and millionaire Serengeti Empress, will be making their first-ever appearances at Belmont Park Saturday in the $700,000 Acorn Stakes, one of seven Grade 1 races on the undercard for the 151st running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets. First race post time for the 13-race card is 11:35 a.m., with gates opening at 9 a.m. Serengeti Empress, a dark bay daughter of Alternation, is 2-for-3 this year, taking the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra to kick off her sophomore season before faltering in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks, in which she bled and was vanned off. "After the race at the Fair Grounds, we took her back to the barn, sat down and mapped out a game plan - not for racing - but for her to show us she was she was recovering," said trainer Tom Amoss. "She got to Churchill at start of April, and we had devised a plan where she was scoped constantly and watched all the time. That's when she showed up again. "When we decided to go in the Oaks, I was confident she wouldn't bleed, but it was still in the back of my mind. We did all we could do, and we rolled the dice." The gamble paid off as Serengeti Empress posted a front-running victory at 13-1 odds in the Oaks, never looking back as she won the 1 1/8-mile race by 1 ¾ lengths "Winning the Oaks was pure joy," said Amoss. "The focus now is to see if we can make her a more consistent athlete. We know she's a great athlete because she showed us that in the Kentucky Oaks." Owned by Joel Politi, who purchased her for $70,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sales, Serengeti Empress has won five of her eight starts overall, including a victory in the Grade 2 Pocahontas last September at Churchill Downs. "She's going to shorten up from two turns to one turn which is obviously inviting speed into the race," said Amoss, who will give Irad Ortiz, Jr. a leg up as the pair leaves from the inside post. "Her form says she wins races on the lead, but we'll see how it works in the Acorn. If she makes the lead, great. If she doesn't, I'm confident she'll be the just off the pace." The undefeated Fancy Dress Party, who scored her fourth straight win in the Grade 3 Beaumont in April at Keeneland, is one of two other graded stakes winners in the field. Trained by Ben Colebrook, the L N J Foxwoods color-bearer came from off the pace to break her maiden last October at Keeneland, and subsequently posted front-running victories in an optional claimer at Churchill Downs and in the Glitter Woman at Gulfstream park to kick off her 3-year-old campaign. The Munnings filly drew post 5 and will be ridden by Joel Rosario. At the other end of the racing spectrum is the Chad Brown-trained Guarana, who enters the Acorn off just one start, albeit an impressive one. The Three Chimneys Farm homebred made a dazzling debut in April at Keeneland Race Course, drawing off to win a 6 ½-furlong race by 14 ¾ lengths in 1:16.43. Jose Ortiz rides from post 7. Another stepping up into graded stakes company is Bo Hirsch's homebred Ce Ce, a chestnut daughter of Elusive Quality who has sparkled in two starts at Santa Anita Park. She broke her maiden in a professional manner on April 19 at six furlongs, and, when stretched out an extra half-furlong on May 11, finished second by a neck facing older fillies. "She was run down in the closing yards," said trainer Michael McCarthy. "Coming back to facing straight three-year-olds will be to her benefit, and I think the one-turn mile will suit her as well. I'd like to see her sitting second with a target." Victor Espinoza will be aboard when she leaves from post 9. No worse than third in three straight graded stakes appearances, Arindel's Cookie Dough will be cutting back in distancer after finishing third going 1 1/8 miles in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan. Prior to that, the homebred daughter of Brethren was third in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks at 1 1/16 miles and second by a head in the Grade 2 Davona Dale at a flat mile. "She's done everything right since she's been here," said Kiaran McLaughlin, who took over training from Stanley Gold when she was sent to New York. "She worked a good half-mile on Saturday [49.44 seconds on the Belmont training track]. The race looked like it has a lot of speed, so we almost have to hope and lay off it." McLaughlin, who won the 2011 Acorn with It's Tricky, will give a leg up to Hall of Famer Javier Castellano. The pair will leave from post 3. The Acorn, which will be run for the 89th time, also attracted the second, third and fourth-place finishers from the Grade 2 Eight Belles on May 3 at Churchill Downs. Bell's the One, who won four straight races to launch her career, rebounded from a distant seventh-place finish in her first graded stakes outing, the Grade 1 Ashland to finish second by 5 ½ lengths in the seven-furlong race over a sloppy track. Corey Lanerie will ride from post 4. Also exiting the Eight Belles is Queen of Beas, who persevered to finish third, 1 ½ lengths behind Bell's the One and a head in front of Proud Emma, the only filly to have made a New York appearance, having finished fourth in the Grade 2 Gazelle in April at Aqueduct. Rounding out the entrants is Jeltrin, who was 51-1 when she won Gulfstream Park's Grade 2 Davona Dale at a mile in March.

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6.4.2019:

Mind Control Headlines Belmont's G1 Woody Stephens Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. -  A talented field of 11 will square off in Saturday's Grade 1, $400,000 Woody Stephens presented by Mohegan Sun, a seven-furlong sprint for sophomores on Saturday, Belmont Stakes Day, at Belmont Park. The Woody Stephens presented by Mohegan Sun is one of an unprecedented eight Grade 1 races on the card for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes. Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables' Mind Control, winner of the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga as a 2-year-old, has trained impressively into the Woody Stephens for trainer Gregory Sacco. A winner of two of three starts this season, including scores in the Jerome and the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct Racetrack, Mind Control has posted a series of strong works at Monmouth Park including a bullet breeze on May 24 in 1:00.60 followed by a June 1 effort clocked in the same time. Sacco agreed Mind Control is training forwardly into Saturday's Grade 1 test. "The bullet work was by himself. The last work was in company and he did it well within himself," said Sacco. "We've tightened the screws a little bit coming into this race. He galloped out good and the main thing is that he came out of the works really well. He was full of himself this morning." Mind Control initially competed on the Kentucky Derby trail, picking up points in the Jerome win along with a runner-up effort to Haikal in the Grade 3 Gotham. However, the connections decided to re-focus the colt on a campaign geared toward sprint races with the long-term goal of competing in the Grade 1, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial presented by Runhappy slated for August 24 at Saratoga Race Course. "We wanted to march forward on the Derby path," said Sacco. "But, we just felt his development, and how super talented he is up to a mile, that we wanted to keep him on this path. "We had the Bay Shore earmarked with the Woody Stephens and the Allen Jerkens," continued Sacco. "So, we've got by the first one and he's had two months to fill out and blossom. He's a very happy, strong horse coming into the race on Saturday. He couldn't be doing any better." Hall of Famer John Velazquez will pilot Mind Control from post 9. Mind Control and stablemate Joevia, a contender for the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, will ship to Belmont on Wednesday morning from their Monmouth base. The improving Wendell Fong will look to answer the call as he steps up to the Grade 1 level for the first time in the Woody Stephens. Trained by Jeremiah Englehart for owner Gold Square [Al Gold], Wendell Fong is named after a non-sequitur from the hit TV show Frasier in an episode entitled, 'And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon.' "The owner is a big Frasier fan," explained Englehart. "There's an episode where Niles and Daphne are running away from a wedding and Niles picks up the phone and it's a wrong number. Nile says, 'No, there is no Wendell Fong here.' Al's gifted when it comes to naming horses." Wendell Fong has dialed up increasingly stronger speed figures in his brief career thus far, winning three of four starts while earning a career-best 92 Beyer Speed Figure last out when capturing the Gold Fever at six furlongs on a sloppy Belmont main track. A winner on debut in his only juvenile start, the one blemish on Wendell Fong's record came at second asking when fourth in the one-mile Miracle Wood at Laurel Park. "In his first race, he was really green but had that desire to win," said Englehart. "In his next start, I put blinkers on him which was a ridiculous move. It just wasn't the thing to do. But he's just a very competitive horse and really easy to work with and enjoys racing. All I have to do is keep him happy." A $160,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Wendell Fong has overcome some issues incurred as a 2-year-old. "Travis Durr and I bought him at the September sale as a yearling. He just had that look about him. He had a nice, strong hip. A good shoulder angle. He just seemed like a nice horse," said Englehart. "He injured his ankle last year as a 2-year-old and we did surgery on him at Patty Hogan's clinic and they did a fantastic job. He has turned out to be a real good racehorse." Wendell Fong bullet breezed five furlongs in 1:00.80 on June 1 over the Laurel Park main track, with regular rider Jorge A. Vargas, Jr. up, in his final prep for the Woody Stephens. "He loves training there. The last work went really well - Jorge came by to work him and was pleased with how it went. He just went by himself. He can be aggressive and will fight to win [if he goes in company], and we didn't need him to go too fast," said Englehart. Vargas, Jr. retains the mount from post 11. Chad Brown will saddle a pair of formidable Woody Stephens contenders in Grade 1 Champagne winner Complexity and impressive maiden winner Honest Mischief. Klaravich Stables' Complexity, a Maclean's Music bay bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, won on debut at Saratoga in September and followed up with a convincing three-length win over Code of Honor at Belmont in the Champagne. He completed his season with a disappointing 10th-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Complexity, who has posted a string of quick works at Saratoga, will make his seasonal debut under regular pilot Jose Ortiz from post 4. Juddmonte Farms' homebred Honest Mischief graduated at second asking by eight lengths on April 6 at Keeneland. The bay son of Into Mischief is out of Grade 1 winner Honest Lady and is a half-brother to 2008 Grade 1 Forego winner First Defence. Hall of Famer Javier Castellano retains the mount from post 1. Calumet Farm's homebred Lexitonian returns to Belmont for the first time since his debut win last June when trained by Todd Pletcher. The Speightstown chestnut, transferred to trainer Jack Sisterson for his sophomore campaign, captured the Grade 3 Chick Lang last out at Pimlico. Joel Rosario picks up the mount on Lexitonian, who will break from post 10. Completing the field are Borracho (Jose Lezcano, post 3), Hog Creek Hustle (Corey Lanerie, post 8), Much Better (Mike Smith, post 2), Landeskog (Tyler Gaffalione, post 5), Nitrous (Ricardo Santana, Jr., post 6), and Strike Silver (Irad Ortiz, Jr., post 7). The Woody Stephens is slated as Race 8 on Saturday's 13-race card. First post is 11:35 a.m.

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6.4.2019:

Pletcher Duo of Marconi, You're To Blame Headline G2 Brooklyn

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out a formidable trio of contenders in the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Brooklyn Invitational on Saturday at Belmont Park led by dirt marathon maven You're to Blame. The Brooklyn, run at 1 ½ miles on the main track, is the lone Grade 2 race on Belmont Stakes Day and the finale of the 13-race card that features eight Grade 1 stakes, culminating in the 151st renewal of the "Test of the Champion". Post time for the 131st iteration of the Brooklyn is set for 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Since being transferred to Pletcher in late 2017, Bortolazzo Stable's You're to Blame has steadily improved, showing a particular affinity for marathon races on the main track, which he got his first crack at in last year's Grade 3, 1 ½-mile Greenwood Cup, a race he won by a neck over fellow Brooklyn entrant War Story. In his next race, the son of Distorted Humor ran into fellow distance-lover Rocketry, who he will meet again on Saturday, in the 1 ⅝-mile Temperence Hill Invitational at Belmont, finishing second by 1 ½ lengths. After a six-month break, the bay horse kicked off his 5-year-old campaign with a win in an optional claimer at Gulfstream Park and missed by a neck in the Grade 3, 1 ¼-mile Pimlico Special last out. "He showed us last year that he handles this distance well," Pletcher said. "We weren't really sure if we were going to come here after the Pimlico Special; it was going to be a matter if he told us he was ready to run back in three weeks. His energy level has been really, really high and he came back with a good breeze, so we felt like he was going to be hard to hold on the ground for another month until the Suburban. We feel like running him is the right thing to do." You're to Blame will be ridden by Jose Ortiz and the duo will depart from post 7. The up-and-coming Marconi, a $2 million purchase out of the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, will give Pletcher another strong chance in the race by virtue of a 2 ¾-length score over Rocketry in the Flat Out in his most recent race on May 9 at Belmont. Like You're to Blame, the Tapit colt has proven to be adept at longer dirt races, taking the 1 3/16-mile Skip Away at Gulfstream one race prior to winning the 1 ⅜-mile Flat Out. "He seems like he's doing great," said Pletcher, who trains Marconi for Bridlewood Farm, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor. "He ran well in the Skip Away and handled the mile and three eighths of the Flat Out very well. We kind of had this race in mind all along, thinking that the mile and a half would suit him. He seems to be maintaining really good form and we're happy with him." Jose Lezcano will be aboard Marconi and the pair will leave from the inside post. Pletcher's triumvirate is completed by Biblical, owned by China Horse Club International, part-owner of last year's Triple Crown winner Justify. Though he's been a bit slow to develop, Biblical has picked it up during the first half of his 4-year-old campaign and exits an encouraging third-place finish in the 1 ½-mile Champions Day Marathon on April 30 at Churchill Downs. "He didn't run too badly going a mile and a half for the first time at Churchill," Pletcher said. "He was just a touch keen. I think if we can work out a better trip and get him a little more settled, he's a horse that's shown hints of having enough ability to be competitive in a race like this. He just needs to step up a notch. He's been a bit inconsistent, but he's training like he's sitting on a good race, so we'll give it a try." Biblical drew post 5 and will enlist the services of Luis Saez. Earner of more than $2.7 million in his 33-race career, the hard-knocking War Story will line up in the Brooklyn starting gate for the third straight year. The Jorge Navarro trainee won the race in 2017 and finished a close second last year, but his form tailed off at the end of 2018 and he finished a distance third in his 2019 debut, the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic, a race he won in 2017. Owned by Imaginary Stables and Glenn Ellis, War Story will exit post 4 with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens' Rocketry will look to continue to improve coming off a runner-up placing in the Flat Out. The 5-year-old son of Hard Spun was a force to be reckoned with in marathon races in 2018, doubling up on 100 Beyer Speed Figures to close out the year while victorious in the Temperence Hill and Grade 2 Marathon at Churchill, but has failed to recapture that form in two starts this year. The Centennial Farms color-bearer finished a dull fifth in his 2019 debut, the Skip Away, but showed signs of life late in the Flat Out rallying from well back to finish 2 ¾ lengths behind Marconi. He will break from post 6 with Joel Rosario in the irons. Shipping in from California, Campaign will aim to win back-to-back races at 1 ½ miles after taking the Grade 3 Tokyo City last out for trainer John Sadler and Woodford Racing. The 4-year-old Curlin colt has improved markedly on dirt this year, with a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap and a win in an optional claimer at Santa Anita also on his resume. Hall of Famer Javier Castellano has the mount from post 2. Rounding out the field are Realm, who finished third in the longest start of his career in the Skip Away two back for trainer Barclay Tagg; Sonneteer, winner of the Champions Day Marathon in his most recent start for trainer Keith Desormeaux and Calumet Farm; and Forewarned, trained by Uriah St. Lewis.

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6.4.2019:

Disco Partner, World of Trouble Square Off in Belmont's G1 Jaipur

ELMONT, N.Y. -  Nine grass-running sprinters are set to take on Saturday's 36th running of the Grade 1, $400,000 Jaipur Invitational at six furlongs over Belmont Park's Widener Turf Course. The Jaipur is a Breeders' Cup Challenge Series "Win and You're In" event to the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita Park on November 2. The Jaipur is one of eight Grade 1 stakes on Saturday's 13-race card, which is the final day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, highlighted by the 151st running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets. Leading the field is Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables' World of Trouble, who is undefeated in four starts since finishing second to Stormy Liberal in last year's Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. He showed his versatility earlier this year when he won the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at seven furlongs on the main track on April 6 at Aqueduct Racetrack and then returned to the grass to win the Grade 2 Twin Spires Turf Sprint on May 3 at Churchill Downs. "He's a killer horse. A monster. A champion horse," trainer Jason Servis said. "He has a Grade 1 on the dirt and this is a Grade 1 on the turf. It would be nice if we are fortunate enough to get the `w.' For stallion reasons, he would be a Grade 1 winner on turf and dirt if he can win the Jaipur. "He's been training pretty good. I'm very pleased with the way he is coming up to this race. I'd say I'm cautiously optimistic," Servis added. World of Trouble and jockey Manny Franco will break from post 8. Serious opposition to World of Trouble is likely to come from the mare Belvoir Bay, one of two horses entered by trainer Peter Miller, and defending champion Disco Partner, one of two horses trained by Christophe Clement. Gary Barber's Belvoir Bay comes into the Jaipur off a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Monrovia Stakes at Santa Anita on May 26, which was her first start since taking on the best turf sprinters in the world in the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan on March 30, when she also finished second. Earlier in the year, she posted back to back wins in Santa Anita's Las Cienegas Stakes on January 12 and the Wishing Well Stakes on February 16. She will be joined in the gate by veteran stablemate Om, who is looking to rebound from a fifth-place effort last out in the overnight Opening Verse at Churchill Downs on May 2. Patricia Generazio's Disco Partner, who finished third behind World of Trouble in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint before ending the year with a second to his stablemate White Flag in the Aqueduct Turf Sprint on November 24, will be looking to rebound from a ninth in the Grade 2 Shakertown at Keeneland on April 6. White Flag will be making his first start in the Jaipur since finishing fourth in the Grade 3 Tropical Turf on January 13 at Gulfstream Park. Trainer Wesley Ward will be represented by Undrafted in the Jaipur. The 9-year-old veteran will be making his second start of the year after finishing fourth in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint in his last start. Ward trains Undrafted for owners Wes Welker & Elizabeth Kumin. Rounding out the Jaipur Invitational field are Tom O'Grady's Dirty, who will be making his second start of the year after winning the King T. Leatherbury Stakes at Laurel on April 20; Calumet Farm's Wild Shot, who is making his turf debut after a disappointing effort in the Grade 1 Churchill Downs Sprint May 3; Diamond Oops, who enters on short rest coming off a third-place finish in the Crystal River Stakes on May 27 at Gulfstream for trainer Pat Biancone; and Gidu, who makes his 2019 debut for trainer Todd Pletcher and Zayat Stables. The Jaipur is slated as Race 6 on Saturday's 13-race card. First post is 11:35 a.m.

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6.4.2019:

Midnight Bisou, Escape Clause Rekindle Rivalry in Grade 1 Ogden Phipps

ELMONT, N.Y. - Multiple Grade 1 winner Midnight Bisou, who is a perfect three-for-three so far this year, leads a talented field of seven entered for the 51st running of the Grade 1, $700,000 Ogden Phipps Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Saturday at Belmont Park. The Ogden Phipps is a Breeders' Cup Challenge Series "Win and You're In" event to the Grade 1 Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff at Santa Anita Park November 2 The Ogden Phipps is one of eight Grade 1 stakes on Saturday's 13-race card, which is the final day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, highlighted by the 151st running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets. It will go as Race 5 with an approximate post time of 2:01 p.m. Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen for Bloom Racing LLC., Madaket Stables, and Allen Racing, Midnight Bisou will be making her first start since winning the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park April 14. Prior to that race, the daughter of Midnight Lute, bred in Kentucky by Woodford Stables, won the Grade 3 Houston Ladies Classic and the Grade 2 Azeri. The connections of Midnight Bisou began mapping out her 4-year-old campaign shortly after she ended her sophomore season with a third in the 2018 Breeders' Cup Distaff behind Monomoy Girl. To date, that plan has worked perfectly. "The Ogden Phipps has always been in the back of our minds," owner Jeffrey Bloom of Bloom Racing said. "We wanted to get through the Apple Blossom first and after she won that, this race seemed like the most logical choice. It seemed like the best way to get us back to the Breeders' Cup, which is the ultimate goal." Midnight Bisou, who drew post 2, will be reunited with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith Saturday. Escape Clause, who has excelled since leaving her base at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, Canada, where she was a dominate figure, makes her first start in New York, following her loss by a nose to Midnight Bisou in the Apple Blossom. Earlier in the year, she won the Grade 3 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita for owners Don Schnell, Barry Arnason and True North. "She's doing real well," trainer and co-owner Don Schnell said. "She has gotten better with age and experience. Ever since we brought her south [from Canada], she's done pretty good. "I probably shouldn't like Midnight Bisou, but she's a lovely mare and always tries really hard," Schnell said. "She's going to be tough to outrun. In the Apple Blossom, we had a little trouble in the first turn when Wonder Gadot came over on us and it took her a second to get back into stride, but that's just an excuse and I don't like to make excuses. We're just hoping for a clean trip and that the best horse wins." Jockey Tyler Baze will be aboard Escape Clause, who drew post 4. Among the local hopefuls for the Ogden Phipps is Blue Devil Racing Stables' Come Dancing, who has won her last two starts, including the Grade 2 Ruffian at Belmont on May 5. "She's doing really well," trainer Carlos Martin said. "She's only had two races this year by design. She had a great work the other day. [Jockey] Manny Franco said she's doing as good as she's ever done. She's eating up and looks like a picture, which is what you want to see in these fillies. There are probably three or four fillies in here that you're going to see later in the year at the Breeders' Cup. It's going to be a great race for the fans." Come Dancing will break from post 1 with Franco again in the irons. Trainer Chad Brown will be represented by Pacific Wind, owned by Sharon Alesia, Peter Brant, Ciaglia Racing and Domenic Savides. The 5-year-old daughter of Curlin comes off a second to Come Dancing in the Ruffian and will break from post 3 with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard. Reddam Racing's multiple stakes winner Mopotism, coming off a fourth in the Grade 1 La Troienne Stakes at Churchill May 3, rounds out the Ogden Phipps field from the outside.

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6.4.2019:

Rushing Fall Seeks Fourth Grade 1 Win in Longines Just a Game Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - E Five Racing Thoroughbreds' Rushing Fall will look to continue her winning ways when she takes on six other graded stakes winners in the Grade 1, $700,000 Longines Just a Game on Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park. Listed as Race 4 with a post time of 1:22 p.m. Eastern, the one-mile event for older fillies and mares over the Widener turf course is just one of eight Grade 1 events carded for Saturday, June 8, highlighted by the 151st running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets. Trained by Chad Brown, Rushing Fall has won seven of her eight career starts, including Grade 1 victories in the 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar, the Queen Elizabeth II Cup last October at Keeneland and most recently, the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland. The 4-year-old daughter of More Than Ready is also unbeaten in three starts over the Just a Game's one-mile distance, and will be making her first start at Belmont since her successful career debut, which she won over fellow Just a Game contender Daddy Is A Legend. "She's been training great and Chad has done a phenomenal job with her," said E Five Racing Thoroughbreds' Bob Edwards. "She seems to run well on everything and obviously she likes Keeneland a lot, but she doesn't really have a favorite surface because she runs well everywhere we place her. "She's very versatile. She can run off the pace, she can wire the field, she can do whatever," continued Edwards. "Javier [Castellano] works her in the mornings and on big days he really seems to ride her perfectly. When she's in the paddock she just walks around and struts her stuff. A mile is the perfect distance for her, so, hopefully she loves up to the experience on Saturday." Bred in Kentucky by Fred Hertrich III and John Fielding, Rushing Fall is out of the Forestry broodmare Autumnal and was purchased for $320,000 from the Fasig-Tipton Yearling Sale in August 2016. Rushing Fall will break from post 4 under Castellano. Brown also sends out Juddmonte Farms' Environs, who was impressive in her North American debut over the Keeneland turf course on April 5, beating allowance company by 3 ½ lengths. Previously trained by Andre Fabre, the homebred daughter of Dansili was a three-time winner in France before coming to the United States. She enters the Just a Game off of a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile, where she broke slow and sat well off the pace but lacked enough racing room to make a winning run. Environs will break from post 6 under Jose Ortiz. Looking for her first Grade 1 victory in the Just a Game is Slam Dunk Racing and Medallion Racing's Beau Recall, who recorded a career-best 101 Beyer Speed Figure last out, winning the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile. Trained by Brad Cox, the bay daughter of Sir Prancealot was previously conditioned by Simon Callaghan, for whom she won the Grade 2 Royal Heroine at Santa Anita last April. She made her first start for Cox a winning one in the Blushing K.D. at the Fair Grounds and two starts later won the New Orleans Ladies over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course prior to the Distaff Turf Mile. Beau Recall will break from post 3 under Irad Ortiz, Jr. The second and third-place finishers of the Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile will be looking for another crack at Beau Recall in the Just a Game. Breaking from post 7, Got Stormy will look to turn the tables on some familiar foes. She was only 1 ¼ lengths away from victory last out when finishing second behind Beau Recall. Trained by Mark Casse and owned by Gary Barber in partnership with Southern Equine Partners, the daughter of Get Stormy was a hard-fought third in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley behind Rushing Fall where she was only beaten 1 ½ lengths. Got Stormy will be seeking her first stakes victory since the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen in July at Woodbine. Editors Note: Got Stormy is scratched. Two-time graded stakes-winner Daddy Is A Legend was third in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile last out. The effort was the daughter of Scat Daddy's first start since a close second behind Uni in the Grade 1 Matriarch at Del Mar in December, where she recorded a career-best 100 Beyer. Daddy Is A Legend has registered graded stakes victories in Del Mar's Grade 3 Jimmy Durante, which she won in November 2017, as well as the Grade 3 Lake George at Saratoga last July. Daddy Is a Legend will be ridden by Manny Franco from the rail. Bortolazzo Stables' well-bred Bellavais, who breaks from post 2 for trainer Todd Pletcher, won the Grade 3 Marshua's River at Gulfstream Park by 3 ½ lengths three starts back. The 5-year-old daughter of Tapit is out of graded stakes winner La Cloche, whose dam Memories of Silver won the Just a Game in 1997. Bellavais was a two-time stakes winner for her former conditioner James Toner and made a winning debut for Pletcher last October when coming off nearly a year layoff. She enters the Just a Game from a fifth-place finish in the Jenny Wiley, which was her first start at such caliber. Bellavais will be ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez. Rounding out the field is Capla Temptress, who won the Grade 3 My Charmer at Gulfstream Park two starts back. Owned by Juddmonte Farm and trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the daughter of Lope de Vega won the Grade 1 Natalma at Woodbine as a 2-year-old in her North American debut. She enters the Just a Game from a seventh-place finish in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile. Capla Temptress will be ridden by Joel Rosario from post 5. The Just a Game is named in honor of Peter Brant's three-time graded stakes winner in New York, whose career highlights include wins in the New York Handicap, Diana and Flower Bowl. Trained by Hall of Famer LeRoy Jolley, the Irish-bred daughter of Tarboosh won eight straight races before finishing second to French Colonial in the Grade 1 Man o' War.

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6.4.2019:

Alwaysmining, Dream Maker Headline Belmont's Easy Goer Stakes

ELMONT, NY - The race is named for one of the most popular horses in New York, and, appropriately, the $150,000 Easy Goer will be run on Belmont Stakes Day, part of a 10-stakes race extravaganza topped off by the 151st running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes. Easy Goer was nearly unbeatable at Belmont Park from 1988-90, with his greatest victory coming in the 1989 Belmont Stakes when he ended rival Sunday Silence's Triple Crown bid. His other wins at the iconic track came in the Cowdin, Champagne, Woodward, Jockey Club Gold Cup and Suburban. On Saturday, the ninth edition of the Easy Goer for 3-year-olds kicks off the stakes portion of the 13-race program with owner John Oxley's Dream Maker facing five others in the 1 1-16 mile race. Dream Maker, a gray/roan son of leading sire Tapit, comes into the Easy Goer off a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile on May 4 at Churchill Downs. A Kentucky Derby prospect at one point, Dream Maker ran a disappointing 10th in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby after being bumped and followed that with a discouraging 13thh in the Grade 2 Blue Grass at Keeneland Race Course. He worked a half-mile in 48.29 seconds on Saturday at Belmont, and trainer Mark Casse - who will saddle Preakness winner War of Will as well as Sir Winston in the Belmont Stakes - is optimistic. "He showed definite improvement in his last start,'' said Casse, "and I think he will enjoy the one turn and the distance." Dream Maker drew post 2 under Julien Leparoux. West Point Thoroughbreds and Chris Larsen's Still Dreaming was sixth in the Grade 3 Chick Lang at Pimlico on May 18, Preakness Day. But trainer Graham Motion figures the Easy Goer is a good spot for the chestnut son of Flatter. "He's a bit of a difficult horse to place because we think he's a one-turn horse and six furlongs [distance of the Chick Lang] is a little too quick for him,'' said Motion. "This being a one-turn mile-and-a-sixteenth seems like it should fit him. I felt like he was running at the end of the Chick Lang and he previously won at seven furlongs." Rajiv Maragh rides from the rail. Zayat Stables' Majid is 3-for-3 this year for trainer Rudy Rodriguez. A son of Shackleford, Najiid was 0-for-2 as a 2-year-old for two different trainers, then broke his maiden in January, and won a pair of optional claimers, most recently at Belmont on May 10 going a mile. He will be ridden by Luis Saez from post 5. "We're very proud of the horse and what he's done so far this year being undefeated as a 3-year-old,'' said Justin Zayat, racing manager for the stable. "He reminds me a lot of his sire Shackleford that he gets better with age and distance. Saturday's race will be a good test for him and he seems to be up to the task." Outshine, owned by Let's Go Stables, Richard D. Schibell and Madaket Stables, worked five furlongs in 1:00.92 on Saturday at Belmont, the ninth-fastest of 28 at the distance. He comes into the race off a ninth-place finish in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. The son of Malibu Moon, trained by Todd Pletcher, drew post 4 and will be ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez. Rounding out the field are Alwaysmining, whose six-race winning streak was snapped when he finished 11th in the Grade 1 Preakness, and supplementary nomination Grumps Little Tots, who most recently was placed eighth in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial behind early Belmont Stakes favorite Tacitus.

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6.3.2019:

War of Will Arrives at Belmont for G1 Belmont Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Grade 1 Preakness winner War of Will arrived at trainer Mark Casse's barn on the Belmont Park backstretch early Monday morning by van from his Keeneland base in Lexington, Kentucky. Joining War of Will on the journey were stablemates Chocolate Kisses and Got Stormy. Owned by Gary Barber, War of Will walked the shed row and was bathed shortly upon arrival. He will train on the main track at 8:45 a.m. along with Sir Winston who also is pointing to the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes.  "He got here this morning, he walked, and they bathed him," said Casse's assistant Jamie Begg. "He was on his toes when he got in this morning, but he settled in now. He's happy. This barn is good because it's kind of secluded, so it's kind of quiet." Prior to a 1 ¼-length victory in the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the War Front colt was a troubled seventh in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby following the disqualification of Maximum Security. He kicked off his 3-year-old campaign with wins in the Grade 3 Lecomte and Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds in the winter.  War of Will began his training under the supervision of Begg last summer at Belmont Park. Bred in Kentucky by Flaxman Holdings, War of Will is out of the Sadler's Wells broodmare Visions of Clarity, who produced Irish Group 1 winner Pathfork and is a half-sister to 1997 Breeders' Cup Mile winner Spinning World. Casse' brother, bloodstock agent Justin Casse, purchased War of Will overseas last May at the Arqana Breeze Up Sale in France for just under $300,000.

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6.3.2019:

Joevia Confirmed for Belmont Stakes; Jose Lezcano to Ride

ELMONT, N.Y. - Michael and Jeff Fazio's Joevia will make his next start in the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, trainer Gregory Sacco confirmed by phone Monday morning. Joevia rebounded from a Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets effort, in which he was disqualified and placed 11th, with a strong showing in winning the Long Branch at 1 1/16 miles on May 12 at Monmouth Park, earning a personal-best 89 Beyer Speed Figure. Sacco said jockey Jose Lezcano will pick up the mount in the 1 1/2-mile "Test of the Champion," which will mark Sacco's first-ever trainee in an American Classic. Sacco added that Red Oak Stable and Madaket Stables' Mind Control came out of his Saturday breeze [1:00.61] in good order and remains on target for the, $400,000 Woody Stephens presented by Mohegan Sun, one of eight Grade 1 races set for Belmont Stakes Day. "They both came out of their works great and went back to the track today and both did well. It's been good." Sacco said.  Joevia's only off-the-board finish in five career starts came in the Wood Memorial, when he caused interference breaking from outermost post 11 on April 6 at Aqueduct Racetrack. Joevia, who won his debut in July at Monmouth before running second in back-to-back stakes in the Jimmy Winkfield in February at Aqueduct and the Private Terms on March 16 at Laurel Park, will be making his first start at Belmont and running at longer than 1 1/8 miles. Joevia breezed Saturday at Monmouth Park, where he is stabled, going five furlongs in a minute flat, handily. Lezcano will be making his fifth career start in the Belmont and first since 2012, when he finished a career-best fourth with Street Life. His previous runners include Monzon (ninth, 2011), Ice Box (eighth, 2010) and Miners Escape (10th, 2009). Lezcano's best-ever finish in a Classic came with Ice Box, who ran second to Super Saver in the Kentucky Derby. Mind Control will be running at the Woody Stephens distance of seven furlongs for the second straight race and will look to build on his 1 ¼-length win in the Grade 3 Bay Shore on April 6 at the Big A in which he garnered a personal-best 97 Beyer. Both horses are expected to arrive at Belmont on Wednesday after traveling from Monmouth at around 8 a.m., Sacco said.

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6.3.2019:

Irad Ortiz Jr. to Ride Tax in G1 Belmont Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Danny Gargan confirmed Tax's status for the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes. The Arch gelding, owned by R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable, will pick up a new rider, with former Belmont Stakes-winning jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. taking the call. Tax, whose status for the "Test of the Champion" was uncertain following Saturday's four-furlong breeze in 49.03 seconds on Belmont's main track, was given new glue-on shoes and showed enough to now be part of an expected 10-horse field for the third leg of the Triple Crown. Tax Workout Video (June 1) "He looked like a million dollars out there this morning," said Gargan. The post-position draw for the 151st Belmont Stakes will take place Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Citi Field before the Mets take on the San Francisco Giants. Ortiz, Jr. will be making his fifth career start in the Belmont. The 26-year-old won the 1 ½-mile challenge in 2016 aboard Creator and last year piloted Hofburg to a third-place finish in a Belmont Stakes that saw Justify post a Triple Crown-clinching victory. Tax will be Gargan's first Belmont Stakes trainee. The Wood Memorial runner-up will be making his first start since being placed 14th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby last month.

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6.3.2019:

Everfast Posts Final Breeze for Belmont Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Preakness Stakes runner-up Everfast flaunted speed and fitness in his final serious preparation for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets when he covered five furlongs in 1:01 flat at Churchill Downs Monday morning. With exercise rider Faustino Aguilar at the helm, Everfast broke off from the half-mile pole and clocked splits of 12.80 24.40, and 48.60 seconds with a gallop out to six furlongs in 1:13.60 and seven furlongs in 1:28. The move was the second for the son of Take Charge Indy in six days, as he also drilled a half-mile in :50.20 at Churchill on May 29. "Everfast worked great today. It's a mile and a half race so we crammed two works back to back to make sure he is plenty fit," trainer Dale Romans said. "The way he worked out there this morning he looked great. He went even early and finished fast and didn't want to pull up, which might be key going into the Belmont." Monday's work was the fastest five furlongs Everfast has officially recorded dating to last summer. Though the colt's closing kick nearly allowed him to complete a Hail Mary-pass as a 29-1 longshot in the Preakness, Romans wouldn't be surprised to see Calumet Farm's charge laying closer in the 12-furlong Belmont Stakes - a race where tactical speed is most crucial. "I would say going a mile-and-a-half, any horse can be where they want. They're going to be going so slowly early on," the Eclipse Award-winning trainer said. "I just felt like in the Preakness, even though he was coming off of a sprint, he'd have a strong finishing kick and it looked like a lot of speed in the race. But I'll let the jockey figure it out in the Belmont. "In the Belmont, by the time they get to the eighth pole, they are all tired," he added. "It is hard for a horse to kick. So I would think he would be laying a little bit closer." Upsetting the apple cart at a New York venue would be no new venture for Romans, who famously saddled Keen Ice to a stunning triumph over Triple Crown hero American Pharoah in the 2015 Grade 1 Travers Stakes. With one win in 11 starts, Everfast has been under the radar for most of his career but did tease of things to come when he ran second at odds of 128-1 in the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes on February 2. "He's coming into it as good as he could be," Romans said. "I didn't see [going to the Preakness] as big a chance as a lot of the media did. I feel like we are taking a horse that is live...and at the Preakness I think we took a live longshot. "He showed [in the Holy Bull] then that he could compete with good horses. And like I've said many times now that once they show it that they can, then don't give up on them." WATCH: Dale Romans Talks About Everfast Ahead of the 2019 Belmont Stakes Everfast Jogged at Belmont Park on June 5th, 2019 Everfast Jogged at Belmont Park on June 6th, 2019

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6.3.2019:

Mark Hennig Hoping for Better Race from Bourbon War in Belmont Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - In the weeks following Bourbon War's eighth-place finish the Grade 1 Preakness, trainer Mark Hennig has examined and reexamined all the factors that might have gone into the Tapit colt's disappointing performance, from racing for the first time with blinkers to being confused by the circumstances - mainly the loose horse - to being unfamiliar with the turns at Pimlico.   "There's no indication why he threw in that race," mused Hennig Monday morning after the Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable color-bearer galloped 1 1/8 miles over the main track at Belmont Park, where he will likely face nine others in Saturday's 151st running of the Belmont Stakes. Bourbon War Jogging Video (June 2) "If you look at the chart of the race, he went from eighth, to eleventh, to eighth - maybe when he was taken outside on the backside he thought he was supposed to ease up because he was out of the bridle for about a quarter-mile, then picked it up again in the stretch." Certainly, said Hennig, there seemed to be no physical reason for it. "He was not tired at all after the race," said Hennig. "I don't know how much running he actually did. I held him for a bath after the race and he bit me in the stomach and tore my shirt. He was actually angry after the Preakness." Bourbon War has been nothing but bright and happy since returning to Belmont Park, said Hennig, having turned in a half-mile work in 48.74 seconds on Thursday. On Saturday, the blinkers - which were added after Bourbon War's fourth-place effort behind Maximum Security, Bodexpress and Code of Honor in the Grade 1 Florida Derby - will be removed, and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, a three-time winner of the "Test of the Champion" will be aboard. "Put a line through the Preakness? Hopefully, that's the right thing to do," Hennig said.

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6.3.2019:

Pletcher's Intrepid Heart, Spinoff 'Fit the Mold' for Belmont Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Todd Pletcher may not have the precise formula for winning the "Test of the Champion," but with a 3-5-3 record since his first starter in 2000 (Impeachment finished fifth), he appears to have a line on some of the elements that lead to a successful performance in the Belmont Stakes, which will be run for the 151st time on Saturday. That is why Pletcher, who won the 1 ½-mile race in 2007 with the filly Rags to Riches, in 2012 with Palace Malice and in 2017 with Tapwrit, will be saddling both Intrepid Heart, third in the Grade 3 Peter Pan on May 11 at Belmont Park, and Spinoff, second-to-last in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, in the 1 ½-mile race. "In Intrepid Heart's case, literally, since the day he was purchased [for $750,000], the thought was in our minds that this horse is really bred for the Belmont Stakes," he said of Robert and Lowana Low's Tapit colt. "Tapit has had tremendous success as a stallion in the Belmont, and this horse is out of a Touch Gold mare, and Touch Gold won the Belmont. "He's also a half-brother to Commissioner, who lost [by a head to Tonalist] in the [2012] Belmont," he added. "There's a strong pedigree indication he'll handle the mile-and-a-half." Intrepid Heart has only started three times, breaking his maiden at Oaklawn Park by 7 ¾ lengths in February, taking an optional claimer at Keeneland in April and finishing third in the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan after stumbling at the start. On Saturday, he will be sporting blinkers for the first time in a race. "John [Velazquez] has always thought he might need them, especially in his last race," said Pletcher. "His last two works have been with blinkers, and he's seemed a little more focused and a little less distracted by his workmate but not at all overzealous. And hopefully, his little lack of experience will be offset by the one-and-a-half miles." Spinoff, a Wertheimer et Frere homebred, was 2-1-1 in four starts heading into the Derby, in which he was wide throughout and faded to finish 18 lengths behind Maximum Security. "He did not like the sloppy track in the Derby, and he's come back from Churchill Downs and done well since," said Pletcher, whose Tapwrit and Palace Malice both came off off-the-board finishes in the Derby to win the Belmont on five weeks rest. "His penultimate breeze [five furlongs in 59.91 seconds on May 25], I got him galloping out a mile in 1:37 3/5, which again is kind of consistent with the other breezes in other years with horses like Commissioner, Destin [second in 2016], Palace Malice, Rags to Riches and Tapwrit." Third in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special in his second start as a 2-year-old, the Hard Spun colt posted a front-running win in his 2019 debut at Tampa Bay Downs and then finished second after gaining the lead in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. "We've had very high hopes for him," said Pletcher. "He ran well in the Saratoga Special, and in the Louisiana Derby he got the lead and idled a little bit. In retrospect, the Louisiana Derby is a pretty strong race."

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6.2.2019:

Special Belmont Stakes Festival Pick 6 Offered on Friday and Saturday

ELMONT, N.Y. - A special two-day Pick 6 wager, with a $0.20 base minimum and featuring six graded stakes races, culminating with the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, will be offered by the New York Racing Association (NYRA) this Friday, June 7. The Belmont Stakes Festival Pick 6, with a low 15 percent takeout and mandatory payout, begins with the Grade 2, $250,000 True North and the Grade 2, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational on Friday and continues Saturday with the Grade 1, $400,000 Woody Stephens presented by Mohegan Sun, the Grade 1, $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap, the Grade 1, $1 million Manhattan and concludes with the 151st running of the Belmont Stakes, the "Test of the Champion." Now in its fifth year as a three-day event, the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival will take place at beautiful Belmont Park from Thursday, June 6 through Saturday and will include 18 stakes races including an unprecedented eight Grade 1 races on Belmont Stakes Day, June 8. Full advance wagering for the Belmont Stakes Day card will be available on Friday, June 7.  A number of rich, multi-race wagers will be available on the wagering menu for both Friday and Saturday. Guaranteed Wagers - Friday, June 7th  $500,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 4 begins on Race 8 Guaranteed Wagers - Saturday, June 8th  $500,000 Guaranteed Pick 5 begins on Race 1 $500,000 Guaranteed Pick 6 begins on Race 6 $1.5 million Guaranteed Pick 4 begins on Race 8 Two-day Daily Double Guaranteed Wagers (June 7-8) $100,000 Guaranteed New York Stakes - Runhappy Metropolitan $300,000 Guaranteed Belmont Gold Cup - Belmont Stakes  

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6.2.2019:

Tacitus Strong in Final Workout for G1 Belmont Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Juddmonte Farms' homebred Tacitus, with Jose Ortiz up for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.42 over Big Sandy on Sunday morning in preparation for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes. Working in company with Juddmonte maiden Tide of the Sea [1:01.50], Tacitus finished up strong down the lane, galloping out well in front of his workmate. Tacitus Workout Video (June 2) Mott said he was pleased with the final breeze ahead of the 1 ½-mile Belmont, set for Saturday, June 8. "He was moving very good, very level and very even. He went along in '12s' every furlong and went out strong enough," said Mott. "It was very similar to last week. Once he gets in his rhythm he moves very nicely." The son of Tapit and multiple Grade 1 winner Close Hatches graduated at Aqueduct Racetrack in November and won the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby in his sophomore debut. Tacitus returned to the Big A in April to capture the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets. Last out, in the Kentucky Derby, Tacitus rallied from 16th to finish fourth, defeated less than four lengths, over a sloppy Churchill Downs main track. He was elevated to third when Maximum Security, who crossed the wire first, was disqualified for an infraction at the top of the stretch that saw the Mott-trained Country House declared the winner of the 145th Run for the Roses. Mott said Tacitus' physical appearance has impressed him as the colt trains into the "Test of the Champion." "I haven't weighed him, but visually it looks like he's in good flesh. I think he's done well. He's a good eater," said Mott. Channel Maker, a 5-year-old son of English Channel owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Gary Barber, R.A. Hill Stable and Wachtel Stable, will make his next start in the Grade 1, $1 million Manhattan on Belmont Stakes Day. Bred in Ontario by the Tall Oaks Farm of Ivan Dalos, the talented chestnut boasts a record of 5-4-3 from 24 career starts with purse earnings in excess of $1.9 million. He broke through at the Grade 1 level in September at Belmont over soft going in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic while earning a career-best 108 Beyer Speed Figure, and doubled up at the top flight last out with a neck score over Arklow in the Man o' War, which garnered a 106 Beyer on firm footing. Channel Maker breezed a half-mile in 49 flat on Sunday morning on the Belmont dirt training track. "He worked very well. We're very happy with him. It was a very nice breeze. He's ready for the Manhattan," said Mott. Mott will be quite busy during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, set for June 6 - 8, saddling a number of top contenders, including Red Knight in the Grade 2, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational; Giant Zinger in the Grade 2, $600,000 New York; and Capla Temptress in the Grade 1, $700,000 Longines Just a Game. With the 151st running of the Belmont Stakes as its centerpiece, the 2019 Festival will include 18 stakes races over the three days including an unprecedented eight Grade 1 races on Belmont Stakes Day, June 8.

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6.2.2019:

Competitionofideas, Homerique Headline Friday's G2 New York Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Klaravich Stables' graded-stakes winner Competitionofideas leads a pair of talented Chad Brown-trained contenders in the Grade 2, $600,000 New York for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up on Friday on the Belmont Park inner turf. The 76th running of the New York is one of five stakes on Friday's card, marking the second day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival that culminates with the 151st running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on Saturday. Competitionofideas looks to sustain the consistent start to her career, as she carries a 3-2-2 ledger in eight career starts into the 1 1/4-mile race. After back-to-back wins, Brown moved the Speightstown filly up to stakes company in November, where she ran third in the Winter Memories at Aqueduct Racetrack in a one-mile contest that was moved off the turf. Shipping to the West Coast for the first time - and returning to grass -Competitonofideas proved to be a road warrior, posting an off-the-pace 2 ¾-length win in the Grade 1 American Oaks on December 29 at Santa Anita Park. To start her 4-year-old season, she ran second to stablemate and fellow New York contestant Homerique in the Grade 3 Beaugay on May 11 at Belmont, earning a personal-best 96 Beyer Speed Figure. Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, who rode her to a maiden-breaking win at fourth asking in September at Belmont, will have the return call from post 6. Homerique made an impression in her first U.S. start, rallying from last-of-six to best Competitionofideas by a half length to win the Beaugay, netting her a 96 Beyer as well. After going 2-1-1 in six career starts in France, Homerique was shipped across the Atlantic with Brown taking over the training duties. Owned by Peter Brant, Homerique has been training at Belmont since May after previously being stabled at Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, Florida. Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride again from post 8. Godolphin's Lady Montdore will be cutting back in distance after running fourth last out in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay on May 4 at Belmont. The 5-year-old Medaglia d'Oro mare was coming off a layoff in excess of five months but stayed close to the pace before tiring late in the 1 3/8-mile route over soft turf. Trainer Tom Albertrani said getting Lady Montdore back in action was a positive step and is looking for a return to the form she showed when she won the Grade 2 Glens Falls in September at Saratoga and when she ran third in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl in October at Belmont. After running three of her last four races at 1 3/8-miles, she will be cutting back to the Flower Bowl's distance of 1 ¼ miles. "I think she's come forward since the last race. It won't be a matter of fitness, it'll be if she can handle the shorter distance," Albertrani said. "She's gained some weight; that was the whole purpose of giving her time off. But she still tends to be on the lean side. We just have to make up a little bit of ground off the last start." Lady Montdore will face familiar opponents from the Sheepshead Bay, where she was forwardly placed. "It looks like the same group she faced last time, so I don't see much difference in the pace scenario," Albertrani said. "She usually runs her race and tends to be closer to the front-end and hopefully that's the case and we have her a little fitter." Kendrick Carmouche will have the return call from post 4. Stronach Stables' Holy Helena will look for firmer turf in her first start since besting Ickymasho by a head in the Grade 3 Very One on March 2 at Gulfstream Park. The 5-year-old Ghostzapper mare entered the Sheepshead Bay last month at Belmont, but trainer Jimmy Jerkens scratched her after heavy rainfall rendered the Belmont turf soft leading up to the race on May 4. "She hates it real soft like that, so we needed to scratch," Jerkens said. "It was a small field, but at the same time, she would have really struggled, so we decided to take her out." Holy Helena is a three-time graded stakes winner, including a victory in the 2018 edition of the Sheepshead Bay that followed a win in the Grade 3 Very One in March 2018 at Gulfstream. She is 4-1-0 in her last six starts on turf labeled firm. Jockey Manny Franco will pick up the mount for the first time, drawing post 1. Team Penney Racing's Giant Zinger, third in the Sheepshead Bay in her last start behind Semper Sententiae and the Brown-trained winner Santa Monica, breezed Sunday at Belmont, going four furlongs in 50.11 seconds on the Belmont training track. Since running sixth in her debut in September 2017, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott has seen Giant Zinger go 2-3-3 in her next nine starts, including a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Orchid on March 29 at Gulfstream. "She's been very good since her last race," Mott said. "She's working steady. She's done everything right." Jose Ortiz will be in the irons from post 3. Semper Sententiae has finished in the money in each of her last five starts, all against stakes company. Trainer Mark Hennig moved the daughter of The Factor up to graded stakes competition following a third-place finish in the Tropical Park Oaks to close her sophomore campaign in December. In her 4-year-old bow, she ran third in the Grade 3 La Prevoyante in January and followed with another third in Grade 3 The Very One on March 2 at Gulfstream. Off a runner-up effort in the Sheepshead Bay, Semper Sententiae returns to Belmont, this time with the services of Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez from post 7. Vexatious, who won the Grade 3 Dowager through disqualification and ran third in the Red Carpet in November, drew post 5 for trainer Neil Drysdale. Matty's Magnum, the winner of the Winter Memories, will go for her first career graded stakes win for trainer David Donk, drawing post 2.

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6.2.2019:

Arklow Seeks 3rd Graded Stakes Win in Friday's G2 Belmont Gold Cup

ELMONT, N.Y. - Donegal Racing, Joseph Bulger and Peter Coneway's two-time graded stakes winner Arklow has capably run long distances in his past starts, but will stretch out even further when he competes in the two-mile Grade 2, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational over the Widener turf course Friday afternoon at Belmont Park. Trained by Brad Cox, the 5-year-old bay son of Arch recorded a career best 105 Beyer Speed Figure last time out in the Grade 1 Man o' War, finishing only a neck behind Channel Maker. As a 3-year-old, he won the Grade 2 American Turf at Churchill Downs in his second start over turf and the next year defeated multiple graded stakes winner Bigger Picture by a half-length in the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup at Kentucky Downs. Two starts back, he rounded out the superfecta, finishing fourth behind world champion Enable in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs. "On paper, we think he's as good as the best there is in the country, but the mile and quarter is a little shorter than he would like so we decided to give the Belmont Gold Cup a whirl," said Donegal Racing's Jerry Crawford. "There's a little fear of the unknown in going this long but he's showing signs of being able to get the two miles and we know that he likes the turf at Belmont. The time off did him well and it sets up well if we decide to keep him in training throughout the year and early next year. We are incredibly grateful to NYRA for their great hospitality and racing that they will have this weekend." Arklow will emerge from post 6 under regular rider Florent Geroux. Canessar will seek redemption in the Belmont Gold Cup after finishing second beaten a length to Her Royal Highness' Call To Mind in last year's edition of the two mile turf marathon. The Guy Pariente-owned gray or roan son of Kendargent will attempt to earn his first victory since his North American debut in the 2017 Laurel Turf Cup. Since then, he has raced exclusively against graded stakes company which include runner up efforts in the Belmont Gold Cup and the Grade 3 Stars and Stripes at Arlington last July. Last out, Canessar was sixth beaten 2 ¾ lengths in the Grade 2 Elkhorn at Keeneland behind Bigger Picture. Trained by Arnaud Delacour, Canessar will break from post 9 under Joel Rosario. Hall of Famer Bill Mott will saddle Trinity Farm's Red Knight, who is a stakes winner over the two-mile distance when he took the H. Allen Jerkens on the Gulfstream Park turf. The New York-homebred son of Pure Prize was a close second last time out in the Grade 2 Elkhorn at Keeneland, which was contested over yielding ground. "He's doing very well," Mott said. "He had a couple of very good works and he's in good order for the Gold Cup." Red Knight will emerge from post 4 and will be piloted by Jose Ortiz. European-based runners have won the past two editions of the Belmont Gold Cup, and a trio of European invaders have been sent for this year's running, including Raa Atoll, who enters the race fresh off a victory in the Group 2 Comer Group International 48th Oleander-Rennen at Hoppegarten in Germany going two miles. Trained and owned by Luke Comer, the British-bred son of Sea the Stars made his first start for Comer last out after being purchased and transferred from former trainer John Gosden. Jozef Bojko will ship to ride Raa Atoll, who will break from post 8. Breaking from the rail for Hugo Palmer is Mootasadir, who looks to make amends after finishing sixth in the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup at Goodwood. Owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum, the son of Dansili has won six of his nine career starts, including the Group 3 Diamond at Dundalk. Mootasadir will be ridden by Ben Curtis from the inside post. OTI Racing's Amade is a two-time winner over the two-mile distance. Trained by Alessandro Botti, the Irish-bred son of Casamento's two-mile triumphs both came over the all-weather surface, and as the lukewarm favorite. He went even further four starts back over the synthetic surface at Deauville, winning a 2 1/8-mile allowance race by three lengths. Jockey Flavien Prat will guide Amade from post 3. Completing the field are Noble Thought [post 2, Kendrick Carmouche], Highland Sky [post 5, Manny Franco] and Hunter O'Riley [post 7, Junior Alvarado]. Carded as one of five stakes events on the second day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, the Belmont Gold Cup will go off as Race 10 with a post time of 5:48 p.m.

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6.2.2019:

Catalina Cruiser, Whitmore Square Off in G2 True North on Friday at Belmont

ELMONT, N.Y. - Grade 1-winner Whitmore and the returning Catalina Cruiser headline Friday's Grade 2, $250,000 True North, a 6 ½-furlong sprint for 4-year-olds and upward at Belmont Park. Trained by Ron Moquett for owners Robert LaPenta, Southern Springs Stables and Head of Plains Partners, Whitmore broke through at the Grade 1 level in August at Saratoga Race Course with a rallying effort in the seven-furlong Forego. With a record of 12-8-5 from 27 career starts and purse earnings in excess of $2.5 million, the 6-year-old Whitmore has proven to be an ultra-consistent performer as a sprinter after a sophomore campaign spent on the Kentucky Derby trail. Last year, Whitmore won the Hot Springs and Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park en route to completing his season with a strong second to Roy H in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. The Pleasantly Perfect chestnut arrives at the True North from a difficult fifth in the Grade 1 Churchill Downs Sprint. "It was an odd race," said Moquett of the last-out fifth. "We did a lot of moving around the turn instead of down the stretch. I was a little shook up about it, but at the same time he's come back safe and sound and healthy and we'll move forward." Ricardo Santana Jr., aboard for last year's Forego score, takes over from Javier Castellano. He'll pilot Whitmore from Post 7. "I'm really happy with him and I think he'll run well," said Moquett. The lightly-raced Catalina Cruiser has won four of five career starts, including Grade 2 wins at Del Mar last year in the San Diego and Pat O'Brien. The 5-year-old Union Rags chestnut veered out at the break in the season-closing Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile in November finishing sixth, and will make his return to the races off a series of sharp works at Santa Anita, including a four-furlong effort in 47.60 seconds on Saturday morning. Owned by Hronis Racing, Catalina Cruiser is out of the Mineshaft broodmare Sea Gull and is a half-brother to graded stakes winner Eagle. Joel Rosario picks up the mount and will guide Catalina Cruiser from Post 3. Sagamore Farm's Recruiting Ready has won two of five races since Stanley Hough took over training the 5-year-old son of Algorithms, including a 3 ¼-length score in the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint. In his most recent outing, the speedy bay finished second behind Firenze Fire in the Runhappy Stakes on May 11 at Belmont, despite grabbing a quarter after stumbling at the start. Luis Saez has the call from Post 6. Courtlandt Farms homebred Strike Power, a 4-year-old Speightstown chestnut, won the Grade 3 Swale and finished second in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth while competing on the Derby trail last winter at Gulfstream Park. Trained by Mark Hennig, Strike Power returned to sprinting in the summer finishing a pace-setting fourth in the Grade 3 Amsterdam at Saratoga. Following an off-season throat surgery to correct a breathing issue, Strike Power made his seasonal debut in style with a romping five-length score in a 6 ½-furlong sprint on the Gulfstream main. Strike Power will be piloted by Hall of Famer John Velazquez from Post 5. The upwardly-mobile Nicodemus, trained by Linda Rice for owners Everything's Cricket Racing and Lawrence Goichman, earned a career-best 101 Beyer Speed Figure last out in the one-mile Grade 3 Westchester in which he defeated True North rival Stan the Man. A 4-year-old son of Candy Ride, Nicodemus has three wins and two seconds from seven career starts. He won sprinting in the slop at Aqueduct in March before stretching out to nine furlongs for the Grade 3 Excelsior where he finished fourth. Jose Ortiz takes over from Mike Luzzi in Post 4. Completing the field are Bon Raison (Javier Castellano, Post 1), Stan the Man (Dylan Davis, Post 2), Do Share (Irad Ortiz Jr., Post 8), Gold for the King (Manny Franco, Post 9), and Mr. Dougie Fresh (Jose Lezcano, Post 10.) The True North is slated as Race 8 on Friday's 11-race card. First post is 12:50 p.m.

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6.2.2019:

Wesley Ward Enters Duo in Friday's Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park

ELMONT, N.Y. - A talented field of eight juveniles is set to compete in the 122nd running of the $150,000 Tremont at 5 ½ furlongs on Friday at Belmont Park. The Tremont is part of the second day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, which begins June 6 and concludes with the 151st running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on Saturday. In addition to the Tremont, Friday's 11-race card will also include the Grade 3, $250,000 Bed o' Roses for older fillies and mares at seven furlongs, the Grade 2, $250,000 True North for 4-year-olds and upward at 6 ½ furlongs, the Grade 2, $600,000 New York for older fillies and mares going 1 ¼ miles on the inner turf and the Grade 2, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational for 4-year-olds and upward going two miles on the Widener turf course. Conditioner Wesley Ward, long respected for his ability with juveniles, entered a formidable pair with Richard Ravin's Maven and Dixie Mo for owner and breeder Mrs. Fitriani Hay. A son of 2015 Triple Crown-winner American Pharoah and out of multiple stakes winning dam Richies Party Girl, Maven won his debut on April 19 by a half-length at Aqueduct Racetrack. Sent off as the 2-5 post-time favorite, Maven earned a field-high 84 Beyer Speed Figure. "He's continuing to do great," said Ward. "He really flattered himself in his debut and we think he's continued to move forward from that race. He seems to have mostly taken after his dam, so he looks like he's going to be a sprinter." Dixie Mo, a daughter of multiple graded stakes winner and champion Uncle Mo, made her debut on May 10 at Indiana Grand Race Course, drawing off for a four-length win. Ward said he looks for the filly to improve off that start. "She's doing really good," said Ward. "I thought her race at Indiana Grand was really a major turning point for her. She didn't come back with a major speed figure in that race, but since then her works have been very impressive. We think her debut really put the light bulb on and she's ready to take next step up to stakes competition." With Dylan Davis aboard, Maven will leave from post 2; Dixie Mo will depart from post 6 with Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the irons. Rookie Salsa, for Designated Hitters Racing, ships in from Maryland for trainer Jeremiah O'Dwyer. Purchased for $15,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Yearling Sale, the son of Two Step Salsa won his debut by three-quarters of a length on April 19 at Laurel Park and followed with a 1 ½-length win in the Kentucky Juvenile at 27-1 odds on May 1 at Churchill Downs. "He's coming along very good," said Dwyer. "He's shown improvement with each start and has continued to move forward in the mornings. I was a little surprised he was so high of a price at Churchill, maybe the bettors didn't have much faith in us against some bigger named trainers, but he proved himself. When I purchased him as a yearling, he looked to act mature, so we had no qualms about shipping him and he's proven himself on the road so far." Drawing post 8, Rookie Salsa will be ridden by Angel Suarez. Trainer Doug O'Neill entered recent maiden winner Fore Left for owner Reddam Racing. The son of Twirling Candy, purchased for $97,000 as a yearling at the Keeneland September Sale, won his debut on May 19 at Santa Anita Park by neck, netting a 67 Beyer Speed Figure. Fore Left will leave from post 4 with Mario Gutierrez in the irons. Also entered is Memorable for Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen and owner KEM Stables (Ricardo Santana, Jr., post 7); Theitalianamerican for trainer Gary Contessa (Post 1, Joel Rosario); and trainer Phil Gleaves with a pair in Ferale (post 5, Luis Saez) and Now Is (John Velazquez, post 3).

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6.2.2019:

Chalon Headlines Strong Group in Friday's G3 Bed O' Roses Invitational

ELMONT, N.Y. - A salty field of seven older fillies and mares has assembled for the Grade 3, $250,000 Bed O' Roses Invitational on Friday at Belmont Park, led by Lael Stables' Chalon. The Bed O' Roses, run at seven furlongs on the main track, is part of a sensational 11-race Friday program that also features the Grade 2, $600,000 New York; Grade 2, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational; Grade 2, $250,000 True North and the $150,000 Tremont on the second day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. Since transferring to the barn of trainer Arnaud Delacour for her 2018 campaign, Chalon has been a model of consistency. In six starts under Delacour, all against stakes competition, the 5-year-old mare bred by J. K. and Linda Griggs has never finished outside the exacta and has picked up wins in a trio of listed stakes, including last out in the Skipat on May 17 at Pimlico in her 2019 debut. Striving to break through at the graded stakes level, she nearly upset the field in last year's Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at odds of 14-1. After tracking a hot pace, the daughter of Dialed In opened up a daylight lead in the stretch but was run down late by Shamrock Rose. The race was just the latest in a series of close calls for Chalon dating back to the 2017 Grade 2 TCA at Keeneland, which kicked off a string of five runner-up finishes in a row at the graded level. Chalon will break from post 3 with Hall of Famer Javier Castellano aboard. Another contender who has come close to victory in a graded stakes and looking to break through is John Kimmel-trainee Pacific Gale. Bred by Bally Breeders, the Flat Out filly won the Sorority as a juvenile but her development stagnated a bit in 2018 as it took her a few tries to clear the N2X level as a sophomore while her Beyer Speed Figures hovered in the 70's. Over the winter, the Tobey Morton-owned filly showed improvement, starting with a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Sugar Swirl in December at Gulfstream Park. She continued her upward trajectory to start her 4-year-old campaign, posting a runner-up effort in the Grade 3 Fasig-Tipton Hurricane Bertie and also adding a trio of runner-up finishes at the graded level, including an encounter with Come Dancing in the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack and most recently a tough-luck second in the Grade 3 Vagrancy Handicap on May 11 at Belmont. "She came out of her last race in good order and had a couple nice, easy breezes just to maintain fitness," Kimmel said. "If she had gotten clear a little bit sooner in the Vagrancy she could have won. It was a very fast track that day and she put in a good effort. "She was a little disappointing last year because she was training just as well as she is now but didn't seem to be improving," Kimmel added. "The transition from 3 to 4 has worked wonders for her. She's certainly been on the upswing and her form is holding. Each race is getting better and better. I consider her one of the better fillies around." With Joe Bravo named to ride, Pacific Gale will depart from post 4. Multiple Grade 1-winner Separationofpowers will go out for trainer Chad Brown and Klaravich Stables. The lightly raced filly has only made eight starts since debuting in July 2017 but has made the most of them, winning the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga Race Course as a juvenile and then taking the Grade 1 Test nearly a year later over the same track. Sent off as the 6-5 favorite in her 4-year-old debut in the Vagrancy, the Candy Ride filly pressed a moderate early pace and faded to finish third, 2 ¼ lengths behind Pacific Gale. Bred by Northwest Farms, Separationofpowers will break from outermost post 7 with regular rider Jose Ortiz in the irons. Dawn the Destroyer, a Stonestreet Stables homebred trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, will look to bounce back after a few disappointing efforts against Grade 3 company. The Speightstown mare turned heads with an emphatic 4 ¼-length score off a seven-month layoff on November 29 at Aqueduct, then for an encore took the Interborough on January 25 at the Big A. Like Pacific Gale and Separationofpowers, she exits the Vagrancy, in which she finished fourth. "She was excellent at Aqueduct over the winter," said McLaughlin. "In her last two she ran into Come Dancing, who was a monster that day, and she may have run on a speed biased track last time. We're hopeful she gets back to her best form, but we'll see. It's a tough spot." Dawn the Destroyer will enlist the services of Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez and the pair will break from post 5. Going out for potent New York connections trainer Jason Servis and owners Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables, Mybigitalianfriend will try stakes company for the first time after a second-place finish against an optional claiming field on March 28 at Gulfstream. She will again enlist the services of Irad Ortiz, Jr. and the pair will leave from stall 2. Saguaro Row and Spring in the Wind round out the field. The former, trained by Michael Stidham for Newtown Anner Stud, is 2-for-2 this year and coming off an optional claiming score at Belmont, while the latter exits a sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff for trainer Anthony Quartarolo and Ron Paolucci Racing. Carded as Race 5, the Bed O' Roses has an approximate post time of 2:58 p.m. Eastern. First post time is set for 12:50 p.m.

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6.1.2019:

Spinoff, Intrepid Heart Notch Final Pre-Belmont Stakes Workouts

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Todd Pletcher said he was pleased with the final breezes from a bevy of Belmont Stakes Racing Festival contenders on Saturday morning at Belmont Park. Visiting the main track shortly after the renovation break were Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets contenders Intrepid Heart and Spinoff along with Grade 1 Runhappy Metropolitan contender Coal Front. Working in company with recent maiden winner Principled, Spinoff completed five furlongs in 1:02.16 seconds. Spinoff Workout Video (June 1) "I thought he went well," said Pletcher. "He seemed very relaxed and got into a good comfortable rhythm. He stayed steady all the way around and put in a nice seven-eighths gallop out. He had a really strong workout last week, so we didn't have to do quite as much today. He seemed happy and moving well." The Wertheimer and Frere homebred Hard Spun colt, who most notably ran second in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in March, will enter the Grade 1 Belmont following an 18th place finish in the Kentucky Derby over a muddy track. "It looked like he never really appreciated the off going in that race," said Pletcher. "Since then he's seemed to continue to move forward and he's been training well so we're expecting a better effort." Intrepid Heart, for owners Robert and Lawana Low, worked in blinkers on the inside of graded stakes placed stablemate Outshine, completing five furlongs in 1:00.92. Intrepid Heart Workout Video (June 1) "I thought he [Intrepid Heart] had another good work and strong gallop out," said Pletcher. "I had him finish a mile in 1:38 and change. I think we got a solid work out of him. He seemed to be happy and moving well. He worked on the outside last time, so I just wanted to work him again with the blinkers on and have him on the inside this time and thought it went smoothly." Multiple graded stakes winner Coal Front, preparing to make his first start since an impressive victory in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile at Meydan in Dubai, worked alone with regular rider Jose Ortiz aboard and completed four furlongs in 50.02. Coal Front Workout Video (June 1) "Very solid work," said Pletcher. "Consistent with what he's been doing. He got into a nice rhythm. We're happy with how he's been doing since Dubai." On the Belmont training track, Marconi completed five furlongs in 1:01.20 looking towards a start in the Grade 2 Woodford Reserve Brooklyn Invitational. "Very solid work from him," said Pletcher. "We've been real happy with how he's been doing since his win last out in the Flat Out." Wrapping up Pletcher's busy morning of workouts was graded stakes winner Bellavais, who breezed four furlongs in 49.09 seconds on the inner turf in preparation for the Grade 1 Longines Just a Game. Bellavais Workout Video (June 1)

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6.1.2019:

Newspaperofrecord Headlines Thursday's G3 Wonder Again at Belmont Park

ELMONT, N.Y. - Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence's Newspaperofrecordwill look to get back to her winning ways when she headlines a six-horse field for the sixth running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Wonder Again on Thursday, opening day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, at Belmont Park. Trained by Chad Brown, the sophomore daughter of Lope de Vega put together an undefeated 2-year-old campaign which included stakes wins in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo over the inner turf at Belmont and a 6 ¾ length win in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs. Newspaperofrecord made her seasonal debut over the Matt Winn turf course in the Grade 3 Edgewood on the Kentucky Oaks undercard, but was run down in the final eighth of a mile by Concrete Rose, finishing as the runner-up by 3 ¾-lengths in the 1 1/16-mile route. "I think I had her a little short, but she seems to be good now. She's fit and ready to go," Brown said. Newspaperofrecord will be piloted by regular rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. from post 3. Also entered for Brown is graded stakes winner Cambier Parc, who won the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride on March 2 over the turf at Gulfstream Park. The OXO Equine-owned daughter of Medaglia d'Oro was fourth in the Edgewood last out and graduated in her prior start when taking her turf debut by four lengths on January 2 at the South Florida oval. Bred in Kentucky by Bonne Chance Farm, Cambier Parc is out of 2007 Canadian Horse of the Year Sealy Hill. From post 4, jockey Jose Ortiz will ride Cambier Parc. Making a return to grass for trainer Mark Casse is Chocolate Kisses, who was placed seventh in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks last time out. The daughter of Candy Ride is a winner on both turf and dirt. She broke her maiden over a firm turf course at Saratoga last July before a third-place effort in the P.G. Johnson behind Dogtag. After a triumphant 3-year-old debut over the grass at Fair Grounds, she moved back to dirt, taking the Grade 3 Honeybee at Oaklawn Park. Chocolate Kisses, who will be guided by Dylan Davis from post 5, is a half-sister to Synchrony, who is a five-time graded stakes winner on grass. Both are out of Brownie Points, who is a stakes winner on both surfaces. Completing the field for the Wonder Again are Kelsey's Cross, who drew post 1 with Hall of Famer Mike Smith; and Blonde Moment, who will break from post 6 in tandem with Hector Diaz, Jr. Nonsensical [post 2, Joe Bravo] is entered for main track only. The Wonder Again is named in honor of the two-time Grade 1 winning millionaire whose career highlights include winning the Diana Handicap at Saratoga, the Garden City (now called the Belmont Oaks Invitational) at Belmont Park. Trained by Jimmy Toner, the daughter of Silver Hark was third in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Lone Star in 2004 and retired with $1,439,602 in career earnings.  

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5.31.2019:

Bourbon War Enters Picture for G1 Belmont Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable's Bourbon War, trained by Mark Hennig, will make his next start in the Grade 1 $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on Saturday, June 8. Bred in Kentucky by Conquest Stables, Bourbon War is the first foal out of Grade 1 winner My Conquestadory and was purchased for $410,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November Mixed Sale. Bourbon War, working without blinkers, breezed a half-mile over the Belmont Park main track in 48.74 seconds on Friday morning. Bourbon War Workout Video (May 31) "I was happy with him. I thought he did well, looked sharp and galloped out strong," Hennig said. Bourbon War graduated at Aqueduct Racetrack in November ahead of a rallying fourth in the Grade 2 Remsen to close out his 2-year-old season. The well-bred bay finished a close second to Code of Honor in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and a closing fourth in the Grade 1 Florida Derby won by Maximum Security. Bourbon War failed to fire last out when eighth in the Grade 1 Preakness. Hall of Famer Mike Smith, a three-time Belmont winner, including last year with Triple Crown-champion Justify, will be aboard Bourbon War for the first time. Also on the work tab for Hennig was three-time graded stakes placed Semper Sententiae, who went a half-mile in 48.87 in preparation for the Grade 2 $600,000 New York on Friday, June 7. Owned by John O'Connor, the 4-year-old gray or roan daughter of The Factor enters the 1 1/4-mile event over the inner turf off a runner-up effort in the Grade 3 Sheepshead Bay behind Santa Monica, who also is probable for the New York. Finishing in the money in seven of her eight career starts, Semper Sententiae seeks her first win since breaking her maiden second time out, going the New York's 1 ¼ mile distance over the inner turf last September. Hennig also worked Courtland Farm's Carlino on Friday morning. The 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid went a half-mile in 51.18 and is bound for the Grade 2, $700,000 Suburban on July 6. He was sixth in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special last out. Hennig will also saddle Grade 3-winner Strike Power in the Grade 2, $250,000 True North as part of a busy Belmont Stakes Racing Festival for the New York-based conditioner.

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5.29.2019:

Master Fencer Works 5 Furlongs at Belmont in Advance of Belmont Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Katsumi Yoshizawa's homebred Master Fencer, a Japanese-bred son of Just a Way trained by Koichi Tsunoda, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.48 on Wednesday morning on the Belmont Park main track in preparation for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, slated for Saturday, June 8. Master Fencer Workout Video (May 29) Jockey Julien Leparoux was scheduled to pilot the chestnut but a cancelled flight kept the French-born rider in Kentucky. Master Fencer's regular exercise rider Yosuke Kono was in the irons for Wednesday morning's breeze, which saw the horse appear to stumble slightly inside the eighth pole, causing Kono to pull the horse up shortly after the finish line. Kono, via translator Mitsuoki Numamoto, said Master Fencer was working well up until the stumble and that the horse appears to be in good order after cooling out at the barn. "Up until the eighth pole, he was breezing really well and I was so satisfied. All of a sudden, he stumbled, and gradually shifted to the left by the rail. I switched my whip to make him aware and focus to the end of the breeze," said Kono. "We then recovered but it was feeling a little weird so I tried to stop him as soon as possible. "After the work he had a light jog and there were no problems. I don't think it's something that will cause a major issue." Master Fencer was last of 19 at third call in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby before launching a menacing bid up the rail to finish seventh, defeated just four lengths. When Maximum Security was disqualified, Master Fencer was elevated to sixth besting the effort of the two previous Japanese-based horses in the Derby topping Lani [9th, 2016] and Ski Captain [14th, 1995]. Kono said that Master Fencer has flourished since the eye-catching Derby effort. "After the Derby his appetite has been really good and he's been working really good," said Kono. "At the same time, his body is growing and changing. I felt his running stride has been getting longer than before which is a good sign for us, but maybe that was causing him a little trouble today." Kono said that the additional two furlongs in the 'Test of the Champion' will benefit Master Fencer. "He has a big heart and big lungs and is better suited to the longer distance," said Kono. "He is not the type to make crazy speed. He has a long, strong late kick. For him, the mile and a half will be a lot better."

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5.29.2019:

War of Will to Skip Scheduled Breeze, Train Into Belmont Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. -Trainer Mark Casse has War of Will where he wants him, and he wants the son of War Front to stay that way. After initially planning to breeze the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes winner this week in preparation for the Belmont Stakes, Casse said Tuesday that he will instead have the bay colt gallop into the 1 ½-miles classic. "He's not going to breeze. We kind of feel like he's in a very happy place and relaxed right now and we want him to be that way going 1 ½ miles so I don't really see any reason to," Casse said. "We know his Preakness was good and I didn't breeze him into that. We are going to do it our way. So he is not going to breeze." War of Will has been stabled at Keeneland under the watch of assistant trainer David Carroll since arriving from Baltimore following his 1 ¼-length victory over Everfast in the middle leg of the Triple Crown. Gary Barber's colt is expected to arrive in New York on Monday, June 3 for his Belmont Stakes run, where he is slated to be the only horse this year to compete in all three legs of the Triple Crown. Indeed, fitness has not been an issue for War of Will this season. Beginning with his triumph in the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds on Jan. 19, the colt has made five starts thus far in 2019 and had his mettle tested in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby when he was impeded at the five-sixteenths by Maximum Security, leading to the latter's disqualification from first.

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5.29.2019:

Belmont, Penn National Partner for All-Turf Stakes Cross Country Pick 5

ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will again host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, June 1, featuring a scheduled all-turf sequence with stakes action from Belmont Park and from Penn National in Grantville, Pennsylvania. The Cross Country Pick 5 action kicks off at Belmont Park in Race 8, at 5:18 p.m., where a field of eight talented runners will compete in the Grade 3, $200,000 Pennine Ridge for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf. Trainer Chad Brown entered a formidable pair of unbeaten British-bred runners with Demarchelier for owner Peter Brant and Value Proposition for owner Klaravich Stables. Todd Pletcher also entered a pair of talented runners in Social Paranoia for The Elkstone Group, who finished third last out in the Grade 2 American Turf at Churchill Downs; and the British-bred Clint Maroon, last-out winner of the Woodhaven, for the St. Elias Stable. The action will then switch to Penn National for the remaining four legs beginning with the $100,000 Susquehanna for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and up going 1 /16 miles on the grass carded as Race 8 at 6:05 p.m. Multiple stakes winner Dynatail for Ballybrit Stable and trainer Mike Dini will take on a formidable field with challengers including Live Oak Plantation's stakes winner Souper Striking for conditioner Michael Trombetta and multiple stakes winner Enchanted Ghost for trainer Hamilton Smith. The third leg of the Cross Country Pick 5 is the $100,000 Pennsylvania Governor's Cup (Race 9, 6:40 p.m.) for turf sprinters at five furlongs. The five-horse field is highlighted by multiple graded stakes winner Pure Sensation set to make his second start of the year for owner and breeder Patricia Generazio and trainer Christophe Clement following an allowance victory on April 12 at Gulfstream Park. The penultimate leg of the sequence is the $200,000 Penn Oaks for 3-year-old fillies, at one mile, carded as Race 10 at 7:15 p.m.. Multiple graded stakes placed Regal Glory for owner Paul Pompa, Jr. and conditioner Chad Brown will battle Shadwell Stable's homebred Alasaayil for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and Ionic for conditioner Arnaud Delacour and owner Catherine Wills in the eight-horse field. The final leg of the Pick 5 is the Grade 2, $500,000 Penn Mile (Race 11, 7:50 p.m.) for 3-year-olds. Graded stakes winners A Thread of Blue for Flaxman Holdings and conditioner Kiaran McLaughlin and August Dawn Farm's Forty Under for trainer Jeremiah Englehart highlight a talented nine-horse field of emerging 3-year-old colts in the turf division. The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. There will be a mandatory payout of the entire pool. Belmont - Penn National - Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, June 1 Leg A: Belmont Park- Grade 3 Pennine Ridge - Race 8 (5:18 pm) Leg B: Penn National- Susquehanna Stakes - Race 8 (6:05 pm) Leg C: PA Governor's Cup - Race 9 (6:40 pm) Leg D: Penn Oaks -Race 10 (7:15 pm) Leg E: Grade 2 Penn Mile -Race 11 (7:50 pm)

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5.28.2019:

Jon White Wins Joe Hirsch Memorial Writing Contest with Xpressbet Blog

ELMONT, N.Y. - Paul Volponi of BloodHorse and Jon White of Xpressbet/XBTV earned top honors in the New York Racing Association, Inc.'s (NYRA) 10th annual Joe Hirsch Memorial Writing Contest, recognizing the best in media coverage of the 2018 Belmont Stakes, won by Justify. Read Jon White's Award-Winning Xpressbet Blog Volponi won for his feature piece entitled "The Long Ride," which investigated the pacing, positioning, and circumstances jockeys must account for to succeed in the 1 ½ mile "Test of the Champion". White won for his Belmont Stakes recap, "Triple Crown Perfection," which vividly retold the story of Bob Baffert's 2019 campaign with Justify and Mike Smith, culminating in their victory in the Belmont Stakes to become the 13th Triple Crown winner. This is the first Joe Hirsch Award for both Volponi and White. The award presentation will be held Tuesday, June 4 at Citi Field, prior to the post-position draw for the 151st running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on June 8. The awards are named in honor of Joe Hirsch, the longtime executive sports columnist for Daily Racing Form (DRF) who died January 9, 2009. Previous winners of the Joe Hirsch Award include Dave Grening of Daily Racing Form (DRF) and Bob Fortus of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans in 2010, Ed Fountaine of the New York Post and DRF's Jay Privman in 2011, Ed McNamara of Newsday and Todd Simmons of the Staten Island Advance in 2012; Mike MacAdam of The Daily Gazette of Schenectady, N.Y., and Claire Novak, writing for ESPN.com in 2013; Nicole Russo of DRF in 2014; Alicia Wincze-Hughes of the Lexington Herald-Leader in 2015; Joe Clancy of ST Publishing and Richard Rosenblatt of The Associated Press in 2016; Privman and McNamara in 2017; Bob Ehalt of Thoroughbred Racing Commentary and Tom Law of ST Publishing in 2018.

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5.27.2019:

Master Fencer Training Forwardly Ahead of Belmont Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Katsumi Yoshizawa's homebred Master Fencer, a Japanese-bred son of Just a Way trained by Koichi Tsunoda, put in a strong training session on the Belmont Park main track on Monday morning. Master Fencer made the 6,600 mile journey from Japan to Kentucky to compete in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, where he rallied up the rail under Julien Leparoux to finish seventh, elevated to sixth following the disqualification of Maximum Security who crossed the wire first. The talented Master Fencer will make his next start in the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes Bets on Saturday, June 8 at Belmont Park. He arrived in New York late Friday evening from Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky where he had trained following his Derby effort. Master Fencer had a strong training session on Monday morning, starting with a jog on the dirt training track ahead of a gallop on the Belmont main track. "Today, he was still fresh. I felt that his stride has changed in a good way and it has become longer. I'm very satisfied," said training assistant Yosuke Kono via translator Mitsuoki Numamoto. Kono said that the chestnut colt has gained good weight and conditioning during his extended stay stateside, which allows for Master Fencer to train more vigorously ahead of the 1 1/2-mile Belmont. "Because of the shipping from Japan to Churchill Downs, it took a while [to regain strength]. He lost some weight," continued Kono via translator. "Because of that, we are trying to keep his condition, and because of the days after the Derby up until now there is plenty of time. He eats fair now and we can give him more pressure compared to before the Derby." A start in the Belmont Stakes will make Master Fencer eligible for NYRA's $1 million bonus offered to any Japan-based winner of New York's most prestigious race. Introduced for the 2017 Triple Crown season, the entire $1 million bonus would be awarded to the winning Japanese horse's connections in addition to the $800,000 winner's share of the purse for the last and longest leg of the Triple Crown. Master Fencer's presence in the Belmont Stakes will also open the race for pari-mutuel wagering in Japan. Through an agreement reached between NYRA and the Japan Racing Association (JRA), Japanese wagering on the Belmont Stakes will be conducted through a separate, non-commingled pool. Post time for the Belmont Stakes is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 8 (7:45 a.m. JST on Sunday, June 11) and will be broadcast live on NBC. Leparoux retains the mount on Master Fencer for the 'Test of the Champion' and he will be at Belmont on Wednesday morning to guide the colt through a five-furlong breeze on Big Sandy.

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5.26.2019:

Tacitus Works Five Furlongs in Preparation for Belmont Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Grade 2 Wood Memorial winner Tacitus breezed over the main track at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday at Belmont Park, working in company with Multiplier. Both horses covered five furlongs in 1:01.16 with Tacitus, piloted by Jose Ortiz, galloping out strong in front of his graded stakes winning stablemate in preparation for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, slated for Saturday, June 8. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott for owner-breeder Juddmonte Farms, Tacitus rallied from 16th at the half-mile call in the Kentucky Derby to finish fourth and was elevated to third with the disqualification of Maximum Security. Mott said he was pleased with the breeze from the regally-bred son of Tapit and multiple Grade 1 winner Close Hatches. "It was very good, very even; I liked the rhythm of it - 12, 12, 12, 12. Each furlong was in about 12 seconds and he went out six furlongs in about 1:12, so I thought it was a very steady, solid work," said Mott. Country House, who provided Mott with his first Kentucky Derby winner, developed a cough after his historic win and was forced to skip the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Grade 1 Preakness. Mott said the Lookin At Lucky chestnut is in good order at Churchill Downs and will be pointed to a summer campaign at the lucrative Saratoga meet which kicks off on Thursday, July 11 featuring 76 stakes worth $20.85 million across 40 racing days, highlighted by the 150th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers set for August 24. "Country House is back on the track at Churchill - he's jogging. He's doing fine," said Mott, who trains the Derby winner, bred by the late Joseph V. Shields Jr., for owners Mrs. Shields, E.J.M. McFadden, and LNJ Foxwoods. "He's a horse you'd look at for the Jim Dandy [Grade 2, $600,000 - July 27] with the Travers as the [longer term] goal." Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R. A. Hill Stable and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing's Channel Maker earned a lofty 106 Beyer Speed Figure in his Grade 1 Man o' War score. The talented 5-year-old son of English Channel, bred in Ontario at the Tall Oaks Farm of Ivan Dalos, worked four furlongs in 48.33 on the Belmont dirt training track on Sunday morning. Mott said Channel Maker is tentatively pointed to the Grade 1, $1 million Manhattan, a 1 1/4-mile turf test for 4-year-olds and up set for Belmont Stakes Day, June 8 as part of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival slated for June 6 - June 8 at beautiful Belmont Park. "He worked very nicely on the training track. It was the first work back for him and it was very good," said Mott. "We're nominated for the Manhattan, but I'm not sure what we're doing yet. We'll see how he trains up to it." With the 151st running of the Belmont Stakes as its centerpiece, the 2019 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival will include 18 stakes races over the three days including an unprecedented 8 Grade 1 races on Belmont Stakes Day, June 8.

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5.25.2019:

XBTV Wins Two Tellys at the 40th Annual Telly Awards

ARCADIA, Calif. (May 25, 2019) — XBTV, The Stronach Group’s premier digital on-line content provider, was awarded two 2019 Telly Awards in an announcement earlier this week. XBTV joined a diverse range of winners, from established traditional to on-line network winners, including ESPN, NBC Sports, CBS / Viacom, A&E, PBS and HBO. This year marks the Telly Awards’ 40th anniversary as the world’s largest honor for video and television content across all screens. XBTV won a Silver Telly for “A Candid Conversation with Victor Espinoza (Part 1)” in the category of Online General – Sports. In the piece, XBTV reporter Zoe Cadman and the Triple Crown winning jockey discussed the accident which left him with a broken neck and his riding career at a crossroads. XBTV won a Bronze Telly for a: 30 promo for the website’s coverage of “Morning Workouts” in the category of Promotional Video General – Sports. These were the 2nd Silver and 6th Bronze Telly Awards bestowed on XBTV since 2016. Founded in 1979, the Telly Awards honor video and television made for all screens. The more than 12,000 entries from all 50 states and 5 continents are judged by the Telly Awards Judging Council-an industry body of over 200 leading experts including advertising agencies, production companies and major television networks, reflective of the multi-screen industry.

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5.25.2019:

Todd Pletcher's Spinoff & Intrepid Heart Continue Belmont Stakes Preparations

ELMONT, N.Y. - It was a busy Saturday morning at Belmont Park for trainer Todd Pletcher as he breezed a number of stakes contenders in preparation for upcoming assignments in the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival set for Thursday, June 6 - Saturday, June 8. Wertheimer and Frere's homebred Spinoff will make his next start in the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on June 8, after finishing a disappointing 18th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on a sloppy track. Spinoff breezed five furlongs in 59.91 seconds in company with fellow 3-year-old stablemate Last Judgment, raking second out of 28 runners at the distance. Spinoff Workout Video (May 25) "I thought he [Spinoff] worked well," said Pletcher. "I think the main track was a bit fast, but he galloped out [six furlongs] in one [minute], twenty-four [seconds] and change and a mile in one [minute] thirty-seven [seconds] and change so it was the kind of big work we were looking for from him today." Last Judgment, a son of Congrats owned by Mathis Stable and Madaket Stables, broke his maiden in his second career start in February at Gulfstream and followed up with an allowance win on March 16 at Oaklawn. Following a ninth-place finish as the even-money favorite in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile on May 4 at Churchill Downs, Last Judgment is expected to target the $150,000 Easy Goer at 1 1/16 miles for 3-year-olds on Belmont Stakes Day, June 8. "We have him penciled in for the Easy Goer at the moment," said Pletcher. "He looked good this morning and that's encouraging. His race in the Pat Day was probably the most disappointing performance I've seen in a long time from a horse that trained like he did leading into it. I don't know if it was leaving from post 14 or what, but he never tightened the bridle at any stage." Intrepid Heart is also pointing for the Grade 1 Belmont following a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Peter Pan, and posted his first breeze back completing four furlongs in 49.16 seconds, with the addition of blinkers. He breezed in company with multiple graded stakes winning stablemate Prince Lucky, who finished sixth in the Grade 3 Westchester on May 4 in his most recent start and was clocked in 48.82 seconds. Intrepid Heart Workout Video (May 25) "I thought his [Intrepid Heart's] workout was very good," said Pletcher. "It was his first time with blinkers and he seemed to be a little bit more focused, but not head strong, so we got the response we were looking for. I thought he put in a nice move toward the end of the work and he had a nice gallop out as well. Prince Lucky didn't quite get to finish his gallop out due to the loose horse siren that went off, but I thought he also worked well. We'll see how he comes back next week before deciding on a race for him." Marconi completed his first breeze since winning the Flat Out on May 9. The handsome Tapit colt also visited the main track, breezing four furlongs in 49.82 seconds with his next target the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Brooklyn Invitational. "We didn't want to do too much today and I thought it was a good effort from him," said Pletcher. "We're looking at the Brooklyn [Invitational] for him, so we'll see how he comes out of the work." Making a visit to the inner turf for Pletcher was Bortolazzo Stable's graded stakes winner Bellavais, who breezed four furlongs in 49.31 seconds and is targeting a start in the Grade 1, $700,000 Longines Just a Game following a fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland. "I thought it was nice, consistent work from her," said Pletcher. "We're getting her ready for the Just a Game. She ran pretty well here last fall [October 24, Allowance win] going a mile on the turf, so we'll try to do that here again. It'll be a tough assignment, but we'll give her a try." On Friday, Pletcher sent multiple graded stakes winner Coal Front to the main track for his fourth workout since returning from Dubai after winning the Group 2 Godolphin Mile at Meydan Racecourse. The 5-year-old son of Stay Thirsty breezed five furlongs in 1:00.66 in preparation for an upcoming start in the Grade 1, $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Mile. "I thought he had an especially good work as well," said Pletcher. "He's come out of it well and he seems to be in good shape in what's looking like a very deep race, but he's certainly earned his way to be in there." Also expected for a loaded renewal of the Runhappy Metropolitan are Mitole, McKinzie, Firenze Fire, Promises Fulfilled and Thunder Snow.

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5.25.2019:

Mark Casse Preparing War of Will & Sir Winston for Belmont Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Canadian Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse will saddle both War of Will and Sir Winston in the Belmont Stakes. Casse said Gary Barber's War of Will, who was a powerful winner of the Grade 1 Preakness, is in good order in Kentucky where he is currently preparing for the third leg of the Triple Crown. "He trained this morning and it went well. He's been through a lot the past couple weeks, so right now we're just trying to gather up energy and get him feeling good," said Casse. Casse said War of Will is likely to arrive in New York on Monday, June 3 ahead of the Belmont, which is slated for Saturday, June 8. "The plan is for him to breeze on Friday [May 31] or Saturday [June 1] the week prior to the Belmont at Keeneland. If all goes as planned, he'll get on a van Sunday night or Monday afternoon to New York to arrive for the week of the Belmont," said Casse. "We've had pretty good luck doing it that way, not only with him, but with others. I talked it over with Gary Barber and David Carroll [assistant trainer] and that's the way we're going to do it." Tracy Farmer's homebred Sir Winston, a chestnut son of Awesome Again, worked five furlongs in company with fellow Farmer-owned Catch a Thrill on Saturday morning on the Belmont main track. With Joel Rosario up, Sir Winston tracked the stakes-placed Catch a Thrill before finishing strong to stop the clock in 1:01.48 just in front of Catch a Thrill in 1:02.31. Sir Winston Workout Video (May 25) "I was very happy with Sir Winston this morning," said Casse. "He's never been much of a work horse, but since he's started running better recently he's become a better workhorse. I would call that an A+ work for him this morning - it might be a 'B' for most horses, but for him it's an 'A+'." Assistant trainer Jamie Begg, who saddled Sir Winston at Casse's New York base, said that the improving colt came out of the work in good order. "He came out of it well. We wanted to give him a good finishing work. We're not looking for track record speed in any regard, it's just the fact that he comes home and builds some confidence," Begg said. Sir Winston earned a career-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure last out when rallying for second behind Global Campaign in the Grade 3 Peter Pan. "More importantly, he ran the last quarter of a mile, after going a mile and an eighth, in 23 and 2," said Casse. Begg said that Sir Winston is training in the morning in a style that matches his afternoon efforts. "We work him the way he likes to run," said Begg. "Let him fall away from the pole and then run when you need to run and he gets a lot more out of the gallop out. He seems to have responded to that in his works." Casse also noted that Grade 3-winner Got Stormy breezed well this morning at Churchill Downs, covering five furlongs on the main track in 1:01.40. The 4-year-old Get Stormy chestnut is targeting the Grade 1, $700,000 Longines Just a Game, a one-turn mile on the Belmont turf. "She breezed well this morning and she'll be traveling with 'WOW'," said Casse, in reference to War of Will. "I think it suits her perfectly - the distance, the one-turn. It's a good spot for her. It's a tough spot, but she's doing extremely well right now. We're excited about her." Casse also noted that he expects to saddle both Perfect Alibi and Reiterate in the $150,000 Astoria, a 5 ½-furlong dirt sprint for juvenile fillies set for June 6 to kick off the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival; while the graded stakes placed Dream Maker is pointed to the $150,000 Easy Goer, a 1 1/16-mile test for sophomores on Belmont Stakes Day.

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5.25.2019:

Tax Records 'Easy Work' for Belmont Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Danny Gargan was looking for an easy move out of graded stakes winner Tax on Saturday morning and that's exactly what he got as the 3-year-old gelded son of Arch went a half-mile in 49.80 seconds over the Belmont Park training track. Under mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the early 60's, Gargan sent Tax to the training track at 7:40 a.m. on Saturday morning as he recorded his first serious work since a 14th place effort in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 4 at Churchill Downs. Tax Workout Video (May 25) "It was just a maintenance work, I wanted a nice easy work," Gargan said. "He gallops out like he always does, nice and strong. We worked him by himself so he wouldn't go too fast. "When he was in company, he grabs the bridle and works more impressive but today we just wanted to keep him going forward. We'll come back next week and work him and get a stronger breeze in him. Hopefully we can work on Saturday next week. I'll work him with another horse next week, so he gets a lot more out of it." Gargan stated that Tax is pointing towards the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on June 8. "That's what we're pointing for; we're aiming for that. If everything goes as planned that's where we'll run," said Gargan. Tax's energy level following the 'Run for the Roses' was good according to Gargan. He stayed on the rail throughout the Derby but was not a factor following the eventual disqualification of Maximum Security. In six career starts, it was the only off-the-board effort for Tax, who won the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct before a runner-up placing in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets. "We didn't do much running in the Derby. I expected the track to be sealed tight so I told him to stay on the inside and they harrowed it and it was kind of a disaster," Gargan said. "We didn't do that right thing by getting on the rail when it was so deep. It is what it is and we'll just move on to the next race. Hopefully the Belmont will be a good track that day and we can show that we can run with these horses." Owned by R A Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable, Tax was bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farms and Adele Dilschnieder. He is out of the Giant's Causeway broodmare Toll and comes from the same family as two-time Grade 1 winning millionaire Elate.

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5.24.2019:

Master Fencer Arrives at Belmont Park for Belmont Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Katsumi Yoshizawa's homebred Master Fencer, an eye-catching sixth in the Kentucky Derby rallying up the rail under Julien Leparoux for trainer Koichi Tsunoda, will make his next start in the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 8 at Belmont Park. The Japanese-bred son of Just a Way will arrive at Belmont Park on Friday evening from Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, where he has trained towards the 1 ½-mile 'Test of a Champion'. "Master Fencer was the first Japanese bred to run in the Kentucky Derby and we are continuing on that path of firsts. I needed to see how he'd run in the Derby before making any plans for his immediate future, but I'd always felt like the Belmont Stakes would be the logical next step for him if he proved himself worthy in the Derby first," said Yoshizawa. "Ultimately, he performed better than we could have hoped, so I gave the trainer and staff the go ahead to prepare for the Belmont. I think he will have a better chance in the Belmont than he did in the Derby. I think America's dirt racing is the best in the world, so I know winning won't be easy but I hope he has a chance to run his race and come home safe and sound." Master Fencer's presence in the Belmont Stakes will open the race for pari-mutuel wagering in Japan. Through an agreement reached between NYRA and the Japan Racing Association (JRA), Japanese wagering on the Belmont Stakes will be conducted through a separate, non-commingled pool. Out of the Deputy Minister dam Sexy Zamurai, Master Fencer graduated on December 23 at Hanshin and followed up with an allowance score on January 14 at Kyoto. Master Fencer earned his way into the 'Run for the Roses' on the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby by finishing fourth in the Hyacinth in Tokyo and second in the Fukuryu at Nakayama earning 19 points, good for fourth in the standings. When the top three finishers in the table in the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby, who were not Triple Crown nominated, denied the invitation, it opened the door for Master Fencer to compete at Churchill Downs. With his seventh-place finish [elevated to sixth following the disqualification of Maximum Security], Master Fencer bested the effort of two previous Japanese-based horses in the Derby topping Lani [9th, 2016] and Ski Captain [14th, 1995]. A start in the Belmont Stakes will make Master Fencer eligible for NYRA's $1 million bonus offered to any Japan-based winner of New York's most prestigious race. Introduced for the 2017 Triple Crown season, the entire $1 million bonus would be awarded to the winning Japanese horse's connections in addition to the $800,000 winner's share of the purse for the last and longest leg of the Triple Crown.  Post time for the Belmont Stakes is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 8 (7:45 a.m. JST on Sunday, June 11) and will be broadcast live on NBC. With the 151st running of the Belmont Stakes as its centerpiece, the 3-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, from June 6-8, will include 18 stakes races over the three days including an unprecedented 8 Grade 1 races on Belmont Stakes Day, June 8.

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5.24.2019:

NYRA to Offer Special Two-Day Belmont Stakes Pick 6, Guaranteed Pools

ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) today announced a special two-day Pick 6 wager, with a $0.20 base minimum, featuring stakes races slated for Friday, June 7 and Saturday, June 8 concluding with the 151st running of the Belmont Stakes. Now in its fifth year as a 3-day event, the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival will take place at beautiful Belmont Park from Thursday, June 6 through Saturday, June 8, and will include 18 stakes races over the three days including an unprecedented 8 Grade 1 races on Belmont Stakes Day, June 8. Full advance wagering for the Belmont Stakes Day card will be available on Friday, June 7. The innovative two-day Belmont Stakes Festival Pick 6 wager, featuring a low 15% take out and mandatory payout, kicks off on Friday and continues on Saturday, concluding with the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, the 'Test of the Champion' for 3-year-olds. A number of rich, multi-race wagers will be available on the wagering menu for Friday, June 7 and Saturday, June 8: Guaranteed Wagers - Friday, June 7th $500,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 4 begins on Race 8 Guaranteed Wagers - Saturday, June 8th $500,000 Guaranteed Pick 5 begins on Race 1 $500,000 Guaranteed Pick 6 begins on Race 6 $1.5 million Guaranteed Pick 4 begins on Race 8 Two-day Daily Double Guaranteed Wagers (June 7-8) $100,000 Guaranteed New York Stakes - Runhappy Metropolitan $300,000 Guaranteed Belmont Gold Cup - Belmont Stakes

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5.22.2019:

Master Fencer Works at Keeneland for G1 Belmont Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Letting Master Fencer go about his business at his pace has been a key intangible in getting the best end result out of the chestnut colt.  So, on a picture perfect Wednesday morning at Keeneland, the connections behind the son of Just a Way gave him ample time to settle into his routine before posting a half-furlong workout in :52 seconds flat in preparation for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, slated for Saturday, June 8. Master Fencer Workout Video (May 22) After emerging from his barn shortly after 6:30 a.m., Master Fencer first headed to the Keeneland training track where he jogged and cantered a couple of laps before making his way to the main track. With exercise rider Yosuke Kono in the irons, the sixth-place finisher in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby put in another easy canter once around before finally breaking off for his move. "He's a pretty slow starter so we meant him to warm up and get ready to go to the main track," Kono said via translator. "Even at the main track, we actually wanted to see how he can move his body to take action. So the first gallop, we did a stop and go because I wanted to see how he can respond to the break. So he did that twice and he responded well. For the breezing, he did the Japanese way where we start slowly and then maybe the last two furlongs have a strong finish." Master Fencer has been at Keeneland since rallying from last in the 19-horse field Kentucky Derby to cross the wire seventh before being elevated one spot via the disqualification of Maximum Security. That admirable surge far outdistanced his 58-1 odds and cemented his extended stay in North America for the purpose of chasing the final leg of the Triple Crown. "To be honest, the plan [to go to the Belmont Stakes] was there but it was all up to the result of the Kentucky Derby," Kono said. "Fortunately he ran well, he finished seventh and eventually became sixth. Because of that result, immediately after the race the owner decided to go to the Belmont. "Where he was in the first turn and coming into the stretch we were kind of thinking 'Oh my God'. But eventually he used such an amazing late kick. We are really hopeful for the next race." Owned and bred by Katsumi Yoshizawa and trained by 48-year-old former jockey Koichi Tsunoda, Master Fencer earned his spot in the starting gate for the first Saturday in May by accumulating 19 points on the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby. His 2019 campaign included a fast-closing second in the $310,830 Fukuryu at Nakayama Racecourse on March 31 and a fourth-place effort in the $330,506 Hyacinth Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse on Feb. 17. Master Fencer is slated to ship to Belmont Park on Friday, May 24 where he will have his final bit of fine tuning in advance of the 12-furlong classic. "He's been doing better all the time," Kono said. "He eats well and he works well so we're satisfied for now."

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5.22.2019:

Todd Pletcher Tageting Belmont Stakes with Spinoff

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Todd Pletcher added Spinoff to the list of probable entrants for the Grade 1 $1.5 million Belmont Stakes after an 18th place effort in the Kentucky Derby. A Wertheimer and Frere homebred, the 3-year-old son of Hard Spun didn't take to the sloppy track conditions in the Derby, according to Pletcher who said that the horse has been training forwardly since then. Spinoff recorded his first breeze since the Derby on Sunday morning with a half-mile work in 48.72 seconds. "He worked well and seems to be training forwardly," Pletcher said. "He didn't seem to care for the surface on Derby day. He put himself in a decent tracking position, but when it was time for him to turn his head he just kind of spun the wheels a bit." Prior to the Derby, Spinoff was a game second to By My Standards in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds. He was an impressive 11 ¾ length winner of his 2019 debut, which took place on February 22 at Tampa Bay Downs. Also targeting the Belmont from the Pletcher barn is Grade 3 Peter Pan third-place finisher Intrepid Heart, who was slow coming out of the gate in the local prep for the Test of the Champion and finished six lengths behind winner Global Campaign as the heavy favorite in his stakes debut. A winner of his first two career outings, Intrepid Heart is by Tapit - who has produced three of the last five Belmont Stakes winners in Tonalist (2014), Creator (2016) and Tapwrit (2017) - and also is a half-brother to Commissioner who was a close second behind Tonalist, both are out of the graded stakes placed Touch Gold broodmare Flaming Heart. "He stumbled coming out of the gate but he's still lightly raced," Pletcher said. "I thought he galloped out well. He's bred top and bottom for the distance and I'm optimistic that his pedigree will allow him to get the distance." Pletcher stated that both Spinoff and Intrepid Heart, along with Grade 2 Godolphin Mile winner Coal Front will all work Saturday morning. Owned by Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners, Coal Front is pointing to the Grade 1 $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap. Pletcher also spoke of Bellavais who is targeting the Grade 1, $700,000 Longines Just a Game after a fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland. The chestnut daughter of Tapit is out of stakes-winning broodmare La Cloche who is a half-sister to Grade 1 winning millionaire Winter Memories. Both are out of Memories of Silver who also is a Grade 1-winning millionaire. Owned by Bortolazzo Stable, Bellavais became a graded stakes winner in her 2019 debut which took place in the Grade 3 Marshua's River over the turf at Gulfstream Park. Previously trained by Jimmy Toner, Bellavais was acquired by her current owners for $485,000 at the Keeneland January Sale in 2018. She made her debut for Pletcher and Bortolazzo Stable a winning one in an allowance event over the Widener turf course at Belmont Park last October. "I thought her first race for us was a good one," Pletcher said. "Ideally, she would appreciate a firm ground. It's a tall ask and it should be a deep, tough race but when she's on her 'A' game she's up for the task." Pletcher also noted that Flat Out Invitational winner Marconi would target the Grade 2, $400,000 Woodford Reserve Brooklyn Invitational on the Belmont Stakes undercard.

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5.19.2019:

War of Will Exits Preakness in Good Order, Targets Belmont Stakes

BALTIMORE — Gary Barber’s War of Will exited his 1 ¼-length victory over the late-running Everfast in Saturday’s144th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course in good order and will run in the Belmont Stakes (G1) June 8 at Belmont Park if the colt continues to show all the right signs, trainer Mark Casse said Sunday morning.            “I would say there’s an extremely good shot he’ll be there,” Casse said of the 1 ½-mile third leg of the Triple Crown. “Now it’s just a matter of him saying he doesn’t want to go, that would be if he was lethargic or something in training. “There are only three Triple Crown races; they’re pretty important. I think if you can do it, you should do it,” he added. “The Belmont is the Belmont. It’s the third leg of the Triple Crown. Who doesn’t want to win it?” War of Will, who gave Casse, Barber and jockey Tyler Gaffalione their first victories in a Triple Crown race, could be the only horse to run in all three spring classics for 3-year-olds. The son of War Front was at the center of the potentially catastrophic entanglement in the Kentucky Derby (G1) May 4 when first-place finisher Maximum Security came out into War of Will’s path. War of Will finished eighth and was moved up to seventh upon Maximum Security’s disqualification to 17th that awarded the victory to second-place finisher Country House. “It would just show he’s tough and able to overcome things,” Casse said of War of Will should he compete in all three Triple Crown races. “We saw yesterday that the Derby was very, very trying. I was worried about that with him. He was a little foot sore afterwards. “The pace was extremely hot [in the Preakness] and you saw two deep closers come [to be second and third]. I didn’t realize how deep. They were behind Bodexpress, [who continued to run after unseating jockey John Velazquez at the start]. For our horse to continue, he was pretty close to the pace and it was hot,” he added. “I liked the fact that after the race, when they were galloping out, he took off again. He was not going to let them go by.” Of the race, Casse said, “I knew we were doing well and I liked where we were. About maybe the three-eighths pole, I started thinking, ‘Oh, dear, not again,’ because he was wanting to go somewhere and he had nowhere to go. I didn’t get excited until it opened up. I was hoping the leader would come off the rail a little bit. And when he did, Tyler snuck up in there a little bit. I don’t know. I haven’t seen it. But NBC had a camera on me and we gave them a lot to see, I can promise you that.” Casse reflected on growing up on a farm in Indiana when “Sundays were awful, because there was no Daily Racing Form. The Racing Forms were delivered to our farm, and everybody would drive from other places and pick them up. You know how a dog waits for its owner to come? I would sit and I would wait for the car to bring the Racing Form. Then I’d run over and read it from top to bottom – and how could you not know about the Preakness? I didn’t even let that bother me about the Derby horse (Maximum Security or adjudged winner Country House) not being here and this and that. It’s the Preakness. And we can now say we won it.” The trainer said his phone was blowing up with congratulatory messages. “Between texts and emails, I had more than 400, and I always answer everybody,” he said. “I’ve only answered about 250 so far, so I’m still working on that. And I got a very nice email from Gary West,” the owner Maximum Security, “which was very nice, congratulating Gary (Barber) and I." Casse reiterated his post-Derby sentiments that it was fortunate that a horse as athletic as War of Will was the one who nearly clipped heels with Maximum Security because a less agile horse might have fallen. “We should be thankful,” he said. “I’m not sure everybody would have survived that, the bumping and the contact. But he’s very athletic.” Casse had planned to ship out War of Will Sunday morning, but changed it to Monday morning. He will go to Keeneland, where Casse’s division is overseen by assistant trainer David Carroll, who also had War of Will all winter at the Fair Grounds. War of Will won the Fair Grounds’ Lecomte (G3) and Risen Star (G2) before finishing ninth in the Louisiana Derby, a race in which he lost his action shortly after the break and never was a threat. But Casse and his team never lost confidence in the War Front colt, who earned $990,000 and now has made $1,491,569 off a 4-1-1 record in 10 starts.

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5.19.2019:

Owendale, Everfast Likely Candidates for 2019 Belmont Stakes

BALTIMORE - Calumet Farm’s Everfast, who made an impressive late run along the rail to finish second in Saturday’s Preakness, was headed back to trainer Dale Romans’ Churchill Downs stable Sunday morning. The Belmont Stakes will be taken under serious consideration for the son of Take Charge Indy, Romans said after Everfast nosed out Owendale for second money Saturday. Brad Cox, who finished third with Owendale and fourth with Warrior’s Charge in the trainer’s Triple Crown debut, said Owendale could possibly run in the Belmont Stakes. Owendale, winner of Keeneland’s Lexington (G3) in his prior start, put in a late wide rally to finish 1 ¼ lengths ahead of  Warrior’s Charge, who lost by a total of 2 ½ lengths after setting a strong pace. Owendale and Warrior’s Charge were scheduled to van back to Churchill Downs on Sunday.  “They both cooled out fine, actually pretty quick too, considering to ask them to do something they’d never done before, going that far,” Cox said. “Warrior’s Charge, as fast as he went early, he looked great his morning. His energy is good. Same thing with Owendale. “Warrior’s Charge, we wouldn’t even consider the Belmont with him, obviously,” he said. “The mile and a half is a touch far. Owendale, we’ll think about it. We’ll see how he’s moving. It would have a lot to do with who’s running, and, first of all, how he’s doing. It’s a lot back in three weeks. But it’s a big purse and it’s a prestigious race, and these horses only get one shot in their 3-year-old year.” Warrior’s Charge blitzed the first quarter-mile in 22.50 seconds under Javier Castellano before getting a half-mile in 46.16 seconds and six furlongs in 1:10.56. War of Will came up the rail to take the lead, reaching the mile in 1:35.48 and 1 3/16 miles in 1:54.34. Cox said that he thought he had a chance to win when the field turned for home. “I thought, ‘Warrior’s Charge is doing exactly what I thought: He’s going to take them a long way,’ and he continued on,” he said. “Then War of Will slipped up on the inside and I thought, ‘OK, he’s got the best of us,’ and I turned my attention to Owendale and thought for a second, ‘OK, he’s got a shot to get there.’ Then I saw the pink silks [of War of Will owner Gary Barber], and we weren’t moving quick enough the last part of it. “But it was a big effort, just a nose away from being second,” he added. “I thought we lost more ground than the horse who ran second, so I was super-pleased with Owendale. Both of them. The horse on the lead ran an unbelievable race. He’s a really nice horse, probably just a little shorter races for him in the future.” Cox said Warrior’s Charge’s owners, Ten Strike Racing and Madaket Stables, were glad to have supplemented the colt for $150,000 to the Preakness, even though fourth-place money of $99,000 left a shortfall.  “They didn’t break even, they didn’t get their money back,” he said. “But the horse showed them a lot. I think for them, everything was positive as far as performance. The effort yesterday didn’t surprise me at all. He gives you what he has. He’s very, very honest.”

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5.18.2019:

2019 Preakness Stakes Sets Total Handle Record

BALTIMORE – The 144th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1) set an all-time total handle record Saturday of $99,852,653. Saturday’s record handle topped the previous mark of $97,168,658 set in 2017. Attendance was 131,256. War of Will, who was placed seventh in the Kentucky Derby (G1) May 4 after a troubled trip, carried jockey Tyler Gaffalione and trainer Mark Casse to their first victories in a Triple Crown event. The 14-race card was also highlighted by Catholic Boy winning $250,000 Dixie (G2), Lexitonian winning the $200,000 Chick Lang (G3) and Mitchell Road winning the $150,000 Gallorette (G3). “The 144th Preakness Stakes surpassed our expectations thanks to the horsemen and fans who came to celebrate this grand Maryland tradition,” said Belinda Stronach, Chairman and President. “It makes for an unforgettable day of entertainment when you combine the world’s top performers with the best Thoroughbred horses and jockeys at one of the most celebrated sporting events. The Preakness is second to none.”

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5.18.2019:

2019 Preakness Stakes Post-Race Jockey & Trainer Quotes

Post-race quotes from the jockeys and trainers who participated in the 2019 Preakness Stakes: Mark Casse (Winning trainer, War of Will): “It was so important to win it. I just wanted him to get his chance to show everyone how good he is because he is a super horse. We thought we were going to win it two years ago [with Classic Empire] and we got beat at the wire so I kept trying to figure out where the wire was. It was exciting, just unbelievable.” Tyler Gaffalione (Winning jockey, War of Will):  (NBC Broadcast) “I’m just so happy for [trainer] Mark [Casse] and his team, they do a fabulous job. [Owner Gary] Barber has given me so many opportunities and I’m just so happy for them. I’m very happy for Mark to get his first Classic win. Very happy for the horse, he deserved it more than anything. He’s so special.” “It really hasn’t even hit me yet. I can’t even put it into words. I can’t thank my family enough for all the support. Of course my valet down in Florida, Jay Glass, and my agent, Matt Muzikar. Great team effort, I’m just so thankful.” “He’s got so much heart. We always knew he had the ability, we just had to get a little bit lucky and today was our day.” Dale Romans (Trainer, Everfast, 2nd): “Second in any classic is great. I thought the whole race he looked comfortable. When he wanted him to start picking up horses, he did. You could see he had the momentum. I thought we were going to win for a minute.” Joel Rosario (Jockey, Everfast, 2nd): “We almost had it. He ran great. We have a great shot at the Belmont. Brad Cox (Trainer, Owendale, 3rd ; Warrior’s Charge, 4th): “Very pleased with both of them. Warrior’s Charge fought incredibly hard. He’s a nice horse. I mean, :22, :46, 1:10 2/5 going a mile and three-sixteenths, he’s a good horse. We’ll give him plenty of time to recover. The other horse ran great. I need to watch a replay, but it looks like he maybe got stuck in behind some horses. He’s a big horse, probably needs to be more out in the open, clear running where he can keep his motor rolling. He took a little while to get going but ran a great race and I was very proud of both of them.” Florent Geroux (Jockey, Owendale, 3rd): “I tried to save ground most of the time. I wish I could’ve saved a little more ground. It probably cost us a length or two at the end.” Javier Castellano (Jockey, Warrior’s Charge, 4th): “We had a beautiful trip.” Darren Fleming (Assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen, Laughing Fox, 5th): “I thought he ran well. He got a little farther back than I expected. He made up a ton of ground. But he showed he belonged.” Ricardo Santana Jr. (Jockey, Laughing Fox, 5th): "He didn't handle the track very well at the start. He gave it a nice run in the end. I just wish he handled the track better at the start, but he showed he can run with these kind of horses. I was happy he finished strong.”  Bob Baffert (Trainer, Improbable, 6th): “When he did that in the gate I knew that was it. His only weakness is he gets a little bit fired up. He was acting pretty well but then he got fired up. When horses do that it takes a lot of energy out. Today wasn’t his day but the winner was pretty impressive.” Mike Smith (Jockey, Improbable, 6th): “His usual tactics in the gate. He got upset, He was so brilliant going in. I thought he would be nice. Actually he broke well. I had a really good trip. Actually thought I was maybe going to get on with it at the 3/8ths pole and he just didn't keep on. I wish I could tell you more but that's it." Michael Trombetta (Trainer, Win Win Win, 7th): “I thought he ran OK. We would have all loved to have done a little better but he was in it for a fight and I can’t get mad at him. He gave it a good effort.” Julian Pimentel (Jockey, Win Win Win, 7th): “We were closer this time around. But in the second turn, I had to go wide. I thought he still ran well.” Mark Hennig (Trainer, Bourbon War, 8th): “He looked like he was in the bridle early and I was really happy. When he went outside into the clear, he dropped the bridle and then picked it up again.” Irad Ortiz Jr. (Jockey, Bourbon War, 8th): “No excuses. Had blinkers first time, and I tried to get him going but he's still learning." Kenny McPeek (Trainer, Signalman, 9th): “There were eight horses faster than him. Brian rode him good. He said he put him in position. He was only about four or five off of them when he was in the middle of the turn, and they ran away from him. I don’t have a major excuse. I’m going to scope him. But right now we are planning on going to the Belmont.”  Brian Hernandez Jr. (Jockey, Signalman, 9th): ”We broke good but went wide around the first turn. We saved ground around the second turn and then he just evened out.” Blaine Wright (Trainer, Anothertwistafate, 10th): “Hey [jockey Jose Ortiz] put him in the race and we were happy about that. He said the last eighth of a mile caught up to him. He said everything else went according to plan. We’ll get back to the barn and see how he is. I’m glad we came and had an opportunity. Obviously, I’m a little disappointed with the result, but we’ll regroup and go from there.” Jose Ortiz (Jockey, Anothertwistafate, 10th): “I expected a good start. I think we were about third and stayed there. I gave him a breather on the backside and then tried to win the race. But we came up short today." Kelly Rubley (Trainer, Alwaysmining, 11th): “He appears to be fine. We’re waiting to scope and we’ll evaluate him.  He appeared to stop and I don’t know what the reason for that is.” Daniel Centeno (Jockey, Alwaysmining, 11th): “I thought he'd run better. He had a good trip and we tried to make a move around the turn but he just stopped.” D. Wayne Lukas (Trainer, Market King, 12th): “I think my horse wants to run a mile. I don’t think he wants this distance. We need to find that out, though. He ran well for a mile. Some of them are adapted to a different distance and we found that out.” Jon Court (Jockey, Market King, 12th): “He broke well, laid up in perfect position and then they started running away from him.” Gustavo Delgado (Trainer, Bodexpress, DNF): “I don’t have the words to talk about that now.” John Velazquez (Jockey, Bodexpress, DNF): (NBC Broadcast) “He was just not behaving good in the gate. He was not standing really well. He got me up against the wall in the gate. When the doors opened I was standing up right from the start and I kind of jumped sideways. I had my feet out of the irons and I lost my balance and I went off. I’m good, I’m good. It’s just disappointing when you come in here for a big race like this. Things like this happen with horses, but it’s disappointing.”

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5.18.2019:

War of Will Rallies to Capture 2019 Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE – Gary Barber’s War of Will, who finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) following a most eventful journey two weeks ago, rebounded with a victory in Saturday’s 144th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course, courtesy of a well-judged, trouble-free trip under jockey Tyler Gaffalione. War of Will’s victory in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown was a thrilling highlight of the Preakness Day 2019 celebration fueled by World Class Thoroughbred racing and entertainment and enjoyed by a crowd of 131,256. A 14-race program that offered nine stakes with purse money exceeding $2.8 million was complemented by Preakness InfieldFest 2019, headlined by three-time Grammy nominated rapper Logic and DJs Diplo and Kygo. Watch the 2019 Preakness Stakes In the Kentucky Derby, first-place finisher Maximum Security drifted into the path of War of Will on the turn into the homestretch causing Gaffalione to check his horse to avoid a collision. The Mark Casse-trained War of Will went on to finish eighth, but was placed seventh due to the disqualification of Maximum Security that awarded the victory to Country House. “It was so important to win it. I just wanted him to get his chance to show everyone how good he is, because he is a super horse. We thought we were going to win it two years ago [with Classic Empire] and we got beat at the wire so I kept trying to figure out where the wire was [today],” Casse said. “It was exciting, just unbelievable.” War of Will saved ground under Gaffalione in fourth place behind pacesetting Warrior’s Charge, who set fractions of 22.50 and 46.16 seconds for the first half-mile of the 1 3/16-mile Spring Classic under Javier Castellano. Warrior’s Charge showed the way around the backstretch and far turn, repelling pressure from Anothertwistafate and Alwaysmining to take the lead into the stretch. However, War of Will loomed boldly when asked by Gaffalione and surged past the tiring pacesetter in mid-stretch on his way to a 1 ¼-length score as the 6-1 third betting choice. Everfast, a 29-1 longshot ridden by Joel Rosario, closed from far back along the inside to finish second, a nose in front of third-place finisher Owendale, who rallied wide through the stretch under Florent Geroux. Watch 2019 Post-Race Interviews with Mark Casse & Tyler Gaffalione War of Will ran the 1 3/16 miles in 1:54.34 to award his owner, trainer and jockey with their first victories in a Triple Crown event. Improbable, the 5-1 favorite, raced evenly to finish sixth under Mike Smith, foiling Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s quest to win his eighth Preakness Stakes. Bodexpress, a 20-1 longshot, reared at the start and unseated Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.  

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5.18.2019:

Catholic Boy Returns with Win in Grade 2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico

BALTIMORE – Robert LaPenta, Madaket Stables, Siena Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ Catholic Boy, last seen finishing off the board in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in November, made a triumphant return to the races in Saturday’s $250,000 Maker’s Mark Dixie (G2) at Pimlico Race Course. Inaugurated in 1870, the 118th running of the 1 1/16-mile Dixie for 3-year-olds and up on the grass was among nine stakes, five graded, worth $2.8 million in purses on a 14-race program, and immediately preceded the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1), the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. Ridden by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano for his sixth victory of Preakness weekend, five of them in stakes including four on Black-Eyed Susan Friday, Catholic Boy ($4.80) got to the wire a half-length ahead of fast-closing Admission Office in 1:41.09 over a firm turf course. Trainer Jonathan Thomas decided to put Catholic Boy, a Grade 1 winner on dirt and turf last summer, back on the grass for his 4-year-old debut. Despite drawing the far outside post in a field that scratched down to 10 with the defections of Twenty Four Seven and Flameaway, the More Than Ready ridgling was sent to post as the 7-5 favorite. “I was thinking [in the stretch] he might need a better trainer. No, but he’s just such a gifted horse. I would have been happy coming here and running a good second or third and galloping out well. But he has it in him to win. It was great to see,” Thomas said. “We thought this race was a good launch pad for the bigger races going into the remainder of the year. “Sometimes turf is a little easier on them coming back and that was the plan we utilized,” he added. “Javier – it’s a rare game when you get to see a Hall of Famer hone their trade. He’s a rare rider and I thought he rode him beautifully.” Castellano hustled Catholic Boy into a contending position from the gate, racing in third behind pacesetter Real Story and 40-1 long shot stalker Paret, who led through a quarter-mile in 23.46 seconds and a half in 47.71. Though Real Story was still in front after going six furlongs in 1:11.25, Catholic Boy loomed a threat on his outside after moving up to second on the turn. O Dionysus began to launch a bid on the far outside approaching the stretch and got up to third, but Catholic Boy asserted his class once straightened for home and powered through the lane ahead of several challengers, none more serious than Admission Office, who overcame early trouble with a dramatic dash up the rail. “Right out of the gate we kind of got squeezed a little bit and I kind of lost my spot, but he came running after at the end with a nice run up the inside. He got beat by a good horse,” jockey Joel Rosario said. “I had to just kind of wait and when he had room he really put in a nice run and finished up but the other horse already had the jump on us.” Grade 3 winner Just Howard, Maryland’s champion 3-year-old male, turf horse and Horse of the Year in 2017, was a neck behind Admission Office in third, and a nose in front of Real Story. O Dionysus, Inspector Lynley, Phlash Phelps, Paret, Have At It and Something Awesome completed the order of finish. Catholic Boy now owns seven wins, six in graded-stakes, and $1,992,000 in purse earnings from 11 lifetime starts and could be headed next to the Suburban (G2) July 6 at Belmont Park going 1 ¼ miles on dirt. The Dixie is Pimlico’s oldest stakes race and the nation’s eighth-oldest, first run as the Dinner Party Stakes at a distance of two miles. The inaugural winner was Preakness, whose name was adopted for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, which debuted in 1873. $250,000 Maker’s Mark Dixie (G2) Quotes Jonathan Thomas (Winning trainer, Catholic Boy): “I was thinking [in the stretch] he might need a better trainer. No, but he’s just such a gifted horse. I would have been happy coming here and running a good second or third and galloping out well. But he has it in him to win. It was great to see.” “We thought this race was a good launch pad for the bigger races going into the remainder of the year. Sometimes Turf is a little easier on them coming back and that was the plan we utilized. I think the Suburban at Belmont might be a race now under strong consideration.” “[Jockey] Javier [Castellano] – “Javier - it’s a rare game when you get to see a Hall of Famer hone their trade. He’s a rare rider and I thought he rode him beautifully.” Javier Castellano (Winning jockey, Catholic Boy): “He was great. He’s a super horse. You can do whatever you want. He can be on the pace, he can come from behind. I like the way he did it. Coming off a layoff since the Breeders’ Cup, that’s a long time to put in a good race like he did today. It was a great performance. We’ve been working together with [trainer] Jonathan [Thomas], and he did an excellent job with the horse to bring him to perform the way he did. He can go any distance - a mile and a sixteenth, a mile and a quarter. On the dirt or turf. He’s a super horse. We don’t see to many horses like that. Grade 1 on the turf and the dirt.” Brian Lynch (Trainer, Admission Office, 2nd): “I think if he gets a good trip today, he wins. He didn’t have the best of trips. I thought he got sort of pinched off coming out of the gate and took the worst of it out the back door. Every time he tried to move forward, a horse backed up in front of him or he got boxed in. Fortunately he got some clean racing room late and closed gamely to be a good second to Catholic Boy, which you should never be disgraced about.” Joel Rosario (Jockey, Admission Office, 2nd): “Right out of the gate we kind of got squeezed a little bit and I kind of lost my spot, but he came running after at the end with a nice run up the inside. He got beat by a good horse. I had to just kind of wait and when he had room he really put in a nice run and finished up, but the other horse already had the jump on us. He ran great.”

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5.18.2019:

Tacitus Breezes in Preparation for 2019 Belmont Stakes

ELMONT, N.Y. - Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott was trackside at Belmont Park early Saturday morning to oversee Juddmonte Farms homebred Tacitus making his first breeze back since a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Mott is pointing the impeccably bred son of Tapit and multiple Grade 1 winner Close Hatches towards the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets, slated for Saturday, June 8. Tacitus, who captured the Wood Memorial in April at the Big A, breezed over the main track just after 6:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, working in company with graded stakes winner Multiplier. Tacitus settled a length back of Multiplier, the 2017 Grade 3 Illinois Derby winner, through a quarter-mile in 24.3 seconds and edged along outside Multiplier down the lane with both grays officially clocked in 48.57 for the half-mile drill. Tacitus galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.44 as he began to pull away from Multiplier. Tacitus (May 18) Workout Video "It all went smoothly. It was his first breeze back and exactly what we wanted," said Mott. "It's what I expected. They look like a good team together." Tacitus, piloted by Jose Ortiz in the Kentucky Derby, rallied from 16th to finish fourth, defeated less than four lengths, over a sloppy Churchill main track. He was elevated to third when Maximum Security, who crossed the wire first, was disqualified for an infraction at the top of the stretch that saw the Mott-trained Country House declared the winner of the 145th Run for the Roses. "We were very happy with Tacitus' effort in the Derby. We always suspected he'd do well at a mile and a quarter," said Mott. Country House, who provided Mott with his first Kentucky Derby winner, developed a cough after his historic win and was forced to skip the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Grade 1 Preakness, which goes to post at 6:48 p.m. this evening at Pimlico. Country House was examined at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington and returned to Churchill Downs on Wednesday. Mott said he will take his time with Country House before deciding on where the Derby winner will make his next start. "Country House is back at the barn in Kentucky. He's just been walking under tack. I'll leave him there for a couple weeks. I want to make sure that he's healthy before we move him and make sure everything is good as it should be," said Mott. On Friday, Mott watched his dual Grade 1-winner Yoshida breeze four furlongs in 49.64 over the dirt training track at Saratoga. Owned by China Horse Club International, WinStar Farm, and Head of Plains Partners, the multi-surface star Yoshida enjoyed a lucrative 2018 campaign taking the Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic at Churchill Downs in May and the Grade 1 Woodward presented by NYRA Bets in September. Bred in Japan by Northern Farm, the Heart's Cry bay banked $1,040,670 in 2018. Yoshida closed out 2018 with a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic and most recently finished sixth in the Grade 1 Dubai World Cup. Mott said Yoshida is targeting the Grade 2, $600,000 Stephen Foster, a Breeders' Cup Win & You're In event, set for June 15 at Churchill Downs. "Yoshida is doing well. That was his second breeze back. He'll probably train up to the Stephen Foster," said Mott.

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5.18.2019:

Point of Honor Wins 2019 Xpressbet Black-Eyed Susan Stakes

BALTIMORE – By the time the 95th edition of the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan was set to run, Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano was already having a pretty good day. In just over a minute and a half, Point of Honor made it a great one. Despite being hung wide around both turns from their outside post position, Castellano picked up his fifth victory of the afternoon and fourth in a stakes when Point of Honor charged down the center of the track and held off Ulele to her inside by a half-length in the $250,000 Xpressbet Black-Eyed Susan (G2). The 1 1/8-mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies was the centerpiece of Friday’s spectacular 14-race program featuring seven stakes, four graded, worth $1.15 million in purses that served as a fitting prelude to Saturday’s 144th Preakness Stakes (G1), the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Stetson Racing’s Point of Honor ($7.80), excluded by points from the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (G1), completed the distance in 1:47.88 over a fast main track, narrowly missing the stakes record of 1:47.83 set by champion Silverbulletday in 1999. Private Terms established Pimlico’s track record for 1 1/8 miles on dirt in 1:47.20 on May 27, 1989. Point of Honor, a narrow second choice at 5-2 in field of eight, gave Castellano his third career win in the Black-Eyed Susan, following Stopchargingmaria in 2014 and Keen Pauline in 2015. Earlier Friday, Castellano in succession won the $100,000 Fidelity First & Blackwell Real Estate Skipat Stakes with Chalon, the $150,000 Adena Springs Miss Preakness (G3) with Covfefe and the $100,000 Maker’s Mark Hilltop with Dogtag. He started a string of four straight wins with Eons in Race 6. “I’m so excited. Very happy. Everybody has been so supportive of me. I’m very blessed,” Castellano said. “With her post, it was difficult to cover up a little bit. I didn’t have the best trip in the first turn. I had to go a little bit wide, and in the second turn, too. But it worked out good because I was in the clear.” Cookie Dough, like Point of Honor excluded from the Kentucky Oaks, broke sharply from the gate and went straight to the lead under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., going a quarter-mile in 23.36 seconds and a half in 47.02, pressed to her outside by Grade 1-placed Brill with Ulele saving ground along the rail. Cookie Dough ran six furlongs in 1:10.81 but saw her lead shrink to a half-length at the top of the stretch, and it wasn’t long before Ulele to her inside and Point of Honor on the outside came to challenge. Both horses worked their way past Cookie Dough in mid-stretch and Point of Honor kept finding more to outrun a determined Ulele to the wire for her second stakes win in four career starts, and first in graded company. “We drew a little outside today and you lose ground being wide but I think she likes that kind of trip. Javier rode her as such,” Weaver said. “And she went back to where we were in the first place of wanting to go to the Kentucky Oaks and participate in some of these big races. She’s just very professional, very classy.” Ulele was a decisive second, 2 ¼ lengths ahead of Cookie Dough. It was 4 ¼ lengths back to Brill in fourth, followed by Off Topic, favorite Always Shopping, Las Setas and Our Super Freak. Las Setas, based at Laurel Park, saw her four-race win streak snapped. The winner of three straight stakes earned an automatic berth in the Black-Eyed Susan following her victory in the Weber City Miss April 20 at Laurel. One of Pimlico’s oldest stakes races, the Black-Eyed Susan was first run in 1919 as the Pimlico Oaks. Its roster of winners includes Nellie Morse, the only filly ever to win the Preakness, and 10 that went on to be named 3-year-old champion female, most recently Royal Delta in 2011. $250,000 Xpressbet Black-Eyed Susan (G2) Quotes George Weaver (Winning trainer, Point of Honor): “She’s 3 for 4 now and we’ve always liked her. She graduated first time out and won a stakes next time out. The Gulfstream Park [Oaks] race was a little odd to us. She had some trouble in the first turn and got steadied and ate a little bit of dirt. She just didn’t seem quite as handy or responsive that day.  But the track was playing that day like a conveyor belt and it was carrying the front runners and it was a short run to the wire. So she didn’t really get into gear until inside the 16th-pole. We drew a little outside today and you lose ground being wide but I think she likes that kind of trip. Javier rode her as such. And she went back to where we were in the first place of wanting to go to the Kentucky Oaks and participate in some of these big races. She’s just very professional, very classy.” Eclipse Thoroughbreds’ Aron Wellman (winning co-owner, Point of Honor): “We really believed in this filly and things didn’t quite go her way in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, which we thought would be enough to qualify her for the Kentucky Oaks. We were on the outside looking in and didn’t get in and here we are today.” “She’s a filly that likes to be in a high cruising speed, be in a rhythm and we were okay with her being outside today. In the Gulfstream Oaks, she got a little squeezed and was in tight in between horses. But she’s a big filly with a long stride and we didn’t want to disrupt her rhythm. So when I saw 23 [seconds] and change and saw 47 and Javier had a good hold on her on the outside in the clear, I was pretty confident. Down the lane I thought she would put them away with more ease but Brad Cox’s filly [Ulele] put up a heck of a fight. She really made our filly run to the wire.” Javier Castellano (Winning jockey, Point of Honor): “I was kind of rolled around last time at Gulfstream and tried to save ground and didn't have the best result.” “Today, she placed perfect – eight horses. I lost a little ground but had a free trip. I didn't have to get bounced around with the horses. I didn't have to step aside. It worked out perfect. It was a perfect trip. Outside in the clear, she went by all the horses. That's what I was looking for today and we had the best result.” Brad Cox (Trainer, Ulele, 2nd): “[Jockey] Joel [Rosario] gave her a perfect trip and she ran a great race. It was a tremendous race from her and she’s a tough filly. I thought she performed well.” Joel Rosario (Jockey, Ulele, 2nd): “She gave me a good trip. I thought she was in a good spot. She did everything I asked her to do and responded when I asked her. Turning for home I thought we were going to get her [Point of Honor] but that horse came with a strong run at the end.” Irad Ortiz Jr. (Jockey, Cookie Dough, 3rd): “I had a perfect trip. She got the lead but was beaten by two nice fillies. No excuses.”

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5.18.2019:

Tenfold Wins 2019 Pimlico Special in Return to Maryland

BALTIMORE – When last seen at Pimlico Race Course a year ago, Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Tenfold was closing with a flourish to finish a close-up third in the Preakness Stakes (G1) to eventual Triple Crown winner Justify. Friday afternoon, the 4-year-old son of Curlin made a triumphant return to Baltimore, splitting rivals in upper stretch and holding off the late flourish from You’re to Blame to win the 49th running of the $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3) by a neck. The Special, lengthened this year one-sixteenth of a mile to 1 ¼ miles, was one of seven stakes, four graded, worth $1.5 million on the Black-Eyed Susan day program. The Steve Asmussen-trained Tenfold ($12.20) enjoyed a ground-saving trip under Ricardo Santana, Jr., settling toward the back of the pack as 30-1 long shot Flying the Flag led through an opening quarter-mile in 23.62 seconds, with the half going in 47.44 and three-quarters of a mile in 1:11.44.  As the field of 13 began to bunch up on the turn, Santana sent Tenfold through a narrow opening and the colt spurted into the lead, refusing to yield in the final strides to hit the wire in 2:02.36 over a fast main track. “That’s the horse we expected,” said Santana in winning his first Special. “We always believed in him. He always tries hard.” The Special was the first at the distance at Pimlico since May 27, 2000, a race won by the Eddie Gaudet-trained Big Bid. It was the first win of the year in three starts for Tenfold, who finished fourth in an optional claimer at the Fair Grounds in March followed by a seventh-place finish as the favorite in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2). Overall, his record stands at 4-0-1 from 10 career starts, including one other graded stakes win in the Jim Dandy (G2) last year at Saratoga Race Course. The winner’s purse of $180,000 extended his bankroll to $895,890. “It was a definite target because of how he ran in the Preakness last year,” said Asmussen, who previously won the Special in 2008 with Student Council. “This was exactly the outcome we were hoping for. The sky is the limit for him. I don’t think he’s really laid down his body yet. He’s a sound horse and everything in the pedigree gets better with age.” Finishing a neck behind You’re to Blame in third was Cordmaker, who in turn was 1 ¾ lengths in front of Wait for It. Just Whistle checked in fifth, followed by Carlino, Clubman, Unbridled Juan, Rally Cary, Heavy Roller, Flying the Flag, Bobby G and Flameaway. The Special’s rich past includes the iconic 1938 match race won by Seabiscuit over Triple Crown winner War Admiral. The stakes was discontinued after 1958 but revived in 1988 by late Maryland Jockey Club president Frank De Francis. The Special’s winners include Triple Crown champions Whirlaway, Citation and Assault and modern-day Horses of the Year Criminal Type, Cigar, Skip Away, Mineshaft and Invasor. $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3) Quotes Steve Asmussen (Winning trainer, Tenfold): “Absolutely, it’s a very special win with a homebred for Winchell that came through [my] mom and dad’s program in Laredo. He just, he’s got it in him. He’s got it in him and you see him today.  Ricardo was talking about he’s got a lot of horse under him, but when he makes the lead, the addition of blinkers has kind of gotten him a little more serious in his training and hopefully this horse is going to have a huge rest of the year.” “The sky is the limit for him. I don’t think he’s really laid his body down yet. He’s a sound horse and everything in the pedigree gets better with age.” “This was a definite target because of how he ran in the Preakness last year. This was exactly the outcome we were hoping for.” Ricardo Santana Jr. (Winning jockey, Tenfold): “That’s the horse we expected. We always believed in him. He always tries hard. He didn’t really like the track the other day [in the Oaklawn Handicap when seventh]. We always had confidence in him and today. I knew he was going to show what he had. He ran a really great race.  “At the three-eighths, I knew I had plenty of horse and I had to be patient and wait for the hole. When the hole opened and I asked him, he gave me a nice kick. I could feel the other horse coming on his side. The second he felt it, he kicked on. “ Todd Pletcher (Trainer, You’re to Blame, 2nd): “I thought he ran well, he had a pretty wide trip from that post. He didn’t break great. [Jockey] Jose [Ortiz] was able to get him a decent spot down the lane. The winner ran a good race.” Jose Ortiz (Jockey, You’re to Blame, 2nd): “He broke a bit slow. I think it cost me the race. I wanted to be in the position Unbridled Juan was. If I was able to be where he was at I think I would have won the race. The slow break cost me a little bit, but that’s horse racing and I’m thankful he still ran a good race.”

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5.18.2019:

2019 Black-Eyed Susan/Preakness Double Will Pays

Bet the Xpressbet Black-Eyed Susan/Preakness Double? Here are the $2 Will Pays with Black-Eyed Susan Winner, Point of Honor: #8 Point of Honor with... 1. War of Will - $47.402. Bourbon War - $52.003. Warrior's Charge - $117.204. Improbable - $33.605. Owendale - $60.006. Market King - $778.207. Alwaysmining - $72.608. Signalman - $251.209. Bodexpress - $190.4010. Everfast - $841.0011. Laughing Fox - $285.8012. Anothertwistafate - $88.0013. Win Win WIn - $145.40  

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5.16.2019:

Improbable is Favored in 2019 Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE, MD – WinStar Farm LLC, China Horse Club International and Starlight Racing, principles in the ownership group of 2018 Triple Crown champion Justify, will once again be represented by a morning-line favorite for the Preakness Stakes (G1) Saturday when Improbable is scheduled to take on 12 rivals in the 144th running of the 1 3/16-mile Spring Classic at Pimlico Race Course. Installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite, Improbable may not be as highly regarded as Justify, who was the 1-2 morning-line favorite and won the Preakness by a half-length as the 2-5 betting choice last year. However, the 3-year-old son of City Zip would appear to have a solid chance to give trainer Bob Baffert back-to-back victories and a record-breaking eighth success in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. Currently tied with Robert Wyndham Walden, who won the Preakness seven times from 1875-1888, Baffert has been victorious with Triple Crown champions Justify (2018) and American Pharoah (2015), as well as Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), War Emblem (2002), Lookin At Lucky (2010) and Point Given (2001). Improbable had the best finish of the four Preakness entrants that ran in the May 4 Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs, finishing fifth before being placed fourth through the disqualification of first-place-finisher Maximum Security. Improbable was assigned Post No.4 at Wednesday’s post position draw at Power Plant Live! in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor area. Hall of Famer Mike Smith, who rode Justify in his Triple Crown sweep, is slated to ride Improbable for the first time Saturday. Also representing the Kentucky Derby in the Preakness will be War of Will, Win Win Win and Bodexpress, who finished eighth, 10th and 14th, respectively, before all being bumped up a spot upon Maximum Security’s disqualification. Gary Barber’s War of Will, who nearly clipped heels with Maximum Security when the first-place finisher drifted out into his path at Churchill Downs, was rated second in the morning line at 4-1 after drawing Post No. 1. War of Will will be looking to rebound from back-to-back out-of-the-money finishes in the Kentucky Derby and Louisiana Derby (G2), which were preceded by stellar triumphs in the Risen Star (G2) and LeComte (G3) at Fair Grounds. Live Oak Plantation’s Win Win Win earned his way into the Derby field with a third-place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), and second-place finish in the Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland. The Michael Trombetta-trained son of Hat Trick was rated at 15-1 in the morning line after drawing Post No 13. Top Racing LLC, Global Thoroughbred and GDS Racing Stable’s Bodexpress, who finished second behind Maximum Security in the Florida Derby (G1) to earn his way into the Derby, is winless in six career starts. With a victory Saturday, the Gustavo Delgado-trained son of 2012 Preakness runner-up Bodemeister would become the first maiden to win the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown since Refund beat only three rivals in 1888. Bodexpress was rated at 20-1in the morning line after drawing Post No. 9. Anothertwistafate, Alwaysmining and Laughing Fox, who all earned automatic entries by winning Preakness ‘Win and In’ races, are among the prominent newcomers to the Triple Crown scene. Peter Redekop B.C. Ltd’s Anothertwistafate, who earned his way into the Preakness with a victory in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields before finishing second in both the Sunland Derby (G3) and Lexington (G3), drew Post No. 12 and was rated third in the morning-line at 6-1. Runnymede Racing LLC’s Alwaysmining, who is riding a six-race winning streak, was rated at 8-1 after drawing Post No. 7 for his graded-stakes debut. Should the son of Stay Thirsty win Saturday, he would be the first Maryland-bred to capture the Preakness since Deputed Testamony (1983), as well as putting his trainer, Kelly Rubley, in the record books as the only woman to saddle a Preakness winner. Alex and JoAnn Lieblong’s Laughing Fox, who won the ‘Win and In’ Oaklawn Park Invitational on Kentucky Derby Day, could give Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen his third Preakness winner, following Curlin (2007) and Rachel Alexandra (2009). The son of Union Rags drew Post No. 11 and was rated at 20-1. Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas is slated to saddle Robert Baker and William Mack’s Market King (Post No. 6; 30-1 in a quest for a record-equaling seventh Preakness victory. Trainer Brad Cox is scheduled to saddle two Preakness starters, Rupp Racing’s Owendale (Post No. 5, 10-1) and Warrior’s Charge (Post No. 3; 12-1). Also entered in the Preakness are Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable’s Bourbon War (Post No. 2; 12-1), and Tommie Lewis, Steve Crabtree, Dean Demaree, David Bernsen, Jim Chambers and Magdalena Racing’s Signalman (Post No. 8; 30-1); and Calumet Farm’s Everfast (Post No. 10; 50-1).

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5.16.2019:

2019 Preakness Stakes Draw Quotes & Reactions

Bob Baffert (trainer, Improbable; PP #4; 5-2): “I’m fine with it. I wanted to be in the middle somewhere. That’s pretty close. I didn’t want to be way outside." “[Jockey] Mike [Smith] will figure it out. We’ve got a few days to talk about things.” Elliott Walden (CEO, President WinStar Farm, Improbable; PP #4; 5-2): “I thought it was fine. It looks like there’s some speed inside of Improbable, so ‘4’ looks really good.” Mark Casse (trainer, War of Will; PP #1; 4-1): “It is what it is and we’re going to have to deal with it [Post. No. 1]. Do I wish we had drawn farther outside? Of course, but we’re going to have to deal with it. [Jockey] Tyler [Gaffalione] is going to have to play the break and see how it works. I don’t think the ‘1’ hole is quite as tough here, but I’m going to have to go study that. I didn’t study it on purpose because I was hoping not to get it.” “We have to play the hand we we’re dealt. You never can tell how things can go. All we can hope for is a clean trip and I think if he can get that, he’s going to be tough to beat.” (On pace) “I thought the pace would be a little slower in the Derby, but they went a half in 46-and-3 [seconds]. So I don’t see it going a whole lot faster than that. We’ll be fairly close and if someone wants the lead really bad I guess they’ll have it.” “I think he’s doing good. I think he’s doing as well as Classic Empire [second in 2017 Preakness]. This horse has a lot of energy and he’s extremely tough.” “We definitely know the (‘1’ hole) is not as bad as in the Derby. You have Bourbon War who is going to come from out of it. Warrior’s Charge he’s fast. But I think if he tries to get in front of War of Will – that could be his demise. One thing about it is the ‘1’ hole can be extremely good or extremely bad. In the Derby it was extremely bad, so I’m thinking we’re going to get extremely good this time.”  Blaine Wright (trainer, Anothertwistafate; PP #12; 6-1): “For right now it’s going to have to be our spot. You can’t change things. We’ll take it, move forward and see how good we are.” "We’ve been covered up a little bit in the Sunland Derby and the Lexington, so maybe he can keep his face clean from out there. Maybe our jockey can adapt to things that are happening in front of him. If we have the lead, well, hey, we have the lead.” “I’m not going to make that assumption at this point [how the race plays out]. I’ll wait to see it on paper. We just have to hope that our horse comes away from the gate well. It’s a long run to the first turn and we’ll just let the jock do the work.” Kelly Rubley (trainer, Alwaysmining; PP #7; 8-1): “We’re happy. It looks like there is a little bit of speed in this race, so we’ll have to see how we break and take it from there. I think my horse belongs in this field, he deserves a shot. We’re just really happy and grateful to be here.” Brad Cox (trainer, Owendale; PP #5; 10-1; Warrior's Charge, PP #3, 12-1): “I like the post with Owendale. I don’t think it matters a whole lot with him with the post. I’m happy with it. Warrior’s Charge drawing the ‘3,’ maybe a little bit closer to the inside than I would have liked. Improbable is outside of him and War of Will inside. I’d actually have preferred to be to the outside of both of them. But we’ll see how it plays out. That’s up to the jocks what happens once they break them out of the gate, where to place them.” “As far as Warrior’s Charge, the draw was probably a little more important for him. He did draw closer than I’d like. It kind of forces our hand maybe just a little bit. But we’ll see what happens. It’s a long run to the first turn. Ultimately, I do feel the fastest horse will get the lead, and our horse is naturally fast. He’s got a high cruising speed, and we’ll see what he can do.” Mark Hennig (trainer, Bourbon War; PP #2; 12-1): “At least we won't get hung wide outside this time, hopefully. We think he'll be more tractable with the blinkers on and just fall in behind the pace and save some ground.” “[The blinkers will] put him more in the bridle. We tried breezing him with them and it seemed to make him a little more aggressive. Sometimes you want to make first run on horses and we've been getting second or third run on some of the horses and it may have cost us a placing a time or two.” Michael Trombetta (trainer, Win Win Win; PP #13; 15-1): “The post [13] has its ups and downs. We’re not going to be in there long; we'll be in and out. If we get away clean and get on over, hopefully, we'll find a space and we’ll settle in wherever the rider wants him to be. I’ve drawn [so-called] good posts before, and ironically, the horse next to me bumps into me. We just have to work with what they give us.” Alex Lieblong (owner, Laughing Fox; PP #11; 20-1): “Well he won the Oaklawn Invitational from the ‘10’ hole so maybe they’ll scoot over and he can get to the rail. I don’t think he’ll go up there with the leaders. I probably wouldn’t have picked [that post] but it’s probably not the end of the world for his style.” “I think there will be plenty of people chasing around there is my guess. What he did at Oaklawn there was certainly I’d think you‘d have to qualify that as somewhat of a speed bias track that day. And so if he can do it on that much of a speed bias track, you know I don’t have any worry about him if he gets his trip.” Gustavo Delgado (trainer, Bodexpress; PP #9; 20-1): “There’s probably going to be a lot of speed, more speed than the Derby. But he has speed to get position. We like the ‘9.’ It’s a good spot.” D. Wayne Lukas (trainer, Market King; PP #6; 30-1): “It’s a good spot. I think if you take out Improbable and War of Will it’s a toss-up.’’ Ken McPeek (trainer, Signalman; PP #8; 30-1): “We're good with the post. It's fine.” “Mark Casse's horse, obviously, on the inside, I don't know what commitment they'll make. My horse is just going to break well, settle and find a place to run. Hopefully, we'll be mid-pack.” Dale Romans (trainer, Everfast; PP #10; 50-1): “It's a tough spot, but we're ready. We'll try and wiggle our way into a piece of it. He's done it before. We'll lead him over and see what happens. The post [10] will be all right. Hopefully, we'll get over by the first turn.”

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5.15.2019:

Bodexpress Seeking First Win in 2019 Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE, MD – Trainer Gustavo Delgado hopes he’ll be partying like it’s 1888 after the 144th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course Saturday. The Delgado-trained Bodexpress will go to post in search of his first career victory Saturday in a quest to become the first maiden to capture the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown since Refund defeated three rivals in 1888. Bodexpress finished second in three of his first five races, including a runner-up finish in the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream behind Maximum Security, who went on to finish first in the May 4 Kentucky Derby (G1), only to be disqualified and placed 17th. “I think in his [first] five races, he had bad luck. He came to win three times,” said Delgado, the all-time winningest trainer in his native Venezuela before venturing to South Florida five years ago.  In his race prior to his sharp showing in the Florida Derby, Bodexpress was bumped at the start and raced four wide before closing strongly to finish second, a neck behind the winner. The son of Bodemeister, who was one of the horses that took the worst of things after Maximum Security drifted to the outside on the turn into the homestretch, finished 14th and was placed 13th in the Derby, in which he broke alertly from his far-outside post position and was forwardly placed before being taken up sharply on the turn entering the stretch.. “The race was very, very crazy. [Bodexpress] had bad luck,” Delgado said. “I think the horse ran a good race. Now, in the morning, he’s been very good. The rider said he’s happy, happy all the time.” Bodexpress, who is owned by GDS Stable, Top Racing LLC and Global Thoroughbred, had a leisurely gallop at Pimlico Wednesday on the morning after arriving at Pimlico following a flight from Lexington, Ky. “Gulfstream’s track is fast, very fast. This track seems like Gulfstream. Churchill Downs is a little deeper,” said Delgado, who expressed pleasure with Bodexpress’ introduction to the Pimlico track Wednesday morning. “This horse likes a fast track.” Prior to Refund’s triumph by a length over an unnamed runner-up programmed as Bertha B. colt, five other maidens were victorious in the Preakness – Survivor (1873), Culpepper (1874), Shirley (1876), Cloverbrook (1877) and Saunterer (1881) – according to Allan Carter, historian at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Laoban, the most recent maiden to run in the Preakness, finished sixth of 11 at 65-1 odds in 2016 and would go on to break his maiden in the Jim Dandy (G2) at Saratoga 2 ½ months later. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will ride Bodexpress for the first time Saturday.

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5.15.2019:

Everfast Joins Field for 2019 Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE, MD — Calumet Farm’s Everfast became a last-minute addition to Saturday’s 144th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course, bringing the field for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown to 13 horses. Joel Rosario, winner of the 2013 Kentucky Derby (G1) on Orb and the 2014 Belmont Stakes (G1) on Tonalist, has the mount. “It’s a wide-open field, take a shot,” trainer Dale Romans said by phone from Louisville. Romans saddled Shackleford for a triumph in the 2011 Preakness Stakes. Everfast, a son of Florida Derby (G1) winner Take Charge Indy, figures to be a huge long shot, having finished fifth in the Pat Day Mile (G3) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day, ninth in the Florida Derby and eighth in the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park. However, four races back he was a good second at 128-1 odds in Gulfstream’s Holy Bull Stakes (G2). “He jumped up and ran big in the Holy Bull,” Romans said. “When he runs big, he runs big. We’re hoping he throws in one of those big races. Some of the top contenders are missing, so we’ll take a chance. He’s training like he did before the Holy Bull. We’re going to try to wheel him back off the sprint and see if we can get a piece of it. You’ve got a future Hall of Fame rider, so we might as well take a shot.” Romans said Everfast would van to Pimlico. Calumet Farm, now owned by Brad Kelley, won the 2013 Preakness Stakes with the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Oxbow for a record-extending eighth triumph in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

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5.15.2019:

Alwaysmining has Kelly Rubley on the Brink of History

BALTIMORE – When the 2000s began, Kelly Rubley seemed destined for a life of academia. But, even as she climbed the ladder from middle school science teacher to administrator, the horses kept calling. Before the decade was over, Rubley answered the call. She left behind the security of a career in education for the unpredictability of Thoroughbred racing, and hasn’t looked back. “You can try to get horses out of your life, but you just can’t do it,” Rubley said. “Once you start, they’re always there.” In just her fifth full year as a trainer, Rubley has the chance to make racing history and become the first female trainer to win the Preakness Stakes (G1) when she saddles Runnymede Racing’s multiple-stakes winner Alwaysmining for a start in Saturday’s Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown at Pimlico Race Course. Already, Rubley is in elite company. To be run for the 144th time Saturday, the Preakness has previously featured only 15 female trainers, and none since Kid Cruz ran eighth for New York-based Linda Rice in 2014. Nancy Alberts had the best finish for a female trainer when 45-1 long shot Magic Weisner ran second by less than a length to Kentucky Derby (G1) winner War Emblem in 2002. Like Magic Weisner, Alwaysmining has the chance to be the first Maryland-bred to win the Preakness since Deputed Testamony in 1983, and just the ninth overall. “That’s an exciting aspect. It certainly will be a great accomplishment for women in the industry if we’re very successful here. Sure, it plays a role,” Rubley said. “I think the biggest struggle is when we’re first starting out, it’s tough to earn a little bit of respect as a woman in the business. “But, I feel like most people have been very fair and offered me an equal opportunity as most men. Certainly there’s always a few, but honestly there’s nothing we can do about it so we just move forward,” she added. “I think women are becoming more accepted in the industry at this point. It’s a male-dominated sport, for sure.” Runnymede’s Greg and Caroline Bentley are huge fans of Rubley. After purchasing Alwaysmining privately following his maiden victory last summer, they ran the horse once with trainer Eddie Graham – who trained their 2014 Arlington Million (G1) winner Hardest Core – before joining forces with Rubley. The results have been spectacular. After Alwaysmining finished off the board in his first start for Rubley in the Laurel Futurity on grass, the 3-year-old Stay Thirsty gelding has reeled off six straight wins, five of them in stakes, capped by an 11 ½-length romp in the Federico Tesio April 20 at Laurel Park, earning him an automatic berth in the Preakness. “What a wonderful story there is around Kelly and her operation and her people here. An entrepreneur, advanced degrees, and certainly a student of what she does. We don’t know everything, we continue to learn more, and that’s been the case,” Greg Bentley said. “I think a factor also for a trainer is, we’re observing this and learning it ourselves, is to be of good empathy with the horses, which is obviously the case, but also with the people who are here in this operation,” he added. “That’s what, in business, bringing it all together requires – getting people and horses to do the right thing, and Kelly has excelled at that.” Caroline Bentley feels Rubley’s background plays a large part in her success. A native of the small central New York town of Pulaski, N.Y., not far from the eastern shore of Lake Ontario, Rubley graduated from the State University of New York at Oswego with bachelor’s degrees in biology and chemistry, later earning Master’s degrees in secondary education and administration. Following graduation, Rubley found work teaching eighth-grade physical science and biology near her hometown for seven years before making the switch to administrator, a position she held for another three until the urge to follow her dream became too strong to resist. “Kelly’s a scientist. She’s looking for data. She’s looking for more information,” Caroline Bentley said. “She never comes with a preconceived notion about anything. It’s always, ‘What can we find out?’” Rubley took a job fox hunting on a farm in Unionville, Pa. before finding her way to Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., where she became an exercise rider for Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Barclay Tagg in 2009. Within a year she was Tagg’s assistant, traveling to New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Florida. She had fallen in love with Fair Hill and was looking for an opportunity to put down roots, and it arrived when Justin Nicholson of Ninety North Racing Stable purchased a barn at the training facility. His primary trainer was Jimmy Toner, who needed someone to look after his Maryland horses. Enter Rubley. She jumped at the chance and worked for Toner for three years before going out on her own in December 2014. She earned her first career win April 13, 2014 at Pimlico with St. Alban’s Boy while still in Toner’s employ, and last year set personal highs with 38 wins and nearly $1.8 million in purse earnings from 269 starters. “Since I was able to walk I wanted to ride horses, so horses have always been an aspect of my life,” Rubley said. “We were limited [in New York] and I started out on the quarter horse circuit, actually, which led to hunter-jumpers. Then I had an event horse later on and started finding this area. I was shipping down here every weekend to compete and when I decided to make a change, this is the area I decided to locate to.” Rubley handles a string of about 40 horses now, including multiple Grade 1 winner Divisidero, who gave the trainer her lone graded-stakes victory in the 2018 Arlington Handicap (G3). Her experience with him, as well as her former mentors, prepared Rubley for when Alwaysmining came along. “When I was an assistant we had some nice horses, when I was with Barclay and Jimmy Toner. It’s a horse and you treat him the same,” she said. “But we got lucky with this one.” Alwaysmining kicked off his win streak with a front-running 10-length romp over a sloppy and sealed main track last October at Laurel, giving his connections the first real confirmation of what they had on their hands. Since then, his beaten rivals have included Tremont Stakes winner Our Braintrust in the Maryland Juvenile Futurity, record-setting Pasco Stakes winner and fellow Preakness contender Win Win Win in the Heft Stakes, and UAE Derby (G2) runner-up and Kentucky Derby starter Gray Magician. “He’s very easy-going. He takes everything in stride. Sadly, I cannot take any credit for that,” Rubley said. “When he ran in the allowance race that was maybe the turning point for us to say, ‘Wow, this is a really nice horse.’ We always thought a great deal of him and then he put in such a beautiful effort and continued to progress from there. And here we are.” Soft-spoken and even-keeled, Rubley has not allowed herself to think about what it would be like to be the first female trainer to win the Preakness, or add a Triple Crown race victory to her resume. Like her horse, she’s taking everything as it comes. “Of course, we’re excited. But, we’re not there yet. We’ll talk on Saturday,” she said. “We’re hoping. We’re hoping.”

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5.14.2019:

Riding Never Gets Old for 58-Year-Old Preakness Jockey Jon Court

BALTIMORE, MD - Robert Baker and William Mack’s Market King left Churchill Downs very early Tuesday morning to van to Pimlico for a scheduled start in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (G1), Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas riding shotgun in the truck towing the son of Into Mischief. Market King finished 11th in Keeneland’s Blue Grass Stakes (G2) after taking third in a division of Oaklawn’s Rebel Stakes (G2). A subsequent pair of strong five-furlong workouts convinced Lukas to take a shot at the Preakness. Market King will be ridden by Jon Court, who at 58, became the oldest jockey to ever compete in the Kentucky Derby (G1) May 4 when he rode Long Range Toddy (16th) in the first leg of the Triple Crown. Court began riding in 1980. His mounts have won 4,149 races and more than $106 million in purses in North America. In 2004-2008, he left his Midwest base to ride with success in California before returning to Kentucky. The Kentucky Derby Museum confirmed that Court was the oldest jockey ever to participate in the Derby. “I loved it. I was having fun with it,” Court said. “Regardless of the stigma of being old, I don’t feel old. I still feel as young as at least early 30s, early 40s. There are a lot of things I do that especially these young jocks can’t do. We go out there and try to perform the best we can with what we’ve got and give the public what they want for racing.” Court’s first Triple Crown race appearance actually came in the Preakness, when he was ninth in 2001 on Percy Hope at the tender age of 40. His first of what is now four Derby appearances came in 2011 with Archarcharch, who was injured in the race and wound up 15th.

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5.14.2019:

Alwaysmining Representing Maryland Racing Well

BALTIMORE, MD - Despite a six-race win streak, five of them in stakes, the last three of them as an overwhelming favorite, Alwaysmining figures to sport relatively generous odds when he makes his graded-stakes debut in Saturday’s 144th Preakness Stakes (G1). For Greg and Caroline Bentley of Runnymede Racing, it’s a case of been there, done that. In 2014 the Bentleys, proprietors of Runnymede Farm in Unionville, Pa., upset the Arlington Million (G1) with 11-1 long shot Hardest Core – a horse they bought as a birthday present for their now 35-year-old son, Andrew, in whose name he ran. “We bought Hardest Core because we wanted to race him in the Maryland Hunt Cup,” Caroline Bentley said. “We thought maybe he was a little young to start [jumping] so maybe we should race him on the flat for a little while. It was just a really happy accident.” There were similarly no grand expectations for Alwaysmining when the Bentleys purchased him privately from Jim McIngvale following a maiden special weight victory last June at Laurel Park. They had wanted to add a dirt presence to their portfolio and were looking for a horse they could watch run locally over the winter. “We’re breeding horses and we want to run our homebreds, but we were looking for some racehorses to kind of fill in the gaps,” Caroline Bentley said. “We run locally, so we were looking for Maryland-bred horses, Pennsylvania-bred horses. He looked nice, but we weren’t looking for a world-beater, so it really surprised us.” Alwaysmining ran fifth in the first start for Runnymede, who then moved him to trainer Kelly Rubley. Seventh in his debut for Rubley in the Laurel Futurity on turf, Alwaysmining hasn’t lost since. He capped his juvenile season beating fellow Preakness contender Win Win Win in the Heft Stakes, then swept the seven-furlong Miracle Wood, 1 1/16-mile Private Terms and 1 1/8-mile Federico Tesio to open 2019. While the Private Terms marked his first try around two turns, the Tesio was a command performance for Alwaysmining. A front-running winner to that point, he showed a new dimension sitting behind horses before taking over and cruising to an 11 ½-length romp, earning an automatic berth in the Preakness. “He’s increasing each person’s expectations as we go. No one takes for granted what his potential can be, but he seems to be finding himself and growing into and being proud of and confident in his capabilities,” Greg Bentley said. “Of course, we don’t know going into the Preakness what’s next but we think he does represent Maryland racing well and we’re proud and appreciative of that given the tradition of Maryland racing that we’re glad to participate in and be part of.” Eight Maryland-breds have won the Preakness, starting with Cloverbrook in 1877. The last to do it was Deputed Testamony, also the Tesio winner who was sent off at 14-1 in the 1983 Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. “Maryland has such a wonderful tradition and you feel it around here. There’s so much pride and legacy,” Caroline Bentley said. “It’s a wonderful atmosphere.” Alwaysmining is one of five horses the Bentleys have with Rubley at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., a half-hour southof their Pennsylvania farm. CEO, President and Chairman of the Board of Bentley Systems, one of the world’s largest privately held software companies since its inception in 1984, Greg Bentley got involved in racing as a hobby to balance work demands. Runnymede also campaigned 2017 American St. Leger (G3) winner Postulation, but Alwaysmining represents its first attempt in a Triple Crown race. “We happen to know that a horse can come from nowhere and accomplish a lot,” Greg Bentley said. “Our son, Andrew, is a great fan of racing and he keeps track of everything. Maybe that’s the source of our good luck, because we must say it’s luck. “We have had the experience of being a long shot and getting there,” he added, “so we’re not going to say that it can’t happen.”

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5.14.2019:

Video: War of Will Arrives at Pimlico for Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE – Gary Barber’s War of Will, seventh in the Kentucky Derby (G1), arrived at Pimlico Race Course at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday morning to begin preparation for Saturday’s 144th Preakness Stakes (G1). War of Will Arrives at Pimlico (May 14) Winner of the Risen Star Stakes (G2) and LeComte Stakes (G3) over the winter at Fair Grounds, War of Will will likely be one of the favorites in Saturday’s $1.5 million Preakness. “They looked like they shipped in really well,” said assistant trainer Kim Carroll. “They left yesterday afternoon [from Kentucky] and it was a pretty easy ship up. We’re excited to be here. The weather is actually quite good for shipping, nice and cool.” War of Will, trained by Mark Casse, was accompanied by stablemates Flameaway, entered in Friday’s Pimlico Special (G3), and Gio Game, entered in Friday’s Allaire DuPont Distaff (G3). Two others Preakness starters are expected to arrive Tuesday – Market King, third in the Rebel Stakes (G2), is expected late this afternoon and El Camino Real Derby winner Anothertwistafate this evening.

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5.13.2019:

Market King Confirmed for 2019 Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE, MD – Robert C. Baker and William L. Mack’s colt Market King is headed to Saturday’s 144th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Sunday. Market King, most recently 11th in the Blue Grass (G2) on April 6 at Keeneland, is the 12th confirmed starter prospect for the Preakness. If all start it will be the largest field since a full field of 14 went to the post in 2011. Lukas recommended to the owners that they consider the Preakness after he posted two sharp five-furlong works in the past week. The son of Into Mischief, purchased by Baker and Mack for $550,000 as a yearling, breezed in 1:00.20, the second-fastest of 27 at the distance at Churchill Downs, on May 7 and came back four days later with a 1:00.40 clocking, third-fastest of 31, on Saturday. “He’s training excellent,” Lukas said. Market King broke his maiden on Feb. 9 at Oaklawn in his first race being sent around two turns. He was a close third in the Rebel (G2), beaten by one length, in an optional claimer allowance on Feb. 24. He finished third behind Omaha Beach, the morning-line favorite for the Kentucky Derby (G1) before being scratched from the race, and Game Winner.   Lukas, 83, has saddled a record 43 horses in the Preakness and has won the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown six times. In last year’s cloud-shrouded Preakness, the Lukas-trained Bravazo came within a half-length of upsetting eventual Triple Crown champion Justify while finishing second. The Hall of Fame trainer’s first Preakness starter, Codex, won in 1980. He was followed by Tank’s Prospect (1985), Tabasco Cat (1994), Timber Country (1995), Charismatic (1999) and Oxbow (2013). Last year, Baker and Mack’s Sporting Chance finished sixth in the Preakness.

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5.13.2019:

'All Systems Go' for Anothertwistafate in 2019 Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE, MD - Peter Redekop B. C. Ltd.’s Anothertwistafate came out of Saturday’s sharp six-furlong breeze in fine shape, trainer Blaine Wright said Sunday. The Scat Daddy colt is scheduled to fly to Baltimore from Oakland on Tuesday.  Anothertwistafate turned in the fastest of eight six-furlong workouts on the synthetic surface at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, Calif. while covering the distance in 1:14.20. Wright flew home to Seattle to be with his wife and mother on Mother’s Day and said the reports from the track on the colt were all positive. “My vet called me earlier this morning and said he jogged great,” Wright said. “My assistant said he ate up; he’s feeling good; and all systems are go. We’re coming.” Anothertwistafate will be Wright’s first starter in a Triple Crown race. Wright, the son of retired jockey and trainer Richard Wright, has been training on his own since 2006. He operates stables at Golden Gate Fields and at Emerald Downs in his home state of Washington. Redekop, a member of the British Columbia Horse Racing Hall of Fame, is a perennial leading owner at Hastings Race Course in Vancouver. He has had one previous starter in a Triple Crown, Cause to Believe, 13th in the 2006 Kentucky Derby (G1), with partner Andrew Abruzzo. Anothertwistafate won the El Camino Real Derby by seven lengths on Feb. 16 to earn an automatic berth in the Preakness, then was second by a neck to Cutting Humor in the Sunland Derby (G3) and second by 1¾ lengths in the Lexington (G3) at Keeneland on April 13. He was 23rd in the Kentucky Derby points list and Wright took him back to California to prepare for the Preakness.  

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5.12.2019:

Local Heroine Las Setas Brings Win Streak Into 2019 Xpressbet Black-Eyed Susan

BALTIMORE, MD – Having established her local dominance with four straight wins, the last three in stakes, Maryland homebred Las Setas will face the biggest test of her young career when she faces a batch of new faces as she steps up to graded company in Friday’s $250,000 Xpressbet Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico Race Course. The 95th running of the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan for 3-year-old fillies highlights a 14-race program that includes seven stakes, four graded, worth $1.15 million in purses on the eve of the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1), the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. First-race post time Friday is 11:30 a.m. Post time for the Black-Eyed Susan, carded as Race 11, will be 4:48 p.m. NBCSN will provide national television coverage from 3 to 5 p.m. Black-Eyed Susan Day will include three multi-race wagers each with pools guaranteed at $300,000 – the 50-cent Late Pick 5 spanning Races 7-11 and 50-cent Pick 4s covering Races 8-11 and Races 11-14. Trained by Katy Voss for fellow co-owners Robert Manfuso and Wayne Harrison, Las Setas is attempting to become the first Maryland-bred to win the Black-Eyed Susan since favored Calipha bested 12 rivals in 1994 for owner-breeder Mrs. James A. Bayard and Hall of Fame trainer Grover ‘Bud’ Delp. “The water gets a lot deeper. It’s going to be a much tougher race. There are fillies in there that have run much better [speed figures] than she has, but we’ll see. She’s doing well. She hasn’t missed a beat since her last race,” Voss said. “Hopefully, she can move up a few points.” Las Setas has done nothing wrong this year, stringing together four consecutive front-running victories by 12 ¼ lengths. She was a determined nose winner of her most recent start in the April 20 Weber City Miss at Laurel Park, earning her an automatic berth in the Black-Eyed Susan. The Weber City Miss followed open-length triumphs in the Beyond the Wire and Wide Country, all over Our Super Freak, in a steady increase in distance from seven furlongs to about 1 1/16 miles last out, her first try around two turns. Jevian Toledo, aboard for all five of her starts, rides back from far outside Post 9 at 120 pounds, four fewer than co-highweights Always Shopping and Cookie Dough. “Toledo thought she might have gotten a little tired last time. We had a missed a bit of training after the previous race when I sent her to the farm, but she actually ran the same [speed] number in that race as she did in the Wide Country,” Voss said. “She actually ran a slower number in the Beyond the Wire. People think, ‘Well, she bounced in the Beyond the Wire.’ Actually, she was geared down because she didn’t have to run any faster. “Knock on wood, she’s fine. She’s come out of each race good, and we hope that keeps going,” she added. “Looking at the numbers, Our Super Freak improved [in the Weber City Miss] rather than our filly going backward. It was her first start around two turns. She’s going to need to move forward a couple more points to be competitive in the Black-Eyed Susan.” Las Setas, whose name is Spanish for mushrooms, has had two sharp works for the Black-Eyed Susan, going six furlongs in 1:11.60 May 10 in her most recent move. Prior to that, she went a half-mile in 48 seconds May 4, second-fastest of 56 horses at the distance. “She’s a pretty easy-going filly as far as training. She’s nice to gallop. She doesn’t try to run off. She doesn’t do a lot of stupid stuff,” Voss said. “We always thought she was really nice, but things normally work out that well. You’re just trying to keep them sound and everything. “She ran really green first time out. I think her first two races helped her,” she added. “She’s always shown an awful lot of talent. The other day when she worked in 48 flat, she just looked like she’s just kind of cruising along. She isn’t being asked. She picked it up on her own a little bit in the lane.” Among the newcomers are a pair of fillies from four-time Black-Eyed Susan-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, Always Shopping and Off Topic. Repole Stable’s Always Shopping is unbeaten in two starts this year, both in 1 1/8-mile stakes at Aqueduct, the latter coming in the Gazelle (G2) in her graded debut. Manny Franco, up for both wins, gets the return call from Post 6. “This seems like a natural progression for her,” Pletcher said. “She’s improved each spot, and two turns and 1 1/8 miles seems to suit her well. Everything has gone well for her since the Gazelle.” Paul Pompa Jr.’s Off Topic will have Hall of Famer John Velazquez in the irons from Post 2. The daughter of Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Street Sense finished third, beaten two lengths by her stablemate in the Gazelle, her first try both in stakes and at the distance. “I was pleased with her effort, but she’s one that is still putting all her potential together,” Pletcher said. “She broke better in the Gazelle than she had and put herself in a tractable position. She still has not run to her full potential.” Pletcher, winner of a record seven Eclipse Awards as leading trainer, won the Black-Eyed Susan with Stopchargingmaria (2014), In Lingerie (2012), Panty Raid (2007) and Spun Sugar (2005). Cookie Dough and Point of Honor, two horses that didn’t get into the May 3 Kentucky Oaks (G1), will take their shot in the Black-Eyed Susan. Arindel’s Cookie Dough swept the final two legs of the Florida Sire Series for juvenile fillies last fall, but missed a planned start in the Breeders’ Cup due to illness. She returned March 2 to finish second in the Davona Dale (G2) and was third by 1 ¼ lengths after setting the pace in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) March 30, both at Gulfstream Park. Reigning Eclipse Award winner Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride for the first time from Post 4. Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Stetson Racing’s Point of Honor, a chestnut daughter of two-time Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer Curlin, broke her maiden at first asking in mid-December at Gulfstream, then came back with a 2 ¾-length triumph in the one-mile, 40-yard Suncoast Stakes Feb. 9 at Tampa Bay Downs. In her most recent effort, Point of Honor was fourth in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, beaten less than a length by Cookie Dough and two lengths overall. Hall of Famer Javier Castellano will ride from Post 8. “The track was playing like a conveyor belt that day and she seemed a little different than she was at Tampa … but she ran well,” Weaver said. “We were just in a holding pattern until we could get her a race. She breezed once at Churchill and breezed well and we breezed her a couple days ago at Belmont and she did well there, too, so all systems are go. “She’s been doing great. We wouldn’t have gone to the Kentucky Oaks if we didn’t think she was doing real well, and when we didn’t get in the logical next step was to run in the Black-Eyed Susan,” he added. “It’s a prestigious race on the tour for 3-year-old fillies, and we’re happy to be a part of it.” Jagger Inc.’s Our Super Freak will try again for owner-trainer Jamie Ness, who has won with seven of his first 11 starters at the current Preakness Meet at Pimlico which began May 2. Our Super Freak has run second or third in five straight races, all stakes, the last three behind Las Setas. Our Super Freak was second to Congrats Gal in the Smart Halo Nov. 10 and third to Pimlico-based Please Flatter Me in the Gin Talking Dec. 29 – both winners are entered in the $150,000 Adena Springs Miss Preakness (G3) on the Black-Eyed Susan undercard. “It would be a great race to win. It would be great for her value down the road, being a mother, and just for her,” Ness said. “I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve realized a lot of things can happen so sometimes you’ve got to be in it to win it. “She’s just been consistent, she keeps trying hard. She’s a grinder, and sometimes that’s all you need to catch a break,” he added. “She dances every dance and there’s no reason why she won’t this time either, unless the competition is too tough.” Jockey Trevor McCarthy has the assignment from Post 5. Cheyenne Stables’ Ulele will be making her stakes debut in the Black-Eyed Susan for trainer Brad Cox. The Candy Ride filly has won two of three starts this year, and exits a gate-to-wire optional claiming allowance score April 4 at Keeneland over High Regard, who returned to win a similar spot in her subsequent start. “This is good spacing between that race and the Black-Eyed Susan, and she’s trained extremely well at Churchill,” Cox said. “She deserves the opportunity to step up against these horses.” Joel Rosario rides Ulele from Post 3. Completing the field are OXO Equine’s Grade 1-placed Brill, a $1 million yearling of 2017 who was third in the 1 1/16-mile Fantasy (G3) last out April 12 at Oaklawn Park; and River Bend Farm’s Sweet Diane, third in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) March 23 and Suncoast Stakes, the latter behind Point of Honor.

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5.12.2019:

Massive Field of 14 Entered for 2019 Pimlico Special

BALTIMORE, MD – The historic $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3), lengthened this year to 1 ¼ miles for the first time in history, drew the biggest field since its revival in 1988 as 14 were entered for Friday’s race at Pimlico Race Course. The 49th running of the Pimlico Special, on the eve of the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1), is one of seven stakes races on the 14-race card, highlighted by the 95th running of the $250,000 Xpressbet Black-Eyed Susan (G2). Also on tap are the $150,000 Adena Springs Miss Preakness (G3), $150,000 Caplan Brothers Glass Allaire duPont Distaff (G3), $100,000 Maker’s Mark Hilltop, $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint and $100,000 Fidelity First and Blackwell Real Estate Skipat. Friday’s 14-race program drew 164 entries Not since Blushing John beat 11 in the 1989 edition have more than 10 horses entered the Special, which had been contested at 1 3/16 miles ever since War Admiral won the first iteration in 1937. The next year, it was host to the match race between the Triple Crown winner and Seabiscuit, which Seabiscuit famously won. Because of the configuration of the one-mile oval at Pimlico, 10-furlong races are a rarity. Indeed, the track record for the distance was set back in 1988 by Mazotti, who covered 1 ¼ miles in 2:01 4/5. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 1 ¼-mile race at Pimlico,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, who took back-to-back editions of the Special with Revolutionary and Commissioner in 2014 and 2015 and has entered the duo of You’re to Blame and Rally Cry. “Not every horse can get 1 ¼ miles,” he added. “You need to get a good run to establish a good position, and get into a comfortable rhythm. I think it plays to [my horses’] strengths.” The Special will be the second start off a layoff for Rally Cry and You’re to Blame, stakes winners both. A 6-year-old son of Uncle Mo, Rally Cry enters off a fourth-place finish in the Charles Town Classic (G3). The Paul Pompa Jr. color-bearer was lightly campaigned in 2018, finishing fourth in both the Woodward (G1) and an optional claimer, having won his first stakes the previous year with an 8 3/4-length score in the Alydar at Saratoga Race Course. You’re to Blame, owned by Bortolazzo Stable, kicked off his 5-year-old season with an optional claiming victory at Gulfstream Park on the heels of a successful year that included a victory in the 1 5/8-mile Greenwood Cup (G3), along with a second-place effort in the 1 ½-mile Temperence Hill at Belmont Park. “Rally Cry has been impressive in the way he trains,” said Pletcher. “I think [his win in the 2017] Alydar was a breakout race for him. You’re to Blame has had success at the longer distances, and I think the extra distance on Friday will be a factor.” Rally Cry drew post position 2 under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, while You’re to Blame, with Jose Ortiz, will leave from post 13. Tenfold, who delighted Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen with his close-up, third-place finish behind Triple Crown winner Justify in last year’s Preakness, will be making his third start of 2019 in the Special. The son of Curlin was the beaten favorite in both his debut in March at the Fair Grounds, in which he was fourth, and in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) in April. Ricardo Santana Jr. rides from post position 8. Stronach Stable Inc. will be represented by homebred Unbridled Juan, who finished seventh in the Charles Town Classic at 22-1 in his 2019 debut. “He came out of Saturday’s work [four furlongs in 48.60 seconds at Laurel Park] really good,” said Corrales of Unbridled Juan, who sports a career record of 7-9-9 from 30 starts. “This horse, he likes to finish second or third, but I hope he proves me wrong.” Unbridled Juan will carry Alex Cintron when he leaves from post 9. Corrales also will saddle Bobby G, who has the services of Trevor McCarthy from post 10. Trainer Mark Hennig, who won the 2005 Pimlico Special with Eddington, returns with Courtlandt Farms’ Carlino, making his first start as a 5-year-old. The gelded son of Lemon Drop Kid closed out his 2018 campaign making up considerable ground to finish fourth at odds of 69-1 in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park and is in search of his first stakes win. “He was fourth …behind some pretty nice horses that day,” said Hennig. “Thunder Snow was in there and a couple others that are pretty solid horses. It was a good effort that day. He came out of that and had a little chip in a knee that we took out. Since he’s come back he’s been doing great.” Carlino leaves from Post 4 under Manny Franco. Rounding out the field, from the rail out, are veteran marathoner War Story, third in the Charles Town Classic last time out; Flying the Flag, making his stakes debut for last year’s winning trainer, Graham Motion; Heavy Roller, winner of three of four 2019 starts for trainer Joe Sharp; Laurel Park stalwart Cordmaker, stretching out past 1 1/8 miles for the first time; Just Whistle, most recently fourth in the Ben Ali (G3); Flameaway, sixth in the Ben Ali; Wait for It, winner of an allowance at Parx Racing; and Clubman, winner of three of his four 2019 starts including the Russell Road at Charles Town last time out.

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5.12.2019:

Chalon Looks for Winning Return in Pimlico's Skipat Stakes

BALTIMORE, MD – Lael Stables’ Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) runner-up Chalon is set for her 2019 debut in a talented field for the $100,000 Fidelity First & Blackwell Real Estate Skipat Stakes at historic Pimlico Race Course on Friday, the day before the 144th Preakness Stakes, the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. The Skipat for 3-year-old fillies and mares at six furlongs on the dirt is one of seven stakes, four graded, on the 14-race Black-Eyed Susan Day card totaling $1.15 million in purses. Two other stakes races are the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint for 3-year-olds and up going five furlongs on the grass and the $100,000 Maker’s Mark Hilltop Stakes for 3-year fillies at a mile on the turf.  A field of 10 was entered for the Skipat. Chalon, a 5-year-old daughter of Dialed In, out of Fall Fantasy, was beaten a head by Shamrock Rose in the Breeders’ Cup at seven furlongs in her last start. Trainer Arnaud Delacour believes her seasonal debut would work best at a shorter distance. “She’s coming back a little late, kind of on purpose because I think that her best distance is probably around six furlongs,’’ said Delacour. “She can do seven-eighths, but it’s kind of a stretch. I think the six furlongs at Pimlico should work out very well.” Chalon had three victories and two seconds in five starts last year and earned $365,000. Her career record is 13-5-5-1 with $657,295 in earnings. Among the challengers are Anna’s Bandit – three-for-three this year – and Estilo Femenino, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen. The 4-year-old daughter of Midnight Lute, out of Court Dress, won a $62,000 allowance/optional claimer in her last start on April 26 at Oaklawn Park. No Guts No Glory Farm’s Anna’s Bandit comes in off victories in the Conniver Stakes at Laurel on March 16 and the Original Gold Stakes at Charles Town on April 20. The 5-year-old daughter of Great Notion has a career record of 24-10-3-6 and earnings of $404,335. Also entered are Adios Annie, Everlasting Secret, Hailey’s Flip, Last True Love, Majestic Won, Maybe Wicked, and Phantom Shot. Like Chalon, Everlasting Secret, a 7-year-old mare with four wins in 16 career starts, and Maybe Wicked, a 4-year-old filly with three victories in nine career starts, are making their seasonal debuts.

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5.12.2019:

Covfefe Looking to Make the Grade in Grade 3 Miss Preakness Stakes at Pimlico

BALTIMORE, MD – Trainer Brad Cox has Owendale and Warrior’s Charge running in Saturday’s 144th Preakness Stakes (G1). First, he hopes to kick-start a potentially huge weekend Friday at Pimlico Race Course with Covfefe in the $150,000 Adena Springs Miss Preakness (G3) and Mylady Curlin in the $150,000 Caplan Brothers Glass Allaire duPont Distaff (G3). LNJ Foxwoods’ Covfefe is two-for-three, the only defeat a fourth-place finish last fall in Belmont Park’s Frizette (G1) at a mile won by champion 2-year-old filly Jaywalk. In her only start this year, Covfefe led all the way to take a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race at Keeneland. “Fast filly,” Cox said of the daughter of Into Mischief. “She was actually favored in the Frizette last year against Jaywalk. She came out of that race with a mild setback. We gave her the winter off, and she returned at Keeneland and ran extremely fast. “She’s had plenty of time since that race. I think if she can put a race similar to that, she’s going to be competitive,” he added. “She’s got a big pedigree and hopefully we can get her some graded black type and hopefully a win. She’s got to move forward. She’s not very seasoned, has only run three times. But she’s training extremely well and we’ve always thought a lot of her.” Three-year-old fillies from all over converge in the six-furlong Miss Preakness as trainers seek a graded sprint stakes that keeps their horses against their own age. But, local horsemen figure to be thick in the fray. One of the horses to beat could be the Cal Lynch-trained Congrats Gal, who has yet to lose in Maryland, with three Laurel Park victories by a combined 27 1/2 lengths. In two other starts she was third in last summer’s Schuylerville (G3) at Saratoga and second in a 5 ½-furlong stakes at Delaware. Michael Trombetta, who also has Win Win Win in the Preakness, will saddle the Maryland-bred Never Enough Time, who won her only two starts by more than five lengths each at Laurel. “I realize that could be the deep end of the pool, but I’m backed into a corner,” he said. “I don’t have a lot of choices for her. She’s graduated very quickly. We’ve always liked her. We thought she was way above par. But to run in two races, and now all of a sudden there’s nowhere to go but there. She’s worked well, so we’ll give her a shot and see what she’s all about.” Mark Reid-trained Pennsylvania-bred Please Flatter Me is stabled at Pimlico and won her first three starts with ease while sprinting, including stakes at Penn National and Laurel. In her last start, Please Flatter Me finished a close fourth in Aqueduct’s $250,00 Busher Stakes at a mile. Bob Baffert, trainer of expected Preakness favorite Improbable, is bringing along 2-for-2 Fighting Mad, winner of a Churchill Downs allowance race on April 30. Like the disqualified Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Maximum Security, Fighting Mad is owned by Gary and Mary West and is by their 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner New Year’s Day, who was sold as a stallion to Brazil this year. The Louisiana-bred Midnight Fantasy ran out of sprint stakes in her birth state, with trainer Joe Sharp successfully shipping her to Mahoning Valley in northeastern Ohio for a five-length victory in a $75,000 stakes. “She’s undefeated going three-quarters,” Sharp said. “We were kind of railroaded into some route races down in Louisiana, because that’s all they had for 3-year-old Louisiana-breds at the end of the meet, so we had to go two turns – obviously not her forte. “We shipped her to Mahoning Valley. She went down there in 1:10 and change, which is flying over that track, and won going away,” he added. “It’s a little unorthodox way to get to Pimlico, but I think her numbers stack up. I’m confident in her, especially going three-quarters. She’s just really fast.” Trainer Ron Moquett comes with Bye Bye J, an Arkansas-bred who won Oaklawn’s Rainbow Miss in her last start and who earlier this winter was a close second in Gulfstream Park’s Forward Gal (G2). “We bought her after she ran in the Forward Gal,” said owner Alex Lieblong, who will have the Steve Asmussen-trained Laughing Fox in the Preakness. “She won and she was an Arkansas-bred, and she’s a gorgeous filly. It made sense to run in some stakes there in Arkansas and an allowance race there in Arkansas, so we kind of clipped a few coupons with her doing that. She’s a nice, nice filly and she’s gotten bigger and stronger.” Also entered are Sue’s Fortune, winner of Saratoga’s Adirondack (G2) but making her first start in more than seven months; Brunette Princess, the Gustavo Delgado-trained stablemate of Preakness candidate Bodexpress and who won the Any Limit Stakes at Gulfstream Park in a dead heat in her last start; graded stakes-placed Tomlin; Turfway Park stakes-winner Iva; Miss Imperial, runner-up in back-to-back stakes at Aqueduct; and Evangeline Downs allowance winner Best Kept Secret.

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5.11.2019:

Anothertwistafate Works at Golden Gate Fields for 2019 Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE, MD –  Peter Redekop B.C. Ltd.’s Anothertwistafate breezed six furlongs in a bullet 1:14.20 Saturday at Golden Gate Fields, his final timed workout prior to the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1) on May 18 at Pimlico Race Course. Trainer Blaine Wright sent Anothertwistafate out to work in company under jockey Juan Hernandez. It was his second breeze over the synthetic surface at the Albany, Calif. track since his second-place finish to Owendale, 1¾ lengths back, in the April 13 Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland. “It was a good work for us,” Wright said. “We broke him off behind horses, let him just cruise up to them at the quarter pole. He outworked them very easy and galloped out nice and strong. We’re right where we want to be, I hope. Anothertwistafate earned an automatic berth in the Preakness with his win in the El Camino Real Derby on Feb. 16 at Golden Gate, this third straight victory at the track. He went on to finish second by a neck in the Sunland Derby (G3) on March 24 at Sunland Park before running in the Lexington.  The son of Scat Daddy was 23rd on the points list when entries were taken for the 20-horse Kentucky Derby (G1) field. Wright had already taken the son of Scat Daddy to California to prepare for the Preakness. Wright described Anothertwistafate as being enthusiastic about his training.  “He’s the type of horse that when you work him a half (mile) he works six furlongs,” Wright said.  “He always gets a lot out of his breezes and gallops. He’s a big, long-striding horse. This will be five weeks between races, so I sent him out going a mile. We got a pretty good, stout work into him. Now all we have to do hopefully is travel.” Wright said the colt galloped out the mile in 1:40. Jockey Jose Ortiz will ride Anothertwistafate in the Preakness. It will be Ortiz’s third start in the Preakness. He was 10th on Term of Art in 2017 and fourth aboard Good Magic in 2018. Anothertwistafate, who will ship to Pimlico Tuesday, will be the first Triple Crown starter for Wright, 44, a leading trainer at Emerald Downs in his home state of Washington. Wright maintains a year-round stable at Golden Gate Fields.

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5.11.2019:

Signalman Breezes at Churchill Downs for 2019 Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE, MD - Although Churchill Downs’ clockers timed Signalman’s workout as a half-mile breeze, the Preakness contender’s work Saturday morning was designed as a five-furlong move. With Signalman breezing just to the outside of stablemate Indian Counselor, the clockers caught the half-mile in 47.60 seconds with a five-eighths gallop-out time of 1:00.80.  Signalman Workout Video (May 11) “He hadn’t run in six weeks, so we needed a nice [work] in company,” said trainer Kenny McPeek. “He’s going to be running a mile and three-sixteenths with six weeks between races. It was a nice maintenance breeze. The other horse is a good, solid horse, too. He stalked off the side of him and finished up good. Nice work.” Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr., who will ride Signalman next Saturday, observed the workout.   “He went along like we wanted him to and finished up well and went on and galloped out,” he said.  Hernandez has been on Signalman for his past five races: a second in Keeneland’s Breeders’ Futurity (G1), a third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), a victory in Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), then starting this year with a seventh in Gulfstream Park’s Fountain of Youth (G2) and third in Keeneland’s Blue Grass (G2), in which he lost a chance to qualify for the Kentucky Derby field by missing second by a nose.  “He’s always been a big, good-looking horse, and it seems like he’s getting bigger and stronger,” Hernandez said. “Everything we’ve asked him to do so far, he’s done – between only having the two preps in the Fountain of Youth and Blue Grass. He’s getting better and better, it seems. We’re just looking at the Preakness and see what he can come up with. “The Blue Grass was a good effort for having the one race going into it. I thought he ran a respectable race. He might have gotten a little tired late, just because it was only his second race of the year. He gave us an honest effort,” he added. “With all this horse has done so far up to this point, you have to go into the Preakness thinking he has a big chance.” Asked about the prospective Preakness field, McPeek quipped, “I’m really happy that Pimlico doesn’t use the points system like Churchill Downs and I don’t have to worry about getting in. Eleven is a good number. It should be a great race. There are some good horses running. I think some of the horses that didn’t run in the Derby are going to run big in this one. Then, we’ll all probably get hooked up at Belmont, too. It’s ever-changing this time of year. You get horses that peak before the Derby, some during and some after. It’s part of the process and challenge of it all.” 

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5.11.2019:

Stablemates Owendale, Warrior's Charge Work for 2019 Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE, MD - Trainer Brad Cox not only will have his first career entrant in a Triple Crown race in the 144th Preakness Stakes but also his second. Both horses, Rupp Racing’s Owendale and Ten Strike Racing and Madaket Stables LLC’s Warrior’s Charge, were on display in the pre-dawn Saturday morning at Churchill Downs while producing strong workouts.  Owendale went first, right after the track opened at 5:30 a.m., and was timed by the Churchill Downs’ clockers going five-eighths of a mile in 59.20 seconds, the fastest of 31 works at the distance. The Lexington Stakes (G3) winner was clocked galloping out three-quarters of a mile in 1:12.20 after going through splits of 12.40 for the first eighth-mile, 24 for the quarter-mile and 46.80 for the half-mile under exercise rider Mario Garcia.  Owendale, Warrior's Charge Workout (May 11) “He went really well and did it the right way, breaking off at the half and going on out through the three-quarter pole,” Cox said. “The rider stayed down on him around the far turn, no strong urging or anything, just what we were looking for. Came back and scoped great and looked good cooling out. We’ll check them tomorrow, and if all is well, on to Baltimore.” Warrior’s Charge began his work minutes later, breezing five-eighths in 1:00.80 through fractions of 12.60, 24.60 and 48.60 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.20 under regular exercise rider Edvin Hernandez. The clockers went on and caught a seven-furlong gallop-out time of 1:27.40. “The other colt was a little headstrong going to the pole, and I think it took him around a sixteenth of a mile to settle into the work,” Cox said of Warrior’s Charge. “But a really good breeze. Both of them worked fantastic. Both horses haven’t raced in five weeks, so I was looking to do something with them, and I feel we accomplished that this morning… Both of them were on their own, doing it the right way, on the bridle. I had a radio on both riders, instructing them just to stay down and as long as (the horse) felt good and let them do their thing. They did and felt there was some left in the tank for both of them.” Owners Marshall Gramm and Clay Sanders of Ten Strike Racing and Madaket Racing’s Sol Kumin elected to supplement Warrior’s Charge into the Preakness off back-to-back impressive wins at 1 1/16 miles against maidens and allowance company at Oaklawn Park. The cost is $150,000 to make a horse eligible for the Preakness if it wasn’t first nominated to the Triple Crown. “As far as a trainer, it wasn’t going to be anything different with what I did with the horse,” Cox said. “I was preparing him for the Sir Barton, and they brought this up. The bottom line is: He fits. We’re going to give him the opportunity. He’ll be forwardly placed, that’s what we’re hoping for. Javier Castellano will ride him. I think if he can get the right trip and back things down, be close – not necessarily on the lead, but if he is, that’s OK – and carry his speed a mile and three-sixteenths.” Warrior’s Charge has never been in a stakes, let alone a Grade 1. So it speaks to his potential that the stable was able to land Castellano, a two-time Preakness winner and Hall of Fame jockey.  “His [speed] figures stack up with these horses,” Cox said. “That’s why we’re looking at this. He’s a very nice horse, tons of potential. We’re jumping into the deep end of the pool. But we do think there’s a lot of talent and potential there. “I feel like Owendale is still figuring it out,” he added. “He’s definitely hitting his best stride midway through his 3-year-old year. It’s not just about next Saturday. It’s about going on and developing him as the year goes on.”  Last year Cox had his first Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner, first Breeders’ Cup winner and first champion with Monomoy Girl. Cox is optimistic about his chance to add a Triple Crown victory to his ever-expanding resume.  “It’s super, super exciting. Both horses are coming into this race extremely well. It’s going to be up to the trips they get and just how good are they? We don’t know,” Cox said. “That’s why we’re jumping into the deep end of the pool, and hopefully they can swim.” Florent Geroux will ride Owendale.

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5.10.2019:

Get Xpressbet's FREE Preakness Stakes Wager Guide

No Country House, Maximum Security, Game Winner, Tacitus or Omaha Beach?  NO PROBLEM says our Handicapping Team!  The 2019 Preakness Stakes is May 18, 2019 and no matter who shows up, there's money to be made betting the race with Xpressbet.  And with a prospective field headlined by Improbable, Alwaysmining, Win Win Win, War of Will, Owendale and Bourbon War, betting the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown is going to be a blast! With so much parity in the field, our experts have spread across several different horses for their top choice.  Some are on Improbable, another on War of Will and one of our experts prefers the local horse, Alwaysmining, to wear the blanket of Black-Eyed Susans.  Need help separating the contenders from the pretenders in the Preakness?  Then download our FREE Preakness Stakes Wager Guide!  Xpressbet Customer? Log In and Get the Guide Not a Customer? Download it here! This year's cast of handicappers boasts decades of experience betting the races.  Here's the full crew: Millie Ball, XBTV.com Jeff Siegel, XBTV.com Jon White, Santa Anita Park Dick Jerardi, Daily Racing Form Steve Byk, SiriusXM Radio Bob Neumeier, Horse Player Now Plus the Guide is loaded with helpful Stats & Trends that will help you further solve the Preakness puzzle.  For example, this isn't a race for longshots.  According to Wager Guide Statistician, Jeremy Plonk, only two horses since 1911 have won the Preakness at odds of 20/1 or higher, and none since 1975!  The best part of the Preakness Wager Guide is the cost...namely it's FREE!  And an Xpressbet account isn't even required to download.  So stop reading this and either login in or register to access the Guide. Xpressbet Customer? Log In and Get the Guide Not a Customer? Download it here! And good luck betting the Preakness on Saturday, May 18!

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5.10.2019:

Win Win Win Confirmed for 2019 Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE, MD - Yes. Yes. Yes. Trainer Michael Trombetta confirmed Friday that Live Oak Plantation’s homebred Win Win Win is headed to the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1) May 18 at Pimlico. Win Win Win finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and was moved to ninth by the disqualification of Maximum Security. Trombetta said the Hat Trick colt had come out of the Derby in fine shape, but wanted to observe him for several days before committing to the Preakness. “He seems pretty darn good,” Trombetta said Friday at Fair Hill Training Center at Elkton, Md. Win Win Win won the Pasco Stakes by 7¼ lengths in track-record time at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 19, was third in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on March 9 and earned a berth in the Kentucky Derby with a second-place finish to Vekoma in the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) on April 6. Trombetta said that jockey Julian Pimentel, who was up for the Derby and has ridden the colt in five of his seven starts, will be aboard again for the Preakness.

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5.10.2019:

Alwaysmining ‘Aggressive’ in May 10 Workout for 2019 Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE, MD – Runnymede Racing LLC’s Alwaysmining breezed a half-mile at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. Friday morning in preparation for a planned start in the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course May 18. The son of Stay Thirsty, who is riding a six-race winning streak, covered the four-furlong distance under regular exercise rider Felix Astudillo in 48.20 seconds, the fastest of 13 recorded at the distance over Fair Hill’s synthetic surface.                   “I was very happy with his work today. He started off nice and easy and finished up strong,” trainer Kelly Rubley said. “He galloped out very well, so we’re very pleased. “I wanted to see him start out nice and easy and finish up strong. My rider thought he was very aggressive going to the pole, which is a great sign,” she added. “Now we’ll see how he comes out tomorrow and get through this week.” Alwaysmining seemed to enjoy his morning exercise as much as Rubley and Astudillo did. “His confidence level seems to be getting better and better, so he’s getting more aggressive to breeze. He loves what he does. It makes a big difference. He makes it look easy. It’s a lot of fun to watch,” Rubley said. Alwaysmining, who concluded his juvenile campaign with three straight victories, is undefeated and unchallenged in three starts this year, all at Laurel Park. The Maryland-bred gelding captured the one-turn mile Miracle Wood by 4 ¼ lengths before successfully negotiating two turns while winning the 1 1/16-mile Private Terms by  6 ¾ lengths and the 1 1/8-mile Xpressbet Federico Tesio by 11 ½ lengths. “He’s always been a lovely mover. You can tell right away that he has an enormous stride and covered a lot of ground and he just seems to get better and better as he continues on,” Rubley said. “It’s definitely helped us with stretching him out, and it seems the farther he goes the better he gets, which is great.” Alwaysmining earned a fees-paid entry into the Preakness Stakes with his victory in the Tesio, a ‘Win and In’ Preakness prep. “We’ll see how he comes out of this. He’ll jog on Sunday and then we’ll decide from there whether we gallop or jog another day,” Rubley said. “He’ll go down to Pimlico on Thursday and probably jog Friday morning and then run Saturday.”

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5.9.2019:

Bourbon War 'Strong' in Final Workout Before 2019 Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE, MD – Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable’s Bourbon War continued his preparations for the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1) May 18 at Pimlico Race Course with a five-furlong breeze Thursday morning at Belmont Park. “He worked well. I was pleased with his work,” Hennig said. “He went off aggressively, finished strong, galloped out strong. Pretty much what we were looking for.” Bourbon War Workout Video (May 9) Under exercise rider Jose Mejia, Bourbon War worked in company with stablemate Carlino and completed his assignment in 1:01.67, the third fastest of 16 recorded at the distance. Bourbon War finished fourth in the Florida Derby (G1) on March 30 at Gulfstream Park. The three horses that finished ahead of him in the Florida Derby all went on to the Kentucky Derby (G1). Florida Derby winner Maximum Security finished first in the Kentucky Derby but was disqualified and placed 17th. Code of Honor, third in the Florida Derby, three-quarters of a length in front of Bourbon War, finished third in the Kentucky Derby and was moved to second by the DQ. Bourbon War, who was second to Code of Honor in the Fountain of Youth (G2), fell short of qualifying points for the Derby. “We felt like we would have been a worthy participant in the Derby,” Hennig said. “When we didn’t get in, we felt like the thing to do was watch the Derby and see how things shook out after the Derby. Certainly there was nothing from the result of the Derby to give us any less confidence going forward.”  The Preakness has been the target for Bourbon War, Hennig said, and the strong performances by horses that competed in South Florida this winter further encouraged the connections of the son of Tapit. “Had the Florida horses not run well,” Hennig said, “or if Omaha Beach had been in the race and won by 10 or someone else did, then you might be like, ‘Maybe we need to take a more conservative approach.’ With the result the way it was and the confidence we have in our own horse, we just thought it was silly not to give him the opportunity to be in a Triple Crown race.” Eclipse Award winning jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., who has been aboard for Bourbon War’s last four races, will ride in the Preakness.

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5.9.2019:

Improbable Spirited in Return to Track on Thursday, May 9

BALTIMORE, MD - Improbable, the likely favorite for the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico, resumed training Thursday morning at Churchill Downs following his fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1), in which he was moved up to fourth upon the disqualification of first-place finisher Maximum Security. Accompanied by assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes on a pony, Improbable jogged a spirited lap around the track under exercise rider Humberto Gomez. Watching from the rail was Elliott Walden, president and CEO of WinStar Farm, which co-owns the son of City Zip with China Horse Club International and Starlight Racing. “We jogged today, and it was difficult keeping him on the ground,” Barnes said with a laugh. “He was wanting to buck and jump, feeling very good, and we’ll proceed with training tomorrow. It looked after the race that he came out in good shape, very happy. So all systems are good right now.” Trainer Bob Baffert, who saddled American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018) for Triple Crown sweeps, is shooting for his record-breaking eighth Preakness win, all since 1997. Baffert currently shares the record set in the 19th century by Robert Wyndham Walden. Baffert is expected to return to Louisville from his California base this weekend and will determine whether he wants to give Improbable a timed workout before shipping to Baltimore. Improbable went 3-for-3 during a 2-year-old campaign that was capped by a victory in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) by five lengths. He’s 0-for-3 this year, including a neck defeat in a division of Oaklawn Park’s Rebel Stakes (G2) won by Long Range Toddy and then by a length to Omaha Beach in the Arkansas Derby (G1). Mike Smith, who won the Triple Crown with Baffert and Justify last year, picks up the mount for the Preakness. Improbable was previously ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. in the Kentucky Derby, Jose Ortiz in the Arkansas Derby and Drayden Van Dyke in his first four starts. “It’s not the same as his 2-year-old season; we’d rather be winning,” Walden said. “But he’s been close enough in all his races and he’s run against Omaha Beach, who would be the pro tem leader right now, I’d think, or one of them. So he’s run very well.” Improbable, who broke from Post 5 in the Kentucky Derby, was eighth in the early going while racing in striking distance of front-running Maximum Security.  “I would have liked to have been closer,” Barnes said when asked to evaluate Improbable’s Derby. “I really didn’t want to be back behind horses. He got beat 3 1/2 lengths in a roughly run race on a terrible, muddy racetrack. I would have liked to have been a little closer in the clear instead of trapped behind horses. But that’s the Derby. It’s a large field. You don’t always get the trip you want. So we move on to Baltimore.” Walden said Thursday morning was the first time he’d seen Improbable since the Derby. “With the Derby, you want to see how their weight is, how they come out of it energy-wise,” he said. “He looks great.” He said Baffert’s Preakness record gives him that much more confidence in running Improbable in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. “Obviously, he had three horses in the Derby, and he’s not choosing to run all three back,” Walden said. “He’s choosing Improbable because he thinks he’s the one who came out of the race best. So that does give you confidence.” WinStar won its first Preakness as an owner last year with Justify, although the farm did purchase the breeding rights for Exaggerator before his triumph in the race in 2016. “The Preakness is a stand-alone Grade 1 classic race,” Walden said. “It is very important in regards to the 3-year-old picture. Quite honestly, one way I looked at it was that if he could win the Preakness and do it well, I think it puts him in position to see how the rest of the year goes for 3-year-old champion. Because the Derby was just kind of a muddled race. Maximum Security is obviously a very, very talented horse, and Country House is coming on well. But I think the 3-year-old picture is wide open. “Obviously, it is not the same as last year, when we were going in with Justify and you had a Triple Crown possibility. That’s always exciting for the industry to have a Triple Crown on the line. But it doesn’t happen every year. And there’s a reason it doesn’t happen every year: Because it’s darn hard to do,” Walden continued.  “I’m excited to go up there with Improbable and see if he can redeem himself. He ran well in the Derby, looked like he got bogged down a little bit the last quarter of a mile when Irad tipped him out. I’m not sure that was the best part of the racetrack. It seemed like horses down inside were running very well and it looked like he bogged down a little bit when he got out and got clear. I thought he was going to win at the quarter pole, because he was traveling well. Then he tipped out and he just didn’t look like he had the same stride he’s had in the past. That’s one of his weapons, his stride. Hopefully, we’ll catch a good racetrack and see. He ran well in the mud in Arkansas, so I wouldn’t be afraid of that, either. But the other day he just didn’t seem to have that same stride that he had in his other races.”

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5.9.2019:

Warrior's Charge to be Supplemented to 2019 Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE, MD - Trainer Brad Cox said early Thursday afternoon that owners Ten Strike Racing and Madaket Racing will supplement Oaklawn Park allowance winner Warrior’s Charge for the May 18 Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico. Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano has the mount. Castellano won the 2006 Preakness on Bernardini and in 2017 with Cloud Computing. The cost of making a horse who wasn’t nominated to the Triple Crown eligible to run in the Preakness Stakes is $150,000. “The owners got together and thought with some of the [Derby] horses not going back in the Preakness – I don’t want to use the word short field but not a full field yet – they’re definitely going to entertain it,” Cox said. “But we’re pointing to it, and as of right now, we would enter in the race.” Warrior’s Charge started his career with a trio of thirds before stretching out to 1 1/16 miles at Oaklawn Park. The son of Munnings promptly won a maiden race by six lengths in front-running fashion and came right back with an allowance victory by 6 1/2 lengths at the same distance. “We thought a lot of him last fall,” Cox said. “Honestly, I kind of wondered how far he wanted to go. He’s a really strong horse – big, strong hips on him. He’s not a big, tall, gangly horse. (But) he has speed and he can carry it around two turns. He showed that his last two starts. “Three back, his first start around two turns [at a mile], he broke just a touch slow and just really didn’t get involved quick enough in the race. He’s done nothing wrong since,” he added. “The timing is good. I believe it will be five weeks and a day between the races. He had a fantastic work last week at Churchill [1:00 1/5 for five furlongs].” Cox said it’s a good year to take a shot, given that the Kentucky Derby (G1) first-place finisher Maximum Security went from a $16,000 maiden claiming race and an allowance victory to winning the Florida Derby (G1) and then Kentucky Derby; Country House had only a maiden win before being moved up to his Kentucky Derby victory, and By My Standards went from a maiden win to taking the Louisiana Derby (G2). “Look, if there was a Justify out there, we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation or thinking about it,” he said. “We wouldn’t try to tackle a horse like that. But I think it’s just one of those years that you maybe take a chance here.” Cox, whose stable during the past few years has emerged as one of the strongest in North America, has never before run a horse in a Triple Crown race. Now, he is set to saddle two in the Preakness, with Keeneland’s Lexington (G3) winner Owendale already confirmed. “These horses didn’t accomplish enough early on in their 3-year-old year to make it to the Derby,” he said. “It would have been great to have been in the Derby with either one of them, but it wasn’t to be. This opportunity presented itself. We’re not running back in two weeks, which I think is a plus. That doesn’t mean that a horse who ran in the Derby won’t win the race, but I think things are setting up well.” As long as Warrior’s Charge continues to train well, the plan is the 1 3/16-mile Preakness, Cox said, adding one caveat. “If something developed over the next week that made us feel like we had no shot, I guess we’d look at the Sir Barton [on the Preakness undercard],” he said. “But right now it’s the Preakness.” Both Warrior’s Charge and Owendale galloped Thursday at Churchill Downs. Cox said they will likely work Saturday.

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5.9.2019:

May 11: NYRA partners with Woodbine, Monmouth for Cross Country Pick 5

ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, featuring racing action from the Man o' War Racing Festival at Belmont Park as well as Monmouth Park and Woodbine Racetrack. Racing fans will have access to free past performances for Saturday's Cross Country Pick 5 sequence courtesy of Equibase. A link to download the past performances will be provided at equibase.com. Kicking off the sequence is the $100,000 Ballade from Etobicoke, Ontario at Woodbine scheduled as the eighth race with a post time of 4:59 p.m. The six-furlong stakes for Ontario-breds 3-year-olds and up on the all-weather synthetic surface features a field of nine. Headlining the field is Ivan Dalos' graded stakes winner Silent Sonet for conditioner Nicholas Gonzalez looking to improve off a fifth-place finish last out in the Plenty of Grace. Also entered is Zestina for Stronach Stables and trainer Sid Attard following a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Whimsical on April 20 at Woodbine. The action then shifts to New York for the eighth race (5:18 p.m.) at Belmont Park, a 1 1/16-mile maiden tilt featuring a field of 12 with three also-eligible entrants. Augustin Stable's homebred Varenka, a 3-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper, stands out having finished second in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo last September ahead of a closing fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Hall of Famer Javier Castellano has the call for Varenka's seasonal debut. The action then shifts to Oceanport, New Jersey at Monmouth Park for Race 10 (5:25 p.m.) - the Serena's Song, featuring a salty field of six led by Forever Liesl and Imply. Trained by Michelle Nevin for Kallenberg Farms, the ultra-consistent Forever Liesl owns a record of 5-6-4 from 18 starts including a win in the Ladies Handicap at the Big A in January. Imply makes her seasonal debut for trainer Bernard Houghton in the mile and seventy yard event. The 6-year-old E. Dubai chestnut has banked in excess of $500,000 in her eight-win career. The sequence returns to New York for the remaining two legs featuring the $150,000 Runhappy for 4-year-olds and up carded as Race 9 with a scheduled post time of 5:51 p.m. The six-furlong sprint boasts a field of six, including graded stakes winners Firenze Fire for Mr. Amore Stables and trainer Jason Servis; Sagamore Farm's Recruiting Ready with conditioner Stanley Hough; and Skyler's Scramjet for SJB Stable and trainer Michelle Nevin. The final leg of the Cross Country Pick 5 is the 67th running of the Grade 1, $700,000 Man o' War as nine entrants will square off in the first grade 1 event of the Belmont spring/summer meet. Chad Brown will saddle graded stakes winner Focus Group for Klaravich Stables who enters following a win in the Grade 2 Pan American at Gulfstream Park on March 30. Aidan O'Brien sends out a pair of international entrants looking for their first graded stakes win in North America as Hunting Horn and filly Magic Wand represent owners Michael Tabor, Mr. and Mrs. John Magnier, and Derrick Smith. Also entered are multiple graded stakes winners Zulu Alpha for owner Michael Hui and trainer Mike Maker and Channel Maker for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and owners Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R.A. Hill Stable and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing. The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. There will be a mandatory payout of the entire pool. Belmont - Woodbine - Oaklawn - Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, May 4 Leg A: Woodbine - Race 8, $100,000 Ballade (4:59 p.m)Leg B: Belmont - Race 8, Maiden Special Weight (5:18 p.m.)Leg C: Monmouth - Race 10, $75,000 Serena's Song (Race 10, 5:25 p.m.)Leg D: Belmont - Race 9, $150,000 Runhappy (5:40 p.m.)Leg E: Belmont - Race 10, Grade 1, $700,000 Man o' War (6:24 p.m.)

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5.8.2019:

Win Win Win on Fence for 2019 Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE, MD - Maybe Maybe Maybe.  Live Oak Plantation’s Win Win Win is a possible candidate for the 144th Preakness Stakes, trainer Michael Trombetta said Wednesday. Win Win Win ended up ninth in the Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (G1) following an extremely wide trip. The homebred colt has been returned to Trombetta’s home base at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. and went out to the track for the first time since the Derby on Wednesday morning for easy exercise. Trombetta said he will watch Win Win Win this week and reach a verdict by Friday on whether to go the Preakness. “I have the luxury of being close to home for a change,” he said. “I just want to see the horse train for a couple of days and figure there is no reason to make that decision before I see that.  It’s only fair to the horse at this point.” So far, Trombetta likes how the son of Hat Trick looks at Fair Hill. “Today was his first day back on the track for a light jog. It was fine. Everything seems fine,” he said. “I just want to observe and make sure that I am completely happy before I go in that direction and make that commitment. It was a hard trip and it was a bit of tough circumstances with the race.” Trombetta joked that it took two days to dry clean the colt after the Derby, which was contested on a sloppy, sealed track, but said that Win Win Win did not have a scratch on him. “He’s good, which we’re all grateful for,” Trombetta said. “To get out of those conditions in good order is important.” Win Win Win qualified for the Kentucky Derby field after finishing third in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and second in the Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland. Win Win Win launched his career last fall with a pair of victories before finishing second behind Alwaysmining in the Dec. 29 Heft Stakes at Laurel. Trombetta has saddled one Preakness runner, Sweetnorthernsaint, who was second behind Bernardini in 2006.

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5.8.2019:

War of Will Begins Preparation for 2019 Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE, MD – In preparation for a start in the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course May 18, Gary Barber’s War of Will returned to the track Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs, four days after he was involved in the melee that resulted in the historic disqualification of first-place finisher Maximum Security in the Kentucky Derby (G1).  War of Will got caught in a squeeze play when Maximum Security drifted out as the leaders started to round out of the far turn, their legs becoming entangled. War of Will finished eighth, only 4 ½ lengths behind the first-place finisher, and was moved up to seventh through the disqualification. War of Will was scheduled to jog Tuesday, but the light training exercise was called off. Trainer Mark Casse said War of Will started feeling some discomfort in his right front foot and it was determined that the shoe had shifted in the course of the race. “After a day or two, it was starting to bother him,” Casse said by phone. “He was a little uncomfortable (Tuesday) morning. So we pulled his shoe off, soaked his foot, put his shoe back on today. And he was 100 percent and went out to train today.” Casse joked that War of Will shared the experience with tens of thousands of Derby-goers. “No different than what probably 50,000 or 75,000 women who wore their pretty shoes did the day after the Derby, right?” he quipped. “Today he felt like new, and they probably put their gym shoes on. He was feeling the same effect.” Casse said Tyler Gaffalione will be back on War of Will for the Preakness.  War of Will, who won the Lecomte (G3) and Risen Star (G2) before finishing ninth in the Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds, jogged a mile Wednesday and probably will jog again tomorrow, Casse said. “I do a lot of jogging with him anyways. Obviously, we just missed winning the Preakness two years ago by a head with Classic Empire. I never breezed him in between the two races, and I’m not going breeze this one either,” said Casse, who saddled Classic Empire for a fourth-place finish in the 2017 Kentucky Derby prior to his narrow loss to Cloud Computing in the Preakness. “To me, it’s more about getting back your energy level. We don’t have to worry about fitness at this point in time. He’s not going to do a whole lot of anything. Do some jogging, some galloping,” he added. “He’s going to Baltimore Monday if everything stays like it is today, and everything is perfect and he’s happy and his energy level is good. We’ll do some blood work on him in a day or two.”

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5.8.2019:

Improbable Confirmed for Preakness, Will Ship to Pimlico May 15

ARCADIA, Calif. (May 8, 2019) — Fifth, beaten 3 ½ lengths and subsequently placed fourth via disqualification in last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, Santa Anita-based Improbable will likely ship from Churchill Downs to Pimlico Race Course near Baltimore on Wednesday, May 15, three days in advance of the May 18 Preakness Stakes, according to Bob Baffert, himself a seven-time winner of the middle jewel in racing’s Triple Crown. “He’s walked four days and he’ll go back to the track tomorrow,” said Baffert today on cool overcast morning at Santa Anita’s Clockers’ Corner. “I fly back to Louisville Sunday and I’ll watch him train Monday.  If I’m happy with what I see, then he goes…I don’t want to be chasing any ghosts. He’s got to be enjoying himself and have that desire.” Will Improbable have a recorded breeze prior to the Preakness? “I’ll know Monday. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.”   When asked about the announced switch from Irad Ortiz, Jr., to Mike Smith for the Preakness, Baffert responded with a wry grin, “The other guys (Ortiz, Jr. and Drayden Van Dyke) didn’t do anything wrong, but Mike and I have had a little luck together.” Last year’s Preakness, in which Baffert and Smith teamed for victory with eventual undefeated Triple Crown Champion Justify, was run over a sloppy main track, as was this year’s Kentucky Derby. “I’d like to run on a dry track, for once in my life,” quipped racing’s most recognizable figure. “You never know though, and you can’t worry about it.” Regarding weather and track conditions on Preakness Day, Baffert quickly dismissed consulting the National Weather Service. “Bode will tell me,” said Baffert in reference to his 14-year-old son, who got some “face-time” last week in Louisville assisting a local television weathercaster. “He never misses.” And Baffert is hoping Improbable, dispatched as the narrow 4-1 Kentucky Derby favorite last Saturday, is indeed on target going a mile and three sixteenths at Pimlico a week from Saturday. A first-out maiden winner at Santa Anita on Sept. 29, Improbable is owned by WinStar Farm, LLC, China Horse Club International, Ltd. and Starlight Racing.  A chestnut colt by City Zip, out of the A.P. Indy mare Rare Event, Improbable is now 6-3-2-0, with earnings of $769,520.

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5.8.2019:

Maiden Bodexpress Being Considered for 2019 Preakness Start

BALTIMORE, MD - Florida Derby (G1) runner-up Bodexpress, who finished 14th and was placed 13th in the Kentucky Derby, returned to the track at Churchill Downs Wednesday morning. Gustavo Delgado Jr., assistant and son of trainer Gustavo Delgado, looked on as the son of Bodemeister jogged two miles in the company of a pony. Top Racing LLC, Global Thoroughbred and GDS Racing Stable’s Bodexpress stalked the pace Saturday while racing three-wide before being steadied in traffic approaching the turn into the homestretch after front-running Maximum Security drifted out suddenly. “He was one of the affected ones,” Delgado Jr. said. “We think he could have hit the board if it wasn’t for that, the way he was developing. The most important thing is that the horse came back in good shape and is doing well.” The final Preakness decision is “day by day.” “I’ve got to wait for Pops to get here to see his horse,” Delgado Jr. said. “He’ll make the decision. But the owners would like to run.” Bodexpress is winless in six career starts but has finished second three times, including his Florida Derby effort in which he chased front-running winner Maximum Security throughout the 1 1/8-mile Triple Crown prep.

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5.7.2019:

Improbable an Imposing Prospect for 2019 Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE, MD – In the absence of Maximum Security, Country House and Code of Honor, beaten Kentucky Derby (G1) favorite Improbable is expected to vie for favoritism in the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course May 18. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will try for his record-breaking eighth victory in the historic Preakness with Improbable, who finished fifth and was placed fourth in the Derby last Saturday as the 4-1 favorite in the 19-horse field. Baffert was non-committal about a Preakness runner Sunday but confirmed Monday that Improbable would be pointed to the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. Improbable finished 3¼ lengths behind Derby first-place finisher Maximum Security, whose own