Friday, March 06 2009


Kentucky Derby 135 Update - Friday, March, 6th 2009


EAST/HAYNESFIELD FACES INTRIGUING CAST IN GOTHAM

Turtle Bird Stable’s once-beaten Haynesfield has dominated stakes competition over the winter on Aqueduct’s dirt inner track, but he’ll face some intriguing new foes on Saturday in the $250,000 Gotham Stakes (Grade III), New York’s first major prep for the 135th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).

The Steve Asmussen-trained Haynesfield has rolled to four consecutive victories after the New York-bred son of Speightstown finished third in his career debut in August at Saratoga. The last three of those wins have come in stakes races through the winter months at Aqueduct, including a romp in the Whirlaway last time out in his first outing at a two-turn distance.





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Thursday, March 05 2009


Second Half of Gilchrist’s 1,2 Punch Runs in Sunday’s Ocala Stakes


Northern California-based trainer Greg Gilchrist, in South Florida for the Fasig-Tipton 2-year-old sales earlier this week, brought along two stakes stars to run in stakes this weekend at Gulfstream Park.

Gilchrist sends out Estate of Harry Aleo’s 5-year-old mare Wild Promises as the likely favorite in Saturday’s $100,000 Honey Fox Stakes and her 6-year-old stablemate Victorina in Sunday’s $75,000 Ocala Stakes. The latter could rule the choice in a field of 11 Florida-bred fillies and mares going one mile.





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GP Barn Notes 3-5


Jerkens Poses ‘Formidable’ Challenge to Gulfstream Park Handicap

With a challenger threatening to match one of his own training feats, Hall of Fame horseman Allen Jerkens will send Robert Clay’s 4-year-old emerging star Formidable into the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) on Sat. Mar. 14.

A son of Sky Mesa, Formidable will face several graded-stakes performers, including Robert LaPenta’s Cool Coal Man, winner of the 2008 Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2). The Nick Zito-trained Cool Coal Man bids to become only the second horse to win the Fountain of Youth and Gulfstream Park Handicap. The other was Sensitive Prince – trained by Jerkens – in 1978-79.





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ASHLEE BRNJAS NAMED COURTSIDE GRILLE II TRAINER OF THE MONTH


OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 5, 2009) Trainer Ashlee Brnjas only began training three years ago in Toronto, Ontario, but has become one of Woodbine’s premiere trainers in that short time. The Toronto, Ontario native moved her string to Tampa Bay Downs for the first time this year and has found great success at the Oldsmar oval. “I’m having a great time here,” says Brnjas. “The horses are loving it. They love the racetrack. It’s minus thirty-two in Canada now!”





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HOT N’ DUSTY EMERGES WITH NOSE VICTORY IN FOUR-HORSE PHOTO


ARCADIA, Calif. (March 5, 2009) – Hot n’ Dusty, a daughter of Unusual Heat, stormed home on the extreme outside to nip another Unusual Heat offspring, My Maloof Rocker, in a dramatic four-horse photo finish Thursday that decided the outcome of Santa Anita’s $53,200 allowance feature for California-bred or sired fillies and mares at one mile on turf.

The second choice at 3-1 in a field of eight, My Maloof Rocker, ridden by Joel Rosario, appeared to have made the winning last run before jockey Alex Solis and Hot n’ Dusty emerged from last at the head of the stretch to gain a desperate nose decision.





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PICK SIX CARRYOVER OF $78,877 INTO FRIDAY


ARCADIA, Calif. (March 5, 2009)—With longshots connecting on both Pro-Ride synthetic and grass, Santa Anita experienced its 21st Pick Six carryover from 51 days of racing on Thursday, as $78,877 will roll into Friday’s popular exotic wager. It is expected Friday’s total Pick Six pool could reach $500,000.

Thursday’s Pick Six started with race three at 1 1/16 miles on Pro-Ride and it was taken by Andwhatelse, with veteran Alex Solis aboard. Owned by Michael Bello, the 3-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Even the Score paid $22.00 to win. He’s trained by Jeff Mullins.





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SAUCEY EVENING RATES TOP BILLING IN SUNDAY’S CHINA DOLL


ARCADIA, Calif. (March 5, 2009) – California-bred Saucey Evening, a 1 ½-length loser to sophomore superstar Stardom Bound when third in last month’s Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes, heads a cast of ten 3-year-old fillies set for Sunday’s $70,000 China Doll Stakes at one mile over Santa Anita’s turf course.

Augustin Stable’s daughter of More Than Ready will be rejoined by Garrett Gomez, the country’s leading rider in purse earnings, when seeking her fourth victory in eight career starts for trainer H. Graham Motion. She carries 119 pounds.





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STABLE NOTES, THURSDAY, MARCH 5TH, 2009


TRAINER SAYS DANSANT IS REAL DEAL FOR BIG ’CAP’S PRO-RIDE SURFACE

Gerard Butler didn’t fly across the pond just for a Santa Anita reunion. The 42-year-old Irish trainer based in England came to run synthetic specialist Dansant in Saturday’s $1 million Santa Anita Handicap.

“He’s arguably the best all-weather horse in England, or in Europe,” Butler said. “We spoke about going to Dubai (for the $6 million World Cup on March 28). We were there last year, and he didn’t like the track. In a consultation with the owner (Mrs. Barbara Keller of Switzerland), we decided the next best place to go would be back on a synthetic surface, and the Big ’Cap was a logical choice.”





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Turfway stakes winners face off in Wintergreen


FLORENCE, KY . . . March 5, 2009 . . . Recent Turfway Park stakes winners Kiss With a Twist and Unspoken Word return to the track Saturday for the 27th running of the Wintergreen Stakes.

Unspoken Word comes in to the Wintergreen off back-to-back wins at Turfway, including the Likely Exchange Stakes a month ago. Both wins came at the Wintergreen’s mile distance, and she won both by setting a sensible pace and drawing off to win by multiple lengths. The 5-year-old mare is trained by the meet’s leading trainer, Mike Maker, and ridden by the meet’s leading jockey, Victor Lebron.





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STRUT THE CANARY LOOKS TO MAKE IT FOUR STRAIGHT IN WIDE COUNTRY


LAUREL, MD. 03-5-09---Nine 3-year-old fillies will stretch out to seven furlongs in Saturday’s $50,000 Wide Country Stakes. The race is the ninth on the Laurel Park card and the first leg of the Magna 5 wager.

The morning line favorite is Strut the Canary (5-2), who has won three straight, including a victory in the Marshua Stakes at Laurel in her most recent start on February 7. The daughter of Mineshaft loomed the easy winner a furlong from the finish in the Marshua but at the wire she was in front by only a head. Jockey Jeremy Rose took the blame for the narrow victory indicating he moved too soon. Rose retains the mount for trainer Tim Tullock.





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PIMLICO AND LAUREL PARK’S PARENT COMPANY FILES FOR CHAPTER 11 PROTECTION


LAUREL, MD. 03-05-09---The Maryland Jockey Club’s parent company, Magna Entertainment Corp. (“MEC”) and certain of its subsidiaries today filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. MEC filed for Chapter 11 protection in order to implement a comprehensive financial restructuring. Simply put, MEC has far too much debt and interest expense.

MEC believes that this Chapter 11 restructuring will bring its level of debt in line with current economic realities and take pressure off its operations, which have historically been burdened with significant interest expense and financing fees. In today’s difficult economic environment, many companies are using a Chapter 11 filing to substantially reduce debt and position themselves for future growth.





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AQUEDUCT NOTES; Thursday, March 5, 2009


Saturday afternoon, March 7, Aqueduct Racetrack will again be a horseplayer’s paradise. In addition to a live 10-race card that begins at 12:30 p.m., the Big A will remain open so fans can enjoy racing from Santa Anita Handicap Day from Santa Anita Park in California.

The action begins right here at Aqueduct with a card featuring the Grade 3, $250,000 Gotham Stakes for three-year-olds at a mile and sixteenth on the inner dirt track. The Gotham is an important race on the road to the May 2 Kentucky Derby and is the main local prep for the biggest race of the Aqueduct meet – the Grade 1, $750,000 Wood Memorial for three-year-olds at nine furlongs on Saturday, April 4.





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