Saturday, November 6, 2010


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)—Zenyatta came within a head of finishing a perfect career.

Horse racing’s biggest star closed from dead last on Saturday, only for Blame to hold off the 6-year-old mare and win the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic under the lights Churchill Downs.

Blame went to the front in the middle of the stretch, then fought off another spectacular bid from the unbeaten Zenyatta to win by a head.

Zenyatta entered the race hoping to improve to 20-0 on her career. She loped behind the field for the first mile of the race before closing in a hurry.

Blame answered the challenge.

The 4-year-old horse covered the 1 1/4-mile distance in 2:02.28 as a 5-to-1 shot. Fly Down held on for third, while Preakness champion Lookin At Lucky finished fourth.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Belmont: Not your typical racetrack

Belmont: Not your typical racetrack

By David Grening

ELMONT, N.Y. - There is a scene in the popular movie "Hoosiers" when the players on the underdog Hickory High School basketball team walk into Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indiana for the first time and look in awe at the humongous setting on which they will be playing for the first time.

Gene Hackman, as coach Norman Dale, tells his players to take out a tape measure to prove that the height of the basket is the same as the one they shoot at in their small town.

When jockeys Martin Garcia, Jamie Theriot, and Joel Rosario walk onto the Belmont Park main track for the first time in their careers on Saturday, they too will most likely be in awe of the grandiose setting. But there isn't a tape measure big enough to wrap around the expansive track. As the only 1 1/2-mile-track in North America, Belmont Park is unlike any other track at which the three have ridden.

Their inexperience at Belmont Park could come into play in Saturday's 142nd Belmont Stakes in which Garcia will ride Game On Dude, Theriot gets on Stay Put, and Rosario climbs aboard Make Music for Me.

For Theriot and Rosario, the Belmont will be their only main-track mount on the card. Garcia picked up a mount in the Acorn, two races before the Belmont, and also will ride the Manhattan, a 1 1/4-mile turf race.

"Woody Stephens told me this once: Anybody who rides this race and has never ridden at the racetrack is at a huge disadvantage, and I believe that," said Mike Sellitto, agent for jockey Kent Desormeaux, who won last year's Belmont aboard Summer Bird but is not engaged to ride a horse in this year's race.

At most tracks, horses are passing the three-eighths pole when they make the bend into the far turn. At Belmont, it is the half-mile pole that is positioned at the start of the far turn.

Jockey John Velazquez, who has ridden at Belmont Park for nearly 20 years, said jockeys sometimes lose their way at Belmont.

"Most important, you got to know where the poles are and then you got to ride the racetrack the way it's playing," said Velazquez, who won the 2007 Belmont aboard Rags to Riches. "The heat of the moment, it comes. They're making a premature move at you, and everybody forgets where they are."

Velazquez felt Stewart Elliott, who had ridden just three dirt races at Belmont in the 4 1/2 years preceding the 2004 Belmont Stakes, moved too soon aboard Smarty Jones, who was beaten a length by Birdstone in attempting to win the Triple Crown.

Last year, Calvin Borel's only mount on the Belmont Stakes Day card was Mine That Bird in the Belmont. Borel had ridden just two horses on Belmont's main track in the previous decade. Many faulted Borel for moving Mine That Bird too early in the race, and he finished third. Borel, who was at Belmont on Monday to ride Warrior's Reward in the Metropolitan Handicap, concurred that the move was too soon, but said he didn't have much of a choice.

"I thought he was a little aggressive," Borel said, recalling the race. "Going a mile and a half, he was going to show a little more speed. I fought him down the backside a little bit. I decided to let him go, which probably was a bad decision, but if you fight them they don't finish. You were damned if you do, damned if you don't."

Borel will ride longshot Dave in Dixie in Saturday's Belmont.

Bob Baffert, trainer of Game On Dude, said he has so much confidence in Garcia that he doesn't worry about the rider's lack of experience at Belmont. However, Baffert did say that he was happy to hear Garcia picked up the mount on Champagne d'Oro in the one-mile Acorn.

"All he needs is one little race over the track," Baffert said.

Garcia did win stakes in his first-ever starts at tracks like Lone Star Park and Oaklawn Park, but they're not configured like Belmont Park.

"It's a long way around there," Baffert said. "Martin, he'll do his homework, he's a pretty smart kid. We've talked about it. He basically said, `Well it does have a quarter pole, doesn't it?' I said yes. 'Well that's all I need to know.' You have to have your confidence in your horse, that's why Martin rides so well for me. Everywhere I send him, he wins. . . . I'm counting on him to keep the score up."

Steve Margolis, trainer of Stay Put, is utilizing that same logic for keeping Theriot on the horse. Theriot has three wins from six mounts on Stay Put.

"He's got a good rapport with the horse. The horse seems to run good for him," Margolis said. "I think it's definitely a positive thing having a rider that knows the horse."

Alexis Barba, trainer of Make Music for Me, said her confidence in Rosario is why she is keeping the youngster on the horse. She was quite pleased with how Rosario rode Make Music for Me when the horse rallied from 30 lengths back to finish fourth in the Kentucky Derby.

"I'm not going to play a lot into that," Barba said of Rosario's inexperience at Belmont. "You drive yourself crazy worrying about everything. I think the kid's going to be a superstar one day, just raw talent."

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Eskendereya retired; Jackson buys in:

By David Grening

Eskendereya, whose dominant victories in the Fountain of Youth and Wood Memorial would have made him the favorite for the Kentucky Derby, has been retired from racing due to a soft-tissue injury to his left foreleg, his connections announced Friday afternoon.

Owner Ahmed Zayat also announced that he has sold a portion of Eskendereya to Jess Jackson, who has campaigned reigning Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra and two-time Horse of the Year Curlin. The two parties will look to stand him at stud at a farm next year.

"This is a-once-in-a-lifetime horse, it's going to take me a while to get over it," Zayat said by phone Friday evening. "I think he could have won the Triple Crown, not just the Kentucky Derby."

n a joint press release, Jackson said: "I am extremely pleased to partner with Zayat Stables in ownership of this magnificent Thoroughbred. Eskendereya is best of class and his progeny will only add to his legacy and that of American racing."

Zayat did not disclose what percentage of the colt he sold to Jackson. However, he said the reason he sold was because his stable is in bankruptcy and as part of his reorganization plan he needed "to create value and cash."

Eskendereya, who was trained by Todd Pletcher, was not entered in the Derby after it was announced on April 25 that the horse had swelling in his left foreleg. Earlier this week, Eskendereya was shipped to multiple clinics and examined by a "who's who" of veterinarians, Zayat said. In the end, the decision was made to retire the horse because he would need at least a year off and it was unlikely he could return to the performance level that he has shown, Zayat said.

"Todd and I discussed every other possibility before concluding that retirement was the only option and the right decision to protect Eskendereya's health," Zayat said in the release.

Zayat purchased Eskendereya for $250,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale in 2008. The colt, a son of Giant's Causeway out of the Seattle Slew mare Aldebaran Light, debuted on closing day of the Saratoga meet, finishing second in a 1 1/16-mile turf race. On Oct. 4, at Belmont Park, he won the Pilgrim Stakes - a race originally scheduled for the turf but run on dirt - by 7 1-4 lengths. He completed his 2-year-old season with a ninth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile over Santa Anita's synthetic surface.

Eskendereya kicked off his 3-year-old season on Jan. 7 with a 1 -length victory in a first-level allowance race at Gulfstream Park. He followed that up with an 8 1/2-length victory in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on Feb. 20, a race that was the "wow" performance in a Derby prep. That is, until Eskendereya won the Grade 1 Wood Memorial on April 3 by 9 3/4 lengths.

"I think he's as good as horses get," Pletcher said. "His Fountain of Youth and Wood Memorial were as good as performances as we have had and as good as we've seen from a 3-year-old. I'd rank him up there as among the best we've had."

Rumors that something was amiss with Eskendereya began shortly after the Wood, a race in which the colt wore front bandages for the first time. Those rumors persisted after the colt worked at Palm Meadows in Florida on April 17 and continued through the time of his defection from the race a week later.

Asked if Eskendereya had reached his potential, Pletcher said, "He was continuing to develop and was getting better and better. And as I've said a mile and a quarter and a mile a half were distances that were going to suit him."

Eskendereya retires with a record of 4-1-0 from six starts and earnings of $725,700.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Super Saver Kentucky Derby Winner

Super Saver gives Pletcher a Kentucky Derby win

By Jay Privman

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The week had been emotionally draining for both trainer Todd Pletcher and the WinStar Farm of Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt. Both had multiple entries for the 136th Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs, but went to battle with less ammunition than they first envisioned.

For Pletcher, he had to withdraw the race's acknowledged favorite, Eskendereya, last weekend because of swelling in the colt's left front leg. Pletcher still had four runners, but not the one he thought he needed most.

WinStar started the week with four potential Derby runners, but was down to two by post time, owing to the defections of Rule, because he was not training satisfactorily, and Endorsement, who was injured in a workout on Wednesday.

But where Pletcher and WinStar overlapped, they had the best weapon anyone can bring to battle at Churchill Downs - jockey Calvin Borel.

Horse Betting at

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Kentucky Derby

Derby favorites draw tricky posts

By Jay Privman

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The top two choices in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday have 'em surrounded. Lookin At Lucky, the favorite, drew the rail, and Sidney's Candy, the second choice, drew the outside post in a field of 20 when post positions were drawn on Wednesday for Derby 136 at Churchill Downs.

Devil May Care, the filly who will challenge 19 males, wound up in the middle, in post 11.

The posts for the top two choices are not considered ideal. No horse has won from the rail since Ferdinand in 1986, and no horse beginning from the rail has finished in the money since Risen Star was third in 1988.

"He's got to break well," said Bob Baffert, who trains Lookin At Lucky and Conveyance, who drew post 12. "Plan A is to break well. Plan B is we're screwed."

Big Brown won from post 20 just two years ago, but he was clearly superior to his rivals. Though 20-horse fields have been the norm in recent years, they were rare in the early years of the Derby.

The only other horse to win from post 20 was Clyde Van Dusen in 1929, when there was a walk-up start.

Post 11 also had its drawbacks. Because the Derby field is double-loaded, posts 1 and 11 go in the gate first for the 1 1/4-mile race, then 2 and 12, on down to 10 and 20.

"Eleven is a great position from which to start the race. The only thing I don't like is that she'll have to be in the gate a long time," said Todd Pletcher, who trains Devil May Care and three other horses in this Derby.

Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form's national handicapper, made Lookin At Lucky the 4-1 favorite, with Sidney's Candy 5-1 and Awesome Act the third choice at 8-1. He has Devil May Care next at 10-1, followed by Ice Box at 12-1.

Mike Battaglia, the linemaker at Churchill Downs, has Lookin At Lucky at 3-1, and Sidney's Candy at 5-1. Battaglia made Awesome Act, Devil May Care, and Ice Box co-third choices at 10-1.

Devil May Care is adding blinkers for the Derby, while Lookin At Lucky is having his removed.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Horse Racing - Pletcher contingent hits track

Pletcher contingent hits track

By Marty McGee

Trainer Todd Pletcher had all seven of his potential Kentucky Derby starters on the track at Churchill Downs on Wednesday morning, including the filly Devil May Care, who is now under consideration for both the Derby and Kentucky Oaks.

Pletcher remained uncommitted as to both her status and that of two of his other 3-year-olds, Interactif and Discreetly Mine. They are among the top 20 horses on the graded earnings list but were described as still being "on the bubble" by their trainer after training on Wednesday.

"Right now we're preparing everybody as if they might run in the Derby," said Pletcher. "They all have enough earnings to get into the race, but some will have to have key works this weekend to earn their way into the race."

Wednesday marked the first local appearance of Eskendereya, who is just about everybody's favorite to win the Derby. Eskendereya galloped an easy 1 1/4 miles after the renovation break.

"He galloped exactly the way I expected him to this morning," said Pletcher. "He was curious and looking around, but he got over the ground well."

Pletcher said he was also pleased what he sees from Super Saver.

"He takes to this track better than anywhere, but like all of these horses, we'll know more after they work this weekend," said Pletcher.

Pletcher also said no decision regarding whether Devil May Care might run in the Derby or Oaks would be made until after her next work.

"She's had the benefit of working with some of these other good 3-year-olds in my barn this winter, and I know she can stick with them, and I'm also confident she'll like a mile and one-quarter and even a mile and one-half," Pletcher said.

Horse Betting at

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Horse Racing - Careless Jewel

Careless Jewel won't duck Rachel

By Marty McGee

LEXINGTON, Ky. - No, Josie Carroll isn't monitoring every move that Rachel Alexandra makes, but she does have more than a passing interest in where the superstar filly shows up next.

That's because Carroll intends to have Careless Jewel make her 4-year-old debut at Churchill Downs on the April 30 Kentucky Oaks undercard in the Grade 2, $400,000 La Troienne Stakes, a race often mentioned as a possible next start for Rachel Alexandra.

"You're always looking for the easiest spot you can find for your horses," said Carroll, who trains Careless Jewel for the Donver Stable of Donna and Vern Dubinsky. "There's nothing easy about Rachel. But we are pointing to the La Troienne whether or not she goes."

Owner Jess Jackson has been coy about his immediate plans for Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 Horse of the Year who was second at 1-20 in her only start this year, the March 13 New Orleans Ladies. Rachel Alexandra has had two workouts since shipping to Churchill late last month and is scheduled for another one Monday.

Careless Jewel, unraced since finishing last as the favorite in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic last fall, was scheduled to work Saturday over the Polytrack at Keeneland as she continues to progress toward the 1 1/16-mile La Troienne. Julien Leparoux will have the mount on Careless Jewel for the first time, said Carroll.

"Everything seems to be falling into place for her," said Carroll. "After the La Troienne, we'd just have to see what happens and make plans from there."

Prior to her disappointing Breeders' Cup effort, Careless Jewel won five straight races, most notably the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks and Grade 1 Alabama in huge romps.

Among the other 24 fillies and mares nominated to the La Troienne is Zardana, winner of the New Orleans Ladies.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Horese Racing - Zenyatta

Zenyatta loving Oaklawn's dirt
By Jay Privman

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Although she has trained and raced almost exclusively on synthetic surfaces, being based in Southern California, Zenyatta ran one of the best races of her life here at Oaklawn Park two years ago in the Apple Blossom, and she went around the main track Thursday morning as if reunited with an old friend.
"She was bouncing on the track," said her exercise rider, Steve Willard, after Zenyatta took a one-lap gallop on the one-mile track. "She loves real dirt. She was happy as a pig in pie."
Zenyatta is scheduled to go for her 16th straight win, without a defeat, in the Apple Blossom on Friday.
Zenyatta's owners, Jerry and Ann Moss, were at the track on Thursday morning and were part of a large contingent that followed Zenyatta to the track for her routine gallop shortly after the mid-morning renovation break. Her presence was noted by the local horsemen, who lined the bridle path leading to the track to get a glimpse of the champion mare.
Jerry Moss said Zenyatta will travel quite a bit this year.
"Our focus is on the Breeders' Cup, as it has been the last two years," he said. "We'll be happy to show up at Churchill Downs. We want to let everybody see her. We're proud of her. She's a star."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Horese Racing - Zenyatta

Zenyatta takes a spin around Oaklawn oval

By Jay Privman

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Zenyatta on Wednesday morning took her first tour of the Oaklawn Park main track since her arrival 24 hours earlier, making one lap around the one-mile dirt oval with her regular exercise rider, Steve Willard.

Zenyatta went out shortly before the 8:30 a.m. renovation break, earlier than she usually trains at home at Hollywood Park. Both Willard
and Zenyatta's trainer, John Shirreffs, said they went early because of threatening weather in the area on Wednesday morning, which was forecast to worsen as the day went on.
"She handled everything great," Willard said.

When Zenyatta went to the track, only a misty drizzle was falling. There are thunderstorms forecast for Wednesday afternoon, but the
National Weather Service is predicting gorgeous weather the rest of the week, with a high temperature of 71 degrees on Friday, when the unbeaten Zenyatta will attempt to go 16-0 in the Apple Blossom.

Zenyatta won the Apple Blossom two years ago. That is her only prior start on dirt. Wednesday marked the first time she had been on dirt since last May at Churchill Downs, when she arrived there for an intended 2009 debut in a race from which she was subsequently scratched because of a sloppy track.

Horse Betting at

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Horse Racing - Keeneland

Keeneland opener runs the gamut
By Marty McGee

LEXINGTON, Ky. - They say that character is best revealed under trying circumstances, which says a lot about the smile that trainer Larry Demeritte managed to put on his face in the aftermath of the first race of the Keeneland spring meet Friday.

Demeritte had just seen Weekend Wildcat, a 2-year-old colt he trains for Mervin and Barbara McNamara, come up on the short end of a nose photo. With 100 yards to go, Weekend Wildcat appeared to have gotten the best of Wetzel after the pair had hooked up in early stretch, but Wetzel battled back along the rail to prevail in a head-bob.

"You'd rather just get flat outrun than lose like that," said Demeritte, a Keeneland-based trainer who has not won a race here since the 2003 fall meet. "That was tough."
Brutal beats aside, it was difficult for ontrack fans not to enjoy the first of 15 afternoons at this bucolic track. With high-70s temperatures mitigated by a thin cloud cover and slight breeze, conditions were perfect for breaking the cabin fever that many of the locals had endured during the winter.

"It's the scenery, the atmosphere," said Bill Campbell, a 42-year-old Lexington resident. "I probably come out four or five times a meet. I've got a friend on the mutuels line who usually throws me a tip, although I try to keep it a secret."

What is not a secret is how racing at Keeneland once again has lured many of North America's top jockeys and trainers to Kentucky for the next month. Wetzel ($6.60) was ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, the leading rider at the recently ended Fair Grounds meet, and saddled by Steve Asmussen, the two-time defending Eclipse Award-winning trainer. The second race was won by Taqarub ($10.40), whose trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, has some 30 horses here this spring and is one of about a dozen prominent East Coast trainers on hand.

The third winner, Flying Warrior ($16.40), was ridden by John Velazquez, while the fourth winner, Intercoastal ($5.80), was ridden by the defending Eclipse jockey, Julien Leparoux. And on it went.

The Friday feature, the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes, was scheduled as the ninth of 10 races. It was the first of 16 stakes that will be run through a meet that ends April 23.
Meanwhile, less than midway through the program, the crowd count already had surpassed the Keeneland record for a Friday opener.

"We've already had more than 19,000 pass through the gates," Keeneland's president, Nick Nicholson, said as the fifth race neared. "In this day and age, that's remarkable. We're more than pleased."

The record for a Friday opener was 18,031, set in 2006. The record for an opening day, 21,371, was set on a Saturday in 1978.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Horse Racing - Eskendereya

Eskendereya has tools of classic winner

By David Grening

Let others speculate how many horses trainer Todd Pletcher will bring to this year's Kentucky Derby. As far as Pletcher is concerned, it's not about quantity, it's about quality.

"Hopefully, we show up with one and with the right one," said Pletcher, who still seeks his first Derby trophy after having gone winless with 24 starters in nine previous attempts.

Given the results of the early Derby prep races and with several more preps remaining, it's not inconceivable that Pletcher could have as many as seven starters in the Churchill Downs starting gate on May 1.

Though Pletcher could never publicly rank his Derby prospects - which alphabetically include Aikenite, Discreetly Mine, Eskendereya, Interactif, Mission Impazible, Rule, and Super Saver - he said Tuesday that Eskendereya belongs at the top of any national list of prospects, behind only Lookin At Lucky, the 2009 juvenile champion.

Both horses will run this weekend, with Eskendereya starting in the $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and the Bob Baffert-trained Lookin At Lucky in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby.

Pletcher believes Eskendereya has all the tools to be effective in the Triple Crown races, which start with the Kentucky Derby at 1 1/4 miles and conclude with the Belmont Stakes at 1 1/2 miles.

"The one thing that we've been very confident in all along is he wants to run the distances of the classic races," Pletcher said. "I don't see a mile and a quarter or even a mile and a half being a problem. He has natural stamina, he's physically a strong horse. He holds up to his races."

Horse Betting at

Monday, March 29, 2010


Zayat wears his heart on his sleeve
By Glenye Cain Oakford

LEXINGTON, Ky. - You couldn't make up a better story. Thoroughbred owner Ahmed Zayat, pursued by his bank for allegedly defaulting on $34 million in loans, files for bankruptcy and cheats the bank's attempt to take over his 200-horse stable, then turns up with Eskendereya, a hot prospect for the Kentucky Derby.
It's the kind of melodrama that's made Zayat one of Thoroughbred racing's most intriguing and controversial owners. He's also highly successful. A 47-year-old Egyptian entrepreneur, Zayat got into the game in 2005 and is North America's second-leading owner by earnings. He was among North America's top three leading owners in 2007 and 2009. Ask people who know him how they would describe Zayat, and the word you'll hear most often is "passionate." That's frequently followed by "tough," meant in both senses: strong but also potentially difficult to deal with.
Zayat, who resides in Teaneck, N.J., has countersued Fifth Third over their $34 million lawsuit. In interviews he's described the bank and its associates as "very bad people" trying to push him to financial ruin.

"My goal was to rise to the highest level of the sport by having the best-bred and best-raised horses, and I was going to commit a lot of my funds," Zayat said of his entry into racing. "And I put in a lot of money, tens of millions of dollars. People are mistaken about what happened to me. I was a very good businessman and still am. What happened to me financially was not a failure of Zayat Stable, it was a failure of the market. And there's a huge difference."

Eskendereya (pronounced es-ken-DARE-ee-uh) could make some of those problems fade. He is slated to run in the April 3 Wood Memorial in his final prep for the Derby. He cost Zayat $250,000 at the 2008 Keeneland September yearling sale, but his value jumped into the millions after his 8 1/2-length victory in the Feb. 20 Fountain of Youth. Rumored suitors have included Stonestreet Stables owner Jess Jackson and International Equine Acquisitions Holdings, but Zayat won't name names.

Bloodstock experts generally value Eskendereya, who is by Giant's Causeway, at $6 million to $8 million. The price would jump with a Wood victory, a Derby win, or, better yet, the Triple Crown. Horses with Derby chances still command top dollar, but a hard fall in prices for stallion prospects means Eskendereya would be a harder sell after the Triple Crown, unless he keeps winning and becomes a must-have for stud farms.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dubai World Cup

D'Etat to run in Dubai World Cup

Racing: Vision D'Etat has been given the green light to run in today's Dubai World Cup (5.45pm Irish time).

The Eric Libaud-trained five-year-old had been a slight doubt for the race after Emirates Racing Authority officials called for the horse to be examined this morning.

Vision D'Etat has, however, now been passed fit for the $10million showpiece at Meydan.

Gerard Bush, chief steward of the Emirates Racing Authority, said today: "The Emirates Racing Authority today examined Vision D'Etat, trained by Eric Libaud, who is declared for race eight at Meydan on the 27th of March 2010.

"The horse has been passed fit by the veterinary officer and is deemed suitable to race."

Vision D'Etat, four times a Group One scorer, is favourite to win the race with several British bookmakers.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Kentucky Derby Bound

Next stop Louisville for Florida Derby trio

By David Grening

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The top three finishers from Saturday's $750,000 Florida Derby came out of their races in good order and will now set their sights on the May 1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, their connections said Sunday.

Ice Box, Pleasant Prince, and Rule will all run in the Derby without having another prep race, meaning they will have six weeks between races. Ice Box defeated Pleasant Prince by a nose Saturday, both coming from well off the pace, while it was another 1 1/4 lengths back to Rule, who held on despite racing on the lead. Ice Box and Pleasant Prince each earned a 99 Beyer Speed Figure.

Nick Zito, the trainer of Ice Box, said that his colt was "a little tired, but otherwise he looked really good'' Sunday morning. It was the third nine-furlong race of the winter for Ice Box, who won a first-level allowance race here in January before finishing fifth to Eskendereya in the Fountain of Youth.

"He's had three mile-and-an-eighth races in a row, I don't see the point of running anywhere,'' Zito said. "There's absolutely nothing to gain. Zero."

Zito said he would ship Ice Box straight to Churchill Downs approximately the first week of April.

Pleasant Prince, who fell a nose short to Ice Box in the Florida Derby, "came out of the race awesome,'' according to trainer Wesley Ward. Pleasant Prince will be flown on Wednesday to Lexington, Ky., where he will do all of his training leading up to the Kentucky Derby over Keeneland's synthetic surface, Ward said

"Keeneland's surface has been great to me the last few years,'' Ward said. "I've probably had a thousand works and I could count on one hand the number of horses that have gotten hurt there. The big thing leading into the Derby is keeping your horses sound. I've got nothing against Churchill, it's just the luck I've had at Keeneland and the fact I'll be there with the rest of my horses.''

Trainer Todd Pletcher said Rule came out of the Florida Derby well. Rule was only beaten 1 1/4 lengths despite battling Pulsion for the early lead. Pulsion faded to sixth.

"I still think he ran very well, he was one of the few horses that was part of the pace that stuck around,'' Pletcher said. "We felt like we learned something, I think Johnny learned something. Hopefully it improves him for the next one. Johnny felt like if he could do it over he would have opted to grab a hold of him, ease him back and wait a little longer to make his final move.''

Pletcher said he is looking to ship Rule to Churchill Downs around April 20.

Radiohead, who finished ninth after being forced to race wide early, came out of his race in good shape, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said. There are no plans for the colt's next start.

"I got no idea what went wrong,'' Dutrow said.

Dutrow said that Swale Stakes winner D' Funnybone was in good shape Sunday morning and that the Grade 2 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct on April 24 is a possible next start.

Bonnie Miss one-two finishers Devil May Care and Amen Hallelujah will be pointed to the Kentucky Oaks on April 30.

Horse betting at

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Horse Racing - D. Wayne Lucas

Lukas trio headed for Turfway
By Mary Rampellini

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas has his best 3-year-old crop in years wintering at Oaklawn Park, with top seeds Dublin and Tidal Pool training toward starts in next month's Arkansas Derby and Fantasy Stakes. The barn will also be active in 3-year-old stakes on March 27, with a trio of promising young horses headed to Turfway Park.

Lukas said he plans to send Northern Giant to the Kentucky track for the Grade 2, $500,000 Lane's End; Activity Report for the $100,000 Rushaway; and Absinthe Minded for the Grade 3, $125,000 Bourbonette.

"Calvin Borel's going to ride them all," he said.

Northern Giant last raced on Feb. 20 when he was third in the Grade 2, $300,000 Risen Star at Fair Grounds. Prior to that race, he was an 11-length maiden special weight winner at Oaklawn on Feb. 4.

Activity Report was a first-level allowance winner around two turns at Oaklawn on Jan. 16. He then shortened up and finished third to Comedero in the $60,000 Mountain Valley at six furlongs Feb. 27.

Absinthe Minded just missed in a first-level allowance March 4.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Horse Racing

Zenyatta still perfect
By Steve Andersen

ARCADIA, Calif. - Zenyatta displayed her brilliance, and continued perfection, in Saturday's $250,000 Santa Margarita Handicap at Santa Anita, extending her winning streak to 15 races.
In her first start since a historic win in the Breeders' Cup Classic here in November, Zenyatta used her customary come-from-behind style to win the Santa Margarita by a comfortable 1 1/4 lengths over 51-1 Dance to My Tune.
To remain unbeaten after 15 starts, jockey Mike Smith improvised through the final quarter-mile. Instead of bringing Zenyatta to the outside, where she has typically rolled home past her overmatched rivals in the last few years, Smith guided the 6-year-old mare through traffic and reached the front just past the sixteenth pole.
Smith did not strike Zenyatta with his whip. He did not need to.
"I wish I could say I contributed," Smith said. "I might have done a little steering, but that was about it."
The victory put Zenyatta on course for the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park on April 9, where she may face the 2009 Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra. Minutes before Zenyatta's win, Rachel Alexandra was beaten in her 2009 debut in the New Orleans Ladies by Zardana, who like Zenyatta is trained by John Shirreffs.
In the Grade 1 Santa Margarita, Zenyatta ($2.60) ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.20, while carrying top weight of 127 pounds.
She was last in a field of eight to the final turn, when Smith guided Zenyatta inside of Pretty Unusual and began closing ground. Zenyatta had moved past the back of the field and into fifth place with a furlong remaining. Extending her stride through the stretch, Zenyatta quickly closed on leader Dance to My Tune and reached the front when Smith guided her to the outside of that mare before the sixteenth pole.
The style of the win left Shirreffs stunned.
"Isn't it amazing?" Shirreffs said. "I have so much faith in Mike. When you have a big X on your back, things don't always happen. You find yourself in places in races you need to get away from."
Dance to My Tune, the longest shot in the field, set fractions of 23.88 and 47.69 seconds and ran on late to finish second, a nose in front of Floating Heart. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Dance to My Tune was sixth in the minor Wishing Well Handicap on Feb. 12.
"When [Zenyatta] was blocked, we had a chance, but it didn't last very long," said Hollendorfer's assistant, Dan Ward. "She couldn't have run better - couldn't ask for more than that."
Floating Heart ran credibly, considering she seemed agitated in the saddling enclosure, where hundreds of fans were watching Zenyatta's every move.
Floating Heart, trained by Todd Pletcher, was third in the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes for 4-year-old fillies here on Feb. 14.
"I think we needed to be realistic," said Pletcher's assistant, Michael McCarthy. "This is what we were hoping for. It's nice to finish within two lengths of [Zenyatta]."
Zenyatta earned $150,000, improving her career earnings to $5,624,580.
"She's a super athlete," Shirreffs said. "She can do it all. How are you going to be better than perfect?"
Despite the drama through the stretch, Smith is convinced that Zenyatta was not fully extended in the Santa Margarita.
"I wanted her to have an easy race, her first race back and carrying 127," he said. "I don't know what to say," Smith said. "I'm her biggest fan, and I have the best seat in the house."
"I think she'll get something out of it. She wasn't really tired at all. It's as easy of a race as she's had. It's just phenomenal."

(p.s. I took Zenyatta and matched her with a 50-1 shot for an exacta in this race and won a nice bunch of change. I got the tip from
Horse betting at

Friday, March 12, 2010

Horse Racing

Soaring Empire to take shot in Florida Derby

By Mike Welsch

Soaring Empire, an impressive seven-furlong allowance winner here earlier in the meet, has tossed his hat in the ring for next Saturday's Grade 1 Florida Derby, said trainer Cam Gambolati.

Soaring Empire, a son of Empire Maker, is owned by Rick Pitino's Ol Memorial Stable and Clinton Glasscock. Soaring Empire has won 2 of his 3 starts, with his lone loss a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill Downs in his 2-year-old finale.

"We've weighed the options and decided to go ahead and give him a chance," said Gambolati. "His race here was very good to win after getting nailed at the start. I know we're a little behind the eight-ball, but they only get one chance."

Soaring Empire is scheduled to have his final work for the Florida Derby on Sunday morning at Palm Meadows.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Horse Racing

Zayat cleared to race in California

By Matt Hegarty

Ahmed Zayat, the owner of Zayat Stables and leading Kentucky Derby contender Eskendereya, has been cleared to race in California after questions were raised about Zayat's possible associations with bookmakers, but probes are continuing in both Kentucky and New York, according to racing regulators in the states.

Kirk Breed, the executive director of the California Horse Racing Board, said in a statement Friday that the board did not have sufficient evidence to revoke Zayat's racing license based on a preliminary investigation into the associations.

The questions about the associations were raised after Zayat listed loans he made to Michael and Jeffrey Jelinksy on papers he filed in bankruptcy court. The Jelinsky brothers pleaded guilty to felony charges of illegal bookmaking in early 2009.

The court papers said that Zayat loaned $155,000 to Michael Jelinksy in November 2006 and loaned $455,000 to Jeffrey Jelinksy in September 2007. The brothers did not repay the loans. In addition, the court papers listed two smaller loans to members of the Jelinksy family in late 2007 and early 2008.

Zayat has said that he loaned the money to the family members because they were struggling financially. He said that he believed that Michael and Jeffrey Jelinsky were gambling on horses professionally in Las Vegas when he made the loans, and he has disputed that he knew the brothers were operating a bookmaking business.

In his statement, Breed said that CHRB investigators had determined that Zayat made the loans prior to the convictions. "Therefore, we can't see any reason to pull the license of Mr. Zayat," Breed said. "As more information becomes available, we will certainly look into it."

In Kentucky and New York, however, racing regulators said on Tuesday that their investigations into the matter were ongoing.

Joe Mahoney, a spokesman for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, said that New York's rule prohibits racing licensees from associating with any bookmakers, regardless of whether the bookmakers have been convicted.

"The assertion that the person made the loans prior to the bookmaker being convicted does not obviate the need to conduct a thorough and complete review," Mahoney said.

Lisa Underwood, the executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, said that investigators for the commission have talked to various state and federal authorities and have conducted an interview with Zayat's attorney.

"We are still gathering information, so the inquiry remains open," Underwood said. She also said that the California determination would not have a bearing on Kentucky's investigation because of different standards in state rules on the associations of licensees.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Horse Racing

Santa Anita Gets Wet

Rain, Rain, Go Away

This Saturday Santa Anita will host four Graded Stakes races including the Santa Anita Handicap, however, just like last weekend when heavy rain for the track to close, this weekend of racing looks to be a wet affair…again. A 70% chance of rain is forecast for Saturday and a 60% chance of showers for Sunday.

With its Pro-Ride synthetic track surface, Santa Anita has lost five days this meet since its December 26th start. Track officials battle drainage issues and even have contemplated switching the tracks surface back to its original dirt. While in its premier part of its meet, Santa Anita cannot weather any additional lost days due t rain. Last weekend’s closure moved the Grade III Sham Stakes for three year-olds to this Saturday. Horsemen initially wanted the Sham to be run this past Wednesday; track management re-scheduled it for Saturday. Now the Sham is in peril of being rained out again.

Four other stakes races are scheduled for this Saturday; the Santa Anita Handicap, The Santa Anita Oaks and the Frank Kilroe Mile Handicap, which is scheduled for the turf.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Horse Racing

Lukas brings Wow Wow Wow for Gotham
By David Grening

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - There have been limited sightings of D. Wayne Lukas-trained horses during Aqueduct's winter meeting the last few years. But with the chance to get a 3-year-old on the Triple Crown trail, Lukas has shipped Wow Wow Wow to New York for Saturday's Grade 3, 250,000 Gotham Stakes.

Wow Wow Wow, owned and bred by Saratoga socialite Marylou Whitney, was one of 10 nondescript 3-year-olds entered for the Gotham, which offers $150,000 in graded stakes earnings and is also a stepping-stone to the Grade 1 Wood Memorial to be run here on April 3. Wow Wow Wow has won 2 of 7 starts for Lukas, who has not run a horse over the inner track since Dec. 7, 2007.

Peppi Knows, who won the Whirlaway here on Feb. 6, is one of only two stakes winners entered in the field set to contest 1 1/16 miles around two turns over the inner track. Turf Melody is the other.

In his only stakes try, Wow Wow Wow finished eighth of 12 in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 13. Lukas said the colt was hampered by starting from post 12 and "never got untangled that day." Wow Wow Wow, a son of Broken Vow, came back with a front-running victory in a first-level allowance from post 10 at Oaklawn on Feb. 13.

"He's really getting better. He's one of those that around this time of year is getting the idea what he's supposed to," Lukas said. "He's a strong, big, powerful-running horse."

For the third straight race, Wow Wow Wow was saddled with the extreme outside in the 10-horse Gotham, but his speed may allow him to overcome that draw. Corey Nakatani has the call.

Lukas has never won the Gotham. Since 1985, he is 0 for 10 - he started two horses in 1990 - with his best finish being Pancho Villa, second in 1985 as the even-money favorite.

"We're due," Lukas said.

One of the surprise entrants in the Gotham was Three Day Rush, who finished third in the Whirlaway and who was initially being pointed to the Fred "Cappy" Capossela going six furlongs. His connections are willing to give Three Day Rush, a son of Harlan's Holiday, another shot around two turns.

From the rail out, the Gotham field is: Three Day Rush, Yawanna Twist, Nacho Friend, Awesome Act, I've Got the Fever, Peppi Knows, Shrimp Dancer, Turf Melody, Afleet Again, and Wow Wow Wow.

The Gotham is one of three stakes on an 11-race Saturday card that begins at 1 p.m. Eastern. The card also includes the Grade 3, $100,000 Toboggan for older sprinters and the $65,000 Capossela Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters.

The late pick four, which has a guaranteed pool of $250,000, will be held on races 8 through 11.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Horse Racing

Motion poised for a big day

By Steve Andersen

Santa Anita Posted 3/2/2010, 3:30 pm

ARCADIA, Calif. - Saucey Evening and Smart Seattle may provide trainer Graham Motion with a breakthrough day at Santa Anita on Thursday.

Motion's small California stable has had one win from 12 starters this winter, but he could have a winner, or two, on Thursday for owner George Strawbridge's Augustin Stable.

"It's been a little bit of a frustrating meeting, more than anything getting the right distances," Motion said by phone earlier this week from the East Coast. "Hopefully, we'll get a shot on Thursday."

Saucey Evening, the champion California-bred 2-year-old filly of 2008, has drawn the rail in the second race, an allowance over 1 1/16 miles on the synthetic main track. The $52,000 race will be her first start since a sixth in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf over 1 1/8 miles on Jan. 30. That distance may have been beyond her reach, Motion said.
"I think, in retrospect, it was a bit of a stretch," Motion said. "Hopefully, we can get a good handle on her."

A winner of 4 of 13 starts and $354,939, Saucey Evening won the Starine Stakes over a mile on turf at Hollywood Park last December and was third in the Cascapedia Stakes over seven furlongs on the synthetic track here last October.

"We want to get her in a conservative spot," Motion said of Thursday's race. "She seems to be training well. I think the Hollywood Park race is much more a true bearing of her ability."

Saucey Evening races from off the pace and must catch Lady Alex, who has won three of her last four starts and is expected to be favored.

Thursday's seventh race over 1 1/16 miles will be Smart Seattle's first start on a synthetic track since a second in the Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland in October.

Smart Seattle was fourth as the 2-1 favorite in an optional claimer over a mile on turf here Jan. 29 under jockey Rafael Bejarano, her first start since a ninth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in November.
"I thought Rafael had nowhere to go in the last quarter-mile," Motion said. "I thought it was a very competitive race as well."

Motion also has Zilva, seventh in the BC Juvenile Fillies last November, in Thursday's seventh race, but said she could be scratched in favor of Saturday's Santa Anita Oak.

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Horse Racing

SANTA ANITA, Calif. (AP) -Blame the Wine beat Be Driven by a half-length Thursday in the $48,800 optional claiming feature at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Omar Berrio, Blame the Wine covered 7 furlongs in 1:23.28 and paid $6, $3.40 and $2.20 as the 2-1 second choice. Be Driven returned $5.40 and $3, while 6-5 favorite A Clever Ten paid $2.10 to show.

The victory, worth $28,800, increased Blame the Wine's earnings to $97,360.

Midnight Rage opened a 6-length lead down the backstretch and entered the stretch ahead by 2 before faltering. Berrio drove Blame the Wine between horses in the closing stages to win.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Horse Racing

Churchill Downs Posted 2/25/2010

Kentucky Oaks has 143 nominations

She Be Wild and Blind Luck are among the 143 fillies nominated to the 136th Kentucky Oaks, set for April 30 at Churchill Downs. The complete list of nominations can be found at Churchill officials said nominations to the May 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic were to be released Friday.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Horse Racing

February 23 2010
From the AP wire:

Bob and Todd's excellent adventures carry on after a winning weekend in Kentucky Derby prep races.

The exceptional results leave Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher training six of the horses in the AP's latest Run to the Roses Top 10 list of Kentucky Derby contenders.

Baffert's Lookin At Lucky remains No. 1 while awaiting his 3-year-old debut in the San Felipe at Santa Anita on March 13. Conveyance won the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, giving Baffert the No. 3 prospect as well.

Pletcher, meanwhile, hit the trifecta with victories in three Derby preps. Eskendereya romped by 8 1/2 lengths in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park, Discreetly Mine won the Risen Star by 1 1/2 lengths at the Fair Grounds, and Connemara took the El Camino Real by three-quarters of a length at Golden Gate Fields.

The results leave Pletcher with four top-10 horses - No. 2 Eskendereya, No. 4 Rule, No. 5 Discreetly Mine and No. 9 Connemara.

Baffert has won the Derby three times. Pletcher is 0-for-24, but excited.

``You've got to be excited when they perform like that in these kind of races at this time of year,'' Pletcher said following Eskendereya's second straight win in 2010 and third overall on the dirt. ``I was particularly pleased with the way he finished. I don't think we've ever gotten to the bottom of him.''

The next stop for the chestnut son of Giant's Causeway is likely the Florida Derby on March 20, and then onto Churchill Downs for the Derby on May 1.

Discreetly Mine bounded onto the Derby trail with a wire-to-wire, 1 1/2-length win over Tempted to Tapit in the 1 1-16-mile Risen Star. The son of Mineshaft won for just the second time in seven starts, but is headed next to the Louisiana Derby on March 27.

``I expected him to be on the lead ... and he looked happy galloping along,'' winning rider Javier Castellano said. ``I am very satisfied with the way the race developed.''

Connemara, the 13-10 favorite, rallied from last in the nine-horse field and won the 1 1/8-mile El Camino Real by 1 1/4 lengths - the colt's third win in four starts. Another son of Giant's Causeway, Connemara is likely to run next in the Santa Anita Derby on April 3.

``He's improving with every race and extra distance won't hurt this colt at all,'' winning jockey Russell Baze said.

And then there's Baffert. With Martin Garcia subbing for regular rider Garrett Gomez, 9-5 favorite Conveyance raced to an early lead and held off Dublin by three-quarters of a length in the Southwest Stakes. The gray colt is now 4 for 4 and headed next to the Santa Anita Derby.

The Southwest was rescheduled from Feb. 13, when icy conditions forced a postponement.

New in this week's top 10 are Discreetly Mine, Hutcheson winner D'Funnybone, Connemara and Tempted to Tapit. Out are Buddy's Saint (ninth in the Fountain of Youth after being jostled at the start), Sidney's Candy, American Lion and Lentenor, who ran second in an allowance race at Gulfstream last Wednesday.

Several races Saturday could produce Kentucky Derby prospects: the Sham at Santa Anita, the Borderland Derby at Sunland Park and the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park.
Keep an eye on: Buddy's Saint, Caracortado, Noble's Promise, Sidney's Candy, Super Saver.

1. Lookin At Lucky (Bob Baffert, trainer; Garrett Gomez, jockey): 2-year-old champion worked 6 furlongs in 1:15.40 on Monday at Santa Anita ... winner in 5 of 6 starts in 2009 ... only loss was runner-up in BC Juvenile ... Next start: San Felipe (March 13, Santa Anita, synthetic) ... Derby future wager odds: 8-1.
2. Eskendereya (Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez): Romped by 8 1/2 lengths in Fountain of Youth ... 2 for 2 in 2010 ... son of Giant's Causeway is 3 for 3 overall on dirt ... Next start: Florida Derby (March 20, Gulfstream, dirt) ... Odds: 22-1.
3. Conveyance (Baffert, Gomez): Gray colt is 4-for 4 after three-quarter length win in Southwest ... Transition to dirt went smoothly with rider Martin Garcia subbing for Gomez ... Next start: Santa Anita Derby (April 3, Santa Anita) ... Odds: 33-1.
4. Rule (Pletcher, Velazquez): Sam F. Davis winner has four-race winning streak ... Training in south Florida ... Next start: Undecided ... Odds: 24-1.
5. Discreetly Mine (Pletcher, Javier Castellano): Won Risen Star by 1 1/2 lengths ... Son of Mineshaft may have it together after losses to other Derby contenders ... Next start: Louisiana Derby (March 27, Fair Grounds, dirt) ... Odds: 3-2 (mutuel field).
6. Jackson Bend (Nick Zito, Jeremy Rose): Second again, this time in Fountain of Youth ... Game little colt has 5 wins, 3 seconds in 8 starts ... Next start: Florida Derby ... Odds: 27-1.
7. D'Funnybone (Rick Dutrow, Edgar Prado): Won 7-furlong Hutcheson by length ... Dutrow of Big Brown fame back in Derby hunt ... Throw out 13th-place finish in BC Juvenile on synthetics ... Next start: Undecided ... Odds: 3-2 (mutuel field).
8. Dublin (D. Wayne Lukas, Terry Thompson): Solid second in Southwest to kick of 2010 campaign ... Lukas encouraged as he looks for fifth Derby win ... Next start: Rebel (March 13, Oaklawn Park, dirt) ... Derby odds: 20-1.
9. Connemara (Pletcher, Russell Baze): Won El Camino Real Derby by three-quarters of a length ... Still much to prove, but we're talking Pletcher trainee here ... Next start: Santa Anita Derby ... Odds: 3-2 (mutuel field).
10. Tempted to Tapit (Steve Klesaris, David Cohen): Loved gray colt's runner-up effort in Risen Star ... Son of Tapit purchased in '08 for $18,000 ... Next start: Louisiana Derby ... Odds: 3-2 (mutuel field).

Horse Racing

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Horse Racing

Feb. 21st

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP)—Bourbon Bay pulled away in the stretch for his first stakes victory Sunday in the $150,000 San Luis Obispo Handicap at Santa Anita.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano for trainer Neil Drysdale, the 4-year-old gelding beat Unusual Suspect by 4 1/2 lengths, running 1 1/2 miles on the firm turf course in 2:28.89.

“When we purchased this horse, we purchased him with the idea that he’d be a mile-and-a-half horse,” said Drysdale, who bought the horse for owners David and Jill Heerensperger. “So he’s lived up to that. It looks like he’s improving.”
Bourbon Bay paid $9.60, $5.20 and $4.20. Unusual Suspect returned $10 and $6, and Sudden War paid $4.20 to show.
Bourbon Bay earned $90,000 for the win, his third in 11 starts, for a career total of $209,424.

Horse Racing

Horse Racing

February 21 2010

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) -Eskendereya took the lead entering the final turn and pulled away for an 8 1/2-length victory Saturday in the $250,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Eskendereya, ridden by John Velazquez and trained by Todd Pletcher, covered the 1 1-8th miles in 1:48.87 for his third victory in five starts.
``You've got to be excited when they perform like that in these kinds of races at this time of year,'' Pletcher said. ``I was particularly pleased with the way he finished. I don't think we've ever gotten to the bottom of him.''
Jackson Bend was second, followed by Aikenite in third another three-quarters of a length back. Race favorite Buddy's Saint was bumped going around the first turn and finished ninth in the 10-horse field.
Pletcher said the Zayat Stable-owned Eskendereya, who also won across Gulfstream's main track Jan. 7 in a first-level allowance race, would likely run next March 20 in the $750,000 Florida Derby, a key prep for the Kentucky Derby.
``He's had two wins over the track now so the Florida Derby would seem logical for him,'' Pletcher said.
Ahmed Zayat called the victory ``heartwarming.''
Zayat filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Feb. 3 after his stable was sued Dec. 15 by Fifth Third Bancorp, claiming Zayat defaulted on two loans and owed the Cincinnati-based bank $34.2 million.
``I knew the distance would suit him,'' Zayat said. ``He does not get tired. This horse can run 1 1/2 miles. I was very impressed the way he took the lead early.''
Ninth in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile when he was steadied and bounced around going into the first turn, Eskendereya broke cleanly from the No. 8 post and was second around the first turn and down the backstretch, a length behind Lost Aptitude.
``I didn't want to take too good a hold of him out of the gate, and I got to a point early on the backstretch where I started to move forward with him,'' Velazquez said. ``I was hoping that I didn't take too much out of him.''
Approaching the final turn, Eskendereya carried Velazquez past Lost Aptitude, shook of a bold move by Jackson Bend, and opened up with each stride down the stretch. Velazquez hit the colt twice above the eighth pole then hand-rode him to the finish.
``It was a great feeling when he kicked in and accelerated away from them,'' Velazquez added. ``He galloped out really well, and I hope he can learn to relax just a bit more in the first part of the race. If he does, I don't think he'll have any trouble going further.''
In another 3-year-old prep race at Gulfstream, D'Funnybone moved three-wide along the turn before driving away from six others to win the $150,000 Hutcheson by a length while covering seven furlongs in 1:22.14.
Trainer Richard Dutrow said D'Funnybone, winner of last year's Saratoga Special and Belmont Futurity, would likely be pointed toward the Florida Derby.

Horse Racing

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Horse Racing

February 20 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) -A Jealous Woman led all the way in winning her fourth consecutive race, defeating Welken by a half-length in Friday's $62,872 feature for fillies and mares at Santa Anita.
Ridden by Joe Talamo, A Jealous Woman covered 1 1-8 miles on the turf in 1:46.77 and paid $6, $3.80 and $3.40. Welken returned $4.40 and $4.20, while Michael's Rose was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third and paid $4.60.
A Jealous Woman lost her first start on Hollywood Park's main track, but hasn't lost since moving to turf. The victory, worth $40,560, increased her career earnings to $138,080.

Horse Racing

Horse Racing

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Horse Racing

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