Monday, March 02 2009
GP Barn Notes 3-1
Affirmatif Very Impressive With Debut Win Saturday
The dust wasn’t completely settled from Saturday’s Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park when trainer Todd Pletcher threw another 3-year-old on to the stage in a big way as the Wertheimer Brothers’ Affirmatif rolled to a nine-length victory in his career debut.
The Kentucky homebred son of Unbridled’s Song won the one-mile maiden turf contest in 1:34.27 – faster by .04 than the time run by 5-year-old Pletcher-trained stablemate Twilight Meteor two races earlier in the Canadian Turf Stakes (G3).
Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Handle Soars Beyond Last Year’s Totals
Beautiful weather and a solid racing program that featured appearances by classic winner Da’Tara; a graded turf stakes, and a headliner that matched most of the nation’s finest 3-year-olds contributed to an astronomical rise in total handle Saturday from the corresponding day at Gulfstream Park last year.
Saturday’s main event was the $250,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth, won by Quality Road, whose victory moved him to the upper echelon of Florida and Kentucky Derby hopefuls. On-track wagering was up 52.79% from last year’s ninth Saturday of the meet, a card highlighted by the historic Gulfstream Park Handicap.
Justwhistledixie Romps to Victory in Davona Dale Sunday
West Point Stables and Lakland Farm’s 3-year-old filly Justwhistledixie made an auspicious South Florida debut drawing off to win Sunday’s $150,000 Davona Dale Stakes (G2) by 3¾ lengths under jockey Alan Garcia in her first start since a 3½-length victory in the Ruthless Stakes at Aqueduct on Jan. 4.
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Justwhistledixie is a daughter of Dixie Union purchased for $425,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sales. She was posting her fourth victory in six starts, stamping herself as a Kentucky Oaks (G1) prospect.
LIGHTS OFF ANNIE LIGHTS UP BROADWAY
Repole Stable’s Light Off Annie, the least experienced of the group, broke from post 2 running Sunday afternoon and lead all the way to win the 30th running of the $69,680 Broadway for New York-bred fillies and mares at six furlongs.
“As long as she broke well, my intention was to try and make the lead,” said jockey Rajiv Maragh, whose winning time was 1:10.83 for the five-length victory on Aqueduct’s fast inner track, after uncontested fractions of 23.64, 46.72 and 58.41. “She broke sharp, got up and got comfortable on the rail. It’s not like there were horses breathing down my neck and she got happy on the lead. I knew I was going to have a lot of horse left and she just sprinted away when I asked her.”
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AQUEDUCT NOTES, MARCH 1, 2009
Because of a severe winter storm expected in the New York area for Sunday night into Monday morning, Aqueduct Racetrack will closed for simulcasting on Monday, March 2.
Telebet and internet wagering will be available for the simulcast menu which includes Philadelphia Park, Beulah Park, Turf Paradise and Portland Meadows. Full dark day simulcast operations will resume on Tuesday, March 3. There is no charge for parking or admission and gates open at 11:30 a.m.
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Kentucky Derby 135 Update (3.1.09)
DUBAI/CHAMPION MIDSHIPMAN OFF THE KENTUCKY DERBY TRAIL
The hard-luck suffered by champion 2-year-olds along the road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) continues in 2009 as reigning juvenile champion Midshipman has been knocked out of consideration for the “Run for the Roses” after suffering what is described as a minor leg injury.
The winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI), purchased privately last fall by Dubai-based Godolphin, was reported to have suffered a soft tissue injury to his left fore leg during training for the colt’s scheduled 3-year-old debut on Thursday in the Al Bastikaya at Nad Al Sheba. Godolphin Racing Manager Simon Crisford said Midshipman could return to racing in the latter half of the year.
BATTLE OF HASTINGS SETS BALDWIN STAKES MARK BEFORE 17,972
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 1, 2009) – British-bred 3-year-old Battle of Hastings, who won his last two starts in England prior to a lackluster United States debut, redeemed himself in Santa Anita’s Grade III, $100,000 Baldwin Stakes on Sunday when closing strongly to capture the 6 1/2-furlong grass sprint by 1 ¼ lengths over favored Flashmans Papers.
On a warm, sunshiny day when Santa Anita offered a Snow Day promotion while importing 200 tons of snow for its infield, a crowd of 17,972 turned out. The figure did not include an estimated 10,000 children, aged 17 and under, who were admitted free.
STABLE NOTES, SUANDAY MARCH 1ST, 2009
LARGE FIELD NO DETERRENT FOR SMITH, TIAGO IN SANTA ANITA HANDICAP
A full field of 14 is in prospect for the Santa Anita Handicap next Sunday, and as far as Mike Smith is concerned, the more the merrier.
Smith rides Tiago, a stretch-running son of Pleasant Tap, in the mile and a quarter Big ‘Cap. Potential traffic problems are always a risk in a bulky field, but Smith was quick to take an optimistic stance for Tiago, a half-brother to Giacomo, 50-1 winner of the 2005 Kentucky Derby with Smith aboard.
MARCH 14’S FESTIVAL DAY DRAWS 117 STAKES NOMINATIONS
OLDSMAR, Fla. (March 1, 2009) Nominations for March 14’s Festival Day have drawn 117 horses for the four stake card that includes The Grade III $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby for three-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the main track, the Grade III $200,000 Florida Oaks for fillies three years old competing 1 1/16 miles, the Grade III $175,000 Hillsborough Stakes for older females running about 1 1/8 miles on the lawn, and the $75,000 Turf Dash for three-year-olds and up traveling about 5 furlongs on the turf.
Nationally recognized horses such as Street Sense, Dreaming of Anna, Any Given Saturday, Bluegrass Cat, Cotton Blossom, Limehouse, Bushfire and Deputy Glitters are among previous years’ Festival Day alumni. Among the nominees this year are 44 stakes winners and 13 Graded or Group stakes winners.
WARREN’S DREAMING SCORES BY A NOSTRIL IN FEATURE RACE
ALBANY -- Warren's Dreaming, the 7-to-5 favorite ridden by William Antongeorgi III, got her nose down on the wire and handed Rule the Storm a tough defeat in the $21,580 feature race at Golden Gate Fields Sunday.
Rule the Storm, with Omar Figueroa aboard, battled with Warren's Dreaming through the length of the stretch and led for every step but the last one. The photo finish picture showed Warren's Dreaming prevailing by a nostril in the one-mile starter allowance contest for fillies and mares.
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ARLINGTON PARK UNVEILS SEASON MEMBERSHIP PLAN AND 2009 ADMISSION PRICING STRUCTURE
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (March 2, 2009) – Arlington Park unveiled its 2009 admissions pricing structure which for the first time offers a limited number of season-long membership packages in the Arlington Racing Club for individuals and families as well as tiered daily admission that includes “Value Day Wednesdays.”
Each Arlington Racing Club package for 2009 includes a season pass (valid daily except Arlington Million Day on Saturday, Aug. 8), preferred parking, a wagering credit, guest passes available for one-time use, additional special offers, a monthly E-newsletter, and an invitation to special member’s only events.
Sunday, March 01 2009
THE PAMPLEMOUSSE DOMINANT IN SHAM STAKES
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ The Pamplemousse ran to the lead out of the gate and dared his 10 rivals to come and get him. No one did.
The gray colt romped to a six-length victory in the Gr. III, $200,000 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday, solidifying his status as one of California's top 3-year-olds and a leading Kentucky Derby candidate.