Tuesday, March 10 2009
Champion Stardom Bound, Rachel Alexandra Top March 12-15 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager Pool
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March. 10, 2009) – Champion Stardom Bound, winner of five consecutive Grade I stakes races, and rising star Rachel Alexandra, the heavy favorite for Saturday’s $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (Grade II), are the narrowly separated top betting choices heading to this week’s only pool of Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”).
The four-day pool, which opens at noon (all times EDT) on Thursday, March 12, offers racing fans the opportunity to wager on candidates for the 135th running of the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (GI) at odds that could be significantly greater than those available on the day of the race on Friday, May 1. Reduced to a single pool after it was conducted for five years in a three-pool format, this year’s lone Kentucky Oaks Future pool is schedule to close at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 15 – 30 minutes later than the close of its companion Kentucky Derby Future Wager, which also opens a four-day run on Thursday at noon.
Kentucky Derby Futures Offer Exacta Betting For First time
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 10, 2009) – What could be more fun that picking the winner of the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) weeks before the race is run? How about picking the top two finishers in the “Run for the Roses” and cashing one of the first winning exacta tickets in the 11-year history of Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”).
Both opportunities will be available to Kentucky Derby fans across North America as exacta wagering joins the traditional “win” bet on the wagering menu for the first time as Pool 2 of the 2009 Kentucky Derby Future Wager opens its four-day run at noon (EDT) on Thursday, March 12. The addition of the exacta, which requires bettors to select the 1-2 finishers in the famed “Run for the Roses” in the correct order, marks the first major change in the Derby Future bet since it was introduced in 1999.
GOLD CUP, AMERICAN OAKS REMAIN RICHEST RACES AS HOLLYWOOD PARK
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (March 10, 2009) — The $700,000 Hollywood Gold Cup and the $700,000 American Oaks anchor an $8-million stakes schedule for Hollywood Park’s 65-day Spring/Summer Meet, which opens Wednesday, April 22.
The stakes schedule was revamped due to the sagging economy with the intent of protecting the overall quality of racing.
“We thought the best course of action was to do as much as we could for overnight purses,” said Martin Panza, vice president of racing. “The deductions will help keep overnight purses at or near their 2008 levels.”
Monday, March 09 2009
TRACK SUPERINTENDENT BARAJAS LEAVING ARLINGTON
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (March 9, 2009) – Arlington Park President Roy Arnold announced that longtime track superintendent Javier Barajas is leaving Arlington to accept a position with the Dubai Racing Club.
“Javier’s care in the maintenance of Arlington Park’s turf course is a pivotal reason it has long been hailed as one of the world’s best and we will miss him,” Arnold said. “He also played a prime role in the successful installation of our Polytrack synthetic surface in 2007. Based on the reputation he earned during his many years as track superintendent at Arlington, we know Javier will rise to the challenges presented by his new role with the Dubai Racing Club and we wish him well.”
APRIL PRIDE TAKES CHINA DOLL AS 7-10 CHOICE SAUCEY EVENING FOURTH
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 8, 2009) – A close third behind sophomore superstar Stardom Bound in last month’s Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes, 7-10 favorite Saucey Evening was expected to have an easy time of it Sunday in Santa Anita’s $78,460 China Doll Stakes at one mile on turf, but she wound up a distant fourth behind British-import April Pride.
The 7-2 second choice in a field of seven 3-year-olds, April Pride rallied strongly around the far turn under David Flores and crossed the wire two lengths ahead of Acting Lady with Century Park another length back in third. The winning time was 1:35.40.
STABLE NOTES, SUNDAY, MARCH 8TH, 2009
‘ALL SYSTEMS GO’ FOR PIONEEROF THE NILE IN SAN FELIPE STAKES
Leading Triple Crown contender Pioneerof the Nile worked five furlongs on Pro-Ride Sunday morning in a bullet :58.80 under regular rider Garrett Gomez for next Saturday’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.
“He went really nice,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “All systems are go.” The San Felipe is expected to have a small field. Trainer Ronny Werner reportedly is considering Pray for Action for the West Coast’s final major prep to the Santa Anita Derby on April 4. Pray for Action is a Florida-bred son of Songandaprayer who has been training at the Fair Grounds.
Peisinoe Goes Wire-to-Wire in Ocala Stakes Sunday
Royal Pegasus LLC’s 4-year-old filly Peisinoe broke alertly under jockey Jermaine Bridgmohan in Sunday’s $75,000 Ocala Stakes for Florida-bred fillies and mares at Gulfstream Park and never was headed as she sped to a one-length victory over Zayat Stable’s Zee Zee in the one-mile test.
A daughter of Yes It’s True, Peisinoe had stumbled at the start in her last race, finishing sixth in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint here on Jan. 24 in her first start for trainer Ian Wilkes after being purchased at the Fasig-Tipton November sales. She paid $13.40 to win and was timed in 1:37:47 over the fast track.
Kentucky Derby 135 Update (3.9.09)
EAST/WEST COAST INVADER I WANT REVENGE DOMINATES GOTHAM IN DIRT DEBUT
Aqueduct’s $250,000 Gotham Stakes (Grade III) last produced a winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) when the legendary Secretariat took both races in 1973, but David J. Lanzman’s homebred I Want Revenge made another sweep of those races seem to be at least possible when romped to an 8 ½-length victory Saturday in New York’s first major prep for the “Run for the Roses.”
The well-named son of Stephen Got Even had been chasing West Coast leader Pioneerof the Nile in California races run over synthetic surfaces, but trainer Jeff Mullins and 19-year-old jockey Joe Talamo believed that the colt might move forward if given the chance to run on conventional dirt. It was clear at the head of the Aqueduct stretch that their evaluations were perfect as I Want Revenge put away favored Mr. Fantasy following a spirited early duel and easily drew clear. Imperial Council, who was far back early, rallied to edge the favorite for second as I Want Revenge hit the finish in strong time of 1:42.65 over a “fast” track.
FESTIVAL DAY PROBABLE STARTERS POST FINAL WORKOUTS
OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 8, 2009) Horses thought to be preparing for Saturday’s Festival Day, which includes the Grade III $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby, the Grade III $200,000 Florida Oaks, the Grade III $175,000 Hillsborough Stakes and the $75,000 Turf Dash, have put in their final works before the big day.
General Quarters, who captured the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes here last month, worked five furlongs in 1:01 for trainer/owner Thomas McCarthy on Saturday morning. The Sky Mesa colt was the fastest of 12 works for that distance. Musket Man, who was third in the Sam F. Davis Stakes, worked five furlongs in a minute flat on Sunday morning for last year’s Tampa Bay Derby winning owner Eric Fein.
Quaolina takes Group 1 Liwa Oasis
Champion Trainer Doug Watson saddled two winners from two runners at Abu Dhabi on Sunday evening, including Quaolina, the impressive winner of the featured Group 1 Liwa Oasis over 1400m.
Kindly sponsored by Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, the Capital’s 13th meeting of the season was their third last and Watson’s double puts him within touching distance of retaining his crown.
Richard Hills was in the saddle on Quaolina, already a Group 1 winner in the UK and opening her UAE account at the second attempt having chased home Fryvolous last time.
FORMER TRAINER, RACING OFFICIAL BOB McGRATH PASSES AT AGE 79
Bob McGrath, who trained thoroughbred racehorses in Northern California for 30 years and also served as a racing official at Bay Area tracks, died of heart failure at his home in Hayward early Sunday morning. McGrath was
"He went peacefully in his sleep," said McGrath's wife, Jan.
McGrath, a native of Oakland, followed in the footsteps of his father, Robert, in becoming a trainer. Bob trained horses in the Bay Area from 1962-1992 and was best known for his work with the stakes-placed mare Karandebs Big Kat, who campaigned in the mid-1980s.
Sunday, March 08 2009
EINSTEIN OUTSMARTS ‘EM IN SANTA ANITA HANDICAP
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ Dirt, grass, a rug, none of that seems relative to Einstein's racing ability.
Running for the first time on a synthetic surface, the Brazilian-bred whiz turned in a virtually picture-perfect performance to win Saturday's $1 million Santa Anita Handicap.
"He's a good horse on the turf. He's a good horse on the dirt. He's a good horse on anything," jockey Julien Leparoux said. "We didn't really know about this track, but we were pretty sure he was going to handle it.
"And he did."
Helen Pitts-Blasi, Einstein's trainer, said, "He rode him beautifully. It's an unbelievable feeling, just means the world to me. Einstein was very comfortable with this track from the time he got here."