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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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6.13.2019:

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 owners Monday ruled out a start in the Preakness for the colt who was disqualified and placed 17th. “With Maximum Security not in there, that’s why we’re running,” Baffert said Tuesday morning. However, Improbable earned a Preakness chance with his solid Derby effort. “I think he ran very well,” Baffert said. “They were all stuck there together, all bunched up. When he finally got loose he made a little run.” Improbable, a son of City Zip, came very close to hitting the board in the Derby. He was a head behind fourth-place finisher Tacitus, who was three-quarters of a length in back of third-place finisher Code of Honor. Country House, who finished second and was placed first in the Derby, was expected to move on to Baltimore and compete in the Preakness, but Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said Tuesday morning he would not make the race. He is the first Derby winner to miss the Preakness since 1996, when Grindstone was found to have a knee injury and was retired. Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said Tuesday that Code of Honor would pass on the Preakness and may make his next start in the Dwyer (G3) in July at Belmont Park. Improbable, whose co-owners WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and Starlight Racing were principals in Baffert-trained 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify, remains at Churchill Downs. Baffert will fly to Louisville from California this weekend and watch the colt on the track before finalizing his plans for the Preakness. He said Tuesday that he was unsure whether Improbable will have a timed work between the Derby and the Preakness. Baffert said that his other two Derby runners, Game Winner (5th) and Roadster (15th) were not candidates for the Preakness. He said Game Winner will be checked at the Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky. for tightness in his rear end. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith is scheduled to ride Improbable in the Preakness. Smith, who won the Preakness last year with Justify, will be up on Improbable for the first time. Baffert is a fixture at Pimlico on the third Saturday in May and his victory with Justify equaled the record set in the 19th century by Robert Wyndham Walden. 

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5.7.2019:

Signalman 'Fresh' Heading into 2019 Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE, MD - Signalman, winner of last fall’s Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), looked sharp Saturday at Churchill Downs – not in the Kentucky Derby (G1), but while breezing five furlongs in a lively 59.60 seconds in preparation for a start in the 144th Preakness Stakes May 18 at Pimlico Race Course. Signalman, third in Keeneland’s Blue Grass Stakes (G2), failed to amass enough qualifying points to be included in the 20-horse Derby field when entries were taken for the Run for the Roses. As things turned out, had he been entered and included on the also-eligible list, Signalman would have drawn into the field due to the scratches of Omaha Beach and Haikal after entries were taken. “He’s doing really well. I’ve got some reservations whether I should have entered him or not as an ‘AE,’” trainer Kenny McPeek said by phone from Keeneland. “He’s done well. One more work and we’ll ship him up with the rest of the group that goes. “We’ll be fresh,” he added with a laugh. Had Signalman been entered and drawn into the Derby field, he would have been assigned the No. 20 post position, one stall in the starting gate outside Country House, who would finish second and be awarded the Derby victory via the disqualification of Maximum Security. “Woulda, coulda, shoulda,” McPeek said. “There have been very few scratches in the Derby over the decades, and certainly not two. But you could make the same case for Bourbon War. Brad Cox has a really good horse [Owendale] who won the Lexington, who could have run. The problem with entering as an ‘AE.’ is you’re putting up $50,000 to be No. 20. You really don’t get a fair draw.” Signalman galloped at Churchill Downs under exercise rider Danny Ramsey Tuesday. McPeek said the colt will work five-eighths of a mile or three-quarters of a mile Saturday at Churchill. Regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr. will have the call for the Preakness. Signalman, off a maiden victory at Saratoga last summer, was second in Keeneland’s Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs before winning the Kentucky Jockey Club in the slop at his hometown track. In two starts this year, the son of General Quarters was seventh in Gulfstream Park’s Fountain of Youth (G2), won by Derby runner-up Code of Honor, before his show performance in the Blue Grass. Reflecting on how the Derby shook out, McPeek said, “The track was close to a sealed, plowed field. It was really, really sloppy, heavy, really gooey out there. Some of the horses he had run against didn’t run well. [Blue Grass winner] Vekoma and Win Win Win didn’t run well, so that gives me some concern about how he fits against the top 3-year-olds. “But I don’t know. Country House didn’t look overly impressive until he won the other day. He looked like a horse we could have beaten. I do think that Maximum Security is a really good horse, and if he’d kept his path he probably would have [still] won. But he’s not going in the Preakness, so that does open it up,” McPeek added. “I do think it’s a wide-open 3-year-old crop at this stage. Actually, there are three or four fresh horses for the Preakness. Brad Cox’s horse at Keeneland was extremely impressive. Boy, he circled the field and ran off and hid. And Bourbon War is certainly no slouch. He’ll handle the distance, and my horse has been really solid. All of them have to find another level. But that’s what Country House did in the Derby,” in earning his first win other than a maiden race.

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5.6.2019:

Bourbon War Added to List of 2019 Preakness Stakes Probables

BALTIMORE, MD – Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable’s Bourbon War, fourth in the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park in his most recent start, has joined the probable list for the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course May 18. “He’s doing excellent. Right now, he’s probable for the Preakness,” trainer Mark Hennig said Monday morning from Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. “We had a conference call yesterday and speaking with the owners we felt like after watching the events of the weekend, the Florida horses gave a good account of themselves and we felt we were competitive with them. So, why not take a shot in the Preakness rather than the more conservative route we were thinking in the Peter Pan?” Bourbon War closed from far back to finish fourth behind Maximum Security, Bodexpress and Code of Honor in the Florida Derby. Maximum Security finished first by 1 ¾ lengths in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs before being disqualified; Bodexpress finished off-the-board in the Derby after stalking the pace into the far turn while racing extremely wide; Code of Honor briefly put his head in front at the top of the stretch in the Run for the Roses before finishing third and being placed second due to the disqualification. After breaking his maiden and finishing fourth in the Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct last year, Bourbon War made an impressive 3-year-old debut at Gulfstream Park Jan. 18 while defeating Cutting Humor (10th in Kentucky Derby) in an optional claiming allowance. The son of Tapit came back to finish second behind Code of Honor in the Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream before checking in fourth in the Florida Derby. “He and Code of Honor have been pretty close together in their races. Maximum Security certainly showed up and held up that form from Florida, so I think it seems like a smart move to try the Preakness,” Hennig said. Bourbon War, who hadn’t earned sufficient qualifying points to be included in the Derby field, has had three half-mile workouts, one at Gulfstream and two at Belmont, since the March 30 Florida Derby.  “He’s doing great. He seems to have really settled in up here. I like the fact that it’ll be seven weeks between races, I think that’s what it comes down to, instead of four weeks like we had between the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby.” Hennig said. “As I’ve said all along, he’s a horse that’s still maturing and he’s not a great big horse in stature, so that little extra time is going to benefit us, I believe,” he added. Bourbon War is scheduled to breeze at Belmont later this week in preparation of a probable start in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. “He’ll probably get a breeze in Thursday or Friday, depending on the weather here. There’s some rain in the forecast, but it looks like Thursday morning might be our best window to get a breeze in on a good racetrack,” Hennig said. “He’ll ship in the week of the race. There’s no reason to get there too early. I’d say, Wednesday at the earliest.” Hennig has saddled a pair of Preakness starters – Eddington (3rd, 2004) and Personal Hope (4th, 1993). “They both ran well. They were both different types, but Eddington actually came back and won the Pimlico Special the next year,” Hennig said. “It’s always fun to come to Baltimore. They take good care of us there and it’s a fun city.” Mott ‘Leaning Toward’ Running Country House in Preakness Trainer Bill Mott on Monday morning said he was “leaning toward” running adjudged Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Country House in the May 18 Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico. The Hall of Famer said that, so far, he is seeing the right signs for running the Lookin At Lucky colt back in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown in two weeks. “We’re leaning toward the Preakness, since he is the Derby winner and we don’t want to pooh-pooh the Triple Crown,” Mott said at Churchill Downs. “We want to support that. If he’s real good and continues to do well with no issues, not worn out, all those good things, we’ll keep pecking away and going in that direction. If there’s anything we don’t like as we get into the weekend or early next week, we won’t feel – I don’t feel – a lot of pressure to run him, and talking to the ownership group, I don’t think they’ll put on a lot of pressure, if I’m not happy with him for some reason.” Country House, who crossed the finish line second but was awarded the victory upon the disqualification of Maximum Security from first to 17th for interference, walked the shedrow for a second day Monday morning and will walk again Tuesday before a possible return to the track Wednesday.  “We’ve had another race or two more than some of the horses,” Mott said. “He went three weeks, three weeks and now this is back in two weeks. It would be an ambitious schedule, to say the least. What I’ve noticed from training horses the last 40, 50 years is that sometimes horses look great coming out of a race, and maybe a week, 10 days later, then they’ll show you maybe they’re a little bit tired. I’m not saying that’s going to happen. I don’t know.” After finishing fourth in the Louisiana Derby (G2), Country House ran back in the Arkansas Derby (G1), finishing third behind Omaha Beach, the Kentucky Derby program favorite before being scratched because of a breathing obstruction. Country House, breaking from Post 18 in the 19-horse field, finished 1 3/4 lengths behind Maximum Security in the Kentucky Derby. Mott was asked if he felt pressure to have Country House in position to put in a top effort, whenever he runs back, because of the history-making circumstances that made his trainee the first horse awarded a Kentucky Derby victory upon disqualification of the first-place finisher for something that happened in the race. Dancer’s Image in 1968 is the only other first-place finisher to be disqualified from victory, that for a medication violation that surfaced in post-race drug testing and a decision that stood after a protracted court battle. “Well, I’d always want him to put on a good performance,” Mott said. “But I know if we run in the Preakness, running back that soon, you’re taking a bigger risk of him not running well, just because of the timing.” Mott said he personally would go to his New York base either later Monday or Tuesday and was contemplating driving rather than flying. Country House will stay at Churchill Downs before flying out next week. Mott acknowledged that winning the Kentucky Derby for the first time was not what he had anticipated, giving the controversy over the stewards’ decision to disqualify Maximum Security. “I just told [co-owner] Guinness [McFadden], ‘You know, a month from now, a year from now, 20 years from now, we’ll probably appreciate this more than we are able to do right now,’” Mott said. Connections of ‘Healthy and Happy’ War of Will Eye Preakness Allen Hardy, who is overseeing trainer Mark Casse’s Churchill Downs division, continued to be amazed that Preakness candidate War of Will came out of the Derby unscathed.  War of Will was running on the rail behind pace-setting Maximum Security on the far turn before jockey Tyler Gaffalione, with no space on the inside, eased him to the outside of the leader. Soon thereafter, Maximum Security apparently shied from something and drifted out in to the path of War of Will, causing War of Will to come over into Long Range Toddy. Through Maximum Security’s disqualification, War of Will moved up from eighth to seventh place. Hardy said the only scratch War of Will sustained was “the size of a fingernail.” War of Will is scheduled to resume training Wednesday or Thursday at Churchill Downs. The plan is to run in the 1 3/16-mile Middle Jewel of the Triple Crowns unless a reason not to surfaces, he said. “We’re really happy with how he came out of the race,” Hardy said. “That was probably one of the biggest scares I’ve ever seen, and probably for many others.  It was surprising. We checked him head to toe as soon as he came back to the barn. We were expecting something to pop up or see something, and he came out of the race great. He’s happy, he’s healthy. He’s in his feed tub. He’s bright-eyed. He still wants to bite you. So we’re very happy. “We all love him, and we’re all so very highly confident in him,” he added. “It was just an unfortunate day. But you know what? Nobody got hurt and nobody was injured. He’s looking healthy and we’ll progress from here and see what happens.” Preakness candidate Bodexpress, who also was impeded in the sequence that started when Maximum Security came out, also had a walk day. Trainer Gustavo Delgado is expected back at Churchill Downs on Wednesday. Bodexpress finished 14th and was moved up to 13th in the disqualification. Mr. Money, a Preakness possibility after winning Churchill Downs’ $400,000 Pat Day Mile (G3) with authority, likewise had the standard walk day two days after a race. Other Preakness prospects include Code of Honor; Alwaysmining, who extended his winning streak to six races in the Federico Tesio at Laurel Park on April 20; Anothertwistafate, runner-up in the Lexington (G3) and the Sunland Derby (G3) in his last two races; Laughing Fox, winner of the inaugural Oaklawn Park Invitational; Owendale, winner of the Lexington (G3); and Signalman, third in the Blue Grass (G2).

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5.5.2019:

Owner Leaning Toward Sending Laughing Fox to 2019 Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE – While a final decision won’t come for at least a few days, if all goes well Alex and JoAnn Lieblong’s Laughing Fox is likely headed to the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1) Saturday, May 18 at legendary Pimlico Race Course. Laughing Fox, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, earned an automatic berth into the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown by virtue of his neck victory over Night Ops in the 1 1/8-mile Oaklawn Invitational Saturday at Oaklawn Park. Alex Lieblong said early Sunday afternoon that Laughing Fox came out of his first career stakes victory in good order and the Preakness will be up to the chestnut son of 2012 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Union Rags. He remains at Oaklawn with assistant trainer Darren Fleming but will soon join Asmussen’s string in Kentucky. “So far, so good; I’ll put it that way,” Lieblong said. “First of all, we’re very, very honored that we’ve got the choice. I think it’s a neat thing that Oaklawn and Pimlico worked out. We’re kind of just going to let the horse tell us. If at all possible, we’ll probably do it but we’re going to make sure that the horse wants to do it, so to speak.” Laughing Fox ran fourth in the Arkansas Derby (G1) April 13, a length behind third-place finisher Country House. On Saturday, Country House was elevated to victory in the Kentucky Derby (G1) following the disqualification of winner Maximum Security for interference. “We have to make sure that he keeps giving all the right signals [and] if Steve and Darren agree that that’s what he’s telling them,” Lieblong said. “I imagine it’s like a lot of guys coming out of the Derby, they’ve got to kind of just watch and see how their horse is acting the next two or three days. That was quite a bumper-car race there. We didn’t have the bumper car but we had to fight the speed bias.” Lieblong, a central Arkansas native who heads his own Little Rock-based investment firm but also has bank, gas and oil holdings, got reports from both Asmussen and Fleming Sunday morning. “I talked to both of them, got a video of the horse jogging on the pavement and he looked good. Now the question over the next few days is does he look like he has the energy and the weight?” Lieblong said. “Looking back from the Arkansas Derby to this last race, in my opinion he might have put on a pound of two, so that’s good.” In recent years, horses that raced in Arkansas and went on to win the Preakness include Hall of Famers Curlin and Rachel Alexandra, 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah, and Smarty Jones, Afleet Alex, Lookin At Lucky and Oxbow. Graded-stakes winners Bravazo and Tenfold both won last winter at Oaklawn before running second and third, respectively, behind 2018 Triple Crown champion Justify. The Lieblongs owned Marathon Lady, a 12-1 long shot who came up a neck short of Bob Baffert-trained winner Fiftyshadesofhay in the 2013 Black-Eyed Susan (G3), held Preakness eve at Pimlico. The 95th edition of the prestigious event for 3-year-old fillies will be run Friday, May 17. “One thing that we all enjoyed was what a great event it was and that everybody was so nice to everybody. That part we would look forward to coming back to,” Lieblong said. “Steve Hobby was training that one. He said, ‘Man, that place is so nice and friendly.’ He had been there three or four days when we got there. That’s awfully nice to hear.”

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5.5.2019:

2019 Kentucky Derby Post-Race Jockey Quotes

Flavien Prat, rider of Country House (1st) –“The race was great. He broke well and put me in the right spot. He was cruising the whole way. I was closer than I thought I would be and then when we hit the final turn, he was just dragging me. I moved him out and made a nice move at the quarter pole. Then, that horse just drifted out, kind of turned me sideways, and there were two horses inside of us. After that, I straightened up, he made a good move and that was it.” (On claiming foul) “It was a wide move and I thought they (the stewards) had to look at it. Like we said, it slightly bothered us, but it also bothered the two horses inside of us which is I thought they should look at it.” John Velazquez, rider of Code of Honor (2nd) – “My horse ran great. The rail opened up great for me. It was like ‘Open Sesame.’ I was like “Wow, this never happens.” I thought I was going to win it. He ran like a green horse down the stretch. He was definitely affected by what was happening to his outside.” Jose Ortiz, rider of Tacitus (3rd) – “My horse ran a huge race. We were a little unlucky since the pace didn’t collapse. Those were good horses in the lead. Country House ran a huge race, too. My horse was digging in late. I had no excuse. In the Belmont, he will be much better running 1 1/2 miles.” Irad Ortiz Jr., rider of Improbable (4th) – “My horse didn’t really like the track. I asked him to keep up and he just could not.” Joel Rosario, rider of Game Winner (5th) – “I thought he was going to be sharper at the gate. He broke OK but he stayed there for a little bit. I tried to push him a little early. I thought I was going to be OK because they were going fast at the beginning but he struggled the last three furlongs. He also had a little trouble with the track.” Julien Leparoux, rider of Master Fencer (JPN) (6th) – “I very much appreciate the connections of this horse for allowing me the opportunity to ride in the Derby.” Tyler Gaffalione, rider of War of Will (7th) – “I really thought I was going to win the Derby. I checked pretty hard when the seven (Maximum Security) came out as far as he did.” Ricardo Santana Jr., rider of Plus Que Parfait (8th) – “I thought my horse ran a solid effort. He may not have liked the surface.” Julian Pimentel, rider of Win Win Win (9th) – “We broke very well from the gate. I was in a great position but I don’t think my horse handled the sloppy track. He tried to make progress but he was spinning over the ground.” Mike Smith, rider of Cutting Humor (10th) – “He ran good. He’s a nice horse but he is still learning out there.” Gabriel Saez, rider of By My Standards (11th) – Javier Castellano, rider of Vekoma (12th) – “It just wasn’t his day today.” Chris Landeros, rider of Bodexpress (13th) – “I was able to get into a good spot after breaking that far wide. We were in a good spot in the far turn but I had to check pretty hard after the seven (Maximum Security) came out.” Junior Alvarado, rider of Tax (14th) – “My horse was bothered by the splash in his face. He was not happy about that. He kept trying but he was focused on the mud being kicked in his face.” Florent Geroux, rider of Roadster (15th) – “I am disappointed to be honest. He broke all right but never traveled down the stretch the first time. He started picking up horses down the backside, but when I hit the half- mile pole, I was just out of horse. I am not sure if he didn’t like the track but it felt like he never ran.” Jon Court, rider of Long Range Toddy (16th) – “Well, at least I am still the oldest rider ever to ride in the Derby. It was a lot of fun but I had to stop very abruptly.” Luis Saez, rider of Maximum Security (1st, DQ’d to 17th) – “I thought I never put anybody in danger. My horse shied away from the noise of the crowd and may have ducked out a little." Manny Franco, rider of Spinoff (18th) – “I didn’t think my horse handled the track very well. He felt uncomfortable. From the half-mile pole, I started to ask him for run but he was struggling.” Drayden Van Dyke, rider of Gray Magician (19th) – “I had a beautiful trip; no trouble whatsoever. He seemed to handle the track well but I just ran out of horse. We’ll come back and fight another day.”

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5.4.2019:

2019 Kentucky Derby Post-Race Trainer Quotes

Bill Mott, trainer of Country House (1st) and Tacitus (3rd) – Pre DQ: “If it were a maiden 10 claimer, he would come down. I wish they would have left the track sealed because they get more kickback when they leave it like this, but he handled the track really well in Arkansas. You’re supposed to keep a straight line when you’re riding and there shouldn’t be a difference between a maiden 10k and the Kentucky Derby. It’s not supposed to matter between the two. I’m just waiting to see what the stewards decide. There was definitely a foul in the race. My horses didn’t get bothered terribly. Country House got bumped just a little bit, but there were a couple jocks who almost went down in there. I know what I naturally would like to happen, but I have no control over it at this point. There’s over 100,000 people here and they don’t want to make that call, but it’s their duty to do the right thing and I hope they do. I was second and fourth (past the finish) and I’m proud of my horses. I think they’re fair and I think they want to be fair, but there were a couple horses who nearly went down in the race and I think those horses, it eliminated all chance for them. It looked like he bore out at the 5/16ths and he forced some horses to come together. There were a couple jocks who had to stand straight up at a very critical time in the race. I can’t say that he bothered my horse that badly and I’m not going to moan about that. It’s really between the horses that he bothered and the winner. My horses ran well. I’m pleased. It took Tacitus a little while to get on track but he came flying at the end.” Post DQ: “I think the horse ran great. I was pleased with the position he had and the way Flavien (Prat) rode him. The horse responded for him. (As far as the disqualification), it’s bittersweet and I’d be lying if I said It was any different. You say you always want to win with a clean trip and everyone recognize the horse as the as the great athlete he is and due to the DQ some of that is diminished. Two horses lost all chance to win a Kentucky Derby and they were in a position at the time to hit the board. People bet on these horses and millions are bet on these races. I know the stewards had a very difficult decision. With that being said, I’m damn glad they put our number up.” Shug McGaughey, trainer of Code of Honor (2nd) – “He ran a good race. He just cut the corner and it looked like we were going to be home free. But I think he got to looking at the crowd a little bit, according to John (Velazquez). Then the horses ran away from him again, and he was finished. But he ran a good race. We’ll get him back and see what’s happening to him, and go from there.” Bob Baffert, trainer of Improbable (4th), Game Winner (5th) and Roadster (15th) – “I told them that was the horse to beat (Maximum Security). I told him be thankful you didn’t lose him for $16,000 or else you’d be throwing up all over you horse right now. The field never got separated they were all right there. It was like a kids’ soccer game, they were all right there. I knew the first quarter of a mile I knew I was toast. The problem is (Improbable) couldn’t get out, the six (Vekoma) wouldn’t let him out. He could not get out. I told my riders to stay clean, they don’t listen to me. “ Koichi Tsunoda, trainer of Master Fencer (6th) – “He didn’t break that well, but we knew he’d break slowly. He made a huge effort in the stretch. I’m really pleased with how we finished so close to the other quality horses in the race. Great effort by horse and rider. If he comes out of this well, I want to take him to the Belmont (Stakes) next.” Mark Casse, trainer of War of Will (7th) – “Yeah, we got bothered too. We almost clipped heels with (Maximum Security). We got excited. The horse ducked out and that’s when we nearly clipped heels. Tyler (Gaffalione) said he felt great. He said if he could have gotten him to relax a little he thought he would finish a little better. I have to talk to Gary (Barber) about (the Preakness) but maybe.” Brendan Walsh, trainer of Plus Que Parfait (8th) – “I’m thrilled with him. I thought he ran his heart out. I couldn’t ask for anything more. He ran his race. He had as good a trip as you’re probably going to get. He’s not beaten very far at all and went all the way to Dubai and came back and ran his race. For a second thought it could maybe happen and he gave me a thrill. He showed he could run with these horses. He was no 54-1 shot.” Mike Trombetta, trainer of Win Win Win (9th) – “No real excuses. The rider said he seemed to struggle with the kickback and climbing a little bit. But other than that, he had an OK trip. Today wasn’t his day.” Todd Pletcher, trainer of Cutting Humor (10th), Spinoff (18th) – “We got the trips we wanted to get with them. Spinoff was forwardly placed and Cutting Humor was following behind him. Spinoff just hated the track, though. He didn’t really want any part of it. I had a hint about that earlier in the week when he galloped on the ‘off’ and showed us he didn’t care for it. When Manny (Franco) went to riding him today, he just backed right out of there. Cutting Humor had a good trip and closed some ground late. He didn’t disgrace us. Both colts seemed to come back fine. We’ll be back another day.” Bret Calhoun, trainer of By My Standards (11th) – “We lost all chances at the break. The outside horse came back on us pretty hard. I think he came out of it OK. I’m not sure what’s next for him. We’ll take a few days to look at what we want to do.” “Maybe Mr. Money (winner, Pat Day Mile – GIII) will be the one going to the Preakness. We’ll just take a step back and see what we want to do.” George Weaver, trainer of Vekoma (12th) – “At least he came back in one piece. He might have gotten into a little trouble on the turn, but he was starting to back up anyway at that point. I don’t know if he liked the track. It’s a crazy day. He’s a great colt and we’ll get him back over here when he’s right.” Gustavo Delgado, trainer of Bodexpress (13th) – Had no comment Danny Gargan, trainer of Tax (14th) – Had no comment Steve Asmussen, trainer of Long Range Toddy (16th) – “it was very unfortunate that it rained. He doesn’t do well on an ‘off’ track. But he was in a good position and then, as we know, the race got real rough.” Jason Servis, trainer of Maximum Security (1s, DQ’d to 17th) – "I don't think it changed the outcome of the race. It looks like something scared him in the infield, but I haven't been able to watch it that close. "I feel bad for the Wests. I feel bad for the owners, the Wests. It looked like he ducked out a little bit. "It's [the disqualification}is tough. It hasn't sunk in yet, but it will." "I saw 22 [seconds] and I was concerned and 46. I thought it was too fast, but he threw his ears up, I thought he was getting a breather and he'd be OK. He did seem to duck out a little, but when he [jockey Luis Saez] set him down, he was impressive.” Peter Miller, trainer of Gray Magician (19th) – “The horse bled a two out of five and we are going to give him a little break and bring him back in 30 or 45 days.”

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5.4.2019:

2019 Kentucky Oaks/Kentucky Derby Double Will Pays

Bet the Kentucky Oaks/Derby Double? Here are the $1 Will Pays with Kentucky Oaks winner, Serengeti Empress: #13 Serengeti Empress with... 1. War of Will - $351.002. Tax - $675.703. By My Standards - $419.604. Gray Magician - $1,650.505. Improbable - $110.606. Vekoma - $324.807. Maximum Security - $123.908. Tacitus - $111.409. Plus Que Parfait - $1,366.7010. Cutting Humor - $748.5011. Haikal - SCRATCHED12. Omaha Beach - SCRATCHED13. Code of Honor - $241.0014. Win Win WIn - $354.6015. Master Fencer (JPN) - $1,679.3016. Game Winner - $116.3017. Roadster - $169.6018. Long Range Toddy - $1,119.0019. Spinoff - $723.6020. Country House - $1,290.5021. Bodexpress - $1,553.70

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5.3.2019:

Haikal Scratched from 2019 Kentucky Derby

LOUISVILLE, KY (Friday, May 3, 2019) – At 6:35 a.m. on Friday morning, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin confirmed that Shadwell Farm’s homebred Haikal will scratched from Saturday’s Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI). The son of Daaher developed an abscess in his left front hoof that was reported by his connections the morning prior and said involved hoped he would be able to train Friday after treating the issue. “We put shoes back on him this morning and jogged him and he was still not 100%,” McLaughlin said. “After speaking with Rick Nichols, we decided to scratch. The horse always comes first. He will head home today to Shadwell (in Lexington, Ky.) and live to fight another day. “It’s tough for the whole team, His Highness (Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum) and everyone involved, especially with being a homebred who was training so well. We'll have to see what else is there is now (race-wise) after he recovers.” Nichols is the vice president and general manager of Sheikh Hamdan’s North American Shadwell operations, one of the largest and most powerful racing and breeding entities in the world.

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5.3.2019:

Todd Pletcher Fine with Flying 'Under the Rader' with Spinoff, Cutting Humor in Kentucky Derby

LOUISVILLE, KY. - It is difficult to ever consider trainer Todd Pletcher a longshot in a Grade 1 affair, but that is the situation in Saturday's Grade 1 Kentucky Derby - though it should not worry his faithful much. When Starlight Racing's Cutting Humor and Wertheimer et Frere's Spinoff - 15th and 19th on the Kentucky Derby points standings - start in the $3 million showpiece for the multiple Eclipse Award-winning conditioner, they are in good company in their high (30-1 morning-line, respectively) odds. While Pletcher has had sustained successes with well-bet favorites at the top level, he has also made his mark with horses in the Classics who had been overlooked. In 2001, the Pletcher-trained Invisible Ink was second in the Derby at 55-1. In 2004, his Limehouse was fourth at 41-1, and two years later in 2006, Bluegrass Cat was second at 30-1. Both Cutting Humor and Spinoff have not raced since late March, keeping them fresh heading into the 'Run for the Roses'. "Neither one of our horses have run in six weeks, so there's a bit of recency when compared to other horses with more recent preps," Pletcher said. "We didn't feel like another race would move them forward. It's just a matter of if they're good enough. Both are training really well." Before running in their respective preps, both of Pletcher's contenders cut their metaphorical teeth on the tough NYRA circuit for juveniles. A $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August yearling, Cutting Humor debuted at Belmont in September and finished a promising second in the slop. Spinoff, a homebred son of Grade 1 King's Bishop winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up Hard Spun out of Grade 1 Acorn winner Zaftig, made his second career start in the Spa's Grade 2 Saratoga Special, finishing third. Cutting Humor, a son of Grade 1 Hopeful and Grade 1 Champagne winner First Samurai, would go on to finish third behind subsequent Group 2 UAE Derby winner Plus Que Parfait at Keeneland before graduating at Gulfstream Park West and ultimately putting all the pieces together three races later in the Grade 3 Sunland Derby, in which he earned a 95 Beyer Speed Figure in victory. Spinoff has been subsequently gingerly managed, not resurfacing until six months later when thrashing a Tampa Bay Downs allowance field before finishing a game second in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby - also earning a 95 Beyer. "I thought that, in particular, Cutting Humor's last two breezes were exceptionally good; really strong breezes with good gallop-outs for leading into a mile and a quarter race," Pletcher said. "One thing that stands out to me is it's rare that you see a 3-year-old in March, even if the track was fast, shave 1:47 for a mile and an eighth like he did at Sunland. I thought that was a quality performance and I like the way he's trained since. "Spinoff was at my dad's in Ocala and they were pretty high on him as a yearling and then as a 2-year-old," he continued. "He came in with high expectations. We had a little bit of a setback after a race at Saratoga, but at that time we hoped we could get him back and prepare him for the Derby. Luckily, things fell into place. His Louisiana Derby was a very good race and he's shown all along that he could be a very good horse. For only his second start of the year and shipping to the Fair Grounds, I thought he handled it well. With a good six weeks of preparation, we think we have him in as good a position as he can be in." Two things that Pletcher cannot control have made themselves known this week. First, Cutting Humor, who will see Hall of Famer Mike Smith pick up the mount, drew post 10, and Spinoff (Manny Franco aboard) will leave from post 18 (after the scratch of Omaha Beach and Haikal). Secondly, a forecast that calls for rain has dampened the spirits of some connections. "I don't mind the outside post for Spinoff," Pletcher said. "He doesn't have a lot of experience taking a lot of kickback, so it might not be too bad for him. At a mile and a quarter it's not that much different. He should have time to work his way over and he's traditionally been a good gate horse. Hopefully he can get away and get into a good stalking position. "Cutting Humor is in 10, which is fine and hopefully he can work out a good trip from there. The good thing with both is that they won't be waiting for too long in the loading process. "To be honest, neither have experience really competing on off tracks, but they have the pedigree to handle it fine and from what I have seen in their training, they should be able to handle it, but you never know in a 20-horse field. Things can change in a hurry at the break, but I think both will handle it." Overall, it does not appear that Pletcher, a two-time winner of the Run for the Roses, is shaken by this field and quite frankly he has enjoyed flying slightly under the radar. "Last year people talked about how it was one of the strongest fields in recent history, but it probably turned out not to be," he concluded. "This year, it looks wide-open and deep. I think it's a really good group and I like my chances."

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5.2.2019:

Julian Pimentel Hoping His First Derby Mount is a 'Win Win Win' Situation

LAUREL, MD – Even after losing the mount on a horse he called one of the best he’s ever ridden – and he has sat on some very good ones – Laurel Park-based journeyman Julian Pimentel didn’t lose his sense of humor. Pimentel rode Win Win Win to three wins and a second in four tries, including a record-setting triumph in the Jan. 19 Pasco Stakes, but watched from the sidelines as Live Oak’s homebred hit the board in a pair of graded preps to punch his ticket to the Kentucky Derby (G1). When reigning Eclipse Award winner Irad Ortiz Jr., aboard in each of those races, opted for Improbable in the Derby and the mount on Win Win Win came open again, trainer Mike Trombetta dialed Pimentel. “He called me and asked if I wanted to ride the horse back. I said, ‘I’ll have to see if I have any plans for that day,’” Pimentel joked. “No, I told him yes right away.” Columbia-born Pimentel, 38, will be riding in the Derby for the first time in a career that began in 2000 and includes nearly 1,700 wins from more than 10,000 starters. He got his first look at Churchill Downs Sunday, aboard for Win Win Win’s final pre-race breeze. “It’s definitely something new, but I’ve been to a lot of racetracks before so it’s not like something I haven’t done before,” Pimentel said. “It’s a great opportunity. I am very grateful for the opportunity and very excited and happy about it.” Pimentel’s experience includes riding a Classic winner. He was up when Union Rags broke his maiden at first asking in July 2011 at Delaware Park, the only time he got on the colt that would go on to win four graded-stakes, two of them Grade 1, capped by the 2012 Belmont Stakes. In 2017, Pimentel rode Imperial Hint to victory in the General George (G3), the Florida-bred’s first graded triumph. Imperial Hint won a pair of Grade 1s in 2018 and was an Eclipse Award finalist for champion sprinter both years. More than any other horse, Pimentel is best associated with late Mid-Atlantic legend Ben’s Cat, a winner of 32 races and more than $2.6 million in purse earnings. Pimentel was aboard in 41 of 63 starts, including 30 in a row from June 2012 to November 2015. Together, Pimentel and Ben’s Cat won 22 races, 17 of them in stakes, topped by the 2013 and 2014 Parx Dash (G3), 2012 Turf Monster (G3), 2012 Maryland Million Turf Sprint, 2013-15 Mister Diz and Jim McKay Turf Sprint, and 2012-14 Fabulous Strike Handicap. Enter Win Win Win. Based with Trombetta’s string at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., he and Pimentel have been together nearly from the beginning, when the jockey began working the horse for Trombetta as a 2-year-old. The Hat Trick colt didn’t debut until late fall at Laurel, winning his unveiling and an optional claiming allowance before finishing a troubled second behind Preakness (G1)-bound Alwaysmining in the Heft Stakes. “I’ve worked him since he was a baby, and he always worked good. He always showed that he was going to be a nice horse. We didn’t know how nice he was going to be,” Pimentel said. “He’s definitely one of the nicest horses I’ve ever been on, that’s for sure.” Pimentel was a passenger as Win Win Win opened his sophomore campaign with a 7 ¼-length romp in the Pasco, breaking the Tampa Bay Downs main track record for seven furlongs (1:20.89) in the process. “He always showed a lot. The first question was if he could go long, and he showed that he’s capable of doing that. Sometimes he breaks a little slow but when he gets going he can make a big run,” Pimentel said. “That day he broke slow and he was trailing the field, and when I asked him to go he just took off and pretty much did it on his own. I never hit him or anything. It was very impressive.” Ortiz replaced Pimentel for Win Win Win’s next start in the March 9 Tampa Bay Derby (G3), where he closed to be third by 2 ½ lengths behind Tacitus. He made an even more impressive late run from far back to be second to Vekoma in the April 6 Blue Grass (G2); he will face both winners in the Derby. Pimentel, who rode at Laurel both days, watched each race with interest. “He ran good both times. He didn’t get away very good, but that’s just the way he is. Hopefully in the Derby, he gets away better,” he said. “Other than that, he ran good and he finished up very good. He didn’t have much racing luck in the last race at Keeneland but he was running at the end. He showed that he was a really good horse after he got in a little trouble to come back and get up for second.” Trombetta and Pimentel have enjoyed success together over the years, leaving both the trainer and Live Oak’s Charlotte Weber confident and happy to have him back on board. “When things changed, the owner was adamant. She didn’t waffle. She said, ‘Call him up and get him back on the horse.’ I think it’s a great decision,” Trombetta said. “He’s earned it. He deserves it. I’m very comfortable with it. He gets along with the horse really well. He’s had four tries and he’s had three wins and a second to what God only knows could be a really nice horse, so he’s done nothing but earn the chance to do it.” It is a chance that Pimentel always dreamed would come. He has ridden in two previous Triple Crown races, both coming on familiar ground in the Preakness, where he ran 11th with Norman Asbjornson in 2011 and eighth on Kid Cruz in 2014. “Honestly, you always hope and you always wish that you can ride in those kinds of races, but it’s not easy. Mike and I have always had good luck together,” Pimentel said. “It’s a great experience to have an opportunity to ride in the Kentucky Derby, but it makes it more special because Mike and I have a long history together.” Pimentel has received great support from fellow riders, horsemen and fans in Maryland, all excited to see him on the big stage. Represented by agent Ronnie Gerardo, Pimentel began his career as an exercise rider for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and had a successful run on the New Jersey circuit before landing in Maryland in the summer of 2006. “Everybody’s excited for me. I got a lot of compliments and congratulations so everybody’s happy, I think,” he said. “It means a lot. It means everything. We always dream to be in these kinds of races, and the Derby is the top race so it’s very exciting.” Pimentel said he would consult with his friend, retired Hall of Fame jockey Ramon Dominguez, about riding in the Derby. Laurel’s Sheldon Russell, who rode Done Talking in the 2012 Derby, has also offered his advice. “I talked to Sheldon and he said, ‘When you’re ready to move …’ and I said, ‘Count to 10, and then I move?’” Pimentel said. “He said, ‘No, count to 11 because you count fast.’” Twenty-seven jockeys have won the Derby with their first mount, the most recent being Mario Gutierrez in 2012 with I’ll Have Another. Pimentel was a finalist for the 2001 Eclipse Award as champion apprentice when he set career highs in mounts (1,039), wins (145) and purse earnings ($4,387,978). “He’s a very nice horse, very capable. I think he’s got a very good shot to be right there with them,” Pimentel said of Win Win Win. “I’m just very happy, very excited about it. I can’t wait, to be honest.”

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5.2.2019:

Kentucky Derby Contender Tacitus 'On Deck' as Next Juddmonte Star

LOUISVILLE, KY. - If Tacitus' blood was any bluer, it would be cerulean. By America's top dirt sire, 2004 Wood Memorial winner Tapit, out of five-time Grade 1-winning New York heroine and Eclipse champion Close Hatches, the flashy gray colt is owned by Prince Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud's global powerhouse Juddmonte Farms, and trained by Hall of Fame conditioner and New York-based Bill Mott. In other words, Tacitus is an equine golden (or silver, in his case) child of thoroughbred racing, darling of New York and carries a stadium of expectations heading into Saturday's Grade 1, $3 million Kentucky Derby. "I think we settled on trying to produce a Kentucky Derby-type runner with Close Hatches, as the Derby is a rare yet-to-be-accomplished goal for Prince Khalid, whose runners have been second twice with Aptitude and Empire Maker," Garret O'Rourke, general manager of Juddmonte's North American operations said. "Prince Khalid was in attendance for Empire Maker [and previously for Eltish, who was sixth] and Sightseek and Heat Haze won graded races on that undercard, but the big fish got away. Tapit was an obvious cross for Close Hatches and subsequent matings to Malibu Moon and Curlin have the same goals. Close Hatches was checked into foal to Tapit (on April 23)." Mott added: "Being a homebred and having had the mother, we did very well with her (Close Hatches) winning several Grade 1s against a good group of fillies. Tacitus is a nice big colt, particularly for a first foal. Even when we ran him the first time, we were pleasantly surprised when he jumped out and was up on the pace. He's one of those horses that saves himself a little bit, you know. He's not going to take it all out of himself in the morning. His works are useful, not brilliant, and it's just his disposition. He's going to do enough. I've had other horses like that; actually Cigar was like that. There were seldom any :59s or that sort of thing." Tacitus has been nearly as flawless in action as he is on paper. His one black mark from four starts came in his debut, when he made a three-wide bid, but weakened when the real running started on October 4 at Belmont Park. He returned five weeks later to gamely garner his graduation over a one-turn mile at Aqueduct, despite a five-wide trip. In March, he made his 3-year-old bow a winning one when annexing the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby in promising fashion before overcoming a rough trip to win the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets as his final tune-up for the 'Run for the Roses'. Jose Ortiz, eight times a meet-leading rider on the NYRA circuit and the 2017 Eclipse Award winner as outstanding jockey, had his selection of horses for the iconic event, and chose to stay with Tacitus-a horse he has ridden in all four of his races. "His breeding is unbelievable," Ortiz said. "I chose him because I think he will handle the distance and because of his win in the Wood Memorial." Ortiz's enthusiasm is well-founded. Like Juddmonte's 2016 champion - and Travers winner Arrogate before him - nothing about Tacitus has come lightly and those around him have always been hopeful that he could be worthy of his potential. Such obviously includes helping his owner claim a trophy he has coveted for decades-one of the few great races in the world that the green and pink silks of Juddmonte have yet to acquire. Tacitus could very well be the obvious turning point for a titanic operation that is shifting its focus to dirt after campaigning some of the world's best turf horses, including Enable, Dancing Brave and Frankel. Dirt standouts Arrogate and Empire Maker aside, its Classic influence on the surface has left something to be desired-but acquiring desired prizes is something the widespread and calculating operation has done quite well. And, with only four starters, it is obvious that when it has shown up on the First Saturday in May, Juddmonte came to play ball. "Two seconds, a sixth and a seventh (Hofburg in 2018) in the Derby are not that bad of a record," O'Rourke continued. "With influences like Empire Maker in our pedigrees and concentration recently on doubling down on dirt stallions like Tapit and Into Mischief, we hope it should follow that we would produce more of the classic dirt type than the historically dirt-biased runners we produced from the U.S. broodmare band when stallions like Nijinsky II, Blushing Groom and Danzig were available to us. So far, the results are encouraging. "There can only be one winner," O'Rourke added. "It wasn't us last year, unfortunately, but we are back in position and hopefully Tacitus is ready to step out." Make way for Tacitus if you have room in your Derby line-up. The blue-blooded golden child with the silver coat and platinum New York parents is stepping up the plate and swinging away.

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5.1.2019:

Kentucky Derby Favorite Omaha Beach to Scratch with Injury

LOUISVILLE, KY (Wednesday, May 1, 2019) – Kentucky Derby favorite Omaha Beach will be scratched from Saturday’s 145th renewal due to an entrapped epiglottis, according to Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella.  “After training this morning we noticed him cough a few times,” Mandella said. “It caused us to scope him and we found an entrapped epiglottis. We can’t fix it this week so we’ll have to have a procedure done in a few days and probably be out of training for three weeks. We’ll have to figure out a whole new game plan.” The epiglottis is a triangular-shaped cartilage that lies at the base of the airway just in front of the arytenoid cartilages which cover the airway during swallowing. When an abnormality occurs in this area it can hinder the performance of horses.     Mandella is scheduled to meet with the media Thursday at 8 a.m. outside of Barn 28 to further discuss the development. With the scratch of Omaha Beach, Bodexpress will draw into the field and break from post position 20. All horses outside of Omaha Beach (post positions 13-20) will move over one position in the starting gate.         

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5.1.2019:

John Velazquez Eager to Ride Code of Honor in Kentucky Derby

ELMONT, N.Y. - Jockey John Velazquez is already part of an exclusive club when it comes to Kentucky Derby riders. The 2012 Hall of Fame inductee is one of just eight riders to have at least 20 mounts through the Run for the Roses' previous 144 iterations. Velazquez will have his 21st career Derby mount when he pilots W.S. Farish's Code of Honor on May 4. The winner of the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on March 2 at Gulfstream Park will be Velazquez's seventh mount in the last eight runnings of the Derby and will mark the colt's Churchill Downs debut off a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 30 at Gulfstream. Code of Honor put in his final breeze on Sunday at Churchill, going four furlongs in 46.80 seconds on the main track; the second-fastest of 76 in the group. "I saw his work [Sunday] and it looked good, just a little fast, but that's the way it seemed everyone was working," Velazquez said. "He looks like he's doing well, and hopefully he can continue come the race." Velazquez has won the Triple Crown's opening leg twice, with the Graham Motion-trained Animal Kingdom in 2011 and the Todd Pletcher-conditioned Always Dreaming in 2017. The 47-year-old native of Carolina, Puerto Rico will be looking to become just the 11th jockey all-time with three Derby wins. Bill Hartack and Eddie Arcaro are tied for the all-time lead with five victories apiece. "It's incredible. This is why we're here," Velazquez said about riding in the Derby. "This is what we dream about. This is one of the races that's well-known throughout the world, so it's exciting to be there." Velazquez didn't win his first Derby until his 13th try when he led 20-1 shot Animal Kingdom to a 2 ¾-length score eight years ago. He had come close with Invisible Ink running second to Monarchos in 2001, which was the first time he finished on the board in the race. "It takes some pressure off. You go in with confidence," Velazquez said of his previous wins. "Looking back at the past, riding all those races without winning it, it [humbles] you. But I'm pretty confident, so we'll see what happens. Hopefully, you get a good trip." Code of Honor, trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, drew post 13 and is 15-1 on the morning line. McGaughey has saddled one previous Derby winner with Orb in 2013. Velazquez, a two-time Eclipse Award-winner for Outstanding Jockey for 2004 and 2005, has also won two Belmont Stakes in his career, with Rags to Riches in 2007 and Union Rags in 2012, and has twice finished second in the Preakness. He is one of just 19 jockeys in North America to amass 6,000 career wins. His career earnings in excess of $402 million is the most in history.

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5.1.2019:

May 4: NYRA partners with Woodbine, Oaklawn for Cross Country Pick 5

ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will again host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, featuring racing action from Belmont Park as well as Woodbine Racetrack in Etobicoke, Ontario and Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. A dozen New York-breds plus three main-track only entrants kick off the sequence in the ninth race at Belmont Park, which is scheduled to go off at 4:20 p.m.  The seven-furlong event over the Widener turf course features the stakes-placed pair of New York Hero and Veterans Beach. Trained by New York mainstay Gary Contessa, New York Hero was third in the Rego Park in February 2018 and seeks his first win since an allowance victory at Finger Lakes last November. Veteran Beach was third in last year's Laurel Futurity for trainer Danny Gargan. The action shifts toward our neighbors to the north for Race 8 at Woodbine - the Grade 3 $125,000 Jacques Cartier. Carded for 4:40 p.m., the six-furlong race contested over the Tapeta surface drew a dozen horses, including fan favorite Pink Lloyd who will seek his third straight Jacques Cartier victory. Trainer Mark Casse sends a pair of talented stakes winners to the event with Curlin's Honor and Conquest Panthera.  The action then shifts back to New York for the third leg - the Grade 3 $150,000 Fort Marcy. Carded as the 10th race for 4:56 p.m., the 1 1/8-mile event over the inner turf drew a field of nine including a threesome from the barn of Chad Brown. Making his 2019 debut in the event is Chilean-bred Robert Bruce who won last year's running of the Fort Marcy in his United States debut. He would go on to win the Grade 1 Arlington Million later in the summer. Brown also sends out French-bred Olympico and Brazilian-bred Arrocha, both of which are making their North American debuts. The penultimate leg, the Grade 3, $200,000 Westchester at Belmont Park, includes red hot Prince Lucky who is already a two-time graded stakes winner this year. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the son of Corinthian faces seven others in the Westchester, including graded stakes winning millionaire Sunny Ridge and stakes winner Realm.  The one-mile test over the Belmont Park main track is scheduled to go off at 5:40 p.m. In the final leg of the Cross Country Pick 5, 11 sophomores will square off the in the inaugural running of the $300,000 Oaklawn Invitational. The 1 1/8-mile stakes event at Oaklawn Park is carded as the 11th race and gives the winner an automatic berth into the Grade 1 $1.5 million Preakness Stakes on May 18 at Pimlico. Contestants for the Oaklawn Invitational include Grade 2 Holy Bull winner Harvey Wallbanger for trainer Kenny McPeek. Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen has four of the race's 11 entrants including two-time winner Laughing Fox who was made the 3-1 morning line favorite. The Oaklawn Invitational has a scheduled post time of 6:38 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 - Oaklawn Park Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, May 4 Leg A: Belmont - Race 9 (4:20 pm)Leg B: Woodbine - Grade 3, $125,000 Jacques Cartier (Race 8, 4:40 pm)Leg C: Belmont - Grade 3, $150,000 Fort Marcy (Race 10, 4:56 pm)Leg D: Belmont - Grade 3, $200,000 Westchester (Race 11, 5:40 pm)Leg E: Oaklawn - $300,000 Oaklawn Invitational (Race 11, 6:38 pm)

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4.30.2019:

2019 Kentucky Derby Post Positions & Odds

The field is set for the 2019 Kentucky Derby.  Here's a look at the entries, trainers, jockeys and odds. Post Position - Horse - Trainer - Jockey - Odds - Last Race 1. War of Will (Mark Casse/Tyler Gaffalione) - 20/1 - 9th, Louisiana Derby (G2)2. Tax (Danny Gargan/Junior Alvarado) - 20/1 - 2nd, Wood Memorial (G2)3. By My Standards (Bret Calhoun/Gabriel Saez) - 20/1 - 1st, Louisiana Derby (G2) 4. Gray Magician (Peter Miller/Drayden Van Dyke) - 50/1 - 2nd, UAE Derby (G2)5. Improbable (Bob Baffert/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 6/1 - 2nd, Arkansas Derby (G1)6. Vekoma (George Weaver/Javier Castellano) - 20/1 - 1st, Blue Grass S. (G2)7. Maximum Security (Jason Servis/Luis Saez) - 10/1 - 1st, Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1)8. Tacitus (Bill Mott/Jose Ortiz) - 10/1 - 1st, Wood Memorial (G2)9. Plus Que Parfait (Brendan Walsh/Ricardo Santana Jr.) - 30/1 - 1st, UAE Derby (G2)10. Cutting Humor (Todd Pletcher/Corey Lanerie) - 30/1 - 1st, Sunland Derby (G3)11. Haikal (Kiaran McLaughlin/Rajiv Maragh) - 30/1 - 3rd, Wood Memorial (G3)12. Omaha Beach (Richard Mandella/Mike Smith) - 4/1 - 1st, Arkansas Derby (G1)13. Code of Honor (Shug McGaughey/John Velazquez) - 15/1 - 3rd, Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1)14. Win Win Win (Michael Trombetta/Julian Pimentel) - 15/1 - 2nd, Blue Grass S. (G2)15. Master Fencer (JPN) (Koichi Tsunoda/Julien Leparoux) - 50/1 - 2nd, Fukuryu S.16. Game Winner (Bob Baffert/Joel Rosario) - 5/1 - 2nd, Santa Anita Derby (G1)17. Roadster (Bob Baffert/Florent Geroux) - 6/1 - 1st, Santa Anita Derby (G1)18. Long Range Toddy (Steve Asmussen/Jon Court) - 30/1 - 6th, Arkansas Derby (G1)19. Spinoff (Todd Pletcher/Manny Franco) - 30/1 - 2nd, Louisiana Derby (G2)20. Country House (Bill Mott/Flavien Prat) - 30/1 - 3rd, Arkansas Derby (G1)AE. Bodexpress (Gustavo Delgado/Chris Landeros) - 30/1 - 2nd, Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1)

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4.29.2019:

Code of Honor 'Ready to Roll' in Kentucky Derby

ELMONT, N.Y. - William S. Farish's homebred Code of Honor made a stylish debut at Saratoga Race Course in August and has emerged as one of several New York-connected contenders for Saturday's Grade 1, $3 million Kentucky Derby. The son of first-crop stallion Noble Mission - a full brother to the great Frankel - continues to train exceptionally toward the Kentucky Derby for Hall of Fame conditioner Shug McGaughey, exiting his Sunday breeze at Churchill Downs in good shape on Monday morning. Code of Honor worked a half-mile in a blistering 46.80 seconds over the Churchill Downs dirt, good for second-fastest of 76 moves that morning. Always highly regarded, Code of Honor graduated at first asking at Saratoga on August 18 winning at 6-1 odds under Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez, who has been aboard for four of his five starts, both his wins and returns to the saddle on Saturday.  Going gate-to-wire on debut and shocking sire pedigree handicappers in the process, he established himself as a horse with a serious future - a statement that was substantiated when he came back and finished a phenomenal second on October 6 at Belmont Park in the Grade 1 Champagne after stumbling at the start. "He had been at Courtlandt Farm when he was younger and the guy who manages Lane's End said they were sending him to me," McGaughey explained. "I knew they wouldn't send any horse they didn't like. Then, after he won, Mark Hennig, who trains for Courtlandt, told me that he had seen him training while he was there and was training really well and was a very nice horse. I was actually surprised at how well he really did train. At that time, nobody knew what was going to happen with Noble Mission or what kind of sire he would be, but he's turned out to be okay." Since the Champagne, it has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for the chestnut colt. The buzz horse heading into the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, he was scratched after spiking a temperature the morning of the race. Given a couple months to freshen, he returned and disappointed as the 4-5 favorite in Gulfstream Park's $100,000 Mucho Macho Man, finishing fourth over the one-mile trip. Sharpened up and allowed to go two turns for the first time, he flushed his fair-weather fans who abandoned him to 9-1 odds in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, defeating Bourbon War and subsequent Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes winner Vekoma decisively. The proverbial pendulum decided to swing back to the dark side of the horseracing game in the Grade 1 Florida Derby last out, as he finished third to gate-to-wire victor Maximum Security. "It was a messed-up race," McGaughey said. "[Maximum Security] got loose on the lead and all the other horses were taking back, which took us out of our game plan and when you get a horse going as slow as he can run over a speed-favoring track - like Maximum Security did - and you're a mid-pack one-run horse like us, you have to move earlier than you want to and we got stuck on the inside. It just didn't work out." McGaughey must be respected in any race, but especially the Kentucky Derby, where his record is impressive, including one victory.  McGaughey has started in a total of five Derbies with seven total horses. The last time he had a Derby starter, his Orb, who graduated at Aqueduct Racetrack, was a popular victor in the mud of 2013. In 1989, he finished second and third with New York maiden breakers, the Hall of Famer Easy Goer and Awe Inspiring.  Easy Goer went on to finish second in the Preakness before denying Sunday Silence a Triple Crown by winning the Belmont. McGaughey also finished a respectable sixth and seventh with top-class horses Pine Circle (1984) and Seeking the Gold (1988). "This is a really nice group," he continued. "Most all of them have won some major races. As there always is, there are some horses that don't belong, but you could have said that about Mine That Bird, too. It's a lot of intrigue in the Derby with a 20-horse field. There are some fairly decent horses in there and I think some will come out of the race as very decent horses." While his sire was a brilliant Group 1-winning turf star, it is not a complete surprise that Code of Honor has taken exceedingly well to the dirt. His dam, Reunited, is by dirt sire Dixie Union and was a multiple stakes winner on the surface, including a victory in the Grade 3 Thoroughbred Club of America at Keeneland in 2005. She produced Grade 2-placed dirt sprinter Big League [Speightstown], one of the more talented juveniles in California in 2016. And, as it were, McGaughey must be respected any time he brings a horse to run under the Twin Spires in his native Kentucky home. Some of his greatest victories have occurred at the Louisville oval and it goes without saying his form as a world-class conditioner is as sharp as ever. "I have had a lot of good memories here," McGaughey concluded. "I hope I have some more." 

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4.29.2019:

2019 Kentucky Oaks Post Positions & Odds

The field is set for the 2019 Kentucky Oaks.  Here's a look at the entries, trainers, jockeys and odds. Post Position - Horse - Trainer - Jockey - Odds - Last Race 1. Out for a Spin (Dallas Stewart/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 15/1 - 1st, Ashland S. (G1) 2. Chocolate Kisses (Mark Casse/Julien Leparoux) - 20/1 - 6th, Ashland S. (G1) 3. Lady Apple (Steve Asmussen/Ricardo Santana Jr.) - 20/1 - 1st, Fantasy S. (G3) 4. Bellafina (Simon Callaghan/Flavien Prat) - 2/1 - 1st, Santa Anita Oaks (G1) 5. Flor de La Mar (Bob Baffert/Joel Rosario) - 20/1 - 2nd, Santa Anita Oaks (G1) 6. Positive Spirit (Rodolphe Brisset/Manny Franco) - 30/1 - 2nd, Gazelle S. (G2) 7. Jaywalk (John Servis/Javier Castellano) - 8/1 - 3rd, Ashland S. (G1) 8. Motion Emotion (Thomas Van Berg/Mike Smith) - 15/1 - 2nd, Fantasy S. (G3) 9. Liora (Wayne Catalano/Channing Hill) - 20/1 - 2nd, Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) 10. Champagne Anyone (Ian Wilkes/Chris Landeros) - 6/1 - 1st, Gulfstream Park Oaks (G1) 11. Jeltrin (Alexis Delgado/Luis Saez) - 15/1 - 1st, Davona Dale S. (G2) 12. Street Band (Larry Jones/Sophie Doyle) - 15/1 - 1st, Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) 13. Serengeti Empress (Tom Amoss/Jose Ortiz) - 8/1 - 7th, Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) 14. Restless Rider (Ken McPeek/Brian Hernandez Jr.) - 6/1 - 2nd, Ashland S. (G1) 15 (AE). Dunbar Road (Chad Brown/Jose Ortiz) - 5/1 - 2nd, Gulfstream Park Oaks (G1) 16 (AE). Point of Honor (George Weaver/John Velazquez) - 30/1 - 4th, Gulfstream Park Oaks (G1)

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4.29.2019:

XBTV Presents 'A Candid Conversation with Richard Baltas'

Watch Part 1 of XBTV Presents 'A Candid Conversation with Richard Baltas' Watch Part 2 of XBTV Presents 'A Candid Conversation with Richard Baltas' Richard Baltas has been training racehorses for over 20 years, give or take. XBTV recently sat down with the conditioner at his home base of Santa Anita Park to discuss his long career, hard-fought success, wife Debby, and how he got his start in the world of horse racing. Could you ever have envisioned when you were a kid that you would have a barn full of horses at Santa Anita, being a grade-one winning trainer? “No. I mean, I was a fan in the beginning. Used to come here with my dad. When I was 13, he used to love to go to the races and I was a fan of the trainers. I didn't really know exactly what they had to deal with. I just saw the glamor side of it in the paddock. That's the glamor side of being a trainer.” Was there any trainer in particular that you were like, "Wow, I want to be like him”? “I think Charlie Whittingham. He always had three horses in the grade-ones. I think it was San Juan Capistrano, at the end of the meet. He had these three horses and they were an entry. They all had to run coupled, so everything was three to five. He'd run one, two, three…or one, two...Yeah, I was just a big fan of racing. I was a big fan.” What was it about the horses that fascinated you? “I just like the game itself. I love the way the animals looked. I love the jockeys. I love the sport of it. I really was a fan that way. I wasn't really into the gambling part. I mean, my dad went because he used to gamble. “But, I remember being a kid and buying a little computer and I punched in the numbers for the racing form, and I ended up getting some little toy they had. But anyway, I bought it and I used it. I was always a fan.” Tell me about your riding career. Did you take lessons as a kid? “I grew up in Huntington Beach. Then, I was in the restaurant business. In Huntington Beach they have an equestrian center. I looked it up and I went over there and I took some riding lessons for a while. First I had to groom the horse. It was an older horse and he didn't really do much, but he didn't have a lot of fire. “Anyway, I remember this girl who used to teach me to ride and I tacked up the horse and brushed him off. And then I got up on him. I wasn't very good. And she told me, ‘Oh, you've got to ride the horse with no stirrups. Use your legs.’ My legs were pretty sore afterwards and I did it for a little bit. I took about 10 lessons and I was like, ‘you know what, I'm going to keep my feet on the ground.’” Tell me about enrolling at Cal Poly. What kind of courses did you enroll in to try and learn a little bit more about horses? “I went to Cal Poly Pomona and they had an Arabian school. I guess Kellogg’s cereal owned all the land. I think they donated it to Cal Poly, so they had to keep the equestrian center there. I took some anatomy classes. I just really wanted to learn. Now that I look back on my life ... I was thinking I had a strong desire to do this, but I didn't realize until now how bad I really wanted to do it.” In 1983, you were 21. You moved to Kentucky to enroll in the Kentucky Equine Institute. Tell me a little bit about that and the placement program, where you wound up. “In 193 I went to the Derby with my sister. I found out about the Kentucky Equine Institute. It was put on by the Horsemen of Lexington, and they really wanted to teach people to work on the farms. I enrolled and I packed up my car. I left my girlfriend, said, ‘I'm leaving. I'm going to Kentucky.’ “It was quite an experience. It was at the Horse Park, in a barn. They had a classroom and they showed us everything from reproduction to walking the horses. I remember getting dragged around the paddock by a yearling, holding onto the shank and just getting dragged all over the place. It was good because we were learning a lot in a short period of time. We did a lot of field trips. “The first weekend I was there, they sent me to this farm, Pillar Stud. My first job was to cut the grass. They had a little push mower. If you've ever been to Lexington, you realize that the roads have a little dip on the side, a small hillside that leads down to the fence-line. I had to do the little dip on the side.” That's a lot of grass. “It was on a hill too. They said, ‘just go down to that gate.’ Well, the gate was a mile away. And I was like, ‘Oh, you want me to go all the way down there and then come back?’ "Anyway, I was doing that. They picked me up in the truck and said, ‘Hey, we've got to go to breeding shed.’ I had to hold the mare's tail. And the first thing that happened, the stallion jumped up and I'm holding the tail. I think it was a green stallion because he started to tip to the side. They said, ‘Hold him up. Hold him up!’ So I was like this (mimicking, laughing.) “So, that was my start. Then I rubbed yearlings at Spendthrift Farm. So that was really cool.” Were you awestruck by Spendthrift? “Yeah, I was. Spendthrift was owned by Leslie Combs. I was driving through to park my car and Seattle Slew was on the right...Raise a Native, Exclusive Native, Affirmed…they were all there at the same time. I think they had a full brother yearling to Mr. Prospector. That was when the yearlings were going for $10 million in the '80s, I think, wasn't it? Something like that.” Yeah. “Yeah, I think they had someone fly in to see the horse. He was a beautiful yearling, but it's almost like he was too big. So I don't know if he ever really did anything, but I know he brought a lot of money. I think they sold him privately. Then we went to Saratoga and I worked a yearling sale up there. “Oh, so after we rubbed, prepped all the yearlings at Spendthrift, we got them all in a line and they vanned them all up to Saratoga and we went to Saratoga for the sale. Me, being a fan of racing, going to Saratoga was great. So we went and saw Lady Secret beat Mom's Command in the test. And she was, whatever, 10 to 1. Because Mom's Command won the Triple Tiara. I remember all this pretty well. I remember that. And then went to the sale and I think I came back." You took a job in the '80s working for Tommy Skiffington, along with Naill O’Callahan, Lenny Dunn, Eddie Kenneally. That's quite a crew to come into. Did those guys run you around a little bit? “Yeah. Well, they were all Irish, first of all. And I was a California boy. I was still pretty green, but yeah, they told me to get the key to the quarter pole and all that.” Did you? Did you try? “No. I mean, they got me for about a half an hour. I had to ask a couple of people in the barn. The girls that worked there, they felt sorry for me. So they told me what was going on.” In 1991 you made the plunge. The first runner you sent out was a winner, Latchburn. Tell me about that day. “I got my trainer's license in 1991. And, my father, he knew a guy. My father is Greek, my mother is Italian. But my father had a friend that was Greek that he knew from high school that owned horses at Turf Paradise. I got my license and he goes, ‘let me get you a couple of horses to train.’ So they sent the horse from Turf Paradise. I think I had him a month. I breezed him a half and he worked pretty good. The first horse I saddled, yeah, was Latchburn. Georgie Velasquez rode it right into the Winner's Circle.” How did that feel? “I was surprised. I thought, well, this is easy. But it really wasn't. I think the horse was prepared by the other guy for the most part. I mean, I just had him for a month. I had some other horses that I ran at the Los Angeles County Fair, and won a couple races there. They used to run at Los Alamitos, the Orange County Fair.” So you were well on your way, but that didn't last for long. What happened? “Well, the guy, my owner kind of went belly-up. So I went belly-up. Yeah.” So then you went to go work for Richard Mandella. “You know what's funny, I got my resume all made up. I was like… ‘I went to the school, I worked for Tom Skiffington, I trained a couple of horses…this is my history.’ It was always hard to break in, in California. I don't know why it was so hard. There's more opportunity on the east coast and that's kind of why I went to that school. “So, I gave Richard my resume. He wasn't there that day, but his assistant was, Jed. Richard called me that night and said, ‘Come to the barn.’ I went to the barn the next morning and he actually made me be a groom for about a week. There was a filly named Golden Treat that Golden Eagle Farm owned. He said to rub three, four horses and to come back every afternoon and graze that filly.” But you'd already been a trainer. How did that feel for you having already been a trainer? “I didn't feel like it was any big deal. I mean, I was happy to be in his barn because he was the man and he had some really, really nice horses. It was like the who's who of horse racing at that time. He had so many nice horses. It's nice to be around nice horses because I've always been a fan of the game. I'm really a fan of the horse.” How long did you stay there? “23 months.” 23 months to the day. You remember that? “Yeah, yeah.” So then you went back training on your own. “Yes.” Tell me about Freedom Crest, who you claimed. “I lived in Orange County, so I'd go to Los Alamitos once in a while, to watch the races. I met a guy named Calvin who I'm training for again right now. He wanted to claim a horse. He put the money in the account and said, ‘let's go look for a horse.’ “We were in the paddock and it was a maiden 32 claiming race. We had two horses picked out. He asked, ‘Which one do you like better?’ “I said, 'I kind of like that bigger stouter looking horse, Freedom Crest.' He ran up north. "We claimed him that day and he ran second with Victor Espinoza. I watched him train a couple of days. He was just kind of ... He just wasn't listening. He needed to be a gelding. So we gelded him. He had a few complications. “It took him a month or two before he got over it. When I stretched him out and took the blinkers off, he got really good. He won the one other than, the two other than. I remember Victor was riding him and he went two in a row for fun at Hollywood Park. I was like, ‘Okay, we're going to run in the San Pasqual at Santa Anita.’ “Well, Victor was riding a lot for Bob Baffert, so Victor took off. I asked Gary Stevens to ride the horse.” Your first graded stakes. “Right into the Winner’s Circle, yeah. Gary. That was shocking. It meant a lot to me because I had like a four-horse stable. I thought, 'you know what, I can do this. I can do this.'” 2007 you met your now wife, Debby. How did you meet her? “Debby and I met at Hollywood Park at the Stable Café. I had a few horses back then. She was running the kitchen. I just was going in there a lot. I asked her on a date.” How did you manage to charm Debby because you two are very different personalities? “Well, I don't know about that. I think she might have liked me a little bit too. I don't know why. Yeah. I kind of got a hint that she kind of liked me, so we kind of ... She gave me her phone number. I gave her a call. I asked her out for dinner. That's how it started.” All right. So you were dating a couple of years. 2009 all of a sudden you quit training again. You up and move to Louisiana to go work for Eric Guillot. What brought that around? “I was still a struggling trainer. I wasn't making any money. I was in my 40's and I was like, ‘Well, either I go into debt or I can take this job working for a pretty good outfit that was going to pay me really well to be an assistant trainer.’ “I told Debby I was leaving and she really didn't like it at the time. “I moved to Louisiana two weeks before Christmas and was like ...” Merry Christmas. “Yeah, I was at the Waffle House on Christmas Day and I was all by myself…Debby kept visiting me though. She kept flying out and seeing me once every month or two months. So I thought, wow, this girl really sticking by me. Most girls would run the other way.” So you worked for a couple of years for Eric. What's it like working for Eric Guillot? “Oh, he's a funny guy.” How would you describe him? To someone that didn't know Eric Guillot, what would you say? “A lot of barking.” You learned well then. “He likes to bark. He talks a lot. At the end of the day he's got a pretty good heart, I think.” All right. So we're getting the timeline going. You come back, it's 2011. You get married. “2011 I got married. I think it was a pretty nice wedding. I was working for Barry Abrams. I came back here to work for Barry and got engaged. I asked her to marry me, which was kind of crazy. I was like 47. That was the first time I ever asked anybody to marry me. "Yeah, it was a big move. There were a lot of people from the race track invited. And, my wife pretty much ... She put the wedding together. It was a really good wedding. You should have been there.” I should have been there. “You're right.” So you were working for Barry. Tell me the conversation you had with Debby when you decided with one horse that you were going to quit working for Barry. What did you tell her? “Well, it was Thanksgiving Day and my wife was running the kitchen at Hollywood Park, so she was doing like 1,000 dinners, giving away 1,000 dinners. I don't know…I was like, ‘it's time for me to move on.’ I told my wife, I said, ‘Listen, me and Barry are going to split up. I'm going to go out on my own.’ “And she looked at me and she goes, ‘What are you going to do with one horse?’ “I said, ‘Just watch.’ She had a job. She could have paid the bills. Anyway, that's what happened. I had one horse, then I had two, then I had five.” So what brought the turnaround? In looking at your stats, you had your first winner in ’91. You had not won more than 11 races a year up until 2013. That's a long time. Then in 2013 all of a sudden everyone's like, ‘where did Richard Baltas come from?’ What happened? “I don't know. You know, maturity, getting more horses ... I mean, I always thought I was pretty good with horses. I just never really had the opportunity. So I started claiming horses, and then I think Barry helped me out. He sent me a horse and I won with that one. Then, I got a few more. It snowballed. I have some really good people working for me that helped me get some horses in the barn. It just kept going.” How did you pick up new clients? Because it seems like you’re not training for some of the who's who in horse racing. “We bought some horses out of the sales that other trainers had. Then we did well with them. So I think people started noticing when you start putting horses in the Winner’s Circle that maybe this guy can get the job done.” You're now a grade-one winning trainer. You won a grade-one at Keeneland with Big Macher. How do you feel looking back with how hard you've worked over the course of the past couple of decades? “It feels good. I mean, I finally feel like, it was all worth it because at times I didn't think ... That's why I always stuck with the business because I loved it. That's why I went to be an assistant trainer because I loved it. It didn't bother me to take a step back to move forward because I don't really know if taking the step back working for a really good outfit is taking a step back. I mean, if you like the animals and you like working around them and like to figure them out and like them to be happy, it's a great game. There's a lot of things that go along with being a trainer that aren't easy.” Watching you around the barn … You're a very hands-on trainer. You like to get in the stall. I've seen you rip bandages off because they weren't put on right. You're one of those guys that likes to feel the horses' legs each and every day. Is that how you like to be considered as a hands-on trainer? “I think so. I mean, that's how I started. When I worked for Tommy Skiffington in New York, I was a foreman. I had to run all the elastic bandages on all the horses. The grooms weren't allowed. They were only allowed to put the polos on. So I had to check all the legs and run all the elastic bandages. I know how they're supposed to be put on. I know how to check legs. I think that experience ... I think if you really look at all the really good horsemen, they started from the bottom. And I think they all really know horses. And it's not a game you learn overnight.” Would it be fair to say you wear your heart on your sleeve, Richard? “Yeah, sometimes that gets me in trouble. I like to tell it like it is. I don't pull any punches. Sometimes I get a little excited and I might bark a little bit at a jockey agent.” Would you say you bark a bit or a little bit? “I'm getting better. I mean, I did it today, actually, to Prat and Prat’s agent.” Barked a lot? “I barked at him a little bit because he's always changing his mind.” Does that help you get it all out because you don't take any of that home with you? “I don't know. I haven't had a heart attack yet." What are you most proud of? “I'm proud that I finally was successful in this business. I've come a long way and I never thought I would be in the position I'm in now. So that makes me feel really good, a sense of accomplishment that my life wasn't a total waste.” Speaking to Debby, she is so proud of you. I mean, so proud of you. How does that make you feel? “That's what she told you?” Oh yeah, yeah. She did. “Okay, all right. Well, that makes me feel great.” Does she tell you that? “No. I think she tries to keep me in line. She's always on me. She knows how hard I've worked. She's seen me struggle. We have a good life today.” What do you do for fun? “What do I do for fun? I go to the movies. I go to Vegas once in a while. I think we're going to Vegas next week for our anniversary for a couple of days. Going to go see Gwen Stefani.” Nice. “Yeah. Got some nice seats there in the front. I don't take more than two days off in-a-row. I know I need to take more time off. You know, the horse business, it's a lifestyle. I know a lot of guys that don't take long vacations. They're here.” What would you want people to know about Richard Baltas? “That he's honest and hardworking and what you see is what you get.” You want a dog? “I kind of like this dog, yeah. He's ... Oh…” A little jumpy. “He's a good dog... Yeah, I think I'm going to have to get a dog.” One other thing, you're pretty involved with thoroughbred aftercare. I've seen you send a couple of horses that perhaps you could have dropped down…you've sent them on to do other things. How do you feel about that? I mean, is this something that you strive for? “Yeah, I think so. I mean, I really believe in a lot of the horses. Now there are so many places to go. There are so many aftercare options. There are so many places you can donate your horse to. And they're going to have a good life. I mean, I would never want to see a horse have to run when he's hurting. I try to tell my owners that, 'Hey, this is time for the horses to retire.' And there's always somewhere to go now. I think the business has done an unbelievable job. I think the places they have in California ...I know they have a lot in Kentucky. There's always somewhere to put these horses when they're done running.” Rich, you talked about your dad. Is he still around? “No, he died about 15 years ago. I mean, he saw me saddle a couple of winners... I think he was pretty proud of me. He didn't get to see the success I really have now. That being said, this was a little bit for him too.” What's the most important piece of advice he ever gave you? “Don't screw up. My dad was kind of tough. He was a tough guy. We didn't always see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. Actually, when I was a teenager we kind of got into it a little bit. At the end of the day, I made a lot of peace with him before he passed. I was there for him when he died. It was a good end of the story.” You talked a lot about being a fan, a fan of the sport, a fan of the horse. What is it that brings you into this? What made you a fan? “I just think it's a great sport. I was actually was kind of afraid of horses. I thought they were such magnificent animals, and I thought the racing game was so magnificent. The whole thing, I was in love with it. That's why I tried so hard to do it. I did everything I could to learn. I remember coming to Santa Anita and walking over here asking for someone to sign me in (to the barns) and they wouldn't sign me in. So I had to go back ... ‘Well, maybe if I learn a little bit more about horses and then I go back east ...’ That's how I learned. I really wanted to do this. It's crazy when I look back it and see this is what I wanted to do.” To a degree you're almost an overnight success 30 years in the making. “That's true, yeah. I told people... my friends that don't have anything to do with horses, and I have a few of them, I said, ‘it's kind of like being an actor. You kind of know how to act, but you don't make it until you make it.’ There are a lot of struggling actors out there, and I think there's a lot of struggling trainers out there, that's kind of the way I looked at the business when I was struggling.” You said when you walked Freedom Crest into the Winner's Circle in San Pasqual, you thought, yeah, I can get used to this. What happened afterwards? “After that, I ran him in the Goodwood. We won and then went to the Breeders’ Cup Classic. We ran 13th and after I was stressed out and I just kind of checked out for a while. I took some time off.” Did you ever think you would make it back? “I tried some other jobs. I tried doing construction. That lasted about two weeks. I said I'll be back. I'll come back. I always missed horse racing. I was only out of it for maybe six months. I had to take care of some personal issues, I had to look at myself. I had to think about what's important and make some changes in my life.” You talked about maturity that you’ve found now. What was that journey like to get there? “I don't know. I think it just comes with age. I mean, some people do everything right the first time. I wasn't one of those people. I was one that I had to learn from the school of hard knocks. I think that helped mold me into the person I am. I learned a lot from my mistakes. I'll tell you what, even though I'm here now and doing really well, it's a tough, tough business. It's not an easy business.” What would you have told your 21-year-old self? “My 21-year-old self? I'd probably tell him that ... I don't know. I mean, I don't really regret anything I've done. I think partly the way I was raised, I had to learn the hard way.” What are your goals? “My goals now are to be happy. I want to be happy training horses. When I saw Charlie Whittingham training, I knew he was one of the reasons why I wanted to get into the game. He was 70 years old, 75 years old. I know he had plenty of money. He got up at 4:30, five o'clock in the morning seven days a week. I mean, who does that? That's when most people are retired. So what that told me when I was 21 years old, when I was looking at Charlie… I had money when I was very young. I had a lot of friends, but I wasn't happy. I saw it as a dead end. That's when I looked at him and said, ‘maybe that's what I want to do because maybe I want to be happy when I'm 70 years old.’ “I thought it was a business that I could do when I was older, and it would make me happy. That was one of my key reasons why I got into the business.” Horses or people, what do you prefer? “Oh, I think everybody that works around horses would prefer the horses. I like people, but some people, they're hard to deal with in this business. The horses kind of level you out. There's so much joy that goes with the horses and the horses winning. And, seeing the horses develop into being a good horse...I think being in this business if you're not a fan and you don't love the horse, you're not going to be successful.” Are you a good loser? “Not really, but I mean, I'm getting used to it. I'm getting used to losing because you can only win like 19% or 18% of the time. Yeah. I mean, when you win a race, it feels good, even a small race.”

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4.25.2019:

Belmont, Lone Star to Offer Cross Country Pick 5 on Sunday

ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will again host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Sunday, featuring racing action from Belmont Park as well as Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. All of the Cross Country Pick 5 action will feature live on America's Day at the Races, formerly known as Belmont Park Live, which broadcasts nationwide on FS2 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET and will carry locally on MSG+ from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. ET. Racing analyst Jonathon Kinchen will be on-track at Lone Star Park to provide expert analysis of the featured Steve Sexton Mile. Kicking off the sequence is Belmont Park's seventh race which is a seven-furlong maiden event over the main track featuring the Todd Pletcher-trained Presto, the Chad Brown-trained pair of Fullness of Time and Lookin At Roses as well as Spice Road who is a full-brother to graded stakes winner Avery Island. The race is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. ET. The second leg will be Lone Star Park's sixth race. Carded for 5:05 p.m. ET, the event is a five-furlong maiden claiming race on the turf for 3-year-olds and upward which drew a field off 11 plus one also eligible entrant. Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen has two entered for the event, with Mighty Merle and Trip Candy. The action then shifts back to New York for the eighth race at Belmont - a New York-bred allowance event going six furlongs on the main track, featuring Belle Gallantey winner Not About the Nail, stakes placed Orchid Party and My Last Million who seeks a third straight victory. The penultimate leg, the Grade 3 $300,000 Steve Sexton Mile, includes a well-matched field of 10 contestants including Charles Fipke's Title Ready who was a winner at Aqueduct during the winter meet; the Phil D'Amato trained stakes placed pair of King Abner and Air Strike; and multiple graded stakes winning millionaire Shotgun Kowboy. For the past two years, the winner of the Steve Sexton Mile has gone on to win the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap as a part of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. The one-mile test over the Lone Star main track is scheduled to go off at 5:40 p.m. ET. The Cross Country Pick 5 closes out in Belmont Park's featured event - the $125,000 License Fee for fillies and mares 4-years-old and upward going six furlongs on the inner turf. A field of seven has been drawn for the event including German-bred Albertville, who makes her first start in the United States for trainer Christophe Clement and stakes-winner Broadway Run. Trained by John Terranova, the Florida-bred daughter of Prospective has never finished off the board in six career starts. The License Fee has a scheduled post time of 5:51 p.m. ET. 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. Cross Country Pick 5 on Sunday, April 28 Leg 1: Belmont Park - Race 7, 4:45 p.m.Leg 2: Lone Star Park - Race 6, 5:05 pmLeg 3: Belmont Park - Race 8, 5:18 p.m.Leg 4: Lone Star Park - Grade 3 $300,000 Steve Sexton Mile (Race 7, 5:40 pm)Leg 5: Belmont Park - $125,000 License Fee (Race 9, 5:51 p.m.)      

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4.21.2019:

Alwaysmining Romps in Xpressbet Federico Tesio Stakes

LAUREL, MD – Impressive as he had been in putting together a five-race win streak, four of them in stakes, Runnymede Racing’s Alwaysmining took it to another level with an11 ½-length romp in Saturday’s $125,000 Xpressbet Federico Tesio at Laurel Park, punching his ticket to the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1). The 38th running of the Tesio for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles highlighted an 11-race Spring Stakes Spectacular program of seven stakes worth $750,000 in purses. For the fourth straight year, the Tesio served as a ‘Win and In’ event for Triple Crown-nominated horses to the Preakness, the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, May 18 at legendary Pimlico Race Course. “As long as we come back ok, that’s our goal,” winning trainer Kelly Rubley said. Tested in the early stages for the first time during his streak, now at six straight, Alwaysmining settled in third down the backstretch and met no resistance sweeping to the lead on the outside around the turn, powering through the lane under a hand ride from Daniel Centeno to hit the wire in 1:50.12 over a fast main track. It was the fastest 1 1/8-mile Tesio, which has also been contested at 1 1/16 miles, since Xchanger ran 1:14.98 in 2007, when the race was held at Pimlico. Alwaysmining becomes the eighth Maryland-bred and first since Concealed Identity in 2011 to win the Tesio since it was opened up beyond restricted company in 1987. “You just hate to get overconfident, but this is what I had expected to happen so I’m really glad it came true,” Rubley said. “We’re all very excited. It’s a fabulous day.” A front-running winner of his previous five races by 25 combined lengths, Alwaysmining was outrun to the lead by Bozzini, coming back on a week’s rest, who coasted through an opening quarter-mile in 25 seconds pressed by 45-1 long shot Trifor Gold, going the half in 48.47. Centeno had Alwaysmining in the clear in third, ready to pounce, which they did as the field left the backstretch after six furlongs in 1:12.97. Having displayed an ability to go two turns with his victory in the Private Terms Stakes March 16, Alwaysmining willingly outdistanced his rivals with little urging from Centeno. “The plan was to try to make the lead, but I didn’t want to chase them, so I let them go. I decided to take him back and put him behind them. He was comfortable, nice and relaxed. I put him on the outside on the backstretch and when it was time to go, he took off,” Centeno said. “[The Preakness] will be a completely different game. I told Kelly, he’ll be completely relaxed. We don’t need to put him on the lead. We can do whatever we want with him.” Rubley had worked Alwaysmining behind horses, felt confident the gelded son of Grade 1 winner Stay Thirsty was not reliant on the lead, and was relieved to see her assessment was on the mark. “Honestly I was glad to see that he settled and he was able to relax,” she said. “It looked like it got a little tight, but Danny didn’t really think it did. Somebody had to test us sooner or later. I’m glad we got it out of the way here, and I’m confident that he handles it well.” Now a five-time stakes winner, following the Maryland Juvenile Futurity and Heft at 2 and Miracle Wood to open his sophomore campaign, Alwaysmining turned in what Rubley felt was his most impressive performance to date.  “I think it is because we actually had a bit more of a challenge at the start of this race and I think that was good to see, that this horse is as versatile as we thought he is,” she said. “He didn’t have a problem relaxing and then when it was time to go, he went.” Trifor Gold was a distant second, two lengths ahead of Bozzini, followed by Dixie Drawl and Tybalt. Majid was scratched. The Federico Tesio, a Grade 3 event from 1988-97, is named for the famed Italian breeder, owner and trainer whose undefeated homebreds, Nearco and Ribot, dominate Thoroughbred bloodlines throughout the world. Tesio died in 1954 at the age of 85.

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4.18.2019:

Major US Racing Organizations Announce Plans to Implement Prohibition of Race-Day Medication

A coalition of leading Thoroughbred racing associations and organizations announced today a new initiative committed to phasing out the use of the medication Furosemide (Lasix) beginning in 2020 and eliminating the use of Lasix in stakes races held at their racetracks beginning in 2021. Coalition racetracks that have signed on to this initiative include all tracks owned or operated by Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and The Stronach Group as well as Del Mar, Keeneland, Lone Star Park and Remington Park, Los Alamitos Racecourse (Thoroughbred), Oaklawn Park and Tampa Bay Downs. Taken together these tracks represent 86% of the stakes races assigned graded or listed status in the United States in 2018. The coalition tracks will work diligently with their respective horsemen’s associations and racing commissions towards implementing this effort. Under the new program, beginning on January 1, 2020, two-year old horses would not be allowed to be treated with Lasix within 24 hours of a race. Beginning in 2021, the same prohibition would extend to all horses participating in any stakes race at coalition tracks. Accordingly, in 2021 the races comprising the Triple Crown would all be run under the new rules regarding race day medication.Breeders’ Cup Limited, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’ Association (TOBA) and the American Graded Stakes Committee of TOBA, and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association have also joined the coalition in support of this new policy. “This is a progressive and unified approach to the subject of race day medication, achieving consistency with international standards for young horses and those that form the foundations of our breeding stock,” said David O’Rourke, president and chief executive officer of NYRA. “This is a huge moment that signals a collective move to evolve this legacy sport. While there is still more work to be done, these reforms are a good start. This industry coalition has taken an important step forward toward a uniform policy and we are committed to focusing our attention and resources on how to make further improvements that directly prioritize equine health and safety. We applaud our industry partners and we look forward to continued collaboration,” said Belinda Stronach, chairman and president of The Stronach Group. “Over the past several years, we have met with numerous stakeholders to drive action on many of our sport’s central issues,” said Bill Carstanjen, chief executive officer of CDI. “This is a significant and meaningful step to further harmonize American racing with international standards. We will continue to work with other stakeholders, including our horsemen and regulatory agencies, to fully implement this and other important reforms.” “This new program is an essential step as we look toward the long-term sustainability of US-breds on the national and international stages. Protecting the integrity of our sport is core to our mission and is our collective responsibility to the industry,” said Keeneland president and chief executive officer Bill Thomason. The coalition racing organizations invite other North American race tracks to join this effort and adopt the same policies. Participating tracks include Aqueduct Racetrack, Arlington International Racecourse, Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, Del Mar, Fair Grounds, Gulfstream Park, Gulfstream Park West, Keeneland, Laurel Park, Lone Star Park and Remington Park, Los Alamitos (Thoroughbred), Oaklawn Park, Pimlico, Presque Isle Downs, Saratoga Race Course and Tampa Bay Downs. Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita Park will continue to run under the previously announced limitations to race-day medication.

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4.17.2019:

Alwaysmining Headlines $125,000 Xpressbet Federico Tesio Stakes

LAUREL, MD – As the racing manager for Greg and Caroline Bentley’s Runnymede Racing, Joe Cassidy is always on the lookout for a good horse. After watching a Maryland-bred son of Stay Thirsty break his maiden in handy fashion last summer at Laurel Park, he thought he found one. Cassidy, the Bentleys or trainer Kelly Rubley had no idea just how good. After finishing off the board in his first two starts for Runnymede, one of them on turf, Alwaysmining has reeled off five consecutive victories, the last four in stakes, heading into Saturday’s $125,000 Xpressbet Federico Tesio at Laurel. The 38th running of the Tesio for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles is one of seven stakes worth $750,000 in purses on an 11-race Spring Stakes Spectacular program. For the fourth straight year, the Tesio serves as a ‘Win and In’ event for Triple Crown-nominated horses to the 144th Preakness (G1) May 18 at legendary Pimlico Race Course. Also on Saturday’s card are the $125,000 Weber City Miss for 3-year-old fillies, a ‘Win and In’ race for the 95th Black-Eyed Susan (G2) May 18 at Pimlico; $100,000 Frank Whiteley Jr. and Primonetta for sprinters 3 and up on the main track; $100,000 Henry S. Clark presented by Fidelity First and James Blackwell Real Estate and Dahlia at one mile on Laurel’s world-class turf course; and inaugural $100,000 King T. Leatherbury Stakes presented by B&B Commercial Interiors going 5 ½ furlongs on the grass. First race post time is 1:10 p.m. “We were really looking to just get regional horses, plus the extra bonus money you get when you have a state-bred horse. It’s always good for the bottom line. It was just a business decision from the strictest point,” Cassidy said. “Honestly, he was a Maryland-bred, and we were looking for some young horses that had dirt experience that could run through the winter locally. “The Bentleys were not running a lot of dirt horses and they wanted to change their profile, and he hit it between the eyes,” he added. “Being a Maryland-bred, we thought being a nice horse he can run in some nice Maryland-bred races and maybe a Maryland-bred stake. It would be icing on the cake.” Still relatively new to the ownership game, much of the Bentleys’ success thus far had come with turf horses. Postulation won the American St. Leger (G3) in 2017 at Arlington Park where, three years earlier, Hardest Core upset the Arlington Million (G1) at odds of 11-1. Hardest Core, who resided at Runnymede Farm near Unionville, Pa., ran in the name of Andrew P. Bentley Stables, the Bentleys’ son. “They’re ecstatic. You couldn’t have scripted it for us better. We thought we bought a nice horse, and he turned out to be even better than expectations. They’re just loving it,” Cassidy said. “This is new for them, to have a top 3-year-old and they love it. They love the game, they love going to Laurel, they love the whole experience. “This has been great for us,” he added. “We’ve got some broodmares and we’ve been trying to get some dirt pedigrees so we have a little more diversification. This has just solidified that the direction they want to go is the right direction.” Since last fall, Alwaysmining has done everything right. All five of his victories have come in front-running fashion under jockey Daniel Centeno, who continued to fly in from Florida over the winter to ride. All together, they have won by 25 combined lengths, starting with a 10-length romp through the slop in October. From there, Alwaysmining won the Maryland Juvenile Futurity and Heft Stakes, both at seven furlongs, to cap his 2-year-old season. At that time, the connections got together to plot out a course of action for the gelding, whose sire ran in two legs of the 2011 Triple Crown, finishing second in the 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes, before winning the 1 1/8-mile Jim Dandy (G2) and 1 ¼-mile Travers (G1). Ultimately, the decision was made to take a conservative approach. He opened his sophomore campaign with a 4 ¼-length triumph in the one-mile Miracle Wood Feb. 16, then followed up by acing his first two-turn test with a 6 ¾-length score in the Private Terms, contested at about 1 1/16 miles, March 16. Alwaysmining was nominated to Kentucky Derby (G1) point-qualifying races in California, Kentucky and New York the first weekend of April, but the connections stayed true to their plan. “When Kelly Rubley, the Bentleys and myself sat down after the Heft Stakes, we mapped these three races out for him. It was from a timing figure, a distance figure, and everything worked out perfectly,” Cassidy said. “He’s stabled at Fair Hill, so he didn’t have to do a lot of shipping. “After the Private Terms there was a little more pressure to go on the road, but we said, “This is what we mapped out, it’s been working so far, why deviate from that?’” he added. “He’s a gelding, so his longevity is most important. The best interests of him is most important. We weren’t sure about going the two turns and then after the last race, he did a great job, so let’s just stick to the plan, and the Bentleys have been great with it.” Among the horses Alwaysmining has beaten during his streak are Win Win Win, track-record winner of the Pasco Stakes this winter in Tampa and runner-up in the Blue Grass (G1) who is bound for the Derby; and Grade 3-placed Tremont Stakes winner Our Braintrust, also on the Derby trail prior to his off-the-board finish in the Rebel (G2) last month. “These are nice horses that he’s running against and we were like, ‘What a nice horse.’ After the second time your heart starts beating a little faster,” Cassidy said. “Going into the Miracle Wood he had a little break and we’ll see how he does. Then he goes two turns in the Private Terms and does what he does. It’s pretty thrilling to have a horse that’s doing this, the way he does it. “You have to give Kelly a tremendous amount of credit, and her team,” he added. “Danny Centeno has ridden him perfectly. We’re lucky that we have the people we have. They’ve done a fabulous job for us and we’re just enjoying the ride. If [the Preakness] were to happen, you’d have to peel us off the ceiling.” For the third straight race, Alwaysmining figures to be an overwhelming favorite from Post 2 in a field of six at topweight of 122 pounds, four more than each of his rivals. He has worked three times over Fair Hill’s all-weather surface, including a bullet five furlongs in 1:00 April 6. “Kelly’s very happy with the horse,” Cassidy said. “The great thing about this horse is, after it’s over he switches right back off. He’s just a sweet horse to be around. He’s a lovely horse, so the Bentleys quite enjoy being able to go to the barn and pet him and give him cookies and that kind of thing. All the way around, it’s been a great experience for them. They couldn’t be happier.” Also entered in the Tesio are multiple stakes-placed Tybalt, third behind Alwaysmining in the Miracle Wood and Private Terms; Dixie Drawl, fourth in the Private Terms in his stakes debut; Majid, a winner of his last two races including a one-mile optional claiming allowance March 24 at Laurel; Bozzini, second by a nose to Nyquist’s half-brother Still Dreaming April 13 at Laurel; and Maryland-bred Trifor Gold. “My gosh, I wish it was tomorrow,” Cassidy said. “This is another question for him. He has to get the mile and an eighth. We don’t want to put too much in front of him. He has to get the distance. It’s always a question for these young horses. We know he’ll show up, and hopefully we’re not asking him to do more than he’s up for.”

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4.13.2019:

Omaha Beach Splashes to Victory in G1 Arkansas Derby

Fox Hill Farm’s Rebel Stakes (G2) winner Omaha Beach returned to Hot Springs from his California base to post an even more impressive victory in Saturday’s $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) before a rain-drenched crowd of 45,000. Omaha Beach, breaking from post three under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, broke well and was fifth early as longshot One Flew South led for the opening quarter mile in :23. The 8-5 favorite angled four wide on the first turn, assumed the lead by a half mile in :47 2/5 and never looked back. The Bob Baffert-trained Improbable, the 9-5 second choice, was restless in the gate, broke sixth and moved his way into second by the time the field reached the homestretch, but could not reach Omaha Beach, who won by one length in 1:49 4/5 for 1 1/8-miles on a sloppy track. Country House, who was 10th at the half-mile mark, made a huge run, closing late to be third. Laughing Fox closed from last to be fourth. Galilean, Long Range Toddy, Jersey Agenda, Tikhvin Flew, Gary Attempt, Six Shooter and One Flew South complete the 11-horse field.  Omaha Beach earned 100 points for his Arkansas Derby victory and is now second on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 137.5 points. Improbable earned 40 points for second and is safely in the Kentucky Derby field as the 11th horse on the list with 65 points. Country House earned 20 points to bring his total to 50 and is 15th on the list of 20 horses guaranteed a spot in the gate for the “Run for the Roses,” Saturday, May 4, closing day of the 2019 Oaklawn season. The Richard Mandella-trained Omaha Beach improved his record to 3-3-1 from seven starts and has earned $1,121,800. The War Front colt returned $5.40, $3 and $2.80 as the favorite. Live racing resumes tomorrow with a 1:30 p.m. first post. The day is highlighted by the $750,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) and the $54,000 Progressive Cash Giveaway. $1 Million Arkansas Derby (G1) Quotes Winning trainer Richard Mandella, Omaha Beach: “He looked like he was well within himself and Mike (Smith) just let him enjoy his job, just stride out and go where he went. My first thought was, ‘Jeez, don’t move too quick’ and then I thought, ‘Don’t be second-guessing Mike Smith’ – one of the greatest of all times. Just appreciate having him and can’t tell you how much I appreciate this horse and his owner (Rick Porter). We’d already ran in the slop at home, so that wasn’t much of a concern. He’s a very tractable horse. I don’t think we need to pick a surface.” Winning Owner Rick Porter, Omaha Beach: “I think the horse certainly fits with the other horses. We’ll see how he comes out of the race and see how things are going. We’ll decide, probably, tonight (regarding the Kentucky Derby).” Winning jockey Mike Smith, Omaha Beach: I had a great trip. Little nerve wracking in the gate because a few of them didn’t want to load, but he handled it all well. He got a little uptight, but then relaxed. He jumped extremely well. There were several horses that wanted the lead. Mr. Mandella has been teaching him in the morning to break off strong and then relax. He did just that. Picked a nice little spot and stayed right there. His cruising speed just takes him up there. I just basically tried to stay out of way. He’s doing is to easy, I’m better off letting him than fighting him. On having to make a decision between Omaha Beach and Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster on who to ride in the Kentucky Derby May 4: “It’s a lovely decision to have. We’re going to go back and see how everyone comes back and go from there. Evaluate the situation. Then my agent will make the decision. That’s why I pay him.” Trainer Bob Baffert, second with Improbable: “The horse, happy with the way he ran. I was a little bit worried in the starting gate. He was acting up in there. I had a few moments there of maybe he was going to rear up or do something and get left. Luckily, they unloaded him and put him back and he left there well. I thought Jose Ortiz did a masterful job of riding him. We got beat by a good horse. They showed how these California horses are good horses.” Baffert said Improbable will be pointed for the Kentucky Derby, adding he believes the colt doesn’t need blinkers (raced in the equipment for the first time in the Arkansas Derby). Trainer Bill Mott, third with Country House: “We’ll talk to the owners (about the Kentucky Derby). That’s what we were looking for (points), and he ran well.” Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., fourth on Laughing Fox: “We had a great trip. We didn’t win, but I feel like we did because he improved so much off his last race. He’s a good horse.”

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4.8.2019:

2019 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #4 Results

Here are the full results for Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #4 (April 5 - 7, 2019): 1. Anothertwistafate (Blaine Wright) - 19/1 ($40.80)2. Bodexpress (Gustavo Delgado) - 65/1 ($133.20)3. Bourbon War (Mark Hennig) - 32/1 ($67.20)4. By My Standards (Bret Calhoun) - 32/1 ($67.00)5. Code of Honor (Shug McGaughey) - 20/1 ($43.20) 6. Cutting Humor (Todd Pletcher) - 50/1 ($103.40) 7. Galilean (Jerry Hollendorfer) - 53/1 ($108.80)8. Game Winner (Bob Baffert) - 7/1 ($17.60)9. Haikal (Kiaran McLaughlin) - 35/1 ($73.00)10. Improbable (Bob Baffert) - 8/1 ($19.80) 11. Instagrand (Jerry Hollendorfer) - 65/1 ($132.20) 12. Long Range Toddy (Steve Asmussen) - 23/1 ($49.20) 13. Maximum Security (Jason Servis) - 7/1 ($16.80)14. Omaha Beach (Richard Mandella) - 10/1 ($22.80) 15. Outshine (Todd Pletcher) - 111/1 ($224.20) 16. Plus Que Parfait (Brendan Walsh) - 55/1 ($112.20) 17. Roadster (Bob Baffert) - 6/1 ($15.40) 18. Signalman (Ken McPeek) - 70/1 ($143.80) 19. Spinoff (Todd Pletcher) - 35/1 ($73.20) 20. Tacitus (Bill Mott) - 8/1 ($18.40) 21. Vekoma (George Weaver) - 15/1 ($32.60) 22. War of Will (Mark Casse) - 23/1 ($48.80) 23. Win Win Win (Michael Trombetta) - 21/1 ($44.40) 24. All Other 3YO's - 9/2 ($11.80)

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4.8.2019:

Santa Anita Derby Quotes: Roadster Beats Game Winner; Instagrand Third

SANTA ANITA DERBY $1,000,000 QUOTES JOCKEY QUOTES  MIKE SMITH, ROADSTER, WINNER:  “We knew before he and Game Winner started running that they both had ability. They were breezing by the competition like this and putting them away. We weren’t sure which one was better. The first time he ran for me he showed he had all the gears. The second time he had the problem with his wind. We fixed that and he’s doing all the right things. We got a good break and then we dropped back. He took a breather, while the others were going out there quick. When I asked him again, he was gone.”  JOEL ROSARIO, GAME WINNER, SECOND: “I moved a little bit soon because they weren’t putting much pressure on Instagrand, but they weren’t going too fast up front so I was comfortable with my position. He got a little bit tired the last part, that’s why Roadster got by me.”  FLAVIEN PRAT, INSTAGRAND, THIRD:  “I though he ran very well. At the quarter pole, I thought maybe I was done, but he switched leads and made a good run.”  TRAINER QUOTES  BOB BAFFERT, ROADSTER, WINNER, & GAME WINNER, SECOND: “They’re two good horses. Game Winner was out there by himself and when he gets by himself . . . he needs company. It was a good, hard race for both of them, and coming in, that’s what you want to see. This track is deep and slow, but it’s safe, and that’s what we wanted. I couldn’t be happier. We knew that Roadster needed to win or run second (for Kentucky Derby qualifying points, 100 to the winner, 40 to the runner-up). “It was a great finish. They were both finishing well, they were fighting; Game Winner is a fighter. It was a great stretch run . . . at the eighth pole I knew I was going to win, I just didn’t know which one, but it was exciting. They’ll both like a mile and a quarter (distance of Kentucky Derby on May 4). I think Game Winner’s next race will be better. I’ve been bringing him along really easy. “Roadster is a light horse but always shown brilliance from day one. We’re just lucky we were able to bring him back, because after Del Mar I was worried that maybe the (throat) surgery didn’t go well, because it could’ve gone worse. But I couldn’t thank the surgeon that did it enough. He’s one of the best in the business and I’ve never had issues with it. His breathing is not an issue . . . Today he passed the test to know he’s good enough to go to the Big Show. “I left strategy up to my riders. Rosario and Mike know what it is to be at that high level. They did not have any instructions at all. They were on their own and they know their horses. They rode great races . . . We’re there, we’ve just got to keep them happy and healthy, enjoy the ride, the moment. It’s hard to get to this moment. What I love the best is there’s not a better feeling than there was today. “The fans, despite what they’ve reading, they showed up, they’re here to watch good racing, they bring their family, they’ll always remember the Santa Anita Derby. It was so comforting to see all these fans here and get behind us. They know at the end of the day we love our horses. We wake up worrying about them, we go to sleep worrying about them. To me, that’s what made this a great day.” OWNER QUOTES PETER FLUOR, OWNER SPEEDWAY STABLE, LLC, ROADSTER, WINNER: "I thought he would've been closer to the lead frankly, but it was cool to see him run a different kind of race. He’s been running second and then accelerating. Today, I’m proud of him for coming from off the pace like that. I wasn’t too thrilled about things halfway through the race, but Mike said he’s got gears and he showed it today. Hopefully, he comes out of it well and we can go on to the Derby. Mike did a good job keeping him relaxed and obviously he had to make a move at the top of the stretch and you're always waiting for a horse to make a move. He did just that, so happy ending. But, like I said, I thought we would've been closer up front. That was absolutely thrilling."  NOTES: This Baffert’s ninth Santa Anita Derby win.

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4.7.2019:

Vekoma Wins G2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland

Gatsas Stable and R.A. Hill Stable’s Vekoma took command from Somelikeithotbrown in the middle of the far turn and went on to post a 3½-length victory over Win Win Win in the 95th running of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2) for 3-year-olds before a crowd of 34,775, a record for an opening Saturday of a Keeneland meet. Several Keeneland wagering records also fell on Toyota Blue Grass Day. All-sources handle for the 11-race card totaled $25,809,200, shattering the previous record of $22,634,861 set last year on Toyota Blue Grass Day. The All-Stakes Pick Five handled $1,079,197, eclipsing the previous record of $899,196 set on this day in 2018. The exacta pool totaled a record $1,300,590, and the win-place-show pool was a record $2,068,406. Trained by George Weaver and ridden by Javier Castellano, Vekoma covered the 1 1/8 miles on a fast main track in 1:50.93. It was the first victory in the race for Weaver and Castellano. Vekoma became first horse since Coaltown in 1948 to win the race in only his fourth career start. The victory was worth 100 points on the road to the $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), to be run May 4 at Churchill Downs, and gives Vekoma a total of 110, second on the leaderboard. That is more than enough to earn a spot in the starting gate, which is limited to the top 20 point earners and invitees that pass the entry box. Win Win Win, who rallied to get second by a nose over Signalman, picked up 40 points to boost his total to 50 (14th). Signalman added 20 points to boost his total to 38 (18th) and Somelikeitbrown added 10 points to increase his total to 30 (22nd). Somelikeithotbrown took the early lead out of post position one with Vekoma closely tracking in second through fractions of :23.26, :47.03 and 1:11.55. On the far turn, Castellano sent Vekoma after the leader and, entering the stretch, quickly opened up. Signalman moved into second at midstretch only to have Win Win Win nip him at the wire for the runner-up spot. A Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase, Vekoma is a Kentucky-bred son of Candy Ride (ARG) out of the Speightstown mare Mona de Momma. The $600,000 winner’s check boosted his earnings to $788,850 with a record of 4-3-0-1. Favored in the field of 14, Vekoma returned $4.80, $3.20 and $2.60. Win Win Win, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., returned $4 and $3.20 with Signalman finishing third under Brian Hernandez Jr. and paying $3.60 to show. It was another three-quarters of a length back to Somelikeithotbrown in fourth with Chess Chief, So Alive, Sir Winston, Admire, Moonster, Lucky Lee, Market King, Aquadini, Dream Maker and Parsimony following in order.

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4.7.2019:

Regally-Bred Tacitus Too Tough in G2 Wood Memorial

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Juddmonte Farms' Tacitus punched his ticket to the Kentucky Derby, overtaking Tax in the stretch with an impressive move from the outside and closing strong for a 1 ¼-length win in the 95th running of the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack. Tacitus, who garnered 50 qualifying points to the 'Run for the Roses' on May 5 at Churchill Downs when he won the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby last month, earned an additional 100 points by besting the 11-horse Wood Memorial field, rocketing to the top of the leaderboard as the first horse to crack the 150-point threshold this year. Out of the gate, 51-1 longshot Joevia swung to the far left from the outermost post, nearly running into Overdeliver, before surging to the front with an opening quarter-mile in 23.62 seconds on the fast main track. Not That Brady, at 40-1, also gave chase and dueled Joevia for the early speed, eventually taking the lead with a 46.91 half-mile as the rest of the field stood 7 ½-lengths back. Nearing the final turn, Tax and Tacitus overtook the pacesetters from the outside. Tax, under jockey Junior Alvarado, held the temporary advantage before Jose Ortiz asked Tacitus for his best, overtaking his rival in the final furlong, completing 1 1/8 miles in a final time of 1:51.23. "I was pleased with his effort," said Ortiz, who won his first Wood Memorial. "I don't know about the other horses behind me, it was kind of crazy around the first turn. After that, he got a little bumped and he's a big horse. He managed to take that and go on and win the race. "A mile and a quarter will suit him. The mile and an eighth didn't bother him, so I think going a little bit longer can be good too." Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott registered his first Wood win and will now be seeking his first career Derby victory and second in a Classic, joining 2010 Belmont Stakes-winner Drosselmeyer. "I thought it was a very good effort," Mott said. "It was very rough on the first turn, but fortunately he came out of it in good order. When he got down the backside, I thought he had a nice, clear run by himself. He kind of got his feet back under him and regrouped a little bit. When it was time to run he started to wear them down. "It's not a surprise, but you always hope they show up. He's a young horse and you never know what's going to happen in any race. Some horses would have been discouraged with what happened on the first turn. They could have backed out of it or decide they didn't want any part of it after getting roughed up like that." Off as the 5-2 favorite, Tacitus returned $7.20 on a $2 win wager. The Kentucky homebred improved his career bankroll to $665,500. "He'll probably stay here for another week and then go to Churchill Downs," Mott said. "I think the race sets him up well. I think the timing is fine. I think we've got a month to go back to the Derby. He's had two races and a lot of handicappers think the third race off the bench is the best, so I hope that group of handicappers is absolutely right. I think this effort puts him at or near the top of the list [of Derby contenders]." Tax, owned by R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable, closed 2 ¾ lengths in front of Haikal for second, earning 40 qualifying points. The Danny Gargan trainee has 72 points after winning the Grade 2 Withers [10 points] on February 2 and third [two points] in the Grade 2 Remsen on December 1. All three of Tax's Derby prep races have come at Aqueduct. "He ran huge. The horses laying up close all day have been running really well," Gargan said. "I told Junior [Alvarado], let's just break out of there and get a good position. I didn't want to take back. Let's make them run into the first turn and make your move turning for home. If we get run down, it's okay. I don't mind running second today, I just wanted to make sure we got enough Derby points to get in. We might have moved a little early today, but we get to go to Louisville, Kentucky now." Shadwell Stable's Haikal upped his point total to 70, following a 50-point boon for his Grade 3 Gotham win on March 9 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. Haikal, 3-1-1 in five career starts, beat out Math Wizard by a half-length for third. "We ran very well. Obviously, his first time around two turns he finished strong. He might do better with a little faster pace, but that could happen if we go to the Derby," McLaughlin said. "You never know, two turns and the distance, it was a good answer - he answered the questions. He ran very well. He can do the distance. I don't know yet (about going to the Kentucky Derby). We'll talk to the owner." Not That Brady, Final Jeopardy, Hoffa's Union, Grumps Little Tots, Outshine and Overdeliver completed the order of finish. Joevia, who had finished seventh, was disqualified and placed last for interference stemming from the start.

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4.4.2019:

Game Winner, Roadster Headline Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 3, 2019) — A winner of a record eight Santa Anita Derbies, including last year’s running with eventual Triple Crown Champion and Horse of the Year Justify, Bob Baffert again appears to be on racing’s pole position as he sends out likely favorite Game Winner and top contender Roadster among a field of six sophomores in this Saturday’s Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby at a mile and one eighth. Jerry Hollendorfer’s Instagrand and John Sadler’s Nolo Contesto each merit considerable respect as well and they’ll all be vying for a total of 170 all-important Kentucky Derby qualifying points, with 100 to the winner, 40 to second, 20 to third and 10 points to the fourth place finisher. To be run for the 82nd time, the Santa Anita Derby, which was originally run in 1935, has produced 17 Kentucky Derby winners and two Triple Crown winners (Justify and Affirmed in 1978), has also served as a steppingstone to the winners of 43 overall Triple Crown races. GAME WINNER Owner:  Gary and Mary West                                       Trainer:  Bob Baffert An undefeated winner of last November’s Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he ran what by all accounts was a tremendous race as the 1-2 favorite in a division of the Grade II Rebel Stakes March 16 at Oaklawn Park on March 16, as he came up a nose short to top Derby prospect Omaha Beach at 1 1/16 miles.  The nation’s reigning Eclipse Award winning 2-year-old from last year, Game Winner, who is by Candy Ride, out of the A.P. Indy mare Indyan Giving, was brilliant in his only Santa Anita start, a 4 ½ length score three starts back in the Grade I American Pharoah Stakes on Sept. 29.  A winner of four out of his five starts, he has earnings of $1,646,000. INSTAGRAND Owner:  OXO Equine, LLC                                                           Trainer:  Jerry Hollendorfer A winner of his first two starts, both sprints, by a combined 20 ¼ lengths, this Kentucky-bred colt flattened out late to finish third, beaten 1 ½ lengths as the even money favorite in the Grade III, one turn mile Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct March 9—his first start in seven months.  Currently based at Los Alamitos, Instagrand worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.40 on March 30, best of 17 moves at the distance.  Favored in all three of his starts, he’ll be reunited with Drayden Van Dyke, who was up for both of his wins on June 29 at Los Alamitos, and in the Grade II, six furlong Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar Aug. 11. ROADSTER Owner:  Speedway Stable, LLC                                              Trainer:  Bob Baffert A sharp 4 ¼ length first-out maiden winner going six furlongs on July 29 at Del Mar, this Quality Road colt was then third, beaten two lengths, by Game Winner in the Grade I, seven furlong Del Mar Futurity Sept. 3.  Off as the 3-5 favorite in the Futurity, he was unraced prior to an impressive 2 ½ length allowance win going one mile here on March 1 and appears to be a colt with a very bright future.  Out of the Silver Ghost mare Ghost Dancing, Roadster, who drilled six furlongs in a bullet 1:12.60 on March 31, will be ridden for the fourth consecutive time by Mike Smith. NOLO CONTESTO Owner:  Hronis Racing, LLC                                                        Trainer:  John Sadler A half length one mile maiden winner two starts back on Jan. 4, this Pioneerof the Nile colt was second, beaten 2 ½ lengths by Roadster as the 3-5 favorite in a one mile first condition allowance on March 1 and will be making his first stakes appearance in what will be his fourth career start.  Ridden by Joel Rosario in his first three outs, Joe Talamo has the call on Saturday. THE GRADE I SANTA ANITA DERBY WITH JOCKEYS IN POST POSITION ORDER Race 8 of 11  Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT Roadster—Mike Smith—124 More Ice—Geovanni Franco--124 Nolo Contesto—Joe Talamo—124 Synthesis—Rafael Bejarano—124 Instagrand—Flavien Prat—124 Game Winner—Joel Rosario--124 Special early first post time for an 11-race card on Saturday is at 12 noon.  Admission gates will open at 10 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.  

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4.4.2019:

Tacitus, Tax & Haikal Headline 95th Wood Memorial

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The triumvirate of graded stakes winners Tax, Tacitus and Haikal top a wide-open 95th running of the Grade 2, $750,0000 Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets, slated for Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack. The Wood Memorial, which offers 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the top-four finishers, is slated for an approximate post time of 6 p.m. ET and will be part of a live national broadcast on NBCSN from 5:30-7:30 p.m., scheduled to also include the Grade 2 Blue Grass at Keeneland and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby from Santa Anita Park. Prior to the NBCSN broadcast, FOX Sports Saturday At The Races will air the major stakes, including the Grade 1 Carter, leading up to the Wood Memorial with national coverage on FS2 beginning at 4 p.m. and regional coverage in the tri-state area on MSG+ starting at 3 p.m. The dependable Tax, trained by Danny Gargan for owners R. A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable, will look to go from claim to Kentucky Derby fame in the prestigious nine-furlong Wood. The dark bay son of Arch was claimed for $50,000 on October 21 out of a winning effort at Keeneland and promptly shipped to Aqueduct, where he ran third in the Grade 2 Remsen over nine furlongs on the Big A main. Tax, who currently boasts 12 Derby qualifying points, arrives at Saturday's test from a determined head score on February 9 over Wood rival Not That Brady in the Grade 3 Withers. "He's training tremendous; he looks good. We're just hoping we get a clean trip," said Gargan. "He's a nice horse and we're just hoping we can run top-three, so we can go to the Derby. "He's a warrior. You have to get lucky and get a horse who wants to win as much as you want to win, and that's the kind of horse he is. He wants to win," continued Gargan. "He wants to run competitive, and he trains like that. He's real competitive in the mornings, so we just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope for good things going forward because the big goal is to be lucky enough to run him in the Derby." Junior Alvarado has the return call aboard Tax from the inside post in a field of 11. "Junior has a lot of insight into him. If it's working well, why change it? When a rider has confidence like that, it can only help," said Gargan. Juddmonte Farms homebred Tacitus, by Tapit out of 2014 Eclipse Champion Older Mare Close Hatches, graduated on November 10 at Aqueduct at second asking when traveling one-mile over a track labeled good.  The talented bay, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, wintered at Payson Park in Florida ahead of a successful seasonal debut in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby when 1 ¼-lengths the better of Wood rival Outshine. He picked up 50 Derby qualifying points in victory. Jose Ortiz, aboard for all three career starts, will pilot Tacitus from post 2. Shadwell Stable homebred Haikal will try two turns for the first time in the Wood. The Daaher bay is a neck away from being undefeated after narrowly missing to stakes-placed Family Biz in his debut. The late-moving Haikal broke his maiden on December 15 at Aqueduct in a six furlong sprint and used a similar style in his 3-year-old debut when rallying to a neck score over Wood rival Joevia. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, who won the Wood in 2015 with Frosted, Haikal arrives at his stamina test from a closing length score in the Grade 3 Gotham, which earned him 50 Derby qualifying points. McLaughlin said he is hopeful that Haikal will be more forwardly placed on Saturday. "The only question is the two turns, but we feel like it'll be no problem. Hopefully he won't be as far back as he was last time," said McLaughlin. "He could be in the middle of the pack or last, but he won't be 15 lengths off the pace like last time. He has a great mind and the post doesn't matter with him. We'll be behind most of the horses and so we'll be able to save ground." McLaughlin, who also conditioned Haikal's Canadian-bred sire Daaher, said that his Wood hopeful is a little more sizable than the stallion who captured the Grade 1 Cigar Mile in 2007. "The sire was very classy. This horse is a little bigger and taller than his sire and has more size to him. But we like him, and he's already won three in a row, so hopefully we can keep it going on Saturday," said McLaughlin. Rajiv Maragh, who is undefeated aboard Haikal, will guide the bay colt from post 4. Todd Pletcher, a five-time winner of the Wood, and Jason Servis will each saddle a pair of Wood starters. Pletcher previously won the Wood with Eskendereya (2010), Gemologist (2012), Verrazano (2013), Outwork (2016) and last year with Vino Rosso. On Saturday, he will send out the runners-up from both the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby and Pasco at Tampa Bay Downs. Outshine, owned by Let's Go Stable and Richard Schibell, boasts a record of 2-1-0 from four starts and arrives at the Wood from a game second to Tacitus in the Tampa Bay Derby. Pletcher said that Outshine has trained well since his Tampa Bay Derby effort. "He came out of it super and has been training very forwardly," said Pletcher. "We're excited about stretching him out to a mile and an eighth. We've been pointing to the Wood since the Tampa Bay Derby and we're optimistic from what we're seeing." Hall of Famer John Velazquez has the call aboard the Malibu Moon bay from post 10. The lightly-raced Overdeliver, a Kentucky-bred son of Overanalyze owned by Repole Stable, bested eventual Florida Derby runner-up Bode Express in an impressive debut maiden score on December 23 at Gulfstream Park. The chestnut colt followed that effort with a second-place finish in the Pasco in a troubled trip that saw Overdeliver bobble at the break in the seven-furlong test. Pletcher said the decision to come to the Wood was made based on Overdeliver's strong showing during morning training at Palm Beach Downs. "We didn't really have a firm plan after the Pasco. It's really just been based on his last three works that he's trained exceptionally well that we decided to take a shot at the Wood. I think his last couple works he's shown some really strong gallop outs and indicates that he's capable of stretching out," said Pletcher. Kendrick Carmouche has the call aboard Overdeliver from post 6. Servis, who won the Florida Derby last weekend with longshot Maximum Security for Gary and Mary West, will team up with the Wests once more when saddling optional-claiming winner Final Jeopardy and maiden winner Grumps Little Tots in the Wood. Final Jeopardy, a Street Sense bay purchased for $110,000 at the Keeneland November sale, graduated at first asking when sprinting six furlongs on December 9 at Gulfstream Park. Following a troubled trip when third in the six-furlong Limehouse at the Hallandale oval, Final Jeopardy returned to win a one-mile optional-claiming tilt by a widening 3 ¾-lengths. Aqueduct winter meet-leading rider Manny Franco has the call from post 5. Grumps Little Tots, owned by Michael Dubb, Coyle Boys Stable and Bethlehem Stables, hit the board in a trio of sprint events before graduating last out when stretched out to a one-turn mile at the Big A. The dark bay son of Sky Mesa will boast the services of Jose Lezcano from post 8. Not That Brady, bred in New York by KatieRich Farms, will look to bounce back from an uncharacteristic eighth last time out in the Grade 3 Gotham. The Big Brown chestnut, owned in part by conditioner Rudy Rodriguez with Michael Imperio, Lianna Stables, and R. A. Hill Stable, is out of the popular Lisa's Booby Trap. Not That Brady captured the Damon Runyon here on December 31 and proved his class with a strong second over nine furlongs in the Grade 3 Withers. Rodriguez has named Reylu Gutierrez for the return engagement from post 7. Michael and Jeff Fazio's Joevia, trained by Gregory Sacco, graduated at first asking before battling to a narrow neck defeat behind Haikal in the Jimmy Winfield. Last out, the Shanghai Bobby colt finished second in the Private Terms at Laurel Park. Nik Juarez will ride Joevia from the outermost post. Hoffa's Union earned a lofty 95 Beyer Speed Figure in his February 28 debut at Laurel Park, wiring a field of six by 15 ½-lengths in a 1 1/16-mile maiden event. Trained by Gary Capuano for Non Stop Stable, Rose Petal Stable and Foard J. Wilgis, the Union Rags bay will face a class test when stepping up against winners for the first time. Dylan Davis has the call aboard Hoffa's Union from post 3. Completing the field is Math Wizard, trained by Saffie Joseph, Jr., who has been claimed three times in seven starts. The Algorithms chestnut, owned in part by his conditioner with John Fanelli, Collarmele Vitelli Stables, Bassett Stables, Ioannis Zoumas, and Wynwood Thoroughbreds, boasts a record of 2-1-1. Claimed for his current connections for $25,000 from an impressive 18 ½-length win in a one-mile claiming tilt at Gulfstream Park, Math Wizard returned to finish a rallying second at the same track and distance in an optional-claiming event that earned a career-best 85 Beyer number. Eric Cancel will pilot Math Wizard from post 9. The Wood Memorial is slated as Race 10 on Saturday's 11-race card.

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4.4.2019:

Bellafina & Chasing Yesterday Top Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 3, 2019) — A pair of tremendously talented 3-year-old fillies, owner Kaleem Shah’s Bellafina and Summer Wind Equine’s Chasing Yesterday, will face each other for the first time as they head a field of five sophomore fillies in Saturday’s Grade I, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks. Fresh of a gutty three quarter length win in the Grade II, one mile Las Virgenes Stakes over a “good” main track on Feb. 9, Bellafina seeks her third Grade I victory in the Oaks for trainer Simon Callaghan. Chasing Yesterday, a half-sister to 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, comes off a facile 1 ¼ length win as the heavy favorite in the ungraded Sunland Park Oaks at 1 1/16 miles on March 24 and appears on the ascent as she seeks her fifth consecutive win for Bob Baffert. To be run for the 80th time on Saturday, the Santa Anita Oaks provides a total of 170 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points, with 100 to the winner, 40 to second, 20 to third and 10 points to the fourth place finisher. BELLAFINA Owner:  Kaleem Shah, Inc                                                          Trainer:  Simon Callaghan A winner of five out of her seven starts, Bellafina’s only poor performance came as the 9-5 favorite in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies three starts back at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2.  Fourth, beaten 9 ¼ lengths, Callaghan ascribed the miscue to the fact his filly was in reproductive heat at the time.  Dispatched as the 2-5 favorite in her next start, the Grade II, seven furlong Santa Ynez Stakes on Jan. 6, Bellafina was all business, winning by 8 ½ lengths.  The leading money earner in the field with $828,000, she has two Grade I wins to go with four grade scores and an overall mark of 7-5-1-0. CHASING YESTERDAY Owner:  Summer Wind Equine                                              Trainer:  Bob Baffert Although she was a winner of the Grade I Starlet Stakes two starts back on Dec. 8 at Los Alamitos, this chestnut filly by Tapit unquestionably faces her toughest test to date when facing Bellafina on Saturday.  In a surprise to some, Drayden Van Dyke, who has been aboard for all four of her wins, will be replaced on Saturday by Mike Smith, who guided Chasing Yesterday to a first out maiden score six starts back on July 28 at Del Mar.  With earnings of $440,650, she has five wins from six starts. THE GRADE I SANTA ANITA OAKS WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER Race 3 of 11  Approximate post time 1 p.m. PT Flor de La Mar—Joel Rosario—121 Chasing Yesterday—Mike Smith—124 Stirred—Drayden Van Dyke—121 Slewgoodtobetrue—Geovanni Franco—121 Bellafina—Flavien Prat—124  Special early first post time for an 11-race card on Saturday is at 12 noon.  Admission gates will open at 10 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.

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4.3.2019:

McKinzie & Gift Box Square Off in Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 3, 2019) — Two of the top older horses on the West Coast, John Sadler’s Gift Box and Bob Baffert’s McKinzie, head a field of six 4-year-olds and up in the 82nd running of the Grade I, $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap this Saturday.  Originally run in 1934, the Big ’Cap, America’s longest continually run “hundred grander,” will again be contested at a mile and one quarter. Idle since winning the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles San Antonio Stakes here on Dec. 26, 6-year-old Gift Box appears to be at the top of his game and although he was well beaten in his only other try at 1 ¼ miles at age three, give every indication he should relish the distance at this stage of his career. Beaten a half length by former Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile Champ Battle of Midway as the 1-2 favorite in the Grade II, 1 1/8 miles San Pasqual Stakes over a sloppy track on Feb. 2, 4-year-old McKinzie has trained extremely well for the Big ’Cap, which will also be his second try at 1 ¼ miles. GIFT BOX  Owner:  Hronis Racing, LLC                                                        Trainer:  John Sadler  Originally headquartered with trainer Chad Brown in New York, this 6-year-old Kentucky-bred horse by Twirling Candy made his first start for Sadler in the San Antonio and was dismissed at odds of 6-1.  With the San Antonio counting as his first graded stakes win, Gift Box is now 14-4-5-2 overall.  Although he was fourth, beaten 18 ¾ lengths by superstar Arrogate in the 2016 Travers Stakes going 1 ¼ miles, Gift Box appears primed for a huge effort and will no doubt be head and head with McKinzie in the battle of the tote. McKINZIE  Owner:  Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman                        Trainer:  Bob Baffert A smashing 4 ¾ length winner of the Grade I, seven furlong Malibu Stakes here on Dec. 26, this ultra-talented 4-year-old colt by Street Sense was outrun late by Battle of Midway in the San Pasqual, but has trained in sensational fashion for Baffert since.  A two-time Grade I winner and four-time graded stakes winner, McKinzie simply did not fire when distanced in his only other try at a mile and one quarter, the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic three starts back at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3.  The leading money earner in the field with $1,126,000, he has an overall mark of 8-5-2-0 and will likely be the post time favorite on Saturday. THE GRADE I SANTA ANITA HANDICAP WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER Race 10 of 11 Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PT  McKinzie—Mike Smith—123 Mongolian Groom—Geovanni Franco—114 Prime Attraction—Kent Desormeaux—116 Gift Box—Joel Rosario—122 Prince of Arabia—Joe Talamo—114 Campaign—Rafael Bejarano--115  Special early first post time for an 11-race card on Saturday is at 12 noon.  Admission gates will open at 10 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.

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4.3.2019:

Wood Memorial Day to feature Cross Country Pick 5 with Keeneland

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced today its latest Cross Country Pick 5 offering featuring an all graded stakes sequence from Aqueduct Racetrack and Keeneland on Saturday, April 6. The multi-race wager will include: The Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial and the Grade 1, $400,000 Carter Handicap from the Big A; along with the Grade 1, $300,000 Madison; the Grade 1, $500,000 Ashland; and the Grade 2, $1 million Toyota Blue Grass from Keeneland. The Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets will be part of a live national broadcast on NBCSN from 5:30-7:30 p.m., scheduled to also include the Grade 2 Blue Grass and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby from Santa Anita Park. Prior to the NBCSN broadcast, FOX Sports Saturday At The Races will air the major stakes, including the Grade 1 Carter, leading up to the Wood Memorial with national coverage on FS2 beginning at 4 p.m. and regional coverage in the tri-state area on MSG+ starting at 3 p.m. Saturday's Cross Country Pick 5 wager kicks off with the Grade 1 Madison (Race 8, 5:10 p.m.) for fillies and mares, 4-years-old and up going seven furlongs at Keeneland. The nine-horse field will feature the return of multiple graded stakes winner Shamrock Rose for trainer Mark Casse, who will look to improve cutting back in distance off a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Azeri on March 16 at Oaklawn Park. Leg 2, the Grade 1 Carter for 4-year-olds and up going seven furlongs, features 4-year-old colt World of Trouble, for trainer Jason Servis, who will look to earn his first graded stakes win when taking on last year's Wood Memorial winner Vino Rosso. The third leg, a contentious eight-horse Ashland field (Race 9, 5:45 p.m.) at Keeneland, will put 100 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points on the line in a race headlined by two-time Grade 1-winning filly Jaywalk. The action will shift back to Aqueduct for the penultimate leg, the featured Grade 2 Wood Memorial (Race 10, 6:00 p.m.) with 100 Derby points on the line, where Shadwell Stable's Haikal will look to win his second consecutive graded stakes at the Big A following a victory in the Grade 3 Gotham on March 9. Closing out Saturday's Cross Country Pick 5 is the Grade 2, $1 million Toyota Blue Grass for 3-year-olds at 6:23 p.m. from Keeneland. A talented 14-horse field includes Vekoma for R.A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables; Win Win Win for Live Oak Plantation; and Dream Maker for owner John Oxley all vying to win a spot in this year's Kentucky Derby field with 100 qualifying points up for grabs. 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. Aqueduct-Keeneland Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, April 6: Leg 1 - Keeneland, Race 8: Grade 1, $300,000 Madison (5:10 p.m.)Leg 2 - Aqueduct, Race 9: Grade 1, $400,000 Carter (5:22 p.m.)Leg 3 - Keeneland, Race 9: Grade 1, $500,000 Ashland (5:45 p.m.)Leg 4 - Aqueduct, Race 10 Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial (6:00 p.m.)Leg 5 - Keeneland, Race 10: Grade 2, $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (6:23 p.m.)

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4.2.2019:

Game Winner, Maximum Security Co-Favorites in Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #4

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Tuesday, April 2, 2019) – Gary and Mary West’s champion 2-year-old Game Winner and undefeated Florida Derby (Grade I) hero Maximum Security are 8-1 co-morning line favorites in Pool 4 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) which opens on Friday.The three-day pool will offer win and exacta betting on 23 individual horses and an option to bet all other 3-year-olds not offered within the wagering. Pool 4 betting opens Friday at noon (all times EDT) and will close Sunday at 6 p.m. This will be the final future wager offered prior to the first Saturday in May.Trained by Hall of Fame conditioner and five-time Kentucky Derby winning trainer Bob Baffert, Game Winner finished second in a split division of the March 16 Rebel Stakes (GII) at Oaklawn Park – his first start in more than four months. Game Winner is expected to enter Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby (GI) as his last major prep race before the Kentucky Derby.Maximum Security, based in South Florida with trainer Jason Servis, scored a 3 ½-length front-running victory in last Saturday’s Florida Derby (GI). A bay colt by New Year’s Day, Maximum Security debuted for a $16,000 claiming tag in late December and has won four lifetime starts by a combined 38 lengths.The complete Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 4 field (with trainer and morning line odds provided by odds maker Mike Battaglia): #1 Anothertwistafate (Blaine Wright, 30-1)#2 Bodexpress (Gustavo Delgado, 20-1)#3 Bourbon War (Mark Hennig, 15-1)#4 By My Standards (Bret Calhoun, 12-1)#5 Code of Honor (Shug McGaughey III, 12-1)#6 Cutting Humor (Todd Pletcher, 15-1)#7 Galilean (Jerry Hollendorfer, 30-1)#8 Game Winner (Baffert, 8-1)#9 Haikal (Kiaran McLaughlin, 30-1)#10 Improbable (Baffert, 10-1)#11 Instagrand (Hollendorfer, 15-1)#12 Long Range Toddy (Steve Asmussen, 15-1)#13 Maximum Security (Jason Servis, 8-1)#14 Omaha Beach (Richard Mandella, 10-1)#15 Outshine (Pletcher, 30-1)#16 Plus Que Parfait (Brendan Walsh, 30-1)#17 Roadster (Baffert, 15-1)#18 Signalman (Kenny McPeek, 50-1)#19 Spinoff (Pletcher, 30-1)#20 Tacitus (Bill Mott, 30-1)#21 Vekoma (George Weaver, 20-1)#22 War of Will (Mark Casse, 15-1)#23 Win Win Win (Mike Trombetta, 50-1)#24 “All Other 3-Year-Olds” (15-1)Overall, Baffert is tied with Pletcher for the most entrants in Pool 4 of the KDFW. Along with Game Winner, Baffert conditions #10 Improbable and #17 Roadster while Pletcher trains #6 Cutting Humor, #15 Outshine, and #19 Spinoff.The Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which features $2 Win and Exacta wagering, provide fans of Thoroughbred racing with opportunities to place bets on possible entrants in the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) at odds that could be far greater than those available on the day of the race. The 145th running of Kentucky Derby, America’s greatest race and the first leg of the Triple Crown, is set for Saturday, May 4 at Churchill Downs.Total handle for Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager on Nov. 22-25 was $258,389. “All Other 3-Year-Old Colts and Geldings” closed as the 6-5 favorite with Game Winner at 5-1. The Pool 2 betting on Feb. 8-10 reached $533,977. Again, “All Other 3 Year-Olds” was the 5-2 favorite with Game Winner at 5-1. Pool 3 betting on March 8-10 yielded $385,464 – with “All Other 3-Year-Olds” notching favoritism at 9-2 with Game Winner at 6-1.

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3.31.2019:

Maximum Security Exits Xpressbet Florida Derby Win in Good Order

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Gary and Mary West’s Maximum Security exited his dominating triumph in Saturday’s $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park in good order Sunday morning. The 3-year-old son of New Year’s Day continued his unlikely ascension from $16,000 claimer to serious Kentucky Derby (G1) candidate in the 68th Florida Derby, in which he won his fourth race in as many career starts, all during the 2018-2019 Championship Meet, with an unpressured front-running victory by 3 ½ lengths under Luis Saez. Servis watched Maximum Security’s fourth straight victory on a TV in the saddling area. “I watched on the TV over by the jock’s room because I watched the 11th race on that TV and my horse [Restoring Hope] won. So, I said, ‘Yeah, I’m going back to that TV,” Servis said. “When he broke and Luis decided to go and it looked like he was going to get the lead by himself. I said, ‘That’s good.’ Then, I saw 24 [seconds] and I said, ‘Well, that’s good.’ Then, I saw his ears up and I saw the 48.8 or something, I said, ‘This is good,’ because I know he’s going kick. I said, ‘This is really good.’ “Luis walked the dog. He backed them up. I have to give him credit. I think it had a lot to do with it,” he added. “I’m not downgrading the horse, but Luis did a great job.” Maximum Security ($11.60) ran 1 1/8-miles in 1:48.86 to prevail over Bodexpress, a Gustavo Delgado-trained maiden who was sent to post at 70-1. Code of Honor, the March 2 Fountain of Youth (G2) winner, finished third, another 3 ¼ length back and three-quarters of a length ahead of Fountain of Youth runner-up Bourbon War. Hidden Scroll, the 9-5 favorite, finished fifth. Servis plans to continue to campaign his stable at Gulfstream through April while preparing Maximum Security at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park’s satellite training center in Palm Beach County, for a likely run in the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs May 4. Maximum Security launched his career with a 9 ¾-length romp in a $16,000 maiden claiming race at Gulfstream Dec. 20 before capturing back-to-back starter optional claiming allowance races by a combined 24 ¾ lengths “Candidly, if you read between the lines, there had to be a reason why I ran him for $16,000. Am I glad I didn’t lose him? Hell, yeah,” Servis said. “Is he training good and sound? Yes. But there was a reason why I ran him for $16,000.” Servis said he didn’t consider Maximum Security as an “attractive” claim at the time. “I claim a lot of horses. If I’m claiming and I see a homebred, I figure they got what they were dealt. It wasn’t like he was an $180,000 yearling,” he said. “I was taking a shot. I didn’t think he would be claimed.” The Florida Derby was a Kentucky Derby qualifying stakes awarding 100 points to Maximum Security, 40 points to Bodexpress, 20 points to Code of Honor and 10 to Bourbon War. The first four finishers rank third, 13th, fourth and 15th, respectively. Code of Honor, who raced well off the slow pace during the early going of the Florida Derby before closing to finish third, came out of the race fine, said trainer Shug McGaughey. “I thought he ran fine. That’s not the type of race he needs with one horse on the lead and everybody taking back. We were kind of in between horses. He had half a racetrack on him. I thought it was pretty game what he did considering the circumstances,” McGaughey said. McGaughey hasn’t firmed up plans for Code of Honor, who is currently stabled at Payson Park. Trainer Mark Hennig reported Fountain of Youth runner-up Bourbon War was “bright, very happy and sound” Sunday morning following his fourth-place finish in the Florida Derby. The late-running Bourbon War trailed all but two horses through a half-mile while racing wide and passed horses late to wind up beaten 7 ½ lengths, three-quarters of a length behind Code of Honor in third. “He’s doing great,” Hennig said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt [the pace] had a large impact on us at least not being third, for sure. I’m not saying we were going to win the race or anything, but I’d like to think with a little pace we could have been a little closer. And a little better trip, too, [instead of] having to go around the whole way. If you look at his trip versus Code of Honor’s, I think that made a big difference.” Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable’s Bourbon War currently stands 15th with 31 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby, pending the outcome of April 6 preps in California, Kentucky and New York. Hennig said the Tapit colt will be pointed to the first Saturday in May. “We’d love to be able to get into the Kentucky Derby on points. If we [have enough] points we’d be confident going forward because he’s a horse you’d like to think leaving here would be good for him to get off a track where it’s hard to close,” Hennig said. “Right now we don’t know what that status is,” he added. “It doesn’t look great, but we’re just going to stand pat and watch how the races run next weekend in the Santa Anita Derby, Blue Grass and Wood and see where the points stand after that. I think it’ll help indicate to us a little more about where we are.”

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3.31.2019:

Xpressbet Florida Derby Post-Race Quotes

Winning Time: 1:48.86 Winning Margins: 3 ½, 3 ¼, ¾ Winning Payoff: $11.60 Order of finish: Maximum Security, Bodexpress, Code of Honor, Bourbon War, Current, Hidden Scroll, Union’s Destiny, Harvey Wallbanger, Everfast, Garter and Tie, Hard Belle. Betting favorite: Hidden Scroll, 9-5   TRAINER QUOTES Jason Servis (Maximum Security, 1st): “The plan was not to go to the lead. I talked to Luis about it. I didn’t want to overread the race. Luis agreed that there was going to be a couple speed horses that might not be as good as a Derby horse, so we were really thinking that we were goin to be laying third. At the end of the day I told Luis, ‘Look, he’s yours. He breaks, and you ride him however you want.’ I worked in the jock’s room for 20 years, and if I heard anything I heard jockeys say, ‘If this guy would have left me alone I could have won this race for him.’ I just wanted to stay out of Luis’ way. It was his decision 100 percent. They went slow early, and the rest is history.” “He wasn’t beating anything, he really wasn’t, but he was three-for-three at the track and I had Luis Saez. I was like, ‘Hello, what’s the downside?’ I’ll leave it to Team West. They’ve got some really good managers and we’ll see what they think they want to do. They’ve got that horse Game Winner, so I don’t know what we’ll decide. I guess I have to cancel my fishing trip in May.” Shug McGaughey (Code of Honor, 3rd): “I thought we were done in the turn and he kind of kept going. I think he tried to get him going early because he could see what was going on. It just didn't work out. I'm not overly disappointed with the way he ran. We’ll have to see how he comes out of it and go from there.” Bill Mott (Hidden Scroll, 6th): “I know the pace wasn’t that fast; we were close enough to the pace.  If (Maximum Security) had beat us a head or neck, you say, ‘Well, maybe it would have been nice to take him on earlier.’  He was having a good trip, he was right in behind them. [Jockey Javier Castellano] said he rated beautifully, said he’s push-button, but when he really needed him they kind of opened up on him on the turn and he came up empty. We probably bit off a little more than we could chew at this point.  We’ll back off and kind of start over with him.”   JOCKEY QUOTES Luis Saez (Maximum Security, 1st): “It was beautiful. He broke so perfect and I just took it. He was traveling beautiful, and when he came to the half-mile pole and you feel the pressure I knew I had a lot of horse and in the stretch he just took off. My plan was if [Hidden Scroll] or somebody else took the lead I’m going to sit because I don’t want to make the race for somebody else. He took it so easy, so I just went with it.” Nik Juarez (Bodexpress, 2nd): “It was a huge effort. I really liked him going into the race and he impressed me the way he ran last time. He’s a young horse that can take dirt and when he finishes, he gives it all he has. Today he did the same exact thing, we just didn’t have enough pace – it was just me and Luis. He wasn’t difficult going into the gate last time out as he was today, but you never know with big days like this, with the weather too and his first time being in front of the crowd he got a little nervous. You can see he’s a very talented horse despite what kind of energy he puts out first.” Javier Castellano (Code of Honor, 3rd): “I didn’t have it today. I think he got tired and it started to catch up with him. We asked a little bit more of him than he’s used to but that’s the game. We start developing these horses and start pointing them to the Kentucky Derby and I think it caught up with him at the wrong time.”

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3.30.2019:

Maximum Security Wins Xpressbet Florida Derby

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Gary and Mary West’s Maximum Security locked up Saturday’s $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park, punching his ticket for a start in this year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) – something that seemed highly unlikely when he debuted at Gulfstream for a $16,000 claiming price Dec. 20. The 68th Florida Derby was the main event on a 14-race program featuring seven stakes, four graded. The $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) for 3-year-old fillies, the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) and the $250,000 Pan American (G2) were highlights on the undercard, along with the $125,000 Sanibel Island, $125,000 Cutler Bay and the $100,000 Sand Springs. Trained by Jason Servis, undefeated Maximum Security ($11.60) was in full control while setting the pace throughout the 1 1/8-mile Triple Crown prep, setting comfortable fractions of 24.42 and 48.98 seconds for the first half-mile and rolling on to a 3 ½-length victory under Luis Saez. “It was beautiful. He broke so perfect and I just took it. He was traveling beautiful, and when he came to the half-mile pole and you feel the pressure I knew I had a lot of horse and in the stretch he just took off,” Saez said. “My plan was if [Hidden Scroll] or somebody else took the lead I’m going to sit because I don’t want to make the race for somebody else. He took it so easy, so I just went with it.” The son of New Year’s Day ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.86 to win his fourth straight race without a defeat. Hidden Scroll, the 9-5 favorite ridden by Javier Castellano, was rank while tracking the pacesetter along the rail with Bodexpress, a 70-1 longshot ridden by Nik Juarez, to his outside as the field rounded the first turn and along the backstretch. Maximum Security continued to show the way around the turn into the homestretch before drawing away. “The plan was not to go to the lead. I talked to Luis about it. I didn’t want to over-read the race. Luis agreed that there was going to be a couple speed horses that might not be as good as a Derby horse, so we were really thinking that we were going to be laying third,” Servis said. “At the end of the day I told Luis, ‘Look, he’s yours. He breaks, and you ride him however you want.’ I worked in the jock’s room for 20 years, and if I heard anything I heard jockeys say, ‘If this guy would have left me alone I could have won this race for him.’ I just wanted to stay out of Luis’ way. It was his decision 100 percent. They went slow early, and the rest is history.” Maximum Security won the maiden claiming race by 9 ¾ lengths before winning a pair of starter optional claiming races by 6 ½ and 18 ¼ lengths, all at one-turn distances. “He wasn’t beating anything, he really wasn’t, but he was three-for-three at the track and I had Luis Saez. I was like, ‘Hello, what’s the downside?’ Servis said on the decision to give Maximum Security his stakes and two-turn debut in the Florida Derby. Bodexpress, a maiden with two seconds in four prior starts, held gamely to finish second in the Kentucky Derby qualifying race that awarded 100 points for first, 40 points for second, 20 points for third, and 10 points for fourth. “It was a huge effort in Bodexpress. I really liked him going into the race and he impressed me the way he ran last time. He’s a young horse that can take dirt and when he finishes, he gives it all he has. Today he did the same exact thing, we just didn’t have enough pace – it was just me and Luis,” Juarez said of the runner-up. Code of Honor, the 7-2 third choice ridden by John Velazquez, rated off the slow pace and rallied late to finish third, 3 ¼ lengths behind Bodexpress. “I thought we were done in the turn and he kind of kept going. I think he tried to get him going early because he could see what was going on. It just didn't work out. I'm not overly disappointed with the way he ran,” said McGaughey of his Fountain of Youth (G2) winner who has earned sufficient points to make the Kentucky Derby field. “We'll see how he comes out of it and go from there.” Hidden Scroll faded to finish fifth behind fourth-place finisher Bourbon War, the 5-2 second choice who raced off the pace. “We'll start over, which is probably what most sensible trainers would have done in the very beginning anyway,” said Hidden Scroll’s Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. “We probably bit off more than we could chew and we'll kind of start over.” Servis said he’ll leave the Maximum Security’s Kentucky Derby status up to his owners. “They’ve got some really good managers and we’ll see what they think they want to do. They’ve got that horse Game Winner, so I don’t know what we’ll decide,” Servis said. “I guess I have to cancel my fishing trip in May.” In the first 67 runnings of the Florida Derby, 44 starters went on to capture 59 Triple Crown events, including 24 Kentucky Derby champions, 19 Preakness winners and 16 Belmont victors. The Florida Derby anchored the six-race sequence for the 20-cent Rainbow 6 Saturday, when a mandatory payout of the popular multi-race wager with a $2.6 million carryover generated $14.4 million in additional wagering. Maximum Security completed tickets with all six winners, which were each worth $1,934.68.

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3.29.2019:

The Stronach Group Launches Fully-Integrated Daily Spanish Show Hipica TV

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The Stronach Group announced today that it has launched Hipica TV, a daily live show streamed on Stronach Group websites and YouTube.com/HipicaTV that will show races, replays and offer handicapping selections on races from Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park, Laurel Park and Golden Gate Fields. During testing its first month on GulfstreamPark.com and LaurelPark.com, Hipica TV has reached an average of 76,000 unique viewers each week and nearly 800,000 total views. Hipica TV will soon be featured on SantaAnita.com and GoldenGateFields.com. Along with live races, Hipica TV will also include live interviews, feature stories, and insights from four talented and respected hosts. “We’re incredibly proud to provide this ground-breaking service free to our viewers,” said Tim Ritvo, COO of The Stronach Group. “In just the past few weeks during our testing phase we’ve received incredibly positive feedback, and viewership continues to grow. We believe Hipica TV is ground-breaking, relevant, and once again shows The Stronach Group’s commitment to Thoroughbred racing. We strongly believe Hipica TV will continue to grow as we build our brand nationally and internationally.” Alfredo Alfonzo founded the popular VideoHipico in 2006, a website and social media agency dedicated to promoting horse racing. A native of Venezuela, Alfonzo is also a partner in My Social House, a premier digital marketing agency in Fort Lauderdale. Alfonzo has handicapped Gulfstream’s races for the Spanish audience for more than a year at GulfstreamPark.com. Juan Carlos Palma, also known “El Caribe Palma,” is recognized as one of the most respected and successful handicappers in Latin America. He has spent more than 30 years covering Thoroughbred racing and has directed and produced numerous Thoroughbred handicapping shows in his native Venezuela.  Pedro Casella’s race calls are some of the most exciting you will hear, rivaling Andres Cantor in the world of professional soccer. Casella, who holds a degree in Broadcast Journalism, is a native of Venezuela and is founder and CEO of “Redes de Campeones,” a public relations company specializing in horse racing. Claudia Spadaro, a native of Venezuela, grew up around horses. She holds a degree in public relations and broadcast journalism from the University of Miami and is fluent in English and Spanish. Spadaro has worked with The Stronach Group on the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1).  ---- Hallandale Beach, Florida - El Stronach Group anunció hoy que ha lanzado Hípica TV, una transmisión de televisión que ofrecerá pronósticos, narraciones en vivo y las repeticiones de las carreras de Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park, Laurel Park y Golden Gate Fields.Durante el mes de prueba en las páginas web GulfstreamPark.com y LaurelPark.com, Hípica TV alcanzó una audiencia promedio de 76,000 personas cada semana y cerca de 800,000 visualizaciones en total.Además de las carreras transmitidas en vivo, Hípica TV también incluirá entrevistas, historias sobre los protagonistas del espectáculo y detalles del mundo de las carreras a través de cuatro talentosos y respetados moderadores."Estamos muy orgullosos de ofrecer este servicio innovador y gratuito a toda nuestra audiencia" mencionó Tim Ritvo, Director de Operaciones (COO) del Stronach Group. "En las últimas semanas, durante nuestra fase de prueba, hemos recibido comentarios increíblemente positivos y la audiencia sigue creciendo. Creemos que Hípica TV es un proyecto innovador e importante, y una vez más, demuestra el compromiso del Stronach Group con las carreras de caballos. Creemos firmemente que Hípica TV continuará creciendo en la medida que fortalecemos nuestra marca a nivel nacional e internacional".Alfredo Alfonzo fundó su popular plataforma VideoHipico en 2006, una página web y red social dedicada a la promoción de las carreras de caballos. Alfonzo, venezolano, es socio de Social Group, una agencia de mercadeo de élite, además ha sido pronosticador en Gulfstream Park para la audiencia hispana por más de un año.Juan Carlos Palma, conocido como "El Caribe Palma", es un respetado y reconocido pronosticador hípico en Latino América. Tiene más de 30 años cubriendo las carreras de caballos como productor y director de programas en su nativa Venezuela.Las narraciones de Pedro Casella transmiten enormes emociones a la audiencia, rivalizando con las ofrecidas por Andres Cantor en el mundo del fútbol profesional. Casella tiene un título de periodista, nació en Venezuela y es el fundador y director de "Redes de Campeones", una compañía de relaciones públicas especializada en carreras de caballos.La venezolana Claudia Spadaro, quien se creció dentro del ambiente de las carreras de caballos, tiene un título de periodista y relacionista pública obtenido en la Universidad de Miami, habla el español e inglés de manera fluída. Spadaro ha trabajado para el Stronach Group durante la Pegasus World Cup Invitational (Gr.1) y el Preakness Stakes (Gr.1).

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3.28.2019:

Download our FREE 2019 Xpressbet Florida Derby Wager Guide

It's finally here - our FREE 2019 Xpressbet Florida Derby Wager Guide!  Download it today to access expert handicapping advice, insights, picks and wagering strategies for Gulfstream Park's Xpressbet Florida Derby card on Saturday, March 30.  This year's Florida Derby Wager Guide features picks and analysis for all seven stakes races on the card, as well as recommended tickets for the Mandatory Payout Rainbow 6 and $750,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 4.  Xpressbet Florida Derby - Eddie Olczyk, NBC Sports Gulfstream Park Mile - Jeremy Plonk Gulfstream Park Oaks - Johnny D. Pan American Stakes - Jeremy Plonk Sand Springs Stakes - Johnny D. Cutler Bay Stakes - Jon Van Dine Sanibel Island Stakes - Dustin Fabian The Guide features invaluable Stats and Trends for each race, as well as picks and insights for every stakes race on the card. Ready to download?  Get it here:Have an Xpressbet Account?Simply log in to your account and click the banner to download your Wager Guide.  Don’t Have an Xpressbet Account? Visit https://www.xpressbet.com/florida-derby-picks and fill out the form to access the Guide.  Sign up for an Xpressbet account to bet the Florida Derby and receive a $500, $100 or $20 Sign Up Bonus.  Here's how!  

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3.28.2019:

Santa Anita Set to Resume Racing Friday Under Strongest Medication Regulations in the US

Arcadia, CA (March 28, 2019) -- Santa Anita Park will resume live racing on Friday, March 29, under rules which modernize the sport of horse racing and provide the strongest medication regulations in the United States.  Approval for a complete revision of the medication rules, which were agreed upon by The Stronach Group, parent company of Santa Anita, and the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC), was passed this afternoon by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) at their monthly meeting. Additionally, the CHRB unanimously voted to approve an amendment that limits a jockey’s cushion crop use as a corrective safety measure only, modernizing the centuries-old practice of striking a horse to make it run faster.  As is California regulation, the rule must go out for a 45-day public comment period before it can be enacted by the Board.  Jockeys racing at Santa Anita on Friday will do so under the current crop rules. “Today was a watershed moment. We extend our thanks to the California Horse Racing Board for their swift and decisive action to evolve the great sport of horse racing not just for today, but to grow it for future generations,” said Belinda Stronach, Chairman and President of The Stronach Group.  “We commend not only the CHRB and Chairman Chuck Winner, but all of our industry partners, including the TOC and the California Thoroughbred Trainers, for taking these unified steps to lead the nation for the health and safety of our equine and human athletes.  TSG continues to be committed to the principles of safe horse racing and are proud to lead the way in California.  We are looking forward to working with our stakeholders in other jurisdictions and expediting these reforms at our all of our racetracks to put the horses first.”  Horses racing at the two tracks will do so with medication rules consistent with, or more restrictive than, the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities (IFHA) standards, which are the world’s benchmark for equine safety and welfare.  This means that horses will race with no race day medication with the exception of the diuretic Lasix, which will still be permitted, but at a maximum of 50% of the previous levels.  Additionally, all horses born in or after 2018 will race at Santa Anita and Golden Gate will do so with no race day medication, including Lasix.  This means all two-year-old horses starting in 2020 and after will be racing medication free. Two weeks ago, Stronach published an Open Letter addressing the Future of Thoroughbred Racing in California calling for sweeping changes to modernize the sport and raise the standards of how racing and training is conducted.  In addition to today’s CHRB decisions, Santa Anita has implemented a number of enhanced protocols and procedures to help ensure racing and training safety and integrity.  These include transparency of veterinary records, approval for workouts, and a commitment to purchase state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment to aid trainers and veterinarians in identifying pre-existing conditions before they become injuries.  This also includes a continued commitment to engage independent racetrack surface experts to continually review both the dirt and turf courses for consistency, composition and compaction.  “Change is never easy,” said Tim Ritvo, COO of The Stronach Group.  “There were a lot of people who came together in a very short period of time to make this happen.  The horses are the one thing that unifies us all.  We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to Santa Anita tomorrow.”  

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3.27.2019:

March 30: Cross-Country Pick 5 Features Aqueduct, Oaklawn

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will continue its partnership with Oaklawn Park, hosting a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday featuring the $80,000 Caixa Eletronica and $75,000 Stud Muffin from Aqueduct and the $150,000 Purple Martin from Oaklawn. Last week's sequence, headlined by the $100,000 Cicada from Aqueduct and the $125,000 Gazebo and $100,000 Nodouble Breeders' from Oaklawn, handled $104,502 with a winning $0.50 ticket returning $5,223.25. Saturday's Cross Country Pick 5, the ninth one in 2019, will kick off with two legs from Claiming Championship Day at Aqueduct before alternating between Oaklawn and the Big A. The first leg will feature the $60,000 The More to Tell for 4-year-olds and up at one mile in Race 8 at Aqueduct with a 5:21 p.m. Eastern post time. The starter stakes offers a talented 11-horse field, including Daddy D T for trainer Rudy Rodriguez, who seeks his second consecutive victory following a 3 ½-length win at the distance on March 9. Leg 2, the $75,000 Stud Muffin for 4-year-olds and up going 1 3/8 miles, features a field of 10 at 5:50 p.m. Turco Bravo, a 10-year-old Chilean-bred for owners Woodland Farms and trainer Merkan Kantarmaci, will look to reach the winners' circle for the first time since January 4. Leg 3 is a contentious allowance optional claiming race for 4-year-olds and up that drew a field of nine in Oaklawn's Race 8 at 6 p.m. The action will shift back to the Big A for the penultimate leg, (Race 10, 6:20 p.m.) the featured Caixa Eletronica. The finale on Aqueduct's 10-race card will see winter meet-leading trainer Linda Rice saddle a pair of formidable contenders in Bavaro, who ran third last out in the Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap on March 9, and American Power, making his stakes debut having gone 1-3-2 in his last six starts. Closing out Saturday's Cross Country Pick 5 is the $150,000 Purple Martin for 3-year-old fillies at 6:36 p.m. that features a field of nine, highlighted by graded-stakes placed runners Bye Bye J, Splashy Kisses, Nitrous, Gray Attempt and Six Tomlin. 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. Aqueduct-Oaklawn Park Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, March 30: Leg 1 - Aqueduct, Race 8: $60,000 More To Tell (5:21 p.m.)Leg 2 - Aqueduct, Race 9: $75,000 Stud Muffin (5:50 p.m.)Leg 3 - Oaklawn, Race 8 (6:00 p.m.)Leg 4 - Aqueduct, Race 10 Caixa Eletronica (6:20 p.m.)Leg 5 - Oaklawn, Race 9: $150,000 Purple Martin (6:36 p.m.)  

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3.27.2019:

Code of Honor Has Tough Act to Follow in Grade 1 Xpressbet Florida Derby

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – W. S. Farish’s Code of Honor lived up to the expectations he generated during his 2-year-old campaign when the Shug McGaughey-trained colt rallied to win the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park March 2. The 3-year-old son of Noble Mission is set for a return in Saturday’s $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream, where the Kentucky-bred colt is scheduled to clash with 10 rivals in a quest to further enhance his standing among the leading 2019 Triple Crown prospects in the tradition-rich 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds. Code of Honor, rated second at 3-1, drew post position No. 9. The Florida Derby will be the main event on a knockout 14-race program (First post: 11:30 a.m.) featuring seven stakes, four graded. The $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) for 3-year-old fillies, the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) and the $250,000 Pan American are highlights on the Florida Derby undercard, along with the $125,000 Sanibel Island, $125,000 Cutler Bay and the $100,000 Sand Springs. The Florida Derby will highlight six-race sequence for the 20-cent Rainbow 6 Saturday, when there will be a mandatory payout of the popular multi-race wager. The carryover jackpot heading into Thursday’s card stands at a life-changing $2,455,348. As Code of Honor attempts to take another giant step toward the Triple Crown, he will seek to follow in the hoofprints of Orb, the McGaughey-trained winner of the 2013 Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby who went on to capture the Kentucky Derby (G1). In the first 67 runnings of the Florida Derby, 44 starters went on to capture 59 Triple Crown events, including 24 Kentucky Derby champions, 19 Preakness winners and 16 Belmont victors. Code of Honor disappointed in his 2019 debut in the Jan. 5 Mucho Macho Man, in which he finished an even fourth as the 4-5 favorite. However, he redeemed himself in the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth, in which he settled off a strong early pace before rallying through the stretch to capture his two-turn debut. “I think I have a little bit more confidence [going into the Florida Derby] because I was a little bit shook after the Mucho Macho Man,” McGaughey said. “I kind of changed my strategy and that worked, so I’ve kept on with it and I think he’s progressing the right way.” McGaughey started asking more of Code of Honor in his morning training after the Mucho Macho Man, and the Kentucky-bred colt responded to offer a decidedly more enthusiastic effort in the Fountain of Youth, in which he raced in mid-pack behind the pressured pace set by Hidden Scroll before kicking in through the stretch. McGaughey would consider a similar scenario in the Florida Derby to be ideal but is confident Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will be quick to adapt to any pace development. “It depends on the pace. I don’t want him up too close. I don’t think that’s his way,” McGaughey said. “A lot of that will be up to Johnny as the race unfolds out of the gate. I hope we get a little pace, which I think we probably will. Going a mile and an eighth, he’s just going to have to be patient with him as he was the other day.” Code of Honor demonstrated versatility during his juvenile campaign, in which he won his debut at Saratoga last August after leading throughout the six-furlong maiden special weight race under Velazquez. Seven weeks later, the son of Noble Mission overcame a stumbling start to close from last in the 10-horse field to finish second in the mile Champagne (G1) around one turn at Belmont Park. Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable’s Bourbon War has done his best running in the stretch in all of his four career starts, most notably while finishing a closes second to Code of Honor in the Fountain of Youth. The Mark Hennig-trained colt, who won a Jan. 18 optional claiming allowance at 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream after closing from far back, had to deal with traffic on the turn into the homestretch in the Fountain of Youth before surging late. Hennig was particularly impressed with Bourbon War’s effort after the finish line under Irad Ortiz Jr. “The gallop-out – some people put emphasis on that, and some people don’t – I thought his gallop-out was much stronger than the rest of the field,” Hennig said. “It really gave us some confidence. I know Irad has a lot of confidence.” Hennig has also been pleased with the son of Tapit’s preparation for the Florida Derby. “His daily gallops, he’s putting a lot into them, which is great to see. He’s matured a lot. He’s eating tremendously right now. He’s a horse that’s needed to fill out and grown up as the spring comes on, and he’s doing that,” Hennig said. “Hopefully, that keeps going as we transition to the next town and he does as well as he’s done here.” Ortiz has the return mount aboard Bourbon War, who was rated third in the morning line at 7-2 after drawing post position No. 4. Juddmonte Farm’s Hidden Scroll was installed as the 5-2 morning=line favorite after drawing the No. 1 post position. Hidden Scroll, whose heated pace battle with longshot Gladiator King aided the stretch kicks of Code of Honor and Bourbon War, will make his third career start in the Florida Derby, which Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott hopes will not unfold like his Fountain of Youth trip. Mott is confident that the son of Hard Spun, who was the 6-5 favorite in the Fountain of Youth on the strength of his dazzling 14-length debut victory at Gulfstream five weeks earlier, is more versatile than his two previous efforts may suggest. The Juddmonte homebred has been placed behind horses in his two workouts at Payson Park since the Fountain of Youth and breezed to Mott’s satisfaction. “I think this horse is fine behind horses; he’s fine on the lead if the pace is such that he needs to be on the lead. That’s the rider’s decision. They have to make that choice when they leave the starting gate,” said Mott, who has named Javier Castellano to ride Hidden Scroll for the first time Saturday. Gary and Mary West’s Maximum Security could be expected to be a pace factor in the son of New Year’s Day’s stakes debut in the Florida Derby. The Jason Servis-trained colt has launched his career during the Championship Meet with three eye-catching victories, including a front-running 14 ¼-length triumph last time out in an optional claiming starter allowance Feb. 20, when he ran seven furlongs in 1:21.72. “I’d like to see two horses head-and-head for the lead and him tucked in laying third about four lengths off of them. I’ll leave it to [jockey] Luis Saez. He’s a great rider,” Servis said. ”He’s a young horse that is probably going to lay it all out just because he’s young enough where he hasn’t really learned just to go through the motions. I’ll leave it to Luis and see what happens.” Maximum Security has been a pleasant surprise for Servis, ending up in the Florida Derby after debuting in a $16,000 claiming race that he won by 9 ¾ lengths Dec. 20. The homebred colt came right back to capture an optional claiming allowance by 6 ½ lengths Jan. 24 before his stunning victory Feb. 20. “I thought he had some ability but I didn’t think he was this kind of horse, to be honest. I thought for [$16,000] he was well-spotted and he’d get the job done,” said Servis, whose trainee was rated fourth at 9-2 in the morning line after drawing po0st positon No. 7. “I’m a big boy. He was in for a claiming price and we got lucky and he didn’t get claimed. Then I picked a couple of soft spots out for him where he was the heavy favorite and he easily won those. He’s three-for-three at Gulfstream, so we’ll see.” Harvey Wallbanger passed the Fountain of Youth after posting a 29-1 upset victory in the $350,000 Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Feb. 2 for Harold Lerner, LLC, AWC Stables, Nehoc Stables, Scott Akman and Paul Braverman. The Ken McPeek-trained colt finished second in his first three starts before breaking through with a maiden-breaking score at Churchill Downs in his juvenile campaign finale and capturing the Holy Bull. The son of Congrats closed from ninth in the Holy Bull to win by a length under Brian Hernandez Jr., who has the riding assignment Saturday. “The Holy Bull was a lot of fun,” Hernandez said. “We were a ways back – that’s his running style. The race set up for him. We had a lot of speed in front of us. I was liking my spot. I was able to sneak up the fence and turning for home when we were in contention, I thought he’d go on and finish it off, and he did. He ran on and ran a really big race. “He came out of some good maiden races in Kentucky in the fall,” Hernandez added. “When he was there for me in the Holy Bull the whole way, that’s what gives you confidence.” Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has saddled a record five Florida Derby winners, has opted to give Current, a graded-stakes winner on turf, another chance on dirt Saturday. Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Robert LaPenta and Dixiana Farms, LLC, the son of Curlin, who finished third in the Feb. 3 Dania Beach at Gulfstream on turf last time out, finished seventh in the Nov. 24 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) over a sloppy Churchill Downs track in his only main track race. Manuel Franco has the call on Current, who won the Bourbon (G1) at Keeneland last fall. Calumet Farm’s Everfast, who closed strongly to finish second behind Harvey Wallbanger at 128-1 in the Holy Bull, has been entered in the Florida Derby by trainer Dale Romans with the hope that the son of Take Charge Indy can rebound from a distant eighth-place finish in the Fountain of Youth. Chris Landeros has the return mount. Jacks or Better Farm’s Garter and Tie, who was a force in the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes last summer, will try to improve on a sixth-place finish behind Harvey Wallbanger in the Holy Bull. The Florida-bred son of Brooks ‘n Down had previously won the Smooth Air and finished third in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes going a one-turn mine. The homebred colt won the $250,000 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes Affirmed going seven furlongs last summer. Jeffrey Sanchez has the assignment aboard Garter and Tie. Top Racing LLC and Global Thoroughbreds LLC and GDS Racing Stable’s Bodexpress will seek to break his maiden in the Florida Derby after finishing fourth in Hidden Scroll’s spectacular maiden score two starts back and a close second following a rough start last time out. Trainer Gustavo Delgado named Nik Juarez for the mount. Los Samanes LLC’s Union’s Destiny, who finished sixth from his outside post in the Fountain of Youth after checking in third behind Garter and Tie in the Smooth Air, will return in the Florida Derby. Trainer Juan Carlos Avila awarded the mount to Leonel Reyes. Thoroughbred Champions Training Center LLC’s Hard Belle, a one-time winner in 13 career starts for trainer Jaime Mejia, will be ridden by Jose Batista. Xpressbet Florida Derby Field 1. Hidden Scroll - Javier Castellano - 5/22. Current - Manny Franco - 15/13. Harvey Wallbanger - Brian Hernandez Jr. - 15/14. Bourbon War - Irad Ortiz Jr. - 7/25. Everfast - Chris Landeros - 20/16. Hard Belle - Jose Batista - 50/17. Maximum Security - Luis Saez - 9/28. Bodexpress - Nik Juarez - 30/19. Code of Honor - John Velazquez - 3/110. Union's Destiny - Leonel Reyes - 30/111. Garter and Tie - Jeffrey Sanchez - 15/1

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3.25.2019:

Code of Honor Finalizes Preparations for Xpressbet Florida Derby

INDIANTOWN, FL –  “All systems are go” with W.S. Farish’s Code of Honor, who breezed a half-mile in 48.40 seconds Monday morning here at Payson Park in preparation for a much-anticipated start in the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) Saturday at Gulfstream Park. “He looked like he worked very well. I asked him for 49 and he worked 48 and 2 or so, so I think we’re in pretty good shape,” Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said. Exercise rider Haladio Moreno was aboard for the breeze, which was the son of Noble Mission’s second since capturing the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) March 2 at Gulfstream. Code of Honor Workout Video (March 25) “He looks good and I think he’s been training very well. I think all systems are go with him right now,” he said. Code of Honor disappointed in his 2019 debut in the Jan. 5 Mucho Macho Man, in which he finished an even fourth as the 4-5 favorite in the one-turn mile kickoff of Gulfstream’s tradition-rich 3-year-old stakes program. However, he redeemed himself in the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth, in which he settled off a strong early pace before rallying through the stretch to score by three-quarters of a length over Bourbon War in his two-turn debut. “He’s had a good winter since the first of January and I think he‘s looking forward to what he does,” McGaughey said. “I like what I saw physically today and in terms of how he worked.” Code of Honor turned in a sharp debut at Saratoga last August, scoring by 1 ½ lengths after leading throughout a six-furlong maiden special weight race under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. Seven weeks later, the son of Noble Mission overcame a stumbling start to close from last in the 10-horse field to finish second in the Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park. He was scheduled to finish off his 2018 season in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs, only to be scratched after spiking a fever on the morning of the race. Velazquez has the return mount aboard the Farish homebred. Code of Honor tops a field that is expected to include Bourbon War, who closed with a rush in the Fountain of Youth; Hidden Scroll, who set a rapid pressured early pace in the Fountain of Youth before finishing fourth as the 6-5 favorite; and Harvey Wallbanger, who captured the $350,000 Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull (G2) Feb. 2 at Gulfstream as a 29-1 longshot. Undefeated Maximum Security, FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes star Garter and Tie and Union’s Destiny, sixth in the Fountain of Youth, are also being pointed to the 1 1/8-mile stakes that has produced the winners of 59 Triple Crown races. Overdeliver and Come on Gerry are among other possible entrants Wednesday. The Post-Position Draw for the 68th running of the Florida Derby will take place in Ten Palms Restaurant at Gulfstream at noon-1 p.m.

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3.24.2019:

Gulfstream has $2.4 Million Rainbow 6 Carryover Thursday; Mandatory Payout Saturday

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot at Gulfstream Park swelled to $2,455,348.81 for Thursday’s card after going unsolved for the 28th consecutive racing day Sunday. A total of $555,302 was bet Sunday into the popular multi-race wager, which began with a carryover of $2,322,112.61 from Saturday’s card. Multiple tickets with all six winners Sunday were each worth $1,124,52. A mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot has been scheduled for next Saturday’s $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) program. There will also be mandatory payouts for the Late Pick 5 and last-race Super Hi-5. 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 days’ pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners, while 30 percent is carried over to the jackpot pool. Since the 2018-19 Championship Meet kicked off Dec. 1, the Rainbow 6 has been hit seven times, most recently for a $227,505.88 payout Feb. 15. Who’s Hot:  Luis Saez continued his recent hot streak with a three-win day Sunday to close to within one win of leading rider Irad Ortiz Jr., who rode one winner.  The defending two-time Championship Meet titlist scored aboard Dizzy Gillespie ($3.80) in Race 5, Alphadar ($4.80) in Race 7, and King Leo ($5.80) in Race 9. Rainbow 6 Carryover:  $2,455,348 Super Hi 5 Carryover: $6,896.17

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3.23.2019:

By My Standards Wins Louisiana Derby, Punches Kentucky Derby Ticket

Allied Racing Stables’ By My Standards went from maiden winner to atop the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard in the Grade II Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby. Guided by jockey Gabriel Saez, By My Standards laid 3½ legnths off of pacesetter Leminscate who set opening fractions of 23.63, 47.68 and 1:11.54. He then moved out into the two path along the turn and made a winning bid at the sixteenths pole to gun down stretch leader Spinoff. By My Standards won by three-quarters of a length in a time of 1:49.52. Spinoff finished second while Sueno closed late for third. Jockey Gabriel Saez scored his second victory in the Louisiana Derby. Ten years, ago he guided Friesian Fire to victory in the race, who to this day holds the record for the largest winning margin in the race’s 106-year history. “I loved the horse since the day I got on him,” Saez said. “He was working great in the mornings and he did a tremendous job. (Trainer) Bret (Calhoun) and (wife and assistant) Sarah had done a tremendous job with him. I was really confident to be honest with you. I was hoping that he would broke on top and put me in the position that I wanted him to be and he did right off the bat. Thank God he ran well. I hope he has more in the tank; that would be great. Hopefully we can get the job done in the Derby, anything can happen. It’s horseracing.” By My Standards entered the Louisiana Derby off of a fourth-out maiden victory on February 16, which he won by 4¼ lengths and gave trainer Bret Calhoun his first victory in the Louisiana Derby. “I think the maiden win was crucial for him,” Calhoun said. “When he was third the time before he broke his maiden it was a very disappointing race for us. It looked like he had the race in control and just didn’t finish them off. It was a disappointing race. He bounced back and that’s when the light came on. He was a different horse in the mornings from that point on. His breezes in the morning were just unbelievable. There were some fast works there and none of them were intentional. He just turned into a different horse.” Calhoun was aware of the tough field that he was up against but nevertheless, his confidence in the horse never wavered. “It gives you a lot of confidence beating afield like that,” Calhoun continued. “(War of Will) had been very impressive for quite a while around here and very consistent. I knew we were up against it today, I didn’t know exactly how we were going to stack up against those kinds of horses,, but our horse was doing very, very well and we took our chance.” Mark Casse, trainer of beaten favorite War of Will reported that the two-time graded stakes winner strained his right hind muscle during the running of race. “We think what happened was about four jumps out of the gate,” Casse said. “He actually broke in front and if you watch he buckles on his right hind. And we believe, maybe it was stumble of some sort. But when he did we think he strained maybe a muscle or whatever. But he was significantly off after the race. He’s significantly off. I’ve just been on the phone with Dr. Robert McMartin, he’s my main guy. He thinks he might have caught his stifle or something. We feel like he’ll probably be a little better tomorrow and we’re going to further evaluation him.” Casse was unsure as to whether or not War of Will, would be able to make the Kentucky Derby. Winner of both the Grade III Lecomte and Grade II Risen Star Presented by Lamarque Ford, he has 60 qualifying points towards the First Saturday in May. “I would not absolutely rule him out because this is something that he can get over very quickly,” Casse said. “We’ll see. The good news is he hasn’t broken anything. It’s a muscle strain of some sort. We’re confident of that.” Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez was aboard runner-up Spinoff who earned 40 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and is now No. 8 on the Leaderboard. “We had a good trip. He was drifting away from the horses inside of me a bit, and I had to fight him to keep him with the others. Down the stretch I thought he was home free and then the other horse came to him.” Third-place finisher Sueno sits at No. 12 on the Leaderboard. He earned four points when finishing second in the Grade III Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park last month. “He broke really good and I was laying second,” said Sueno’s jockey Corey Lanerie.” I thought at the quarter pole that I was going to get the win you know. He was running so easy and had his ears pricked. Those horses just beat him today. No excuse.” Risen Star runner-up country house finished fourth for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who stated that the Grade I million Arkansas Derby could be his next target. “He made a big run,” Mott said. “He started it a little early and was fairly wide around the turn, yet I thought he had his chance coming off the turn. I thought he looked pretty good there. It wasn’t a horrible race, but I was hoping he would be a little closer than that.” By My Standards, who paid $47.00, $16.60 and $9.40, earned 100 points on the Road To The Kentucky Derby with his victory in the Louisiana Derby which put him a top the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard. Runner-up Spinoff garnered up 40 points and returned $6.80 and $5.40. Sueno brought back $6.00 and earned 20 points. By My Standards has earned a total of $653,710 after cashing a check for $600,000 from his Louisiana Derby triumph. Completing the order of finish Mr. Money, Roiland, Bankit, Hog Creek Hustle, War of Will, Limonite and Leminscate. Bred in Kentucky by Don Ladd, By My Standards was a $150,000 purchased by bloodstock agent Josh Stevens from the Ocala Breeders Sales Company’s April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, where he was consigned by Scanlon Training and Sales. He is out of the Muqtarib broodmare A Jealous Woman.

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3.23.2019:

Harvey Wallbanger, Garter and Tie Breeze for Xpressbet Florida Derby

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Harvey Wallbanger, winner of the $350,000 Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull (G2) in his most recent start, breezed a half-mile in 47.10 seconds at Gulfstream Park early Saturday morning in preparation for a start in next Saturday’s $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1). The son of Congrats’ breeze was his sixth workout since scoring a 29-1 upset Feb. 2 in the 1 1 /16-mile Holy Bull and ranked as the fastest of 99 recorded for the distance Saturday. Owned by Harold Lerner, LLC, AWC Stables, Nehoc Stables, Scott Akman and Paul Braverman and trained by Kenny McPeek, Harvey Wallbanger has never been worse than second in five career starts. The Kentucky-bred colt was the runner-up in three consecutive starts at Saratoga, Keeneland and Churchill Downs before capping his juvenile champagne with a maiden victory at 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Nov. 17. His length victory in the Holy Bull came in his 2019 debut. Later in the morning, Jacks or Better Farms’ Garter and Tie breezed five furlongs in 1:02.22 for a planned start in the Florida Derby. Garter and Tie Workout Video (March 23) “The work was good. We wanted a little maintenance five-eighths,” trainer Ralph Nicks said. “We gave him a little freshening in between the last two and we just wanted to stretch his legs, put some air in him and we’ll see how he  handles a mile and eighth.” Garter and Tie finished sixth in the Holy Bull, beaten 4 ¾ lengths by Harvey Wallbanger. The Florida-bred son of Brooks ‘n Down had previously won the Smooth Air and finished third in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes going a one-turn mine. The homebred colt won the $250,000 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes Affirmed going seven furlongs last summer. “I think the nine furlongs, his two-turn races, his numbers have not been quite as good as his one-turn races, but he trains like [he’ll get the distance] and I think with the right setup…. we’ll take the blinkers off of him and make a few changes and see how it goes,” Nicks said. Dale Romans trained Florida Derby nominees Everfast (1:01.96), runner-up to Harvey Wallbanger in the Holy Bull, and Come On Gerry (1:02.66) both worked five furlongs at Gulfstream Saturday morning.   Everfast Workout Video (March 23) Come on Gerry Workout Video (March 23) At Palm Beach Downs, R. A. Hill Stables and Gatsas Stables’ Vekoma, who finished third in the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream March 2, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.82.  A decision on whether the George Weaver-trained colt will run in the Florida Derby or the Blue Grass (G2) April 6 at Keeneland has yet to be made. Vekoma Workout Video (March 23)

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3.22.2019:

Bourbon War, Hidden Scroll, Maximum Security Work for Xpressbet Florida Derby

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable’s Bourbon War breezed a half-mile in 49.88 seconds at Gulfstream Park Friday morning in preparation for a scheduled start in the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) March 30. Friday morning’s tune-up was Bourbon War’s second half-mile workout since finishing a late-closing second behind Code of Honor in the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) March 2 at Gulfstream. Bourbon War Workout Video (March 22) “He did well. He came home in 49.88, I think they caught him in. I was looking for a little quicker than that, but the track was not real sharp this morning. I told my rider I’d rather you err on the side of too slow than too fast,” trainer Mark Hennig said. “The horse is fit. We just want to get him safely over there next Saturday.” In the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth, Bourbon War settled well off the fast pressured pace set by Hidden Scroll before advancing on the far turn, swinging wide off the turn into the homestretch, and making a strong run through the stretch. The son of Tapit finished three-quarters of a length behind victorious Code of Honor before offering an impressive gallop-out under Irad Ortiz Jr. Bourbon War had previously won a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance by 2 ¼ lengths going away Jan. 19 at Gulfstream. The Kentucky-bred colt broke his maiden at first asking by 2 ¼ lengths in a mile race originally scheduled for turf at Aqueduct Nov. 11. Three weeks later, he worked his way through traffic to finish fourth in the Dec. 1 Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct. Hidden Scroll ‘Very Manageable in Five-Furlong Breeze Juddmonte Farms, Inc.’s Hidden Scroll worked five furlongs in 1:02.40 at Payson Park in Indiantown, FL Friday morning while prepping for the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park March 30. Bill Mott-trained Hidden Scroll, who held the lead into deep stretch before finishing fourth in the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) in only his second career start, worked in company under exercise rider Neil Poznansky. Hidden Scroll Workout Video (March 22) “It was a very nice work. He worked with a stablemate. The time of 1:02, the way the racetrack was today, I think it was a very useful work. He sat off his company and he finished up and went by inside the eighth-pole with a reasonable good gallop-out. He seemed very good in the work. He was very manageable,” said Mott, whose Florida Derby contender produced the fastest of seven five-furlong workouts recorded. “We sat him in behind a horse and he was real calm. They went off slow enough and he wasn’t anxious. He was content to follow another horse. He approached the quarter-pole and got into the bridle and finished up well.” In the Fountain of Youth, the Juddmonte homebred colt was pressed by longshot Gladiator King for the first half mile past fractions of 23.80 and 45.69 seconds before receiving a challenge from Global Campaign on the final turn. Hidden Scroll continued on to open a length lead in mid –stretch before tiring late, edged by Vekoma for third. “I think it was a matter of learning for us. We thought from the beginning we could do anything with him,” Mott said. “The last work we sat him right in behind and ate a lot of dirt. He was fine doing that. Today we sat him in behind, but we sat him off to the side, so he wasn’t getting dirt. He saw daylight but he saw another horse in front of him and he seemed kind about that as well.” Hidden Scroll was favored at 6-5 for the Fountain of Youth on the strength of a spectacular debut victory at Gulfstream on the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) card Jan. 26. The son of Hard Spun ran a mile in 1:34.82 while scoring by 14 lengths under wraps. Maximum Security Breezes Easy Half-Mile at Palm Meadows    Gary and Mary West’s Maximum Security worked a half-mile in 52.95 seconds at Palm Meadows Training Center Friday morning while tuning up for a likely start in the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park next Saturday, The son of New Year’s Day’s workout was the slowest of 63 workouts recorded at Gulfstream Park’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County. Maximum Security Workout Video (March 22) “I thought he had a good breeze. He came home in 12 [seconds],” trainer Jason Servis said. “I would still like to not commit, but I would say we are on schedule.” Maximum Security is undefeated in three career starts, all coming during Gulfstream’s 2018-2019 Championship Meet. The homebred colt broke his maiden for a $16,000 claiming price by 9 ¾ lengths Dec. 20 before winning a Jan. 24 optional claiming starter allowance by 6 ½ lengths. In his most recent start, Maximum Security by 18 ¼ lengths while running seven furlongs in 1:21.72 in a Feb. 20 optional claiming starter allowance. Servis-trained Final Jeopardy, a 3 ¾-length optional claiming allowance winner at Gulfstream Park last time out, breezed a half-mile in 52.80 seconds at Palm Meadows Friday morning for either the Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct April 6 or the Florida Derby.    Final Jeopardy Workout Video (March 22) “We’re looking at the Wood Memorial. It’s not a definite but we’re kind of looking at that,” said Servis who also trains Final Jeopardy for the Wests. “He galloped out really good. That race is a mile and an eighth so I’m feeling a little better about the work. But it’s not definite yet.”

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3.22.2019:

Code of Honor Tops Nominations for Xpressbet Florida Derby

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – W. S. Farish’s Code of Honor, who captured the $400,000 Fountain of Youth (G2) March 2, tops a list of 31 nominations for the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) March 30 at Gulfstream Park. The Shug McGaughey-trained colt made a strong run on the final turn and through the stretch to register a three-quarters of a length triumph in the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth, a key prep for the 1 1/8 mile stakes for 3-year-olds that has established itself as the premier Triple Crown prep since its inaugural running in 1952. Code of Honor will seek to follow in the hoofprints of Orb, the McGaughey-trained winner of the 2013 Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby who went on to capture the Kentucky Derby (G1). In the first 67 runnings of the Florida Derby, 44 starters went on to capture 59 Triple Crown events, including 24 Kentucky Derby champions, 19 Preakness winners and 16 Belmont victors. The 68th Florida Derby will headline 11 stakes worth a total of more than $2.5 million scheduled for March 29-30. Gulfstream’s signature race for 3-year-olds will be supported by the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Mile (G2), the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), the $250,000 Pan American (G2), the $125,000 Cutler Bay, the $125,000 Sanibel Island and the $100,000 Sand Springs. Four stakes, including the $100,000 Orchid (G3), the $100,000 Skip Away, the $100,000 Appleton (G3) and the $75,000 Sir Shackleton, will be contested on March 29. Bourbon Lanes Stable and Lake Star Stable’s Bourbon War, R.A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables’ Vekoma and Juddmonte Farms, Inc.’s Hidden Scroll, who finished second, third and fourth, respectively, behind Code of Honor in the Fountain of Youth are also nominated to and expected to return in the Florida Derby. Mark Hennig-trained Bourbon War won two of three starts prior to the Fountain of Youth, including a fast-closing 2 ¼-length optional claiming allowance at 1 1/16-miles at Gulfstream Jan. 18; George Weaver-trained Vekoma captured the Nashua (G3) at Aqueduct in his 2018 finale before racing evenly to finish third in his 2019 debut at Gulfstream; Hidden Scroll was sent to post as the 6-5 favorite for the Fountain of Youth after scoring by 14 lengths in his career debut Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park. In addition to Hidden Scroll, trainer Bill Mott nominated Tacitus and Country House, who are not scheduled to take on their stablemate. Harvey Wallbanger, who registered a 29-1 upset victory in the $350,000 Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Feb. 2, is also among the nominees scheduled to start in the Florida Derby. The Ken McPeek-trained colt was coming off a maiden victory around two turns at Churchill Downs in his previous start for owners Harold Lerner, LLC, AWC Stables, Nehoc Stables, Scott Akman and Paul Braverman. Gary and Mary West’s Maximum Security is scheduled to put his undefeated record on the line in the Florida Derby. The Jason Servis-trained son of New Year’s Day debuted for a $16,000 claiming tag in a 9 ¾ -length romp at Gulfstream Dec. 20 and went on to win a pair of starter optional claiming races, including an 18 ¼-length score that was achieved in a swift 1:21.72 for seven furlongs Feb. 20. The Servis-trained Final Jeopardy, a recent optional claiming allowance winner at Gulfstream for the Wests, is also nominated. Hoffa’s Union, who was purchased by Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, Christopher Dunn, Rose Petal Stable and Foard Wilgis after winning his recent debut at Laurel Park, is expected to make the leap from maiden to Grade 1 stakes competition in the Florida Derby. The Mark Casse-trained son of Union Rags captured a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight race by 15 ½ lengths Feb. 28. Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has saddled a record five Florida Derby winners, is represented by seven nominees, including Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Robert LaPenta and Dixiana Farms LLC’s Current; Starlight Racing’s Cutting Humor, Robert and Lawana Low’s Federal Case; Let’s Go Stable and Richard Schibell’s Outshine; Robert LaPenta’s So Alive; A 1 A Racing and Let’s Go Stable’s Soldado; and Wertheimer and Frere’s Spinoff. Federal Case is entered in Saturday’s Hutcheson (G3) at Gulfstream and Spinoff is entered in the Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds. Pletcher saddled Audible for a Florida Derby victory last year. Trainer Dale Romans is represented by three horses on the Florida Derby nominations list – Calumet Farm’s Everfast and Albaugh Family Stables LLC’s Admire and Come On Gerry. Everfast finished second behind Harvey Wallbanger in the Holy Bull before finishing off the board in the Fountain of Youth. Admire and Come On Gerry are coming off out-of-the-money finishes in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and Holy Bull, respectively. Southern California-based trainer Richard Mandella nominated last weekend’s Fox Hill Farms, Inc.’s Omaha Beach, last weekend’s Rebel (G2) winner who is not slated to run, as well as Jay Em Ess Stable’s Extra Hope. Hronis Racing LLC and John Sadler are represented on the nominations list by Nolo Contesto. 2019 Florida Derby Nominations Admire (Dale Romans) Bodexpress (Gustavo Delgado) Bourbon War (Mark Hennig) Code of Honor (Shug McGaughey) Come On Gerry (Dale Romans) Country House (Bill Mott) Current (Todd Pletcher) Cutting Humor (Todd Pletcher) Day (Victor Barboza Jr.) Epic Dreamer (Kelly Breen) Everfast (Dale Romans) Extra Hope (Richard Mandella) Federal Case (Todd Pletcher) Final Jeopardy (Jason Servis) Garter and Tie (Ralph Nicks) Gladiator King (Jaime Mejia) Hard Belle (Jaime Mejia) Harvey Wallbanger (Ken McPeek) Hidden Scroll (Bill Mott) Hoffa’s Union (Mark Casse) Maximum Security (Jason Servis) Nolo Contesto (John Sadler) Omaha Beach (Richard Mandella) Outshine (Todd Pletcher) So Alive (Todd Pletcher) Soldado (Todd Pletcher) Spinoff (Todd Pletcher) Tacitus (Bill Mott) Union’s Destiny (Juan Carlos Avila) Vekoma (George Weaver) Zenden (Victor Barboza Jr.)

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3.20.2019:

March 23: Cross-Country Pick 5 Features Aqueduct, Oaklawn

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will continue its partnership with Oaklawn Park in hosting a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, highlighted by the $100,000 Cicada from Aqueduct and a pair of sprint stakes, the $125,000 Gazebo and the $100,000 Nodouble Breeders' from Oaklawn. Last week's sequence, which was highlighted by two divisions of the Grade 2 Rebel from Oaklawn, handled $203,282 as the largest all-sources pool of the 2019 Cross Country Pick 5 series. A winning $0.50 ticket returned $4,812.25. This Saturday, the Cross Country Pick 5 will feature a flurry of racing action from the Big A and Oaklawn, with a sequence bookended by stakes from the Hot Springs, Arkansas oval, starting with the Nodouble Breeders' [Race 7, 5:09 p.m. Eastern] and concluding just one hour later with the Gazebo [Race 9, 6:09 p.m.] The Nodouble Breeders, at six furlongs for Arkansas-bred colts and geldings 3-years-old and up, drew a field of nine, including defending race champion J.E.'s Handmedown to kick off the sequence. The second leg will be the featured Cicada [Race 8, 5:37 p.m.] from the Big A, a six-furlong sprint for sophomore fillies that drew a talented field of eight including undefeated New York-bred Stonesintheroad. The action jumps back to Oaklawn for the third leg [Race 8, 5:38 p.m.], a contentious claiming tilt for 4-year-olds and upward that attracted a field of 11, and then returns to Aqueduct for the penultimate leg (Race 9, 6:08 p.m.) as a field of 12 maidens looks to earn a trip to the winner's circle. Closing out Saturday's Cross Country Pick 5 is the Gazebo for sophomore sprinters that features a field of six highlighted by stakes winners Nitrous, Gray Attempt and Six Shooter. 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. Aqueduct-Oaklawn Park Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, March 23: Leg 1 - Oaklawn, Race 7: $100,000 Nodouble Breeders' (5:09 p.m.) Leg 2 - Aqueduct, Race 8: $100,000 Cicada (5:37 p.m.) Leg 3 - Oaklawn, Race 8 (5:38 p.m.) Leg 4 - Aqueduct, Race 9 (6:08 p.m.) Leg 5 - Oaklawn, Race 9: $125,000 Gazebo (6:09 p.m.)  

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3.17.2019:

Alwaysmining Aces Two-Turn Test in Laurel's Private Terms Stakes

LAUREL, MD – For a horse that never been two turns before, Runnymede Racing’s Alwaysmining made it look easy in extending his win streak to five races, the last four in stakes, with a front-running 6 ¾-length romp in Saturday’s $100,000 Private Terms at Laurel Park. The 30th running of the Private Terms for 3-year-olds at about 1 1/16 miles was the third of five stakes worth $450,000 in purses on an 11-race St. Patrick’s Day eve program. It serves as a prep for the $125,000 Federico Tesio April 20, a ‘Win and In’ event for Triple Crown-nominated horses like Alwaysmining to the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1) May 18 at legendary Pimlico Race Course. “That’s what we were hoping we’d see,” winning trainer Kelly Rubley said, after Alwaysmining ($3) coasted to the wire in 1:42.65 over a fast main track under a hand ride from regular pilot Daniel Centeno. “He looks like he’s galloping, just relaxed. He’s a very classy horse.” Alwaysmining is a gelded son of Stay Thirsty, winner of the 1 ¼-mile Travers (G1) as a 3-year-old in 2011. He won the Maryland Juvenile Futurity and Heft Stakes, both at seven furlongs, to cap his 2-year-old season, and opened 2019 with a victory in the one-mile Miracle Wood Feb. 16. Breaking from Post 3 as the 1-2 favorite in a field of seven, Alwaysmining found himself on the lead with stakes-placed Joevia settling into second and Miracle Wood third-place finisher Tybalt in third through a quarter-mile in 24.38 seconds, opening up by four lengths after a half in 48.44. Joevia closed the gap to two lengths after six furlongs went in 1:12.66, but was unable to keep up as Alwaysmining gained separation once straightened for home and steadily pulled clear of his rivals, running one mile in a modest 1:36.46. “The plan was like always, to try to break sharp and go to the lead,” Centeno said. “I know [Joevia] was the other speed in the race so I was looking to see what he’d do. When we went to the first turn, I looked and he took back a little bit, and my horse was going easy on the lead all the way.” The only anxious moment came and went early for Rubley, who got the horse last summer after he won one of his first five starts. Following a seventh-place effort over yielding turf in the Laurel Futurity in September, Alwaysmining has won by a combined 25 lengths during his streak. “My biggest concern was it’s really a short jump to the first turn here when we go a mile and a sixteenth and if we didn’t clear it, I wasn’t sure how our trip would play out. Obviously, he had no problem jumping out on top,” Rubley said. “I was extremely impressed with this race. Danny said he never even had to use the stick on him, which I think is phenomenal. He’s just doing it for fun.” Joevia stayed up to be a clear second, three lengths ahead Tybalt. They were followed by Dixie Drawl, Still Dreaming, Alwasymining’s stablemate Red Gum and Makes Mo Cents. Rubley, who nominated Alwaysmining to Saturday’s Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park and Sunday’s Sunland Derby (G3) at Sunland Park, opted to keep him at home for his first two-turn test. The 1 1/8-mile Tesio also comes over a Laurel main track where Alwaysmining owns six wins from seven starts, including his maiden triumph last summer. “We’ll see,” Rubley said. “Every time we win we get more excited, of course.”

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3.16.2019:

Code of Honor, Harvey Wallbanger Breeze for Xpressbet Florida Derby

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – W.S. Farish’s Code of Honor pleased Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey Saturday morning while prepping for the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) March 30 at Gulfstream Park. The 3-year-old son of Noble Mission worked for the first time since capturing the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream March 2, breezing five furlongs at Payson Park in Indiantown FL in 1:01 and galloping out six furlongs in 1:13 4/5 by McGaughey’s watch. “I thought he worked really well. He kind of eased away from the pole, picked it up, went the final eighth of a mile in 11-and-change and galloped out very well. He seemed to come back where he might have needed it a little bit,” McGaughey said. “We’ve got two weeks to go, so we can get him fresh again and go from there. We were very pleased with what we saw.” Code of Honor Workout (March 16) Code of Honor, who finished a disappointing fourth as the 4-5 favorite in the one-turn mile Mucho Macho Man Jan. 5 at Gulfstream, bounced back with a sharp three-quarters of a length victory in the two-turn 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth. “Coming out of the Fountain of Youth, when I came up here and saw him a week later, which was last Saturday, I was really pleasantly surprised with what I saw, not only physically but his energy level,” McGaughey said. “I’m every bit as pleased today. Hopefully, he comes out of this good and we can move forward off this work.”  Code of Honor stamped himself as a colt to watch in his Aug. 18 debut at Saratoga, in which he led throughout the six-furlong maiden special weight race. He came back to finish second in the Oct. 6 Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park, overcoming a troubled start to close from 10th in the one-turn mile stakes. Although the Farish homebred disappointed in the 3-year-old debut in the Mucho Macho Man, he took huge strides along the Road to the Triple Crown in his two-turn debut in the Fountain of Youth. McGaughey is hopeful that Code of Honor can follow in the footsteps of Orb and also add a Florida Derby win to his resume. McGaughey saddled Orb for a victory in the 2013 Kentucky Derby (G1) after triumphs in the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby. “Orb went forward a lot [in South Florida] and this horse is coming forward,” McGaughey said. “When we ran him in January, he wasn’t nearly the horse he is today. Hopefully, the next couple months he’ll be the same.” At Gulfstream Park, Harvey Wallbanger breezed five furlongs in 59.66 seconds in preparation for a planned start in the Florida Derby. The son of Congrats is coming off a 29-1 upset victory in the $350,000 Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull (G1) at Gulfstream Feb. 2. The Kenny McPeek-trained colt had entered the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull off a maiden victory at Churchill Downs Nov. 11 at 1 1/16 miles. Harvey Wallbanger worked in company with the McPeek-trained Signalman, who finished a disappointing seventh in the Fountain of Youth after completing a strong juvenile campaign with a victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs. Signalman, who is scheduled to run in the Blue Grass at Keeneland April 6, was clocked in a morning’s-best 59.46 seconds while working outside pacesetting Harvey Wallbanger. Harvey Wallbanger & Signalman Workout (March 16)

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3.15.2019:

Hidden Scroll, Bourbon War Breeze for Xpressbet Florida Derby

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Juddmonte Farms, Inc.’s Hidden Scroll breezed a half-mile in 50.20 seconds Friday morning at Payson Park in Indiantown, FL  receiving a little education in rating while preparing for a scheduled start in the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park March 30. ‘I thought it was very good,” trainer Bill Mott said. “We purposely put him behind another horse. We sent a lead horse out in front of him. They actually went off in 13 (seconds), 13, so they went off in 26. I wanted to make sure he was comfortably rating behind another horse, and he went off and was on the rider’s fingertips.” Hidden Scroll Workout Video (March 15) Hidden Scroll, who debuted with a spectacular front-running 14-length victory on the Jan. 26 Pegasus World Cup Invitational undercard at Gulfstream Park Jan. 26, came up short in the stretch to finish fourth as the 6-5 favorite in the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream March 2. The 3-year-old son of Hard Spun became involved in a heated speed duel with longshot Gladiator King while setting rapid fractions of 22.80 and 45.69 for the first half-mile of the 1 1/16-mile stakes under Joel Rosario. Hidden Scroll continued to show the way into mid-stretch before faltering late, checking in three lengths behind victorious Code of Honor. “I guess considering as fast as he went early, the fact that he was able to finish up at all was actually quite remarkable. I think it leaves us at a little bit of a loss to know where we’re at. We’re at a little bit of a learning stage with him. Not only do we have to find out if he can rate a little bit, we have to find out if he can truly get a mile and an eighth real well,” Mott said. “If we go back to the Florida Derby, you’re adding another 1/16th of a mile, which he’ll have to rate a little bit in order to get that distance. Friday’s breeze, the Juddmonte homebred’s first since the Fountain of Youth, was designed to give Hidden Scroll a taste of rating. “Both the rider and the horse ate a lot of dirt, but [Hidden Scroll] got the experience and he let the dirt hit him. He pulled him out at the 3/16ths pole and he went out and joined his company. I told him to let them finish together, which they did,” Mott said. “The work was 50-and-a-fifth for Hidden Scroll, but he came home in 24, which is nice – 12, 12 – and he galloped out really well. He actually got five-eighths in 1:02-and-change.” Hall of Famer Javier Castellano will ride Hidden Scroll for the first time in the Florida Derby. “There’s a change in riders. As everyone knows, Joel Rosario was on last year’s 2-year-old champion [Game Winner] and we felt if we go back in the Florida Derby, it’s probably a good time to make a change and let somebody else get accustomed to the horse,” Mott said. “Javier Castellano has the mount right now. He’s a well-seasoned rider. He’s been in those kind of races. Hopefully, it will be a good fit.” Mott is hoping the pace scenario in the Florida Derby will not be nearly as testing for Hidden Scroll as it turned out to be in the Fountain of Youth. “Pace is always dependent on who’s in the race. You never know if you’re going to have the same group and the same matchup. I think we’ve got to be ready if there’s a crazy pace; we’re going to have to be ready to maybe give him a chance early in the race and rate a little bit,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. Mott plans to give Hidden Scroll a tune-up breeze next weekend before shipping him to Gulfstream Park two days before the Florida Derby to school in the paddock and gate. Bourbon War Preps for Florida Derby with Half-Mile Breeze Bourbon Lane Stable and Late Star Stable’s Bourbon War tuned up for a scheduled start in the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) March 30 during a half-mile breeze at Gulfstream Park Friday morning. The Mark Hennig-trained 3-year-old colt was timed in 50.50 seconds for his first workout since finishing a fast-closing second in the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream March 2. Bourbon War Workout Video (March 15) Hennig, who delayed the work from 7:30 to 9 a.m. due to an early-morning rain, said he was opted to give Bourbon War a maintenance breeze.  “I thought the track might be a little heavy. I wanted to go with a maintenance work this week and we can sharpen him up next week, kind of what did last time prior to the Fountain of Youth,” Hennig said. In the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth, Bourbon War settled well off the fast pressured pace set by Hidden Scroll before advancing on the far turn, swinging wide off the turn into the homestretch, and making a strong run through the stretch. The son of Tapit finished three-quarters of a length behind victorious Code of Honor before offering an impressive gallop-out under Irad Ortiz Jr. “I was very impressed. I think he was just hitting his stride,” Hennig said. “I thought it took him a little while to transition off the turn. He kind of had to swing a little wider than he wanted to. Irad also mentioned that he had to wait on the turn when those horses were backing up and didn’t want to make his move and have to check. He said he waited and tried to be patient rather than move too soon and be forced into where he’d be stopped and have to be restart. He felt like he could definitely been closer.” Bourbon War had previously won a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance by 2 ¼ lengths going away Jan. 19 at Gulfstream. The Kentucky-bred colt broke his maiden at first asking by 2 ¼ lengths in a mile race originally scheduled for turf at Aqueduct Nov. 11. Three weeks later, he worked his way through traffic to finish fourth in the Dec. 1 Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct.

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3.14.2019:

Hoffa's Union Pointing to Xpressbet Florida Derby

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Hoffa’s Union, an impressive maiden winner at Laurel Park in his career debut last month, is being pointed to the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) Saturday, March 30 at Gulfstream Park, trainer Mark Casse said Thursday. Hoffa’s Union was purchased by a group headed by Gary Barber and Adam Wachtel and turned over to Casse following a front-running 15 ½-length romp against fellow 3-year-olds Feb. 28 in 1:43.61 for about 1 1/16 miles, which is configured around two turns at Laurel. The gelded son of 2012 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Union Rags, acquired for $11,000 as a 2-year-old in training last May by previous trainer and co-owner Gary Capuano, has been working at Casse’s training center in Ocala since the private sale. “So far I haven’t done a whole lot with him, just galloping. He didn’t run that long ago. We’ve got him here with us and he’s a beautiful, beautiful horse,” Casse said. “We’re looking right now at the Florida Derby. We kind of like the timing of it. Obviously, it’s going to be a huge step, but as long as he’s doing well we’re going to take a shot.” The 68th running of the 1 1/8 mile Florida Derby anchors a spectacular program that includes seven stakes, four graded, worth $2.15 million in purses. Among other horses being considered for the premiere Triple Crown prep are Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) winner Code of Honor and runner-up Bourbon War, Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull (G2) winner Harvey Wallbanger, Final Jeopardy, Hidden Scroll, Maximum Security and Vekoma. “If you look at his numbers … he stacks up with all those guys,” Casse said. “It’s a tall task and a big jump up in class, but if he can come back and repeat the numbers that he ran in his first start, it puts him right there with the best of them. “He was so impressive. He ran fast. He ran faster than older horses,” he added. “He ran a good Beyer number and ran a good Ragozin number and just was impressive. The guys got together and bought him and I was lucky enough to get to train him.”

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3.13.2019:

March 16: Cross-Country Pick 5 Features 4 Stakes Including Rebel, Azeri

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will continue its partnership with Oaklawn Park in hosting a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, highlighted by two divisions of the Grade 2, $750,000 Rebel at Oaklawn. Saturday's sequence will begin with Race 7 at the Big A at 4:50 p.m. Eastern with an eight-horse field of New York-bred sophomores competing in a six-furlong sprint. The remaining legs will feature stakes races contested at Oaklawn beginning with Race 7, at 5:21 p.m., the Grade 2, $350,000 Azeri featuring multiple Grade 1-winners Elate and Midnight Bisou squaring off against Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Shamrock Rose. The third leg of the Cross Country Pick 5 is the first split of the Grade 2, $750,000 Rebel (Race 8, 5:57 p.m.) featuring the undefeated Improbable taking on well-regarded Galilean in a nine-horse field. The penultimate leg of the multi-race wager, the $350,000 Essex Handicap (Race 9, 6:29 p.m.) at 1 1/16-miles for 4-year-olds and upward, drew a contentious field of nine, with the second split of the Grade 2 Rebel (Race 10, 7:06 p.m.), a field of 10 highlighted by the sophomore debut of Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old colt Game Winner, to close out the sequence. All the stakes action will be shown live on FOX Sports Saturday At The Races, airing 5-7:30 p.m. Eastern on FS2. The live broadcast will feature all four stakes events from Oaklawn as well as the $200,000 Inside Information, a seven-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares from Gulfstream Park. 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. Aqueduct-Oaklawn Park Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, March 16: Leg 1 - Aqueduct, Race 7 (4:50 p.m.) Leg 2 - Oaklawn, Race 7: Grade 2, $350,000 Azeri (5:21 p.m.) Leg 3 - Oaklawn, Race 8: Grade 2, $750,000 Rebel (5:57 p.m.) Leg 4 - Oaklawn, Race 9: $350,000 Essex Handicap (6:29 p.m.) Leg 5 - Oaklawn, Race 10: Grade 2, $750,000 Rebel (7:06 p.m.)

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3.13.2019:

The Stronach Group Programs Carry Weight with Bettors

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Bettors have a new handicapping tool in their programs at all Stronach Group tracks – the weight of horses. The Stronach Group is the first Thoroughbred racetrack operator to include the weights of horses in the past performance lines of its handicapping programs. This includes Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park, Laurel Park and Golden Gate Fields. “We’re always looking for innovative handicapping tools to help our bettors, and this is something bettors domestically and internationally began asking for last year,” said The Stronach Group’s COO Tim Ritvo. The Stronach Group tracks began collecting the information last spring. The information has been shared with bettors on the track simulcasts since last summer. “This is data-driven world, and we’re excited about adding this data to our programs as we continue our growth internationally,” Ritvo added. “Bettors and horsemen have used this information in the past to find out a horse’s optimum racing weight. We believe you can never provide enough information.” Horses at all Stronach Group tracks have been weighed on a scale located in the paddock areas. That information has been shared on each track’s daily simulcast since last summer.  

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3.11.2019:

2019 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #3 Results

Here are the full results for Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #3 (March 8 - 10, 2019): 1. Anothertwistafate (Blaine Wright) - 38/1 ($78.80)2. Bourbon War (Mark Hennig) - 12/1 ($27.80)3. Code of Honor (Shug McGaughey) - 14/1 ($31.60) 4. Country House (Bill Mott) - 29/1 ($61.00)5. Dream Maker (Mark Casse) - 56/1 ($114.40)6. Galilean (Jerry Hollendorfer) - 22/1 ($47.40)7. Game Winner (Bob Baffert) - 6/1 ($14.20)8. Gunmetal Gray (Jerry Hollendorfer) - 43/1 ($89.00)9. Harvey Wallbanger (Ken McPeek) - 33/1 ($69.40)10. Hidden Scroll (Bill Mott) - 11/1 ($25.40)11. Improbable (Bob Baffert) - 6/1 ($14.00) 12. Instagrand (Jerry Hollendorfer) - 17/1 ($36.40) 13. Intrepid Heart (Todd Pletcher) - 63/1 ($129.80) 14. Mind Control (Greg Sacco) - 55/1 ($113.60)15. Mucho Gusto (Bob Baffert) - 27/1 ($56.40) 16. Roadster (Bob Baffert) - 16/1 ($35.80)17. Signalman (Ken McPeek) - 38/1 ($79.60)18. Spinoff (Todd Pletcher) - 36/1 ($74.40)19. Tax (Danny Gargan) - 59/1 ($120.60) 20. Vekoma (George Weaver) - 37/1 ($76.40) 21. War of Will (Mark Casse) - 12/1 ($27.00)22. Well Defined (Kathleen O'Connell) - 216/1 ($435.40) 23. Win Win Win (Michael Trombetta) - 34/1 ($71.40) 24. All Other 3YO's - 9/2 ($11.80)

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3.11.2019:

2019 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager Results

Here are the full results for the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (March 8 - 10, 2019): 1. Bellafina (Simon Callaghan) - 9/2 ($11.80)2. Brill (Jerry Hollendorfer) - 25/1 ($53.00)3. Champagne Anyone (Ian Wilkes) - 51/1 ($105.60)4. Chasing Yesterday (Bob Baffert) - 8/1 ($19.40) 5. Dunbar Road (Chad Brown) - 18/1 ($38.80)6. Enaya Alrabb (Doug O'Neill) - 12/1 ($27.60) 7. Eres Tu (Steve Asmussen) - 83/1 ($168.60)8. Feedback (Chad Brown) - 20/1 ($42.60)9. Graceful Princess (Ralph Nicks) - 83/1 ($168.20)10. Jaywalk (John Servis) - 7/1 ($17.20)11. Jeltrin (Alexis Delgado) - 62/1 ($127.00)12. Liora (Wayne Catalano) - 65/1 ($133.60) 13. Marathon Queen (Steve Asmussen) - 113/1 ($229.40) 14. Mother Mother (Bob Baffert) - 31/1 ($65.40) 15. Motion Emotion (Thomas Van Berg) - 24/1 ($51.40) 16. Orra Moor (Todd Pletcher) - 43/1 ($88.80) 17. Point of Honor (George Weaver) - 11/1 ($25.60)18. Power Gal (Mark Casse) - 97/1 ($196.20) 19. Queen of Beas (Jorge Abreu) - 49/1 ($100.00)20. Restless Rider (Ken McPeek) - 13/1 ($29.80) 21. Serengeti Empress (Tom Amoss) - 11/1 ($24.80) 22. Tasting the Stars (Michael Stidham) - 137/1 ($276.40) 23. Violencia (Rodolphe Brisset) - 56/1 ($114.60) 24. All Other 3YO Fillies - 5/1 ($12.00)

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3.9.2019:

Haikal Spoils Instagrand's Return, Wins Gotham Stakes

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Following a win in his stakes debut, Shadwell Stable's Haikal proved he could handle a step up in class, making a strong rally from the outside in the final furlong to run down three competitors and post a one-length win in the Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham for 3-year-olds as part of a stakes-filled Saturday card at Aqueduct Racetrack. The 67th running of the Gotham, part of New York's "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series, offered 50-20-10-5 qualifying points for the Run for the Roses to the top-four finishers. Haikal, in his graded stakes debut, ensured he earned the highest total with a patient trip under jockey Rajiv Maragh. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee stayed off Much Better's early speed as he led the eight-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in 22.36 seconds and the half in 44.42 on the fast main track. In the stretch of the one-turn mile, Haikal was stationed fourth on the inside as Knicks Go, the Bob Baffert-trained Much Better and even-money favorite Instagrand vied for supremacy. Maragh angled Haikal to the outside, and the Daaher colt bolted to the wire, overtaking the three competitors before finishing in a final time of 1:35.63. "I felt like he was full of run, and I felt like we kind of had them measured," Maragh said. "I just hoped he'd continue his run and not ease up, and he continued running, so it worked out good. It wasn't that close at the end." Haikal, off at 4-1, returned $10.80 on a $2 win wager. Bred in Kentucky by his owners, Haikal notched his third straight win and is 3-1-0 in four career starts, all at the Big A. Haikal, who broke his maiden at six furlongs and won the seven-furlong Jimmy Winkfield on February 9, earned his first victory at a mile. "He showed me every indicator that he'll excel the further the distance goes, so that's not anything that I'm concerned about," Maragh added. "I'm actually looking forward to him running those long distances." Added Joe Lee, assistant to McLaughlin: "Kiaran had spoken to Rajiv and that was actually the plan: let him settle early, and then make that run. Rajiv rode him perfectly. When I saw him closing I was just hoping he'd get there. "I knew he was going to come, it was just a matter of if he was going to get there in time. Even at the eighth-pole, sixteenth-pole, I knew from the way he ran last time that he was still going to fight it out." Mind Control, a Stay Thirsty colt, rallied up the rail to edge Instagrand by a half-length for second, earning 20 additional Derby qualifying points. Trained by Greg Sacco and ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez, Mind Control increased his total points to 30, adding to the 10 he earned for winning the Jerome on New Year's Day at the Big A. "He ran a huge race, but he got caught right at the wire. They went fast enough, and I was just trying to stay back and give my horse a chance," Velazquez said. "He ran like a good horse today, but the other horse got up to beat him at the wire." Instagrand, conditioned by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, finished a nose in front of fellow California shipper Much Better, with Hall of Famer Mike Smith aboard, for third. The winner of the Grade 2 Best Pal last out had won his first two career starts. "I was fine with how he did it today. I'm not disappointed at all," said Instagrand's Hall of Fame rider Javier Castellano. "He was off a long time and to bring him back at a mile, he only got beat a length. "I like the way he rated behind horses," he added. "He doesn't have to be on the lead now. We can play both games. He can be right behind the horses. It's true progress for his third race. I'm very satisfied. I got beat, but I'm satisfied with the way he did it today." Family Biz, Tikhvin Flew, Knicks Go and Not That Brady completed the order of finish.  

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3.9.2019:

Regally Bred Tacitus Scores in Tampa Bay Derby

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott clearly is not a man in a hurry. A mere 22 years after his first victory in Tampa Bay Downs’ biggest race, Mott grabbed another Grade II Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby triumph. And he did it with Tacitus, a colt with only two starts as a 2-year-old, and one who had not raced since his maiden victory on Nov. 10 at Aqueduct. “He’s been a big, growthy colt all along, and when we were breezing him in the middle of the summer he was just a big, laid-back horse. We didn’t know what we had until we got into the fall,” Mott said after Tacitus and jockey Jose Ortiz got through late on the rail and powered to a length-and-a-quarter victory from Outshine. Tacitus, a gray homebred son of Tapit-Close Hatches, by First Defence, racing for breeder-owner Juddmonte Farms, sped the mile-and-a-sixteenth distance in stakes-record time of 1:41.90. The 7-5 favorite, Win Win Win, finished third in the 11-horse field, with pace-setter Zenden holding on for fourth. Tacitus paid $19.80 to win as the fifth betting choice in the field. He earned the winner’s share of $210,000 from the $400,000 purse. A crowd of 10,275 thrilled to the exciting action on a sunny, balmy afternoon. Total wagering handle on the 12-race card was $13,956,020 and change, the second-highest amount in Tampa Bay Downs history. Two other graded stakes were contested, with 5-year-old mare Rymska and Irad Ortiz, Jr. (Jose’s brother) rallying for a two-length victory from Hawksmoor in the Grade II, $225,000 Hillsborough Stakes on the turf and 3-year-old filly Concrete Rose and Julien Leparoux holding off Blowout by a half-length in the Grade III, $200,000 Florida Oaks, also on the turf. In the day’s other stakes, last year’s Grade III Sam F. Davis winner and Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby runner-up, Flameaway, outgamed Killybegs Captain through the stretch to post a half-length victory in the $100,000 Challenger Stakes under Jose Ortiz, and Digital Age and Irad Ortiz, Jr., posted a head victory from Forever Mo in the $75,000 Columbia Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf. In the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, Jose Ortiz managed to find the inside early from the No. 10 post position and raced in mid-pack up the backstretch, while Zenden led Sam F. Davis winner Well Defined and the others through taxing fractions. “He (Tacitus) broke very well and gave me a lot of choices by the first turn,” Ortiz said. “When the 9 horse (Dunph) went out, I decided to go in and follow the 1 (Admire) because I thought he had a good chance to win. “I took a lot (of dirt), but the dirt doesn’t stick as much here as some other tracks, so I think it was good for my horse. He’s a little green still, but we got a rail trip and it opened up for us.” A few anxious moments followed, with Outshine and Joel Rosario still looming as a threat, but Ortiz re-engaged the winner. “He’s a big horse and when he made the lead, he didn’t keep going; he kind of waited a little bit,” the jockey said. “He does everything so easy and I don’t know if he’s given me 100 percent yet (in his three races) – I don’t think so.” Ortiz was also capturing his second Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, having won the 2017 edition with Tapwrit. Mott had won the race in 1997 with Zede. “I’ve been waiting a long time,” Mott said with a big grin. “We’ve always liked this horse and thought he could be a horse that would be on the (Kentucky) Derby trail,” Mott said. “I liked him a lot better today at the 3/8-mile pole than I did at the 5/8 pole, because it looked like when he was trying to get between horses, I couldn’t tell if he was maybe fighting with the racetrack. “He was climbing a little bit but once he got through between those horses, he really got some confidence and got some momentum. Jose said he actually finished with something left. He got to the lead and maybe started to dog it a little bit, but I thought it was a very good race and a very good education for him.” The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby is a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points race, and Tacitus earned 50 points, with Outshine earning 20, Win Win Win 10 and Zenden 5. Michael Trombetta, the trainer of 7-5 favorite Win Win Win, was not overly disappointed after talking to his jockey, Irad Ortiz, Jr. “I want to go back and watch the head-on of the break; Irad said it was a little bit of a tangle out of the gate,” Trombetta said. “I think he was satisfied with the way that he ran. I just think if he could have gotten a little better position early, we might have had more of a favorable outcome. He finished with good energy and just couldn’t quite get it done.”

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3.9.2019:

Somelikeithotbrown Triumphant in Turfway Park's Jeff Ruby Steaks

March 9, 2019 (FLORENCE, Ky.) –  Somelikeithotbrown set a brisk pace and then turned the corner into a 20 mph headwind but had plenty left to win the $200,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park Saturday, pocketing 20 points toward a spot in the Kentucky Derby gate in the process. Final time for the 1 1/8-mile race was 1:52.05. As in the Battaglia Memorial, Dynamic Racer was second to Somelikeithotbrown, 3 ¼ lengths behind, earning eight points. Moonster, was another 1 ¼ lengths back in third to earn four points. Five General collected two points for his fourth-place finish. “The pace was honest but it looked like he was doing it pretty handily,” said winning trainer Mike Maker, “and he put the horse away that was contesting the lead with him down the lane [Dynamic Racer]. Tyler said he was ducking from the whip a little bit but he had a lot of horse left. With these two races [wins in the Battaglia Memorial and today], we’ll look at the Blue Grass [at Keeneland].” Five Star General set the first quarter in :23.61 but after that the pace was all Somelikeithotbrown, who clocked the half in :47.03 and three-quarters in 1:10.78 with Five Star General giving chase. The winner hit the mile in 1:37.84 before turning into the stiff headwind. “The plan really wasn’t to go to the lead today,” said winning jockey Tyler Gaffalione. “He broke so sharp, into the first turn I didn’t want to get in a fighting match with him, so I put my hands down and tried to get him to relax. Down the lane, he was kind of waiting on horses, kind of looking around, but he did everything easy. He’s a very nice horse, very talented. Mike [Maker] and his team did a great job with him. He was all by himself and every time I showed him the whip, he’d go one way. He was just acting bored.” Somelikeithotbrown was the 3-5 favorite and returned $3.20, $2.60 and $2.60. Behind Five Star General came Dabo, Speed App, Counter Offer, Skywire, Curlin Grey, Twelfthofneverland and Baytown Jimbo. Somelikeithotbrown is owned by Skychai Racing and Sand Dollar Stable and was bred in Kentucky by Hot Pink Stables and Sand Dollar Stables. By Big Brown out of Marilyn Monroan, by Tapit, Somelikeithotbrown now has three wins, two seconds and a third in seven starts and is undefeated in his two sophomore starts. His earnings stand at $363,478. The win was the fifth for Maker in Turfway Park’s Kentucky Derby prep race, following wins in 2006, 2010, 2016 and 2017. Bourbonette Oaks Winner Naughty Joker Gives Ward, Bejarano Third Stakes Win on the Day Naughty Joker gave jockey Rafael Bejarano and trainer Wesley Ward their third stakes win on the Jeff Ruby Steaks undercard when she got the best of stubborn Fun Finder late in the stretch to take the $100,000 Maxim Crane Works Bourbonette Oaks (listed) by 1 ¾ lengths. New Roo was a further half-length back in third. The win gives Naughty Joker 20 points toward a spot in the Kentucky Oaks gate. Fun Finder earned eight points, with New Roo collecting four and fourth-place Diva Day earning two. Naughty Joker raced two or three lengths behind the front-running Fun Finder to the top of the turn, when Bejarano tipped her out and turned her loose. Final time for the one-mile Bourbonette Oaks was 1:40.08. “My horse came away really beautifully from the gate,” said Bejarano. “I saw a couple of horses with speed, so I put her right behind them and got her comfortable. It is so easy to ride for these connections [owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey and Maker]. The horses I ride for them have so much class.” Naughty Joker was sent off the 2-1 favorite and paid $6, $4 and $4. Naughty Joker is by Into Mischief out of the Distorted Humor mare Fleeting Humor and was bred in Kentucky by the Ramseys. Her record stands at two wins and two seconds in four starts with earnings of $158,680. Bejarano’s career took off in 2003 and 2004 when he was Turfway’s record-setting leading rider. “I feel at home here in Kentucky and I’m reminded of what it used to be like on top of the world here in Kentucky,” he said.

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3.6.2019:

All-Stakes Cross Country Pick 5 Features Gotham & TB Derby

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will continue its partnership with Oaklawn Park and Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday by hosting a Cross Country Pick 5, highlighted by the Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham for 3-year-olds and up at Aqueduct Racetrack [as part of New York's Road to the Kentucky Derby series], the Grade 2 $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby and the Grade 3, $300,000 Honeybee at Oaklawn. Saturday's sequence will begin with Race 10 at Tampa at 4:57 p.m. Eastern with an 11-horse field competing in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks at 1 1/16 miles. The second leg will move to Aqueduct for Race 10 at 5:09 p.m. for the Gotham before switching back to Tampa for the Tampa Bay Derby at 5:29 p.m. The final two legs of the Pick 5 include the $250,000 Busher Invitational from Aqueduct for 3-year-old fillies looking to earn points towards qualifying for the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at 5:40 p.m. and the ninth race from Oaklawn Park, the Honeybee, at 6:09 p.m. All the action will be shown on FOX Sports Saturday At The Races, airing 4:30-7 p.m. Eastern time on FS2. The live broadcast will feature Aqueduct Races 9-through-11, all legs of the Cross-Country Pick 5, along with the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park. 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. Aqueduct-Tampa Bay-Oaklawn Park All Graded Stakes Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, March 9: Leg 1 - Tampa Bay Downs, Race 10: Grade 3 Florida Oaks (4:57 p.m.) Leg 2 - Aqueduct Racetrack, Race 10: Grade 3 Gotham (5:09 p.m.) Leg 3 - Tampa Bay Downs, Race 11: Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby (5:29 p.m.) Leg 4 - Aqueduct, Race 11: Busher Invitational (5:40 p.m.) Leg 5 - Oaklawn Park, Race 9: Grade 3 Honeybee (6:09 p.m.)  

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3.5.2019:

Bob Baffert Quartet Headlines Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #3

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Tuesday, March. 5, 2019) – Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s Grade I-winning duo of Game Winner and Improbable along with last weekend’s Xpressbet Fountain of Youth (Grade II) winner Code of Honor are the individual morning line favorites in Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager but “All Other 3-Year-Olds” is once again expected to be the overall preference when betting concludes Sunday. Veteran odds maker Mike Battaglia has installed “All Other 3-Year-Olds” as the 4-1 early choice in the field of 24 betting interests for the three-day pool, which opens Friday at noon (all times EDT) and concludes Sunday at 6 p.m. The advance betting will be staged concurrently with the year’s only Kentucky Oaks Future Wager. In addition to Win and Exacta betting, an Oaks/Derby Future Double is part of the Future Wager betting menu. The Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, which includes the Oaks/Derby Future Double, will close a half-hour later than the KDFW at 6:30 p.m. Unbeaten 2-year-old champion and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Grade I) winner Game Winner is expected to garner the most support among the 23 individual betting interests with morning line odds of 5-1. Los Alamitos Futurity (GI) hero Improbable was projected as the 8-1 co-third choice along with the Shug McGaughey-trained Code of Honor. Baffert, the five-time Kentucky Derby winner who swept last year’s Triple Crown with Justify, has stated that both Game Winner and Improbable will face one another in Saturday’s San Felipe (GII) at Santa Anita. Code of Honor is expected to run next in the March 30 Xpressbet Florida Derby (GI). Here’s the complete Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3 field (with trainer and morning line odds): Anothertwistafate (Blaine Wright, 50/1) Bourbon War (Mark Hennig, 12/1) Code of Honor (Shug McGaughey, 8/1) Country House (Bill Mott, 50/1) Dream Maker (Mark Casse, 50/1) Galilean (Jerry Hollendorfer, 50/1) Game Winner (Bob Baffert, 5/1) Gunmetal Gray (Jerry Hollendorfer, 30/1) Harvey Wallbanger (Ken McPeek, 30/1) Hidden Scroll (Bill Mott, 12/1) Improbable (Bob Baffert, 8/1) Instagrand (Jerry Hollendorfer, 10/1) Intrepid Heart (Todd Pletcher, 50/1) Mind Control (Gregg Sacco, 30/1) Mucho Gusto (Bob Baffert, 20/1) Roadster (Bob Baffert, 15/1) Signalman (Ken McPeek, 30/1) Spinoff (Todd Pletcher, 50/1) Tax (Danny Gargan, 30/1) Vekoma (George Weaver, 20/1) War of Will (Mark Casse, 10/1) Well Defined (Kathleen O'Connell, 50/1) Win Win Win (Michael Trombetta, 50/1) All Other 3-Year-Olds (4/1) Overall, Baffert trains four KDFW betting interests. In addition to Game Winner and Improbable, he conditions Roadster and Mucho Gusto. Other trainers with multiple betting interests: Mark Casse (War of Will and Dream Maker), Jerry Hollendorfer (Instagrand, Gunmetal Gray and Galilean), Kenny McPeek (Harvey Wallbanger and Signalman), Bill Mott (Hidden Scroll and Country House) and Todd Pletcher (Intrepid Heart and Spinoff). In the Oaks future wager, five-time graded stakes winner Bellafina was made the 5-1 favorite with four betting interests as 8-1 co-second choices: Chasing Yesterday, 2-year-old filly champion Jaywalk, Restless Rider and “All Other 3-Year-Old Fillies.” Here’s the complete Kentucky Oaks Future Wager field: Bellafina (Simon Callaghan, 5/1) Brill (Jerry Hollendorfer, 30/1) Champagne Anyone (Ian Wilkes, 20/1) Chasing Yesterday (Bob Baffert, 8/1) Dunbar Road (Chad Brown, 20/1) Enaya Alrabb (Doug O'Neill, 15/1) Eres Tu (Steve Asmussen, 30/1) Feedback (Chad Brown, 20/1) Graceful Princess (Ralph Nicks, 50/1) Jaywalk (John Servis, 8/1) Jeltrin (Alexis Delgado, 15/1) Liora (Wayne Catalano, 15/1) Marathon Queen (Steve Asmussen, 50/1) Mother Mother (Bob Baffert, 10/1) Motion Emotion (Thomas Van Berg, 50/1) Orra Moor (Todd Pletcher, 50/1) Point of Honor (George Weaver, 30/1) Power Gal (Mark Casse, 50/1) Queen of Beas (Jorge Abreu, 50/1) Restless Rider (Ken McPeek, 8/1) Serengeti Empress (Tom Amoss, 10/1) Tasting the Stars (Michael Stidham, 50/1) Violencia (Rodolphe Brisset, 50/1) All Other 3-Year-Old Fillies (8/1) Dunbar Road was not among the early Kentucky Oaks nominees, but trainer Chad Brown told Churchill Downs officials that she was likely to become eligible via a $1,500 late payment, which is due by April 13. The Kentucky Derby Future Wagers, which feature $2 Win and Exacta wagering, provide fans of Thoroughbred racing with opportunities to place bets on possible entrants in the $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) at odds that could be far greater than those available on the day of the race. The 145th running of Kentucky Derby, America’s greatest race and the first leg of the Triple Crown, is set for Saturday, May 4 at Churchill Downs. The $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) will be run the day before on Friday, May 3. Total handle for Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager on Nov. 22-25 was $258,389. “All Other 3-Year-Old Colts and Geldings” closed as the 6-5 favorite with Game Winner at 5-1. The Pool 2 betting on Feb. 8-10 reached $533,977. Again, “All Other 3-Year-Olds” was the 5-2 favorite with Game Winner at 5-1. “All Other 3-Year-Olds” has closed as the Pool 3 favorite in 13 of the last 16 years. The lone exceptions were Pyro (4-1 in 2008), Uncle Mo (3-1 in 2011) and Mohaymen (7-2 in 2016). Justify was the 6-1 individual favorite in Pool 3 last year and paid $14.40 to win compared to the $7.80 bettors were paid on Derby Day. Last year’s Pool 3 exacta of Justify and Good Magic returned $245.80 as opposed to $69.60 on the day of the race. The inaugural Oaks/Derby Future Double, which included Monomoy Girl, came back $71 versus $33.20 on May 4-5. After this weekend, the fourth and final Kentucky Derby future wager pool will be April 5-7 (Pool 4). Log-In and Place Your Wagers

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3.2.2019:

Code of Honor Wins Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – W.S. Farish’s Code of Honor rebounded from a disappointing effort in his 2019 debut to capture Saturday’s $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park and stamp himself as a leading prospect for the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) and the 2019 Triple Crown. Code of Honor was saddled by Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, who captured the 2013 Fountain of Youth, Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby (G1) with Orb. Code of Honor was sent to post at 9-1 for the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth, which headlined a 14-race program highlighted by nine graded stakes, and produced a winning performance expected of him in the Jan. 5 Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream, in which he finished fourth as the 4-5 favorite. The son of Noble Mission’s winning stretch kick was benefited by a hotly contested pace set by Hidden Scroll, the 6-5 favorite ridden by Joel Rosario, and pressed on his inside by longshot Gladiator King. Code of Honor, who broke from the No. 1 post position in the 11-horse field, saved ground around the first turn and along the backstretch in fifth under John Velazquez as the pacesetters set dazzling fractions of 22.80 and 45.69 seconds for the first half mile. Hidden Scroll, who was only making his second career start after breaking his maiden by 14 lengths at Gulfstream by 14 handy lengths Jan. 26, shook off Gladiator King to open a lead on the far turn with Global Campaign in closes pursuit. Meanwhile, Velazquez left the rail with Code of Honor just long enough to go around Gladiator King on the far turn before ducking back to the rail to advance toward the leader. After putting away Global Campaign and Vekoma while cutting the corner into the homestretch, Code of Honor loomed as a serious threat while swinging to the outside in pursuit of Hidden Scroll. Hidden Scroll shortened stride in the stretch after his early efforts as Code of Honor swept by on his way to victory. Bourbon War, who had won two of three starts, closed well to finish second, three-quarters of a length away and two lengths ahead of Vekoma. “There was so much speed in the race I was expecting a quick pace in front of us. We broke well, got position into the first turn and we held that position there. Once I was on the backstretch I was very comfortable with the way he was doing things. By the time three-eighths pole I was a little uncomfortable – one horse was kind of backing up [Gladiator King] and the other one [Vekoma] was kind of holding me there. I had to make kind of a premature move around the quarter pole and I got there a little too soon to tell you the truth, but once he got in front he opened up a little bit,” Velazquez said. Code of Honor, who ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.85, was trained more aggressively for the Fountain of Youth than he was prior to the Mucho Macho Man. “After the Mucho Macho Man, I said listen, we’re going to train him. If he takes it he takes it, and he took it. He was doing good with what we were putting into him, so we kept doing it and we felt like he was going to come down here and run well,” McGaughey said. “I thought we drew a good post. We saved some ground going around the first turn and just be patient. We got the set up.” Prior to the Mucho Macho Man, Code of Honor had broken his maiden at first asking at Saratoga in August before finishing a troubled second in the Champagne (G1) at Belmont Oct. 6. He was entered in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs Nov. 2 but was scratched on race day due to spiking a fever.” McGaughey said he would weigh his options for Code of Honor’s next start. “I would prefer to stay here [for the Florida Derby], but I’m going to see,” McGaughey said. “A couple of them [Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and Blue Grass at Keeneland April 6] and the Blue Grass are a little farther down the line, so we’ll see how he comes out of it. We’ll figure it out.” Bourbon Road also benefited from the hot early pace but did run into traffic heading into the stretch under Irad Ortiz Jr. “He ran very well. Irad said, ‘I don’t like that first wire.’ He said he kind of had to wait a little at the quarter pole for some room, but he said he didn’t want to ask him and have to check. So he said he waited and waited and he was just humming down the stretch, trainer Mark Hennig said. “He’s going to appreciate more ground, that’s for sure.” Hidden Scroll finished fourth, a neck behind Vekoma, in his stakes debut. “He ran good. It makes you wonder -- should we have chosen an easier spot? But I guess we felt we wanted to find some things about him today, and we found out we weren’t ready for this,” trainer Bill Mott said. “I would have loved to have gone in 46-and-three [seconds]band maybe we would have had a little more to finish up with. He got wrapped up in basically kind of a speed duel he shouldn’t have been. Anyway, that’s history. We’ll turn the page.”

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3.2.2019:

2019 Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes: Post-Race Trainer, Jockey & Owner Quotes

 Trainer Shug McGaughey (Code of Honor): “Well, I just thought that I made a couple of mistakes. I thought that I did stuff with him that maybe didn’t need to be done. I thought I had him ready for the real stuff. That didn’t work out and maybe he just wasn’t ready.” “There’s obviously three different spots. The Florida Derby would be my preference. We’ve got to ship him an hour and a half down the road. But there is the Wood and Bluegrass. It’s not all the Kentucky Derby. If he takes us there it’ll be fine but we still got to do it again.” “After the Mucho Macho Man, I said listen, ‘we’re going train him. If he takes it he takes it,’ and he took it. He was doing good with what we were putting into him so we kept doing it and we felt like he was going to come down here and run well. We saved some ground going around the first turn and he was just patient. We got the set up.” “I would prefer to stay here, but I’m going to see. A couple of them are a little farther down the line, so we’ll see how he comes out of it. We’ll figure it out.”      Jockey John Velazquez (Code of Honor): “There was so much speed in the race I was expecting a quick pace in front of us. We broke well, got position into the first turn and we held that position there. Once I was on the backstretch I was very comfortable with the way he was doing things. By the time three-eighths pole I was a little uncomfortable – one horse was kind of backing up and the other one was kind of holding me there. I had to make kind of a premature move around the quarter pole and I got there a little too soon to tell you the truth, but once he got in front he opened up a little bit.” “This is what we expected of him. Obviously, he came from a long layoff and he probably wasn’t quite ready. We put a lot of work in him and he’s taken it well and he showed us today what kind of horse he is.” Owner William Farish (Code of Honor): Unbelievable. It’s simply unbelievable. We’ve known he has the talent, but we’ve had these little hiccups ever since he was second in Saratoga. Today he showed what he had all along and what we’ve saw all along. It’s why he’s had to work him so much coming up to this. “It’s just incredible. You go through these things and all of a sudden it works. This is what he’s always done and he’s a very talented horse. Now we’ll see him. About going to Kentucky Derby “We’ll have to see how he comes out of this. With the works he’s had we’ll probably back off a little bit after this. We may not do that. We’ll see. There’s no way to tell you what it means. It’s a terrific thing. We’ve been in this business a long time. There’s a lot of good and a lot of bad, but this was a great day. Trainer Bill Mott (Hidden Scroll): “At the end of the day, he wound up going pretty quick. I was kind of hoping we might be able to lay in behind the 3 horse and as it was we were up heads apart the first part. I was kind of hoping to be tucked in behind him but it didn’t work out that way.” “He ran good. It makes you wonder, well, should we have chosen an easier spot but I guess we felt we wanted to find some things about him today, and we found out we weren’t ready for this.” “I would have loved to have gone in 46 and three and maybe we would have had a little more to finish up with. He got wrapped up in basically kind of a speed duel in a sense with a horse he shouldn’t have been. Anyway, that’s history. We’ll turn the page.” Joel Rosario (Hidden Scroll): The trip was fine but in the beginning he showed too much speed. He did that last time and he stayed on but going two turns today for the first time he got a little tired in the end. Trainer Mark Hennig (Bourbon War): “He ran very well. [Jockey] Irad [Ortiz Jr.] said, ‘I don’t like that first wire.’ He said he kind of had to wait a little at the quarter pole for some room, but he said he didn’t want to ask him and have to check. So he said he waited and waited and he was just humming down the stretch. He’s going to appreciate more ground, that’s for sure.”

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3.1.2019:

Roadster 'Back on Kentucky Derby Trail' After Santa Anita Allowance Win

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 1, 2019) – Idle since running third to eventual Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Game Winner Sept. 3, Bob Baffert’s Roadster returned to the races today with aplomb, as he powered to a 2 ½ length win in Friday’s $57,000 Santa Anita allowance feature.  Ridden by Mike Smith, Roadster, a grey colt by Quality Road, got a flat mile in 1:37.53. “He’s back on the Derby trail,” said Baffert, himself a winner of five Kentucky Derbies, including last year’s, which he won with eventual Triple Crown champ Justify, who made his first-ever start on Feb. 18, 2018 at Santa Anita.  “That was quite a performance off a layoff.  We just want to see how he comes out of this…When he worked in 10 and three (six furlongs in 1:10 3/5s on Feb. 17) out of the gate the other day, that’ssick, for a horse to do that on this track.” Breaking sharply from his number four post position, Roadster saved a bit of ground by tucking in just behind 3-5 favorite Nolo Contesto and longshot Diamond Blitz heading into the Club House turn.  Straightening up the backside, Roadster drew alongside Nolo Contesto while assuming second position and was subsequently lapped on Diamond Blitz around the far turn, gaining a narrow advantage leaving the quarter pole. With Smith shaking the reins approaching the furlong pole, Roadster, who was making his third start and his first try at two turns, separated himself with an impressive turn of foot, leaving no doubt as to the outcome as Nolo Contesto was all-out to gain the place. Out of the Silver Ghost mare Ghost Dancing, Roadster, who was the 3-5 favorite in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity Sept. 3, was off as the second choice at 4-5 in a field of five sophomores today and paid $3.80, $2.20 and $2.10. “I’m just so happy with the way he ran,” said Smith, who has ridden him in all three of his starts.  “His mechanics, his (breathing), everything was smooth.  Last time, he was struggling, so they did a little  minor surgery (to address his breathing).  Today, he was loving it.” When asked how Roadster seemed to handle the surface, Smith responded, “The track is great,   it’s got a lot of cushion.  They’re just floating over it.  This colt loved it.” Owned by Speedway Stable, LLC, Roadster, who was a $525,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase, now has two wins from three starts and with the winner’s share of $34,200, increased his earnings to $106,200. Bet to 3-5 favoritism on the strength of a one mile maiden win here Jan. 4, Nolo Contesto, who is trained by John Sadler and was ridden by Joel Rosario, was under a hard drive to keep up mid-way around the far turn, but kept to his task while finishing a half length in front of Manhattan Up and paid $2.10 and $2.10. Ridden by Tiago Pereira, Manhattan Up finished 7 ½ lengths clear of early leader Diamond Blitz.  Off at 19-1, Manhattan Up paid $2.10 to show. Fractions on the race were 23.75, 47.85, 1:13.16 and 1:25.42 on a fast main track.

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2.27.2019:

Signalman Heading in Right Direction for G2 Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Saturday’s $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) will pit experience against potential Saturday at Gulfstream Park, where graded-stakes winner Signalman will make his 2019 debut in a talent-rich field of 11 3-year-olds that will include several less accomplished but nevertheless brilliant contenders. The Fountain of Youth, the key prep for the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) March 30, will headline a 14-race program with nine graded stakes, including the $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) for 3-year-old fillies, featuring the 2019 debut of Jaywalk, the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner who won the Eclipse Award as 2-year-old filly champion of 2018. Signalman’s body of work during his juvenile season is beyond compare among his Fountain of Youth rivals. Owned by Tommie M. Lewis, David A. Bernsen, LLC and Magdalena Racing, the 3-year-old son of General Quarters concluded his 2018 campaign with a victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs at the Fountain of Youth distance of 1 1/16 miles, three weeks after closing from 12th to finish third in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at the home of the Kentucky Derby (G1). Multi-race guaranteed pools will be offered for the Late Pick 4 (Races 11-14), Late Pick 5 (Races 10-14) and 20-cent Rainbow 6 (Races 9-14). The Late Pick 4 will be guaranteed for $750,000, as will the Rainbow 6 pool if the popular jackpot wager is not solved by Saturday. The Late Pick 5 pool will be guaranteed at $500,000. The Fountain of Youth has been carded as Race 13 (Post time- 5:32 p.m.). “I think my colt, Signalman, is certainly the most experienced at the highest level. He’s already beaten some of them that are running back in there and there are other ones that are unknown quantities,” trainer Kenny McPeek said. “But you got to get them ready and bring them over there and get the job done. I’m pretty confident going over there, but we’ll find out Saturday.” Signalman finished a late-closing second in his May 17 five-furlong debut at Churchill behind Sir Truebadour, who went on to win the Bashford Manor (G3) two races later. Signalman returned to capture a seven-furlong maiden special weight race at Saratoga Sept. 1 before finishing second in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland, taking third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and winning the Kentucky Jockey Club. “In his first race he was second going five furlongs at Churchill. For a big horse, that is a lot to overcome. He’s been a nice horse from the beginning. When he broke his maiden at Saratoga, we knew we were on to something,” McPeek said. “Since then, since we’ve stretched him out, he’s done everything right.” Brian Hernandez Jr. has the return mount aboard Signalman. The least experienced and perhaps most exciting Fountain of Youth entrant is Juddmonte Farms, Inc.’s Hidden Scroll, a dazzling debut winner at Gulfstream Park Jan. 26. Hidden Scroll caught the bettors by surprise when he registered a 14-length front-running victory at 8-1 odds, but trainer Bill Mott was only surprised by how utterly dominant the homebred son of Hard Spun proved to be while running a mile over a sloppy track in 1:34.82. “It was a surprise he won as easily as he did, but I think we were excited and high on him going into the race,” Mott said. “I don’t think it was any surprise to us that he won, but the way he won in the fashion that he won was a bit of a surprise and awesome, to put it mildly.” Joel Rosario has the return mount aboard Hidden Scroll. If Hidden Scroll’s stakes debut is the most anticipated among the least experienced Fountain of Youth entrants, Global Campaign’s entry into stakes competition may well be the second-most awaited. Owned by Sagamore Farm LLC and WinStar Farm LLC, the son of Curlin has produced two brilliant victories to launch his career during Gulfstream’s Championship Meet. The Kentucky-bred colt debuted with a 5 ¾ lengths at seven furlongs Jan. 5 before taking a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance by 2 ¼ lengths a month later. “I don't know how many are going to be in there, but I would like to get a decent post, and I don't want to run on a sloppy racetrack but I would like to run here if we could,” trainer Stanley Hough said. “He'll definitely be prepared to run if that's what we decide to do.” Regular rider Luis Saez has the call. Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable’s Bourbon Lane also registered an eye-opening performance at Gulfstream Park in his most recent start. The son of Tapit captured a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance Jan. 18 by a going-away 2 ¼ lengths in 1:43.54. The Mark Hennig-trained colt previously won his Nov. 14 debut at Aqueduct over next-out winner Moretti by 2 ¼ lengths. He returned to finish a wide fourth under Irad Ortiz Jr. in the Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct Dec. 1. “He has a competitive nature. But also he has a good mind. Since he ran that first time, it’s like he’s just waiting for the rider to tell him what to do next,” Hennig said. “I think Irad rode him that way. If you go back, he gave him a little extra education in the Remsen, which benefited us in the last race.” Hennig is hopeful Bourbon War will make good strides on the Road to the Triple Crown in  the Fountain of Youth, which offers qualifying points (50-20-10-1) for the May 4 Kentucky Derby. “We’d like to see another move forward and pick up some points in the process. That would be the goal,” Hennig said. Ortiz has the mount. R. A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables’ Vekoma is among of the most inexperienced Fountain of Youth participants, but the undefeated son of Candy Ride will bring graded-stakes credentials into Saturday’s race. Trained by George Weaver, the Kentucky-bred colt captured the mile Nashua (G3) at Aqueduct despite a less-than-clean start in only his second career race Nov. 4. Vekoma debuted Sept. 23 at Belmont Park with a sharp 1 ¼-length triumph over next-out winners Epic Dreamer and Mihos, running six furlongs in a swift 1:08.93. “This looks like a contentious race with some good horses in there. I guess we’re going to find out where we stand,” Weaver said. “We’ve had a little time off, now we’re ready to get back in action. Vekoma will make his first start around two turns Saturday. “We have to ask him the question. It’s that time of year. He’s a very talented horse and we need to find out whether we’ll be headed to the Derby,” Weaver said. “He’s a good colt. If he can get a mile and a sixteenth, we’ll take on a mile and an eighth and see how he does that.” Manuel Franco has the return mount. Grade 1 stakes-placed Code of Honor will seek to rebound from a disappointing effort in the Jan. 5 Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Saturday. W.S. Farish’s homebred son of Noble Mission had a troubled start before turning in a flat fourth in the mile Mucho Macho Man. “I thought maybe he needed the race. He’s never been a really big-statured horse, so I never trained him hard. I just made up my mind that I was going to get into him and see if he could take it physically. So far, he has,” said Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, who saddled Orb for a victory the 2013 Fountain of Youth on his way to triumphs in the Florida Derby and the Kentucky Derby (G1). “I think he’s had a good two months.” Code of Honor had raced twice previously, registering a front-running victory at six furlongs in his Aug. 18 debut at Saratoga and recovering from a stumbling start to finish second in the mile Champagne (G1) at Belmont Oct. 6. McGaughey awarded the return mount to Hall of Famer John Velazquez. Calumet Farm’s Everfast will seek to improve on a second-place finish in the Feb. 2 Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Saturday. The Dale Romans-trained colt made a late surge after stalking the pace to finish just a length behind Harvey Wallbanger at 1 1/16 miles. The son of 2012 Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy took bettors by surprise, going to post for his seventh career start at 128-1 “He surprised me. He surprised me that he lost. That was the only surprise that I saw. I was disappointed coming out of it,” said Romans, who saddled Promises Fulfilled for an 18-1 upset victory in last year’s Fountain of Youth. “I thought he would win. He just seems good. He acts like he’s better than the races beforehand and I thought he’d run a big race, and he did.” Everfast, who will once again be ridden by Chris Landeros, had finished off the board in his three previous graded-stakes starts in the Bashford Manor, Breeders’ Futurity and Kentucky Jockey Club. Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and William Branch’s Frosted Grace will stretch out around two turns for the first time in the Fountain of Youth. The son of Mark Valeski broke a step slowly from his rail post position and finished fifth in the Feb. 2 Swale (G3) at seven furlongs. Epic Dreamer, who finished second behind Vekoma in his debut and tired while finishing fourth in the Holy Bull; Gladiator King, a six-furlong stakes winner at Tampa Bay Downs four starts back; and Union Destiny, who finished third in the Dec, 8 Smooth Air; round out the field.

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2.27.2019:

Hidden Scroll Installed as 9/5 Favorite for Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Hidden Scroll, an impressive winner of his lone career start Jan. 26, drew Post 7 and was installed as the 9-5 program favorite for Saturday’s $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park. The 73rd running of the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth for 3-year-olds, the final step on the road to the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) March 30, attracted a field of 11 sophomores. It is carded 13th on a blockbuster 14-race program featuring nine graded-stakes worth $1.65 million in purses. First race post time Saturday is 11:30 a.m. Post time for the Fountain of Youth is set for 5:32 p.m. Hidden Scroll, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, made his career debut on the undercard of the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Championship Invitational at Gulfstream, going gate to wire to win the one-mile maiden special weight by 14 lengths in 1:34.82 over a sloppy, sealed track. To be ridden by Joel Rosario, Hidden Scroll will carry 116 pounds, six fewer than co-topweights Vekoma and Signalman. R. A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables’ Vekoma, undefeated in two starts including the Nashua (G3) last out, is second choice on the morning line at 7-2. Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) winner Signalman is third choice at 9-2. Here is the field for the Fountain of Youth, with post positions and odds: Code of Honor (Shug McGaughey/John Velazquez) - 6/1 Epic Dreamer (Kelly Breen/Tyler Gaffalione) - 20/1 Gladiator King (Jaime Mejia/Jorge Solorzano) - 50/1 Bourbon War (Mark Hennig/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 10/1 Vekoma (George Weaver/Manny Franco) - 7/2 Signalman (Ken McPeek/Brian Hernandez Jr.) - 9/2 Hidden Scroll (Bill Mott/Joel Rosario) - 9/5 Global Campaign (Stanley Hough/Luis Saez) - 10/1 Everfast (Dale Romans/Chris Landeros) - 20/1 Frosted Grace (Kathy Ritvo/Jonathan Gonzales) - 30/1 Union's Destiny (Juan Carlos Avila/Leonel Reyes) - 30/1

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2.27.2019:

Tyler Gaffalione Hopes for Good Trip Aboard Valedictorian in G3 Honey Fox

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Tyler Gaffalione returned from a three-day trip to Doha, Qatar earlier this week after riding Saturday in the $1 million His Highness The Emir’s Trophy. While Gaffalione didn’t visit the winner’s circle, the adventure was well worth the 15-hour trip. “The trip was fun, a great experience,” Gaffalione said. “You get to see a whole other side of the world. The atmosphere was great. Everyone was very welcoming. I never expected to go to a place like that. To see it first-hand is pretty incredible.” Gaffalione was back in business at Gulfstream Wednesday and will likely have one of the favorites in Saturday’s $150,000 Honey Fox (G3) over a mile turf course in Epic Racing’s Valedictorian. The Honey Fox, one of nine graded-stakes Saturday highlighted by the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2), drew a field of 10 including Bellavais, Dolce Lili and La Signare. Valedictorian, trained by Kelly Breen, enters the Honey Fox off a gate-to-wire win here Feb. 9 in the Suwannee River (G3) after having finished third Jan. 12 in the Marshua’s River (G3). A 5-year-old New Jersey-bred by Temple City, Valedictorian has been a model of consistency winning 10 of 24 starts and finishing first, second or third in 18 races. “She had everything her way the day [of the Suwannee River],” Gaffalione said. “She was the lone speed, she broke nicely, rated nicely and she was real relaxed down the backside. When I asked her for run she opened it up and took the race away from them at that point. She finished up well that day. I’m looking forward to her next start. “I don’t think she needs the lead, but if she can get it easy enough I think it helps.” Trainer Todd Pletcher brings back Bellavais, winner of the Marshua’s River. The 5-year-old daughter of Tapit has compiled five wins from 14 starts (12 on the turf) while competing at eight different tracks. Trainer Bill Mott will send out Dolce Lili, who comes into the Honey Fox off a half-length victory in her 5-year-old debut Jan. 26 in the South Beach Stakes. The daughter of Scat Daddy, owned and bred by Don Alberto Stable, has placed in 10 of 11 turf starts with four wins. “Dolce Lilly is doing really well,” Mott said. “She won her first stakes race on the 26th of January and we were trying to get a little black type on her and we were able to accomplish that. We’re going to give her another try on March the 2nd in one of the filly and mare races. They’ve got two on that day and we’re eligible for both. The Honey Fox is the one that we’d probably be leaning toward. But she seems to be improving as time goes on. I’m happy with her progress.” La Signare, trained by Brian Lynch and ridden by Jose Ortiz, finished sixth in the Marshua’s River when coming off a six-month layoff. The 4-year-old French-bred filly won last summer’s Wonder Again (G3) at Belmont. Chad Brown will send out Peter Brant’s Precieuse, who hasn’t been out since finishing second over a soft course at Saratoga Aug. 4 in the De La Rose. The field also includes Fire Key, Valentine Wish, Scotty’s Model, Conquest Hardcandy and Hogans Holiday.    

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2.27.2019:

G1 Winner Channel Maker Seeks Rebound in G2 Mac Diarmida Stakes

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Gary Barber and Wachtel Stable’s millionaire gelding Channel Maker seeks a return to his Grade 1-winning form as the horse to beat in Saturday’s $200,000 Mac Diarmida (G2) at Gulfstream Park. The 24th running of the 1 3/8-mile Mac Diarmida for older turf horses is among nine graded-stakes worth $1.65 million in purses on a blockbuster 14-race program featuring the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2), the next step on the road to the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) March 30, and 2018 champion juvenile filly Jaywalk’s seasonal debut in the $200,000 Davona Dale (G2). First race post time is 11:30 a.m. Dating back to his final start in the fall of 2017, Channel Maker has faced Grade 1 company in nine of 10 races, the lone exception a dead-head victory with turf male Eclipse Award finalist Glorious Empire in the Bowling Green (G2) last summer at Saratoga. Two of those races have come at Gulfstream, where he was fifth in both the 2018 Gulfstream Park Turf and inaugural $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Jan. 26, the richest grass race in North America. In the 1 3/16-mile Pegasus, contested over a yielding course, Channel Maker raced near the back of the 10-horse field after having to check in tight quarters early and made a bid late on the outside but was beaten 6 ½ lengths by Bricks and Mortar. In his previous start, he pressed the pace for a half-mile before fading to 11th in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), also run over soft going. Channel Maker, by turf champion English Channel, won the 1 ½-mile Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) last fall prior to his run in the Breeders’ Cup, which like the Bowling Green came on less than firm turf. Overall, he has finished in the top three in 11 of 22 starts with four wins and $1.53 million in purse earnings. “He’s doing well. He got a little far back last time. Tactically maybe he wasn’t in the best spot,” Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said. “I can’t make huge excuses for him. He had the entire stretch to make up ground and he made up some ground, but not enough. We’re going to a little bit longer distance now and hopefully that‘ll suit him and he’ll be placed up into the race a little bit earlier. The last one was nine and a half furlongs so we’re stretching out a little bit this time which suit him a little better.” Joel Rosario, aboard in the Bowling Green and a runner-up finish to Glorious Empire in the Sword Dancer (G1), gets the return call from outside Post 11 at co-topweight of 123 pounds. Stephen Casey and Cory Hoffman’s Melmich, a multiple graded-stakes winner over the synthetic in his native Canada, will make his third career turf start and second straight over the Gulfstream surface in the Mac Diarmida. In his most recent effort, the 8-year-old Wilko gelding trailed by as many as 15 lengths before uncorking a late rally that saw him finish third, beaten 1 ½ lengths as the favorite, in the 1 1/16-mile Chrysaor Stakes Jan. 25. An ex-claimer, Melmich has 17 career wins, eight in stakes, five of them Grade 3, with $1.03 million in purses earned and has finished in the top three in 36 of 43 lifetime starts. “He’s obviously run almost exclusively on the synthetic. He had one start on the turf that was horrendous prior to us getting him and prior to him getting real good. The turf has always been kind of a question and we wanted to find kind of an easy spot for him where he could try the turf and see if he did like it or not, and I thought he ran really well. At the top of the stretch he was dead last and came closing with a big rush to run third,” trainer Kevin Attard said. “Obviously he’s taking a big step up in company compared to his last race but he’s a multiple graded-stakes winner at home and he’s a nice horse. The distance isn’t going to be an issue.” Hall of Famer Javier Castellano is named to ride from Post 3 at 118 pounds. Sean Shay and Michael Ryan’s Grade 2 winner Hunter O’Riley is set to make his second start off a nine-month break between races in the Mac Diarmida. Bumped early and forced to race wide, the 6-year-old gelding closed to be fourth, beaten 4 ¼ lengths, in the 1 ½-mile W.L. McKnight (G3) Jan. 26 at Gulfstream. “He came out of it good. It was a good effort first race back for him,” trainer Jimmy Toner said. “The turf was soft and he got floated out a little bit so, all in all, I was very happy with his effort. He came out of it good and responded good, so we might as well take a shot when he’s doing well.” Hunter O’Riley will be making his 20th career start in the Mac Diarmida, his fourth try over the Gulfstream turf. He was third in the two-mile H. Allen Jerkens in 2016 and sixth by two lengths in the 2017 McKnight. Later that year, he would win the Bowling Green (G2) by a neck and run fourth, 1 ¼ lengths behind Sadler’s Joy, in the Sword Dancer. The 2019 McKnight was Hunter O’Riley’s first race since he was ninth in the 1 ½-mile Elkhorn (G2) last spring at Keeneland. “The last time he ran at Keeneland, he came up with an issue after that race and it necessitated giving him some time off – probably [more] time [than] we normally would, but we figured we missed the whole season with him, basically, so let’s just give him the extra time and bring him back this year,” Toner said. “He’s been very consistent. He’s a tough campaigner and he tries hard every time. He gives you what he’s got. When he’s there and he’s 100 percent, he’s very good.” Tyler Gaffalione is named to ride Hunter O’Riley from Post 4 at 119 pounds. Michael Hui’s Zulu Alpha has won two of three starts since being claimed for $80,000 last fall by trainer Mike Maker, both victories coming in 1 ½-mile graded-stakes – the Sycamore (G3) at Keeneland and the McKnight in his 6-year-old debut. Maker also entered Kulin Rock, second by a nose in a 1 1/16-mile starter allowance Jan. 21 at Gulfstream. Vettori Kin, winner of the 2018 Louisville Handicap (G3); Argentinian Group 1 winner Village King, winner of the Red Smith Handicap last fall; Highland Sky, most recently fourth in the Joe Hirsch last fall; 2016 H. Allen Jerkens Stakes runner-up Montclair; Golden Dragon and The Best Candy round out the field. The Mac Diarmida is named for the 1978 champion grass horse trained by late Hall of Famer Scotty Schulhofer who raced 16 times from 1977-78 with 12 wins, seven in graded-stakes, capping his career with victories in the Canadian International Championship (G1) and Washington D.C. International (G1).

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2.27.2019:

Champion Jaywalk Returns in G2 Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Cash is King and D.J. Stable’s Jaywalk, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2018, will garner plenty of attention as she makes her highly anticipated sophomore debut in Saturday’s $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) at Gulfstream Park. The 32nd running of the one-mile Davona Dale for 3-year-old fillies is among nine graded-stakes worth $1.65 million in purses on a blockbuster 14-race program topped by the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2), the next step on the road to the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) March 30. First race post time is 11:30 a.m. Jaywalk, the 2-5 morning-line favorite, has not raced since stretching her win streak to four races with a 5 ½-length romp in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) Nov. 2, cementing her Eclipse Award. It was the first such title for D.J. Stable’s Leonard Green, proprietor of The Green Group accounting and tax firm who has owned and bred Thoroughbreds for three decades. Both John Servis and Chuck Zacney of Cash is King previously won an Eclipse with the 3-year-old male champion – Servis with 2004 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) winner Smarty Jones and Zacney with 2005 Preakness and Belmont (G1) winner Afleet Alex. Together, Servis and Zacney campaigned Maryland-bred 2016 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Cathryn Sophia. “Jaywalk was the Greens’ first Eclipse Award, and that’s something that they’ll hold special for the rest of their lives, and myself. And to have Chuck involved with another one, it means a lot,” Servis said. “Anytime you can win an Eclipse Award, it’s absolutely awesome. When you can win an Eclipse Award with people like that, that you want to see do great, it just makes it that much nicer.” Three years ago, Cathryn Sophia used season-opening wins in the Forward Gal (G2) and Davona Dale at Gulfstream as a springboard to victory in the Oaks. Jaywalk enters the Davona Dale having had six works since mid-January at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County. “She hasn’t grown a whole lot. The time off did her a lot of good, though, I think mentally,” Servis said. “She put on a little bit of weight. I’m really happy with where she is right now, so it was mission accomplished.” Jaywalk didn’t get to the racetrack until halfway through her juvenile season, finishing second in a five-furlong maiden special weight at Monmouth Park. Back at her home base of Parx, she graduated by 7 ½ lengths in front-running fashion July 24, then captured the White Clay Creek in her stakes debut at Delaware Park. From there, the gray or roan daughter of 2013 Whitney (G1) winner Cross Traffic sprung a mild upset of the one-mile Frizette (G1) at Belmont Park, foreshadowing her Breeders’ Cup performance. Both wins came under jockey Joel Rosario, who returns to ride Saturday from the rail at topweight of 122 pounds in the field of seven. “I knew she was a nice filly; how nice I didn’t know. To think that she was going to win two Grade 1s and be a champion? No way,” Servis said. “It was an incredible year. She showed us that she’s a really good filly. She deserved the time off she got. I’m real happy with the way she’s come back and excited to get her going.” While Smarty Jones put Servis on the national radar, he has also enjoyed success with such top females as Cathryn Sophia, 2000 Alabama (G1) winner Jostle, 2005 Acorn (G1) winner Round Pond and 2018 Barbara Fritchie (G2) winner Ms Locust Point. The trainer puts Jaywalk is a class of her own. “She doesn’t really remind me of anybody I’ve had. She’s so different,” he said. “She’s not a great, big, robust filly. Jostle was a big, strapping filly. Cathryn was big and she was stout. This filly is neither. This filly is not real big and she’s not real stout; she’s kind of aerodynamic, I guess. She has that ability to just turn on that cruising speed and she seems to just run horses off their feet.” The Davona Dale will be the sixth career start for Jaywalk, all over different racetracks. She cuts back to a sprint distance for the first time since the 5 ½-furlong White Clay Creek, having gone one mile and 1 1/16 miles in her two Grade 1 wins. “Our first big goal is going to be the Oaks, so we’re concentrating on that. Do I want her peaking on March 2nd? No, I don’t. But, she’s doing well,” Servis said. “She doesn’t have to be in front. She can press, but she’s sharp so I expect her to be close. And, I expect her to run well.” Trainer Ian Wilkes is hoping for an honest pace for Six Column Stables and Randall Bloch’s typically late-running Champagne Anyone (6-1), who closed to be third by three-quarters of a length, just a neck out of second, in the Forward Gal (G3) Feb. 2. “I’m happy with her. I’m very pleased with her training,” Wilkes said. “I think she’s moved forward since that race, and she needs to, because the water just gets deeper.” Champagne Anyone, a bay daughter of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense whose grandsire is Hall of Famer Ghostzapper, will be testing graded company for the third straight race, having run fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Golden Rod (G2) Nov. 24 to close her 2-year-old season. She was never farther than 5 ½ lengths from leaders Feedback and Bye Bye J in the Forward Gal; neither speedy rival returns in the Davona Dale. “The further the better for her. I used the seven-eighths as a kick off to the year just to stay in rhythm and build toward the Oaks,” Wilkes said. “I thought it was a very encouraging race, to close on the Gulfstream track like she did. She put herself a little bit handier in the race, which was a new dimension for her. She wasn’t out the back door, and I thought she ran a very game race. I couldn’t have been any happier with her effort.” Chris Landeros, up for all five of her starts, rides back from Post 5 at 116 pounds. Arindel’s Cookie Dough, who swept the final two legs of the Florida Sire Stakes for 2-year-old fillies last fall,  is entered to make her return to the races in the Davona Dale. Trained by Stanley Gold, the Brethren filly won the $200,000 Susan’s Girl and $400,000 My Dear Girl by 14 combined lengths, the latter coming Sept. 29. She missed a start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies when she got sick after shipping to Kentucky. Regular rider Jeffrey Sanchez has the call from Post 2 at 120 pounds. Completing the field are 2018 Princess Elizabeth Stakes winner Bold Script, third in the Natalma (G1) last fall; Golden Rod show finisher High Regard; Jeltrin, fourth in the Forward Gal; and Another Time. The Davona Dale is named for Calumet Farm’s 3-year-old filly champion of 1979 who won 11 of 18 career starts, 10 in stakes including five Grade 1 races, from 1978-80. She was elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1985.  

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2.27.2019:

Gulfstream Park Announces Guaranteed Pools for Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Day

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Saturday’s 14-race program at Gulfstream Park, featuring the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) and eight other graded-stakes races, will offer a $750,000 guaranteed pool in the Late Pick 4 and $750,000 guaranteed pool in the Rainbow 6 if not hit through Friday. The Late Pick 5 Saturday will offer a guaranteed pool of $500,000. The Rainbow 6 will kick off with the ninth race, a $50,000 maiden special weight event that drew 13 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. The sequence also includes the Honey Fox (G3), Davona Dale (G2), Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) and the Mac Diarmida (G2). 

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2.27.2019:

Potential Stars Line Up for Gulfstream's G3 Palm Beach Stakes

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Over the past 33 years, Gulfstream Park’s $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes (G3) has been a launching pad for many of racing’s future graded-stakes stars – from Kitten’s Joy to Divisidero to Prince Arch to Go Between to Paddy O’Prado to Maraud to… Well, you get the idea. It appears Saturday’s Palm Beach will once again provide race fans a look at some up-and-coming stars when eight 3-year-olds go to post in the 1 1/16th-mile turf event with 3-year-old horses entered from the barns of Bill Mott, Kiaran McLaughlin, David Fawkes and Mark Casse. One of the likely favorites with great potential is A Thread of Blue. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, A Thread of Blue comes into the Palm Beach having won three of his last four starts, including most recently the Feb. 3 Dania Beach at Gulfstream by 3 ½ lengths. The son of Hard Spun, owned by Leonard Green, has won his last two turf races in front-running style under jockey Luis Saez. The colt broke his maiden gate-to-wire on Belmont’s main track last October before coming from off the pace to finish third in the Awad Nov. 4 at Aqueduct. “He’s training very well and raring to go,” McLaughlin said. “He had things his own way last time, so it worked out great for us. He has speed. He doesn’t have to be on the lead, but if he breaks well and he’s there, great. If somebody else goes, we can sit second or third. “He’s a very nice horse. He’s training well. He loves the turf course here, two-for-two on it, so we look forward to the race.” Saez will ride once again. Bill Mott, who will saddle Hidden Scroll Saturday in the $400,000 Xpressbet.,com Fountain of Youth (G2), will send out Casa Creed in the Palm Beach. After racing four times on the dirt as a 2-year-old, Casa Creed won his 3-year-old debut on the turf in Gulfstream’s Kitten’s Joy Jan. 5 before finishing a troubled sixth last time out in the Dania Beach behind A Thread of Blue. “He got off bad in his last start and nobody was really making up a lot of ground,” Mott said “It was just an off day for him. Hopefully, he’s got a better one in him than he did in his last performance. However, he did win on the racetrack earlier in the meet.” Hall of Fame Jockey John Velazquez will ride. Sandra New’s Louder Than Bombs exits a second-place finish in the Dania Beach after finishing fourth in the Kitten’s Joy for trainer Fawkes. The son of Violence will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. King Ottokar steps into graded-stakes company for the first time after breaking his maiden Jan. 9 at Gulfstream at a mile on the turf. Julien Leparoux gets the mount for trainer Casse and BG Stables.

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2.27.2019:

Holy Helena to Defend Title in G3 Very One Stakes at Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Stronach Stables’ homebred Holy Helena, a Canadian classic winner at 3, returns to the site of her first graded-stakes triumph attempting to become the first two-time winner of the $150,000 The Very One (G3) Saturday at Gulfstream Park. The 31st running of the 1 3/16-mile The Very One for older female turf horses is among nine graded-stakes worth $1.65 million in purses on a blockbuster 14-race program featuring the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2), the next step on the road to the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) March 30, and 2018 champion juvenile filly Jaywalk’s seasonal debut in the $200,000 Davona Dale (G2). First race post time is 11:30 a.m. After six starts over dirt and synthetic surfaces including a victory in the 2017 Queen’s Plate, Canada’s version of the Kentucky Derby (G1), Holy Helena was moved to the turf by trainer Jimmy Jerkens last winter to open her 4-year-old season. She responded with three straight victories, two over the Gulfstream course, the second by 1 ¾ lengths in the The Very One. Holy Helena, the daughter and granddaughter of Hall of Famers Ghostzapper and Holy Bull, respectively, capped her win streak in the 1 3/8-mile Sheepshead Bay (G2) at Belmont Park, her most recent victory. She has gone winless in six subsequent starts, five in graded-stakes. “She did good here last winter and then won the Grade 2 when she went back home,” Jerkens said. “She does quite well down here. She likes the climate and seems to be happy and trains well down here. She does back home, too, but it might be a little better down here.” Holy Helena will be making her third start of the 2018-19 Championship Meet, having run second by a neck in the 1 3/16-mile Via Borghese Dec. 29 and sixth in the 1 ½-mile La Prevoyante (G3) Jan. 26, beaten less than five lengths, both to Si Que Es Buena. “That was bad luck. She was probably the best horse in the race [Via Borghese], but that filly came back and won again and she’s run good in all her starts since coming here,” Jerkens said. “Last time, she just couldn’t accelerate when she really needed to. But, she’s been doin good since so we’ll take another shot.” Meet-leading rider and 2018 Eclipse Award champion Irad Ortiz Jr., aboard in the La Prevoyante, gets a return call from Post 3 at 119 pounds. “She’s been training good, she’s carrying good flesh, and we’ve got the top jock,” Jerkens said. “The barn we had a little bit of a bad month in February so that’s always in the back of your mind when you’re running, but you can’t let it affect you.” A & A Farm’s Grade 3 winner A. A. Azula’s Arch closed from far back to be fourth, beaten 2 ½ lengths, in the La Prevoyante, her third straight race in graded company and third on the turf from 11 career starts. The Kevin Attard trainee was a gutsy neck winner of the 1 ¼-mile Maple Leaf (G3) over Woodbine’s synthetic surface in November. “She’s a nice filly. We were expecting a good race out of her that day and she definitely ran that way,” Attard said. “She’s come out of the race in good shape. She’s had a couple of interim breezes and breezed well so I’m pretty happy with the way she’s going. She seems like she really likes Gulfstream here and has settled in really well.” Attard was especially encouraged by the way A. A. Azula’s Arch finished in her first attempt over a yielding course in the La Prevoyante, where she was sent off at 49-1 odds in the field of 12. “I was definitely very pleased with the way she closed ground and I thought once she got to the outside she did her best running,” Attard said. “I think she may have opened up some eyes after her last race, definitely, but I think people are still going to be on the fence a little bit wondering if it was a fluke or not. I think she’s got talent. She’s obviously now a 3-year-old filly that just turned 4 and is still maturing, still growing. She’s taken all those steps in the right direction so we’re expecting a good year from her.” Two-time defending Championship Meet leading rider Luis Saez will be in the irons from Post 8 at topweight of 123 pounds. Jon A. Marshall’s Tricky Escape is a three-time Grade 3 winner who was within a length of the lead while third in the La Prevoyante before tiring to be fifth in her first try over the Gulfstream course. The 6-year-old mare kicked off a three-race win streak last summer in the Robert G. Dick Memorial (G3) and capped in the Ramsey Farm Stakes. “She didn’t run a bad race last time. I think right now she’s way better than she was then. I’m really happy with where she’s at right now coming into this race. I expect her to run real good,” trainer John Servis said. “This girl’s a runner. She’s a real nice filly.” Regular rider Chris DeCarlo will be aboard Tricky Escape from Post 7 at 121 pounds. Completing the field are multiple graded-stakes placed Danceland from Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey; trainer Roger Attfield’s two-time Grade 3-placed Ickymasho; Lafta, two-for-three on the Gulfstream turf including a win in the Monroe Stakes last fall; Semper Sententiae, thid in the La Prevoyante; Luther Burbank Handicap winner The Tulip; and 2018 Alabama (G1) winner Eskimo Kisses, entered for main track only. The Very One is named for the Kentucky-bred mare that compiled a record of 22-12-9 from 71 lifetime starts between 1977 and 1981, winning eight graded-stakes including the 1979 Dixie (G2) and 1981 Santa Barbara Handicap (G1), with $1.1 million in purse earnings.

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2.27.2019:

Recruiting Ready Chasing Graded Stakes Win in G3 Gulfstream Park Sprint

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Sagamore Farm’s multiple stakes winner Recruiting Ready takes another shot at adding an elusive graded triumph to his resume when he faces seven rivals in Saturday’s $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3). The 40th running of the six-furlong Gulfstream Park Sprint for 4-year-olds and up is the third of nine graded-stakes worth $1.65 million in purses on a blockbuster 14-race program featuring the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) for 3-year-olds on the Triple Crown trail and the seasonal debut of 2018 champion juvenile filly Jaywal the $200,000 Davona Dale (G2). First race post time is 11:30 a.m. Recruiting Ready, a 5-year-old son of 2012 Holy Bull (G3) winner Algorithms, has earned $519,645 in a career that includes 12 top-three finishes from 17 starts and stakes wins at 3 and 4, among them the Chick Lang at legendary Pimlico Race Course. The six-furlong Chick Lang will be run as a Grade 3 in 2019. “He’s been a nice horse for us all along,” trainer Stanley Hough said. “He’s had his share of bad luck along the way, but he’s a very nice horse. We love having him around.” In his most recent start, Recruiting Ready dueled with fellow multiple stakes winner World of Trouble, runner-up in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), in an off-the-turf edition of the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint Jan. 26 before finishing a decisive second. He has breezed twice since at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County. “I thought he ran good last time. The horse that beat him, I don’t know too many that would have beaten him that day. But he came out of it good and he’s doing well,” Hough said. “He’s got his issues, but he’s an older horse and they all come with issues, but we’re happy with him.” Recruiting Ready owns four wins and has been worse than third just twice in nine tries at six furlongs, also winning the Gravesend Stakes Dec. 23 at Aqueduct and 2017 Bachelor Stakes at Oaklawn. He has faced graded company five times with one second and two thirds. “I think six furlongs is his best race,” Hough said of Recruiting Ready, the 6-5 program favorite who will have two-time defending Championship Meet leading rider Luis Saez up from Post 1 at co-highweight of 121 pounds. Sharing the impost is Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Florida-bred Quijote, a veteran of 24 starts with eight wins, the last coming impressively in the six-furlong Sunshine Millions Sprint Jan. 19, his first start for trainer Georgina Baxter. The 6-year-old Pomeroy gelding’s four career Gulfstream wins also include the seven-furlong Big Drama Stakes in 2017. In the Sunshine Millions Sprint, Quijote gained a contending position early but was allowed to settle behind a sizzling speed duel between X.Y. Jet and Ray’swarrior and swept past both for a 3 ¾-length triumph in 1:09.98. Second choice on the morning line at 3-1, he will be ridden back by 2018 Eclipse champion Irad Ortiz Jr. from Post 4. “We actually knew there was going to be a lot of speed, and he’s a closing type. It’s nice when things go to plan,” Baxter said. “The plan was that they were going to go at each other’s throats and we would pick up the pieces in the end.” The Four Horsemen Racing Stable and Lady Lindsay Racing Stables’ Sweetontheladies will be looking for his first win since the Crystal River Handicap in June 2017 at Gulfstream. During that 18-race stretch, the 5-year-old son of Twirling Candy has placed nine times, eight of them in stakes, including the H. Allen Jerkens (G1) at Saratoga, Gulfstream’s Smile Sprint (G3) and Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) at Laurel Park last summer and fall. Sweetontheladies ran third in the Sunshine Millions Sprint, and returned to be second in the Pelican Stakes Feb. 19 at Tampa Bay Downs. Overall, he has earned purses of $383,962 from 24 career starts. “He’s a sweet horse. He tries hard and he’s a real pleasure to be around. He’s taken us all over,” trainer Henry Collazo said. “He’s doing great. He came out of that last race real good. I have it in my mind where we’re going and what we’re doing, so I train him accordingly. I don’t empty out the glass. When he comes out of a race, he’s not totally spent. He recovers good and he enjoys racing. All I try to do is maintain him and let him try to catch every dance. He likes to dance.” Marcos Meneses has the call on Sweetontheladies from Post 6 at 119 pounds. Santiamen, Pass the Butter and stablemates My Chinumado and Millionaire Runner are also entered.

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2.25.2019:

Global Campaign Possible for Xpressbet Fountain of Youth, Maximus Mischief Out

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Robert ‘Butch’ Reid Jr. cancelled plans to run Maximus Mischief in next Saturday’s $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park following a subpar workout Sunday morning. “The horse didn’t breeze too good, so he is out of the Fountain of Youth,” Reid said. Maximus Mischief breezed a half-mile in 49.02 seconds under jockey Jose Ortiz. “He just kind of went through the motions. The jockey wasn’t happy with the way he galloped out,” Reid said. “All things considered, we’re going to go back to the drawing board and look for another spot.” Owned by Cash is King LLC and LC Racing,  Maximus Mischief won the first three races of his career, including a 2 ¼-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct Dec.1 following a pair of easy wins at Parx. The 3-year-old son of Into Mischief sustained his first loss while finishing third in the $350,000 Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Feb. 2. Sent to post as the 4-5 favorite, Maximus Mischief pressed the pace into mid-stretch but was out-finished by victorious Harvey Wallbanger and runner-up Everfast.   Sagamore Farm and WinStar Farm’s Global Campaign, undefeated in two career starts, remains possible for the Fountain of Youth after working five furlongs Sunday morning at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County. “He worked in 1:01 and [three-fifths],” trainer Stanley Hough said. “He went in company, but it was a nice, controlled work. We were happy with it.” It was the second work for Global Campaign since the son of Hall of Famer Curlin, unraced at 2, won a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance by 2 ¼ lengths Feb. 9. Both his victories have come over Gulfstream’s main track. Hough said the connections are considering both the Fountain of Youth and Tampa Bay Derby (G2) March 9. “He likes this track and it’s close to home, so we’re leaning toward that way, but we’ll talk it over,” Hough said. “Global worked good and came back good, so I think he’s prepared to go either place. We’re going to see how the week goes and try to do the best thing for us and the horse. As far as the work today, it was very satisfying.” Also at Palm Meadows, Cash is King and D.J. Stable’s 2018 juvenile filly champion Jaywalk put in a final breeze in preparation for her 3-year-old debut in the $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) on the Fountain of Youth undercard. Jaywalk went a half-mile for the one-mile Davona Dale, her first race since extending her win streak to four with a 5 ½-length romp in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) Nov. 2. It was her second straight Grade 1 triumph, following the Oct. 7 Frizette Oct. 7 at Belmont Park. “She worked this morning and went good. Everything went perfect,” Kentucky Derby (G1)-winning trainer John Servis said. “The clockers got her in 50 and [two-fifths]. The race is Saturday so I was just letting her stretch her legs a little bit and put a little wind in her. She came out of it good and looks fine.” Servis, who won the 2004 Derby and Preakness (G1) with Smarty Jones, won the Davona Dale in 2016 with Cash is King’s Cathryn Sophia, who went on to win the Kentucky Oaks (G1) two starts later.

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2.23.2019:

Signalman Breezes for March 2 Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL –   Graded-stakes winner Signalman breezed five furlongs in 1:01.75 at Gulfstream Park Saturday, turning in a ‘solid’ tune-up for next Saturday’s $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2), the 1 1/16-mile final prep for the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) March 30. “It was a nice solid workout. We wanted a maintenance breeze. We didn’t want to work too fast at this point in the season. We still have a couple months for the big races. This is a prep,” trainer Kenny McPeek said. “This will be his first race of the season. This is a nice horse. He galloped out good.” Owned by Tommie Lewis, David Bernsen LLC and Magdalena Racing, Signalman worked in company with Harvey Wallbanger, whom McPeek saddled for an upset victory in the $350,000 Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 2. Harvey Wallbanger was also clocked in 1:01.75. “We’re going to wait on Harvey. He still needs to get a little bigger and stronger for that next step,” McPeek said. “We’ve got plenty of time. We’re going to wait probably for the Florida Derby.” Signalman, who will make his 2019 debut in the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth, closed out his 2018 campaign with a victory in the Nov. 24 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs, where, three weeks earlier, he  had closed from 10th to finish third in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). Signalman and Harvey Wallbanger Workout Video Dale Romans-trained Fountain of Youth nominees Everfast and Admire also breezed at Gulfstream Park Saturday morning. “I’m not sure which one is running, but I’ll figure it out in the next day or two,” Romans said. “They both worked well enough to run.” Calumet Farm’s Everfast breezed five furlongs in 1:02.52 in his first workout since finishing second, a length behind Harvey Wallbanger, in the Holy Bull at 128-1. “He’s just a little push-button horse. He goes out there and takes care of business,” said Romans, who reported that he had wagered $200 to win but didn’t place a place wager on Everfast, who paid $81.40 for a $2 place bet. “He doesn’t wow you but he just does things right.” Everfast Workout Video Working in company with maiden winner Come On Gerry, who finished eighth in the Holy Bull, Admire was clocked in 1:00.82 for five furlongs. “I just wanted him to show good energy and wanted him to do something and work kind of fast, and he did,” Romans said. Albaugh Family Stables LLC’s son of Cairo Prince finished fifth in the Feb. 2 Withers (G3) at Aqueduct after breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs Nov. 24.    

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2.22.2019:

Winner of Inaugural Oaklawn Invitational to Receive Free Preakness Berth

BALTIMORE – The Maryland Jockey Club announced today that the winner of the inaugural running of the $300,000 Oaklawn Invitational Saturday, May 4 at Oaklawn Park will receive a free berth in the starting gate for the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1), the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. The 1 3/16th mile Preakness, to be run Saturday, May 18 at legendary Pimlico Race Course, will be one of 16 stakes – nine graded – worth $3.8 million that will be run Preakness weekend. The Oaklawn Invitational will be run at 1 1/8 miles on Oaklawn’s closing day. “We’re very happy to partner with Oaklawn Park on this unique initiative,” said Maryland Jockey Club President and General Manager Sal Sinatra. “We believe this provides racing fans across the world an opportunity to see a promising, and possibly late-developing, young horse run against the winner of the Kentucky Derby (G1) and other top horses exiting the Derby.” Oaklawn General Manager Wayne Smith said: “Our hope from the beginning was that the Oaklawn Invitational would serve as a prep for the Preakness or Belmont Stakes, so we are excited by this announcement from the Maryland Jockey Club. As a result, we are happy to announce we have raised the purse of the race from $250,000 to $300,000. We are thankful the Maryland Jockey Club recognizes our race’s potential. The Arkansas Derby has had a long, successful history of producing Preakness winners from Elocutionist to Oxbow. Even last year, Oaklawn-raced horses finished second and third behind Justify. We look forward to starting an equally successful tradition with the Oaklawn Invitational, which will highlight our card Saturday, May 4.”

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2.22.2019:

Bourbon War, Hidden Scroll Tune up for Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable’s Bourbon War breezed an easy half-mile Friday morning at Gulfstream Park in preparation for a start in the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) March 2. The 3-year-old son of Tapit covered the four furlongs in 48.68 seconds under regular exercise rider Juan Oyola in his final tune-up for the 1 1/16-mile prep for the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream March 30. “It went great, just what I was looking for,” trainer Mark Hennig said. “He’s doing very well. I wouldn’t change a thing.” Bourbon War Workout Video Juddmonte Farms, Inc.’s Hidden Scroll, a dazzling debut winner at Gulfstream Jan. 26, also tuned up for a start in the Fountain of Youth on a foggy Friday morning, breezing five furlongs in 1:00.40 at Payson Park in Indiantown, FL. The son of Hard Spun worked in company, racing outside 3-year-old stablemate Tacitus on the backstretch before taking over the turn and drawing clear in the stretch. Hidden Scroll Workout Video Bourbon War, a $525,000 purchase at the 2017 Keeneland September yearling sale, made an auspicious 3-year-old debt at Gulfstream Park Jan. 19, when he rallied from off the pace while weaving through traffic to win by 2 ½-length going away in a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance. The Kentucky-bred colt debuted with a 2 ¼-length victory in a mile off-the-turf maiden race at Aqueduct Nov. 14. He came back 17 days later to finish fourth in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen (G2). Hidden Scroll romped to victory in his debut, scoring by 14 lengths without urging from jockey Joel Rosario. The Juddmonte homebred ran a mile in 1:34.43 over a sloppy track. Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and William Branch’s Frosted Grace breezed an easy half at Gulfstream for the Fountain of Youth. Coming off a fifth-place finish in the Feb. 2 Swale (G3), the son of Mark Valeski went the four furlongs in 49.30 seconds for trainer Kathy Ritvo. Fountain of Youth nominee Zenden, Pichi Investment’s Swale runner-up, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.14 at Gulfstream for trainer Victor Barboza Jr. The Fountain of Youth is also expected to attract Nashua (G3) winner Vekoma, Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) winner Signalman, Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull (G2) runner-up Everfast, Remsen winner Maximus Mischief and Remsen runner-up Code of Honor.    

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2.21.2019:

Cross Country Pick 5 Offered Saturday with Aqueduct, Oaklawn Races

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will again partner with Oaklawn Park to host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, highlighted by the $100,000 Franklin Square for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies at Aqueduct Racetrack and the $100,000 Downthedustyroad Breeders' at Oaklawn. Saturday's sequence will begin with two races at the Big A, starting with the fifth running of the Franklin Square in Race 8 [post time of 4:26 p.m. Eastern] and the card's ninth and final race with a 4:57 p.m. post time. The third-through-fifth legs will feature three races at Oaklawn, starting with Race 7 at 5:11 p.m.; the 11th running of the Downthedustyroad Breeders' for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at 5:41 p.m.; and the card's finale in Race 9 with a 6:11 p.m. post time. All the action will be shown on FOX Sports Saturday At The Races, airing 4-6:30 p.m. Eastern time on FS2. The live broadcast will feature both of the Cross-Country Pick 5 races at Aqueduct, the fifth-through-ninth races at Oaklawn, Races 11-12 at Gulfstream Park - featuring the Grade 3 Hal's Hope and the Texas Glitter, respectively - and the sixth race at Santa Anita Park. 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. Aqueduct-Oaklawn Park Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, February 23: Leg 1 - Aqueduct, Race 8: Franklin Square (4:26 p.m.) Leg 2 - Aqueduct, Race 9: (4:57 p.m.) Leg 3 - Oaklawn, Race 7: (5:11 p.m.) Leg 4 - Oaklawn, Race 8: Downthedustyroad Breeders' (5:41 p.m.) Leg 5 - Oaklawn, Race 9: (6:11 p.m.)

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2.20.2019:

Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Attracts 43 Nominations

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) show finisher Signalman, unraced since winning the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) in his 2-year-old finale, and 2018 Remsen (G2) winner Maximus Mischief are among 43 sophomores nominated to the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) Saturday, March 2 at Gulfstream Park. The 73rd running of the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth – the next step on the road to the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) March 30 – headlines a spectacular card featuring nine stakes, all graded, worth $1.62 million in purses. Signalman was second to Knicks Go in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) in his stakes debut last fall, running third to 2-year-old champion Game Winner in the Juvenile and taking the Kentucky Jockey Club by a neck Nov. 24 – all at 1 1/16 miles – for trainer Ken McPeek. Stablemate Harvey Wallbanger, 29-1 upset winner of the Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull (G2) Feb. 2, is nominated but expected to train up to the Florida Derby. Maximus Mischief suffered his first loss in four career starts in the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull, his sophomore debut. He won his first three races by 17 combined lengths, capped by a 2 ¼-length triumph in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen Dec. 1 at Aqueduct. Also prominent among Fountain of Youth nominees are Bourbon War, who bounced back from a fourth in the Remsen to win a 1 1/16-mile allowance Jan. 18 at Gulfstream; Call Paul and Zenden, 1-2, respectively, in the seven-furlong Swale (G3) Feb. 2; 2018 Champagne (G1) runner-up Code of Honor; Grade 3 turf winner Current; Holy Bull runner-up Everfast; Global Campaign, two-for-two this winter at Gulfstream; Hidden Scroll, a 14-length maiden special weight winner Jan. 26 at Gulfstream for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott; and Maximum Security, who moved to 4-0 with a runaway triumph Feb. 20 over Gulfstream’s main track. Eclipse Award champion 2-year-old filly Jaywalk is expected to make her sophomore debut in the $200,000 Davona Dale (G2), a one mile event that attracted 19 nominations. Trained by Kentucky Derby (G1) winner John Servis for Cash is King and D.J. Stable, the daughter of Cross Traffic won four straight to end her title season capped by the Frizette (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). Feedback, Champagne Anyone and Jeltrin, first, third and fourth, respectively, in the Davona Dale prep, the seven-furlong Forward Gal (G3) Feb. 2 at Gulfstream; 2018 Tempted (G3) winner Oxy Lady; Cookie Dough, who swept the final two legs of the Florida Stallion Stakes series last fall; Grade 2-placed High Regard; and Orra Moor, who romped by 7 ¾ lengths Feb. 10 at Gulfstream are also nominated. A total of 21 older horses were nominated to the $200,000 Mac Diarmida at 1 3/8 miles on the grass, led by multiple graded-stakes winning millionaires Bigger Picture and Channel Maker; 2017 Bowling Green (G2) winner Hunter O’Riley; 2018 Bernard Baruch (G2) winner Qurbaan; and Zulu Alpha, half-length winner of the 1 ½-mle W. L. McKnight (G3) Jan. 26 at Gulfstream. Defending champion Holy Helena heads 18 older females nominated to the $150,000 The Very One (G3), a list that includes graded-stakes winners A.A. Azula’s Arch, Eskimo Kisses, Puerto Rican import Pure Lemon, Si Que Es Buena and Tricky Escape. Sophomores will go 1 1/16 miles on turf in the $150,000 Palm Beach (G3) and $150,000 Herecomesthebride (G3), the latter for fillies. Gulfstream turf stakes winners A Thread of Blue, Casa Creed, Henley’s Joy and Louder Than Bombs top 23 nominees to the Palm Beach, while A Bit Special, who ran her win streak to three in the one-mile Sweetest Chant (G3) Feb. 3 at Gulfstream, heads 25 nominees to the Herecomesthebride. Multiple Grade 1 winner Heart to Heart and 10-year-old Hogy, a 19-time winner of more than $1.3 million in purses, are prominent among 17 nominees to the $150,000 Canadian Turf (G3), one of two one-mile turf stakes for older horses along with the $150,000 Honey Fox (G3) for females, which attracted 22 nominations led by Valedictorian and Peach of a Gal, first and third, respectively, in the Suwannee River (G3) Feb. 9 at Gulfstream. Rounding out the stakes action is the $100,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3), whose 13 nominees include 2018 Fountain of Youth winner Promises Fulfilled, who went on to win three graded sprint stakes led by the H. Allen Jerkens (G1) at Saratoga.

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2.18.2019:

Super Steed Pulls Off Massive Upset in Oaklawn's Southwest Stakes

Michael Pressley and Steed Jackson’s Super Steed overcame two disappointing starts in his last two outs to pull one of the biggest upsets in Oaklawn stakes history by winning Monday’s $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) at odds of 62-1. Ridden by Terry Thompson, Super Steed had to steady early and raced in ninth as Jersey Agenda and Gray Attempt battled through an opening quarter in :23 2/5. Gray Attempt, the Smarty Jones winner, held a one length advantage after a half mile in :47 3/5, but it was short lived. The winner came five wide into the stretch and rolled past all of his rivals to win by three-quarters of a length over Sueno. Long Range Toddy had to steady at the quarter pole, but made a gutsy move to be third. Six Shooter, Bankit, Boldor, 2-1 favorite Cutting Humor, Jersey Agenda, Ninth Street, Olympic Runner and Gray Attempt completed the order of finish. Super Steed, a son of 2010 Arkansas Derby runner-up and Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver trained by Larry Jones, won for the second time in five starts and has now earned $364,500. He returned a very generous $126.60, $39.80 and $19.80. The top four finishers of the Southwest all earned points toward Kentucky Derby eligibility. Super Steed earned 10 for winning and is now tied with seven other horses among the top 20. Sueno now has eight points and is just outside the top 20, while Long Range Toddy, who won the Springboard Mile for 10 points and got four for finishing second in the Smarty Jones, now has 16 and is ranked seventh. Live racing resumes Thursday at Oaklawn with a 1:30 p.m. first post. Southwest Stakes Quotes: Winning trainer Larry Jones – “He’s a nice horse. He got sick going into the Fair Grounds race (Sugar Bowl). It wasn’t serious, but you could tell he didn’t feel well. And, in the Smarty Jones (When seventh) they ran a Merry Go Round race. Terry did a good job. He had him in a good spot. This is very good. It’s been a while since Terry and I have been in this position. This is wonderful.” Winning jockey Terry Thompson – “He ran just a beautiful race. He wasn’t as aggressive. The other day (in the Smarty Jones), he got shuffled back, but he was aggressive. Today everything was in flow. It worked out perfect. Larry said wherever we were, make sure he gets the lead heading into stretch. He has a big heart.” Trainer Keith Desormeaux, second with Sueno – “Great race. It would have nice to get through earlier. This horse is as legit as they come. We are very thankful to have him in our stable.” Trainer Jinks Fires (Gray Attempt, 11th) – “Very unsportsmanlike what they did. I don't mind them outrunning us, making us keep running. But don't come in and wipe me out.”

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2.16.2019:

War of Will Scores Once More in Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes

Gary Barber’s War of Will had to work a bit harder than he did last couple of times, but nevertheless he once again proved that he was the best when garnering up another victory on the Road to the Kentucky Derby in Saturday evening’s Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Breaking from the far outside thorough post 14, jockey Tyler Gaffalione used the 3-year-old son of War Front a bit coming out of the gate in order to get the right position, was four wide going into the first turn and sat right off of pacesetter Gun It who recorded opening fractions of 23.71 and 43.36. Just inside the three-eighths, War of Will established command and edged clear at the quarter pole. Gaffalione urged War of Will the whole way down to the wire but he was still able to get the job done and won by 2½ lengths in a time of 1:44.59. Country House was a green but a willing second while Roiland close late for third. Hog Creek Hustle, Limonite, Manny Wah, Mr. Money, Owendale, Chase the Ghost, Henley’s Joy, Dunph, Gun It, Plus Que Parfait and Frolic More rounded out the field. “The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.” The Risen Star was Gaffalione’s third time aboard War of Will. He piloted the colt for trainer Mark Casse in his five-length maiden special weight victory at Churchill Downs in November as well as the Grade III Lecomte Stakes, which he won by four lengths. “Mark and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.” The Risen Star Stakes victory gave War of Will 50 qualifying points on Churchill Downs’ Road To The Kentucky Derby. He is now atop the Leaderboard with 60 total points. He earned 10 when he won the Lecomte last month. “For a big horse, he has tremendous speed,” Casse said. “He had to hit the gas a little to get over so that got him a little riled up. It’s like hitting the gas and trying to hit stop. They’re not as easy to stop as a car. He got him rolling and probably made the lead a little earlier than we would have liked. He’s done this a few times early on. When he gets the lead, he starts wandering. If he keeps winning there will be some big targets for him to chase.” Casse stated that the Grade II $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby on March 23 would likely be War of Will’s next target. “As long as he’s happy and healthy that’s where we’ll go and then we’ll talk about it from there,” Casse said. “I think (Fair Grounds) is a wonderful place to get a horse ready for the classics. We have right now four or five Derby horses and our two major Derby horses are here right now. I think a lot of that. I have David Carroll who I have utmost respect for so that’s important for me. Last year we almost won the Kentucky Oaks with Wonder Gadot and she stabled here. It’s a great place, it’s nice and the weather isn’t bad. Horses stay happy and safe here for the most part.” War of Will was the odds-on favorite at post time and paid $4.00, $3.00 and $2.60 while second-choice Country House returned $6.00 and $4.80. Longshot Roiland brought back $15.20. Now unbeaten in three starts over the main track, War of Will has earned a total of $491,569 in lifetime earnings having collected $260,000 from winning the Risen Star. Purchased by Casse’s brother Justin from the Arqana Two-Year-Olds In Training Breeze Up Sale in France last May for $298,550, War of Will is out of the Sadler’s Wells broodmare Visions of Clarity (Ire.) who is a half-sister to 1997 Grade I Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Spinning World. Visions of Clarity also produced Pathfork – the winner of the Group 1 Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at The Curragh in 2010. Other members of his family include Grade I turf winners Good Journey and Denon as well as Aldebaran – a three-time Grade I winner on dirt.

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2.15.2019:

Stronach 5 has $169K Carryover for Friday, February 22

LAUREL, MD – With no winning tickets in Friday’s Stronach 5, the national pick 5 wager with an industry-low 12-percent takeout is expected to climb to more than $500,000 Friday, Feb. 22.The carryover going into next Friday is $169,305.51.Friday’s sequence produced a $140 winner at Golden Gate Fields in Shari and an $89.20 winner at Gulfstream Park in Off the Mark.Friday, February 15 Stronach 5 Winners Leg One - Gulfstream Park 8th Race - Hellow Juliet ($6.60) Leg Two - Laurel Park 9th Race - Autotrade ($9.20) Leg Three - Santa Anita Park 4th Race - Gio Pronto ($22.00) Leg Four - Gulfstream Park 11th Race - Off the Mark ($89.20) Leg Five - Golden Gate Fields 5th Race - Shari ($140.00) 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.For the Stronach 5, 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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2.11.2019:

2019 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #2 Results

Here are the full results for Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #2 (February 8 - 10, 2019): 1. Bourbon War (Mark Hennig) - 31/1 ($64.80)2. Coliseum (Bob Baffert) - 22/1 ($46.20) 3. Game Winner (Bob Baffert) - 5/1 ($13.40)4. Global Campaign (Stanley Hough) - 22/1 ($47.80) 5. Gray Attempt (William Fires) - 104/1 ($211.20) 6. Gunmetal Gray (Jerry Hollendorfer) - 34/1 ($71.60) 7. Harvey Wallbanger (Ken McPeek) - 28/1 ($58.00) 8. Hidden Scroll (Bill Mott) - 7/1 ($17.60) 9. Improbable (Bob Baffert) - 7/1 ($17.60) 10. Instagrand (Jerry Hollendorfer) - 10/1 ($22.60) 11. Knicks Go (Ben Colebrook) - 78/1 ($158.20) 12. Limonite (Steve Asmussen) - 60/1 ($122.00) 13. Maximus Mischief (Robert Reid Jr.) - 38/1 ($78.00) 14. Mucho Gusto (Bob Baffert) - 23/1 ($48.20) 15. Network Effect (Chad Brown) - 40/1 ($83.60) 16. Owendale (Brad Cox) - 111/1 ($225.20) 17. Signalman (Ken McPeek) - 28/1 ($59.20) 18. Tacitus (Bill Mott) - 96/1 ($194.00) 19. Tax (Danny Gargan) - 63/1 ($128.60) 20. Vekoma (George Weaver) - 41/1 ($84.00) 21. Walking Thunder (Ahmad bin Harmash) - 118/1 ($239.80) 22. War of Will (Mark Casse) - 17/1 ($36.80) 23. Win Win Win (Michael Trombetta) - 35/1 ($72.60) 24. All Other 3YO's - 5/2 ($7.60)

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2.10.2019:

Gulfstream's Rainbow 6 Mandatory Payout Returns $100,919

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The Mandatory payout of Gulfstream Park’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 Saturday, which reached $8.2 million, returned $100,919.88 to multiple tickets with all six winners. It wasn’t an easy ticket to hit. The Rainbow 6 got off to a surprise when Papa Y, a 50-1 longshot who had failed to hit the board in four previous tries, went gate-to-wire and returned $118. After the 12-1 longshot Trilby ($26.60) won the second leg, there were only 22,129 live tickets remaining. There was a $1,509,922 million carryover going into the day. There was $6,754,787 of new money wagered Saturday.   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. Global Campaign Leads Promising 3-Year-Olds Saturday There were several races featuring 3-year-olds Saturday, but none were more impressive than Sagamore Farm LLC’s and WinStar Farm LLC’s Global Campaign, who drew off from Grade 1-placed Standard Deviation down the stretch to win going 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.29 Trained by Stanley Hough and ridden by leading jockey Luis Saez, Global Campaign’s victory Saturday’s followed an equally impressive winning debut here Jan. 5 at seven furlongs. “He’s a talented horse,” Hough said. “Obviously, you don’t know the first time two turns for a lot of them, but, gosh, he handled it well.” So what’s next for the undefeated son of Curlin who brought $250,000 at auction? “We don’t know,” Hough said. “Hopefully, it will be one of the many races coming up. The Fountain of Youth (G2) is a possibility.” In other races featuring 3-year-olds, Mathis Stable LLC’s 3-year-old colt Last Judgement, a $300,000 son of Congrats, broke his maiden at second asking. After being a bit difficult to load, the Todd Pletcher-trained colt won by a length going six furlongs in 1:10.13 under jockey John Velazquez. Pletcher and Velazquez were back in the winner’s circle some 60 minutes later with Cheyenne Stables LLC’s Angelia. The daughter of Curlin, stretching out around two turns for the first time, won at 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.95. It was Angelia’s fourth start. Juddmonte Farm’s homebred Clause ran down Can’t Buy Me Love down the stretch to break her maiden at first asking. Trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Clause, a 3-year-old daughter of Speightstown, covered a firm mile course in 1:34.86.

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2.10.2019:

Well Defined Springs Upset in Sam F. Davis Stakes

Trainer Kathleen O’Connell scored one of the biggest upsets in Tampa Bay Downs history in 2011 when she saddled 43-1 shot Watch Me Go to win the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby. Today’s Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis triumph with 3-year-old gelding Well Defined was nowhere near as shocking, but it was equally gratifying for the Tampa Bay Downs-based trainer, her legion of fans and the huge following owned by jockey Pablo Morales, who helped engineer the upset. “That’s very, very special to do it at Tampa Bay,” an emotional O’Connell said after Well Defined’s two-and-three-quarter length victory from a charging Kentucky Wildcat in 1:42.70 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth, .26 seconds off 2018 winner Flameaway’s stakes record. So Alive finished a distant third, with the 19-10 favorite, Knicks Go, getting nipped for fourth at the wire by Counter Offer. “He’s had little things that have happened and he’s grown up mentally and physically, and today he showed up with his game face on,” O’Connell said of the Florida-bred Well Defined, a son of With Distinction by Fru Fru, out of Medaglia d’Oro. “I like this horse a lot and the decision (on what’s next) will be up to the owners (Gilbert and Marilyn Campbell’s Stonehedge, LLC), but we just want him healthy. Maybe the (Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 9) – who knows.” Kentucky Wildcat was vanned off after the race. Later, trainer Tom Albertrani reported that the colt was bearing weight and resting comfortably but would be transported to a clinic in Ocala for observation. Well Defined’s victory was part of an electric Festival Preview Day 39 Presented by Lambholm South card that also featured 6-year-old mare Hawksmoor’s victory under Javier Castellano in the Grade III, $175,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes on the turf and 6-year-old horse Inspector Lynley’s triumph under Jose Ortiz in the Grade III, $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes on the turf, a race Inspector Lynley won two years ago. In the day’s non-graded stakes, the $150,000 Suncoast Stakes, Point of Honor turned on the jets in the stretch to triumph under Castellano, perhaps stamping herself as a Kentucky Oaks candidate. Total wagering on the 12-race card of $9,521,537 was $17,185 more than last year’s Festival Preview Day and the second-highest total on a Sam F. Davis card to the $10,743,714 wagered in 2016. Well Defined improved to 3-for-7, with the $170,000 winner’s share of the purse increasing his career bankroll to $490,570. He appeared to tire in each of his last two starts, the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream, but O’Connell said he had excuses each time. “His rear end slipped out from underneath him in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile,” she said, “and he was compromised on early position when he ran in the Mucho Macho Man and got bottled up inside. He’s a young horse who is improving, mind-wise and everything-wise.” Getting a word from Morales is never difficult, except when he is stopping to accept congratulations from well-wishers on his walk back to the jockeys’ room. He was still floating on a cloud in the 12th and final race on the turf, en route to another victory on 10-1 shot Funny Questions, even as observers wondered how he possibly had time to pose for pictures, get interviewed and change silks after the Sam F. Davis. “(Well Defined) has a ton of natural talent and I was going to take advantage of that today,” Morales explained. “I wasn’t too worried about where I was going to be because we were really lucky with the draw position on the outside, so I figured I was going to ride a cool race. “The horse is naturally fast and has a super-long stride, so I was going to come out running, but if somebody wanted to take the lead, I was OK with that,” Morales said. No one did, and he stretched the lead to three lengths from Knicks Go up the backstretch. “All I wanted to do was ride a cool and collected race and keep my horse running,” Morales said. “I didn’t feel like I was going that fast at all, and my horse was going as comfortable as he possible could. “I knew he was doing it relaxed and very much on his own. I had a lot of horse going into the second turn, so I figured I was going to ask him a little more and not wait for them to get me. If they were going to catch me, they were really going to have to come running.” Well Defined paid $16 to win. Trainer Ben Colebrook said jockey Albin Jimenez offered no real excuses for Knicks Go’s late fade. “Albin said he was getting out a little around the turn, so I don’t know what to make of that,” Colebrook said. “It looked like he had dead aim and then he kind of flattened out. It didn’t go the way we wanted, but hopefully there will be another day.”

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2.8.2019:

$10 Million Reasons to Play Gulfstream's Rainbow 6 on Saturday, February 9

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Gulfstream Park’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 will have a mandatory payout Saturday afternoon with a pool that could climb as high as $10 million.The Rainbow 6 begins with Gulfstream’s seventh race and includes four turf races, one a maiden special weight event going a mile, and the $100,000 El Prado, which attracted a field of 13 4-year-olds and up going 7 ½ furlongs on the turf.To help bettors, Gulfstream hosts and analysts Jason Blewitt and Ron Nicoletti along with the Daily Racing Form’s writer and clocker Mike Welsch handicap Saturday’s Rainbow 6. Watch Video Este Sábado 9 de Febrero habrá pago obligatorio del Rainbow Pick6, iniciando en la séptima carrera de la jornada a las. 3:07pm y con más de millón y medio de dólares acumulados, sino aparecen tickets únicos los días Jueves y Viernes, más lo que se apueste en el Pick6 el día Sábado. Los pronosticadores Claudia Spadaro y Alfredo Alfonzo hicieron un análisis con sus selecciones y recomendaciones para las seis carreras que serán parte del Rainbow Pick 6: Enlance al video

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2.6.2019:

Thursday's Gulfstream Rainbow 6 Carryover at $1.3 Million

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 21st consecutive racing day at Gulfstream Park Wednesday, growing the carryover jackpot to $1,342,034.54 for Thursday’s program. A total of $320,224 was bet into the popular multi-race wager, which began with a carryover of $1,265,195.58 from Sunday’s card. Multiple tickets with all six winners Wednesday were each worth $1,205.54. 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. Since the 2018-19 Championship Meet kicked off Dec. 1, the Rainbow 6 has been hit five times, most recently for a $188,900.81 payout Jan. 9. A mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 pool is scheduled for next Saturday’s program, even if it is solved in the meantime. The entire pool, including a carryover jackpot, will be paid out to those holding tickets. Who’s Hot: Jorge Navarro and Todd Pletcher both saddled a pair of winners Wednesday. Navarro, who entered the 10-race card with a four-win margin over the 13-time defending Championship Meet titlist, scored with Jo Jo’s Candy ($3.80) in Race 3 and Dezzer ($5.40) in Race 6. Pletcher won with Alpha Orionis ($2.80) in Race 1 and Clint Maroon ($6.80) in Race 7. Emisael Jaramillo celebrated his 42nd birthday with a victory aboard Jo Jo’s Candy. Rainbow 6 Carryover: $1,342,034.54

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2.3.2019:

Gulfstream has $1,265,195 Pick 6 Carryover Wednesday

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 20th consecutive racing day at Gulfstream Park Sunday, growing the carryover jackpot to $1,265,195.58 for Wednesday’s program.A total of $433,269 was bet into the popular multi-race wager, which began with a carryover of $1,042,638.19 from Saturday’s card. Multiple tickets with all six winners Sunday were each worth $3,748.50.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.Since the 2018-19 Championship Meet kicked off Dec. 1, the Rainbow 6 has been hit five times, most recently for a $188,900.81 payout Jan. 9.There will also be a Super Hi 5 carryover of $3,202.42 Wednesday.A mandatory payout of the Rainbow 6 pool is scheduled for next Saturday’s program, even if it is solved in the meantime. The entire pool, including a carryover jackpot, will be paid out to those holding tickets.Cover Model Gets Photo Taken in Winner’s CirclePhipps Stable’s Cover Model, a half-sister to Grade 1-stakes winner Imagining, graduated impressively at Gulfstream Park in Sunday’s seventh race, a mile turf race for older fillies and mares.The 4-year-old daughter of War Front, who had finished fourth in her first three starts in New York, pressed or set the pace throughout the race before drawing off to a 3 ½-length victory under Hall of Famer John Velazquez.“I ran her three time last fall and her races were good, but she was starting to sort of whittle down on me so I said let’s just turn her out for a while. We turned her out at Fair Hill and brought her down here, hadn’t done a whole lot with her but obviously she doesn’t need a whole lot,” trainer Shug McGaughey said. “She kind of grew up a lot and I think hopefully she’ll have a future in front of her. She’s got a wonderful pedigree. I think she’s still got some stuff to learn but hopefully she will.”Cover Model ran the mile over a firm turn course in 1:36.21.   Who’s Hot:  Irad Ortiz Jr., fresh of a two graded stakes-winning Saturday, won twice Sunday aboard Ortiga ($5.40) in Race 1 and Hogans Holiday ($10.40) in Race 6. Both horses are trained by Marcus Vitali.Leading rider Luis Saez also notched a double aboard A Thread of Blue ($6.20) in the $100,000 Dania Beach in Race 9 and Regal Romance ($6.80) in Race 4.Rainbow 6 Carryover: $1,265,195.58Super Hi 5 Carryover: $3,202.42

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2.2.2019:

Mucho Gusto Powers Through Slop, Wins Robert B. Lewis Stakes

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 2, 2019) – Favored Mucho Gusto was all business on Saturday at Santa Anita, as he rated kindly and exploded the final eighth of a mile to take the Grade III, $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes by 4 ¾ lengths under Joe Talamo.  Trained by Bob Baffert, the chestnut colt by Mucho Macho Man got a mile and one sixteenth over a sloppy track in 1:41.81. A comfortable third into and around the Club House turn, Mucho Gusto was well within himself as he stalked Magnificent McCool while second heading to the far turn.  Five sixteenths of a mile from home, he took command and accelerated through the lane like a top Derby prospect to win with his ears pricked. “Every race, he’s getting better and better,” said Talamo, who’s ridden him in all four of his starts.  “He settled today like he’s been doing this a hundred times…He galloped out real strong.  I don’t think distance is going to be any problem.  At the three eighths (pole), I was pretty confident.  He’s a 3-year-old, but he feels like an older horse.” Idle since running second to his highly regarded stablemate Improbable in the Grade I Los Alamitos Futurity Dec. 8, Mucho Gusto, who is out of the Giant’s Causeway mare Itsagiantcauseway, was off at 3-5 in a field of five sophomores and paid $3.20, $2.20 and $2.10. Owned by Michael Lund Petersen, Mucho Gusto, who was purchased for $625,000 at a 2-year-old in training sale this past May, picked up $90,000 for the win, hiking his earnings to $234,000.  He now has three wins from four starts and he picked up 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points as well. “He got to sit off the pace, which was good,” said Baffert.  “They have to learn to do that, and I was really happy with Joe.  He rode him with a lot of confidence today, like he was a good horse and he (Talamo) was on his own.  I didn’t give him any instructions…He’s a good horse.  He’s a fighter, too.  If they’d have hooked him, he likes to fight. “This is the time of the year when you want to start getting excited about something…I want to run him in spots where he’s going to be very competitive, and we have those other horses, so it depends on what the other horses are doing.  Right now, I’m going to nominate my horses everywhere and whoever’s doing great that week runs in that race…Let the games begin.” Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and ridden by Mike Smith, Gunmetal Gray, a deep closer, had his work cut out for him in the short field.  With what developed into a reasonable early pace, he rallied well from last to catch Easy Shot late, finishing second by a half length. A winner of the Grade III Sham Stakes here on Jan. 5, he was the second choice at 8-5 and paid $2.40 and $2.10. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, the Keith Desormeaux-trained Easy Shot was off at 12-1 and paid $2.60 to show while finishing 2 ¼ lengths clear of Magnificent Cool. Fractions on the race were 23.67, 46.55, 1:10.51 and 1:35.57. The second, third and fourth place finishers picked up four, two and one Kentucky Derby qualifying point(s) each.

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2.2.2019:

Harvey Wallbanger Pulls 29/1 Upset in Holy Bull Stakes

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Harvey Wallbanger parlayed a ground-saving trip under Brian Hernandez Jr. into a 29-1 upset victory in Saturday’s $350,000 Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park.The Holy Bull, a 1 1/16-mile prep for 3-year-olds, headlined a 12-race program that also offered the $150,000 Swale, a seven-furlong stakes for 3-year-olds, and the $150,000 Forward Gal (G3), a seven-furlong stakes for 3-year-old fillies. The Holy Bull will be followed by the $400,000 Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth (G2) March 2 on the Road to the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) March 30 at Gulfstream.The Ken McPeek-trained Harvey Wallbanger was making his stakes debut in the Holy Bull while racing for the first time this year. In his most recent start, the son of Congrats captured a maiden special weight race at Churchill Downs Nov. 17 after starting off his career with three straight second-place finish for owners Harold Lerner LLC, AWC Stables, Nehoc Stables, Scott Akman and Paul Braverman.Maximus Mischief, the 3-5 favorite in a field of nine, suffered his first loss in four starts while finishing third, unable to withstand the inside challenge of Harvey Wallbanger after gaining a lead in the stretch.“It’s a horse race. You can’t duck one, can you? He showed he had some good, solid ability. I was thinking he’d rise up to whatever level you put him in,” McPeek said. “All we did last fall was really kind of teach him what to do. The end of the season he was a little tired after his fourth race and we backed off, came down here, and took our time.“I had some options to run in an a-other-than and I told [co-owner] Harold [Lerner], ‘Let’s find out how good he is, because he can’t be training any better,” McPeek added. “Today, I told Brian, ‘If they go, let them go. Don’t worry about it. Just tuck in, save some ground, and make your run.’”Hernandez, who has enjoyed solid success during his first Championship Meet at Gulfstream, executed the plan to perfection. Harvey Wallbanger was rated far off the early pace set by Epic Dreamer, who showed the way around the turn and along the backstretch while posting fractions of 23.18 and 46.76 seconds for the first half mile. Maximus Mischief, who captured the Dec. 1 Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct in his most recent start, broke from the gate sharply under Jose Ortiz and was in closest pursuit of the pacesetter.Epic Dreamer, a 12-1 longshot ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., continued to show the way on the turn into the homestretch, when Maximus Mischief was asked for his run. The favored son of Into Mischief advanced on the leader to gain the lead in the stretch but was unable to hold off Harvey Wallbanger, who skimmed the rail to win by a length, and the late outside surge of Everfast, a 128-1 outsider who grabbed second by a neck under Chris Landeros. Epic Dreamer faded to fourth. Mihos, who captured the Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Jan. 5, finished fifth after stalking the pace.Ortiz said the Robert (Butch) Reid Jr.-trained Maximus Mischief didn’t seem to be running to his ability.“He broke good, clean. He sat second behind the speed, but I felt like they were coming on my outside, so I made my decision to go. When I asked him, he wasn’t going the way I wanted him to. I just had to start riding,” Ortiz said. “I had a hard time catching the horse on the lead.”The trip made the difference for Harvey Wallbanger.“It was great. We had a horse that likes to come from behind and we thought they’d go quick in front. I was able to just kind of sit there. I knew to trust in my horse, because he was second in a couple of good maiden races and he always runs to his competition so I thought he’d give a good showing today,” Hernandez said. “We’d have been happy if he’d have been second or third, but for him to jump up and win showed that he’s a good horse and he’s turned into a good 3-year-old. When we turned for home and I got within range of them, I thought I had enough horse to where I’d get past them. I mean, he spurted through there quickly and he did it like a good horse.”Harvey Wallbanger ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.69 while giving McPeek a second Triple Crown prospect. McPeek also trains Grade 2 winner Signalman, who breezed at Gulfstream Park Saturday morning in preparation for a start in the Fountain of Youth.“Let’s just enjoy the evening here and then figure it out. The Fountain of Youth. I’ve already got Signalman kind of circled for that, but that doesn’t mean that they both couldn’t run,” McPeek said. “I’d like to keep them apart if I can but one step at a time.”

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1.25.2019:

Pegasus World Cup Betting Headquarters

Betting the Pegasus World Cup? Handicapping the Pegasus World Cup is now easier than ever with our Pegasus World Cup Handicapping Headquarters. Download the Pegasus World Cup Wager Guide Get a leg up on the competition with our Free Wager Guide, packed with valuable insights from the nation's top handicappers. Download it today to see how our veteran handicappers are betting the Pegasus, Pegasus Turf and the other seven stakes races on the card. This year’s team of handicappers includes: Eddie Olczyk Brent Musburger Millie Ball Jeff Siegel Michelle Yu Pegasus World Cup Day Stakes Races - Saturday, January 26 Race NameGradePurseDistance/SurfaceRestrictions South Beach S. $125,000 7 1/2 Furlongs/TurfF&M 4&UP Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint S. $150,000 5 Furlongs/Turf4&UP Ladies' Turf Sprint $150,000 5 Furlongs/TurfF&M 4&UP Hurricane Bertie S.III$150,000 7 Furlongs/DirtF&M 4&UP La Prevoyante H.III$200,000 1 1/2 Miles/TurfF&M 4&UP W. L. McKnight H.III$200,000 1 1/2 Miles/Turf4&UP Fred W. Hooper S.III$150,000 1 Miles/Dirt4&UP Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational S. $7,000,000 1 3/16 Miles/Turf3&UP Pegasus World Cup Invitational S.I$9,000,000 1 1/8 Miles/Dirt3&UP Pegasus World Cup Contenders Meet the horses who will be competing in the $9 Million Pegasus World Cup and the $7 Million Pegasus World Cup Turf. Each Pegasus World Cup horse, from Accelerate to True Timber has a dedicated page with recent workouts, trainer interviews and race record to help you handicap the race and pick winners. Pegasus World Cup Odds During the Pegasus World Cup Post Position Draw, the Morning Line Odds were set by the Gulfstream Park morning line maker. The morning line maker's job is to predict, as accurately as possible, the final odds of each individual race on a day’s program. Here are the post positions and morning line odds for the Pegasus World Cup Contenders Pegasus World Cup Invitational Post Position Pegasus Contender Morning Line Odds 1 Bravazo 12/1 2 Something Awesome 20/1 3 City of Light 5/2 4 Seeking the Soul 12/1 5 Accelerate 9/5 6 Tom's d'Etat 20/1 7 True Timber 30/1 8 Gunnevera 8/1 9 Kukulkan 30/1 10 Audible 10/1 11 Imperative 30/1 12 Patternrecognition 10/1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Post Position Turf Contender Morning Line Odds 1Magic Wand9-2 2Yoshida5-2 3Channel Maker12-1 4Aerolithe8-1 5Next Shares15-1 6Fahan Mura30-1 7Bricks and Mortar5-1 8Delta Prince15-1 9Catapult7-2 10Dubby Dubbie30-1 Pegasus World Cup Wagering Menu What to bet in the Pegasus World Cup? Look no further than this Wagering Menu: First Gulfstream Park Post Time: 11:30AM ET The $7,000,000 Pegasus World Cup Turf will go as race 11 with a post of 4:51PM ET and the 3rd running of the $9,000,000 Pegasus World Cup will go as race 12 with a post of 5:36PM ET Advance Wagering: Full card advanced wagering will be available for Saturday’s program on Friday, January 25. Pool Guarantees: Race 7: $.20 Rainbow 6 Pool $750,000 Guaranteed Pool (if not won prior to Saturday) Race 8: $.50 Late Pick 5 $750,000 Guaranteed Pool Race 9: $.50 Late Pick 4 $1,000,000 Guaranteed Pool Pegasus World Cup Winners The inaugural Pegasus World Cup delivered more star power than anyone could have imagined, with California Chrome and Arrogate facing off after their brilliant 1-2 finish in the 2016 Breeders' Cup Classic. The 2018 Pegasus World Cup provided just as much star power, with Gun Runner aiming for his 5th straight victory right before retiring. Facing Gun Runner was West Coast, the hero of the Travers Stakes and Pennsylvania Derby, who had just finished second to Gun Runner in the Breeders' Cup.

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1.22.2019:

Pegasus Day: $1 Million Guaranteed Late Pick 4 & More Guarantees

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Saturday’s 12-race program at Gulfstream Park, highlighted by the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series, will offer guaranteed pools for the Late Pick 4, the Late Pick 5 and the Rainbow 6. The pool for the Late Pick 4 (Races 9-12) will be guaranteed at $1 million, while the Late Pick 5 (Races 8-12) and the 20-cent Rainbow 6 (Races 7-12) will offer guaranteed pools of $750,000. The Rainbow 6 pool will be guaranteed as long as the popular multi-race wager isn’t solved before Saturday. The multi-race sequences for all three wagers will include the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), North America’s richest race; and the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), North America’s richest turf race. The third running of the Pegasus World Cup field will be headlined by $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner and 2018 Horse of the Year finalist Accelerate. The Pegasus World Cup Turf will feature an international field of grass stars, including Yoshida, a Grade 1 winner on turf and dirt, and Aerolithe, a multiple graded stakes-winning mare in Japan making her first start in the U.S. Should the Rainbow 6 go unsolved through Saturday’s program, there will be a mandatory payout of the entire pool of the popular multi-race wager Sunday. Saturday’s card will offer seven other stakes, including four additional graded stakes: $200,000 W. L. McKnight (G3); $200,000 La Prevoyante (G3); $150,000 Fred Hooper (G3); $150,000 Fasig-Tipton Hurricane Bertie (G3), $150,000 Gulfstream Turf Sprint; $150,000 Ladies Turf Sprint, $125,000 South Beach. Keep up with all things Pegasus World Cup at the Pegasus World Cup Handicapping Headquarters.

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1.22.2019:

Accelerate, City of Light Headline $9 Million Pegasus World Cup

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Hronis Racing LLC’s Accelerate will face 11 rivals in Saturday’s $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park in an attempt to become the third straight Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner in a row to capture North America’s richest race. The Pegasus World Cup will co-headline Saturday’s 12-race program with the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), North America’s richest turf race. The $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series will be supported by seven other stakes, including four other graded stakes. First-race post time Saturday is set for 11:30 a.m. John Sadler-trained Accelerate, who capped a sensational 2018 season with a length triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs Nov. 3, has been rated as the 9-5 morning-line favorite in a field of 12 and will break from the No. 5 post position. The 1 1/8-mile Pegasus World Cup will be Accelerate’s final career start before embarking on a new career as a stallion at Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, KY.     “We’re going to be a little bit sad, but happy that he has a great book of mares at Lane’s End in Kentucky,” Sadler said.  “It’s a pretty good scenario. We’re just looking at it as an opening of a second career for him.” The 6-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky showed talent right from the start of his career, debuting at Los Alamitos on April 17, 2016 and finishing second, a neck ahead of third-place finisher Arrogate, who would go on to capture the inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup in 2018. The Sadler trainee returned later in the year to win the Los Alamitos Derby (G2) before capping his 3-year-old campaign at Santa Anita with a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), a neck behind runner-up Gun Runner, who went on to win the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar and last year’s Pegasus World Cup. Accelerate has kept the best of company thoroughout his career and has fared extremely well but not nearly as dominating as he was during his 2018 campaign, in which he won six of seven starts, notched four Grade 1 victories, highlighted by his triumph in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs. In 22 starts, Accelerate has won 10 times, including eight stakes, and finished second or third in 10 other races, amassing career earnings of $5,792,480. “He was a little late getting to the races. He got to the races as a 3-year-old. He was a stakes winner at 3 and he was a stakes winner at 4, but his year, at 5, he really took off. He showed he could go the classic distance in America of a mile and a quarter,” said Sadler, whose stable star won four times at the 1 ¼-mile distance last season. “He had the maturity to do it and keep doing it.” Accelerate, a lock to be honored as the outstanding older horse in 2018 at Thursday’s Eclipse Awards dinner in Gulfstream’s Sport of Kings Theater, compiled a Horse of the Year-caliber record last year but has imposing competition for Thoroughbred racing’s top honor in 2018 Triple Crown champion Justify. “I have nothing but respect for the other horse, obviously. He’s an undefeated Triple Crown winner, and I saw him breeze all winter at Santa Anita, my home base, so I’m pretty familiar with him. He’s a great horse,” Sadler said. “That being said, my horse was a great horse last year. He won at a mile and a quarter four times. In the handicaps, he was always the highweight. In the weight-for-ages, he was always giving weight. He spotted weight to all his rivals, which means something at a mile and a quarter, being so dominant. “We laid out a script of the races we were going to run, and he ran in them all. He beat all the horses that came up to him,” he added. “It’s a shame Justify went to the sideline early. We were hoping we’d have a chance of meeting in the Breeders’ Cup, but it unfortunately didn’t happen. Whatever the vote, we’re fine with it. We’re just delighted with our horse.” Joel Rosario, who won the mount when regular rider Victor Espinoza was seriously injured in a mishap last summer, has been a perfect 3-for-3 aboard Accelerate, who captured the Pacific Classic (G1) by 12 ½ lengths, the Awesome Again (G1) by 2 ½ lengths and the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) by a length. The only horse to beat Accelerate last year will try to repeat that feat in the Pegasus. City of Light, who registered a neck decision over Accelerate in the Oaklawn Park Handicap (G2) last April, is rated second at 5-2 in the morning-line and will break from the No. 3 post. Owned by Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr., the 5-year-old son of Quality Road would subsequently finish third behind a victorious Accelerate six-weeks later in the 1 ¼-mile Santa Anita Gold Cup. “We’ve met twice. It’s a tie ballgame so far,” trainer Michael McCarthy said. City of Light, who won the seven-furlong Triple Bend (G1) at Santa Anita in March, raced twice following the Santa Anita Gold Cup, finishing second in the seven-furlong Forego (G1) at Saratoga Aug. 25 and winning the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) by 2 ¾ lengths. Although he’s shown brilliance in one-turn races, McCarthy is confident City of Light will have no difficulty stretching out for the two-turn Pegasus. “I don’t think he’ll have any problem,” McCarthy said. “He won the [1 1/8-mile] Oaklawn Handicap.” City of Light, who will also be retired and begin his stallion career at Lane’s End, will be ridden by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, who was aboard for his Dirt Mile romp. Margoth’s Gunnevera, who finished a late-closing second behind Accelerate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, will be one of two starters in last year’s Pegasus to return this year. The Antonio Sano-trained Gunnevera, who finished third behind Gun Runner last year, finished second in the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga prior to his strong Classic showing. “I’m so proud of my horse,” said Sano, Venezuela’s winningest trainer who became a U.S. citizen last week. “We need to win a Grade 1. I think my horse can do it in the Pegasus. The Pegasus will be my first stakes since I am a citizen.” Based at Gulfstream Park West, Gunnevera won the 2017 Fountain of Youth (G2) over the Gulfstream Park racetrack and has earned in excess of $4.1 million in purses. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the return mount aboard the 5-year-old son of Dialed In. Todd Pletcher-trained Audible will also be running on familiar ground in the Pegasus, having won the $1 million Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull (G2) and the $1 million Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) last year at Gulfstream. “I think based on Audible’s success last year, winning the Holy Bull and the Florida Derby, [the Pegasus] would be the logical target,” Pletcher said. “He had the summer off and he didn’t get started until November, so we thought the timing was good as well. But mainly his success at Gulfstream made it a good first target.” Owned by China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing and WinStar Farm, the 4-year-old son of Into Mischief finished third after closing from far back in last year’s Kentucky Derby (G1), a head behind runner-up Good Magic. He went to the sidelines for six months following the Derby before returning with a two-length score in the Cherokee Road Stakes at Churchill Downs on the Breeders’ Cup undercard. Best down to 1-10 in his next start at Gulfstream Dec. 15, Audible was upset by a half-length following a wide trip over a sloppy racetrack in the Harlan’s Holiday (G3). Flavian Prat will ride Audible for the first time in the Pegasus. Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s Patternrecognition enters the Pegasus on a three-race winning streak. The late-developing 5-year-old son of Adios Charlie captured a second-level optional claiming allowance Aug. 11 at Saratoga before winning his stakes debut with a front-running score in the Kelso Handicap (G2) Sept. 22 at Belmont Park. The Chad Brown-trained Florida-bred came right back to win the Dec. 1 Cigar Mile (G1) at Belmont leading the way throughout the one-turn mile stakes. “I think on this track a horse that has positional speed. I’m happy the horse we have has been running on the front, but I don’t think he has to be on the lead. He fits that profile of a speed horse that can get position at the very least,” Brown said. “He seems to be in really great form coming off the Cigar Mile. The timing worked for us. At his point of his career he seems to be peaking,” he added. “It’s the right time to take a big swing at a huge purse.” Calumet Farm will be represented by a pair of starters, Bravazo and True Timber. For Bravazo the Pegasus will be his ninth consecutive Grade 1 stakes appearance. Although the D. Wayne Lukas-trained 4-year-old has gone winless at racing’s highest level, the son of Awesome Again has been highly competitive. No horse finished closer to undefeated Justify than Bravazo, who closed strongly to finish just a half-length behind the eventual Triple Crown winner in the Preakness Stakes (G1). The Calumet homebred also finished in the money in the Haskell (G1), Travers (G1), Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) and the Clark Handicap (G1). Gulfstream’s leading rider Luis Saez has the mount. True Timber enters the Pegasus off a second-place finish behind Patternrecognition in the Cigar Mile. “We have a nice horse that run second in the Cigar Mile. We’re trying to stretch him out a little bit, but he galloped out great. We’re hoping he can get the trip,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “He’s improving all the time. He’s never left Belmont Park since he got there as a 2-year-old,” he added. “This will be different. He’ll be getting on a van this time, but he’s a straightforward horse and he’s doing really well.” Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Soul returns to Gulfstream for another crack at the Pegasus World Cup, in which he finished fifth last year. The Dallas Stewart-trained 6-year-old, who earned Grade 1 credentials with a win in the 2017 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs, finished second behind City of Light in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, before finishing third in the Clark Handicap. Hall of Famer jockey John Velazquez, who won aboard the son of Perfect Soul in the 2017 Clark, has the mount. G M B Racing’s Tom’s d’Etat will make his Grade 1 stakes debut in the Pegasus for trainer Al Stall Jr. The 6-year-old son of Smart Strike, whose career had been compromised by chronic ankle issues, has won four straight races, including a 3 ½-length victory in the Tenacious Stakes at Fair Grounds last time out. Shaun Bridgmohan has the return mount. Stronach Stables’ Something Awesome has blossomed since joining Laurel Park-based trainer Jose Corrales, who has saddled the son of Awesome Again for graded-stakes victories in the General George (G3) at Laurel and the $1.2 million Charles Town Classic (G2). Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado has the return mount. Kukulkan, Cuadra San Jorge’s undefeated Mexican Triple Crown champion, returns to Gulfstream Park, where the 4-year-old son of Point Determined captured the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe Dec. 8. Kukulkan, who has won all 14 career starts, will be ridden by Frankie Dettori. Ron Paolucci Racing’s Imperative, who captured the 2017 Charles Town Classic, brings a career bankroll of more than $2.99 million into the Pegasus. The Anthony Quartarolo-trained 9-year-old will be ridden by Tyler Gaffalione.

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1.22.2019:

Yoshida is Favorite in Inaugural $7 Million Pegasus World Cup Turf

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners’ Yoshida, already a rare Grade 1 winner on both turf and dirt, returns to the grass in search of his biggest payday yet in the inaugural $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) Saturday, Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park. The debut of the 1 3/16-mile Pegasus Turf and the third running of the $9 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) – the richest races on either surface in North America – comprise the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series, headlining a blockbuster 12-race program featuring nine stakes, six graded, worth $17.125 million in purses. First race post time is 11:30 a.m. EST. Post time for the Pegasus Turf is 4:50 p.m. EST. The race will be shown during NBC’s live national telecast from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Yoshida was assigned Post 2 and installed as the 5-2 program favorite among 10 older horses entered during Tuesday morning’s post-position draw in Frankey’s Sports Bar at Gulfstream. The field features nine group or graded-stakes winners, including Yoshida’s Hall of Famer Bill Mott-trained stablemate Channel Maker. A 5-year-old Japanese-bred son of Heart’s Cry, Yoshida made the first 10 starts of his career on the turf, including a trip abroad where he finished fifth by 1 ¼ lengths in the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) last June at Royal Ascot. He ran first or second in seven of those grass races, four of them wins, topped by the Turf Classic (G1) on the Kentucky Derby (G1) undercard in his 2018 debut. Yoshida, who trains regularly over the dirt, was given his first shot on the main track in the historic Woodward (G1) at Saratoga in September, and he responded with an impressive come-from-behind two-length triumph. In his last start, he again came from well back to be fourth, beaten less than two lengths, in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 3 behind likely Pegasus World Cup favorite and 2018 Horse of the Year finalist Accelerate. Since the same connections also own 2018 Florida Derby (G1) winner and Pegasus World Cup contender Audible, they decided to put Yoshida – out of the Canadian Frontier mare Hilda’s Passion – back on grass for the Pegasus Turf. “He’s got a pedigree that would probably lend itself to turf or dirt. On the top side, maybe a little turf and dirt. The bottom side, his mother was a Grade 1 winner at the sprint distances … so he’s got a pedigree for both and he’s one of the odd horses that has transitioned from one to the other,” Mott said. “It’s probably debatable whether his dirt races are better than his turf races, and they may well be, but he’s a horse that won very nicely for us in the spring last year on the turf. He’s run with good company, and we weighed our options here and thought that maybe the turf was the spot to go this time.” Following the Breeders’ Cup, Yoshida joined Mott’s winter string at Payson Park in Florida, where he shows six works over its main track since mid-December. Jose Ortiz, up in the Joe Hirsch and Breeders’ Cup, is named to ride back in the Pegasus Turf. “We gave him a little bit of a break … when he came out of the Breeders’ Cup, but we kept him … jogging and training easily,” Mott said. “We made the decision to run in the Pegasus, so we started cranking him up and he’s done very well since then. He seems like since every work he’s picked up in condition and seems to be feeling very good with himself.” Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R.A. Hill Stable and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Channel Maker exits an off-the-board finish over a soft course in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) Nov. 3. The 5-year-old son of grass champion English Channel won two of eight starts last year, dead-heating with Eclipse Award male turf finalist Glorious Empire in the Bowling Green (G2) and romping by 4 ½ lengths in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (G1) in September. “He’s very good. He had been in really great form during Saratoga and Belmont. He won a ‘Win and You’re In’ when he won the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic and we ran in the Breeders’ Cup Turf going a mile and a half. Very soggy turf that day, a lot more pace than maybe he had had when he won the Joe Hirsch,” Mott said. “We made the decision collectively to have him in the race that day and I think by doing that we kind of forced his hand a little too much and the turf was very soft and it just worked against him. “He’s not a horse that has to be in front or up on the pace, it just happened that he won the Joe Hirsch so that was freshly in our mind when he went into the Breeders’ Cup. It wasn’t the day to have him up on the pace,” he added. “He’s a horse that’s not really one-dimensional by any means. It looks like the Pegasus is going to have some pace in it, so in that particular instance I don’t think we have to push him up toward the lead early in the race.” Hall of Famer Javier Castellano will ride Channel Maker (12-1) from Post 3. Before he attempts to win the Pegasus World Cup with Accelerate, trainer John Sadler will send out Woodford Racing’s Catapult in the Pegasus Turf, second choice on the morning line at 7-2. The 6-year-old son of turf champion and prolific sire Kitten’s Joy won the 1 1/8-mile Eddie Read (G2) and Del Mar Mile (G2) prior to the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), where he was second by a half-length to Eclipse Award finalist Expert Eye. “I think he’s better than he was last year. He had a little foot issue after the Del Mar Mile and we trained him right into the Breeders’ Cup, but he’s been perfect out of the Breeders’ Cup. I think he’s in tip-top shape,” Sadler said. “His record is so good. He won both those stakes at Del Mar, [and was] almost kind of an unlucky loser … in the Breeders’ Cup Mile so his record is very, very good. They might look at the distance, but he won the Eddie Read at a mile and an eighth and he’s a big, strong horse. He won’t have any problem with the distance.” Catapult will break from Post 9 with Joel Rosario aboard. Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s Bricks and Mortar, a 5-year-old son of late six-time Group 1 winner Giant’s Causeway, will be making just his eighth career start in the Pegasus Turf. He is undefeated in two tries over Gulfstream’s turf, breaking his maiden at first asking in February 2017 and returning from a 14 ½-month break between races to capture a one-mile optional claiming allowance Dec. 22. Bricks and Mortar won each of his first four career starts including Manila Stakes and National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame (G2) in 2017, the latter by three-quarters of a length over Yoshida. Bricks and Mortar was third in his final two starts at 3, a half-length behind runner-up Yoshida in the Saranac (G3) and by a total of three-quarters of a length in the Hill Prince (G3), won by Yoshida. “He’s a horse that always showed a lot of promise as a 3-year-old and unfortunately had some injuries and needed a long time away from racing,” trainer Chad Brown said. “We were able to get him back in time to have a real productive allowance race, and he seems ready to move forward. It’s a big jump to go right into a Grade 1 like this, but he’s a horse that’s doing well and he’s got that race under his belt. He’s fit and we’re happy to have a horse to participate.” Irad Ortiz Jr., favored to earn his first Eclipse Award as champion jockey during Thursday’s ceremony at Gulfstream, will ride Bricks and Mortar (5-1) from Post 7. Sunday Racing Co. Ltd’s Aerolithe, a Group 1 winner from Japan, and Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and Derrick Smith’s European Group 2 winner Magic Wand lend international intrigue to the Pegasus Turf. Both are females facing males, with Irish-bred Magic Wand having one previous North American start when fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) Nov. 3. Irish jockey Wayne Lordan has the call from Post 1. Aerolithe will be racing for the first time outside her native country. She has been first or second in nine of 13 lifetime starts, four of them wins, including victories over males in the 2017 NHK Mile Cup (G1) and 1 1/8-mile Mainichi Okan (G2) last October. Florent Geroux, winner of the 2018 Pegasus with Horse of the Year Gun Runner, will be aboard from Post 4. “She’s never shied away from the boys, and she always runs really well,” trainer Takanori Kikuzawa said through interpreter Kate Hunter, Pegasus World Cup field representative for the Japan Racing Association. “She’s got a very strong personality and likes the competition, so she’s in a good spot mentally, as well. This filly has got a lot of speed and, if you look at some of her previous races, she can really go to the front. If we get a good start we plan on going forward and hopefully staying there.” Stronach Stables’ homebred Delta Prince will be making his 6-year-old debut in the Pegasus Turf. Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, the 6-year-old son of Street Cry has been worse than third just once in 11 lifetime starts, when fourth in the Woodbine Mile (G1) Sept. 15. Winner of the King Edward (G2) over Woodbine’s turf last summer and second by a neck in the Fourstardave (G1) at Saratoga, both at one mile, Delta Prince returns to the grass after finishing third in the seven-furlong Bold Ruler (G3) over Aqueduct’s main track Nov. 2. “We’re taking a little bit of a shot. He’s running further than he ever has in his life but he’s bred to go the route. The furthest I ever had him in was in a race going a mile and an eighth, the Knickerbocker, and we ended up having to scratch. I think as long as he rates kindly enough and gets a decent enough trip, he’ll get the distance,” Jerkens said. “The other day I gave him nice, easy mile around two turns just to see and make sure he didn’t turn the other way and get a little bit on the rank side because of it, and he didn’t. He rated like a baby and he finished up nice so I was really happy with it.” Internationally acclaimed jockey Frankie Dettori has the call on Delta Prince (15-1) from Post 8. Mike and Jules Iavarone, Jerry McClanahan, Christopher Dunn, William Marasa, Ritchie Robershaw and Mark Taylor’s Next Shares enters the Pegasus Turf having won three of his last four starts, the most recent a gutsy nose triumph in the 1 1/8-mile San Gabriel (G2) Jan. 5 at Santa Anita. An impressive 3 ¼-length winner of the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) in October at Keeneland, he was in contention before fading to 13th in the Breeders’ Cup Mile to cap 2018. “There was so much rain that day, and he drew inside, and it was really bad. The inside part of the turf was really boggy, and he got covered up and just spun his wheels. Those are the best horses in the world, obviously, and they ran a mile in 1:38 so that tells you how soft the turf was,” trainer Richard Baltas said. “That being said, he was doing great going into that race. “He’s just getting good. He’s a gelding, so I think he’s probably just coming into his own. He seems like a very happy horse,” he added. “He’s just been in good form. He ran a big race again, and he came back really good. I walked him from the track [the other] morning and he was coming out of his skin. He’s happy.” Next Shares (15-1) will be ridden by Tyler Gaffalione from Post 5. Bran Jam Stable and David W. Clark’s Fahan Mura punched his ticket to the Pegasus Turf with a front-running three-quarter-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile Robert J. Frankel (G3) Dec. 29 at Santa Anita. Also by English Channel, the 5-year-old former claimer is the most experienced runner in the field with 23 starts, nine of them wins. Regular rider Edwin Maldonado returns in the irons from Post 6. “I think when Edwin Maldonado started riding her, he just let her loose on the front end and she maintained her speed and just got more and more confident and was just able to beat better and better horses,” trainer Vladimir Cerin said. “She only went over a mile and an eighth once, and I think the longer the distances are the more relaxed the pace is and she may be able to maintain a greater advantage for a little longer. I think she has a pretty good chance.” Rounding out the field is Ron Paolucci Racing’s Dubby Dubbie. The gelded 4-year-old son of 2010 Florida Derby winner Ice Box most recently won a second level optional claiming allowance going 1 1/8 miles over a yielding Churchill Downs course Nov. 23, and ran third in the American Derby (G3) last summer. Luca Panici has the mount from outside Post 10.

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1.20.2019:

Pegasus World Cup is 'Something Awesome' for Jose Corrales

LAUREL, MD – At the height of his career as a jockey, which included more than 1,000 wins during stops and starts between 1981 and 1998, Jose Corrales never earned more purses in a single season than the $972,180 his mounts banked in 1988. With Something Awesome, the horse he helped turn from a former claimer into a multiple graded-stakes winning millionaire, Corrales has the unique opportunity to earn more than four times that amount – in a single race. Stronach Stables’ homebred Something Awesome is set to make his 8-year-old debut in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park. It is a fitting stage for both horse and trainer, whose success has been intertwined since they were first united in the fall of 2017 at Laurel Park. “I remember back about four years ago, I was at the Preakness and I sat with Mr. Frank [Stronach] and my son, J.T. Mr. Frank came to me and said, ‘You’re a good trainer. I’m going to make you famous.’ But I never thought I’m going be this famous to go to a big race like the Pegasus. To me, I was just lucky to watch it on television. To be participating in it, I think it’s very good to have this opportunity and I’m very thankful to everyone.” Corrales, 58, knew he wanted to become a jockey at the age of 7, learning the trade in his native Panama, a country that has exported the likes of Hall of Famers Laffit Pincay Jr., Manny Ycaza, Braulio Baeza, Jorge Velasquez, Jacinto Vasquez, Javier Castellano and Alex Solis and Gulfstream’s record-setting two-time Championship Meet leading rider, Luis Saez. Riding primarily at tracks in the state of Washington during the mid-1980s, Corrales became friends with Wesley Ward, the Eclipse Award-winning apprentice jockey of 1984. Ward turned to training in 1991 and hired Corrales as his assistant, but when Ward relocated to California, Corrales went to train in Macau. Soon Corrales returned to the United States and by 2011 finally got his big break. Owner-trainer Burton Sipp introduced him to Andy Stronach, a breeder and owner and the son of Pegasus founder Frank Stronach, and the two began a solid working relationship. “The first time I met Andy, it was at midnight at Beulah Park,” Corrales said. “He was in a truck with a driver, and they were delivering a horse to me. A filly. Can’t recall her name. But we won with her. And then he started sending me horses.” One of them was Bodhisattva, a horse Andy Stronach bred and gave to Corrales as a gift. The horse whose hard-to-pronounce name means “enlightened being” won three stakes for the owner-trainer and was among seven opponents defeated by eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the 2015 Preakness Stakes (G1) at legendary Pimlico Race Course. “Andy has helped me the most, no doubt. He has been the biggest influence in my career,” Corrales said. “To run against a horse that wins the Triple Crown is quite an experience. I’m so grateful. And to do it with a horse that Andy bred and gave to me as a present … at a track owned by the Stronach family made it even more exciting. We’ll be in the record books forever.” Enter Something Awesome. A gelded son of Awesome Again – a Frank Stronach homebred that won nine of 12 career starts, including the 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), and purses of more than $4.3 million – Something Awesome is out of the Dance Floor mare Somethinaboutlaura, both multiple graded-stakes winners. Something Awesome began his career in southern California with trainer John Shirreffs before the Ontario-bred was sent to Danny Vella at Woodbine in the spring of 2016. Overall, he won four of his first 18 races and ran for a tag four times between April and October of 2016, for as little as $32,000. Corrales got Something Awesome at his Laurel barn after the horse finished seventh in a seven-furlong optional claimer over Woodbine’s synthetic surface in August 2017 – the 14th time in 18 races the horse had run at distances of a mile or less. Something Awesome debuted for Corrales Nov. 5, 2017, coming from last to win a six-furlong second-level optional claiming allowance by four lengths in 1:10 flat with Hall of Famer Edgar Prado aboard. Prado is named to ride for the sixth time and fifth in a row in the Pegasus. “When the horse came over here, he was like any other horse. I thought he was going to run maybe for allowance or claiming or wherever the horse would fit, and if he’s not doing it he’d probably go to a lower level,” Corrales said. “But when he came, the horse changed. The horse was working really good and when I really started running him, he showed me. He won the first time in 1:10 and I said, ‘Wow, this horse can run.’ Prado was excited about it. If a Hall of Fame jockey can get excited about this horse, we can go somewhere.” Corrales kept Something Awesome sprinting, where he reeled off another optional claiming allowance win and was third in the Fire Plug Stakes, both at six furlongs, before his gutsy neck triumph over late-running Fellowship in the seven-furlong General George (G3). It was the first graded-stakes victory for both trainer and horse, now ridden by Elvis Trujillo. “That was exciting. My mother was here, and my nephew was riding the horse,” Corrales said. “It was snowing so bad and we really could not see. I was sitting watching the race and I didn’t really see where the horse was coming. Somebody said, ‘You won.’ The other horse came flying, and I thought maybe he got me. But it was very exciting and a touching moment for me because my mother was there.” From there, Corrales stretched Something Awesome out to 1 1/8 miles in the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes, where he cruised by 2 ¼ lengths, and then the Charles Town Classic (G2), taking a short lead into the stretch and staying resolute to the wire in a neck triumph that marked the first for the trainer in a race with a seven-figure purse. “First of all you have to thank God for that because it’s rare. It’s like trying to win the lottery and you don’t get enough time to get the ticket. It’s special for where I’ve come from and what I’ve done to reach that level. It’s not that easy,” Corrales said. “You have to be able to appreciate getting there, and I appreciate Andy Stronach who put me in this situation with his father and everything. He’s always been so helpful to me. Maybe the horses just like Maryland water or whatever, but they have improved and I’m so glad to have been able to do that.” Something Awesome has raced just twice since then, getting a break after finishing eighth in the Pimlico Special (G3) last May. He returned to be second behind subsequent stakes winner Colonel Sharp in an open seven-furlong allowance Nov. 16 at Laurel, and has been preparing for Pegasus at Gulfstream since Christmas. “The Pimlico Special came and I think he ran too much and he was a little tired then. The horse came back and bled a little bit. We gave him a couple months and brought him back,” Corrales said. “It was a little difficult to get him back. I couldn’t get him right. With a few prayers and everybody’s help, the horse got good. I had him ready for the race. We hooked a little horse and got a lot of competition. The time was fast and he ran a very good race. Since then, he just got better. “At the beginning, the horse went three-quarters and then we tried seven-eighths, and he did it. Then we’re not sure if he’d go a mile and an eighth, and he did,” he added. “Then we’re not sure if we were going to run at Charles Town and we did, and he won it. The horse has given me so much all the way through.” In the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus, Something Awesome will be part of a field that includes 2018 Horse of the Year finalist and likely race favorite Accelerate and fellow Grade 1 winners Audible, City of Light, Patternrecognition and Seeking the Soul; Preakness and Clark Handicap (G1) runner-up Bravazo, and Mexican Triple Crown winner Kukulkan, undefeated in 14 starts. “Like everything else, it is a race and you want to win as many as you can. But, it’s a race that if you win it would help your whole life. It would be nice for me and my family and everybody just to win this kind of race,” Corrales said. “It would mean a lot, but I would be the same person. “I’m just happy to [represent] Laurel Park to come and participate in this kind of race. [It shows] all the little people have a chance, and to have that opportunity is great,” he added. “My family will be there, and a lot of friends. All over the world, friends will see you that you haven’t seen. They say, ‘I thought he was dead. But he’s still alive, and look where he’s running.’ That’s what we’ve got to do; keep going.”

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1.13.2019:

Flavien Prat to Ride Audible in Pegasus World Cup

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Flavien Prat, a leading rider on the Southern California circuit, will be aboard 2018 Florida Derby (G1) winner Audible in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), the richest race in North America, Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park. Audible’s trainer, Todd Pletcher, confirmed the mount Sunday afternoon after speaking with Elliott Walden, president and CEO of WinStar Farm, which co-owns the 4-year-old colt with China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners and Starlight Racing. Prat, 26, moved from his native France to Southern California full-time at the end of 2014 and has won riding titles at Santa Anita and Del Mar. He owns two career Breeders’ Cup victories, including Battle of Midway for WinStar in the 2017 Dirt Mile (G1). Earlier that year, Battle of Midway ran third in the Kentucky Derby (G1). “Just in talking to the connections, and I talked to Elliot a little while ago, we had discussed Flavien,” Pletcher said. “We had success with him, winning the Breeders’ Cup with him on Battle of Midway. We thought he’d be a good fit, so we decided to go with him.” Audible has been ridden by Hall of Famers Javier Castellano and John Velazquez in his eighth-race career. Velazquez was aboard for both his maiden win and the Florida Derby, while Castellano has been up for three victories including the Holy Bull (G2) and Cherokee Run Stakes last year. Velazquez has the call on 2017 Clark Handicap (G1) winner Seeking the Soul in the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus, while Castellano is named on 2018 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner City of Light. “[Audible has] had success with both Johnny and Javier,” Pletcher said. “Flavien seems to be riding in really good form. We thought he’d fit him well.” Pletcher said Audible exited Saturday’s five-furlong breeze in 1:00.98 at Palm Beach Downs in good order. It was his third work since finishing second by a half-length as the favorite in the Harlan’s Holiday (G3) Dec. 15. “All systems go,” Pletcher said.

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1.12.2019:

Seeking the Soul Has 'Strong, Basic Work' for Pegasus World Cup

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Grade 1 winner Seeking the Soul worked five-eighths of a mile Saturday in a minute flat shortly after the Fair Grounds track opened in preparation for Gulfstream Park’s $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1). Charles Fipke’s 6-year-old homebred horse powered the half-mile in 47 4/5 seconds, according to the official clockers on a busy workout morning. “Just a strong, basic work for him,” trainer Dallas Stewart said by phone. “That’s him. He’s doing great.”  Seeking the Soul worked the same distance in 59 3/5 seconds a week earlier and three-quarters of a mile in 1:11 the week before in preparation for America’s richest race. Stewart said the horse will have one more workout next Saturday in New Orleans before flying to south Florida on Jan. 22. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez has the mount. Seeking the Soul, fifth in last year’s Pegasus, comes into the 1 1/8-mile stakes off of a third-place finish in Churchill Downs’ Grade 1 Clark Handicap, a stakes he captured in 2017. He finished second Nov. 3 behind Pegasus contender City of Light in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).  “If he gets a good position and it’s his day, he’s very competitive,” Fipke said by phone. “He’s an outstanding horse, and he deserves to take another shot. The last Pegasus, unfortunately, he got a bone chip that Dr. (Robert) Hunt said probably affected his race, so he only came in fifth. It took a long time for him to recover.  But he won a Grade 3 at Churchill, and we’re hoping” for a big performance. Off almost six months, Seeking the Soul was second by a head in Indiana Grand’s Schaefer Memorial, followed by a disappointing effort in Saratoga’s Grade 1 Woodward. He rebounded to take Churchill’s Grade 3 Ack Ack under jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. as the springboard to the Breeders’ Cup.  

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1.6.2019:

Tom's d'Etat Confirmed to Run in Pegasus World Cup

Following some consideration, G M B Racing’s Tom’s d’Etat has officially been confirmed for the Grade I $9 million Pegasus World Cup on January 26 at Gulfstream Park, according to trainer Al Stall, Jr. and G M B Racing Manager Greg Bensel. On Sunday morning, the 6-year-old son of Smart Strike began serious preparations for North America’s richest race with a half-mile breeze in :49.00 over a fast Fair Grounds main track under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, which was the horse’s first work since his Tenacious Stakes triumph. “This will be a true test,”  Bensel said. “We don’t know where he fits in the Pegasus but I do know that he’s won six out of his nine career races so he deserves a chance. He’s a horse that can definitely go the distance up against that type of talent. It will be the most talented field there can be.” Lightly raced for a 6-year-old, Tom’s d’Etat scored his fourth victory in a row in the Tenacious Stakes, which was also his stakes debut. Ankle issues put him on the shelf for 16 months following a nine-length allowance win at Saratoga in July 2017, where he defeated graded stakes winner Far From Over. He was able to return from the hiatus in winning fashion when defeating stakes winners Pioneer Spirit and Guest Suite over a fast main track at Churchill Downs in November in a third-level allowance race. “I think he is getting to that point where he seems to be getting better with age,” Bensel said. “Our hopes are that he can compete and can shock some people. I think he’s going to be a moderate to a longshot.” Tom’s d’Etat is out of the Giant’s Causeway broodmare Julia Tuttle, whose dam Candy Cane (Arg.) is a full-sister to multiple champion producing stallion Candy Ride (Arg.).He was a $330,000 purchase from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2014 from the consignment barn of Hunter Valley Farm. He was bred in Kentucky by SF Bloodstock. Stall said that Tom’s d’Etat would have two more works before shipping to Gulfstream Park on Tuesday, January 22.

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1.5.2019:

Something Awesome Breezes for $9 Million Pegasus World Cup

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Stronach Stables’ millionaire homebred Something Awesome breezed Saturday morning for the first time since arriving in South Florida ahead of his next scheduled assignment in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park.  Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado was aboard as multiple graded-stakes winner Something Awesome went one mile in 1:42 over Gulfstream’s main track. Prado will ride in the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus, the richest race in North America. Video of Something Awesome's Workout “I had another horse at the half-mile pole and they finished together,” trainer Jose Corrales said. “He did it very comfortable. Everything looks good.” It was the first work for Something Awesome since going 1 1/8 miles in 2:01 at his home base of Laurel Park Dec. 15. He shipped to Gulfstream on Christmas Day and has been getting acclimated to his surroundings. “I don’t care about the time; I just care about the horse and how he reacts and how he finishes and how he comes back,” Corrales said. “He’s handled everything very, very good. Everything is good so far.” Something Awesome won five of his first six starts since joining Corrales in the fall of 2017, including victories in the seven-furlong General George (G3) and Harrison E. Johnson Memorial at Laurel and $1.2 million Charles Town Classic (G2), the latter two at 1 1/8 miles. The 8-year-old Awesome Again gelding has made one start since the Pimlico Special (G3) May 18, finishing second to Maryland Coalition Stakes winner Colonel Sharp in an open seven-furlong allowance Nov. 16 at Laurel. Colonel Sharp came back to win the Dave’s Friend Stakes Dec. 29. Overall, Something Awesome has nine wins and $1.093 million in purse earnings from 26 career starts. He has raced twice previously at Gulfstream, running third in a pair of seven-furlong optional claiming allowances Jan. 7 and Feb. 17, 2017. Also working for Corrales Saturday at Gulfstream was another Stronach Stables homebred, 7-year-old gelding Unbridled Juan, who went seven furlongs in 1:04.44. Winner of the Richard W. Small and Grover ‘Buddy’ Delp Memorial Stakes in his last two starts, he is being considered for the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), the richest grass race in North America. Unbridled Juan, second in the 2018 Dixie (G3) and third in the 2017 Eclipse (G2), has seven wins and $505,323 in purse earnings from 26 career starts. In his lone try on turf he was fourth in the 2017 King Edward (G2) at Woodbine, but he has also raced five times over its all-weather surface, including the Eclipse. “He did OK. Everything is good with him,” Corrales said. “I think with the way he’s training, he can compete in that kind of race.”  

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1.3.2019:

Frankie Dettori Named to Ride Kukulkan in Pegasus World Cup

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Mexico’s undefeated Triple Crown winner Kukulkan, last seen winning the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe Dec. 8 at Gulfstream Park, will have the services of international champion jockey Frankie Dettori Jan. 26 when he goes to post in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), the richest race in North America. Gulfstream Park Spanish analyst and announcer Pedro Casella confirmed with trainer Fausto Gutierrez Thursday afternoon that Dettori will ride the 3-year-old son of Point Determined who is undefeated in 14 races. “He’s really interested to ride,” Gutierrez said. “He will be arriving that week [of Pegasus].” Kukulkan is scheduled to breeze twice in Mexico before leaving Jan. 17 for Gulfstream. Dettori, who rode Toast of New York in last year’s Pegasus, is also expected to have mounts in the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1), the richest turf race in North America, and $200,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (G3). For more information and tickets for the Pegasus World Cup, go to Pegasusworldcup.com.  

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12.26.2018:

Horse Racing Roulette Comes to Santa Anita Park

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 11, 2018) – Long popular in Las Vegas and casinos around the world, Roulette will take on a new form beginning with Santa Anita’s Winter Meet opening day, Wednesday, Dec. 26, as Horse Racing Roulette will debut as a win-only wager available in all 10 opening day races which have fields of six or more horses.As Santa Anita continues in its efforts to attract new fans, Horse Racing Roulette, which will include horses marked in the track’s racing program as red, black or green, will consist of a stand-alone Win pool and payoffs will be made according to the “color” of the winner and standard pari-mutuel calculations.Following are the basic components and rules comprising Horse Racing Roulette at Santa Anita: Two dollar minimum win wager with customary industry-low 15.43 percent takeout Horses (minimum six-horse field) will be placed into one of three groups, Red, Black or Green. In most cases, the morning line favorite will be part of the Red Group. The Green Group will be comprised mainly of longshots. The three Groups, in most cases, will not have an equal number of horses. Whichever Group contains the race winner, wins that “game” of Horse Racing Roulette. In the event that ALL betting interest members of any group are scratched or declared non-starters, betting on the Group Bet pool will be stopped immediately and all Roulette wagers made on this particular race will be refunded. In the event of a dead heat for first between two or more divergent Group members, the Group Bet pool will be distributed as a profit split (place pool) or, if there is a triple dead heat with as many Group interests, the pool will also be distributed as a profit split (show pool). Horse Racing Roulette will be offered on all races with a minimum of six runners throughout Santa Anita’s upcoming Winter Meet.  Fans are encouraged to carefully consult their racing program prior to wagering.

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12.26.2018:

McKinzie Romps in G1 Malibu Stakes

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 26, 2018) – In a race of his own.  There’s no better way to describe McKinzie’s powerhouse win in Santa Anita’s opening day fixture, the Grade I, $300,000 Malibu Stakes.  With an on-track crowd of 41,373 looking on, McKinzie, who came off a 31 length defeat in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs, was eighth in a field of 14 with a quarter mile to run, but with Mike Smith at the controls for Bob Baffert, McKinzie lengthened his considerable stride at the top of the stretch and the Malibu outcome was a fait accompli as he strode to a 4 ¾ length score while getting seven furlongs in 1:22.48. Unhurried early from his number 13 post position in a field of 14 sophomores, McKinzie began picking up horses heading into the far turn en route to his third Grade I win.  Named for Brad McKinzie, a highly respected longtime executive at Los Alamitos and a close friend of both Baffert and part owner Mike Pegram, McKinzie was taken off the Kentucky Derby Trail this past March and resurfaced two starts back in the Grade I Pennsylvania Derby Sept. 22, a race he won by 1 ¾ lengths. Off at 6-5, McKinzie paid $4.40, $3.60 and $3.40. Owned by Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, the Kentucky-bred colt by Street Sense, out of the Petionville mare Runway Model, notched his third Grade I victory and improved his overall mark to 7-5-1-0.  With the winner’s share of $180,000, he became racing’s newest millionaire, running his earnings to $1,086,000. Ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., Identity Politics was also far back early and ended up second, a head in front of Still Having Fun.  Off at 13-1, Identity Politics paid $10.00 and $8.60. Still Having Fun, who was fourth at the quarter pole, kept to his task under Kent Desormeaux and finished a neck in front of Axelrod.  Off at 45-1, Still Having Fun paid $10.40. Fractions on the race were 22.30, 44.92 and 1:09.97. Santa Anita will be dark on Thursday and live racing resumes with a nine-race card Friday, with first post time at 12:30 p.m.   MALIBU STAKES QUOTES MIKE SMITH, MCKINZIE, WINNER: “This horse really has something in store. You’re really better off running him like this because you don’t take too much out of yourself. Bob brought him back here, gave him a little break and his energy came back up, his weight came back up and he was ready to run today. He was loaded from the word ‘go’. I think the only anxious moment was leaving the gate when he kind of stumbled but after that he got up and he was loaded from that point on. I’ve said all along that we haven’t seen the best of him yet. When he learns to put a few of these in a row together, we’re going to see something special.” IRAD ORTIZ, JR., IDENTITY POLITICS, SECOND:  “We had a good trip, but I had to check a little bit coming out of the gate, so we got pinched back a little.  We were second best today, but my horse is improving with every race.” BOB BAFFERT, MCKINZIE, WINNER: “After the Breeders’ Cup he came back here and I told Mike (Smith) he was doing really well and Mike worked him a couple times for me. Because after the Breeders’ Cup Mike was like, ‘is he okay? He just quit.’ And I told him, ‘Don’t worry about it, it was my fault.'” “Coming in to this race they were all training really well but the horse is just an outstanding individual. You could just tell he was getting in gear. His namesake is looking down on him today so I was pretty excited about that and the crowd, they were all in on him. Frank made the call turning for home you could hear the crowd really got in to it so it’s pretty exciting to see that.” “The good ones show up and he showed up. Down the backside he was way back there and I thought, ‘Well, I hope they’re going really, really fast.’ When he came in to the picture that was a good sign because it’s going to be a longer day than I really thought.” MIKE PEGRAM, PART OWNER, MCKINZIE, WINNER; REGARDING HIS 31 LENGTH DEFEAT IN THE BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC NOV. 3 AT CHURCHILL DOWNS:  “We walked out of Louisville disappointed and today, the only thing I’m disappointed in is the price!  We knew he was training well here for this…When you name a horse for someone (Brad McKinzie, late longtime executive at Los Alamitos), you’ve got something invested, beyond money.  It did my heart good to see this horse get lucky today.  

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12.22.2018:

Gunnevera Continues to Train 'Better and Better' for Pegasus World Cup

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Margoth’s Gunnevera breezed five furlongs in 1:01.40 Saturday morning at Gulfstream Park West in preparation for a start in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 26. The workout, which was the second fastest of 18 recorded at the distance, was the 4-year-old son of Dialed In’s third breeze since finishing second in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs Nov. 3. Watch Workout Irad Ortiz Jr. was aboard the Antonio Sano-trained colt for the third consecutive workout. “He’s working really good. He’s been doing everything the right way. He’s getting better and better. Today, he worked better than the last couple times,” Ortiz said. “He’s doing everything comfortable. I put my hands down and he does whatever he wants. We’re just keeping him happy.” Ortiz, widely regarded as the frontrunner in the race for the 2018 Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey, rode Gunnevera in his second-place Breeders’ Cup Classic finish, in which he recovered from early bumping to close from 11th to come within a length of victorious Accelerate. “He has a big heart. He always tries,” Ortiz said. “He didn’t have the best trip and just got beat.” Gunnevera finished third behind Gun Runner and West Coast in last year’s Pegasus World Cup. Gunnevera, who has earned $4.1 million in career earnings, captured the 2017 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream. The Antonio Sano-trained 4-year-old son of Dialed In has also won the 2016 Saratoga Special (G2) and the $1 million Delta Jackpot (G3) and has been Grade 1 stakes-placed in the 2017 Travers (G1) and the 2018 Woodward (G1) at Saratoga. Gunnevera is on course for a rematch with Accelerate in the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus World Cup, which will co-headline the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series with the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, North America’s richest turf race.

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12.22.2018:

Mexico's Kukulkan Confirmed for Pegasus World Cup

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Cuadra San Jorge’s Kukulkan, winner of Mexico’s Triple Crown and undefeated in 14 races, has been confirmed for the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), the richest race in North America to be contested Saturday, Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park. Kukulkan, last seen winning the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe at Gulfstream Dec. 8 on Clasico Internacional del Caribe Day, was shipped back to Mexico the week after Clasico and has been galloping at Hipodromo Las Americas. Video of Kukulkan from Saturday morning (December 22) “We are shipping the horse on 17 of January,” trainer Fausto Gutierrez said. “That’s the date we have planned to fly him to the race. The horse is galloping here in Mexico and we will breeze him twice before he leaves.” Gutierrez, who will saddle Kukulkan, against the likes of Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Accelerate, Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner City of Light, Classic runner-up Gunnevera, Florida Derby (G1) winner Audible, Preakness (G1) runner-up Bravazo and Cigar Mile (G1) winner Patternrecognition, knows the 1 1/8 mile Pegasus will be a tough assignment. “I’m very happy because I’m bringing [Kukulkan] to a very big race,” he said. “I know competition is very, very strong, but we want to try and give the horse a chance.”

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12.17.2018:

Aqueduct has $175K Triple Pick 6 Carryover on Thursday

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Horseplayers will be greeted with a three-day Pick 6 carryover of $175,909 when live racing returns at Aqueduct Racetrack on Thursday, December 20. Sunday's Pick 6 sequence began in Race 4 as post-time favorite Show Prince (No. 7, $4.20) won the opening leg. Trainer Joe Parker followed up in Race 5 to pick up his first win of the winter meet for owner Barry Ostrager at odds of 12-1 with Summer Punch (No. 8, $24). In Race 6, Playwright (No. 3, $12.80) gave jockey Manny Franco his third win on the card. The biggest price of the day came in Race 7 as Testosterone (No. 6, $50.50) won at odds of 24-1 for trainer Gary Sciacca and Yellow Moon Stable.  Blindwillie McTell (No. 6, $7.50) captured the day's feature, the $150,000 New York Stallion Series Great White Way in Race 8. In the day's finale, 12-1 longshot Dirty Bird (No. 4, $23.20) secured the Pick 6 carryover dashing away in the final yards on the sloppy main track. A consolation payout of $7,085 was awarded to bettors who had five of six winners in the Pick 6.When live racing resumes on Thursday, the Pick 6 will begin in Race 3 with an approximate post of 1:47 p.m. The day's feature race will be a New York-bred allowance race for 3-year-olds and up at one mile carded as Race 7.

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12.15.2018:

Sir Anthony Shocks Audible in Harlan's Holiday Stakes

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Richard Otto Stables’ Illinois homebred Sir Anthony extended his win streak to four races with a rail-skimming trip from last and held off Grade 1-winning favorite Audible in the final yards for a half-length victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday (G3). The eighth running of the 1 1/16-mile Harlan’s Holiday for 3-year-olds and up was the first of five graded-stakes worth $600,000 in purses on an 11-race program, anchored by the $200,000 Fort Lauderdale (G2) for 3-year-olds and up at  1 1/8 miles on the newly refurbished turf course. Following the Harlan’s Holiday were a trio of $100,000 races for fillies and mares 3 and up – the six-furlong Sugar Swirl (G3) and one-mile Rampart (G3) on dirt and the My Charmer (G3) going one mile on the grass. With Brian Hernandez Jr. up for trainer Anthony Mitchell, Sir Anthony ($53.80) completed the distance in 1:45.14 over a sloppy, sealed track for his second career stakes win and first in graded company. Audible, winner of the Florida Derby (G1) and Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream over the winter, held second by a length over Apostle, followed by Audible’s Todd Pletcher-trained stablemate Village King and long shots Sightforsoreeyes and Minute Madness. “I watched a few replays of this horse and over at Hawthorne they went slow the first three-quarters in a couple of his races and he was still able to close into them and run them down,” Hernandez said. “Today, I just kind of rode him like that. I figured if I got to the three-eighths pole in good shape, he’d punch home, and he did. “My horse is an old pro and he’s shown that he doesn’t mind being [inside],” he added. “All the pressure was on Audible and we were just going to hopefully sneak up on him, and we were able to save all the ground and get through.” Stablemates Sightforsoreeyes and Minute Madness ran first and second, respectively, through moderate fractions of 25.19 seconds for a quarter-mile and 49.80 for the half. Hall of Famer Javier Castellano moved Audible off the rail from their inside post, where the only horse they led through six furlongs in 1:13.50 was Sir Anthony. Castellano began asking Audible rounding the turn and swung to the far outside to launch a bid, while Hernandez stayed put with Sir Anthony to wait for an opening. It came once they straightened for home, forging a short lead and powering through the stretch as Audible fought to make up ground down the middle of the track. Audible was making just his second start and first against graded competition since running third to eventual Triple Crown champion Justify in the Kentucky Derby (G1) May 5, using the Harlan’s Holiday as a prep for the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) – North America’s richest Thoroughbred race – Jan. 26 at Gulfstream. “He never really seemed like he fired. You hate to use the track as an excuse, but obviously it rained quite a bit and they sealed the track,” Pletcher said. “It seemed like he was just never really taking him there and handing the track the way we would have hoped … We just let Javier ride his race, but he was never really taking him. He had to kind of ask him to get into every position he tried to.” Sir Anthony how owns five wins from 14 starts and pushed his career earnings over $200,000. It was the fourth graded-stakes win for Mitchell and first since Original Spin in the 2005 Arlington-Washington Breeders’ Cup Lassie (G3). “He’s been a promising young colt who took a while to figure it out, but now that he’s figured it out who knows where we go from here,” Mitchell said. “He ran a couple of races where it was like, ‘What’s going on?’ It just didn’t make sense, but ever since he won the [Bruce D. Memorial] at Arlington he’s just got progressively better and better. “The owner, I’m so delighted for. He bred the horse and he’s been with me for a very long time and we’ve enjoyed a lot of success,” he added. “He predominately breeds Illinois-breds and we’ve done pretty good with them. But going ahead and beating the likes of Audible – that’s huge. I mean, I can’t put words to that.”   Harlan's Holiday Stakes Quotes   Trainer Anthony Mitchell (Sir Anthony): “He’s been a promising young colt who took a while to figure it out, but now that he’s figured it out who knows where we go from here. “He ran a couple of races where it was like, ‘What’s going on?’ It just didn’t make sense, but ever since he won the [Bruce D. Memorial] at Arlington he’s just got progressively better and better. The owner, I’m so delighted for. He bred the horse and he’s been with me for a very long time and we’ve enjoyed a lot of success. He predominately breeds Illinois-breds and we’ve done pretty good with them. But going ahead and beating the likes of Audible – that’s huge. I mean, I can’t put words to that. “I said to [jockey] Brian [Hernandez] going out, ‘Brian, believe in this horse. This horse has got two gears. One will take you there and one will put you in front if we’re good enough.’ “Looking at [the race] he was going well within himself. He’s kind of not a lazy horse but a relaxed horse. But when you ask him he’ll find it. Mentally he’s really come around and starting to prove the type of individual he is. But watching the race I was comfortable, but then going into the turn I was very comfortable. I thought we’re going to have a horse race here. And that’s what it was and Brian did a hell of a job, a superb ride. “Audible was on the outside, but we’re either going to get it or we’re not. But he committed, the horse put his head in front and he didn’t give up.” What’s next? “Let’s get on with this first. This is a feat in itself, I mean, a little guy like me taking on the big guys. It’s a very pleasant surprise, but me and the owner will talk about it and we’ll just see.” “He run on an off track before, I thought maybe in fact it would help him.” Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. (Sir Anthony): “We had a great trip. We were able to work our way to the fence from the six-hole. I watched a few replays of this horse and over at Hawthorne they went slow the first three-quarters in a couple of his races and he was still able to close into them and run them down. Today, I just kind of rode him like that. I figured if I got to the three-eighths pole in good shape, he’d punch home, and he did. My horse is an old pro and he’s shown that he doesn’t mind being [inside]. All the pressure was on Audible and we were just going to hopefully sneak up on him and we were able to save all the ground and get through.” Jockey Javier Castellano (Audible): “He kind of struggled a little bit with the track. They sealed the track at the last minute. It was not an easy track. I think it kind of cost me the race a little bit.” “He always breaks like that. He’s not a sprinter horse. He’s more of a two-turn, come-from-behind horse. He broke with the field and that was the good thing about the post. You’re able to save all the ground on the first turn and see how it develops. They went pretty quick and he was right there, not too far back. Unfortunately, it was hard to gain ground on this track.” Trainer Todd Pletcher (Audible): “He never really seemed like he fired. You hate to use the track as an excuse, but obviously it rained quite a bit and they sealed the track. Javier said up the backside it was pretty uneven; there were dry spots and wet spots. It seemed like he was just never really taking him there handing the track the way we would have hoped. I think the track has changed since the previous meet. They made some adjustments to it and I think it’s still settling in a little bit. I don’t think he really handled it. We didn’t know what everyone else was going to do. We just let Javier ride his race, but he was never really taking him. He had to kind of ask him to get into every position he tried to.”  

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12.14.2018:

City of Light Confirmed for 2019 Pegasus World Cup

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr.’s City of Light, front-running winner of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) last time out, has joined the list of starters confirmed for the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park. Trainer Mike McCarthy said Friday morning from his base at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. that City of Light will make his 5-year-old debut in the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus, the richest Thoroughbred race in North America. City of Light shows a pair of half-mile works over Santa Anita’s main track this month following his 2 ¾-length victory in the Breeders’ Cup Nov. 3, his third career Grade 1 triumph, which pushed his career earnings to $1,662,600 from 10 lifetime starts. “The horse couldn’t have come into the Breeders’ Cup doing any better. After his work on the Sunday before, I was very confident that he would run his race and he did,” McCarthy said. “We’re very pleased with the way the horse came out of the Breeders’ Cup. He’s had a couple of nice works so far. We couldn’t be happier with the way he’s training, and we’re looking forward to taking part in the Pegasus.” The Breeders’ Cup was City of Light’s third race outside California, the others also coming this year when he won the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) by a neck April 14 at Oaklawn Park and ran second to eventual Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Whitmore in the seven-furlong Forego (G1) Aug 25 at Saratoga. Eight of City of Light’s 10 races have come at a mile or less, though he does own a win at the Pegasus distance in the Oaklawn Handicap. He also finished third in the 1 ¼-mile Gold Cup at Santa Anita (G1) May 26. “I think it’s well within him to get the mile and an eighth,” McCarthy said. “Gulfstream is a speed-favoring racetrack and he has plenty of that. He’s rateable, so hopefully we get a nice racetrack and everybody shows up doing the best they can on the day. “This is what we get up for in the morning, to be able to participate in big races on big days,” he added. “It’s very exciting.” The Pegasus will be accompanied by the inaugural running of $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) on the Jan. 26 program in the newly created $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series. Owners can secure a spot in the starting gate for the Pegasus for a $500,000 fee and will be given preference in purchasing a spot in the Pegasus Turf for $500,000. A $1 million bonus is being offered if an owner should win both races. Already confirmed for the Pegasus are Hronis Racing’s Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Accelerate; Charles Fipke’s Grade 1 winner Seeking the Soul; Margoth’s Gunnevera, a multiple graded-stakes winner of more than $4 million in purses; and Calumet Farm’s pair of Bravazo and True Timber. Tabor, Magnier and Smith’s Coolmore has also purchased a spot for a horse to be determined. Audible, the 2018 Florida Derby (G1) winner, is also being pointed to the Pegasus and will prep for the race in Saturday’s $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream. Owned by China Horse Club International, WinStar Farm, Starlight Racing, and Head of Plains Partners, Todd Pletcher-trained Audible finished third in this year’s Kentucky Derby (G1). Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Patternrecognition, who defeated True Timber by three-quarters of a length in the Cigar Mile (G1) Dec. 1 at Aqueduct, and Stronach Stable homebreds Something Awesome, a multiple graded-stakes winning millionaire, and back-to-back stakes winner Unbridled Juan are also under consideration for the Pegasus.

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12.9.2018:

Gunnevera Confirmed for 2019 Pegasus World Cup Invitational

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Salomon Del Valle’s Margoth purchased a spot in the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), confirming multiple graded-stakes winner Gunnevera for North America’s richest race Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park. Gunnevera, who finished third in last year’s Pegasus World Cup, most recently ran second in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 3. “I’m paying all the money myself,” said Del Valle, a Venezuelan businessman who entered Gunnevera in a partnership in last year’s Pegasus. “I’m happy to be in the race.” The Pegasus World Cup will be accompanied by the inaugural running of $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) on the Jan. 26 program in the newly created $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series. Owners can secure a spot in the starting gate for the Pegasus World Cup for a $500,000 fee and will be given preference in purchasing a spot in the Pegasus World Cup Turf for $500,000. A $1 million bonus is being offered if an owner should win both races. Gunnevera, who has $4.1 million in career earnings, captured the 2017 Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream. The Antonio Sano-trained 4-year-old son of Dialed In has also won the 2016 Saratoga Special (G2) and the $1 million Delta Jackpot (G3) and has been Grade 1 stakes-placed in the 2017 Travers (G1) and the 2018 Woodward (G1) at Saratoga. “I have a good chance. He just got beat by a length in the Breeders’ Cup,” Sano said. “Maybe, there will be more speed in the Pegasus. One more chance. It’s in my house.” In addition to Gunnevera, Hronis Racing’s Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate, Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Soul, and Calumet Farm’s Bravazo and True Timber are confirmed for the Pegasus World Cup. Tabor, Magnier and Smith’s Coolmore has also purchased a spot for a horse to be determined. Audible, the 2018 Florida Derby (G1) winner, is also being pointed to the Pegasus World Cup and is scheduled to be entered in next Saturday’s $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream to prep for the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus. Owned by China Horse Club International, WinStar Farm, Starlight Racing, and Head of Plains Partners, Todd Pletcher-trained Audible finished third in this year’s Kentucky Derby (G1). Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Patternrecognition, who defeated True Timber by three-quarters of a length in the Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct last time out, is also under consideration for the Pegasus. The Stronach Group, currently negotiating with other groups, has only a few open spots remaining.

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12.8.2018:

Undefeated Kukulkan Romps in $300,000 Clasico del Caribe

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Mexico’s Triple Crown champion Kukulkan extended his career undefeated streak to 14 in a row Saturday with a 10 ¼-length triumph in the $300,000 Clasico del Caribe at Gulfstream Park, providing jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. with his third winner in the five-race $600,000 Clasico Internacional del Caribe. The Clasico del Caribe, a 1 1/8-mile stakes for 3-year-olds, brought down the house and the curtain on a most festive event for horses based in Latin America and the Caribbean. Ortiz, who rode three winners during last year’s event, repeated the achievement Saturday with victories aboard Kukulkan, Puerto Rico’s Mishegas in the Copa Invitacional and Mexico’s Jala Jala, whom he rode to victory in last year’s Clasico del Caribe, in the Copa Confraternidad del Caribe. “It’s great. I’m so happy to represent my country and Mexico too,” said Ortiz, a Puerto Rico native who is widely regarded as the frontrunner for this Year’s Eclipse Award as North America’s outstanding jockey. “It’s a pleasure to ride these kind of horses.” Trainer Fausto Gutierrez saddled Kukulkan for Saturday’s popular triumph a race after sending out 2017 Clasico del Caribe winner Jala Jala for a victory in the Copa Confraternidad del Caribe. “This is like a dream because this horse has a lot of quality. We spoke a few days ago about the capacity he has. This horse has a lot of stamina and he won very easy today. He ran not in his normal style or as he has before. Irad took him and relaxed and relaxed and when he decided to go, the horse went easily,” Gutierrez said. “He’s a very professional horse, his attitude in the paddock and with everyone in the stands. He’s a real racehorse. To make history and win two back to back with these horses is a dream.” Ortiz rated Kukulkan fifth along the backstretch as Puerto Rico’s El Salsero set a comfortable pace on fractions of 24.50 and 49.03 for the first half-mile, closely stalked by Panama’s Sol De Orion and Kukulkan’s stablemate Kandinsky. Kukulkan advanced along the backstretch to approach the pacesetters before surging between horses to take the lead on the far turn without being asked by Ortiz. The son of Point Determined romped away to win as he pleased to complete the 1 1/8 miles in 1:54.80. “He’s unbelievable. He’s undefeated in 14 races. Horses like him make you look good,” Ortiz said. Kukulkan had notched five grade 1 victories, including all three legs of the Mexico Triple Crown, at Hipodromo de Las Americas in Mexico City. Cuadra San Jorge’s homebred colt won his last four races by 38 ½ lengths prior to winning Saturday’s Clasico del Caribe by double digits. Venezuela’s Bukowski rallied to finish second, 1 ½ lengths ahead of Cuadra San Jorge’s Kandinsky.

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12.7.2018:

True Timber to Take a Shot in 2019 Pegasus World Cup

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - True Timber is the second horse owned by Calumet Farm to be targeting the Pegasus. Earlier this week, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Preakness Stakes (G1) runner-up Bravazo, second in the Clark and third in the Dirt Mile, was Pegasus-bound. “He ran a huge race in the Cigar Mile and he galloped out really strong, so we talked it over with the owners and decided to point for the Pegasus,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “It’s a big event and hopefully we get in there and run good and everything works out and we enjoy the day.” True Timber was second in the Bold Ruler (G3) prior to the Dec. 1 Cigar Mile, both at Aqueduct, and before that won back-to-back optional claiming allowances at Belmont Park three months apart. He has placed in five career stakes, four graded. “He’s in very good form right now. He’s a nice horse,” McLaughlin said. “He’s still in New York for now. We haven’t decided when to bring him down but we’ll get him here pretty soon.” Based at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County, McLaughlin is a two-time winner of the Pegasus’ predecessor, the Donn Handicap (G1), with Albertus Maximus (2009) and Horse of the Year Invasor (2007). “We were able to win the race with Invasor before he went to Dubai,” McLaughlin said. “We’re happy to be back in it and hope all goes well with the horse. We’ll point him that way.”

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12.7.2018:

Seeking the Soul to Take Another Shot at Pegasus World Cup

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Grade 1 winning millionaire Seeking the Soul and multiple graded-stakes placed True Timber, most recently second in the Cigar Mile (G1), are both headed to the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park. “I’m looking forward to it,” Dallas Stewart, trainer of Seeking the Soul, said Friday. “The horse is doing great.” Bred and owned by Charles Fipke, Seeking the Soul kicked off his 2018 campaign running fifth in the second edition of the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus in January, won by Horse of the Year Gun Runner in his career finale. He has placed in four of five subsequent starts, all in stakes, topped by a victory in the Ack Ack (G3) Sept. 29. He was beaten 2 ¾ lengths by City of Light when second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) prior to running third in defense of his 2017 triumph in the Clark Handicap (G1) Nov. 23. “He was second in the Breeders’ Cup to a very nice horse, and he’s competed well all year. He just had one bad race up at Saratoga for some reason but a lot of horses get off form up there,” Stewart said. “The horse has had a really good year. He didn’t do so well in the Clark, but he didn’t do bad. He came out of it good.” Seeking the Soul returned to the work tab Friday morning for the first time since the Clark, going four furlongs in 51 seconds at Fair Grounds. “He just breezed a little light half-mile,” Stewart said. “The horse looks great.”

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12.5.2018:

Bravazo Gets Green Light for 2019 Pegasus World Cup

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Tuesday that Calumet Farm’s Bravazo, third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) and second in the Preakness Stakes (G1), is being pointed toward the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Saturday, Jan 26 at Gulfstream Park.“Yes, that’s surely where we’re headed if everything goes well,” Lukas said.Bravazo, who finished second in the Clark Handicap (G1) Nov. 23, has raced in eight consecutive Grade 1 events at six different tracks and is the only horse other than Justify this year to run in all three Triple Crown races.“We’ve got a window of about seven weeks so we’ll get him in a work pattern,” Lukas said. “We did ship him to Arkansas where he’s getting a week to just take it easy. We’ll start picking up a work tab schedule in mid-December. He’s really done well. He’s fit, his weight is excellent. He’s run eight straight Grade 1’s and a lot of people would think he would taper off but he seems to only have gotten better. He’s a picture of consistency.”Lukas said his first inclination would be to ship Bravazo to Gulfstream a week before the race. “I don’t think we’ll come in right on top of it,” he said. A winner of 14 Triple Crown events, Lukas said he supports the Pegasus Championship Invitational Series, which for the first time will include a $7 million turf event.“I think [Pegasus] is a significant development in the big picture of racing,” he said. “One of things we’ve struggled with in Thoroughbred racing is keeping superstars on the track. I think this is a step in the right direction. Any time you start the season with a $9 million race…it better be on your radar.”

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12.1.2018:

Patternrecognition Scores in G1 Cigar Mile

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Patternrecognition continued a winning trend by notching his third victory in succession with a powerful front-running performance to capture the 30th renewal of the Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap presented by NYRA Bets on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack. Trained by Chad Brown for owners Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence, the 5-year-old Patternrecognition was making just the second stakes start of his career, fresh off a one-length score in the Grade 2 Kelso at Belmont Park, and demonstrated a considerable amount of class to best a talented eight-horse field that included Grade 1 winner Mendelssohn and the upwardly mobile Copper Town. Sent to post at odds of 5-1 under Jose Ortiz, who celebrated the birth of his second child, Derek, in the early hours of Saturday morning, Patternrecognition fired out of the gate and assumed command through splits of 22.88 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and a half-mile in a sharp 45.68 under pressure from Pat On the Back. Mendelssohn, with Ryan Moore up from the inside post, tracked from third position just inside of True Timber as three-quarters passed in 1:09.68. Pat On the Back was asked for more into the final turn as True Timber launched his bid with Copper Town, who was compromised leaving the gate after Stan the Man stumbled, following their lead. However, Patternrecognition, traveling smoothly throughout, continued to find more, improving his lead to a 1 1/2 length advantage at the top of the lane.  True Timber battled bravely to the wire with Sunny Ridge finding his best stride late up the wood, but there was no catching Patternrecognition who earned a three-quarters of a length win in a final time of 1:34.98. True Timber completed the exacta, a length in front of Sunny Ridge. Mendelssohn, the 8-5 mutuel favorite, stayed on for fourth. Stan the Man, Timeline and Copper Town completed the order of finish.Patternrecognition, by Adios Charlie, was a $420,000 purchase at the 2015 Ocala Breeders' Sale. He made his belated debut a winning one in April of his 4-year-old season and has proven to be worth the wait for his connections."Obviously, he's had some soundness issues along the way and I want to thank the owners as well, Seth Klarman and Bill Lawrence, for never giving up on this horse," said Brown, who captured the 2016 Cigar Mile with Connect. "He needed the time and they gave him the time to always get healthy when we needed to rest the horse. Ultimately, he showed the talent that we thought he had when they bought him what seems like forever ago as a 2-year-old and this is really a great moment for this horse. He deserves it."Because he's had so many interruptions in his schedule, I was always trying to bridge him to a longer race off a sprint and it was always hard to get there because he always had a setback," continued Brown. "Finally, he got very sound, to where I could train him consistently and get him out to that mile distance where his father [Adios Charlie] was very effective, as well. This horse is a rare horse. He's got that speed and he can carry it. I'm very proud of the judgment Jose used today. I left it up to him and the fractions concerned me a touch, but this horse showed his heart."Ortiz, who was winning the Cigar Mile for the first time, said he made a snap judgment to take the lead with Patternrecognition."He broke out of there very sharply. The way he broke, I didn't want to give the lead away, so I used my own judgment and took a shot and went straight to the rail and took the lead," said Ortiz. "He got pressured pretty good. I took a big risk because those weren't the instructions, but it worked out."True Timber, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin for Calumet Farm, was impressive in making his Grade 1 debut fresh off a good second in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap."We're very happy with the way he ran and how everything went," said McLaughlin. "We were pleasantly surprised. That was a great effort, so we have options going forward."Mendelssohn, trained by Aidan O'Brien, arrived at the Cigar Mile in search of his first Grade 1 win on dirt. The well-bred son of Scat Daddy, a half-brother to champion mare Beholder and leading sire Into Mischief, captured the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf to complete his 2-year-old campaign and was among the leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby after romping to a 18 ½-length score in the Group 2 UAE Derby in March. A troubled trip saw Mendelssohn finish last of 20 in the Run for the Roses, but the colt redeemed himself over the summer with on-the-board efforts in the Grade 3 Dwyer when third, the Grade 1 Runhappy Travers when second and a strong third in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. The talented bay was turning back in distance in the Cigar Mile from a fifth-place run in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic."I kind of think nothing has really gone his way at all, all year. We'll see what the plan is," said Moore. "I think there's more in there at some point. I don't think [the kickback] affected him. I was just seeing what happens [out of the gate]. If no one was going, then we'd go to the lead, but I was happy. We had a nice run, really."Patternrecognition, bred in Florida by Ocala Stud, banked $433,125 in victory while improving his record to five wins and five seconds from 11 career starts. He paid $12.80 to win.

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11.29.2018:

Gulfstream has Opening Day Pick 4, Pick 5 & Pick 6 Guaranteed Pools

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The opening-day program of the 2018-2019 Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park Saturday will feature $200,000 pool guarantees for both the Late Pick 4 and the Late Pick 5, as well as a $50,000 guaranteed pool for the 20-cent Rainbow 6. The Late Pick 4 (Races 8-11), the Late Pick 5 (Races 7-11) and the Rainbow 6 (Races 6-11) will offer all-stakes sequences with fields ranging from 12 to 14 horses on an 11-race card that will feature the $1.1 million nine-race Claiming Crown. Saturday’s program, which will get underway at 11:50 a.m., drew a total of 149 horses, or 13.5 starters per race. The $200,000 Jewel will anchor all three multi-race wagers. The 1 1/8-mile stakes for horses that have started for a claiming price of $35,000 or lower attracted a field of 14, including defending champion Flowers for Lisa.

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11.29.2018:

Stronach 5 has $88,189 Carryover for Friday, November 30

LAUREL, MD –Friday’s Stronach 5, with an industry-low 12-percent takeout, will have a carryover of $88,189.41 and feature three races from Laurel Park and two from Golden Gate Fields. There were no winning tickets in last week’s Stronach 5, which featured races from Laurel, Golden Gate and Gulfstream Park West. Friday's Stronach 5 Sequence Leg One - Laurel Park, Race 8 (6 Furlongs, 9 Horses) - 3:21PM ET Leg Two - Laurel Park, Race 9 (6 Furlongs, 9 Horses) - 3:51PM ET Leg Three - Golden Gate, Race 2 (6 Furlongs, 8 Horses) - 4:15PM ET Leg Four - Laurel Park, Race 10 (7 Furlongs, 9 Horses) - 4:23PM ET Leg Five - Golden Gate, Race 3 (5 1/2 Furlongs, 10 Horses) - 4:45PM ET Free Stronach 5 Past Performances: The minimum wager on the multi-race, multi-track Stronach 5 will be $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool will be carried over to the next Friday. For the Stronach 5, 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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11.28.2018:

Xpressbet Launches New Android Betting App

Android users – you’ve been asking for an Xpressbet app for a while now – here it is! We’re excited to introduce our brand new Android wagering app, which is now available for download.  The Xpressbet app combines all of the features you’ve come to expect from our Mobile site, including live wagering, video, odds, promos and more, with the convenience of ‘one touch’ access from your home screen. To download the app, simply visit https://www.xpressbet.com/android-wagering and follow the instructions for your particular advice.  Unfortunately, due to Google Play Store rules, we are still unable to offer our app there.    If you have any questions or comments about the app, we would love to hear from you.  You can reach us daily between 10:30AM – 11:00PM ET at 866.889.7737, by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. document.getElementById('cloak69682e69d92bf79f707cf33a31186e70').innerHTML = ''; var prefix = 'ma' + 'il' + 'to'; var path = 'hr' + 'ef' + '='; var addy69682e69d92bf79f707cf33a31186e70 = 'customerservice' + '@'; addy69682e69d92bf79f707cf33a31186e70 = addy69682e69d92bf79f707cf33a31186e70 + 'xpressbet' + '.' + 'com'; var addy_text69682e69d92bf79f707cf33a31186e70 = 'customerservice' + '@' + 'xpressbet' + '.' + 'com';document.getElementById('cloak69682e69d92bf79f707cf33a31186e70').innerHTML += ''+addy_text69682e69d92bf79f707cf33a31186e70+''; or by using the Live Chat feature on the website. 

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11.26.2018:

2019 Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #1 Results

Here are the full results for Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #1 (November 22 - 25, 2018): 1. Cairo Cat (Ken McPeek) - 59/1 ($120.80)2. Code of Honor (Shug McGaughey) - 18/1 ($39.40) 3. Coliseum (Bob Baffert) - 10/1 ($22.20)4. Dunph (Mike Maker) - 72/1 ($146.20) 5. Epic Dreamer (Kelly Breen) - 88/1 ($178.80) 6. Game Winner (Bob Baffert) - 5/1 ($13.80) 7. Gunmetal Gray (Jerry Hollendorfer) - 76/1 ($154.00) 8. Improbable (Bob Baffert) - 17/1 ($36.20) 9. Instagrand (Jerry Hollendorfer) - 10/1 ($23.60) 10. King for a Day (Todd Pletcher) - 53/1 ($109.40) 11. Knicks Go (Ben Colebrook) - 44/1 ($91.20) 12. Magic On Tap (Bob Baffert) - 43/1 ($89.20) 13. Maximus Mischief (Robert Reid Jr.) - 26/1 ($55.20) 14. Mucho (Bill Mott) - 44/1 ($90.20) 15. Mucho Gusto (Bob Baffert) - 47/1 ($97.80) 16. Network Effect (Chad Brown) - 59/1 ($120.60) 17. Preamble (Rodolphe Brisset) - 117/1 ($237.80) 18. Roadster (Bob Baffert) - 32/1 ($66.60) 19. Signalman (Ken McPeek) - 30/1 ($63.00) 20. Tale of the Union (Bob Baffert) - 46/1 ($95.40) 21. Uncle Benny (Jason Servis) - 53/1 ($109.80) 22. Vekoma (George Weaver) - 36/1 ($74.00) 23. All 3YO Fillies - 66/1 ($135.00) 24. All Other 3YO's - 6/5 ($4.60)

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11.26.2018:

2019 Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager Results

Here are the full results for Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager (November 22 - 25, 2018): 1. Bernardini - 24/1 ($50.60) 2. Cairo Prince - 30/1 ($63.40) 3. Candy Ride (ARG) - 7/1 ($16.00)4. City Zip - 17/1 ($36.20) 5. Curlin- 13/1 ($28.80) 6. Ghostzapper - 27/1 ($56.80) 7. Giant's Causeway - 47/1 ($97.20) 8. Into Mischief - 7/1 ($17.20) 9. Malibu Moon - 49/1 ($100.40) 10. Medaglia d'Oro - 21/1 ($44.20) 11. More Than Ready - 48/1 ($98.60) 12. Orb - 28/1 ($59.80) 13. Pioneerof the Nile - 24/1 ($51.60) 14. Quality Road - 20/1 ($43.60) 15. Scat Daddy - 27/1 ($57.60) 16. Speightstown - 59/1 ($121.00) 17. Tapit- 6/1 ($15.20) 18. Tiznow- 50/1 ($102.20) 19. Uncle Mo - 23/1 ($49.40) 20. Union Rags - 29/1 ($61.60) 21. Violence - 47/1 ($96.00) 22. War Front - 41/1 ($84.60) 23. Will Take Charge - 40/1 ($83.00) 24. All Others - 9/2 ($11.40)  

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11.24.2018:

Pegasus World Cup 'an Option' for Leofric Following Clark Victory

With Leofric’s indomitable victory in Friday’s $500,000 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (Grade I), trainer Brad Cox is looking ahead to 2019 for a 6-year-old campaign that includes several options, including the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (GI) at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26. “The Pegasus is an option that we’ll keep on the table,” Cox said. “This horse developed so much over the summer and has really come into his own. We’ll also look at the (Grade II, $750,000) Oaklawn Handicap (on April 13) as a long-range target as well.” The lofty $300,700 first prize in the Clark lifted the gray or roan Kentucky-bred’s earnings to near-millionaire status: $951,040 from a record of 8-1-3 in 14 starts. The win also vaulted Cox above $14 million in purse earnings for 2018 – nearly $6 million more than his career-best in 2017. Owned by Steve Landers Racing, this was the first Grade I win and third graded stakes victory of the year for Leofric. In addition to winning the Fayette, he scored in the $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s Stakes (GIII) at Mountaineer in August. After the latter, Leofric finished third behind Yoshida (JPN) and Gunnevera in the $750,000 Woodward (GI) at Saratoga. “It’s been a great year with Monomoy Girl and now this win is very special to us,” Cox said. “He’s doing well this morning. It was a really good day yesterday.” With five weeks to go in 2018, Cox is ranked fourth nationally with 223 wins through 840 starters and fifth in purse earnings with $14,315,854. Cox recently celebrated his 1,000th career win when Play On won a maiden special weight at Fair Grounds on Sunday. The 38-year-old conditioner is third in the Fall Meet standings at Churchill Downs with seven wins.

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11.23.2018:

Leofric Holds Off Bravazo to Win G1 Clark Handicap

Fayette Stakes (Grade II) winner Leofric turned back a determined challenge by 3-year-old Bravazo in deep stretch to win a thrilling renewal of Friday’s 144th running of the $500,000 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (Grade I) by a neck. Defending Clark Handicap champion Seeking the Soul, the 123-pound starting high weight and 3-2 favorite, was another 2 ¾ lengths back in third. Owned by Steve Landers Racing LLC, 5-year-old Leofric covered 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:48.59 while toting 121 pounds and jockey Florent Geroux, who rode the winner for trainer Brad Cox. The lofty $300,700 first prize lifted the gray or roan Kentucky-bred’s earnings to near-millionaire status: $951,040 from a record of 8-1-3 in 14 starts. Southern California-invader Prime Attraction, who was second to Leofric in the $200,000 Fayette at Keeneland on Oct. 27, set the pace in the field of eight 3-year-olds and up through fractions of :23.56, :47.58 and 1:11.61. Breaking from post No. 5, Leofric and Geroux worked out an ideal trip along the inside rail and rated just behind longshots Sightforsoreeyes and Storm Advisory, who chased Prime Attraction into the far turn. Bravazo and Seeking the Soul, who finished third and second in the Nov. 3 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI), were positioned just behind Leofric. Midway around the turn, Leofric drew even with Prime Attraction and inched clear at the top of the stretch with Bravazo a half-length back on his right hip. The two matched strides in a long stretch drive with the elder getting the best of the 3-year-old in the final stages. “We had a great trip in the pocket the entire way around,” said Geroux, who also won the 2016 Clark Handicap aboard Gun Runner. “That made the difference. This is a really nice horse. He’s had some great preparation by Brad and his team before this race. He fought Bravazo the whole way until the wire. I’m so proud of his effort.” “I’m so proud of his effort,” said Bravazo’s jockey Joel Rosario. “He ran really hard today. We had a great trip just off of the pace and I tipped him towards the outside around the three-eighths pole and he started to pick off horses. He tried the entire way down the lane and we almost got the job done.” Leofric rewarded his backers with mutuels of $8.60, $4.40 and $2.40 as the 3-1 third betting choice. Bravazo, at 118 pounds, returned $3.80 and $2.40 as the 2-1 second choice. Seeking the Soul, under John Velazquez, paid $2.10 to show. Prime Attraction faded to fourth and was followed by the distant foursome of Hence, Hawaakom, Storm Advisory and Sightforsoreeyes. This was the first Grade I win and third graded stakes victory of the year for Leofric. In addition to winning the Fayette, he scored in the $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s Stakes (GIII) at Mountaineer in August. After the latter, Leofric finished third behind Yoshida (JPN) and Gunnevera in the $750,000 Woodward (GI) at Saratoga. “Florent did a great job,” Cox said. “He ran really well after running most of the summer and not missing a beat. He ran hard in the Fayette and I was a little concerned he may be coming back a bit too quick. He had two really nice breezes over the track and came into today’s race ready to go. Mr. Landers has been very patient with this horse. We’ll maybe look at the Oaklawn Handicap or something like that down the road. We’ll see how he comes out of things. I’m really proud of his effort. He’s really turned the corner over the summer and become a top-quality horse.” Leofric is son of Candy Ride (ARG) out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Lady Godiva and was bred by Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds.   CLARK HANDICAP QUOTES   Florent Geroux, jockey of LEOFRIC (winner): “We had a great trip in the pocket the entire way around. That made the difference. This is a really nice horse. He’s had some great preparation by Brad (Cox) and his team before this race. He fought Bravazo the whole way until the wire. I’m so proud of his effort. He had a really tough beat in the Oaklawn Handicap and then got hurt and took some time off. He had a great summer of preparation for this start.” Brad Cox, trainer of LEOFRIC (winner): “Florent (Geroux) did a great job. He ran really well after running most of the summer and not missing a beat. He ran hard in the Fayette and I was a little concerned he may be coming back a bit too quick. He had two really nice breezes over the track and came into today’s race ready to go. Mr. Landers has been very patient with this horse. We’ll maybe look at the Oaklawn Handicap or something like that down the road. We’ll see how he comes out of things. I’m really proud of his effort. He’s really turned the corner over the summer and become a top-quality horse.” Joel Rosario, jockey of BRAVAZO (runner-up): “I’m so proud of his effort. He ran really hard today. We had a great trip just off of the pace and I tipped him towards the outside around the three-eighths pole and he started to pick off horses. He tried the entire way down the lane and we almost got the job done.” Dallas Stewart, trainer of SEEKING THE SOUL (third): “Johnny (Velazquez) said he just ran kind of even around there – just a bummer.” John Velazquez, jockey of SEEKING THE SOUL (third): “He was in a good spot early around the first turn. He just gave kind of an even effort. I split horses around the quarter pole but he just kind of flattened out.”

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11.19.2018:

Aqueduct has $263K Triple Pick 6 Carryover on Wednesday

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - On Sunday, Aqueduct's Pick 6 sequence went unsolved for the third consecutive day, leading to a triple carryover of $263,299 when live racing resumes on Wednesday, November 21. Sunday's Pick 6 sequence began in Race 3 as even-money favorite Stay Fond (No. 14, $4.30) won the opening leg. Shadwell Stable and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin followed in Race 4, the opening leg of the Late Pick 5, as Athwaaq (No. 5, $11.20) made her debut a winning one for her connections. In Race 5, Sheza Diva (No. 9, $32.20) pulled off the upset at odds of 15-1 for trainer Alejandro Maymo. Flyoff (No. 1, $8.30) secured the victory in Race 6 and heavy 1-5 favorite Gold for the King (No. 7, $2.70) captured the day's feature, the $125,000 New York Stallion Series Thunder Rumble, in Race 7. In the day's finale, 34-1 longshot Miss Mystique (No. 7, $71) bested 6-5 favorite Mentality, leading to carryovers for the Pick 6. A consolation payout of $655 was awarded to bettors who had five of six winners in the Pick 6. When live racing resumes on Wednesday, the Pick 6 will begin in Race 4 with an approximate post of 1:47 p.m.  The day's feature race will be a New York-bred allowance optional-claiming event for 3-year-olds and up going six furlongs carded as Race 8.

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11.5.2018:

Accelerate, City of Light, Monomoy Girl, Others Targeting Pegasus World Cup

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL –Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Accelerate, runner-up Gunnevera, Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) winner Monomoy Girl and Florida Derby (G1) winner Audible are all strong possibilities to compete in the richest race in North America – the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) Saturday, January 26 at Gulfstream Park. Other horses considering the third running of the Pegasus include Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner City of Light and runner-up Seeking the Soul. Arklow, fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), is a possibility for the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), the richest turf race in North America also being run on Saturday, Jan. 26. In just two years the Pegasus has become one of the sport’s biggest events. In 2017, the Pegasus brought together two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome and 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Arrogate, who won the inagural running by 4 ¾ lengths. Earlier this year, Horse of the Year Gun Runner ended his career with a 2 ½-length victory in the Pegasus over West Coast and third-place finisher Gunnevera. Trainer John Sadler, who saddled Accelerate to a length victory over Gunnevera in Saturday’s $6 million Classic, said the 5-year-old, a winner of four consecutive Grade I races, will be shown as a stallion in Lexington before being sent back to his stable in California. “If all is good, we’ll probably go in the Pegasus, kind of our all-out Gun Runner of last year, and then he’ll go off to stud,” Sadler said. Gunnevera, trained at Gulfstream by Antonio Sano and a winner of more than $4 million, is also targeting the Pegasus after finishing second in Saturday’s Classic. “He’s going to race in 2019 and will point to the Pegasus,” Sano said. After watching their filly win Saturday’s Distaff for her ninth victory in 11 starts, the connections of Monomoy Girl said they would consider running against the boys in the Pegasus. “I think we will take a look at the Pegasus,” said co-owner Sol Kumin. “I think it’s a good distance for her…speed-favoring track at Gulfstream. She’ll get obviously a little bit of a weight break. I think that would be the only race that we would probably look at.” Brad Cox, trainer of Monomoy Girl, said; “Really, right now, in the near future that would be the race we would target. Beyond that, it will be the Breeders’ Cup next year at Santa Anita. We would have plenty of time to come back and prepare for the Distaff if there is a run in January in the Pegasus. She’s worthy of a break and some time. When we give that to her it will be up to what we decide to do with the Pegasus.” Cox also said Arklow, fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, will be considered for the inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational. “We might also might take a look at the Pegasus turf race with him as well. We’ll give him a few days to come out of his race and we’ll go from there.” Florida Derby winner Audible, who was sidelined earlier this year after finishing third in the Kentucky Derby (G1), returned from a six-month layoff Saturday for trainer Todd Pletcher to impressively win the Cherokee Run on Breeders’ Cup Day. After the 3-year-old’s performance, Elliott Walden, President and Racing Manager of WinStar Farm, said; “I think Audible could be Pegasus-bound after that.”

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11.5.2018:

Stronach 5 has $51K Carryover for Friday, November 9

LAUREL, MD – There will be a $51,331.91 carryover in the Stronach 5 November 9 after there were no winning tickets Friday afternoon. The national Pick 5 wager, with an industry-low 12-percent takeout, kicked off Friday with a $108.20 winner in Santa Anita’s fourth race. That was followed by a $16 winner in Gulfstream Park West’s ninth race. The minimum wager on the Stronach 5 is $1. If there are no tickets with five winners, the entire pool is carried over to the next Friday. Friday's Stronach 5 Races Leg One - Santa Anita Fourth Race - Blew By You, $108.20 Leg Two - Gulfstream West Ninth Race - Bodie Tap, $16.00 Leg Three - Laurel Park Tenth Race - Angelinthemorning, $4.40 Leg Four - Santa Anita Fifth Race - Quinnie, $7.80 Leg Five - Golden Gate Fifth Race - Torpedo Away, $8.00 For the Stronach 5, 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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11.3.2018:

2018 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint Post-Race Quotes

From Breeders' Cup Notes Team Winning trainer Mark Casse (Shamrock Rose) – “Was I surprised we won? It was a tough race, but she’s a good horse. I told (jockey) Irad (Ortiz Jr.) I don't know if she's good enough, but she'll give you everything she has. And, she's good. It goes back to Allen Jerkins who always said ‘run them when they're good' so we came back in two weeks.”Winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. (Shamrock Rose) – “I let her be happy. She settled nice for me. She was like fourth and when I dropped in and got through horses, she came running.”Second-place trainer Arnaud Delacour (Chalon) – “She had a great trip and Javier (Castellano) gave her a great ride. The seven-eighths (of a mile) may have been a touch too far, but you can’t take anything away from her. I’m very pleased.”Second-place jockey Javier Castlellano (Chalon) – “It was a great race. I got good position right from the start and we were going good. I thought I had a good chance coming down the stretch but she was justsecond best. She gave me everything she had and that was really good.”Third-place trainer Richard Mandella (Anonymity) – “She is a little short on experience. We decided to let her settle today and she looked like she was a little bit intimidated by other horses but she came on strong.”Third-place jockey Flavien Prat (Anonymity) – “We got caught a little wide on the final turn, but I was very happy with the way she ran. She gave it her all down the stretch and we almost got there.”Fourth-place trainer Bob Baffert (Marley’s Freedom, beaten favorite) – “She just didn't get away like she can. I am pretty disappointed. And she was pretty wide the whole way. She tried but she was just not good enough today. You have to be real good today and she was not real good. She didn't have her punch today, didn't run her race. Didn't bring her A game.”Fourth-place jockey Mike Smith (Marley’s Freedom, beaten favorite) – “She was hung out really wide and she just didn’t get a hold of it and kick like she can."

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11.3.2018:

Shamrock Rose Surges Late to Win Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2018) – Conrad Farms’ Shamrock Rose ($53.80) split horses in deep stretch and nailed Chalon in the shadow of the wire to win the 12th running of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) by a head to kick off the second day of the 35th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs on Saturday afternoon.Trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Shamrock Rose covered the seven furlongs in 1:23.13 over a fast main track. It is the fifth Breeders’ Cup victory for Casse and Ortiz and the second consecutive win in the race for Ortiz, who rode Bar of Gold to her upset victory at Del Mar last year.Now a winner of four consecutive starts, Shamrock Rose is a Pennsylvania-bred daughter of First Dude out of the Elusive Quality mare Slew’s Quality. It is her first Grade 1 victory. Selcourt shot to the lead from her inside post and led the field of 14 through fractions of :21.89 and :44.99. Going into the far turn Happy Like a Fool took over for Selcourt with Chalon moving three wide to challenge and Ortiz beginning to pick off horses from the back of the pack on Shamrock Rose.Chalon spurted to the front at the eighth pole and appeared home free until Shamrock Rock emerged from the onrushing pack to prevail at the wire. Anonymity was neck behind Chalon in third with favored Marley’s Freedom another head back in fourth.

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11.3.2018:

2018 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint Post-Race Quotes

From Breeders' Cup Notes TeamWinning trainer Peter Miller (Stormy Liberal) – “The emotions and the highs and lows I have gone through in this game in the past year are indescribable. I am just thankful to be back here. It is amazing to win this race two years in a row with this horse. It is a dream come true.”Winning jockey Drayden Van Dyke Stormy Liberal) – “He broke really sharp. I knew there were a few who were goingto be a little bit faster than me. I bided my time and let them get by me, then just tipped him outside. From there on, it was up to him to do the running. Stormy Liberal likes to hang on horses and not pass them, but he got him. It was awesome.”Second-place trainer Jason Servis (World of Trouble, beaten favorite) – “He ran really hard and he tried. He's a 3-year old. He'll get better.”Second-place jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. (World of Trouble, beaten favorite) – “He had no excuse. He just got beat by a nice horse. He wanted to fight, but he lugged in a little bit so I wanted to be close to Stormy Liberal so he could feel (the competition). No excuse.”Third-place jockey Joel Rosario (Disco Partner) – “He broke well and then took a little bit of time to find his stride. It looks like the turf was a little soft for him, but he came with a late run in the end. They got away, so it was hard to catch up.”Jockey P J McDonald (Havana Gray, 12th) – “The first half of the race went great. I had a really good position, but they forced me to the inside. They went really quick. Turning for home, I knew we were beaten."

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11.3.2018:

Defending Champion Stormy Liberal Repeats in Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2018) – Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen’s Stormy Liberal prevailed by a neck over favored World of Trouble after a stretch-long duel to win the 11thrunning of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) for 3-year-olds and up at Churchill Downs on Saturday afternoon.Winner of this race last year at Del Mar, Stormy Liberal joins Mizdirection (2012-13) as the only repeat winner of the race.Trained by Peter Miller and ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, Stormy Liberal covered the 5 ½ furlongs on a turf course rated as good in 1:04.05. For Van Dyke, it is his first Breeders’ Cup victory and the third for Miller.Bred in Kentucky, Stormy Liberal is a 6-year-old gelded son of Stormy Atlantic out of the Royal Academy mare Vassar.World of Trouble assumed the lead after a quarter mile with Richard’s Boy in closest pursuit and Stormy Liberal fourth and in the clear. On the far turn, Van Dyke moved after the leader and two hooked up at the top of the lane and dueled to the wire with Stormy Liberal easing clear in the final yards.It was another 7 ¼ lengths back to Disco Partner in third.

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11.3.2018:

2018 Breeders' Cup Sprint Post-Race Quotes

From Breeders' Cup Notes Team Winning trainer Peter Miller (Roy H) – “He’s really training good and doing good. I just can’t say enough about this horse. Paco Lopez gave him a great ride. Just unbelievable. I can’t believe it. Too good to be true.” On the repeat win by Roy H in the Sprint. “Words don’t express how special this is – to win the same race with the same horse back to back. It’s just fantastic.” Winning jockey Paco Lopez (Roy H) – “I loved my position early. I let him go a little early and he started a big move. I knew they were going fast up front. I just had a really good ride from him.” Second-place trainer Ron Moquett (Whitmore) – “It was a good race, fast horses. He did everything I asked him to do. I thought the jock rode him great and I am proud. The winner is a fast horse and today was his day.” Second-place jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. (Whitmore) – “My horse settled in the back easily and when I asked him for run on the far turn, he responded nicely. I thought I had a chance to catch the winner in the stretch, but he still ran a good race. I was very happy with his effort.” Third-place trainer Luis Carvajal (Imperial Hint, favorite) – “The horse ran a magnificent race. Before we had a doubt if he liked the track or not. He seemed like he handled it well in the morning. Javier (Castellano) said he was trying, but when he asked him to run, he was spinning wheels. He ran well and I’m proud of him, but it seems like he doesn’t handle Churchill Downs’ track very well.” Third-place jockey Javier Castellano (Imperial Hint, favorite) — “He’s the kind of horse that can go to the lead, but today there was a lot of speed, so I took him off the pace. He didn’t give me his kick today. He ran twice before on this track and didn’t like it. He proved today that he doesn’t like this track.” Fourth-place trainer Dale Romans (Promises Fulfilled) – “Fast race and fast horses. The top five are super horses. (Promises Fulfilled) ran hard, ran his eyeballs out. The fractions weren’t too fast, it is just the others were faster than him at the end. He did everything right. It will be nice to see him next year as a 4-year-old to see what he can do. He has done nothing but improve. He is a sound horse and he is a May foal. He is only going to get bigger and better. He could be sprint champion next year.”

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11.3.2018:

Roy H Repats in Breeders' Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2018) – Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen’s Roy H ($7.40) swept past front-running Promises Fulfilled at the top of the stretch and cruised to a 3 1/4-length victory over a rallying Whitmore to win the 35th running of the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) for 3-year-olds and up Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs.Trained by Peter Miller and ridden by Paco Lopez, Roy H covered the six furlongs on a fast main track in 1:08.24. The victory is the first in the World Championships for Lopez and fourth for Miller, who earlier in the program repeated in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint with Stormy Liberal.A one-length winner of this race last year at Del Mar, Roy H joins Midnight Lute (2007-08) as the only repeat winner of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.Miller is the first trainer to saddle back-to-back winners of the same two races in Breeders’ Cup history.A 6-year-old Kentucky-bred son of More Than Ready out of the Elusive Quality mare Elusive Diva, Roy H has won four Grade 1 races.Promises Fulfilled rocketed to the lead with an opening quarter-mile in :21.35 with Roy H racing third and in the clear on the outside. By the time the field reached the top of the stretch in :44.21, Roy H had swept past Promises Fulfilled and stablemate Distinctive B and quickly drew clear.Whitmore closed from last place early to get second by 1 ¾ lengths over favored Imperial Hint with Promises Fulfilled finishing another three-quarters of a length back.

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11.3.2018:

2018 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf Post-Race Quotes

From Breeders' Cup Notes Team Winning trainer Chad Brown (Sistercharlie): “She’s all class this horse and she knows where the wire is. She showed her heart there in the last stages.” On third-place finisher A Raving Beauty: “She ran terrific. I’m very proud of her. She managed to stay the whole mile and three-eighths. Good filly, that horse.” Winning jockey John Velazquez (Sistercharlie): “We broke well and got a good position. They kind of bunched up in there to get to the first turn and then everyone started to crowd up because the pace wasn’t very fast. I liked where I was. She relaxed well where I was and was moving well past the wire the first time. From there I just bided my time with her. I followed (Wild Illusion) and she won.” Second-place trainer Charles Appleby (Wild Illusion): “I’m delighted with her run. She’s run a fantastic race and has lost nothing in defeat. Coming into the race we felt that Chad’s filly (Sistercharlie) was the one we all had to beat, so full credit to him and his team on their win. Our horse is a consistent Grade 1 performer, but I feel one mile and two furlongs is really her ideal trip. All three of mine have performed this weekend, so I’m delighted with how everything has gone.” Second-place jockey William Buick (Wild Illusion): “The winner showed a really good turn of foot. I thought when I hit the front, I’d be able to open up a decent lead. I’m delighted with the filly. She ran really well and ran up to her standard.” Third-place jockey Javier Castellano (A Raving Beauty): “I am very proud of her. We set a slow pace as we galloped along on the lead. I was surprised no one put any pressure on me. I rode the filly the way I was hoping for today. Those were two good horses that beat me but I am very proud of my filly.” Sixth-place jockey Frankie Dettori (Eziyra): “On the last bend (third turn), I asked her to quicken and it was probably the first time in her life she’s been asked to do that (on a turn). I lost her right there.”

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11.3.2018:

Sistercharlie Prevails in Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2018) – Peter Brant’s Sistercharlie ($8.60) caught favored Wild Illusion in the final yards to win the 20th running of the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) by a neck Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs. Trained by Chad Brown and ridden by John Velazquez, Sistercharlie covered the 1 3/8 miles on a turf course listed as good in 2:20.96.It is the second victory of the 2018 World Championships for Brown, who won the Juvenile Fillies Turf Friday with Newspaperofrecord. It was his 12th overall and fourth victory in this race with others coming in 2012 with Zagora followed by Dayatthespa in 2014 and Stephanie’s Kitten in 2015.For Velazquez, it is his 16th Breeders’ Cup victory and third in this race with others coming in 2002 with Starine and in 2011 with Perfect Shirl.It is the fourth Grade 1 victory for Sistercharlie who is a 4-year-old Irish-bred daughter of Myboycharlie out of the Galileo mare Starlet’s Sister.A Raving Beauty, one of five entrants in the race for Brown, led the field of 14 through a leisurely mile in 1:43.98 as Sistercharlie raced in the clear about five lengths off the pace. On the far turn, A Raving Beauty was joined by Magic Wand with Wild Illusion attacking three wide and Sistercharlie moving four wide. The quartet raced as team to midstretch with Magic Wand ducking out first. Wild Illusion took over past the sixteenth pole but was nailed late bySistercharlie. A Raving Beauty finished another three-quarters of a length back in third and 1 ¾ lengths ahead of Magic Wand in fourth.

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11.3.2018:

2018 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile Post-Race Quotes

From Breeders' Cup Notes Team Winning trainer Michael McCarthy (City of Light) – “I can’t tell you how long I have been waiting for this. I always thought this would be a mismatch. I have been looking forward to this for quite a long time. I thought he would love this racetrack. Backing up to one turn where his best races were, I thought he would run away and hide and he did just that.“It feels great. I’ve been part of a lot of these with Todd Pletcher, so it’s great to have one of my own. It means a lot to me. I wish my father in law was here to see it because we spent a lot of nights talking about this horse. We loved the post, Javier (Castellano) rode a great race and it was no secret that we were going to run away from there. At the three-eighths, I knew it was over.”Winning jockey Javier Castellano (City of Light) – “I had a good trip. I let him break out of the gate a little bit with speed. He set the pace, and it worked out great for me today.”(On staying off the rail) “I didn’t want to bury myself on the inside. It gave me the opportunity to get the best part. He’s a very special horse the way he did it today.”Second-place trainer Dallas Stewart (Seeking the Soul) – “I thought he ran great and I’m really proud of the horse. He needed a little more ground, that’s all. I’m very happy for Mike McCarthy and his team. We just got outrun today and that’s horse racing. We’ll point toward the Pegasus from here.”Second-place jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. (Seeking the Soul) – “My horse ran a huge race He did everything right. He came with a big run. He just got beat by a horse that ran a super race.”Third-place jockey Luis Contreras (Bravazo) – “I got a perfect trip. At the three-eighths pole, I tapped him on the shoulder to get him going. He likes to run on the outside so I kept in the clear. I thought I might have a chance (at the winner) but he just got away from us.”Six-place jockey Drayden Van Dyke (Catalina Cruiser, beaten favorite) – “He ran just fine, but he just didn’t run his “A” race. I think that’s about all I can say.”

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11.3.2018:

City of Light Romps in Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2018) – Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr.’s City of Light ($7.20) grabbed the lead after a four-horse scramble in the first quarter of a mile, put away challenges from Firenze Fire and favored Catalina Cruiser on the far turn and rolled to a 2 ¾-length victory over Seeking the Soul in the 12th running of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) for 3-year-olds and up on Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs.Trained by Michael McCarthy and ridden by Javier Castellano, City of Light covered the mile 1:33.83 over a fast main track. The victory is the first for McCarthy in the Breeders’ Cup and 10th for Castellano, who also won this race at Keeneland in 2015 with Liam’s Map.City of Light is a 4-year-old  Kentucky-bred son of Quality Road out of the Dehere mare Paris Notion. Now with a record of 10-5-4-1, Saturday’s victory is the third Grade 1 triumph for City of Light.Seeking the Soul rallied from the back of the pack to grab second by 2 ½ lengths over Bravazo, who was six lengths in front of Firenze Fire.

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11.3.2018:

2018 Breeders' Cup Classic Post-Race Quotes

From Breeders' Cup Notes Team Winning trainer John Sadler (Accelerate) – "He ran a great race and Joel (Rosario) rode him perfectly. We were really thrilled. He did such a good job, kept him clear. "We thought that post might be a bonus on the outside. He never got in trouble and never had anything in front of him. He just stayed a little wide and won the race.”Winning jockey Joel Rosario (Accelerate) – “That was about as good as it gets. That horse is simply unbelievable. I’m so happy for the owners and John. It was a great performance. He has so much heart." Second-place trainer Antonio Sano (Gunnevera) – “I'm so happy for this horse. He ran second and had lost a couple lengths at the start. They sandwiched my horse. Every time we are closer and closer to winning a Grade 1. He's going to race in 2019 and will point to the Pegasus.” Second-place jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. (Gunnevera) – “I had a good trip. I never had to check. I just got beat by a nice horse. My horse ran huge.” Third-place trainer Saeed bin Suroor (Thunder Snow)  – “He's run a really big race. I'm very pleased with that. The winner is a very good horse. This race is special as it brings together the best horses in the world. We have better horses this year and we've had a better season. He could go to the Dubai World Cup again.” Third-place jockey Christophe Soumillon (Thunder Snow) – “Great job. I was trying to stay in behind Ryan Moore and he ran on really well. It was a great ride.” Fourth-place trainer Bill Mott (Yoshida) – “I thought he ran his butt of and ran a super race. The plan is, right now, to keep him in training (in 2019).”  Fourth-place jockey Jose Ortiz (Yoshida) — “I didn't want to be as far back early as I was but I felt in the first quarter of a mile that they were running away from me. I felt like they were going very fast and I didn't want to rush him too early. I saw Gunnevera inside of me and I used him as a target and he took me to the three-eighths pole. I thought I was going to win the race when I was in the clear at the quarter pole but then I saw Gunnevera came back and beat me. It took him a while to get going but when he did, he got rolling.” Trainer Aiden O'Brien (Mendelssohn, fifth) – “He ran a great race so we're delighted with him. We did our best, but weren't quite good enough.” Trainer Tom Amoss (Lone Sailor, sixth) – “I'm really proud of Lone Sailor's performance today. He's just a 3-year-old and that was a big, big effort. I'm very, very excited about his 4-year-old year. We'll talk to the owner and make some decisions, but that was a big race for a young horse and I think he's going to be a very good 4-year-old.”  Jockey James Graham (Lone Sailor, sixth) — “He needed to break a little better. He gets to be a big baby in there sometimes too. He ran a good race. I was running late, just couldn't get back to them.” Trainer Bob Baffert (West Coast, seventh & McKenzie, 12th) – “They looked good for about a mile. They just tired and they just didn't have it today. (McKinzie) is lightly raced and playing catch-up. I thought West Coast would run a little better than that. Accelerate is a good horse and he was the best horse.” Jockey John Velazquez (West Coast, seventh) – “He was in perfect position and right where we thought he was going to be. When Accelarate went by me at the three-eighths pole, I had nothing. He didn't stop but he didn't run on.” Trainer Uriah St. Lewis (Discreet Lover, eighth) – “It has been a great experience and I am happy we came.”  Jockey Manny Franco (Discreet Lover, eighth) – “I was riding him like he likes to be ridden – near the back. When I came to the half-mile pole, I was looking for something from him and he didn't do anything.” Mario Gutierrez (Pavel, 10th) – “He was looking good most of the race. At the quarter pole, the two Baffert horses just started stopping. I had to check big time and lost all my momentum. Until then the horse was with me all the way.” Trainer Chad Summers (Mind Your Biscuits, 11th) – “It was not our day. Congrats to Joel, John Sadler and Accelerate.” Jockey Tyler Gaffalione (Mind Your Biscuits, 11th) – “He had good position, but he had trouble getting his feet under him and he never picked it up.” Jockey Mike Smith (McKenzie, 12th) – “I'm at a loss for words. I don't know what happened. I was in great position, but when it came time to go, he wouldn't go.” Trainer Jonathan Thomas (Catholic Boy, 13th) – “It looks like we got eliminated at the start.” Jockey Javier Castellano (Catholic Boy, 13th) – “I'm very disappointed. The break cost us the race and then we had to fight to get through. Down the backside, he just gave up.” Jockey Oisin Murphy (Roaring Lion, 14th) – “He's absolutely fine. The early part of the race didn't quite work out for him and we were on the backfoot from then on. He now deserves a nice break before embarking on hopefully what will be a great stallion career.”

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11.3.2018:

Accelerate Shows Grit in Breeders' Cup Classic Win

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2018) – Hronis Racing’s Accelerate ($7.40) took command at the head of the stretch, turned back a bid from Thunder Snow at the three-sixteenths pole and then held off Gunnevera  by a length to win the 35th running of the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) for 3-year-olds and up before a crowd of 70,423 to climax the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs on Saturday.Trained by John Sadler and ridden by Joel Rosario, Accelerate covered the 1 ¼  miles in 2:02.93 over a fast main track.The victory gave Sadler his first Breeders’ Cup triumph. “It was the ninth for Rosario and first in the Classic. It was the third victory of this year’s Championships for Rosario who won Friday’s Sentient Jet Juvenile on Game Winner and the Tito’s Handmade Vodka Juvenile Fillies on Jaywalk.Accelerate is a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Lookin At Lucky out of the Awesome Again mare Issues. It was the fourth consecutive Grade 1 victory for Accelerate who has compiled a 7-6-1-0 record in 2018.Mendelssohn led the field of 14 through fractions of :22.68, :46.46 and 1:10.61 with McKinzie and West Coast stalking to his outside and Thunder Snow saving ground along the rail. Rosario had Accelerate in the clear and approaching the far turn made his move at the leaders. At the head of the stretch, Accelerate swooped to the lead with Thunder Snow moving to second to mount a short-lived challenge.Gunnevera closed late to get second by three-quarters of a length over Thunder Snow, who saved third place by a nose over Yoshida.

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11.3.2018:

2018 Breeders' Cup Turf Post-Race Quotes

From Breeders' Cup Notes Team Winning trainer John Gosden (Enable) – “She was wonderful. I thought coming into the straight when Ryan (Moore) came up on her, we had a race on our hands. She’s had a hard race and as usual she showed enormous courage to go and win. I’m just delighted for her owner and breeder, Prince Khalid who is such a great supporter of the Breeders’ Cup.” Winning jockey Frankie Dettori (Enable) – “On the first turn I was trying to get position and then I went right. I went four wide. She was moving well. I knew she was fighting for me. She was strong today.” Second-place trainer Aidan O’Brien (Magical) – “She ran a really good race. I’m very happy.” Third-place trainer Thomas Albertrani (Sadler’s Joy) – “Turning for home I thought we were going to win it, but they just outran him.” Third-place jockey Javier Castellano (Sadler’s Joy) – “I had a perfect trip. It was a good third-place finish. He beat a lot of good horses in the race. Those two horses (Enable and Magical) in front of him were much the best. I’m proud of my horse and the way he did it.” Fourth-place trainer Brad Cox (Arklow) – “He ran well off a short rest. I am proud of him. A solid effort.” Fourth-place jockey Florent Geroux (Arklow) – “I had a good trip. He broke and looked like there was a good pace in front of us. I think he was fighting the track a little. It’s loose on the bottom and there’s not much to grab. He lost position in the last turn, which probably cost us third place.” Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. (Robert Bruce, seventh) – “I got a great trip. I followed the winner the whole way. I followed Enable, but unfortunately my horse had no response for me today. Hopefully he comes back good and we move on to win some big Grade 1s in the future. He’s a very good horse.”

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11.3.2018:

Superstar Filly Enable Wins Breeders' Cup Turf

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2018) – Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Enable ($3.60) outdueled Magical through a stirring stretch drive prevailing by three-quarters of a length to win the 35th running of the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) for 3-year-olds and up Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs. Trained by John Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori, Enable covered the 1 ½ miles on a turf course rated as good in 2:32.65. The victory is the fifth for Gosden in the Breeders’ Cup; first in the Turf. For Dettori, who earlier Saturday won the Mile for Juddmonte on Expert Eye, it is his 14th Breeders’ Cup victory and fifth in the Turf. His previous winners were Daylami in 1999, Fantastic Light in 2001, Red Rocks in 2006 and Dangerous Midge in 2010. Now a winner of nine consecutive races that includes back-to-back victories in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Enable is a 4-year-old daughter of Nathaniel out of the Sadler’s Well’s mare Concentric. She is the first horse to win the Arc and Breeders’ Cup Turf in the same year. Glorious Empire set the pace with Enable racing about four lengths back. On the far turn, Dettori moved Enable to the outside while Ryan Moore on Magical split horses and the two fillies hit the stretch in their own match race. Enable pulled away late with Magical easily holding the place spot over Sadler’s Joy, who was nine lengths back in third and two lengths ahead of Arklow.

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11.3.2018:

2018 Breeders' Cup Mile Post-Race Quotes

From Breeders' Cup Notes Team Winning trainer Sir Michael Stoute (Expert Eye) – “He’s run a great race. Last time at Chantilly, he did not get the rub of the green. I’d like to thank James Savage, who rides him out every day. He’s done a great job with him. I thought down the back straight that Frankie (Dettori) may have just had him two slots behind, but was in control. We love coming to the Breeders’ Cup.  It’s always great coming here.” Winning jockey Frankie Dettori (Expert Eye) – “I’m thrilled with the win. (Trainer Sir) Michael (Stoute) deserves the credit for the training of the horse. He finished his race off so strongly.”   Second-place jockey Drayden Van Dyke (Catapult) – “He broke sharp and put me in a good spot on the first turn. I had a clear trip from there on out. He gave me a good kick on the far turn, passed (Analyze It) late but couldn’t hold off the one on the outside (Expert Eye) in the last couple of jumps.”   Third-place trainer Chad Brown (Analyze It) – “He ran really well – he ran super. I thought Irad (Ortiz Jr.) executed a good race. The horse showed a lot of heart down the line. He just kept fighting on and just came up a little short. We’re proud of his effort.”   Third-place jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. (Analyze It) – “The horse was training so good. He broke good and he just ran a big race and got third. He ran his heart out. He ran so good and fought the whole way. A horse moved a little early on the backside and it didn’t bother him. He came running. He’s a 3-year-old and we have a great future with him.”   Fourth-place trainer Kelly Rubley (Divisidero) –“We have been pointing to this race all year. I am not disappointed; he ran a spectacular race. That is his personality; he tries every time. He has no idea that he was in the Breeders’ Cup. Our big test for this race was (supposed to be the Shadwell Turf Mile on Oct. 6) at Keeneland but he got scratched at the gate. We are very proud of this effort today.”   Fourth-place jockey Jevian Toledo (Divisidero) – “I got into good position in the beginning after breaking from the outside. I let him pick it up early to get into position and I was kind of outside, but that’s better for him because he likes it out there. He ran so hard and he likes this track. Today he just ran so hard. I have no complaints. The other horse just came running at the end, so we have no excuse. It feels great to ride in my first Breeders’ Cup race. I’m better with that kind of horse. He always comes running hard and giving percent.”   Jockey Jose Ortiz (Oscar Performance, beaten favorite, 14th) – “He completely missed the break. He’s been breaking a step slow lately, but not as bad as today. Today, he almost stood there after the gate opened. Game over after that.”

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11.3.2018:

Expert Eye Closes Fast to Win Breeders' Cup Mile

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2018) – Juddmonte Farms’ Expert Eye ($13.80) closed with a rush to edge Catapult by a half-length and win the 35th running of the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) for 3-year-olds and up Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs. Trained by Sir Michael Stoute and ridden by Frankie Dettori, Expert Eye covered the mile on a turf course labeled as good in 1:39.80. The victory was the eighth in the Breeders’ Cup for Stoute and 13th for Dettori. Dettori won his first Breeders’ Cup race in 1994 in the Mile with Barathea at Churchill Downs. Expert Eye is a 3-year-old Great Britain-bred son of Acclamation out of the Dansili mare Exemplify. The victory is his first Grade 1 triumph. Analyze It set a pressured pace as Expert Eye raced in mid-pack. At the head of the stretch, Dettori swung Expert Eye into the middle of the course for clear sailing as Analyze It battled to fend off Catapult and Divisidero. Inside the sixteenth pole, Catapult gained a brief advantage only to have Expert Eye surge past just before the wire. Catapult finished a neck in front of Analyze It, who saved the show spot by a nose over Divisidero.

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11.3.2018:

2018 Breeders' Cup Distaff Post-Race Quotes

From Breeders' Cup Notes Team Winning trainer Brad Cox (Monomoy Girl) – “She ran the way she was training. She was training like a monster and she ran like a monster. She is a special filly, one of a kind, an unbelievable filly.” Winning jockey Florent Geroux (Monomoy Girl) – “It was a great trip. She was super-sharp. I was able to lay second off Wonder Gadot. I went to the lead past the three-furlong mark and from there she just kept on going all the way to the wire. This is a filly with great tactical speed and she loves to win. She’s just unbelievable.” Second-place trainer Chad Brown (Wow Cat) – “We lost some position early; breaking a step slowly from that post. Then there was a horse inside of us that wouldn’t move over, so Jose (Ortiz, jockey) told me had had to take behind that horse and tuck in, which lost us a valuable couple lengths. From there on out, she was always traveling well; pretty far back, but always traveling well. Jose cut the corner, using good judgment, I thought, on the good part of the racetrack throughout the stretch. She just came up short. I think, at the end of the day, Monomoy Girl showed she’s an outstanding filly and deserving winner. Our filly has shown that she’s continuing to improve. Who knows—maybe with a better post, we would have made it a little closer at the wire. (Q: Next year she stays in training?) — Absolutely. Second-place jockey Jose Ortiz (Wow Cat) – “I think the post position hurt us. I had to drop down to the rail and that probably cost us two or three lengths. We only lost by one (length). She ran her race.” Third-place jockey John Velazquez (Midnight Bisou) – “She was trying to overrun it. She’s trying to get a hold of it and the racetrack comes out from under her. Even when she’s running she’s having a tough time getting a hold of it. As soon as we got to the first turn I knew, she was trying to get a good grip on it. She still ran a good race.” Fourth-place trainer Ignacio Correas IV (Blue Prize) – “We were against a special filly today. We tried to beat her but she beat us fair and square. We are happy with the way our mare ran. If I had to do it over again (with her preparation), I would do exactly the same thing.” Fourth-place jockey Joe Bravo (Blue Prize) – “She felt and warmed up better than last time. Turning for home she still had a lot of fight left in her. She wanted to go get those horses. I’m proud of her.” Jockey Mario Gutierez (Mopotism, fifth) – “She tried real hard all the way, but she just couldn’t catch the leaders.” Jockey Drayden Van Dyke (La Force, eighth) – “She broke a step slow, She tried real hard today. She gave me everything she had, but it wasn’t enough.” Trainer Mark Casse (Wonder Gadot, ninth) – “Wonder Gadot did just what we wanted her to do. Monomoy Girl is a super star.” Jockey Joe Talamo (Vale Dori, 10th) – “We got off to a bad break and she doesn’t like that. We were back too far early and we just couldn’t catch up.” Trainer Bob Baffert (Abel Tasman, second choice, 11th) – “She just quit. She just quit running.Sometimes they do that. I thought she was in a good spot, he (Mike Smith) got aggressive with her, but she just doesn’t want to run anymore it looks like.” Jockey Mike Smith (Abel Tasman, second choice, 11th) – “I wish I knew what was wrong with her. I wish it was something I can tell you so we can fix it.”

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11.3.2018:

Monomoy Girl Delivers as Favorite in Breeders' Cup Distaff

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2018) – Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables’ Monomoy Girl ($5.60) shook off a challenge from Blue Prize in the upper stretch and then held off Wow Cat by a length to win the 35th running of the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) for 3-year-olds and up Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs. Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Florent Geroux, Monomoy Girl covered the 1 1/8 miles on a fast main track in 1:49.79. The victory is the first for Cox in the Breeders’ Cup and fifth for Geroux. A 3-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Tapizar out of the Henny Hughes mare Drumette. It was her fifth Grade 1 victory of the year and comes after being disqualified from victory in the Grade 1 Cotillion. Wonder Gadot set the pace in the field of 11 with fractions of :23.39, :47.57 and 1:12.11 with Monomoy Girl tracking just behind. Midway on the far turn, Geroux sent Monomoy Girl to the front with Blue Prize launching a bid to her outside. In the lane, Monomoy Girl never yielded the lead, disposing of Blue Prize at mid-stretch and having enough left to fend off the late bid from Wow Cat. Wow Cat finished a half-length in front of Midnight Bisou, who rallied to get third by a head over Blue Prize.

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11.2.2018:

Game Winner Overcomes Wide Trip, Wins Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

The anticipated showdown between Bob Baffert’s Game Winner and Chad Brown’s Complexity never materialized in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs on Friday, November 2 as Game Winner, despite a wide trip, easily overpowered the field en route to a 2 ¼ length win. Owned by Gary and Mary West and trained by Bob Baffert, Game Winner ($4) dropped to midpack soon after the start as the race’s second-choice, Complexity, assumed the early lead.  Complexity guided the field into the far turn before tiring, as longshot Knicks Go assumed the lead. Game Winner, biding his time under Joel Rosario, launched a wide bid and steadily reeled in Knicks Go at the top of the lane. The two briefly raced side-by-side, with Knicks Go initiating some bumping, before Game Winner gradually pulled clear. Knicks Go held on to finish second, with Signalman a length back in third.  He was 6 ¼ lengths clear of Mr. Money in fourth and Gunmetal Gray finished 3-lengths behind in fifth. Complexity tired to finish tenth. This was the fourth Breeders’ Cup Juvenile win for Bob Baffert and the first for Joel Rosario.  Baffert teamed with Gary and Mary West to win the 2013 edition of the Juvenile.The final time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:43.67 over a track labeled fast. 

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11.2.2018:

Newspaperofrecord Gives Chad Brown Fifth Juvenile Fillies Turf Win

Klaravich Stables' Newspaperofrecord ($3.20) gave Chad Brown his fifth overall Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf victory – and his fourth in five years – with a powerful 6 ¾ length score in the race’s 11th running on Friday, November 2 at Churchill Downs. Newspaperofrecord broke sharply and assumed the early lead with Natalma Stakes winner, La Pelosa, just behind.  Concrete Rose made a brief run approaching the top of the stretch but Newspaperofrecord quickly kicked clear at the top of the lane.  Soon thereafter, the question was not whether she would win but how many lengths she would win by. East, trained by Kevin Ryan, rallied to finish second a neck ahead of Stellar Agent in third.  From there it was three-quarters of a length back to Just Wonderful in fourth and another half-length to Varenka in fifth.  Running time for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, over a course listed yielding, was 1:39.00.   

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11.2.2018:

2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Post-Race Quotes

From Breeders' Cup Notes Team Winning trainer Bob Baffert (Game Winner) – “He’s special. The way he won and the way he did it was impressive. I was worried at the half-mile pole, but (jockey Joel Rosario) wasn’t. He knew he had a lot of horse. This is a huge win for me.” Winning jockey Joel Rosario (Game Winner) – “He broke fine but it looked like they took my spot and I had to go wide. He seemed like he didn’t mind that. He was comfortable. That’s why we got him moving at that point, instead of getting inside and taking back. Turning for home the more I rode him the more he gave it to me.” Second-place trainer Ben Colebrook (Knicks Go) – “That was a thrill. Turning for home I thought we might get there, but Baffert’s horse (Game Winner) was the one to beat all along. “You know, he keeps out running his odds (70-1 when winning the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland and 40-1 today). Maybe people will start giving him some respect now, because he’s a nice horse. “It’s too early to start thinking about that (the Derby). We’re just thinking about today. We’ll let him tell us what he wants to do next. The Derby’s a long way off.” Second-place jockey Albin Jimenez (Knicks Go) – “We broke really well and had a great position. We were traveling really comfortable on the lead but just couldn’t hold off the winner. I’m so proud of my horse. He tried very hard until the very end.” Third-place trainer Kenny McPeek (Signalman) – “I’m very pleased with his race and we felt like form the post (14) that we needed to take back and settle and try to cut the corner and Brian (Hernandez Jr., jockey) did that. We’re real pleased. He galloped out in front. Maybe there’s a race in the spring going a mile and a quarter we were thinking about.” Third-place jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. (Signalman) – “(Trainer) Ken’s (McPeek) going to get one these someday. Hopefully these 2-year-olds we had today will come back and be in the winner’s circle as 3-year-olds. I loved the way he did it. He overcame the 14 post and was closing on good horses.” Fourth-place trainer Bret Calhoun (Mr. Money) – “He ran a hell of a race and Gabriel (Saez, jockey) gave him a great trip. He might have been a hair keen on the backside, but Gabe got him to settle in. You could tell going into the far turn that he had quite a bit of horse. I got a little excited about that point in time because he was in a very good position. He ran well, he just got outrun from there. A horse like him will get you excited.” Fourth-place jockey Gabriel Saez (Mr. Money) – “I had a great trip. Turnfing for home I thought I was going to get there. He did everything good. He was very professional.” Jockey Jose Ortiz (Complexity, 10th) – “He broke well, sprinted for the first turn and relaxed once he made the lead. I didn’t have anyone breathing down my neck. On the final turn, I completely ran out of horse. We were afraid he didn’t want to go this far and it just didn’t work out.”

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11.2.2018:

2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf Post-Race Quotes

From Breeders' Cup Notes Team Winning trainer Chad Brown (Newspaperofrecord): “This time, this one might be close to coming over (to Europe). We’ll see. I give credit to Mike Ryan. He’s my partner going over to look at these horses and he found her in Newmarket. My whole team; everyone put a lot of time into this horse and Irad (Ortiz Jr.) rode a beautiful race. Seth (Klarman) has been such a wonderful supporter of our stable since the very beginning.” Winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. (Newspaperofrecord): “I got a perfect trip. She broke good and pulled me to the lead.  I just held her together and she relaxed. When I asked her, she exploded for home. It was the easiest Breeders’ Cup I ever won.” Adam Ryan, son of second-place trainer Kevin Ryan (East): “She’s a smashing filly and from the draw (post 14) for her to pick up like she did, was absolutely fabulous. We are thrilled to bits.” Second-place jockey Jamie Spencer (East): “She’s run very well from the draw that we had. She jumped from the gate and she went right, so I had no option, but to drop her out. This is only the third run in her life and next year, she could be very special.” Third-place trainer Jorge Abreu (Stellar Agent): “When she broke her maiden, she went 5 1/2 (furlongs), then I sent her out to a mile and a sixteenth and she ran a good race (third in the Miss Grillo). Today, it looked like at the eighth-pole, she was going to be fifth, but she came back on for third. I expected this performance from her today, hoped to be second, but I’m happy with third. This is my first time in the Breeders’ Cup. It was a very good start.” Third-place jockey Manny Franco (Stellar Agent): “I had a perfect trip. No trouble at all. She gave me all she had all the way to the end.”

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11.2.2018:

Line of Duty Survives Inquiry, Wins Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 2, 2018) – Godolphin’s Line of Duty ($9) survived an inquiry and objection involving runner-up Uncle Benny to win the 12th running of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) for 2-year-olds on Friday afternoon at Churchill Downs.Trained by Charlie Appleby and ridden by William Buick, Line of Duty covered the mile on a turf course labeled good in 1:40.06. The victory was the third for Appleby in the Breeders’ Cup and second in this race having triumphed in 2013 with Outstrip. It was the second Breeders’ Cup victory for Buick.Somelikeithotbrown led the field of 14 from shortly after the start and maintained that advantage into deep stretch when Line of Duty swooped past on the far outside while Uncle Benny challenged down the middle of the course.Buick guided Line of Duty back toward the inside, making contact with Uncle Benny and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., prompting the objection and inquiry that were disallowed by the stewards. The Irish-bred son of Galileo has compiled a 5-3-2-0 record that now includes a Grade 1 victory. Somelikeithotbrown finished a neck in back of Uncle Benny and saved the show spot by 1 ¼ lengthsover Arthur Kitt.

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11.2.2018:

2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Post-Race Quotes

From Breeders' Cup Notes Team Winning trainer Charlie Appleby (Line of Duty) – “It’s lovely to be here. William (Buick) gave him a great ride. He managed to get him wide and come with a clear run.  It’s great for the team and especially Sheikh Mohammed.”Winning jockey William Buick (Line of Duty) – “Obviously, I am relieved that we have kept the race. He has put up a great performance to go on and win.”Second-place trainer Jason Servis (Uncle Benny) – “It looked like he banged him pretty good. I got beat a neck. But, my dad was a steward for 40 years, and you've got to respect their opinions." “He's been doing very well. I expected him to run well.”

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11.2.2018:

2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Post-Race Quotes

From Breeders' Cup Notes Team Winning trainer John Servis (Jaywalk) - "I was looking for a big effort from her, but I didn't expect for her to go to the lead again. I really thought there was enough speed in here that she'd probably be sitting off it a bit. But, Joel (Rosario) said when she left the gate, he knew right then she had running on her mind. And, he just took it from there. Once she got the front, she started flicking her ears and looked nice and relaxed."Regarding the possibility of a return to Churchill for the Oaks: “That's a long way off, but that would nice, yes."Winning jockey Joel Rosario (Jaywalk) - "It was a perfect trip. She broke and she wanted the lead. She just improved her position. SHe really relaxed. She broke really sharp and wanted one thing - she wanted to go, so I dropped my hands and let her be happy and let her do it the rest of the way." Second-place trainer Kenny McPeek (Restless Rider) - "Brian (Hernandez) rode her well. She had a good trip and looks like she came back healthy. I'm proud of the way she ran. She's a good filly. She'll get her chance (to win) in the Kentucky Oaks next year. We're going to have fun with her in the spring."We are probably going to bring her back at the end of the meet (in the Golden Rod). We have nothing to lose now and we can knock out another stakes win."Second-place jockey Brian Hernandez (Restless Rider) - "The whole time we sat a great trip. I had the favorite (Bellafina) in my sights at all times. When I saw she was empty I looked up and Jaywalk appeared to be gone. She ran a great race but the winner had a big advantage on the lead and we just couldn't get to her."Third-place jockey John Velazquez (Vibrance) - "She broke a little slow and never could get into a real good position. But she still ran a good race."Fourth-place trainer Simon Callaghan (beaten favorite, Bellafina) - “She broke a little flat footed and the rider had to use her a little bit early. After that she had a pretty good trip but it just did not seem to happen today. It is hard to know (about the surface.) It is the first time she has run over this sort of track. I am just waiting to hear what (jockey Flavien Prat) has to say.”Fourth-place jockey Flavien Prat (beaten favorite, Bellafina) - "I had a good trip, but she never did feel quite right. SHe wasn't running smooth. I don't know if she didn't like the track or if it was an off day."

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11.2.2018:

Jaywalk Victorious in Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 2, 2018) – Cash is King and D J Stable’s Jaywalk ($13) won the race to the first turn and never relinquished the advantage thereafter in drawing off to win the 35th running of the $2 million Tito’s Handmade Vodka Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) for 2-year-old fillies by 5 ½ lengths over Restless Rider on Friday afternoon at Churchill Downs.Trained by John Servis and ridden by Joel Rosario, Jaywalk covered the 1 1/16th miles in 1:43.62 over a fast main track. It was the seventh Breeders’ Cup victory for Rosario and first for Servis who is the only trainer in history to win the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks with a single starter in each race.With the victory, Jaywalk assumes the role as the early favorite for next spring’s 145th running of the Kentucky Oaks.A Kentucky-bred daughter of Cross Traffic, Jaywalk has won her past four starts with a victory in the Grade 1 Frizette preceding Friday’s triumph.In a dash from the gate, Jaywalk beat Serengeti Empress to the first turn and opened a clear advantage going into the backstretch with Serengeti Empress and favored Bellafina in closest pursuit. Approaching the stretch, Jaywalk disposed of those two pursuers only to be confronted briefly by Restless Rider. She eliminated that threat in deep stretch and drew off with Restless Rider holding second by a half-length over Vibrance with Bellafina another 3 ¼ lengths back.

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11.2.2018:

2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint Post-Race Quotes

From Breeders' Cup Notes Team Winning trainer Todd Pletcher (Bulletin) – “Fantastic way to start. He broke really well and was sharp. He took it to them the whole way. It was a big race. We wanted to leave there running. He finished up nicely. Nothing like winning one." Winning jockey Javier Castellano (Bulletin) – “He broke like a shot and put me in a real great position. We were in good shape the whole way. I’m very impressed. He was very professional. This is a great way to start off the Breeders’ Cup.”Second-place trainer Wesley Ward (Chelsea Cloisters) – "What are you going to do? We got beat by the king. Stillwater Cove got stuck in boggy conditions and Moonlight Romance got stuck in a tight going on the turn. But we ran second for my great friend Gatewood Bell so that is fantastic. We knew going in that the turf would be really, really soft and it was but there is nothing you can do about that.”Second-place jockey Tyler Gaffalione (Chelsea Cloisters) – “The trip worked out perfectly. She broke sharply and put herself where she needed to be. I thought we had the horse in front of us, but when Javier (Castellano) got into him (Bulletin), he had something left. My filly ran huge.”Third-place jockey Wayne Lordan (So Perfect) – “They went really quick out there. He came home really well and he has run a great race.”Fourth-place trainer William Haggas (Queen of Bermuda, fourth) – “She ran a great race. She got checked on the bend but she ran on really well. I’m really delighted with her. She’s now going to continue her career with Graham Motion." Jockey Oisin Murphy (Soldier’s Call, beaten favorite) – "I’m disappointed because going into the race I thought he’d be very tough to beat. I felt that the ground was riding soft."

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11.2.2018:

Bulletin Wires Field in Inaugural Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 2, 2018) – WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing’s Bulletin ($10.60) rocketed out of the gate and was never headed to win the inaugural running of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint by 2 ¾ lengths at Churchill Downs Friday afternoon to kick off the 35thedition of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and the first of five races for 2-year-olds on Future Stars Friday.Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Javier Castellano, Bulletin covered the 5 ½ furlongs on a turf course labeled as good in 1:05.54. It was the 10th Breeders’ Cup victory for Pletcher and ninth for Castellano.A Kentucky-bred son of City Zip, Bulletin quickly opened a daylight margin with Chelsea Cloisters in closest pursuit. The two ran in that order the rest of the way and easily fended off the late challengers with So Perfect finishing a length behind Chelsea Cloisters in third and Queen of Bermuda another three-quarters of a length back in fourth.Bulletin is now 2-for-2 with his initial victory coming at Gulfstream Park by seven lengths Sept. 29.

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11.1.2018:

Tickets to the 144th Preakness Stakes On Sale Now

BALTIMORE, MD – November 1st, 2018 – The Stronach Group, owners of the legendary Pimlico Race Course, announced today that facility and Preakness Village tickets to the 144th Preakness Stakes are on sale.  The Preakness Stakes (G1), the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, will be held on Saturday, May 18th, 2019 at Pimlico Race Course, in Baltimore, Maryland. The 95th Black-Eyed Susan (G2) will take place on Friday, May 17th, kicking off an incredible weekend of entertainment and world-class Thoroughbred racing. Tickets to the 144th Preakness Stakes and Black-Eyed Susan Day are available now at www.preakness.com.  Tickets range from $40 to $720 per person and offer unique, curated experiences for every guest, including multi-day tickets, amazing trackside views from the Grandstand and Apron and elevated race-day luxury in the Preakness Village. “The Stronach Group is committed to the ongoing success of the Preakness and to modernizing the event experience for all of our guests,” said Belinda Stronach, Chairman and President of The Stronach Group. “From horsemen to fans, the focus on experience is a key driver of our business and we look forward to treating all in attendance to an unforgettable weekend.” First contested in 1873, the Preakness is one of Thoroughbred racing's most valued Grade 1 stakes races and one of the world’s most renowned sporting events. In 2018, a crowd of 134,487 witnessed jockey Mike Smith and eventual Triple Crown winner, Justify win the 143rd Preakness Stakes in a dramatic finish through the fog. Celebrity fans in attendance included Post Malone, Charlotte McKinney, Giada De Laurentiis, Chanel Iman, Ne-Yo, AnnaLynne McCord, Bill Belichick and players from the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins, to name just a few. The fan favorite InfieldFest will return for the 11th year and includes a full-day concert experience 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 early 2019. 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).  Follow all of the excitement of the Preakness Stakes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @PreaknessStakes and at #Preakness.

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10.31.2018:

Breeders' Cup 10% Takeout Head2Head Wagering Matchups Announced

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (October 31, 2018) - Breeders’ Cup, which last week announced several new wagers to its betting menu for both Friday and Saturday of the November 2-3 World Championships at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., has released the Head2Head (H2H) wagering matchups. Click here for the chosen H2H matchups: http://www.breederscup.com/wager/head2head All told, seven Head2Head (H2H) wagers, with three offered Friday and four Saturday, provide seasoned bettors and potential newcomers an opportunity to handicap intrarace matchups in the hopes of unearthing strong plays in a sports betting type of format. The $10 minimum wager, with just a 10% takeout, is designed to offer matchups with a theoretical 50/50 chance of winning, that should attract seasoned bettors, but could also in turn appeal to sports bettors, as they are essentially being given an even-money proposition, yet with no points spread involved. The matchups, listed below, will have a predominantly USA vs. European feel and consist of both individual horses against each other, as well as entire groups from both countries. Friday, Nov. 2 Race 6 – Juvenile Fillies Turf: USA(1) vs Europe(2)Race 8 – Juvenile Turf: USA(1) vs. Europe(2)Race 9 – Sentient Jet Juvenile: Complexity(1) vs. Game Winner(2) Saturday, Nov. 3 Race 6 – Maker’s Mark Filly and Mare Turf: USA(1) vs. Europe(2)Race 8 – Mile: USA(1) vs. Europe(2)Race 10 – Longines Turf: Enable (GB)(1) vs. the Field(2)Race 11 – Classic: Mendelssohn(1) vs. Thunder Snow(2) All seven matchups offer plenty of pros and cons for each side that should attract betting dollars from handicappers and fans alike, as Friday’s juvenile turf races figure to be wide open, with serious contenders from both the USA and Europe, while the Sentient Jet Juvenile itself has a great West Coast-East Coast battle between a pair of undefeated colts, Complexity and Game Winner. Saturday is much the same, as the Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf and Mile are riddled with contenders from both sides of the pond, while the immortal European filly Enable will go at it alone in the Turf, while tackling the entire field. The Classic will pit European-based Mendelssohn and Thunder Snow against each other, but US bettors and Kentuckians are familiar with both, as they each ran in the Kentucky Derby and in the US on multiple occasions. Each Head2Head wager will consist of two betting interests, number 1 or 2. USA will be the 1 interest and Europe will be the 2 interest for all USA vs Europe wagers. Similarly, Complexity will be the 1 interest and Game Winner the 2 interest, Enable the 1 interest and the Field the 2 interest, and Mendelssohn the 1 interest and Thunder Snow the 2 interest. In Head2Head wagers the winner will be determined by the horse that crosses the finish line first and does not necessarily need to be the horse that wins the race. The Head2Head matchups are an important spoke in a wheel that sees a plethora of new and exciting wagers that are sure to bolster an already tremendous wagering product the Championships offer. A newly added 50-cent late Pick 5 on both Friday (deemed the “Future Stars Pick 5) and Saturday, with a 15% takeout and a guaranteed pool of $1 million and $2 million, respectively, lead the way and figure to easily surpass their guarantees, while a Jackpot Super High 5 that could spurn a carryover pool in the millions is also expected to be well received. Couple those with special daily double wagering that links a Friday race to a Saturday race, with a $1 minimum and 22% takeout, and an already loaded wagering menu becomes that much more appealing—and potentially lucrative.

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10.30.2018:

2018 Breeders' Cup Entries

Here are the entries for all of Friday and Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Championship races at Churchill Downs. Friday's Races Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint ($1,000,000)2YO - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf)1. Strike Silver (Mark Casse/Julien Leparoux) - 4/12. Soldier's Call (GB) (Archie Watson/Oisin Murphy) - 9/23. Well Done Fox (GB) (Richard Hannon/William Buick) - 12/14. Stillwater Cove (Wesley Ward/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 20/15. Bulletin (Todd Pletcher/Javier Castellano) - 10/16. Moonlight Romance (Wesley Ward/Jose Ortiz) - 12/17. Shang Shang Shang (Wesley Ward/John Velazquez) - 5/18. Sergei Prokofiev (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore) - 6/19. Chelsea Cloisters (Wesley Ward/Tyler Gaffalione) - 8/110. So Perfect (Aidan O'Brien/Wayne Lordan) - 12/111. Queen of Bermuda (IRE) (William Haggas/Flavien Prat) - 20/112. Pockey Dynamo (Robert Cowell/Joel Rosario) - 20/1Also Eligible13. Big Drink of Water (Larry Rivelli/Jose Valdivia Jr.) - 30/114. Comedy (IRE) (Karl Burke/Joel Rosario) - 30/115. Van Beethoven (Aidan O'Brien/Andrea Atzeni) - 30/116. Legends of War (John Gosden/Oisin Murphy) - 30/1Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Grade 1, $1,000,000)2YO Fillies - 1 Mile (Turf)1. Concrete Rose (George Arnold II/Jose Lezcano) - 6/12. The Mackem Bullet (IRE) (Brian Ellison/Oisin Murphy) - 15/13. Lily's Candle (FR) (Fabrice Vermeulen/Pierre-Charles Boudot) - 8/14. Just Wonderful (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore) - 6/15. La Pelosa (IRE) (Charles Appleby/William Buick) - 15/16. Newspaperofrecord (IRE) (Chad Brown/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 2/17. Stellar Agent (Jorge Abreu/Manny Franco) - 30/18. Belle Laura (Norm Casse/Julien Leparoux) - 20/19. Varenka (Graham Motion/Jose Ortiz) - 20/110. Pakhet (Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez) - 12/111. Lady Prancealot (IRE) (Richard Baltas/Joe Talamo) - 30/112. Summering (Tom Proctor/Drayden Van Dyke) - 15/113. My Gal Betty (Roger Attfield/Javier Castellano) - 20/114. East (GB) (Kevin Ryan/Jamie Spencer) - 20/1Also Eligible15. Pivottina (FR) (Graham Motion/Joel Rosario) - 30/116. Winning Envelope (Chris Block/Carlos Marquez Jr.) - 30/1Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade 1, $2,000,000)2YO Fillies - 1 1/16 Miles (Dirt)1. Reflect (Keith Desormeaux/Jose Ortiz) - 15/12. Serengeti Empress (Tom Amoss/Corey Lanerie) - 7/23. Vibrance (Michael McCarthy/John Velazquez) - 10/14. Restless Rider (Ken McPeek/Brian Hernandez Jr.) - 9/25. Cassies Dreamer (Barclay Tagg/Manny Franco) - 30/16. Baby Nina (Anthony Quartarolo/Tyler Gaffalione) - 30/17. Jaywalk (John Servis/Joel Rosario) - 7/28. Sippican Harbor (Gary Contessa/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 12/19. Splashy Kisses (Doug O'Neill/Drayden Van Dyke) - 20/110. Bellafina (Simon Callaghan/Flavien Prat) - 2/1Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade 1, $1,000,000)2YO - 1 Mile (Turf)1. Arthur Kitt (GB) (Thomas Dascombe/Richard Kingscote) - 20/12. Uncle Benny (Jason Servis/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 15/13. Much Better (Bob Baffert/Drayden Van Dyke) - 10/14. Forty Under (Jeremiah Englehart/Manny Franco) - 5/15. Line of Duty (IRE) (Charles Appleby/William Buick) - 10/16. Henley's Joy (Mike Maker/Tyler Gaffalione) - 8/17. Somelikeithotbrown (Mike Maker/Jose Ortiz) - 12/18. Opry (Todd Pletcher/Javier Castellano) - 15/19. The Black Album (FR) (Jane Soubagne/Mickael Barzalona) - 30/110. War of Will (Mark Casse/Joel Rosario) - 12/111. King of Speed (Jeff Bonde/Gary Stevens) - 8/112. Current (Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez) - 5/113. Marie's Diamond (IRE) (Mark Johnston/Florent Geroux) - 20/114. Anthony Van Dyck (IRE) (Aian O'Brien/Ryan Moore) - 4/1Also Eligible15. Tracksmith (Joe Sharp/Adam Beschizza) - 30/116. Order and Law (Louis Linder Jr./Feargal Lynch) - 30/1   Breeders' Cup Juvenile (Grade 1, $2,000,000) 2YO - 1 1/16 Miles (Dirt)1. Dueling (Jerry Hollendorfer/Manny Franco) - 20/12. Mr. Money (Bret Calhoun/Gabriel Saez) - 30/13. Derby Date (D. Wayne Lukas/Luis Contreras) - 30/14. Tight Ten (Steve Asmussen/Ricardo Santana Jr.) - 30/15. Well Define (Kathleen O'Connell/Mike Smith) - 20/16. Complexity (Chad Brown/Jose Ortiz) - 5/27. Mind Control (Gregory Sacco/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 20/18. Standard Deviation (Chad Brown/Javier Castellano) - 12/19. Game Winner (Bob Baffert/Joel Rosario) - 8/510. Knicks Go (Ben Colebrook/Albin Jimenez) - 30/111. Code of Honor (Shug McGaughey/John Velazquez) - 5/112. Gunmetal Gray (Jerry Hollendorfer/Flavien Prat) - 10/113. Topper T (Bill Mott/Tyler Gaffalione) - 30/114. Signalman (Ken McPeek/Brian Hernandez Jr.) - 20/1 Saturday's Races Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (Grade 1, $1,000,000) 3YO+ Fillies & Mares - 7 Furlongs (Dirt)1. Selcourt (John Sadler/Tyler Baze) - 4/12. Miss Sunset (Jeff Bonde/Kent Desormeaux) - 15/13. Happy Like a Fool (Wesley Ward/Luis Saez) - 20/14. Kirby's Penny (Wesley Ward/John Velazquez) - 30/15. Golden Mischief (Brad Cox/Florent Geroux) - 10/16. Chalon (Arnaud Delacour/Javier Castellano) - 15/17. Skye Diamonds (Bill Spawr/Tiago Pereira) - 10/18. Mia Mischief (Steve Asmussen/Ricardo Santana Jr.) - 15/19. Stormy Embrace (Kathleen O'Connell/Tyler Gaffalione) - 20/110. Highway Star (Rodrigo Ubillo/Jose Ortiz) - 20/111. Finley'sluckycharm (Bret Calhoun/Brian Hernandez Jr.) - 10/112. Anonymity (Richard Mandella/Flavien Prat) - 15/113. Marley's Freedom (Bob Baffert/Mike Smith) - 8/514. Shamrock Rose (Mark Casse/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 20/1Also Eligible15. Dream Pauline (Kiaran McLaughlin/Joel Rosario) - 30/1Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (Grade 1, $1,000,000)3YO+ - 5 1/2 Furlongs (Turf)1. Ruby Notion (Darrin Miller/Florent Geroux) - 20/12. Bucchero (Tim Glyshaw/Fernando De La Cruz) - 10/13. Hembree (Mike Maker/Tyler Gaffalione) - 20/14. Vision Perfect (Jason Servis/Javier Castellano) - 15/15. Disco Partner (Christophe Clement/Joel Rosario) - 7/26. Rainbow Heir (Jason Servis/Jose Ortiz) - 12/17. Lost Treasure (IRE) (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore) - 20/18. Chanteline (Steve Asmussen/Ricardo Santana Jr.) - 15/19. Stormy Liberal (Peter Miller/Drayden Van Dyke) - 4/110. Havana Grey (GB) (Karl Burke/PJ McDonald) - 20/111. World of Trouble (Jason Servis/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 6/112. Richard's Boy (Peter Miller/Paco Lopez) - 12/113. Will Call (Brad Cox/Shaun Bridgmohan) - 20/114. Conquest Tsunami (Peter Miller/Flavien Prat) - 6/1Also Eligible15. Insta Erma (Richard Baltas/Joel Rosario) - 30/1Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (Grade 1, $1,000,000)3YO+ - 1 Mile (Dirt)1. City of Light (Michael McCarthy/Javier Castellano) - 5/22. Trigger Warning (Mike Rone/Ricardo Santana Jr.) - 20/13. Isotherm (Phil D'Amato/Geovanni Franco) - 20/14. Seven Trumpets (Dale Romans/Robby Albarado) - 15/15. Awesome Slew (Mark Casse/Corey Lanerie) - 15/16. Seeking the Soul (Dallas Stewart/Brian Hernandez Jr.) - 5/17. Firenze Fire (Jason Servis/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 6/18. Bravazo (D. Wayne Lukas/Luis Contreras) - 20/19. Giant Expectations (Peter Eurton/Julien Leparoux) - 15/110. Catalina Cruiser (John Sadler/Drayden Van Dyke) - 8/5Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (Grade 1, $2,000,000) 3YO+ Fillies & Mares - 1 3/8 Miles (Turf)1. Fourstar Crook (Chad Brown/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 5/12. Thais (FR) (Chad Brown/Manny Franco) - 20/13. Wild Illusion (GB) (Charles Appleby/William Buick) - 7/24. Paved (Michael McCarthy/Joel Rosario) - 20/15. Princess Yaiza (IRE) (Gavin Cromwell/Andrea Atzeni) - 30/16. Sistercharlie (IRE) (Chad Brown/John Velazquez) - 3/17. Smart Choice (ARG) (Todd Pletcher/Flavien Prat) - 30/18. Fuhriosly Kissed (Anthony Quartarolo/Tyler Gaffalione) - 30/19. A Raving Beauty (GER) (Chad Brown/Javier Castellano) - 10/110. Magic Wand (IRE) (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore) - 5/111. Mom's On Strike (Joe Sharp/Adam Beschizza) - 20/112. Santa Monica (GB) (Chad Brown/Jose Ortiz) - 15/113. Athena (IRE) (Aidan O'Brien/Wayne Lordan) - 15/114. Eziyra (IRE) (Dermot Weld/Frankie Dettori) - 15/1Breeders' Cup Sprint (Grade 1, $2,000,000)3YO+ - 6 Furlongs (Dirt)1. Whitmore (Ron Moquett/Ricardo Santana Jr.) - 6/12. Promises Fulfilled (Dale Romans/Luis Saez) - 6/13. B Squared (Doug O'Neill/Mario Gutierrez) - 20/14. Warrior's Club (D. Wayne Lukas/Luis Contreras) - 15/15. Imperial Hint (Luis Carvajal Jr./Javier Castellano) - 9/56. Always Sunshine (Edward Allard/Frankie Pennington) - 20/17. Distinctive B (Peter Miller/Drayden Van Dyke) - 12/18. Limousine Liberal (Ben Colebrook/Jose Ortiz) - 6/19. Roy H (Peter Miller/Paco Lopez) - 5/2Breeders' Cup Mile (Grade 1, $2,000,000)3YO+ - 1 Mile (Turf)1. One Master (GB) (William Haggas/James Doyle) - 12/12. Next Shares (Richard Baltas/Tyler Gaffalione) - 10/13. Happily (IRE) (Aidan O'Brien/Wayne Lordan) - 15/14. Polydream (IRE) (Freddie Head/Maxime Guyon) - 5/15. Oscar Performance (Brian Lynch/Jose Ortiz) - 6/16. Almanaar (GB) (Chad Brown/Joel Rosario) - 12/17. Expert Eye (GB) (Sir Michael Stoute/Frankie Dettori) - 8/18. I Can Fly (GB) (Aidan O'Brien/Jamie Spencer) - 10/19. Hunt (IRE) (Phil D'Amato/Flavien Prat) - 30/110. Catapult (John Sadler/Drayden Van Dyke)11. Lightning Spear (GB) (David Simcock/Oisin Murphy) - 20/112. Analyze It (Chad Brown/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 6/113. Gustav Klimt (IRE) (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore) - 10/114. Mustashry (GB) (Sir Michael Stoute/William Buick) - 15/1Also Eligible15. Divisidero (Kelly Rubley/Jevian Toledo) - 30/116. Clemmie (IRE) (Aidan O'Brien/Andra Atzeni) - 30/1Breeders' Cup Distaff (Grade 1, $2,000,000)3YO+ Fillies & Mares - 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt) 1. Champagne Problems (Ian Wilkes/Calvin Borel) - 12/12. Abel Tasman (Bob Baffert/Mike Smith) - 7/23. La Force (GER) (Patrick Gallagher/Drayden Van Dyke) - 20/14. Mopotism (Doug O'Neill/Mario Gutierrez) - 30/15. Wonder Gadot (Mark Casse/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 15/16. Verve's Tale (Barclay Tagg/Brian Hernandez Jr.) - 30/17. Midnight Bisou (Steve Asmussen/John Velazquez) - 6/18. Vale Dori (ARG) (Bob Baffert/Joe Talamom) - 12/19. Wow Cat (CHI) (Chad Brown/Jose Ortiz) - 8/110. Blue Prize (ARG) (Ignacio Correas IV/Joe Bravo) - 6/111. Monomoy Girl (Brad Cox/Florent Geroux) - 2/1Breeders' Cup Turf (Grade 1, $4,000,000) 3YO+ - 1 1/2 Miles (Turf)1. Talismanic (GB) (Andre Fabre/Mickael Barzalona) - 12/12. Enable (GB) (John Gosden/Frankie Dettori) - 1/13. Channel Maker (Bill Mott/Jose Ortiz) - 12/14. Robert Bruce (CHI) (Chad Brown/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 10/15. Magical (IRE) (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore) - 10/16. Arklow (Brad Cox/Florent Geroux) - 30/17. Glorious Empire (IRE) (James Lawrence II/Julien Leparoux) - 12/18. Liam the Charmer (Michael McCarthy/Tyler Gafflaione) - 30/19. Quarteto de Cordas (BRZ) (Ian Wilkes/Brian Hernandez Jr.) - 30/110. Hi Happy (ARG) (Todd Pletcher/Luis Saez) - 20/111. Sadler's Joy (Tom Albertrani/Javier Castellano) - 30/112. Waldgeist (GB) (Andre Fabre/Pierre-Charles Boudot) - 9/213. Hunting Horn (IRE) (Aidan O'Brien/Wayne Lordan) - 30/1Breeders' Cup Classic (Grade 1, $6,000,000)3YO+ - 1 1/4 Miles (Dirt)1. Thunder Snow (IRE) (Saeed bin Suroor/Christophe Soumillon) - 12/12. Roaring Lion (John Gosden/Oisin Murphy) - 20/13. Catholic Boy (Jonathan Thomas/Javier Castellano) - 8/14. Gunnevera (Antonio Sano/Irad Ortiz Jr.) - 20/15. Lone Sailor (Tom Amoss/James Graham) - 30/16. McKinzie (Bob Baffert/Mike Smith) - 6/17. West Coast (Bob Baffert/John Velazquez) - 5/18. Pavel (Doug O'Neill/Mario Gutierrez) - 20/19. Mendelssohn (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore) - 12/110. Yoshida (JPN) (Bill Mott/Jose Ortiz) - 10/111. Mind Your Biscuits (Chad Summers/Tyler Gaffalione) - 6/112. Axelrod (Michael McCarthy/Joe Bravo) - 30/113. Discreet Lover (Uriah St. Lewis/Manny Franco) - 20/114. Accelerate (John Sadler/Joel Rosario) - 5/2Also Eligible 15. Collected (Bob Baffert/Joe Talamo) - 30/116. Toast of New York (Jamie Osborne/Julien Leparoux) - 20/1

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10.29.2018:

Horse Racing Radio Network Has More than 19 Hours of Breeders' Cup Coverage

Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN), the Eclipse Award-winning broadcast organization based in Lexington, KY and official radio home of the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup World Championships, begins more than 19 hours of live Breeders’ Cup programming Tuesday morning from Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY culminating with exclusive radio coverage of all 14 Championship races Friday and Saturday afternoon. The network’s week-long coverage launches Tuesday morning from 8-10 a.m. ET with the first of three Breeders’ Cup Countdown shows presented by Hill n’ Dale Farm and Lexington, Kentucky area Jimmy John’s. HRRN’s Anthony Stabile and Jude Feld will host the Countdown shows live from the Red Brand Tent located on the backside of Churchill Downs. Each show featured interviews with owners, trainers, breeders, jockeys and handicappers as well as trackside training reports on Breeders’ Cup contenders. Listeners can tune in to the Breeders’ Cup Countdown show Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning on SiriusXM channel 205, locally on HANK 96.1 FM in Lexington and online at www.horseracingradio.net. On Friday and Saturday, HRRN returns with live coverage of every Breeders’ Cup race presented by visitbarbados.org and Red Brand Fence. Friday’s broadcast can be heard on Sirius 219/XM 201 from 3:00-6:30 p.m. ET with Saturday’s coverage airing from 12:00-6:00 p.m. ET on SiriusXM 205. In addition, the final two hours of Saturday’s broadcast beginning at 4:00 p.m. ET will be carried on terrestrial affiliates across the country courtesy of Sports USA, a major provider of NFL and college football play by play throughout the season. Both broadcasts will also be available worldwide via live streaming on the HRRN website, www.horseracingradio.net and at www.sportsusa.com. HRRN President, Mike Penna will anchor the broadcasts alongside analysts Jude Feld and Kurt Becker with Anthony Stabile and NYRA’s Maggie Wolfendale-Morley providing commentary and interviews track-side and from the paddock. NBC’s Larry Collmus will have the live race calls. Additional Breeders’ Cup week programming on HRRN includes Xpressbet Radio on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon from 3:00-6:00 p.m. ET, Jock Talk presented by Tito’s Handmade Vodka on Tuesday, Trainer Talk presented by Fasig-Tipton on Wednesday and the Brisnet.com Call In Show on Thursday, all airing from 6:00-7:00 p.m. ET. Friday’s Weekend Stakes Preview will air following the Breeders’ Cup broadcast from 6:30-7:00 p.m. ET. Each show can be heard live on Sirius 219 and XM 201 along with live streaming and archived podcasts available on the HRRN website.

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10.27.2018:

Leofric Outduels Prime Attraction to Win G2 Fayette Stakes

Steve Landers Racing’s 8-5 second choice Leofric outbattled Southern California invader Prime Attraction to prevail by a head and win the 61st running of the $200,000 Hagyard Fayette (G2) on closing day of Keeneland’s 17-day Fall Meet before a crowd of 14,927. Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Florent Geroux, Leofric tracked pace-setting Prime Attraction through fractions of :24.80, :48.97 and 1:12.74. Geroux shifted Leofric into the three path in the far turn and dueled with Prime Attraction and jockey Kent Desormeaux down the lane before pushing his head in front of that rival at the finish. Leofric covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.87 and earned $120,000 to increase his bankroll to $650,340 with his seventh victory in 13 starts. The Hagyard Fayette win marked Leofric’s fourth victory in six starts this year. He has competed at five race tracks in 2018, scoring his first stakes victory two races ago in the Aug. 4 West Virginia Governor’s (G3) at Mountaineer. A graduate of two Keeneland sales, Leofric is a 5-year-old son of Candy Ride (ARG) out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Lady Godiva. Leofric returned $5.40, $2.80 and $2.40. Prime Attraction paid $4.20 and $3.60. Finishing four lengths behind in third was 18-1 choice Nice Not Nice, who paid $5.40 to show under Gabriel Saez. Hence ran fourth and was followed in order by Rated R Superstar, favored Hofburg and Scuba.

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10.26.2018:

2018 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint - Bob Neumeier's Picks

Get the Full Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Wager Guide SEVEN FURLONGS, NOT SIXby Bob Neumeier, Horse Player Now ANALYSIS: Should an extra one-eighth of a mile offer any consequence? It could. Crackerjack sprinters like CHALON, KIRBY’S PENNY, SKYE DIAMONDS and STORMY EMBRACE have never won a race at seven furlongs. Is this the time these gals will break through and win at this demanding distance in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint? Methinks not. This event BEGS for an off-the-pace type and a proper trip will likely provide the best outcome. Since MARLEY’S FREEDOM drew unlucky Post 13, the prize may go to GOLDEN MISCHIEF in Post 5. With glowing clocker reports and Brad Cox on the scene, this horse could be overbet off a 10/1 ML. MAIN CONTENDERS: The oddsmaker has set MARLEY’S FREEDOM at 8/5, but the obvious danger here is a wide trip from her outside post. GOLDEN MISCHIEF opens at 10/1 but that price seems like a pipedream. How about 4/1? The trainers of both horses - Bob Baffert (MARLEY’S FREEDOM) and Brad Cox (GOLDEN MISCHIEF) are respected and will be backed heavily in the Win pool. VALUE PLAYS: If you are a fan of the ‘horses-for-courses’ angle, welcome FINLEY’SLUCKYCHARM, who sports an amazing six wins in seven starts at cushy Churchill Downs. She has drawn favorably (Post 11) and should be in the early mix. CHALON should be included in all gimmick wagers, despite her failure to win at seven furlongs. WAGERING STRATEGY ($100): $4 Trifecta Key: GOLDEN MISCHIEF ($40) with MARLEY'S FREEDOM, CHALON, FINLEY'SLUCKYCHARM, HIGHWAY STAR and SHAMROCK ROSE ($80) $10 Exacta: GOLDEN MISCHIEF and MARLEY'S FREEDOM over CHALON ($20) MY PICKS: GOLDEN MISCHIEF MARLEY'S FREEDOM CHALON FINLEY'SLUCKYCHARM   Get the Full Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Wager Guide

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10.26.2018:

2018 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint - Jeremy Plonk's Picks

Get the Full Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Wager Guide PRICES PLUMMET IN REMATCH by Jeremy Plonk, Xpressbet ANALYSIS: Contestants get an extra half-furlong to work with in this year’s Turf Sprint at Churchill compared to the 2010 and 2011 renewals hosted in Louisville, and at Del Mar last year. That could be a factor for two reasons: Horses drawn in tough post positions will enjoy a longer run into the only turn. And there’s more real estate for late-runners to utilize. Europeans have had legitimate impact on other turf divisions, but there’s speed and then there’s American speed. History, and the quality domestic entrants this year, indicate a continued lean to the red, white and blue. But soft turf conditions could move up LOST TREASURE among the Euros if rains come. MAIN CONTENDERS: Last year’s top four finishers return for this edition, led by 30-1 stunner STORMY LIBERAL and Peter Miller-barnmate RICHARD’S BOY; New York’s finest turf dasher DISCO PARTNER and ‘Capt. Keeneland’ BUCCHERO. It’s true STORMY LIBERAL has won three straight since DISCO PARTNER took him out in the Jaipur for the second straight year, but his last six wins have been by a neck or less. Is there enough good fortune remaining to accept something closer to 3-1 this time than 30-1 last time? Similarly, BUCCHERO won last year’s Woodford at Keeneland at 26-1 and then returned as the 3-1 repeat winner this year. You may like the horse, but you won’t like the price – nor will it represent fair value. VALUE PLAYS: Scoot past last year’s top four underlaid returnees, and value abounds. The ‘other’ Miller is CONQUEST TSUNAMI, who will take them a long way up front. The two Turf Sprints at Churchill saw Regally Ready win on the front and Central City nearly steal the previous year’s dash before holding second. CHANTELINE is in career form and those who handle the sand-based course at Keeneland often do well at Churchill. Mares have run well in this division. Mid-Atlantic turf sprinters often are underrated, and Jason Servis’ RAINBOW HEIR and VISION PERFECT will be overlooked while distracted by the shiny object from the same barn, WORLD OF TROUBLE. WAGERING STRATEGY ($100): $30 Win and Place: CONQUEST TSUNAMI ($60) $5 Exacta Key Box: CONQUEST TSUNAMI with CHANTELINE, RAINBOW HEIR, VISION PERFECT and DISCO PARTNER ($40) MY PICKS: CONQUEST TSUNAMI CHANTELINE RAINBOW HEIR DISCO PARTNER   Get the Full Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Wager Guide

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10.26.2018:

2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile - Jerry Shottenkirk's Picks

Get the Full Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Wager Guide GAME WINNER ON THE HORIZONby Jerry Shottenkirk, Xpressbet ANALYSIS: The Juvenile is usually a great challenge, particularly when you handicap two of the top trainers in the game. And it so happens they have the top contenders. What’s a little different this time is that each is away from home. New York and California meet in Kentucky as Chad Brown and Bob Baffert runners clearly have guns loaded with the top from each coast. To many observers and players, it looks like one or the other – Brown’s COMPLEXITY or Baffert’s GAME WINNER. The mile and one-sixteenth race is around two turns at Churchill Downs, and GAME WINNER has accomplished that layout with his win in the Grade 1 American Pharoah. Brown will go for his second consecutive Juvenile (following Good Magic), while Baffert will go for his fourth (New Year’s Day, Midshipman and Vindication). MAIN CONTENDERS: COMPLEXITY and GAME WINNER have plenty o