Friday, March 06 2009
Al Khali Joins Pletcher’s Potential Derby Team
WinStar Farm’s 3-year-old Al Khali rallied through the stretch for a three-quarter length victory under John Velazquez in a 1 1/8 mile allowance test Friday afternoon at Gulfstream Park, moving him up in trainer Todd Pletcher’s arsenal of Kentucky Derby (G1) candidates.
Al Khali is a Kentucky-bred colt by Medaglia d’Oro who was making his first U.S. start. He was originally sold to Dante Zanelli for $15,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sales. He had made his previous three starts under three separate trainers while racing in Peru, where he won his most recent two races after finishing second in his debut.
Barn Notes 2-6
Sky Diva Works Toward 3-year-old Debut at Gulfstream
A diva’s got to have her space. That’s the reason Puglisi Racing’s Grade 1-winning 3-year-old filly Sky Diva is warming up in South Florida and is not part of trainer Steve Klesaris’s main string in New Orleans this winter.
The daughter of Sky Mesa has been training steadily at Gulfstream Park, including a five-furlong breeze Friday morning in 1:01 1/5. She has been ramping up toward a 3-year-old debut following third-place finishes in the Demoiselle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct on Nov. 29 and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on Oct. 24 at Santa Anita.
NYRA NOW ON SIRIUS RADIO TO DEBUT SATURDAY, MARCH 7
NYRA Now, a half-hour Sirius Radio show dedicated exclusively to Thoroughbred racing at the New York Racing Association’s Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course, will debut Saturday, March 7 from 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. Eastern.
Hosted by Dave Johnson and Bill Finley, NYRA Now will air on Sirius Channel 122 and XM Channel 143 and will be available to 20 million Sirius XM subscribers. It will offer handicapping, interviews with owners, trainers and jockeys and feature segments.
Turfway Park to cut purses, two stakes
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 6, 2009 . . . Association purses paid at Turfway Park will be cut five percent and the 2009 Tejano Run Stakes and Fairway Fun Stakes have been canceled, track president Robert N. Elliston announced today.
The track was unable to fill races for Monday, March 9, when the cut originally was scheduled to become effective. The cut therefore takes effect Wednesday, March 11, and will run through the end of the meet.
Read more articles in the Turfway
NTRA Alliance Compliance Code Unanimously Approved
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that a comprehensive set of safety and integrity compliance standards has been approved by the NTRA Board of Directors for use by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. The standards serve as the basis for Alliance accreditation, which will begin later this month.
Among the first racetracks that will go through the newly established accreditation process of the Alliance are the three Triple Crown venues—Churchill Downs, Pimlico Race Course and Belmont Park. Keeneland, Delaware Park and Hollywood Park—all of which have race meetings beginning in the month of April—will also be among the first tracks to undergo Alliance review. Two other Churchill Downs Incorporated properties commencing their 2009 meetings this spring—Calder Race Course and Arlington Park—also will be in the first group of Alliance members to take part in the accreditation process.
Beckon set to make move to Woodbine
From the moment he embarked on his career as a jockey, Chad Beckon set his sights on making it a success story. Some six years later, the 28-year-old could be on track for his most memorable season.
Things haven’t always come easy for Beckon, son of the late Toronto-based jockey Dan Beckon.
Yet regardless of the hurdle, injuries or otherwise, he’s rarely not fashioning a big smile or sounding like a wide-eyed kid ready to take on the world.
Read more articles in the Woodbine
Kentucky Oaks 135 Update (3.6.09)
WEST/CHAMPION STARDOM BOUND HEAVY FAVORITE IN SANTA ANITA OAKS
Stardom Bound, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2008, will be heavily favored to notch her fifth consecutive victory when she takes on nine rivals in Saturday’s $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (Grade I) over the synthetic Cushion Track surface at Santa Anita.
But it could be the last time she faces members of her gender for a while.
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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.