Friday, January 23 2009
Barn notes GP 1-23
Macho Again Ready to Strut in OBS Classic
After spending 2008 in a ‘Big Brown’ shadow, West Point Thoroughbreds’ Macho Again is ready to step into the sun as one of the top choices in Saturday’s $1 million OBS Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park.
The 4-year-old son of Macho Uno battled through a hardcore campaign last year, running the gauntlet to a second-place finish in the Preakness Stakes (G1) and a victory in the Jim Dandy (G2) at Saratoga. He also endured a rough trip in the Travers Stakes (G1) where he finished eighth and had to settle for second in the Super Derby (G2) after traffic hampered his closing kick.
Champion in another League
League Champion, trained by Rashed Bouresly, was the impressive winner of the featured 1200m handicap, kindly sponsored by Shadwell Stables, at Jebel Ali afternoon on Friday afternoon.
Fourth in the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint the previous evening, he was clearly unfazed by his quick return to action and won going away.
Keeneland Schedules 17 Stakes Worth $3.8 Million
Lexington, Ky. (January 23, 2009)—Seventeen stakes races worth a total of $3.8 million will be run during Keeneland’s spring meeting, beginning April 3 and continuing through April 24.
Highlighting the schedule are the $750,000, Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes for 3-year-olds on Saturday, April 11, and the $400,000, Grade 1 Ashland Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on Saturday, April 4.
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Fasig-Tipton Signs On as Fountain of Youth Sponsor
Fasig-Tipton, North America’s oldest Thoroughbred auction firm, has partnered with Gulfstream Park to sponsor one of the track’s most venerable events, the $250,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes.
To be known as the “Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth,” the race has a storied history: Kentucky Derby winners Thunder Gulch, Spectacular Bid, Kauai King and Tim Tam won it while Go For Gin, Unbridled, Swale, Pleasant Colony, Carry Back and Iron Liege came up short but rebounded to put their connections in the Churchill Downs winners’ circle the first Saturday in May.
Ju Jitsu Jax Ready to Kick Down Door in Sunshine Millions Dash
Robert Cole’s 3-year-old colt Ju Jitsu Jax has an opportunity to keep his undefeated record intact Saturday when the Florida-bred sprints into action in the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Dash at Gulfstream Park.
Three starts into the son of Tiger Ridge’s career trainer, Scott Lake feels the timing is perfect for a first attempt in a stakes race even though his charge still has plenty to learn.
Officer Rocket tries for second Turfway trophy
FLORENCE, KY . . . January 22, 2009 . . . Officer Rocket will try for two stakes wins in a row when he lines up with seven rivals in the 26th running of the Forego Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday. The $50,000 Forego is carded for horses four years old and up going 6 1/2 furlongs.
Officer Rocket won the Holiday Cheer Stakes at Turfway late last year while making his first start off a claim for new owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey. He usually races comfortably behind the pace but showed his versatility that day by waiting far back for a hot early pace to tire, and he also has won after contesting the lead. The five-year-old horse has never won at the Forego distance but has been close, and he won his only other start on an all-weather surface, the six-furlong Holiday Cheer. Leading rider Victor Lebron picks up the mount for co-leading trainer Mike Maker.
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JAMIE NESS NAMED COURTSIDE GRILLE II TRAINER OF THE MONTH
OLDSMAR, Fla. (January 22, 2009) Jamie Ness, who in the week through January 20 has had ten wins and five second place finishes and three thirds third in twenty-four starts, is tied for leading trainer as of January 21, 2009. Ness attributes his success to both the horses already in his barn as well as his recent claims. “I make my living out of the claiming box,” says Ness of his success with newly acquired horses. “I do my homework and study the horses on and off the track, and I look at the trainers’ tendencies. I don’t have two-year-olds and I don’t have stakes horses. It’s a blue-collar barn so I need to know what I’ve got.”
JOHNNY EVES TOPS PALOS VERDES; MAGICAL FANTASY HEADS TUZLA
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 22, 2009) – Grade I winner Johnny Eves, a 5-year-old California-bred gelding who has experienced a series of ups-and-downs during his three-year career, will be the starting high weight at 118 pounds Sunday in Santa Anita’s 57th running of the Grade II, $150,000 Palos Verdes Handicap at six furlongs.
Garrett Gomez will be back aboard the Mooncoin, LLC sprinter who broke a seven-race losing streak in Hollywood Park’s Grade III Vernon O. Underwood Stakes last November before being eased at 17-10 odds after tracking a blistering pace on New Year’s Day in Santa Anita’s Grade III El Conejo Handicap.
BLUE EXIT UPSETS IN ALTADENA
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 22, 2009) – A winner of two listed stakes in France, Blue Exit finally transferred his European form to the United States on Thursday when becoming a three-length winner of Santa Anita’s $64,000 Altadena Purse at 1 1/16 miles.
The mild upset, spurred by 33-1 stunner Talktoomuch in the fifth race, led to Santa Anita’s tenth Pick Six carryover on the 21st day of its current meet. A total of $91,353 will be carried into Friday’s Pick Six on a day when the track offers free general admission.
STABLE NOTES, THURSDAY, JANUARY 22ND, 2009
SMITH HOPES FOR MACHISMO BREATHER IN SUNSHINE MILLIONS SPRINT
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith expects another solid performance from Machismo in Saturday’s $300,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint. The consistent Florida-bred was second to multiple graded stakes winner In Summation in the Grade III El Conejo Handicap on Jan. 1, and has a 5-6-3 record from 26 starts overall, with earnings of $158,730.
Machismo also is entered in Sunday’s Grade II Palos Verdes Handicap.
NYRA OUTPERFORMS THOROUGHBRED INDUSTRY IN 2008
While the nation’s Thoroughbred racing industry as a whole slumped last year because of the economic downturn, the New York Racing Association saw only modest business declines.
The all-sources handle on NYRA races from Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course went from $2,543,796,141 in 2007 to $2,489,276,587 last year, a 2.1 percent decline, while the daily average wagering on NYRA races from all sources fell 3.7 percent, from $10,382,841 to $9,997,095.
NELLIE MORSE STAKES KICKS OFF 2009 MAGNA 5
LAUREL, MD. 01-22-09---The Sunshine Millions in Florida and California has inspired Laurel Park to offer an on-track beach party on Saturday, including an exotic tropical buffet, “sunsational” games with prizes and a nine race card featuring the $50,000 Nellie Morse Stakes.
Saturday also marks the return of the Magna 5, the nationwide pick five wager on races at coast-to-coast tracks, beginning with the final race on the Laurel program. The other races are simulcast from Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields. The wager has a $1 minimum bet with no guaranteed pool, which was not the case in previous five years.
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